Archive for the ‘interesting autos’ Category

The following article is from “the Economist”.  I feel that the generation that was raised with the automobile as center to their personal identity… ie the people that value their possessions, their car, their clothing brand, their house, as the statement of their identity and how they see themselves and compare/rate themselves to others….  well they are quickly being replaced by the next generation that doesn’t view themselves this way.  The next generations value things a lot differently.  This is in part due to the evolution of communication and the smartphone in particular.  Social interactions have replaced ego centric possessions as status to some degree… and it only appears to be accelerating.

SO here is the beginning of the article from the Economist… read more by clicking the link at the end.

The future of driving

Seeing the back of the car

In the rich world, people seem to be driving less than they used to

Sep 22nd 2012 | from the print edition of “the Economist”


“I’LL love and protect this car until death do us part,” says Toad, a 17-year-old loser whose life is briefly transformed by a “super fine” 1958 Chevy Impala in “American Graffiti”. The film follows him, his friends and their vehicles through a late summer night in early 1960s California: cruising the main drag, racing on the back streets and necking in back seats of machines which embody not just speed, prosperity and freedom but also adulthood, status and sex.

The movie was set in an age when owning wheels was a norm deeply desired and newly achievable. Since then car ownership has grown apace. There are now more than 1 billion cars in the world, and the number is likely to roughly double by 2020. They are cheaper, faster, safer and more comfortable than ever before.

Cars are integral to modern life. They account for 70% of all journeys not made on foot in the OECD, which includes most developed countries. In the European Union more than 12m people work in manufacturing and services related to cars and other vehicles, around 6% of the total employed population; the equivalent figure for America is 4.5% of private-sector employment, or 8m jobs. They dominate household economies too: aside from rent or mortgage payments, transport costs are the single biggest weekly outlay, and most of those costs normally come from cars.

Nearly 60m new cars were added to the world’s stock in 2011. People in Asia, Latin America and Africa are buying cars pretty much as fast as they can afford to, and as more can afford to, more will buy.

Til her daddy takes her T-Bird away

But in the rich world the car’s previously inexorable rise is stalling. A growing body of academics cite the possibility that both car ownership and vehicle-kilometres driven may be reaching saturation in developed countries—or even be on the wane, a notion known as “peak car”.

Recession and high fuel prices have markedly cut distances driven in many countries since 2008, including America, Britain, France and Sweden. But more profound and longer-run changes underlie recent trends. Most forecasts still predict that when the recovery comes, people will drive as much and in the same way as they ever have. But that may not be true.

As a general trend, car ownership and kilometres travelled have been increasing throughout the rich world since the 1950s. Short-term factors like the 1970s oil-price shock caused temporary dips, but vehicle use soon recovered.

The current fall in car use has doubtless been exacerbated by recession. But it seems to have started before the crisis. A March 2012 study for the Australian government—which has been at the forefront of international efforts to tease out peak-car issues—suggested that 20 countries in the rich world show a “saturating trend” to vehicle-kilometres travelled. After decades when each individual was on average travelling farther every year, growth per person has slowed distinctly, and in many cases stopped altogether.


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This guy wins the prize for lightest Porsche 550 spyder wheel.  I wonder how many drill bits he went through doing this?  I am just  a total sucker for things with holes drilled in them.  See my other post on this subject  Ya gotta wonder whether this meant the difference between winning the race or not.

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I was walking along the parking area next to carmel beach… and there was a beautiful  sixties vw Westfalia camper  bus sitting there with the door open.  So, being the VW lover I am, I went over to check it out.  Nobody was anywhere near it.  I suspect the owner was out surfing.  Inside… happy as a clam… was this great cat.  He was a bit hard to photograph in the bus.  But he was obviously the king of the bus.  As I took this shot he hopped down and proceeded to jump out of the bus and go sit on a rock 50 feet away on the edge of the sand like he owned the property.  Dogs walking by on leashes sniffed at him… he didn’t even look at them… all sorts of random noises… not a flinch… nothing phased him.  He was… one cool cat.

What a life. If I were a cat I think I would like to live in a sixties Westfalia camper on the beach in Carmel.  I kinda want to even as a human…

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This is my old VW vanagon truck… not that old really… a 1991 imported originally from Germany to Canada… then later to California.  They are called Doka’s in Germany.  Doka is short for Doppel Cabin… or Dual Cab.   I got offered a ridiculous amount of money for it one day…and so sold it… but now I miss it.  It had a cool locking compartment under the bed for tools etc.  If you like them… there is a great site called www.thesamba.com that focusses on VW’s… and a whole section on vanagons and eurovans for sale.

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This is probably the coolest car transporter you will ever see.  Mercedes built it to transport the W196 race cars.  The idea being to just intimidate the italians with an “even our transporters can go 150 mph” sort of attitude.  The car on top is a W196 race car… a predecessor of the famous 300SL.  The fender eyebrow details on this car were stolen from the little known Rometsch Beeskow I mentioned about 60 posts ago.

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Eric Staller created this amazing art car years ago.  The lights are computer controlled and create a vibrant visual display.  Down a bit further is a link to the video of this car in action.

I am still amazed by it and his many other creative endeavors.

He made these clogs…

He is most famous for his “conference bike”.  Where 8 people sit in a circle and pedal and chat.  These are widely available now.  www.conferencebike.com

Please also check out the other stuff he has for sale! It is pretty crazy too.

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Here is the car a friend of mine Christian Grundmann recently restored.  It is a Rometsch Beeskow coupe… from 1951.  VW running gear, coachbuilt body designed by Johannes Beeskow in 1949, built by Rometsch Coachbuilders in Berlin.  One of about 175 Beeskows built by them.   Beautiful alloy body… nice lines!

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this the chassis of a 1940’s built monoposto race car from Germany… it was driven by a BMW 328 sport coupe engine in the back.  It was built by Helmut Polensky who drove it to the German Championship in 1949.  I really like how he drilled out the front of this VW front end he was using.    I dunno… something about just drilling a whole boatload of holes in a machine that really intrigues me.  Pretty much you can take anything… and drill a bunch of holes very carefully in it… and it begins to look cool for some reason.

Cyclists… in their quest for lightness… took this to the extreme with “drillium” parts in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Lovely… Kinda stupid… but lovely!

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I’ve been building this stupid thing for about 3 years now… powered by a 1961 Porsche 356 Super 90 engine in the back… on a custom frame my buddy Jason and I put together… Cary McCune just finished fabricating the E brake cable mechanism (all custom) to the rear disc brakes.  Next up is modifying the Burch exhaust to fit inside the tailgate.  This thing is lowered about 15 inches… should be fun when done.

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early Mercedes race car. I love the details… so subtle… at the Mercedes Benz Museum.  Don’t miss this place if you are nearby.  I spent about 4 hours there happily!

Edit… Jan 2010… I was up in Santa Cruz… Capitola to be exact… and met by accident the nephew of the fellow that drove this car when it was racing!  He runs a great sandwich shop there and has a picture of this car on the wall with his uncle driving.

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