One Lap of the Web: A pop quiz at Pub Vauxhall, a Zamboni bed, and the Ferrari 335SMon, 24 Feb 2014
-- How much do you know about old Vauxhalls? Yes, that's right -- it's time to test your knowledge of rebadged, glued-together GM Opels from the House That Alex Wilson and Company Built in that grand British tradition, that of the pub quiz. What made the Senator so cutting-edge? What was the Firenza based on? (Don't say Oldsmobile.) Was the Calibra the most aerodynamic production car in the world? Find out, with The Telegraph's handy quiz. I scored a 50 percent, more Corsa than Cascada. Next week, Alex Robbins will ask What Rootes Group Product Are You? (He has informed me that I am, overwhelmingly, a Hillman Hustler. It ain't easy.)
-- In 1993, Lincoln experimented with the doors on its Mark VIII: instead of moving suicidally like on the Continental (or a Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe, for that two-door motion), they actually slid down and tucked into the floor. The videos, needless to say, are mesmerizing. Lincoln thought the doors would save room in tight spaces without being 20 feet long and as heavy as the Lusitania. Magic! The car went up for sale a few years ago to the tune of $15,000, and we imagine its proud owner sitting back and drinking a Shiner, opening and closing those utterly fascinating doors, over and over again.
-- Former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote built a bunk bed shaped like a Zamboni for his kids, thereby becoming the father we wish we always had. It's got lights, speakers, a Kenwood head unit resembling the kind stolen out of Acura Integras (along with the rest of the car), and a steering wheel complete with a Brodie knob, but not a TJ Brodie knob. The tires are of the motorcycle variety, cut in half and wrapped around chrome wheels. Woodworker Rick Brochu built the Zamboni bed to the tune of $13,000, which seems a pittance compared to the priceless childhood memories to ensue. And it will always be cooler than Kirk Van Houten's race car bed.
-- In Brazil, they're still reeling over the loss of the Volkswagen Microbus, a national icon on par with football hooliganism and colorful butts. Designer Eduardo Oliveira came up with a retro Volkswagen bus -- and camper, and taxi, and pickup, and Syncro -- that harkens back to those good ol' air-cooled days. This isn't Oliveira's first dalliance with retro, but this is his first at turning the round, noseless shape of the Type 2 into something that resembles a Chinese mini-truck. If anything, it shows that Brazil has never needed the Japanese more than right now.
-- The New York Times details a car that once cost $1,000 and just sold for $21.5 million, a price increase almost as dramatic as that of air-cooled Porsches these days. (I'm still holding out for my Super Coupe.) In 1963, this Ferrari 335S race car was bailed out of a customs warehouse in New York City for $1,000. It then traded hands from the East Coast to the West, from England to Japan. Just recently, it sold to an Austrian collector for millions, the second highest price at auction since Fangio's Mercedes set an absolute record last year. And yet, "no sale of an automobile in recent memory has realized a percentage gain that compares," writes the Grey Lady. The more one reads about these old race cars, the more one gets the impression that after their usefulness, no matter how significant, old race cars were tossed aside like their four-hoofed counterparts -- instead of going off to the glue factory (or IKEA), it was off to the storage shed. The power of predictive futures always arrives 40 years too late, but the payoff is pretty big.
By Blake Z. Rong