While our trip was in both Seattle and Portland, I ended up only really taking pictures in Seattle as we knew we would be out late in Portland and I didn’t want to risk carrying my camera with me the whole day. Anywho, here’s the rest of the pics. We’ll be back soon though, as next time we come back up here we’ll be going even further north. ;)
Second half of my ride-specific pics.
Oh look, the perfect car for everything, aka RS4 Avant.
S class rocking a full Lorinser kit!
Japan has some strange cars, but never would have expected a modded XKR! Looks like it would have come straight out of a catalog from the late 90's.
Tokyo is definitely the place to be for some perfect condition Euro classics!
This 901 seems more fitting going to a meet at Venice Beach than cruising Tokyo, but it works there too!
Admiring the beautiful bikes in this city when suddenly a wild Dodge Ram van appears!
American cars are far from popular in Japan, but whenever you spot one, it's always an interesting model.
Something timelessly classic about the Toyota Century.
Shy little guy
I think I'm in love...
And on the very last night, near our place, I finally ran into a proper R34 GT-R, though I spotted some interesting mods. It has some aggressive venting on the passenger side of the bumper but not the other side. But then it's also rocking Endless calipers and what appears to be BBS RE-MG wheels (!!!), so who am I to judge?
So now that I've wrapped up the general travel pics, I gotta of course mention all of the amazing cars and bikes I encountered while in Japan. I didn't spot anything too exotic, but for such a metropolitan city that frankly doesn't require any sort of personal transportation to get around, there's an amazing amount of interesting rides. So, that said, here we go!
Subaru, please! If you're not going to give us a hatchback Impreza WRX, then for the love of God, please bring over the Levorg! Honestly I'd prefer the Levorg, and if I were going to push myself for a new car, this would be the one car that I'd immediately jump for.
Why yes that's a Lancer Evolution IX Wagon with an older diesel G-Wagon in the background. That's Tokyo for ya.
Every year around Thanksgiving I try to make it to the LA Autoshow, the best car show in the US. Here's just a brief highlight of some of what was shown this year.
It's not too often London gets sun, so when it comes, you gotta seize the day! Off to Portobello Market! First thing first though, the automotive round up!
First we got an Overfinch Ranger Rover. Overfinch is a "tuner" for Land Rovers, best known for make a model with a built-in mohagany gun and whisky storage in the back. Because nothing says manly like shooting little birds in your 4X4 with summer tires...
Next up a Smart Roadster (which has a ton of tuning potential IMO) and an E92 M3 (M's seemed to be a lot less common than AMG's).
Speaking of, there were these two GT bruisers. A CL63 AMG and a Bentley Continental GT (Bentleys everywhere!).
You know what's unfair? That Europe gets the best version of an American icon. Give the US Wrangler a diesel already Jeep!!!
This sweet little GTV was a nice sighting. Even with that dent, Alfa's cars are easily some of the best looking "consumer cars" around. Pretty might not be the best description, but they definitely all have a style that most other cars in their range lack.
A cool Morris Wagon looking properly British.
A 135i M Sport getting buried under trash. Kinda ugly little thing, but a Golf R/S3 killer.
And the best for last, this classic 901. Black exterior, tan interior and Fuchs wheels: simply perfect.
Heh, little white socks on his back feet. Here's some more pics.
Getting pretty behind on these posts, as we're already back in the States, so gonna try to upload them in bulk. From where we left off, we're now heading down Champs Elysees, the famous shopping row of Paris. And what better way to start off than with some car pics eh? The new S class is still just beginning to reach its new owners and is easily my favorite looking S class in years.
Of course, nothing beats a good ole classic Bentley. I may have grown fond of the newer Continentals, but the old ones still ooze class.
What's this? And where did the windshield go?
Apparently it was used to break some records for diesel cars. Not sure what the records were, most likely speed-related, but it sure looked cool.
Got that 50's flare down.
I thought this was pretty nice for a dealership, adding a mini-museum inside, but I'd later learn this was a special treat that Champs Elysees would serve for all the dealerships along the street.
The Kart Up! Growing up I had a book about concept cars creatively titled "Concept Cars" by Jonathan Wood. Fun book for an adult, but absolutely amazing for a kid that couldn't stop soaking up everything in the automotive world. This was one of four little concept cars Peugeot introduced at some car show as part of a "City Toyz" group. Nothing significant came out of them, but of all the things I could have guessed to see while I was in Paris, this wasn't even on the list.
Sitting next to the Kart Up was a rather interesting firetruck concept. Looked like a life-size toy.
And here is a car they actually sold, the RCZ R. Kinda weird that a dealership had a handful of cars, but only actually sold one of them. Good looking cars though. I could see someone choosing this over a TT, looks sleeker.
Next up, Mercedes Benz. Fortunately, despite having them available Stateside, they had plenty to show that still fascinated me such as this gorgeous 300SL.
IMO, this is just one of those cars that's a rolling work of art. It looks amazing no matter what angle you're looking at it from. However, while it'd be fun to drive every now and then, this isn't the gen I'd want sitting in my garage.
Nope, for me, I prefer the understated W113. It's elegance lies with it's simplicity. It is as straight forward and un-messy as a design can get and for that it is the one that I'd chose over any other generation (although admittedly I would never imagine myself turning down a Gullwing).
Perhaps another reason why I like it so much is because this was the smallest of all the SL's, and while there are many large cars that are great, I don't believe that increasing a car's acreage directly increases the cars allure. I'll take small and simple over large and flashy any day.
Speaking of large and flashy, I like how G wagons are so unapologetically utilitarian with the general design. Like the Land Rover Defender, it is a design that has no design but because of it remains timeless. Unfortunately, it won't be long before Mercedes too decides it's been long enough and will give the car an overhaul. While MB's current design language as produced some real winners (have I mentioned I really enjoy the new S class before? Because I really do), it doesn't always translate well with some of the other platforms.
Such as their latest mass seller, the CLA. I like the S, E, and C, but as the package gets smaller and smaller, it begins to lose any stability in the design (formed with the longer lines of the longer sedans) and eventually turns into the roly poly that we see here. Some folks may like it and I'm sure it'll sell well, but it just doesn't feel like a balanced design to me.
Unlike this beauty here, which I find very well balanced. If there was any modern (well, 90's-'10's) GT I could one day have as my own, it'd be this battling it out with a new '13+ Aston Martin Vanquish. Mmmmmm....
But if I never have the opportunity to have my own, I wouldn't mind having a miniature version :)
The sun has begun to set as we entered twilight the day begins to end, but there's still a last part before really ending the day.
Today's our really big tourist day as we hit the Eiffel Tower and what's around it.
First thing first though, the SL caught my eye. They exist in the States too, but rarely do you ever see them this clean. Change out the wheels and you could have a really great looking cruiser.
We start out at the Musee d'Histoire Contemporaine, a large old building full of canons, Napoleon statues, and a very wide open central space.
The Napoleon statues begin to make more sense as we entered the rear of Le Tombeau de Napoleon. We didn't get much information about it, but it appeared to be a church with some strong ties to Napoleon, as told by the name. As with all the churches in Paris, it was certainly impressive.
Such a cool tank. WWI era I think.
Some car spotting at the round about in front of the property. Black and tan, what a classic combination.
This was a great sighting. In retrospect I wish I had taken more time to shoot it, but it had started to rain for a moment and chose seeking shelter over taking pics of the F12, the fastest and most powerful street legal Ferrari ever made (until the LaFerrari comes out that is). Great color too, I don't need my Ferrari to always be red.
One thing that sort of surprised me was how popular Wranglers are out here! In Paris, I saw more Jeeps than Land Rovers, though to be honest, I didn't really expect British goods to be popular in France. Still though, woo! Go USA!
Apparently a brand new C350 isn't really worth taking care of for one Parisian.
Thankfully, those with more tasteful cars have a better sense on how to take care of their possessions. Mmmmm, long-nose 911s...
Next up, the tower!
Our stay in London has finally come to an end. It was fun, but it's time for me to go home. But before we head back to the States, we're going to spend a few days in Paris because, why not? So at 3:30AM, we woke up, cleaned out the few things we had left in our room and on a very dark, rainy and windy night shuffled all of our luggage over to the nearest bus stop to hop on the Eurostar to Paris. We made it aboard (with only a few min. to spare), but it was an extremely stressful and frustrating travel. Next time, we're paying the 5x cost and taking a cab.
Of course, in the end, it was worth it as we emerge from the Chunnel to an early and refreshingly bright morning in France. While far from sunny by Cali standards, this might as well be San Diego for our Vitamin-D deprived bodies. And it is after all early Feb, so for a winter day in Europe, I'm not complaining.
We arrive at our rented Airbnb room and took in the fresh air. While it was wonderful being so close to open sky in a very traditional French apartment, the downside to these century-old buildings is the lack of some modern conveniences such as a lift. This is an issue when carrying several 70+ lb luggage pages up 6 flights of narrow, spiraling stairs (see my IG stream). Needless to say, we'll definitely be getting a good workout while staying here.
Random car rant; It's no secret the US market isn't fond of wagons and MB's last C class estate was admittedly a pretty poor reason anyone would be interested in a smaller MB wagon. However, the past gen C in wagon form looks as good as any other German wagon, if not better (I actually prefer the boxier, cleaner lines to that of the E91). As I walk around UK/France and see several of them, it always makes me think what a shame we never got to enjoy these good cars.
One common sighting Michelle noticed about Paris so far is how often we look down a street and at the end stands some spectacular structure. In this case, it's just a BNP bank, but it's still pretty amazing the among of work and detail that's gone into decorating these buildings. Speaking of BNP, like Barclays in UK, a BofA customer can withdraw from an ATM without fees. Obviously the currency rate is still in effect (which can be painful as an American who dearly misses low prices and cheap currency) but it's definitely a more convenient and cost effective way for paying for goods aboard.
It's sort of strange that despite the buildings being generally taller here and the roads being generally curved everywhere, the city feels more open than London. Perhaps the streets are slightly wider or maybe it's the sunny weather we had today? Not sure.
Of course closing with another car pic. Whatever, I am a big fan of the new 3 series. Looks miles sharper than the outgoing non-M E9X's. On a different note, I'm going to start breaking down these tourist posts a bit so the pages don't take so long to load. Look forward for part 2 tomorrow!