Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Clogged Water Filter Stops 3-Ton Behemoth

Wired posts that the British Steam Car Team is trying to break the land speed record of 127.659 mph for a steam-powered vehicle set in 1906 by Fred Marriott in a Stanley Steamer Rocket. The British Steam Car uses liquefied petroleum gas and 12 microboilers to generate the 3 megawatts of heat needed to create a steam temperature of 750 degrees Fahrenheit. The steam drives a two-stage turbine that propels the car. The system can turn 10.5 gallons of water a minute into steam at 40 times atmospheric pressure.

The team hopes to hit 170 mph but, during its attempt on March 24, a water filter let impurities into the water system leading to a blockage and the team got no where near the record. However, looking at the effort and $ being put into this it would seem to be just a matter of time before the record is broken.

We would rather be Fred in 1906. Imagine the rush. We doubt few people had reached 100 mph in an automobile in 1906 and we can just speculate on what passed for safety gear on the Stanley Steamer Rocket as he sat astride the overheated boiler.

007 Gets A Pony

Who do you think manufactures this car? Aston Martin? Sure looks similar to the one in "Die Another Day," especially with all of the weapons. However, you would be wrong. According to the cartech blog at cnet this is a modified V8 Ford Mustang on an extra wide wheelbase manufactured by Exclusive Motor Cars of England. The weapons are fake. The price is not. $125,900 and only 200 will be made. 40 have already been spoken for.

Buy A New Car And Deduct The Sales Tax

It is official, according to KickingTires, state and local sales and excise taxes on new-vehicle purchases are deductible on your 2009 Federal income taxes. This deduction is available for individuals with an adjusted gross income of less than $125,000, or for joint filers under $250,000. The deduction phases out for taxpayers whose adjusted gross incomes fall between $125,000 and $135,000 for individuals and between $250,000 and $260,000 for joint filers.

The deduction is only good for the taxes paid on a vehicle up to $49,500 of the purchase price. The law is retroactive, so if you purchased a car after Feb. 16, 2009, you may take the deduction.

BMW and MINI Earn 11 Fleet News Awards

BMW Blog reports that BMW and MINI snagged 11 UK Fleet News Awards. The awards are judged by a panel of industry experts and several awards are handed out every year. The MINI models were recognized as "Best Residual Value Star."

WTF? How Did This Happen?

For Those Who Missed AMVIV VI

UKPylot's MINI Blog provides this video -

More Details on the Diesel MINI JCW

Autoblog indicates that BMW is likely to put its 2.0 liter diesel engine, the one it uses in its 1 series, with a twin turbo, in a MINI and call it a Diesel MCS JCW. Retail sales are expected in about 12 months.

"Sir, You Might Want To Get Off The Phone And Move Your Mercedes"

Idiots come in all shapes, colors and, apparently, income brackets. Jalopnik writes about this Dallas, Texas moron in his Mercedes who ignored the bright orange warning cones, parked in freshly-poured concrete, and never once got off his cell phone through the entire ordeal.

Hyundai Popemobile

Just in time for April Fool's Day. Thank you Motor Authority.

Three Wheel Electric Cars Are An Old Concept

We have posted about the Aptera, a three-wheeled electric vehicle, reminiscent of a Cessna without wings, that is nearing production and can be seen being road tested in Southern California. However, as this film from the 1920's demonstrates, three-wheeled electric cars are nothing new. In fact, they were considered a "woman's car" just prior to the Great Depression. They also had one up on the modern Aptera - they could be folded up.

More Money Than Sense II

This is a Bugatti Veyron, one of the fastest and most expensive cars in the world. However, it wasn't enough "bling" for one wealthy Kuwaiti resident who, according to Auto Motto, covered the vehicle in gold - not gold paint - real gold.

Errata: Zer Customs advises that it was a misunderstanding and the gold is merely a standard gold paint from Bugatti.

How Much Would You Pay For A BMW Z4?

Topspeed reports on the pricing of the new 2009 BMW Z4. The Z4 boasts a 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine. With BMW's sDrive30i it produces 255 hp. However, with BMW's sDrive35i, which uses twin-turbos (one turbo designated for three cylinders each), it produced 300 hp. All come standard with a 6-speed manual gearbox.

So what do you think? $35,000? $40,000? Nope. The base model lists at $46,575, while the sDrive35i starts at $51,650. Loaded with options the car pushes $60,000.

Coming To Costcos and Walmarts Near You - Chinese Cars

It looks like GS Motors will sell Chinese hybrid cars, manufactured in Mexico, in the US through Costco and Walmart, according to gas 2.0. Last year GS Motors sold 4,000 China-made vehicles through Mexican Costcos and Wal-Marts. Production for the US market is expected to commence in 2010. However, GS Motors will launch the FAW brand in Mexico this year with the F1 Hatchback, an entry-level car that sells for under $5,500.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Love The Beast Movie Trailer

Upcoming 2009 Auto Road Racing Movie with Eddie Bana and Jay Leno -

Man Arrested For Drunk Accident While Driving A Barstool

Gizmodo discusses the arrest of a Newark, Ohio man for operating a vehicle while intoxicated after he crashed his motorized barstool on a public street. What do you expect? He was driving a barstool!!!

Swagalicious

Show your support for, and affiliation with, NorCal MINIs. Check out our webstore for all your swagalicious needs.

Phantom Alert

For $9.99/month, Phantom Alert will make your GPS give visual and audible warnings when it detects cameras, traps and checkpoints.

Codemasters Dirt2 Featuring Ken Block

Here's some more Ken Block rally driving -

IKEA Leko Revealed

When we first reported on this we didn't know what it meant. Many thought IKEA was going to announce a build it yourself automobile. However, Jalopnik sets the record straight. The Leko is a car sharing scheme.

2009 Volksworld Image Gallery

ModifiedCars.com brings us a great gallery of shots from the 2009 Volksworld Show.

Slowly Move Away From The Car Vacuum

This is Jason Leroy Savage, age 29. According to Jonathan Turley, a law blogger, Mr. Savage has been given 90 days in prison in Saginaw County, Michigan, for having sex with a car wash vacuum. We can see it now, "Sir, would you like the strawberry, pine or new car smell?"

Plug-in Hyundai May Be On The Way To The USA

MotorAuthority writes that Hyundai is considering building a more advanced plug-in hybrid sports car based around the upcoming Blue-Will concept to be revealed at next month’s Seoul Motor Show. The drivetrain will have a 1.6L four-cylinder gasoline engine with direct-injection technology, that charges an array of lithium-polymer batteries which are used to power a small electric motor that drives the front wheels. The total output of the system is 154hp. The claimed electric-only driving range is 40 miles – the same as the Chevrolet Volt.

More Info On The MINI Spacebox

MotoringFile reports that the MINI Spacebox will be MINI's "Progressive Activity Vehicle." MINI wants the car to combine the utility of a crossover but without the faux off-road capabilities and with a sleeker profile. The new vehicle will feature a sleeker rear design that will be closer to one of the original Clubman design concepts (seen here in MotoringFile's exclusive spy shot).

What GM Will Probably Not Build

We agree with TopSpeed. The chances that this Corvette Stingray concept will be built are equal to the chances Rick Wagoner will get his job back as CEO of GM.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Drifting 101

Drifting Champion Rhys Millen explains drifting competitions and the changes his team made to turn a Hyundai Genesis into a drift car.

California Air Resources Board Backs Off Banning Dark Colored Cars

The California Air Resources Board (CARB), according to autoblog, now says it did not intend to ban dark colors on cars. Rather, CARB wants to require the addition of a reflective clear coat to windows that would add $31-$50 to the price of a new car.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kudos To The Sin City Mini Club

The Las Vegas Sun covers the great deeds of the Sin City Mini Club at AMVIV. According to the paper, the Sin City Mini Club, with the assistance of the Desert Mini of Las Vegas dealership and donations from AMVIV attendees raised $5,000 for the SAFE House Domestic Violence Shelter in Henderson, NV. Great job!!!

Amazing Escape For Woman From MINI That Plunges 100 Feet

The Whitby Gazette reports that a woman plunged off the road 100 ft with her MINI and escaped with non-life threatening injuries. According to the article "[a] policeman on the scene said the woman had had a 'miraculous escape' and believed the Mini had saved her life."

Dragnet's '67 Fairlane

The infamous Dragnet "Blue Boy" LSD scene.

Public Service Announcement On Cell Phone Use

This PSA is from Bridgestone -

Probably Needs A Height Sign


Truck eating bridge.

Giving A Finger To A Lincoln Navigator

Associated Press reports on how Victor Harris, of Saginaw, Michigan, got his index finger stuck in his Lincoln Navigator's gas tank.

Friday, March 27, 2009

For Sale 1990 Porsche 911 - .50 Caliber Machine Guns and Rocket Launcher Included

For sale on Craigslist in Orlando, FLA, the 1990 Porsche 911 from the movie Death Race - only $28,000. (Thanks Jalopnik.)

2009 MINI Cooper S Convertible Roadtrip With Jim McDowell

Jim McDowell is the head of MINIUSA. Jim and The Auto Channel drove a new 2009 MINI Cooper S Convertible from Pacific Beach to Oceanside, CA. Here is the exclusive video from The Auto Channel -

London Looks At Ways To Make Parking Lots Smell Better

According to this UPI story in London a group called National Car Parks is looking for ways to make parking lots smell better. Apparently customers are "driven" away by the smell of pee in the stairways.

We know a way and it doesn't require an investigation, analysis or the spread of odorous chemicals - Wash the stairways out daily.

Awesome BMW M5 Commercial

That type of speed can make you go in your

NorCal MINIs' Swag Is Back!!!!

So far so good. We have revised our logo (slightly) to satisfy BMW and Cafe Press. So far, we have not been "pended." So check out our great selection of reasonably priced NorCal MINIs' merchandise at our web shop HERE!

Want To Know What Entry-Level Sedan Racing Will Cost You?

SpeedSportLife has posted an excellent article on the true cost to get involved in entry-level sedan racing, from $500 to $1,000 for a weekend at the 24 hours of Lemons, to $8,000 to $50,000 for a weekend at the Speed World Challenge or Grand-Am Koni Challenge.

No E-mail Or Texting While Driving Officer

The San Francisco Chronicle has published this story about the Police Chief of Federal Way, Washington, a suburb of Seattle, who is offering multiple mea culpas since he rear-ended the vehicle in front of him at a stop light because he was reading news headlines on his Blackberry.

Customize a Ferrari And Take It For A Spin On The Mugello Circuit

Motorauthority alerts us that Ferrari plans to launch an updated website this Sunday at www.ferrari.com

A new feature, Maranello Experience, is a virtual tour of the Italian Ferrari complex.In the GT & Sport cars section are views of all of the cars in the current range. You can also personalize your favorite model, turn the virtual key and listen to the sound of the engine before heading out for a test drive at Mugello. The new site allows you to compare your driving skills to those of Michael Schumacher.

The site will have live updates of F1 news and, during races, willfeature a virtual pit area to watch all the action and consult the telemetry readings coming in from each car.

Speed Cameras Give Tickets to Parked Cars

The Truth About Cars reports that speed cameras are not foolproof. Many car owners feel harassed by cameras that send them violations when their vehicle is just parked near a speed camera.

Don't Try To Outrun The Hoover, Alabama PD

According to autoblog this is the newest Hoover, Alabama Police Department patrol car, a Porsche 935 Slantnose. Hoover already has a Porsche 911 patrol car courtesy of drug seizure laws. The 1981 Slantnose was a donation.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Six Things Every Driver Should Know

Car and Driver features this Driver Education article on the six things Car and Driver thinks every driver should know:
1. How to change a tire;
2. How to jump-start a car;
3. How to check your tire pressure;
4. How to check your oil;
5. How to get unstuck; and
6. How to spot cops.

Rear Wheel Drive MINI City Car?

MotoringFile reports on a German periodical article that indicates a new four seater, rear wheel drive, front engine MINI city car, based on the technology used in the MINI-E, will be introduced in 2012.

More Money Than Sense

Drifting a $500,000 Porsche Carrera GT and a $82,500 BMW M5 on a public road.

California Garages Must Check Tire Pressure

Green Car Congress advises that the California Air Resources Board, in an effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions, effective July 1, 2010, will require smog check stations, engine repair facilities and oil service providers to check the air pressure in the tires of every vehicle serviced.

Smallest F1 Car Laps Infineon With Video Cam

Courtesy of TheGarageBlog.com.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spy Shots Of Facelifted MC and Clubman?

Motorauthority has a bunch of spy shots of what it thinks are updated fascia for the MC and Clubman. Check them out. Very intriguing.

Don't Put The Roof Up On A MINI Convertible

California Legislation May End Dark Colored Cars

Autoblog has this post on impending legislation to increase solar paint reflectivity by 20% by 2016. This is to lower the amount of carbon emission expended on automotive environmental controls. However, paint manufacturers have been unable to increase reflectivity and obtain pretty dark reflective colors, especially black. So far they have only been able to produce "mud-puddle brown."

Bad, Bad Drivers

MSN autos has this article on bad drivers, like this story:
"I glanced to my right and there was a woman with her left foot sticking out the driver's window painting her toe nails."

How To Drive More Economically

HowStuffWorks has this informative article on how to drive more economically.

Didn't Know You Could Do That In A Clubman!

Q&A On R57 MINI Convertible

If you are interested in how the R57 convertible stacks up check out this short Q&A session over at Motoringfile.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Smart Cars More Than A Third Less Attractive

UPI reports that more than a third of U.S. Smart car customers are leaving orders on car lots. The company calls the abandoned cars "orphans."

Coming To Google Maps Street View

Coming to Google Maps, date presently unknown, according to the cartech blog at cnet,
Google will let you view right on the track with American Le Mans racers at Mazda raceway Laguna Seca. You will be able to place the Street View icon on the track to see features such as the difficult Corkscrew. At present, Google Maps' Street View can be enabled on the roads around the racetrack. The new views will permit you to get in front of the Le Mans racers.

Smokin' Toyota Supra


Ultimate Rice From Jalopnik.

Car Dealer Profits Drying Up

The San Francisco Chronicle reports new car dealerships' average profit of $4,324 per employee in 2006 was down in 2008 to just $349 per employee. Annual sales per employee dropped over $150,000 during the same period.

SXSW For The Dirty Garage

Last week was the South By Southwest Film and Music Festival in Austin, Texas ("SXSW"). It is one of the top awards events for independent music and film. Here is the award winning short film "The Dirty Garage" that premiered at SXSW:

Monday, March 23, 2009

2010 VW Golf GTI In St. Tropez

Looks like 210 HP Of Beautiful Twisty Fun. Thanks Carscoop for pointing it out.

A New Bluesport Porsche 356 Rebirth Speculated

The new Volkswagen mid-engine Bluesport platform, which will be used in a Volkwagen and an Audi model, has, according to autoblog, produced speculation that Volkwagen's parent company, Porsche, will build a variant reminiscent of the 356 Speedster.

Fake Nissan Advertisement?

According to The Car Tech blog at cnet, Nissan denies any involvement in the production of this advertisement featuring Andy Richter.

Strange French Commercial Hints At Build It Yourself IKEA Car

We don't know if it is an April's Fool joke, since the purported launch date is March 31, 2009, but the French blog leblogauto,(sketchy translation here), is reporting that IKEA may launch a build it yourself automobile, at least in France. Who knows what this all really means -

Supercharge Your Car Through Braking

Over at TheCarConnection.com we are told a team from the Institute of Engineering and Design at Brunel University in west London has found a way for braking energy to be stored as compressed air and re-used to animate the engine. The London team claims that most of today's engines would require only small, inexpensive changes to become air hybrids.

Going to India? Tata!

This July the Tata Nano will hit the streets of India. The anticipated release has caused a massive downturn in used car sales. At less than $2,000, there is a long waiting list. Initial owners will be drawn at random from the list.

engadget reports a European version is due in 2011 and it is possible that there will be a US version.