American Supercars


The Saleen S7 speeds to the forefront. Plus 15 new chronographs and Lürssen heads for 500 feet.

From This Issue

Collectibles: Star Searcher

A group of New Englanders has built a better telescope, better than the bronze Art Nouveau–style instrument that Russell Porter created in the 1920s, and which served as the model for the new Porter Garden Telescope. The group, which is incorporated as Telescopes of Vermont, altered Porter’s design by replacing the prism in the eyepiece with […]

FrontRunners: Out of the Box

Robert Bastani’s new flagship loudspeaker, the Bastanis Apollo (, offers a near-perfect replication of live music with its open-baffle design that quickens transient response and allows notes to disperse naturally. The speaker, priced at $21,600 per pair, employs a driver and tweeter mounted in a figure-eight form on a solid wood baffle with no surrounding […]

Home: Summer Stock

At the new Grupo Kettal shop in Coral Gables, Fla., the backdrops are minimalist, and on most days the space is filled with sunlight that pours through the two-story-tall glass wall fronting the building. The store, the first in North America for the Spanish outdoor furniture company (it has nine in Europe), is an ideal […]

Feature: Garden Delights

“That garden is like his child,” says JR Ridinger of the parterre on the grounds of his Miami Beach estate, and of the man who planted, nurtured, and sculpted it. When Ridinger and his wife, Loren, first viewed their house, Casa de Sueños, they were enchanted by the garden, which, they learned, had been designed […]

Leisure: The Prince of Prague

On May 23, 1618, members of Bohemia’s Protestant aristocracy expressed their displeasure with the newly appointed Catholic Hapsburg king, Ferdinand, by tossing two of his representatives out of a 20-foot-high window at Prague Castle. The incident, which became known as the Defenestration of Prague, proved to be the flash point for the Thirty Years’ War—even […]

The Prince of Prague: Close Quarters

Lobkowicz Palace does not offer accommodations, but two nearby hotels in Malá Strana, or Little Quarter, serve as fine bases from which to explore the museum, the adjacent castle, and the surrounding city of Prague. Mandarin Oriental, Prague Set in the heart of Malá Strana, the 99-room Mandarin Oriental, Prague, occupies a 14th-century Dominican monastery […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Little Red Ball

The red cue ball in this billiards set from 1951 represents the People’s Republic of China (PRC); the other balls symbolize problems that the government wanted to address. The green ball in the third row, for instance, demonizes Chiang Kai-shek, who led the opposition to the Communists during the Chinese civil war of the 1940s. […]

Art: The People’s Art

Fine art has long served propagandistic purposes. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes, for example, glorify the Catholic Church, and his David was conscripted into conveying civic pride. The artist created the statue to decorate the roof of a cathedral, but Florence’s leaders poached it for the Palazzo Vecchio, their main government building. Renaissance Florence, an independent […]

Spirits: Old Navy

It was not quite as dramatic as the flap of an insect’s wings in Brazil setting off a tornado in Texas, but Charles Tobias was involved in his own version of the butterfly effect. His response to a traffic jam on a Southern California freeway in 1974 set in motion a chain of events that […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

Burgundy’s sobriquet, the “king of wines,” is not entirely figurative: Many of the region’s choicest vineyards belonged to French noblemen and, in some cases, crowned heads. Bonneau du Martray, however, carries this distinction further by claiming imperial origins: Its 25-acre estate once belonged to Emperor Charlemagne, who reputedly was overly fond of its red wine, […]

Wine: Eminent Domaine

Romanée-Conti: The name rolls off the tongue almost as deliciously as the domaine’s liquid masterpieces roll onto it. Wine critics have heaped upon this small estate in the Vosne-Romanée region of Burgundy elaborate encomiums, often touting its aristocratic character and scarcity. As Robert M. Parker has noted, “there is not enough for even the billionaires […]

FrontRunners: There’s the Rub

There’s the Rub In the pavilions of the recently opened Manea Spa at the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa (, amid lily ponds and gardens, native therapists perform taurumi (a Polynesian form of massage) with coconut oil, coral sand, and other local ingredients. The spa also offers another Polynesian ritual—tattooing—practiced here by native artist […]

FrontRunners: Laundry Service

The concept of aging well in Napa Valley applies to more than just the region’s wines. Poetry Inn (, a lodge set on a hilltop at Napa’s Cliff Lede Vineyards, recently introduced a three-night birthday package that features a private dinner for 10 cooked by famed French Laundry chef Thomas Keller. The $60,000 Ultimate Birthday […]

FrontRunners: Select Smoke

Although the Por Larrañaga cigar brand dates to the 1830s, it has remained relatively obscure. It stands to gain new stature, however, thanks to a new line from the Florida company Cuban Imports (866.731.2822). The Por Larrañaga Cuban Grade cigar is made from gentle Dominican and Honduran fillers, a slightly spicy Mexican binder, and a […]

Sport: R&R in Costa Rica

The Blue Morpho butterflies that floated above our heads certainly were enchanting, and the sight of the rare, ochre-bellied flycatcher was something I will boast about back home at the annual Audubon Society meeting. Yet, as we come to another stop on our hike through a Costa Rican rain forest, this time to listen to […]

Dining: Mushroom Service

Raymond Blanc is gaining mastery over mushrooms, inside and out. Having conquered them within the bounds of his kitchen, the French chef is attempting to grow them on his property. In 2005, under the guidance of Welsh mushroom expert Richard Edwards, Blanc laced 60 logs with spores of shiitakes, cauliflower fungi, brown-gilled woodlovers, and other […]

From The Editors: Not on Mark Twain’s Watch

IWC, The International Watch Co. of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, is not to be confused with the Independent Watch Co. of Fredonia, N.Y. The former has been in business since 1868, making high-quality timepieces such as the Da Vinci Chronograph that appears in this issue in “Restarting the Clock“, a feature on new chronographs. The latter company […]

FrontRunners: Asian Lacquer

Although poisonous, the sap from an Asian sumac nevertheless can be irresistible—when it has been heated, transformed into lacquer, and used to make intricate decorative items such as the incense box shown here (top left). Japanese artisans since the eighth century have worked with this lacquer, and the art form still flourishes, notably in the […]

FrontRunners: Shifting Gears

Not content with merely selling the wares of German watch manufacturers, the Hamburg-based retailer Wempe ( has joined them. Wempe enlisted the German firm Nomos, located in the watchmaking center of Glashütte, to help develop its Wempe Chronometerwerke Glashütte watches. The company offers simple hand-wound models ($5,500 to $9,950) as well as a tourbillon ($110,500).

FrontRunners: Prime Cut

In September, at his Salt Lake City shop, Daniel Paillasseur will display the black diamond for which he named his jewelry brand, Korloff ( Paillasseur had viewed the then-110-carat stone several years before founding his company in 1978 in Lyon, France. He eventually acquired the diamond, which is thought to have belonged to the Korloff […]

Wardrobe: A Fashionable Address

Italian tailors have been chipping away at Britain’s suitmaking legacy for decades. First they appropriated the classic English silhouette with its cinched waist and fitted shoulders, and then they tweaked the construction by removing the shoulder padding and lightening the interior linings for a softer fit. Most recently, Italian-made menswear infiltrated the last bastion of […]

Jewelry: Treasure Hunter

Paolo Costagli was so taken with emeralds that in the late 1980s he left his native Italy to search for the finest examples of the gems in the mines of Colombia. For two months he labored underground near the town of Muzo, enduring 120-degree temperatures while digging with a shovel and pick in tunnels that […]

Feature: Restarting the Clock

Four years ago, 33-year-old Stefan Ihnen, a movement development engineer at IWC in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, faced the most daunting technical challenge of his career: creating the company’s first modern integrated chronograph movement. While completely absorbed in this endeavor, Ihnen may not have been aware that several of his peers across Switzerland were trying to accomplish […]

FrontRunners: Auto Focus

When a British consortium acquired Aston Martin in March for about $930 million from the Ford Motor Co., the purchase marked another new beginning for the sometimes troubled 94-year-old company. Despite its periodic financial difficulties, the firm has produced remarkable vehicles, from the DB5 of 1963 to the new DBS V12. (In his 1959 novel […]

Autos: High-End for the High-Minded

The vehicle’s two tons of elegance lope flat and steady at 140 mph on the banked oval at the Toyota Arizona Proving Ground (TAPG), the automaker’s vehicle-testing facility near Phoenix. Count Basie’s “Satin Doll” plays loudly on this big, broad, and luxurious sedan’s 19-speaker, 450-watt surround-sound system. Up front, a 5-liter V-8 produces a different […]

Contributors: No Fear of Flying

As an instructor, Steve Saleen might be better suited for the Bob Bondurant racing school, for which he once worked, than for a driver’s ed class. Automotive editor Gregory Anderson reached this conclusion after piloting the 750 hp Saleen S7 and the S281 Extreme Mustang with Saleen himself riding shotgun. “We’re driving on public roads […]

Aviation: Light Traveler

On a March afternoon eight years ago, Swiss native Bertrand Piccard, then 41 years old, flew the Breitling Orbiter 3 over Mauritania, completing the first nonstop circumnavigation of the globe in a balloon. The trip had taken 20 days. “When Bertrand did the project in 1999,” says André Borschberg, his present-day business partner, “the balloon […]

Feature: Precision Guidance

It’s like a waltz,” says 25-year-old Eric Tucker, “like being on a dance floor, looking into your partner’s eyes, while the room spins around you.” It is a sunny April morning in Northern California, and Tucker, while he shows me how to strap on my parachute, is describing the sensation we are about to experience. […]

Wings & Water: Thinking Big

The crash of hammers, the clang of metal on metal, and the crackle of welding torches are among Peter Lürssen’s earliest memories. Now 47, he grew up in a house that was about a five-minute walk from his family’s shipyard in Bremen, Germany. “All the talk in the house was about boats,” he says. “My […]

Thinking Big: Enter the Unsailboat

“The most useful tool for any designer is the eraser,” French designer Philippe Briand has said, and he has taken that minimalist philosophy to extraordinary lengths in a superyacht concept for Lürssen Yachts. Briand introduced his vision for the 180-foot, energy-efficient motor yacht Vitruvius, named after a Roman architect of the first century B.C., at […]

Feature: The Saleen Solution

Steve Saleen is obsessed with speed.”Roll into the throttle,” the former Bob Bondurant racing school instructor commands me as I navigate a makeshift test track, which consists of the public roads that surround the Saleen automotive company’s headquarters in Irvine, Calif. Heedless that his S7—a certified supercar equipped with 750 hp and no traction control […]