From DUB Magazine, issue 19 –
The last time we featured Nigo, we informed you about his ultra-expensive, difficult to find urban fashion wear BAPE (A Bathing Ape) where t-shirts start at $90, his savvy and creative business tactics “less for more,” his $30 million dollar home, and a number of exotic rides – 2002 Lamborghini Murcielago, 2002 Aston Martin Vanquish, 2002 Bentley Continental Mulliner Edition, 2002 Ferrari 360 Modena, 2001 Mercedes G-Wagen, 2002 Mercedes Benz SL55 and S55 as well as a 2002 Ferrari 360 Spyder. No need to go searching for the past issue now, we need to move on.
In that article we also told you of his passion for Planet of the Apes memorabilia. He seems to feverishly collect these, not merely because he loves the movie, but because it speaks to him at another level. If you can recall, the original Planet of the Apes was a movie packed with various social commentaries. With the movie, Nigo seems to have found the creative outlet to express his views. Like other contemporary artists who make social commentaries through Western pop cultural icons, through BAPE, Nigo has combined his social commentary, western culture, and rising global commercial/capitalistic notions.
In an interview with a Tokyo information magazine, Metropolis, Nigo elaborates about his philosophy behind the cultish clothing line: “It’s a comment on kids in Tokyo today. They’re very shallow; they take things for granted, and they’re not street savvy. It’s sort of ironic for them to be wearing my clothing. I’m trying to show how they are incapable of being independent-minded. They have no plans, no goals, because they’re just too comfortable. Like bathing in lukewarm water.”
Basically countless people, famous and otherwise, flocking to buy Nigo’s outrageously expensive clothing line proves his point. It seems as if wearing his clothes is a representation of self-branding, “I’m mindless and I love it.” Ironically, the more this message gets out to people, the more the people flock to his stores.
So if Nigo understand this, why does he perpetuate it? Is that his point? Or is he so fed up that he has just decided to take advantage of it? Is there another master plan? And is he also a victim of his own creation? Thinking about all this is giving me a headache. And maybe that’s his ultimate commentary.
Like the mindless society, let’s just turn to less complicated and more eye-appealing aspect of Nigo’s article – his new rides.
First and foremost for Nigo is… exhilaration. And he spells it, G-A-L-L-A-R-D-O – the Lamborghini Gallardo that is. As an aside, the Gallardo is a name of a certain breed of fighting bulls, most noted for their beauty. The automobile Gallardo designed with straight lines, and sharp edges, proudly lives up that precedent. But don’t let the good looks fool you. When Audi took over the reins of Lamborghini, they had two priorities to salvage the company’s near extinction. First, shock the world with a revamped Diablo. They kept the engine and made the car around it, making it better handling, and more comfortable. And instead of keeping the name of the devil incarnate, they called it the Murciélago – name of a tenacious bull that was spared from slaughter because of its undying ferocity. Quite appropriate. By the way, Nigo has one of these too.
Their second, which you see purring proudly before you, is the Gallardo. Another entirely new car, lower in price ($165K), and size of its older sister, but still offering the same revamped Lamborghini mystique. At little over 6 feet in length and few inches shy of 4 feet tall, the beautiful black body of Nigo’s Gallardo has shed itself of the once sluggish steel cage and opted for a structured aluminum space frame. Only the doors remain steel, for better side intrusion resistance. And despite its elfish frame, the Gallardo has no trouble fitting Nigo, thanks to the fully-adjustable steering column and power seats, upholstered in fine leather. Even the steering wheel is squared at the bottom (Formula 1 style) for more leg room. Other design features include a new stereo, climate-control system and various dashboard switches to control the rear spoiler and the external mirrors.
But all that is merely an accentuation. At the heart of Gallardo lies a raging bull ready to break out. With the tested top speed of 192 mph and quarter mile mark in a mere 12.2 seconds, the redesigned V10 can’t wait to roar out 500hp @7800 rpm (redline 8200) and 376 lb. –ft of torque at only 4500 rpm. Road & Track has deemed the engine “a jewel… very smooth, immensely powerful with good low- and middle-range torque…” Fortunately for Nigo, he has little more than a cord of rope to control the beast from flying out of control. The Gallardo comes with the choice of manual or automatic with an electro-hydraulic robotized system called E-gear. For E-gear, there are finger pedals behind the steering wheel (right for upshifts, left for downshifts).
The Gallardo is further tamed by the double wishbone front and rear suspension, anti-roll bar, and “self-adjusting” Koni FSD dampers. The agile car’s suspension is not unlike the Porsche’s all-wheel-drive feature. And with powerful all-wheel ventilated discs, power vacuum, aluminum alloy Brembo calipers( 8 cylinders front caliper and 4 cylinders rear caliper), Nigo gets all the exhilaration of a rear-wheel drive feeling with good manners. Oh, I almost forgot to mention – the car is so specialized that Pirelli had to design a special tire for it – the Pirelli P ZERO ‘ROSSO’ with asymmetric unidirectional tread.
But when you have a fat wallet, you can even enhance factory specializations – like enlarging the wheels to DUBS (20” GFG GF-1 Wheels) on Michelin treads. After all, all that black needs a little chrome to complement and further lure yearning gazes. Add to that, one premium Alpine 1VA-D900J mobile media station – the one with motorized low-temperature poly-silicone LCD 7” video monitor capable of displaying 1.15 million pixels for exceptional picture quality, that can play DVDs, CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, and MP3 discs (he has the same in his Hummer H2) –and Nigo has himself an acceptable exceptional exhilaration at his disposal.
After the exhilaration, comes indulgence. And for Nigo, that comes with the Rolls-Royce Phantom and the term waftability. The word isn’t in the dictionary, but it exists nevertheless – especially around Goodwood, West Sussex of England. That’s where these mechanical marvels are manufactured and where the word was coined. To the people over at Rolls-Royce, waftability encompasses excellence, not only in durability, trustworthiness, economy, speed, silence, and comfort, but also in finding the optimal balance of all these attributes when producing an automobile worthy of the name Rolls-Royce.
Needless to say, it took Rolls-Royce an intense four years of design and engineering to come up with the Phantom. And in doing so, they built a new manufacturing plant and a new company.
So how does the Phantom achieve waftability?
First and foremost, the 6.75 liter V12 engine, with maximum output of 453 hp and peak torque of 531 lb/ft at 3500 rpm provides effortless acceleration. Even at low speeds (1,000 rpm), the engine provides 75% of peak torque to ensure a soothing ride. The same “virtually silent” engine that allows you to accelerate 0 to 60 in a mere 5.7 seconds, also saves you some pennies with 25.7 mpg performance (in EU extra urban fuel economy cycle). Finally, to complement such a unique characteristic of the engine, they developed a “shift-by-wire” six-speed automatic transmission to match.
Then there is the aluminum space frame structure of the Phantom – much lighter than a steel frame and significantly more rigid. This, together with a long bonnet and wheelbase and the signature C-pillar behind the rear doors enhance the handling and ride comfort and achieve, yet again, another element of waftability. The Phantom houses discreet rear windows behind the rear doors to complement the C-pillar post.
Other complementary features of design and engineering include an elevated driving position and effortless operation of the controls to make the art of driving as relaxing and pleasurable as possible. Independently opening rear coach doors make entry comfortable and distinguished. Each Phantom utilizes 16 hides to complete the interior. This is harmonized with exquisite cabinetry and fine veneer. There is also the PAX run flat tire system and the famous interlinked RR badges on all four wheels sitting in an upright position while the wheel turns. Last but not least, the “Spirit of Ecstasy” (the winged emblem of Rolls-Royce) is retractable to protect it from harm. These features merely highlight some of all that the Phantom comprises itself with to outshine from other luxury vehicles. To check out the rest, visit their website (www.rollsroycemotorcars.com)
So how does Nigo enhance this waftability?
For one, Nigo hired The King of Bling (a.k.a Jacob Arabo) to stud his “Spirit of Ecstasy.” If you’re a true player, then you’ve heard of Jacob Arabo or Jacob the Jeweler or his Five Time Zone Watch. If you haven’t, he’s only the jeweler to accessorize major celebs from Justin Timberlake to 50 Cent to his airness, Michael Jordan. The precious diamond adorned winged spirit (remember, it’s retractable) is the accentuating piece of waftability.
As for sounds, despite the fact that the Phantom houses one of the most sophisticated sound systems, Nigo wanted the purest resonance and hired SonicDesign to redesign it. SonicDesign is known for producing a special engineering foam to reduce the transmission of vibration from the cabinet into the floor. The result – a cleaner, clearer, and better modulated sound with greater depth.
Last but not least, the wheels. Rolls-Royce boasts about the fact that the Phantom cruises on DUBS. That’s quite impressive – factory DUBS. But not for Nigo’s standards. He adds four inches to the diameter with 24” chrome Giovanno Gello Wheels on Pirelli treads. The added four inches does make the difference – check out the images and I’m sure you’ll agree.
In the end, Nigo’s uncompromising style has produced a priceless “luxurability.”
Of course when Nigo needs to make a quick run to the ma-ketto (Japanese for “market”) for some sake (Japanese for “ahhhh”), he needs a more practical and appropriate ride for the task. After all, door dings on the Gallardo or the Phantom could run into thousands to un-ding. Enter the Hummer H2 – the do-it-all SUV (Supermarket Use Vehicle) for celebs. Despite the lackluster purpose the ride is used for, Nigo’s H2 still sports 26” Giovanna Abruzzo pies on 305/30/26 Kumho crusts for looks and top of line Alpine and McIntosh components for entertainment. Without going into details of all these state-of-the-art components, let’s just say it meets Nigo’s high standards for audio/video quality.
Apparently, it seems, that Nigo has enough love (and dough) to properly pamper all of his babies. But then again, what is the message he is invoking with his numerous luxurious and extravagant baubles at his disposal? That he too, like the fans who adore him and his products, is a mindless consumer? I think not. Only Nigo himself understands the labyrinthine intelligence within. Perhaps to him, we are all merely slaves and he our master. Whatever your intention is with us Nigo, we love it and want more of it.