Monthly Archives: September 2011

Race ‘n’ Rallye

Twee opeenvolgende weekeinden in september, beide in het teken van automotive spielerei maar toch fundamenteel anders. Qua sfeer, qua weer, qua tak van sport.

Het weekend van 17 & 18 september stond in het teken van het Spettacolo Sportivo Alfa Romeo (het Alfa clubweekend) op het circuit van Zandvoort. Dat betekent traditiegetrouw met zoon Henk in de Spider en Huib en Esther in de Giulia op zaterdag vertrekken, rijden op het circuit, kamperen in de duinen en zondag nog een beetje rondhangen en ouwehoeren met soortgenoten.

Het was nat, kleddernat, bijna het hele weekend. Het circuit dus ook, bovendien hadden allerlei raceklassen een mooi oliefilmpje achtergelaten. Rustig begonnen om langzaam de snelheid wat op te voeren maar het was link. Ik had geen enkele grip op de voorwielen (B-merk banden, zou dat het zijn?) en de achterkant wilde maar moeilijk om (A-merk banden, zou dat het zijn?). Toch blijft het wel heel leuk om op zo'n circuit rondjes te draaien. Volgend jaar hopelijk weer een beetje zon.

Hoe anders het weekend erop. Ons eerste officiele Dutch Historic Rallye Club evenement. Heerlijk weer! Een groot deel van de week bezig geweest met het fabrieken en inbouwen van een dashboardmodule voor de tripmaster, stopwatch, extra 12V socket en extra schakelaars. Is geen pretje om je op je 50e ruggelings onder een dashboard te moeten wurmen.

Zaterdag vroeg op om ons op tijd te kunnen melden in Breda. Eerst nog een opfriscursusje navigeren en regelement, lunch en aftellen, onze starttijd: 13:07 (TC (Tijd Controle) 1). Bol-Pijl verbindingsroute naar TC 2 en vandaar via kaart met pijlen en punten de kortste verbinding rijden op tijd, gaat goed, komen slechts 2 min. te laat aan bij TC 3, gelijk door naar volgende sectie. Tegen het eind raken we het spoor een beetje bijster, besluiten het laatste stuk van de route te negeren om het tijdverlies te beperken. We komen 9 min. te laat aan bij TC 4. Geen tijd om op adem te komen en weer verder, het gaat weer goed en we weten het tijdsverleis te beperken tot slechjts 1 min. op deze sectie. Vanaf TC 5 met Bol-Pijl terug naar de permanence en finish TC 6. We blijken 18e geworden te zijn (van de 29 equipes). De 3e en 1e plaats zijn voor een vergelijkbare vader-zoon combinatie! Dat geeft hoop. Ik denk dat we het op 20 november weer gaan proberen. Onze eerste echte rallye wordt wellicht de ROZ Classic in maart 2012………..

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These are my final five cents for this years Frankfurt show, part five. An Escher-esque perspective on the status quo, the end is the beginning. We enter the fair at the south side and stumble into the BMW show. The first impressions of the day, we are excited and glare at the displayed products. The Bavarian brand puts us into to the automotive loop, visitors at a circus full of energy rather than consumers of metal dreams. Is Frankfurt all about metal or is it the story telling, the car culture, what it's all about these days?


Next to the all new One series the guys from Munich have enough stories to tell. Conceptually it is all about dotting the i, and yes I dig these fairy tales. Two cars, two book ends. Siblings with their own character, but connected by a strong formal formula. One is soft and fluent, the other more industrial and pragmatic or functional.  Respect goes out to the underlaying blueprint that must have been the starting point of this adventure, design inside out, a throughout vision of what might be the future. And yes, I really like that I3 steering column for its smart and optical light weight appearance.


Free form butterfly glass doors anyone? We will have to see and wait what will reach the market. In a  far corner of our first hall we see a clean stand of BMW Individual. Clean lights and lots of reference from the world of design. Eames here, B&O there. Window dressing or philosophy? First lesson in Frankfurt; it is all about context!





Surf's up dude! In the German media landscape the brand from Wolfburg has drawn a lot of attention during the weeks ahead of the Frankfurt show. A new small car for the folks, compact, efficient  and affordable, the real new beetle? A bold move back to the roots. Many thought  the name would change from Up to Lupo, following the strategic sneaky peaky hocus pocus way the new Sc-Iroc-co made it to the market. This time the friendly, almost Pixar-esque name will stay, Up! Plus one so far. And yet, at introduction time Volkswagen displays a wide array of possibilities. Love the tucked down GTI version. The urban Nils car is a welcoming side kick, very producty, nimble and white.

Surf's up and some unforeseen guests join the waves. Greenpeace bashes the party. We never before have seen political statements unfold during an auto show, this year it all comes together at the VW stand. The dark force enters the stage for the big pay back. Is this easy money? The peeps from V dub take it this chin in cheek positive, knowing that they have redrawn the big picture …..of a small car.

- Matt.



The end of a short day in Frankfurt. Final show down at the heart of the compound. If the IAAF would be Wimbledon, we just entered the center court for the finals.

The Audi pavilion, an impressive endless loop of temporary architecture. Moebius would have been proud of this inviting inside out pleasure dome.  A roller coaster ride packed in a black and white skin. Peek holes everywhere. Cars drive by, stop for a moment and then continue their loop on this full scale Carrera Bahn.


Inside the temperature rises. A slightly tight place for an exhibition. We wonder how cramped this room might feel during the normal days. Audi has brought three concepts to Frankfurt, the Urban twins and the A2. It is always good to meet up with colleagues who have put months of intense work into these objects, the love for detailing finally pays off. I manage to get a close look on the interior of the A2. It has a minimal approach, but there is a lot of subtlety and finesse to discover. 

- Matt.



110915-IAAF-Frankfurt-Citroen Tubik

Visit France. One of my high lights is the Citroen Tubik, most for its overall appearance. A reinterpretation of the ancient HY bus. Look beyond some of its too retro elements and you will find clever solutions in surfacing and detailing. Floating a pillars, slivery silver sculptural surfacing and Star Wars like logos, underlaid with felt. And once again we witness the major trend for this year: mega city, urban, multi city. Looking back in history for tomorrows answers.

Peugoet HX1, another French attempt to redefine luxury. A concept full of ideas, inside and out. This is a scaled up version of the last years compact Geneva study. The spooning seats, the intersecting volumes of the exterior, we have seen it before. Nevertheless a very resolved design in high resolution. A mono box volume brought alive. Outside full of aerodynamic features, inside an oasis of color and trim,  sculpted in an almost minimal HR Giger style. La France, douze points, France, twelve points.

- Matt.

110915-IAAF-Frankfurt-Peugoet HX1



Frankfurt once again. My third show this year. After Geneva and Shanghai the big home run in Germany. One wonders if you really have to travel all the way up to F-Furt for the real deal. We have been teased and pleased way ahead with tantalizing pictures, slide shows and print media. It turns out to be a very long day, most of the hours go down in the book as traveling time. To cut it short: a first step at the show around lunch time, 360 minutes left and counting.


Too little time for a 360 look around. Let's cope with it and walk the floors, sniffing up the ambiance. We came with the whole team, but soon we are scattered around the halls. I end up with two colleagues with a different view on cars. Sharing views, teaming up with others, jumping from one car into the other. Macro micro. 


My personal highlight? The eclectic mix of impressions. A spectrum between urban and super sport. Normally one needs an aspirin after a long day at the Frankfurt fair, check marking the "to see list". We have a good alternative. Let's throw it away and go for a spontaneous beer! Carfreax Bavaria meets CFX NL, shortly after joined by our guy from CFX China. This is what it is all about!

More to come soon.

- Matt.



It is wrong to say everyone has a car in China right now, there is still a big gap to close. But obvious today it is not enough having a car for being individual anymore. Young people add some flavor to their wheels to achieve the showoff that you like when your are young.

- Fab.



After the lessons in culture and the stunning fotos from Matt it is time to show if you learned something at all. So here is a test for your level of car knowledge. If you can name all five cars you proof that you are an expert.

- Fab.

LED there be light

Dat design niet alleen te maken heeft met goede sier, maar dat het soms zelfs functioneel kan zijn bewijst de video van Revolights – een startup die in navolging van dit clubje uit een eerdere post serieus werk van het adagium 'LED meets feets' heeft gemaakt. 

Ook in de alleszins fraaie DesignHuis tentoonstelling 'Liberation of light', in de lichtstad, was een soortgelijke truuk te zien – zij het weer meer in de decoratieve richting. Zie onderstaande video op 1:07'-1:09'.

Leuke diversifier voor de hippe elektrische fiets?

- Geert.



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Measuring the scale of the city. First, second, third, fourth. We travel the infrastructural rings of Beijing and everything in between. Extra large and extra small. Stuck in traffic on multi lane highways and up close with the people in the hutongs. Old meets new, small meets big. Landmark architecture over here, a collective call over there. Together for a happy China, for a better society, let's develop. At least that is what the colorful bill boards try to tell us.

The new China it is somewhere in between. The question is if you can scale up tradition. The new is now and so we end up in a freshly painted artificial hutong, south of the Forbidden City. The big tree is made out of plastic and the tram is a cardboard box on wheels. The original copy pasted, air conditioned , broader and better. Somehow it feels like Disney World, a polished dream.


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