Author Archives: Rik

GENEVA 2016

Eight years in a row now, Geneva has never failed to surprise us! Probably the smallest show on the calendar, arguably one of the most important. Of course there were the Stars of the show as well as the inevitable ‘Dogs’. In the eyes of this reporter the Stars were the Opel GT and Mazda RX-Vision Concepts.

Opel GT

Mazda RX Vision

The so called German Premium brands seem to be in a battle of selling as much ‘Design’ per square millimeter as they can; The new Audi Q2 being one of the victims (I counted no less than seven(!) individual lines around the wheelarches). The brands still striving for Premium-ship joining in the game enthusiastically, as DS shows with their E-Tense Show car. Is this the way Premium should go?

The efforts of most Japanese manufacturers starts to worry me: Will either Honda, Subaru (2 very sympathetic brands in my opinion) and Mitsubishi ever be able to present a decent car in the near future….I’m starting to doubt it. For several years now, they have been producing concepts and production cars that are angular, blocky and very unrefined. The Koreans, in the meantime, must be laughing all the way to the bank. Even Nissans concepts looked like they were briefly out of sight for Paris, and they went at it alone.

Pininfarina

Pininfarina showed of their first Concept under Mahindra. Next to their Sigma F1 concept from 1969 they showed a hydrogen driven La Mans racer. Safety is a topic of the past, today’s topic is Eco. Liked the ’69 car a lot better, but we hope for better things to come: Pininfarina still has a lot of credit with this writer.

Ford celebrated its return to Le Mans, 50 years after their walkover on Ferrari, they’re at it again!

Ford GT40

A specific colour that struck me was a greyish-greenish-blue that I saw at several brands. Skoda taking great efforts to enhance the effects in the paint with very sculptured flanks on their Vision S Concept. Others to join in were Subaru, Honda, Volvo, Citroën. Audi showed a very nice shade of blue that appeared flat from some distance, but showed an effect from nearby.

Colour

Graphics are always around to attract some extra attention. Lot’s of Fluo colours this year! Black velvet on a FIAT (Kung Fu) Panda, humorous graphics on Morgan’s EV3, extremely nice gradient on Citroën’s HYPHEN Concept (inside ‘n’ out) and the next gen electronic graphics on VW’s E-Buddy Concept that was shown earlier on CES in Vegas.

Graphics

Of course this writer cannot finish without mentioning the novelties from Alfa Romeo. They showed the humbler versions of the new Giulia. Since Frankfurt I’ve had the time to let the car grow on me and it has. It may not have the same character as some Alfa’s of the past, but with some larger wheels fitted I can see some presence (the cars on show featured 18” wheels, missed opportunity Renault managed to show all Scenics on their stand with 20”!). Touring Superleggera showed their Disco Volante for the third time in a row, this time as a Spider. Side and front three-quarter view look good, the rear leaves a lot to be desired.

GIULIA

As always the Heritage-card was played by a few manufacturers. Always a lovely sight and sometimes it’s almost believable. Like in case of the Porsche 718 and Alfa Romeo Disco Volante. Less so with the FIAT 124 Spider (to sell a rebadged Mazda) and Honda F1 car.

Heritage

Latest addition to my garage

As a late manifestation of my midlife crisis, I’m taking lessons in motorcycle riding. This all came about by my son and his lovely ’76 Zündapp C50 Sport; never thought riding on 2 wheels could be that much fun. I’m now a complete believer in the philosophy of: “Four wheels move the body, Two wheels move the soul”.

Especially the custom scene off late, has managed to keep me attached to my computer screen night after night looking for the bike of my dreams. Of course it had to be Italian! Of the Italian brands the architecture of the Moto Guzzi longitudinal V2′s has seduced me into looking especially for these bikes. Hamburg builder Axel Budde (www.kaffee-maschine.net) being my hero at this moment.

141101_Moto Guzzi V7 Stone Desktop

I’ve long thought I was gonna end up with a brand new V7 Stone, for which I had a custom building plan already thought out (green sketch), untill in my internet searches I found a ’82 Street Tracker converted V35c. Went to have a look, drove it, loved it, bought it!

Her it is: The ‘scuderia 61′-graphic is to be handpainted on the tank later on. I also would like to reposition the battery (now inside the ‘triangle’) so it won’t be as visible anymore.

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And why I love the Guzzi architecture so much:

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All I need to do now is to get that driver’s license :-/

Paris 2014

Time for France again and have a look at the good the bad and the ugly. Let’s start with the latter: First car we encountered was the latest Citroen DS (or should we just say DS) concept: Must have been a contest of putting as much design per square inch as possible, oh horror! Unfortunately 4-door Smart suffered from the same proportional disease as Twingo, 2-door is a strange dog nosed contraption. Mercedes AMG GT looks great at first sight but after a while it just doesn’t look special enough: Still a lot better than their bread and butter cars though. Last but not least Volvo’s XC 90. They promised us dynamic looks, gave us a brick (although nice brick), quite sure it’ll sell.

Onto the good: Audi gave us the TT Sportback, what a taut looking car! Better than its 2-door sister. With that incredible interior I would have one!

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We were a little bit less impressed with the new Lamborghini Asterion Concept. Hard to fit it in their state of the art, modernistic, technocratic product range. Does it try to be a Muira? Why go retro?

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Interesting design battle between Renault and Peugeot. One could say their going out of their way to be as different from each other as they can. Both have gone ever so slightly overboard though. Renault loosing itself in soapy, organic weakness. Peugeot got the ruler out and forgot to put radii on the edges! Both offer lots of interesting detail though, trying to be different might not be so bad.

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141002_Paris 2014_Peugeot Quartz & Exalt

 

And then to my favorite! I thought he ‘normal’ XL 1 was already a terrific showpiece from a design, as well as technical point of view. The XL 1 Sport is bonkers: Such madness! That it has an Italian heart also helps as far as I’m concerned. Sportscar of the future!

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Geneva 2014

March 2014, time for our favorite event of the year: Carfreax are heading for the Geneva Motorshow. Nice ‘n’ Compact, the ideal occasion for meeting our Automotive friends. Let’s start with the cars we’re not highlighting.

VAG let us down with the ‘Skoda Vision C’ and ‘VW T-ROC’ concepts, the first simply not very well resolved, the second downright over-designed. The triplets of Toyota, Peugeot and Citroen failed to impress, allthough the Toyota was the most imaginitive. The all new ‘Renault Twingo’ features strange proportions and an overall ‘Tupperwary’ feeling, thus offering the aforementioned triplets a real opportunity in the marketplace allthough they’re just facelifts.

Mitsubishi showed 3 concepts proving that they’ve totally lost their way now. And finally the new Italo-based Jeep Renegade was nice enough, some interesting detailling but maybe too cutesy for our liking.

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Of course the all new Citroen C4 Cactus was one of the highlights of the show. Playing tricks with weight, specs and pricing, this is a lot of mobility for the money. Wonder how those soft panels will stand the test of time.

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Hyundai delivered a convincing concept, detail solutions we’ve seen before, but nicely combined in an attractive design and interesting technical concept.

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EDAG and RÜCKER showcased a very interesting piece of sculpture, imagining what 3D-printing could potentially offer the car industry. The concept reminded us of a concept of Audi’s Design Team for the LA Design Contest of a few years ago. Add some wheels and it would make a nice racer.

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Some Carfreax have an Italian heart, so the small Maserati (that’s supposed to be a 911 killer) was a welcome sight. Nice car, wouldn’t mind one.

140304_Geneva 2014_Other Highlights

Some other highlights: Pininfarina’s BMW Gran Lusso Concept, very well executed as we are used from them. New interpretations of the ‘shark nose’ and ‘Hofmeister feature’. Porsche’s 919 Le Mans contender looked brutal, beautiful in its efficient ugliness. BMW Motorrad showed off their naked, café racer inspired, NineT. The design team asked for the help of famous custom bike builders such as Roland Sands and El Solitario. We think it payed off.

- Tjerk

Quality Time……

……for father & son, clubmember, car & club, car & circuit. Our own special event, year upon year: The 'Spettacolo Sportivo Alfa Romeo'. For 2013 the former F1 circuit of Zandvoort was selected (alternating with the TT circuit of Assen), driving there always produces a very special feeling……..hence the big smile.

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Goin’ back home

For the annual trip abroad, the Alfaclub of The Netherlands selected once more Italy as the place to go. After the 2010 Centannial trip this was going to be the second time for me to take part. For friend and co-Alfisti Huib it was business as usual, for he's taking part almost every year. For me: It's the call of Italy that does it all: taking the car 'Back Home'.

The trip to Italy would take us across three mountain ridges: The Vosges in France (overnight stop in Colmar), The Alps through Switzerland towards the Dolomites in Italy (2 overnight stops in Bolzano) and back west through the Italian Alps to Lago Maggiore (5 overnight stays in Baveno). To any car-enthusiast/Italy-lover that should sound like a dream. 75 clubmembers understood this was an offer they couldn't refuse. Cars ranging from brand new Giulietta's to the oldest participant: a 2600 Touring Spider, 8C's and SZ/RZ's, 70's and early 80's Alfetta's and Giulietta's and of course many, many cars of the famous 105-series: Giulia, GT Junior/GTV, Spiders & Berlina's. To manage technical hick-ups, a technical back-up team followed closely.

130622_Gettin There

Through France and Switzerland the Spider was driving great. But the closer we came to one of those all-time bucket-list destinations: The famous Stelvio-pass, the car started to behave funny. Backfiring like mad, running on only 3 pots. Turned out to be a combination over overrich mixture on the second cilinder and contactpoints that were eaten up quicker than they should. Huib and I managed to get the car limping 'home' to Bolzano. We had to decide to leave the Stelvio for another time though. The technical guys finetuned the car back into shape that same evening. (The problem only came back some 100 km's before we reached home on the last day of the trip, got there limping again. Further investigation revealed that the ignition capacitator had died.)

The trip from Bolzano, travelling through the Alps north of the lakes, to Lago Maggiore went like a dream, taking multiple passes, circumnavigating the lakes, enjoying all those Alfa's around us. As a matter of fact the Italians did as well. What a joy it is to be so welcome, we had 'innocent bystanders' applauding us for our noisy, stinking cars.

160622_Back Home

With that in mind, one of the highlights of the trip was a visit to Vigevano, a town sporting the famous Alfa snake everywhere (The Lombardian Visconti and Sforza families being responsible for that, as well as for its position in the Alfa logo). The Italian Alfa-club had arranged police motorcycle-escort for our 75 cars to move at high speed from the outskirts of town right to the Piazza Ducale: Only in Italy! We felt like we were taking part in the Mille Miglia! Our cars were parked on the Piazza for everyone to see. The mayor held a speech, music was made by people in medieval dress, flags were thrown about. To top it all we had lunch under the trees on the Sforza castle square.

Spending time in a superb hotel located right on the boarders of the lake also contributed to this general feeling of joy and happiness: As if died and gone to heaven………….

130622_Atmosphere

 

 

Bommelerwaard Rally 2013

De Bommelerwaard Rally had het helemaal in zich om een fantastische seizoensopener te worden. De organisatie, de lokatie, de opkomst (60 teams) en het weer werkten allemaal mee om het waar te maken. 'Van der Veer Designers' was present in de organisatie, als sponsor en met 4 equipes.

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De VdVD equipes bestonden uit Bas (en vriendin) in de Westfalia-bus, Sander (en vader) op Westfield S7, Gert-Jan (en vader) op BMW 320 Convertible en Rik (met zoon) in de Alfa Spider. Andere deelnemers kwamen opdagen in zowel oud als recent spul.

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DE VdVD equipes liepen uiteindelijk weg met 2 prijzen: Bas met de overall winst, Sander en vader voor de meest enthousiaste start; ieder mocht een Magnum champagnefles in ontvangst nemen. Belangrijker nog: We hebben een heerlijk dagje buiten gespeeld….en tsjonge jonge….wat hadden we dat nodig. 

Italian Style

Vanwege het 35-jarig bestaan van de SCARB (St. Club van Alfa Romeo Bezitters) is, in samenwerking met het 'Louwman Museum in Den Haag, een expositie georganiseerd over 'Italiaanse Stijl Iconen'. Er worden een aantal bijzondere auto's gehaald.

Voor mij een uitgelezen gelegenheid om het museum nu eindelijk eens te bezoeken. Wie van de CFX gaan mee? Maken we er een leuk dagje van.

130427_Louwman Stijl Iconen