Monday, August 3, 2015

About Italian automotive design 3

From Petrolicious by Yoav Gilad
More recently, another American has shaken up the Italian status quo. Mr.JASON CASTRIOTA hails from the New York City area and took an internship at Pininfarina while still a student at Art Center College of Design. When his internship ended, he dropped out of school and stayed in Torino as an employee where he worked on the FERRARI 599 GTB FIORANO as well as other clients’ projects.

 His work was so appreciated that he was named Head Designer for Special Projects. It is there that he executed what may be his best-known work: The  FERRARI P4/5 BY PININFARINA. It was based on the  FERRARI ENZO  ( AND HERE  )  but completely redesigned to pay homage to the FERRARI P3/4  ( AND HERE  )  endurance racers of the 1960s. Additionally, Castriota designed a one-off  FERRARI 612,  called the Kappa based on the Scaglietti and bodied entirely out of aluminum.
To see more of Castriota's creations, click  HERE  and  HERE.

Now let’s be clear: Ferrari is a purely Italian phenomenon. But it’s Ferrari North America’s sixtieth anniversary and like Chinetti contributing to Ferrari’s success during the early days, we’re recognizing a couple of American contributions to the storied marque in the field of design that might be surprising to some.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

About Italian automotive design 2

From Petrolicious by Yoav Gilad
North America has long been Ferrari’s most important market and even from the beginning they had one eye keenly fixed on American tastes. But it hasn’t strictly been a one-way road. Even the first North American distributor, Mr. Luigi Chinetti sometimes requested special cars be built that he knew would sell briskly in the US.

One aspect that has always remained firmly in Italian hands is the styling though, right? Yes and no. Ferraris have always been designed in-house or by Italian coachbuilders like Pininfarina, Scagletti, et al. But famous American designers have made significant contributions to Ferrari’s design language by their employment within the design firms. And this isn’t a new phenomenon either; it began with TOM TJAARDA in the early 1960s.

Tjaarda seemed destined to be a designer from birth. His father, John, was a car designer, and in an industrial design class as an architecture student at the University of Michigan the younger Tjaarda impressed the teacher so much that his teacher shared Tom's model with his friend, then-head of design at  CARROZZERIA GHIA ,  LUIGI SEGRE.  Tjaarda received an offer of employment as a result of the one model and moved to Torino, Italy. In his first couple of years at Ghia, he designed several concepts and production cars for firms such as Innocenti and Renault. Following some work for the city of Torino’s ‘ ITALIA 1961 DESIGN EXHIBITION ’ Pininfarina snatched him up.

And while he worked on a variety of projects for a few different clients, among his most memorable are the  1964 FERRARI 330 GT 2+2 PININFARINA SERIES 1  and the ’66 FERRARI 365 GT CALIFORNIA ( see also pictures below ). The  CALIFORNIA  replaced the 500 Superfast and was built on the same chassis but equipped with a cabriolet top for an open-motoring experience. It debuted at the  1966 GENEVA MOTOR SHOW  but sadly  ONLY FOURTEEN  365 Californias were ever produced.

Tom Tjaarda standing next to ' his ' Ferrari 365 California Spyder.

About Italian automotive design 1

From a recent article on CNN - Style:

The Italian studio Pininfarina designed the twentieth century's greatest Ferraris and through their work with the Prancing Horse -- plus the likes of Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, BMW and Maserati -- helped define the emotive Italian style of the mid-century sportscar.

On the company's 85th birthday, CEO PAOLO PININFARINA, the fourth patriarch of the family to head up the company since its founding by BATTISTA "PININ" FARINA in 1930, looks through the almost 1000 automobiles sculpted by Pininfarina to bring us its 10 most striking creations.

" The 10 icons I selected... are not necessarily the best, the ' top 10, ' says chairman Pininfarina, " they are to me probably the most emotionally involving."

Friday, July 10, 2015

Car concepts between past and future


The Hungarian  DAVID OBENDORFER  ( 40 ) attended the University of Art and Design in Budapest and now works as a ship-designer in Bergamo, Italy. In his spare time he interprets and remodels the design of car classics in a new way.

His studies are causing a furore. The ship-designer David Obendorfer is creating in his spare time automobile neo-classics that do homage to their four-wheeled ancestors - so far, unfortunately, only virtually.

Actually, David Obendorfer has no idea about cars. Or almost none. Except for a six-month apprenticeship at Alfa Romeo, which finalised the Hungarian-born after graduating from the University of Art and Design in Budapest, he had been in no contact with the car industry.

In his professional life Obendorfer - as employee of  OFFICINA ITALIANA DESIGN  in Bergamo - is designing extremely luxurious yachts for the "financially happy few" in the world.

But while others after daily closing time in the car-free Città Alta Bergamo are enjoying a glass of Chianti, Obendorfer is devoted behind closed doors to his passion, creating neo-classic automobiles.

That is to say : He is wrapping up legendary Chrome Jewels as the BMW 2000CS ( + VIDEO ) , the RENAULT 4 ( + VIDEO ), the FIAT 127 (  + VIDEO ) or the FIAT 500 ( + VIDEO ) in a modern shell, without breaking with the tradition of the former style icons. And should not exist a model, as in the case of the Fiat 500 Spider, it will be redesigned by Obendorfer in a retro style look.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Fiat 124 Spider: la italo - giapponese

THE 124 SPIDER - The result of the agreements between the Mazda and Fiat Chrysler Group FCA, the heir of the legendary Fiat 124 Spider from the 60's will be partly built in Japan on the platform of the new Mazda MX-5.

The name should be 124 Spider, since it was recently registered at the US Patent Office. It is still uncertain whether it will be Fiat Abarth 124 or 124.
According to rumors, in fact, the FCA could decide to give the Abarth brand this model exclusively.

Or the other theory, perhaps the most plausible, is that it is applied the same policy adopted by the 500, with a "normal" version Fiat and a more "peppered" brand Abarth.

The image above is a very, very close representation of the new Italian-Japanese 124 Spider.
See for the first Fiat Spider spy shots in disguise in Detroit  HERE

Pending further technical details and spy shots, which certainly will not fail, remember that the most likely date for the public debut of the new Fiat 124 Spider, which should be on the market from the beginning of 2016, is at the Los Angeles Motor Show in November 2015.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Daydreaming . . . . .

Daydreaming in images, trying to find anywhere a glimpse, a photograph, a picture, a drawing or a sketch of the new Fiat 124 Spider !

Although I know that the reflected image is NOT a picture of the new Fiat 124 Spider but of the new Mazda, inwhich plants the new Fiat Spider is or will be built, these pictures help me dreaming, phantasizing and trying to visualize the new Italian designed "belleza" and love of my life:
the one and only 2015 / 2016  FIAT 124 SPIDER.

CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE to see my daydream animation or  HERE  ( with a different browser ) and another one ( just for fun )  HERE  and  with a different browser  HERE .

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Automotive icons





Contact me at

Sunday, June 7, 2015


                                      FIAT 124  SPIDER

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A short time-out to work on my bucket list

As you might have noticed, I am not spending much time these days to my beloved, time-consuming Fiat 124 Spider blog "La Bella Macchina" since the beginning of this year.
And that has a significant reason.
To be honest, I am too busy in a startup of a new personal adventure: a new enterprise in my old line of business again as a designer and creating craftsman.

So, this is not a goodbye or farewell message, but just an announcement of a temporary time-out.
I do regret daily that I am not able to split up myself and combine the time consuming activities owing to my new business ambitions and my undiminished, lifelong passion for the Fiat 124 Spider.
Read about my passionate 5000 kilometers, solo  ITALY TOUR  of last year earlier in this blog.

Although I am 71 years of age, I have all the energy and enthusiasm in the world to make a success of my new thrilling enterprise, because I am eager to  GO FOR ANOTHER 16 YEARS.
Why? Because I strongly intend to reach the ultimate age of 87. ( I like that number ;-)) ).

I will be back soon. Ciao !

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Feel flattered

One of my followers / readers sent me a mail with THIS LINK.
Clicking one of the headers is giving THIS RESULT.

Nice ! I know that my blog is read worldwide.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A warm heart problem

A Fiat Spider Club member was removing the cylinder head from his car when a good friend of his, who is a well-known heart surgeon popped in to see what he was doing.

So he said to his friend: “ Doctor, can I ask you a question?
I’ve just opened up the heart of this engine, taken the valves out, fixed ‘em, put ‘em back in and, when I’ve finished, it ‘ll work just like new.
So how come you earn such a big salary doing basically what I’ve just done? ”

The surgeon paused, smiled, leaned over and whispered: “ Now try doing it with the engine running! ”

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's wish embellished by great Italian Maestros


And start the untouched New Year with the music of the brilliant Italian baroque

Bringing you a relaxing serenade to make a festive start with the most talented
English trumpet soloist of our time, who I admire immensely :  ALISON BALSOM

Sit back, relax and let these Baroque baubles ( composed when the world was a far
gentler place, some 300 years ago ) waft you to  A WORLD OF RAREFIED BEAUTY .

And you may listen  HERE  to the complete recording ( lasting 1 hour ) of this
flamboyant Italian baroque concerto composed by these great Italian maestros.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dutch generosity

As " old " paper-media  like magazines and club magazines, are under increasing pressure of digital media nowadays, I noticed that this also shows off in the increasing number of visitors of my blog.

Although my Fiat 124 Spider blog is in the English language, I'm happy to see that specifically for most of my Dutch fellow countrymen ( and -women ) and for most German, French and Italian 124 Spider enthusiasts this language barrier is not an issue anymore.

A rapidly increasing number of Dutch Fiat 124 Spider lovers is frequenting my blog.
The number of visitors tripled in the last three month, nice !
Just to let you know . . . . and for the record.

The official Dutch FIAT 124 SPORT SPIDER REGISTER avoids already more than 12 years ( from the moment on when I started my bilingual Fiat Spider website ) to mention my website or blog on their internet links page.

Absolutely incomprehensible in this small world . . . . is this what they call " Dutch generosity " ?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Creative Contemporaries - Hotel California 3

The lyrics of  HOTEL CALIFORNIA  describe the title establishment as a luxury resort where
" you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave."

On the surface, it tells the tale of a weary traveler who becomes trapped in a nightmarish luxury hotel that at first appears inviting and tempting. The song is an allegory about  HEDONISM, greed and self-destruction in the music industry of the late 1970s.
Don Henley called it " our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles " and later reiterated
" it's basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about."

In 2008, Don Felder described the origins of the lyrics:
        "Don Henley and Glenn wrote most of the words. All of us kind of drove into L.A. at night.
         Nobody was from California, and if you drive into L.A. at night... you can just see this glow on
         the  HORIZON OF LIGHTS  and the images that start running through your head of
         Hollywood  and all the dreams that you have, and so it was kind of  about that... what we 
         started writing the song about. 
         Coming into L.A.... and from that 'Life in the Fast Lane' came out of it, and 'Wasted Time'
         and a
bunch of other songs."

In a 2009 interview, music critic John Soeder asked Don Henley this about the lyrics:
        " On Hotel California  you sing: " So I called up the captain / 'Please bring me my wine' / 
          He said, We haven't had that spirit here since 1969." 
         " I realize I'm probably not the first to bring this to your attention, but wine isn't a spirit. 
          Wine is fermented; spirits are distilled. Do you regret that lyric?"

Henley responded:
        "Thanks for the tutorial and, no, you're not the first to bring this to my attention -
          and you're not the first to completely misinterpret the lyric and miss the metaphor.
          Believe me, I've consumed enough alcoholic beverages in my time to know how they are 

          made and what the proper nomenclature is. But that line in the song has little or nothing to 
          do with alcoholic beverages. It's a sociopolitical statement.
          My only regret would be having to explain it in detail to you, which would defeat the 

          purpose of using literary devices in songwriting and lower the discussion to some silly and
          irrelevant argument about chemical processes." 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Creative Contemporaries - Hotel California 2


 As one of the most well-known songs of the rock era, and the 49th greatest song of all time according to  ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE,  chances are high you’ve heard the famous song Hotel California by the Eagles from the 70s  –  unless you’ve been living under a rock.

Due to the cryptic nature of the song’s lyrics, it has been the victim of several misinterpretations by both critics and fans alike. Some believed that the Hotel California was THE HOTEL CALIFORNIA
in Baja, Todos Santos, Mexico ( nevertheless the owners are still calling their hotel suggestively
THE LEGENDARY HOTEL CALIFORNIA ), and the Eagles were venting about the hospitality industry.
Others hypothesized that the band was referring to the  CAMARILLO STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL
in Ventura County, California.
Still others divined that this was a devil-worshipping song about  ANTON LAVEY,  who was notorious for converting people to Satanism. The threatening lyric “ you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave ” are likely to be to blame for these bone-chilling theories.

Despite popular belief, the Eagles have confirmed that Hotel California actually has nothing to do with hotels, satanism, psychiatric hospitals, or cocaine addictions.
The hit song is actually an examination of the pitfalls of living within Southern California in the tumultuous 1970s.
Written by  DON FELDERGLENN FREY,  and  DON HENLEY  of the Eagles, the Hotel California lyrics meaning is focused on the excess of materialism of California, as well as across the nation in the 1970s.

And BTW: The famous picture on  THE ORIGINAL LP-COVER  was not a picture taken from a MISSION POST  with  BELLS  ( 2 pictures I made myself on my California roundtrip in 2011 at the mission post San Juan Bautista, California ), but from the three small characteristic towers of the luxurious  BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL  in Beverly Hills near Los Angeles, California.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Creative Contemporaries - Hotel California 1


From many thousands of car radio speakers from open Fiat 124 Spiders echoed music of the
Eagles back in the Seventies.
Especially their Grammy Awards winning song HOTEL CALIFORNIA ( Live at Largo, Maryland 1977 )  appealed many convertible drivers in that time while the text started with:
On a dark desert highway,
Cool wind in my hair . . . . .

Step right in and experience this great California Sound that defined a generation during the hippie heyday of the late 1960's and early 1970's.

THIS UNIQUE SOUND  was during more than ten years the intro and favorite signature tune of
my Fiat 124 Spider website !
  Click on the link and turn your speakers wide open !

On a dark desert highway
Cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas
Rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance
I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy,
and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night

There she stood in the doorway
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself
This could be Heaven
or this could be Hell
Then she lit up a candle
And she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor
I thought I heard them say

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Underrated driving danger

Eating and drinking while driving is a far underrated danger.

Have you ever thought how dangerous it might be to have to concentrate on opening a candy bar while you are driving? Or, have you ever been sitting at a stoplight and watched the dad in the
minivan next to you unwrap six junior cheeseburgers for the kids in the car seats behind him?

Like TEXTING WHILE DRIVING , eating is also a big distraction that can interfere with your reaction times. “Most car accidents are caused by drivers not paying attention,” says Eric Bolton, a spokesperson for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Distraction was most likely to be involved in rear-end collisions in which the vehicle was stopped, and in single-vehicle crashes.”

Hagerty Classic Insurance, a company that provides insurance for classic cars, often receives claims for damage to car interiors caused by food. They took a closer look at the issue and found some of the top offenders. Anything that spills easily is likely to be distracting, particularly during drivers’  morning commutes. When drivers are on their way to work, a clothing spill can make drivers more eager to try to clean up the mess while driving because they are pressed for time.

Here are ten of the most dangerous foods to eat while driving…

1. Coffee is most likely to spill out of the cup even with a lid when you hit a bump. This is yet
    another reason to start using a secure reusable cup.
2. Hot soup is also likely to spill when you hit a bump, if you are sipping it from a cup.
3. A food that can disassemble itself without much help, leaving your car looking like a salad bar.
4. Chili dogs are dangerous for the same reasons as tacos, with the extra mess factor of chili.
5. Hamburgers are considered one of the most dangerous foods to eat while driving because they
    make your hands greasy, making it harder to grip the steering wheel.
6. Barbequed food. We’re not sure who’s eating ribs while they drive, but the messy sauce is sure to
    give a driver slippery hands and necessitate finger licking.
7. Fried chicken will also cause your hands and the steering wheel to get greasy and be slippery.
8. Jelly- or cream-filled donuts are dangerous because they are almost impossible to eat without
    some of the gooey center dripping out.
9. Like coffee, soda easily splashes out from a cup or a can.
10. Chocolate melts on fingers and then you are trying to get it off the steering wheel without

In addition to most of these foods being unhealthy on their own, they can also put your health at risk by taking your attention off the road. The next time you are hungry before taking a drive, take a few extra minutes to eat before you leave or wait until you reach your destination.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Spyder - Spider - Speeder - Speedster

Many people here have heard the term " Spyder " or " Spider " when it applies to cars.
The term in fact has NOTHING to do with insects, but everything with OUR NOBLE HORSE RACE and horse-drawn carriages as shown in the video below of an original  " SPIDER " - carriage:


As with other automotive terms like  BROUGHAM PHAETON WAGON  and  CABRIOLET describing different styles of horse-drawn carriages, a " Spider " was a lighter version of a Phaeton, having narrower, spindly wheels and two-seat accommodation.

The name implied an extremely rudimentary top mechanism originating from a small two-seat horse-cart with a folding sunshade made of four bows; with its black cloth top and exposed sides for air circulation it resembled an eight-legged spider. This term was subsequently applied to automobiles.

The term " Spyder " was first used in cars like this ALFA ROMEO TIPO 8C  Why?
Because a Spider carriage was a lightweight open carriage with tall wheels. Pretty cool huh?
The first automotive chassis builders were horse-drawn carriage builders. They simply used the same terminology for horseless carriages.
Even the term " car " comes from the term " Motor Carriage " which was shortened to " Motor Car " and eventually just to " Car ".

Alternatively, a native Italian who has had no English influence in the pronunciation would pronounce  " Spyder " or " Spider " as Speeder. Thus a car labeled by an Italian car manufacturer as
" Spyder " or " Spider " is intended to be simply a " Speeder " or a sports car.
( Aston Martin used to have a car labeled " SPYDER " but now have a model labeled " VOLANTE ", an Italian word that translates into English as " Speeder " or " Speedster " )

Contrary to popular belief, the first car to be officially called a " Spyder " was not the  PORSCHE 550 SPYDER.  Aston Martin produced a  SPYDER  in the same year.
Spyder is found on a wide assortment of car names since the advent of the automobile - for example, the  ALFA ROMEO 8C 2900B SPYDER  that won the  MILLE MIGLIA IN 1938  ( before Porsche existed ) by Biondetti of the Scuderia Ferrari team - but arguably did not receive particular notoriety or significance until the popularity of  JAMES DEAN'S 1955 PORSCHE 550 SPYDER  " Lil Bastard ", which he was driving at high speed on a Californian highway in an awful, fatal crash that killed him.

Other later Spyders include Mitsubishi, numerous Ferraris and later Porsches. However, the most significant and known model to wear this name was our Fiat 124 Spider / Pininfarina Spider.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Creative Contemporaries - Pet Sounds 3


Paul McCartney has called Brian Wilson's ' GOD ONLY KNOWS  ' his favorite song of all time.
In an interview in 1990 he stated " It's a really, really great song — it's a big favorite of mine ".

" I was asked recently to give my top 10 favorite songs for a Japanese radio station ...
   I didn't think long and hard on it but I popped that God Only Knows is on the top of my list. It's
   very deep. Very emotional, always a bit of a choker for me, that one. There are certain songs that
   just hit home with me, and they're the strangest collection of songs ... but that is high on the list,
   I must say God Only Knows' lyrics are great. Those do it to me every time. "

Each of the black-and-white pictures below of the young Brian Wilson ( at that time 24 years old! )
is separately clickable and performs once again the unique studio tape recordings from that era.

                                               Soundtrack instrumental - God only knows - take 1

                                                        Soundtrack vocal - God only knows

                                                 Soundtrack final performance - God only knows

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Creative Contemporaries - Pet Sounds 2


Apart from personal preference or taste, the album  PET SOUNDS  of   THE BEACH BOYS  is a major musical monument from the Sixties and Seventies and could be heard out of many open convertibles at that time.

To discover for yourself the virtuosity of the passionate, creative Brian Wilson ( at that time 24 years old! ), I made audible here a number of unique, original studio tracks from 1967.

Each of the black-and-white pictures below of the young Brian Wilson is separately clickable and performs once again the unique studio tape recordings from that era.

And turn your speakers to the max!
If not possible at this moment, wait till you are home alone and repeat this once again.
Make a bet that you will be impressed ?

                                           Soundtrack instrumental - Wouldn't it be nice - take 1

                                                    Soundtrack vocal - Wouldn't it be nice

                                              Soundtrack final performance - Wouldn't it be nice

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Creative Contemporaries - Pet Sounds 1


A classic among music classics: PET SOUNDS  of  THE BEACH BOYS.

Generally accepted as one of the most important albums, Pet Sounds made that The Beach Boys entered the history of pop as one of the most innovative groups ever.

The record mainly is the creation of the 24-year old musical genius  BRIAN WILSON  who called on session musicians for the recording of most musical parts. Nevertheless, because of the outstanding, excellent harmonies a pure and genuine Beach Boys record was created with a number of the most beautiful tracks that the group ever had sung.

The great American composer  LEONARD BERNSTEIN  ( among many other things composer of
WEST SIDE STORY ) conductor, songwriter, pianist and music-teacher wrote about him:
" Brian Wilson was one of the greatest composers of the 20th century ".

A statement of  PAUL MCCARTNEY:
" I often played Pet Sounds and cried ".

And  GEORGE MARTIN  producer of the Beatles, stated:
" If there is one person that I have to select as a living genius of pop music, I would choose Brian Wilson. Without Pet Sounds,  SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND  wouldn't have happened. Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds ".

For Paul McCartney, Pet Sounds was the great source of inspiration creating Sgt. Pepper.
Up till today the former bass player of the Beatles, and with him a lot of important musicians, has a deep admiration for the masterpiece of  BRIAN WILSON  the genius of The Beach Boys.
McCartney gave as a present to all his children a copy of Pet Sounds: " No one is educated musically 'til they've heard Pet Sounds. It is a total classic record that is unbeatable in many ways ".
The statement of McCartney is exemplary.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

World-wide fans & followers

It's most satisfying to perceive, that visitors of my blog are coming from every corner in the world.
In other words: Fiat 124 Spider enthusiasts are everywhere and they know to find my blog as well !

To prove this statement, I reveal the number of visitors that frequented my blog LAST WEEK: 529 !
So 529 unique and returning visitors, practically from all continents and from every region of the globe found their way to my blog.

Per country in detail: CHART1 | CHART2 | CHART3.
Per region: CHART1 | CHART2 | CHART3 | CHART4 | CHART5 | CHART6 | CHART7 | CHART8.

Funny to see, that there were 39 visitors from Holland last week . . . . and 35 visitors from Russia !
In comparison: there are about 600 officially registered Fiat 124 Spider owners in the Netherlands
( supposedly at least  more than 1000, including unregistered ) and maybe there are 1 or 2 ( ! ) in Russia !

Friday, September 5, 2014

Tom Tjaarda: A Fantasy Lived

You earn a degree in architecture from the University of Michigan. You're a Detroit native whose DUTCH-BORN FATHER -- once an engineer for aviation pioneer and aeroplane manufacturer ANTHONY FOKKER  ( with FOKKER F36 - aeroplane and CHRYSLER AIRFLOW 8 - vehicle ) in Holland -- designed in Detroit the 1936 LINCOLN ZEPHYR.
At the suggestion of your architecture professor, you spend a summer working at Carrozzeria Ghia.
In 1958, at the age of twenty-four and with degree in hand, you move to Turin with the notion of becoming a designer of Italian cars.

You work for Ghia and design such historic milestone cars as the INNOCENTI 950 SPIDER.
After working with Battista "Pinin" Farina on Italia '61 -- the centenary celebration of the reunification of Italy -- you move to Carrozzeria Pininfarina.
There you design some more historic milestone cars, including the CHEVROLET CORVETTE RONDINE, FERRARI 330GT 2+2, FIAT 124 SPIDER, and FERRARI 365 CALIFORNIA.

You return to Ghia and design more significant cars, such as the ISUZU BELLETT MX1600,
After Ford buys Ghia in 1970, you create the first FIESTA.

You marry Paola, a beautiful Torinese school principal. You discover that, in the mid-1960s, both Enzo Ferrari and Pinin Farina drive, as their personal transport, cars for which you designed the bodies. At a time when other supercars trickle from factories, De Tomaso builds more than 7000 of your Panteras.

You establish your independent firm, Dimensione Design, to create cars for Aston Martin, Honda, Rayton-Fissore (Laforza), Saab, Spyker, and a host of others.
You become a sought-after judge for prestigious Concours d'Elegance all over the world, including a special class dedicated to your designs at the forty-seventh PEBBLE BEACH CONCOURS.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

From Tucson - Arizona

The blog spot of the FUN ITALIAN AUTOMOBILES OF TUCSON is sharing:
 "Check out THIS GREAT HISTORICAL OVERVIEW on YouTube produced by Anthony."

The FUN ITALIAN AUTOMOBILES OF TUCSON CLUB has a blog spot for a group of Tucson and Southern Arizona owners of Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia, Maserati and DeTomaso automobiles.

It is a club without fees or dues - just their personal contribution of time, talent, and energy along with others who enjoy any type of Italian cars in their area. They have regular meet-ups and participate in car-related events around the region and also have several "Sunday Drives" planned throughout the year.

Great to see we are sharing THE SAME AWESOME PASSION !

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Spider in bird's-eye view 3

Vocal music with text and words can be rather disturbing or distracting while watching picture book images also with text, like in my Fiat Spider picture book.

Plenty reason for me to search for wordless instrumental music, hoping for a better match.
Anyhow, I give it a try in seven new screen savers.

MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 4 - Ludovico Einaudi in 'Una Mattina'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 245 MB) can be downloaded  HERE .

MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 5 - Ennio Morricone in 'Matrimonio Col Vizietto'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 260 MB) can be downloaded  HERE .

MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 6 - Toots Thielemans in 'The Windmills Of Your Mind'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 270 MB) can be downloaded  HERE .

MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 7 - Vangelis in 'Bilitis'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 200 MB) can be downloaded  HERE .

MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 8 - Irish Panpipes in 'The Town That I Loved So Well'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 260 MB) can be downloaded  HERE .

MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 9 - James Kline in 'Turlough O'Carolan'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 235 MB) can be downloaded  HERE .

MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 10 - James Kline in 'Si Bheag, Si Mhor'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 235 MB) can be downloaded  HERE .

Like mentioned in my previous post, I built in an important  ' MUTE ' - OPTION in the Settings-box
for all Spider friends who prefer a silent screen saver instead of a musical one.
For installation and configuration instructions, click  Read more >>  below.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Spider in bird's-eye view 2

It took me some time to realize a screen saver identical to the YouTube videos in my former post, showing 30 of the finest pictures from various catalogues and of all versions of the 124 Spider during several decades.

And to make sure that - apart from watching - you will enjoy listening too, I fixed the screen saver up with three different types of easy-listening background music.
To find out what music pleases you best, I've cut a short fragment out of each of the three pieces of music to make your choice easier.

MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 1 - Toto Cotugno in 'Cantando'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 190 MB) can be downloaded  HERE .

MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 2 - Paul Simon in 'Still Crazy After All These Years'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 200 MB) can be downloaded  HERE .

MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 3 - Rod Stewart in 'Sailing'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 260 MB) can be downloaded  HERE .

For those who enjoy a silent screen saver: I built in a ' MUTE ' - OPTION in the Settings-box.
For installation and configuration instructions, click  Read more >>  below.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Spider in bird's-eye view 1

Although several impressive books and countless articles were written about the history and the "making-of" of the Fiat 124 Spider ( including MY OWN STORY FROM TOM TJAARDA ),
I tried to make a new picture-book in the form of a short bird's-eye view video of my beloved Spider.

In the creative process 30 of the finest pictures from various catalogues and of all versions of the 124 Spider during several decades had to be transformed and worked up graphically to a great extent before it could be used and satisfied my imagination for this nice challenge.

Respectfully dedicated to Pininfarina and Tom Tjaarda.

Fiat 124 Spider - my bird's-eye view 1
Fiat 124 Spider - my bird's-eye view 2 - same movie with different background music.

I am busy to convert the YouTube videos in a screen saver under the condition that it is identical to the YouTube movie you just saw, and that the music can be turned off so it can work silently in the background on your computer or on your notebook.

Note: click the header picture above to admire a larger image (as with most of my header pictures).

Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Spider dog

As requested in  MY GUESTBOOK,  I was invited by an appreciated follower of my blog from Brazil, to repost a picture of my Swiss Bernese mountain dog sitting on the back seat of my Spider, that was published on my former website.

Along with  THE PICTURE INVOLVED  the accompanying text on my website was then:
Most dogs are just crazy about driving in a car with their head out of the window. Just as my Swiss Bernese mountain dog ' Tessa '  likes to do.
The unpleasant side of it is, that most dogs after such a drive in the open air, will catch some nasty red eyes or even a serious inflammation of the eyes. Just like my dog.

And, if on warm and sunny days ( on a bright country highway, COOL WIND IN MY HAIR , warm smell of mowed grasses, rising up through the air ) you want to get out for a drive without leaving your dog at home all alone, you got to think of something unusual.

In my situation I decided to visit a specialist shop for motorcycles and motorcycle accessories to try on a real motorcycle goggles for my friendly housemate. Thanks to her massive head and pronounced nose most goggles fitted her surprisingly well and ( after a lot of fun and laughter with the sales personnel )  I selected a trendy Italian type ( AN ORIGINAL BARUFFALDI ) because of the perfect fit.
After that, I bought in a pet shop an adjustable dog harness and with some tinkering in my Spider a solid anchored safety belt was mounted behind the back seat bench.

Although I know that she is not fond of the fumbling with the goggles beforehand, she endures all this because she knows that she is going with me in the open Spider. She is, like most dogs, so fond of driving in the open air, that for her it compensates all unpleasant preparations.

Sitting on the back seat, she towers - owing to HER MASSIVE SIZE -  just above the windscreen up in the wind. With wild flapping hair and ears and her cool motorcycle goggles she visibly enjoys the fast passing world from her new high perspective. And because of that pleasure I started all this, but now without painful and unpleasant eye problems for my beloved Spider dog !


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Italian-Blog: Ciao Tutti

waarover de maakster - Saskia Balmaekers - op haar website schrijft:

Ciao tutti!
Welkom op mijn Italiëblog!
Ik neem jullie elke dag even mee naar Italië, om te genieten van de Italiaanse cultuur, de Italiaanse keuken en de Italiaanse taal. Uiteraard zal ik ook regelmatig restaurantjes, boeken, films en evenementen bespreken, zodat je het Italiëgevoel ook gewoon op een doordeweekse avond kunt opzoeken of zelfs in huis kunt halen!

Zelf ben ik sinds mijn eerste kennismaking met Italië helemaal verslingerd geraakt aan het land, de geuren, het heerlijke eten, de druk gebarende mensen op straat, de taal....

Met Ciao Tutti wil ik iedereen die deze passie voor Italië deelt (of die het gewoon een heel fijn vakantieland vindt) voorzien van leuke weetjes, nuttige tips, lekkere adresjes (in Italië en in Nederland) en het laatste nieuws uit Italië.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Italian roundtrip 4

( apart from countless other amazing, staggering, impressive and brilliant Italian observations )

1a. The Autostrada's are superbly constructed masterpieces with their innumerable tunnels
      and their on pillars built highways
1b. The road surfaces of the rest of the road network is in a lousy bad state.

2a. I observed and saw only NEW cars, despite the deep Italian financial crisis
2b. I noticed only two ( ! )  older Fiat Panda's. Italians are not interested in old-timers.

3a. In most cases these new cars were all white
3b. Very rarely I saw a car in a color other than white, black or (less) grey

4a. I felt like coming from another planet adjusting my driving speed according to the traffic
      speed limitation signs
4b. Speed limitations? WTF . . . Italians don't care at all !

5a. Despite three weeks of continuous sunshine in June, I did not see any Italian in a convertible
5b. I noticed 2 convertibles in this inviting topless period ( 1 from Britain and 1 from Germany )

6a. I noticed just ONE Alfa Spider
6b. Although I looked out for it: I observed NOT ONE  FIAT 124 SPIDER !
      Additionally it was an anticlimax to learn from many Italians that they didn't recognize
      their own Italian made Fiat 124 Spider anymore. Apart from that, they didn't care.

7a. Without prejudices, Italians ( both men and women ) are the most handsome, good-looking
      and well-dressed Europeans in my opinion
7b. I saw several Mona Lisa's walking around like the one on the painting in the Louvre in Paris.

8a. Italians are - beyond all doubt - superior MASTERS IN DESIGN
8b. And besides that, in many ways they are real MASTERS IN THE ART OF LIVING.

9a. Don't learn the Italian language if you don't have to
9b. With "va bene", "molto bene", "prego", "mille grazie", "buon giorno" and "arrivederci"
      you can travel the whole country.

10a. Pasta dishes are far too overrated in the Italian and international cuisine
10b. The first course anti-pasti dishes are far too underrated.

11a. I observed a large number of African boat refugees all over the country
11b. Although I avoid to discuss any political tinted subjects here, in my opinion it is a
        great injustice that the rest of Europe just doesn't give a damn about this major Italian
        ( thus collective ) European problem.

The Italian cartoon animator Bruno Bozzetto thinks differently.
Watch his crazy exaggerated "Europe versus Italy" animations HERE and HERE.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Italian roundtrip 3

After I made the plan to stay 2 days in every of the 10 districts that I intended to travel across during my 3 weeks tour in Italy, I made maps of every single district with all the marked (Borghi) villages that I wanted to visit. With the help of these detailed district maps, I chose the most strategic location for my accommodation during those 2 days. In that specific region I searched for a pleasant address for bed and breakfast.

In most of these provinces I stayed in one of the wonderful so-called AGRITURISMO accommodations, right between endless vineyards, olive and hazelnut estates in the rural countryside, where having a car is a must.
A few Agriturismo accommodations where I stayed:
- in Lombardy in CASCINA PEZZOLO
- in Piemont in CASCINA GIARDINI
- in Veneto in VILLA SERENA

When I arrived in the afternoon at the PALAZZO DI LUGLIO in Tuscany, after driving 390 km from my BED & BREAKFAST accommodation in Liguria, I was surprised by all the activities in and around the gardens and swimming pool from this wonderful located residence on top of a hill with a breathtaking panoramic view.
So I asked the owner of the Palazzo what was going on and he replied that a big "matrimonio"-party was going to be held that evening and night with a lot of guests. And he added: in case you are interested to be invited, I'll take care of that, don't worry !

But first of all I will arrange something to eat and to drink from the catering-boys so I am able to say "Benvenuto" and "Salute" to you as my respected guest ! So a full plate of Anti-Pasti and a perfect bottle of white wine in a cooler were in front of me within minutes.

As a guest in the wedding party that night I was drinking too much champagne and I had to be very careful walking straight along the swimming pool ( because I can't swim ) to get my next portion of prosciutto, salmon or truffle ( there was a bowl with big black truffles! ) delicacy.

A guest in a great Italian wedding party in Tuscany.
I NEVER, EVER could have dreamt about such a unique event in my life !

A glass of champagne in one hand and in the other my camera, I made a serie of simple snapshots of the wonderful wedding party at Palazzo di Luglio in Tuscany .
A presentation of these pictures can be seen here:  A WEDDING PARTY IN TUSCANY

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Italian roundtrip 2

My specific personal points of interest were NOT the widely known tourist attractions in the major Italian cities, like Milan, Turin, Genoa, Florence, Pisa, Bologna and Venice (which I did not visit at all) nor the known northern lakes that I saw already countless times represented on postcards and in tourist brochures, but to discover and visit the rather unknown and fascinating hidden villages of Italy, as the Italians call it: Il fascino dell'Italia nacosta.

I made a unique tour along a large number of BORGHI PIÙ BELLI D'ITALIA ( the most beautiful and precious villages and small cities of Italy ) in north-east, north-west and in mid-Italy.
Villages with this proud and honorable predicate were nominated by a select group of Italian well-known experts in the field of architecture, landscape, environment, cultural heritage, history and arts. National experts who started their unique initiative for an Italian Heritage List in 2001.

The aim of this selection was ( is ) helping to preserve, maintain, revitalise and grant the unique charm and value of these small individual villages, which - being outside the main tourist routes - risk, despite the great value, of being forgotten with consequent degradation, depopulation and abandonment.

Initially the group included a hundred villages, later increased to 211 ( in June 2014 ) nominated with the DISTINCTIVE SIGN I Borghi Più Belli d'Italia being elected as the most beautiful, most unique and charming villages of Italy with their attractive streets and buildings, exceptional squares, museums, churches, their long and impressive history and their photogenic perspectives.

With MY LOYAL, PERFECTLY RUNNING 124 SPIDER ( here in front of the main gate of the FERRARI INDUSTRIAL PREMISES  in Maranello ) I drove along  THESE FABULOUS HIDDEN ITALIAN GEMS  ( and along about one hundred villages more )  OVER VERY NARROW, LONG AND WINDING ROADS  with pot holes, over many  MILES-LONG BUMPY FARM AND COUNTRY TRACKS  just wide enough for one car, over unpaved or badly paved dirt roads, along hundreds of hairpin bends, over the perfect smooth, superbly constructed  AUTOSTRADA  with hundreds of tunnels, I drove more than 3000 miles (approx. 5000 km) in 21 days, only in Italy.

You are only able to make an intensive tour like I did, if you are willing to have breakfast every morning between 7:30 and 8:00 AM, make your day program at 8:30 and start your car engine at 9:00 AM and go !

Without power brakes and power steering it was tough and hard labor, but more than worthwhile visiting THESE AMAZING HIDDEN ITALIAN TREASURES ( I took pictures of only a limited number of them ). Most of the time I was the one and only visitor in these jewel-villages!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Italian roundtrip 1

Home again . . . .

The original plan I had, to make a roundtrip along the Adriatic Coast in Croatia and Bosnia in June with my 124 Spider was called off owing to the completely unexpected and dramatic waterflood in the Bosnia region mid-May last, in which region a few weeks later a large part of the return journey should have been taken place.
So I cancelled the entire Balkan roundtrip project, called off overnight all the well prepared hotel reservations at the end of May and changed the roundtrip direction towards Italy.

In the few days that were left, I worked out and organized a wonderful 3-weeks roundtrip through the Italian districts FRIULI-VENEZIA, Trentino-Alto Adige, Lombardy, Piedmont, Liguria, Tuscany, Umbria, Marches, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto. And in every province a wonderful accomodation for 2 days to explore the rural region and to visit small pittoresque villages.