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Old 10th March 2004, 01:56   #1
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Default Mercedes Benz SLR - Jay Lenos latest acquisition

Amazing new owner report of the Merc SLR by Jay Leno. I especially likes the sentimental way in which he speaks about his first love - the Mclaren F1.

"My favourite car designer is Gordon Murray, creator of the McLaren F1. I've got an F1 and the minute I heard that Murray was the man designing the Mercedes SLR, I put my name down for one. Then Mercedes flew me and a dozen other guys from LA to Spain to get a taste of a pre-production SLR at the Idiada track near Barcelona. You never heard of any supercar company doing that. You never hear of Enzo owners coming down and beating the hell out of an Enzo for the weekend. What Mercedes were saying really was come on down and see if you can break the thing. So what you've got is lot of lead-footed guys like me who don't really know what they are doing bombing round a track. And I did this for 12 hours. I must have done a couple of hundred miles.

It was an enormous track. It was 7.3 kilometres, almost 5 miles round. I got the SLR up to 207mph, 209mph even, whatever the speedo said. Basically, as fast as it will go. There was banking so you could take your hands off the wheel which I did. And this car at 200mph was just sooo stable it was unbelievable.

It isn't the fastest I've ever been. I've been in a jet car on the Nevada salt flats at over 300mph. But the SLR felt quick. The sense of speed was everywhere. Guys would pull into the pits, stomp on the brakes - literally fire coming out of the carbon discs. There would be sparks. I would say, "Hey there's a fire!" and the engineers would say, "Zat is not a fire. Zat is only the heat from the brake. Do not vorry."

And nobody did. There were 20 guys beating the shit out of a car for two days. They invited everyone who put down a deposit to beat the hell out of the car. I know that if I'd been in a McLaren F1 for two days with all those people driving it, the clutch would have gone after day one or two. Where as with this it was BEOOW, BEEOW, BEEOW - just constantly pounding, shifting. Then it would come in, the car would sit there for a minute or two whilst we changed and then it was back up to 200, on the brakes, through the slalom. And you know what? Absolutely nothing broke and nothing overheated.

That's what I really like about it - it's a real world car. You can actually use it. I like the Enzo, but it's like wearing a bikini on Main Street. I don't think you can park an Enzo anywhere without people bumping it. This you probably could. And the Enzo is good looking because it's a Ferrari, not because it's good looking. If someone said that was the new Invicta they'd say, "uh-huh, that's nice".

I saw Jay Kay's Enzo in black and I have to admit it looks much more interesting than in red. I just get annoyed that here in the States the oil for the Enzo is $60 a quart. It's oil! I mean there's no reason to charge that. The SLR runs on Mobil 1, $4.99 a quart.

So I like the real-world practicality of the SLR. I mean it's comfortable. It's got airbags and all that kind of nonsense. Mercedes really wanted us there to get some feedback on the details. Do you want the noise louder or softer? Do you want 18-inch wheels or 19-inch wheels? (I think everyone went for the 19-inch wheels.) I prefer manual transmission but there is the paddle-shift deal or fully automatic. You get both and can change between them.

Compared to a McLaren F1? Well, there is nothing purer to me than the McLaren. No power brakes, no power steering. There's no substitute for lightness. The McLaren is literally the lightest go-kart in the world. You work the clutch, you work the brake. There's no traction control. Nobody's going to save you. You are responsible for everything that happens. It's amazing. It has all the best features of the cars of the last century. You get involved. There will never be anything like it again. It is the greatest experience in the world. This is more like the ultimate Mercedes. It is the best of both worlds. Think of it like having sex with an aerobics instructor. You're exhausted and panting and she's going, 'Are you done? Is that it?' I mean how many guys are as good as these cars?

So what else did I like about the SLR? Its 617 horsepower for one thing. There's tremendous response. It really kicks. There's comfort, sport and racing shifts. And the racing shifts are faster than you can shift by hand. But paddle shifts are like putting your dick in a milking machine - it's more efficient but just not as much fun.

I like big front-engined rear-wheel-drive cars, although this is really a mid-engined car. I like the V8, the sound it makes. I like the compactness of the driving compartment. It was beautiful. When I sat in the Enzo there were shut lines half an inch wide. As a German car made in Britain, I'd say the precision felt German, the crispness of the car felt German, but the handling of the car is the English part. It's 800 or 900 pounds heavier than a McLaren, but it is as light as it could corporately be. There is nothing like satellite navigation, no electric seat adjustment. Why do you need an electric motor anyway? If you can't reach down and manually adjust the seat, what in the hell is wrong with you?

But it felt funny to be doing 200mph and turn up the air conditioning, turn the blower up just another notch going round at that speed. It made me laugh. Like I said earlier, I will buy anything Gordon Murray designs. If he's making a new car, put me down for one, that's my attitude. I would put him above Enzo Ferrari because he was never an engineer.

As for where I'll drive the SLR, anywhere is the answer.That's the beauty of it, you can use it anywhere. I'll find some deserted areas in the desert to take it. But I've got to hang about until they've built it first! I can't wait, but to be honest, it's not as if I've got nothing else to drive in the meantime."

Original article can be sourced at Top Gear article
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Old 10th March 2004, 02:51   #2
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Interesting article...........

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Old 10th March 2004, 13:29   #3
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Hey Great article Jay Leno does have an awesome collection of cars

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Old 11th March 2004, 00:01   #4
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Wow, this makes me respect the SLR a bit more.

The only things that im like "hmmmmm?" about is the fact that 20 people went for 2days and Leno drove the car for 12hours. Even assuming that the car was on the track for 48hours straight....that bugger really hogged it! hahahaha.....i would do the same

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Old 11th March 2004, 00:09   #5
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Yeah this was a nice article I had read it couple of weeks back..when we had that mclaren discussion..I think dippy said that he had 5 McLarens and I was suprised. Thats when I came across this article..Anyhow he has some great collection of cars(vintage, new, sports, all sorts)..a great variety unlike jerry sienfield who is a porsche freak and has all sorts of porsches..from the 1st 911/porsche ever made..

anyhow jay was lucky 2 have raped this baby, I would have done the same

anyhow..i heard that he is a good collector of watches 2..

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Old 26th April 2005, 12:25   #6
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nice read....saw on TV once where they showed Leno's collection of cars....truly amazing!
I am not really fond of the SLR's looks though with its beak nose and predominantly F1 style look (like the Enzo) but it is a great super-car no doubt.
as for the McLaren F1 -- motoring heaven......
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Old 26th April 2005, 13:26   #7
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he's already taken delivery and written about it
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Old 26th April 2005, 14:08   #8
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Nice article. How often do we get to read first-person experiences of supercars like these, and that too being hammered around the track? Leno's a true car nut with an awesome collection of cars, especially vintage American muscle.

On a different note, I concur with what he said about the Enzo's design. People wouldnt most probably give it a second look if it wasnt a Ferrari. And the same goes for the new Merc CLS too. Just my 2c.
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Old 26th April 2005, 21:29   #9
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nice article --- keep going.......

Note From Moderator - Please do not post for the sake of posting. This is considered spamming and will be dealt with severly.

Last edited by Rehaan : 27th April 2005 at 10:14.
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Old 26th April 2005, 21:51   #10
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Mr Bean too had a Mclaren F1
He crashed it though
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Old 28th October 2005, 01:57   #11
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Lucky son of a gun Mr. Jay Leno....

Does he have a daughter who wants to marry soon? Age no bar, just as long as I can drive his cars baar baar.


Last edited by n_aditya : 28th October 2005 at 01:59.
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