Report: Drunken BBQ leads to 64 torched cars [w/video]

Filed under: Etc., Europe, Safety, Videos

Parking lot fire at French stunt show

The phrase “You’re doing it wrong,” doesn’t really even begin to describe this one. We’ll admit to being concerned whenever we have to park in a field. There’s always a fear, especially during dry weather, that one person’s negligence could cause the whole lot to go up.

And that’s almost exactly what happened in Noyal-Pontivy, Brittany, France. A cluster of cars were parked in a field outside a stunt show, when a pair of intoxicated men decided to break out the barbecue for a bit of tailgating (or whatever the French call it). The only problem being they didn’t bother to put their grill out before leaving for the show.

The resulting fast-moving blaze required 40 firefighters to bring it under control, along with a farmer cutting a fire line to contain the inferno. 64 torched cars later, the police were on hand to conduct their investigation into how the wildfire started. That’s when our two drunkards came forward, taking responsibility for their negligence. The men face two years in prison. Scroll down for video from the scene.

Continue reading Drunken BBQ leads to 64 torched cars [w/video]

Drunken BBQ leads to 64 torched cars [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Drunken BBQ leads to 64 torched cars [w/video]

Filed under: Etc., Europe, Safety, Videos

Parking lot fire at French stunt show

The phrase “You’re doing it wrong,” doesn’t really even begin to describe this one. We’ll admit to being concerned whenever we have to park in a field. There’s always a fear, especially during dry weather, that one person’s negligence could cause the whole lot to go up.

And that’s almost exactly what happened in Noyal-Pontivy, Brittany, France. A cluster of cars were parked in a field outside a stunt show, when a pair of intoxicated men decided to break out the barbecue for a bit of tailgating (or whatever the French call it). The only problem being they didn’t bother to put their grill out before leaving for the show.

The resulting fast-moving blaze required 40 firefighters to bring it under control, along with a farmer cutting a fire line to contain the inferno. 64 torched cars later, the police were on hand to conduct their investigation into how the wildfire started. That’s when our two drunkards came forward, taking responsibility for their negligence. The men face two years in prison. Scroll down for video from the scene.

Continue reading Drunken BBQ leads to 64 torched cars [w/video]

Drunken BBQ leads to 64 torched cars [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Europe considering 70-mph speed limiters on all cars? [UPDATE]

Filed under: Europe, Government/Legal, Safety

DEU HB Verkehr Tempolimit

If George Orwell were alive today and had read this story from The Daily Telegraph, he’d be standing in the middle of the Rue de la Loi, shouting “I told you so!” at the top of his lungs. In a bid to decrease the 30,000 deaths on European roads each year, the European Commission is seeking to require speed-limiting devices on all vehicles.

It’s unclear how the commission would go about this, although according to The Daily Telegraph. The leading candidates involve vehicle-mounted cameras that read speed-limit signs, or satellites beaming speed information into cars so that motorists can be warned whenever they are at risk of exceeding the limit. Another, more invasive scenario could actually see a vehicle’s brakes applied any time the driver exceeds the maximum allowable speed, in this case, 70 mph. This proposed legislation isn’t sitting well with the United Kingdom, though.

Britain’s Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has flatly opposed the notion, telling the paper, “This has Big Brother written all over it.” Besides infringing on the freedom of drivers, the Ministry of Transport also argues that the UK’s road safety record – only 1,754 people dying on the island nation’s roads in 2012 – proves that Britain can get by without the the mandate.

Us? We don’t see this attempt getting very far. Aside from the inevitable invasion of privacy concerns, there’s a big financial one, as well – most countries, states and municipalities in Europe have some level of dependency on revenue collection from speed violations, be they administered automatically via speed camera or the good old fashioned way, by getting pulled over.

What do you think of all this? Have your say in Comments.

UPDATE: The EU has issued a rather scathing formal statement denying this report, saying it is “quite simply not true.” Read the full statement here at the official EU blog.

Europe considering 70-mph speed limiters on all cars? [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Europe considering 70-mph speed limiters on all cars? [UPDATE]

Filed under: Europe, Government/Legal, Safety

DEU HB Verkehr Tempolimit

If George Orwell were alive today and had read this story from The Daily Telegraph, he’d be standing in the middle of the Rue de la Loi, shouting “I told you so!” at the top of his lungs. In a bid to decrease the 30,000 deaths on European roads each year, the European Commission is seeking to require speed-limiting devices on all vehicles.

It’s unclear how the commission would go about this, although according to The Daily Telegraph. The leading candidates involve vehicle-mounted cameras that read speed-limit signs, or satellites beaming speed information into cars so that motorists can be warned whenever they are at risk of exceeding the limit. Another, more invasive scenario could actually see a vehicle’s brakes applied any time the driver exceeds the maximum allowable speed, in this case, 70 mph. This proposed legislation isn’t sitting well with the United Kingdom, though.

Britain’s Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has flatly opposed the notion, telling the paper, “This has Big Brother written all over it.” Besides infringing on the freedom of drivers, the Ministry of Transport also argues that the UK’s road safety record – only 1,754 people dying on the island nation’s roads in 2012 – proves that Britain can get by without the the mandate.

Us? We don’t see this attempt getting very far. Aside from the inevitable invasion of privacy concerns, there’s a big financial one, as well – most countries, states and municipalities in Europe have some level of dependency on revenue collection from speed violations, be they administered automatically via speed camera or the good old fashioned way, by getting pulled over.

What do you think of all this? Have your say in Comments.

UPDATE: The EU has issued a rather scathing formal statement denying this report, saying it is “quite simply not true.” Read the full statement here at the official EU blog.

Europe considering 70-mph speed limiters on all cars? [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Investing in blue-chip classic cars has been lucrative this decade

Filed under: Classics, Auctions, Earnings/Financials

Classic car values have been increasing quickly in the past decade.

There’s always a financial risk with investing in collectibles – and that includes cars. They must be maintained and stored, which costs more money, and ultimately sold (they’re investments, right?). On top of that, if they’re driven, they can be damaged or just lose value with more miles. But lately, the rate of return from investing in some collectibles – particularly classic cars – has been much higher than that of traditional investments, The Economist reports.

According to an index of the 50 most valuable automobiles compiled by the Historic Automobile Group and cited by The Economist, the past decade has been a great time to invest in blue-chip classic cars. Since 2002, their value has risen by almost 450 percent, which is a much larger increase than that of the MSCI World index, an index of stocks in developed markets, which increased by a relatively paltry 147 percent during the same period.

A case in point, The Economist points out, is one of the most expensive, ultra-rare classic cars to be sold at auction this year at Pebble Beach: a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT 14-Louver Berlinetta that sold for $9.46 million. The gavel price was within the car’s estimated price range of $9 million to $11 million. An even better case in point at Monterey Week this year was the 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider that sold for $27.5 million, a record sum for a car sold in the US – the second-highest price paid for a car at auction ever. On top of that, it beat the high end of its presale estimate by over $10 million! The most expensive auction car ever remains Juan Manuel Fangio’s Mercedes W196R F1 racer, which sold earlier this year for $29.65 million. Last year, a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K von Krieger Special Roadster was auctioned off for almost $12 million. In 2011, a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa prototype sold for over $16 million. You get the picture.

But if you’re not into making money on classic cars, then maybe you should start a collection of stamps, coins or violins, all of which have been increasing in value for the past decade. Or just go to work.

Investing in blue-chip classic cars has been lucrative this decade originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Investing in blue-chip classic cars has been lucrative this decade

Filed under: Classics, Auctions, Earnings/Financials

Classic car values have been increasing quickly in the past decade.

There’s always a financial risk with investing in collectibles – and that includes cars. They must be maintained and stored, which costs more money, and ultimately sold (they’re investments, right?). On top of that, if they’re driven, they can be damaged or just lose value with more miles. But lately, the rate of return from investing in some collectibles – particularly classic cars – has been much higher than that of traditional investments, The Economist reports.

According to an index of the 50 most valuable automobiles compiled by the Historic Automobile Group and cited by The Economist, the past decade has been a great time to invest in blue-chip classic cars. Since 2002, their value has risen by almost 450 percent, which is a much larger increase than that of the MSCI World index, an index of stocks in developed markets, which increased by a relatively paltry 147 percent during the same period.

A case in point, The Economist points out, is one of the most expensive, ultra-rare classic cars to be sold at auction this year at Pebble Beach: a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT 14-Louver Berlinetta that sold for $9.46 million. The gavel price was within the car’s estimated price range of $9 million to $11 million. An even better case in point at Monterey Week this year was the 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider that sold for $27.5 million, a record sum for a car sold in the US – the second-highest price paid for a car at auction ever. On top of that, it beat the high end of its presale estimate by over $10 million! The most expensive auction car ever remains Juan Manuel Fangio’s Mercedes W196R F1 racer, which sold earlier this year for $29.65 million. Last year, a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K von Krieger Special Roadster was auctioned off for almost $12 million. In 2011, a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa prototype sold for over $16 million. You get the picture.

But if you’re not into making money on classic cars, then maybe you should start a collection of stamps, coins or violins, all of which have been increasing in value for the past decade. Or just go to work.

Investing in blue-chip classic cars has been lucrative this decade originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ETC: MO-TO wooden cars are begging for a spot on your desk [w/video]

Filed under: Classics, Videos, Toys/Games

MO-TO toy cars cop car

Normally when we report on promising crowd-funding projects, we’re writing about things and ideas that we’d like to see come to life. In the case of this new MO-TO wooden toy car collection from Candylab Toys, however, the online world has already voted loudly that the product should come to market. With close to 900 backers raising about $52,000 more than the Kickstarter goal of twenty grand, MO-TO designers Vlad and Florin seem to have a small hit on their hands.

One browse through the MO-TO promo page, and we can see why. The wooden cars may seem to be children’s toys in some of the images, but the forms inspired by muscle cars of the 1970s are destined for the office shelves and desks of car guys everywhere.

Beechwood bodies coated in glossy, high-contrast paint; rubber tires on white wheels; and long, low proportions all make the MO-TO cars pretty slick to look at. The Police Cruiser model is straight out of central casting and likely to be a favorite, but our hearts swoon for the fastback shape of the Rare Bird MOPAR tribute car. A $25 special model has long since sold out, but you can still get into the specially marked Kickstarter cars for $30 (not an outrageous price in the “heirloom quality” world of toys). Scroll below to see more in the MO-TO video.

Continue reading MO-TO wooden cars are begging for a spot on your desk [w/video]

MO-TO wooden cars are begging for a spot on your desk [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 31 Aug 2013 16:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Google self-driving cars should have data recorders, says US official

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety, Technology

Driverless Cars from Google

Fears over domestic spying operations and privacy concerns have been splattered across the headlines with alarming frequency, and now it appears that even the auto industry isn’t immune. According to a report from The Huffington Post, the chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman, has argued that black boxes should be mandatory in self-driving cars, like those that Google and Nissan have been working on.

“Data capture is going to help you understand if there is a vehicle problem, or if it’s a human factors issue,” Hersman told the Post. The fear behind black boxing cars, though, has always been one of individual privacy being compromised. That isn’t likely to change regardless of whether a car is controlled by man or machine, as evidenced by an Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers survey, which claimed that nearly three-quarters of participants were worried about driverless cars recording personal information. Adding to that, 70 percent of respondents feared their info being accessed by the government, according to the HuffPo report.

Those arguments aren’t enough for Hersman, though. “When you have a driverless car, you have to demonstrate on the front end that you have the data that shows it’s safe. But we would also say, you need to make sure you have good data recording capabilities, so when there is an event, you can understand what happened.”

Google self-driving cars should have data recorders, says US official originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 Aug 2013 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Watch these Australian Ford and Holden muscle cars duke it out

Filed under: Sedan, Performance, Videos, Ford, Holden, Australia, Comparisons

Motoring pits the Holden VF Commodore HSV GTS agains the Ford Falcon FPV GT R-Spec

Australia’s Motoring has put together a little video on two of the great performance vehicles available down under – the Holden VF Commodore HSV GTS and the Ford Falcon FPV GT R-Spec. And while both FPV and the Falcon might be on their way out, there’s still plenty of time for a little head-to-head comparison between the two.

The cars aren’t all that well evenly matched, though. The Ford boasts a 5.0-liter, supercharged V8, which the Aussies measure out at 449 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. The HSV, though, with its Corvette-derived, 6.2-liter, supercharged V8 is just too powerful – 576 hp and 545 lb-ft of torque.

Predictably, it doesn’t end too well for the Ford. As the guys from Motoring point out, the new VF Commodore is just too new and too good, with its extra power and its adaptive dampers (GM’s excellent MagnaRide). Interestingly, Motoring did point out that the Holden’s electric steering is better than the Ford’s hydraulic steering, which is a lot like a Porsche purist saying they prefer water-cooled engines to air cooled.

The Aussie site did a full write up on the two vehicles, which we’d strongly encourage you to take a look at. It’s a really solid read. You can also take a look at their video comparison, down below.

Continue reading Watch these Australian Ford and Holden muscle cars duke it out

Watch these Australian Ford and Holden muscle cars duke it out originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 21 Aug 2013 20:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Google shacking up with Continental on self-driving cars

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Safety, Technology

Google co-founder Sergey listens to California Gov. Edmund G Brown Jr. during a bill signing for driverless cars at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.  The legislation will open the way for driverless cars in the state. Google, which has been developing autonomous car technology and lobbying for the legislation has a fleet of driverless cars that has logged more than 300,000 miles (482,780 kilometers) of self-driving on California roads. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Google, well known tester of self-driving cars, may have just come one step closer to making its sci-fi tech a widely realistic proposition. Along with IBM, it’s inked a deal with tier one supplier Continental, according to Reuters. The official announcement is set to be made during September’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

This is really a huge development for the world of driverless cars. Continental has its hands in a number of pies, supplying tires, brakes, stability control systems and other essential components to manufacturers. Google, meanwhile, is one of the biggest names in tech and has been toying with driverless vehicles for years, making this a formidable pairing. This could be the kick in the pants driverless cars need to get further into the mainstream consciousness.

Continental is already teamed up with Cisco Systems, as well, in a bid to establish data transfer networks between cars. All told, there are some mighty big names throwing their hats into the autonomous ring. Expect more news on the terms of this alliance at Frankfurt.

Google shacking up with Continental on self-driving cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 21 Aug 2013 17:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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