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Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Resolution: Spend Money on Something Other Than Cars...

... like the Bugatti Type 370 wristwatch by the upscale Swiss horologist Parmigiani Fleurier.  The watch is a stunning amalgam of technology, style and slightly insane engineering, just like real Bugatti's.


From what we could determine, prices for these timepieces range from $187,000-$244,000 and that doesn't include the diamond versions.  Here's some specs as supplied by the manufacturer, this one for the engine-turned dial version:
  • Exceptional designintegrating the transverse movement.
  • Unique transverse movement with 5 plates entirely manufacturedby Parmigiani Fleurier.
  • 6 sapphire crystals enabling every part of its mechanical universe to be observed.
  • Power reserve of 10 days indicated on the side of a rotating drum.
  • Ease of winding using the dynamometric starter.
  • Edition limited to 3 x 50 pieces and 1 x 10 pieces.
What that means to the rest of us is that the entire mechanical movement is visible behind the watch's six (6!!!) sapphire crystals, it will run for up to 10-days on a full wind, and it even comes with it's own special "starter" tool.  The watch is supplied by the famous leather good company Hermes.

Check out the official website for the Bugatti Type 370 here.
We HIGHLY recommend downloading the PDF catalog found on that page if you are in the mood to be blown away by the coolest little machine since R2-D2.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Build Your Own Dream Car With These Online Configurators!

Here's a selection of "build your own" configurators where you can try your hand at designing the car of your dreams.  For some of the makers listed below, this is just the tip of the iceberg considering that Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and Bentley will paint your car absolutely any color you wish, alter bodywork to suit your tastes, and in the case of the crew from Crewe, England, turn a sedan into a coupe or vice/versa at your direction and powered exclusively by your limitless financial resources.

My creation is the Maserati Gran Turismo presented below.  It's a unique blend of Special Matte Mediterraneo Blue (add $20,500), 20" Neptune Nero wheels in black, MC Aerodynamic Package II in genuine carbon fiber, so called External Livery on Front Bonnet, all this covering a Nero black interior with Blue Lacquer/Black Chrome trim and sporting a lovely Rosso Corallo red steering wheel (add $425).  I also made use of the TSA-chic "X-ray View" tab at the bottom of the configurator for a peek inside and you won't be surprised to hear that yes, this car has balls.

Click on the image for a bigger, more spectacular view.



Aston Martin
Bentley
Bugatti Veyron
Ferrari California
Jaguar XJ  (new design)
Maserati (full model range)
Mercedes-Benz AMG models
Porsche
Rolls-Royce Ghost

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eye on Design: the Audi Quattro Concept

The Audi Quattro concept revealed at this years Paris Motor Show would be mind blowingly handsome and likely sending us on a padded room vacation had we not been mentally prepped in advance by the luscious lines of the car it's loosely based upon, the RS5 Coupe, itself an upgrade on the subtle-sexy A5 Coupe.

What stands out most to the American eye is the sexy rear end.  With muscle car good looks utilizing a full body width taillight assembly that recalls the Dodge Challenger and flying buttresses that would be at home on a "Duke Boys" era Charger.  The stubby tail is less harmonious but the power inferred by the healthy haunches is amplified all the way up to 11 by the designers push both upward to a well defined crease and outward with it's massive flares.  Of course that tail falls in line with the design language of the earlier and original Quattro, and the proportions of that car find a home at the nose of this concept as well.

The front end styling makes this car your first choice when picking up Darth Vader from the airport, and features a dramatic historically-appropriate grille in the familiar Auto Union form, flanked on either side by secondary intakes poised like young Velociraptors to devour any air that may have otherwise escaped.  This is a car that would not look out of place in a movie set in the year 2020, yet it is so contemporary and timeless that it would easily find a home in Audi dealer showrooms right now.  The hockey stick shape the side intakes create coupled with the headlights gives you a suggestion of menace and speed, seemingly locking the car down to the road.  If I owned this car I would most likely line the back and side walls of my garage with mirrors so I could watch myself pull in and out like a car-obsessed Patrick Bateman.  Everything about the Quattro says "build me" and Audi certainly isn't foolish enough to let the momentum thrusting this car forward go to waste, the only questions are where and when?


Monday, December 27, 2010

Top Gear USA Audience Members Assaulted by Tiny Man???

What the hell was going on over at Top Gear last night during the "Fast in Florida" episode? 

On Sunday's new episode, just as the hosts were chatting it up in scripted banter, a tiny man casually strolled through the audience visually ogling the endowments of female audience members.  Police weren't called nor was the show halted, it was all just a clever poorly-timed piece of promotion for "American Pickers".  By now you've seen those little characters popping up in the corner of your screen promoting some unrelated program by unexpectedly shoving it's lilliputian cast members into your eye-holes.  They infiltrate our televisions like a Trojan Horse, appearing out of nowhere and often with comic results like this one:



Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Worst Car I Ever Owned was a Series II Jaguar XJ6

My youth spent with a beautiful but temperamental British motorcar

Vintage Jaguar ownership is all about looks, style and exclusivity.  Temper that with a healthy dose of reality for those times you'll spend sitting on it's bumper waiting for a tow truck to arrive.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons via Charles01
The mechanical crimes perpetrated upon humanity by Jaguar are legendary, yet in the summer of 1991 I, of my own free will and without coercion, chose to make both myself and my wallet the minion to one of these mechanical ogres.

Like a Siren’s call, the bodywork of the perennial XJ saloon had me by the man-parts at a young age. When I was about 8 years old my dad was piloting us home in his beloved Dodge Power Wagon as a wasp-black sedan sped past us in the next lane. It’s steel hips, each topped with a chrome fuel filler cap, seemed poised... no, cocked and ready, to explode the car forward like one of those cheetahs you see on a David Attenborough special. This was the first time I spied the sweeping haunches of an XJ6. I asked my father what kind of car it was, knowing that it really didn’t matter, I just had to have one. For the first few years of my obsession I didn’t even realize Jaguar was a “high end” make, it was no different to me than a Chevy or a Toyota. When I did come to realize how cherished these cars were it only served to dishearten me since that meant it would take a few extra years of saving to buy my dream car. That big day came even sooner than I expected.

I was fortunate enough to receive a gorgeous all original 50k mile example of a 1957 Cadillac four door as a gift from my car-crazy dad for earning my driver’s license. When I graduated high school I made the decision to trade the big finned, chrome breasted behemoth for an especially lovely chocolate brown 1976 Jaguar XJ6L. It was an even trade, but at the time I’m sure each owner thought we were getting the better part of the deal. As it turned out, only he did.

My first few months of ownership were pleasurable, and by that I mean I enjoyed getting out of the car at stoplights to tap a fender in order to get the lights on that side of the car working again. I got a chuckle when the car left me stranded suddenly and inexplicably, only to find out an inertia fuel cut-off switch was exceptionally poor in design. Hell, I even smiled each time I took a screwdriver beneath the bonnet to adjust the dual carbs, although never quite right.

Several leaky fuel tanks later (conveniently located outboard of the frame just millimeters from the big dangerous world we live in, the one where gasoline is highly flammable) the car started having problems. Technically speaking, it started having “starting” problems.  If I drove anywhere and shut the car off it wouldn’t start again for at least a half hour, seemingly only after she caught her breath. The “Leaper” hood ornament surrendered herself without so much as a growl while the car sat in a church parking lot during broad daylight. The car would again fail to start, leaving me stranded in only the most unsavory of locations for reasons only my apparent bad Karma understood. There was a new plot twist, she would no longer continue the journey after cooling down but now required a complete rebuild of her starter motor each time she clunked out. This led to me not only choosing to stay much closer to home on my adventures with “Miss Kitty," but also determining the route we took to get there in the event of another catastrophic breakdown. Even the actual towing process became an exercise in patience and anger management. One tow truck driver yanked a tie-down hook clean off the chassis in an attempt to load her on his flatbed. Another scratched the rear bumper cover while towing it, seemingly oblivious to the car’s actual length.

Once my engine blew, it was a simple matter of rebuilding some bits and we were back on the road.  Feeling emboldened after installing a tappet hold down kit I hit the open road once again, invincible to the mechanical gremlins that lurked beneath every overpass. The second time my engine blew I sold the block to a gentleman who I believe wanted to make a coffee table out of it, and in went the most blasphemous power plant you could imagine impregnating a legendary British motorcar. The 400 cubic inch V8 straight out of a ’69 Pontiac GTO fit easily enough, after the fabrication of custom motor mounts and wiring harnesses of course, but the transmission connection and driveshaft, err “propshaft” in outdated British nomenclature, came courtesy of a Mustang and a speed shop with both the know-how and guts to become willing accomplices in my own act of automotive debauchery. Flex fans and heat shields followed. Cooling ducts were fabricated to feed the mighty Kong of an engine. Maybe I finally went nuts. Maybe the constant needs and “nuances” of Jaguar stewardship, coupled with the cost and effort involved in keeping that car's engine roadworthy, propelled me into a manic state of car-guy insanity that led to what arguably became one of the fastest and coolest Series II Jaguar sedans in the upper Midwest, assuming you weren't a purist.

Emboldened by her new “sleeper cell” American muscle, we roasted and toasted as many former greasers and cocky college kids as asked for their pride to be handed back to them on the burnt-rubber smoke trails left behind a suddenly capable British living room on wheels that would make even Doc Brown's DeLorean jealous. Then it happened, I started to fall in love with “Miss Kitty” all over again. Sitting here typing this, I feel like the character Richard Dreyfuss played in “Stand By Me”, becoming nostalgic and even a little emotional about a turbulent period in the past that I would gladly live all over again if I hadn’t grown older and smarter with the passing of time. I feel like typing, “I never had any cars later on like the ones I had when I was nineteen. Jesus, does anyone?”

Maybe the worst car I ever owned actually turned out to be the best.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Oldies but Goodies; A Guide to Buying and Driving a Used W202 Mercedes

1990's era Mercedes-Benz sedans make for high style motoring on the cheap

Driving a W202 Mercedes-Benz is entirely possible for the enthusiast on a budget, assuming you are willing to perform regular maintenance and turn your own wrench from time to time. 



Mercedes-Benz ownership has long served as the emblem of privilege.  The brilliant star out front pointing the way to some adventure or another, turning heads and inspiring emotions ranging from awe to envy.  The legendary cars flaunt their well-earned reputation for engineering excellence, shepherding their owners from city apartment to country estate in safety and comfort.  What was once a joy only to be experienced by the monied few, is now available to a wider population at a price that wouldn’t even buy you a brand new Toyota.  I’m talking about the W202 C-class from Mercedes-Benz.

“W202” is car-geek lingo for Mercedes’ in-house chassis designation for a range of cars that included, in the US, the C220, C230, C280, C230 Kompressor and the related AMG models, the C36 & C43.  Mercedes produced the W202 range of C-class sedans from 1993 until 2000.  During it’s lifetime the car received a variety of engine choices and an appearance facelift near the end of it’s production run.  The cars were among the first of the new “entry level” cars offered by Mercedes-Benz in an effort to improve their share of the luxury car market, immediately following the hugely popular 190E “Baby Benz”.  Some people have claimed this emphasis on cost reduction created a drop in quality, while the reality is the car was designed and engineered well prior to the 1998 merger between Daimler and Chrysler.

Sporty or Elegant?
When searching for your W202 you might want to narrow the pool of contenders by first focusing on a specific model.  The debut C220 was a relatively slow and leisurely car outfitted with the time proven M111 4-cylinder motor that previously occupied the engine bay of the more costly E-class sedan.  This engine was soon enlarged to a 2.3 liter displacement and denoted as the C230 model.  A faster and more powerful supercharged version, successfully used in the SLK roadster, supplanted the base model as the C230 Kompressor.  “Kompressor” being the German native tongue for “supercharger”.  The Kompressor model is especially relevant today because it’s a gas sipping 4-cylinder when you want to be economical, yet it’s ready to unleash power on demand at the kick of a pedal.

Next came the smoother and more powerful 6-cylinder car badged the C280.  While the C230’s, especially those fitted with the Kompressor, tend to react to driver input like a bucking bronco and is ideal for enthusiasts who appreciate direct communication from the driveline, the C280 offers a more refined ride suited better to the family that is looking for an elegant tourer with manners you might expect from a well-heeled Mercedes.  While both cars are similar enough in power and specs, try them both out before you purchase to see which one suits your tastes, you might be surprised that you have a hidden rally car driver waiting to be unleashed.  Later US editions of both the C230 and C280 included “luxury” and “sport” models.  The luxury edition was the standard car, while the sport option gave you an upgraded suspension, larger wheels, carbon fiber style interior trim, chrome delete (North America), white gauges, and sport seats.

Time for a Facelift
In 1998 the C-class received it’s first major overhaul.  This included new AMG influenced front, side and rear body skirts that were color coded to match the body and a spoiler faired into the trunk lid to improve downforce, an integrated radio antennae, tinted taillights, new wheels, and an all new interior.  Model year 2000 models got a chrome star for the steering wheel.

Raw Power
AMG started out as an aftermarket supplier of performance parts for Mercedes-Benz but became an official member of the Mercedes family in 1999.  AMG created the C36 in 1995 by finessing the in-line 6-cylinder used in the C280 and made other subtle changes to the interior, body kit and wheels, but also offered a manual transmission for the very first time in the C-class.  For 1998 AMG upgraded the car with new bodywork and more importantly, a 4.3 liter V8 that created some 302 horsepower.  In Europe you could also buy an “estate”, or station wagon, version of the C43.

True Cost of Ownership
While the initial purchase price may be relatively low, enticing many buyers to consider a complicated and sophisticated car from Mercedes-Benz for the first time, it is important to remember the age-old saying among fans of the marque, “Nothing is more expensive than a cheap Mercedes”.  This is especially true because a car that has been abused, or one who’s owner failed to perform regular preventative maintenance, will cost many times over it’s initial purchase amount in repair bills and headaches.  Counter to logic, you really are better off buying the best condition, usually the most expensive, example you can find because the small layout of extra cash now will surely reward you in the future.  Maintenance is key to a satisfying ownership experience so don’t skimp on the costly Mobile1 oil changes or specially formulated fluids when they are due.  Many people are surprised at how affordable these cars can be if you have the capability to do some of the common repairs at home.  Brakes, filters and general wear items tend to be priced similarly, and sometimes less than, parts from other luxury automakers, and are easily replaced by the novice with a repair manual.  Online parts sources specializing in OEM parts are much cheaper than dealers.  Community forums such as BenzWorld.org are valuable resources for the owner that wants to save some money and get acquainted with his car by working on it himself.  Forum members are a wealth of knowledge and more often than not, have already suffered the mysterious mechanical gremlins you will eventually face and are happy to lend a hand.

Things to Look Out For
  • Early cars up to and including model year 1995 were built using an environmentally friendly "biodegradable" wiring harness that can cause major headaches once it starts to fall apart.  You will need to replace the entire harness to adequately remedy this problem, which you can guess is neither easy not cheap.  Look for brittle coatings on the engine wires, if bits come off in your hand you know you've got a problem car.  Check for receipts proving this repair was completed.
  • Motor and transmission mounts tend to go bad on these cars prior to 100,000 miles and may need replacing.  Some cars are reported to have fluid filled mounts that help dampen vibrations.  These mounts are relatively easy to replace by the dealer or in a well-equipped garage.
  • Flex discs connect the driveshaft and can become worn, cracked or frayed over time.  Evidence of this can be anything from a loud thumping to clicking or vibrations at various frequencies.
  • 6-cylinder models should be tested to ensure they have not suffered overheating which could cause a head gasket leak.  Check for oil dripping around the head gasket and also for a milky coloration to the underside of the coolant cap or the oil cap as this indicates cross-contamination between the oil and coolant.
  • Check transmission for full and proper function and verify that the so-called "lifetime fluid" has been changed if there are more than 60,000 miles on the car.  You will not be able to check the level or condition of the fluid since the cars are fitted with sealed units unless you buy an aftermarket dipstick and replace the lock cap with it.  Note that is is common and normal for a W202 to hold gear and not shift up when started from cold or after it has sat for some time in cooler weather.  Some people mistakenly believe this indicates a looming transmission problem but in fact it is a system engineered by Mercedes-Benz to warm the catalytic converter quickly so that it reduces pollutants from the exhaust.
  • Ball joints, rubber bushings and other suspension components wear before 100,000 miles and may need replaced.  Evidence of this would be poor tracking on the highway or uneven tire wear patterns not caused by improper tire inflation or misalignment.
  • Test all windows to be sure motors and regulators function.  Check sunroof and make sure it opens smoothly and without grinding or scratching noises.  Lubricate sunroof rails and tubes at least once a year for preventative maintenance.
  • If the car stumbles or otherwise performs poorly it could be the Mass Air Flow meter (MAF) which is another common failure for these cars.  Replace only with genuine the Bosch part to avoid problems with poorly built Chinese-made units.
  • The W202 suffers from the same taillight bulb failures as did the SLK Roadster, however the W202 issue is not covered by a recall warranty repair that was issued for the SLK.  W202 owners may find that their taillight bulbs may appear to be out or the dash light may indicate this, but moving the bulb or the housing will cause it to come back on again.  Bulb grease or re-seating the plastic circuit board  attachment points with heat has solved the issue in some cases.
  • Vacuum lines become brittle with age, get knocked off during repairs and oil filter changes, or come unhooked from their pumps so always check to see they are connected properly before investing time or money in a repair that could be caused by broken or loose vacuum lines.
  • Be sure the battery (located in the trunk) is fully charged.  A multitude of issues can be resolved simply by replacing an ailing battery with a new one.  Also, be sure the vent tube is in place and connected to the battery.  This is necessary to release built-up gases that could otherwise explode inside the trunk if not adequately vented.
  • Test the single blade mono-wiper for function.  The plastic worm gear within can get stripped if the wiper encounters unnatural resistance such as ice build up or if the wiper cam has not been lubricated.  The cam can easily be lubed by removing the two small plastic covers visible on the lower portion of the wiper arm.
  • As a general rule, avoid cars with a salvage title.  If you can see pictures or receipts for the work to be assured the damage was minor, then it may not be a dealbreaker, but the buyer pool for cars with salvage titles is extremely limited and you may have a difficult time selling the car in the future.  Not to mention that almost any accident damage, even repaired, will leave you with a car of less than factory MB quality and safety standards, the extent of which may not become clear until you have a crash and find out the airbags were never replaced.
The best thing you can do once you find the car of your dreams is to take it to a dealer or qualified independent repair shop that specializes in Mercedes-Benz to perform a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) that covers all major systems and components.  This is the single best way to ensure that you stack the odds in your favor when considering a previously-loved MB.

If you think a gently used Mercedes might be in your automotive future, do some research online, arm yourself with a repair manual and a good community forum, and start shopping.  There has never been a better time than the current economy to buy your own piece of motoring history.

Monday, December 6, 2010

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK Video Leaked!

Somebody working at a French marketing firm seems to have really fucked up caused a bit of controversy by leaking this undisguised footage of the 2012 SLK Roadster.  The car isn't slated for it's official debut for several months, so this is either a huge shock to the leadership at Mercedes-Benz or a pretty ingenious bit of viral marketing.

Some take-a-way's from the video:

  • The interior is very similar to the SLS AMG, which also hints that the upcoming replacement for the chart-topping SL Roadster will feature some SLS-inspired good looks.
  • The Magic Sky instantly dimmable  glass roof works like polarized sunglasses but faster.  If you've ever seen the bathroom doors at Bar 89 in SoHo, NYC, this is the same concept.
  • The car received a bit of nip & tuck and got rid of it's massive anteater schnoz.  It is now graced with a logical and beautiful face that is as square jawed as George Clooney but as welcoming as Seth Rogen's cannabis induced perma-grin.  
  • The small acrylic draft reducing paddles that you have to deploy by manually reaching behind your back, while driving presumably, to rotate over, one for each side, seems like a perfect mix of several bad ideas.  Creative yes, but I will be surprised if this setup remains unchanged before production begins.
What do you think?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Mercedes-Benz SLS Gullwing E-Cell, an All Electric Torque Monster

The SLS from AMG gets a torque upgrade of colossal proportions

Mercedes-Benz’s all electric version of the SLS Gullwing coupe comes in at 649lb-ft of torque, besting the gas version by better than 25%.

Mercedes-Benz in-house tuner AMG only recently unleashed their retro-cool SLS Gullwing on the motoring masses, but already the company announced it’s latest variation of the fantastically desirable car in the form of the all-electric version dubbed the “E-Cell”.  If the dino powered SLS is the stuff of dreams, then the E-Cell is the stuff of nightmares…. for it’s competitors hoping to outgun it in the performance arena.  Whereas the gas powered SLS claims 479 lb-ft of torque, the electric E-Cell produces an astonishing 649 lb-ft of road ripping, neck slamming force, an increase of over 25%.  True, the E-Cell is downgraded in the horsepower department by churning out only 526hp compared to 571 for the gasser, but will you even notice a few fewer horses have left the barn when you are repaving vast portions of your favorite highway in sticky black ribbons or rubber?

The ever ingenious engineers at Mercedes-Benz designed the supercar from the outset to share the same platform and most ancillary components in an effort to not only reduce development costs but also allow for a quicker production schedule and an earlier entry into the marketplace.  Both cars enjoy the same advanced aluminum frame with no modifications needed for use in either car, a technological coup in it’s own right that Merc seems especially proud of.  The differences with the E-Cell begin in the engine bay, or rather with the placement of four new electric motors, one each at the corners near the wheels rather than located inside the hubs as is the current trend on many other electric vehicles (EV’s).  This four corner layout also aids in a more even distribution of weight and keeps the center of gravity lower than a wiener dogs kneecaps.  It’s advanced lithium-ion battery is liquid cooled which one can guess is why this car maintains it’s open grille whereas most other’s make due with an inelegant barn door of a nose.  Mercedes-Benz expects 0-to-60 times of around four seconds.  The interior will remain familiar to anyone lucky enough to already be in the market for an SLS, with door panels and headliner draped in Alcantara, carbon fiber trim where appropriate or necessary, and enough sci-fi flavored electronic wizardry to keep even Steve Wozniak in tech-geek boner land.

The prototype is clad in a color reminiscent of those yellowish/green fire engines with just a touch of Iron Man’s chest mounted nuclear engine glow mixed in for dramatic effect. Speaking of superhero glow, the E-Cell pierces the night with full LED headlamps which differ from the standard SLS’s projector units.  Even though nearly every upscale carmaker seems intent on decorating the nose of their new models with glorified Christmas tree lights, on the E-Cell, they come across as purposeful rather than derivative.  These mild outward appearance alterations, coupled with lovely changes to the lower fascia and subtle but ugly “E-Cell” badges on the fenders (that we can hope are easily removed) are the only real clues that this is not your run-of-the-mill Gullwing, if there even is such a thing when we are talking about a car that uses explosive charges to pop the doors open in the event of a roll-over crash.

Mercedes-Benz has long been a leader in automotive technology, from building the first true automobile in 1885 to introducing innovations like crumple zones, anti-lock brakes, traction control and so on, but their technological dominance doesn’t reside solely in the past.  It appears the company has embraced, and some would argue, even forged the future of the automobile yet again by backing electric vehicles with such profound faith and vigor.  The SLS E-Cell may seem like an alien and exotic vehicle to us today, but rest assured in twenty years time, heck, maybe only 10-years from now, we will see many of it’s advancements gracing even the lowliest of automobiles.  The street cred earned by essentially inventing the automobile ensures that when Mercedes-Benz speaks, everyone around them listens very, very closely.



Friday, January 1, 2010

Meet Our Staff & Writers!

 
Marrs (Portland, Oregon)
Marrs is the Editor-In-Chief of MotoArigato, founding the venture in 2011 as a solo project, then adding a varied group of writers, photographers, and feelancers over the subsequent years. Since then, his work has been published in various online platforms and print publications including Jalopnik, Mercedes Club of America newsletters,  and the AACA's Antique Automobile Magazine.

In May of 2013 he Founded The Coupe Group; The International Mercedes-Benz W111/112 Coupe & Cabriolet Club out of an interest in making contact with other owners of the same model as his weekend driver, a "survivor-class" 1962 Mercedes 220se coupe.  Marrs has spent a lifetime informally painting and sculpting historic autos from the past and a selection of his work can be seen at the link below. Today, Marrs lives in Portland, Oregon with his long-time partner and their family of rescued pit bulls.
Saatchi Gallery: Marrs
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Peter Rankin (London, England)
Peter Rankin is an Industrial Designer based near London, England. His designs encompass the realms of architecture, furniture, lighting, housewares, transportation, clothing, brand identity, sport/luxury goods, and even a Royal yacht, and have been compared in the press with Philippe Starck and sculptor Henry Moore.

He has won awards including a “Best Design” award at Milan Design Week, and accolades from the industry with Intra Magazine proclaiming, “The link between art and design is rarely encapsulated so neatly.” His work often brings many hours of travel across Europe, and in England, Peter’s preferred mode of transport is a turbocharged Audi Avant station-wagon, chosen for it's performance and practicality, a bit like Peter’s own mind if you ask me! -Ed.
www.peterrankindesign.com

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Mike Spicer (Portland, OR)
Mike Spicer is a car enthusiast who shares his passion for collector cars by profiling classics, interviewing owners and spotlighting car events. From supercars to antiques, restoration projects to just plain driving fun, Spicer's Collector Car Profile has a knack for getting into the details to learn more about your favorite car.

Mike's garage currently contains:
1971 Mercedes 280SL
1971 Mercedes 280SE 3.5 coupe
1965 Mustang Fastback
1972 Mercedes 250c
1989 Mercedes 420SEL
1977 Ford Country Squire Wagon

Spicer Collector Car Profile
SCCP on Facebook
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Ryan Hornsby (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Ryan is a long-time photographer with an eye for detail and fast action. He specializes in automobiles and aviation, regularly attending race events in the historic racing capital of the world, Indianapolis, Indiana, as well as traveling to air shows for dramatic shots of high-speed aircraft.

Ryan has owned and enjoyed a long and varied list of automobiles, and is renown locally for his talent creating original electronic music tracks.
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Evan Paul (Massachusetts) 
Evan Paul is a college freshman from northern Massachusetts. While getting his license has taken longer than it should, Evan has made the best of it and has hitched rides in everything from a Honda Civic to a Porsche 911. A lover of all things automotive from a young age and a Chevy guy at heart, he’ll be cutting his teeth on a 1995 Impala SS while chasing a degree in environmental engineering.
 
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