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Friday, December 23, 2011

Mule Motorcycles

What caught my eye the most in this video weren't the motorcycles, but the twinkle of excitement and curiosity in Richard Pollack's eyes when he described how completely his bikes consume his mind. While others would rather avoid roadblocks, Pollack's work would only be half as fulfilling if he didn't get to experience the frustration of problem solving and the joy of finding the answer.

Winter season is tinker season. Have a wonderful holidays everyone!

Check out more from Murphy Karges here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Big Buick in Little China

My father takes a long time to buy a new car.  I mean a loooong time.  He'll think he likes a car and will sit there debating on whether he likes the car enough to buy it.  Sometimes, before he gets a chance to buy it, the next generation is already getting a refresh.  Then, of course, he doesn't like the restyle.  Since he didn't buy the car that he liked when it was still likable, he doesn't buy the car and we're left as we are today with my dad hunting for a new car... still.

With this preface in mind, I took over the task of finding a car for my father.  Here's him in a nutshell:
  • almost 60
  • drove Mercurys for the past 40 years
  • owns a single cd that he listens to around Christmas
  • usually listens to news radio
  • wants a soft, comforting ride
  • car needs to get from a to b safely, reliably, and inexpensively
Hmmm... what company embodies the perfect car for the mobile geriatric?  BUICK!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ebay Finds: The Old World

It's pop quiz time!  What happens when you mix the French and the English?  Usually, the answer revolves around centuries of war, the U.S. sending GIs to save both from the Germans, or a bunch of people with funny accents mocking each other's culinary skills.  However, this isn't one of those times.  Today, we bring you an Ebay find that is as pretty as Kate Middleton and as stalwart as Charles de Gaulle. 

The Pembleton Brooklands is a kit car built in England that can accommodate a myriad of small engines.  A quick Google search will find most variants are powered by 2-cylinder boxers or v-twins.  This particular example is powered by the motor from a Citroen 2CV.  With a respectable 29 horsepower powering the 900 lb car, it sounds like a blast to drive.  Read the full history of the car on the eBay listing.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Boys of Crewe

I've heard cynics call Bentley nothing but a big and expensive Volkswagen. The next time I hear that, I can punch the person in the nose. Why? Because Peter Cope, Technical Support Engineer of Bentley Woodshop.
You see the aluminum, the glue for the aluminum, the glue for the wood, the glue for the wood,the glue for the wood, the glue for the face veneer.

Credit goes to the Vimeo channel "Cool Hunting" for sharing the insightful video!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gestation of an Amateur Photographer

Nine months ago, I picked up my first real camera hoping to capture some really kickass photos for FPH.  At first, I thought it was going to be easy.  How hard could it be to aim at something and hit a button?!?!  Was I ever in for an awakening!  Not only were my pictures stagnant and off-color, they didn't illicit any emotion.  Now I don't confess my pictures are frame worthy and should be hung over a fireplace.  However, I do feel I've learned a lot since I unboxed my Nikon back in March.  Knowing that I still have a lot to learn, I present, what I think are, the best pictures of 2011 in chronological order.  Enjoy!

P.S. Some of the pictures get cut off on the right side due to formatting issues.  Click on them to view in large format.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Saratoga Auto Museum

What if I told you that within a state park located somewhere in the middle of New York lies a bottling plant that holds a treasure trove of some of the most iconic cars in international motor racing?

Last week, Danny Chin and I embarked on a road trip that brought us to the Saratoga Automobile Museum. Lucky for us, we arrived on a cold, damp, and gloomy Wednesday. The museum was completely empty and ours to enjoy! Inside, we found an eclectic collection of not only automobiles, but paintings, photographs, and sculptures as well.

To celebrate 60 years of Porsche in North America, the Saratoga Auto Museum is currently featuring an exhibit dedicated to the iconic German automaker. From a selection of Porsche 356 coupes and convertibles loaned from private owners, to the Porsche GT1 and Porsche 961 LeMans endurance race cars provided by Rennsport, here is a video I've created (hashed together) to share my favorite cars on display. Enjoy!

In order of Appearance:
Porsche 904
1966 Porsche 906
1967 Porsche 910/6
1972 Porsche 911
Porsche 914-6 GT
1998 Porsche GT1-98
1986 Porsche 961
1981 Porsche 928S
1981 Wingho Autos W3 Triposto
1987 Porsche 959
Porsche Carrera GT
Porsche 356A Speedster
Porsche Gmünd Coupe
Porsche 356 S90
Porsche 356C
Artwork by George Frayne
1951 Ferrari Bardahl-Special
1950 Allard J2

Monday, December 12, 2011

Shameless Plug

Check out some of my more artsy photos as well as a few more teaser pics from the upcoming roadtrip video!

Danny Chin's tumblr

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Archives

"Good things come in small packages"

 Standing at a less than menacing five feet, seven inches in height has resulted in listening to the aforementioned phrase on numerous occasions.  It was a pretty annoying thing to hear as a high school kid who wanted to play football instead of the trumpet.  However as time progressed and adulthood set in, there was a realization that being well below six feet tall has advantages like fitting comfortably into low roofed sports cars as well as better power to weight ratios on motorcycles.

With an ability uncommon for their small stature, there are some in the automotive world that embrace this kind of mighty midget sentiment.  Those that quickly spring to mind are the original Mini Cooper, racer Perry McCarthy, and the Brawn GP team of 2009.  FPH's roadtrip through central New York discovered another one of these anomalies that is more breathtaking than its diminutive size would lead you to believe.  This amazing place is the International Motor Racing Research Center located in Watkins Glen.

One Lap Of The Original Watkins Glen Grand Prix Circuit

We went on a little road trip to Watkins Glen this week and the above video is of the old 6.6 mile racing circuit of 1948. Danny Chin did the driving in his Mazdaspeed 3 and I rigged a Sony Bloggie video camera tethered to a stand from a GPS unit. At normal speeds, the lap can be completed in approximately 9 minutes on public roads. We decided to speed up the video to convey a better sense of speed.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Celebration!! Oh F*CK!

Hey guys, we wanted to make something special for our 2-year anniversary on December 8th, but video editing is more difficult than I thought and the hotel's internet is incredibly slow. Oh, And our anniversary is actually December 6!
We've got some videos and cool stuff to show you guys in a couple days and it may trickle into next week.

For now, TGIF everyone and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Teaser: Where's FPH Going?

Stay tuned!

The Art Of The Perfect Pit Stop

The Team Red Bull's performance this season has been nothing short of dominant. Adrian Newey's design gave the RB7 performance where it mattered and right out the gate, it has been lightyears ahead of any of the competing Formula 1 cars. What's more, Sebastian Vettel's talent behind the wheel earned him a total of 15 pole positions, one more than the previously held record by Nigel Mansell in 1992. Simply, not once did Red Bull Racing ever lose a grand prix to another opponent due to a lack of outright pace.

But Red Bull isn't invincible and a race can be won or lost by tire choices and pit stop strategies. A well oiled pit crew can save a team's race and a bad wheel gun could tear their race apart. If a Red Bull gets caught behind a McLaren and has trouble completing a pass even though its capable of turning a faster lap, the team might rethink their strategy and dive into the pits a lap early to rejoin with fresh tires and clear air. At the same time, if the McLaren does get passed and has trouble taking back the position from the Red Bull or trouble maintaining the gap, he may follow the Red Bull into the pits and hope that new tires or a quicker pit stop can send him ahead again.

Here are a selection of pit stops, some perfect and others disastrous, that display the importance and dynamism of what an array of mechanics must do within 4 short seconds.

The first video examines Force India's pit crew and the roles of each mechanic. Note that the 2009 season was the last season that permitted refueling during a pitstop.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ebay Finds: Because Race Car

How would you like to own a Porsche that's cheaper than a Carrera GT, rarer than a Carrera GT, has racing pedigree like the famed 917, and is connected to the current American Le Mans championship team?  Well, here's your chance to own a piece of Porsche history.  For sale on Ebay is a Porsche 962 powered by a 700 horsepower Andial 3.2 liter turbocharged flat-6.  This particular car competed in the IMSA GT class in the mid 80s while other 962 with smaller displacement raced and won in Europe.

The history of the 962 is quite fascinating and I would do it no justice with a summary here.  Google it at your own leisure and check the ebay posting.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Toyota 86: I am Iron Man

Iron Man was a great movie. It starred the second-best (behind Xavier) damn Marvel superhero of all time; it was performed by the talented cast of Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Terrance Howard, and Gwyneth Paltrow; and most of all, Iron Man was great simply because it was directed by fellow Queens native and Bronx Science alumni, Jon Favreau.

I knew I had to catch it but, unfortunately, I couldn't find the time until its very last week in theaters. By then, everybody and their grandmother had already seen it and raved on and on about the movie. Best movie ever! Blew my mind! Shit was bananas!

By the time I went to see it, I've been fed a month's worth of buzz and entered the theater with unjustified expectations. It was a disaster. What could have been a life changing cinematic experience turned out, at moments, to be slightly boring. Somehow, the movie was just too predictable and it almost seemed like I've seen it before. Because of the great number of people that couldn't stop talking about it, Iron Man was ruined. I barely enjoyed it.

I'll go straight to the point. The Toyota 86 is my automotive Iron Man. Ever since the FT-86 was first unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2009, we've seen so many concept variants and it's been reported, speculated, and promoted so relentlessly in so many different mediums (auto shows, magazines, blogs, twitter, forums, spy photos at Nurburgring, Gran Turismo 5), I've honestly grown tired of it.