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Exciting news, tinged with a touch of nostalgia for how it used to be. We are going to be massively ramping up our involvement with the superstars at Alpine Electronics. The only company ever to hold a World Press Conference, where I met magazine journalists from America, Australia and South Africa, in Japan all those years ago. I reckon myself and Barryjohn, the only member of staff still at the company who was on that trip, can now be called Elder Statesmen. Mitch Pirie, who spotted the advert for his job on these very pages, is as smitten with Alpine as he ever was before he was part of the team.

And they have an all-new thrusting young executive in the marketing hot seat, Mr. Mark Holmes. I went along to their HQ, near to Jaguar Land Rover in Coventry (oh gosh the M45 is a lovely empty piece of motorway…) to introduce myself and pitch a whole slew of content goodness. And they were keen. It was a lovely chance to get the all-but-finishing-touches shots on video of the awesome T5 van that Oxford Car Audio have built for Alpine. I have it shot when part built, and now shot at the Alpine HQ finished, but need to get the final embellishments shots (we are lacking some graphic and door magazine/brochure racks) with the genius installer/fabricator who made this lovely experience, Lem of Oxford Car Audio.

There’s a group of amps. Why are there so many kinds? What do they do that is different from one another? My gig will be to try them apart and tell you. Then, there are the single-perfect-matched bass mono amp and subwoofer combinations to test. I want to make videos of the units in the back display wall of the van, as well as test a couple in my office desk test bed.

That as well as a full actual feature on this killer install.

Being a marketing pro and well yoofier than my generation, Mark is of course all over the social media thang and reckons I will be a good source for Throwback Thursdays stuff, when he can post about a bit of Alpine Heritage on Facebook! And so while it was a deep goodness to see the chaps, meet the new executive marketeer and of course to get some time with their boss, (as well as find out that my ancient historical knowledge can be of some use going forward) it was a bit sobering to learn that the very term, “aftermarket” has been dropped by Alpine, in favour of ‘Alpine Brand’ referring to the new way Alpine get kit into cars. Led by the US and Japan, full solutions, like the Mercedes ML system, I videoed at Brooklands Mercedes Benz World with Alpine some time back (views now at 51k) the product is now primarily about complete sets for new cars and the rest are referred to as specialist, and are on a different level of integration to that which we are used to from the past. Everything looks like it was put there by the car maker, switchgear and all.

So here’s to more Alpine-ness on Talk Stuff.

On the OEM front, since I decided this was a good direction to chase, I have had drives of four Volvos and a Kia as well as an earful of a Ferrari and a Maserati. Just lately, I had a go on a VERY new Q7 at VAG HQ in MK, although I merely drove it around the corner to listen to it and go offroad. So, on the 30th October I am going back and will be filming just the Head-up display that I was unable to cover last time and maybe go deeper into the full connectedness of the car and how you can overlay Google Earth over the Satnav!

Do drive safely and avoid the old ‘Boomph-tinkle”…

Adam Rayner OnLine Editor