Grand Am Lime Rock coverage

Morning practice is over and the race will begin in a few hours. Here's a link to a gallery of photos from morning practice I just shot. More photos later today.

Memorial Day and The Indy 500 2010 -- The Greatest Spectacle in Racing?

Hi folks -- I went to the hottest Indy 500 in history yesterday. Going there brought back memories from childhood, of that very special day that marks the beginning of summer. A family tradition (at least around age 5) we had back in Kenmore, NY was going to my aunt's house on Delaware Avenue to watch the annual Memorial Day parade from the second story porch. A bit later in age, I would sit with my cousins in the living room and listen to the Indy race -- no talking allowed! I can also remember one Memorial Day going out to drive with my learners permit during the morning, and being hard-headed, staying in the right lane despite my father's objections of not wanting me over there due to road debris. I was plenty hard-headed back then. memorial day was a day in which cars were at the center of my life, either listening to the race, learning to drive, or washing and shining them up.

Now to yesterday's race. I was fun sitting with all the folks drinking in the stands despite the heat that would subsequently turn their brains into mush by lap 50. Florence Henderson and Jim Nabors sang (how old is that guy anyway!). The fighters did their fly-by. But I was not terribly impressed with the excitement of the race, with exception of the accident near the end. Not enough blood and death? Maybe. But also since all the contestants drive cars with the same engines, same body-maker, same Firestone tires, where are the differences that lead to inherent competition. There is not enough aggressive driving, passing, heated rivalries. Too much cooperation and not enough free market Darwinism in America right now.

Hyundai i10

The silent supporter.
Hyundai i10 is a perfect combination of high performance, innovative technology and roomy interior. This small size car will definitely satisfy you on all fronts.

Key Features
Hyundai i10 houses KAPPA, first in its class 16 valve DOHC, total aluminum engine that gives a whopping power of 80ps at 5200 rpm along with improved fuel economy and more engine life. This futuristic engine delivers all time low NVH (Noise, vibration, harshness) levels and low emissions keeping the environment as rich as ever. Also, Hyundai's intelligent responsive technology strengthens and powers the engine to improve performance and mileage. So, you have a thoroughly efficient car in front of you. The Hyundai i10 is lively and handles itself well with its short wheelbase and turning radius that makes it ideal for swift maneuvers. The car shows minor body lean while cornering; so, that is something to watch out for. The new i10 sports top class McPherson Strut suspension in the front and CTBA with coil springs in the rear that best suit Indian road conditions.

Hyundai i10 instantly draws attention because of its stylish and aerodynamic design. Its low slung grille flanked by the two large headlamps distinguishes the i10 design from its competitors in the segment. The most impressive and stylish cues are the sharply raked windscreen and ellipsoidal glass that enhance the overall look of the i10. As far as interiors are concerned, interiors display luxurious fine fittings to provide unsurpassed comfort and the interior looks quite modern with dashboard integrated center console instead of conventional floor shift pattern. Dual Tone Beige Interior features 3-spoke steering wheel that makes handling easier and nimble. So, Hyundai i10's interior is nothing but a comforting paradise.

This car does not have any serious drawbacks, as such; but its interior has a little glitch - all beige interior, without a contrast color or some other hue, can seriously put you down.

Hyundai i10 has many pros to it which makes it an ideal choice for every small-size car aspirants. It has an intelligent responsive drive engine, in addition to its elegant styling and spacious interior.

What Santa Rides During Off Season - Video

Santa Car Mark III. Actually the full name is Lincoln Santa Is Coming To Towne Car and was created by Brian Taylor who also created the Metro Santa Car and Machete Betties Roller Derby Art Car. I just came across this video of him riding his latest Santa Car that gives you a glimpse into what its like riding an art car around town. I know its Summer time but I needed cheering up today so Brian's Santa Art Car is just what the doctor ordered.

Car Companies Consolidating Brands

I guess it was just a matter of time before the car companies were forced to consolidate brands. It started with the demise of oldsmobile, then Pontiac and Hummer. Now it looks like Ford will follow GM's lead and say goodbye to Mercury.

Is it the fact that the new generation of car buyers despise companies that their parents supported? Or is it that these same companies were too slow to react to changing times? I think that the price of cars are out of control! Who wants to spend 40, 50, or even 60 grand on a piece of machinery that takes them to work? Yea, it is nice to go in style, but enough is enouph.

I believe it is time to work hard on a solution to our dependance on oil. The gulf is paying the price to our love of producing oil and it looks to have no clear solution in sight. Let me know what you think the problem is?

Fantasy World Hobbies Swap meet!

Rat Rods -- Cars and Parts Swap Meet and Sale, Springfield, OH, May 29, 2010

So what is a rat rod? These are becoming increasingly popular, as witenssed by the several at the Friday night cruise in and today at the Cars and Parts Swap Meet.

From Wikipedia:

Originally a counter-reaction to the traditional hot rod, a label recently applied to undriven cars and super high priced "customs". The rat rod's beginning was a throwback to the hot rods of the earlier days of hot-rodding, built to the best of the owner's abilities and meant to be driven. Rat rods are meant to loosely imitate in form and function, the "traditional" hot rods of the era. Biker, greaser, rockabilly, and punk culture is often credited as influence that shapes rat-rodding.

The typical rat rod is an early 1930s through 1950s coupe or roadster. Early (pre-World War II) vehicles often have their fenders, hoods, running boards, and bumpers removed. The bodies are frequently channeled over the frame, and sectioned, or the roofs chopped for a lower profile. Later post-war vehicles are rarely constructed without fenders and are often customized in the fashion of Kustoms, leadsleds, and lowriders. Maltese crosses, skulls, and other accessories are often added. Chopped tops, shaved trim, grills, tail lights, and other miscellaneous body parts are swapped between makes and models. Most, if not all, of the work and engineering is done by the owner of the vehicle.

Recently, the term "rat rod" (or rat car, as modern cars are not actually hot rods like the name suggests) has been used to describe almost any vehicle that appears unfinished or is built simply to be driven.

The origins of the term and cars is most interesting. Again, from Wikipedia:

The December 1972 issue of Rod & Custom Magazine was dedicated to the beater, a low-budget alternative to the over-polished, slickly-painted, customized early car. The beater could easily be considered a progenitor of the rat rod with its cheap upholstery, primer instead of paint, and lack of chrome or polished metals. However, owners of these beaters often had a high-dollar machine sitting in their garage.

As with many cultural terms, there are disputes over the origin of the term "rat rod". Some say it first appeared in an article written in Hot Rod Magazine by Gray Baskerville about cars that still sported a coat of primer. Some claim that the first rat rod was owned by artist Robert Williams who had a '32 Ford Roadster that was painted in primer. Hot Rod magazine has since verified this.[1]Although the term likely started out as derogatory or pejorative (and is still used in this way by many), members of the subcultures that build and enjoy these cars have adopted the term in a positive light.

Cruise-In Friday Night, May 28, Kettering (Dayton) Ohio

This is a photo of the engine bay of supposedly a Porsche 914-6. I didn't know if this was a legitimate 914-6 or an impostor? I thought the 914-6 came with the engine from a 911T, thus having Zenith or Weber carbs. This car also had an array of driving lights mounted so far down near the road surface in the front, tha I wonder if these lights would last during any serious event on the road or track.
The Dash from a 1962 Chrysler Crown Imperial. Not many of these cars made. The old guy who owns this car was a pleasure to talk to.

The mill from a modified Camaro. I bet this sings!

Mercedes Truck Painted with Russel Crow - Finland Truck Show 2010

These art trucks were seen at the Finald Truck show recently which sorta reminds of the Japanese Decotora Trucks I wrote about some time ago. I love this first one, a Mercedes tanker truck covered with the face of Russel Crow actor of my favorite movie Gladiator. These truck drivers go all out with leather seat, LED lights, lots of chrome and of course all out airbrushed works of art that completely cover their trucks.
Russel Crow Truck

Hellbent for brick, corn, and chickenwire!

And we're off for Iowa tonight: Snake Alley tomorrow, Melon Cities on Sunday (speed bump and all), and then Quad Cities - The Cagematch turns 45 this year! - on Memorial Day. It will be a battle.

Holy shit, 15 laps in the belly of the beast with the Category 3s. Ready or not, this is gonna be painful test of the will.

Melon is going to be fun. That speedbump is some stupid shit, but it is my type of race, and I just need to summon the confidence to go 110% when it's time. I do and that hill is mine.

Quad Cities was my breakout race last year. Technical and fast, it's not gonna be the same as the Cat 4, and will be dicey in the corners unless it stays strung out and breaks up early. I'll probably register for the Master's as well just prior to the 3s, and complete half of that for a warm-up and race-pace course recon.

Photos of the new Carrera BMW and Audi R8 LMS

A few photos of the recently released Carrera BMW M3 GT2 American LeMans Series car, and the Audi R8 LeMans Series car.

Worm Harvesting Using a Car

In my opinion there are much better ways to harvest worms and growing them on a car is not one of them. This is what happens when you leave your car unattended under a tree for some time. Worms, Worms and MORE Worms, maybe he is harvesting worms for fish baitvia

Goodbye, Mercury!

Bloomberg is reporting that Mercury is going by the wayside, officially so only after a July meeting at Ford. How sad -- but in a way, nothing much lost by the decision. The current model line up for the most part is nothing but re-badged Ford products, and a Grand marquis that is favored buy the oldest demographic group in the American market.

What cannot be lost are memories of the Mercuries of the past that had an impact on my life. In particular, a 1953 Mercury that my cousin Richard (who was 15 years older than I, had in 1955 when he married his first wife Laureen. I loved the shape of that car for some reason, and its maroon color. And then school friend Don Izard's father's 1957 turnpike Cruiser, a wonderfully overly- accessorized model at a time when the dinosaur in the drive reigned supreme in American life.
Edsel Ford's Mercury may be gone after 2010, but in the hearts and minds of us who grew up loving cars, how can we forget the car that was at the center (along with James Dean!) of Rebel without a Cause.

Art Car Book by Harrod Blank - A must have for your coffee table

Art Car Book by Harrod Blank - A must have for your coffee table

What got me started in the journey with my own art car the Mercedes Pens and now with Art Car Central was a book called "Art Cars: the cars, the artists, the obsession, the craft" by Harrod Blank.I walked into the library one day and was browsing the car section when I came upon the most amazing book I had seen in a long time. In it was filled with images of people who had decorated their cars with paint, glued objects, car modifications and everything in between. Many of those cars have since been featured on Art Car Central like the Fruit Mobile, Hoop Car, Camera Van, The Phone Car, The Button King, Glass Quilt, and many more from Harrods Blanks Art Car Agency.

If you have ever seen an art car around town and wondered why would someone do that to their car. Or where curious about the type of person who would drive an art car, then this book is definitely for you. I now have my own copy and it never gets old. You never now, you might end up making your own art car and one day it could end featured here on Art Car Central, I look forward to your art car submission.

How Did VW Dealer Service Become the Lowest Rated of all Makes in the U.S.?

There was a time when VW Dealer Service was the envy of the American auto industry. But if I am to believe a recent issue of Consumer Reports, VW now is in the inenviable position of having the worst dealer service according to consumer surveys in the U.S., among all makes of cars being sold here? How the mighty have fallen!

I have only had one recent experience with a VW dealer related to service, and that was actually several years ago when I took my daughter's 2003 Jetta in for routine matters in San Antonio. Most certainly, my first reaction to the entire affair was that it was expensive, far more expensive than it should have been. These people take their customers for granted, no way to be in today's business climate. And it seems that VW's office in the U.S. either doesn't have the will or the guts to clamp down on its dealers and force them to either be customer centered or to be forced out of the relationship.
We need a new generation of business leaders world wide it seems, ones who sweep away complacency and if need be, rule with fear, driving out the many bad apples that now are a part of our institutions.
The other issue with VW which is evident from reading consumer reports for years now is where did your quality go? There was a time when "Made in Germany" meant something. It seems now that VW, BMW, and Mercedes all make products that are at the bottom of the quality lists.

Thursday Hate: the week's sauce



A haircut so bad he must be developmentally disabled. But not.

Phantom bike noises.

If I ask you a question to which everyone else CC'd on the email needs the answer, fucking hit "reply all" please. (And no Michael, this is not just you. For some reason, five people made my life more difficult doing this this week.)

The number of ingredients in a McDonald's apple danish.

Las Vegas real estate agents that follow me on Twitter. Then I know you personally and follow you on twitter, but you don't refollow. Maybe I post a lot, but isn't that the point?

Wrong: "The Tour de France." "Tour de [American City]" Right: "Le" and "of". On est français. The other is English.

Barak Obama?! Are you still fucking here? You've been Katrina-ed. Jesus Christ...George fucking BUSH would've nuked the goddamn thing two weeks ago.

Oh, yeah. And people who "boycott" BP. Especially those of you sittin - ALONE - in your SUV for six light cycles to get through one intersection. You don't realize that BP sells much of their oil to other refiners, do you? You want to reduce the likelihood of catastrophes like this from happening again? USE LESS. (Apologies to @stevevance)

CarPuchino - Car Powered by Coffee Grinds

CarPuchino - Car Powered by Coffee Grinds
For those of us who plan their trips from coffee shop to coffee shop finally a better solution. A car that is powered entirely by roasted coffee grinds is now a reality, I can feel my hear raising as I write this.

The car is called the Car-Puchino and was created using a 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco that sorta looks like a time traveling DeLorean from back to the future. It was created by a team from BBC1 science program Bang Goes The Theory and driven 210 miles between Manchester and London.

It does about 60mph and uses about 2.2 lbs of coffee for every three miles or 56 espressos per mile (56epm). Its going to take 154 lbs so price depends on the type of coffee you use:
  1. Premium = Kona Coffee = $30/lb = $4,620
  2. Plus = Starbucks Breakfast Blend = $10/lb = $1,154
  3. Regular = Folgers = $5/lb = $770
A trip like this is a bit of grind since you have to stop every 40 miles to add coffee grinds, every 60 to clean out the coffee filters. Even with a top speed of maybe 60 mph a relatively short trip could take all day to complete. On the plus side, there will be plenty of coffee and bathroom breaks.

How the Carpuchino Works

Carpuchino Under the Hood


Photo tour of the new Ninco Megane Series 1

Ride the Anti Anti Smoking Ban Liberty Van

Ride the Anti Anti Smoking Ban Liberty VanLynda Farley is the creator of the Liberty van, and doing her part to creatively express her First Amendment Rights. Lynda believes in the rights of smokers to be able to smoke anywhere at anytime. She also believes that smoking dangers are a total myth perpetuated by "those" who are lying to us about the whole thing. She has taken pictures of her car in front every statehouse in the lower 48. She hopes to repeal smoking bans across the nation, restore our constitution, and get the word out on the smoking "hoax". Lynda is all "fired up" and has taken plenty of pictures of her journey, be sure to check out her Fall and Christmas tour pictures.

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