category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Automobile January 2019

Automobile is an award-winning automotive publication that captures the passion and experience of driving great cars. Featuring engaging writing and stunning photography, Automobile transports readers with each and every issue. Discover a well-rounded editorial mix focused on design, technology, automotive art, vintage cars, and industry trends.

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12 Issues


access_time4 min.
heritage. lineage. honor.

THE CAR WAS right-hand drive. My legs rubbed up against the steering wheel as I worked the teardrop-shaped nub of a shift knob through the gears and the 3.2-liter V-6 gnashed mechanically behind my head. We couldn’t have been going more than 50 mph, but it didn’t matter. It was about the context. The history. I was afforded a rare opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Honda’s Takasu Proving Ground, located in the central region of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, to drive the updated 2019 Acura NSX. While there, I had a chance to do a quick fun run in a Japanese-market 2001 NSX Type S, complete with a comically small, square Space Invaders-style navigation system perched atop the dash. Time warp stuff. Takasu is where Honda conducted a chunk…

access_time5 min.
then, now, forever?

AN INVENTOR, AN automotive designer, and a rocket scientist walk into a bar … wait, that’s not quite right. Let’s try again: In 1966, Elliot Handler, co-founder of Mattel Inc. and noted toy inventor, put together a team of crack developers that included an automotive designer and a bona fide rocket scientist. Six billion toy cars later, Hot Wheels has played a key role in propelling California-based Mattel to its present status as the world’s second-largest toymaker behind only Lego, employing almost 26,000 people and shaping the childhoods of millions more. Hot Wheels has come a long way in the past 50 years, along with many of those happy customers who trace the source of their automotive obsession back to their days of racing the 1:64-scale die-cast cars across the playroom…

access_time3 min.
the art of design: no shrink ray necessary

IT MUST BE the easiest job in the world, right? Manufacturers send 3-D renderings of production cars to the Mattel Design Center then artists hit the shrink ray and scale it down from 1:1 to 1:64, add a snazzy paint job, and clock out. “You would think you take a car and shrink it down 64 times, and you have a Hot Wheels car,” Wu said. “The funny thing is, when you look at cars and you look at 1:64 scale, it’s hard to get the essence of a car when you’re just shrinking it down. So there’s a lot of creativity, there’s a lot of design that goes into that.” Every licensed Hot Wheels model you’ve ever shot down the famous orange racetrack or rolled across your desk was designed from…

access_time1 min.
real deals

FOR ENTHUSIASTS WHO dreamed of a drivable Hot Wheels of their own, 2011 was big. That year’s SEMA Show featured an antifreeze-green Hot Wheels Edition Camaro concept, pulling inspiration from the toys with special graphics, redline wheels, and a unique hood. A production Hot Wheels Edition Camaro arrived in 2013, this time with Kinetic Blue Metallic paint. Five years later, the Hot Wheels Edition returned to the Camaro lineup, now sporting Crush (orange) paint and snazzy new badges and wheels. It’s not as wild as its toy counterpart—there’s no excessively raked windshield, oversized wheels, or blown-out fenders—but that’s primarily by design. “There are many different ways of doing stripes and graphics,” Camaro exterior designer Barry said. “We could make flames on the side or some wild, crazy stripe pattern. But my…

access_time1 min.

FIRST OFF, EMPLOYING a standard designer’s trick and using photographs, I put a circle guide around a rear wheel of both the Hot Wheels Camaro and the production car. I then drew a tangent circle behind each version’s rear tire; the inscribed circle showed the rear overhang on the real thing is a bit less than one tire diameter. On the Hot Wheels car, the rear overhang is only half as much. So the wheels are indeed too big, just as Adam Barry, the car’s senior exterior designer, pointed out is typical (see page 18). The same technique reveals the real Camaro’s wheelbase is roughly 3.75 wheel diameters. On the Hot Wheels, it’s 3.4 wheel diameters, so not too far off. The toy’s black sill piece is too thick, and to…

access_time9 min.
under the endless sky

DR. BADAMKHATAN ZORIGT was quiet, his fingers tracing the exposed, fossilized remains at his feet. A scattering of ribs and the tucked structure of a hind leg lay all pale white against the red sandstone of the Gobi’s Flaming Cliffs. The whole of humanity’s understanding of natural history hinged here in 1923 when Roy Chapman Andrews found nests of what were originally thought to be Protoceratops eggs during one of his many Central Asiatic Expeditions, confirming for the first time that the ancient reptiles were oviparous. Badamkhatan looked up at the crowd gathered around him, his deep brown eyes bright with excitement as he pulled a GPS from his pocket to mark the find’s location. It was a new and slender piece of the natural history puzzle. When someone asked what…