The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on April 2, 1979 · Page 134
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 134

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Monday, April 2, 1979
Page 134
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CONVERTED FERRARI BOXERS Firm coverts import into supercar that hits 188 m.p.h. Picture an artist's studio somewhere in Italy. A young man is designing an exotic car something fantastic something that will cruise at 225 m.pJi. or go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. He hands the drawing to his brother, who brother goes to the machines and begins to create the parts out of metal to build this supercar. The scene is not Italy but Hermosa Beach. At Trend Imports, Albert and Jack Mardikian create dream cars for California's ultra-enthusiasts. "We build cars for the discrirninating enthusiast using purebred cars like Ferraris as our base vehicle and going on from there," said Albert Mardikian, the younger brother. The Ferrari Boxer Berlinetta 512 is the basis of the Mardikian-modified car. It comes from the factory with a flat twelve cylinder engine mounted amidships. The engine in stock form pumps out 360 horsepower at 7,100 r.pjn, and through a five-speed transmission, propels the car to 188 m.p.h. The Ferrari'Boxer is not actually legal in the U.S. in stock form because Ferrari does not import the car. (Ferrari only imports the 308GTB ang GTS at the present time). But Trend Imports takes privately owned and imported Ferrari Boxers and makes them legal through a complex process in which the cars are made to conform to applicable emissions and safety regulations. The conversion of an illegal car to a legal one is not inexpensive. In addition to the price of the car in Europe, the price of transport and the bond that must be posted with the government to insure it is converted, the cost of converting a Boxer is roughly $17,000. "Many of my customers are doctors highly skilled professionals," said Albert. "They like things perfect And a Ferrari Boxer Berlinetta is as close as you are going to get to the ultimate sports car." The 512 Boxer is converted by the Mardikian brothers to a Targa. Albert Mardikian, 32, is the designer of the team while his older brother. Jack, 47, is the engineering fabricator. Both have worked with exotic cars for many yearsiil "There's nothing like the wind in your hair when driving a sports car," said Albert. "Beverly Hills is the place where you drive a car like this to see and be seen, and you can certainly be seen better in a convertible or Targa." There was more than a year of development behind the creation of the Turbo Targa. "When you remove the roof, you get a lot of flexing," Albert said. "It took over a year of adding structural members to the chassis to dial the rigidity back into the structure." The increase in speed came from the fuel injection and the twin turbos. "We replaced the carburetors with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection so as to eliminate the 'turbo lag' that afflicts some turbocharged cars," he said. "And the injection also greatly improves the drivea-bility around town compared to the stock Webers. It's also better for emissions." The twin turbochargers increase the horsepower by as much as 40 during the maximum boost stage. The turbochargers begin to pack in air as low as 1500 r.p.m. and continue to pack in air until the peak of 8,000 r.p.m. is reached. "This car is so fast," said Albert, "that it is difficult for anyone who is not a race driver to adjust to the speed of the scenery flying past "The boost comes in strong at 3,000 r.p.m. like a giant hand pushing you trom Deiuno. The O-to-60 ntpJi. time is 3.5 seconds. which is one second faster than the '427 Cobra, formerly considered the fastest car ever sold in the United States. Trend Imports is known among Ferrari enthusiasts as the "Boxer Headquarters U.S.A." The firm is responsible for modifying the majority of Boxers presently in the VS. and plans to make about 12 Targa conversions a year. The firm also owns, sells many other super high speed exotics, including the 170-m.pJi. Ferrari Daytona, the 192-m.p.h. Lamborghini Countach and the 155-m.pJi. Ferrari 400 Automatic. Why build a super-fast gas-consuming car when U.S. citizens are faced with $1 a gallon gas and an energy shortage? "There's no necessity," said Albert, "for all the world's automakers to build tiny economy cars. There's room for a whole spectrum of cars a whole range. Our Boxers and Turbo Targa are on the far end of that spectrum for those perfectionists who want the absolute best in an exotic car-something you can't buy anywhere, even in Italy where the Ferrari is made." ATLANTIC Continued from Second Page which suspension parts are hung and the fiberglass body is mounted. All entries use one compound of Goodyear tires, which reduces the cost to competitors of having to carry different types of tires for different tracks. Because all teams use engines that are virtually identical in power and there is little difference in the handling and speed of the various chassis, the class is considered a driver's fornula. With many of the variables equalized, the premium is on a driver's ability. It is this characteristic of Formula Atlantic racing that has led Bernie Eccles-tone, head of the Formula One Constructors Assn. and owner of the Brabham Grand Prix team, to call Formula Atlantic one of the most viable and relevant training grounds for aspiring Grand Prix drivers in the world today.. GRAND PRIX Continued from Second Page zoni, Laffite and Depailler all are part of the Grand Prix scene. The festive weekend includes Formula Atlantic and Toyota Pro-Celebrity racing, which means Gene Hackman, Clint Eastwood, Fred Dryer, Kitty O'Neal, Don Prudhomme, Al Unser, Tom Sneva, Jane Kennedy and James Brolin will be performing the the shadow of the majestic Queen Mary just across the bay. The dizzying array of special events leading up to the big race includes T-Shirt and Fiddling contests, chili cook-offs, art exhibits, country-western concerts, a Nike 10,000 meter run, champagne receptions, media brunches and celebrity discos. . Grand Prix founder Christopher R. Pook, who visualized all of this some five years ago; Lurbi Lon, adding financial support as sponsor of the event and the City of Long Beach are co-sponsors of the Grand Prix. "Tflii wm !l!!i!ljniBi iRojHPrirjr-itf'u' iig i Z.sZ I,,, Ill .Mlll'l covens cars. Grand Prix cars. Stock cars. Indy cars. IMSA cars. If ifs got an engine, four wheels and a number on its door, you can be sure ifs covered in The Times Sports Section. And because auto racing is important to so many Southern Calif ornians, The Times has a skilled writer who has made it his beat. His name: Shav Glick. And he gives you the world of auto racing. Subscribe to all the action. To make sure you don't miss a single word, from the quaHfying laps to the checkered flags, fill out the coupon below and become a Times subscriber. Public Relations DepartmentLos Angeles Times Times Mirror SquareLos Angeles, California .90053 Please start delivery of the daily and Sunday Times to my home at the rate of SI. 60 per week and continue until further notice. NAME. ADDRESS. CITY .APT.. -ZIP TELEPHONE. GP

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