Friday, September 21, 2012

Romancing the Road

Maybe it's built into us, or maybe it's the influence of literature and the movie screen, but few would try to deny the romantic appeal of A HAPPY COUPLE riding off together into the sunset. It's the honeymoon ideal, the inspiration for a thousand song lyrics, the fantasy of untold legions of Cupid-struck lovers. Even if the mode of transportation is a trusty Toyota instead of a red convertible or a black stallion, many lovebirds find the call of the open road irresistible.

For every couple that returns from a maiden road trip in dream-come-true mode, however, there's another that comes home thinking: "Never again!" The gap between fantasy and reality hits many road trip dreamers like four simultaneous blowouts at speed. "This is nothing like we imagined!" blindsided travelers wail as a simple decision like where to eat turns into a full-blown civil war.

I personally know of a divorce that was hastened by a horrible road trip. While that couple probably would have split up eventually anyway, their ill-fated road trip widened the cracks in their relationship quickly and irreparably. Just as they can be a wonderful chance to bond and build a gallery of fondly shared experiences, road trips can also create -- or add to -- intense tension and disharmony.

The reason there's a dark side to road trips is that, while they seem like the ultimate in carefree travel, they are in fact tiring and stressful. Before you actually hit the road, your mental image is likely drawn from car ads filmed on a perfect day in a perfect car on an empty road with endless vistas and no speed limit. You've left your troubles behind, and your biggest worry is that your hair -- because you're in a convertible, of course -- might get tangled. To help ensure that a snarled coiffure really is your biggest problem when you hit the road with your soul mate, here are eight tips to help you plan the romantic getaway of your dreams.

  • 1. Plan your trip together. Surprise excursions are usually more fun for the planner than the recipient. Why? Because anticipation is as important to enjoyment as the physical experience, and you'll also learn about your partner's preferences as you make your decisions. Road tripping is a learned skill. If one partner is more experienced, build in some extra consideration for the newbie. Keep first-time trips short and sweet. A weekend cruise to a nearby scenic area is a great way to start out.
  • 2. Don't turn a road trip into a chore. It's tempting to plan too much to do and too many miles to cover. Remember that you're not a long-haul truck driver, and you don't have to "get there." Allow plenty of time for moseying and stopping when something unforeseen catches your eye. Smell the roses. Feel the sand between your toes. Watch the sun go down. Romance thrives on time, and nothing wilts it faster than an alarm clock and a packed schedule.
  • 3. While you're on the road, lavish your partner with extra consideration and kindness.
    Be proactive -- past acceptable behavior may not be enough. Because a road trip is constantly taking you into new territory -- not only physically but mentally, too - it pays to keep channels of communication open. Listen to your partner, and share your own feelings.
  • 4. Assign the responsibilities, and then resist the temptation to interfere with how tasks are accomplished. If one person is acting as navigator, the other needs to trust the directions. Even if the navigator occasionally gets things wrong, it's better to bite your tongue and take a detour. Why? Because you will get things wrong once in a while, too. Patience and consideration are key, and if you've followed Tip 2 above, you've got the time to enjoy the side trip instead of ranting about your soul mate's inability to read a map.
  • 5. Think carefully about the driving, as this is the biggest single task on a road trip.
    Will you share this responsibility, or will one of you be the designated chauffeur?
    If one person is going to do all the driving, think about a "Plan B" if that person becomes incapacitated.
    A friend of mine set off on a trip with his girlfriend in a vintage Volkswagen. "I'll do all the driving," she promised, but when a case of a sudden allergic reaction made her eyes swell shut, the situation changed. The guy was faced with the challenge of driving a stick shift, which he had never done before. To make matters even more exciting, his driver's license had expired. The relationship ended around the time they got home.
  • 6. Don't let the grouches get the upper hand. Once bickering begins, it can easily lead to knock-down, drag-out war. Eating meals on a consistent schedule and getting enough sleep are the best defenses.
  • 7. Keep a journal, and if you take pictures, take the time to organize them into an easy-to-enjoy format. Recalling shared experiences is not only romantic, it strengthens relationships in the long term. These days, a road trip blog is a great way to preserve and share memories.
  • 8. Remember that the journey's the thing. Make it a priority to enjoy every moment, even the unplanned ones. Attitude can make all the difference when something unexpected happens. Believe it or not, even a case of an allergic reaction and an expired driver's license don't have to ruin a trip. Some of my own favorite road trip memories are of getting stuck in a snowdrift in Austria and running out of gas in Scotland.
With thought, preparation and consideration, a road trip can be one of the most romantic getaways you'll ever take. Once YOU AND YOUR PARTNER have discovered your preferences for traveling together, you'll have endless opportunities for more adventures. Even if you never hop on a black stallion together, you can enjoy "happy ever after" experiences long after the honeymoon is over.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Leading Auto Innovation

Volkswagen presented last February its new platform called MODULAR TRANSVERSE MATRIX - the German acronym is MQB ( MODULAR QUER BAUKASTEN ) - for the Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat brands. This platform will be shared by a larger number of models within the Volkswagen's group in relation to current platforms.

It's an important enhancement in automotive production representing a turning point in the design and production of future automobiles. VW expects to cut costs, production time and cars weight with the MQB platform. This platform represents a major step forward in VW's strategy to become the world's largest auto manufacturer by 2018.


The Volkswagen Group is based in Germany and is one of the world's leading automobile manufacturers and the largest in Europe. The Group is made up of ten brands: Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, VW Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN. Each brand has its own character and operates as an independent entity on the market. The product spectrum extends from low-consumption small cars to luxury class vehicles. It also has a stake in Porsche AG, which is expected to fully integrate the VW Group in the short-term.

The strategic plan of the company called "Strategy 2018" aims to make the VW Group worldwide leader in 2018. Over the long term, VW aims to increase unit sales to more than 10 million vehicles a year and intends to increase its return on sales before tax to at least 8%. To achieve these goals, the MQB platform will play an important role.


Usually, each automobile platform is designed specifically for a market segment and shared between cars of similar size. A typical mass-market VW platform spans not just several model variants, but in fact underpins a variety of models sold under different brands. VW is now creating shared modular platforms to serve the needs of its different subsidiaries. The MQB platform is the most recent and will be used for mass-market models with front-wheel-drive cars, for which the engines are transversely mounted.

The modular part of its name refers to its versatility in size and type configurations. With the MQB platform the only dimension that is fixed is the distance from the front axle to the firewall. Front and rear overhangs, wheelbase, width, and track all can shrink and grow.


THE MQB PLATFORM allows the Volkswagen group to produce worldwide high volume and niche models at extremely competitive costs over the long term. The MQB exploits synergies in key technologies and allows greater economies of scale through the production of more models with the same platform.

Since the invention of mass production by Henry Ford in the 20's, this may be the most revolutionary step in the automobile development and production.

The modular platforms concept is a major structural advantage for VW's in the global automotive industry, allowing it to reduce costs and be more competitive on prices. By this way, it can gain market share from General Motors and Toyota to become the world's largest automotive manufacturer.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tom Tjaarda's creation: Ferrari 365 California Spyder

Shortly after the last FERRARI 500 SUPERFAST was made in 1967, the Ferrari 365 California Spyder was announced as the model's successor. It was the continuation of a series of limited production cars which included the 410 AND 400 SUPERAMERICA'S.
These cars were marketed to attract premium customers who demanded a MORE UNIQUE COACHWORK on their grand touring machines. To keep costs down, but exclusivity high, the 365 California was only offered to select VIP clients of Ferrari.

To much success, the California title had been already been associated with the earlier 250 GT SERIES . Around one hundred 250 California Spyders were built with some light alloy competizione examples actually racing Le Mans and Sebring. Drawing on this rich heritage, Ferrari decided that the NEW 365 SPYDER would be marketed as the next California model.

Much like the 250, this 365 used a well developed chassis to provide a basis for the next Calfornia Spyder. Released alongside the 330 GTC at the 1966 Geneva Auto Salon, the long and low 365 CALIFORNIA SPYDER was basically a reworked 330 GT chassis featuring a striking Pininfarina body. As far as engineering was concerned the 365 California Spyder was uninventive, having a wishbone front suspenion and live rear axle held by leaf springs.

Powering the 365 was a COLUMBO LONG BLOCK V12 . This engine was common in the 365 range, being an enlarged version of the unit found in the 330 GT. Other evolutions of this engine powered the 365 GTB/4 Daytona, GTC/4 and standard 365 GT coupe.

The area in which the Spyder was the most developed was styling. Most of the costs associated with the project went into designing and building an appropriate form that could carry the evocative California name.

Working for Pininfarina, Tom Tjaarda was responsible for styling of the 365 California. He used a culmination of design cues from the 500 Superfast and 330 GTC to create a harmonious cabriolet of grand proportions. Unique elements to the car include its covered headlights, pop up driving lights and door handle treatment which faked a mid engine air intake. Especially unique was Tjaarda's treatment on the rear area on the car which was a departure from Ferrari's traditional design language. The rear was very angular and even payed homage to the Kamm tail as found on cars like the 250 GTO and Breadvan.

In total only 14 EXAMPLES OF THE 365 CALIFORNIA SPYDER were made. Each featured the identical bodywork which kept the already high production costs down. The limited production run can be attributed to such costs and the fact that Ferrari wanted to keep THIS MODEL EXCLUSIVE , much like the 500 Superfast.

For a short impression click  HERE.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Top 10 signs of transmission trouble - part 2


Leaking transmission fluid is probably one of the easiest ways to identify that your transmission needs attention. Automatic transmission fluid is vital to your car's shifting capabilities, so a little fluid on your driveway can quickly turn into a major problem. Automatic transmission fluid is bright red, clear and a little sweet-smelling when everything is working correctly.

When you check your automatic transmission fluid, make sure it's not a dark color and that it doesn't have a burnt smell. If it is, you'll need to take it to a mechanic and have it replaced. Unlike your car's motor oil, the transmission doesn't really consume or burn up any fluid during use, so if you notice you're running low on fluid, then it's definitely leaking out somewhere.

If you have a manual transmission, checking the fluid levels may not be as easy as simply lifting the hood and reading a dipstick. Manual transmission fluid has to be checked right at the transmission case -- usually through the fill plug. Again, if you suspect your transmission is losing fluid, have a mechanic locate the leak and have it fixed.

If your fluid level is good, there's another easy way to know if there's something wrong with the transmission: go on to the next item to see how you can find out if your transmission is having problems -- without even having to pop the hood.


The check engine light can be a great early indicator that something is starting to go wrong with your transmission. The check engine light can come on for any number of reasons not related to your transmission as well, but don't overlook this clear warning sign.

In newer cars there are sensors throughout the engine that pick up irregularities in the engine and notify the computer that there's something wrong in a particular area. In the case of transmissions, these sensors can pick up vibrations and early problems that you may not even be able to feel or see.

If you want to know if your check engine light is telling you about a transmission problem, you can purchase a diagnostic scan tool that you plug into your car underneath the driver's side of the instrument panel. The scan tool will display a code that corresponds to the area of the vehicle causing the fault. If the code tells you there's a transmission problem, well, that's a good time to see your mechanic.

But even if your check engine light isn't on, you can still be on the lookout for transmission problems. In the next item, see what type of movements your car can make when the transmission requires service.


Depending on whether you have a manual or automatic transmission, your car may respond differently when your transmission isn't working correctly. As noted in a previous section, with a manual transmission, a common sign of trouble is a grinding sound or feeling when you shift into a new gear.
If you fully engage the clutch, shift and then hear a grinding sound, you may have a worn clutch or you may just need to have it adjusted. Or perhaps one or more of your transmission's gear synchronizers, or synchros, is worn out or damaged. Grinding gears can be caused by a number of different factors.

For automatic transmissions problems, you'll most likely feel the car shimmy into each gear rather than the typical almost unnoticeable shifts, or the transmission will make a jarring transition into the next gear. Both are signs that your transmission needs attention. If you notice anything other than a smooth transition between gears, then you might need to have your automatic transmission looked at for adjustments or repair.

But feeling transmission problems aren't the only way to use your senses. Go on to the next item to see what sounds you should be listening for as well.


It's difficult to nail down exactly how your car may sound if there's transmission trouble, but one thing's pretty certain, you'll probably get a that-doesn't-sound-right feeling when you hear it. Every car is built differently, so the sounds they produce can vary greatly, but if you have an automatic transmission, there's a good chance you may hear a whining, humming or even a slight buzzing sound.

With manual transmissions, the sounds will usually come across as a bit more abrupt and mechanical sounding. If you shift gears and hear a clunking sound, then you definitely need to have it checked out by a professional. But a clunking sound from underneath your vehicle may not always point to a transmission problem. Your constant velocity joints (CV joints), or even your differential may be the culprit.

The sounds you hear may happen from time to time at first, but if you neglect the noises, they'll occur more frequently as time goes on.


Transmissions are designed to go into the correct gear every time, so when they hesitate or refuse to go, it's a sure sign there's something wrong. With manual transmission problems, you may notice after shifting into a gear that the car's engine will rev up, but the car won't be moving as quickly as the engine is running. In this case, a worn-out clutch or more serious transmission problem may be occurring.

Automatic transmissions have the same lack-of-response problem, but will usually manifest the issue while engaging the "Park" or "Drive" selection. The car should shift quickly into either of these modes, but if your transmission hesitates to go into either one, then it's likely there's an issue with the transmission. (Source: howstuffworks)

Top 10 signs of transmission trouble - part 1

Diagnosing car problems yourself may seem like an impossible task, but try to think of it in terms of your own body. For instance, if your stomach begins to hurt without warning, you'll probably start thinking of the last thing you ate in order to figure out why you're having the pain.

A similar type of thinking goes into diagnosing car trouble. The moment you start noticing something out of the ordinary, it's time to start considering the problem and finding a way to fix it.

Mechanical auto problems, as opposed to electrical auto problems, are usually coupled with distinct sounds and sensations that are key indicators that something isn't functioning the way it was designed to. Transmissions take a lot of use over the years, and after a while, they're bound to start having some problems. Transmission repairs can be expensive, so it's worthwhile to pay attention to anything that seems unusual.

If you think you may be having some car trouble or if you're just looking to learn more about potential transmission problems, check out these 10 signs of transmission trouble and stay one step ahead of your car.


Believe it or not, there are still quite a few people out there who practice the fading art of shifting manually, with a foot pedal and a "stick" gearshift, and who do so willingly.

Despite their somewhat simpler operation, manual transmissions nonetheless have their share of things that can go wrong. One potential problem is that the transmission refuses to budge when you depress the clutch pedal and attempt to move the stick shifter.

It may happen when trying to get into first gear from a stop, or at any point up and down the assorted gears. Common causes include low transmission fluid, wrong viscosity (thickness) of fluid, or required adjusting of the shift cables or clutch linkage.

The nose knows when it comes to things being not quite right with your vehicle. Continue to the next item to find out how your olfactory sense factors into transmission diagnosis.


If you get a whiff of burning transmission fluid, be advised it is definitely not the sweet smell of success. That's because it may indicate your transmission is overheating. Transmission fluid not only keeps the transmission's many moving parts properly lubricated, but it prevents the unit from burning itself up, by providing much-needed cooling.

In some vehicles, the transmission even has its own mini-radiator (an oil cooler) that circulates fluid to transport heat away from the transmission unit itself.

Common causes include low or inadequate transmission fluid, which can in turn indicate a leak or dirty fluid that needs changing.

If you thought your transmission was safe from wear at least while it was in neutral, the truth might surprise you. Look to the next item for the scoop on noises in neutral.


It seems intuitive that if you hear weird noises when the car should be shifting, that the transmission is acting up. But would you suspect it if things were going "bump" in neutral? Yes, it could be the transmission.

Such sounds could have a simple and inexpensive solution -- as with many of the problems on our list, adding or replacing the transmission fluid sometimes does the trick. Bear in mind that as is the case with engine oil, different vehicles do best with the specific formulation called for in the owner's manual.

Alternatively, lots of noises from the transmission while it's in neutral could signal something more serious, like mechanical wear that will need the replacement of parts. In this case, common culprits are a worn reverse idler gear or worn bearings, possibly coupled with worn gear teeth.


In a normally functioning transmission, the car stays in the gear you designate, or that the computer designates for a given RPM range, until you or the computer initiate a gear shift.

But on a transmission in which the gears slip, the car can spontaneously pop out of the gear it's in while driving and (in a manual) force the stick back into neutral.

This is unnerving at best and potentially dangerous at worst: when you mash the gas pedal to avoid an out-of-control vehicle, the last thing you want is a transmission that doesn't get power to the wheels. No need to scratch your head over whether this is trouble or not: if it happens, you know it's time to have your transmission examined.

Our next trouble sign might seem like a real "drag" if it happens to your vehicle, but its fix is often not so complicated -- see what it is on the next page.

Losing control while driving is never a fun experience. Find out in the next item how a bum transmission could have a car "slipping" toward disaster if not repaired in time.


Here's another transmission trouble sign that haunts manual transmission vehicle owners: the dreaded dragging clutch. A dragging clutch is one that fails to disengage the clutch disk from the flywheel when the driver pushes in the clutch pedal.

When the driver attempts to shift gears, he or she can't because the still-engaged clutch is still spinning along with the engine. The driver is abruptly made aware of this by the grinding noise that then ensues with each attempt to shift.

Fortunately, the most common cause for this problem is not that severe or costly to fix -- at least not compared to some other transmission issues. More often than not, the problem is too much slack in the clutch pedal. With too much free play, the cable or linkage between the pedal and the clutch disk doesn't have enough leverage to disengage the clutch disk from the flywheel (or pressure plate).

Some transmission trouble signs are plainly visible even to the lay person -- if that person knows what to look for. To learn about one of the most obvious ones, continue to part 2 of this series about transmission trouble. (Source: howstuffworks)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Auto China 2012: Electrification and Connectivity

General Motors unveiled at Auto China Motor Show 2012 Chevrolet conceptual vision of the EN-V 2.0. This is another version of an innovative electric vehicle, which debuted at the Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

The original EN-V or ELECTRIC NETWORKED-VEHICLE was presented in SAIC-GM Pavilion at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai and became famous as one of the most interesting concepts in the history of GM. This two-seat electric vehicle that redefined the concept of the car due to the convergence of electrification and connectivity. The concept was designed to solve the problems of traffic congestion, parking availability, air quality and affordability in cities.

THE NEW MODEL EN-V 2.0 uses extra features desired by customers, such as air conditioning and practical storage space. The car also gained the possibility of movement in all weather and road conditions in the city.

Wireless communication system used in the concept allows the creation of a "social network" for drivers and passengers that can be used while driving to communicate with friends or business partners. Currently, GM plans to start a pilot study in China of prototype models of the EN-V 2.0.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

From Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Nice to observe that my Spiderblog pages are also followed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and in
"The Grand Canyon State" Arizona through the American forum pages of FIATSPIDER.COM as well as in a few OTHER COUNTRIES ( number of page views in 1 day: August 31. 2012 ).

Thanks "Europa", "SunnySideUp" and "azruss" for your appreciated comment. Spread the word !

The California based FIATSPIDER.COM FORUM has been online since 1996 and has become - as described by themselves: "home to some of the most knowledgeable people on the planet when it comes to fixing-up this classic sports car".
Within the contents of their forum you can find answers on:
  • Fiat Spider tuning and performance
  • Fiat Spider trouble shooting
  • Fiat Spider wiring help
  • Fiat Spider parts
  • Fiat Spiders for sale
  • And just about anything else you can think of about Fiat Spider automobiles.

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 .