John's Journal: John McElroy's multimedia blog about the automotive industry

RoAb #89 – The ‘Girls Love Tatras’ Episode

July 17th, 2011 at 4:54pm

Girls-Love-Tatras-Autoline

Coming up on Roundabout… learn why a brand new Camaro SS sold for a mere five dollars and twenty-eight cents, find out what app can reduce car pileups by forty percent, and *Pew-Pew* meet a Star Wars-themed Lamborghini that’s from a galaxy far, far away …only on RoundAbout!

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Play RoundAbout Episode 89

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Featuring: Steven J. Ewing, Michelle Naranjo, Jeffrey N. Ross, Eric Trytko and Ben Sanders

Show notes after the jump!

RoundAbout records LIVE on Fridays at 6:30PM ET/3:30PM PT. Visit RoundAboutShow.com and click Watch Live to watch our webcast and look in on all the antics.

Show Notes:

Crazy trailer owner hates Obama
A Reddit user snapped a shot of an interesting camper outside the social bookmarker’s local DMV in Oregon. Exercising a full freedom of speech with questionable sense of taste, the RV owner seems to be quoting creatively altered scriptures relating to the President. This does remind me of the movie, Canadian Bacon, when John Candy’s gun-toting ‘Marican character goes into Canada with an anti-Canada graffttied truck and is told by a Mounty that it is illegal … because it isn’t also in French. Vive La Freedom of Speech and Hate Mongering!

Why you should fix your own damn car
Fixing your car can not only be satisfying, it can also help save lots of money. As an article over at TheCarConnection.com points out, though, the amount of savings by do-it-yourselfers varies greatly depending on the job. According to an AutoMD study, changing the easy stuff – like headlights and serpentine belts – will only save you 20 or 30 bucks, while bigger jobs like replacing brakes, a battery or a starter can save you more than $100. Of course this doesn’t factor in the price of your time, so if it takes you half a day to replace said starter, the savings might actually not be worth it.

GM offering free car insurance
There are dozens of auto insurance companies for you to choose from when it comes time to insure a new car, but what if this necessary staple of motoring was bundled right into the purchase of your brand new whip? Drivers in the states of Washington and Oregon can now find out, as General Motors is offering up one year of free MetLife comprehensive car insurance to anyone who buys a new Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick or GMC between now and September 6th. In a related story, MetLife employees now favor GM over any other brand.

Russian made hybrid sells out fast
Russian Billionaire Victor Prokrorov is taking time out from hanging with Jay-Z at the Ney Jersey Nets games (he’s the owner of the team) to start an all electric car company that is very Russian.  It might not be FPS Russia, but then who is.   The car will be designed, built and parts sourced from Russia.  In fact the Yo part of the name is actually an “E” with an umlaut and other accutrments that is the seventh letter in the Russian alphabet.  The Yo-Auto cars will begin production in 2012, and if it goes anything like the Fisker Karma or the Tesla Model S they may actually be on the road in 2019

Camaro sells for $5.28
A Michigan online enterprise launched a penny auction this week for a $35K Chevy Camaro … and the virtual gavel came down at $5.28 for Jonathan Mason. Really? Why, yes, Steven! Penny auctions are an online lottery of bids where you buy the number of bids that you can make during the timed auctions. Mason bought a $50 pack of bids and narrowly beat out the loser by .02 cents. This, is what is known as a loss-leader as at increments of .02 cent bids, and $50 bidpacks, 264 bids netted auction company, FastPennyCars.com, about $275.

Augmented Reality system allows engineers to help from afar
One of the most frustrating things I used to deal with as a mechanic was getting vehicle repair assistance over the phone from an engineer. They might see a clean engine sitting out of the vehicle, but I’m looking at a greasy, oily engine heavily shadowed in the engine compartment. According to Gizmag.com, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics have found a way to help with a show-AND-tell system that provides real-time visual instructions. It isn’t clear which industry this is being developed for, but i can recall many times that this would have been useful in fixing a customer’s car.   

Taiwanese strippers… for your funeral
Who says funerals have to be dull? If you’re lucky enough to die in Taiwan, make sure your loved ones order up one of the Electric Flower Cars – a neon-lit platform on wheels complete with – wait for it – strippers. Sure, these gals may just want to show off their singing talents, but with bikini-clad girls taking it all off on a rolling stage, the loss of Uncle Larry might not seem so terrible.

Lambo Calrissian
What do you do when you’re a geek that’s never left his moms basement and you win some big gaming tournament?  You buy a Lamborghini, then spend another $14,000 having it customed wrapped in vinal to resemble the Millenium Falcon.  But you loose all your geek cred because it has symbols from the Empire on one side and symbols from the rebellion on the other.  Bi Polar Falcon???  This person won’t have the car long, odds are they will loose it to some other person of questionable integrity in a game of sabacc.

App that prevents pileups is like Adaptive Cruise Control out your butt
Yes! There is an App for that! The University of Baloney has developed an app for cars that would notify other cars that an accident has occurred. When a pile up begins, the first cars involved would notify the cars behind, allowing them sufficient time to slow down – and why we call it adaptive Cruise Control out of your butt.

World’s Most Insanely Detailed Lego Porsche
The crew over at Sheepo’s Garage has created what is probably the coolest model car ever. Using 3,500 LEGO Technic pieces, Sheepo’s built an elaborate scaled down version of a 997 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet. This model features everything from working brakes and retractable top and spoiler to a fully functional PDK transmission and six-cylinder horizontally opposed engine. Even the proportions are accurate right down to the angle of the steering column. About the only thing this model doesn’t have that is available on an actual 911 are the center-locking sport wheels. Head on over to Sheepo’s website to see an amazing 7-minute-and-15-second video that breaks down all of the model car’s highlights.

Report raps hollow hybrids for weak efficiency
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (yes, really), automakers are, quote, “still producing hybrids that fail to deliver on the technology’s potential to dramatically improve fuel economy. Their focus on maximizing power over consumer value risks the future of hybrid technology.” End quote. The Union reminds buyers that, when shopping for hybrids, be sure to look at the actual mileage numbers rather than the technology found underhood. As I found out in my test car last week, you can hybrid-ify a BMW 7 Series with some hella impressive tech, but having a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 under the hood means you’re still only going to get 24 miles per gallon.

A true Danger Ranger
When you have an extra $6K for an engine and $2K for a trans and rear end, plus own a race shop, it’s amazing what you can do with a truck that was last updated years before Monica Lewinsky went shopping for a blue dress.  While V8 Ranger’s are hardly new, this IS the first one to be done with the new Coyote engine.  Even though Ford has spent less than the cost of a Grande Latte from Starbucks marketing the Ranger over the last decade, it still sells over 60,000 units a year.  If they offered the Ranger with the Coyote engine, that would probably double.

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Goodbye Mitsubishi Eclipse

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Girls Love Tatras!

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