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BMW Videos: The Hire

BMW 'The Hire'

BMW ‘The Hire’

If you follow Gargling Gas you’ll know the guy behind the words lives in a bit of a fantasy world. Along with muscle cars, sleepers and bad BMWs, there’s a back drop of horror, a world in which driving recklessly hails you a hero.

Arnie Cunningham and Christine

Arnie Cunningham and Christine

A perfect world would see the movies Christine, Smokey and The Bandit, The Car, Drive and The Cannonball Run all merged into one surreal universe of police chase and murder, a dimension in which I’d emerge the anti-hero.

Years back, BMW tapped into this kind of fantasy by releasing a series of 10-min videos. Played by Clive Owen, ‘The Driver’,  a hired hand with expert driving skills, finds himself behind the wheel of a BMW.  Each episode showcased the latest BMW in a short and snappy storyline.

Unsurprisingly, BMW’s The Hire increased sales, and because they featured Fight Club director David Fincher and the likes of Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, John Woo, Ang Lee, Guy Ritchie, Madonna, James Brown and Gary Oldman, they won a few awards.

Check out the episode ‘Star’ below, written by Guy Richie and starring wife at the time, Madonna.

Our real star of the show is the M5, of course.

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Steve McQueen’s Ferrari 275 GTB Graces Mulholland Drive

Steve McQueen - Ferrari 275 GTB

Steve McQueen – Ferrari 275 GTB

I was recently invited to attend a car TV show launch in London featuring a restored 1962 Sebring Sprite raced by Sir Stirling Moss. The show was National Geographic’s Car S.O.S and, having the privilege of watching the screening of the first episode, I learnt a certain movie star raced in the same car and series as Moss.

Car SOS - Sir Stirling Moss' 1962 Sebring Sprite

Car SOS – Sir Stirling Moss’ 1962 Sebring Sprite

This actor was the original “King of Cool”, none other than Steve McQueen. If you’re unfamiliar with his work (although I highly doubt it), he’s the guy in the dark green Ford Mustang in the most famous car chase movie of all time, Bullitt.

I knew McQueen liked racing cars and I always associated him with Le Mans 1971 and Bullitt 1968, but I didn’t realise he bumped fenders with the epitome of the gentleman racer, Sir Stirling Moss.

Sir Stirling Moss' 1962 Sebring Sprite

Sir Stirling Moss’ 1962 Sebring Sprite

Later that evening I managed to chat with the show’s presenters and get up close to the little race car. I peered into the tiny cockpit and imagined battling it out on track, looking in my mirrors as McQueen and Moss prepared to take a dive down the inside – yes, this is fantasy; I’m not deluded enough to think Moss would ever be in my mirrors.

These were the hay days of racing cars, the days when gentleman with fat wallets could climb into cars and race with the stars.

Steve McQueen - Ferrari 275 GTB

Steve McQueen – Ferrari 275 GTB

Inspired, I dug a little deeper and discovered a recent video of McQueen’s Ferrari 275 GTB on YouTube. The car channel, theAFICIONAUTO not only managed to get hold of McQueen’s beloved Fezza, but they also took it for a spin down Los Angeles’ Mulholland Drive.

In fact, going back to the movie, Bullitt, McQueen actually owned and drove his 275 GTB at the time of its filming. As the Italian masterpiece makes it way along Mulholland Drive, you get to hear it’s glorious V12 song, all the while taking in some of McQueen’s favourite sights.

Ferrari’s Classiche department has since restored the 275 GTB, leaving as flawless as the day it left Maranello.

Steve McQueen - Ferrari 275 GTB

Steve McQueen – Ferrari 275 GTB

Because this is a classic Ferrari, price tags are going to be high, but when you factor in the previous owner’s own tag as “The King of Cool”, the price is going to soar – by soar, I mean over $10M. This is the money a lucky bidder forked out for the GTB at an RM action in August 2014.

Yes, it’s a lot of money, but if you sit back and watch the video below, take in the sights, the sounds, and imagine every bend through the eyes of “Mr Cool”, you’ll get some idea as to why people part with so much of their hard earned cash.

If you like the look of the little Austin Healey Sebring Sprite, check out Car S.O.S. and watch Moss take it for a good thrashing after its restoration.

Top 10 Stock & Sinister Cars

There are loads of Top 10 posts on sinister cars floating around the web, but most of them don’t consider the term “sinister” beyond looks. Like millions of other subjects regarding aesthetic design, I fully understand this is highly subjective, it’s just Gargling Gas thinks when the term “sinister” is applied to cars, it should also include “presence”.

Below, I’ve listed my personal Top 10 Stock & Sinister cars.

Mitsubishi EVO VIII FQ-400

10. Mitsubishi EVO VIII FQ-400

10. Mitsubishi EVO VIII FQ-400

This is an angry car with lots of sharp lines and dark orifices I daren’t insert a finger. This hooligan both “talks the talk” and “walks the walk”… in fact, the FQ-400 decimates the walk.

1959 Cadillac Coupe Deville Series 62

9. 1959 Cadillac Coupe Deville Series 62

9. 1959 Cadillac Coupe Deville Series 62

The Series 62 Deville is a two-and-half ton monster with staring eyes and a menacing grin. Should Satan ever find himself in a car showroom with some cash to burn, only a black Deville will suffice. Despite resembling a mechanical bat ready to spread its acres of folded wings, this Caddy would leave Batman trembling and sobbing in the arms of Robin.

1982 BMW E24 635 CSi

8. 1982 BMW E24 635 CSi

8. 1982 BMW E24 635 CSi

This car has the nickname, “Sharknose” due to its front end. Although the grille is certainly imposing, it’s all about those eyes.

If the saying “Your eyes are the windows to your soul” holds true, I don’t want anything to do with this beast.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T

7. 1969 Dodge Charger R/T

7. 1969 Dodge Charger R/T

The sinister for me in the Charger comes from the hidden lights/grille; as a kid I loved the front end appeared as a gaping black intake – no British cars had or do feature this headlight flap.

The Mercedes-Benz 600

6. The Mercedes-Benz 600

6. The Mercedes-Benz 600

The 600 is four tons of German engineering that only understands police and army escorts and cheering crowds. This car possesses serious presence and an air of superiority only matched by its occupant sitting in the back. Psychopaths such as Saddam Hussain, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro and Ferdinand Marcos have glided among their minions in the Mercedes 600.

Marussia B2

Marussia B2

5. Marussia B2

Their F1 cars aren’t anything to shout about, but just look at this insectile machine above. This Russian car’s turbo-charged 2.8-L engine rockets it to 60-mph in 3.8-seconds. This post isn’t really about performance, but considering the Marussia B2 reminds me of those trap-door spiders, both its looks and speed send shivers up my spine.

1971 Lincoln Continental

1971 Lincoln Continental

4. 1971 Lincoln Continental

Up until the 80s, Lincoln Continentals were heavy and luxurious cars, well-equipped and boasting excessive styling. They are long, sleek, best in black, and during the its 60’s “slab-side” design and suicide doors they are now affectionately called “suicide-slabs”.

It could have something to do with the horror movie, The Car (1977), although I think the stock version above is more sinister, despite famed Hollywood car designer, George Barris’ evil slant on the design.

1958 Plymouth Fury

1958 Plymouth Fury

3. 1958 Plymouth Fury

The next car is my personal favourite novel/movie car. She’s a jealous and possessive car, one with a penchant for 60s music and killing.

The ’58 Fury is called Christine and comes from the mind of writer, Stephen King. Although he made a few technical errors when he penned the novel, one about the transmission and the other the fact Plymouth’s coupe in ’58 was in fact the Belvedere (this causes much debate in social media threads from people who haven’t read the book or watched the movie), King nailed one hell of a novel.

Bone stock (apart from her owner requesting a special red for the year), Christine rolled off the production line looking poisonous. Like the aforementioned Caddy, Christine’s fins, lines and menacing grille, give the car a truly insidious and sinister presence.

“Don’t talk about my car; she’s real sensitive.” ~ Arnie Cunninham (owner).

Buick GNX

Buick GNX

2. Buick GNX

The Buick GNX is my personal favourite “real” car. I have probably over-blogged about the Buick GNX and the only reason its not on my top spot is because I want this article true and in no way biased, and when you see the following car you’ll understand why I couldn’t possibly usurp the queen of sinister.

Despite all this, the GNX is one evil automobile. The “GN” stands for “Grand National”, a turbo-charged and revolutionary kick-in-the-pants Buick Regal that only came in black. The “X” stands for “Experimental”, Buick’s farewell to the Grand National. In 1987 the Grand National received more horsepower (around 250-275), although the exact figure is debatable due to Buick playing down the engine’s total output.

What we are left with is a turbo-charged V6 car capable of hitting 60-mph in 4.8-seconds – at the time this was simply staggering. With its glossy and impossibly deep black paint, black wheels, tinted windows and all of those sharp angles, the GNX is almost the true epitome of sinister.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Jonckheere Coupe

Rolls-Royce Phantom Jonckheere Coupe

1. Rolls-Royce Phantom Jonckheere Coupe

I really wanted either Christine or the Buick GNX to take top spot, but I think you’ll agree the car above wins it hands down. The Jonckheere Coupe is the epitome of sinister and evil – even the sound of the word, “Jonckheere” adds chills to the already sinister, “Phantom”.

In 1925 Rolls Royce created this simply beautiful yet sinister car, the equivalent of Cruella De Vil or the evil Queen from Snow White.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Jonckheere Coupe

Rolls-Royce Phantom Jonckheere Coupe

Just take in her gloriously long rear, her seductive curves and a fin that would give Jaws nightmares. For me it’s the ultimate in opulence and decadence, a car even too sinister for the Devil himself.

I hope you liked my choices, and remember, I understand the topic is subjective and you may switch some of the cars around – if you have your own choices, please comment and let me know.

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DC Shoes Presents Ken Block Ragging A MK2 Ford Escort

Ken Block - 1978 MK2 Ford Escort

Ken Block – 1978 MK2 Ford Escort

Gargling Gas loves Ken Block’s hooning abilities, especially his Hoonicorn ’65 Mustang. Yesterday’s post involved a nostalgic reflection on the tin boxes my Grandfather drove me around in, one being an Austin Metro, the other a MK2 Ford Escort. I recalled a video of Ken Block hooning a MK2, which led to a rather silly mind’s eye image of my Grandfather ragging his sandy coloured MK2 like Block style.

30 years on, the legendary MK1 and MK2 Escorts’ prices are soaring, and the simplistic and lightweight, RWD car is still the preferred choice of chassis to learn the art of rally in.

Check out Block and the 1978 MK2 Ford Escort rally car – I can’t remember where I read it, but I’m sure Block does this from time to time, man and machine stripped of computer aids, a pure way of honing reflexes and skills.

I’m Invincible In my Car

How many times have you sat at a red light and imagined gunmen spilling out from the back of a van and spraying your car with high velocity rounds? I know, all too often, right?

Well I have a solution that’ll leave the gunmen scratching the top of their balaclavas and you with a smug grin on your face.

Picture the Royal family in their Rolls Royce, the President in a stretched Cadillac or the Pope in his silly white cubicle car and you’ll know what I’m on about – armoured cars.

So unless you are royalty, the leader of a country, a religious figurehead, or a gangster rapper, here’s what you would have to consider if you were to go about turning your car into a impenetrable fortress.

merc1

I’ll cover the important upgrades:

RunFlats

Tyres:

To escape gunmen in a car you’ll obviously need a tyre that will take a few rounds. The answer is pretty simple: Run Flat Tire Inserts. These assure continued operation of the car despite ballistic impacts and prevent a total tire blowout.

The system used by the U.S. government is comprised from lightweight, high strength polyester elastomers that make up the roller and a runner. The runner is securely attached to the wheel in the drop centre, and provides a track or channel in which the roller is allowed to move or “rotate” about the wheel at the same speed as the tyre, thus reducing friction and heat build up.

Mercedes_E-klasse_Guard_beschoten_2

Windows:

Bulletproof lightweight glass-clad polycarbonate is used as multi-hit protection against those pesky bullets. The glass is seamed, edged and finished using a proprietary quality process that provides unprecedented UV and delamination resistance. All glass features excellent ballistic protection and superior optical quality with very minimal distortion.

Below you can see types of rounds and the velocities taken into consideration when building an armoured car.

Fuel Tank:

This is one component you wouldn’t want punctured. Although a stray bullet is unlikely to cause an explosion (I saw this proven on TV program), a fuel tank resembling a piece of Swiss cheese will leave you stranded. A bullet proof fuel tank features a flame retardant coating, self sealing polymeric foam, insulating foam, and a Kevlar or ballistic wrap.

Bomb Proof Floor:

You can’t be too careful; whilst you are throwing your car around like Ken Block, trying to avoid gunfire, you may have missed the grenades rolling under your car. A bomb proof floor is comprised of multiple layers of Kevlar fabric that’s stitched together rather than bonded under heat, enabling the Vehicle Fragmentation Blanket more flexibility with a blast impact.

Body Panels/Doors:

Depending on the level of protection – bullets or bombs – there are various materials that can be used for a car’s body and door panels.

As I’m avoiding bullets, a wise choice would be Kevlar armour panels. They are very durable, light and easy to install. Because they are so light as opposed to heavy bomb proof steel panels, you don’t have to go crazy upgrading your brakes and engine to cope with the added weight.

Flame Thrower:

This is a little extra, an after thought inspired by a movie. To distract any menacing gunmen, give them a few licks of fire to deal with.

bf

Get Me To The Funeral On Time

1970 Dodge Challenger Hearse

1970 Dodge Challenger Hearse – ebodies.blogspot.co.uk

Apart from the handful of models not successfully making the transition from car to hearse, most manage to convey a look comprised of the adjectives, grand, regal, sinister and evil. The stretched black vehicles, gliding their occupants’ empty shells to their final place of rest also naturally earn big respect.

I’ve had my fair share of experience driving hearses, as I once worked as funeral assistant. In fact, my post, The Dead Travel Fast, catalogues my tales of woe concerning the transportation of corpses.

1967 Jaguar XK-E 4.2 Series I

1967 Jaguar XK-E 4.2 Series I

One of my personal favourite hearses comes from the 1971 comedy Harold and Maude, a Jaguar his mother buys him after she disapproves of his first choice of car, a Caddy hearse. Not best pleased, Harold transforms his gift into a sports hearse.

Hearse From Hell

Hearse From Hell

Taking of Cadillacs, take the monster above, for example, the love child of Ghostbusters and Mad Max. Known as the Alexis Funker Hearse, this fire-breathing death machine just highlights what can be done with a little inspiration and versatility – hearses may be long and black, but they can be made to suit all walks of life.

About a year ago, I wrote a post simply titled, What Car Would You Be Buried In?, understanding the special bond between car guys and their pride and joys.

I think if I couldn’t be buried in my favourite car, I’d like to know my corpse took its last final ride in it.

Death & Dodgem

Death & Dodgem

So, my morbid and twisted followers, what car would you turn into a hearse, knowing it was going to be your final ride?

 

 

 

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What Vehicle Would You Choose To Outrun The Cops?

O.J. Simpson's Ford Bronco

O.J. Simpson’s Ford Bronco

Road movies are great, car chase movies are better, the live car chases broadcasted from helicopters the best.

For those born from the 80s onwards, you may not be familiar with the image above – sitting behind the wheel of the white Ford 4X4 is NFL hero/alleged murderer, O.J. Simpson. The story isn’t really pertinent to my article, but the fact he was high profile meant full-on TV coverage of his chase through Los Angeles. Despite the chase being at slow speed, the image of Simpson’s Bronco being followed by 20 cop cars, their lights flashing, makes for one cool scene.

Which leads me onto the point of my article and a question I want to ask all you auto enthusiasts: If you were to outrun the cops, knowing you’d eventually grab the attention of helicopters and TV, what vehicle would you choose? It would obviously have to be fast, but would it be a sensible/reliable choice, or would the thought of cameras make you opt for something exotic or badass?

Despite being caught, this video highlights how some drivers end up as legends when they appear to have the skills of Ken Block. Yes, they are criminals and they are endangering lives, but this is Gargling Gas and we like everything to do with speed, action and all-round badassary.

This video shows a driver with a little savvy, knowing the cops are targeting him with spike strips. Although he successfully swerves and avoids a few attempts at puncturing his tyres, the driver decides he can walk up to cops with a gun and not get shot. He gets shot…

Okay, most of us wouldn’t face the might of Dubai’s Police livery, but let’s consider the cars other countries use on the highway. Here in the UK, the police use Mitsubishi Evos and Subaru STIs, and the Somerset force even took delivery of an Ariel Atom – the car that gave Jeremy Clarkson a face lift.

Ariel Atom Police Car

Ariel Atom Police Car

Gallardo-Monza

Gallardo-Monza

This Lambo Gallardo LP560-4 is used by the Italian Polizia traffic unit. Rumour has it Lamborghini actually donated two of their 202-mph cars to the police, although one was written off a few years ago.

Dodge Charger Pursuit

Dodge Charger Pursuit AWD

Although not as fast as the Atom or the Lambo, my favourite is this 2014 Dodge Charger Pursuit, apparently the fastest police car in the USA. It possesses muscle car heritage, looks badass, mean and dangerous. If I had to battle on the highway with a cop car, this is the one I wouldn’t want to go up against.

So with these cars in mind, and the fact you could have your fifteen minutes of fame on the highway, what vehicle would choose to take on the cops in?

What car would Gargling Gas choose?

Why that’s easy, the Buick GNX, of course.

Buick GNX

Buick GNX