Wednesday, September 30, 2009
They are two of ten future Japanese collector cars according to Grassroots Motorsports' Tim Suddard. Autoblog has a photo gallery of all ten picks.
Alan Taub is the new head of R&D with GM. In a web chat on Tuesday he outlined some upcoming innovations he expects to see in GM vehicles. These include memory materials that will make bumper and body dings a thing of the past; fuel-cell vehicles; and limited autonomy driving on highways by 2015 enabled by a combination of lane-keeping and stop-and-go adaptive cruise control.
[Source: edmund's inside line]
The Car Care Council has designated October as Fall Car Care Month. The Council wants you to take the opportunity to make sure that your vehicle is ready for winter and up-to-date on all maintenance. In celebration many shops across the country will be holding free vehicle check-up events. To see if an event is being held near you, visit the Event Finder on the Car Care Council's Web site at www.carcare.org/find-an-event.
[Source: via The Auto Channel]
Ask Patty has posted an excellent article that tells how your insurance company should adjust your claim should your vehicle be damaged due to a covered event. Bottom line is this formula (but check out the article for negotiation tips):
Retail value minus Salvage value = Amount that could be used to repair the vehicle.
(Salvage value is the amount the insurer can sell a car for in its current damaged condition.)
Example: Retail value of $20,000 - Salvage value of $5,000 = $15,000 repair money available. If the repair were less than $15,000, then it would be less expensive to repair the car, but if the repair costs were closer to or more than the available repair money, then the insurance company would most likely total the vehicle. In many cases, there is still some room to negotiate. Some owners owe more on their car than the vehicle is worth and others have expensive add-ons that may be considered.
What's next? Google is experimenting with real-time Google Maps that make maps dynamic. Imagine being able to follow a vehicle in real-time on Google Maps or watching a specific person at a sporting event. It is truly Orwellian. Big Brother will put us on the map!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The São Paulo Intermodal Challenge is simple. The goal is to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible – during rush hour – using the mode of transportation of your choice. At the recent Challenge contestants ranged from cars, bikes, motorbikes, and a helicopter to buses, metro, their own feet and even a wheelchair. A biker won the challenge, with a total time of 22 minutes – more than 10 minutes faster than the person on the helicopter, who spent a total of 33 minutes and 30 seconds between going to the heliport, waiting for takeoff clearance, flying and landing. The car came in with a total time of 1:22– slower than the runner, who took 1:06, the bus (1:11) and just 10 minutes faster than the person who chose to walk the whole path (1:32).
MotoringFile reports that serious issues have arisen with 2001 through 2006 MINIs due to premature oil pan gasket failures that, if unchecked and unrepaired, can cause oil starvation and engine detonation. Read the article on what to look for, where to look for it and how much it will cost to repair if you find you have this problem.
Here's a video from White Roof Radio on how to check your oil - an essential step to preventing an oil pan gasket failure from causing damage to your MINI.
Monday, September 28, 2009
State Farm has published this map that shows, in California, a 22% increase in the number of deer-vehicle collisions from July 1, 2002-June 30, 2004 to July 1, 2007-June 30, 2009. The average increase over the US was 18% during the same period. However, a map of your chance of hitting a deer in California sets the probability at 1 in 1,488. Contrast that with West Virginia where the chance of a deer vehicle collision is 1 in 39.
Here are State Farm's tips for avoiding deer collisions:
Be aware of posted deer crossing signs. These are placed in active deer crossing areas.
Remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.
Use high beam headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roadways.
Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds - if you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby.
Do not rely on car-mounted deer whistles.
If a deer collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.
PLEASE DRIVE WITH CAUTION, Bambi will appreciate it and so will you.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The "Sideways Tour" is October 3-4, 2009. We will be stopping or driving past some of the locations in the Santa Ynez Valley depicted in the movie "Sideways." If you haven't seen the movie, NetFlix or run to Blockbuster this week and rent it. It is a lot of fun! We will also drive past one of the main gates at the "Neverland Ranch", where just a few weeks back, folks were still signing giant cards and hanging wreaths and flowers in memory of Michael Jackson.
After stopping at Fess Parker Winery (where you might recall the character "Miles" drank the entire "spit bucket"), we will stop for lunch at one of the delis in Los Olivos, or bring a picnic lunch as there is a little park in the middle of town. If time permits, we will also stop at the "Firestone Winery" before heading into Los Olivos and the Neverland Ranch. Afterward, we will head toward Solvang where everyone can spend time walking, shopping, or whatever else you desire. This website will give you ideas of other spots you might want to stop at on your own if you do not want to spend the time in Solvang.
Both the Fess Parker Winery and the Firestone Winery offer tasting at $10 each. I believe you can share a glass. If we are lucky, we might run in to Fess Parker. For those of us old enough to remember... Fess has one of the greatest Disney voices of all time, and is best remembered for his roles as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone.
For dinner we will be eating at AJ Spurs in Buellton, not far from our hotel, where there is a lot of space for a large group, plenty of parking, and a lot of good food! You may recall this location in the movie. This is where the "engaged" character "Jack" meets a young waitress and ends up going home with her, only to have her husband walk in on the two of them. He left "everything" behind and had to go back later to retrieve it all.
Meet up Saturday, October 3, 2009, at the Black Bear Diner in Gilroy (on the opposite of freeway from Gilroy Outlets). If you want breakfast, you should plan to arrive at the Black Bear Diner by 7 AM. We will depart the parking lot at the Black Bear Diner at 8 AM sharp!
From Gilroy, it will be a 3-1/2 to 4 hour drive down Hwy 101. Once we arrive in the Santa Maria area, we will exit to the right at Betteravia Road. We will then turn left onto S. Bradley where will enter the Home Depot parking lot. This will be our final gathering spot before we head back over the highway and on toward Foxen Canyon Rd enroute to the Fess Parker Winery.
The Days Inn in Buellton, if space is available should give latecomers the quoted club rate of $98.99 + tax.
Sunday, for those that want a scenic drive, you can head on over to Hwy 1 and enjoy the beauty of our California coastline or return up Highway 101.
This trip has something for everyone, including those who do not want to spend the entire day in a MINI.
Thank you to all of you who made NorCal MINIs' Psycho-Sarah's Run and Show a success. We hope your beautifully detailed vehicles are still beautiful and, again, detailed. If our adventure is any indication the MINI Crossover/Countryman is going to be one very able off-road vehicle.
Thank you to all who donated food that is destined for the Second Harvest Food Bank of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. The donations are appreciated as the need this year is so urgent.
We will see those of you who signed up for the NorCal MINIs' Sideways Tour this coming weekend. Meet up locations to be announced soon. If you are coming make sure you sign up here as a guest.
NorCal MINIs thanks Psycho Donuts - a great donut shop - for permitting us to take up their parking lot, and Sarah's Vineyard, for good wine, use of their gas BBQs and picnic area, and for their wonderful hospitality. We are sure to return!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Crackberry.com points us to this one - DriveSafe.ly - which reads them to you. It is a free download (although the free version has some sponsor ads that may become annoying. A pro version is available for a low fee that removes the sponsor ads.) You can download it here.
CarMax, Inc. provides these tips on how to avoid the purchase of used flood-damaged cars:
1) Check for a moldy smell inside the car and feel the carpet for dampness
2) Be suspicious of an older car with a brand new interior or carpeting
3) Check for rust under the brake or gas pedals
4) Look for dirt or rust under the dashboard and floor mats
5) Inspect the bolts and screws under the seats for evidence of rust
6) Check the undercarriage for excessive rust
7) Check inside the trunk under the carpet and in the spare tire well area for rust, dirt or sand
8) Look for corrosion, water marks, or a thin brown line on the exterior of the vehicle
9) Check to see if the electrical system works
10) Check the VIN number with AutoCheck or Carfax to see whether a flood claim has been filed or a salvage title has been issued on the vehicle
[Source: via TheAutoChannel]
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Mark October 25, 2009, on your calendar for an all day FREE celebration of Woodstock's 40th Anniversary at WestFest at Speedway Meadows in Golden Gate Park. This enormous event features live performances by many great musicians from the 60's and 70's including Leslie West (Mountain);
Lester Chambers (the Chambers Brothers); Country Joe McDonald; Denny Laine (of Paul McCartney, Wings, Moody Blues); The Original Lowrider Band; Greg Errico, Jerry Martini, Cynthia Robinson (From Sly and the Family Stone); David and Linda La Flamme (It’s a Beautiful Day); Michael McClure (Beat Poet) and Ray Manzarek (from the Doors); Lydia Pense and Cold Blood; Terry Haggerty (from the Sons of Champlin); Annie Sampson and her band; Nick Gravenites Band; Harvey Mandel and the Snake Band; Barry “The Fish” Melton (of Country Joe and the Fish); Roy Blumenfeld - Blues Project/Seatrain; Alameda All Stars (Gregg Allman’s Band); Edwin Hawkins and The New Edwin Hawkins Singers (“Oh Happy Day”); David Denny (from Steve Miller) with Prairie Prince (of The Tubes); Diana Mangano (formerly of The Jefferson Starship); Jimmy McCarty (from Detroit Wheels); Peter Kaukonen (from Jefferson Airplane); John York (from the Byrds); Leigh Stevens (from Blue Cheer); and many, many more!!!! Some cannot even be announced until a few days before the event (and they are big names).
There will also be, at the Eco Dome, performers. speakers, world music and healing by AIM; the Global Peace Foundation; Chico Bag; Taiko Dojo; Good Vibrations Belly Dancers; Danza Mexika Yaocuauhtli Aztec Dance; and a host of others.
Bring your guitar and help set the Guinness World Record for most guitarists playing one song at one time - Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze." Sign Up Here to play, and be led by, Steve Roby an expert on Hendrix.
Guitars not Guns will be there so look for their booth.
The event runs from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Please take public transportation. We look forward to seeing you all there!!!!
The website divine caroline has posted a series of photographs from the winners of its photo contest of brides trashing their wedding dresses.
How about $372,000? That is what it went for at auction in the UK even though the original frame was replaced with an unnumbered frame supplied by the factory, as was the original 1,086cc straight-six engine, and the body was changed from two-seater to single-seater, and back again.
[Source: Hemmings e-Weekly]
Jalopnik provides this map that shows the top ten vendor nations of oil to the US in thousands of barrels/day as reported in the Oil and Gas News via Cool Infographics. Interestingly, Venezuela, Iraq and Saudi Arabia combined provide less oil to the US than Canada and Mexico combined.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
We are starting at Psycho Donuts and ending at Sarah's Vineyard in Gilroy for live music and lunch. We will supply the chicken for the grill. You supply the sides and BBQ sauce. Oh, and don't forget canned goods to donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank Of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.
See you all on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. at Psycho Donuts
Jim O'Donnell, CEO of BMW of North America, discusses with cnet's CarTech blog the difficulties encountered due to utility regulations and local code approval requirements in bringing 240 volt electric vehicles to the U.S. that have been revealed by the MINI-E lease trial program.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Starting Sunday afternoon/evening at the Colusa Resort Casino there will be a Car show with prizes, lounging about the pool, gaming, romantic dinner for 2, fun & dancing and a special MINI package price. There will also be a valet for all your gear for track day. The Casino will also offer a shuttle for “sleepy heads” – with no vehicle to the track on Monday.
On Monday it is off to Thunderhill Raceway Park for a day at the track that includes day long track time in four groups, lunch, event T-Shirts, lunch time parade laps, Coaching and Demo Rides, Raffles & prizes, beverages throughout the day, “The Newlywed Game”, vendor village.The track day special group price is $175.00 per car or $250.00 for shared cars (2 different run groups). There will also be plenty of fun and activities for those that do not wish to track their MINIs, including parade laps and Demo laps.
More details and registration forms will soon be made available. Please direct questions to Norman Nelson at email@example.com.
Come show off this Saturday at Psycho-Sarah's Run & Show. We will meet at 9:00 a.m, at Psycho Donuts located at 2006 Winchester Blvd., Campbell, CA for a donut (or two). Then, we will run to Sarah's Vineyard at 4005 Hecker Pass Rd., Gilroy, CA where we will display our MINIs in places of honor at the Vineyard. There will be live music provided by Sarah's and BBQ Chicken provided by NorCal MINIs. Please bring some non-perishable foods for the Second Harvest Food Bank Of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. It really needs all of our help this year. Sign up by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by going to September 26, 2009, on NorCal MINIs' Calendar Of All Motoring Events and adding yourself as a guest.
The top 5 positions were taken by classic cars easily outpacing new vehicles. Hopkins & Hughes came in first in the classic division in their 1969 BMW 2002. The GT division was taken by a BMW 325i. The classic Austin Mini Cooper of Bolger & Webb ended up 13th overall while the MINI Cooper S JCW of Mepham & Osborne came in 15th overall.
Monday, September 21, 2009
[Source: via Jalopnik]
The winning bid was $226,521 before auction fees! Seems the car turned out to be one of only six 1963 Pontiac LeMans Tempest Super Duty coupes ever made. It had been driven by Stan Antlocer and was the fastest drag car in 1963 before disappearing.[Source: autoblog]
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
The Los Angeles Times reports that an online Harris Interactive poll, commissioned by Ford, determined that 22% of men and 35% of women avoid parallel parking “whenever possible.” Other interesting statistics derived from the study are that about 43% of female drivers rate their parallel parking skills as “poor” or “fair,” compared with 21% of male drivers. Of course, 63% of male drivers surveyed rated women as “poor” or ”fair” parallel parkers, while only 25% of women gave men equivalent low marks. Another interesting statistic was 35% of West Coast drivers rated themselves as lousy parallel parkers, while 74% of Northeasterners rated their parking skills as “good” or “excellent,” the highest of any region.
While Ford and other automakers may use these statistics to market sales of their parking assist systems, we think they provide a strategy to preserve a nice car - parallel park on the street in front of lingerie stores, womens' clinics, beauty salons, dress shops, day spas, obstetricians and gynecologists since there is a greater chance a woman will not parallel park in front or back of you (but if she does there is also a greater chance she might hit you).
Considered "Mini heaven" by some, the annual UK Goodwood Revival is this weekend. During the event visitors are encouraged to dress in outfits of the 40s, 50s or 60s. There will be novel Minis on display and special Mini-only St Mary's Trophy races. Look for pictures at MiniWorld since tickets were by pre-order only.
It is projected that September 2009 automotive sales volume will dip to 8.8 million units, the lowest rate in nearly 28 years, tying the worst demand on record. With Cash for Clunkers over automotive purchasers sim[ply are not running to auto showrooms. Average dealer profit per vehicle has slipped to $1,033.00/unit. Looks like it is going to be a long, long, winter for the automotive industry.
[Source: Automotive News]
Thursday, September 17, 2009
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety did exactly that at 40 mph to celebrate its 50th birthday. As you can see the 2009 Chevy Malibu won but it was not pretty.
[Source: via the New York Times]