Entries Tagged 'Automotive' ↓

The 2012 Delta Wing Concept: Out To Destroy Known Automotive Notions, Checkered Flags, and Human Sanity.


The first time you see it, especially from this angle, above, your impulsive, random thought is, “That can’t be real.”

2012-delta-wing-indycar-race-car-concept_100306147_lWell, it’s about to be real, baby. The 2012 Delta Wing Concept car, shown, right, from a high angle, and designed by DeltaWing CTO Ben Bowlby

for a consortium of team owners and investors including Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi, is supposed to answer all the faults of the existing car, while improving safety and efficiency.

“Today marks a fundamental shift in how race fans and the general public will view all racing cars in the future; this is a game changer” DeltaWing CEO Dan Partel said on the IndyCar Web site. “This radical prototype takes open-wheel racing to a new level from both an engineering standpoint and the overall spectator experience.”

350010167772150storieslarge20100210dranfix96554809The car is startlingly composed of “a rocket-like fuselage, a narrow front track, a very wide rear end, and no wings, front or rear,” say press reports. Debuting this week at the Chicago Auto Show the car caught the eyes of not only the media, but of a number of Indy drivers at the show, including former champ Scott Dixon and current champ Dario Franchitti, above

Bowlby, also a chief engineer for Chip Ganassi Racing, and once a Lola chief designer, said

the car’s reduced aerodynamic drag and lighter weight would offer high performance on the racetrack with only half the engine power of its recent predecessors, and thus increased fuel efficiency.

He expects that the finished car, including engine, will hit 235 mph and cost about $600,000. That’s fast money.

Actually, Pimping Is Easy.


S0101_Fraz_pants_WI001.jpgFix your peepers on this classic photo of ’70s Knicks legend Walt “Clyde” Frazier, above, decked out in front of his classic black and silver Rolls Royce. (Best detail: The still-shinin’ twin towers of the World Trade Center, beaming peacefully in the background.)

Frazier was a true fashion plate, right, and the NBA’s go-to guy for style during the wild, rah-rah 1970s. Keep in mind that, back then, most basketball players went little beyond whatever polyester parachutes they could find at the Big & tumblr_kv35cnwpkp1qaxk1co1_400Tall Men’s Shop. A GQ man, before the term existed, Frazier’s deep interest in the limits of looking superb utterly stood out.

Unlike today, though, Frazier kept the off-the-court electricity separate from his on-the-court work. Unlike today, where athletes’ distractions seem to always get in the way of their day jobs, somehow, his luminescent lifestyle, and his intense interest in the latest wears, never overshadowed his ability to do the task, right, that paid for all those jackets, pants, and tailoring. And, of course, that superb piece of British motorcraft.

screen2Though known today for the cheezy lines of his Just For Men commercials, right—”Emmitt: Your gray facial hair has put you in a rocking chair!”—back in the day, #10 was known for massive sideburns, his “WCF” vanity plates, atop, and always being the point guard to whom opposing teams feared getting close. As it should be. Rock on, Clyde.

[via Tumblr]

Crash Text Dummies.


I’ll give you one guess why British viewers were so outraged by this provocative anti-texting-while-driving PSA, above.

Drive safely.

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Pimp My Tractor.


Calicut, India-based, MIT-educated industrial designer Vipin George takes agricultural automotion seriously. That’s why, for a recent style exercise, he created the COSMICtrac, “a tractor for the international market for the future.”

As reviewed on YankoDesign, COSMICtrac’s features include:

a single sheet hood. Fibre-reinforced plastic head light housings – which, by the way, are housed rather than mounted, which is a fabulous idea because tractor lights that are mounted break off basically every five minutes.

Projected grill up front, exposed engine parts, partly covered fender for driver safety. The future is the basic super-simplification of all machines based on the knowledge we’ve gleaned from the past few decades of trial and error.


[via yankodesign.com]

Keepin’ It Mad Real.


Robert Bechtle’s 1974, 48 in. by 69 in. oil, Alameda Gran Torino, is a masterpiece of the photorealistic style he mastered in the 1960s and ’70s.

In his 2005 review of the artist’s work, The New Yorker‘s Peter Schjeldahl called Bechtle’s images visions “from a prior life,” and Alameda Gran Torino, paradoxically, “a nova of banality.”

The station wagon can’t help but be only and exactly what Detroit fashioned. Hot sunlight can’t help but glint from a bumper and produce a faint reflection of the windshield on a garage door. A closeness between the green of the car and that of a background shadow is unusual, but so perfectly meaningless that your mind may panic at the waste of its energy in beholding the fact. Then something peculiar can happen: your reflexive sense of the picture as a photograph breaks down, and the object’s identity as a painting, done entirely on purpose, gains ground. Look closely. A congeries of tiny freehand strokes delivers an inconspicuous patch of foliage. The whole work is a feat of resourceful painterly artifice. At last, it’s as if the original photograph were a ghost that died and came back as a body.

And what a body it is.

Syd Mead’s Cutting Edge Universe.


For years, conceptual designer Syd Mead has been the man to whom companies go when they need to advance an audacious vision of the impending future.

Sydney Jay Mead was born in 1933, in Saint Paul, MN, to a Baptist minister and his wife. After graduating from the Art Center in Los Angeles in 1959, he worked at Ford Motor Company’s Advanced Styling Center in Dearborn, MI for two years. He then spent part of the next decade rendering now legendary concept illustration for U.S. Steel, above. “He painted,” one Mead fan site notes, “using a slick, detailed method that made the future seem fresh, clean, and thrilling.” He started Syd Mead, Inc. in 1970.

2214587372_f2ac688e8eat-at005Soon, Hollywood came calling with movies that required his ultra-hard, visually authentic and tactile designs. (Mead lists his favorite metal as “chrome,” and his favorite color is, gulp, “Cherenkov radiation blue.”) His indelible technological notions were then emblazoned on sci-fi like Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Aliens, and Tron. (Indeed, some would argue that his US Steel snow walker, above right, obviously influenced another one in a galaxy far, far away, below right.)

bladerunner_spinner_billboardblade-runner1syd-mead-blade-runnerBut it was Blade Runner, right, Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic, on which Mead’s dystopic gigalopolis, both below right, most sears every frame. “In essence,” says author Paul Sammon (Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner), “what you’re seeing in many shots are almost three-dimensional representations of Syd Mead’s art.”

Sammon, Mead, director Steven Lisberger (Tron) and other industry vets testify in director Joaquin Montalvan’s 2005 documentary, Visual Futurist: The Art & Life of Syd Mead. The film tells Mead’s story from his own perspective, as well as from that of the people with whom he’s worked. It’s a rich document about a little-known man, but one whose whose ideas are deeply and widely embedded in American popular culture.

Joaquin Montalvan is a guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, August 21, at 2 pm ET.

But first we’ll speak to Jason Del Gandio, author of Rhetoric for Radicals: A Handbook for 21st Century Activist, a guide for the ultra-political on how to effectively communicate. “Here’s the underlying logic” of his book, Del Gandio says:

• Change the rhetoric and you change the communication.

• Change the communication and you change the experience.

• Change the experience and you change a person’s orientation to the world.

• Change that orientation and you create conditions for profound social change.

You can hear Jason Del Gandio’s and Joaquin Montalvan’s ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

Feel Free to Call It “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Buick.”

Bad Buick

Masa (he wouldn’t give his last name), the 48-year-old, Portugese-Japanese owner of this 1972 boattail Buick Riviera, above, posted this YouTube walkaround of it in a mall parking lot.

As you’ve, no doubt, already noted, the machine looks like it’s ready to wage war. The exterior bodywork has been completely blacked out. What little chrome remains has been re-plated, then shone to a mirror polish so high that, when you stare into it, you can practically see into the past. Inside, zebra-patterned seat covers throughout stoke the vehicle’s wild energy.

An optician/translator by trade, Masa says he was attracted to the car’s “form” and “useless size.” He bought it in California three years ago, spending over $28,000 both for the auto and getting it to Japan. Then, he took a year, and another $14,000, to restore it.

Continue reading →

Baller Bait.

Conquest Vehicles Knight XV 3/4 front view

I really don’t know when it dawned on me, for the very first time, that auto manufacturers created certain cars with Negroes firmly in mind.

I can definitely tell you when I last had that thought, however: Wednesday, about 4:45 pm. That was shortly after I opened mentor Ray Winbush‘s e-mail, containing a sole line—”I want one of these…”—and a link to Conquest Vehicles web site. There, the Toronto-based firm was more than happy to tell a body everything they would possibly want to know about the marque’s $310,000-base priced, fully-armored Hummer humiliator, the Knight XV, above.

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Pimp My Rolling Presidential Fortress.

Barack Obama presidential limo

Barack Obama and the First Lady will be transported the 2-mile distance down Pennsylvania Ave. tomorrow, as part of the inaugural procession, in the dashing black vehicle, above.

The new presidential whip fulfills a processional tradition of escorting the new leader of the free world in a new, secure ride. The car was fashioned by a grateful Cadillac, which, as part of GM, was sure able to use the work.

“Cadillac is honored to serve and renew this great tradition,” said GM spokeswoman Joanne K. Krell. “And it is entirely appropriate that an American president has at his service a great American vehicle.”

But though it’s a Cadillac, the car is “not a direct extension of any single model,” Krell added.

“The presidential vehicle is built to precise and special specifications, undergoes extreme testing and development, and also incorporates many of the top aspects of Cadillac’s ‘regular’ cars — such as signature design, hand-cut-and-sewn interiors, etc.”

Presidential inaugural limo, side view

Asked about what special protective elements have been built into the vehicle, shown here from the side, in order to safeguard what has been, without doubt, the most threatened President-elect in American history, Krell replied,

“I am really  prohibited from actually talking about the safety features of the car.”

In a press release, Nicholas Trotta, assistant Secret Service director for the Office of Protective Operations, was no more illuminating.

“Although many of the vehicle’s security enhancements cannot be discussed, it is safe to say that this car’s security and coded communications systems make it the most technologically advanced protection vehicle in the world.”

Of course, as everybody knows, retirees like to talk, and Joe Funk, a retired Secret Service agent who, during part of his time with the Service, drove President Clinton, is no exception. According to CNN, he thinks

Obama should expect two seemingly contradictory feelings when riding in the presidential limousine. …

“I think he will be surprised about how when he’s in the limo, it’s a cocoon,” Funk said. “The everyday noises will be gone, and he will be totally isolated in this protective envelope.”

“At the same time, I think he will be surprised at the communication capabilities, how the phones, the satellites, the Internet — everything is at his fingertips,” he said. “So at one end, you are totally removed from society. The other side of the coin is that he can have any communications worldwide at a moment’s touch.”

Maximum clarity on the Service’s safety concerns, though, arrived in the person of Ken Lucci, CEO of Ambassador Limousine Inc., which owns two presidential transports from Reagan’s administration.

“The limousines of yesteryear were designed just well enough to provide protection to get the president out of the situation. In today’s case, they [the Secret Service] expect a prolonged attack, and they expect an attack that is a lot more violent than [with] a weapon you can hold in you hand.”

“It literally is a rolling bunker,” he says. “It just happens to have wheels on it.”


Detroit Really Needs Money For Gas.

Fake car ad…or is it real?

Let’s hope, for their sake, it’s coming in January. Because, with the Senate turning down the $14 billion auto bailout, the December one sure didn’t work.