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 http://www.hardtuned.net/ 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 ric786@gmail.com for supplying the picture.
Thanks to ric786@gmail.com 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: