Basic Guide To Lightpainting - 2015 Corvette Z06

It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a cheap LED and a DSLR. Last weekend a friend visited and brought this beastly yellow machine, of course I couldn’t help but break out the tripod and snap a few shots.

Using my trust Sony A7 with the kit 28-70mm lens, I was able to produce some pretty spectacular images without a ton of work. To be honest, it’s mostly trial and error, with just a little bit of strategy (beer) sprinkled in throughout.

Sure, you could go out and spend 10 grand on Profoto B1 strobes and expensive lenses or camera bodies, but when you can produce images like this with almost any DSLR and a $20 LED from a gas station, why the hell not?

Basic Steps:

  • camera goes on tripod
  • ISO 100 for least amount of “noise” or “grain” in the image
  • set exposure long enough to light the car (I used between 6 and 15 sec exposures)
  • have a friend hit the shutter for you so you can light the car as soon as exposure begins
  • keep the light on the car, experiment with how far away from the car you hold the light
  • move as smoothly as possible while lighting as much or as little of the car as you please
  • review your results and adjust your technique
  • It will take multiple tries, and of the handful of images I posted here, I had at least 10 throw-aways of each. Don’t expect to get perfect results on the first go, but you’ll never get anything if you don’t keep trying.

    This Z06 is part of the CCC Manhattan fleet, go HERE to find out more about the club.

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    How To Make A McLaren 12C Sound Better Than A Ferrari 458

    The McLaren 12C is a fantastic car, there’s no disputing this fact. It was born from years of street and race proven technology and received by the automotive community with open arms. But there was something missing.

    The performance within was heralded as a real milestone for the “super sports car” segment. With self leveling suspension and some super slippery aerodynamics paired with an extremely potent turbocharged V8, the car quickly catapulted itself far beyond what most drivers are capable of fully exploiting.

    Much like the Nissan GT-R, the technology packaged into the 12C leaves the driver a bit insulated from the very aspects that made cars like the Ferrari F40 and Lamborghini Countach so endeared among enthusiasts. They weren’t easy to use, they were loud, and they weren’t really good for much other than driving quickly.

    Last weekend I encountered a 12C Spider whose owner had quite properly mitigated one of these aspects. The stock exhaust on the 12C has a nice purr to it but is decidedly quiet when revved next to something like a Ferrari 458 or Mercedes SLS. The turbochargers muffle the sound from the 12C, to the point where you’re left pining for the crack of an Italian V8 or the bellow of a German V8.

    The solution comes in the form of the McLaren Sport Exhaust, which, as far as I can tell is just straight pipes. One of my favorite mantras perfectly applies here: louder is better. The free flowing pipes expel exhaust gasses with a new timbre, the roar under power assaults your eardrums in the best way, with crackling overrun off-throttle as the cherry on top.

    NOTE: I should have listened when they said it spits flames…this GoPro was hanging onto the back of the car by a thread of melted plastic, but somewhat incredibly the thing fired right back up after it cooled down and I put a fresh battery in.

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    Truth In Motoring: 1970 Porsche 911 RSR

    What to even say about this car. It’s silver? It’s loud? It’s like a Singer, but wider? It’s like a Rauh-Welt, but with a better spoiler?

    Those are some pretty bold statements but I think this 911 deserves to have it all. I feel like I’m still just gawking at the car as I write this post. It even has hounds-tooth cloth seats. It’s fucking perfect. The video and the spec sheet speak for themselves, enjoy.

    Body & Chassis

    1970 911 E chassis-one of the lightest 911 factory chassis, factory silver car, south west US car, 65000 miles.

    Steel 930 flares

    F/G RSR bumpers & ducktail – MA Shaw

    Interior

    ST vintage seats

    Schroth Profi II Harnesses

    Auto-power roll bar

    Palo alto custom gages

    Perlon carpet

    RS door panels

    Engine

    3.5 L

    SC case, with 74.4mm crank (3.2)

    JE 10.5 ceramic coated pistons, lightweight wrist pins-new, ARP rod bolts

    DC60 cams

    46 mm PMO carbs

    Electromotive Crank-fired twin plug ignition system

    930 sodium filled exhaust valves

    964 oil pump

    Fluidyne oil cooler, all Aeroquip SS braided lines, fittings

    Headers, M&K muffler

    Tuned by Powertech and made 340HP, 285WHP (5/2015)

    Transmission

    915

    Stock Ratios, Factory ZF limited slip 60/40,

    Rennshift shifter

    Brakes

    930 set up, rear calipers machined to fit SC trailing arms, air ducting on fronts

    Wheels

    Braid BZ

    F: 9 x 15 Pirelli 225/50/15

    R: 11 x 15 Pirelli 345/35/15

    Suspension

    Bilstien RSR raised spindle and reinforced front struts, coilover springs

    Coil- rear spring, racing shocks

    935 style spring plates

    Weltmeister sways, wevo rear mounts

    Weltmeister suspension bushings

    Aligned and corner balanced

    more photos HERE

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    When The Question Is German V8 Sports Cars - Torque Is The Answer

    The formula is correct with this bawdy German duo. A well balanced chassis, drive to the rear wheels, and most importantly a potent V8 motor up front. Only thing missing was a sinuous stretch of tarmac, which we just so happened to find.

    When these cars were new I ate up all the comparison tests. I watched Clarkson, Hammond, and May slide them around Ascari and read all the glorious praise for the BMW’s handling and the Benz’s thunderous V8. Many of you know I have an affinity for BMW in general, and I’ve driven a great many of them including all different flavors of the E9x generation from convertible DCT to manual sedan and all the coupes in between.

    Which is why I was excited to hear that my favorite NYC automotive institution Classic Car Club Manhattan recently added a 2010 Mercedes Benz C63 to their fleet. I’ve always respected the AMG ethos of adding power and luxury, but the C63 represented a sort of forbidden fruit in my mind. It went a bit beyond the typical “luxobarge” designation that AMGs tend to be awarded, with it’s smaller size and favorable comparisons to the M3, I was very keen to try it out.

    It did not disappoint. In fact, I was very impressed. While I loved the ability to ring out the high-revving V8 in the BMW, there were compromises that were so readily assuaged by the larger displacement V8 in the Benz. To put it bluntly, the E9x M3s have a serious lack of low-end torque. I love low-end torque, and not having it is frustrating around town when you just need that squirt of power to merge or change lanes. The C63 has no problem in this area, the low burble quickly turns into a cracking thunder as you feed the 6.2 liter eight banger more fuel. The torque though! All the torque! Everywhere!

    Torque is what makes a car feel fast. Torque is what made the Fiat 500 Abarth tolerable around town, despite not really being that fast. Lack of torque is what makes the E9x feel slower than it really is unless you’re really driving 8/10ths, despite having very similar performance to the Benz. Torque is what left me pining for longer drives, using any excuse to drive the C63. Torque is what made me forget all about the E92 M3.

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    1991 Acura NSX - A Gift From The Motoring Gods

    Words simply can not do this car justice. In the realm of exalted sports cars, inhabited by the likes of the E30 M3 and Mazda Miata, The NSX has a distinctly different flavor.

    The aforementioned sports cars are known now as “the best” for a combination of reasons that center squarely on the fact that they are really fun to drive. The NSX is no exception, but instead of simply aiming to create a really awesome driving machine like Mazda and BMW did with the original M3 and Miata, Acura/Honda set out to teach the world a lesson. They essentially pulled a Tyler Durden and said “fuck what you know” about Ferrari performance, we’ll do it better, for less. And so they did.

    Long before Ayrton Senna got his hands on the NSX, Honda had lofty aspirations. Starting with the initial design, penned by Pininfarina, the same company that designed countless F-cars over the years. Further design cues were liberated from the F-16 fighter jet, for the forward oriented passenger compartment maximizing 360 degree visibility. High speed stability is augmented further with the long flat tail extending out behind the cockpit.

    Channeling Colin Chapman’s ethos, Honda had a breakthrough with the NSX in the form of an all aluminum monocoque, the first of its kind in any production vehicle in the world. Other firsts for the NSX include the first electronic throttle ever fitted to a Honda, and titanium connecting rods allowing the throaty V6 to rev all the way to 8,000 rpm.

    The technical details are surely impressive, but again, my words can’t express the impact that this car had, and still has. Sitting in it, feeling the leather wrapped shifter, the near perfect driving position, the surprisingly robust low-end torque; the aura of something bigger than just a car hangs heavy. This is a gift from the motoring gods, a place where the spirit of Ayrton Senna can live on forever. Thank you Honda. Thank you Ayrton.

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    NSX via Classic Car Club Manhattan


    PCA Club Racing At Monticello Motor Club

    Racetracks are magical places. Even if you’re not there to race or drive at all, there’s a certain feeling associated with the acrid stank of race gas and burned rubber. Which is why I jumped at the opportunity to be a “spotter” for a Porsche Club of America member.

    I’ve driven track days, raced karts and battled at the 24 Hours of LeMons, but I have never been a spotter. I didn’t even know what it entailed but I readily agreed knowing this gig would get me within proximity of a large range of classic and contemporary P-car racing machines. I went to bed early the night before, dreaming of the raw and hollow wail of a flat six motor; or fifty of them.

    Arriving at the track Saturday morning I was greeted with the unfortunate news that the driver I was to spot for had encountered a terminal electrical issue forcing him to retire before even hitting the track. Gremlins be damned, my entry fee was paid and I’d been told the catering at Monticello Motor Club is top notch.

    With my trusty Sony A7 and borrowed 70-200mm lens I set out to find some good vantage points to practice panning shots. The first qualifying session released from pit lane was like a swarm of angry bees. Spec Boxsters were dime a dozen, as were 996 GT3s, but the classic air cooled machines hold a special place in my heart garage after getting to know the CCC ‘74 911 a few years ago. The sound is truly intoxicating, especially off-throttle when you get this other-worldly BWAHHHHH as the revs drop:

    A few hours later I left sufficiently sunburned with a full belly and a full memory card. Of course, the only danger of going to the track and notdriving is when you depart, and have to continuously remind yourself that the E90 328i you’re driving is in fact not a race car, and the roads that surround the track are definitely not a racetrack.



    What It’s Like To Drive A Porsche Boxster


    This is not a car that people usually aspire to, or that is pined after. Stereotypes abound; this car is known best as either the Porsche you buy when you can’t afford a 911 or a hairdresser’s car. But that’s all nonsense and here’s why.

    Porsche is primarily known for building the 911. The 911 employs a rear mounted motor, which, by all accounts, should not work at all in terms of handling dynamics. As the Klaus’s and Dieters over in Stuttgart have spent the last 50 plus years toiling to mitigate the wonky characteristics of a rear-engined vehicle, the answer may have been in the middle all along. In 1996 the first generation Boxster was introduced with the Porsche signature flat-six motor behind the driver but in front of the rear axle, making it a mid-engined car.

    There’s a reason Ferrari and Lamborghini have been mid-mounting their engines for decades, and the reason is that a mid-engined vehicle keeps the weight in the center of the vehicle, allowing for more predictable and neutral handling at the ragged edge. This translates directly into the everyday driving characteristics of the Boxster in the absolute best of ways.

    Turn in is sharp, weight transfer happens almost seamlessly, and the raspy hollow howl of the 2.7 liter flat six will plaster the most idiotic grin on yours and your (lucky) passenger’s face. A quick pull on the smooth silver PDK paddle for an upshift is met with the next ratio and un-interrupted power delivery. Pull on the left paddle for a downshift and revel in the BARK from a central exhaust outlet that sounds like it’s actually inside your ear.

    This car will happily plod along city and suburban thoroughfares with the transmission in automatic mode, but it lives for the twists and turns of an empty country lane. Only so much can be expressed with words, check out the video above to immerse yourself in the Boxster driving experience through the lens of a GoPro fastened to my head.

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    What It’s Like To Drive A 700+HP Audi R8

    Spring has arrived! What better way to celebrate than with a blown 6-speed drop-top V10 on an empty twisty country road.

    This car is properly insane with a twin turbo setup from AMS making what I’ve been told is north of 700-hp at the wheels. It’s kind of deceptive since the power is delivered in such a linear fashion, but at the higher RPMs this thing just goes into warp speed.

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    An Evening With The McLaren 570S


    The above photo is not a photo of the 570S. Since I wasn’t allowed to take any photos of the new “base” McLaren (no matter how hard I tried to bribe every McLaren employee in attendance), I’m just going to describe it in some detail.

    (Full Disclosure: McLaren wanted to show off the new 570S to a bunch of VIPs ahead of the NYIAS. Somehow I ended up on the list too. There were free drinks, and a McLaren branded silk scarf.)

    Since the invitation clearly states that no cameras were allowed, I showed up early with my camera. It was impossible to miss the event space with the two 650S’s parked right out front.

    I walked up just as the lady at the door with a clipboard had just turned away a group of enthusiastic European tourists. The nice lady steeled her face as I approached looking quite a lot like just another European tourist, with my camera slung over my shoulder. She checked twice after I gave my name, seeming to not really believe that I was supposed to be there. She wasn’t wrong.

    Once off the massive car elevator, they required everyone to check-in and forfeit their mobile device and any other camera gear. I thought it’d be fine relinquishing my beloved camera, rationalizing that I was there to see a very cool new sports car and the only way I could do that was without my camera. But seeing it spirited away along with my iPhone and then walking inside the event space left me wondering how the hell I was going to tell the internet all about it. I’ll find a way.

    Not long later, in a whoosh of fog and white linen, the 570S was revealed. First impressions were whispered the room around, and were for the most part predicable:

    -It’s kind of a mix of 650S styling and P1 styling

    -It has a ton of carbon fiber, especially at the rear

    -The aerodynamic elements on the sides are impressive, with pass-throughs and buttresses

    -It looks great in McLaren Orange, and has tons of “swoops” integrated into the design

    These were all valid, and all quite predictable indeed. But after standing behind the 570s for what must have been three to four tequila drinks, I noticed something quite striking.

    The 570S is actually hiding a first generation Ford Focus in it’s rear bumper! It’s even more pronounced without all the camouflage nonsense.

    On the way out the door everyone was gifted a small square box. Not wanting to seem too excited to open the small box, I put it in my bag. Down on the street a line of brand new BMW X5s with McLaren decals had replaced the two 650S’s. I leaned in to one of them and asked if I could get a ride, but was brushed off by an important looking man who told me they were for VIPs only. Fair enough.

    I walked down to the corner to find a cab, and noticed a trash can filled with fancy square McLaren boxes.

    Fuck it. I ripped my box open and reveled in the soft silken kerchief only a British sports car maker could get away with gifting. I think it’s supposed to be a pocket square but I may or may not have blown my nose in it.

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    How Much Peugeot Can You Get For $600? Just Enough

    I met up with fellow opponaut 505turbeaux last night after he collected this surprisingly well kept 505 from New Jersey. The car didn’t shake. It didn’t rattle. The lights worked. I was impressed.

    We went down to one of my favorite photos spots to capture the glory of this quirky French machine which, in the words of my girlfriend, “looks kind of like a Toyota Corolla, but an old one.” Quite so, m’lady.

    Just the thought of paying $600 for this puts ideas in my head. I have $600, barely…HM505 (the guy) has had numerous 505s in the past, so he’s got a decent stockpile of strange French car parts to keep this peach running. When asked what he’ll do with it once home, he told me he’s going to take it all apart and give it a good once over. Makes sense.

    It was cold and we were thirsty. A few snaps later my fingers were frozen and 505 was doing the peepee dance so we headed for shelter. Luckily, shelter also had alcohol. Something tells me 505 will be enjoying this 505 for years to come.

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    A 30 Year Old Mercedes Wagon With Snow Tires Is Better Than Other Stuff

    Let’s not kid ourselves. Wagons are the tits. Especially when they go sideways.

    When I was presented with the opportunity to shoot some photos of afellow Jalop’s beauty of a Benz wagon last night, I did an excited jig while grabbing my camera. This morning, it snowed. This afternoon, we hooned.

    Hi-res gallery

    www.jbhphoto.nyc

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    What Are Drone Laws? Do The Authorities Know?

    A few weeks ago I was prohibited from flying my quadcopter in a designed RC flying area. Normally I would just accept this as the plight of quad pilot, having been told by everyone and their mother where I am, and am not, allowed to fly. But this time there was a guy with an RC plane who was allowed to fly in the same area.

    The park ranger told me I couldn’t fly a quadcopter anywhere in the park, no exceptions. I asked why the RC airplane pilot was allowed to fly, but I was not, and was told that despite neither of us being able to produce a permit, the RC plane guy was a member of a local RC flying club that certified him to fly at any designated RC airfield.

    The park ranger then pulled out a piece of paper with a list of contact info for local FBI offices and the NYPD, along with a long list of very detailed information which was supposed to be collected from me and relayed to the listed local agencies. I asked for a copy of the paper, in order to get a better idea of what the rules are, and was told that it was “classified information”. Having a camera slung around my neck, I asked if I could photograph the sheet; at which point the ranger bristled and told me I was lucky I wasn’t getting a ticket. For what?

    The ranger proceeded to stomp around for a few more minutes before instructing me to call the park office to get more information. So that’s exactly what I did:

    I think I am more confused after this phone call than I was before. Here’s a rundown of information not gotten from this call:

    -what the difference between an RC helicopter and RC quadcopter is

    -where to obtain a permit to fly in the park

    -what the permit actually permits

    So I emailed the ranger a long list of questions and got the following response a few days later:

    The section of Law that pertains to the use of Quadcopters , RC Vehicles or Unmanned Aircraft on the lands of PIPC are PIPC Park Rules and Regulations. The Part 409, Commercially 409.1(c) Recreation 409.1(j).

    Also

    9 NYCRR 370‐378

    FAA Advisory Circular 91‐57

    Section 336 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2012.

    The use of RC Vehicles or Unmanned Aircraft are Prohibited except undertaken pursuant to a permit on State Park Lands And PIPC Lands.

    I am still researching which Park office does issue the permits.

    The activity is regulated on State Park Lands and PIPC lands so any employee of the State Parks or commission can ask for your permit and then take appropriate action. Ask you to stop the activity or refer to the Park Police/Rangers.

    This is just what I found quickly I will forward to operations also.

    And a few days later, finally some idea of where to get the permit. Maybe.

    The Regional Office At The Administration Building Bear Mountain you may apply for a permit. This is separate from the Bear Mountain State Park office but in same building.

    A little bit of research into the legal documents referenced by the ranger in the first email show that there is no specific language differentiating types of RC aircraft. How then can quadcopters be outright banned? I understand the permit part, but if I were able to get a permit, then I should technically be allowed to fly in the designated areas.

    I understand the “drone” stigma is real, and that people are worried about their privacy and the safety of people on the ground. These are real concerns when anyone can go out and spend $500 on a quadcopter that can fly to great heights and great distances right out of the box, but how are quadcopters so different from the RC planes and helis that have been around for decades? Is it the addition of cameras, and First Person View (FPV) systems? Some would say so.

    In the words of Jelani Cobb from his recent piece on drones in the New York Times Magazine:

    The problem is not technology. It is, as it always was, us.

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    The Most Deceptive Tahoe Rental

    It was not okay. The first indication of trouble was when the guy signing us out went to fire it up to record the miles, and it stalled immediately. HM.After feathering the throttle a couple times it fired right up, and he turned to us beaming, ”Muy bien!”.

    It didn’t help that we had forgotten to confirm our booking, leaving us to choose from only about 5 cars. We had to be able to fit at least six, and the rest of the vehicles on the lot were tiny compacts. It would have to do.

    In hindsight we all agreed it would have been better to just get taxis to/from town and the airport, but we originally thought we would be doing more day trips and traveling back and forth to town.

    Gallery of the most deceptive TahoeHERE

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    BMW M Laptimer Records Telemetry Everywhere You Go And It’s Amazing

    Did you ever wonder what percentage of the throttle you are using on the way to get a sandwich? Were you ever curious how many Gs you pulled on the way home from clarinet lessons? Do you have a BMW? You might just be in luck.

    BMW says these fancy new apps will work on any of their vehicles 2012 or newer with navigation, but if you have iDrive and ConnectedDrive on a slightly older model, I can confirm they will still work. In terms of free apps, there is nothing that offers the same amount of data. I’ve used Harry’s Laptimer in the past for track days and karting, but you’ve gotta pay for it. BMW is really doing a smashing job with their third party apps, now we just need Waze integration.

    I tested this out on a rainy day in my mom’s 2011 328i xDrive, but I seriously can’t wait to try this tech out on a track with some proper M power under foot.

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    Ferrari F40: Gearhead Posterchild


    Sat down at my desk this morning and saw a Facebook post indicating that there was a Ferrari F40 parked a little over a block away at Classic Car Club Manhattan. I put my scarf back on so quick I almost got scarf burn.

    As far as dream cars go, every gear-head I know had either a Countach, an F40, or both on their wall as a child. Seeing an F40 up close is a magical experience, it’s so other-worldly but at the same time familiar in the spectrum of the era it came from.

    The late 80s brought us some of the most spectacularly boxy and insanely well engineered vehicles to date; BMW E30 M3, Mercedes 190E Evo, Audi Sport Quattro, Lancia Delta Integrale, etc.

    In my mind the F40 sits atop this beautiful pyramid of squared designs and screaming motors unbridled by electronic nanny nonsense. The purest of the pure.

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    PTG E36 - In Depth With A PTG Technician

    I posted this video a few months ago, and for the first time in the history of the internet, I received a truly productive YouTube comment:


    Steve did email me, and ended up answering a whole bunch of questions which I have posted below with some images I took shortly before my even shorter ride:

    From Steve:

    I will do my best to answer your questions, it has been a long time since the PTG/BMW program. BMW is a great company, the people and the products they produce are some of the best in the world. I cant say enough good things about them, as they were a big part of all the success during our racing program. The people at BMW North America worked so close, and well with us, and gave us the best cars we could have asked for to make the deal so successful.

    First off, the car that you got a ride in was the first car built in-house at team PTG. The first cars out of the shop came in as BMW AG Motorsport cars, I cant remember if they were ex-Group A or Group N cars, that we updated and made to fit IMSA rules for GT. So the car you rode in is the car that was the First Union / Valvoline car built at PTG, and won the Daytona 24 hour, as well as the 12 Hours of Sebring, known as the PTG Lightweight.

    The team worked very hard to build this car, this whole program relied on what a great team we had, not many people truly understand how much goes on behind the scenes when it come to racing, and having the right bunch of guys, who have the talent, and skills, who can work together well to get the job done, is so important to the team doing well.

    -When were you with PTG?

    I started at team PTG in 1996, just after the BMW deal was struck. I was there ‘till 2006, just to the end of the BMW program. So with that said, I worked on every BMW built by PTG during that time, including all the customer cars we built, and built engines for etc. I also worked on most of the cars in the BMW vintage program, as we did a lot with those cars, restorations, shows, and vintage racing.

    -What were your main roles with the team?

    When I started at Team PTG, I worked in the chassis shop as a car tech, I had always had a race car of my own, so I fit in well. I always did my own engines, so when I had the chance, I moved to the engine shop as a engine builder, and worked my way up to dyno-operator, doing engine management.

    -Where did you learn your skills?

    I started out in street car shops, built and worked on my own car, street and race, learned a lot that way, but when I had the chance to go to Team PTG with BMW, I new I would only learn more, and that I did. It was a great experience, and some of the best times in my life. The people I met, the places I got to go, the things I learned will always be with me. I do miss it, and hope all my former team-mates and drivers are doing well these days.

    -Why was the E36 your favorite?

    The E36 is my favorite I would say because it was the first car I worked on, as well as the first to win with. It is just a great car, the perfect size and power, combined with great style.

    -What was your favorite story/experience with PTG?

    As far as my favorite story, well, there are a lot of them, I can take days telling stories from that time, and some I can’t tell also! One of the best was after we had won the Daytona 24 and Sebring 12, IMSA made a rule change to state that the BMW E36 3.2 had to carry more weight for the rest of the season, which in fact did slow us down. So team owner Tom got the team together, talked with BMW, and we decided to build a 3 liter engine for the lightweight car for Watkins Glen. Well, we set the pole, and after qualifying at tech, the officials checked the car and said it was too light, and were going to take the pole away, then we showed them the rule was written to apply to the 3.2 liter engine and that the car had a 3.0 liter, therefor was legal.

    -Did you ever get to drive any of the cars?

    I did get to drive most of the team cars as well as most of the vintage cars, we had a team day at the end of every season, had the sponsors, and people from BMW come to Summit Point, and everyone got rides in the race cars, as well as a chance to drive some of them. It was always a lot of fun, the drivers would be there to take people for rides all day.

    -What do you drive personally?

    I drive an E36 myself today, it is a Motorsport car, but is all stock, and is my driver, I still love that car.

    -What was your first car and what happened to it?

    My first car was a 1971 AMC Hornet, SC360 car witch I still have. I also have a 1968 AMX drag car , I have been messing with AMC cars for a long time.

    -Who’s your favorite race car driver?

    Well that’s a tough one, I would say it is a tie between Bill Auberlen, and Boris Said. I don’t want to take anything away from any other drivers we had, and there were a lot of great talent that drove the cars, But Bill and Boris were always there and were very good friends as well. I spent a lot of time with both, both at the track, as well as outside of racing. We were blessed with great driving talent during the entire program at PTG.

    -What’s your favorite track?

    Lime Rock Hands down. It was the home track for BMW NA, in a great part of the world, lots of history, and we had great success there.

    Thanks Steve!

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    There Is A Sunroof Fairy In Brooklyn

    Do you own a Fiat 500 Abarth? Did you park it in Brooklyn before it began to rain today? You silly loon, you left your sunroof open. But fear naught!

    Friend of Aaron Brown and Instagram user Mathias Rios spotted this hot hatch gathering raindrops via an open sunroof panel plate thing. He then went above and far beyond the expectations of the typical NYC pedestrian by placing almost certainly clean slices of cardboard upon the little farty Italian, so as to protect it from the cold harsh rain. Well done, sir.


    JetBlue Mint Class Does It Better

    I’ve been flying with JetBlue for a long time, watching as they morphed from a no-frills airline with the best in-seat entertainment, to hawking check-bag fees, extra leg room, and now their very own first class.

    This is not a bad thing. In fact, it was somewhat inevitable. As many airlines have consolidated their fleets and cut costs across the board, JetBlue has remained relatively static. Until Mint class debuted in early 2014, the best (non-alcoholic) upgrade you could buy on a JetBlue flight was “Extra Legroom”. This also allowed you to board before everyone else, so you would be comfortably seated as all the non “Extra Legroom” passengers trudged past glaring at you, wishing they had your seat. This remains with Mint class, but then again maybe it’s some kind of marketing ploy to inspire folks to buy a Mint seat by forcing them to walk by as they board.

    (full disclosure: I wanted to review Mint Class and write up my experience, so I emailed JetBlue. They said yes and flew me from JFK to LAX)

    The Mint Experience

    The Mint cabin layout has two styles of seats; “doubles” with two seats next to each other and “suites” with one seat alone. The suite has a bit more cubicle built up around it along with a little sliding door which leaves you in semi-privacy from the rest of the cabin. Though the small little sliding door did have an air of “cattle farm” to it, I felt like quite a stately cattle indeed. Comfortably situated in my suite, I watched as the two Mint flight attendants went row by row (all five rows, yes, two flight attendants for five rows) and explaining how the seat works as well as summarizing the menu for the flight before asking if the passenger would like to the signature cocktail, the “Mint” with, or without Vodka. With, please.

    The suite had tons of space, like more than some NYC apartments I’ve seen. Below the large screen there’s a little tunnel to put your feet in, I’m 6’2 and I couldn’t reach the end of it with my tippy toes when in the normal upright position. There was also a big counter kind of table thing between me and the window. It was vast. I imagine I could rebuild an alternator or carburetor with this kind of space, if I knew how to do that.

    With three full outlets and three USB charging ports for my seat alone; I didn’t bring enough gadgets. I should have brought more gadgets, then I could have charged them all. There was even the cutest little mesh pocket to put your phone in while charging it.

    I was told to choose at least three things from the fancy sounding menu, as they were small plates. From places like Saxon + Parole, Mah-De-Zahr, andBlue Marble Ice Cream, I had to at least try everything. Having dined on all manner of in-flight food over the years from Air India (do not recommend) to Emirates (highly recommend) I can safely say this is some of the best I’ve had at cruising altitude. The pork terrine was especially delectable, and the scallops made me want a lot more scallops.

    Having properly gorged myself on lots of rich and delicious bites and dranka few of the signature cocktails, I was ready to test the sleep-a-bility of my cozy nook. I looked around and said to myself: Engage bed mode. Massage is go.

    I also made some sounds sort of like an air lock door hissing and thunking into place, to myself, as the seat became more flat and slid my legs further into what I dubbed “The Blue Tunnel of Vast But Not Infinite Leg Room”. Included with the seat was a heavy-ish comforter and a really soft pillow. I fell asleep almost immediately. I woke up as we began our initial descent into LAX, feeling notably rested. The water bottle in my seat was especially appreciated at this moment.

    Each Mint passenger is awarded a Birch Box with a bunch of moisturizing and good-smelling things to make sure their Mint passengers smell much better than regular passengers when they disembark. Makes sense. Also a brownie and a cookie, for good measure.

    Overall the Mint experience was a very good one. To put it into perspective, a regular seat costs about $190 on JetBlue for the same flight, a seat in Mint class can be had for as little as $599, whereas the closest competition you’ll get on Delta or American Airlines will cost at least $1300. This is a very good deal. What began as a JFK to LAX-only service has already expanded to SFO, with promises of Mint planes landing in more cities on either coast throughout 2014.

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    Keep up with JBH on twitter/instagram

    www.youtube.com/jbh1126


    Mutts Cutts Does NYC

    If you grew up in 90s like I did, you probably spent your allowance on some exceedingly uncomfortable plastic inflatable furniture, wasted countless minutes AIM chatting with SmarterChild, and rocked out to Weezer’s Blue Albumlike I did. You probably also saw Dumb and Dumber. A few times.

    All of the above are reasons why I was extremely stoked to hear that the Mutts Cuts van was coming to NYC. Not only would I be able to pet the furry van in all its glory, but I would also be able to live out my childhood fantasies of pissing in a bottle and giving it to a cop. OK, that last bit didn’t happen, though I did pet that van intensively, as if it were my own. Behind the ears and everything.

    When you hear a vehicle like this is coming to NYC, the obvious first-stop on the docket is NYC’s motoring mecca, Classic Car Club Manhattan. Walking into CCC I was greeted to quite a sight, in all its shag cloth glory, there it was. The song Mr. Boombastic bumped through my head as I walked ‘round and ‘round this dog styled effigy. True to form the van was all ready to groom some furry friends, with enough dog food on board to keep a whole kennel at bay. But cleaning dogs wasn’t on the agenda.

    After shooting this angle and that angle and exhausting our short supply of dog-van jokes, we hit the road. Driving a Ferrari or McLaren in NYC will get you some glances from pedestrians and cab drivers, maybe an un approving nod here or there, but NYC tends to be pretty jaded when it comes to high end cars on the streets. The Mutts Cutts van evoked some of the most emotional responses from on-lookers I’ve ever seen. Seeing a person’s face go from shock, to recognition, to reminiscence, to pure adoration was sublime.

    We contacted Production Designer Aaron Osborne for more details on the van and how it came to be:

    What was the original platform for the van?

    The body is a ‘84 Ford Econoline van.

    How long did it take to create?

    When all is said and done about a month.

    Did you make more than one?

    Well it is suddenly showing up in Canada, Ireland, and the remote islands in Fiji!!! So while there can only be one Mutt Cutts there might be a few out there, and yes we were involved in most!

    Have you made any other notable film cars?

    On “that’s my boy” with Adam Sandler, I recreated Vanilla Ice’s Mustang from “Ice Ice Baby” as well as: Fraida Felcher’s (Kathleen Turner) van also in “Dumb and Dumber To”…

    Really since I started designing movies with “Don’t Be a Menace in South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood” where I found myself outfitting Janet Jackson’s postal van with large scale soviet missiles and putting daytona rims on wheel chairs, I find every show provides amazing car challenges, BUT none more iconic than the Mutts Cutts van.

    But for the Mutt’s Cutts van..

    I went to Cyril O’neill at Ghostlight Industries, they have made a ton of amazing cars. His shop was amazing and they provided great knowledge and support.

    What was the toughest part of this build?

    Finding the proper shag carpeting and getting that mutt to not overheat.

    What was your favorite part of of this build?

    As the production designer of the movie my favorite part was finding the original van and using it in the film, as you can see by the poster that baby rides again! No one knew where it was, it was like a detective job finding that thing….. And when we did….. It was like a giant chia pet with moss and mold growing on it for twenty years.

    Dumb & Dumber To hits theaters everywhere Friday November 14th.

    Mutt’s Cutts is back on the West Coast, but if you’re lucky you just might spot it cruising around Westwood, CA ahead of the premier. Also check out their Dumblr page.

    Special thanks to Derek Millner (video editing) and Michael Roselli (camera) for making this collaborative effort happen.

    Be sure to follow @CCCmanhattan on Twitter/Instagram

    www.classiccarclubmanhattan.com

    Keep up with JBH on twitter/instagram @JBH1126


    Decaying Jaguar E-Type Has Seen Better Days

    After a weekend away I returned to NYC on a Sunday evening. Inevitably all the primo spots were taken, so I was forced to venture into the depths of the multi-level garage. As I idled along, eyes trained for any open spot, my brain registered what I’d just passed and I immediately forgot all about parking.

    I yanked the handbrake and went to investigate. It appears to be a Series III E-Type, as commenter McMike so kindly pointed out: 

    “It’s a Series 3 2+2 (they didn’t make the fixed head coupe (FHC) past 1971). 5th in the pecking order of E-Type models (only followed by the S2 FHC, and the S1 2+2 and the S2 2+2.
    They lost the covers in 1967 with the Series 1.5, and gained the larger marker lights, larger mouth, and wrap around rear bumper in 1969 with the S2. All these “safer” traits (as well as a few other details*) carried on until the end of the S3.
    *four exhaust outlets, fender flares, LWB only, grill inside radiator opening, non-wood steering wheel, larger bumpers, different rear end sheet metal, 5.3 V12 engine (which happened to make no more power than the original 3.8 six that debuted in 1961)”

    The chowder-y beige paint covered in decades of dust, and a bit of rust too, but I bet it looked amazing when new.

    It had some dents and dings all around, but overall the body looked to be in pretty good shape. As I worked my way around this neglected British coupe, I found an inspection sticker from 1981 on the windshield. Holy heck this Jag has been sitting for over thirty years.

    Now for the really weird part. The rear wheels appear to be shod in some sort of knobby tractor-style tires. Looking closer, you’ll notice the pronounced rust on the rear of the wheel well. My best guess is that in 1981 these were the best snow-tires money could buy. But…was someone actually driving this thing in the snow?!

    If so I salute thee; having driven CCC’s previous E-Type on many nice sunny days, I can safely say any E-Type would be a massive handful in the snow. I’m imaging the owner as some sort of Burt Reynolds/David Hasselhoff epic human combination…it’s all making sense now.

    There’s a certain fascination that overcomes me when I happen upon an obviously abandoned vehicle tucked away in a garage, just like the S-Class I spotted earlier this year. And unfortunately, without access to a DMV database there’s little possibility of finding out more information. What would cause someone to leave behind such an iconic and beautiful coupe?

    Then the thought-train shifts. Why wouldn’t the garage have it removed after 30 years? Didn’t I read somewhere that garages often auction cars like these off for what amounts to chump change? HM! So many questions, and again, so few answers.

    Keep up with JBH on Twitter/Instagram @JBH1126

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