Monday, March 31, 2014

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My first Lamborghini experience?

I have a feeling that the first Lambo I am ever going to drive is going to be this Gallardo Superleggera. Soon?

Aerial view of tire scrapyard

Neel Kashkari for California governor

This guy is very bright and probably a decent guy. He basically ran the TARP program under Bush and Obama. He's probably going to be running against incumbent Jerry Brown for governor in November. But if he thinks Californians are going to go for fracking, he (or his campaign consultants) made a big miscalculation.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Russia's interest in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Do our Azeri and Russian readers agree with this summary?

Mazda 787B restoration video

My gods!

Via Flavio Gomes.

Mercedes C250 burnout

Just saw this ad this morning. Can the 1.8 liter turbo 4 with 229 lb-ft of torque really do a burnout like that?

Friday, March 28, 2014

How former Soviet republics voted on UN Crimea referendum

Yesterday's General Assembly resolution affirms the territorial integrity of Ukraine and declares invalid the recent Crimean referendum.





Mazda RX2 for sale

H/t to rchen.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tesla factory tour tickets (April 12)

Something for you local car geeks. I went on the tour and it was incredible.

Details here.

H/t to rchen.

Can-Am Spyder by Danica Patrick

Presented without comment, which is a comment in and of itself.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

VW Fox for sale

Remember these Brazilian-made VWs? They were cheap and they At one point in the late 1980s, they were everywhere. And then, they all disappeared.

Here is one for sale nearby.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lemons race last weekend

Great report by local station KTVU.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Transnistria documentary

There is speculation that Russia might annex the breakaway Moldovan republic of Transnistria. So for the next two weeks, news channels and the internet will be speculating ad nauseum. This piece by travel presenter Simon Reeve gives you a pretty good overview of the place.

BM-21 Grad rocket launch vehicle

The Syrian rebels killed Assad's cousin today with one of these. I assume it was captured from the Syrian army. Watching it launch 40 consecutive rockets is just breathtaking.

More info here.

Brendan's old ute featured in local paper

H/t to rchen. Story here.

That's not Brendan, by the way.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Arctic Ocean trip planning almost done!

I need a short vacation and I need to finish my Pan-American journey, so I am booking the Arctic Ocean leg. It will be four days of traveling and a day or two of cushion.

The itinerary:
Day 1: Bus from home to BART train. BART to Oakland Airport. Southwest Air from Oakland to Seattle, Washington. Alaska Air from Seattle to Fairbanks, Alaska. Gather snacks and drinks. Moose dinner. Sleep in motel.

Day 2: 6am van leaves Fairbanks. Arrive in Prudhoe Bay at 10pm. Sleep in $199 per night trailer/motel used by oil workers.

Day 3: Take tour of ARCO oil facilities, dip toes in Arctic Ocean. 11am van leaves Prudhoe Bay. Arrive in Fairbanks at 2am the next morning.

Day 4: Recuperate. More moose for dinner.

Day 5: Fly home.

After this trip, I just need to do a bus stint from Lima, Peru, to Turbo, Colombia, and I will be done!

Hello Calgary

This week's episode of This American Life was about slogans that cities use to make themselves attractive. Most of the slogans were cheesy and ineffective. The host then talked to his friend in Calgary, who was really proud of his hometown's PR campaign in the 1980s, featuring this song:

But then, the host broke the news to his friend. Over 100 other cities used the same song.

Ford Taurus wagon ad

Migrants in the Darien Gap

The Darien Gap is a roadless jungle between Yaviza in Panama and Turbo in Colombia. In the last few years, thousands of Nepalis, Bangladeshis, Sudanese, and Ethiopians have been crossing the Gap to get to the United States. Apparently, they first fly to a country that does not require visas, like Brazil, and then travel by car to Venezuela, and then to the Colombian town of Turbo. There, coyotes take them to Panama via boat and foot.

Contemporary footage of the Gap is nearly non-existent. This morning, I found this Tamil (?!) documentary about these migrants.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

5 year anniversary of Oakland police shooting

Friday is going to be a crappy day for a lot of us. Five years ago, a sick man shot and killed four Oakland police officers. One of the four was my buddy Dan. In chronological order, Dan and I were co-workers, friends, fraternity brothers, roommates, and each other's best men at our weddings. I can't believe it's been five years. I remember the evening when I found out about the shooting-- watching a televised news conference in a little room at a Mendocino bed and breakfast. When I heard the PIO say Dan's name, I collapsed onto the floor and screamed.

The thing that gets me is that Dan's life ended at age 35. Thirty-five. We all get caught up in our daily stressors and drama, but be thankful and enjoy every day that you are on this beautiful planet.

The other sad thing is that gun violence, crime, and mental health are still major problems in Oakland and America. Since the Oakland shooting, a U.S. Congresswoman was shot in the head, 20 little kids were killed within the span of a few minutes, and over 100,000 Americans were killed by guns. And yet nothing has changed. Nothing.

The sound of Formula E

Pardon the pun, but I am running on fumes after a long day in the salt mine.

I had to post this video of the electric racer on the streets of Moscow. I dismissed the series as a gimmick that was bound to go bankrupt. But then, they signed Nick Heidfeld to the series this morning, along with a number of other former F1 "stars". I went on the Formula E website and they will actually hold a race next February on the streets of Los Angeles!

The strategy will be interesting. The races last one hour but the battery lasts 25 minutes. Each driver has two cars because it would take too long to charge the battery or switch batteries. So they'll just switch cars!

Anyone interested in this series, at all?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Wagon search update

The V50 with 112k miles was sold yesterday, before I even had a chance to check it out. I think that is the one that got away, but it was in San Luis Obispo (the owner was supposed to bring it up to Palo Alto this coming week) when it was sold. It had one owner and a stack of receipts.

Chris D. and I test drove the V50 with 81k miles yesterday. It was a one-owner car that was sold by a Volvo dealer. They installed a new set of Michelins, a new motor mount, and replaced a few faded trim pieces. It still had one too many exterior cosmetic issues. The pictures made it look better than it actually was. Apparently, the dealership shared the same photographer with the McLaren dealership next door.

The V50 (auto or stick) is still on the top of my list. But I am also open to a 3-Series wagon or a Jetta TDI (Ed K., you have one of these, right?). Also, not one, not two, but THREE OF YOU want me to consider a Saab SportCombi like this one. I'm going to try to check it out next weekend if it's still available.

Next week is going be very busy, so there probably won't be many posts. But, as always, check my Twitter feed for random thoughts and car pictures. Maybe they'll find MH370.

Walking across China-- the facial hair

Saturday, March 15, 2014

F1 runner ups

For the last three seasons, Alonso has finished second in the driver's championships after Vettel. I looked through the entire history of F1 to see who finished second overall the most. Note: This is not a compilation of finishing second in races, this is a compilation of finishing second at the end of the season.

Prost: to Senna 2x, Lauda, Piquet
Moss: to Hawthorn, Fangio 3x

Alonso: to Vettel 3x
Schumacher: to Alonso, Hakkinen, Villeneuve
Mansell: to Senna, Piquet, Prost
Graham Hill: to Clark 2x, Surtees

Raikonnen: to Alonso and Schumacher
Barrichello: to Schumacher 2x
Damon Hill: to Schumacher 2x
Senna: to Prost 2x
Peterson: to Andretti and Stewart
Fittipaldi: to Lauda and Stewart
Stewart: to Fittipaldi, Graham Hill
Ickx: to Rindt, Stewart
Fangio: to Ascari, Farina

Friday, March 14, 2014

Another V50 up for grabs

The last one I posted is probably going to be sold before I even have a chance to check it out.

Christopher, my personal Volvo valet, found this one, also in Palo Alto, albeit sold by a dealer. The Carfax shows regular maintenance at the same Volvo dealership. The pictures are fantastic and the car appears to be in pretty good shape at 80k miles. This is also NA and FWD.

Do you have your ID, Lewis Hamilton?

I did this once. In college, I worked security. On the 4th of July, we closed off a road behind campus because of the danger of fireworks and dry grass. I manned the entrance to the road diligently. A Buick came up and tried to enter. I said no. The driver sternly warned me-- "Do you know who's in the back seat? The mayor!"

I let them pass.

I watched FP1. Hard to get used to the new sound of the engines (or the lack thereof). They sounded like flying saucers.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Karachi Honda Accord

Source, via Stipistop.

F12 Berlinetta brake duct

Like most of you, I don't keep up with the latest Ferrari and Lamborghini models. I honestly didn't know about the F12 until yesterday. Here's a fun review. The neatest feature has to be the brake duct that opens only when the brakes are hot and actually need cooling.


Now that I know I don't need a manual transmission, I have broadened my search. This one is in the color I want and I like the rims, but is a bit high mileage-wise (112k). It's a one-owner car and all of the maintenance/repair history is thoroughly documented. It's got the NA 2.4 liter and is FWD. It won't be as fun to drive, but there are less things to go wrong. The interior is going to get trashed, as our dog is slowly destroying the Honda's back seat area. I'm going to have it inspected at this place. We shall see.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ferrari F1 2014 preview documentary

The simulator is out-of-this-world. And is Kimi driving an F12 Berlinetta?


Academy of Art car museum photo gallery

Ready? Here we go.

Did you know that Cisitalia "raced" in F1? It DNQ'd in 1952 at the Italian GP.

Australian-built Mini Cooper.


Matthew, our guide, offered to open the hood of any car there. We asked him to let us peek under this Autobianchi. Pictures are below.

The attention to detail of this Austin truck is incredible. Coincidentally, after Zach and I left the museum, we saw an Austin truck in Union Square!

V12 Lincoln.

Four Duesenbergs. The pink one is a "replica". It's built on a truck chassis but all of the other parts are originally derived from Duesenbergs.

Here's the Autobianchi.

I forget the make of this car. Zach? It's aluminum bodied and absolutely beautiful. The door hinge is so simple and elegant. About 10 were made and this is the only one remaining. The guy who created the car died when he was 28. It was our guide's favorite car in the collection.

Here is Matthew.

Aston Martin Lagonda.


Huge but understated Daimler with unique New South Wales plate.