Most of us have all heard the saying that it is not so hard to outrun a cop car, but it’s impossible to outrun their radios. It looks as if the California Highway Patrol is taking that to heart, as it chose the Ford Explorer over the Taurus and Charger Pursuit Car as the replacement for the outgoing Crown Victoria police cruiser. According to the CHP’s representatives, the reasoning for choosing an SUV over the uni-body vehicles is payload capacity, as the CHP can hauls up to 1,700 lbs of people and gear in its vehicles at any given time.
The only two other vehicles that gave the Explorer any competition were the Chevy Tahoe Police Package and Dodge Durango Special Services . The Durango never got a chance, as it was too late for it to receive a pursuit rating in time and Chrysler never submitted a bid. There is no indication on how the testing panned out between the Explorer and Tahoe, but the CHP chose the Explorer based on a lower bid, so chances are that the Tahoe outperformed the Explorer, but was simply too expensive.
Now, don’t start thinking that this is any old Explorer that you can run down to a local Ford dealership and pick up. Ford removed the standard 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 and dropped in the 3.7-liter V-6 borrowed from the F-150 that produces 302 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. The standard 3.5-liter engine gets the Explorer to 60 mph in an acceptable 8.3 seconds, so we would figure the extra 12 ponies and 23 pound-feet should cut that down to about 8 seconds.
Yeah, the Explorer PPV is no speed demon, but as we said before, it is much harder to outrun a radio signal than it is a cop car. So this choice was more of a combination of cost and utility than pure speed. Besides, most highway patrols have special pursuit vehicles just for those pesky high-speed pursuits when patrol cars and radios just aren’t enough.
The automotive world is full of trends and copycatting, so it is not uncommon to see drivetrain modifications start off small and explode as the years progress. If you think back, you will find one of the slower growing trends in automotive history was fuel injection, as it dates way back to 1925, then by 1940 it was first made electronic by Alfa Romeo engineers. In 1952, it became commercially available via Bosch, but only a few automakers made use of it. By the early-1990s, all but a handful of cars had electronic fuel injection of some sort.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, in terms of rate of growth, is the elimination of V-8 engines in favor of more practical turbocharged V-6 engines. The Ford F-150 has been on the front lines of this V-8 abandonment front and it all began with the elimination of all but two V-8 engines in 2011 – the 5.0-liter V-8 and 6.2-liter V-8 were the only 8-cylinder engines available – and replacing them with a series of V-6 engines, including: a high-output non-turbo, a 302-horsepower 3.5-liter, a 302-horsepower 3.7-liter, and a 365-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 engine.
Since this successful introduction of forced-induction V-6 engines by Ford, seemingly every company is working on a hot turbocharged V-6 to replace their V-8 engines. The most notable is General Motor’s work on a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 for its upcoming Escalade redesign and the new Silverado and Sierra. There are also whispers of a twin-turbo V-6 for the Camaro . Dodge has fallen behind, but has turned its focus more toward making its existing V-8 powered trucks more economical, but will eventually have to switch to turbo power to keep pace.
So the question on everyone’s mind is how do these turbo charged V-6s stack up to the aging and fuel-hungry V-8s?
Click past the jump to read our comparison between the two options.
Remember when TPMS was just a cool feature on BMW , GM, and Mercedes vehicles? In 2006, the NHTSA and DOT came together to make it a law for all incoming 2007 vehicles to have direct TPMS standard. When this happened, the tire industry released a collective “Oh man, are you serious?” Well, now another company is taking the simplifying of tire pressure an extra step beyond a flashing indicator saying “Hey, put some air in the tires, please!”
That’s right; starting with the 2013 model year, Nissan will include a system that actually activates the horn when the tires have reached their correct pressure on all of its cars. This all comes on the heels of a successful test of the system on the 2013 Altima . No more “confusing” tire pressure gauges to fumble around with. In all seriousness though, this is actually an ingenious idea. When I was in the tire business, you have no idea how many times a customer would roll up asking us to put 44 psi in his 1995 Cavalier’s tires because that’s what the sidewall of the tire says is the max pressure, or his grandfather once told him that more air increases gas mileage.
So now when you are whipping down the road in your 2013 370Z and that pesky “Low Pressure” light starts flashing, you can just fill `er up `till it beeps. Why not take it a step further and just install a small compressor that fires up and adds air to the tire as you drive via a vein that runs through the casting of the rim?
We’re kidding Mr. and Mrs. Automotive Engineer, if that happens we all had better just stay off of the road, because if you can’t inflate your tires due to lack of knowledge, you shouldn’t be driving in the first place. Let’s all hope that never happens.
Click past the jump to read Nissan’s press release.
Looks like states are finally jumping on the autonomous-driving bandwagon, but this time it has a little “oomph” behind it. Having Nevada pass a bill specifically to allow and regulate automated driving was great, but this time it’s California that gave it the green light. California’s driving and automotive laws have always had a big influence on federal laws – except lane splitting, thank goodness – so chances are more states will follow and the NHTSA will eventually jump on board.
The thing to remember here is that this bill was not to allow autonomous cars to drive on California roads, as California has no laws barring self-driving cars. This law is to govern the production and testing of these cars in hopes of giving manufacturers a clear set of rules regarding these cars, which may press more automakers into this realm.
The first thing that California cleared up is defining an autonomous vehicle. This is any vehicle that can drive without any human intervention, so this eliminates Cadillac’s self-driving car for now and leaves only the Google car (seen in the above video). It also specifies that it is legal to manufacture your own autonomous car and drive it on California highways, which is an interesting topic of debate.
The bill goes on to state that the car must have a licensed driver in the driver’s seat and that driver must be designated by the car’s builder as a legal driver for said vehicle. The only exception to this rule is on a closed course. The manufacturer must also have an insurance policy or bond in the amount of $5 million prior to testing the vehicle. From there the bill goes on to define what safety issues the manufacturer, car, and driver must comply with.
Keep in mind that this is only the first step for this bill, as it must pass the State Assembly next. Given the bill passed 37 – 0, we doubt it will be held up.
Click past the jump to read the bill. Yes, it is in regular English, not “politicianese.”
Nearly every driver has done it, but we all fear getting pulled over for doing it. No, not speeding. We mean flashing your headlights to warn oncoming traffic of a cop car hidden off the side of the road getting ready to pounce on a fast driver.
Most of us have been told at some point that the practice is illegal, but I once learned that it actually is not illegal, just frowned upon. Apparently, the police in Seminole County, FL seem to have not gotten the memo that there is no law forbidding it in Florida, or any other state, and handed a ticket to a driver for that exact reason. They certainly got that memo in direct fashion as a Florida judge ruled against the Seminole police saying that flashing your lights to warn other drivers of a speed trap is covered under free speech. This court date was just a civil hearing and the driver still has yet to take the ticket to traffic court, which he surely will win.
The worst part of the whole thing is that the police officer gave the driver, Ryan Kintner, the ticket based on Florida’s law banning aftermarket flashing lights on civilian cars. Flashing your headlights is in no way having an aftermarket flashing light on your car. That is abuse of power to a “T,” but we’re not here to debate police and their power.
Now, before you all go out there and start flashing your lights like crazy to oncoming traffic every time you see a cop, make sure to review your state, county and city laws in regards to high beam usage. Every state or municipality has a rule on when you have to dim your high beam lights, most of which are at 500 feet from the oncoming traffic or 200 feet from traffic heading in the same direction as you.
One feature that automakers have teased us with and even installed on concept cars is an LED screen and camera in the place of the old-style rearview mirror. With all of the cameras placed all around cars these days, like Subaru ’s EyeSight system and the various backup cameras, we are surprised this hasn’t become a reality. The assumed reasons for rearview screens not taking the place of rearview mirrors are NHTSA and DOT regulations.
Honestly, we don’t see why the NHTSA and DOT would think a hunk of glass glued to the windshield is safer than a crisp LED image from an HD camera. Then again those two government offices – as with all government offices – make strange regulations. Apparently an LED screen and camera are plenty for Audi’s future Le Mans cars, as the automaker has just announced, via a press release, that its closed LMP prototype will run with an AMOLED screen in place of the mirror and a rear-mounted camera feeding the images to the screen.
The main reasoning behind this is that the LMP prototype’s cabin is fully closed, with exception of the front windshield, so a rearview mirror would display nothing but the rear wall of the cabin. So, if this technology is good enough for racecars, why are we not seeing it installed in street cars yet? Well, we just very well might, as you likely do not remember, but the rearview mirror was not used on motor cars until Ray Harroun’s Marmon “Wasp” used one in the first Indianapolis 500, in 1911. It later became standard per NHTSA regulations for all cars to come with this item, thanks to its overwhelming success in racing.
Odds are that if this system is successful in racing that the NHTSA will adopt it, especially given the fact that rearview cameras are soon to become mandatory on all vehicle.
Click past the jump to read the full press release.
There are two things that are a part of nearly every auto show: sexy cars and equally appealing women. With the latter often comes clothing that leaves very little to the imagination. Well apparently, the Capital Ethics Development Office of China – the morality police, per se – decided that it wanted none of it, as they reprimanded the Beijing Auto Show officials for such scantily clad women, per a report from Bloomberg.
From what we saw of the Beijing Auto Show , the number of skin-flaunting women wasn’t nearly as high as we are used to, so we are left wondering what exactly the Chinese government wants. There were, of course, the obligatory more-skin-than-clothes models, but for the most part the women were dressed pretty moderately for an auto show, and the video from Bloomberg (above) shows them.
We totally understand that the Chinese government is more reserved than most, but c’mon, it’s an auto show. Who is mostly drawn to auto shows? The answer is, primarily men in their 30s and 40s. What do most men in their 30s and 40s like just about as much as cars? Well, we think you can figure it out…
We guess we’ll just have to see what happens next year at the Beijing Auto Show. We certainly hope the women aren’t prancing around in pant suits – eek. If so, we will all use a lot less space on our digital cameras.
For those of us fortunate enough to live in the U.S. or U.K., we are all aware that there is no such thing as a debtor’s prison, regardless of what some overzealous collections agent trying to hit their monthly bonus number might say. Well, in Dubai things are a tad different, as people who cannot pay their debts get thrown into the slammer.
This results in expats that fall into debt problems in Dubai fleeing the country and leaving their indebted property to bake in the not-so-pleasant desert sun. That is exactly what happened in the case of this $1.6 million Ferrari Enzo . The British expatriate purchased this machine and, according to reports, ran into issues with traffic citations that he couldn’t afford, so he fled the country, leaving the Enzo to bake for about 20 months in a parking lot.
Dubai authorities finally found the vehicle and impounded it faster than it can hit 60 mph. Now this million dollar supercar is heading off to the Dubai police auction, along with 23 other luxury cars, and will like fetch a nice sum of money for the Dubai authorities. The other 23 cars have fines attached to them ranging from Dh98,300 to Dh100,000 ($26,766 to 27,229), meaning the highest total the fines can be is $626,267. It is more than likely that the Enzo alone will sell for enough scratch to cover that amount. Sounds like a sweet business move, huh?
How can they do this? Well, in Dubai, the police have the right to seize and auction any car that is abandoned for six months. Chances are, they focus mostly on luxury cars, leaving rotting and sunburned econo-boxes to continue to take on more sand and sunlight. But, who are we to judge?
So, if you would like to snag up a sunburned and sandblasted 1-of-399 Enzo, just head on over to Dubai and get a 30 day visitor’s visa (free for U.K. and U.S. passport holders), pay the Dh110 ($29.95) fee to get into the auction, and bid away.
UPDATE 04/30/2012: Sorry, folks, but this dusty Ferrari Enzo is NOT for sale. Dubai police have spoken to Emirates 24/7 and have stated that the cars "have been seized as part of evidence from various crimes such as robbery, and are not for sale."
Known computer hacking and vigilante justice group, Anonymous, has struck again. This time it is pulling directly at our horsepower sensitive strings. With the upcoming Formula 1 race in Bahrain, an area that is currently in civil unrest due to the actions of its government, Anonymous has decided to nail F1 where it hurts, Interwebz traffic.
Last year F1 was forced to cancel its Bahrain races, due to similar unrest, but this year the race was and still is scheduled to go off without a hitch. This latest attack is an attempt by anonymous to force F1 to cancel the race out of protest, and it just might give the racing group the excuse it needs to pull out.
Anonymous is also calling for all viewers and spectators of F1 to ignore all television broadcasts of the race, as well as not buying tickets to the event. The vigilante hackers also are attempting to coax the drivers to not leave the starting line when the green flag drops.
Anonymous also took down F1 fan site, F1-Races.net, and leaving just a message on its landing page regarding the Bahrain situation.
As we typed this up, the Formula1.com came back live, so it appears that the Anonymous attempt to keep the site down through the race was unsuccessful, and there is no announcement about the attack or cancellation of the race. We will keep you updated as more news, if any, comes about.
Click past the jump to read Anonymous’s press release
Cloned classic cars are everywhere. Heck even my dad has a cloned 1966 Chevelle SS. There is one difference between my dad, along with most other cloners, and one Bobby Patton, they have no problem admitting that their vehicle is officially a clone.
Mr. Patton apparently purchased a 1965 Chevy Chevelle from a gentleman and figured out that there is one extremely rare model in 1965 that the average person wouldn’t recognize from a regular old Chevelle. This model is the 1965 Chevelle Z16 , which features a boxed frame, different engine stampings, special badges, different rear end, and the most obvious one, a unique VIN.
After tricking some car show judges into giving him a nice collection of trophies, Mr. Patton decided he was going to try and make a quick buck off of this clone by auctioning it off. Well, the problem is that he didn’t identify the vehicle as a clone, but as one of the few Z16s in the world, and was trying to get a cool $100K out of it.
The crack detective team at Chevelles.com sniffed out this fraud and began a conversation with the man that was auctioning the car. The conversations were not accusatory, but instead an attempt to help the guy realize that whoever sold him that car had tricked him. One of the folks talking to Mr. Patton pointed out numerous errors with the vehicle, including a homemade cowl VIN tag, incorrect speedometer, wrong engine stamping, wrong frame, and many other things.
Obviously, the guy kept pressing the issue and it took several days for him to come to his senses and pull the car from the auction site. That was a little too long, as someone reported him to the Ohio State Highway Patrol and they paid him a nice visit.
He claimed to have purchased the car that way, but the cops found out from the original owner that the car was badged, titled, and sold as a Chevelle 327SS, not a Z16 . A long story short, now his car is impounded and he is serving two years of probation. Who would have known cloning a car could cause such issues?