Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Headlight Replacement Basics

If you own a car, you drive at night. It's a simple fact. Headlights are one of the most essential car accessories on the market. Even if your car is primarily a tool to get you from work or school and back, headlights must always be in top working order. If one of your vehicle's headlights has been damaged in a minor accident, a missing headlight can even get you into trouble during the day.

Luckily, because of their prime placement in the auto accessory hierarchy, headlights are a cinch to replace. Even better, there are lots of places on and offline that will save you a bundle of dough over getting replacement headlights from a dealership. Headlights are one of the accessories that dealerships make money on hand over fist. Not only will the price of the headlight itself be marked up unfairly, there will be labor costs for installing each headlight.

When it comes to at home headlight installation, there are many different options. Some headlights are of the plug and play variety and take very little elbow grease to install at all. Other headlight options take a little bit of elbow grease and DIY knowledge. But almost all headlights can be driveway installed with the attitude that where there is a will there is a way.

Headlights are also a great way to modify the look of your vehicle. There are many styles of headlights ranging from Euro to sports car design. Plus, headlight engineering has come a looong way over the decades. There are now headlights that outshine factory options in so many ways. Headlights with clear, white or blue hues are very popular and give much greater range of sight. Plus, there are many headlight options with technology that burns green and lasts a lot longer.

So there is no reason to worry if your headlights have started to fog over or fade, you can replace or upgrade headlights easily with just a little bit of know how.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Silent Features of 2003 Volkswagen Euro Van

Volkswagen van stands apart from other vans. Euro van has an automatic transmission and an Electronic Stability program, which is a lateral-skid control system that applies the brakes as needed to maintain control. Euro van buyers are provided four options. They can get a conventional seven-passenger GLS minivan. Another alternative is Multi-van (MV), which has a rear bench seat that converts into a bed. A MV Weekender Package with a pop-up roof is optional.

If you check its exteriors, Euro van is 76.4 inches tall, rides a 115 inch wheelbase and measures 188.5 inches long overall. Fog lights are installed and alloy wheels hold 16 inch tires. The Euro Van has a fully independent suspension.

Seven passengers can be seated comfortably in a Euro van. The GLS has second row bucket seats with dual folding armrests. Multi -Van (MV) gets twin rear-facing second row buckets. A folding third-row seat is installed in both, but the MV's seat converts into a removable bed. Maximum interior volume totals 206 cubic feet.

A campervan is equipped with a refrigerator, LP gas stove, sink and outdoor living gear. Other options available are it is fitted with a removable, two-person center bench seat rather than the standard, full-swiveling captain's chairs. A Weekender package includes pop-up roof, two person bed, two screened sliding windows, a second battery and a rear-facing seat atop a refrigerator.

Volkswagen's 2.8 liter VR6 engine generates 201 horsepower. Four speed automatic transmission and premium fuel is recommended. The GLS model has more than 1,550 pounds payload. Euro van has standard antilock brakes in all the models. Side-impact airbags are not available.

The fuel economy within city limits is 17.0 mpg while in highway 20.0 mpg. The length, width and Height of the van are 188.5*72.4*76.4. The front and rear tread measures 63 and 61 inches. The measurements of long and rear legroom are 37.8 and 28.3 inches. The front and rear headroom are 39.3 and 41.3 inches. Some safety equipments include oil pressure warning, engine temperature, battery warning, low coolant warning, ignition disable, panic alarm and security system.

Some comfort facilities are 3 doors, dome light, front and rear reading lights, partial floor console, partial floor console, Front and rear cup holders, full cloth headliner, day night rearview mirror, carpet floor trim, Cargo concealed storage, cargo light, climatronic air conditioning, under seat ducts, air filter, auto-reverse cassette, manual retractable antenna, rear child safety door locks, tachometer, exterior temperature, deep tinted windows etc.

Available body colors include Techno Blue Pearl, Tornado Red, Reflex silver, Emerald Green Pearl, Colorado Red Pearl, Black Magic Pearl an Arctic White. Available interior colors include gray and Beige. Handling and control features include stability control, front anti-roll bar, front torsion bar, coil rear springs, rack and pinion steering.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Porsche: Creating the Plot to Takeover Volkswagen?

Porsche is known for producing small but immensely powerful engines. The same can be said about the company---small but powerful. Porsche is a German automaker renowned for its lines of sports car. News has it that the German sports car maker is getting closer to its goal which is to control Europe's largest automaker, the Volkswagen Group. It should be noted that Porsche is one of the largest shareholders of Volkswagen with a total of 27.4% and is planning to further increase its stakes if not for the Volkswagen Law.

The Volkswagen Law limits the voting rights of shareholders in the company to 20% regardless of how large their owned shares are. Another provision on the VW law also gives the right to the State of Lower Saxony to appoint directors regardless of the fact that they are not the largest shareholder of the company. The VW Law is nothing but unfair to Porsche. This is also the very reason why Porsche would like the VW Law to be abolished.

The Volkswagen Law was ratified in 1960 during the time of privatization following the postwar. During that time Volkswagen was rescued by the allied and German authorities. The VW Law was created to protect the company from any form of takeover.

But currently the European Court of Justice has begun to criticize the VW Law stating that the law hinders the flow of free capital which increases the possibility for it being cancelled. Furthermore it is also expected that if ever the law is repealed the State of Lower Saxony might sell some or its entire 20.8% stakes in Volkswagen and the probable buyer is none other than Porsche.

Wedelin Weideking, Porsche boss has expressed his desire to increase the company's stake in Volkswagen to 8.6 billion Euros or $11.2bn. But why does Porsche has such care for Volkswagen? Even before, Porsche has already have had a big influence at Volkswagen brought by the fact that part of Volkswagen takes its root from Ferdinand Piech, who is a member of the Porsche family. Piech was also the former CEO of Volkswagen and now hold the chair of the upper supervisory board. And recently, in the most cunning display of power and influence, Piech and Wiedeking have conspired to oust Bernd Pischetsrieder who is the former boss of BMW and VW CEO. He was replaced by Martin Winterkorn who is a protégé of Piech.

Piech has also previously worked at Porsche where he was responsible for the launching of the 917 racer. Afterwards he went to Audi and started the Quattro revolution. When finally became the CEO of VW he foster quality turnaround which helps VW and Audi to obtain a place in the premium car segment. He also introduced a platform strategy to control costs.

There is a strong partnership between Porsche and Volkswagen not only because of family but also of interest. Porsche wants to increase its stakes in Volkswagen to protect its investment and also to make sure that its ongoing cooperative efforts with Europe's largest automaker will not be jeopardized. At present, the German sports car maker is sharing production facilities with Volkswagen. Europe's largest is also the supplier of quality parts to Porsche like Volkswagen pressure plate and others that are used to build cars.

Some of the vehicles produced by Porsche in partnership with Volkswagen are Cayenne and Touareg SUVs. The upcoming Panamera sports sedan will have its body built at the VW's Hanover plant and will use VW Audi electronic bus systems plus other parts such as safety electronics, infotainment, security and climate detecting gadgets.

But according to some reports the interest of Porsche to Volkswagen goes beyond pure business interest - some say that Wiedeking thinks that he can do a much better job than any of the bosses in VW. The ousting of Pischetsrieder is seen by many as a means of slowly taking control of Volkswagen. It is not going to be surprising if one day Porsche will really take over Volkswagen.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ford - Shaken But Not Stirred

Like a lot of car manufacturers Ford has struggled financially in recent years and has been forced to sell a number of major assets in an attempt to return to profitability.

During this time the company has seen its market position fall in 2007 from the World's second largest car manufacturer, a position it had previously held for some 56 years, to become third placed behind Toyota and General Motors respectively. To make things worse Ford then dropped to fourth place behind Volkswagen.

Ford underwent some rather rapid restructuring as a result and has jettisoned its two quality brands Jaguar and Land Rover to the Indian car manufacturer TATA Motors. It has also sold Aston Martin to a consortium of businessmen led by Prodrive Chairman Dave Richards, although it has retained a financial holding in the company. Financial restructuring has also taken place at Volvo who are part of the Ford group.

Despite these recent problems Ford continues to develop its successful model range and it is very much business as usual for Ford Europe as Ford USA attempts to get back on a stable business footing.

Ford's European model range is now based on the new 'Kinetic' design platform and has consolidated its designs to offer an attractive collection of small, medium and large vehicles.

The vehicle which has attracted a lot of interest recently is the new Kuga. Not to be mistaken with the Cougar which along with the Probe was an attempt to revive the Capri but proved to be a failure.

Ford has been out of the 4x4 market for a while largely due to its involvement with Land Rover and Volvo so the Kuga has been eagerly awaited. The Kuga is a five door crossover vehicle and is only designed for occasional off-road use and is not intended to have the same capabilities or ground clearance as larger 4x4 vehicles.

This may not have been made clear to the presenter of the Channel 5 motoring programme Fifth Gear. He was quite complimentary about the Kuga but could not resist driving it into really punishing terrain that ultimately caused a reported £7000 worth of damage.

The Kuga utilises an intelligent AWD (All Wheel Drive) Haldex four wheel drive system whereby power is supplied the road wheels where necessary according to the terrain. It is powered by a 2.0 TDCI diesel engine which has been improved by Ford engineers so that it now has the lowest CO2 emissions in its class and also delivers an impressive 44mpg combined which should pacify some environmentalists. The engine has improved torque and a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. The current model range consists of the Zetec model and also the Titanium with the Titanium having a slightly higher spec although both are very well equipped.

The Kuga has very good safety levels with an impressive Euro NCAP rating of five stars for adult occupants, four stars for children and even three stars for pedestrians so you'll even be OK if you are unfortunate enough to get knocked down by one! There are a large number of passive and active features including multiple air bags and a rigid safety cell. The Kuga also boasts ABS, Traction Control, and Electronic Stability Programme. Keyless entry and start can also be found as can a variety of different 'packs' which manufacturers now offer according to customer needs. The specifications of both are very generous though and come with 17" Alloy wheels although 19" are available. The Kuga will never match the capabilities of bigger 4x4's but then its not really meant to and therefore will be happy to occupy the position in the market for which it has been designed. Ford has created yet another winner here and seemingly refuses to be beaten.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cadillac BLS Bags Winter Car 2007 Award

Recently at the 77th Salon International de l'Auto Geneve (77th annual Geneva International Motor Show), Tekniikan Maailma magazine, one of the leading automotive publications in Finland named the 2007 Cadillac BLS 4-door compact sedan as the recipient of their Winter Car 2007 Award. Martti Merilinna, Chief Editor of Tekniikan Maailma handed the award to Cadillac General Manager Jim Taylor.

In the past 12 months, the Tekniikan Maailma conducted a winter test drive for 20 European vehicle models, including the newest models from Volvo, Honda, Peugeot, Skoda, and other European brands. Tekniikan Maailma crew brought the vehicles in a winter test track located Ivalo, a village in Northern Finland. The Ivalo village is noted for hosting some of the largest winter sports events like down-hill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and slalom skiing. Moreover, the place is also one of the areas in Europe with the most harsh winter driving conditions.

The Winter Car 2007 Award aims to determine which of the 20 vehicles could: "... in this sparsely populated land of the cold and dark winter... take us to our destination in safety, comfort and warmth."

Among the 20 competitors, Tekniikan Maailma has chosen the Cadillac BLS sedan as the winner because of the vehicle's impressive performance in winter driving conditions. The Tekniikan Maailma winter test crew made their selection based on certain criteria including low-grip handling, braking stability, grip on uphill starts, headlamp performance, and the ability of the vehicle to "heat the interior to a comfortable 15 degrees in just 10 minutes from a sub-zero startup".

The Cadillac BLS scored high during the evaluation, bagged the Winter Car 2007 award, and most of all, achieved what the Cadillac BLS design and engineering team aims, which is to integrate with the "toughest European driving conditions." The Tekniikan Maailma winter test crew commented: "Here is the best ever Cadillac one could hope for in winter use."

The Europe-only Cadillac BLS compact sedan was released in 2006, based on GM's Epsilon vehicle platform and was built in Cadillac assembly plant located in Trollhättan, Sweden. The car features the very first turbo diesel engine from GM's luxury brand. It also comes with elegant exterior design and GM parts like GM mud flap, comfortable interior features, as well as impressive vehicle driving and handling performance. The Cadillac BLS sedan has a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of 19,000 Euros or about $25,000 USD.

Monday, March 17, 2014

What's In A Name?

One of my favorite shows to watch on T.V. is Overhaulin' on TLC (The Learning Channel) which is hosted by Courtney Hansen (formally), Chris Jacobs, and automotive fabricator extraordinaire, Chip Foose. On one of the episodes a 1956 Chevy Bel Aire was transformed from its former hardtop self to a super sleek roadster. Throughout the show, Courtney continually and incorrectly, referred to the car as a convertible. I am sure she sees no problem with referring to it as such, but I do because it is a misnomer. Just as U.S. Marines should never be referred to as "Army Soldiers" then cars should be no different. In the midst of my frustration, I have decided to sit down and give a quick lesson on a few auto buzz words that get interchanged all of the time. Some of what I have to say is truth mixed with a little bit of my opinion, but regardless I feel that it is something that needs to be pointed out. Now, let's move on to the meat of this editorial!

Ok, for starters, referring back to the "roadster-convertible" controversy above, a roadster is an automobile that has been purposely designed "sans-top" (without a top). The dictionary definition is: "an open automobile having a single seat in the front for two or three people and a rumble seat or luggage compartment in the back." A good example of a true roadster is the 1932 Ford Hi-Boy. Referring to a roadster as a "convertible" is incorrect because a convertible is just that, a car whose top folds up and "converts" the car to topless. Now, a lot of owners of "true" roadsters will use special modified toppers to shield themselves against the elements when rolling long distances, but such tops usually require extra anchoring points and things that really give a roadster an unnatural appearance.

Moving along, another term that really gets thrown around incorrectly is "import". This is a somewhat new term on the custom automotive scene, though the term "import" is ancient. Compacts in general are referred to collectively as "imports" and this is incorrect because not all compacts are "imports". A Saturn, Chevy Cavalier, and Ford Focus are not imports, just to name a few! These are domestic autos that should be referred to as "sport compacts". Sure they resemble their Japanese and European counterparts, but once again how can something be "imported" or simply referred to as such when it is built here (we are not talking about assembled here by the way)? I guess that depends, as former President Bill Clinton would say, on what the meaning of "is"... is! I believe the whole term "import" needs to go away because a Toyota in Japan isn't a damn "import"!!! That is why the term "sport compact" is a much better term which can be universally assigned to any compact auto. Oh, and just to show you how confusing things get, I have seen and heard many, many times Japanese "imports" referred to as "euros". What the hell!?!?! This further gives reason to why the term "import" needs to go away when referencing sport compact autos. Now, I will give credit to a magazine that is called "Sport Compact Car Magazine" and the many auto shows that use the term "sport compact" over "import". I will be the first to admit that I have been guilty of throwing the term "import" around, but I plan to make future references to "imports" as "sport compacts".

Another term that gets misused is the term "sport truck". When you are referring to a "sport truck" I think of a low truck with a high-powered engine; that is usually a two seater with two doors. In my opinion anything that seats more than three people and has more than two doors is not a sport anything! It can have a sporty appearance, but sport it is not. For instance, I have a 2000 Chevy Silverado that is lowered and is a two door stick shift. By definition, since my truck has been modified to look unlike the traditional pickup, my truck is a "sport truck". Now, if my truck were an extended cab, I would now say, though it has a sporty stance and/or a nifty paint job, it is more like a "street truck" kind of similar to "street rod". I feel that "street truck" is a more appropriate term for all trucks that have been modified and seat more than three and have more than two doors. The term "sport truck" should be true to what the term "sport car" originated from, a two door auto that runs fast. So, I guess the truck would also have to be fast as well. Ford has the right idea in this department with their F-150 SVT Lightning model pickup. It has two doors and Dodge also has it right, or should I say had it right, with the V-10 Dodge Ram pickup which at first was only available in two doors. Now, the Dodge V-10 truck is available in an extended cab version, so I refer to that version as a "street truck". The same goes for the Chevy SS pickup which to me is a "street truck" because of the extended cab design.

In closing, in order to not seem very anal about the whole "name thing", I don't hold it against anyone who refers to a Chevy Cavalier as an "import", neither do I eat someone's lunch over people referring to extended cab pickups as "sport trucks", and I do not get super miffed over someone referring to a "roadster" as a convertible. Simply, I want to set the record straight on a few "buzz" words.

Until next time... keep it legal and keep it safe.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Top 5 Gifts For Your Billionaire Dad

Getting a thoughtful father's day gift can be hard enough, but let's say your dad is one of the top 0.01% wage earners in the country. He probably already has every toy he could possibly ever want. So what do you get him? We looked at some great suggestions for what to get your billionaire dad on Father's Day and here they are:

5 -The World's Most Expensive Bourbon

Many people confuse bourbon, scotch and whiskey. The fact of the matter is, bourbon and scotch are types of whiskey, each named for the region they're from. Bourbon comes from a place called Bourbon, Kentucky, but unlike Champagne, it can be produced outside of this region and still be called bourbon. Known for its slightly sweeter and smoother taste, Bourbon has started becoming a lot more popular lately. If you have the means, and a taste for bourbon, you may want to try the most expensive bourbon in the world. A 750ML bottle of 16 year old A. H. Hirsch Reserve will cost you about $300. This smooth whiskey was distilled at Michter's Distillery in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania in 1974 and left to mature until it was bottled in 1990. This is one of the few remaining examples of whiskeys brewed in the Kentucky pot-still tradition.

4 - Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 7-40 Television

Premium electronics manufacturer Bang & Olufsen doesn't skimp on components. Perhaps that's why audio/video enthusiasts continue to rave about their products decade after decade. The Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 7-40 is no exception. This freestanding television comes equipped with a Blu-ray player and a DVB-HD module. This stunning TV can also be wall mounted and comes in natural aluminum, black, dark grey, red, blue, or gold finishes. The home automation option makes it possible to control and operate home systems with the programmable Beo5 remote control. This includes light settings as well as access to security systems, ventilation, curtains, pool cover, and alarm systems. BeoVision 7-40 with Blu-ray will be available for $13,500 in June 2009.

3 - Bugatti Veyron Rental

Can't seem to piece together $1.4 million to buy your own Bugatti Veyron 16.4? Don't sweat it. Now you can rent this ridiculously expensive sports car for a mere £16,000 (or $25,000) a day. The idea of driving a $1.4 million dollar sports car is nothing but a fleeting fantasy for most of us. The Bugatti Veyron availability alone could make it difficult for you to get your hands on one, even if you have the means otherwise. A company in the UK called Holders Vehicle Contracts wants to change that by offering the most powerful, most expensive, and fastest street-legal production car in the world to customers as a rental. The Veyron's engine features 16 cylinders in 4 banks of 4 cylinders, or the equivalent of two narrow-angle V8 engines mated in a vee configuration. Each cylinder has 4 valves, for a total of 64, but the narrow V8 configuration allows two camshafts to drive two banks of cylinders so only 4 camshafts are needed. For $25,000 a day you can rent one of these beautiful babies, but you'll need a £100,000 deposit of course.

2 - GTbyCitroen - Million-Euro Supercar

Dad probably already has a nice set of wheels already, but nothing like this. French premium automaker Citroen is making a million-euro supercar for the ultra-wealthy. Originally intended as nothing more than a concept car solely to promote the release of PS3's Gran Turismo Prolouge5, the GTbyCITROEN is headed to production. Just months after making its public debut at the 2008 Paris Auto Salon, the GTbyCITROEN will be produced in very limited numbers for clients willing to dish out a million euros. Rumors indicate that initial production units will be limited to only 15 to 20 cars, at a price of one million euros a piece. Sick, but just look at this car. If only GM had the stones to make something this nice.

1 - A Romantic Getaway with Mom

Looking for the perfect romantic getaway for you and that special someone? Bali may just be the perfect location with its pristine beaches and tropical flare, and a wonderful place to stay in this part of the world is The St. Regis Bali Resort. Tranquility and barefoot elegance entwine on the soft, sandy beaches of Nusa Dua, the Garden of Bali. Swim through the calm blue lagoon and savour the feeling of a lavishly appointed private residence. This St. Regis address is like no other. Revel in the spacious luxury of 123 suites and villas, each beautifully appointed with handcrafted Balinese art, inviting balconies and large marble bathrooms. Fragrant gardens and private pools surround magnificent villas and residences. From seductive treatments in the spacious Remède Spa to exquisite dining within reach of azure waters, experience remarkably personalized, bespoke service on 8.8 HA of lush, private land, all adjacent to the magnificent Bali Golf & Country Club.

Whatever you get your dad this Father's day, remember that the important thing is to give him a big hug and tell him just how much you appreciate him. That's worth more than any of these gifts.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Skoda Fabia

Since 1999, the Czech manufacturer, Skoda Auto has been producing one of the most stylishly designed supermini. The looks of Skoda Fabia are based on new designs by its parent company, Volkswagen. The car is offered as 4 door saloon or 5 door estate and hatchback models. Available in petrol and diesel versions, most recent models are equipped with 1.4 16valve 80 PS engines which are able to produce torque up to 132N at 3800rpm.

Appeal

Earlier models of Skoda Fabia were heavier in comparison to its competition but designers soon came out with an innovative 1.2HTP engine which became so popular that VW Polo also adapted it in their newer vehicles. In 2006, engineers boosted specifications by adding a rear seat headrest, three point seat belts and four bodywork colors. In fact, it was the overall design which attracted young buyers who were readily impressed by its sporty looks. To cater to increasing demands, engineers have introduced classical designs including Silverline, Bohemia, Sport, Ambiente and Blackline. Minor changes are also reflected in junior models sold in Eastern Europe which are relatively low priced but doesn't include standard features.

Powerful Diesel Engine

The diesel version of Skodia Fabia has also been an instant hit. The 1.9L turbocharged direct injection system can produce 130 metric horsepower and an amazing 310N at 1900rpm. It is controlled by a manual six speed gearbox which can accelerate to 100km/h in approximately 8 seconds. Although, the official acceleration speed is quoted to be more than 9 seconds but tests by major industry outlets have proved that the reliable diesel engine is actually more powerful than its contemporaries. A 6 speed tiptronic transmission and 7 speed direct shift gearbox are also available for customized models.

5J Model

The new 5J models have been rolled out with additional safety features. All European models are fitted with driver, passenger and side airbags. A highly advanced internal safety feature that prevents wiring from heating up is another distinguishing aspect of 5J models. According to Euro NCAP safety tests, Skoda Fabia is recommended to be 4 stars in adult occupancy ratings and three star for child occupant. Considering traditionally lower safety ratings for small cars, it is an impressive feat to achieve such high ratings in its class.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

10 Cars That Shook The World In 2007

These cars are not abstract "lineup cars", but specific examples that became heroes of different stories in previous year - sometimes funny, sometimes tragic. Well, here is a top 10 cars that went down in history in 2007.

Handicraft Ferrari

Now people forge not only works of art, but also cars. Expensive, status ones. For example, unknown skilled craftsmen from Pontiac factory managed to produce... an infringing Ferrari.

Fake is so careful and convincing, that only police experts could distinguish it from the original, they noticed that fabric did not issued a car with such vehicle identification number.

Police is searching for masters and they will surely have to appear in court, although, Ferrari leadership should better find them and offer work.

Producer's Maybatch

Previous year Moscow was literally seized with a wave of most expensive and respectable car hijacking. Bentley and Maybatch were among hijacked ones.
In the end of November police managed to find a hijacked Maybatch and returned it to its rightful owner! Detectives also found out 6 of 11 hijacked Bentley.

Lamborghini

Super car Lamborghini Reventon priced at 1,48 million dollars that is assembled at a very-small edition according to individual orders was not included in the list of top 10 most expensive cars sold in 2007. So, those who are expecting ordered cars, but do not want making a show of their incomes, can even throw dust in eyes of a tax officer. I say my car is not the most expensive one...

Mercedes

In the moment when Russian soccer team's destiny was hanging by a thread, owner of "Spartak" team promised presenting Croatian team 4 Mercedes cars - in case it defeats UK team and helps Russia out in a final part of Euro-2008.

Well, Croats really defeated England! They did it at Wembley stadium! However, all-Croatian soccer federation is going either presenting Mercedes autos to charity, or refusing from them at all....

Qashqai line

Previous year literally all Russian representative offices of foreign companies-manufacturers underestimated growth of car demand. Result - lines for new models.
Nissan Qashqai put us in shock: one and half year! Really, one should have an inexhaustible reserve of patience or want driving exactly Qashqai, to stand such a line...

Ferrari suicides

An owner of classic Ferrari Testarossa 512 TR decided to test his car's abilities, was not able to make it and run into a bank's wall in a suburb of Madrid. Ferrari is beyond repair.

Koenigsegg

Swiss company Koenigsegg assemb;ed the first super car in the world which engine works on ... biofuel! At the same time new Koenigsegg CCXR Special Edition makes 1018 hp, 100 km acceleration from rest for 2.9 and gathers speed up to more than 400 kmh!

However, ecologists should not be too glad for Swedes and cite the novelty as an example to other manufacturers: , CCXR Special Edition does not correspond to new ecologic norms, Euro-5.

Pensioner's Lincoln

What to do, if you need to change a wheel, and one of nuts cannot be unscrewd? The simplest thing is borrowing an alligator wrench from your neighbors' garage. However, a 66 y.o. American man decided to make with improvised means, he just had no alligator wrench.

But he had a... shot-gun. Persistent pensioner shot from it at that nut. History does not tell about the nut, but we know for sure a craftsman shot himself finally: shot ricocheted from a wheel, came to his feet, belly area and chin. He should be wiser and step aside little farer...

Champion's Volvo

Volvo's P1800 1966 odometer showed 4.2 million kilometers for 41 years of persistent exploitation. In 1998 this car was already included in Guinness Book of Records, as a car with the biggest mileage in the world (2,57 million kilometers), however, its owner thinks the sky is the limit. He intends to reach a 5-million mileage by 2012, after this moment he is not going to drive anymore.

Thief's concrete mixer

The shortest chase took place in Germany. A 55 y.o. house-builder, who ran a concrete mixer, grow hungry very much and came to a superstore. Taking a cheese pack from a shelf, he decided not to pay for it and went to an exit busily, where security guard stopped him.

However, a thief broke loose from his grip and ran outside, trying to escape on his concrete mixer. Police caught him up near closest light signal already. What is interesting, the whole thing arose from 2,79 Euro...

See photos of the cars at http://www.gotcarquick.com

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Edge of a Honda

The eighties has been a good transition point for many, when the cult of American Top 40 went global. One of the hallmarks of this era is the birth of consciousness on how we as consumers kill the environment from the noxious gases produced by our hair sprays as well as our vehicles. I can still remember being taught in grade school about how humans and technology are the primary source of pollution and how technology cannot on its own get by without its by product. Presently, we can only look back and cringe at the time we cared more about how big our hairs are than if what we are doing is hurting the environment or not.

Lucky for us, in the past few years, car manufacturers have taken the path of being conscious of their environment as well. As more and more people exhibit interest in preserving the earth, a demand for companies supporting Sustainable Development also increases. Among the car manufacturing giants, Japanese car maker Honda blazes the trail with new innovations that does not compromise being nature friendly. So far, the company has introduced models that are equipped with earth friendly technology meeting EURO 4 emission regulations.
Two of the more popular "green" engines launched by Honda are the i-DSI engine and the i-VTEC engine.

The i-DSI Engine

The name i-DSI stands for Intelligent- Dual and Sequential Ignition. This Honda engine has garnered a "Low Emission Excellence" certificate from the Ministry of Transportation in Japan. The i-DSI is known and liked by many for its lightweight, compact high performance engine that is packed with a lot of horses and ample torque regardless of the RPM level. The efficient combustion of this engine at any rpm translates to cleaner exhaust gas emissions.

The i-VTEC Engine

Taking its name from its ability to change valve and timing on its intake and exhaust sides, the VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) engine is praised by many not only for performance but because of being a pioneer among other valve mechanisms. The i-VTEC engine can be found in Honda models like the Civic (for its 1.8 SOHC and 2.0 DOHC models), the Accord (for its 2.4 and 3.0 V6 models) and the CRV. This engine boasts of fuel efficiency while still delivering optimum performance, burning less fuel while producing less pollutants. When a lot of enthusiasts were thinking that there is no way the VTEC can get any better, Honda has produced its more intelligent twin with the i-VTEC, producing a more earth friendly and a more globally compliant system.

I feel that as more car manufacturers jump to the wagon of caring for our mother earth, we are given not only a good choice of what vehicles to buy but a chance to work for a worthwhile cause also. Indeed, technology must be harnessed as a means of improving function without compromising the ecosystem. The technology that blends seamlessly to ones lifestyle without posing any threat to the environment is definitely a vision worth toiling for.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

DaimlerChrysler to trade Chrysler for GM Stake

Last Monday DaimlerChrysler and General Motors -- the world's largest automaker and producer of the popular GM cargo liners -- have engaged in an intensified talk about the possible linkup between Chrysler division and GM. According to reports from the Financial Times, DaimlerChrysler is considering taking a stake in Europe's largest automaker in exchange for its money-losing Chrysler unit.

The Financial Times, citing people familiar with the situation, said that DaimlerChrysler is weighing on the possibility of trading Chrysler for GM stake or to sell Chrysler to private-equity firms such as Blackstone Group, Apollo Management LP, Carlyle Group, and the Cerberus Capital Management. The four mentioned private-equity firms have refused to comment on the matter.

Likewise, DaimlerChrysler denied reports that it is still interested in keeping Chrysler and this was confirmed when DCX Chairman Dieter Zetsche said that all options for the Chrysler Group are now laid on the table and he further said that the possibility of a sale is not ruled out from the options.

It is no secret that General Motors is the world's largest automaker but despite its status as a global automotive power it has been losing market share in the US. And everybody knows that it is undergoing a massive restructuring that resulted to the closing of plants and cutting down of jobs. DaimlerChrysler is probably considering such facts before it decides on exchanging its Chrysler for GM stake.

Last Monday, a newspaper has also reported on its website that the Chairman of the Magna International Inc. had a meeting with two of the largest unions at Chrysler to discuss solutions on how to help the automaker surpass its current crisis. The meeting that transpired between Magna Chairman Frank Stonach and union leaders has become a rumor circulating through the auto industry. According to some sources familiar with the situation, Magna plans to takeover Chrysler in exchange to make the Canadian auto parts giant into a full-fledged automaker. DaimlerChrysler has not yet given any comment on this report.

A Senior Chrysler official last Friday told The Associated Press that the company is going to supply detailed financial information to some of their selected potential buyers and is working in partnership with its investment bank the J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. to avoid divulging sensitive information.

Meanwhile, Russia's second biggest automotive company, the OAO Gaz Group has also expressed their non-interest on Chrysler after reports came out saying that they are interested in purchasing Chrysler-- allegedly reported by the German weekly magazine Focus. The magazine did not cite any sources according to GAZ which is supplied by Chrysler with four-cylinder engines for the Russian company's minivans and cars. Other automakers that have expressed their non-interest in Chrysler include Volkswagen AG, Renault-Nissan Auto Alliance and Hyundai Motor Co.

Most analysts think that an equity deal would benefit GM since a domestic tie-up would be much easier for Chrysler instead of a foreign buyout. "Since GM is short of cash, an equity deal would make sense if it is interested in Chrysler, and an equity valuation of Chrysler at, say, three billion euros or $3.94 billion USD would wind up giving DaimlerChrysler a 20 percent stake in GM," said Stephen Cheetham, a senior analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. He also said that "this kind of deal has some face-saving potential for management, and we believe that from a shareholder perspective, 20 percent of a combined GM/Chrysler entity is preferable to owning Chrysler outright. However it does not give DaimlerChrysler a clean break from equity exposure to the troubled world of US domestic carmakers, and we would expect the presence of a GM stake to be an ongoing irritant in its relations with investors."

DCX shares increased by 0.3 percent to 53.93 euros or $70.83 in Frankfurt trading however the company's US shares fell by 13 cents to $70.79 in an early trading on the New York Stock Exchange as compared to GM shares which rose by 33 cents to $34.59.

Chrysler has earlier announced it's lost of $1.475 billion in 2006 and said that it expects losses to continue through 2007. On the other hand, its parent DaimlerChrysler has earned $4.26 billion in 2006. As part of the continuing losses that Chrysler is experiencing, the automaker will cut 13,000 jobs which include 11,000 production workers and 2,000 salaried employees. It has also announced the closure of one of its plant and additional layoffs at some of its other plants.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Germany's Love Hate Relationship With Social Networks and Search Engines - Often Schizophrenic

Do you recall recently when Germany had a feces fit over Google's street view and satellite view maps, too much resolution and too much invasion of privacy they said, unacceptable they claimed and they sued. Google acquiesced and that case is history. Okay so let's talk because something else has come up, this time instituted by some pretty well connected folks in Germany's financial sector.

You see, there was an interesting article in the Huffington Online News titled; "SCHUFA, Germany's Largest Credit Agency, To Mine Facebook, Twitter for Consumer Risk Information," by Catherine New published on June 15, 2012. The article clearly stated;

"Forget the euro crisis. There's another credit storm brewing in Germany that hits much closer to the heart. It's on Twitter and Facebook. Germany's wired population and business press freaked out when a broadcast news agency revealed confidential documents that showed that the country's largest credit agency, SCHUFA, plans to scrape data from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to determine an individual's risk to lenders and ability to pay bills, according to Der Spiegel."

Now then, I suppose this is very similar to how insurance companies for auto policies in the US used credit card data and late fees to determine if someone was a greater risk of getting into an accident in their automobile - yes, it turns out that there is a statistical correlation. Still, that didn't sit well with many Americans, and although there was massive outrage, one must understand American politics, insurance lobbying, and how our government works to see why the rectifying of this problem went unabated for so long.

We should all note that social networks are getting a little too friendly with our information, a little too loose with which advertisers they choose as partners, and in the case of Facebook, now it's a public company and needs to make money - and data mining and big data are big business and big money. Worse, much of this information is free for the taking whether or not it is sold to the offending groups who want it or not, and as I note in this case study, it isn't just here, this is happening globally with your personal and private information.

Of course, in their defense, how personal is your data if you willy-nilly post it all over hell's half acre for all the world to see? Whose fault is that my friend? Please consider all this and think on it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Click and Grow Review - Bye Bye Brown Thumb

Given that the newest blend of engineering design and Botany has yet to be released, you'll need to wait just a little longer for the actual Click and Grow Review. We realize you are dying to get the scoop on this intriguing new technology, hence we're going to reveal the details we currently do know concerning the intriguing new product.

I am going to be honest, I've experienced difficulties trying to keep plants alive for as long as I can remember. I've experimented with everything from water ferns to air plants to a hundred-year cactus hoping that I would be able to find even one single houseplant that wouldn't loath my presence so much that it offs itself. No such luck. Ultimately, they have all ended up in the compost bin. Which may be why I am so keen on the upcoming introduction of Click and Grow: a brand new digital plant-growing device.

The manufacturers of Click and Grow state that this system will help take the guess work out of having a house plant. The Click and Grow containers water and actually feed your plants in line with the plants' actual requirements. It functions by using unique detectors, computer software, together with a processor to continuously monitor the plant. It appears to be great for tech geeks, absent minded want-to-be houseplant owners, as well as neurotic consumers alike. The gardening pot doesn't actually have any soil. It employs aeroponic engineering in order to grow a plant in an atmosphere of air, water, and fertilizer.

Because Click and Grow system is still being tested, there's presently no Click and Grow Review available on the internet. Thus we needed to do some digging to get the details. We learned that the Click and Grow pots will start from about 17 euro / $23 USD. When folks buy a container, they are going to need to select plant cartridges for the specific plants they want to grow. These cartridges consist of not merely the seeds for the plant but information regarding the specific plant, and fertilizer as well. Folks will then place the cartridge into the nursery pot and connect it up to a personal computer using a USB cable. They just down load the development information for the specific houseplant, then add H2O to the pot, and click and Grow is going to take it from there. We have heard that the house plant cartridges will be priced at 2.5 - 4 euro, (or $3.50 USD), and are going to be available online plus home and garden stores at the same time.

The Click and Grow box will keep an eye on the houseplant's needs and care for the plant on auto-pilot. The basic units have notification lighting in order to let folks know if the water compartment is empty. Thus after the plant has started growing, the one thing people need to do is add some H2O to the tank on occasion. The more advanced units can also gather water from the air as well.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Great Voyage

It was a calm sunny Sunday at the end of May 2012 when we arrived on our yacht, Cape Farewell, in Rogoznica Marina, just north of Split in central Croatia. We had been berthed there for four years, exploring the beautiful Croatian coast and offshore Islands each summer, but now it was time to move on. The previous November I had booked a berth in the new Cesme Marina near Izmir and now we had assembled a strong crew for 740 mile voyage there.

Our crew was my wife Andrea and me as skipper, with an old seafaring friend, Malcolm McKeag. Then we had recruited Andrea's sister Marilyn with her partner Patrice, a French Consultant Haematologist, who were due to fly in and join us that evening from Paris. We went to bed having readied the boat and eaten early but were awakened by a call from Marilyn at Split airport to tell us she couldn't find Josco our regular driver. Eventually they found him and arrived on board around midnight.

During the night the wind increased and the rain poured down on our cabin roof. We were snug enough with our stern to the concrete jetty and larger yachts on either side, but we had been told that we had to take Cape Farewell five miles north west to Kremik the following day to clear customs and police so that we could depart from Croatia.

We bade fond good-byes to the girls of Marina Frapa's reception whom we knew so well. Then we sailed out into the storm, with south-easterly winds of about 40 knots. Fortunately the wind was on our stern and the seas were fairly small inside the islands so the trip was not too rough. Kremik sent a boat out to guide us in to the customs berth just outside marina reception. Kremik Marina is in a sort of Croatian fiord and the wind funnels in through the surrounding hills, covered with ancient stone walls delineating long past family grape, wine and olive growing areas. Three chaps jumped aboard, and a large man took over the helm and engine controls from me. He was an expert and berthed Cape Farewell very neatly in an awkward spot with a big, gusty cross-wind. A lovely, competent team.

Less lovely were the police and customs. The latter didn't turn up and the former would not complete the process if we weren't sailing that day, in spite of our being stormbound. We certainly couldn't go for ten hours south-east into the teeth of a 40-knot gale. That evening we staggered the few yards to the marina restaurant and managed to have a serious dinner with bottles of Primosten wine to wash it down. Walking back to the boat in the dark, the wind had dropped and a light rain was falling. On the saloon table was laid out a nearly empty bottle of Balvenie single malt whisky and a nearly full bottle of Hine brandy. A classical CD was found in a drawer and put on the ship's stereo.

"This is MacRaminof's piano concerto number three in C." opined Malcolm.

Tuesday 22nd May dawned cloudy, light rain but mercifully calm. At 0800 sharp a young, friendly policemen arrived, complete with gun in holster. He fiddled about with a growing heap of papers and the five passports, all of which he had checked the day before. The Harbour Master arrived and inspected our insurance policy and my qualifications as captain. He seemed well satisfied, wished us a pleasant voyage in excellent English and departed. Then a smartly-uniformed customs man arrived in a rather battered little car. He had an air-force blue uniform, a crew cut and tinted, gold-rimmed glasses. Much stamping and signing of papers and further passport inspections and then the policeman stamped them with our exit stamps. Finally both the policeman and the customs man walked down the dock to Cape Farewell to inspect the removed parts in their box that we had to export from Croatia. These consisted, as per the signed list, of three condensers, a nearly new alternator belt and the box itself. They wouldn't stop for coffee and pronounced us free to sail for Corfu, having officially cleared out from Croatia. Ten minutes later we sailed. The sea was still lumpy but there was only a small following wind about the same velocity as the ship as we steamed south-east. Gradually the wind dropped and the sky cleared and it became flat calm, warm and sunny. We arrived at Korcula fuel berth at three thirty and took 230 gallons of diesel in half an hour. With over 500 gallons in the tanks we had plenty of fuel for the long overnighter to Corfu.

Entirely against all regulations we pulled into the little isolated bay of Prozura on the remote island of Mljet, where there was an excellent restaurant with a free berth and electricity. Dinner ashore; a huge fish and a grilled crayfish for me, several brandies and so to bed.

Wednesday May 23rd dawned sunny and calm. We trouped ashore for omelettes, washed down with squeezed orange juice and strong, black coffee. Marilyn wandered around the adjoining garden and announced that she had found some 'marijuana poppies' which rather puzzled the rest of us who thought opium came from poppies. Marilyn assured us it was not so however.

We sailed south-east along the coast until we cleared the land and could set course for the turning point at Vliore, Albania. It was a calm, cool day with frequent patches of sunshine. After an hour's successful running while Andrea made tea, coffee and hot cuppa-soup to nourish the crew, the generator wouldn't start in the evening. It was cold food from then on, as we're an all-electric boat. Otherwise the weather remained light and visibility good. We split into watches for the night and left Patrice and Marilyn on for the eight to twelve, with Malcolm and Andrea for the middle watch and me for the morning watch and the arrival.

I was awoken by the sensation that we were now heading into what had been a force three, following wind. I got dressed and went up to the wheelhouse to find all was confusion. Marilyn and Patrice had tried to move the plug-in auto-pilot from the flying bridge to the wheelhouse "because we were getting cold up there!" They had both become disorientated in the process with the result that we were now 180 degrees off course. I grabbed the wheel and steered by hand until we were back on course again and the motion had eased. Not best pleased, I stayed up on the flying bridge with them for another hour or so.

"What happens if it rains?" asked Marilyn plaintively.

"Then you get bloody wet!" I told her, "You'll keep a much better look-out from up here. I remember a captain at sea when I was a young apprentice who said that you never keep a proper watch at night through glass, so he sent me out on the bridge wing to face the sleet and biting wind. Then the steward came up with hot tea and buttered toast for the captain and the officer of the watch which they consumed in the warm while I had to remain outside.

The weather stayed calm as we closed the Albanian coast, heading for the mile-wide gap between Corfu and Albania. The dawn revealed small Albanian towns huddling under the huge and forbidding-looking mountains, full of square, concrete apartment blocks. There were some brightly painted ones, but the place didn't look attractive. We berthed at Corfu Marina at 0815 after a run of 225 miles. Then the paper chase began! Marilyn and I went to the marina office to pay for two nights berthing. Then we found a friendly taxi driver, Kostas, to take us to immigration. They wouldn't accept Marilyn's Australian passport as she was not an EU citizen. So we drove off to the ferry immigration terminal. There Kostas shouldered aside a group of Spanish and Japanese tourists and marched straight through security to an office where a chap with four stripes on his epaulettes and his, heavily pregnant wife were situated. Marilyn got her passport stamped and we proceeded to customs who waved us away after a cursory look at the ship's papers. Then back to the marina to have a ship's Greek Passage Log made up. There was a long queue. We got to the head of it, and showed the solitary young man our papers.

"You need to pay in the marina office and get me a receipt first," he explained. Marilyn went off to do that.

"We could fill in all the details on the Passage Log while she's away," I suggested as the queue was lengthening.

"First the receipt," he replied, turning on the TV to look at the Greek news. Back came Marilyn with the receipt for 88 euro-cents and twenty minutes later the official had filled in the Passage Log and entered every detail by hand in two, separate, grubby account books. We departed for a drink in the bar next door. Past us came the man who had been next in the queue.

"Had to pay and get a receipt before he'd issue the Passage Log," he explained as he trotted back, "he might have mentioned that while I was waiting for you to finish!"

That afternoon Angelo the engineer arrived to fix the generator which turned out to have a faulty solenoid valve. He ordered a new one up for delivery Saturday..

Friday 25th dawned fine and clear. The crew went ashore for a tour with Kostas, while Malcolm and I stayed on board. It was a hot, sultry day. Malcolm varnished out the bare bits of the wheelhouse and saloon while I cleaned the old oil and cigarette butts out of the engine room bilges, left there by the Croatian engineers. In the evening we got the electric barbecue out and Patrice grilled five little fishes he had bought, wrapped in silver paper. The menfolk sat up a little late and finished the Hine Brandy before going to bed.

Saturday May 26th dawned cloudy, calm and sultry although it became sunny later. We tried to get our Passage Log stamped but that involved producing the registration certificate, passports, skipper's qualifications and the insurance policy in Greek, all of which were inspected by the same people yesterday.

"I thought there was free passage in the EU for citizens and their boats," I queried the lady in charge.

"All the visiting English say that," she replied, "It's not us, it's the government rules we have to obey."

Angelo came aboard with the solenoid for the generator and soon had it going. The generator worked on load so all was well so we moved to the fuel berth to top up the tanks. Then we sailed on the 65 miles to Levkas on the little canal separating the Peloponnese from the rest of Greece.

We arrived at a quarter to eight in the evening and entered the northern end of the canal. We waited only five minutes for the floating bridge to open and then to Levkas Marina where we spent the night. We had a simple dinner ashore in the excellent, cheap, marina restaurant and went to bed, all dog-tired.

The next morning, we enjoyed a good breakfast at the same café. At breakfast we discovered that we had been under the impression that Greece was in the same time zone as Croatia. Not so. We were an hour behind local time. Malcolm took off the wheelhouse clock and adjusted it, as did Andrea with all the other clocks on board. Meanwhile I went to the reception to pay the berth fee. No stamps, no papers, just a credit card and the girl gave me the ship's registration certificate back and we sailed.

We sailed down the Levkas canal and around the little islands. We passed under the long Riou bridge at four thirty pm and then on to an abandoned marina at Trizona Island where we planned to berth for the night. There was a strong north-westerly wind and we slid in to a very tight berth between two yachts on the inside of the outer breakwater. The forward one was a large sailing yacht with an anxious skipper on its stern. The other was the home of Wendy and David, recent live-aboards on their aluminium sailing boat 'Stromhella'. They helped us to fender off the rough concrete jetty as we berthed and we invited them to dinner in the little village square. Wendy had previously been married to (and later divorced from) a Dutch Jesuit priest. It was a boozy, pleasant evening with a Thai-Greek waitress who was very beautiful. Andrea ended the dinner a trifle over-served with wine and loved everyone. We helped her back to the boat muttering.

At around four in the morning there was the sound of an educated English voice aft and the noise of a boat engine. I got up in my pyjamas and moved swiftly to the darkened end of the saloon to see what was happening. David and Wendy were trying to motor, bow-first, off the dock, into the wind. They would have made it except that our passerelle had been left sticking out to make room for our stern line. As it was he just managed to push his boat clear, with Wendy on the helm gunning the engine,. With a polite apology coming across from the darkened harbour, Stromhella's navigation lights gradually vanished into the distance.

We left shortly after the big yacht berthed ahead for the western entrance to the Corinth Canal and arrived off the canal entrance at 1220 calling them on VHF. We had to wait an hour steaming up and down. It was a delightful, sunny run through the high banks of the Corinth Canal, three and a half miles long. We stopped to fill out the inevitable sheaves of paperwork and pay the canal authorities at the eastern end, then off to the Olympic Marina at Piraeus, where we arrived after a calm and sunny 33 miles among numerous anchored ships waiting for cargoes. The girls went ashore to reconnoitre and I to the marina office to deal with the inevitable blizzard of paperwork and pay for two nights alongside. The marina presented us with a bottle of Greek brandy, another of Ouzo and some yachting magazines, all in a neat basket to welcome us. Meanwhile the shore party reported squalor with graffiti, rubbish blowing about and a lot of small, crude shelters full of what appeared to be Rumanian Gypsies. We decided to eat on board and Marilyn cooked up scrambled eggs, fried chunks of ham and new potatoes with a tomato and feta cheese salad on the side.

Tuesday May 29th dawned grey and cool. After fixing the engine room bilge pump I was ready and we all went ashore. We got the security man to call two taxies and visited the Acropolis and the Parthenon. In spite of the state of the Greek economy there is a lot of restoration work going on. Then to lunch at a family restaurant with an undecipherable name. We had sardines, calamari, grilled prawns, salad and some beautiful little white fish fillets in a mixture of olive oil and lemon, all washed down with good, Greek wine and their home-made liqueur. Marilyn and Patrice, being of a cultural bent, went off to the museum; the rest of us back to the boat.

A quiet afternoon on board, Malcolm varnishing and me writing up the log and having an hour's sleep. Early to bed, although a slightly disturbed night with loud rap music from car boom-boxes and much revving of motor bikes outside the perimeter fence until 0300 in the morning.

The next day dawned fine and cloudless with light breezes from the west. The police, who were due to appear at eight hadn't turned up to stamp our papers by ten to nine, so we dispensed with their assistance and sailed for Batsi in Andros Island.

The wind stayed light, the sun stayed out and we arrived in Batsi at three pm after an uneventful voyage. We had to lay out an anchor ahead which was a bit unexpected and when we berthed on the smart, new breakwater we discovered that there was plenty of fresh water but the electric sockets weren't working due to a very bad storm they had a few months ago. On went the trusty generator. An old chap in a fluorescent jacket seemed to be in charge and issued numerous orders. He muttered something about giving him money, so I gave him twenty Euros and won a friend for life. All went ashore for shopping (girls), internet (Patrice) and a drink (Malcolm and me).

The next two boats were manned by professors of philosophy, theology and archaeology and their students from the University of San Diego. They had commandeered the five hire cars in the village to visit an archaeological dig about thirty kilometres away. We had dinner ashore at a restaurant run by an American/Greek lady who had moved back from New Jersey twenty-three years before. Calamari followed by special roast lamb cooked in aluminium foil. All was at peace in the little bay with lights twinkling from the houses on the surrounding hills.

The next morning started slowly; hot and sunny with light winds. Marilyn and Andrea collected some extra provisions, Patrice went off to the Wi-Fi café to continue his work on marketing medical products and Malcolm and I launched the RIB and gave it a run. Andrea and Marilyn went off in a pre-arranged taxi to visit Andros Town and at eleven am the fuel tanker turned up and gave us a quick three hundred litres in each tank. Malcolm and I went off for a long lunch of a shared Caesar salad followed by a shared pizza and copious glasses of local, red wine. We came back to Cape Farewell in a mellow mood ready for an afternoon sleep to be faced by a very hesitant Andrea reporting that Marilyn had, yet again blocked the guest head. Malcolm and I fixed it, showered and had a slightly belated afternoon sleep. That evening Malcolm took the girls out for a long tour of the bay and coastline of Batsi and then we hoisted the RIB.

We left Batsi at seven the next day for the 100-mile run to Mandraki. It was flat clam and sunny without a cloud in the sky, and twice we were accompanied by pods of dolphins. We were approaching the harbour on the south side of Mandraki Island when some discoloured water with a green fishing buoy in the middle appeared ahead and the echo sounder indicated rapidly shoaling water. I slowed down and turned ninety degrees to port, and worked our way around what was obviously a very shallow patch. When we were safely round and on course again we discovered that the shoal was shown on the Imray chart, but only as a very small mark on the plotter when on a very large scale. Lesson learned - always consult the paper chart as well as the plotter.

The abandoned marina at Mandraki was disappointing. We berthed and were greeted by a young policeman instructing us to bring all our papers to his office up the road by the maritime college sometime after six that evening. We discovered that there was neither electricity nor water available on the dock; as they say in the RN, 'Fitted for but not with.' The policeman redeemed himself by giving me a lift on his scooter to his office which must have been an interesting sight for the bystanders.

The town was run-down, dusty and fly-blown with some graffiti and weeds growing between the concrete slabs. The marina had been started but not finished. There was no charge for the night's berthing but we were back to running the generator for long periods. We ate ashore in an open-sided dining space, surrounded by thin, hopeful cats. The proprietor was kind and attentive although a serial, roll-your-own smoker. Various shabby middle-aged locals plus the host's wife and daughter sat around sipping coffee and smoking. The food was roast lamb chopped up into splintery ribs plus calamari and salad.

The next day we sailed the twelve miles to Cesme Marina without properly clearing out of Greece. It was a public holiday and I had visions of being asked to wait for a couple of days until a customs man came back on duty. We were soon in Turkish waters and hoisted our red Turkish courtesy ensign replacing Greek one. We berthed alongside at ten fifteen in our reserved berth. Then the paper chase began. First to pay the balance of the annual berth fee and then to the harbour master to get the transit log filled out. Then to the doctor to get the stamp assuring the world that we were free of plague, then we all had to troop up to the port police and customs to get entered officially into Turkey and get our visas and passports stamped.

That evening the marina held a barbecue on the terrace to celebrate its second birthday. Our crew all dressed up and socialised. The food and wine were excellent and there was a continual procession of smartly dressed, happily chattering people, young and old, through the very stylish shops and restaurants that fringed the marina. The pontoon lights shone violet, white and red and all the shop windows were lit up. The harbour was full of yachts, big and small and it looked more like Nice or Antibes than an outpost of Asia. It made an interesting contrast with the clapped-out and destitute Greek port that we had left only that morning and which was just twelve miles to the north.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Luxury Car Market Growing Rapidly

The demand for luxury vehicles is rising in China and upcoming markets. Tata Motors Ltd., Jaguar Land Rover owner, reported an increase of 18% in its fourth-quarter profit.

The automaker, based in Mumbai, reported a net income increase from 22.3 billion rupees per year to 26.3 billion rupees, which equals $581 million.

Bloomberg compiled 19 analyst estimates, the average of which showed a 26.9 billion rupee profit.

The global surge in demand for luxury vehicles has prompted the need for Jaguar Land Rover waiting lists. To meet the need for cars in the U.S. and China, Volkswagen AG's Audi division is hiring additional workers to expand production.

Tata Motors said in January that Jaguar sales in China rose about 50% last year, and Land Rover automobile sales more than doubled. Tata Motors sold over 26,000 cars in China, its third largest market. On its website, the company stated its plans to have over 100 Chinese dealerships by this year's end.

Global Business

Walter Rossini, who resides over $355 million, or 250 million euros in an India equity fund in Milan at Aletti Gestielle SGR SpA, states that Tata Motors' primary focus is their international business. He noted that the company is doing exceedingly well not only in the U.S. and Europe, but also in upcoming markets, such as China. He also stated that the business might experience some demand slowdown in trucks for India, due to the dramatic rise in financing costs.

UK Investment

In June 2008, Tata shelled out $2.4 billion to Ford Motor Co. for the acquisition of Jaguar and the brand Land Rover. Tata plans to invest in the UK to the tune of 5 billion pounds in the years to come, said Carl-Peter Forster, Chief Executive Officer.

Tata will begin an assembly facility in the city of Pune, India, for the production of Land Rover vehicles.

Diesel & Motor Engineering, Plc, Sri Lankan Tata Motors dealer, started selling the Nano car on May 28. This vehicle is priced from $8,414, or 925,000 Sri Lankan rupees.

Last month, 10,012 Nanos were purchased from the automaker, giving it the highest sales after a 250,000-capacity factory opening. In April, the automaker exported 498 Nanos.

In November, Nano sales dipped to 509 units, a record low due to three cars catching fire and customer difficulties with getting loans. Once the company began offering easier financing and longer warranties, sales rebounded.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Automotive Subsidies, Bailouts and Sweetheart Deals From the Government - Not Just in the US Anymore

Will the US hang on to the auto industry? What happens as the Euro Zone collapses and we can't sell cars there and China ramps up production for its growing middle class consumers domestically? It appears China is poised to take it all, and the European, Japanese, and US car makers will not have the ability to stop the onslaught - in ten years, China will own the global auto market, perhaps their biggest competitor will be Tata Motors in India. Okay so, let's talk about all this, and what I see on the horizon presently.

The Wall Street Journal posted an article in their online news on May 30, 2012 titled; "BYD Defends Electric Car; China Plans Broad Subsidy," by Joanne Chou. According to the article, and I have absolutely no reason to refute this news, the all-powerful communist Chinese Government will fund research and development for hybrid automobiles to the tune of between $160 to $315 million. These newly engineered state of the art vehicles will be sold around the world for export, yes, in the EU, Australia, and United States.

Further, since Chinese banks are now allowed to operate retail offices in the US, most likely they will loan money for these new cars, and guess who is leading the charge at BYD motors in China - our own Warren Buffet, who owns a massive number of shares and has a lot of clout here at home with friends in the White House, on Wall Street, and in nearly every major industry. Imagine Smart Car sized Chinese made hybrids running around town, with you in it, brand new from China, with a low-interest loan and easy payments.

This kind of puts the GM bailout all to shame, and the dismal sales of the Chevy Volt - so much for that government debacle. Okay so, why is China subsidizing research on batteries? Well, it turns out that the BYD batteries caught fire when discontorted by 50% in abuse crash tests, meaning they can't must the regulatory DOT rules here at home - yet. Of course, with a little research and seeing as A123 Battery Manufacturer, also US government subsidized and low interest DOE loans failed, the field is wide open again - and China wants that industry - she's going to take it.

Meanwhile, let me be a horse's rear-end here and make a statement. In my view the $160 to $315 million dollar battery research from the Chinese government won't actually be used to develop the technology, rather to borrow or collect the information from American R&D units via cyber and corporate espionage, then corner the market, and sell everyone in the US a hybrid Chinese pocket car which will meet the Obama Administration's new CAFÉ standards for fuel economy.

Looks like we are about to give away one of our mainstay industries - despite our government's attempt to appease unions, and bail it out. I do recall Steve Jobs getting upset in the media once, he said "we don't mind competing, but use your own technology, stop stealing ours," and I guess that too is my frustration as I see all of this unfold in the auto industry this time. Please consider all this and think on it.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Car That Runs On Air

The auto industry is bracing itself for its biggest shift since Henry Ford used an assembly line to roll out Model Ts. The race to develop and implement a new kind of fuel - both environmentally-conscious and affordable - has been going on for years now, but we're still a while away from a full-scale gasoline overhaul. Ethanol, biodiesel, hydrogen, and lithium batteries are all vying for the title of gas killer, but there's a new contender making a lot of noise - and that contender is...air? Well, compressed air.

Moteur Development International (MDI) is a research and development firm that has tinkered with the concept of an Air Car for nearly fifteen years. Based in Nice, France, engineers at MDI now say their latest design, the MiniCAT - CAT stands for Compressed Air Technologies - is ready for production. More importantly, Tata Motors (India's largest automotive manufacturer) seems to concur, and have agreed to initially build several thousand of these vehicles, with plans for expansion in the next couple years for production both in India and Europe.

How it Works In a MiniCAT, compressed air is stored in a tank underneath the vehicle and funnels into pistons where it expands to about 15 times the compressed level. The de-crompression of the air creates pressure to push the pistons which propels the car. The expansion of the air also creates a by-product of cold air that can be used to run the air-conditioning. The end result is an efficient engine generating plenty of power and having zero emissions. The biggest hurdle for any new fuel is in its availability and distribution. Here air has an obvious advantage.

Compressed-air "pumps" are inexpensive to manufacture and implement on a large scale, and as a renewable and abundant resource, air fill-ups would be far cheaper than gasoline is today. Some estimate that a full tank of air - which for a MiniCAT is about 200 miles of driving - could be as little as $3. Also in development is the CityCAT, which uses a dual-function engine to generate higher speeds and a longer range. The compressed air system is still central to propulsion, but a second system is added that takes over at speeds over 35 mph. This system is similar to General Motors' Flex Fuel technology, meaning it can run on gasoline, biodiesel, ethanol, or other sources. When the second system is running it generates air that can be compressed and stored for later use by the central system.

Introducing it to the Populace MDI has built compressed air engines with 2, 4, and 6 cylinders and is looking for the best way to introduce their vehicles to the market.

One goal is a taxi fleet - after all, taxis drive a lot more than the rest of us and are a good way to generate buzz. MiniCATS seem built for the city, and with several urban hubs in Europe considering a ban on gasoline-powered vehicles, the air-powered vehicle could be a popular choice indeed. CityCATs, despite their name, are made more for the suburban commuter. The Tata Motors agreement is a major first step in a very long walk. The Indian manufacturer has quickly become one of the world's largest automakers, specializing in large trucks and buses. MDI has already built concept versions of pick-up trucks and vans for their fuel systems, and even larger vehicles are likely in the works. No final figures on pricing have been determined, but Tata and MDI estimate that MiniCATs would be around the equivalent of $10,000 in euros. Both vehicles are quick and nimble on city streets, with comparable acceleration to other economy-class cars. The higher-cylinder versions can provide more boost, but the MiniCAT tops out at around 68 mph, so it can get out on the freeway if it must. This flexibility would be more important in the U.S. should MDI expand production to our shores.

For more on these vehicles, check out MDI's website. Already some are beginning to eulogize gasoline as a thing of the past - ethanol and other resources are certainly gunning for it. But in this race for the future, a late entrant might have what it takes to win it all. Compressed air systems are easy to manufacture, distribute, and replenish. Time will tell if running on air will have an entirely new meaning. At AutoExtra.com we strive to bring you the latest and greatest happenings in the automotive universe. Stay tuned for more on the cutting edge of fuel technologies.

Friday, February 28, 2014

New Eight-Cylinder Engine for BMW M3 Models

The BMW M3, the Munich-based automaker's sports version of the popular BMW 3-Series compact luxury car will have something new under its sleek hood. BMW Group has recently launched the details of its new V8 engine for the M3 2-door sports coupe and convertible models.

The new 3.2-liter straight six V8 engine features 8-cylinders, which is the first time for the BMW M3 models. With more cylinders and a larger displacement capacity, this new engine for BMW M3 offers an excellent and powerful performance at 430 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. amount of peak torque, marking its sports car characteristics. Although the new V8 offers a powerful vehicle performance, the engine also offers lower exhaust emissions just like the sports car's competitor, the Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG that also features cleaner emissions on its Mercedes Benz exhaust. In fact, the new V8 engine complies with the most stringent EURO 4 emissions standard, and earns the LEV II (low emission vehicle) certification.

The new BMW M3 V8 achieved this low exhaust emission certification because of the engine's powertrain technology like the variable double-VANOS camshaft management, fuel injection system, and the brake energy regeneration that enhances the BMW M3 V8 engine's efficiency and driving dynamics.

Meanwhile, here are the complete engine specifications from a BMW official press release of the new BMW M3 V8:

- First eight-cylinder for the BMW M3 sports car.

- Supreme performance ensured by 309 kW/420 hp from 4.0 litres.

- Maximum torque of 400 Newton-metres (295 lb-ft) at 3, 900 rpm, 85 per cent of maximum torque over a speed range of 6,500 rpm.

- Unique thrust and muscle ensured by consistent implementation of the M high-speed engine concept, maximum engine speed 8,300 rpm.

- Consistent lightweight construction of engine and ancillary units, new V8 power unit one of the lightest eight-cylinders in the world, lighter than the straight-six power unit in the former model.

- Variable camshaft control, low-pressure double-VANOS for an optimum charge cycle, system offering full power and performance even with normal engine oil pressure.

- Eight individual throttle butterflies for spontaneous engine response.

- Consistent and reliable oil supply with longitudinal and lateral acceleration up to 1.4 g ensured by two oil pumps and wet sump oil lubrication optimised for supreme dynamic behaviour.

- Exhaust system optimising cylinder charge, optimised for weight and function by means of internal high-pressure remoulding, exhaust emissions fulfil EU4 and LEV 2 standards.

- Upgraded MSS60 engine control unit for optimum coordination of all engine functions with the various control systems in the car.

- Ion flow technology recognising and distinguishing engine knocking phenomena as well as misfiring and miscombustion by measurement of ion flow in the combustion chambers.

- Brake Energy Regeneration with intelligent alternator control.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Volvo Trio Scoops Used Car Honours

Easter is known as a hot buying season for auto enthusiasts. But Volvo has additional three good reasons to be jubilant about Easter. This is because its trio of models has scooped awards in the Used Car Honours 2007. The commendations for the XC90, S60, and V50 were published by Auto Express magazine. In connection to this, the Swedish automaker has expressed its plans to offer a wider range of older models through Volvo Selected Used Cars, its approved pre-owned scheme.

At the Auto Express Used Car awards, the Volvo XC90, the acclaimed SUV from the automaker, was adjudged an outright winner in the off-road 4x4 category. There was further success for the Volvo S60 sedan and the Volvo V50 sports wagon. The cars both achieved the Commended status in the compact executive and estate car classes respectively.

Volvo has already established an impressive history in prestigious awards. As a fact, this is the second year that the XC90 has scooped the honor for the Best 4x4 Off-roader. Additionally, this is the third year in succession that Volvo has claimed three trophies.

For the 2007 Auto Express awards, judges have intimated full praise for the Volvo trio. They have this to say: "The Volvo XC90 is still the must-have off-roader. A top Euro NCAP rating and the marque's reputation for dealer service and reliability combine to make the XC90 a desirable used car that's also a sensible buy."

The Volvo XC90, a mid-size luxury crossover SUV which has debuted at the New York Auto Show, is sharing the P2 platform with its siblings - the Volvo S80 and other larger Volvo cars. The remarkable Volvo XC90 parts include the 4.4 L Yamaha V8 engine that produces 311 units of horsepower and 325 ftolbf of torque. For this model year, the car was updated to deliver a subtly-restyled front and rear, and a more luxurious interior.

In regards with the Volvo S60, judges have this to say: "When it comes to value in this sector, there's only one place to look. With plenty of kit, loads of space and some of the most relaxing seats we've experienced, the Volvo S60 is a soothing choice." They also gave unrestricted praises in favor of the V50. They said, "With a 417-litre boot that grows to 1,307 litres, the Volvo V50 isn't the biggest load-lugger, but it's one of the most stylish. Top-rate safety and build quality complete the package."

Accepting the prestigious awards was Anne Woodward, the used car programme manager. "Our continued success in the used car market is reflected in the number of visitors to our website, http://www.volvoselectedusedcars.com, where 280,000 used Volvos are viewed online each month - and that's a significant increase on last year's figure."

Woodward also intimated the automaker's plans that will appeal to cost-conscious motorists looking to buy a used Volvo. "Last year 12 percent of our used car sales were of vehicles aged three to four years. In 2007 our goal is to get that much nearer to 20 percent. Offering a wider range of older models means more customers than ever will be able to afford a Selected Used Volvo. And that means more people will benefit from the high standards of vehicle preparation and guaranteed peace-of-mind motoring provided by our franchised dealer network," she said.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

VW Fox - Made Out of Pineapples

I've reviewed so many cars over the past six months or so, that I may have been guilty of getting used to the thrills and spills of driving fast ones. If this is the case, my assignment this week brought me back down to earth - very slowly might I add - with a bump. The car in question is the Volkswagen Fox - the baby of the German manufacturer's fleet.

The car has a 0-60mph time of...wait...for...it...17.5 seconds. Top speed is 91mph and no, there isn't a turbo attached to the puny 1.2 liter engine. Yet to lambaste the Fox for being slow and unexciting is to completely miss the point of the car. The giveaway is in the model name of the car I tested - the Volkswagen Urban Fox. You see in this time of petrol prices soaring, roads becoming more congested and the car being the global warming villain, the Fox could well be where the smart money lies when it comes to getting around town.

I don't like to use the word 'cheap' but there's no other way to describe the Fox, with prices starting at £6,430 to be precise (in the UK I should add). To get four brand new wheels onto the road, with a Volkswagen badge adorning your car for this money is quite simply a remarkable feat. The cost saving doesn't end there either, with the Fox falling into insurance group one - the cheapest banding around. Fuel consumption almost looks made up with combined urban and extra urban figures of 46.3mpg.

Blimey this is starting to make a lot of sense. The Fox is quite tall too, so despite the diminutive length, the driving position is not too dissimilar to that of a larger 4x4 vehicle. The advantages of making the car tall, aren't limited to the driving position, as headroom and legroom are also boosted by the extra inches up top. There's plenty of glass around the car, making all round visibility excellent and parking a doddle.

Outside of its favored habitat things do go a bit awry with the Fox - particularly on the motorway. Now before you shout "the little thing's not meant for the big roads!" if we're being objective, there's going to be occasions when you're going to leave the big smoke and hit one of the multi-laned snakes cutting through the country. By-passing (no pun intended) the 0-60mph time, the Fox is - and I hate using this word as much as 'cheap' - slow. An overtaking maneuver requires the forward planning of a chess master and snooker champion all in one. Changing from fifth gear to fourth made little difference to my forward motion and worryingly, nor did a further shift down to third.

The tall sides also act as a pair of very large hands that grasp hold of every gust of wind or buffeting from a passing lorry, making the Fox a wee bit skittish in the outside lane. However, once off the motorway, the Fox feels far more assured navigating country twists and turns, thanks to a longer wheelbase than most in its class and wider track. In fact, rather than welding the accelerator pedal to the floor, a gradual motion combined with a neat gearbox brought great rewards in the great outdoors.

Parked up against it's rivals the Fox sits comfortably in the 'not ugly' bracket but struggles to make it into the 'pretty' range either. As with Volkswagen's other small hatchback the Polo, the Fox is subtly styled compared to its rivals, in this case the Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 107. Yet there is something more grown up and civilized about the Fox when viewing it alongside the almost immature stylings of the other city cars.

An interesting fact for your next pub chatter - Volkswagen are committed to reducing the environmental impact of producing cars and are keen to promote recycling and greener vehicles. In the case of the Fox, it's built in Brazil where the Curana plant grows. Fibers of this plant from the pineapple family are mixed with a recyclable synthetic material which makes the material for the roof lining and rear parcel shelf. No the car isn't edible.

The Fox has been manufactured using the latest laser welding technology which means it's a very rigid car helping it garner 4 stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests and features ABS as standard. Optional extras include alloy wheels, air conditioning and a CD player.

The Fox has a big fight on its hands, not necessarily from its competitors, but from the car it replaces - the much loved, and cute Lupo. Either way, the evidence is clear. Next time I get behind the wheel of a 2.0 liter turbo'd monster, I'll be wishing I was a far sensible human being and was driving a Volkswagen Fox.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Euro Tail Lights: An Awesome Mod!

Car manufacturers over the years have developed some radical looking tail light designs for their vehicles. The '65 era Thunderbirds, for one, featured sequential tail lights and, years later, Chevy introduced the '90 Lumina van with monster-sized, can't miss tail lights. Today, tail lights on many cars simply do the job, but leave little to the imagination. Fortunately, after market operators have jumped in and developed some awesome looking mods -- some call them Euro tail lights -- that even your Granny can install.

What are Euro tail lights? For starters, there is some disagreement on the name but essentially they are also known as Alteeza tail lights, the name of a popular manufacturer of this style of tail light. Others prefer terms such as "clear tail lights" or "red tail lights" but in any case they are mods that change the appearance of stock tail lights. In short, you are installing crystal clear or red lenses that go over bullet-style taillight and turn signal lenses. The new lenses, coupled with style rings and platings, help to accentuate the light emitting from auto tail lights and turn signals thereby giving the vehicle a unique look far removed from the original design.

Euro tail lights are marketed in a variety of styles and bezel colors including chrome, carbon fiber, black, etc.; some styles are paintable for a customized look. In addition, new LED or light emitting diode tail lights are also catching on. This particular mod features the installation of new bulbs that light faster and brighter than stock tail light bulbs; they contain no filament and can withstand rough road conditions better than the standard bulbs. Eventually, all cars will likely have LEDs as standard equipment, however you don't have to wait that long.

Of course, if you already own a European make automobile you are likely satisfied with the stock design. Your BMW tail light assembly or Audi tail light assembly is the basis for many of these mods. Still, if you want to squeeze a little extra style out of these types of vehicles there are mods for them as well.

So, are Euro tail lights street legal? They certainly are and they are Department of Transportation (DOT) and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) approved. No worries about being pulled over by "the law" unless you modify the mod illegally!

Yes, you can upgrade your Ford, Kia, Mercedes tail light or virtually any other automotive tail light legally and quickly. Some makers boast that mods can be completed in as little 15 minutes, so you will break hardly a sweat and have a cool upgrade on your vehicle in no time. Blink! Blink!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ligier Cars Begin Their Third Incarnation

Currently second only to Daimler's "SmartCar," the Ligier line of X-Too mini-vehicles stands poised to dominate the Continental mini-car market, and forecasters predict Ligier cars have the power to create a major sensation in North America. Given a big financial and technological boost in 2008, the bold venture into the mini-car business marks Ligier cars' third incarnation as a forward-thinking French auto manufacturer.

The early lives of Ligier cars

First, Ligier produced some of the finest Formula One racing cars ever to compete on the circuit. Founded by Guy Ligier, an accomplished Formula One driver and celebrated rugby player, Ligier cars consistently contended for the championships from 1976 to 1996. In 1977, a Ligier racer won the Grand Prix-still one of the greatest French victories in Formula One History.

While building the brand on the racing circuit, Ligier cars entered the European consumer market with the JS2, an impressive mid-engine sports car powered by a blow-you-back-in-the-seat Maserati engine. One of the few mid-engine sports cars outfitted with a V6 engine, auto enthusiasts considered the Ligier JS2 a technological masterpiece. Built for performance rather than economy, the Ligier JS2 fell victim to the severe energy crisis of the early 1970's. One later model, the JS11, surpassed the JS2's technological wizardry but could not compete against Ferrari-neither on the track nor on the market.

Ligier cars reincarnated

In 2008, marking a radical departure from its history and legend, Ligier acquired "Microcar," a pocket-sized Euro-friendly family of tiny cars and trucks. Son of the founder, Phillipe Ligier serves as the company's Chief Executive Officer, promising to restore Ligier cars' reputation for state-of-the-art technology and breath-taking innovation.

Ligier's X-Too family includes open-air roadsters reminiscent of the company's glory days on the racing circuit, and it features small commercial vehicles ideally suited to super-economical use in major urban areas worldwide. Anchoring the X-Too line, the two-passenger Ligier Ambra become the green vehicle of-choice for young Parisian professionals and other environmentally conscious French consumers. Ambra also has become something of a green fashion statement in London.

Powered by a 505cc gasoline engine, Ambra will chug along at 65mph, delivering 65mpg regardless of driving conditions. In defiance of JS2's amazing power-to-weight ratio, which delivered remarkable acceleration, Ambra weighs a little too much for its microscopic power plant, going from zero to sixty in eighteen seconds...approximately half an eternity. Ambra has no gearbox, running instead on a constant velocity transmission for more steady power and better performance in heavy city traffic. Ambra does allow plenty of elbow room, and it offers ample behind-the-seats storage for the standard collection of everyday paraphernalia.

Little Ligier cars have potential to sell big.

Watching SmartCar's slow but steady progress in the United States and Canada, many auto market analysts emphasize Ligier's tremendous potential for record-breaking sales in North America. As more demanding fuel-economy standards take effect in the United States, the American appetite for mini-cars grows. Because of its distinctive styling, extremely precise handling, and unrivalled mileage statistics, the Ligier X-Too ought to catch the eyes of space-crunched New Yorkers, money-crunched Chicagoans, and smog-tortured Los Angelinos.

Friday, February 21, 2014

What Is the Fastest Car In the World?

The Bugatti Veyron is easily the fastest car in the world. Speed trials in the summer of 2010 established the Veyron as the clear champion in terms of top speed - 253 mph tested independently on two different time trials. The sticker price is enough to put some car lovers in the hospital - $1.3 million. But for your money, you get a car that travels from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds, less time than it takes to recover from a sneeze.

How does the Bugatti Veyron do it?

The Veyron gets up to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds because of four-wheel-drive traction. The Veyron makes it up to 125mph in just 7.3 seconds, and is capable of hitting 200 mph in less than 20 seconds. The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is by far the fastest, most powerful, and most expensive street-legal production car in the world.

Why Does Bugatti Make Such a Fast Car?

There's no real commercial application for a street-legal car that hits such a high top speed -- can you imagine travelling at 250 mph down the highway? It would be impossible, due to traffic, highway patrol (who probably couldn't catch you anyway) and safety concerns. Since there's no obvious commercial value for a car with such muscle, some people think maybe the Veyron is what is known in the auto industry as a "halo model" -- a reputation booster for a car's manufacturer. Auto critics disagree, suggesting that since the Veyron is made by Volkswagen, it doesn't make since for a muscle car freak who shelled out over a million Euros to brag about the fact that he's driving a VW.

It has come out in the auto press that Bugatti suffers a huge loss with the sale of every Veyron 16.4 -- it costs Bugatti $5 million to make the car, so they're taking a loss of several million bucks per vehicles. This just adds to the mystery -- why make the fastest car in the world at all?

Much like the Concorde, which was always a financial disaster, the Veyron 16.4 most likely exists "because it can." It is a technical experiment, a chance to show off what Bugatti's engineers are capable of.

More Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Details

There are some facts about the Veyron 16.4 that would surprise most car nuts -- for instance, the 16.4 has a total of ten radiators. The Veyron also uses a lubrication system identical to Formula 1 cars. It may also surprise you to learn that the Veyron's engine creates 922 lb.-ft. of torque at just 2,200 rpm. Michelin developed tires just for the Veyron -- they're called the PAX System run-flat tires. They are capable of running as high as 254 mph, even flat.

The Bugatti Veyron is like no other production car in the world. It took years for VW to develop the Veyron and overcome the old "fastest car in the world", and it should be years before we see another car challenge the Veyron for the top spot.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

About The Fastest Cars

Cars are the vehicles that have revolutionized the mode of transportation in the world. Gone are the days when one had only a few options when it came to selecting a car. In recent times, cars are crafted keeping in mind the various needs of the individual. While some want comfort while traveling, others look for speedy vehicles. Even though accessories can be added to cars to increase their power and speed, the car manufacturing firms are also experimenting with designing new shapes in cars. These new shapes are designed to manipulate air pressure and add speed to the cars.

The automobile industry has introduced contemporary methodologies to their manufacturing process and has managed to develop designs and technologies that enables vehicles to exceed the speed of sound. Those who prefer fast cars will like to know about some of the models considered as the fastest cars for the year 2011.

1. The Bloodhound SSC - Supersonic car

• The speed of this car reaches 1,000 miles per hour.
• Technology similar to Euro-fighter jets is used to keep the car stable at high speeds.
• The Bloodhound SSC is powered by an 800 bhp race engine, jets and a hybrid Falcon rocket.

2. The Thrust SSC - Supersonic car

• It holds the world land speed record at an incredible supersonic 766 mph.
• This car was the first car to exceed the speed of sound on land.
• The auto weighs ten tons and can accelerate, from a standstill position, up to a speed of 100 mph.
• It has been developed by the same company which made the Bloodhound SSC.

3. Formula 1 Cars

• It has been developed for racing around difficult, intricate and demanding tracks.
• The speed of these cars can exceed 220 mph.
• The engines of these cars produces power measuring up to 950 bhp.
• Formula 1 cars are extremely light, an attribute that adds to their acceleration.
• These cars generate an extreme amount of down force to keep them glued to the ground.
• Formula 1 autos are considered to be the fastest options when it comes to racing cars.

4. Bugatti Veyron

• This auto weighs approximately two tons.
• It has the ability to reach 60 mph from a standstill position in about 2.5 seconds.
• The engine power can be counted up to 1200 bhp.

5. SSC Ultimate Aero

• SSC in this case stands for "Shelby Super Cars" and not Supersonic Cars.
• This auto is expensive, luxurious and fast.
• The speed can be measured up to 256 mph.
• The power produced by the car engine counts up to 1200 bhp.