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By on October 10, 2011

California Governor Jerry Brown (D) sided on Friday with red light camera companies and the remaining municipalities that use automated ticketing machines. He vetoed a measure that would have placed the mildest of restrictions on photo ticketing.

“I am returning Senate Bill 29 without my signature,” Brown wrote in his veto message. “This bill standardizes rules for local governments to follow when installing and maintaining red light cameras. This is something that can and should be overseen by local elected officials.”

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By on October 10, 2011

Lotus invited a considerable amount of schadenfreude when, about a year ago, it introduced not one new car, but an entire new lineup. And there have been plenty of opportunities to steal a mirthless laugh at Lotus’s expense, including when the firm backed away from Toyota engines, talked up the “authenticity” of a rolling chassis, ran into Chinese branding problems, and drew inadvertent comparisons to Reebok by hiring rapper/producer Swizz Beatz. And the hits keep coming. Lotus Senior Adviser, Former BMW executive Karl-Heinz Kalbfell tells Autocar

The brand is well known but the products are not. We are focusing on a new range of cars, but we must sell more cars now.

But how well can the brand be if the cars aren’t selling? Speaking as someone who spends  bit of time interacting with auto enthusiasts, I’d argue there are actually some serious questions out there about what a Lotus is, what with all the talk of hybrids, folding hardtops, performance sedans and generally increased weights. But Kalbfell was just scratching the surface of the host of problems to be found in the land of the Lotus eaters…

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By on October 10, 2011

The author’s expectations play a large but rarely disclosed role in any auto review. Expect a car to be awful, and it turns out to be adequate? Then the review might even seem positive. On the other hand, if reviewers buy into the hype surrounding an upcoming model, and it turns out to be only pretty good, then the reviews can turn ugly. No one wants to be sold a bill of goods. I approached the Hyundai Veloster with different expectations than most of the automotive press.

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By on October 10, 2011

Editor’s note: GM has officially confirmed what the UAW already let slip: Chevy’s new midsized Colorado pickup will be built at the Wentzville, MO plant and sold in the US. More details on that decision are forthcoming, but in the meantime, here’s Edd Ellison’s report from the global launch of the Colorado in Bangkok, Thailand.

Chevrolet has launched its new-generation Colorado in Thailand where it will be built and exported to 60 global markets. In true GM style, the ceremony was lavish – a cluster of truck ploughed their way through a large field of crops planted in a Bangkok exhibition hall watched by the media, dealers and VIPs packed into several grandstands – and the message was just as upbeat, the automaker feeling it has a product that can compete in the crowded mid-size segment.

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By on October 10, 2011

Federal Mogul's new Advanced Corona Ignition System

Last May, at the international Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, a joint Japanese/Bulgarian team of researchers introduced ceramic based lasers that are compact, durable and powerful enough to be used to ignite a fuel/air mixture in a combustion engine. At the time, the researchers announced that they were working with spark plug maker Denso on commercializing the idea. That announcement was followed up by word that Mazda’s next generation “16X” rotary engine will exploit the compact size of those laser igniters. Now Michigan auto supplier Federal Mogul has released news about a US patent on their Advanced Corona Ignition System, or ACIS. Instead of a spark (or laser) the ACIS uses a high-intensity burst of plasma to ignite the fuel. Read More >

By on October 10, 2011
I buy a lot of cars from the last week of September thru mid-November. This is a dead zone for the dealer side of the business. We have no major holidays that encourage spending. No Christmas bonuses or tax reasons to spur demand. Plus a lot of the auto finance companies try to liquidate their used inventory so that they can hit their earnings for the year.
A lot gets sold and if you’re quick about it, deals can be found.
By on October 10, 2011

 

 

TTAC commentator sastexan writes:

Sajeev,

You proved yourself smart by changing over to the older rod shift transmission linkage on your Cougar SVT. My shift cables are broken again – although this time probably due to the 1st mechanic’s ineptitude and unwillingness to finish the job he started and align it correctly. The end that attaches to the shifter is worn out so the shifter keeps popping off the cable end – which was interesting to reconnect while I was driving in stop and go traffic on the (in)famous Washington Beltway. Unfortunately, the plastic insert on the Contour cables is not replaceable – the only way to fix it is to replace the entire cable set – which is a giant PITA. Oh well.

I also talked to Terry Haines, the transmission guy – if you haven’t heard of him before, he’s a former Ford engineer who has his own shop now, mostly working on MTX75 transmissions. He rebuilt my transmission at 100k, upgraded the shift forks, put in a quaife, replaced two syncros that were going bad. He walked me through the procedure to replace the shift cables (more than I can handle) and we also discussed why the Duratec V6s are puking rods – he unequivocally believes that it is due to the powdered metal connecting rods Ford started using around ’97 – he said that some spec must have changed because earlier Duratec have no con rod issues. In his teardown of motors, he said all the ones that have thrown rods had nothing to do with oil starvation – it all had to do with the con rods stretching out of spec and causing spun bearings then snapping the con rods. He also said SVT engines are more susceptible, due to higher compression and typically harder lives. And he said that the 3L upgrades everyone is doing has the same con rods and is just as at risk – Ford just ignored the problem in the Duratec.
Since you have plans for your Cougar, thought you would be interested in this line of thinking.

Sajeev answers: Read More >

By on October 10, 2011

We’ve been traveling quite a fair bit over the last few weeks, stopping in Venezuela, the USA in 1986Cambodia and Panama. We are staying in the Americas this week to hop our way to Colombia.

Not interested? Move along… Oh wait. Actually, if this is not your cup of Colombian coffee, that’s fine, I’ve prepared 155 other countries for you to visit in my blog, and I can tell you it is muy interesante, so click away!

Colombia is one of a few South American countries to be dominated by Chevrolet…

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By on October 10, 2011

To those of us in LeMons HQ, GM cars have that extra-special something that gives them the edge on the Index of Effluency. Sure, we thought that the Bangers & Smash ’00 Dodge Intrepid had the edge starting the race, but Chrysler products tend to be a little too effluent to keep running all weekend (in fact, the Bangers & Smash car ran exactly two laps before nuking its 24-valve V6). In the end, the Murph and the MagicTones-themed Racing 4 Nickels ’89 Olds Cutlass Ciera drove straight to another General Motors triumph. Read More >

By on October 9, 2011

After Clueless Racing won the American Irony race, they spent 18 months in the wilderness, leading in race after race… and then their engine would blow another head gasket or throw another rod. They did everything right, but fell afoul of LeMons Rule #11B: Hondas Blow Up. Today, however, the Clueless Racing CRX grabbed the lead early on Saturday and never relinquished it. Read More >

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