Cocktail Chatter: July 12, 2013

Kindred spirits, potholes, and semi trucks.

What cocktails go best with all this car chatter? is here to help with weekly recipes. Remember, this is for talking about cars, not driving — always designate a driver. We’re going classic this week, with a fresh-squeezed margarita. Combine 1.5 ounces of tequila with an ounce of fresh-squeezed lime juice, and ¾ ounce of agave nectar in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garish with a lime wedge and enjoy the sweet-yet-tangy flavor.


All Good Things Must End: And so, after a 23-year production run, the Renault Magnum semi truck was discontinued earlier this month. Launched in 1990 as the Renault AE, the Magnum turned the European truck industry on its ear – and it’s not hard to see why. The giant six-foot-tall cab was mounted high above the frame and engine compartment, allowing for a flat interior floor and an cabin as apartment-like as the truck’s exterior styling.

Despite a few interior and exterior refreshments and a slew of different engine upgrades designed to keep the truck up to snuff with emission standards, the Magnum’s monstrous, blocky design was left untouched. Alas, the Magnum was finally axed in favor of Renault’s new T-Line of trucks, which promises more modern appointments, new technology, and improved fuel economy. Pity it doesn’t look anywhere as revolutionary as the Magnum did.

Some may choose to remember the Magnum by re-watching the Transporter 2 flick, but why not watch Jeremy Clarkston mess around with one on Top Gear?

Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor

Potholey Intervention: When 65-year-old Ray Lee collapsed and his pulse raced to 186 bpm, he called an ambulance to rush him to hospital. He was suffering a ventricular aneurysm, and ambulance staff worked to keep Lee healthy on the way to the hospital. Fortunately, the ambulance slammed over a particularly bad pothole — one so bad that the entire ambulance bounded and shook, and Lee was briefly launched up from his stretcher. When he landed, the impact cured his aneurysm and sent his pulse back down to 60 bpm. “I was told afterwards they would have done a procedure in the hospital to stop the spasm in my heart, but driving over the pothole did the trick,” Lee told the Salisbury Journal. “I guess there are some potholes that ruin your car and others that save your life.” Lee is now officially the only person in the world who likes potholes.

Jake Holmes, Associate Web Editor

More than Meets the Eye: Most people don’t really care to know how their cars work. They want to start the ignition, put the car in drive, and get from A to B. However, I’m not one of those people and I love this great time-lapse video of a 3.2-liter Porsche flat-six being torn down. It reminds me that there’s so much more than meets the eye to every engine.

Donny NordlichtAssociate Web Editor

Click here for video

Kindred Spirits: When you drive a hot car, impromptu street races sometimes just … happen. I try to avoid such situations, but last Saturday morning, a gold 1977/78 Pontiac Trans-Am flashed past me and the slow farm truck I was following. Clearly exercising the powertrain more than being in a big hurry, the driver of the Pontiac wasn’t far ahead when I had my chance to pass the truck. Piloting a 550-hp Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, I closed the distance quite quickly, but the Pontiac driver saw me closing the gap and stood on the gas until he was doing probably 95 mph, with T-top storage bags flapping in the back seat and a peculiar fishy smell coming from the exhaust pipes. He — like me, a professional driver on a closed course, naturally… — wasn’t able to pull away from the Benz, but the two cars actually seemed pretty evenly matched. Until we approached a stop sign or a curve, that is, when he drove his vintage machine very conservatively. On the straights, though, he continued to wring out the old ‘bird, and I stuck right with him with twin-turbo AMG power, enjoying the sight of an old muscle car blasting down the road. As it was meant to do.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

All Things Dearborn?: It’s not quite accurate to say that Silicon Valley is listening to Detroit, but in a remarkable reversal, the computer industry is now listening to the auto industry. On Wednesday, Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally visited Microsoft’s Seattle headquarters and gave business advice to CEO Steve Ballmer. AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher quoted Mulally generalities like; “A key part of the Ford transformation, as you know, has been everyone working together, with an organizational structure and operations absolutely focused on delivering the plan.” Swisher didn’t report anything about Mulally describing to Ballmer how he got rid of Mercury, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, and almost, Lincoln. But they must have discussed that in private. On Thursday, Microsoft reorganized eight product divisions into four broader divisions. The reorganization’s name? One Microsoft. Now Ballmer ought to return the favor and fix MyFordTouch.

Todd Lassa, Executive Editor

The Velveteen Horse?: Nothing really surprises me anymore when it comes to the lengths people will go to in the quest to personalize their cars so I wasn’t particularly shocked when I saw the image of a Ferrari 599 parked on the street in the U.K. covered entirely in what appeared to be black velvet. Was the owner attempting to make his Ferrari feel more like an actual prancing horse? Many of the Twitter users who saw the image did not see the humor with some condemning the owner for defiling such a desirable and expensive car. Put down the pitchforks people, the 599 owner is in fact protecting his car, not defiling it. The ‘velvet’ is actually an adhesive vinyl wrap coated in synthetic fibers that can help prevent minor scratches and abrasions as well as sun damage. It can also be used inside a car to protect the dash and console.

Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor of Digital Platforms

Cars and Films: As a designer, I have a fond appreciation for clean, simple and minimalist design. I’ve seen several different collections of minimalist movie posters done by graphic designers across the globe, but I recently stumbled upon one that focuses on cars in well-known feature films ( Beautiful, hand drawn cars are accompanied by the movie title as well as a list of starring actors in the film. This series features 14 posters, with well-known cars from movies such as “Back to the Future,” “Ghostbusters,” and “Goldfinger.”

John Kalmar, Graphic Designer

The Big 4-0: 40mpg is the hot number these days, and it was in the news quite a bit this week with the 2014 Mazda 3 rated at 40mpg on the highway and GM’s announcement that it will double its number of 40mpg models by 2017. It’s the de facto number for any automaker who wants to be taken seriously in terms of fuel economy. But I don’t understand why everyone seem so beholden to the EPA highway ratings: is it for advertising purposes? Certainly it’s a number that sounds good in a commercial or catches your eye on a billboard, but I think the EPA combined number should be more relevant to consumers. The EPA specifically revised their test a few years ago to better reflect the driving habits of real people on real roads, but the highway test still has an average speed of only 48.3mph. The combined number is much more reflective of how we actually drive, but a number like 32 or 33 just doesn’t have the same weight as 40.

Joey Capparella, Associate Web Editor

Labor of Love: Is there anything as tedious, frustrating, and wonderful as working on your car?

David Zenlea, Associate Editor

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