Our hobby gains a lot of exposure as “Ralph’s Garage” provides the backdrop for an evening of enduring style. This and more in Larry's weekly comments
Fashion designer and car collector Ralph Lauren not only drew inspiration for his latest clothing lines from his vehicles, but he used his garage as the location for a runway presentation that drew a long list of celebrities, exposing the car collecting hobby not only to those in attendance but to fashionistas following via various media.
“My cars have always been an inspiration to me,” Lauren said in a statement. “I see them as moving art. My women’s collection for Fall 2017 connects the elements of the speed, style and beauty of these handcrafted vehicles with the very modern, yet timeless spirit of the clothes.
“To heighten the experience,” he added, the show included men wearing clothing from his Purple Label Collection to “create the ultimate expression of style and luxury for the man and woman of today.”
this was Lauren’s third runway-to-retail collection showing, and the clothing debuting in the garage was immediately available for purchase, including in his main New York City store, where yet another of his cars — his Ferrari 250GT Spyder California — is parked.
Remember when cars were called ‘living rooms on wheels’?
Back in the day, a lot of automakers said their vehicle interiors were designed as living rooms on wheels. Well, Renault unveiled not only a real living room on wheels, but built a house designed as its stand at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show to display its Symbioz concept and its potential for integration into a home.
“The car becomes a new mobile, multi-purpose living space for the whole family and can be used — (roof) open or closed — more fully, even when parked,” Renault design director Stephanie Janin told dezeen.com.
Featuring such materials as wood, marble and porcelain, the roomy interior has four swiveling seats. The electrically powered car can be autonomous on the road or can be operated by a fold-away steering wheel. Renault expects to take the car from concept to production vehicle by 2023.
Auto shows are great, but if you want to really look into the future…
You should take the controls of your children’s PlayStation 4 Grand Turismo Sport video game, where more and more automakers are test-marketing their future designs with an audience which might actually want to buy such cars in the future.
The latest such offering, available starting October 17, is by McLaren Automotive, which created its Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo virtual car in partnership with Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of the popular video game and president of Polyphony Digital.
The virtual concept “demonstrates McLaren design thinking, focus on technological excellence and continued commitment to putting the driver first through to 2030 and beyond,” McLaren said in its news release.
In a world with self-driven vehicles, the ultimate McLaren GT puts the driver in the center, and in a head-forward (actually, over the front axle) position, much like a motorcycle rider.
Three versions of the virtual McLaren GT are available in three versions — Performance, Ulterior and Noir.
Virtual racing is great, but RPM Act would keep motorsport a reality
The RPM Act (H.R. 350), designed to clarify Environmental Protection Agency policy that could outlaw any aftermarket modifications to vehicles, finally is getting a hearing in Congress. Recently, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment heard comments from interested parties, including Steve Page, president and general manager of Sonoma Raceway in northern California.
“The EPA now defines a majority of our customers as law-breakers,” Page said in testimony shared by SEMA. “Given the agency’s policy, a clarification to the law is absolutely needed. The RPM Act simply makes clear that converting a motor vehicle into a dedicated race vehicle does not violate the law. Further, it restores the original intent of the Clean Air Act that the law applies to motor vehicles used on our roads and highways and not to race vehicles.”
Page also noted that the cars that race at his and other tracks “have given up their license plates and arrive and depart our facility on trailers.”
Brits exempt 40-year-old cars from MoT certification
Speaking of regulation, various sources are reporting that Britain’s Ministry of Transportation will exempt cars from verification of roadworthiness when they reach their 40th birthday.
Under the revised regulations that go into effect in May 2018, owners of vehicles produced before 1977 no longer will have to have undergo annual validation testing. Previously, only cars produced before 1960 were exempt from annual MoT testing, which costs around $80.
Transportation officials noted that owners of classic cars tend to keep them in good running condition, and drive them only on a limited basis.
Mercedes attempts around-the-world autonomously
A Mercedes-Benz S-Class featuring “automated driving functions” left the Frankfurt Motor Show to start a five-continent around-the-world test “drive,” finishing its trip in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
“Recording, processing and interpreting highly complex traffic situations is the key to safe automated and autonomous driving,” Ola Kallenius of the Daimler AG board said in a news release. “This is particularly demanding in dense urban traffic. This is why we are deliberately testing our automated driving functions in everyday driving situations in large cities. In this way not only do our vehicles become more intelligent, they also become safer.”
Mercedes-Benz also noted that it is an advocate of “an internationally harmonized legal framework for automated and autonomous driving.”
“There is a need for action especially in relation to international agreements on road traffic law, which set the binding framework for national legislation and which currently still compulsorily require a driver,” the company said. “Further changes are also important with regard to vehicle certification as well as data storage.
“Progress must not stop at national borders. Legislation must keep pace with technological development.”
Who will be the first to drive a Bluetiful classic?
The story goes that in 2009, a chemist doing electronics research at Oregon State University named Mas Subramanian superheated a mixture of three elements — yttrium, indium and manganese — and accidentally discovered a new blue hue, a pigment the OSU team named YInMn Blue.
That blue hue inspired the a new color for a Crayola crayon, with Bluetiful selected as its name in a contest in which outpolled the other finalists — Dreams Come Blue, Blue Moon Bliss, Reach for the Stars, and Star Spangled Blue.
According to news.artnet.com, what makes this color so special are its vibrant shade and its resistance to fading, a traditional problem with previous shades of blue.
So, we have to wonder, how soon will someone repaint their collector car in this new Bluetiful shade?
A Land Rover for very young ‘drivers’
Your child doesn’t have to wait until he or she is old enough to drive to enjoy the newest Land Rover. The British maker of off-road vehicles has worked with 84-year-old family-owned iCandy to create the ICandy Peach All-Terrain Special Edition pushchair (stroller) featuring styling and functionality appropriated from Land Rover’s 4×4 off-roaders.
The off-roader for infants and toddlers was unveiled at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany and will be available in retail stores in the spring of 2018, its makers said in their news release. The anticipated price will be “around” £1500 ($2,050).