Interesting and somewhat nostalgic look at the car industry with a particular focus on the car salesmen. The history of the car salesman is shorter than the history of the car, but perhaps by no more than a few weeks. (The invention of the car was only slightly more significant than the invention of the market for cars.) In fact, we have a fairly good idea of who that first car salesman was: John North Willys [more inside]
Late last night, a cyclist was killed in Toronto. "Ontario's former attorney general Michael Bryant ... will be charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death, a police source tells the Globe, after a collision left a 33-year-old cyclist dead." Accounts vary, but the sequence appears to be 1) Some collision and argument between the cyclist and the driver; 2) The cyclist grabs the driver's door and hangs on (or he may have been caught on the car accidentally) while the Saab convertible drives on; 3) The car drives into the opposite lane, across a construction zone, and the cyclist is battered against mailboxes and light posts; 4) The cyclist falls under the car's back wheels and is killed. [more inside]
The Merkel brothers are the grandsons of steam car makers and sons of an African art collector, and each have carried forward the love of collecting and an interest in cars from the previous generations. Henry Merkel is a recognized White expert, who continues to share knowledge of his family's productions and his knowledge of White steam cars has been published. Ben Merkel focused on collecting Checkered Cabs, and has has a love for peaceful rural junkyards. The youngest grandson of Walter White is Tom Merkel, and his love for collecting old cars outstrips his brothers by miles (print view). Somewhere in the Cuyama Valley, just outside of Los Padres National Forest land is his "car garden," which is also where the snowman that once adorned Santa Claus Lane now resides. His other love is 91+ year old cabin, which he indicates is "Santa Barbara's oldest cabin!" and a "Folk Art Magic Museum!" on the signs around the property, but which the Forest Service wants to tear down. [more inside]
Roadside Architecture. "I have been passionate about commercial architecture and roadside related things all my life. I grew up in California but New York City has been my home since 1980. I started this website in 2000 simply as a way to organize my own photos. Since then, it has become a bit of an obsession and grown to well over 1,000 pages." flickr. blog. [more inside]
Do you cheat? Do you have a car? Sorry.
Not that this is a surprise, but the planned congestion charging/public transport scheme in Manchester has been rejected. Perhaps those in favor of the charging should have spent less on their web sites; like the no-campaign people did. You know, with more primary colours and exclamation marks. Instead, they should have spent their money on shark costumes. [more inside]
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).