Man Over Board
Muscle Car Mania
The 1960's are often credited as the heyday of American muscle cars. Big, throaty and powerful, the V8 was the undisputed champion of the highway. Enter the energy crisis of the ‘70s. Detroit automakers saw a sharp decline in sales and the muscle car market deteriorated in favor of more economical transportation.
For the first time since then, big American engines and bold, in-your-face aesthetics are on the rise. What's more, companies like Dodge and Chevy are reintroducing their respective Challenger and Camaro with design aspects nostalgic of their original counterparts. Though their domineering physique resembles that of their brash ancestors, their engineering and technology is as modern as any other car on the road.
Though Ford's Mustang never went out of production, it is following the muscle car curve with its 444 horsepower Boss 302 powered “Leguna Seca” package. Dodge's Challenger is available with a 470 horsepower Hemi, and the Chevy Camaro's supercharged 8 cylinder power plant puts out a whopping 550 horsepower.
Manufacturers realized that during the 60's muscle car frenzy, most people in their teens and twenties couldn't afford one, and settled on a cheaper foreign car. The baby boomers are now in charge of things and can afford to purchase their high school dream car. These companies also realize that the same age demographic is still pining over the pony cars today. American muscle cars are available today with optional six and even turbocharged four cylinder engines. In this way, they have made the market accessible to them by offering price reductions for the muscle car look without the muscle car engine.
Of further detriment to the big block revival movement is the looming energy crisis. Fossil fuels are, of course, not a sustainable fuel source and V8's don't exactly sip the stuff. There is also legislation to possibly make a mandated fuel economy of 56-60 mpg by 2025 for all new vehicles, making new cars produced with large V8's a rarity. It is likely that engine size and cylinder count will decrease gradually in the near future, until Camaros and Mustangs are completely run by alternative fuel sources. This may not be all bad news though, just look at the Tesla Roadster and Porsche 918. Zero emissions, but so fast and so gorgeous.
For the moment though, modern muscle car mania is seeing the Detroit auto makers impressive sales on their regenerated 60's monsters. These sales have also played a huge part in the companies' revival from the recent market crash (along with fat government stipend). Whatever way you crack it, muscle cars have seen a comeback, and though their gas-guzzling V8 days may be short-lived, the appeal of a big powerful muscle car will undoubtedly persist through politico economic trifles and ever more stringent fuel efficiency standards.
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How to Safeguard Cars Against Theft and Breakage
A personal vehicle is an asset and a machine of convenience. It is also an extension of our lifestyles. We often take our cars for granted, but when we find ourselves carless due to a crash, breakdown, or theft, it becomes apparent how integral cars are to our everyday lives. Therefore it is important to ensure that we take steps to protect our cars against theft and vandalism.
Unfortunately it's not easy to predict when these sorts of occurrences may happen, and we can't live our lives wrapping our cars in cotton wool. So at a minimum, make sure you have the basics covered. There are several things that should be considered in this respect.
Step #1 Park the Car in a Safe Place
To minimize the chance of trouble, park your car at secure parking zones or other safe parking areas. Avoid parking in dark alleys or unattended parking lots as these places are prone to acts of breakage and theft. In the situation where you find yourself in a new location, and you're unawares of the state of the neighborhood, always opt for paid parking lots.
Step #2 Shut the Windows and Lock the Doors Properly
Ensure that all the doors and windows are well shut. Car thieves will more likely go for an easy target, and a car with doors or open windows is an easy target. If you happen to own an automobile which does not have central locking system, manually confirm that each and every door and window is shut. The exception to this rule is if you own a really run down and beat up old car. In this situation you may find that it actually saves you money to leave your car unlocked, as that way thieves won't break your windows if they want to go rummaging for change. This can work remarkably well in theft prone areas.
Step #3 Do Not Display Valuable Items inside the Car
If there are valuable goods in the car, always hide them somewhere out of sight. It is often common for thieves to get tempted to break into cars to steal valuables like bags, mobile phones, laptops and even money. Leaving these in plain sight is definitely asking for trouble.
Step #4 Do Not Leave Keys in the Ignition or Leave the Engine Running
Never leave the engine of the vehicle running or the keys in the ignition switch. Unfortunately this has led to vehicles being stolen from right under the owner's eyes, sometimes even with a child in the back seat! So don't take the risk, even if you will only be gone for a short while, because this would be courting trouble.
Step #5 Customization
Try to make the car appearance as unique as possible to stand out from others. If it is a popular model and color, you may want to etch the registration on the screens and mirrors to make it difficult to disguise the actual registration numbers. Personal features can also be incorporated onto the car, like unique interior or exterior decorations.
Step #6 Tracking and Anti Theft Devices
Tracking device technology has made it possible to locate the whereabouts of stolen cars, as well as issuing signals to owners in case of vehicles being tampered with. If you own a valuable vehicle then you may want to fit the car with such devices to ensure that it is safe against theft or can be located whenever stolen.
Incidentally, police forces around the world have also recently started to deploy stick on tracking devices that can be fired from a gun-type launcher during a high speed pursuit. Once one of these little tracking devices is adhered to the side of the car the police are able to track it wherever it goes. That definitely makes it a lot harder for thieves to evade detection.
Other Security Devices
There are some other security devices that may also help make the car more secure. Depending on your requirements, these may include the following:
- Steering wheel lock – This type of lock disables the steering wheel making it impossible to drive away. It's worth noting however that the cheaper models are fairly vulnerable to breakage by thieves.
- Immobilizer – This little device prevents the engine from starting when the ignition is turned. Therefore, even if the car is broken into it cannot be driven away. The little flashing immobilizer light may also act as somewhat of a deterrent.
- Car Alarm – Obviously this is one of the most popular and effective security devices, as in case of attempted theft the alarm will sound and raise a lot of ruckus. Surprisingly, no-one wants to be attempting to steal a car when everyone is watching
So there we have it. Overall, it's quite easy to make sure that the basics of car security are covered. The main thing is to be proactive in your approach, as it's not much good thinking should've could've would've when you're walking to work through the rain.
This article was written on behalf of Care, Australia's largest Mobile Car Detailing network. If you'd like some further reading, then perhaps you would like to read their article on the Top 10 Environmentally Friendly Car Care Tips.
8 of the Most Expensive Cars of all time
Just like Concorde, the Bugatti Veyron redefined an entity. It completely transformed the way every car enthusiast, designer and engineer thought about what was physically possible with the basic notion of an automobile. Without the desire, determination and vast amounts of money, the Veyron would never have been a possibility.
The Veyron became one of the most expensive cars ever made when it was released in 2003 for around £800,000. This was just pittance, though, as it was reported that it cost Volkswagen £3 million to make each car.
Still the most powerful naturally aspirated car ever made, the 620bhp McLaren F1 was, and still is, one of the most sought after motors on the planet. Its incredible BMW V12 engine could take the lightweight body to over 240mph and 0-60mph in just 3.2 seconds.
Compared to the Veyron, the F1 was relatively cheap, but it still managed to break the bank; when production started McLaren asked for £500,000 – which was a hell of a lot of money in 1994. Still, chin up; it's got gold in the engine bay. Bling bling!
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
The upgraded version to the most powerful production car ever made broke the world record for top speed with a recorded 267.85mph. And while this feat is mightilty impressive, it did mean Bugatti could charge considerably more than the original. Bugatti will take $2.4m from your Swiss bank account for the pleasure of owning one. Ouch.
Bugatti Royal Kellner Coupe
There are a lot of Bugattis in this list and it's not hard to see why; it's because they rarely build new cars! The Bugatti Royal Kellner Coupe sold for a migraine-provoking $8.4m in 1987. A staggering amount, especially when you learn that the Kellner Coupe was made in 1931 – which pre-dates WWII.
It's one of the most expensive cars ever sold at auction and will probably always remain so.
Ferrari 250 Testarossa
Ferrari have always produced limited edition models that, in decades time, are worth millions; and none more so than the 1957 250 Testarossa. Sold in 2009 for €9m, the 250 became another rare Fezza that will go into the hands of a very rich collector.
Why can't they do a poor man's auction and let the mortals have a chance of owning such brilliant cars?
The Enzo may not have been the best looking Ferraris ever, but it was one of the most expensive. At $1m, the Enzo, which you could only buy if you were ‘worthy', was a very expensive 6.0-litre V12 supercar – even for Ferrari.
Its legacy remains intact; however, as biblical power and road holding even F1 cars would respect meant that its residuals are still increasing.
Pagani Zonda F
The original Zonda was beautiful in a doctors' lab, CSI kind of way, and when it came to building the improved F version, Pagani added the skills of a plastic surgeon to add some extra breasts here and some collagen there to create one of the finest looking supercars for generations.
It cost a pretty penny, too. At $741,000, the Zonda F was as exclusive as any supercar before it.
The Swedes aren't famous for their petrolhead attitude, nor are they known for their love of supercars; but when it came to building a supercar that could take on a Veyron; they did a pretty decent job.
The Koeniggsegg CCX cost a ‘sit-down, I've got some bad news' $600,910, and came with a twin-supercharged nuclear bomb for an engine. The CCX is a great way to spend a lot of money on some death.
Looking to find your dream car without the huge expense? Take a look at Netcars used cars range and easily find the car thats right for you.
Is It Safe to Control Your Car with Your Phone?
Waking up in the morning during cold weather, you can really begin to understand just what a beautiful thing a remote starter is for your car. Similarly, being able to crank the windows down while you're walking to your vehicle in the summer is a great way to avoid having to open the doors and air everything out for ten minutes (especially if you've got vinyl or leather seats, like my mom's Oldsmobile did- ouch!) before you get in. All this convenience, however, comes with a price. Just how safe is it to unlock your car doors from a hundred yards away with your cell phone?
It's not hard to imagine the risks inherent in opening your windows or unlocking your car remotely. With some companies offering to allow you to lock, unlock, start, or stop your car via cell phone (thereby offering you unlimited range, as opposed to remote controls that require you to be within a certain distance of your car) , it's possible to put yourself in an unsafe situation. Cell phones are also small. They are not attached to your keys, and are frequently lost or stolen, presenting another host of potential issues if your phone should be taken without your knowledge.
Fortunately, however, companies that offer these services have accounted for that, to a degree. Some services now are beyond remote starting and stopping. You can even get GPS tracking, automatic windows, automatic doors, and even the ability to shut your car down completely in the event of a theft. While those won't help you in some situations, coupling these security features with some common-sense precautions can go far towards protecting you, your car, and your family. For starters, only using the remote starting option while your doors are locked, the windows are closed, and your vehicle is in view can prevent theft, while not unlocking your car until you are outdoors and nearby can allow you to see a potential carjacking situation before it occurs.
Unlike a key fob, your cell phone allows you to use these conveniences and security features at any time, from any distance, whether you want to unlock your car in the grocery store parking lot, or shut it down after it‘s been stolen. There really isn't a way to prevent absolutely every kind of danger from happening, but added security features help the convenience of things like remote starting and automatic door locks come without the price of security.
The New Honda CR-Z Looks Pretty Awesome
Starting this year Honda is now producing the CR-Z model. It's meant to pay homage to the classic CRX model that Honda used to make back from 1984 to 1991. I don't know how many of you MOB readers are gear heads, but the old CRX was a really fun car to modify. So I've been excited to see what Honda would do with the CR-Z.
My personal opinion is that Honda did a great job of blending the classic hatchback look of the old CRX with the new modern body lines that a lot of cars exhibit these days. I give it a thumbs up on the look. What do you guys think?
Also, there are already tons of mods coming out for the car. At the SEMA show in Las Vegas, a lot of manufacturers showed off new products for the car, ranging from body kits to cold air intakes. So it looks like the CR-Z might end up being a great canvas for someone to use in terms of customization. I wouldn't mind getting behind the wheel of one of these things!