Angry Lane Motorcycle Workshop – Hong Kong

19th November

Building your own motorcycle grants access to a worldwide club of fellow like-minded fools. There’s an unseen bond, brokered in sleepless nights, bloody knuckles, and the torment of looking for that one elusive gasket. I’m going to continue to explore this world and write about the people I meet. In a previous post I talked of visiting Deus in Sydney. On this trip to Hong Kong, I reached out and asked to meet with brothers Ben and G that own Angry Lane Motorcycles. I love exploring.

I erroneously assumed the address of “19F” was a unit number. Thoroughly lost and wandering down an alley looking for a number 19, I found an old man who simply pointed up in the sky when I showed him the address. The 19th floor. A motorcycle workshop on the 19th floor? No way.

Exiting … Read More »



Chasing Unicorns – The Z3 M Coupe

27th April

It’s the tiniest of memories, but it’s still there. Mum and Dad sitting up in bed on holiday in the North of Scotland, still in PJ’s, eating bowls of cereal, unraveling The Sunday Times. It’s a big newspaper, The Sunday Times, but my dad and I fought over only one small section – Motoring.  Somehow it seemed like the paper always got folded in a different order…that, or we just were not smart enough to predict it.  I was unfolding section after section and probably got stuck with something worthless like The Style (I had none of that at all, that’s for sure).  My dad found it first, but instead of a victorious snort, a puzzled look came over his face. “Humphh… well then, what do we think THIS is? How do you like that, Sue? That looks like the … Read More »



Titanium Trigger Case – iPhone 5

25th April

The world of iPhone accessories is a minefield. I have often thought about entering the space with designs talked about with everyone from my wife (she still has a killer idea that I have never seen yet) to most of the guys I drink whisky with.  I still have not ventured that way becasue honestly it’s just so daunting.

For a while I have had a bit of an allegiance to Rokform cases and accessories. From my first one, I have never been disappointed in anything that they have done. I still adore their work, but it’s a big world and seeing this case today from 4th Design stopped me dead in my tracks.

Rugged look but still retaining clean lines. Intricate detailing, but driven by simple and smart functionality. I’m a fan. Plus it’s machined titanium – I love machining and … Read More »



Deus Ex Machina Headquarters Visit

21st April

If you’ve visited the Discommon Blog before, you’ll know that I’m in deep (possibly drowning… but I’m kicking hard) with a 1970 Honda 350 motorcycle build. When I take on a new project, I tend to try and absorb as much of the world that surrounds the project as possible, it broadens my horizons, teaches me and gives me the opportunity to find new fascinations.

The custom vintage bike scene is such fun. The price of entry can be what you want to make of it – $200? Dive in! $20,000? You’re welcome too! There are talented builders popping up around the world and a thoroughly astonishing support structure of forums and parts companies out there for the weekend garage crusader.

One of the stalwarts of the custom cafe and brat scene, is the Australian company Deus Ex Machina. I say company, … Read More »



The Impulse Buy: 1970 Honda SL350

21st August

I didn’t learn my lesson with the VW… I did it again. A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a friends truck, driving to Santa Ana to pick up a, well, “rough” motorcycle from craigslist that I had only seen that morning. I’m not entirely sure what happened. Fact no. 1: I don’t know how to ride a motorcycle. Fact no.2: that’s totally ok, because this bike is a LONG way from being ridden.

Let me back up. I sold the VW for double what I had put into it, not including sweat equity. That wasn’t the goal from the outset, but it sure wasn’t a bad deal. The unfortunate thing about that sale was that it made me feel like an invincible restoration hero with money in my pocket for another project. I might be a savior of dying machines, CPR … Read More »



Awesome Video Overlap: F1 Vs GT

25th June

I wouldn’t normally post just a random YouTube video, but I love this one.  What a fantastic perspective of the astonishing speed at which an F1 car devours a track.  Keep in mind the “slow” cars are hauling ass!

This section called Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps is a wickedly abusive downhill left-hander, on what’s regarded as one of the trickiest tracks in the world. It is very twisty and there are a lot of hills, wreaking havoc on the stomach and brain – truly a rollercoaster.

 


Ferrari FF at Pelican Hill…And Driving A Dream

22nd June

A fairly absurd Saturday in anyone’s book…

The day started at 5:30 am, groggy but willing, knowing that I was digging out a driving hat and scarf to hop in a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe (mouthful!) to head to Cars and Coffee. I’ve gone to C&C in some random stuff, but this one takes the win. It seriously is a land yacht, complete with teak deck on the back. It was such a laugh to drive it and was every single bit as detailed as luxurious as I hoped it would be. I did manage to find a wobbly air vent control on the passenger side and a few BMW components, but other than that, my biggest issue was continually forgetting it had suicide doors!

After C&C we ended up at a ride and drive hosted by Ferrari of Newport Beach … Read More »



CORE Autosport Headquarters

17th June

This was a week of awesome facilities. Core Autosport is the dream of one entrepreneur – Jon Bennet, who took a fascinating route to becoming a professional race car driver. Most that I have met grow up racing as a kid and try to follow it into adulthood on the constant Holy Grail search for solid, long lasting sponsorship to fund the racing. This can be a nightmare journey as more often than not, your life resets at the end of each year when sponsors re-evaluate their spending. This was NOT the journey for Jon. Jon decided the best way to become a race car driver, was to go into business, eventually start his on and simply make enough money to have that business fund his racing. I guess it’s not rocket science, but when you see the set-up he … Read More »



Fuller Hot Rods – Bryan’s Shop Of Dreams

15th June

There are not so many times that I’m lost for words. I get it, I talk a lot.  To those that know me, “speechless” is never a word they would consider using in reference to my behavior, but this past weekend I spend good periods of time truly speechless.

What brought on this onerous feat? A weekend at Fuller Hot Rods in Atlanta. I can only describe it in a manner that still does it little justice -it’s a man-stuff dream cave. Bryan Fuller went to Atlanta in 05 after honing his craft back here in So Cal with names like So Cal Speed Shop and Chip Foose – a killer education that he has grown and grown from.

The now home of Fuller Hot Rods is a bit of a “rough” brick building, with a chain link … Read More »



Our Red Bull Soapbox Crash

14th June

We didn’t do too hot a job on the brakes for George – but we did post the fastest time down the hill!

RAW VIDEO: Hit by soap box car.

 

 



My First Goodwood Festival Of Speed

6th June

This was originally posted a couple of years ago on my friend Ben’s blog Bulletproof Automotive. Ben is extremely knowledgeable on all cars, the JDM species in particular. His company does astonishing builds worldwide for customers with vision.

Since I wrote it – I decided I’d post it here

Seven years ago I learned about Goodwood’s Festival of Speed and I’ve wanted to go ever since. While I lived in the UK, circumstances somehow conspired against my dad and I every year to stop us from going. Now, 6500 miles away from home, the opportunity somehow arrived. A business trip had me in London and the rest sorted itself out in no time.

For those unfamiliar with Goodwood’s event, it is utterly phenomenal. Lord March hosts over 100 years worth of racing vehicles on his grounds for a 3 day … Read More »


Sneaking A Ride In Brian Deegan’s Fiesta Rally Car

2nd June

I’m not even entirely sure what this event was, but I believe it was a sponsor appreciation day that Andreas Eriksson, Team Owner and Manager of Olsbergs Motor Sport Evolution was putting on. If this is correct, being a sponsor is a great deal because these guys and girls had a BLAST. I ended up at the even near the end of the even through some much appreciated texts and calls from friends.

Olsbergs MSE is a FORMIDABLE force in the Global RallyCross arena, with they have a deep field of experienced drivers including Brian Deegan and Tanner Foust.  As it happened, they brought Brian Deegan’s Fiesta to the event and Andreas, who himself can drive the living bejeezus out of a car, put on a fantastic show for the sponsors.

I was extremely lucky to get offered a ride at the end … Read More »



The Macallan. Annie Leibovitz. Kevin McKidd. A little fate…

31st May

It’s finally out there! I no longer have to keep my mouth shut about it!

Macallan officially launched the Masters of Photography 3rd Edition in Hong Kong. The 3rd in the series is by far the most adventurous yet, pairing the legend Annie Leibovitz with Kevin McKidd – a pairing I’d like to shed a little more light on just now…

On my trip to Scotland last year, one evening we were somewhat lubricated by the amber nectar and discussions tend to get a little creative that way.  the discussion turned toward who would be the “right” person for Annie to feature in this project for The Masters of Photography.  Many different leading men were blethered about, Mark Wahlberg, Clive Owen etc, but we kept coming back to the authenticity behind Kevin Mckidd.  Not only is he Scottish, there was a rumor … Read More »



Two Wheel Driving With Samuel Hubinette – Videos

28th May

In an earlier post, I described the trip to Irwindale with Samuel Hubinette to learn to drive on two wheels. It was brought to my attention that there were no videos of this. There are now videos. Enjoy.

 


Croft House Box to Bonhams

27th May

Like I mentioned in the earlier post about my coffee table, I have a lot of Macallan cask wood.  It didn’t take me long to do something else with it!  A friend had a set of the 1950, 1955 and 1957 Lalique bottles from Macallan that he planned to send to Bonhams in Hong Kong for auction.

The Lalique Collection is the result of a very close relationship between the two companies and will continue over the next few years to be 6 bottles in total, housing some of the rarest and finest liquid The Macallan has to offer. This is a key point – there’s a lot of old whisky out there and anyone that knows their stuff will attest to the fact that some of it is, frankly, crap.  When it got old it got nasty, but … Read More »



Gumball 3000 In NYC

26th May

Sam Moores Photography captured this surreal snap of all the Gumball 3000 cars lined up in new York City the night before the “race” begins. Great shot!



Video Interview – The Macallan Masters Of Photography – Annie Leibovitz.

25th May

The first post of a few posts on the Masters Of Photography collaboration The Macallan have completed with Annie Leibovitz and Kevin McKidd.

The next post is will be a fun story about how randomly bumping into Kevin AT Croft House in Los Angeles was the catalyst for spawning this project.

Until then, this is a fun video from The Macallan where I discuss the shot we did at a bar in Hudson, NY.

Photo Credit: The Macallan and Annie Leibovitz – All copyright belongs to them, I’m just sharing.

www.themastersofphotography.com



11 Questions With Max Venturi at Lamborghini

24th May

Max Venturi – His name alone should place him in his own comic book full of racecar adventures. In reality, life is not too far off that. Max is the Test Driver for Lamborghini.  As I sit here, I’m struggling to conjure up too many cooler sounding jobs than this. However, it seems that unfortunately should I want to try and emulate Max, I’d be screwed before we even got to the point that I’m not a good looking Italian, nor can I drive a car like a surgeon wielding his scalpel – I just don’t have a cool name. Thanks dad – way to kill my dream from the outset.

Valentino Balboni, Max Venturi, Neil Ferrier. Nope, it’s just not going to happen, eh?

Anyway, I’ve known Max a little while now and called him to hit him with the inaugural … Read More »



Things I Love: Great Knifemaking

21st May

 

We know the guys at Strider well, Duane, the owner is a master metallurgist and the effort he puts into blade making is right in line with the effort we put into eyewear. There are a lot of flamboyant knife makers out there, crazy handles with weird and wild shapes. I understand the value of these, in fact I love many of them, but step back and think about the core purpose of a knife – to cut something. The best possible knife in the world is sharp and stays sharp. Simple? No way, sorry. To stay sharp, it needs to be hard, but if it’s hard, typically it’s brittle, therefore it needs to be ductile, but that makes it difficult for it to be hard… see the problem? Vicious circle. Duane is a master at sourcing these hard to … Read More »



Croft House Guest Post

16th May

As a big fan of the hard work and creativity that Croft House are putting into building their furniture empire, I asked Alex and his partner Riley if they would give me a little insight into their thoughts when I showed up with a bottle of Macallan 18 and a Mini Cooper full of whisky barrel….

Alex:

A few months back Neil came to Riley and I asking us if we had any interest in building a coffee table with wood salvaged from a whisky barrel that was used at the Macallan distillery. He really admired our work and we really admired whiskey, so we set right to it in an attempt to work something out.

Neil dropped by the Croft House showroom and left us with a heap of beautiful oak, the only problem being the oak had the same curvature as the cask, … Read More »



OFFICIAL! Red Bull Soapbox Atlanta

14th May

We are confirmed!

We’re disassembling, packing up and shipping the whole “Fire In The Hole” team to Atlanta, Georgia on June 9th for the 2012 Red Bull Soapbox Race. Oakley is the only representation outwith the South and we’re coming en-force.

The P51 Mustang is in the chop-shop for some serious upgrades. Pilot George is getting a roll bar to protect his expensive designer noggin, some front suspension is being installed to cushion the jumps and the entire steering geometry is getting a little more aggressive.

It’s a serious production to get the car and all of us over there in 4 weeks, the to-do list is growing rapidly!

You may enjoy our documentation we submitted to explain our car…

“Let it be noted that numerous treaties and 2 protocol of the Geneva Convention are being broken by sharing this information with you. 4 Military … Read More »


Croft House Macallan Table

14th May

Croft House Table

Somewhere hidden in a storage unit, I have all the parts for a 1934 Ford Pickup Hot Rod. It has all the promise of being a wickedly cool rat rod, but none of the love to get it there. Back when the project was fresh in our minds, it was going to be a true old school moonshine runner. I enlisted the help of the team at The Macallan back in Scotland and by some form of black magic, they sent me an entire shipping crate of used whisky barrel staves.

Side note: Unwrapping the crate gave a smell I’ll never forget – it made our whole warehouse smell like glorious 18 year old Macallan for about a week. Ridiculous.

Well…the rod is still on hold and there was a … Read More »



Scotland Whisky Testing

12th May

My good friend and mentor, Ken, has a world class weak spot for valuable whisky. His collection will probably end up in a museum one day, or we’ll die drinking it all when we find out the Mayan’s are correct about 2012. It’s housed in a bunker underneath his home and is accessed via a secret elevator – more on that another day.

This last summer, he, I and another friend decided to head over to Scotland and visit some distilleries. I’ve done some of the whisky trail before and it’s great fun, but let me tell you, it’s a little different when you consult to one of the brands and are travelling with a guy who owns more of their old stuff then most of us could ever conceive. I couldn’t believe the “insider” treatment we … Read More »



GoPro + Kirby Chambliss = Stunning

10th May

There is no point in watching any other YouTube video today.

Every day we are bombarded by links to videos, now even more so with the drivel coming out of Socialcam. I know how tiring it can become, but please, take a minute, blow this up, turn up the volume and sit back in awe as you watch GoPro’s latest offering with Kirby Chambliss in his Red Bull stunt plane.

Kirby has just made his way onto the top of my list of “random people I want to interview on this blog”.  I’m going to do my damnedest to make it happen.  Watching the video over and over, I’m most fascinated by his facial expressions.  I guess I would assume that a pilot maneuvering this way should be grim faced, gritting his teeth and sweating. Kirby? Not so, Kirby looks like he’s … Read More »



Espresso Fanatic: The Mypressi Twist

9th May

Men like toys. That’s just a simple fact of life. Unfortunately, working in the design team at Oakley, that “like” expands, contorts and morphs into a horrific disease of toys.  Cars, gadgets, guns, bikes, boards, speakers… it’s an ugly spiral, but boy is it fun. Coffee machines are toys I like.

Espresso is one of my many loves. My uncle back in Scotland is an eclectic chap. An incredibly gifted musician, cook and photographer. I learnt the magnificent taste of a great espresso from him. He’s quite adept at “Tickling Miss Silvia” (great Gizmodo article ). I’m hopeless at describing tastes, but the right one has a huge fruity punch to it that is like nothing else. No sugar, milk or water is needed.

This espresso love grew as my dad became talented at it and I was finally ruined for life … Read More »



Driving On Two Wheels

8th May

Every now and then I get a “drop everything” phone call from Sam (www.hubinetteracing.com). If I’m lucky, part of that phone call involves the words “Oh, and bring your helmet.” Past phone calls have led to shakedown testing of the 860Hp Dodge Challenger drift car, Movie sets, go kart racing and a launch party on the docks in LA for Ken Block’s Gymkhana 2. These calls are very much welcomed.

Last week’s call was about as random as it gets. For an upcoming project, Sam has to be able to drive on 2 wheels, comfortably, in a large fast car. I guess we’ve all seen 2 wheel driving at some point in time, but have you ever thought about how you’d learn how to do it? You cant really just take your BMW and drive it up a ramp onto 2 … Read More »



Rokform Accessories

5th April

What’s a little funny about Rokform is that they are literally headquartered a solid 3 iron from my work at Oakley, but my love for their goods has little to do with their proximity to me, I don’t know any of the guys there…yet.

My introduction to their heavily industrialized design and glorious use of a milling machine came from my all-things-apple addicted father in the UK. I’m convinced he’s doing his best to re-shape our economy, or at least spend as much as he can before I inherit anything. Either way, he likes “nice” things and I rarely complain as he has killer taste.

Rokform’s philosophy must be somewhat similar to mine. There is no way they set about their projects with a price goal. These guys decided to make exactly what they (a bunch of gearheads, engineers and designers) wanted … Read More »



Discommon Goods – Vol.1

30th March

A fun little project in the works…

Officially the first release from Discommon, I’m keeping it clean, simple and very well engineered.



Leatherman OHT (One Hand Tool)

20th March

I always love going to SHOT show (Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade Show) in Vegas, a large number of my industry friends go and I tend to geek out on everything I see there. Often I get stuck on amazing new rifles, some random grenade launcher or a crazy lifesaving tech I’ve never heard of, but every now and then I find a great wee gem that I’m surprised by.

One of these products is an initially unassuming new multi-tool from Leatherman.  Sitting amongst a few other releases, it took someone there to show me the awesomeness. Check out the video – COMPLETELY one handed use – every tool can be deployed while holding the tool in one hand.  Think about that and if it doesn’t intrigue you just a little, you’re clearly not a tinkerer.  Yeahhhhh you… the one … Read More »



Snow Karting in Cortina

17th March

Disclaimer: I failed epically with the camera on this one, but it wasn’t my fault, I swear. I was doing everything in my power to retain any form of feeling in my fingertips and taking a picture simply wasn’t an option. Europe was in a cold snap and I was being snapped. The 2 artsy pics are mine, the others are from the Snowice website.

I just returned from a business trip to Europe. It was one of those great work trips where everything goes right and all the productivity you hope for does indeed happen. The trip required a weekend away from home, so we managed to sneak in a little fun alongside some serious goggle testing on the ski slopes of Cortina D’amprezzo in Northern Italy.

I have an uncanny magnetism to anything “car”.  I can’t help it and it … Read More »



Oakley Downhill Derby

15th March

Oakley is pretty good at events for the employees and we’ve been lucky enough to do a LOT of random things there over my 5 years. However, the Downhill Derby we put on last year took the biscuit for the best yet. It was wild – the commitment from the teams that entered blew my mind.  Stupidly, I thought that it might be a big disappointment. I mean, surely none of the teams would put in real effort, nobody would fabricate legitimate racecars, test performance weeks in advance, carefully select people based on the skills they bring to the team or generally grind the company to a halt for a few days in 2011… surely not…

Wrong. It done gone got brung. Big time. 23 teams entered from the company, every one with a unique theme and every one planning to … Read More »



F40 in the Wild

10th March



Rough Sketches – How Projects Begin

7th March

They sure as heck are not all pretty!

I love Note Taker HD on the iPad. Believe it or not, this doodle is a drawing that went out to quote for a presentation box to hold 6 apocalypse-ready .45acp silver bullets.

You never know when the werewolves are coming, but your silver bullets better be ready. A friend is putting a lot of time into silver ammunition and I felt that it needed presentation worthy of the effort (and MASSIVE cost!). We’ll see how it all pans out…



Koenigsegg’s R&D

20th February

This morning I read on Jalopnik.com that Koenigsegg is deep into researching engines without a cam for their next supercar.  If you find yourself reading this and have little technical interest in cars, hang with me, this is the future of the internal combustion engine as we know it.

Previously reserved solely for the playtime of F1 engineers, Cam free engines are undoubtedly in our future.

Tech side note: The cam shaft in an engine is a big metal rod with different sized lumps on it (cam shaped) that spins with the engine. As is spins, the protruding cams move the intake and exhaust valves in a fixed pattern decided by the shape and position of the lobes.  It’s a hunk of metal – it’s not exactly fancy.

If the valves could be moved by another method, it could offer up infinite tuning … Read More »



Free Ferrari?

15th January

Not staged AT ALL. Pretty amazing to see in the parking lot.



Ariel Atom – Oakley Promo Video

5th January

Take this with a pinch of salt! This was a fun edit of a day shooting in the Atom on PCH. It was my fist time driving and having to think about a camera car, that was a really weird experience, but it was a blast. Excuse the dumb faces – I promise you, if you were driving, you’d be making dumb excited faces too – that car is RIDICULOUS.

 

 

 



The Impulse Buy

5th January

This life sure throws some fun things at you every now and then. I was 6 months into looking for a Norton, Ducatti or Guzzi restoration project and jaded from the lost auctions and things being just too damn expensive. My wife suddenly announced one night, “you know, you get all the fun stuff, I want to get an old beater Mercedes sometime, can we do that?”

Somehow I said “hell yeah, let’s do it, start searching”. By “somehow”, what I actually mean is we were one bottle of 2006 Retzlaff Cabernet Sauvignon down the hatch and feeling good… After Meg checked out 7 horrific Merc’s (seriously, who ever thought beige with brown interior was cool?) and a 300SL that she neglected to notice the 125k price tag on, she suddenly bounced over to me and showed me this car on … Read More »



Picca Peruvian Cantina: New Year’s Eve

5th January

Chef Ricardo Zarate is not a man lacking in praise right now. Picca in Los Angeles is appearing on everyone’s (literally) list of top restauarant openings in 2011. There are so many glowing reviews for it, that it’s almost redundant for me to add my 2 cents.

Almost…

I enjoy my food, but am not well enough versed in the intricacies of it to even pretend to do a proper food review. However, I’m confident that I know a great meal and a damn good night out.

My wife and I decided last minute to do Chef Ricardo’s multi-course NYE menu and hustled up to LA for the kfirst seating. I have heard and read all the hype on Picca – a dangerous thing for me as it makes me want to rebel against the masses. That grand rebellion lasted about 3 steps … Read More »



24 Hours Of Lemons

10th March

It’s been over a year since our team competed in the 24 hours of lemons at Buttonwillow raceway, but rarely a day goes by that we don’t mention it at work or are driving somewhere, spot a beater and yell “lemons car?!”.  It is probably one of the greatest events I’ve ever taken part in and I still can’t believe we have not done another one yet – to be remedied this year.

There have now been a great number of articles done on the event and a quick Google will tell all.  However, the brief details are thus: find a team of idiots, find a “race car” for under $500, make it a bit safer, pass an inspection where bribes are openly encouraged, race the pants off it and hope it lasts for 24 hours.  In the course of all … Read More »






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