MTB: I found adrenaline outside the box

Difficult, but not impossible. During the past few years I thought the only way I had to find my weekly dose of adrenaline was motorcycles… namely, sport bikes, speed, freedom, nature, lost roads, long trips… and unfortunately a mount of money that I can’t earn. Yet, I was here in Germany when I decided to spent a bit of my budget buying a beautiful mountainbike. I don’t remember such a good decision!

Since the day I rode it for the first time till now I have fallen in love with mountainbiking. I change my small MTB for a proper second hand one which, after a few modifications, is working good and transmits a good feedback: rigid and accurate chassis with an extremely good grip downhill wheels. I found a chilling and challenging sport with tonnes of adrenaline, speed and nature without the noise of a engine. I still need to fix some things, like the rear brake… but it seems like I will be able to enjoy the full of snow week that is coming…

And now, the point of this post. Getting some inspiration from Youtube videos I reached to this, so far, the best mtb video I have seen. Nothing left to say, enjoy!

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Spotted! Porsche 356 Speedster, Birmingham, MI

The legend of Porsche didn’t start with the 911…

Mind Over Motor

I spotted this beautiful Porsche Speedster in Birmingham during my summer in Michigan. The car was in immaculate condition, and drew attention from everyone who walked by. There is something gloriously simple about older Porsches, a sense of purpose without clutter. This car is about as pure, and as clean, as they get. Enjoy.

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Interviewing Scott Jones, the photographer who showed the soul of MotoGP

Time ago, reading David Emmet’s articles in MotoMatters, I discovered who is today my favorite photographer. He’s my favorite because he’s not usual, as he didn’t have so much help as others he was forced to innovate in photographing the motor sports, being himself, with is own style. He is Scott Jones, an american living in California who have showed the soul of MotoGP.

Some of you have noticed that I always try to find the best images for my articles in Motorpasión moto. Like many, I am just a photography lover and amateur photographer. The point is that after watching the same watermark in so many amazing shots I needed to know more about it. I spent hours watching his galleries, his MotoGP collections, scenes… and specially his portrait’s album. There I found the most expressive and emotional photos in years. That gallery was showing the unknown side, a side only  a few tries to catch, and even less success.

Thereby I decided to talk to Scott, I wanted to know how he’s doing, what’s he waiting for, what have he watched trough his lens.

–      How long have you been working in MotoGP?

Scott Jones: My first MotoGP event with a credential was 2008 at Laguna Seca. In 2009 and 2010 I applied for credentials on a per race basis with MotoMatters.com. In 2011 I received my first season pass, again via MotoMatters, which is based in The Netherlands. My experience in MotoGP can be traced directly back to the success of this website–I was very lucky to be looking for an opportunity at the same time MotoMatters was starting its amazing growth.

      Which camera do you use?

SJ: I use Nikon bodies and lenses exclusively. I carry two DSLR bodies and a variety of lenses from super wide (14mm) to super telephoto (500mm).

      In the last few months I have been following your galleries, not only about Motorsports, but when and why did you decide to specialize your work in racing?

SJ: My grandfather brought me to see my first car race when I was 4 or 5 years old, and I’ve been doing photography since around 15 years old. When I started doing photography, racing was my favorite subject, but of course then it was just a hobby, something I did for fun. My camera gear was stolen when I was in college, so for many years I didn’t do any serious photography, only travel shots with a compact film camera.

When I finally got a DSLR about five years ago (so I could take better photos of my first daughter), immediately I started photographing whatever racing events came to my area, which included MotoGP at Laguna Seca. This led to sharing photos of racing with friends on Flickr, which led to my connection with David Emmett at MotoMatters.com. David is one of several people without whose help I would not be in MotoGP today.

As you mention, I don’t photograph only motor sports, since I also enjoy photographing beautiful places in nature. It’s an odd combination, perhaps, but I feel at home in both places and find each of them thrilling in different ways. I have sold many landscape photographs to fans of my MotoGP pictures, but I have yet to sell a MotoGP photo to someone who was first interested in my landscape work. Perhaps that will happen some day!

      After traveling around the world following MotoGP or SBK. In your opinion, what’s the worst part of being photographer? And the best?

SJ: The best part for me is working at the highest level of a motor sport. Everyone involved in MotoGP has reached the top of their specialty, from the mechanics and engineers to the team and sponsor administration to, of course, the riders. To be included in this group of talented, dedicated people is amazing and inspires me to try to do better at what I contribute.

The worst part is definitely the time away from my family. I have a wife, two girls (7 and 2 years old) and two dogs. While I enjoy traveling very much, seeing new places, meeting people from different cultures, the time away from home is the most difficult part of my job. It is for this reason that I aim for 8 or 9 races per season. To cover 18 races is a lot of travel, even for someone based in Europe. some of my colleagues are away from home for almost half the year because they attend not only each races, but the tests and other media events. I live in California, so only Laguna Seca is a short trip for me. Even Indianapolis is much too far to drive, over 4,000 km. Everything else requires a day of travel before and after the race. My location also adds a lot to my expenses, and as this is a business for me, of course the cost of each race is a major consideration.

But it’s mainly the time away that I don’t like. For example, while I was gone for two weeks to cover Jerez and Estoril, my two-year old daughter went from a vocabulary of 20 or 30 words when I left to a hundred words or more when I came back! At least, it seemed like the change was that dramatic. But coming home to find I have missed a part of how quickly the girls are growing and learning is very difficult. If I am still working in MotoGP when my girls are grown up, I might like to do an entire season, but I can’t imagine doing so until then.

      Have you ever have problems with security, fans, riders or any other staff in the paddock? Any funny story?

SJ: Problems with security, yes, sometimes, because local security people are not always accustomed to Dorna procedures. They usually work for the track, which may host many different series, each with its own rules, or are hired just for the MotoGP event and don’t know much about working in a race environment. They usually just want to do a good job and keep people safe, but the track passes allow access that can surprise them. So they don’t always know what we expect to be able to do or how we work as relates to track security. So sometimes I arrive at a gate and show my credential but I am denied access or have to wait while the security person asks for advice on his radio. And occasionally we encounter someone who likes to be a big shot and enjoys being able to tell others what they can and can’t do. But most of the time the security people are well-informed and desire only to do a good job, so this type of problem is pretty rare.

I’ve had no trouble with riders, but I try hard to stay out of their way, especially in pit lane. I also try to respect their privacy as much as I can, even though it’s my job to photograph them. People sometimes ask me if I can get autographs for them, since I am so close to the riders. But to me this is extremely unprofessional on my part, so I must regretfully say I’m not able to do this. The riders have many more demands on their time and attention than most people realize, given responsibilities to sponsors, the race organizer, and teams. They have to manage all of this AND concentrate on racing. Sure, they are paid, sometimes very well, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. So I try to respect their situation and remain professional, especially Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Thursday can be a bit more casual, and an opportunity to chat a bit is more likely if it comes up. But once Friday morning arrives, they have their job to do and I have mine.

Fans are usually fun to meet, and I’ve only had a few problems. I’ve had fans at Silverstone get angry because I stopped to shoot right in front of where they were sitting. I’ve been warned that the fans in the stadium section at Jerez can be the same, though I’ve never had this happen to me there. The worst was at Assen last year while I was walking back to the media center after the MotoGP race. Some drunk fans who were urinating at the fence line tried to hit me. I didn’t think that was as funny as they did. And they missed, so it is sort of funny to look back on it now.

But usually fans are friendly, and if they want me to take their picture and I have time to stop for a moment, I’m happy to do so. We are all motorcycle fans after all, so if I can I like to help them enjoy the weekend. After all, without the fans, there would be no racing to photograph.

      Would you change something in MotoGP? Anything that you don’t like?

SJ: If I could change anything, the first thing I think of would be more track time for the top class. In Formula One, there are four hours of track time before qualifying, and fans get more for their money at an F1 race. I know this would be expensive because of more wear on the engines, more tires, etc., but MotoGP is entertainment and I think the fans would be more entertained with more track time for the amazing riders and machines they come to see.

I think this would also make the racing better because the riders would get more time on the machines they race. Consider golf, tennis, cycling, or any other sport that doesn’t have a testing ban. The athletes can practice as much as they wish and develop their skills as far as they are able. If you are a MotoGP rider, how much time to you get to practice on the machine you race? Very little. If you are a rookie, trying to learn a new tire, a new track, a new machine, you have so little time to do so that it is a serious disadvantage among the more experienced riders. But even the veterans are expected to show up after a break or two or three weeks and go as fast as possible with no practice since the last race weekend. I just wonder how much better even Casey Stoner might be if he could practice. Considering how much Tiger Woods practices to be the best he can be, maybe Rossi, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Stoner would be even better if they could practice, too.

The only thing I can think of that I don’t like is knowing that one of 3 riders is going to win the top class. I love Moto2 and Moto3 because the racing is fantastic and there is no telling who might win a race. While I am not thrilled with how the CRT project has performed this season, I support the idea of somehow bringing more bikes to the competitive edge so that we see more riders in the top class with the possibility for a good result. I believe it is very difficult for really talented riders like Crutchlow, Dovi, Bradl, and so on to go into a race weekend knowing they have no reasonable expectation of winning. They are all racers and racers want to WIN. I don’t have a solution to this, but it’s the main thing I wish someone could find a way to change.

      You have been in many places in the right moment. What’s your best memory in MotoGP or SBK?

SJ: It’s difficult to pick one best memory. Certainly going to Qatar for the first time was an amazing experience, to find myself at Losail as the sun went down and with a Dorna credential around my neck for only the second time. It was incredible to be there, at a track I’d only ever seen on TV, farther from home than I’d ever been before, and there for the purpose of photographing MotoGP. That memory is so strong I still think of it each time I got to Qatar (four times, now) and I feel incredibly lucky to be there yet again. Having Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner sign prints for me this year was fantastic, because I never thought I would come so far with photography as to have riders sign my work like that. But those two examples stick out among many, many moments here and there. In America we say when something unbelievable happens that you pinch yourself to make sure you aren’t dreaming, perhaps you have a similar expression in Spain. Many times I’ve had to pinch myself because I’ve seen amazing things through my lens, whether on track, in pit lane, or on the podium. It is such a privilege to be able to photograph MotoGP and the amazing people who make it happen, especially the riders, who are very special people among a group of special people.

      Everytime you make a portrait, you show us the characther’s soul – I don’t find any other word to explain –.  Who’s the most interesting rider for portraits?

SJ: I love to shoot portraits of racers because, while any human being can be an interesting subject, racers are particularly interesting to me. I think this is partially because they are competing at the top level of their sport, but also that sport is very dangerous. They must manage not only the strategy of trying to win, but at the same time they must manage the fears and doubts that come with danger. Some have very expressive faces that show emotion, which is the key to an interesting portrait. Rossi is great for portraits, as is Lorenzo. Many of the other people in the paddock are good, too, perhaps because many of them are former racers, but perhaps because they are almost all very interesting people. Pedrosa is the most challenging as his face is like a stone when he’s in the box and on the grid.( Find a link to the portraits gallery here )

      Who’s the best rider to shoot?

SJ: For me the most talented rider I have seen is Casey Stoner. A moment ago I said I’d seen amazing things through the lens, and no rider has shown me more amazing things than he has. Every MotoGP rider is amazing–you don’t reach this level with average performance on a motorcycle. To me the CRT riders are fantastic as well, many of Moto2 riders are tomorrow’s MotoGP stars, and so on. But Casey is like a magician on a motorcycle, and I always photograph him as he comes by. During each session, for example, I keep a list in my head of each rider I’ve photographed since I try to get at least a few images of everyone. Sometimes I skip one rider because I remember that just behind him is another I’ve not photographed yet. But I always photograph Stoner, regardless of who is behind him, because I never know what he is going to show me. This means that sometimes I end a session with no photos of one rider or another because he spent each of his laps too close to Casey. Very sorry, but if you want me to photograph you, you need to come around the corner far enough from Casey that I’ll pay attention to you. If you’re too close to Casey, I don’t even see you.

      Are you looking for anything when you turn on your camera? A certain scene maybe?

SJ: I’m always looking for drama in some form or another, some conflict of action or expression of emotion in the subject’s face or gesture. On track, the riders show us amazing examples of skill, of their abilities to ride on the edge of disaster lap after lap, and I try to catch moments that show the viewer this skill. When riders are in pit lane, on the grid, or otherwise not at the limit of traction, they are often interesting subjects nevertheless.

Sometimes I can improve my chances of getting a dramatic image by setting up to shoot a specific section of the track where the riders are put in an interesting situation. Some turns have more potential for drama than others. But sometimes a moment happens when you can’t predict it, such as Carlos Checa running down pit lane, having won a WSBK race and then dumped his Ducati in the mud and getting a ride back from a marshal. He ran for 40 or 50 meters before the crowd saw him and started to cheer. Then he put his hands up and I was lucky to be following him as he moved toward parc fermé. This is one kind of photo I really like, one I’m pleased to be able to make and show others, because it helps us see the human side of the riders. It tells a story of his victory, and we see his emotions as he returns, covered in mud yet having won.

      How’s the photographer routine?

SJ: The routine for me is usually very similar from race to race. I shoot each MotoGP session either from pit lane or from as many corners on track as the time allows. I shoot at least a few Moto2 and Moto3 sessions but most of my business comes from the top class, so most of my routine centers around the MotoGP riders. At the end of each day I prepare photos for my website customers and upload them so they are available to those editors to choose from. The week after the race is over, I go through the weekend’s images and select the most interesting to present on PHOTO.GP so that other buyers can find them easily. Images might show up in a sponsor catalog, a magazine, a race program, etc.

I also look for interesting images to share with those who follow my work on Facebook, Twitter, and my blog at http://www.scottjones.net  Though the best place to see my MotoGP and WSBK works is at http://www.photo.gp, meeting people via these social media sites has been another great thing about photographing MotoGP. It’s wonderful to hear from other racing fans around the world and to be able to share what I do with them.

Links for above sites:

Facebook PhotoGP

Twitter Scott Jones

For Spanish speakers:

Motorpasión Moto

Flat Track, no place for weak boys

Impressive, isn’t it? In a Flat or Dirt Track race riders reach the corner at more than 130mph. If you are sharp-eyed, you will find some particular characters in the bike above… not yet? Ok, check the handlebar. Genau! In a flat track bike you will never find any brake or something similar, the way they face the corner consists on drifting, something quite easy as the ground is dirt and mud. The point is not to crash, that’s not so easy.

The most popular bike there in the USA is the Hardley-Davidson XR, either 750cc or 1200cc, although there many other companies involved, like the Ducati 1200cc that is riding Nicky Hayden in the caption (2010, Indianapolis). Nicky, as many other world champions, began is career in the dirt track and reached the top of the racing, MotoGP.  Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey were also in the world championship after a successful season in the AMA Pro Flat Track (the american flat track championship).

Anyway, this and other topics can be found in the last article I wrote for L’Oreal at 1001experiencias.com . Like and share 🙂

MotoGP ChampionSHIT 2012, economic crisis ≠ moral crisis

During the last few years I have been watching how some guys have been destroying the sport I love: motorcycling. The turned a passion into a business. The time when I scheduled alarms to wake up in the middle of the night to watch the MotoGP races are now very far and I almost don’t remember the last time I felt Moto Grand Prix as the greatest motor racing event.

In the Misano GP I noticed a lack of humanity in the paddock. Everybody remembered how good Marco Simoncelli was, but at that time it was two years from Shoya Tomizawa’s death. He died there, in Misano. There wasn’t any special event for him. Teams, sponsors and specially the championSHIT are treating riders like tissues.

Yesterday, Claudi Corti, 10th in the Standing with a 2nd in Le Mans, noticed he is unemployed from now on. His Team didn’t even call him to talk about the situation. There was nothing to talk about, because Toni Elias came with a huge budget behind. Teams are tearing apart this sport, the stopped looking for sponsors and requesting his riders to bring the money with them…

…Anyway, this and other topics like the Effenbert Liberty Racing and the lack of salaries in the BSB or CEV are on my article at Motorpasión Moto, in Spanish, but hope you agree. And if not, let’s discuss about it.

Watch Listen Tell, live music everywhere [Dave Tree Interview]

Watch, Listen, Tell. Is the last gift that Youtube along Dave Tree –a cinematographer showing a remarkable taste– has given to the culture. A channel that has made one step back on the music scene. Walking backwards our steps to take a detour, an alternative which will lead the music closer to the its lovers. Without walls built by multinationals moved by Mr.Money which have treated their clients as forced receptors and, too often, criminals.

In WLT we find a video selection produced and directed by Dave Tree, also a live music director apart of cinematographer, convinced about the audiovisual’s value. They aren’t the typical clips where the electronic helps turning the singer’s voice into a marvelous symphony, those where the computer become the main character producing effects that diverts attention from the main point: music.

They are clips filmed non-stop, in one single scene, in some of the most beautiful nooks of the English capital. Within this clips a band or a singer bring their A games with an acoustic version of their hits, just with the honest help of their instruments. No additives. It usually sounds pretty different from the original…

 

The chords, or the singer’s voice, transport us to the place where the concert takes place. The photography, the subdued colors and the camera moves escorting the rhythm seduces you to undisclosed feelings.

When the clip comes to an end you have already watched and listened, tell in any social network or in Youtube itself will be just matter of time. Something that you do willingly as those four or five minutes have shaken the stress and malaise out of you.

A deep walk through WLT shows a set of art pieces within reach everywhere in the world and, furthermore, for free. Yes, those two words that have been producing headaches to the big companies’ CEOs. Youtube copyright detecting system doesn’t work due to it is live music in public places. Additionally, there is no intention profit from Dave.

WLT is a window to a free future without the GEMA.

Convinced and totally in loved with this channel I didn’t hesitate to contact Dave to know more about the WLT secrets and origins.

–    What is WTL for you? 

Watch Listen tell is, basically, a hobby. I am a passionate about music, I feel like I am very privileged to be able to enjoy music and spend time with artists doing something really unique. I got to share that on the internet and luckily for me people like it. For me it’s my favorite hobby.

– What’s the goal?

For me the goal of Watch Listen Tell was showing young people that music doesn’t have to happen in a studio, it doesn’t have to happen with fancy equipment or lighting or studio recording equipment. If you have talent, you can make music everywhere and really good music too. And also wanted to show young people that all good music starts from very simple beginnings.

– Why did you start WTL?

I used to be a live music director, directing multi-camera music suits, for many years… maybe… I think it’s about ten or probably twelve years. And I enjoyed it but a very large productions that I worked on: there were on studios, with lighting and many cameras… For me, I believe live music shouldn’t be that way. I think that live music has struggle because is trying to have that, it can’t never looked as good as the music video because that what the music video does and live music can’t never sound as great as the album, because that’s what the album does so it’s important that live music is separated, doesn’t do a thing. And one of the things that I love most about live music it’s being there and experiencing it and so for me I felt that live music should be one camera and very special audio involves the environment and it sounds different to the album as well. So I started because I felt that live music should be done or could be done in a better way so I just did it as an experiment and now it’s what it’s.

–    And how? Was it difficult when nobody knew you and the project?

Yes, it was a little bit difficult but not really, because it’s surprising how easy is to speak to new artists, artists that are just coming through, they like an eye, before the records companies get involved, before the become really big. It’s quite easy to talk to a band and to suggest to them that you are going to do something for free and you are going to make something. And I guess, if you sounds intelligent and you sound like you have something in common with them and you understand the music, it’s not that difficult. And the internet is an amazing tour and allows you to create anything you want to create and to put it out to the world and allow them to see it. So actually I think now it’s easy than it have ever been.

–    Your first video was uploaded in 2008, with an awesome performance by Florence and The Machine. That means that you knew the band before nobody else, before being able to listen to them every day in the BBC1. How could get a meeting with them?

It’s pretty much the same as the last question. Florence was playing concerts in the park for free and I was thinking that’s amazing I was very surprised that other people, at the time, weren’t seeing or hearing what I was hearing so yeah, it wasn’t difficult because she was unsigned. If you get involved in music in a very early stage it’s quite easy.

–    After that, tens of videos arrived to Youtube: Bombay Bicyle Club, Peggy Sue, Two Door Cinema Club etc… let me ask you, how do you choose the bands/artists?

There are many ways that I find new bands. Sometimes friends suggest music to me, sometimes companies or bands get in contact with me. I use the internet a lot, many different blogs and music websites and sometimes even artists’ bands recommends other bands to me. When I listen to new music I don’t… I think if I walk away, and I think about that song I listened to and maybe during the day I am start thinking about it or I whistle it or I want to hear it again then means to me how I measure it. That’s how I choose the music for Watch Listen Tell.

–    Many of them are worldwide known and have a big company behind them. Has the companies any problem with your videos? anything related with the copyrights?

I don’t have copyrights issues with Watch Listen Tell because it’s free, there’s no money with Watch listen Tell, there’s no advertising. I do it just because I have a passion for music, I don’t want to make money with Watch Listen Tell and I just want to do it because I love it, the fans and the people who support it, they like it because of that also, there’s no product, there’s no commissions…  it’s just about the music.

If someone doesn’t like the music right now it’s probably they are getting old.”

–    What’s your opinion about the present music scene?

…I think it’s good, it’s healthy. I think as long as you keep an open mind music is always part of culture and a very important part of popular culture and if someone doesn’t like the music right now it’s probably they are getting old. Music is for every generation but popular music is mainly for the young. I think. You know, what was popular when we were young or apparently were young, it stays with them, and it becomes the music they love, they like it. I think music it’s very important in our lives because it’s like a chapter in a book.. It’s the soundtrack to our lives, and so when we get older it’s what we like when listening to the music. We listened to when we were younger and it helps remember some of the best times of our lives.

–    Right now, WTL has 43099 subscribers and more than 11 million views. What’s your plan now you have reach a very good position in the network?

I don’t really have a plan, my “plan” is to continue with Watch Listen Tell as I have always done, and I think the most important part for me is to keep the passion, if I feel like I am doing Watch Listen Tell for any other reason then it’s not right. It has to be about that. So my plan the same as always has been, that is keep listening to new music, music that I like and share with people that hopefully they will like it also.

–    I don’t see any advertisement in your channel. Is this your main job? If not, is it too expensive to maintain the channel updated?

No, there’s no advertising on Watch Listen Tell. It’s all for free and I said I am a director of live music but I am also a cinematographer, I shoot commercials and so Watch Listen Tell is something that I do in my spare time and sometimes, unfortunately, it’s really difficult for me to do it because of work or our live commitments, like moving house or locations. So sometimes Watch Listen Tell is quiet for a few months, sometimes there’s just not music, there is no music that I really like so I don’t do video. And sometimes there’s a lot of spare times and a lot of music and so Watch Listen Tell is very busy. I think that’s not the important thing, I never make videos just because I have to make them, I make them because I want to make them, so yeah, it’s not my main job, Watch Listen Tell is myself, I think many people thinks it’s a big company but it’s not, and luckily because I am a cinematographer I have all the equipment that I need to make Watch Listen Tell and I have a lot of experience in cinematography but I also have a lot of experience in sound, so I do the sound according everything else. It’s my favorite hobby.

–    Which are your others passions apart of films and music?

Well as you know, I am motorcycler. I have a couple of bikes. I think, as creative person, freedom is very important feeling and not only using your creativity in what you want to do, I think that’s representative in Watch Listen Tell.

The internet give us the ability to be creative and to share with the world and WLT is my and my to share with everybody. I am passionate, I am free to express myself and I am passionate about motorcycling as well, I live in a city, I live in London, and it’s very difficult to move and to get away, and I very passionate about motorcycles because not only are wonderful technical, because I like technical, cameras, motorbikes… but they represent freedom to me. That’s it really.

I think If could have one wish for Watch Listen Tell I think that I hope that one day when I am a lot older I would be able to look back on my hobby, my life and see many many beautiful recording seasons that I’ve done with bands who some nobody knows where they’ve gone, some they would be very big that I wish and I hope I will have a body of music and work, that could look back on and be very proud of and I am very privilege to have an audiences or subscribers of viewers who share the same passion that I do. Thank you very much Carlos.

In Spanish | 1001 Experiencias

Toyota: the top five

Oh… Toyota, I must admit I didn’t know almost anything about them just a few months ago.  I knew the cars, but I never stopped and stare at the Toyota catalogue. After a while, I noticed that during the past few years I had been in touch with Toyota many times and I did not realize. Funny. They are everywhere, Prius as the most popular hybrid vehicle , the Corolla in our routine as the most sold car, the Supra on action movies… and the 2000GT as the James Bond’s car in Japan.

Well, in Motorpasión you will find two articles – first and second part – talking about the top five cars from the japanese company, including many of the funniest and most weird adverts in decades and how Top Gear treated them: check Jeremy 15 years ago… Enjoy!