The Next Time Someone Says “Beauty Will Save The World,” Consider This…

James Hunt gets light over a hill at the Nürburgring during the German Grand Prix, 1975.
Image by © Schlegelmilch/Corbis

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Spring must be in the air, or something, because my mind is on art that doesn’t belong in a gallery.

The image above is art that I can appreciate right about now. The science that brings about the machinery is art as well. At least to me.

Take a look at this short video of a Mark I Ford GT40. Therein, we get to see the machined beauty of the car in fine detail, before we hear the beautiful music it makes while taking laps. Roll clip,

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Aaaaaaah. Happiness is a crackling exhaust note. Truthfully? Listening to the sounds of screaming motors can relax me as much as listening to a Bach concerto. But I’m weird.

This, for example, is a thing of beauty to me.

Supercharged beauty, in a small, Cobra-sized, package.

 

Man. I wonder what it looks like inside the supercharger, don’t you? Here, let me help.

 

Impellers inside the Eaton M112

 

Turns out that you CAN stick an i-Phone just about anywhere. And if you think that is beautiful, then you’re going to love this.

Behold! Capricorn’s Porsche 904 Carrera engine.

Ja, ausgezeichnet und wunderbar, nicht war?

 

It looks even better when it’s put together, and bolted into it’s carrier.

 

The Porsche 904 Carrera. Read all about it.

Speaking of Capricorn, the photograph that started out this post was snapped at the Nürburgring. Capricorn, renowned fabricator of engine parts, has just purchased the track. If you’ve never heard of it, you may remember it in a Volkswagen commercial where a giddy test driver of a GTI hands the gate guard $100 Marks (before there was a Euro, see) and then blasts through a 21 kilometer lap on the Nordschleife, to breathlessly exclaim, “Ausgezeichnet!”

The artful twists and turns of the Nürburgring

It’s good to know that the lovely track has been purchased by a firm that isn’t just looking to turn a quick buck out of the storied track. They’d rather turn a quick lap on it, instead. That, and build better cars.

This wouldn’t be a Catholic post if Italy wasn’t mentioned, right? How about a photograph of the banking at Monza?

 

Ah…Italy!

 

OK, so maybe beauty will save the world. One thing is for sure, though. Beauty like the kind I’m showcasing here will not save you any gas. I wonder if Rush is streaming on Netflix?

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  • Rebecca Fuentes

    Now that I have a very mechanically-minded son, I am starting to understand this type of beauty. He would adore those engine parts.

  • Tom Leith

    Robert Pirsig wrote about the beauty you’re seeing here — he called it something like classical perception. You’re not seeing the surface of the thing, which might be greasy or unpolished, but rather you’re seeing what the thing MEANS. In the case of a motorcycle engine, it means the ability to control violent explosions and turn them into motion without having the machine destroy itself. Metallurgy, measurement, manufacturing, all the rest are what underlie a motorcycle engine — they point to an orderly, apprehensible universe and the work of many generations of intellects. Plus its fun to go that fast around a twisty racetrack and experience the local acceleration fields.


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