Sat Mar 09 2013 02:37:21 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
The rivalry was made vivid by their polar personalities — the American technician versus the German nobleman, loner versus bon vivant, backstreet hot rodder versus Rhineland count. Each would be the first from his country to earn the title. Each considered himself a nose faster.
The location only heightened the suspense. The Italians called Monza the Death Circuit, in part because the banked turns catapulted errant cars like cannonballs. The sloped surface was coarse and pockmarked, and it exerted a centrifugal pull the fragile Formula 1 cars were not designed to handle. (The British teams had boycotted Monza in 1960 because they judged the banking too perilous.) More dangerous still, the long straights allowed drivers to touch 180 mph, and to slipstream inches apart. A series of tight curves, known as chicanes, had been installed to slow cars down, but it was still a track to be driven flat-out. As much as any racetrack in the world, it conjured racing’s heroics and horrors. To the north, it curved into a silent forest that was haunted by its many victims, or so went the legend. [photo courtesy of The Cahier Archive]. More at
Sat Jan 19 2013 16:02:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Detroit Auto Show Booths Show Biz is Back! Automakers took the wraps off 59 new models and concept cars in Detroit this week during the press days of the North American International Auto Show. And several auto brands, including Nissan, Toyota, Lexus and Porsche, also showed off bigger, new displays, a clear sign the companies are more upbeat about the industry’s turnaround in the U.S.
New booths aren’t cheap. Depending on the scope of the exhibit, the price tag can range from between $5 million and $10 million, according to an executive in the know who asked not to be named. “They don’t look at the exhibits as a one-time expense,” he said. That’s because they amortize the cost over the multiple years they are used. Plus, the exhibits get deployed to other auto shows
That’s what Nissan plans to do with its new multi-level display, probably the most dramatic at the show this year. Nissan is also the first carmaker at the show to use a piped-in scent. “We did some research and found that scent is one of the most emotional triggers,” Simon Sproule, group vice president of communications for Nissan Motor Co., told Forbes.com. The automaker will use the stand- or parts of it- at 10 other auto shows around the world this year, including the Shanghai Motor Show in China in April and Geneva show in March. He declined to discuss the cost of the booth, describing it only as “a great value.”
Nissan worked with scent marketing outfit Air Aroma to create a unique smell that from time to time wafts in the booth. The fresh, light scent, called Vert Oriental, is meant to mimic green tea leaf during the Chinese spring harvest.
Sproule said Nissan took a cue from super markets in the U.K. that pipe in a fresh bread smell.
Nissan rented 14,063-square feet for its booth, which is topped with a 150-foot-long halo that’s 45 feet wide. The three “rings” in the halo are cantilevered, not hung from the ceiling.
Music of three different genres will be piped into the exhibit during the show’s public days, depending on the time of day, Jon Brancheau, vice president-marketing for Nissan North America, told Forbes.com. “It’s all about sensory marketing- not just about sight,” he said.
The new display is a bold move for Nissan, which didn’t even show up at the 2009 auto show in Detroit during the depths of the recession.
Nissan wasn’t the only automaker to skip the show that year. It sibling Infiniti, as well as Porsche, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Rolls-Royce, Land Rover and Ferrari also decided not to have a booth in Detroit. All except Mitsubishi, Rolls- Royce and Suzuki were back at this year’s show.
Toyota and its upscale sibling, Lexus, are also making major plays this year with new displays for the auto show.
Lexus wanted a new, uniform booth design that mirrored its car design philosophy and to spotlight the new look, technology and luxury of the brand’s vehicles.
The new exhibit uses LED panels on the floor, covered with white etched glass that reflect on the cars and portray a high-tech aura. Two massive video screens at opposite ends inside the booth project serene scenes like water falls. The space also features an iconic box with mirror accents and an ultra suede interior to showcase the new LS F SPORT.
“Our vehicles appeal to global audiences so we wanted to develop a way to optimally highlight our cars and SUVs at all major auto shows,” said Mark Templin, group VP and general manager of Lexus USA. Among the other big shows the Lexus stand will be used are Geneva and Frankfurt.
The Toyota brand took the wraps off its biggest exhibit ever at the Detroit show. The Toyota brand added 6,000 square feet to the roughly 29,000 square feet it had last year. The brand wanted enough room to display 34 vehicles, including its big introduction the Furia Concept sedan, which made its world debut this week at the show.
“This year’s exhibit is a testament to Toyota’s standing as a world-class automaker,” said Ruslan Polinovsky, auto show engagement manager at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.
The suburban Detroit office of George P. Johnson designed and built the exhibits for both Toyota and Nissan.
Ford Motor Co.s Lincoln brand returned with the cool booth it introduced a year ago in Detroit that cost some $8 million.
Wed Nov 14 2012 02:30:31 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Real or Memorex? 1964 Thunderbird Squire—Taking one of my favorite Thunderbirds, the “Squarebird” of 1964-66, and making it into a classic 1960s Country Squire, was one of my more fun chops in the “early days.” I first had to make it into a four-door, predating the actual 4-door T-bird by three years, and posted a sedan version online first. Then I went further adding the wagon bodystyle and then the “wood” paneling. I would love to see someone build this today for the car show circuit! The rear trunk on these ‘Birds was low enough that the rear bumper/taillight assembly could be kept and a hatch added above it. Cutting the hatch into the roof, a la the Dodge Magnum, would be fine for ease of loading.