Autos | A Continuous Lean.

Up to Speed | Porsche 911 Targa 4S

Aug 23rd, 2015 | Categories: Autos, Jared Paul Stern | by Jared Paul Stern

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Porsche is often jokingly said to have the laziest designers in the business because the 911 has changed so little in 50 years. While that’s obviously an exaggeration the world’s most iconic sports car has remained remarkably true to its original lines. The Targa version, first offered for sale in 1967 as a sort of stop-gap while Porsche figured out how to make a workable cabriolet, has always been one of the most alluring 911 variants. An integral stainless steel roll-bar designed to address safety concerns gave birth to its famed B-pillar hoop bearing the Targa logo. Named after Italy’s Targa Florio race, where Porsche had scored seven victories since 1956 over the likes of Ferrari and Maserati, it was originally equipped with a removable roof panel and a removable plastic rear window, with a fixed glass version offered starting in 1968.

Following various updates in the ‘70s and ‘80s, in 1990 Porsche brought out a Targa version of the then-new 964, now considered the last of the “classic” Targas. In 1993 the design changed from a removable roof panel to a sliding glass one, which while not ugly definitely did not have the same aesthetic appeal, not least because it did away with the iconic B-pillar. Glass roofed Targas remained available until 2008 when Porsche updated the 997, and then last year the company unveiled the new 911 Targa with a radical redesign harking back to the original with the B-pillar hoop re-instated along with a fabric covered roof panel. The car employs a rather complex mechanism to remove the front roof section and stow it behind the rear seats, but overall it’s a styling triumph, a potent blend of modern and retro.

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The $9 Million Monsters of Monterey.

Aug 9th, 2015 | Categories: Auctions, Autos, Jared Paul Stern | by Jared Paul Stern

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While lots of people come to gawk at the insanely gorgeous cars on the lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance every August, there are also plenty of men with very deep pockets who come to do some serious shopping. There are a few blue-chip auctions during Monterey Car Week, of which the headliner is the three-day event produced by RM Sotheby’s. This year they’re also staging an auction-within-an-auction, with one of the world’s best car collections, called the Pinnacle Portfolio, going up for sale. RM is billing it as “the most significant and valuable private automobile collection ever presented at a single-day auction,” including everything from early model Ferrari race cars to the final production Enzo, gifted to the late Pope John Paul II.

In addition to the 25 Pinnacle cars, which include both classic and modern machines, are some of the most expensive and desirable cars in the world are set to cross the auction block. Top of the class is a 1953 Jaguar C-Type Works race car (top photo), which finished fourth overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1953, and is the second of only three “Works Lightweight” cars ever built by Jaguar in thin-gauge aluminum. It’s expected to bring in $9 million or more, making it one of the world’s most expensive Jaguars. It’s easily the most beautiful car in the sale in our opinion, though the competition is fierce – the 1950 Ferrari 275S/340 America Barchetta by Scaglietti (below) isn’t exactly an eyesore either. It could fetch $8 million-plus, in case you were wondering.

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1950 Ferrari 275S/340 America by Scaglietti / Darin Schnabel ©2015 Courtesy of RM Sothebys.





Revisiting the Austin Speed Shop.

Aug 6th, 2015 | Categories: Americana, Austin, Autos | by Michael Williams

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While in Texas for the Cadillac ATS-V adventures I took some time to cruise over to see my old friends at the Austin Speed Shop. Always welcoming and unpretentious —even when I show up unannounced— the guys at the Speed Shop are always open to showing me around and letting me checking things out. It’s a testament to their collective chill. It sort of reminds me of when I am traveling and I find a cool store that could be interesting to highlight on the site. At lot of times people who don’t know me will tell me “no pictures”. Though interestingly, 99% of the guys with the coolest, best merchandised places will always say yes and give me unlimited access to take as many photos as I would like. I think this goes back to confidence in what they do. Like the Speed Shop, they know what they do is unique enough that a few pictures won’t instantly become a facsimile in some other place.

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A Short History of the Shooting Brake.

Aug 4th, 2015 | Categories: Autos, Jared Paul Stern | by Jared Paul Stern

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The story goes that one day in the early 1960s, David Brown, chairman of Aston Martin, “entered a board meeting at which some of his engineers were in attendance, plunked his hunting dog down on the table and said, ‘Build me something for him to sit in.’” Brown, who made a fortune building tractors during World War II, had become the quintessential English gentleman, racing horses, playing polo and shooting grouse, and wanted a vehicle he could use on his estate for country pursuits. In 1947 he’d seen a classified advertisement in The Times of London offering a “High Class Motor Business” for sale, and subsequently acquired Aston Martin for £20,500. He then had the company’s now legendary series of ‘DB’ cars, beginning with the DB2 in 1950, named after him using his initials.





Wants & Desires | 1987 BMW 325

Jul 28th, 2015 | Categories: Autos, Wants & Desires | by Michael Williams

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Here’s a page out of BaT.

Driving on I-95 this past weekend near Larchmont, NY I spotted a super clean late 80s BMW 325 convertible moving north with traffic. The car was shiny and clean with the top down cruising along on a relaxing Saturday jaunt. It made me think. “I should get online and find a clean old 325 convertible from the late 80s too.” It would be a fun little car to drive to the beach or for the summer. It’s not so precious that I would be afraid to take it out or really drive it and enjoy it. It won’t cost that much either! Seems like a no brainer. I would just need to convince my wife that we need a second old BMW. Could make sense considering the first old BMW lives in California and we live in NYC (though I drive it when I am out there frequently). It certainly makes sense to me anyway; to her, might not be so simple.





Wants & Desires | Keith Richards’ “Blue Lena”

Jul 14th, 2015 | Categories: Autos, Jared Paul Stern, Wants & Desires | by Jared Paul Stern

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In 1967 British police raided Redlands, Keith Richards’ Sussex estate, finding a stash of pot and amphetamines. With a court case looming, the Rolling Stone’s guitarist decided to “do a runner,” in the words of his 2010 biography Lifethat is, drive to Morocco in his 1965 Bentley S3 Continental ‘Flying Spur’, aka Blue Lena, with model Anita Pallenberg, fellow Stone Brian Jones and a couple of friends. “We decided to get out of England and not go back until it was time for the court case,” Richards recounts. Another important decision: “It would be better to find somewhere where we could get legal drugs.” They flew to Paris where Keith’s driver met them with the car and then made their tortuous way to Tangier.

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A Weekend Ride in the ATS-V Rocket Ship.

Jul 8th, 2015 | Categories: Autos | by Michael Williams

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Someone who spends any significant amount of time in New York City tends to forget that a car can be about more than just getting around. In the case of the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V —which I spent a few days driving in Austin— enjoying the car’s 464 horses seems much more important than just getting where you are going.

Much has been said recently about Cadillac’s reinvention. I’ve come to know the brand well through Cadillac’s involvement in the fashion and more directly through a sponsorship with ACL. Though Cadillac didn’t direct me to post about the ATS-V or this drive, that was entirely up to me at my discretion. But by virtue of this partnership I’ve had a particularly interesting perch to see a bit of the transformation the brand has undergone. Over the past year, I’ve been to several Cadillac events which never ended up on the site. I have been interested in getting to know what is really happening with the automaker. And after my Austin experience driving the ATS-V it’s very clear that Cadillac has figured out how to make cars which are both fun to drive and not lacking in personality.

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