Car Pranks: The Good, the Bad and the NFL Rookie

Pranked cars

A car prank can be either one of the funniest things to do to a friend or one of the meanest and most expensive.

When pranks are done right, they might cause a small inconvenience, but in the end, everyone laughs, and the only people out any money are the ones who committed the prank. Hopefully the cost isn’t any more than the price of a few rolls of plastic wrap.

But a prank can get out of hand and even evolve into a dangerous situation pretty fast.

Keep reading for an NFL-size version of a good prank as well as a few examples you’d do well to avoid.

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Cars Coming Soon: 2013 Land Rover Range Rover

2013 Land Rover Range Rover

Losing 700 pounds is a big deal.

Thanks to an all-aluminum body and part-aluminum chassis, the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover weighs a good 700 pounds less than the outgoing 2012 model.

Can a truck with the tough, go-anywhere reputation of a Land Rover succeed wrapped in a metal that’s easy to damage and expensive to repair?

Considering how few of these barges actually make it off road, I think it’s a good move by Land Rover. The design, though, leaves something to be desired. Anyone else see too much Ford Flex in there?

Regardless of how it looks, this newly unveiled Rover should be one impressive machine.

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Falling Cars, Falling Records and Falling Snow at 2012 Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Pikes Peak Hill Climb crash

I’ve driven the Pikes Peak hill climb.

Okay, maybe not the Hill Climb, in capital letters, like the one that took place on the Colorado mountain this weekend, but I’ve driven up Pikes Peak for an entirely separate occasion. It took me a good 30 minutes to negotiate the switchbacks, curves, dirt sections of road and harrowing vistas of road ending in sky.

That drive gives me a new appreciation for the brave souls who actually compete in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, a flat-out timed race to the summit. Compared to my time of a rather leisurely 30-40 minutes, the competitors make the 12.42-mile 156-turn drive in about 10 minutes.

But at least I didn’t fly off a cliff and roll 10 times down the side of the mountain when I made the drive. That, plus falling snow and falling records dominated this year’s Hill Climb.

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Do Old Used Cars Really Cost As Much As New Ones?

2012 Toyota 4Runner

The definition of “old” has changed a lot. An old car, according to me, has been in service for a good decade. Even that definition can be stretched, since I own two 2004 vehicles that are coming up on a decade of life but still run like new.

So an article with the headline “Old Cars Are Worth Almost As Much As New Ones,” caught my attention. I clicked, read the article and felt deceived. The “old” cars mentioned were one model year old. Whoa! That makes my cars museum-worthy.

Of course a 2011 vehicle is going to sell for something close to the price of a 2012. That’s no surprise. It would be really interesting if cars that are three or four years old were selling for close to the price of new, but that’s not the case. Even two-year-old Toyota and Honda cars sometimes sell for close to the price of new.

The article says,

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Another EV Burns, Internal Combustion the “New” Trend

Fisker fire

I haven’t made a secret of the fact that I’m not sold on hybrid or full electric vehicles.

While I believe cutting back on our use of oil can only be a good thing, doing so through the use of chemical-laden battery packs and coal-produced electricity kind of misses the point of helping the environment.

Since this hybrid hype began many years ago, I’ve been a staunch believer in the humble internal combustion engine. Many automakers believed the ICE could be refined to offer the kind of fuel savings the planet, and the planet’s drivers, need. Smaller-displacement engines and turbocharging can go a long way in boosting MPGs while keeping costs down. Why invent new technology when we can improve existing technology? I saw two stories this weekend that helped cement that belief.

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The Path Toward a Driverless Nation

Google self-driving Lexus RX 450h

Thirty years ago, eight in 10 Americans ages 17-19 had a driver’s license. Today, it’s six in 10.

That’s the lead to a story at ScienceDaily, which goes on to give lots more stats about the decrease in licensed drivers in this country.

Many teens today don’t care whether they drive or not, and that percentage will probably just continue to drop. In today’s world, when kids can drive on Xbox and instantly connect to friends through technology, the need and desire to move about in the real world is diminishing.

While that’s great for the safety of America’s teenagers, it’s terrible for our car culture. In 20 years ask a guy about his first car, and he’s likely to respond, “A 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia, from GranTurismo on my old Xbox 360.”

Add Google’s self-driving cars to the mix, and car passion is at serious risk.

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Cars Coming Soon: 2013 Honda Accord Looks Better Than Ever

2013 Honda Accord

We’ve spent plenty of time here lauding the design of Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren, Aston Martin and the like. Rarely do we take a moment to applaud the more accessible cars. The cars most of us drive every day aren’t the type to grab attention for their design, at least not in a positive way.

Cars for the masses are typically either understated and bland or so modern that they quickly show their age.

The Honda Accord certainly falls into the bland category, though images of the 2013 version have just been released, and things are looking…well…a little less bland!

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Mind-Boggling Future Car Tech That Can Really Make a Difference

Headlights in the rain

I like in-car technology. To a point.

I can’t live without heated seats, air conditioning and a pumping audio system, but back-up cameras, internet connectivity and touchscreens are all beyond the realm of necessity in my book.

With each new model year, there are new techno bits placed in our cars that are meant to entertain and inform us, but usually just end up distracting us. Even the stuff meant to keep us safe seems redundant and unnecessary to anyone who actually pays attention while driving. Blind-spot monitoring? Turn your head. Lane-departure warning system? Drive straighter.

But how about technology that can see through rain and snow, eliminating that scary white-out situation we’ve all experienced on the nation’s highways?

That’s a box I’d check on the options list of a new car.

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New Cadillac ATS May Boost Demand for Used CTS

2013 Cadillac ATS

2013 Cadillac ATS

In its quest to finally field some decent competition to the BMW 3 Series, Cadillac has finally brought its ATS to the masses. While it’s a fantastic car, it probably won’t be the BMW-slayer GM wanted.

The ATS to best compete with the 3 Series is the V6 version, which starts at $42,990. That’s within a few dollar bills of the bigger CTS, so I don’t envy the salespeople who want to steer folks to the smaller sedan. The two 4-cylinder ATS models obviously cost less, but don’t offer the giddyup needed to adequately play in BMW’s league.

The biggest competition to the ATS, I think, is a decked-out late-model CTS. Or dare I say it, a CTS-V.

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One More for the Road: Last SSC Ultimate Aero Something Special

2013 SSC Ultimate Aero XT

SSC North America, once known as Shelby Supercars, is famous for producing the record-breaking Ultimate Aero. That car once held the distinguished title of Fastest Production Car in the World, before being unseated by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport.

Next on SSC’s agenda is a car to replace the Ultimate Aero and, the company hopes, regain its speed title. The car for that assignment is the yet-to-be released SSC Tuatara. But as Ultimate Aero production winds down, there is one more version for a few lucky buyers—a version that’s Tuatara on the inside and Ultimate Aero on the outside…

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