Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Best Addiction

As Chris Harris pointed out today via Twitter, "the hunt for new cars/sheds/money-pits to own is truly the best addiction." I tend to agree, having owned a smattering of E30s in varying stages of "project car" and a particularly rewarding, in the most incomprehensible sense, bright yellow curly tailed 911. While everyone else dreams of tropical vacations and south of France bike rides, I dream of stumbling upon two fast, forgotten about and covered in tarps E30s. This comes to mind.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Cars & Coffee Vancouver - May 2015

Great vibes at Spanish Banks this morning. 
Pagoda SL and a well-used unicorn E30 M3 Cabriolet. Huracan lurks in behind. 

$400,000 964 RS imported and owned by the chap who runs Jakobs, a local Porsche shop. Das lightweight...
Another look at that well-used Techno Violet E30 M3 Convertible. 
This color. I like it.
Stripper RS. Sadly, NA RSs don't get the bucket seats and cage as stock.

Gated baby blue Gallardo Spyder. Legend. 
E28 looking slightly out of place and out of power. 
And then there were these two extremely different 991 GT3s. One was a 2014 model with a cage, clear tails, red belts, and a built in radar detector and jammer, while the other was a 2015 model with ceramics, yellow belts, and the new carbon bucket seats. I think they both got it wrong. I'd have mine in anything but white, and in 2015 spec with buckets and the steel brakes.

Love me a white 993. So I parked next to it. What a beautiful morning it was. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

An Extraordinarily Ordinary Shot

Here is legendary rally driver and current Porsche factory driver Walter Rohrl having a bowl of soup 
from the driver's seat of a new Lava Orange Porsche 991 GT3 RS. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ferrari 250 GTE On Special Assignment

In 1962, crime in Rome was remarkably under control thanks to the valiant efforts of the local police. To reward the success of the force, the president of the Italian Republic himself asked Enzo Ferrari to assign two very special Ferraris to police duty. One of the Ferraris is almost immediately destroyed. One survives to this day. This is the tale of the survivor.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Roadtrip Announcement: "12 Days in May"

Time for some #leftlanedreams to become reality as I stretch the Yellowbird's legs down the Pacific Coast to California.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Paris to Milan in a 991 Targa 4 GTS

For those discerning 911 buyers that want it all - power to all four wheels, a convertible and a coupe, and extra poke but no turbos, there's the 991 Targa 4 GTS. It'll cost you as much as a base, much more singular, GT3, but that's the price you pay for desiring one 911 to rule them all. Sure all those miniature letters look a bit ridiculous when they're glued on the rather large 991's behind, but that's just about the only flaw I can think of. I'd have one in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Story of a Canadian 20-Year-Old and His Hyper Car Collection

(Disclosure: This post originally appeared on Jalopnik and reached 241,36 views and received 915 comments. The individual in question then kindly requested that the post be taken down, but as a car enthusiast himself, agreed to preserve the original article on my blog.)

And no, this isn't about the Biebs. So here's the story of a young guy named 'M' who lives in Canada with a passion for fast cars and access to a limitless spending account. He's an all around nice guy, and recently he's become quite open with his car collection and identity. But in the spirit of respecting his privacy and keeping this car-focused, I'll stop short of mentioning his full name, address, or much more interestingly, how his family has amassed its fortune. I can't control the internet, but I can at least do my part. I first heard of 'M' in 2009. A guy had pulled up to rugby practice in a grey Aston Martin DB9 Coupe. Not a rare sight on a campus littered with Lamborghini Gallardos and BMW M3s, but definitely a rare sight near the ratty rugby club house. As practice ended I introduced myself to my new team mate and expressed my admiration for his classy front-engined V12 ride. "Oh the DB9?" he asked rhetorically, "that's my friends. He let me have it for a little while - he just has so many cars...." Gulp. Ok. Sweet man. That's awesome. Catch you later!

Turns out this 'friend' was 'M', who at the time had swapped his DB9 for a white Ferrari F430 Scuderia - a car I once had the pleasure of hearing roar by in traffic. What a thing. It was at this point in time that 'M' developed a bit of a parking issue at his home. You see, he began collecting so many cars that he was forced to leave cars outside of the property. But once I had figured out where 'M' lived, I was treated to an ever revolving show of the latest and greatest super cars just left parked along the curb next to his family's home. From an exceptionally rare Audi R8 GT Spyder, to a tuned matte black Lamborghini Aventador with a ski box (the second ski box Aventador in the area, believe it or not) and a Ferrari FF (his winter beater), to some pimped out heavy hitters like the first Canadian Lumma CLR R Range Rover and a Brabus G Wagon, both pictured below.

As time went by, 'M' developed a taste for the next level - he decided it was time to go hyper. Perhaps the Lamborghini Aventador, Audi R8, Ferrari California, Ferrari FF, and smattering of other super cars wasn't special enough. Or perhaps they weren't fast enough. But one thing's for sure, things definitely little more serious from this point forward.The result is the first delivered to Canada, McLaren P1. Pretty special, if you ask me.

And now the word is out. 'M' is about to take delivery of one of the very last Bugatti Veyrons ever made. It's a Bugatti Veyron Vitesse, which means it'll be a 1200 hp convertible. But there's a problem. There already are a handful of Veyrons in town. So in order to distinguish it he's decided to go for the bare carbon look. And while looks are subjective, I think we can all get pretty excited about this one. And I'm excited to see which super car the Veyron will push out of the garage, and on to the street to face the relatively cold Canadian elements. If anyone's interested, most of the above pictures are taken by Marcel Lech (who recently captured this) and the tuning work is performed by SR Auto.

Side note: Given similar access to funds as 'M' and keeping in mind where he lives (Canada), would you have spent you have spent your money on cars any differently? If you want my opinion, I would have at least opted for the best driver's car money can buy (Porsche GT3 RS 4.0), a vintage Alfa and some Group B rally monsters. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Singular Daytona Gullwing

Pictured in GT3 spec in strategically blinding chrome.
I need some Gullwing in my life. I'm on about the SLS (Sport Light Super) AMG. And if we'd like to get specific, I'd like the impossibly rare combo of a Daytona Blue exterior with a Designo light brown natural woven interior and carbon fibre trim. A bonus would be the optional 10-spoke wheels and an alcantara steering wheel. I say extraordinary rare because everyone and their dog bought their 563 horsepower SLS in a dull shade. Some went with black, or sometimes white, but most of them are grey / silver. And there's actually nothing wrong with that. The SLS was launched at a time when you didn't dare spec a flashy colour. Plus its a German car, so by law it should be a non-colour. And I assume the "Silver Arrows" motorsport connection didn't help sway people towards red and blue either. But for those brave souls who went against the grain and ordered their Gullwing in Daytona Blue were rewarded with a masterpiece. I call a lot of cars a piece of art, but a Daytona SLS may just be the actual one. A true piece of art. A modern interpretation of the E-Type, with its long hood and short rear overhang. It also looks, sounds, and goes like a Gentlemen's Racer for the streets. The fact that its quite a competent car with a ZF gearbox that forces you to drive it like a low slung muscle car of yesteryear but then has all of the Mercedes creature comforts inside is just layer after layer of icing on top of the already irresistible 6.3 later 8-cylinder cake that is the SLS. The car's only flaw is that only tall people could elegantly close the Gullwing door when seated. So for yours truly, a non-issue then.

I'd have a 2010-2011 SLS AMG, or a 2012 SLS AMG GT (bit of contrast red stitching, 20 extra horses and re-programmed more responsive gearbox) or the back breaking yellow SLS Black Series because more aero and Black Series. I'm not picky. So SLS AMG, who's with me? Here's a little known video taken by a well known fellow who was lucky enough to have a Daytona Blue SLS on loan from Mercedes for a few months. Lovely little YouTube gem, this. And after doing a quick search online,... my case in point - in all of North America, there's exactly 1 SLS for sale in Daytona Blue. For those in the market for an SLS, don't expect values to drop much more as the AMG boss let on that no SLS AMG replacement is due anytime soon as they focused on the launch of the AMG GT (911 competitor) and respect the customers who bought an SLS new, who were led to believe it was a once in a blue moon special car, similar to the 300SL Gullwing. A very special experiment indeed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Spanking a Super 7

I recently got the chance of a lifetime to spend a day on an airstrip riding shotgun in a rare Hayabusa powered Super 7. If you're unfamiliar with these crazy little cars called Caterhams, just know that this particular one will touch 100 km/h in under 3.3 seconds. They're serious cars that cause quivers at anyone in a hypercar who's just spotted one at a local track day event. They're that good. All of the superlatives used to describe these beastly four-wheeled rockets are a result of it's Bugatti Veyron-esque power-to-weight ratio. For enthusiasts, it doesn't get much better than this. Low slung, noisy, and more responsive than you could ever imagine. I now need a 7 in my life. Enjoy the brief iPhone footage I managed to capture before my phone called it quits.

Officially, this animal is called a Super 7 GSX 1300R and built on Vancouver Island by a very devoted team run by a chap who's managed to import, build, and register them legally for road use in Canada. He runs a company called Super 7 Cars Inc, and you should pay their site a visit - if only to read up on the various insane, hoontastic Caterhams up for grabs ).

A quick note on the event. It was called "Dancing with Cones" and was put on by the BMW Car Club of British Columbia at the Pitt Meadows airfield. It was masterfully organized to the point where none of us had to do any marshalling or cone chasing, and all drivers got 30-50 runs in over the course of 7 hours. It cost approximately $160 and the catered lunch was perfect. I was only registered as a guest, and as others were queing to get seat time in the Caterham, I was able to meet some of the other gentlemen at the event who were happy to give up some seat time. I was invited to ride shotgun in a 1M Coupe, 997 Turbo, Mazda RX-8, an old stick-shift Volvo 240 Turbo Wagon, and 997 Carrera S. What surprised me the most is the fun-factor of the Volvo (turbo, sway bars, suspension work, Michelin Pilots) and how quiet the 1M Coupe was. The crazy experience in the Russian Mazda and the fantastic brakes in the 997s were also quite memorable. Without a doubt, I'll be back for their next event.

Here's some extra footage from my first ever time behind the wheel of a Caterham (an R300 Superlight). This happened at a place called Bedford as part of the Palmersport racing program. Full disclosure,... I saw my lunch again shortly after the video ends. Worth it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Left Field Post About Life

"Let me start by saying I have a good job, great family, and good health. But I don't like my job, hate my location, hate my housing, hate my finances, hate ... Pretty much everything. Has anyone had a successful life-reboot?" I came across this message on of the forums I frequent. I try and be careful about giving unsolicited advice but since I had just read an enlightening book on the subject matter, I decided to give it a go. Here was my response."I hear ya. If you don't want to make any drastic changes in your life, then go and find a purpose. It will make the suffering worth it. A purpose could be anything from giving a late 60's Charger a new life, finishing a novel, providing for your wife and children, proving some people wrong, a religious devotion... Whatever. If you can find a "why" you can endure almost any "how." Borrowed that last bit from "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl. Check the link. Amazing read." - Me

You can find the book for sale on Amazon. It's done well for itself - most likely a result of its unique take on the mental strain the concentration camps put on prisoners in the second World War, narrated through the pen of a concentration camp inmate, a trained philosopher named Viktor Frankl. Since its inception in 1946 it has sold 10 million copies and has been translated in 24 languages. It's a short read, but for what it's worth, I like to believe it has made an impact in my life. Given that it's Christmas eve, I figured the left field post was somewhat justified. For what it's worth, here's a bit of suitable-to-the-blog inspiration; albeit not entirely mine.

The British manor with vintage fuel powered goodness sprinkled throughout. 
The British manor contents. Priceless objects crammed into small spaces. 
The storage facility down the road. More priceless objects adjoined by a state of art shop and man cave.
Joining road rallies left right and centre. This one in Marrakesh, Morocco, Gumboil 3000 2004 with Lonman's GT2 in view. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Euroweaves on the E30 Convertible

This is my 1991 318i convertible or "cabrio" as they called it in the brochure. I bought it this fall and plan on enjoying it thoroughly in the spring. In the meantime I've taken a stab at making that rare Mauritius Blue paint shine like new (thanks to my friend Matt!), and so far so good. In the spring she'll get some cut wax treatment and hopefully a new trunk lid. This will address both the small dent in the trunk and the ungainly looking 3rd brake light. I'm especially happy with my purchase because I found what I believe is the ultimate E30 convertible colour combo. Dark blue on beige - and of course, with a stick in the middle.
The perfect E30, yesterday.
My only regret is it not being the straight six which purrs just that much nicer at low speeds. But at least the 1991 model year received the next generation 4-banger which is kind of a nice consolation prize. The roof is new and the perforated leather is in fantastic condition. Last weekend everything kind of came together (thanks to my friends Jordan and Ben!) and I was able to mount the original 4-bolt Euroweave wheels that I purchased off a fellow Bimmer enthusiast here in Vancouver. What's key here is that the tires have a reinforced and flat side walls which perfects the square Euroweave and E30 look. These tires are becoming more and more difficult to find so I have to tread lightly on the noisy pedal.

Talk about ageing gracefully. 1991 means it's 92 years old in car years. 

It's been a dream of mine to own a dark blue on beige 5-speed E30 with the proper 15-inch BBS wheels since this is (leave for the fog lights, 4-cylinder, and North American bumpers) the exact E30 I grew up in back in Europe. All this nostalgia means that it's just become even more difficult to decide which one of my cars to let go next in order to make room to bring yet another dream to fruition.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Yellowbird on PCH

Reminiscing on an unforgettable trip to California in the Yellowbird. This particular shot was taken a few hundred meters off the legendary Pacific Coast Highway which took us from San Fransisco through the Monterrey Peninsula and over the course of several majestic days, to Malibu and into Los Angeles via Santa Monica. Looking at this shot has me grabbing for keys to the 911 to go for a midnight blast. But alas, I live in Vancouver and it's mid-November. 

The Yellowbird is tucked away in an insulated underground garage underneath a snug cover with a full tank of zero ethanol 94 octane. Luckily I have a duo of E30s ('87 325is Coupe and a '91 Cabrio) to keep me entertained, leave for the flat six sound from the rear persuading you to push the noisy pedal all the way to Nevada. Looking at the shot down below confirms my long term beliefs that San Francisco is simply Vancouver turned to 11. But enough of this. Let's go for a steer. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tour Auto Optic 2000

Courtesy of Asphalt Heritage Club and taken during one of the Tour Auto Optic 2000 rallies. Fantastic photography that's managed to grasp my imagination countless times. Rallying in any shape or form is the best sport, isn't it?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday Afternoon Inspiration

I've spent a part of my Saturday in the office in an attempt to both wrap up he tail end of a hectic last few days and get a head start on what I was warned will be a crazy week. Given that it's a September stunner outside with sunshine, blue skies and 20 degrees, I'm naturally not thrilled to be in the office - but so goes it. I opened up for a quick distraction and low and behold, a Ferrari 458 Italia greeted me. See, I've never looked at cars as a means of inspiration, I usually look at them because I find them exciting, interesting and quite beautiful in some cases. But today I looked at this 458 and thought: "I want one." Which is odd, because as much as I like the Italia, there are tens if not hundreds of other cars I enjoy even more so. But today, something struck me, perhaps it's a product of maturing and being in the habit of setting goals and trying to find motivation and meaning in every little corner of my life, but today was the day that I told myself that "damnit, I'm going to buy this 458, and it'll be this exact spec." It will take time, but I'm  motivated to take a path that's as short as possible, within the rules of the law, that will get me in that seat of that stunning 458.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Private Jets, Champagne and Supercars.

Believe me when I tell you that I don't want to call it a secret event. But honest to God, the night did not have a title or a theme. Even some of the vendors had no idea what the purpose of the night was. In short, it was a collection of luxury items spaced out in a private jet hangar on the south side of Vancouver airport, YVR. There was a 14 karat gold plated piano, a $300,000 Ulysse Nardin Tourbillon, amongst others, a #1/11 Bugatti Veyron Sang Noir formerly owned by Drake and for sale for a clean $1.85 million, two private jets and a private helicopter, a developer selling 1-bed apartments for $1.2 million dollars, and a Veuve Cliquot Champagne bar. There may have also been a peacock. 

I think the point of the night was for each vendor to invite the top 5% of their client list to this event, and each vendor would share the costs of the event, while hoping to generate some serious lead synergy. Surprisingly, there weren't that many people invited, and the atmosphere was thick with money. The cars, under which the only demo Huracan Lamborghini in North America, and a yellow Aventador were left unlocked, for people to play in, and the private jets were open for people to climb into and ask the pilots questions. It was like that episode in the Simpsons where Bart uses the city's key to gain access to the toy store and him and Milhouse mess about. It was like that, but with endless champagne brought in from Reims, France. 

So how does someone like myself find his way inside this convention millionaires and billionaires. Well, I happen to have a friend who was a vendor, and who told me to bring my DSLR and help him take some pictures. Simple as that. And for that, I thank him. Thanks Jack!

So another thing I learned on Tuesday night, was that private jets can make financial sense when you use this company called London Air. They're the kind of company that you can just ring up, without having to be a member, and ask if they could scramble a LIR jet and point it to New York. A round trip will cost you about $23,000 and you'll be able to invite yourself +7. You can even make it 9 total if one of your friends doesn't mind sitting on the toilet all flight. And while $23,000 sounds like a lot, it really isn't when you consider that a commercial airline business class ticket to the Big Apple will run you well over $2,000 per person. When you factor in the time you save by flying private (no check-in, no security lines, no customs clearing when you land since the agent comes into the plane to clear you, and no rental car lottery) it kind of begins to make sense. That's if you're allergic to economy class.

Yours truly, on the left, talking to Lamborghini Vancouver
A gold plated piano. It sounded err… expensive.
All pilots were in attendance to answer questions as you climbed on board. Neat. 
That's me again, to the left of the Aventador explaining to the lovely ladies that my car is also yellow. 
Leaving in style. Gave it the beans right after I snapped this.