Saturday, July 31, 2010

Carspotting (49): Renault Dauphine

I peeked through the hood vents of this rear engined sedan and saw nothing. It's used to attract attention for an art supply store. The paintwork is very reminiscent of Banksy's style.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Carspotting (48): Volvo PV544

Does anyone know what language has the word Polizi? The owner has a couple of other odd rides, including an AMC Eagle 4 wheel drive wagon and a 1970s Mustang with big exhaust pipes below the door sills, a la the Dodge Viper.

Today, of the dozens of old cars I saw in the time warp bizarro town, the most noteworthy were a bright yellow Saab 96, a Toyota Corona sedan, and two blocks away, a Toyota Corona Liftback!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Time warp bizarro town, Part 2

This town has 7,000 residents and is hours from civilization. What did I see today? A Volvo PV with Polizi livery. A Renault Dauphine. A Morris Minor delivery van. A Renualt Le Car electric car. And a LaForza SUV!

I also picked up a binder book today. It's a guide handed out to Chevy dealers in the mid-70s. To prep the salesmen on their compact car competition, the guide contains drawings, specs, and standard equipment on virtually every foreign and domestic car sold in the U.S. between 1971 and 1975.

The musicians and soundtrack in Singles the movie (1992)

(I'm going to meet a co-star of this movie later this week.  Guess who it is.)

I'm a bit ashamed, but Cameron Crowe's syrupy sweet romantic comedy Singles is one of my favorite movies of all time.  It's about a group of hip and attractive 20 somethings who live in Seattle and hang out at a coffee shop.  Sound familiar?  It was the basis for the TV show Friends.

What's not to like?  It's got all the stars of the early 90s.  Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Matt Dillon, Kyra Sedgwick, and Campbell Scott are in it.  And the future stars of the 00s are in it too-- like Jeremy "I was bald in 1992 so how come I've got a full head of hair in 2010?" Piven and Paul "I will only be known for Sideways" Giamatti.

The cars are pretty cool too.  Dillon drives an old Ford delivery truck, Campbell an old Saab, and Fonda a Mark I Scirocco (see below).

But the music made the movie truly great.  It introduced the rest of the country, and the world, to grunge music, which, in my opinion, is the music genre of Generation X.  My vast collection of flannel shirts in college can only be explained with one word: Grunge.

The movie soundtrack contains a who's who of Seattle sound, circa 1991.  And many of those musicians had roles in the movie.

Here is Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam.  He and his band played members of Dillon's band called Citizen Dick.    Vedder definitely has a future in acting.

Chris Cornell of Soundgarden makes a brief appearance in this scene involving the infamous VW.  For those of you who don't know Cornell, he sung "You Know My Name," the title song to the James Bond movie Casino Royale.

We've also got Alice In Chains, another one of my favorites:

Predictably, Nirvana was too-cool-for-school and refused to be involved in the project.

(Hint to question raised above: The star I am meeting is in one of the Youtube clips above.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Car stuff from the last 24 hours

1. I saw a handyman drive a Volvo 940 Turbo converted into a pick up truck.
2. I saw a 1930s Railton (I had to Google it) at a rest stop.
3. I picked up a near mint condition Citroën ID19 repair manual with schematics that will blow your mind.
4. I am in a time warp town with Checker wagons, Renault powered Winnebagos, and an antique store dedicated to cars and automobilia, from circa 1955.

(Pictures to follow.)

Citroen XM, the Berlin Wall, and Red Square

In 1990, two Dutchmen (who else?) drove a Citroen XM from Paris to Moscow and back.  There are incredible images of old French and Soviet-era cars, the crumbling Berlin Wall, and Warsaw Pact roads before they became clogged with third-hand Audis.  And is it just me, or were the XM's tires under inflated?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Russia Navy Day celebration

Anti-missile defense

Strong teeth

Frogmen parade

Hammer and bricks


Now, Misha, this is how you assemble...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Young Hamilton and Rosberg

For some reason, I'm thinking Fine Young Cannibals and Rick Astley.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Restrepo movie trailer

I went into the theater today to see Agora, but I should have seen this documentary about our attempt to secure the Korangal Valley in Afghanistan instead.  Here is an article about our failed and futile efforts there.  All I have to say after watching this trailer is that we need to at least quintuple the resources we put into providing mental health care for our veterans.

The Girl Who Played With Fire BMW car movie poster

I was at the movie theater today and saw this poster.  I have no idea what the movie is about but that is a cool shot of an E32 7 series.  Which reminds me, how is Edvin's project going?

Chinese diaspora interactive map

Click here.

North Korean military parade set to funk music

If you enjoyed the Chinese Red Army singing Michael Jackson's Beat It, you'll enjoy this even more.

I don't know which I find more fascinating-- the hip-hoppy sword dance or the precision marching.

Carspotting (47): Volvo 142S

While you digest the travesty that was the 2010 German GP (muchas gracias, Fernando), I give you the ultimate, stereotypical Berkeley car-- an old Volvo with leftist bumper stickers.

Here is a great write-up from TTAC.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Zsa Zsa Gabor VW Beetle ad commercial

Here are Zsa Zsa and her mother.

Here is Zsa Zsa, filming the same ad, going ballistic.

Steinbeck's The Wayward Bus movie (1957)

I'm not a big fan of fiction but I am fascinated by John Steinbeck.  I've read about half of his books.  I just started The Wayward Bus, thinking it was going to be about a bus trip involving farmers, vagabonds, and ne'er-do-wells from Salinas.

Innocent-looking cover

Was I in for a shock.  It reads like a steamy romance novel.  Here is the movie trailer, starring Jayne Mansfield and Joan Collins.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Porsche 928 speed record on Bonneville Salt Flats

Note the disappearing rear view mirrors.

The 928 is a badass.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Heidfeld, Renault F1, and Petrov

Heidfeld was spotted today at Renault's motorhome.  As Schumacher confirmed that he is committed to losing through the 2011 season, Quick Nick has to look elsewhere for a drive in F1.  Rumor has it that Petrov has until Hungary to prove that he should keep his seat.

All eyes on Petrov

Female Imams in China (and female mosques)

Eugene Kleiner's Mercedes W126 380SEC

A while back, I wrote about my chance to almost drive a 380SEC from California to Nova Scotia.

I was doing some house cleaning today and found an old note, documenting my preparation for the trip.  It reads:

"Robert Fenton- mechanic
AAA towing
take belongings
super unleaded- does take it
gas- difference- fine
near Halifax- Waverly
meet in May?
customs issue at border
blocked off 7/5-7/21
insurance- Canada- will put me on AAA as insured
agreement- draft?

Ah, what could have been.

Coachbuilder Carrozzeria Pavesi

I came upon this Milan coachbuilder's work recently but for the life of me, I can't find much information, in English or Italian.  Can anyone out there shed some more light on this?

They specialize in Italian cars.  Four conversions are especially noteworthy.

The first, my favorite, is this Maserati Quattroporte III that was converted into a two-door coupe.  Apparently five were converted and two still exist.

Then, we've got some really clean Ferrari 400/400i/412 conversions.

This DeTomaso Pantera targa conversion seems to be the most talked about on the net, but I am sort of underwhelmed by its cheese factor.

Finally, Pavesi also converted Alfa sedans into station wagons, similar to the ones I saw up in Calistoga and Sausalito.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

PBR Pabst Blue Ribbon in China

Yes.  That's PBR.  As in THAT cheap beer.  And yes, it's selling for $44 a bottle.  Just ask for "Blue Ribbon 1844".  I assume it was impossible to transliterate PABST into Mandarin.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Carspotting (46): Alfa Romeo Berlina

Today is a good day.  I was running in to get myself a big burrito and look what I found parked outside the taqueria.  It's a very rough but solid Berlina.

Kangaroo crossing?

Here is an almost identical Berlina on BAT a while back.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Citroen XM advert filmed on Bay Bridge and in San Francisco

Based on that headline in USA Today, I had just successfully ended my week-long hunger strike in support of the Haitian refugees stuck in Guantanamo Bay. Oh, the memories.

3 seater F1 car (Renault and McLaren in Moscow)

Go to 1:12.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

First generation Toyota Soarer

The 1981 Toyota Soarer was a high performance, luxury grand tourer.  (It later became the Lexus SC300/400.)  The car was significant enough to make it onto the 240 Landmarks list.  A family friend imported a white one to the U.S. in the oh-so-lax mid-1980s.  He soon parted with it and I'm convinced I saw it parked in front of a Korean BBQ in Berkeley in the late 1990s.

Here is one of the original ads for it with a purty lady:

Here is a review.  The car shown is almost identical to the white Soarer that ended up States-side.

Ippuku Berkeley restaurant review

This is me at Ippuku last night:

My favorites last night were the tempura bitter melon and the minced chicken on a skewer.  For a spot-on review, check out Rich C.'s review here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

SM: Citroen's Maserati-Engined Supercar

Here are some excerpts from my book.  A lot of it can be found in Google Books.  It's a great book.

This is the first SM ad in Japan.  Don't let the headlights fool you.  All the SMs imported into Japan were U.S.-spec.