Boing Boing 

Pickups, SUVs dominate map of most popular vehicles by state

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Every Car Listed published some interesting maps about America's gas-guzzling habits. In 42 of 50 states, the most popular vehicle is a pickup truck or SUV.

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Lee Harvey Oswald's car on Ebay

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You snooze, you lose. You have just missed the chance to bid on, and possibly own, the last car driven by Lee Harvey Oswald, which just sold on ebay.

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The new VW California van you can't have in California

156681_169821143051696_3150711_nHere's a new protest movement for all you old Hippies out there: "Bring the T5 VW Camper to USA". This sweet ride is like a Robocop update of the old VW bus, full of RV-like amenities including a fold-out bed, a sink, refrigerator and fold-out table; perfect for that cross-country drive to discover the soul of America you've been meaning to take.

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An automatic smart driving assistant that streams car data to your phone

The "quantified self" personal measurement tools all seem too constricting to me, at least at this point in my life. But, as one who cringed when I needed to buy my late-model Mazda3 for a commute, the concept of a "quantified car" makes a lot more sense. Buying a car means investing a decent sum of money in a depreciating collection of metal that requires sizable ongoing investments. Even when experiencing the joy of the open road, I'm still haunted by how much this contraption costs me. So, to ease my heartburn over car ownership, I bought the Automatic "Smart Driving Assistant" ($99) in early 2014.

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Electric “supercar” coupe prototype from Renovo Motors unveiled at CES

Renovo Motors Coupe Cockpit

Looks dope.

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The check engine light is the single stupidest warning light in existence

Doug DeMuro of Jalopnik explains the problem with the check engine light. (Experienced drivers solve it with a strip of electrical tape.)

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Optical illusions: auto detailing reflections

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Auto detailing can be an art form in the right hands, as air2thethrown shows in this beautiful photo of a field reflected in a car's surface. The regulars at Detailing Bliss would say shooting at such a severe angle is a cheat, but it's a cool effect regardless.

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1955 Chevy Nomad emerges from 40-year hibernation

Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "Justin Pinchot just sent us a video of his new pride and joy, a 1955 Chevy Nomad wagon. 'It has completely original paint, interior, and drive train,' Pinchot says, 'and is so clean, I thought for sure it was a restored car until I saw it in person.' The two-door station wagon, which has been kept safe and warm in storage since 1974, has 87,000 original miles on it, and Pinchot is only its second or third owner, 'depending on if you count the original owner’s son, who inherited the car.'”

Meet Maddie, one of the best unrestored, original paint & interior examples known of the rare & iconic 1955 Belair Nomad wagon. Out of nearly a million Chevy Belairs built in 1955, only about 8100 Nomads were ever produced; this example is in the most desirable regal turquoise with India ivory top. First year of Chevy's small block V8, the 265, it is mated to a 2-speed cast iron powerglide automatic transmission. All mechanical components are original to the car as it left the factory. All 55 Nomad bodies were produced at the Cleveland plant then assembled & finished at various plants around the country; this one in Oakland California. Born Aug. 15, 1955, it is one of the last 55 Nomads off the assembly line before production switched over to the 56 model in September of that year. In astonishingly clean condition, Maddie will turn 60 years old this coming year. She looks pretty damn good for an old girl.

Auction: Elvis's 1963 Rolls with phone

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Elvis's 1963 Rolls Royce, complete with this car phone, will be auctioned off next month with an expected hammer price of $200,000 - $300,000.

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Darth Vader's car

Darth Vader's car as imagined and built (life-size) by Hot Wheels.

Possibly the most genius don't-text-and-drive PSA ever

Volkswagen and ad agency Ogilvy Beijing created this powerful and sneaky PSA for moviegoers in China, to warn of the dangers of being distracted by your smartphone while driving. We don't know that the footage is genuine, but even it not--it's a powerful concept. More at Ads of the World.

How car crash test photography is done

When you're finished, here's more car crash test porn from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (via Laughing Squid)

Documentaries about Formula 1 racing

A collection of links gathered by filthy light thief. [MeFi]

Building Boing Boing's Happy Mutant Mobile

This post is brought to you by Ford.

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Above, our lovely mascot Jackhammer Jill in 3D-printed ABS glory! This 9" model of Jill will get hand-painted and rigged with advanced bubble-blowing technology before being mounted in a place of honor on the hood of our Happy Mutant Mobile! As we've posted, our sponsors at Ford agreed to support the customization, modification, and transformation of a 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon into what we (and you) imagine for a Boing Boing vehicle. (Original announcement here and check out all the posts here!)

Theresa Contreras and her talented team of makers at L&G Enterprises in San Dimas, California are tirelessly tricking out the vehicle with a cabinet of curiosities behind the rear door, 'zine/comix library behind the side door, projection screen for viewing psychotronic films, a mobile video blogging studio, and numerous amenities like a 3D printer and cold drip coffee maker. Oh, and just wait until you see the mindbending exterior artwork from our hyper-talented friends at We Buy Your Kids. Below, rough blueprints and in-progress shots of the woodwork and the interior.

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Murder machines: why cars will kill 30,000 Americans this year

Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says, "We just published a piece about how streets came to be the exclusive domain of automobiles (spoiler alert: they didn't start out that way). Among other sources, we interviewed Peter Norton, author of Fighting Traffic, and Ben Fried, the New York editor of Streetsblog."

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Boing Boing's Happy Mutant Mobile now under construction!

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We are thrilled to announce that work on the Boing Boing Happy Mutant Mobile has begun! As we said, our sponsors at Ford agreed to support the customization, modification, and transformation of a 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon into what we (and you) imagine for a Boing Boing vehicle. (Original announcement here. Check out all the concept designs here!) Theresa Contreras and her talented team of makers at L&G Enterprises in San Dimas, California have already started building out the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon. Above, a glimpse of the open side door revealing the rough rack design for our zine, book, and comix library! And here's a shot of the unfinished framing for the cabinet of curiosities behind the rear door. So beautiful. Photo 4

We will post more images as the Happy Mutant Mobile magic continues to unfold. We're also thrilled that in the coming month, longtime BB reader Ryan Powers will join us in visiting L&G Enterprises to see Ryan's idea for a bubble-blowing Jackhammer Jill hood ornament come to life! Also on the customization list: exterior art, a roll-down projection screen, tricked-out coffee station, and of course a mobile blogging/video studio inside the vehicle! Plus more. Much more. Below, additional photos of the rear and the in-progress interior.

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Snow vehicle, 1924

This film demonstrates a concept snow vehicle made in 1924 by Armstead Snow Motors in Michigan. "The concept is applied to a Fordson tractor and a Chevrolet automobile." Here's the patent! (via Accidental Mysteries)

Scary tire commercial from Japan

Japanese tire dealer Autoway released this commercial to scare you into remembering the importance of good traction. I think that's the point anyway.

Boing Boing's Happy Mutant Mobile: Submit your ideas!

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Illustration: Kevin Dart

Boing Boing is building out a Happy Mutant Mobile! Can you please help? Our sponsors at Ford have agreed to customize, modify, and transform a 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon into what we (and you) imagine for a Boing Boing vehicle. Here are some of our ideas: Behind the vehicle's side door is a library of curated 'zines, books, and comix free for browsing. The rear doors open to reveal a cabinet of curiosities world of technology, science, and art. The cargo space is a mobile blogging/video studio for on-the-road interviews.

We have a slew of ideas that we'll show you over the coming weeks, and we bet you have even better ones! Please share them with us in the comments over at our BBS, on Twitter (#happymutantmobile), Facebook, or Google+. You can even email us or deliver via passenger pigeon. Doesn't matter if you describe it with a sentence, a paragraph, a drawing on a napkin, blueprints, a 3D model, or an interpretive dance. We're just excited to check out your most ingenious, creative, unusual ideas for how to remake the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon into a Happy Mutant Mobile!

Over the next month, we'll pick some of our favorites, get them illustrated by our favorite artists, and post them to the site. We'll be selecting our first batch this coming Monday, December 2. If yours gets selected for posting, we'll send you a Boing Boing t-shirt! Whoever comes up with our absolute favorite idea will be invited to join us in person at the mod shop to see the actual work in process. It'll be an all-expense paid trip. Flights within United States only. Travel and expenses limited to $5,000 total. Posh. Where? Somewhere cool. We'll tell you later.

Below are the modification restrictions. We'll be taking out all of the passenger seats so there's plenty of room inside. Go wild. You're not paying for it. And you don't have to do the work yourself either.

Thanks for helping us make the Boing Boing Happy Mutant Mobile! See you on the road!

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The Rob Ford Jean-Claude Van Damme Volvo Splits Parody video you've been waiting for

Of the many parody videos poking fun at this epic Volvo ad, I believe this one poking fun at Rob Ford by NYC-based visual effects firm Artjail VFX may be the best. [Video Link, HT: @peteyreplies].

1970 road trip with science fiction great Thomas M. Disch and poet Marilyn Hacker

In 1970 SF author Charles Platt (above, right) drove with Thomas M. Disch and Marilyn Hacker from New York to California. Sounds like quite a trip!

After an obligatory Howard Johnson’s roadside dinner in Pennsylvania, Tom suggested that since none of us wanted to see the eastern states, he could continue driving till around 5AM while I slept on the rear seat, after which we’d trade places. I duly passed out in the back, but woke abruptly a couple of hours later, sensing that something was–different. Then I realized that the car wasn’t moving.

Heavy rain was hammering the windshield and the roof. “Where the hell are we?” I asked.

”Interstate 80,” said Tom.

I peered through the side windows. “But you stopped in the fast lane!”

He gestured at the water pouring down the windshield. “Well, no one can possibly be driving in this.”

Tom was a very intelligent person. In fact he wrote a whole book, once, about intelligence. Common sense, however, was another matter. “Get this car onto the shoulder, immediately!” I yelled at him. He muttered and grumbled but did as I asked. Moments later a huge truck roared over the section of asphalt where we had been parked before I woke up.

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Driving off the side of a mountain in Colorado

Charles Platt wrote a funny account of the time he drove a ’68 Olds 442 convertible from NY to CA for a car delivery service and careened off a mountain road in Colorado.

In June, 1971 I was living like a bum in the area of New York City that used to be known as Spanish Harlem. As a 26-year-old British immigrant, I dreamed of driving fast, dangerous cars and visiting all the contiguous states as cheaply as possible. My dreams seemed impractical, but an outfit named AAACon could make them happen. The “AAA” in their name suggested that they were a part of the American Automobile Association, but of course, they weren’t. As for the “Con,” I don’t know what it meant, or maybe they just weren’t being very subtle. They operated out of a one-room office that was almost as small and sleazy as my apartment. A receptionist leafed through a magazine while a couple of young men who looked like failed real estate salesmen talked on phones. My task was to get one of those guys to let me have a free fast car to fulfill my dream.

Auto-Biography: Olds 442 Trans Am Party Time

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Ford Transit modded into mobile library

This post is sponsored by the Ford Transit Connect.

As regular Boing Boing readers know, we are all big library geeks. Nothing beats browsing rows and rows of books where you can take anything that tickles your fancy home with you to read... free! That's why we loved the story of the Batram Trail Regional Library bookmobile, a transformed Ford Transit Connect that replaces the library's 30-year-old vehicle. When the bookmobile and its dedicated librarians visit children's schools, the little ones climb inside while the bigger kids browse their own shelf exposed by opening the Transit Connect's sliding door. If the Batram Trail Regional Library bookmobile isn't parked at pre-K facilities, daycares, and special needs schools, it's likely on its way to a nursing home or making housecalls to homebound readers. Georgia's history of bookmobiles goes back to the Great Depression when custom pick-up trucks piled with books were driven from county to county. Times have changed, but the mission to bring books to everyone remains the same.

VW Beetle with rooftop camper

I'm posting this to make Jason jealous (Via Tiny House Pins).

A Visit To GM Headquarters, 1957

My friend Charles Platt (author of the excellent introductory guide Make: Electronics, which was O'Reilly's best-selling title) has written a 3-part reminiscence about his father, Maurice Platt, who worked for a British GM subsidiary, and the trip that Charles made with him to Detroit in 1957 when he was 12 years old.

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Woodworker mods Ford Transit into camper van

This post is sponsored by the Ford Transit Connect.

When talented woodworker Eric Cournoyer isn't immersed in sawdust, you'll likely find him amongst the trees in their more natural state. An avid outdoorsman, Eric frequently mountain bikes the back trails around his home of Worcester, MA.. After seeing a friend's traditional camper van, Eric was inspired to create his own handcrafted custom camper that would double as his daily driver. The Ford Transit Connect proved to be the perfect platform for Eric to remake into a mobile base camp. His approach? Fine carpentry expressed through a modular box system that's easily reconfigurable for quick trips from his city's streets into the surrounding wilderness.

Sunlight reflected by building melts car

A London man blames a new 37-story skyscraper under construction for melting his Jaguar. Apparently, sunlight reflected off the building, known as the "Walkie-Talkie," and melted parts of the car. According to the BBC News, the construction company left a note on the man's car and paid for repairs. The City of London has closed three parking spots as a precaution while the situation is under investigation. This reminds me of the Mythbusters' "Archiemedes Death Ray" episode which I happened to have just watched again yesterday!

EU investigates equipping cars with automatic speed limiters

Mr. Hagar, in Europe you can and will drive 55.

In a move to reduce the 30,000 annual traffic fatalities in Europe each year, the European Union is planning to equip cars with technology that senses the speed limit and applies the brakes if the car is speeding.

The scheme would work either using satellites, which would communicate limits to cars automatically, or using cameras to read road signs. Drivers can be given a warning of the speed limit, or their speed could be controlled automatically under the new measures.

EU plans to fit all cars with speed limiters (Thanks, Matthew!)

Update: From the Blogs of the European Commission: “The Commission has supported past research into ISA. There is a current stakeholder consultation and study focusing on speed limiting technology already fitted to HGVs and buses. One aspect of that is whether ISA could in the long-term be an alternative. And a second consultation on in-vehicle safety systems in general. Taking account of the consultation results, the Commission will publish in the autumn a document by its technical experts which will no doubt refer to ISA among many other things. That is all. (NB such 'staff working documents' are not adopted by the Commission at political level and have no legal status.) Nothing more is expected in the foreseeable future."

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Boing Boing Ingenuity: A look at Ford's OpenXC real-time data platform

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On August 17-18, 2013 in San Francisco, Boing Boing is hosting its first ever large-scale live event, called Boing Boing: Ingenuity, in partnership with Ford C-Max. The invitation-only extravaganza starts with a hack day on Saturday (8/17) and will continue on Sunday (8/18) with a mind-bending theatrical experience of presentations, performances, oddities, and wonder! (Read David's post about the hack day here.)

On Saturday, the hacker teams will be given the opportunity to use OpenXC, Ford's open-source platform that connects smart phones and tablets to real-time vehicle data, in their projects. Indeed, the theme of the hack day is "Data Driven." To learn more about OpenXC, we spoke to Ford Research Lab Leader TJ Giuli.

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