Benz makes some nice wagons too.
Liberty Walk aka LB Performance is doing it big for SEMA 2013. Last year, they had a widebody Murcielago. This year, they’re taking it to a whole other level with a Ferrari 458, R35 GT-R, multiple E92′s and even an E91 wagon, all with widebody makeovers. They’ve ignited a frenzy on social media. Here are some pictures of the said cars I’ve gathered from multiple sources. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of these cars once SEMA kicks off.
I recently made the trip down to Irvine for their weekly Cars and Coffee. I arrived later than planned due to an accident on the highway so some of the cars were already leaving.
You’ll never know what you’ll see at Cars and Coffee. This week’s surprise was the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC. It’s a Leaf on steriods.
Other than the facade, I don’t think the race competition version shares much resemblance to the road going version.
Next to the Leaf was this Infinite concept car. I had no idea what it was until I saw the back plate that reads EMERG-E. It looks pretty slick.
There’s never a shortage of early Porsche 911′s at Cars and Coffee. They’re always a sight to admire.
Caught the Morgan 3 Wheeler just as it was leaving. I was a little bummed that I missed the opportunity to check it out.
Some more NSX’s. The values of these are on a steady rise. They’ll be a good and fun investment.
I was surprised when I saw this Porsche pull into the lot. I immediately recognized the car both visually and audibly. Many were confused because it sounded like it had a V8 powerplant and they were right.
This is the Supermachine 930 that has a LS7 engine with 540 hp. It was built by Supermachine from Japan so it made quite the trip. The passenger hang out around the car and I asked him about it. He said they are trying to get it registered in the state so it sounds like this car will be staying on this side of the Pacific. Here’s the feature on Speedhunters.
I recently spent some time in a SMG E92 M3. I believe the car also had the ZCP package because it had the CSL style wheels. This is my first time driving another generation of M3 besides the E30. I have ridden in but unfortunately, never driven the E36 or the E46 M3. If anyone is willing to let me drive their car, let me know!
Obviously, the E92 is a huge jump over the E30 chassis, both figuratively and literally. With twenty years of technological improvements separating the two, the E92 is better, on paper, in every way but also 600 lbs heavier. In the E30, there is a very limited set of inputs. You have your pedals, steering wheel, and the shifter. So coming with that, the E92 was a case of sensory overload. The gauge cluster was a collection of flashing lights. Different messages and sounds were showing up on the dash. A robotic arm was pushing the seatbelt forward, which I thought was a little ridiculous. It required a bit of effort just to get going for the first time.
Performance wise, the car was fast. Power delivery was smooth and linear. The SMG was quick and effortless. The steering was very light, which threw me off a little. I could feel the weight of the car around corners but it felt very planted. The ride was comfortable and quiet. There was very little road noise on the highway. After a few spirited pulls, I got accustomed to the acceleration and the sensation of speed somewhat faded. It didn’t feel as fast anymore. I think it was so effortless to go fast that it wasn’t as stimulating. I think that’s the main theme that resonates with E92 and most modern sports car. The specs are fantastic but the ease of performance and the limited opportunity to utilize the performance make the experience less engaging.
With that said, I would much rather hustle my E30 around. The car is quite slow by today’s standard but the impression and experience speaks otherwise. The combination of driver input and feedback makes it an positive, engaging experience. There’s no fancy driver’s aid. What you see is what you get. The car feels nimble because it is. Most importantly, the car is more fun to drive. It’s no wonder why the E30 is still spoken highly of among car enthusiasts.
Horsepower Freaks (HFP), originator of the turn-key E46 M3 turbo platform, went out of business in early May. I didn’t find out until just recently and the news came as a huge surprise. I’m sure everyone feels the same way. There’s not too much details because there has not been an official press release. It’s hard to differentiate between the facts and the rumors. From what I have pieced together, there has been an ongoing lawsuit against a former employee who has embezzled somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000. HPF lost the battle and only got a small amount of financial retribution, not enough to sustain the business.
I’m not familiar with the business but I don’t think $200,000 can sink a company. I think it’s just the last straw that broke the camel’s back. There has been increased competition from other tuners on a E46 M3 turbo package. Ones that are cheaper and equally fast. The E46 platform is aging and the R&D for the new E9x platform has been a slow ongoing process. Expanding the operation and facility probably didn’t generate enough revenue to cover the added expenses. Investing on the shop cars can be costly. There are a slew of other factors that could have contributed to HPF’s demise.
The real loss goes to the customers who has paid for service or parts. It’s a mess over at HPF and with the business shut down, it’ll be a difficult and lengthy process to sort things out. However, a handful of individuals (some ex-employee(s) included) have volunteered their time and effort to return refunds to the customers. Unfortunately, the person who should be taking responsibility of this is the owner, Chris, and he is nowhere to be found.
There are also speculations that a HPF customer, who has invested in the company, has the rights to the turbo kit design and he will be bringing it back to the market in one form or another.
Also, an HPF employee has allegedly stolen/taken the R&D for a turbo E9x M3 platform and is collaborating with another shop/tuner. The kit is rumored to be nearing completion and will be launched within the year.
There’s a lot of drama revolving around HPF. Hopefully we can hear the truth and all the customers are made right.
UPDATE: I’ve been told that plans for the HPF turbo E9x M3 kit never materialized and hence, never stolen/taken by any individul/ex-employee. It’s just another rumor that has stemmed from the drama.