Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lamborghini Cheetah promo

I had no idea the prototype was built in Silicon Valley.

More info here.

Stevie Wonder Atari ad

Jaguar S-Type v. Volvo S80

Two very unloved cars. The S-Type was a tarted up Ford (Lincoln LS). The S80 was plagued with a host of mechanical issues. In California, where everything survives, used S80s are more rare than Alpina B7s.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Peking to Paris

Am reading the original Peking to Paris book and came upon this Mercedes video.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

North Korean customs declaration

I had to fill out a customs form yesterday when I mailed something abroad. It was not as comprehensive as this.

T minus 38 days to the Arctic Ocean

I need suggestions for podcasts. 32 hours in a van is a long time to sit.

1962 British motor show

These British Pathe newsreels are amazeballs!

Plus, it seems that 52 years later, the auto show industry hasn't changed at all with respect to its objectification of women.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

1967 British electric car newsreel

Just one of more than 80,000 gems released by British Pathe.

1965 video on how Matchbox cars are made

Before 3D printers, computers, and cheap foreign labor.

Bentley twin turbo W12 assembly video

This is the coolest car video you'll see this weekend. At around the 12:00 mark, I was all like: Fu....

Bentley GT3 racer

While watching a video about a terrible pay driver on TTAC, I noticed a Bentley racer in the background.

tl;dr version of the video: We literally removed a ton of weight from the road car, and it's still as heavy as shit.

Also, the engineer has a cool French-British accent.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Locke movie trailer

This looks like a fascinating movie. The entire 90 minute film is of this guy driving his car, calling everyone he knows. Apparently, he's got a SECRET.

2nd gen CTS

This popped up on the Buggybank site when I checked last night. Much has been written about the CTS-V, but I haven't heard much about the regular CTS. Apparently, 2008 was the first production year of the Mark 2 CTS. Two V6s were available, and the Direct Injection version that this example has is good for 300+ horsepower.

Do any of you have any experience with this? If any of you Buggybank regulars stop by in the next few weeks, please let me know how the exterior and interior look up close and personal.

I wonder if you can tell which suspension package it has by just looking at the VIN number.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

We're back!

What have I missed? Has Assad won? Did they find MH370? Is GM still solvent?

Friday, April 18, 2014

No posts for a few days

Taking a short break. I'll continue tweeting. Will be attending Easter service at this church. Lots of weird cars parked there.

Funny Lexus ad

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Motoring Con Brio's E36 M3 for sale

More details here. It's beautiful.

I don't know if you know this, but commenter "mtc" on this blog is actually Motoring Con Brio. His initials are "mcb", but I accidentally used the initials "mtc" a few times (short for motion to compel, work stuff gets stuck in my head), and that name stuck. So for you kids keeping score at home, mtc here is actually Motoring Con Brio. M'kay?

Porsche 911 back seat/shelf question

Quick question for you Porsche-philes. 911s, specifically, 993s. Do some come with back seats, and others just shelves? Or do they all have back seats? I understand they're essentially vestigial seats for insurance purposes. Thanks in advance.

Ramen in a can

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1999 Ford SVT Contour for sale

I don't think I ever knew this car existed. Apparently, it was supposed to be an M3 fighter. This example looks like it's in pretty decent shape and was well cared for. Anyone know more about this car?

UNICEF Poo Party music video for India

Slightly NSFW, as they say "shit".

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Passat W8 with straight pipe exhaust

From the comment section of this Hooniverse post.

Captain Phillips, Black Hawk Down, and the state of Somalia

For pure entertainment value, Captain Phillips is a fantastic movie. Plus, once again, we are the heroes! USA! USA! Half a million dead since 1991, but let's make a well-paid cargo ship captain from Vermont the protagonist.

Electric taxiing motors for planes

This is one of those simple and brilliant solutions where you go: Why didn't I think of that?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Legacy of nuclear testing in Kazakhstan and Algeria

As cool as the civilian/peaceful use of nuclear explosions sounds, it has grave effects on people. As our Kazakh reader Sanchez points out, it has seriously harmed the people of his country, who had to endure hundreds of tests during the Soviet period. In fact, the first time I heard of "Kazakhstan" was freshman year in college (1992). My roommate's father, a South Korean oncologist, was opening a clinic in Kazakhstan to help cancer victims.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Aston Martin Lagonda shooting brake, the video

Putting out gas fire with nuclear explosion

Only in CCCP.

From Wikipedia:

Use of nuclear explosions

On Sep. 30, 1966 the Soviet Union in Urta-Bulak, an area about 80 kilometers from BukharaUzbekistan, experienced blowouts on five natural gas wells. It was claimed in Komsomoloskaya Pravda that after years of burning uncontrollably they were able to stop them entirely.[25] The Soviets lowered a specially made 30 kiloton nuclear bomb into a 6 kilometres (20,000 ft) borehole drilled 25 to 50 metres (82 to 164 ft) away from the original (rapidly leaking) well. A nuclear explosive was deemed necessary because conventional explosive both lacked the necessary power and would also require a great deal more space underground. When the bomb was set off, it proceeded to crush the original pipe that was carrying the gas from the deep reservoir to the surface, as well as to glassify all the surrounding rock. This caused the leak and fire at the surface to cease within approximately one minute of the explosion, and proved over the years to have been a permanent solution. A second attempt on a similar well was not as successful and other tests were for such experiments as oil extraction enhancement (Stavropol, 1969) and the creation of gas storage reservoirs (Orenburg, 1970).[26]

H/t to Jay.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

1993 Mercedes 300TE

Well? It's still available and the owner's other car is a W124 500E, so he's definitely an enthusiast.

Video of shoe thrown at Hillary

Well, you're not worthy of the American presidency until you've had a shoe thrown at you.

NA 2006 Subaru Legacy 5M

Opinions? Looks well cared for.

Bay Area people: Seconds Saturdays is this Saturday

Just a reminder that the first meet of 2014 is this Saturday morning at 9 at Hanzel's in Oakland (456 23rd Street). Hope to see you all there!

Madagascar lemur IMAX movie

Not a nature film fan or an IMAX fan, but I wanna see this. Lemurs floated to Madagascar on a "raft" 60 million years ago. Man first got to Madagascar, from Borneo, just 2,000 years ago.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Saab 9-4X

Just 457 of these were made in Mexico in 2011. Rare!

Here's one for sale in New Mexico.

P.S. Ripituc: You're a big fan of Autoline. What do you like about it?

Nebraska trailer

Funny, sad, quirky.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

No go for Sacramento manual wagon

I understand that a car with 126,000 miles is not going to be perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But this is what the inspection revealed:

  • Timing belt needs replacing (6,000 miles overdue).
  • Serpentine belt needs replacing.
  • Both CV boots torn.
  • Right upper engine mount blown.
  • Negative battery cable corroded internally.
  • Left rear link rod worn out.
  • Oil filter not tightened fully(!).
  • Possible oil leak (engine recently cleaned).
  • Gravel shield broken at 2 mounts.
  • Two rear bulbs out.
  • Miscellaneous fault codes.
  • Service light on.

I passed. The search continues.

Monday, April 07, 2014

What a season!

VW Phaeton ads (and wagon update)

Wagon update: I lost the eBay auction by less than a grand. I told the seller that if the sale with the winner falls through, I am still interested. The winner got a great deal on an excellent specimen.

The Mrs. and I will be going to Sacramento tomorrow to check out the other V50 with a manual. If the PPI gives it a thumbs up, I'll get it.

In the mean time:

H/t to Sanchez! I've never seen these before.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Wagon search update

Is the search finally over?

Last weekend, I spotted this 2007 V50 manual on eBay. The seller (a small dealer) is very responsive and upfront. The car just completed a pre-purchase inspection at a Volvo dealership (thanks, Jay, for the suggestion) and came back with a clean bill of health. They just recommended a coolant flush ($115) and a new rear wiper blade.

The Carfax history shows that it started its life in San Francisco as a lease. In 2010, it was bought and sent to Connecticut. Recently, it was traded in at a Subaru dealership. It has 83,000 miles.

There are two issues. One, if I win the auction, I have to figure out a way to get the car over here to California, which is 3,000 miles away. Second, and more importantly, I have to win the auction.

The auction ends on Sunday, and a bunch of knuckleheads (11 of them) are already driving up the price. I really want it, but I don't want to go crazy for a two-owner, 7 year old car with no service documentation (other than what's noted on the Carfax print-out).

As a back-up, I found this on Craigslist yesterday. It's an hour away. It's a 2006 with almost 130,000 miles. My two concerns are the mileage and the fact that the Carfax shows that it was in a rear-end car accident in 2009. Until last month, it spent all of its life in Southern California. If the Connecticut Volvo deal falls through, the ever-patient Chris D. will go with me to Sacramento to check this 2006 wagon out.

In the end, all of this is for my dog, who needs a little space of his own in the back. I punched in "Volvo dog" on YouTube and this campy car chase came up.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Arctic Ocean in June 2014!

It's finally happening! In early June, I will finish the North America portion of the Pan-American Highway. I will be traveling by van on the Dalton Highway, a semi-paved road between Fairbanks and Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay. The purpose of the Dalton is to connect the oil fields of the North Slope with the rest of the world. The road also helps service the pipeline, which runs alongside it.

Back in October 2007, I traveled 200 miles along the Dalton Highway, from Fairbanks, past the Yukon River, to the Arctic Circle. Passenger vans go all the way up to the top of Alaska only in the summer. Here are a few pics from my '07 trip.

Here is an excellent and entertaining video of the entire northbound trip. It's neat to see the trees get smaller, and then totally disappear, as you go north. The dust and mosquitoes are no joke. The sun will not set at all when I'm there, so that will be a neat experience as well.

Around 6 minutes into the video, the truck crosses the Yukon River. At around 8 minutes, he crosses the Arctic Circle. At around 10, he passes Coldfoot, which has the only gas station along the entire 500 mile route. Then, there's the Atigun Pass, which is both majestic and treacherous.

In terms of danger, this is probably as dangerous as bussing through Central America, but in a different way. In Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, the fear was busjackings and other violent crimes. In Alaska, the biggest issue is a traffic accident. I'll be riding in a fully loaded 15-passenger van, which is notoriously top heavy. On the Dalton, semis rarely yield to passenger vehicles, and those semis speed. The curves, dropoffs, and dust all make for potential hazards. The other issue is medical care. The van is equipped with a satellite phone, but an air ambulance is hard to come by.

Driver fatigue will be an issue as well. The 500 mile drive takes 16 hours. I hope they provide two drivers to share the chore.

The plan is to fly to Fairbanks and stay at the Golden North Motel. The Dalton Highway Express van leaves at 6 in the morning and arrives in Deadhorse at 10 "at night". I will spend the night at Deadhorse Camp, and take an Arctic Ocean Shuttle first thing in the morning through BP's oil field, to the Arctic Ocean. Once I've reached my goal, I get right back on the Dalton Highway Express van and take the 500 mile ride back to Fairbanks.

With that, I will have traveled by land from Prudhoe Bay to Yaviza, Panama. Next year, insha'Allah, I will complete the quest by taking buses from Lima to Turbo, Colombia. You can read about my Lima to Ushuaia trip here.

Of course, I'll say hello to Sarah Palin for all of you.

A different perspective on famous places

More here. Again, via the great Brazilian car blogger Flavio Gomes.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Carspotting (Paris edition)

First, a few hybrids at the Toyota showroom.

This TS030 is the last gen Le Mans racer.

Toyota A-BAT concept. From the website:
Modern versatility in a compact pickup
The A-BAT is a Toyota concept vehicle that offers customers the versatility of hauling a standard 4x8 sheet of plywood one day, then taking a family on a camping trip the next. It features a 4-foot bed with more flexibility than the standard pickup truck. The translucent roof panel slides open to allow for tall cargo in the cab, and the bed lengthens an additional two feet when the pass-through midgate is folded down into the cab.
The rugged exterior of the A-BAT is contrasted by the 4-passenger modern interior. The door trim, shoulder, armrest and instrument panel pads and seat cushions are made of a tough, lightweight and comfortable material that can be selected for personalization. In addition, the colors are coordinated to enhance the sleek interior environment.
Inside, the A-BAT has a retractable, portable navigation unit with a 7-inch diagonal screen and Wi-Fi Internet. Other advanced features include a port for portable device assistant synchronization and a hard drive for digital music. The solar panels on the dash recapture energy from the sun to assist in the charging of the navigation unit, portable power pack and backlit information displays.

Auris Hybrid. Dear Europeans-- Is this like a Corolla, a Prius, or something else?

And on the streets:

H/t to S.

The Raw and the Cooked-- Documentary on Taiwan Cuisine

This is such a fascinating look at the different foods in Taiwan, I am willing to overlook the poor translations and organic farming preachiness.

The first clip is of the first people who inhabited the island, Polynesians.

Dr. Zoidberg (Futurama)

I've never watched a full episode of Futurama, until this week. It's hilarious. I've only watched two episodes, and I'm already hooked. This scene was the best.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

13 Pan-American Highway border crossings, ranked

by me on Hooniverse, here.

Haute Cuisine and Crozet Islands

I watched this French movie last night on Netflix streaming. It's the story of the personal cook of a French president. It's a lot of fun and the meals she cooks look out-of-this-world.

Part of the movie was shot in the Crozet Islands, which I had never heard of before. Apparently, France has a smattering of islands near the Antarctic. The researchers/inhabitants drive some random trucks, including 110s, Rams, Grand Cherokees, and Hiluxes.