Vintage & Classics

Is the mishmashed Biagini Passo a step too far?

The Biagini Passo had a very short lived run in Europe during the early 90s.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen

What exactly is a step too far in the automotive world? Some may say the 1933 Dymaxion or the Ford Gyron. Some point to the Pontiac Aztek or Nissan Murano Cross-Cabriolet. Others extend a Vanna White-esque hand in the direction of the Biagini Passo.

The car sits at the intersection of obscene fun and the Volkswagen Golf. It's both a crossover and a cabriolet, like the fabled Murano, but it's rugged with styling that is reminiscent of a Volkswagen Thing. Basically, it's a lot.

The story goes that the ACM model was inspired by the Meyers Manx, among other sunshine-ready models. Thomas Crown would not be caught dead in this, however.

Biagini Passo

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen

Underneath, the car is almost all VW. It has a slightly modified body of the VW Golf I Cabrio that was meshed together with the technology of a Golf II Country via a unique subframe. The front and rear are completely different than the Volkswagen Golf, with bits borrowed from other automakers giving the car wannabe Suzuki X-90 vibes.

Its headlights are from a first-generation Fiat Panda while the taillights come from a 1983 Opel Kadett D sedan. Its side turn signals are sourced from a 1983 Fiat Ritmo.

ACM designers removed the luggage hatch and replaced it with a large flap that opens downward. The PVC rear window can be folded up separately from the rest of the convertible top, which was sourced from a Golf I Cabrio. The dashboard is also from that Golf model.

With the top down, the model can seat five. It has a bull bar up front and raised ride height over the traditional stance of the Golf.

It's powered by a 98-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine.

The Passos was not popular nor long lasting. Very few were sold (some sources say less than 300 while others say less than 100) and poor corrosion protection meant that most headed to a scrap heap long ago.

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BMW's newest works are equal parts art and car.

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW has revealed "The Ultimate AI Masterpiece", an exploration of automobiles at the intersection of art in conjunction with Frieze New York 2021, as well as the 50th anniversary of BMW Group Cultural Engagement. The virtual art installation is supported by videos of the exhibit's creation process on YouTube and Instagram.

The installment is the brain child of creative technologist Nathan Shipley of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, and Gary Yeh, art connoisseur/founder of artDrunk. The duo used the NVIDIA StyleGAN artificial intelligence model to "cross-reference over 50,000 images of artwork spanning 900 years of history and a curated set of 50 works from renowned and emerging contemporary artists BMW has worked with over the past 50 years", according to a release.

Frieze New York 2021: "The Ultimate AI Masterpiece"

Photo courtesy of BMW

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The artificial intelligence then used those pieces to create entirely new art, merging classical art with the work of contemporary artists. These new works have been projection-mapped onto a virtual rendition of BMW's flagship 8 Series Gran Coupe.

"For 50 years, BMW has supported the arts and culture through numerous initiatives as a way engage and interact with consumers around the world in an authentic way," said Uwe Dreher, vice president of marketing, BMW of North America. "As we continue these efforts into 2021, and look for new and creative ways to engage audiences, we shift to a virtual setting where we are combining centuries-old art and the latest AI technology to create something completely new and exciting."

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shipley and Yeh collaborated digitally from their homes in San Francisco and Seoul for the project.

"During an unusually isolated time in history, we took the opportunity to curate and work with artists from around the world as a means to give viewers a true art experience digitally," said Gary Yeh, art collector and founder of ArtDrunk. It was particularly exciting to push the boundaries of art, see how technology may influence the art world in the years to come, and build on 50 years of cultural engagement at BMW."

Frieze New York is currently in its 10th edition and taking place at The Shed in Manhattan through May 9. The venue is new and features an event reimagined for its new location, bringing together over 60 major galleries. A dedicated edition of Frieze Viewing Room will run parallel to the fair, through May 14, and will feature an expanded list of over 160 exhibitors.

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Motul has released a new line of lubricants for "rad" era vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Motul

Motul has been around for 168 years, far longer than automobiles. The new Classic Line of lubricants have been specifically formulated for cars slightly newer, those that are members of the "rad" era. Motul's Classic Line features oils, detergents, and additives that the company has engineered to enhance the performance of older powertrains while offering improved protection.

Each Classic Line lubricant features an additive package with high-zinc (ZDDP) and molybdenum (moly) for reduced friction and increased power. Synthetic base oils and adapted detergent levels of each formulation are suited for metals and gasket materials that are common of the era of vehicle manufacturing. Advanced additives ensure that the lubricants meet or exceed American Petroleum Institute (API) standards.

Motul Eighties 10W30 Motul's Eighties formulation is made for forced induction engine vehicles.Photo courtesy of Motul

The Classic Line's products have high-adhesion properties that are designed to provide excellent cold flow properties to prevent engine wear during start-ups and to coat and protect engine internals and running gear during the periods of prolonged storage that collector vehicles often experience.

Motul Modern Classic Eighties 10W40 meets the needs of forced induction engines while Modern Classic Nineties 10W30 was designed for the demands of high-revving engines with more modern valvetrains. Both Modern Classic oils are the first products to offer high ZDDP and moly for "rad" era collector cars from these two decades.

To get the new 2100 Classic Oil 15W50, Motul revised its 2100 oil to better lubricate and protect naturally aspirated and forced induction engines with flat tappet cams common to the vehicles in the 1970s and beyond.

Motul Classic 10W50 Classic vehicles have different needs and their lubricants have a different formation than Eighties and Nineties branded oils.Photo courtesy of Motul

Classic Oil 20W50 is designed for hot rods, muscle cars, and collector vehicles, and uses additive packages fortified with ~1,800 ppm of ZDDP. According to Motul, this oil provides "improved protection for flat tappet or high-lift cams and high-performance engines with tighter tolerances and older elastomer gaskets; the medium detergent level also makes Classic Oil 20W50 an appropriate break-in oil for newly refurbished engines".

Straight-weight Classic Oil SAE 30 and SAE 50 are mineral monograde engine oils with low detergent levels, blended specifically for gasoline or diesel four-stroke engines generally produced before 1950.

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