An industrial estate on the outskirts of a sleepy spa town in deepest Powys, Wales, may not strike you as the obvious place to find an ambitious little hydrogen vehicle maker with plans to revolutionise the way we power, drive, and own our cars.
Behold, the World's Fastest Log Car [Road and Track]
"THE FIRST TIME YOU SEE IT, your brain almost short circuits—nope, uh-uh, that's not real. But it is, and it is exactly what it looks like: a tree car. More specifically, it is a car made out of a western red cedar log with a concave mouth for a "grille", a wooden roll bar and wooden fenders, and a pair of turbines protruding from its rear. The thing looks ludicrous, like something a crazed Woody the Woodpecker would drive, or maybe a George Barris creation if he had ever gotten lost in the Pacific Northwest with an axe and a flask of whiskey. It gets better: The log car is rear-wheel drive, uses the mechanicals from a Mazda RX-7, and is powered by eight lithium-ion batteries. More than 500 pounds of them. Why? Why would someone do this, you might ask. And who? Who in the world would devote time to such a project? Also, what? What were they smoking? Must've been some potent stuff."
Max Verstappen drove his F1 car on a ski slope and didn't die. [YouTube]
We see Verstappen taking his Red Bull (of course) team race car and driving it up, down, and back up a ski slope. Somehow, the mix of studded tires, snow chains, and Verstappen's natural born talent keep the kid from flying off the mountain. (The super serious 9-minute one, seen directly above, is particularly full of beautiful, mind-boggling footage.) [The Verge]
I can see you've got discerning taste; perhaps a 1949 or a 1960 Jaguar? How about something in a sporty ragtop, like this 1960 Triumph TR-3, this 1965 Austin-Healey, or something in a 1976 Alfa Romeo? Something for the family? Or maybe something smaller? Or do you need something modern, like this 1981 DeLorean? [more inside]
A man takes his car for a drive through town. Stuff happens (SLYT).
In the early sixties, Chrysler built a concept car that included a turbine engine in a body built by Ghia. They provided the cars to families for extended test drives. The Olson family loved theirs. [more inside]
Driven to Kill. The "hit-to-kill" phenomenon in China where a driver who has accidentally struck a pedestrian will stop to run over them again, or multiple times, to ensure they are dead. Trigger warning for text descriptions of gruesome vehicular murder. Lots of links to photos and videos in the article that you should click at your own discretion.
Security researchers Charlie Miller (@0xcharlie) and Christopher Valasek (@nudehaberdasher) have found an exploit for Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system allowing for remote control of many vehicle functions including climate control, audio, braking, and under certain conditions, steering. They plan to release details during a talk at next month's DEFCON 23 hacking conference. Chrysler has already issued a patch for the vulnerability, but it requires a manual update.
The 1955 Ford "Beatnik Bubbletop" Custom goes up for auction. Frustrated by roof pillars blocking your line of sight when you shoulder check? Well your problems are solved. Powered by a 350-cubic-inch Chevy V8, the Beatnik lacks a blind spot completely. It previously went up for auction in 2011 - "“Chopit” started by completely removing the roof from a ’55 Ford. There’s not much left of the original Ford now. “Beatnik” rides on a modified ’88 Lincoln Town Car chassis." Separate bubble for noisy kids and/or mother-in-law not included.
Erwin Wurm just received a parking ticket in the city of Karlsruhe. Nothing to write home about, except for the fact that the offending object was one of his artworks. Austrian artist Erwin Wurm has become famous for bending, inflating and twisting cars, trucks and camper-vans in the name of art.
Mods for GTA 5 are everywhere, but this could be the best yet. Watch the "Vehicle Cannon" wreak havoc on buildings, people, other cars... Two videos within. One NSFW.
“From the beginning, the Le Sabre was conceived as Harley Earl’s personal automobile, and Earl held a (generally accurate) belief that if he liked something, the American public would also like it.” Sleek, airplane inspired, and innovative, the 1951 GM Le Sabre is often held to be the most influential concept car of the 20th Century. [more inside]
It wasn’t easy to buy a car in the Soviet Union. Usually, the first thing to do was to sign up on a decade-long waiting list to register your interest in owning a vehicle. Secondly, you needed to save what was then a huge sum of money; a new Zaphorozhets cost the equivalent of about 30 times the average monthly salary. A few people found a different way, however – assembling cars with their own hands. [more inside]
Lost your car? This might help. Just "do the damned experiment".
Tom Magliozzi, one of public radio's most popular personalities, died on Monday of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 77 years old. Tom was one half of Click and Clack (The Tappet Brothers) on NPR's popular Car Talk. [more inside]
Hey, remember when Oprah gave everyone in her audience a new car (previously)? It was ten years ago tomorrow.
Sure, Seinfeld has expensive cars to shepherd the successful comedians around in. But Kristen Bartlett and Jason Gore get it done in a 2003 Toyota Echo.
The closure of the Hindustan Motors factory in Uttarapara, West Bengal, is the end of an era in Indian history. The Ambassador is the perfect example of all that was wrong with Indian policy towards industrialization, manufacturing and business. Protectionism and the license raj created a seller's market where people waited years to buy a car. Until liberalization in the 1990s, the Amby hadn't known any real competition, and there was no pressure to either modernize or improve quality. None of this mattered, at least we had a car. And there wasn't any other quite like it in the world. RIP, motor gadi.
In his new book Ciphers, German photographer Christopher Gielen (previously) reveals haunting images of our endlessly repetitive development through aerial views of American urban sprawl. [more inside]
Camille Lepage, a 26 year old photojournalist who dedicated her burgeoning career to reporting what the media seemed to ignore, was killed Tuesday while on assignment documenting the conflict in Central African Republic. As well as some amazing photography from her most recent work in CAR, Lepage worked in South Sudan on stories about young men drawn into the war, birth in a refugee camp, and less formal photography on instagram.
Volvo Blå: A Swede named PonyHans wants you to Buy His Volvo. [SLYT]
To Kill a Child, by Stig Dagerman (Wikipedia). Translated by Steven Hartman. For a meager fee of seventy-five kronor Dagerman was commissioned by the National Society for Road Safety to write a cautionary tale as part of a campaign designed to get Swedish motorists to slow down on highways when speeding was becoming an increasingly difficult social issue with serious consequences for public safety. What could have been an ephemeral and gimmicky work of public service fiction became perhaps the greatest short short story in the history of Swedish letters, for in this tale Dagerman took the simple redressing of a particular social problem as the starting point rather than as an end in itself and out of these mundane materials created a poignant tale of choice, chance, and human loss that rises to the highest levels of art, literary balance, and philosophical concision.
"With the exception of a tank, this is the most capable production vehicle on the planet." [more inside]
"Replace the paint of your car and accessories with reflective material" is the first of several suggestions from TriMore, a brilliant parody of the "Be Seen, Be Safe" campaign from TriMet, provider of public transit for Portland, OR. [more inside]
Lewis Lehe created an interactive graphic that shows what happens when one driver brakes in traffic
"I felt the only way to make any progress with the project was to make a clay model to show Katayama-san, gain his support, and ask him, as the President of Nissan USA, to push for the model's development."
The Datsun 240-Z In The Styling Studio
Concept To Reality 1965 to 1968
The Datsun 240-Z In The Styling Studio
Concept To Reality 1965 to 1968
An animated comic that tries to capture what it was like to fall asleep in the car at night as a child. (via)
Das Auto - the British Obsession with Germany and it's industrial Power continues (recent MeFi Discussion here) - while Top Gear tries to show with a Tribute that British Car Manufacturing is still alive and kicking.
South Carolina wants to switch to digital license plates that will display messages related to the driver's eligibility to operate a vehicle. In 2010, California considered using similar technology to display advertising.
Ken Imhoff wanted a Lamborghini Countach, but didn't have the money to buy one. So, over the next 17 years, he built one in his basement.
"Toby Hockley was on the 100-mile Boudicca Sportive ride in Norfolk when he says he was struck by a car and flung into a hedge. The driver didn't stop. Hockley emerged from the hedge, sore but intact. It sounds like a run-of-the-mill depressing incident from the UK's roads. But the shocking part came later. A young woman tweeted: "Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier. I have right of way - he doesn't even pay road tax! #Bloodycyclists."" [more inside]
Hello. DJ Flula (who's commentary on English idioms was discussed previously on MeFi) has discarded the conventional wisdom that the best place to make your recordings is the bathroom, choosing instead to record in cars. [more inside]
Consumer Reports says the Tesla Model S is a truly remarkable car.
The Monopoly game has used the same 8 "base tokens" (car, thimble, boot, scotty dog, battleship, top hat, iron, wheelbarrow) since the 1950s (with a few extras added to "Deluxe Editions"), and since it's been 15 minutes since Parker Brothers' last promotion, they're doing internet voting at their Facebook page to "SAVE YOUR TOKEN". In "American Idol" style, the one with the fewest votes will be replaced by the top-vote-getter among 5 "New Tokens" (robot with mustache, big-ass diamond ring, cat, helicopter, awkwardly-balanced guitar). So far, Scottie Dog has a third of the votes (take THAT, cat people), while Whellbarrow and Absurdly-Oldfashioned-Iron are bringing up the rear. VOTE DAILY to support your favorite "chocking hazard for under 3 yrs. old"
"You probably don't think of your car as a developer platform, but Mike Rosack did."
Cargo bikes, long a mainstay in the Netherlands and emerging as an automotive alternative in the U.S. (via bike-friendly Portland), come in many flavors: Longtails, longjohns, cycle trucks, porteurs, trikes and the traditional Dutch bakfiet. Will a cargo bike transform your life?
Hey! Do you like auto racing? Perhaps you’ve wished to see a race featuring a Ford 150 pickup body mounted backwards on a Crown Vic chassis. Or maybe a two-stroke/three-cylinder powerhouse 1967 Saab, complete with Antarctic emergency airdrop sled mounted to the roof. Or even a totally ludicrous self-powered pop-out camper. [more inside]