Category Archives: General Blog Entries

Vintage v Modern Motoring

The original Mini Cooper
The original Mini Cooper

There are many choices in motoring, these days. For me, I tend to be a very nostalgic person. I love most vintage things and though I have a great appreciation for modern cars, I tend to gravitate to the elder ones more often than not. I find them very engaging to drive and delight in their analog qualities. It’s a personal choice, but one that I recommend many enthusiasts try as I believe you will feel the same after driving one and living with it for a time. At the end of it all, you’ll emerge a better person for it.

Vintage Ferrari
Vintage Ferrari
Shelby Cobra
Shelby Cobra

If you are a casual user of the automobile, or view them as not much more than appliances, you might not understand this, but I invite you to read on. There are qualities in these cars worth noting; particularly in the older ones. Owning and driving one can change you in many ways. You will become adept at conversing with a wide range of people and will develop an appreciation for the finer details that can be found in places where you would least expect it.

Vintage Jaguar S Type
Vintage Jaguar S Type

Some of my favorite vintage cars are the ones that are very well used. They have a wonderful patina and the many blemishes tell a story about the car’s life. Well-worn paint often brings to mind the many times a caring owner polished it. A cracked and soft leather seat lets you know how many countless times someone sat in it and drove off on untold adventures. The worn pedals display the miles driven as much as the numbers on the odometer do.

There is much to love about the feel and sound of driving one as well. The experience goes well beyond the aesthetics. Every shift, every turn of the wheel and every press on the accelerator connects you to the road and the driving experience. You hear the exhaust note and feel the road in the seat of your pants and through the wheel. It guides you as you make demands of the car.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Austin Healey 100M
Austin Healey 100M

Every stop during your travels, be it a stop light or fuel stop, will no doubt result in countless conversations with admirers and like-minded individuals. For many, seeing a vintage car out and about brings back great memories for them and most are more than willing to share. If you’re the type to shy away from people, owning and running a vintage car will cure you of that. It won’t be long before you’re more than comfortable talking to almost anyone.

Jaguar XK120
Jaguar XK120

At the end of the day, living with and driving a vintage car makes you a much more well-rounded and appreciative person. That’s a good thing. We can all use a step back into the past every now and again. It’s an excellent way to get back into touch with reality and the people around us as we get more connected in a tactile way, rather than an electronic way.

Vintage dash and instruments
Vintage dash and instruments
Riley Brooklands Special gains a new admirer
Riley Brooklands Special gains a new admirer
Lamborghini Countach
Lamborghini Countach
Out and about in an MG GT
Out and about in an MG GT
Porsche 356 Convertible D
Porsche 356 Convertible D

Driving in the snow – It’s not just for 4x4s and AWD

Driving in the snow, it’s that time of the year again. A time when large amounts of snow fall from the sky bring visions of impending doom and end of the world scenarios. These situations are so cataclysmic, only toilet paper, milk, and bread can save your life. Yes, its winter and life may call upon you to drive during its duration. Or, you can just sit it out at home, which is fine as well.

BMW i8 winter driving
BMW i8

If you do venture out, all is not lost. Mankind has found within itself the ability to evolve. Over time we have adapted to, and overcome, many dire events and situations. This shall be no different. So read along and perhaps you too can survive the winter driving months. Before you know it, it will be time to complain about how it’s too hot.

Ferrari 458 Spider pausing for a photo-op GTspirit
Ferrari 458 Spider pausing for a photo-op GTspirit

Firstly, let’s all try to realize that when it starts to snow, slowing down can be a very good thing. You don’t have to stop, mind you, or creep along at a speed that would make a Hoveround suddenly a competitive sports car. Just drive with some caution and anticipation of what driving inputs might be required of you. No point in standing on the go fast peddle, or the brakes, when road conditions are slick. As with most things in life, use moderation.

Maserati Ghibli Q4 getting along just fine driving in the snow - by Motoroids
Maserati Ghibli Q4 getting along just fine – by Motoroids

Gently make requests of the accelerator and gas to increase or decrease speed. You’ll get there and very likely without hitting another car, curb, trash can, small rodent, or even a building. When possible, and if it’s safe to do so, use the old rolling stop to avoid situations where it might be difficult to get underway again. This is very true of hills. Stopping on a hill makes it very difficult to get rolling again when the roads are snow covered. Oh yes, and for the love of all that is holy, allow some space between you and others. Don’t run up and sniff the tailpipe of the driver in front of you. It will likely end badly. Try to stay about 8 seconds behind the vehicle you are following. Doing so will allow you time to adjust as needed.

Vintage Porsche 911 Carrera RS - by flatsixes driving in the snow
Vintage Porsche 911 Carrera RS – by flatsixes

Getting the proper shoes for your vehicle can also make all the difference in the world! Quite a few all-season tires just don’t cut it. You need to be mindful of the average conditions where you live and buy accordingly. A good snow tire is always best. If you’re going to throw caution to the wind and just hope for the best, do the rest of us a favor and at least make sure you have SOME tread on your car. Nothing less than 6/32 of an inch should be on your vehicle. All too often people wait until that first real snowfall to make changes in their tires. At that point, it could be too late and you might make others suffers the consequences of your life choices.

Lamborghini in the elements - by supercar kids driving in the snow
Lamborghini in the elements – by supercar kids

Lastly, you’ll find that a number of winter driving schools are available all across the nation through many different organizations. They are offered at a variety of locations from tracks to open lots and can be very helpful for every level of experienced driver. Check them out and sign up.

At the end of the day, it’s not so much what you’re driving, but how you’re driving it and how you’ve prepared yourself for the situation. I’ve seen very high end sports cars navigate the winter roads just fine and that includes cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini. Several of my friends, in fact, use their Porsches year round because they can and they do it like champs!

The Love for Bugatti

I think for most with a great passion for cars, Bugatti stands out as one of the all time greats. To own one is a fantasy for most and the highest privilege for a few. I can only imagine what it must be like to be a steward of one of these fine automobiles. Piloting one on backcountry roads would be exhilarating and a feast for all your senses. It’s also one of those cars that you could sit and look at for quite some time and always find something new and intriguing about it. Before long, you too will develop the love for Bugatti.

In the link attached, the good people at Petrolicious present a short film on a family that lives that privileged life. Take some time to watch and live vicariously through them as they care for and share the coveted marque ensuring it continues to make a lasting impression now and for future generations.

I hope you enjoy watching it and find it as wonderful as I did. The roots of this company come from a time of great and creative coachbuilding. A time when very artistic forms were created for cars not just for the bodies, but for every part of the car. Areas largely unseen received an artistic touch from fine engine turning to precise stitching. They were so much more than simple transportation and that is something that I have always appreciated about Bugatti and manufacturers like them.

Please pass this along to all you know who will appreciate it and learn from it. It’s a great and historic name in the automotive world and extends well beyond the very popular Veyron.

Many additional Bugatti images can be found on my Matthew Little Photography page as well as my facebook site. Check them out often as images are added all the time.

Vintage Motoring

The accompanying video from Petrolicious focuses on vintage supercars of the 70’s and what it is like to drive them. It demonstrates the joys of owning and running such cars and what about them creates the attraction, and addiction, for many. It’s a video that can be applied to the entirety of vintage car ownership in general.

I have great admiration for cars in general – old and new – but my true love tends to reside in the past. I find vintage cars much more engaging and rewarding to drive and if you know me, you know I chat about this fact ad nauseam.

Today’s cars are far safer and well ahead in terms of technology and usability, but they tend to create a situation where some of the passion is lost rendering the automobile as just a way to get around. They lack a voice and a distinct personality. You have to reach pretty high up into the world of super cars and hyper cars to find anything that can stir the emotions, but even then, I don’t think they captivate or engage like a vintage car.

Take any country road and drive it in a modern car and then a vintage car. I would wager you will end the trip having a more eventful experience in the vintage car. You will have driven the road and have been focused on it and engaged in the drive. I feel this is true even if you take out the most modern sports car. I love the style and technology packed into the new examples, but dislike the disconnect from when you could feel what was going on and thus, become a better and more attentive driver each time you went out.

 

The Glenmoor Gathering Reunion 2015

1950 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan
1950 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan

Not that long ago, there was a tremendous event held in Ohio that featured some of the finest automobiles in the world. This celebration was The Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles and it entertained thousands for 18 years. Each one of those years was a great one celebrating everything from the rarest cars ever made to a wonderfully impractical Russian boat. It was sad to see it all end after the 2012 season as it had become a favorite stop on the ever growing concourse schedule for many. I’ve missed that show quite a bit, so when I was told there was going to be a “Reunion” this year, it made my day and was a no brainer as far as getting out there to attend.

1954 Gullwing Mercedes-Benz 300SL
1954 Gullwing Mercedes-Benz 300SL
1972 Mazda Cosmo Sport
1972 Mazda Cosmo Sport

The location on the grounds of the Glenmoor Country Club always suited the original show very well and I looked forward to visiting again. The weather was perfection and the turnout impressive with a wide array of motoring greats on hand for the viewing. At that moment, it was probably the only place on earth where you could look at a 1954 Gullwing Mercedes one moment and then step down the field a bit and find yourself standing in front of a 1988 Yugo GVX. Quite a range in what was on hand for those in attendance and certainly something for everyone.

1953 Chevy Two-Ten Sedan
1953 Chevy Two-Ten Sedan

I hope there will be more events like this in the future. It’s a great way to celebrate the show that once was as well as catch up with old friends and make new ones. Enjoy the accompanying photos and please follow this link to find the full gallery of images from the day. Keep your eyes and ears open for a future event, too as you won’t want to miss it! Enjoy!

1988 Yugo GVX
1988 Yugo GVX
Ferrari 458 Spider
Ferrari 458 Spider
Interior detail of Ferrari 458 Spider
Interior detail of Ferrari 458 Spider
Ford Hot Rod
Ford Hot Rod
1982 Talbot Matra Murena
1982 Talbot Matra Murena
1950 Custom Oldsmobile "The Polynesian"
1950 Custom Oldsmobile “The Polynesian”

Porsche 911 Targa 4S Love

Porsche 911 Targa 4S top in action
Porsche 911 Targa 4S top in action

I’m a very nostalgic person to say the least. Though not that old yet, I’m told I act it at times. I do have an affinity for most vintage things and though I have a great appreciation for modern sports cars, I tend to gravitate to the elder ones more often than not. I find them to be very engaging to drive and delight in their analog qualities. For this shoot, I would be splitting my time between both modern and vintage. Both cars were Porsches, but from different eras and after drive both, I enjoyed the new Targa quite a bit.

Porsche 911 Targa 4S and Cabriolet
Porsche 911 Targa 4S and Cabriolet

The modern Porsche came in the form of a beautifully spec’d 911 Targa 4S with an automated roof stowing system so unnecessarily complicated, I could watch it all day long. It was a thoughtful evolution of the original sporting the iconic brushed hoop and gills. The sapphire blue metallic paint was the perfect wrap and an excellent accompaniment to the black and Luxor beige interior. The cabriolet was a bright red affair of 80s vintage and felt very familiar as I have coupe of similar age. This one was just a bit older than mine and was like catching up with an old friend.

Porsche 911 Cabriolet
Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Now, how to make these cars stand out for their big day in front of the lens. Well for that, nothing makes cars like these stand out more than a nice industrial setting. I know, it’s been done to death and is nearly cliché, but It’s a setting that showcases cars well for a wide variety of reasons. So, off we went to a pre-selected site managed by a very understanding owner who was kind enough to grant us access for the morning. The facility was still in use and provided the perfect environment for the shoot with gritty industrial surroundings providing a great contrast for the beauty presented by the two Porsches.

Porsche 911 Targa 4S and vintage Cabriolet
Porsche 911 Targa 4S and vintage Cabriolet
Porsche 911 Targa 4S top stowed
Porsche 911 Targa 4S top stowed

The day went well, but all too quickly. I could have spent much more time finding various ways to capture these two Porsches, but such is life and I like to think my family would start to miss me after a bit. Both of the cars and the people involved behaved quite well making this yet another fantastic shoot. I could describe the environment and cars more, but that’s really what the photos are for, so get comfortable and enjoy the posted shots of these two great Porsches. For the complete gallery of the day and to order digital downloads, just follow this link. Enjoy!

Porsche 911 Targa 4S interior
Porsche 911 Targa 4S interior
Porsche 911 Targa 4S headrest detail
Porsche 911 Targa 4S headrest detail
Porsche 911 Targa 4S wheel detail
Porsche 911 Targa 4S wheel detail
Porsche 911 Targa 4S
Porsche 911 Targa 4S
Porsche 911 Targa 4S and Cabriolet
Porsche 911 Targa 4S and Cabriolet
Porsche 911 Targa 4S
Porsche 911 Targa 4S

The Janis Joplin Porsche 356

Though not as rare as seeing Halley’s Comet, catching a glimpse of Janis Joplin’s 356 out in the wild is pretty high on the list of rare occurrences. That fact made the cars appearance at this year’s Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix quite special and a moment not to be missed.

Uncovering the Janis Joplin Porsche 356
Uncovering the Janis Joplin Porsche 356

The cars arrival to Pittsburgh was a long one starting about 5 years ago when its acquisition was initiated as part of Porsche being the Marque for the 2011 event. While on display at another venue, the Joplin 356 was damaged and required repair that prevented it from making the trip to Pittsburgh. The damage to the car also made it that much more difficult to obtain as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum was even more reluctant to let it outside its facility for view. It took quite a bit of work, but the dedicated effort of a few key members of the Allegheny Region of the Porsche Club of America pulled through and secured the car for display.

The Janis Joplin Porsche 356 ready for the show field
The Janis Joplin Porsche 356 ready for the show field
Rolling the Janis Joplin Porsche 356 off the transporter
Rolling the Janis Joplin Porsche 356 off the transporter

Seeing it for the first time was a special moment. It’s an iconic car with mass appeal to car enthusiasts, music lovers and history buffs alike. Seeing it arrive quietly in an understated transporter was a delight as it offered time to study the car at a moment that would be short lived. The car would soon be covered again after unloading as it awaited thousands of viewers over the race and show weekend.

The Janis Joplin Porsche 356 ready for show
The Janis Joplin Porsche 356 ready for show

The unloading was handled quickly and carefully by members of the Allegheny Region of the Porsche Club as they were the caretakers of the car while on display in Pittsburgh. As the cover was pulled back from the car, the bright paintwork was reviled to the sun light making for quite a marvelous sight. It was then gently removed from the transporter and pushed into its resting spot for the show. Though restored, the car does is not run so as to save the engine and other mechanical parts. As a result, it must be pushed into position whenever moved. So gloves were the order of the day to protect the paint which is never polished or buffed – neither are the tires. The soft ground added an extra challenge to moving the car around, but all went smoothly.

For the next two days, spectators would be treated to the rare gem and were offered a very close view of the fascinating and mesmerizing paint work. Its imagery offers great insight to a significant period of modern US history and can keep you transfixed as you study it endlessly.  All manner of imagery is spread across the body of the car capturing portraits of the singer, her band and Dave Richards who helped Janis paint the car originally as well as political statements and choice psychedelic imagery.

Fender detail of the Janis Joplin Porsche 356
Fender detail of the Janis Joplin Porsche 356
Detail of the driver's door on the Janis Joplin Porsche 356
Detail of the driver’s door on the Janis Joplin Porsche 356
Rear view of the Janis Joplin Porsche 356
Rear view of the Janis Joplin Porsche 356

Having this car on display was a huge win for both the Allegheny Region of the Porsche Club of America and the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. It added one more element to an event that continues to grow in local and global significance and has helped raise awareness for the charities that benefit from the event represented by the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School.

More information about Janis Joplin and the car can be found here and many more images can be found by following this link. Enjoy!

Right rear quarter detail of the Janis Joplin Porsche 356
Right rear quarter detail of the Janis Joplin Porsche 356
Hood detail of the Janis Joplin Porsche 356
Hood detail of the Janis Joplin Porsche 356
The Janis Joplin Porsche 356 under the tent
The Janis Joplin Porsche 356 under the tent

2015 PVGP Downtown Parade and Show

Looking up at PPG
Looking up at PPG

It’s been a very damp year here in Pittsburgh. Most car related events have required the inclusion of umbrellas, shammies, and other necessary wet weather gear. The ongoing joke has been that it has rained just twice this year, once for 76 days and then again for 68. This day, however, was a pleasant deviation from the norm. Though it did drizzle lightly early, the day got much better and was a brilliant one from late morning on for the 2015 PVGP Downtown Parade and Show.

Saab Sonett ready for show
Saab Sonett ready for show
The Dodge Viper of Jim Stout
The Dodge Viper of Jim Stout

Most of the participants formed up in Station Square which is a charming little business area just across the river to the south of the city. It boasts some great shops, professional offices and restaurants as well as a new soccer arena. It’s a great setting to form up for the parade into town and offers some great views of the city while you wait.

Payload display in a vintage Ford Truck
Payload display in a vintage Ford Truck

With a police escort provided by Pittsburgh’s finest, the participants for the day’s parade and show left the staging area for their various locations throughout the city. Many would head to Steel Plaza at the base of the old US Steel building while the rest would scatter throughout town at Market Square, PPG Plaza and Point State Park. All locations provided beautiful settings and a party like atmosphere. It’s an all too short event, but well worth the trip even just to spectate.

BMW Isetta packed and ready to go
BMW Isetta packed and ready to go
Beautiful vintage VW Bug
Beautiful vintage VW Bug
Fully in the mood for the day
Fully in the mood for the day

Try to join the fun next year if you have not been down. It’s great fun and you’ll be glad you did it. Enjoy the rest of the photos and follow this link for a full gallery of images from the day and remember, any print or merchandise purchases help to support the PVGP charities!

Roush Mustang
Roush Mustang
Steel Plaza display for PVGP
Steel Plaza display for PVGP
BMW i8 and others gathered in Market Square
BMW i8 and others gathered in Market Square
Alfa Romeo racecar at PPG
Alfa Romeo racecar at PPG
Ferrari 458
Ferrari 458
Austin Healey 3000 at PPG
Austin Healey 3000 at PPG

2015 PVGP Waterfront Car Cruise

The last two years rained like nobody’s business. It just hammered down torrents of rain. Despite that, the show went on and some great cars were on display for a very large crowd. This year…well, this year was more of the same. It rained a bit, and then stopped. It then rained some more for a good bit, but that was around the time most decided to grab a bite to eat, so not so bad. Then it stopped again only to start up near the end. Despite that nonsense, it was a well-attended show that saw the automotive faithful displaying some very nice cars, trucks, and hot rods.

Triumph TR 4 at PVGP Waterfront Car Cruise
Triumph TR 4 at PVGP Waterfront Car Cruise
1954 Buick Special
1954 Buick Special

They were scattered about, but a bit of walking rewarded you with some very nice eye candy along with entertainment, merchandise to buy and some very good places to eat and shop. Quite a few Model As made the trip down along with some Hudsons, Studebakers, Buicks, Mustangs, Thunderbirds, and on and on. There was an appropriately prepared Dodge truck sporting a lift kit that had it well dressed for what many that live believes is the impending apocalypse. My Citroen DS 21 shadow even made the trip down. I have seen this car more times this year than I have over the past several years. I really need to get one of my own.

Large and in charge Dodge truck
Large and in charge Dodge truck
Jaguar xk120
Jaguar xk120

All in all, it was a great evening enjoyed by many. Take a look at the photos from this post and please follow this link for the full gallery. You may also purchase images from the galleries in either print or merchandise form. A portion of the proceeds helps to support the PVGP charities. Enjoy!

1957 Ford Thunderbird
1957 Ford Thunderbird
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Citroen DS 21
Citroen DS 21
Ford Hot Rod
Ford Hot Rod
Rolls-Royce
Rolls-Royce

 

The 2015 PVGP Walnut Street Invitational

This quite possibly might be my favorite event of the week. I should note that that sentiment has nothing to do with the fact that as I age, I get less enthusiastic about walking great distances to see things. Writing that just made me tired. I like to think I enjoy this event because the show has everything from great shopping, food, people, atmosphere, and oh yes…marvelous cars. The setting is well suited to the wide array of automotive history on display that is curated by one of the finest automotive junkies I know. He never disappoints and always makes sure there are cars that will appeal to a broad range of people. If you can’t find a car at this show that speaks to you, then I would suspect that you have no interest in cars.

Alfa Romeo Spider
Alfa Romeo Spider

This year was as brilliant as ever with vintage powerhouses and modern sports cars to racecars and hot rods on display. Even American and British classic were on hand to dazzle and delight with their shiny bits and pieces. Though it rained, which it has done quite a lot this year, the crowds were still strong as was the turnout of cars. I’ll let the photos do the talking with this one as they easily show the breadth of the significant cars on display. It was a fantastic show that was very well attended and boasted a great display of Italy’s finest.

On the corner with a Lamborghini Countach
On the corner with a Lamborghini Countach
A lovely Moto Guzzi
A lovely Moto Guzzi

I think if I had to be pinned down to pick a car from this display it would have been the MG Midget “Rat Rod” but then that likely has more to do with my mood at the moment than anything else, but that was a very cool car. I have a very long and eclectic list of cars that interest me so my answer to that question changes frequently. In reality, if my life depended on it, I probably couldn’t come up with a top favorite car. I could give you my top 5, though…or 10.

"Rat Rod" MG Midget
“Rat Rod” MG Midget

At any rate, it was a superb evening. Eyetique had a party going well into the evening and most hung around to the bitter end. For a full gallery of the event just follow this link. You should get your fill there. Enjoy and the next show is in just a few hours!

Excellent live entertainment
Excellent live entertainment
Beautiful Jaguar E-Type
Beautiful Jaguar E-Type
The mighty Lamborghini Countach
The mighty Lamborghini Countach
1960 Cadillac
1960 Cadillac
Beck Porsche 904
Beck Porsche 904
A very distinguished Franklin
A very distinguished Franklin
Alfa Romeo Giulia SS
Alfa Romeo Giulia SS