All posts by Matthew Little

2015 Pittsburgh International Auto Show

If you’re a car nut, the intro photo is pretty much all you need to know about this year’s Pittsburgh International Auto Show. It was a highlight display giving attendees some unique cars to drool over and fantasize about that they otherwise would likely never see. Not even on a great day. But another highlight to the show was a somewhat unnoticed event that takes place every year the night before the show opens to the public.

The Auto Show is put on by the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealer Association and before the public comes through the doors; their foundation holds a Red Carpet Gala that allows a sneak peek of the show as well as entertainment and fundraising for a select charity. This year the event featured the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. The GPADA became the presenting sponsor of the PVGP last year and used this event to showcase their involvement as well as to present a check to the PVGP and the charities supported by it – The Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School. The result of everyone’s involvement and hard work last year was a check totaling $360,000.00! Quite an achievement and a new record for the PVGP. It was a great way to kick-start an evening of celebration, good food and lively entertainment.

PVGP Check Presentation
PVGP Check Presentation

PVGP Group shot
PVGP Group shot

The new poster design for the 2015 PVGP
The new poster design for the 2015 PVGP

The next day left no evidence as to what took place the night before. The show was ready for the public well before opening with all cars, save the rather pricey ones, awaiting potential buyers’ abuse. New to the show this year was Algar Ferrari. What a welcome sight they were! This area, as illustrated by the Cars & Coffee display, is eager to purchase fine sports cars so it was great to see them make the trip in from Philadelphia. Sad to see local dealers that carry Bentley and Maserati absent, but perhaps that will change next year. If nothing else, they bring more people through the doors.

In the end, it was a very well attended show and for those out to buy a car, there was much to climb in and check out. So enjoy the few images posted here and for a full on sensory attack, follow this gallery link for all of the event images. Enjoy!

The mighty McLaren P1
The mighty McLaren P1

Lamborghini Aventador Anniversario
Lamborghini Aventador Anniversario

Lincoln display
Lincoln display

You can't have enough McLaren P1
You can’t have enough McLaren P1

Ariel Atom
Ariel Atom

Chevy Camaro
Chevy Camaro

Corvette Z06
Corvette Z06

Lexus RC F Sport Coupe
Lexus RC F Sport Coupe

BMW i8
BMW i8

Chasing a sale
Chasing a sale

2015 Pittsburgh World of Wheels

Okay. The title is a bit misleading as you might think you will find info on the entire World of Wheels show. Truth be told, I am very biased when it comes to this event. I go mostly to see the Rat Rods. I don’t get to see those cars as often as the other ones on display so I spend nearly all my time around them.

That said, you will find a few images of other cars in attendance. But only very few. So if you like Rat Rods and pinstriping, then press on! I have posted a few images here and you can find the rest through this main gallery link. It was a great show with a lot of cars on display from some enormously talented builders and owners. It’s a show that’s well worth your time if you love muscle cars, movie cars, dragsters, customs, and all types of rods.

Enjoy!

Five window coupe sporting a 331 Hemi
Five window coupe sporting a 331 Hemi
Rat Rod pickup truck
Rat Rod pickup truck
1930 Ford Model A
1930 Ford Model A
Rat Rod dually
Rat Rod dually
Ford Model A Roadster
Ford Model A Roadster

Some of the finer details of the display included clever little mascots and some fantastic pinstriping art created by artists on location during the event. An auction featuring their work took place during the event and benefited the Autism Society of Pittsburgh. At the end, just over $23,000.00 was raised. Not too shabby!

Artist at work
Artist at work
Auction art
Auction art
Hot Rod auction art
Hot Rod auction art
Pinstriping art
Pinstriping art

No proper Rat Rod or Hot Rod is complete without a welcoming mascot to greet folks passing by.

Skeleton Rat Rod mascot
Skeleton Rat Rod mascot
Devil gear shift
Devil gear shift
Skull door lock detail
Skull door lock detail

Find more here.

Mascots of a Different Kind

I thoroughly enjoy Rat Rods and love the mascots their builders create for them even more. They are typically clever little characters and are the perfect finishing touch to the personality of the car. There is so much incredible detail to look at on these cars, but I do find myself spending extra time on the mascots. Many lead the way in “re-purposing” to the point environmentalists should be celebrating them and holding them up as poster children for recycling.

Sure the cars themselves pop out a bit more than the average Prius on the emissions end of things, but they more than make up for it in recycling. These Rat Rodders are leading the way! Just check out the handy work in the hood ornament below. Most people would throw that stuff out because they lack vision.

Skeleton Hood Ornament
Skeleton Hood Ornament

And check these great sculptures out. These builders possess so much creativity that when they run out of space on the car they just make a full size figure to go with it. All joking aside, they really are a very creative and artistic group of people and well worth your time to visit with at any show.

Custom built Rat Rod skeleton
Custom built Rat Rod skeleton
Skull and Tire Iron
Skull and Tire Iron

I will have much more to ad to this topic in a few weeks. If you want to peruse some general Hot Rod and Rat Rod shots in the meantime, just click on this gallery and this one as well. There is no end to the detail you will find in these cars or the little mascots guiding them. It’s everywhere you look.

Cheers!

A Devilish Pair
A Devilish Pair
The Jester
The Jester
Simple Skull
Simple Skull

 

Heading Into the New Year

This got here a lot quicker than I felt it would. Such is life, though, as we motor ahead. Everything moves quicker whether we wish for it to or not. That feeling is likely due to the fact I aint getting any younger and my kids are growing way too fast! It’s the only speed I would like to slow down.

The up side is, I get to jump into new projects quickly and this year will see a multitude of new opportunities with unique commercial shoots, private commissions and art shoots as well as a multitude of shows and special features on select cars.

I encourage you to check back often and share these posts with anyone that will appreciate them. The first few features will be on some unique restoration shops with mad skills! The work rolling out of these shops is nothing short of stunning and is pure art!

Have a great year and keep checking back here often. Take care!

Ford Mustang at Watkins Glen
Ford Mustang at Watkins Glen

The Best Kids Car Ever!

We’ve all seen the great little plastic electric cars sold at toy stores. Little plastic wheels with sticker gauges and hard plastic molded seats with plastic on them formed from even more plastic. Some of them are decently optioned and look the part. Others, not so much and their efforts to conceal the make and model are often comical. This car, however, hides nothing and is so wonderfully appointed that you likely would wish to travel back in time to your youth and drive it yourself.

Kids electric car cockpit
Kids electric car cockpit

Everything about this car is special. A point that becomes very clear under close inspection of the hand crafted parts. It is more work of art than toy car. You want to protect it and set it aside for special viewing in your home. More of an art piece that you talk about and point at while it shimmers under its own accent lighting. It’s so perfect! Still, I would love to risk its destruction just to see a child drive this around as I can’t imagine it being anything less than utter bliss. It even has its own tool kit, driving gloves and a leather helmet!

Kids electric car on the road
Kids electric car on the road

How the car came into existence is a story unto itself. The entire project started based on some rejected radiator shells that had been created for an Auburn pedal car that another person was restoring. So logically, this miniature Duesenberg just had to grow from that seed. Every part is either hand made or found. The gauge bezels are from both the tops of beer cans and energy drinks. There is a stunning glass marble affixed to the end of the drive selector, which works by the way, and the leather components are all hand sewn. Under the bonnet  lurks a beautiful faux engine. Every detail is present from miniature spark plugs and ignition wires to carburetors and exhaust. Pity the bonnet isn’t transparent, though it’s concealment of the engine does invite you to undo the leather strap and lift the cover to see what hides from view.

Kids electric car "engine"
Kids electric car “engine”
Kids electric car tool kit
Kids electric car tool kit

It can’t be stressed enough that this is a masterpiece and it was a wonderful opportunity to document it. It looked right at home in every location we placed it and drew the attention of anyone in the area. Young and old alike were drawn to this and it’s rather obvious why.

Front view of the kids electric car
Front view of the kids electric car

It’s currently looking for a new home as its builder is looking to work on other projects. I hope it gets used. To enjoy something like this as a child would certainly make a lasting impression that would no doubt foster a great love of the automobile. How many kids get to experience something like this? True motoring with a fully functioning electric Duesenberg that offers an engaging and tactile experience that a lot of cars for us adults don’t deliver.

The artisan behind the kids electric Duesenberg
The artisan behind the kids electric Duesenberg

For more images of this marvel, please follow this gallery link. It’s well worth the time as there is plenty more to see. Enjoy!

BMW M3 Photo Shoot

First off, what a marvelous car! Wonderful lines sporting the perfect color and dressed in just the right amount of carbon fiber. I love it! It’s the kind of car you want to drive all day with no particular destination in mind and you can do so in relative anonymity. Anything goes with this car from track to street. It’s just perfect and true to its intended purpose of providing the owner with the ultimate driving machine.

BMW M3
BMW M3

Add to that, stunning good looks. The lines on this BMW M3 fascinate me and stand out in any light. It has the perfect balance of curves and creases. As a result, I was happy to have been asked to photograph it.

BMW M3
BMW M3

We started off shooting the car at the track to get some nice panning shots but also to potentially capture some sideways action. The later did not occur as nobody wants to get kicked off the track. It’s not even worth trying to fake it being accidental. Besides, the next thing you know, you’ve had an off track agricultural excursion resulting in unintentionally mating with the armco. No one wins in that situation and then I have to act like I have no idea what’s going on. I’m not a good actor. Anyway, we have an opportunity to do it with a blessing very soon so all good things come to pass eventually.

BMW M3 gauge cluster
BMW M3 gauge cluster

So, with a good amount of stills and action shots captured, we set about planning the next few shoot locations. I have quite a few I like for fall and the roads tend to be traveled infrequently at most times of the year. Oh, except when you’re doing a shoot and then the one you are counting on hosts a charity walk and shuts down half the park. The backup worked perfectly, though, so no harm. And actually, that second choice location was better. Great fall color and the car looked right at home in the natural setting.

BMW M3 Country road leaf removal.
BMW M3 Country road leaf removal.

It gave us a great opportunity to demonstrate the cars leaf removal abilities as well. Always nice to lend a hand to the local community when you blow through town and I feel certain, they appreciated it greatly.

BMW M3 basking in the sun
BMW M3 basking in the sun

We made a few more stops later in the day, but have plans for additional shoots including a very nice out of the ordinary location that should provide a suitable amount of danger. Should be some good fun coming up quite soon. You can find the full gallery from this shoot here and I will be adding to it as we do more shoots with this car. Keep checking back as there will be a lovely Fly Yellow 308 gracing this page soon!

 

 

Ferrari 430 Scuderia Photo Shoot

A few months back I was shooting a track day at the newly improved Pitt Race in Beaver Pennsylvania. While there, I struck up a conversation with the owner of a beautiful Ferrari 430 Scuderia. He was running the car just the way it had been intended and was very open to taking the car to a variety of places you normally wouldn’t want to for a shoot. We scheduled some days and set to capturing his car in some rather unique settings outside just the track. Though the track was much fun.

Ferrari 430 Scuderia on track.
Ferrari 430 Scuderia on track.

We headed into town a few days later after I had found some great back alleys and a bit of urban decay. The settings were wonderful and for the first time, I was not running about, removing trash and other items from the foreground and background. This was one time I wanted all the crap in the shot. Well except for the smell. The first location did have an occasional odor that was less than pleasant depending upon the breeze. Thankfully, cameras don’t capture that element, yet. I’m sure at some point in time it will be someones brilliant idea to have a scented spray emanate from your monitor and assault your senses with a smell that correlates to the image you just looked at. That could be good and very very bad.

Ferrari 430 Scuderia lurking in a back alley.
Ferrari 430 Scuderia lurking in a back alley.

Back on topic, we got some great shots in with perfect light and gradually moved our way up and down the truncated and rather narrow alley. It really is a great spot, but man is it tight. We had to remove the car completely to get turned around for different angles. Still worth the work. The car looked stunning here.

Ferrari 430 Scuderia looking down the alley.
Ferrari 430 Scuderia looking down the alley.

Next stop, mostly unused railroad tracks and rusted structures. Oh, and piles of huge tires. Must have huge tires.

Ferrari 430 Scuderia under the tracks.
Ferrari 430 Scuderia under the tracks.

This was one spot that the car managed to attract much attention from people in traffic as well as in the surrounding buildings. It’s nice to be noticed and it’s rather hard no to be in a brilliant red Ferrari. One gent driving by was even nice enough to display his sense of humor by acting as though he was going to crash into the car. Sooooo unbelievably hilarious. We never laughed so hard as he jerked the wheel toward the Ferrari and then back at the last second while flashing the international symbol for, just kidding. What a funny moment.

Ferrari 430 Scuderia rear deck.
Ferrari 430 Scuderia rear deck.

With that behind us, we did a bit of off-roading which you can see in the gallery posted here. We then moved into town and finished the shoot in the plaza of PPG. A most spectacular setting to end the shoot if I do say so myself. Wonderful reflections and architectural elements surrounded us. As did the police, but they came with the property and we had permission to shoot that day.

Ferrari 430 Scuderia PPG Plaza
Ferrari 430 Scuderia PPG Plaza

Next up, a very energetic BMW M3.

Concours D’Elegance at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens 2014

There is a new show in town and its first time out of the gate looked pretty impressive. The Concours D’Elegance at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens boasted beautiful grounds, elegant cars and bikes as well as some great food. This show has also filled a void, for many including myself, that was left with the departure of the Glenmoor Gathering. A show that was held at the same time of the year and had a marvelous run of 18 years. David W, Schultz, along with many others responsible for the Glenmoor Gathering, made this new event possible. Once again, they have done a sterling job picking a wonderful venue and then covering its grounds with some of the most beautiful machines you will ever see.

This first year for Stan Hywet focused on Pierce-Arrow. A company that got its start manufacturing delicate, gilded birdcages of all things. The company then added bicycles to their line followed by the automobile.

1936 Pierce-Arrow Model 1601
1936 Pierce-Arrow Model 1601

The earliest Pierce-Arrow example represented was a 1909 Model 36 producing, as you might have guessed, 36 horsepower. By the time this car was introduced by the company, they had already gained a reputation for building premier motorcars. No less than a dozen or so Pierce-Arrows were on display from 1909 through 1936. It was a very impressive array of some of their finer creations.

Sharing the grounds with Pierce-Arrow were greats like Dueseberg, Packard, Cord, Lincoln, Alfa Romeo, Allard, and Maserati. That just names a few and does not do justice to the breadth of manufacturers on display this year. I could have spent far more than the allotted time for the show examining each and every car. Nothing presented could have been considered mundane.

1922 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8
1922 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8

It was a very special event that attracted highly desirable cars along with a group of very knowledgeable judges. On hand to lead the charge in this difficult task was Chief Judge Paul F. Sable. He along with his erudite automotive team made their way through the vehicles to make the tough decisions that someone like myself would have great difficulty doing. In settings like this, I’m much like a child running from car to car easily distracted by shiny things.

I encourage all to find room in your busy schedules to attend this event. It is a brilliant location to showcase some of the finest cars man has put his hand to. I eagerly look forward to next year and well imagine it will be equally as stunning. I again will no doubt run about in an effort to take it all in while trying to look as professional as possible. Do take the time to look through my gallery of the event to see just how remarkable this year’s event was.

1931 Franklin Series 15
1931 Franklin Series 15

U.S. Vintage Grand Prix Watkins Glen 2014

I always love going to this event. The vintage racing at Watkins Glen never fails to produce some great memories and there is almost always some very special cars in attendance. This year I was drawn to a stunning 1968 Alfa Romeo T33/2 Daytona. This is a car that gets its name from the fact that it won its class at the 24 hours of Daytona. Not a minor achievement.

Alfa Romeo T33/2 Daytona adding additional class to the garage at Watkins Glen.
Alfa Romeo T33/2 Daytona adding additional class to the garage at Watkins Glen.

Equally impressive, though, was the Bentley Mulsanne that joined us in the camp grounds. Not sure I can think of a more interesting car to show up in. I tip my hat to that individual for sharing his car with us while at the same time raising our aspirations. The Campgrounds never disappoint when it comes to seeing unique cars and campers.

Bentley Mulsanne at Watkins Glen
Bentley Mulsanne at Watkins Glen

The track action was what you would expect with a bit of everything going on. There is always the group running at the front pounding away for victory. Not to suggest the rest are just out there doing parade laps, though. No, there was still good racing through and through for every group and with vintage cars, I’m just glad to see them out there. It’s a far better way to experience these cars and it trumps a museum nearly all the time. Hearing many of these cars at full chat will stay in your mind for a long time. Which is good as some of them will cause you to go deaf.

1965 Ford Mustang HiPro at Watkins Glen.
1965 Ford Mustang HiPro at Watkins Glen.
1959 Lister Costin exiting the Boot at Watkins Glen.
1959 Lister Costin exiting the Boot at Watkins Glen.
1996 Fabcar 911 exiting turn 1 at Watkins Glen.
1996 Fabcar 911 exiting turn 1 at Watkins Glen.

This will always be an event that is well worth your time if you have not been. I highly recommend attending and if you have budding car enthusiasts, do take them along. I have no doubt they will enjoy every minute of it.

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