Tag: autobahn

By on February 20, 2019

While California has some of the best driving roads in the country, large swaths of the state suffer from serious congestion issues. For years, the preferred solution was to bolster public transit in San Francisco and Los Angeles while simultaneously establishing high-speed rail lines between the two areas. Unfortunately, costs ballooned and support for the project dwindled.

Legislators are now left with a problem. Abandoning the rail program means settling for partially completed lines incapable of transporting passengers directly between LA and the Bay Area. California needs a different solution, and Sen. John Moorlach (R-CA) has a doozy of a proposition: highway lanes with no speed limit.

Effectively, an American Autobahn.  (Read More…)

By on September 7, 2017

Autobahn, Image: Wikimedia

I spent a fair amount of time on the Autobahn this summer, including several hundred miles on the unrestricted sections. I can’t say that I went all that fast — I think I saw 260 km/h once, trying to get to a Pizza Hut near the border with Belgium that was about to close. Other than that I rarely went above 200 km/h. The only excuse I have for this is that I’m old and tired and I had a bunch of broken ribs at the time.

There’s also the inconvenient fact that the freeways are just as crowded over there as they are here, and the lane discipline hasn’t been so good in recent years due to demographic and educational changes in Germany. Still, once in awhile you can find yourself in those oh-so-stereotypically Deutsch situations of which you dreamed as a child. There was a particularly memorable afternoon where I relaxed in the passenger seat of an E43 wagon and watched my co-driver chase a Swiss-plated Phantom for over an hour at sustained triple-digit speeds. I was working my way through a bag of those Babybel cheese things. Good times.

My long-time correspondent and pal Luigi knows all about those kind of good times. He’s been around the world working different gigs. Now he’s considering settling down for a while in der Vaterland and buying a big, thirsty car for big, fast cross-Continental commutes.

(Read More…)

By on December 10, 2013

autobahn

If you happen to live outside of Germany, you may soon find yourself paying a toll to do your best Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise impressions on the Autobahn.

(Read More…)

By on December 2, 2013

On the days when my Honda CB550 can be bothered to wake up and run properly for my daily commute, I’m frequently passed by everything from HEMI-powered Grand Cherokees to Vulcan-powered Mercury Sables. That’s because the Honda CB550 is only slightly more powerful than a KitchenAid mixer.

This fellow, on the other hand, has a motorcycle capable of reaching 300 km/h on the rev limiter. That’s 186mph in American money. But as you’ll see, it isn’t quite enough.

(Read More…)

By on November 28, 2012

My experience with the Lexus IS-F was both impressive and rather sterile. I was put in mind of Samuel Johnson’s observation regarding Milton’s Paradise Lost: “[it is] one of the books which the reader admires and puts down, and forgets to take up again. None ever wished it longer than it is.”

The same might be true of the IS-F… but here’s a fast Lexus that’s not just longer, it’s wider. And taller. And just plain big.

(Read More…)

By on August 31, 2011

[Skip ahead to 2:08 (or don’t)]

It’s the stuff of a Ray LaHood nightmare. Automotive News [sub]’s lede comes screaming out of the blackness:

BERLIN — Ford Motor Co. has adapted its Sync in-car connectivity system to cope with high speeds on German autobahns.

But you can’t wake up, Mr Secretary of Transportation. For this is no dream…

(Read More…)

By on April 27, 2010

Deutsche Straßen sind nicht der Nürburgring.

But there I go, quoting German Minister of Transportation Peter Ramsauer out of context, and in the original. Herr Ramsauer’s rebuke comes on news of a late-night crash involving a future Mercedes ML Class prototype, that resulted in the death of a 26-year old man over the weekend. The crash took place on a stretch of non-speed-limited autobahn between Singen and Stuttgart, favored by Mercedes and Porsche for high-speed testing. Apparently the victim had been involved in a minor accident and was trying to exit his vehicle (stalled in the left lane, according to Der Spiegel) when the Mercedes test mule slammed into his car, killing him instantly. The 52-year old test driver is under investigation for negligent homicide.

(Read More…)

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