Cocktail Chatter: May 24, 2013

What cocktails go best with all this car chatter? is here to help with weekly recipes. Remember, this is for talking about cars, not driving — always designate a driver. This week we’re drinking the Singapore Sling. Although it’s a tasty beverage, the amount of time it takes to mix one up isn’t insignificant. Thankfully it’s a long weekend. Combine 1 ozdry gin, 1 oz cherry brandy, 1 oz Bénédictine, 1 oz fresh lime juice in a Collins glass full of ice and stir. Then top off with 2 oz of soda water and dash with bitters.

MapQuest: The car-loving little kid in me gets brought out every time an automaker or analyst releases a roadmap for future product. Reading Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s “Car Wars” report this week reminded me of lying on my bedroom floor flipping through magazines and buyers guides to figure out and learn about what’s new and what’s next from all the major automakers. “Car Wars” is choked full of future product info, and reading about what’s coming in the next few years still stirs my heart just like it did as a kid.

Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor

Race Weekend: None of the three news/sports items I’ll be talking about at Happy Hour have happened, yet. First, there’s this Sunday’s Grand Prix of Monaco, which with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa is one of my two favorite Formula 1 races. The problem with this tight street circuit is that it’s often won during Saturday qualifying or in the pits. Still, the race’s location and history can’t be beat. I’m pulling for either Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso or Lotus-Renault’s Kimi Raikkonen to win. The Indianapolis 500 is, I think, the only major race that holds qualifying a week ahead of the race – I remember when “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” was covered the entire month of May. Ed Carpenter took the pole last Saturday with his Chevrolet power, one of ten Chevys taking the first ten spots among 33 cars, leaving the Hondas at the back. Carpenter shares the front row with Carlos Munoz and Marco Andretti. Ahead of them is Jim Harbaugh, the San Francisco Forty-Niners’ coach who lost Super Bowl XLVII to his brother last January. Harbaugh will drive the C7 Corvette pace car. The third story that hasn’t happened, yet? That investor Brad Oleshansky is trying to raise $40 million to turn a former GM validation center in Pontiac, Michigan, abandoned after the ’09 bankruptcy, into a 325 “car condo” complex with a one-mile long “recreational test track.” If it happens, it will make Detroit’s comeback complete.

Todd LassaExecutive Editor

A Cocktail You Can Enjoy While Driving: One of the most underrated aspects of driving convertibles is the bouquet of scents that bombard the occupants. Odors are especially strong in the springtime in rural Michigan: fertilizer, flowers, manure, bonfires. I drove our Four Seasons Volkswagen Beetle cabriolet the other day after a fleeting but torrential evening rainstorm, and the olfactory sensations were amped up even more and joined by scents reminiscent of fresh-water lakes and, strangely, potatoes.

Rusty BlackwellCopy Editor

Lipstick Lines: Last weekend while repainting a bedroom, I turned on an NPR radio station to help pass the time, and the American Public Media program “The Story” was airing an episode about the restoration of a rare 1937 Delage Aerosport coupe, one of only twelve made. The host, Dick Gordon, eloquently describes the car’s large front fenders as being “smooth and curved and shining, like breaching dolphins on either side of a long hood.” He interviews David Cooper, who painstakingly researched the history of the Delage, which was originally owned by Millicent Rogers, an American socialite and heiress to the Standard Oil fortune. One of the great anecdotes is that Mrs. Rogers, in visiting the Delage design salon with her husband, demanded that the car’s bodywork be modified before she would agree that they purchase it. To show the Delage designers what she wanted, she simply walked up to the car and drew her desired lines on the rear fenders in lipstick. Here’s a link to the full story:

Joe DeMatioDeputy Editor

Safety First: I’ve seen a number of trucks entering and leaving the office parking lot lately to drop off and pick up a number of different cars. Some have been long term vehicles that are returned to us after a repair, while others that are needed for photoshoots are left here for only a few hours. But one thing that’s certain: these drivers have mastered the skill of loading and unloading of cars with incident. This guy, on the other hand…not so much.

John KalmarGraphic Designer

Goodbye, New York: As a New Yorker, I usually don’t cheer when businesses move out of the Big Apple, but the recently announced move by General Motors is an exception. GM is moving its Treasurer’s Office, the powerful financial nerve center of the company, from midtown Manhattan, where it has been for decades, to Detroit.

Having the money men located in the nation’s financial capital hasn’t exactly been a boon for GM. In fact, it could be argued that they more easily picked up bad habits, such as borrowing ever-greater sums of money via short-term financing or investing in the subprime mortgage market. Both actions help drive General Motors into bankruptcy.

Beyond all that, one can’t help but feel that having the financial decision-making removed from the automotive decision-making is not the best setup for an auto company. And if the money men are unhappy about the move, maybe they’ll cheer up thinking about the dollars they must be saving on office rent.

Joe Lorio, Senior Editor

Slow Down! One interesting feature on Garmin navigation devices, like the one integrated in our 2013 Dodge Dart’s Uconnect system, is a screen that records lots of data on your driving: miles covered, time driven, etc. One data point it tracks is your maximum speed — and on our Four Seasons Dart, that number is pegged at 116 mph. I don’t know who drove our Dart that fast (it wasn’t me), but the evidence is there for all to see.

Jake HolmesAssociate Web Editor

The Aston Effect: I had the good fortune of driving an Aston Martin V12 Vantage this week. I only managed one night in the car, but it was an absolute star wherever I went. It was interesting to see the reaction from non-car people. Even if they didn’t know I had an Aston, they knew it was a Bond car. The car lovers I showed it to immediately knew it packed a V-12 because of all the vents on the hood. I was anything but anonymous for a day.

Phil FloradaySenior Web Editor

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