Because no weekend is complete without satanic hoonage.
Mark Webber retired from racing today. His last race, in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1, placing 3rd and getting on the steps.
I love Le Mans Prototypes, I love the circuits, Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, Nürburgring, Fuji, Le Mans, and I love watching Mark race. It’s not going to be the same next year.
There is only one guaranteed fix for weekend blahs: hoonage! Looking through all my hundreds of car photos (excluding gifs here: they’re either drifting, burnouts, rally, or LMP1), I think it’s safe to say Frances likes Subaru WRX, Ford GT40, LMP1, rally, and burnouts. And chicks in or doing any of the above.
When I was in Brussels, I went to Autoworld. They had a white Ford GT40 Mk II from Alan Mann Racing. It’s a beast. I’d seen photos, heard it spoken of in awe, but to see it there all metal and gently stinking of fried brakepads, fuel and oil, I got how intimidating and impressive it is. I love this yellow one, especially how it’s slammed. Surprising for me also, cos mostly I dislike American cars. But this was built to win Le Mans, and owes as much to the Europe of that as to the US of auto design.
Above that is the GT40s descendant, the 2016 GT. I mean, faaark, no? Flying fucking buttresses! Pretty sure I’ve blogged this before; definitely Tweeted. Still don’t really like US cars, but come on, this is magnificent. And to hear it braking hard and downchanging, it’s a glorious, frightening work of art.
I’ll likely never afford either, unless I have a spare mid-6 figure or low-7 figure slab of cash. Could afford a WRX STI though! My favourite hoonable car, preferably in metallic blue with gold rims. Nah, actually that’s the only acceptable colours for a WRX. It’s got one of the dirtiest engine sounds around, thanks to the turbo flat-4 boxer. Fond memories of biking up Chapel St in Melbourne on a Friday night with that as the soundtrack. And it’s a fucking legend of a rally car. No poncy suburban pseudo-hoon here. It goes around corners sideways! For a road car, with those rims, the bonnet scoop, the bonkers massive rear spoiler, and the price, Frances, yes, even for you, hoonage is attainable.
Could also be a Volvo. Their equivalent of the STI is Polestar, which has an insanely gorgeous shade of powder blue. Volvo stationwagons are also hoonable. No? Don’t believe me? Volvo raced them in the Aussie Super Touring Championship in the ’90s. Not winning, but the 850 sedan did (and had one of the best ad campaigns—made me want to buy one, something about “The Car to Free Your Soul.”) The fully murdered black S60 Polestar TC1. Look at those fucking insane wheel arches. I’m always joyously delighted Sweden of all places is a country of petrolheads.
Anyway! Burnouts! Lots of countries do them, only Australia does them right. It’s kinda like swearing, not especially eloquent but they make up for it with prodigious consistency. It’s the only country that has replaced the spaces between words with “fuckin’” (also used for capitalisation at the start of sentences, punctuation, as well as actual swearing), and they do burnouts with the same single-minded dedication. Are the wheels on fire? Probably ’Straya. Helps heaps having Commodores and Falcons. It’s like Ford in the ’60s asked Australia, “What are you looking for in a car for such a Lucky Country as ours?” And collectively Australia responded, “Fuckkin’ hooning an’ fuckkin’ burnouts ya fuckkin’ cunt!”
Back in Germany. I’ve seen fleeting examples of Germanic hoonage, mostly in Wedding or the outer suburbs/nearby small towns (of course, god, what else are you supposed to do?) but nothing as concerted as say, Chapel St on a Friday night, though Ku’damm or Friedrichstr are perfect for blockies. Instead we go off to the Nürburgring. I love LMP1 (and quite a few of its Prototype class ancestors), and when Porsche got back in the game—with Mark Webber! I was all, yup, time to sit up all night for the ’ring 24h. (Yeah, I am certainly giving Porsche the side-eye at the moment, being part of VW and all the bollocks of their emissions cheating.) The 919 looks like an alien spacecraft, and sounds all kinds of mad insane alien spacecraft. (As much as I’m not an Audi fan, I gotta admit their LMP1 downshifting could probably give me orgasms, so yeah, even better than the 919). Also at Nürburgring is the simply beautiful Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG003C, not quite a GTE, not quite an LMP, sublime to watch racing.
Aaaand, from a documentary on women racing in Palestine, Speed Sisters. Mad hard hoons, them.
On a car! I am speechless and in awe at the beauty of this car.
This post is sort of a love letter and a thank you to Jalopnik, Opposite Lock, and especially all the commenters who veer wildly between incredibly knowledgeable and incredibly funny, who for petrolheads are probably the nicest bunch of hoons I could hope to lurk around. And lurk I do. A couple of years ago, I asked Emile, “What is ‘drift’ Emile? What is ‘donk’?” I’m pretty sure he said, “Tokyo Drift. Watch it.” That moment coincided with my slipping sideways from io9 (still pretty much my sci-fi daily) into burnouts.
LMP1, WRC, Subaru WRX STI, Ken Block, Nürburgring (24h or generally losing it on Fuchsröhre), SCG003, Porsche Porsche Porsche, brown cars, station wagons, brown station wagons, Volvo rally station wagons, Le Mans and Spa 24h, turbo diesel, flat fours, manual gated shifters, stance tuned and slammed. I am as serious about hoonage as I am about mediæval art.
This is my first attempt at photographing cars. I approached it like photographing art, sculpture, landscapes, a little of dance and theatre. It became strangely easy, possibly because I was drooling madly and wanted to fondle half the cars. Most of the closeups are straight from my camera, only whatever automatic processing Aperture does in exporting to tiff. A couple of closeups—the ones where I was playing with symmetry— I straightened and cropped, and a couple I also messed with the levels a bit, to compensate for glare or overexposure. Some of the full-shots I cropped slightly, cleaned out junk in the frame (signs, or distracting changes in the background or floor), also did some levels adjusting.
For most though, this is what came out of my camera. Seriously, I’ve seen four museums in two days, with probably another 200 images of art still to process (very labour-intensive to deal with lens distortion), I don’t have so much time and I don’t think I could improve them anyway, especially as I don’t like cropping.
I’d already been to the Jubelparkmuseum / Musée du Cinquantenaire, battery died shortly before I got into the Citroën DS 60 Years special exhibition, missed quite a lot …
The upstairs of Autoworld Brussels in the Sport & Competition Zone had a gentle odour of fuel, grease, hydraulic fluid, the tang of cooked metal, hot engines and brakes. I hadn’t expected that, but then thought, ‘Duh, obvious!’ and found it comforting. It’s where I started, what I was there for. (If I’d been more aware, I’d have been there for the DS exhibition also.)
There’s only around twenty cars in this section, plus probably another forty on the mezzanine. I just started taking photos, no idea what I was looking at until I saw the duck-shell blue Abarth. And behind that was the AMC AMX/3, which is just mental in the way Lamborghini was. The Toyota 2000 GT Coupé is probably my pick from that first group (except for the Abarth, which just looks so pretty and like it would be glorious fun to drive). Then I turned around.
The GT40. I’ve watched videos, read articles, followed comments into the thousands on this car. I’m almost completely uninterested in American cars and Ford, but the GT40 … To see it there mounted on a cambre. Every other car here can go fast, can be driven fast and win and even be capricious to drive. Seeing the GT40 though … it is brutal. It’s the car you drive when every problem is a nail, a metal chisel of a thing that is genuinely terrifying in a way no other car there is. From some angles it’s beautiful, and then it gives away its secret that it doesn’t care; it’s only interested in hammering a path through air as fast as necessary, and it will do that with aerodynamics or force of will. Either, or. Doesn’t matter. It’s single-minded like no other car.
Vaillante Grand Défi with leather buckles; the deep weirdness of the Gillet Vertigo.5 Sprint; the beautiful Vasek Polak Porsche 935/5 driven by Jacky Ickx, all white with red and blue stripes and those massive, massive wheel arch flares and air intakes—and the Team Kremer Porsche 934 RSR Group 4 in peppermint green with purple, red, and orange stripes, the best livery in the entire museum. Right next to that is the red and white of the Lancia Fulvia Rally. I love rally, and this—despite being a giant ad for smoking—is a work of art. The headlights and grille, the overhang of the bonnet, the strange boot, the height and angle of the windshield glass. I would hoon. Probably would die immediately.
Toyota Celica 1600 GT in all white; the hallucinogenic yellow of the Matra 530 LX with the oddest arse on a car, it’s like three cars glued together; Grey Beamer! Yellow Lotus! Porsche 924 Carrera GT, which was really, really attractive. Bugatti Type Brown, very blue, equal oddest arse. Battery was actually flat here, so I missed the baroque hysteria of the rear window; Lamborghini’s “Seats 4!” Espada Series II.
Downstairs into Citroën DS land. The car from Back to the Future II, but who cares? DS 21 Rallye! Imagine rallying a DS, it’d be all, “LOL, bumps?” and it really was. I love the DS and the ID, hydraulic everything, steerable headlights, “Speedbumps? What speedbumps?” aluminium floating panels, wide at the front, narrow at the back, the glass and curves. If I wasn’t coveting a WRX in blue and gold for all I’m worth, I’d probably be stealing a DS.
There was a presidential DS also, extra-high, extra-long, probably mine-resistant. In the back was a Porsche police car. Too late. Camera battery was dead.
Probably should get my car licence.
What a treat to look out the window as I was running south for Neukölln. I seldom see such old cars on the streets, and in Berlin if ever, it’s a Trabant. This though … I thought it was a rare Anglia, but it looked not quite utilitarian enough, and a little too unnecessarily stylish. And anyway, what would an Anglia be doing in Germany?
So I departed and wandered through the film crew onto the street, and saw beneath its delightful raked rear window my beloved double chevron of Citroën in sharp black and white on the mud flaps. I had no idea the maker of the car Roland Barthes celebrated in Mythologies, and which I even learnt the mechanics of, the most beautiful DS, also made something that looked like an Anglia.
There’s more than a hint of the DS here, from the dashboard and steering column, to the covered read wheels … and I’d even seen Ami 6‘s before, as station wagons. Yes, Frances has a bit of a thing for the Citroën. I would love to drive through Europe in such a car.
From one of my daily reads, we-make-money-not-art, comes my favourite combination of culture, fast cars and hot bikini chicks. Tell me you don’t love super-nitro funny cars.
In this case, the hot chick is Liz Cohen, and the fast car is he current performance art piece in Stockholm, Bodywork, part of The Gender Turntable. Not only do I wish I’d thought of it first, I wanna do it too.
In her BODYWORK project, Liz Cohen is converting Färgfabriken’s main hall into a car body shop and a gym. Every day, she will be working to transform an old East German Trabant into an American Chevrolet El Camino. East German functionalism goes American low-rider. In addition, the artist will be training her body so that she will also be able to present the finished car as a showroom bikini model.
BODYWORK is the main installation in The Gender Turntable, that will be Sweden’s first equal opportunities lab. During it, one of today’s most fundamental social issues will be explored and analysed to generate discussion and debate, and ensure relevance.