Archive for the ‘Cars’ Category

Formula 1 2009 Changes Explained Beautifully

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

I am an avid Formula 1 fan but even I have had trouble understanding some of the detailed changes with aerodynamics that were introduced for this coming season to improve the opportunities for overtaking. Well, Red Bull Racing has done everyone a favor and put out a wonderfully done video showing the differences between the 2008 and 2009 cars.

Even if you’re not a Formula 1 fan or watcher it is a pretty cool two minute video to check out to get an idea of how the fastest race cars in the world are put together.

Watch a Ferrari V12 Get Built

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007
Ferrari logo

For anyone interested in cars, engines, how things are built or, ummm, how about… FERRARIS!? Check out this five minute video of how a Ferrari V12 is built.

Speaking of Ferraris, I saw a buddy at work today wearing a T-shirt with a tagline, “Save the Enzos”. This is probably meaningless to everyone except car news nuts that have been following the story of extremely rare Ferrari Enzos being totaled about once a month now for the past year. Me on the other hand? I thought it was hilarious.

Via Autoblog

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That’s How We Do It In Washington

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

Last Saturday night we were out in Seattle and on our way to Joe’s Hot Dog Stand for our customary end-of-the-night hot dogs. I’m driving and we’re getting the usual Seattle sprinkling from the skies. We’re stopped at a traffic light, probably discussing how we need to make it to the hot dog stand before it closes, when all of a sudden I’m shaken and pushed forward. “Hmmmm… there is no way that Matt kicking the back of my seat would have made the whole car shake, so clearly there must be another… DOH! I’ve just been rear-ended.” Of course, it had been way too long since I had to deal with the annoyances of uninsured drivers, filing insurance claims, and shady body shops for the bump to be anything else.

I get out of the car to see a sloth of a car behind mine, a 1992 Cadillac Eldorado, with another sloth sitting behind the wheel. I ask the fool for his license and insurance information; a seemingly simple task. I end up waiting a solid three minutes in the rain while he fumbles in his dash and wallet, struggling to coordinate his fingers enough to pull the card out. He can’t maintain eye contact with me and he is a man of few words. Basically, he is drunk.

While I am standing in the rain jotting down the information from his half-legible, copied, and expired insurance card a couple of Seattle’s Finest happen to drive by and slow down to figure out why I am standing in the road. I tell them what’s up and ask them to come check things out. After spending some time talking with the both of us, one of the cops comes over to me and the conversation was as follows…

Cop: So what would you like us to do here?
Me: Uhhh, what do you mean?
Cop: Basically we can do one of two things: 1) We could write him up for a DUI; but he doesn’t look that bad and his eyes aren’t shaking much.
Me: And the other thing?
Cop: Or we could write up a report on the incident and that’s that.
Me: So you’re asking ME to decide whether that [obviously-drunk] guy [who-just-crashed-in-to-the-back-of-my-car] should get written up for a DUI?
Cop: Yeah.
Me: Isn’t that your job? I don’t think I am the one to make that call, am I?
Cop: What do you want from us?
Me: I just want your report in writing so my insurance company doesn’t second guess my story.
Cop: Okay. *walks across the street to his patrol car*

I am utterly bewildered at what just transpired and turn to Matt and Anurag to say so when the cop turns around and yells across the street to Me: “That’s how we do it in Washington; we ask you.”

Apparently that is how they do it in Washington. The question I’m asking the Seattle police is, “Why?”

Epilogue: Everyone in the car was fine and the bump wasn’t that bad so it looks like the damage is confined to the bumper of the car.

Seattle Auto Show (In)Action

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Yesterday I made my second annual homage to the Seattle Auto Show with Scott and Nick. Lest you all get excited or jealous that you didn’t make it, let me cool your boots right now. The Seattle Auto show is a joke of a show when compared to the LA Auto Show I have been visiting for years now. I would liken it more to a place where all your local dealers come together to showcase the same cars you could see in the showroom; they just save you from driving lot to lot.

Besides the usual showroom floor equipment, we were treated to these throwback concept cars from the show circuit of the last couple of years: Dodge Rampage, Ford Bronco, and Ford Shelby GR-1. We were just enamored with these cars, really. Meanwhile we were left pining to see new cars like the beautiful Audi R8 or even the new Audi TT.

Speaking of Audi, of all the cars at the show we probably were most impressed with their lineup. The cars are beautiful from the outside and even more amazing on the inside. The sound that of the A8L‘s door being shut got us excited it sounded so solid and well-built. I can’t say that has ever happened to me. Every surface looks good and feels even better to touch; the door panels, the dash, the seats, you name it. Audi really has no competition when it comes to interior design and quality.

Quick hits on other new cars I finally saw in person at the show:

  • Acura MDX – Overbearing and ugly front fascia, interior seriously lacking in the luxury department
  • Acura RDX – Nifty little premium SUV, if you’re into that sort of thing
  • BMW M6 – Unpainted carbon fiber roof, V10 engine. I need not say more
  • BMW 3 Coupe – Looks good in person from the outside, nearly identical on the inside. Will continue to sell ridiculously well even though it costs more than others
  • Dodge Caliber – Looks good for a compact, hard pressed to find a cheaper interior though
  • Honda CR-V – Looks like a fish with an underbite. And who designed that awkward D-pillar??
  • Infiniti G35 – Looks like it got a bad facelift on the outside, inside is still overly busy with buttons and techno-gadgetry in a bad way
  • Lexus – Zzzzz… sorry, I fell asleep while walking through the Lexus section
  • VW Rabbit – Scotty keeps telling me what a great value this car is for under $15K. After sitting inside the new one I would have a hard time disagreeing with him.

Don’t get me wrong now, we still had a good time at the show. We just spent most of it riding our Euro-driving high horse, ripping on the cheap interiors of the domestics or the awkward exterior design of the Saab’s and Subaru’s of the world. And we topped it all off with a nice Oktoberfest meal at Gordon Biersch. I had been craving steak for a few days…

Suspended Car-imation

Friday, July 21st, 2006

Suspended Honda F1 Car

What you see is the 3200 parts of a Honda Racing F1 car suspended from wires. If you happen to be going to the British International Motor Show in the next couple of weeks, you can see this awesome exhibit in person.

If you are not in with that cool crowd though, head on over to see more pictures of the “View Suspended” F1 Exhibit.

Dragster Tires Captured at 1000 Frames Per Second

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Yeah so I went to LA for a wedding a few weeks ago and I somehow managed to catch a cold when it was a ridiculous 95+ degrees there. It took me a little while to recover from that. Then it was July 4th and there was lots of driving and fireworks.

Speaking of driving, I always knew that tires on cars, and of course especially race cars, experienced a lot of stress and pulling forces under acceleration, braking, and cornering. But this, I could not have imagined this.

Somebody used a high-speed camera capable of capturing 1000 frames per second (how the heck did they get it to do that???) to film drag race cars at the starting line. If you watch the video you get to see tires being twisted up like a wet towel you were trying to wring out. Plus you can catch each individual cyldiner firing in the dragster’s engine.

Oh and just for reference’s sake, movies are shot at 24 frames per second and your typical home video camera records at 30 fps.

And if you like that, here is a collection of other interesting super-slow-motion video clips.

Unpimp De Auto

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Volkswagen has a new ad agency and they’ve come up with some clever ads for the US release of the new 5th generation GTI.

Warning, these ads contain blatant parody of the TV show Pimp My Ride as well as the import car tuner scene in general. Anyone who knows what those two are will find these very funny. You have been warned.

VW GTI – The Trebuchet
VW GTI – The Crate
VW GTI – The Wrecking Ball

Unpimp the auto

You get an F!

Saturday Morning Car Crazy

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

Last Saturday I took advantage of what I think could have been the chance of a lifetime. A few very wealthy and generous people, all obviously big fans of the automobile, opened up their private car collections for a visit and tour by members and guests of the PSR BMW CCA chapter.

The collections in total included some of the most beautiful, famous, and collectible cars ever made. I was as giddy as a kid in a candy factory for the approximately two hours that we were there. Nick and Brian joined me on the tour that beautiful Seattle morning, along with about 500 other club members and guests. Here are only some of the cars that we saw on Saturday:

  • Ferrari F40
  • Ferrari F50
  • Ferrari Enzo aka F60
  • Ferrari F1 race car, driven by Michael Schumacher in 1997
  • A couple Ferrari 512 Testarossas
  • Ferrari 575M
  • Mercedes 300SL Gullwing Coupe and Convertible
  • Jaguar XKE (E-Type) in British Racing Green
  • Ford GT40, one of the originals from the 60’s
  • Ford GT, the 2005 remake, two of them, including the first delivered to a customer
  • A handful of other rare classic European cars including Lotus, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, and Porsche
  • Classic mint condition Thunderbird, Mustang, and Shelby Cobra
  • Several Fords and Lincolns from the 1930s and 1940s including the Model A
  • BMW Z8, M5’s, M3’s and others
  • Chevrolet Corvette Z06, the new 2006 505hp beast

I probably missed some but that should at least whet your appetite for the pictures:

Armen’s Photos
Other Gallery #1 (taken same day as mine)
Other Gallery #2 (taken earlier)
Other Gallery #3 (taken earlier)
Other Gallery #4 (taken earlier)

Afterwards we hit up The Pancake House in Kirkland for some brunch. They have some pretty good pancakes there and some very big portions. Later in the day, inspired by the great (read: sunny in Seattle winter) weather and all of the awesome cars seen earlier in the day, I decided I’d like to go for a nice scenic drive.

I scoured Google Maps looking for some nice windy-looking back-roads that weren’t too far away. I was able to come up with a decent circular route that let me explore the nearby countryside and towns for a couple of hours until sunset. All in all it was a top notch way to spend a Saturday.

E90 BMW Wild Goose Chase

Friday, January 20th, 2006

Some British dude in Houston got in some altercation at a bar then stormed out and proceeded to lead police on a high speed chase all over Houston. Here is a video from the helicopter of the driver toying with the Hosuton police.

So the question we should be asking here is why do the various police departments involved in this two hour chase put so many lives in danger by pursuing this fool over a fight in a bar? Where is the judgement in that decision?

Of course, this video was particularly fun to watch for me since I drive pretty much the same car. I was laughing out loud listening to the guy reporting, “With the amount of power he’s got in that BMW, he is just leaving them behind right now.” Hahahaha, man that’s too funny. Also in the news articles they mention that they tried to use a spike strip to slow him down but that was “ineffectual”. The car has run-flat tires; I guess they work pretty well!

Fortunately the people he crashed into at the end suffered only minor injuries. They all seem to be okay now. I would never condone trying to outrun the police like this guy but can you just imagine how much fun it would be if you could somehow set up a giant area and network of roads to use for a game of car “tag” with some buddies? Okay maybe I’ll just stick to the track for now.

What do you guys think the police should do in these situations?

Cascade Circle Tour

Sunday, October 9th, 2005

I went on another tour/drive with the local BMW club. The drive started in Issaquah, WA and ended Saturday night in Hood River, OR, along the Columbia River Gorge. Its an absolutely breathtaking area and also the nation’s windsurfing capital.

The club took off early Sunday morning for more twisties heading back home but I hung back to hunt out some waterfalls with Peter, Jackie, and Bert.

Armen's Car

The waterfall we visited was in/near Panther Creek. I also drove over the Bridge of the Gods. They’re much better at naming stuff up here in the Northwest than in California I think. 😀

Click here for the rest of the photos.