Across the tracks at the Trento, Italy train station, two black eyes locked into mine. She peered for three seconds longer than it is suitable for strangers, so I shyly returned to the safety of my book. The pages glowed and my back was warmed by the mid-afternoon sun high above blue mountains behind me. A breeze carelessly flipped my place backwards.
I looked again: she was chewing gum and bouncing her white Adidas on the shadowed cement. A small backpack occupied the spot beside her. She was playing the role of Bored Teenager better than any Pizza Hut commercial portraying a stilted family dinner I’ve ever seen. Schoolmates milled about the platform, sharing earbuds, and laughing sarcastically. Her apathetic gaze returned, this time more curious. She reminded me of when zoo animals inexplicably change their attention from immediate surroundings to those on the other side of the glass: the gawkers, the tourists. I immediately understood why, as I stuffed my too-large novel back into my pack; I didn’t fit in. No, it wasn’t so much my clothing that gave me away (on this trip I made sure not to bring the usual tourists ware: wide brimmed hat, fanny pack, last year’s running shoes). It was simply my expression—perhaps punctuated by a Tolstoy beard. I have, after all, been told that I’m no good at hiding my thoughts.
When I was a kid I used to build radio control cars. They came in big boxes and were made by companies like Marui and Tamiya and Kyosho. The detailing was pretty good; the moulded styrene plastic Marui Land Cruiser body had some nice detail, and so did the polycarbonate shell of the Tamiya Porsche 959. The kits themselves were not that hard to assemble; maybe it took one or two nights, a little longer if you actually took your time and painted the body well.
This UAZ 469 radio control model is an entirely different animal.
Following on from my microcar-lover outing yesterday, I’ve been encouraged to talk a little more about them, and will periodically do so when opportunities present themselves. What better place to start than with the Piaggio Vespa 400?
“What’s that?” you say? “Vespa made cars?!?” Yes, they did. But only for a limited time.
So you might think that an American auto company, in an effort to boost slumping sales, would be hiring Italian designers and design firms like mad. But that’s normal 2007 thinking! You need to put on your crazy, crazy 2008 thinking-cap! An American-born designer, Jason Castriota (pictured above), has just been hired by renowned Italian design firm Bertone to be the new design director. Now pick your jaw up off the floor.
Shocking as this appointment may seem, Castriota has been with Pininfarina for the past 8 years so he certainly knows his way around an Italian carrozziere (coachbuilder). You might be asking yourself, have I ever seen any of this American dude’s designs? Well the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano that Castriota is pictured with above is just one of them. Others include the Maserati GranTurismo, James Glickenhaus’ bespoke Ferrari P4/5, The one-off Rolls Royce Hyperion, and the Maserati Birdcage concept. Not too shabby by my standards.
But the whole reason for this post is a very interesting article with Mr. Jason Castriota and a Top Gear interviewer I’ve never heard of. I highly recommend reading it.
Follow the jump for some eye-wateringly gorgeous pictures of Jason Castriota’s finest work.