Photo of the Day: Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster

December 14, 2011

As with last week’s ’66 Ford Mustang POTD, there’s not a lot to say here. Having captured this shot down by the local airport, I therefore felt it only appropriate to show-off the beautifully engineered doors of the Vantage as they rise up like wings upon their opening.

The angled light of a Wintery afternoon hung low in the sky and I remember it being quite cold and blowy down by the ocean’s edge – needless to say, the top came up for the drive back and the seat-warmers set to ‘Bake’…

And oh my… the sounds emanating from the exhaust… *eyes closed – no longer here*

-Blake J.

Pic of the Day: Ferrari F40 Parade

December 9, 2011

There’s been an alarming number of reports detailing various banged-up, bent and written-off classic Ferraris as of late, so we felt it only right to bring an air of solemnity to the matter and share this peaceful, vintage-esque photo of 15 Ferrari F40s being lovingly navigated down a rain-soaked stretch of tarmac…

The soundtrack alone must have been spectacular.

*Attention wealthy people: Drive safely, maturely and within your limits – don’t be a wealthy yob.

-Blake J.

Pic of the Day: Parking Lot Insanity

November 30, 2011

Today’s POTD comes courtesy of the National Archives showing an overhead view of (I’m merely guessing) a prelude to an alarming end-of-day predicament.

This nearly-unbelievable scene was captured in Washington D.C in 1974 and the Tetris-like jumble detailed in the photo below was the direct result of a Bus Strike that saw over a quarter-of-a-million commuters resorting to their cars for their morning/daily travels.

I couldn’t even begin to imagine the level of congestion that arose… Would something like this even happen nowadays…?!


Blake J.

Photo Album: The Beauty of the World’s Greatest Driving Roads

November 18, 2011

The greatest driving roads in the world offer more than just life-long, memorable snippets of motoring nirvana. Their challenging, curvaceous beauty mixing with engineering masterpieces that deliver shockingly awe-inspiring results – from ground-zero and from above. They are, in essense, works of art. Draping themselves upon, throughout and overtop stunning pieces of land akin to a falling piece of thread. Constructed with care – often with visual (and driving) results that border on the gorgeously sublime.

Here we present you with a (rather large) photo album selection focusing on the eloquent beauty of them…

Col de Turini – France

Los Caracoles Pass – The Andes – between Chile and Argentina

Garganta del Dades – Morocco 

Oberalp Pass via Gotthard Pass – Switzerland

Road to Juifen – Taiwan

Cabot Trail – Cape Breton – Nova Scotia 

Iroha Zaka – Japan 

Klausen Pass – Switzerland

 Tian Men Shan Road – Hunan province – China

Taroko Gorge Road – Taiwan

The A82 – Scotland 

Elan Valley – Wales UK 

Grimsel Pass – Switzerland

Estrada de Los Caracoles – Chilean Andes

Colle delle Fenestre – Italy

Transfagarasan Highway – Romania 

Blue Ridge Parkway – North Carolina 

Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road – United Arab Emirates

Pikes Peak – Colorado 

Decker Canyon Road – California 

Grobglockner Road – Austria

Stelvio Pass – Switzerland 

Hawk’s Nest Road – New York 

Pacific Coast Highway – Oregon 

Trollstigen (Troll’s Path) Road – Norway 

Tichka Pass – Morocco 

Old Columbia River Highway – Oregon 

St. Gotthard Pass – Switzerland 

Atlanterhavsveien Atlantic Ocean Road – Norway

(and just because it looks cool…) Bridge between China and Hong Kong (left-hand drive to right-hand drive swap)

-Blake J.

POTD/Spotlight: Aston Martin DB6 Vantage

November 16, 2011

When the Aston Martin DB6 was rolled out during the 1965 London Motor Show it barely raised any eyebrows. The evolutional changes from its beautiful DB5 predecessor (launched just 2 years earlier in 1963) were minimal and mostly focused on aerodynamic improvements along with a slightly longer wheelbase, improved cabin space, minor exterior upgrades/changes and the adoption of (optional) power-steering and air-con, amongst other features. If anything then, a minor facelift and structural tweaking to its already-stunning lines and a few key improvements here and there.

Power from its 4L, dual overhead-cam’d, triple-weber’d in-line 6-cylinder engine produced an impressive 282 bhp/295 lb-ft of torque (325 bhp in the Vantage variant) and carried on within a glow born from the James Bond-attributed spotlight and ‘distinguished gentleman’ fanfare that the DB5 had already paved the path for. It would also crack 150 mph. Production of the DB6 ran until 1971 with 1,967 being produced in that time. Values and recent auction prices for these rare old Astons have gone through the roof with, in some cases, original ‘barn-finds’ fetching outrageous prices similar to those of restored Concourse-quality examples.

For those of us being geographically obligated to bear witness to and feel the numbing pinch of the oncoming Winter, the shoulder-shrumping thought of having to place your seasonal sunny-day-only classic or beloved 2nd car away into hibernation for many months every year is a definite lowlight. Yet, for many (myself included) it also serves as the perfect opportunity to dive into those hard-to-reach areas of your oldie that require many labour-intensive hours of your careful attention – You know, proper Man-cave time behind the wheel.

We see and feel you coming Winter… go ahead then, bring it on if you must.

Photo by: Tim Wallace

-Blake J.

POTD/Spotlight: Audi Group-B Rally Quattros Gassing-up and Flying

November 3, 2011

Before the collective (and competitive) madness of mid-80’s Group B Rallying, Audi dominated the Rally stages for a number of successful years after the introduction of its 4WD Audi Quattro 80 ‘A1’ (or ‘UrQuattro’) in 1980. With the new rules in Rallying allowing all-wheel-drive variants onto the scene, Audi was the first to capitalise (and win – even on the Quattro’s very 1st Rally in ’81) with their 4WD monster.

Three iterations of the Rally Quattro evolved during Audi’s foray into Rallying during the mid-80’s, culminating with the flame-spitting, demonic-sounding, 600 bhp Sport Quattro ‘S1’ of 1985 (below). Along with the artillery-grade power output, it also featured a wheelbase that was noticeably shortened from previous versions and gained a plethora of wings, scoops and vents to aid in keeping this gnashing beast hunkered to the ground. It was also the most powerful Rally car ever built…

I'm not sure how far (and for how long) my jaw would drop if this scene greeted me at the local petrol pumps...

Yet, by the time the Sport Quattro ‘S1’ hit the exciting Group B Rally scene in ’85, serious competition from the likes of Peugeot and Lancia (piloted by such amazing drivers as Markku Alen, Ari Vatanen and Walter Rohrl, mind) gave the ageing Quattro a good run for the title. The Sport Quattro ‘S1’, though massively capable, only achieved a single victory – the San Remo Rally in ’85.

Precursor to the bombastic ‘S1’ was the Quattro ‘A2’ of 1983 (below, leaping) that helped Hannu Mikkola clinch the Driver’s Championship for the ’83 season. Despite a string of impressively successful first few years on the Rallying scene with its game-changing (yet heavy) 4WD tech-fest in 81, Audi was, as mentioned, beginning to feel the competitive pressure from other factory teams – most noteworthy being Lancia, its talented line-up of drivers and its emerging rear-wheel-drive 037 that helped Lancia win the Constructor’s Title in ’83.

All I can think of is "WEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!"

By the time of Group B’s banning in 1986 for safety reasons and concerns, Audi’s influence on the entire Rallying scene had been made… and then some. The machines themselves became instant icons and the (brave) Drivers were immortalised – Audi had left a mark in Motorsport’s illustrious history that will forever remain legendary… and missed.

-Blake J.

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