Page 1

NOVEMBER 2014 ISSUE 16

(R)Evolution by Akrapovič

Anže Kopitar

Full Moon TH E S T UNNING CUSTOM STA R

Magnus Walker

Dial 911! !

Baku, Azerbaijan

A spectacular new metropolis


model one

The Sound Engineered and Handcrafted in Slovenia

UBIQAUDIO

www.ubiqaudio.com


model one

The Sound Engineered and Handcrafted in Slovenia

UBIQAUDIO

www.ubiqaudio.com


04

Contents

05 letter

AKRAPOVIČ Akrapovič Lifestyle Magazine Issue 16, November 2014 Akrapovič d.d. Malo Hudo 8 a SI-1295 Ivančna Gorica Slovenia www.akrapovic.com Publisher: Korpmedia d.o.o. Tomšičeva 1, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia www.korpmedia.si Managing Director: Mateja Kos ID No.: 2272237000 VAT No.: SI14601737 Editor-in-chief: Miran Ališič Photo editor: Bor Dobrin Art directors: Neja Engelsberger, Saša Kerkoš Cover design: Zdenko Bračevac Contributors: Kim Armstrong, David Bethune, Alenka Birk, Tadej Golob, Gaber Keržišnik, Primož Kotnik, Primož Jurman, Mitja Reven, Julian Ryder Contributing Photographers: Alex Štokelj, Getty Images, Mo Satarzadeh, ted7.com, Aleš Rosa Translation: Matjaž Horvat Lectorship: Michael Manske Client Editor: Primož Jurman On the cover: The new muffler concept by Akrapovič Photo by: Alex Štokelj Printing: Tiskarna Premiere, d.o.o. Vikrče 21, 1211 Ljubljana Šmartno, Slovenia

// Si NOTE All the longer articles in the Akrapovič magazine

will include a text that will be marked with the // Si sign and placed in a special frame. The Akrapovič company is based in Slovenia and this is why we decided to keep this part of the text in Slovenian as well.

05

Contents

06 akrapovic news

Letter

10 Revolution

04

18 Adventure

26 Champion

32 Custom star 05

38 FANTASTIC

52 Visit with us

40 DRIVE WITH US

58 CRAZY STUFF

Innovate, don’t imitate

46 Go wild

The saying is part of our company’s DNA. Innovations are part of our everyday operating principle. If I look back at our history and think of the first titanium exhaust system for motorcycles, the in-house produced titanium tubes made from special alloys, the introduction of hydroforming in regular production, the hexagonal shape that, since its introduction, has been a benchmark for others, the introduction of high-temperature carbon-fiber composites in muffler designs, the titanium foundry for complex exhaust components and many other things… everything has a common denominator – innovation. But is innovation something you can plan? In my opinion, no. You can give people the right environment and tools so that they can test and work on their ideas and you can also give them some financial incentives in order to stimulate them. But these are not drivers, nor are they the reason why people innovate. The same goes for our new muffler concept, which will be a guiding light for our future designs. Mr. Akrapovič got the first idea for the new design while in an airport waiting for a plane. This is something that was surely not planned, but rather spontaneous. All the rest: all the way to the final implementation, was due to the hard work of our engineers and the dedication of our entire team to the perfection of the final product. The company is continuously growing and this year we wit-

60 ORIGINAL

66 HIGH GEAR

Copyright notice This magazine and its entire textual and pictorial content are subject to copyright. Any reproduction thereof without prior written consent of the copyright holder is prohibited. The articles contained herein do not necesseraly correspond with the opinions of Akrapovič d.d. the publishers of the editors. Not for sale. Printed in Slovenia in November 2014 in 6.000 copies.

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

nessed a growth of more than 20% in comparison with the previous year. To sustain this growth we are continuously developing and consolidating our organization and increasing our capacity. The movement of our production and logistics to our new location in Črnomelj is therefore our top priority. The first steps began in August and the entire move is expected to be finished in March 2015. The new location will allow us to optimize the material flow and the entire production and logistic process. The headquarters will remain in Ivančna Gorica, as will R&D, the Racing Department, the toolshop, the prototyping department with a small series production capacity, and our titanium foundry. With all of our activities we’re always focusing on our common goal: to deliver the best possible products to our customers. And this is what they expect from us. We’re working hard to provide satisfaction with our products, so that they can feel and experience the sound, performance, design, passion and dedication that all of us at Akrapovič are giving them. Dear partners, thank you. Uroš Rosa CEO

Warning

Because of the world-wide distribution of Akrapovič d.d. products, neither Akrapovič d.d. nor any of its subsidiaries make any representation that the products comply with the air and/or noise emissions laws, or labeling laws, of any jurisdiction. The purchasers are entirely responsible for informing themselves of the applicable laws where the products are to be used and to comply with those law.

pecially as those parts and systems modify, remove, or replace original equipment catalysts. Please consult the appropriate laws in your area before installing any aftermarket part or system on your vehicle to ensure compliance with all applicable laws. Neither Akrapovic d.d., Akrapovic America LLC nor any of their subsidiaries or the sellers of the parts or systems make any representation that any of their parts or systems comply with any such laws.

Warning / USA

Warning / California

Various U.S. states and the U.S. federal government have individual laws regulating the use of aftermarket exhaust parts and systems, es-

California laws prohibit the use of any aftermarket exhaust part or system that modifies, removes or replaces original equipment catalysts

unless the California Air Resources Board has issued an Executive Order regarding such part or system or unless the part or system is exempted by being used only on racing vehicles on closed courses. Neither Akrapovic d.d., Akrapovic America LLC nor any of their subsidiaries make any representation that any of their parts or systems has received such an Executive Order or that any of their parts or systems conform with the racing vehicles exemption. The purchasers are entirely responsible for informing themselves of applicable California laws and to comply with those laws.


04

Contents

05 letter

AKRAPOVIČ Akrapovič Lifestyle Magazine Issue 16, November 2014 Akrapovič d.d. Malo Hudo 8 a SI-1295 Ivančna Gorica Slovenia www.akrapovic.com Publisher: Korpmedia d.o.o. Tomšičeva 1, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia www.korpmedia.si Managing Director: Mateja Kos ID No.: 2272237000 VAT No.: SI14601737 Editor-in-chief: Miran Ališič Photo editor: Bor Dobrin Art directors: Neja Engelsberger, Saša Kerkoš Cover design: Zdenko Bračevac Contributors: Kim Armstrong, David Bethune, Alenka Birk, Tadej Golob, Gaber Keržišnik, Primož Kotnik, Primož Jurman, Mitja Reven, Julian Ryder Contributing Photographers: Alex Štokelj, Getty Images, Mo Satarzadeh, ted7.com, Aleš Rosa Translation: Matjaž Horvat Lectorship: Michael Manske Client Editor: Primož Jurman On the cover: The new muffler concept by Akrapovič Photo by: Alex Štokelj Printing: Tiskarna Premiere, d.o.o. Vikrče 21, 1211 Ljubljana Šmartno, Slovenia

// Si NOTE All the longer articles in the Akrapovič magazine

will include a text that will be marked with the // Si sign and placed in a special frame. The Akrapovič company is based in Slovenia and this is why we decided to keep this part of the text in Slovenian as well.

05

Contents

06 akrapovic news

Letter

10 Revolution

04

18 Adventure

26 Champion

32 Custom star 05

38 FANTASTIC

52 Visit with us

40 DRIVE WITH US

58 CRAZY STUFF

Innovate, don’t imitate

46 Go wild

The saying is part of our company’s DNA. Innovations are part of our everyday operating principle. If I look back at our history and think of the first titanium exhaust system for motorcycles, the in-house produced titanium tubes made from special alloys, the introduction of hydroforming in regular production, the hexagonal shape that, since its introduction, has been a benchmark for others, the introduction of high-temperature carbon-fiber composites in muffler designs, the titanium foundry for complex exhaust components and many other things… everything has a common denominator – innovation. But is innovation something you can plan? In my opinion, no. You can give people the right environment and tools so that they can test and work on their ideas and you can also give them some financial incentives in order to stimulate them. But these are not drivers, nor are they the reason why people innovate. The same goes for our new muffler concept, which will be a guiding light for our future designs. Mr. Akrapovič got the first idea for the new design while in an airport waiting for a plane. This is something that was surely not planned, but rather spontaneous. All the rest: all the way to the final implementation, was due to the hard work of our engineers and the dedication of our entire team to the perfection of the final product. The company is continuously growing and this year we wit-

60 ORIGINAL

66 HIGH GEAR

Copyright notice This magazine and its entire textual and pictorial content are subject to copyright. Any reproduction thereof without prior written consent of the copyright holder is prohibited. The articles contained herein do not necesseraly correspond with the opinions of Akrapovič d.d. the publishers of the editors. Not for sale. Printed in Slovenia in November 2014 in 6.000 copies.

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

nessed a growth of more than 20% in comparison with the previous year. To sustain this growth we are continuously developing and consolidating our organization and increasing our capacity. The movement of our production and logistics to our new location in Črnomelj is therefore our top priority. The first steps began in August and the entire move is expected to be finished in March 2015. The new location will allow us to optimize the material flow and the entire production and logistic process. The headquarters will remain in Ivančna Gorica, as will R&D, the Racing Department, the toolshop, the prototyping department with a small series production capacity, and our titanium foundry. With all of our activities we’re always focusing on our common goal: to deliver the best possible products to our customers. And this is what they expect from us. We’re working hard to provide satisfaction with our products, so that they can feel and experience the sound, performance, design, passion and dedication that all of us at Akrapovič are giving them. Dear partners, thank you. Uroš Rosa CEO

Warning

Because of the world-wide distribution of Akrapovič d.d. products, neither Akrapovič d.d. nor any of its subsidiaries make any representation that the products comply with the air and/or noise emissions laws, or labeling laws, of any jurisdiction. The purchasers are entirely responsible for informing themselves of the applicable laws where the products are to be used and to comply with those law.

pecially as those parts and systems modify, remove, or replace original equipment catalysts. Please consult the appropriate laws in your area before installing any aftermarket part or system on your vehicle to ensure compliance with all applicable laws. Neither Akrapovic d.d., Akrapovic America LLC nor any of their subsidiaries or the sellers of the parts or systems make any representation that any of their parts or systems comply with any such laws.

Warning / USA

Warning / California

Various U.S. states and the U.S. federal government have individual laws regulating the use of aftermarket exhaust parts and systems, es-

California laws prohibit the use of any aftermarket exhaust part or system that modifies, removes or replaces original equipment catalysts

unless the California Air Resources Board has issued an Executive Order regarding such part or system or unless the part or system is exempted by being used only on racing vehicles on closed courses. Neither Akrapovic d.d., Akrapovic America LLC nor any of their subsidiaries make any representation that any of their parts or systems has received such an Executive Order or that any of their parts or systems conform with the racing vehicles exemption. The purchasers are entirely responsible for informing themselves of applicable California laws and to comply with those laws.


06 / 09

Focus on Germany

06

07

As usual, Akrapovič was not absent from the motorcycle industry’s big events and this year’s show season was focused on Germany. The company first appeared at the BMW Motorrad Days in July, where the spotlight was on the new exhausts for the latest BMW motorcycles, including the new S 1000 R. This was followed by Intermot in the fall, where Akrapovič again showcased all-new products, organised an exhibition of MotoGP, Moto2, WSBK and USA MX motorcycles, hosted riders like Tom Sykes, and surprised spectators with a (r)evolution. The world premiere saw Igor Akrapovič presenting a new muffler concept and announcing a new era for Akrapovič motorcycle exhausts. You can read more about the new concept in a separate article on page 10. Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Already Serial at EICMA It did not take long for Akrapovič to show the mass-produced version of its concept exhaust, first showcased under the (r)evolutionary branding at Intermot. The first aftermarket model was shown at the EICMA show in Milan, where it basked in the spotlight on the brand new Kawasaki Ninja H2. The new shape of the muffler will soon be available for some other motorcycle brands. Also at the show: Ducati announced a new 1299 Panigale, which will be available with an Akrapovič exhaust, while the Japanese powerhouse Yamaha unveiled its new Supersport R1. An Akrapovič exhaust will be on hand for the latter as well.

Unique Product at SEMA Show The 2014 car show season ended with the SEMA event in Las Vegas, where Akrapovič unveiled an exhaust system concept for the Lamborghini Aventador. The titanium exhaust, which is a whopping 57% lighter than the serially fitted one, was one of the magnets at the Akrapovič booth, alongside the BMW M4 DTM racecar. BMW Motorsport drivers Joey Hand and Marco Wittmann also paid a visit. Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Awards for “Mashina” The custom bike Mashina, like the Akrapovič Morsus motorcycle, was created in the Dreamachine Motorcycles workshop and enthralled the jury at the European HOG Rally in the Croatian town of Biograd na Moru, where it won awards for the Best in Show and best bike in Radical category. The slender and low Mashina is equipped with a titanium Akrapovič exhaust system with carbon fibre tailpipe. Apart from the lightweight titanium exhaust,

Comfortable and Sporty Mashina also comes equipped with other enticing extras such as carbon brakes and a hydraulic rear swing arm.

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

That is what former F1 driver and Monte Carlo winner Olivier Panis was looking for and got with the new Akrapovič exhaust system for his Porsche Panamera 4S. Panis was thrilled about the new product’s capabilities: “After the first kilometres with my new exhaust I think it’s perfect for me. I’m also getting old and being able to choose the loudness with the wireless kit is just what I need. I can still enjoy a comfortable ride in the city, but when my racing blood wants more, I just click and

Akrapovič News

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

go for that sporty louder sound.” The Frenchman has known Akrapovič for a long time, also because of bikes: “I know Akrapovič mainly through motorcycles, as I’ve always had a bike, but never raced with it. But I know the brand and the fact that you make really good exhausts.” Apart from Panamera, Panis’s garage includes a Lamborghini Diablo SV, a Chevelle 396 SS, an Agusta 312r, a Harley and a Yamaha T-Max. Go to www.akrapovic.com to read the full interview with Olivier.

PS Magazine Best Brand 2014 After Motorrad magazine readers chose Akrapovič as the best exhaust system brand for the ninth time in a row, readers of PS Magazine did the same for the seventh year running. We would like to express our gratitude to these readers for their trust and giving us over 80% of the vote.

Sport auto Readers Vote for Akrapovič Again Akrapovič seems to be really appreciated by readers of the prestigious sport auto magazine, as evidenced by the fact that it again won the magazine’s Best Brand award. Readers have selected Akrapovič as the best car exhaust brand for the last five years in a row. The company is delighted with the trust in our products and brand and the new award is an incentive to keep up the good work.

LESERWAHL

BEST BRAND

2014

KATEGORIE Auspuffanlagen

First Akrapovič Dealer Seminar The first Akrapovič Dealer Seminar took place at BMW Welt in October. At the event, dealers got to know Akrapovič in detail: both the company and the products. Representatives of several departments, such as Research & Development, Racing, Technology &

Materials, the Titanium Foundry, Carbon, and Sales & Marketing presented the development of exhaust systems for cars and motorcycles, from the initial concept to the final product. “The Akrapovič Dealer Seminar is a new milestone in our dealer training program,” Marko Magdič, head of aftermarket sales at Akrapovič, explained, “and I’m convinced that it will help us spread our story across the globe and inspire our ambassadors.” The event was enlivened by Edgar Mielke and Marco Wittmann.


06 / 09

Focus on Germany

06

07

As usual, Akrapovič was not absent from the motorcycle industry’s big events and this year’s show season was focused on Germany. The company first appeared at the BMW Motorrad Days in July, where the spotlight was on the new exhausts for the latest BMW motorcycles, including the new S 1000 R. This was followed by Intermot in the fall, where Akrapovič again showcased all-new products, organised an exhibition of MotoGP, Moto2, WSBK and USA MX motorcycles, hosted riders like Tom Sykes, and surprised spectators with a (r)evolution. The world premiere saw Igor Akrapovič presenting a new muffler concept and announcing a new era for Akrapovič motorcycle exhausts. You can read more about the new concept in a separate article on page 10. Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Already Serial at EICMA It did not take long for Akrapovič to show the mass-produced version of its concept exhaust, first showcased under the (r)evolutionary branding at Intermot. The first aftermarket model was shown at the EICMA show in Milan, where it basked in the spotlight on the brand new Kawasaki Ninja H2. The new shape of the muffler will soon be available for some other motorcycle brands. Also at the show: Ducati announced a new 1299 Panigale, which will be available with an Akrapovič exhaust, while the Japanese powerhouse Yamaha unveiled its new Supersport R1. An Akrapovič exhaust will be on hand for the latter as well.

Unique Product at SEMA Show The 2014 car show season ended with the SEMA event in Las Vegas, where Akrapovič unveiled an exhaust system concept for the Lamborghini Aventador. The titanium exhaust, which is a whopping 57% lighter than the serially fitted one, was one of the magnets at the Akrapovič booth, alongside the BMW M4 DTM racecar. BMW Motorsport drivers Joey Hand and Marco Wittmann also paid a visit. Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Awards for “Mashina” The custom bike Mashina, like the Akrapovič Morsus motorcycle, was created in the Dreamachine Motorcycles workshop and enthralled the jury at the European HOG Rally in the Croatian town of Biograd na Moru, where it won awards for the Best in Show and best bike in Radical category. The slender and low Mashina is equipped with a titanium Akrapovič exhaust system with carbon fibre tailpipe. Apart from the lightweight titanium exhaust,

Comfortable and Sporty Mashina also comes equipped with other enticing extras such as carbon brakes and a hydraulic rear swing arm.

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

That is what former F1 driver and Monte Carlo winner Olivier Panis was looking for and got with the new Akrapovič exhaust system for his Porsche Panamera 4S. Panis was thrilled about the new product’s capabilities: “After the first kilometres with my new exhaust I think it’s perfect for me. I’m also getting old and being able to choose the loudness with the wireless kit is just what I need. I can still enjoy a comfortable ride in the city, but when my racing blood wants more, I just click and

Akrapovič News

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

go for that sporty louder sound.” The Frenchman has known Akrapovič for a long time, also because of bikes: “I know Akrapovič mainly through motorcycles, as I’ve always had a bike, but never raced with it. But I know the brand and the fact that you make really good exhausts.” Apart from Panamera, Panis’s garage includes a Lamborghini Diablo SV, a Chevelle 396 SS, an Agusta 312r, a Harley and a Yamaha T-Max. Go to www.akrapovic.com to read the full interview with Olivier.

PS Magazine Best Brand 2014 After Motorrad magazine readers chose Akrapovič as the best exhaust system brand for the ninth time in a row, readers of PS Magazine did the same for the seventh year running. We would like to express our gratitude to these readers for their trust and giving us over 80% of the vote.

Sport auto Readers Vote for Akrapovič Again Akrapovič seems to be really appreciated by readers of the prestigious sport auto magazine, as evidenced by the fact that it again won the magazine’s Best Brand award. Readers have selected Akrapovič as the best car exhaust brand for the last five years in a row. The company is delighted with the trust in our products and brand and the new award is an incentive to keep up the good work.

LESERWAHL

BEST BRAND

2014

KATEGORIE Auspuffanlagen

First Akrapovič Dealer Seminar The first Akrapovič Dealer Seminar took place at BMW Welt in October. At the event, dealers got to know Akrapovič in detail: both the company and the products. Representatives of several departments, such as Research & Development, Racing, Technology &

Materials, the Titanium Foundry, Carbon, and Sales & Marketing presented the development of exhaust systems for cars and motorcycles, from the initial concept to the final product. “The Akrapovič Dealer Seminar is a new milestone in our dealer training program,” Marko Magdič, head of aftermarket sales at Akrapovič, explained, “and I’m convinced that it will help us spread our story across the globe and inspire our ambassadors.” The event was enlivened by Edgar Mielke and Marco Wittmann.


06 / 09

All new at European Bike Week Akrapovič showcased a new exhibition area and various novelties at the European Bike Week in Faaker See (Austria), with the new classical Slip-On line of mufflers taking centre stage. These new products, which are available for a wide variety of Harley-Davidson motorbikes, can be used in conjunction with the new Valve System, which was also shown for the first time by the Faak Lake. The distinctive feature of our valve system is that the exhaust gases are routed through two separate paths, from one pipe to another. When the valve is open, the flow is impeded much less and consequently louder, delivering a noticeable gain in performance while retaining the deep resonant sound characteristic of Harleys.

Unique Exhaust for Tréluyer

The three-time Le Mans winner and FIA WEC champion Benoît Tréluyer is an avid bike rider. He takes part in enduro races, such as the Aveyronnaise Classic, for which he rode a KTM 350 EXC-F Six Days. This motorbike is, of course, equipped with a unique Akrapovič exhaust system.

Before winning the DTM Championship, Marco Wittmann drove from Germany’s Fürth to Slovenia to pay his first visit to Akrapovič. The reason for driving rather than flying was the Evolution Line exhaust system for his BMW M6 Coupé, which Marco helped install. For him, the big problem wasn’t the installation but whether to choose carbon or titanium tailpipes. He opted for carbon in the end. Marco also took a tour of the development and manufacturing facilities, before turning off the radio and enjoying the sound of the exhaust on his way back. His “company” car is a BMW M4 DTM, also equipped with an Akrapovič exhaust system. Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Akrapovič Makes First Appearance at GTI Treffen The all-new and unique titanium Akrapovič exhaust system for the latest Golf GTI was a good enough excuse for the company to introduce itself at a meeting of lovers of the iconic Volkswagen at the Wörthersee Lake. Visitors to Akrapovič’s exhibition area were able to admire titanium exhaust systems and carbon fibre products for Volk-

Marco Helps Attach an Exhaust

swagens and Audis and hear 10 reasons why people opt for an Akrapovič. The displayed Audi R8 V10 and VW Golf GTI acted as proper magnets, especially after their engines started. And while not everybody could stand in front, the throngs of people behind them were in no way deprived, at least when it comes to sound.

# Under 8

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Russian ski jumpers recently followed in the footsteps of teams Slovenia, USA and Canada, which trained on Akrapovič’s dynamometer before the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Russian jumpers trained in the wind that is normally used in the dynamometer to cool down cars during exhaust testing.

08

211,000 km After clocking up more than 211,000 kilometres on five continents, world traveller Željan Rakela and his BMW R 1200 GS Adventure paid a visit to Ivančna Gorica, where we replaced his exhaust system. While the exhaust, with which the Croatian rider has travelled across Australia, America, Asia and Europe, was still in excellent condition and was good to go for many more kilometres, the Akrapovič engineering department wanted to examine it in detail. There aren’t many riders who cover as much distance as Željan. The globetrotter also held a lecture about his adventures in the Akrapovič exhibition area during the BMW Motorrad Days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Renault Sport presented two new Mégane R.S. 275 models: Trophy and Trophy-R, both serially equipped with Akrapovič exhausts. The cooperation between Renault Sport and Akrapovič on the sportier of the two Mégane R.S. models resulted in a light titanium exhaust, which helped the Trophy-R set a record for its class at the famous Nordschleife track. The Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R, a two seater with a limited production run of 250 models, took 7m54.36s to complete a lap on the legendary track. Trophy-R is about 100 kg lighter than Trophy and comes serially equipped with a Cup chassis, a titanium Akrapovič exhaust system, ‘Öhlins Road&Track’ one-way adjustable dampers with composite springs and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres that are specifically-adapted for the car.

Red Dot Goes to Akrapovič

Russians are Jumping

09

On the evening of July 7th Akrapovič R&D director Boštjan Veber and project leader Mitja Mahnič received the “Red Dot: Best of the Best” award at the Aalto Theatre in the German city of Essen. The gala ceremony, attended by over 1,200 guests from all around the globe, including world famous designers, entrepreneurs and media, was held for recipients of the “Red Dot: Best of the Best” prize, awarded by this year’s jury to the Akrapovič Evolution Line (Titanium) exhaust system for the Ducati 1199 Panigale. The exhaust is currently be-

ing exhibited in Red Dot Design museums in Essen and Singapore and was featured in the Red Dot Design Yearbook 2014/2015. The award is a major recognition of the excellence of this Akrapovič product and an additional motivation for developing new products. Akrapovič’s design achievements were recognised in Slovenia as well. The company’s Evolution Line (Titanium) exhaust system for the Ducati 1199 Panigale took design of the year award at the 11th design month in the country’s capital, Ljubljana.

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Photo: Red Dot

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Akrapovič News


06 / 09

All new at European Bike Week Akrapovič showcased a new exhibition area and various novelties at the European Bike Week in Faaker See (Austria), with the new classical Slip-On line of mufflers taking centre stage. These new products, which are available for a wide variety of Harley-Davidson motorbikes, can be used in conjunction with the new Valve System, which was also shown for the first time by the Faak Lake. The distinctive feature of our valve system is that the exhaust gases are routed through two separate paths, from one pipe to another. When the valve is open, the flow is impeded much less and consequently louder, delivering a noticeable gain in performance while retaining the deep resonant sound characteristic of Harleys.

Unique Exhaust for Tréluyer

The three-time Le Mans winner and FIA WEC champion Benoît Tréluyer is an avid bike rider. He takes part in enduro races, such as the Aveyronnaise Classic, for which he rode a KTM 350 EXC-F Six Days. This motorbike is, of course, equipped with a unique Akrapovič exhaust system.

Before winning the DTM Championship, Marco Wittmann drove from Germany’s Fürth to Slovenia to pay his first visit to Akrapovič. The reason for driving rather than flying was the Evolution Line exhaust system for his BMW M6 Coupé, which Marco helped install. For him, the big problem wasn’t the installation but whether to choose carbon or titanium tailpipes. He opted for carbon in the end. Marco also took a tour of the development and manufacturing facilities, before turning off the radio and enjoying the sound of the exhaust on his way back. His “company” car is a BMW M4 DTM, also equipped with an Akrapovič exhaust system. Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Akrapovič Makes First Appearance at GTI Treffen The all-new and unique titanium Akrapovič exhaust system for the latest Golf GTI was a good enough excuse for the company to introduce itself at a meeting of lovers of the iconic Volkswagen at the Wörthersee Lake. Visitors to Akrapovič’s exhibition area were able to admire titanium exhaust systems and carbon fibre products for Volk-

Marco Helps Attach an Exhaust

swagens and Audis and hear 10 reasons why people opt for an Akrapovič. The displayed Audi R8 V10 and VW Golf GTI acted as proper magnets, especially after their engines started. And while not everybody could stand in front, the throngs of people behind them were in no way deprived, at least when it comes to sound.

# Under 8

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Russian ski jumpers recently followed in the footsteps of teams Slovenia, USA and Canada, which trained on Akrapovič’s dynamometer before the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Russian jumpers trained in the wind that is normally used in the dynamometer to cool down cars during exhaust testing.

08

211,000 km After clocking up more than 211,000 kilometres on five continents, world traveller Željan Rakela and his BMW R 1200 GS Adventure paid a visit to Ivančna Gorica, where we replaced his exhaust system. While the exhaust, with which the Croatian rider has travelled across Australia, America, Asia and Europe, was still in excellent condition and was good to go for many more kilometres, the Akrapovič engineering department wanted to examine it in detail. There aren’t many riders who cover as much distance as Željan. The globetrotter also held a lecture about his adventures in the Akrapovič exhibition area during the BMW Motorrad Days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Renault Sport presented two new Mégane R.S. 275 models: Trophy and Trophy-R, both serially equipped with Akrapovič exhausts. The cooperation between Renault Sport and Akrapovič on the sportier of the two Mégane R.S. models resulted in a light titanium exhaust, which helped the Trophy-R set a record for its class at the famous Nordschleife track. The Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R, a two seater with a limited production run of 250 models, took 7m54.36s to complete a lap on the legendary track. Trophy-R is about 100 kg lighter than Trophy and comes serially equipped with a Cup chassis, a titanium Akrapovič exhaust system, ‘Öhlins Road&Track’ one-way adjustable dampers with composite springs and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres that are specifically-adapted for the car.

Red Dot Goes to Akrapovič

Russians are Jumping

09

On the evening of July 7th Akrapovič R&D director Boštjan Veber and project leader Mitja Mahnič received the “Red Dot: Best of the Best” award at the Aalto Theatre in the German city of Essen. The gala ceremony, attended by over 1,200 guests from all around the globe, including world famous designers, entrepreneurs and media, was held for recipients of the “Red Dot: Best of the Best” prize, awarded by this year’s jury to the Akrapovič Evolution Line (Titanium) exhaust system for the Ducati 1199 Panigale. The exhaust is currently be-

ing exhibited in Red Dot Design museums in Essen and Singapore and was featured in the Red Dot Design Yearbook 2014/2015. The award is a major recognition of the excellence of this Akrapovič product and an additional motivation for developing new products. Akrapovič’s design achievements were recognised in Slovenia as well. The company’s Evolution Line (Titanium) exhaust system for the Ducati 1199 Panigale took design of the year award at the 11th design month in the country’s capital, Ljubljana.

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Photo: Red Dot

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Akrapovič News


10 / 15

Revolution

Interview / The New Muffler Concept

“No New IdeasNo Development” INTERVIEW WITH IGOR AKRAPOVIČ

Intermot fair in Cologne was important event for you, one could even call it a milestone for the company. You presented a new exhaust system design. What is the most innovative factor about it? Its shape or performance?

by Gaber Keržišnik photography Bor Dobrin the market. I wanted to make it recognizable. When we unveiled the hexagonal muffler shape some years ago, we were actually quite daring. The first impressions were quite mixed at the time, but the shape really established itself and is nowadays almost considered a classic. Numerous other manufacturers have copied our design. Regarding the new product, people who have already had a chance to see and hold it mainly described it as an “alien” shape or something that came out of a science fiction movie. But it is actually a vision of the present, combined with high technology. It is also true that every shape takes time to get used to it.

(R)EVOLUTION Well noted! The new design comes with a radically new shape. But there is more than the eye literally sees, as it also brings improved performance. We have improved the flow of the exhaust gases, because we discovered that it was not ideal in the old design. We have already carried out numerous tests and simulations and are getting ready to perform extensive tests on the motorcycles themselves. Apart from an improved performance, the new muffler shape is a logical upgrade to the previously hexagonal one.

(R)evolution

ACTUALLY, TO BE HONEST IT ALL LOOKED A BIT LIKE AN UMBRELLA. WELL, IT WAS BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD FOR ME UNTIL THE DESIGN WAS FINALISED.

THE NEW MUFFLER CONCEPT FROM AKRAPOVIČ

10

11

What was the guiding principle for the new design?

∫ Igor Akrapovič is a man who gave his name to a company with a scorpion logo. But the temperament of the man sitting opposite me seems completely different than that of a scorpion. The only thing they seem to share is colour. He’s typically dressed in black from head to toe. If I didn’t know him, I would have guessed that I was talking to a painter, writer or movie critic. However, Igor certainly does strike like a scorpion when the conversation turns to exhaust systems,

motorcycle races and techniques. When asked about things concerning his business operations, company and products, he always pauses before speaking. This is also how he runs his enterprise, which explains how he has managed to transform the after-market exhaust manufacturer from a garage shop into a leading global brand over the past 23 years. This year the company unveiled a completely new exhaust shape at the Intermot fair in Cologne, something that does not happen every day.

I was mainly looking for something dynamic. The design is very modern and I purposely wanted it to be “outside of the box”. I wanted to create something completely unique that does not follow any characteristic design approaches of any of the motorcycle producers with which we cooperate. The exhaust must be an original product and its shape recognizable. It must represent the brand. Thus we purposely created a 12-degree curvature, because it follows the outline of new motorcycles more accurately. The shapes will, of course, be diversified. There will be longer and shorter exhausts available, depending on motorcycle type, because an exhaust for a sports bike cannot be exactly the same as, for example, a touring scooter. The shape of the exhaust will also be adjusted to its size, as some louder bikes, for example, require a heftier muffler.

Where did the idea for the shape come from? I was after something new, something that does not yet exist on

Is the shape unquestionably modern? It follows the design of contemporary motorcycles. Sharply pointed and perhaps a bit angular. Elongated lines and sharp edges. Exactly what you find in the design of the latest introductions of super sporty bikes.

turbolence. After testing the new design on a flow bench, where the addition of smoke reveals the flow of the exhaust gases, we discovered that the new shape has a substantially more laminar flow, whereas the old shape caused even the outside air to swirl at its base, where the cross section is at its narrowest.

How long did the idea for the new shape take to mature? How big a role does aerodynamics play in designing an exhaust? It is definitely an important aspect and when designing the new exhaust I kept it especially in mind. If you try to compare the new muffler to the old one, you soon realise that it is impossible. The new design allows for a much better airflow. We tested that thoroughly and also used data supplied to us by numerous motorcycle makers and, especially, from factory racing teams, which regularly test their bikes in wind tunnels. The flow of air on the outside as well as the gases on the inside must be as fast as possible and without

Fairly long. I have had the idea for quite some time. Especially as I had the data on how to optimise and improve on the previous shape. But then you have to turn it into a feasible product. I had to sit down in front of a computer and learn some computer aided design programs. The shape took five stages, from the most rudimentary idea to the almost final product. I wanted to follow, at least approximately, the hexagonal shape, because it has become so recognisable in the past few years, but I also wanted to make a step forward and design something that would immediately look new and different from what already exists.


10 / 15

Revolution

Interview / The New Muffler Concept

“No New IdeasNo Development” INTERVIEW WITH IGOR AKRAPOVIČ

Intermot fair in Cologne was important event for you, one could even call it a milestone for the company. You presented a new exhaust system design. What is the most innovative factor about it? Its shape or performance?

by Gaber Keržišnik photography Bor Dobrin the market. I wanted to make it recognizable. When we unveiled the hexagonal muffler shape some years ago, we were actually quite daring. The first impressions were quite mixed at the time, but the shape really established itself and is nowadays almost considered a classic. Numerous other manufacturers have copied our design. Regarding the new product, people who have already had a chance to see and hold it mainly described it as an “alien” shape or something that came out of a science fiction movie. But it is actually a vision of the present, combined with high technology. It is also true that every shape takes time to get used to it.

(R)EVOLUTION Well noted! The new design comes with a radically new shape. But there is more than the eye literally sees, as it also brings improved performance. We have improved the flow of the exhaust gases, because we discovered that it was not ideal in the old design. We have already carried out numerous tests and simulations and are getting ready to perform extensive tests on the motorcycles themselves. Apart from an improved performance, the new muffler shape is a logical upgrade to the previously hexagonal one.

(R)evolution

ACTUALLY, TO BE HONEST IT ALL LOOKED A BIT LIKE AN UMBRELLA. WELL, IT WAS BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD FOR ME UNTIL THE DESIGN WAS FINALISED.

THE NEW MUFFLER CONCEPT FROM AKRAPOVIČ

10

11

What was the guiding principle for the new design?

∫ Igor Akrapovič is a man who gave his name to a company with a scorpion logo. But the temperament of the man sitting opposite me seems completely different than that of a scorpion. The only thing they seem to share is colour. He’s typically dressed in black from head to toe. If I didn’t know him, I would have guessed that I was talking to a painter, writer or movie critic. However, Igor certainly does strike like a scorpion when the conversation turns to exhaust systems,

motorcycle races and techniques. When asked about things concerning his business operations, company and products, he always pauses before speaking. This is also how he runs his enterprise, which explains how he has managed to transform the after-market exhaust manufacturer from a garage shop into a leading global brand over the past 23 years. This year the company unveiled a completely new exhaust shape at the Intermot fair in Cologne, something that does not happen every day.

I was mainly looking for something dynamic. The design is very modern and I purposely wanted it to be “outside of the box”. I wanted to create something completely unique that does not follow any characteristic design approaches of any of the motorcycle producers with which we cooperate. The exhaust must be an original product and its shape recognizable. It must represent the brand. Thus we purposely created a 12-degree curvature, because it follows the outline of new motorcycles more accurately. The shapes will, of course, be diversified. There will be longer and shorter exhausts available, depending on motorcycle type, because an exhaust for a sports bike cannot be exactly the same as, for example, a touring scooter. The shape of the exhaust will also be adjusted to its size, as some louder bikes, for example, require a heftier muffler.

Where did the idea for the shape come from? I was after something new, something that does not yet exist on

Is the shape unquestionably modern? It follows the design of contemporary motorcycles. Sharply pointed and perhaps a bit angular. Elongated lines and sharp edges. Exactly what you find in the design of the latest introductions of super sporty bikes.

turbolence. After testing the new design on a flow bench, where the addition of smoke reveals the flow of the exhaust gases, we discovered that the new shape has a substantially more laminar flow, whereas the old shape caused even the outside air to swirl at its base, where the cross section is at its narrowest.

How long did the idea for the new shape take to mature? How big a role does aerodynamics play in designing an exhaust? It is definitely an important aspect and when designing the new exhaust I kept it especially in mind. If you try to compare the new muffler to the old one, you soon realise that it is impossible. The new design allows for a much better airflow. We tested that thoroughly and also used data supplied to us by numerous motorcycle makers and, especially, from factory racing teams, which regularly test their bikes in wind tunnels. The flow of air on the outside as well as the gases on the inside must be as fast as possible and without

Fairly long. I have had the idea for quite some time. Especially as I had the data on how to optimise and improve on the previous shape. But then you have to turn it into a feasible product. I had to sit down in front of a computer and learn some computer aided design programs. The shape took five stages, from the most rudimentary idea to the almost final product. I wanted to follow, at least approximately, the hexagonal shape, because it has become so recognisable in the past few years, but I also wanted to make a step forward and design something that would immediately look new and different from what already exists.


10 / 15

Revolution

So the shape itself was not the primary guideline behind the exhaust? The shape is one of the most important factors, but not the only one. As I had said, the idea was to create an overall better exhaust and not just a better-looking one, while maintaining all the positive qualities of the old exhaust. It must be stressed out that an exhaust design has to incorporate volume, ground clearance, performance and sound, all extremely important factors. This is why the design process requires numerous compromises. Loudness is certainly one of them as well as the option to use a catalytic converter, which eliminates the option of making the muffler very small.

Did you run into any problems while drawing the new shape? I did. Especially at the stage of the computer design. I discovered that a computer screen or what you see on it still does not provide a 100 % realistic picture. Or, more likely, the human spatial perception is a bit different, as the picture on the screen is still very limited in terms of its three-dimensionality. Especially the curvature. Some lines and radiuses that I set on the computer looked perfect, but when the boys used my drawings to make the first prototype on a 3D printer, the end result was somewhat disappointing. Actually, it all looked a bit like an umbrella, to be honest. Well, it was back to the drawing board for me until the design was finalised.

What else is important in designing a motorcycle exhaust? If possible, it is extremely useful to try and make the exhaust’s crosssection symmetrical. This allows you to mount it on the left or the right side of the bike. Not the same bike of course, but different types of motorcycle have the exhaust on the left or right side. Well, some bikes even have dual exhausts, one on each side. If you have to separate between the left- and right-side exhausts, excluding the bracket, 62

THE N

∫ you would need to double the tools for the new hydro-forming (shaping metal by using highly pressurised water) for their manufacture.

What about the manufacturing itself? Will it be more demanding for the new exhaust? The new design will be technically a lot more demanding than the old one. To produce the new muffler, we have to rely heavily on hydro-forming, meaning that the product will be extremely difficult to copy. We have used hydro-forming before, but never for shaping mufflers. The old design was relatively simple to make and the increasing visibility of our company in the world resulted in a growing number of forgeries. Especially from Malaysia and China, but also from other places. Counterfeiting will be made a lot more difficult with the new design. Especially if we are talking about a titanium muffler, whose production is really demanding.

Is the global trend not moving towards more simplicity in creating new objects? No, that is irrelevant for us. The only measuring stick for our products is their effect. If we are convinced that the new shape will make the exhaust better, we will go ahead with the project. We never ask ourselves in phase one how we will do it. Even if manufacturing the new product is more difficult and demanding, we jump right into it. We deal with the problems as they arise, during the process. We are also looking into the possibility of completely customising the end product, giving the purchaser an option to personalize his or her exhaust for a slightly higher price. We are thinking about lasers here, for example allowing the buyer to engrave a text, starting number, date of birth, personal logo or the like on the titanium part of the exhaust. Anything the customer wants. Well, this idea will probably first be used on cars, where the tailpipes are usually doubled, so we could have one for our logo and the other for anything a customer desires.

What about the underlying technology? The new exhausts will come with one or two pipes, allowing us to regulate noise by opening one or both of them. It is never easy to create something new. In order to create the new muffler, we had to purchase a new 1,200 tonne press, but we had no choice if we wanted to use the selected shape. We will also have to provide a host of new tools for creating the product. The outer sleeve of the muffler will be made from one piece as monocoque together with the end caps and back rivets, which were previously used to fasten the outer sleeve to the interior, will no longer be needed.

What else does the new exhaust bring? We are looking into various new coating technologies. While we already use several transparent colourless coatings to protect the material and prevent certain chemical and heat reactions, the new exhaust will allow for selecting different colour coatings, where the titanium could be coloured in various metal shades, black for example. But, to be honest, it was not the appearance it was the performance that was the main guiding principle in creating the new product. We adjusted the shape to what we know and can do and, of course, to what we had learnt from various tests of our exhausts over recent years.

So what makes the new product better? The new shape greatly improves the flow of the exhaust gases. The old shape, which looked very much like the letter V, caused turbolence in the exhaust gases and that is obviously not ideal when running an engine. The new shape is substantially better in that regard. We tested various designs on motorcycles on a test bench and I can say that the new shape allows better flow with the same cross-section of the pipe.

I am convinced that the new design will also guarantee an increase in the engine’s power.

And what about sound? Sound is extremely important. We paid great attention to it. We always carry out many sound tests, because it really matters that much to us. And we are not talking simply about noise levels, but rather about the type, colour and tone of the sound. Because our products are known for a sound quality that usually greatly surpasses serial exhausts, it is another lure for many buyers of our products. The sound is especially important with cars, where a drone effect can occur. If an exhaust causes a buzzing sound during long trips, the driving experience can become unpleasant. We pay great attention to that. Every exhaust is extensively tested using a range of electronic equipment, as well as subjectively, i.e. having four people ride in a car, because every one of them hears the exhaust differently, depending on the seat. The subjective assessment by each engineer after a test drive is important as well. The sound must be sporty and recognisable, but not annoying. The sound of the exhaust for some vehicles is also altered by using active exhausts, with a special flap built into them. Opening the flap and thus adjusting the noise levels of the exhaust can be done during the journey by the driver himself using a special button.

Where do you work on these ideas? It depends. Sometimes at work. Sometimes at home. The first sketches for the new exhaust were made at an airport. I think it was in Munich, where my wife and I were in for a long wait for our connecting flight and I did the first sketches right there.

You have an extensive team of designers as well as outside help. Why did you decide to define and draw the new shape of the exhaust by yourself? Was that created by the desire to make all your products carry a personal note, being that you are the founder, owner as well as provide the company’s name? I did make calls for design applications within the company and outside. I have to admit that we have received some extremely interesting ideas, but none that would entirely cover the performance requirements of a quality exhaust. This is such a specific product that it is difficult to simply draw something that would look pretty and work well at the same time. If you do not know the basic characteristics of a good exhaust system, it is almost impossible to come up with an optimal as well as interestingly looking muffler. Numerous designers sent in wonderful proposals for the shape, but if the ideas lacked, for example, a proper volume, it would make the product too loud or cancel out the possibil-

(R)evolution

ity of using a catalytic converter. And such an exhaust will not get you very far. It is not enough for the shape to look pretty, it must also be effective. And vice versa, of course. What was created by our engineers, on the other hand, was excellent and extremely useful, but maybe not quite that eye catching. This is why I decided to do the thing myself.

It is interesting to note that you were not drawn in by any existing shapes. Yes and that is not a trivial thing to do. Whenever a person designs an exhaust, some designs have to be tested on motorcycles. And that is where you can potentially be drawn in by the design characteristics of that motorbike or its brand. The products of motorcycle giants of today have their own recognisable faces and contours. So if you create a muffler that will be styled after, let us say, a BMW, it will look super pretty on that bike, but might be completely at odds with the looks of the newest Kawasaki or Yamaha. This is why it is necessary to be different. You must stay

neutral regarding the design, but at the same time still in harmony with the motorcycle. I started my idea on the premise that an exhaust is an independent design object.

But not all exhausts look the same, do they? Of course not. Some motorcycles have their exhausts under the seat, others at the side, other still cut short so that they barely poke out from under the protective plating. This naturally requires various shapes and versions, but these are not classical muffler designs anymore. I am mainly talking about the “classically” placed muffler on the side of a bike. The new muffler design therefore squarely aims at the road, sporting and sport-touring categories of motorcycles. In the future I will also prepare a version of a similar muffler for the off-road segment. The shape will be based on the new design, but will not be exactly the same.

12

Does the new design of the exhaust mean the farewell of the familiar hexagonal muffler? No, no. Not at all. The new shape is an addition and a guideline for our future products. All that we have made so far remains as it is. The hexagonal shape of the muffler will remain. Last but not least, the new shape will have to be typeapproved for road use. It will be a little bit easier with our Evolution line, which is meant for use on the race track. There the muffler can be combined at will with other parts of the exhaust. This would be much more difficult for road-worthy motorcycles, because all of them have type-approved specs and shapes for their mufflers.

Price is naturally important as well. Does that mean that new product will also be more expensive for the end buyer due to the complexity of manufacture? There is certainly going to be a small difference, but it will really be kept to a minimum. Because the price is also set by the market, the purchasing power and, of course, the competition.

THE SOUND MUST BE SPORTY AND RECOGNISABLE, BUT NOT ANNOYING... THE FIRST SKETCHES FOR THE NEW EXHAUST WERE MADE AT AN AIRPORT. I JUST DID THE FIRST SKETCHES RIGHT THERE, WHILE WAITING FOR A PLANE.

13


10 / 15

Revolution

So the shape itself was not the primary guideline behind the exhaust? The shape is one of the most important factors, but not the only one. As I had said, the idea was to create an overall better exhaust and not just a better-looking one, while maintaining all the positive qualities of the old exhaust. It must be stressed out that an exhaust design has to incorporate volume, ground clearance, performance and sound, all extremely important factors. This is why the design process requires numerous compromises. Loudness is certainly one of them as well as the option to use a catalytic converter, which eliminates the option of making the muffler very small.

Did you run into any problems while drawing the new shape? I did. Especially at the stage of the computer design. I discovered that a computer screen or what you see on it still does not provide a 100 % realistic picture. Or, more likely, the human spatial perception is a bit different, as the picture on the screen is still very limited in terms of its three-dimensionality. Especially the curvature. Some lines and radiuses that I set on the computer looked perfect, but when the boys used my drawings to make the first prototype on a 3D printer, the end result was somewhat disappointing. Actually, it all looked a bit like an umbrella, to be honest. Well, it was back to the drawing board for me until the design was finalised.

What else is important in designing a motorcycle exhaust? If possible, it is extremely useful to try and make the exhaust’s crosssection symmetrical. This allows you to mount it on the left or the right side of the bike. Not the same bike of course, but different types of motorcycle have the exhaust on the left or right side. Well, some bikes even have dual exhausts, one on each side. If you have to separate between the left- and right-side exhausts, excluding the bracket, 62

THE N

∫ you would need to double the tools for the new hydro-forming (shaping metal by using highly pressurised water) for their manufacture.

What about the manufacturing itself? Will it be more demanding for the new exhaust? The new design will be technically a lot more demanding than the old one. To produce the new muffler, we have to rely heavily on hydro-forming, meaning that the product will be extremely difficult to copy. We have used hydro-forming before, but never for shaping mufflers. The old design was relatively simple to make and the increasing visibility of our company in the world resulted in a growing number of forgeries. Especially from Malaysia and China, but also from other places. Counterfeiting will be made a lot more difficult with the new design. Especially if we are talking about a titanium muffler, whose production is really demanding.

Is the global trend not moving towards more simplicity in creating new objects? No, that is irrelevant for us. The only measuring stick for our products is their effect. If we are convinced that the new shape will make the exhaust better, we will go ahead with the project. We never ask ourselves in phase one how we will do it. Even if manufacturing the new product is more difficult and demanding, we jump right into it. We deal with the problems as they arise, during the process. We are also looking into the possibility of completely customising the end product, giving the purchaser an option to personalize his or her exhaust for a slightly higher price. We are thinking about lasers here, for example allowing the buyer to engrave a text, starting number, date of birth, personal logo or the like on the titanium part of the exhaust. Anything the customer wants. Well, this idea will probably first be used on cars, where the tailpipes are usually doubled, so we could have one for our logo and the other for anything a customer desires.

What about the underlying technology? The new exhausts will come with one or two pipes, allowing us to regulate noise by opening one or both of them. It is never easy to create something new. In order to create the new muffler, we had to purchase a new 1,200 tonne press, but we had no choice if we wanted to use the selected shape. We will also have to provide a host of new tools for creating the product. The outer sleeve of the muffler will be made from one piece as monocoque together with the end caps and back rivets, which were previously used to fasten the outer sleeve to the interior, will no longer be needed.

What else does the new exhaust bring? We are looking into various new coating technologies. While we already use several transparent colourless coatings to protect the material and prevent certain chemical and heat reactions, the new exhaust will allow for selecting different colour coatings, where the titanium could be coloured in various metal shades, black for example. But, to be honest, it was not the appearance it was the performance that was the main guiding principle in creating the new product. We adjusted the shape to what we know and can do and, of course, to what we had learnt from various tests of our exhausts over recent years.

So what makes the new product better? The new shape greatly improves the flow of the exhaust gases. The old shape, which looked very much like the letter V, caused turbolence in the exhaust gases and that is obviously not ideal when running an engine. The new shape is substantially better in that regard. We tested various designs on motorcycles on a test bench and I can say that the new shape allows better flow with the same cross-section of the pipe.

I am convinced that the new design will also guarantee an increase in the engine’s power.

And what about sound? Sound is extremely important. We paid great attention to it. We always carry out many sound tests, because it really matters that much to us. And we are not talking simply about noise levels, but rather about the type, colour and tone of the sound. Because our products are known for a sound quality that usually greatly surpasses serial exhausts, it is another lure for many buyers of our products. The sound is especially important with cars, where a drone effect can occur. If an exhaust causes a buzzing sound during long trips, the driving experience can become unpleasant. We pay great attention to that. Every exhaust is extensively tested using a range of electronic equipment, as well as subjectively, i.e. having four people ride in a car, because every one of them hears the exhaust differently, depending on the seat. The subjective assessment by each engineer after a test drive is important as well. The sound must be sporty and recognisable, but not annoying. The sound of the exhaust for some vehicles is also altered by using active exhausts, with a special flap built into them. Opening the flap and thus adjusting the noise levels of the exhaust can be done during the journey by the driver himself using a special button.

Where do you work on these ideas? It depends. Sometimes at work. Sometimes at home. The first sketches for the new exhaust were made at an airport. I think it was in Munich, where my wife and I were in for a long wait for our connecting flight and I did the first sketches right there.

You have an extensive team of designers as well as outside help. Why did you decide to define and draw the new shape of the exhaust by yourself? Was that created by the desire to make all your products carry a personal note, being that you are the founder, owner as well as provide the company’s name? I did make calls for design applications within the company and outside. I have to admit that we have received some extremely interesting ideas, but none that would entirely cover the performance requirements of a quality exhaust. This is such a specific product that it is difficult to simply draw something that would look pretty and work well at the same time. If you do not know the basic characteristics of a good exhaust system, it is almost impossible to come up with an optimal as well as interestingly looking muffler. Numerous designers sent in wonderful proposals for the shape, but if the ideas lacked, for example, a proper volume, it would make the product too loud or cancel out the possibil-

(R)evolution

ity of using a catalytic converter. And such an exhaust will not get you very far. It is not enough for the shape to look pretty, it must also be effective. And vice versa, of course. What was created by our engineers, on the other hand, was excellent and extremely useful, but maybe not quite that eye catching. This is why I decided to do the thing myself.

It is interesting to note that you were not drawn in by any existing shapes. Yes and that is not a trivial thing to do. Whenever a person designs an exhaust, some designs have to be tested on motorcycles. And that is where you can potentially be drawn in by the design characteristics of that motorbike or its brand. The products of motorcycle giants of today have their own recognisable faces and contours. So if you create a muffler that will be styled after, let us say, a BMW, it will look super pretty on that bike, but might be completely at odds with the looks of the newest Kawasaki or Yamaha. This is why it is necessary to be different. You must stay

neutral regarding the design, but at the same time still in harmony with the motorcycle. I started my idea on the premise that an exhaust is an independent design object.

But not all exhausts look the same, do they? Of course not. Some motorcycles have their exhausts under the seat, others at the side, other still cut short so that they barely poke out from under the protective plating. This naturally requires various shapes and versions, but these are not classical muffler designs anymore. I am mainly talking about the “classically” placed muffler on the side of a bike. The new muffler design therefore squarely aims at the road, sporting and sport-touring categories of motorcycles. In the future I will also prepare a version of a similar muffler for the off-road segment. The shape will be based on the new design, but will not be exactly the same.

12

Does the new design of the exhaust mean the farewell of the familiar hexagonal muffler? No, no. Not at all. The new shape is an addition and a guideline for our future products. All that we have made so far remains as it is. The hexagonal shape of the muffler will remain. Last but not least, the new shape will have to be typeapproved for road use. It will be a little bit easier with our Evolution line, which is meant for use on the race track. There the muffler can be combined at will with other parts of the exhaust. This would be much more difficult for road-worthy motorcycles, because all of them have type-approved specs and shapes for their mufflers.

Price is naturally important as well. Does that mean that new product will also be more expensive for the end buyer due to the complexity of manufacture? There is certainly going to be a small difference, but it will really be kept to a minimum. Because the price is also set by the market, the purchasing power and, of course, the competition.

THE SOUND MUST BE SPORTY AND RECOGNISABLE, BUT NOT ANNOYING... THE FIRST SKETCHES FOR THE NEW EXHAUST WERE MADE AT AN AIRPORT. I JUST DID THE FIRST SKETCHES RIGHT THERE, WHILE WAITING FOR A PLANE.

13


10 / 15

Revolution

What’s going on with Akrapovič’s entry into exhaust systems for custom motorcycles? Has it been completed or is it still ongoing? Both. We’ve entered the custom segment and are still very much active in it. But we are in a sense still entering it, because it’s a long procedure. Custom could actually be the most unconquerable market category. Custom buyers don’t often base their decisions on the performance and technology used, but rather on their knowledge of the brand. Image and popularity are especially important here. We definitely have plenty of room to grow in this segment.

∫ difficult in terms of design, as there is a lot less room for creativity. Almost the entire exhaust is hidden beneath the car and only a short part, so called tail pipes, are visible from the back. However, we are doing great in that category. The chief trend in the car industry is weight reduction, because every kilogram less means lower fuel consumption and less exhaust emissions. We are in touch with all the major European carmakers and already manufacture exhausts for some of them, as an original equipment manufacturer or by being listed as an option in official catalogues. Our goal is to make it into as many configuration lists as possible, meaning that a buyer can select our exhaust as an option, similar to opting for ceramic brakes, sporty alloy wheels, leather seats, and the like.

What is the short-term direction then? One of the company’s goals is definitely to boost our presence in the custom motorcycles segment. We are also not sufficiently popular in the U.S.A. and we are restructuring our system of work there as we speak. We’re looking for new people and new partners. I admit – we didn’t do enough to conquer the U.S. market and now we’re trying to rectify this error.

What’s the main problem there? Our products are substantially better than those of our competitors and therefore cannot be cheap. Price plays a huge part. We use materials that others don’t. We also have to ship the exhausts to the United States and pay import taxes. The main problem is that the buyer doesn’t know that our products are substantially better. This only comes after years of an intensive presence on the market, when people finally get familiar with the brand.

What about cars? Will the new motorcycle exhaust designs influence the design of car exhausts as well? Not yet, even though we’d like to have a cohesive 62 design language and will revisit that idea in the future. This is also because cars are different. Everything gets a lot more

Are you afraid of the arrival of electric cars? Not really. It’s impossible to deny the fact that electric vehicles are coming, but it will be a while before they replace classic fossil-fuel cars. The main trend is towards developing hybrids, with their sales accounting for 30-40% of all vehicles sold in the coming years. But hybrids still come with internal combustion engines and need exhausts. Moreover, reducing weight is even more important there, especially since batteries add extra weight to a car. We will therefore not see a mass of exclusively electrically powered vehicles tomorrow or even in the near future. This is mainly due to the overly lengthy charging times, the capacity of filling stations and their relative rarity. It’s interesting to note that studies by various car companies only point to the doubling of the number of solely electrical cars eight years from now. Electric cars are still more like toys, which can be the second or third car in the garage. But for everyday use, cars with classic internal combustion engines still reign supreme, while electrical cars are still more part of the image of individual brands.

So you believe that the use of electrical vehicles is more due to environmental propaganda? At the moment, certainly. Looking

at it in a realistic fashion, is a car truly environmental if it is charged by “clean” electrical energy that comes from “unclean” power plants? If we charge these vehicles with power coming from coal-fired plants, then we haven’t really done much for the environment. Contemporary gas engines which meet Euro 6 emission standards are so clean that their contribution towards environment pollution is truly minimal. However, the environment is seriously under threat in other car markets, where the standards are not as strict. These are markets where old vehicles that have served their time get dumped, where air pollution is very high and people’s awareness regarding this substantially lower. But, after all, we all live on the same planet. The biggest threat to the environment still comes from old vehicles with worn-out diesel engines. And, of course, lorries. The majority of diesel engines pose a serious pollution problem after their programmed lifespan ends and their particulate filters aren’t operating at 100% any more.

You are a company renowned for aftermarket exhausts. Would it not be against the company’s original vision if you try to enter the OEM segment too forcefully or start supplying too many companies as an OEM. Would you then still be an aftermarket company? We try to maintain a 50:50 ratio, meaning half as an OEM and half as an aftermarket company. At least for cars. There is substantially less OEM manufacturing going on for motorcycles. It’s true that BMW, KTM, Yamaha and some others buy exhausts from us, but we still consider our products to be aftermarket items, sold through these companies’ respective sales networks. But an OEM for bikes? Not really happening. When it does happen, it’s mainly for limited edition vehicles, with production runs of between 200 and 500, where the models are equipped with, for example, better suspension, brakes, exhausts and so on.

The company is also constructing new facilities and moving to new and larger production and storage facilities. This is one of our biggest projects at the moment. The move will optimise and relieve our production, because we’re moving to a new facility with 20,000 square meters of production space. This will also simplify our manufacturing process. We have already moved some of our equipment to the new location and we expect it to become fully operational in March 2015. Some machines for tube manufacture are already operating there and the CNC machines are in the first stages of the move. The relocation will undoubtedly interrupt production and will cost us quite a bit of money, but it will also release a lot of space for pre-production, the technology department, toolshop, R&D and the headquarters at our original site. We also plan to build a 4,000 square meter order-picking warehouse, which will be 35 metres tall. We need that for the daily delivery of products for the numerous companies that we regularly serve.

What about the titanium foundry? The foundry is an independent unit. At first we were trying to find other customers for the foundry, but we stopped doing that. As the orders for car exhausts swelled, we greatly increased the internal amount of foundry business. A car exhaust has so many parts that need to be cast that we’re able to fill that capacity by ourselves. We still have some spare capacity, but I’m afraid that it will be gone in a year and that we’ll have to buy another furnace. We mainly do work for ourselves, while some of the products are parts for medical equipment and we’re also getting more and more requests from the food industry.

Do you think that the price of titanium products will drop in the future?

THE N

(R)evolution

Probably not. The raw material is still very expensive. There are only a few titanium suppliers in the world and they can therefore dictate the price. While titanium is far from being a rare element, the biggest difficulty is extracting it, because the ore immediately oxidises. Producing it moreover requires a copious amount of electricity. Titanium is far from exotic and there is more than enough of it, but, apart from extracting issues, it also has several other takers. These include the military, the medical industry and, naturally, the aerospace industry.

What about employees? Akrapovič employs some 700 people. Surely you will need a couple more hands to complete all of the above plans? Getting quality personnel is a constant issue. We’re always on the lookout for people who want to work, have ambition and fresh ideas. We try to appeal to the young and look for new human resources. We mainly think that the young need to be encouraged to use their own head and see that companies with a vision still have plenty of room for new ideas and creative thinking.

Photo Aleš Rosa

IF WE CHARGE THESE VEHICLES WITH POWER COMING FROM COAL-FIRED PLANTS, THEN WE HAVEN’T REALLY DONE MUCH FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. CONTEMPORARY GAS ENGINES WHICH MEET EURO 6 EMISSION STANDARDS ARE SO CLEAN THAT THEIR CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION IS TRULY MINIMAL.

14

15


10 / 15

Revolution

What’s going on with Akrapovič’s entry into exhaust systems for custom motorcycles? Has it been completed or is it still ongoing? Both. We’ve entered the custom segment and are still very much active in it. But we are in a sense still entering it, because it’s a long procedure. Custom could actually be the most unconquerable market category. Custom buyers don’t often base their decisions on the performance and technology used, but rather on their knowledge of the brand. Image and popularity are especially important here. We definitely have plenty of room to grow in this segment.

∫ difficult in terms of design, as there is a lot less room for creativity. Almost the entire exhaust is hidden beneath the car and only a short part, so called tail pipes, are visible from the back. However, we are doing great in that category. The chief trend in the car industry is weight reduction, because every kilogram less means lower fuel consumption and less exhaust emissions. We are in touch with all the major European carmakers and already manufacture exhausts for some of them, as an original equipment manufacturer or by being listed as an option in official catalogues. Our goal is to make it into as many configuration lists as possible, meaning that a buyer can select our exhaust as an option, similar to opting for ceramic brakes, sporty alloy wheels, leather seats, and the like.

What is the short-term direction then? One of the company’s goals is definitely to boost our presence in the custom motorcycles segment. We are also not sufficiently popular in the U.S.A. and we are restructuring our system of work there as we speak. We’re looking for new people and new partners. I admit – we didn’t do enough to conquer the U.S. market and now we’re trying to rectify this error.

What’s the main problem there? Our products are substantially better than those of our competitors and therefore cannot be cheap. Price plays a huge part. We use materials that others don’t. We also have to ship the exhausts to the United States and pay import taxes. The main problem is that the buyer doesn’t know that our products are substantially better. This only comes after years of an intensive presence on the market, when people finally get familiar with the brand.

What about cars? Will the new motorcycle exhaust designs influence the design of car exhausts as well? Not yet, even though we’d like to have a cohesive 62 design language and will revisit that idea in the future. This is also because cars are different. Everything gets a lot more

Are you afraid of the arrival of electric cars? Not really. It’s impossible to deny the fact that electric vehicles are coming, but it will be a while before they replace classic fossil-fuel cars. The main trend is towards developing hybrids, with their sales accounting for 30-40% of all vehicles sold in the coming years. But hybrids still come with internal combustion engines and need exhausts. Moreover, reducing weight is even more important there, especially since batteries add extra weight to a car. We will therefore not see a mass of exclusively electrically powered vehicles tomorrow or even in the near future. This is mainly due to the overly lengthy charging times, the capacity of filling stations and their relative rarity. It’s interesting to note that studies by various car companies only point to the doubling of the number of solely electrical cars eight years from now. Electric cars are still more like toys, which can be the second or third car in the garage. But for everyday use, cars with classic internal combustion engines still reign supreme, while electrical cars are still more part of the image of individual brands.

So you believe that the use of electrical vehicles is more due to environmental propaganda? At the moment, certainly. Looking

at it in a realistic fashion, is a car truly environmental if it is charged by “clean” electrical energy that comes from “unclean” power plants? If we charge these vehicles with power coming from coal-fired plants, then we haven’t really done much for the environment. Contemporary gas engines which meet Euro 6 emission standards are so clean that their contribution towards environment pollution is truly minimal. However, the environment is seriously under threat in other car markets, where the standards are not as strict. These are markets where old vehicles that have served their time get dumped, where air pollution is very high and people’s awareness regarding this substantially lower. But, after all, we all live on the same planet. The biggest threat to the environment still comes from old vehicles with worn-out diesel engines. And, of course, lorries. The majority of diesel engines pose a serious pollution problem after their programmed lifespan ends and their particulate filters aren’t operating at 100% any more.

You are a company renowned for aftermarket exhausts. Would it not be against the company’s original vision if you try to enter the OEM segment too forcefully or start supplying too many companies as an OEM. Would you then still be an aftermarket company? We try to maintain a 50:50 ratio, meaning half as an OEM and half as an aftermarket company. At least for cars. There is substantially less OEM manufacturing going on for motorcycles. It’s true that BMW, KTM, Yamaha and some others buy exhausts from us, but we still consider our products to be aftermarket items, sold through these companies’ respective sales networks. But an OEM for bikes? Not really happening. When it does happen, it’s mainly for limited edition vehicles, with production runs of between 200 and 500, where the models are equipped with, for example, better suspension, brakes, exhausts and so on.

The company is also constructing new facilities and moving to new and larger production and storage facilities. This is one of our biggest projects at the moment. The move will optimise and relieve our production, because we’re moving to a new facility with 20,000 square meters of production space. This will also simplify our manufacturing process. We have already moved some of our equipment to the new location and we expect it to become fully operational in March 2015. Some machines for tube manufacture are already operating there and the CNC machines are in the first stages of the move. The relocation will undoubtedly interrupt production and will cost us quite a bit of money, but it will also release a lot of space for pre-production, the technology department, toolshop, R&D and the headquarters at our original site. We also plan to build a 4,000 square meter order-picking warehouse, which will be 35 metres tall. We need that for the daily delivery of products for the numerous companies that we regularly serve.

What about the titanium foundry? The foundry is an independent unit. At first we were trying to find other customers for the foundry, but we stopped doing that. As the orders for car exhausts swelled, we greatly increased the internal amount of foundry business. A car exhaust has so many parts that need to be cast that we’re able to fill that capacity by ourselves. We still have some spare capacity, but I’m afraid that it will be gone in a year and that we’ll have to buy another furnace. We mainly do work for ourselves, while some of the products are parts for medical equipment and we’re also getting more and more requests from the food industry.

Do you think that the price of titanium products will drop in the future?

THE N

(R)evolution

Probably not. The raw material is still very expensive. There are only a few titanium suppliers in the world and they can therefore dictate the price. While titanium is far from being a rare element, the biggest difficulty is extracting it, because the ore immediately oxidises. Producing it moreover requires a copious amount of electricity. Titanium is far from exotic and there is more than enough of it, but, apart from extracting issues, it also has several other takers. These include the military, the medical industry and, naturally, the aerospace industry.

What about employees? Akrapovič employs some 700 people. Surely you will need a couple more hands to complete all of the above plans? Getting quality personnel is a constant issue. We’re always on the lookout for people who want to work, have ambition and fresh ideas. We try to appeal to the young and look for new human resources. We mainly think that the young need to be encouraged to use their own head and see that companies with a vision still have plenty of room for new ideas and creative thinking.

Photo Aleš Rosa

IF WE CHARGE THESE VEHICLES WITH POWER COMING FROM COAL-FIRED PLANTS, THEN WE HAVEN’T REALLY DONE MUCH FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. CONTEMPORARY GAS ENGINES WHICH MEET EURO 6 EMISSION STANDARDS ARE SO CLEAN THAT THEIR CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION IS TRULY MINIMAL.

14

15


16 / 17

Akrapovič News

Racing

Over 90

Wittmann Triumphs Marco Wittmann did not face any serious competition at this year’s DTM Championship. He proved that by winning the series at Lausitzring, two races before the season’s end. The 24-year-old only needed to come in sixth to win the title! He is now standing alongside Volker Strycek (DE, 1984), Eric van de Poele (BE, 1987), Roberto Ravaglia (IT, 1989) and Bruno Spengler (CA, 2012), who also won the DTM in BMWs. Wittmann, who drove to the title in his IceWatch BWM M4 DTM, is the third youngest DTM champion of all time.

16

KTM Images

The FIM World Cross Countries Rally season meanwhile ended in October, with Dakar winner Marc Coma (KTM) taking the overall win after a convincing performance in Morocco. Akrapovič exhaust systems also thundered to the fore of the bikes in the WSBK championship, where defending champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) was hounded to the end and then overtaken at the final event in Qatar by Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia). Akrapovič equipped a record number of teams in the 2014 MotoGP season including, for the first time, Ducati. Victories were contested by Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi (both Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team), while the title in the Moto2 was pursued by Mika Kallio and Esteve Rabat, both racing for the Marc VDS Racing Team. Esteve “Tito” Rabat crowned his excellent season, during which he broke a fair number of records, by also winning the title. Akrapovič’s exhaust system was also among Moto3 riders, where KTM’s Jack Miller won a fair amount of races.

Photo: Archer R. /

Akrapovič keeps regular track of world champion titles won by partners using our exhaust systems. These now number over 90 and were coming in fast and furious in the second part of the year. Another convincing performance from Kiara Fontanesi saw the Italian win her third WMX champion title on a Yamaha. We were there to congratulate her. Antonio Cairoli maintained his position as the king of motocross by confirming his eighth world champion title at the penultimate race in Brazil. The Italian on the KTM was quicker than everybody else for yet another season. But an even more unstoppable figure in the first part of the MX2 season was Jeffrey Herlings. However, an injury temporarily forced him to rest, with the championship decided at the very last race in Mexico’s Leon. The pressure was really incredible with Herling’s teammate, KTM’s Jordi Tixier, chasing a 23 point deficit. And, believe it or not, it was Tixier who managed to take the title. Before the end of the season, Christophe Nambotin secured another world champion title for KTM, this time in the enduro E1 class. Christophe has thus successfully carried over his winning ways from E3, where this year’s overall winner was not decided until the very last race in France, as Matthew Phillips and Ivan Cervantes (both KTM) remained firmly in the running for the top spot. The title finally went to Phillips. Another last-race world champion decision was made in the World Endurance championship. The GMT94 Yamaha R1 Michelin team arrived at the decisive race in the famous Le Mans as the standings leader and stayed there.

Le Mans for the Fifth Time in a Row Audi and Akrapovič have won their fifth consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans. In total this marks Audi’s 13th victory at the prestigious French endurance event and the third win for team mates Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer. Crossing the line behind the Audi R18 e-tron quattro with start number 2 and watched by 263.300 spectators were Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gené and last year’s winner Tom Kristensen with the number 1 car. There are quite a few interesting aspects about this year’s winning car: it used 22% less fuel compared to last year’s model which was achieved by an all-new design. The car also weighed 45 kilograms less than last year’s race car. Akrapovič contributed to the success with its latest titanium exhaust system.

17

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Audi Sport Customer Racing Akrapovič and Audi Sport this year extended their cooperation to the field of customer racing. And the start could not have been better, as race car Audi R8 LMS shone both at Nürburgring and Spa. Haase, Mamerow, Rast and Winkelhock won the 24-hour race in Germany, while Rast, Vanthoor and Winkelhock won the most difficult GT3 race in the world in Belgium. Including the 24h Le Mans, this was the third victory at a 24-hour endurance event in six weeks for Audi and Akrapovič.

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Aston Martin Racing Wins in Le Mans

1-2-3 for the Title

Aston Martin Racing drivers Nicki Thiim, Kristian Poulsen and David Heinemeier Hansson returned home with a Le Mans victory in their pockets. The Danish crew and their Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE won the race by two laps.

Audi made a clean sweep of the podium at the last DTM race of the 2014 season in Germany’s Hockenheim to win the manufacturer’s title. The first one to pass the chequered flag was Mattias Ekström, followed by last year’s champion Mike Rockenfeller, while Jamie Green came in third. “Our aim this weekend was to win the manufacturers’ championship,” Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport, said. “And in the end we clearly decided it in Audi’s favour – thanks to a brilliant team performance. 15 out of 30 possible podium places this year is an impressive tally.”


16 / 17

Akrapovič News

Racing

Over 90

Wittmann Triumphs Marco Wittmann did not face any serious competition at this year’s DTM Championship. He proved that by winning the series at Lausitzring, two races before the season’s end. The 24-year-old only needed to come in sixth to win the title! He is now standing alongside Volker Strycek (DE, 1984), Eric van de Poele (BE, 1987), Roberto Ravaglia (IT, 1989) and Bruno Spengler (CA, 2012), who also won the DTM in BMWs. Wittmann, who drove to the title in his IceWatch BWM M4 DTM, is the third youngest DTM champion of all time.

16

KTM Images

The FIM World Cross Countries Rally season meanwhile ended in October, with Dakar winner Marc Coma (KTM) taking the overall win after a convincing performance in Morocco. Akrapovič exhaust systems also thundered to the fore of the bikes in the WSBK championship, where defending champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) was hounded to the end and then overtaken at the final event in Qatar by Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia). Akrapovič equipped a record number of teams in the 2014 MotoGP season including, for the first time, Ducati. Victories were contested by Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi (both Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team), while the title in the Moto2 was pursued by Mika Kallio and Esteve Rabat, both racing for the Marc VDS Racing Team. Esteve “Tito” Rabat crowned his excellent season, during which he broke a fair number of records, by also winning the title. Akrapovič’s exhaust system was also among Moto3 riders, where KTM’s Jack Miller won a fair amount of races.

Photo: Archer R. /

Akrapovič keeps regular track of world champion titles won by partners using our exhaust systems. These now number over 90 and were coming in fast and furious in the second part of the year. Another convincing performance from Kiara Fontanesi saw the Italian win her third WMX champion title on a Yamaha. We were there to congratulate her. Antonio Cairoli maintained his position as the king of motocross by confirming his eighth world champion title at the penultimate race in Brazil. The Italian on the KTM was quicker than everybody else for yet another season. But an even more unstoppable figure in the first part of the MX2 season was Jeffrey Herlings. However, an injury temporarily forced him to rest, with the championship decided at the very last race in Mexico’s Leon. The pressure was really incredible with Herling’s teammate, KTM’s Jordi Tixier, chasing a 23 point deficit. And, believe it or not, it was Tixier who managed to take the title. Before the end of the season, Christophe Nambotin secured another world champion title for KTM, this time in the enduro E1 class. Christophe has thus successfully carried over his winning ways from E3, where this year’s overall winner was not decided until the very last race in France, as Matthew Phillips and Ivan Cervantes (both KTM) remained firmly in the running for the top spot. The title finally went to Phillips. Another last-race world champion decision was made in the World Endurance championship. The GMT94 Yamaha R1 Michelin team arrived at the decisive race in the famous Le Mans as the standings leader and stayed there.

Le Mans for the Fifth Time in a Row Audi and Akrapovič have won their fifth consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans. In total this marks Audi’s 13th victory at the prestigious French endurance event and the third win for team mates Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer. Crossing the line behind the Audi R18 e-tron quattro with start number 2 and watched by 263.300 spectators were Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gené and last year’s winner Tom Kristensen with the number 1 car. There are quite a few interesting aspects about this year’s winning car: it used 22% less fuel compared to last year’s model which was achieved by an all-new design. The car also weighed 45 kilograms less than last year’s race car. Akrapovič contributed to the success with its latest titanium exhaust system.

17

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Audi Sport Customer Racing Akrapovič and Audi Sport this year extended their cooperation to the field of customer racing. And the start could not have been better, as race car Audi R8 LMS shone both at Nürburgring and Spa. Haase, Mamerow, Rast and Winkelhock won the 24-hour race in Germany, while Rast, Vanthoor and Winkelhock won the most difficult GT3 race in the world in Belgium. Including the 24h Le Mans, this was the third victory at a 24-hour endurance event in six weeks for Audi and Akrapovič.

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

Aston Martin Racing Wins in Le Mans

1-2-3 for the Title

Aston Martin Racing drivers Nicki Thiim, Kristian Poulsen and David Heinemeier Hansson returned home with a Le Mans victory in their pockets. The Danish crew and their Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE won the race by two laps.

Audi made a clean sweep of the podium at the last DTM race of the 2014 season in Germany’s Hockenheim to win the manufacturer’s title. The first one to pass the chequered flag was Mattias Ekström, followed by last year’s champion Mike Rockenfeller, while Jamie Green came in third. “Our aim this weekend was to win the manufacturers’ championship,” Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport, said. “And in the end we clearly decided it in Audi’s favour – thanks to a brilliant team performance. 15 out of 30 possible podium places this year is an impressive tally.”


18 / 22

Adventure

goldRush Rally 2014

Crazy and loud across America

18

19

*

by Miran Ališič photography Mo Satarzadeh, ted7.com

v vv

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

It’s Gumball. We all know it. Police in Europe knows it as well. And it’s goldRush, the craziest car event in America. Five dozen cars, come on, not just cars, driving jumbo adverts in most unusual colors. From pink to orange, from military green to gold and silver. Polished. There are no usual GM’s, Fords od Chevrolets in this line, this race is reserved for Bugattis; Veyron of course. W16, nothing less. If you, by chance, don’t own one, Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead would work, too. Or maybe Lamborghini Aventador. If you drive one of those, don’t look back. It could be too embarrassing. You might even survive with an Audi RS 6 or BMW M5. But in this case, sound must be adequate. Akrapovič, by all means.

It all started in the city which never sleeps. Las Vegas means gambling, driving these cars all the way to New York means gambling, too. They cost up to million dollars each, not calculating extras and (female) company at the next door seat. Or on the engine cover, during stops and shows. The rooms for the teams were reserved in the ultimate places – Bellagio, St. Regis, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental... For sleeping or just partying? We didn’t check. It’s not easy to organize police escort in USA, but goldRush was lucky enough to have it. Maybe police just wanted to be sure, the cars respected speed limit within city limits. Fun started at highway 15. Destination Park City in Utah. Desert, sand, cactuses along the road were soon exchanged for green

lush gardens and later snow covered mountains. Dinner parties were served at places like Utah’s premier gear head eatery Billy Blanco’s, around classic cars and motorbikes. Next stops - Denver, Steamboat Springs and The View House. Ultimate address for another wild party. Some of the teams didn’t sleep at all. Good morning, goldRush. Luck was on their side, so the next day roads were exchanged for the racetrack. High Plane Raceway is 2,55 miles long and has 300+ feet cumulative elevation change per lap, lap times won’t be mentioned here. It’s enough, if we say, nobody got seriously hurt. And all the cars survived the challenge. If you don’t mind, after a race day, no more driving is requested, Senna’s, Andretti’s, Schumacher’s and Vettel’s were

picked up and transported by limo coaches to Chloe Mezze Lounge. Racing day celebration started with champagne. The rest is best to stay private. Next day was pure relax. Everybody who continiued to the east part of the rally (it was possible to join just for one leg - east or west) were just sitting back and relaxing during two hour flight to Chicago. After another wild nightclub research in Chicago, most of the teams were on time for some drag racing in No Limit Raceway in Indiana, not far from Indianapolis Brickyard. Too bad, there was no chance to chase Indy 500 records there. But instead, there was really unusual type of drag racing. Bugatti versus Bugatti, GTR versus Ferrari 458 Italia or even Rolls-Royce against Rolls-Royce.


18 / 22

Adventure

goldRush Rally 2014

Crazy and loud across America

18

19

*

by Miran Ališič photography Mo Satarzadeh, ted7.com

v vv

Find more content on the Akrapovič Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

It’s Gumball. We all know it. Police in Europe knows it as well. And it’s goldRush, the craziest car event in America. Five dozen cars, come on, not just cars, driving jumbo adverts in most unusual colors. From pink to orange, from military green to gold and silver. Polished. There are no usual GM’s, Fords od Chevrolets in this line, this race is reserved for Bugattis; Veyron of course. W16, nothing less. If you, by chance, don’t own one, Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead would work, too. Or maybe Lamborghini Aventador. If you drive one of those, don’t look back. It could be too embarrassing. You might even survive with an Audi RS 6 or BMW M5. But in this case, sound must be adequate. Akrapovič, by all means.

It all started in the city which never sleeps. Las Vegas means gambling, driving these cars all the way to New York means gambling, too. They cost up to million dollars each, not calculating extras and (female) company at the next door seat. Or on the engine cover, during stops and shows. The rooms for the teams were reserved in the ultimate places – Bellagio, St. Regis, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental... For sleeping or just partying? We didn’t check. It’s not easy to organize police escort in USA, but goldRush was lucky enough to have it. Maybe police just wanted to be sure, the cars respected speed limit within city limits. Fun started at highway 15. Destination Park City in Utah. Desert, sand, cactuses along the road were soon exchanged for green

lush gardens and later snow covered mountains. Dinner parties were served at places like Utah’s premier gear head eatery Billy Blanco’s, around classic cars and motorbikes. Next stops - Denver, Steamboat Springs and The View House. Ultimate address for another wild party. Some of the teams didn’t sleep at all. Good morning, goldRush. Luck was on their side, so the next day roads were exchanged for the racetrack. High Plane Raceway is 2,55 miles long and has 300+ feet cumulative elevation change per lap, lap times won’t be mentioned here. It’s enough, if we say, nobody got seriously hurt. And all the cars survived the challenge. If you don’t mind, after a race day, no more driving is requested, Senna’s, Andretti’s, Schumacher’s and Vettel’s were

picked up and transported by limo coaches to Chloe Mezze Lounge. Racing day celebration started with champagne. The rest is best to stay private. Next day was pure relax. Everybody who continiued to the east part of the rally (it was possible to join just for one leg - east or west) were just sitting back and relaxing during two hour flight to Chicago. After another wild nightclub research in Chicago, most of the teams were on time for some drag racing in No Limit Raceway in Indiana, not far from Indianapolis Brickyard. Too bad, there was no chance to chase Indy 500 records there. But instead, there was really unusual type of drag racing. Bugatti versus Bugatti, GTR versus Ferrari 458 Italia or even Rolls-Royce against Rolls-Royce.


18 / 22

Adventure

The Ritz Carlton in Cleveland, Ohio was an inviting contrast to drag race venue, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was of course on the agenda for the most of drivers and cars. Paying homage to the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson took some time and some cars with AkrapoviÄ? exhausts had another mission to fulfill. St. Clair is a long boulevard, not far from the city. AkrapoviÄ? is Slovenian brand and Cleveland used to be the biggest Slovenian city outside Slovenia. Many thousand of migrants come to Cleveland in the turn of centuries over 100 years ago. Names on the buildings and shops remembers them in St. Clair, but not many Slovenes are still there. Anyway, not very many observers knew, what’s the point of these parade drive. It was expected to devote some time, at least in Washington D.C to art and culture or even politics would get involved into goldRush, but Barack Obama stayed firm. Cars posed under The Capitol for the group photo and some members of the Tour later in the night enjoyed another loud night in the famous club The Gryphon.

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18 / 22

Adventure

The Ritz Carlton in Cleveland, Ohio was an inviting contrast to drag race venue, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was of course on the agenda for the most of drivers and cars. Paying homage to the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson took some time and some cars with AkrapoviÄ? exhausts had another mission to fulfill. St. Clair is a long boulevard, not far from the city. AkrapoviÄ? is Slovenian brand and Cleveland used to be the biggest Slovenian city outside Slovenia. Many thousand of migrants come to Cleveland in the turn of centuries over 100 years ago. Names on the buildings and shops remembers them in St. Clair, but not many Slovenes are still there. Anyway, not very many observers knew, what’s the point of these parade drive. It was expected to devote some time, at least in Washington D.C to art and culture or even politics would get involved into goldRush, but Barack Obama stayed firm. Cars posed under The Capitol for the group photo and some members of the Tour later in the night enjoyed another loud night in the famous club The Gryphon.

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18 / 22

Adventure

City Jungle rediscovered... One week, half way through America and goldRush rally finished with style. In front of Robert Graham Store on Bleecker street. Middle in Manhattan, of course. In the city, where the only way to come forward is by foot, on the bicycle or in tube. New York actually can’t stand cars, but New York on the other hand adore cars. Crowd was enormous when these luxury sports cars, roadsters, limos and sedans crossed finish line. Ultimately remains a question, were the cars more exhausted of the long trip, high revs and speeds up to 200 mph or were the drivers with their escorts more worn out because of long long nights in famous night clubs along the route? We’ll look for the answer next year, at the 7th goldRush rally.

Waking up in a big city jungle we often ask ourselves the question what rules prevail here? How can I survive? What is the ultimate drive about here? Are we really light years away from the jungle rules or has the survival codex only been adapted to the 21 century? 22

City life pulsates, impressions become movies, movies shape our lives. The experience range is constantly expanding. We want more, expect more, demand everything faster, immediately and want it to be unique. Are the instincts still essential to win the battle of the everyday survival in the big city jungle? Or is it merely human nature which longs for experience always expecting something extra? Be it a safari in the deepest wilderness or a rocky stylish ride by a BMW GS machine though the roaring streets of a city... Do we still own our hearts to the extravagance of an adventure even if we already adapt to the daily rules of urging performance? Is it still us in our deepest nature who needs the most expensive watches, luxurious apartments, faster machines and more and more adrenaline? Or is it merely a replacement for missing extravagance of everyday adventure that is so deeply rooted in human nature ...

ing instinct. Why not accept the challenge of the city jungle with stylish sophistication? Stay cool, rocky and stylish and meet the needs of a modern city where everything adapts before you know it. Be first to meet the challenge of urban mobility in a forest of skyscapers with that little extra Are you ready to accept the challenge of a city jungle? To adapt to the needs of a stylish city where everything has to be fast and safely mobile? while winning a bit of adrenaline combined with style and performance for yourself! The daily battle for one of the most precious goods of a city - parking spot present new conquerors of the asphalt jungle day by day - a few square meters large area causes pride, prestige and strengthens the hunt- Accept the challenge and enjoy the ride! Credits: BMW Motorrad, Belstaff, Carrera (Krass Optik) / Photograph: Markus Hofmann (white-photo.com) / Make up: Stefan Kehl / Styling: Kinga Horvath / Model: Yani / Model: Franziska Scheffter / Assistenz: Amelie Mesecke / Produktion: Karolina Berdycka (white-photo.com) / Retouche: Malkasten.at


18 / 22

Adventure

City Jungle rediscovered... One week, half way through America and goldRush rally finished with style. In front of Robert Graham Store on Bleecker street. Middle in Manhattan, of course. In the city, where the only way to come forward is by foot, on the bicycle or in tube. New York actually can’t stand cars, but New York on the other hand adore cars. Crowd was enormous when these luxury sports cars, roadsters, limos and sedans crossed finish line. Ultimately remains a question, were the cars more exhausted of the long trip, high revs and speeds up to 200 mph or were the drivers with their escorts more worn out because of long long nights in famous night clubs along the route? We’ll look for the answer next year, at the 7th goldRush rally.

Waking up in a big city jungle we often ask ourselves the question what rules prevail here? How can I survive? What is the ultimate drive about here? Are we really light years away from the jungle rules or has the survival codex only been adapted to the 21 century? 22

City life pulsates, impressions become movies, movies shape our lives. The experience range is constantly expanding. We want more, expect more, demand everything faster, immediately and want it to be unique. Are the instincts still essential to win the battle of the everyday survival in the big city jungle? Or is it merely human nature which longs for experience always expecting something extra? Be it a safari in the deepest wilderness or a rocky stylish ride by a BMW GS machine though the roaring streets of a city... Do we still own our hearts to the extravagance of an adventure even if we already adapt to the daily rules of urging performance? Is it still us in our deepest nature who needs the most expensive watches, luxurious apartments, faster machines and more and more adrenaline? Or is it merely a replacement for missing extravagance of everyday adventure that is so deeply rooted in human nature ...

ing instinct. Why not accept the challenge of the city jungle with stylish sophistication? Stay cool, rocky and stylish and meet the needs of a modern city where everything adapts before you know it. Be first to meet the challenge of urban mobility in a forest of skyscapers with that little extra Are you ready to accept the challenge of a city jungle? To adapt to the needs of a stylish city where everything has to be fast and safely mobile? while winning a bit of adrenaline combined with style and performance for yourself! The daily battle for one of the most precious goods of a city - parking spot present new conquerors of the asphalt jungle day by day - a few square meters large area causes pride, prestige and strengthens the hunt- Accept the challenge and enjoy the ride! Credits: BMW Motorrad, Belstaff, Carrera (Krass Optik) / Photograph: Markus Hofmann (white-photo.com) / Make up: Stefan Kehl / Styling: Kinga Horvath / Model: Yani / Model: Franziska Scheffter / Assistenz: Amelie Mesecke / Produktion: Karolina Berdycka (white-photo.com) / Retouche: Malkasten.at


24

Hot Stuff from Akrapovi훾 Akrapovi훾 exhaust systems are designed for riders who demand maximum performance from their motorcycles. They feature exceptional production quality, hi-tech materials, increased engine performance and of course amazing sound and appearance. The change is also visual, as our mufflers perfectly fit the exterior line of modern moDucati Monster 1200/1200S torcycles and add a clean + 4.8 HP/8,800 rpm racing image.

Car Stuff

Find more content on the Akrapovi훾 Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

25

25

Hot stuff

Welcome to our range of aftermarket exhaust systems for cars. We offer complete, partial, open or EC-type approved products that significantly improve performance. We use only the best and exclusive titanium and stainless steel. We combine these two materials with high technologies and craftsmanship of our welders that divide this exhausts systems from anything else on the market.

Audi RS 7 Sportback + 9.5 HP/5,950 rpm + 15.4 Nm/3,300 rpm - 8.1 kg Titanium

Honda CRF450R + 3.1 HP/9,750 rpm - 1.1 kg

- 5.8 kg

24

McLaren 650S / 650S Spider + 20.9 HP/5,150 rpm + 29.2 Nm/3,800 rpm - 5.3 kg Titanium

Honda MSX 125 + 0.9 HP/6,900 rpm - 6.1 kg

Harley-Davidson Sportster XL1200X Forty-Eight + 1.8 HP/4,900 rpm - 1.2 kg

Porsche Panamera Turbo + 8.8 HP/5,150 rpm + 23.5 Nm/2,700 rpm - 13.5 kg Titanium Wireless kit for sound control

Vespa LX/LXV 125ie 3V + 0.4 HP/7,750 rpm - 1.7 kg Yamaha YZF-R6 + 1.2 HP/14,450 rpm - 1.2 kg

BMW M4 + 10.2 HP/5,200 rpm + 16.0 Nm/2,450 rpm - 11.4 kg Titanium Carbon fiber diffuser

Car stuff

Find more content on the Akrapovi훾 Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!


24

Hot Stuff from Akrapovi훾 Akrapovi훾 exhaust systems are designed for riders who demand maximum performance from their motorcycles. They feature exceptional production quality, hi-tech materials, increased engine performance and of course amazing sound and appearance. The change is also visual, as our mufflers perfectly fit the exterior line of modern moDucati Monster 1200/1200S torcycles and add a clean + 4.8 HP/8,800 rpm racing image.

Car Stuff

Find more content on the Akrapovi훾 Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!

25

25

Hot stuff

Welcome to our range of aftermarket exhaust systems for cars. We offer complete, partial, open or EC-type approved products that significantly improve performance. We use only the best and exclusive titanium and stainless steel. We combine these two materials with high technologies and craftsmanship of our welders that divide this exhausts systems from anything else on the market.

Audi RS 7 Sportback + 9.5 HP/5,950 rpm + 15.4 Nm/3,300 rpm - 8.1 kg Titanium

Honda CRF450R + 3.1 HP/9,750 rpm - 1.1 kg

- 5.8 kg

24

McLaren 650S / 650S Spider + 20.9 HP/5,150 rpm + 29.2 Nm/3,800 rpm - 5.3 kg Titanium

Honda MSX 125 + 0.9 HP/6,900 rpm - 6.1 kg

Harley-Davidson Sportster XL1200X Forty-Eight + 1.8 HP/4,900 rpm - 1.2 kg

Porsche Panamera Turbo + 8.8 HP/5,150 rpm + 23.5 Nm/2,700 rpm - 13.5 kg Titanium Wireless kit for sound control

Vespa LX/LXV 125ie 3V + 0.4 HP/7,750 rpm - 1.7 kg Yamaha YZF-R6 + 1.2 HP/14,450 rpm - 1.2 kg

BMW M4 + 10.2 HP/5,200 rpm + 16.0 Nm/2,450 rpm - 11.4 kg Titanium Carbon fiber diffuser

Car stuff

Find more content on the Akrapovi훾 Lifestyle eMagazine iPad app!


26 / 31

Champion

Since 2005, Anže Kopitar had been travelling back and forth between two countries – in the U.S. where he lives, and Slovenia where he spends his summers getting ready for the new season. When in Slovenia, he is, of course, coached by his father, who pushes him hard at the Bled athletics stadium. As a coach, he is supposedly very tough, and was like that as a father too. “When I was younger, he was very strict. He knew what it was like when you hit that age, puberty, and he sometimes lost his temper a bit. When you get older, though, you look back at things and see that what he was doing was with the best intentions in mind. He was not strict just because he thought he had to be.”

Champion

A N Ž E KO P I TA R

LOS ANGELES IS A CITY OF WINNERS by Tadej Golob

It was obviously worth it. Anže is now one of the best offensive players in the history of the NHL.

photography Alex Štokelj, Getty images

How far have you come with your conditioning and training during the weeks before the start of the season?

Fifteen years later, this “kid,” who is now more than 6 foot 2 and weighs more than two hundred and twenty pounds, signed a contract with the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL, the toughest hockey division in the world.

26

Hrušica is a sort of suburb of Jesenice, a town that Slovenians associate with ironworks and hockey. The first is still in business, while the second is facing a severe crisis. When the hockey club was not facing difficulties, the Jesenice team were state champions more often than not, and this was when Matjaž Kopitar played for the club and the national team. When Matjaž was very young, he had a son and built his first ice rink for him in the backyard; he taught him how to walk on skates while using a chair as support. This is how the legend describes it at least and something Anže – we are, of course, talking about Anže Kopitar – confirmed for us: “My father has always been my role model,” Anže says. “When I was little, I would run to him in the locker room after every one of his games and sit with the boys

there; and everyone knew me. Many times after practice he would take me with him and we’d go skating. He was my first role model. A few years ago, I was watching his VHS tapes and saw how successful he had been with the Jesenice club after the breakup of Yugoslavia, but he was good even before that. He is probably the mastermind behind what I am today.” Fifteen years later, this “kid,” who is now more than 6 foot 2 and weighs more than two hundred and twenty pounds, signed a contract with the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL, the toughest hockey division in the world. He first held up the Stanley Cup, a 34.5 pound cup made of a silver and nickel alloy, two years ago, and then again this year. The LA Kings had never before been champions, not even when Wayne Gretzky played for them.

It was just like previous years, as conditioning in the past has proven to be good and prepared me well for the start of the season. But the conditioning is really nothing special. There’s running, to which we appended some fitness towards the end. The new exercise for me in recent years has been Pilates, which I do for flexibility, torso strength and stabilization. We mixed it up because hockey is a highly unpredictable and diverse sport, it is not monotonous, which is why you have to strengthen the entire body and have endurance at the same time.

Did your father prepare the conditioning programme? Yes, my dad has been collecting a variety of programmes for a while now and the training that I do is a kind of summary of what he has collected and his experience. He was a hockey player and knows very well what a hockey player needs.

27


26 / 31

Champion

Since 2005, Anže Kopitar had been travelling back and forth between two countries – in the U.S. where he lives, and Slovenia where he spends his summers getting ready for the new season. When in Slovenia, he is, of course, coached by his father, who pushes him hard at the Bled athletics stadium. As a coach, he is supposedly very tough, and was like that as a father too. “When I was younger, he was very strict. He knew what it was like when you hit that age, puberty, and he sometimes lost his temper a bit. When you get older, though, you look back at things and see that what he was doing was with the best intentions in mind. He was not strict just because he thought he had to be.”

Champion

A N Ž E KO P I TA R

LOS ANGELES IS A CITY OF WINNERS by Tadej Golob

It was obviously worth it. Anže is now one of the best offensive players in the history of the NHL.

photography Alex Štokelj, Getty images

How far have you come with your conditioning and training during the weeks before the start of the season?

Fifteen years later, this “kid,” who is now more than 6 foot 2 and weighs more than two hundred and twenty pounds, signed a contract with the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL, the toughest hockey division in the world.

26

Hrušica is a sort of suburb of Jesenice, a town that Slovenians associate with ironworks and hockey. The first is still in business, while the second is facing a severe crisis. When the hockey club was not facing difficulties, the Jesenice team were state champions more often than not, and this was when Matjaž Kopitar played for the club and the national team. When Matjaž was very young, he had a son and built his first ice rink for him in the backyard; he taught him how to walk on skates while using a chair as support. This is how the legend describes it at least and something Anže – we are, of course, talking about Anže Kopitar – confirmed for us: “My father has always been my role model,” Anže says. “When I was little, I would run to him in the locker room after every one of his games and sit with the boys

there; and everyone knew me. Many times after practice he would take me with him and we’d go skating. He was my first role model. A few years ago, I was watching his VHS tapes and saw how successful he had been with the Jesenice club after the breakup of Yugoslavia, but he was good even before that. He is probably the mastermind behind what I am today.” Fifteen years later, this “kid,” who is now more than 6 foot 2 and weighs more than two hundred and twenty pounds, signed a contract with the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL, the toughest hockey division in the world. He first held up the Stanley Cup, a 34.5 pound cup made of a silver and nickel alloy, two years ago, and then again this year. The LA Kings had never before been champions, not even when Wayne Gretzky played for them.

It was just like previous years, as conditioning in the past has proven to be good and prepared me well for the start of the season. But the conditioning is really nothing special. There’s running, to which we appended some fitness towards the end. The new exercise for me in recent years has been Pilates, which I do for flexibility, torso strength and stabilization. We mixed it up because hockey is a highly unpredictable and diverse sport, it is not monotonous, which is why you have to strengthen the entire body and have endurance at the same time.

Did your father prepare the conditioning programme? Yes, my dad has been collecting a variety of programmes for a while now and the training that I do is a kind of summary of what he has collected and his experience. He was a hockey player and knows very well what a hockey player needs.

27


26 / 31

Champion

What is your usual training day like? I train for approximately three hours a day and only once a day. I get up at around seven or half past seven, I eat a light breakfast so that I don’t feel heavy, and then usually go to the stadium where I do dynamic warm-up exercises that take around twenty to thirty minutes. Dynamic means jumps, skipping, carioca running and other things to increase my body temperature. The dynamic part of the warm-up also comprises sit-ups, back and lat muscle exercises, which means that everything is stabilized since this is what you need when sprints start so that you prevent injuries. At the start of conditioning, runs are a bit longer, and then shorter when we start working on speed. We spend somewhat over an hour in the stadium, on the track, followed by fitness. Hockey players need to have a strong torso and powerful legs, and the shoulders are exposed to contact, which is why they also have to be strong – as do the arms. The whole body actually.

Do you work on your technique? I correct my technique on the ice. Shots, passes, etc. so that you get back a feeling for the game that you lose after two months of not being on the ice. We train from Monday to Friday, and then have a rest day on Saturday, which is when I do some cross-country running in the morning. Now that I’m in Bled, the run around the lake is ideal as it takes 30 to 35 minutes and I can warm up a little. I swap this for football with friends occasionally, while a round of golf is an even easier version. That means a four to five mile-long walk on the golf course.

Did you ever own a motorcycle? I had a Vespa scooter that I got as a present from my grandma because I did well in school. That was in eighth grade and I have never owned a more powerful bike.

28

Hockey is considered the toughest team sport in the world, and the Americans are known as being collectors of all sorts of statistics. I dug on the Internet a little and found that the Canadian hockey player, Scott Niedermayer, skated around the entire rink in 13.56 seconds (according to the timing by the NHL) in 1998 at an All Star Skills Contest, which would mean he skated at an incredible 28 mph. How fast are you? That’s usually only timed at things like All Star games. I once did some speed skating – not in a circle but in a straight line, but I don’t remember if they timed me or not. A good skater is generally one that is able to skate around the two goals of the rink in less than fifteen seconds. But I think that top speed isn’t that important in hockey. There’s a lot of stopping in the game and you often don’t even get to reach your top speed. Sometimes you have to move for someone or skate differently … This piece of information is, therefore, not that important. A more useful statistic would be acceleration from zero, catching up to someone or overtaking them, or how much space you need while doing it, to maneuver the stick for a pass or shot.

Basketball players do “suicides.” Those are short sprints from the baseline to the top of the key and back, then to the centre court and back, then to the top of the key on the other side of the court and so on. Do hockey players do anything similar to that? We call this “sprint and stop” or “mountain” in Slovenia. We begin at the goal line and skate to the blue line and back, but, as opposed to basketball players, we then stop to catch our breath. Then we go from the blue line to the centre rink or red line and back, then to the end and back ... and this is how we climb the mountain. I am quite good at this thanks to my skating technique. Credit for this goes to my first coach who was a figure skating coach. Figure skaters take long strides, which comes in handy when you’re tired. It’s well-known that you also run slower if you shorten your stride, while I, as the experts would say, skate as I’m used to and keep my stride very long, which helps.

There is another speed record in hockey, which is the speed of the puck after a shot. The record holder is the Canadian hockey player Bobby Hull who is supposed to have hit the puck with a speed of 119 mph or 191 km/h. If I’m not mistaken, you took part in one of these contests once? I have, yes, and the puck left my stick at a speed of 97 mph I believe. Nothing to write home about. But puck speed doesn’t just depend on how strong you hit it, but also on the stiffness of the stick. As an offensive player, I prefer a slightly softer stick because I don’t have a lot of time and have to shoot quickly, which is why it’s good if the stick also adds a ‘kick’ that comes from it flexing. Defensemen who usually have enough time for the shot use stiffer sticks. Stiff sticks help achieve higher puck speeds.

Does it help to have a bit of anger? I think it helps.

I’m asking because the highest timed speed in a game of around 106 mph was achieved by the Slovak player, Zdeno Chara, who is 6 feet seven inches tall and known as a rough player. He’s not a brawler, but he’s a pretty strong player, yes.

I don’t remember ever seeing you fight on the ice? It happened once, no, actually twice in my life. The first time when I was a kid and the other time in America. I don’t really have any great desire for that. Anger leads some people to fight, while it just gives me the desire to score a few more goals. That calms me down.

Is it true that less-skilled players are usually the ones that fight? That’s not entirely true because even the best players fight, but maybe not as often.

29


26 / 31

Champion

What is your usual training day like? I train for approximately three hours a day and only once a day. I get up at around seven or half past seven, I eat a light breakfast so that I don’t feel heavy, and then usually go to the stadium where I do dynamic warm-up exercises that take around twenty to thirty minutes. Dynamic means jumps, skipping, carioca running and other things to increase my body temperature. The dynamic part of the warm-up also comprises sit-ups, back and lat muscle exercises, which means that everything is stabilized since this is what you need when sprints start so that you prevent injuries. At the start of conditioning, runs are a bit longer, and then shorter when we start working on speed. We spend somewhat over an hour in the stadium, on the track, followed by fitness. Hockey players need to have a strong torso and powerful legs, and the shoulders are exposed to contact, which is why they also have to be strong – as do the arms. The whole body actually.

Do you work on your technique? I correct my technique on the ice. Shots, passes, etc. so that you get back a feeling for the game that you lose after two months of not being on the ice. We train from Monday to Friday, and then have a rest day on Saturday, which is when I do some cross-country running in the morning. Now that I’m in Bled, the run around the lake is ideal as it takes 30 to 35 minutes and I can warm up a little. I swap this for football with friends occasionally, while a round of golf is an even easier version. That means a four to five mile-long walk on the golf course.

Did you ever own a motorcycle? I had a Vespa scooter that I got as a present from my grandma because I did well in school. That was in eighth grade and I have never owned a more powerful bike.

28

Hockey is considered the toughest team sport in the world, and the Americans are known as being collectors of all sorts of statistics. I dug on the Internet a little and found that the Canadian hockey player, Scott Niedermayer, skated around the entire rink in 13.56 seconds (according to the timing by the NHL) in 1998 at an All Star Skills Contest, which would mean he skated at an incredible 28 mph. How fast are you? That’s usually only timed at things like All Star games. I once did some speed skating – not in a circle but in a straight line, but I don’t remember if they timed me or not. A good skater is generally one that is able to skate around the two goals of the rink in less than fifteen seconds. But I think that top speed isn’t that important in hockey. There’s a lot of stopping in the game and you often don’t even get to reach your top speed. Sometimes you have to move for someone or skate differently … This piece of information is, therefore, not that important. A more useful statistic would be acceleration from zero, catching up to someone or overtaking them, or how much space you need while doing it, to maneuver the stick for a pass or shot.

Basketball players do “suicides.” Those are short sprints from the baseline to the top of the key and back, then to the centre court and back, then to the top of the key on the other side of the court and so on. Do hockey players do anything similar to that? We call this “sprint and stop” or “mountain” in Slovenia. We begin at the goal line and skate to the blue line and back, but, as opposed to basketball players, we then stop to catch our breath. Then we go from the blue line to the centre rink or red line and back, then to the end and back ... and this is how we climb the mountain. I am quite good at this thanks to my skating technique. Credit for this goes to my first coach who was a figure skating coach. Figure skaters take long strides, which comes in handy when you’re tired. It’s well-known that you also run slower if you shorten your stride, while I, as the experts would say, skate as I’m used to and keep my stride very long, which helps.

There is another speed record in hockey, which is the speed of the puck after a shot. The record holder is the Canadian hockey player Bobby Hull who is supposed to have hit the puck with a speed of 119 mph or 191 km/h. If I’m not mistaken, you took part in one of these contests once? I have, yes, and the puck left my stick at a speed of 97 mph I believe. Nothing to write home about. But puck speed doesn’t just depend on how strong you hit it, but also on the stiffness of the stick. As an offensive player, I prefer a slightly softer stick because I don’t have a lot of time and have to shoot quickly, which is why it’s good if the stick also adds a ‘kick’ that comes from it flexing. Defensemen who usually have enough time for the shot use stiffer sticks. Stiff sticks help achieve higher puck speeds.

Does it help to have a bit of anger? I think it helps.

I’m asking because the highest timed speed in a game of around 106 mph was achieved by the Slovak player, Zdeno Chara, who is 6 feet seven inches tall and known as a rough player. He’s not a brawler, but he’s a pretty strong player, yes.

I don’t remember ever seeing you fight on the ice? It happened once, no, actually twice in my life. The first time when I was a kid and the other time in America. I don’t really have any great desire for that. Anger leads some people to fight, while it just gives me the desire to score a few more goals. That calms me down.

Is it true that less-skilled players are usually the ones that fight? That’s not entirely true because even the best players fight, but maybe not as often.

29


26 / 31

Champion

Hockey is a team sport where equipment plays a critical role. The holder of the record for the fastest shot, Bobby Hull, played hockey from 1957 to 1980. Does that mean that equipment has not improved since then? No, no. Equipment has evolved a lot. I don’t know what the contest where he set the record was like because they used wooden sticks at the time. These are more advanced and I believe that our best players would hit the puck a few miles per hour faster. Owing to new materials, the equipment is becoming lighter each year, sticks are stiffer where they need to be and more elastic in places where we need them to be. I am convinced that there is still room for improvement. Technology is advancing and I’m sure they’ll find new materials and production methods.

What is your attitude towards technology in general? Average I’d say. I’m no expert, but I’m also not completely averse to it. As a kid, I didn’t have any toy car collection; that never impressed me. But I liked assembling them and that is how I got quite a few of them.

Do you still own a Maserati? Yes, still. A few players in the club bought sports cars and we had a Ferrari, a Bentley, a Porsche, and all the Mercedes classes. I wanted to be a bit different and bought a Maserati.

There is a commercial on TV with Claudia Schiffer who says something along the lines of: The French are more relaxed and have a greater sense of humour than Germans, but that is also how they build their cars and that is why I’d choose a German car. The same is true of Italians. Maserati is Italian ... I didn’t think about that back then because I liked the car a lot, but now the Italian poor handy-work is starting to show so I don’t know if my next car will be Italian (laughs). It’s my car for daily use, I don’t race it.

The famed California State Route 1 begins in Los Angeles and ends in Leggeto, Northern California. Have you driven on it? I’m often on that road, but considering that there are a lot of people in Los Angeles, it is often quite congested so we move at a snail’s pace on it and can’t really drive. But I haven’t gone further north because I haven’t yet had an opportunity to do this. After the season, I usually hurry back home instead of taking the time to explore the route.

Has hockey become the number one sport in Los Angeles? I don’t think so. I think the basketball players from the Lakers are still better known even though hockey has been gaining a lot of recognition lately, certainly more than before. The two titles have contributed a lot to this, as has the fact that we didn’t have a strong Lakers team at the time. The city certainly lives for hockey, but it’s still not the most popular sport. Los Angeles is an interesting city. People go and see the teams that are winning. Six years ago, when we weren’t winning, our bleachers were pretty empty. LA is a winning city. If you win, people will take you seriously, they’ll want to meet you, follow you, but otherwise ... they won’t talk bad about you, but they also won’t cheer you on.

You have been in the US since 2005. What strikes you most when you return to Slovenia for the summer? Have you adopted the American way of thinking? I certainly have. It would be difficult not to. As far as I know my character, I can say that I try to make the best out of every situation. I think they work more in America than they do in Europe in general, not only in Slovenia. Stores are open from six in the morning and from Monday to Sunday from six in the morning till nine in the evening. This will never happen here. People there devote more time to working and earning a living, while we take it more slowly here and enjoy life. Americans are perhaps a bit more decisive in their efforts and willing to do everything, while Slovenians are somewhat more reserved in this respect, unsure about our chances of success.

In sports, the American way of thinking works?

30

Of course. If you want to make it in America, let’s say in hockey, and you know that your technique is not the best, you’ll fight to make it. Not everyone has this in them, but I think they have this in their blood, while we don’t as much.

Soon after arriving in Los Angeles, you said that you would like to win the NHL title. Many smirked at this because the LA Kings had never won the Stanley Cup before, not even with Wayne Gretzky. Did you always believe that this was possible or were these statements purely for selfmotivation? If you don’t set the bar high for yourself, you’ll never reach your potential or be able to push yourself. As for every other player, the most important thing for me was to first get into the NHL, then settle down and play. Once you achieve this goal, the next one is winning the championship. It’s a normal progression. I was aware ... or perhaps not aware at the time how difficult it would be, but the goal of every player in the NHL is to win the Stanley Cup. After a few seasons, many people probably laughed at me when I said that our manager had the vision of how to build a team, and it took a bit longer perhaps than many had expected. But it’s not important how long it took, only that we succeeded.

Was it easier the first time or second time around? When you first win the cup, they take you a bit more seriously. For 45 years, the cup had never come to LA. The first time, it was a bit easier in the playoffs than it was this season when we had to give it our all across the three seven-game series. If you take a look at the individual games, it seems it would have been much harder to win the second title than it was to win the first, but on the other hand, we had the experience to know a few things.

A new season awaits you with the same goal. How will you motivate yourself for it con-

sidering that you have won the Stanley Cup twice over the last three years? There are probably many who are now hungrier for it than the LA Kings? There certainly are and it’s much easier to win the cup than to defend it. We’ll have a target on our back ... I think that motivation is unnecessary. What motivates us is the memory of how good it was to climb to the top of the mountain and stay there. The partying afterwards, taking the cup to your home town – all of that’s great, but the feeling after the last game when everything’s truly over is indescribable. That’s what motivates us, but what pushes us on is the knowledge that we are capable of winning the cup. Two years ago, when we first won the trophy, we weren’t sure that it wasn’t just luck that had something to do with it. If maybe things had lined up in our favour... But now, after the second victory, we have proven that we can do it multiple times.

31

Kopi, prvak Anže Kopitar je od leta 2005 razpet med dvema državama – ZDA oziroma Los Angelesom, kjer živi, in Slovenijo, kjer opravlja poletne priprave na novo sezono. Visok več kot meter in devetdeset ter težak malo več kot sto kilogramov je podpisal

pogodbo z moštvom Los Angeles Kings, ki nastopa v NHL, najtežjem hokejskem tekmovanju na svetu. Stanleyjev pokal, petnajst kilogramov in pol težko priznanje, narejeno iz zlitine srebra in niklja, je prvič dvignil v zrak po koncu predlanske sezone ter to ponovil še letos. La Kingsi pred tem nikoli niso bili prvaki, niti takrat ne, ko je zanje igral Wayne Gretzky.


26 / 31

Champion

Hockey is a team sport where equipment plays a critical role. The holder of the record for the fastest shot, Bobby Hull, played hockey from 1957 to 1980. Does that mean that equipment has not improved since then? No, no. Equipment has evolved a lot. I don’t know what the contest where he set the record was like because they used wooden sticks at the time. These are more advanced and I believe that our best players would hit the puck a few miles per hour faster. Owing to new materials, the equipment is becoming lighter each year, sticks are stiffer where they need to be and more elastic in places where we need them to be. I am convinced that there is still room for improvement. Technology is advancing and I’m sure they’ll find new materials and production methods.

What is your attitude towards technology in general? Average I’d say. I’m no expert, but I’m also not completely averse to it. As a kid, I didn’t have any toy car collection; that never impressed me. But I liked assembling them and that is how I got quite a few of them.

Do you still own a Maserati? Yes, still. A few players in the club bought sports cars and we had a Ferrari, a Bentley, a Porsche, and all the Mercedes classes. I wanted to be a bit different and bought a Maserati.

There is a commercial on TV with Claudia Schiffer who says something along the lines of: The French are more relaxed and have a greater sense of humour than Germans, but that is also how they build their cars and that is why I’d choose a German car. The same is true of Italians. Maserati is Italian ... I didn’t think about that back then because I liked the car a lot, but now the Italian poor handy-work is starting to show so I don’t know if my next car will be Italian (laughs). It’s my car for daily use, I don’t race it.

The famed California State Route 1 begins in Los Angeles and ends in Leggeto, Northern California. Have you driven on it? I’m often on that road, but considering that there are a lot of people in Los Angeles, it is often quite congested so we move at a snail’s pace on it and can’t really drive. But I haven’t gone further north because I haven’t yet had an opportunity to do this. After the season, I usually hurry back home instead of taking the time to explore the route.

Has hockey become the number one sport in Los Angeles? I don’t think so. I think the basketball players from the Lakers are still better known even though hockey has been gaining a lot of recognition lately, certainly more than before. The two titles have contributed a lot to this, as has the fact that we didn’t have a strong Lakers team at the time. The city certainly lives for hockey, but it’s still not the most popular sport. Los Angeles is an interesting city. People go and see the teams that are winning. Six years ago, when we weren’t winning, our bleachers were pretty empty. LA is a winning city. If you win, people will take you seriously, they’ll want to meet you, follow you, but otherwise ... they won’t talk bad about you, but they also won’t cheer you on.

You have been in the US since 2005. What strikes you most when you return to Slovenia for the summer? Have you adopted the American way of thinking? I certainly have. It would be difficult not to. As far as I know my character, I can say that I try to make the best out of every situation. I think they work more in America than they do in Europe in general, not only in Slovenia. Stores are open from six in the morning and from Monday to Sunday from six in the morning till nine in the evening. This will never happen here. People there devote more time to working and earning a living, while we take it more slowly here and enjoy life. Americans are perhaps a bit more decisive in their efforts and willing to do everything, while Slovenians are somewhat more reserved in this respect, unsure about our chances of success.

In sports, the American way of thinking works?

30

Of course. If you want to make it in America, let’s say in hockey, and you know that your technique is not the best, you’ll fight to make it. Not everyone has this in them, but I think they have this in their blood, while we don’t as much.

Soon after arriving in Los Angeles, you said that you would like to win the NHL title. Many smirked at this because the LA Kings had never won the Stanley Cup before, not even with Wayne Gretzky. Did you always believe that this was possible or were these statements purely for selfmotivation? If you don’t set the bar high for yourself, you’ll never reach your potential or be able to push yourself. As for every other player, the most important thing for me was to first get into the NHL, then settle down and play. Once you achieve this goal, the next one is winning the championship. It’s a normal progression. I was aware ... or perhaps not aware at the time how difficult it would be, but the goal of every player in the NHL is to win the Stanley Cup. After a few seasons, many people probably laughed at me when I said that our manager had the vision of how to build a team, and it took a bit longer perhaps than many had expected. But it’s not important how long it took, only that we succeeded.

Was it easier the first time or second time around? When you first win the cup, they take you a bit more seriously. For 45 years, the cup had never come to LA. The first time, it was a bit easier in the playoffs than it was this season when we had to give it our all across the three seven-game series. If you take a look at the individual games, it seems it would have been much harder to win the second title than it was to win the first, but on the other hand, we had the experience to know a few things.

A new season awaits you with the same goal. How will you motivate yourself for it con-

sidering that you have won the Stanley Cup twice over the last three years? There are probably many who are now hungrier for it than the LA Kings? There certainly are and it’s much easier to win the cup than to defend it. We’ll have a target on our back ... I think that motivation is unnecessary. What motivates us is the memory of how good it was to climb to the top of the mountain and stay there. The partying afterwards, taking the cup to your home town – all of that’s great, but the feeling after the last game when everything’s truly over is indescribable. That’s what motivates us, but what pushes us on is the knowledge that we are capable of winning the cup. Two years ago, when we first won the trophy, we weren’t sure that it wasn’t just luck that had something to do with it. If maybe things had lined up in our favour... But now, after the second victory, we have proven that we can do it multiple times.

31

Kopi, prvak Anže Kopitar je od leta 2005 razpet med dvema državama – ZDA oziroma Los Angelesom, kjer živi, in Slovenijo, kjer opravlja poletne priprave na novo sezono. Visok več kot meter in devetdeset ter težak malo več kot sto kilogramov je podpisal

pogodbo z moštvom Los Angeles Kings, ki nastopa v NHL, najtežjem hokejskem tekmovanju na svetu. Stanleyjev pokal, petnajst kilogramov in pol težko priznanje, narejeno iz zlitine srebra in niklja, je prvič dvignil v zrak po koncu predlanske sezone ter to ponovil še letos. La Kingsi pred tem nikoli niso bili prvaki, niti takrat ne, ko je zanje igral Wayne Gretzky.


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Custom Star

Custom Star

by Primož Jurman

32

33

photography Alex Štokelj, Bor Dobrin

FULL MOON, AKRAPOVIČ CUSTOM BIKE PROJECT

FULL MOON SHINING A FULL MOON IS WHEN THE SUN AND MOON GAZE AT EACH OTHER AND REVEAL THEIR TRUE SELVES. IT IS THE TIME WHEN TWO EXTREMES, THE DAYLIGHT RAYS OF THE SUN AND THE REFLECTING SURFACE OF THE DARK MOON, ARE CAUGHT IN PERFECT HARMONY. IT IS A TIME OF HONESTY AND FAIRNESS, A TIME WHEN THE HIDDEN COMES TO LIGHT. ITS SOOTHING RAYS ALSO USHER IN EXCITEMENT, OVERWHELMING ENERGY AND MOMENTS OF TRUTH. AND ‘FULL MOON’ IS ALSO THE NEW, VERY EXTRAVAGANT, TECHNICALLY EXCEPTIONAL, PROMOTIONAL SHOW BIKE BY THE AKRAPOVIČ COMPANY.

‘THE NAME FULL MOON COMES FROM THE SIZE OF THE FRONT WHEEL, WHICH IS COMPLETELY VISIBLE, WHOLE AND THE IMAGE OF A FULL MOON.’

It’s been a while, four-years to be exact, since Akrapovič turned its attention to the growing trend of custom motorcycles. As a leading global exhaust system manufacturer, whose success has mainly been based on competitive bike racing in the past two decades, Akrapovič decided to use its technical experience and try its luck in this segment as well. Quite a challenge for a brand that is used to success in motorcycle races!

The motorbike world was taken by surprise: “Uh oh,” sighed all-terrain motorbike riders. “Surely they aren’t going to go there?” wondered racers, who are used to hearing the thundering cannons from Ivančna Gorica on racetracks. But that is exactly where the company went – among Harley-Davidson riders. However, how does one rouse the interest of a group that lives in its own world and sometimes has difficulty in accepting compromises and being different? A group that dances to the two-valve rhythm of

U.S. products and is ruled by leather and chrome. Simple! By using originality to create something new and fresh. Difficult, but do-able. The world of custom bikes does not measure value with the same yardstick as other segments. In motorcycle culture, custom riders are looking for complete adjustments to an individual’s needs and wishes. Unlike sport riders, these guys do not care too much about shaving a couple tenths off a lap, but rather swear by individuality, the search for one’s own freedom and independence. Not to mention originality, uniqueness and exclusivity. The idea was born at a time when machines replaced living horses and when these new types of riders began looking for their freedom in solitary or group rides across the country, firstly in the US and then in other parts of the world. While doing so they rode - and are still riding - choppers, baggers, bobbers, springers or café racers. Welcome to the world of custom bikes.


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Custom Star

Custom Star

by Primož Jurman

32

33

photography Alex Štokelj, Bor Dobrin

FULL MOON, AKRAPOVIČ CUSTOM BIKE PROJECT

FULL MOON SHINING A FULL MOON IS WHEN THE SUN AND MOON GAZE AT EACH OTHER AND REVEAL THEIR TRUE SELVES. IT IS THE TIME WHEN TWO EXTREMES, THE DAYLIGHT RAYS OF THE SUN AND THE REFLECTING SURFACE OF THE DARK MOON, ARE CAUGHT IN PERFECT HARMONY. IT IS A TIME OF HONESTY AND FAIRNESS, A TIME WHEN THE HIDDEN COMES TO LIGHT. ITS SOOTHING RAYS ALSO USHER IN EXCITEMENT, OVERWHELMING ENERGY AND MOMENTS OF TRUTH. AND ‘FULL MOON’ IS ALSO THE NEW, VERY EXTRAVAGANT, TECHNICALLY EXCEPTIONAL, PROMOTIONAL SHOW BIKE BY THE AKRAPOVIČ COMPANY.

‘THE NAME FULL MOON COMES FROM THE SIZE OF THE FRONT WHEEL, WHICH IS COMPLETELY VISIBLE, WHOLE AND THE IMAGE OF A FULL MOON.’

It’s been a while, four-years to be exact, since Akrapovič turned its attention to the growing trend of custom motorcycles. As a leading global exhaust system manufacturer, whose success has mainly been based on competitive bike racing in the past two decades, Akrapovič decided to use its technical experience and try its luck in this segment as well. Quite a challenge for a brand that is used to success in motorcycle races!

The motorbike world was taken by surprise: “Uh oh,” sighed all-terrain motorbike riders. “Surely they aren’t going to go there?” wondered racers, who are used to hearing the thundering cannons from Ivančna Gorica on racetracks. But that is exactly where the company went – among Harley-Davidson riders. However, how does one rouse the interest of a group that lives in its own world and sometimes has difficulty in accepting compromises and being different? A group that dances to the two-valve rhythm of

U.S. products and is ruled by leather and chrome. Simple! By using originality to create something new and fresh. Difficult, but do-able. The world of custom bikes does not measure value with the same yardstick as other segments. In motorcycle culture, custom riders are looking for complete adjustments to an individual’s needs and wishes. Unlike sport riders, these guys do not care too much about shaving a couple tenths off a lap, but rather swear by individuality, the search for one’s own freedom and independence. Not to mention originality, uniqueness and exclusivity. The idea was born at a time when machines replaced living horses and when these new types of riders began looking for their freedom in solitary or group rides across the country, firstly in the US and then in other parts of the world. While doing so they rode - and are still riding - choppers, baggers, bobbers, springers or café racers. Welcome to the world of custom bikes.


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Custom Star

CHAPTER ONE: MORSUS The entry of Akrapovič into the custom division in 2011 was marked by the already legendary ‘Morsus’, the company’s first promotional motorcycle. Akrapovič wanted to enter the segment with a unique bike with enormous marketing potential and at the same time reflect the company’s philosophy. It wanted to capture a passion for perfection and modern technology and show that a bike shaped like a Scorpion can have a rumbling Harley-Davidson engine and a tailor-made Titanium Akrapovič exhaust. It wanted to show that there is another type of freedom: the freedom in planning and constructing a motorcycle with an unmistakeable Akrapovič touch. The Full Moon, as well as the Morsus, were designed and manu-

factured with the company’s cooperation in the Slovenian ‘Dreamachine Motorcycles’ workshop. Its owner and designer Tomaž Capuder is a lifelong fan of Igor Akrapovič: “I’ve been following Igor’s path from the very beginning. I admire his work and marvel at all he has achieved over the years. Despite being active in custom bikes, I also follow races, because I’m very interested in technology. To be able to co-operate with Akrapovič is first and foremost a great honour for me.” This is why Morsus’ shape followed the racing bikes from the 1920s with their characteristic large front wheels. Morsus’ 26-inch aluminium rims are coated in carbon fibre. “This is my nod to Igor and the racing world he comes from,” Tomaž explained. The bike was immensely popular at all the events, exhibitions, fairs and salons where it was showcased. It

received numerous awards and recognitions. Among them were ‘Best Bike’ at Biograd na Moru (Croatia), ‘Best Bike’ at the ‘Harley Days’ in Barcelona (Spain), Morzine (France) and at Faaker See Lake (Austria) and first place in the ‘Radical’ category at the ‘European Bike Week’, where it was also crowned ‘Best in Show’ in 2011. “Out of all the awards, my favourite is the 11th place award in Sturgis, USA, in the Freestyle Class category, which is the unofficial world championship of custom bike designers,” says Capuder. “That is really something.

‘WE NEEDED MORE THAN

34

800 HOURS TO CREATE IT-’ TOMAŽ CAPUDER

35

I was also very happy to receive congratulations from all the major bike producers at Faaker See. I’m really proud of that,” he added.

Full Moon sets new boundaries in the world of custom motorcycles.

‘THE FULL MOON WAS DELIBERATELY LEFT OUT OF ANY MOTORCYCLE CATEGORIES. IT BELONGS EVERYWHERE AND NOWHERE, BUT MAINLY IT IS UNIQUE.’

Kot polna luna Kar nekaj let je že tega, pisalo se je leto 2010, ko so v družbi Akrapovič postali pozorni na vse bolj zaželene custom motocikle. Zato so se v svetovno vodilni družbi na področju izdelovanja izpušnih sistemov, ki je svoj uspeh v zadnjih dveh desetletjih zgradila predvsem s športnim motociklizmom, odločili, da tudi oni postanejo del tega dogajanja. Družba Akrapovič se je želela predstaviti z bajkom, ki bo poseben, marketinško eksploziven

in bo hkrati odražal njeno filozofijo. Vstop v segment unikatno predelanih motociklov leta 2011 je tako zaznamoval sedaj že legendarni, prvi promocijski motocikel družbe, Morsus. Ker pa se je Morsus počasi odpeljal v zgodovino, je bil tudi čas, da na oder zapelje nov bajk, z novim sporočilom in z novim imenom. Rodil se je Full Moon: da navduši še vse tiste, ki jim sporočilo Morsusa ni prišlo do živega.


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Custom Star

CHAPTER ONE: MORSUS The entry of Akrapovič into the custom division in 2011 was marked by the already legendary ‘Morsus’, the company’s first promotional motorcycle. Akrapovič wanted to enter the segment with a unique bike with enormous marketing potential and at the same time reflect the company’s philosophy. It wanted to capture a passion for perfection and modern technology and show that a bike shaped like a Scorpion can have a rumbling Harley-Davidson engine and a tailor-made Titanium Akrapovič exhaust. It wanted to show that there is another type of freedom: the freedom in planning and constructing a motorcycle with an unmistakeable Akrapovič touch. The Full Moon, as well as the Morsus, were designed and manu-

factured with the company’s cooperation in the Slovenian ‘Dreamachine Motorcycles’ workshop. Its owner and designer Tomaž Capuder is a lifelong fan of Igor Akrapovič: “I’ve been following Igor’s path from the very beginning. I admire his work and marvel at all he has achieved over the years. Despite being active in custom bikes, I also follow races, because I’m very interested in technology. To be able to co-operate with Akrapovič is first and foremost a great honour for me.” This is why Morsus’ shape followed the racing bikes from the 1920s with their characteristic large front wheels. Morsus’ 26-inch aluminium rims are coated in carbon fibre. “This is my nod to Igor and the racing world he comes from,” Tomaž explained. The bike was immensely popular at all the events, exhibitions, fairs and salons where it was showcased. It

received numerous awards and recognitions. Among them were ‘Best Bike’ at Biograd na Moru (Croatia), ‘Best Bike’ at the ‘Harley Days’ in Barcelona (Spain), Morzine (France) and at Faaker See Lake (Austria) and first place in the ‘Radical’ category at the ‘European Bike Week’, where it was also crowned ‘Best in Show’ in 2011. “Out of all the awards, my favourite is the 11th place award in Sturgis, USA, in the Freestyle Class category, which is the unofficial world championship of custom bike designers,” says Capuder. “That is really something.

‘WE NEEDED MORE THAN

34

800 HOURS TO CREATE IT-’ TOMAŽ CAPUDER

35

I was also very happy to receive congratulations from all the major bike producers at Faaker See. I’m really proud of that,” he added.

Full Moon sets new boundaries in the world of custom motorcycles.

‘THE FULL MOON WAS DELIBERATELY LEFT OUT OF ANY MOTORCYCLE CATEGORIES. IT BELONGS EVERYWHERE AND NOWHERE, BUT MAINLY IT IS UNIQUE.’

Kot polna luna Kar nekaj let je že tega, pisalo se je leto 2010, ko so v družbi Akrapovič postali pozorni na vse bolj zaželene custom motocikle. Zato so se v svetovno vodilni družbi na področju izdelovanja izpušnih sistemov, ki je svoj uspeh v zadnjih dveh desetletjih zgradila predvsem s športnim motociklizmom, odločili, da tudi oni postanejo del tega dogajanja. Družba Akrapovič se je želela predstaviti z bajkom, ki bo poseben, marketinško eksploziven

in bo hkrati odražal njeno filozofijo. Vstop v segment unikatno predelanih motociklov leta 2011 je tako zaznamoval sedaj že legendarni, prvi promocijski motocikel družbe, Morsus. Ker pa se je Morsus počasi odpeljal v zgodovino, je bil tudi čas, da na oder zapelje nov bajk, z novim sporočilom in z novim imenom. Rodil se je Full Moon: da navduši še vse tiste, ki jim sporočilo Morsusa ni prišlo do živega.


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Custom Star

CHAPTER TWO: FULL MOON

36

37

Full Moon was built with a large amount of dedication and a wealth of technical and design know-how.

OUT OF THE DARKNESS Products are successful when they have something to say. The name Full Moon comes from the size of the front wheel, which is completely visible, whole and the image of a full Moon. The name also subconsciously takes us towards the mystical light that is offered by riding under the full Moon and its vibrations. The deep thundering sound of a pair of Akrapovič exhausts makes these feelings even more primal and alive.

Just a few years later and already Akrapovič has become a recognised brand in the custom segment. The Slovenian manufacturer is successfully selling its exhausts for Harley’s Sportster, Softail, Dyna, Touring and V-Rod model families. The Morsus was slowly riding off into history and the time was ripe for a new bike with a new message and a new name to drive onto the stage. The Full Moon was born. To excite those who might miss the message of Morsus. The difference between the Full Moon and its predecessor is instantly visible. Tomaž explains: “The Full Moon is a continuation of the Morsus story. But it has a different personality. Its main characteristics are its retro shape and retro manufacturing (deep drawing, wooden model), which is reminiscent of the one used in the period of handmade

prestigious limited production limousines, which gives it additional charm. The retro look is a trend that we upgraded with extremely technically advanced and unique elements. It would be difficult to put it into any category, maybe we could call it a radical bagger.” Tomaž’s coworker and Dreamachine designer Gregor Markelj added: “Full Moon is a fusion of high technology, retro streamline, steampunk aesthetics and the prestige of Bond’s vehicles, from boats and planes to cars. The components were chose carefully, to give the right message and to be the “part two” of the whole story.” The Full Moon was deliberately left out of any motorcycle categories. It belongs everywhere and nowhere, but mainly it is unique. The covered back wheel puts it closest to baggers with hard saddlebags, but the shape is considerably narrower. “We needed more than 800 hours

to create it,” says Tomaž. Another outstanding part is the front wheel, which could be described as carbon, because the aluminium rim and hub are connected by two carbon rondelles. While its 30-inch size makes it extreme, it is not a complete novelty. What is new is the way it is made – composite wheels of this size are not found on other custom bikes. Another innovation is a composite braking disc, also unseen in this size on motorcycles until now. Dreamachine states that the steering is completely automated, which allows for a minimalist steering rod without any visible cables that would otherwise be required for the bike to function. It can stand upright when parked, courtesy of a hydraulic suspension. The frame and the bodywork are entirely made of sheet metal and form an extension to the pair of exhausts. The bodywork is thus part of the exhaust system, an integral part actually, and the bike itself is, essentially, an exhaust.

Dreamachine team: Janez Mihelčič, Gregor Markelj and Tomaž Capuder. The others are off camera.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Year of manufacture: 2014 Engine: S&S Knucklehead, Displacement: 1524 cc (93 cu in) Gearbox: Jims 6-Speed Overdrive, automatic clutch Primary driveshaft: open belt drive, 2 inch Powertrain: chain Exhaust: dual, modified Akrapovič, custom made

Front wheel: aluminium and carbon, aluminium hub, 30”, tyre width 140mm, composite brake disc and 6-piston Sicom brake calipers. Rear wheel: aluminium, 17”, tyre width 180mm. Frame, spring, custom Dreamachine Fuel tank with bodywork part: custom Dreamachine Forks, steering, levers: custom Dreamachine Suspension: hydraulic, front and back


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Custom Star

CHAPTER TWO: FULL MOON

36

37

Full Moon was built with a large amount of dedication and a wealth of technical and design know-how.

OUT OF THE DARKNESS Products are successful when they have something to say. The name Full Moon comes from the size of the front wheel, which is completely visible, whole and the image of a full Moon. The name also subconsciously takes us towards the mystical light that is offered by riding under the full Moon and its vibrations. The deep thundering sound of a pair of Akrapovič exhausts makes these feelings even more primal and alive.

Just a few years later and already Akrapovič has become a recognised brand in the custom segment. The Slovenian manufacturer is successfully selling its exhausts for Harley’s Sportster, Softail, Dyna, Touring and V-Rod model families. The Morsus was slowly riding off into history and the time was ripe for a new bike with a new message and a new name to drive onto the stage. The Full Moon was born. To excite those who might miss the message of Morsus. The difference between the Full Moon and its predecessor is instantly visible. Tomaž explains: “The Full Moon is a continuation of the Morsus story. But it has a different personality. Its main characteristics are its retro shape and retro manufacturing (deep drawing, wooden model), which is reminiscent of the one used in the period of handmade

prestigious limited production limousines, which gives it additional charm. The retro look is a trend that we upgraded with extremely technically advanced and unique elements. It would be difficult to put it into any category, maybe we could call it a radical bagger.” Tomaž’s coworker and Dreamachine designer Gregor Markelj added: “Full Moon is a fusion of high technology, retro streamline, steampunk aesthetics and the prestige of Bond’s vehicles, from boats and planes to cars. The components were chose carefully, to give the right message and to be the “part two” of the whole story.” The Full Moon was deliberately left out of any motorcycle categories. It belongs everywhere and nowhere, but mainly it is unique. The covered back wheel puts it closest to baggers with hard saddlebags, but the shape is considerably narrower. “We needed more than 800 hours

to create it,” says Tomaž. Another outstanding part is the front wheel, which could be described as carbon, because the aluminium rim and hub are connected by two carbon rondelles. While its 30-inch size makes it extreme, it is not a complete novelty. What is new is the way it is made – composite wheels of this size are not found on other custom bikes. Another innovation is a composite braking disc, also unseen in this size on motorcycles until now. Dreamachine states that the steering is completely automated, which allows for a minimalist steering rod without any visible cables that would otherwise be required for the bike to function. It can stand upright when parked, courtesy of a hydraulic suspension. The frame and the bodywork are entirely made of sheet metal and form an extension to the pair of exhausts. The bodywork is thus part of the exhaust system, an integral part actually, and the bike itself is, essentially, an exhaust.

Dreamachine team: Janez Mihelčič, Gregor Markelj and Tomaž Capuder. The others are off camera.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Year of manufacture: 2014 Engine: S&S Knucklehead, Displacement: 1524 cc (93 cu in) Gearbox: Jims 6-Speed Overdrive, automatic clutch Primary driveshaft: open belt drive, 2 inch Powertrain: chain Exhaust: dual, modified Akrapovič, custom made

Front wheel: aluminium and carbon, aluminium hub, 30”, tyre width 140mm, composite brake disc and 6-piston Sicom brake calipers. Rear wheel: aluminium, 17”, tyre width 180mm. Frame, spring, custom Dreamachine Fuel tank with bodywork part: custom Dreamachine Forks, steering, levers: custom Dreamachine Suspension: hydraulic, front and back


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Fantastic

By Alenka Birk

4

Checkmate

1

Was it also enjoyed by Louis XIII, though?

Indulge in a fashionable checkmate with clothes with accented perpendicular lines. But don’t stop there – there’s a wide selection of fashionable accessories in plaid to complement your style. Currently the hottest are: Vivienne Westwood’s footwear, Givenchy’s Obsedia trendy backpack and a Kenzo shirt. Plaid on plaid is the new plaid.

The prestigious Louis XIII cognac by Rémy Martin is an absolute mastery of our time, a succession of daring initiatives and continuous strivings for quality. The Louis XIII elixir, a luxurious link between the past and future made with the passion of three generations of cellarmaster, opens the door to a glorious saga of luxury spirits.

www.farfetch.com

www.eshop.dvc-plus.si www.remymartin.com

2

All that Glitters is not gold

5

39

Do you want to become an owner of a gold-plated skateboard? Well then, get ready for white cotton archival gloves as well. Why? To prevent fingerprints! The world’s most expensive skateboard is on sale for 11,000 euros, about as much as a 2013 Ford Fiesta, and was designed by Matthew Willet from the New York SHUT skate shop. Matt has been a skateboarder all his life and wanted to create a golden and fully functional version of his favourite item. And he’s succeeded… but will anyone be allowed to ride it if it’s not even supposed to be touched by bare hands?

El Primero Zenith has left a strong impression on the history of aviation and space exploration. They’ve always managed to be in sync with great revolutionaries, including Gandhi, Blériot and Felix Baumgartner. Starting with Gandhi’s silver pocket watch, his faithful companion, and ending with the timepiece securely fastened to the wrist of Felix Baumgartner as he broke the sound barrier – the first watch to pass the space test – Zenith continues adding major chapters to the history of clock making. The El Primero wristwatch was the first automatic chronograph in the world and has boasted a spectacular cadence of 36,000 vibrations per hour.

38 www.thegoldenskateboard.com

www.malalan.com www.zenith-watches.com

3

6

Look through wood

Virtual Keyboard

…and look amazing! Wood is a natural product that gives you a feeling of warmth and special energy. Wood Stock wooden frames for sunglasses and prescription glasses are made with great accuracy, care and a high level of manual dexterity by one person from beginning to end. They are not the result of serial production and the most interesting part is that every frame is proportionally measured and formed to fit the shape of the individual’s face.  Every piece of wood is carefully selected with a huge amount of control and processing. Glasses are made from local Slovenian wood as well as from other exotic wood types, which offer colour diversity and an interesting structure. High quality and custom-made – we want those glasses!

Do you find typing on your phone a nerve-wrecking chore? There is an excellent cure for that in the shape of the Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard by i-Tech. The device, which is the size of a small mobile phone, can be connected to any Bluetoothenabled smartphone, PDA or computer. The tiny box projects a full-sized keyboard onto any flat surface and allows for virtual typing. Its responsiveness is pretty good at 400 keystrokes per minute and is comparable to a real keyboard. We only refrain from recommending its use during meetings, because the noise could irritate the boss.

www.woodstock.si www.facebook.com/woodstockeyewear

www.bluetoothvirtualkeyboard.com


38 / 39

Fantastic

By Alenka Birk

4

Checkmate

1

Was it also enjoyed by Louis XIII, though?

Indulge in a fashionable checkmate with clothes with accented perpendicular lines. But don’t stop there – there’s a wide selection of fashionable accessories in plaid to complement your style. Currently the hottest are: Vivienne Westwood’s footwear, Givenchy’s Obsedia trendy backpack and a Kenzo shirt. Plaid on plaid is the new plaid.

The prestigious Louis XIII cognac by Rémy Martin is an absolute mastery of our time, a succession of daring initiatives and continuous strivings for quality. The Louis XIII elixir, a luxurious link between the past and future made with the passion of three generations of cellarmaster, opens the door to a glorious saga of luxury spirits.

www.farfetch.com

www.eshop.dvc-plus.si www.remymartin.com

2

All that Glitters is not gold

5

39

Do you want to become an owner of a gold-plated skateboard? Well then, get ready for white cotton archival gloves as well. Why? To prevent fingerprints! The world’s most expensive skateboard is on sale for 11,000 euros, about as much as a 2013 Ford Fiesta, and was designed by Matthew Willet from the New York SHUT skate shop. Matt has been a skateboarder all his life and wanted to create a golden and fully functional version of his favourite item. And he’s succeeded… but will anyone be allowed to ride it if it’s not even supposed to be touched by bare hands?

El Primero Zenith has left a strong impression on the history of aviation and space exploration. They’ve always managed to be in sync with great revolutionaries, including Gandhi, Blériot and Felix Baumgartner. Starting with Gandhi’s silver pocket watch, his faithful companion, and ending with the timepiece securely fastened to the wrist of Felix Baumgartner as he broke the sound barrier – the first watch to pass the space test – Zenith continues adding major chapters to the history of clock making. The El Primero wristwatch was the first automatic chronograph in the world and has boasted a spectacular cadence of 36,000 vibrations per hour.

38 www.thegoldenskateboard.com

www.malalan.com www.zenith-watches.com

3

6

Look through wood

Virtual Keyboard

…and look amazing! Wood is a natural product that gives you a feeling of warmth and special energy. Wood Stock wooden frames for sunglasses and prescription glasses are made with great accuracy, care and a high level of manual dexterity by one person from beginning to end. They are not the result of serial production and the most interesting part is that every frame is proportionally measured and formed to fit the shape of the individual’s face.  Every piece of wood is carefully selected with a huge amount of control and processing. Glasses are made from local Slovenian wood as well as from other exotic wood types, which offer colour diversity and an interesting structure. High quality and custom-made – we want those glasses!

Do you find typing on your phone a nerve-wrecking chore? There is an excellent cure for that in the shape of the Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard by i-Tech. The device, which is the size of a small mobile phone, can be connected to any Bluetoothenabled smartphone, PDA or computer. The tiny box projects a full-sized keyboard onto any flat surface and allows for virtual typing. Its responsiveness is pretty good at 400 keystrokes per minute and is comparable to a real keyboard. We only refrain from recommending its use during meetings, because the noise could irritate the boss.

www.woodstock.si www.facebook.com/woodstockeyewear

www.bluetoothvirtualkeyboard.com


40 / 45

Drive With Us

Drive With Us

Taking a BMW M4 through Alsace

WINE ROADS, BUGATTIS AND A LOT OF EUROPE by Miran Ališič photography Bor Dobrin

40

41

“Am I really in France?” I asked a passer-by.

Over 30 years have passed since I took my pushbike for a spin from Karlsruhe to Alsace. Across the fields to the Rhine and then on to the state of Pfalz. From the village of Neuburgweier into Neuburg am Rhein. Back then, cyclists had to pay almost nothing to cross the Rhine; well, even today the price for one person and a bicycle is only 2 euro and 30 cents. The difference being that back then you could see German policemen and French gendarmes a stone’s throw away from the ferry in the border village of Lauterbourg. Seeing a teenager on a bicycle with a Yugoslav passport surprised both sides, but mainly the French. But of course they let the young buck from the country of De Gaulle ally Marshal Tito into their land. After a few kilometres in the land of the tricolori I was completely amazed. The houses were more German than on the other side of the Rhine, the places only had German names and many, especially the elderly, spoke German well. “Am I really in France?” I remember asking somebody, somewhere. “No, you are in Alsace,” was his curt reply.

Follow the Maginot Line I returned thirty years later to check whether Alsace was still like it was in the middle of the Cold War, when France and Germany were not quite that active in building a new Europe. I did not use the ferry this time, and I did not take a bike. But I did start in Karlsruhe again, this time behind the wheel of a brand new BMW M4 with an Akrapovič exhaust, fitted in Wuppertal by the Manhart company. Just to make sure that we would be heard in Alsace. Instead of the ferry, I chose a majestic suspension bridge over the Rhine, part of a road linking Karlsruhe with Pfalz. I still crossed the border at the same place as back then. But this time there were no border patrol posts, only troughs with flowers, and definitely no indication in Lauterbourg that I was in a different country. Schengen had done its work here as well, smoothing out the area’s previous differences. After just a few kilometres of driving through idyllic villages, impeccably maintained fields and more and more forest, I finally arrived in the village of Schoenenbourg. The hamlet itself does not stand out in any way, but it does have one of the more imposing remnants of the Maginot Line at a nearby forest clearing. Looking at the fortification was obvious proof that the trust between the two nations had been extremely fragile for many years. Andre Maginot was the French Minister of War between the two world wars and after Hitler came to power in neighbouring Germany, the French begun constructing a series of forts, named the Maginot line. They were well aware that the führer would want to reclaim Alsace, which


40 / 45

Drive With Us

Drive With Us

Taking a BMW M4 through Alsace

WINE ROADS, BUGATTIS AND A LOT OF EUROPE by Miran Ališič photography Bor Dobrin

40

41

“Am I really in France?” I asked a passer-by.

Over 30 years have passed since I took my pushbike for a spin from Karlsruhe to Alsace. Across the fields to the Rhine and then on to the state of Pfalz. From the village of Neuburgweier into Neuburg am Rhein. Back then, cyclists had to pay almost nothing to cross the Rhine; well, even today the price for one person and a bicycle is only 2 euro and 30 cents. The difference being that back then you could see German policemen and French gendarmes a stone’s throw away from the ferry in the border village of Lauterbourg. Seeing a teenager on a bicycle with a Yugoslav passport surprised both sides, but mainly the French. But of course they let the young buck from the country of De Gaulle ally Marshal Tito into their land. After a few kilometres in the land of the tricolori I was completely amazed. The houses were more German than on the other side of the Rhine, the places only had German names and many, especially the elderly, spoke German well. “Am I really in France?” I remember asking somebody, somewhere. “No, you are in Alsace,” was his curt reply.

Follow the Maginot Line I returned thirty years later to check whether Alsace was still like it was in the middle of the Cold War, when France and Germany were not quite that active in building a new Europe. I did not use the ferry this time, and I did not take a bike. But I did start in Karlsruhe again, this time behind the wheel of a brand new BMW M4 with an Akrapovič exhaust, fitted in Wuppertal by the Manhart company. Just to make sure that we would be heard in Alsace. Instead of the ferry, I chose a majestic suspension bridge over the Rhine, part of a road linking Karlsruhe with Pfalz. I still crossed the border at the same place as back then. But this time there were no border patrol posts, only troughs with flowers, and definitely no indication in Lauterbourg that I was in a different country. Schengen had done its work here as well, smoothing out the area’s previous differences. After just a few kilometres of driving through idyllic villages, impeccably maintained fields and more and more forest, I finally arrived in the village of Schoenenbourg. The hamlet itself does not stand out in any way, but it does have one of the more imposing remnants of the Maginot Line at a nearby forest clearing. Looking at the fortification was obvious proof that the trust between the two nations had been extremely fragile for many years. Andre Maginot was the French Minister of War between the two world wars and after Hitler came to power in neighbouring Germany, the French begun constructing a series of forts, named the Maginot line. They were well aware that the führer would want to reclaim Alsace, which


40 / 45

Drive With Us

Molsheim – Home of Bugatti Automobiles

Mulhouse automobile museum Cite de l’Automobile, Musee National, Collection Schlumpf 15, rue de l’Epee, Mulhouse, www.citedelautomobile.com

was taken from Germany after World War I. However, in the end the line was ineffectual, as Hitler bypassed it and attacked France through Belgium. The deserted fortifications thus serve as a stark reminder that peace is not eternal and that wars are a continuous threat to our civilisation. There were not many tourists at the fort that evening, just a young motorcycle rider sitting on a rock. She was riding a Honda 500, without an Akrapovič exhaust, on a day trip from Karlsruhe. “I study there, I’m interested in psychology,” she explained. “Otherwise I’m from Kiel in the north of Germany.” She admitted that she didn’t know a lot about the Maginot line until now. “Both world wars are of course an important topic in Germany’s curriculum, but the Maginot line wasn’t really a big part of our classes in the north. Here in its vicinity I’ve learned a lot about it. I rode here to see the fortifications,” she said. Because it was getting dark, the BMW M4 also thundered away from the dark forests, still full of war memories, and raced onwards towards automotive history.

Bugatti’s Empire Molsheim is another prominent landmark of Alsace. Not because of its architecture, and not because of its museums. It would in fact be just another small town, if it were not for the car empire of Ettore Bugatti. Bugatti’s modern factory, now owned by the VW group, still stands in the town. Ettore came from an art and architecture family from Milano in Lombardy and is one of the pioneers of the car industry. His specialties were rich and luxurious vehicles. The biggest collection of his sumptuous cruisers in the world can be seen a bit further to the south, at the Cite de l’Automobile museum in Mulhouse. The museum houses over 130 Bugattis, including the famous blue racing type 35B,

The Dirringer Family from Dambach La Ville.

European Parliament, Strasbourg www.europarl.europa.eu

the same one in which William Grover won the first Monaco GP in Monte Carlo in 1929. Molsheim remembers Ettore with a splendorous villa and a park, which now houses the company’s management, but for more of the carmaker’s history you have to go to the museum, created by the Schlumpf family and now a part of the country’s national heritage. Textile baron Fritz Schlumpf started purchasing vintage cars in the 60s and kept them away from the public eye at his factory’s warehouse. The first to break the story of this secretive collection of over 200 cars was the L’Alsace newspaper in 1965. In 1966 Schlumpf began to prepare the collection to be shown to the public in a museum built at the warehouse, but his company ran into financial trouble, industrial actions removed any chance of dialogue, and the company owner, who had a Swiss father, fled to Basel after failing to sell the factory for 1 franc. They never returned. The museum was sealed, but the workers opened it and wrote numerous slogans on the cars. “I made 1400 francs a month, now you can see where the rest of the money has gone to!” After years of court battles, the museum was bought by the town of Mulhouse, in the Alsace region, the regional chamber of commerce and a committee of the Paris car show. This gave the facility a new lease on life, while the only concession won by the Schlumpf brothers was that it must forever be called Collection Schlumpf. Today it is probably the biggest and most beautiful automobile museum in the world.

When Cremant Tastes Better Than Champagne The most beautiful part of the drive for the BMW M4 was undoubtedly the Alsace wine road. A few kilometres west from the A35 motorway, south of Stras-

bourg, there emerges a hilly countryside, the edges of which are used for growing wine. The vineyards are basically on every plot of arable land. You only see German names here as well, regardless of whether you look at the names of places, restaurants, shops, or surnames…Marlenheim is the first town on the road and Leimbach, some 170 km to the south, the last. The road winds its way through hundreds of villages and towns, which grow seven kinds of grapes, of which only one is red. Pinot Noir is an exception in the vineyards, lorded over by the likes of Riesling, Pinot gris, Silvaner and Gewürztraminer. In the village of Dambach La Ville, around halfway down the road, I stop in front of a huge entrance, buzzing with people, machines, tractors with plastic containers…And that’s where I find the wine cellar of the Dirringer family. Catherine and Martial manage a farm with 18 hectares of grapes, almost half of it Riesling. “But we grow all the sorts found in Alsace,” begins the 50-year old lady, who speaks German with a strong French accent but prefers English. She says that they make the most wonderful Cremanto, a sparkling wine that is just like Champagne, but “cannot be called that. We also produce sparkling rose from pinot noir. Of course our Cremant is better than Champagne.” They are currently renovating a part of the cellar, transforming it into a shop and a wine-tasting area with a glass wall, which will allow visitors to look into the cellar proper. I used the opportunity to gather the entire family in front of the wine barrels, including père Jean-Louis and mere Marie-Rose. “We live well from selling our wine, we sell most of it by ourselves, but some is sent to shops nearby and some to restaurants. To make more or to export, no, we are too small for that,” concludes Catherine, who is the most proud of her Riesling, which “grows on granite and is thus exceptionally dry and very special.” I was convinced that this was so inside the cellar, where wine has been stored since 1784.

Ouvrage Schoenenbourg, Ligne Maginot Two kilometres north of the Schoenebourg village Outside can be seen for free and at all times

Blooming Region But Alsace has larger cities as well: Haugenau, Strasbourg, Colmar and Mulhouse. All are different, but Strasbourg is undoubtedly the most important of all. The city serves as one of Europe’s political capitals and has housed the Winston Churchill-devised Council of Europe since 1949. Three years later the European Parliament was established there and one can easily feel that the two nations really do gel well here, despite this area being the site of bloody wars for centuries. The new palace of the European Parliament is just as lively during sessions as are the villages, full of tourists, that dot the wine road. Moreover, the meetings provide an excellent backdrop for demonstrations, during which demonstrators mainly call for what the French and Germans have succeeded in doing: solving disputes peacefully in a parliament and not with guns. Those who do not like the new glass architecture will be wowed by the Notre Dame cathedral in the city’s centre. The most Germanic of French cathedrals is

Z BMW M4 po Alzaciji Črn, nekoliko spuščen in s tršim vzmetenjem dirkaško urejen BMW M4 je po alzaških cestah lahko ponudil nekaj užitkov na ovinkih gričev med vinogradi, po mestih z nekoliko slabšim asfaltom pa ne. Zaživel je šele na nemški avtocesti A5 med Baslom in Karlsruhejem. Končno se je merilnik hitrosti premaknil

surrounded by numerous streets with houses in the Alsatian style, which has also survived numerous wars and border changes. But should you prefer the much smaller Colmar, then you shouldn’t miss the d’Unterlinden museum, a Dominican monastery housing a Grünewald altar or, if you like a stroll by a canal, Le Petite Venise, where Alsatian houses with numerous flowers and the river Lauch remind you of a small village, rather than an industrial town. Mulhouse is the least interesting place for sightseeing, as it used to be an industrial town full of migratory workers and the collapse of the industry in the past decades has left very visible demographic scars. It is perhaps less well-known that Mulhouse chose France instead of becoming a Swiss canton a couple of centuries ago. It would be interesting to see how the history of this trading town of some 100,000 souls would have unfolded if its citizens in 1798 had become part of Switzerland instead. It might also be of interest that Mulhouse then had about 5,500 inhabitants. It is quite likely that in Switzerland the city would have remained a marginal village or a town in the shadow of pharmaceutical neighbour Basel.

čez 240 km na uro, ob prehitevanju kabrioletov so vozniki dvigovali palec in se navduševali nad zvokom Akrapovičevega izpuha; nekajkrat so se izkazale tudi zavore, saj so kljub šestpasovni cesti številni avtomobili precej počasi skakali na najbolj levi vozni pas. Ali pa se mi je to, ker sem sedel v tej bavarski zverini, le zdelo.

42

43


40 / 45

Drive With Us

Molsheim – Home of Bugatti Automobiles

Mulhouse automobile museum Cite de l’Automobile, Musee National, Collection Schlumpf 15, rue de l’Epee, Mulhouse, www.citedelautomobile.com

was taken from Germany after World War I. However, in the end the line was ineffectual, as Hitler bypassed it and attacked France through Belgium. The deserted fortifications thus serve as a stark reminder that peace is not eternal and that wars are a continuous threat to our civilisation. There were not many tourists at the fort that evening, just a young motorcycle rider sitting on a rock. She was riding a Honda 500, without an Akrapovič exhaust, on a day trip from Karlsruhe. “I study there, I’m interested in psychology,” she explained. “Otherwise I’m from Kiel in the north of Germany.” She admitted that she didn’t know a lot about the Maginot line until now. “Both world wars are of course an important topic in Germany’s curriculum, but the Maginot line wasn’t really a big part of our classes in the north. Here in its vicinity I’ve learned a lot about it. I rode here to see the fortifications,” she said. Because it was getting dark, the BMW M4 also thundered away from the dark forests, still full of war memories, and raced onwards towards automotive history.

Bugatti’s Empire Molsheim is another prominent landmark of Alsace. Not because of its architecture, and not because of its museums. It would in fact be just another small town, if it were not for the car empire of Ettore Bugatti. Bugatti’s modern factory, now owned by the VW group, still stands in the town. Ettore came from an art and architecture family from Milano in Lombardy and is one of the pioneers of the car industry. His specialties were rich and luxurious vehicles. The biggest collection of his sumptuous cruisers in the world can be seen a bit further to the south, at the Cite de l’Automobile museum in Mulhouse. The museum houses over 130 Bugattis, including the famous blue racing type 35B,

The Dirringer Family from Dambach La Ville.

European Parliament, Strasbourg www.europarl.europa.eu

the same one in which William Grover won the first Monaco GP in Monte Carlo in 1929. Molsheim remembers Ettore with a splendorous villa and a park, which now houses the company’s management, but for more of the carmaker’s history you have to go to the museum, created by the Schlumpf family and now a part of the country’s national heritage. Textile baron Fritz Schlumpf started purchasing vintage cars in the 60s and kept them away from the public eye at his factory’s warehouse. The first to break the story of this secretive collection of over 200 cars was the L’Alsace newspaper in 1965. In 1966 Schlumpf began to prepare the collection to be shown to the public in a museum built at the warehouse, but his company ran into financial trouble, industrial actions removed any chance of dialogue, and the company owner, who had a Swiss father, fled to Basel after failing to sell the factory for 1 franc. They never returned. The museum was sealed, but the workers opened it and wrote numerous slogans on the cars. “I made 1400 francs a month, now you can see where the rest of the money has gone to!” After years of court battles, the museum was bought by the town of Mulhouse, in the Alsace region, the regional chamber of commerce and a committee of the Paris car show. This gave the facility a new lease on life, while the only concession won by the Schlumpf brothers was that it must forever be called Collection Schlumpf. Today it is probably the biggest and most beautiful automobile museum in the world.

When Cremant Tastes Better Than Champagne The most beautiful part of the drive for the BMW M4 was undoubtedly the Alsace wine road. A few kilometres west from the A35 motorway, south of Stras-

bourg, there emerges a hilly countryside, the edges of which are used for growing wine. The vineyards are basically on every plot of arable land. You only see German names here as well, regardless of whether you look at the names of places, restaurants, shops, or surnames…Marlenheim is the first town on the road and Leimbach, some 170 km to the south, the last. The road winds its way through hundreds of villages and towns, which grow seven kinds of grapes, of which only one is red. Pinot Noir is an exception in the vineyards, lorded over by the likes of Riesling, Pinot gris, Silvaner and Gewürztraminer. In the village of Dambach La Ville, around halfway down the road, I stop in front of a huge entrance, buzzing with people, machines, tractors with plastic containers…And that’s where I find the wine cellar of the Dirringer family. Catherine and Martial manage a farm with 18 hectares of grapes, almost half of it Riesling. “But we grow all the sorts found in Alsace,” begins the 50-year old lady, who speaks German with a strong French accent but prefers English. She says that they make the most wonderful Cremanto, a sparkling wine that is just like Champagne, but “cannot be called that. We also produce sparkling rose from pinot noir. Of course our Cremant is better than Champagne.” They are currently renovating a part of the cellar, transforming it into a shop and a wine-tasting area with a glass wall, which will allow visitors to look into the cellar proper. I used the opportunity to gather the entire family in front of the wine barrels, including père Jean-Louis and mere Marie-Rose. “We live well from selling our wine, we sell most of it by ourselves, but some is sent to shops nearby and some to restaurants. To make more or to export, no, we are too small for that,” concludes Catherine, who is the most proud of her Riesling, which “grows on granite and is thus exceptionally dry and very special.” I was convinced that this was so inside the cellar, where wine has been stored since 1784.

Ouvrage Schoenenbourg, Ligne Maginot Two kilometres north of the Schoenebourg village Outside can be seen for free and at all times

Blooming Region But Alsace has larger cities as well: Haugenau, Strasbourg, Colmar and Mulhouse. All are different, but Strasbourg is undoubtedly the most important of all. The city serves as one of Europe’s political capitals and has housed the Winston Churchill-devised Council of Europe since 1949. Three years later the European Parliament was established there and one can easily feel that the two nations really do gel well here, despite this area being the site of bloody wars for centuries. The new palace of the European Parliament is just as lively during sessions as are the villages, full of tourists, that dot the wine road. Moreover, the meetings provide an excellent backdrop for demonstrations, during which demonstrators mainly call for what the French and Germans have succeeded in doing: solving disputes peacefully in a parliament and not with guns. Those who do not like the new glass architecture will be wowed by the Notre Dame cathedral in the city’s centre. The most Germanic of French cathedrals is

Z BMW M4 po Alzaciji Črn, nekoliko spuščen in s tršim vzmetenjem dirkaško urejen BMW M4 je po alzaških cestah lahko ponudil nekaj užitkov na ovinkih gričev med vinogradi, po mestih z nekoliko slabšim asfaltom pa ne. Zaživel je šele na nemški avtocesti A5 med Baslom in Karlsruhejem. Končno se je merilnik hitrosti premaknil

surrounded by numerous streets with houses in the Alsatian style, which has also survived numerous wars and border changes. But should you prefer the much smaller Colmar, then you shouldn’t miss the d’Unterlinden museum, a Dominican monastery housing a Grünewald altar or, if you like a stroll by a canal, Le Petite Venise, where Alsatian houses with numerous flowers and the river Lauch remind you of a small village, rather than an industrial town. Mulhouse is the least interesting place for sightseeing, as it used to be an industrial town full of migratory workers and the collapse of the industry in the past decades has left very visible demographic scars. It is perhaps less well-known that Mulhouse chose France instead of becoming a Swiss canton a couple of centuries ago. It would be interesting to see how the history of this trading town of some 100,000 souls would have unfolded if its citizens in 1798 had become part of Switzerland instead. It might also be of interest that Mulhouse then had about 5,500 inhabitants. It is quite likely that in Switzerland the city would have remained a marginal village or a town in the shadow of pharmaceutical neighbour Basel.

čez 240 km na uro, ob prehitevanju kabrioletov so vozniki dvigovali palec in se navduševali nad zvokom Akrapovičevega izpuha; nekajkrat so se izkazale tudi zavore, saj so kljub šestpasovni cesti številni avtomobili precej počasi skakali na najbolj levi vozni pas. Ali pa se mi je to, ker sem sedel v tej bavarski zverini, le zdelo.

42

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40 / 45

Drive With Us

The black, somewhat lowered BMW M4, equipped with racing suspension, allowed for some driving pleasures on the windy Alsatian roads traversing the vineyards, but its 400 hp more or less suffered in the cities with their less-thanoptimal tarmac and on the busy and speed-limited A35 motorway. That is why coming back to the start was the way to go. The German A5 motorway between Basel and Karlsruhe on the other side of the Rhine allows for ample opportunities to test a machine’s capabilities, if the traffic allows it. The speedometer finally passed 240 km/h, and drivers of convertibles gave the machine the thumbs up as the sound of the Akrapovič exhaust thundered past them. The brakes also had a chance to shine, since despite the six lanes, numerous cars only very slowly moved to the far-left lane. Or maybe that was just my impression, sitting in a Bavarian beast.

44

Alsace remains divided between Germany and France, but contemporary Europe has changed it into a blooming region, which combines both of its facets. It retains the charm and leisure of the French bon vivantism on the one and the German industrial and business order and precision on the other hand. The mixing of people from both sides of the border meanwhile means that the historical grudges, wounds and pains of numerous generations will finally fade away. If any place, then Alsace really benefitted from the European Union.

45

The Maginot Line and its fortifications.

Wine road Hotel L’Ami Fritz 8, rue des Chateaux, Ottrott – le – Haut www.amifritz.com

Alsace retains the charm and leisure of the French bon vivantism on the one hand and German order on the other hand.

The speedometer finally passed 240 km/h, and drivers of convertibles gave the machine the thumbs up as the sound of the Akrapovic exhaust thundered past them.

L’Auberge de L’Ill restaurant 2, rue de Collonges au Mont d’Or, Illhaueusern www.auberge-de-l-ill.com Au Tire – Bouchon Resttaurant 29, rue du General de Gaulle, Riquewihr www.riquewihr-zimmer.com Domaine Dirringer wine cellar 5, rue du Marechal Foch, Dambach – la – Ville www.dirringer.fr


40 / 45

Drive With Us

The black, somewhat lowered BMW M4, equipped with racing suspension, allowed for some driving pleasures on the windy Alsatian roads traversing the vineyards, but its 400 hp more or less suffered in the cities with their less-thanoptimal tarmac and on the busy and speed-limited A35 motorway. That is why coming back to the start was the way to go. The German A5 motorway between Basel and Karlsruhe on the other side of the Rhine allows for ample opportunities to test a machine’s capabilities, if the traffic allows it. The speedometer finally passed 240 km/h, and drivers of convertibles gave the machine the thumbs up as the sound of the Akrapovič exhaust thundered past them. The brakes also had a chance to shine, since despite the six lanes, numerous cars only very slowly moved to the far-left lane. Or maybe that was just my impression, sitting in a Bavarian beast.

44

Alsace remains divided between Germany and France, but contemporary Europe has changed it into a blooming region, which combines both of its facets. It retains the charm and leisure of the French bon vivantism on the one and the German industrial and business order and precision on the other hand. The mixing of people from both sides of the border meanwhile means that the historical grudges, wounds and pains of numerous generations will finally fade away. If any place, then Alsace really benefitted from the European Union.

45

The Maginot Line and its fortifications.

Wine road Hotel L’Ami Fritz 8, rue des Chateaux, Ottrott – le – Haut www.amifritz.com

Alsace retains the charm and leisure of the French bon vivantism on the one hand and German order on the other hand.

The speedometer finally passed 240 km/h, and drivers of convertibles gave the machine the thumbs up as the sound of the Akrapovic exhaust thundered past them.

L’Auberge de L’Ill restaurant 2, rue de Collonges au Mont d’Or, Illhaueusern www.auberge-de-l-ill.com Au Tire – Bouchon Resttaurant 29, rue du General de Gaulle, Riquewihr www.riquewihr-zimmer.com Domaine Dirringer wine cellar 5, rue du Marechal Foch, Dambach – la – Ville www.dirringer.fr


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Go Wild

Interview

Magnus Walker

DIAL 911 !!

46

47

by Gaber Keržišnik photography Magnus Walker Archive

“Currently, my biggest problem is that I’ve turned into a tourist attraction!” When tourists come to Los Angeles, the must-see spots are Beverly Hills and Universal Studios and the must-dos are taking photos at the Walk of Fame with its embedded stars with the big hitters from the movie and music industry, taking photos under the famous Hollywood sign and dropping by that funny guy with long hair and beard who collects old Porsches. “I’ve become a tourist destination.”

I am Not a Mechanic and I Do Not Have a Garage

“Even though my address isn’t published anywhere, even though I live in the industrial part of LA and even though I have no sign or bell, Ford Mustang convertibles and Chevrolet Camaros, rented from various rent-a-car companies, stop in front of my garage on a daily basis. People knock on my door and ring the bell on any day and at all possible times. They simply seem to find me and come take a look. Usually without an announcement,” says Magnus Walker as he sits behind his computer at a desk in the middle of a humongous loft in an old brick warehouse. The large sliding doors with a view of the garden were open and the

warm April sun shone leisurely through them. The Californian breeze blew gently through the open wall and a large placid dog was basking in the sunlight.

Magnus Walker is drowning in a mass of various car magazines, all of them showing either his portrait or a Porsche from his collection on the cover.

“To be honest, I don’t really know whether I’ve read all the printed and online articles about me in the past two or three years. I’ve gotten lost in the flood of all the magazines that are being sent

to me. And I sometimes feel that I’ve become a typical American success story. Nobody knew me about three years ago, but today they treat me like a rock star. I don’t really know where all of this will end and where it’s taking me, but I’m interested in this future and continue walking towards it. I try to remain the same as I was before my fame, and so far I’ve been delighted to continue on the path that’s opening up. Once it becomes a burden, once I stop having fun with it all, I’m going to close my door and not open it to anyone,” he added as we walked towards his garage. His clothing style has become his trademark. Worn and patched clothes, chequered shirts, torn

jeans and the same worn leather boots have become as renowned as the collection of the Porsches in his garage. And maybe, that’s the reason for it.

Adopted by Porsche

Magnus Walker must be the most unconventional icon of the German brand, because his appearance is much more like that of the homeless who ramble around his garage in downtown LA. And the Germans got it in a sec. The guys at the main plant in Zuffenhausen instantly took to Magnus and adopted him. But there’s more. It seems that Magnus, with his naturalness and spontaneity, was sent to the German brand by God himself.


46 / 51

Go Wild

Interview

Magnus Walker

DIAL 911 !!

46

47

by Gaber Keržišnik photography Magnus Walker Archive

“Currently, my biggest problem is that I’ve turned into a tourist attraction!” When tourists come to Los Angeles, the must-see spots are Beverly Hills and Universal Studios and the must-dos are taking photos at the Walk of Fame with its embedded stars with the big hitters from the movie and music industry, taking photos under the famous Hollywood sign and dropping by that funny guy with long hair and beard who collects old Porsches. “I’ve become a tourist destination.”

I am Not a Mechanic and I Do Not Have a Garage

“Even though my address isn’t published anywhere, even though I live in the industrial part of LA and even though I have no sign or bell, Ford Mustang convertibles and Chevrolet Camaros, rented from various rent-a-car companies, stop in front of my garage on a daily basis. People knock on my door and ring the bell on any day and at all possible times. They simply seem to find me and come take a look. Usually without an announcement,” says Magnus Walker as he sits behind his computer at a desk in the middle of a humongous loft in an old brick warehouse. The large sliding doors with a view of the garden were open and the

warm April sun shone leisurely through them. The Californian breeze blew gently through the open wall and a large placid dog was basking in the sunlight.

Magnus Walker is drowning in a mass of various car magazines, all of them showing either his portrait or a Porsche from his collection on the cover.

“To be honest, I don’t really know whether I’ve read all the printed and online articles about me in the past two or three years. I’ve gotten lost in the flood of all the magazines that are being sent

to me. And I sometimes feel that I’ve become a typical American success story. Nobody knew me about three years ago, but today they treat me like a rock star. I don’t really know where all of this will end and where it’s taking me, but I’m interested in this future and continue walking towards it. I try to remain the same as I was before my fame, and so far I’ve been delighted to continue on the path that’s opening up. Once it becomes a burden, once I stop having fun with it all, I’m going to close my door and not open it to anyone,” he added as we walked towards his garage. His clothing style has become his trademark. Worn and patched clothes, chequered shirts, torn

jeans and the same worn leather boots have become as renowned as the collection of the Porsches in his garage. And maybe, that’s the reason for it.

Adopted by Porsche

Magnus Walker must be the most unconventional icon of the German brand, because his appearance is much more like that of the homeless who ramble around his garage in downtown LA. And the Germans got it in a sec. The guys at the main plant in Zuffenhausen instantly took to Magnus and adopted him. But there’s more. It seems that Magnus, with his naturalness and spontaneity, was sent to the German brand by God himself.


46 / 51

Go Wild

49

48

“Once I got used to the Porsche, I discovered that the Jaguar was a poor ride. So I sold it.” you go Porsche, you know what a true sports car feels like. I owned and drove various cars. I even had a Ferrari in my garage for a while, and I tested the legendary Lamborghini Countach… but there’s something missing with all of them. I found faults with all of them. But the Porsche is the most universal. Relatively comfortable, with enough space, good handling, great build quality and no issues. Once you draw the line, it’s the most versatile sports car of them all. For muscle cars I swear on American vehicles, but for sports cars I stick to German ones,” added Walker, not forgetting to add that a BMW, usually used by the missus, has been parked in front of the house through all these years. “I walk to work anyways. Previously my wife and I lived in a giant loft above the garage, but we’ve moved to a nearby flat just recently. We now rent the upper part of the loft, where we used to stay, to various movie studios.”

A Collector and a Character

So, who is Magnus Walker, an eccentric whose appearance and collection of old Porsches made the entire automobile world go gaga? Magnus moved to the US from England in 1986. According to his own words he had 200 dollars in his pocket and not a clue what to do to make a living in the States. When I asked him why he made the move, he gave me a puzzled look. “North Sheffield? What was I supposed to do there? Do you know how miserable it was in the 80s?! No future. On the other side of the pond there was plenty. America had sex, drugs and rock and roll! Of course I packed my bags and flew off.” He was 25 when he bought his first Porsche and he’s probably owned over 50 up to now. He is a collector. And a tuner. A restorer. With his own individual style. And sometimes he also sells one of them. Some mistakenly believe that Magnus makes his living by reselling old Porsches,

Photo: Michel Neven

Because it happened during the boom and at a time when Porsche was doing great: a guy like Magnus was like icing on the cake for the brand. The best thing that the company’s PR department could have imagined in times when everybody wanted to be unique and exclusive and when global corporations increasingly stressed the non-commercial aspect of brand loyalty in relation to their customers. Passion. Loyalty. The love of driving. “You know…I used to have other sports cars in the beginning. American muscle cars. Dodges and Ford Mustangs. I still think that the Dodge Rumble Bee is the fastest car for traffic light to traffic light racing in the world. It hasn’t been surpassed. I owned an English Lotus, but it felt underwhelming in my opinion. And the Jaguar E- Type. A gorgeous vehicle and the last one of all that I sold. But, once I got used to the Porsche, I discovered that the Jaguar was a poor ride. So I sold it. I drove numerous cars, but once


46 / 51

Go Wild

49

48

“Once I got used to the Porsche, I discovered that the Jaguar was a poor ride. So I sold it.” you go Porsche, you know what a true sports car feels like. I owned and drove various cars. I even had a Ferrari in my garage for a while, and I tested the legendary Lamborghini Countach… but there’s something missing with all of them. I found faults with all of them. But the Porsche is the most universal. Relatively comfortable, with enough space, good handling, great build quality and no issues. Once you draw the line, it’s the most versatile sports car of them all. For muscle cars I swear on American vehicles, but for sports cars I stick to German ones,” added Walker, not forgetting to add that a BMW, usually used by the missus, has been parked in front of the house through all these years. “I walk to work anyways. Previously my wife and I lived in a giant loft above the garage, but we’ve moved to a nearby flat just recently. We now rent the upper part of the loft, where we used to stay, to various movie studios.”

A Collector and a Character

So, who is Magnus Walker, an eccentric whose appearance and collection of old Porsches made the entire automobile world go gaga? Magnus moved to the US from England in 1986. According to his own words he had 200 dollars in his pocket and not a clue what to do to make a living in the States. When I asked him why he made the move, he gave me a puzzled look. “North Sheffield? What was I supposed to do there? Do you know how miserable it was in the 80s?! No future. On the other side of the pond there was plenty. America had sex, drugs and rock and roll! Of course I packed my bags and flew off.” He was 25 when he bought his first Porsche and he’s probably owned over 50 up to now. He is a collector. And a tuner. A restorer. With his own individual style. And sometimes he also sells one of them. Some mistakenly believe that Magnus makes his living by reselling old Porsches,

Photo: Michel Neven

Because it happened during the boom and at a time when Porsche was doing great: a guy like Magnus was like icing on the cake for the brand. The best thing that the company’s PR department could have imagined in times when everybody wanted to be unique and exclusive and when global corporations increasingly stressed the non-commercial aspect of brand loyalty in relation to their customers. Passion. Loyalty. The love of driving. “You know…I used to have other sports cars in the beginning. American muscle cars. Dodges and Ford Mustangs. I still think that the Dodge Rumble Bee is the fastest car for traffic light to traffic light racing in the world. It hasn’t been surpassed. I owned an English Lotus, but it felt underwhelming in my opinion. And the Jaguar E- Type. A gorgeous vehicle and the last one of all that I sold. But, once I got used to the Porsche, I discovered that the Jaguar was a poor ride. So I sold it. I drove numerous cars, but once


46 / 51

“I want to have them all. Everything that Porsche made.”

51

Photo: Michel Neven

repairing or tuning them. None of the above. Magnus is first and foremost a Porsche collector and predominantly buys them. And while he said in his documentary that he has all of them but the 1973 model, he’s found that one since then. Now he really has them all, according to the year of manufacture, starting in 1964. A 911 with air cooling. But more than that, he has substantially increased his collection of air-cooled turbo 911s. Six of these beauties stand in his garage in the middle of a warehouse in downtown LA. “But I’m moving on now. The adventure’s not over yet. I’m interested in everything that Porsche made,” says Magnus and, when poked on why there are no coveted 911s with the company’s internal names 964 or 993 in the garage, replies: “They will get here. I definitely want to have a 993 and 964. For sure. But not just the 911 models, I’ll get its predecessor as well. The 356. I want it. And I want other, less popular models. 944 is a great car and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I’m also interested in the 928 and the old but legendary 914. I want to have them all. Everything made by Porsche. Look at this. Come with me, I’ll show you something,” he said taking me to a neighbouring warehouse, where he keeps unrestored and unfinished cars. “I bought it recently for a mere 5,000 dollars. For free! On eBay,” he added as we stood in front of a well-preserved original Porsche 924 turbo, which many Porsche lovers consider to be the company’s least desirable model ever. “When I posted a photo of it on Instagram I got a ton of feedback. People thought I had lost my mind. Magnus bought a 924…was the shocking news. But I believe that people do injustice to this car. It’s still a Porsche and just having a front-mounted engine doesn’t make it shitty. I’m interested in it, I want to have it, it belongs in the collection, it’s well preserved and so I got it. Full stop. It will remain as it is. Both of them, actually. They are too beautiful to be renovated. It wouldn’t be right to convert vehicles that are original enough,” he added while pointing to another 911 standing next to the 924, while the completely naked body of yet another 911 awaiting a paint job is on a stand behind us. Everything with Magnus bears the Porsche sign. He got into the business of collecting and tuning Porsches in earnest five years ago. So when he got a call from Tamir Moscovici who proposed making a 5-minute documentary to be published online, he had no idea what a bang it would cause. “Moscovici flew in with all the gear and the original five minutes turned into half an hour. When we published the teaser in June last year, we got an amazing 5,000 views in the first few hours!

Go Wild

By the end of the day, the number rose to an astonishing 25,000. How did that happen? It turned out that the trailer was published on the site of BBC’s Top Gear. And everything just got better since then. The first showing of the Urban Outlaw happened in England and tickets were sold out. People came from different countries to see a 30 minute film about a character who drives Porsches. Some even flew in to see half an hour of Magnus Walker. After the movie came out, things were put in motion. Just a week later, he got a call from famous fast car lover and celebrity talk show host Jay Leno. Leno wanted to showcase Magnus, his Porsches and his life story in his show Jay Leno’s Garage.

A Decisive No to a Reality Show

Then the floodgates opened. Emails started coming in, the phone was ringing off the hook, journalists passed each other outside the front door. Everybody wanted a piece of the unusual and mightily different Porsche owner. Magnus, who left school as a boy at the age of 15 and decided to make his own luck, is currently the hottest topic on the automobile scene. Because he is different. Because he is an atypical Porsche owner and an atypical car collector. Magnus’s philosophy, residence and garage, cars and appearance break the moulds of a classical car collector. Magnus is natural, primal, pristine and modern. Magnus is simply Magnus. “I can understand that American reporters and aficionados jumped on me. But I receive requests for cooperation and interviews from Spain, Romania,

50

the Czech Republic, Israel…” He was a guest of honour at Porsche’s exhibition area at the Essen motor show a while ago. As an easily recognisable character, he is also behind the wheel of his red, white and blue 911 with the characteristic number 277 in the company’s commercial for its Macan model and the only individual in the ad who is not a TV or film actor. Shuco, a company making scale model cars, made a limited series of Magnus’s Porsche 911 with the number 277, and these were sold out immediately. One of his cars was sold at last year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, one of the most reputable auctions for classic sports cars, where the machines change hands for a few million dollars apiece. Porsche recently organised a convention for its major dealers in Magnus’s garage. The company flew tons of equipment from Germany and even a 1:3 scale model of the new Porsche Macan (prior to the official unveiling and launch of sales). The official event took place entirely on his premises in the heart of the industrial part of LA. “Porsche have been nice to me. We cooperate well, but I’m not on their payroll. I simply live the life of a Porsche lover and I’m not paid to advertise the brand. I don’t receive a cent from

them.” Magnus is natural, there is nothing fake about him and this is how he will remain. “I don’t sell cars. Or I do it very rarely. I receive daily emails about this, even from the extremely wealthy. They would like to have my car in their collection and price is not an issue. The only thing that matters is whether I’m ready to sell it. I have a list of people who want to purchase my creations. When I decide to sell one, I simply call or send an email. Usually I only need to announce that I’m selling a Porsche and the money is on my account the next day,” said Magnus, who still successfully rejects numerous proposals for his own TV reality show. Apparently, the producers are at his door every day. Would you like your own reality show? Your popularity will skyrocket. ‘What’s that? You don’t?!’ “No. I don’t want one and I appreciate my time. To sit in my car and go for a ride on one of the twisty roads here in California and in one of my old Porsches. They have souls. Once you sit in them, your nostrils get the whiff of 50 years of each individual vehicle. The smell of leather, sweat, motor oil, mould. The characteristic smell of an old and used car. Of a Porsche. And driving them truly is a pleasure. You feel every bit of the road, you accelerate, brake, shift gears… the old cars really give you a sense that you drive and when you get home, you always feel a bit tired,” Magnus explains, and continues: “I’ve done thousands of kilometres in the newest Porsches last year. The company gives me anything I want. Any model. I can take the car and drive off. And these are all wonderful machines. So good, so fast, so modern and comfortable. I’d have one in a heartbeat. But the difference between the old and new is still present. Older machines have more charm. They come with character, soul, patina. The new ones lack that. Driving an old Porsche is pure freedom for me.”

“I can understand that American reporters and aficionados jumped on me. But I receive requests for cooperation and interviews from Spain, Romania, the Czech Republic, Israel…”

Zbiralec in posebnež Danes vsi hočejo zgodbo o nenavadnem in hudo drugačnem lastniku porschejev. Magnus Walker, fant, ki je pri petnajstih letih zapustil šolo v Angliji in se odpravil s trebuhom za kruhom v ZDA, je danes na avtomobilski sceni najbolj vroča tema. Ker je drugačen. Ker je netipičen lastnik porscheja in ker je netipičen zbiralec avtomobilov. Walker s svojim razmišljanjem, prostorom, avtomobili in pojavo izstopa iz kalupa klasičnega zbiralca avtomobilov. Magnus Walker je naraven, prvinski, pristen in sodoben. Magnus Walker je pač on. “Največ mi pomeni, da sedem v avto in se odpeljem z njim. Na kakšno zavito cesto v Kaliforniji. S katerim od svojih starih porschejev. Ti imajo zame dušo. Vonj po usnju, znoju, motornem olju, plesni. Ko čutiš vsak del ceste, pospešuješ, zaviraš, menjaš prestave … v starih avtomobilih čutiš, da se pelješ. In prideš domov vedno nekoliko utrujen,” še opisuje Walker.


46 / 51

“I want to have them all. Everything that Porsche made.”

51

Photo: Michel Neven

repairing or tuning them. None of the above. Magnus is first and foremost a Porsche collector and predominantly buys them. And while he said in his documentary that he has all of them but the 1973 model, he’s found that one since then. Now he really has them all, according to the year of manufacture, starting in 1964. A 911 with air cooling. But more than that, he has substantially increased his collection of air-cooled turbo 911s. Six of these beauties stand in his garage in the middle of a warehouse in downtown LA. “But I’m moving on now. The adventure’s not over yet. I’m interested in everything that Porsche made,” says Magnus and, when poked on why there are no coveted 911s with the company’s internal names 964 or 993 in the garage, replies: “They will get here. I definitely want to have a 993 and 964. For sure. But not just the 911 models, I’ll get its predecessor as well. The 356. I want it. And I want other, less popular models. 944 is a great car and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I’m also interested in the 928 and the old but legendary 914. I want to have them all. Everything made by Porsche. Look at this. Come with me, I’ll show you something,” he said taking me to a neighbouring warehouse, where he keeps unrestored and unfinished cars. “I bought it recently for a mere 5,000 dollars. For free! On eBay,” he added as we stood in front of a well-preserved original Porsche 924 turbo, which many Porsche lovers consider to be the company’s least desirable model ever. “When I posted a photo of it on Instagram I got a ton of feedback. People thought I had lost my mind. Magnus bought a 924…was the shocking news. But I believe that people do injustice to this car. It’s still a Porsche and just having a front-mounted engine doesn’t make it shitty. I’m interested in it, I want to have it, it belongs in the collection, it’s well preserved and so I got it. Full stop. It will remain as it is. Both of them, actually. They are too beautiful to be renovated. It wouldn’t be right to convert vehicles that are original enough,” he added while pointing to another 911 standing next to the 924, while the completely naked body of yet another 911 awaiting a paint job is on a stand behind us. Everything with Magnus bears the Porsche sign. He got into the business of collecting and tuning Porsches in earnest five years ago. So when he got a call from Tamir Moscovici who proposed making a 5-minute documentary to be published online, he had no idea what a bang it would cause. “Moscovici flew in with all the gear and the original five minutes turned into half an hour. When we published the teaser in June last year, we got an amazing 5,000 views in the first few hours!

Go Wild

By the end of the day, the number rose to an astonishing 25,000. How did that happen? It turned out that the trailer was published on the site of BBC’s Top Gear. And everything just got better since then. The first showing of the Urban Outlaw happened in England and tickets were sold out. People came from different countries to see a 30 minute film about a character who drives Porsches. Some even flew in to see half an hour of Magnus Walker. After the movie came out, things were put in motion. Just a week later, he got a call from famous fast car lover and celebrity talk show host Jay Leno. Leno wanted to showcase Magnus, his Porsches and his life story in his show Jay Leno’s Garage.

A Decisive No to a Reality Show

Then the floodgates opened. Emails started coming in, the phone was ringing off the hook, journalists passed each other outside the front door. Everybody wanted a piece of the unusual and mightily different Porsche owner. Magnus, who left school as a boy at the age of 15 and decided to make his own luck, is currently the hottest topic on the automobile scene. Because he is different. Because he is an atypical Porsche owner and an atypical car collector. Magnus’s philosophy, residence and garage, cars and appearance break the moulds of a classical car collector. Magnus is natural, primal, pristine and modern. Magnus is simply Magnus. “I can understand that American reporters and aficionados jumped on me. But I receive requests for cooperation and interviews from Spain, Romania,

50

the Czech Republic, Israel…” He was a guest of honour at Porsche’s exhibition area at the Essen motor show a while ago. As an easily recognisable character, he is also behind the wheel of his red, white and blue 911 with the characteristic number 277 in the company’s commercial for its Macan model and the only individual in the ad who is not a TV or film actor. Shuco, a company making scale model cars, made a limited series of Magnus’s Porsche 911 with the number 277, and these were sold out immediately. One of his cars was sold at last year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, one of the most reputable auctions for classic sports cars, where the machines change hands for a few million dollars apiece. Porsche recently organised a convention for its major dealers in Magnus’s garage. The company flew tons of equipment from Germany and even a 1:3 scale model of the new Porsche Macan (prior to the official unveiling and launch of sales). The official event took place entirely on his premises in the heart of the industrial part of LA. “Porsche have been nice to me. We cooperate well, but I’m not on their payroll. I simply live the life of a Porsche lover and I’m not paid to advertise the brand. I don’t receive a cent from

them.” Magnus is natural, there is nothing fake about him and this is how he will remain. “I don’t sell cars. Or I do it very rarely. I receive daily emails about this, even from the extremely wealthy. They would like to have my car in their collection and price is not an issue. The only thing that matters is whether I’m ready to sell it. I have a list of people who want to purchase my creations. When I decide to sell one, I simply call or send an email. Usually I only need to announce that I’m selling a Porsche and the money is on my account the next day,” said Magnus, who still successfully rejects numerous proposals for his own TV reality show. Apparently, the producers are at his door every day. Would you like your own reality show? Your popularity will skyrocket. ‘What’s that? You don’t?!’ “No. I don’t want one and I appreciate my time. To sit in my car and go for a ride on one of the twisty roads here in California and in one of my old Porsches. They have souls. Once you sit in them, your nostrils get the whiff of 50 years of each individual vehicle. The smell of leather, sweat, motor oil, mould. The characteristic smell of an old and used car. Of a Porsche. And driving them truly is a pleasure. You feel every bit of the road, you accelerate, brake, shift gears… the old cars really give you a sense that you drive and when you get home, you always feel a bit tired,” Magnus explains, and continues: “I’ve done thousands of kilometres in the newest Porsches last year. The company gives me anything I want. Any model. I can take the car and drive off. And these are all wonderful machines. So good, so fast, so modern and comfortable. I’d have one in a heartbeat. But the difference between the old and new is still present. Older machines have more charm. They come with character, soul, patina. The new ones lack that. Driving an old Porsche is pure freedom for me.”

“I can understand that American reporters and aficionados jumped on me. But I receive requests for cooperation and interviews from Spain, Romania, the Czech Republic, Israel…”

Zbiralec in posebnež Danes vsi hočejo zgodbo o nenavadnem in hudo drugačnem lastniku porschejev. Magnus Walker, fant, ki je pri petnajstih letih zapustil šolo v Angliji in se odpravil s trebuhom za kruhom v ZDA, je danes na avtomobilski sceni najbolj vroča tema. Ker je drugačen. Ker je netipičen lastnik porscheja in ker je netipičen zbiralec avtomobilov. Walker s svojim razmišljanjem, prostorom, avtomobili in pojavo izstopa iz kalupa klasičnega zbiralca avtomobilov. Magnus Walker je naraven, prvinski, pristen in sodoben. Magnus Walker je pač on. “Največ mi pomeni, da sedem v avto in se odpeljem z njim. Na kakšno zavito cesto v Kaliforniji. S katerim od svojih starih porschejev. Ti imajo zame dušo. Vonj po usnju, znoju, motornem olju, plesni. Ko čutiš vsak del ceste, pospešuješ, zaviraš, menjaš prestave … v starih avtomobilih čutiš, da se pelješ. In prideš domov vedno nekoliko utrujen,” še opisuje Walker.


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Visit with us

Ba k u , Azerba i j a n

Baku to the

Visit with us

Future

53

52

by Kia Armstrong photography Profimedia

Forget London, New York, Paris; Baku is where it’s at these days. The ancient Phoenix of the Eurasian republic of Azerbaijan is emerging from the flames, pristine and ready for international fun and games. It is a spectacular new metropolis, bejeweled by the glittering Caspian and rolling in money.

“Azer where?” I hear you ask. Perhaps you remember the Eurovision Song Contest, which took place here in the impressive Crystal Hall in 2012. Azerbaijan is a small eagle-shaped country nestled in the southern regions of the Caucasus, and is bordered by Iran to the south, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest and Armenia to the west. It’s known as the land of fire and the cradle of Zoroastrianism. Historically and culturally, it is on the crossroads of Europe and Asia and was, of course, an important trading station on the Silk Road. Impressive Paleolithic cave paintings in Gobustan, just outside the capital Baku, bear witness to human settlement as early as the Stone and Bronze ages. Later, the area became part of Alexander the Great’s Empire. The Grand Khan’s palaces, some lovingly restored, still remind us of the era of independent Khanates, with turban-clad khans and sultans autocratically reigning over their subjects. After 1813, Azerbaijan was incorporated into the Russian Empire. A brief time of independence in the early 20th century was

followed by an unhappy period of Soviet occupation until 1991, after which Azerbaijan has once again been truly independent and has been going from strength to strength in its own right. Interestingly, Azerbaijan was the first Muslim nation to accord women equal political rights with men as early as 1918 and the Baku State University was the first modern style university founded in the Muslim East in 1919. Azerbaijan is a very wealthy country with substantial oil and gas reserves. Politically stable, its president Ilham Aliyev and his family are popular, his father, the previous leader, Heydar Aliyev, positively revered. It has a population of about 9 million, mostly of Turkic and Iranian origin, some of Russian extraction, and an expat community of around 10,000 people of many different nationalities, most of them, in one way or another, associated with the oil industries. The main religion here is Islam but these are vodka-drinking Muslims and certainly in the cosmopolitan capital

Baku you rarely see headscarves or even hear calls to prayer. It’s all very relaxed! Baku, on Azerbaijan’s Absheron peninsula, is a most attractive city with stunning architecture, a mix of old (think Prague) and brand spanking new (think Dubai), much of it developed over the last five years or so – with more in progress. There are many well designed large open public spaces with some interesting street art scattered about, and the city’s position right on the Caspian Sea makes for some beautiful vistas. A long seaside promenade, the ‘Bulvar’, is home to a plethora of International top-drawer designer clothes shops, some super-smart international five-star hotels, some very impressive museums and art galleries and plenty of eateries, cafes and restaurants for all budgets and tastes. Expats and visitors with discerning tastes and very deep pockets are well catered for!

Icheri Sheher, which literally means old town, is the ancient part of town, surrounded by old city walls. With cobbled streets, small souvenir shops and old caravanserais, it is dominated by one of Baku’s emblems: the Maiden Tower, shrouded in legend and dating from the 12th century. Lit up at night and reflected in the sea, it makes for a very pretty sight indeed.  Behind the old town is the commercial centre around Fountain Square and Nizami Street where you will find the majority of offices and shops, including familiar names such as Next, Mothercare, McDonald’s, KFC, etc... The three magnificent Flame Towers, another emblem of Baku, and one of them home to the luxury Hotel Fairmont, light up the skyline at night. The streets are clean, the underpasses gleam with marble and Baku overall is incredibly safe, especially compared to other large International cities. There’s no denying that Baku is very expensive, even by London standards -- and that’s saying something! Expect to pay around five euros for a cup of coffee, imported items

often come with a 30% premium and property rental rates can bring tears to your eyes. Petrol and cigarettes are cheap, however, and everyone seems to smoke anywhere and everywhere. Eurasian women have a reputation for being beautiful and the young generation of Baku beauties certainly do this justice. Dressed in designer dresses with enormous high-end label handbags and vertiginous clacketyclack heels, they shop till they drop but are expected to be ‘good girls’ and home by 8 p.m. The young men, shirt collars flicked up and tasseled loafers, love their motors. Maseratis, Ferraris and top of the range 4x4s abound, their deep-throated engines revving at every opportunity. Whether Lamborghini or Lada, the stereo systems are turned to maximum volume, day and night. The traffic here is something else, though! It takes a brave soul to drive here and most expats have local drivers. It’s completely chaotic and involves recreational horn blasting.  Glossy and sophisticated as

Baku is, service provisions are still catching up with the stellar development of the city. Taxis may look like purple versions of the typical London cab (and these are the only metered taxis) but you cannot expect them to know where you want to go, even if it’s to a well-known tourist landmark or an International hotel. There is a running joke in Baku: ‘New to the city? Don’t know your way around? Become a taxi driver!’ Part of the problem is the language barrier. Only about 30% of Bakuvians speak English, favouring Russian or their native Azerbaijani. However, this is gradually improving. A discreetly proffered tip oils the wheels in most situations. 2016 will see Baku hosting its first Formula One race, the Grand Prix of Europe, and the city is gearing up for this with great enthusiasm. The race will be on a street circuit around the centre of Baku, taking in its medieval old city, its imposing landmarks and partly running alongside the shore of the Caspian Sea. Like


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Visit with us

Ba k u , Azerba i j a n

Baku to the

Visit with us

Future

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52

by Kia Armstrong photography Profimedia

Forget London, New York, Paris; Baku is where it’s at these days. The ancient Phoenix of the Eurasian republic of Azerbaijan is emerging from the flames, pristine and ready for international fun and games. It is a spectacular new metropolis, bejeweled by the glittering Caspian and rolling in money.

“Azer where?” I hear you ask. Perhaps you remember the Eurovision Song Contest, which took place here in the impressive Crystal Hall in 2012. Azerbaijan is a small eagle-shaped country nestled in the southern regions of the Caucasus, and is bordered by Iran to the south, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest and Armenia to the west. It’s known as the land of fire and the cradle of Zoroastrianism. Historically and culturally, it is on the crossroads of Europe and Asia and was, of course, an important trading station on the Silk Road. Impressive Paleolithic cave paintings in Gobustan, just outside the capital Baku, bear witness to human settlement as early as the Stone and Bronze ages. Later, the area became part of Alexander the Great’s Empire. The Grand Khan’s palaces, some lovingly restored, still remind us of the era of independent Khanates, with turban-clad khans and sultans autocratically reigning over their subjects. After 1813, Azerbaijan was incorporated into the Russian Empire. A brief time of independence in the early 20th century was

followed by an unhappy period of Soviet occupation until 1991, after which Azerbaijan has once again been truly independent and has been going from strength to strength in its own right. Interestingly, Azerbaijan was the first Muslim nation to accord women equal political rights with men as early as 1918 and the Baku State University was the first modern style university founded in the Muslim East in 1919. Azerbaijan is a very wealthy country with substantial oil and gas reserves. Politically stable, its president Ilham Aliyev and his family are popular, his father, the previous leader, Heydar Aliyev, positively revered. It has a population of about 9 million, mostly of Turkic and Iranian origin, some of Russian extraction, and an expat community of around 10,000 people of many different nationalities, most of them, in one way or another, associated with the oil industries. The main religion here is Islam but these are vodka-drinking Muslims and certainly in the cosmopolitan capital

Baku you rarely see headscarves or even hear calls to prayer. It’s all very relaxed! Baku, on Azerbaijan’s Absheron peninsula, is a most attractive city with stunning architecture, a mix of old (think Prague) and brand spanking new (think Dubai), much of it developed over the last five years or so – with more in progress. There are many well designed large open public spaces with some interesting street art scattered about, and the city’s position right on the Caspian Sea makes for some beautiful vistas. A long seaside promenade, the ‘Bulvar’, is home to a plethora of International top-drawer designer clothes shops, some super-smart international five-star hotels, some very impressive museums and art galleries and plenty of eateries, cafes and restaurants for all budgets and tastes. Expats and visitors with discerning tastes and very deep pockets are well catered for!

Icheri Sheher, which literally means old town, is the ancient part of town, surrounded by old city walls. With cobbled streets, small souvenir shops and old caravanserais, it is dominated by one of Baku’s emblems: the Maiden Tower, shrouded in legend and dating from the 12th century. Lit up at night and reflected in the sea, it makes for a very pretty sight indeed.  Behind the old town is the commercial centre around Fountain Square and Nizami Street where you will find the majority of offices and shops, including familiar names such as Next, Mothercare, McDonald’s, KFC, etc... The three magnificent Flame Towers, another emblem of Baku, and one of them home to the luxury Hotel Fairmont, light up the skyline at night. The streets are clean, the underpasses gleam with marble and Baku overall is incredibly safe, especially compared to other large International cities. There’s no denying that Baku is very expensive, even by London standards -- and that’s saying something! Expect to pay around five euros for a cup of coffee, imported items

often come with a 30% premium and property rental rates can bring tears to your eyes. Petrol and cigarettes are cheap, however, and everyone seems to smoke anywhere and everywhere. Eurasian women have a reputation for being beautiful and the young generation of Baku beauties certainly do this justice. Dressed in designer dresses with enormous high-end label handbags and vertiginous clacketyclack heels, they shop till they drop but are expected to be ‘good girls’ and home by 8 p.m. The young men, shirt collars flicked up and tasseled loafers, love their motors. Maseratis, Ferraris and top of the range 4x4s abound, their deep-throated engines revving at every opportunity. Whether Lamborghini or Lada, the stereo systems are turned to maximum volume, day and night. The traffic here is something else, though! It takes a brave soul to drive here and most expats have local drivers. It’s completely chaotic and involves recreational horn blasting.  Glossy and sophisticated as

Baku is, service provisions are still catching up with the stellar development of the city. Taxis may look like purple versions of the typical London cab (and these are the only metered taxis) but you cannot expect them to know where you want to go, even if it’s to a well-known tourist landmark or an International hotel. There is a running joke in Baku: ‘New to the city? Don’t know your way around? Become a taxi driver!’ Part of the problem is the language barrier. Only about 30% of Bakuvians speak English, favouring Russian or their native Azerbaijani. However, this is gradually improving. A discreetly proffered tip oils the wheels in most situations. 2016 will see Baku hosting its first Formula One race, the Grand Prix of Europe, and the city is gearing up for this with great enthusiasm. The race will be on a street circuit around the centre of Baku, taking in its medieval old city, its imposing landmarks and partly running alongside the shore of the Caspian Sea. Like


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54

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34 55

other significant events, such as the inaugural European Olympic Games in 2015, Azerbaijan’s government is funding the race to raise the country’s global profile. The Minister of Youth and Sport, Azad Rahimov, commented: “The deal to bring Formula One racing to Baku is a very significant new chapter in our ongoing success to attract the world’s largest sporting events to our country.” Formula One supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, added: “We are very happy that Baku has joined the Formula One family. This will be a street race, which will pass through interesting and picturesque parts of Baku. The event will meet the current Formula One criteria.”

“The deal to bring Formula One racing to Baku is a very significant new chapter in our ongoing success to attract the world’s largest sporting events to our country.” Azad Rahimov

Baku is certainly a stunning setting for this event and the infrastructure to host an international audience is also smoothly sliding into place. A variety of five-star hotels such as The Fairmont Hotel, the Four Seasons, The Absheron Marriott, the Hilton, the Hyatt and the donut-shaped Kempinski, which is just now being completed, are ready to welcome guests and fulfill high expectations. Chic shops and department stores are throwing open their doors and offering all manner of desirable shopping opportunities. However, having the sales assistants following you around, not because they suspect you of shoplifting but because they want to be helpful, still takes some getting used to. Sleek and trendy restaurants, most notably those run by the British group Saffron Hospitality, and their super chef Reuben Gould, serve up gourmet delights, from exquisite sushi to traditional shaurma, not forgetting affordable local caviar and the ever sunshiney-tasting fresh local produce. Exclusive beach clubs just outside the city are preparing to cater to stylish sun worshipers. Liberally sprinkled among all this glitz and glamour is a wonderful sense of history, well-restored old buildings,

“We are very happy that Baku has joined the Formula One family. This will be a street race, which will pass through interesting and picturesque parts of Baku. The event will meet the current Formula One criteria.” Bernie Ecclestone

traditional fruit and vegetable markets, carpet sellers, shisha bars, tea houses, toothless old men in black suits, scowling matrons, fountains and more fountains, rickety side streets and plenty of colourful Azerbaijani idiosyncrasies. Much like the city itself, the art and music scene are continually evolving. From traditional Mugham music to contemporary jazz and pop via opera and concerts, it’s all available for the visitor’s enjoyment. Classical


52 / 57

54

Visit with us

34 55

other significant events, such as the inaugural European Olympic Games in 2015, Azerbaijan’s government is funding the race to raise the country’s global profile. The Minister of Youth and Sport, Azad Rahimov, commented: “The deal to bring Formula One racing to Baku is a very significant new chapter in our ongoing success to attract the world’s largest sporting events to our country.” Formula One supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, added: “We are very happy that Baku has joined the Formula One family. This will be a street race, which will pass through interesting and picturesque parts of Baku. The event will meet the current Formula One criteria.”

“The deal to bring Formula One racing to Baku is a very significant new chapter in our ongoing success to attract the world’s largest sporting events to our country.” Azad Rahimov

Baku is certainly a stunning setting for this event and the infrastructure to host an international audience is also smoothly sliding into place. A variety of five-star hotels such as The Fairmont Hotel, the Four Seasons, The Absheron Marriott, the Hilton, the Hyatt and the donut-shaped Kempinski, which is just now being completed, are ready to welcome guests and fulfill high expectations. Chic shops and department stores are throwing open their doors and offering all manner of desirable shopping opportunities. However, having the sales assistants following you around, not because they suspect you of shoplifting but because they want to be helpful, still takes some getting used to. Sleek and trendy restaurants, most notably those run by the British group Saffron Hospitality, and their super chef Reuben Gould, serve up gourmet delights, from exquisite sushi to traditional shaurma, not forgetting affordable local caviar and the ever sunshiney-tasting fresh local produce. Exclusive beach clubs just outside the city are preparing to cater to stylish sun worshipers. Liberally sprinkled among all this glitz and glamour is a wonderful sense of history, well-restored old buildings,

“We are very happy that Baku has joined the Formula One family. This will be a street race, which will pass through interesting and picturesque parts of Baku. The event will meet the current Formula One criteria.” Bernie Ecclestone

traditional fruit and vegetable markets, carpet sellers, shisha bars, tea houses, toothless old men in black suits, scowling matrons, fountains and more fountains, rickety side streets and plenty of colourful Azerbaijani idiosyncrasies. Much like the city itself, the art and music scene are continually evolving. From traditional Mugham music to contemporary jazz and pop via opera and concerts, it’s all available for the visitor’s enjoyment. Classical


52 / 57

Visit with us

“The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a city, why not do it with some style?” Paraphrasing Dr. Emmett Brown (character), Back to the Future (1985)

Azerbaijani poetry and literature and a rich heritage of stories and legends invite you to engage with the local culture. The Museum of Modern Art and the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre, a fabulously undulating wavelike building by International star architect Zaha Hadid, display Azerbaijani contemporary art at its finest. Several local artists have garnered International attention and, increasingly, offer a good investment to collectors. First and foremost among them is a young artist named Faig Ahmed, who was nominated for the Jameel Prize and who has several International exhibitions under his belt, including at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He intriguingly marries up traditional Azerbaijani carpet weaving with contemporary concepts. If your heart desires a more conventional carpet, you will certainly find top quality examples to buy in Baku but be aware that exporting an antique rug from Azerbaijan is not easy and will come at a considerable cost. If you are more of a sports afficionado rather than a culture vulture, worry not: the National Azerbaijan Golf Club in Quba, roughly 200km from Baku and managed by Troon, is an 18-hole championship course with ‘challenging changes of elevation and breathtaking views over the hills and mountains.’ If you stay overnight at the associated Hotel Rixos, you can also enjoy tennis, skiing in winter, archery, mountain biking and various other fitness programmes. In the same northern area close to the Russian border is The Shadag Mountain Resort in the Shadag National Park which also, apparently, offers top-notch skiing. In Baku, football matches against local or international teams can be great fun to watch. Spectators are noisy and very passionate but always friendly, giving lots of smiles and high fives, even if you are a supporter of the opposing team. The big hotels all have excellent gym facilities but the Club Port Baku on the street locally known as ‘Fashion Street’ is the most impressive,

although not just one but two scrumptious bakeries directly opposite it can make you waver in your resolve to burn those calories! Chocolate Éclair, anyone? Still, there’s nothing that a good jog along the long waterside Bulvar can’t fix! You prefer a good pampering session? Well, there are plenty of choices in Baku! The award winning ESPA spa at the Fairmont Hotel, the Absheron Marriott Hotel spa and the Hotel Four Seasons spa are arguably currently the best, offering a wide range of fabulous treatments from Indian head massage to reflexology and anti-aging facials to slimming body wraps. It’s easy to spend a whole day there just being spoiled rotten, enjoying the saunas and steam rooms, chill-out areas and pools, with some wholesome nibbles and fresh juices to assuage your appetite. Then there are the excursions: Quba, Sheki, Gobustan, and Lahij are just some of the fascinating destinations worth visiting. Some can be reached easily from Baku as a day trip, others further afield require overnight accommodations. Azerbaijan is very security conscious. Considering its geographical position and incredible riches, this is just as well. No Muslim Brotherhood terrorists or Russian separatists or, for that matter, any other undesirables can thankfully gain even the slightest foothold here due to Azerbaijan’s stringent visa restrictions. Most foreign nationals have to undergo a somewhat laborious process of application to enter the country. A letter of invitation, passport photos, a copy of the passport itself and a fee of around €100 has to be submitted to a local Azerbaijani Embassy and can take a couple of weeks or so to come through, although this can be sped up, at a cost. Baku has a super modern airport and by 2015 current flight schedules will be further enhanced to 60

airports in 22 countries. Flights to and from Europe take between three and six hours. Initially appearing reserved and possibly even a bit dour, Bakuvians soon warm up and are hospitable, helpful and friendly. The key to their hearts is appreciation of their city and just a small effort to speak their language. Azeri, quite similar to Turkish, is not easy to learn but let’s face it, anyone can manage a ‘Salam’ (Hello) or ‘Sagol’ (Thank You/ Goodbye) and a smile. It will be richly rewarded! Dubbed ‘the Windy City,’ winter in particular can bring some strong gales, icy winds and occasionally snow, although the temperature doesn’t often fall below zero. From April to October it’s mostly sunny and warm; July and August can be positively scorching. Winter or summer, the skies are almost always blue. Riding high on the cusp of Europe and Asia, Baku is a city of intriguing juxtapositions: ancient and modern, rich and poor, rural and urban, simple and complex. It is all these and more that will in turn enchant you, surprise you, occasionally frustrate you but mostly, simply blow your mind. To paraphrase Dr. Emmett Brown from the film ‘Back to the Future’: “The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a city, why not do it with some style?” And this, precisely, is what they’ve done with Baku.

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Where to go in Baku? There is a huge choice of restaurants, cafes and bars in Baku, with more being opened every day. Below are just some of my favourites; there are many more, ranging from high gourmet temples to tasty local kebab houses to authentic Celtic Pubs.

Cafes Paul Bakery Port Baku, +994 1464 0770 Casual Brasserie www.casualbrasserie.com Mado www.mado.az Cafe Bisque www.facebook.com/BisqueCafe

Restaurants and Bars Masu, Movida, Harbour, Sahil, Tosca, Pasifico, Evde and others www.saffron.az Chinar www.chinar-dining.com Scalini www.scalini.az Vapiano U. Hajibeyov str. 6, +994 12 598 81 18 Karavansera Old City Oro Nero, Fireworks and Zest J.W. Marriott Hotel Absheron, 674 Azadliq Square,+994 12 499 88 88 Kaspia and Zafferano Four Seasons Hotel, Neftchilar Avenue 77/79,+994 12 404 24 24 Nur Bar and Le Bistrot, Fairmont Hotel, www.fairmont.com/baku RnB Café 9 Narimanov Square, +994 50 307 19 19 Paul’s Rock and Steak Bar www.pauls-baku.com Heyder Aliyev Resto www.heydaraliyevcenter.az


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Visit with us

“The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a city, why not do it with some style?” Paraphrasing Dr. Emmett Brown (character), Back to the Future (1985)

Azerbaijani poetry and literature and a rich heritage of stories and legends invite you to engage with the local culture. The Museum of Modern Art and the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre, a fabulously undulating wavelike building by International star architect Zaha Hadid, display Azerbaijani contemporary art at its finest. Several local artists have garnered International attention and, increasingly, offer a good investment to collectors. First and foremost among them is a young artist named Faig Ahmed, who was nominated for the Jameel Prize and who has several International exhibitions under his belt, including at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He intriguingly marries up traditional Azerbaijani carpet weaving with contemporary concepts. If your heart desires a more conventional carpet, you will certainly find top quality examples to buy in Baku but be aware that exporting an antique rug from Azerbaijan is not easy and will come at a considerable cost. If you are more of a sports afficionado rather than a culture vulture, worry not: the National Azerbaijan Golf Club in Quba, roughly 200km from Baku and managed by Troon, is an 18-hole championship course with ‘challenging changes of elevation and breathtaking views over the hills and mountains.’ If you stay overnight at the associated Hotel Rixos, you can also enjoy tennis, skiing in winter, archery, mountain biking and various other fitness programmes. In the same northern area close to the Russian border is The Shadag Mountain Resort in the Shadag National Park which also, apparently, offers top-notch skiing. In Baku, football matches against local or international teams can be great fun to watch. Spectators are noisy and very passionate but always friendly, giving lots of smiles and high fives, even if you are a supporter of the opposing team. The big hotels all have excellent gym facilities but the Club Port Baku on the street locally known as ‘Fashion Street’ is the most impressive,

although not just one but two scrumptious bakeries directly opposite it can make you waver in your resolve to burn those calories! Chocolate Éclair, anyone? Still, there’s nothing that a good jog along the long waterside Bulvar can’t fix! You prefer a good pampering session? Well, there are plenty of choices in Baku! The award winning ESPA spa at the Fairmont Hotel, the Absheron Marriott Hotel spa and the Hotel Four Seasons spa are arguably currently the best, offering a wide range of fabulous treatments from Indian head massage to reflexology and anti-aging facials to slimming body wraps. It’s easy to spend a whole day there just being spoiled rotten, enjoying the saunas and steam rooms, chill-out areas and pools, with some wholesome nibbles and fresh juices to assuage your appetite. Then there are the excursions: Quba, Sheki, Gobustan, and Lahij are just some of the fascinating destinations worth visiting. Some can be reached easily from Baku as a day trip, others further afield require overnight accommodations. Azerbaijan is very security conscious. Considering its geographical position and incredible riches, this is just as well. No Muslim Brotherhood terrorists or Russian separatists or, for that matter, any other undesirables can thankfully gain even the slightest foothold here due to Azerbaijan’s stringent visa restrictions. Most foreign nationals have to undergo a somewhat laborious process of application to enter the country. A letter of invitation, passport photos, a copy of the passport itself and a fee of around €100 has to be submitted to a local Azerbaijani Embassy and can take a couple of weeks or so to come through, although this can be sped up, at a cost. Baku has a super modern airport and by 2015 current flight schedules will be further enhanced to 60

airports in 22 countries. Flights to and from Europe take between three and six hours. Initially appearing reserved and possibly even a bit dour, Bakuvians soon warm up and are hospitable, helpful and friendly. The key to their hearts is appreciation of their city and just a small effort to speak their language. Azeri, quite similar to Turkish, is not easy to learn but let’s face it, anyone can manage a ‘Salam’ (Hello) or ‘Sagol’ (Thank You/ Goodbye) and a smile. It will be richly rewarded! Dubbed ‘the Windy City,’ winter in particular can bring some strong gales, icy winds and occasionally snow, although the temperature doesn’t often fall below zero. From April to October it’s mostly sunny and warm; July and August can be positively scorching. Winter or summer, the skies are almost always blue. Riding high on the cusp of Europe and Asia, Baku is a city of intriguing juxtapositions: ancient and modern, rich and poor, rural and urban, simple and complex. It is all these and more that will in turn enchant you, surprise you, occasionally frustrate you but mostly, simply blow your mind. To paraphrase Dr. Emmett Brown from the film ‘Back to the Future’: “The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a city, why not do it with some style?” And this, precisely, is what they’ve done with Baku.

57

56

Where to go in Baku? There is a huge choice of restaurants, cafes and bars in Baku, with more being opened every day. Below are just some of my favourites; there are many more, ranging from high gourmet temples to tasty local kebab houses to authentic Celtic Pubs.

Cafes Paul Bakery Port Baku, +994 1464 0770 Casual Brasserie www.casualbrasserie.com Mado www.mado.az Cafe Bisque www.facebook.com/BisqueCafe

Restaurants and Bars Masu, Movida, Harbour, Sahil, Tosca, Pasifico, Evde and others www.saffron.az Chinar www.chinar-dining.com Scalini www.scalini.az Vapiano U. Hajibeyov str. 6, +994 12 598 81 18 Karavansera Old City Oro Nero, Fireworks and Zest J.W. Marriott Hotel Absheron, 674 Azadliq Square,+994 12 499 88 88 Kaspia and Zafferano Four Seasons Hotel, Neftchilar Avenue 77/79,+994 12 404 24 24 Nur Bar and Le Bistrot, Fairmont Hotel, www.fairmont.com/baku RnB Café 9 Narimanov Square, +994 50 307 19 19 Paul’s Rock and Steak Bar www.pauls-baku.com Heyder Aliyev Resto www.heydaraliyevcenter.az


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Crazy Stuff

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The Luxurious Stone-Age Family -

Stuff Rooms in the caves of South Africa’s Kagga Kamma natural reserve allow for unique relaxation Flintstones style, albeit in a much more luxurious version. The houses are reminiscent of those from the Stone Age and are located in the peaceful Cederberg Mountains, a three-hour drive from Capetown. Sleep in the wilderness, far from the sounds of phones, cars, and city lights, on small ledges under the stars. Eat in an open-air restaurant amongst the rocks and treat yourself to a spa and other luxuries of the a la chic Flintstones.

Balancing Barn -

Fish spa -

Japanese sushi artist Takayo Tama-chan Kiyota transforms traditional Japanese cuisine into art by putting coloured food and rice into a seaweed roll, creating a tasty Makizushi or “rolled sushi.” And it’s real sushi – art you can eat. By using her originality she recreates classical paintings such as Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring but also doesn’t shy away from erotic and fun motifs. Pay a visit to the sushi art workshop (Niseko Inhouse Dining) or order the book Tama-chan (Takayo Kiyota) Smiling Sushi Roll.

Sushi Art -

www.smilingsushiroll.com

Virtual Relaxation -

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A new obsession with relaxation has hit YouTube. It features lines like “I’m here to calm you down, comfort and share my love with you” Love, Maria, by Maria GentleWhispering, a leading creator of ASMR videos with relaxing content. Sometimes she gently brushes hair and softly explains what she is doing. In other videos she folds towels or does other things. The method triggers feelings as a response to visual or sound impulses. Fans of this relaxation method describe them as pins and needles that start in the head and continue down the back and some have already started referring to it as a “braingasm.” Those, who cannot relax by themselves, can watch such videos every evening before turning in for the night. Nothing erotic or otherwise contentious, we promise.

A modern English barn dressed in shiny metal cladding is waiting for you just a few kilometres away from the Suffolk coast. The barn has been transformed into a four-bedroom rectangular house, 15 metres of which dramatically cantilever over the landscape. It chases its equilibrium like a see-saw and even has a real swing attached at the bottom. Panoramic views are provided by floor-to-ceiling windows. Its interior is an ode to modernity – bed sheets out of Egyptian cotton, a dining table and rocking chair by Eames. The wall decorations got their inspiration from two of the most famous English painters: locally born John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough.

Staple Star Wars -

Passionate Star Wars fan James Hagerty has created some of his favourite characters from the world-renowned saga by George Lucas. But he made them out of tens of thousands of staples! By being patient and well organised he has managed to create portraits of Darth Vader and C-3PO in six months. He got the idea while messing about with an old staple and thought to himself: why not use them to create mosaics?

Why not treat yourself to a fish pedicure? Easy peasy! Head on over to your nearest fish spa and plunge your feet into a tank populated by the small Garra rufa (doctor) fish. The therapy works by fish sucking and gently nibbling away at the dry and dead skin, while leaving healthy skin untouched. The therapy also softens dry skin on the soles of your feet and is even said to prevent corns. Long-time therapy releases an enzyme that strikes at the heart of disease. Fish therapy is also suitable for men. Why shouldn’t it be? We all like healthy feet.

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r C

Crazy Stuff

y z a

The Luxurious Stone-Age Family -

Stuff Rooms in the caves of South Africa’s Kagga Kamma natural reserve allow for unique relaxation Flintstones style, albeit in a much more luxurious version. The houses are reminiscent of those from the Stone Age and are located in the peaceful Cederberg Mountains, a three-hour drive from Capetown. Sleep in the wilderness, far from the sounds of phones, cars, and city lights, on small ledges under the stars. Eat in an open-air restaurant amongst the rocks and treat yourself to a spa and other luxuries of the a la chic Flintstones.

Balancing Barn -

Fish spa -

Japanese sushi artist Takayo Tama-chan Kiyota transforms traditional Japanese cuisine into art by putting coloured food and rice into a seaweed roll, creating a tasty Makizushi or “rolled sushi.” And it’s real sushi – art you can eat. By using her originality she recreates classical paintings such as Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring but also doesn’t shy away from erotic and fun motifs. Pay a visit to the sushi art workshop (Niseko Inhouse Dining) or order the book Tama-chan (Takayo Kiyota) Smiling Sushi Roll.

Sushi Art -

www.smilingsushiroll.com

Virtual Relaxation -

58

A new obsession with relaxation has hit YouTube. It features lines like “I’m here to calm you down, comfort and share my love with you” Love, Maria, by Maria GentleWhispering, a leading creator of ASMR videos with relaxing content. Sometimes she gently brushes hair and softly explains what she is doing. In other videos she folds towels or does other things. The method triggers feelings as a response to visual or sound impulses. Fans of this relaxation method describe them as pins and needles that start in the head and continue down the back and some have already started referring to it as a “braingasm.” Those, who cannot relax by themselves, can watch such videos every evening before turning in for the night. Nothing erotic or otherwise contentious, we promise.

A modern English barn dressed in shiny metal cladding is waiting for you just a few kilometres away from the Suffolk coast. The barn has been transformed into a four-bedroom rectangular house, 15 metres of which dramatically cantilever over the landscape. It chases its equilibrium like a see-saw and even has a real swing attached at the bottom. Panoramic views are provided by floor-to-ceiling windows. Its interior is an ode to modernity – bed sheets out of Egyptian cotton, a dining table and rocking chair by Eames. The wall decorations got their inspiration from two of the most famous English painters: locally born John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough.

Staple Star Wars -

Passionate Star Wars fan James Hagerty has created some of his favourite characters from the world-renowned saga by George Lucas. But he made them out of tens of thousands of staples! By being patient and well organised he has managed to create portraits of Darth Vader and C-3PO in six months. He got the idea while messing about with an old staple and thought to himself: why not use them to create mosaics?

Why not treat yourself to a fish pedicure? Easy peasy! Head on over to your nearest fish spa and plunge your feet into a tank populated by the small Garra rufa (doctor) fish. The therapy works by fish sucking and gently nibbling away at the dry and dead skin, while leaving healthy skin untouched. The therapy also softens dry skin on the soles of your feet and is even said to prevent corns. Long-time therapy releases an enzyme that strikes at the heart of disease. Fish therapy is also suitable for men. Why shouldn’t it be? We all like healthy feet.

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Original

Original When Robert Lešnik started design-

by Primož Kotnik

60

ing the latest Mercedes flagship, the

photography Bor Dobrin

S-Class, he was thinking about speed

Sketches Robert Lešnik, PR Material

boats and acceleration. As a speedboat gains speed, its stern lowers and its bow rises from the water. “If you Volkswagen Concept C

squint,” Robert explains, “and look at the car from afar, you get the impression that the highest point of this particular model is the star on its hood.” Speaking of stellar: the same could be said of the career of Robert Lešnik, a Slovenian designer born in Maribor, a city in the north-eastern part of the country and close to the Austrian border. After working for Volkswagen and Kia, the 43-year old designer found employment with the oldest and most renowned car factory in the world and

KIA Soul,

2008

is currently Mercedes’ exterior chief designer. Who would imagine that, in the beginning, things didn’t go smoothly at all?

Creativity Instead of Mathematics

Mercedes-Benz Style Coupe Concept,

2012

R O B E R T L E Š N I K Volkswagen Concept IROC,

In Search of Purity in Form

2006

Robert Lešnik always loved to draw and first drew motorcycles. He rode mopeds made by Tomos, APN6 and automatic models and only switched to cars at the age of 18. His first four-wheel ride was a Yugo and, as he likes to stress, the 55 hp one instead of the usual 45 hp model, making it a proper hotrod for teens in Maribor at the time. After completing secondary school he wanted to study engineering, but was horrified to find out it was mainly based on mathematics. Since he wasn’t a fan, he asked himself for the first time what he wanted to do and what he could do. “I can draw,” he told himself. “What can I draw, what did I draw? Bikes, technical stuff. And if I draw, I don’t copy, I draw something new. I can be creative and original. Because I didn’t really see a lot of creativity in mathematics. So I started thinking outside of the box of mechanical engineering and Maribor.” He sent his portfolio to Ljubljana, to the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, which invited him to take the admission exam. He did. Twelve hopefuls managed to pass, but Robert was not among them. Nor was he among the chosen ones in the following year, because in 1994, aged 22 and without speaking a word of German, he left for industrial design studies in Germany’s Pforzheim. Immediately after arriving in Germany, he sent his car design sketches to car companies ranging from Mercedes to Opel. He got a reply and an invitation for an interview from Volkswagen, which mistakenly thought he was applying for an obligatory traineeship, a part of Pforzheim’s syllabus only in term six.

61


60 / 65

Original

Original When Robert Lešnik started design-

by Primož Kotnik

60

ing the latest Mercedes flagship, the

photography Bor Dobrin

S-Class, he was thinking about speed

Sketches Robert Lešnik, PR Material

boats and acceleration. As a speedboat gains speed, its stern lowers and its bow rises from the water. “If you Volkswagen Concept C

squint,” Robert explains, “and look at the car from afar, you get the impression that the highest point of this particular model is the star on its hood.” Speaking of stellar: the same could be said of the career of Robert Lešnik, a Slovenian designer born in Maribor, a city in the north-eastern part of the country and close to the Austrian border. After working for Volkswagen and Kia, the 43-year old designer found employment with the oldest and most renowned car factory in the world and

KIA Soul,

2008

is currently Mercedes’ exterior chief designer. Who would imagine that, in the beginning, things didn’t go smoothly at all?

Creativity Instead of Mathematics

Mercedes-Benz Style Coupe Concept,

2012

R O B E R T L E Š N I K Volkswagen Concept IROC,

In Search of Purity in Form

2006

Robert Lešnik always loved to draw and first drew motorcycles. He rode mopeds made by Tomos, APN6 and automatic models and only switched to cars at the age of 18. His first four-wheel ride was a Yugo and, as he likes to stress, the 55 hp one instead of the usual 45 hp model, making it a proper hotrod for teens in Maribor at the time. After completing secondary school he wanted to study engineering, but was horrified to find out it was mainly based on mathematics. Since he wasn’t a fan, he asked himself for the first time what he wanted to do and what he could do. “I can draw,” he told himself. “What can I draw, what did I draw? Bikes, technical stuff. And if I draw, I don’t copy, I draw something new. I can be creative and original. Because I didn’t really see a lot of creativity in mathematics. So I started thinking outside of the box of mechanical engineering and Maribor.” He sent his portfolio to Ljubljana, to the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, which invited him to take the admission exam. He did. Twelve hopefuls managed to pass, but Robert was not among them. Nor was he among the chosen ones in the following year, because in 1994, aged 22 and without speaking a word of German, he left for industrial design studies in Germany’s Pforzheim. Immediately after arriving in Germany, he sent his car design sketches to car companies ranging from Mercedes to Opel. He got a reply and an invitation for an interview from Volkswagen, which mistakenly thought he was applying for an obligatory traineeship, a part of Pforzheim’s syllabus only in term six.

61


60 / 65

Original

“I drove north to Wolfsburg, showed them my portfolio and they said: ‘OK, a six-month traineeship, when can you begin?’‘No,’ I said, ‘I can’t, I’ve got school to go to. I thought I’d do sort of a summer traineeship.’ ‘Summer traineeship in design? No, that doesn’t exist.’ You can’t just work there for a month and then leave after taking a peek at all the projects. It was a misunderstanding, because I didn’t speak German at the time. But I got a call the next day and was told that they will make an exception and that I can come for two months during the holidays.”

‘Michael Jackson Style’ He worked at Volkswagen for nine years, during which his sketches won internal competitions for three serial production cars and two concept models. He also moved to the company’s design studio in California for a year. He liked the studio, because people from all over the world worked there, but he was not so keen on the U.S. “This is the way things are in America: money makes you king. Everybody is super friendly, ‘How are you?’, small talk in every lift, but that’s it. I think things are more genuine, more in-depth in Europe. Just take a look at US shopping malls: they look like proper buildings, but when you come close and knock on them…it’s just for show, something I call “Michael Jackson style.” Frills here and there, but misery underneath. Backdrops. I feel a lot more European. We have a coffee or beer here and I have no qualms in saying: ‘It’s on me!’ Because we’ll see each other again and somebody else will foot the bill next time.”

So he began his work on Volkswagen’s projects, the new Polo and the Polo Coupe, at which he was so successful that he was offered a grant of 1,500 marks a month. This was more than his costs of living, but he saved money on top of that and returned to Slovenia after graduating in 1998 in an Alfa 156 Sportwagon. “That was a full-on designer car. ‘Wow!’ was the reaction I got at gas stations when I appeared.”

“When somebody sighs ‘oh Italian design’, I ask: ‘Which one? Alfa?’ Yes to Gulietta and Mito, but I can’t remember when I last saw a beautiful one.”

He was supposed to stay in California for thee years, but his proposal for the new Scirocco was chosen after only a year there. As the model could only be brought to production in Wolfsburg, the heart of Volkswagen in northern Germany, Robert, his wife and son packed their bags yet again and moved back to Europe. But there was an ultimatum hanging over him.

Mercedes-Benz Style Coupe Concept

Volkswagen Passat,

62

Mercedes-AMG GT,

2005

2014

Volkswagen Scirocco,

2008

“My wife, who comes from the Bodensee Lake in the south of Germany, left her fashion design work and moved with me to the Volkswagen design centre in Braunschweig, 30 kilometres from Wolfsburg,” he says. „She didn’t like people in the north of Germany, she had almost no real contact with them and she said she’d become depressed if we stayed there. ‘We’ll go,’ she said, ‘but I’m giving you a year. If you’re still there a year from now, I’ll take our son and move to Munich. Some nice place where you can come visit us every weekend.’ We returned to Wolfsburg from California on the first of April 2006 and exactly a year later I started working for Kia.” He stayed with the Korean manufacturer for two and a half

Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake,

2013

years before moving to Mercedes as one of the team leaders. His move was well timed, because he had the chance to take part in designing the prestigious S-Class. While he was too late for the best sketch contest, the first stepping stone in designing a new vehicle, he got a second chance after problems arose when transferring the sketch to a 3D plasticine model. He designed one side of the car which was then actually approved.

63

“Because We Can” He admits that a fair share of luck accompanied his move to Mercedes. A year before his arrival, his future boss Gorden Wagener took over as head of Mercedes design, rejecting the concepts of his predecessor and deciding to go his own way. Robert could thus play a part in creating a grand strategy. “In 2009 we defined the guidelines, the design philosophy alongside the cars being created. We called it sensual purity. Sinnliche Klarheit in German. That is an expression that probably doesn’t mean a lot to many people, my wife would probably ask: ‘Sensual purity? What’s that? A film? Probably erotic…’ [laughter] But it means a lot to us. Let’s say that someone makes a model with a thousand different lines which is reminiscent of Transformers and where you don’t even know where to look first. This is not the purity of form that we are looking for. We are looking for purity in the sense of: ‘If you like it, remove one line.’ When you look at the SClass from 20 metres away, you realise that everything is in its place. If I were to remove one detail, the thing could not function any more.” I spoke with Robert at last year’s presentation of the Mercedes S Class and that’s the car he drove to Ljubljana in. It’s an elegant vehicle, about which you somehow can’t decide whether it’s big or not, whether it is big enough…and which makes your eyes stop on the large chromium-plated grill, so uncharacteristic of cars today. “We all know that the most aerodynamic shape is a tear drop. It’s quite voluminous, large at the front and tapers towards the end. This is what this car is like. It’s huge at the front, it

KIA Sportage Conept


60 / 65

Original

“I drove north to Wolfsburg, showed them my portfolio and they said: ‘OK, a six-month traineeship, when can you begin?’‘No,’ I said, ‘I can’t, I’ve got school to go to. I thought I’d do sort of a summer traineeship.’ ‘Summer traineeship in design? No, that doesn’t exist.’ You can’t just work there for a month and then leave after taking a peek at all the projects. It was a misunderstanding, because I didn’t speak German at the time. But I got a call the next day and was told that they will make an exception and that I can come for two months during the holidays.”

‘Michael Jackson Style’ He worked at Volkswagen for nine years, during which his sketches won internal competitions for three serial production cars and two concept models. He also moved to the company’s design studio in California for a year. He liked the studio, because people from all over the world worked there, but he was not so keen on the U.S. “This is the way things are in America: money makes you king. Everybody is super friendly, ‘How are you?’, small talk in every lift, but that’s it. I think things are more genuine, more in-depth in Europe. Just take a look at US shopping malls: they look like proper buildings, but when you come close and knock on them…it’s just for show, something I call “Michael Jackson style.” Frills here and there, but misery underneath. Backdrops. I feel a lot more European. We have a coffee or beer here and I have no qualms in saying: ‘It’s on me!’ Because we’ll see each other again and somebody else will foot the bill next time.”

So he began his work on Volkswagen’s projects, the new Polo and the Polo Coupe, at which he was so successful that he was offered a grant of 1,500 marks a month. This was more than his costs of living, but he saved money on top of that and returned to Slovenia after graduating in 1998 in an Alfa 156 Sportwagon. “That was a full-on designer car. ‘Wow!’ was the reaction I got at gas stations when I appeared.”

“When somebody sighs ‘oh Italian design’, I ask: ‘Which one? Alfa?’ Yes to Gulietta and Mito, but I can’t remember when I last saw a beautiful one.”

He was supposed to stay in California for thee years, but his proposal for the new Scirocco was chosen after only a year there. As the model could only be brought to production in Wolfsburg, the heart of Volkswagen in northern Germany, Robert, his wife and son packed their bags yet again and moved back to Europe. But there was an ultimatum hanging over him.

Mercedes-Benz Style Coupe Concept

Volkswagen Passat,

62

Mercedes-AMG GT,

2005

2014

Volkswagen Scirocco,

2008

“My wife, who comes from the Bodensee Lake in the south of Germany, left her fashion design work and moved with me to the Volkswagen design centre in Braunschweig, 30 kilometres from Wolfsburg,” he says. „She didn’t like people in the north of Germany, she had almost no real contact with them and she said she’d become depressed if we stayed there. ‘We’ll go,’ she said, ‘but I’m giving you a year. If you’re still there a year from now, I’ll take our son and move to Munich. Some nice place where you can come visit us every weekend.’ We returned to Wolfsburg from California on the first of April 2006 and exactly a year later I started working for Kia.” He stayed with the Korean manufacturer for two and a half

Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake,

2013

years before moving to Mercedes as one of the team leaders. His move was well timed, because he had the chance to take part in designing the prestigious S-Class. While he was too late for the best sketch contest, the first stepping stone in designing a new vehicle, he got a second chance after problems arose when transferring the sketch to a 3D plasticine model. He designed one side of the car which was then actually approved.

63

“Because We Can” He admits that a fair share of luck accompanied his move to Mercedes. A year before his arrival, his future boss Gorden Wagener took over as head of Mercedes design, rejecting the concepts of his predecessor and deciding to go his own way. Robert could thus play a part in creating a grand strategy. “In 2009 we defined the guidelines, the design philosophy alongside the cars being created. We called it sensual purity. Sinnliche Klarheit in German. That is an expression that probably doesn’t mean a lot to many people, my wife would probably ask: ‘Sensual purity? What’s that? A film? Probably erotic…’ [laughter] But it means a lot to us. Let’s say that someone makes a model with a thousand different lines which is reminiscent of Transformers and where you don’t even know where to look first. This is not the purity of form that we are looking for. We are looking for purity in the sense of: ‘If you like it, remove one line.’ When you look at the SClass from 20 metres away, you realise that everything is in its place. If I were to remove one detail, the thing could not function any more.” I spoke with Robert at last year’s presentation of the Mercedes S Class and that’s the car he drove to Ljubljana in. It’s an elegant vehicle, about which you somehow can’t decide whether it’s big or not, whether it is big enough…and which makes your eyes stop on the large chromium-plated grill, so uncharacteristic of cars today. “We all know that the most aerodynamic shape is a tear drop. It’s quite voluminous, large at the front and tapers towards the end. This is what this car is like. It’s huge at the front, it

KIA Sportage Conept


60 / 65

Original

64

‘Why did you make the grille so huge?’ And I tell them: ‘Because we could!’ [laughter]”

65

2014

represents status. When you see it in your rear-view mirror on a motorway, you move aside [laughter] Status, prestige... This is what the buyer wants. The main markets for this type of a vehicle are not in Europe anymore anyways, but in Asia and America, where this is especially expected. So, in the same way as the droplet narrows, so does our car, it becomes low, completely the opposite of our competitors, who make cars with high rears. It is interesting that the front part plays almost no role in aerodynamics. It could have been higher or lower, so we said ‘why not?’ The predecessor was relatively modest at the front and that was also what its grille was like – two-dimensional. All of the S-Class models before it meanwhile had a chromium-plated 3D grille and the new model continues with that. Many journalists, especially Americans, ask me: ‘Why did you make the grille so huge?’ And I tell them: ‘Because we could!’ [laughter] And if any company can afford that it’s Mercedes.”

doors from 1954, a sexy shape, inspired by nature. Mercedes’ sports cars always looked self-confident at the front, but not fear-inducing. This can be done by mimicking the physiognomy of the human face.”

He then completely and honestly talks about the competitors, BMW and the period he spent with Chris Bangle as chief designer, about Audis and how they all look the same, from model three to model eight, cold and German as if cut from the same piece of meat, about independent Italian designers, coachbuilders after World War II, names and brands such as Bertone, Pininfarina, who were the pinnacle of car design, who defined car design, who defined car beauty…and who is gone.

Competition before Cooperation

“When somebody sighs ‘oh Italian design’, I ask: ‘Which one? Alfa?’ Yes to Gulietta and Mito, but I can’t remember when I last saw a beautiful one. After the Second World War they did make cars with sexy shapes, the most beautiful cars of all times…But there were no limits back then, you were allowed to create sculptures.” And, of course, we talk about Mercedes, his cars, which contrary to (especially German) competitors always contains emotions. “Even erotica. If you think of the SL 300 with the seagull

I mentioned how I read somewhere that cars are apparently reminiscent of the faces of their designers. He grins. “When I was 22, I got a traineeship at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, after only three months spent studying in Germany and when I couldn’t even speak the language. Hartmut Warkuss, the then-boss of the group, now retired, once said: ‘Warum gucken Sie so böse?’ Why do you look so angry? I didn’t even understand what he was saying then: ‘What did you say? Sorry?’ He also told me that my cars always look a bit angry.”

Maybe the current Mercedes models would look more aggressive as well had Robert’s work not changed. As the boss of 20 designers he does not draw as much anymore as he used to, while still trying to achieve recognition. “It would be pretty strange if a boss of 20 designers would hang a sketch on the wall on the first day of his job, because all the underlings would say: ‘OK, let’s go home. Job done.’ [laughter] Designing a car is different than designing many other things in the sense that at first it’s definitely not about team work. It’s a competition. Everybody drafts their own proposal, presents it and then tries to ‘sell’ it with the aim of getting the design. For the S-Class we could choose among 50 various proposals. We could select 15 of the best ones, at most, but also as few as seven, and then create a model on a 1:4 scale. All other designers are, naturally, disappointed. Then these 15 are reduced to three and those that get rejected are also disappointed. In the end we have one winner and 49

2014

disheartened people and my tasks include going to them and motivating them for future work. I have to be kind to them: ‘Listen, Mercedes is a company that develops three, four projects in parallel. You weren’t chosen today, but you’ll get a new chance tomorrow.’ I’ve said repeatedly that 90% of my work is in the rubbish bin.” But the remaining 10% can be seen every day. Just find the closest star…

‘What did you say? Sorry?’ He also told me that my cars always look a bit angry.”

Mercedes-Benz C-Class,

2013

Najprej tekmovanje, nato sodelovanje Slovenec Robert Lešnik kot šef dvajsetih oblikovalcev ne riše več toliko, kot je včasih, ko je bil le eden tistih, ki so si želeli s svojimi zamislimi opozoriti nase. Večkrat je že rekel, da pomeni 90 odstotkov njegovega dela koš za smeti. “Oblikovanje avtomobila se od oblikovanja mnogo drugih reči razli-

kuje po tem, da na začetku ne gre za timsko delo. Gre za tekmovanje. Vsak oblikuje svoj predlog, ga predstavi in poskuša ‘prodati’ s ciljem, željo, da bo za oblikovanje modela izbran prav on,” pravi Lešnik, zdaj šef Mercedesovega zunanjega oblikovanja serijskih avtomobilov.


60 / 65

Original

64

‘Why did you make the grille so huge?’ And I tell them: ‘Because we could!’ [laughter]”

65

2014

represents status. When you see it in your rear-view mirror on a motorway, you move aside [laughter] Status, prestige... This is what the buyer wants. The main markets for this type of a vehicle are not in Europe anymore anyways, but in Asia and America, where this is especially expected. So, in the same way as the droplet narrows, so does our car, it becomes low, completely the opposite of our competitors, who make cars with high rears. It is interesting that the front part plays almost no role in aerodynamics. It could have been higher or lower, so we said ‘why not?’ The predecessor was relatively modest at the front and that was also what its grille was like – two-dimensional. All of the S-Class models before it meanwhile had a chromium-plated 3D grille and the new model continues with that. Many journalists, especially Americans, ask me: ‘Why did you make the grille so huge?’ And I tell them: ‘Because we could!’ [laughter] And if any company can afford that it’s Mercedes.”

doors from 1954, a sexy shape, inspired by nature. Mercedes’ sports cars always looked self-confident at the front, but not fear-inducing. This can be done by mimicking the physiognomy of the human face.”

He then completely and honestly talks about the competitors, BMW and the period he spent with Chris Bangle as chief designer, about Audis and how they all look the same, from model three to model eight, cold and German as if cut from the same piece of meat, about independent Italian designers, coachbuilders after World War II, names and brands such as Bertone, Pininfarina, who were the pinnacle of car design, who defined car design, who defined car beauty…and who is gone.

Competition before Cooperation

“When somebody sighs ‘oh Italian design’, I ask: ‘Which one? Alfa?’ Yes to Gulietta and Mito, but I can’t remember when I last saw a beautiful one. After the Second World War they did make cars with sexy shapes, the most beautiful cars of all times…But there were no limits back then, you were allowed to create sculptures.” And, of course, we talk about Mercedes, his cars, which contrary to (especially German) competitors always contains emotions. “Even erotica. If you think of the SL 300 with the seagull

I mentioned how I read somewhere that cars are apparently reminiscent of the faces of their designers. He grins. “When I was 22, I got a traineeship at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, after only three months spent studying in Germany and when I couldn’t even speak the language. Hartmut Warkuss, the then-boss of the group, now retired, once said: ‘Warum gucken Sie so böse?’ Why do you look so angry? I didn’t even understand what he was saying then: ‘What did you say? Sorry?’ He also told me that my cars always look a bit angry.”

Maybe the current Mercedes models would look more aggressive as well had Robert’s work not changed. As the boss of 20 designers he does not draw as much anymore as he used to, while still trying to achieve recognition. “It would be pretty strange if a boss of 20 designers would hang a sketch on the wall on the first day of his job, because all the underlings would say: ‘OK, let’s go home. Job done.’ [laughter] Designing a car is different than designing many other things in the sense that at first it’s definitely not about team work. It’s a competition. Everybody drafts their own proposal, presents it and then tries to ‘sell’ it with the aim of getting the design. For the S-Class we could choose among 50 various proposals. We could select 15 of the best ones, at most, but also as few as seven, and then create a model on a 1:4 scale. All other designers are, naturally, disappointed. Then these 15 are reduced to three and those that get rejected are also disappointed. In the end we have one winner and 49

2014

disheartened people and my tasks include going to them and motivating them for future work. I have to be kind to them: ‘Listen, Mercedes is a company that develops three, four projects in parallel. You weren’t chosen today, but you’ll get a new chance tomorrow.’ I’ve said repeatedly that 90% of my work is in the rubbish bin.” But the remaining 10% can be seen every day. Just find the closest star…

‘What did you say? Sorry?’ He also told me that my cars always look a bit angry.”

Mercedes-Benz C-Class,

2013

Najprej tekmovanje, nato sodelovanje Slovenec Robert Lešnik kot šef dvajsetih oblikovalcev ne riše več toliko, kot je včasih, ko je bil le eden tistih, ki so si želeli s svojimi zamislimi opozoriti nase. Večkrat je že rekel, da pomeni 90 odstotkov njegovega dela koš za smeti. “Oblikovanje avtomobila se od oblikovanja mnogo drugih reči razli-

kuje po tem, da na začetku ne gre za timsko delo. Gre za tekmovanje. Vsak oblikuje svoj predlog, ga predstavi in poskuša ‘prodati’ s ciljem, željo, da bo za oblikovanje modela izbran prav on,” pravi Lešnik, zdaj šef Mercedesovega zunanjega oblikovanja serijskih avtomobilov.


66 /

High Gear

High Gear

It’s an unfortunate truth that most art involving motorcycle racing - be it still or moving pictures - is rubbish. If four wheels are your thing, you’ve got Rush and Senna from recent times and Le Mans and Grand Prix if you go a little further back. And I do think the latter is the best film about racing ever made. But when you look for something similar about two-wheeled racing, the choices are very limited. Looking at my bookshelves, I see I have four DVDs on the subject of bikes and three of them could be described as documentaries. It’s worse when you get to artwork. Almost without exception the things you see for sale are turgid copies of photos, thus neatly sidestepping the whole point of being an artist in the first place. When you see the dreaded phrase ‘limited edition’: be wary! It means nothing; check the prices in the automobilia sections of classic car and bike auctions if you need first-hand confirmation. Or check the number of available and unsold items on ebay. For your information, in the whole field of collecting I know of precisely two items sold as limited editions which have increased in value: one is a pottery figure of a nurse, the other is a die-cast model of a Guinness tanker. And you should be especially suspicious of “certificates of authenticity.” Back on my shelf, I find a few films that have motorcycles in them, like Electra Glide in Blue and Motorcycle Diaries, but while the bike is important it isn’t absolutely central to the film’s plot. In The World’s Fastest Indian, however, the bike is central to a really nice little film and it’s none the worse for it. It’s not exactly Oscar mate-

rial but you won’t regret spending an hour and a half watching it. In fact you’ll feel better about life. The same can’t be said of the truly execrable 1984 offering, starring Barry Sheene, known as Space Riders. I had the misfortune to sit through a press showing, before which Barry and a few PR men handed out drinks enthusiastically. We should have worked out what was going on when they didn’t come into the preview theatre, and they were long gone by the time we escaped. By contrast, 1980’s Silver Dream Racer retains some period charm, and you can play a game called “spot the real racer.” There haven’t been many better documentary films about racing than TT Closer to the Edge from three years ago. It might also be the only 3D film actually worth watching with 3D glasses. A few years earlier, Faster looked at the 2001 and ‘02 MotoGP season, focusing mainly on the Red Bull Yamaha team’s rider Garry McCoy. These are two of the four films on my shelves. The one true film, as in a fictional story designed to entertain, is No Limit, a mid-1930s musical comedy featuring the superstar of UK entertainment between the Wars, George Formby. It was a big production for the time and is still genuinely funny (if you can deal with the British sense of humour) as well as being a great period piece, and is still shown to packed houses in the Isle of Man every TT week. I am told on good authority that Little Fauss & Big Halsy, starring Robert Redford, is worth a watch but also that Redford loved the script but hated the finished film and blocked its re-release. If you find it, give it a chance, not least because the soundtrack features Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.

by Julian Ryder illustration Natan Esku

Which leaves just one well-used boxed set: On Any Sunday. For those of us growing up around the time it was released in 1971, the film helped form our ideas about bikes and bike racing. It also imbued US oval racing, which we Europeans had never seen, with a mysterious cool, amplified when American racers started coming over to Europe and winning. And it was financed by Steve McQueen, who also appeared in it doing a bit of desert riding on a Husqvarna with his friends Malcolm Smith and Mert Lawwill, the racers who the film concentrated on. It demonstrated why bikes are cool just after we’d stopped using that word and well before it became, er, cool again. It’s the reason why half the MotoGP paddock stops work early on Friday night at Indianapolis and heads across to the State fairground and the Indy Mile. All us old guys who remember On Any Sunday were there, and so was the new generation enthused by Marc Marquez’s love of the flat track. As the first heat thundered into turn one, Harleys sideways, spinning the rear and pushing the front, the ex-world superbike champion Neil Hodgson, watching his first mile, voiced his first thought: ‘They all look like Marc Marquez!’

Julian Ryder is a BT Sport

commentator, journo, author and part time an antiques dealer.

The article here does not necessarily correspond with the opinions of Akrapovič d.d., the publishers or the editors.

“Follow Julian @motogpjules”

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On Any Sunday original - (Brown-Solar Productions, 1971) Special promotional one-sheet for the motorcycle-racing documentary co-produced by Steve McQueen and Bruce “Endless Summer” Brown.

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Akrapovič Magazine vol. 16  
Akrapovič Magazine vol. 16