Tag Archives: cars

TopGear is a Very Popular Show Among Geeks

Top Gear is an award-winning BBC television series about motor vehicles, mainly cars. The show is presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig, an anonymous test driver. It is apparently quite popular amongst Geeks, to the point of some of them being rabid fans.

My absolute favourite show. – Evangeline

love that show – jason burton

You’re missing out, Chris. Top Gear is awesome. I’ve seen it having the same ratings with Americans as most American Drama shows. – Shafiq Jetha via twhirl

Isn’t there an American version due out soon? – Brian Sullivan

The Stig owns – AlexScoble(Robert’sBro)

No offense, but I imagine an american version will preserve none of the qualities that TopGear has. For a start, Clarkson, May and Hammond are a completely irreplaceable combination (even though Clarkson is actually a very carefully crafted character, and nothing like his real self). Then there’s the heritage of the show itself, it was after all born from the ashes of a "normal" motoring magazine show. I’m sure a US version would be great….for America. It wouldn’t be Top Gear though – Slippy Lane

+1 Alex – The Stig is, in fact the world’s greatest racing driver robot, which is ironic when you consider that Top Gear’s main "competitor" is Fifth Gear, which is presented by Tiff Needell, a man commonly acknowledged to be the world’s WORST racing driver! 🙂 – Slippy Lane

Have you watched this show? What’s your take on it? Do you feel an American version could be just as good?

Collectors Collect Collectables

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Do you hoard things in the hopes that someday they might be worth something? Here are some tips sent in by a reader to help you decide what is worth keeping… and what isn’t.

  • Figure out what will have more value in the future. If you are trying to collect something that can be easily reproduced in the future, chances are the value will be less than what it is now. Most media, such as music, movies and games won’t have high resale value in the future. Also, anything technology-related that will have newer and better versions in the future likely won’t be worth much, either. However, if something cannot easily be reproduced, it should have much higher value. Things in this area would be things like stamps and coins. In fifty years’ time, those current state quarters will be worth much more than just 25 cents.
  • Know where to check prices. For movies, games and things of this nature… check eBay to see what similar items are currently being sold for. For coins or stamps, try checking out a local dealer in your area, or do a Google search for a reputable site online that will give you approximate values.
  • Cars made today will not gain the popularity (and resale value!) of the old muscles cars. This is due to the freaky obsession that “car people” have with older models. When you think of a ‘gear head’, it’s generally someone who is tuning a souped-up engine, with a muscle car chassis. Most of the popluar cars will be the ones that were features in tv shows and movies. Newer cars just don’t have that “driving a monster” feel that classic cars had.
  • Technology makes for bad investments. Even though a Mac might have a better resale value than a PC, it too will dwindle down when the newest OS no longer supports it. Ask yourself this question: when is the last time you saw an old tv, computer or CD player sell for a large amount ten or twenty years after it was replaced by something newer and better? There’s your answer.
  • Keep your items in good condition. Time is the enemy of everything. It wears our bodies down, and it will wear down the items you’re trying to collect. If you take good care of your items and store them properly, they will be worth much more money down the road.

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Auto Show Tips

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Mrivera1 is a regular long-time chatter in our live community. Long before he was a Geek, he was a car buff. Here are his top 10 tips for enjoying an Auto Show.

  • Know when to go Knowing when to go is very important thing to know when you are going to an auto show. Don’t expect to have a good auto show experience in an hour or two. It takes me on average about 6 hours to visit every exhibit, and at larger auto shows you can take even more time to see everything. So, be sure to plan to spend most of the day at the auto show. And get there early, as parking fills up quick and exhibits become crowded. Plan to get home late too. Also, try to go on a weekday, as the show is most likely to be less crowded during the week. I went to mine the day after Christmas, got there at 1pm, and I left at about 7:30pm.
  • Know who to bring If you do go to the auto show with a companion, be sure to know who you want to go with you. It is recommended that you bring someone with an interest in cars or someone who is in the market for one. Otherwise things can get quite boring for them, and it would be detrimental to your experience hearing the person complain every 5 minutes. Also, children and auto shows do not mix very well, unless the child has an interest for cars. If the child doesn’t like cars, then it is best to leave them at home. Knowing from experience, my younger sister, who doesn’t want anything to do with cars, was brought along with my dad and I to the auto show, and after only being there 10 minutes, she began to complain and we got sick of her quickly.
  • Look for ticket price deals When I go to the auto show, I look for deals on tickets, and believe me, they can be found everywhere. My local newspaper had coupons for $5 off regular price. And local grocery stores and fast food locations had coupons as well. So there are always a lot of ways to get auto show tickets on the cheap.
  • Have a plan When you arrive at the auto show, don’t just run for the first car you see. Have a plan of where you will start. I go to the nearest end of the show floor and start from there going all the way to the other side, and then I turn around and view the other side until I reach the end that I began at. This makes it a lot easier to know what manufacturers you have seen already and those that you haven’t seen yet.
  • Pace yourself Don’t try to see every manufacturer one after the other. Slow down. Stop and rest if you need to. Go to the bathroom. Get some food and a drink. The cars will be there when you are ready to go and look at more again. If your leg or foot or any other part of your body hurts, then it is best if you just sit down for a minute or two and let your body catch up.
  • Get the information you want Most people come to the auto show for two reasons. One, to sit in the cars and see them in person, and two, to get as much information as they can from the representatives there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the representatives at the auto show. I know that there is a strict no sales pressure policy in place at almost every major auto show, so you shouldn’t have to worry. Go ahead and ask the questions you want, go ahead and sign up for more information, and don’t ever be afraid of the representatives there, as they are there for you. Also, don’t be afraid to get as many of those little car books that every manufacturer hands out. I find them very useful as a car buff. And if you don’t want to carry them all, get a bag. Bags are available from most of the exhibitors at the auto show, and just ask if you cannot find one.
  • Double back, if needed Sometimes, you don’t get enough out of an exhibit because you are trying to get through all of them before you have to leave. If after you have seen everything, but you still want to see a certain manufacturer’s exhibit again, perhaps to see more cars or get more information, go ahead! I do this many times when I’m interested in a certain manufacturer, and it is a very common thing to do. After all, it is your time to spend, isn’t it?
  • Visit the other attractions available at the show Nowadays, many auto shows have extra attractions available to the attendees. Some of these are put on by manufacturers, while others are sponsored by the auto show. Anyways, they are almost all very interesting and can make an auto show even better than it already is. For example, my local auto show had two test drive programs available, an off-road course, several demonstrations of various technologies from the automakers, a whole exhibit dedicated to eco-friendly tech in cars (the first one like it in the US), and a whole other floor dedicated to after market accessories for cars, all of which were on-site. These various other things to do really make the auto show more interesting, and you should be very happy after taking part in them.
  • Visit certain automakers at certain times At your average auto show, almost every major automaker will show up and have an exhibit there. However, some higher profile exhibits fill up sooner like Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, etc., while others have relatively less people. Visit the exhibits that have less people first, and then visit the higher profile ones when there are less people. Of course the crowds may never let up, so you may just have to put up will all of those other people.
  • Take your time The auto show is most likely the only time of the year in which you get to sit in brand new cars from almost every automaker. As a result, it is best for you to take your time. Adjust the mirrors, seat and steering wheel to the positions you would normally have them, test out overall room inside, play with the gadgets in the cars, see how big the trunk is, see how powerful the engine is. Don’t worry the other cars will still be there when you are ready to move on. The is especially important when you are inside of expensive cars. Take even more time in them and value every second, as this is probably one of the few times you will be able to sit inside of a $100000 car, so it would make sense to anyone why you would sit in them longer. There is nothing worse that could happen at an auto show than being rushed through it. That is the best tip I could give you.

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GM IAA Announcements

http://live.pirillo.com – here’s a front row seat to GM’s product announcements at IAA 2007 in Frankfurt, Germany. If you look real close, you can see a few industry superstars sitting in the audience (when I turn the camera away from the stage to point it at Ponzi for a moment).

In essence, the environmental strategy of General Motors Europe is to reduce CO2 emissions in the short term and introduce new propulsion technologies in the long term. The goal is to offer customers vehicles that can operate on many different energy sources. “The multi-tiered approach includes accelerating the development of electrically powered vehicles, stepping up efforts to replace fossil fuels and increasing the efficiency of gasoline and diesel engines,” explains Carl-Peter Forster, GME President. GM Europe will invest 700 million euros in new engines and transmissions in the next five years alone, with the first models already at the IAA.

Carl-Peter Forster continues: “Opel’s surprise for this year’s IAA also symbolizes the versatility of our extensive environmental initiative. A concept car which combines electric propulsion and a turbo diesel engine in a way that is fundamentally different to previous hybrid propulsion designs.”

NOTE: General Motors helped cover travel expenses for our trip to Germany. Without their direct support, this remote coverage would not have been possible. They allowed us to explore and cover as much as we possibly could, not just GM’s product line.

How to Fit a Segway into a Car

http://live.pirillo.com – We live-streamed the unveiling of GM’s newest electric car concept fully at a substantially lower bitrate, but here’s the Segway segment from Ponzi’s perspective. Again, our position was not fully ideal – but at least we were able to capture the energy.

NOTE: General Motors helped cover travel expenses for our trip to Germany. Without their direct support, this remote coverage would not have been possible. They allowed us to explore and cover as much as we possibly could, not just GM’s product line.

Hydrogen Car Information Interview

http://live.pirillo.com – Ponzi and I had a rare opportunity to learn more about hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles with one of the automobile industry’s leading minds, Dr. Lars Peter Thiesen.

The GM HydroGen4 is the European version of the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell. In fall 2007, the first of these fuel cell cars — a global fleet of more than 100 vehicles is planned — will be on the roads in the USA.

The HydroGen4’s fuel cell stack consists of 440 series-connected cells. The entire system produces an electrical output of up to 93 kW. With help from a 73 kW/100 hp synchronous electric motor, acceleration from zero to 100 km/h takes around 12 seconds. The front-wheel drive vehicle’s top speed is around 160 km/h.

NOTE: General Motors helped cover travel expenses for our trip to Germany. Without their direct support, this remote coverage would not have been possible. They allowed us to explore and cover as much as we possibly could, not just GM’s product line.

Bob Lutz, GM Blogger Roundtable

http://live.pirillo.com – You’ve likely already watched my live interview with Bob at http://youtube.com/watch?v=-ysnr-V2dRg (in which I was quite tongue-tied). This new recording was from an exclusive roundtable Q&A session with a few fellow bloggers.

Bob begins with his reasons for starting a blog…

NOTE: General Motors helped cover travel expenses for our trip to Germany. Without their direct support, this remote coverage would not have been possible. They allowed us to explore and cover as much as we possibly could, not just GM’s product line.

Germany Blogger/Youtube Meetup

http://live.pirillo.com – Ponzi and I are still in Frankfurt, and we’d love to meet our virtual friends in real life!

I may need help with translating this all-call to German, BTW. 🙂

NOTE: General Motors helped cover travel expenses for our trip to Germany. Without their direct support, this remote coverage would not have been possible. They allowed us to explore and cover as much as we possibly could, not just GM’s product line.

Bob Lutz Interview

http://live.pirillo.com – Bob Lutz is an industry legend, and I was more than a little tongue-tied when given the opportunity to sit down with him for a few minutes at the unveiling of GM’s new electric concept car in Frankfurt, Germany.

Can you believe he’s a blogger, too!?

NOTE: General Motors helped cover travel expenses for our trip to Germany. Without their direct support, this remote coverage would not have been possible. They allowed us to explore and cover as much as we possibly could, not just GM’s product line.

Saturn Astra Test Drive

http://live.pirillo.com – The audio / video quality is questionable, but we were doing something that nobody else has done before: streaming live from GM’s super private test track in Dudenhofen, Germany.

My wife and I were invited to take a Saturn Astra out for a test drive. This car is not yet available in the United States – or, at least, not at the time of this live recording. The car handles very nicely, according to Ponzi.

40,000 kilometers are clocked every day on this track – and now the Pirillos have left their tire marks on there as well. Ponzi completes the perfect circle every couple of minutes, as the road is 5km around and she’s traveling at a speed of 200kmph (~128mph). She did take the higher lane at one point, which is steeped at 37 degrees – but you can only get in that lane if you’re traveling over 200kmph.

NOTE: General Motors helped cover travel expenses for our trip to Germany. Without their direct support, this remote coverage would not have been possible. They allowed us to explore and cover as much as we possibly could, not just GM’s product line.