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Friday, June 29, 2012

Concorsa d"Eleganza 2012: Aston Martin DBR1 1959

The Aston Martin DBR1 is one just five cars that the factory built for the Sports Car World Championship in 1956. A change due to the rules allowed cars which were not part of a series production to be entered. This particular example, built in 1959 was entered as Car 96 in the recent 2012 Concorso d'Eleganza della Villa D'Este.

Designed by Chief Designer Ted Cutting, the racing car was built on a tubular spaceframe and an aluminium body.

The original specifications had an engine displacement of 2.5 l, but was subsequently enlarged to 3 l. Developing a power of 250 bhp on a racing car weighing only 800kg makes this a fast vehicle indeed! And this was proven with wins by this sparticular magnificent speciment, the fourth to be built, and took 2nd place in the 1959 Le Mans driven by Maurice Trintignant and Paul Frere. This is of note as podium position was driven by Caroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori, also in an Aston Martin DBR1.

The car was restored and was entered by current owner Adrian Beecroft of the UK.

Horrors! In an earlier version of this post, I somehow miscoded the html tags and mixed up Aston Martin pictures with text for Jaguar D Type. Thanks to my friends Oliver Meindl and Stephan Ciejka for pointing that out. I am so embarrassed, but have rewritten the text to reflect the Aston Martin.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Breguet Double Tourbillon

When Breguet announced the Double Tourbillon in , I was skeptical. Skeptical because it sounded more like a showoff watch than one which has true horological significance and beauty. But recently, I was reacquainted with the 5347, and came away quite impressed.

The watch features a double tourbillon, each with an independent balance and connected by a series of differential gears. The differential averages the timings of both tourbillons, and presents a more accurate, corrected timing from both tourbillons. Visually, the double tourbillons are mounted on a plate, which doubles as the dial. The plate (and dial) makes one revolution every 12 hours, in accordance to the unwinding of the mainspring. A long hour hand is used as a bridge to connect the two tourbillons, and is mounted on the plate, so that it too turns at the rate of one revolution per 12 hours...Leaving only the edge of the dial, which is marked the hours remainding fixed with respect to the case.

The dial is amazing! Click on the picture above to see it widescreen, wallpaper size to appreciate the fine details of the guilloche dial. Magnificent. Breguet dials have always been beautiful, but this watch takes the cake. A true masterpiece.

The movement is no slouch either, other than the super complicated feat of building a differential and two tourbillons. The differential methodology was earlier exploited by none other than the Grandmaster of Watchmaking Philippe Dufour in his Duality, but Breguet ups the complexity by using two tourbillons.

The movement is decorated with the characteristic hand engraving typical of high end Breguets.

Interestingly, the minute hand takes its timing from the hour hand...typically in a watch, it is the reverse. The timings of the hour hand are taken from the minute hand. The method used by Breguet is necessary because the averaged results of both tourbillons are on the hour hand, and presents additional complications in subdividing the timing to show the minutes.

Beautiful timepiece. Very well executed. Bravo for Breguet.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Concorso D'Eleganza 2012: BMW

BMW: Bayerische Motoren Werke, or Bavarian Motor a venerable name in the automobile industry. But we have some fun with a special BMW today.

Looks like a nice vintage BMW...and as this was photographed on the grounds of Villa D'Erba on the public day of the Concorsa D'Eleganza 2012, not really unusual. Until....

What's that? A beer bar in the boot? Yea! Nice for some cold beer on a nice sunny day.

A look at the rear seat compartment reveals the beer containers...properly fitted with nice leather, of course! Afterall this is THE Concorso!

Pull me a cold one,,

So what does BMW stand for again? Beer Motor Works, of course!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Concorsa D'Eleganza 2012: Mercedes Benz 540k 1939

I have a soft spot for Mercedes Benz. And the 540k is the one which always give me goosebumps when I think of vintage. Marvellous motor car.

This 1939 example, entered as car no 12 in the Concorso d'Eleganza della Villa D'Este 2012 is a magnificent specimen. Looking almost brand new, with glistening paintwork, superb interior and a beautifully sounding engine.

The motor car is powered by an 8 cylinder, 5401cc, Roots supercharged engine develops 180hp, allowing the car can accelerate to 180 kph. This Spezial Roadster was created in the MB workshop in Sindelfingeen on a short wheelbase with a 5 speed gearbox is a unique piece, custom built for Alfried Krupp von Bophlen und Halbach.

The car went to the USA after the war, and changed owners several times, till it was professionally restored at the end of the 1980s by the current owner Berthold Albrecht of Germany.

Still immaculately roadworthy, and featuring a beautiful interior, the car is quite, quite magnificent.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Omega Post Basel 2012 Press Lunch

Omega Press Lunch at Forlino to show the BaselWorld 2012 novelties.

Omega organized an event to showcase the new products announced in this year's BaselWorld. As I did not go to Basel this year, I attended the Press Lunch with my friends from Watchonista who were visiting from Lausanne then- Alex and Marco.

Thanks to David Ponzo of Swatch Group for being so kind to extend the lunch to them at short notice.

My general impression is that this year, Omega has done a nice crop of products. Amongst those which caught my eye that afternoon...

But first the vintage Omegas spotted...a beautiful Speedmaster in a tonneau case

Not really vintage, but an older one...a Proplof and a Seamaster

And the novelties...the Moonwatch Apollo XVII 40th Anniversary Limited Edition model. 1972 pieces with 925 silver dial embosssed with the Apollo XVII patch.

And the watch which caught my eye...a quartz timepiece, no less.

Space,aster Z-33 in a titanium case, with transreflective LCD on black ground with red segments. The LED backlight lumonisity adapts automatically to ambient lighting.

Very cool, with the retro 1970s style bezel.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Concorso D'Eleganza 2012: MB 300SL

Mercedes Benz 300SL 1956...magnificent, gull wing automobile...a legend in its own time.

Powered by a 156kW, 6 cylinders, 2995cc with injection and a top speed of 260 kph. The coachwork is by Coupe Gullwing, Mercedes Benz. Entered into the Concorso D'Eleganza della Villa D'Este 2012 by a collector from France.

Based on a sports car, this automobile was based on the Type 300 saloon that Mercedes used in 1952 for racing. Mercedes achieved numerous success with this coupe, including the Mille Miglia, Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico.

The owner decked out in period dress and matching leather covered helmet and gloves.

The car was popular, particularly in the US market.The boot lid, engine bonnet, sill and door panel were made out of aluminium as standard.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Concorso d"Eleganza 2012: Coppa Doro Winner - Alfa Romeo 6c

Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS 6th Series (1933) was the winner of the Jury Prize and the Public Best of Show Prize in this year's Concorso D'Eleganza 2012.

Note interesting annotation - Alfa Romeo Paris on badge

This magnificently restored car features a standard six cylinder inline engine with a displacement of 1752cc. This type was originally developed by Vittorio Jano and was presented in Rome in 1929. And presented to the 2012 Concorso by its current owner David Cohen from Canada.

This car is a particularly rare Alfa Romeo 1750 with a unique coupe body by Italian coachbuilder Figoni.

This car is fone from the sixth and last series of the Type 1750 and was presented at the Paris Motor Show in 1933. Later the car won several beauty contests and winning in its class at the 24 hour Le Mans in 1935.

The beautiful sweeping lines of the car is amazing. And the immaculate paintwork!

As is the wonderfully immaculate interior....note the interesting dashboard.

As winner of the Coppa Doro, the car also won a special prize from this Concorso's new partner - the fine watchmaking firm of A. Lange & Sohne, who presented the winner with a special edition of the Lange 1 Timezone. This watch has a special city indication on the timezone dial which indicates Como instead of the customary Berlin. And features a semi- hunter caseback with the coat of arms of the Concorso D'Eleganza engraved by hand at the engraving workshops in Glashutte.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Magnificent cars at the Concorso D'Eleganza della Villa D'Este 2012

A survey of the cars which caught my attention during the recent showing at Concorso D'Eleganza Villa D'Este in Cernobbio, Italy.

This is a premier event for vintage cars...showing the most elegant, the most beautiful examples on the planet. Held annually since 1929, and only the Olympic Games during the war years in Europe, this Concorso is where the creme de la creme...the best of the best vintage cars are shown. I attended as a guest of A. Lange & Sohne, one of the new sponsors of the Concorso.

Here is a selection of my favourites. More on each car to follow...

The lead Rolls Royce...not entered in competition, but by special request from the Peterson Museum in Los Angeles. Magnificent car...comments ranging from Batmobile to Darth Vader's car abount...but this is a masterpiece. Magnificent, massive, imposing.

The rest of the the order they were presented to the judges and jury.

Rolls Royce Phantom 1 (1925)

Packard Twelve 15th Series (1937)

Delahaye 145 (1937)

Mercedes Benz 540k (1939)

Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS 6th Series (1933). This car won the Jury Prize, the Public Prize of Best of Show Prize...the prestigious Coppa d'Oro Villa d'Este. And special for this year, the additional prize from the newest sponsor to this event: the fine watchmaking house of A. Lange & Sohne who presented a special edition of the Lange 1 Timezone to the winner. This piece unique has the city of Como engraved on the timezone disk instead of the customary Berlin. And features a hunter caseback, with a hand engraved motif of the coat of arms of the Concorso.

Porsche 550/1500 RS (1954)

Mercedes Benz 300SL (1956)

Maserati A6G 2000 (1956)

Ferrari 250GT Europa (1955)

Lamborghini Miura SV/J (1972)

Jaguar D Type (1956)

Ford GT40 Mk3 (1968) and Porsche 914/K (1969)