Archive for May, 2011

05/27/11 – NJ Vintage Gran Prix – Millville, NJ

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The Automotive Art of Mark Havens

These photographic prints of vintage car model decal sheets are an amazing collision of my interests in car culture and typography. I’ve long been a fan of these old decals and have spent way too many hours in Photoshop trying to reproduce the vintage printing techniques that make these artifacts so soulful. I’d be on-board with Mark’s project in any capacity, but when I see the scale of the reproductions, I’m simply smitten with them.

I love the colors and the type and the cartoony appeal of these decals at their original size; but the prints are startlingly detailed and textured when reproduced at 4×5 feet. Each little crackle and discoloration becomes so painterly and weathered and beautiful. I’m sure that even the artists that Revell and AMT employed when these decals were designed would be startled by the depth and vibrance of them at this scale.

There’s something about playing with scale that makes us notice things. When we see something familiar at a radically altered size, it makes us notice it again; and we start to look past the idea we have of it and see more closely the details and the construction. I think 3 or 4 of these prints running the length of a garage wall would be an absolutely fantastic display.

The series, appropriately titled Displacement, is being exhibited through the end of July at the JAGR Projects gallery in the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia. More images at Mark’s site.

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Moment-to-Moment Knowledge

A good driver drives still better with a Smiths Electronic Impulse Tachometer.

The racing driver’s control of his car depends on knowledge—not just knowledge of how to drive, but the moment-to-moment knowledge he gets from his instruments.

Chief of these is the tachometer. There’s no substitute for the information it gives the driver—information which is now available to you, whatever car you drive.

Smiths electronic impulse tachometer is a handsome, superbly accurate instrument, which can easily be fitted to an existing dashboard. It costs only £9.15—not much to pay for the chance of increasing motoring skill, and motoring pleasure too.

If you’re experienced enough to take advantage of a tachometer, you might be interested in Smiths other supplementary instruments, and the attractive sub-panel designed for mounting them below your dashboard.

Smiths Electronic Impulse Tachometer.

Write to us (or ask at your Garage) for full information about the electronic impulse tachometer and the complete range of supplementary instruments.

Smiths Motor Accessory Division
Sales and Service, Oxgate Lane, London N.W.2

This is something we’re unlikely to see again. It’s difficult enough to swap a new radio in lately, let alone gauges.

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1911 Indy 500 Footage

When a race is 40 years older than the Formula 1 World Championship, the newsreels have to both show the race highlights and explain how an auto race works. “Cars remain in platoon formation for the first lap”—platoon formation. That’s the first time I’ve heard that term: definitely ready for a comeback.


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05/20/11 – Legends of Motorsports at Barber Motorsports Park – Birmingham, AL

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05/20/11 – Legends of Motorsports Bobby Rahal Signature Event – Birmingham, AL

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05/20/11 – Rolling Thunder – Willows, CA

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05/20/11 – Ferrari Challenge at Laguna Seca – Salinas, CA

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This Weekend at Auction: Alfa Romeo TZ Coupé

Race history at the Targa Florio? Check. Le Mans? Yup. Tour de France? Uh-huh. Monza 1000KM? You bet.

Say any one of these things about any single example of a car and you’ll have my attention. Say all of them about a single car and you’ll have a lot of people’s attention. When the car you’re talking about is an exquisite 1964 Alfa TZ Coupé, you’ll have everyone’s attention.

There’s no question that the TZ is a striking machine. One of only 112 made, any Tubulare Zagato is a rare beast. One of the very few early Audodelta prepped machines (those made before the wider homologation production) and with well documented race history. Hell, it’s damn near unique.

This Alfa-Romeo TZ #750006 is crossing the block this weekend as part of RM’s Ville d’Este auction. And it says something about the caliber of machine that they’re presenting this weekend that the TZ isn’t even one of their featured lots. But if you look a bit beyond the sea of vintage Ferraris on offer (a 275GTB, a Scaglietti 500 TRC Spider, a 375MM Berlinetta) you’ll come to lot 126.

Restored to her 1964 LeMans livery by Piet Roelofs Engineering, she looks aggressive, mean even. Despite the relatively light 150 horsepower that the 1.5liter DOHC straight 4 was pulling, Giampiero Biscaldi and Giancarlo Sala managed 15th overall in the 24 Hours (10th in GT). In a field of Ferrari 330s and GTOs and Porsche 904s, that’s a wonderful result that Scuderia St. Ambroeus must have been pleased with (with her sister car finishing 13th for the team).

A truly stunning example of a remarkable car and a masterpiece of design for Zagato—I do so miss that flat-back era of design. I’d say there’s little doubt she’ll reach her estimate of €475.000-€575.000.

More at RM’s catalog. Previously.

Update: Well, the TZ sure met it’s reserve alright, selling for €627,200.

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Dammit. They took my Borranis.

This is what happens when you park your immaculately restored Alfa Romeo Tipo 159 in a bad part of town.

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