Saturday, 24 May 2014

One Of Those Nights...


I struggle to think in uniform. 

Pieces blend together, at times with ease. 

Taunting memories bring both fear and please. 

To sit and listen, to the calm of the night

Allows one to deconstruct a mind without fight. 

Yet I still struggle, to think in uniform. 


- Nikolas Smith 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Beauty of Classic Cars

Direct from Petrolicious by Amy Shore.

Photography by Amy Shore for Petrolicious

"As I walked into Hexagon Modern Classics, which now barely reveals its former incarnation as a petrol station, I was expecting the oil, dirt, and running engines so indigenous at so many of my shoots. But this workshop and showroom were far from my expectations. Pristine grey floors and a daring white workshop greeted me, along with Paul, Hexagon's owner.

Paul left college in the summer of 1963 and already knew exactly what he wanted to do. By November of the same year, Paul had a leased a garage and had hired three of the best mechanics he could find. ‘Hexagon’ wasn’t his first choice of names however, as his preferred ‘Octagon’ was already being used by MG cars. This little hiccup also led to Paul receiving a number of phone calls inquiring about another type of tuning–pianos. Unbeknownst to Paul, there was also a ‘Hexagon’ piano tuning business right around the corner. Since then, however, the name stuck and he's spent the past fifty years trading, racing and restoring classic road and race cars.

When Paul first opened up his garage, the majority of the cars in his possession were Jaguars and later, Lotus competition cars. Just three years after that fateful November, business was booming and he had taken over four other buildings on the street. He was forced to upsize and moved his business to North Hill in Highgate. There was, for a time in the 1960s, one of the original Ferrari P4s sitting in the window of the same building, staring out the same windows that BMW’s now occupy.

Paul tells me that the good thing about cities, London especially, is that people who live and work there don’t necessarily need a long-distance performance car. 

“Classic cars are about beauty, not efficiency. Yes, the screens may de-mist in 20 minutes rather than 20 seconds but it’s the honest weigh up between inefficiency versus character. New cars—they can go from 0-60 mph in 3 seconds. Yep…then what?”

One of Paul’s prized cars sits as a centerpiece to the sparkling showroom – a Porsche 962 C Le Mans racer. Having completed only two Le Mans races where it finished 4th and 8th, this beautiful car still wears its racing stresses such as cracks and chips of paint. Paul even has the overalls of the drivers who raced the car. 

Hexagon themselves had an era under Hexagon Racing and raced D-Type Jaguars and Formula 5000. Then in 1972, they had a season in Formula One with driver John Watson.

I asked Paul what it is about classic cars that he has such an enthusiasm about and he replied, “Classic cars become members of the family! You can rent a new Audi for £300 per month, drive it the same journeys down the same roads, but it’s a machine that just becomes a tool and nothing to do with touch or feel, it’s all automatic and electric. 

Cars these days, people just don’t become attached to them any more. I knew a man who owned a 1913 Rolls Royce from new. He drove that car until he died at the age of 102. After that, it went straight into a museum! A new car just wouldn’t last that long!”

I couldn’t tell you if an Audi would last me until my dying day but I can tell you that I agree with Paul that classic cars really do become memorable family members that are loved with characters and quirks that only the owner knows and appreciates. 

Then again, Paul does own the Aston Martin DB4 GT that was raced at Goodwood by Sir Stirling Moss in the 60s–who wouldn’t be in love with that car?!"

Ferrari F40 1987 Promo Video

Retro Feel.

EVO Review - LaFerrari

Exuberant, tasteful, aggressive.

Three words I personally would use when referring to LaFerrari. But enough of me, enjoy this EVO feature:

Spirit of Ferrari 250 GTO

There is no other vehicle in the history of mankind which, evidently happens to be as iconic as the famed Ferrari 250 GTO (Gran Turismo Omologato). Perhaps it was the iconic body style? Price tag?

The massively powerful V12 with it's soothingly raspy notes?

Or perhaps the fact that each buyer in the 60's had to personally be approved by Enzo Ferrari and his North American Dealer Luigi Chinetti?

Who knows. Let's just bask in the 250 GTO's finesse and enjoy the small tribute Petrolicious and Phill Hill have put together to enjoy this beautiful classic.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Acorns Investing

I found this to be rather interesting. Here is an article from Mashable on Apple/Androids to be hottest financial app.

Name: Acorns

One-Liner Pitch: Acorns aims to let users invest with just their spare change.

Why It's Taking Off: The app, which is still in beta, automatically rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and puts the difference in an investment portfolio.

When Jeff Cruttenden was 11 years old, his father asked him to pick one stock to invest in. He took some time to look through a few stocks and then went with his gut.

"It was a cheese company," Cruttenden, now 27, recalls. "It went completely bust."

For some households, this might be seen as an unusual exercise in parenting, but Cruttenden was always steeped in the world of investing. His father, Walter, led E-Trade's transition to online investing in the late 1990s with EOffering. Walter talked with his family about investing frequently, and some of those conversations apparently rubbed off on Jeff.

Jeff says he became an "evangelizer" for investing while in college, but found that even those who expressed some interest typically ran into one of a few obstacles: either they couldn't afford the minimum balance to set up an investing account, or they were deterred by the exorbitant commissions taken by some brokerages, or else they simply couldn't decide what to invest in.

Jeff Cruttenden, co-founder and COO of Acorns

In late 2011, Jeff began talking with his father about an idea to take advantage of the popularity of smartphones and create a platform that would be more appealing to those who've never invested. In essence, he wanted to help push investing into the smartphone era in the same way that his father helped push it into the online era years earlier. he wanted to help push investing into the smartphone era in the same way that his father helped push it into the online era years earlier.

The result of those conversations is Acorns, a startup founded by Jeff and his father, which came out of stealth mode on Monday after nearly two years. The Acorns app for iPhone and Android, both still in beta, automatically rounds up purchases from your credit or debit card accounts to the nearest dollar and invests the difference into a portfolio of index funds. There's no minimum balance and the fee is just 1%. Acorns will charge users $1 a month for the service, though it also will give users $5 when they first create their accounts.

"We're not setting out to change peoples' behavior," Jeff says. "I think the average person knows they should save or invest more, but it's difficult to make that commitment. We wanted to build something that could work in the background."

The app potentially gives users a way to earn more from their spare change, but as with any investment, there's also the potential you might end up with less over time than you would have if you just kept your change in a piggy bank. Those who sign up to use the app will be asked how risky they would like their investments to be.

Acorns recently closed a $5.5 million Series B funding round led by Jacobs Asset Management and has raised a total of $8.3 million to date. The startup, which is based in Newport Beach, Calif., currently has 20 people on staff and even has one Nobel laureate — economist Harry Markowitz — on its board.

The team plans to launch the Acorns app sometime in the second quarter of this year. For now, users can sign up to have their email added to the list.

View the official Acorns site Here