December, oh December, how cruel you are to our wallets. No matter where you go and what you do, you cannot avoid buying things. Sometimes you even buy things you need, but mostly it’s about throwing cash and cards at various merchants, just so you can get into that infamous Christmas spirit. And it seems to get wilder each year. How do you counter this? It’s simple – you buy things you need, or, what is even more important, things you like and want. For us, rally entusiasts, that means getting our hands on various model cars, team merchandise, rally memorabilia and, of course, calendars. And in the world of rallying there are many calendars, but there is only one McKlein Calendar. Superb photographs, impressive format and a great concept of double-sided print are just some of the highlights that made McKlein’s calendars famous among rally fans. This year we again got a chance to sample the three available calendars, and this is what we thought of each one.
MCKLEIN RALLY CALENDAR – THE WIDER VIEW WRC 2017
This is, definitely, the flagship of the pack, the one and only calendar you will ever want hanging on your wall. That is if you still have some wall space left after all those earlier Wider View calendars. It’s a funny thing, and I am sure I have mentioned this in one of my previous reviews; you don’t simply hang this calendar up on your wall in January and take it down in December, for these are not mere calendars which you use to tell days and months. Almost intimidating in size, this calendar will simply remain up there, and you will occassionally flip the pages just to admire next set of photographs from the current events. True to the McKlein way, this calendar also features two photographs per month, so you can choose between two different images. Only the best images made their way to the pages of this calendar, and I am sure McKlein’s editors had tough job on their hands making the selection. This is where I have to voice my complaint, because of what looked like a bias towards one team in particular. Now, I must admit I haven’t counted images so maybe this is just my uninformed opinion, but it really felt like one team had it over the others in terms of quantity of photographs in this calendar. On the other hand, this is McKlein we’re talking about – even if this really is the case, and one team was a bit more favoured over the others, every image is a piece of art, and you get two per month to choose from. If you are familiar with McKlein’s work, maybe you know of one or two photographs which are not in this calendar, but they simply could not have fitted them all in. At 95 x 48 centimeters, this calendar remains a bold and elaborate statement and will bring out smiles to the faces of those who receive it as a gift. This is an iconic piece, if you view your WRC obsession as a religion, so think about it next time you decide to grow your collection of rally-related memorabilia.
RALLY HISTORY – GROUP B SPECIAL
The 2016 marked 30 years (omg, right) since the ban landed on what was the wildest car specification ever to be used in the World Rally Championship. Group B was, for many, the pinnacle of what WRC, and possibly any motorsport in general, is capable of in terms of pushing it to the limits. It was wild, fearless, in many ways senseless and it claimed many victims. However, it also produced some of the most memorable rally cars and rally moments, many of which were frozen in time by McKlein’s photo cameras and films. Twenty-five high quality colour prints will once again stir emotions and bring back memories for those who were there. For the younger fans, this calendar will serve as a testament to an era. This is what motorsport will end up being when almost all limits and restrictions are removed, and McKlein’s calendar images are vivid and eloquent enough to take us all there and then. This calendar is my personal favourite, as I am very partial to anything related to Group B, even though my favourite cars came just after that, with the dawn of the Group A specification. Maybe that is something McKlein can put together for 2018? Group B special consists of 26 pages and 25 colour prints, each month represented with two different photographs, as is the norm for this agency. There is action, but there is also service park drama and plenty of behind-the-scenes details to keep you engaged throughout the 2017. Perfect way to judge whether next year’s new WRC car specs will yield similarly exciting action on the stages around the world.
2017 DESKTOP RALLY CALENDAR
This one is definitely the most practical calendar of the bunch. You can put it on your desk and even take it with you, so you’re always in the groove with your favourite motor sport. On 58 pages there are 56 different photographs, separated in two categories. I see it as a combination of the Wider View and Historic calendars, all mixed into one product. Every two weeks you get a choice of using photographs from the past or present – you can jump from historic images to current ones. I like the new format of this calendar; instead of using separate pieces of paper for each two week period they went for a more traditional spiral binding, so this is a proper calendar now, more resistant to rougher handling and tossing around your busy desk. It is also more resistant to kids, as I can confirm – a 3yo girl handled it, but it remained in one piece, perfectly capable of decorating your workplace. For me, this is a perfect gift for anyone involved in rallying, and I mean anyone. The Wider View is a real deal, of course, but that is meant for special people and occasions. Desktop calendar, on the other hand, can be your one-gift-fits-all solution for Christmas or New Year’s presents shopping.
For these and many other McKlein products, visit their online store by clicking here.