A Touch Of Art – The Art Car

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

Can a car be a work of art? There are some who would suggest that the best automobiles out there are an example of art at its most practical. A lot of design goes into making a car aerodynamic and aesthetically pleasing, and fans of sports cars will often make the point that the car gets high speeds and performs well while looking beautiful enough to be exhibited in a museum.

The idea of a car as art has been taken to greater lengths by the art car movement, who take no chances with the aesthetic beauty of the original models by making additions that turn the car into something completely different. The movement is particularly strong in areas such as Houston and Minneapolis, with Houston being home to the world’s first Art Car Museum.

Seen by many as the father of the Art Car movement, Harrod Blank has made a number of films about the Art Car as well as writing books and articles, running a blog and curating the Art Car Fest, an art-car based parade held in the San Francisco bay area once a year and also has a hand in an art car camp at the Burning Man festival in Nevada.

To make an art car, all you need is a car, an idea and the materials to make it come to life. Of course, if you want the car to be road legal you need to make sure that it adheres to the laws that govern the roads you are driving on. Ideally, this means nothing blocking the driver’s sight line and nothing that makes the vehicle unstable.

Putting The Pedal To The Metal – Do You Want Nitro With That?

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

Nitrous oxide is one of the most divisive issues for car enthusiasts in this day and age. As an add-on for souped-up cars, its most notable contribution is to take the top speed of the car a few notches higher, making it a popular inclusion for people who take part in drag races. However, there are many who caution against its use, saying that it makes the performance of a car dangerously unstable.

The skeptics most likely have a point. When a car is designed, the idea behind its top speed is that that speed is sustainable for at least a while, and that the car can be controlled while at that speed. Adding to that top speed makes the car less stable and is not good for the engine. If you have a car merely for drag races and have somewhere safe to race, then you may choose to go for it. Otherwise, “nitro” as it is commonly dubbed is a pretty bad idea.

Of course we enjoy high speed in our cars, but the distinction between sustainable high speeds and unsustainable ones has to be made. A burst of nitro will only last for a few seconds, and that may suggest that its sparing use will not have implications for your vehicle, but the most concerning fact must be that at the speeds gained by nitro, it becomes a lot harder to control your vehicle, meaning that the first time you use it can be the last time you drive.

Luxury Cars: The Bugatti Veyron

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

Ask around a number of car aficionados to find out which vehicle they would most like to have in their garage, and a suitably large number will state that the Bugatti Veyron is a very strong contender. It is not difficult to see why – the car itself looks like a sleek monster, and that’s before the key goes anywhere near the ignition.

What really sets the Veyron apart from any other car, apart from its million-dollar price tag, is the insane top speed of more than 267 miles per hour. This is a speed that can of course only be reached on particularly long stretches of open road, such as a race track, but the Veyron is a road-legal car, and its performance even at that high speed is noted as being incredibly stable.

The popular UK TV series Top Gear dubbed the original Veyron, with its comparatively slow top speed of nearly 254 mph, as the Car of the Decade. One of the few cars universally loved by all three presenters of the show (who disagree more than they agree), the Veyron is a brainchild of the German Volkswagen group and features ten radiators, sixteen valves, and more than a thousand horsepower.

The higher-end Veyron Super Sport clocks in at a price tage of $2,700,000/£1,665,000, meaning that as far as it being the ideal car goes, it is more or less a hypothetical issue for most of us. However, for those who are able to spend that kind of money on a car, the 0-60 speed of just two and a half seconds has to be something of a coup.

The Car Is The Star – Great Vehicles Of Hollywood

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

The car is, behind the human being at any rate, one of the most prominent features of both film and TV show. As famous as an actor can become for appearing on screen, some vehicles are not far behind them. Indeed, appearing in a TV show can give a car and its manufacturer a new commercial lease of life and make the vehicle iconic in a way which has little to do with its performance.

Perhaps the most famous onscreen vehicle of all time is Herbie, the Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own. Star of films such as The Love Bug, Herbie Goes Bananas and the more recent Fully Loaded, the white Beetle with the number 53 on his bonnet was the central character in films featuring such Hollywood luminaries as Dean Jones and Lindsay Lohan.

Also famous, though more for an appearance in a TV show than in the less successful movie, is KITT (short for Knight Industries Two Thousand). In the original TV show, KITT was an artificially intelligent Pontiac Trans Am, who provided guidance and companionship for Michael Knight, a crime fighter played by a young David Hasselhoff.

There have of course been other famous vehicles of stage and screen. The General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger driven by the Hazzard brothers in the popular movei and TV show Dukes of Hazzard. The doors for the car were welded shut, meaning that the brothers had to enter via the window – something that every fan of the show will be able to tell you within a minute of talking about it.

The Environmental Issue Of Motoring

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

There are people among the environmental movement who will flat-out forswear ever driving a car because of the cost to the planet. It can admittedly be taxing on the environment to run a car, be it because of the fumes that are passed through the exhaust or the toll taken on the planet to build and fuel the car.

Most environmentalists will, however, reach some sort of compromise which entails driving a car that is more green than others. The first thing to look for in this respect is fuel economy. A car which gives you more miles per gallon of fuel will be more friendly to the environment, as the use of fossil fuels takes a toll on the planet.

In this light, it may be worth looking at some of the hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicles on the market. As the environmental movement grows in size and strength, these cars are becoming more prominent and choice is becoming greater. Some interesting new developments are taking place in the alternative fuels market, and these may make it more economical and more “green” to drive.

Sometimes, the deal with automobiles and the environment is not so much what you drive as how often you drive it. If you don’t need to drive and the weather is good, walking can be pretty good fun anyway. Obviously, this is hardly going to win around the most hardened enviroskeptic, but when you realise that the trade-off is “fewer journeys = better performance” it’s something to hold on to.

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