It was 2006: I was post-college unemployed and had just moved to Long Island City. When I wasn’t job-searching, I was pretty deep into reading random Wikipedia entries and watching Arrested Development reruns.
Naturally, this is when I became infatuated with the Citroën DS. As you do.
New York is one of the harshest environments on an old vehicle, but somehow it still remains a fantastic place for finding weird, obscure cars. I was still learning this when I was out at night and found a white Citroën DS street-parked a few blocks away from my apartment. I ran home and grabbed my terrible 2005-era digital camera and took some terrible 2005-era digital nighttime photos of it. Our apartment wasn’t large enough so store a tripod, so, sorry.
Knowing how bad the shots where and that I didn’t have a lot going on the next morning, I made a return visit to the Déesse the next day.
Only now, there were two of them! And the owners were standing beside them chatting! It was a Citroën DS Ambulance, covered in handprints and graphics and grime. I guess he had stopped to meet up with another local DS enthusiast. I spoke to them, briefly, and they explained the Tour, but it didn’t set in immediately. Before I knew it, the DS ambulance was on its way.
This happened years ago and I still think about it. It’s one of the most serendipitous things that’s ever happened to me. Much later, I researched the Lunaya World Tour, and found little tidbits across the internet. The driver, Manuel Boileau, (or maybe it was Lunaya) described the purpose was “to meet local populations and to produce photo and video features depicting children from all over the planet.”
Citroën and Lunaya both used to have news features about the trip but they don’t seem to be reachable anymore. According to this article from Brazil, the whole trip lasted from 2005 to 2008, and Boileau only used paper maps to navigate, no GPS, which is kinda cool. It’s a remarkable achievement and I’m glad I was able to be in the presence of it, even if by accident.
If you’re of the opinon that it would be impossible for BMW to build a modern-day E30, and foolish to wish for it, please, stop reading now. Yes. This is another one of those posts.
I’ll keep it short. Let’s revisit the BMW 1999 Art Car, the V12 LMR from carrying Jenny Holzer’s message “PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT”. But let’s look at it in the context of BMW’s wants and desires, and how they’ve changed in the past 15 years.
Here are a few additional truisms that, with the benefit of hindsight, we should have been watching out for:
Protect me from a 4,150-pound M3.
Protect me from overwrought designs that follow trends instead of make them.
Protect me from character lines and creases that say nothing.
Protect me from ‘sDrive’ model designations.
Protect me from the X5, X6, X3, X1 and X4.
Protect me from completely unnecessary front-wheel drive BMWs.
If only BMW had listened to itself in 1999!
But hey, there’s hope. The recent one-off BMW Pininfarinia Gran Lusso is the best-looking car with a BMW roundel in a decade. Sure, there’s still a lot of surfacing, but it’s crisp and understated in a way that few modern cars are. And even fewer modern BMWs. It looks so ‘right’ that I can almost ignore that it’s 37 feet long.
(Post inspired by conversation with Will Pierce)
How ’bout them updates? It’s been pretty dead. If you remember, when I started this blog, it was sort of going to be a photoblog and behind-the-scenes about my photo projects. It still may be, occasionally, but the mission has changed. I’d rather just use this as a place to vent my crazy theories. It’ll be just a slight shift, since I’ve been doing that all along. Those were always the most interesting posts, anyway (at least to me).
I’m happy to say that my completely new photo portfolio is online:
McCauley Photo Co.
It’s funny how you can tweak and tweak something and never quite be happy with it, and sometimes that fussing even gets in the way of creating new things that you were trying to showcase all along. I’ve had this site looking sort of like this since around August, and in the months between then and now I’ve been changing content, the logo, and background stuff. What I’ve settled on should be pretty permanent. What’s also interesting (and good) is that at this time last year, my standards for myself and my work weren’t as high, and so work that I saw as ‘fine’ one year ago wouldn’t make the cut today. I’ve been trimming stuff and trimming stuff and — who knows — by this time next year, maybe I can raise it to a newer level and a lot of the stuff in there will be cut.
Related: feel free to check out my Tumblr, which I update more frequently, here.
A lot of people are counting on this car to be the ‘best-ever’ GT3, which makes no sense to me. The GT3 is the stripped, purest version of the 911, so why would I want it to start from the most complicated and arguably compromised 911 platform?
Before this car debuted, I had been wondering if the 997 was that last 911 that’s still cool to like. I’m just talking about standard model 911s, for right now. The 991 is an incredible car, but depending on your view of what the 911 is, it’s quite possible that the 991 is one increment too far from the 911 premise. In retrospect, we may see the 997 as the last 911 that seems traceable to the old cars.
That’s a broad, easily dismissed thought. But the beef with the GT3 isn’t. What is the GT3? It’s not the fastest 911. It’s the rawest, most precise and most sorted. If it was about being the fastest, it would be a Turbo. So if that’s the premise of the GT3, the 991 is such a polished, noise-canceling base to start with, it’s not ridiculous to theorize that the rawest variant of 991 is probably still more insulated and digitized than a base 996.
With this type of car, it’s simply a matter of diminishing returns. A big part of what makes the GT3 a GT3 is that it feels like the closest to an older 911. More racecar than luxury car. If that’s your view, why would you want a 991? If you think of the GT3 as just the fastest NA 911, this one is fine. It’s more GT-R than GT3, and it will be exceedingly quick. But I think the GT3 is about more than lap times. The people who equate “newest” with “best” will be very happy. It’s about connection, communication and the sensory inputs it delivers. A car that delivers less of those inputs can still be a very quick car, but I’m not sure it makes a great GT3.
We saw this happen with the M3, and it’s an almost inevitable dilemma: the goals of the mass-market platform move in the opposite direction of the goals of the niche, driving-oriented version. Because of this divergence, you can have a ‘perfect’, “best-ever” base car (in this case, standard 911, or regular 3-series) that achieves all of it’s goals, while the performance version is not as good as it’s predecessors. This is almost a certain fate for the GT3, if not this version.
And I never even mentioned PDK.