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May 282009
 

Daniel Lewis

For some of you who have been hit hard by the recession, you may have a hard time deciding on what you need more. Do you need a fuel efficient, 1.8 ton tow capacity, versatile truck, or a goat who has fleece, milk, and gets rid of weeds in an eco-friendly way? Tough choice right? Well in New Zealand, when you purchase a new Mitsubishi Triton before August, you now get a free goat! You hear that? That’s the sound of a recession-stricken nation rejoicing!!!

Mitsubishi Triton

In a drive to help the rural community stave off the recession, Mitsubishi Motors is supporting primary productivity by offering a free goat with every new Triton sold before August.

“We firmly believe that New Zealand’s recovery is in the hands of the rural sector and they’re the people who are buying our utes,” said MMNZ general manager of sales and marketing Peter Wilkins. “Goats, like our Tritons, are hardy, versatile units, which will integrate directly into existing farm operations”.

“Goats improve farm productivity by providing an environmentally friendly defence against noxious weeds and they’re a lot cheaper than toxic sprays”.

“Goats also provide export commodities that can help improve our balance of payments. They grow a fine micron fleece, much like the renowned Merino, which can be used to produce high-quality garments. Goat’s milk provides a nutritious alternative for the growing number of lactose intolerant people and while goat meat is seldom featured in Western restaurants, developing countries consume vast quantities,” said Mr Wilkins.

“And, most importantly, there is no such thing as Goat Flu – so no threat to tourism. It’s hard to see a downside,” he added.

“At MMNZ, we are aware that three years of drought has severely depleted sheep and beef populations, so what better time to ‘float the goat’?” said Mr Wilkins. “We’ll supply a free goat with every Triton sold before August and do our bit to loosen the grip of the recession”.

“On the off chance that the purchaser already has enough goats or feels that goat herding is better left to those in drier climes, we’ll supply a ‘no goat package’ consisting of a five-year/100,000km extended warranty, five free WOF inspections, 5,000km road user charges, five years of roadside assistance and $500 of genuine or approved Triton accessories,” Mr Wilkins said. [Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand]

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May 262009
 

Daniel Lewis

I think this is the sweetest wine bottle I’ve ever seen. I don’t really care what it tastes like. What I do know is that I want a bottle of this in my house. After searching through Google, it was pretty hard for me to find a price (~$70), and I still haven’t found a place where I could buy this bad boy.

Neil Ashmead GTS

Neil Ashmead GTS
bottle3

“Elderton’s Neil Ashmead GTS 2008 Grand Tourer Shiraz is a tribute wine who’s packaging celebrates the life and loves of the late Neil Ashmead, a passionate South Australian wine man who had a lust for life and a love of fast cars.

Playing on Neil’s passions and reflecting his outgoing personality, the design pays homage to the Holden GTS – complete with go-fast stripes, shark gills and topped with a 6-speed gear stick. A winner’s wreath neck-label completes the package.” TheDieline.com

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May 182009
 

turtle_wax_ice_wheel_cleaner
I have to admit that one of the biggest reasons why I hold off washing my car is cleaning the wheels. As I am sure many of you will agree, it really is a pain in the butt, especially if the wheels have an intricate design with all those nooks and crannies that hide / hold brake dust and grime like no other. And when they are some pricey wheels like the Volk CE-28N wheels on the in-house Evo IX MR, you don’t want to use a cheap product that may scratch or damage such expensive wheels.

While visiting the local Pep Boys, I noticed a new wheel cleaning product from Turtle Wax – ICE Wheel & Tire Cleaner. With a solution in a spray bottle and a detachable wheel brush, it looked like a worthy product to check out. I had been looking for a soft wheel brush that could fit within and between the spokes of the CE-28Ns without banging things up. Of special concern was finding a brush that could fit into the center section of the wheel, where the Rays lugnuts are quite recessed for any ordinary wheel brush to fit. The ICE brushhead looked like it could do the job.

In practice, the product works really well. Pulling the trigger produces a foamy spray, which do a great job of clinging to the wheel surface, pulling off much of the brake dust and grime. And the brushhead is very effective in doing final clean up duties on the wheels, especially handy for the tight confines at the center of the wheels, where lugnuts tend to hide / mask surrounding contamination. Compared to the old way of cleaning wheels – with a microfiber towel and solution – using the ICE system definitely cut down on wheel cleaning time. So much so that I may actually clean them on a regular basis rather than waiting for the wheels become so dirty that they look like bronze anodized wheels from all the accumulated dirt and brake dust!

I do have a question and a comment for the folks at Turtle Wax, however. How safe is the solution for the sensitive clearcoats on aftermarket wheels? And I would recommend coating the brush handle area with a thin layer of rubber so that the plastic handle that could mar or scratch the wheel being cleaned. Will have to wait to see what the folks at Turtle Wax have to say.

P.S. – all of our “Cheap Thrills’ product reviews are unendorsed, honest-to-goodness evaluations; we pay for the product ourselves and try it out; whether it’s stellar or just plain sucks, we’ll definitely you know!

Sourcebox

Turtle Wax, Inc.
P.O. Box 247
Westmont, IL 60559-0247
1-800-Turtle Wax

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May 122009
 

Daniel Lewis

As American Express would say, “Membership has its privileges.” And that’s certainly the case with membership in the Motor Press Guild.

At their latest Power Tour event, one designed to “open the doors” to some of the best private automotive collections around, we were treated to three stops. Starting with an immaculate collection of hot rods and customs, then a collection of race cars that competed in some of the hallmark open wheel events in the US, and a final stop at the newly opened Honda Museum, we were treated to sights that are not open to the public.

But that doesn’t mean we can share our experience with you. Check out the following photos of some of the baddest cars & race cars in Southern California and make sure you have a napkin on hand to wipe the drool from your face!

 

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May 082009
 

Check out this awesome video of Lamborghini’s Super Trofeo GTR at Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy. Here are some quick facts about this Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 modified for the track:

Cost: ~$260,000.00 USD
Weight: ~2800 lbs.
Engine: 5.2 Liter V10
Horsepower: 570

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May 052009
 

Daniel Lewis

Scuderia Ferrari, which means Ferrari Stable, is one of my favorite stables to stay up to date with. While everyone may have been talking about “Mine That Bird” from the Kentucky Derby this past weekend, the pony that I was watching was the Ferrari 599XX. Here is Ferrari’s take on the newest speed demon to come out from its stables:

While based on the 599 GTB Fiorano ,with the same transaxle layout and engine type, this prototype is an extreme track car. Ferrari’s engineers have carried out extensive work on the engine’s combustion chambers and inlet and exhaust tracts. These modifications, combined with the fact that internal attrition has been reduced and the maximum revs have been boosted to 9,000 rpm, helped achieve the target power output of 700 hp at 9,000 rpm. Particular attention was also paid to cutting the weight of the engine unit components. This was achieved both by optimising forms – as in the new crankshaft – and adopting exclusive materials, as in the carbon-fibre used for the intake plenums. A new gearbox shift strategy cuts overall gear-change times to 60 ms.

The 599XX is characterised by an innovative electronic concept called the ‘High Performance Dynamic Concept’, which has been designed to get maximum performance from the car by managing the combination of the car’s mechanical limits with the potential of its electronic controls. The mechanical and electronic systems work together to get the maximum performance from the car under extreme high performance driving, for consistent lap times. The sporty handling has been improved thanks to the adoption of second generation SCM suspension system. Track usage is also made easier thanks to the new ‘virtual car engineer’, a screen in the car that provides a real-time indication of the vehicle’s efficiency.

The 599XX’s aerodynamics were honed in numerous Wind Tunnel test sessions with the result that the car now boasts 280 kg of down-force at 200 km/h (630 kg at 300 km/h). The front underside of the body is completely faired-in and the vents that channel hot air from the engine bay have been moved to the bonnet.

The ‘Actiflow™’ system increases down-force and/or cuts drag, depending on the car’s trim cornering conditions, courtesy of the use of a porous material in the diffuser and two fans in the boot, which channel the air flow from under the car out through two grilles next to the tail lights. Winglets have been added to the rear buttresses to increase downf-orce, while synthetic jets have also been incorporated into the rear of the car to control and smooth the air flow and to reduce drag. Ferrari’s engineers have also used F1-derived ‘doughnuts’, which partly cover the brake discs and wheel rim. These have the dual functions of improving aerodynamics and cooling the brakes.

In terms of the bodywork, composites and carbon-fibre have been widely used and the engineers drew on their experience in working with aluminium to reach the weight target. The development of increasingly high-performance materials has also benefited the carbon-ceramic braking system. The brake pads are now made from carbon-fibre, which means the callipers are smaller while guaranteeing the same efficiency. The new racing carbon-ceramic braking system also delivers shorter braking distances and is generally more efficient due to the weight saving.

The 599XX comes with slick tyres (29/67 R19 front and 31/71 R19 rear), specifically developed to maximise stability in cornering and increase lateral acceleration. They are fitted to 19 x 11J wheel rims at the front and 19 x 12J at the rear. Ferrari.com

These pictures of the new 599XX have just been released for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!!

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May 012009
 

ayrton_senna_1991_united_states_gp2

1991. Phoenix, Arizona. The United States Grand Prix. It would be the first and last time I would personally see Ayrton Senna blaze by in the McLaren-Honda livery that started my fascination with Formula 1. Taking the pole and the win, it seemed business as usual for the Brazilian driver.

Exactly 15 years ago at the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, Senna would go straight on at Tamburello and eventually die from his injuries later that day. Racing fans around the world were shocked and mourned the loss of probably the greatest racing driver of all time. Three F1 driver’s titles, numerous records for poles, wins and fastest laps. Any car, any where… he made it go faster. His 2 second gap over Alain Prost during qualifying at the 1988 Monaco GP is just one example of the sheer speed and brilliance this man possessed.

We miss you, Aryton.

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