TRAVELING THE HEMISPHERE 

One in the afternoon somewhere in the North Atlantic; the sea is dead calm, not a boat, bird, or a piece of seaweed in sight.  Just miles upon miles of incredible azure blue water! 

Unease sets in upon realizing how far away the all-consuming automotive world is.  Running Hotchkis Performance is a constant barrage of motor head mania.  Product research, testing, development, racing, car shows, inventory, financial reports and more.  With five-dollar-a-minute satellite phone service and limited email access, communicating with Hotchkis headquarters is completely impractical.  I remind myself that the Hotchkis team is strong and will perform in my absence, the uneasy feeling fades. 

It’s now family time.  We’re on the vacation of a lifetime aboard the Queen Mary 2 headed for England.  My family, along with families of my brother and sisters, are here for the weeklong Atlantic crossing in celebration of our father’s 75th birthday.  He is looking forward to a week surrounded by grandchildren, although he may have questioned his judgment last night at dinner as three kids (two of ours) tipped over their blood red cranberry juice on a white linen table cloth.  The scene looked right out of the “Sopranos.”

We arrived in Southampton, England, and headed to London for a few days of sightseeing.  It was immediately apparent that the wealthy young Middle East money guys hang out in London.  England is not known for holiday weather, but I suspect it’s quite pleasant compared to the Arabian Desert in summer.  The cars cruising the Knightsbridge area were incredible.  Bugatti Veyron (1001-hp, 8-liter 16-cylinder, 64-valves, quad-turbo, 250+ mph (for fun; check out http://www.bugatti-cars.de for a closer look), Austin Martin

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Vanquish and DB9, Ferrari Enzo, Porsche GT2 and 997 Turbo, numerous Ferrari 360’s and a few Corvette Z06’s.  “20-something” guys talking on cell phones were wheeling many of these engineering marvels around; it’s no surprise they have all the oil!

Before flying home, we drove to Coventry and visited Jim Morris, Cat and crew at Red Line Oil Europe.  Jim owns Lifeline Fire Systems (the serious fire suppression stuff - www.lifeline-fire.co.uk ) and a year ago we collaborated to launch Red Line Oil Europe.  Jim is a terrific partner and we’re making great progress in bringing these fantastic synthetic oil products to the UK and European markets. 

We have a ton to accomplish this fall at Hotchkis Performance.  Occasionally, it just makes sense to get away, clean out the cobwebs and go back and attack.  I remind myself while on vacation that the SEMA Show is looming on the horizon.

We’ve done it!  First let me explain.  About three months prior to my trip, during an Overhaulin’ shoot, I asked Chip Foose, “So what else should we do together?”  He replied, “Hemisfear”.  Not being familiar with this, I said, “Let’s do it”.  Unbridled enthusiasm will get you in deep every time. 

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