Cars & Motorcycles

Automobile December 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.

United States
TEN: The Enthusiast Network
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In this issue

2 min.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Michael Floyd INTERNATIONAL BUREAU CHIEF Angus MacKenzie EXECUTIVE EDITOR Mac Morrison CREATIVE DIRECTOR Darren Scott DETROIT BUREAU CHIEF Todd Lassa SENIOR EDITOR Nelson Ireson SENIOR EDITOR Aaron Gold FEATURES EDITOR Rory Jurnecka MANAGING EDITOR Rusty Kurtz SENIOR COPY EDITOR Jesse Bishop COPY EDITOR Claire Crowley EDITORIAL PRODUCTION SPECIALIST Ryan Ono EUROPEAN BUREAU CHIEF George Kacher AUTOMOTIVE DESIGN EDITOR Robert Cumberford NEW YORK BUREAU CHIEF Jamie Kitman EDITOR-AT-LARGE Arthur St. Antoine AUTOMOBILE DIGITAL SENIOR EDITOR Erik Johnson ONLINE EDITOR Ed Tahaney DAILY NEWS EDITOR Conner Golden PRODUCTION EDITOR Eleonor Segura DIRECTOR, SOCIAL MEDIA Brandon Scarpelli SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR Billy Rehbock CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ronald Ahrens, Brett Berk, Jethro Bovingdon, Elana Scherr, Jon Alain Guzik, Bob Merlis, Chris Nelson, Marc Noordeloos, Andy Pilgrim, Steven Cole Smith, Lawrence Ulrich, Basem Wasef CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS Daniel Byrne, Martyn Goddard, Steffen Jahn, Evan Klein, Julia LaPalme, James Lipman, Charlie Magee, Richard Pardon, Tim Marrs, Tom Salt, Jürgen Skarwan, Dean Smith, Andrew Trahan ADVERTISING WEST: 831…

4 min.
we still need speed

“AS SOON AS the 450-kph [280-mph] milestone has been established as the new benchmark, 500 kph [311 mph] will be the next focus. That’s the direction progress takes, like it or not.”—Wolfgang Dürheimer When the news broke that a specially prepped Bugatti Chiron had reached 304.773 mph (490 kph) at the Ehra-Lessien track in Germany—coming tantalizingly close to eclipsing the mythical 500-kph barrier—I was reminded of Dürheimer’s pronouncement, made to us during a Chiron shakedown drive back in 2016. Although he’s no longer Bugatti’s head man (former Lamborghini chief Stephan Winkelmann has since assumed the role), Dürheimer was a driving force behind the Chiron’s development. He knew it had to go faster than the Veyron it replaced. During that same shakedown drive in ’16, he also made a point to highlight that…

10 min.
endless summer

ROLAND LEONG WAS bored. Bored and cold, despite it being unusually warm for July in England. He was huddled down in his seat on the Thames River tour boat, his personalized racing jacket pulled tight over a bright blue shirt that read, “Hawaii: Where my story begins.” While our fellow tourists marveled at the Tower of London, Leong stayed buried in his phone. I looked over his shoulder to see what could possibly be more interesting than Big Ben and the shining panels of the London Shard. “Head gasket? Blower pressure? EGT?” Leong’s text read. When you’ve spent more than 50 years tuning drag racing cars to faster than 300 mph, perhaps the pace of history feels like just a drag. Leong didn’t want to see the sights; he wanted to go…

8 min.
the handmade tale

LEXUS AND INFINITI IT’S HARD TO remember just what a massive impact Lexus and Infiniti had when they appeared in 1989. Until then, luxury cars were either American (read: dated and chintzy) or European (expensive and faulty), and buying one usually meant a forced familiarity with the dealership’s service department. No one at the time thought a credible luxury car was within the skill set of the pragmatic Japanese. Honda’s then-new Acura division, which entered the market in 1986, had done little to dispel that notion, but then the first Lexus and Infiniti cars appeared, and they changed everything. Everything. These were proper luxury flagships: leather lined, V-8 powered, and smooth as silk. They were five figures cheaper than the Europeans, and they worked flawlessly in the days when first-year cars were…

1 min.
inspirations & creations

Tea Ceremony Dating to the ninth century, the formal Japanese tea ceremony—even in modernized form—is a ritualized, highly choreographed art requiring years to master. (Some practitioners achieve the status of takumi.) “The way of tea” (chado) honors harmony, purity, and simplicity. It’s one of Japan’s most revered and influential traditions. Kaiseki Dinner A “haute cuisine” meal of small portions and multiple courses renowned for its meticulous preparation and the masterly aesthetics of its presentation. Like the tea ceremony, it celebrates simplicity, quality, and expertise. Often served at ryokan (traditional Japanese inns). Sashiko Stitching A time-honored form of Japanese quilting often used in martial arts uniforms because of its strength and beauty. Lexus UX chief designer Tetsuo Miki incorporated sashiko patterns into the vehicle’s leather seats. Artwood Available as optional trim on the LS sedan, Artwood is a…

6 min.
changing the world

It isn’t always easy to recognize a watershed moment as it happens, but when the Automobile staff first drove the 1990 Lexus LS 400, editor David E. Davis Jr. recognized the significance. “All you guys from Munich, Stuttgart, and Coventry, call your offices,” he wrote in the January 1989 issue. “I’d say the fox is about to find his way into the henhouse.” Although its conservative styling and quiet demeanor led some to dismiss the LS 400 as a glorified Toyota, it proved the Japanese understood what Americans wanted in a luxury car, perhaps even better than Detroit and Stuttgart did—and that they could execute it with the same pedantic attention to detail and quality for which they were known best. “Audi may dismiss it as plastic,” we wrote when we named…