Call it the Dees-Milodon Engineering-Davis B Streamliner. That's the name of the vintage speedster in which automotive celeb Jesse James this week set the land speed record for a hydrogen-powered car. The daredevil star of Spike TV's "Jesse James is a Dead Man," reportedly hit just shy of 200 miles per hour in the modified, 40-year-old streamliner, breaking a previous record set by BMW.
A pit crew swarms around an open-wheel racecar, but instead of hoisting a fuel-fill tank they hot-swap its battery packs and send the driver back into the race. That could be the scene at next year's TTXGP -- an all-electric motorcycle race set for its inaugural running this Friday on the UK's Isle of Man. The event's organizers announced this week they were seeking to include four-wheeled vehicles for 2010.
New motorcyclists are taught early not to out-drive their headlamps. Now, night riders (of the non-Hasselhoff variety) may soon owe Kawasaki a debt of gratitude for improving their safety after dark. The Japanese bike builder is reportedly fast-tracking new infrared night-vision technology to use on production motorcycles.
Will US car buyers adopt a car the size of a laundromat dryer, that costs as much as a sofa? Ratan Tata, chairman of India's Tata Motors, hopes they will. Automotive News reports that Tata is floating plans to bring a version of the $2,500 Nano minicar to the US within three years.
Chairman Tata made such remarks this week at a Cornell University forum in New York City. Deliveries of the Nano to buyers in India, where only one in one thousand people own a car, are scheduled to begin in India next month.
Sustainable transport may be just another task on environmentalists' to-do list, but for car designers it's a path to rethinking how automobiles are built, and from what they're made. That's the idea behind the "Stauro," a conceptual roadster with the horsepower of an exotic supercar, using recycled materials in its construction. The eco-friendly hot rod envisions a day when high-performance gasoline engines are replaced by powerplants using citrus-oil and steam. No, they're not kidding.
A new autonomous vehicle-control system on the BMW drawing board could prolong drivers' lives behind the wheel, without sacrificing their own and others' safety. That's good news for elderly drivers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports crash fatalities among drivers over the age of 70 fell 21 percent between 1997 and 2006, despite a 10 percent increase in that population. The decline is likely due to elderly drivers self-limiting their driving. But hanging up their keys means a loss of independence and lower quality of life for older drivers -- especially in rural areas.
Imagine the laughter, back in 1965, if Ford had crossed the kid-friendly Country Squire station wagon with the stately Lincoln Continental. A car shopper would have spit-launched his Lucky Strike right into the salesman's shirt pocket. These days, luxurious motoring and conveying a large brood to Chuck E. Cheese or the World's Largest Ball of Twine aren't as mutually exclusive as they once were. Take as exhibit, well probably O at this point, the Lincoln MKT.
The old adage "race on Sunday, sell on Monday" apparently still holds water among US automakers. Ford announced this week the company's Fiesta subcompact will make its US motorsport debut at the punishing Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb this July. The company is apparently cultivating a high-performance image for its economy-minded Fiesta subcompact, which is set for a market launch in the US by 2010.
When you think of hybrid cars, the name Ferrari doesn't spring readily to mind. In fact, the Italian sports-car builder already uses a hybrid system in its Formula One race cars, the same ones in which it finished third and fourth at this past weekend's Monaco Grand Prix. Ferrari has also apparently filed for a patent on a new, gasoline-electric drive system for its road cars.