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One Lap of the Web: Let's visit Amelia Island in a short bus camper

Tue, 04 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0800

-- Ken Kesey and friends spent most of the countercultural 1960s driving across the country in a 1939 International Harvester school bus painted in psychedelic colors. Portland, Maine architect Will Winkelman might do less drugs (we don't know), but the 1959 Chevrolet Viking short bus he designed might fit Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, especially if you stacked them head-to-toe. For his client, Winkelman designed a Moroccan theme of colorful patterns and textures across the curtains and twin beds, beaded light fixtures and wood paneling everywhere, approaching the project as one might approach boat-building or a particularly run-down Detroit "fixer-upper." The result has plumbing, power, an olive-drab paint scheme that blends into the New England woods, and the overall sense of a guest bedroom that you can escape in whenever you tire of your host's company. Being a dirty hippie has never looked so good.

-- If you ever get close to a Pagani Huayra, turn your head around and gawk at the riff-raff behind you. Then, look down and check out the speakers: this is what the Sonus faber 1,200 watt carbon fiber speaker system looks like, as extravagantly designed as the car itself. (Note the bespoke luggage, perfectly sized to fit Escobar's millions.) As you know, an exclusive, handcrafted sound system -- Sonus faber's speakers "cost $120,000 and are better than sex," according to TONEAudio -- is necessary for your 730-horsepower, AMG-powered V12 hypercar that sounds like death and wasabi gargling. Which is why the Huayra's theme song, at speed, is John Cage's 4'33".

-- If you're going to Amelia Island next week, you'd do no better than to find out what's going to be there -- from nobody less than founder and chairman Bill Warner. Robb Report sat down with Warner and asked him what goes into winning Best in Show, what special guests are going to be there (hint: a BMW art car, but not this one), whether there's an Amelia Pond in Amelia Island (groan), and what leather conditioner works best with John Lobb full-brogue monk strap Ramshorn wingtips. Just kidding on that last one. The answer, as we all know, is Chamberlain's Leather Milk.)

-- Americans have driven far less than they did in the mid-2000s; the billions of miles we're driving per year has been steadily decreasing since 2006. We're driving less, asks The Atlantic, so should we stop building new roads? "It stands to reason," writes Eric Jaffe, "that sooner or later states and cities will warm to the possibility that maintaining existing roads is a wiser public investment than building new ones." Maryland reversed its predictions for traffic growth, and Seattle has adjusted. Do we need new roads, or do we need to repair and maintain our current ones -- like the 405's "Jamzilla?" Whatever it is, enthusiasts and Angelenos might actually welcome the lessening of traffic. How else will you be able to drive a McLaren P1?

-- Juan Barnett over at DCAutoGeek ponders what Elon Musk will do next -- whatever it is, it will involve batteries or rockets. Battery-powered rockets, perhaps. If Musk Industries ever goes into the defense industry, it will answer a need by the US Military for energy solutions on the move, something the Pentagon is willing to throw a billion dollars to research. SpaceX already has the beginnings of a military contract with the Air Force. "It seems the government could easily welcome an expansion of Elon's flourishing technology empire," Barnett concludes. There's an Iron Man reference to be shamelessly reiterated here, but we won't do it. Wait, we just did, didn't we? Damn.

By Blake Z. Rong