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

Supercar photo of the week

Ok, so this one is (so far) a total myth.  There has been a lot of talk about Mercedes coming out with a supercar to compete against the Audi R8.  Auto Motor und Sport, a German auto mag, took a gander at creating this concept for Mercedes, thank you very much. 

But I must say, I think it looks smashing!  I would buy it!

weekly supercar photo

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tesla Manufacturing Plant in San Jose

Good news for motor-heads (and electric-heads?) in the bay area.  Tesla is planning a factory spread across an 89-acre plot of land in San Jose.  This factory should bring about 500 - 1,000 jobs to the area, although half of those might be relocations from current locations. 

The new factory should be set up to churn out about 300 of their new sedans a week.  This doesn't sound like a number to put the words "churn out" in front of, until you realize they are currently producing only 10 coupes a week in two locations.   That should help them finally come closer to matching demand.

There is something that could be a snag in the plans - Tesla is looking at a quarter of a billion dollars in financing from Goldman Sachs and the Department of Energy to set all this up.  They're also counting on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's tax breaks to the tune of over $15 Million.  With all the current financial turmoil, lets hope there are no snags.

Tesla sedan

Monday, September 15, 2008

Spy Shots and Video - Mazda Furai

The Mazda Furai concept car is among the top reasons Mazda is going to become a force to be reckoned with in car design - it is mind-blowingly awesome! 

The Furai is the fifth 'Nagare' car, and the final one.  Furai means "sounds of the wind", and thats where the entire car's concept comes from.  Lets just say this - in design, in looks, in sound, this car captures that!  Check out the photos below, followed by the videos - yes, its a real, running car, and only has relatively minor changes needed to turn it from concept to reality!  Amazing.

And yes, it has gull-wing doors.  Sweet!

It has a 450 bhp rotary engine - I'm not sure if that will be kept in the final version of the car.  But listen to the sound in those videos, just listen to that engine!  That is what driving is all about.

Mada Furai

Mada Furai

Mada Furai

   Mada Furai

Mada Furai

Mada Furai

Mada Furai

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Spy Shot - Nissan GT R

Here's a spy shot of the Nissan GT R.  The Top Gear guys loved the car, and covered it in their 2008 SuperCars magazine

spy shot - Nissan GT R

Friday, September 12, 2008

Spy Shots - Lamborghini Murcielago Superleggera

I love spy shots.  Sometimes, even after I finally see the new car out in the open, I find myself missing the excitement generated by the spy shots - including trying to guess what the actual car's shape may be under the camouflage.

I have no such problems with the Lamborghini Murcielago Superleggera.  I was excited when all I knew about the car was its name, when I heard about the specs, and when I saw the spy shots;  and I will be just as excited when I finally see one drive by me.

Lamborghini Murciélago Superleggera

Lamborghini Murciélago Superleggera

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lego Camaro Photo

This is a photo of the latest Camaro... built to scale using just Lego!  Someone named "Crowkillers" built it.  Wow.

And somehow, the car looks even more aggressive in lego form.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Moving up the Google rankings!

I'm quite happy - I'm crawling up the Google ladder.  eg:  search for "Revolution Health up for sale", and my main blog is the second search result.  Sweet!

Or search for "Revolution Health in trouble" - my blog is the third result. 

Wish I could bottle this formula.  Next step - getting my individual, focused blogs (Tech, Cars, Travel) to move up the rankings too.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Spy Shots - Porsche Panamera

Photos captured by Herschel Brown

Well, what can one think of the Porsche Panamera?  The front is unmistakably Porsche.  So is the rear.... after our hearts and minds adjusted to the Cayenne.  And the minor camouflaging isn't enough to confuse impressions of what the spoiler would look like..... unless they ended up without a spoiler.   But still, Porshe, you've just diluted your brand for me.  I can never see Lamborghini doing this!

Random thought - if there's a spoiler, and some machinery to control it (assuming that its not fixed in place, which hopefully it isn't), then how far does that cut into trunk space? 

Porshce Panamera spy shot

Porshce Panamera spy shot

Porshce Panamera spy shot

Friday, September 5, 2008

Spy Shots - Ferrari F149 (Dino)

The Ferrari F149 is now not called the Dino, eh.  But who knows, we might find something else out in October at the Paris Motor Show. 




Thursday, September 4, 2008

Auto Review - Porsche Panamera!!

(posted August 24, 2008)

I love spy shots, spy videos, spy anything for new upcoming cars.  The Porsche Panamera has been a badly kept secret for a while; this uber German car, coming out in 2009, has been photographed and video taped quite a bit.

After the jump, we have 2-minute video footage of the Porsche Panamera, that shows off all the car's lines, as well as some really nice photos.  I have to say, I'm still reserving my opinion on the car - I can't quite figure out what to make of its shape, and the fact that Porsche is now making.... gasp... sedans!  But if I had the chance.. yes, I would indeed want to drive it on the autobahn.

Hope its worth it, to have Aston Martin and Porsche diving into the 4-door sedan market.

Porsche Panamera

Porsche Panamera  Porsche Panamera

Car Review - New Jaguar XF

(posted August 25, 2008)

I haven't driven the new Jaguar XF yet.  I wasn't even paying attention to it coming out, until I saw one driving next to me on Hillsdale blvd in San Mateo/ Foster City.  I haven't reacted to a 4-door sedan like this in quite a while - it was quite the stunner. 

Will the XF bring back Jaguar?  Lets hope so.

Until I have test-driven it, here are some photos. 

Jaguar XF interior

What an interior!

On the showroom floor

I love that grill

The side panels and lines remind one of the XKR

With pretty pretty lighting

The back here looks like it was designed by Lexus.  To older tastes... but thats what Jaguar was always good at, eh

And finally, a shot of the XF concept.  Ooh, can I have one!

5th Gear Supercar Experiment - head turners

(posted August 22, 2008)

The 5th Gear guys put up a pretty interesting social experiment.  They took three supercars and parked them on a busy street for 10 minutes, then counted how many people stopped and stared:

  • McLaren Mercedes SLR  Three Hundred Thousand Pounds!!
  • Porsche Carrera GT Three Hundred Thousand Pounds!!
  • Lamborghini LP640  Two Hundred Thousand Pounds!!

So who won?  The counts were:

  • McLaren Mercedes SLR  - 19
  • Porsche Carrera GT - 78
  • Lamborghini LP640 - 84 people counted, numerous more just standing around and not moving

So I guess I'm buying the LP640;  If I'm spending that much dough, I do want folks to envy me. 

Saturday: 600 Miles to Solvang

(posted June 23, 2008)

After a long week light on sleep, Saturday brought the chance to celebrate with friends... and take my car for its first long-distance drive.

Aileen, a good friend from my days at LifeScan, got married to Neil. The wedding was in Solvang, with the ceremony at the old mission, and the party afterwards at the Crossroads Estate across from the Firestone winery.
The wedding was fun, I got to meet a lot of old friends. The temperature made it interesting - it was 116 degrees!!! I met a 95 year old man, who had moved to Solvang after retiring 44 years ago - he mentioned it was the hottest day in his memory.

Since I was running late, I drove on 101 instead of highway 1. The drive was amazing; I did however drive all the way with the top down, so ended up getting nicely sunburned.

Map of Solvang

I found out another thing - when the temperature climbs above 100 degrees, any speed below 80 mph in a convertible means you sweat continuously.

I left Solvang around 9:30 pm. Since I didn't want to drive while tired, I again had to take 101. (Highway 1 takes an extra 1.5 - 2 hours). Having a new car has made me more careful - I even stopped at a strip mall after King City to take a nap. It wasn't the smartest idea; I had planned on napping for 30 minutes, then buying a coke from McD's and driving home. When I went to sleep, the strip mall was full and quite busy. I woke 40 minutes later, parked under the only street lamp that was still lighted, and with the entire area dark and deserted. I have to admit - I was awake and alert very fast.

Finally got home at 2:15 am. A long drive, and a very enjoyable one. I would recommend you all have a lot of friends, and buy a BMW 335i hard-top convertible. Then convince those friends to get married in Solvang. This gives you the setting for a perfect Saturday!

Tesla Roadster parked outside our office

Today, I found a red Tesla Roadster parked outside our office.  Very cool!   But the owner does need to clean the car a bit - it was quite dusty.  Thanks to John B and Shveta for taking the photos!

Peering into the Tesla Roadster

Its pretty, quite pretty.  But the size seems much smaller when you stand next to it.

Pretty Tesla Roadster

Tesla rear close-up

I like the way they style the "A" in "Tesla"

Tesla roadster rear  The Tesla emblem.  Ooh, I like!


And a final shot, with me showing it off.


Car buying tip - 1 (BMWs)

Are you looking to buy, or thinking of buying a BMW in a year or so? If so, there's a small secret; join the BMW Car Club of America; members with over a year's standing get a nice discount that can range between $200 - $1,500 per forums, depending on the car you bought, of course.

But definitely try negotiating for a discount yourself first, before pulling out this card.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Photos from Yosemite

Yosemite was gorgeous.  But I wanted to keep its photos out of the Car blog.  To see them, check out

(Thats my Travel-related blog)

Car Review - 2008 Chevy Malibu

I drove with a bunch of friends to Yosemite this weekend.  The original plan was to rent a Mazda 6, but we got a free upgrade to the new 2008 Chevy Malibu, with less than 2,000 miles on it.  The best part was that there was plenty of trunk space, so the upgrade was worth it in that regard - we completely filled the trunk, and even had stuff left over for the back seats!

It had an inline 4-cylinder engine with 169 horsepower.  Now I drive a 300+hp monster of a BMW 335i, so I was expecting a disappointing drive.  However, given my lower expectations, the Malibu did well.  It had decent pick-up, nice and comfortable at top speed.  The only hitch came when the accelerator was floored while driving on the freeway;  the engine screamed loudly, the car shuddered a bit, but it took perceptible seconds before it started accelerating.  I would be cautious about overtaking in tight situations.

The car's exterior looks have changed a bit.  I like the new aggressive front grill.  But Chevy had better know what its doing - the grill looks like it would appeal more to younger folks; but I can't imagine the 20 - 30 year old set buying a Malibu over a Honda Accord, a Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, or even the Ford Fusion.  So they might completely miss their current older market segment, who might prefer a more relaxed look.

The interior is nice and relaxed, though, and very spacious, specially in terms of leg room.  I do also like that there is a single "info" button on the steering wheel, which gives you major car data, including tire pressure.  Thing to note, though - seemed our tire pressure readings were off, way off.  The interior has no major bells or whistles, but that's ok in this price range.  

Ok, on to the one major flaw - you can't drive it aggressively on turns.  The car can't maintain its grip, and skids if you aren't driving carefully.  Again, that means the Malibu is really for the 40+ age group, or at the least for the cautious and conservative type.... who like a dash of danger, delivered by the grill.

2008 Chevy Malibu2008 Chevy Malibu2008 Chevy Malibu interior 2008 Chevy Malibu front grill

Finally, a close-up of the aggressive grill

Off to Yosemite today

(posted August 29, 2008)

Off to Yosemite today with a bunch of folks.  We'll be back on Sunday afternoon.  Yosemite temperatures should consistently be north of 80-90 degrees.

I'm also going to drive a rental Mazda 6 on the way.  My co-driver, Adit, is also an avid car enthusiast.  He owns a Mazda 3s Touring Sedan with a 5-speed manual transmission, so already loves Mazdas.  His has a 2.3 liter four-cylinder engine putting out 156 bhp.


Car Review - BMW 335i Convertible (1)

Part (1) of my review of the BMW 335i hard-top convertible:
(posted June 6, 2008)

Disclosure - I liked this car so much, that after test-driving over 50 cars from December - March, I bought one myself. I wanted a build that wasn't commonly available, so had to order one from Germany... which gave me the chance to drive a lot more cars before mine arrived.

So this part of the review is the summary. And the summary is.... its AWESOME!! No ifs, ands or buts. This car is the bomb! To misappropriate a quote from Jeremy Clarkson - its like a sharp Armani suit, but one you can put on all day every day.

Want to spend a very pleasant 10 - 20 minutes? Try building your own 335i Convertible!

Moving from WordPress

WordPress won't allow me to implement Google Analytics, and instead wants to control the metrics I see.  Well, too bad; I'm migrating my blog on Cars over to Blogspot.