Saturday, August 25, 2012

The myth of the Pirelli calendar

The Calendar is the icon of Pirelli's communication. A symbol that for over forty years not only celebrates female beauty, but also celebrates the complexity of an art that has been able to transform itself over time. With constantly changing styles and authors, this art always manages to express a new aspect of history.


The Pirelli Calendar's photographers have always immortalised a very sophisticated concept of beauty, mid-way between fashion and glamour. And every year the Cal offers a collection of images that interpret the concept of beauty in an original way, different to the previous year.

The locations are sometimes far-away and exotic, like the Bahamas, the Seychelles, Majorca and Tunisia. This year it was the Corse turn. At other times it is simply the lights of the photographer's studio that illuminate the scene.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Inspiration for the Fiat 124 Spider - part 2

Tom Tjaarda continues in his letter:
" Thus the idea for the 124 spyder was born from this Corvette. My next assignment was to take this theme and prepare full size drawings to construct the WOODEN MODEL - PIC 2 - PIC 3 - PIC 4
( these are wooden models of the Ferrari 500, 365 and 330 just to give an impression how these models look like ).

To prepare these drawings was not an easy job for the simple reason that the Fiat chassis was much shorter than the Sting Ray, smaller also were the overhangings both front and rear. Thus to adapt the lines of the Rondine, which were rather long and flowing, to these shorter proportions was a real challenge.
It took me days just to plot the first profile of the car, it just did not seem to work, and it took no end of time to come up with something satisfactory. SIGNORE MARTINENGO ( left, Tjaarda - right ) could see that I was having trouble coming up with a solution and above all that it no longer looked like the Rondine. That is where he kind of saved my day, or month in this case.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Inspiration for the Fiat 124 Spider - part 1

In 2004 Tom Tjaarda - the designer of the Fiat 124 Spider - wrote me in a personal letter:

"The design of the Fiat 124 spyder has a somewhat interesting aspect in that the theme for this car is derived from a Chevrolet Corvette concept proposal from Pininfarina. It was wintertime in 1963 when I was handed a drawing of the CORVETTE STING RAY chassis and began making idea sketches including a 1:4 scale model of a concept car to be shown in the Paris Auto Salon that October. My design was the one selected and the full size running prototype completed for the show.

Every so often Battista Pininfarina ( the name had been officially changed now ) would come to the factory to check on things. He was somewhat retired but still followed every aspect of the business, also because he still had that "eye" for proportions, forms and everything else which made his name so important all over the world.

It so happened that one time he asked the modelers to slim down the sides of a wood buck however being such a slight change was left as is and so happens that it went undetected by the "maiestro". The prototype was then built and before the final painting Pininfarina painfully said that he had made a mistake that it needed to be slimmed down just a bit more - this time they did just that!! He had a fantastic eye and so did Martinengo and so being in this kind of company was learning very quickly.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Italian temperatures - Italian refreshing ice

It was hot, muggy and steamy all over Europe, especially in Northern-Europe where temperatures raised to unusual tropical levels this memorable August 19/20, 2012 weekend.

How did I keep myself cool and enjoy a treat without suffering a chocolate meltdown? Well, I just indulged in a refreshing chocolate Italian ice.
Italian ices are well known all over the western hemisphere. They are smoother than granitas, softer than sorbets and just generally different. They are also incredibly refreshing.

Although I love Italian ices, I really didn’t know much about them and not at all about the difference between an Italian ice and an Italian water ice. Some sources use both terms interchangeably, others say there is a difference.
An Italian ice is flavored, then frozen and shaved for serving. An Italian water ice is plain ice that is flavored after it has been shaved into soft, snowy mounds, except when it is not and then it is the same as an Italian ice.

Regional differences among Italian immigrants and European cities probably account for the differences in technique and nomenclature. Italian immigrants to our country brought with them a long tradition of frozen desserts including granita (made by freezing water, fruit juices or other flavoring ingredients and sugar in a pan and periodically flaking and scraping the ice as it forms to break up the ice crystals) and sorbet (made by freezing similar ingredients in a ice cream freezer).

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fiat 124 Spider in the US

Here is what I think is an excellent overview of the Fiat 124 Spider in the US from Hemmings Sport and Exotic Car ( the world's largest collector car marketplace ). It is from 2006 so figures quoted
( included is a list of various parts with prices attached ) need to be adjusted, but it is a very nice overview.

Over 18 years, Fiat--and then, later Pininfarina--sold somewhere around 120,000 124 Spiders in the United States, the lion's share of cars the manufacturer ever built. It's a testament to the Pininfarina-designed car that it still looks as fresh and sporty today as it did when it was introduced in 1966.

But for one reason or another, whenever Americans ready themselves to purchase a sports roadster, the Fiat 124 Spider falls to the bottom of the list. Some claim it's due to the bad reputation Fiat had in the 1970s for turning out pretty cars that ran every third Tuesday. Others blame demon rust, which seems to have a particularly ravenous appetite for Italian machines. Or maybe it's the fact that there were so darned many of them that they've fallen off the radar of many sports car fans here.

Whatever the reason, it's time to rethink our attitude toward the 124 Spider. These cars have been on the road long enough to dispel any urban myths about their longevity and original build quality, and there are plenty of parts suppliers, experts and club advisors around to sort through any common problems these cars have had over the years. According to Dwight Varnes, a past vice-president and co-founder of Fiat-Lancia Unlimited (FLU), and the co-founder of that group's Fiat Freak Out annual meet (July 14-16, 2006), the biggest problem with a Fiat 124 Spider was often not the manufacturer, but the dealer. "An awful lot of dealers took on the Fiat franchises as a second or third line," he says. "Lots of the dealers specialized in American cars, and they took on Fiat as a cheap import. The service departments just didn't want to understand them."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What Recession ?

The ultra rare FERRARI 625 TRC SPIDER with its fine coachwork by Scaglietti is one of the most exceptional cars ever created. Ferrari made only two of these 625 TRC Spiders. The Ferrari 625 TRC Spider was one of the first Ferrari cars designated with the mystical name "Testa Rossa".
This ultra rare FERRARI 625 TRC SPIDER ( in my own home-made animation movie specially created for this blog ) was up for auction at the RM Auctions’ eagerly-awaited biennial event in Monaco, coinciding with the 8th Grand Prix de Monaco Historique. Before the auction the estimate was still to be determined...but expected to dig deep in your offshore trust fund for this one, the nouveau riche from the Middle East, Russia and China were expected to face off with European and American collectors.

If you need more proof the recession is just a myth - created to control the masses - here are the results of the RM Auction held in Monaco in May last.
RM Auctions, the world's largest collector car auction house for investment-quality automobiles, continued its record-breaking sales run in Europe generating a spectacular €33,521,710 in sales* ($43,410,615 million USD**) with 87 percent of all lots sold at its biennial Monaco sale at the Grimaldi Forum.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hotel California: few facts - more fiction

The opening animation movie on my FIRST SPIDERSWEB PAGES was accompanied by the Eagles' classic song HOTEL CALIFORNIA .
For me it is by far the most appropriate music while driving my open 124 Spider. Therefore it is my favourite music on my new re-designed Spidersweb pages again...

The lyrics 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, self-destruction, and greed in the music industry of the late 1970s.

Don Henley - singer, songwriter, drummer and the founding member of the Eagles - 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."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Istituto Europeo di Design - Torino

ISTITUTO EUROPEO DI DESIGN of Turin presents the CISITALIA 202 E, an thrilling style exercise based on the study of the glorious Cisitalia 202 of 1947, now re-designed by the students of the Master of Arts in Transportation Design - work experience.

The eleven students of the Master course were coordinated by Luca Borgogno, Pininfarina Lead Designer, and Luigi Giampaolo, Maserati Designer, with the support of Alessandro Belosio and Luca Dazzan.

Meanwhile rumours about a possible comeback became reality: the Italian brand Cisitalia introduced a concept car at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2012.
Cisitalia ( 'Consorzio Industriale Sportive Italia') once started as a small Italian car builder under the guidance of Piero Dusio in Turin. Their first car was the D46 driven by no less than Tazio Nuvolari.

The new Cisitalia concept is based on their best known car: the 202. Designed by Pininfarina and created by the famous engineers Dante Giacosa and Giovanni Savonuzzi, it started its life in 1947 and only 220 units were ever realized.

More info about the preview sketches you'll find HERE as well as a video of the Cisitalia CONCEPT . Also two other Istituto Europeo di Design videos, one for Abarth: THE SKORPION and the second for FERRARI .

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

You don't need words to speak Italian

You don't have to study Italian or travel to Italy to communicate like a true paesano.
All you really need is this unique "phrase book" of Italian body language. It's the fastest, and funniest, way to learn Italian ever published.

Now, even if you don't know a single word of Italian, you can learn the most common greetings, dining small talk, bargaining tricks, hot vows of love, vicious threats and bloodcurdling curses.
This book shows you how. There's no faster or funnier way to learn how to communicate in Italy, Italian restaurants, with your grandparents or your friends.

Italian gestures are a language unto themselves.
In ITALIAN WITHOUT WORDS 86 expressions are presented, paired with the Italian phrases they conjure and their English translations, all demonstrated by a man and woman who have to be seen to be appreciated.
They're funny, but the intent is not to ridicule; rather, they are holding on to a part of their heritage. The facial expressions that accompany the phrases are entertaining to practice, and visits to Italy are enhanced by the ability to communicate "You're a disgrace!" (Disgraziato!), "I dare you!" (Ti sfido. Provaci!), and "Don't leave me, I love you!" (Non lasciarmi, ti voglio bene!) without saying a word.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A celebrated French cartoonist

CLAUDE SERRE (1938-1994) was a celebrated French cartoonist, draughtsman and illustrator. Famous for his bizarre sense of humor and beautiful detailed drawings.

After academic studies, he studied the craft of stained glass for eight years. He then started drawing cartoons and became an illustrator for many French journals, including Plexus, Planet, Hara-Kiri, Lui, Pariscope and La Vie Electrique. He also began illustrating books.

He incorporated his interest in the fantastic into many of his early lithographs, which were published, sometimes exclusively, in many countries including Japan and Germany. He also participated in both group and solo exhibitions.

In 1969 he met Jack Claude Nezat, and they became friends. Nezat wrote numerous articles devoted to his art and his work and organized two exhibitions in Germany in 1975 and 1976-1977 that met with great success.
This relationship also allowed Serre to work with the magazine Pardon. Serre, meanwhile, started drawing cartoons on such topics as medicine, sports, automobiles, and his first book of cartoons, Black Humor and Men in White, satirising medical professionals, was published in 1972 by Editions Gr├ęsivaudan. The book won the Black Humor prize.
He also continued to work as an illustrator and worked in particular on books by Francis Blanche and Frederic Dard, author of the San Antonio series. Claude Serre died at the age of 60 in a car accident.

Many books were published about his work, from which one is titled L'AUTOMOBILE.

His web site with a number of his albums and cartoons you find HERE.
His unique album L'AUTOMOBILE ( approx. 8 Meg ) you can download HERE as a zipped file.

Download the Automobile cartoons, unzip and laugh your heart out !

36 unique Fiat 124 Spider wallpapers

Already for many years I am looking out for nice wallpapers of the 124 Spider on my internet roamings, that I could use as desktops for my digital steam-engine. I only found two productions during all those years and - to be honest - they were awful.

So I created a serie of wallpapers myself in the screen resolutions 800 x 600, 1024 x 768 and 1280 x 1024.

You will find these Fiat 124 Spider wallpapers AT NO OTHER PLACE IN THE WORLD. In case you find them anyhow, they are definitely stolen, pinched and copied from my blog or web site !

Because the total size of all the files is about 60 Meg, I zipped these into 5 larger files that can be downloaded below.

1. Fiat 124 Spider Wallpapers 800 x 600 - 3 items

2. Fiat 124 Spider Wallpapers 1280 x 1024 - 3 items

3. Fiat 124 Spider Wallpapers 1024 x 768 Set1 - 10 items

4. Fiat 124 Spider Wallpapers 1024 x 768 Set2 - 10 items

5. Fiat 124 Spider Wallpapers 1024 x 768 Set3 - 10 items

You find a compilation of 30 wallpapers in the screen resolution 1024 x 768 pixels, from which screen size I made a substantial larger number, HERE.

I wish you a lot of pleasure with my Fiat 124 Spider wallpapers !

Friday, August 3, 2012

Splitsky Oldtimer Auto Klub

Recently I received the following mail:

Hello and congratulations Anthony,
Only today, just few hours ago, I have found your website and by the way, your site is one of the best ones I have ever seen, designed and devoted to our timeless 'Pieces Of Art On Wheels', to the worldwide spread & famous, loved and used Pininfarina Spiders.

Myself, I am an Italian sportscar collector. My 'Spider-connection' and involvement with the 124 Spiders started 40 years ago. I had and enjoyed many of them. In the late 60' I lived in Bavaria, when I bought my 1st 124 Spider, a 1400 ccm AS model. I remember driving my Spiders even during the winter, when going skiing in the Alps!

From the late 70' I lived for 7 years in South Africa and there, I have found and also bought the only 2 Spiders available (in the whole country). Of course, I did restore them too, and drove them all over. I made few long trips in South Africa and several times I visited even the Cape of Good Hope with my black 1968 AS Spider.
In 1984 I moved to California and of course, soon I have found new Spiders and drove them all along the Pacific coast from Mexico to Oregon and all across the USA.

In an 1983 DS Spider I drove from Los Angeles, along the Route 66, all the way to Chicago and Detroit. I was close to the Niagara falls, have crossed America from North to South, to Georgia and Florida. And at all times I had at least a few Fiat 124 Spiders in my garage.

Then in 1996 I did move my vintage car collection back to Europe. There were 11 cars, those that I 'could not' leave behind and 'had' to ship from Los Angeles to Bremen. Later, one by one, I drove them down to the Mediterranean, back to the roots, to Croatia. Since then, I have sold a few of them, as the storage/ parking space has become a problem here.

Soon after I moved here, in 1997 I founded our Spider Club Croatia.
Croatia has a population of just about 4,6 mill. and the total amount of Spiders in Croatia is only 16, and two of them serve just as parts donors. Myself and few others from our Club here are very active, and we do take part on various Vintage Car Rally events along the beautiful Croatian coast. Now, the next Rally (1000 km Dalmacija Rally, a 4 days event). starts in Split and ends in the National Park Plitvice Lakes. The organizer of that big Rally Event is the SPLITSKI OLDTIMER AUTO CLUB, and only sports cars and roadsters can take part in it. Cars from the 50' up to 1977.

My Fiat 124 Spider navigator

I replaced the standard startup image of my TOMTOM ONE XL (Western Europe) by an image that I made myself and pleases me a lot more than the old impersonal one.
Click here to see how it looked BEFORE and how it looks NOW .

Also the standard shut-down image had to disappear and I replaced
the OLD one for the NEW image. Looks much more personal and attractive, isn't it?

You are allowed to use these 124 Spider images for your own TomTom as well. Just download them directly and save these to your hard disk, but don't change the present name and file extension (splashw.bmp en antitheftw.bmp).
P.S.: these new Spider-images are suitable for the socalled 'wide screen devices' like the TOMTOM ONE XL, GO 510/710/910 and higher.

A clear explanation how these personal images can be mounted on your own TOMTOM, you will find HERE for the start-up picture and for the shut-down picture HERE .

The GARMIN navigator has the same option of replacing the old image for a more personal one. Just follow the next steps: After you have loaded JPEG picture files onto the nuvi, follow these instructions to set the picture as the Splash Screen (start up screen).
1) From the Main screen touch Tools
2) Touch Picture ViewerSplash Screen
3) Select the image you want to set as the preferred image
4) Check the box next to Display at power on?
Once you check the box, the image is now set as the Splash Screen. To view it simply turn the unit OFF and back ON

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Inspired by Eric Clapton – The Ferrari SP12 EC

Just as music is created, so was the creative process behind the SP12 EC

Exclusively in the Ferrari Magazine the great English musician talks about his passion for Ferrari and his one-off model.
For a Ferrari enthusiast and great musician like Eric Clapton a one-off car just had to be produced. Designed by the Centro Stile Ferrari in collaboration with Pininfarina and the engineers from Maranello, the SP12 EC was created as homage to Clapton’s career and his long lasting experience as a Ferrari owner.
SP stands for special project and EC stands for Eric Clapton. Clapton paid $4.7million ( £3million ) for the one-off model which took two years to make, US reports said.

In the interview with Ferrari Magazine, Clapton, 67, admitted the start of the project was like “being in front of a gigantic blank canvas that had to be painted on”. He added that overseeing the manufacture of the car was “one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done”. It is based on the 458 Italia model but features styling from the rock legend’s favourite Ferrari model 512 BB, of which he has owned three over the years.

Specifications haven't been announced, but the model reportedly features a 4.5-liter V8 engine with 570 PS (419 kW / 562 hp) and 540 Nm (398 lb-ft) of torque. It should enable the supercar to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in less than 3.4 seconds and hit a top speed in excess of 325 km/h (202 mph).

Meticulous attention in terms of style and technology was paid to the proportions and architecture of the SP12 EC – which is part of Ferrari’s One-Off Programme – making this exceptional car even more significant.

You find a few pictures of this almost 5 million dollar car PIC 1 , PIC 2 and PIC 3 .

Wake up call about texting

Sometimes a simple, non-professional movie has a lot more effect than any official governmental TV- or radio-warning.

A young lady, actually a teenager, is texting an SMS-message while she is driving: 'James, my mate fancies u.' Her giggling friends are meddling with the text and, during a few seconds the car is driving on the wrong side of the road.

Bammm . . . . frontally on an oncoming car. The girls are launched and catapulted through the car, necks are dangling on their shoulders, blood, glass, screaming, a lot of noise. Then an ambulance, a baby with a motionless sight, a couple in the oncoming car that does not react anymore. This simple four minute movie is an gigantic hit and just doing where dozens of governmental movies failed: being successful to young people. Up till now it has been downloaded more than ten million times.

The Gwent police department in South Wales decided to address the dangers of texting while driving with the help of filmmaker Peter Watkins-Hughes. The title is “COW – The Film That Will Stop Texting and Driving. It is named after the character Cassie Cowan, the name of the character in the short film/PSA that causes the lethal chain of events.

'It was only meant to be used within our department', says Kate, the flabbergasted spokeswoman of the Gwent police. 'Its popularity surprised us enormously and overwhelmed us'.
Fox and CNN broadcasted it meanwhile, just like networks in India, Canada and Australia. The Gwent police department received feedback from young people from all over the world, promising never texting anymore while driving.

Although the movie is very intense, it really puts things into perspective. Is texting when your driving worth risking the lives of your friends? Your family? Other drivers? People’s parents? Peoples kids? Was the text that important? Is it worth the risk of living as a vegetable for the rest of your life?
Texting, drinking, eating, fiddling through music, whatever the distraction, it really isn’t worth it. I’m not saying I’ve never done it, but I wouldn’t say that I do it anymore. Getting into an accident is scary enough when it isn’t even your fault. You don’t need to increase your chances of getting into one by doing something stupid.

The Chief Constable Mick Giannasi said that it was the department’s intent for the PSA to reach a larger audience than just Wales. They were successful. This film will save lives.

You find the shocking movie HERE