2014: My Year In Cars

When discussing the car-related aspects of my life as I look back at the year 2014, I can say without a doubt in my mind that this has been the best year of my life. The variety of experiences and opportunities I've had over the past 12 months to be in the presence of some of the most incredible cars in the world has been an incredible treat, so I would like to take some time to briefly summarize my experiences.

The first major automotive event for me of the 2014 year was the Chicago Auto Show in February. This show, although not one of the biggest events on the calendar, still provided me an opportunity to see some incredible cars. There, I finally saw the first and only Bugatti Veyron and Lexus LFA Nurburgring Edition I have ever encountered. It also gave me the chance to see some brand new cars in person for the first time, such as the SLS AMG GT Final Edition, the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe and the BMW i8. Overall it was a great experience and I'm very much looking forward to the next show in just a few short months.

The next event, or series of events, which I attended this year for the first time are the Supercar Saturdays events held in the suburbs of Chicago. These events allow owners of an incredible variety of cars to bring their cars and showcase them in monthly meetings. Each of the three events I attended featured some absolutely breathtaking cars, from the legendary Ferrari F40 to the menacing SLS AMG Black Series. Every event I went to presented the opportunity to take an up-close look at cars I had never seen before in person. My first experiences with cars such as the 430 Scuderia, Testarossa, Aventador Roadster, Ariel Atom and many more were included during the time I spent enjoying these events.

My most enjoyable time spent around cars this year arrived at the end of May, after I graduated from high school, as my dad and I took a weeklong trip to one of the best supercar-making countries in the world: Italy. While there, I spent time with the three kings of the Italian supercar world: Pagani, Ferrari, and Lamborghini.

My time at the Pagani factory is something I will never forget. Upon opening the gate to the garage and allowing my small tour group to enter the grounds of the factory, we were immediately greeted by a two-tone, gold and yellow Huayra, the first Huayra I had ever seen. I was blown away and immediately started taking pictures, as I was in awe of the incredible hypercar. Once inside the showroom of the factory, sitting next to each other were arguably two of the coolest cars I had ever seen. The first Pagani Huayra ever produced, sitting next to the first Zonda Cinque Roadster ever produced. Two chassis number 001 hypercars in the same room, it felt like a dream. After getting a good amount of time to thoroughly examine the cars and take as many pictures as possible, we were lead through the factory to see how these incredible automobiles were made. From the incredible carbon fiber bodywork to setting up the electronics and that insane AMG V12, we were walked through every stage of the process. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed in the factory, but you'll just have to believe me when I say that I saw 7 Huayras, 4 Zondas and 2 Zonda R racecars being worked on that day. It was an absolutely magical experience and I hope I will never forget the incredible cars I saw there.

My automotive adventure continued as I visited both of Ferrari's incredible museums, before hopping onto a tour bus and driving through the small town of buildings that made up the factory. In the museums, I was completely and repeatedly blown away by the incredible cars on display. Everything from the LaFerrari and Enzo to the 250 GT California was on display, and I loved every single minute of it. Seeing the first California T on display, right next to a 599 SA Aperta, was absolutely incredible, and the sheer amount of incredible race cars located in the factories blew my mind. Upon entering the museum in Maranello, you are immediately greeted with a line of old F1 cars, leading to a room containing, among others, a F40 LM and a 458 GT2. Seeing the change in mid-engined Ferrari racecars over the decades was nothing short of astounding. Located in the back of the factory was a hall full of championship winning F1 cars and a massive wall covered in trophies. It was one of the most special places I've ever been, and seeing all those cars in one place was a huge privilege. As my dad and I left the Ferrari factory, I noticed a Lancia Stratos sitting in the parking lot outside. That was just a bonus, I guess, and I was extremely happy to get the chance to see one of those. As we climbed on to the tour buses and made our way towards the world-famous Fiorano test track, I heard ungodly noises of engines screaming as cars were pushed to their limits on the track. The facilities were beautiful and the track looked astonishing, and I couldn't help but daydream about driving around it as we drove away towards the factory. Once inside the factory, I saw not one, but two LaFerraris casually driving down the central road. One was yellow, but the other was painted in possibly the best color I have ever seen on the LaFerrari: Tour De France Blue. It was breathtaking, and I have never been more tempted to take a picture of something I wasn't supposed to. But, sadly, I practiced some self-control and didn't. As the factory tour continued, I saw a number of other fantastic-looking cars rolling around as we were told about the purpose and function of each of the important-looking buildings.

The following day, it was finally time to visit the craziest of all supercar makers: Lamborghini. Unfortunately, as production of the Huracan was just getting started, the factory was closed to the public, but I was still able to walk through the museum and drool over some of the most incredible cars of all time. A 350 GT, 400 GT, Miura and Countach greeted me immediately after walking inside, and there was much more to look at behind them. Along the back wall of the first floor, a Diablo 6.0 SE sat proudly next to its younger descendant, the Murcielago SV. Even the LM002, the weird, military-looking, off road thing, looked pretty intimidating standing in the back. Walking upstairs to the second floor of the museum is what really caught my attention. Immediately upon entering the second floor, I stood face-to-face with the Sesto Elemento, with a Reventon just 10 feet to my right. These are two of the rarest and most extreme Lamborghinis ever, and I had been dreaming about seeing them in person for years. The second floor also included a variety of concept cars, as well as the Police Gallardo and a mean-looking Diablo GTR. Every car in the room just looked and felt absolutely mental, which has lead to me appreciating Lamborghini even more for its insane creations. I mean, what other company has a display of their V12 flagship supercar mounted on a wall? It's crazy, but it works. As I headed down to the gift shop, two other cars sat separated from the others, an Aventador Roadster and the bat shit crazy Egoista concept. Seeing that in the flesh was extremely cool, as that is one of the most badass single-seaters I've ever seen. As I left the museum, they had brought a brand new Huracan out from the factory to sit mingle with the Aventador Roadster sitting out front, and I was fortunate enough to get a very good look at its exterior and interior before one of the test drivers took it away for some runs on the local roads. My experience in Italy was one of the best weeks of my life, and seeing all those incredible supercars and hypercars is an experience that I will hopefully never forget.

In conclusion, it is probably very obvious to you why I considered this to be the best car year of my life. The experiences I had and the cars I saw were nothing short of incredible, and  I am beyond thankful for all of it. From museums and factory tours to simple car spotting on the streets, I did my best to enjoy it all as much as possible. Below is a collection of some of the pictures I've taken over the course of the year. They were all taken on my iPhone 5 so they're not going to be the best quality, but nonetheless I hope you can enjoy looking at them half as much as I enjoyed taking them. So goodbye to 2014 and all the blessings it brought with it. If 2015 is half as good as this year, I will be happy. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from me, and from OSL!

Just click on the picture to shuffle through the gallery!