Nicole Circuit day, September 1, 2017 - It is late in the day at Fuji Speedway, I am in an early 90s Alpina B10 twin turbo rounding the final few corners right before that glorious stretch of straight pavement which this beast of a sedan yearns for. Several cars ahead of us is the B10s unlikely nemesis from back in the day, the yardstick by which the B10 was judged against, the yardstick which the B10 snatched away from the Ferrari at top speed. Mt. Fuji had been blanketed in clouds the whole day, and as if by miracle had made a special appearance for our track time with these brilliant cloud-piercing rocket-like contrails of light beams exploding from behind it so Hollywod perfect one would think it was created rather than captured. It is best that I am inside the car and not photographing what is unfolding before me, I am tired of questions like "How long did that take to photoshop?" The photograph above of Andreas Bovensiepen, CEO of BMW tuner Alpina certainly looks like a lot of photoshop, but rather it is simply an image which is the product of high speed flash sync and a lot of color post processing in lightroom.
Despite what BMW sells itself as, unless you have never driven anthing more than a Toyota Corolla, with exceptions of course, they are not the ultimate driving machines, to get closer to this selling point it takes the M division of BMW or a company like Alpina to weaponize these vehicles into true autbahn-grade barnstormers. Though the performance enhancements of these vehicles, especially this B10 I am in may be akin to a body builder on $10,000 a month diet of growth hormones and steroids, aesthetically the cars are more for the Greek Yogurt and granola eating crowd. For me the looks are a bit too wholesome, though admittedly I am somewhat of a cretin, I am certainly not from Crete and Greek yogurt just isn't my thing. Visually the looks of an Alpina is just not my disposable red cup of Mountain Dew, though for a moment I can step outside my own skin and appreciate it for what it is. In truth I am the sort of eccentric bosozoku minded person who would affix a wide body kit complete with box-flares to my mailbox to allow me to receive oversized packages such as wide body kits for my mailbox, that is if Amazon sold them.
I take photographs more for what I imagine than for what things actually are. I could attempt to photograph things just as they are, and sometimes I do that but always there is often this dissapointment because what a camera sees and what the human eye sees are two different things. There is a dramatic elegance to Alpinas cars which shifts my mind to thinking about the painter Diego Velázquez whose portraits I admire so much. In my imagination I see Andreas Bovensiepen as King of the battelfield which is in fact the parking lot at Fuji Speedway. I am shooting low to make him look more powerful and underexpose the ambient lights by 2 stops to emphasize the darkness of the clouds, and to draw your eyes to the CEO who just 10 minutes prior to this shot, was making a mad dash down the straight at well over 220 kph in a race prepped 6 series complete with Redbull livery.
There is the potential for greatness in everything, and I look at the world often for what it could be rather than as it is now. Whether judging myself, whether taking a photo or looking at a car, good is rarely good enough, there is always room for growth. On the subject of cars, there is rarely such a thing as good enough, there is always room for improvement, room for personalization. Sadly what shapes a car these days is not so much designers and engineers but rules and regulations. For me a good car is art, it challenges established paradigms of what you think transportation is and shifts your thinking into the realm of what transportation could be. In the parking lot is a car that is an afront to so many rules. Many would say the F40 is the pinacle of sports car perfection, a car not overwhelmed by loads of computers to dull the visceral input of synapse to muscle, muscle to wire and tire to pavement. However, the nut who owns this gorgeous F40, obviously from the same tribe as me, has decided that the F40 wasn't good enough and instead modified his F40 to LM specs. The F40 was already a barely road legal car fitting of the term racecar for the streets is now an actual racecar that probably spends a month prior to registration getting converted back to original condition and then another month after registration converting it back to an LM racer.
There are a few cars that are perfect just the way the come out of the factory and one of those cars is the Bugatti EB-110 of which several are on display here. I never thought I would actually get to see one of these cars on the road being used as a car rather than a static museum piece locked away from the view of the public but when it comes to cars I find Japanese collectors tend to actually use their cars. This particular vehicle was the first Bugatti EB-110 imported into Japan making it somewhat more special than others though lets be frank, and I hate to sound like a new-age teacher, they are all special. Some car enthusiast are more keen to say they are just plain ugly, whilist others will complain that this car is only a Bugatti by name and for that reason one of the more affordable sub-million dollar Bugattis on the market. This is a car I loved back when I was in High School and back then it was cutting edge technology. Though it certainly doesn't have the microchip brains a Prius has, and by modern standards is a fairly primitive car, its performance and heritage is still extraordinary , here is a car that was designed by the legendary Gandini of Bertone , and still has performance figures that challenge even the best supercars today. As for me, I like the design and really had a good time walking around the car getting a feel for how I would photograph it. As I look at the photographs of the EB-100 and I am dissapointed, I should have been tethered to see what was going on in detail, the one drawback of shooting with older H series Hasselblad digital cameras is that their screens are very poor, but this is no excuse. I could have spent more time photograhing it, but there were so many others cars I wanted to see that day that I had to put down the camera and walk away. Anyhow, dissatisfaction permeates all corners of life, and todays photogrpahy is no exception, there is always room for improvement, and as for that EB-110, I said it was perfect but as I look at it, I think I might swap out the wheels for some bronze three piece BBS LM wheels.