One thing about moving into an older home is never having a shortage of things to fix or upgrade. Our garage certainly fell into this category, as it has become the main entry through which most people enter our home and subsequently is the first thing they see. Having a show worthy garage has never been on our list of essential home improvements but attention definately needed to be given to the large crack running through the garage floor, windows that wouldn’t open with glass falling out, water damage on the walls, paint peeling from the floor and the horrendous peg board.
Garage before: Paint peeling from the floor and peg board wall.
Initially we contacted a local company called Those Garage Guys for an estimate on leveling the floor and recoating it in an industrial grade epoxy. Looking only to receive a quote for the floor, I was shocked when I was given a $20,000 estimate to redo my entire garage with slat wall, cabinetry and epoxy flooring. I pressed for a price on just the floor and was told Read the rest of this entry »
When my buddy James planned his latest visit one of the first things he said was, “Do you want to rent exotic cars again?”. I laughed while trying to determine if he was serious or joking. Turned out he was serious. Although I wasn’t in a position to rent a car of my own, James was kind enough to share his ride… and he even let me drive!
After driving the Lambos, there was only one car worthy of comparison: the Ferrari F430 Spyder. For those of you out there who have never gotten the opportunity to pilot a Ferrari – well then, I’m sorry. You see, words can’t adequately describe the exhilaration felt when taking the 490hp 4.3l V8 to it’s 8500rpm redline and the symphony roaring behind your head that’s more melodical than mechanical. Videos don’t do it justice. Imagine trying to explain to someone who’s never flown what it’s like to fly. You simply must experience it for yourself.
The cabin in the F430 is all about the driver, with every control and display angled that way. Passengers are clearly meant to sit in awe, thankful to get a ride. A crimson-colored tachometer nods to tradition and a 8,500 rpm redline, flanked on each side by F1 style paddle shifters to make quick duty of shift work. With a quick push of the engine starter button the Ferrari fired to life and we were off.
The highway is where the Ferrari really shines and it becomes apparent right from the get go, this is where this car is at home. Blipping through the gears is met with pure delight as the transmission shifts smoother than anything else that I’ve had the privilege of driving. The really fun part though is when you drop it down a couple of gears and put your foot in it. The noise that comes out of the exhaust will make other guys jealous and women blush. It’s addicting, intoxicating and will get you thrown in prison if you’re not careful.
The F430 comes equipped with carbon ceramic brakes – a $14,000 option imported from the Enzo. You can use these to terrify your passengers. With brakes this efficient, you can wait so long to hit them that each turn can feel as if it will be the last for the F430. When stopping with conventional brakes you want to apply hard pressure at first, then ease off as the ABS activates. But with the ceramic brakes, you brake lightly at first – then, after the ABS jiggles, you brake harder. Compared with regular brakes you are braking for a shorter overall amount of time.
Running up and down the coast of New Jersey, we had adequate opportunity to stretch her legs and see what this beauty could do. We received several nods and partook in several skirmishes with a Corvette Z06, Porsche GT3, and a Subaru STI. Handling amongst traffic is a cinch. The steering is so intuitive and so beautifully weighted that placing the car is effortless, and the chassis is so fluent and poised that it’s easy to dial out understeer with raw power. The F430 corners flat and true. This is sensory overload, and it’s great!
At the end of the day it was hard letting this one go. Part of me began contemplating ways to trade in my mortgage for an F430 payment and figuring out sleeping accomodations. To own one is worth the price of admission few can afford. To join the few who have had the opportunity to pilot such a divine work of art is an honor. One more check off the bucket list.
When I was 10 years old I had two enormous posters hung over my bed. One was a red Ferrari Testerossa, the other a white Lamborghini Countach. I would stare at those posters and endlessly daydream about one day getting behind the wheel of the real thing. As luck would have it, that dream has come to life. I discovered a rental agency outside of New York City called Gotham Dream Cars that rents everything from Ferraris and Lamborghinis to the Mercedes McClaren SLR and Bentley. My buddy James was coming into town and we decided to each rent a Lamborghini, he a Gellardo and I chose the Murcielago.
When “Lambo Day” was finally upon us, I was just as nervous as I was excited. How often do you have the opportunity to drive a car that costs as much as your house? I settled into the seat of the Murcielago and familiarized myself with the interior. Formula 1 style tiptronic transmission: check. 580hp V12 engine: check. Enormous 14″ wide tires: check. Updated will and testament: check. After signing my life away I was handed the keys. It was time to cut this monster loose!
Seeing a bright orange Murcielago on the open road is enough to turn heads. Seeing a bright orange Murcielago next to a bright yellow Gellardo is enough to break necks and cause whiplash! These things are attention getters, no doubt. We hadn’t driven more than a mile from our starting point and already I had a feel for what it would be like to be a naked supermodel walking down a busy street. Not familiar with the area, we accidentally took a wrong turn into a residential neighborhood and people were literally coming out of their homes with cameras and kids to get a peek. Everyone was gawking!
We made our way up the Pallisades Parkway to a public park called Bear Mountain. Here we found lots of curved, open roads where we could have a little fun and play a little cat-and-mouse. Once confident I simply put my foot down, watched the revs climb and blipped my way through the gears. Intoxicated is the only way to describe what I was feeling and to be honest, I couldn’t tell you how fast I was going, nor do I care. I simply enjoyed the sweet melody of the V12 at 8000rpm as I down shifted and the computer controlled transmission rev-matched the gears before re-engaging the clutch. Who needs a radio when you have a symphony right behind your head?
Truth be told, the day ended way too fast and it was over before we knew it. Caught up in all the excitement I didn’t realize until afterwords that we had hardly gotten any video or photos. Oh well, that just means we’ll have to do it again!
The second session I attended at the Mother Earth News Fair on Saturday was “A Homesteader’s Hindsight: 20 great ideas and 20 not-so-great ideas” presented by Philip Ackerman-Leist, author of the book Up Tunket Road and professor of Environmental Studies at Green Mountain College. The idea of learning from someone else’s mistakes is perfect; who […]