Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Lampredi's Dedicated Fan - part 1

"Thank you Aurelio Lampredi for designing such a magnificent masterpiece", Martijn Voigt often said and thought many years ago about the "heart" of his very first car: the  Lancia Beta H.P. Executive.

The thrill of this early and exciting automotive experience never left his mind and made the decision for another car in later years, easy: it definitely should have a Lampredi twin-cam engine, Martijn knew for sure.
Martijn's wife Mariëlle - then his girlfriend - suggested with a romantic smile, that it possibly could be a convertible this time and the new car was born, the name: Fiat 124 Spider !

After 16 years and more than 4000 hours of complete restorating and rebuilding: enjoy here Martijn's and Mariëlle's magnificent  NEW DAZZLING CREATION .

"Bedankt Aurelio Lampredi voor dit prachtig stuk meesterwerk", zei en dacht Martijn Voigt vele jaren geleden vaak over het "hart" van zijn allereerste automobiel: de  Lancia Beta H.P. Executive.

De opwinding van die vroege, allesoverheersende auto-ervaring is nooit meer uit zijn hoofd weg geweest en maakte de beslissing voor een andere auto in latere jaren gemakkelijk: het moest hoe dan ook wéér met een Lampredi twin-cam motor zijn, wist Martijn heel zeker.
Martijn's vrouw Mariëlle - toen zijn vriendin - stelde met een romantische glimlach voor, dat het deze keer dan ook een cabrio zou kunnen zijn en de nieuwe auto was geboren, de naam: Fiat 124 Spider !

Na 16 jaar en meer dan 4000 uren van volledige restauratie en opnieuw opbouwen: geniet hier van Martijn's en Mariëlle's  NIEUWE OOGVERBLINDENDE CREATIE

Friday, June 9, 2017

Tom Tjaarda, a unique designer and an amiable man

The half-Dutchman designer that you should have known

Last week on June 1, died at the age of 82, the legendary car designer Tom Tjaarda. Legendary? Tjaarda? Not the only car designer from Dutch born origin: there are more famous Dutch car designers nowadays.

 In full his name was Steven Thompson Tjaarda van Starkenburg and although he was born in automobile-city Detroit, he was the son of the Dutch Jan Tjaarda van Starkenburg, who once emigrated to the US as John Tjaarda also became well-known as a car designer. About his design studies, known as the "Sterkenberg Series", it is said that these influenced Ferdinand Porsche's Hitler car design and the Volkswagen beetle design. Father John earned finally word-wide fame for the at that time very futuristic looking Lincoln Zephyr (1936).

Tom was a student in architecture at the Michigan University, scouted by the Ghia Design Studios where he was trained on the job in Italy as from 1958. After two years he moved to competitor Pininfarina. In his career he switched several times between these two design houses, via Fiat and Ford finally ending in his own design studio. His remarkable consistent career brought him the unofficial title "last of the gentlemen-designers", not only because he was extremely modest and friendly, a characteristic that all his students would confirm. All his designs were sophisticated and noble, because of their extreme understatement.

In his eighty-two years on earth, he created some of the most memorable designs, from basic transportation vehicles to dream machines. He took a C2 Corvette, made a new body from steel, gave it enough Italian flair to be something different, and called it the Corvette Rondine. He designed the original Ford Fiesta around the same time he was whipping up the DeTomaso Pantera, two cars that couldn’t possibly be more different if they tried.

There was the Fiat 124 Spider, the original one, and the Shelby Series 1, two roadsters with two very different personalities. There was the DeTomaso Longchamp, a three-box coupe that looked muscular and traditional, easy to pull off in 1972 but still looked good ten and fifteen years later. He worked with Ferrari and designed two Ferrari's of the non-noisy type, the 365 California (1966) and the super-sophisticated 330 GT 2+2 (1964), Innocenti, Chrysler, Ford, Ghia, Aston Martin, Spyker, LaForza, and others.

And he got worldwide fame by his two amazing elegant sports cars: the almost forgotten Innocenti 950 Spider (1960) and the Fiat 124 Spider (1966) - the latter being such a historic, successful design, that last year a retro-version was launched. Many styling cues recall the original 124 Spider like the muscular front and rear fender, the sharp horizontal rear lamps to the power domes on the hood. Characteristic design details deliberately derived from the original design from Tom Tjaarda.




Monday, January 4, 2016

The dream goes on

Apart from all technical blah-blah......



Sunday, November 29, 2015

One Hundred - I made it !

  / story / info / news / leader / column / comment / headline / text / blog / series /
background / tidings / message / report / notice and communication  about

Friday, November 27, 2015

Fiat 124 Spider 2016 Screensaver

Although screensavers are obsolete nowadays, I had a lot of fun making a screensaver of a bunch of new Fiat 124 Spider images. To share this fun with you, I made different zip-files to be able to download and install this screensaver. Make your choice out of either one of these 2 methods:

1. a so-called .scr file ( screensaver file ) that should be unzipped and copied directly in your Windows\Sysnative or Windows\System32 directory dependent on your Windows system and can be downloaded  HERE,

2. or a small and easy installation proggie, when unzipped can be installed directly on your system and should be downloaded  HERE.
And last but not least, you are able to  MUTE SOUND  in the screensaver  SETTINGS  and vice versa.
Enjoy  !  ( like I did  ) 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Where’s Charlie? Has Fiat Cut Sheen?



In light of Charlie Sheen’s announcement about being HIV positive, Fiat has decided to shelve plans of rolling out a Fiat 124 Spider ad featuring the  CONTROVERSIAL ACTOR

Fiat hired Charlie Sheen to promote the Abarth 500’s US launch several years ago through a commercial called “ HOUSE ARREST ” and recently he was asked to star in a 124 Spider ad. However, it’s highly unlikely the clip will be aired as The Detroit Bureau reports Fiat is not too happy with  CHARLIE SHEEN'S ANNOUNCEMENT  about being HIV positive. This makes sense since airing the ad would not have a positive impact on Fiat’s image and consequently on 124 Spider’s sales.

Interestingly, an incomplete video of the ad was played on November 3 to reporters gathered at a sneak preview event for the Fiat 124 Spider organized at  FCA’S HEADQUARTERS  in Michigan. The ad hasn’t aired at the LA Auto Show as marketing chief Olivier Francois has decided to put it in a “drawer of creative material”, according to spokeswoman Diane Martin. She did not exclude the possibility of launching the ad at some point in the future, but obviously this is unlikely to happen soon.

Based on the latest Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Fiat 124 Spider is scheduled to go on sale in United States and Europe in 2016.

Source: thedetroitbureau.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

2016 FIAT 124 SPIDER !


  3.VIDEO PREVIEW        

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fiat 124 caught entirely undisguised

Source: autoblog.com  / Author: Brandon Turkus  / Image credit: Fiat

Dear automakers, please continue making these kind of mistakes. Thanks to what we're guessing is some lax security, the all-new, Mazda MX-5 Miata-based Fiat 124 was spotted taking part in a photo shoot near Santa Barbara, CA.

The images show what we'd consider a fairly simple rebadging job. The 124 gets new front and rear clips that not only harken back to the original 124 (not to mention other Fiat roadsters, like the Barchetta), but also serves to distance this droptop from the rest of the company's US range.

The similarities between the 124 and the car it's based on are even more obvious in the cabin. This is an MX-5 interior with Fiat's big, red badge on the tiller. That means the same quality materials and knob-dial infotainment system that have been so well received in the Miata.

It's under the hood, though, where the Fiat really differs from its Japanese cousin. According to our spy, the vehicle shown here features some kind of two-pedal setup – probably the six-speed Euro twin-clutch used in the 500L and Dodge Dart. Don't worry, though, a six-speed stick will also be on offer. Regardless of transmission, we can expect a 180-horsepower version of the 1.4-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder offered in the 500 Abarth. And if that's not enough good news, a dedicated Abarth model will likely arrive after launch, which our spies claim will use the 1.75-liter turbo and DCT from the Alfa Romeo 4C.

While this represents a good look at the new 124, we'll probably be waiting until the LA Auto Show in November for the official look. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fiat 124 Spider spied with top down

Source: autoblog.com / Author: Chris Bruce / Image Credit: Chris Doane Automotive
With fall officially here, the days are rapidly running out for much of the country to put the top down and enjoy a convertible. Fiat apparently wants to take advantage of the good weather while it lasts, given these fresh spy shots of the 124 Spider testing with the roof down.

In terms of styling, these photos show the droptop with an extremely similar look to the ones from July. The roadster still appears to have rounded headlights and a wide grille up front, which the kidney-shaped cladding does nothing to hide. The hood bulge continues to be there, too, and so is the spiderweb-pattern camouflage. However, these new shots let us check out the roll hoops that are visible with the top out of the way, and we even get to see the manual roof in operation. Also, note there are now dual exhausts at the rear, rather than the quad tips from before.

Underneath all this camo and cladding, we know that the 124 Spider shares underpinnings with the new Mazda MX-5 Miata. The engine remains a mystery, but competing rumors suggest the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the current 500 Abarth or the 1.7-liter turbo four from the Alfa Romeo 4C. Thankfully, an answer might not be too far away because the roadster is mooted to debut this year, possibly at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. With the latest Miata receiving high praise from critics, the motoring world soon gets to find out whether Fiat can find any room for improvement.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


A few definitions of waiting:
1. to stay in place in expectation of.
2. to not do something until something else happens.
3. to remain in a state in which you expect or hope that something will happen soon.
4. for me it depends on what I'm  waiting for : in this case the sooner, the better !

Let's talk again about the new and highly anticipated Fiat Spider:
as the numerous spy photos in recent days, increased sightings of road tests sign that the premiere of the " FIAT 124 " or " FIAT 124 SPIDER " - provided that  ONE OF THESE  officially registered TRADEMARKS  will be the final name of the new two-seater sports car  - is fast approaching.

As confirmed in a recent interview by Roberto Giolito, Head of Fiat Design, "the car will look very masculine and to see it one will have to wait just a few months; Geneva Motor Show in 2016 or perhaps even earlier."

Yeah, but what engine will end under the hood of the new Fiat Spider? And what power will get its Abarth variant?
Some American newspapers have even suggested the presence in the range of 124 Spider a turbo version with 1750 Alfa Romeo 4C. Moreover, at first the car was to be born with the snake logo on the hood; that was before the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, SERGIO MARCHIONNE, would owe on the total "Italian and exclusivity mechanical" Alfa.

Exactly for this reason I believe that the engine of the 4C will remain there in its place ( and in the boot of the Giulietta QV ). Because the 4-cylinder turbocharged 1.4 T-Jet FCA, with capacities ranging between 120 and 190 hp, it seems more than appropriate to meet the needs of a very diverse clientele.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Creative Contemporaries - Woodstock 3


WHO WAS THERE?   WHAT DID THEY PLAY?  ( click for more details ).
Saturday was the day of the well-known names such as  THE GRATEFUL DEAD,  JANIS JOPLIN  and  THE WHO. The first played their worst concert ever. It was raining and the members of the band got electrical shocks continuously because of the enormous water trouble with all the electrical instruments on stage.

JANIS JOPLIN  had one of the highlights of her career that resulted in a definitive confirmation as a rock-icon. For The Who it meant the salvation of the band. Their recently released rock opera Tommy was after all a major financial disaster and only after the triumph at Woodstock their double album was sold like a hot dog.

JOE COCKER ( HERE ) THE BAND,  CROSBY, STILLS, NASH  & YOUNG,  TEN YEARS AFTER  and others played on Sunday. As the smashing conclusion there was the breathtaking show of  JIMI HENDRIX. He started his repertoire at nine o'clock in the morning on Monday and made an unforgettable GRAND FINALE  in which Hendrix played and teared apart the American National Anthem by playing through it the sound of  exploding bombs, jet planes and machine gunfire as his flaming protest against the Vietnam war.
The massive exodus started after his last chords. It was only after days that the traffic in Bethel was back to normal again.

For the organizers the festival stood for a financial disaster of at least two and a half million dollars. This sum was forked out without blinking the eyes by the Roberts family, that earned back a multiplication of this amount for film rights and many released collection albums in the years after.

Woodstock also became a magical aura owing to the movie made by  MICHAEL WADLEIGH.
He rounded up a crew of about 100 from the New York Film scene, including the ( at that time ) unknown movie director  MARTIN SCORSESE. Wadleigh couldn't pay them until much later, but he could get them inside the event of the summer. The crew signed on a double-or-nothing basis. If the film made it, they'd get twice regular pay. If the film bombed, they'd lose.
Wadleigh's plot ran like this: Woodstock would be a modern-day  CANTERBURY TALE,  a pilgrimage back to the land. He wanted the film to be as much about the  HIPPIES  who trekked to Woodstock as about the  MUSIC ON STAGE.  He wanted the stories of the young people, their feelings about the Vietnam War, about the times. The stories of the townspeople and the chaos. These would make the film, not just the music.

The movie meant - together with the triple album - free publicity for the artists for many years. When seeing the movie pictures now one realises that the Summer of Love mainly was a spiritual event, because for the human body this Woodstock weekend was just in one word: exhausting.

Despite the rain and the excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs there was no violence at the festival whatsoever. The Woodstock festival was the subculture  HIGHLIGHT OF THE SIXTIES      and of the hippie era.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Creative Contemporaries - Woodstock 2


THREE DAYS OF LOVE & PEACE  ( click for more details ).
After the deal with farmer  MAX YASGUR, the organisation got down immediately but the Bethel residents had read about the worries in  WALLKILL: drugs, traffic, sewage and water. Public fury mounted once more. They did not like at all the perspective having ten thousands of  HIPPIES  in their backyard. A variety of attempts to stop the festival, failed.

The opposition plotted a last-minute strategy to stop the show: a human barricade across Route 17B on the day before the concert. As soon as this news was on national radio the consequences were disastrous: from Tuesday on  THE ROADS TO BETHEL  were crowded with people on their way to the concert.

The  TRAFFIC JAM  just grew spectacular in the course of the week. Spectators just left their cars everywhere and camped in gardens and on the festival grounds. Woodstock's momentum was accelerating like a runaway train. At that time, it had progressed so far, any kind of order to stop it would have just resulted in chaos.

On Thursday the organisation found out, that it was absolutely impossible to move the two dozen ticket booths into position because there were already more than 100.000 people walking around, too many cars and abandoned (vacant) tents blocking the way.

"My most vivid memory was that there was this chain-link, CYCLONE FENCE  that went all the way around," said Bert Feldman, who was working security on the hill near the Hog Farm base. "I had the uncanny feeling that there were 500 million people there. Suddenly, the fence was no more. TRAMPLED  into the mud. It disappeared like magic."
Organizer and promoter Michael Lang said he never exactly decided Woodstock would become a free show. But he did decide to make the announcement. "It was kind of like stating the obvious," he said.
And because of the complete inaccessibility to the grounds in a normal way, all the artists had to be flown in  BY HELICOPTER.

The festival should have started on Friday late in the afternoon, but around four o'clock the completely stoned  Tim Hardin  and folksinger Richie Havens were the only artists present.

The organizers decided that  RICHIE HAVENS  just should start and continue to play till another singer or band would arrive. Finally he played more than two hours, before Coutry Joe was pushed on stage.
In turn he also improvised through his repertoire as long as he was able to and was relieved hastily by John Sebastien (of Lovin' Spoonful) who happened to be around as a spectator.

Later on bands like Sly & The Family Stone, the Indian sitar player RAVI SHANKAR, JOAN BAEZ  and  MELANIE  followed. This last singer made her appearance during a kind of mini-hurricane that turned the grounds and the entire area at 3 a.m. in the morning into an inconceivable PUDDLE OF MUD  and clay.

The shock and bewilderment about the gigantic rain flood was total and a lot of spectators were living in the days that followed in a nightmare. The scenes made one think of a  REFUGEE CAMP  rather than of a summer festival. Army units provided on a voluntary basis the declared disaster area of food and medication.

Couples lost their children, many did not find again the car of their parents and others lost consciousness because of drinking acid-water unsuspectingly. The  MEDICAL CARE TENTS  were flooded by people who stepped on pieces of broken glass and above all by drug victims.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Creative Contemporaries - Woodstock 1


In the very early years of our  FIAT 124 SPIDER  a unique music spectacle took place that was unparalleled in history: WOODSTOCK.

Although  LIVE 8  was the largest television event held at different locations in the world that mankind ever observed before, at the largest visited location  HYDE PARK  in London there were no more than 200.000 visitors gathered and cannot be compared at all with the Woodstock crowd where almost 500.000 people shared three days and nights with each other, even in heavy storm and rain !

THE WOODSTOCK MUSIC & ART FAIR  in 1969 drew almost half a million people to a pasture in  SULLIVAN COUNTY. For four days, the site became a counter cultural mini-nation in which minds were open, drugs were all but legal and love was "free".

The music began Friday afternoon at 5:07 pm August 15 and continued until mid-morning Monday August 18. The festival closed the  NEW YORK STATE THRUWAY  and created one of the NATION'S WORST TRAFFIC JAMS.  It also inspired a slew of local and state laws to ensure that nothing like it would ever happen again.

Gathered that weekend in 1969 were liars and lovers, prophets and profiteers. They made love,
they made money and they made a little history. ARNOLD SKOLNICK, the artist who designed Woodstock's dove-and-guitar symbol, described it this way: "Something was tapped, a nerve, in this country. And everybody just came."

The counterculture's biggest bash - it ultimately cost more than $2.4 million - was sponsored by
FOUR VERY DIFFERENT, AND VERY YOUNG MEN, namely: John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, ARTIE KORNFELD  and  MICHAEL LANG. The oldest of the four was 26. John Roberts supplied the money. He was heir to a drugstore and toothpaste manufacturing fortune. He had a multimillion-dollar trust fund, a University of Pennsylvania degree and a lieutenant's commission in the Army. He had seen exactly one rock concert, by the Beach Boys.

The four men founded Woodstock Ventures in the spring of 1969 and planned a large-scale rock festival at an industrial park in Walkill, about 60 miles from New-York.
By early April, the promoters were carefully cultivating the Woodstock image in the underground press, in publications like the Village Voice and Rolling Stone magazine. Ads began to run in The New York Times and The Times Herald-Record in May. For Artie Kornfeld, Woodstock wasn't a matter of building stages, signing acts or even selling tickets. For him, the festival was always a state of mind, a happening that would exemplify the generation.

The group settled on the concrete slogan of  "Three Days of Peace and Music" and downplayed the highly conceptual  THEME OF AQUARIUS. The promoters figured "peace" would link the anti-war sentiment to the rock concert. They also wanted to avoid any violence and figured that a slogan with 'peace' in it would help keep order.

They attracted the most popular artists from the psychedelic music scene: JIMI HENDRIX  and JEFFERSON AIRPLANE. These musicians got paid double the amount what they used to get. Jimi Hendrix would just receive for the finale 32.0000 dollars, whereas The Who got 12.500 dollars. Bands such as Jefferson Airplane and Creedence Clearwater Revival also received more than 10.000 dollars, amounts that were unprecedented in those days.

The residents of Wallkill had heard of hippies, drugs and rock concerts, and after the Woodstock advertising hit The New York Times, The Times Herald-Record and the radio stations, local residents knew that a three-day rock show, maybe the biggest ever, was coming. Besides, Woodstock Venture's employees sure looked like hippies. In the minds of many people, long hair and shabby clothes were associated with left-wing politics and drug use. So, the few thousand inhabitants of Walkill became anxious and succeeded in banning the festival on July 15.
Up to that moment a lot of ads were published and quite a number of bands were booked. After a feverish search the organising Ventures stumbled across the land of the largest dairy farmer and the biggest milk producer of Sullivan County:  MAX YASGUR.

Yasgur was an enterprising and dynamic farmer who had gone to New York University and studied real estate law. He rented the fields near Bethel, at about 60 miles from the real Woodstock on July 20. The lay of the land was perfect. The sloping bowl, a little rise for  THE STAGE. A lake in the background. The deal was sealed with the organisers right there in the fields of Yagur's farm for 75.000 dollars.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Two dazzling Enzo Ferrari Museums

Last year in June, when I made my round trip through North and Mid-Italy with my always loyal, PERFECTLY RUNNING 124 SPIDER, I stayed two days in the small city of  FORMIGINE  in the district  EMILIA ROMAGNA  in Northern Italy.
After a wonderful dinner in a superb small restaurant in a nearby hamlet, I consulted - back in my hotel - the local maps and navigation, planning a tour for the next day.

Although I did not plan or intend to visit any (!) tourist town, city, event, monument or touristic sight in  MY ITALIAN ROUNDTRIP  other than my favorite rural  AGRITURISMO  accommodations such as olive grove farms and vineyard estates, I found out to my completely unexpected surprise that Maranello was merely  5,7 KM.  and Modena  12,5 KM.  away from my hotel in Formigine.

Although visiting these places of Ferrari- pilgrimage never crossed my mind, I changed my original planned tour and visited the  FERRARI  FACTORY , where I blocked the  MAIN ENTRANCE  for a while, THE STORE  and  THE MUSEUM  in Maranello as well as the museum in  MODENA (OLD)  and  ( NEW ),  where at that moment was an extraordinary exhibition of  "100 years of  Maserati" in a dazzling  FUTURISTIC BUILT MUSEUM , the  MUSEO ENZO FERRARI MODENA.

Talking about pilgrimage: In Maranello I met a nice couple from California who exclusively came to Italy to visit  THESE TWO FERRARI EXHIBITIONS  only. (Sorry for the short ad right at the start)

I experienced not only the story of Enzo Ferrari told by a spectacular 360 degrees video, which with a total of 19 projectors captivated me completely ( see  HERE  for a short summary of this amazing show ) and placed the car models on display in their historical context alongside the men and drivers who created and drove them, but I admired also the most famous Maserati models on display in its  CENTENARY MASERATI  history.
A unique exhibition that was opened just  THREE DAYS BEFORE  on June 19. 2014.

And to be honest, looking back I was really glad I changed my route for a few days.
It was just one of my not-planned but great surprises during my  SPIDER ROUND TRIP  in Italy.

Monday, August 3, 2015

About Italian automotive design 3

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

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

To see more of Castriota's creations, click  HERE  and  HERE.

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

Thursday, July 16, 2015

About Italian automotive design 2

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

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

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

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

See here for more pictures of the iconic  FERRARI 365 CALIFORNIA SPYDER.

About Italian automotive design 1

From a recent article on CNN - Style:

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

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

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

Friday, July 10, 2015

Car concepts between past and future


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

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

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

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

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

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

Around six months he needs on an average design study . "Of course I do not invest every free minute in my designs, especially when creating the 3D models it is important to take occasional breaks to detect errors in the proportions of the body".
Moreover Obendorfer is not only giving attention to the exterior silhouettes, but is dedicated to the inner values as well: giving a nostalgic-modern look to the interior. Therefore in his studies traditional materials and contemporary technologies meet, becoming a symbiosis of yesterday and tomorrow.

David Obendorfer does not see himself with his "design-workouts" in a pioneering role.
Finally already numerous classics from the past were pimped again and rolled onto the road like the Mini Cooper and the VW Beetle. But these are often overdrawn in his eyes. "I do like the clean and simple volume surfaces of many previous models," clarifies the smart Hungarian. "Unfortunately car designers today primarily rely on a strong and powerful brand style. That's why genuine automobile personalities are rare today".

"My aim is to use possible reference points from the past and future and to generate a contemporary styling that respects and continues the former lines". Or to put it in Oberdorfer's words: "I translate classics in a contemporary design language".

And this with success. Since his first design of the Renault 4 in 2011, a steadily growing group of admirers is enjoying his studies. Even renowned car magazines discovered his creative talent. That one of his virtual neo-classic cars once will be rolling over the asphalt, does not cross his mind at all.

"For me drawing retro cars is primarily a balance in my daily work. Moreover, I am not that naive to think that I will ever get a request from the car designing industry, so that the chief designer of Fiat or Renault should have to admit that a ship-designer designed their beautiful car.
That will never happen".

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Fiat 124 Spider: la italo - giapponese

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Daydreaming . . . . .

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

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

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

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Automotive icons

               FIAT  124  SPIDER,  AN  ICON  FROM  THE  SIXTIES 
               FIAT  124  SPIDER,  A  NEW  ICON  TO COME 
               FIAT  124  SPIDER . COM  THE  DOMAIN  YOU  ARE  LOOKING  AT.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


WITH  THE GREAT  NAME  OF  THEIR  NEW  2016  SPORTS  CAR :                                                                   FIAT 124  SPIDER

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A short time-out to work on my bucket list

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

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

Although I am 71 years of age, I have all the energy and enthusiasm in the world to make a success of my new thrilling enterprise, because I am eager to  GO FOR ANOTHER 20 YEARS.
I will be back soon. Ciao !

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Feel flattered

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

Nice ! I know that my blog is read worldwide.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A warm heart problem

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

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

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

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's wish embellished by great Italian Maestros


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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dutch generosity

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

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

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

The official Dutch  FIAT 124 SPORT SPIDER REGISTER  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


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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Creative Contemporaries - Hotel California 1


From many thousands of car radio speakers from open Fiat 124 Spiders echoed music of the
Eagles back in the Seventies.
Especially their Grammy Awards winning song HOTEL CALIFORNIA   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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Spyder - Spider - Speeder - Speedster

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 10, 2014

Creative Contemporaries - Pet Sounds 3


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

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

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

                                               Soundtrack instrumental - God only knows - take 1

                                                        Soundtrack vocal - God only knows

                                                 Soundtrack final performance - God only knows

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