There has been much hype and whispers amongst the car-lovers community about the highly anticipated release of the new Porsche Panamera. Porsche have tried their best to keep photos of the new model under wraps, but as of late some have been leaked to the public. Porsche lovers around the world like what they see, and there has been a lot of discussion regarding this new venture.

Porsche drivers can be very selective and particular when it comes to their cars. Most Porsche drivers are used to the small and nifty models such as the Boxster and Cayman. Unfortunately there are a large number of Porsche fans who are deterred by this, needing more interior space for other members of their families. The Porsche Cayenne is a large 4x4 model, but one which some might find to be too bulky. There are Porsche lovers who still want the sleek compact design of the other Porsche models, but with more space.

This is where the concept for the new Porsche Panamera came into being. The creative facilities at Weissach, Leipzig and Zuffenhausen decided to design a four seat and four door model. Although the car is bigger and has four doors instead of the traditional two, it still carries the same dynamic look and performance of a traditional Porsche sports car.

The Panamera has apparently been born of another four door concept created by Porsche in the late 1980's. The idea for this Porsche from the 1980's was unsuccessful and never made it past the drawing table. The Panamera will be marketed as being in strong competition with cars such as the Mercedes CLS and the soon-to-be-released Aston Martin Rapide.

The bodywork of the Panamera is low and wide, and has been compared to a sedan. Although based loosely on the original design of the 911 Carrera, the Panamera is different in that its engine is in the front of the vehicle. This has irked some Porsche fanatics, but the Porsche designers have tried their best to keep the engine as close to the centre of the vehicle as possible. The Panamera range will include three engine choices for the Porsche purist. A more affordable V6 version is also expected to be released later next year.

Despite the hype, there are many Porsche enthusiasts who are not too thrilled about the production of the Panamera. They feel that too much has been taken away from the original feel of a Porsche. There were also a lot of negative whispers regarding the Porsche Cayenne, which was often labeled as 'ugly.' Due to the leaked spy photos people all over the world have analyzed and examined the new model and the response hasn't always been complimentary. Some are comparing it to the Cayenne and feel that the Panamera is only a bulkier and uglier version of the 911.

Despite all this, there are also plenty of enthusiasts who are on the edge of their seats in excitement. It seems to be a bold and intelligent venture for Porsche, and the build-up to its release has only created more eagerness for those wanting to get their hands on a more spacious model of their favorite kind of car.

When 20 year old art student Richard Steiff joined his Aunt Margarete's toy company in 1897, she couldn't have imagined that within six years he would transform their fortunes. The small family business produced a range of animal soft toys. Richard wasn't happy with the somewhat frightening bears that were being produced at that time and set out to design a more friendly version.

His close study of the animals led first to a number of designs- a stiff standing bear and another one on wheels, neither of which were quite what he was looking for. Then in 1902 that he came up with the idea of joints that enabled the bear's legs and head to move. It was launched at the 1903 Leipzig Toy Fair with such little impact that his aunt's doubts seemed justified. It wasn't until a year later at the St Louis World Fair that the cuddly bear took America by storm, receiving the Gold Medal and selling in thousands. The Steiff company never looked back and has always had a huge following in the United States.

The first Teddy bear was actually called '55PB'. This referred to its height (55 centimetres), its coat ('Plush' mohair) and the revolutionary fact that it was moveable ('Beweglich'). Admittedly this was not the catchiest of names so it's not surprising that the bear's rapidly expanding American fan base looked for something more appropriate to its cuddly nature.

Steiff's new bear gained its nickname Teddy because, with excellent timing, US President and hunter Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt had impressed animal lovers by showing compassion for a wounded bear. A bear similar to Steiff's had been made independently in New York and the maker called it Teddy's Bear'. The name was soon applied to the Steiff bear and others that followed.

It is ironic that the President who propelled the United States into the twentieth century should now be best remembered by most people as the man after whom Teddy bears are named. It is another twist of fate that Margarete Steiff's small toy making company became a global business thanks to her young nephew's design of a bear with moveable limbs.

110 years later the Steiff company is celebrating its greatest invention by producing a modern take on the 55PB. Although it has the best features of modern Teddies, the 110th Anniversary Bear has wax on its stitched nose to simulate the sealing wax nose of the original and, like the first Teddy, its mouth is sewn with strong waxed saddler thread. Rather than the string attached joints of Richard Steiff's first bear, it uses the disc joints that are the feature of almost all modern Teddies and which were also invented by him. The cuddly bear will be forever associated with the name Teddy Roosevelt but it is the name Richard Steiff that should be remembered with gratitude by Teddy bear lovers everywhere.

While Poole pottery has embraced many styles, it is the dazzling bold shapes and hand-painted patterns of the 1920s and 1930s that really stand out. The 1920s were a period of change for the arts in Europe and if you are collecting Poole pottery you really want to own at least one piece from this period. This was the period of modernity that gave us the designs of Lalique and Corbusier and they would have exhibited at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes' exhibition in Paris in 1925. Poole won a Diploma of Honour here and it revolutionised their design.

They moved from simple floral spriggs and plain band patterns to abstracts featuring wheels, cogs and lightening flashes, which had most likely been inspired by the exhibition. Poole were soon to exhibit regularly at the Mansard Gallery at Heals and at regular trade events at London's Gieve Gallery. This enhanced Poole's profile, they acquired a reputation for quality and 'on trend' wares and ensured them regular press coverage.

While Poole got a lot of attention for their exhibition pieces they did not neglect their 'bread and butter' which consisted of mass produced biscuit barrels, preserve pots and bowls. While these pieces would not have been as elaborately decorated they were still hand-thrown and hand-painted and were very popular across the country. The first trade catalogue was issued in 1920, promising to produce unique handcrafted wares, thrown by the potter and hand-painted.

The company was managed by Cyril Carter who got together with Harold Stabler and John Adams and Harold and John's wives Phoebe and Truda. Phoebe Stabler was a sculptor, modeller and designer who had exhibited throughout Britain and a number of her designs were quickly produced to exhibit at the British Industries Fair of 1921 where they were well received. Truda, who had left her husband John Adams to marry Cyril Carter, became the most influential. Although she was a very talented designer, she was never promoted like Clarice Cliff or Susie Cooper and there is very little mention of her in the trade press of the day. Her work is some of the most dramatic featured on Poole pottery and she was hailed as a shining example of the new art form.

By the early 1930s over 30 female painters were skilfully transferring Truda's flat designs onto the pottery, working in the round, they included Cissie Collett, Margaret Holder, Anne Hatchard and Ruth Pavely. While many firms decorated on glaze, Poole decoration was applied in a Delft technique on to raw glaze, before firing.

Poole also worked with guest designers - Emma Manners' 'Grape' and 'Fuchsia' patterns became two of the most popular produced by Poole and painter and graphic designer Oliver Bourne produced a series of figural and portrait designs including a stylised woman holding a treat for a small bird, which is now known as 'Sugar for the Birds'. It was exhibited at the Leipzig International Exhibition of Industrial Art in 1927 and is still popular and sought after today.

If you want to collect Deco Poole Pottery from this period you should look out for the backstamp featuring the names 'Carter, Stabler, Adams' above 'Poole England. After 1925 the word 'Ltd' is included. Other marks are hand painted with the pattern code written in letter format after a vertical line. Keep an eye out for senior artists, such as Anne Hatchard, who used a stylised letter H and Ruth Pavely who used a stylised reversed swastika motif.

These days there seems to be more interest in in the post-war Poole pieces which means that Deco Poole pottery can be had for good prices and you should be able to get a dish or a small vase for as little as £10. If you can afford to spend around £500 you will be able to buy one of the daring abstract designs with all the flair and drama of the Art Deco movement. If you are interested in collecting Deco Poole pottery there are definitely bargains to be had.