Category Archives: CarFreax

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!

141002_Paris 2014_Audi TT Sportback

 

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?

141002_Paris 2014_Lambo Asterion

 

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.

141002_Paris 2014_Renault Eolab

 

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!

141002_Paris 2014_VW XL 1 Sport

DRIVEN

130519-USA-El Mirage-Ford V8-01

At the edge of the gathering the speedster is parked in between some RV's. Red and white with a classic stance. The sheet metal bonnet is popped up, hard shadows accentuate the cars footprint. What might become the picture of the day will turn to an everlasting experience. "Hi there, should I close the bonnet, so you can take better pictures?" "I can park it out there in the open space if you want."

The conversations unfolds as we get into detail. 300 something BHP. "Jump inside I you need to take close up shots. The sound is great, wait a minute, I'll rev her up". Larry is one of these driven and passionate owners who likes to share. He takes it very literally today. "You wanna join me for a ride, I'll show you around." Wind and whirring cogs, click clack, second gear. In between I hear something about ditching windscreens, dust, visibility and Bonneville. Click clack.

As we return at our starting point Larry unlocks the big round steering wheel to get our of the car and hands it over to me. "Slide over to this side, now that you know how it works, it's up to the two of you!" " I am damn serious buddy!"

An endless drive in open space. Hours later we get stuck into down town traffic as we hit Los Angeles. I still have the image of that smiling guy in his white Nascar sweater giving us signs every time we want to return him his V8 speedster. "Come on, go for another round!"

-Matt.

130519-USA-El Mirage-Ford V8-02

GENE

130519-USA-El Mirage-Gene Winfield-01

Hey dude, where are you from? You look like you're new here. Germany. You know, I have been hanging around at the lake here for the past twenty years, but you Mr Germany, this is your day. Just walk past those officials and take that picture you need, right there at the starting line! Just do it!

A couple of minutes later I find myself in the middle of the action, a few meters away from the starting line. A motorcycle trails of and vanishes in a cloud of dust. As I turn around to see who is next, I realize I stand face to face with a legendary car. Low, rough, raw, a deep purple bastard. The crew gathers around its driver, providing some shadow.

After the race, when everything has cooled down, I walk up to purple car. This is my personal icing on an already fantastic cake. Shake hands with Mr. WInfield. Eighty-six years old and still full of energy, driving cars like he stole them. Gene is not only one of the scenes last legends, gene is part of hot rod's DNA. I help his crew to push the 501 gently into the trailer. El Mirage, California, it doesn't get any better than this.

-Matt.

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DARWIN

130519-USA-El Mirage-Dead End Hot Rod

Keep modifying, keep testing, keep racing. 

This sunday at El Mirage is a perfect opportunity to get an overview of Hot Rod history. Different stages of evolution are parked side by side, here and there with some strange mutations. Dead ends? No, these contraptions spice up the experience. Top chopped, channeled, shaved. Modified, Specials. From post war Belly Tank racers to mind blowing airplanes without wings.

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It is  worth to take a peak inside the cars and imagine what it must feel like to sit in a cramped cage at such high speeds. Sometimes all you need in a cockpit is a rev counter and a bit of faith, hence the little religious figurine. Sometimes all you need in a cockpit is a rev counter and a bit of faith, hence the little religious figurine.

-Matt.


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PUSH PULL

130519-USA-El Mirage-Chevy Bel Air 57 Station

Slick versus rough, mean versus friendly. Two cars, one model, opposite characters. One to push, one to pull off. Both of them with an eye for detail. Pragmatic use of wood here for low speeds, slick aero solutions there to reduce drag or simply to get a grip on vibrations. 

-Matt.

130519-USA-El Mirage-Chevy Bel Air 57