A couple years ago, while tinkering with an old Walkman, the Munich designers discovered that the cassette-player motor was ideal for driving a miniature car. The gears started churning, and after a few calls and e-mails to fellow tape buffs, the Recorder Race was born. On July 12, 2003, 180 people gathered in an old sports-club gym in Munich to watch 23 tape-player-powered vehicles compete for the title of "Record Champion." Racecar builders included designers, engineers, DJs, musicians, students--the sort who would still know where their Walkmans were buried. The organizers awarded only half of a racer´s total score based on speed (achieved in most cases with a light chassis and low-friction force transfer); the other half comes from the car´s grandezza--a word that translates loosely from the Italian as "panache"--as judged by an international panel of design luminaries.