Monthly Archives: August 2013


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The world's fastest Indian. I have to think about Burt Munro a couple of times this day. A stranger on a journey, a man on a mission. We have come here to El Mirage to visit the SCTA start of the season. Racers, Lakers, Petrol Heads, Car Nuts. It's a heavy local gathering and at the same time this place is so welcoming to first timers. "Is this your first time at the Lake,where are you from?"


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Movement at the horizon. This is just the beginning. Where to look. I can't wait to jump out of the car. With low speed we roll on the sun dried lake bed.  A deep vrooooooooooaaaaaarr in the far distance.Trails of dust cut through the vibrating air where the ground reflects the sky. El Mirage truly is heaven on earth.


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We leave the gravel road and the horizon widens. Hot dry air slips through the opened windows as the sound of the tires disappears. No tickling stones. We enter historic soil.  I have been here before, many times in many years. Be it in childhood magazines, car books or eighties television series. Where beige tones blur into blue hues the air burns. I wait for that black Pontiac to roll into our scenery. Finally, El Mirage!


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Naming the fruit of one's hard concept-car-designing labour 'provo' (with small p) appears rather redundant, as being provocative typically is the main – if not single – goal of any such product. Perhaps having a pro-cee'd in the model lineup helps explain.

Whatever. The KIA provo impressed in Geneva. And as a few of us -including myself- were still missing this little PALEXPO pearl in Rik's hot report, here's for some (long overdue, I know) compensation.

First question is: how do we categorize this little road racer? Potential competitors as the Mini Cooper (Works?), DS3 Racing (S. Loeb?) and 500 Abarth (Esseesse?) spring to mind – but perhaps even closer is that tiny, nimble yet similarly muscular bombshell named smart Roadster (Brabus!), Michael Mauer's claim to fame before moving on to head Porsche. Nimble is perhaps not exactly the word to describe the muscular creation of the team lead by 'Larry from Texas' – my PSA École d'Été buddy from times long gone. Fact is that the eye of the KIA tiger is winking at the premium market – carefully starting at the bottom segment. The later introduced (tiger-) Cub should not stand in its way, if it were up to us.

The LED-inspired flexible
headlamp graphic plays with the essence of light units in defining a car’s
face. We're not fully convinced by the now rudimental ‘tiger
nose’ graphic – downplayed in favour of a strong, full-width musclecar-like
mask though. 

Behind a scultpted and chromed sill panel in the spirit of what we’ve
seen in Citroen’s DS numero 9, we find a fashionably layered door composition and cross-cabin cross-stitched seat upholstery. And do we sense a
spell of Ford GT in those central controls? Could be that we're slowly getting over-enthousiastic, but it’s not a bad
association, is it?

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Now isn't it time, after all that show car powerplay of recent years (Pop, GT, Trackster…) and after those truly crowd pleasing production cars
(Optima, Sportage, Rio…) that the korean cat starts using its fangs once again? The hunting territory of the premium mini seems wide open for this
oriental addition.

- Geert.