Writer Needed

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

This site is currently in need of a writer. If you have any interest in writing on the topic this site covers, feel free to submit an application at 451 Press. Thank you.

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Value of an Inspection

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

I spend a lot of time surfing various sites on the ‘net like,,, local site, and a bunch of others. Generally I’m checking out cars for sale. One thing that has always kept me from buying a car completely unseen is the idea that I’ve never actually seen the car. The person selling the car has the upper hand, because they know the condition of the car, and I’m usually a few thousand miles away drooling at a car that I can’t actually examine myself. Add to that the fact that, at least on eBay, you get in trouble if you win the bid on a car and don’t actually buy it.

Since I’m a web programmer to make money and a car guy to spend it, I thought maybe there has to be a way to get around this fear. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who is a bit apprehensive about buying a car site unseen. Businesses like only sell cars online - no showrooms at all.

As it turns out, you can get a vehicle inspected by a couple of places. used to use Pep Boys for inspections, but apparently Pep Boys doesn’t offer that service any longer. The other option is a vehicle inspection service, like Inspection Solution.

Inspection Solution offers a fairly comprehensive vehicle inspection with a detailed report and pictures for about $100. Not a bad price to pay for peace of mind. I actually see this becoming a very useful thing for people selling cars online. I mean, for $100 you give people looking to buy your car an unbiased opinion of the car’s condition. That might just be the bit that makes your Accord a bit nicer than the next Accord in the search results.

The good:

  • A novel concept
  • The unbiased opinion of a professional
  • Ability to post a link to inspection report online - especially good for online sellers
  • Friendly customer service (I snuck a call - don’t tell anyone)

The could-be-better:

  • Limited geographical coverage means you might not be able to schedule an inspection
  • Only vehicles 10 years old and newer are eligilble
  • Due to liability concerns, the inspector cannot actually test drive the vehicle
  • You’re buying an opinion, not a warranty or guarantee

Overall, not a bad deal for peace of mind on the second-biggest purchase in most people’s lives.

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The latest in tacky car accessories

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Just when you thought it was safe to venture back out onto the city streets without fear of being accosted by such automotive atrocities as:

Spinner hubcaps:

or Truck Nutz:

All of a sudden there’s a new player in town to sap the remaining class and dignity out of your ride. Enter RhineStripes and RhineFlames from the minds of LA Stones FX. Here are some examples of these - ummm…. products.



That last one was especially disturbing to me, since it’s a Lamborghini Countach. It looks like whoever owns that car lost a bet to a crazy cat lady with a Bedazzler. There is no sane person who pays $300,000 for a Lamborghini Countach and then sticks rhinestone pinstripes on it.

Thanks to Zach for sending the link to me!

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The green oil rush?

Monday, June 25th, 2007

It’s weird to think about Texas oil men type guys getting all excited about biofuels, but according to this article, that’s exactly what’s happening.

I lean a bit more politically left than most of the people who enjoy my hobby, but I’m practical enough to realize that what will drive the impending (in my opinion) biofuel revolution will be capitalism. Capitalism is the reason Rudolf Diesel’s namesake engine runs on diesel fuel, as opposed to the peanut oil he envisioned.

I have no problem with venture capitalists, or “wildcatters”, when it comes to advancing this technology. Personally, big oil companies would do a lot in my eyes to get involved in non-carbon-emitting technologies sooner rather than when they are forced by the government or the market.

First one to algae based biodiesel available at the pump wins!


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Vatican releases 10 Commandments for Drivers

Friday, June 22nd, 2007


If this helps anyone I suppose it’s worth it, but it seems a bit odd to me that the highest eschelon of the Catholic church is concerned about the world’s driving habits. I never really thought about the Vatican having a position on driving habits and guidelines. I guess they decided to do something about the number one reason people die, at least here in America, automobile accidents.

Here’s the list:
1. You shall not kill.

2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.

5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

7. Support the families of accident victims.

8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.

9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.

10. Feel responsible toward others.

My only comment is that I’m pretty sure that first one was already covered. Here’s the rest of the article where I found this.


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I’m coming, Elizabeth!

Thursday, June 21st, 2007


I just had a Fred Sanford-like reaction to an article I read.

According to the BBC, Nissan executives have declined bonuses due to falling profits this year.

You see, people? This is why Carlos Ghosn will someday be running the world. Integrity, hard data, and accountability seem to be foreign concepts to most automotive executives except this guy and maybe Bob Lutz.

Holy executive accountability, Batman!

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Gotta love little girls

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

OK, I promise this post won’t be nearly as creepy as the headline.

I just wanted to shout out a quick comment that I’m incredibly happy and proud that my foo-foo little girl asked me for a Transformers toy this past weekend when we were out shopping. Here’s the one she picked out, Bumblebee:






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Ice Truckers, indeed

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Back when Bill Mertz was still writing this site, he did a post about how big rigs crossed ice roads carved into the tundra of Canada’s northern provinces.

The reason I mention this is because I noticed a commercial today for a new series on The History Channel called Ice Road Truckers.

The season premiere was last night at 9 PM central. Lemme tell you, those people are friggin crazy! There was ice cracks an inch or so wide, the unnerving sound of ice stress-cracking under the load of the semis, and talk of waves underneath the ice generated by the pressure of the trucks’ weight. No way you’d catch me doing that, but I’m sure the money’s pretty good.

Pretty cool show, and even cooler that Bill called out how cool the ice truckers were a couple months ago.


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Rent a hybrid at Hertz and Avis

Friday, June 15th, 2007

I dunno about you guys, but I’m a big fan of renting cars I’m curious about when I go on vacation or have another need to get a rental. I’ve bought more than one car after renting it in a different city. I’ve also determined quite a few cars I won’t buy.

That being said, Hertz and Avis both announced that they will be adding the ever-popular Toyota Prius to their rental fleets beginning now. Both say they’ll initially add 1,000 units, with more coming into their fleet later in the year.

Hertz plans to offer the Prius for rent in Manhattan and select airport locations around the country, and Avis is sticking to the west coast.

All of this comes on the heels of a public relations initiative (pdf) from Enterprise Rent-A-Car last week touting its “unparalleled fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles”. Enterprise claims that 47% of its fleet - almost 334,000 vehicles - average at least 28 miles per gallon and that 28% of its fleet - almost 200,000 vehicles - average 32 miles per gallon.

Well done, Hertz and Avis. You too, Enterprise Rent-A-Car


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A business trip to Atlanta: part two

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Well, my meeting in Atlanta went OK. Afterwards, we got in out in time to hopefully avoid Atlanta traffic, which I think is impossible. We left at 2:30 PM and sat in Atlanta traffic for 15 minutes or so. I don’t understand how folks down there don’t go completely postal having to sit in that all the time. On top of that, by the time we got to Chattanooga, there was a wreck that completely closed the freeway in the direction we needed to go. Getting around that was quite fun, and added another 30 minutes to our trip.

Our Lexus somehow became infested with ants, so the drive home wasn’t as nice as the drive down. I still think I have ants in my hair and underwear. I swear I can feel them crawling on me still. In the end I was very happy to get back to Nashville yesterday afternoon and jump into my 30 year old truck.

A couple quick notes:

  • Why are all the KOA campgrounds next to the freeway? That seems to me like going on vacation in the parking lot outside your office. Nothing like getting away from it all.
  • It seems that AC/DC’s Back in Black is the song that gets everyone in the car grooving. Hard to go wrong with that song when it comes on. Maybe next time I need to being a CD, since radio reception sucks for most of that trip.
  • Office roomie, who has infant triplets and therefore hasn’t had three hours of continuous sleep in ages, was riding shotgun and actually fell asleep mid-channel change while trying to find something on the radio.


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Thank God this commercial is dead.

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

Seems like car and truck commercials generate one of three feelings for me: 1.) Laughter, 2.) Apathy (if apathy can be a feeling, which is really its own discussion), and 3.) Disgust.

The Chevy truck commercials with John Mellencamp singing “This is our country” never failed to bring out a solid number 3. I wonder if that dude lost a divorce settlement or something. I’ve never heard him sound more soulless. It’s like he’s trying to sound like something else.

This is arrrrr kuuuun tray

Add the crappy song to a pandering, quasi-political, film-school-wannabe, piece of junk like the stuff below, and voila! America’s crappiest commercial ever. Don’t take my word for it. Take a look below and form your own opinion.

One of the versions of the commercial:

These commercial spawned a few million parodies, among them these two:

I’m incredibly happy these commercials finally got killed off.


, , , , , Car Star Award for June 3rd-9th 2007

Friday, June 8th, 2007

First a disclaimer - I own a 69 Chevelle, so I have a very soft spot in my heart for them. Mine’s nowhere near the condition of this guy’s car, but it’s still the same year, make, and model. So yeah - I’m biased.

On with the show!


There’s really not a whole lot of background info on this car. The owner/builder is a guy named Dennis Hopper. I found the car browsing around at The car is a 1969 Chevelle, and it looks to be pretty much custom from the ground up. The member who posted pics of the car had a website listed, and it turns out that the entire buildup of the Chevelle is there. Go on over to the gallery and take a look at the interior on this car. Incredible craftsmanship.

This car looks remarkably similar to a Jada Toys Muscle Machine toy I have sitting directly in front of me on my desk as I’m typing this.jadachevelle.jpg

Very nice, and very deserving of this week’s’s Car Start Award.


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Jim Dunne: Automotive Spy

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Fresh from the folks at NPR comes a story about the interesting (to me, at least) world of automotive spy photographers. If you’ve ever picked up a Car and Driver or Popular Mechanics, you’ve most likely seen the work of Jim Dunne, or folks like him. These cloak-and-dagger are automotive paparazzi, always looking to score the perfect picture of a concept car not quite ready for public consumption.


Check out the story and interview here.

Thanks for Foshku for the tip.


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You will never know, dude

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

I saw an article on Ask Yahoo that made me think for a minute. Some guy named Nick from Mobile, Alabama asked what was so special about the ‘57 Chevy?


Yahoo tried to answer Nick’s question; but you can explain that about as well as how you know you’re in love. The answer is very similar to both questions. You just know when you’re in love, and you just know a ‘57 Chevy is a special car.

Nick, if you’re out there, here’s some advice: If you’ve ever seen a ‘57 Chevy in person and didn’t get a feeling that it was more than your average commuter, please stick to your Accord, Camry, Taurus, or whatever it is you drive. You will never know, dude.


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Video of Danica Patrick confronting Dan Wheldon

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

In case you missed it, Danica Patrick got into a little scuffle with Dan Wheldon on pit row after the two bumped on the track at this past weekend’s A.J. Foyt 225 at the Milwaukee Mile. Danica had to pit and get a steering linkage piece replaced, which put her a lap behind the leaders. She rallied back to finish eigth. Dan Wheldon got the better end of the collision, and ended up finishing third.

Check out the video of the confrontation (pops)

Here’s a video of the crash. While I’m a Danica Patrick fan, I give Dan Wheldon the benefit of the doubt in this case. You be the judge:

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About Automotive Blogger

Some people use their automobiles only to get from Point A to Point B. You know there's more than that. You get mad when someone makes a remark about your car that's less than flattering. You get riled when a cool car is destroyed in a straight-to-video movie. You realize when a new car doesn't deserve it's name of a great car of the past. When you see someone driving a boring vehicle, you feel sorry for them. You know it's not the destination that counts - it's the journey. Welcome home gearheads. Welcome home, car freaks. Welcome to the site that fuels your automotive obsession -

Automotive Blogger Author(s)
    » Mike-Mayder

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