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And Car Reviews

Ford Builds A New Explorer (And Driving School) Out Of Bricks. LEGOS, That Is.

On: Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 10:15AM | By: Andrew W Davis

LEGOLAND-bound Ford Explorer test 2

While the original Explorer looked (and handled) like a brick, this is the first time Ford has actually built one OUT of bricks.

It's true. Somehow, in between building ACTUAL Fords, the folks at the firm's Chicago Assembly Plant found the time to put 380,000 LEGO bricks together atop a 768-pound aluminum support base to create a full-size mostly-red Explorer simulacrum.

That it weighs 2,654 lbs. and took 22 designers and more than 2,500 man-hours to create is interesting. But it’s where it’s headed that really matters.

A Plug On Spark Plugs

On: Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 3:01PM | By: Peter C Sessler

A Plug On Spark Plugs test 2

A spark plug is one of the three indispensable items an engine must have in order to run. The other two are air/fuel and compression. Of these, the easiest to change or modify is the spark plug. You’ll often see ads in some automotive catalogs about some super-duper type of spark plug that will give you more horsepower and better mileage. Most of these don’t work and are a waste of money.

What Does Driving Stick Say About You?

On: Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 12:37PM | By: David Walter

What Does Driving Stick Say About You? test 2

MINI was curious—since they have the highest percentages of manual owners—what driving a stick shift (or at least being able to) says about about a person. So they teamed up with Hunch to find out what separates those who can drive manual and those who can't. The results are in and looking great, thanks to a sweet infographic by Column Five Media.

So, which side are you on? Take a look, tell us what you think.

Sealing That Leaky Hose

On: Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 10:55AM | By: Peter C Sessler

Sealing That Leaky Hose test 2

If you’re somewhat casual about automotive maintenance, it’s more likely that your cooling system is going to develop leaks. Under-hood temperatures can really skyrocket in the summer months, but the reality is, leaks can develop at any time.


General Automotive Frequently Asked Questions #2

On: Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 9:08AM | By: Peter C Sessler

General Automotive Frequently Asked Questions 2 test 2

Q: My car seems to be running normal (although the temperature gauge is higher than normal), but in the past week or so, I’ve noticed that the heat goes away. When I get home, I check the radiator and the level is down. There don’t seem to be any leaks anywhere, which puzzles me. And the engine oil looks normal so I don’t think there’s a head gasket problem, otherwise the oil would be contaminated. What gives?

A: Actually, you’ve answered your own question. The coolant has got to go somewhere, so if it isn’t leaking into the oil and the radiator and the cooling system is holding pressure, then the only thing it could be is a head gasket that’s going bad. Sometimes a head gasket gets worse gradually and there’s also the possibility that you’ve got a cracked head, as well. My feeling is that you’ve got a cracked head and a bad gasket. Start saving.

The Most-Stolen Used Cars

On: Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 5:07PM | By: Peter C Sessler

The Most Stolen Used Cars test 2

The economy is bad and everybody’s talking about it. But not to worry—if preliminary stats from the FBI crime division hold true, last year will have seen the fewest vehicle thefts since 1967. The most recent FBI crime statistics predict a 7.2-percent reduction in theft since 2009—the lowest rate in more than 40 years.

Now, that is really low, especially if you lived in the 1960s. The population was about 180 million vs. 305 million today and the number of cars considerably less than today. So, car theft must have been horrific back then.

The 1969-70 Boss 429 Mustang

On: Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 3:35PM | By: Peter C Sessler

The 1969-70 Boss 429 Mustang test 2

Ford built quite a few special cars during the 1960s. Some were built by others for Ford—the Shelby Mustangs are probably the best known of these. But, by 1968, Ford decided that they could build these types of cars themselves. They would be able to exercise more control, build a better product, and, quite possibly, save some money in the process. Since most of the cars had something to do with racing one way or another, the end result would be greater showroom traffic and, thus, more sales. After all, this was the reason Ford was doing it all.

The Boss 429 was a bit different. The Boss 429 was an engine that was to be used in the NASCAR races, not a car. Still, in the end, Ford decided to use the engine in a special Mustang and call that Mustang Boss 429 as well.

Better Than Tesla? Toray Teewave AR.1 Electric Roadster

On: Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 2:40PM | By: Chris Weiss

Better Than Tesla? Toray Teewave AR.1 Electric Roadster test 2

Gordon Murray Design and Toray Industries have introduced a sporty, electric roadster prototype that gives the Tesla Roadster a run for its money as the hottest electric two-seater around. Of course, the prototype falls rather short when it comes to performance.

Toray Industries, a manufacturer of textiles and composites, commissioned Gordon Murray Design to build a working prototype of the EV highlighting its automotive materials. As such, the car is injected with all kinds of carbon fiber, including a carbon tub, carbon components system, and a carbon front crash structure. The car weighs in at around 1,875 lbs—some 880 lbs. lighter than the Tesla Roadster.

Class Action Lawsuit Against Mercedes

On: Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 1:07PM | By: Chris Weiss

Class Action Lawsuit Against Mercedes test 2

When you invest in an expensive, high-end luxury car like a Mercedes, the last thing you really want is for your engine to wear out quickly. Unless, of course, you're so rich that you are looking for any excuse to buy a new car—in which case, you could just buy a new car whether your engine wears out or not. You especially don't want your engine to wear out if the car you bought isn't only a Mercedes, but a high-performance, high-priced Mercedes from the AMG division.

Well, a group of owners has apparently suffered from quick engine wear and is suing Mercedes-Benz USA, Daimler AG, and Mercedes-AMG.

Subaru Will Show BRZ In LA... Sort Of

On: Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 12:22PM | By: Chris Weiss

Subaru Will Show BRZ In LA... Sort Of test 2

For months, we've been saying that Subaru will debut its BRZ sports car at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. Turns out that's both true and false, mostly true. Subaru will finally can the whole plexiglass act at the LA Motor Show in November. It will show an actual concept version of the BRZ... but that version won't look anything like the production version.

According to Car and Driver, Subaru will finally give us a proper concept car version of the BRZ in LA. But, because of an agreement between Subaru and Toyota that requires them to wait until Tokyo to reveal the production version of their respective cars, Subaru's concept won't look anything like the production version.

That also means that all of these increasingly tiresome FT-86 concepts from Toyota haven't been all that real either. We expect the car to lose its facial scars and exaggerated curves in production.

Kia Leaning Toward GT Production

On: Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 11:12AM | By: Chris Weiss

Kia Leaning Toward GT Production test 2

According to indications and ruminations, Kia has a hankering to develop a sports car. The GT concept debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show was supposed to be the first of two sports car concepts, the second of which was rumored for a Detroit Auto Show debut. Well, it appears Kia is already leaning toward GT production, even before having introduced its second possible concept.