Why Radar Detectors Matter More Than Ever

12 Apr

Radar detectors matter more than ever, but you wouldn’t know it from the poorly researched clickbait that was Doug Demuro’s recent article, “Radar Detectors Are Useless Now.”

I like DeMuro. We’ve met. I’ve been reading him since he started at Jalopnik. At his best, Demuro is the Dave Barry of automotive. I laughed out loud at DeMuro’s Plays With Cars. He’s a great entertainer. I also know he’s not an idiot, so I can only assume he was too lazy to Google some basic facts, and willing to sacrifice his readers’ wallets on the altar of alternative facts. Sad!

Why should you trust my opinion? Because I led the team that broke the Cannonball Run record in 2007, driving from New York to Los Angeles in 31 hours and 4 minutes. I also led the teams that set the electric and semi-autonomous records in 2016 (55 hours), the 3-wheeled record (41 hours), the Key West to Seattle record (45 hours, 24 minutes), and similar records across Sweden, Spain and Portugal.

How many tickets did I get? Zero.

If you like speeding tickets, higher insurance premiums, giving your money to the government and trusting people you’ve never met, DeMuro’s your guy. If you don’t, let’s learn why detectors still matter by deconstructing DeMuro’s article line-by-line, starting with the headline:

“Radar Detectors Are Useless Now”

Did DeMuro consult with anyone before his making this sweeping generalization? RDforum.com and RadarDetector.net have tens of thousands of posts from avid detector users. If he needed a second or third opinion on the efficacy of detectors, not only does he have my phone number, he’s friends with Ed Bolian, who broke our Cannonball Run record in 2013 using the same detector I use.

I’ve recently come to a conclusion about radar detectors—an item that many car enthusiasts have considered crucial to avoiding speeding tickets for the last few decades. And my conclusion is: these days, in these modern times, they’re useless. It’s over. There’s simply no point in having a radar detector anymore.

I get emails on a daily basis from car enthusiasts asking what detector to buy. Does DeMuro? Maybe this was his way on cutting down on e-mails and comments he didn’t want to (and couldn’t) answer. That opening paragraph is perfectly constructed to maximize SEO. That last sentence? A beautiful slug complementing the title in Google search results.

Read the rest over at The Drive

The Missouri Auto Dealers Association Hates You, Tesla & America

1 Jan

Tesla

America is under attack, but it’s not the Russians we need to be worried about. It’s car dealers. Not all car dealers are bad, but even the good ones are protected by bad laws, and all of them are protected by dealer associations, who are like ISIS, the IRS and cancer rolled into one.

All four horsemen of the American economic apocalypse — cronyism, cowardice, hypocrisy and protectionism — are represented by dealer associations. The worst of the lot, those of Texas, Michigan and Virginia, are now joined by Missouri’s MADA, whose legal victory over Tesla may deprive them of the right to sell cars in that state.

We need a new House on Un-American Activities Commission, this one focused on anti-competitive forces, who are the real Communists among us.

Competition is at the heart of American economic strength. The opposite of competition is Communism, central planning and failure. Competition is how the United States won the Cold War. It’s how and why species, technologies and business evolve and grow. It’s why homo sapiens are the dominant biped, the World Wide Web crushed the Minitel, and Google eclipsed AltaVista. It’s why everyone is scrambling to catch to Tesla by embracing the technologies they’ve pioneered.

Dealer associations like MADA are terrified of competition, and by attempting to stifle it are hurting you, and weakening our auto sector and the country itself.

Read the rest over at The Drive

Can We Please Stop Pretending Car Hacking Is a Grave Threat?

30 Nov

Hacking

Are you scared of your car getting hacked? The term “hacking” is so broad—and its use in clickbait headlines so vague—as to be meaningless. When was the last time you heard of someone’s car actually being hacked? You haven’t, except for examples which have virtually no bearing on real life.

Your car is as likely to get hacked as you are to get Ebola. Actually, that isn’t true—thousands of people caught Ebola last year. How many private citizens’ cars were hacked? As many as were eaten by Kraken, which is to say, none.

The good news? The nightmare car hack (see below) hasn’t happened. At least not yet. Connected car technologies that will open the door to hacking aren’t quite as connected as headlines would have us believe.

The bad news? The law of unintended consequences means connected cars will almost certainly give rise to new forms of aggravation.

We’re not there yet, but when they arrive we’re going to miss the old days, when car hacking was known by its original name: car theft.

Read the rest over at The Drive

Fiat Heir Lapo Elkann Arrested For Partying Like Only He Can. Also, Allegedly Faking A Kidnapping.

28 Nov

Lapo Elkann

This story has everything: Male escorts! Cocaine! Sports Cars! Italian billionaires! Yes, Lapo Elkann is back in action, showing all those other party boys how to make decadence great again. How? Elkann — Fiat heir and the best dressed man in automotive — was arrested in New York this past weekend for allegedly faking his own kidnapping, according to The Daily Beast.

Of course, the story is incredible. How could it be otherwise? Let me tell you, Elkann never disappoints.

An NYPD source told The Beast that Elkann arrived in the city Thursday night, hooked up with a 29-year old make escort, and they “holed themselves up inside a Manhattan housing project” where they began throwing down alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.

Well, that’s a start. Hard to believe a guy who looks like Elkann would need to pay an escort, let alone someone to party with in New York. Hasn’t he been to The Box? Or Provocateur? Or 1 Oak? But those venues don’t kick off until late. Maybe he couldn’t wait.

Read the rest over at The Drive

Eleven Worst Cars For A Cannonball Run Record Attempt

27 Nov

Cannonball Run

What is the best car for a full on assault on the Cannonball Run record? I’m not talking about rallies by any name. I’m talking about a full-on, balls out race from New York to Los Angeles, where the right gear and police avoidance are paramount.

By now the right cars should be obvious. A supercar on a Cannonball Run? Try sneaking through JFK in a Bin Laden costume.

Sadly, people still don’t want to listen. Let’s face facts. The wrong car will lead to one of two outcomes. Death. Or jail. Actually, there’s a third. A visit to a mechanic, assuming you didn’t bring one with you, in which case you’ve probably already lost. To save those with too much time and money on their hands a lot of time, money and jail time, here’s a list of vehicles to avoid for your next illegal cross-country race:

Read the rest over at The Drive…

And The Dumbest Criminal In The Automotive World Trophy Goes To…

21 Nov

Car Theft

I’ve always wondered what goes on in my garage at night. You know, after I hand the keys to the attendant. Will he take my Morgan out for a spin? Then I survey row upon row of AMG, RS, and M cars, and I know beloved jalopy is safe. There are cameras everywhere. This is Manhattan. If someone saw it cruising around, it’d be on Instagram in fifteen minutes, and it wouldn’t take long to figure out where it came from.

I’m not saying stealing cars is ever a good idea — although trying can be fun — but I AM saying that stealing cars entrusted to you by the owner is a VERY bad idea.

Incredibly, It looks like one Umair Bhatti — the man behind London-based sports car storage business Garaged.comis exactly that dumb.

Read the rest over at The Drive

The Thomas Crown of Internal Combustion: How to Steal $10M of Cars During Monterey Car Week, Part 2

30 Sep

Thomas Crown

This is Part 2 of my investigation into how one could steal $10M of cars during Monterey Car Week. I strongly recommend reading Part 1.

Friday, August 19th: Concorso D’Italiano, Monterey

There she was. My stunning Ferrari 328 GTS, sitting at the end of a row of her sisters at the Concorso D’Italiano, just one of numerous events at Monterey Car Week where I had cars on display. I stood by her for hours, answering questions and accepting compliments on her behalf, desperate to take her home.

That might be an issue, because she wasn’t actually mine.

My name wasn’t actually on her title. She legally belonged to someone else—probably the guy in the Tommy Bahama shorts, many-pocketed safari shirt, and Ferrari-branded red jacket and baseball cap, his legs splayed out in a $19.95 K-Mart folding lawn chair—but she was mine in every way that counted.

She was mine in my heart.

I’d dreamed of her since putting the poster on my wall in 11th grade. I didn’t care if that guy paid for her; he didn’t deserve her. Cash payment isn’t ownership. If he truly loved her, he would have dressed up before taking her out for her big day. Everyone who saw me next to her knew she mine, or they wouldn’t have ignored the legal owner and walked up to me instead to praise my good taste in salmon corduroy jackets from Italian outlet malls. Also, my taste in cars.

It wouldn’t be long before she’d know a better life.

Read the rest over at The Drive

When Oceans 11 Met Pebble Beach: How To Steal $10M of Cars During Monterey Car Week, Part 1

8 Sep

Oceans 11 of Cars

“You can never be overdressed,” said Inga, “you might need a bathroom.”

“I’m sure there will be enough bathrooms at Pebble Beach.”

“There are never enough bathrooms, especially where there is money. The sinks get better and the towels are cloth, but there are half as many stalls, and such people take twice as long. I think just to prove they can.”

I was counting on it.

“And your plan,” she said, “will depend on it.”

Inga was a survivor. Gorgeous, vain, judgmental and condescending, she had German-accented fluency in five languages. She was Audrey Hepburn with a bleached crewcut and two switchblades, one in her purse, the other for a tongue. The first was for cutting cheese. She carried a pocket ashtray in her pocket. She’d never earned a dishonest dollar, what dollars she’d earned. She’d also never passed up a guest house in St. Tropez, or Buenos Aires, or Gstaad, even if she had to drive nine hours in her 2005 Boxster S. Whenever she disappeared for too long, there was a truer story than what was told, or a man whose real name wasn’t Laszlo Kiss, and often both.

She would be the perfect accomplice for what I had planned:

The Oceans 11 of car theft.

Read the rest over at The Drive

How Not to Flee When You Crash Your Expensive Rental Car in Italy

28 May

Morgan Mille MIglia

“We all need to get the fuck out of Italy,” is what I should have said.

But I didn’t. I was being well paid by The Drive to find out whether the Mille Miglia—the legendary Italian road race—was just the Old Man’s Gumball, with a better publicist. You don’t need to be Nostradamus to know that where there are men, money and cars—sex, drugs and crashes must follow.

Now that our supercharged, wood-framed, 1,857-pound, 350+ horsepower, 1999 Morgan +8 rental car was lying in a ditch outside the third-rate Italian village of Sassocorvaro, all I had to do was find the sex and drugs.

“I don’t know about you guys,” I said to my teammates, the shame-ridden Mr. Horn, the sanguine Mr. Glass and the fake-blogger-with-a-press-pass The Tall Man, “but I’m staying.”

Read the rest over at The Drive…