Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Car as a Piece of Art

How often do you see monuments to the car? Admittedly, it’s not a common cultural phenomena. Cars do present in some sculptural complexes. They are not given much importance, though. Only the fact that this engineering masterpiece has been in the world’s attention for over a hundred years, makes it worth being immortalized, doesn’t it?

Caucasian people have always been famous for their special love for technology, particularly for cars. Keeping in mind this fact, any resident of the Armenian capital will be proud to confirm that the national love for expensive classic and fast cars is embodied in one of the museums in the heart of Yerevan, in the form of a real car. Now attention: all motorists who plan to ever visit Armenia, I highly recommend to visit the Cafesjian Center for the Arts situated in the Cascade complex in Yerevan. From architectural and aesthetic points of view, this is an amazingly atmospheric place. Among many unusual exhibits and all kinds of art installations spread over this huge complex, there is an absolutely unique piece of art, a Subaru SVX. Any visitor can enjoy it for free. This Subaru was first exhibited in the summer of 2010 and is still in the public domain, along with the masterpieces of Andy Warhol, Marc Chagall and Grigor Khanjian. According to the helpful museum guides, this 1993 Subaru, the design of which was created by the famous Italian studio Italdesign, belongs to the personal collection of the renowned collector Gerard Cafesjian. Moreover, this car was his very first personal vehicle.

Initially, the entire car (except the front and rear lights) was re-painted in a silver matte color. However, it was eventually decided to cover the body with a mirror-like skin. Exactly in this form this car is presently exhibited.

Remarkably, among various interesting exhibits, there is another car, a beautifully restored Ford Model N Runabout of 1906, also from Cafesjian’s personal collection.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Burial & Resurrection: Toyota Crown Custom (Part 4)

Today I will continue the story about the unique custom project involving a Toyota Crown MS 106. About how and under what circumstances this car was found, as well as what restoration works took place, I have already written in previous posts.

The time has come to tell you about the modifications made in the electronic systems. It is worth mentioning that Toyota Crown, permanently being at the top of the hierarchical chain of the entire range of Toyota, has always been distinguished for its high level of equipment, being inferior, in status, only to the executive limousine Toyota Century. This fact naturally led to a high level of equipment of the Crown. The hardtop models of Toyota Crown in all available packages were equipped with central locking system, power windows and side-view mirrors, electric trunk opener and radio receiver with tape player that could be controlled from rear seats. Some instances under the name “Royal Saloon” were additionally equipped with an electric sunroof, air conditioning with electronic climate control, trip computer, cruise control system and even power rear seats.
All of the above mentioned options, except the sunroof, are present in this custom Crown. I hope you still remember that this very model was released in 1974 and all of these options came out with serial production of the Crown in 1974. You might ask, “what else could be added to this wide list of options?”
However, for a modern user, a car is not just a means of transportation, but a place where a large amount of time is spent, and that time must be spent with maximal comfort. For this reason, the car received a modern multimedia system with touch screen on the central console, by means of which the driver and passenger can access the Bluetooth and media files of all possible formats. Rear passengers can enjoy a privilege of using a separate multimedia system, which can read files in Blu-ray format. There are also “Mark Levinson” high quality speakers and wireless headphones for rear passengers.

The car has a modern anti-theft alarm system with a smart key and engine start button.
With the purpose of practicality, the original headlight units were replaced with more modern and replaceable light bulbs, after which they were installed with automatically controlled BiXenon projectors. The automatic control of wipers is activated by means of rain sensors.
For extra comfort, the driver’s seat got embedded with electric engines allowing it to move in two directions. All seats have a heating function.
Quite an interesting solution was given to side view mirrors. As you can see, they are totally absent. But this does not mean that the driver is destitute of side visibility. For this purpose, the car is equipped with additional displays and 2 tiny cameras on both sides, which provide the driver 4 times bigger view than the conventional mirrors. However this is not enough for perimetric visibility, and of course, there is also an additional rear view camera cleverly disguised under the trunk lock.