Archive for the ‘Car Accessories’ Category

Car Keys are So 2012… But What Could Replace Them?

December 31st, 2012

Remember when some cars, GM vehicles specifically, required two different keys? The little round one unlocked the doors and the little square one started the engine.

Then technology grew to combine those two keys into one, so drivers no longer had to fumble with separate keys to gain access to their vehicles. Soon key fobs were invented and the door unlock key became altogether unnecessary as a simple push of a button handled all locking and unlocking functions.

Of course, for modern civilized humans, the act of inserting the key into the ignition and twisting it required far too much effort so the push-to-start button was invented. That gave drivers the convenience of never needing to remove their keys from their pockets.

What’s next in the evolution of car keys? Probably their complete disappearance.

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How Chevy and Apple Might Stop “Webbing”

November 28th, 2012

Chevy MyLink Siri

Next to drinking and driving, texting while driving is the surest way to cause impairment in a driver’s ability to control a car and react to quickly changing traffic conditions.

Now that smart phones have infiltrated nearly every section of humanity (hey, I just got one, which is a sure sign everyone else in the world already did), they are wreaking havoc on the focus of drivers everywhere. With Facebook updates, NFL scores and email access just a thumb-swipe away, it’s easier and more tempting than ever to take eyes off the road and lose them in the all-too-familiar comfort of the retina display touchscreen.

USA Today report cites a study that recently polled 4,000 drivers aged 18 and up. The study discovered a truly alarming amount of people surf the web while driving, which apparently is now known as “webbing.” (No comment on the lameness of that new word!)

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How To Ruin a Camaro ZL1

November 21st, 2012

813 Customs Camaro

This blog post could be finished with that one picture. Sometimes words just aren’t necessary to further explain an automotive atrocity.

As a natural-born writer, though, certain words simply erupt from my fingers when I look at this picture. Many of them unsuitable for a respectable blog.

First, I should note that I can appreciate a good car modification as well as anyone. I know a lot of time and money and skill goes into tearing down a vehicle and rebuilding it to exact specs specifically suited to an individual’s tastes. That’s partly why I’ve been in love with car culture so long: A vehicle can take on the persona of the person behind the wheel. And that’s pretty cool.

But this… this I just don’t get.

Perhaps the saddest part of this custom job is the donor was a Camaro ZL1. The GT500-killing 580-hp superbeast that reigns supreme as king of the muscle cars. Think the car you see above will turn a lap at Leguna Seca in 1:39.18 or blast to 60 in 3.8 seconds? Nope. So why not use a base V6 Camaro for this custom job when all performance is lost anyway? That’s where I get lost. Even more confusing, a turbocharger was added to the 6.2-liter V8, which I can’t imagine will ever get used.

The work was done by 813 Customs in Tampa and includes a gold vinyl wrap (at least it’s not actually gold-plated), 30-inch Forgiato wheels, a custom dash and a completely re-worked interior to handle at least 8 million speakers and three 23-inch TVs. I didn’t know one 23-inch TV would fit in a Camaro.

813 Customs Camaro, interior

The 813 Customs Facebook page is littered with comments about the car, some even positive. For the few who see this work as an improvement on the ZL1, you’re in luck. The company has its creation up for sale.

The 813 Customs Camaro ZL1: Yes or no?


Used Chevrolet Camaro
Used Ford GT500

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Cars Coming Soon: Vehicles Without Electronics?

November 8th, 2012

iPad Mini in car

Imagine shopping for a new car. You pick out a model you like, open the door for a test drive, take a seat, start the engine and reach for the radio knob. Only there’s no radio knob. Or touch screen. Or navigation unit. In fact, there’s nothing to suggest this new car offers any kind of entertainment or technology other than the required driver input information.

What’s going on? Is this car a throwback to the days of basic transportation when no air conditioning or car stereo existed? Is it the result of the government trying to limit driver distraction? Or is the lack of technology actually a sign of some of the greatest in-car tech ever used?

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Cars Coming Soon: Hot Hatches of SEMA

October 18th, 2012

Hyundai Velocity SEMA car

If you want to see some seriously over-the-top designs and custom work on cars, the SEMA Show in Las Vegas is where you need to go. Massive wings, wide body kits, outrageous colors and more turbos and intercoolers than you can shake a stick at all shout for the attention of show visitors.

This year’s show, just a few weeks away, won’t disappoint the tuner crowd. Especially with the treats being served up in the form of a whole lot of Ford Focus ST variations, and one very special 400-hp Hyundai “Velocity.”

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Beat the Drought: Wash Your Car!

July 6th, 2012

Washing a car

At last count, drought covered 56 percent of the continental United States. Crops are dying, people are sweating, and A/C units are chugging down freon like people are drinking water.

Intense heat pounds most of the country. Oftentimes, I’m shielded from triple-digit heat in my tucked-away Washington state location, but even my local weather girl has warned of hundred-degree misery come Monday. That panics me. But I have a way to deal with it.

I’m going to wash my car.

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5 Personality Types and the Modified Cars They Love

June 29th, 2012

Modified BMW 3 Series

The car you drive tells all your fellow motorists what kind of personality you have. Whether you’re the guy who cuts people off in a new Porsche Boxster, the dude headed into the woods with the NRA-branded 1972 Ford F-100 or the girl in the ’05 Jetta on the way to a college class, your car is usually a dead giveaway of who you are.

Real car enthusiasts aren’t satisfied with a typical bone-stock car and want to customize their rides to more accurately convey the personality of the mysterious human residing behind the tinted windows and buzzing bass.

Which are the best cars to customize to suit your personality? Read on, friends.

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The Car Wars: Ford Versus Apple

June 13th, 2012
iPhone on dashboard

The Siri button: Coming soon to a vehicle near you

While the iCar once envisioned by Steve Jobs will probably never materialize, that doesn’t mean the Apple experience will never infiltrate our cars.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that the Siri personal assistant will not only reside in our iPhones, she will soon take up residence in our cars.

According to Cook, within the next 12 months, drivers will be able to hit a button on the steering wheel and instantly connect with that now-familiar disembodied voice so many of us have become reliant on.

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The Apple iCar That Will Never Be

May 21st, 2012

Apple iCar

Steve Jobs achieved world domination in his life.

There’s no doubt, through Apple, he changed the way we interact with our world and each other. The iMac, iPod, iPad and iPhone were all game-changing inventions from Apple. Could it be that Jobs wasn’t done with his world-changing ideas before he died in October 2011?

According to Apple board member Mickey Drexler, in an interview with Fast Company, Jobs had his sights on bringing his intuitive style and innovative technology beyond the computer industry and into the automotive industry.

“Look at the car industry; it’s a tragedy in America. Who is designing the cars?” Drexler said. “Steve’s dream before he died was to design an iCar.”

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The Solution to Distracted Driving: The Dash Robot

April 23rd, 2012

BYD's in-dash robot

Considering how many products the “Made in China” tag has been applied to in the United States, it’s amazing that cars have not been added to the list.

That won’t last, as rumors of a Chinese car company entering the U.S. market have circled for years. When it will actually happen remains unknown, but when it does, we could be in for a repeat of the Hyundai/Kia story that has unfolded over the last 25 years.

Would the first Chinese cars to arrive be as low-quality as the very first Hyundais were in 1986, or is it possible that the cars will impress with a quality no one expects?

Well, if the first Chinese car to come here has a talking robot that pops out of the dash, things could get interesting. Weird, but interesting.

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