Category Archive 'Porsche'

17 Apr 2014

Benton Performance’s Porsches

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Benton Performance restores classic 356s and 911s to a level just a little better than they were originally built.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

21 Apr 2012

Mourning the Now-Neutered Lamborghini

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Jack Baruth describes how it’s not only the modern population that has become demasculinized. The same thing has happened to great automotive brands, and with the arrival of the Urus, it has happened to Lamborghini, alas!

Sports cars and supercars — yes, we are finally getting to cars — used to be real ass-kickers themselves, you know. Think of a Miura blowing down the autostrada at 170mph when the average Italian car couldn’t break a hundred. Or an early short-wheelbase 911 trying actively to kill its driver on the Stelvio Pass. Or a ’69 big-block ‘Vette snarling down Mulholland. Men’s cars. Driven by the men who ruled the world, who had built the world. And created by those men, too. Ferrari himself, sacrificing drivers like pawns and burning the essence of his life to obtain victory. Ferry Porsche, who had to build and engineer a racecar to ransom the life of his own father. David Brown, earning a fortune and then throwing it away so he could put his own intials on the Aston Martin. Ferrucio Lamborghini, who famously started his company because Enzo showed him a lack of respect (or because he found out how much the markup on Ferrari parts was, depending on which story you believe.) These were real men, building appropriate conveyances for other men of means, courage, and accomplishment.

Those men are all as dead as Caesar now. Their famously fragile businesses, which often held together simply on the faith of their workers that “the old man” would find a way to pay them next week, have been plucked from uncertainty and nestled safely within the bosoms of monstrous corporations or the accidentally oil-rich.

And the cars those men made? They’ve been replaced by products, which are branded and marketed to “high net worth individuals”, our infamous one percent, existing within a safety net of corrupt banks, protective governments, and barriers to entry. The “heritage” those men manufactured on the fly has become a precious resource to be doled out by turtleneck-clad designers timidly riffing on the tracks cut by their betters long ago, like a club DJ spinning Parliament in scratches and squeaks because he never learned to play the bass himself.

Worse yet, the “products” themselves have ceased doing the man’s work of the company. Porsche used to live or die by 911 sales, the same way Lamborghini relied on selling the Countach to keep the doors open. No longer. Today, the Panamera and Cayenne drive the business. They trade on the image of the 911 to move the metal, but the 911 itself has become irrelevant. It’s a trophy wife on the arm of the Panamera. It’s there to make the Pano look good.

Read the whole thing. Good article.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

17 May 2010

Best Newspaper in America Recently Got Better

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Base price: $143,800, Price, as tested: $172,905, ouch!

The Wall Street Journal recently began adding automobile reviews by Dan Neil to its weekend edition. Neil is not only a hard-core enthusiast, he writes like P.J. O’Rourke after six cups of Jamaica Blue Mountain sweetened with Cardhu.

Screaming into a top-down tornado at 130 mph in the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet, I am reminded—as I’m sure most people are—of Thomas Aquinas.

To wit: When is a thing perfect, complete, finished—when does Porsche drop the paint brush and walk away from the canvas? When will one more stroke diminish the whole?

The medieval philosopher, riffing on Aristotle, argued that a thing is perfect when it lacks nothing (the Greek “teleos,” or completeness, approximates the Latin “perfectio”) and that it ultimately attains its purpose.

Well, man, if this car isn’t there I’ll eat my skullcap. Let’s count it out: 500 hp; 0-60 mph in a forebrain-flattening 3.3 seconds; top speed of 194 mph; a nice even 1 g of lateral grip; all-wheel drive. Throw in a great canvas top and 24 miles per gallon fuel efficiency, and an exhaust note that sounds like the Kraken gargling 50-year-old Glenfiddich, and it begins to appear as if the long history of the Porsche 911 has to come to some sort of immense, satisfying conclusion. I mean, even if you regard this thing as merely a bald-spot delivery system for rich dudes, it does that mission so exceeding well. Aren’t we flirting with the best of all possible sports cars here?

Yes, obviously, a car could always be better. The Turbo Cab could cost $19.95, come with 73 virgins, use the owner’s smugness as a propellent. From its lethal-looking dual exhaust pipes, the Turbo Cab might emit only rainbows and unicorns.

Read the whole thing.

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