Going through pictures from the London trip… i have so many i’ve been meaning to share from Aston Martin. Sadly, i wasn’t able to take pictures inside the actual factory other than some super glarey diagrams on the walls… and the lighting for most of the cars was a bit difficult, but lots of details and overviews to share! Unsure of where to start, this saddle jumped out at me when i was going through the pics… it’s like a picnic basket meets a horse saddle… for the hump in the backseat of your Aston Martin DBS… Apparently each saddle is individually handmade by Robin Coleman in Warwickshire. Each saddle takes two craftsmen 28 hours! It has room for everything including your bottle of wine! See more pics on the next page.
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I showed you my dad's experience at the Mercedes AMG Driving Academy at the Laguna Seca track in Monterey... but as i went through his pictures, this carbon fiber wrapped Mercedes AMG SLS really deserved a post of its own. It's stunning! It's so overwhelmingly carbon fibered! Biggest downer for anyone lusting after it enough to try to purchase one, they aren't for sale, but i'm sure you can get someone to get it done for you, or even DIY it yourself if you're feeling handy. I can't seem to stop staring at the pics on the next page... see for yourself!
I'm jealous. Above is a pic of what my dad just told me is the "US-Spec AMG SLS for us to play with on the drag strip, slalom course and time trials." So, while i was traveling, my dad (i blame my jetsetting inclination on him) took off to the Laguna Seca Raceway up in Monterey for the Mercedes AMG Driving Academy. He got to drive the brand new AMG SLS and was lucky to be one of the first to experience the new AMG Driving Academy launched in the USA. 16 cars were specially flown in from Germany to accompany the 20 full time cars availble for the course. Luminary driver/instructors included: Tommy Kendall (USA), Bernd Maylander (F1 pace car driver) and Susie Stoddart (Mercedes DTM team driver from Europe). Basically i came home to emails of his incredible adventure... from giddy stories about how mindblowing the drives were (teasing me how much fun i would have had going 160 around the track in one of those beauties) to tales of the chef grilling alongside the track for lunch to inside looks at the stunning carbon fiber drive shaft to the amazing friends he made on the trip and stories he heard... bottom line? The course was totally worth it, and he'd do it again in a heartbeat... in fact, there are 5 levels of courses happening around the US as well as Europe... i think he's caught the bug, since he's already dreaming about Sweden. I think i might have to try and convince him to take me along next time! But for now... i've convinced him to let me share his pictures with us ~ take a peek on the next page to see the experience!
There is also the amazing carbon fiber wrapped car that looked amazing ~ pics to come of that one soon!
Oh, BMW. Haha. Nothing like a hilarious new video from BMW, for BMW.tv, which manages to poke fun at Audi while simultaneously making you giggle and inspire you to want to leap into your car as you take off for work this monday morning. While their first Jump For Joy video launched two days ago ~ its the twist that got added in this latest version that will really make you gasp... then giggle. Watch it on the next page!
Beauty in Technology post series sponsored by Samsung’s new LED TVs! Final post in this series exploring random beauty in technology, NOTCOT style. Let me just take a second here to say a huge THANK YOU, SAMSUNG. As you may have noticed, they are doing quite a bit of sponsoring here on NOTCOT, and they've been making some impressive leaps and bounds on the design side of their tech lately ~ so it's been an honor to work with them, and have them support what i'm doing here! (Especially when they let me help do it MY way, have it look fun, and basically just further enable me to write about what i love!). So, Samsung, if you're listening, thanks for that. You guys have been amazing. Now on to that lustworthy porsche i've been drooling over for about a week...
I kid you not, i've been a bit behind and traveling, but since i laid eyes on that press release, this beauty has been open in my tabs, and every time i start getting a post together i get distracted by how cute it is... So on to the facts: Debuting at the Frankfurt auto show this month - 2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic. Limited to 250 pieces, the Porsche Exclusive team has been fine tuning this one for 3 years - "Porsche Exclusive is Porsche's Specialist Department for the most outstanding customised versions of Porsche cars going beyond even the highest standard of the Company's regular production models." So are you ready to see more drool inducing pics and the full press release? Check it out on the next page... video too!
I can't even remember the last time a piece of mail made me literally JUMP (and yes, maybe shriek slightly...) - and please do NOT take this as a challenge! But i was however intrigued enough to share this super simple design with you ~ complete with video so you can experience it too. Nissan Cube - well done. You got me. As much as i hate cubist cars, this is just too fun a use of paper and rubberbands not to share... so check out video and pics on the next page!
No one recycles styrofoam the way Michael Salter does. And i know that any time i get an email from him, there is probably something amazing coming in... and this time it was truly epic! He has created a life size Formula 1 race car out of styrofoam!!! Take a look at his latest show at the Portland John Ross Plaza Studio... "a full scale replica of a Formula One race car made from scrap styrofoam pieces, 3 pretty big wall paintings, and 24 framed digital drawings." Wow. Lots of pics on the next page ~ check it out from all angles!
On fun eco-friendly toys i stumbled upon while toy shopping recently (and then had to buy to share!) ~ Check out this E-Racer (the name is also hilarious) ~ made from cut bamboo tubes, it's cute to see how closely it keeps its form! It claims that it is "Naturally fun" and made with bamboo, water based colors, and renewable materials (i assume they mean the metal screws and the plasticy exhaust, and rubbery wheels)... the packaging was horrible, so if i ever end up gifting one of these to a kid, will definitely unwrap it first! See an unboxing and more close up pics of these adorable eco-race cars on the next page!
Have you ever seen the inside of an Aston Martin? Like REALLY seen the inside? Well i stopped by the NY presentation of the new DBS Volante at the Cooper Square Hotel last night, and out front was an aston martin literally cut in half... well stripped down and with half its shell? It was fascinating! Take a peek at the pics on the next page!
A Rolls Royce engineer's wife mentions that she doesn't know where to put her purse when she's in the car. Solution? A purse pop out section of the back seat complete with wings to support the width of the purse, and as soon as it senses your purse, it automatically has a piece that slides up to give it a little squeeze and hold it in place. Yes! I'm serious. There's a video on the next page to show you. And in case you are wondering, their design team is a tiny 10 person team in the UK, and the only woman is their color & trim specialist.
Ok so to backtrack a bit ~ this morning i was invited to the Rolls Royce 200EX preview in Beverly Hills. This concept car launched in Geneva and is currently making its worldwide debut city by city ~ and will go into production in 2010. While i've never quite been a Rolls kind of girl, i was impressed with the details, and it was fascinating to see and hear the design stories. So for this post, we'll focus on the details, and work out to the car and event itself through pictures on the next page...
Ooooooh car lust. Was giddily surprised when i was picked up by one of the 2010 Prius Prototypes tonight to go check out the Scion/GR Papershapers show tonight ~ more on that later ~ but the car... in person... SO cute. SO quiet. And so many little details to gush over ~ but really, maybe part of me just really wants a car with a solar roof?!?!?! The displays and iconography are beautifully mesmerizing... The shifter is strangely small and toy like... almost like a travel mouse? (really thin and easily to wrap your fingers right over) It's also tauntingly placed where even as a passenger i was so tempted to shift it (but i didn't!). The toyota logo has a blue outline to it (it was a coincidence that this car was blue, the logo colors do not always match the paint colors) ~ apparently these will be on all of the upcoming hybrids (and the Lexus ones in red). And the angularity of the rear and sharper lines on the sides made me far more drawn to this latest design... so tempting! For more real info on the new Prius, take a peek at their site and for more real world pics, see the next page!
Ok i'm a bit deliriously tired at the moment ~ but wanted to get something up to show you! And for a sneak peek at the truly epic Scion/GR Papershapers show, see the images here ~ i'll make more logical posts out of those tomorrow!
Mmmm Porsche Design Editions ~ I've had a soft spot for these since the first Design Edition 1 Cayman in 2007 ~ those matte black stripes on black, those elegant details...
"The special edition „Cayenne Porsche Design Edition 3" is based on the Cayenne GTS with 4.8-litre V8 engine. The exterior eye-catcher of the special edition is a metallic lava gray lacquering, design stripes on the sides and on the engine hood and even the standard 21-inch Sport Plus have an elegant metallic grey finish. For the interior design the designers choose an elegant as well as sportive combination of black leather and red contrast stitching, which continue on the dashboard and on the doorbrushes. Each model has a badge on the glove compartment."
Gorgeous! Check out more details on the next page ~ as well as a peek at the matching watch and luggage collection... and the previous two design editions!
Today's the last chance to send me your info if you're interested in visiting the Aston Martin Gaydon Factory for NOTCOT!
And i just got another semi-exclusive (well, they said 5 sites get access?) video about the design and history behind this handmade, gorgeous Aston Martin One-77... see the video and more stills on the next page!
Aston Martin has just launched its One-77 ~ only 77 in the production run... they are saying over 100 buyers had already signed up and put down a £200,000 deposit without even SEEING this £1.2m beauty... Everyone was teased with the appropriately referenced upskirt shots coming out of the Paris Auto Show, where they only revealed a portion of the car under a cover! Where are they ending up? Only six in the U.S. to be exact, with just five destined to stay in the UK out of the total production run of 77 (says autoblog). You must admit its mesmerizingly beautiful, the curves are absolutely stunning...
"One-77 fuses advanced technology with stunning Aston Martin design to create possibly the world's most desirable automotive art form. Based on a sophisticated carbon fibre chassis with a handcrafted aluminium body, this 7.3 litre V12 super car will deliver exhilarating performance for a strictly limited number of discerning customers." Take a look at more sneak peeks of this luscious new design on the next page, and check out the video of what it's all about.
So here's where it gets really interesting ~ especially for our UK readers (or anyone who can be in the UK first week of Dec) ~ Aston Martin invited me to come out and tour their factory and see the car itself ~ unfortunately the timing is terrible and far too last minute as much as i'm dying to get out there! So, i thought i'd invite a reader to help cover it for me! SO, WHO WANTS TO VISIT ASTON MARTIN'S GAYDON FACTORY? Think you're a perfect fit? Know a car lover with mad photography skills? More details on the next page after the pics and videos of this beautiful work of art. (I could stare at these for ages, i'm already jealous of whoever gets to go!)
NOTCOT Note: Lucky! Sub-Studio was invited to go see Chicago through the eyes of Volkswagen, specifically while cruising around in their new 2009 CC, while dining on molecular gastronomy goodness, and checking out the humble abode of Frank Lloyd Wright ... and all we got is a post filled with pictures of Anna's adventures! I'm so fascinated by the studio and foodie pics on the next page!
A few weeks ago, I made a trip out to Chicago to review and test drive the new Volkswagen 2009 CC. Along the way, we got to see Chicago, have a 20-course dinner at molecular gastronomy restaurant Moto, and visit Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in the Oak Park suburbs of the city. Check out my adventures through pictures on the next page!
Ok, this one is going to sound a bit weird, i probably should have looked things up on the internet before i scared myself at the Desert View Tower & Boulder Park... b/c now that i've had the time to sit and search i totally wish it hadn't been super windy and SUPER creepy when i stopped by... to be fair, we're cruising along the 8 in the middle of the desert, suddenly from sand dunes it turns to crazy mountains of boulders, and then i see a little castle tower, and we decide to pull off and go see what's up... pulling off, we head up what we're warned is a dead end (really early on!) but keep going to see what's up there, pass a creepy abandonedish feeling rusty trailer park, with an underpass with giant scarecrow like branches (think giant blair witch twigs) with hoodies and clothes on them blocking the way... then we see a very desolate tower with a few pretty old cars in the lot. Really it all looked super spooky! But according to the internet its a fun place where kids run around on boulders.... Anyhow, now that i've done my research i kind of want to go back... but with a large group of friends, since the place really gave me the chills! Check out the pics from the place and a few other random roadtripping pictures from Tuscon to San Diego on the 8 yesterday!
Stunning 2009 Ferarri California. Actually rather impressed with their site, and the videos and content provided ~ the "HEAR" section is my favorite so far. Few official pics on the next page, also check out the gallery at AutoBlog - they just saw it in Paris!
New NOTCOT Gallery Tags!!! If you peek to the left and right you'll see the work of Kimberly Wu ~ talented illustrator and art center transportation design grad, currently working for Honda Advanced Design studio in Pasadena, CA. I love how the internet works - I stumbled across Kimberly's Blog and was intrigued enough by the images of the grad show projects to post it to NOTCOT.org (but too shy to email her for more info at the time!), and got an incredible response from NOTCOT readers! Then she posted about being on org, and i had to comment, at which point she emailed me back so many emails filled with high res pics ~ and i only fell further in love with her unique and gorgeous blend of illustration styles and car design renders! Many emails back and forth later, a simple post wouldn't do her work with JOY justice, so here they are in the NOTCOT Gallery and Tags! View all of Kimberly Wu's JOY in the NOTCOT Gallery.
In her own words, here's what Kimberly had to say when i asked her about her background and the JOY Project: "To answer your questions, I was very interested in illustration, mainly doing a lot of figure and landscape painting, before deciding to go to Art Center for car design. It was a completely different route than I thought I would be taking, but I ended up using my illustration skills towards my style in designing cars. I think my goal was to try to separate myself from the typical way car designers sketch and design-I'm kind of obsessed with color and style in my work. What's next is to start working! I was lucky to land a position at the Honda Advanced Design studio in old town, Pasadena.
The Joy project was something I decided to do in my free time. I didn't have any constraints from school or instructors so I was free to do whatever I wanted. The project began in the Fall 2007, and it matured through each season until I finished in Summer 2008. The idea was to create a character vehicle, instead of just designing another car to be driven; I wanted the Joy to be like an animated toy almost. The colors all reflect the mood of each season, and are important in showing off Joy's attitude."
So, with that ~ click the tags to view all of Kimberly Wu's JOY in the NOTCOT Gallery... and if we're lucky we'll be seeing more of her illustrations (and maybe even driving one of her designs!) in the near future!
Porsche Design just launched quite a few new products for kids and the holidays, and they are adorable (and gorgeous)! Part of me is so glad i don't have kids to buy these for, and the other part of me wishes i were a kid, so i could properly enjoy some of these! This is a selection of my favorites ~ from the baby boxster (SO cute) to the 911 Pedal Car to the Bobsleigh and Sledge to the 911 GT3 RSR racetrack set... it all looks so fun. See close ups and more details on the next page!
Curious how the magic happens? I have always been mesmerized watching master marker renderers and sketch artists at work... While visiting Toyota Calty Design Research, i had a chance to see Project Chief Designer, Ian Cartabiano, show us how it's really done on a huge apple monitor and wacom tablet (he's old school, and likes having the tablet while seeing the screen, versus those who love the Cintiqs).
So you can see one of my little home videos (one of these days with some combination of time, energy, extra pair of hands, etc i will make proper videos with real editing and maybe even music?) ~ giving you a quick skip through the presentation ~ from initial stages, to some highlights, to a flip back and forth between finished and initial sketches, and the crucial signature!
But honestly, if you want to learn how to sketch cars properly, you should probably go take Ian's class at Art Center ~ after graduating Art Center, he got pulled right into Toyota and has been there for 11 years... while simultaneously teaching... keep an eye out for his latest exterior design, the 2009 Venza!
Yesterday Toyota (for the first time) opened up it's Calty Design Research doors to a tiny group of journalists (Core77, KCRW/NPR, Architect Magazine, Dwell, Inhabitat, DesignMom, Zaproot, and i was honored to be included in the group)... and as we all know, security and secrecy in the car industry is nearly impenetrable, with design secrets that manage to be kept under wraps for years before the public even gets wind of the concepts, it was an honor (and SO much fun) to get an inside look at Toyota's studios and their work flow... AND to be able to share it with you!
So first off, my favorite part ~ really it brought out the kindergartner in all of us, get handed a tool, and a HUGE (yes, life size car sized) piece of clay, and are told to go to it. And then sat down at a bench with mini's to carve away at your own car? Ok so perhaps that only slightly over simplifying it, but i'm sure you can imagine the delight of poking at clay... while assisted by some of the most talented car designer and modelers... who with a quick flip of their wrist and a few slashes with a pairing knife, off fly a few pieces of clay and you're staring at the dream sportscar you never knew you wanted. Then you see what my unplanned mohawked/finned masterpiece turns out like after more effort and less finesse. Let's just say we fully understand and were quickly humbled by how skilled these modelers and designer are...
So traveling Veuve Clicquot style is quite a trip, they started us out on the yacht, flew us around in the helicopter... and now here's the most impressive car... Who knew a 1960's yellow and purple Bentley S3 could be so appealing? I love fast cars, i love beautifully designed cars, and apparently i love the vintage woody not at all discreet Veuve Clicquot Yellow and Purple Bentley? I couldn't resist taking two rides in it with Stephane Gerschel as we drove around Reims... and every time i sat fascinated not only by the tiniest details (from the jeweled fuel light to the insane speed of the windows to the amusement of seeing a GPS in a car of that vintage)... You have to check out the rest of the pics!
You would never believe how hard it is to cull from the hundreds of pictures from each day to figure out what to post!
On random Sunday posts ~ just got back from tagging along with some friends test driving at O'Gara Coach - Lamborghini Beverly Hills to play with the Lamborghinis, Bugattis, Bentleys, Aston Martins, Rolls Royces, etc - being such a warm gorgeous day out brought the camera, and some of the colors and details were far too inspiring not to share... so check out some of the imagery on the next page!
When an email comes that says "Think Issac Asimov meets the Jetsons" ~ you can't not click on it. And good thing i did, because the crew at AB5TRAX just sent over their brand new ad spot Hello George, an incredibly moving, beautiful, futuristic animation where George Jetson's car in a briefcase is... a Toyota Prius!
Here's what Hunter Woo mentioned in the email, "It was designed, conceived and created all inhouse, we built the 3D in Maya , and modeled the world from real pictures of the earth
from space... I thought it might be a fitting tribute / theme for the other posts dealing with views from space up now."
See still from the ad on the next page, and watch Hello George here in full sized mode!
Orbit Baby ~ if i were to have a kid (unlikely, anytime soon), i can't imagine having one without this system. In fact, my back, sanity, and kid's safety would demand it. This company is based right in east bay up in norcal and it's nice to see such a sweet group of Stanford product designers leave IDEO to pursue their dreams and apply their skills to something that really needed some updating (full story here)...
I encountered Orbit Baby while at CA Boom V... this and the Nomad Yurt were the two things i walked away raving about. The Orbit Baby system is so modular that you have one main soft handled baby carrier (good for the day you leave the hospital), which docks into the easy car seat base as well as the quick collapsing stroller... and also with the simple eames rocker matching rocker base. And as your child grows, you can upgrade to the toddler stroller seat (still works with your stroller and car seat). And for those who like basinets, you can also go for the basinet option which also docks into all the bases, and even comes in a new organic super soft 'green' edition.
I know it seems silly, that i'm raving about a kid system that i couldn't possibly have any use for, but the thought that went into every design detail and the incredible quality of the whole system were irresistible in person. I also even attempted my first vimeo video below from the show (vimeo, wow, sidetrack, but i'm loving their incredible user experience). As for design details worth noting... this system even comes with an easy adorable bag that stores nicely under the stroller! It has two cup holders (aka perfect cellphone holder?)... and the handles even adjust/rotate to your comfort position. Coolest thing of all... (other than making life easier on the parents) - "zoo viewing mode" since you can rotate any of these seats on the base... you can have a sideways facing stroller, which seems perfect for walking around a zoo/aquarium, and perfect for not taking up the whole aisle in a crowded restaurant like many new parents seem to.
Tons of pictures and a video after the jump!