Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

Last week, I was with the Jalopnik crew at Pebble Beach and the Monterey Historic races at Laguna Seca. Everywhere you looked were stunning cars, and that means that right inside those cars were stunning engines. I took pictures of some of my favorites, so let's look at them, why not?

It's hard to explain to people who don't care about cars why pictures of engines are so compelling. It's not the same as seeing, say, the entrails of a horse. It's more about the appreciation of ingenuity, elegance, and power, all crammed together.

I'd also like to try something a bit different here. Instead of listing what the engine was in or writing a line of commentary, I want to borrow an idea from, of all places, philosopher Roland Barthes' book, Camera Lucida. In the book — which is mostly about photography — Barthes proposes the concept of the punctum of a photograph.

Punctum is usually described (well, Wikipedia-described, at least) as "the wounding, personally touching detail which establishes a direct relationship with the object or person within it." So what I want to do is just list what I think is the punctum for each of these images. And I want to encourage you to put your punctums (puncti?) in the comments.

Sure, it sounds a little goofy and precious, but what the hell. It'll be fun!

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

1: The coiled cooling tube around the intake manifold.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

2: I thought the Godiva badge at first, but now I think the script of "Coventry Climax."

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

3: That amazing exhaust manifold.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

4: All the little bolts on that head.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

5: The grid of cooling fins on that supercharger.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

6: The point where all the control cables enter the stubby nose through that arch.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

7: That amazing finned exhaust manifold.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

8: That splash of red on the rag on the suspension arm that links to the red block.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

9: That ratty old grey can among all those shiny bits.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

10: Just that it's an Amphicar. From the Concours d'Lemons.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

11: That leather engine cozy. It's a Trabant, also from Lemons.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

12: That vivid blue cap and label.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

13: That massive, clear intake hose.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

14: All those drug-store pink rubber balls.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

15: Those matching vinyl two-tone intake trumpet covers.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

16: The orange spark-plug wires.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

17: Those brownish-amberish rubber boots and their brass hose clamps.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

18: The valves.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

19: That smooth, clean valve cover.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

20: That double-alien-antenna-looking valve cover nut.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

21: The swoop of fender in the foreground.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

22: Those intake trumpets, all in a row.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

23: That pulley and the round-cross-section leather belt.

Hardcore Engine Porn From The Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach

24: The red-painted manifold.