Tuesday, January 10, 2012 02:04
I was shocked to discover that running stoplights and stop signs was still illegal.
From observing drivers in South Carolina where I live, apparently they’re required to run stoplights and stop signs to enter a two-lane rural highway, but ONLY if:
- There is fast-moving vehicle within 150 yards traveling in the lane the stop sign runner is about to enter
- The stop-sign runner is going only short distance
- The sign or light runner is going to do it slowly
Several times, I’ve been forced to use full-emergency anti-lock braking to avoid someone who ran a stop sign to go 100 feet at 15 mph before turning into a driveway. If a South Carolina driver waits at the stop sign, it's almost certain he’s going to travel more than 10 miles. More...
Friday, June 17, 2011 07:00
Street rodders are an innovative lot, to say the least. Ed Matula is a case in point, having built three ¾-scale ’32 Ford HiBoy rods. Not only are they downsized, but also have unusual powertrains: two with electric motors, and another, shown here, with a Honda motorcycle engine.
It all started as a chance encounter at the SEMA show several years ago, when he strolled by a magazine booth with a ’32 Ford on display. “That’s cute,” he thought to himself, then did a double take, realizing it was smaller than original. Turns out Chupps had cut down an original body to create a pint-sized Hi Boy.
After acquiring the body and frame package, Matula modified the chassis so it would accept electrified motivation. That setup with lead-acid batteries proved to be workable around town, good for a 50mph top speed and a range of 50 miles or so.
Looking for a more versatile powerplant, he spotted a Honda Goldwing for sale that was a basket case, and being parted out. Initially he thought the driveshaft configuration of the 80hp engine would make it a fairly simple install, but he discovered the offset required a dual-sprocket arrangement with a short chain to turn the differential shaft on the ’80 Datsun pickup rear end. (A Chevy Luv truck can be used as well, but the track is wider and doesn’t look quite right.) More...
Friday, May 27, 2011 08:00
NASCARs have been called “rolling billboards” because of the logos and decals covering almost every square inch of the body. So when a bunch of NASCAR stars takes to the road to raise money for a charity, you’d expect them to drive cars decked out in their racing colors and sponsors’ names, right? Guess again, because starting with the first Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America in 1995, the stars of stock-car racing have parked the four-wheelers and switched to motorcycles for the run.
Since its inception 17 years ago, the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America has raised more than $14 million for children's hospitals and the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a camp for chronically ill children in Randleman, North Carolina, that was founded by Petty and his wife Pattie after their son Adam was killed in a crash at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2000.
The ride began in a Waffle House restaurant, where Kyle Petty, Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway, and a friend in the TV business were holed up during the blizzard that postponed the 1993 Cup event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. While they waited out the storm, they came up with the idea of taking long motorcycle rides centered around race weekends. They decided to make it a charity ride so their wives couldn’t veto the idea.
This year's ride, which began in Lake Placid, New York, and ended in Amelia Island, Florida, consisted of about 90 motorcycles and a total traveling party of about 200. What started as a way to get some saddle time between races has evolved into a major event. “We stop in these little towns we go through,” Petty says, “we pull into gas stations, and there's 100, 150 people waiting for us.
Check out the website Kyle Petty Charity Ride for more information and loads of photos of the ride.
Friday, March 18, 2011 06:56
Sometimes it seems as if there’s a natural antagonism between those who favor four wheels and those who get along just fine with two. But car drivers and motorcyclists have more in common than you’d think, including a appreciation for high-performance machinery that transcends the wheel count. Case in point, the new BMW safety car for MotoGP, the Formula 1 of motorcycle racing.
BMW has provided the official MotoGP safety car since 1999, and recently extended the agreement through 2016. The latest safety car is based on the 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe, and will hit the track for the first time at this weekend’s Grand Prix of Qatar. It’ll be decked out in BMW Motorsport’s signature tri-color paint scheme, with wheels and exhaust tips finished in black. A rear wing, a chin spoiler, and an Akrapovic exhaust will give the car the added oomph it needs to keep from getting run over by 200-mph MotoGP bikes.
It’s an odd fact that a lot of top-flight motorcycle racers don’t ride on the street, preferring to get around in fast cars instead of on fast bikes. So it’s appropriate that one MotoGP rider will take home a new BMW at the end of the year. The rider who qualifies the fastest at the most events during the 2011 season will be awarded a new BMW 1 Series M Coupe. Last year, eventual 2010 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo qualified himself right into the driver’s seat of an M3 Sedan, and you can bet he’d like to park another BMW alongside it at the end of this season.
Friday, March 4, 2011 06:00
What is it about the past that some people just can’t let go of it? Judging by the Morgan Threewheeler, it’s because the past was more fun. And what could be more entertaining than a car that’s part motorcycle, part fighter plane, and part Star Wars pod racer?
Based on the iconic Morgans made from 1911-1952, the modern Threewheeler is powered by a 117-cubic-inch, fuel-injected X-Wedge engine made by S&S Cycle in Viola, Wisconsin. The torquey V-twin puts out a claimed 115 horsepower and is mated to a five-speed Mazda gearbox with reverse. The combination is emissions-legal in the U.S. and Europe, and, given the Threewheeeler’s estimated curb weight of 1100 pounds, ought to provide plenty of excitement when you step on the loud pedal.
If the Threewheeler looks a lot look a WWII Spitfire fighter plane, it’s no coincidence. Morgan says the idea was to make it look as much like a plane as possible, and to enhance that look you can order your Threewheeler with U.S. military and British Air Force logos, or oval racing numbers and stripes, even a shark nose. More...