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Toyota Recall Companion Pt. 1: Is Your Camry Trying To Eat You?

On: Sat, Feb 20, 2010 at 10:19AM | By: John Welch

Toyota Recall Companion Pt. 1: Is Your Camry Trying To Eat You? test 1-1

Wow, Toyota, people say that we Americans learned a lot from you, but it appears that you have also taken a few lessons from us. Like the joy that can be gained from abject greed. Or how easily our government can be manipulated for the sake of pure evil. What's the death toll up to again? 30 some-odd Americans?

We will lay out everything there is to know about the Toyota recall over the course of these posts, starting with the newest updates from Toyota.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: F1 Test-Days Edition

On: Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 3:04PM | By: John Welch

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: F1 Test-Days Edition test 1-1

Re-fueling ban appears to have leveled the competition;

USF1 is in dire straits;

and Chad Hurley is a ship-jumpin' punk and a half . . .

Toyota Takes Another Hit

On: Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 4:27PM | By: Clay Ritchings

Toyota Hits Wall test 2

Like an MMA cage fight Toyota takes on more hits and it's getting ugly. A growing number of complaints over steering problems with Toyota Corolla, the most popular Toyota model in the United States, has sparked a federal investigation, and may result in yet another Toyota recall. The troubled automaker has already recalled millions of vehicles in recent months over defective gas pedals, floor mats, and problems with brakes.

Stupid YouTube Tricks

On: Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 5:07PM | By: Clay Ritchings

Motorcycle Jet Ski test 2

If I had a choice between watching network TV or spending some time on YouTube, I would have to pick the latter hands down. You really can get a glimpse at what people do when they are not busy cooking up meth in their attics or smuggling tropical birds across the border from Mexico. If it's revolutionary inventions you are looking for, you may find them elsewhere, but this post is about the original and awe-inspiring. . . an exhilarating tour of some of the most profound and important creations from everyday people. All these creations are spawned by necessity, which is the mother of invention.


Auto Manufacturers Secure Their Future In Lithium.

On: Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 8:12PM | By: Clay Ritchings

Auto Manufacturers Secure Their Future In Lithium. test 1-1

A very important development in the lithium market has recently taken place and appears to be trending. Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation has agreed to buy about 30 per cent of battery-grade lithium carbonate output from Galaxy Resources' Mt Cattlin mine in Western Australia. Galaxy said in a statement today it was close to finalizing similar agreements with other major groups and high-end users of battery-grade lithium carbonate in China and other parts of Asia. We can only assume these other high end users are other automotive or the sophisticated computer and cell phone makers. And the demand will continue to grow as the automotive world reinvents itself.

New Shelby Cobra Sheds Iron Block Engine

On: Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 11:38AM | By: John Welch

New Shelby Cobra Sheds Iron Block Engine test 1-1

The Shelby GT500 has been interesting, if not odd and misconceived, since its debut in 2007. Five hundred horsepower, unique body cladding, and a mean-ass exhaust note set this car apart from run of the mill Mustangs. But there were problems. Ford has always told anyone who will listen that they saddle the Retro-Stang with a solid rear axle in the name of satisfying drag-racers. Okay, that's complete BS, but they were able to make this axle work so well it can almost be overlooked.

That sort of mercy doesn't get extended to the Shelby's iron-block 5.4 liter V8. An iron block? Really? Other automakers are able to churn out much more then 500 horsepower from aluminum blocks, the Gen three Chevy small-block comes to mind. Why would Ford go with an iron block at a time when iron was being phased out of every engine, even the trucks that this re-badged Triton came from. To save a few pennies? Really?

So, the automotive press bitched and moaned. Regardless, Ford still sold a respectable number of Shelbys. The iron block wasn't going to sink this vessel as the pundits so vehemently thought it would. Which was fine, until Ford realized that it could eliminate the Gas Guzzler Tax with better economy and less weight. And that is exactly what Ford dun did: tossed the iron in favor of aluminum, saving 120 pounds and a little MPG at the same time . . .

Fear And Loathing At the Rolex 24, Part 2

On: Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 10:30AM | By: John Welch

Fear And Loathing At the Rolex 24, Part 2 test 1-1

Wet, thirsty, and brimming with manic excitement, I took stock of my current situation. The race (after thirty laps) had calmed into a steady ebb and flow that saw both the Daytona Protoype and GT lead change hands two or three times. It would be a while before the strongest competitors separated themselves from the field. The Ford contingent (Mike Shank Racing, Suntrust/Wayne Taylor Racing) were hanging close to the top four, but it was becoming apparent that the Ganassi BMW/Rileys and the two Porsche flat-six powered prototypes were the class of the field.

Th rain had lessened slightly, and the cold was begininng to set in. We decided it might be a good time to visit the dark green Subaru we had left in the parking lot two hours prior. After assessing what items other people were able to get into the grandstands (backpacks, entire 18 packs of Busch, massive camera equipment) we had a decent idea of what we needed to retrieve from the lowly Legacy. It was time to accessorize, strap loose beers, and a Canon D5 to our chests, and brave the coming night . . .

Fear And Loathing At the Rolex 24, Part 1

On: Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 6:02PM | By: John Welch

Fear And Loathing At the Rolex 24, Part 1 test 1-1

Oh muthereffer, did I really name this article in the most cliched, laziest fashion possible? Well, sure I did, but I have my reasons. Namely, "Fear and Loathing at the Rolex 24" is the best possible way to describe the end of my January. It was insane. Period.

First, a little background. The 'Shopper Blog has been around only since September of 2009. Grand-Am (the sanctioning body that plans and executes the Rolex 24) is owned by NASCAR. Combine those two factors and you can imagine how far I got in my quest to acquire Press Accreditation. Not far. It took five calls to Daytona International Speedway just to get somebody to tell me "No!" More on the ridiculously incompetent DIS staff later . . .

So, no credentials available, I figured I would have to wait until Sebring to cut my "endurance race journalism" teeth. Enter: Jane. My better half . . .

Google Chat Transcript:

Jane: "What is that thing you wanted to go to this weekend? I can't remember what it's called"

JD: "The Rolex 24 at Daytona. SIGH."

Jane: "What exactly was 'The Rolex 24' again?"

JD: "A sports car race that runs from 3:30 in the afternoon Saturday until 3:30 Sunday."

Jane: "And you couldn't get tickets?"

JD: "Naw, stupid NASCAR doesn't believe that we are an actual 'media outlet', and the tickets I need are too expensive for the 'Shopper's budget . . ."


Jane: "Well, don't be depressed,"

JD (whining like a two year old): "How could I not be depressed?! I wanna goooooo"

Jane: "Because I just bought us tickets . . . "

About a nanosecond after reading that statement, my brain imploded. I couldn't believe it. This is easily the kewlest grrl on the planet, and she gets me! She really gets me! Sneaky effer that I am, I neglected to mention the lack of showers, electrical outlets, and general comfort that are associated with this undertaking. Thankfully, Jane is way tougher than I am and none of that stuff bothered her.

So, got tickets, got coffee, got cigarettes, got a good night's sleep, time to brave I-4, and witness the first serious Sports Car race of the year . . .


UPDATE: "PorscheStag" video added at the end of the post . . .

Review: Ford's 2010/93 Ford Taurus

On: Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 3:12PM | By: Clay Ritchings

Ford unveils new car for cash-strapped buyers  test 2

The 1993 Ford Taurus made its first appearance in, well, 1993 and it was re-introduced by Ford in November 2009 when a grainy picture of the vehicle's clay model surfaced on the Internet. Then, spy photos of the early, heavily camouflaged prototype of the full-size sedan arrived. With stunning features and classic looks it was destined for a warm welcome from all Americans. Much like the VW Bug was “The People's Car” this was the first time an auto manufacturer made “The American's Car”. Now we tried really hard to get our hands on one for testing to give it a proper review, but with its popularity we could not find anyone willing to part with one.

Vehicle Crashes Through Showroom Before Toyota Can Address Sticky Situation

On: Tue, Feb 2, 2010 at 2:46PM | By: Clay Ritchings

Vehicle Crashes Through Showroom Before Toyota Can Address Sticky Situation test 1-1

Drivers go a week with fear about the safety of their cars, Toyota dealers forced to stop selling their most popular models, Tundra crashes into showroom and Toyota’s president apologizes for screw-up

The Rolex 24 At Daytona: The 'Shopper Preview

On: Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 3:15PM | By: John Welch

The Rolex 24 At Daytona: The 'Shopper Preview test 1-1

Twenty four hours is a long time to be driving a car, at part throttle. Wide open throttle, for nearly half a minute, and then brakes, hard, and then full left-hand lock and then full right-hand lock and then full throttle again, three times a lap, for twenty four hours; why, that is just plain stupid.

Or "awesomelybadass", depending how you look at it. The 'Shopper tends to fall into the latter category. If you do too, then maybe you would like to know what we were up to this weekend . . .