There's always a few things they don't teach you at Driver's Ed that everyone should know. Like making sure the car is in park and not reverse when you finally surrender to the police. If someone honks at you, don't threaten them with a python. Try not to sneeze when driving near rivers. Don't try to eat cereal while driving. The trunk isn't a good way to get into your car. A six day roadtrip is too much for a "test drive."
Ken Block Gymkhana Practice [video] (an obstacle course for cars)
Fuelly tracks your gas mileage over time, helping you save fuel and expenses as you drive.
Shai Agassi's Audacious Plan to Put Electric Cars on the Road. Now it's Agassi's turn. He starts off uncharacteristically nervous, stammering a bit. He's got something different, he says. A new approach. He believes it just might be possible to get the entire world off oil. For good. Point by point, gaining speed as he goes, he shares for the first time in public the ideas that will change his future—and possibly the world's. [more inside]
In a time before the Prius, the custom conversion van ruled the roadways. Pushing the boundaries of the airbrush form, testing the limits of mobile interior design, featuring the latest in automatic pink leather bed, compact toaster, 8-track, and love machine technology, the 70s van was celebrated in song and cinema. You started with a factory model, new or used, and ended at a place limited onlyby your creativity, your budget, and your old lady's patience (NSFW). Ford could make you a man.If push came to shove, you could even live in your van. It was fantasy on wheels: van-tastic, man. [more inside]
Two takes on the immediate future of the electric car: we are either "Going Nowhere Fast" (if you ask a petrolhead from Top Gear magazine) or we are witnessing "The End of the Petrolhead" (if you ask The Economist). A bestiary of current and planned models includes TeslaMotors (now in production), Fisker Automotive (who are being sued by Teslamotors), the GM Volt (due 2010), The Lighting Car Company, the plug in Prius, the GWiz (now slightly less squishy apparently), the Corbin Sparrow, a few (vapory?) models from Zap! and the wondrous Sinclair C5.
Tank on empty -- how far can your car go on an empty tank? Basically a collection of statistics and stories from users on just how far they pushed their car on reserve fuel. (via) [more inside]
GoogleDrive. Drive a little car around Google Maps. Potentially useless. Enjoy.
The Tata Nano (pic) is a car that costs less new than the amount I've spent on gas during single car trips, recently announced to the auto market in India. The Chery QQ ^, successful , widely exported, and recognized as the Hostage Taker's Vehicle of Choice by China Car Times, is the runner-up for the world's cheapest car but is still approximately twice as expensive. Yes indeed, the price of gas is not going to come back down. So much for my coast-to-coast road trips. [more inside]
DDR-Modell Autos.info meticulously catalogs radio controlled and flywheel powered cars made by East German (DDR) toy makers such as Presu, Elmes, MSW, Anker, Piko, Gevo, Plasticart and Sommermeyer.
If yours is a winter beater, a rally beater, a diesel beater, your kid's beater[YT], or even a much sought after french beater, you don't need to be convinced of the value of disposable transportation (with color by Krylon). But if you need help choosing the next winning entry, worthy challenger, or judges victim[YT] for the 24 hours of LeMons, let the masters at Beater Review help.
"The Toyota Prius is much too powerful and luxurious a road car," thought Walter Mitty. "What I desire is a Zest Roadster. Pocketa-pocketa-pocketa."
Disappearing Car Door: Damn, this is cool. Everyone will want one. Until the inevitable car accident which renders it unopenable.
A two-ton 21-mpg 8-passenger V8 Chevy Tahoe? America, meet your 2008 Green Car of the Year!
A window to the world by car or train. Passingby: Videos uploaded to Youtube, showing various parts of the world, from the vantage point of someone just passing by. (Flash, video, youtube link)
"NATURMOBIL is about to pioneer in the state-of-the-art, first ever advertising promotion by means of traveling around the world with the vehicle that is nature-friendly that preserves the welfare of the beings and the environment. NATURMOBIL will soon to be the byword in every household globally." If Fleethorse, LLC meets their modest goals, the world's first advertising-funded horse-powered car will be followed by horse-powered buses and taxis.
Perhaps you'll recall DARPA's Grand Challenge where autonomous vehicles competed in a off-road race but most barely made it off the starting blocks? And Grand Challenge 2 where they did the same thing more successfully and also filmed a NOVA special?. Well, they are doing it again, on city streets this time. [more inside]
The US Clean Air Act makes it illegal to sell highly environmentally-friendly cars in 42 states. Apparently.
"She was the first and only girl I kissed in the car. It's priceless because of that, as far as I'm concerned." Clarence Cleveland Curtis, 84 years young, is still driving his first car, a 1929 Ford Model A he bought used (for $10!) as a teenager in 1938. It's the car in which he kissed his future wife 67 years ago, when he was 17 and she was 14... Related: "My First Car" at HotRodder, "My First Car" at Motortrend, and "My First Car" at "AutoWeek.
True Cost to Own. The Edmunds Inc. True Cost to Own pricing system calculates the additional costs you may not have included when considering your next vehicle purchase. These extra costs include: depreciation, interest on your loan, taxes and fees, insurance premiums, fuel costs, maintenance, and repairs. Search below to view the TCO of any vehicle.
Previously on MetaFilter, you remember the Plymouth Belvedere that was buried in a downtown Tulsa time capsule 50 years ago? The Tulsarama! folks were going to unveil it on Friday, but on opening the vault today they discovered it's full of standing water. Someone (or his/her descendant) will win this
fine car impending environmental disaster if they correctly guessed Tulsa's 2007 population in 1957.
SUV sales are up. In spite of higher gas prices and concern about global warming, Americans still want bigger cars. It might not be enough to save the Hummer H2, though.
All your donuts are belong to us. The US government has mandated that by 2012, all new vehicles must have Electronic Stability Control. ESC senses when a driver may lose control of the vehicle and automatically applies brakes to individual wheels to help stabilize it and avoid a rollover.
There and Back Again: The Soul of the Commuter How long is your commute? Is it worth the personal and social cost? Nick Paumgarten in this week's New Yorker on the bargains Americans strike between their work lives and home lives.
Court Decision, re: Fisher v. Lowe, Feb. 1999. Car ends up in man's yard. Man sues driver. Judge administers poetic justice. [via]
Can you build an open source car? Or a three-dimensional printer? Or a new kind of handheld computer? Can open source ideas thrive in the physical world? Or is there something fundementally different? Are we seeing a new type of production or just a filip for hobbyists and dreamers?
Interview with 36-yo entrepreneur Elon Musk of SpaceX and Tesla Motors (22min, video or audio, Jan 3 2007).
What's worse? MySpace or American Idol? How about a website that finds all the MySpace pages for those aweful American Idol contestants (you know- the ones we are supposed to laugh at because they suck)?
Eclectic is a solar, wind, and plug-in electric-powered "vehicle" making it [theoretically] energy autonomous. While solar vehicles are not new, this pioneering consumer production model may find a niche market. June 2007, priced starting at 24,000€. Summary.
Taking Open Source to the Next Level Linux? Firefox? Bah! German Markus Merz scoffs at these posers. Instead, he steps up to offer the OScar project, whose goal is to develop and build an open source *car*. While not in the same class as a Range Rover or Hummer, they hope to make something more simple and functional. This isn't the only example of hardware-based open source projects. Others include Zero Prestige, which designs kites and kite-powered vehicles, and Open Prosthetics, which offers free exchange of designs for prosthetic devices.
Is this BMW version what some were waiting for? I've heard about complaints on hybrid performance. BMW claims to be the best in performance. But did they miss the boat?
Stan Meyer invented a water powered car that estimates showed could travel from one US coast to the other on 22 gallons of water. He shows the in car in operation in this old news clip. So what ever happened to him? He died after eating at a restaurant on March 21, 1998. An autopsy report showed the cause of death to be poisoning.
The Worlds of David Darling. British astronomer and science writer David Darling has written over 10,000 articles for three massive online efforts: the Encyclopedia of Astrobiology, Astronomy, and Spaceflight, the Encyclopedia of Alternative Energy and Sustainable Living , and a related encyclopedia of concept vehicles. Though the diversity of entries can be eccentric, and some are quite short, the science seems solid: learn about the illicit corned beef sandwich of Gus Grissom, peruse a comprehensive set of advanced space propulsion concepts, and see a terrific illustrated listing of strange land and air vehicles (don't miss the Peel P50 microcar and the Volvo Gravity Car).
The Chickencar. Chickencar sightings. Chickencar Recovery Effort. Chickencar in days past? See also Artcar and Legocar.
Nikola Tesla lends his name to an electric car that can reach 60pmh in 4 seconds and travel 250 miles between charges. Early witnesses include Arnie and Wired. An old Tesla rumour is that he made his own back in the 1930s.
The Poor Man's Air Force: A History of the Car Bomb Part 1 & Part 2. Written by Mike Davis, the two-part essay argues that the first car bomb was actually a horse-drawn carriage filled with dynamite that Italian anarchists used to blow up Wall Street in 1920. (more inside)
AcceleRacers: Track Mod is a fun little Pipe-Dream-esque Flash game in which your object is to manipulate sections of track in order to get each of your six racecars to the finish line inside the time limit. Gets a lot harder as you go up in levels and more obstacles are added. Yes, it is a HotWheels game.
On June 15, 1957, a new gold and white 1957 Plymouth Belvedere Sport Coupe was buried in a time capsule in downtown Tulsa, OK. The car was entombed in a concrete vault beneath the then lawn of city hall as part of Tulsa's semi-centennial.The interment, forgotten by Chrysler Motors according to one report by a former employee, is sparking interest largely due to the fact that the car is scheduled to be exhumed on June 15, 2007 as part of Tulsa's centennial celebration. It was buried to establish the timelessness of Plymouth design, an assertion that has proven both ironically wrong and ironically right. Oh, the car goes to the person who correctly guessed the population of Tulsa in 2007 at the time the car was buried, or that person's heirs. The problem will be finding them.
Torch my ride! Debt-heavy consumers, finding their pocketbooks unable to support their monstrous gas-guzzlers, are apparently turning to perfectly rational and legal means of debt resolution: insurance fraud. Meanwhile, across the pond, people are are still immolating cars for the more traditional reason: destroying the evidence. Should you find yourself in either situation any time soon Slate has a handy guide for you. If you have no such plans however, you may still want to read this in case your car ignites legitimately. And have a damn good story ready.
Who killed the electric car? [flash] A documentary film (and flash website) about the mysterious demise of the electric car. The website contains a lot of information about the electric car and other alternative fuel cars in development. The film is coming to a theater near you, if you live in NY or LA. (Ok, actually a few other places.) Watch the trailer. [embedded qt]