Tuesday, February 28, 2012

First Welcome to CESA blog

Welcome to CESA Automotive Electronics blog, place for information exchange between experts on automotive electronics.
We are preparing today the next edition of our big conference CESA 2012 in Paris on this subject and hope to start already on this blog the discussions of our round tables.

Link towards the event : http://www.sia.fr/evenement_detail_cesa_ii_congress_1128.htm

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Old Nascars rock!

Kind of like the saying that some things get meaner as they get older. Vintage Nascars were much cooler than their counterparts of today. Take a look at this photo from the fine folks over at Hemmings Motor News. This shot taken in 1956 at the Holman-Moody shop in Charlotte, NC. This shows the then new, and essentially stock 1956 Fords campaigned that year. Two sedans and two convertibles. This was when stock car racing was really exciting since you could go and buy the same cars you saw tearing up the tracks. Things were so much simpler then.

Source: Hemmings Motor News

The Car Show on Speed: Canceled

This one is a little hard to swallow. If you're a die hard car guy like me, then you undoubtedly tuned in for The Car Show. It has come to my attention that the show has been canceled after one season. Speed channel's answer to Top Gear, The Car Show was hosted by all around car guy Adam Carolla, auto journalist Dan Neil, friend to AAM and Smoking Tire.com founder Matt Farrah, and at one time former NBA star John Salley, The Car Show was a practically perfect mix to be a true U.S. version of Top Gear. It was almost a perfect storm for everything to work against the show. It was on Speed, but didn't focus on Nascar, circle track, or drag racing, but instead focused on cars and car guys. Then there was the removal of John Salley from the hosting team. Which I can understand, you could tell he was really out of his element. Salley may have liked car, but he seemed like a small fish swimming in shark infested waters with the die hards of Carolla, Farrah, and Neil. Another big blow was the steady schedule changing. Speed changed the format of the show and took it from an hour and cut it down to a half hour show. The Discovery Channel reformatted their HD Theater channel and turned it into Velocity which is another network that is catered to car guys. There's some other non car shows on the network, but the car shows they have cater to the true automobile enthusiast. I know that I'm really upset to see The Car Show canceled, and I don't normally voice my displeasure unless it's absolutely necessary, so I voiced my opinion to Speed via their feedback page, and I would highly, highly recommend that you do to if you are a fan of The Car Show. Let the folks over at Speed KNOW what kind of shows you want to see.

Image source: Speed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 returns to the big screen

James Bond fans of the world can cheer in the return of the iconic silver 1964 Aston Martin DB5 that has come to symbolize Agent 007. This picture has surfaced from the set in Scotland of the latest Bond flick "Skyfall", showing current Bond, Daniel Craig behind the wheel of the classic 1960s sports car. Fans will instantly recognize the BMT 216A registration that has been shown on the DB5 since it's launch in the 1964 classic Goldfinger. This year celebrates the Bond film series' 50th Anniversary. So maybe there will be some other Easter Eggs dropped throughout the film when it's released this fall.

Source: World Car Fans

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Saabs of our lives: No news is good news?

News about Saab's future is sketchy at best. News has been very slow about what is happening in Trollhattan. Here in North America, Saab dealers are about at their wits end with the company. There have no new cars in months, sales have plummeted, and now there's no money coming in from warranties. But all of that came to an end last month with the announcement that Saab North America was essentially pushed into bankruptcy filings by the Saab dealers themselves who filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy on January 31st. This means that Saab will go in to full liquidation. Saab NA, has essentially been shut down since December 19th when Saab Automobile filed for bankruptcy protection in Sweden. As of January 13th, 80% of Saab NA's employees had been laid off. Now the U.S. headquarters in Royal Oak, Michigan will shut down sometime this month. McTevia & Associates who was appointed as the administrator prior to the bankruptcy filing says that they are still working on finding a buyer for Saab's parts distribution arm as there will still be a demand for Saab parts.

Source: Automotive News.

Driving America: Love Bug

I was honored to recently have a story published by The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn Michigan honoring car fans and their memories of their first car. The stories are being collected as part of their "Driving America" exhibit. My story is not unlike millions of others memories of their first car. But few can say that they still have their first car. Not only do I still have my 1972 Super Beetle that was purchased in 1992, I also still have my first new car. A 1999 VW New Beetle. Please read my story here. Driving America. Leave some feed back here. Let me know about your first car memories.

Source: the author, The Henry Ford

Saabs or our lives: Saab NA Hertiage Collection up for auction

Many of you may remember our posts from a few weeks ago concerning the Saab Museum in Sweden going up for liquidation sale and the subsequent saving of the collection.

Now the same fate awaits the North American end of Saab's Heritage Collection. The Saab Club of North America and Hemmings Motor News are reporting that Saab North America's collection will all hit the auction block this week. .However, this sale is being conducted a little bit different. The Saab museum has a vast collection of cars, where the Saab North America's collection consists of only 11 cars that are all significant in their own right. As such, the entire collection of 11 cars will be sold as a lot rather than breaking the collection up. This is unfortunate, but it will for at least the time being preserve the collection as a whole. And what the collection lacks in size, it makes up for in variety. There are production cars, race cars, and even a prototype convertible.

McTevia & Associates is handling the sale and all bids are to be submitted by noon on Friday February 10th. All bids are to be submitted to the attention of  Dennis McTevia. The Saab Heritage Collection is located in Sterling Heights, Michigan and are being sold as is, and on bill of sale only. So you would have to be creative in order to license any of the cars for road use.

Here's a sample of some of the cars in the collection. Well, at least the ones I really like.

There were only 6 Saab Sonetts built in 1956. So this is probably the most significant car in the collection. This was the second car built that year.

 This 1960 Saab 96 is a genuine rally car. It won the 1960 RAC Rally of Great Britain and was driving by Saab and rally legend Erik Carlsson. I don't think you would want to submit this car to vintage rallies today.

I have always been a huge fan of the Saab 99/900 Turbo coupes. This 1978 99 Turbo was a one year only car and had a production run of less than 4,500 units. This example shows less than 40,000 original miles and has been meticulously restored to like new condition.

Following on the success of the 99/900 comes the 1986 900 Turbo convertible prototype. What's really col on this one is the rear spoiler has been carved out of wood rather than the molded rubber of the production model.

This 1987 9000 Turbo sedan was one of three cars built for the FIA Saab Turbo In The long Run challenge at Talladega Raceway (Save me Tom Cruise!) in October 1986. The three cars featured sealed engines and transmissions, a full roll cage, and six point safety harness. The cars were treated to 20 days and 20 nights of straight driving and the only repair parts that could be used  would be 179 pounds of spares carried in the cars during the challenge.  During this time, each car racked up over 100,000 kilometers and averaged between 130 and 133 miles per hour and covered over 3,000 miles per day. Quite an endurance test. All 3 cars still exist. One in Saab Museum, one at Talladega, and the car pictured here. These cars also beat Talladega's average speed record set by Ford of 132.5 miles per hour. Saab also set 21 International and 2 World Speed Records.

Saab would again return to Talladega in 1996 with a fleet of new 1997 900 coupes in an effort to break their records set in 1986. The cars were set up no different from the 1987 models and followed the same strict guidelines set by the FIA. At the end of the challenge, 18 of Saab's records were beat and an additional 22 International Speed Records were set. For more info on the Saab Talladega challenges, check out this great article over at Hemmings.  

We'll keep you updated as we hear more about the sale and potentially where the collection will end up. 

Source: Hemmings Motor News