L'avvocato - Fiat's Gianni Agnelli in pictures

Written by Kurt | Saturday, 25 May 2013 15:16

agnelli-lastampaThe state of being dashing is not neccessarily a thing exclusive to the Italians, though it is, arguably, exclusive to Italians in the world of business. Think Gianni Agnelli, the now sadly deceased former head of the group of FIAT family companies. Captured at any stage of his life Agnelli looked immaculate, or rather perfected immaculateness through a cover of maculateness; that what is seen as studied carelessness or 'sprezzatura' by many. Moreover, in the world of menswear, aficionados see Agnelli as a god of sorts, it appears (judging by some of the comments on the internet) grown men might even dribble a variety of bodily fluids in front of their computers whilst looking at Agnelli wearing his impeccably hand-tailored suits. Definitely, the man had a sense of doing things just a little bit differently than others, it seems to me though that it is more the connotations surrounding the figure of Agnelli that reduces some men to the male equivalent of teenage girls admiring the outfits of Heidi Klum. Could one not say he just had a few very well fitting suits, available to anyone with a good tailor, and isn't it, in fact, the wealth, the power and success that elevates Agnelli into the realm of a general icon of Italy's post-war revival while, in the process, being catapulted into a symbol of the menswear community?

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Spotted: Saab 96

Written by Kurt | Thursday, 25 April 2013 16:24

saab96-3

What to do when presented with the automotive equivalent of a Nordic Aphrodite (those of another disposition might want to say Adonis)? Correct, you take a photo, or better several photos capturing svelte lines, cool charm and warriorlike spirit. Better still, you can be assured it will take it well, it will pose effortlessly when presented with some sunshine in the charming environment of London's Bloomsbury area. Yes, I thought this slightly knackered Saab 96 looked really rather good. It was such a treat finding this on a lovely summery day after stepping out of my Uni after an intensive few hours listening to, well, doodah. Saabs usually float my boat, the 96 is no exception, but it should be mentioned that I am not convinced it was Saabs 'finest hour'. The 96 spawned an era of unprecedented change in the automotive industry (automatisation, strikes etc.), yet from its inception in 1960 to the final year of production very little changed at all. Seeing the trim of this dashing green Swede it points to it being a later 96 from the 1970s. By then, after shedding its Saab two-stroke engine, the engine bay accomodated a trusty Ford V4 1498cc engine producing 65 hp powering the front wheels. Sadly, the example on the photos seemed to suffer from a variety of issues; first and foremost the issue that the rear left side window was missing! Moreover the attractive and quirky seventies light green paint was lighter in some areas than others, whilst missing a smooth finish altogether. I missed this Saab actually driving but looking at the exterior and interior it didn't spell much good..

 

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The East London junk shop and its Grand Prix film canisters

Written by Kurt | Sunday, 07 April 2013 14:19

ShoreditchJunkShop-film-can

Last night I happened to pass a junk shop last night in East London in a rather intoxicated condition, which is, of course, nothing particularly exciting. Though, looking through the crazy paraphernalia generally displayed in the shop window, I couldn't help noticing several stacks of 16mm film canisters. It has to be noted that such things always attract my attention, since I happen to be one of those people who tend to collect just about anything that could possibly have some creative value. Ogling these canisters I noticed that they happened to have such tags as 'Grand Prix Belgium 1982' 'Ferrari F1 reel' 'Grand Prix 1971' 'House of Stewart' and 'Manx TT'. You can probably imagine my surprise, excitement and disbelief at the same time. Had the pints I had earlier had such a devastating effect on my mind that I was now imagining film canisters apparently containing the holy grail of any serious motorsport collector; original film footage from the most exciting eras of motorsport, or could it actually, possibly, be reality?

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Spotted: Triumph Herald 13/60

Written by Kurt | Wednesday, 27 March 2013 00:15

Northchurch-Terrace-London-Sometimes one finds oneself navigating pointlessly through Google Street View for no reason other than 'getting lost' after searching for a particular address. On these strolls through digitalised reality one bumps into a variety of strange and wonderful elements that make up our world, occasionally one bumps into rather awkward scenes; people in silly costumes (or just daily outfits), fires and so on. But, once in a while, one bumps into a nice old car by chance, just today I bumped into a lovely red Triumph Herald 13/60 parked in front of a delightful sort of semi-detached house in Dalston, London. The Herald 13/60 was the last in a series of Heralds, built from 1967 to 1971 and featured an updated front-end and a new 1296cc engine. According to records a total of 82,650 cars were built, quite a substantial amount, though not many remain today, or at least in the UK the Department for Transport lists about 1300 licensed examples. This red one is one of them, let's hope it stays that way.

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Video: Le Mans 1956 onboard with Mike Hawthorn

Written by Super User | Saturday, 16 March 2013 16:31

hawthorn1956lemansOnboard at Le Mans is always a special thing to witness, the long sweeping straights, the tight corners, the images of dusk and dawn and the more often than not insane speed differences between the cars on the track make it a firm favourite among motorsport fans. The video in this post (see below) should be no different, it should be even more special really since it was filmed on one of the days before the 1956 Le Mans 24 hours race, and significantly, features Jaguar D-Type driver Mike Hawthorn. Hawthorn has come to be known over the years as the instigator of the horrific crash of the 1955 race. More than 83 were killed after Hawthorn violently braked just before the main straight to get into the pits just after overtaking an Austin-Healey, the Healey, driven by Lance Macklin, had no other opportunity than swerving across the track and into the path of the charging Mercedes 300 SLR of Pierre Levegh who in turn stormed into the grandstand with the dreadful consequences mentioned before. In this light this onboard video from 1956 takes on another dimension, especially if we take into account the commentary he gives in this video: "Just up here on the left where the terrible accident occured last year," then a surprisingly long moment of silence follows. Was he contemplating, reflecting his own actions of 1955 at this point? On that note one should perhaps ask the question; if he cared about accident, why on earth did he choose to take the completely pointless and raucous act of overtaking a car moments before going into the pits himself? Sadly it is a question that cannot be answered anymore, one thing we do know is that Hawthorn was disliked intensely by a part of the motorsport fraternity at the time (the rivalry with Luigi Musso is well documented), and known for being a reckless, arrogant and unpleasant character. Perhaps though, that was a prerequisite for some to cope with looking death into the face each time you got into a race car?

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