My summer of speed kicked off at the beginning of July with Goodwood, followed just a week later by Pass Masters (previously reported by Mattijs) that was my first chance to have a proper blast with my new R8.
Yes! I did say MY! R8, admittedly a company car and only for the next 6 months, but still MINE! And Dude! Was I going to use it?
I’d been planning a mega road trip to the U.K. for some time and now I had the right tool for the job!
Leaving Münich at 6.00a.m one misty Sunday morning in August, I literally flew across Germany, often seeing speeds hovering on the edge of 300 km/h. Rapidly dispatched Holland and France I hit the Channel tunnel only 8 hours later. The fly splattered, hot and ticking R8 deserving a well earned rest on the train ride under the sea.
First pilgrimage in the U.K. was to be the Black Mountains located on the West side of the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales. The Black Mountain road’s are favorite test routes for the U.K’s Car Magazines and especially the A4069 which has become very popular ever since it featured on BBC’s Top Gear, with Jeremy Clarkson hammering an AMG SLK along it’s route. I quickly discovered why? Long winding roads greeted me, challenging corners, a good mix of fast and tight sections all linked by a good road surface and when you reached the hairpins you were rewarded with views to die for. You just had to beware of the pesky sheep everywhere!
I spent several hours discovering the aural delights of the R8’s responsive engine and the forgiving handling. The R8 is enormously capable, with scary amounts of grip on these tight and twisting roads, but when you lift off the tail will come around and you can drift gently through the turns in beautifully predictable slides.
I was expecting to meet lot’s of other performance cars enjoying these dream roads and conditions, but I hardly saw anybody else during my time up there, this was my playground today! My Driving Nirvana!
The roads in the valleys on the North side weren’t bad either, long straights and fast sweeping bends, many snaking their way through tunnels of over-hanging trees. As the sun began to go down and with the navigation switched off! I just followed the roads where they took me.
Next stop Brooklands and a return to Goodwood, this time not just to look, but to drive!
Have we been here before? Virtually yes, but let's hit it one more time. Another CFX visit to a place full of hidden pleasures. It is the beginning of december and to top off an exciting year with a dose of inspiration we have decided to head north, direction Nuernberg. Somewhere in a little village we hit our target, dressed up your average industrial complex. Here one would expect a company specialized in milling machines, elevators perhaps or even tooling parts for the industry.
Behind these doors you will be blown back by a tsunami of heavenly metal. To cut it short, we are visiting the Dauphin Collection, a private party, an oasis of car history, packed, cramped, stuffed into a 21st century barn. The cars are lined up side to side. This is not not your usual museum tour or car show. A collection of cars, ranging from German, Italian to British. A feast for the eye and a hard one for the man behind the camera. One hundred cars in the first our and after that a walk through the second floor, filled up with more than 250 motorcycles. Details, details, details. A photo impression. Enjoy.
With a group of colleagues and a bunch of cars we are on our way to Salzburg. Traveling the b roads of Bavaria, swapping cars every half an hour. Know your product.
Lunchtime in Amerang, a green and sleepy village east of Munich, close to Chiemsee. After a good meal we take a dive into history at the local car museum. The collection is bigger than I thought. Some lost tourists and a group of designers. The museum is under reconstruction. Cars are being moved across the different halls. A good chance to get up close with some classics.
A big section is reserved for long forgotten brands of the early years. Normally not my favorite material, but I have to admit the simplicity and innovative construction methods are fascinating. Interior essentials, minimalist luxury.
Micro cars and sport coupes in bright colors or shades of white. Beautiful steering rims. Everything on display is pre airbag and in immaculate condition. Worth a visit if you are on your way into the Alps.
My mind is back in the Mojave dessert. The endless tarmac road ahead vaporizes towards the horizon. The stomping baseline is my companion as I push the pedal into the carpet. Speeding is tempting in the middle of nowhere. Chocolate donuts will melt immediately so the chance a cop is hiding behind some scarce bushes is close to nil.
It is the beginning of March and my pick for the music video of the year has been made. This is pure stylo! A short story full of references to classic car chasing flicks. Live action combined with animation. The new Gorillaz album is on repeat these days. Go check this video and enjoy. In the meanwhile I graphic my way through another project that takes place in a similar landscape, but that is on another page.
Too close to ignore the opportunity. 2000 km through Europe within five days. A couple of hundred more won't hurt so Michiel and I decide to pay a spontaneous visit to Duesseldorf. After Berlin this will be another Meilenwerk tour we have done.
Before we hit the road Michiel straps the maxicosy into the Isofix. Our small section of CFX for today will be completed by the probably youngest petrol head. Abel is snoozing when we cross the border. Fastlaning towards D-dorf. Woken up by the stop and go traffic close to our destination he remarks: "the people here speak a different language, all the numberplates are white!".
We enter the half circled building and sniff up the glorious smell of oil and patina. "Look there, two "Snoeks" (Citroen DS) next to each other! We take a quick look, where do we start? To much input. Meanwhile a low revving 911 Speedster slowly finds its way through the hall, looking for a private garage. The workshops, classic dealerships and boutiques are located at the outer rim of the old tram station. In the Gulf shop I ask for the price of a Steve Mc Queen tee. No thank you, highly overpriced. The re-branding of the classic petrol brand has had its peak. Too much, too easy, too expensive. Martini please!
We stroll across the outer galleries, taking pictures en enjoying the reflections on steel sculptures. Click, click, click. Have you ever seen this Alfa? Most of the cars are hard to capture, stored in glass boxes, oil on the floor. I try to wrench my camera in between the panels to get a clear view. Abel has discovered his own playground. Fifty cents and you are master of the universe for a couple of minutes in a world full of model trains. Meanwhile I take a peak outside the building. The parking lot around the Meilenwerk has its own hidden treasures. A beautiful brown coupe from Maranello, edged lines and minimalistic surfacing. A Monteverdi Safari behind the fence, Suisse Ranger avant la lettre.
Back inside we work the main hall towards the centre. My highlights are a fine selection of Porsches, a Talbot racer and the Toyota 200 GT. Abel has a different view. Pointing at a Jag S-type track car:" look a Cars-car, but it is not talking back to me!" Pancakes in the restaurant, all dressed up as a fifties drive inn, boots with fat cushions. Time for some last shots on Duesseldorfs beauties. The ambient light in the building changes from blue to red to purple and has a psychedelic effect on hoods and fenders. Maseratis transformed into hot rods with flame jobs.
Miles and more, I could spend a couple of hours more here to capture the spirit. A good CFX'd sunday goes to an end. We will be back one day. For those of you who plan a visit, try to come early to enjoy the natural light and stay late to see cars go disco. Meilenwerk, two down, one to go. Stuttgart anyone?
"It's just a windshield wiper".
CFX and movies. Normally we think about squeaking tyres and high revving engines. Today, heading home on a rainy monday night, I stubbled onto a movie that tells the story about a man and his invention. Back in the sixties, in a flash of genius, Dr. Kearns came up with the idea of the intermittent windshield wiper. A feature that soon would be a standard spec on many Ford automobiles.
Flash of Genius is a movie about justice and persistence. One man versus the big automotive industry, David against Goliath. Shot in beautiful colors, the right props and settled in the late sixties Michigan landscape. In one of the key scenes, two Mach One Mustangs roll into view with growling V8's, a rainy night in Detroit. Tucker (a man and his dream) meets JFK. A must see for all car enthusiasts and those who believe in the power of ideas.