There is one collector who understands that a love of historic automobiles involves sound as much as beautiful design. Right now, someone must be working on an after-market way to simulate sound for hybrids, I just know it.
The designer Ralph Lauren (Polo) has an incredible collection of historic automobiles. He makes this public not so that not only can you view them on line but, by clicking the “listen to the engine” icon above the image for each car, you can listen to it start and run through the gears (click on the icon in upper right corner if you want to skip around.)
I missed the exhibition in Paris that ended a month ago but for the entire time I’ve been writing this, I’ve been listening to the sound of one of my favorites, the 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, which is the one shown in the image in this blog.
Many people refer to the 550 Spyder as the James Dean car because the young, posthumously-Academy Award-nominated actor was killed on this very day in 1955 when his car, one of 90 550s, was hit head-on at the intersection shown at this link when an on-oncoming car took a fork from highway 46 to highway 41 about 21 miles from Paso Robles, California and apparently didn’t see Dean’s car. Click here for a documentary that begins with a safety PSA filmed with Dean.
To hear the exhaust notes of a car similar to this, you can click on this link or the image in this blog and go to the first automobile and then page through by clicking the arrows to the side of each page to go to the next. The series begins with a 1938 Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic and represents only 17 or so of the cars in Lauren’s collection.
Some don’t reach their classic note until they get up to speed such as the 1954 Ferrari 375 Plus so it is recommended that listeners go beyond hearing the cars start and idle.