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Friday
Apr072017

Pirelli's Downhill Racers

Pirelli has teamed with Blossom, a maker of handmade high performance skis, to produce a set of limited edition skis for enthusiast skiers. Blossom worked with Pirelli engineers to insert a layer of vibration-dampening rubber in the ski’s construction. They are built in Blossom’s workshops in Val Chiavenna, and feature deep sidecuts that allow them to adapt to varying snow conditions.

The Pirelli-Blossom skis have a wooden core and graphite sole at their base. To this is added a double layer of Titanal for stability, and triaxial fiberglass to increase the ski’s torsional response. To this is added a special rubber compound developed by Pirelli engineers that is vulcanized at high temperatures to obtain a thin sheet that is inserted in the mix, as well as applied to the top of the skis. The rubber, says Blossom, dampens up to 60% of the vibrations transferred to the ski during a descent.
 
Pirelli skis are available in various sizes: 151/ 158 / 164/ 170/ 176/ 181. Each corresponds to a different carving ratio: 10 / 11 / 13 / 14 / 16 / 17. The sidecut is: 121 - 71 - 106. They are available in seven colors inspired by the color coding system used by Pirelli to identify its race tire compounds. Production will be limited to 110 pair of each color to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Pirelli Motorsport.

The limited edition Pirelli skis are available for pre-order at: http://www.pirellidesign.com/pirelli-blossom-skis.php.

Friday
Mar242017

Smell Like Ducati

According to Alessandro Cicognani, Ducati Licensing Director, “The new ‘1926’ male fragrance embodies the passionate Ducati world. The ingredients of personality, design and style are just what we want from this exciting new product line, the result of a prestige partnership with Diamond International.”

This “exciting new product line” encompasses Eau de Toilet in 50 ml or 100 ml bottles, a shower gel, and a spray deodorant produced by Diamond International under license from Ducati, Diamond International is part of the So.Di.Co Group, and a leader in multiple segments of the toiletries and fragrance markets. The line is called ‘1926’ because that was the year in which Ducati was founded.

What does it smell like? Let’s leave that to the purple prose of the press release: “The top notes offer a decisively aromatic accent, juxtaposed against the bracing freshness of tangerine and a bitter hint of bergamot. Middle notes offer renewed balance, with delicious inklings of cocoa enveloping the timeless elegance of lavender, accompanied by the firmness of geranium. The base notes merge practicality and aesthetics with a powerful hint of cedar and intense notions of amber, all softened by a vanilla and Tonka bean wrapping.” Got that? And here you were probably expecting a hint of olive oil, oregano, burnt motor oil and riding leathers. — CAS

Friday
Mar242017

Road Read: Ford GT

By Christopher A. Sawyer

As someone who grew up in Dearborn, MI during the “Total Performance” era at Ford, I remember watching snippets of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on ABC’s Wide World of Sports as Ford attempted to topple Ferrari in the mid 1960s. This was an amazing time for the United States. Though the Vietnam war was broadcast to living rooms each night, and racial strife gripped a number of cities, including Detroit, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. The first tentative steps were being made in personal computing and the electronics that supported it, and the space program — despite the tragedy of Apollo 1 — was moving inexorably toward landing own the moon.

Ford’s attempt to defeat Ferrari fit into this narrative, though it was no easy task to complete. Though we speak of the GT40 in reverential tones today, the car was not on the cutting edge of race car design, and it would take four years before the car that started Ford’s win streak at Le Mans would notch a pair of wins of its own against newer machinery. The GT 40 had a steel monocoque when aluminum was already the norm. It was powered by a large, heavy  production-based V8 mated to troublesome Colotti gearbox, and weighed more than the competition’s racers. Its greenhouse was massively wide, and its aerodynamics were a shambles. But, boy, was it fast.

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Friday
Mar102017

Rain, Rain Go Away

By Christopher A. Sawyer

Just after the first of the year, the folks at Stoner Car Care asked if I’d like to test their Invisible Glass Clean & Repel together with the company’s Invisible Glass Washer Fluid Additive. This combination, it’s claimed, is simple to use, minimizes the time spent treating the windows (a good thing in cold temps), improves visibility in inclement weather, and lasts for weeks. With February, usually a dull gray month filled with snow and slush, right around the corner, I agreed to the test.

For ages I have used Rain-X on my windows, enjoying its ability to make water bead up and roll off the windows. What I didn’t like about that product, however, was the need to scrupulously clean the windows before applying the liquid. (I often found it necessary to scrub the windshield with Bon Ami cleanser and thoroughly rinse the surface with water in order to remove the thin film of rubber and grit left behind by the wiper blades to get the best result.) And application is neither easy nor simple. Rain-X has to be applied in overlapping circles, allowed to haze over, and then buffed off. Even then you’ll often end up with a haze that requires wiping a slightly damp cloth lightly across the surface, and drying the window with another clean cloth. But the result was spectacular, with rain zipping across the windshield for a few days or so before the effect began to diminish.

Unfortunately for my test regimen, February turned out to be warmer and dryer than normal, with very little snow. So much for testing the Stoner products in slush and snow. Rain would have to suffice. However, I decided to forge ahead, cleaning the windows one side of my car with the Invisible Glass Clean & Repel, and the other with normal Invisible Glass. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds since overspray from the Clean & Repel side contaminated the other side of the windshield, necessitating a second cleaning with Invisible Glass. Also, using a cloth from the Clean & Repel side to absentmindedly wipe a spot off a non-treated window was enough to leave a thin film of repellant on that window that required removal for this test.

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Friday
Mar102017

New Mk 1 Mini Body Shells

With the prices of Mk 1 Minis continuing to rise, the number of parts re-entering production increases. The latest is a full shell from British Motor Heritage, which — to this point — has provided complete body shells for 1976 and newer models, in addition to numerous individual panels for all series of the classic Mini.

The first production run of 15 body shells is set to atart in April, with deliveries taking place in May and June. The price, which includes VAT, is £9,950 (approximately $12,174 at current exchange rates), and orders must be accompanied by a 25% deposit.

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