Monday, December 29, 2008

Over 70,000 Visits To My Blogs!

Another day, another milestone.  Over 70,000 visits to my blogs so far - quite a nice number to have at the end of the year.

Here's me looking serious, to celebrate :)

vikram singh

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Ridiculous" Is Spelt "Maybach Landaulet"

The Mayback Landaulet, or 57S, is a study in over-the-top luxury.  What qualifies it as over-the-top?

  • Is it a 612 hp, 738 lb-ft of face melting torque?
  • Champagne cooler and 2 silver flutes, held by an automatic clip? (what?)
  • Reclining rear seats?  Leg rests?
  • 40 inches of rear legroom?  (where's my business class seat?)
  • Retractable hard top.... only for the passenger?  (what? why can't the chauffeur have an open roof as well?)
  • Illuminated vanity mirrors (ooh, how pretty we are)

No.  Those are run of the mill (cough).  What is over the top is the black star granite, sourced from India, that is in the passenger section.  Granite.  Stone trim.  Shaped to fit the car's interior. 

This is ridiculous.  I love it.

maybach top

maybach open top

Maybach 62 Landaulet interior

maybach interior

maybach champagne



maybach seats

Friday, December 12, 2008

Top Gear VoTW - BMW M3 CSL

Jeremy Clarkson took the BMW M3 CSL to the Isle of Mann to test it out. 

The Isle of Mann is a driver's dream - no speed limits outside the towns!  Do whatever you feel like doing.... just remember there will be other idiots doing the same.

The BMW M3 CSL is an amazing machine.  It makes a regular M3 look like a Honda Civic. 

  • Nothing that adds extra weight-
    • no air conditioning
    • no radio
    • manual windows
    • carbon fibre roof (don't roll over!)
    • cardboard.... yes, cardboard!..... trunk floor.  in other words, groceries shouldn't weigh more than a few pounds
  • An engine that squeezes out more horses from the same volume
  • Slick summer tires; before you buy the car, you have to sign a waiver saying you understand BMW is not responsible if you drive in rain or snow.  Now that's a race car!

Check out the video

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Top Gear VoTW - Porsche Carrera GT

(VoTW, of course, means Video Of The Week)

Jeremy Clarkson drove and reviewed the Porsche Carrera GT.  He was completely floored by it. 

The Stig must have loved it too - at that point, the Porsche GT was the fastest car around the Top Gear track.

I wish I had Jeremy's job.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Foiled! The San Francisco Auto Show

Yoshi and I decided to go this Sunday, Nov 30, to the San Francisco Auto Show.  Turns out we were a little off the mark - the show ended on Saturday. 


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A New High

Normally, between them, my blogs get around 500 visits/day.  This Monday, November 24, my blogs hit a  new milestone - 1,240 visits

Sweet!  This calls for a random photo - how about one from Kosmix' 2007 holiday party.  Nagraj and Sailesh are flanking me.

kosmix party

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bugatti Veyron Top Speed - James May

Top Gear has showcased the Bugatti Veyron, the  world's fastest car, a couple of times.   I specially loved the episode where they had "Captain Slow", James May, try to get the Bugatti to its top speed, 253 Miles per Hour.  Whooo

The segment has everything - a likeable, muddle-headed protagonist set against impossible odds, an incredible goal, a magnificent machine, top speed driving, and an emotionally charged soundtrack threatening to bring tears to your eyes.

Forget your local movie-plex, just watch this episode a few times instead.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Milestone For My Blogs - 50,000 Visits

On Tuesday this week, my blogs passed 50,000 visits.  Sweet! 

The blogs, of course, are:

And on a smaller scale, my profile on blogger has now been viewed 550 times. 

Supercar Photos Of The Week - MC1

David Hilton is the man behind the designs for the Ford Mustang, Focus RS and S-Max.  That's a nice resume.

He is now working on the MC1, a British supercar.  Britain is not too bad at building supercars and concept cars - witness the latest batmobile.   And the MC1 is very drool-worthy.


mc1 supercar

  mc1 door


mc1 top

   supercar lights

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X - Aggressive Styling

My brother-in-law, Mr. A (a former rally driver), bought his Evo X around the same time I bought my BMW 335i convertible.  We love our own cars, and have mutual admiration/ drool-factor over each other's cars too.  So this is my homage to the Evo X's amazing functional and extremely aggressive styling. 

mitsubishi lancer evo 10

Amazing, isn't it?

evo grill

Check out that hyper-aggressive grill! 

lancer evo

evolution 10

the side and rear look better than this photo shows

And now some action shots:

evo 10

evo x

The engine, the culprit that powers this monster

evo engine

Brembo brakes, of course,  for this monster of a car

brembo brakes

evo brembo brake

Recaro racing seats, to keep you from flying out of the car on turns

recaro seats  

A big old spoiler to keep the Evo on the road, exhaust pipe to funnel away the baaad gaaas

evo spoiler

 high performance exhaust

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Photos Of The Week - BMW 335i Ambient Lighting

I love the BMW 335i Convertible, I really do.  One of the really nice and warm features - the ambient lighting.

bmw ambient lighting

door sill lighting

And finally, a gratuitous view of the interior, with red leather.  You know when a red leather interior looks good?  When it looks like this!

bmw interior

Monday, November 3, 2008

Car Companies In Trouble


GM - October sales have fallen 45%


Ford - down by 30%


Toyota - down by 23%


Honda - down by 25%

Given how bad terms for financing are becoming, new car sales will probably take some time to adjust back up.  On the other hand, people selling used cars are probably getting great offers right now.

Car makers are quite good at advertising - it will be interesting to see how they respond, and try to change the market.  Look for lots of great deals around the new year! 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Chrysler Update - Driving Off Into The Sunset?

There is an update to my earlier update on Chrysler's plant shutdowns and layoffs.  Seems Chrysler is more than doubling the number of full-time workers getting laid off - the number is 5,000, or a quarter of Chrysler's full-time workforce.

This doesn't even tell the full story;  the company has a very large number of contract employees.  Chrysler has mentioned a quarter of them will also be let go.... but it doesn't need to specify the number of contractors let go, so there's probably a lot of blood-letting there.

What does all this point to?  Chrysler putting itself up for sale, or something else equally drastic.  Or, only selling a much smaller sub-set of their current auto lines (eg: selling off Jeep).  Wow.  I wonder if this will be another car company from a developing market (think Tata buying Land Rover and Jaguar),  or time for the Private Equity firms to get back into action.

Check out the page on Chrysler in RightAutos, a Kosmix site.  (Ankur Jain is the product manager).

chrysler autos

Signs of a Downturn - Chrysler Layoffs, Plant Shutdown

Chrysler is laying off close to 2,000 people, by shutting down a Delaware factory (despite the favorable tax rules there?), and slowing down work at their Ohio plant. 

That's bad for both places, and should also put some influence on the upcoming elections.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Supercar photo of the week

Humle F1

weekly supercar photo

for some reason, this one makes me think of the Plymouth Prowler, and that cheapens the effect somewhat.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Signs of a Downturn - Upheaval at Tesla

What's new at Tesla?  5 items, apparently -

1. Elon Musk has kicked out Ze'ev Drori and become CEO himself.  Drori, of course, was brought in by Elon and his gang after they kicked out founder Martin Eberhard.  These are, of course, all signs of a stable company.  Want some more signs of stability?

elon musk tesla

2. There are rumors that Tesla is looking for another $100 Million in financing.  This is a complete rumor, so lets not think too much about this.  After all, Tesla is very stable, as shown by...

red tesla

3. They're about to have layoffs.  Ooh.  That isn't good.  As I had written earlier, these are the same guys who were about to open a new manufacturing plant in San Jose.  I'm not sure what's going to happen to those plans (although they are going to rely on funding from the Governator and others for that).   Per Valleywag, a tipster says about half the staff is going to be asked to leave, but company officials are begging to differ.

4. But in another ominous sign, their proposed engineering center in Detroit now seems to be gone.  Hmm.  That is sounding a little less stable.  So maybe this helps...

5. Tesla's Model S Sedan seems to have been delayed.  Indications are that it will launch mid-2011.... which sounds like never. 

tesla motors logo

Well, hopefully the girdle tightening helps Tesla survive and thrive. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Finally, some Page Rank for my Tech blog!

My Tech/ Startups related blog finally has some Page Rank.  It is at PR = 2 right now.  That should help me show up higher in Google searches.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Supercar photo of the week

Locus Plethora (2007)

weekly supercar photo

Dig that single wiper.  And that crazy front, with the recessed grill, those deep grooves (ditches?) on the hood, and the weirdly arced head-lights.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Supercar photo of the week

McLaren F1

weekly supercar photo

Gull-wing doors - a supercar isn't a supercar without them. 

I would have bought the McLaren, but the bottom would scrape over the bumps in my driveway.  Too bad

982 Visits on Wednesday!

Wow, my main blog got 982 visits yesterday!  The 1K barrier is close, I can feel it!  I'm racing towards it!


Monday, September 29, 2008

And Now For Some PAGE RANK!

Ah, it took its own sweet time getting here, but four of my blogs now have some Page Rank. 

The older Autos blog is the leader, with Page Rank = 3

The younger Autos blog and my Travel blog have Page Rank = 2 each

And my main, all-purpose blog has a Page Rank = 1

Still waiting for the baby of the group, the Technology/ Startups blog, to get some love from Google.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Supercar photo of the week

The Ascari A10

weekly supercar photo

supercar photo

Top speed is supposed to be 220 mph.  Oh, and just where do you go drive to check that out?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ferrari FXX Supercar - Such Sweet Music

Sometimes, I get bored of listening to music while working.  I've found a grand new distraction - turning on a 3 - 5 minute audio or video of a supercar being thrashed around a track.  It forms the perfect background to anything.

Check out the video of the Ferrari FXX, the chameleon skunk-works Ferrari that is always at the forefront of Automobile technology (never mind the Transformers).  Listen to it.  Just listen to it.  That engine sounds amazing!

New High - Daily Visits for my main Blog!

I'm quite proud of my baby blog - Capoeirista.  Yesterday (Tuesday, September 23, 2008), this blog received 855 visits (per StatCounter). 

Well done!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Amazing Porsche Test Drive

The Porsche Leipzig test race track is a dream destination.  I would one day love to drive it.  Just as with NurburgringLaguna Seca, and any street in Monte Carlo

So first take a look at a video of the Porsche 996 GT3 being thrashed on the track.  Put the volume up as loud as you can!  This helps understand why Porsches generally have sub-par music systems.... the best sound track is the engine itself!

Next, for a truly great experience, go to the URL below, to get the official Porsche lesson on how to drive the Leipzig track.  Click on the "Start Driving" link just below the video.  No while the video is playing, you can choose between alternate screens - one a terrifyingly thrilling road view, that rivals any of the craziest video games;  another a view of the car;  a third of the driver handling the steering wheel, and finally of the virtuoso play of his feet upon the pedals.  Keep switching between views, to get a full view of how to drive on Leipzig!

New High Daily Visits

This cars blog just set itself a new record for visits in a day - 678.  Nice! 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Car Review - 2008 Chevrolet HHR

Yoshi, a friend, rented the 2008 Chevrolet HHR this weekend, and I got to ride in it with him.  So, here's my review -

Chevrolet HHRThe name:  To start with, what's with the name?  HHR?  Healthy Human Resources?  Hullo, Here's Roger?  No, Chevrolet says it stands for Heritage High Roof.  Um....

The looks:  Here is my first reaction - who stretched the Chrysler PT Cruiser, and made it look a little less retro?  To be serious - it doesn't look as nice as the PT Cruiser.  But it isn't too bad.  The exterior does look plastic-ey, and the interior does too.   Which brings us to..

The interior:  The car is long enough, and has a good amount of space in the trunk area (see photo below).  But width-wise?  No, it seems really narrow.  This partly seems to be due to bad interior design.  the center column in front (you know, the one with the radio, air controls, all those pretty knobs and lights) isn't well designed.  It seems too wide, taking up leg room in a car thats already narrow, while simultaneously looking like everything there is pushed together.  Seriously, how can 6 radio buttons in a row look so spacious in an Accord or BMW, but look so crushed together in this car?  (One hint - stop putting extra chrome between buttons!)

And why are the window controls just out of reach, near my feet, at the bottom of that center column?

A nice positive - I loved the interior door handle design.  Loved it!

 HHR interior

The ride:  The ride is like a lot of American cars, unfortunately - a bit like a boat.  You can get seasick while driving in a straight line at a constant speed along a highway.  It isn't as bad as the old Ford Taurus, but still, isn't this car aimed at the younger crowd?

Power-wise, the car is adequate.  Yoshi doesn't push cars, but with what we saw, the car seemed to respond when you needed a little push.  But we got the impression it doesn't like going fast on curves.

Chevy HHR