Sarah Palin is allowed first dibs on Alaskan wolfpack kills.

calendar   Thursday - June 18, 2009

Runs Much Better Now, Thanks

$40 and a cup of coffee


I finally got around to replacing the oxygen sensors in my Saturn. For the past several months I’ve had the Check Engine light coming on once in a while. Since I own one of those OBDC readers, I’ve been able to get the codes and clear them. It’s always been a P0133 or a P0138. Both of these are low voltage readings on the oxygen sensors. Lately I’ve been getting those codes almost every time I drove anywhere, so I knew it was time to replace the sensors. And my gas mileage has been the pits. Seriously. 25mpg on the tank, from a 2.0 liter rebuilt engine with only 25K miles on it? No, that ain’t right.

So I ordered the sensors. I got the good ones from Bosch, though all the brands cost a similar amount. Yikes, $160 delivered. I managed to get the little front one installed myself, since it screws right into the exhaust manifold on the front of the engine. The big one though was a right pain. That guy screws into the exhaust pipe just behind the catalytic converter. And since the car is 13 years old with 186,000 miles on it, it’s pretty rusty under there. To say nothing of all the heat shield flanges that get in the way, or the fact that I can only jack the car up perhaps a foot, which isn’t enough to apply enough leverage to unscrew the old sensor.

The problem quite probably was only with the front sensor. As soon as I put that one in the Check Engine lights went away, the car ran a whole lot better, and gas mileage went way up. But I’d bought both, so I might as well put both in. I took the car down to the neighborhood garage this morning, and I got there as the owner Pete was opening the doors. I brought coffee. He put the car up on the lift and took a look, and found out that the “bung” - the mounting boss on the exhaust pipe, which is nothing more than a nut welded over a hole - had mostly rusted away. Wrenching hard on that would have torn it right off the pipe. Not cool. So he used his favorite tool, a “hot wrench” ( aka welding torch ) to roast the bung good and hot, and the old sensor came right off. In and out in 15 minutes. Cost me $40, which was exactly how much cash I had in my wallet. I counted it out to him and showed him my empty wallet. “Well” he goes, “that means I’ve done my job properly.” Wise guy. LOL

So the whole task cost me $200. But I figure my mileage will jump up to 33-35mpg on the tank, which means ... I’ll actually be saving money in about 5 months. And of course, not burning out my catalytic converter by flooding it with overly rich exhaust. And I’m certain my car’s emissions will improve. Cool. Going Green as a side effect.

As part of the “new economy” folks are keeping their cars longer. That means more maintenance over the years. Oxygen sensors have a HUGE impact in how much gas your vehicle uses, and how much it pollutes, but they don’t last forever. Most of them have a 100,000 mile service interval at best. This pair lasted nearly twice that long.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/18/2009 at 10:57 AM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (3) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Wednesday - June 10, 2009

Bigger, Faster, Higher

Speaking of slightly old stories about things that fly through the air ...

Predator? Old school.

Reaper? Bigger, but already dated.

Latest Attack Drone: Enter the Avenger

April 23, 2009

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI), maker of the famous Predator and Reaper unmanned warplanes, has taken the wraps off a new and still more powerful kill-robot - the “Avenger”. The company says that first flights have been conducted successfully this month.

The Avenger, also known as Predator-C, has been developed with GA-ASI’s own money, as was the successful Reaper (Predator-B) before it. GA-ASI’s philosophy is to build what the company thinks the US military will actually need for operations, rather than trying to build what the services say they want.

Now comes the Avenger, upgraded to jet propulsion and offering some Stealth features. GA-ASI say that it is “more survivable in higher threat environments” and say that it “will have higher operational and transit speeds than current Predator-series aircraft, resulting in fast response and rapid repositioning”.

The firm promises 400-knot airspeeds and a 60,000-foot ceiling using the Pratt & Whitney PW545B turbofan (the same used in the Cessna Citation XLS biz jet). The Avenger can be flown using the same control stations as its predecessors, and “can carry the same mix of weapons as Predator B” - that is, laser-guided Hellfire missiles or Paveway/JDAM smartbombs. It will also be suitable for carrying any of the various advanced sensors - ground-sweeping radars, thermal imagers, multiplex Argus spyeyes, mobile-phone sniffers etc. - nowadays so popular for airborne surveillance. It’s a biggish brute, 41 feet long and with a 66-foot wingspan - comparable in size to an F-15 fighter plane, but wide rather than long.


Gorgeous. Straight out of Star Wars

I’d say it’s the best looking Avenger since ... Mrs. Peel.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/10/2009 at 09:58 PM   
Filed Under: • Militaryplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobilesWar On Terror •  
Comments (2) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Monday - June 01, 2009

Eulogy For A Forgotten Friend

a motorized cup holder

PJ O’Rourke writes on the death of the automobile; it died from a broken heart.

The fate of Detroit isn’t a matter of financial crisis, foreign competition, corporate greed, union intransigence, energy costs or measuring the shoe size of the footprints in the carbon. It’s a tragic romance—unleashed passions, titanic clashes, lost love and wild horses.

A knight in ancient Rome was bluntly called “guy on horseback,” Equesitis. Chevalier means the same, as does Cavalier. Lose the capitalization and the dictionary says, “insouciant and debonair; marked by a lofty disregard of others’ interests, rights, or feelings; high-handed and arrogant and supercilious.” How cool is that?

For the purpose of ennobling us schlubs, the car is better than the horse in every way. Even more advantageous than cost, convenience and not getting kicked and smelly is how much easier it is to drive than to ride.

America’s romantic foolishness with cars is finished, however, or nearly so. In the far boondocks a few good old boys haven’t got the memo and still tear up the back roads. Doubtless the Obama administration’s Department of Transportation is even now calculating a way to tap federal stimulus funds for mandatory OnStar installations to locate and subdue these reprobates.

Among certain youths—often first-generation Americans—there remains a vestigial fondness for Chevelle low-riders or Honda “tuners.” The pointy-headed busybodies have yet to enfold these youngsters in the iron-clad conformity of cultural diversity’s embrace.

Love, lust, passion, and uniqueness all gave way to soulless utilitarian practicality. So the automobile market was taken over by the masters of mass-market boredom. The Toyota Camry. The Chrysler Town & Country. In our choice of several unexciting colors. But you can pick from either of these option group packages! Boring. Now let’s only give you one choice of transmission. Automatic of course. And we’ll develop automatic parking. And automatic braking. And built in TV sets and iPod holders. Anything and everything to remove you from the actual experience of driving, because that would require your involvement and some skill. And be enjoyable. Can’t have that. You are a drone, engaged in a mindless task. No clutch for you. Behave. Get in line. Think the right way. Go green. Don’t question Teh One. Ever.

I’ve always been a car junkie. Over the past decade or two I’ve tried to extend that passion to include SUVs and minivans too. It hasn’t been easy. There is no individuality any more. Every car on the road looks either exactly like a VW Passat, or damn close to it. At least pickup trucks have a little bit of brand shaping, but not a whole lot. You’ve seen the Audi ads on TV lately a)where the woman goes into panic mode in the parking garage because every single vehicle is a champagne colored minivan, and b)where the school kids are all confused because every parent there to pick them up after school is driving the same champagne colored minivan? It’s too true. Well ... kudos to the one actual remaining automotive individualist I saw on the road the other day ... driving a Saab 9-7X Aero. A what??? That’s a $50,000 SUV, made by Saab, that comes with all the goodies, handles like a sports car, and has a 366 cubic inch 400hp/400ft-lb V8 engine under the hood. I didn’t even know the damn thing existed. I didn’t even know Saab made an SUV of any kind. Only one I’ve ever seen. Heck, I don’t even know where a Saab dealer is, and we have car dealerships out the wazoo right here in my corner of NJ. They’re everywhere.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/01/2009 at 10:32 AM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (5) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Monday - May 18, 2009


I guess some have seen this. Is that correct?
I just got it from an old friend who knows how crazy I can get over stuff like this.
Wow .. I’d love to fly in that thing but I’m not so sure I’d like it as a car.  Of course, MY idea of a car is a candy apple red Caddy.  A Vet, Hudson Hornet, Hollywood coup. 1937 Cord 2Dr. Convt., I better quit here cuz my list is endless.

I saw something like this around 1949 or so. Maybe 1950.  Saw it in an old newsreel.  I miss those. The voice of Dwight Weist. Not sure of the spelling and not even sure if he was the one who presented the story back then. But it’s a name I remember from the old movietone newsreel days in theaters.


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 05/18/2009 at 04:25 PM   
Filed Under: • MiscellaneousNeat Inventionsplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (3) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Thursday - April 09, 2009

Retro, but not retro enough

Peiper and I must be having some kind of trans-Atlantic synergy. He puts up a post on old planes and cars, just as I’m finishing off an eye candy post on the new Chevrolet Camaro. Buy one now, just in case GM goes out of business halfway through the model year. You’ll probably never see vehicles made like this again.

Semi Retro Camaro Ready For Sale

I remember going to the dealership with my folks when I was a little kid. Another one of our VW Beetles had given up the ghost and it was time for a new car. When we visited the Chevy agency down in Park Ridge NJ, I gravitated to the 1967 Camaro RS like iron filings to a magnet. As a 7 year old, the only practical aspects I could see was that the car was not very large, it had a much roomier back seat than the VW, and it had an actual trunk in the back, where the trunk belonged, unlike the Beetle’s oddball front storage area that was hidden back behind the spare tire and under the bendy, comma shaped hood. “What’s a 350 Daddy?” But I was in love with the look. I might have been in 2nd grade, but I knew automotive art when I saw it.


1967 Camaro

Alas, it was not to be. In an era when gas cost 18¢ per gallon, and maybe 22¢ for 105 octane premium, my father was obsessed with fuel efficiency. So what we wound up with was a robin’s egg blue VW Fastback. With it’s ultra-potent 1600cc carbureted engine that made perhaps 62hp. But hey, that was Raw Power compared to the Beetle.

1967 VW Fastback

This was actually an amazing car. It had a trunk in the front, a huge trunk in the rear, it sat 4 people in comfort with reasonable leg room, it handled well, and could cruise the highways at 75mph, which the smaller engined VWs were hard pressed to do. Plus the back windows were made of flexible glass that could be opened by bending them outwards with a little chrome lever. There was room enough inside for 2 adults, 2 growing boys, a 20lb dog with flatulence, a Coleman cooler, and a picnic basket. And even packed to the gills with camping stuff, including a huge cartop carrier holding a 110lb tent, with an 18 foot Grumman canoe on top of that, it could still drive from downstate NY to the coast of Maine and only need to stop for gas once. And it did that year after year after year. VW, and my dad, were 40 years ahead of their time with this car; just compare the look of the thing to the Passat that VW sells today. They don’t quite look like clones, but you can certainly see the family resemblance. Just add another set of doors and push the Porsche 911 style front fenders down into the body panels.

But I digress. I was just doing a bit of rationalizing to placate a childhood disappointment. I thought it utterly sucked that we bought yet another Volkswagen. Everyone was driving cars 9 feet wide and 30 feet long. What the hell were we doing driving this Matchbox™? [Heck, in those pre-PC days, complete strangers would actually question your patriotism to your face for driving an import.]

So Chevy continued to make the lovely Camaro for many years. The first body style only lasted until 1970, but it was always a razor sharp design.


1969 Camaro SS 396

Then Chevy came out with the new design, which was fat and bloated by comparison. I won’t post pics. That shape lasted about a decade, until we got the 80s Wedge version in 1982. Somewhere around 1993 a 4th generation appeared, but to me it looked like a slightly melted 80s Wedge. And at some point in the 90s sales faltered, and by 2002 Camaros were no more. Chevy made billions of these cars in the 80s and 90s it seemed. If you were a young guy, you drove a Camaro. Pretty much Period. Although some guys had Mustangs. But the pointy little things were everywhere, until the market was beyond saturated. And now most of them have rotted away, and most of us have forgotten what a trampy-chick-car the V6 Camaros of that era were. So now, since everything old is new again, Chevy is bringing the old car back to life, by kind of going back to their roots and giving us a 21st century futuristic take on the original 1960s look. But with all the modern goodies, including a place to plug in your iPod. Oh, and more horsepower than could be had back then, plus it corners, stops, rides nice, runs without problems, and even gets decent gas mileage. All of which makes for an amazing car ... but to me it looks like a plastic pretender. Maybe they should go back to enamel paint and chrome edge strips? The new Camaro just doesn’t seem retro enough. And even the V6 version has plenty of get-up-and-go, whether you’re a trampy chick or not.

imageimage takes a look and a test drive, and comes away with a rather positive impression.

Memories are a funny thing. They color life’s past, tending to make the good better or the bad even worse. Memories certainly affect what we believe regarding cars, too. Those of us who grew up with pony and muscle cars likely recall their explosive thrust and intoxicating exhaust note. These reminiscences cloud the truths of weak brakes, wallowing suspensions, and recirculating-ball steering gears better suited to trucks than performance cars.

The new Camaro makes peace with our memories. The newest member of the pony car clan is what we hoped the old cars were, but weren’t.

As for pony power? No worries. Chevy has you covered with either the spirited V6 with it’s 304hp or the fire breathing V8s - your choice of either 400hp or 426hp, depending on whether you choose the automatic or manual transmission [the baddest engine comes with the manual, just like it did back in the 60s]

Drivers who know what a third pedal is will vastly prefer the V-6/ six-speed manual combo. It begs to be driven like a Nissan 370Z or an Infiniti G37 Coupe. The V-6 revs willingly to its 6400 rpm horsepower peak and doesn’t redline until seven grand. The lightweight engine helps the car feel smaller than it is. The shift linkage moves directly through its gates with throws that are short enough. The linkage isn’t perfect because it lacks that mechanical magic some gearboxes possess, but it works well enough. According to Chevy, the V-6/manual Camaro will bump into its electronic speed limiter at 155 mph.

The V-8 Attitude
Be warned, torque is an addictive drug, so use with caution. Under its influence you’ll be drawn to deserted cul de sacs to perform ruckus doughnuts that produce so much tire smoke that squirrels will be smoked out from surrounding trees. We know. It happened to us, and we were plenty thankful for the 6.2-liter V-8’s soft rev limiter. The engine is so powerful that once the tires break loose, the tach swings toward the red faster than you can say, “We need to leave now.”
Full-on accelerations runs recall fond memories of Camaros past when big-block power rocketed the primitive cars forward. While the sounds may be similar, the LS3 roars mightily but comes across more refined than anything you could have driven back in the day.

This sounds like a great car. So if you can afford to buy a car just for the fun of it, this sounds like a great choice. Just keep a 1967 VW Fastback out in the barn for when it snows or rains, or when you need to be practical and fuel efficient.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/09/2009 at 01:13 PM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (7) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Saturday - March 14, 2009

Let’s All Kick The Weak Horse

What was that about a manufactured international crisis again?

Cuba, Venezuela invite Russian bombers to move in

A Russian Air Force chief said Saturday that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has offered an island as a temporary base for strategic Russian bombers, the Interfax news agency reported.

The chief of staff of Russia’s long range aviation, Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, also said Cuba could be used to base the aircraft, Interfax reported.

The Kremlin, however, said the situation was hypothetical.

“The military is speaking about technical possibilities, that’s all,” Alexei Pavlov, a Kremlin official, told The Associated Press. “If there will be a development of the situation, then we can comment,” he said.

Zhikharev said Chavez had offered “a whole island with an airdrome, which we can use as a temporary base for strategic bombers,” the agency reported. “If there is a corresponding political decision, then the use of the island ... by the Russian Air Force is possible.”

Interfax reported he said earlier that Cuba has air bases with four or five runways long enough for the huge bombers and could be used to host the long-range planes.

Two Russian bombers landed in Venezuela last year in what experts said was the first Western Hemisphere touchdown of Russian military craft since the end of the Cold War.


The Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bomber flies higher, further, and faster than a jet airliner


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/14/2009 at 09:38 AM   
Filed Under: • Internationalplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobilesPolitics •  
Comments (5) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Saturday - January 17, 2009

Autmotive Autopilot gets one step closer

Idiot Drivers Rejoice!

Volvo Brings “City Safety” technology to market

Does system allows for “safe” tailgating?

Add this to the self parking Lexus technology, along with the amazing sensor arrays built in to today’s cars, plus the whole “wired” thing with the GPS, DVD, iPod, LoJack, etc., that already exists. Will self directing cars be that far in the future? Tell your dashboard where you want to go, and the car drives itself. At the most efficient speed of course, but also driving around traffic and potholes, while reporting your position and blood alcohol content to the government every 15 seconds. Because driving a car is such an unpleasant and difficult thing, and you might speed or waste gas by excessive idling. It’s for your own good you know. But for now we’ll sell you your loss of freedom incrementally, and we’ll do it in the name of safety and convenience. And you’ll clamor for it, every step of the way.

Volvo has announced more innovative safety technology – a unique ‘City Safety’ system that could help drivers avoid 50 per cent of all rear-end, low speed accidents that often happen in urban environments or slow moving traffic. Statistics reveal that 75 per cent of all reported collisions occur at low speeds of up to 30 km/h (18.7 mph). The Volvo system, called ‘City Safety’, is active up to 30 km/h and keeps a watchful eye on traffic up to six metres in front of the car with the help of an optical radar system integrated into the upper part of the windscreen. If a car in front suddenly brakes or is stationary, the system will automatically pre-charge the brakes to help the driver avoid an accident by slowing down in time, or steering away from a potential collision. However, if a collision is imminent, the system will activate the car’s brakes automatically.

“The system offers benefits to all involved. For the occupants of the car in front, the risk of whiplash injuries is avoided or reduced, plus it can help reduce or even eliminate the cost of repairs to both vehicles,” says Ingrid Skogsmo, director of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre.

The system runs a calculation 50 times per second to determine what braking speed is needed to avoid a collision based on the distance to the object in front and the car’s own speed. If the calculated braking force exceeds a given level without the driver responding, the danger of a collision is considered imminent and ‘City Safety’ helps avoid or reduce the consequences of a collision by automatically activating the car’s brakes and reducing the throttle.

The ‘City Safety’ system works equally well day or night, but will have the same limitations as any other radar systems, so can be limited by fog, mist, snow or heavy rain. If the sensor on the windscreen is obscured by dirt or snow the driver is alerted via the car’s information display.

“It is important to emphasize that the system does not absolve the driver from driving with adequate safety margins in order to avoid collisions. The automatic braking function is only activated when the system assesses that a collision is imminent. The system then steps in to limit the consequences of the imminent collision or, in some cases, totally avoid it,” explains Ingrid Skogsmo.

The ‘City Safety’ system should be available within two years. However, Volvo recently introduced Collision Warning and Brake Support (CWABS) active safety systems with the all-new Volvo S80, which also help to avoid and reduce damage and injuries from collisions. These systems alert the driver via audible and visual signals if the gap to the car in front is reducing so quickly that an impact is likely. It automatically pre-charges the braking system so that braking is as effective as possible in an emergency situation but doesn’t offer full auto-braking.

Volvo is doing a big promotion across the country as it enters the luxury, performance-oriented, small SUV/crossover market with their new XC60. Two Parallel Tours will cross the country with more than 85 events, giving customers the opportunity to see the new XC60 before it goes on sale at dealerships and experience “City Safety” - Volvo’s most extensive safety package ever.

This technology is being promoted across the US under Volvo’s From Sweden with Löv ad campaign. Check it out, and see it in action at a Volvo dealer near you!

I think it’s a great idea. There are too many bad drivers on the road, and far too many who are not paying attention. But I spent my youth on motorcycles, so I have a different perspective: pay absolute attention to everything around you at all times while driving, or die. That’s the motorcycle choice. As far as I’m concerned, the folks who need automatic parking, automatic braking, GPS, traction control, drive by wire, CVT transmissions, and all the rest ... probably should be taking the bus. Not that I’d hesitate to have any of these features on my ride. I just don’t want them to get to the point where they stop me from doing what I want to do.

PS - while on the subject of cars, what gives with the price of gas? It’s shot up 25 cents in the past couple weeks, yet the price of crude is still at historic lows. ($36.51/bbl) Demand is down more than any decrease in production. Maybe the Gaza situation? But they don’t have any oil!! Pirates? They only got 1 tanker, and they let that one go already. Confused and miffed here.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/17/2009 at 01:53 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and Discoveriesplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (3) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Wednesday - January 07, 2009

The amazing tin can bomber made by British pilot in Great Escape POW camp.  AMAZING IS RIGHT!

Awesome, isn’t it?  Wow.  Be sure to look at the other photos at the link.
Must have been one tough and determined soldier.  And very talented as well.

You really need to read this.  Can’t understand how or why this was hidden away for so long. What a great bit of history!
Take a look too at his drawings of the camp and actual photo of the camp.

The amazing tin can bomber made by British pilot in Great Escape POW camp
Last updated at 4:59 PM on 07th January 2009

Skillfully crafted from tin cans, matchsticks and off cuts, one can only imagine the satisfaction a prisoner of war derived from finishing this stunning model aircraft as he languished in Stalag Luft III.

Constructed almost perfectly to scale, his detailed version of a Lancaster Bomber like the one he flew before his capture even bears what appears to be the skull and crossbones logo of RAF 100 Squadron, famous for its night-time raids.

Little is known about its maker, other than that he was an airman named E Taylor.


The model was found during a clearance sale at house in the south of England along with his prison camp diary, in which he had drawn a map of where his plane was shot down over Hungary on August 28, 1944.

He was incarcerated in the prisoner of war camp in Sagan, 100 miles south-east of Berlin, during its strictest regime, having arrived there only months after the ‘Great Escape’ when 76 Allied airmen made an audacious bid for freedom.  Only three made it home and 50 were executed by the Gestapo.

The pilot’s model shows how prisoners were determined to keep their spirits up despite being made to go on forced marches and fed only meagre rations.

His diary includes morale-boosting songs, along with sketches of the camp so detailed they show the prisoners’ sleeping arrangements and clothes hanging on a washing line. In it, he tells of his harsh treatment at the hands of his captors, referred to as the ‘goons’.

Describing how he and his fellow prisoners were given an hour’s notice before one forced march, he wrote: ‘The first day we covered 20km. The ice on the roads was good and we pulled our kit along on homemade sleigh.

‘Tired and hungry we put up at a school for the night. Next day. Until now no food was given us by the goons and it was hard going on the roads.
‘We covered about 20km during the day and spent the night in a church it is pouring with rain.’

Elsewhere he writes: ‘We got in the gates and an air raid started. There was panic by the goons and it was early morn when they searched us and put us in blocks.

‘This is one of the unhealthy and dirtiest places I had seen. We are starving there is practically no food. Our food for the day consists of 3 slices of bread and a cup of soup, there is no need to say more.’

The model and diary are due to be auctioned in Ludlow, Shrosphire, later this month. Richard Westwood-Brookes, historical documents expert at at Mullocks Auctioneers said the plane is the finest example of ‘trench art’ he has ever seen.

He said: ‘The model is beautifully slotted together and is constructed of a lot of different sections, which require some skill.

‘While the main body is made out of wood, the moving propellors are fashioned by materials from a tin can and the cockpit section from glass or some kind of resin.

‘Matchsticks underneath form the guns on the plane and the model is completed with realistic camouflage colouring. He will have managed to have got the paints whilst doing the painting duties around the camp.

‘The guards will have let this kind of thing happen because the more time the prisoners were doing things like that, the less time they were spending on trying to escape.’

Mr Westwood-Brookes added: ‘The model and diary just shows the remarkable spirit of the British troops. Mr Taylor has certainly left us with a fine legacy of his courage.’



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 01/07/2009 at 12:32 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesHistoryplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobilesUK •  
Comments (0) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Friday - January 02, 2009


I have never been an auto mechanic or mechanically inclined.  But I have always been car crazy.  I love the older ones especially.  Like the 37 CORD.
I’m gonna stop here because if I start naming all the cars I am mad for, the list might get too long to read.

I once bought two cars at once because I couldn’t make my mind up between two different makes. I see em as mobile sculptures. Some are works of art too.
You may not agree but I think the 62, 63 and 64 T-Birds are classics. I had a 62 and a 64. Not at the same time though.  Hey, once upon a distant past I was young, single, not too smart about money and let me tell you, credit was sooooooooo eeeeeasssssssssssssy to get in So. Calif. and especially for cars.
Another time folks.
Would I do that again today if the wife’d let me?
YOU BETCHA!  CARS,CAMERAS,COMPUTERS!  Oh yeah ... BOOKS!  Tons of books.

The eccentric uncle who left a garage in his will… containing a $10 MILLION Bugatti supercar

By Chris Brooke
Last updated at 11:44 PM on 01st January 2009

When eccentric doctor and compulsive hoarder Harold Carr died at the age of 89, his relatives faced a daunting task to sort through his possessions.

His home was packed with piles of medical machinery, 1,500 beer steins, thousands of receipts and even a World War Two spy drone.

But all the effort became worth it when they opened the door of his garage - and struck gold.


Inside they found a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante, one of only 17 ever made.

The historic automobile with only 26,284 miles on the clock still has 99 per cent of its original parts.

It will be sold in Paris next month and is strongly tipped to surpass the £4.7million world record for a car at auction.

Auctioneers have put a reserve price of £3million on a two-seater described as one of the ‘ultimate road-going sports cars from the golden era of the 1930s’.

And despite the credit crunch it could fetch anything up to £6million.

Fifteen of the 17 Type 57S Atalantes still exist. This particular model was originally owned by Earl Howe, a leading figure in the early days of British motor sport.

It has a 3.3-litre, eightcylinder engine, four- speed manual gearbox, can reach 60mph in ten seconds and has a top speed of 130mph.

Dr Carr, an orthopaedic surgeon who served as an army doctor during World War Two and also became a keen flier, bought the vehicle in 1955 for £895 - the equivalent of £15,500 today.

He drove it for a few years before leaving it in the garage near his home at Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne. The last tax disc expired in December 1960.

He never married and eight relatives are to share the proceeds of his estate.

A nephew, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: ‘We knew he had some cars, but we had no idea what they were.

‘It was a bit of local folklore that he had a Bugatti, but no one knew for sure. It’s worth so much because he hasn’t used it for 50 years. It was one of the original supercars.

‘When it was built it could reach 130mph at a time when other cars could only do 50mph. Of course we are delighted and we’re going to make sure the money is shared out among the family. It’s a wonderful thing to leave.’

He described his uncle as ‘a very eccentric old gent’, adding: ‘I suppose you could call him a mad doctor. People who saw him in the street thought he was a tramp. He would wear two pairs of trousers at the same time.


‘All the children would laugh at him in the street when he tinkered with his cars because he wore a piece of rubber tube round his head to stop the oil getting in his hair. But he was always such a generous man.’

In his later years Dr Carr suffered from a form of obsessive compulsive disorder and hoarded everything in the house he refused to leave.

Files were piled 6ft high at his detached home, including even receipts for pencils bought in the 1950s.

‘Since he died, it has taken me 18 months to get where I am today,’ said the nephew.  ‘There was an awful lot to sort out with his house.’


A classic Aston Martin was found in another garage and sold for ‘tens of thousands’, but an E-type Jaguar was in such a poor state that it had to be scrapped.

Over the years Dr Carr resisted many offers to buy the Bugatti.

When his property was cleared dozens of notes from would-be buyers were found inside.

‘People must have known because he got letters from all over the country,’ his nephew said.

‘He got notes pushed through his door. People travelled from all over to try and convince him to sell the car.’


James Knight, international head of the Bonhams motoring department, said Dr Carr’s Bugatti was ‘one of the last great barn discoveries’.

He added: ‘I have known of this Bugatti for a number of years and, like a select group of others, hadn’t dared divulge its whereabouts to anyone. It offers a truly rewarding project to the new owner - who will join a select list of distinguished owners - to play such an integral part in bringing this wonderful motor car back to life.’

The current auction record of £4.7million was paid in 1987 in London for another Bugatti, a 1931 Royale.




Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 01/02/2009 at 11:20 AM   
Filed Under: • Eye-Candyplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (4) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Friday - December 12, 2008

Bailout Bucks, One Way Or The Other

The eviiil Bush White House is planning to take a big pile of that $700 billion for the stock market and give it to the auto makers. So even though the Detroit bailout failed at the legislative level, the executive level will make sure they get some money.

This reminds me of voting on school budgets in NJ. They get voted down, but the town councils approve them anyway. The will of the people be damned.

After the Senate refused to pass a rescue bill for the U.S.  auto industry that was endorsed by President Bush and congressional Democrats, the Treasury Department said Friday it is ready to prevent the collapse of Detroit’s Big Three carmakers.

“Because Congress failed to act, we will stand ready to prevent an imminent failure until Congress reconvenes and acts to address the long-term viability of the industry,” Treasury spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin told that no decision has been made yet and wouldn’t speculate on when one would be reached. But sources close to the discussions told that a decision could be made as early as next week.

The White House said Friday it would consider using money in the Wall Street bailout fund to help the automakers.

“The current weakened state of the economy is such that it could not withstand a body blow like a disorderly bankruptcy in the auto industry,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said.

In further news on this topic, the UAW is blaming the Republicans for the bill’s failure. Which ignores the truth completely, that it was the UAW’s refusal to comprimise and set a schedule that caused the bill to collapse.

Bush’s Republican Senate allies said the bill failed because of a dispute with US autoworkers unions on the timing of bringing their wages in line with those paid by foreign automakers to non-unionized workers in US states.

But why let something so silly as the facts get in the way?

The head of the United Auto Workers union lashed out Friday at Senate Republicans—Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, in particular—blaming them for scuttling the $14 billion auto bailout package approved earlier in the week by the House.

GOP objections stalled the measure in the Senate Thursday night. Republicans put pressure on the powerful autoworkers union as they tried to squeeze out concessions in exchange for their support.

“This was just simply subterfuge on the part of the minority in the Republican Party who wanted to tear down any agreement that we came up with,” UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said at a press conference, declaring “the auto industry around the world is in peril.”

Intense negotiations broke down over the union’s refusal to meet GOP demands for wage cuts. Corker, the architect of the Republican counterproposal to the House-approved bill, told FOX News that negotiators were “just three words away from a deal.”

But Gettelfinger said Republicans were holding the union to a “double standard” and trying to applying an undue burden on their workers.

He questioned whether Republicans had an ulterior motive, but said the union was nevertheless willing to negotiate.

Well gosh, so glad you’re “willing”. What was it that you were doing the other day, when this whole mess failed?

I think the time for unions has passed in America. Not just in the auto industry, but everywhere. Especially for teachers and government workers. Throw them all out.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/12/2008 at 03:07 PM   
Filed Under: • Big Businessplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (3) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Wednesday - December 10, 2008

Get one now if you can

An evening spent surfing, comparing and taking notes lead to an interesting conclusion: the sporty cars available today perform just as well as the best of the late 60s muscle cars, and are nearly the same size and weight. Plus they get double the gas mileage, give off just about no emissions, actually stop and turn corners, are many times safer in accidents, and they don’t rust or break down. We’ve come a long way baby. If you can afford to buy a sporty car, now may be the best time ever to do so.

All of this started with a spam email from Bloomingdale’s. Bloomie’s has exclusive access to the very first 200 Infiniti G37 convertibles, which won’t be available to the rest of us for a number of months. So if you have to have one, you have to go and put your cash down with Bloomingdale’s.

So I’m thinking, a G 37? What happened to the 35? Turns out Nissan bored out it’s venerable V-6, and with a tuned exhaust and their version of variable valve timing, this little chunk of aluminum turns out 330 net horsepower at the tires, and 265 lb/ft of torque. So that’s a pretty good pony number obviously, but the torque rating seems a bit off compared to what I remember about all those old V-8s from my childhood.
So it’s off to Wiki and Google ... and I find out the difference between gross hp (bhp) and today’s real world net hp. Back in the 60s not only did the car companies probably fib about their engine’s power, they took the ratings straight off the crankshaft, often without any basic engine accessories (like an alternator or an exhaust system) attached. Several sources say you need to shave 100 or more hp off the old big gross numbers to get to today’s net numbers. So there isn’t any perfect way to compare the old and the new numbers, unless you can take a factory perfect 1970 SS Chevelle and put it on a modern dynamometer. Assuming, of course, that you can find 100 octane leaded gas to run it on.

Anyway, all that poking around was kinda fun, and here’s what I found:

1970 Chevelle SS454

Engine: 454 cubic inch V-8 - 7.4 liter
Horsepower: 450
Torque: 500 lb/ft
Vehicle Weight: 3260 lbs
Vehicle Wheelbase: 112 - 109 inches
Vehicle Length: I can’t find this number, but I’d guess 200 inches
Vehicle Width: 72 inches

0-60 times: 6.1 - 6.5 seconds
Quarter mile time: 13.45 - 13.7 seconds
mpg: you have got to be kidding me

2009 Infiniti G37

Engine: 227 cubic inch V-6 - 3.7 liter (exactly half the displacement!)
Horsepower: 330
Torque: 265 lb/ft
Vehicle Weight: 3770 lbs
Vehicle Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Vehicle Length: 183.1 inches
Vehicle Width: 71.8 inches

0-60 times: 5.4 seconds
Quarter mile time: 14.0 seconds
mpg: 17 city, 26 highway

So there you have it. The absolute king of muscle cars, the baddest of the bad. The 1970 SS Chevelle with the 454 LS6 engine. Loses the stop light race to the G37 but wins in the 1/4 by about half a second (about 9 car lengths at 103mph). It shouldn’t be possible! The new cars have far less horsepower, half the torque, and they weigh as much or more! Something ain’t right.image

Oh, if you have another $8000 or so to spend, the BMW 335i will beat the SS in the 0-60 race, and tie it in the quarter, same time and speed. And that one gets 20/29 mpg.

And both of these new cars are “family haulers”. Serious modern performance cars like the latest Corvettes, M-series Beemers, and those AMG Mercedeses blow the G37 into the weeds. This conclusion didn’t make sense to me at first. But then I realized that the real difference was in the drivability. Sure, the 454 was a rip snortin’ monster. Stuck into a car with poor brakes, a soft suspension, a less than ideal frame, bias ply tires, etc. Not to mention the peaky nature of the old carburated engines compared to today’s computer controlled fuel injected wonders. Getting traction in the Chevelle was an art. You probably aren’t even allowed to spin the tires in the Infiniti. It’s wasteful and non-green.

Funny thing though. I’ve taken these new zippy cars out for road tests. No question that they get up and move. But it just doesn’t feel the same. You don’t notice it, they just go. And then you look down at the speedo and notice you’re going 90. No wheelies, no smoking the tires, no getting sideways, no roar from the exhaust or mechanical cacophony from under the hood. Heck, you can’t even see the gas gauge visibly moving. I miss those things.

a bunch of source links below the fold

See More Below The Fold


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/10/2008 at 10:04 PM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (15) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  
Page 13 of 13 pages « First  <  11 12 13

Five Most Recent Trackbacks:

Once Again, The One And Only Post
(4 total trackbacks)
Tracked at
The advantage to having a guide with you is thɑt an expert will haѵe very first hand experience dealing and navigating the river with гegional wildlife. Tһomas, there are great…
On: 07/28/23 10:37

The Brownshirts: Partie Deux; These aare the Muscle We've Been Waiting For
(3 total trackbacks)
Tracked at head to the Momarms site
The Brownshirts: Partie Deux; These aare the Muscle We’ve Been Waiting For
On: 03/14/23 11:20

Vietnam Homecoming
(1 total trackbacks)
Tracked at 广告专题配音 专业从事中文配音跟外文配音制造,北京名传天下配音公司
  专业从事中文配音和外文配音制作,北京名传天下配音公司   北京名传天下专业配音公司成破于2006年12月,是专业从事中 中文配音 文配音跟外文配音的音频制造公司,幻想飞腾配音网领 配音制作 有海内外优良专业配音职员已达500多位,可供给一流的外语配音,长年服务于国内中心级各大媒体、各省市电台电视台,能满意不同客户的各种需要。电话:010-83265555   北京名传天下专业配音公司…
On: 03/20/21 07:00

meaningless marching orders for a thousand travellers ... strife ahead ..
(1 total trackbacks)
Tracked at Casual Blog
On: 07/17/17 04:28

a small explanation
(1 total trackbacks)
Tracked at yerba mate gourd
Find here top quality how to prepare yerba mate without a gourd that's available in addition at the best price. Get it now!
On: 07/09/17 03:07



Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


Copyright © 2004-2015 Domain Owner

GNU Terry Pratchett

Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
free counters