Everybody wants to save the earth, nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.  --P.J. O'Rourke

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Porsche 959 - Change the Rules !

Designed to compete in the infamous Group B rally class, the Porsche 959 redefined the rules for Supercars.  Computer control of the advanced 4wd system and adjustable suspension along with an Aluminum/Kevlar and Nomex body and a sequentially turbocharged 2.8 litre boxer engine allowed the 959 to sprint to 60 in a 3.5 seconds and continue to a top speed of 195mph.  The 959's Ferrari contemporary the f40 boasted similar performance to the 959, what was remarkable about the 959 was that it was it's level of civility.  The 959 was the first modern high performance supercar that didn't drive like slightly disguised race car.  It was not cramped, hot, temperamental or treacherous in bad weather.  It was for all intents and purposes a semi practical super car. 300 some odd 959's were produced, none were imported into the U.S by Porsche.  So desirable was the 959, that Bill Gates imported a 959 in 1987 only to have it held by Seattle customs for 13 years until he and others got a loophole put into law allowing "Show and Display" import exceptions. 

Dead Brand of the Day - Studebaker Avanti Bonus TRIVIA Edition:

The Studebaker Avanti debut to great enthusiasm in 1962 during the last throes of Studebaker as a kind of hail mary pass.  Lengthy production delays resulted in the evaporation of much of the initial enthusiasm and in any case the writing was on the wall for Studebaker.  In the end, only a bit more than 4,000 of the futuristically styled Avantis were sold when the company ceased production of the model in 1964, two years before Studebaker closed for good.  One would think that would be the end for the Avanti, however the tooling, molds and part of the factory was bought by two South Bend car Dealers and subsequently many other entreprenuers who tried to make a go of the Avanti.  Possibly the last chapter in the star crossed Avanti occurred in 2006 when the most recent owner was arrested by the FBI, but I wouldn't count on it.  So, why the Coast Guard logo? Well, the Avanti got it's futuristic design through the work of designer Raymond Loewy, a legendary designer who's work includes; The Coast Guard logo, Hoover Logo, Air Force One's livery, the Exxon logo, the Shell logo, and the interiors of the Air France Concords.

Friday, March 20, 2009

1980's BMX Montage

Clockwise From Top
SE Quadangle, Oakley 3 Grips, Skyway Tuff Wheels, Kuwahara Ad, Redline Bike, SE P.K. Ripper

Unicat - Your Camper for the Zombie Apocalypse

Install a couple of gunports or a minigun turret and you'll be the shiznit of Barter Town

Mercedes-Benz 300sl Gullwing

Introduced in 1954 at the suggestion of Max Hoffman, an American Mercedes distributor, the 300SL was a landmark car and continues to be one 0f the most desireable sports cars today, regularly fetching nearly $500,000 at auction.  Although it was largely based on a production Mercedes sedan, the engine and performance were anything but ordinary. The 3 litre (183cid) straight 6 engine put out 212hp and marked the first use of direct, diesel style fuel injection-which is only now becoming common in production cars.  The powerfull engine, light weight and good aerodynamics of the 300sl allowed it to reach 160mph which was truly astounding in 1955.   Prohibitively expensive, rare, costly to maintain, cramped and impracticle, I think James May of Top Gear got it exactly right when named it the worlds first "supercar".  To see May test drive a 300sl, follow this link: James May on the 300sl

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trivia of the Day - Scuttlebutt

"Scuttlebutt" was actually the ancestor of office "water cooler gossip". On sailing ships, water for the crew was dolled out from a barrel with a hole or tap in it (a "Butt" being a barrel of around 120 gals and a "Scuttle" was a hole). Just as with the water cooler, it was a logical place to exchange gossip with your coworkers. The scuttlebutt pictured is from the USS Constitution which is naturally the oldest commissioned United States Navy Warship. In Fact water fountains are still called scuttlebutts aboard Navy ships to this day.

You Can Thank Me Later

Cave of the Giant Crystals - Mexico

At first I thought they had found the fortress of solitude, but it seems I was mistaken, this is a cavern full of huge Chrystals recently discovered during mining operations, 
I can only surmize that Godzilla's eggs are in the next cave over.

Swedish Pettersson Boat Illustration

C.G. Pettersson was a prolific Swedish boat designer, the narrow beam and high fordeck back to the windshield is a visual trademark of his designs. This is an illustration done from original blueprints by Bo Zolland of Vizualtech, more can be found on his blog http://newsblogg.viztech.se/

Photo of the Day Battleship Connecticut

Battleship Connecticut on speed trials in 1906 off the coast of Maine. The ship looks like it's prepped for the Great White Fleet circumnavigation with the decorative scrollwork on the bow and what looks to be white paint. The photo was taken by Enrique Muller

Citroen DS Decapotable

With it's advanced technology and futuristic styling, the Citroen DS took the world by storm in 1955 when it was revealed to the public at the Paris Motor Show. At a time when most cars were still trundling around on solid axles and leaf springs, the DS featured fully independent hydro-pneumatic, self leveling suspension; and other niceties like hydraulic power steering, power disk brakes, front wheel drive and a semi-automatic manual transmission. To shift the DS you simply let off on the gas pedal and flick a lever to engage the next gear. Even it's name is inventive, while appearing to be a typical acronym, it is a pun on the French word for Goddess (Pronounced Day-Ess). Over 1.5 million of these cars were made before they were discontinued in 1976 (only 33,000 made it to the States). The Cabrio is my favorite version and I will take mine in black, please.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Broken Image Links:
I apologize for the missing images over the last couple of weeks, everything should
be fixed now ! If you see any broken image links do me a favor and drop me a comment.

Leica M8 Digital Rangefinder

I have always loved the timeless looks of the Leica camera's, and here I do mean timeless as
they haven't changed the styling in like 40 years. I wouldn't change the style either, it looks
exactly like what it is - a camera. If you asked anyone anywhere in the world to draw a camera
the result would look very much like one of these, it's tough to pull of that kind of design
authenticity these days without appearing ersatz or cliche. How much is all of that worth?
How about 6 grand. Oh, and it takes nice pictures.

BTW: The folks over @ dpreview.com run an excellent site which hosts the most extensive and
helpfull digital camera product reviews and explainers, I highly recommend it www.dpreview.com


Nixon is a design house  whose "about" page starts off  "We make the little shit better" I can't
vouch for their quality, but they do make some unusual and interesting watches and other accessories.

Centaur Suitcase Motor Scooter

What is the question that this answers?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

1934 BMW R7 Prototype

Believe it or not, this bike spent the last 70 years in a box before being discovered and restored by BMW

SS United States - Iconic Life Photo

I love this photo of the Liner United States built in 1952.  On it's maiden transatlantic voyage the United States eclipsed the record previously held by the original Queen Mary to take the Blue Riband accolades for the fastest transatlantic crossing(s).  The United States held the outright record overall for nearly 40 years until it was beaten going eastbound by another passenger vessel, the catamaran Hoverspeed Great Britain (Albeit not carrying passengers at the time) The United States still holds the record for the more difficult westbound voyage and thus technically the Blue Riband.  Unfortunately, the United States is currently rusting away at a Philly dock, after plans by Norwegian Cruise Lines to re-fit the ship fell through.

On the Subject of Renault, The Alpine 110

The first World Rally Champion in 1973 and most likely the coolest Renault ever (IMHO)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Kool Kar O' Th' Day St. Paddy's Edition Renault R5 Turbo

Any car driven by Fatima Blush has GOT to be Cool !

The De Havilland Beaver

Besides being a personal favorite of mine, the Beaver is one of the most durable and long lived bush planes in the Pacific NW/Alaska.  The youngest Beaver is 40+ years old (the last rolling off the line in 1967).  Many are now refitted with turbine engines in place of the Pratt & Whitney radial gas engine, but don't take my work for it, Harrison Ford says it's his favorite personal aircraft and one was featured in "Six Days, Seven Nights" with Ford and Heche (of all things)

Photo from www.airliners.net  - which BTW is an awesome website and has photo's of nearly all commercial planes, yes individual planes - hard to believe but true

Dead Brand of the Day - AMC

Sure, there are Marlins, AMX's and Javelin's but no car is more emblematic of
the AMC brand than the pacer.  Still weird looking today, but I have to give
AMC some props, the design has aged remarkably gracefully.  Still, it was the
Pontiac Aztek of it's day.  I wonder if Mitt Romney's dad was at AMC during
the Pacer Period.  Then there's the gremlin, but that's a subject for another

Yankee Barn Homes Pre-Fab

Yankee Barn's homes are customizable pre-fab post and
beam houses. Everything is pre-cut stained and fitted at
their shop.  Once they deliver the components, the barn
can be raised and the exterior completed in roughly 17 
days, at which point the contractor can begin the interior.

More info can be found at their unusually informative web site :http://yankeebarnhomes.com/

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Top Gear U.K. Public Service Announcement - Rail Crossings

Tumbleweed Tiny Homes

I ran across this outfit the other day, and they sell plans and kits for all kings of small houses from the truly tiny trailerable one pictured below left to the largest (still pretty small) pictured below right. They remind me of the tiny camp meeting houses on Martha's Vineyard or the homes in Brewster Park. But they would also be equally suited to for use at a camp or as a wilderness vacation cabin, or even a backyard office or guest house.  The floorplans are for the larger house.

You can get more information here Tumbleweed Tiny Homes

CMD Zeus Pod Drive

Cummins Mercruiser Diesel (a joint venture between Mercury Marine and Cummins Diesel) has developed a remarkable new "Pod" drive system.  Designed to replace traditional inboard boat motors by combining the best features of stern drives and inboards, it is sold as an integrated, computer controlled system.  One of the coolest tricks this propulsion system can pull off is the ability to hold a static position automatically. Deemed "Skyhook" it could be thought of as a virtual anchor allowing a boat to remain in one position despite wind waves and current.  The computer aided controls also feature a joystick for maneuvering in tight quarters such as when docking.  It's possible to move the boat directly sideways for example just by nudging the joystick sideways