Uwe Ehinger is a German who builds custom motorcycles, often recycling parts he has collected on his pilgrimages around the world to “remote garages, dilapidated scrapyards and dusty backyards for legendary lost two-wheeled relics.”
“Every time I make a find of rare bikes, I wonder how to use every single part — because they deserve to be preserved,” he says on a website that takes its name from Ehinger’s nickname, “The Archeologist.”
But apparently not all of those parts he’s found have been recycled into custom motorcycles, because his Ehinger Kraftad workshop has joined with Serviceplan Group and Studio Oeding to create a line of premium dry gins packaged in handcrafted bottles, each of which contains an original Harley-Davidson engine part.
The first batches were The Flathead, The Knucklehead and The Panhead. And you thought the worm in the tequila bottle was a cool idea?
“The parts of the motorbikes are specially cleansed and sealed with a tin alloy to make it safe for them to be utilized in a drink,” the news release promises.
Not only are the bottles handcrafted, but even the cardboard, ink and colors have vintage roots, harkening to the packaging of motorcycle parts in the 1930s and ’40s, and the printing is done on an original 1931 Heidelberg Tiegel press. Each serial-numbered bottle comes wrapped in waxed paper imprinted with the story of the engine part in the bottle.
The new release notes that the first batch sold out within hours and orders are being accepted for subsequent series. For details, visit the website.
Recycling a not-so-old race track
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, an effort to revive the memory of the famed AVUS racing circuit and to provide a place for American-style oval racing resulted in the construction of the Lausitzring race track in the former East Germany. The track later was renamed EuroSpeedway Lausitz and its 2-mile tri-oval track was used twice for Indycar races (and the place became infamous when Alex Zanardi lost both of his legs in a crash there).
Later, as many as 120,000 people attended rock concerts at the site and now the facility has been purchased by Dekra, the road-safety testing and consulting company, which will use turn it into Europe’s largest independent test center for connected and automated vehicles.
Where will classic cars fit into the automated future?
Last week, I asked that question in this same space. A couple followup items:
At the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed, one of the attractions was Future Lab, a place “to showcase cutting-edge technology from automotive and aviation sectors and beyond.”
One of the featured displays was “Roborace,” billed as the world’s first fully autonomous racing car, a vehicle that promises to drive itself up the Goodwood Hillclimb at the 2018 Festival of Speed.
Since then, the Goodwood Estate Newsletter has included an article titled “Autopia: The future of cars” that includes the following:
“Welcome, in fact, to the new face of the automotive industry. Goodbye industrial manufacturing plants, fossil fuels and traditional marques. The car industry is evolving into a collective of user enterprises, spawned by the giants of our age: Google, Apple, Bosch, Panasonic and Uber. The car is rapidly becoming ‘the third space,’ after the home and the office, in which to work, connect, learn and inform. Driving as a pastime barely makes the list. Silicon Valley has moved on, to a world in which driving as a concept is disenfranchised, substituted by that most millennial of phrases: connectivity…”
“In the race to be the future fuel of choice, electricity has won hands down, with a strong presence in motorsport (Formula E) and the public consciousness.”
Porsche leaving Le Mans to race in Formula E
And now this from Porsche, announcing that after a record 19 victories, including overall victory in the recent round-the-clock race in France, it will leave Le Mans-style racing to turn its factory racing focus to the Formula E Championship – think F1 with electric-powered open-wheel racers.
“This realignment of motorsport activities for Porsche stems from the direction set out for the company in Porsche Strategy 2025, which will see Porsche develop a combination of pure GT vehicles and fully electric sports cars, such as the first fully electric Porsche model,” the company said.
Sotheby’s stock hits record high price
As the collector car community gets ready for its annual visit to the Monterey Peninsula, the artnet website’s daily news reports that shares in RM Sotheby’s significant other, auction house Sotheby’s, are up 45 percent this year and have hit an all-time high since the company went public back in 1988.
“Analysts told Bloomberg that the surge is due in part to increased confidence in the recovery of the high-end art market,” artnet reported, adding that Sotheby’s sales for the first half of 2017 were up 8 percent compared to year-ago figures.
Investors also apparently like the company’s recent acquisitions, which include a private art-investment company, a company that does forensic validation of works of art, and a data-base company that tracks auction sales results.
There was no mention in the report of RM Sotheby’s contributions to the bottom line, but including the single consignor sale late last year in Italy, Rob Myers and company have produced sales of around $250 million in recent months, and still have Monterey, London, Hershey and an auction at the Ferrari factory on the 2017 calendar.
Ferrari offers 15-year warranty, plans to add utility vehicle
Speaking of Ferrari, the Italian sports car manufacturer has announced its New Power15 extended warranty program that covers its cars for a decade and a half from the date of initial registration.
According to the English-language news release from Ferrari North Europe, the new program covers “the vehicle’s main mechanical components, including the engine, gearbox, PTU, suspension and steering.”
The warranty can apply to new or to pre-owned cars and is transferable to future owners.
But there’s even bigger news from the 70-year-old Italian sports car maker: Bloomberg, Automotive News and others are reporting that when chief executive Sergio Marchionne unveil’s the company’s next 5-year plan, in 2018, it will call for doubling profits by adding a “utility” vehicle larger and roomier than the four-seat, all-wheel-driven GTC4Lusso “shooting brake.” Hybrid power is likely to meet fleet fuel economy regulations.