Here are some old Japanese rail vehicles. These are part of the SCMaglev museum in Nagoya that I visited when I was in Japan last summer. The museum has a great selection of Shinkansen equipment across the generations but it also has a lot of other rail vehicles from long ago. The vehicles clearly look old from the outside but the interiors are really an interesting comparison with what you see these days. The amount of wood in the paneling and the materials of the seating are definitely of their time. I was quite amused by the fans mounted on the ceiling. Obviously pre-air conditioning days with these cars and so a bit of air circulation was all you could hope for. Knowing how incredibly hot it gets in Japan during the summer, they would not have done much for the riders I would have thought. I wonder whether it was as crowded in those days as it is now. If it was even close, that would have been brutal.
More from the archives today. Only once have I made the trip to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. For car enthusiasts, this is quite the event. An enormous variety of motor vehicles are on display and the drive them up the hill across the estate past the main house – a place I am quite familiar with having spent a summer living in the stable block around the corner. Oh how I wish they had done this when I was there!
My one trip would have probably been in 2003 shortly before leaving the UK. I only got a few photos but there are some rather unusual cars in the shots I did take. I thought that a few of you are in to cars and might be interested in what was there. Maybe some of you were there too? One day I will try and be back when it is on again and make another trip.
It is around this time of year that the Exotics@RTC should be starting up again. Of course, with everything on lock-down, that is not happening at this point. Consequently, I thought I might go back to the last meeting of 2019 which I paid a visit to. It wasn’t a big gathering but, with it being the last one to take place (I think weather scrubbed some later meets), it was the final run out to Redmond for some of the cars and their owners. Here is a selection of shots of the fine machines that showed up.
Exotics@RTC does attract many types of vehicles. Neither of these little vehicles will be competing for the attention of the Lambos or McLarens but they still get a few people checking them out. Hard to believe vehicles so small have ever been sold in the US. They would fit in the trunk of some older cars or could go in the back of a large minivan! Kind of interesting all the same.
I have mentioned that I am not much of a Porsche guy but my college years did include rather a penchant for the Porsche 928. This was a car I could really have enjoyed has a huge amount of cash come my way at the time. The later models, like the S4 and the GT, were something that looked super cool to me. Seeing a rather racy looking 928 at Redmond was a very pleasant surprise. Annoyingly, a lot of people seemed to be around it while looking in the opposite direction so I struggled to get some shots of it but managed to find a way to get a few. I wonder if it goes as well as it looks?
Tons of Porsches show up at Exotics@RTC. There are more 911s than you can shake a stick at an I am not someone that is terribly au fait with Porsche models anyway so I can tell which ones are which. Rather than focus on the latest ones, I am often looking out for some of the older versions that show up. The late eighties had some beefy 911s like to Turbo and something like that would be good to see.
You also get some more vintage versions of the marque popping in and these are always worth a look. The standard of care/restoration is usually very impressive and, while the Porsche guys will be checking the cars out, they don’t get the same level of interest as the Ferraris and Lambos across the parking lot.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that there was interest in McLaren starting to develop road cars. I guess the first time I saw one on the road, we still lived in Chicago, so it has been a while. However, it still feels very recent. What I haven’t done is pay much attention to what the different models are. Consequently, when I am at Exotic@RTC, there are a bunch of McLarens from the local dealer as well as some local owners and I have absolutely no idea which model is which. Moreover, I don’t know whether or is a base model of “little” interest or a particularly rare example. I might recognize a Senna by the huge wing but haven’t seen one of those yet.
Instead I just wander around and look at the various cars to see which ones I like the look of. Their styling is generally pretty nice. Some of them have more interesting shaping for the aerodynamics (no surprise that is something I am focused on) but the simpler shapes are nice too. Seeing which colors they bring can be fun too. Some of the colors are rather vibrant/gaudy. I was quite interested in one vehicle that was originally painted red but had been wrapped in a matte gray film with just some elements of the red visible around certain areas.
Since I don’t know which model is which, I guess it is probably safer for me to just not bother buying one for now. I’ll have to do my research to make sure I don’t buy the wrong one. That would be so embarrassing…
The weather was not great for a portion of the holiday period so, when the sun came out, we took a trip to Shoreline to walk along the beach. A couple of freight trains passed by while we were there. One of them was just a set of locomotives on a light move while the other was a train of tank cars. The curves along the shore provide a bit more context to just how long a full sized freight train can be with the line of cars snaking off into the distance.
A Rolls Royce is some people’s idea of the pinnacle of motoring. I have ridden in a couple and, while they were comfortable, they never really floated my boat. Cars and Coffee had two examples that I was looking at and the comparison was amusing to me. One was a brand new car that a dealer had brought along to show off. It was fitted with all of the latest toys and certainly would help relieve you of a chunk of your bank balance. However, the current Rolls styling is not to my taste and they look rather inelegant.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was a far older model that has been customized. Apparently, this had been a labor of love for a guy but he had sadly passed away. Not had been finished off by his family but they had then sold it on. It is a strange vehicle for sure. The classic Rolls shape is clearly identifiable but the cut down bodywork and the lowered suspension are a big deviation from the norm. I have no idea how much it cost to modify and I’m sure the value was to the guy rather than anyone else but it is a great example of creativity and commitment. I hope he was happy with it.
Supercars are seemingly coming along all the time these days. The latest Ferrari, McLaren or Lamborghini seems to come out with slightly more power, greater technology, performance statistics and pricing to match with a frequency that makes it seem hard to believe that there are enough customers out there for such things. It was not always thus. While there were some high performance motors around, they seemed a bit more rare. For me, there was one that always stood out. The NSX.
Built by Honda and sold under that brand in Europe and as an Acura in the States, it was a technological marvel at the time. Supposedly Ayrton Senna was involved in its development and it was supposed to be amongst the best. It never sold in huge numbers but they continued to build them for many years. They would show up in movies occasionally – Pulp Fiction includes a good example – but they were not as glamorous as something like a Ferrari or a Lambo. I loved them though. I would still like to have one but now they are passing from being expensive and new to being collectable and even more expensive. I’ve no idea if they are fun to drive or not but I like to think they are. When I came across these examples, I spent a little time enjoying the idea of roaring through the mountain passes with no worries other than having fun.