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Categories: Miscellaneous

Gems From the International Motoring Press

On: Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 5:00PM | By: John Welch


Gems From the International Motoring Press test 1-1

Russian Car Kitsch: From Russiablog.org: "The war in Chechnya is dragging on after twelve years and 18 year old drafted soldiers are still dying on a daily basis; Russian pensioners are saving money by not buying toilet paper, and 80% of the population is barely making the living. But it’s not the same in Moscow. The hot new trend of the season is “airbrushing”". . .

So, that's kind of depressing, but the pictures of Dali-Clocks on Alfa hoods are pretty priceless . . .


Samoans change lanes

On: Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 1:46PM | By: John Welch


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Here is an interesting story. The island nation of Samoa has enacted legislation to officially change which side of the road commuters drive on. This is the first such major 'right of way' policy change by an industrialized nation since Ghana switched lanes in 1974.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, the Prime Minister of Samoa provides some decent reasoning for the change: Australia and New Zealand, Samoa's two largest neighbors, both drive on the left, a-la Britain and Japan. Until now, Samoa has been a right hand-driving nation, like the U.S. and Germany. In order to benefit from the thousands of used right-hand-drive autos available from its two large and wealthy neighbors, Samoa is altering its 'side of the road', if you will. There is civil unrest, of course, but this seems like the right idea for the country.

This story was taken from The Wall Street Journal


GM procrastination, Re Deux

On: Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 1:10PM | By: John Welch


GM procrastination, Re Deux test 1-1

Boy, New GM may have shed plenty of toxic debt, but they've retained every bit of the arrogance they've compiled over the years. In an earlier post we outlined the "Saab/Koenigsegg" deal for you, a financial transaction that is moving at a snail's pace. Well, GM likes to spread the procrastination around. Opel, a long time subsidiary of the General, is currently up for bids. It has been since GM declared bankruptcy, and there have been several bidders. Why hasn't it been sold already? Simple; GM wants to maintain a stake in the company so that it can regain management of Opel should the capital become available. "Hedging their bets," so to speak.


Web Review: Cadillac

On: Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 5:45PM | By: John Welch


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Last week we examined Porsche's impressive website. This time I'd like to exercise my unrealistic auto fantasy by checking out an American manufacturer. Cadillac, to be specific. If there is an American company producing desirable cars (even after all of Detroit's marketing puffery, this is still debatable), it is Cadillac. The Cadillac V-Series line has produced some interesting offerings, from the original CTS-V to the XLR-V, with its Bvlgari-designed dash and gauge cluster. Everything I have read regarding the new CTS-V makes me a little hawt under the collar. Let's see if Cadillac has done an acceptable job with their web campaign.


 

Toyota to boost engine production Stateside

On: Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 10:48AM | By: John Welch


Toyota to boost engine production Stateside test 1-1

In a surprise announcement Toyota has made it clear that they plan on increasing four cylinder engine production at their Huntsville, Alabama plant. This is a surprising announcement considering Toyota completely abandoned its NUMMI plant earlier this month.

The original (rather short) story ('blurb,' if you prefer) comes from The Wall Street Journal


Wiedeking In Hot Water!

On: Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 2:54PM | By: John Welch


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And the Porsche/VW saga gets deeper and deeper. Now it looks like high ranking officials within Porsche may have traipsed around the law when attempting to acquire a majority share in Volkswagen last year. Several offices in Porsche's Stuttgart headquarters were raided this morning, including the office of former chief executive Wendelin Wiedeking. Is it just me, or is it impossible to trust a man named 'Wendy'? Almost as egregious as 'Fritzy' . ..

The full write up can be found at The Times Online


ALMS to restructure rules for 2010

On: Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 12:39PM | By: John Welch


ALMS to restructure rules for 2010 test 1-1

In an effort to return to the excellent racing seen between 2006 and 2008 the American Le Mans Series has announced rule changes for the 2010 season. Series President Scott Atherton made the announcement on Tuesday.

“Our sport has always been about evolution, and our plans for 2010 and beyond reflect it. We intend to stay ahead of the rest of the industry. We are the first movers to embrace a value-based new set of classes while at the same time retaining the core elements of what has made the American Le Mans Series the benchmark professional sports car racing series in modern times. The automotive industry is going through radical changes, and the same can be said for most of the motorsports industry. With today’s announcement we are adding value-based opportunities that expand accessibility to a broader base of competitors, manufacturers, and teams,” declared Atherton.

The proposed changes deal with several aspects of the class structure, most notably combining the two top-tier classes, LMP1 and LMP2. Through the magic of "competition equalization" the series will be able to slow the LMP1 cars while increasing the speeds of LMP2, making the distinctly different machines preform much the way they did in 2007. Equalization can be achieved many different ways: adding ballast to lighter cars, allowing less restriction on smaller engines. The idea is to create a situation where the larger LMP1 cars have advantages at certain tracks, and the LMP2s at others. Other interesting additions include a low cost 'spec' prototype class, all participants running the same equipment.

For the entire story, click over to the official ALMS website


Leno turns down Top Gear, then rips them off

On: Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 11:24AM | By: John Welch


Leno turns down Top Gear, then rips them off test 1-1

Jay Leno just won't go away. Not only does he go and steal Conan's thunder by preempting the Tonight Show with his own 'semi-late night' program, now he is blatantly stealing bits. I shouldn't care, I wouldn't care but the program he is stealing from is Top Gear. Grrr. As it turns out, Jay was offered the hosting job for the American version of Top Gear. He turned it down, was replaced with Adam Corolla, and we still have no domestic automotive programing worth watching. My DVR's fast-forward button gets a serious workout trying to watch Motorweek. Sheesh, and don't get me started on the ultra-hokey, extremely antiquated Power Block on Spike TV—four hours of commercials and body work just don't do it for me. Sorry.

 

Apparently Jay is planning some sort of segment where a celebrity is placed in an electric sports car, then made to compete against other celeb's for top lap time. Sounds eerily familiar, if I'm not mistaken Jay participated in just this sort of contest recently, albeit sans electrified transport. Shameful. The real crime here is allowing Top Gear America to flounder. Leno's star power would have surely gotten the show on the air, regardless of what focus groups thought. Instead, he'd rather do "Tonight Show-Lite" and include some poorly planned plagiarism. Sweet. I will give Leno one compliment, his reasoning for not doing the show is pretty sound . . .

 

Source: The L.A. Times


Saab Deal Final?

On: Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 12:27PM | By: John Welch


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Not quite. The Saab/Koenigsegg saga is nearing its end as Koenigsegg made their financial situation a little clearer this morning. If all parties are to be believed, Koenigsegg requires a significant loan from the European Investment Bank, in the name of Saab. This loan could total $413.6 million, and would officially make Saab a subsidiary of Koenigsegg (say it: Co-NeenG-Sag).

Saab has spent much of the last few months reorganizing its business model, cutting inventories and positioning themselves better to meet realistic demand. So, the deal is not final, however, according to Koenigsegg spokespeople it should be cut by the end of the month. GM is less optimistic, predicting final sale by the end of the year. GM has stated it and Saab would continue to share technology and services during a defined time period, which would be managed through licenses and service agreements. And possibly more prominent roles for Saabs in Michael Bay flicks . . .

A full write up can be found from The New York Times


Gems From The International Motoring Press

On: Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 11:42AM | By: John Welch


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Indian traffic is so bad a picture of Miami traffic is the only image that accurately depicts the plight of the drunken, BMW piloting public . . .

 

Be glad you live in "Murricuh". We have modern roads that are fairly safe when compared with the rest of the world. Indian bloggers Motorbeam.com are reporting that the release of the Tata Nano will negatively affect India's traffic situation. I wish I could tell you more, but the article is a little vague.


BMW Quits F1, JD Considers jumping off bridge

On: Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 2:54PM | By: John Welch


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I love Jalopnik. Great website! After it was announced that BMW will be exiting F1 racing at the end of the season, Jalopnik provided us all with a brief history of BMW's activity in Formula One (leaving out the 'Williams V-10' years for some reason . . .). Being a Bavarian loyalist, and deeply saddened by the loss of BMW on the Formula One grid, I can't help but pass this link on to you, featuring a brief yet extremely informative image gallery .

Source: http://jalopnik.com/5325435/the-history-of-bmw-in-formula-one-1982--2009/gallery/