One of the most succesful automotive events this year was the Londino, an invitation-only, transnational treasure hunt with automobiles between London and Portofino. Enough reason for us to catch up with Jens Trulsson, creative director for Londino and the Cartorialist, for an exclusive interview!
Where does your passion for cars come from?
I have always had it. Since I was a kid I’ve had this fascination for things that move and it evolved to being extremely passionate about cars. I can tell you that my father and brother are equally passionate so it runs in the family.
What car do you drive yourself?
I change cars more often than I change suits.
What is your favourite classic car?
It’s impossible to choose just one. I love the Porsche 2.7 RS but to exclude cars like the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder or the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato hurts so much that I just can’t have one favourite. Right now I am obsessed with the Porsche 964 RS N/GT.
What is your favourite modern car?
If it has to be a car made in the last five years, then it must be the Bugatti Veyron. That is just an overwhelming feat of engineering that we’ll never again see in a conventional car as we know them today. It may not be the fastest anymore but I doubt a better car with a traditional Otto engine will ever be built. The fact that VW built it just to prove a point makes me love it even more.
Did you organise any other car related events in the past?
I have been involved with the Londino Tour since 2005, before that I was a novice to the whole genre.
Are you involved with other car events at the moment?
We (Londino) are planning a Porsche winter driving experience in the north of Sweden to be held in late February and also a Bugatti Veyron exposition and test drive this December, also in Sweden.
What is the Londino?
Londino is an annual transnational automobile tour and treasure hunt between London and Portofino. It’s a way to share an adventure while having the chance to win fantastic prizes, enjoy good company, fantastic cuisine and spectacular locations.
The name Londino is synonymous with innovation and quality and spans over many different arrangements. The London to Portofino tour being the signature event.
Where does the Londino originate from, how did you get the idea?
Londino is London and Portofino put together to make one word. Londino was founded in 2004 by my colleague Anders Bernunger and brother Erik Trulsson. It came from an idea to link London and Portofino whilst being adventurous and glamorous. The best way to do that is by automobile. I was brought in for the inaugural tour in 2005 and have stayed on since.
What was the 2007 event (route, objective, challenges, participants etc)?
The route for 2007 was London via St. Josse for lunch to Paris with dinner and cocktail at the Ritz. From Paris we went via Morvan for lunch to Geneva with dinner and cocktail at La Réserve in Geneva. The last route to Portofino went via Stresa for lunch and then on to Portofino for the final celebration and prize ceremony at hotel Splendido.
The Challenge works like this: each team is given a camera at the start of the tour. The team is then asked to take 14 pictures along the route to the next overnight stop. On each challenge card, four ‘motifs’ are depicted which must be captured on film, plus a theme for the remaining 10 pictures. (See separate challenge card)The cameras are collected at each overnight destination and the winners announced. Prizes included 24-carat gold Bluetooth headsets, bespoke suits and, for the overall victors, two exclusive de Grisogono Instrumento No. Uno watches.
Participants are especially invited by Londino so we can create a good mix of people that we know go well together. We had teams ranging in age from their mid twenties to their early seventies and that is exactly the diversity we’re looking for. Famous participants this year was Alex Roy and Michael Ross from team Polizei and Rebecca Loos and Vanessa Miedler.
How did the 2007 event compare to the 2005 and 2006 events?
2007 was the first year we had de Grisogono as title sponsor so the event naturally got a lot bigger than previous years. We also added one overnight stop in Paris and a more elaborate challenge compared to previous years.
What was your personal highlight of this year’s event?
My personal highlight was getting thanked individually by all our participants as they’re the reason we’re doing this. When we succeed in giving our participants an experience they want to return for, then that’s the absolute highlight. Naturally, driving a BMW M3 CSL on the winding roads we had selected for the tour was also a highlight.
What is the best part of the Londino?
For me, it’s being able to work with this full time. After George Clooney, I have the best job in the world! If it’s Londino in general you’re referring to then I must say it’s the passion and level of quality we bring to each project.
Who are the sponsors and what was their added value?
We like to have one sponsor from each segment, like electronics, fashion and jewellery and bring them together under the Londino name. They help us in providing a superior experience for our participants with gifts, equipment and prizes.
De Grisogono – the fantastic Swiss jewellers that are the title sponsors.
Pal Zileri – Italian fashion for men
Jabra – One of the world’s leading providers of hands-free communication
Cape North – Family owned company specialising in fine Vodka
Sony – provider of cameras
What do you think about other car events like the Gumball 3000?
I must say I am fascinated by them, especially the Gumball 3000. They obviously fill a role as they are hugely popular and fans are really dedicated in following them. Unfortunately, we tend to get compared to them, which is like trying to compare Mötley Crüe to Beethoven just because they’re both categorised as music. However, as Londino is growing and gaining recognition, we can really distance ourselves from those types of events and be known for what we truly are; an automobile tour and treasure hunt.
Are there elements from other events you like to add to the Londino?
Not really if you’re talking about Gumball 3000 or similar events but we’re always looking for inspiration and sometimes we find it in the weirdest places.
Are there other things you like to change or add to the concept?
The concept works really well and seeing as we’re alone in doing this type of event we pretty much have free hands to expand and change how we want it. However we will always make certain to stick to the core values that make up Londino.
What kind of people do you like to attract?
Since we only allow a maximum of 20 teams we like to select enthusiasts of all sorts that are genuinely interested in what Londino can offer them instead of showboats more interested in partying and breaking speed limits. We like to create a mix of young and old participants with new and classic cars.
Will there be a Londino next year?
Most definitely. We are establishing ourselves to be a “must do‿ event in the social calendar and will be evolving a lot during the coming years. We’ll be departing London on the first weekend in September instead of the bank holiday weekend of August among other things. We’re also looking at maybe adding yet another overnight stop but we’ll probably hold off on that until the 5th year anniversary in 2009. We’ll also add to the number of treasures to win.
What car would you like to see at the next Londino?
If one of our future participants would be willing to put mileage on their vintage Ferrari or Aston Martin, then that would make me yelp like a puppy. I do also have a fetish for the Lamborghini Countach – it’s useless but oh so cool!
What is the Cartorialist?
The Cartorialist is subjective look at cars with judgement passed by the Cartorialist, almost always following form over function and desirability over sensibility however there are exceptions to everything as it’s a matter of personal taste. The name is an homage to the Sartorialist – a fashion blog with the same concept.
What is your vision for the Cartorialist?
I’d like the Cartorialist to be common knowledge and for people to want to have their cars featured. The format will stay the same as I believe there is no need for another news outlet with press releases and corporate pictures whereas opinions, if formed cleverly, can create a huge following. Look at Jeremy Clarkson for instance.
Do you consider online media (like the Cartorialist or gtspirit) to be added value for the Londino?
Definitely. Fans have much easier access to the event and the quick updates make it more interesting for them to follow. Considering that we drive from London to Portofino, the only way to know what’s going on in real time is by going on the internet, unless you have direct access to a participant and very few have that.