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Lifestyle Oldtimers

Art and cars collide at ‘Piston Head II’ exhibition in Los Angeles

The relationship between art and the automobile has become more and more prevalent in recent years. The latest exhibition to delve into the topic is ‘Piston Head II’ at Venus gallery in Los Angeles, featuring automotive-inspired works by the likes of César, Bernhardt and Lapo Elkann…

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Following the success of the first ‘Piston Head’ exhibition in Miami in late 2013, ‘Piston Head II’ features a selection of new works in which “the car is considered both a cultural icon and sculptural form.”

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Take the pictured ‘rolling canvases’ by Richard Prince, Jonas Wood and Katherine Bernhardt, for example, which all transcend the traditional remits of art and incorporate the car as an integral part of the piece, not just physically, but also symbolically.

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Another two such examples are the dramatic personalised BMW i8 and Alfa Romeo 4C created by Garage Italia Customs, Lapo Elkann’s dedicated automotive creative hub. “The exhibition gives us the rare opportunity to evolve beyond our unique cars,” explains Elkann, “and focus on the potential for innovation that exists in this space.”

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Taken from Vintage Driver

Lifestyle Oldtimers

Why Did You Buy Your Classic Car?

I’ve only purchased one vehicle that I hadn’t lusted over for an extended period of time. Every other vehicle I own(ed) was in my sights for years, some decades. My “must own before I die” automobile list was almost entirely written before I could legally drive. I’ve wanted a Datsun 620 pickup since I was a boy. I’ve dreamt of a stepnose Alfa since my 7th to 8th grade summer break. And, although not quite a classic—call it a modern classic—I’ve pined for an E36 M3 since my freshman year.

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But why these specific oddballs? Well, the Datsun 620 “bulletside” is just cool. Sure, it’s not particularly good at being a truck, it’s certainly not great at being a sporty car despite my attempts to flog it otherwise, and it’s not very desirable to most enthusiasts—I just like it. When 13-year-old me saw a Bertone 105 Alfa for the first time, I thought it was a vintage Ferrari—so astonishingly beautiful, its captivation never left me. When I got to high school, some lucky senior got his father’s hand-me-down black 3 series coupe. He slapped an M3 front bumper and wheels on it, lowered it a tad, and despite the nicer cars in the parking lot, to me, he had the coolest car at school.

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My, admittedly weird, preference for cars boils down to one thing: aesthetics. I’m obsessed with proportions and design. Clean understated lines catch my eye while messy, busy, cars with scoops and wings and things couldn’t disinterest me more. There are hundreds of automobiles I’d love to own, but my auto bucket list consists of obtainable vehicles I initially took a liking to for their design—almost always my reason for purchase. Thankfully, they all happen to be fun to drive in their own ways—I suppose there’s a correlation between good design and performance (excluding the pickup)?

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I find it hard to relate to enthusiasts who never seem to know what they want. I’ve got this friend who texts me weekly if not daily, forwarding me countless Autotrader and Craigslist links to whatever car he’s most certainly buying this week. Dead set on his latest obsession, he researches his newfound love that’s sure to fill the void. To no avail, a few days later he’s convinced himself not to buy X classic because A-Z reasons, and it’s back to sending me for sale ads. I’ve desired the same cars for so long, it bemuses me when enthusiasts are essentially clueless as to what they really want.

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Some choose a car for its performance. Sometimes it’s just a bargain that couldn’t be passed up. Other times, cars seem to find their owners in obscure ways. Many select a classic because they couldn’t afford it when new and they’re finally able to fulfill a childhood dream.

Anyway, I want to know why __________ is parked in your garage… What made you buy your classic? With so many spectacular automobiles produced, how do you choose?

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Origin: Petrolicious

Lifestyle Oldtimers

Street Find: A Tiny Nash Metropolitan

Rowayton, Connecticut isn’t necessarily a hotbed of classic car hobbyists, but I was recently surprised to see a Nash Metropolitan being advertised for sale on someone’s lawn. This small American microcar was a fixture on American roads through the ’50s, primarily with frugal and attention-craving motorists alike.

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Seeing one up close reinforces that there’s not much to this car in terms of overall size, but what is there is more styled than a roadside diner. Its combination of teal and white two-tone paint, intricately sculpted flanks, chrome everywhere, a “continental” kit out back, insanely beautiful hood ornament, and partially-covered wheels works surprisingly well together. It’s like a ’57 Chevy, just shrunk in the wash.

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The Metropolitan was a pretty popular car in its heyday, with more than 90,000 built in Coupé and Convertible variations; it’s also one of those classics that’s still well-loved and still pretty affordable. This example is for sale; at most, the Metropolitan seems to top out at $20,0000 on the used market. It won’t be the fastest car on the block–zero-to-60 mph is done in like 30 seconds—but it’s a classic that will make anyone smile.

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When I saw this Metropolitan in Rowayton, Connecticut, I sure did.

Article by Ted Gushue / Petrolicious (origin)

Lifestyle Oldtimers

Which Side Of The Dash Do Your Prefer Driving On?

Growing up in the United States, I had never driven a right hand drive (RHD) vehicle before moving to Japan. Needless to say, the transition to driving from left hand drive (LHD) to the right in a country that drives on the other side of the road was, surprisingly, easier than I expected—especially when driving a manual. You see, like most of you, I’m right handed and presumed that rowing gears with my far less coordinated left mitten would be a total meltdown. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

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In fact, likely due to anticipation of missing or grinding gears, I picked up the seemingly huge (but in reality, minor) challenge rather quickly. I’ll even go as far as to say I actually prefer shifting with my left hand because I feel more comfortable having my dominant hand on the wheel while the left dances with cogs. Once I got past smacking the wrong stalks—most RHD vehicles’ wiper and signal stalks are opposite of LHD—driving on the right became second nature within a couple days of living on Honshu.

What really threw me off was driving a left hand drive vehicle in Japan. I had to use a “G.O.V.” (Government Owned Vehicle) to move some equipment the Toyota Hilux rentals couldn’t muster, so I was issued a 2012 Ford F-250. Maneuvering that massive land barge through the narrow roads of Misawa was a bit of a chore, but I managed to keep all four tires on the pavement, most of the trip. Still, other than awkwardly judging distance from the median from the far right side of the road, LHD in a RHD country isn’t too bad.

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But what about driving a RHD vehicle in a LHD world? Well, I’ve done that, too. While still in Japan, I picked up a 1984 Toyota Century—a car that was plenty old enough for NHTSA FMVSS and federal EPA exemptions under the “classic car rule”. For nearly two years, I’ve been driving the Century here in California without issue. In fact, driving the RHD cruiser around San Diego has had some surprising benefits.

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One pro to RHD in the States is making a right turn at stoplights. It’s a breeze because the curb is so visible when you’re peering from the right side of the car. The con is making yielded left turns at an intersection: if there’s a car in the opposing turn lane, it can be difficult seeing oncoming cars through the intersection.

This rarely poses an issue as most intersections in California are by left turn traffic light signal only. It goes without saying, a trip through the drive thru or toll road can be entertaining if you’re flying solo, but the Century’s front bench makes sliding port effortless—I suppose that’s a benefit of column shift automatics. (It’s not as easy if there are sport seats!)

I enjoy driving manual RHD cars so much, when searching for an Alfa Romeo I was tempted to source a UK-spec stepnose. Unfortunately, they’re quite difficult to come by this side of the pond and I couldn’t justify the import premium. It seems, at least here stateside, that RHD vehicles aren’t very popular. It’s been my experience that most Americans feel RHD cars are less desirable and their view of the uncommon driver’s position is merely a novelty rather than a benefit.

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Granted, there are some drawbacks as I mentioned, but they really shouldn’t be a make-or-break deal when searching for some vintage wheels—plus, the parallel parking advantage of RHD is extremely helpful. If you haven’t experienced driving on the “wrong side of the road,” as I’m often told, give it a shot when you get a chance—it’s not nearly as big of a deal as puzzled onlookers make it out to be. If you have experience driving a RHD vehicle in a LHD country, or vice versa, we’d love to hear about it in the comments! Which do you prefer and why?

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Article by Andrew Golseth / Petrolicious (origin)
Photography by Jayson Fong, Nikki Martinez, Chris Luthi, Amanda Wubbe, Thomas Billam, Jeremy Heslup, Jonny Shears

Lifestyle Oldtimers Video

Mercedes-Benz Classic Will Now Rent You An SL For Your Next Vacation

Planning a vacation is tough work, as is securing a rental car worthy of being seen in. With plenty of practice under its belt (Bertha Benz was the first person to take a road trip, after all), Mercedes-Benz recently partnered with a classic car tour company so that more people can enjoy a classic SL while on holiday. Its new “Classic Car Travel” isn’t the least expensive way to get from A to B, but surely one of the most stylish.

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The company Nostalgic GmbH has been hosting classic car tours for more than 10 years, and you can think of this new program as more of a “guided route” rather than a do-what-you-please service. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but a driving tour is a good way to hit as many great roads in as little time as possible. Initially, ten SLs from two generations, (W113 and R107) will ferry drivers and passengers alike around France and Italy. Meals, accommodation, and an English-speaking guide are included.

Starting in a car you don’t like isn’t an issue, as vehicles will be rotated among participants. Profit, surely, is a consideration, but a starting price of 1,975 € per person doesn’t seem unreasonable for essentially an all-inclusive four-day tour. Driving around Europe has got to be better than beached on a cruise, right?

Taken from Petrolicious

Lifestyle Oldtimers

What Does ‘Fast’ Feel Like To You?

I was lucky in that there was a usually-running 1973 Porsche 914 2.0-liter in the garage growing up, but calling it an out-and-out sports car is a bit of a stretch. It’ll rip through corners, sure, but then something with real power and speed came along and my senses had no choice but to re-calibrate. Recalibrating is nothing but fun: feeling the torque of a Viper, the cornering prowess of an Ariel Atom, and how forceful a Nissan GT-R launches are some of my favorite memories.

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Before joining Petrolicious, I’d been testing (mostly) new cars and writing reviews, a position that saw me drive hundreds of vehicles…all over the place. Off-roading Jeeps and Hummers, Willow Springs in Porsche Boxsters, trackdays in the Hyundai Genesis sedan—hey, it didn’t always make perfect sense. Anyway, because of these varied experiences, my idea of what makes something fast (or feel fast) is different from yours. I’m happy, though, that when I was younger the 914 allowed me to feel both the important wind-in-my-hair and holy-hell-it’s-on-rails sensations.

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There’s a limit, of course: ripping down the Mulsanne Straight at more than 200 mph in the rain, however, is a feeling of speed I’m happy to leave to other people. So tell us: What does driving quickly mean to you?

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Article by Michael Banovsky / Petrolicious

Lifestyle Oldtimers

Which Classic Car Is Best For A Date?

“Any classic car” is the correct answer, naturally, but it’s all a matter of personal preference. Friday night is naturally lends itself to being a great time to get to know someone new. Are any vehicles especially fit for this purpose?

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At the start of a weekend, Friday holds a special place in many of our memories, for one reason or another. Knowing there’s a (hopefully) open schedule the next day means it’s the perfect time to plan something special—and if you’re taking a classic car on an extended drive, the extra time is handy in case something goes awry.

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Most Fridays, my dates and friends had to endure the majesty of my Volvo 740 Turbo, which they disliked until it was time to be driven home in spacious, early-’90s luxury. It may not have made me (or my passengers) look as desirable as, say, a Risky Business-silver Porsche 928 would have, but at least we were safe.

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With decades of motoring history to draw from, I’m a bit ashamed to have realized we’ve never asked this simple question on Petrolicious, namely: which classic is best for a date?

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Taken from: Petrolicious

Lifestyle Oldtimers

Who Gets To Drive Your Car?

I don’t have a specific set of rules per se regarding who gets to drive my car, but once it’s out of my sight I worry less about my partner Kay crashing—she’s a fantastic driver—and more about the Abarth picking up parking lot dings or a curbed wheel. Between the two of us, there’s little to worry about because we both care for the car and aren’t driving around like yobbos all the time,

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In someone else’s hands, I’m not so sure. Valet? No, never…

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For anyone else, it’s mostly by gut. This is a $20k compact car that I fret over, let alone those of you with multiple $100,000-plus vehicles in your fleet. Who gets to drive your car? How does one ‘pass muster’ before you’ll let them out for a jaunt?

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Taken from petrolicious

Lifestyle Oldtimers Vintage

Why Are Stylish Gas Stations A Thing Of The Past?

With a few notable exceptions, modern fueling stations are often a mishmash of depressingly decaying features: old bolts rusting onto cracked concrete, a plethora of punchy advertisements for junk (and junk food), and architecture inspired by the inside of a cereal box.

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Yes, we’re cherry-picking some fantastic examples of retro gas stations, and yes, many older stops were little more than some pumps and attendants—but what gives? Why can’t all stations look fantastic?

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Now, with more choice than ever, you’re able to buy cars that run on electricity, biofuels, diesel, propane, gasoline, and hydrogen. Perhaps an enterprising firm could transform the forecourt into an area that attracts customers who actually want to be there, instead of the get-in-and-get-out cycle that happens today.

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I’d gladly hang out at a modernist gas station. In fact, beautiful but disused designs, like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Nun’s Island station near Montreal, Canada or the ex-Agip station at Piazzale Accursio that Mario Bacciocchi designed are finding new life today. The former is now a beautiful community centre, while the latter is headquarters for Lapo Elkann’s innovative Garage Italia Customs.

Just think: the station down your street could have looked like one of these structures…

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Taken from: Petrolicious

Lifestyle

Vintage Truck Stamps are the Coolest Way To Send Mail

Cool enough to make you reconsider snail mail.

vintage truck 1Normally at Road & Track, we don’t write about stamps for the same reason that The American Philatelist (the oldest stamp collecting magazine still in publication) doesn’t write about Miatas. Well, that was the case right up until the United States Postal Service released incredibly cool vintage truck stamps for 2016. A

ppearing later this year are four stamps featuring illustrations of iconic American pickup trucks. The 1938 International Harvester D-2, the 1953 Chevrolet, the 1948 Ford F-1 and the 1965 Ford F-100 are the trucks highlighted.

The trucks were drawn by illustrator Chris Lyons, whose work has appeared in Road & Track among other publications. Much of Lyons’s work focuses on American iconography, so these stamps fit in well within his oeuvre.

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The USPS chose to celebrate the honest work trucks that helped drive the American economy. These are from an era when a truck was a tool, not a luxury car like today’s modern pickups. This isn’t the first time the USPS has honored great American cars, either.

In 2013, it created a series of muscle car stamps and in 2014, it released hot rod stamps. Perhaps Road & Track needs to write about stamps more often.

Author: Chris Perkins, origin: roadandtrack.com