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Monday, October 31, 2011

American Swagger

Over the past few years Ford has become a proud American institution.  While all the other American car manufacturers were taking government hand-outs, Ford was bootstrapping itself back to profitability.  By selling off Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Volvo, Ford found the capital and focused resources to improve quality across the board.  It also killed off the Mercury sub-brand which existed only to create carbon copies of Ford branded cars.  The Focus and Fiesta are considered cool by those in the know and the Ford Evos concept is a glimpse at what's to come.  However, there's still a fly in the Ford ointment, Lincoln.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fast Bikes Slow [1000 FPS]

Thanks to incredible frame rates, we get to appreciate what makes these bikes race bikes and what makes these men professionals. Some of you have probably seen these videos already, but I believe its worth having another look. The devils are in the details and the details have never been more clear!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

2013 Joisy GP!


I've always wanted to attend a Formula 1 race, but with all the hotel and travel expenses on top of the ticket itself, I never had the funds to make it a reality.

Sometimes I'd wonder how nice it'd be if they renovated Watkins Glen to modern standards, but this? An outrageous street circuit right across the Hudson River? I'm loving this to bits. Comon', you've seen my past posts?!

The new Grand Prix at New Jersey for 2013 is beyond my wildest dreams, and more than I could ever ask for. As more details of the track start to surface, I've collected three videos that demonstrate the circuit's layout.

Have an awesome Halloween, peeps!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Augmented Driving

Imagine this situation: you're driving along the interstate at a decent clip when all of a sudden the skies open up, brake lights glow bright red, traffic slows rapidly, and your GPS just spouted off some inaudible set of directions.  Your reaction to this is probably a stab at the brakes, a flick of the wiper stalk, and maybe a couple of downshifts.  Now, what about that set of directions?  Looking over at the 3.5" Garmin that's 3.5 feet away will only take a split second but that traffic is getting close pretty quick...

In a few years, all that will be a non-issue with Making Virtual Solid's True3D heads up display (HUD) for GPS.  Their new HUD acts much like augmented reality applications that are widely available on iPhone and Android devices.  By exploiting parameters that the GPS unit already uses, the system can overlay pertinent information directly onto what you see out your windshield.  If you've played the racing game Forza, this type of interface will be instantly familiar like the racing line in the game.  While this HUD will make travel easier and maybe even save some fuel by avoiding the need to backtrack after missing a turn, it will most importantly make driving safer.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Announcing The Flappy Paddle Heads Gran Turismo 5 Invitational! [PRIZES TOO, Betch!]

Earlier this month, Danny Chin finally bought a Playstation 3 console. To celebrate Danny Chin's financial irresponsibility (and that of our fellow PS3 owners as well), we're reaching out to our fans in our very first Gran Turismo 5 invitational!

The goal of the event is simple. We love cars, love Flappy Paddle Heads, and love to share our enthusiasm. Although this is the first event, and everything feels a bit like an experiment, we hope that through racing and having a good time, we get an opportunity to thank many of our readers for visiting our blog and supporting us in general. How exactly will we thank you? Race winner of the night will get a sports car, specially prepped by FPH, to add to their virtual garage! Other prizes will be available too and we will continue providing updates in the upcoming days.

The event will be held a month from now, on November 26th, which align perfectly with the last race weekend of the F1 season in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Hopefully this will give you guys enough time to respond to us (details below*), as well as enough time for us to work out the details of the event.

One things for certain. You guys better perfect your race craft... because shit just got real.

* Add us on PSN (Playstation Network) with "FPH" written on the body of the request. Find us at:
Danny Choy: capn_chimichanga
Danny Chin: Anduril218
Kyle Swift: ROADWARRIOR721

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2011 Saab 9-5. Swan Song Or A Phoenix Rising?

A couple months back, I wrote a post about Saab. As I've mentioned, I was never familiar with the marque. Yet, similar to the way a person can never look away from a train wreck, I couldn't leave Saab and its imminent bankruptcy well alone.

What will happen to an all-but-terminal company when its CEO, Victor Muller, sells his creation, Spyker Cars, just to see the new 9-5 realized? What will happen to a company that has passionate and loyal fans but a tiny, and shrinking, customer base?

I've presented a couple questions in my past article and after so long, not only have they all gone unanswered, but every so often, the questions would come to haunt me. I couldn't leave them alone.

What does the brand stand for? What sets Saab apart? Who are Saab buyers today? What's the one thing the company can do to turn it all around?

There was only one way to find out. I had to drive it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ciao Marco

For the third time in just over a week, the motorsports world is mourning the loss of one of its own.  MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli lost the front-end of his San Carlo Gresini Honda RC212V and careened across the track amongst a tight field of riders.  While trailing riders Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi tried to avoid Simoncelli, there wasn't enough track and they collided with the downed rider.

Never one to back down, Marco was a talented rider who could take the fight to anyone.  Fellow Italian Luca Montezemolo, President of Ferrari, put Simoncelli's abilities into perspective when he said,"I was very impressed by his speed, talent and the determination he showed this year. His qualities reminded me of Gilles Villeneuve and now, fate has chosen to link them in this tragic fashion."  Montezemolo's thoughts are supported by Marco's career highlights of 2009 250cc MotoGP World Champion as well as podiums in the premiere class in only his second season riding the 800cc motorcycles.

While a fearsome competitor on the track, Marco never lost sight of the importance of life and always kept a cheerful disposition.  Valentino Rossi had stated on twitter that Marco "was like a youngest brother.  So strong on track and so sweet in normal life.  I will miss him a lot."  We're right there with you, Vale.  We'll all miss Super Sic.  Ciao Marco.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Long Live Rusty Slammington

What is Rusty Slammington? It's just as its name describes; an E28 BMW 5-series with rusty sheet metal and a slammed wheel and suspension combination. It Draws inspiration distinctly rat rod and German Bosuzoku. What's more, the engine is a Toyota Supra 1JZ-GTE. Really, Rusty Slammington shouldn't exist. There is no car quite like it, before or since.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Goodbye Dan

Photo Link

Today, two children lost a father, a wife lost a husband, and the racing world lost a great competitor. Following injuries sustained in a lap 12 crash during the IndyCar series finale in Las Vegas, Dan Wheldon tragically lost his life. He was just 33 years old.

To echo the comments of the other drivers and commentators, drivers understand the risks involved but it doesn't make it any easier to lose someone. The cars and tracks are as safe as possible but it is impossible to remove all risks. It is obviously a tragic string of events that lead to Dan's death so to analyze the issues are another task for another day.

Dan was a great ambassador for the sport, someone that really was Indycar at its core. He was well liked around the garage and he had a real passion for racing. When asked about his opinionated views he said, "I put everything into my racing, and I expect the same back".

It's unfortunate that we had to lose someone, to see the emotion of guys like Tony Kannan and Dario Franchitti trying to pull themselves together; can't help but make you well up a bit yourself. I would like to give the network a round of applause as they did an excellent job in the coverage of being respectful. I think once it came out that they tarped the car, everyone knew that things were very very dire. The hardest part for me is that while they understood the dangers of racing, it still weighs as a matter of "is it worth it?" It's such a tragedy that two young children will grow up without their father. Goodbye Dan.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rumble Of The Colombo: The Ferrari V12

While Porsche is synonymous to its air-cooled horizontally opposed flat-6, GM to its small block V8, and BMW to its inline-6, Ferrari's definitive powerplant has got to be the Colombo V12.

The roots of Colombo started with the 1947 Ferrari 125S, then a humble 1.5 liter V12 producing 118 horsepower. When the 125S won its first race in Rome '47, history was written and the engine would become the heart of Ferraris all the way until 1963 in the Ferrari 330 America. However, even after Aurelio Lampredi had replaced Gioacchino Colombo as engine designer, the Lampredi V12 was not a revolution, but an evolution to the original Colombo. 

It truly is incredible how everything from the 1956 Ferrari Testa Rossa, 250GT California, 250GTO, 365 GTB/4 Daytona to the 512BB are motivated by Colombo's spirit within. Check out eGarage's awesome clip and have a listen as Colombo's classic 60° V12 contributions accelerate away, headed for Laguna Seca's Parc fermé.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

eBay Finds: MR Opportunity

Looking back for a second, the nineties was a decade filled with almost too many choices for the sporting enthusiast.  Aside from the usual suspects from the US and Europe, almost every Japanese car maker had their hat in the ring as well.  Supra, RX-7, 300ZX, and 3000GT were all big hitters but the grand daddy of all Japanese sports cars had to be the NSX.  It's mid-engine rear-wheel drive layout meant that it could compete not only with the aforementioned Japanese muscle but also with the likes of Ferrari.  All of this ability came at a price too high for mere mortals and the only affordable mid-engine car came from rival Toyota...or did it...

Designed by Pininfarini, the Honda Beat was a tiny car with a tiny engine that produced big smiles.  While never sold in the United States, one can be had with a couple of mouse clicks on eBay.  Here's one with a pretty high reserve but exclusivity never comes cheap.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Clash Of The Titans

Release the Kraken! Porsche 911 GT1 driver Yannick Dalmas and McLaren's Steve Soper each put on their 600-hp boxing gloves and brawl it out during the 1996 24 Hours of Le Mans. Although the clip isn't very long, you can already identify some characteristics between the cars and its drivers. The Porsche GT1 has the confidence to brake later and dive into corners before the McLaren. However, the McLaren has the composure to exit the corners carrying more grip and speed. It's rare to capture this sort of dynamism between two evenly matched cars with vastly different driving manners. This definitely falls into the "good old days" of auto racing.

Porsche eventually won the GT1 title for the 1996 Le Mans 24.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Don't Knock It

Recently, the "Big Three" American car manufacturers have been riding a wave of good publicity.  Quality, customer satisfaction, and the all important metric of sales are seeing increases across the board.  However, the car game is pretty dynamic and Ford, GM, and Chrysler must stay current with fresh, innovative products.  GM and Ford have each developed a new feature that may very well prove to be a game changer in the near future.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beast Mode Vettel OVER 9000!!

At Singapore, Vettel said he did little more than perform a flawless "Sunday evening drive" to earn his 9th win this season.

For the next couple of races, Vettel only needs to score a single point in order to be crowned consecutive double world champion, a feat only a handful of drivers in Formula One's celebrated sixty year history. Not to mention, he'll be the youngest ever to achieve it.

Now, speculators even suggest that Vettel's efforts could beat Mansell's record of 14 qualified pole positions in a season. As of Singapore, Vettel has already earned 11 pole positions with another five races left for the rest of the season. If Sebbie wins all the remaining races, he will topple Michael Schumacher's record of 13 grand prix wins in a season as well.

Forget about the good old days. History is being made and the time is now! There's one thing that's missing, of course. Sebastian Vettel needs an arch-nemesis on the track.

McLaren and Ferrari better deliver soon, and Lotus Renault better sort out their car when Kubica returns!