Video: Ken Block’s Gymkhana Five in San Francisco: Ultimate Urban Playground

July 9, 2012
We all knew it was coming, and here it is – Ken Block’s latest (5th) hoontastic Gymkhana video presentation.

Up, up… and away..!

This time, the tire-shredding antics have landed him in hill-heaven: San Francisco. Other than the giggles-worthy driving on display, what impresses most is the number of road-closures granted for filming in such a busy city… well, that¬†and the 650 bhp Ford Fiesta that will rocket to 60 mph in 1.8 seconds. ¬†Enjoy..!
Gotta be honest though, I was SO hoping for a Black Dodge Charger to come out-of-nowhere and give chase… ūüėČ

The Bay Bridge: Closed for the filming of this video – incredible.

What fun this must have been to witness in your neighborhood…

-Blake J.
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Video: Hot Wheels Loop-The-Loop – Full Scale..!

July 4, 2012

Fairly certain I’m not in the minority here as having devoted a huge portion of my youth towards the collection, upkeep and fun-times associated with the wonderful world of Hot Wheels. Eventually, I branched out into Matchbox cars (had the coveted¬†carrying-case ‘briefcase’) and even Fast 111’s trickled onto the make-believe¬†scene as well.

I carted this around wherever I went… Important business inside..!

Yet, with Hot Wheels (along with the endless deluge of click-track that constantly morphed and grew within our collection)¬†there was always that one tricky bit of fun called the Loop-the-Loop – Enter too fast and your car would just fly off the edges. Enter too slow and your car would just roll right back towards you… Needless to say, it took a carefully judged weight and angle of attack¬†coupled with the right amount of lead-up track in order to complete a successful (and clean) Loop-the-Loop.

Full scale fun…

Enter the flamboyant X-Games held over this past weekend and here we have the full scale version driven by Greg Tracy (green car) and Tanner Foust (yellow car), complete with the requisite jump at the end… Enjoy..!

Blake J. 
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Honda UNI-CUB Personal Mobility Device: Here We Go Again…

May 15, 2012

The human race seems to be increasingly obsessed with making these pesky legs of ours largely redundant over time… if Honda has their way, that is.

Really now…?

Check out this ridiculous, living-in-a-bubble-world video where people straddle, well…¬†electric saddles. One question though – stairs and curbs/edges more than 2″ tall… ? ?¬†Hmm… methinks this is a ‘leave ’em where you found ’em’ sort of PMD – ie: rental/borrowing priveleges at say, the airport, for example…

For those further interested, the UNI-CUB has a 3.7 mile range and a top speed of (insert marketing fluff agenda) 3.7 mph…! Oh you nifty buggers, you… Yet, (as with the ill-fated Segway)¬†this unit further continues¬†the bold¬†trend of emphasizing what¬†an embarrassingly lazy (and smug)¬†bag of bones¬†you’ll look¬†like… and become.

No thanks, Honda… I press the big, loud, red ‘X’ button on your ‘evolutional’ creation.

-Blake J.
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Videos: Ferrari, AMG and Audi Self-Congratulating their Online Social Marketing Numbers

May 2, 2012

‘Social Media is king’ – Yes yes yes… In this day and age we’ve firmly grasped that unequivocal¬†reality by now, despite how confusingly ridiculous and¬†painfully¬†dumbed-down the ‘clickable’ methods¬†of self-congratulating fanfare have become¬†in achieving¬†these Grand Statements of Internet Glory, as so brazenly¬†rolled out by top-brand manufacturers…

Ferrari burning (photoshopped) rubber to celebrate the obvious...

Yet somewhere along the way of this tail-spinning online world,¬†rife with¬†increasingly brain-numbing tactics and strategies¬†and marketing obsessions with SCO’s and such, influencing people to simply click a ‘thumb-up’ button on their computer’s screen has actually become¬†A Big Deal… as AMG proudly displays hereth…

Now think about that for a second –¬†Massive companies and corporations are actually celebrating the fact that¬†many millions of humans¬†clicked onto their Facebook page and subsequently clicked a thumbs-up button, with their mouse… We’re supposed to go ‘wow!’ to that news and say ‘job well done chaps’… ?

Is it not a worldwide ‘given’ that companies such as Coca-Cola and Starbucks and Ferrari have quite a healthy, in the mega-millions, dedicated fanbase despite social marketing claims…? Obviously, Ferrari is the sell-out King of merchandising their brand to legions of followers/minions¬†and, unsurprisingly,¬†they want you to know it…

Somehow, this clicking-of-‘like’-buttons¬†and obsessions with¬†‘view numbers’ on YouTube pages is seen as¬†a marked¬†achievement by these top brands –¬†in this case, an achievement¬†deemed worthy¬†of¬†chucking money¬†towards silly, tire-smoking video productions to highlight their ‘accompishment’ and ‘thank’ all those that clicked the upward-pointing thumb on their FB page…

AMG c63 ‘thanking you’ for watching and clicking…

Really now…?¬†Is that really an impressive feat…? Well yes, nowadays it is, it would¬†seem… Companies (and people) will do just about anything, no matter how stupifyingly simple and brain-oozingly dumb, to gather your attention and persuade you to click a button, watch a video and interact with your opinions… Utterly baffling sometimes… Squeal away, Audi….

Welcome to online automotive marketing¬†where any cause (or excuse) to illuminate the most banal of irrelevant, self-righteous claims is the way forward. Millions¬†of people ‘like’ your global corporation…? uhm, yeah… we know…. we really, REALLY know… Sally’s self-gratifyingly emotive statement from 1980 says it all…

-Blake J.
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Anger: Doesn’t Mix Well With Automobiles and Dealerships

April 11, 2012

Details are understandably hazy with this eye-opening scenario, but the apparent story goes that this customer was rather annoyed with the¬†Dealership’s impudence¬†towards¬†some suspension-related issues¬†he was reporting with his new¬†Suzuki Grand Vitara purchase. As a result, the internal rage switches were flicked on and, well… see for yourself.

Methinks his suspension queries are probably null and void now.

-Blake J.
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What Were They Thinking: 1978 Corvette ‘America’ Concept

March 21, 2012

There are moments within the extended life-run of an iconic, homebred¬†sportscar where ambitious¬†minds and questionable visions intersect to create something that begs to ask a question that was never even asked in the first place… In this case – ‘Why wouldn’t a Corvette owner/enthusiast¬†desire a 4-door version to haul his family and friends around in…?’

I know. There are so many responses to counter that question, but it didn’t stop Chevrolet from embarking on a… erm…. ‘design study’ in 1978 to flesh out the possibilities of a 4-door family ‘Vette.

The Corvette ‘America’ (snappy name) was designed and built by California Custom Coach in Pasadena, California in very small numbers – one prototype and five ‘production’ models – achieved by basically taking two Corvettes, cutting them in half and then stitching/welding them up, hence the increaed 30-inch wheelbase and subsequent¬†visual awkwardness…

At the time, a base-model Corvette would stretch you back about $13,000-$14,000. So when the $35,000 price-tag was announced for the 4-door America, orders didn’t exactly flock-in as they had anticipated…

In the end, only the 6 were made and the silver ‘vette pictured here is the only known remaining survivor – the others having succumbed to¬†uncaring owners¬†and/or¬†crashes of various sorts… I couldn’t even imagine what an oversteering moment in one of these would feel like. Probably frightening.

I think one left is enough.

Though, in its defense, I can’t help¬†picturing this¬†above red version as the sort of vehicle that the characters from The Banana Splits would have driven, if they could have…¬† And that makes it instantly cool in my books.

-Blake J.
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The Astronaut’s Choice: 1969 Chevrolet ‘Astrovette’ Stingray Corvettes

March 9, 2012

By the time the Apollo 12 crew landed and¬†enjoyed a leisurely stroll¬†on the moon in November 1969 (the sixth manned space flight under the Apollo program but only¬†the¬†second Apollo crew to land on the moon), Astronauts had garnered (and enjoyed) an almost Rock ‘n Roll-like fervor about them, undoubtedly helped along by¬†their psychedelic space-travelling ways. So, what better way to augment this public appreciation (and have¬†fun) in the vehicular sense than with matching, bespoke¬†1969 ‘AstroVette’ Stingray Corvettes.

Through a special GM lease program, Astronauts were given the privilege of driving any GM car, for a year, for only $1. The Apollo 12 crew of Alan Bean, Richard Gordon and Charles Conrad decided to¬†take GM up on this rather kind offer by obtaining¬†matching ‘vettes distinguished by their Gold and Black paint-scheme and distinctive red, white and blue logos on the front wings reading ‘LMP’ for Lunar Module Pilot.

To this day, sadly, only Alan Bean’s¬†‘Astrovette’ is accounted for and has undergone a full, extensive¬†restoration… In a recent BBC Documentary from Top Gear’s James May titled ‘James May On The Moon’, Alan was reunited with his old Corvette Astrovette after some 40 years…

More pics…

-Blake J.
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