Green Tires That Save Money?
Yokohama just introduced the dB Super E-spec tire, which besides being a mouthful to say, is supposedly the greatest thing since sliced bread. The tire, which is comprised mostly of orange oil rather than petroleum-based products, is said to improve rolling resistance by 20 percent.
"The eco-focused dB Super E-spec mixes sustainable orange oil and natural rubber to drastically cut the use of petroleum, without compromising performance," said Dan King, Yokohama vice president of sales. "It also helps consumers save money at the gas pump by improving fuel efficiency via a 20-percent reduction in rolling resistance. With these innovations, the dB Super E-spec could very well be the most technologically-advanced tire ever produced."
"The idea of combining oil from orange peels with natural rubber was originally conceived by our racing engineers," said Chung. "The same orange oil technology, which improves a tire's grip, can be seen today with our ADVAN(r) ENV-R1TM racing tire on Porsche GT3 Cup cars. The ENV-R1 (the official spec tire of the Patrón GT3 Challenge by Yokohama) is the first environmentally-sensitive race tire used in a motorsports series."
At press time, the dB Super E-spec isn't available in sizes for fullsize pickups. Yokohama targeted hybrid-driving greenies with 185/65R15 88H, 195/65R15 91H, 195/55R16 86V and 215/60R16 95V sizes, which fit the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid/Civic GX NGV, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Nissan Versa and VW Golf. Whether or not this technology will move into the truck segment remains to be seen, but anything that will improve fuel economy without hurting the horsepower numbers of our trucks would be a welcome improvement.
Sport Trucks in Space?
This column was penned on the 40th anniversary of the NASA moon landing, so it was especially fitting that we found an article in USA Today that suggests the next generation of lunar rover vehicles might include pickups. Apollo 15-, 16-, and 17 all had lunar rover vehicles, which were battery-powered, built by Boeing, and cost about 38 million bucks. The article quotes Lucien Junkin, a Johnson Space Center robotics engineer in Cape Canaveral who said: "When you think of a truck, it screams America."
We couldn't agree more. Plus, a pickup makes sense since the bed would obviously be used to haul equipment around the moon. A bed net made from Velcro would be a good idea as well.
No Flareside for 2010 F-150
You won't be able to order a Ford F-150 Supercab with a 5.5-foot bed on a 133-inch chassis or get a Flareside bed unless you pony up for the off-road-inspired Raptor SVT truck. But, the '10 F-150 will have six-percent larger disc brakes, which is nice. Other than that, the changes are minor cosmetic and comfort updates, so there's nothing to really get excited about unless you really wanted that Flareside.
Edelbrock Hooks Up Another High Schooler
For the seventh consecutive year, the Edelbrock Corporation has supported the future of our industry by awarding a scholarship to help one lucky high school kid to further his or her automotive education. Mathew Mitchell of Torrance, California, inspired the Edelbrocks with an essay spelling out his plans to attend college where he'd major in business, while harnessing his automotive passion generated through his high school shop classes. Ultimately, Matthew wants to open a specialty automotive shop.
Edelbrock President, Vic Edelbrock, presented Matthew with a check for $1,500.00, an autographed copy of Edelbrock: Made in USA, an Edelbrock letterman's jacket, and an honorary plaque. Torrance Education Foundation member, Pat Furey; Principal, John O'Brien; Torrance City Council Member, Tom Brewer; Torrance Unified School District Sr. Director of Secondary Education, Dr. Tom Stowe; and Auto Shop program instructor Adam Drace were all on hand in support of the award presentation.
When asked what this award means to him, Matt shared, "I want to keep the automotive business alive with new inspiring energy and dreams."
GM Say's "Adios" To Racing
We guess one of the great things about going bankrupt is that you can just cancel contracts with people once you are out of bankruptcy and not worry about how it affects those people. That's what the "new" General Motors did to 54 entities as of late. Here's a list of the racetracks, teams and individuals that just got stiffed by the General:
Motorsport racing is expensive and this is going to seriously impact a lot of programs. As for the Oakland Raiders, they suck so bad that we are surprised the money tree didn't dry up on them sooner.
• California Speedway
70 suite passes w/ pit rowaccess, 35 VIP parking passes
• Charlotte Motor
Speedway 66 suite tickets, 16 pit passes, 10 parking passes
• Daytona Int'l Speedway
65 seats w/ 77 tickets, 11 parking passes
• Dover International
Speedway 50 seats w/65 suite passes, 30 VIP
• Richmond International
Speedway 60-person suite, 30 pit passes, 15 parking passes
• Racing Team Sponsorship Agreements
• Jeff Burton, personal service agreement (RCR)
• Oakland Raiders
• Ryan Newman Motorsports
• Grand Am Road Racing
• National Hot Rod Association
• National Muscle Car Association Event
• USC Athletics
• IMG Worldwide (official car)
• Other sponsorship agreements
10 Mostly Worthless Facts
1. One of the most common complaints among '84 to '87 Chevy C-series truck owners is that the plastic cover around the fuel tanks allows debris to get stuck and eventually rust out the bottom of the tank. This is especially common in the rust belt areas of the U.S.
2. In 1978, Ford offered the "Free Wheelin'" option package on F-150 pickups. The package included rainbow tape striping, a blackout grille and a black front bumper.
3. In 1946, Ford built 75,088 half-ton pickups for domestic sale. We wonder if they'll do that many in 2010?
4. Over the Top is a movie starring Silvester Stallone as a washed-up dad/truck driver/arm wrestler. Just thought you should know.
5. Professional baseball player, Tony Clark, of the Arizona Diamondbacks, digs custom trucks and owns several custom SUVs as well.
6. The Gunson Flashtest tool can be used to test the strength of the spark going to the spark plugs by measuring the length of the gap it will jump.
7. The infamous "Bluesmobile" is a 1974 Dodge Monaco. A total of 12 Bluesmobiles were used in the movie, The Blues Brothers, including one that was built just so it could fall apart. Several replicas have been built by collectors, but one original is known to exist, and is owned by the brother-in-law of Dan Aykroyd.
8. In the original film Gone In 60 Seconds, 93 cars were crashed, the movie was only 97 minutes long, that's almost one car per minute. In some movie theaters in Greece, the title was translated to Come in 60 Seconds.
9. Pontiac never really built a pickup with a separate cab/bed/chassis arrangement, although it did build the Caballero (think El Camino) and a couple prototype utility vehicles in '59 that were based on the Catalina sedan but shared El Camino architecture. The El Catalina never made it into production.
10. There were four 440-powered Dodge Challenger R/Ts and one 383 Challenger R/T used in the movie, Vanishing Point. All of the cars were not originally white though. They were just painted white for the film. During the scene where Kowalski has a flat tire, you can see green paint in the dents.
The staff speaks and you listen. It's that simple. This month's question is:
Obama just decided that America needs another holiday for banks, the post office, and Oprah to celebrate. El Presidente also decided that you're just the person to pick the theme for our new holiday.
You're a gearhead so we know you'll do the right thing. What is your new holiday all about?
Mike: My holiday is called National Senseless Act of Horsepower Day and it falls on February 15th. Obviously, women have lots of holidays dedicated to them and men deserve theirs right after the chocolate melts and the flowers die. The traditions of NSAH day are as follows: The day begins with your significant other detailing your truck in a string bikini, followed by you doing a victory burnout in front of your house without the fear of cops citing you for reckless driving because it's totally legal during my holiday. Next, you'll make a traditional trip to the nearest merchant of horsepower to buy yourself some presents, and NSAH day ends with a mandatory party at the local police station, hosted and paid for by the cops, using all the tax dollars they robbed us of via fix-it tickets throughout the year.
Calin: My new holiday would be called "International Must-leave Me Alone Day." On IM MAD, telemarketers, roving salesmen, religious fanatics, and anyone else that invades personal space uninvited, would be prohibited from doing so. There would be no cutting of grass, blowing of leaves, or any other jobs that involves noisy machines on this day, especially at 7 a.m. on a Saturday. It would also be considered rude to ask for help, so friends, family, and significant others, would have to be self-sufficient. I know this sounds like a lot to ask, but I think people can be on their own for a mere 24 hours.
Monica: My holiday would be called the National Day of Cruising, and all exotic cars, custom trucks, muscle cars, antique cars, and project vehicles, would find their way out of garages and onto public streets. In addition to streetable vehicles, race-only vehicles would be set free on public streets. Race cars, desert trucks, rally cars, and monster trucks, for example, would be seen traveling down local boulevards. On this special day, public streets would resemble the eclectic collection of vehicles that stream out of the SEMA Show each year. We might as well throw in tanks and military equipment. Abundant flatbeds and tow trucks would be available free of charge to assist stranded vehicles.
Andy: My holiday is going to be called "National Unplug Day." On this day, any electronic device or gadget would have to be unplugged and left idle. No emails, no cell phones, no annoying guys walking around wearing a Bluetooth headset like it was a piece of jewelry would be allowed. I could give my carpal tunnel flareups a break and kick back at home and watch the grass grow. Imagine a day when somebody actually has a face-to-face conversation instead of a lame text message. And don't get me started on that stupid Twitter thing. I couldn't really care less what your status is or why you think I need to see the latest jackass do something stupid on YouTube. Maybe this day could be called "Get a Life Day." Who's with me?
Obscure Vehicle Code Of The Month
Alabama motor vehicle code section 32-5A-59:
No vehicle shall be driven over any unprotected hose of a fire department when laid down on any street, private road or driveway to be used at any fire or alarm of fire, without the consent of the fire department official or police officer in command.
That would be one hell of a speedbump!