Objects of Desire

Bluebird K7

My “Oh wow!” moment of the morning was finding a seller on eBay offering remote control models of Donald Campbell’s last Bluebird boat. They’re available in 1:6th and 1:10th scale.

The South Manchester Model Boat Club get their boats out on Platt Fields boating lake on Sunday mornings. It would be mean to turn up with one of these and blast it around the island.

Objects of Desire- Original Roy Cross artwork

Currently for sale on Ebay are several pieces by Roy Cross, one of the main creators of box art for old school Airfix. If anyone wants to get me a Christmas present they could, for example, buy me this piece for the SAR Boeing Vertol helicopter. It’s one of a batch being sold, along with several vintage models, here.

Object of Desire-Cartoon hot rod

Object of Desire-Cartoon hot rod, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

This passed me going the other way as I was heading into town. I immediately turned round and caught it at the lights. I’m not sure what it is- it looked like it had a 32 Ford radiator shell, but that’s not necessarily conclusive on a rod. The supercharged engine had a nice burble to it, and I’m intrigued by the air scoop into the boot. Those Mickey Thompsons are serious, aren’t they.

Objects of Desire- Epoz Aktimate Maxi active speakers

I know I’m throwing stuff out at the moment, but, if I had the money, I’d make an exception for these. The Aktimate Maxi speakers are active speakers- the left speaker has an amp onboard to power itself and the right speaker, as well as numerous inputs and an iPod dock. It’ll also do internet radio and streaming wirelessly, and receive FM. I admit I haven’t seen them in the glossy finished flesh, let alone heard them, but by all accounts sound quality is excellent.

Of course, if I bought something with an iPod dock I’d have to buy an iPod……..

Hurry. At the time of writing there were only two left in stock.

Objects of Desire- Goddess on the highway

Picture from eclecticcars.co.uk

Picture from eclecticcars.co.uk

I don’t need a car, and most of the time I don’t want a car. As a cyclist I have a low, and justified, opinion of drivers which keeps me from wanting to join their ranks. But there are some cars which, given the opportunity, I’d own just for the warm feeling they’d give me.

The Citroen DS (wikipedia article) is one of those cars. It’s just stunning. Yet it was obviously practical as well, you don’t sell 1.5 million vehicles just because they’re pretty. I could just see myself in one of these, cruising along, looking fast even when standing still. For several years there was a Citroen DS ambulance parked down the side of a house in Fallowfield, gathering patina but still looking beautiful. I don’t know if it’s still there, and I really regret never being able to even enquire about buying it.

Citroen DS Ambulance

The lovely grey example at the top of the post is for sale by a company called Eclectic Cars. If anyone would like to give me £19,000 it could be mine.

There are currently no DSs on eBay, but there is one stunning Traction Avant and a “Big 15” Traction Avant which needs rebuilding. They’re also on my list of cars which would make me glow, and you can get me them for less than the DS.

Object of Desire- a vintage Rolls in the rain

A Rolls on the pavement

These pictures were taken in November, but for various reasons I only got round to retrieving the card they were on yesterday. They were taken on the cheap camera I bought to tide me over after my last Canon died. That camera was stolen soon after, but at least I got the few pictures I took with it.

This vintage Rolls (Phantom?) was parked on the pavement across the road from the Bull’s Head one rotten night when we were drinking there, so I popped out to get pictures. They’re very noisy- I can’t remember why I didn’t use the flash- but I’ve done the best I can with Photoshop to get as much out of them as I can.

Vintage Rolls in the rain

Vintage Rolls in the rain

Vintage Rolls in the rain

Vintage Rolls in the rain

Vintage Rolls in the rain

Object of Desire- hand held 3d scanner

Shown here digitising the new Doctor Who-

A quick search shows that there are quite a few options available for 3d scanning.

I could make a 3d laser scanning setup from Lego.

I think I’ve blogged about the David laser scanner before.

ProFORMA is software which can build up a textured 3d model from information captured by a webcam. via Wired

I want this, but it’s not available to the public yet.

Objects of Desire- Heavy music calls for heavy speakers 1

As my job involves listing fairly high end audio equipment on the web I’m in danger of becoming an armchair hi-fi expert whilst listening to mp3s on crappy computer speakers fed from a basic sound card. There’s no way I can afford the sort of equipment needed to really appreciate my music. Maybe I should make some.

Whilst researching a product today I happened upon a load of pages about DIY speaker builds. Including this one- speaker enclosures made from granite. They look about the size that I’d put in the Bookshelf Speaker category. But those would have to be very sturdy bookshelves. The write up is on DIY audio projects, which has a number of other builds.

Also intriguing is this radial loudspeaker project, which should project sound 360 degrees. Not sure what reflections off walls would do to that, but it looks cool nonetheless.

Turning everything on its head, here’s a project to turn a speaker into a microphone. Ideal for capturing more accurate bass notes and particularly drums, it says.

I’ll probably not get round to doing anything like this, which is a shame. For now I’ll just have to wonder how I can save up for something entry level from Whafedale, Tannoy or any of the other shiny products I get to stare at.

Objects of Desire- More Morris Minors

I’m not obsessed, honest, it’s just that all of a sudden I’m seeing them everywhere. I think it might have something to do with the Morris Minor Millennium Company, which is on Upper Chorlton Road.

This bunch were all in Chorlton, there was a cabriolet as well, but I spotted that whilst I was on my bike.

Chorlton Morris Minor Chorlton Morris Minor Chorlton Morris Minor Morris Minor Traveller Morris Minor Traveller

Objects of Desire- the Morris Minors of Didsbury 2

I went for another architecture wander this morning, but as well as the buildings I also found a few Morris Minors. No other classic cars today, just three rather nice examples of Sir Alec Issigonis’ second greatest design.

Morris Minor Morris Minor

Morris Minor Morris Minor

Morris Minor Morris Minor

I’d love to have a Minor, though I’d want to make a few minor tweaks- disc brakes, improved suspension and a newer engine. Nothing too silly, I reckon it should be easy to find something that’s both more powerful and more economical than the old block that would come with a vintage Moggy. It’s not like I’d try to emulate Nic Mann’s creation, which was the fastest street legal car in the country for a few years-

And how could I possibly pass up a chance to play this-

I’ve been driving in my car, it’s not quite a jaguar
I bought it in primrose hill from a bloke from brazil
It was made in fifty-nine in a factory by the tyne
It says morris on the door, the g.p.o. owned it before
I drive in it for my job, the governor calls me a slob
But I don’t really care, give me some gas and the open air

It’s a bit old but it’s mine, I mend it in my spare time
Just last week I changed the oil, the rocker valves and the coil
Just last week I changed the oil
Last week it went round the clock, I also had a little knock
I dented somebody’s fender, he learnt not to park on a bender, ha ha ha

I’ve been driving in my car, it don’t look much but I’ve been far
I drive up to muswell hill, I’ve even been to selsey bill
I drove along the a45, I had her up to 58
This copper stopped me the other day, you’re mistaken what could I say
The tyres were a little worn, they were o.k., I could have sworn
I like driving in my car, I’m satisfied I’ve got this far

I like driving in my car, it don’t look much but I’ve been far
I like driving in my car, even with a flat tyre
I like driving in my car, it’s not quite a jaguar
I like driving in my car, I’m satisfied I’ve got this far

MAdness- Driving in my Car (Available, along with a load of others, on Total Madness)

Object of Desire- Patina finish Chevrolet pickup 1

Patina finish Chevy pickup

You can keep your Ferraris and Lamborghinis. This is the sort of car that gets my attention. I spotted this lowered, rust finished Chevy pickup in Salford on the ride to work yesterday, and soon regretted not stopping to take pictures. But it was still there on the way back, so this time I got off the bike and grabbed a few shots.

Patina finish Chevy pickup Patina finish Chevy pickup Patina finish Chevy pickup

The number plate says it all- “Rough as toast” and just as tasty.

Objects of Desire- Pro-ject turntables

Objects of Desire may become an irregular preview of things I’ve found that I really want but, usually, can’t afford.

Working for a company which sells audio-visual kit I regularly post details of some very nice stuff to the internet. Today I got to look at some of it. I thought my cheap and cheerful turntable with USB output was good enough for what I wanted to do- rip my vinyl (eventually) to the pc. But maybe I want a better turntable, one I can connect to the other separates I’m now inevitably going to buy, which will really get the best out of my old records.

Audiophiles will tell you that a well set up turntable, even a relatively cheap one, will sound better than almost any cd player. But you have to be willing to do a bit of tinkering. There are many tricks to getting a good sound from your vinyl. The most obvious one is to cut vibration and resonance, which will be fed to the needle and result in distortion. The turntables I was shown today, from Austrian manufacturer Pro-ject, have sturdy chassis made from medium density fibreboard or, at the high end, perspex and some clever tricks such as mounting the belt drive motor in an elastic cradle. A side effect of the materials and techniques used is that the turntables are very good looking pieces of kit. Stunning in the case of the perspex ones.

The Pro-ject Debut III USB is a version of Pro-ject’s basic model which also outputs to USB so you can rip music to .wav files on your computer then convert them to mp3, FLAC or whatever your preferred digital format is. In my dream computer/audio/video setup I think I’d have one of these to rip the vinyl I’d start buying again.

Disclosure The link above goes to an Amazon listing by the company I work for. It’s an affiliate link, if you buy the turntable they and I will both make some money. Other people also sell Pro-ject through Amazon, but none of them pay my wages.