I was never a coffee drinker.It started slowly; an early-morning cuppa here, a refreshing iced latte there. Bit by bit, almost imperceptibly, coffee became an integral part of my life.That’s how Gran Turismo showed up way back in the summer of 1998. As a 12-year old, I was learning important life lessons — how to improve my abysmal slap shot, which dinosaur would win in a fight, et cetera — when my dad dropped a new game in my lap.“It’s a racing game,” he told me. It was mysterious; the title sounded exotic, and the car on the cover was hidden under a sheet. Even here, Gran Turismo was setting itself apart from the pack. There were no cop chases, nor massive amounts of air. It drew me in.Polyphony Digital — a relative unknown at the time, with only two games to its name (formerly Polys Entertainment) — wasn’t going for shouty. It was going for restraint, for tension; it had a flair for the theatric.What I didn’t … [Read more...] about Celebrating 20 Years of Gran Turismo
Whats the future of everyday classics
It’s an interesting time to be a hot rodder, and a unique time in the industry. We’re currently slowly recovering from the worst economic downturn since The Great Depression, which has put a brutal pinch on everyone’s pockets-especially hot rod builders and parts suppliers who rely on gearheads like us to have some discretionary income we can afford to part with. Right now, that’s still a rare thing to find. The good news is that nothing stops hot rodders; sometimes they just rethink their direction or plans to compensate for the curves that life tosses. Matter of fact, hard times breed innovation and introspection that can combine to bring forth improved projects. Any way you look at it, hot cars will be built. But what we want to know is: What do we have to look forward to? What’s going on out there right now, and what’s on the horizon? Trends are by nature a hard thing to predict; most prognosticators who try often end up missing the boat, which … [Read more...] about 12 Trendsetting Builders Forecast The Future Of Hot Rodding – What’s Next?
► Survival power: our cover story from April 1978► Another iconic gem from our new CAR+ service How should one define the age of a car? Should it start with the concept or the realisation? It could be calculated from the day when a twinkle in the inventor's eye evolves into the first tentative lines on the back of an old envelope or menu card, but cars don't emerge from the factory doors just nine months later. The incubation period is quite unpredictable — it may be stretched for years by commercial problems or social upheavals so perhaps we should date a model from the time when the public can buy it. For the origins of Citroen's 2CV you have to go back to the turbulent France of the 1930s, economically depressed, socially eruptive and politically unstable. Within the decade preceding World War Il the French motor industry in terms of independent makes was... decimated, although the three larger mass producers — Citroen, Peugeot and Renault … [Read more...] about Never say die – Citroen 2CV vs the Mini: CAR+ archive, April 1978
It's not everyday that an automaker launches a new marque, let alone a disruptive vision of the future. But BMW did just that last week in Frankfurt with the unveiling of its new i sub-brand.However, the story behind BMW i isn't limited to the i3 city car and i8 plug-in hybrid concepts. It's a new take on everything from manufacturing to infrastructure; it's about challenging preconceived ideas about how we get around in an ever-changing, ever-expanding world; and it's arguably one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by a modern automaker.That might sound like overwrought hyperbole, and it's sure to send chills down the spines of technophobes and Luddites, but i isn't about a dystopian driverless future. In fact, BMW says it doesn't want mobile automatons. It wants drivers with an eye on what lies ahead and an open mind. And from what we've seen, i and the philosophies behind it have the potential to eliminate much of the daily drudgery behind the wheel, ushering in a new … [Read more...] about Behind i: BMW’s vision for the future of mobility
► 10 of the greatest M cars, tested in Wales ► Twin-turbo M5 vs rev-hungry family rivals► 'The turbocharged M5 has depth of character' – but is that enough? Ben Barry referees the new M5’s toughest group test – the best M cars everThe new M5 brings the total number of BMW M cars to 16, not including different bodystyles or mid-life model upgrades, but including significant specials like the M3 CSL and GTS. Then again, should I have included the E36 M3 GT or US-only Lightweight too? Oh dear, it’s all starting to unravel. People will write in to complain. And that’s the thing: people care about M, which is why these cars bear the burden of history and expectation on their broad wheel arches like nothing this side of a 911. Where does the new M5 stand in relation to the icons that went before? That’s a huge question, a question necessitating a two-day trip to the deserted roads of North Wales to drive 10 of the best M cars … [Read more...] about BMW M5 vs The Greatest M Cars: CAR+ archive, October 2011
► The great classic car swindle► Mark Walton's alternative view► Perhaps that 911 ain't worth it, after all... I want the classic car bubble to burst. Because I missed out, because I’m bitter, and because the way things are going I’ll never afford a classic Porsche 911 now. That’s a tragic and shocking truth. The 1980s whale-tail was always the attainable 911, the within-reach 911, the ‘one-day-I’m-going-to-have-a-911’ 911. But looking at prices today, they’re accelerating away from my disposable income like a 911 Turbo overtaking a green Fiat 126. It makes me glum.Worst of all, when I edited Classic Car magazine back in the early 2000s I had a 911 3.0 Carrera as my company car (I think my publisher thought I’d take the money and buy an MGB). The Carrera was the mid-1970s precursor to the 3.0 SC – a rare car, only 3687 built, and only a handful of those were right-hand drive. And yet, when … [Read more...] about ‘Classic 911s. People are asking £40k+ for these everyday sports cars. Am I alone thinking this is nuts?’
Originally published in Speed:Sport:Life April, 2010 — JBImagine that you’re an alien. Not an undocumented immigrant, mind you, but a genuine, green-tentacle-and-glass-helmet monstrosity of a visitor from beyond the stars. While your fellow aliens examine the defense systems of Earth (not so hot) and the intelligence of the population (somewhat simian), you attempt to reconcile all the written history you can find with the evidence before your massive, bloodshot, singular eye. You are particularly interested in the history and psychology behind the local transportation devices, known as “cars”, “whips”, “hogs”, or “causes for divorce”. Most of what you’ve learned is pretty common-sense stuff, even for an alien. There’s a problem, however, and you have, after some months of study, come to call it “The Grand National Problem”. You’ve used your indistinguishable-from-magic science to read everything … [Read more...] about Avoidable Contact: The Grand National Problem.
We received an interesting email the other day here in the TTAC underwater battle station. As is frequently the case, this one was about a used car. But not just any used car. is a touring car that took my mother to and from work as a teacher in the 1920s. It stayed in the barn at my grandparents farm until the 1980s when my mother gave it to me. I had the car fully restored by a specialist in old car restorations in the early 1980s, and spent a little less that $40,000 having this done. It has 68K miles on it. I know I will never get my money back from restoring this vehicle, I am asking $25,000 for it now.This is a typical used car story: my parents drove it to work, I fixed it up a bit, I’d like to sell it. Were this a 1990 Accord, I think it could be sold in a matter of days at the right price. But this is a 1926 Dodge, which leads to all sorts of questions. It doesn’t have any value as a commuter, obviously. But it would be an inexpensive and fully-sorted entry into … [Read more...] about QOTD: What’s The Future Of Everyday Classics?
If BMW is right, motorcycles in the distant future will look like the love children of a Terminator T1000 and a Rokon Trail-Breaker. Or, maybe not. The newly unveiled Vision Next 100 concept from BMW’s Motorrad motorcycle department isn’t meant to be a prediction as much as a daydream about what might be coming in the generations after the next generation of products. Think composite elastic frames that eliminate the suspension and steering fork, self-balancing gyroscopes, augmented-reality visors, and enough artificial intelligence in the safety systems that helmets won’t even be necessary. As we said, a daydream.One of a handful of automakers that also produces motorcycles, BMW has incorporated its Motorrad division into a grand styling exercise called BMW Vision Next 100, a traveling road show headed to cities and auto shows and open to the public, in which all of the Munich automaker’s brands present concepts that push the boundaries on styling and … [Read more...] about BMW Vision Next 100 Motorcycle: Two-Wheeling in the Next 100 Years
A few years ago, I wrote an opinion piece about Porsche vandal tuner RWB and the ethical aspects of damaging historically valuable air-cooled 911s. Some of you agreed, some of you disagreed, some of you took it very personally.This past week the article gained some traction again via a wave of FB shares, which happens often enough that the RWB article is in the all-time top 25 most popular TTAC posts. This time, however, a few of the B&B had a new question to ask: What do you think about the “Porsche 911 Re-Imagined By Singer”?Good question. As you’d suspect, I have an opinion on the subject. But the most fascinating thing about the Singer cars isn’t what they say about the company or its approach to rebuilding air-cooled Porsches; it’s what the Singer phenomenon says about Porsche itself.If you don’t know what a Singer Porsche is then look at the Internet. If you don’t have the Internet but instead are one of the truly devout Jack … [Read more...] about No Fixed Abode: Singer Song of Sixpence