As a car enthusiast growing up in the Age of Information, I have played just about every racing game to come out from the late ‘90s to now. I’ve seen the evolution (some would say, “fall”) of the Need for Speed series from a fun-loving Lamborghini-versus-Ferrari staple to the dark, superficial tuner mess it has ultimately become, and watched the simulator genre rise from an overly-detailed racing driver training tool to a fair medium with paths of entry for casual and hardcore racers. While the racing sim genre may seem like a narrow niche, there’s a surprising number of games within the category; rally, road course, oval, street. Developers will come and go, too, like the aforementioned NFS (with its simulator-oriented Shift offshoot) and Codemasters’ long-running Colin McRae rally series (which left the simulator genre for the Americanized X Games vibe with DiRT).
In world of real driving (and real racing), there is a great deal of debate over whether these types of games help drivers or not, and how much the player needs to truly achieve a realistic experience - so let me set the record straight on the benefits of racing games.
It may be difficult to find sports cars in November (especially here in already-snowy Vermont), but a few people are still driving them, like Rob Tobia and his Jaguar E-Types, and Mark Tashjian, with an E36 BMW M3. Mr. Tashjian was kind enough to give an interview and allow me to film his car, so here's the finished product. If you prefer it, the video is on Vimeo now.
While the Jaguar E-Type videoshoot (for the future-series, "Real Drivers") was just that, I did shoot a few pictures while around the two amazing cars. Here, for your enjoyment, is a mini-gallery of those shots. As students of Jaguar history might be able to identify, the red model is a Series I car (a 1966, in this instance), and was the recipient of a full and thorough restoration a number of years ago. The second, a 1971 Series II coupe, is also a very impressive machine, albeit one that can be driven with less weight on preservation.
Anyway, enjoy the gallery, and be sure to keep an eye out for future "Real Drivers" videos (and photos) in the future.
Last Friday, despite the snow, I went to talk with long-time E-Type enthusiast Robert Tobia about his two Jaguars. His cars are astonishingly well-kept, especially the Series I roadster, though they are always a work in progress; while I was there, the Series II coupe was dismantled, awaiting the installation of a freshly-machined head for the 4.2-liter engine. It was great talking with Mr. Tobia, and he even provided a VHS of driving footage from that same car. Check out the full film below.
If you want the Real Drivers series to become a regular release, let me know in the comments.
It’s fun to take note of the car designs in science fiction; whether the vehicles fly, swim, or drive, the designs almost always reflect a certain condition or environment. The same is true with many concept cars as well, with the inevitable auto show appearance of some concept car that seems better suited to filtering the atmosphere on Venus than, say, hitting a pothole. But despite the outlandish designs that populate the auto show circuits and CGI artists’ screens, the biggest obstacle in the construction of these vehicles is safety regulations. Otherwise, building these peculiar sculptures is completely plausible. Even the really outlandish ones.
One of these seemingly problematic features is the wheels, and that is the subject of this piece. As it turns out, the sidewall-less tires with honeycomb-pattern interiors that you often see in science fiction concept art or as entries in military vehicle contests are not as impossible to create as you might think. Known as airless, or non-pneumatic tires (NPTs), these durable, flexible designs are a surprisingly practical and obtainable devices. Read more about Strange as Fiction: The Non-Pneumatic Wheel
The Saratoga Auto Museum is one of the great wonders of New England. About seven years ago, as a young kid, I visited the museum for their supercars exhibit. It was a perfectly-timed show, bringing the then-new SLR McLaren, Murcielago, Carrera GT, and some others (perhaps the Enzo and Ford GT - my memory is a bit foggy) together in one place. That exhibit went so far as to include a genuine McLaren F1 GTR, which I even sat in.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit their latest exhibit, entitled, "Porsche: 60 Years of Speed and Style in North America." Sadly, I missed the car show and opening event that took place the first weekend of October (and that’s a shame, because the one and only 918 RSR Concept Car was present), but I was able to get some nice pictures of the exhibit for the site. Check them out below:
It was a great day for photography at yesterday's OktoberFAST event, so be sure to check out the gallery at some point. I've already covered the basics in that post - the drive, the cars, the Z1's door trick - but for a more immersive experience, take a look at the video:
The OktoberFAST event, often sponsored primarily by the Green Mountain chapter of the BMW Car Club of America, was an event I missed last year, when it was at the Stratton Ski Resort. This year, however, I heard about it in time and made the trip to Grafton, VT to check out the event (sponsored by the VTBMWCCA, the Automaster store, and the Old Tavern in Grafton). After a fantastic drive (Route 35 from Chester to Grafton is easily one of the best roads in Vermont, even in its current half-washed-out condition), it was great to see several extremely rare cars, and some of my favorite BMWs.
With the advent of stricter safety regulations and a growing focus on bold, thick shapes in car design, the idea of the pillarless coupe has drifted into memories of an era better remembered for its muscle cars. But the design has aged much more gracefully than the simple, immediately-recognizable shapes of 1960s and ‘70s American iron, and even survived by a few obscure luxury cars today.
But what defines these pillarless coupes? The idea at its most basic is simply to delete (or neglect to include) the B-pillar, or at least make it possible to lower that pillar into the body as the windows roll down. The result is a clean look, as if the car has been sculpted from a single sheet of metal.
Last weekend, I returned for the second time to the Vermont Country Store's Cruise in to Mildred's event, which saw the return of many of the vehicles from last time, as well as a few new ones. Among those new arrivals was this Cobra replica, which had recently been completed. If you're a classic car owner in the southern Vermont area, check out the next event, scheduled for October third in Weston, Vermont.