Introducing the World’s Coolest, Super-Secret, Supercar!

By Jason H. Harper;

APRIL 1, 2011 —Tirana, Albania

Call it the greatest supercar you’ve never heard of. Experience this ethereal bullet and you’ll ask yourself, “Bugatti what? Ferrari who?” But only if you can pony up the $666,666 and get on the invite list.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Several weeks ago, I received a golden ticket in the mail, requesting my presence at the famous Shqiponja racetrack in Albania, just outside the capital of Tirana. The only other identifier on the invite was a silhouette of a low-slung sports car, impossible to identify, but obviously sexier than Angelina Jolie.

Intrigued, I booked my ticket through the anonymous 1-800 number on the invite — the still unknown company’s PR team/concierge service.

This morning I was met by on the tarmac by a S500 sedan, black as a stallion, with frosted-out windows. The back door opened, and I met the man — the visionary behind the most extraordinary car in the world.

Fab-Veloce CPA-MMTL 16W

The only snap shot I was able to sneak of the fabled Fab-Veloce CPA-MMTL 16W.

Few have actually met Fabio Veloce der Maschine. Heck, in the industry he’s like Kaiser Soze — alluded to, rumored about. A top member of a high-powered PR team, who also worked for Princess Diana, supposedly spent six months as der Maschine’s attaché, but will only talk about it when he’s topped up with several bottles of vintage Perrier-Jouët. Continue reading…

Motoring Italy in the New $220,000 Ferrari 458 Italia

The Ferrari 458 in all its glory

The security gate snaps out of the way and I fulfill a dream: I pull a blood-red Ferrari out of the entrance of the Ferrari factory. Better, it’s the new 458 Italia, the successor to the immensely popular F430 sports car.

Almost nobody has driven the mid-engine monster, and fewer still have motored out of the same entrance where founder Enzo Ferrari himself, wearing an ill-fitting suit, arrived every morning, to be met by a dog named Dick.

Still, the village of Maranello, west of Bologna, is less romantic than I’d imagined. It is dominated by the car factory and tourism amounts to entrepreneurs selling rides in rag-tag Ferraris and pizza restaurants festooned with the Ferrari logo.

Maranello, Italy — home of the prancing stallion

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Latest $400,000 Supercar Comes From Lexus… yes, Lexus

The Lexus LFA can be yours for $375,000.

The latest Lexus model starts at $375,000.

Toyota Motor Corp., the same parent company that brings you the 51-mile-per-gallon Prius and $13,000 Yaris, will also be producing the LFA, a 202-miles-per-hour, gasoline-evaporating supercar that competes with the $320,000 Ferrari 599 GTB. Talk about a broad family tree.

I consider this as I walk around one of three drivable LFA prototypes in the world, currently sitting on a racetrack in southern New Jersey. The other two are in Japan and Europe.

Inside, it has leather and Alcantara, automatic seats and navigation like you’ll find on the LS 600h L executive sedan. Until now that $109,000 hybrid was the most expensive Lexus model.

The interior of the LFA is leather, Alcantara and electronics

The LFA is no hybrid. It has beefy carbon-ceramic brakes, swollen performance tires and a 552-horsepower V-10 engine that will propel it to 60 mph in less than four seconds. Basically it’s a tarted-up racecar, and it fits into the Lexus lineup about as comfortably as a WWF wrestler at the ballet. Continue reading…

Wings On A Car: Mercedes-Benz SLS Gullwing

By Jason H. Harper – Jan 14, 2010

Swingin': The Mercedes SLS Gullwing

It’s got two wings and, boy, does it fly.

I’m soaring up a steep hill in Mercedes-Benz’s new $200,000 supercar, the SLS AMG. Nearing the top, I squeeze on the carbon- ceramic brakes, sweep right to left on the pebbly asphalt, then tuck the supersized beak down a coiling hill — the infamous blind corkscrew at California’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

I spiral down, stomach dropping, grin spreading. Birds on the wing indeed.

Flip: Gullwings at Laguna Seca, all ready and waiting

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