November 29, 2011

S.F. Auto Show 2011

Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the L.A. Auto Show for the first time and I had a blast.  This past weekend I went to the San Francisco International Auto Show, which I attend every year.  I've been going since I was twelve, and it just keeps getting better. The treats in store this year were incredible, and I'd like to share some of them with you.

First I want to just say I'm working with a new camera given to me by my sister, so I hope these pictures are more clear than the ones from last week.  Eventually I plan to purchase a DSLR, but I have to work with what I've got for now.  Enough of that though, let's talk about THIS: Mclaren's MP4-12C.

The british super car manufacturer made this little beauty to replace the F1, which held the top speed record until the Veyron came along.  Although the F1 costed nearly $1M, the MP4-12C can be purchased for about $200,000.  For that price, you get a supercar that's well balanced, comfortable, and handles like a dream.

The Fisker Karma is the first plug in hybrid luxury sport sedan.  If all plug ins were made with style and flare, rather than like wedges of cheese *prius cough cough*, I bet people would be more willing to purchase them.  Hope you're taking notes Toyota.

I was quite pleased with the amount of high end luxury and sports cars present this year, there have never been this many, and never on the main floor like this. Lamborghini brought two new 2012 Gallardos, one was the coupe, the other a spyder.  They look great together.

After seeing the One-77 in person, you might think I'm set for life when it comes to Aston Martins, but you'd be wrong.  I never get tired of them, no matter which model I'm looking at.  The Virage Roadster and Rapide here should help you see why.  If you're not fully convinced, maybe the next image will sway you.

 The Vantage S Roadster is just gorgeous to me. It's sporty, handles well, rides smooth, purrs like a kitten and looks good doing all that. I had the opportunity to get up close after speaking with one of the representatives, who kindly let me through the ropes.  I'm not sure if it was my passion or my charm that did it, all that matters is I did!

How I love the back side of an Aston Martin.  Hate to see them leave, but love to watch them go.

Bentley once again had three cars to offer (including a white Mulsanne not pictured), but something was a little different this time.  Behind this black Continental GT...

...was the Continental GTC Supersports! I was so excited to see it since it wasn't at L.A.  Even in this tame ice blue, it still looks quite fearsome.  The coupe version currently holds the ice speed record at 205 mph, since it took on the challenge earlier this year in Finland.  Up until then, it was held by the Bugatti EB110 SS which previously set it in 1995.

I'm not the biggest fan of Jaguar, but the XKRS is a total knockout.  I'm used to seeing it in that light blue color they always advertise it in, but it's just as drop dead gorgeous in red. I loved the fact I was able to get this side shot, usually there's far too many people around the more special models.

It's one of those cars that just looks good from every angle.  Well done Jaguar.

Although the Audi R8 V10 Spyder was also present at the L.A. Auto Show, I didn't bother to take any pictures of it because I was too enthralled with the E-Tron Spyder concept.  Even though the Spyder is just a convertible version of the R8 coupe, its overall attitude gives the impression of a completely different car.  It really caught my eye...

...and the attention of many other visitors who came upon it.

I'll take a short break from the main showroom floors and quickly go over the highlights of the Aftermarket Alley.  There aren't nearly as many cars here as in L.A., but quality is far more important than quantity! For example, these are two original 70's Nissan Skyline GT's by Fatlace.

Fatlace is actually based out of San Francisco, there's a small shop in Japan Town, a few blocks over from the famous California Street. But that shop is just where they sell their clothing line...

...the cars can be found at their San Mateo location, The Paddock.  I plan to drive out there over my winter break.  If I'm successful in making that happen, you'll be seeing more from these guys.

It's not too often you come across the Honda NSX (or as some of us enthusiasts like call to it, the N.S.SEX) these days.  It was Honda's mid-engine supercar from 1990 until 2005, and even competed in 24 Hours of Le Mans three years in a row.

Unfortunately Honda decided to kill the NSX because it simply wasn't selling (only a few hundred sold worldwide by 2005).  Today you'll be lucky to see one, but the owners of these cars seem to be very prideful and take excellent care of their rare machines.  This one was pretty clean.

Back to the main floors, starting with this gorgeous 458 Italia in the signature Ferrari Red.  Remember that the 458 is the replacement for the F430, and it serves its purpose well.  It's faster, easier to drive, and more beautiful. The Itallion Stallion is making a comeback!

Ford had a strong presence at San Francisco as well, with another set up that stretched the length of the entire back wall of this side of the Moscone, but only one car really grabbed my attention: the 2013 Mustang Boss 302.

I actually felt intimidated by this monster while photographing it.  It just looks big, mean, and angry, like it has no problem throwing its weight around. You'll know right away who's in charge when you see it, and that's probably why it's called the Boss.

If you see one of these in your rear view mirror, I strongly suggest you get out of its way!

I was bummed I couldn't get any decent shots of the ZR1 at L.A. but Chevrolet had one here and I was thrilled.  This is the very first photo I took, and I didn't have to fuss over having to wait for a clear shot.

The ZR1 looks a bit more elegant in this mellow blue color, but it's still the same ferocious, bare-knuckle American Muscle beast it's always been.  Get behind the wheel and it just might tear your face off.

Any American knows this country is all about pride, which is why artist Mickey Harris designed this: the American Pride Chevy Camaro.  The car was debuted on September 11th last year, not only as a tribute to those lost on that fateful day, but also to honor all the great people who fought for this nation and its freedom.

The United States is by no means a perfect country, but the patriotism here is truly amazing.  This car is the perfect embodiment of why people are proud to call this place home.

The last thing I want to highlight was my test drive of the Nissan Leaf! All I had to do was sign up, and after a quick wait in line I got to take one for a spin INDOORS!  You just had to be 18 or older with a valid license.

You might think driving a dead silent electric car would be totally lame, but the Leaf is surprisingly smooth and handles like a dream. I always look for the chance to drive different cars, and this one was definitely fun.  If you ever get the chance to get in one, do it! It just might surprise you.

That concludes the S.F. International Auto Show, hope you enjoyed it.


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