Archive for February 2010
Fans of the juggernaut car show, Top Gear should be delighted to hear that a US version of the program is currently under production. For some reason its going to be on the History Channel where they’ve ordered up between 10 and 12 episodes and are now trying to find people to host them.
Funny/car guy Adam Carolla broke the news on his CarCast show that he’s in the running for one of the three hosting spots. Other candidates remain somewhat of a mystery at this point, but Jay Leno has said he’s not interested. Personally I’m okay with that.
On a lighter note, Jalopnik is offering a $5,000 reward for the pilot of Top Gear USA that was originally shot to air on NBC. The episode is said to have been hosted by Carolla, racer Tanner Foust and interior drapery design consultant Eric Stromer (Pictured). From Jalopnik:
“We know someone out there must have it. So we're willing to pay $5,000 to the first person who can provide us with a full copy of the unaired Carolla/Foust/Stromer NBC pilot of Top Gear USA.”
“There are some ground rules: Our standard contest rules apply. We expect you to stay within the bounds of the law. We reserve the right to limit, or restrict upon notice, participation in the Contest to any person at any time for any reason. Void where prohibited. So who's in? E-mail me directly at ray-at-jalopnik-dot-com.” (2)
Yes, the theme to Smokey and the Bandit is included here, but that’s just the tip of the smoke stacks. Truckers' mainstream popularity as lone wolves of the road peaked several decades ago. Let’s take a look back in that direction at the greatest trucker songs to ever come crackling out of a Kenworth’s radio. In no particular order:
1. “East Bound and Down” by Jerry Reed
As the main theme to 1977’s Smokey and the Bandit, East Bound and Down is one of the most famous trucker songs of all time, a raucous ode to smuggling Coors across state lines in an 18-wheeler, and also friendly roadside prostitutes in Winnebago’s, Trans Am’s and Burt Reynolds inexplicable attraction to Sally Fields. In sum:
“Keep your foot hard on the pedal. Son, never mind them brakes. Let it all hang out ‘cause we got a run to make. The boys are thirsty in Atlanta and there’s beer in Texarkana. And we’ll bring it back no matter what it takes.”
2. “Gear Jammer” by George Thorogood
Leave it to George Thorogood’s crazy ass to write a song about a trucker jacked out of his mind, driving “Nine long days through twenty three states.” There’s no literal mention of taking trucker pills in the lyrics, but it’s easy to draw the connections:
“Running my rig about ninety-five, I’m a-rockin and a-rollin’ in overdrive. My heart’s beating like a jackhammer, it’s the midnight ride for the gear jammer.”
Main themes of the song include:
Paranoia- “The police catch me I’ll end up in the slammer,” and:
Rage- “Something gets in my way you know I’m gonna ram her. Nobody fools around with this gear jammer.”
3. “I’m a truck” by Red Simpson.
This song is written in first person from the perspective of the truck. Making it even more unique, the truck hates truck drivers, alleging that they’re a bunch of womanizing chauvinists:
“There’d be no truck drivers if it wasn’t for us trucks. No double clutching gear jamming coffee drinking nuts.”
The truck goes on to lambaste its driver by telling a particularly unflattering story about him:
“Well there he sits in that café drinking coffee and tellin’ lies. Probably tellin’ ‘em about that hill we topped ten miles back. Oughter tell ‘em about how he missed a gear and that Volkswagen bus full a hippies passed us like I was sittin’ up on jacks.”
4. “Teddy Bear” by Red Sovine.
In contrast to the hateful lyrics of “I’m a truck”, Teddy Bear tells the tear-jerking story of a small crippled boy who sits at home with his CB radio, pleading with truckers to talk with him:
“Come on back truckers, and talk to Teddy Bear. Mom says you’re busy and for me to stay off the air. But you see, I get lonely and it helps to talk, ‘cause that’s about all I can do. I’m crippled and can’t walk.”
Making matters worse, the boy’s father was killed in a trucking accident a while back:
“Mom has to work now to make ends meet, and I’m not much help with my two crippled feet.”
The boy goes on to say all he wants is to go for a ride in a semi truck like his dad used to take him on. When a noble trucker eventually arrives at Teddy Bear’s house to grant his wish, the true spirit of trucking/Christmas surprises them both:
“18 wheelers were lined up for three city blocks. Why I guess every driver for miles around had caught Teddy Bear’s call, and that little crippled boy was having a ball.”
5. “Old Home Filler-Up” by C.W. McCall
You were probably expecting to see “Convoy” by C.W. McCall on the list, but that would be cliché. Plus, I like this song better. It’s about a trucker and his dog Sloan who stop off at the Old Home Filler Up, “A lookin’ for Mavis.”
“Now we’ve been every place between here and south Sioux and we’ve seen us a truck-stop waitress or two, but this gal’s built like a burlap bag full of bobcats.”
Unlike Sally Fields. The trucker saunters up to the counter and asks ‘ol Mavis if she might like to go for a ride in his rig, implying there might be some sleeper action involved. She agrees, but asks that her mother come along as a chaperone to keep the outing respectable.
“Well, we geared that tranny into super-low and the four of us went to see a picture show. Yeah, I took ‘em to the drive-in theater over by Pisgah, to see True Grit.”
And then he drives them all home… Here’s a link to Convoy:
(2) www.kingwoodkowboy.com/ truckingsongs.html
Holger Schubert built a bridge from his street to his living room, and parked his 1984 Ferrari 512 Boxer next to his couch. “I wanted to create a backdrop for the car as a piece of art,” Schubert said, “This is a space whose only purpose is to enjoy the car.”
Genius? Perhaps. Last year the showroom won Architectural Digest magazine’s Design Driven contest, but not everyone was so impressed. Schubert is currently in a legal battle to save his $1.5 million dollar bridge. From the LA Times:
“Neighbors complained about the bridge, alleging that the city erroneously approved its construction to create both a safety hazard and a development precedent that could degrade hillside neighborhoods throughout the city.”
“City planners have withdrawn permission for Schubert to use a bridge to connect his Ferrari's third-floor resting spot with North Tigertail Road.”
“The ruling sets the stage for the city to issue an enforcement order that will force Schubert to tear down the 10-foot-long, 15-foot-high bridge if he does not obtain a zoning variance for it or win a court reprieve that preserves it.”
Schubert’s showroom is equipped with a hydraulic ramp that lifts the front of the Ferrari up, allowing the car to coast backwards across the bridge without starting the engine. That way no exhaust fumes enter the house.
(2) Picture: http://jstnryan.com/my-kind-of-living-room-complete-with-ferrari/
In the year 2011 the Shelby GT500 will lose 102 lbs and gain 10HP via an all-aluminum 5.4-liter supercharged V8. That’s 550 HP and 510 lb-ft of torque with 80 percent of the juice available between 1,750 and 6,250 rpm.
Ford hopes the lighter, more powerful beer can engine will drop the guzzler tax from the coupe with expected fuel economy of 23-MPG highway and 15-MPG city. From Jalopnik:
“It's almost like taking an entire passenger out of the cabin and yeah, it'll probably have an impact on steering feel, track performance and overall balance in the notoriously nose-heavy GT500.”
Speaking of track performance, the 2011 GT500 will come with an available SVT Performance Package that includes Goodyear EagleR F1 SuperCar G: 2 tires designed specifically for the Shelby, lighter wheels, stiffer springs, and a higher rear axle ratio. The package is said to shave an average of 3 seconds off trips around a 2.3-mile track.
Other hot options include the glass roof currently offered on lower level Stangs, standard HID headlights and MyKey. RrrrrrRRRRRRrrrrrr!!
Although technically a minivan owner, Joe’s relationship with his 1996 Dodge Caravan brings to mind the Custom Van culture of the 1970’s. When I arrived at his apartment complex his pride and joy was parked in a bus stop on the street.
Vehicle: 1996 Dodge Caravan
B: I see your van is parked in a bus stop…
J: Yeah… so?
B: So what are the perks of driving a minivan?
J: It’s discreet as far as getting pulled over. No one suspects the minivan.
B: Why are there no back seats in yours?
J: Gas mileage and in case you need to lie down and go to bed you got the option. You got a little studio apartment waitin’ for ya.
B: Have you ever invited a lady into..
J: (Cutting me off) Yes.
B: How many? Do you have a tally going?
J: No tally.
B: You prefer not to record those sorts of things?
J: I’m above that.
B: Fair enough. As a desirable bachelor, if you suddenly had a wife and children, would you buy a sports car to be ironic?
J: I’d upgrade to the sport minivan.
B: How fast do you think your current van can go?
B: How would you describe the color of your van?
J: An off teal.
B: I was going to say sea foam. There’s usually several gas cans in your van, sometimes with gas in them, yet you still smoke cigarettes while driving. Comments?
J: This is not true. There’s no gas in the gas tanks.
B: So why are they in the van?
J: In case I run out of gas.
B: What else is back there?
INTERLUDE: Incomplete list of items I found in the back of Joe’s Caravan:
-Unopened insurance bill
-8 empty cigarette packets
-Packets of “Breathe Deep Yogi Tea”
-Empty plastic bottles/Fast food bags
-Spare key to a boat
-Empty gas can
-Used kitty litter box
-Empty cardboard boxes
-Single glove with fingers cut off
-Pair of dress shoes
-Empty Prescription bottle from the dentist
-Two books of CD’s
-Broken tape adapters
-Empty bottle of chloraseptic spray
-Work truck keys
-Bottle of hand sanitizer
-Packet of hot sauce
-Pizza Hut Parmesan packet (J: From my pizza delivery days)
-Empty prescription drug bottle made out to a woman who will remain anonymous
-Sun block/Spray Aloe
-Set of Allen wrenches
B: Whenever we drive anywhere in your van, you demand we listen to Led Zeppelin. Is Zeppelin your driving music?
J: No, Zeppelin’s my everything, my everything music.
B: With all the mechanical troubles your van has been having lately, can you see yourself selling it?
J: I don’t think anyone would buy it. I think it’s unsellable. I’d have more satisfaction driving it into the ground myself then having someone else do it.
B: Why do you love your van?
J: Because people look down on me for driving a minivan. They think I’m borrowing my mother’s car.. And then the look on their face when I say that (expletive) is in my name.
B: You love your van.
J: I do, I love my van. I love that it’s not socially acceptable for a young single male to own and drive his own minivan.
The Test Drive:
Joe says the tires are almost shot and the transmission is slipping badly. I didn’t notice these issues so much on a short jaunt to 7-11 for Twix, but we both agreed the heater makes a noise like a broken coffee maker. Despite the odds, for a ’96 Caravan with “200+” miles on it, I could see this van lasting another couple years on good luck and plenty of transmission fluid.
“No one suspects the minivan.”