Machinery has never looked this good.

Now, we're going to let you into a little secret here - a secret that's defined the course of almost every male homo sapien's life ever since the first Model-T rolled off that assembly line oh-so-many moons ago.

Chicks dig cars.

No, we're not pulling your collective leg here - it's a well-established fact, backed up by long hours of painstaking research. The cooler your wheels, the lower the probability of spending Saturday night alone.

And since we know just how much you need that date [you dirty rotten geek, you!], we're going to point you to a few sites that should have the ladies panting for more...

Of course, along the way, you might find yourself so taken by the machinery on your screen that you forget the original reason for this exercise. We promise we won't hold it against you.

http://www.ferrari.com

The prancing horse from Maranello has a home on the Web - and what a home it is too! Broadly divided into sections on the company, the culture, and of course the cars, ferrari.com is decked out in red and white, and immediately brings to mind images of screaming rubber and aerodynamic vehicles.

The "Information" section contains specifications for serious buyers, while the "Culture" section contains a photo gallery of some of the major events in Ferrari's history, together with a section on the "Ferrari lifestyle" and information on Ferrari clubs and events.

Of particular interest is the "Automobiles" section, which offers photographs of past and present Ferrari models, and even allows you to indulge your wildest fantasies by choosing a Ferrari and painting it in whichever colour catches your fancy. Since we expect to be buying a couple of these babies soon, we spent quite some time here - and finally decided on silver!

http://www.porsche.com

Next on our shopping list - a Porsche Boxster. So we toddled along to the Porsche Web site and found it stocked to the gills with pictures and information on Porsche's sports cars. The site contains company information, photos of previous and current models, listings of parts and accessories, and descriptions of Porsche's participation in motorsport.

Ideally, of course, you'd like to own one of these cars - but until your net worth statement displays more than eight zeroes, you'll have to stay content with Porsche's interactive "Porsche Unlimited" area, which offers to fill your senses with the sights and sounds of a Porsche. Check out their picture postcards, their desktop wallpaper, their online games and their sound files of Porsche engines revving up. You know what they say about beggars not being choosers...

http://www.bmw.com

Easily one of the most eye-catching sites in this little collection, BMW's Web site is chock-full of information on "the ultimate driving machine". They're not joking either - the current model, the BMW Z8, is gorgeous...leather upholstery, brushed aluminium controls, and enough oomph to make a priest forget his vows of chastity!

Naturally, you can customize your BMW as well - the site has an online configuration tool designed just for that purpose. Also check out the photo gallery of previous BMWs, and take a look at the data sheets for current and older models [both cars and motorcycles]. And if you're into self-flagellation, we'd encourage you to look at the "Specials" section - it has a list of limited edition Beemers, none of which look like they come cheap!

http://www.mercedes.com

Now, while a Porsche is all very well when you're young [and stupid, perhaps?], you need something a little more...subdued, once you hit middle-age. And so, for everyone who's looking for a car that reveals your net worth in a classy, understated manner, there's always Mercedes-Benz.

The Mercedes-Benz Web site contains information on both passenger vehicles and commercial automobiles - since we're unlikely to ever drive a freight truck, we checked out the passenger vehicles section and came away dazzled by Mercedes' collection of convertibles, saloons, coupes and off-road vehicles. An online customizer lets you add your own individual identity to the car, and the site's section on innovation provides interesting insights into Mercedes' research and development departments.

Oh yeah...after we've picked up the Porsche and the Beemer, we definitely want a Cabriolet. Why, you ask? Why not, we reply...

http://www.fia.com

If you like fast cars, chances are good that you're a fan of Formula One motor racing. And the official site of the sport's governing body is definitely worth adding to your bookmark list, even though the site is a definite comedown after the glamour and style of ferrari.com and bmw.com.

The site offers press releases, brochures, road safety tips and information on the structure and functions of the FIA. A calendar of events is also available, together with championship classifications, safety and sporting regulations, equipment, news and links to related Web sites.

http://www.toyota.com

Have the will, but not the moolah? Well, if you're looking for something that's a little easier on the pocket, take a look at Toyota's online showroom, which contains descriptions and data sheets on all current models. Once you've located a car that you like, a dealer locator helps you find a showroom near you, while sections on finance and insurance attempt to answer those nagging questions about how much the whole deal is going to cost you.

A motorsports section keeps you in the loop on the races that Toyota's been winning, while an owners section has special offers and information of interest to existing owners.

http://www.hmn.com

Looking for classic cars, spare parts or classified advertisements? Look no further than Hemmings Motor News, classified by Forbes as one of the best Web sites for this kind of thing. The site is affiliated with the magazine of the same name.

Among the services this site offers: classified advertisements, an online auction, a dealer's showroom, price guides and a powerful search engine that lets you identify the cars that you're interested in and check them out in an online car show. Well-designed, this is one site that should be bookmarked by anyone who's serious about vintage cars...

http://www.moller.com

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to drive around in a flying car a la the Jetsons, visit Moller International's Web site and take a look at their SkyCar, an ambitious project to create a commercially viable "personal vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle."

Sounds like science fiction? The Web site goes out of its way to allay your skepticism, with detailed information on the technology and operation of this vehicle. Pictures are included, and the company expects to have a fully functional prototype later this year.

And that's about it for this week. Till next time...stay healthy!

This article was first published on 30 Jun 2000.