Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dub Country

A diecast toy company really hit the big time in recent years. Apart from collectors taking the stocks off the racks briskly, so too were the competition, briskly taking a serious interest into the 'Dub City' look. Even the mighty diecast company, ‘Hotwheels’ was prompted to release the 'HIN series taking cue from the same style. What is the Dub City style anyway?
Most of it seems to revolve around custom treatment and big shiny wheels. Bling is big on this look. Muscle cars, Hot-rod, Euro, you name it, are fitted with 20 inch wheels, in scale of course. On the 1:1 cars, the ‘Dub City’ look has caught on too. Especially with the rap artist, Hollywood brats, pimps, thugs, care-free rich and just about anyone into bling.
If our local Vdub guy wants to be in the act too, a refreshing bling of choice should be a Sakbayan aka Country buggy. Clearing those wheel wells is mandatory. Body channeled and dropped with narrowed beam and bagged suspension. Everything is spruced up, from the exterior and down to the tiny interior details. To complete the local flavor, Malabon stainless craftsmen were tapped to hand-form the alloy body. In keeping with the custom-look, fiberglass panels are created making for one rust-free coachwork. And last but not the least, the meat of this transformation is of course, the TIS wheels.

Dub Country, Rolling Big

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Italian Exotic – VW Connection

Campagnolo is a much respected name in cycling. It is also much revered and prized to say the least. Cult following is very passionate, very Italian and very loyal. I would add from a point of view of a collector, very collectible but pricey, much like the great Italian bicycles outfitted with Campagnolo parts.

Campagnolo for decades manufactured alloy wheels also for famed Italian cars like the Lamborghini, now a Volkswagen owned car company. The wheels are as exotic as the cars, they were mounted on. Campagnolo alloy wheels were available also for the VW air-cooled models, and now these are very collectible and desirable. Sadly the company doesn’t produce anymore car wheels, thus increasing the value of alloys it once manufactured.

The company now focuses on the bicycle parts and groupset market, as this is their core business. The product line-up offered is really a deliciously fantastic marriage of technical and aesthetic solutions, and will not disappoint the fanatic. Curiously the company’s branding of their products particularly the bicycle wheel-sets are names of cars.

From the range are three Volkswagen nameplates which caught my attention. Somebody in Campagnolo must have liked VWs!

Scirocco (VW water-cooled sports car, Guigaro designed-Karmann Built)
Vento (Mark3 Euro-version of the VW Jetta)
Bora (Mark4 Euro-version of the VW Jetta)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Fast-Back to the Future

Conspiracy Theory Series

Covert Meeting Place:
Porsche-Piech Family Villa, Austria

Grand Conspirators:
Ferdinand Piech, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, Porsche engineer par-excellence, Member of family owned Porsche AG, and Chairman for life of Volkswagen AG.
Bernd Pischetsreider, CEO of VWAG, he can’t resist conniving with Piech.

The Conspiracy:
Piech can’t shake off his desire for swift VWs, bringing back driving excitement and creating passion into the Wolfsburg brand. He thought he did this by bringing the New Beetle into the line-up, thereby lending coolness and craving, back to the marque. The maverick that he is, wants to do it again, being inspired by the hot response merited by the new Golf5 GTI. Piech also noticed the success of the co-op effort with the VW Touareg and the Porsche Cayenne. He also admires the way the Porsche Cayman was designed and manufactured. Alas! Porsche owns 18% stake of VWAG shares and more joint developments are forth-coming. This convinced him to do a co-op again, this time around a VW coupe as a brother of the Cayman but with a twist; a 911 positioned engine.

The Project name: VW Neu FastBack

Accessory to the Conspiracy:
Wendelin Wiedeking, CEO of Porsche AG, he must connive with Piech.

New Fasty....

The available colors are 'Lambo' swift Orange, Green and Yellow for the
'S' model....

Monday, September 11, 2006

G-T3 Zagato

1963 Type 3 (T3) 1500S Chassis # 3 was finally located and transformation went briskly. Brisk performance is the order of the day and akin to the car that took form in the Italian ‘Zagato’ auto works. Extensive use of aluminum panels employed, all hand-beaten over wood-molds, the traditional Italian coach-building way. Chrome trims were selectively applied, making for a period specific 1960’s look, of course hand formed. Cockpit and interiors received the period Grand Turisimo (GT) racing treatment; Italian ‘Nardi’ wood-rimmed steering wheel, full instrumentations with chrome rings, leather racing buckets and aluminum faced panels.

Running gear is a different route altogether. Modern suspension, 6-cylinder boxer engine and 6-speed ZF transmission are from Stuttgart. Beefed-up structural boxed frame, radically upgrades the Type3 chassis. Transferring all the torque unto the pavement is via massive 17” alloy wheels specially manufactured for this GT car by ‘OZ Racing’, with special ‘Pirelli’ rubber; thereby rolling on all ‘Italian Job’.

And one more thing…this G-T3 Zagato was flagged down in the Autostrada due to speeds in excess of 230kph…a ‘Fastback’ indeed.

Friday, September 08, 2006

FB3 GT Zagato

Urban Legends Series

A filthy rich British entrepreneur with German ancestry got hold of an Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, from an auction for US$ 2.7 million. For the uninitiated, the 6-cylinder DB4 GT Zagato is regarded as the rarest and the most beautiful Aston Martin. It was originally offered from 1960 to 1963 and very exclusive, since only 19 examples were built.

So smitten by this Zagato that an obsession soon followed and further complications developed. Having a soft spot for Deutsche-made cars due to his German mother, he suddenly fell for a VW T34 Fastback. Flaming that enthusiasm is the fact that the roof line resembles that of his DB4 GT Zagato, so he pestered the owner to acquire that car. Unfortunately that VW owner won’t sell the T34 Fastback as it is the only one in existence and he is also an eccentric billionaire collector himself.

Not a guy to let go off his passion so easily from a slight setback, he embarked on having his own, no matter what. The solution with a vengeance; built his very own and exclusive to him only!

He set out to look for a period correct base for his creation and found it in the form of the very first chassis numbered 1963 VW Notchback 1500S to roll out of the Wolfsburg factory. The base car could have been a VW Fastback, but the first one came out in 1965, thus missing the correct era of 1960-63 for the DB4 GT Zagato. Incidentally, the T34 Fastback was derived from the original ‘notch’ configuration, so all the more the 1500S became a correct route to make the transformation. Contracting Zagato, the firm is easy enough as he has handsome ‘donation’ already in that company’s coffers. The result is a 1963 Zagato styled VW FastBack Type3, so exotic it is worthy of the name ‘FB3 GT Zagato’. So well made, that he commissioned another one, for his vintage rebel racing adventures!

FB3 GT Zagato, Street version using chassis #1

FB3 GT Zagato, Mille Miglia version using chassis #2

This guy is still pursuing chassis #3…….to complete the last of the FB3, the GT3 Zagato…….

Monday, September 04, 2006

A few of my favorite things

As a teen growing-up north of the metropolis, I was exposed to the simple life. Life that centered on family, good values and no-frills, is my foundation. I was much into cars very early, since my family’s business revolves around automobiles. With this exposure, appreciating and driving one became sooner than most kids my age.

My fondness to VW in particular, was a result of a Notchback being part of our family during that formative early adulthood. A 1963 VW 1500S to be exact, that contributed to making those years memorable. It has transformed from one color to another, from one style to the next, but it was better remembered as a dark blue Cal-look VW. My father named it ‘Mad Max’ due to its dark color paint,the black ‘banana’ centers its wheels sport and brisk acceleration.

Everyone recognizes ‘Max’ and was a constant companion on teenage fun and curious misadventures. I always had enjoyable errand-rides with it, while listening to new wave music on its cassette player radio. I can still recall how punchy the engine was and the unexplainable special ambience of just being inside.
‘Max’ was sold one infamous summer, much to our regret now. All of us miss ‘Max’ and are keeping our eyes open if it suddenly reappears. For now I’m Notch 1500S hunting, to get me back to where I started in VW. I’ll be patiently waiting for the right Notch to come my way.

Meanwhile, this NotchBox is regularly gracing my desktop till the real deal comes along.
NOTCHback-BOXster in my favorite ‘Max’ color….dark blue.