Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Frankenheimer's Grand Prix - Promotional LP Recording

I found this LP at a swap meet a few years back, but my turntable died shortly afterwards so I never had a chance to listen to it, until today.  Over the weekend I scored a very clean Technics SL-1200 MKII in perfect working order for only $200, and that included a very expensive cartridge.  I'm still smiling about it.

It was worth the wait - it starts off with interesting and insightful interviews with Phil Hill, Graham Hill and the filmmaker himself, John Frankenheimer.  Next are some absolutely incredible field recordings of various cars around Monza, Monte Carlo, Spa Francorchamps and Brands Hatch, from both outside and inside the cockpit.  What you hear in the video below is likely the record's first ever playback, as it was still partially sealed in cellophane and looked pristine, the few small specks of dust audible in the recording probably from nearly 50 years of storage.

Both photos are direct scans of the album cover, and are very high resolution - open in a new tab to view detailed track information including approximate start times.

pressed for time?  skip to 18:00

Friday, February 22, 2013

Nostalgic Livery Overload - 1985 March GTP IMSA

With Buick turbo V6 power.  The shape of this thing, the colors, the logos, it all takes me back to my early school years in the mid 1980s.  I remember drinking RC Cola from two liters with thick black plastic caps at the bottom.  Branding was so bold, simple and colorful.  The March logo in particular is retro-future awesomeness - I'd love to have it on a T-shirt.

Fantasy Junction

Climb Dance

Multi award winning short film of Ari Vatanen's 1988 record breaking Pikes Peak International Hillclimb run in a 700 HP AWD Peugeot 405 T16 GR.  Check out those drifts - near 90° slip angles taking the car to within inches of 7,000 foot sheer drops.  Balls, skill.

Cutaway Friday - Peugeot 205 T16

Driving Music / Couching TV - UK Garage Edition

I love UK hip hop subculture.  I've been thrust back into listening to garage nearly round the clock after watching BBC's brilliant 2011 miniseries, Top Boy.  If you're a fan of The Wire (if you've seen it and you're not, GTFO and never come back) I highly recommend it.  Catch it on Netflix before it's removed from rotation.

To me, Burial is undisputed king of the genre.  This is the kind of stuff I like to listen to in the LS400 while cruising around on dark, rainy nights - menacing, deeply layered, with sharp, crunchy beats, eerie melodies and voice sampling.  It's incredibly sophisticated music made with less than £500 worth of hopelessly outdated software on an ancient PC.  All beats are laid manually rather than by a digital sequencer, endowing them with a beautiful and totally unique, organic texture.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

GTFO of the Passing Lane - Improved Driver's Ed as a Means to Better Health & Economic Stimulus

Living in over-populated Southern California as I do, one encounters seventh layer of hell traffic on a daily basis.  Many a time I've spent three hours in first gear and traveled less than 10 miles.  At three in the morning.  On a Sunday.  Many of these types of stop-and-go back-ups are caused by what the British call 'lane discipline', or rather, a distinct lack of it.  

You've seen the culprits, driving along in the passing lane at 15-20 MPH less than the flow of traffic around them, mouth agape, blissfully unaware of the throngs of infuriated drivers tailgating them, passing them, cutting them off, offering them colorful hand gestures.  These people eat at the Olive Garden and chew with their mouths open, watch Dancing with the Stars, listen to Michael Buble and say 'suposably' and 'irregardless'.  I fucking hate them with a passion normally reserved by those involved with religious sectarianism - but I digress.

With air pollution such a serious concern, particularly in California, the lack of more stringent enforcement of proper lane usage strikes me as serious short-sightedness on the part of both state and federal government.  C.A.R.B., or the California Air Resources Board, is so concerned about tailpipe emissions, yet simultaneously so bureaucratically ineffectual that they've even considered banning black cars, a patently insane idea that would have had negligible impact on decreasing pollutant levels, the only public expense our last smidgen of respect for government and having to live in a comically feckless dystopia.  Wait a minute...

According to a 2007 study conducted by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, in 2000 there were approximately 4,000 premature deaths caused by congestion-related pollution, in addition to $60,000,000,000 in lost productivity and wasted fuel as a direct result of said congestion.  These numbers are shocking enough without the knowledge that the study was confined to only 83 urban centers spread across the country, representing a fraction of total US population.  Bear in mind as well that these statistics are over a decade old at this point.

Rather than setting arbitrary, expensive and, ultimately, not sufficiently ambitious future benchmarks for fuel economy and emissions, why not simply invest relatively minimally to re-work America's driver education system?  Already laughably inadequate compared with much of the developed world, a substantially redesigned driver ed curriculum would not only offer immediate, quantifiable and substantial decreases in traffic congestion, but would also lower driving injuries and deaths with similar effectiveness.  Additionally, there are serious economic improvements to be had through re-claimed productivity, surely something that we can all agree on as the 2008 global financial crisis drags on seemingly without end.

This is not the rant of a crazed gearhead, hoping to fly along at extralegal speeds, unencumbered by slower moving traffic - this is a sincere and heartfelt plea for sane and rational legislation aimed at providing safer, more efficient roads, cleaner air, and restored faith in government to do anything worthwhile in a cost-effective and pragmatic way.

I've started a petition here, please sign it, then write your congressional representative and let them know you support stricter lane discipline enforcement and better driver education as a means to better health and an improved economy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wallpaper Wednesday - Vector W8 Interior

As always, open in new tab for hi-res.

1937 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75

I am in love with this illustration.

Tatra T603 Marathon de la Route Replica on eBay

Sweet baby Jeebus, I want this car so bad I can implode.  If I had some kind of insider help that allowed even a 40% chance of a successful bank robbery I'd be wearing pantyhose on my face right now and then driving this tomorrow.  I'd keep the hose mask in the glovebox in case a cooling fan belt broke, or to facilitate another smash and grab in order to fund a month long trip to the Czech Republic spent hunting a replacement clutch slave cylinder.  And drinking Pilsner.

Found on Bring a Trailer - not my story, another writer beat me to the punch.

Two T613's followed by Eccora's T700-based 'Sport V8' racer and finally an original factory Rally T603.  The noise is incredible - imagine mixing an air-cooled 911 with a GT40.

Monday, February 18, 2013

ANF Facebook Contest Grand Prize Winner

Congrats to lucky reader Amir Prses, who earlier this month became ANF's 150th follower on Facebook, thus winning himself this awesome 1/18 scale AutoArt AMG 500SEC 24 Hours racer.  I'm mad with jealousy.

Thank you all for entering, and fret not if you weren't a winner this time - there'll be more fab (yep, fab) prizes to win in future contests.