Friday, November 28, 2014

Back to Back

It is back!
Quite faster than fast!
Champions for the second consecutive year: the VW Polo R WRC and duo of Ogier/Ingrassia re-writes rally history again this 2014.
A rookie in 2013, the Polo R WRC team made a great mark on its maiden foray into the world rally scene. That first attempt is a first for the WRC record, in which a new tandem of driver/co pilot had bagged the championship on a debuting constructors winning rally car! And for the Polo R, the very first WRC car to win its maiden championship in its debut season; its feat forever enshrined in rally history.

The civilian VW Polo is close to my gear-head’s heart: It is a first of firsts. It will go down in my personal car ownership history, as my very first Volkswagen car. It was not an obvious choice for a lot of my countrymen (used to Japanese cars), but somehow I had to own one brand-new, back then. I had great fun with that green 6N model, and as it aged, taught me a great deal about car stuff. With it, I made my maiden attempt in learning basic maintenance and car care. European car parts are quite expensive in this part of the world, so I learned to be smart on repairs. Now, it is not with me anymore. That Polo had been passed on to someone, who has the same passion as I, in taking care of it years back.

Seeing the latest VW Polo in its current winning form, from the WRC, GTI and the other variants, I wonder if there is a second wind of Polo ownership, waiting for me. Weeks back, a VW contact informed me that locally, the 2014-15 VW Polo Hatchback might be launched this upcoming New Year. Will this be the year of ‘back to Polo’ ownership for yours truly? Hmmm….. :)

Meanwhile… a good friend sent me this Norev model of the 2013 VW Polo R WRC champ!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gearhead’s View of Autumn in Japan

We’re back in the land of the rising sun, this time for the autumn season.
Wonderful colors of foliage are a delight to see!

Definitely Japan’s autumn offering is second only to the cherry blossoms spectacle in March.
As a gearhead and enthusiast, travelling also gives me another visual treat – that of cars, diecasts and bicycles.
I’m delighted to be reunited with this VW Golf MK5, the car of our generous host in Otsu. This hot hatch now sporting Audi alloy rims!

The VW Golf is a popular car in Japan. Truth be told, it is a consistent ‘Car of the Year’ winner, and this MK7 (shot in Nagoya) is the current title holder.

Love to see this VW Polo GTi again in Kyoto, same car I photograph last year. Still, ever hot looking after a year of open air, lifted parking!

Wonderful retro scene, the old district of Japan and the Neu-Beetle (photographed in Kyoto).

Now, for the vintage Volkswagen fans, this pristine panel van is uber cool. Spotted near Biwa Lake (the biggest lake in Japan), this VW T2 rolls on polished Porsche Fuchs alloy wheels.

I’m happy to find this mint in box, 1976 vintage F-series Tomica Porsche 911 in Kusatsu! A worthwhile diecast hunt, and a very fortunate discovery. As the shop attendant relayed, that a single person earlier bought a dozen of these vintage Tomicas. Good thing, this 911 isn't his preference – lucky me!

Kyosho released a limited edition 1-64 scale of the Lamborghini Veneno bundled with a pocket book behind the special boxed packaging. Have to get one (Circle K in Otsu), and another for our gearhead host!

Of course I love bicycles and these two caught my fancy. A Volkswagen folding bike (behind is a Pinarello road bike) …

…and an ultra fat tire commuter bike, both in the city of Kyoto.

The other two wheeled varieties, both spotted in Nagoya, are wonderful curiosities!

This autumn travel is a truly satisfying gearhead experience and also the trips to historic temples, the city-scapes…but I wouldn't want to bore my fellow gearheads :) …. should I?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Life is a race..and a journey!

The month of May was an unusual time for a journey. It somehow is not the best time to make a trip in the tropics. It’s a mix of too hot, too humid weather and doses of rainfall, which will make getting around a bit of a hurdle. But then again, if you’re the type with the adventurous spirit in you, May attracts excitement, exploration and betting on lady luck to be on your side. A sort of living on the edge, excites the adventurous; pretty much what defines racing. Which brings me to reflect on what transpired 20 years back in motorsports greatest arena in Italy- May 1 , 1994, to be exact. Excitement is uber high, as this is F1’s defining moment. Yet on that race event, many lives were lost as lady luck wasn't smiling that time - a tragic fate for my idol : Aryton Senna. A charismatic person whose life is a race and his journey in life inspired a lot of people, including me.

Fast-forward May of 2014, I find myself in Macau with my family on a trip, a journey if you may. A Journey to discover what is out there and feed the adventure bug in us. Despite the weather forecast of gloomy rain showers and humid days, we took a chance. Our gamble paid off, as our whole stay wasn't interrupted by any rain, and our journey was worthwhile. Of course that journey wouldn't be complete if we didn't see the Macau Grand Prix Museum. Aryton Senna, made an important mark in this GP, and seeing his F3 car, his race suit and helmet made this May very relevant. The 20th anniversary of the passing of the greatest F1 driver; winning the Macau GP, 30 years ago. 

Actual avenue of the Macau GP: a street held race event. 

Aryton Senna Exhibit 

The other exhibits and dioramas are awesome as well...
...Michael Schumacher's racecar!

 The first to win in the Macau GP, Filipino driver : Dodjie Laurel

 Theodore Racing, the HongKong based motorsport outfit

 First to win the Motorcycle Macau GP, Japanese Hiroshi Hasegawa.