This category is for content related to design and creative inspiration.

The Vintech P550 Tribute is something of an enigma.  obviously designed upon the Porsche 550, but redefined as a coupe.  The quality and detail of the car come through in the photographs and I’m sure the car looks/is even better in person.  I must admit I have a strong affinity for classic German sports cars – especially in silver.  This particular car is classic but also modern – just look at the wheels – the theme is classic but the interpretation is completely current.  The French company that created this stunning Tribute has no plans for production but beauty like this wasn’t meant to last. I look forward to standing next to this car someday…

For the entire story, go to: Vintech’s blog or to Autoblog’s story and galleries.

We’ve seen these ‘trendy’ brands come – and go. Can you say Hummer? So should a car brand be built on something beyond todays fleeting fashion and style?  In Hummer’s case, how many militaristic 4x4s can a consumer market absorb – regardless of gas prices.  As a new series of products, they were novel and intriguing. Enough so to make you look past the compromises to everyday usage. And even if gas remained cheap, I suspect the novelty of Hummer would have gradually faded. But certainly not before there were Hummer mid-size sedans in order to grow volume at any cost (the H6 or H7…)  So now we have Scion and can it and a dealer network be supported by a brand that markets only to hip young people who like to party and customize their rides? The 90’s are over and squadrons of customized Honda Civics and the Tuner Mags have seen their rise and fall as a trend. Sure, some will remain but the mass marketization of customization has likely run its course. Now all we have left are cars that are built with quality, well designed, and full of the latest technology – for young and old people. But to say that Scion and Hummer weren’t the right decision at the time would be too much. They may have been the right decision if there was incremental revenue and profit. And what if these Fashion Brands are treated as such – brands that are hot and then cold. They could come and go with the seasons or decades never meaning to last a century. There would be no pretense for unique dealer networks but perhaps just a showroom. As the trends come and go, so would the brand. Toyota is now planning to expand the Prius name to a larger van and smaller coupe/sedan. It seems like a natural progression and one wonders why they haven’t done it sooner. Toyota should definitely take advantage of the Prius ‘trend’ while its still hot.  Eventually the market will be flooded with high quality, well designed hybrids and BEVs so Prius had better exploit it’s brand equity before it too shall fade.

The Solar Impulse is a Swiss aircraft designed to fly without fuel using only batteries and solar energy. Although there have been long distance and human powered airplanes before, this will be the first purely solar powered aircraft. It just completed it’s first real flight using pre-charged batteries so the concept is becoming reality. Someday, aircraft like this one will be able to remain continuously airborne and operated remotely. The age of remotely piloted aircraft is here thanks to advances in electronics. In the future, remotely piloted aircraft, spacecraft, ships, etc. will become the norm I expect as each succeeding generation becomes more comfortable with the technology. 

In terms of design, the Solar Impulse has the immense wingspan found on gliders and other long distance aircraft like Burt Rutan’s Voyager. But the rest of the airplane is unique with it’s box-like fuselage section and dramatic vertical over and under rudder. It almost looks more like a spacecraft designed for inter-planetary travel if it weren’t for the scale. For more information about the Solar Impulse, go to www.solarimpulse.com.

.A low-altitude flight

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In terms of aircraft concepts, there’s always something new happening all the time. The NASA Puffin concept is an electric personal helicopter airplane similar to the Osprey. The Puffin can take off and land vertically, then switch to horizontal flight once airborne. The design is simple and almost elegant but not quite. The engine (motor) fairings and cones look a little too much like hollow tubes while the tail fins could use a little sweep to them – at least on the leading edge. I suppose the open canopy would also take some getting used to given the proxity of the propeller blades and any potential impact.

Finding the perfect sports car is as personal as finding the perfect …. The Boxster Spyder above seems to have it all – light weight, mid-engine, 2 seats, no top, powerful engine, incredible handling, and voluptuous body work. The 911 is often held up as the definitive Porsche but could the Boxster be the true descendant of the original Porsches? And while I’m at it, here a couple of more cool videos to enjoy…

For more photos –  LA Preview: Porsche reveals new lightweight Boxster Spyder [w/VIDEO] — Autoblog.