Bentley New, Bently Familiar | Goodbye Mr. Wasabi | Dragging the Shutter
Staff Richard Melick Editor in Chief Erik Melander Photography Editor Aaron Crooks Design Editor Brendan McDonald Detailer Stephen Daubert Writer Mike Selander Photographer Alex Martinez Photographer Kevin Carlstrad Photographer Peter Williams Photographer Ian Cole Contributing Writer Kellin Goldsmith Business Managment Roland Haas Forum Marketing
Photo by: Erik Melander Photo by:Alex Camera: CanonMartinez EOS 40D Camera: Canon Rebel Aperture:XS f/10 Aperture: f/5.0 Shutter Speed: 1/160 sec Shutter Speed: 1/20 sec Focal length: 50 mm Focal length: ISO: 13 mm 250 ISO: 320
Contents SPRING 2011 :: Issue 11
Dear Automakers 7
The editor’s words
Rocking the Rockers 26
Digging through the crud
Bentley New, Bentley Familiar 10
Possession + Transcendence 30
Goodbye, Mr. Wasabi 20
Something new in a Hybrid world 40
Continental GT in new skin One racer’s goodbye
Buying and selling online VW’s new hybrid
Dragging the shutter 48
Taking the perfect shot
Photo by: Alex Martinez Camera: Canon EOS XS Aperture: f/6.3 Shutter Speed: 1/160 sec Focal length: 20 mm ISO: 200
Let’s get something straight. I love diesels. Love them. I love the power they provide alongside amazing fuel economy. I love knowing that my vehicle’s construction had less long-term impact on the environment than the hybrids of the world, and I don’t have to replace a battery five years after purchase. And I am sick of waiting for you to bring over the great cars that you have in every country but the United States? Why is it I can drive a clean-diesel powered A4 in a country with more strict emission standards, such as France, but am not given that choice here in good ole’ America? I am sick of the excuses too, which have just become ironic when I watch your advertising campaign. Let’s focus on Audi’s big push for clean-diesel technology, showing the power of the diesel motor, the cleanliness, and how the use of it has less of an impact on the environment. But, even with record sales of TDI A3 and Q7, Audi still sat on their hands and waited to release any other model in TDI, even though plenty of testers and demo cars had made it over the pond. There was even the huge push through the “Truth in 24” movie that was produced, showing just how reliable the motors were. And yet, we still wait. Why is it in your own magazine, you showcased a fleet of TDI powered Audis in a road trip across America, and yet it took you months from the finale of this drive to even mention the diesel models coming in the next few years? American buyers are ready for the fuel economy and the power. We know that diesel isn’t dirty, and we know that it can be better fueling option. Yes, there are some that will always associate diesel with big trucks with bigger exhausts, but your sales should show you that we want the diesel imports sooner than later. I get it. The numbers might not pan out with sales, or you don’t want to give the buyer too many options at the start. Marketing wise, it’s a great strategy by introducing the base models first, then coming out with the improved models, and then releasing TDI. You maintain the excitement in your product, and sales go up and up and up. But, at the same time, you are creating a negative image because everyone knows what you are doing. We know the product exists, we know that they are available everywhere else but North America, and we know you are stalling. We have all seen your commercials; have seen what you can do with the styling, technology, and power. We have seen them on the roads in a rarity, and sent countless inquiries to dealerships and brokers alike. I have no idea how else we can show you that we want these cars. So, please automakers, start listening to your fans. We will buy what you produce, but if you continue to jerk our chain with some great technology that you’re taking your time with, we will start to move on.
Richard Melick Editor in Chief
Photo by: Alex Martinez Camera: Canon EOS XS Aperture: f/5.6 Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec Focal length: 105 mm ISO: 105
Bentley New, Bentley Familiar Article by Stephen Daubert Photos by Kevin Carlstrand
Bentley’s long and storied history was in attendance at the unveiling of the new Bentley Continental GT. Denver was honored to play host to a very prestigious event and Bentley’s last stop along its trip in unveiling the new Continental GT. Millions of dollars worth of Bentleys, Ferraris, Maseratis and Lotus, at Ferrari of Denver, patiently waited along side a group of both Bentley and car enthusiasts to see the cover drawn back on the new 2012 Bentley Continental GT. The showroom was filled to the brim with beautiful paintings, contemporary music, and tasty hors d’œuvres. People mingled and exchanged opinions about what the new Bentley would look like. The atmosphere was alive, bringing the feeling you were at a glamorous, starstudded, red carpet event in Hollywood. Prestige, beauty, and power are descriptors used by many to sum up Bentley’s cars. The last characteristic, of power, has only been a recent addition to Bentley’s platforms. The Bentley brand was crafted from a racing heritage and the need for power and performance. Bentley’s prestige was established from its racing legacy. This passion for power and performance was by the take-over of Bentley by Rolls Royce. Rolls Royce did however establish Bentley as one 10stunted euroberge
of the world’s most beautiful cars. The new Continental GT had big shoes to fill, to meet the standards of refinement and luxury established by Rolls Royce and the performance by Bentley. Bentley suffered a decline in sales under Rolls Royce authority, but in the 1990’s Bentley returned to their roots of racing and began building cars that paid tribute to their past. The Bentley Continental and Brooklands saw the pursuit for power reclaimed, and this endeavor has not stopped. Bentley’s newest cars the Supersports, Mulsanne, and Continental GT have immense power, ranging from 505 horsepower to 621. As the satin sheet was drawn back, the once elegant design of the Continental GT emerged, to show a flashy front fascia with silver mesh implanted along the bottom of the front bumper only differing slightly from the first design. Bentley claimed the car to be reinvented but what appeared to be sitting in front of me brought mixed emotions and the thought of “over–the-top” luxury. The gleaming black paint of the Bentley was accented with beautiful seven spoke wheels that carried the Bentley as if it was a piece of art. Very little seemed changed from the first generation design to the new one, withwinter a slightly 2011more 11
open-mouth front fascia and new LED headlamps similar to the Muslanne. It seemed the Bentley designers were on lunch and Paris Hilton stepped in and added a little more glitz and glam. When the first Continental GT was unveiled in 2003 at the Geneva Motor Show, it became a turning point for Bentley, appealing to not only the fashionable and affluent but to a younger generation. The first Continental GT included the best from both worlds of Rolls Royce and Bentley, beauty and power. W.O. Bentley, the founder of Bentley, approved of the mix between Rolls Royce
and Bentley, when both sides united to create a wonderful car. The distinctive black paint with accents of chrome and silver combined to make an exceptional car. As the crowd was admiring the striking black Bentley, another new Continental revved to life and slowly entered into the showroom through a side door, showing off its dazzling bright red paint. I had to pause and wait for the classiness to waft over me. As the second GT entered I felt a totally different car entered the showroom compared to the
black GT. The color change from black to red caused a complete shift in my opinion. While the deep black paint and stunning seven spoke wheels brought a new standard of refinement, the bright red paint dropped the appeal of the GT. The bright red paint distracted me from the beautiful new lines. The mix between intense red paint and chrome did little to woo me over. But the new Continental, in my opinion, favors the D.N.A from Rolls Royce even though the horsepower numbers disagree. Weight has increased from the last model by approximately one hundred pounds to 5115lbs, while only adding 15 hp to make 567 hp.
However, there is no lack of performance in the new GT. The 6.0L bi-turbo W12 moves the heavy car from 0 to 60 in just 4.6 seconds compared to the 4.7 seconds achieved by the old Continental. Along with the immense power, Bentley has gone green with their FlexFuel system allowing the GT to run off of E85 bioethanol. The performance numbers give way to the ultra-plush interior. The new Continental GT’s interior is truly a work of art. The supple leather seats kept you relaxed while the huge side supports kept you cradled safely. The lavish interior erased all thoughts of the immense power under the hood. The Bentley oozed luxury from every aspect even down to the silver door panels, which stated the car was handcrafted in Crewe, England. Bentley spared no expense in materials and time to craft a truly unique and stunning interior. The new touch screen navigation system, along with chrome dials keep the interior on the edge of innovation and technology. The technology blends right in with the beautifully hand stitched steering wheel and center console. Even though the car sways toward luxury over performance, the new Continental GT does make a point to turn heads while keeping your head pinned to the back of the seat as you speed by. The new Bentley Continental GT lives up to its predecessor in everyway, even if it is a little extravagant. As the night lingered on and the hors d’œuvres ran out, déjà vu began to set in for me. I enjoyed the original Continental GT, and the new GT reminded me of it in almost every way. For this reason, I would call the new Continental GT a success. It builds off the original in a more extravagant in-your-face way, but carries with it the original lines that made this car an icon of beauty and power.
Photo by: Kevin Carlstrad Camera: Nikin D90 Aperture: f/5.6 Shutter Speed: 1/25 sec Focal length: 30 mm ISO: 400
Photo by: Mike Selander Camera: Nikon D200 Aperture: f/1.0 Shutter Speed: 1/3200 sec Focal length: 35 mm ISO: 100
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Article by Ian Cole ohn Barrett J d n a le o C n a I y Photos b
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For those of you not aware, I sold the Wasabi Race Team GTI to a future racer out of the Texas region. It was a sad when the trailer (sold that too, package deal) pulled away from the shop. I can state with only a little shame that it was an emotional moment for me, not up there with the birth of my children or any other major life altering event, but emotional nonetheless. While my wife agreed to the sale, she was sad to see it depart as well. She called me a couple of days later in tears, explaining that she was driving near home and had followed one of the few other Rave Green GTIs in Colorado and
it saddened her. She missed the racecar too. Those who know me, know my passion for Volkswagens (I have the ink to prove it) and for racing, have been questioning how I could do such a thing. The short answer is I love my GTI. Huh?! Okay, I admit it, on the surface that makes no sense. Perhaps the long answer will help clarify. At a race some time ago, a fellow racer and I were discussing why we chose to race the cars we did when there were so many more capable and competitive options. He stated â€œthere are two kinds of racers: enthusiasts and competitors. We
are enthusiasts.” While I agreed at face value that that was in deed the case, it took more thinking on his position to fully appreciate the significance of his statement. In every racing series, from autocross to any multi-car class professional racing venue, there is the “car to have.” And that “magical platform” typically changes every couple of years. Competitors will naturally gravitate to the “car to have” as it will give them the advantage they need to be successful (whether this is perceived or actual advantage is typically arguable). These individuals are so intent on winning that they care very
little for the equipment, other than its purpose as a tool to deliver expected results. I think that most professional racecar drivers fit into this category. Now don’t get me wrong, I love winning just as much as the next person (or the competitor in this case), and will do everything in both my and my car’s ability to do so, but winning is not my primary motivator. It can be more fun competing for second to last place if it is a long and heated battle than taking first place finishing minutes ahead of the nearest competitor. I am an enthusiast. I loved my GTI, I loved that it took me places I never expected to go, and
I loved racing it. It was more than just a car to me, more than just a possession. It was my passion to own and race that car. Moreover, I will miss it. So how exactly does that explain why I sold it? Well, I have always held my cars in higher esteem than as a mere possession. They have all meant something more to me than as a tool to transport me from point A to point B, or to put myself on the podium. My vehicles may not make who I am, but they are a reflection of what I value: uniqueness, individuality, performance, reliability, creativity, and respectability. To enjoy a car personally it has to move me, not just move me. My new daily driver fits this bill, and to anyone who knows my inner brain workings, suits me well. In most crowds, it stands out, and in the right crowd, it fits right in. This is why I sold the GTI. Ultimately, I had too much respect and love for my GTI to let it sit and wait for use. I am taking a 2-3 year hiatus from racing and just could not bear to let my racecar sit in a corner for the duration. It would not be fair to it. It deserves to be driven, out competing on the racetrack, with a new owner who will appreciate it for what it is: an enthusiastâ€™s racecar. However, the GTI sale also paves the way for future enthusiast dreams. When I return to racing, I am thinking of doing so with a Porsche, another vehicle that moves me. At least, that is the goal as of right now. But it certainly would not surprise me that when I am ready to return to racing, it might be in a MKI GTI in an original GTI Cup Car livery. Or, perhaps, a DTM looking Audi â€Ś hmmmmm.
Photo by: Erik Melander Camera: Canon EOS 40D Aperture: f/7.1 Shutter Speed: 1/100 sec Focal length: 24 mm ISO: 400
Rocking the Rockers Article and Photos by Brendan Mcdonald
Spring has sprung. It’s finally time to blast up canyons, sans sand or cinders, and enjoy the roads with the windows down. With car shows and Saturday/Sunday morning get-to-gathers just around the corner, it is time to clean up the mess winter has left behind with a little spring cleaning. While this article isn’t comprehensive, it does include the three most important things to clean up this time of year: the wheels/ wheel wells, the paint (wash and clay), and finally the door jambs and rubber seals. Wheels and wheel wells certainly take a beating during the winter season. If you have the means (and patience),begin by removing the wheel to easily clean the suspension, wheel well, and wheel itself. If you can’t remove the wheel while cleaning, do your best to access the hard to reach spaces with brushes and other tools. A citrus based degreaser will help remove road dirt and chemicals safely, but agitation with a soft bristle brush might be required for fullest effect. Spray the whole wheel well and let the cleaner dwell for a few minutes before agitating it, then rinse with plenty of water. After, clean your wheels inside and out (or as best you can with the wheel on), then re-protect them using the same method as our prewinter preparations. Cleaning your paint starts with the simplest step, the car wash. The “detailing neglect” winter often brings leaves a challenge to clean up come spring time, so it’s important to limit the damage we do while washing all that grime off. Use the two bucket method [insert link to blog post] to keep from dragging the winter contaminants all over your car. Wash from the top down (cleanest to dirtiest) and avoid washing in the sun so you can take your time, without worrying about soap drying on the car. Focus on the high grime areas like just behind the wheel wells and below drainage openings. Running
boards are often the worst part of the car, and may require some extra attention to get clean. If your regular wash soap doesn’t cut it, don’t be afraid to use a citrus based degreaser. Spray it on and let it sit a few minutes before removing, or use a soft and clean boar’s hair brush in particularly tough areas. After removing all the non-bonded dirt and contaminants, take on the tougher winter-leave-behind gunk with a full car clay-bar. Clay will take off the pollutants and small rust spots that have settled on your car’s paint all winter, and is an essential step in preparing your car for the final step of polish or wax. Protect the clean paint with a carnauba wax or synthetic sealant of your choice. F i n a l l y, focus on the door jambs and rubber seals around the passenger compartment. As mentioned in the winter preparation article in issue 10, chemicals and road dirt will dwell in these areas, making it important to clean and re-protect come spring time. Use your degreaser/cleaner and wipe down the rubber and door jambs. As in the wheel wells, a boar’s hair brush might be necessary for heavily soiled areas. Like the exterior paint, wax the painted areas of the door jambs, being careful to avoid plastic and rubber which is often stained by wax. Retreat the plastic and rubber with a protectant like 303 Aerospace to restore elasticity and good sealing properties. Despite all the time spent cleaning things up, the name of the game in spring detailing is re-protection. While cleaning is extremely important in taking care of your car, re-protecting the paint, plastic, and rubber will keep it in top shape. This not only keeps things looking great, but it will make those “pre-meet” quick detailing jobs a breeze. Putting in the hard time upfront in the spring translates to less time spent detailing this summer, which means more time on the road or track.
Photo by: Alex Martinez Camera: Canon EOS XS Aperture: f/2.8 Shutter Speed: 1/30 sec Focal length: 20 mm ISO: 200
A special thanks to
Ed Carroll Motor Co. Fort Collins, CO
Possession + Transcendence Article and Photos by Mike Selander
The time has come. You’re tired of your current car, you want something new, or you just want to downsize your 20-Volkswagen collection. Whatever the reason, there are several times in all of our lives when we have to sell a car, our prized possession, and the Internet is one of your most powerful tools for selling your vehicle. I have bought and sold many cars in my short few years in the Euro car world, (5 to be exact) and every single one of them was found or sold through automotive forums or Craigslist. It can be hard to navigate through all of the spammers, people who want to waste your time, and just horribly maintained cars out there, so to help you along , we are here to provide some tips and hints for buying and selling your baby on the Internet. One of the single most important things to consider before buying OR selling a car is time. You need time to properly price, research, find the right buyer/seller or walk away if necessary. If you’re selling, you want people who need to get in a car at that exact moment and have no options. If you’re buying, you want a seller who really needs some cash on the spot. In either situation, you have time and they don’t, and that’s a very powerful bargaining chip. You don’t want to ever be pressured into a deal when buying and selling; it will almost always end badly. euroberge
When selling your car online, one of the biggest things that you can do to help your luck in selling is presentation. This is huge. For instance, if “mkIII Jetta FS – it’s badass!” is your entire post, no body is going to pay attention to you, not to mention buy your car. Here are some solid aspects to include in a solid, informational post: • Eye-catching title: ie; FS: 2001.5 Casablanca White S4 w/sport trim – 50,000 mi, $10,000. It’s enough info with some important key points to a potential buyer. You want to give just enough info that they click-through to check out the rest. • Year/make/model & and special trim ie: S-line or Wolfsburg Edition • Price – Remember that online, any price stated is the starting point for a negotiation. Price accordingly to get your achieved price. • Location (where the vehicle is currently located) • Photos • A short history of the car; enough info that a potential buyer will feel comfortable with where it’s been • Mods – If any that were installed by you or if applicable any previous owners
• Recent and large maintenance items completed – This is a big one, people will want to know how particular you are with maintenance. • Pros & cons – People like honesty, and they know that EVERY car has SOME issue(s). Be upfront and they’ll be more likely to trust and engage you. • Contact info – Make it clear how you want to be contacted and open up the channels for communication. You’d be surprised how many cars I’ve wanted to buy but the seller was just too lazy to call back or post any way to get ahold of them Photos are especially important. Photos and presentation are just as important in depicting your car as facts and words are. If the person you want to buy your car can’t see half of it because you were too lazy to turn your camera, they’re less likely to even consider it. Try to get a photo of the car from both sides, and front and back as well as selling features such as the numbering badge or special edition trim pieces to validate authenticity. For some more tips, check out our past issues’ photo articles and features for some tips on getting some winner photos that will catch your buyer’s eye. spring 2011
It’s also a solid idea to gather all of your maintenance records together and bind them in a nice, pretty package to show off to your potential buyer. After I’ve identified if the vehicle is the model/options I want, the next this I look at is how complete the maintenance records are; this alone tells me almost everything I need to know about the owner and whether I want to buy the car or not. Even if they’re just basic notes on when you changed the oil, the more detailed and organized, the better owner you depict yourself. When the buyer comes around to view the car, it’s important to have your vehicle ready for show. First off, detail it like you were heading to the biggest car show of your life. How clean and well kept the vehicle is for presentation is one of the best indications the buyer-tobe has of how well you’ve taken care of your vehicle. So clean out your trash, engine bay, wheels, clay, polish, wax, you get the point. Second, have all of your paperwork ready for the buyer to see. They will likely want to see a clean title (or lien paperwork), full maintenance history, prepared bill of sale (if necessary), and smog certifications (if in a testing county). Make sure that you are knowledgeable about the vehicle, and up-to-date on what maintenance and modifications have been done. Expect the buyer to hit you with questions, especially about any scratches, scrapes and dents, so be able to explain what/when/how. Also expect them to want to take the vehicle for a test drive, so consider whether you’re comfortable with them driving away with your baby for a test drive or whether you want to ride with them.
Buying Buying a car can be even trickier. If you’re selling a vehicle, you have the advantage of knowing everything about your car: where it’s been, how it’s been maintained, etc. But if you’re buying, you have no idea how honest the seller is, what maintenance has really been done to the car, or how well it’s been driven/treated. Here are some ways to get past a lack of insight on the seller and vehicle: • Get a Carfax report – Yes, they’ve changed to a non-consumer friendly system, but it can be a very powerful tool in helping you identify potential red flags such as gaps in mileage, previous accidents, or flood vehicles. • Look for a solid, organized maintenance history – Organized individuals and those who keep great records are not only generally easier to work with, but also tend to be the nit-picky, change the oil at regular intervals kind of gear-heads. These sellers have generally taken excruciating care of their car and this makes a huge difference in the kind of maintenance you will have to perform down the road. • Look for a power user on a forum – These individuals tend to leave their “digital footprint” all over the web and forums, which makes it particularly easy to do some search engine fact-finding and figure out their character. • Give it time – It can get really frustrating when you’ve looked at hundreds of cars online and none of them are just right; but give it time to find what you really want. You’ll be stuck driving the thing for at least another year or two in most circumstances so you’ll want to be completely happy with your decision every day driving to work. • Get a pre-purchase inspection – Only in rare, low value circumstances will I not have a certified mechanic that I trust thoroughly look over the vehicle. They do often cost ~$100, but it can easily save you several thousand dollars in repair on that car that you thought was a cherry. I recently looked at an E30 325i and while it was a very nice car, I felt that something was wrong and took it to a local mechanic. It turned out that there was over $6,000 in work that would have had to be done to bring it to a reliable state. • Blast them with questions upfront – This helps you feel them out for how badly they want to sell the car and how honest they are. It also helps to avoid wasting each other’s time if there are some details that don’t match up. Here are some good questions to ask upfront on the phone or over PM: spring 2011
√ BUYING CHECKLIST Feel free to print and take with you.
Checklist for looking over a vehicle (keep in mind that each car/chassis will have its own specific issues that need to be examined additionally – to find more on the vehicle you’re interested with, check consumer reports or local ownership message boards to get a feel on what possible common issues are known to the community.) Questions to ask - VIN - Why are you selling it? - Has it been in any accidents? - How many miles? - Is it manual/automatic? - Do you have all maintenance records? - What’s the history of the car? How many owners? - Has it ever been smoked in? - When was the timing belt/chain last changed? - How often was the oil changed and what kind of oil? - Is there anything wrong mechanically? - Is there anything wrong with the interior? - Is there anything wrong with the body? - Does it shift smoothly? - Does it leak any oil? - How much tread is left on the tires? - Do you have a clean title in hand? Exterior - Any body damage? - Any rust at all? - Are all door/body panel seams consistent? - Any frame damage? Notches in frame and trunk, wheel wells, and under hood. - Are all body panels the same color/shade? - Is there any frame rail damage? Interior - Is the windshield or any glass cracked? - Is the dashboard cracked? - What is the condition of the seats? - Are there any stains? - Are there any weird smells? - Do seats adjust correctly? - Do all electronics (Stereo, heat, A/C, windows, etc.) work correctly? - Pull the seatbelts all the way out; are they all stained on the bottom? (If so, it’s a flood car. RUN.)
Engine - Is there any battery tray rust? - Are there any leaks of any kind? (especially tranny) - Any funny smells or damage? - Are there any funny smells after running several minutes? - Does the exhaust system look and sound right? - Does the vehicle smoke? - If so, what color? Brakes/Suspension/Tires - Are the rotors grooved? - Is there sufficient/even tread across all tires? - Same tire brand/size? - Is the spare still there and inflated? - How old is the spare? Lights - Check - High/Low - Indicators (front and rear) - Rear lights - Fog lights (front and rear if applicable) - Interior lights - Dash lights Driving - How does the suspension feel? - Is the steering tight or loose? - Is the acceleration smooth? - Does the car pull while coasting or braking? - Do the odometer and speedometer function correctly? - How do the brakes feel? - Do all the computer functions work? - Are there any MIL (malfunction indicator lights) or CEL (check engine light) present?
Photo by: Erik Melander Camera: Canon EOS 40D Aperture: f/5.6 Shutter Speed: 1/25 sec Focal length: 50 mm ISO: 250
Photo by: Aaron Crooks Camera: Canon EOS 20D Aperture: f/4.5 Shutter Speed: 1/50 sec Focal length: 30 mm ISO: 800
Something new in a
Article by Richard Melick Photos by Erik Melander and Richard Melick
Hybrids: love them or hate them, they are out in force from every major automotive manufacturers, with many promising that their new design is the end of all driving woes with ever increasing gas prices. Some, such as the Toyota Prius, are marketed as environmental saviors, while others such as the Porsche 918 RSR, are purpose built race cars. Then there is the Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid, newly released to the US market this year, which has truly impressed many in the automotive world not only with its styling, but technology involved. 40
The styling of the new 2011 Touareg is in keeping with Volkswagens direction of cleaning up lines and simplifying interiors. Gone is the overcomplicated dash with buttons and dials all over the place, replaced by a cleaned up dashboard. The seats are far more comfortable than the previous years, providing a bit more lumbar support that helps the passengers feel more in tune with the vehicle’s dynamics. The exterior received a much-needed facelift as well, bringing in many strong styling elements, such as sharp lines in the headlights and a more elegant designed body. The front end has a more masculine shape to it, almost being a little too Audi-like, but still maintaining a separation that will ensure the two will not get confused. While just a smidge bigger than previous models, this Touareg has
more of a physically dominating presence on the road than years past. But, it is far beyond the styling that is making this new Touareg so impressive. It is the drive train being offered, with the technology to back it up. Mated to a 47-hp electric motor in this SUV is the amazing 3.0 liter supercharge V-6 that is seen in the Audi S4 and S5, all tied to the drive train through an eight speed transmission. What makes this hybrid different than several others is how the clutch will completely disengage between the engine and transmission, allowing the engine to turn off faster than can be noticed while coasting or at a stop. Yes, that’s right. The engine turns off while the vehicle is still moving, all the way up to 100mph. So if you are coming down Eisenhower pass, you’re only using electric power to
maintain control, which is recharged into the system through the regenerative brakes. And when you get to the bottom of the pass and need to head back up the hill, the power-on feels no different than a transmission downshifting. The only noticeable change between the electric and engine modes are the noise of the engine returns and the tachometer popping to life. While driving around Fort Collins during rush hour traffic, the hybrid’s true potential came out. This technology is the perfect mating for our constantly clogged highways and byways, all without sacrificing the power and fun of driving that has been noted with many other hybrids on the roads today. When demanded, this SUV responded with the full force of the supercharged engine, getting off the line in a very quick manner. But when driving regularly between spring 2011
Photo by: Richard Melick Camera: Canon EOS XS Aperture: f/4.0 Shutter Speed: 1/1600 sec Focal length: 38 mm ISO: 100
jams and stoplights, the hybrid feel was barely noticed, leading to a very smooth drive. Handling, when compared to the diesel, is slightly weighted, but still sporty enough to handle the curves of the Dragon’s Tail. And the mating of the full power train to the 4MOTION all -wheel drive has made this vehicle one that can be driven any time of the year, from January heat waves to May blizzards. And the suspensions transition between regular and sport mode was just as smooth as years past, but with a much-simplified interface and faster response to the change requests. While the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid is an amazing vehicle, it still does have its faults. The first one is a touchy braking system, which comes with the territory of regenerative charging. While smoother than other hybrids that have been driven, it is something that needs to be improved over the years in order to ensure a seamless transition for drivers being newly introduced to the technology. And once past the learning curve, it is barely noticeable unless heavy braking is necessary. And the second, and biggest, fault is the most obvious; it’s a hybrid. Yes, while the technology involved in this vehicle is amazing, the ride is amazing, and the finish is in keeping with the high standards of VW’s premium vehicles,, and will hopefully set a new standard for future vehicles, the nagging fact is that the environmental impact that occurs in the construction and eventual deconstruction of the battery system still puts this vehicle in a not-as-favorable category when compared to the TDI model also being released. But, who knows. Hopefully in the near future, a cleaner method of battery producing with be developed, and the hybrid’s impact across the board will be much more positive. Until then though, I am going to take all the creature comforts that the Touareg has to offer, but with the TDI.
Photo by: Alex Martinez Camera: Canon EOS XS Aperture: f/4.0 Shutter Speed: 1/30 sec Focal length: 28 mm ISO: 320
Dragging the Shutter Article and Photos by Peter Williams
In action photography, there are three rules you’ll probably hear “to get it right”. They are: − Big zoom to get in close − Fast shutter speed − Fast shutter release But rules are made to be broken! These rules are great general advice for stop-action photography, which is sometimes what you want to do when photographing cars, but not always. Before we get along to breaking the rules, let’s take a quick look at what is “supposed to be done” and then see how to break the mold to get great shots with whatever camera you have handy. Big zoom to get in close: This depends a bit on what you’re after. If you want a tight shot of a car as it moves around a course (and you will be some distance away), then absolutely! A bigger zoom will get you in closer. This means getting a bigger zoom lens (if using a DSLR) or tossing on an extender (DSLR lens and some digital cameras). However, tele-converters and extenders generally don’t work all that well unless you’re using a pro quality lens (something like a Canon “L” series lens on a DSLR). Extenders give you more zoom, but also magnify any problems with a lens. In most cases, consumer zoom lenses and those built into most digital cameras aren’t professional quality. Tossing an extender on can noticeably decrease sharpness, make distortion in a lens more apparent, or otherwise cause more trouble than they are worth. On the other hand, they will get you in closer and you may be able to get the shot, so they can be useful if your equipment is limited (or you don’t have the budget for a nice big lens). Just be aware of the trade-off in quality. This is the easiest rule to break, because you can decide to not worry about getting in close, and set up a great shot that is a bit wider. If your camera has the equivalent of a 35-105 zoom lens (like many compact digital cameras), you can’t expect to get in extremely close. So you need to make the best of what you have! Instead of trying to get in close, set up a shot that shows the car in context. You may not get a close up shot of the driver’s face, but you can get a nice photo that captures what is going on and tells more than a close-up shot ever will as it shows what the car is doing and where it was doing it.
Fast shutter release Grabbing an action shot is often a matter of split second timing. You want to capture a moment exactly as it happens, so you need a camera with a shutter release that is essentially instant. Virtually any DSLR offers this – hit the shutter release, and within a split second... BAM. Done deal. Compact digital cameras, on the other hand, can be a bit difficult. Have you ever taken a photo of a friend with a digital camera, pressed the shutter, and then a moment later you see the flash go off? That’s shutter release delay as the camera has to think for a moment before it takes the photo. This is probably the most frustrating issue for anyone taking action shots with a compact digital camera – they just don’t take a pic right when you hit the shutter. For taking pictures of people at parties, it doesn’t matter much as things aren’t moving quickly. Cars moving at speed won’t give you that luxury – they aren’t going to stop and pose, so the lag between hitting the shutter and when the camera takes the picture is a problem. There are a few things you can do to get around the issue. 1) Anticipate the shot. This takes getting used to, and is a key element of action photography. Even if you have all the best equipment, you’ll want to learn how to anticipate the right moment. This means having the camera up and ready as the action approaches, and learning to squeeze the trigger at the right moment. What’s the only way to get used to this? Practice it! Keep in mind, many photo journalists cheat like hell. A great shot in Sports Illustrated, Road & Track, or any other publication is often the result of using the best possible gear... and an insane frame rate. They don’t really anticipate shots, but set up the camera and start bursting images at 8 or 10 frames per second (which guarantees they don’t miss the shot). They anticipate enough to get the framing right, then trust the autofocus system and movie-camera like burst to get the shot. They ac-
cept that they will take hundreds of images to get that one “perfect” shot, often taking bursts of 10-30 images at a time. If you learn to anticipate the shot instead of rely on frame rates or other fancy features, your images will be consistently better and, if handed the best gear available, you’ll take some truly fantastic images. 2) Pan with the subject. Understand that the camera isn’t going to take a photo right when you press the button. If you keep the camera moving in pace with the car you are photographing, you have a much better chance of getting the shot you want. This is very much related to anticipating the shot, but breaks a bad habit many photographers have. Once they hit the shutter, many shooters assume they got what they wanted (even with a top end DSLR). This isn’t always the case. If you have something moving at very high speeds, any lag between the release and the shutter firing can throw off the position of the car in the frame. If you keep the camera moving with your subject, you’ll be far better off and have a better chance of getting the shot you want. Again, practice with your camera will help a great deal. 3) Fast shutter speed: To freeze action, you generally want a fast shutter speed. In general, 1/250 sec is where stop-action begins, although depending on the speed of what you’re capturing, 1/500 or faster may be recommended. Cars racing at 100mph or more would likely fit into the 1/500 or faster range. If you’re using a large zoom, the old adage of 1/(focal length) is a decent starting point as well – with big zooms over 200mm (or the equivalent in 35mm film camera terms), camera shake becomes an issue. If using a 300mm lens hand-held, a shutter speed of 1/300 or faster will avoid camera shake issues. However, since there is no 1/300 sec on most cameras, you’ll round up to the next fastest speed (which would be 1/500 sec). This is the typical advice most camera stores will give you on how to get great action shots. But what happens when you do it? You can get a great stop-action shot... but not one that conveys motion. So how do you convey motion of a car in a still shot? Breaking the rules and using a slower shutter speed! New adventures in shutter speeds Dragging the shutter: If you use a slower shutter speed, you’ll introduce motion blur. In most action shots, this typically means a “bad image”, but if done correctly, the results are great. What you need to do is not just slow down the shutter speed, but also change the approach on how you take the shot. To attempt this method, you do need a camera with some “manual” controls. What you want is a shutter priority auto-exposure mode, so you can manually select the shutter speed and the camera calculates and automatically chooses the aperture to match. All DSLRs and many compact digital cameras (except the entry level models) have this option built in, though the speed is generally listed as “125” for 1/125 sec, and so on. First, you want some blur. This means selecting a shutter speed that is technically “too slow” for capturing stop-action. Exactly how fast this is depends on how fast your subject is moving, but in genspring 2011
eral, 1/125th of a sec is a good starting point. You should probably never use 1/30 sec or slower unless you have a very steady hand or the camera mounted on a tripod. From there, you’ll have to adjust based on what you’re looking to get; a little sense of motion but mostly stop-action, or a lot of blur to really spice things up. Next, you need to adjust how you take the photo. I previously mentioned panning the camera so you could guarantee your subject is exactly in the frame where you want it. When you drag the shutter, you need to pan with the subject to keep it sharp. It comes down to relative motion. When you pan the camera, you are keeping pace with the car. The motion of the camera matches the motion of the car, so the car remains sharp. The background gets blurred because the camera is moving in relation to the background. You are keeping the camera “still” in regards to the car, but moving in regards to the background. The result is quite significant – a great sense of motion with blurred background and wheels, while the car remains sharp. One of the keys of this method is the car you are photographing should be moving side to side 52
compared to you – going from left to right, or right to left. If the car is coming at you dead on, you can’t pan with it, and you can expect a blurry mess as a result. You can use it on tight shots of cars (as seen in some of my examples here), or back off and use a wider view to capture the car and the area around it. In a wider shot, you could capture a car on the road and keep it sharp while everything else in front and behind is blurred. Even though the car might end up smaller in the overall frame, it will give a great impression of how fast the car is moving in relation to its surroundings, give the viewer a nice sense of where the car is racing, and draw the viewer’s eye to the car as it’s the sharpest thing in the picture. Admittedly, this technique is a bit hit or miss – if you’re too far off in how quickly you pan (or if you use a shutter speed that is too slow), you’ll end up with an overall blurry shot that doesn’t work. However, when you get it right, the results are truly spectacular - and you don’t need the most expensive camera on the block to get a great shot. spring 2011
Let’s review: •If you don’t have a big lens (or a super zoom), make the most of what you have. Set up shots in context of where the action was happening instead of trying to get close in on one car. You won’t get tight action shots, but you can still grab some great images. •Anticipate the shot. Practice with your camera, and get used to when to hit the shutter to get things exactly in the frame where you want them. •Pan the camera with your subject. Even with a top end DSLR, there will always be some lag between when you hit the release and the shutter fires. •To introduce some sense of movement (blurred tires with a totally sharp car), select a slower shutter speed (1/125th or slower) and pan with the car.
Want an explanation for all these shots? Click here to read the photograpgrapher’s notes http://www.eurobergemagazine.com/?p=2919.
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Photo by: Kevin Carlstrand Camera: Nikon D90 Aperture: f/5.6 Shutter Speed: 1/6 sec Focal length: 28 mm ISO: 400
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