“Little Red Corvette”, a.k.a. the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray making its debut at Cars&Coffee / Irvine…

This past Saturday morning  saw the debut of a brilliant red, 2014 Corvette Stingray at cars&coffee / Irvine. Once the driver had successfully backed his Corvette into the parking space and exited the car, the gathering crowd rushed in to get a closer look. Judging by the size and excitement of the quickly growing sea of bodies, it appears that  Chevrolet has hit a home run with the new Stingray. The only negative feedback overheard was what has already been seen in print –  “the tail lights look too much like those found on the new Camaro”, and the two-toned interior with its splash of color “lacking visual continuity”.Red 2014 Corvette Stingray_3/4 rear view_ cars&coffee_August 24, 2013

Red 2014 Corvette Stingray_front  view w/reflections_ cars&coffee_August 24, 2013

Due to the ever growing crowd pushing in around the Corvette, I decided to continue on my rounds through the parking lot, with the intent to return a little later once the crowds thinned out, in an attempt to get an unobstructed view of the Stingray.

Upon my return, I arrived just in time to catch the front hood and rear decklid opened, revealing some hidden details…

Red 2014 Corvette Stingray_3/4 view w/opened front hood and rear decklid_ cars&coffee_August 24, 2013

and shortly after, the Stingray all buttoned up.

Red 2014 Corvette Stingray_3/4 side view_ cars&coffee_August 24, 2013

The driver then returned to his car in preparation to depart. Once behind the wheel, and with a turn of the key, the motor roared to life with a smooth yet throaty idle, and a moment later, the boomerang shaped, LED running lights made their presence known.

Red 2014 Corvette Stingray_3/4 front view_ cars&coffee_August 24, 2013

After letting the engine idle for several minutes, presumably to get the operating temperatures up to spec, the driver put the car in gear and with several blips of the throttle, the Stingray accelerated off, to enjoy another of our warm, sunny Southern California mornings.

Red 2014 Corvette Stingray_ front view with LED running lights_ cars&coffee_August 24, 2013

I wonder how long before we’ll see another 2014 Stingray at cars&coffee? And what do you think? Is the new 2014 Corvette Stingray a worthy successor to the C6?

(All photos by the author)


Excuse me, do you have the time?

I woke up earlier than normal on Saturday morning, not wanting to arrive late to Cars&Coffee. For the past several weeks, southbound and northbound traffic on the 5 freeway was being redirected around a de-construction zone ( the tearing down of a single freeway overpass). Fortunately, as I approached the 5 freeway, I could see that the south bound traffic was moving, so no apparent delays for this week. As I passed beneath the overpass in question, I could see that all of the northbound structure had been removed; all that remained on the southbound side were the structural steel cross beams, and a lot of sky. Hopefully these remaining beams will be dispatched before next weekend…

Sticking to my original plan and arriving early, I was greeted by an impressive line up already assembled along Porsche row. Located mid way on the row was a car I immediately recognized; the white Porsche GT3 Cup car with red and black graphics, as raced in this years Pikes Peak International Hill Climb by frequent cars&coffee participant Jeff Zwart.

2013 Pikes Peak participant_ Porsche GT3 cup car driven by Jeff Zwart_front view_cars&coffee_July 6, 2013

As a result of the sponsorship by Luminox, the dominant graphics element was a watch band that circled the car, from front to back, with the watch face strategically displayed on the roof of the Porsche.

2013 Pikes Peak participant_Porsche GT3 cup car driven by Jeff Zwart_front hood emblem and graphics detail_cars&coffee_July 6, 2013

2013 Pikes Peak participant_Porsche GT3 cup car driven by Jeff Zwart_3/4 side view with friends_cars&coffee_July 6, 2013

2013 Pikes Peak participant_Porsche GT3 cup car driven by Jeff Zwart_rear view_cars&coffee_July 6, 2013

The watch face graphic predominantly displayed, afforded one the perfect line… “Excuse me, do you have the time”?  However, the more I studied the graphic, I began to wonder if the time as indicated ( 10:09:36), and seen below, held any hidden meaning. I guess I’ll have to wait until next Saturday to question Jeff about this particular detail.

2013 Pikes Peak participant_Porsche GT3 cup car driven by Jeff Zwart_roof shot with Luminox watch graphic_cars&coffee_July 6, 2013

By 7:30 AM, there was a changing of the guard along Porsche row; the silver 356 that had been parked next to Jeff’s car, departed, and the empty space was quickly occupied by a white Porsche 997 Turbo S, which turned out to be an ultra rare model.

White Porsche 997 Turbo S, Edition 918 Spyder_ 3/4 front view_cars&coffee_July 6, 2013

Upon closer inspection, this particular Turbo S was in fact one of Porsches rare “Edition 918 Spyder” models. These cars were to be offered for sale exclusively to the buyers of Porsches 918 Spyder super car, while they awaited final production and the subsequent delivery of their 918 Spyder. Total production of this special Turbo S edition was limited to just 918 examples, which aligned  perfectly with the limited production number for the 918 Spyder.

Externally, the Edition 918 Spyder can be identified by the following details; its acid green “Edition 918 Spyder” door graphics, the small, right side fender mounted, commemorative plaque (as seen below), carbon fiber rear fender air intakes, green accented side mirrors, and the highlighted rear deck lid “S” badging.

White Porsche 997 Turbo S, Edition 918 Spyder_ front fender badge_cars&coffee_July 6, 2013

White Porsche 997 Turbo S, Edition 918 Spyder_ Acid green door graphics_cars&coffee_July 6, 2013

However, one of the most dominant visual clues was visible at each wheel; the acid green PCCB brake calipers peeking out from behind the black, centerlock wheels…

White Porsche 997 Turbo S, Edition 918 Spyder_ Acid green front brake caliper_cars&coffee_July 6, 2013

Hidden from view were several other upgrades created to separate the “Edition 918 Spyder” model from the standard Turbo S model; out back the motor had been modified to deliver 530 horsepower, while the interior received enhancements in the form of carbon fiber accents and upgraded leather surfaces, all trimmed with  acid green stitching.

Seeing this car in person gives one hope for the possibility of seeing a 918 Spyder in person in the not to distant future. According to the articles being published in many of the automotive magazines, the first production 918’s are scheduled for delivery beginning in September. So how long until we see a 918 Spyder on display in person at cars&coffee?

White Porsche 997 Turbo S, Edition 918 Spyder_ 3/4 rear view_cars&coffee_July 6, 2013

Until that time, you can check out a short film that was uploaded July 9th, highlighting one of Jeff Zwart’s 2013 pre-race, Porsche GT3 Cup car shake down runs up Pikes Peak, by clicking here

(All photos by the author)

The Vintech P-550 tribute; A one – off prototype infused with Porsche 550 DNA…

What if Porsche had continued to further refine the design of the their 550 Spyder?  And what would it have looked like if fully developed as a 550 coupe?

Well. below lies the answer; the Vintech P-550 Tribute.

The car (as seen above and below), is a one-off prototype conceived and built by the French firm  Vintech; a company that specializes in the fabrication of prototype vehicles for the automotive industry. The Vintech P-550 tribute was created as an independent, in-house project, to serve as a showcase for their design and fabrication talents, along with their expertise and abilities to creatively manipulate carbon fiber.

Several weeks previous to its showing at Cars&Coffee, the car made its world debut in Monterey,California at The Quail Motorsports Gathering, held on August 17, 2012.

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_Opened up for viewing_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

Not only is the entire body created from carbon fiber, but so is the fuel tank, front hood, gull-wing doors, rear deck lid, bulkhead, rear strut bar and the engine fan shroud. The attention to detail is incredible, and even more impressive when one realizes that the entire body is carbon fiber and not aluminum. And its flawless silver paint finish was just the right icing for this cake…

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_front wheel detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

An example of the very cool Porsche wheels, machined and further customized by Vintech (above).

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_carbon fiber fuel tank with polished central fuel filler and cap_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012The flawless, carbon fiber fuel tank, fuel sender and polished metal fuel filler and cap (above).

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_thru the opening in front hood shot of carbon fiber fuel tank with polished central fuel filler and cap_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_all opened up, 3/4 front drivers side view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012One of the subtle design details found up front, on the underside of the hood, was the masking off of select, molded in recesses, which when viewed up close, reveal the hoods true nature; black carbon fiber, contrasted against the beautiful silver paint finish. And all of these details were captured and reflected in the carbon fiber fuel tank (as seen below).

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_all opened up, carbon fiber fuel tank, tie down straps and reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

As expected, the same high level of detail found on the exterior was carried over and applied to the interior.

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_interior shot, drivers side_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

Even the gull-wing doors are a work of art, from their seamless carbon fiber construction, to the upholstered inner door cavities, leather pull straps and the sliding plexiglass side windows. Anchoring each door is a hinge mechanism designed as sculpture; each hinge appears to have been carved from billet stock and then highly polished, and integrated into the door and roof structure (as seen below)…

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_gullwing door detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012silver Vintech P-550 tribute_gullwing door detail, machined hinge and gas strut_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012The flush fitting, polished metal gull-wing door hinges, nestled into the top of the P-550s roof.

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_gullwing door exterior machined, polished metal hinges_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012Mounted out back (as seen below), is the custom-built 3.0 liter, four-cylinder motor (manufactured to Vintech specifications), breathing through a pair of dual, double throated Weber carburetors. Power is directed to the rear wheels through a Porsche type 915, 5 speed transmission.

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_top view,3.0 liter, 4 cylinder motor with dual Weber carbs_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012 silver Vintech P-550 tribute_3/4 rear view, rear deck_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

The beautifully crafted, flush mounted dual rear deck grills (above and below).

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_ rear view, rear deck and dual grill detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_ rear view, rear deck badging_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

More automotive jewelry; the polished metal, air intake trim found on each of the rear deck air intake scoops (below).

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_ rear deck  detail, machined and polished metal air intake scoop_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_ side view, engine compartment, carbon fiber bulkhead, fan shroud, strut bar and Weber carbs__Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012The polished metal venturi, mounted atop the dual, double throated Weber carburetors (above and below).

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_ Weber carb & venturi details__Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

Strategically placed within the car reside a pair of custom, spyder style sport seats; each revealing a glimpse of exposed, brushed and cross-drilled aluminum frame, clad in light gray leather, accented by a darker gray fabric center, and trimmed by terra-cotta red piping. Even the side sills were detailed by a pair of recessed, light gray leather inset panels, also trimmed with the terra-cotta red piping ( below).

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_ interior detail, custom aluminum seat with leather upholstery trim_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_ interior detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

Fender mounted, Sebring style rear view mirror…

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_ fender mounted mirror, promo cards, detail and reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012With the mornings event winding down, the caretakers from Vintech began the process of closing and securing the rear deck, front hood, and doors (below).

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_ 3/4 rear view , getting buttoned up_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

All buttoned up and read to go…

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_ front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012 With the motor warmed up, and a blip of the throttle, the Vintech P-550 tribute was underway.

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_ 3/4 front view, getting ready to leave_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

silver Vintech P-550 tribute_rear view,departure_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_September 1, 2012

Given the interest paid to this car throughout the morning, hopefully this will not be the last time we see the Vintech P-550 tribute at Cars&Coffee or in the automotive press…

(All photos by the author)

“Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”

As I walked through the rows of cars Saturday morning at Cars&Coffee, it dawned on me that regardless of the makes or models present, each and every car to one degree or another possessed an often overlooked detail; vehicle graphics, be it dimensional manufacturers badges or applied decal/vinyl graphics. And in addition to these basic badges, a large percentage of these cars also displayed secondary ID in the form of car club badges, installed on either vehicle grills or on badge bars (i.e. driving light bars), typically mounted at the front of the car.

If one takes a historical look back at the creation of the automobile, the coachbuilders and subsequent manufacturers soon recognized the value of marking their cars to identify their origins and over time used these emblems or badges as a tool to differentiate between brands and models. Manufacturers also shifted their design focus over to the creation of vehicle radiator caps and hood emblems; starting out as a functional component and over time evolving into visual brand markers.

Vintage Bentley radiator cap and badge_ Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Contemporary Bentley hood emblem_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Contemporary Bentley trunk emblem_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

With the arrival of the automobile, and as public interests grew, these new passions translated into the creation of car clubs. These interests in turn created a need for member identification, thus the creation of car club badges. These became a means for the identification of specific regional club members, and provided the opportunity to commemorate specific events (club tours, driving competitions, concours events, etc). And with each new event, owners had the opportunity to add additional car club badges to their vehicles. For many of the european makes, these club badges were proudly displayed on the front grills of the cars, or if the car was equipped with driving or fog lights, the badges were secured onto the unused portions of the horizontal lighting support brackets, common to so many of the cars of the day.

Vintage Jaguar touring sedan_grill detail & badges_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Vintage Jaguar touring sedan_driving light detail & club badge reflections_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

It also became apparent that most vehicle manufacturers utilize a two tiered system regarding vehicle identification; a primary graphic ID (hood of front grill brand ID), along with a secondary graphic( usually found at the back of the car), and used to identify the specific models.

The following photos recount a few of the observations I’ve made on this topic…

Blue vintage Ferrari_front hood badge detail_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Yellow Ferrari_rear trunk badge detail_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Silver BMW 3.0CSI_ c- pillar BMW badge_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Silver BMW 3.0CSI_ rear trunk model ID_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Green Jaguar XK 150_hood emblem and grill badge_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Green Jaguar XK 150_rear trunk badge_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Silver BMW Isetta _with front badge bar_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Green Land Rover_front grill badge bar and badges_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Black Ford mustang_Shelby GT 500 rear badge_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Yellow Dino Ferrari_ rear badge_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Dove Blue VW type II transporter_front view_OCTO fest_2011

Burgundy Jaguar XK 150_badge and shadow_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Mercedes Benz_ grill and hood emblem_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Ivory Mercedes Benz 300SL_rear trunk lid badging_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Vintage Mercedes Benz cabriolet_grill and badge detail_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Mercedes Benz cabriolet_grill / badge detail_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Red 1980's Audi Quattro_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

White Porsche GT3 _carbon fiber hood & badge detail_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

White 1972 Porsche 911_ rear grill and badges_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Blue Porsche 356 SC cabriolet_rear badges_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Orange Porsche 914-6_rear european badging_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Dark Green Porsche 356 A_rear view grill detail_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Silver Porsche 356 A coupe_rear grill event badge_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Red Porsche 356 cabriolet_rear grill badge_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Black Porsche 356 coupe_rear grill badges_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

1973 Porsche 911T_rear grill badge_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Red 1964 corvette stingray coupe_rear view_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Matt black Cadillac CTS/V_rear deck badge_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Metallic green 1948 Chevrolet pick up truck_front grill detail_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

1923 Ford model T  hot rod_brass grill & radiator cap_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Primer gray 1932 Ford highboy_rear club badge & license plate_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Blue 1957 Ford thunderbird_front hood emblem_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Ivory white Volvo P1800_c pillar badge_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Black and red Bugatti Veyron_front grill_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

Pearl white McLaren MP4-12C_rear view_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

2007 viper green Porsche GT3RS_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee-5/28/12

Black 2012 Porsche type 991_rear view_Cars&Coffee_5/28/12

And as seen above, Porsches new 2012 type 991 with its new branding design layout, reintroducing the PORSCHE copy as a dimensional element in concert with the model ID.  However, for those within the Porsche community, the concerns being voiced seem to be over branding; how much is too much? What do you think?

(All photos by the author)