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Posts Tagged ‘cars’

I like driving fast. And no urban freeway rewards the skilled, fast driver more than the historic Pasadena freeway, the  section of the 110 north of downtown LA .

In many ways, the Pasadena Freeway is an anomaly. The oldest freeway in the US, it connects the business district of Los Angeles to the city of Pasadena. It is a narrow, winding 8 miles long stretch of concrete road with several features to strike fear into the heart of the novice driver. The lanes are narrower than usual, the curves unrelentingly sharp and the traffic always heavy. The exits have a 5 mile speed limit, the entrances have stop signs and neither have any acceleration or deceleration lanes. The maximum speed limit is 55 miles per hour, yet traffic on the faster lane often goes at 80. Every aspect of the design of this freeway is outdated: the curves are underbanked and designed for traffic no faster than 40, the shoulder nonexistent. And fierce lane changes are the norm.

All of which makes it the most fun urban freeway to drive in probably all of US. Going fast on empty interstates is a joke; you just have to press the accelerator. To drive fast on the 110 safely requires real skill. I need to take the 110 two to three times on most weeks and I know it like the back of my hand. And oh, what a joy it is to pass those fancy convertibles and sports cars everytime: me in my ancient Corolla, veering smoothly from lane to lane, passing all those drivers many of whom are clearly out of their league and just want to get out of there, feeling the g-forces on my body as I conquer those curves at speeds that are about thirty miles faster than the recommended one yet not so fast as to make me lose control in any manner. My driving skills are one of those things I take pride in and the 110 is an arena where it is amply rewarded.

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Even a blogger as jaded as me comes across an instance of nanny-statism once in a while that takes his breath away.

Police in Aurora and around the metro area are cracking down on unattended and running vehicles, which police call “puffers,” this week.

“The easiest cars to steal are those left running unattended in the cold with the keys in the ignition,” Aurora police spokesman Detective Bob Friel said in a statement. “In this tough economy, the last thing someone needs to worry about is how they are going to replace their stolen car. The solution is simple: keep your car keys with you at all times.”

The fine for making your own car easier to steal is $75. C’est la vie.

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Ouch!

For those who are wondering, the car was worth £100,000.

The driver and the passenger walked away with minor injuries.

(Hat Tip: Althouse)

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Tesla rolls out its electric sports car.

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Yes, thats the Ariel Atom for you. At $35,000, it is much, much cheaper than the other fancy sports cars around. And it beats them all in speed.

I would love to own one. Wouldn’t you?

(Link via Instapundit)

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In an interesting experiment, two Times correspondents drove from London to Geneva. One of the cars was a Toyota Prius hybrid while the other was a BMW 520D.

The results?

The Prius averaged 40 mpg (48.1 miles per imperial gallon) over the whole journey while the BMW achieved 41.9 mpg (50.3 miles per imperial gallon).

Admittedly, the test wasn’t completely fair. Prius’ strong point is city mileage and the vast majority of the journey was along a fast highway where they drove at 78 miles an hour with a strong headwind. Besides, the BMW ran on diesel which always gives better mileage than petrol (but also emits more CO2). Still, I think it was an interesting experiment and showed that at least some of the claims about the Prius are overstated. 

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The Tata car for 100,000 INR is here. And it is green too, with a mileage that is almost twice as good as other cars on the market. 

I am an unabashed admirer of the Tatas and have been meaning to write a longer post about them for a long time. I will do that some day; for now read this note by Laksmi Mittal – remarkable, considering that he is talking of his primary global competitor – (see update below) about the Tatas’ role in transforming the city of Jamshedpur.

Update: I found out that the note is in fact not written by Mittal. It’s a good read, nevertheless. I am not the only blogger who was deceived, a quick google search reveals hundreds of other websites where the article is ascribed to Mital. I have no idea what gave rise to this modern legend. For those interested, the article was written by Suhel Seth, CEO, Equus Redcell, in 2004 and originally appeared in the Asian Age.

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