Spotted is Globe Drive writer Peter Cheney's weekly feature that takes you behind the scenes of his life as a vehicle and engineering journalist. In coming weeks, we'll also highlight the best of your original photos and short video clips (10 seconds or less), which you should send with a short explanation. E-mail email@example.com, find him on Twitter @cheneydrive (#spotted), or join him on Facebook (no login required). All photos by Peter Cheney unless otherwise noted.
Wait, You Can Still See Me?
If you follow military history, you may be familiar with “dazzle paint,” a form of camouflage used to conceal ships from U-Boat captains. The theory: if you break up a ships outline with large blocks of color, the viewer doesn’t see what they expect, rendering the ship invisible. My friend Paul Hodgson spotted this dazzled BMW in Yorkville (where the usual goal is to be seen.)
This Lamborghini owner seems to be pursuing a different strategy than the guy with the dazzled BMW. Lime green will get you noticed every time.
Out of its Element
The Ford GT40 was originally designed to compete at Lemans, one of the fastest racetracks in the world. This one spends its days in Yorkville, where top speeds are typically in the 10 km/h range.
See and Be Seen
Yorkville is where you go to show off your beautiful car. This Bentley fits the bill.
Driving through Yorkville in a hot car is like being Angelina Jolie for a day. The cameras come out. Especially if you have a Mercedes SLS AMG.
How Not to Load a Race Car
My friend Peter Brock spotted this little snafu at a racetrack on the west coast. Seems that everyone on the crew thought someone ELSE was responsible for the wheel chocks and tie down straps.
The Summer of Love Goes Through the Shrinking Machine
As we cruised through the countryside west of Toronto last weekend, my wife and I spotted what appeared to be a miniaturized VW bus. After getting out for a closer look, I realized that it was actually a Japanese-market Subaru van with custom paint and a VW logo. Groovy.
If Some is Good, More is Better
You can buy a Cadillac Escalade with wheels as large as 22 inches. This owner obviously wasn’t satisfied, so he took matters into his own hands and fitted pimpalicious 28-inchers all round. I spotted this apparition at the Galleria mall in downtown Toronto.
Meanwhile, In a Universe Far, Far Away….
There’s always something interesting going on at my friend Gus’s shop. He’s been working on English cars for more than 50 years. This is a 1962 Jaguar E-Type that he recently restored for its owner. Now THAT is style. I wrote about Gus a while back, but had to keep his identity and shop location secret, because he can’t handle any more customers (there are only so many brilliant mechanics that understand the workings of the English classic car.) “It’s a religion,” says Gus. If you want to read more, here’s the story I did on him.
Gus’s restoration the 1962 E-Type called for everything from an engine rebuild to body repair. And those wire wheels had to be tuned like violins. For a car like the E-Type, the effort is worth it – this is style for the ages.
The Inner Workings
Gus had another E-Type’s motor taken apart for a rebuild. What you’re looking at here are the chains that drive the overhead camshafts. Setting them up and getting the tension right calls for a master’s touch.
The Last Drive-In
Reader Werner Watzdorf sent me this picture of his Cadillac parked at what is apparently the last drive-in movie theatre in Australia.
Werner also sent me this photo of himself with two of his daughters. As you might guess from the two DeLoreans behind them, it was Back to the Future night at the drive-in.
The French have always taken a different approach to car making – and I’ve always liked their quirkiness. My friend Patrick Dell spotted this Citroen Traction Avant here in Toronto. The Traction Avant was designed in the early 1930’s, and remained in production for three decades.
Here’s another angle on that Traction Avant. I almost bought one of these a few years ago, but decided I didn’t really have a place for a pre-war French oddball. Looking at this one makes me wish I’d gone through with the deal.
At Least For Some, The Glass is Half Full
This has to be the most relentlessly positive automotive tail section in Canada. Pollyanna rides again.