Interesting and odd points of the automotive industry, both present and past. Interesting, because there often overlooked. Odd, mostly because there ours.


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Tesla – So Quiet They Snuck Up On The Entire Industry

Its funny that I would learn about the Tesla Model X from a website that was also clueless about its existence until just recently. Read more

TCPFI

The 26B 4 Rotor – New Arrival of the Total Car Produce Magic FD.

In the world of performance vehicles the FD3S RX-7 has stood out as somewhat of a dark horse thanks to the heartbeat of its 13B rotrary power. In the world of rotary power the 26B 4rotor trumps all.

From Mazdas 787B to the 792P. Rotary and RX-7 ledgendary gurus such as RE/Amemiya who built the 26B for Fujita Engineering AKA FEED. These have all lead up to more and more 4 rotor drift and race cars including Brian Gray of New Zealand and Mad Mike’s MadBull which have been tearing up drifting for quite some time now. But theres a new kid on the block, and since when have rotaries been known to play well with others?

Its always crazy to see these well put together one off pieces of engineering dumping well over 400 normaly asperated horse power at the drop of a hat, without breaking a sweat and I have been studying them off and on for years now. Im very happy to see more and more of these engines popping up and whats more so, not hearing about them popping!

So enjoy the videos and pics of the latest terror to hit the tracks from my new favorite tuning house, Total Car Produce Magic.

Photo Credit: SPEEDHUNTERS.COM

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Tesla Motors Launches New Washington, D.C. Store

 

It’s just after 5 AM on February 4th and I have an email in my inbox letting me know that Tesla Motors, after much anticipation, is opening their new location in Washington, D.C.  They want to know if I would like to “take another spin in the car”…

First of all, there is no way I would turn down another opportunity to drive what is quite possibly a turning point in automotive history.  Second, I had been looking for more of an opportunity to talk about the people and company that is Tesla Motors instead of just chatting about blinding performance.  After talking with Tesla VP of Communications, Ricardo Reyes, I found that they are focused at taking a serious, customer-centric stab at changing the face of automotive industry. 

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With over 3500 electric vehicles operating on the road today the company has established a toe hold on its goals of making every car electric.  A lofty goal if ever there were one.  However they currently supply battery packs and electric power trains to Toyota and Daimler/Mercedes.  They also have vehicles operating in the harshest of climates from the Arctic Circle to Arizona having logged almost 10 million electronically driven miles. 

True, hybrid electric vehicles have been around for ages helping to promote greener electric technologies.  However, having established themselves as the leader in electric vehicle technology, Tesla is taking the next step which is what this night was all about.    img_9479

Unfortunately it’s my understanding that once the Elise based Roadster is finished its contracted production run, it’s over.  For many it will be a sad bit of news but the truth of the matter is that the Roaster is simply one technology, modified to support another and in the long run isn’t considered to be the platform necessary to promote a permanent change in auto culture.  So the gears are moving to put a strong emphasis on the production of the Model S, a purpose built chassis designed specifically to support full electric vehicle technology.  To move forward with a system that will allow Tesla to get the most out of its technologies.  Having driven the roadster twice now it’s difficult to imagine what more they could extract in the way of performance however the numbers for the Model S hint at a shift from ragged edge performance to extended range and efficiency.

If you want a true electric vehicle with no compromises that is effective for the full range of daily uses Tesla will be your only option.  Making such a change to a vehicle like the Model S is why they will continue to be industry leaders in this field, simply because every other auto manufacturer will continue to try and adapt old chassis designed for propulsion by internal combustion.  And when the results of Tesla’s efforts take effect (i.e. making the technologies cheaper) most auto manufacturers will be off balance for quite some time and some kept that way possibly until we stop using petroleum based fuels. 

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I was honored to be included in such a moment in history.  For a long time electric cars have been discredited because of one fault or the other that have kept us from living our lives unchanged from an automotive standpoint, kept us from moving freely without compromise.  I truly believe though that Tesla’s establishing their Washington location is one more building block in the infrastructure needed to support its plans for the Model S which will go a long way toward changing the way we think, the way we look at the automobile and its capabilities and ultimately change the world itself. 

Here’s to a cleaner and more intelligent way of life.  Thank you, Tesla Motors.

Motorcycles need love too…

I am a man of many talents even more so I’m a man of many interests, when it comes to sports I’m a fan of all local sports, I’m a HUGE Basketball fan, my guy Kyle Weidie from Truthaboutit.net (@Truth_about_it) always keeps me up to date with my Local Wizards news and I have various local sources to keep track of my Redskins, Caps, Nats etc. But ever since I can remember I have always been truly addicted to speed, its something about the adrenalin rush you get when you have the muscle and power of hundreds of horses at your every whim is something that I truly can’t replace with anything else. Naturally this addiction to speed and power led me to have a fond love of automobiles, but I’ve always had that nagging curiosity of those guys with sometimes the third of the power, a fraction of the weight, and just about double the speed of guys with Cars. The high revving and screeching engines of motorcycle engines turns the heads of even the most dedicated domestic tuners. Since this curiosity was something I felt needed to be explored let me tell you a short story of my journey into the Motorcycle world.
A few years back I decided to enroll in a Motorcycle Safety Training Course and I must say it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Immediately I felt at home on the controls, and the leaning/turning mechanics even though took some getting used to felt so natural.
Now I must say anyone that is interested in purchasing a motorcycle in my opinion MUST take the Motorcycle Safety Course from a certified MSF instructor. The classes help to keen in on not only your riding abilities but also help you in your driving abilities. They give valuable information in “reading” traffic patterns and looking at certain situations and determining the proper course of action to avoid accidents. Fortunately right before my classes ended during that weekend a good friend of mine was looking to sell his 05 GSXR 600 for a very reasonable price so in my moment of excitement I went ahead and made the jump and had my first Motorcycle.
Now you are going to notice a color change in my bike and this wouldn’t be a fair article if I didn’t mention that I indeed intentionally (thanks to my MSF training) low sided my bike 2 months into my first season riding due to a driver cutting me off in a turn, in a moment of split decision I decided it was less risk to slide out than to run into the back of an unassuming driver. I was fine as I was wearing all my safety equipment but the GSXR took the blunt of the damage. The entire left side of the bike was scratched and damaged and I was forced to sit out my inaugural riding season. Using that downtime as motivation I decided to use this time to rebuild the bike on my own. After scowering various GSXR forums for information, Using my skills in paint prep, engine work, and buying parts from Ebay and various sites only receiving assistance from a local body shop for paint, I very cheaply repaired my bike and at the same time learned valuable information regarding my bike. I must say she turned out pretty nicely. Take a look for yourself:

BEFORE THE ACCIDENT:

DURING REPAIRS, PAINT, REBUILDING:



FINISHED PRODUCT:




In all these are the new parts installed on the bike after the accident:
Left side Fender (ebay.com)
Black paint job
Gold Reflective decals (downat70.com)
Gold Reflective rimtape (tapeworks.com)
Black with Gold adjuster Shorty Pazzo levers
Carbon fiber Tank Pad
Carbon fiber Rear Tire hugger
Carbon fiber Chain guard
Carbon fiber Suzuki “S” decal
Carbon fiber Seat tail trim (from 06-07 GSXR)
Carbon Fiber Yoshimura TRS Exhaust
Dark smoke Double Bubble windscreen
4500k / 3000k HID (DDMtuning.com)

I hope you guys enjoyed this story of my side passion in motorcycles and I hope this warmer weather bids everyone well as Spring is right around the corner.

Drift Stylings debate: To Slam or not to Slam

    The one thing that makes the Tuner community so grand is the widespread variety of styles. Whether you are a Drifter, auto crosser, quarter mile racer, full blown track driver or something in between we all have our cars tuned and modified depending on what the main use of our car will be. So when our friends at Stanceiseverything.com directed me to an article bashing the “slammed” or drift auto style it got my attention.

 It is a fairly interesting read on someone’s take on the recent drift styling’s of some auto enthusiasts but One quote in particular stood out to me: “Setting up a car for drifting is usually ass-backwards to what actually makes a car handle. Still, it has managed to permeate the collective consciousness of young car enthusiasts, who are unaware that buying coilovers with absurdly stiff springs doesn’t actually make a car handle well, but rather masks a the deficiencies of a poorly designed car.” 

 This quote looks to imply that tuners that modify their cars to drift don’t actually know that they are doing for their everyday drivability. Most tuners that modify their vehicles for a specific purpose typically know that it will take away the ability to perform in other areas. For example if you set your suspension up for 1/4 mile racing you wont necessarily be successful in your endeavors to race your car on a road course. Even still I’m sure most everyone is aware of some drivers who do modify their vehicles solely based on what they see without knowing the functionality aspect of the tunes; but as a whole from my experience people who take the time to dial in settings and adjust their cambers just right actually KNOW what they are getting themselves into.

 All in all it was an interesting article taken from a perspective that I may not wholly agree with but still respect, take a look and see what you think: http://www.speedsportlife.com/2010/02/25/rich-corinthian-leather-2-hella-suck/

Hot Rod Jakob

What Is Ferrari Smoking?

Bridgestones apparently.

When you think Ferrari you think ultra high-performance. But when you think ultra high-performance you dont always thing Bridgestone.

While I have not had a chance to talk to anyone at Bridgestone to get more data, it is official that they will be providing the Potenza S-001 as original equipment for the new 570 CV Ferrari 458. Interestingly enough thats also true of the Aston Martin Rapide.

I was surprized to learn that Bridgestone has built tires for Ferrari and supplied original equipment to Maranello production cars since the Ferrari 348 back in 1990.

Its also important to note that the S-001 has been specifically developed to match the handling, control and safety requirments for the 458.

Bridgestone Petenza S-001

Bridgestone Petenza S-001

Fenix Automotive, Why you should be paying attention

Many of you have never heard of Fenix Automotive. However I am sure that many of you have heard of Noble. Lee Noble has brought us amazing home grown vehicles ever since the Noble M400, M12 and most recently the M15. However it apears that Lee isnt the type to sit about.

Going back to the drawing board the Fenix Automotive group decided that GMs 480bhp LS3 V8 would be the engine for the base model with an optional SuperCharged 6.2 liter LS9 V8, currently in the ZR1 Corvette, would be just what the doctor ordered for those power hungry drivers. Giving a whopping dose of 638bhp

With a target curb weight of 2645 lbs its estimated that the production model will be able to run the 0-100 mark in just under 7 seconds and push on to an undetermined top speed of around 200 mph. Blindingly quick.

Speaking of blinding…dont hurt yourself:

Fenix Automotive Concept

Fenix Automotive Concept

Fenix Automotive Concept

Fenix Automotive Concept

Nissan Receives Government Support For Zero Emissions Efforts

As we take stock of our situations during the global economic downturn, everyone is looking to implement new strategies that will not simply band-aid the problem so to speak.  What most are concerned with are alternatives that allow permanent change to take effect.  To reduce the bad habits and practices that caused the negative effects to begin with.

The first company we take a look at is hot on the heals of just such a solution.  Nissan Motor Co. announced in July that they, along with its subsidiary NEC TOKIN Corporation, have begun trial production of an advanced Lithium-Ion battery thru its join joint-venture company – Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC).  AESC has the aim of becoming a global leader in advanced battery products and services, and intends to mass produce and market its batteries to any interested automaker.  This marks the start of a strong effort by Nissan to move toward a Zero Fossil Fuel culture.

They have taken very large steps in making an automotive future of Zero Fossil Fuels a reality with just the type of support and backing needed to breathe life into a tangible structure to support it.  Back in July the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced that it was partnering with the U.K. and Portuguese governments to build two plants for the production of advanced Lithium-Ion batteries in Europe for what it calls its Zero Emission Mobility Program.

Having twice the energy density of conventional nickel-hydride batteries, AESC’s advanced Lithium-Ion batteries employ a compact module comprised of laminated-type cells that contribute to more efficient packaging.  The use of manganese-type electrode offers thermal stability and the laminated structure improves cooling, thus contributing to the battery’s safety performance.  The battery has undergone extreme durability tests demonstrating average runs of more than 100,000 Km.  That’s 60,000 Miles!

The effects on the automotive industry are obvious and revolutionary.  Not to mention the long term benefits to the national and regional health of the countries that welcome the production facilities.  The automotive and associated industries can look forward to a boost in jobs, growth in the skills sector, as well as having bragging rights to pioneering the manufacturing of Zero Emission Vehicles in Europe.

Portugal and the U.K. have show that they recognize the impact of this initiative and extended more than just financial support to ensure that Nissan locates the plants in their countries.  Talks are continuing with other governments in Europe to identify more locations for other battery plants in an effort to meet expected production requirements.

Specifics for the U.K. site have not yet been detailed; once they are the plant is expected to be located in Sunderland, England where Nissan already ahs an existing manufacturing facility.  This Sunderland location is planned to be the Nissan European Mother Site for battery production and the centerpiece for the newly established Low Carbon Economic Area in the North East of England.  As part of the newly established Low Carbon Economic Area, local government intends to establish a new training centre, specializing in low carbon automotive technologies; a technology park and an open access test track for low carbon vehicles.

Nissan Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, Europe, Trevor Mann said: “In March Nissan and regional development agency One North East signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing both partners to explore fully the North East’s potential to spearhead the U.K.’s drive towards Zero Emissions Mobility.”

“Since then, a great deal of work has been going on at both the local and national level to promote and facilitate the introduction of electric vehicles within the region.  Today’s announcement potentially marks another important milestone in establishing low carbon transport as a viable and attractive alternative across the North East and beyond, and reinforces Nissan’s commitment to lead the world in the mass-marketing of zero emission vehicles.”

The plans for Portugal are the most exciting part of this report.  The first European country to sign a final agreement with Renault-Nissan, Portugal will be implementing a Zero Emissions Mobility program in the year 2010.  This plan will allow Renault-Nissan to supply its electric vehicles starting in the spring of 2011 that will be supported by an extensive network of 1300 recharging stations constructed across Portugal over the next 2 years.

This past June a prototype of the recharging stations was unveiled.  The development of the station between a Portuguese co-operative in collaboration with Nissan has gone so well that the Portuguese Government has signed an agreement with 25 cities, key motorways and parking industry leaders aimed at the implementation of the stations.  These agreements mark a crucial step.  The plan will allow the construction of stations throughout Portugal, creating a recharging network that will secure full coverage for the entire country.  This will transform Portugal into what some are calling Europe’s EV Eco-Valley.

The U.K. and Portuguese plants will be the exclusive supplier of the Advanced Lithium-Ion batteries for electric vehicles to be produced by the Renault-Nissan Alliance and will be here A LOT sooner than you might think.  Renault-Nissan’s commitment to the production is so advanced that it says they will begin to offer the electric vehicles in the United States and Japan in 2010.  The 2010 release is scheduled ahead of a mass marketing campaign that will provide the vehicle to consumers globally in 2012.

“The zero-emission mobility program is a priority for the company,’ said Eric Nicolas, Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance for Nissan Europe.  “At Nissan, as we manage through this global crisis, we continue to prepare for the major evolutions that are occurring in our industry.  We are not compromising our efforts to mass-market the electric car.  And today, we have taken a key step to making zero-emissions a reality.”

More details on Nissan’s initiatives can be found here:

http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/ENVIRONMENT/GREENPROGRAM_2010/index.html

Upshift TV is

Its always interesting trying to build a project like Up Shift TV.  After a week or so of pluging away at the keyboards everyone has produced a bit of forward momentum with the show efforts.  Cross promoting, new articles, the video sites, content for them, and even events!

Some things we cant mention just yet however we do want to take the time to let you know that we are going to start producing our own content with our first trip out to the Porsche Club of America Club Race this October.  All of the guys are very excited to get together track side and have our own David Spriggs take to the tarmac with his Porsche 968.  Of course we will have a few odds and ends ready for everyone shortly after that however were really looking forward to having our first eppisode ready that month as well!

If you havent already please take a minute to subscribe to our video sites at

http://www.youtube.com/user/UpShiftReviews

and

http://up-shifttv.blip.tv/

Blip.tv will actually allow you to subscribe via your iPhone so you can enjoy the show on the go.  Youtube subscriptions let you know when we have updated our video content and helps us continue to grow our ability to bring you useful and exciting content.

In the mean time if you havent already, please take a moment to subscribe here as well to keep up with our writen content.

Thanks for your time and attention and we look forward to reading your comments and suggestions.