If it\’s got an engine. . .

Dorri probably likes it

If it’s got an engine . . . has moved

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on July 31, 2007

Please visit us at www.ifitsgotanengine.com.  The new home of If it’s got an engine. . .


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The Next-Generation automobile

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on June 18, 2007

For all of the different styles of automobiles around, it’s amazing how similar they all are to each other. Doors that open outward (in almost every case). Driver in sitting position with passenger beside him. The list of similarities goes on and on.

How many standard features of our cars could be done differently, if not for convention?

Some are obvious; the steering wheel could easily be replaced by a joystick or rudder pedals, etc. The accelerator could be replaced with a lever, as in jet planes. The rear-view mirrors could be replaced with video displays.

What’s not so obvious?

What makes a car a car, exactly?

As an aside, many of the previously obvious characteristics that make a car a car have been challenged in recent years. Ignition keys – once all cars had them. Not any more; remote keyfobs take their place in some new cars. Analog speedometers have been displaced by digital displays in a dizzying number of cars, and heads-up displays are available, as well.

What’s next?

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Are electric cars ready for primetime?

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on June 14, 2007

It sure seems so.

In the last couple of years, several all-electric autos have been announced. While most of them are from independent companies created for the purpose, even Chevrolet is a player.

Tesla Motors

The Tesla Roadster appears to have the best shot of being produced.

Tesla estimates that their home charger will require 3.5 hours to fully charge the lithium-ion battery pack if it is fully discharged. The batteries will give a 200 mile range per charge and last for 100,000 miles before needing to be replaced.

The car is being assembled by Lotus Cars and will sell for $92,000. Their FAQ states that cars will be delivered by Fall 2007, but the order page says June 2008.

Lightning Car Company

The $300,000 Lightning GT takes an even more performance-oriented approach with 700 horsepower worth of electric motors mounted directly in the wheels. They estimate 0-60 mile per hour times of 4.0 seconds.

Lightning is currently taking orders for 2008 delivery.

Chevrolet Volt

The Chevy Volt can operate as a pure electric car for only 40 miles at a time. GM says that this is sufficient for 78% of all commuters. The Volt; however, carries an on-board generator and gas tank sufficient to give it a 640 mile range at 50 miles per gallon.

The Chevrolet Volt’s electric motor is rated at 160 Horsepower which should be good for a 0-60 time of 8.5 seconds.

No pricing information or production time frame is available.

Posted in electric car | 2 Comments »

Saturn Vue – One Step Up, Two Steps Back

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on June 8, 2007

Most car companies strive to make each successive generation of their automobiles better. Most do. Typically, new versions of cars are roomier and faster. Just look at the line of Honda Accords. Along the way, however, they end up heavier. The automakers strive to avoid this, but it happens.

The newest version of the Saturn Vue isn’t any larger than the outgoing model. This is a refreshing change, and on first look, seems to indicate that GM is finally waking up to the $3.00/gallon realities facing motorists today.

Look a little closer, and the truth rears it’s ugly head.

The new Vue is heavier than the model it replaces. The new Vue is slower than the model it replaces. The new Vue gets worse gas mileage than the model it replaces. The new Vue is more expensive than the model it replaces.

But at least it’s not any roomier.

Posted in GM, Saturn | 1 Comment »

The (thrice) Unwanted Mangusta

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on May 25, 2007

About six months ago one of my friends at work told me that he had bought a disassembled 1967 Shelby GT350. It seems that it had been sitting at a body shop for the last 10 years. The owner of the shop had taken it and a 1969 DeTomaso Mangusta in for some work and, after stripping the GT350 and ordering a bunch of new parts, realized that the owner wasn’t around anymore.

My friend had known about the cars for the last three years. It took him that long to convince the owner to sell him the Shelby.

The shop owner wouldn’t sell the Shelby without selling the Mangusta with it. That’s twice that it had been scorned.

My friend bought the shop owner’s interest in both cars for ~$30K and proceeded to file the necessary paperwork to title the Shelby.

Enter original owner.

The day before the title was to be issued, the original owner shows up and wants his cars back, after ten years.

After much legal wrangling, the judge rules that the original owner must pay storage fees on both cars for the last ten years, amounting to $84,000.

Much to my friend’s dismay, he coughed up the dough for the Shelby, and the unwanted Mangusta changed hands again.

Posted in Mangusta, Shelby | 2 Comments »

My new Car and Driver seemed a bit skimpy . . .

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on May 3, 2007

. . . in the content department.

When I received my new Car and Driver magazine, I read it cover to cover, as usual. I noticed that it seemed like there were more ads than usual.

When I counted pages, here’s what I found:

Total pages, counting inside front and rear cover:

Total pages of advertisements:

Total pages of content:

Percentage of magazine not advertisements:

Kinda hard to believe they don’t pay me to read it if it’s mostly ads.

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My next toy

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on April 28, 2007

Lately I’ve been putting a lot of thought into what car I will buy next. I don’t really need another car, so this would be just for fun.

In my mind, I’ve laid out some requirements:

  • Fun – This could mean convertible, fast, unique, whatever. Just not a Taurus.
  • $15,000 or less – There is an amazing variety of cars available in this price range, as long as you aren’t dead-set on a new car.
  • Reliable – Who wants a car that you can’t drive. I don’t know if my next car will be a daily driver, but I want that option available to me.

Some options so far:
1997-1999 Corvette
!993-1995 Mazda RX-7
1977-1981 Trans Am (Nice ones are getting expensive)

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I’ve never considered myself much of a Corvette person. . .

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on April 4, 2007

But I think I have changed my mind.

A friend of mine (yes, that friend) has a 1997 Corvette. He’s done a bit of work to it, exhaust and intake, etc. I’ve driven it a few times before, and been impressed. He offered to sell it to me, and loaned it to me for a few days.

I think I have to buy this car.

Not only is it silly-fast, but during the time I was driving it, I averaged 26.5 mpg.

As much as I drive, it will almost pay for itself in gas savings over my BMW. (I just did the math. It’ll take a little over nine years to pay for itself. Oh well)

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The Automotive X Prize – A competition after my own heart

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on April 3, 2007

From their website:

The goal of the Automotive X PRIZE (AXP) is to inspire a new generation of super-efficient vehicles that help break our addiction to oil and stem the effects of climate change.

Briefly, there will be two classes of vehicles, both of which must be mass producible and achieve 100 miles per gallon of gasoline. One class will have at least four wheels and carry at least four passengers. The other class will carry at least two passengers and has no minimum number of wheels. (I’d like to see zero!)

All teams that create vehicles meeting these criteria will enter said vehicles in a race (races?). The fastest of these will be crowned the winner and collect the prize.

The full guidelines (open for a 60 day public discussion) can be found here.

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Speaking of Cafe Racers. . .

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on March 18, 2007

I came across this one the other day and was amazed. I used to own a Suzuki Savage and would have thought that it would never make an acceptable cafe racer.

I haven’t been able to find out who made it. The only information about it that I’ve found is in this forum thread.

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