Exotic Spotter
May 29, 2005 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Exotic Spotter "The beauty of an exotic is felt most when they are spotted on the streets, side-by-side with regular cars. . .Unfortunately, spotting an exotic is a rare occurrence. That's why this site brings together hundreds of exotic sightings from all over the world." [via mediareport posting on metachat]
posted by mlis (46 comments total)
Cool, (Esp. the McLarens) but since when have Nissan Skylines been considered "exotic"? I can see an R34 and an R33 from where I'm sitting right now.
posted by Jimbob at 7:32 PM on May 29, 2005

Could we get some more animated gifs, and flash advertising on that site though? I can still almost make out the content. And where are the just plain weird cars, like Avantis and Citröens?
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:49 PM on May 29, 2005

Skylines are quite rare in Europe. Oh and how are citroëns weird?
posted by lazy-ville at 8:12 PM on May 29, 2005

I have to agree with Jimbob - it seems that every second 18 year-old around here owns a Skyline. But those McLarens really float my boat.

Skylines are quite rare in Europe.
Lucky you.
posted by dg at 8:14 PM on May 29, 2005

Unfortunately, spotting an exotic is a rare occurrence.
This guy (I assume) would wet his pants if he were to sit on any street corner around here - exotic cars are a dime a dozen (well, almost).
posted by dg at 8:16 PM on May 29, 2005

I saw one of the "new" Avantis today here in Chicago... fugly car... sort of like a brick on wheels with beedy eyes. Mostly Mustang now.

I grew up in the sticks where even a 20-year-old 911 would turn heads. In the big city though high ticket cars are everywhere - to the point where I don't glance twice. I was drinking beer on Wells the other day next to new Bentley. Yesterday a new Maserati cut me off on Lake St (I was biking.) Ferraris and Lamborghinis are common and new Porsches - even high end turbos and GT cars are jejune.
posted by wfrgms at 8:22 PM on May 29, 2005

I love sites that break the "Back" button. Oh and the popups (even with Firefox) are a nice touch.
posted by knave at 9:03 PM on May 29, 2005

The person posting this replaced a sentence of the quotation with "...". The original has a paragraph that reads, "The beauty of an exotic is felt most when they are spotted on the streets, side-by-side with regular cars. A true diamond in the rough."

I love it when people use phrases like "a diamond in the rough" without them knowing what the phrase actually means.
posted by w0mbat at 9:14 PM on May 29, 2005

Since when is a Porsche an exotic? I own two of them (dumped them though when I moved to Mexico) and they were dime-a-dozen in Toronto... And M5s? Tons of them in Toronto... I sure love the Vector W8 though.

PS. Exotics don't have to be expensive; this one (pictures; ignore the other crap in the entry) cost me $11k...
posted by glider at 9:30 PM on May 29, 2005

I guess I'm just a country hick but I still get rush everytime I see some half million dollar car. Got passed by a Diablo, twice, on my way to BC last fall and it made my trip.

Got a love when a guy actually drives these things regardless of the weather.
posted by Mitheral at 9:34 PM on May 29, 2005

That is a fucking awesome car, glider.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:42 PM on May 29, 2005

I saw one of these a couple weeks back. Now that's exotic.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:45 PM on May 29, 2005

Oh, and glider, those are some ugly ass headers on that little beastie. :)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:48 PM on May 29, 2005

Funny, I saw and took this shot yesterday at SBC Park in San Francisco. Nice little car, I bet my motorcycle could still stomp it though.
posted by fenriq at 10:08 PM on May 29, 2005

glider that is an amazing collection. But the Jeep? Ugh. FJ40, baby.
posted by mlis at 10:13 PM on May 29, 2005

Today while visiting Chicago, I saw a pink VW Bug made up to look like a pig, complete with ears, eyes, a snout, and a curly little tail on the back. It was also oinking quite loudly. I thought that was pretty damn exotic.
posted by PhatLobley at 10:17 PM on May 29, 2005

yeah i have seen some exotic cars in new orleans. but i guess when it says exotic , they mean , expensive.
posted by nola at 10:29 PM on May 29, 2005

i used the live in some cheap 30 y/o apartments near my college where some guy owned a Viper. Priorities, I guess.

My heart will always go out to the true working man's exotic: RX-7's.
posted by trinarian at 11:05 PM on May 29, 2005

We should give credit to Tara at ResearchBuzz, whose newsletter first turned me on to the site. I'm more into communal photo sites than cars, but did like this one from Kuwait, and this from Istanbul.
posted by mediareport at 11:05 PM on May 29, 2005

I think exotic car schadenfreude is even more fun than exotic car envy.
posted by killdevil at 11:13 PM on May 29, 2005

BMW M5s and 645s, Porsche 911s, and Nissan Skylines are on the list.
Mercedes SL65s, Ruf RGTs, and Panoz Esperantes are not.

I have no idea where they draw the line on exotic, but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with price, rarity or style.
posted by mosch at 11:18 PM on May 29, 2005

Depends on where you live. My daily driver is a Saturn, but here in Tiburon CA I frequently pull up to stoplights next to Ferraris, Lambos, Porsches, Rolls, etc. Tiburon (and neighboring Belvedere) is #25 on the richest zip codes list. We saw four Ferraris downtown this past Friday night at a street party. It's somewhat ridiculous.

But you don't have to be a millionaire to cruise in style. My fun car cost me $17k, and I've put another $8k into fixing it up. The guys in the exotics stare, and their dates yell "nice car!"
posted by JParker at 12:05 AM on May 30, 2005

JParker: Nice car!!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:39 AM on May 30, 2005

Mercedes SL65s, Ruf RGTs, and Panoz Esperantes are not

If you have a photo, send it in. That is where the line is drawn - they post what is sent in.

C_D: what type of car is that in your photo? That is a beauty.
posted by mlis at 7:05 AM on May 30, 2005

MLIS: An Austin Healey. Not to be confused with Major Healey.
posted by bdave at 7:47 AM on May 30, 2005

what type of car is that in your photo?

It's the Austin Healey 3000, Mark III. The Mark I and II are equally beautiful, however. They are, IMHO, the epitome of British-roadster-goodness. The only car I can think of that has better lines is the BMW 507, or the infamous Ferarri 250 California. The '58 Vette is in my top-20 (sorry, JParker, I just prefer the toothy grille more).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:36 AM on May 30, 2005

Egads! Ferrari, not Ferarri.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:38 AM on May 30, 2005

Speed, Style, and Beauty: Cars from the Ralph Lauren Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (through July 3).
posted by ericb at 9:13 AM on May 30, 2005

C_D, no sweat, the '57 'vette is number two on my list of favorites behind the '61. And the toothy grill is the reason. But I think the stingray back on the '61 is an even bigger factor. The earlier solid axle 'vettes have that wasp-abdomen rear end that looks like it's dragging on the ground, and the '62 doesn't come in two-tone paint.

The lines on that BMW 507 you posted are incredible. The convertible with the top down is a work of art! Only 252 produced, though... it's sure to be out of my price range.
posted by JParker at 10:12 AM on May 30, 2005

Nice ride JParker. I am partial to Domestic exotics, I've always wanted a 71 Mustang Mach 1. Exotic? Maybe not. Tough enough to drive our American streets everyday? Large enough to get into with having to contort my not too tall near six foot frame? Room for a weekend of luggage? Enough torque to bend space and time? Heck yeah, USA Steel!
posted by buzzman at 10:15 AM on May 30, 2005

I here you buzzman. My go to domestic exotic is the 70 Plymouth Superbird. One of the things I love about the Chrysler winged cars is the 221" length, every other exotic looks like a toy next to it. That and the dual quad 426 that you can see suck the hood down when your foot gets in it.

My favourite Vette is the '63 split window coupe. I saw one in the most unexpected place a few years back. I was in Chase BC looking at a gas powered moulder which happened to be at an auto wreckers. The guy had quite a bit of old sheet metal in his yard and we got to talking. I mentioned that I was trying to find the correct carriage bolts to fasten the bumper to my '66 Chrysler. The guy tells me I should talk to this mechanic down the street so after we leave we wonder on down to this old warehouse. Find the guy bent over this immaculate, better than factory job, 63 split window. Turns out he'd just applying the final touches before the car is shipped out to some show.
posted by Mitheral at 12:04 PM on May 30, 2005

But I think the stingray back on the '61 is an even bigger factor.

Well, that dash of yours is a work of art. Simply gorgeous. They don't make 'em like that anymore.

I still don't understand why more auto manufacturers can't simply re-introduce old models with modern, er, plumbing. I'd pay $30k for a 507 body with a generic crate V8. They can even make it out of fiberglass if it costs too much to do all those curved panels. *sigh*
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:50 PM on May 30, 2005

You guys need some spinners, to make your cars beautiful!
posted by five fresh fish at 7:36 PM on May 30, 2005

Someone like obscenely wealthy needs to build a car company around a series of cars like the Fiero [1]. BGM could have a 2 seater mid engine platform; a 2 seater FWD/AWD platform; and 4/5 seater FWD/AWD platform. All with different power train combinations available. But not sell any bodies. You would order those from coach builders who would assemble them onto the space frame. Or you could build your own from fibre or for the ambitious, aluminium.

[1] The part of a Fiero you can see is just plastic panels bolted onto a space frame. Injected moulded plastic is _cheap_ compared to steel stampings with low capital costs. This is how Pontiac managed to get 9 different body styles in four years on a car that sold less that 150,000 units a year (sometimes much less).
posted by Mitheral at 7:42 AM on May 31, 2005

A car like the Fiero? You mean biodegradable, underpowered, poor-handling, and ugly?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:04 AM on May 31, 2005

Well the ugly part is in in the eye of the beholder (and irrelevant anyways, choose the coach maker that makes something you like). Personally I disagree, I think my pace car is a fine looking automobile. Did you really feel all 9 bodies were ugly? The 84 coupe and 88 fast back share only front hood, headlight doors,and forward roof panel in common.

I'm not aware of anything biodegradable on a Fiero, even carpets and seats are synthetic but I guess there could be some natural fibre based sound deadener somewhere. Oh and I think the stock speaker cones are paper.

It is under powered only in comparison to newer cars. Even the 95HP Tech Four was more than adequate in a 2700lb car for the majority of people. Enough so that it propelled me to a written warning for excessive acceleration. For those with a need for speed a SBC drops right in and a BBC is doable. Others have fitted that 32V OHC Caddy engine or the Blown 3800 Buick. Lots of pucker power to choose from. Pontiac planned to drop in the forced induction 3800 in 1990 before GM killed the car[1] just in time to drop the ball in the cheap 2 seater market that the Miata opened up. Because people's wants are different is why I said BGM should offer different power trains.

The handling is fine. It ain't a Lotus but it'll hold to the road. Because of the mid engine layout it can be a little quirky. You have to actually be able to drive to prevent the rear from coming around on you but I find throttle steer to be a feature not a bug that is sorely lacking on most modern cars.

Anyways when I said "like the Fiero" I was referring to the body on universal space frame concept not the details of the 20 year old GM engineering.

[1] Some say that the Fiero was killed because with all new suspension, upgraded brakes and 225 hp in a 3000lb package the 1990 car was starting to look like competition for Chevy's sacred Corvette (1990 coupe 250hp/3330LBs). Especially since getting more power out of the turbocharged 3800 involves the low buck turn up the boost and add fuel approach.
posted by Mitheral at 9:56 AM on May 31, 2005

I'm mostly yankin' you. :-)
posted by five fresh fish at 12:28 PM on May 31, 2005

Civil_Disobedient: I still don't understand why more auto manufacturers can't simply re-introduce old models with modern, er, plumbing.

Kirk Duncan at www.vintagespeesters.com is doing this successfully down in Southern California with the Porsche 356 Speedster. He does over 200 cars a year now. And he's not the only one. A new VW engine on a 30-year old VW chassis, with new handlaid fiber body, instrumentation and trim. Drive away price looks to be $21-25k.

They get away with this by using the old VW chassis. Since the date on the donor pan determines the title, it gets titled as a VW (as if it were a restored old bug), and is therefore exempt from smog and all the new-car crash testing, etc.

I am thinking of doing something similar... and concerned about finding a readily available chassis to build on. I considered the '61 Corvette, but I think it's too much of a "guy's car". I'll bet that BMW 507 as a replica would sell like hot cakes. Or seeing as how this is MetaFilter, pancakes.
posted by JParker at 4:56 PM on May 31, 2005

I saw those 356 replicars a while back, and am glad they're still in business. It's a clever way of getting around the legal wranglings of setting up your own manufacturing business.

I know there are a lot of AC Cobra replicars out there on the market. They do well because: 1. Everyone wants a Shelby, 2. There's not a whole lot of body in those things, 3. Complexity-wise, it doesn't get much more straight-forward.

If you ever get serious about producing 507's, please contact me. I'd love to get involved because I know they'd sell like pancakes. What would you suggest for the body, though? Those are some tough curves (and there's a lot of 'em)... body stamping would be pretty expensive.

I'm mostly yankin' you. :-)

Just FYI, the Fiero is a commonly-used base-car for body-mods like this (Diablo replicar) or this (Ferrari).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:52 PM on May 31, 2005

C_D, I'll let you know if I can put that business together. Second career, getting out of the rat race, etc. Probably a year or more away, though, so don't wait up. ;-)

Body-stamping, even for high quality aluminum molds for fiber layup, is expensive. Forget steel. Maybe plastic, like on my Saturn? The molds are effectively one time expenses if you use plastic. I'd welcome ideas...
posted by JParker at 10:48 PM on May 31, 2005

Yep C_D. Pontiac dealers even sold brand new 308 replicas as dealer options. The Mera was treated the same as conversion vans and all the original GM bits, basically everything but the body panels, carried the GM factory warranty. 247 were made before the conversion company was sued out of business by Ferrari.
posted by Mitheral at 6:56 AM on June 1, 2005

I was reading the other day how a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda convertible with the 426 is going for $250k and up. That, an L88 '69 Corvette 427 or the Richard Ruth '55 Chevy Bel Air 454 from "Two Lane Blacktop" would be my ideal thanks.

/lives in England but dreams of decent sized engines.
posted by longbaugh at 8:25 AM on June 1, 2005

Well, longbaugh, you can still get a '69 Plymouth Road Runner for about $20k. It's faster than the 'Cuda, BTW.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:36 AM on June 1, 2005

It's not about the speed C_D, I much prefer the shape and the history of the 'Cuda. It's top speed isn't much more than a 2.2litre Vectra (round about 130mph?). I also think the chances of picking up a genuine Hemi are pretty slim. A Yenko would go down a treat and I might even settle for a Mustang MACH1.

Running any of these cars in the UK is a good way to bankrupt yourself - hopefully in a few years I shall be moving to the USA and can then laugh as I support the death of brown people with my cheap gas.
posted by longbaugh at 8:59 AM on June 1, 2005

It's not about the speed

I hear ya, longbaugh. I'm still kicking myself for not buying a 66 Mustang fastback for $5000 when I had the chance. I just love the lines on the thing--apparently, Ford does too, though the new re-issue is an ugly bastard, IMHO. If you want cheap muscle cars, they're all in the midwest. In Nebraska (where there is no exhaust emission testing), people drive these old Amuricun tanks free-flow, because, you know, catalytic converters are for communists. :)

But you're in the land of the two-seater roadster, man! How can you talk such blasphemy?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:18 AM on June 1, 2005

I'm not big on roadsters, though I used to drive my friends MGB GT occasionally. I see no point in owning a fibreglass bathtub/coffin which in British weather is how it's going to end up. What properly fecks me off is the price of the new Ford Mustang - the 300hp V8 works out the same price as a Focus 2.0 Ghia!

I want a decent V8 for less than 20K!!!
posted by longbaugh at 10:27 AM on June 1, 2005

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