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Brandon Seiler's Blog on Cars

Inside the Brammo Empulse Electric Motorcycle

It’s no secret electric cars are determinedly making their way into American driveways.  Owning a Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model S doesn’t necessarily brand a person as an “early adopter” the way it may have in earlier years.  The same can’t be said for electric motorcycles just yet.  But by the looks of the Brammo Empulse R, motorcycle enthusiasts could soon be motivated to plan their next cruise around a charging network.     

Bad timing for Toyota’s “Go Fun Yourself” slogan

Before Toyota got slapped with a brutal $1.2billion fine for lying to the public about vehicle defects that lead to injuries and deaths in their vehicles, the Japanese automaker was having fun with an unorthodox marketing slogan.  To drum up excitement for the 2014 Aygo, Toyota released a promotional video that urged consumers to “Go Fun Yourself”.  The ad’s soundtrack is a song entitled ‘I Love It’ by Icona Pop that features the lyrics:  ‘I crashed my car into the bridge. I watched, I let it burn… I don’t care, I love it.’  Just saying – maybe not the best message to send while being investigated by the United States government for trying to cover up unintended acceleration issues in your cars.   

The Best Car Movies of All Time

Despite what The Fast and Furious Franchise might lead us to believe, great car movies are few and far between nowadays.  The genre is one that allows itself uncommon cinematic privileges.  Some of the best car movies of all time were complete pieces of crap save for an extended chase scene, copious amounts of vehicular eye candy, or inexplicable resonance that earned it cult status.  Car movies don’t have to be “good” to be worth watching.  But some are.  Some manage to illustrate, in part at least, why we love cars and the intangible freedoms they provide us.  Motor Authority asked their readers recently to list what they consider to be the best car movies of all time.  Watch the clips, read the critiques; you just might find a favorite of your own.                   

This Lego Car runs on air, and dreams!

Every so often, clever ( and slightly off-camber) visionaries remind us what a magical business tool the Internet can be.  Australian entrepreneur Steve Sammartino and Romanian “self-taught technology genius” Raul Oaida are two examples.  With the financial backing of 40 crowd-sourced patrons, Sammartino’s brainchild, dubbed Super Awesome Micro Project is now a reality. 

The Craigslist ad that sold a 1996 Nissan Maxima… To Nissan

Although Ikonic Films probably intended to launch a viral video with their advertisement for a worn-out 1996 Nissan Maxima, chances are they couldn’t have guessed Nissan would step up with an offer to buy it.  Thanks to the vulture-like draw of successful viral marketing, that’s exactly what happened.  Complementing the video, which really deserves the cinematic designation of being a “short film”, a masterfully crafted Craigslist ad inadvertently proved the punch line to its own joke:  This “pavement-yacht” may actually have appreciated in value over the years.     

Durango sales skyrocket from ‘Anchorman 2’ ads

America’s favorite news anchor is proving he has the mustachioed charisma to sell a shocking number of Dodge Durango’s.  With the release of ‘Anchorman 2:  The Legend Continues’ fast approaching, Chrysler made the call to Ron Burgundy, better known as comedian Will Ferrell to help them sell their SUV.  The results have been nothing short of miraculous, not to mention hilarious. 

Car dealership pays $420,000 for Seahawks shutout

The Seattle Seahawks have the most dominate home field advantage in the NFL thanks to their thunderous fan base, aptly dubbed The 12th Man.  To promote Jet Chevrolet, General Manager Mike Gates promised 12 contestants $35,000 a piece if the Seahawks shutout the New York Jets yesterday.  When the hawks lay a whoopin’ on the Giants 23-0 in New York, Gates began to make phone calls to insurance and promotions companies. 

Tred brings car test drives to your door

Traditionally car dealerships have been taxed with overcoming a major schism in their business plan:  Most people don’t like to shop at car dealerships, yet most people are sold on a car only after having a chance to test drive it.  That’s where Seattle startup Tred comes in.  

The right way to handle a car rollover

Outside of performing daredevil work or insurance fraud, rolling a car rarely has a positive outcome.  Along with being terrifying and potentially lethal, a car rollover usually comes with a large side of embarrassment.  That’s what makes the stone-cold lady in this dash-cam rollover video special; she doesn’t appear to be shaken by the violent accident whatsoever.  Although she definitely should have turned into the skid more, walking away from the wreck with her nonchalant attitude is commendable.  Kudos.       

Ward’s 10 Best Engines of 2014

The core of automaker attempts to meet skyrocketing fuel economy requirements in 2016 are under the hoods of their cars.  In the 20th year of Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition, only two winners are carryovers from last year.  By the looks of the fresh top ten, diesel power plants are gaining traction in a big way.  But that isn’t the only unprecedented change on the list. 

Jean-Claude Van Damme does the Volvo splits

This month creative genius surfaced in Volvo’s advertising department.  The team's task was simple:  Devise a commercial that demonstrates the precision and stability of Volvo Dynamic Steering that is now available in the automaker’s FM commercial truck.  It appears that after several days of fasting and listening to Enya’s “Only Time”, a hazy aberration of Jean-Claude Van Damme materialized before them.  He was performing his famous splits, perched atop the mirrors of two Volvo FM trucks as they backed into a sunset…

Don’t miss a behind the scenes conversation between Van Damme and the technician that developed the new steering system here.

Veterans Day Salute: Jeep’s Autobiography

When the United States became involved in World War II, Willys-Overland Motors and Ford Motor Company won a government contract to produce the military’s first general purpose vehicle.  The result would soon become known as Jeep.  The little workhorse won the hearts and rattled the teeth of most every solider that had a chance to ride in one, and single-handedly created the post-war concept that off-roading could be a leisure activity.  In honor of Veterans Day, take a few minutes to appreciate the autobiographical story of how the instant American icon came to be, narrated by none other than Jeep himself.    

Segway + Car + Mood Ring = Toyota FV2 concept

Toyota plans on blowing minds at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show this month with the reveal of their FV2 concept.  The super-futurist ride steers, brakes, and accelerates in accordance with the body movements of its driver.  If that isn’t Sci-Fi enough for you, it also changes color by noticing the driver’s mood, using voice and image recognition technology.  But wait; it gets weirder.   

Why you might want to buy a 4x4 with Bitcoin

Tomcar Australia is causing a stir this month both in automotive news and the emergence of digital currency.  The startup Australian off-road vehicle manufacturer announced that in addition to good old fashioned Aussie dollars, they will now also accept payment for their products via Bitcoin

Dodge’s Scat Packs are back

Dodge announced this week at the 2013 SEMA show plans to jazz-up a core piece of their MOPAR heritage with the reintroduction of their legendary Scat Pack packages.  In honor of the 45th anniversary of the “Scat Pack” Dodge enthusiast club, which led Dodge to first develop the performance kits, MOPAR faithful will once again be able to order up the factory-installed hotrod kits for the 2014 Challenger, Charger and Dart.  

Police cars shooting GPS sticky bullets in chases

Yet another example of James Bond gadgetry come to life is beginning to surface in police departments around the country.  The new technology is threatening to ruin quality daytime programming such as Fox’s “Wildest Police Chases” in an attempt to make hot pursuit a thing of the past.  

Ford’s tiny EcoBoost engine good for 45mpg in 2014 Fiesta

Ford announced this week that the 2014 Ford Fiesta is good for a whopping 45mpg highway when equipped with their 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine.  And indeed, that will make the new Fiesta the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid, gasoline-powered car certified by the EPA.  Jealous? 

Saudi Arabian women arrested over driving protest

Automotive news from Saudi Arabia this weekend serves as a stark reminder feminine equality is a bit behind the times there.  Saudi police arrested 12 women and gave fines to six other ladies for purposely ignoring the country’s ban on female driving.   

The only You Tube car show that matters

Whenever I discover someone I’m speaking with has even a passing interest in cars I have to ask them one burning question:  “Have you ever heard of the Drive network?”  

Elon Musk’s 800mph people tube

If any billionaire entrepreneur besides Elon Musk said he’d like to shoot me through a tube at close to the speed of sound I probably wouldn’t consider it.  But Musk has an impressive track record of bringing Jetson-esque pipe dreams to practical (and profitable) realities.  Still, the Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO’s latest solution for the future of transportation is his hardest to stomach yet.

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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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