Brompton Bicycles

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I really like to cycle. There’s a “wind in your hair” moment – obviously beneath your safety helmet – when you appreciate the liberty of your pace but also the penny drops that you are actually doing yourself some good. Stamina and a general feeling of wellbeing improve immensely from bike riding.

If you are a City commuter then the idea of riding to work may be somewhat daunting. Aside from the perils of other road users, including the crazy antics of cycle messengers/couriers – who are very time poor – and the inconsideration often shown to pedal power by motorists there are distinct health and wealth benefits. Provided the weather holds, many Cities now have dedicated bike routes offering the cyclists a reasonably direct line between home, through parks and tunnels to emerge close to their work place.

Once you arrive at work – what on earth do you do with your prized bike? You can park it in a designated cycle rack with all manner of heavy “U” locks or chains seeking to prevent theft or why not carry it and place it under your desk!

Yes, armed with an engineering degree from Cambridge University and a somewhat thwarted career in computer science, Andrew Richie’s City Analysist father introduced him to those seeking to commercialize the Bickerton Bike. A patented model of collapseable bike produced entirely from aluminum profiles with no welding and reasonably light.

After extensive modification of the earlier idea to ensure that the dirtiest parts of the bike – primarily the chain – were central to the folded vehicle and named after the Brompton Oratory that could be seen from his flat, in Egerton Gardens, where he developed the first prototypes, James filed his second patent in 1979 for his folding bike. The Patent was granted on the 30th May 1984.

I am very relieved to hear that James Ritchie appears to be in that rare group of perhaps eccentric British inventors, that would logically include James Dyson and Clive Sinclair and Trevor Baylis, that are truely obsessed by their design and live and breath the prospect for their invention. Mr Richie certainly believed in his invention and spent an inordinate amount of time bringing it to market. He readily admits to being a perfectionist for whom all the design and manufacturing details needed to be just right. His belief has proved to be correct.

The Brompton is an iconic and memorable site on the street of London, New York and San Francisco.

His modesty as to his design talents is disarming. He quite rightly notes that he combined the elements of a bicycle that have been around since the Victorian era. He credits Alex Moulton – who we first heard of in relation to his design work on the suspension of Sir Alec Issigonnis’ Mini – see our pervious post here – Mini – the best selling car in Britain  who popularized the smaller wheeled bicycle and without this Mr Richie believes that he would not have conceived the idea of the Brompton.

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It appears that a favourite pastime for the legions of fans of the Brompton folding bike – aside from selecting your preferred vehicle from the company’s wide range of options, alternative parts and accessories that may be tailored to your individual needs – is to add a Brooks saddle, perhaps giving the bike a slightly more noble look. We have celebrated the iconic saddles made by Brooks in Smethwick (West Midlands) – please see our earlier post here – Brooks bicycle saddle

The cleaver team at Brompton based at their production facility in West London have devised and recently launched a Brompton bike that is powered by human and battery! See their video here Brompton’s First Electric Bike

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Can I interest you in a Brompton? The ever popular M6L model is available in either blue or black – please click on the Amazon link below the image of each bike

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BROMPTON M6L 2017 Tempest Blue Folding Bike

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BROMPTON M6L 2017 Black Folding Bike

Or perhaps you’d prefer the same look in a lighter Brompton bike – the H6L – please click the link below the image

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Brompton H6L Superlight 2017 Folding Bike Black Titanium

STOP PRESS

The Independent, one of the UK’s more objective newspapers, in June 2018, carried a very well reasoned piece concerning electric bikes – including Brompton’s very own version. Read the piece By David Phelan here Best Electric Bikes

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Image Credits – with grateful thanks Brompton Bicycles and James Richie

Morgan Cars

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It may be seen as era specific, but back in the 1940’s, as any Hollywood movie will attest the “half timbered” car was not at all unusual. The huge eight seater Chrysler Town and Country dating from 1941 is perhaps, in many ways, the most iconic example of the Woodie, partly as it became the surfer’s station-wagon of choice. Wood was used as opposed to metal both for budget as well as design reasons. Others had equally evocative names the Pontiac Torpedo, the Nash Suburban and the Buick Roadmaster.

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In 1950’s railway carriages – particularly in France – were made of wood. Solid wood furniture was made up to the 1960’s ahead of “advancements” such as Formica. The surrounds of a Butler’s Sinks in any self respecting 1940’s scullery were always wood.

I recently saw publicity shot for a country house hotel that had a bright green Morris 1000 Traveller in the front drive. Denoting no doubt, that in addition to highly anticipated, hot and cold running water, the hotel would spare no expense to transport its guests back to a drafty era that creaked on the bends. The Traveller – for which I have great affection – was launched in October 1953 and was based on the Sir Alec Issigonis’ – the designer of the Mini – see our earlier piece here – Mini – the best selling car in Britain Morris Minor that debuted in September 1948.

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So let’s be clear that the use of wood in car manufacturer – quite literally – “Went Out With The Ark”. Or did it?

I am fascinated by Morgan Cars, above all, for their quintessential Englishness. They have character and cannot be ignored when assessing iconic sports cars. They also continue to have a waiting list that at times has exceeded ten years but is said to currently be around six months.

Founded in 1910 by Henry FS Morgan in Malvern (Worcestershire, England) who ran the business until his death in 1959 at the age of 77. In 1911, Morgan started building affordable – they attracted a lower road tax as they were treated as motorcycles  – and stable three wheelers. An early version of the three wheeler was shown at the 1911 Motor Cycle Show and Harrod’s took an agency to sell them in London priced at £65.

My family legend has my late father (a Brooklands Circuit Trustee until his death in 1991) being nearly totalled in a three wheeler driven by his school pal and the UK’s first Formula One World Championship (1958), Mike Hawthorn.

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By 1935, in response to more realistically priced four wheeled cars, including Ford’s Popular, the more familiar Morgan “4-4” – four cylinders and four wheels – and Morgan’s first four-wheeled car, was launched at a price of £194. A four seater model was released in 1937 and in 1938 a four seater drop-head version was launched. In 1938 a 4-4 was entered for Le Mans. World War II intervened and production stopped until 1950 when an in-line four cylinder Standard Vanguard engine was used.

The company continues to be 100% family owned and produces more than 1300 cars annually that are all assembled by hand. Unusually, Morgan – despite some run-ins with the Health and Safety guys – particularly in the USA – continue to build their cars with an Ash wooden frame and body shell – the chassis being, of course, metal.

The Plus4 Morgan models launched in 1953, 1956 and 1968 used the Triumph TR2, TR3 and TR4A engines. See our previous post here – Triumph TR2, TR3 and TR4

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In 1955 production of the 4-4 was revived with the Plus8 chassis and a Ford engine.

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In 1968, Morgan used the Rover V8 (later the Land Rover version) Engine – delivering much better acceleration – to launch the Morgan Plus8 – our featured image – and my favourite Morgan. This model was fazed out in 2004.

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The Morgan Aero 8 was first introduced in 2002 and went through a series of incarnations with the most recent iteration being launched in 2015.

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The Aero 8 was followed in 2008 by the Aeromax that was limited to 100 units. A targa-roofed version, the Aero SuperSports, was launched in 2009 but production ceased in 2015. An Aero Coupe, hard topped version of the SuperSports, was launched in 2011 and withdrawn in 2015.

Whilst a great condition Morgan Plus8 can now fetch a King’s Ransom why not place this scale model die-cast on your shelf. Please click the link below the image

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MORGAN PLUS EIGHT MODEL CAR 1:43 SCALE GREEN CARARAMA SPORTS OPEN TOP K8

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Photo credits – with grateful thanks – Charles Ware’s http://www.morrisminor.org.uk/40-traveller-wood, Hemmings and Richard Thorpe Classic Cars.

 

Clarks Desert Boots

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The Fast Show – a UK TV show from the mid-1990’s  – had a wealth of characters created by Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse – amongs others. One particular favourite was “Louis Balfour” – played by John Thomson – who was the oh so slightly pretentious presenter of “Jazz Club” with a catchphrase – when all else failed – of “Nice!”. You rarely got to see his feet but my bet is that he would’ve worn Clarks Desert Boots

See here a sample of Jazz Club The Best of Louis Balfour’s Jazz Club

Now you have to follow this, Louis was cut from a very similar cloth to a couple of Art Masters at my last school. They insisted on being called “Chris” and “Steve” as indeed I suspect they were their real names and as 6th Formers it seemed odd to continue with “Sir”. They wore corduroy jackets – in brown and country green – one with contrasting leather elbow patches – they had a penchant for practical Farah Hopsack trousers – don’t ask – and each had several pairs of iconic Clarks Desert Boots.

Quite what desert there were planning to cross in leafy Cheshire was uncertain but none the less these two were simply the coolest guys in the school.  “Steve” with his long hair even drove a late reg VW Beetle – click here to our previous post Volkswagen Beetle – an icon re-imagined – you can imagine he was already ice cool to me.

Assured not to be bitten by scorpions nor rattle snakes, Clarks Desert Boots to this day are an iconic and a highly flexible wardrobe essential that you can wear with jeans, moleskins or chinos and they will always look the part. Just avoid wearing in the rain – they are suede and, after all, are intended for deserts!

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C. & J. Clark International Ltd, (“Clarks”) was founded in 1825 by Quaker brothers Cyrus and James Clark in Street, (Somerset, England) where its HQ is still based – although manufacturing is now predominantly undertaken in Asia. Clark’s continues to be 84% family owned.

Since 1879 the Clark’s trade mark has been the distinctive Glastonbury Tor with the St Michael’s tower.

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The Desert Boot was launched in 1950 having been designed by the co-founders, James’, great-grandson, Nathan Clark, a serving British Army Officer based in Burma. It is said that the Desert Boot was based on the unlined boots made in the bazaar’s of Cairo for returning British Army Officers during the Second World War.

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Post War the Desert Boot saw adoption by the Mod Culture in UK, the Beatnik Culture in the US and were known to be a favourite of the Student anit-capitalist demonstrations in Paris in May 1968.

Why not be like Steve McQueen or Liam Gallagher and get a pair of Clarks original Desert Boots – please click the links below the images below to be directed to AMAZON – the two links show the full colour range available.

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Clarks Desert Boot, Men’s Derby, Braun (Cola Suede), 10 UK

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Clarks Originals Desert Boot, Men’s Derby Lace-Up, Brown (Brown Sde), 9 UK 43 EU)

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Images courtesy of C & J Clark International Limited

Brooks Brothers Shirts

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There is every possibility that it’s a sin. Not one of the Seven Deadly – the major ones – but a guilty pleasure that I, and I am certain many other men, equally enjoy…..wow where’s this going? Pull yourself together. I am talking about the sensual feel of a box fresh/pins still in or freshly laundered/well ironed, one hundred cotton shirt. Bliss!

In my view, the shirts made by Brooks Brothers are not only iconic, given their extensive heritage including the Original Polo Shirt – my very own is our featured image – but their fabrics are simply beautiful and each shirt is a complete joy to wear. 2018 see the 200th anniversary of the launch of this US style icon – some classic Americana – but what’s the story behind these remarkable products?

On 7th April 1818 Henry Sands Brooks, aged 45, opens H. & D. H. Brooks & Co. on the corner of Catherine and Cherry Streets in New York City as both shirt makers and merchants. By 1833 Henry Sands Brooks called upon his sons to assist him with the business. His eldest son, Henry, Jr. took the helm upon his father’s passing a year later. Heny is in charge until 1850, when younger brothers Daniel, John, Elisha, and Edward, assume leadership and change the firm’s name to Brooks Brothers.

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In 1849, Brooks Brother’s scored a first with the introduction of  Ready-Made clothing – a modestly priced alternative to made to measure tailored suits.

In 1850, Brooks Borthers adopted the Golden Fleece, the historical symbol of wool merchants, as their trademark which has remained their distinctive logo ever since.

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In 1865 a regular, Abraham Lincoln, was presented with a Brooks jacket with an embroidered lining bearing the words “One Country One Destiny” below a spread eagle. He wore the jacket at his second inauguration as President. He wore the same jacket two weeks later, on 14th April 1865, to the Washington’s Ford’s Theatre where he was fatally shot by, actor and pro-slavary activists, John Wilkes Booth.

In 1896 John E. Brooks the founder’s grandson was at a polo match in the UK when he saw that the polo players wearing shirts with disctivtive buttoned down collars. He told his colleagues in New York and the Button-Down shirt, a Brooks classic was born. To this day the Brook’s Polo Shirt includes the expression “The Original Polo Shirt” on its label.

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In 1915 Brooks Brothers relocatesd to 346 Madison Avenue – see below including a list of earlier locations prior to arriving on Madison – set in the heart of New York’s Universities and social clubs.

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Madison Avenue in the decades to come became the corporate homes to the advertising, illustration and marketing communities. It’s no surprise that Brooks Borthers have acted as costume advisors on and made suits for the “Mad Men” TV series set in the late 1950’s early 1960’s.

F. Scott FitzGerald was a very keen Brooks customer and drew heavily of his favourite stores in his writing. In this way Brooks effectively created Jay Gatby’s style for “The Gatsby Gatsby”.  Indeed the 2013 remake of the movie featured a cast entirely dressed in Brooks.

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From the mid-1920’s the Halls of the Ivy League were being dressed with Brooks shirts, striped Repp ties, khaki trousers and blue blazers in the definitive preppie style that I really like to this today and continues yes to be hugely popular.

During a slightly earlier era, the Ivy League students local to Bridgeport CT were throwing Frisbie tins – see our earlier post here – Frisbee

In 1946, Winthrop Holley Brooks, the great-great grandson of the founder sold the business to Julius Garfinckel and Company of Washington DC. The business is now owned and managed by the Italian “Retail Brand Alliance”.

The breadth of customers is truely fascinating – talk about voting with their feet! Whilst John F Kennedy loved their slimmer fitting suits, Andy Warhol, Richard Nixon and Clark Gable, apparently, shopped for clothes no where else. It is said that 39 out of 44 Presendients have chose to wear Brooks clothing.

Would you like to know more about the fastinating story of this American style icon? If so please click on the link below the image

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Brooks Brothers: Two Hundred Years of American Style

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Images from Brooks Brothers with grateful thanks

Fiat 500 – 1957-2017

Old Fiat 500

Like many well designed iconic products a sixtieth anniversary not only surpasses the all too frequent 50th – recent milestones include The Beatles “Sgt Pepper” – please see here our previous post Peter Blake and Jann Haworth – “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” , BBC’s Radios 1 and 2, the first ATM (cash machine) and the launch of McDonalds in Canada – but the longevity of a product with sixty years under its belt truly says something about its core appeal and durability. Even if it is re-imagined in the process.

Such is the accolade that the fabulous Fiat 500 celebrated in July this summer when the the stunning Dante Giacosa designed first iteration the Nuova 500 was launched, succeeding the Topolino and, in an 18 year total production run, sold over 4 million cars.

 

At under ten feet (less than 3m) long, with “suicide doors” and a roll-back roof its minute 479cc two-cylinder engine produced just 13 horsepower. I can bear testimony to the power of this sprightly little vehicle to whisk a car load of not small people and too much luggage – shooting too many red lights in the process – around the melting tarmac of Rome’s streets.

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Roberto Giolito’s 2004 concept, the Fiat Trepiuno, paved the way for design guru, Frank Stephenson – who also designed the iconic new Mini – to re-imagine the Fiat 500. The new car was launched on 4th July 2007 to great acclaim, winning Car’s “Car of the Year 2007”.

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Both the original 500 and its later incarnation have appeared in a number of guises including as Abarth special editions. The later model, which underwent some restyling in 2016, has also been styled as a Riva version – after the eponymous boat-yard – please see here our previous post Fiat 500 Riva.

 

Images courtesy of Fiat

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DC Comic Book Superheroes

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In the world of Film Franchises there are several recent examples “Harry Potter”, “Jason Bourne” and “Star Wars” that generally benefit from wonderful storytelling. They have flourished over the recent decades thrilling audience young and old. The Grandparents of these comparative youngsters, have transcented formats and generations.

Two competing comic book publishers have wrestled for audiences attention and have, in recent years, flourished thanks to the explosion in the capabilities of the special effects departments telling their timeless morality plays of Good conquering Evil. Now owned by competing media giants, Time Warner and Disney the duel continues. Contemporaries founded 83 years and 78 years ago respectively, they are DC and Marvel.

For me, DC Comics (“DC” deriving from a popular early series “Detective Comics”) is the clear winner. The home of iconic heroes including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Justice League and Suicide Squad and equally nasty villains The Joker and Lex Luther. The value of these heroic characters has been carefully realised over the years in print, on film, via gaming and merchandising.

DC Comics was founded in Manhattan (432 Fourth Street, New York City) as “National Allied Publications” by Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson in 1934. His mother was a journalist who hosted the likes of Theodore Roosevelt and Rudyard Kipling at the family’s home. A known writer on military matters Wheeler-Nicholson saw a gap in the comic market and published a tabloid format “New Fun – The Big Comic Magazine” in February 1935 that become the first comic book containing all-original material and advertising.

By March 1937 the first Detective Comic was published and become very popular. Batman was introduced in issue 27 in May 1939.

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Cash flow problem saw Major Wheeler-Nicholson leave having been compelled to hand the business over to his creditor and fellow publisher, Harry Donenfeld and his accountant Jack Leibowitz.

DC’s fourth title “Action Comics” Issue 1, which introduced “Superman”, was published in June 1938 – in 2010 a copy of this publication achieve $1m at auction.

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The late 1940’s saw a waning in the popularity of DC’s Comic Book Superheros but with some re-imagining in the mid-1950’s The Green Lantern and Justice League of America were launched.

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In 1966, the now iconic Batman TV show first aired on ABC in the US, driving comic book sales and appealing to a new generation of young teens – and fans of the Lincoln Futura used as the platform for his “Batmobile”.

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1953 saw DC launch the satirical, excellent and still published “Mad” magazine. In 1967, then owner National Periodical Publications was purchased by Kinney National Company an early incarnation of Warner Communications.

In late 1976 Jeanette Kahn, DC’s newly appointed Publisher commissioned graphic designer Milton Glaser – I ❤️ NY – to design a new logo. Known as the “DC bullet”, the logo premiered in February 1977 and was used until 2005.

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1978 saw the release of the first Superman movie – culminating in “Superman Returns” in 2006. Batman has had seven outings in his own right between 1989 and 2012. In 2016, Batman was pitted against Superman in “Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice”. “Wonder Woman” was released in the US on 2nd June 2017.

Images courtesy of DC Comics and Time Warner

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Loctite Super Glue

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The breadth of its uses are virtually limitless. There are few surfaces – other than glass – that cannot be repaired by its judicious application. Yet infuriation is all to often experienced as you fail to notice whilst carefully applying it to the intended area of repair that you have, in fact, fused your thumb and fore-finger.

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The iconic product the can achieve this dubious success is, of course, Super Glue. “Super Glue” is a trade mark now used extensively but often associated with the “Loctite” brand – a German owned US company founded in 1956 – that was rebranded “Loctite” in 1963.

Its logo is now akin to that of a Superhero – DC Comic Book Superheroes.

The core of this small but hugely influential product is the catchily named “Cyanoacrylates”, which are a family of strong, fast-acting adhesives that have an infuriatingly short shelf life – whether or not they reopened. Included in this family of chemicals is “ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate” that is commonly sold as “Super Glue”. Other variants have medical applications, as anyone who has had a wound dressed with the last decade will attest to. Indeed first uses can be traced to 1966 when a spray was developed that was used on injured military personnel in Vietnam to reduce bleeding.

The Goodrich Company filed the original patent for cyanoacrylate in 1942. A group of scientists including Harry Coover Jr. discovered the formulation largely by accident whilst researching clear plastics to make gun-sights. It wasn’t until 1951, whilst working for Eastman Kodak on jet airplane’s cockpit construction, that Coover and his colleague, Fred Joyner, saw the commercial application for an adhesive that stuck to literally everything. A Patent for the new adhesive was applied for on 2nd June 1954 which was granted on 23rd October 1956. The product was first sold in 1958 as “Eastman #910”.

During the 1960s, Eastman Kodak sold cyanoacrylate to Loctite who repackaged it and marketed it as “Loctite Quick Set 404”. In time Loctite developed their own manufacturing capability and acquired market share very rapidly such that by the late 1970’s Loctite and Eastman Kodak (in a new guise as “Permabond”) together controlled around 75% of the US industrial cyanoacrylate market.

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The addition of rubber to the cyanoacrylate makes Superglues flexible and by adding bi-carbonate of soda it is given the properties of a very effective filler.

So what are the tried and trusted techniques to unseal glued fingers?

Solution 1 – Soak the skin in warm soapy water to soften the glue. With an acetone-based nail polish remover the cyanoacrylate will soften. Use an emery board to remove the residue of glue or let it peel off.

Solution 2 – Dip the affected fingers in sugar or salt paste – just add water!

Solution 3 – Pour olive oil or spread margarine over the affected area and gently rub together.

Solution 4 – Rub petroleum jelly or liquid detergent diluted with a small amount of water  into the stuck skin.

If the glue affects the eyes try none of the above and great straight to A&E/ER!

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Images Courtesy of Henkel/Loctite

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Maserati A6G/54 Zagato

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I am indebted to a regular Aestheticions reader for expanding my automobile education and introducing me to the sheer delights of the 1955 Maserati A6G/54 Zagato.

The A6 models – with straight six-cylinder 1.5 litre engines – were made by Maserati between 1947 and 1956 and named after one of the company’s co-founders, Alfieri Maserati, who along with his brothers Ernesto, Bindo and Ettore established the iconic company in Bologna in the late 1920’s. Maserati’s trident logo derived from the Fountain of Neptune in the city’s, Piazza Maggiore.

By 1937 the company was in financial difficulty and the remaining brothers sold all their interests to the Orsi family who moved Maserati to Modena where it has been ever since. After year of takeovers, mergers and sales the company is now well funded with an evolving range as part of the car giant, Fiat Chrysler.

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The A6G grand tourer was launched in 1954 at the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris, it was originally known as the “A6G 2000 Gran Turismo’ – but is more commonly known at the A6G/54.

The A6G/54 was offered in a choice of four body styles: a Carrozzeria Allemano Coupé – only 21 were made, a Coupé and a Gran Sport spyder by Pietro Frua (see below) – only 7 and 12, were made and a fastback by Ugo Zagato of which a total of 19 were made in this configuration plus a racing special on the same chassis. Between 1954 and 1956 the total production was a mere 60 cars.

Given the rarity of these car values are astronomical, it’s anticipated that our featured car, if you could find one to buy would be in excess of $3m.

It may be interesting to note, that in the UK during a similar era Jaguar were making the XK120 – see here our previous post Jaguar XK120 and MG were making the MGA – see our previous post here – MG – MGA. Both of which, although beautiful in their own way, seem to echo the design of cars of an earlier era whereas the A6’s design seems altogether much more modern.

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To be clear our featured car is a 1955 A6G/54 two-door coupe by Ugo Zagato which was sold at Gooding and Co’s Pebble Beach auction in 2010. The name A6G/54 derives from “A” for Alfieri, “6” the number of cylinders, “G” featuring a Ghisa or cast iron engine block and “54” denotes its year of first introduction.

Given the rarity of these car values are astronomical.It is anticipated that our featured car, if you could find one to buy, would cost in excess of $3m.

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A new A6 inspired Maserati – a 2 plus 2 grand tourer – has been scheduled in recent years to join the range. Called the “Maserati Alfieri”, it was trailed as a concept car in 2014 and is understood that its planned launched will be in 2020.

Whilst I am a little concerned by the increasing similarity of super cars, I hope that Maserati delve into their heritage to make this re-imagined classic truly special and worthy of the A6 legacy.

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Images by Gooding & Co Auctions

Lancia Fulvia Coupé

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There are several well known, even iconic brands, particularly in the automobile and fashion businesses, that having been subsumed into larger acquirers and, subsequently, shelved. A good example of this is Lancia, now part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA Italy) conglomerate.

Their most recent car, the Lancia Ypsilon – based on the Fiat 500 platform – was re-branded in 2014 for the UK and Irish markets as a Chrysler. In 2017, it was announced that the Chrysler brand would no longer be used in the UK and Irish markets! It seems unlikely that the Lancia brand will be revived – which is a great tragedy.

I guess there’s a “dirt sticks” argument to the demise of Lancia for a UK audience. In the late 1980’s the Lancia Beta suffered greatly from sub-frame rust and corrosion issues so much so that they had to be repurchased by the company from disgruntled owners. Lancia withdrew from the right-hand drive market in 1994 selling their last model, the Lancia Delta, in 1995.

There have been some trophies among the mire, with a wealth of rally success but one particularly fine road going example is the iconic Lancia Fulvia Coupé.

Lancia & C. Fabbrica Automobili was founded in Turin in 1906 by former Fiat racing drivers, Vincenzo Lancia and Claudio Fogolin. The first Lancia was appropriately called “Alfa” and was produced between 1907 to 1908. Following Vincenzo’s death in 1937 his wife and son poached one of Alfa Romeo’s designers, Vittorio Jano, who oversaw a period of great innovation, including hydraulic dampers, five speed gearboxes, V4, V6 and V8 engines. Early vehicles were virtually handmade.

The business was sold to Fiat in October 1969 and there followed an era when Lancia’s claim to fame was in World Rallying.

The Lancia Fulvia was produced between 1963 and 1976 following its launch to great applause at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show.

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Like its predecessor the Aurelia, it took its name from a Roman Road; the via Fulvia being that stretch that ran between Tortona to Turin.

Lancia Fulvia Steering .jpg

The Fulvia was available as a Berlina (saloon) 4-door saloon – as above – (in 1972 as a V4 version), a 2-door Coupé, and Sport. Ugo Zogato’s team also designed and built a fastback coupé – based on the Coupé’s floorpan – and, in 1968, a prototype Zagato Sport Spider that debuted at the 1968 Turin Motor Show.

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The Fulvia Coupé was a compact two-seater coupé was initially equipped with a 1216 cc engine, delivering 80 bhp at 6000 rpm, this was gradually enlarged to a 1534 cc engine delivering 132 bhp. Designed by Lancia’s in-house designer, Piero Castagnero, the Fulvia had a shorter wheelbase than the Berlina and it was the last Fulvia model to be discontinued. It was replaced by the ill-fated Lancia Beta Coupé in 1977.

Lancia Fulvia 1

In 1971 the Lancia Fulvia Coupé Series II Coupé had a 1298 cc engine producing 90 hp (67 kW) at 6000 rpm. A special celebratory model was released in 1972 to celebrate Lancia’s Montecarlo Rally victory that year. An update Series 2 Coupe – becoming the Coupé 3 – was introduced in 1974 .

In 2003 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Fulvia name was re-imagined in a concept from the Centro Stile Lancia headed by Flavio Manzoni. Sadly, the new Fulvia Coupé, with its distinctive brown leather interior, didn’t progress past prototype.

Lancia Fulvia 2003 Concept

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As Lancia Fulvia Coupe’s are increasing in value – may be you’d be happy to settle of a desk top but loyal die-cast model? Please click the Amazon link after the image.

There’s a choice – a red Lancia Fulvia Coupe in rally livery – please click the Amazon link below the image

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Lancia Fulvia Coupe Hf Rally Car Lampinen Andreasson 1/43Rd No1 Type Y0675J

Or in a beautiful dark blue – please click the Amazon link below the image

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BEST MODEL BT9645 LANCIA FULVIA COUPE’ 1300S 1967 DARK BLUE 1:43 DIE CAST MODEL

Do you have any Old Italian Legends in your life? If so this is the perfect long sleeved T shirt for them! Click the Amazon link below the image 

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 Teesandengines Men’s LANCIA FULVIA COUPE Grey Long Sleeved T-shirt Size Medium

Or the short sleeved version – for the Spring and Summer! Please click on the Amazon link below the image.

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TEESANDENGINES Men’s Lancia FULVIA Coupe 1972 Italian Grey T-Shirt Size XXXXLarge

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Images courtesy of Lancia

Ray-Ban Wayfarers – #reloaded

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As regular readers know, I have a very soft spot for Ray-Bans, particularly the iconic Wayfarer – see a sample previous post here – Ray-Ban Wayfarers

We are excited to share with you, directly from the guys at Ray-Ban, the following link. This is an offer to acquire a very special, limited edition, pair of 1960’s framed sun- glasses known as “the Meteor”, inspired by the Wayfarer.

See the link here the five day link Limited Edition Ray-Ban Meteor

It seem that the boffins at Ray-Ban are delving back into their vaults to present developments of their heritage products – which is fantastic as they have many beautiful frames and lens’ to select from. Making them limited editions is very cool as it ensures you will have something really special.

If you decide this is something for you, please let us know. Thanks.

Aestheticons out!