Abandoned History: Oldsmobile's Guidestar Navigation System and Other Cartography (Part VI)

Sacrificing much, GM spent billions and billions of 1980s dollars on technology and engineering entities at the behest of CEO Roger Smith, who wanted to transform The General into a company more resembling a conglomerate like GE. Half a decade later Smith was gone, and the remaining brass began to unwind the costly EDS and Hughes deals and return GM to its standard operating procedure. But behind the layers of finance and paperwork, Guidestar GPS was developed. And the first time the public got to see it was in 1994 in a very exciting debut.

Read more
Abandoned History: Oldsmobile's Guidestar Navigation System and Other Cartography (Part V)

As we learned in our last installment in this series, the lowering of the digital and governmental barrier between civilian and military GPS assets in 1996 was a boon to the consumer side of navigation, and (per our comments) land surveying as well. It was a timely turn of events for General Motors after the Orlando area TravTek experiment of 1992 proved either too costly to scale, or alternatively not valuable enough in the eyes of consumers. Before we get to GuideStar, we need to cover much context around why GM was so keen on high-tech things in the Nineties, and the massive amounts of money it spent in its pursuit.

Read more
Abandoned History: Oldsmobile's Guidestar Navigation System and Other Cartography (Part IV)

General Motors spent a lot of time and money in the development of TravTek GPS. As we learned in our last installment, the comprehensive (if clunky) navigation system used a touchscreen, had live traffic information, and could even make phone calls. Installed in 100 Toronados used in the greater Orlando area for an entire year, GM, AAA, and various government parties were eager to see just how useful the system was and if it was worthwhile. Narrator: It wasn’t. Let’s find out why.

Read more
Desert Camo Future for an Upcoming GMC?

It’s a big maybe, but it’s something GM Defense — General Motors’ military arm — would like to see happen.

We’re talking about the looming GMC Hummer EV pickup, a massive, un-Nissan Leaf-like electric vehicle originally scheduled for a May 20th debut. While the launch is postponed to a hazy future date, the model’s future applications remain, for now, unlimited.

Read more
Junkyard Find: 1970 Alvis Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked)
From 1962 through 2016, one of the continent’s most amazing junkyards operated in the Sun Valley neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles: Aadlen Brothers Auto Wrecking, also known as U-Pick Parts. Plenty of scenes for movies, TV shows, and music videos were filmed there, in addition to providing some great Junkyard Finds (not to mention parts for my personal cars, when I lived in Southern California in the late 1980s).I snapped a couple of shots of an armored vehicle of some kind there, back in 2014, and now it’s time to share them.
Read more
Rare Rides: An International Truck Experience With the 2008 MXT

The Rare Rides series doesn’t often venture into Tough Trucks land, but when it does, it goes all the way. Before you is the International MXT, a practical pickup from the semi truck people.

Read more
GM Defense Wants You to Wage War With a Green, Off-road Silverado HD

When Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, infamously tweeted her country’s congratulations to Syria’s despotic leadership for its commitment to fighting climate change (a tweet reviewed and approved by 31 civil servants), it became clear that, for some, the environment ranks higher than anything else.

In the military world, it’s true that armies and their suppliers are often not nearly as concerned about the environment as their country’s leaders, but green vehicles are making tentative baby steps into this arena. At GM Defense LLC, zero-emission vehicles are a top field of focus, but the lakes and the frogs and the trees aren’t exactly top of mind. Rather, there’s practical military attributes to be found in green vehicles, and that’s why there’s a second zero-emission Chevrolet concept rolling out of the automaker’s defense arm.

Read more
Pentagon Joins Tech Startups in Race for Autonomous Vehicles

It’s been a rough road for autonomous vehicles. Despite development progressing significantly over the last decade, tech companies and automakers have been confronted with a myriad of issues. There have been intellectual property lawsuits, public safety concerns, and a recent backlash from government officials who are starting to wonder if the entire concept has been oversold.

However, the government still wants self-driving cars, especially the Pentagon. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been researching autonomous cars since the technology was in its infancy and, with so many firms trying to bring the technology to market, the military sees no reason it shouldn’t be the first.

It’s not like it doesn’t have the money.

Read more
General Motors Going Back Into the Defense Business

“Old soldiers never die,” the saying goes, “they just fade away.”

And that’s exactly what General Motors, no stranger to U.S. military products, did following the Cold War. The company that once produced the Cadillac-built M5 Stuart tank and Buick-built M18 Hellcat tank destroyer in World War Two sold its military products division — GM Defense — to General Dynamics in 2003.

However, just because Stryker and LAV III light armored vehicle production is now someone else’s responsibility doesn’t mean GM isn’t interested in fulfilling the military’s needs. The company still ships engines and transmissions to the Army, but according to a new report, the automaker is once again planning an official military division.

Read more
Freaky Friday, Military Edition: How Did a Scottish Ambulance Get to Aleppo?

It’s Friday, but it’s also Veterans Day. North of the border, it’s Remembrance Day — something I was reminded of when a pair of CF-18s buzzed this writer’s home at 11:11 this morning.

Because of the solemn date, our weekly look at odd automotive news will take on a camo green tinge. Sure, we’d love to regale you with stories of Allied forces turning their jeeps and 6×6 trucks into mobile gun platforms in the mud of western Europe, but that’s in the past.

Today, we look at a Syrian mystery vehicle, militants with wood, and a city terrorized by a bland color.

Read more
Peshmerga Fighter Uses Bulletproof BMW 7 Series to Save 70 Under ISIS Sniper Fire

In the many wars spanning the globe, a variety of vehicles have been pressed into military service by insurgents and militias alike, most notably the venerable Toyota Hilux. More recently Chinese compact pickups have appeared on battlegrounds, and even one Texas plumber’s Ford F-250 turned up in the hands of some bad guys.

Now comes word that, on October 21, a heroic Kurdish Peshmerga fighter used his bulletproof E32 BMW 7 Series as a military ambulance to save up to 70 people.

Ako Abdulrehman made repeated trips under ISIS sniper fire to save fighters and civilians wounded during the militants’ attack on the Kurdish city of Kirkuk.

Read more
Chevrolet Colorado ZH2: Clean, Green, Quiet Warfare Awaits

General Motors has rolled out a unique variant of its popular midsize Chevrolet Colorado pickup in advance of U.S. military trials scheduled to begin next year.

The Colorado ZH2, seemingly plucked from the set of a Mad Max sequel, has seen its frame and body stretched, reinforced and modified to within an inch of its life, and draws its power from a hydrogen fuel cell.

If this sounds like eco-nonsense, and you’re wondering when the U.S. Navy will announce a return to sail, hold on — there are tactical advantages to the vehicle’s powertrain.

Read more
Japan Wants U.S. Marines to Ride Into Battle in a Mitsubishi

What a difference seven decades make. In the early 1940s, Mitsubishi Zeroes of the Imperial Japanese Navy tangled with U.S. Grumman Wildcats and Hellcats in the skies over the west Pacific. Now, the aircraft’s builder wants the U.S. Marines to sign up for its amphibious assault vehicle.

Japan is getting into the arms export game after scrapping a law forbidding it, with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries now in talks with a U.S. company to partner on the vehicle, Reuters reports.

Read more
Finally: Robotic Cars That Fire Guns (But Only in Iraq … For Now)

Mosul is the largest population center in northern Iraq, but it has been in ISIS hands since extremist militants overran the city of 2.5 million in June of 2014.

Taking the city back has proven a challenge, but the Iraqi Army, backed by Allied forces, plans to deploy a new tool to make it happen. It’s no longer than a Mazda MX-5, and not nearly as sexy, but Iraq thinks this four-wheeled robotic death car gives them a big advantage.

Read more
U.S. Military Goes A-Team, Orders Covertly Armored Toyotas for Testing

Toyota SUVs and pickups are popular with insurgents in overseas conflict zones, so why shouldn’t the U.S. military kick the tires on some?

The U.S. Special Operations Command just placed an order for up to 556 vehicles outfitted for “unconventional warfare” use, most of them Toyota Land Cruisers, Military Aerospace reports.

Read more
  • Slavuta I don't know how they calc this. My newest cars are 2017 and 2019, 40 and 45K. Both needed tires at 30K+, OEM tires are now don't last too long. This is $1000 in average (may be less). Brakes DYI, filters, oil, wipers. I would say, under $1500 under 45K miles. But with the new tires that will last 60K, new brakes, this sum could be less in the next 40K miles.
  • BeauCharles I had a 2010 Sportback GTS for 10 years. Most reliable car I ever own. Never once needed to use that super long warranty - nothing ever went wrong. Regular maintenance and tires was all I did. It's styling was great too. Even after all those years it looked better than many current models. Biggest gripe I had was the interior. Cheap (but durable) materials and no sound insulation to speak of. If Mitsubishi had addressed those items I'm sure it would have sold better.
  • Marty S I learned to drive on a Crosley. Also, I had a brand new 75 Buick Riviera and the doors were huge. Bent the inside edge of the hood when opening it while the passenger door was open. Pretty poor assembly quality.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Alan, I was an Apache pilot and after my second back surgery I was medically boarded off of flying status due to vibrations, climbing on and off aircraft, so I was given the choice of getting out or re-branching so I switched to Military Intel. Yes your right if you can’t perform your out doesn’t matter if your at 17 years. Dad always said your just a number, he was a retired command master chief 25 years.
  • ToolGuy "Note that those vehicles are in direct competition with models Rivian sells"• I predict that we are about to hear why this statement may not be exactly true