Virtual Car Show

WHM x AutomotiveMap Virtual Car Show: April 25, 2020

This week's Virtual Car Show entries are all about speed.

Photo courtesy of Ferrari of Houston, Ferrari of The Woodlands

This week's Virtual Car Show entries are all about speed. There's an old and new Camaro, exclusive Ferrari Enzo, a vintage Mustang, and a shockingly blue Audi.

As you scroll down the page, you'll notice that at the end of this week's show, you have the opportunity to vote on the "Best in Show". Please do so. The winners will be announced on April 28 on AutomotiveMap's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds.

Click here to register your car for the next Virtual Car Show.

See all the Virtual Car Shows here.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro

Photo courtesy of Jay Hibbard

Jay Hibbard of Minneapolis, Minnesota bought his 1969 Chevrolet Camaro in 2010. He'd long wanted one, seeing it as his dream car. Since he purchased the model, it's undergone a full restoration including fixes for the engine, suspension, driveline, paint, interior, and more.

2018 Audi RS7 Performance

Photo courtesy of Andrew Threatt

When owner Andrew Threatt was looking for a new car, he knew he need a new daily driver but also wanted one that ws fun and looked "beautiful". "It also needed to be able to haul the family around town," he said.

Why did he go with an Audi? Threatt tells the story:

"The performance and looks first drew me to Audi cars. I wanted a four-door car with performance and beautiful lines. This particular car stood out with the Audi Exclusive color, Porsche Mexico Blue. Once I saw it in person, I was sold. There are so few cars out on the roads with this kind of performance, body lines and stands out with such a cool color. My kids are also very much into interesting and fast cars so they both loved this choice as well."

2014 Chevrolet Camero 1LE

Photo courtesy of Rudy Castillo

Rudy Castillo purchased this 2014 Chevy from a friend in 2019 and immediately set about upgrading it. It now features a stage two camshaft, fresh pistons and push rods, and an upgraded Borla exhaust. With the changes, the model now delivers 700 horsepower - nearly as much as a Dodge Challenger Hellcat.

1968 Ford Mustang California Special

Photo courtesy of Jeff LeBeau

Owner Jeff LeBeau had a 1965 and 2011 coupe and wanted to add another 60s model Mustang to his garage. He purchased this one online in 2018 for $30,000. The car has been mostly restored and received a few modifications along the way including the front disc brakes and aluminum radiator. LeBeau's Mustang wears its original Candy Apple Red paint job and has its original 289 engine and C4 transmission.

2003 Ferrari Enzo

Photo courtesy of Ferrari of Houston, Ferrari of The Woodlands

This 2003 Ferrari Enzo in Grigio Titanio Metallic is one of only six manufactured in the color, and one of only two Grigio Titanio Metallic built new for the United States. The exclusive model is owned by Ferrari of Houston and Ferrari of The Woodlands and only recently arrived to the showroom floor via a private collector. It has just 3,588 miles on the odometer and was refreshed by Ferrari Classiche in 2014. It is priced at $3,000,000.


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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

The Ferrari Omologata comes from a strong family tree filled with performance and Italian beauty. It's a one-off model that takes its DNA from seven decades of Ferrari GT tradition. The model has been crafted by a European client.

It's taken two years to complete the model since the presentation of the initial sketches. It's a model that took its inspiration from a variety of sources: racing heritage, sci-fi, and modern architecture.

A Ferrari 812 Superfast is the underlying package of the car, but the designers kept just the windscreen and headlights from the body. They set forth to create a model with smooth volume and undulating reflections. The car's front end is tapered and faced by a flattened oval grille. At the back, the car takes a more muscular stance, has deeply set taillights, and is finished off with a prominent spoiler.

Ferrari Omologata

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

Dressed in a triple layer of Ferrari's Rosso Magma paint and a racing livery the car combines track day prowess with daily drivability.

Inside, the car sports electric blue seats finished in a combination of leather and Jeans Aunde fabric with four-point racing harnesses. The rest of the interior is finished in black.

Unlike modern vehicles, the Omologata does not have a screen in the center of the vehicle, giving the model. a historic tinge. Metal parts on the dashboard and steering wheel are finished with the crackled paint effect associated with the great GT racers of the 1950s and 1960s as well as with Ferrari's engine cam covers. A hammered paint effect so often used in cars such as the 250 LM and 250 GTO finds its way on details such as the inner door handles and on the Ferrari F1 bridge.

The mid-engine car has a 6.5-liter V12 engine, harvested from the 812 Superfast. In that car is generates 789 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Ferrari isn't divulging the price of the Omologata.

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The Mazda MX-5 RF is one of the better-rounded sports coupes you can buy.

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Mazda loves to remind us that it makes the best-selling two-seater sports car in history. The company mentions this in just about every press release it issues on the Miata. It's even certified by the Guinness Book of World Records.

With more than a million units sold over the past thirty years, the Miata — or MX-5 in the rest of the world — has been a reliable pick for folks looking for an authentic sports car experience at an affordable price. Lotus founder Colin Chapman said his theory on race car design was to "simplify, then add lightness". Mazda's engineers have remained more-or-less faithful to that idea over the years when it comes to the MX-5.

2020 Mazda MX-5 RF The fierce design and unique drivability of the MX-5 help make it a desirable commodity.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Small cars don't need a ton of power, and they're a joy to drive. The 2020 MX-5 sports a 181-horsepower, 151 lb-ft four-cylinder engine paired to a six-speed manual (or a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, but what you really want is the manual). My test unit this week — a luxury-focused MX-5 Grand Touring — came with a limited-slip differential, a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks, front- and rear-stabilizer bars, and, of course, rear-wheel drive. It's not necessary to understand what all that stuff does to enjoy the car, though it's an impressive list of tech.

There's a running joke in car journalism that when someone asks which car they should buy, the answer is always "Miata" regardless of whether the buyer is a 70-year old retiree or a housewife with three kids. I don't know if that's strictly true, but the MX-5 will put a smile (and a sunburn) on your face regardless of who you are.

My fully-loaded manual transmission Grand Touring RF test unit priced out at a a whopping $35,345, but included a wide array of luxe features like automatic windshield wipers and high beams, leather everything inside the (tiny) cockpit, and a nine-speaker Bose stereo system that included speakers built-in to the headrests so you can hear your tunes even with the top down.

2020 Mazda MX-5 RF The hard top of the MX-5 RF gives the convertible a sleek look.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support is new for 2020, though there's no good place to put your phone. Or a cup of coffee. Or a handbag or really anything else except for two humans. It's really tight in there. The cupholders are two bits of plastic that go behind your elbow on the center armrest, requiring a stretching maneuver that wouldn't be out of place in a yoga studio to retrieve your beverage. There's also a diminutive "glove box" behind the cupholders that's good for holding a tube of sunscreen, your car registration, and very little else.

The trunk isn't spacious but it'll swallow a rollaboard suitcase easily enough, and the RF's hardtop doesn't affect the trunk at all which is a big plus.

The ride is firm but pleasant, with a far smoother and more refined ride than the similarly sized Toyota 86. This is the car for people who think comfort is a feature, and are willing to trade a bit of time in the slalom or on the skid pad to not have their spine ruined.

The six-speed manual transmission is a delight, reminding me why it's fun to have a stick shift. Not many folks will use their MX-5 as a commuter car, so there are almost no downsides to the manual tranny. Gear changes are quick and easy, and the clutch is incredibly forgiving. Third gear is particularly wonderful, as is the rev-happy naturally aspirated Skyactiv-G engine that scores an EPA-estimated 26/34/29 city/highway/combined.

2020 Mazda MX-5 RF The interior of the MX-5 is well-designed, but cramped.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The exhaust isn't noisy, but it make a nice burble, particularly with the top down. And I do have to call out that top. The RF — or Retractable Fastback — is the MX-5 to buy. Not only is it stupidly good looking, but you get the best of both worlds: When the top is down, you get 93 million miles of blue sky. But when you put it back up, you're in a sports coupe that's almost quiet and refined.

The roof can open and close in just 13 seconds, though you do need to be stopped for it to operate. It looks especially good in Mazda's Polymetal Gray paint scheme.

2020 Mazda MX-5 RF The Mazda MX-5 RF has the same design attributes as the MX-5, just with a hard top.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

I love convertibles. I love the MX-5. I love the RF. I love 93 million miles of blue sky. And if you go take one for a test drive, I promise you'll love it too.

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