Posts Tagged ‘glass tint’
In a small, pristine garage in North County San Diego, an unusual project is under way. Huddled around a single steel chassis, a team of expert automotive welders is fabricating a new high-tech supercar, dubbed the Lucra L148. It’s the brainchild of Luke Richards, a quixotic entrepreneur and former pilot, who founded Lucra Cars in 2006. If all goes as planned, Richards and his team of 12 full-time craftsmen hope to create one of the most technologically advanced American supercars ever made.
Unlike most supercar projects, which can take years, if not decades, to complete, Richards plans to deliver the first L148 in the summer of 2014, just one year after the initial renderings. He expects the price to be comparable to that of a new Ferrari or Aston Martin, around $260,000. “A lot of guys try to build a $100,000 car that’s as good as a $300,000 car, but then what you end up with is a failed, expensive, cheap car, all at once,” said Richards. “It needs the correct budget to be built right.”
That hefty budget will include a computer-designed carbon-fiber exterior, a lightweight, super-strong chassis made from chromoly steel – the same material used on Baja 1000 Pro Trucks – mated to a 700-hp GM LS V-8 engine, and several components Richards refer to as being “mil-spec,” or military specification, including a wiring harness typically found on most military aircraft. And unlike Richards’ first creation, the LC470, which was featured in “The Fast and Furious 6“ and on a recent episode ofTop Gear U.S., the L148 will come equipped with air conditioning, satellite radio, and GPS navigation. Hallelujah.
But to understand what makes the L148 unique, and not just some cobbled-together custom car, it’s important to understand how Lucra Cars came to be.
Richards, 42, was born in England, the son of an English father and an American mother. When his parents divorced and his mother returned to the United States, Richards became the product of an intercontinental breakup, spending half his time in Connecticut and the other half in London.
Along the way, he developed a simultaneous appreciation for American muscle cars and finely-tuned European sports cars.”My dad always said you can have a car that goes fast in the straightaways or handles well in the turns, but you can’t have both,” he said. “And that was the attitude for a long time, that you couldn’t merge them together at all.”
Following numerous stints in the car business, Richards moved to San Diego and launched Lucra Cars, promising to build a car that would marry American power with European precision handling. “I couldn’t afford an automotive franchise at the time, so I created Lucra,” he said, noting that prior to starting the business, he had taken up residence on his small vintage boat docked in San Diego Harbor. “Besides, owning a dealership would not have done anything for my creative needs.”
Interestingly, Richards says he credits his extensive automotive expertise to an early passion for 1:8 scale radio-controlled cars. “I learned all about aerodynamics and I had all this gear – slicks and extra tires, different bodies and wings, fully adjustable suspensions – it was like running a little Indy Car,” he said, noting that he holds fond memories of racing RC cars with his father at London’s now-defunct Crystal Palace circuit. “They were like little cruise missiles on the ground – sway bars, shocks, disc brakes, gears – everything a real car has, they have.”
The early days of the company were challenging as Richards struggled to find footing in California’s highly competitive custom car scene. But after the introduction of the LC470, a lightning fast, Lister-inspired roadster, he was able to catch the eye of legendary movie car designer Dennis McCarthy, who asked Richards to consult on numerous high profile projects, including several of “The Fast and Furious“ movies.
“Profit is kind of an equal spread between selling our own cars, helping to design vehicles for Hollywood, and a bit of restoration work,” said Richards, adding that he has sold 57 examples of the LC470, which range in price from $90,000 to $130,000, depending on engine options.
With interest in the LC470 at an all-time high and the introduction of the L148 just a few months away, Richards hopes to be selling between 100 and 200 cars per year within the next five years. “From there I would like to see the next stage of Lucra happen where we get a much larger level of funding and where we go forward and build a big production car — where we move up to the level of Lotus,” he said. “Basically, everything should multiply by 10 every time you make a jump.”
He’s also aware that most niche-market automotive manufacturers often struggle in the face of heavy competition from larger brands. But he doesn’t care. Richards explained that he is out to change the landscape, instead of conform to it. “If you’re in a band, you can play cover songs all day long and play in the local bar down the street till the cows come home,” he said. “If you want to make something of yourself, you have to go write your own music at some point. Otherwise, you are never going to be Van Halen.”
After its debut at the 2003 Geneva Motor Show, the Gallardo marked a turn for Lamborghini, as the Italian automaker cranked up its production rate, from about 250 cars per year to around 2,000.
That’s why the Gallardo is the best-selling model in its history — the company made a whole lot more of them than of anything else.
In 50 years, Lamobrghini has built about 30,000 cars, 14,022 of them Gallardos. Over the past decade, there have been a wide range of special versions with names no one can keep straight. We’ve seen the Gallardo Spyder, Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera, the Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante, the Super Trofeo Stradale, and the Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse. Each has been very cool, very powerful, and very fast.
We’re sorry there will be no more.
The last unit built is a Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante in Rosso Mars (red), and is being purchased by a private collector.
When it comes to its plug-in hybrid SUVs, Volvo is willing to sacrifice a bit of range to go a lot further, in the global sense. The Swedish automaker started producing a diesel plug-in hybrid version of the V60 late last year but doesn’t plan to make that model available around the world. Instead, Volvo will replace it with a gasoline-drinking plug-in hybrid XC90 crossover, Australia’s Drive.com says, citing Volvo executive Lex Kerssemakers. The new plug-in hybrid will use a gas-powered four-cylinder turbo as its engine and deliver at least 300 horsepower. Production of that SUV will start late next year.
Volvo says moving from diesel to gas will shave about five percent off the model’s 120 miles per gallon equivalent fuel economy rating (per the more lenient European standards), so the SUV will still have fuel economy worth bragging about. Kerssemakers said that gas power, as opposed to diesel, would be an easier sell outside Europe. Volvo started making the diesel plug-in last November. The company said at the time that it initially planned to make 1,000 units for the 2013 model year but that advance orders caused them to boost that number to as many as 6,000 vehicles for the 2014 model year.
As we mentioned in a previous post, Midwest Glass Tinters of Deer Park has the opportunity to tint some really high-end cars. We recently tinted a Fiskar Karma, which is a beautiful vehicle, and obviously one that only a select group of wealthy drivers will ever have an opportunity to own.
Aside from Karmas, though, what other vehicles are the wealthy driving? CNBC recently answered that question based on research done by Truecar.com. While some vehicles, like BMW and Mercedes, were expected, others were somewhat surprising. Following is a list of the top 10 cars the wealthy in the U.S. are driving:
1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – A runaway favorite, the $51,365 E-Class was a top hit in wealthy U.S. cities.
2. BMW 328i - The $35,795 BMW 328i is also a top pick for discriminating drivers in the U.S.
3. At $36,095, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes in third, particularly in zip codes where residents earn an average income of $659,000.
4. In fourth position, is the Lexus RX Luxury SUV at $39,950, a big hit in wealthy areas where the average income is $633,000 a year.
5. Interestingly, the eco-friendly Toyota Prius is one of the most popular cars in three very affluent zip codes where residents’ average income is $672,000 a year.
6. Coming in sixth place is the Volkswagen Jetta at $26,085. Despite the fact that residents in the communities where the Jetta is most popular make an average of $782,000 a year, this low-profile, reliable vehicle is a big hit.
7. In Manhattan’s 10274 zip code, despite the high incomes of residents, many are more than happy to drive the $23,070 Honda Accord, which is one of the most popular cars among Manhattan’s drivers.
8. The BMW X5 luxury SUV comes in 8th in popularity among wealthy drivers in the U.S. At $58,595, it’s one of the most popular vehicles in areas where the average income of $5,711,000.
9. The $25,535 Toyota Camry has long been Americans’ reasonably-priced mid-size car of choice, even in high income areas such as downtown Chicago, where drivers tend to drive non-luxury vehicles like the Camry, Honda, Volkswagen and Jeep.
10. Rounding out the top ten is the $29,575 Honda CRV, which is not only one of the most popular cars among the wealthy in Manhattan; it’s driven by working class and middle class Manhattan residents as well.
If you’re driving one of these vehicles, you’re certainly in good company, and if you get your vehicle’s windows tinted by Midwest Glass Tinters of Deer Park, you’ll be even cooler.
No, you’re not seeing things; that’s an actual two-sided 1968 Camaro. This extraordinary muscle car was the brain child of the manager of the State Farm Vehicle Facility in Bloomington, IL, and was constructed over a period of 3.5 years as an agent training tool and for ads for Classic Car Insurance Policies.
The universe of Classic Cars runs the gamut from cars not worth their weight in scrap metal to multi-million dollar autos. Insuring one of these vehicles is a very involved process and often starts with a guess about the car’s value; and the car’s value can be very subjective. About four years ago when State Farm agents noticed a growing demand for Classic Car policies, State Farm decided to take it upon itself to explain the nuances of classic cars to its agents, and the idea was born.
The construction, done by four State Farm builders, began with the discovery of a 1968 Camaro among thousands of totaled cars. The car looked great from a distance, but once you were up close, it was “far from good”, according to Tom Hollenstain, the Research Administrator for State Farm’s Bloomington facility. The driver’s side of the Camaro was completely restored back to it’s original factory state, while the passenger side was restored with sloppy body filler, odd-sized wheels and massive brakes.
Even the engine is split — one side has an aluminum head while the other side has cast-iron. State Farm’s builders carefully melded the middle of the hood, grille and paint with that from a Camaro SS and kept the line razor-sharp through the car. The split-personality car does move, but not well, thanks to mismatched brakes.
While this option is definitely one way to get your ride noticed, a far more practical way is to get it tinted by Midwest Glass Tinters of Deer Park. Not only will it streamline the look of your vehicle, but in these extreme summer temperatures, it will help keep the car’s interior substantially cooler. Call us for a quote or to make an appointment at 847-438-1133 or email us at email@example.com.
It must be nice to have a spare $1.1 million to spend on a new car, but that’s what Steven Tyler just spent on the world’s fastest street-legal convertible. The Hennessey Venom GT Spyder will accelerate to 200 mph in 15.9 seconds, eight seconds faster than a Bugatti Veyron.
Tyler will be the first owner of a convertible version of the Venom GT. ”Steven came to us last year and asked if we could build his Venom GT as a roadster”, says John Hennessey. It required some structural changes to the integrated rollcage to accommodate the removable top which resulted in modifications to adjust for the weight changes. Only five Venom GTs will be built this year and Tyler’s will be the only convertible.
In its review of the Venom GT after a test ride in the a prototype last year, Jalopnik.com described the hand-built supercar as “the best way to die”. Fortunately the number of owners having that option is very limited.
$4.6 Million might seem like a lot for a vehicle, but as CNN reports, last week, the world’s oldest running car was sold at a Hershey, PA auction for just that! RM Auctions, the company that auctioned the car, had predicted that the car would sell for about half that amount. The $4.6 Million bid represents the highest price ever paid for an early automobile at auction. It had been last sold in 2007 for around $3.5 million at a Pebble Beach, CA auction.
The steam-powered car was built in France in 1884, two years before Daimler and Benz independently built their first experimental gasoline-powered cars and 12 years before Henry Ford finished his first garage-built car.
The De Dion-Bouton et Trepardoux, fueled by coal, wood and bits of paper, was nicknamed “La Marquise” and was originally built for the French Count De Dion, one of the company’s founders. It still runs today and takes about half an hour to work up enough steam to drive. Its top speed is 38 miles per hour — not exactly a race car, but amazing for its time.