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.

It was the 1964 edition that introduced the Pirelli calendar to international stardom. Due primarily to the "friendly" but sexy pictures of Robert Freeman, the Beatles' chosen photographer for their "magical" tours.
It was an immediate success: the models, immortalised on the splendid beaches of the Côte d'Azur, shocked a country that was emerging from the austerity of the 1950s.

Within a few years, "The Cal" became a status symbol, although in 1974 severe budget cuts due to two oil crises forced the company to suspend publication. At the time, British tabloid "The Sub" wrote: "Oh no! They've sacked the models!" But it wasn't forever.

After the oil crisis, in 1984, the Calendar made a comeback, thanks to the talent of Uwe Ommer.
But it took until 1984, another ten years, for the Calendar to become an integral part of the Pirelli business brand.
Even then there was a need for new ideas, and that year they were embodied in the innovative style of "genius" Herb Ritts, followed by Richard Avedon the following year, and they immortalised supermodels such as Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, Helena Christensen and Naomi Campbell.

In its forty years' history, the Pirelli Calendar has proposed an astonishing array of styles and models of beauty. And now, after 39 editions, it is still a reference point that epitomises the changes and transformations in our society.




THE 2012 PIRELLI CALENDAR was presented by the world media, international guests and collectors at "The Armory", the 19th century New York City military landmark.

The 39th issue of "The Cal" is the work of Mario Sorrenti, the first Italian photographer in the history of a calendar that has become a cult. Neapolitan by birth and New Yorker by adoption, Sorrenti chose the island of Corsica and its rugged landscape to create his 'swoon': ecstasy captured by images.

"The intense relationship between a photographer and his Muse is the very essence of the creation of a strong aesthetic dialogue which leads to the sublimation of natural beauty. In making 'The Cal', I approached the subjects of my pictures by building a straightforward, intimate and real relationship which made it possible for me to instill the images with purity. In 'swoon', I put the bodies in direct contact with nature, which harbors them as if they were its extension, in a set of images where rocks, land, tree trunks, sky and sea are all turned into a backdrop for the bodies", says Mario Sorrenti, an artist whose fame was built on his extraordinary skill with nudes.

The 25 pictures of the 2012 "Calendario Pirelli" eighteen black and white and seven colour – are presented in a refined, canvas-lined portfolio, a format that has never been used before.

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.

He simply said why must it look exactly like the Corvette; this was a different car. After that I just went ahead and finished up the drawing and came up with a new front-end treatment.

The buck was put together in the workshop and ready to fabricate the metal prototype. It looked good but it was not quiet ready because before making a prototype it was standard practice at Pininfarina to hammer out aluminum panels which conform to the surfaces and mount them on the wood model. The model was then taken into a courtyard and oil wiped over the aluminum surfaces so the sunlight could pick up the reflections on the surfaces, and of course point out eventual defects. This process went on until everyone was satisfied, and Battista was always there for the final approval".

So far Tom Tjaarda's letter in which he explained me in detail the relationship between the CHEVROLET CORVETTE RONDINE PININFARINA COUPE and the FIAT 124 SPIDER .

In the early 1960s when many manufacturers were switching to a unitary chassis, the fiberglass-bodied Corvette was a popular subject for Europe's coach builders. At the 1963 Paris Auto Show, Pininfarina launched this Corvette-based, steel-bodied Rondine Coupe commissioned by Chevrolet.

Based off the recently introduced Corvette C2 chassis, the Rondine sports a very elegant shape of which various cues were later found on the Fiat 124 Spyder. The car featured a 327 cubic-inch, 360 hp V8 with a 4-speed transmission and power brakes.

The 1963 Corvette Rondine is one of the most famous and expensive Corvettes in history. The car is absolutely unique - being a product of a partnership between Chevrolet and the Pininfarina design studio.
After its conception the Rondine Concept remained in the Pininfarina collection for almost 45 years and was shown only on very few occasions. The Rondine resided in Pininfarina’s collection until 2008, when it was sold for $1.76 million to Michael Schudroff.
The differences in proportions between the C2 and the Rondine are striking, as the Rondine has a much longer front overhang. The rear half of the Rondine also features a number of styling cues that were carried over to the Fiat 124 Cabrio.

The last picture was its first appearance at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2008.

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.

MARTINENGO ( photo with Tom Tjaarda - left ) would take me into the workshop and point out little things like door cut lines which must be seen from every angle, the sometimes strange twist in the window pillars, the rounded surfaces that had to be just right and not too flat or bulbous, everything had to be in harmony, even the angle of the exhaust pipe.

The Corvette was given the name of CHEVROLET CORVETTE RONDINE PININFARINA COUPE or Swallow because of the dovetail form of the rear fender treatment. This vehicle participated in many Automobile Salons that year after the Paris show and seemed to be destined to end its days in the prototype storage facilities at Pininfarina.
Actually, it really did not look like a "Corvette" and thus General Motors was not too interested to pursue further development of this car. On the other hand the directors a Fiat thought it had a unique look to it and asked Pininfarina to use the design idea for their future spyder.

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".

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).

Commercial Italian ice makers proudly list their flavors made from natural fruit and other flavors. Lemon and cherry are traditional flavors but modern tastes range from melon to mango, chocolate to green tea, FROM REAL DUTCH HERRING (Haring) WITH CHOPPED ONIONS AND PICKLES, MUSTARD (mosterd), CIGAR (sigaren-ijs), TOMATO (tomatenijs) AND BEER (bier-ijs).
What they mostly don’t list is how they make their treat. Food historians say it started as frozen blocks of sweetened fruit flavors shaved into wafer cones, small white pleated paper cups or sturdier disposable bowls with spoons.

My chocolate ice was delicious, with a clean, dark chocolate taste. Although it was made without any milk products it was incredibly rich but without being heavy. It was the perfect summertime treat.

Here is a recipe for a chocolate ice, it isn’t an "authentic" chocolate Italian ice recipe, but it is close, especially if you serve it before hardening it in the freezer.

Chocolate Ice yields 
 1/2 gallon (1.9 litre) 

2 cups sugar
5 cups water
1 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Boil the sugar and water together for five minutes and then remove from heat. Immediately add the cocoa and cinnamon. Mix well. Let it cool a bit and then refrigerate until cold.

Freeze in an ice cream freezer as per manufacturer’s instructions. Serve straight from the ice cream maker container for a softer ice or place in the freezer for a few hours to harden the ice. Another option is to pour the chilled chocolate ice mixture into ice cube trays and freeze. Before serving, process ice cubes in small batches in a blender or food processor until chocolate ice mixture is thoroughly broken up but not yet slushy.

To make the best iced coffee ever, add a few of the Chocolate Ice ice cubes to your favorite cold java. Add in milk and sugar to taste and top with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

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."

With the exception of the Triumph Spitfire and the MG Midget, Fiat 124 Spiders represent the cheapest point of entry of any sporting roadster on the market, are available in almost every local want ad, and even offer a vestige of a back seat for the family oriented, provided your kids have stumpy little legs. And if spirited driving is your interest, you'd be hard-pressed to find a car with as nimble handling at this price point.

 It's easy to miss one of the Spider's most appealing attributes: its size. It offers interior accommodations significantly larger than most competitive roadsters from its day. Sit with a passenger in an MGB and, unless you're a person of small stature, you'll be touching shoulders most of the time. Do the same in a Fiat 124 Spider, and you'll be surprised to note that there are several inches between you, and that you haven't extended the seats all the way to the limit of the tracks.

The 124 was born from Fiat's most versatile platform. From its roots came a coupe, a convertible, a sedan; it even lived on in perpetuity as the Russian Lada. The Spider and the coupe were both derived from the sedan, which was introduced in 1963. The 124 Spider was first introduced at the Turin Auto Show in 1966, after which it went on sale as a 1967 model.

For the purposes of identification, most Fiat fans have broken the 124 Spider into four distinct groups:

The 124AS began in 1966 and ended in 1969, and featured a 1,438cc four-cylinder. 1967 "AS" Spiders are very rare and feature unique equipment not commonly found on Spiders sold in the United States. Most notably, the heater controls were mounted on the dash and used horizontal slide controls. When the car reached U.S. shores in 1968, heater controls moved to the console, where they would stay for the life of the car. Early AS cars were equipped with a driveshaft mounted inside a "torque tube," but the design was dropped in 1968 in favor of the more common rear axle with trailing arms, apparently because the torque tube rear-axle housings were developing cracks. According to Dwight Varnes, a long-time Fiat 124 Spider owner, "The AS cars had innumerable unique pieces compared to those that followed (smaller taillamps, for example), and this makes restoring the AS much more difficult."

 BS Spiders--sold between 1970 and 1973--still used the 1,438cc engine, but were revised to include the design cues of the later 1,608cc cars, such as the taillamps, the black gauge bezels and the mesh grille. Look for two-piece lenses on the side marker lamps to identify 1970 models. All others had a one-piece lens. BS Spiders gained a second carburetor for 1970; 1,608cc engines began filtering into production in 1971. These engines were from the same family as the 1,438cc engine used in all 124s. For the most part, external changes were limited to a "1600" badge on the rear valance. In 1973, the last of the BS cars, the 124 Spider, got yet another engine, from a completely new family. The 1,538cc engine was derived from the 132 sedan, which was never sold in the U.S.

From 1974 to 1978, Fiat produced the 124CS1 with the numerically optimistic "1800" 1,756cc four. To compete with tighter emission-control regulations, the 1,756cc four had an air pump driven off of the exhaust cam. 1974 CS1s are the end of what 124 fans describe as "small bumper cars." Most U.S. versions of the car had thin chrome and rubber bumper overriders, which weren't as offensive as the ones on many cars of the era. Cars destined for both California and Maryland had much larger rubber blocks in place of the overriders on all other U.S. cars.

1975 CS1s are immediately recognizable by the much larger--and much maligned--"twin tube" bumpers that were designed to comply with 5-mph bumper regulations. License plate lights on these cars moved to the rear valance panel from the rear bumper, and the grille emblem moved up to the hood. Like other years when a significant change was impending, some 1978 Spiders were fitted with parts destined for the later CS2 Spider which started in 1979. Don't be surprised to find a 1978 124 Spider with 1979 door handles or even a rear differential. These are commonly referred to as "1978.5" models. If a CS1 hood was damaged and needed to be replaced at some point after manufacture, it may have been replaced with a later CS2 hood, because that's all that was available from the factory.

The "124" designation was dropped in favor of the "Spider 2000" name in 1979. The biggest change was the 1,995cc engine from which the car got its name, but myriad other changes were taking place. Outside, the hood features larger twin-cam bulges, taillamps and door handles, while inside, new seat materials were offered (including leather). Alloy wheels, which had not been an option since 1974, were made optional once again. The smog pump finally disappeared in favor of a catalytic converter. In 1980, Spiders were fitted with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, which was a vast improvement from the early CS2's poor carburetor and intake manifold design.

In 1982, Pininfarina took over where Fiat left off, marketing a Spider Azzura under its own name. The 1985.5 model was the last hurrah for the 124 Spider model with the addition of larger front brakes, and rack and pinion steering. Pininfarina discontinued producing the Spider in late 1985 to retool the factory to produce the new Pininfarina-designed Cadillac Allante.

What's the best year to look for? A tricky question, because it's mostly based on preference and budget. According to Dwight Varnes, one of the most appealing offerings is the 1981 to 1982 fuel-injected 2000 Spider. "They were as close as the Fiat 124 ever came to a 'secretary's car,' but they offered a lot of nice equipment and much better performance," he says. For those looking for a more vintage car with less obtrusive bumpers, the 1971 to 1972 cars have the looks, plus the best performance of any of the carbureted cars.

Unfortunately for the budget-minded, the 1979 to mid-1980 cars are the least expensive, but also the most clogged with emissions plumbing, which strangled performance. Jon Logan of Midwest 124 notes that the 1979 49-state version has a more desirable 4-2-1 exhaust manifold versus the 1979 California version and all the 1980 carbureted models. "The carbed 2.0-liter cars are the worst performers in stock form but are very easy to modify by using the 1975 to 1978 models' intake and carburetor," he says. But, as 1979 was the largest production-run year, they also tend to be more commonly available.

From 1974 to '76, the 1,756cc engine had a smog pump driven off the exhaust cam. The pumps were prone to seizure, which would cause the timing belt to jump. Later models were driven by a v-belt off the crank pulley, specifically because of the seizure issues. The 1979 California model and the 1980 carbureted models came with a horribly restrictive "4-into-2" cast-iron manifold. The 1979 49-state version has a much less restrictive "4-2-1" design, but was designed to fit a three-bolt catalytic converter. "To install a later fuel-injected 4-2-1 manifold and downpipe," says Jon Logan, "you will also need to install the fuel-injected system's four-bolt catalytic converter and front exhaust muffler/resonator." For more info on performance mods than we could ever print here, read Brad Artigue's outstanding performance manual at: 

Fiat drivelines are relatively durable and inexpensive to replace if something does go wrong. Used transmissions are available, but Dwight Varnes recommends rebuilding your existing transmission. "It's usually best to have the existing box rebuilt, which usually only needs synchros, shift forks and bearings," he says. Chris Obert, proprietor of C. Obert & Co., recommends changing rear differential fluid every 25,000 miles or two years. A leaking pinion seal--something that can seem simple enough to fix--can turn into a real problem if you're not careful. Obert recommends, "While home repair in a well-equipped garage armed with a shop manual is possible, it's a lot more complicated than most Fiat owners realize." 

Dwight Varnes provides "Dwight's Rule": It's a bad ground. "90 percent of a Fiat's electrical problems can be directly traced to a dirty or corroded ground. Component failure is actually pretty rare," says Varnes. The challenge, of course, is tracking down those bad grounds to alleviate the problem. Start with anything that's been added to the stock electrical system over the years: Radios, foglamps, driving lamps, relays, etc., especially those connected with unsoldered crimp-style connectors, can cause electrical nightmares. Once you've eliminated any potential problems here, begin with a wiring diagram and trace every single ground to find out if it's dirty or corroded. Chances are almost guaranteed that you'll find your problem here. 

Popular opinion has blamed high oxide content for Fiat rust. But even more importantly, anything the customer didn't see was never protected by paint. Rust in the floors, quarter panels and rockers is bad, but not a deal-breaker, especially if you do some work yourself and can buy the car for cheap money. However, perforation anywhere around the steering box mount is a walk-away problem. Front shock towers can be repaired, but, according to Dwight Varnes, probably not by the average shade-tree mechanic looking for a fun project to work on. Rust where the rear trailing arms meet the body is repairable, but by the time they're shot, the rest of the car will be so bad, you won't want to bother. 

The Spider's suspension is the key to enjoying the car, but it can also be a serious weak point if not cared for properly. Any one bad component here can amplify a suspension problem in your Spider, and aftermarket part quality varies greatly. "We've experienced numerous problems with off-brand ball joints that have disastrously failed. I recommend buying from only Fiat-specific vendors for best quality," says Varnes. Be sure to look over the 124 Spider's front crossmember, which the lower control arms mount to. In extreme cases, the mounting points on the lower control arms can crack, causing them to separate from the crossmember. Be sure that the bolts that secure the crossmember to the unibody structure haven't been loose, since they can tear out of the unibody structure's sheetmetal. Torque the control arm nuts to specification. 

Owner's View
Danny O'Donnell is the proprietor of Fun Imported Auto and Toys (Get it? F.I.A.T?). He's owned more than 200 Fiats over his lifetime and knows as much about these cars as anybody. "I can assemble a complete car with the parts I've got laying around," he says. So what's the deal with Fiat's poor reputation for quality? "In 1977, production was quite high," says O'Donnell. "They were shipping cars to America on the outside decks of ships. They'd get exposed to salt air and seawater on the trip. The problem only got worse because the dealers wouldn't wash the undercarriages and let them dry. Instead, they undercoated right over the salt, and the results were disastrous." O'Donnell notes that his 124 Spider has period aftermarket BWA alloy wheels, and that the radio was installed at the dealer, as it was in all cases of the 124 Spider. The dash is otherwise in decent condition, except for a cloudy clock lens. "Unlike the rest of the gauge lenses, the clock lens is plastic and it gets cloudy in the sun," he says. 

1968-1970: 1,438cc, water-cooled, dual overhead-cam, inline four-cylinder, cast-iron block, aluminum cylinder head, single Weber 34 DHSA carburetor
1971-1973: 1,608cc, water-cooled, dual overhead-cam, inline four-cylinder, cast-iron block, aluminum cylinder head, single Weber DHSA 1 carburetor (note: Some 1973 models can have a 1,592cc engine)
1974-1978: 1,756cc, water-cooled, dual overhead-cam, inline four-cylinder, cast-iron block, aluminum cylinder head, single Weber DMSA 1 (1974) or Weber 32 ADFA carburetor (1975-1978)
1979 to early 1980: 1,995cc, water-cooled, dual overhead-cam, inline four-cylinder, cast-iron block, aluminum cylinder head, Weber 28/32 ADHA carburetor
Late 1980-1985-1/2: 1,995cc, water-cooled, dual overhead-cam, inline four-cylinder, cast-iron block, aluminum cylinder head, Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection
1985.5 (Pininfarina Badged): 1,995cc, water-cooled, dual overhead-cam, inline four-cylinder, cast-iron block, aluminum cylinder head, Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection

1,438cc:90hp @ 6,500 rpm
1,608cc:90hp @ 6,600 rpm
1,756cc:93hp @ 6,200 rpm
1,996cc:102hp @ 5,500 rpm

1,438:80-lbs.ft. @ 4,000 rpm
1,608:88-lbs.ft. @ 3,600 rpm
1,756:92-lbs.ft. @ 3,000 rpm
1,996cc:100-lbs.ft. @ 3,000 rpm

Gearbox Fiat-designed five-speed manual, synchronized in
all four forward gears GM-sourced three-speed automatic transmission  

(1978 124 Spider)
0-60 mph: 11.5 seconds
0-90 mph: 32.3 seconds
¼ mile: 18.6 seconds @ 75 mph
Top speed: 108 mph  

Weights & Measurements
Wheelbase: 89.7 inches
Length: 163.0 inches
Height: 49.2 inches
Width: 63.5 inches
Weight: 2,355 pounds

Price Guide
Low  Average   High
$2,000   $5,500  $11,000

Parts Prices
1968-'73 Front Bumper Bar:$425
1968-'73 Rear Bumper (L & R):$480
1975-up Front Bumper Bar:$520
1975-up Rear Bumper Bar:$500
ANSA Freeflow Muffler:$165
Brake Booster:$225
Catalytic Converter:$225
Clutch Disc:$45
Fuel Tank Sending Unit:$50
Electric Fuel Pump:$80
Front Valance Panels:$190
Fuel Pump:$30
Head Gasket:$20
Heater Core:$200
Ignition Switch:$140
Oil Pan:$140
Oil Pump:$120
Piston Set:$290
Quarter Panel Skins:$240
Rocker Panel:$90
Water Pump:$45
Weber Carb (New):$400

Recent Ads  
1971 124 Spider, 5-speed, red/black, second owner, 42,194 miles, vgc, $5,500
(Hemmings Motor News)  
1980 2000 Spider, 32,000 original miles, rare automatic, power windows, new soft top and hardtop, new leather interior, new Pioneer radio & speakers with CD player, many mechanical updates, five new tires, runs and drives beautifully, $10,500, negotiable (Hemmings Motor News)  
1981 2000 Spider, red, tan, original owner, very good condition, 5-spd, all original, 43,000 miles, $8,500 obo (Hemmings Motor News)

This article originally appeared in the August, 2006 issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.

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.

· The two-day auction represented RM's highest grossing auction to date in Europe
· Top seller: 1957 FERRARI 625 TRC SPIDER , one of just two built, achieved a record     €5,040,000
· Ten lots exceeded €1 million with four lots surpassing €2 million
· Clients hailed from 33 countries around the world; 34 percent of bidders represented first time clientele.

Held during the same weekend as the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, the two-day auction presented a magnificent collection of more than 90 blue-chip automobiles, 100 Ducati motorcycles and three boats. As many as ten motor cars achieved individual prices exceeding €1 million, with four lots surpassing €2 million. In addition, the sale boasted several new all-time records for a number of specific cars and motorcycles sold at a public sale. The spectacular results rank the sale as one of the most successful collector car auctions ever staged in Europe as well as RM Europe's highest grossing sale to date, eclipsing the strong results achieved by the Company at both its debut sale in Monaco in 2010 as well as the highly successful 2007 Ferrari Leggenda e Passione event.

Illustrating RM's extensive international client base, bidders hailed from 33 countries around the world, including as far away as China, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates.

"Monaco 2012 has been a fantastic success. With in excess of 33.5 million sold, this sale rates as one of Europe's highest grossing collector car sales of all time and most certainly the highest grossing collector car auction in Europe this year. Once again, RM Auctions has proved itself to be the preeminent force in the collector car auction scene," says Max Girardo, Managing Director, RM Europe.

Reinforcing RM's reputation as the global leader in the presentation of important and historic Ferraris at auction, examples from the Modenese Prancing Horse dominated the top seller's list. In total, the sale lifted the gavel on 22 different examples spanning over 60 years of production. Headlining the group was the exceptionally rare, one of two 1957 Ferrari 625 TRC Scaglietti Spiders, chassis 0680 MDTR, which was offered for sale the first time in 30 years. The rarest of all TRs produced, 0680 MDTR attracted spirited bidding in the room and on the phones, selling for a remarkable €5,040,000, a record for the model.

Another wonderful Ferrari competition car entering the history books was the 1952 Ferrari 225 Sport Spyder 'Tuboscocca', chassis 0192 ET, one of only 12 Vignale Spyders produced, which realized an incredible €2,520,000 to establish a new world record for a 225 S sold at auction. The historically significant 1966 Ferrari 206 S Dino Spyder, chassis 006, also drew fierce bidding to achieve the same sales price of €2,520,000. Other Ferrari highlights included the 1971 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder, chassis 14415, one of only 18 European-specification, LHD examples for €1,008,000; the Ferrari F1-2000 Racing Car, chassis 204, raced by Michael Schumacher on his way to the 2000 Driver's Championship for €806,400; and, the highly anticipated 1953 Timossi-Ferrari 'Arno XI' Racing Hydroplane for €868.000, a record for a Hydroplane sold at auction.

RM Monaco lots exceeding €1 million:
Lot 321 – 1971 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder- €1,008,000
Lot 333 – 1968 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/2 'Daytona'- €1,008,000
Lot 345 - 1957 Ferrari 625 TRC Scaglietti Spider - €5,040,000 (world record for a 625 TRC at auction)
Lot 353 – 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Sport Cabriolet A- €2,324,000
Lot 357 – 1996 Ferrari 206 S Dino Spyder- €2,520,000
Lot 362 – 1952 Ferrari 225 Sport Spyder 'Tuboscocca'- €2,520,000 (world record for a 225 S at auction)
Lot 367 – 1948 Ferrari 166 Inter Spyder Corsa- €1,010,000
Lot 373 – 1969 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/3 Sports Racer- €1,232,000 (world record for an Alfa Tipo 33 at auction)
Lot 382 – 2007 Peugeot 908 V-12 HDi FAP Le Mans Racing Car- €1,680,000 (world record for a Peugeot at auction)
Lot 385 – 2006 Ferrari FXX Evoluzione- €1,338,400

For further information on upcoming events, visit

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 Grésivaudan. 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