One Lap of the Web: We invented the Miata!Tue, 11 Feb 2014
-- Sochi or bust! Is there anything more Russian than driving a Lada Niva to the Winter Olympics? (Flagrant corruption, perhaps.) Documentary producer Vlad Ketkovich calls the venerable Niva "the closest thing to an automotive version of the Russian soul," and we'd wager that the Niva belongs in quintessential Russian-ness next to the Bolshoi Ballet and the movie "Russian Ark." (Or "Ninth Company," if your attention span has been blown to bits.)
-- A gorgeous Alfa Romeo ventures into the woods by itself. Will it come out alive on the other side? Wouter Martinot bought this 1975 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior when he was 19, thereby proving that he was not only that rarest of creatures, a millennial car enthusiast, but also had an infinite capacity for patience. He's 21 now, living in Belgium, and has a slightly contentious relationship with his father -- something, he explains, that the Alfa inadvertently created.
-- Autoweek has a long-lived relationship with the Miata, which celebrates its 25th year of existence this month. Bob Hall was a West Coast editor -- at this very publication! -- when he hounded Mazda executives about building a two-seat roadster, as this old, old Automobile Magazine article explains from sometime in 1990. Hall bothered the nice folks at Mazda so much that they ended up hiring him, where he hounded them further via his role in product development, only this time more professionally. Mazda gave in and built what would become the Miata. Two decades later, an Associate West Coast editor would talk about his own Miata endlessly. Coincidence? I think not.
-- If you can read French, here's a great rundown on the Aston Martin Lagonda from the Blenheim Gang. On April 24, 1978, Lord and Lady Tavistock were the first to receive "a machine worthy of a science fiction movie." On April 25, the Lagonda was presumably in for warranty repairs.
-- A candle that smells like two-stroke exhaust. Well, isn't that an idea that's taken entirely too long to come to market? It's made from gen-you-wine Blendzall Racing Castor two-stroke oil, and Road & Track editor Alex Kierstein had to light it with a flare from the trunk of his 1967 Volvo 122S which he calls "Oskar." Later that afternoon, every eyebrow in the downtown area of Ann Arbor, Mich. was mysteriously singed.
-- It's the return of CHiPs: the California Highway Patrol is foregoing the BMW R1200RT-P motorcycles they bought in 2009 for the good ol' Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide, of which they recently bought 121 examples from an Oakland dealer. Each bike cost $28,381, which is $5,000 more than the $23,887 BMWs but comes with a three-year warranty. Perhaps CHiPs never left us. Where's Erik Estrada when you need him?
By Blake Z. Rong