By on September 12, 2019

Just a short time ago, vehicle subscription services were hailed as the second coming, permitting drivers the freedom to select from a range of vehicles for a single monthly payment. Proponents touted it as a way for manufacturers to display their wares and for buyers to sample a wide array of cars. Opponents said OEMs could potentially lose money by having all these used cars on hand.

It would seem the latter is beginning to prevail with a cadre of companies getting out of the subscription game faster than an aging athlete getting traded to another team. Fair, the $1.2 billion startup company backed by SoftBank, just picked up Canvas from the Ford Motor Company.

(Read More…)

By on August 20, 2018

A trio of “driving enthusiasts” briefly shut down San Francisco’s Bay Bridge on Sunday morning after they decided it was the perfect place to do donuts. The vehicle’s involved appear to be a MkIII Toyota Supra and a pair of SN-95 Mustangs. According to the California Highway Patrol, the older of the two Mustangs was nabbed while its New Edge kindred escaped with the Supra — probably to get brunch somewhere across town.

Other drivers were also stopped and issued citations for illegal modifications, presumably because the cops couldn’t prove they helped stop traffic so the lead cars could put on a smoke show.  (Read More…)

By on February 9, 2018

Image: Ford

A few years ago, I decided to have a heart-to-heart talk with my little brother, the artist currently known as Bark M., about something that had always puzzled me.

“Dude,” I asked, “why did you quit being a performing musician? You were making halfway decent money, you were on the road all the time, you were playing music that you loved, you were hooking up with a different college girl every night. Why would you leave all of that behind and manage a Men’s Wearhouse, for Christ’s sake?” Bark gave me this very sour look and replied, “I got sick of being in a van.”

I had to laugh, because at that point it made perfect sense. I’ve never met anybody else who is as picky as my brother when it comes to travel. Take this past weekend for example. I was on a two-stop Southwest flight that ended up taking ten and a half hours in the air to get me from Oakland to Columbus; he was on a nonstop from LAX to Cincinnati. When I finally landed after my back-of-coach-class ordeal I found that he’d been on Instagram complaining about the quality of his Delta One meal service. If ever there was a man who would give up dating a new 19-year-old every weekend night just so he didn’t have to ride in a van, it would be Bark.

Don’t tell him, but there’s now a company that rents first-rate, brand-new vans to traveling musicians so they can enjoy all the comforts of home while they travel. The company is called Bandago and it’s based in San Francisco. These vans have leather recliners, video games, and giant flatscreens. If you had a touring band, you’d never want to give your “Bandago” back. If you were renting your Bandago so you could perpetrate some crime with a crew of miscreants, you would also not want to give your Bandago back. Which leads us to a real San Francisco treat of a story.

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By on August 9, 2017

presidio-terrace-malin-giddings

This is one of those stories that is bound to provoke a range of emotions. It involves a homeowners’ association, rich and powerful property owners, real-estate speculators and parking. None of those first three are likely to engender sympathy but in this case you sort of have to root for the little guys, the speculators.

San Francisco has some of the most expensive real estate in the United States. Pacific Heights is one of the more exclusive neighborhoods in San Fran and Presidio Terrace, a gated, guarded, private street is one of the priciest locations in that area. It’s across the street from the private Presidio Golf & Concordia Club. Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi used to live on the circular street, as has Sen. Diane Feinstein. When one of the 35 mansions on Presidio Terrace go on the market, they fetch big money. There’s a house currently listed for $14.9 million dollars.

(Read More…)

By on June 20, 2017

San Francisco, Image: Wouter Kiel/Flicker (CC BY 2.0)

I will forever remember San Francisco as the only city in America where a woman tried to pick me up. While I am sure that the average TTAC reader is a handsome, impeccably progressive feminist ally who is frequently the subject of overtures from empowered womyn, I’m a hideously ugly creature who walks with a pronounced limp and cannot help but maintain an expression of perpetual annoyance. Therefore, 99 percent of the time I have to actively, if not aggressively, sell myself to any potential paramours.

Except, that is, for that one night when I was drunkenly stumbling down some broad boulevard in downtown SF, feeling very sorry for myself, and an attractive woman in her early thirties, dressed for some sort of banking or C-suite work, walked right up to me and said, “Do you know where the nearest Bank of America is?” Even in my inebriated state I could see that it was three hundred feet behind her, and I said as much. “Gosh, thanks!” she chirped. “So… lovely night, huh? What are you doing this evening?”

“Madam,” I replied with all the 18th-century dignity I could muster, straightening my posture and inhaling deeply behind the lapels of my Brioni coat, “I am attempting to forget a woman from Tennessee.” And I trudged past her. Only the next morning did I realize that perhaps she had already known the whereabouts of the bank before asking. Oh well. Ever since then, however, I have assumed that the relatively low number of even remotely conventional men in that particular city drives women to make desperate choices.

Which brings me to today’s San Francisco treat of a question.

(Read More…)

By on November 14, 2015

Uber Driver in NYC

The National Resources Defense Council’s Urban Solution program will study the impact ride-sharing services have on the environment, the group announced Friday. The study will be conducted with the University of California Berkley Transportation Sustainability Research Center to determine what environmental impacts services such as Lyft and Uber have on pollution and congestion.

” … Others wonder if these companies are competing with public transit, substituting for walking and biking trips, or perhaps adding more cars to the road,” wrote Amanda Eaken, a researcher for the NRDC, a non-profit environmental group.

(Read More…)

By on October 20, 2015

Nissan partners with Scoot Networks to study the future of trans

Nissan is sending 10 Renault Twizys Nissan New Mobility Concept vehicles to San Francisco as part its citywide ride sharing service Scoot.

The small, all-electric Renault Twizy Scoot Quad will seat two people, have a range of roughly 40 miles and a top speed of 25 mph. The cars will cost $8 per ride or $80 per day to rent.

According to Nissan, the cars are being sent to the ride-sharing service to study transportation in urban areas — and to see if they can sell them anywhere else, probably.

(Read More…)

By on September 15, 2015

13 - 1996 Chevrolet Caprice Classic in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Like art cars, vehicles that have been turned into team-color-painted, sticker-bedecked sports-team fanmobiles tend to spend their lives just one minor mechanical problem away from that final tow-truck ride. This “whale” Caprice was, we can assume, the life of the tailgate party at freezing-ass Candlestick Park and maybe that new stadium that’s nowhere near San Francisco. (Read More…)

By on August 7, 2015

lightpole_pee

Decades of (hopefully) dog urine have sped corrosion at the base of Bay Area light poles and four posts have fallen over in a pee-soaked heap, KTVU is reporting (via Boing Boing). No injuries have been reported due to the terrible tinkle tumbles.

City officials have replaced 160 poles on several streets due to corrosion on the aging poles. One collapsed pole Monday damaged a car.

The massive eroding power of urine, and probably thinner metal — which doesn’t have the alliterative power of pee-pee poles plunging — are to blame.

(Read More…)

By on June 24, 2015

2015 Ford F-150

Financing a Ford and looking to bolster your monthly payments? The automaker has an idea: rent your car to others.

(Read More…)

By on June 12, 2015

24 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

So many rusty Junkyard Finds lately! We had the Krusty Kressida earlier this week, and then a whole week of corroded Coloradans before that. Now we’re returning to San Francisco, where cars parked close to the ocean dissolve in strange top-down fashion thanks to the constant salt spray and chilly fog. I found this once-luxurious Fleetwood sedan in a Bay Area yard a few weeks ago. (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2015

40 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Since we had some rusty Junkyard Finds recently and I just spent a couple of days driving around San Francisco looking at ocean-salt horror-story cars, let’s continue with the Toyota Rust theme and check out this frighteningly oxidized San Francisco Cressida. (Read More…)

By on March 25, 2015

2015 BMW i3 Range Extender Exterior-007

BMW’s i3’s success is helped by a number of government incentives in a few of the automaker’s key markets, according to CEO Norbert Reithofer.

(Read More…)

By on April 8, 2014

Photo courtesy of NBC Bay Area.com

San Francisco’s NBC affiliate is reporting on a new wave of vandalism sweeping the City by the Bay, car tipping. At least four Smart cars were flipped over Sunday night, by what one hooded-sweatshirt wearing witness described as a group of six to eight people wearing hooded sweatshirts. The case has drawn national attention, sparking the creation of a Facebook parody site, comments by the website totalfratmove.com, who called the car tippers “heroes,” and at least one cheekily written article on the website regarded by many as the seedy underbelly of the car blogging world, The Truth About Cars. (Read More…)

By on December 23, 2013

googlebus

Image from Twitter @craigsfrost

Positively or negatively, mass transit is often viewed as a social leveler. Rich and poor alike ride the subway in New York, London and Berlin. Atlantans of all economic and social backgrounds make use of MARTA’s facilities, as they do in many other American cities where public transit is the most efficient way of navigating the inner cities. Of course, these are public systems, funded by fares and taxpayer money.

(Read More…)

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