Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lamborghini Megafactory

Like many children of the 80's,  I lusted after the Lamborghini Countach and (later) the Diablo.    Years before I had a driving license, posters of these beautiful machines graced the wood paneled walls of my shag carpeted bedroom, fueling dreams of the ultimate experience.  

Under Audi's ownership, today Lamborghini continues to create fire-breathing exotics.   Here's a look at how these super cars are manufactured.   This videos below cover the company's history and the manufacturing steps involved in production of the Murcielago.


Night Rider

3 AM Ride
as posted by talkingxbird

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

2010 Chevrolet Impala LS [Road Test]

2010 Chevrolet Impala
While our trusty Lexus was in the body shop, Gear Thoughts was forced to do a road test of a 2010 Chevrolet Impala.  

The test covered over a month of daily use and 1,200+ miles of driving.  Most of driving consisted of short to medium length trips.

Pros:  It's been a while since we cruised in a GM product, and we were pleasantly surprised by fit and finish.   The front seats were comfortable and there was plenty of room for rear seat passengers.

Cons: The body panels in this car resemble the finish on a milk carton.   Chevy needs to step up in the plastic department.  As a rental vehicle, our Impala also came with a variety of mystery stains, none of which were the vehicle's fault.

Pros:  Our test car came equipped with the optional convenience package.   The controls on the steering wheel and dashboard were all intuitive worked well.   The built-in computer provided a variety of data monitoring functions, including individual tire pressure and warnings regarding hazardous driving conditions (ice).  Our test vehicle also came equipped with remote start, which was very handy.

Cons:  The temperature controls were ridiculously flimsy, almost like somebody made an effort to design something that feels like its about to break.  The vehicle also overrides temperature settings when on remote start mode (vehicle running prior to the key actually being inserted).  Often the self-selected temperature was higher or lower than desired, somewhat defeating the purpose of remote start   The self start would also time-out in a few minutes, not enough time to properly warm up the car (requiring a second remote start).

Pros:  Like most American cars, this Impala was very quick off the line, all six cylinders of it's 3.5 liter engine pumping furiously.   With a claimed 211 HP, the car didn't feel like a slouch in around-town driving.    Braking performance was also adequate, but not spectacular, and the optional traction control came in handy.   The EPA says this car gets 19 to 29mpg, which is pretty good for a non-hybrid vehicle of this size.

Cons:  The car felt sluggish on the highway, and revved like an over-excited puppy when called upon to pass.  Softly sprung, it offered a comfortable ride but wallowed in the corners when pushed.  It also easily bottomed out on speed bumps.  We didn't bother testing the vehicle on Colorado's windy mountain roads or pushing its limits with acceleration tests.   Apparently nobody else has either, since performance tests are nonexistent on the 'net.   A couple of sites say 7.7 to 9.3 seconds, 0-60.   I believe it.

Kelly's Blue Book currently prices this car, as equipped and with 30,000 miles, at $13,185 in our zip code (Boulder, CO).   That represents about 50% depreciation over two years from the original MSRP.   A similarly equipped, equally bland Toyota Camry will run $15,725 according to the ever resourceful Kelly.

It's been years since we've spent so much time driving an American vehicle and we came away impressed with the quality of this car.    The 2010 Chevy Impala is a reliable and roomy vehicle, perfect for a rental fleet or somebody looking for basic transportation.   It easily carries four adults in comfort with plenty of room for luggage.  It's a very plain vehicle however, but if you think cars are like appliances, you'll love it.

Our Simple Product Review Policy

1.  No paid endorsements.   We do not accept compensation for product reviews.

2.  Unless otherwise agreed, test products are not returned to the manufacturer. 

3.  If you'd like a review of your product, contact us prior to sending a sample.   Call 303.746.6896.   

4.  Expect honesty.    We give fair, unbiased reviews.   

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mighty Prius vs Truck

Word to the wise.  Don't leave your Prius parked in the safety zone on burn night.    The Black Rock City DPW won't wait for a tow truck.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dude, That's Just How I Roll [Accessorize]

Like My Farkles?

This late model Honda Gold Wing has been farkled with not one, but two big gulp sized cup holders, an ash tray, and a cigarette lighter.   Don't forget the shiny chrome handle bar grips.  Oy! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bottom Bracket Rescue

Between the crank arms, nestled in a cylindrical hole in your bike frame rests a device called the bottom bracket.   In essence, it's a couple of sealed bearings inside a threaded tube with a small axle running through it.   After years of abuse, the bearings can fail, leading to a crackling noise when pedaling.   

Today, I pulled my very first bottom bracket, a fairly straightforward procedure, provided you have the right tools.  The tools themselves are cheap - about $20 on sale at my local bike shop. There are also plenty of how-to videos online, so I'll skip that.   Here's what I learned... 

Sometimes, the bottom bracket isn't bad.   My local shop didn't have the correct size bracket, but the mechanic checked out my bracket and thought it turned smoothly.   She suggested that grit that gets into the threads can also make a crackling noise.  

So, I gave it a go and surprise, surprise, my bottom bracket is fine.   The crackling noise is now completely gone.  So before running out to replace your bottom bracket, try cleaning it, regreasing, and reinstalling it first.   Oh, and don't be surprised if the bottom bracket comes out looking like a rusty mess.  Mine sure did, but it cleaned up nicely. 

Bottom bracket from my GT Terra Mountain Bike

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mutant Art Cars at Burning Man

A midst the spectacle of free expression at Burning Man comes a curious array of mutant vehicles.    Built to thrill as well as haul around participants, these vehicles often feature bars, sound systems, and pyrotechnics.   They are parties on wheels, like no other.  

Here's a sampling for your viewing pleasure... 

Animal Crackers anyone?

Praying Mantis vs. Scorpion


Swamp Thing?

Last seen in Blade Runner

Lego Truck

There be dragons!

Mutant art cars really come alive at night.

Another dragon
Chesire Cat

Tug boat
A gigantic VW bus named Walter

Mechanical fire shooting Octopus