Friday, May 12, 2006

CARNIVAL OF CARS: A Drive Around the Auto Blog for Friday, May 12, 2006


Well, well. W started hanging around the CAFE last week and this week a bunch of state legislators were clamoring for reducing their gas tax takes. Must be an election year, right? How 'bout let's put the cyber key in the ignition and get moving before the politicians catch us?

Kevin Connors of Westpundit announced this week his serious desire to help field an entry in the DARPA Urban Grand Challenge for autonomous vehicles. This will be the third such contest and DARPA assures that it has nothing to do with data mining the speed data held in the black boxes of millions of Americanss cars.

Professor Bainbridge talks at length about an insurance company's recent survey of the Top 10 Driving Peeves. Personally I would have swapped the positions of the first two in the list but that's okay. I'm just happy to see more attention being given to this issue.

NoonzWheels thinks Citreon's Le Surf is "surprisingly cool." Who knew Bruce Manx had moved to France? NoonzWheels is also rather enthusiastic about BMW's "gloriously retro" Millie Miglia.

Over at The Garage folks want to know whatever happened to the pocket rocket in America. Somehow I don't think EPA is too worried about that kind of endangered species.

Speaking of the rain forests (is there somebody else in this post I'm not aware of?), Westpundit has a second installment in a series on alternative fuels. Kevin has to rain on the ethanol parade by noting such inconvenient factos as a major reason Brazil is chopping down the rain forest faster than a U.S. senator spends pork barrel maoney is to grow sugar cain for ethanol processing. Go here for the first installment in the series.

The Auto Prophet says be wary, be very wary, of American Petroleum Promotions and its promise of $200 gas cards for $150. Not unlike a Ponzi scheme, according to the Prophet.

Now, moving right along ....

Ethanol Boy at The Auto Extremist goes off on the ALMS Series' latest effort to equalize competition in the GT1 class that has been utterly dominated by Corvette for half a decade. Don't miss the great shot of Mario Vintage 2006 buckling up for a ride around the Speedway in his pole-winning Dean Van Lines Special Vintage 1967. Great overhead shot of the Brawner Hawk in the pits, too, which displays the "bundle of snakes" exhaust on the dual overhead cam Indy Ford V-8 that made the most wonderful sound ever made by any race engine anywhere, better even than the Ferrari V-12 at full song.

Just in case you wondered about the results of that May 11 Ford shareholders vote, The Auto Spectator has the complete result.

Looks like $19 million is the latest going rate to rent a ride in the F1 series, according to The Autoblog. I wonder what Christian Klein thinks about Red Bull Racing now?

Carpundit found a classic beater in Bean Town. And a Theocrat (though not of the automotive sort).

Cars! Cars! Cars! links to a CNN report on SUV Moms and their brewskis. Did I miss something sociologically important somewhere?

Inquiring minds want to know! Will Hyundai ever actually produce and sell the Getz featured at CARSCOOP? First caller with the right answer Getz a prize!

Buddy Rice had a slight accident during Indy practice but Fast Machines reports the Speedway doctor has now cleared him for competition.

Remember J. Edgar Opel? Bob Lutz has thoughts at GM Fastlane on the opening of GM's new design center in Germany.

FosFor Wheels wonders if VW's GX3 is short one wheel or suffering from one too many? What puzzles me is why VW wants to go the Morgan route.

Things were not all goofy at VW this week, however, as Gear6 provides the details of the dual-charged International Engine of the Year,.

GM FYI Blog has Sue Mead's latest report from her mission to the Gulf Coast to help out with recovery efforts there. My sweet wife Claudia, our wonderful daughter Ginny and Claudia's sister Linda "Night Crawler" Randall are headed to Mississippi in a couple of weeks on a similar mission. Sue is with a dozen folks from her church in Massachusetts. Claudia, Ginny and Linda are going with a group from our church, Covenant Baptist in Columbia, Maryland. I would be going, too, but it's difficult to swing a hammer or lift a frame-in wall with a torn tendon.

They've got some great review links over at Hot Wheels Blog!

Want to know how to get a job at DCX hauling old Neons to the dump? Jalopnik has the unfortunate details of how a Dodge Nitro driver may have done something along those lines. Guess we could say his career blew up behind the wheel of that Nitro. No, maybe we better not say that ...

Just-Auto.com's Dave Leggett has Ben Franklin's advice for dealing with the gas crisis. Here's a sample:

"And beware of false prophets. Green and friendly-sounding bio-diesel is only 5% derived from plants; the other 95% is bog-standard diesel."

Hey, it's all right there in "Poor Richard's Almanack."

Jason Vines has had it with "empty flag waving." Left Lane News provides him with a soapbox to elaborate the point. Interesting piece, yes, but I remember Jason's side-splitting stand-up routines at WAPA meetings.

Dave Wassmann at Motor Alley says to keep an eye out for great Jeep Commander lease deals and incentives:

"Although Jeep has needed a three-row seat vehicle for years now, it's unfortunate that they waited to launch the vehicle in the face of new GM product and $3/gallon gasoline. As noted in one of our previous columns, this vehicle was at least 10 years overdue..."

MyFordDreams2 assures us that his recent paucity of posts is not a result of his being held in the county lockup courtesy of the taxpayers. And thanks for the timely CofC plug, buddy!

Things are getting serious when your 89 LeBaron is leaking oil out the valve cover cap where you put in new Texas T. My Honest Mechanic has some sage advice for the owner.

Paul Tan takes a shot at photoshopping what the new Naza NX-02 will look like. Nice work, Paul.

If you are a biker, you know the value of having eyes in the back of your head. Now there's a way to get them in the back of your helmet, according to Qt Auto News. Now if we can just figure out how to be constantly conspicuous ...

Speaking of bikes, I love my Suzuki 600S Bandit and expect to do the same with my brand new Kawasaki Concours (when this torn tenden heals and I get to ride it!), so choppers don't do much for me. I have to admit, though, Chip Foose has a way with two-wheelers. Check it out at RaceDriven.com. Kind of a two-wheel Chezoom.

Then there's this, uh, Cayenne over at Serious Wheels. This is more proof that Barnum was right about one being born every minute. Or was it Mencken who said that? Guess I'm just a sucker for a good quote.

Boy, you in a heap a trouble if you get stopped by this cop car edition of the Hummer reported by Straightline.

Joel at The Car Blog didn't expect to like the 07 Jaguar XK when he saw it in concept form. Now that it's here in the real-live-world, he's singing a different tune about tradition ad class and all that classic veddy British stuff, you know.

Over at The Truth About Cars, the ever-shy-about-expressing-his-real-opinions Robert Farrago doesn't find much at bold about Ford's most recent product offerings, despite the new slogan.

Drop what you are doing and go to The View Through the Windshield. Scroll to the bottom of the Friday post and take in the bad pun of the day. It will leave you udderly speechless. Me? I could read puns till the cows come home. It's Deja Two when you recall a couple of good ones ...somebody ... please, anybody ... stop me before I pun again!

Judging by The Car Connection's spy shot of the upcoming Dodge Caravan, it looks like Chrysler is getting ready to ruin a good thing.

And that is the last word for this week's edition of Carnival of Cars.

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