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Ferrari F12 berlinetta

In 2011, Ferrari broke its own profit record by selling 7,195 cars and raking in a cool €321 million. That was all well and good, but one year wasn’t enough. The low-sales-high-profit automaker was already up 7 percent in total unit sales and 13 percent in profit at the halfway point of the year and the trend hasn’t slowed.

The increases put Ferrari on pace to sell 7,328 units and pull in €304 million in profit, so it has a little work to do in the profit side of the ledger, as 2011 had a strong finish. With the F12 Berlinetta debuting in Europe in September, hitting the second-half growth needed to break its record shouldn’t be a problem.

Ferrari chairman, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, is set on the fact that the company will break its own record profits again, making it back-to-back years of setting records. This is all coming while the rest of the automakers, particularly those in Europe, are struggling to sell cars and lower losses. This shows that Ferrari obviously knows how to keep its operating costs low and still maintain quality control and customer retention.

Regardless of it breaking the record, seeing a low-volume auto manufacturer making that type of profit is impressive. To boot, Ferrari is just about in line with the pricing of its competitors, Lamborghini and Aston Martin , so it’s not a matter of Ferrari just jacking up prices in hopes of profit. Simply good business by itself and parent company, Fiat S.p.A., is all we can attribute this success to.

Gray Design has collaborated with Dartz to build some outlandish vehicles in the past, and it seems they liked the venture as they have created a new auto automotive division of their own. Zeus Twelve, the new auto subsidiary of Gray Design, is poised to create three built-to-order-models, including the luxurious Magnate "Birdman Edition."

While we’re not sure if the designation "Birdman" has anything to do with the rapper who seemingly has an obsession with high-priced automobiles , we do know that the Magnate Birdman Edition is about as audacious as the rest of Zeus Twelve’s new fleet.

Built to feature supercar and luxury car characteristics, the Magnate Birdman Edition features a long and muscular profile with suicide doors and optional bulletproofing. Can you imagine the weight of this car when it’s bulletproofed? Clearly, it’s going to add some meat to it that could potentially slow it down a tad.

But if you’re not worried about all that, the Zeus Twelve Magnate carries a 6.75-liter V8 engine that produces 505 horsepower at 4,200 rpm. Translate that to its peak performance capabilities and you have a car that can hit a top speed of 184 mph.

Pretty impressive.

Gray Design is known for designing some peculiar vehicles, as shown by their one-time collaboration with Dartz that netted the Prombron Nagel .

Now it looks like the company that has made a name for itself as one of the best design groups in the world is venturing into the auto industry by launching a new automotive division called the Zeus Twelve.

It certainly appears that Gray Design and Zeus Twelve are serious about this new endeavor because the latter already has three built-to-order models in the pipeline, one of which is the Gold Rush.

Specific details surrounding the Gold Rush have yet to be revealed, but true to Gray Design’s penchant for panache, the Zeus Twelve Gold Rush looks the part of an aggressively-designed sports coupe with gold accents, gullwing doors, and a 5.935-liter V12 engine that produces 510 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and a top speed of 188 mph.

We don’t know how the Gold Rush is going to fly when you attach a price tag to it, but if Zeus Twelve keeps it within a reasonable range, you might see some buyers voice some interest.

The dangers of auto racing aren’t limited to just race drivers; in some instances, especially when they get really too close, spectators open themselves up to the same risks as the drivers.

Unfortunately, that reality reared its ugly head last weekend in Serbia during the FIA European Hillclimb Championship when a Mitsubishi rally car lost control on one of the turns before hitting a crowd that was sitting a little too close to the action.

The high-speed crash had fatal results, with three spectators dying when the rally car barreled its way toward them. The video that was captured of the crash is only 17 seconds long, but it was long enough to paint a real picture of what happens when things go terribly, terribly wrong.

Organizers of that event immediately banned all spectators from staying in the area, but it was a case of being too little too late.

Watch the video and see how the crash came about. If for nothing else, it’s a far cry from the video we saw last week of a rally driver performing an unbelievable save with, coincidentally, another Mitsubishi rally car.

Source: You Tube

Almost on a daily basis, we express our complete obsession with rally racing, as their drivers have to have ice in their veins to even consider whipping a car around these often treacherous tracks at triple-digit speeds. With this incredible speed and loose surfaces come some of the most incredible wrecks, but also some of the most incredible saves.

The above video comes to us from a Polish rally and from the date stamp on the video, it occurred on the August 11th. The driver of this Mitsubishi Evo came into a wet turn just a little too hot and went over the embankment at the end of the turn. Suddenly the car ends up on two wheels, but somehow it winds up back on the road and heads in a straight path.

Typically, when a racecar hits two wheels, an inexperienced driver simply plays damage control. He prepares for impact and hangs on. This driver is obviously rather seasoned, as he maintains control, doesn’t panic, and acts as if nothing happened once the car is back on all fours. This definitely qualifies as an entrant into the Save of the Year running for 2012.

Check out the video for yourself. There is one video above and two more after the jump. It’s rather impressive, but pretty loud, so you may want to adjust the volume on your speakers a little.

Click past the jump to see the two alternate views.


This picture may be a little old — from the 2007 Goodwood Festival of Speed rally — but it still captures the essence of rally racing. Not only are rallys hard to photograph because of the limited angles you have, but the high speeds and bouncing that the cars do make it nearly impossible.

Well, Kolin Tregaskes caught Colin McRae’s Subaru WRX heading up the Goodwood Forest Rally at the Festival of Speed . Yup, Goodwood has more than just an awesomely technical road course.

You get to see this blue rocket propelling between the trees, likely at speeds most of us would not hot on the interstate, let alone off road. In his trail is nothing but a light cloud of dust.

Even with Tregaskes’ steady hand and likely high-end digital camera, the violent bouncing of McRae’s car still comes through as a light blur. This makes you wonder exactly how these rally drivers can even see the path they are piloting.

Nice grab by Kolin Tregaskes. Make sure to catch his entire Flickr portfolio here to see other great shots.

Source: Flickr

Few men get to have as much fun as Chris Harris does, as he is constantly beating the hell out of cars and getting paid to do so. So for the most part, we all live vicariously through his videos. In his latest installment, he takes on a car that we haven’t seen too much of here in the states, but is vastly popular, per Harris’ video, in the European market.

This elusive slab of carbon fiber and tubular steel is the BAC Mono . In the terms of a race car, its 280-horsepower 2.3-liter Duratec Ford engine with Cosworth-built pistons and forged rods is paltry. However, when you mate that up to a flat-shifting, paddle-shift, 6-speed trans, and a 540 kg (1,190-pound) chassis and body, you have one mean machine.

This British rocket hits a top speed of 170 mph and sprints to 60 in just 2.8 seconds – not too shabby for a glorified Focus engine, huh? Add in a rain-soaked track with plenty of twists and turns with Chris Harris behind the wheel, and you have a whole lot of BAC Mono tail wagging. Despite all of the oversteer, Harris repeatedly boasts how easy the Mono is to control. This becomes obvious when he doesn’t spin it out even once, despite swinging that tail end out pretty wide at times.

Check out the above video to see for yourself. If you’re able to, crank up the volume too, so you can get a good listen to that high-revving Ford power plant.

Source: YouTube

Okay, car commercials tend to get just a little extreme and us Americans only get to see a fraction of them, due to certain makes not being sold in the States. One automaker that is not currently selling cars in the U.S., but does well in other markets around the world, is Renault . Part of its success may be due to its crazy commercials, like the one above.

Two women of near equal beauty – racecar driver and French TV presenter, Margot Laffite and a cute blonde known only as “Jenny” – whip a Twingo R.S. around the Nürburgring. The racing is great and the women are superb, but Renault had to add in a slight twist. That twist was to challenge “Jenny” to hold a fish bowl full of water and a fish while Laffite winged this hot hatch around the `Ring.

The reactions of “Jenny” are classic and the enjoyment in Laffite’s face as she scares the crap out of this “Glam passenger” are priceless. To make things a little more interesting for the guys, this well-built passenger is wearing a white shirt, and we all know what a white shirt plus water equals...

Put your tongues in your mouths, guys, she’s wearing a blue bra, so there’s nothing to see, unless wet lingerie is your deal.

In all, the video is pretty sweet and we can’t wait to see the next edition in Renault’s “Challenge Us If You Can” video campaign. Keep it here to get the latest videos as the become available.

Audi officially buys Ducati

Okay, for ease of understanding we always just place Lamborghini under Volkswagen AG’s umbrella, but in reality, VW owns 99 percent of Audi AG who in turn owns Lamborghini ... got it? In a third party, back-door kinda way, yes, VW does own Lamborghini... sort of. So earlier in the year, we mentioned that Audi had secured the Italian motorcycle builder, Ducati, for about $1 billion.

According to Audi’s financial report, it is not the owner of Ducati . How in the world does that kind of error slip through the cracks, right? Well, apparently, Audi follows the same school of thought as its parent company, Volkswagen AG, and tries to push the bounds of legality to get things done, a la Porsche getting a share of VW to exempt VW from paying taxes on the buyout .

Instead of Audi buying Ducati, Lamborghini actually bought it. This does two things for VW, Audi, and Lamborghini. First, it allows it to retain its Italian roots and secondly, it helps push Lamborghini’s overall fuel economy and emissions closer to the European standards that have plagued it in recent years.

So VW has found a way to slither its way through the EU rulebook and find a way around a very important law. Touché, VW, we bow to your supreme rule-bending abilities and the way you do it without us even noticing sometimes.


From the people that once brought us the Prombron and subsequent variants of arguably one of the most unique armored cars in the world, Dartz is back with yet another creation: the Nagel Dakar. If the name strikes a bell, we’ll point out that the Nagel Dakar is named after Russian racing driver Andrew Nagel, the second place finisher at the 1912 Monte Carlo Rally.

Just like the Prombron, Dartz is wasting little time building up the Nagel Dakar, even going to the curious length of introducing it under a new class of cars it’s calling B.N.U.D.S.

So what exactly is B.N.U.D.S.? We’ll save that for information after the jump. For now, Dartz’s introduction of the Nagel Dakar comes with a pair of renderings to give us an idea on what the car looks like. Suffice to say, it looks exactly what Dartz has come to be known for in the industry: the creators of some of the most unique machineries in the world.

Find out more about the Nagel Dakar - and what B.N.U.D.S. means - after the jump.


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