Category archives for: AutoMatters

AutoMatters: Lexus GX 460

Lexus GX 460

Lexus is well known for luxury but also leads in off-road capability. Full-time four-wheel-drive is standard on the Lexus GX 460, which uses an electronically controlled transfer case and a TORSEN® torque-sensing limited slip differential. The front to rear power ratio is adjusted as needed, based on wheel slip. That power – 301 horsepower at 5,500 rpm, is provided by a 4.6-liter V8, delivered through a six-speed, electronically controlled transmission.

AutoMatters: Snake & Mongoo$e Movie

CAPTION 2 - Snake & Mongoo$e - official poster

Snake & Mongoo$e is based on the true story of Don “the Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen. Using a mixture of new and seamlessly intercut historical footage, as well as a wealth of other archival materials including newspaper and magazine clippings, artwork, TV commercials and racing memorabilia, this movie is entertaining and believable.

AutoMatters: 2013 Mercedes-Benz G550 4MATIC AWD

2013 Mercedes-Benz G550

As a recent off-road drive demonstrated, when it is time for some serious off-roading, the Mercedes-Benz G550 is up to the task. Originally developed over 30 years ago for off-road military duty, this time-tested vehicle is as about as tough and off-road capable as they come. It is also very expensive, with a base MSRP of $113,000.

AutoMatters: IndyCar & Coronado Speed Festival Previews

IndyCars racing in Long Beach – April 2013

It seems like it just began but another auto racing season is already entering the home stretch. Coming up on Sept. 21 – 22 will be the Coronado Speed Festival – part of Fleet Week, which pays tribute to the United States Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. You’ll see racecars from the past – and a few from the present, as they gather from around the country to compete on the road course at Naval Base Coronado. This will include an official round of the Mazda MX-5 Cup series, where production car-based Mazda MX-5s will race each other in SCCA Pro Racing.

AutoMatters: Autocrossing 101 – An Introduction

Mustang at Willow Springs

For many of us, myself included, driving is much more than just a chore that we need to do to get from Point A to Point B. For us, pushing our cars to their (and our) limits is great fun and an end in itself, but other than on a racetrack, where can we legally do that?

AutoMatters: Disney Ride Engineering at the D23 Expo

Jan Wagner at Journey into Imagineering

I just spent three incredible days at the D23 Expo 2013. D23 is the official Disney Fan club. Billed as “The Ultimate Disney Fan Event,” this third biannual event is Disney’s equivalent of Comic-Con. It filled the Anaheim Convention Center and was conveniently located close to the Disneyland Resort (I went there to watch the spectacular fireworks show and Fantasmic on Sunday evening, after the D23 Expo ended).

AutoMatters: On The Fly: Technology Takes Off

Up close & personal with UAVs

Before the Wright brothers made their historic first flight at Kitty Hawk, in December of 1903, they experimented with unmanned aircraft. The ultimate goal for their endeavor was for an on-board human being to control a powered aircraft over an extended distance. They succeeded.

AutoMatters: Hot Wheels®

Hot Wheels Deora II at 40th anniversary.

Buried deep in one of my filing cabinets, I recently discovered a wonderful history of Hot Wheels® from Mattel. If memory serves me correctly, they distributed it at their 40th. anniversary celebration of Hot Wheels®, back in August of 2008.

AutoMatters: Things That Move You at Comic-Con 2013

Star Wars FanWraps

One of the most fun events in San Diego each year is Comic-Con. My goal was to find cool things that move you. So, with camera in hand and a large Comic-Con bag on my shoulders, I walked the floor of the Convention Center, attended some panels and experienced some of what was free for all to see and enjoy in the Gaslamp Quarter.

AutoMatters: 1980 Volvo Coupé by BERTONE

1980 Volvo Coupé by BERTONE

So there I was, preparing my Mustang for an SCCA autocross one fine Sunday morning at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, when it arrived. Looking quite regal with its gold paint and interior, crown emblems and distinctive chopped roof, the 1980 Volvo Coupé by Bertone attracts attention like a magnet. The un-Volvo-like roof is what does it. I hadn’t seen one of these cars in many years so, as I usually do when I spot a rare automobile, I went over to check it out. That led to a picture-taking session and a desire to learn more about this car.

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