Study: US faces constant Labor Day-like traffic in coming decades

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety

US map of future traffic congestion

With Labor Day weekend upon our American readers, many of you have probably loaded up your vehicles for the last road trip of the summer. But with Labor Day weekend comes traffic. Lots and lots of traffic. And while the Labor Day scrum is generally as bad as things get for the year, a study by the US Travel Association reports that a number of freeways across the country are in danger of heavily increased traffic levels becoming the new normal.

As originally reported on The Car Connection, Americans may be driving less, but the number of cars on our roads is outpacing that decline, which in turn places greater stress on the interstate network. Take Interstate 96, the freeway that runs from downtown Detroit to Grand Rapids, as an example. The only major cities on that east-west road, besides its termini, is the state capital, Lansing. But during Labor Day weekend, its traffic volume increases 154 percent. The USTA warns that unless a project is started quickly, the increased traffic flow will become the norm by 2030.

The USTA also analyzed 15 other major interstates, including three different stretches of I-95 on the country’s east coast, I-5 between Los Angeles and San Diego, I-45 between Dallas and Houston and I-15 between southern California and Las Vegas. Each route was at risk of anywhere from 117- to 159-percent increases in traffic flow by 2040. See the map above for more examples.

All of that sounds pretty daunting, but we also have to wonder if advances in vehicle-to-vehicle communications and autonomous technology over the same period will go a long way toward increasing average traffic speeds by greatly reducing accidents while safely increasing traffic density through platooning.

Either way, scroll down to take a look at the complete study.

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US faces constant Labor Day-like traffic in coming decades originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 31 Aug 2013 10:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Auctions: eBay Find of the Day: 1987 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe is showroom fresh

Filed under: Classics, Coupe, Performance, Auctions, Ford

1987 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe

There’s an ultra-rare Ford Thunderbird for sale on eBay, although it’s not quite the T-Bird you’re probably thinking. This is a 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, complete with a five-speed manual transmission and just a shade over 13,000 miles on the clock. The condition is said to be mint, and judging by the interior and exterior pictures, we’re inclined to believe the seller. The paint is glossy and the interior looks showroom new, while the underbody is stunningly clean for a 26-year-old car.

Underhood sits a 2.3-liter, intercooled and turbocharged four-cylinder (also found in the Mustang SVO) that was producing 190 horsepower when it left the factory. Inside, the five-speed manual transmission adds to the car’s rarity. The vehicle’s sole owner has been as immaculate with the paperwork as he has with the rest of the car – it’s all there, including brochures and other product material.

The eBay auction ends tomorrow at midnight (9:00 PM if you’re on America’s west coast). Bidding has reached $10,200, and there’s still plenty of time to get in on this future classic. The vehicle is located in Millstone Township, NJ.

eBay Find of the Day: 1987 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe is showroom fresh originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 Aug 2013 18:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Auctions: eBay Find of the Day: Ayrton Senna’s 1993 Honda NSX

Filed under: Classics, Coupe, Performance, Auctions, Europe, Acura, Honda, Celebrities

1993 Acura NSX reportedly formerly owned by Ayrton Senna, is up for auction on eBay.

It’s not often that things owned by the late Ayrton Senna come up for sale, but the seller of this black-on-black 1993 Honda NSX (aka, Acura NSX) eBay find claims it was once owned by the Formula One legend, and that he left a footprint on the factory carpet that can still be seen today. (Footprint, or vacuum lines?…)

NSX no. T000999 was given to Senna as a gift from his mentor and sponsor, Antonio de Almeida Braga, the seller claims, and it was stored at a palace near the Estoril F1 circuit in Portugal. He also was known to drive two other NSXs, a black one and a red one – the latter in which he was seen often.

The seller claims to have owned T000999, which is still in Portugal, for 17 years, and the 31,000-mile odometer indicates it was driven about 1,500 miles per year on average. Thankfully the car has been kept stock, so whoever buys it can enjoy driving it just as Senna did – that is, if the car actually is what it’s claimed to be. If the story checks out, then this is one valuable NSX, which is reflected in the high minimum starting bid of 47,500 pounds ($73,620). There have been no bids at time of writing, but with nine days left in the auction, we’ll be keeping our eyes on this one.

Senna is credited with improving the development of the mid-engine Honda when he told engineers after a test drive that the car needed to be more rigid. After eight months more chassis development, the car was stiffer and the suspension was finely tuned to Senna’s satisfaction. The rest is history, as Honda stunned the world – and a few supercar manufacturers – soon after when it released the excellent NSX in 1990.

eBay Find of the Day: Ayrton Senna’s 1993 Honda NSX originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 09 Aug 2013 11:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Cameron’s iconic house from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is for sale. Again.

Filed under: Classics, Etc., TV/Movies

Cameron Frye's garage from Ferris Bueller's Day Off - real estate listing

We can’t fathom why somebody didn’t swoop up this famous house in Highland Park, Illinois, when it was first offered for sale in 2009, and again in 2011 – especially considering its role in the hit 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But if shoppers were holding off due to the price, it’s time for them to take another look: since 2009, the home on 370 Beech St. has dropped from $2.3 million to $1.65 million, and now, to $1.5 million.

The Chicago-area home, which was Ferris Bueller’s friend Cameron Frye’s house in the movie, has four bedrooms, glass walls, and was built by notable architect A. James Speyer in 1953. The detached garage, an add-on built in the 1970s where the owner stored his classic cars, is also where Cameron sent his dad’s 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder plummeting to its death into the ravine behind it. (Don’t worry, the car was actually a replica made with MG underpinnings – not one of the 55 examples ever made).

Now, with that price reduction, perhaps the future owner will have a bit of money left over to rehab the kitchen stage a reenactment of the famous scene – with a Ferrari replica, of course.

Cameron’s iconic house from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is for sale. Again. originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 08 Aug 2013 14:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Auctions: eBay Find of the Day: 1960 Aston DB4GT Zagato replica with supercharged DB7 engine

Filed under: Classics, Coupe, Performance, Auctions, Aston Martin, Luxury

Aston Martin Zagato replica with a eBay Buy It Now price of $2.4 million.

For all of the attention to detail that went into this beautiful, custom-built 1960 DB4GT Zagato, it almost seems a shame to call the Aston Martin a “replica.” But because it started out as a non-Zagato coupe (only twenty originals were built) and is now powered by a supercharged inline six sourced from a 1997 DB7, it must wear the term on its sleeve. What’s most astounding about this eBay find, however, isn’t the fact that it’s claimed to have been built from the ground up or that its original title might have been a duplicate, but the $2.4 million Buy It Now price.

The seller claims he has nearly 40 years of title and ownership history, including all receipts for the $1 million-plus Zagato build, and the big names involved in the project – such as renowned coachbuilder Clive Smart – along with extensive photo documentation go a long way to convince us of the build’s authenticity. Still, the seller claims that a discrepancy with the Vehicle Identification Number forced the builders to register the car with a new VIN plate, so, if you’re somehow in the market for this car, shop with discretion.

The seller’s statement about the car’s identification crisis is this: “We have learned that record keeping in those early days at Aston was not efficient and duplicate VIN plates were not unheard of. We believe this car to be the genuine article, but we know it is 100-percent Aston Martin.”

Feel free to check out the gallery we’ve included of the car, but be sure to visit the eBay page to pore over the extensive photo documentation we’re talking about – there’s something here for every type of car enthusiast, even if it’s just to gaze at the replica’s beautiful lines.

eBay Find of the Day: 1960 Aston DB4GT Zagato replica with supercharged DB7 engine originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 08 Aug 2013 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Auctions: eBay Find of the Day: 2001 Pontiac Aztek VIN #001

Filed under: Classics, Auctions, Crossover, Pontiac, Design/Style

2001 Pontiac Aztek VIN #001

The Pontiac Aztek will always have a place in automotive history – right in between the Edsel and the 2014 Jeep Cherokee – but if you happen to be a fan of this unconventional-looking crossover, then here’s your chance to own a rare find. The 2001 Aztek you see here has the distinction of being the very first Aztek ever sold with VIN 001, and it’s currently up for auction on eBay.

This isn’t the first time this particular Aztek has seen an auction block, though. It was one of many GM-owned vehicles at the 2009 Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, and it ended up selling for $15,950. Now the Aztek is owned by a car dealership in Texas that has it listed locally on its website for $16,999 – compare that to the $21,445 base price of a brand-new Aztek in 2001.

As of this writing, the eBay auction for Aztek No. 001 has not met the reserve, with six days left and 15 bids, the highest of which is $3,222 (slightly higher than the $2,848 Blue Book value). With just 8,000 miles on the odometer, this well-maintained Aztek isn’t your typical used car, and you can check it out in all of its plastic-cladded glory in the gallery (of not-so-great images) above.

eBay Find of the Day: 2001 Pontiac Aztek VIN #001 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 19:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motorsports: 2013 Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Practice Day 3

Filed under: Motorsports, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Specialty, Electric, Racing

2013 Pikes Peak Hill Climb

The third practice day of the 91st Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is done. While the other classes got running time on the middle and top sections of the course, qualifying times were set on the bottom section of the course for the Open, Open Wheel, Electric, Exhibition and Vintage classes.

Everyone managed to keep it on the black stuff today, Greg Tracy setting the fastest time ahead of Hiroshi Masuoka, both men driving the Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution II four-wheel-drive prototype. Not even half a second behind Masuoka came Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima in his Monster Sport E-Runner, who has taken about 18 seconds off his time since the first practice day. Rod Millen was the fourth fastest on the day in his Toyota TMG EV POO2.

Topping the Open Wheel class was Clint Vahsholtz, followed by Donner Billingsley, Andy Figueroa and Rodney O’Maley. The only driver in that class not to be given a time today was Dan Novembre. Kenshiro Gushi took the Exhibition class today as his Lexus IS F CCS-R made it up the mountain in 4:27.248, followed by Sage Marie in the Honda CR-Z at 5:19.591. Simon Pagenaud and his Honda Odyssey weren’t classified.

Layne Schranz nabbed the top time for Pikes Peak Open runners in his 1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Randy Schranz behind him in his Shelby Cobra, Jeff MacPherson right behind in his Porsche 914-8. The old-timers in the Vintage division were lead by Christopher Lennon in a 1973 Porsche 911 RSR, Ralf Christensson two seconds behind him in a 1967 Ford Fastback GT350. The final times and running order will be released after tomorrow’s qualifying, at about 5 pm Mountain time. As of now, five cars have dropped out – in some cases literally – of the original 69-car field, and 83 bikes remain of the 86 entrants.

Further up the mountain the Time Attack and Unlimited runners were practicing in the middle section of the course. Paul Dallenbach led the Time Attack field in Rhys Millen’s Hyundai Genesis Coupe from last year with a time of 2:33, then came the two Porsches of Jeff Zwart at 2:38 and David Donner at 2:40

At the top of the field, the Sébastien Loeb again led the timesheets with a 2:12, and was again followed by Romain Dumas at 2:26. Third place went to Dayraut in the monster Mini at 2:29.

Rhys Millen hasn’t got a mention yet because he didn’t run today. His Hyundai PM580T had an engine problem last night and the team decided to put in a brand new motor. They only finished doing that this morning while the others were running, then spent the day testing at an oval/road course near Colorado Springs to make sure everything’s good to go for tomorrow. He’ll be back on the mountain tomorrow, and we’ll be back with a report then.

Tomorrow’s practice will have all of the bike divisions qualifying on the bottom of the course while the other classes get their settings dialed in for race day on Sunday. To watch or listen to the race live on Sunday, June 30, Red Bull TV will be streaming the entire event here, and you can listen on KRDO NewsRadio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM. If you insist on total coverage, feel free to follow the Pikes Peak Facebook and Twitter pages. For live timing and results, go here. If you lose all those links, just go to the Pikes Peak site and click the Follow Live tab at the top of the page. The live stream on Red Bull TV starts at 7 am Mountain time (6 am PST / 9 am EST), the green-flag party kicks off at 8 am Mountain Time.

2013 Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Practice Day 3 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Jun 2013 21:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motorsports: 2013 Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Practice Day 2

Filed under: Motorsports

2013 Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Practice Day 2 is in the books, and qualifying times have been recorded for the Unlimited and Time Attack classes for the 2013 edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The quickest man on the mountain is none other than Sébastien Loeb, who set a blistering pace with a 3:26.153, recorded on the bottom third of the mountain on his second and final run of the day.

The second-fastest qualifying time was set by Romain Dumas at 3:43.556, a full 17 seconds behind Loeb. Rhys Millen, last year’s champion, did not record a second qualifying lap today, so it’s not clear exactly where he will stand on Sunday when the actual race is slated to take place (probably in third place, which is where his first timed qualifying run would place him).

David Donner sits just ahead of Paul Dallenbach and Jeff Zwart in the Time Attack class, ahead of several Unlimited competitors. In the Electric class, which ran the middle portion of the track this morning, Hiroshi Masuoka sits in the lead, followed by Greg Tracy, Rod Millen and perennial favorite Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima.

Check out some of the action from today’s practice session in our live image gallery above. We have photos from the Unlimited, Time Attack, Electric, Vintage, Exhibition and Open classes for your viewing pleasure.

2013 Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Practice Day 2 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 26 Jun 2013 19:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Watch this story of a father, a son and a classic Plymouth on Father’s Day

Filed under: Classics, Convertible, Videos, Specialty

Father's Day Plymouth

They met in high school. Bev was a cheerleader, Joe played sports. The pair got married, and the first car they shared, driving off into their mutual futures together on their wedding day, was a 1948 Plymouth convertible. As is often the case with first cars – and especially cars as classically stylish and memorable as the Plymouth – they were left with nothing but fond memories after being forced to sell the car after Joe was drafted into the military.

Fast forward 60 years and their son has pulled off a brilliant surprise. The result of which is summed up rather nicely by Bev herself: “Uh oh. Grandpa’s got tears.” And you may, too. Scroll down below to see the video, produced and shared by Hagerty, for yourself.

Happy Father’s Day from the crew here at Autoblog.

Continue reading Watch this story of a father, a son and a classic Plymouth on Father’s Day

Watch this story of a father, a son and a classic Plymouth on Father’s Day originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 16 Jun 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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eBay Find of the Day: Jeep Wrangler Jurassic Park edition

Filed under: Aftermarket, Car Buying, Classics, SUV, Auctions, Jeep, Off-Road

Jurassic Park Jeep

1995 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Jurassic Park – Click above for high-res image gallery

Some lucky hoon will be getting his Dr. Grant on in the most authentic Jurassic Park recreation Jeep Wrangler we’ve ever seen. The graphics are painted on, rather than being rendered in vinyl, which means this Jeep’s look is there to stay. Even the complicated and expensive light bar is functional.

Underneath its prehistoric bodywork sits a 118,000-mile 1995 Jeep Wrangler Sahara with an impressive list of new or refurbished parts, not to mention rare-for-YJs air conditioning. The thing sold for a heady $9,000, which is way more than any reasonable person should spend on a 118K-mile 1995 Jeep under normal circumstances. But with this level of workmanship and the important maintenance done, the figure doesn’t sound so horrifying.

eBay Find of the Day: Jeep Wrangler Jurassic Park edition originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 30 May 2011 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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