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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Gone But Not Forgotten
A lot went down in 2013. It was something of a banner year for the automotive business. Products continued to get better, sales steadily improved and alternative propulsion, whether in the form of electricity or diesel gained significant traction.
Dax Shepard started his rise to fame on the hit MTV show Punk’d and since has been seen in a variety of television shows and movies including Employee of the Month and Parenthood.
Jon Olsson’s collection of exotics isn’t your average set of cars. Modified to the extreme in some cases, Olsson also puts his exotics to use in all weather conditions.
The sprawling Volkswagen Empire is in the process of consolidating its vehicle architectures. To help quell the industrial chaos Porsche was put in charge of sports-car development, but now it’s reported the next-generation Audi R8 will not share Zuffenhausen’s latest architecture.
Timepiece manufacturer Blancpain will be offering up a 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 GT3 race car at the upcoming RM Auctions in Monaco on May 12th, 2012.
Blancpain runs the Super Trofeo race series, which is a spec series strictly consisting of Lamborghini Gallardos. Up for auction will be one of those race cars, sporting a 5.2-liter V10 with 605-hp. It will be offered without a reserve, though it’s estimates to sell for around $105k to $130k.
Even better is that 100 percent of the sale proceeds will directly benefit the Monaco Association Against Muscular Dystrophy, a charity that Blancpain has been a long-time benefactor of since 2001. The race car was built by Lamborghini Motorsport Department Reiter Engineering and was driven by Marc A. Hayek and Peter Kox in the ADAC GT Masters and the Blancpain Endurance Series in 2011. It claimed the 2011 Amateur Class championship in the ADAC GT Masters series.
GALLERY: Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 GT3 Race Car
With the advent of hybrids and electric vehicles, many skeptics thought the age of high-performance sports car would die out. Reality couldn’t be any more different, as America has more than 70 cars on sale today that make 500-hp or more.
The number of vehicles pushing out 500-hp or more has nearly doubled in the last five years. What is more remarkable is more than a decade ago, there were just two vehicles in the club: the Ferrari 575M and the Lamborghini Murcielago. Now Ferrari alone has four models pushing out over 500-hp.
The ability to pump out so much horsepower has been aided by the leaps and bounds that engineering and technology has made over the last decade. Automakers are now able to equip their vehicles with smaller, more fuel efficient engines, which thanks to forced induction, can reliably crank out plenty of peak horsepower.
The successor to the popular Lamborghini Gallardo model is expected to make its debut next year and is currently rumored to be named “Cabrera.”
The current Gallardo model has been on the market – with 12,000 built – since 2003 without any major changes to its exterior, showing just how well an appropriately wild design can age. Lambo is hoping to repeat this success with an all new design that will be a revolution, not an evolution, according to Lamborghini’s CEO.
In a recent interview with Car and Driver, CEO Stephan Winkelmann said that the new Cabrera will make a “clear cut” from the Gallardo: “We always say that design is not an evolution but a revolution, and this will be the philosophy of the follow-up to the Gallardo.”
The new Cabrera will replace the Gallardo as the entry-level Lambo and will be an all-wheel drive exotic sporting an upgraded version of the current V10 engine. Early estimates have the Cabrera achieving around 600-hp with a dual-clutch automatic transmission. Surprisingly, Lamborghini has confirmed in order for the new car to work seamlessly, the Cabrera will not have a manual transmission option.
In order to keep the price tag affordable and respectable, Lamborghini won’t be employing the excessive use of carbon fiber which was found in their Aventador model. With that said, Lamborghini is still aiming to have the successor weigh in less than the current-generation Gallardo.
We just hope that the new Cabrera will have more influences than not from the Sesto Elemento (seen above).
GALLERY: Lamborghini Sesto Elemento
Jon Olsson is no stranger to exotic cars. His Rebellion R1k Ultima GTR is one of the most amazing pieces of machinery ever built but the professional freeskier and alpine ski racer was still seeking the ultimate daily driver.
It looks like he found it in his custom Lamborghini Gallardo Ski Transporter.
Olsson recently took the versatile Gallardo over 13,050 miles through nine countries in just four months. And that isn’t just open roads full of freeways, the Gallardo traversed through the Alps from one ski event to another. Photos were taken of the journey, where the Gallardo looked right at home on the shores of Monaco and admittedly looked out of place covered in snow out in the Swiss village of Verbier.
Nonetheless, it proved that Italian exotics could be functional and that the custom ski box sitting its roof wasn’t purely for show. Olsson used it to its full advantage, carrying plenty of skiing equipment from one location to the next.
Now that’s what we call awesome. Some Gallardo owners won’t even put that many miles on their car in its lifetime; never mind in four months.
GALLERY: Jon Olsson Lamborghini Gallardo Ski Transporter
Lamborghini had a great 2011, and is hoping that the sales number from last year are a sign of things to come.
Lamborghini delivered 1,602 cars in 2011 and increased its turnover to $319 million Euros over the course of the year. The company can attribute its success to the growing Chinese market, and sales of the Gallardo and Aventador. “We look back onto 2011 with some satisfaction, as a year of our return to growing deliveries. The year was hallmarked by renewed interest in the Gallardo range, but especially by the triumphant arrival of the Aventador, which established itself as the new benchmark in super sports cars…” said Stephan Winkelmann, the President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini.
18 months worth of Aventador production is already spoken for, with the order books packed with names. That said, 2012 is looking to be a tough year for sales with both the Chinese and European markets predicted to taper off. Lambo is still optimistic about the future and trying to reinvent ways to keep sales high. ”Lamborghini has prepared to the utmost level in order to respond flexibly to market uncertainties, but we work to make our business bullet proof to volatility and future crisis and protect ourselves from potential downturns in various markets,” said Winkelmann.
Ferrari also had a great 2011, but as we all know, every upswing in the economy will always be met by an eventual downturn, so who knows how long these Italian exotic companies can continue to coexist and turn increased profit.
The latest attraction at Walt Disney World isn’t based on a cartoon character, nor is it made of animatronics. It will, however, bring out the kid in you – in an adult sort of way. And the best part? It’s shiny, Italian and can go 200 mph.
OK, so you don’t actually go 200 mph, but piloting an exotic sports car on a race track will easily have you testing the car’s capabilities – not to mention your own.
Designed as the ultimate attraction for adults at Disney, the Exotic Driving Experience can get you behind the wheel of a pricey German or Italian sports car starting at as little as just $199. The “ride” is an addition to the long-standing Richard Petty Driving Experience, and is held at the Walt Disney World Speedway – though only makes partial use of the banked tri-oval. Using one of those banked bends, the rest of the course makes use of a large-scale, though rather technical, slalom running through the track’s infield.