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Tesla Model S in white.
The Tesla Model S. Photo: Tesla

The word “automobile” entered the English lexicon from French in the late 18th century, a compound of the Ancient Greek autós (αὐτός) which means “self” and the Latin mobilis which means “movable”. Originally referencing how manmade vehicles transitioned from relying on external sources of power, such as horses, to being powered by their own engines, it seems ironic now that the word foreshadowed in itself the advent of truly “self-driving” vehicles.

Self-driving vehicles are becoming more and more of a reality in the automobile industry today. To qualify as fully autonomous, a self-driving vehicle must be able to both chart a path from point A to B and navigate the route by itself safely, free from human intervention. Currently, these works-in-progress rely on a combination of sensors which read the external environment (i.e. cameras, radar, lidar etc.) and artificial intelligence (AI) to make sense of the feedback to do so.

Companies developing self-driving cars range from Audi to Google, though Google’s Waymo in partnership with Lyft has already launched their own fully autonomous commercial ride-sharing service, Waymo One. The service is ongoing testing but is currently available in the US cities of Phoenix, San Francisco and soon, Los Angeles.

Steve Mahan, former director of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, stands beside a Waymo self-driving car Tuesday in San Francisco.
Steve Mahan, former director of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, stands beside a Waymo self-driving car Tuesday in San Francisco. Photo: Eric Risberg/ Associated Press

The tech race to make cars self-driving is very much in line with the rise of Web3 and Big Data, where data is not only decentralised but also harnessed to power machine learning and AI – the digitisation of manual processes into automatic ones and the further obscuring of layers and layers of hardware into smooth, clean surfaces which operate multitudes of softwares seamlessly through a touch of a finger.

Self-driving cars are nothing short of a technological wonder, but at the same time, they problematise the definition of what makes a good car. Sustainability, road safety, and comfort are aspects of car-making all car makers aim to excel in. Yet, the removal of the driver themselves seems to transform the car into a whole other beast. Perhaps then, the question we should be asking in the world of luxury motoring is not what makes a good car, but what makes a beloved car.

Sean Connery with the Aston Martin DB5 in Stoke Poges during the filming of Goldfinger, 1964.
Photo: United Artists, Danjaq LLC

The Driver Makes the Car

Call it what you will: an effective marketing model or consumer-centric branding; cars are defined by the people who drive them. It may be a bit of a chicken-and-egg conundrum figuring out which came first, the discursive image of the ideal car owner or the loyal car lovers themselves. Regardless, the relationship between cars and the people who love, own or hope to own them is an intimate one – a relationship built around the sheer euphoric act of driving.

Video: Aston Martin

One need look no further for proof than history’s most famous car – James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5. The DB5 has captured the hearts of many a car lover since its debut in 1963, not least because its Agent 007 who’s behind the wheel, but also because of what it means to drive it. Between chasing down villains along winding cobbled streets and silently speeding off from one city to the next in the dead of night as international spies do – the movies only show off what the car was built to do: work like a beast.

Daniel Craig's Bond manoeuvres an aggressive turn in the DB5 in No Time to Die. Photo: Danjaq LLC, Universal, MGMRead More


Title: Is There Room for Self-driving Cars in Luxury Motoring? 
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Published Date: Tue, 04 Jul 2023 08:12:21 +0000

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TAKE A ROAD TRIP ADVENTURE: Collector Car Summer Drives


TAKE A ROAD TRIP ADVENTURE: Collector Car Summer Drives

Rev up your engine and get ready for the ultimate road trip! These quintessential routes each have their own unique charm ‒ offering rich history, breathtaking vistas or heart-pounding excitement with thrilling twists and turns. Buckle up for what is certain to be an epic journey.


Top of the World Highway – Alaska
If you find yourself in Alaska with your collector car, steer towards the charming town of Jack Wade, close to the Canadian border. There, you’ll find the start of an impressive drive on the Top of the World Highway along Alaska 5. Don’t forget your passport, as this road leads you east into Canada, where Alaska 5 transforms into the rugged Yukon 9. It winds through Canada’s breathtaking Yukon Territory and culminates at a ferry terminal in West Dawson, on the scenic banks of the Yukon River. Many say it’s one of the most stunning drives on the planet.

Hana Highway, Maui – Hawaii
One of Hawaii’s most iconic drives awaits you on the island of Maui. Often referred to as the Road to Hana, the winding Hana Highway gracefully hugs Maui’s northeast coast, where lush green cliffs are adorned with cascading waterfalls that tumble down to beaches with golden, black and red sands. During the 52-mile journey you’ll traverse narrow one-lane bridges and pass by fruit stands offering fresh local produce.


Cascade Loop Scenic Byway – Washington
Spanning 400 miles through some of Washington state’s most breathtaking landscapes, the Cascade Loop promises stunning views and fantastic stops. Along this scenic route, you’ll encounter North Cascades National Park, Whidbey Island, the picturesque Stevens Pass, the serene Lake Chelan and the quaint towns of Winthrop and Methow Valley. This drive is packed with incredible vistas, hiking trails and cozy spots to stay, making it perfect for an unforgettable getaway.

Pikes Peak Highway – Colorado
For racing enthusiasts, the $15 toll to access Pikes Peak Highway is a small price to pay to experience one of the most iconic hill-climb racetracks in the world. This thrilling 19-mile road has been the stage for the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, also known as The Race to the Clouds, for over a century. Experience the majestic Rockies in a way that few ever will as you scale to the breathtaking 14,000-foot summit of Pikes Peak. It’s an adventure you won’t want to miss!

While you’re in the area, we highly recommend taking the scenic route to the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel, located just 50 miles from Denver on Interstate 70. Starting from Pikes Peak, head north on Route 67, and enjoy several picturesque highways before merging onto I-70. Here, you’ll encounter the world’s highest road tunnel, peaking at an impressive 11,158 feet in elevation. Opened to westbound traffic in 1973 and to eastbound traffic in 1979, this engineering marvel spans over 1.5 miles.

Pacific Coast Highway – California
The Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH, is one of the world’s most famous roads. If you’re planning to explore this legendary route, be sure to set aside plenty of time to travel the nearly 700 miles of California State Route 1, as it’s called in northern California. For uninterrupted views and easy pull-off stops to soak in the breathtaking landscapes and ocean vistas, we suggest experiencing this journey from north to south.

Mulholland Drive – California
Mulholland Drive begins in the Hollywood Hills and stretches 21 miles west to Woodland Hills. From “Ford v Ferrari” to “Fast and Furious,” this ultra-famous Southern California road has been featured in countless films and has hosted celebrities like Madonna, John Lennon, Demi Moore, Bruce Willis and many more.  The 2001 film “Mulholland Drive” was inspired by this very route. As a top Hollywood tourist destination, Mulholland Drive is often bustling with tour buses, tourists and locals, representing the essence of Hollywood’s allure and excitement.


Photo courtesy of TxDOT

The Twisted Sisters – Texas
Northwest of San Antonio and nestled in the captivating Texas Hill Country are three enchanting roads locally dubbed “The Twisted Sisters”. Comprising Texas Farm to Market (FM) roads 335, 336 and 337, this trio offers a journey of winding curves and scenic vistas. Pass through towns such as Medina, Vanderpool, Prade Rach, Hackberry and Camp Wood before finishing the nearly 100-mile loop in Leakey, Texas.

Photo courtesy of Google Maps, © 2024 Google.

The Devil’s Highway – Arizona
About 200 miles east of Phoenix near the town of Clifton lies Route 191, now known as the

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By: Barrett-Jackson
Title: TAKE A ROAD TRIP ADVENTURE: Collector Car Summer Drives
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Published Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2024 15:50:12 +0000

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5 Sensational Cycles from Bonhams’ Summer Sale

1955 vincent black knight 4 745x497 1

1955 Vincent Black Knight

Every classic motorcycle tells a tale, whether it’s a hair-brained origin story or volumes from a lifetime of loving use. The best stories and biggest price tags don’t always go hand-in-hand, and we’ve combed the catalog of Bonhams’ upcoming Summer Motorcycle Sale to find the bikes with the most to say.

The online sale starts June 14th at 12:00 BST and runs through the 24th, and while there are scores of titillating bikes, projects and parts, these are the five lots we’ll be watching.

1980 BMW R65 Desert Racer
1980 BMW R65

Much of BMW’s illustrious desert racing history was built on the back of the GS, but that’s not to say it all started there, and racers had long been modifying boxers for off-road use before the dual-purpose GS debuted. A product of several skunkworks specialists, this 1980 BMW R65 has been heavily modified and campaigned in notable desert rallies throughout the 1980s.

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By: Dean Larson
Title: 5 Sensational Cycles from Bonhams’ Summer Sale
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Published Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2024 18:36:51 +0000

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THE POWER OF A NAME: Exploring Unique and Memorable Custom Vehicles on the Auction Block

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THE POWER OF A NAME: Exploring Unique and Memorable Custom Vehicles on the Auction Block

In his play “Romeo and Juliet,” William Shakespeare famously wrote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” In the realm of custom vehicles, however, a name can mean everything.

A custom build’s moniker often tells a story or reveals something about the car’s history, characteristics or the journey its owner or builder has experienced. Names can embody specific themes, qualities or aspirations. For instance, a high-performance car might be given a powerful, aggressive name, while a classic or luxury vehicle might be bestowed with a name that conveys elegance and style.

Naming a car gifts it a unique identity, particularly for custom vehicles tailored to reflect the builder’s personal taste and style. A car with a unique name is more easily recognized and remembered, especially at car shows, events or among fellow car enthusiasts. It helps the car stand out and be easily identifiable.

Assigning a nickname to a custom car animates it with personality and significance, transforming it from a mere object into something meaningful and personal. Check out some of the most unique car names to cross the Barrett-Jackson auction block over the last few years.

Built by Kindig-It Design and set on an Art Morrison GT Sport chassis. Power comes from a Ryan Falconer-built 600ci V12 conservatively rated at 1,000hp and topped with twin Magnuson superchargers.

Complete ground-up build into a custom Resto-Mod by Havasu Speed. Has a Ford 5.0-liter Coyote engine mated to a Performance Automatic 4R70W 4-speed transmission. Complete independent front and rear suspension with air ride. Ron Mangus custom interior.

Recipient of full frame-off restoration. Powered by a Gen 3 crate 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine mated to an automatic transmission with a dual-range Atlas transfer case. Has a 2-inch body lift and 3.5-inch suspension lift.

Recipient of a full frame-off restoration. Powered by a Gen 3 crate 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine mated to 10-speed automatic transmission with a dual-range Atlas transfer case. With a 2-inch body lift and 3.5-inch suspension lift.

Custom-built by Ringbrothers and unveiled at SEMA. Powered by a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 engine mated to a TREMEC 5-speed manual transmission. Has a custom interior and exterior, as well as a Pro-Touring suspension.

Professionally built for SEMA 2018 by Premier Street Rod. Winner of Chevrolet Design Award “Truck of the Year” at SEMA. Twin-turbo LS 427ci Redline Performance-built engine making over 1,200rwhp mated to a Bowler TREMEC T56 6-speed manual transmission.

Multiple award-winner built in 2003 by Rad Rides by Troy; has been referred to as one of the most iconic street machines ever built. Powered by a streetable twin-turbo 406ci engine putting out over 1,000hp, mated to a 4L80E automatic transmission.

Powered by a ZL1 6.2-liter LT4 V8 engine producing 670hp with 650 ft/lbs of torque. Has a TR6060 6-speed manual transmission with GM Performance easy pedal clutch, Sikky close-ratio shifter and Wilwood big brakes.

Customized and powered by a 750hp tuned Hellcat V8 engine. State-of-the-art electronics paired with the active suspension system featuring full-time 6-wheel drive.

Resto-Mod with a 6-year, all-new custom rebuild. Powered by a 427ci Roush IR engine mated to TREMEC TKO 600 5-speed manual transmission. Finished in PPG Blurple paint over a Nappa leather-trimmed interior.

Powered by a 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine topped with a Whipple supercharger and mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Custom-fabricated body, frame

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By: Barrett-Jackson
Title: THE POWER OF A NAME: Exploring Unique and Memorable Custom Vehicles on the Auction Block
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Published Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2024 16:22:45 +0000

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