By Martin Alva - October 4, 2018
One Love, One Passion: Machines
Wikipedia defines a machine as “a mechanical structure that uses power to apply forces and control movement to perform an intended action.” The definition is true, but it does not even scratch the surface of how machines have affected and enriched the lives of us humans.
Take for instance, The Writer. An eighteenth-century wonder, the little boy-doll looks simple enough on the outside, hiding its simply incredible technology inside. You see, The Writer is composed of close to 6,000 moving parts that enable him to write proper sentences. You could also change a few parts of the automaton to make him compose entirely new words and sentences. This masterpiece was designed and constructed by watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz, along with son Henri-Louis and Jean-Frédéric Leschot. What is truly surprising about this is that The Writer came to life in an age that was close to two centuries away from the invention of the modern computer.
Another instance is the Grand Prix cars of the early twentieth century. Engineers worked tirelessly to extract as much speed as they could from their charge. This was an era where there were no wind tunnels, CAD designs, entire buildings devoted to proof-testing machines, even robots that could machine parts to exact specifications. The 1938 Mercedes-Benz Rekordwagen designed with the help of Porsche was able to hit a top speed of 432.7kph over a flying kilometre, a record that stayed unbroken until the Koenigsegg Agera RS claimed it in 2017.
Rally racing is another frankly incredible discipline of motorsports. Going back as far as 50 years, how did rally cars hold themselves together despite being routinely tortured over different landscapes across the globe, all in the pursuit of speed? How did the mechanics manage to repair these cars in record time during pit stops and send them out to fly next day? There was no advanced tooling or equipment at hand, nor were there scores of spare parts ready to be replaced with broken ones. Still, these fearsome rally machines, along with their equally fearsome drivers, managed to set speed records and bring laurels to their makers, overcoming life-threatening situations.
How did the people of old come up with such mind-boggling technology so far back in time? The answer is simple. These people were artists who did not let the limitations of their time dampen their innovative minds in any way. With single-minded focus and sheer will, the artists of yesteryears created some truly age-defying masterpieces that are still an inspiration as well as a lesson for modern artists. The passion and love of these masters for their machines tuned the impossible into reality.
At The Collectors’ Workshop, we preserve and celebrate these masterpieces of the yesteryears. There cannot be a more fitting tribute to the past artists and visionaries than to maintain their creations in excellent mechanical and aesthetic health. We know that a simple displaced gudgeon pin in one of the cylinders of a Ferrari 250 GTO can be disastrous. We take care that such oversights do not happen at our facility. It is not because the Ferrari is a collectors’ item that we meticulously maintain it. It is because we are respectful of the thought and efforts that went into creating this mechanical wonder of an automobile.
To sum up what we do at The Collectors’ Workshop, we admire such passion and enthusiasm in people, not just with cars, but anything mechanical that highlights human ingenuity. To let these heroes of old rot away unattended is, in our eyes, not just a disgrace but a crime. Future generations deserve to know their past. They deserve to know that the electric cars they are driving did not just magically appear on the planet one day. They are the fruit of tireless, passionate, and painstaking efforts some of the industry’s most devoted engineers and designers, spread over centuries.
The Writer still writes today. And so will the rally cars be able to tackle terrain. The Ferrari will roar to life in a single crank. Because we won’t let these legends die.