Lost California: The Great Wall of Cars

Tucked away in the foothills of Southern California is a wall built out of classic cars, assembled sometime in the mid-50's to create a retaining wall. At first look the cars, which are only visible from a private road that leads to an old estate, hidden completely from view, were put in place to protect the properties airstrip that was last used around 40 years ago. The remains of the air strip and the foundation for the hanger can still be seen. The cars, many more which are buried completely, are strung together with a massive cable like a macaroni noodle necklace you might have made in kindergarten.

Over the years many people have stripped the bumpers, engine parts, grilles tail lamps, and other exposed bits from what were once mostly complete cars. The area is still remote and a bit of a local legend, some kids said that the estate is actually a haunted mental hospital and those cars belonged to the victims of the Dr. who would experiment on stranded motorists.

But while the cars were put in place by the a Dr. who would fly is private plane out to what was once a remote country estate and citrus grove, nothing nefarious has ever taken place that we could find. Enjoy the rest of the pictures.

Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4

Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 unveiled at the 2014 Paris Mondial de l'Automobile
Pioneering a new vision of mobility: First Lamborghini Plug-in Hybrid technology demonstrator

· First plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technology demonstrator providing a new Lamborghini cruising experience with superior power, daily drivability and comfort
· Hybrid system power: V10 5,2 l naturally aspirated engine combined with three electric motors delivers a total power of 669 kW/910 hp, enough for acceleration of 0-100 km/h in 3.0 s and a top speed of 320 km/h
· CO2 emissions of 98 g/km and 50 km pure electric range
· Breakthrough technological architecture in an innovative carbon fiber monocoque with a body designed in a new, unexpected and sensual way, respecting Lamborghini heritage

Paris, 1 October 2014 - Automobili Lamborghini unveils its first plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technology demonstrator, the Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4, making its world debut at the 2014 Paris Mondial de l'Automobile. Clearly a Lamborghini, Asterion is a conceptual car housing a plug-in hybrid powertrain designed to Lamborghini objectives: The Asterion defines a solution to significantly reducing CO2 emissions through technologies available today, guaranteeing the unique Lamborghini driving feel with a smooth and reactive driveability and with superior power, including an exceptional pure electric range of 50 km.

Conceived and developed entirely in-house by Lamborghini, the Asterion LPI 910-4 takes the design and cutting-edge engineering expertise found in the current Lamborghini product range, adding innovative hybrid technology, creating thus a Lamborghini that is clearly different – with a new, unexpected and sensual design, in line with the technical characteristics of the car – but yet is still unmistakeably a Lamborghini.

The Rationale

Asterion is a technology demonstrator representing a Lamborghini model that could be realistically produced today, using technologies currently available and drawing on Lamborghini's own expertise.

"Lamborghini is always looking ahead, investing in new technologies and setting new benchmarks, delivering the unexpected," says Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini.

"Lamborghini continues to focus on weight reduction as a means to reducing CO2, for example through the investment in carbon fiber engineering, which also contributes to our quest for the best super sports car handling and performance. To significantly reduce emissions on a car in this moment however, plug-in electrification is the best option for us, because for Lamborghini such a car must still provide a truly emotional driving experience. In the Asterion this is guaranteed through a naturally aspirated engine that is combined with PHEV technology, which not only offers exceptionally low CO2 emissions of 98 g/km, but a practical pure electric driving range of 50 km.

The Asterion LPI 910-4 is a true Lamborghini: emotional, with a stunning design, powerful, yet conceived more for comfortable luxury daily cruising than for ultimate track performance."

The Plug-in Hybrid solution and Performance

For the Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4, a PHEV solution is the clear Lamborghini choice. The Asterion provides all-important urban driving under purely electric power, a significant range of 50 km for the car when powered only by battery energy, and the emotion and power of a naturally aspirated Lamborghini engine for a unique driving experience.

Fuel consumption is 4,12 l/100 km combined cycle (NEDC). The weight of the hybrid technology is 250 kg. The Asterion's objective of significantly reducing C02 emissions, while maintaining an engaging and emotional Lamborghini cruising experience, is achieved with exceptional CO2 emissions of 98 g/km.

Based on a monocoque made entirely of carbon fibre, a V10 5.2 liter FSI engine is located longitudinally as a mid-engine, as in Lamborghini super sports cars. The extremely fast shifting 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is located behind the engine at the rear transaxle. The housing of the powerful lithium battery is placed longways in the central tunnel area, normally reserved for the transmission. This allows for better balance of the car and also protects the battery area in case of lateral crash impact.

The Asterion's hybrid architecture is realized with an electric motor incorporating an integrated starter motor and generator (ISG) which is placed between the V10 engine and the double clutch gearbox, and two electric motors at the front axle fed by the ISG power with a torque vectoring function. This system allows the Asterion two different driving modes: in hybrid mode it is combining the V10 engine with the three electric motors guaranteeing a permanent four-wheel drive without being dependent on the battery's state of charge. In pure electric drive mode only the two electric motors in the front are used.

The V10 5.2 l longitudinally-placed, naturally aspirated mid-engine provides a maximum power output of 449 kW (610 hp) with 560 Nm of maximum torque available. Combined with the three electric motors providing a further 220 kW (300 hp), total hybrid power is achievable to a maximum of 669 kW (910 hp). The combined action of the two propulsion systems ensures an exceptional dynamic impulse: acceleration of 0-100 km/h takes place in 3.0 seconds. With a top hybrid/combined speed of 320 km/h the Asterion LPI 910-4 also reaches up to 125 km/h under pure electric power. More importantly for city driving the Asterion has a pure electric range of 50 km, putting it top of the class for hybrid super sports cars.

The new Inspiration for Design

The Exterior Design

The Blue Elektra glittered colour of the Asterion as well as the new design language reflect the technological concept behind the car.

Designed by Lamborghini Centro Stile, the Asterion contains the unmistakeable Lamborghini DNA and heritage and yet is clearly different from the existing Lamborghini super sports car models. The Asterion touches new boundaries, with an innovative and unexpected design language which explores curves and sensuality, smooth transitions from panel to panel, and few sharp edges. The result is a pure, essential design.

The Asterion, like all Lamborghini cars, has clearly defined lines, separating flat planes from the side of the car and distinguishing between panels. Light and shadow accentuate the volumes of the car, highlighting the muscularity of Asterion yet giving the car a more slender elegance.

The front end of the car is produced as a single component, giving the Asterion a dynamic look, emphasised through the positioning of its four 'eyes with eyebrows': headlights are realized in materials including forged carbon and titanium.

The front air intakes are characterized by an active air cooling system which uses a double layered grid for the first time in a Lamborghini: one metal and one titanium grid are embedded into each other, one containing the Y leitmotiv and the other the hexagon theme, creating a tri dimensional effect and standing out against the body colour.

The powerful rear end stands out for its shape and remarkable rear lights, including a grid covering two radiators, and a clear separation between body colour and black parts. A transparent engine cover in the rear is an aesthetic detail linking to the hybrid technology beneath, comprised of three hexagonal glasses that turn according to the engine driving mode: pure electric, hybrid power or pure thermal engine power.

The Pirelli tyres are fitted to 20" and 21" rims in carbon components, and surrounded by welldefined mudguards embedded within the body of the car that contribute to the muscular road presence of the Asterion.

The Asterion's doors are large, opening outwards and permit easy access to the car's interior. Creating an ergonomically spacious cabin for the car's occupants with a comfortable seating position, the angle of the black A Pillars gives a more vertical windshield and a higher head clearance, while visually extending the front of the car, which includes a luggage compartment. Thus the interior of the Asterion guarantees an appropriate roominess for the passengers.

A lit tricolore flag on the door reminds of Asterion's Italian heritage and a discreet Raging Bull shield is embedded in the side of the car.

The Interior Design

The clear, minimal and modern interior of the Asterion reflects the exterior design yet with a classic look and feel. Internally, the two seats are positioned higher than those in Lamborghini super sports cars, ensuring a car for comfortable every day cruising rather than extreme performance and handling.

Extensive Bianco Celaeno (ivory) and Marrone Attis (brown) leather immediately confirm the luxurious drive experience of the Asterion with an elegance from combining materials including aluminium and forged carbon fibre, as well as titanium that is also visible in the iconic three spoke steering wheel design drawn from the Miura. However, the Asterion's steering wheel also includes three buttons from which the driver selects his engine driving mode: Zero – for zero emissions/full electric; I for 'Ibrido' (hybrid); and T for 'Termico (thermal) power. Finally, a portable tablet allows the car's occupants to manage climate control and other functions including GPS and in-car infotainment.

The Name

Asterion LPI 910-4 – LP stands for 'longitudinale posteriore', the position of the conventional engine, I stands for 'ibrido', 910 for the system power and 4 for the permanent 4WD system – is the new concept of a new kind of dream car designed by Lamborghini starting from an intuition: the key for anticipating the future lies in a transformation and hybridisation of Lamborghini's own DNA.

With the Asterion, a hyper cruiser is born: a mix of elegance with the pure seduction offered by driving a Lamborghini, a car whose powerful engine meets the sustainability of hybrid technology, thanks also to its lightweight chassis in carbon fiber.

The Lamborghini Asterion is inspired by a legend: Asterion is the proper name of the mythical Minotaur, a hybrid figure and symbolic crossbreed telling a story of the powerful fusion between intellect and instinct, part man and part bull, creating an ever powerful archetype Thus, Lamborghini sticks to its tradition of giving its models a name taken from the world of bulls, but at the same time adding an innovative element, a hybrid DNA: the strength of a bull delivered by the naturally aspirated engine is combined with the human rationale delivered by the hybrid technology.

This is how Lamborghini prepares for the future with the Asterion, the first hyper cruiser

The Aston Martin Lagonda unveiled

Aston Martin has released the first official images of the new Lagonda. These photos show one of the most stylish and luxurious interiors of any super-sedan. The diamond quilting and four place seating combined with the aggressive styling give the car a sporty, yet elegant feel. We still don't have details on the drivetrain but the all carbon fiber body keeps the weight to a minimum and helps the Lagonda reach speeds of more than 175mph. Sadly we won't be seeing the Lagonda on the streets of London, Paris, Tokyo, or Los Angeles, that's because the car is being produced for the Middle East only. So unless a Sheikh decides to go on a multinational road trip don't expect to see one at your local Cars and Coffee. 

Source: Aston Martin

Shelby 50th Anniversary Cobra

The 50th Anniversary Carroll Shelby Cobra Roadster CSX8000 Series, is one of my favorite of the modern Cobras. One of 50 made, all of them in the stunning combo of Black and Oxblood Leather. . This particular design is from the original 1962 design, with only a few factory options and improvements over and above the original, including stronger steel frame and better alloys utilized in the components, improving cooling and additional heat shield, superior brakes and rack & pinion steering. I photographed this car at the Shelby Bash Kick Off party earlier this year.

The Aston Zagato Never Built

The Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Coupe is one of the most beautiful Astons ever made. Ercole Spada was the chief designer on the coupe, but he always wanted to build a Barchetta, while drawings were made the DB4 GT Zagato Barchetta never was... that is until Jonathan Ward of Icon got involved. Working with the the 74-year-old designer himself (Spada) to create what looks like a classic Aston Martin, but with a modern drivetrain.

The aluminum body is built around a custom Art Morrison chassis with a modern Aston Martin 6.0-liter V-12 under the bonnet. Not much else has been released about the car and so far we only have these images of the hand formed aluminum body that is being shaped in Grugliasco, Italy that were posted on Facebook.

Icon is not the first company to attempt to build a Aston Martin Zagato Barchette, English coachbuilder and restoration company Evanta Motor Company recently unveiled their version of the car the Goodwood Festival of Speed, see it HERE. Icon's version of course has the pedigree of being designed by Spada.

We have reached out to Jonathan Ward of Icon for more details.

Opinion: Cadillac's Move to NYC

After 112 years in Detroit, Cadillac is pulling up stakes and moving to New York City. It seems the new boss at Caddy, Johan de Nysschen, believes he can spin the brand in a new direction and is hoping to distance it from GM much in the way that Toyota and Nissan have done with their luxury brands. De Nysschen is tasked with building the brand into a world class luxury marque to compete with the likes of BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, and others. That is a monumental task in my opinion, with the current collection of rebadged Chevrolets leaving much to be desired in the style department. I personally feel the current crop of cars from Cadillac will age about as well as their 1980's counterparts.

The Elmiraj Concept is a step in the right direction but we have all been down the concept car road with Cadillac in the past. Remember the Cadillac Aurora concept from the 90's that was kind of cool and futuristic in a 1990's kind of way... yeah we got the Catera... or the Cadillac Converj that basically became the design direction of todays Cadillac... except the production cars were so watered down it seems a shame to even compare them. Remember way back in 2003 the Cadillac Sixteen, everyone loved the car and GM built the most boring CTS ever.

In the 1950's buying a Cadillac meant you had arrived, with a Pininfarina bodied Eldorado costing as much as a contemporary Rolls Royce of the day. By the 1990's it pretty much meant you had no taste. I think we can all say it would be a stretch to see anyone paying $500,000 for any Cadillac on the market today.

I don't know if an address change is going to be enough to shake off the demons of the old and new GM that had dogged the Cadillac brand since the late 1970s. Let's just hope De Nysschen is not inspired to reach out to Dunham Coachworks across the river in New Jersey for some styling tips on the new models.

Source: Fortune

Vintage Moto

I always love wandering around around the pits at vintage racing events, the colors, smells, sounds, and of course the crazy characters that these type of events attract.

The Nissan Heritage Collection

This summer the team at The Gentleman Racer had a lot of adventures. From hanging out with RWB Indonesia,  Road Tripping across the American Southwest and working on more exciting cars for SEMA, its been a great summer. But one story we have not shared yet is our visit to the  Nissan  Heritage Collection on the grounds of Nissan's Oppama Motor Plant. The museum is not open to the general public, but our man in Japan was able to get an appointment.

Roman is diehard Nissan fan so he was in heaven on this visit, he is also owner of our Project Z. Here is just a taste of the Nissan goodness that is inside the collection, we are currently writing up features on individual cars from the collection that will be posted here on the site shortly.

Photographer: Roman V.