One Millionth Porsche 911

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I was taught to drive on a Volkswagen Beetle – Volkswagen Beetle – an icon re-imagined and have had a love of these simply fabulous little cars for over fifty years.

It is said that if you can drive a VW Beetle – and they are sometimes a little tricky – then mastering virtually any other car – particularly a rear wheel drive, rear engine, whether or not air-cooled – is a breeze.

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I have been fascinated by – and am still looking for one to refurbish – Volkswagen’s spin-off beauties – Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

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And the Beach Bug.

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However, simply the most compelling Beetle inspired car has to be the Porsche 911. First launched in 1963 the manufacturers of iconic car have just celebrated another massive milestone.

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I was thrilled to read that on May 11th 2017 Porsche celebrated for the world’s Press, at their Stuttgart factor, the production of their millionth Porsche 911. The one millionth car with its distinctive green livery and stand-out number plate “S GO1911” is certain to be worth many millions of whatever currency you chose.

For me, appreciating a beautiful car is never about value. This car represents one of the longest lineages in motoring history and it is important to celebrate classics – even new classics – that add to our enjoyment of this classic brand. Most Petrol Heads will get this, although it is sometimes really difficult to explain just why certain cars appeal and others just don’t.

The Porsche 911 range, particularly the Targa Porsche 911 Targa – including its most recent iteration – are  pure joy.porsche-targa-16

Images courtesy of Porsche

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Fruit of the Loom – T shirts

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A sharp frost – with night-time temperatures in the UK dipping well below zero – after a warm Easter reminds us that although we are tempted to close the cupboard door on our winter clothing, in fact Mother Nature has other ideas.

I am a big fan of layering and the base layer for me always tends to be a T-shirt in either long or short sleeves.

For many years I have worn T-shirts made by US corporation, “Fruit of the Loom” who are based in Bowling Green, (Kentucky, USA). The company employs 32,000 people world-wide, Fruit of the Loom shares its headquarters with the excellent Russell Brands (that include one-time rapper favourite’s “Russell Athletic”) – which it acquired in in August 2006 – and is a subsidiary of The Sage of Omaha/Warren Buffett’s mighty “Berkshire Hathaway”.

The T-shirt has only been around since 1913 – we recently ran a piece that celebrated its 100th birthday  Iconic T-Shirts – when US Navy recruits were issued for the first time with white crewneck T-shirts that were made to be worn under their uniforms, giving birth to an American icon.

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Fruit of the Loom was born in 1851 by brothers Benjamin and Robert Knight, textile miller owners from Warwick (Rhode Island USA) manufacturing cotton cloth  who was visiting a shop-keeper in Providence, Rhode Island (USA) who sold Knight’s cloth. Robert Knight saw the painted apples that the shop-keeper’s daughter had applied to the bolts off cloth, with those bearing the apples apparently the most popular. Knight thought that it would be the perfect symbol for his business “Fruit of the Loom”.

In 1871, a year after the trade-mark’s registry opened Knight was granted trademark number 418 for the “Fruit of the Loom” brand. (See above the evolution of the TM to date.)

In the late 1930 and for several decades, Jacob (Jack) Goldfarb’s Union Underwear became a a Fruit of the Loom licensee that propelled the brand aways from cloth manufacturing into great quality underwear.

A variety of unsuccessful ventures led to Fruit of the Loom filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1999 but Berkshire Hathaway Corporation, seeing the value of the brand, purchased the valuable brand in April 2002 for approximately $835m. On a equally sad note, in 2014 the company announced the closure of its Jamestown (Kentucky) plant with the loss of six hundred jobs. Production was moved to Honduras in an effort to reduce production costs with no appreciable reduction in quality.

A prevailing trend in much of Aestheticons work, particularly in relation those icons that originate in the US with its high labour costs, is that many manufacturers have moved production overseas. Central and Latin America are favourites, with The Far East, Morocco or Turkey also featuring.

Whilst I am convinced that a customer will pay a premium for a “home produced” garment or item – see the heritage lines of Dr Martens – Dr. Martens – and Clarks – Clarks Desert Boots – the profitability of brand owing businesses cannot be compromised. That said, a balance in the need to carefully control production to ensure that a customer is not simply buying his/her favourite brand that is attached to an inferior product. It’s the biggest challenge for a brand to manage overheads without any appreciable reduction in the quality of the finished item. Fruit of the Loom seem to have ensured that they retain much of their quality – both in terms of materials and finish, despite production being moved.

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How about adding some Fruit of the Loom T shirts to your ward robe – please click the Amazon link below the image to do just that – available in a variety of weights of fabric and a rainbow of colours – many are 100% cotton – an absolute favourite of mine.

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Fruit of the Loom Women’s Opaque V-Neck Short SleeveT-Shirt – Grey – Heather grey – 10

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Fruit of the Loom Men’s Super Premium Short Sleeve T-Shirt Pack Of 5, White/White/Black/Black/Ash, XX-Large

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Fruit of the Loom T-Shirts Pack of 5

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Fruit of the Loom Mens Plain Heavy Cotton T-Shirt Heather Grey Large

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Fruit of the Loom Heavy Cotton White Tee 2XL

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Fender Stratocaster by Dominic Baker

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In the week that saw the death of the great Charles “Chuck” Berry,  the man who invented Rock & Roll and an enthusiastic endorsee of this classic guitar, Dominic Baker straps on his mojo to explore the Fender Stratocaster and its allure for players and fans alike.

I cant think of many modern iconic musical instruments that have been so enduring as this legendary piece. It’s beguiling curves would be the pin ups for generations to come and it also contained some pretty innovative tech, setting the benchmark for most electric guitars today.

This IS the go to guitar when anyone is asked to describe, or perhaps draw, an electric guitar. It is easily the most identifiable and emulated of all the ‘axes’ out there. The classic shape that was born in the 50s is still being produced and sold today in its thousands.

Co-creators Leo Fender, George Fullerton, Bill Carson and Freddie Tavares came up with the design in 1954. The body was made from a variety of solid woods including alder, ash, poplar and basswood but the neck was always made from maple wood. The fretboard was made primarily from maple, rosewood or ebony. The neck also had the classic black dot inlays.

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It’s trademark  – and it was the first guitar ever to feature – the 3 single coil pick ups with a tremolo system on the floating bridge. It was the first Fender to be contoured (the Telecaster – a notable predecessor -had a flat body) the double cut away design enabled easy access to the higher notes on the neck.

The Stratocaster is an incredibly versatile model and is used in many genres of music from country to rock, heavy metal, blues, jazz and soul.

The floating bridge that housed the tremolo and was controlled by the tremolo arm had springs that could be pulled down modulating the sound of the pitch and then snap the bridge back into place. If done quickly this produced a pleasing oscillating vibrato effect. This wasn’t suitable for all styles.

Certain artist adjusted it with blocks of wood so it didn’t move and alter the sound. Other prominent guitarists – notably Eric Clapton and Ronnie Wood – believed that the floating bridge would detune the guitar – as a result some ‘Strats’ called “hard tails” were made with no floating bridge.

The list of celebrities user and endorsees is dazzling; some who championed its versatile and recognisable sound including Hendrix , Dylan, Van Halen, Hank Marvin, Harrison, Lennon, Bowie, Zappa, The Edge, David Gilmour and Pete Townsend became household names as a direct result. Essays could be written on each one’s unique sound and how they inspired their own cult following. Above all, they each managed to make the instrument sound different. Their haunting melodies will undoubtedly carry you right back to a memorable time and place in your life.

When you think of an electric guitar my bet is that you visualise the Fender Stratocaster. When you hear an electric guitar I am certain that your mind’s eye you will “see” a Fender Stratocaster, it is that ingrained into popular psyche.

Case closed.

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New 9.7″ iPad

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News has reached us from the US that Apple are to discontinue their iPad Air 2 – see our review here Ipad 2 Air – and are to replace this iconic tablet with a new variation of the earlier product just called the “iPad”.

The new iPod will have a 9.7″ screen  – full report see here New iPad 9.7″ – but the important features for this entry level product are the specification and prices.

The new 9.7-inch iPad will be slightly thicker and heavier than its predecessor but comes with a faster A9 chip and a brighter Retina display.

Prices will start at $329 for 32GB and $429 for 128GB.

My treasured iPad Air 2 is a 64GB version that gets loaded very quickly if you are traveling and have added more than a couple of in-flight movies.

Fiat 130 Coupe

Aestheticons is joined today by a new guest contributor, Grant Calton. Grant is a petrol-head who has owned some beautiful classic cars. In this, the first of what we hope will be a regular slot, Grant kicks himself for not buying a Fiat 130 Coupe when he had the chance.

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As an autophile from a very early age, my annual visit, with my father, to the Earls Court Motor Show (before they had the temerity to relocate it to bloody Birmingham) (Ed. Who else remembers the Earls Court Motor Show? Brilliant day out!) was a highlight of my year. 1971 has a special fondness in my memory as it was the year I first set eyes on a motor vehicle that remains to this day close to my auto heart and firmly entrenched on my ever expanding bucket list of must own motors.

The  Pininfarina designed Fiat 130 Coupé.

That sophisticated sleekosity, the deep opalescent Adriatic blue of the Earls Court display car. …and that orange velour upholstery. (I think I had a pair of flares seemingly cut from similar cloth). It remains a striking car to this day with its’ wide headlights, OTT velour and Pininfarina design. It simply oozes style, 70’s glamour and auto-chic. But it is little known or oft forgot by many.

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Executive designers were Paolo Martin and Leonardo Fioravantim – and their boss Sr Sergio (Pininfarina) described the car as a “masterpiece of simplicity”. It was recognised by industry bible, Style Auto magazine, in 1972 when it won the Design Award.

The relatively mundane 130 sedan had been available since 1969 with a 2.9 litre V6 engine, the coupe was bestowed with a 3.2 litre V6 to give it a little extra oomph that befitted its grand tourer style – it delivered a top speed of 190 km/h – not bad for 1971.

The Coupé was significantly more expensive  – around 35% more – than the technically identical sedan. On the German market it was offered in 1971 it 28,000 DM – 8000 DM more than the sedan – similarly priced as a BMW 3.0 CSi or a Mercedes-Benz 280 SE Coupe. 
Nowadays it’s a relative bargain in the classic car market with good examples to be had for £12-15,000. Shame on me for missing out on one for £10,000 in 2014!

They total production run between 1971 and December 1977 was a modest 4,493.

 

Victorinox SwissChamp

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Date Launched: 1891 – the SwissChamp was introduced in 1986

History: The Swiss Army knife is a multi-tool pocketknife manufactured by Victorinox AG in the Swiss town of Ibach.

The Swiss Army knife was first produced in 1891 by Karl Elsener, who had won the contract to produce Modell 1890 knife – following a strict specification set by the Swiss military – from the previous German manufacturer. In 1909, the company was renamed in memory of Elsener’s mother Victoria and in 1921 with the introduction “stainless-steel” or “inox” (in French), the final iteration of Victorinox AG was born.

A cultural icon, the design of the knives and their quality and versatility has gained a worldwide recognition.

The expression “Swiss Army Knife” is thought to have come from US servicemen during the Second World War who saw the knives used but couldn’t pronounce the German version name “Offiziersmesser”.

Swiss Army Knives that are made of the finest Swedish steel from Sandvik and Victorinox is now the sole supplier of multi-purpose knives to the Swiss Army and the biggest manufacturer of pocketknives in the World.

The Swiss Army knife generally has a main spear-point blade, as well as various tools, including a screwdriver, can opener, saw and many other useful implements. These attachments are stowed inside the handle of the knife through a pivot mechanism. The handle is usually red or black and features a cross logo – being the coat of arms of Switzerland.

My Victorinox SwissChamp: I have several SwissChamp knives. My first was bought on a skiing trip to Switzerland about thirty years ago – it has a black body and case. The main knife blade is stamped with the name of the Geneva shop where it was purchased. I have had to replace the saw blade after it snapped cutting wet logs in France – which was an easy thing to do as Victorinox are well set up for such replacements. I have lost and replaced endless tweezers, toothpicks and pins. It the the most amazing pocket tool you’ll ever really need – except the pincers are a little feeble.I don’t think a day goes by without me fixing, scraping or filing using my SwissChamp – simply brilliant.

My second a classic red SwissChamp – in a bespoke red leather case – was bought in the flagship store of Victorinox on Bond Street in the heart of London’s West End. Downstairs is a treasure trove or those who find Victorinox products fascinating.

My wife has an electric pink key-ring knife that is always in her hand-bag and Victorinox make beautiful sets – often accompanied by Maglite torches – our Maglite post is here – Maglite D 3 cell torch – which have become firm favourites for nephew’s birthdays.

Having bought my son a Victorinox knife for Christmas a couple of years ago I recently purchased and had engraved two of the very small key-ring knives for my two daughters. As we all do a lot of international traveling I was assured by the guys at Victorinox that the smallest is the only knife that UK Customs allow to travel on planes – none of us has yet been brave enough to test that!

Your Victorinox SwissChamp: Please share your experiences, we’d love to hear them. How? By completing the “Leave a Reply” section below your experiences would be most welcome. Please remember, as we are an international site you may post in any language.

 

Featured image by Victorinox

Iconic T-Shirts

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I came across the following list of the 100 Most Iconic T-Shirts on the CustomInk T-Shirt Designers blog. It was made to celebrate the 100th birthday of the T-Shirt in 2013. Apparently, in 1913 US Navy recruits were issued for the first time with white crewneck T-shirts that were made to be worn under their uniforms, giving birth to an American icon.

See it here (it’s a good read) 100 Most Iconic T-Shirts

I was really happy to see that two T-shirts that we have posted about are in the Top 10.

The Hard Rock Cafe T-Shirt at Number 7 – see our post here Hard Rock Cafe T Shirt

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and

The I ❤️NY T-Shirt at Number 1 – see our post here I ❤️ NY

Also see the accompanying video by the guys at “Toplists” for the Top 10 Iconic T Shirts. Top 10 Most Iconic T-Shirts