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Posted On: 12/13/2012 10:14AM
atomicalex

Borbet has a new paint process that is actually innovative. EXAPeel starts with a base coat and color coat, then laser etches away the color coat prior to the clear-coast process. The big deal? The entire wheel gets at least two coats of protective paint. For a fee they would not disclose (read: lots o' bread), customization is possible. Well, duh. That seems like the only good reason to laser etch your paint. Borbet expects the two-tone craze to continue for a while, so the new process makes a lot of sense. This will not affect their cut-face wheels which are already clear-coated after machining. It does bring a whole new level of possibility to wheel paint artistry, and I can see where this is going in a hurry. They also would not comment on licensing of the technology to wheel refurbishing shops, which seems like a clear next step. More pics below the jump!

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Posted On: 12/12/2012 9:06AM
atomicalex

Opel rolled in big to showcase their Mini/Fiat 500 competitor, the Adam. Confused by the name? I hope not, it's the first name of company founder Adam Opel. With an extended option pack, included two-tone paint, and a dizzying array of wheel options, the outside is as yummy as the inside. Interiors can be color-matched to the exterior in a variety of materials: 15 overall variations are available. 19 interior surface trim options can be ordered. Four main trim packages (base, Jam, Glam, and Slam) distribute the functional options pretty evenly. Even by normally colorful German standards, Opel is offering an extreme array of customization out of the box. See more below the jump!

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Posted On: 12/11/2012 9:55AM
atomicalex

In Germany, they take safety very very seriously. The German version of AAA, the ADAC, is happy to make you aware of what a rollover crash feels like. In this simulator (similar to the one used by inspection authority DEKRA), the driver and passenger belt in and are rolled a couple of times, ending up on their heads. They are then directed to open the door and release their belts. Yeah, you have to sign a waiver! The focus on safe tuning comes from the government and the trade association. The inspection bureaus DEKRA and TÜV publish guides to acceptable parts (think CARB registration), and will inspect cars to insure that the installed parts are legal. I went through this with my Golf—pretty painless, and nearly everything produced in Germany gets papers. The Kraftfahrtbundesamt (think USDOT) brought out one of their test cars (below the jump) for a challenge. Visitors to the show had to identify the six tuning errors on the car to enter the drawing. It wasn't easy!

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Posted On: 12/10/2012 1:59PM
atomicalex

I hate admitting that this trend probably originated in the US, but I am pretty sure it did. The Germans went and took the Rat Stylz concept a bit farther. I found these examples in the basement tuner display - the display was impressive, and most of the cars are licensed, inspected, and running. Complete with axes. The rat cars over here are typically VWs or Opels, it is rare to see a deliberately ratted French car. The style focuses on a "left to rot" look, and adds decor from the junkheap. The more offical stickers and government paraphernalia, the better. Swamp cooler is a definite plus. While I'm not a fan of the style, I appreciate the effort that goes into the concept and design. 

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Posted On: 12/10/2012 9:30AM
atomicalex

Did someone say two-tone? A few years back at SEMA, Jen and I mused that Giovanna was taking over the industry with craziness, but they've got nothing on the Germans. What better way to show off two-tone than the venerable Gulf livery? Well, there isn't one, as this Golf from ASA demonstrates. The machined-face orange wheels look fantastic and bring out hte baby-blue matte vinyl just the way Gulf fans like it. The 911 from Carmani below the jump, not so much. Those Oxigin wheels would look more at home on a Challenger, if you ask me. 

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Posted On: 12/10/2012 1:29AM
atomicalex

Yeah, that's how you go to a car show: in the snow, in a lowered car with iffy snow tyres! The SEMA of Germany is the Essen Motor Show, a nine-day takeover of the Essen Messe by every single tuner and parts company in Germany, along with some of the OEMs. I've got a ton of pics to process, so stay tuned!



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Posted On: 7/16/2012 11:00AM
atomicalex

Americans like to claim we know a bit about rednecks, but zee Germans might have one up on us. I spent the day down at the Nürburgring Spring Course (a shortened version of the regular GP course) checking out the 2012 ADAC Truck Grand Prix. A quantum leap over schoolbus figure-8 racing, the Truck Grand Prix pits bobtailed racing versions of the Big Four (DAF, MAN, Mercedes, and Renault)truck makers' cabs head-to-head with assorted imports (hey, Peterbilt, that would be you) on a short road course. The paddock is filled with a trade fair devoted to long-haul drivers with tons of fun swag, driving simulators (have your commercial endorsement handy), and the LARGEST Mercedes display I have ever seen. The parking areas were covered with campers and tents, and the race was great bumpin', passin', and sootin' action. Tons of pics after the jump!

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Posted On: 4/5/2012 6:09AM
atomicalex

Not sure what to do with your old minivan? Turn it into a Belgian Waffle Van. This is an old Renault and it's fit with CNG for powering the generator that runs the waffle presses and the freezers. These things are all over Belgium: you see pretty much anything of this shape converted with the fibreglass tops and a generator set. The fanciest ones are (duh) VW Transporters and old Citroen Traction Avants. But this one has that patina that only an old Renault could have. Can you imagine being cooped up in this thing all day with a waffle iron? Not me!



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Posted On: 4/4/2012 4:26AM
atomicalex

My hometown of Düsseldorf is not exactly the capital of the German auto industry. We're south of the Ruhrpott (the rust belt of Germany), and north of the southern band of Stuttgart, München, and Ingolstadt. Regardless, Daimler picked our little town to build the Sprinter, their capable workvan that is available in a dizzying array of configurations, from 18-passenger van to flat-bed truck. During the Chrysler years, Dodge sold a version of the Sprinter in the US that competed against Daimler's Freightliner version. In Europe, VW purchased Sprinter bodies as part of an agreement that sent T5 Transporter bodies to Daimler. The Sprinter below is decked out for the Karneval parade from earlier this year.



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Posted On: 4/3/2012 8:15AM
atomicalex

I can never get enough of cheesy replicas. Like the A-Team Espace I found at the Nürburgring last fall, this is another Renault, although one of somewhat less stature. It's a first-generation Twingo, one of the weirdest looking cars to come out of the 90s. Known as the "elephant shoe", this one got a full A-Team workover, and the owner loves it so much that they don't drive it during the winter, as evidenced by the seasonal license plate. The Twingo seats four, has room for about two bags of groceries, and has questionable safety ratings. It came to market as an experiment in how cheap you could go and still have people actually buy the thing. It worked, there are thousands of them on the roads. There is even active mod culture - Germany's biggest Twingo fan club is Twingo Fever, which hosts annual Nürburgring track days for these little buckets. Another pic after the jump!

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