The Magnificent 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe From the Ralph Lauren Collection

Designer Ralph Lauren is the proud owner of one of the world’s most handsome, interesting and fine specimens – the 1938 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic Coupe.

This gem is one of the rarest and most expensive cars in the world, designed by Jean Bugatti, son of founder Ettore. This beauty is estimated to be worth around $40 million US, why? Besides the fact it’s a visual work-of-art which has been on display in museums such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, there are only three known examples of the Atlantic world-wide.

Apart from Lauren’s, one Atlantic recently changed hands for $38 million and is now in Mullin Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The third and final was destroyed in a train accident in the 1950s.

Lauren added the Atlantic to his considerable car collection in 1988. His collection boasts 60-odd rare cars ranging from a 1958 Ferrari Testarossa to a 1929 Bentley Blower – all housed in a disguised office park-like building in Bedford Hills, New York.

Said to reach speeds of up to 200 km/h the Atlantic has a truly stunning hand-formed aluminium body, low stance and still boasts many of its original features: the original interior upholstery made of goatskin leather, seats stuffed with horsehair and the original EXK6 UK registration.

“I’ve always been inspired by automotive design — the materials, the lines, but also the power and functionality. Cars are like art — moving art — an accomplishment in mechanics and precision.” — Ralph Lauren.

Lauren has so much passion for his Bugatti he took inspiration from it to create his latest watch collection. The Elm burl wood dials, black alligator straps and Amboyna burl wood bezels are reminiscent of the car’s rich interior.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unlocking The Mysteries Of Ulfberht Swords, The All-Powerful Viking Swords

The all-powerful Ulfberht swords with blades so strong that it still baffles experts today.

Ulfberht Swords

When you think of medieval warfare, we think of swords. In the age before gunpowder, the best way to kill your enemy was usually just to stab him with a big hunk of steel.

But if you think that everyone was using swords, you might be a little off-base. Even if you tried to equip an entire army with swords, you would have quickly run into the biggest problem associated with warfare no matter the era: money.

Swords were incredibly expensive. Depending on where you lived, a good sword could cost about £1,200 to £24,000 in today’s money. Of course, it’s hard to directly translate the cost between the medieval period and today, simply because the economy worked so differently. But the bottom line is if you wanted a good sword, it wasn’t cheap.

But what if you wanted a really good sword? A sword that was so much better than everything else of its era that it was almost mythical? Then you needed an Ulfberht. And you had better bring some serious cash.

The Ulfberht swords, largely associated with Vikings, were basically like the Ferraris of their time. They were a symbol of wealth, status, and they would perform better than what most other people were using.

We don’t know much about who made the Ulfberht swords, but we do know that they were probably made in the Kingdom of Francia (around modern-day France and Germany). This was traditionally where the best swords were made, and the Ulfberht “brand” might have made the best swords in Francia.

These swords were said to have been sharper, stronger, and more flexible than anyone else’s. That gave the user a huge advantage in battle. You could block an enemy’s sword and trust that your blade wouldn’t shatter, which was a constant concern. And in an era where the best warriors wore mail coats, an Ulfberht sword would slice through that protection better than other swords.

It was the closest thing to a lightsaber in medieval Europe. And that’s actually a better comparison than you might think. That’s because the process used to make Ulfberht swords was centuries ahead of the competition. In fact, it wouldn’t be possible to replicate it on a large scale until the industrial revolution.

Viking Swords

The secret to Ulfberht swords was the distribution of carbon in the blade. Steel swords were made by mixing iron and carbon to produce steel. Add too much carbon and the sword becomes brittle and breaks. Add too little, and it will just bend. The Ulfberht swords used the perfect amount to produce blades that were sharper and more durable than anyone else’s.

But we’re still not entirely sure how the makers did that, though it may have involved borrowing some the techniques used by Arab smiths to produce the famous “Damascus Steel.”

The process involved using trace amounts of other minerals and heating them together with iron and carbon in a crucible to produce first-rate steel. And getting these materials from as far as India involved a global trade network you don’t usually associate with the period.

Were the makers of the Ulfberht swords using the same techniques? Possibly. If not, then they somehow produced something very similar to Damascus Steel on their own, with almost no impurities in the metal. And they quickly became famous, and probably rich, for it.

Most likely, steel was shipped up from the Arab empires or India through the rivers of Eastern Europe by traders. There, they were turned into swords in what is now Germany. Then they were sold to Norse and Frankish nobles who wanted a quality blade to use against their enemies. It’s hard to say exactly what an Ulfberht cost, but it was probably something only the richest noblemen could afford.

Ulfberht Sword Picture

There are about 170 true Ulfberht swords that have survived to the present day. They’re all in the traditional “Viking” style with a long, double-edged blade and a straight crossbar over the grip and all of them have the name “Ulfberht” stamped into the blade. Whoever was making the swords clearly understood the importance of branding.

But like any modern brand, the Ulfberht brand was quickly beset with imitators. Because Ulfberht swords were so famous, other people soon realized they could sell their swords for more by stamping the Ulfberht name on the blade, even if they didn’t use the same techniques. And since the people who bought these swords were relying on them for battle, this had deadly consequences.

Ulfberht is itself a Frankish personal name. That might imply that the original inventor was a man named Ulfberht. But since the swords were made for about 200 years, he certainly wasn’t the only one producing them.

And because there are so many imitation swords out there, figuring out who originally created the mythic Ulfberht swords or where they did it has baffled archeologists for decades, and will likely long remain a mystery.

10 Of The Worlds Best Camper Conversions.

1. VW Crafter Sven Hedin Westfalia Camper

So, we’re going to start with a big one, the Sven Hedin Crafter Volkswagen Westfalia Camper. We’ve actually been inside this one ourselves, and if it wasn’t for the $100,000 price tag we’d snag one up pretty quickly! Just by looking at it from the outside you can tell that this is a serious camper. It’s designed for living in luxury with up to four people, it’s also going for that stealth black look with the gunmetal grey and blacked out accessories. We absolutely dig it.

As mentioned it’s built on a VW Crafter, one of the larger camper vehicles out there, for you that are new to the Crafter, it’s very similar to Mercedes Sprinter conversions. So what does it feature? Being on of the more expensive campervan conversions in this list it… has a lot. Starting at the back it comes with a large double bed, with more than enough space to fit two adults and even your adventure dog if that’s your thing.

Volkswagen Westfalia Camper - Inside

Moving further down, you have a fully fledged hot water shower with a built in toilet, and we have to mention this showers looks and works better than most hotels we’ve been in, it’s a spectacular feature to have when off the grid, it’s a necessity that most van life travellers have to live without, but if you’ve got the money it’s something you’ll never look back on. Plus the toilet is huge too, letting you to your number to in peace, and not feeling like you’re crammed in Harry Potter’s bedroom.Just outside of the shower room, you have the storage and kitchen area which has been assembled with precision and beauty. It comes with a giant 70L fridge that is located right next to the door, this allows you to easily access those cold beers from the outside without bringing in mud or taking of your shoes,  lovely!

Volkswagen Westfalia Camper Exterior 1

It also comes with 100L of fresh water on board, which is one of the largest we’ve  seen in campervan conversions, this means you can shower as much as you please, venture as far as your eyes can see, and wash as many dishes as your heart desires…. wait, what?

Westfalia also gives you the option to upgrade and install underfloor heatings, this is aimed towards users in colder climates obviously, but it’s a nice featured that will undoubtedly keep you warm this winter, and if you’re a fan of van yoga, this will help keep your bums warm! What a nice touch, but remember, nothing is free so this will cost you more… yes more than $100,000. The normal edition does in fact come with a 4.8kw diesel heater, so if you’re wondering if the base version comes with heating, it does.

Volkswagen Westfalia Camper - Bed

Here’s a full list of features in the Sven Hedin camper conversion:

  • Passenger Seat with lumbar support
  • Power heated outside mirrors
  • Seats with heating in driver cabin
  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • Cruise control
  • Heating for windscreen washer nozzles
  • Air conditioning “Climatic” in driver cabin,
  • Rear Bed “Comfort” with electric Westfalia Pop-Out rear left
  • Flyscreen door,
  • LED Ambient Light Package:
  • Multi-functional display “Plus”
  • Multi-functional steering wheel
  • Navigation system “Discover Media”
  • *Light and Vision Pack : £402.00

To round it off number one on our campervan conversions list is most likely out of reach for most of our readers, but it’s something we can all dream of owning one day, right? It’s an almighty conversion that Westfalia has crafted with excellence and precision, everything in this conversion feels like its been taken out of a million dollar yacht and we can’t help but love it. But if this isn’t to your taste, and you want to bump a few thousands off the price tag, the Ford Campervan Conversion next might be something for you.

2. One of the finest Ford Transit campervan conversions around

One of the newest campervan conversions on our list is this beauty from Outside Van. Outside Van is a campervan conversions company based in the United States, they mainly specialise in Mercedes Sprinters, but just last week, they revealed their all new Ford Transit Campervan conversion, and it’s beyond beastly. We’ll admit the Ford Transit gets a bit of a bad rep, especially in the United Kingdom, some people see it as the classic builders van, but with these campervan conversions, it’s making a comeback, and a memorable one at that. 
On the roof of the Cascade you’ll find an Air Top hard shell roof tent, so if you have a few friends wanting to tag a long on your adventure, there’s a spacious bed for them that overlooks your location. There’s a strong ladder, an aluminium bumper and a tubular roof rack which is all attached to the body of the van, and with the included super awesome light bar you won’t have to spend any more time struggling to see wildlife that want to try and scare you!
This Ford Camper Conversion also comes with a reliable solar package to keep your batteries and van life essentials topped up on the go, oh and an awning if you enjoy a little bit of shade whilst sipping on a frosty beverage.
Ford Camper Conversion - Cascade
Living off the grid is no easy task, so having a tonne of top cooking accessories and one of the most comfortable campervan conversions on the market, will certainly help you chomp down on those long haul rides. It features a two hob stove that’s built directly into the worktop, so no folding stuff out, it’s ready for you to cook some mean meals.
Next to it is a spacious sink, a stainless steel fridge, a gas powered heating system and lots more all located behind the drivers seat with an accompanying window for you look into the wild while you chill out with your crew.
Ford Camper Conversion - Kitchen
Outside Van know the appeal that their products have on the digital nomad scene, so all of their campervan conversions come with a overkill power centre that can handle all of your electric needs. Their power inverters turn 12V power into the 110V power , meaning that you can charge up your laptop, smartphone, camera and power banks without using any special adapters. The Inverter in this camper can provide up to a whopping 2000 watts of power, which is more than enough juice to power up a 700-1000w microwave for those late night time snacks. 
Ford Camper Conversion - Bike storage
This is no normal camper conversion, it’s built with the adventurist in mind, so under the bed, and towards the back of the Ford Transit camper, you’ll find a bike garage. That’s right, you can fit two mountain bikes in the back if needed, you can even convert this space into more storage or an outdoor kitchen if mountain biking isn’t you thing, Outside van is open to ideas and will work around your concepts.
And is that an outside shower that we spy in the bottom left of the picture? Yes it is; Outside Van want you to spend as much time outside your van as you do inside it, so now you can get as muddy as you want and clean off before tea, or even clean your mountain bikes before popping them in the back. Handy

3. A weekend warriors dream VW T6 Campervan Conversions

The VW Camper is without doubt one of the most popular campervans in Europe, making it a great long term purchase if you want reliability and a sense of historical authenticity when it comes to the VW name. Its size is perfect for getting around the city in the day while at the same time being able to transform into a one of the most luxurious compact campervan conversions around in minutes.
It’s built for weekends, a trip to the forest, an evening camping under the mountains or a week away at Glastonbury Festival. This eye catching VW Camper is called the Trakkadu 450 S and it’s built upon a Volkswagen T6, crafted by the talented team that is Trakka in Australia. It’s truly something special and the team should be proud. We’ve never wanted a VW Camper so bad in our lives.
VW Camper Exterior
It’s built for van lifers who want to camp, but also travellers who want speed, it’s completely pimped out with a 7-speed automatic transmission and a bi-turbo diesel engine that will tear up the road once you put your foot down. It’s also been hooked up with some of the best tires money can buy, meaning it will tackle dirt roads, mountains, and wet terrains with ease.
Again, another completely spotless interior, it’s like something out of Star Trek. Neon lights surround the sliding door and the cockpit, this illuminates our camper with light and just shouts money when people look inside. It comes with all of the normal bits you’d find in these campervan conversions. Pop top, fridge, desk, two burner stove and a lot more tiny details that can only be appreciated when seen with your own eyes.
VW Camper Interior
The exterior is beyond monstrous, it features a golden yellow paint job with a touch of black in places that fit its yellow beast aesthetic perfectly. On the front you’ll see bright LED headlights that make the road shine with detail, to the side an electric sliding door which makes you feel like Obi Wan Kenobi every time it opens and there’s also heat insulated windows that are tinted to match its stealth black features.
And lastly towards the back there’s a heavy duty protection plate that helps keep the back bumper scratch-free when loading and unloading your camping accessories from the back. And throughout the body work you have a number of Trakkadu decals sprinkled around the exterior that adds a nice custom appeal.
The interior is just as exciting as the exterior and we’re certain every van life enthusiast will love it. It packs a fridge, a diesel stove, a hot water system, 38L water tank, fold away tables to do your work on thego.Youmay have guessed that a campervan of this magnitude does not come cheap, and with a price tag of over £100,000 ($140,000) it’s certainly out of ours and possibly your price range. It’s built for adventurers who are serious about taking to the road for their next thrill, if it’s in your price range then it’s worth saying g’day to Trakka in Sydney.

4. Mercedes Sprinter camper conversions are taking over the world

Outside Van Exterior

And while we’re on the subject of bikes, the reason it’s called Power Station is because it features 3 long life AGM batteries, a e-bike charging station for your charging your best e-bikes for travelling and a diesel heater to keep you warm on the go.

Looking into the main living area of this camper, from the picture below you can see that it looks like a homely, spacious place to live in, and we couldn’t agree more. It’s well lit, has an actual dining area that meets the swiveling passenger seat, and a spacious kitchen with even more storage! We bloody love storage!

Outside Van Exterior 3

All these things add up to bring the customer a great way to explore and enjoy the tiny home life in ways you could not imagine. When you give Outside Van’s creative mind a shot, you will be blown away with the results. The Power Station is by far one of the most technologically advanced campervan conversions they’ve made, as they included just about everything campers need to sustain living off the grid with lots of tech.

5. The big blue giant by Nomad Vans campervan conversions

If you follow us closely over on our Instagram, you’ll know that this blue Mercedes Sprinter by Nomad Vanz has a small space in our hearts, it’s one of our most wanted campervan conversions ever and the fact that it’s in our favourite colour too makes us extremely jealous of whoever owns it.
Nomad Vans are a Canadian based campervan conversions company who also specialise in converting Mercedes Sprinters into insane off road vehicles with features like full blown showers and front spotlights for going down any route you want, when you want. 
Off Grid home - Front shot
This is for someone who wants to stand out, stealth is not an option, and someone who wants their interior design to pop, just like its exterior. These guys are known for creating vehicles that blow peoples minds, and the M&M blue makes it look like no other camper you’ve seenbefore.Thesecolourful conversions are very family friendly, but don’t let that fool you; these campervan conversions are just at home on the campsite as they are in on top of a mountain or hidden forest, your camper, your choice!
They’re the real deal, and this is an off grid home that we could definitely live in all year round. This particular model is called ‘Out Of The Blue’ – the best trips come when you least expect them after all!
Off Grid home - Cab
Taking a closer look at Nomad Vanz interior you can see that these campervan conversions certainly do not lack detail, infact it is so well designed every inch is made to do something, be it their swivel chairs, to the funky carpet, everything has a reason, and that’s exactly why this conversion is on our top list.
It’s attention to detail, it’s unlike anything we’ve seen before, there’s even orange LED lights that go alongside the floor to match the interior colour scheme. And (you’re probably bored of this by now) there’s a bike garage in the back, under the bed too!
Simple builds start from approx $50,000, and the big upgraded builds cost around $250,000. It might sound expensive, but you can’t put a price on comfort, style and the ultimate adventure vehcile. We love this van, and if you’re looking for a 4×4 off grid home with a difference then this is the vehicle for you! Head over to the Nomad Vanz website to find out more about their vans and to speak to their dedicated customer service team!

6. Blacked Out VW T25 Camper Conversion

We’re huge fans of the VW T25, in fact we own one ourselves, but unfortunately for us it’s not as good looking as this handsome fella here. Meet the blacked out VW T25 Syncro with a roof top tent and a bike ramp that goes over the van itself to create an insane course for down hill bikers who are constantly on the move.

It was converted by Rob Heran, a professional mountain bike addict who loves the minimalist lifestyle, and with that he has created one of the most unique T25 conversions we’ve seen in a long time. He purchased this fella in early 2017 and since then has been travelling around the states with one thing in mind… adventure.

campervan conversions

The engine has been replaced with a reliable 120hp TDI, the interior re-crafted, all doors replaced and a tonne of biking essentials has been added. Not only that, but its equipped with new LED lights, two new batteries, a new 100-watt solar panel and Recaro seats for comfortability while travelling all of those miles around the states.

The most noticeable feature of this VW T25 is the Heimplanet Inflatable Tent which fits onto the roof rack, with this camping tent there is no poles needed, simply a few strong breaths and the outside chambers will fill with air and shape the tent in minutes. Rob, is without doubt a member of the Camp Clan!

If we take a closer look inside, you can also see that the windows have been turned into chalkboards, increasing productivity and free’ing the mind, all while taking in those incredible views. He’s used reclaimed wood on the ceiling which has been taken from a nineteenth century church in Ohio, adding a sense of history in what’s a stunning modern day camper van.

The bed can be flipped up into a chair, allowing for an even more relaxing environment to work in. The desk has a pull out block chair which can be tucked underneath to keep everything clean and tidy. Plus, the desk can be flipped up and transformed into a cooking area which has a turn burner stove hiding underneath. A neat touch, and we love how everything is hidden and keeping it minimalist vibe.

Zach’s van is run by a couple of solar panels that power most of his camping essentials, and its heavily insulated so that he can work off grid in any climate. There’s a hidden kitchen for cooking up some tasty snacks.

Studio Cargo Van Conversion

If’ there’s one thing that living in a mobile home can give you, its memorable experiences but sometimes you may want to earn money on the road while you do that, a bit like we do, so having a place that enhances creativity, and a space that lets you escape the busy world and tap into your third sense is priceless.

This is an incredibly DIY conversion, that doesn’t go into to much details, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to do something like this. All you need is a bit of pre-planning, determinations and a couple pals to help you out. Nice work Zach, you’ve made the Van Clan team jealous!

10. A peak inside at incredible VW T6 Campervan Conversions

We had the privilege of taking a look at this VW T6 camper at The Camper Show in Birmingham, UK on Thursday, and lucky for us there was a number of very tidy campers on show, but one that really stood out for us was this incredible short-wheel-based VW T6 camper modified by Danbury MotorCaravans.

It’s a 2L TDi Surf King camper conversion with a tonne of extra add-ons. On the outside you have this incredible white and deep blue colour combo, with 18″ alloys, a pop top roof and chrome side bars that give it that clean, modern look.Now inside is where the magic happens, after you open up the side door you’ll be greeted with a deep blue hue from the LED’s which makes you feel like you’re in some kind of Star Wars star fighter.The drivers and passenger seats swivel around to greet your main living area, the sink has a useful slide out desk which can be used for cooking or working on your next digital nomad project and there’s tonnes of storage sections with nifty sliding doors, because those pull out doors just waste too much space!

VW T6 Camper

It also features a 50L fridge freezer, 2 burner gas hobs, a grill, a wine rack and tonnes of electricity sockets, including USB ports. And now the main event, it’s fold out double bed that’s as easy as pulling the latch under the seat! Just don’t forget to take those head rests off.Modern VW T6 Camper

Everywhere you look inside of this camper there’s a touch of detail that you keep missing, for example, the deep blue diamond stitching in the seats, the stealth awning, tinted back windows for privacy and even grey chevron flooring. Everything done to this camper shouts luxury, while keeping its modern, hi-tech styling. Danbury MotorCaravans have done a cracking job with this one.

So there you have it, our top 10 camper conversions of all time. Most of them are premium, or high end conversions but we will be revealing our top 10 DIY camper conversions soon. So if you know somebody that has an incredible DIY camper, be sure to hit us up on Instagram!

Ever Wondered How To Identify The Ford Pickup Models.. From 1948 to 1996

The Ford Motor Company (commonly referred to simply as Ford) is an American multinational automaker headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. The company sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and most luxury cars under the Lincoln brand.

The Ford F-Series is a series of light-duty trucks and medium-duty trucks (Class 2-7) that have been marketed and manufactured by Ford Motor Company since 1948. While most variants of the F-Series trucks are full-size pickup trucks, the F-Series also includes chassis cab trucks and commercial vehicles. The Ford F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States since 1981 and the best-selling pickup since 1977. It is also the best selling vehicle in Canada.

We have many ways to identify generations of Ford trucks, and here is an interesting guide based on their hoods.

Ford Truck Identification Guide

 

1948-1960

 

1961-1966

 

1967-1972

 

The Green Off-Roader Rivians R1S electric SUV unveiled

Rivian R1S electric SUV unveiled

Electric car start-up Rivian has revealed its second model, the R1S. The seven-seat SUV follows the reveal earlier this week of the R1T pick-up truck, with models due for a public debut at the LA motor show.

Rivian is hoping to have the kind of impact Tesla has made in shaking up the established automotive set and believes it has found a niche with the creation of go-anywhere electric vehicles.

The R1T and R1S, the first and second in a series of models eventually planned, are built on a bespoke electric ‘skateboard’ chassis, that’s modular and can be used on all different types and sizes of vehicles. The initial pair are closely related, the chief difference being a slightly shorter wheelbase in the R1S. The R1S is 5040mm long, making it Range Rover-sized, while the 5465mm-long R1-T is marginally longer than the Mercedes-Benz X-Class.

In both cars the lithium-ion battery pack is mounted in the floor, and in the in the R1T is good for a 230-mile range in its standard 105kWh capacity, 300-mile range in a 130kWh capacity, or up to 400 miles with the 180kWh ‘mega pack’. In the R1S, the same battery packs are offered with figures of 240, 310 and 420 miles respectively.

The two models share their drivetrains, too. Four electric motors, one for each wheel, give the electric models four-wheel drive. Each motor produces 197bhp (total combined figures through the gearbox are 754bhp and 826lb ft in the 135kWh version), which allows for prodigious performance. It’s claimed both vehicles can crack 0-60mph in just 3.0sec, and 0-100mph in less than 7.0sec in the 135kWh versions.

Double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension features, alongside air springs and adaptive dampers. Rivian claims the electric drivetrain and chassis set-up allows for both impressive on-road performance and handling and precise off-road control that surpasses any existing mechanical solutions off the asphalt. Its flat floor is also reinforced with carbonfibre and Kevlar to protect the battery pack, while both models get five-star crash test safety ratings in the US.

A distinctive front-end exterior design appears on both cars, while the spacious interiors get premium but durable materials that are easy to clean, in keeping with the cars’ off-road lifestyle brief. Two screens feature inside, that run Rivian’s own software and graphics.

There are packs of novel hidden features and clever solutions in both models, including a 330-litre front storage under the nose, and in the truck a full width storage hole that runs between the rear doors and rear wheels that’s good for housing golf clubs.

Rivian, first formed in 2009, is looking to do things differently to other start-ups by having its entire business plan and funding in place before going public with its intentions, and even then keeping targets conservative.

Company founder and CEO, RJ Scaringe, has already gone through two stillborn versions of the R1T to get to this third, production-ready version.

The US-based company is backed by investors from the Middle East, and employs some 560 people worldwide. It’s design and engineering centre is based in Plymouth, Michigan and other key sites include a battery development facility in Irvine, California. It has opened an advanced engineering centre in Chertsey, Surrey, too.

Manufacturing will take place at an old Mitsubishi plant in Illinois, which Rivian purchased for $16 million (£12.5m) last year. This has a capacity of up to 350,000 units per year.

Rivian’s initial ambitions are much lower than that initially, with plans to be selling some 50-60,000 of its premium electric off-roaders by 2025/26. It does however plan to offer its electric skateboard chassis to other companies, either car makers or indeed any brand looking to launch an electric car, so long as their products do not compete with Rivian’s own. The R1T will go into production in late 2020 with the R1S in early 2021, the former prices from around $70,000 (£55,000). Right-hand drive production for the UK will follow around a year later.

The R1T will go into production in late 2020, with the R1S following in early 2021. Prices for the former will start from $61,500 after federal tax rebates (£48,000), with Rivian accepting refundable $1000 pre-order deposits now. Right-hand drive production for the UK will follow around a year later.

Deliveries of electric pickup truck scheduled to begin late in 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

The Luxury Apartment on Wheels: Camping in Style in a 1930s Jungle Yacht

The Jungle Yacht was created for and used by Italian explorer Commander Attilio Gatti and his wife, who both traveled extensively to the African Congo as a deluxe apartment “for his 1937-1940 (his 10th) and 1947 (his 11th) expeditions” and “equipped them quite lavishly.”

The International Harvester ‘Jungle Yacht’

The expedition used two streamlined trailers designed by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky and using 1937 International Harvester D-35 chassis, and were 44 feet long and weighed 9 tons. The vehicles were built by the International Harvester company, who was evidently one of the sponsors of the expedition.

The trailers were pretty luxurious accommodations for camping out in the boonies of British East Africa. They were joined together in camp as a deluxe 5-room apartment on wheels, and served as headquarters while the expedition’s personnel sought out the secrets of the dim heart of Africa.

The camps were equipped with electricity and air conditioning and had a workshop, a photographic lab, and a ham radio station (Gatti was an enthusiastic ham radio operator). Electricity was supplied by a 110 volt generator mounted behind the cabs of the trucks. Each night a single wire 4500 volt electric fence was put up to dissuade the large specimens of the local wildlife from approaching the camp.

One of the vehicles in transit from the International Harvester factory to New York.

 

Cocktails in the deepest heart of Africa

 

The living room

 

The Commander’s desk in the living room

 

The bedroom

 

How William Barker Took On 50 Enemy Planes and Lived!

 

Canadian pilot William Barker won a VC for his actions on 27 October 1918.

Barker was born in Dauphin, Manitoba. He became the top-scoring ace on the Italian Front, with a tally of 52, and Canada’s most highly decorated soldier, receiving twelve awards for gallantry in all.

Barker takes to the skies

Enlisting in 1914, Barker spent a harrowing year in the trenches of the Western Front before requesting a transfer to the Royal Flying Corps. His first role in the RFC was as gunner-observer. It was during the closing stages of the Battle of the Somme, in November 1916, that Barker earned the first of his military decorations.

Whilst carrying out reconnaissance and directing Allied artillery, a superior German reconnaissance aircraft appeared out of the sun and locked on to Barker’s outdated B.E.2. Things looked grim for Barker and his pilot but with one burst of his Lewis gun, Barker took the attacker down becoming one of very few B.E.2 observers to score a kill.

Despite his skill as an observer, Barker craved the chance to fly his own plane. In January 1917 he earned his pilot’s certificate and was soon back above the Western Front flying reconnaissance missions. In April he won the Military Cross for his actions at the Battle of Arras, directing shellfire and eliminating a pair of German long-range guns.

The Sopwith surfaces

A head wound caused by anti-aircraft fire saw him return to England in August 1917. He was assigned to training duties, which didn’t suit him at all. But it came with one perk, the chance to fly the new Sopwith-Camel single-seater fighter.

This stirred his determination to return to the front, yet numerous requests to transfer were turned down. Infuriated, Barker took his Sopwith up and, in a move worthy of a court martial, buzzed RFC headquarters! His wish was granted, he was transferred back to the Western Front to fly Sopwiths.

Fighter ace

What followed was a series of daring exploits in the skies above the Western Front that rendered Barker an ace and earned him the respect of his fellow pilots.

Late in 1917 Barker was transferred to the Italian Front and by the end of the year was the theatre’s leading ace. He built a reputation as a remarkably gifted pilot, and a risk taker. He led a squadron on a  low level attack against the Austrian army headquarters in San Vito al Tagliamento. The aircraft zipped up the streets of the town, so low that Barker was beneath the telegraph wires. There were no casualties but the attack certainly struck a chord with Austrian morale!

By September 1918, with his tally approaching 50 and his nearest rivals either dead or grounded, Barker was the undisputed ace of the Italian Front. Too big a name to risk, he was recalled to Blighty. But Barker knew the war would soon be over, he wasn’t going home without taking one last opportunity to add to his score. On 27 October, he took off to seek out one last dogfight.

50-1

He found his target shortly after, a German reconnaissance aircraft. Closing on the plane, its crew unaware, Barker opened fire and the plane fell from the sky. But the last flight of William Barker wasn’t over yet, he turned to find an armada of up to fifty Fokker D-7 biplanes heading in his direction. With no chance of escape, Barker flew into the fray.

Bullets ripped through his cockpit, hitting him in the legs and arms. He passed out twice, his Sopwith Snipe somehow remaining airborne until he regained his senses. Fifteen D-7’s gathered on his tail, ready for the kill. But Barker wasn’t ready to give up yet, he turned his Snipe around and took them on, sending all fifteen scampering for home.

In the most one-sided of dogfights, William Barker had claimed another six victories. But by now he was bleeding heavily. Unable to control his beaten up Sopwith Snipe any longer, he crash landed.

The remarkable event was watched from the ground by Canadian general Andy McNaughton, who recommended Barker for the Victoria Cross.

Barker worked in the aviation industry after the war but never fully recovered from his wounds and suffered with debilitating depression. In March 1930 he took off for the final time from an airfield near Ottawa, a flight that ended the life of this extraordinary pilot.