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Jeremy Clarkson Talking About Cars
Jeremy Clarkson compared getting behind the wheel of a GT40 to "opening a door and finding Carmen Diaz in there, naked and bored"
(Talking about men who drive convertibles) "You can't, when you have a hair-hole and a gut the size of one of Saturn's moons, drive through the populated area of any town with the roof off of any car without people sniggering. But in my Ford GT40 I shall look like Steve McQueen. In your drop top 911 you'll look like a prize vegetable.
"Motorbikes are much cheaper than cars to run. In fact it takes only half a litre of fuel to get from your house to the scene of your first fatal accident."
Top Gear exped to North pole. James may asked afterwards whetehr experience made life better or worse. "Worse, bc sometimes I remember."
Top Gear 1 mile race bt turbocharged Porsche and standard VW. Helicopter took VW one mile up and dropped it. Porsche got up to 150 mph but VW still won.
"People have tried to be kind, saying that it's challenging and that it's unusual. But the simple fact of the matter is this: it's as ugly as an inside-out monkey."
I've just been on a family holiday and our Range Rover was barely able to handle the requirements of five people. In a Lexus 450, you'd have to leave one of the suitcases, or children, at home. Or go to a nudist camp.
There is a British Lawn Mower Racing Assoc, which holds races twice a month - the cheapest form of motor sport you can find (they have to be capable of cutting grass, and you can't put in a bigger engine)
The number one tire manufacturer in the world? LEGO.
Has a large collection of cars and motorbikes, showed off his Y2K motorcycle - powered by a helicopter jet turbine, which it makes it go reeeely fast. The gas exhausts at 1200 degrees centigrade, and the back brake light has an LED warning not to get too close. Leno said he was waiting at a traffic light when a Nissan Infiniti pulled up behind - Leno could see the guy's bumper melting as the driver tried to get close enough to read the warning
Jay Leno article on the ultimate pickup truck, International CXT. Basic model costs $90,000 but you can option it up to $115,000. 21 ft long but cab is 9ft off ground which Leno thinks is a big advantage, particularly in California, because you can pull up alongside a woman in a convertible and get a cleavage shot you'd never get in an ordinary pickup.
College in Kansas offers 4 year graduate course in auto restoration, producing technicians for the increasing number of auto rest shops across US. Part sponsored by Jay Leno, who has his own museum/garage of classic cars. Train students on pre-1936 cars which had wooden frames and metal skins, so they become proficient in both wood and metal tech. Leno said that one of reasons he enthusiastically supports college is that 10 years ago he had tried to get gears made for his Duesenberg. He eventually found an 80 yo guy in Chicago who was able to do it for him, but all old skills were being lost.
Popular Mechanics column he talked abt his Duesies (4812 were built in 1930's, he has 7). Impressive engines - supercharged straight 8 which cd turn out 320hp, at a time when Cadillacs V8's gave you 90hp. Problem that all D owners face is spares are hard to come by and cylinder heads in partic are unobtainable, so many D's are permanently laid up, undriveable. But Leno has found an enthusiast who has tracked down the original blueprints and is recasting them (in cast iron) for $42,000 a pop with valves installed . (The double overhead valves took a tech a week to set - designed in a time when labour cheap and tech expensive).
Leno says he makes his family exchange all their gifts on Xmas Eve, so that on Xmas morning he's free to take one of his cars out for a drive a) freeways empty b) cops more charitable
The Paris-Madrid road race of 1903 was a wonderfully disgraceful affair. Three hundred cars set out, conferring death and dismemberment along the dust-choked roads south. Six of the drivers were killed outright and nearly twice as many gravely injured. The hospitals were stuffed with mangled sightseers. By the time the surviving drivers reached Bordeaux the race was called off, and in Madrid the garlanded welcome arches were quietly dismantled. City-to-city road racing was now over. However, the dawn of motoring was still one of those dawns in which it was bliss to be alive.
Graham Hill is the only man to have won racing's "Triple Crown" - F1 Championship (1962 and 1968), Indianapolis 500 (1966) and the Le Mans 24 Hour (1972). He is also part of only father and son world champions (his son Damon was champion in 1996). Remarkably, he first drove a car at age of 24.
The Bentley Boys - Woolf Barnato the only man with 100% record at Le Mans - won each of 3 times entered 1928, 29 and 30. His father and uncle were dirt-poor Jews who made fortunes in kimberley diamond rush. Woolf was their sole heir. Bentley went broke in Great Depression and were bought out by RR, with Woolf a major shareholder. He was an army officer in WW1, then a RAF wing commander in WW2. His daughter Diana was a (ferry) pilot in WW2 and became first woman pilot to exceed speed of sound.
Germany’s racing color is silver because, in 1934, one of their cars was barely overweight, so they just scrapped the paint off leaving the silver body. The car won and the color stuck.
The number plates (LMW 281F) on the white Volkswagen Beetle known for being on the cover of the Beatles’ Abbey Road, was stolen repeatedly from the car after the album was released.
Google Street View
When Fiat workers discovered that a Google's street view car was mapping Södertälje, Sweden, they sent a Fiat to tail it for 45 minutes and have it captured on street view in front of Volkswagen's headquarters.
When a UK auto shop mechanic saw the Google Street View car coming his way, he staged a murder scene. Police paid the shop a visit a year later after the image was finally spotted on Street View.
FIXD a little box that you plug into car's diagnostic port and synchs with an app that tells you in plain English why the Check Engine light has just come on.
Victoria Wood said she once went to one of those parties where evryone tosses their keys onto middle of table. "I don't know who got my moped, but I drove that Peugeot for years."
Crash tested a 2009 Chev Malibu into a 1959 bel Air. You'd expect the old car,much bigger and with far more steel than plastic, wd win hands down. In fact it was totalled, while the 09 car dummy cd have walked away unaided.
A young man with an empty sleeve or a prosthetic leg is routinely greeted in smalltown America with a respectful 'thank you for your service'. British army veterans by contrast are almost invisible. Many struggle with mental health problems, repeated nightmares. Thanks to a few underfunded charities they can be matched up with employers but it is rarely easy. What then to make of the practice of hiring injured ex-soldiers as chauffeurs? It's catching on among wealthy businessmen for whom the ultimate luxury is the parking space reserved for disabled drivers. It makes getting to a lunch appointment at a swanky London restaurant that much easier. Pretty cynical, or a useful bit of job creation?
The original founders of Tesla were Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. They created the company's first car, the Roadster, and were eventually ousted by the board of directors.
I was trying to sell an old landrover. A FOAF expressed interest but was worried about fuel consumption. So I loaned it to him for a week's trial. But every night I'd sneak up his driveway and pour a couple of litres of petrol into the tank.
Cars in China
Chinese copy anything, but caused a stir when they started copying entire cars, because conventional wisdom that can't make money without huge economies of scale. But there are copies of BMW X5, Toyota Hilux (called Deer) and a Landwind copy of the Opel Fontera 4WD which spectacularly scored zero on EU crash test
And another one is the Shanghai Englon, a shameless knockoff of a RR Phantom. It's made by the Geely Co (geely means 'lucky' in Mandarin) which recently bought Volvo off Ford. The car does have one main difference - instead of a rear seat, is has a single throne.
A fed-up passenger grew tired of waiting for a clock-watching driver to start his shift and drove the bus home herself. Chen Li kept to the number 528's route through Hangzhou, eastern China, picking up and dropping off passengers until she got close to her home where she abandoned the coach. Hapless driver Xiuo Gu was suspended and fined 20 GBP for losing control of his vehicle.
This year a BMW driver in Guangdong province reportedly ran over a two-year-old girl. When the girl's grandmother screamed at the car to stop, the driver paused, hit reverse and ran over the girl's body, and then engaged drive and rolled forward over it a third time.... such episodes are so commonplace nowadays that they have a name: 'double-hit cases'.
In China in 2000 there were just four million cars distributed among a population of 1.3 billion. Now, China is the largest auto manufacturer in the world, with more than 280 million vehicles
More than 1/4 million Chinese die on roads each year - half of them cyclists or pedestrians.
Cars in Japan
Japanese have a law that you can only buy a car if you can prove you have a parking space, unless the car is less than 3.4m (about 11 feet) long and has an engine less than 660cc. Since nobody has a parking space, the demand for these cars is sky high. Almost everyone has a car that is almost invisible to the naked eye. You don't have people cluttering up the streets circling the block looking for somewhere to park - you just pull over and put it in your pocket.
Cars in India
Tata 'People's Car' in India 30hp engine (in US smallest engine is 109hp Honda Fit) no radio just speedo and fuel gauge - designed to crawl around crowded streets so wheel bearings which can only go to 45mph - sell for $US2500 (the price of DVD player in a Lexus). If sell in US, would have to double price just to meet safety standards, but in India actually makes roads safer because deigned to get the family-on-a-scooter customer into a car
Cars in Britain
44% British women admit to judging a man from the car he drove, and half admitted to dumping a boyfriend because car wasn't up to scratch
1920's Britain there were 1m cars on road, but no driving license test. There were more road fatalities than today.
In 2010 twice as many Britons died in accidents in their home as died in car crashes.
Rowan Atkinson has decided to sell for £8 million the McLaren supercar he insists is ideal for doing the school run. "You just get in and, because it is so small, comfortable and practical, go and do the school run, or the shopping." The comic actor has crashed it twice, including one prang that resulted in what is thought to have been Britain's biggest insurance bill for a car repair at £910,000.
Ernst Loof has the record holder for the shortest F1 career. In his first, and last, Grand Prix, he traveled 6 feet (2 meters) off the starting grid before retiring due to a malfunction.
The Reliant Robin: Like the Ford Edsel, its design was bad. It looks like an abstract cartoon rat, and its three-wheel design allowed it to be parked on its side, even while driving.
Researchers tried 2000 times to ignite gasoline with a cigarette and failed 100% of the time.
Cars in Italy
Italy - when police pulled over a zig-zagging car outside Milan, they found a naked 70 year old woman who had been trying to have sex with the driver. When they breath-tested the semi-nude 59 year old they found he was three times the limit. "We assume they had been drinking at lunch and then things got out of control" said the local police chief
Cars in America
Car dealer Walter Moore of Max Motors in Butler, Mo. (an hour south of Kansas City), announced in May a free premium to every car purchaser: either $250 worth of gasoline or a gift certificate for a handgun. He told KMBC-TV that 80 percent of customers choose the gun.
Couple in Boston with matching white limos - she discovered him in back of his with Another Woman - chased him thru city, repeatedly ramming, causing extensive damage to both cars
Shane Peters's cherished 2004 Dodge Durango broke down on the road in Livingston, Tex., in June, but before he could return to tow it, a thief hauled it away. About a month later, Peters spotted the familiar Durango in town and with the help of police got it back--with (courtesy of the thief) a newly-repaired drive shaft and three new wheels (and the thief's drug supply, but police seized that).
Christopher Lemek, Jr., was arrested in Palmer, Mass., in January and charged in a New Year's Eve hit-and-run accident that took a pedestrian's life. Lemek emerged as a suspect a few days after the collision when police, visiting his home, noticed freshly-disturbed earth in his backyard. Eventually Lemek confessed to literally burying the evidence--using a construction vehicle to crush his truck and an excavator to dig up his back yard and drop the truck into it.
In California, there are at least six drivers licenses that are registered under the name Jesus Christ.
President Lyndon Johnson would play pranks on unsuspecting guests by driving his amphibious convertible into lakes screaming about the brakes being out.
The United States walks the least of any industrialized nation. Studies employing pedometers have found that where the average Australian takes 9,695 steps per day (just a few shy of the supposedly ideal "10,000 steps" plateau, itself the product, ironically, of a Japanese pedometer company's campaign in the 1960s), the average Japanese 7,168, and the average Swiss 9,650, the average American manages only 5,117 steps. Where a child in Britain, according to one study, takes 12,000 to 16,000 steps per day, a similar U.S. study found a range between 11,000 and 13,000.
Car wrecks are the number one cause of death for Americans under 35.
The 276 people that received free Pontiac G6 cars on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2004, all had to pay a tax bill of around $6,000 for the free car.
There are more cars than people in Los Angeles.
American Grafitti asmost infl car movie.
For some reason, according to a High Point, N.C., TV report, Larry Hall of Randolph County took seven-plus weeks out of his life recently and glued pennies to cover (except for windows and chrome) his 2000 Chevrolet Blazer (a total of 51,300 coins).
It wasn't long after the 'big war' when hot rodders began to seek out the old Cadillac wheel covers for their 1930 through 1950's custom rods. Hubcap Mike explained, 'Probably the most classic Cadillac hubcap was the heavy, brilliantly-chromed 1950 wheel cover, nicknamed the Sombrero because its profile resembled a sombrero hat,' said Mike. 'Cadillac owners soon began to realize that their hubcaps were very much in demand. They would usually figure this out when they would go to get in their car and happen to notice that they no longer had any hubcaps.'
The car that commands the greatest loyalty in America today is (no kidding) Hyundai. In this year's annual survey of car-brand loyalty by JD Power and Associates, a market-research firm in California, 64% of Hyundai owners said they would replace their existing vehicles with another of the same make. Ford, Honda, BMW and Kia were runners up in the loyalty stakes.
Driver Joshua Concepcion-West, 27, was arrested in Apopka, Fla., with an ingenious license-plate cover that he could raise and lower remotely from his key chain (thus avoiding identification by cameras as he passed through turnpike checkpoints). On January 11th at a $1.25 toll plaza, he had neglected to check his rear-view mirror before lowering the cover--and failed to notice that right behind him was a Florida Highway Patrol car with a trooper watching the whole thing.
Robert Moses notoriously designed the Southern State Parkway, linking New York City to Long Island’s beaches, with low bridges to favour access by rich whites in cars, while discriminating against poor blacks in buses.
There is a grove of trees that spell out "STUDEBAKER" when viewed from the air in Indiana. This grove of trees outlasted the now-defunct automobile company.
The Chevy Nova actually sold well in Latin countries and poor sales stories due to the "No Va"/"No Go" translation is just an urban myth.
ESPN anchors Keith Olberman and Dan Patrick always made sure to announce the results of the NASCAR driver Dick Trickle because they thought his name was funny. Trickle had a hole drilled into his helmet so that he could smoke cigarettes during races, and won rookie of the year at 48 years old.
Cars in Sweden
While other vehicle safety-control engineers work on actually slowing down cars and buses when a risk is detected on the road ahead, one of Volvo's recent innovations appears aimed merely at just bullying pedestrians to get out of the way. According to a September report on Treehugger.com, the safety "control" for a Volvo bus consists of a progressively-louder horn-honking to scare off the pedestrian.
Cars in Movies
For Vanishing Point, Dodge provided 5 1970 Challengers. But the car destroyed at the end of the movie was an engineless Camaro pulled by a chain into the bulldozers.
The most famous Dodge was the General Lee, the star of the 1980's TV show Dukes of Hazzard. Somewhere between 250 and 300 of the 1969 Chargers were written off during the series, and the cars became so hard to come by that RC models were used for some of the stunts.
Cars in Ireland
The boss of Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, paid £4000 to equip his luxury MB with taxi license and meter so he could use the car pool lane to get to work (notoriously tight - his staff have to buy their own pens and are not allowed to charge their mobile phs at work)
Cars in Germany
Police have banned a replica of Fred Flintstone's car from German roads. Sebastian Trager, an engineer, used a Volkswagen Polo chassis with a wooden frame and 1.3-litre engine concealed under the front "roller". But police say it's not roadworthy. Trager sighed: "When we got the registration form section about the number of lights, windscreen washers and wipers, well, we don't even have a windscreen, so we gave up."
Finland has variable speed laws - fine based on how much you earn - one of country's wealthiest, 27 year old earning E7million per annum, fined $NZ275,000 for doing 80k in 40k zone
Switzerland chemist fed up with drivers asking for change for parking meters but didn't want to churlishly turn them away so made them do a song-and-dance routine to amuse customers and staff in exchange for coins
Vehicles in Dubai
A Dubai sheikh has a classic 1948 Dodge Power Wagon which has 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen - it's 40 feet tall. he also has a 120-foot-long, 8 bedroom caravan (the world's biggest) and a 10 bedroom Globe Car - a one-millionth scale model of the Earth, on wheels.
Wealthy Russians have recently found a way around the country's horrid traffic jams: fake ambulances, outfitted with plush interiors for relaxation while specially trained drivers use unauthorized lights and sirens to maneuver through cluttered streets. London's Daily Telegraph reported in March that "ambulance" companies charge the equivalent of about $200 an hour for these taxis.
In many city centres it costs more than the minimum wage to park. People working in McDonalds can look out the window and see parking meters earning more than they do
Blind Man Driving
In Urfa, Turkey, in April, pop singer Metin Senturk set the world speed record for an unassisted blind driver (in a Ferrari F430, at about 175 mph), an experience he called "like a dance with death."
Time-sharing luxury and sports cars. One club started by a guy who bought a £110,000 Lamborghini and realized it cost him £30,000 in depreciation, insurance and tires in first year. Typically you pay a joining fee £2500 and annual fee of £12,000 which gives you 750 points - a Bentley or a GT40 uses up 50 points a day
One of all time classic cars - E Type Jaguar, could not be built today because of safety rules
A designer is stopping traffic with a new motorbike in the shape of the Jaguar car logo of a pouncing big cat. It even has the numberplate CAT 1. He's looking for offers of around £320,000, which includes £240,000 for the number plate
Restomods for people who like the look of old cars but want modern conveniences. Auction prices the restomods starting to exceed prices for number-matching vehicles.
The $79,000 (and up) Chevrolet Corvette Z06 has a handy 'Valet Mode' feature, which allows the owner to record video and audio of what a valet does with the car on the way to the parking garage, as well as speed data and other driving information.
The average car in Britain is parked 95% of the time
Just a Test Drive
Guy in Melbourne took a Honda Accord for a test drive (locked door to stop salesman getting in), went home and packed a bag and hit the road. He was picked up deep in the Northern Territories near Tennant Creek when he drove off without paying for petrol. When stopped he was 3700 km from Melbourne but he'd put 6200 km on clock in a week
Hummer H2 driver Yvonne Sinclair, 29, was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter Calif., from a 2006 crash that killed two people and in which her intoxication was a major factor. Sinclair had bought the Hummer from proceeds of a lawsuit settlement over the 2003 death of her boyfriend, who was killed by a drunk driver
Fiat 500, 'Bambino' was tiny and underpowered, but post-war Italians loved it because got the family off Vespas. The Abarth 500 was a race-tuned version, but they were famous for over-heating, so drivers would prop open the engine cover with couple of thin bits metal. In one race British driver in Hillman Imp found he was outrun down the straights, but caught up in corners where the Abarths "wobbled like a tart in a tight skirt". The Hillman driver 'accidentally' bumped each Abarth in the Chicane, causing the cover to drop down, and within a couple of laps the Italian pocket rockets dropped out.
Rort where people wave a driver from side-street into traffic and then deliberately drive into them (they have right of way) and then make false injury claim against them
Fake disabled badges
Thriving industry both Sydney and London for fake disabled badges (particularly valuable London where can avoid congestion charge) a resthome owner a bank manager and a lawyer all charged using cards of deceased clients
Thieves breaking into people's cars, scrolling through the SatNav entries to find owner's home then driving there and emptying place safe in knowledge that he won't be back for a while
Eco vigilantes attacking 4WD's - letting down car tyres (no damage so no crime?)
Dumb Man Driving
Driver Bryan Parslow, 19, injured himself and three passengers when he crashed into a tree near Wheatland, N.Y., in May. He was playing "hold your breath" with the others and passed out.
European truckers are smuggling diesel into Britain. Costs about 40p litre less in Europe so easy money for drivers to siphon out extra, particularly if boss has paid for it. And of course the more enterprising have installed extra fuel tanks
Carl Lewis Interview in London Times
Parenting shouldn't be a lifetime job. A couple of years after leaving home, I went back to find that my dad had traded in his Chevy for a two-seater sports car. The message was quite clear: "From now on, it's about your mother and me."
Beijing has a 'Dial-a-Driver' program for daytime. If you're stuck in a traffic jam, a kid will pick you up on his motor bike and get you to your office, while his mate sits in the traffic and eventually delivers your car to the office.
Roundabouts were first invented, almost same time, in both France and US, but actually only work in Britain, Australia and NZ. The French have never got the hang of giving way, so their roundabouts turn into traffic jams; in the US drivers tend to go right over the top of them
The Peltzman Effect
The Peltzman Effect was nicely summed up in an episode of the TV show CSI: "The safer they make the cars, the more risks the driver is willing to take." It's named after the regulatory economist San Peltzman who first described the effect. It doesn't just apply to driving cars, but to all systems where regulations are put into place designed to improve safety or avert trouble. You're more likely to do crazy tricks on a tightrope if there's a safety net. You're more likely to make risky stock market investments if you have a nest egg that's invested securely.
Underneath the town of Broken Hill in Australia is 150km of mining tunnels, controlled by 22 sets of traffic lights. In the town above, there are just 4.
five motoring laws from around the globe that could catch drivers out:
Australia has banned the NZ Hyundai ad which has toddler driving 4WD on grounds that might encourage copying...Specifically in case some stupid parent thought it meant a 2yo could drive. Since no NZ parent ever did so, it implied that they thought Australian parents dumber than kiwis
Melbourne police lent 6 Hummers to use as intimidating night crowd control
Fastest Speeding ticket
Guy in Minnesota riding a Honda RC51 motorcycle clocked at 205mph (by an air-based cop patrol). Previous record was a NY doctor doing 185mph (in a 55mph zone) in a Lamborghini Diablo.
Melbourne Australia gave free public transport while Commonwealth Games on, successfully avoiding major traffic gridlock even though several main arteries closed
LST got hold of kids of celebs and asked about their parents' driving. 14 yo son of Pink Floyd drummer reckoned his mum always criticized father's driving so when she was putting on her makeup he'd drive fast over speed bumps so that her lipstick would wind up in her eyebrows
NY City banning car alarms (rate as one of top 3 most annoying inventions ever)
Seinfeld episode complaining about shortage of parking spaces in NY: in one episode of his show, called The Parking Space, the character George Costanza vows to find a free parking spot instead of paying for a car park. "It's like going to a prostitute," George explains to his friend Elaine. "Why should I pay when, if I apply myself, maybe I can get it for free?"
Euro Cars In US
If your free time is spent at all like ours, you poke around European eBay sites checking out wonders of the automotive world that will never make it to our shores. Like fresh Guinness, strong coffee and heated towel racks, some creations just can't get across the Atlantic.
Audi TT inaugural Gay Car of Year
Cars or Sex
A British survey found that more men would rather have a week-end with a Ferrari than with a sexy female celebrity
Cars and Faithfulness
Males 49% Porsche drivers unfaithful; females Audi 41%, BMW 39%
(review of Bentley Speed convert) you could feel the contempt flooding at you in hot waves through the windscreen. Some of it was clearly ecological, arising from a notion that the driver of a car such as this must be fundamentally irresponsible. People would shoot narrow-eyed looks of scorn at me, based on the firm suspicion that, beneath the bonnet, I was actually spit-roasting puffins. And what you really want to suggest, in the face of such objections, is that you could ban every Bentley in the world this afternoon, or sooner, and it wouldn't make the faintest difference to the planet's destiny because there simply aren't enough of them, relatively speaking, to matter. They cost £150,000, for heaven's sake! Only Roman Abramovich can afford one. And even he is probably having to take a more cautious view these days. But it's hard to get all that out at a junction, with the traffic building up.
The antique Chevy pickup that sailed across the Atlantic from Cuba has been replicated as a homage to the fleeing `truck-o-nauts.' It's not for sale, though. Consider the retrofitted antique a salute to the imagination of the so-called Cuban `truck-o-nauts.' During the summer of 2003, an identical model was ingeniously adapted to float in calm waters. The truck was 'driven' across the Florida Straits all the way from Cuba, hauling 12 Cuban refugees seeking new lives in the United States. Although the group was intercepted at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard and the '51 Chevy sunk by the guns of a cutter, the tale of the amphibious pickup circled the world. To the Cuban exile community, it became a symbol of the ingenuity and perseverance of people trying to escape Cuba. The truck on display pays homage to the original.
The driver unpacks the parafoil wing from the boot and manually deploys it from the rear of the car. He switches the transmission from road mode, which drives the wheels, to flight mode, which powers the rear fan. The fans thrust pushes the car forward, providing lift for the wing as the car reaches 35mph takeoff speed. Once airborne, pedals in the footwell steer the Skycar by pulling cables that change the wings shape. The Skycar has a flying range of about 180 miles. If the wing is damaged or collapses, the pilot can fire a roof-mounted emergency parachute that allows the car to float safely back to earth
TomTom, the Dutch sat nav firm, has abandoned static cameras and roadside sensors to monitor traffic movements and instead now tracks the speed at which mobile phones in cars travel via GPS and wi-fi. This not only allows the firm to spot traffic jams when they happen, it can also predict them before they happen by calculating how many cars are likely to arrive at a pinch-point at the same time.
The New York Times disclosed that about 2,000 obsolete, unfunctioning fire hydrants remain in place in New York City, each dry for almost 20 years, whose only purpose is to allow the city to collect fines from motorists who park too close to them. Supposedly, a contractor will begin removing them soon, but since that costs about $6 million, the project may be delayed.
Studebakers were a German family of metalworkers who migrated to USA in late 1700's. Struggled until one of the boys struck it rich in Californian gold rush of 1848 - not by finding gold, but by selling wheelbarrows to the miners. (He came back with equivalent of $1m). They started making cars 1905 but went into receivership Great Depression, staggered on thru WW2, merged with Packard in 1940's, and produced last car 1963
1901 Willie Vanderbilt imported a Daimler which he used to take across to Long Island on the ferry to drive at great speeds, during which he often hit wandering livestock. Since he always apologised and told the owner to send him the bill, it became a local cottage industry for a while to buy old nags for $6, push them out into the road as Willie came thru, and then claim up to $90 for the 'valuable' beast.
Learning to drive - you start out with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the experience bag before the luck bag is empty
Interesting observation from research into building automated cars - found that at a 4-way intersection, humans don't just obey road rules, they make eye contact with the other driver, evaluate his body language and take into account what sort of vehicle hes driving to decide who has right of way and who is going to yield
Evolution of motorhomes - 1st generation VW Combis; 2nd generation the slugs that clog our roads; 3rd gen stylish and powerful - not uncommon to see 50' $500,000 units in US - Will Smith 75' 200 ton 2 storey artic with own dance floor - $1.8m
Ironic that Winnebago is named after a Native American tribe, one of whose gods is mischievous trickster with a huge unruly phallus that he carries round in a sack
The cost of getting a kid from go karts to Formula 1 (like Lewis Hamilton) is about £4m
German apartment block featured car lifts on front of building - park your car on balcony
Now taken a step further - now you can bring yr car right up to a glassed conservatory off the lounge so that you can admire it - and, if vehicle is particularly worth looking at, an optional extra is a gently revolving turntable so you can admire it from every angle. Sold/justified from security angle - car not left out on street vulnerable to theft and vandalism, but also keeps owner safe from kidnap or assault as transfers from car to home
Problem that hybrid/electric cars too quiet - so just as you can select ring tones for phone, you will be able to choose vroom, vroom sound effects for yr car to warn bystanders
A huge shopping complex near Dartford in Kent has car parks so big that 30 drivers a day forget where they've parked and report cars stolen
Car-and-Caravan demolition derbies reasonably common, but now in States they're having Bus ones too
Focus groups lie to appear responsible - Cadillac found this out to their cost when they believed that people wanted a smaller Caddie. In contrast, Dodge Viper launched without anyone checking to see if the market really wanted a gas guzzler with no door handles, no auto transmission, air con or stereo, and barely room for 2 people and no luggage - they simply let designers build a horny car ("0 to jail in 4 seconds" according to Bob Lutz)
SMH article on commuting - triangle of happiness - greater the distance between where you work shop and live, the gter the unhappiness - mainly the toll on family life - dad gets home from work, too tired to communicate, and takes out frustrations on wife and kids - could downsize, but humans actually quite bad at evaluating choices - we focus more on what we lose than what they gain - so stay in bigger house, with bigger commute, for the bigger salary
Reckon Americans use an extra 4 billion litres petrol because obesity - both vehicles and planes
Finally making a scent to make used cars smell new
Pimp My Limo
Couple in Boston with matching white limos - she discovered him in back of his with Another Woman - chased him thru city, repeatedly ramming, causing extensive damage to both cars
Sat Navs Cause Accidents
Sat navs are the second-most common cause of motoring accidents, according to a new study that suggests thousands of drivers are putting their lives at risk every day by punching routes into the devices while on the move. In-car satellite navigation systems were implicated in more accidents than mobile phones and were only second to distractions caused by child passengers in a survey of almost 500 UK motorists.
Throwaway cars - cost so much to repair - high cost of airbag repairs and many components only available as assemblies
Generally, airbags save lives, but apparently not Ronald Smith's. According to a coroner's inquest in Darlington, England, in May, Smith's airbag deployed, but in the process, it was cut open on jagged glass, which forced a rush of the bag's gas and talcum powder (used as a lubricant by many manufacturers) into his lungs, and Smith soon afterward developed fatal bronchial pneumonia from inhaling the substances.
Ferrari sell their ex F1 cars to collectors for £1/2m each. Buyers get staged events using F1 pit crews plus tuition from Michael Schumacher
NZ proposal to tax cars based on their emissions. So a 10 year old Toyota Camry worth $10,000 would get a $1000 fee, whereas a new Hyundai SUV costing $73,000 wd get a $300 rebate. "So won't this penalize the poor?" asked councillor. "Well they cd buy a smaller car." (Maori rep) "I've yet to meet a Maori, Samoan or Tongan whanau that cd fit into a Suzuki Swift."
19mph The limit on roads on a new estate in Cambourne, Cambridgeshire. The developer chose the figure in a deliberate attempt to draw drivers' attention to the signs
10mph World's first speed limit in the 1861 Locomotive Act. It was revised in 1865 to 4mph on open roads and 2mph in town. Cars had to be preceded by a man with a red flag
22mph The limit in Dayton in the late 1970s. The Indiana town bought the signs at a discount as they were leftovers from a production error. The limit was enforced
Oprah gave away 276 new cars to each member of studio audience - promo by GM to launch new Pontiac - cost $12m but cheap publicity
Speed cameras hidden in wheelie bins (South Australia)
Prankster taped harmonica in behind air intake - "I can hear strange noises coming from my engine"
Pickups vs SUVs
Here is the puzzling thing. The apparent cause of death for S.U.V.'s was high gas prices. Doesn't that mean that with low gas prices S.U.V. sales should come back to life? I can think of a few reasons why that might not be the case:
How to avoid a ticket in London
We've all been there, the moment when a dash to the shops for a bag of sugar ends up costing 60 quid - the dreaded parking ticket. Eight million of them are issued every year, raising an estimated £781 million in fines for the nation's councils, yet researchers at Which? have discovered that nine out of ten tickets are quashed on appeal in Westminster alone. Will contesting a ticket soon make more sense than feeding the meter? If you do go that way, bear these seven points in mind:
"Here are your messages: 'You have thirty minutes to move your car.' 'You have ten minutes to move your car.' 'Your car has been impounded.' 'Your car has been crushed into a cube.' 'You have thirty minutes to move your cube.'"