Sunday, September 28, 2008
With the aspens at their prime took a two hour drive up 72 from Golden, CO. This road ends at 119, also known as the Peak to Peak highway, and made our way down to Blackhawk and Central City. Left quite early to avoid the crowds. Great sweeping curves and long vistas that at times can give you a feeling or near weightlessness as you approach.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I am not one who usually goes in for diecast models, or models of any kind. A bit of clutter. A male knick knack of sorts. Something that collects dusts and does not get used or admired after the first week of ownership. Like a waffle maker in that regard.
Now. That being said, I want this CMC 1:18 scale model of the 901. It is that nice. That accurate. The wheels come off. The interior is real leather. The suspension works. On and on. This guy has a video that shows how in depth this thing is. It will be at the top of my Christmas list. Or maybe I should contact CMC and see if we could work out some sort of deal with my book.
Pictures from and model available at legacydiecast.com.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Let us keep all the following on the hush-hush. The down low. The Da Vinci Code. Let us not let out that there are some automobiles around that have a bit of the Bruce Wayne/Clark Kent in them. That there are autos that from the general looks have that reputable air. That outward facing appearance of propriety of a car that is suited to running to church on Sunday or knocking out the commute in boring efficiency. Or, some times, in portraying a façade of idle, slow luxury. “Ah,” you’d say, “that car just seems to ooze along the highway like its banker owner.” But you’d be wrong. Because the car that you are looking at is a Q car. One of the rarest breeds of car on the road. Outside it says it is slow. But inside it has got the goods for speed. Think of it as the polar opposite of a Lamborghini. Many people build their own Q cars, stuffing a V8 into a TR7 or some such other ridiculousness. But there is nothing quite like factory-fitted performance. Let us check out these three cars that had the engineers giggling with delight, thinking that they had passed by the board of directors something naughty. Something they shouldn’t have. The production team equivalent of getting the PA announcer at the mall to page Mike Klitoris.
1985 Buick Skyhawk T-type. $4,000 will buy a well-loved example riding high on original suspension. To say that mid-eighties Buicks are a bit mingy would be polite. They are square and humble and devoid of style. But those Buick engineers must have gotten sick of getting automotive sand kicked in their faces to they sent off from the back of the comic book for some more power. And it came in the form of the T-Type. Turbo charged cars. The most famous being the T-Type regal. But the Skyhawk was basically a mini Regal. With a Turbo 4, manual transmission and lightweight (brought on by cheapness not any other reason) this little car could fly. It even shared a similar striped, sporty interior with its bigger brother. Well-bolstered seats, a stick shift and enough torque (175ftlbs) to fry the tires make this quite the Q car. With plus size front tires for some more grip go surprise those Mustang 5.0 lovers light after light.
1995 Audi S6 Avant. $10,000 will land one with under 100,000 miles and no modifications. Unfortunately, the ultimate Audi wagon sleeper the Porsche-built RS2 was never sold in the US so you will have to do with Audi’s own S division’s product. The S series Audis were all, up until the past few years been Q cars. Subtle executive expresses. The newest models have too much flash and flares. Not so with the mid-nineties offerings, most of all the Avants. But with a 20valve Turbo making 227HP, all-wheel drive and a 5-speed this was no Brady Bunch behemoth. This was a sports sedan. They grow like weeds in Colorado because it is one of the best ski cars ever made. Remove the two S badges, jump into the left lane and give the cars in front of you the high beams. And when they move over, you and four friends can watch their jaw drop.
1987 Mercedes 190E 2.3-16. $16,000 for the rare one with fewer stories than Steven King. This is one of the finest Q cars around. It looks like a stripped out German Taxi but goes like a World-record holder. The only outside signals are subtle bodywork and a badge which reads like a math equation. Sure it has a Cosworth head with twin cams that made 167HP and an equal amount of torque but what makes this car special is the whole package. Again balance. The LSD was standard. Only lawyers opted for the automatic so most are manual shift. The car only seats four with two rear buckets. If you have no imagination and like to garner attention from young boys with hair gel go buy an E30 M3 for similar money and performance. If you do not like garnering attention from said spikey-haired teen males buy a Benz that has been tweaked by Cosworth.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Some time, maybe this winter, I will pen a Shakespearean Sonnet professing my love for Kentucky Brown Water. Yes, winter seems like a more appropriate time for such heavy, syrupy writing.
Today I just wanted to drop a quick recipe that riffs off the compote used at Father's Office in Santa Monica. A compote that tops the best $12 burger I have ever had. It is spectacular. Well worth the near UFC League moves one has to do to get to the bar and order your food and fine Belgian Beer.
The key to such a deep flavor for the burger no doubt lies in the well carmelized onion compote that they dish on each dry-aged patty of gamey deliciousness. I don't know if they had thyme or Bourbon in their compote but I was sure they had bacon and onions. I used thyme because my above featured potager is bursting with the stuff. It seems to thrive in the northern shade the pear tomato plant casts.
4 Sweet Onions
1/2 Pound Bacon
1/4 cup or a bit less Bourbon(and not that shoddy imitator Jack Daniels)
Handfuls of thyme
In a large saute pan put a tablespoon of olive oil. Heat it up.
Add in thinly sliced onions. I find a mandolin invaluable for blazing through large quantities of onion chopping.
Brown over low heat for about a half-hour. Salt to taste here.
Cook bacon in your preferred method and set aside.
Add the thyme into the onions and finish browning. Building up a nice fond on the pan. This should take a total of about 90 minutes.
Turn heat up from low to medium high and deglaze with the bourbon. Cook off all the alcohol.
Add in chopped bacon.
That's it. Done. Use on burgers. Chicken. Pork. Grilled veggies. Really anything.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
There is so much bad automotive writing tossed at consumers by the large magazines and newspapers it is hard to avoid. And really, why so macho? Analogies that seem to have been learned form these chaps don't help much either. Or the writers are just plain lazy like Bud Wells of the Denver Post. I hope he works for free because 90% of his reviews are recitations of the producer supplied copy points.
But my biggest complaint is the reuse of super-hack phrases, the most obvious of which is 'the tires screamed in protest.'
Really, does it take much to look at the phrase and see something that could do better. Could flip that flippant prose on it's head? What if the tires weren't protesting at all? What if the tires on performance cars were 'howling with joy'?
Monday, September 15, 2008
A few years back we wrote and produced a few online videos for Coors Light for Halloween. I think they were pretty funny. And in the first one, my car got a cameo appearance. And I got to drive. The camera guy refused to hand hold the camera with a "non-pro" driving so he just left it on the ground.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I was in LA this week recording some radio spots for one of my advertising clients, and what a shock to learn that Otto's was literally across the street from the recording studio. So, one day at lunch I walked over to say hey, and ask for a look around.
Let me start by saying I love shops that are a bit disorganized, a bit oily. They feel real. Some may go in for the sterile Formula 1 pit look that a dealer offers but you just get the feeling you are paying too much for the look, not the service. One of the many reasons I love my garage in Denver, Storz, is the ramshackle feeling of the place. Well, that and the excellent and honest service.
Rule, any garage that offers you a latte while you wait is overpriced.
The garage was filled with every flat-six powered car around, from a 1965 911 to a 996 Turbo. And the awards, some from as early as 1965, show Otto is no newbie when it comes to racing Porsches.
Otto was on the phone most of the time but let me walk around. But just as I was leaving he said, "you want to see something interesting?" Uh, sure.
We walk over to the body shop portion of his shop and he uncovers an all original 1970 914-6. Not one speck of rust. Totally A-1 original. The best part is the story that he tells of driving past the 914 for 20 years and the guy not selling it or driving it because of a 'bad back'. Well, Otto finally gets to buy it. Cleans out the fueling system, drains and fills the oil. Fires it up. Drives it about 100 feet and realizes it has a rod-knock. Ouch. Even the best of the best get sold a fib sometimes. But, I guess having to rebuild an engine is no big deal when you are one of the most respected engine builders around.
And, though I am usually not a fan of vanity plates, I did think the one on Otto's personal 993 was pretty cool.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
This is Harry Kalas, the man for NFL films, giving my book some urging. While doing some great Coors Light NFL radio Harry was generous enough to take pity on me and let me feel like a big star, even just for a second.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Egads! All these young-whipper snappers hap-dashing about in their pimpernel polished runabouts! Enough you say. You are from a time, or respect a time, when things were slower. Different. More esoteric. A monocle was something that a man might feel appropriate for wear to the bank or opera. You like your books bound in leather, not displayed on some device with a name that rhymes with, oh, I can’t think of anything my mind must be going. Having your fingers pirouette across the tops of a card catalog is your idea of a search for information. You have a cabinet filled with curiosities. You pronounce and live by maxims, rather than subscribe to Maxim. You always eat supper, not dinner. And by god, you feel that Woodrow Wilson is the devil himself for having gotten us involved in anything beyond the borders of America! I say greetings, Antiquarian. The automotive world is ripe for the picking. As ripe as that peach one T.S. Eliot scandalously pondered whether or not to take a bite of.
1987-1927 Model T Open Tourer. $10, 000(from a time a dollar was worth something.) This is the car that so famously was available only in black. Now, Ford was a great man, but a great nut as well. What with his henchmen checking in on his workers whom he had to bribe with high-pay because they hated working on an assembly line. Yes it is true, the man who built your Model T scowled, not skipped, all the way to the bank and out of poverty. But back to the car. Get it stock. Bone stock. Have fun adjusting the advance for the steering wheel. Temp fate each time you crank it over. Buy an attachment that turns it into a generator or a saw. And do drive it off-road. You’ll be amazed at how capable it is. But please refrain from entering into a parade. Putting ribbons on a Model T is like putting a tutu on bulldog, inappropriate.
1908-1927 Model T Racer. $15,000. Now, there was never an official racer built by Ford but that didn’t stop thousands of young men from stripping down their Model Ts to see how fast they could make them go. Get a high-compression head. Custom-build some headers. Paint it a bright blue and throw a monocle windscreen on the steering column. Find a friend who enjoys playing your ‘riding mechanic’. Pretend you are entering the Vanderbilt trophy. This car will provide all the ramshackle thrills of the more expensive brass-car set at pennies to the dollar.
1917 or so Smiths Cycle Wheel. $5,000. Not many have survived but the cost of a car made building motorcycles a thriving business. In fact, this is a motor cycle. Two words. You have a bike. You buy a Smiths cycle wheel for the sum of $60 and put it on your bicycle and you’re off. Makes the $600 Model T seem over priced. Clasp your tweed pant leg so it does not get caught in the chain and put-put into town at up to 40MPH. It looks like a something your mad uncle built in his garage and that, is the whole point of living the Antiquarian way.
Photos: walnecks, picasa
Monday, September 8, 2008
So, I've been off-roading quite a few times in CO, yet I have yet to see a Cayenne on the trail. But that doesn't stop Porsche from making available its super-competent off-road machine available to mere mortals. For $70k.
Now, minus the 12 o'clock marker on the wheel, this thing is pretty awesome. Except...For how bloody in-your-grill it is. Along with the other p-car special design editions. And the bold "porsche" in white on the wind blockers I have seen on new 997 cabrios. If you want over-badged branding buy a Ferrari. Porsche, please go back to your restrained badging. We don't need more modern-day "Martini" decal editions.
"ATLANTA --- September 8, 2008 --- Winning Porsches come in many shapes, and nowhere is the competitive Porsche Motorsport DNA more evident than in the latest version of the thriving Cayenne range – the new race-inspired 2010 Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia... The Cayenne S Transsyberia is based on the Cayennes that won one of the most grueling endurance races in the world. The rally marathon, which is held every spring, is a two-week race that traverses Russia, Siberia and Mongolia and covers over 4,400 miles. It is called, simply, the Transsyberia Rally, and slightly modified Porsche Cayenne S models have won this brutally demanding event three times in a row... The standard front and rear stainless steel skid plates emphasize the off-road character of the Cayenne S Transsyberia... The standard multifunction steering wheel is also covered in Alcantara and has a “twelve – o’clock” mark at the top of the wheel, as do all of the race-ready Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberias, in the same contrasting color as the exterior."
Thursday, September 4, 2008
A contributor to ppbb.com has posted some very interesting pictures from his trip to China. He saw a Cayenne with VW badges and wheels. You can see the P-car brakes thru the rims. The body is obviously Cayenne. Is this some local trying to look incognito with his/her conspicuous consumption? Or is this a Porsche VW product? Porsche.com publishes official sales figures for China so I figure it is the former that explains this picture. Thoughts?
Luckily. I guess for my pocketbook(or wallet/man purse) I am not one who goes in for changing out parts that the factory included on a car in the name of personal enhancement. In this, I am a minority. But I comfort myself with the fact that 100% original cars are always easier to sell and for more money than non-changed cars. Race cars being the only anomaly.
Now to my point of upgraded vs. modified. I cannot stand it when I see in classifieds or elsewhere cars described as possessing "upgraded rims, steering wheel, radio, lights, window motors, heater knobs, etc..." These are NOT upgrades. They are modifications. They change the nature of the car. From a factory original to something skewed to the owners own preference. Often to the detriment of something most do not understand, balance. Something Porsches have in spades over most every other marque. That is until you throw on a strut tower brace, 2plus wheels, etc.
If you modify your car. That is your purview. Just don't call it an upgrade.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Toad Hall Books is a great P-car and Mercedes only bookstore. Lots of rare books and materials, posters, etc. A selection that not many stores carry. And now, they have my book, Hunt for 901, in-stock. Which is good, because Amazon is often out of stock for a few days at a time. Give them a visit online or call. They are true fans and can discuss all the books they offer in depth.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Again, from top to bottom:
1972 911 of Prescott Kelly. Finished 4th or 5th in the group.
1967 911S taking the scenic dirt route.
Winning Elan just missing a sliding competitor round turn 1.
1965 911 dwarfing a Lotus. Yes, a 911 actually looks big compared to some of these cars.
Hurst SC/Scrambler. I could have bought one of these for $1,500 when I was in highschool. Doh!
Hard working vintage driver. This guy almost fell out of the car each turn. What a sight.