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  ignores already 12 years in a constrained way ( from the moment on when I started my bilingual Fiat Spider website ) to mention my website or blog on their internet links page, whereas almost all international 124 Spider clubs and websites do mention my site in their web links.

What a small Fiat 124 Spider 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."

The term " colitas " in the first stanza of the song is a Spanish term for " little tails " and in Mexican slang it is a reference to the buds of the Cannabis plant.
And in the third strophe the text:
" Her mind is Tiffany twisted "
" She got the Mercedes bends " which is NOT " Mercedes Benz " as some lyrics suggest, but the bends is a disease here.

The word " bends " means:
the state of being under the influence of drugs. The term is a metaphor created by Radiohead, comparing the effects of pressure on scuba divers to the effects of drugs on users.
" He looks kinda messed up..."  " Yeah, he's got the bends "


Saturday, December 6, 2014


Creative Contemporaries - Hotel California 2


FIAT 124 SPIDER WAS A HIT IN THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES
HOTEL CALIFORNIA FROM THE EAGLES WAS A HIT IN THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES !

 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


FIAT 124 SPIDER WAS A HIT IN THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES
HOTEL CALIFORNIA FROM THE EAGLES WAS A HIT IN THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES !

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

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year
Any time of year
You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany twisted
She's got the Mercedes bends
She's got a lot of pretty, pretty boys
That she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard
Sweet summer sweat
Some dance to remember
Some dance to forget
So I called up the Captain
Please bring me my wine
He said
We haven't had that spirit here since 1969
And still those voices are calling from far away
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely Place
Such a lovely Place
Such a lovely face
They're livin' it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise
What a nice surprise
Bring your alibies

Mirrors on the ceiling
Pink champagne on ice
And she said
We are all just prisoners here
Of our own device
And in the master's chambers
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives
But they just can't kill the beast

Last thing I remember
I was running for the door
I had to find the passage back
to the place I was before
Relax said the nightman
We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave

Authors:
Don Henley ( vocals, drums, percussion )
Don Felder ( vocals, guitar, slide guitar )
Glen Frey   ( vocals, guitar, keyboards )

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Underrated driving danger


Eating and drinking while driving is a far underrated danger.
THE 10 MOST DANGEROUS FOODS AND BEVERAGES TO EAT AND DRINK WHILE DRIVING

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
      swerving.

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


FIAT 124 SPIDER WAS A HIT IN THE SIXTIES
THE BEACH BOYS WERE A HIT IN THE SIXTIES TOO !

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

Speaking on a special Radio 1 show, McCartney said: " 'God Only Knows' is one of the few songs that reduces me to tears every time I hear it. It's really just a love song, but it's brilliantly done. It shows the genius of Brian. I've actually performed it with him and I'm afraid to say that during the sound check I broke down.
It was just too much to stand there singing this song that does my head in and to stand there singing it with Brian."
Referencing this, Brian responded apprehensively in the 1970s: " Like, if 'God Only Knows' is the greatest song ever written, then I'll never write anything as good again! And if I never write anything as good, then I'm finished."

GOD ONLY KNOWS  ( click to see a video of Brian Wilson and Beatles producer George Martin )
I may not always love you,
but long as there are stars above you.
You never need to doubt it,
I’ll make you so sure about it.

God only knows what I’d be without you.

If you should ever leave me,
though life would still go on believe me.
The world could show nothing to me,
so what good would living do me?

God only knows what I’d be without you.

The song has been recorded by numerous artists including Glen Campbell, Andy Williams, Neil Diamond, David Bowie, Joss Stone, Olivia Newton-John, Andy Moore, Michael Stipe, Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Taylor Swift.

On October 7, 2014 a BBC Music show performed " God only knows " again, but in my opinion it was just a dreadful spectacle finished by the maestro Brian Wilson himself.
See all the participating celebrities, like Pharell Williams, Elton John and Stevie Wonder, supported by 80 musicians of the BBC Concert Orchestra   HERE !    Judge and listen for yourself   HERE .

Interested to see more about the publicity-shy Brian Wilson and his legendary Pet Sounds,
click  HERE

Article from MY FORMER SPIDERSWEB.NL website. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Creative Contemporaries - Pet Sounds 2


FIAT 124 SPIDER WAS A HIT IN THE SIXTIES
THE BEACH BOYS WERE A HIT IN THE SIXTIES TOO !

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


                                            Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
                                            Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long.
                                            And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
                                            In the ki  Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
                                            Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long.
                                            And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
                                            In the kind of world where we belong.

                                            You know it’s gonna make it that much better
                                            When we can say goodnight and stay together.

                                            Wouldn’t it be nice if we could wake up
                                            In the morning when the day is new.
                                            And after having spent the day together
                                            Hold each other close the whole night through.

                                            What happy times together we’ve been spending
                                            I wish that every kiss was never ending.
                                            Oh, wouldn’t it be nice

                                            Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray
                                            it might come truend of world where we belong.

                                            You know it’s gonna make it that much better
                                            When we can say goodnight and stay together.

                                            Wouldn’t it be nice if we could wake up
                                            In the morning when the day is new.
                                            And after having spent the day together
                                            Hold each other close the whole night through.

                                            What happy times together we’ve been spending
                                            I wish that every kiss was never ending.
                                            Oh, wouldn’t it be nice

                                            Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray
                                            it might come true
                                            Baby then there wouldn’t be a single thing
                                            we couldn’t do
                                            Oh, we could be married.
                                            And then we’d be happy
                                            Oh, wouldn’t it be nice

                                            You know it seems the more we talk about it
                                            It only makes it worse to live without it
                                            But let's talk about it
                                            Oh, wouldn’t it be nice.

                                           Article from MY FORMER SPIDERSWEB.NL website. 
                                           To be continued .....

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Creative Contemporaries - Pet Sounds 1


FIAT 124 SPIDER WAS A HIT IN THE SIXTIES
THE BEACH BOYS WERE A HIT IN THE SIXTIES TOO !

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.

Those who once listened well to the great sound of Pet Sounds, will never get rid of its charm during the rest of their life.
If any record should be chosen as the best in the 20th century, it only could be this one, according to the opinion of many competent and respected music connoisseurs.

What exactly is the special attraction of Pet Sounds?
As a matter of fact the answer is quite simple: the vision of Brian Wilson, a brilliant composer and a progressive producer.
He was one of the very first musicians who used the recording studio as a full instrument. Constructing layer after layer ( also by making use of quite unusual instruments in pop music )  he worked on his pop symphonies with an excess of beauty and profundity.

Also in different respect the record has been extremely important. 

Before Pet Sounds, an LP consisted of a few hit singles and some stuffing. Brian Wilson showed that a record could be a total listening experience, with a very specific structure.
That vision is adopted worldwide by every single musician by now. And that's not just a minor achievement.


Although " Sloop John B ", "Caroline No " and the double " Wouldn't It Be Nice / God Only Knows "  all were top-10 hits, The Beach Boys did not achieve the well deserved success in America with this album.

However, in Great Britain Pet Sounds was most successful and by the time The Beatles with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band made their follow-up, the understanding and consciousness started to grow that The Beach Boys with Pet Sounds had created one of the most innovating albums ever, just one year before.
Article from MY FORMER SPIDERSWEB.NL website. 
To be continued .....

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,
the DE TOMASO PANTERA, and the DE TOMASO LONGCHAMP.
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.

You win prizes for your hobby of building and flying radio-controlled scale model airplanes, pursue lifelong sports activities, from running and basketball in high school to tennis as an adult.
Fifty-five years after you began, it's the improbable but true story of the well-lived, utterly fantastic career of Stevens Thompson Tjaarda Van Sterkenberg, a man known to thousands of friends and fans simply as Tom Tjaarda, one of the world's most accomplished Italian car designers.

From: Automobile by Robert Cumberford

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.

INSTALLATION
Installation of my screen savers is quite simple because  ' My Fiat 124 Spider Screen saver ' 1 -
2  and 3 are self-installing programs.
In most cases the dowloaded .exe file will be placed on your desktop with a specific icon or else you will find the file in the directory My Documents or in Downloads on your C-drive.
Double click this desktop icon or the .exe-file of the just downloaded MyFiat124SpiderScreensaver1.exe file (or file 2 and 3.exe depending on your choice) and the screen saver will be installed automatically.

In case the install program does not work for you, you can directly download the screen saver
' scr '- file called     ' MyFiat124SpiderScreensaver1.scr '  HERE
                           or  ' MyFiat124SpiderScreensaver2.scr '  HERE
                           or  ' MyFiat124SpiderScreensaver3.scr '  HERE
and move the file to your ' Windows\system32 ' directory or your  ' Windows\Sysnative ' directory, depending on the Windows system you are running.

CONFIGURATION
After installation right-click on your Windows desktop, choose Properties and click on the tab Screen saver. Select the screen saver from the drop down menu and enter the time of the wait before the screen saver starts.
Click the button Settings to enable or disable the sound and finish the configuration by clicking the button OK.

Enjoy my unique Fiat 124 Spider screen saver.

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 !

FASTEN SEAT BELTS . . . . READY FOR TAKE OFF !


I suppose that the second picture to which my dear follower from Rio also is referring to is
" a Spider in front of a restaurant or hotel with a lot of Spider-lovers ", is this one:

ONE - TWO - THREE - SAY CHEESE !

Postscript :
The picture of my Bernese mountain dog in the heading of my blog was made when she was only two months old. She was slightly squinting ( slightly cross-eyed, which occurs quite often at that age ) with still pink spots on her nose and pink soles under her legs.
In a period of about two years all pink nose spots and soles turned black, as it should be and her squinting disappeared completely, as expected.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Italian-Blog: Ciao Tutti

AN IMPRESSIVE, GREAT ITALIAN DISCOVERY BLOG (- IN DUTCH -)
EEN PRACHTIGE ONTDEKKINGSBLOG DOOR ITALIË
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.

Andiamo!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Italian roundtrip 4


A FEW SUBJECTIVE OBSERVATIONS
AFTER THREE WEEKS IN ITALY AND 5.000 KILOMETERS ON ITALIAN ROADS
( 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 Tuscany in RELAIS PALAZZO DI LUGLIO
- 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.

NOTE:
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.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Additional blog address


An easy to remember and fool-proof additional web address for this blog is: fiat124spider.com
I just can't make it more simple !

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Tjaarda Design - part 9 - Rayton Fissore 2


In an additional note Tom Tjaarda wrote me about the Rayton Fissore MAGNUM / LAFORZA:

Designed in 1984 while I headed up the Rayton-Fissore Design Group, this project is significant in that it really started the era of the SUV type vehicle. It was the very first big off-road vehicle to use soft and rounded forms and to take this type of car away from the "truck-like" design concepts used previously.

More than 6000 of the MAGNUM / LAFORZA vehicles were eventually produced, starting in 1985, interrupted a few times and then continuing to 1998 - and put back into production with a revised design in 2003. The Magnum / LaForza Turin PSV features a 455 hp supercharged motor, driving 160 mph, luxury interior and a 2 ton frame. 
Available as a High Performance model or a fully ARMORED PERSONAL SECURITY VEHICLE (picture in front of the exquisite Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas). It is the only factory-built armored luxury PSV in the world.


© Copyright Anthony Westen 
In virtue of a personal relationship exclusively written for me and my Fiat 124 Spider Blog - The Netherlands. 
Auf Grund einer persönliche Beziehung exclusiv geschrieben für mich und für mein Fiat 124 Spider Blog - die Niederlande. 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of Anthony Westen - Netherlands.

Friday, April 25, 2014


Tjaarda Design - part 9 - Rayton Fissore 1


Tjaarda got restless after four years at Fiat, one reason being that the design center suffered from weak management which resulted mostly in all the important vehicles not being designed in-house but rather outside at Italdesign, Bertone and Pininfarina.

A new challenge came along to set up a design center for a group located outside Torino in the historic town of CHERASCO. Gulio Malvino, who was married to the daughter of the famed coach building family Fissore, had created a small factory to design and fabricate prototypes and small production armored cars and trucks.
Also involved in this business was GIANMARIO ROSSIGNOLO, who was the president and managing director of Lancia for many years and a friend of Tom Tjaarda.

Many interesting projects resulted from this new company. The Spanish company of SEAT AUTO had recently split with Fiat and were on their own now, looking for design expertise.

Tjaarda's relationship with Ford and Mr. LEE IACOCCA, who was now CEO at Chrysler, resulted in a number of prototypes being designed and built in the town of Cherasco. Also personal armored cars were built for Lancia, a very special jazzed up truck tractor called "cowboy" produced for Iveco, and then the now famous RAYTON FISSORE 4X4 MAGNUM, considered to be the very first SUV type vehicle, was then produced for the following eighteen years!

Following is a complete list of the vehicles which Tjaarda designed while working at Rayton Fissore:

SEAT RONDA                                                         production                      1981

SEAT GUAPPA COUPÉ                                         show car                         1981

CHRYSLER LEBARON                                       concept prototype           1982

CHRYSLER IMPERIAL                                       concept prototype           1982

SAAB VIKING                                                        SHOW CAR                   1982 

TORINO TAXI                                                         prototype                        1983

RAYTON FISSORE MAGNUM                            PRODUCTION              1984


© Copyright Anthony Westen 
In virtue of a personal relationship exclusively written for me and my Fiat 124 Spider Blog - The Netherlands. 
Auf Grund einer persönliche Beziehung exclusiv geschrieben für mich und für mein Fiat 124 Spider Blog - die Niederlande. 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of Anthony Westen - Netherlands.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Tjaarda Design - part 8 - Fiat Auto


The job offer from Fiat came about in the winter of 1978, and turned out to be an interesting proposition in that it was a managing position for the Fiat Advanced Design Studio.

Working for such a big organization was a bit different form Tjaarda's previous experience but it was here that he was able to learn the techniques of industrial giants internal methods of management.
It was a difficult period regarding automotive design, especially at Fiat with many strikes and adverse political conditions. On the other hand many interesting developments were applied to car design such as the use of the wind tunnel for aerodynamic efficiency and the use of color-coded plastics for integrated bumpers.

Working in a design office together with 15 designers and modelers, the four years at Fiat resulted in a number of interesting prototypes with Tjaarda working this time not as an individual designer but as group manager. Following are a few of the projects which resulted in prototypes and styling demonstration models.

TIPO 4 - LANCIA / FIAT - 4 door                           styling models    1979

FIAT POLAND - off-road vehicle                             prototype            1979

FIAT BRAZIL                                                             prototype            1980

FIAT BRAZIL - small car                                          styling model      1980

FIAT 124 - restyling                                                    prototype            1980

LANCIA Y-10                                                             PROTOTYPE     1981


© Copyright Anthony Westen 
In virtue of a personal relationship exclusively written for me and my Fiat 124 Spider Blog - The Netherlands. 
Auf Grund einer persönliche Beziehung exclusiv geschrieben für mich und für mein Fiat 124 Spider Blog - die Niederlande. 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of Anthony Westen - Netherlands.