Since 1990, Southern California has been home to the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Center, where around 20 designers have been planning, sketching and living the company’s future.
A German Creative Playground...in California
It’s an elegantly powerful ultra-supercar. It’s capable of crushing more expensive, higher-profile autos on tracks and streets alike. And it’s surprisingly rare. So instead of waiting around, GP went to the famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to try out the 2015 McLaren 650S.
A Far East Take on the Commuter
Tokyobike’s arrival in New York City feels like fate. A cruise around the Avenues proved that the lightweight, small, eclectic bikes are ideal city commuters.
Oh, I'd love to Drive an Oscar Mayer Wiener
We drove the Wienermobile, and it was awesome.
The GTI of GTIs
Why even talk about something we can’t have? Because when VW knocks on the door and hands over their forbidden fruit — the 2015 Golf R Euro-spec — no human of motoring integrity could say no; and we didn’t either.
Your last iced coffee of the season
The objective of most post-Starbucks coffee shops has been an almost authoritarian pursuit of purity. But it seems we’re turning a corner. This summer the Kaffe Tonic, a mixture of espresso and Fever Tree tonic served over ice at Saint Frank Coffee in San Francisco, caught on.
The cult of the Miata lives
Who would’ve imagined that a small, underpowered roadster like the Mazda MX-5 Miata would become the darling of the roadster world? Gear Patrol traveled to the challenging Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca, where every version of the iconic Japanese roadster took to the tarmac recently to celebrate the cult of Miata.
9 Days and 1,240 Miles
Bolivia’s 424,164 square miles make it the 28th largest country in the world. Those square miles are also some of the most biodiverse in the world, with ecologies ranging from tropical rainforests to dry valleys to stepped savannas. It rises from just 230 feet above sea level along the Paraguay river to higher than 21,000 feet at the peak of the extinct stratovolcano Nevado Sajama on the country’s western border. And I was there to challenge a wide swathe of it all. Over nine days I was slated to cover 1,240 miles, not conquering the big country but merely surviving it, creeping along some of the most dangerous roads in the world one grueling mile at a time.
Riding Rough Around The Edges
About two hours north of Green Bay, Wisconsin past idyllic countryside, dairy farms and wide open roads sits the small town of Crandon, where the peaceful silence of nature is replaced by the roar of 900 horsepower engines competing in The Off-Road Racing Championship (TORC) battling for victory while jumping, drifting and wrecking at the world famous Big House. We had an all-access pass to Jarit and Jessie Johnson from team Husqvarna as they continued their race for the championship.
Hyundai Makes a Comeback
The old-wood pine forests and gravel roads of the Neste Oil WRC Finland made for gorgeous scenery in early August. And Team Hyundai, plus two of their Finnish drivers, made for a great story.
The Theater of Motorsport
There’s a particular theater to motorsport. The hair-bristling caterwaul of a race exhaust. The aromas of hot metal mechanics. The gritty dust of tire soot. And that’s for spectators.
Step beyond the yellow line into pit row and things get far more visceral. And though we could prattle on in paragraphs about what it’s like to be face-to-face with theatrics of racing Ferraris, we figured it best to report this story through the medium of film.
Confusing, a little odd... and molto bello
Featuring a slew of firsts, the Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 was wrapped in controversy, failed in sales and has been looked down upon by aficionados for years. Today there is a resurgence in the interest of this ill-fated groundbreaker. We talked to one proud owner to find out why.
Once Left for dead, a five-time Ironman winner returns to form
Pro triathlete Jordan Rapp is a poster boy for endurance — and not just because he’s won five Ironmans, two Leadman Epic 250s and the 2011 ITU Long Distance World Championships. The more remarkable feat is that all but two of those victories came following a near-fatal hit-and-run accident.
One 577-hp wagon. One dry lake bed.
The 2014 MB E 63 AMG S 4Matic Wagon has more horsepower than a Ferrari 458 and gets to 60 a full second before a Porsche 911. And it has room for your family, their luggage and the family dog. We turned off traction control and let it loose on a dry lake bed.
Watching Pedalers and Panoramas from a support car
We took our espresso stateside this year, catching the Giro d’Italia on television and showing up in person for the 2014 Tour of California, where we shot this video while riding along in a support car.
Old World Skill, New World Techniques
New York-based Seize Sur Vingt understands the importance of fit, but then, so do the vast majority of tailors. More important is that they’ve come up with a new way to bring top-notch Italian tailors and American clients together that doesn’t involve a nine hour flight. It’s a simple solution that long-distance daters have been using for years: Skype.
Take a Break from Work for a visit to Hanapepe, Hawaii
Tucked away behind a small industrial complex in Hanapepe on the Island of Kauai lies a hidden local treasure: Glass Beach. And just a short walk east from the parking area, one can find an even cooler gem — a naturally formed lava arch and keyhole cave on a jagged dark amber shoreline, where firm breezes make the tumbling waves a sight to behold.
Jungle, Coast, Cave, Reef
The story of Belize is one of layers, as evidenced by the experience of GP editor and adventurer, Jason Heaton, who explored the country’s Caribbean coastline and inland jungles, diving underwater, caving underground, and — at least for a short while — relaxing under coconut trees.
Going where no RV has gone before
When Charles Borskey started Sportsmobile in 1961, he had no idea the brand would rise to the popular status it holds today as the ultimate vehicle for adventure camping — or for simply making drivers look badass. Specializing in converting full-size vans into custom recreational vehicles, Sportsmobile turns your base people hauler into a rugged, rock-luvin’ beast. We recently visited Sportsmobile West’s Fresno, CA location to see the factory and take a van on the road; the conditions — snow and ice — created the perfect playground for these hulking yet nimble beasts.
Sculpting the Mountain
Now in its seventh season, the Salomon Freeski TV channel has covered the sport exhaustively. In “The Architect”, Vice President of Resort Design at Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners, Ryley Thiessen, explains how resort development has changed from the 1960s to today, bringing us from mom-and-pop mountains (now all but extinct) to four-season resorts in China.
How It's Made
Apple’s Mac Pro, released in the fall of last year, is the kind of provocative machine that makes even luddites turn their heads. Its design is reminiscent, in some ways, of Da Vinci’s plans for a flying machine: an impressive idea, a maelstrom of creativity, a game-changer that inspires curiosity and awe. It’s not anywhere near as ground-breaking as Leonardo’s plans — but then again, Apple is able to execute. Apple’s short film captures that execution.
Driving, on the rocks
When Frank J. Zamboni opened one of the largest ice skating rinks in the country just outside Los Angeles in 1940, he realized he needed to streamline the ice resurfacing process. Using surplus war parts from Jeeps and tractors, he perfected his design on a number of iterations — and in 1949 the Model A Zamboni Ice Resurfacer was born.
Fast forward more than 60 years and the company, which has become ubiquitous with hockey games and halftime shows, now offers more than 10 machines ranging in capacity, price and ability. We had the chance to take the all-electric Zamboni 552 ($160,000) model for a spin, and the drive was, as expected, extraordinary.
The Ingenieur Chronograph Silberpfeil is a direct homage to the famous Mercedes-Benz W25 Silver Arrow that dominated motorsports between the World Wars. These cars were monsters, with oversized spoked rims and massive straight-cylinder engines barely sheathed in metal. The watch’s dial sports the same circular-grained aluminum treatment as the Silver Arrows’ dashboards, and the caseback has an engraved likeness of the car itself. But enough about the watch. This year, a restored Silberpfeil took part in the famous Klausen Hill Climb race in Switzerland — and this video takes us along for the ride.
The month of September saw Levi’s Station to Station train project rolling from Brooklyn, NY to Oakland, CA in a journey meant to promote art, music, food and fashion. But this wasn’t your ordinary sleeper car/food car locomotive. The guest list was packed with artists and musicians, and videos, performances, on-hand crafts, sculptures, art installations and even a recording studio were on hand or close by, making the journey more of a collective convoy of talent and creativity than a simple cross-country jaunt.
Thermo-Electric Cooling Technology — that’s not a term you expect to read on an electric razor’s spec sheet. Thankfully, there’s no need to butcher that science-speak in front of a sales associate; just ask for CoolTec. Fulfilling the next step in shaving innovations from Braun, it’s the world’s first razor that actively cools the skin via an integrated electro-ceramic cooling element in the head. To find out all grooming innovations the CoolTec has to offer, check out the video above.
A Feeling of Displacement
Recently, we made our way out to Bilster Berg, a new $45 million dollar track and driving resort tucked into the eastern foothills of Germany. A former British ammunition depot, the 2.6-mile track has quickly launched to must-drive status due to a challenging mix of speed and extreme elevation changes. It was a worthy canvas for painting tracks with the 2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, a 2.0-liter beast.
A Gear Patrol Film
When we catch a glimpse of the surfing community, we always slap our heads collectively and wonder why we didn’t pursue a life of beaches, sun, and drinks with little umbrellas. We had one such moment this summer. Fortunately, there was plenty of time to reflect on our life decisions while enjoying the beaches, sun and drinks with little umbrellas in Bali, Indonesia, where we covered the Oakley Pro Bali, the fifth stop of the year on the pro surfing tour.
The Poster Child For Invincibility
Mercedes-Benz’s longest-running production model, the Gelandewagen (G-Wagen), is a testament to versatility and timeless style. For $135,000 one can not only look ultra tough in this military-inspired ride but drive like it as well. Plus, the humble 382 horsepower, 5.5 liter V8 from the “regular” G-Wagen goes bi-turbo in the AMG and jumps to 536 wild horses. We got behind the wheel deep in the Catskill mountains to give AMG’s beast a good thrashing and see how much it would bite back.
Cue the tiny violins
IWC is thoroughly Swiss and proud of it. So proud, in fact, that they’ve put together a little video in honor of Switzerland’s national holiday, which falls on August 1st, with a team of watchmakers playing the Swiss national anthem on suitably sized instruments. The conductor of the group is none other than Kurt Klaus, appropriately a national treasure and designer of some of IWC’s greatest complicated timepieces. Happy National Day, Switzerland, and keep the great timepieces coming!