Saturday, May 06, 2006

Friday Sightings: May 5, 2006

Today in Southern Connecticut, it was around 80 degrees and sunny: perfect car weather. Accordingly, people had their nice rides out on the road, taking advantage of the good conditions. As for the quality of the cars, well, today was was above average.

Here we go:


2007 BMW Z4 M Roadster
Where: Parking lot, Summer Street, Stamford, CT

I got an up-close look at the Z4 M Roadster at the New York auto show, but there's something different about seeing it in "real" surroundings. I was a big fan of the Z3-based M Roadster, and this new car surpasses it in just about every way.

The Chris Bangle styling always worked well on the Z4 in my opinion, and on the M car, it really comes into its own. The Z4's bulges and curves were muscular-looking to begin with. Now sporting the M3's 333-horsepower powerplant and the signature Motorsport dual double-barreled exhausts, the Z4 M can very much walk the walk. As good as it looks standing still, I can only imagine how much fun it is to drive.

***


Noble M12 GTO 3R
Where: I-95 Southbound, Greenwich, CT

You know how sometimes when you're driving, and you look in the mirror and do a double-take?
This was one of those times.

I caught a glimpse of the Noble merging onto the road behind me, about three cars back. It ducked behind a tractor trailer, and I told my passenger, "watch what's coming up on our left." I was in the the slow lane, and saw it squirt out and head for a clearer path. It was at this point that I also rolled down my window, so I could hear how it sounded as it went past.

The Noble was silver, and compared to the eighteen-wheelers it was maneuvering around, it was a tiny little insect--an incredibly fast, mean-sounding one at that. The engine noise coming from it was throatier I would have imagined. Its raspy edge was complemented by a prominent whistle as the turbos spooled, followed by the distinct sound of a blow-off valve as the car upshifted.

He was on me in seconds, and then he dropped the hammer as he found daylight in the left lane. All theose mechanical sounds seemed to scream to life at once, and just like that, he was gone.

I could have listened to that cacophony all day.

Greenwich is home to an inordinate number of exotics, classics, and outright rarities, so seeing the Noble wasn't that surprising in itself. Still, it was the first one I've personally seen on a US road. That thing's a serious player.

***


2007 Jaguar XK Convertible

Where: Merritt Parkway Northbound, Greenwich, CT

The new XK is a great-looking car. The convertible, at speed with the top down, is a stunner. Finished in silver with a tan interior, the '07 XK I saw was someone's newest toy, as it still had paper temporary tags on it. It looked right at home winding its way along the curvy section of the two-lane Merritt Parkway in Greenwich. We were still far enough south that the usual Friday stop-and-go traffic nightmare wouldn't appear for another few miles. The Jag driver liesurely ducked off the last Greenwich exit, probably to get a champagne-soaked weekend of luxury underway.

I stayed on, and hit brutal traffic about 5 minutes later. My mundane, lawn-mowing, weed-pulling, haircut-getting weekend had officially begun.

***


Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona
Where: Merritt Parkway Southbound, Fairfield, CT

Firmly ensconsed in the northbound traffic, I had plenty of time to pay attention to the cars heading the other way on the Merritt. it was business as usual. A zillion regular cars, the occasional 'Vette, a few new Mustang GTs (one, a yellow convertible with black Shelby stripes and the Bullitt-style rims, was a standout), and not much else.

Then I saw the Daytona.

It sttod out like a sore thumb, it's identity obvious the second the distinct front end appeared. It was in the left lane, so there was nothing between me and it except the grassy median. It was red. The shape? Classic. Its V12's exhaust note announced itself over the din of the othr cars engine sounds and tire noise. It wasn't moving too quickly because of the volume on its side of the parkway.

The whole encounter was maybe 10 seconds long. From where I sat, it felt like slow motion. It was the last "sighting" of the afternoon. It was also the best.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.