America and Europe might have this whole hybrid/diesel thing the wrong way round. You see, hybrids like Toyota‘s Prius or Ford‘s Fusion do the best work in stop-start city driving, where their gas engines shut down at traffic lights, and their electric motors ease them up to speed again. Diesels, on the other hand, like cruising at constant velocities, where their highly efficient combustion process allows them to extract the maximum energy out of every gallon of fuel. But Europe’s ancient cities are perpetually jammed with diesels idling at traffic lights, while here in America you regularly see hybrids being hustled along freeways at 70-80 mph, their electric motors virtually useless. I’ve always thought America’s vast Interstate network, still one of the largest and least crowded freeway systems in the world, was made for diesels. Which is why I decided to take our BMW 335d long-termer for a roadtrip through the southwest via Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma. … [Read more...] about Diesel In America: 1300 Miles In A BMW 335d
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Troy Trepanier’s creations have been seen in HOT ROD magazine for 25 years now, to the point that the staff is occasionally accused of playing favorites with the guy. But how can we not? He got his start as a snotnosed kid with a pink Chevelle, participated in HOT ROD’s road trip adventures, and, oh yeah, he’s built a Ridler winner, a 300-mph land-speed car, customs, and street rods, each time setting the bar a little bit higher for innovation, aesthetics, and quality workmanship. Troy started out in his dad Jack’s general repair shop, building hot rods at night before graduating to his own building next to his dad’s place in Manteno, Illinois, to start Rad Rides by Troy, where so many magazine feature cars have been born. These pages showcase Troy’s career thus far—celebrating his 25 years by educating younger readers on some of the memorable stuff his shop has done. There are some neat builds the shop has done that are not shown here, but … [Read more...] about 25 Years of Troy Trepanier’s Greatest Hits, In His Own Words
Here are some insights, observations, opinions, and things to keep an eye on during this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, which takes place this weekend, June 17-18. The Favorites: This is Toyota’s race to lose. Later this week it will dominate qualifying, set a new track record—perhaps with a sub 3-minute, 16-second lap time—and if the race were run on paper, it would dominate the field. Toyota brings three LMP1 cars to France and plenty of motivation given its horrible luck in the closing minutes of the 2016. However, with all of this comes enormous pressure. The Underdogs: How many times has Porsche been considered an underdog to win overall at Le Mans? Not many. The German powerhouse arrives in Le Mans with two new driver lineups, one less car than Toyota, and one massive hurdle—an older, slower car than its Japanese rival. The Controversy: Is the Toyota’s rear diffuser legal? Porsche thinks not, and has pushed the FIA and ACO sanctioning bodies for … [Read more...] about 12 Things to Watch In The 24 Hours of Le Mans
There’s something deliciously ironic about slogging through one of LA’s infamous rush hours to attend a “green” cars award ceremony. The multi-lane Harbor Freeway plays host to a long slow dance of cars and semis, tailpipes steadily churning out brownish plumes into a blue sky. The dominant hue is not green but red: the omnipresent brake lights mocking California’s long-abandoned promises of fast, efficient personal travel. It’s almost enough to persuade a driver to ride the bus. Like me, most just crank on caffeine and escape boredom via the stereo, instead.Safely ensconced within the confines of the Convention Center, road rage gives way to the journalistic trough [fair disclosure] and a wander amongst enough exotic metal to give a 49er a heart attack. In my dreams, I can grab a fast steed from the floor and point it at a winding road and go. In reality, manufacturers employ Swiffer-wielding minions to dust the untouchables.Anyway, back to this … [Read more...] about The Truth About The Green Car of the Year
I write driving articles for an international travel magazine. Despite my editorial obligation to report on landscapes, history, culture and food; much of what I see passes in a blur. I’ve driven obscenely fast through Europe, South Africa, Australia, Japan, Norway, Brazil and everywhere else they send me. The only place I ever worry about speeding tickets is the United States. Oh sure, I’ve had run-ins with local law enforcement all over the world. But I deserved to be pulled over, and the experience was more like a cultural exchange than a legal colonoscopy.When I received a speeding ticket in Poland, I paid the $12 fine on the spot. The trooper handed me a lanyard of what looked like Green Stamps. “Souvenir!” I said, holding them aloft. “Yah, soo-veneer,” the Polish cop laughed. In New Zealand, the constable and my wife traded bungee-jumping stories while I fumbled for the registration. … [Read more...] about Only in America (and maybe England)
Today, my phone rang repeatedly, and my email inbox quickly filled with questions. They all said: “Did you see this? Do you know these people?”I knew the guy in the picture. I used to be married into a family that was in the Washington Green book. I lived in Virginia two driveways from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. I was surrounded by gentleman farmers and politicos. Jeez, the late Ambassador Fritz Nolting drove into my pool on a riding mower with a cocktail in one hand and a cigar in the other. Talk about distracted driving.The right man in the picture wanted to be Governor of Virginia. He still does. The left man wants to be a tycoon.The man who leans over that sign somewhere in the godforsaken desert of Inner Mongolia, China, is Terence “Terry” McAuliffe. Yes, the very same Terry McAuliffe who was a Democratic National Committee head and a close Bill Clinton adviser who, according to a United States Senate document organized the famous coffees … [Read more...] about Clinton’s Sleepover Fundraising Maven Breaks Ground For 300,000 Car Factory In Inner Mongolia While Chinese Head To The U.S. On $500,000 Green Cards
Forecasting the success of game-changing technologies is like predicting the weather. Despite a mediocre success rate, it is done every day. Ask me what the weather will be in 2017, and if I want to be absolutely right, I will say: “During the summer months, we expect sun with occasional rain, whereas in the winter months, some snow can be expected.” This prediction would protect my career in any company, but it won’t get me any press.If I want press, I need to say: “In 2017, fire and brimstone will rain from the skies, which will cause a great conflagration, because all rain will have stopped a year earlier.” These predictions can be made with little risk. Six years down the road, who will remember the nonsense I said today? That thought crosses my mind as I read studies that predict the adoption of electric vehicles. Today, we have two of those. They couldn’t be more apart. We commissioned a third one.A new report from Pike Research says cumulative … [Read more...] about The Future Of Electric Vehicles: Who? Where? When? How Much? How Many?
As a worldly American and car nut, on one of your world travels, there will be a time when you fall in love with a car in a foreign land. The crush on that thing will be so big that you will want to take the irresistible beauty home with you. Just ask Sajeev or Frau Murilee.My advice: Resist that urge at all cost. Trust me, it is easier to import a new wife from Pago-Pago to America than to bring-in a lightly used Euro-spec Porsche from Zuffenhausen. There is one man who wants to change all that: A man with the initials B.S. petitioned the White House to liberalize the immigration rules for used cars. No, it’s not THAT BS.Benjamin Sharabani of Venice, CA, wants the Obama administration to “lower non-federalized vehicle importation requirements with NHTSA & EPA to 10-years from the current 25-years.”This is a worthy cause, because America is for all intents and purposes closed to cars that have not been “federalized” – in itself a time- and money … [Read more...] about Only A Nutcase Would Import A Car To America. B.S. Wants To Change That, And He Needs Your Signature
“A little learning”, wrote the crippled poet from his infamous grotto, “is a dangerous thing.” Here’s an example. What effect does the choice of a manual transmission have on resale value? If, like me, you’ve bought and sold cars for more than twenty-five years now, your snap response will be “Manual transmissions sell for more.” This being 2014, however, some kid with access to secondhand Manheim auction reports will strain his mousing finger with a detailed correction of that assertion, complete with dozens of copy-and-pasted sale records. You cannot argue with his data — it’s right there in black and white. Manual transmission cars are worth less. But you know he’s wrong somehow, because you’ve been in the trenches and you’ve worked deals yourself. Maybe the problem isn’t with you, or the kid’s data. Maybe it’s a case of simply not understanding what that data means.To explain why, … [Read more...] about No Fixed Abode: Stick it to ’em.
While a minor shit storm erupted the other day over the use of a word denoting short-haired women who love women, and, allegedly, certain cars, I did a lot of the soul-searching and self-reflection demanded from me, and I thought about all the scandals I may have caused in my life, and which I would regret, if the hate mails are an indicator. There were many scandals, and one of the most egregious involved a car. Oddly enough, it involved a car that allegedly is a top choice among men who love men. The scandal, however, involved people who were into dogs, fish, and other animals. And it was about the Volkswagen Jetta.In 1973, at the at that time not so tender age of 24, I switched from journalism to advertising. The pay was good and got obscenely better every year. I started working for Volkswagen right away. There was a huge job opening for the FNG: The first oil shock was upon us, and everybody was convinced that cars will be a matter of the past. Seasoned advertising … [Read more...] about Autobiography Of BS© : How I Harmed Sundry Animals