Friday, December 31, 2010

Meals on...Exotic Wheels: Gotham Dream Cars Helps Feed the Elderly, so you Best Give a Damn

In charity-oriented news, Gotham Dream Cars recently assisted Pascack Valley, New Jersey's Meals on Wheels program in delivering food to some of the area's age- and hunger-impaired citizens. Edibles were brought door-side via cars like a Viper SRT-10, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Maserati Quattroporte, among others. The best part? Well, that depends.

Most people would say it's feeding those in need. Normal, right? Unfortunately, the press seems to think the story is the cars. That's right; instead of people who require help, the exotic transportation became the story. It's insane.

Sure, the idea of high-end Italian exotics delivering food to the elderly is tons of fun (and an interesting PR boost for Gotham Dream Cars)...but how is this legitimately important? For God's sake, the New York Times (supposedly one of the last great print papers) put up an article about feeding America's hungry and the main point was still the fact that mad-expensive cars were out doing charity duty. Other than some ho-hum dribble about the cars, the rest was press quotations and gibberish. No facts whatsoever.

Pascack Valley's "Meals on Wheels" director Jeanne Martin says, "The support of our community is essential to combating senior hunger in the area...We’re pleased to have the support of Gotham Dream Cars to help spread the message about the difference local volunteers can make in helping out seniors in need." Of course they are; after all, it's attention-grabbing for Pascack Valley and its hungry citizens. But what about the rest? As in, the rest of America? Hell, why not make it the rest of the world and get everyone involved?

Sadly, odds are that even with this post the most memorable part of the story is that someone, somewhere, is delivering food to people in exotic cars. Neato, but not really the point. How about giving some important facts, other than manufacturer names and ritzy BS info? Facts like this: there are over three million people in the States with hunger-related issues right now. And now. And now. Beyond that, a world citizen dies every few seconds due to starvation.

Knowing this, it raises the question: is there a point to the New York Times running this story? The answer, hopefully, is yes...but only if people learn something. If not, and all readers remember are car names, then what's the point? Internet hits?

Admittedly, Gotham Dream Cars has done something cool for the people involved in this program and received very positive PR in the process; however, the story of Italian supercars delivering food is nothing more than that: a nice story.

If you've gotten this far, you'll hopefully see what I'm getting at: the story's pointless, so go out and throw a few cans of Campbell's soup in the direction of your local soup kitchen. Tis the season.

By Phil Alex

Source / Photos: Pvmealsonwheels , Via: New York Times

U.S. Car Sales Continue the Uphill Trend in December

While the U.S. car market is still underachieving compared to the best results of the last decade, December sales are expected to significantly contribute to the annual forecast of about 12 million sold vehicles, as 2010 is clearly ending with an uphill trend, according to industry analysts.

“That's a long way from the 16 million and 17 million sales rates that we experienced for the better part of this decade. But we're coming out of 2010 on an upswing and I think this bodes well for 2011”, said Ford Motor Co. sales analyst George Pipas.

The trend could continue well into next year, though December results are not enough for a thorough forecast. However, industry experts are optimistic due to the fact that retails sale are up, compared to the less profitable fleet and rental sales, which are expected to drop by about one and a half percent, according to

“It's slowly evolving”, Morningstar analyst David Whiston said of the recovery. “You did just see the retail (annualized sales rate) creep up. It's not like it shot up half a million units in one month. It's going to be gradual”.

Compared to 2009, GM’s sales are up 1.9 percent, while Ford shows even more stamina with a 6.3% growth. On the other hand, Toyota is still struggling, as the massive recalls it has issued this year are taking their toll and it’s expected to report an 11.4% drop for the closing month of 2010.

By Csaba Daradics

Source: Reuters

Revamp for UK bike test

The current format for the UK’s motorcycle licence test was only introduced in April 2009. Consisting of two parts, the first is conducted away from the roads and includes hazard avoidance and emergency stop exercises. The second element is a road riding assessment, which lasts for at least thirty minutes.

However, the system has received a lot of criticism. In particular, the first module has been slated for its content, as well as the number and geographic spread of the locations where it is carried out. Additionally, there have been calls to make the test a single event, rather than being split into two distinct parts that can rarely be taken on the same day.

In response, the government commenced a review back in June 2010, and the Department for Transport has now announced its initial proposals.

The aim is to return to a single, on-road test. This could mean that the hazard manoeuvre is carried out on the public road, provided the assessment still complied with EU standards. Meanwhile, the slow speed exercises (u-turn, slalom and figure of eight) might be delegated to examiners at training centres ahead of the main test.

Wisely, perhaps, the changes aren’t going to be rushed through. With the details still needing a lot of work, the plan is to trial the proposals in the early part of 2011, followed by a public consultation. The target would then be to introduce the new test during late 2011 or early 2012.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK Patent Drawings

While looking for the designs of the Smart Roadster model we showed you in our previous post, we stumbled upon these drawings of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK used for trademark filings. Being that an official video of the 2012 SLK has already been leaked online (you can watch it after the jump if you missed out), these pictures simply offer some additional -and unobstructed- views of the roadster model with the retractable hardtop.

Boasting a similar silhouette (though with edgier details) to the outgoing model, the new SLK will arrive in the market sometime next year offering buyers a revamped engine lineup of four-cylinder and V6 gasoline units, and if the rumors turn out to be true, a diesel option also. The range will be completed by a high-performance AMG model, said to be equipped with either twin-turbocharged V6 or a larger-displacement V8 engine.

Keep an eye out for the SLK either at the Detroit Motor Show in mid-January or at the Geneva Salon in March.




VIDEO: Honda Civic Burnout Ends in Fiery Fail

As far as hooning goes, one would think that a simple burnout should get you in the least amount of trouble. However, the owner of this
Honda Civic almost lost his car while dazzling the crowd [...], as after about 40 seconds the tires suddenly burst into flames.

So, what have we learned today? Well, first of all, avoid overdoing the burnout if your car is tied to a block of concrete. Also, always keep a fire extinguisher at hand, because it turns out that putting out flames with some refreshments isn’t very effective. Who would of thought it? Watch the video after the jump.

By Csaba Daradics

Kudos to Ivan for the tip!


Noblesse Wings Up Honda CR-Z Hybrid Sport Hatch

Japanese tuner Noblesse has been steadily releasing numerous aftermarket bits and pieces for the new CR-Z ever since Honda launched its hybrid sport hatch . Among other parts, the company has developed a ground aero-kit with front and rear bumper aprons, side skirts, a rear diffuser and a large roof wing. These can be complemented by a lightweight carbon fiber hood, underbody aero parts, larger alloy wheels and a sport exhaust system. You can check out photos of Noblesse's Honda CR-Z offerings along with a video of a test car doing a circuit round right after the jump.

Source: Noblesse , Via: Farm of minds




ZX-10R recall explained

A couple of weeks ago, Kawasaki announced a ‘technical hold’ notice for its new 2011 Ninja ZX-10R in North America - in other words, a recall.

Under the notice, all bikes already delivered to customers and those at dealers had to be returned to Kawasaki. The cause was said to be unexpected engine behaviour, but an official reason wasn’t disclosed at the time.

Now, though, it seems that Kawasaki engineers have got to the bottom of the problem. A statement from the company reads:

"It had been discovered that when some examples of the new 2011 Ninja ZX-10R were operated at high rpm under unique riding conditions - such as operating on a racetrack - the intake valve springs could surge. Should this rare incidence occur it could cause one or more intake valves to seat improperly, resulting in poor engine performance.

"Having examined the very small number of machines which exhibited this surge phenomenon, the Kawasaki factory engineers have designed and fully tested a countermeasure which solves the problem without affecting any facet of the new engine’s outstanding performance.

"On the limited number of machines produced so far, the camshaft, valve springs and spring retainers for intake valves are being replaced to prevent the valve spring from surging. The same design update is automatically being incorporated into the ongoing production run of the newest and most powerful Ninja yet produced."

The European launch of the bike, which was delayed because of the technical issues, is now expected to be at the end of January 2011. In the UK, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R will be priced at £11,699, with ABS costing an additional £1,000.