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The Man Bringing an Icon Back, One Defender at a Time

30 Minutes With: Matthew Perlman, Founder of West Coast Defender

After being told he needed a license to sell his personal Land Rover Defender 90 to friends, Matthew Perlman decided to go all in for his passion. His company, West Coast Defender, brings 21st century updates — refinished exteriors, heated seats, power locking and other modern amenities — to classic machines. Sourcing Defenders from all over the world and backed by a staff of former Land Rover mechanics, Perlman’s leading the charge toward the rebirth of the iconic British SUV right here in the U.S. We jumped at the chance to fire up the cameras and chat with him about his passion, why these cars are so special, and how one handles being held at the Turkish border for no reason.

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The watch company that came in from the cold

Saxon Snow: To the Heart of German Watchmaking with A. Lange & Söhne

Gear Patrol’s Jason Heaton travels to Saxony, home of A. Lange & Söhne, to explore the region, experience the watchmaker and learn its storied history. Read on for our short film, photo essay and his story — filled with snowy drives, German culture, precision watchmaking and an incredible company that came out of the cold.

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Its worst emission? Burnt rubber

Behind The Wheel: 2012 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid

The second coming of the very popular and virtually unpronounceable Volkswagen Touareg (“Too-a-regg”) now comes in Hybrid form, which actually makes more sense than hybridizing a compact car that already gets better gas mileage than its larger automotive counterparts. And though its 20/24 city/highway mileage numbers don’t truly impress (the Touareg TDI gets better fuel…

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Drop Top Gorgeous

Behind The Wheel: Audi R8 V10 Spyder

Legend has it that when you drive a supercar, your biceps and pectorals enlarge by up to 30% and your testosterone levels climb rapidly, giving your confidence a much needed kick in the basement. On the down side, you become increasingly discourteous and you can’t seem to supress the desire to purchase (and wear) a…

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The longer, faster cat's meow

Behind The Wheel: Jaguar XJL Supercharged

Jaguar cars, long known for their sexy lines and classic proportions, were growing extremely long in the tooth with their XJ platform, a design that was pulled, smoothed out and tweaked since the Series 1 cars in 1968. In cat years, that’s food for worms. Well, in 2009, Jaguar took the much needed leap into…

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The road less traveled, the snow well-conquered

Sidecars & Snow: A Mountain Ride with Ural Motorcycles

Given the chance to ride motorcycles in the winter, a sane rider might politely decline, but what’s life without a few two three-wheeled thrills? On a recent invitation by Ural Motorcycles we did just that, responding “yes, please” (pronto) while simultaneously reaching for our bags, and multiple changes of underwear. Next stop, cold and soggy Seattle.

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Bold Three

Behind The Wheel | 2012 BMW 335i

Love it or hate it, the new 2012 BMW 335i (internally, F30) makes a bold statement. A continuation of BMWs design language found in the current 5 and 7 series, especially in the completely reworked front fascia with its exposed kidney grilles and elongated headlamps, the 335i makes no bones about what it’s here to…

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Be my Valentino

Behind the Wheel | Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder

After more than 40 years as a test driver for Lamborghini, Valentino Balboni retired. In place of a gold watch the Italian supercar maker crafted a limited edition model (only 250) in his honor: the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni — yes, it’s a mouth full. That very car birthed two beautiful descendants. Our…

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Bespoke Barroom Brawler

Behind the Wheel: 2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S and S Hybrid

Let’s start with the near absurdity of a four-door Porsche, on the heels of the ridiculously successful Cayenne, which no Porsche enthusiast thought should be built. The Panamera was never meant to compete with the BMW 7-Series, the Mercedes S-Class or the Audi A8, though comparos almost always include the four in a heated battle…

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White Lightning

Behind the Wheel: 2012 Audi TT RS

The Audi TT started out as an exercise in modern Bauhaus Auto Union design and it’s been hugely successful in both 2+2 and roadster versions. Though neither car has been deemed especially quick, that all changes with the TT RS, a balls-to-the-wall 2+2 that makes other sports cars sweat like an elk in Ted Nugent’s…

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Price of perfection? Starts around $96,000.

Behind the Wheel: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S

Let’s get this out of the way. The 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S crushes miles. It crushes miles on grand tours, it crushes them on B-roads, it even crushes them on boring commutes. From the moment you turn the key — Porsche thankfully forgoes the start button frippery — to the raucous score of the…