Monday, November 30, 2009
And the value is increasing continuously. The cart shows (in green) how the money you have to put down for an M3 in good shape went up since 2000. And it can be expected that the value continues to increase.
So, this would be an ideal candidate to invest in, right?
Well, no. If you only assume reasonable cost to keeping the car in good shape (garage, basic maintenance, insurance, etc.) you will spend much more money on the car than what you can ever get back for selling it. That's the nature of car ownership. Doing nothing is not an option, storing it outside is a good idea neither.
So if you are looking for a good investment and you don't like stock certificates then maybe consider watches or stamps.
However, if you are also looking forward to having fun then owning a car like the BMW M3 might be one of the financially quite attractive hobbies and that's what it is meant to be. "Freude am Fahren" (driving with passion).
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Here's what you can find on Wikipedia.com:
N H Buchanan Motor Co Pty Ltd was an Australian kit car manufacturer. It made sports cars in the 1950s.
The original body produced by Buchanan was a fibreglass item based on an Aston Martin DB3-S racing car. Buchanan borrowed a DB3-S and pulled moulds from it while it was in Australia. The styling was altered by filling in the scallops either side of the bonnet and reshaping the grille opening to be oval. Because the target market was for rebodying of early model MGs, the Buchanan moulds were cut and extended between the door openings and the rear wheelarches, adding several centimetres to the body length.
Racing car kits were also produced, consisting of this type of body plus a fabricated X-frame racing chassis manufactured from steel channel sections welded face to face to form box sections. The chassis used mechanicals from an FJ Holden, with the front suspension crossmember and rear axle assembly being shortened to suit the narrower body.
The second model, the Buchanan Cobra was introduced in 1958 as a production vehicle based on Standard 10 mechanicals. Only 7 were manufactured.
Buchanans were used on the road, but also raced quite successfully. You can see some of the cars pictured on the side. (pictures taken from "Buchanan Motor Company")
To some extent Buchanan can be compared with Devin or JWF. I like this breed of course and wouldn't mind owning a Buchanan.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Let's go back and look at some older offsprings and famous evolution and homologation specials. For example the unforgettable BMW M3 E30 in 2.3 and 2.5 liter disuise. BMW built this car as the basis for motorsports and when you drive one of these you can fell this is true.
Or take the Porsche 924 Carrera GTS. A true racing car with road registration. Hotter than the GT which already was a pretty exciting car.
One of the most famous homlogation specials probably was the Porsche Carrera RS 2.7 liter, built between 1972 and 1973. It was planned to build 500 of them, but demand was so big that more than 1'300 were built and the racing career was a long lasting one with many special versions built on top.
Ferrari build many evolution and homologation cars, i.e. the 250 SWB or the F40. All of them have been competitive and attractive as well.
What all of these have in common are a good amount of race pedigree and steep price developments. A very good evolution model of the M3 for example can easily fetch almost the price as "new", Porsche 924 Carrera GTS have already gone beyond that. And we all know how much a good Ferrari 250 SWB or even an F40 is worth today. The Porsche Carrera RS 2.7 is traded higher than USD 200'000 today, 4-5 times of the price for the new car.
So, as a summary, true homologation specials and evolution models are cars without compromise, designed to win on the track and to offer a minimum amount of comfort and convenience anywhere else. Collectors love these things and even when the car is not competitive compared to modern sports cars, driving one of them is awesome and very rewarding.
So, if you plan to buy a Audi TT RS, maybe you reconsider, buy a normal TT and an M30 E30 on top.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
The problem with more weight is that everything needs to be built stronger to deal with the increased weight.
Audi showed how it would be the other way around. They lightened an A5 by roughly 200 kg, by using an aluminum structure and body and carbon for some parts. Thanks to the lighter body they were able to use a smaller transmission, smaller wheels, fuel cell and brakes. At the TechDays they compared this special 4 cylinder TFSI A5 with its bigger brother the V6 A5 as built and sold today. Despite 54 HP less the lighter car accelerated as well as the V6 and the handling was much better. Fuel consumption is down to 6.2 liter per 100 km, a lot less than the V6. So, you get equivalent performance, better handling and heavily improved fuel efficiency without suffering. The only downside may be the engine sound, but as we know these things can be engineered.
And "cetero censeo ....." I am still waiting for the 950 kg super car.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The issue is that if you really want to race old cars then you have a safety requirement that may force you to take such a car apart and fix it from the inner to the outer. That means that cars like this Porsche 904 GTS in many cases are more museum cars and show cars than ideal candidates for fast laps and hard track use. Also one must know that these cars were built to last one, maybe two or three seasons, not 50 years. With this in mind, an unrestored Porsche 904 GTS is even more of a joy to look at!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
I was quite happy with the car, it was very reliable and even the depreciation was acceptable. It was fairly quick as well and nobody at that time would have been thinking about an S4 Convertible appearing 15 or so years later. Fuel consumption wasn't its strenght, but the noise level with the roof up was quite okay. I drove long distances with the car and it never let me down. I sold it to a water policeman in the neighborhood and I am sure he was happy with it for a long time.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
To be fair it must be said that there are other colors available. On the picture to the left a number of colors available for cars in the market today are shown. So if you want a colorful car you are free to buy one, at least to some extent. It must be said that there seems to be a more diversified color choice for smaller cars (i.e. Mini, Renault Clio or Volkswagen Polo) and partially for sportscars (e.g. Mazda RX-8) too. If you plan to buy a Mercedes E Class then there's little to be chosen from outside of silver and black.
But as we know it's not just about your own choice. If you want to sell the car after some years creative colors may be a reason for accelerated depreciation. And only after another 15 or 30 years people will love the color again as it will be part of the pedigree of the oldtimer ...
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The engine already has been checked and partially repainted to make a good impression.
As always there are many strange things to be discovered, many mechanical issues to overcome. People in the past have removed parts that seemed not to be needed, but actually they are important. The most funny thing though was the "material" the initial assembler of the kit used to protect the body from the exhaust heat. To build the heat shield he obviously stole a parking sign! According to some English blokes it's really an original English parking sign. Well it did the job for almost 50 years and I hope people still were able to park their cars.
Friday, November 20, 2009
a) In the last 2-3 years US people haven't really got rid of their SUVs and they still like large cars
b) It's quite difficult to make good money with smaller cars
c) From a fuel consumption point of view, being small (and light) makes less and less of a difference. We said that 100 kg mean 1 liter more of fuel consumption per 100 km in the past, today, it's more about 0.3 liter and in 4-5 years it probably will be 0.2 liters or less. In the US where people drive long distances at constant speed the weight impact might even be smaller. Aerodynamics though is still very important and better results can be achieved with medium sized cars than with small cars.
So, there are a lot of factors working against the growth of the small car segment. Let's see what will happen ...
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
1) Lotus Evora - it was the first really new Lotus being announced for the last 10 years
2) Ferrari 458 Italia - the successor of the highly successful 430 can almost everything better and looks both modern and gorgeous
3) Aston-Martin V12 Vantage - what a combination of styling and engine
4) Lexus LF-A - it is too expensive, will not sell as expected and production will stop early. We will remember it as an expensive failure and due to the small number produced it may be a collector's item.
5) BMW 5 series GT - because this is a car nobody has been waiting for and fills a niche that doesn't properly exist. We will remember it as one of the bigger flops in category innovation.
Now, many of you may think that there are important cars missing on this list. For example the new McLaren MP4-12C. But despite being announced this year production will only start in 2011 or so, so that's a no go. What about the Mercedes SLS? This could be a contender, but it was announced and talked about for so long, that I am not even sure what year it would fit in. What about the Porsche 911 GT3 or Turbo then. Well, these are remarkable cars but much less of a sensation than the 458 in my eyes. If somebody misses other cars that should be named, then just propose them!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The new Toyota Prius is a good example. It's slightly bigger but clearly offers a lot more space. The design has been modernized and the interior now looks much more impressive than the one of the previous model. And it became more powerful while being more economical on the other side. That's how we like progress to happen.
There are a number of negative points in the 2009 car year. I get the feeling that car manufacturers spend a lot of time and energy to lower ECE driving cycle fuel consumption while what actually happens in regular driving is less impressive. Safety progress is focusing on achieving five stars in the standardized crash tests while passive saftey features like 360 degree visibility is neglected and sacrificed for design aspects. And also cars become more and more complex with all those gadgets and electronics built in making them a maintenance nightmare in a few years. But that's maybe the price for progress.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
The 308 GTS became very famous in the US because the TV series Magnum PI showcased this car. Initially they wanted to use a Porsche 928, but Porsche couldn't deliver an open version. So Ferrari filled the gap and despite the fact that a tall man like Tom Selleck barely fitted into the car.
It is a typical Italian car of the seventies. You feel this when you try to adjust controls and seating position. You are forced in kind of a frog position, but despite the smallish seats it's quite comfortable. The car was actually more spacious than the later Ferrari 348 due to the way the engine was inserted.
And whatever you may have been told, it was a fairly reliable car, able to cope with long journeys. And the sound was, thanks to the Weber carburetors, much nicer than later cars.
It was my first Ferrari and I adored it. It felt at home on any road, be it the Monza circuit, highways or serpentines in the mountains. Fuel consumption was certainly not its strength, but who would see this as an important criteria for such a beautiful car? The design of the Targa version was specifically clever with the small windows covered in black - the driver could see through them, but from the side they seemed to be nontransparent.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
- Lancia Gamma
- Alfa-Romeo Spider 2000 Veloce
- Alfa-Romeo Alfasud Sprint Veloce
- Puma 1600 GTE
- Lotus Esprit Turbo
- Triumph TR7
- Porsche 911 SC
- Mercedes 280 SL/SLC
- Fiat Ritmo Abarth
- Mazda RX7
- Ford Escort RS 2000
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
So, let's see. In 20 years we will know better. Given that apparently we have gone beyond "peak oil" already, more than smart design will be needed so that future generations still can commute and travel individually.
Monday, November 9, 2009
But how important is it really? Most people cover less than 100 kms every day for their commutes, so they can easily deal with a range of less than 100 km. And many people driving cars with very long ranges have fogotten how and where to fill in the gasoline when they next time have to. In the 70ies and 80ies a range of 350 km and more was quite acceptable, nowadays anything below 800 kms seems to be an issue. It all depends, I guess. If I can "fill in" my car at home in my garage I have no problem with having to connect it to the power source every day. If I have to find a gas station, queue to get served and to be able to pay and loose 10 or more mintues with it then I prefer of course to have a long range. In the past the range was also a safety attribute. If you have to stop to fill up your tank then you do at least stop. Think about the Passat Bluemotion driver who covers 1'200 or more km without stopping because he doesn't have to ...
Sunday, November 8, 2009
TopGear is more a car show than a TV Series, however it's not that clear. And finally "Michel Vaillant" was a TV series produced in France, telling the story of the Vaillant family, being both car manufacturers and racers. Interestingly many of the Vaillants looked a lot like Alpines or Matras, but is okay. The race scenes at the Targa Florio and other races are a joy to watch and nothing like this has been produced since.
A first for Switzerland was also the Fisker Karma (also displayed as convertible) and the coming Tesla four seater family car (prototype/mockup shown).
And quite a number of other showcars and prototypes made it to Zurich as well, for example the Mini Concept and the Saab Concept car pictured here.
Of course the event was very crowded and it was more than difficult to get a good shot at something it's still worth to visit.
Similar to other car shows this year, being green and environmentally friendly was a key topic and most manufacturers showed either a hybrid car or an electrical car.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
If you take a modern car like the VW Polo (1.2) and let it compete with a VW Golf (1.3) built thirty years ago you can just see how much progress has been made. Despite the fact that the Polo is almost 300 kg heavier at about the same size, performance in comparison is staggering. The Polo accelerates better, is much faster, much more quiet (by a lot) and much more economical. Actually the current Polo is as quick as the top end model VW Golf GTI from 1979/1980. The Polo even beats a proper midrange car like the Audi 80 GLE (this one would be called Audi A4 today). It's faster, offers more space (look at the seat pitch for the people in the back of the car!) and again is much more quiet and thirsty. In addition to all of this the new car is of course much more safe (with 4+ airbags, crash protection, ESP, etc.) and much much cleaner. You actually wonder why anybody would need a bigger car, given that the Audi 80 was already luxury in the late 70ies. So, one must say, that the engineers did a lot of homework and progress is really well visible. So it's down to the consumer to make the right choice and take profit from the progress.
Two things to also mention: The Audi 80 GLE was DM 17'671, the Volkswagen Polo is priced at Euro 17'250. So, for the today's price of the Polo you would have received roughly 2 Audis, if the value of money hadn't decreased. But, as another measure, you could also have bought a Porsche Carrera RS 2.7 1973, as advertised in the used car section of the same magazine from 1979, for DM 16'900.-, so roughly the same money. Today though you would get approximately Euro 150'000.- for the Porsche and maybe 3'000 for a well maintained Audi 80 GLE.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
There are many questions you could ask, for example, would they have canceled their racing engagement if they had been really successful? And, why haven't they been successful, given all the money they invested? Let's take Toyota. They were known as having the biggest budget of all the teams, they had it all under control, the chassis, the aerodynamics, the engine, everything. And still, besides some memorable results, the expected success didn't come.
On the other side you have Brawn GP who inherited the developments and ideas of the Honda team and won, despite a smaller budget and initially a lack of sponsors, the formula 1 championship. A private team showed the established factory teams how to do it.
Is it really about individuals that make the success? Designers like Adrian Newey, team leaders like Ross Brawn, drivers like Sebastian Vettel and maybe Jenson Button? It seems to be like this. With with all the big teams walking away the Formula seems to become again what it once was, a series for semi-private teams competing with what they were able to build.