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Modern Art Monday: A Good Sign.

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When you buy something on spec, having read a bit of online text, maybe seen a couple of photos, you know perfectly well that you’re going in without knowing the full story. It all adds to the air of mystery. Mind you, even the most in-depth advertorial combined with exhibition-quality photography can only tell you about the car itself, while determining the calibre of the previous owner can give good insight into the level of care and attention that the car has likely received.

My best friend recently bought a car from the other side of the country. Understandably nervous as he made the three-hour journey to collect and trailer it home, it must have been extremely reassuring when the lovingly crafted ignition key you see photographed above was placed in his hand. He immediately knew that he was buying a vehicle that had been loved, from a guy who had devoted time and passion to its cause.

What’s the greatest clue you’ve ever been given into the provenance of a car you’ve owned?

(Image copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2016. More about the car itself in due course, for now I feel that key to be awesome enough on its own)

Modern Art Monday: Visiting The Workshop Of Chuck Beck

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A permanent fixture of Chuck Beck’s face is the cigarette lolling lazily out of the corner of his mouth. A remnant of the do-it-yourself speed culture of the 60s, Chuck has done almost everything you could imagine. He worked for Shelby as a master fabricator in the GT40 days, he built a supercar destroyer out of a Ford Festiva, he made a career for himself building fiberglass replicas of Lister and Porsche racing cars, and most recently he’s built a Lamborghini V12-powered motorcycle.

The video after the jump is a gorgeously produced visit to his shop in a small town on the Georgia-Bama border. The video promotes Atlanta’s now-famous “Caffeine and Octane” shows, of which I have attended many, but also gives you a glimpse into the glorious mind that is Chuck Beck. In fact, he was my very first professional interview as a recent college grad, and I’ve included the resulting article after the jump as well. It’s rudimentary, but worth a read. Be warned, my ‘photography’was even more mediocre then than it is now.

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Modern Art Monday: 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Kamil Kaluski January 18, 2016 Modern Art Monday

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The modern automotive world is full of amazing new cars. Yet when we look at them, they all seem kind of plain, kind of generic, and kind of similar, if not to each other then to other cars in the maker’s line-up. It’s certainly not everyday that a brand new car just strikes you with its beauty, but it happens. For me it happened when I finally saw the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio in person.

My Lord, what a beautiful car. Like a supermodel, there isn’t a wrong line, a bad angle, or a wrong curve on it. Frankly, there are so many curves on it that many of them require careful examination to see. While I attempted to, it is very difficult to show the beauty of this car in pictures. Enjoy.

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Modern Art Monday: Your 2015 Pebble Beach Concours Top Dog

1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A

Monterey Car Week has come to a close. Our man Mad Science himself was there, and he took in the sights and sounds at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Young Greg Catch-A-Durian-Fruit was there with his family, and Parsh-Phanatic Bradley BrownHell was there to sniff the tailpipes of anything with an engine that lay flat.

We weren’t on the lawn though, and your not-so-humble author as actually never been at all for the automotive festivities (I once played golf there years ago, for free, way before I was in this racket… I shot a 112). Regardless, it’s hard not to pay attention to the event, that has seemingly swelled over the years. It’s always been crowded, but now with social media it seems to hit you (welcomingly, for the most part) from all angles.

That means we knew about the top dog the moment it happened. Above is your Best of Show (or Best IN Show, as every other website likes to incorrectly describe it); a 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A, with coachwork by Carrosserie Worblaufen. That’s a longer model and trim name than you standard Isotta Sport plus. Also it has two rear spares, which we assume helped it garner extra rah-rah sticks in the final vote tally procedure.

Regardless, we wanted you to soak in the winner for this year. We look forward to next year, when Pebble Beach looks to celebrate the Grand National and GNX*. It’s a bold move for the event, and we can’t wait to see how the attire on the lawn changes to suit the marque model.

*This may be a rumor.**

**That we started.***

***Which won’t happen until Pebble Beach 3065.

Modern Art Monday: Lego Ferrari F40 Set Built In Super Speed

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Have you seen the new Lego Ferrari F40 kit? It’s pretty awesome, so I pre-ordered one for early delivery, and I just finished building it. It took about 4 and a half hours across two evenings to put everything together, and it was a lot of fun. There were some pretty interesting engineering solutions that Lego did to make their F40 as accurate as can possibly be in this scale with nothing but bricks.

Unlike some other complicated builds I’ve done, this one didn’t require any “special” bricks, and it still looks amazing. Go pick one up and build it yourself. You won’t regret it.

This build, in total, took me four and a half hours to complete, and I’ve compressed that down into just over 4 minutes for you to watch. Enjoy the video after the jump!

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Norman Timbs Streamliner from Automodello is a 1:43 Scale beauty

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In the 1940s, a man named Norman Timbs set out to make a car of his own design. In 1948, that goal came to fruition when the Timbs Streamliner roared into existence. Its sleek all-aluminum body was hand-formed by the man who stuck his own name on the car, and the resulting shape is truly a work of art.

With a curb weight of just 2,500 pounds, the 248 cubic-inch Buick straight-eight had no problem pushing the Streamliner to a top speed of 120 miles per hour. The car became a cover girl for the second ever issue of Motor Trend, before it moved on to private ownership.

As happens to nearly all old vehicles, the car disappeared before it was discovered in a yard in the California desert. It was intact, however, and soon restored to its former glory. From there it was off to Amelia Island, where the Streamliner took home some hardware and has continued to do so ever since.

Now it’s arrived on my desk… in 1:43 scale, thanks to the excellent artisans of Automodello.

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Modern Art Monday: The Autostadt Museum

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A few years ago, I trekked to Germany to sample both the Volkswagen GTD and the XL1. It was my first trip to Europe. Being an automaker’s press launch, there wasn’t a whole lot of sightseeing as, believe it or not, this is still a work trip.

Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed taking that GTD down the Autobahn at a speed just a tick higher than the engineers had listed the top speed. Additionally, piloting the XL1 through the streets of Wolfsburg was more exciting than it sounds, and a driving experience I won’t soon forget.

Still, there was a sliver of time set aside to explore the campus of all-things Volkswagen group while we were in Wolfsburg. It’s an area called the Autostadt, with sections dedicated to VW, Porsche, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Seat, etc. Of much more interest, however, is the Autostadt Museum.

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Modern Art Monday: The Rocket – Artful or Awful?

Galpin Fisker Rocket

Galpin Auto Sports and Henrik Fisker joined forces recently. The two came together to create a custom vehicle, which was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s called the Rocket, and it’s a re-bodied 2015 Ford Mustang. Said re-body happens by way of carbon fiber, which means the 725-horsepower V8 engine will have less heft to push around.

The power figure sounds great and all, but that’s not what I’m talking about today. Instead, I’d rather pose a question to all of you. Seeing as it’s Modern Art Monday, I’m curious how you all feel about the styling of the Galpin Fisker Rocket.

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Modern Art Monday: Up close and Personal with a Lada 2103

Kamil Kaluski November 3, 2014 Modern Art Monday

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Few weeks ago I had an opportunity to spend some time with this 1982 Lada 2130, which isn’t actually a Lada but rather it’s a VAZ. You see, these cars were known as VAZes in the Soviet Union and Lada was just their export name. Head over to TTAC for the whole write up and hit the jump to see more pictures of the car.

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Modern Art Monday: HRE Wheels brings back some classics

Jeff Glucker September 15, 2014 Modern Art Monday

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HRE Wheels has been banging out some of the best wheels in the business since 1978. Over the course of those three decades, it’s no secret that wheels have evolved. From the construction to the styling and available sizes, wheel makers have to respond and move with the greater automotive enthusiast industry. HRE Wheels has certainly done that, but the California company also knows when it’s time to revisit some classics.

I’m a huge fan of the brand’s Vintage Series of wheels, specifically the oh-so-gorgeous 501. Now though, the Vintage lineup is joined by the Classic Series, which is clearly aimed at some 1990’s iron. Hop the jump to see a few more samples from the latest set of high quality rollers.

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