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Tamer Omran

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CENTER STAGE> Mercedes SL666 AMG from Hell

The first time that I was introduced to this car was during the Targa Trophy event this past year. However, the car was dressed in white and had a unique theme that might have been reminiscent of a Storm Trooper. Over the course of the past year, owner Jamie Liu has been adding modifications in an effort to gain a top position at events such as Hot Import Nights, SEMA and Autofashion 2011. Words alone cannot justify the brilliance of this build so let's look further into Jamie's amazing Mercedes-Benz R230 SL55 AMG.   Read more...

CENTER STAGE> Fifteen52 Volkswagen Jetta Variant

The first time I met Matt Crooke, co-owner of Fifteen52, was on a cold night in Upland, California. We were at a locally-famous restaurant called The Hat, which is known for their great pastrami sandwiches. However, I wasn't there for the beef. I was there for the weekly gathering of Volkswagens that come out in droves just to hang out and chit-chat about the trials and tribulations of owning and modding a Volkswagen. We quickly got acquainted and I soon found out what Fifteen52 really meant.   Read more...

CENTER STAGE> Mastermind Spirit Rei S13 Odyvia

Seeing the MasterMind Odyvia for the first time at our MotorMavens Mass Appeal Show in Irwindale, CA was a mind-blowing experience. Hearing the car start up for the first time left my ears ringing for hours. However, rather than just telling tell you why I fell in love with this car, I thought I should tell you how this car came to life instead. Please fasten your seat belts, this ride is about to get CRAZY. You're probably asking yourself, what is an Odyvia? In case you didn't know, it's when you combine Honda Odyssey headlights with a 1991 Nissan 240SX (S13 Silvia) body. Hence, the name ODYVIA...I find it rather fitting for the car - the name sounds like it was plucked from an epic poem like The Iliad.

The reason I felt so passionate about this particular car wasn't the one-off Spirit Rei Japan widebody kit, custom fabrication, custom interior, nor the Z06 LS7 motor swap. It was because it took incredible persistence and attention to detail to accomplish - this project was riddled with issues that would make an average mechanic lose his mind.   Read more...

PERSPECTIVE> Owning a Bugatti Veyron

Ever say to yourself, "Damn, that dude with the Bugatti Veyron must get all the women"? Well, I have - and it was more than enough incentive for me to desperately wish I owned one of these engineering marvels...but, the cost of ownership for this 253 mph speed machine is a bit different from owning a 1992 Honda Civic. So, if you're actually in the market for a brand new Bugatti Veyron, read this before you sign that massive check over to Bugatti. And, if you're reading this and you actually own a Veyron, I'll take a moment to ask you to please be my bestest friend.   Read more...

VIDEO> Audi Wins 24 Hours of Le Mans Once Again!

2011 Le mans 2011 R18 TDI 24 Hours of Le Mans Allan McNish Andre Lotterer Audi Benoit Treluyer Circuit de la Sarthe Le Mans Marcel Fassler Micheal Rockenfeller Peugeot Porsche R18 TDI Tamer Omran Victory at Le Mans

The 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans was filled with despair, heartache, and extreme difficulty yet, despite the obstacles, Audi drivers Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer drove the #2 car (an Audi R18 TDI) to the checkered flag this past Sunday. Audi overcame two spectacular crashes and held off a charging Peugeot to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, giving the German car maker its 10th title at the renowned Circuit de la Sarthe track. Audi currently holds second place for the most titles at Le Mans behind Porsche which has 16 wins. Ferrari takes bronze with nine victories. (more…)


GALLERY> Mazda Shinari Concept

When I saw the first pictures released of the Mazda Shinari Concept, my immediate thought was Art In Motion. Corny, maybe, but it was an honest reaction. It was so beautiful to me. So, imagine my recent good fortune to get an opportunity to attend a Mazda press event!

At the event, I was given some information concerning what lies ahead for Mazda - the design path (and general mindset) that they will be taking to bring you a Mazda worthy of the 21st century.

As a part of this new direction that Mazda is taking, the Director of Communications briefly highlighted The Shinari. He didn't go into specifics but my mission for MotorMavens was clear - to find as much information about this car as possible. Not to mention, it wouldn't be MotorMavens if I couldn't find good pictures as well, right?   Read more...

CENTER STAGE> Audi A8 That Belly Scrapes

It’s been quite a while since the last time we featured a ride from the guys over at Rotiform… Well, you’re in luck! I was able to get the full scoop on Jason Whipple's 2000 Audi A8 and, while it's an over-sized, VIP-style automobile, it nonetheless exudes the luxury and class of the $100,000 price tag of its time. A certain song comes to mind when looking at this ride - it almost emanates a certain Oh You Fancy, Huh? attitude…

I was able to steal Jason away on an uneventful Saturday morning to do the shoot, which took place in Southern California. On the way to our location, MotorMavens Crew photographer Oliver Petalver opted to take full advantage of the scenery by hanging from the window to take some dope rolling shots. They turned out pretty awesome, don’t you think?

Funny thing, though - while photo pro Oliver was hanging out the window of our chase car, Jason aired the car out to get that menacing, low effect... and Jason’s face immediately went from smiling for the camera to a certain heightened awareness of the road surface. The A8 was literally scraping on every little dip, pothole, reflector, manhole cover - I mean EVERYTHING. It was quite a sight to behold because the car was sparking, rubbing and making wonderful sounds as it scraped along the Pacific Coast Highway while onlookers gawked and stared. Members of the "functional" crowd may insert your favorite "hella" joke here.   Read more...

WEBMINING > Ferrari 612 GTO Concept

Getting a design off the drawing board and into development can be an arduous task in the best of times but, after Ferrari's release of the 599 GTO, it may be quite some time before we see this beauty on the roads. So, if you're like me, you're asking "what has Ferrari planned for us in 2012 to replace the over-sized, grand tourer 612 Scaglietti?" Berlin-based designer Sasha Selipanov, AKA "The Angry Car Designer", has conjured up one fantastic design possibility for Big Brother's replacement.

This killer 612 GTO concept combines the sinuous lines of Ferrari's latest models with a nod to the famed 250 GTO. Just try to remember that the pictures you are now salivating over...are just renderings. Sorry to burst any newbie bubbles but any exposure to the renderings and concept cars of this industry should leave us all with one clear message: this may very well be the most beautiful car never to be built. After all, there is more than a slight chance that this design won't make it past the design room. However, despite the unfortunate realities of auto design and manufacturing, Selipanov continues to design drop dead gorgeous super cars.   Read more...

VIDEO> Low-Familia 2010 Wörthersee

Official Wörthersee 2010 Video of the Low-Familia from Thomas Diewald on Vimeo.

Every year, droves of Euro-inspired enthusiasts come out to a little city in Austria for a fun-filled weekend of girls, beer, cars (and more beer). This year there were some amazing cars –  from a first gen Volkswagen rabbit (Mk1) swapped with a 1.8t to sick Audis sitting just right on big wheels riding on Air.

I have to hand it to the Europeans, they sure know how to do up their rides – everything from getting the stance of the car just perfect to even the minute details in chrome and the polishing of every single nut and bolt. That’s just pure dedication. The theme that seems to be running all throughout Europe is Air-ride. I saw it much more this year than ever before. The versatility and ride quality were just amazing – it just makes sense.

Here’s a video from the guys at LOW-FAMILIA as I just happened to come across their video and thought I might share it amongst you guys to give you a sneak peek at how the Europeans do up their rides.

Big -ups to Thomas Dieweld for putting together such a sick video of the show.

For more info click the link below

Low-Familia

:: Tamer Omran


CARSPOTTING> 1965 Type II Volkswagen Bus

Many of us are dreamers, striving toward our dreams and goals, stopping at nothing to reach that finish line. Rolando Alvarado’s 1965 Type II Volkswagen Bus took 30+ years to cross the metaphorical finish line - but what a great finish line to cross!

Growing up, Rolando was always a fan of the air-cooled Volkswagen scene and it quickly became a personal goal of his to acquire one. It was his father’s 1954 European oval window VW Bug that got his heart pumping and started his love for the air-cooled engines. Despite that, it took a while for Rolando to realize his dream. It wasn’t until 1980 that he finally got his very first VW. Of course, being the die-hard VW head that he is, it ended up being a 69’ VW Bug.

The first time I laid eyes on this Bus, I just knew that there had to be a story behind it. To many, a Bus may just be another form of transportation, but to me this iconic Bus was a moment in a time when life was a lot simpler - the time of Wood Stock, hippies running through Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco, Jefferson Airplane...good times. During the photo shoot, this Bus almost became a time capsule to channel what life was like back then - an icon to remind us how things used to be.   Read more...

CARSPOTTING> AC Schnitzer E34 BMW 5 Series

For some people, a car may be just a way to get from one place to the next. However, for guys like Adam Luong, it’s all about how you look on the way. If you were driving around town in this 1995 E34 5 Series, you can understand how a guy could feel that way.

It’s a rarity to see a 16 year old car in as pristine condition as this. Since my encounters with most 5 series bimmers leave much to be desired, it's always a pleasure to discover one that has been built right - call it a pleasant surprise. This specimen is so clean that, to the untrained eye, it appears almost to have just rolled off the Bavarian assembly line yesterday.

You may recall that, back in the 1990s, the BMW 5 Series was the top mid-sized sedan in its class - a class with very little competition. It was a must have for dads all across suburbia. Well, little has changed since then except that the 5 series has grown up to become a more elegant machine jam packed with enough gizmos and gadgetry to make a technologically inclined person go into mental overload. I could go on and 0n about my take on how the technological interface in modern BMWs dilutes the driving experience, that's not what we're here for. Today, it's all about Adam Luong and his little piece of 5 Series heaven.

It was actually Antonio who first spotted this fine specimen at the Wek'fest in San Francisco. When he saw it again at the Bimmerfest in Pasadena, he told me about it and caught my full attention when he said that it was the cleanest E34 he'd ever seen. With a guy like Antonio saying that, I just had to see for myself. When I saw the car in person, I just had to agree.   Read more...

CENTER STAGE> Rotiform’s A4 Avant on the Floor

One thing about lining up a photo shoot is that sometimes it doesn't always go according to plan. After several months of planning, I was finally able to lock down a shoot date with Brian Henderson's 2010 B8 Audi A4 Avant. This, my friends, is what I would call a truly magnificent piece of machinery. Everything about it oozes class and originality - and who doesn't like class and originality?

After hanging around for awhile talking "car guy stuff" with Brian and Jason Whipple, the two guys who run the Rotiform shop, I was able to find out a little bit more about Brian's previous car history. Much more than just the car, I was interested in getting to know the reasoning behind the choice of the beautiful B8 Audi A4 Avant you see here as well as the motivating force behind Rotiform.   Read more...

NEWSWORTHY> Audi Sweeps Le Mans 24H Podium!

AUDI 24hr Le Mans 2010 Circuit De Sarthe Mulsanne audi #9 Mike Rockenfeller Romain Dumas Timo Bernhard Wolfang Ullrich

At this year’s 78th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the infamous high-speed Circuit De Sarthe in France, Audi R15 TDI Plus stood the test of time against their faster opponent – the Peugeot 908 HDI. It was the ultimate battle of the tortoise and the hare, where the tortoise came out triumphant in this modern take on an old fable. With a little patience and a lot of strategy, the Audis were able to capture their ninth Le Mans victory – placing Audi in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place on the podium!

These past two days, I saw myself riding a roller coaster of emotions as I watched the Peugeots take the lead throughout the race; however, I was hopeful in seeing how everything would play out during the course of  the 24 hours. To those familiar with Le Mans, it’s by far the ultimate endurance race; testing both man and machine. It has got to be one of the most exciting races in the world, as it’s a battle of wits, not brawn. It’s a challenge to see who can go the distance and last the longest, and Audi has proven itself time and time again.

This year, the Audi #9 car took first, Audi #8 car took second, and the # 7 car took third – driven by the Great Dane Tom Kristensen, who has been atop the podium during the past nine years at Le Mans, giving him a personal total of eight victories at 24H Le Mans! Truly a remarkable feat.

The picture above shows the drivers of the Audi #9 car (Mike Rockenfeller, Romain Dumas, and Timo Bernhard) celebrating with the head of Audi Sport, Director Wolfgang Ullrich. On behalf of the Motor Mavens Crew, I’d like to congratulate the Audi TDI team on their longstanding success and their win of this year’s 2010 Le Mans. Audi has entered the history books with the ultimate 1-2-3 win.  Amazing!

:: Tamer Omran


CARSPOTTING> Historic Ferrari 625/250 Testa Rossa

Several weeks ago, I spotted this immaculate Ferrari 625/250 Testa Rossa sitting all by itself in the middle of Colorado Blvd while I was at the Concorso Ferrari show in Old Town Pasadena, CA.

With so many amazing Ferraris lining the street, I was really lucky to have met the owner (most of them were away from their vehicles) and talk to him a little bit about the car, while chief MotorMaven Antonio Alvendia shot photos. It wasn’t until I got home, however, that I discovered the rich history of this car and its owner - Bruce Meyer.

Bruce Meyer has been a renowned classic car collector for years and is widely known for his collection of cars - a collection which contains such prized pieces as Clark Gable's Mercedes 300SL convertible, Steve McQueen’s Porsche 356, and even the classic Concours d'Elegance show-winning Duesenberg. He’s also the founding chairman of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, CA. These bullet points are all extremely impressive, but we can always revisit Mr Meyer's background at another time - I want to talk about the gorgeous silver car in the photos!   Read more...

WEBMINING> Porsche 356… with Audi V8?!

During the short while that I have been in the automotive sector of journalism, I've got to admit I have been fortunate enough to have seen some pretty crazy projects to say the least. However, after seeing this, I was absolutely stunned at the fact that any sane person would attempt something as monumental as this. I came across this forum thread as I was searching for some immaculate Porsche 356s one night. After numerous search engines and countless visits to Porsche related forums, a tagline in bold letters read "Porsche 356 with an Audi V8 on KustomCoachworks.com. I immediately got to thinking, "You can't be serious - how the heck would anyone tackle the enormous feat of shoving a 4.2L 360hp Audi V8 from an S5 into the back of this tiny 1950s Porsche 356? They must be mad!"

As I spent most of my time starring at thread pictures and scratching my head as to how he was going to accomplish this, it soon became evident that the person behind the build truly has a pair of big bullocks. Grant or "Crafty" as he is commonly known as on the forums, is currently residing in Hong Kong. I can't say I've seen anyone even attempt something of this magnitude stateside. I was truly amazed by how extensive this project was turning out. No surface on the car was left untouched, as Mr. Grant took on everything himself - from the widening of the shell in order to incorporate the massive V8, to the custom intake ducts that now take the place of the rear quarter windows.   Read more...

COVERAGE> Concorso Ferrari on Pasadena Streets

Last weekend, I made the trek out from my Orange County home to meet up with Antonio Alvendia at the Concorso Ferrari, where the streets of Old Town Pasadena were closed down and overrun by tons of gorgeous, shiny Ferraris as far as the eye could see.

We don't normally attend these types of events to shoot coverage for our website, but since this all happened right next to where Antonio lives, we figured we should check it out. Anyway, who wouldn't want to spend the day with tons of beautiful Italian cars? I was dumbfounded by how many gorgeous looking Ferraris turned up to fill up all of Pasadena's famous Colorado Boulevard.   Read more...

SHOPAHOLIC> GMG Racing Open House

This past weekend, there were far too many events to cover, but I decided to make a quick stopover at the Global Motorsports Group (GMG) open house event. Antonio Alvendia, Edward Uche and I made the trek out to Santa Ana, California to check out some of the race-spec Porsches as well as the other customer cars that made it out on Saturday.

For you MotorMavens readers out there who aren't familiar with GMG (a Porsche tuning company), here's a little info. Founded in 2001 by James Sofronas and Fabryce Kutyba, GMG quickly rose up in the ranks as a premier tuning facility through racing in the SCCA World Challenge GT Series and ALMS race series. The guys were able to draw on their extensive racing background (with knowledge gained through painstaking R&D) to bring racing performance to their customers' street cars. GMG's primary focus is Porsches, but their shop doesn't shy away from Ferraris, Audis and Volkswagens - they cater to all German/Italian automobiles.   Read more...

WEBMINING> The Porsche GT3R Hybrid

Porsche has been at the forefront of hybrid technology development since long before any other car makers, which is why Porsche's unveiling of the GT3R Hybrid racecar at the Geneva Auto Show this past month (along with its announcement of the car's participation in the 24H Nurburgring race this May) came as no surprise to me.

While researching this new GT3R Hybrid, I stumbled upon some interesting facts. For example, this isn’t the first time that Porsche has toyed with "green" technology. Over a hundred years ago, Porsche's founder (Ferdinand Porsche), began his automotive career by making electric hubs that were later put into the wheels of horse carriages. In 1900, Porsche unveiled his hub motor design at the World’s Fair in Paris. Most people thought at the time that an electric driven carriage would be an epic fail. (But they didn't say it in those exact words, LOL) Little did they know that what Mr. Porsche was doing would become a precursor to another "green" technology in a century or so.   Read more...

WEBMINING> Passat CC, Tucking Tire in Texas!

I was recently on the VWVortex Forum clicking through the classifieds and searching for some parts for my broken Mk2 GTI... that's when I stumbled across this beautiful 2008 Volkswagen Passat CC from Alvin, Texas.

The first thing I did was pick up my jaw and wipe away the drool. I know, as any other VW/Audi owner would, that the Bentley rims are normally considered expensive and a bit overdone, but not in this case! In this particular instance, they shed new light on just how aggressive the CC can look on mono block wheels.

For the readers out there that think this might be Photoshopped, think again - it’s the real deal. These pictures of the CC drew me in and made me want to find more information about the owner. However, finding the owner of this ride was more difficult than I expected. After days of posting on forums and other online outlets (i.e. Facebook, MySpace, etc.), I was beginning to give up hope... but then I received an email from the owner, so after all of the suspense of whether I'd find him or not, I thought I'd let him tell his own story with just a little help from me.   Read more...

WEBMINING> DTM Mercedes 190 RM1 V8 Judd

The sound of the full-throttle beast in this video brings a smile to my face every time I watch this.

This Mercedes Benz 190E is powered by a Judd 3.5L V8 F1 engine (Ex Brabham F1 car from the early 90′s). It is a race car which was used in the French Super Touring Car Championship and built after FIA changed their rules and regulations on painted bodies. (I know, that millimeter of paint does add weight, especially when lead was one of the key ingredients.) The power that this behemoth of a car made back in the early 1990s, when most cars didn’t even break the 200hp mark was astonishing. This DTM Benz 190E made an amazing 564 horsepower at a screaming  9900rpm, and coupled with a Hewland 6-speed sequential gearbox, doing 0-62mph only took 2.7 seconds! Talk about knocking you back in your seat!

Unfortunately, this car never made it to a racing series on the track, as it was only built for show purposes and exhibitions (ie: Goodwood Festival of Speed). Believe me, you won’t be disappointed by this short 2 minute video. I may warn you, watch it at your own risk: side effects may include, anxiety, uneasiness, stomach cramps, and blurred vision. Please turn your speakers way up for this, as just the sound of the 190E screaming past at full throttle is like a symphony written by the best composer in the world. Enjoy!

:: Tamer Omran


VIDEO> Audi Quattro Sport S1 Rally Gr.B

Like I mentioned in my first post on MotorMavens, I am somewhat of a Euro car nut and I pretty much live for motorsports – from the sound to the tire-flavored scent…ahhh.  So while I was racking my brain figuring out what I should post next on MotorMavens, inspiration struck. What better way to do this than to pay tribute to the granddaddy of four wheel drive – the Audi Quattro?

Back in the day (the early 80s), the Quattro had a huge advantage over its front and rear wheel competitors – so much so that it completely changed the face of racing; particularly in rally. The Subaru Impreza, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, the Cosworth Ford Escort, and the Lancia Delta Integrale are all brilliant four wheel drive road cars, but I think none of them would’ve existed without the introduction of the Quattro. Not only did it spawn the template for what we now think of as a “proper” four wheel drive car, but it revolutionized motorsport and changed the way we think of performance cars forever. For those familiar with 80’s Hip Hop – the Quattro is the Rakim of four wheel drive. If you disagree, read the first three words of the previous sentence – carefully.

To think that such an important car was created when a dozen Audi engineers decided to hook up unofficially and solve a problem that was considered a pipedream before the 1970s – how does one get power to all four wheels on a road car?  The results of their efforts blew the hinges off of the world of motorsport with the Quattro winning on its first rally outing. It won the Austrian round of the European championship and then went on to win the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 1982, 1983, and 1984. Needless to say, the four-wheel-drive experiment was an instant success. (more…)


CARSPOTTING> AE Performance Porsche GT3 RS

Hello MotorMavens readers! My name is Tamer Omran, and I'm a new writer on the MotorMavens website. Just to put it out there - I am somewhat of a euro-car nut (I used to be an intern at European Car Magazine) and I pretty much spend most of my extra time going to Euro-related events. I'm hooked - I love this stuff and I hope you can see the love in my future posts.

By now you're probably thinking, "Enough already, dude, what's up with the sexy car?" You may even be asking where I got the plane for this shot. Well, this picture was totally a fluke. While wandering aimlessly around AE Performance's shop, which is located at the Chino private air field, we happened to stumble upon this nice gentleman's immaculate 1939 Lockheed executive twin prop plane. In the early 1940s, this was the plane of choice for shuttling around the ultra wealthy. Over 70 years later, it makes for an amazing shot, doesn't it?

The Porsche GT3 is no slouch. It's the embodiment of the whole "rear-engined sports car" vibe. Just climbing into one evokes a Zen-like feeling of oneness with the road. For me, what makes a Porsche so great (I mean, besides those sexy hips it calls fenders) is the tone the engine produces at idle or wide open throttle - siiiick. It's everything from the undeniable racing pedigree to the fact that Porsche actually took out a patent on the 911 body style. Need I say more?

Straight out of the box, the GT3 is ready to conquer any track you throw at it. But for some people, that's just not enough. This particular Porsche is for those people. For them, Porsche decided to put the GT3 on a strict diet regimen to shed some unnecessary weight - a mere 44lbs. "What good is that," you say? Let me tell you - it makes a huge difference. So when I heard that the guys at AE Performance had a rare white Euro-spec 2007 Porsche GT3 RS sitting at their shop, I just had to check it out!   Read more...

WEBMINING> DTM Battle for Deutschland

Wow, this has got to be one of the best videos i have ever seen on YouTube. I just happened to stumble upon this 2009 DTM recap video, as I’ve been really hooked on DTM cars lately.

For those of you not really familiar with DTM, heres some history behind it. The DTM Series (or Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, which translated, means German Touring Car Masters) started out in 1984 and was only exclusive to Germany. In the early years, race fans found DTM racing very exciting, due to the fender-to-fender action and violent crashes. Unfortunately, the original DTM series came to an abrupt halt after the 1996 season… so Thank God the series was revived in 2000.

In my opinion as a Euro-car nut, I don’t think any race series even compares to DTM, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. This video is from last year, but it’s still incredibly exciting to watch. Watching the Mercedes AMG C-class and the Audi A4 duke it out… I just don’t think it gets much better than this.

:: Tamer Omran