Unique Machines


Saleen's all-American S7. Also, the new Mini: an economy car for the automotive elite. Plus, the new Bugatti Veyron, a Y2K turbine superbike, a grand touring hovercraft, & the SEAmobile personal sub.

From This Issue

Personal Technology: Model of Perfection

Do not, implores Tom DeVesto, call it retro. The Model One table radio may harken back to the 1950s, with its analog tuning dial, single 3-inch speaker, and mere three dials, but its sound is undeniably modern. “We’d cringe when we’d hear, ‘It’s a retro product,’ ” says DeVesto, who developed the Model One with […]

Smoke: Made in the Connecticut Shade

Whenever cigar smokers gather, a frequent debate is whether the United States can grow cigar tobacco. End the argument now; the answer is yes. In fact, the mild Connecticut Shade wrapper leaf thrives only in the New England state in much the same way some Cuban tobaccos reach excellence only when they are grown on […]

Moving Machines

Imagine what it’s like to bob through the canals of Venice and drink in the sights, sounds, and smells of the city in a floating Mercedes-Benz. Or consider the feeling of hovering in a vehicle at 50 mph over surfaces that vary from a pond to a sandy beach to even a stretch of ice. […]

Moving Machines: Back in Red and Black

For over 60 years, the Bugatti brand has been riddled with false starts: In 1939, World War II halted production of the cars; in 1947, the death of Ettore Bugatti, the company’s founder, rattled the marque; and in 1995, four years after Romano Artioli relaunched Bugatti, the company went bankrupt. In less than two years, […]

Moving Machines: Chopper Power

If the notion of riding a 460-pound motorcycle powered by a turbine engine that lifts 10,000-pound helicopters seems implausible, ask Jay Leno what it’s like; he’s one of the few riders who has experienced the sensation. “It feels like the hand of God is pushing you,” Leno says. Leno owns a Marine Turbine Technologies’ Y2K […]

Moving Machinges: High Performance Art

The offerings of brand-name exotic carmakers disappoint Xeno III designer Nick Pugh. To be precise, he dislikes the notion of creating a fantastic exotic only to build and sell hundreds or even thousands of copies of that same car. A genuinely exotic car, he asserts, should not be a one-size-fits-all machine. Rather, it should be […]

Moving Machines: Splashy SL

On the gray water of Venice’s Grand Canal, gondolas bob, speedboats slash, and a lone 1953 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing sputters along the waterway at 7 mph. It should be noted that the Mercedes in question is made almost entirely out of walnut and pine. Livio de Marchi, the creator and driver of the Mercedes, grips […]

Moving Machines: On the Air

The 21st century has arrived, and science has yet to deliver the personal jet packs that have for so long populated the hackneyed predictions of futurists. However, David Carambat and his Louisiana yacht design firm, Industrial Object, have unveiled something equally ubiquitous to the realms of science fiction: a recreational hovercraft that’s actually enjoyable to […]

Moving Machines: Rising from the Ashes

The Hindenburg disaster notwithstanding, the zeppelin was not an ill-conceived airship. Though lumbering and leisurely as a mode of air travel, the Hindenburg’s accommodations included 25 two-berth cabins, a lounge with a baby grand piano, a bar, a dining area that could seat 50, a reading and writing room furnished with Hindenburg stationery, and even […]

Moving Machines: Downwardly Mobile

Recently, several Disney executives took a ride off Catalina Island in a SEAmobile, a two-person, 15-foot submarine. The SEAmobile gave them an up close view of fish and coral through the submarine’s clear acrylic bubble.   Afterward, they described the SEAmobile experience with a trademark Disney phrase: time to veil. The term describes how long […]

Wheels: Daly Driving Lessons

Today, most manufacturers of sports and luxury automobiles offer a host of options aimed at buyers who want to extract even higher performance from their new cars (or simply be secure in the notion that they have checked off every box on the build sheet that makes the car they order the fastest the factory […]

Finance & Investment: Shelter for Investors

In March 2000, a consultant invested in a Silicon Valley Internet venture fund, lured by the potentially lucrative perk of becoming a limited partner. The consultant, who prefers not to be identified, eagerly anted up a six-figure sum and made a commitment to contribute $1 million more each time the fund required additional capital. The […]

FrontRunners: In Bed with Brioni

Brioni is best known for its impeccably tailored suits, but it’s possible to go from the boardroom to the bedroom without sacrificing any sartorial style in the transition. Taking its cue from Umberto Angeloni, the company’s impeccable chairman who always wears custom-made pajamas to bed, Brioni introduced sleepwear in 1995 when the company acquired the […]

Boating: Try a Little Tenderness

Although Mark Holowesko’s new boat has yet to be delivered, he already can picture an October blue-sky day in the Bahamas. He’ll be behind the wheel of his 45-foot WallyTender, piloting his wife and four children from Nassau across 30 miles of ocean to the island of Andros, where he’ll spend several hours bonefishing, break […]

Aircraft: Mustang’s Alley

For the past three years, Bob Hannah has been selling million-dollar vintage planes, including a P-51 Mustang, a P-38 Lightning, and a Supermarine Spitfire. “Anybody who is calling me about an airplane is calling because he knows what it’s all about,” Hannah says from his office in Caldwell, Idaho. “He loves racing fast things and […]

Sport: Executive Training

The unmarked, tan-colored brick building housing Athletes’ Performance, a $10 million high-tech fitness center that opened last year, blends anonymously into the rest of the Arizona State University campus in Tempe. The effect is deliberate: The center’s founder, owner, and chief trainer, 32-year-old Mark Verstegen, wants to protect his clients’ privacy. After all, his clientele, […]

Dining: The Recipe of Life

Two hours and 30-some dishes into the lavish meal, the kitchen door opens and the chef emerges. His gauzy white pants and a flowing white shirt, unbuttoned midchest, replace traditional chef whites, and Greek music resounds throughout the dining room. Smiling deviously, the chef smashes a plate on the floor, then another, and with arms […]

Travel: Tough Love

Given the choice, I’ll take a mountain trail over a StairMaster any day, and when it comes to aromatherapy, I much prefer tramping through a lush meadow of wildflowers to a eucalyptus wrap. So I raised a few eyebrows among my friends when I planned to spend four days at, of all places, aspa. “Do […]

Jewelry: Rome Revisited

“Shiny gold is for peasants!” declares Roman jeweler Massimo Maria Melis. To illustrate his point, he hands me a heavy gold chain set with a patinated ancient Roman coin. The links glow, radiating a rich, antiqued yellow golden hue. Glow, yes—shine, never. The handmade chain appears soft to the touch, and each strike of the […]

Furnishings: Colonial Son

Only one name is always mentioned in the same breath as “best” when discussing West In-dian Colonial furniture—Michael Connors. His by-appointment-only New York showroom welcomes a parade of top decorators, including Albert Hadley, Bunny Williams, and Carlton Varney. All beat a path downtown to find antiques and architectural elements from the Caribbean islands, along with […]

Appliances: Future Cook

Italian kitchens are joining the ranks of Italian sports cars, with sleek designs that incorporate luxurious materials and innovative details. Looking toward the future, Snaidero, a top manufacturer of cutting-edge designer kitchens, challenged Paolo Pininfarina, the acclaimed engineer and industrial designer best known for his work on the Ferrari Testarossa and Cadillac Allante, to develop […]

Feature: Saleen Dreams

In the courtyard of the elegant Bacara resort 15 miles north of Santa Barbara, three new Saleen S7s sit side by side. Snake-belly low, sleekly styled, with minimalist carbon fiber bodywork stretched tightly over tubular frames, they closely resemble the Le Mans racecars that inspired them. Nearby, a group of Lehman Brothers brokers awaits the […]

Motorcycles: Hail to the Chief

At first, Carl Dietz didn’t notice his pursuer. Dietz had recently purchased a 2002 Indian Chief, the first all-Indian cruiser in 50 years, and was breaking it in around his neighborhood in the Chicago suburbs. He leaned into each corner, carefully downshifted at each stop sign, and shifted through the gears on the longer streets. […]

FrontRunners: Biz Buzz

A business card can say more about you than just your name, title, and contact information. “People are not thinking of them just as their cards. It’s a focus on their total identity,” says Cheryl Dangel Cullen, whose new book, The Best of Business Card Design No. 5 (Rockport Publishers, 2002), showcases some of the world’s […]

FrontRunners: Ultimate Pedaling Machine

Proving that good things do indeed come in small packages, BMW’s Q6.S mountain bike (www.bmwusa.com) doesn’t require an X5 SUV to transport it from the garage to the great outdoors; in less than a minute and without any tools, you can remove the 27-speeder’s wheels, fold the frame, and tuck the bike into the trunk […]

FrontRunners: Lotus Position

Lotus Arts de Vivre (www.lotusartsdevivre.com) blends ancient Far Eastern and Asian art with modern function and sensibility to create jewelry, objets d’art, and accessories that are destined to become prized conversation pieces. Lotus, which is based in Bangkok and whose pieces are made by craftsmen in remote mountain villages of Nepal, Bali, and Rajasthan in […]

FrontRunners: Childhood Home

Barbara Butler may understand more than most about the likes and dislikes of children. However, you don’t have to be an aunt to 15 nieces and nephews, as she is, to know that children enjoy playhouses, especially ones as fantastic as those that Butler (415.864.6840, http://www.barbarabutler.com) designs and builds. Her brightly colored creations may resemble […]

FrontRunners: Revolutionary Rack

Doug Mccain’s frustration with his wine cellar’s traditional storage racks threatened to grow as large as his 3,000-bottle collection. Standing in front of the racks, all he could see was foil, so the former engineer decided to do something about it. After four years of working on the solution, he and his Colorado company, Wine […]

FrontRunners: Time Saver

Although it’s easy to imagine agent 007, trapped on a remote mountaintop, unscrewing the cap of Breitling’s Emergency and extending the antenna to call for a pickup, the watch is not a high-tech fantasy gadget that Q conjured up. Breitling (800.641.7343, http://www.breitling.com) spent $7 million developing the Emergency before launching it overseas in 1995. However, […]

Leisure: Agony of the Ecstasy

In the world of Michelin three-star restaurants, there is much distinction, but little surprise. Not that the cuisine is homogeneous from one venue to the next, or the decor cut from the same cloth. In this rarefied world, grand luxury takes myriad forms, from the neoclassic boardroom air of Taillevent in the heart of Paris […]

Symposium: Table for One

Streets filled with pantomimists, clarinet players, and bead-draped women give credence to the notion that New Orleans is more of a stage than a city. People watching, as much as dining, is the preferred pastime in the cuisine-crazed French Quarter, where gulping gumbo and observing revelers go together like a bowl of turtle soup and […]

Home Tour: The Racing Demon

In 1986 I was asked to do a book on the Queen Mother’s various gardens, in the course of which I visited her Scottish home, the Castle of Mey, to photograph its grounds. The Queen Mother bought the Castle of Mey in 1952 after the death of her husband, George VI, earlier that year, and […]

Feature: Back to the Future

This past year, BMW 7 Series owners were introduced to iDrive, which, by means of a dial on the center console and a monitor on the dashboard, seemingly controls every one of the car’s functions while eliminating most of the buttons and switches that line the interiors of other luxury sedans. Though groundbreaking, the system […]

Feature: A Mini Splendid Thing

Like many owners of this car, Frank Eimont didn’t take a test-drive before purchasing it. In fact, he had not even seen one of these models in person; he had only read about it in auto magazines and on online message boards. Still, a year before its release, Eimont placed a deposit, then waited, seemingly […]

Feature: The Endangered Art

Few living artists are as much in demand as Suzanne Rohr, a Swiss painter whose works are sold long before she lifts her brush. Only a select group of elite collectors will ever lay eyes on a painting crafted by Rohr, whose strong pointillist style gives her renderings of 19th-century masterworks a distinct signature. Rohr, […]