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Entries Tagged as 'Under the Hood'

Under The Hood: James Crowe

April 7th, 2011 by Emir

Pictured: Metal artisan, craftsman and purist James Crowe, doing what he loves…building motorcycles.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Crowe Custom Metal Co., in Portland, OR. The real deal bike shop shares space in a small ground level building that is also home to Hufnagel Cycles, a tattoo machine factory, a pottery studio, and Lemolo Bag manufacturing. The creative energy is buzzing to say the least. These shared artisan spaces are becoming more and more popular across categories. Whether building bikes or developing ad campaigns, open dialogue and collaboration among professionals will always trump going at it alone.

Before entering Crowe Customs, you’re greeted with music, which is always on and always loud; this time it was Bob Dylan that was muffled by the sound of machines. Then comes the aromatic experience of burnt metal, industrial grease and dust…i.e., a factory. Motorcycle wheels, fairings, frames and random parts are scattered all over. The machines are all surrounded by metal debris and design notes. What may appear to be a mess is simply work in progress. James is extremely focused, and his top quality manufacturing speaks for itself.

Click through for some real talk with James Crowe after the jump.

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Under the Hood: Mark Oldman

January 26th, 2011 by Ian

Pictured: Anti-snob wine expert and acclaimed writer Mark Oldman, standing proudly with his ’07 Parnelli Jones Mustang.

It was one of those random NYC moments.  I happen to be crossing the street when I heard the roar of something otherworldly.  I turned my head and caught the glimpse of what seemed to be a NYC taxi on steroids.  As this bright orange blur inched closer I decided to raise my arm up and try to hail it down. To my surprise the man behind the wheel pulled over to me and rolled down his window.  “Hey what’s up?,” he said. My response, “what the hell is this thing, I heard you from 2 blocks away?”  Then the light turned green, and it was time to move. ”my name is Mark Oldman,” he screamed over first gear and then chirped through the light. Shit, I missed the I went home and googled Mark Oldman.

It turns out that Mark Oldman is one of the country’s leading wine personalities. Seriously, the guy is way into grapes…lead judge on the PBS series “The Winemakers,” a regular on Martha Stewart Radio’s “Living Today, and the wine guru for “Everyday with Rachel Ray.”  He also leads wine lectures and courses all over the country, including the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, and the South Beach Food Network Wine and Food Festival.  Oh, I forgot to mention the 5 incredibly successful wine books he’s written..including his most recent release “Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine.”

Putting aside all these accolades and accomplishments, Oldman happens to be one of the nicest, most down to earth guys around.  I exchanged a few emails with him, and the next day I was sitting shotgun in his bad ass 400 HP Parnelli Jones Edition-Mustang. Oldman lovingly refers to it as “El Tigre.” The “Grabber Orange” paint and matte black details stick out like a sore thumb amongst all the yuppified Range Rovers and BMW’s stacked 5-deep in the garage. Yet, this is the kind of sore thumb you want, the kind that grins at you and says “saddle up partner, we got some fast driving to do.”

This model was named after the legendary racer Parnelli Jones, and his autograph is on the dash to prove it.  The power, color, and form of this beast pay homage to Jones’ 1970 Boss 302 Mustang, which ruled the SCCA Trans AM Series in the early seventies.  “El Tigre” is #480 of only 500 produced, with #001 belonging to Parnelli Jones himself.  This car has all the retro-muscle details you want and expect.  The matte black shaker protrudes from the hood to swallow some high pressure air, while the hood pins make sure that hood stays put; side note: they look tough as hell. The jet black louvers that cover the rear window ensure poor visibility for the driver, but also scare the shit out of any would–be tailgaters.

After our ride, Oldman was kind enough to invite me into his new apartment to check out some of his wine, and art collection.  And this is only the wine that he keeps at home, there’s a storage facility down the block for the real collection.  I also got to see the office where these books are crafted.  He only moved in four months ago, and he’s been on a book give the guy a break about the mess and lack of furniture.  Most importantly his car is in the garage below, there’s plenty of wine in the fridge, and there’s art on the walls.  We don’t feel so bad..

Check out the real talk with Mark Oldman, after the speed bump.

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Under the hood: Kevin Mackay

November 30th, 2010 by Stu

Pictured: Corvette maniac, historian, restoration expert, and master judge Kevin Mackay and his most prized possession, a ’66 Corvette 427/430 that was one of Roger Penske’s very first race cars.

Some guys long for the gentlemanly British charm behind an old Jaguar or Aston Martin. Others may prefer the pureness of an early Porsche or rarity behind associated with vintage V-12 Ferraris. Kevin Mackay likes old Corvettes. So much so that the Long Island, NY native has centered his life around them personally and professionally, spending years and years becoming one of the leading experts on the topic of vintage Corvette repair, restoration, racing history and vehicle authenticity. What does that mean to you? Kevin is the guy that schools you on whether or not that $100k Corvette you are considering investing in is actually worth $100k. The guy can spot a fake faster than a currency inspector at the Treasury Department.

Pop into Kevin’s Valley Stream, Long Island repair shop, appropriately called “Corvette Repair“, and you will likely find three or four dudes standing around an old Vette talking shop on any number of topics ranging from 50-year old race results to the latest big-block selling trends at auction. When I got there last Saturday, Kevin and a fellow Bloomington Gold judge were studying a rust-corroded frame that had recently come out of a customer’s C2, Corvette speak for second generation. Kevin voiced over the weak areas, pointing at bad welds and rust-corroded frame sections that had compromised the car’s structural integrity. No matter the year, model or state of repair, Kevin know it inside and out.

Long story short, Kevin is one of those guys who keeps the collector Corvette hobby alive, literally. Remember that priceless #3 Briggs Cunningham car we snapped for you a couple of months back at the Corvettes at Carlisle show? Guess who restored it? Check out what Kevin has to say on life, love and Corvettes after the jump.

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Under the hood: Don Klein

September 30th, 2010 by Stu

Pictured: Automotive journalist, author, historian, consummate marketer and enthusiast Don Klein and his ’73 Dino 246

I stepped off the train, threw on my shades and took a big gulp of clean, country air. The temperature felt more like July than late September, but the multi-colored leaves lining the trees were clearly a sign Autumn was taking hold. I focused my attention on the parking lot and immediately spotted my pal Don Klein, waiting patiently for me in his yellow ’73 Dino 246. It’s not like I could have missed him…the car stood out like a speed addict at a Grateful Dead concert in the small, working class town of Dover. After exchanging pleasantries and sliding into the rich leather buckets, Don immediately launched into the plan for the day. First we were going to stop by the mechanic’s shop in order to pick up one of his other vintage Ferraris, a 1967 330 GTC that had just been reupholstered. I’m no math whiz or anything but unless we’re dealing with autonomous vehicles, there must be at least 2 drivers in order to drive 2 vintage sports cars at the same time. Uhm, this could get interesting.

More pics, video and getting to know Don after the jump

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Under the Hood: Peter Makar

June 25th, 2010 by Ian

Pictured: Detroit native, former skate rat and pro fabricator Peter Makar, making moves on his home grown cafe racer.

We stumbled into Auto Design NYC on a late Thursday evening a few weeks back. All the usual suspects typically line the street outside of this hi end auto shop in Chelsea; 911’s, DB9’s SL’s etc. Yet on this particular evening, something a little different caught our eyes. It wasn’t a shiny new supercar or even a perfectly restored classic. It was more like a a dirtbike that spoke to us in Italian. And the man behind this beautiful work in progress was happy to greet us at the door. Peter Makar is the passionate owner and talented artisan doing what he does best…fabricating cool shit from scratch during the wee hours of the night. Pete was good enough to invite us in to talk some shop and put away a few bottles of Hoegaarden. Sounds like a good time huh?

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Under the Hood: Bertrand Delacroix

May 5th, 2010 by Austin

Pictured: Art dealer, silk screen artisan and lover of fine Porsches Bertrand Delacroix inside his print shop in the Boerum Hill area of Brooklyn

We peeked into Bertrand’s massive Brooklyn loft with big, stupid grins plastered onto our faces. Why? Because the 16,000 square foot, mixed use building was filled with enough cool toys and hip furnishings to make any grown man blush. There is a hang glider suspended from the ceiling, vintage French mopeds displayed in the foyer, a beautiful wood-carved pool table and humidor and a bunch of over sized modern paintings hanging from the wall. Perhaps coolest of all, there is a 1:1 Porsche to Pug ratio – seriously, there are 3 of each strewn about this amazing bachelor pad. For the record, Bertrand does have a girlfriend and we’re guessing this glorious man palace didn’t hurt in cementing the relationship.

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Under the hood: David Lyon

April 16th, 2010 by Austin

Pictured: GM Executive Director of Interior Design David Lyon inside the 2011 Buick Regal

GM gave us an advance preview of their new Buick Regal before it hits dealerships this May. We weren’t able to drive this particular pre-production unit for fear of the wheels rolling off into Park Avenue traffic, but the sporty-looking sedan definitely has some curb appeal – taught surfaces, an athletic stance, upscale styling cues and a level of interior refinement that goes beyond hard plastic and faux chrome accents. Overall, the aura (no pun intended to Saturn may they R.I.P) is decidedly European, which makes sense considering the Regal started life in Germany as an Opel Insignia [GM’s German subsidiary]. The Insignia has been on sale in Europe for about a year, where it sold more than 140,000 units and nabbed European Car of the Year honors. GM tells us it is often cross-shopped with the Audi A4…not too shabby for a brand that was selling rolling barcaloungers not too long ago. The Regal is also sold in China where Buick has achieved unprecedented sales success and possesses an almost Rolls Royce-like status in terms of prestige.

GM is down to its core brands after laying Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Oldsmobile to rest and selling off Saab to the Dutch. So it seems Buick is more important than ever for the GM brand portfolio. But as any auto marketer will tell you, there is no greater challenge than bringing a once great brand like Buick back to life. If Cadillac stands for luxury and Chevy for mass market quality and affordability, that leaves Buick square in the near-luxury segment currently occupied by the likes of Acura, Lexus and Infiniti. Fresh product and contemporary design seen in Buick Lacrosse and Enclave certainly aren’t hurting their chances based on the younger wave of buyers flocking to Buick dealerships. We caught up with 20-year GM vet David Lyon to get his take on things. Dave currently oversees interior design across all of GM’s brands and was formerly Executive Director of GM Asia Pacific Design where, among other projects, he oversaw the design of the utterly gorgeous Buick Riviera concept. More pictures and a Q&A after the jump.

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Under the hood: Fred Kanter

April 7th, 2010 by Austin

Pictured: Vintage auto parts giant, eccentric car collector and Packard maniac Fred Kanter with his current daily driver, a two-tone 1979 Buick Electra Limited

We arrived at Fred Kanter’s massive Boonton, NJ warehouse early on a Sunday morning. I had seen the old building a million times before while speeding past on nearby I-287 and was always intrigued. You can’t really miss the place – it has a massive Packard sign affixed to the side as if the iconic, and now defunct, automobiles were being manufactured inside. But Fred, an engineer by trade, is in the business of preserving old cars not building them new. Along with his brother Dan, the Kanter bros started their first automotive business, Kanter Auto Parts, in 1960 when they were teenagers. That company is now the world’s largest supplier of new, used, and reproduction parts for vintage American cars.

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Under the hood: Jim Bauer

March 2nd, 2010 by Mike

Pictured: BMX rider/artist Jim Bauer and his 1981 Porsche 911 SC

Jim Bauer is no stranger to Q&A, but his interviews are usually about a crazy BMX gap, or maybe his custom designed T shirts, or even his artistic approach to wedding planning . When it comes to cars, I like Jim’s perspective because he’s not a typical “car guy”. He’s the guy with a million other talents who also happens to have great taste in cars. Like the rest of Jim’s endeavors, his 1981 Porsche 911 SC has achieved what many of us might call perfection.

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Under the hood: Michael Paul Smith

February 1st, 2010 by Stu

Pictured: Professional model maker and classic American car buff Michael Paul Smith posed in front of his miniaturized winter wonderland.

No easy feat, Michael Paul Smith is in the business of recreating the past. But what makes his utterly nostalgic artwork so unique is the fact that it is fashioned in 1/24th scale. Take a look at the photos he has taken of these hand crafted, custom-designed scenes from yesteryear and you will likely have trouble telling them apart from the real thing.  Don’t worry, we did too. He is that good.

Source: Michael Paul Smith Flikr page (photos used with permission)

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