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Brandon Seiler's Blog on Cars

Archive for April 2013

Intel working on headlights that make rain invisible

If a new technology co-developed by Intel and Carnegie Mellon University catches on, modern cars could soon have the ability to render nighttime rainfall invisible from a driver’s view.  CNET reports the optical illusion is achieved by headlights that ditch the old bulb design for a computer-operated system that operates much as a projector does. 

Rant: Why parking lot etiquette matters

Driving a 1998 Subaru wagon with 205 thousand miles on it doesn’t put me in a hurry to get anywhere.  I find keeping a lackadaisical throttle foot to be an effective survival technique designed to milk every remaining mile out my noble Japanese steed.   It’s also indicative of my thrift-artist financial situation, which as it stands requires I shop religiously at Costco as if it were a giant welfare box store.

If I need groceries, I go to Costco.  If I need a shirt, I go to Costco.  If I need tires, I go to Discount Tire; Costco’s nitrogen-filled tires scare me.  But that doesn’t affect my general complacency when tooling around a Costco parking lot to find a vacant space, nor does it negate my outrage at the affront to my dignity that took place there recently. 

Indian man arrested for letting 9-year-old son drive his Ferrari

Kids are growing up faster and faster these days, especially when their parents encourage them to do so. Take Mohammed Nisham for example, who was arrested by Indian police this month and charged with endangering the life of a child and allowing a minor to drive. 

The arrest was sparked by a video of his 9-year-old son driving the family Ferrari F430 on public roads with his 7-year-old brother riding shotgun.  When the footage went viral and caused an outrage in India police intervened.  Nisham’s wife doesn’t seem to understand what all the concern is about.    

2013 Ford Flex is different by design

Every so often a car rolls down the pike that helps people just say no to minivans.  The Ford Flex is one of those rare examples that aren’t burrowing out a new genre of soccer mom-mobiles in the crossover segment.  With the utilitarian chops to comfortably accommodate three rows of six-footers, the off-beat retro styling of a hotrod station wagon, and an available 355hp V6, the Flex deserves to be celebrated as a family hauler that hasn’t given up on living a little.   

America’s next transportation secretary is…

When Ray LaHood announced early this year he would not return to serve a second term as the Department of Transportation Secretary, a door opened for Charlotte, N.C. Mayor Anthony Foxx.  President Obama nominated the second-term Democrat Monday to pick up where LaHood will leave soon leave off.  The President is hoping Foxx’s impressive track record of overseeing successful transportation projects in Charlotte will translate to a national scale.   

Two NASCAR crewmembers charged with post-race assault

A boot to the groin is rarely well-received in a sporting event, especially when it’s perceived to be intentional.  After the conclusion of a Nationwide race at Richmond International Raceway Friday, driver Brian Scott approached Nelson Piquet Jr. in the pits to exchange unpleasantries over a collision the two were involved in. 

Seattle Policeman drives a 1970 Plymouth Satellite

Of all the bad reasons to commit a crime in Seattle, getting to ride in the back of this fully-restored 1970 Plymouth Satellite police car might be at the top of the list.  Officer Jim Ritter not only uses the car as a community relations tool; he also cruises it around the Emerald City on active duty.  Without air-conditioning or a police computer terminal, the 30-year veteran makes due with a 330hp “Super Commando” 383ci-V8 and a whole lot of cool.  

Mammuth Works RC car is scary big

The classic remote control car is a simple, battery powered plaything small enough to fit on the shelf of the kids’ aisle at a grocery store. The latest RC project of the crazy people at Mammuth Works would have a hard time fitting through the front door of most houses.  It’s a big boy toy dubbed the Rewarron.   

The Hurricane Sandy Car Auctions

New York City is trying to auction off the last 535 abandoned vehicles of more than 3,300 that were displaced during Hurricane Sandy.  To deal with the leftovers from the flood, NYC hired David R. Maltz auction house in Long Island to see if they could turn a profit from the orphaned cars.  Maltz made a total of 125 sales during the initial auction; proof he's working with a market worth catering towards. 

Icona Vulcano smolders at Shanghai Auto Show

When Chinese-Italian auto designer Icona set out to produce a rolling example of their design muscle they came up with the Vulcano.  Judging by the salivating crowds it attracted at the Shanghai Auto Show this month, there’s a good chance the hybrid supercar will see limited production.  Although with five models total being considered for development, most of the world's ultra-rich playboys will have to settle for more conventional rides, such as a Ferrari or Lamborghini. 

Formula E burns up streets of Los Angeles

Formula E is on a mission to proliferate electric cars and sustainability around the world.  To make the dream come true they’ve set out to create a global all-electric racing circuit designed to occupy the streets of major cities.  The concept appears to be gaining popularity:  This week Los Angeles Mayor Antionio Villaraigosa applauded as a Formula E electric racecar pulled donuts in front of his city’s Department of Water and Power headquarters. 

VIDEO: NHRA Funny Car explodes, car body flies into stands

As Robert Hight rocketed down the drag strip at zMax Dragway in Charlotte Saturday, his funny car’s engine exploded, ejecting the car’s carbon fiber body high into the air.  Video shows the lightweight piece of wreckage falling like a torn kite in the breeze before landing on a pedestrian walkway, directly in front of spectator seating.

2013 Unimog makes being green look easy

If there’s ever been a definite sign times are changing rapidly in the auto industry it came this month with the reveal of the 2013 Unimog.  The river fording, brick wall obliterating, apocalyptic survival ride of choice is now boasting that it can… be greener.  It appears that in order to survive upcoming Euro V1 emissions standards, Unimog’s newest claim to fame will be the way in which it manages to take good care of Mother Nature.  

3 Doors Down bassist charged with vehicular homicide

Todd Harrell of the popular rock band 3 Doors Down was arrested by Nashville Police Friday night and charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication.  Harrell was driving his 2011 Cadillac CTS at high speeds when he clipped a 2003 Ford F-150, causing the truck to careen over a guardrail and down an embankment where it flipped over.  

Ford Focus is the word’s best-selling car

Somewhere in Ford’s headquarters a room has been cleared out to make room for all the high-fiving that must be going on there.  The tallies are in, and according to Polk’s annual vehicle-registration review, Ford sold 1,020,410 Focus’s worldwide in 2012, which makes it the best-selling vehicle nameplate in the world. But that isn’t the only flattering news Polk gave the blue oval this year. 

Ron Howard’s “Rush” trailer released

Ol’ Opie Taylor is at it again.  Ron Howard’s upcoming movie, Rush tells the larger than life true story of Formula One racecar drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda as they battled for the 1976 F1 Championship.  By the looks of the trailer, cast, and what we already know of the plot, you shouldn’t have to be a racing fan to enjoy Howard’s latest project.

Detroit Electric recharges with first car since 1939

When Detroit Electric first opened shop in 1906, petroleum-powered automobiles were still battling electric cars to become the horse alternative to beat.  Before they shut their doors in 1939, the electric pioneers put close to 13,000 pure-electric vehicles on the road.  This month they’re ready to pick up where they left off after a 74 year hiatus with the reveal of the SP:01 at the Shanghai Motor Show.  Detroit Electric claims their newest model will be the fastest all-electric production car on the market, and they certainly aren’t letting anyone forget about their motor city heritage. 

Is GM working on a new Chevelle?

Hats off to GM Authority, whose stalkerish coverage of everything General Motors apparently extends to the United States Patents and Trademarks Office.  The Authority uncovered GM recently applied for a handful of trademarks revolving around the “Chevelle” nameplate, which raises the question if we might soon be treated to a new Chevelle for the first time since 1977.  The answer depends on how you interpret the titillating small print of the trademarks process.  GM Authority reports: 

EPA calls for low sulfur gasoline: Pros & Cons

Last month the EPA proposed all 50 states should be required to obey a new set of rules that would have them sell lower-sulfur fuel by 2017.  Shockingly, the oil industry isn’t taking kindly to the proposition, arguing the standards would increase the cost of fuel and would actually worsen pollution.  In reality they’re at least half right.     

Fake Russian ambulances caught taxiing rich through traffic

That’s about all there is to this despicable story.  Police in Moscow are now carrying out stops on ambulances after companies began advertising “ambulance-taxis” for $200, or 6,000 roubles per hour on the Internet.  The National Post reports the ambulances “use their sirens to scatter traffic and deliver harried businessman to meetings on time.”  

420hp Cadillac twin turbo V6 is hungry for BMW’s

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Remember when Cadillac’s were bloated land yachts with pillow-soft suspensions?  If Elvis were to see his beloved American luxury brand today he’d mess his leather jumpsuit.  Cadillac’s new direction is aimed at world-beating performance.  Their biggest stab at the likes of BMW and Mercedes thus far is the 2014 CTS; a car General Motor’s deemed worthy to introduce their first ever twin-turbocharged V6 - the most powerful six-cylinder engine GM has ever produced. 

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About this blog

Brandon Seiler is a bonafide car guy, member of the Northwest Auto Press Association and proud Washingtonian. He covers the latest auto news, technology, and pretty much anything having to do with car culture. You don't have to like cars to read his blogs, you just have to be able to read.

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