Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Reinventing Wheels!

As 2011 comes to an end, I’m already gearing up for a big year in 2012. I’d like to thank everyone who has shown their support for my blog, I will continue to provide you with more of my projects, write ups and miscellaneous content from around the globe.

I hope you all have a great Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
BMW commissioned illustrator Gavin Patterson to utilise his skills for creating a Christmas card while in the passenger seat of a new BMW M5.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ice Cube Celebrates The Eames

Ice Cube the rapper and actor recently filmed a video for Pacific Standard Time which is a collaboration of more than sixty institutions that have come together to tell the story of the L.A art scene. In the video he helps to celebrate the lives of Charles and Ray Eames who throughout their life made many valuable contributions to the design world.

The hip hop artist also makes mention to the fact that “it’s not about the pieces; it’s how the pieces work together”. The Eames’s are a prime example of what a great team should be and I’m a firm believer that having good people around you is the key ingredient to success and happiness.

Ice Cube and I have something in common, we both share the Eames philosophy of repurposing. In an interview with the New York Times, he said: “So being that they put together a house in two days and used discarded materials — something about their style caught on. As I got older, I could equate it to sampling. That’s what we were doing, taking discarded records from the ’60s and ’70s and revamping them”. 

Perhaps Ice Cube's music wasn’t really motivated by guns, money and running from the Police. Maybe it all goes back to his days at the Institute of Technology in Phoenix where he studied architectural drafting. 

Ice Cube replicates an old advertisement, complete with a pipe and a 1953 DAT Chair.  

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Life after luggage

Carry on, carry off and then carry home, this is a typical day in the life of a suitcase.
What happens when its services are no longer required? Is there life after retrenchment?
Going against conventional wisdom, I decided to repurpose the old timer and give it a new lease of life. The simple addition of legs, salvaged from an old cabinet, and a couple of coats of 'Dulux Whisper White' paint has managed to totally transform this 1950’s hauler.
Judging by the overall condition, the case was lovingly cared for by its previous owner. Despite showing signs of wear, it still radiates charm and will continue to be a cherished item for many years to come.

Toyota's Dream Car Art Contest 2012

If you want to know the truth, just ask a child. Anyone who has ever been around them knows how brutally honest they can be, even at the expense of embarrassing their parents. When you listen to their stories, it's easy to sort fact from fiction, despite the latter is usually more entertaining. A kid’s vivid imagination can prove to be a valuable source of inspiration when creating cars. Inside every grown man and woman is their inner child, which leads me to believe the most successful designs stem from childhood fantasies that are then weaved into real life creations. 

Toyota is hosting an international art contest where anyone under the age of 15 can submit their design for a new car. Five winners from three different age groups in Australia will win a $200 Dick Smith Gift Card. The top fifteen Aussie winners will then be entered into the "World Contest" with the chance to win a trip to Japan in August 2012 for the awards ceremony.

More information is available at

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

'The Hangover' 1965 Mercedes 220SE for sale.

When I think of movie memorabilia, the convertible Mercedes Benz from ‘The Hangover’ isn’t the first one that comes to mind.  Most will remember the 1965 220SE from two scenes, the first is when they are driving along and hear a thumping noise, only to discover a naked man in the trunk who attacks them and flees. The second is when Mike Tyson’s tiger wakes up from a drug induced sleep with an appetite for German leather. The opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a part of the ‘Wolf Pack’ is on offer through Daniel Schmitt & Co (minus the roofies, tiger and adventures).  

This car is one of five cars they used for the movie including three original convertibles and two coupes that were modified to resemble convertibles. The idea was to destroy the chopped coupes since they’d never be roadworthy again and to retain the convertibles for normal scenes. Due to some confusion on the set, a real convertible was unintentionally destroyed alongside a modified coupe. This is one of the two remaining convertibles which was originally listed for $95,000(USD), but is now reduced to $79,000 (USD).

Iconic scenes from the movie involving the Mercedes 220SE for sale.
Mercedes 220SE Cabriolet for sale through Daniel Schmitt & Co classic cars.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Pirelli calendar for 2012

Pirelli has a lot more to offer than just tyres, they also provide their loyal customers with some motivation to get them through the day - think of it as a break from being nuts about bolts. Pinups have been used in automotive workshops for over forty years, both as a way to remember key dates and as an excuse to admire half naked women. The first Pirelli calendar was created in the early 1960's and throughout the years they have produced some artistic releases, despite the fact tyres have never appeared in any of the issues.

Mario Sorrenti shot the 2012 Calendar; carrying on the tradition of Pirelli’s personal organiser which has gained cult status thanks to the beautiful, nude women who adorn its pages. The featured models on the calendar include Kate Moss, Lara Stone, Isabeli Fontana, Guinevere Van Seenus, Malgosia, Edita Vilkeviciute, Natasha Poly, Rinko Kikuchi, Milla Jovovich, Margareth Madè, Joan Smalls and Saskia de Brauw; but unlike previous year's, Sorrenti's version differs as he strays away from the usual straightforward themes. Instead, he has chosen a more subtle approach which is complimented by simple shots that evoke natural beauty. The images are so elegant that I was almost convinced I'd just perused through a French Vogue calendar. There is plenty of nudity so I’d advise not clicking onto it at work. Otherwise enjoy!

Photographer Mario Sorrenti posing with models featured in the 2012 Pirelli calendar.

The making of the Pirelli 2012 calendar.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reinventing a Vespa PART II

Rather than discarding the other half of my scooter, I converted the leg shield into a comfortable lounge chair. If you are curious about what happened to the back, look in the blog archive for my post titled “Reinventing a Vespa”.

AFTER: Lounge chair.
AFTER: Lounge chair.
AFTER: Lounge chair.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Reinventing a Vespa

When people hear the Italian word Vespa, it’s instantly associated with the brand.
The word actually means ‘wasp’ and was used by Enrico Piaggio for his scooters when they first appeared in 1942, mainly because of their appearance and the buzzing noise that was produced by the humble two stroke engines. Tougher emission laws and the push to “go green” have made it increasingly difficult for owners to maintain their retro rides on the roads of today. Instead of sending rusty Vespa’s to the trash pile, I have found a more creative solution: turn the Italian icons into functional pieces of designer furniture!

The donor for my project was a 1968 Vespa sprint that was beyond restoration, making it the perfect candidate. I feel that this was a more honourable fate than the scrap metal yard.
BEFORE: Ready to go to the Vespa cemetery, until I rescued it.
I have tried to retain the traditional characteristics by converting the back half into a functional work station, complete with adjustable lap top stand. My aim was to deliver the feeling of riding a Vespa without the helmet hair. Anyone want to take it for a spin?
AFTER: Study desk / Laptop stand.

AFTER: Study desk / Laptop stand.

AFTER: Study desk / Laptop stand.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Toyota 86 is confirmed for production!

It’s said that racing improves the breed? That's a wise saying Toyota takes very seriously. The much anticipated new chapter in the brand's sport car collection was unveiled to the press this week at renowned track - Fuji Speedway. The new model will be called “86” in Australia as a tribute to the Corolla AE86, which inspired its creation. The Japanese domestic market version will be appropriately named “Hachi Roku”.

Toyota and Subaru have teamed up to create both the 86 and Subaru’s variant which will be called the BRZ. Under the bonnet, you'll find a naturally aspirated, horizontally opposed 2.0 litre four cylinder boxer engine upgraded with D4S direct injection technology. The increase in torque and performance should hopefully translate to a little more punch from the motor. Customers will have the choice of either a short shift six speed manual transmission or a tip-tronic six speed automatic transmission which will transfer its power through a limited slip differential that will then drive the rear wheels. Both the drive train and seating position have been set as low and as far back as possible to optimise balance within the car. 

Motorsport is hardwired in the manufacturers DNA with victories that include four World Rally Championship drivers’ titles, the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 24 Hours and the 12 Hours of Sebring. These are all pages and stages that sum up Toyota’s sporting heritage, but what makes the new 86 truly special is it's close connection to the 1965 Sport 800 which was also powered by a horizontally opposed boxer engine.

The design works within the technological constraints of achieving the most compact dimensions possible including a low centre of gravity. The modern aggressive styling helps to retain the presence asserted by modern day sports cars but is still humble enough to recall it's origins. Although I wasn’t fortunate enough to be one of the few that were able to drive the car, based on what I’ve read and seen from driving clips, the 86 will offer affordable power, good handling and everyday usability.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Crashed Ferrari Table

If you are an auto addict who is passionate about Ferrari’s, you will love the latest creation from Charly Molinelli. Some may refer to a table made from a wrecked F40 as car sadism. Others will embrace it as a unique piece of furniture that doubles up as a conversation starter at dinner parties and also a place to put the hors d'oeuvres.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mario Kart comes to life

To mark the release of Mario Kart 7, Nintendo commissioned West Coast Customs to construct life size models of Mario and Luigi's actual go-karts from the game.

Wishing he could use an industrial-sized growth machine from the movie "Honey I blew up the kid", Ryan Friedlinghaus and his crew from WCC were faced with the challenge of turning every gamers dream into a reality. The end results are pretty impressive and speak for themself.

On a tangent, here is a scenario to think about: You are driving home from a hard day of work, you encounter a really slow driver who is making the journey extremely frustrating, and with no way to overtake, what do you do? Does this sound familiar? No worries, just look through your weapon inventory for a green turtle shell that will solve all your problems. 

Mario's kart.
Pedals inside Mario's kart.
Luigi's kart.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A little piece of Japan down under.

I never thought I would see a Bosozoku styled car on the suburban streets of Sydney. It’s evident that the owner of this TA22 Toyota Celica draws his inspiration from Japanese car culture.

Thank you to for providing the photo.
Thank you to slowNserious on Flickr for providing this photo.
After a couple of days spent reading and researching, I have learnt about the gang culture, cars and influences that define the Bosozoku way of life.

Bosozoku means “Running wild-tribe”, and is usually affiliated with a motorcycle gang that were renowned for revving their modified engines in the middle of the night and causing mayhem everywhere they went. This behaviour was in response to the consumer boom that swept Japan in the 1960's. The aesthetic statement that their bikes made gave the Bosozoku clan the rebellious attention they desired. The gang would drive in a reckless manner, purely as way to express their emotions and evoke their frustration towards affluent people in society.

During the 1930's Australia and America witnessed a similar social reaction with the introduction of modified cars. They were built by young enthusiasts, usually with little or no money, who were eager to cure their boredom and explore mechanical engineering. Many modifiers wanted to challenge wealthier car owners by proving to them that money wasn’t the only way to attain superior status. Despite its emphasis on power and performance, a modified car has always been a social statement.

In the 1980's due to increased Police and public pressures, the bikie gangs began to decline. Though they still exist, the groups are a lot smaller and many have taken to driving heavily modified cars. Although it can't be confirmed, many attribute this to what started the trend known as Bosozuku style car tuning. This style was embraced not only by gangsters but also by legitimate people who liked the style. Some of the behaviours that the bikie gangs displayed were carried over to this category of car tuning such as organ pipe exhausts, loud horns and the disorderly nature that came along with such modifications. Within the Bosozoku car culture there are subcultures such as the ‘Shakotan’ style, ‘Yankee’ style, ‘Kyusha’ style and the ‘Grachan’ style of cars.

'Shako' means “Ground Clearance” and the Japanese word 'Tan' translates to “Short”, so ‘Shakotan’ refers to cars that have negative camber and low clearance.

'Yankee’, ‘Yanki’ or ‘Yanky’ is a style that can be attributed back to the 1970’s and 1980’s where in Osaka the fashion was to wear colourful Hawaiian shirts imitating the uprising of the west. Others argue it stems from classic American muscle cars, such as the Plymouth Superbird. This style is very similar to ‘Shakotan’ with the exception of the wide fenders, external oil coolers and bigger spoilers.

‘Kyusha’ translates to “Classic Car”. These cars are customised utilising the period-correct styling of small fender flares, duck-bill spoilers, chin-spoilers and minus offset wheels.

‘Grachan’ translates to “Grand Champion”; it originates from the Fuji Grand Champion Series that was help in the early 1970’s to the late 1980’s. The modifications included protrusive wide body kits, very wide 14” wheels with racing slicks and were usually decorated in a race car theme from Formula Silhouette or the FIA Group 5 cars.

By now you will have realised that Bosozoku is more than just a collection of styles. Each person has their own taste and that transpires into the way they tune their cars. If you visit any of the mentioned hang out spots, you will most likely see an interesting assortment of classic Japanese cars, lines of sleek motorcycles and outrageous vehicles that are almost unrecognisable with their array of racing fins, neon lights and tinted windows.

The Bosozoku culture is usually categorized as a violent one, however it’s more about tuning their machines and racing into the night. These afterhours rendezvous are part of a car fetish lifestyle in which people spend hundreds of thousands of yen a year on their beloved machines. It seems that what was once a poor man’s ambition is fast becoming a rich man’s hobby. In Tokyo for around 1000 yen, fanatics can illegally race to their heart's content on the several circular highways that surround the city, provided they don't get caught by Police or exit at any of the off ramps. For this reason, rest stops like Yokohama's Daikoku Futo service area or the Shibaura and Tatsumi parking areas have become legendary among young street racers.

Despite those who embrace the trend, street racers have always tested the limits of the law and the patience of people living nearby. In recent times there have been Police stings and crack downs to deter racers who cruise the highway hoping to find their next challenger.
Thanks to for supplying the picture.
Thanks to for supplying the picture. 

 Manga has been part of Japanese street culture for generations.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Land Rover In Action" Exhibition

Ian Cook is an artist with a passion for cars who has a unique method of painting.

Straying away from traditional techniques, Ian moves beyond the paintbrush and explores the use of unconventional tools such as remote control cars and tyres to create the detailed pieces of art. Many forget that you should enjoy what you do; it’s obvious that he has fun while he works and that’s what makes his work so superior.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pontiac Deluxe Six transparent 'ghost car'

Although the 1930's will be remembered by most for it's tough economic times, it was also an era that brought about innovation. One of those unique concepts was the Pontiac Deluxe Six ‘ghost car’ which was created specifically for the 1939-40 New York World's Fair. 

GM and Rohm & Haas utilised plexiglass which was a new material at the time to create a fully transparent car. This car pushed the envelope and paved the way for those wanting to challenge the ‘norm’. In my opinion it exemplifies the technology of the time and radiates artistic charisma.

Originally the car cost $25,000 to build and earlier this year at an auction in Michigan it was sold for $308,000.

Inside Ralph Lauren's Garage

Earlier this year, Vanity Fair magazine were invited to feature Ralph Lauren’s eclectic car collection in their January issue. Ralph recently renovated an ex car dealership storage facility near his home in Westchester, New York to house his unique collection.

I admire the fact he seeks inspiration from designers who created the cars that grace his garage. We all draw inspiration from somewhere, this video has managed to change the way I look at Ralph Lauren forever!
Without any further adieu:
Interview and a short snapshot of Ralph's garage: 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Blast from the past: Ford reintroduces the 1965 Mustang

A brand new body shell for the original Mustang convertible is now available to enthusiasts as an 'official' Ford licensed restoration part by Dynacorn Classic Bodies Inc. Instead of spending copious amounts of money fixing rust and welding in replacement panels, restorers can now transplant their running gear and interior parts onto the new body shell. ($15,000 USD.)

The main drawback is that unlike the older versions which were 'all American', the new models are made in Taiwan. Hopefully this means that the originals will retain their value and appeal to enthusiasts. According to a statement released by Ford, “New body shells are made with stronger steel and use modern welding techniques, making them better than the original.”

An older car is much more appealing to me than any new model on the market today as I have found that the former provides a driving experience like no other. The raw feeling, unrefined cabin noise and distinctive smells that an older car emits combined with the history of the car is what makes classic motoring so much fun!

When you buy a new car, one of the most important factors to consider is the kilometres that it’s travelled. With retro rides, you shouldn't care because the body, engine and trim will usually indicate how a car has been maintained irrespective of the kilometres it's travelled. Restoration is about reviving a relic and should never be an easy process.
The hunt for replacement parts both online and at wreckers or buying a donor car is what makes classic cars both unique and enjoyable. 

Many will contest that this is the painful part of owning an older car, but the rewards of building an automobile that was ready to retire is a fulfilling feeling that can only be truly appreciated when experienced. I wonder if the Mustang reproductions will ever make it onto Australian roads? will ever make it onto Australian roads? It would be nice to see some more vintage vehicles chugging along in traffic.

Volvo Art Session 2011

Most people would consider graffiti as vandalism. Because of this, the risk artists take has affected the speed and accuracy with which they create their masterpieces. Graffiti is being recognised globally as a modern art form and earlier this year Volvo commissioned various street artists to show case their skills on an automotive canvas. During the event, the S60 was transformed into unique works of art. 

Despite the victory for street artists who were able to express themselves in a legal environment, the real win was for the car company itself for developing such an innovative marketing campaign.  Either way it’s good to see car companies thinking differently.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Haynes wall murals

Haynes manuals have helped educate people working on cars since 1960. Surface View now offers enthusiasts the opportunity to take them from your garage floor and put them onto your walls. Using workshop diagrams as wall decor or textiles is about as unconventional as cooking food on a car engine, but I love it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Silvia is in my bedroom

After frequenting many shops for a bed side lamp, I had become exhausted. Retail shopping can be a dull experience when there is no easy way to find what you like, and no assurance that you’ll get what you’re after. What better way to express my love for cars than to make my own with a Silvia corner light that exudes as much charm as the sports car itself.

Nissan Silvia S13

Sunday, October 16, 2011

To explore or not to explore?

Not many cars make it from concept at the motor show to creation on the showroom floor without some changes. For once the design team, engineers and finance department have all agreed to recreate an off-road legend. 

The FJ Cruiser pays homage to its predeceasing Toyota FJ Series Land Cruisers which were produced from the 1960’s to 1984. To help maintain tradition, Toyota opted for white roof and wrap around rear windows for their new model. The original FJ Series LandCruisers earned a reputation for their ability to endure the toughest terrains, which is what separates most old 4WD's from new. The majority of today's car manufacturers tune their 'off roaders' for on road use which is attributed to the small number of people who actually take their SUVs off the tarmac and onto the dirt. 

According to the Toyota website, the new version is more than just a reinterpretation of the cult classic FJ40. It's marketed as a comfortable spirited off road vehicle that's designed to deliver loads of retro charisma.The lack of diesel and manual transmission may have the purists upset, however if you appreciate the great outdoors then the new Xplore Toyota FJ Cruiser could be a tempting buy complete with custom matte paint and Bilstein 5100 Series shocks.

Automotive abode

A living space should reflect personality, rather than worrying about trivial matters such as when the grass was last mowed, or whether or not it’s time to paint the exterior walls. A home is a personal place that reveals who you are and what you're interested in.

Ever heard the expression, it’s either the car or me? Can anyone guess which one stayed?

Tractor time

Last month I helped my neighbour to clean out his garage. His parents originate from Dapto so his shed had all kinds of interesting stuff, among the items he was throwing in the skip bin, was this pre loved tractor seat.

With a little vision, I decided that I could revive the rusty seat and let it retire to a greener pasture inside my house. I went in search of a base for the chair; council clean ups are a treasure trove for items like this. Amongst all the broken appliances, old tins and bags of damp clothes are some real treasures.

Clean ups are beneficial for all involved as people get rid of unwanted belongings, others find treasures in that junk and the council avoid rubbish being thrown out onto the kerbs randomly throughout the year. Everyone's idea of treasure differs depending on their needs; some people look for bikes, some for scrap metal, computer parts, or toys. I struck gold, when I found this neglected bar stool.

I rubbed the seat down with coarse sandpaper, applied some rust converter, and added four coats of fire engine red paint. The base needed some adjustment to the bolt holes, which was easily fixed with the drill. Below is the final result: