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Sunday, July 30

Little? Yellow? Different.




ForTwo

Not all small cars have to be sad. The British International Motorshow reveals some gas-sippers that'll make you trade in your Silverado.

This year’s British International Motorshow was filled with all things little. Which beckons the question: with $3.30 for gas in L.A. right now, how long before something very, very small – if not necessarily yellow – is going to start sounding good? The answer is ‘never’. Truly little cars, like the Smart Fortwo, which is coming to the States next year, are never going to appeal as long as you’re still driving next to Excursions on the freeway. This thing can be parked sideways and has been around in Europe since 2000. It’s also a lot more comfortable than it looks.

But small cars aren’t just for large numbers of clowns. Some cars that go easy on sucking up the go juice without making you look like a loser immigrant were also shown off at limey carfest '06.

Let’s leave out the engine and suspension bits for the moment. These cars are faster than you’ll need and handle great, enough said. Look at them.

I’ve always made fun of Volvos. I’ve been known to point out that people that buy them are afraid of life. But the new Mini/GTI/Audi-killer is just so decent looking, It's hard to talk crap. The C30 is due out in September and, hopefully, you won't have to be an architect or a chiropractor to afford one. While most Volvos look like they were built to shelter you from the spooky world of motorized transportation, this one looks pretty good and comfortable. It’ll be starting out (in the UK, anyway – where I read the press release) with a ‘1.6-litre petrol, gov'na’ and going to a five cylinder with a turbo – at some point later.

The Alfa Romeo’s not coming to the States, but you can import one. C'mon, do it. It looks great and has a fast-enough 2.2L engine.(you can get bigger ones, but we’re trying to avoid that – remember?).

There's nothing that's small, that looks like this, that isn't a Spyker or something. You'd look past the comfort of a Tahoe to purchase one. Yes, it's an Alfa and will break - but why can't Chevy make something that even comes close?

Hybrid trucks are stupid, by the way.



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Monday, July 17


That'll Buff Right Out:

Rolls-Royce demands Insurance Details from Photographer

The curves, the engines, the luxury – no – what attracts the most attention at a supercar show is the sound of metal hitting metal. Especially when the metal on the receiving end costs – wait for it - € 4.5million. A park’n’sell for rich people in the hyper-exclusive Hurlingham Private Club, in south-west London was interrupted by a metallic thud as a photographer thwacked the Rolls Royce EX101 Concept with the metallic pole which held, ironically-enough, a velvet rope to protect the precious, almost-$10million Rolls.

The EX101 was created as a design exercise to showcase all that a Rolls could be. The coupe’s body is crafted out of carbon fiber and aluminum with lines that recall the super-coupes of yesteryear, the kind the movie stars used to drive. Its doors open backwards so that are “rear-hinged” (suicided), so that “The driver and passengers step in rather than fall in backwards, as demanded in a conventional two-door coupĂ©.”

However, as a London photographer found out Rolls Royce doesn’t take kindly to people crossing their rope. A high-ranking German from Rolls’ BMW overlord quickly confronted the apologetic snapper to teach her a thing or two about respect.

Click here to listen to Basic Transportation’s exclusive recording of exactly how that went!



The file is crackly and distorted, but treat yourself to angry German man’s assertion that the car costs “four and a half million euros”. He questions the photographer why she climbed over the barrier. Between apologising, profusely, the photog (who you really can’t hear) explains that she just wanted to get a shot of the inside. “I didn’t want to hurt the car, I just wanted a picture.”

The recording ends, exquisitely, with the German Rolls Royce guy asking the lowly, freelance photographer if she has insurance.

Very sorry for not having a picture of the tiny, marble-size ding right next to the red RR on the side.

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