Monday, December 31, 2012

Auto Countdown: Top Ten Cars I Saw in 2012


In 2012, I went to 18 car events in the greater Houston area. From the monthly Houston Cars and Coffee events to the 2012 Houston Auto Show to 2012 Houston Classy Chassis to Lamborghini and Ferrari Festivals, I saw a variety of cars. Only at the Houston Auto Show was I allowed to test drive cars. To reflect on the variety of cars I saw in 2012, these are the top ten cars I saw. Only one car per brand. Both classic and current cars are included on this list. I have to have seen it in 2012 only. I regret not doing a list like this for 2010, which would include the Gumpert Apollo, or 2011, which would include the Bugatti Veyron Supersport. Also, cars that I have driven will not be on this list since I have already covered them in my four lists consisting of the cars I have driven in 2012. I also left cars of that I know I will see several times in 2013. So you will not see the Camaro ZL1 on this list.
10. 1958 Plymouth Belvedere Fury

Starting of this list is the 1958 Plymouth Belvedere Fury, the car used as the titular car in the 1983 Christine. This car was involved in one of the most iconic murder scenes in cinema, where Christine ran over a guy while on fire. I first saw Christine at March 2012 and May 2012 editions of Houston Cars and Coffee, the 2012 Houston Construction Industry Auto Show, and the 2012 Houston Classy Chassis. I love the styling, especially the two rear taillight wings. The owner of this Christine has the movie, movie poster, and book on display while showing off his car at the various events.

9. Aston Martin Virage 

Like all current Aston Martins, the Virage has power, beauty,and soul. This car is beautiful. I first was the Virage at the June 2012 edition of Houston Cars and Coffee and then one week later that the 2012 Houston Classy Chassis. The Virage is powered by a 6.0L V12 engine that produces 490 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Aston Martin designed the Virage to fill in the gap between the DB9 and DBS. Aston Martin designed the the Virage to outperform the Aston Martin DB9, but not outperform the Aston Martin DBS. This bothers me because if a car company is going to design a new car, then that company needs to make the car as good as it can be. Also, just after 18 months of production, Aston Martin ceased production of the Virage to favor a new DB9. Aston Martin produced just over 1,000 Virages before discontinuing the car.

8. Fisker Karma

The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid that looks like a normal car. The car was designed by Henrick Fisker, who also designed the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin Vantage. The Karma is beautiful. The Karma also has good performance. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and has a top speed of 125 mph. The Karma has a 20.1 kWh lithium ion battery, two electric motors that have a combined output of 402 hp and 959 lb-ft of torque, and a turbocharged 2.0L I4 engine that produces 260 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The Karma is one of the best performing hybrids out there, but it is not with out controversy. The first 239 Karmas were recalled due to a potential battery fire caused by coolant leak. The Karma broke down during the Consumer Reports test drive. In Fort Bend County, Texas, the Karma was involved in a house fire that burned two other cars. For those reasons, I cannot put the Karma any higher than the 8 spot.

7. Spyker C8 Spyder

Skyker is a Dutch motor company that has been around since 1999 and started production on the Skyper C8 Spyder in 2000. The original C8 has a 4.2L V8 engine that produces 400 hp has a top speed of 186 mph. The C8 Spyder T has the same 4.2L V8 found in the C8 Spyder, but the engine gained two turbochargers, increasing power output to 525 hp and increasing the top speed. The C8 Spyder looks like nothing else on the road. It is very easy on the eyes. I saw this car at the January 2012 edition of Houston Cars and Coffee. For such a unique car, there was only a few people noticing the C8 and that is a shame. I hope to see more cars from Spyker in the future.

6. Noble M400

In 2000, Noble came out with the Noble M12. The ultimate version of the M12 was the M400. Noble produced the M400 from 2004 to 2007. The M400 was noted by the automotive press for its handling and power. Powering the M400 is a twin turbocharged 3.0L V6 that produced 425 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. The M400 also weighs 2,337 lbs, giving the car a 400 hp/ton power to weight ration. The M400 goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and has a top speed of 187 mph. The M400 is not the best looking car on the list, but it makes of up for it in performance and price, which was around $100,000 when it was new. 1G Racing bought the rights to the M400 from Noble and produced the Rossion Q1.

5. Jaguar XK 120

From 1949 to 1954, Jaguar produced the XK120. I was one at the 2012 Houston Classy Chassis event. This car has the beauty expected from a classic Jaguar. The XK120 was the fastest production car when it came out. During one test run, the XK120 reach a top speed of 136.595 mph when the hood, sidescreens, and windscreen were removed. With everything attached, the XK120 goes from 0 to 60 mph in 10.0 seconds while reaching a top speed of 124.6 mph. The Xk120 had some racing success, including back to back victories in the Alpine Rally and winning the 1954 Mount Druitt 24 Hour Road Race. XK120 will make a great addition to any car collection.

4. Bentley Mulsanne

Let me first start by saying I am not a big fan of the Bentley Continental GT. I see several on the Houston roads. When I saw that Paris Hilton has a pink Continental GT, that ruined the car for me. However, the four-door luxury sedan Bentley Mulsanne is another story. I like this car. It is one of the best looking four-door sedans out there. It also has performance. The Mulsanne is powered by a 6.75L twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produces 505 hp and 752 lb-ft of torque. The Mulsanne also comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Mulsanne goes from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and top speed of 187 mph. The Mulsanne has beauty, luxury, comfort, power, and performance.

3. Maserati MC12 GT1

The Maserati MC12 is a very rare supercar. Only 50 MC12s were produced in 2004 and 2005 combined. The MC12 is based of the Ferrari Enzo, but the MC12 is wider, taller, and longer than the Enzo. The MC12 also uses the same 6.0L V12 that produces 620 hp and 481 lb-ft of torque. The MC12 goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.3.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 205 mph. In 2024, Maserati built three race versions of the Maserati MC12 GT1. Maserati of Houston brought a Maserati MC12 GT1. The MC12 GT1 won six team championships, the 2007 FIA GT Constructors Championship, and six driver championships.

2. Ferrari FXX

The Ferrari FXX is so good, it is not street legal. Only 29 FXXs were produced from 2005 to 2007. The FXX is a high performance racing car prototype that is based on the Ferrari Enzo. The FXX is powered by a 6.3L V12 engine that produces 790 hp and 506 lb-ft of torque. The FXX has a top speed of 243 miles per hour. I saw the FXX as the June 2012 Houston Cars and Coffee event and at the 2012 Houston Ferrari Festival. This is one incredible machine. At both events, it attracted large crowds. The FXX is such an amazing car that I chose to cover it for my 100th First Impression Review.

1. McLaren F1

I saw the McLaren F1 at the April 2012 Houston Cars and Coffee event and this attracted one of the largest crowds I have seen. The McLaren F1 was the first hypercar, reaching a top speed of over 240 mph while going from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. Powering this legendary hypercar is 6.1L naturally aspirated V12 engine that produces 618 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. The F1 was in production from 1992 to 1998 with only 106 F1s being built. In 1998, the McLaren F1 officially became the world's fastest production car, reaching a top speed of 243 mph. While the F1 is no longer the fastest car today, it is still the fastest car with a naturally aspirated engine. The F1 has a unique seating arrangements. The are three seats in the F1. The driver sits in the middle of the car while there are two seats behind the driver seat. Also, each F1 has approximately 16 grams of gold to act as a heat reflector in the engine compartment. This car showed what a car can do. To this day, it is still one of the fastest street-legal cars in world, over 20 years after the F1 was produced.

Happy New Years everyone!

Photos wer taken by a digital camera or by a camera phone.
To see more car related articles, check out
Follow me on Twitter @CarJunkie713.

No comments:

Post a Comment