New special exhibition at the Porsche Museum: 50 Years of Porsche Design

Here you see the new Porsche 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design. This exclusive special edition is a limited run of 750 cars

The Porsche Museum is honouring the brand’s 50th anniversary with a special exhibition. Until July 10th 2022, visitors can find out how Porsche Design became what it is today.

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, the son of Ferry Porsche, founded Porsche Design together with his brother Hans-Peter in Stuttgart in 1972. Porsche Design has long since become an internationally renowned lifestyle brand.

Alongside a presentation of the life and work of F.A. Porsche, his design philosophy and his great creative influence, various exhibits from five decades of Porsche Design will also be on display.

The 911 S 2.4 Targa from the Porsche Design’s founding year of 1972 is in the background, viewed from the cockpit of the new 911 edition 50 yr. Porsche design…

If one thing symbolises the beginnings of Porsche Design, it is the Chronograph I, a milestone in the art of watchmaking. This is why the centrepiece of the special exhibition will be two different versions of the legendary timepiece: the Chronograph 1 – 1972 Limited Edition and the Chronograph 1 – 911 Edition 50 Porsche Design.

The anniversary exhibition also includes style-defining cars that F.A. Porsche created or which come from his private collection. Among them is the 904 Carrera GTS, which he himself once described as his masterpiece. A 911 (993) Speedster from his estate will also be on display. The 911 S 2.4 Targa from the Porsche Design’s founding year of 1972 that has been restored by the Porsche Classic department as part of the special request program will join the vehicle show, as will the new Porsche 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design. The exclusive special edition is a limited run of 750 cars with numerous features reminiscent of the iconic designs of F.A. Porsche.

In addition to the plain Black exterior, the nods to the past include the classic check-patterned Sport-Tex centre panels of the seats and the red second hand of the Porsche Design Subsecond clock in the Sport Chrono Package, which comes as standard.

The quintessence of Porsche Design

“Good design must be honest,” F.A. Porsche always emphasized. He designed the legendary Porsche 911 and founded the design studio in 1972. Today, Managing Director Roland Heiler and his team still follow that philosophy. Using authentic materials, they design carefully thought-out, functional and durable products with a purist aesthetic. As the in-house design team of the Porsche Design brand, their inspiring high-quality products include watches, sunglasses, luggage and leather goods.

With locations in Zell am See, Berlin and Ludwigsburg, Los Angeles and Shanghai, the design office also offers its services to international clients. This results in first-class consumer goods, household appliances and industrial products – for example in collaboration with Elan, KEF, LaCie, Morita and Panasonic.

The choice of materials plays a decisive role in Studio F. A. Porsche’s products. Titanium and carbon can turn them into lifetime companions and add new, unexpected functions. The combination of traditional, honest design approaches with ambitious innovations turns the products into genuine luxury items.

The Porsche Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Information on the Porsche Museum’s current hygiene regulations can be found at http://www.porsche.com/Museum.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Porsche Vision Gran Turismo: a stunning virtual racing bolide…

This time we are entering the fascinating world of gaming. Did you know for instance that Gran Turismo™ is a video game developed by Polyphony Digital Inc., a subsidiary of Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc? It was launched in Japan first in 1997, and is now regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulator due to true-to-life graphics, authentic physics technology and careful attention to detail. Addictive it must be. Your servant was decades ago already crazy about the first versions of flight simulator. Imagine this…

The news is that Porsche and the Japanese video game development studio Polyphony Digital Inc., present a spectacular virtual vehicle concept. Porsche has been a partner of Polyphony already a few years now.

Indeed, the ‘Gran Turismo’ game series has featured Porsche sports cars since 2017, most recently the Taycan Turbo S. For the launch of the game’s seventh edition, Porsche has, for the first time, developed a vehicle purely for the virtual world. The Porsche Vision Gran Turismo is the sports car manufacturer’s first concept study created specifically for use in a computer game. It will be available exclusively in Gran Turismo 7, which will be released on 4 March 2022 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

Exciting freedom for Porsche designers…

By partnering with Polyphony Digital, Porsche is not only demonstrating its special visionary approach, but is once again also demonstrating the high level of expertise among its designers. Freed from the constraints of developing models for series production, they were able to put their own ideas for a Gran Turismo concept car into practice.

“A vehicle designed purely for the virtual world opens up exciting possibilities for us that are otherwise heavily regimented in a regular design process for a series production car,” says Michael Mauer, Vice President Style Porsche. “Projects such as the Porsche Vision Gran Turismo are particularly valuable for us in the creative process. Further developing our clearly defined Porsche Design DNA and exchanging with designers from other industries is an important part of our work.”

The Vision Gran Turismo indeed features future-oriented versions of familiar Porsche design elements. The concept car exhibits the brand’s typical proportions with a sporty height-to-width ratio, a low-set bonnet and very pronounced wings. The lights in the purist front and the integrated air intakes create a visual link to the design language of the Taycan – a nod to the car’s purely electric drive.

The rear is adorned with a markedly narrow light strip – a further development of the light signature that is familiar from the 911 and Taycan models. The clear emphasis of the brand identity continues in the interior, with the curved hologram display, tailored to the driver, which appears to float above the steering wheel. The low seating position underscores the car’s dynamic feel. The realistic surface appearances in the interior also play a major role. “We spent a long time considering the right material design consisting of carbon and titanium. The aim was to reduce weight while increasing performance,” says Markus Auerbach, Head of Interior Design at Porsche. “In addition, sustainable aspects also play a role in forward-looking projects. For example, we only used entirely vegan materials in the concept car.”

“The appeal of a Porsche comes from its purist design,” says Kazunori Yamauchi, President, Polyphony Digital. “And in terms of engineering expertise, both we and Porsche follow the same perfectionist philosophy. We share the same passion for racing and are looking to the future of the car.”

In addition to purely design-related themes, there are also new functions that contribute to a strong sports car feeling, with players experiencing haptic feedback via the controller, which mimics the feel of the steering wheel. This fast and direct feedback is reminiscent of a real racing car.

Strategic for Porsche…

Expanding its gaming activities also has strategic significance for Porsche. “We can engage young and digital target groups in the place where their automotive dreams are born: the world of gaming,” says Robert Ader, Vice President Marketing at Porsche AG. “The partnership with Polyphony Digital and ‘Gran Turismo’ is a perfect fit for Porsche, because motorsport – whether real or virtual – is part of our DNA.” The integration of the first Porsche sports car developed purely for the virtual space is an important milestone in the strategic partnership between Porsche and Polyphony Digital Inc.

Actually, Porsche has been cooperating with various companies from the gaming industry for several years and these activities are now an integral part of the marketing mix. The overriding goal is to create a lasting brand experience…

We show you the photos here… and I look forward to a Polyphony Gaming experience!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The Zoute Grand Prix 2021: living now in everyone’s heart…

The Zoute Grand Prix inspired young and old to take out their beloved classics…

This year’s edition of the Zoute Grand Prix has been spreading over several Flemish cities now. Bruges and Ostend have stepped also in the game.

This year we were of course in Knokke, but decided to live the event through the public and bystander’s eye.

The Zoute Grand Prix has indeed grown into a formidable event with a very wide and large public impact. For Knokke Heist, it has become the busiest weekend of the year, with absolute record hotel bookings.

It raises the spirits of car lovers of all ages, and many are those who take out their beloved young- or oldtimer out for a spin on the Knokke streets during the event, and have their own very personal Grand Prix.

There are also a lot of new and very recent cars around, many of them with tuned exhaust to add some extra drama to their Knokke sortie.

Shops of every kind in Knokke had arranged their showrooms and added to their shop windows a specific touch referring to the theme of the event.

Even your daily(?) gin can be enjoyed – literally – in the spirit of the Zoute Grand Prix…

We just let you enjoy some of the snapshots we took on the Knokke streets, where, we must admit, no EV’s or electrified cars were to be seen for near or afar this weekend…

Classic racing cars can also run like clockwork…
Capelleschi Gallery, specializing in car paintings, added with a Ferrari flag to the theme…

We will report on the actual event, including the Bonham’s auction and the Concours d’Elegance in these columns soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the MINI Countryman Cooper Northwood Edition: This MINI thinks BIG…

The MINI Countryman has grown to be a medium size SUV, like for instance the Audi Q2 or Nissan Qashqai, and has borrowed many mechanical elements of the BMW X1. But it also has retained all the quintessential styling elements of the MINI, its typical upright proportions, styling language and bodywork details, which it continues even more in the interior, where we find the big central round dial with the infotainment display, and the typical toggle switches, amongst others.

The MINI Countryman buyer has plenty of choice: in addition to plug-in hybrid drive, the new MINI Countryman is available with three petrol engines and three diesel engines featuring the latest MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology. But besides a wide array of drivetrains, the range of accessories has also been greatly expanded, and indeed, we saw also the launch of the fully equipped Northwood Edition. We told already more about it then in these columns, and you can read about it with the following link:  https://autoprova.be/2021/02/12/stylish-and-iconic-mini-launches-the-new-mini-countryman-northwood-edition/

We drove for you this fully loaded edition with the 100 kW/132 HP three-cylinder petrol engine and the 6-speed manual transmission. Plenty of zest and driving pleasure is guaranteed, we can already tell you here. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Northwood ambiente inside and out…

Our test car was certainly pleasing to the eye. Executed in a deep blue, it was shod with stylish black alloys, and compared to the previous model, it sports a newly designed radiator grille, with LED headlamps and LED fog lights now as standard.

The standard trim of the new MINI Countryman also includes LED fog lights, with a light band in the upper semicircle of each fog light serving as a parking light. The LED rear lights are now also in Union Jack design.

In the interior your eyes admire the new digital cockpit display with a 5-inch colour screen, and also the Piano Black interior surfaces for the cockpit and door bezels are putting you in a good mood.

We just love also the toggle switches, and find all commands easy at hand. The sports leather steering wheel also falls ideally in your hand. Only when your MINI has been standing in the sun, the wheel rim of the sports leather wheel can get very hot, and can be barely touched for the first few minutes without wearing gloves. Indeed, classic driving gloves are a necessary accessory in our ever-warmer summers now…

The Connected Media and Connected Navigation Plus options, available as an alternative to the basic configuration, each include an 8.8-inch colour screen with touchscreen function located in the central instrument that is typical of the brand. The circular control unit in the new MINI Countryman looks great, with the audio control panel and the buttons for hazard lights and driver assistance systems now integrated even better. Meanwhile touch-sensitive bookmark buttons and high-gloss Piano Black surfaces underscore the premium character of the central instrument.

Even the standard audio system offers audio streaming via a Bluetooth connection and a hands-free telephone system with USB interface. The Radio MINI Visual Boost and the digital instrument display form part of the optional equipment item Connected Media, while the Connected Navigation option makes a range of additional infotainment functions available in the new MINI Countryman in addition to providing a convenient route guidance system. This option also comprises wireless charging for compatible mobile phones and a second USB socket.

The new MINI Countryman is equipped with a SIM card that is permanently fitted in the car. This enables use of Intelligent Emergency Call with automatic detection of vehicle location and accident severity, as well as MINI TeleServices. The new MINI Countryman is always online, enabling seamless integration of the voice assistant Amazon Alexa.

This provides access to the Real Time Traffic Information service as well as the internet platform MINI Online and preparation for Apple CarPlay. MINI Connected can be used to send navigation destinations from the smartphone to the vehicle. The mobile phone connection also means that the vehicle’s navigation map is updated automatically.

Very willing engine…

MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology is used in the 3-cylinder petrol engines, and they are very responsive indeed. Throttle response is immediate and without any hesitation, from very low revs onwards. The exhaust manifold is integrated in the cylinder head along with turbo charging. Among other things, this ensures highly effective cooling of the exhaust gases and the turbocharging system. Also, the petrol engine direct injection system operates at a maximum pressure that has been increased from 200 to 350 bar. With this very willing engine, performance is rather brilliant, with an acceleration from 0 – 100 km/h in 9.7 seconds. Top speed is an impressive 205 km/h.

The six-speed gearbox is a delight to use, spoils you with precise, quick changes. The clutch is very smooth and progressive, the drivetrain copes wonderfully with all the pulling power, as it has been designed to cope with far more torque and power in the sportier models.

But the bare performance figures do not tell the whole story. The sheer effortlessness and smoothness when you use the full performance of this MINI has to be felt to be believed. It is indeed a very agile as well as smooth car in everyday use, and that makes a lot of the charm of this MINI.

With all this smooth and vibration free willingness, one is tempted to put the throttle somewhat deeper than originally intended, and this bout of extra enthusiasm translates also in the consumption figures. We clocked a test average of some 8 liters/100 km, using the performance more often than not. Constant speed economy is excellent, so when cruising at the legal limits the immediate consumption hovers between 5 and 6 liters and less. The manufacturer quotes 5.9 – 5.6 liters/100 km, with CO2 emissions being 135 – 129 g/km.

Masterful on the road…

The MINI Countryman has wonderful handling and road manners. Despite its more than 4-meter length, it feels nimble and agile, as indeed a true MINI should. It steers wonderfully precise, and invites you to take winding roads with spirit and zest. Straight line stability is of course also excellent, and this Countryman is also a perfect “Autobahnwunder”, capable of cruising at very high speeds indeed.

Practical

The new MINI Countryman has as the biggest MINI a versatile interior. Three fully-fledged seats are available at the rear. Alternatively, the second row of seats can also be used to expand transport capacity. By folding down the rear seat with a 40 : 20 : 40 split, storage space can be extended from 450 to up to 1 390 liters.

Conclusion

Providing character, unique panache, space in combination with mechanical excellence, superb handling and zesty performance, this is what the MINI Countryman is all about. The Northwood Edition spoils you with a full equipment, to keep you connected, amused, comfortable and happy.

This car is a true delight to use every day, and you will hardly get tired of it. We liked the version we tested, but there is – as we said – so much more, from E-power to full all wheel drive.

We hope to lay our hands soon on one of these more powerful (AWD) versions, not forgetting the electrified versions. Stay tuned on these columns…

Hans Knol ten Bensel 

The Land Rover Defender has been named Supreme Winner Women’s World Car of the Year 2021.

The Women’s World Car of the Year is the first time a Land Rover has won the top prize at the awards and is the latest in a series of international honours for the most capable Land Rover ever made.

The new Defender remains true to the pioneering spirit that has been a Land Rover hallmark for over 70 years and redefines adventure for the 21st century. Iconic in name, shape and capability, it is available in a choice of body designs and can be personalised with a choice of four Accessory Packs to help owners make more of their world.

The Women’s World Car of the Year (WWCOTY) awards are the only car awards in the world with a jury comprised exclusively of woman, with 50 motoring journalists from 38 countries on 5 continents recognizing the best new models available.

The New Defender was named Best Medium SUV 2021 at the awards before being awarded – to coincide with International Women’s Day – the headline WWCOTY prize.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Alfa Romeo is celebrating their female racing pilots on international women’s day…

Odette Siko in her Alfa 1750 6C…

International Women’s Day is an ideal occasion, Alfa Romeo found, to put its female racing champions behind an Alfa sportscar wheel into the spotlight. The material they put forward is so abundant and interesting, that we make (at least) a two-part series of it.

We start here with the early, very elegant protagonists, who combined female elegance with panache and excellent racing qualities…

We start here with Odette Siko, you see her elegantly here in the photo above.

She takes you back to the 1930s, where Alfa Romeo asserted itself as one of the main protagonists in motorsport. This was partly down to extraordinary vehicles, but also to drivers who became part of the legend: these were the years of Nuvolari, Varzi, Caracciola and Sommer. The latter won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1932 behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300, but the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS driven by the striking Odette Siko finished fourth overall and won the 2.0-liter category! A young Parisian, Siko quickly became one of the stars on the track, displaying her elegance both in the paddock and in her racing performance, often accompanied by another female French racer whose path also crossed Alfa Romeo’s several times: Hellé Nice.

Hellé Nice, see the photo here, was a model, acrobat, and dancer. Her real name was Mariette Hélène Delangle, but was more commonly known as Hellé Nice. Renowned for her outgoing personality, Nice was good friends with the Rothschilds and the Bugattis. She raced in Europe and America and became one of the first drivers to display the logos of her sponsors on the bodywork of a single-seater racing car.

She took part in the 1933 Italian Grand Prix at Monza in her own 8C 2300 Monza; in the same race, Campari, Borzacchini and Czaikowski tragically lost their lives. In 1936, she won the Ladies Cup in Monte Carlo and took part the São Paulo Grand Prix in Brazil, where she fell victim to a dreadful accident, then miraculously came out of her three-day coma.

Further on, there was Anna Maria Peduzzi. In her time, the years of Scuderia Ferrari marked a crucial chapter in Alfa Romeo’s history. The drivers of the “Prancing Horse” included Como-born Anna Maria Peduzzi, the wife of driver Franco Comotti, who was nicknamed the “Moroccan”.

After her debut aboard her own Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 Super Sport, which she had purchased from Ferrari himself, Peduzzi almost always raced alone and only occasionally with her husband. In 1934, she won the 1500 Class at the Mille Miglia and, in the post-war period, raced in the Alfa Romeo 1900 Sprint and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

We conclude our first part here with Maria Antonietta d’Avanzo.

The forerunner of female Alfa Romeo drivers, Baroness Maria Antonietta d’Avanzo made her debut in the interwar years. A pioneer of Italian motorsport, aviator and journalist, d’Avanzo won third place in the Alfa Romeo G1 at Brescia in 1921, and proved her worth in many competitions as a formidable opponent for the best drivers of the time, including a young Enzo Ferrari.

Baroness d’Avanzo in her Alfa 20-30 ES

Baroness d’Avanzo raced until the 1940s in a variety of vehicles and races, traveling all over the world to do so…

In the next part we will tell you more about our national champion Christine Beckers and her more contemporary colleagues… Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

How Renault succeeded in building a bridge between past and present with it’s Renault 5 Prototype…

The brand new Renault 5 Prototype has already stolen the hearts of many, as was the case with the original R“Cinq”. François Leboine, Director of Design Concept and Show-Cars at Renault explains here how to succeed in the retro-futuristic exercise carried out on the cute Renault 5 Prototype.

Revive good memories, “provoke a smile”, that’s what François Leboine wanted with the Renault 5 Prototype. Responsible for concept cars and show cars at Renault, he looks back at the development of the prototype’s headlights, which, he confides to us, embody all the work done on the car. To do this, he used a well-oiled method that he agreed to unveil to us.

“If I had to choose a particular element that symbolizes all the work done on the Renault 5 Prototype, it’s definitely the headlights.”

Before starting any creative process, you need material, explains François Leboine.

The first step, called analytical, was to gather archives to analyze, understand, decompose the original vehicle. To grasp its very essence. Photos, sketches by the original designer Michel Boué, period magazines, fascicles and brochures, made it possible to study the mythical R5 from all angles. A vehicle loaned by Renault Classic also helped to better understand certain elements such as the famous headlights.

We really capitalized on the history of Renault and the R5 in particular, which had this special sympathy with people and this perfectly recognizable mischievous look.

Then the designers draw the first sketches on paper, like cartoonists who try to capture what makes a face’s personality.

“The sketches captured the fundamental elements that needed to be retained to reproduce the mischievous look of the original R5,” explains François Leboine.

Getting the proportions right…

Then, the designers moved on to a graphic palette to define proportions, contours, the distance between the headlights, to find the expression, the smiling look of the 1970s R5.

After analyzing graphic characteristics and working on proportions, designers operate what is called a shift: a method that consists of taking an object and tilting it into another world. “They’re going to use all the graphic work from previous research, mixing it with the mood board research and codes from today’s objects to project the design details into a futuristic world.”

Inspired by the worlds of aeronautics, architecture, product design and even electronics…

Thanks to this method of shifting visual codes, the prototype’s headlights have become true technological and futuristic elements. As for the fog lights that were often added at the time, they took a leap into the future. They were transformed into daytime running lights fully integrated into the front bumper.

“It was really important that the Renault 5 Prototype was not just a slavish copy of the past, but that it really was a vehicle that contained the elements of the future.”, explained François Leboine.

The final test: meeting the public

Finally, comes the encounter, the ultimate step for designers. The one that allows them to know if their work is successful. “Everything we’ve done, it’s the reaction of the people around us which determines if we’ve hit the bull’s eye, if we’ve brought the R5 back to life or if it was a failure”, says François Leboine.

The reaction of the internal people was already telling us that the car was going to be a success, but in the end it exceeded our expectations.

The Renault 5 Prototype has indeed received a very warm and unanimous welcome. Whether on the headlights or on the whole vehicle, the treatment of the lines and the futuristic details were very much appreciated. With the Renault 5 Prototype, the emblematic model of Renault’s heritage now has a worthy heiress. A modern car, full of charm and in tune with the times. Renault’s DNA respected, a successful projection into the future: mission accomplished

We can only agree…

Within 5-6 weeks, we will be able to take the wheel again, also anxious to get acquainted again with Renault’s latest E-powered products and hybrids… Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Stylish and Iconic: MINI launches the new MINI Countryman Northwood Edition

The new MINI Countryman Northwood Edition is inspired on the authentic and unique surroundings of this town on the English island Wight.

This edition integrates the contours of this legendary landscape in a logo which adorns in Piano Black finish both sides of the car.

The “Union Jack” flag and the logo “Northwood” are integrated in the total design. On the door sills executed in Piano Black, the name of the edition is engraved, just as is the logo “Special Edition”. The geographical coordinates of this town are engraved in the door pillar on the drivers’ side, and a “Northwood” badge in the passenger area is integrated at the level of the “Piano Black” accent strip.

The MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 Plug-In Hybrid Drive retains its typical air inlets at the sides of the car and has adapted sills in Electric Yellow. On top of the C-pillars a “Northwood” badge is also seen.

The MINI Countryman Northwood Edition is offered with the Plug-in Hybrid Cooper SE ALL 4 engine, the “One” and Cooper S petrol engines, as well as the Cooper Diesel engine. This Special Edition is available at prices from € 32.750.

You can order it now at your Belux MINI dealer!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Fiat launches on social media a stunning “one shot” film about three unique 500’s …

Outstanding design is one of the hallmarks of Fiat cars, with the superbly iconic 500 or “Cinquecento” of course taking centre stage. Indeed, this is further shown by a remarkable docufilm “One-Shot”.

The trailer of this film is now on air, looking “behind the scenes” of the creation of the One-Offs, three exclusive interpretations of the New Fiat 500, by Armani, Bvlgari and Kartell.

The Bulgari logo on the 500…

The full film can be viewed on Fiat’s social media channels, first of all on YouTube. The link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGGd7EcnmNI&feature=youtu.be. But you can also see it on FCA’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

In the film, we see the unfolding of “Plan B” when Geneva Motor Show was canceled, and it was decided to present the “one off” cars in front of the Milan Duomo…

This breathtaking journey, narrated by Olivier François – President, Fiat Brand Global and FCA Chief Marketing Officer, includes interviews with designers, tales of partners, close-ups on the details and selection of materials, where the aim is caring of the environment and its sustainability.

Unloading the cars in the early morning in front of the Duomo…

The short film (15 and a half minutes) presents a relentless succession of meetings and processes that highlight teamwork, the affinity between designers from different fields and the emotions involved in playing an active role in an extraordinary project: the creation of something unique, an interpretation of the New 500 alongside the very best of “Made in Italy”.

Genuine gold flakes adorn the Bulgari 500…

The result is the three One-Offs, embodiment’s of the style, creativity and craftsmanship characteristic of “Made in Italy” and of our partners in the project, in the path and in the vision of the Earth’s future.

The Armani 500 got a special dressing…

And also a wood sculpted dashboard…

The journey depicted in the film begins in Turin, cradle of the Fiat brand, passing from Rome on the way with its sunsets, colors and lines that symbolize Bvlgari all over the world, to arrive in Milan, the world capital of fashion and design, due in no small part to Armani and Kartell.

…by a special wood cutting machine…

The twist in the tale has Milan as the setting for the entire presentation of the New 500.

A veritable gearshift takes place in the film’s account of the tense time when the Geneva International Motor Show was canceled, and a plan B had to be found and set in motion. The presentation of the New 500 and the One-Offs was completely rewritten to pull up stakes, to Milan.

Bvlgari jewelry in the 500 logo…

The short film is created and produced by VICE Italy, with Rockets at the helm. It uses the language of documentaries to reveal aspects normally concealed from the general public, in an immediate and effective way.

In an authentic, realistic vernacular, the evocative film opens the doors of the Style Center in Turin to the cameras. We get an exclusive peek inside the “Color & Material” department led by Rossella Guasco, halfway between a sophisticated research center and an elegant fashion atelier.

Bvlgari used its foulards…to enhance the dasboard

The footage documents their almost-obsessive attentiveness to every detail, that “know-how” typical of Italian creativity, and dwells on the emotions of the whole team as they experience something truly unique.

Kartell the seats…

The journey continues in an interview with Klaus Busse, Head of Design, explaining what lies beneath the creative process of style and forms, and the role of the 500 in the history of industrial design, even more so in the collective unconscious.

…and elements of the car…

It was the Style Center that took a legend of the 50’s, the fabled “Cinquino”, and reinvented it in 2007 to “color” everyday life and streets all over the world, making it an authentic, unique and salient response to the requirements of international urban mobility.

At the Milan launch of the One-Offs in March, it was even announced that the Fiat 500 has been confirmed as an “Italian Icon and Honorary Member” of Altagamma, the prestigious Foundation that brings together the best of Italy’s companies, to promote the epitomes of the country’s excellence around the world.

Just have a look at the photos here, and also enjoy the film!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Miami wheels…

Noblesse Oblige: a Rolls Royce is the car for shopping at Worth Avenue in Palm Beach…

Before Corona hit our shores, we went in February to Florida to soak up the early sun. Undoubtedly this proved to be a wise choice, as at the moment of writing, we are still not allowed to travel. We visited Miami and made a drive to Key West, in a rented Nissan Altima. A very comfortable mount with a well pulling and smooth 2,5 litre 188 HP four cylinder petrol engine coupled to a soave CVT transmission. This CVT performed well, raising the revs gradually following the push of your right foot, and restraining fussy revving even when you accelerate full throttle. Once above 4,000 rpm, it will make crisp upshifts.

With lots of support from the power steering the Altima is very easy to steer, stable and comfortable, and offers lots of room for its occupants. An ideal, and stylish travelling machine, which left little to be desired.

On Florida roads, the usual pickups abound, but there is a lot of room left for supercars and European (noble) brands. Indeed, Florida is the realm of the well to do, and also one of the states with a 56,14 % majority of foreign brands in its total car market. It counted in 2018 some 7,6 million registered vehicles. California is actually the top car state with not less than 14,6 million registered vehicles, and a foreign car market share of 64,9 %.

Go in the posh shopping and hotel areas of Miami beach, and you will see it is the home of Lamborghini’s, Maserati’s, Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Range Rover, Bentley, Rolls Royce. Many buyers of the noble European brands opt for SUV’s as well as cabrio’s and coupés.

On the road, big SUV’s and pickups from American and Japanese brands abound, with the open Mustangs being frequently seen too, as well as Chevy Camaro’s.

Every now and then an American built classic meets you, as a fifties or sixties open Ford or Thunderbird. Indeed, Cuba is not far away…

Of course, there are the Cinquecento’s. We saw a new one on Miami Beach, and a vintage or “classic” Cinquecento used by a Sicilian Ice cream vendor…

Also a two decades old SUV was totally sculpted in sand, if there ever was a beach car, this is the one…

We just let you enjoy the photos here, and dream with us of these sunny shores and their nice cars…

Hans Knol ten Bensel