Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today announced the appointment of Julien Montousse as Director of Design at its Irvine, California-based design studio.

The new man with the plan, Julien Montousse.

Congratulations, and keep our Soul alive.

The appreciation in classic cars—classified by Coutts as those that have been auctioned for more than $500,000 and have been sold more than 10 times—dwarves that of U.S. stocks, which put in a strong performance in 2014. Read More

According to a filing with the state of California, Seeo's battery technology may help to increase energy density by 50 to 100 percent, which could significantly increase the operating range of an electric vehicle.

Hayward, Calif.-based Seeo has an exclusive license to core patents from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that could help Bosch produce lightweight batteries on an industrial scale.

Seeo's advanced lithium polymer cells have an energy density of 350 watt-hours per kilogram, roughly twice the level of batteries used in today's electric vehicles.

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According to Autoblog, Musk was asked during Tesla’s latest earnings call about a comment from Uber CEO Travis Kalanick about his desire to buy 500,000 autonomous Teslas from the auto manufacturer in five years time. The follow up question was, “cut out the middle man and sell on-demand electric mobility services directly from the company on its own platform?”

“That’s an insightful question,” Musk said. “I don’t think I should answer it.”

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That’s because it belonged to Keith Richards in the swinging sixties, a time where each Rolling Stone member had his own statement vehicle that announced the arrival of a rock star – or at least that’s what Bonhams say, the auction house responsible for selling this classical Bentley. 

Like I stated before, being a rock star and having a Roller or a Bentley in the 1960s was the ultimate counterculture statement. Just like graffiti, a big luxury barge represented the anti-conformity of aligning with what was considered the “normal established standard” in those times. 

That said, this car was bought from new in 1965 by Keith Richards and was affectionately named “Blue Lena” after the legendary jazz musician, Lena Horne. Moreover, the car was later modified with a secret compartment in which Richards and the band could…“conceal” their highly illegal narcotics. 

And this isn’t an urban legend, but the truth spoken by Richards in his 2010 autobiography: 

"It was a car meant to be driven fast at night. My dark blue Bentley, my S3 Continental Flying Spur – an automobile of some rarity, one of a limited edition of 87. Having this car was already heading for trouble, breaking the rules of the establishment, driving a car I was definitely not born in to. 'Blue Lena' had carried us on many an acid-fuelled journey."

As the story goes, in 1967, police raided Keith Richard’s house right when him and the band where in a middle of a “hedonistic” party where the band was found high on various illegal substances. Richards was charged with possession of illegal substances and in the run up to his court – in order to escape the media – he and the band decided to go on an oversea adventure to a place where drugs were legal – Marrakech, Morocco. 

More specifically, Keith Richards and Brian Jones along with model Anita Pallenberg (Jones’s girlfriend at that time) and friend Deborah Dixon, used this exact Bentley in their travels. Moreover, according to Bonhams, Jones was struck with pneumonia along the journey and he was hospitalized leaving Richards alone with Pallenberg in the Bentley for the rest of the trip; needless to say, that marked the beginning of a relationship that ended after 23 years between the two. 

Blue Lena was sold by Richards in 1978 and had just three owners since then. Not only that but it comes to the auction block after a 5-year restoration with an estimated price between £400,000-600,000 ($627,280 - $940,920).

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Bodyguard crashes boss' £1 MILLION Pagani Zonda supercar into a fence while driving back from MOT

Imagine getting your hands on one of your most coveted automobiles (so what if it's your boss's and he only asked to park it), and then you wreck it, and I mean TOTAL the car of your dreams? What to do?

Read it and weep, courtesy of the Mirror

In the postwar era, Los Angeles was ground zero for the emergence of a racy custom car aesthetic that was largely based upon the 1949 - 1951 Mercurys, the most modern automotive design lineup in the immediate postwar era.

’Twas a shocking sight to see the small collection of Mercury Customs on the lawn at Pebble Beach juxtaposed against the elegant show-winning Isotta Fraschini and a spectacular assemblage of Ferraris, but after the shock wore off, one could see the hand of craftsmen shaping sheet metal to their own purpose, the stuff Concours celebrate in their annual assemblies.

Shown here In all it’s chopped and channeled glory is the 1951 Mercury ICM Custom Coupe created by builder Barris Kustoms for client Bob Hirohata. Squint your eyes a bit when looking at the profile view of this car and you may see echoes of the famous French coachbuilders Figoni et Falaschi chrome slash that adorned the sleekest automotive designs of the 1930s.

Barris Kustoms clearly had an unrestrained gleam in their eye when they expertly removed the Mercury B pillar, lowered the car and chopped the roofline to exaggerate this zoomy body design. Plenty of lead was used to fill the holes left after carving the original Mercury into its new configuration. The entire confection was completed in only 97 shop days—just in time for Bob Petersen’s 1952 International Motorama held in Los Angeles. The insane production schedule may have been a blessing in disguise for the finished car is minimally adorned except for it’s broad, bold body strokes. Frozen in time within the hammered metal of this 1951 Mercury Custom is the flash and dash of the immediate postwar design period.

In days to come we will celebrate new unrestrained automotive designs expertly thrown together in a matter of weeks as expressions of man’s need to exert his own style over his transportation. Let’s hope the results will be just as successful as Pebble Beach showed us this year in this interesting display of customized Mercurys.

Hagerty Predicts Collectible Car Auction Prices will Slow

Venerable collectable car expert, Michael Hagerty, predicts recent soaring auction prices for collectible automobiles will slow.

In 2010, when the economic concept of the "New Normal", was formulating itself in the public mind, the big money was quietly placing bets on collectible automobiles as a new form of "hard currency". Were they right? Yes, classic car auction results validate that investing in rare automobiles as an appreciating asset was a smart move at that time.

As America has struggled with the recession, rejiggered health care, student debt and a housing crisis, the appreciation in classic car prices has been unprecedented since 2010. But now come the first withering signs that this economic bubble may be about to burst. Will the prospect of a new "Asian Contagion" courtesy of China's slowdown tarnish the allure of poring dollars into automotive investments?

Auction results at this time of this writing point to a slowdown in price increases overall, although premier examples of one-off or extremely limited production automobiles continues to increase. 



Hold onto your hat. 570S to appear at Pebble Beach Concours this year.

There was a time when attending the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance was a pleasure and a passion. After reading this Jalopnik blog, I feel like it's become a parody of itself, a bit like Cannes Film Festival.

Thankfully, the cars haven't changed, so the delight is still there for Car Culture enthusiasts. Saddle up!


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