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Saturday, 07 May 2011


Interesting how it looks relatively simple compared to that old Pentax camera. To me at least.

Do ya think they sell engine kits, maybe??? Anyone who has assembled a model airplane could manage the engine...

With best regards.


Dear Sylvain,

I had exactly that reaction at first glance, but if one looks more closely at the engine photo it becomes clear that this is not a complete-strip-down-to-individual-part photo like the Pentax is.

pax / Ctein

Surely a German-produced (or at least Art Directed) photo here. Indicated by the precise alignment of all the parts in regimented rows. What would be amazing would be a photo from another viewpoint which would reveal that the rows are not parallel but at angles so that they give the illusion of parallel from this viewpoint.

All too often we get caught up in some sort of popular culture thing about ART with a capital 'F'. The skill, knowledge, discipline and imagination that goes into a work such as this is phenomenal. The people who do this truly are artists just as much as those who react to happenstance.

It is all photography and to a person, like me, terminally infected by the medium since an early age, it is all to be admired, respected and celebrated.

(Aaah, the days of the 'exploded view' - such memories.)


Car Pelts. Now that's different.

An engine isn't art. Nor is a camera. It's applied design.

However, a disassembled engine or camera could be art. Just like macaroni pictures.

As I recall, that engine was art at about 6000rpms.


When I worked in the photo department of Packard Motor Car Co. in 1944, we made exploded views of the P-51 Mustang engine. But, we had to do without the aid
of Photoshop.

Maybe someone will cut up the Pentax photo and assemble the parts into a camera :)

Lousy scan of a similar work by Damián Ortega.

Mike, following on from your recent post about the Lotus Seven, and with your knowledge that Caterham cars will still sell you a Seven kit, can you mentally transpose those pictures to your garage? It only takes about 500 hours of work to turn the kit into your dream car....

Not trying to tempt you further (not at all...), but here is the US distributor's website: http://www.uscaterham.com/

Stephen S. Mack wrote on Saturday, 07 May 2011 at 02:38 PM:
> Do ya think they sell engine kits, maybe??? Anyone who has assembled a model airplane could manage the engine...

The Pocher model cars come to mind.
This manual page sample hints at the level of detail of their kits.


An example of a Pocher engine kit:


Needless to say, such kits are for people with a lot of time on their hands.


I think at 6000rpm it's called pornography.

A much more fun subject (was it featured here, maybe), is the series on the contents of the pockets of a person. I don't remember where I saw it or who the photographer was. Here or in the NYTimes . Two notables were a plainclothes cop and a boy, both fascinating.

I meant funner, more fun.

"It only takes about 500 hours of work to turn the kit into your dream car...."

Given that a) I have a well-deserved reputation for not finishing things I start (I'm good at "ideophoria," i.e., coming up with ideas--I'm the guy you want in a brainstorming session--but not great at the detail work that brings the ideas to reality) and b) I don't even know how to change my own oil, I have no doubt that 1) the parts in my garage would not look nearly as neat as the parts in the picture, but 2) they would still look like that eleven years from now.

Furthermore, there is an overriding issue: like the old Woody Allen joke, I would not want to have to drive a car that had me for its builder!


If the creator says it's art, then it's art; if the viewer or listener says it's art, then it's art. And really, what difference does it make?


I looked into getting a Caterham a few years ago, but a fully built one based on my knowledge of my own mechanical aptitude. There was a premium of about 100% of the purchase price of the kit and engine, gearbox and the other bits. The man at Caterham said there were two ways to look at the price differential: the cost of my labour, or an insurance premium to make sure it was done correctly.

In the end I chose not to proceed as it was more expensive than I planned (and it would only ever have been a fun toy car, not everyday transport), but it is still probably the highest fun/price ratio of any sports car. I cannot imagine paying the sort of money Porsche and Ferrari want for one of their cars.

A smooth 6000rpms is not necessary for car art. Contortions at 0mph can be sufficient ;-)


I guess I consider mechanical stuff art. I have a Weber 45DCOE carburettor and a bunch of gears from an Alfa Gearbox (all gears powder coated in school bus yellow) on the shelves in the living room along with photos, drawings, lithos, etc. I also have an Argus C3, a strange winged lamp from Italy, an Orrery, a pocket sundial, and a bunch of other stuff.
If you doubt that mechanical stuff can be art, you should have seen the Dalia model of the Ferrari GTO engine I had some years back. 1/3 full size, the miniature Weber carbs were masterful.
Oh, and a Brit car mag at least a decade ago ran a photo of a F1 car in parts like the BMW engine.

PS: great wifi in Nairobi!

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