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Road & Track

Road & Track February/March 2021

Road & Track includes technical features on automotive subjects, wide-ranging feature stories, spectacular automotive art and standard-setting new-car photography, humor, fiction, travel stories, book reviews and the most comprehensive racing coverage offered by a monthly magazine.Bonus: iPad Interactive

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in this issue

3 min
what does it even mean?

IN THE BEGINNING, there was only custom. Shape your own stone ax. Weave your own basket. Everything was engineered to hazy eyeball standards and built out of whatever was lying around. That changed around 1450 in Hungary when the “carriage trade” was born, and all the rich people started trying to one-up each other with super-fancy horse-drawn coaches. Mere carts and wagons were for farmers and tradesmen. The elite commissioned fine coaches. That’s when “custom” was born—for the first time. The industrial age brought standardization and mass production, and products that were once miraculous became ordinary. Anyone could have a Model T. Then, in 1919, George Riley of Los Angeles invented the “MultiLifts” that multiplied the valve lift on the Ford engine, increasing its power. This, the first known product intended…

2 min
hands down

HOUR AND MINUTE hands have been anchored to the center of clock faces since Vermeer laid oil on canvas (this was the 17th century, before God blessed us with V-8s and the side-exit exhaust). After that framework was set, centrally placed hands became de-facto time tellers, from Big Ben to Grandpa’s old pocket watch. The format became ubiquitous, then rigid, then staid. Ergo, the way we visualize the time rarely advances. If it ain’t broke, don’t mess. Then Ressence struck lightning through all that. The Belgian company, founded by an industrial designer in 2010, proposed a fresh way to tell time. You’ll recognize some landmarks, like hands pointing to hours and minutes. The rest of the watch looks Kubrickian, beamed in from some clean near-future. But don’t let the Type 5X’s slick…

2 min
galaxy 911

THE PORSCHE 911 probably isn’t the first car that comes to mind when you think “custom”—not in a world of rumbling Mustangs, jacked pickups and ground-scraping imports. But in the past half century, Stuttgart’s backward sports car has become a jumping-off point for personalized performance machines. What’s really remarkable about the world of 911 customs is the sheer breadth of it, the disparate—and downright bizarre—styles branching off in every direction from this one model. In every corner of the car community, there’s likely a 911 on hand to represent. Cool, weird, tough, cute, vintage, postmodern, ugly, fast, faster—it doesn’t matter. There is a 911 custom for every purpose, if not exactly for every purse. Why should this be? Part of the 911’s appeal is its longevity. Porsche has sold more than a…

3 min
factory custom

Weight Trimming 176 pounds from the already featherweight 720S required detail work that borders on the absurd. Perhaps most absurd is the deletion of the air-conditioning and audio systems. Don’t worry. Adding them back is a no-cost option that everyone will get. Also in the absurd column are carbon-fiber interior trim surrounds. But there are meaningful efforts, too. Ten-spoke forged alloy wheels with titanium bolts [1] trim 48.5 pounds from the car (the optional big brakes add some of that back). The 765LT’s seats are 39.7 pounds lighter than the 720’s buckets. Masochists can opt for the super lightweight carbon-fiber racing seats, [2] which were standard on the Senna and trim another 26.5 pounds. The titanium exhaust system [3] shaves 8.3 pounds compared to the 720S. And a new lithium-ion battery…

1 min
road & track’s kustom mclaren

One of Von Dutch’s famous flyin’ eyeballs (see pg. 024) is tattooed on Dave Shuten’s calf. Permanently. This is important. Shuten was steeped in Detroit’s Seventies hot-rod scene, but idolized the work of Von Dutch. After a career at GM, Shuten landed at Galpin Speed Shop in 2010, where he’s restored Kustom-Kulture bedrock like Ed Roth’s Orbitron (pg. 038). This project was a little different. We gave Shuten just two weeks to paint our McLaren cover car. Go ape, we said. He drew inspiration from Von Dutch’s Mercedes Gullwing paint job (see pg. 002), then set to work. Techs at Galpin Auto Sport freed the McLaren’s bodywork. Shuten taped out hand-drawn flames onto the stretch of painted body. He added a racing meatball, sporting the number 3: a nod to…

9 min
welcome to crazytown

MCLAREN PROBABLY shouldn’t be allowed to sell this car to regular people. But it does. State authorities probably should set up some sort of tiered licensing system, whereby people who want to drive a thinly disguised race car on public thoroughfares will need a bit of extra training and certification. But they don’t. Instead, the only skill a person needs to drive one of these psycho death-missiles on the street is the ability to earn (or inherit) tons of money. It’s called the 765LT, and it’s way over the line. Not that this development should come as a surprise to anyone. McLaren’s previous foray into the way-too-fast-for-the-street realm, the Senna, was a bit more extreme and significantly weirder looking than the 765LT. The problem with the Senna—if anything in the rarefied…