Archive for February 2013
In the old days when someone needed money for a car they would ask a relative for it, generally after laying a masterful groundwork of butt-kissing. Dodge is taking the swindle to the millennial generation and beyond with the Dodge Dart Registry – a crowd-funding website that appeals to the pocketbooks of the Internet masses. The goal is to purchase a Dart, or even a piece of one for that matter.
HOW IT WORKS
Of all the zany car technologies I’ve read about a gyro car isn’t one of them. From what my simple man-brain can discern, the Gyro-X, revealed to the world at the 1961 Detroit Auto Show, is a two-wheeled car that keeps its equilibrium via a gyroscope within its body. More importantly, it was one of the last great projects of car-design genius Alex Tremulis – a man whose amazing body of work spanned Jetson-esque creations to the Subaru BRAT. The man was nothing short of amazing. Watch his Gyro-X in action and learn more about Tremulis’ work here.
I used to own a 1979 Jeep Cherokee with a hot-rod 360-V8. It was a beast that embodied what a Jeep is supposed to be. I drove it through snow up to the doors, conquered mountains on rutted-out logging roads and pulled donuts in fields that haven’t been the same since. Cherokees have always been like that, until now. Jeep is resurrecting the nameplate for the first time in ten years as a car-jeep. The press release is below:
When a NASCAR race is delayed by rain spectators run the risk of slipping into boredom - nature’s curse for the idle. Enter the new “Air-Titan” track drying system. NASCAR believes it will reduce track drying times by up to 80% with a system of trucks heroically dubbed “Air Titans”.
The bottom five car brands on Consumer Reports' 2013 Brand Report Card were domestic. Eight of the top 10 brands were Japanese. Before anyone throws their American flag lapel-pin across the room take a look at the five top and bottom car brands on the list. The reasoning behind why the domestics scored so low might surprise you.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk must be getting tired of fighting bad reviews of his cars. In 2011Tesla sued the BBC’s ‘Top Gear’ over a segment where two of their roadsters allegedly broke down on the show’s test track. Musk defended his company once again this month on Bloomberg television. He claims a misleading New York Times review of the Tesla Model S cost Tesla $100million.
The Cadillac Sixteen concept is powered by a coffee table-sized 13.6-liter V-16 good for 1,000hp and 1,000lb-ft torque. Produced in 2003, the luxury cruise-liner was supposed to set the stage for Cadillac’s new flagship car. For unknown reasons the production version was never made. The Sixteen is coming out of retirement this year at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegnace to lead ten other cars dating back to 1949 in the event’s Cadillac Concept Class. Rumor has it the appearance is meant to arouse interest in Cadillac’s new attempt at a flagship sedan.
The original recipe of the muscle car was simple: Stuff a ridiculously powerful engine into the smallest car possible and sell it for cheap. Chrysler announced plans this month to spice-up the cheap ingredient with stripper, or “Core” models of the Dodge Challenger and Chrysler 300 SRT8.
If it weren’t for the catch fences during the Drive4COPD 300 this weekend it’s likely a number of NASCAR fans could have been killed. On the last lap of the race 12 cars were caught in an accident that sent Kyle Larson’s car air-born and careening hood-first towards the grandstands.
According to my abacus, with its 2.6-gallon fuel tank Volkswagen’s XL1 concept has a theoretical range of 700 miles. If Volkswagen’s mileage claim proves to be true the plug-in electric diesel could make it from Seattle to the middle of Montana without stopping for gas. Impressive as that may seem VW is remaining skeptical as to whether or not they’ll sell many of the silver bullets.
Rowan Atkinson, better known as Mr. Bean, is a car guy. The thought of him spinning hopelessly out of control in a McLaren F1 while making strange guttural noises sounds like a gag from his show. Unfortunately the accident occurred in real life in 2011. Having emerged from the bumble without serious injury, Atkinson found he held a record of notoriety.
Kurt Busch has a temper problem, the sort that makes him threaten to punch people during interviews. As much as celebrity divas are celebrated in the media Bush’s shenanigans seem out of place in the world of NASCAR. He’s a man of fiery distinction. This month he appeared for the second consecutive year as the only representative from the motorsports world on Forbes’ list of “America’s Most Disliked Athletes.”
To raise money for the Sandy Hook Special Support Fund Michael Waltrip will drive a speical car in the Daytona 500. Waltrip's number will be changed from his usual No. 30 to No. 26 to honor the 20 children and six adults killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting.
There’s not a bigger hitter in the United States auto market than the Ford F-150. In addition to being the best-selling pickup in the country for the past 36 years it’s also become the perennial best-selling vehicle of any variety. It is to our domestic auto industry what butter is to Paula Deen, sans the diabetes.
Ford caused a stir at the Chicago Auto Show this month by revealing the Atlas concept; for all intents and purpsoes a giant rolling hint of what the future holds for the iconic pickup.
Electric race cars are trying hard to be taken seriously. Peak torque at zero RPM is hard to argue with from a performance standpoint. Having to make pits stops more often than a waterlogged person with bladder control problems is less impressive. These are the advantages and disadvantages facing the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC.
It must be nice to be Joe Flacco. In one night at work he won the Super Bowl, MVP of the game and a 2014 Corvette Stingray. He’s also expecting a contract estimated to be worth more than $10 million per year, which if he keeps the car should make the $25,700 it would cost him in income tax less of a burden. Still, it’s worth questioning whether Flacco will opt to foot the bill as past winners of the Super Bowl MVP trophy vehicle have donated it to charity. As Forbes reports that’s the smarter thing to do if you’re concerned with tax deductions.
The website “You park like an a**hole” was created by a man who prefers to go by Andy. His noble mission: “to put an end to a**hole parking, or at least to make fun of it.” By definition Andy's website is at least half a success. It was an instant hit from its inception and has drawn national media attention for championing a brutal process of calling out anyone who parks at the expense of others.
When a zany stunt goes wrong on Top Gear the results can be fatal. Disturbing footage released Sunday by the BBC shows an accident that occurred during filming for Top Gear Korea. By the looks of it the helicopter pilot is lucky to be alive.
Car ads were at the forefront of the advertising blitz in the big game this year, but spending $4million for thirty seconds of air time doesn’t guarantee anything more than a highly publicized stinker on the world’s biggest stage. Massive productions that would have been hits during normal broadcast shriveled under the spotlight. Others managed to be sucessful with production budgets John Madden could have burned through at a steak house. From the perspective of a car guy/hack advertising critic the winners and losers were clear.