Bugger! Bollards in U.K. attack impatient motorists

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We're betting only a few densely trafficked urban areas of the U.S. employ the use of motorized bollards, which are posts that lower and rise to allow permitted vehicles down a particular path. Apparently they're all the rage in the U.K. where many city centers focus on pedestrians more than the automobile, and certain streets are reserved only for busses, mail vehicles and the like. These vehicles have sensors in them that trip the bollards to lower and raise again once they've passed.

Some drivers, however, believe they can tailgate an approved vehicle and squeeze past the bollards before they rise again. As this video shows, they can't. The bollards rise immediately after a vehicle passes over them, and they rise quick. In the video, a Toyota Starlet, Kia Sportage and Iveco TurboDaily take on the bollards and lose with little grace, effectively being stabbed through their undercarriages by giant metal posts. In the Kia's case, a father trips his airbag, pisses off his wife and no doubt traumatizes his young child forever in a bold move that results in the rear tires losing contact with terra firma.

Though I've seen the video and written this post, you can all expect to see me and my rental car balancing on two wheels the next time I visit the old country, so I shouldn't talk any more smack.

Thanks for the uplifting tip, James!

[Source: Biertijd]

 

[via] Autoblog

AutoblogGreen for 12.20.06

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Frankentank? Ulf Bossel? eXasis? Xcel? Where did all these unique sounding names pop up in one place? AutoblogGreen, of course, along with the interesting stories that go along with them. The Frankentank, for example, is not what Al Franken has to sit in at a carnival, but a new homebrew biodiesel unit designed to be safe and produce high-quality biofuel.

Also, if you'd like to see the list of every feature article that AutoblogGreen writers produced in 2006, click here. It's quite a list.

 

[via] Autoblog

Mercedes-Benz reveals Ocean Drive concept for Detroit

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Click to enlarge

Look past the Mercedes-Benz Ocean Drive concept's LED head and taillampsand fancy flush doorhandles and you're looking at what a likely S-Class production convertible will look like. Names for the famous strip of road on South beach, the Ocean Drive would fit right in with the beautiful people and the high-end cars known to prowl the area.

Based on the V12-powered, long-wheelbase S 600 sedan, the Ocean Drive concept gets an oversized grille (we like) and retains its source car's four-door style. the side glass is frameless, and there are no pillars to interrupt the lines when the car is open to the sky. A traditional, large soft-top protects occupants in sub-optimal weather c onditions, and the car features Mercedes' neck-warming technology called AIRSCARF. Nifty indeed. Build it.

(Press release after the jump)

[Source: Mercedes-Benz]

Continue reading Mercedes-Benz reveals Ocean Drive concept for Detroit

 

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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RR of the Day: 1976 Datsun 280Z

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A couple of years ago, Flickr user "devnulled" grew tired of the project he was working on, a race conversion of a 1994 Eagle Talon. Like many of us do, he was online browsing eBay Motors one day when he stumbled across a car that caught his eye: a blue '76 Datsun 280 Z. He wound up bidding on the car, which did not meet reserve and never wound up being sold. He stayed in touch with the owner, however, and eventually convinced him to sell the car to him.

The Talon project car was quickly parted out for funds, and "Devnulled" hopped a plane from his home state of Colorado to Sacramento, where the Z car lived, so he could bring it home. The seller, incidentally, was the second owner of the car, but it had not left the same family for over 23 years. It had 82,000 miles on the odometer and been maintained by a local Z mech anic. Apparently, said mechanic did a good job through the years, as the Z made the 800-mile trip across the desert and through the mountains back to Colorado without incident. In fact, "devnull" made enough money playing cards in Nevada to cover the tax on it. Perhaps the car brought him good luck.

Going forward, he plans to improve the car's performance without molesting its classic good looks. Good idea, we say. As it stands now, it's a very worthy Reader Ride of the Day.

Follow the jump for a list of current and planned modifications, as well as two more photographs and instructions on how to submit your own car for consideration.

Continue reading RR of the Day: 1976 Datsun 280Z

 

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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Autoblog Podcast Relaunch Sweepstakes #1: Winner announced

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Episode 51 of the Autoblog Podcast will be released later today, but before it goes live we need to announce the winner of the first Autoblog Podcast Relaunch Sweepstakes and kick of Sweepstakes #2. We received 120 entries with the secret keyword announced on Episode #50, and the randomly chosen winner of an iPod Shuffle is (drum roll, please)... Gilbert T. from Chandler, AZ. Congratulations Gilbert and thanks for listening to the Autoblog Podcast.

The Autoblog Podcast Relaunch Sweepstakes #2 is now in effect, and the prize this week is a 2GB iPod Nano valued at $149. To enter and win Sweepstakes #2, just listen to Autoblog Podcast #51 that will be released later today in which we'll reve al a secret keyword. To enter, email the keyword along with your name, age and address to abresearch at gmail dot com. Check out the official rules here. That's all it takes, and considering we received 120 entries for Sweepstakes #1, your odds of winning are excellent.

To ensure you get the Autoblog Podcast #51, just subscribe to the podcast in iTunes by clicking here.

 

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

[via] Autoblog

Take my Italian super sedan, please! Maserati offering year-end incentives

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Maserati Quattroporte

Maserati has announced special financing rates on the 2006 Quattroporte to help dealers clear out excess year-end inventory. Can they really be in a bind? We understand that they don't want to have 2006 models on the lot when the upgraded 2007's arrive, but they have sold 1950 vehicles in the US this year; a 3.4% increase over last year. What's next? Zero percent financing for 360 months from Ferrari? We doubt it, but then maybe we could all afford one.

The special financing ends December 31, 2006 and offers 1.9% interest for 60 months or 2.9% for 72 months, saving you close to $15K over the course of your $100K+ loan. You'd better hurry though, as many dealers are already out of the 2006 and awaiting the 2007, which we'll learn more about in Detroit a few weeks from now.

Thanks Dave T for the tip!

[Source: Kicking Tires]

 

[via] Autoblog

Dyson Racing jumps to LMP2, will race Porsche RS Spyders

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Dyson Racing Thetford/Norcold Porsche RS Spyder

Dyson Racing is moving to the LMP2 class for 2007's American Le Mans Series season, and they'll do so in style as they become the first customer team to run Porsche's RS Spyder racing prototype. You'll recall that Porsche's official development partner, Penske Racing, ran a pair of the DHL-liveried Spyders for the 2006 season.

The cars Rob Dyson's team will run are the new 2007 models, which are more aerodynamic (and dare we say better looking) than last year's 1st gen cars. They will be identical to the cars Penske runs, and they are sure to add even more juice to a very energized LMP2 class that's al so welcoming Acura into the fold next year. In fact, LMP2 appears to be the class to watch, as Dyson's departure from the LMP1 class leaves reigning champion Audi Sport and Autocon Motorsport alone to duke it out for the P1 crown. (Danbury, CT-based Highcroft racing left P1 as well and is one of the teams that will field the new Acura racer.)

When you consider that the R10 TDIs went undefeated in P1 last season, it doesn't look like that division will be a source of much drama. Most people will wait for the utter steel cage match that will be Audi vs. Peugeot in a diesel-fueled France vs. Germany duel at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

It should be great fun to watch Chris Dyson and Guy Smith in the #20 car and Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace in the #16 car as they do battle in in what has become a substantial LMP2 team roster. The 12 Hours of Sebring can't arrive soon enough.

(Press releases, #20 car l ivery after the jump)

[Sources: Dyson Racing, American Le Mans Series, Porsche]

Continue reading Dyson Racing jumps to LMP2, will race Porsche RS Spyders

 

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New Transformers trailer! See Camaro and Optimus Prime

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We auto enthusiasts have an obsession with the upcoming Michael Bay bonanza that is Transformers, the live action film. The first trailer for the movie that opens in July didn't show much, in fact all we got was the sillouhette of a Decepticon on the planet Mars about to snuff out the life of a poor Exploration Rover. The new second trailer has just arrived, however, and does a much better job of delivering on the goods. While not revealing too much from the film, Bay allows us to see what amount to more than passing glances of not only Bumblebee while he's in Saleen Camaro mode and transformed, but also the big man himself, Optimus Prime. A little bit of fair warning, if you're eager to see this movie you can kiss an afternoon of productivity goodbye. We're on replay No. 7 and counting.

[Source: Yahoo.uk via GM Inside News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Toyota about to brandish the Blade, upscale Auris with 280-hp V6

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Nihon Car & Bike is reporting that Toyota will announce an upscale version of the Auris in Japan called the Blade. The vehicle will reportedly have multiple trims, including one with a 280-hp V6 (!). The website happened to run across a parking lot full of Blades while test driving the Auris and snapped an album's worth of pics. From the pictures we can see the Blade has a different front end than the Auris that's sharper with a more traditional grille and aggressive lower front fascia. New wheels and clear taillights are also part of thep package. They report the Blades were being prepared to be shipped by sea, which means the car is destined for markets outside of Japan, though probably not the U.S. Score one for Nihon Car & Bike for the scoop, and we'll bring you more details of the Blade tomorrow after Toyota debuts the vehicle officially.

Follow the Read link to check out additional pics of the Blade, including a side-by-side comparison with a standard Auris.

[Source: Nihon Car & Bike]

 

[via] Autoblog

Vote for CNET's Tech Car of the Year

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In case you somehow hadn't noticed(?!), it's not only deer and turkey season, it's also automotive award season. And here's yet another trophy for those keeping track of all of them. CNET.com wants you to help decide their 2006 Tech Car of the Year Award winner. They've done the hard work and weeded out the really big turkeys to give you a list of some real dears.

In early voting, the Lexus LS460 L, with its 19-speaker sound system, live traffic GPS and self-parking system is leading the other nine contenders. So what's it gonna be for you? Acura's RDX with voice commands? Audi's adaptive-suspension-equipped Q7? BMW's 335i with its adaptive cruise control and iDrive? Or are you more a Cadillac guy, voting for the Escalade with OnStar?

See the other five contestants after the jump.

[Source: CNET]

Continue reading Vote for CNET's Tech Car of the Year

 

[via] Autoblog

Toyota exec defends GM in case of who killed the electric car

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Many people who have seen the controversial documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? have noticed the conspicuous absence of Toyota in the crosshairs of director Chris Paine's magnum opus about failed EVs in the marketplace. Toyota was leasing the RAV4-EV, a version of the RAV4 cute ute converter to run on batteries, at the same time General Motors was offering the EV1. Detroit Free Press columnist Mark Phelan was told by Ernest Bastien, Toyota's VP of Vehicle Operations, that the movie, "was terribly one-sided." The Toyota exec went on to say, "It was not balanced at all."

Paine freely admits the movie lets Toyota off the hook, mainly because GM was a much higher profile target. There are other reasons, as well, including the fact that GM had invested much more money in developing the EV1 from the ground up, whereas Toyota merely converted its standard RAV4. For its part, GM makes itself such a willing target, too. In one instance, the filmmakers captured protestors being hosed outside of GM offices when the sprinkler system turned on. GM claims it was on a timer, but Paine disaggrees. Toyota, meanwhile, greeted protestors outside its offices with bottled water and keychains.

The story here, however, is that GM's main market rival is coming to its defense on the matter, and supporting the General's assertion that there was no market demand for EVs at the time, and that's what ultimately killed the electric car. In essence, Toyota has stepped up as a character witness for GM in the case. Does it sway Paine and his supporter s? Not so much. EV advocates still claim neither company properly marketed the vehicles, and in Toyota's case, the hyped-up Prius hybrid was clearly the company's priority over the RAV4-EV.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

 

[via] Autoblog