Automotive awesome: Lancia Delta Integrale

Thanks to Jalopnik for providing this bit of deliciousness this morning:
My god what a beautiful car. I love what they said about it:

The Lancia Delta Integrale WRC is one of those great litmus tests for car people. If someone looks at it and sees and old Italian econobox they are not a car person. If they see it and immediately start drooling you know they are.

It is so true! What–you wonder–is the big deal? /You just want to hear it go?

From inside:
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From outside:
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And of course, off-road gloriousness:
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I remember this kid Nabil had a whole bunch of 1/18 model Italian cars made by Burago. One of my favorites was the Martini liveried Integrale he had– it had the full-opening rear of the S4 Group B car and the similar front as well. I was wowed with that car before I ever even watched it go anywhere, before I found out about it’s rally domination and now I find myself wondering– wouldn’t that make just a great daily?



Fiat in USA! It's happened!


I just realized something amazing today, while being slightly less disappointed at something more amazing not taking place– I mean, I saw an ad for “Alfa Romeo Seattle” and got really excited only to discover Alfa is still not actually in the US. No, the Competizione 2C does not count! BUT– Fiat has apparently finally landed! Above is actual footage from the website where you can find out that a new Fiat 500 is base-priced at just $15,500. That is quite less than I was expecting, and that is very exciting. Now the real question is, when does the Abarth come to our shores?  🙂  Ok, ok, I’ll take a moment to be happy about what’s actually there now. All sorts of old-timers will be making fix-it-again-tony jokes, and an unfortunately large amount of people will think these are unreliable Italian cars of the early eighties. Hopefully, though, there will be enough of us excited to have something different than the usual malaise of Hondas and Toyotas plodding along our streets touting some otherworldly mileage figures and scoring zero for being a good, interesting car!

Also on the topic of Fiat getting to places, they’ve also brought this car to Kuwait recently. More on that later.


How lucky can you get on a moped

So thanks to Jalopnik for pointing out this crazy video of how lucky one can sometimes get. (The flipside of this is the guy on the motorcycle should have seen crazy people coming behind and moved away)

The real question, though, as Virginia asked when she saw this: “why did that happen?” I mean the first car sweves left too fast, ok. But why does the other guy crash? Was he staring at the first car crashing?! I wonder if this was in Kuwait…

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finally bought an Alfa Romeo!

Edit : Sadly, I’ve sold this car as I’m leaving Kuwait. Happily, it now belongs to a friend of mine, who’ll be enjoy it’s awesome.
Added Photos.

I had always had a thing for Alfa Romeos. I remember when the then-new Alfa 156 was a wallpaper on my then-new computer in the late 90s. Of course, the classic ones are gorgeous and gorgeous, but I always wished we could get the newer also-beautiful cars in the US. But it has been just too many times that we have been disappointed in the US about Alfa’s return. It almost happened so many times that I really just have lost interest and will only pick up interest again about anything Fiat or Alfa if there are actually cars in the States. And no, the 200,000+ dollar 2C does not count. I mean, it is quite possibly the most beautiful car to come out in a good 20 years, but it’s just not a “return to America” kind of event. It’s more like “well, if you have enough money you probably could have figured out a way to get it to the States anyway!” car. To make certain that I might be interested in case the company did make a return, though, we rented a 159 JTD when we went to France for a vacation. My GOD what a great car! Everything was right about it– the seats, the acceleration, the handling, the torque from the quiet diesel. It was such a great car, we decided we would buy one for sure if they ever brought it to the States. Alas, it doesn’t look like that will happen. This design, anyway, will not be making it over it seems. Pity, that, given how beautiful the car is. overlooking Grenoble, France Luckily for me, though, I found myself in Kuwait a few years later, and here there is a small smattering of Alfas available! So after almost a full year of looking for the right one–because it seems Alfa had only a half-hearted attempt here– I finally found something we fell in love with. Virginia was instantly in love, and I knew I liked it so much I was trying really hard to be rational and calculating etc. So we decided we’d give it a go, and bring her home. So here she is: our very own Alfa Romeo 147 our Alfa It’s a dark dark grey metallic that almost looks black–called Graphite Grey. The car has the Selespeed transmission, developed by Magnetti Marelli, which is a “robotic manual” similar what Ferrari calls F1 that debuted in their F355 cars. It has one clutch, and the transmission is the same as the manual cars, but the clutch is automatic by hydraulics, instead of being operated manually by the driver. It also lets you put it in a fully automatic mode called “city mode,” but I like that it defaults to manual operation. The thing is great to drive– shift times are not quite as quick as VW’s DSG because it still has only one clutch, but that also means it feels more like a “standard” manual to drive. This is also similar in style to BMW’s SMG cars, but I haven’t driven one of those (or a Ferrari F1) so I can’t comment on them! The handling is quick and a lot of fun, and the 2.0 16v TwinSpark engine–with two spark plugs per cylinder– sounds so delicious in just stock mode that I’m thinking about an exhaust system just so I can hear it better! The other day I spent an entire day driving around all over Kuwait for various things that I didn’t want to do, and the whole time I was enjoying myself just because of this car! Jeremy Clarkson was saying one day that “every petrolhead needs to own an Alfa Romeo…”– and I see what he was on about. It’s really just that good.

From Alfa Romeo 147, posted by Ridwan Ahmed on 6/06/2011 (15 items)

Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher

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Speed Cameras: the good side

I realized there IS a good side to speed cameras: sometimes, they catch you just when it’s a lovely Sunday morning, just after you’re car’s been nicely waxed, and then you get a souvenir photo!

This was courtesy of Bethesda, MD (close to Washington, D.C.):

1998 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

Apparently I was doing 51 in a 35! Or was it a 30mph zone.  Either way, that photo definitely made the ticket more palatable!

Kuwait Events: Concours d'Elegance

UPDATE:  I took so many millions of photos, it’s been hard to sort out a few– it’s difficult to say which details should be left out of these beautiful cars! The show was nothing short of fantastic, with millions of dollars worth of some of the most beautiful cars in the world. Enjoy my album!

From Kuwait Concourse 2011, posted by Ridwan Ahmed on 8/18/2011 (170 items)

Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher

It seems the season of automotive events in Kuwait, as we got to see the Gulf Run cars a few weeks ago, and in the next few days will have a motorcycle show and a concours event!

Really, an international Concours d’Elegance event is of entirely a different league than our regional events. This is our opportunity to see some of the finest cars in the world. In Kuwait. One really gets a feel for how special they will be when looking at the “modern” category out of the different ones to be judged:

Category A: Vintage Cars : includes cars made from 1910 to 1930
Category B: Classic Cars : includes cars made from 1931 to 1945
Category C: Classic Postwar Cars : includes cars made from 1946 to 1960
Category D: Modern Classic Cars : includes cars made from 1961 to 1975

In addition to the Concours cars themselves, there will be some other automotive events as well, including these themed collections:

Hollywood Cars
Historical Photos Gallery
Presidential Cars Display
merican Muscle Cars
Daily Activities

Further, each day will feature it’s own theme, including Italian cars on Feb. 3rd, and the Kuwait Riders’ motorcycle show on Feb. 4th!

For more details, see the CdE website or their Facebook page.

Who: open for public, no tickets needed
What: car / motorcycle / show
When: February 2-6, 2011.
Where: Marina Mall / Crescent / Boardwalk
How: Take 5th ring road East towards Gulf Road (25) and head North (left turn) until you see glass walkway overhead. Parking is freely available just beforehand on the right side.

Hope you can make it out,


Kuwait Events: Motorcycle show by Kuwait Riders

I had meant to post about this and the upcoming Concours D’ Elegance (next!) something like two weeks ago, and of course completely forgot shortly thereafter! Anyway, looking at Mark’s post on 248am reminded me so here it is.
I R E A L L Y wish I had my motorcycle here! Have been considering buying one lately. I know the chances will increase if I get to go visit this!
Kuwait Riders website

Taking place at the Marina Crescent mall on February 4th, 2011 between 1300 and 1700.
There is more info at their  Facebook and website.

Hope to see you there!

For Sale: Tron Legacy Lightcycle

Whether or not you have seen the movie (I haven’t), if you have seen the trailers or even just the images of the thing,  the motor-err-lightcycles look really fantastic! While my wife and I were wondering about how to make our own motorcycle gear glow(more on that later), I realized today that one can in fact buy this amazing looking machine:

Tron Legacy lightcycle by Parker Brothers Choppers

The creators are Parker Brothers Choppers, whose motto is “If you dream it…we can build it.” Given that these are also the people that also made the Batpod replica, Tron might be a logical next step. But really, the whole 8′ long almost 2′ wide machine with hubless wheels leaves the batpod way in the dust as far as I’m concerned. And that’s before it lights up! Not bad at all for 55 or 35 grand, whatever it is– the 5 or 10 people to own one will have a lot of questions and a lot of photos taken!
Here is a video of this thing in action.
And here are a bunch of details pulled from Cars Blog and Gizmag.

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2011 Mediocrity is finally here!

This came up on my Facebook sidebar and I nearly rolled off my bed laughing–luckily, king-sized beds are designed to prevent that sort of thing.

Meanwhile, the newest blandest car is out! It’s available in any color as long as it’s beige and… well, I’ll let you find out the rest for yourself. Without further ado:

the wait is over!
2011 Mediocrity

This sort of cheeky ad campaign was exclusively the work of Volkswagen in days past, and it’s good to see a different carmaker (in this case Subaru) bring us similar humor. Not the least because VW has really been making duller and duller ad campaigns these days, reflecting a similar downturn in their car design. Has anyone seen the new Jetta? No? It’s probably passed you many times but it’s so boring you just wouldn’t notice!

By the way, for those of you wondering about the car above, it’s a Kia Optima from a few years ago.