Monthly Archives: April 2012

Autodromo launches Chronographs!

Let me just say that i’ve really gotten into watches in the last 6 months; and much of this blame goes to Mr. Bradley Price, a great friend and a full-on fellow automobile enthusiast who launched his line of Autodromo watches last autumn to my standing ovation.  As I type this post, I am wearing my black Autodromo Veloce with pride.

I can’t say enough good things about my Veloce.  It feels great on the wrist, looks magnificent in any setting, and is built with quality I quite frankly never see in a watch of this price range.  Sapphire coated glass, beautiful perforated black leather strap, total attention to detail, and hell it even came with an aluminium chassis card engraved with my watch number!  How many watch companies include a chassis number with a watch!?

Autodromo is now introducing two new Chronographs based on the successful Vallelunga line.  There is industrial prowess in these designs, and when he says the goal is to incorporate vintage and minimalist design ethos, he isn’t kidding.  I think if there were two words which described these watches perfectly it would be vintage and minimalist.

As motoring enthusiasts, we often search for objects which are inspired by motoring, however in an artful, graceful, and gentlemanly way.  Autodromo watches are functionally and artistically inspired by motoring; and those of us who understand the art of gauges and dashboards can appreciate this on first glance.

Oh and just look at the press release photos.  No further words are needed.  $550 for the Chronograph, and for precision control of your time while motoring.

Take a right turn over to the Autodromo website for more information:

www.Autodromo.com

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foto of the day. Bonnet.

the Rene Bonnet which raced in Le Mans 1962; which eventually gave rise to the racing extravaganza which was Matra.

src:  octane

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art of the day. Dynamism of an Automobile

1912 painting by fantastic Futurist painter Luigi Rossolo entitled “Dinamismo di un’Automobile”.  Futurist paintings are often just stunning, and this one is no exception!

Russolo was also famous for introducing sound experimentation into the Futurist art movement—-actually performing concerts in 1914 using boxes and sound sources—leading to arguably the first experimental ‘noise’ concert. Apparently their Milan show ended in fighting and a bit of a riot.  World’s first punk show? Sounds like it.

src: peacock’sTail, jvhDesign

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foto of the day. icon vs. icon.

When the original Audi TT was being styled, one of the inspirations was the Porsche 356 and other rounded sports coupes of the 50s and 60s—-sculpted in terms of retro-futurist form and design.  Last night when I parked on 47th and Park Ave. I saw this excellent example of a 356 and my TT parked right behind it.   A stunning combination—-and a reminder of how classic design should be: clean, timeless, and beautiful.  Automobiles can be art.  I’m also struck at how the TT is not that much larger than the 356, which is great considering how bloated ‘modern’ cars are becoming these days.

 

 

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NYC Premiere: Truth in 24 II

Last night I attended the debut showing of Truth In 24 II (Part 2, “Every Second Counts”) at the Audi Forum NYC.  If you haven’t been to the Audi Forum in NYC, well it’s another lovely place for Audiphiles such as myself to hang out for an hour or two for special events such as this one.  Set on Park Ave. and 47th street—it is open during the week to the public, and on the weekends for special events such as this one.  Thanks to George (who makes a striking cameo in the film!) for getting me on the list for this.

I am a huge fan of the original Truth In 24, as I think it is one of THE great motorsports documentaries ever made.  Jason Statham returns as the voice behind the action, with a slightly overdramatic tone—-however one that really does capture some of the excitement of the spectacle which is Le Mans.

So we all know the story here—-the 2011 Le Mans was one of THE greatest in the history of the La Sarthe beast…..and hence the idea behind Ti24-II was even stronger than the original.  The race was even more interesting, the car was even more stunning (the R18 TDI is just blisteringly cool), and the storyline of that race creates a total atmosphere of how one team battled fierce competition against crashes, adversity odds during the race to become the outright winners.

You don’t have to be an Audi Sport fan to love this documentary—you just have to love the idea of motorsports.  Part 2 lifts off where Part 1 closed the door—and it feels more like a continuation of the story rather than a new one.  I was captivated by the documentary—by the beauty of the race cars, the trauma of watching a stressful race which I remember watching live last summer, and by the excellent narration, cinematography, and conversations with race personnel.

This is a must watch, as was the first one.  Truth In 24 II will be made digitally and on DVD very soon, and will be showing in premieres around the country until then.  Go see it.

Audi R8 V10 Spyder parked in the Audi Forum.

 

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Shamal.

How cool is the Maserati Shamal?  So cool that plenty of people don’t even know what it is……to me, it is quite possibly one of the coolest Maseratis ever made.  Bulging fenders, a nasty 325hp V8, and a strange but fluid Marcello Gandini design which evolved the BMW-clone understated BiTurbo design into something wonderfully weird.

The other day when Automobiliac, Motoring Con Brio, and myself were at a Skip Barber open house, Bradley from Automobiliac mentioned the Maserati Shamal to me and i clenched my jaws with excitement……it’s a car which really gets me excited!  I’m not sure why….i probably shouldn’t like it—-but i really do.  I think the obscurity of it is appealing, as well as it being from the ‘dark days’ of Maserati…..in a time where we associate the Maserati badge with a fair bit of failure…..but the Shamal was no failure…

Here’s a short, but slightly scary/cryptic video of a Japanese Shamal owners club GTG, to celebrate 20 years of the Shamal.

src : NFScars, carblueprints

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Return of ALPINE: Friday May 25th as the “Zar” concept

UPDATE! Apparently the neu Alpine will be unveiled as the “Zar” concept.  (thank you GentlemanScooper)

According to the excellent and interesting Renaud Roubaudi, the details are that Renault will debut a NEW Alpine 2 days before the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix! Details as follows:

(translated from french)

“I confirm that the new Alpine Renault will be officially unveiled in Monaco Friday, May 25, the surrounding of 13h30/14 h and a World Champion Formula 1. After doing some laps on the circuit, the Alpine will park in front of the barge moored in the Red Bull Monaco harbor which will be held the press conference. Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President of Operations for Renault, Laurens van den Acker, Design Director of Renault and Alain Prost, Renault Ambassador , will present all three. And POA that will immortalize this memorable day on video …”

2 days before that update, Renaud Roubadi also posted this:

“New Renault Alpine to be unveiled as a concept Monaco Friday, May 25, two days before the Grand Prix Formula 1.Renault officially announces the presentation of an iconic car turns 50, but make no mistake, this is the Alpine 2012 which made a big comeback. We also learn in the press release it develops 400 hp and it will do some laps. Nice publicity stunt for global fallout this revival. We expect everyone to discover the beautiful design. Neo retro or new style? “

400hp? that sounds weird.  It better NOT be a GT-R or a 370z rebadged.

Is it true?  I hope so and i hope not.  I’m scared to see what Renault have planned for this ‘resurrection’…..my info has suggested it will be a lightweight sports car, possibly electric or gas/electric hybrid.    All i know is that if it is a 370z with new badges, there is an 80% chance I will have a seizure from disappointment.   Either way, a debut in Monaco sounds like a pretty flashy debut for a new Alpine, but with the A110’s grand history of Monte Carlo rally—-it seems somewhat suitable I must say!

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Evo on the BRZ.

The Subaru BRZ has been a ‘mental debate’ in my mind for the past few months—–on one hand I respect the simplicity, directness, smallness, and the proposed agility and old-school sensibilities of it.  On the other hand, I am skeptical of the hype, ‘the scene’ which will accompany it, the average-to-poor styling details, and the sense of cheapness surrounding it.

That being said, my overall feelings about it are positive.  I have, however, been slightly annoyed by the gushing praise being heaped upon it by the automotive media—-who tend to flock like vultures all over the next-big-thing when it comes out.  Last year we saw the cool-but-overrated BMW 1M and this year the BRZ is the latest to reach that ranking.

This is why it is quite refreshing to see an EVO review where he doesn’t gush….he praises, but also seems a bit cynical even after driving it.  Nice to finally see a fair review!  Nice music and cinematography as well.

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what if…Chris Bangle designed an interior…

Well he did! in the 1983 Opel Junior Concept.  And yes, it is VERY weird.

the car this interior belonged to:

src:  flaviendachet

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foto of the day. GTA (broken)

You gentlemen know that’ll buff right out, right?  Alfa Romeo GTA

src:  BaT FB

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foto(s) of the day. neu RS4.

WOW…this is absolutely stunning!  In Papaya Orange, the 2013 Audi RS4 (B8) spotted at Audi headquarters in Germany.

Photos courtesy of Fourtitude

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idea of the day: closed cockpit F1?

Well that’s interesting to wonder if F1 cars could ever be closed cockpit.  This rendering was done by Iacoski and apparently inspired by Massa’s accident in 2009 where he got nailed in the head by debris!

Whatever you think about it, the rendering is definitely nicely done and very interesting!  Something to think about…

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Electric future: 2 cars that show it won’t be so bad.

No, the 2 reasons are NOT the Nissan Leaf or the Chevy Volt.  However, that thought has made me laugh just slightly!  Electric cars which actually work and have some enthusiasm are coming, it won’t be long—-but it’s not quite yet!  I can’t even take the Tesla serious enough to comment on it, considering it’s sketchy company and even sketchier reliability.  Fisker designs excite me, but the company is going under fast..so where does that leave us? With the germans of course!

I would like to think that the future will bring us totally NEW ideas within automobiles, and while we may miss the rumble of a V8 or the roar of an inline-5—-i think automobile enthusiasts should be excited about prospects of digital sounding electric cars burning around a track.  We may think these ideas are far away—-but they are not.  It will start in racing, and trickle down to reality.

We are currently sounded by a lot of street car junk….cars like the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius which have ZERO emphasis on driving characteristics and all emphasis on pseudo socio-political activism and trendiness.  They are not solutions, however they’ve been advertised as such.

At Petit Le Mans, I heard race cars quiet enough to only give off the sound of wind….the future is coming!

I think the BMW i8 really is the future.  So maybe it’s ahead of its time and nobody realises it yet.  The Audi R8 e-Tron, on the other hand is based off the current R8 and looks pretty great as we’d expect.  BMW are taking bigger risks here I reckon…and secretly i’m hoping they produce something fantastic (and i hope they change their Apple-hommage name of “i” to something more BMW-ish).  There will always be enthusiast sports cars, no matter what future technology brings.  Instead of resisting the inevitable, I think we are better off embracing the future while we appreciate the past.  I find myself VERY excited about these cars, but particularly about the i8 which really might be the beginning of something very special.  I will keep my eyes peeled.

I love the sounds they are working with…

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foto of the day. 912 and Fulvia

Brushing shoulders!  My friend Matteo from Switzerland really likes to park his Lancia Fulvia and Porsche 912 CLOSE!  Looks like somebody has some parking skills!

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Etiqueta Negra: best decorated men’s stores in the world.

Although it seems a couple of these cars may be replicas (thanks Bradley) , it is still hard to ignore how excellent these cars look sitting in a store front! Argentina-based Etiqueta Negra carefully place epic cars such as a Bugatti Type 35b and the Alfa Romeo 8c Tipo (these 2 are replicas, as per article above) into their store fronts, amidst some pretty nice clothing as well!

I’m going to have to visit the Soho NYC location when I get the chance, but meanwhile here are some choice photos of some of their storefronts; worthwhile to remember that these are all in different stores across the US, Honduras, and Argentina.

Which cars shown are real and which are not?  Well i think the Bugatti and the Alfa are reps….but the rest are real?

Etiqueta Negra Website

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Vettel and Alpine A110 (updated with original photos)

I had earlier in the week posted photos of Sebastian Vettel & an Alpine A110—-photos which I’ve found out have been ruined and over-processed by others!  Anke Luckmann is the photographer of these excellent photos and contacted to let me know that they were far from the original photos as were meant to be shown.

She has been gracious enough to send me the original photos from the photoshoot for GQ (Germany), which by the way are much nicer than the ones I had posted before.  So thank you to Anke and make sure to check out her site with more amazing photography by her on her site:

www.ankeluckmann.com

NOTE: If you are going to repost these photos, please repost 3 and then provide a link to this blog, as these were mailed to me by Anke for use on IEDEI.

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video of the day: Peugeot history.

Believe it or not, this video is Top Gear from 1989.  Pretty nice video summarizing the history of the french carmaker, Peugeot.

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foto of the day. Henningsvaer.

Not all great roads have to be twisty or meant for driving……i’d love to be driving around this beautiful northern area on this fine Sunday!

Henningsvaer, in Norway.

src: afloden

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1973 Kyalami in silence.

There’s something very peaceful about watching silent, vintage, 8mm race footage.  This is from the 1973 9-hour race at Kyalami.  Quite beautiful.

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the making of a Dunhill document case.

To me, there are certain essential accessories for a modern gentleman; a nice car, satisfying clothing, a functional and stylish timepiece, a technologically sound mobile device, and a bag or brief for work essentials.

There isn’t a day where I don’t enter my workplace empty handed; by my side I always have some form of a brief or a document carrier.  I currently use a Jack Spade Twill Brief which I really love—-however the radar for my next brief is always on and the most likely candidate is a Dunhill case.  I am of course a huge fan of Dunhill gloves and clothing, and am currently scouting out my next storage device like a spy before a war.

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art of the day. F1 deconstructed.

2011 Mercedes-Petronas F1 car; deconstructed with great delight!

src: mbca

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video of the day. RS3.

I really love my 2012 A3 quattro….in fact, in terms of performance, usability, practicality, quality, comfort, looks, and overall balance—-i think it’s the best car i’ve ever owned.   I will be writing up a 1 year review of the car very soon, as that time is coming—That being said, there isn’t a week that goes by where i don’t find myself imagining that it is an RS3.  I’m still upset that Audi of America decided not to bring the 8P RS3 to the US market.

this video is in spanish, but doesn’t prevent enjoyment of seeing the finest hot hatch in the world in action!

 

 

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