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Watch this sportbike rider snatch up a GoPro at maximum lean

Posted Sep 16th 2014 5:01PM



As much as we'd love to offer up the disclaimer, "Professional rider on a closed track," we can't. As it turns out, rider Derek Molle snatched up a GoPro camera lovingly left between the yellow lines on the J turn on Mullholland, according to the video's description on YouTube.

That being the case, we'll leave you with this disclaimer instead: "Do not try this at home." To which Mr. Molle himself adds:"You will crash." Check out the video of Molle above as he grabs the GoPro off the ground while leaned over and dragging a knee, and stay for the video selfie at the end.

News Source: RNickeyMouse via YouTube, Asphalt & Rubber

Dodge Viper saved from crusher by students, but will it last?

Posted Sep 16th 2014 4:31PM

1992 Dodge Viper

The saga of the Washington state community college hoping to keep its allegedly pre-production Dodge Viper out of the maw of the crusher is going strong. Not only does the school still have the car, but there's a chance that the college might even get to keep it.

The whole situation flared up in March when the South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, WA, received a notice from Chrysler Group that requested that the school's Viper be destroyed. The automaker had loaned the muscle car to it about a decade ago to use for educational purposes in its auto tech classes. With the Dodge growing long in the tooth, "it is unlikely that these vehicles offer any educational value to students," the company said in its press release on the matter.

However, the college balked at destroying its Viper, despite the fact it had signed a contract with Chrysler Group to do so. The school further claimed that its car was incredibly special because it was a pre-production example and just the fourth one made back in 1992. Although, as we pointed out at the time, the photos of the school's vehicle showed a coupe that looked like a newer Viper GTS.

In a recent followup from Fox News, things appear to be tenuously positive for the college. It's negotiating with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to find a way to get ownership of the Viper. A company spokesperson said for Fox's story, "We continue to pursue an amicable resolution of the matter." Until there's a final verdict, this muscle machine is safe as an education tool to teach students how to wrench on its big V10. Hopefully, we won't have to watch this Viper get crushed.

News Source: Fox News

Tony Stewart case to be presented to grand jury

Posted Sep 16th 2014 3:42PM

Federated Auto Parts 400 - Qualifying

Upon my review of all of the information contained in the entire investigation, I have made the determination that it would be appropriate to submit the evidence to a grand jury, for their determination as to what action should be taken in this matter. Accordingly, the evidence developed in the investigation will be presented to an Ontario County grand jury in the near future.

With that quote, Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo has signaled to NASCAR driver Tony Stewart that the case against him in the matter of the death of fellow racer Kevin Ward, Jr., will be an ongoing concern.

According to the D.A., specifics of the information presented to the grand jury, including who is called to testify as a witness and what evidence members are shown, is confidential. The public in general will have to wait until the jury's "determination has been made" before hearing what the status of the case will be.

Stewart, who has been described as cooperative by investigators up to this point, has released a statement indicating that he will continue to cooperate as required in this next phase of proceedings. NASCAR has chimed in as well, stating that Stewart will be allowed to continue racing.

News Source: USA Today

Image Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty

Bob Seger's Detroit Made music video is an homage to the Motor City

Posted Sep 16th 2014 3:00PM

Bob Seger Detroit Made music video

At this point, Bob Seger feels like the living embodiment of old-school rock 'n' roll. The Michigan native has been strumming out classic records like Night Moves for decades, and he just released a new single called Detroit Made. It sounds like a future staple of just about every classic car show within the next few years, and the video is dedicated to the Motor City, past and future.

Detroit Made is all about cruising in the city in a classic Buick Electra 225, perhaps better known as a "deuce and a quarter." It's straight-down-the-middle rock and could just as easily be from a decades-old Seger album as something new.

The video for the new single mixes shots of American classics cruising along Woodward Avenue with a contemporary look at the city. Sure, there are the well-known dilapidated buildings falling into rubble, but the people there aren't just letting the city die. Other parts show the attempts to clean things up and rebuild. Check out the video if you need a few minutes of old school rockin' in your life.

News Source: BobSegerVEVO via YouTube, Hemmings

Autoblog Podcast #397

Montezemolo Steps Down, Mercedes-AMG GT, Long-Term Update

Posted Sep 16th 2014 2:46PM

Autoblog Podcast logo

Episode #397 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, and Seyth Miersma talk about the leadership change at Ferrari, the Mercedes-AMG GT, and we give a report on the Long-Term Garage. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #397:

play


Topics: In The Autoblog Garage:
Hosts: Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, Seyth Miersma
Runtime: 01:49:28

Rundown:
  • Intro and Garage - 00:00
  • Montezemolo steps down - 31:16
  • AMG GT - 54:50
  • Long Term Update - 01:11:35
  • Q&A - 01:27:47

Get the podcast:
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Feedback:
Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com

Review the show in iTunes

Federal Robotics Commission could accelerate arrival of self-driving cars

'Much Is lost' In Government's Piecemeal Approach To Robotics, Report Says

Posted Sep 16th 2014 2:16PM



Back when investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration first probed reports of unintended accelerations in Toyota vehicles, they ran into a serious internal roadblock. They lacked the expertise to examine the problem. They suspected a software glitch, but couldn't delve into the interactions between the software and physical linkages in the vehicles because they didn't understand them. NHTSA ultimately needed to call on experts from NASA to study the reports.

"Can you imagine calling up NASA, and saying, 'Can you take a break from putting robots on Mars and come take a look at this Toyota?'" asks Ryan Calo, an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law. "That's not a sustainable strategy."

In a white paper released by the Brookings Institute on Monday, Calo argues NHTSA's shortcomings in investigating Toyota are one example of many in which government institutions have struggled to keep pace with rapid technologic advancements across a variety of industries.

To counteract that, he proposes the United States create a Federal Robotics Commission that could make sense of the complex technologic, legal and regulatory questions that have risen around robotics and artificial intelligence.

News Source: Brookings Institute

Truant students beware, San Diego school district acquires MRAP

Posted Sep 16th 2014 1:30PM

BAE Systems Caiman 6x6 MRAP

Meet the newest vehicle in the arsenal of the San Diego Unified School District, a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, more commonly known as an MRAP, or the US military's answer to the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) so favored by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now, you might be asking, are the officers of the San Diego Unified School District Police (sidebar: is it normal nowadays for school districts to have police departments?) regularly subject to ambushes and/or IEDs? It seems unlikely.

Instead, the district says the vehicle will be used for search and rescue, according to KPBS, the local public broadcaster.

"Our idea is: How can we get in and pull out a classroom at a time of kids if there's an active shooter? If there's a fire [or] if there's an earthquake, can we rip down a wall? Stuff like that," Captain Joe Florentino told KBPS

The MRAP, which is valued at $730,000, was acquired for a mere pittance – $5,000 in shipping fees – through the controversial Excess Property Program, or 1033 program. That's the same Department of Defense setup that has drawn fire following the Ferguson, MO protests. Now, critics are turning towards SDUSD, claiming the district's new toy represents a militarization of schools, a charge Chief Littlejohn refutes.

"It's not police militarizing schools," he told KBPS. "There will be medical supplies in the vehicle. There will be teddy bears in the vehicle. There will be trauma kits in the vehicle in the event any student is injured, and our officers are trained to give first aid and CPR."

Littlejohn was also quick to point out to critics that the MRAP is not tank. While he is right (it's considered an armored personnel carrier), the 18-ton, six-wheel-drive, hulled vehicle has a lot more in common with its treaded compatriots than it does your average police cruiser.

What are your thoughts? Should a school police department maintain such a significant piece of hardware, or would the $5,000 (and District's claimed $500 per year of upkeep) be better spent elsewhere? At least one critic, a school board trustee, argues that the district's 10 squad cars could use some attention. Have your say on this story below.

News Source: KPBS San Diego

Image Credit: San Diego Unified School District

Galactic Gear is a pitch-perfect Top Gear sendup from the future

Posted Sep 16th 2014 12:45PM

Galactic Gear Video for Star Citizen

Top Gear and particularly host Jeremy Clarkson have come to define how you do a show about cars. Mix big power, an opinionated presenter, a few jokes and fantastic camera work together, and you end up with the show's basic formula. But what happens in the far-flung future when the automobile is long dead, assuming we could keep his brain alive, could Clarkson keep up his act? Upcoming PC space flight sim Star Citizen shows in a promo video that the Top Gear method would still work in the centuries ahead long after we leave the bonds of Earth.

To show off the game's Origin M50 space racer, the designers created Galactic Gear, and these folks clearly know the show very well because the video nails every bit of Top Gear. Anyone can get the silhouetted opening right, but far more impressive is the spot-on copy of Clarkson's cadence. The accent might not be quite right, but you can easily imagine him coining these same tortured metaphors about an Aston Martin, as about these spaceships.

Star Citizen is being spearheaded by Chris Roberts, the man behind classic PC space sim Wing Commander. The game eventually hopes to offer players a persistent online world to fly around in, but until then it's slowly rolling out new ships and modes. Judging from the videos online, it looks like an absolutely beautiful experience.

News Source: Roberts Space Industries via YouTube

Bugatti Dynamic Driving Experience

In Which Molsheim Courts Us Like We Are Captains Of Industry

Posted Sep 16th 2014 11:57AM

Bugatti Dynamic Driving Experience

Let's say you're rich. Filthy rich – you've got cars in garages of homes you can't remember you own, rich.

As the gap between automotive haves and have-nots continues to grow, ultraluxury automakers are exploiting fresh ways to lure the sorts of well-heeled car aficionados who would rather spend their spare time shipping exotic sleds to private tracks than sitting on a beach in the Maldives.

This rarified air presents a daunting challenge to boutique carmakers attempting to distinguish themselves, especially when they're vying for attention amidst voluptuous Paganis, Koenigseggs, and Brabus G63 AMG 6x6s. When the stakes are this high and the competition this fierce, you need a novel approach to peddle your four-wheeled wares – even if you're Bugatti.

Image Credit: Bugatti

Are you the 2015 Chrysler 300?

Posted Sep 16th 2014 11:31AM

Chrysler 300

When Chrysler showed us its hand and revealed its five-year product plan to the world, we learned that the updated 300 sedan will bow at the LA Auto Show in November. Now, thanks to Allpar, we might have our first (super grainy) look at the new sedan a full two months ahead of its official debut.

Unlike its Dodge Charger platform mate, the new 300 isn't really all that different from the model currently on sale. That said, we're not sure if the changes shown here really reflect styling that we'd call "better," with the company's logo sort of floating at the top of the grille, and a more simplistic front end that lets the schnoz stick out a bit. Again, nothing drastic to talk about, but the new tweaks are kind of weak. Of course, we'll wait until we see the finished product in the metal before we make up our minds.

Don't expect things to change too much in terms of interior refinement or powertrain offerings, as well, with all the same leather and technology we've enjoyed in the 300 before, and the usual 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and 5.7-liter Hemi V8 powertrain options. We'll know for sure when the car shows its freshened face in Los Angeles in November.

News Source: Allpar

Indications of 825 hp and emissions issues for Hellcat called 'speculation' by Chrysler

Posted Sep 16th 2014 11:00AM

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is probably one of the hottest cars of the moment mostly because of its insane, 707-horsepower supercharged V8. However, there are conflicting reports coming out that the powerplant might be having problems with its emissions compliance and may be capable of even more power.

Jalopnik says that an unnamed source within Fiat Chrysler Automobiles told it that the Hellcat was having problems meeting emissions standards at its 707-horsepower tune. The person claimed that the automaker has been testing the V8 with different types of sensors, possibly to make it a bit cleaner in the future. Autoblog spoke to SRT spokesperson Dan Reid, and he said about the claimed poor emissions, "It's totally speculation."

The source also claimed that the Hellcat had been dynoed at a monumental 825 horsepower, internally. Based on the other rumor, though, it's hard to imagine the engine being emissions compliant like that. Autoblog also asked Reid about this speculation about more power and was told, "They are totally speculating about that."

Of course, Reid's implication of speculation, in both cases, doesn't constitute a denial exactly, either. Suffice it to say that we expect more an firmer information to crop up on both fronts, before to long.

In fact, the much-anticipated muscle car will start arriving at dealers in just a few weeks, which should open the door to transparency on both issues. Waiting really is the hardest part.

News Source: Jalopnik

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

Mercedes boosts CLA supplies, says it could sell twice as many

Posted Sep 16th 2014 10:15AM

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

It's been a few months since we talked about the Mercedes-Benz CLA's status as an unmitigated hit, but a new story from Automotive News will allow us to revisit the sleek, fast-selling, four-door home run. Production has been increased again, with some of the extra capacity destined for US showrooms.

"We could have sold twice as many vehicles, easily, compared to our planning," Daimler AG boss Dieter Zetsche told AN.

Dealers are sitting on perilously small supplies of the CLA, with Mercedes execs confirming to AN that a few dealers have slipped below a ten-day supply. For reference, a 60-day supply is generally considered healthy.

Mercedes' Kecskemét, Hungary factory added a third shift back in May to address high demand for the four-door. Zetsche was unwilling to divulge how many more cars the facility will be able to churn out with this latest production increase, though.

"We do not want our customers to have to wait too much," Zetsche told AN. "Wherever we could, we pulled out all the stops."

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

Online Find of the Day: Lexus-engined Mercedes pickup is a vintage hybrid

Posted Sep 16th 2014 9:30AM

1971 Mercedes-Benz 220D Pickup with a Lexus V8

You have to love someone who gets incredibly committed to a very weird idea. What you see for sale here is a right-hand drive 1971 Mercedes-Benz 220D in South Africa, but this old Mercedes is now converted into a pickup, complete with bed cover, and there's big secret under the hood, too.

The pickup conversion appears well done based on seller Sedgefield Classic Cars' photos. Even the tonneau cover fits well. You could almost believe that this Mercedes lived its life as a Chevrolet El Camino-like pickup from the very beginning.

However, the rear-quarters conversion might not be the weirdest thing about this Mercedes. The original diesel is gone from the engine bay in favor of a Lexus V8. It seems really odd to pop the hood and find a Japanese mill in this German car, but the photos make it look like a fairly well performed swap. So, bravo to the crazy thinking. According to the seller speaking to Autoblog by email, "as far as we can establish, this was done a few years ago, with all Lexus components."

Given the quality of the pickup conversion and engine swap, the interior could use a refresh. Though still useable, the seats are pretty beat up. We'd like to see the existing ones recovered, possibly in a modern but appropriate Lexus leather to subtly carry on the theme indoors.

After all of the work, this Mercedes is now a hybrid of German styling and Japanese power wrapped up in a pickup. However, the pricing for all of this weirdness is incredibly reasonable. The seller is asking a pretty reasonable-sounding 75,000 South African rand (about $6,810 at current exchange rates). We just wish it were located in the US.

Geely to provide engines to Formula 4

Posted Sep 16th 2014 8:44AM

Geely-powered Formula 4 racer

Formula One may get the lion's share of attention, but it's far from the only formula racing series. The FIA Formula E Championship just kicked off in China this past weekend, for example – and while FIA President Jean Todt was in town, he also announced the latest engine supplier for the Formula 4.

Up until now, the FIA had certified three automakers to supply engines for Formula 4 – and they've all been European. But for the first time, a Chinese automaker has joined in on the action. That Chinese automaker is Geely, perhaps best known on these pages as the parent company of Volvo, but a major player in the Chinese market in its own right.

Starting next season, Geely will supply a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine – similar to the one that powers its GX7 sport-ute and Emgrand EC8 sedan, but tuned for racing use – to the Chinese Formula 4 series. The new series is kicking off later this year with a seven-race calendar. After that, and with FIA certification in place, the door will be open for Geely to supply its engine to other local F4 championships as well.
Related GalleryGeely Chinese Formula 4
Geely Chinese Formula 4Geely Chinese Formula 4Geely Chinese Formula 4Geely Chinese Formula 4Geely Chinese Formula 4Geely Chinese Formula 4

News Source: Geely

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