I love when things just fall together. Like yesterday ~ finding out that the gorgeous AETHER APPAREL (who has been a kind supporter of NOTCOT over the years through beautiful advertising!) is actually LA based! And love matte black/metal/wood minimalist gear, gadgets, and cars/etc as much as we do. They just took the mobile pop up shop to a whole new level with their AETHERstream ~ designed by Thierry Gaugain, this airstream that has been gutted and retrofitted with reclaimed wood floors, modular shelving, and vintage gadgets/gear… and their storage? Stacks of huge pelican cases! It’s a beautiful (though tight) space ~ and it was great to see the majority of their collection in person finally… the tiny details were amazing ~ from quality of materials and stitching (it just feels so GOOD!) to the awesome black safety pins they use to attach their tags and the Aether whistles on each piece. Take a little tour in and around the AETHERstream on the next page ~ it will be hanging out in LA for a few weeks before it heads cross country to NY by mid nov!
Entries tagged with: cars
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I couldn’t resist buying German toys at the Munich airport on the way home. Even if they are for toddlers and up… i was fascinated by the way the connectors work on the Mic-O-Mic building systems and when i couldn’t decide which to get to try it out, i bought four - a little boat, car, helicopter, and seaplane. And they are awesome! Solid plastic. Ok to toss in the water. They are connected by little plastic pegs that perfectly fit and rubbery eye mask like pieces that allow a nice flexibility to connections. They even come with a tweezer like tool made of the pieces themselves to pinch-remove or push-hammer in the pegs with. Nice simple graphical pictures to diagram how to assemble each as well, and for the more creative ones, they have extra pieces and are all modular enough to mix and match. Take a peek at the sets on the next page!
p.s. yes, i built these on the bed in my jetlaggedness…
Going through the many pics from the last month of euro-madness ~ i couldn’t stop staring at these pics from the Wiesmann booth at IAA. If i were a Batman: the Animated Series character, i’d totally drive a matte metallic GT MF5. It’s so cute. I couldn’t stop staring at the show ~ and looped by the booth a few times for unknown reasons… it just pulled me in over and over. And now i can’t stop staring at the pics, so clearly they needed to be shared! And the jeweled lizard logo is just stunning and brings out the little kid in me too… take a peek at them on the next page…
On my adventure to see where my AMG C63 Coupé (like the one we tried on the track!) will come from, Shawn Sims joined me with his automotive and engineering expertise on the adventure to the factories to learn about the whole process. He rounded up our story in Bremen below for you!
As we raced to the Mercedes-Benz factory along the Autobahn from Hamburg to Bremen, I couldn’t help but wonder what crazy German engineering mega-center we were about to stumble into. We arrive at the campus (more like small town) of the 15,000,000 sqft factory that has over 12,000 people inside. Starting at from the customer welcome center (where the GT5 set up greeted us and where you can pick up your new car directly), we first watch a video overview of how Mercedes’ are produced and get a peek at the people and machines behind them. Then we headed into Building 9; a pristine, lively, mechanical wonderland responsible for the production of the C-class (as well as a few others simultaneously). There are over 8.5 kilometers of assembly lines in Building 9 alone, and the majority are stations for assembly by hand. Each employee on the line is trained in multiple positions so that day to day work changes. Supply trucks are whizzing by, car bodies flying on overhead tracks, robots twisting and turning, all while the seemingly endless hall is filled with the sounds of motors, robots, drills, and presses. We have entered an engineering mecca!
Photos wouldn’t even do the mesmerizing process justice, so check out the great introduction video we saw (the robots really are quite incredible), as well as our pics and videos of the adventure on the next page.
On surprises when i went by the Mercedes-Benz Bremen Factory where my AMG C63 Coupé was just built (and unfortunately we missed it on the factory line by a few DAYS), they brought us out on the TEST TRACK!!! To do a few laps with their pro drivers. Apparently EVERY AMG that goes to the USA take a few laps here (and one out of a few for other countries to test). While i unfortunately don’t know how fast he got on the straight away and 60 degree bank of a hairpin turn… it was great fun! And at first i was far too busy experiencing it to take pics/vids… then we tried videoing two laps which you can see below ~ i tried hand holding my 5D MKII ~ as carefully in front of my face as possible without letting the g-forces slam it into my face! You’ve got crazy banking, straight away, speed bump, turns and more on this factory track… Take a peek at the video and pics on the next page!
Wow. The Mercedes-AMG SLS and SLS Roadster have internet browsing built in… and turn into WLAN hotspots… and runs Android… and someday you can even have apps… since it’s on android does that mean we can write our own?
I’ve never seen NOTCOT flanked in carbon fiber… or navigated to on an in car dashboard after we just hopped across the french/italian border and ended up on the top of some hilly lush greenery… granted, they don’t allow you to browse the internet while driving (so i guess no posting while racing around in the Mercedes-AMG SLS Roadster!) ~ this is only one of a series of fascinating options in the “AMG Performance Media” section. But on the internet related side first ~ “AMG Performance Media provides fully-fledged, mobile high-speed internet access: when the car is stationary, the driver and passenger are able to surf the web and install apps.” YES. Your car is a smartphone. Running on Android. You can even scroll through the websites with the usual COMAND Controller (the big dial). This all even turns into a WLAN hotspot! (Which passengers CAN access with their phones, laptops, etc while you’re driving.) Amazing, right? I want my car to come to life with internet! Oh, and in addition, you can also enter Race Mode, have dials showing engine outputs and torque in real time, output your stats to USB, record lap times, and more… It’s 3am sleep time before playing with it all a bit more tomorrow before ending up in Munich, so see some screenshots as well as full details on the next page!
We joked about Nail Polish Colors to match cars when i was playing with the Louboutins on the Mars Red C63… then i found the Mercedes Designo Zircon Red SLK inspired polish… well at AMG yesterday, they gave me a bottle of Le Mans Red SLS inspired nail polish… so at the AMG SLS Roadster drive in Nice/Monaco today, i couldn’t help trying it out to see just how “inspired” the nail color was from the car also in Le Mans Red… the conclusion (well you can judge for yourself on the next page as well) is that it needs a bit more metallic in it to be fully awesome… but it is still quite the bright red!
I tweeted yesterday that i was in Black & White heaven with AMG in Affalterbach, Germany. Have you ever just walked into a space and felt ~ just right in it? The black an white, the beautifully versatile lighting, and so many iconic designer furniture pieces put together so nicely ~ while pulling together car accoutrements, the ducati from transformers, a wall of design inspiration books and toys, and the focal point being a stunning mural made by the AMG designers out of TAPE. You’d barely realize it is layer upon layer of sketches on velum with tape until you get extremely close to it (and check out the making of pics as well). This new lounge only opened a few months ago in early summer 2011 ~ and apparently “The new AMG Private Lounge in Affalterbach is an exclusively and unusually designed meeting-point in which to spend time. We see it as a second living-room for our customers. We want the AMG Private Lounge in Affalterbach to provide the perfect setting for the most exciting day of the year - for example when our customers take possession of their new AMG-Mercedes here in Affalterbach,” said Ola Kallenius, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. So, while my car is apparently on a boat headed to LA already, it was still magical to wander into the world of AMG and see where these clean modern designs met the heart of the racing company in what was once a farm house and corn fields. More to come on the engines and factory and the world of AMG, but first, take a peek at the new lounge design and the surprising mural!
By far the coolest display i found after trekking out to the farthest hall of all at Frankfurt Auto Show, was BMW’s 7 robot arm displays. Think apple like glossy white and wood and plexi displays with the blue led glow… housing 7 robotic arms and touch screens waiting for you to poke and prod and stare in wonder as they demonstrated their various technologies. Granted, most were being poked by everyone from kids to adults and few had any idea what was being demonstrated, but everyone was trying to see what they could do to get the arms moving… SO beautiful, i have lots of pics and videos of them in action for you on the next page!
Luxury (and some non) automotive brands make some strange an unexpected lifestyle products to complement their cars. While cars were everywhere today at IAA ~ i found myself drawn to the shopping side of the show, exploring the spaces and booth designs and constantly gravitating towards the style shops that most luxury booths had… the products found within were often to be expected ~ jackets, golf balls, model cars, USB keys, keychains, mugs/espresso sets… the less unusual i’ve rounded up for you on the next page! Everything from that Mercedes bobble head of a dog above ~ to SLK Red Nail polish, Lotus Backgammon, Citroen weights, Maserati Ethernet cords, Bugatti Deodorant, Smart Ice Cubes, Bentley jewelry boxes, and more…. including this strange trend of USB keys that look like car keys!
IAA is one of the biggest auto shows in the world ~ quite fascinating besides the car are the luxury automakers “style” stores ~ filled with goods they are selling outside to complement their cars. Increasing trend? Toddler Cars! A great way for junior to be just like mommy and daddy? Nice way to start the brand loyalty young? And some really are SO cute. So take a peek at ones i found wandering the show floor over at Porsche, BMW, Audi, and Hyundai on the next page.
p.s. While many others have variations of these push/walk cars as well, these are the ones i actually saw today on the show floor!
There isn’t much to say here ~ but you can’t help but stop and stare when amongst a sea of cars you see a huge Bumblebee from Transformers between the Chevy Camaro and Volt… and secretly wish it would move. or talk. or… TRANSFORM? (And then secretly hope the rest on the floor are robots in disguise too… can you imagine which would be autobots and which would be decepticons?) This one is specially for Ganden, Shawn, and Madeline ~ take a peek at all the pics on the next page! He’s HUGE!
Currently in Frankfurt for the IAA with Mercedes-Benz, i’ll be hosting a live interview with Christoph Horn, Director of Global Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars and Anders Sundt Jensen, Director of Brand Communication Mercedes-Benz Cars, about the new products and features at the IAA tomorrow that you can view live on their Facebook page just after the streamed press conference! Please tweet questions you want me to ask with the hashtag #mbLiveTalk, and i’ll try to get answers for you!
As for sneak peeks, tonight was the pre-press conference event with sneak peaks all around… including getting to run around the 3 story “booth” of a space that has housed everything from rock concerts to tennis matches and for the last decade or so ~ Mercedes-Benz at IAA! One of the most noteworthy details beyond the breath taking facade they’ve constructed with in? The history of Mercedes through model cars (and a stuffed MOOSE) that you encounter between the escalators as you head from the ground floor to the 3rd. Take a peek at a video on the next page, as well as more pictures of the space!
Shopping for a car in the mall. Pick up a pair of shoes, grab a bite in the food court, then saunter in to a store to build your car on an iPad and email it to yourself, then hop down into the parking garage for a quick test drive?
Tomorrow, LA based tech startup/car company, CODA, officially opens their first store in Century City ~ perhaps store isn’t even the right word ~ it’s an “experience center/meeting place” in which shoppers can learn about electric vehicles (EVs). Completely green ~ the facade and ceiling are made of reclaimed wood, the plywood is all formaldehyde free, even their wall graphics and pamphlets use eco friendly printing and materials. With a car parked outside, you can’t miss it’s location near the movie theater and food court, and even if you don’t peek in, the window inspires you with “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” And when you’re ready for a test drive (or while looking for a parking space) ~ you can’t miss the special CODA section in the parking garage directly below the store with CODA’s waiting for you to give them a spin.
I love this trend of stores that are focused on the lifestyle and experience of a space versus simply selling their product. The theme of creating inviting spaces to engage buyers and could be buyers in a relaxed setting ~ and bringing the products and stores to where people already congregate (versus the usual destination streets filled with car dealerships.) is very Apple store like ~ and in fact Tesla brought on the man who helped create the first few to do theirs… and the team at CODA admitted Apple inspired their as well, and even strategically placed their first store near an apple store (across the way and down a few doors!) to attract people who like such experiential spaces. Will we be seeing more of these? I wonder which other genres will be next ~ is this going to continue to be an EV trend?
But first ~ take a peek into the beautifully designed CODA space in Century City as well as their test drive area in the parking garage on the next page!
Leave it to GearPatrol to come hand deliver their Onia collaboration Amaury board shorts in a 2012 Nissan GT-R in a nearly matching blue (their shorts are far less sparkly than the car thankfully) ~ So what better way to unbox it ~ than to unbox them together… so we popped the hood of the car to see the beast within, opened up the zipper pouch the shorts come in… and even found that the coin pocket they specially lined for the collab is a PERFECT fit for your GT-R key! And to top it off, when you start the car up, she even announces that there is a “High surf warning around current location.” Exactly when you need board shorts! So we promptly hopped in the car and took off along the beach to Malibu for lunch… though it’s currently one of the fastest production cars to lap the Nürburgring… we sadly didn’t have a chance to really see what it could do. Keep an eye over at GearPatrol to see what they have been up to with it soon! But for now, take a look at the GP x Onia Board Shorts and my favorite details of the 2012 Nissan GT-R on the next page.
p.s. After unboxing Louboutins on the Mars Red C63, it seemed appropriate to switch to blue and unbox the GP x Onia on the GT-R. What next?
So you’ve seen the Making Of… well, here is a look at our 6 playful experimental mini videos of new ways to look at Bentleys! Watch them all. We had fun finding the perfect clips and fun music to set the mood for each one…
Nothing quite like new toys, new cars, good friends, and a day of experimenting in beautiful LA weather with Mister C being the home base for the day… two weeks ago we brought our new Contour+ mini HD action cam with us to meet up with Bentley’s fleet en route to Monterey… armed with suction cups, we had far too much fun mounting the camera and driving all over beverly hills, bel air, and late night through the tunnel in santa monica and on pch… take a peek at the setups, as well as the beautiful 1936/37 Mercedes Roadster we found!
This series of Unexpected Combos posts is sponsored by P&G Downy.
I never thought i’d pop open my freezer and grab mini frozen 911s, Caymans, Cayennes and Panameras to chill my drink. Or create little traffic jams with… and watch them melt. Or… freeze little people inside of them to have drivers and passengers? Or… make mini chocolate Porsches?
So when tasked to share Unexpected Combinations with Downy ~ these Porsche Driver’s Selection Ice Cube Trays were hard to pass up. Amongst all the luxurious goodies and automobiles both super old and futuristically new at Monterey Auto Week, the one thing i impulsively bought as soon as walking into the madness of Concours d’Elegance was this ice cube tray! And while they are more cookie cutter silhouettes with slight patterns on them (which melt off way too fast) ~ they are still pretty fun! Though i’m now tempted to make silicon molds of my old hot wheels for more accurate ice cube trays! Check out the fun i had with them on the next page!
Here’s a first from Shawn, our automotive editor, who has been exploring the world of Concours D’Elegance this weekend with me ~ i was mesmerized by these beautiful classic Mercedes-Benz White Knights!
With Mercedes Benz celebrating their 125th anniversary, they commanded the stage and 18th hole on Sunday at the Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach. Lining the coast, the “White Knights” stood side by side collectively paying tribute to the Pre-War German engineering and racing of Benz and Daimler. While they are all immaculate, the 1909 Blitzen-Benz is with out a doubt the grand-daddy. The 21.5 Liter four-cylinder laid down 200hp and set the world land speed record of 141mph on April 23, 1911 at Daytona Beach. It is exactly these milestones of the “White knights” that brought Mercedes their glory on and off the track. These legendary cars will remain some of the finest German engineering through time. Take a look at some of their stunning details on the next page.
We ended up at an unexpected oasis amongst the madness of Monterey Auto Week when we drove up into Monterra Woods to join friends at the Aston Martin Estate. They took over a beautiful house and filled it with a brilliant mix of lifestyle brands from Far Niente Wines and Louis Roederer Champagne, to Emanuel Andren’s Chocolates from Sweden… Vizio 3D tvs and CxC Driving Simulators, to Flexjet by Bombardier and Worth magazine… There was even a tailor, diamonds, non-alcoholic cocktails (test drives happening!), and of course Aston Martins ~ from the V12 Zagato and One-77 to Virage Coupés, Vantage S Roadster, and Rapide. They created a beautiful space with relaxing indoor and outdoor areas, and endless things to do. Favorite? While waiting for test drives, the garage had two 3-large-screen simulators with racing seats that throw you around almost as hard as a real F1 car. (Of course, had we planned a bit better ~ i’m sure test driving the Astons would have been the favorite!) All in all, there was so much to see and do, and it was the perfect way to get a feel for the lifestyle they imagine around the marque. There were even herds of deer and flocks of turkeys roaming nearby! Take a peek and explore the estate and details on the next page!
We went offroading in the new Range Rover Evoque! I had no idea while wandering around between the beautiful cars on the golf course at The Quail that just behind the course is one of 4 Land Rover Driving Schools. It takes you straight up into the lush trees of Carmel as you twist and turn along their dirt track… occasionally with a camera man popping out as you round a corer ~ after all, this was fun test drive experience Range Rover set up for Quail visitors to experience what the Evoque can really do. The highlight? The glass roof is amazing! And when clean, the pictures and view you get through it are incredible! While having grown up in many SUVs, i must say the clearance in the front was a bit tough, particularly while trying to navigate their offroad course, but there are some UI details that are pretty interesting… take a peek on the next page at the mini-adventure and some Evoque details!
One of the most fascinating spectacles yesterday was watching how they unload and maneuver/roll precious, concept cars into the putting green in front of the Lodge at Pebble Beach. Especially fun to watch? The unload of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Roadster Concept… a hydrogen electric fuel-cell powered, joystick controlled, bicycle wheeled buggy. While the press pics have been floating for 2+ years, there was something intriguing about seeing it being semi-driven/rolled around and seeing the responses on people (especially kids) faces as they watched in wonder, perhaps even imagining a reality where that could be what we drive. The wood panels on grass technique was fun to watch, take a peek at the process and details on the next page.
Having spent the day with the newest Bentley’s all over LA on wednesday ~ and then being convinced to spontaneously pop up to Monterey Auto Week… the time warp to see Bentleys of the past amongst their contemporaries is quite a trip. While I wasn’t sure what we’d be able to attend on such short notice, but Bentley swooped in and have been helping guide us through the week. They were kind enough to invite us in to the world of The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering, which we were told was an event not to be missed amongst the endless car events of the weekend. They weren’t kidding. It was an incredible introduction to the classic cars, while still getting to play with the supercars of today… all while lounging on golf courses… without playing any golf. Driving cars along golf cart paths and all over greens felt so wrong, yet is so normal here! One of our surprising favorites of the show turned out to be this green 1927 Bentley 6.5L coupe! So take a peek at the awesome car above in detail… as well as a silly unboxing of the jacket that saved me from the windy/mistiness that is the monterey peninsula… on the next page!
Spotted at The Quail, this Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 is a beast of a car ~ and not just visually… one of the most fascinating things at the Quail was seeing the car stripped down to its carbon fiber chassis and all that is inside it. It’s their fastest production car Lamborghini has ever made ~ and drew quite the crowd of enthusiasts and buyers. On a sillier note, their uniforms were polo shirts with the Lamborghini signature bull looking much like the Big Polo Ponies ~ even with the orange matching the Aventador popping off their blue. Check it out on the next page…
They really just don’t make horseless carriages like they used to anymore. This is the brake light of the 1917 Packard Twin Six 2-35 All-Weather Landaulet. Is it not amazing? Also the license plate actually says, “Horseless Carriage” on it. See the closeups, on the next page.