Category: Automotive

Peninsula Classics Best of the Best 2017

The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best was created in 2016 by the Hong Kong-based luxury hotel group to add a layer of celebration on top of the world’s most important vintage car awards. It’s a complement to The Quail Motorsports Gathering which Peninsula Hotels sponsors during Monterey Car Week and in the future will travel around the world. This year’s winner was a 1954 Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta with coach-work by Pininfarina—chosen from a group of eight remarkable cars, the Maserati stands out for its unique provenance and incredible unrestored condition.

First presented at the 1954 Paris Motor Show, the car is one of only four Berlinetta-style sports cars that Pininfarina ever made and is considered the best preserved of the group given it’s the only one that has retained both its original chassis and body. The original owner raced it several times, including at the 1955 Mille Miglia, which is a poetic tie to today’s owner, Timm Bergold of The Destriero Collection.

A life-long modern car aficionado, Bergold developed his passion for vintage cars when a friend invited him to co-pilot at Mille Miglia. They continued this partnership for five years before Bergold decided it was time to enter the world of vintage car ownership and race his own vehicle. And thus his collection began. “I don’t have a large collection of vintage cars, but I have very particular ones. It’s not the number that’s important to me, it’s the quality,” he told us recently. Four years ago he met the previous owner of the 1954 Maserati Berlinetta, admitting it was his dream car. The owner didn’t want to sell, but Bergold gave him a deposit anyway asking for the first opportunity to buy it when he’s ready. Almost a year later, the car was finally Bergold’s. “Still, every time I see this car I can’t believe it’s sitting in my garage. It’s like a sculpture. If I could, I would put it in my garden—it doesn’t belong in a garage,” he tells us with true passion in his eyes.

The 1954 Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta will be on display today at The Quail Motorsports Gathering along with many, many more phenomenal vintage cars plus some examples of modern and future vehicles. We will be taking over the Peninsula Hotel’s Instagram account for the day, so be sure to tune in to @PeninsulaHotels and also follow #Quail2017 for a look at the cars, their owners and other highlights from the event.


The Meteoric Rise of McLaren Automotive

These days, new car companies rarely succeed. For every Tesla, there are 10 would-be companies that never get beyond an initial press release. Five years ago, we test drove the first model from a brand new car manufacturer, McLaren Automotive. It was a supercar named the MP4-12C and in many ways—from the confusing name to the bland design—it was a dud. The car was fast, but it was a ponderous beginning for the fledgling company. This month we flew to Rome to drive the successor to the MP4-12C: the 720S. The design is brilliant—and heart-stopping fast.

There’s nothing clumsy or slow about McLaren now. Since the unsuccessful launch of that first model, they’ve released a string of hits, including a $1+ million hypercar, a Porsche 911 Turbo competitor, and (as mentioned) the new 720S. Sales have ramped up from zero to an expected 3,900 cars this year and, by 2022, the company promises 15 new model variants.

How did the English upstart so quickly ramp up from one problematic car model to a car manufacturer that is spoken of in the same breath as Ferrari and Lamborghini? Best known for racing in Formula 1, to racing aficionados, McLaren was the tiny engineering powerhouse that regularly felled mighty Ferrari in ultra-competitive racing. And so in 2009 the company created an automotive division separate from its racing division, effectively setting it up to compete with Ferrari in the real world. (The overall umbrella company is now known as the McLaren Technology Group.)

Street cars weren’t entirely unknown to the brand. In the 1990s it had produced a single road-legal model, the F1, which is still considered one of the best exotics in the world. How hard would it be to make a whole legion of cars as good as the F1? Difficult indeed, as it turned out. The MP4-12C was an engineering marvel, using all types of technology gleaned from racing. But those innovations were hidden under a bland skin, and customers simply weren’t impressed by the carbon-fiber structure or trick hydraulic suspension. The supercar market thrives on noise and bombast, and the twin-turbo V-8 (located behind the driver, in the center of the car) wasn’t loud enough. The design failed to thrill. Driven hard in a safe environment like a racetrack, the car could nearly perform miracles, but it was clinical and cold. The company quickly abandoned the 12C for a new name and an exterior redesign. (Incidentally, it also burned a number of the brand’s earliest adopters—who suddenly owned cars that had dropped in value.)

The 650S replaced the 12C with a more outré design and tweaks to the twin-turbo V-8 engine, giving it a much bigger dose of torque and more personality. The 650S still had some issues, but the company was on an upswing. It launched and then sold out a $1.15 million hypercar called the P1, which competed directly against the $1.5 million Ferrari LaFerrari. Special (and more expensive) variations of the 650S and the P1 would follow—and also sell out.

Eventually, McLaren released a less expensive car, the 570S and 570GT, which are the equivalent to ready-to-wear collections versus the P1’s couture status. All future models will fall into one of three distinct model lines, ascending in price: the Sport Series, Super Series, and Ultimate Series. The rollout of new product at such a pace is unheard of. It normally takes carmakers at least four years to design, engineer and manufacture a brand-new car. But McLaren has leaned on skills learned during F1, where it has to create a new car and technologies every season. It uses sophisticated computer modeling and simulations allowing countless iterations of a design to be improved before a physical model is ever built. It saves tremendous amounts of time. Nonetheless, the new 720S is the first in the McLaren line to completely replace a former model, and it is illuminating in terms of where the company is going.


What kind of insurance do drivers like me buy?

Watching every penny is the starting point for getting rich slowly. But there are also big moves you can make that will earn or save you a lot of money. Big wins include refinancing your mortgage, negotiating your salary, improving your credit score or evaluating your car insurance. Your car insurance probably comes up for renewal every six months. When was the last time you compared insurance carriers or revised your policy to see if you could save a few hundred dollars? I thought so.

Des Toups, senior managing editor of Insurance.com (a QuinStreet site, like GetRichSlowly.org), has a lot of good information and statistics about car insurance that we wanted him to share with the GRS community. So, here’s Des!

Car insurance has only one real purpose: To stand between you and financial disaster.

Think about rear-ending a brand-new Jaguar, or your child causing an accident that puts other people in the hospital. Your car insurance only pays up to its limits. After that, you’re on your own.

Got a house? A savings account? A regular paycheck?

When there’s no more insurance, the other guy’s lawyers will turn to you.

Sure, there are generally accepted guidelines out there when you decide how much coverage to buy. Homeowners need at least $100,000 in bodily injury liability protection, because a large, valuable asset like a house is an easy lawsuit target if you don’t have enough to cover your victim’s hospital bills.

Or maybe you own nothing and have no savings – nothing you could lose. Then you might go for the legal minimum in your state.

The space between those extremes is huge, though, and needs vary from state to state, by age and by financial standing.

Seeing the choices other drivers in your situation make can be a good guideline when you shop for car insurance yourself. Insurance.com recently analyzed more than 550,000 insurance quotes delivered through its price-comparison tool to find the most common choices made by drivers of similar age, who live in the same state, who drive the same model year of car, or who own their homes.

You can find data for your state in the “What Drivers Like You Buy” tool.

Nationwide, there are clear patterns. Three out of four drivers choose a $500 deductible. A third of drivers under age 25 shop for the lowest legal amount of liability coverage, but only 19 percent of drivers over 55 do.

Nationwide, the most common coverage profile looks like this:

  • Most common bodily injury liability coverage: $50,000 ($100,000 per accident), selected by 46 percent of all drivers.
  • Most common property damage liability coverage: $50,000, selected by 59 percent of all drivers.
  • Collision coverage, selected by 60 percent of all drivers.
  • Comprehensive coverage, selected by 61 percent of all drivers.
  • $500 deductible, selected by 74 percent of drivers who buy comprehensive and collision.
  • Towing and emergency road service, selected by 16 percent of all drivers.
  • Rental reimbursement coverage, selected by 16 percent of all drivers.

As you decide on what coverage to buy, consider these tips:

  • Extra liability coverage beyond the required minimums is generally quite cheap – you’ll pay only a fraction as much for an additional $50,000 as you did for the first $25,000.
  • Raising your deductibles can save you money. Going from a $500 deductible to $1,000 on a 2012 Ford Explorer in Texas, for example, would cut the annual bill for comp and collision from $576 to $470. Saving $100 a year on your car insurance is nice, but only if you have $1,000 to get your car out of hock to the body shop.
  • Before you make big changes in coverage, shop around first. The more you pay for car insurance, the more you are likely to find savings by switching insurers.

PIDO’s Bike Share Farm is a community garden that can be pedalled from place to place

Beijing architecture firm People’s Industrial Design Office has designed a mobile farm that lets the community share responsibility for crops’ wellbeing.

Bike Share Farm – which was created and built by People’s Industrial Design Office (PIDO) during a 72-hour hackathon in Seoul, South Korea – addresses the lack of space many major cities suffer from, particularly when it comes to room for growing produce.

The hydroponic farm consists of a triangular steel framework supported by a pair of bikes. Pipes run across the metal base, with holes for pot plants to slot into. A set of solar panels are fastened onto the structure to power a pump that runs water through the entire system.

The frame allows for bikes to be easily exchanged, so that a new cyclist can take responsibility for the farm at each stop. The system is designed to encourage a whole community to take part in farming, and offer more people the chance to get involved.

“Urban gardens are now common in many cities but few have access to them,” PIDO co-founder James Shen told Dezeen. “The Bike Share Farm marries the bike share model with urban farming. A vertical and mobile farm addresses the land constraints found in dense cities like Seoul and Beijing.”

According to Shen, the structure is light enough to be lifted by two people and is easy to control and steer.

“We imagine people would ride to a Bike Share Farm location, hook on their bikes and take it to a convenient location,” he added. “This would allow large numbers of Bike Share Farms to spread throughout the city.”

The studio is currently working on demonstrating the design with larger numbers of vehicles.