How To Screw Up A Toyota Prius (Solar/Plug In)

It starts with actual screws and ends with genuine wood trim. You see, nothing screams “I care about the environment” quite like Chinese solar panels and sheet metal screws. Don’t get me wrong, I think converting a Prius into a full on plug in hybrid or possibly a low speed electric only vehicle is pretty cool.. but not like this, never like this. Continue reading

Rare Factory Supercharged AWD Mid-Engined 1990’s Toyota Pickup

Actually, if you haven’t figured it out, it’s a near topless Toyota Previa.  My brother snapped this picture last weekend at the Glendale 9 swapmeet.  The odd thing is that the rear is not sagging at all, which leads me to believe that this was a purpose built machine (hauling one mans junk) with at least some thought put into it, however strange it may look.

Fake-Fake Patina

This whole “patina” thing is really starting to get on my nerves. Even the word bothers me now. Some cars have nice paint, some cars have shitty paint. Some fall in between. It’s pretty simple. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Read on if you want to see me make it into one…

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SEMA 2012: Google’s Driverless Toyota Prius

In March of 2004, the United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) held a competition in the Nevada desert called the Grand Challenge. The purpose was to determine if an autonomous, driverless car could negotiate a 150-mile off-road course on its own. The prize? A cool one million dollars.

Fifteen teams representing Carnegie-Mellon University and a variety of privately funded teams competed in the Challenge. Each team had equipped their car with a multitude of cameras, sensors, GPS units, and onboard computers in addition to off-road tires and heavy-duty suspensions.

Not one of the fifteen vehicles completed the challenge.

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Offroad: The Hard Way

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You’ll often find me criticizing the local populace of 4WD truck owners for doing it all wrong. What do I know about offroading with my two, lowered 2WD trucks and family sedan? I’m sure you think I don’t have the first clue about how awesome pedestrian 4×4’s can be. I mean they’re usually set up with cruising gears, automatic transmissions, limo-like wheelbase lengths, usually have a useless pick-up bed 40ft in the air, have over-sized tires that howl at moving speed and use their drop hitches (rarely) to tow a pair of jet skis, which is why they need the biggest engine possible optioned. If you and your bros have to take dad’s boat to the lake, or there’s some water or dirt on the street, you just press that little 4WD button and everything is good to go.

In a word, they’re “purposeful.” Continue reading

Ok, This Roof Rack Trend Has Gone Too Far (Scion xB)

[printprofilepic]Well, not exactly, you see this thing is clearly purpose built, functional, and apparently in regular use.  I spotted it around Dayton Ohio a whole two states away from North Carolina (as seen on the plates) so it must even be (somewhat) safe! Hats off to you for making what you already have work for you and your needs.  You now have the bed space of a pickup, the fuel economy of an Echo, and enough storefront space to be the envy of any gypsy.

For The Price Of A New Camry… (A Rant)

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If you need a safe, reliable vehicle to cart your family around in, you could buy three Marauders for the price of one new Camry.

Typically, when I need to give an example of a totally average, boring car, I will mention a Toyota Camry. It is the automotive industry’s greatest most average display of mediocrity,  bland, but not extremely bland, because even that would actually be a little interesting. Vanilla on wheels. A rolling slice of cheese pizza. I could probably get even cornier with it but I’ll leave it at that for now.

And you know what? If all you are looking for is a reliable, unexceptional ride to work, a Camry is the perfect choice for you. It’s a good car. It’s the best selling car in North America right now, and for good reason. Most people just want a car to get to wherever they are going in relative safety and comfort, and little else.

Then there are the rest of us. Continue reading