Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Lambos are for midgets // Valet struggles to get in a Lamborghini

Great Car Stories: Chaika GAZ-13, Chaika GAZ-14 in Moscow: Chaika GAZ-13, Chaika GAZ-14: Borrowed in part from one of my other blogs, VreMax , where I reported on this car exhibition that I visited a year ago - in August of 2014...

Borrowed in part from one of my other blogs, VreMax, where I reported on this car exhibition that I visited a year ago - in August of 2014.  

The Chaika (i.e. "Seagull") automobile... which is a luxury 7-seater automobile from the Soviet Union made by GAZ. The vehicle is one step down from the ZIL limousine.

Here are three Chaikas. The first one is a very interesting example.

It is a rare RAO (RAF) GAZ 13S Chaika -- a Chaika customized by Riga Auto Plant (RAF). 

It served as an ambulance car for senior party and government officials.

One was apparently gifted to Fidel Castro.

Check out the taillights and the dual bumper integrated exhausts.

Chaika GAZ-14, rode in one once as a passenger, sat on a strapontin (aka jumpseat) of which there were 2 in addition to the regular seats (seating 5).

GAZ-14 in some 1993 Russian movie.

GAZ-14 exhaust

Old promo pictures of the Chaika.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Uber Wars... Caught on camera: Taxi driver confronts Uber driver

Car & Truck Stories. in Moscow: Ural-ZiS-355M in Moscow: Ural-ZiS-355M: From one of my other blogs, VreMax , where I reported on this car exhibition that I visited a year ago - in August of 2014 .   An UralZ...
From one of my other blogs, VreMax, where I reported on this car exhibition that I visited a year ago - in August of 2014.  

An UralZiS 355 M medium-duty truck seen at that car exhibition.

The 1958-65 UralZiS-355M is a medium-duty truck carrying nominally 3.5 tons (but up to 5 in real life) made at the Urals Auto Plant in the USSR. 

The UralZiS-355M was a new model and not a modernization of the UralZiS-355, itself based on the pre-war UralZiS-5 (the ZiS-5). 

However, certain units were borrowed from other trucks, such as the cabin. For this reason, it resembles an over-sized GAZ-51.

UralZiS-5 vehicles were used mainly in Kazakhstan and Siberia - close to the seat of manufacture. 

In 1962, a small number of UralZiS-355ME export version trucks were supplied to customers in Afghanistan and Finland. 

Over 192,000 were made during its production run. 

At this time, 20 (or, according to other sources, 12) UralZiS-355M trucks remain in existence (including two operational), and this is one of them.

The UralZiS-355M cement truck appears in the cult Russian film Gentlemen of Fortune, a criminal caper comedy, where the four eponymous "gentlemen of fortune" escape a prison facility in its cement tank.

More period pictures of the UralZiS-355M.

Sources: my photography, wikipedia, auto models website, and UralZiS-355M page on the Sibpromtrans website.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Russian internet meme...

Featuring the great Tyson and the equally great UAZ-452.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Driving in Moscow

Monday, November 2, 2015

CRI shortwave 7351 kHz

Postcards show on China Radio International, a shortwave broadcast, including a piece about some car show in the US.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Today had to use this video to have my Ford Focus Key Fob remote opened and battery replaced as the manual wasn't too clear.

However the key had been with a dead battery for several days, so didn't work with a new one either -- apparently due to need to reprogram. 

Which I finally did by turning the ignition switch to position 2 like 4 times within 6 seconds and pressing a button on the key fob.

After that procedure the key seems to work just fine.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Peugeot 308 GTi I Push The Limits - Peugeot Dangerous Monkey Ad

What's going on?
A man and his monkey (whatever) escape in a Peugeot 308 GTi from an American gang (speaking Russian for some reason) and immediately picking up a fight with a Japanese one.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

NYT - The Lonely Death of George Bell

The Lonely Death of George Bell

Neighbors had last seen him six days earlier, a Sunday. On Thursday, there was a break in his routine. The car he always kept out front and moved from one side of the street to the other to obey parking rules sat on the wrong side. A ticket was wedged beneath the wiper. The woman next door called Mr. Bell. His phone rang and rang.

Then the smell of death and the police and the sobering reason that George Bell did not move his car.


 Loose ends began to be tidied up. The car, a silver 2005 Toyota RAV4, was sent to an auctioneer.

The Lonely Death of George Bell

Friday, October 9, 2015

Cabs Are For Kissing: The Taxi TV And Me

Cabs Are For Kissing: The Taxi TV And Me: My God, how I hate these things. For those who may not know, let me first tell you what the Taxi TV is. It's a television monitor situ...

Ravon is Born

As I wrote recently on my other blog, Spotted...Cars in Moscow, Russia has welcomed a new automotive brand, Ravon, which is the same as the old automotive brand UZ-Daewoo (aka GM Uzbekistan Chevrolet). 

Uzbekistan's UZ-Daewoo (currently, GM Uzbekistan) known in these parts of the world for its Nexia, Matiz, Gentra models and also building Chevrolet models such as Spark, Aveo, Cobalt and even Malibu (and earlier Lacetti) is to sell cars in Russia from Oct 8, 2015 on under a new brand called Ravon.

Apparently, Ravon is an abbreviation of Reliable Active Vehicle On Road. At the same time, Ravon means "direct road" (no idea in which language).

Cars produced by GM Uzbekistan are sold under the Chevrolet brand at home in Uzbekistan and were exported to Russia and other states under UZ-Daewoo which will now be replaced by Ravon.

GM Uzbekistan is to offer in Russia the Ravon Nexia R3 (Chevrolet Aveo), the Ravon R2 (the Chevrolet Spark), the Ravon R4 (Chevrolet Cobalt). 

It will also sell the Ravon Matiz and the Ravon Gentra. 

Reportedly, the Ravon Matiz has been restyled. It now has a new interior, ABS, airbags, immobilizer, new bumpers and a new radiator grille. 

The Ravon R2 will receive a new more aggressive radiator grille. The Ravon Gentra was also modernized. Images of new cars are available here as seen at the Ravon brand presentation in a RIA Novosti photoshoot.

GM Uzbekistan also launched an official website of its new brand... which is however empty as of this writing. 

Ravon Matiz at the presentation, nearly entirely obstructed by Ria Novosti water marks.

In the meantime, the Daewoo Matiz continues to sell as... the Daewoo Matiz in Russia... at least the dedicated website is still up.


Found some press photos of the Ravon line-up.

Ravon Gentra (formerly Chevrolet Lacetti)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

American Car Brochures

 This looks like a wonderful car resource courtesy of Murilee Martin


Bertel has forgotten about cars more than Jalops will ever know. 

Toyota Gives Crown New Shine at Sixty | TOYOTA Global Newsroom

Toyota Gives the Crown a New Shine at Sixty | TOYOTA Global Newsroom

The JDM Crown in previous generations (and mostly used) was immensely popular in Russia in late 1980s and 1990s, especially in the Russian Far East.

I think Toyota could achieve major sales if they brought this one to Russia, because Crown love still lingers. 

Toyota also released a batch of hi-res pictures of the 2016 Crown.

60th anniversary 2016 Crown Athlete

A crown shaped grille on the Crown Athlete.

Jean Claude Briavoine / LADA 4x4 Niva trial

Wheel Gets Launched by Airbags and Smashes Car Window

Airbags can easily kill... even if they are not Takatas.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Cars of Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur - The Truth About Cars

Great post on TTAC about China cars, specifically in Xinjiang. 

Steve McQueen and Carrol Shelby

Mitsuoka Motor - The company of craftsmanship

Mitsuoka ad.

How Much Power You'll Lose if You Remove #VW Diesel Cheat

Answer: about 15 hps and a lot more torque. 

Use for Old Car Seat Belts and Buckles

2016 Ford GT: Development

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ingenious Way to Get Out When Stuck in Mud

Here's how you do it, apparently. All you need is a plank of wood and some sticky tape.

Mercedes-Benz Embrace Tech


Portland VW owner shamed via note from fellow Portlander

As reported earlier (a couple of posts back on this blog).

Chrysler 300 Long Body

 That's veeeery long, thank you.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Matthias Müller Appointed CEO Volkswagen Group #VW

Good luck, comrade Mueller. You'll need it! 

Ripituc: Los tres logos de Geely en Chile

Ripituc: Los tres logos de Geely en Chile: The 3 logos of Geely in Chile Encuentro curioso que una marca use tres logos distintos en un mismo mercado, pero eso hace Geely en Chile (...

Geely badges - Chile

Emgrand - Geely badges (Chile)

Gleagle - Geely badges (Chile)

Chevelle Hangs Throttle Blows Tires at 150+mph

H/t Jalopnik

Japan 1 - A Visual Diary

H/t Jalopnik

Jack Baruth Ranks Nissan Maximas

Finally a good post on t so-called tac, worthy of a re-posting here.

Jack Baruth, the automotive dude, writer and racer extraordinaire, ranks the Nissan Maximas. 

Awesome post, good writing too (if a bit stream of consciousness).
A couple of months ago, our own Mark Stevenson drove the eighth-generation Maxima. He was neither particularly enthusiastic nor needlessly cruel when discussing Nissan’s big sedan. I have yet to drive the Max myself so I have, as of yet, no opinion. However, I have driven all of the previous cars at one point or another between 1988 and 2013. I also have something to say about the Maxima’s true relevance to Nissan, and I’ll be saying that in my next “No Fixed Abode” column. As a warmup for that, then, I thought I’d reacquaint you, and myself, with the history of the Maxima. And since this is the Internet, we might as well rank them, right?

LADA Vesta in Production

The biggest automotive news here in Russia today September 25, 2015 is definitely the launch of production of the LADA Vesta.

The PR Department of AvtoVAZ (the maker of the Lada) has a dump of LADA Vesta pictures, and here are all of them. 

Nice pictures too!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Command Your Commute

Want. Yes. Me. Wanna command my commute.
Command your commute
In da Chrysler 300 brute

Version 2
Command your commute
In a Chrysler 300, Dude

8 Best Jewish Delis in NYC

Gearheads like to eat too.

Apple Car?

Apple core car? Oh Gawd no!

Jessica Reed Tells You to Eat All Meals on Toasts

The new Volkswagen Passat GTE - commercial

Honda "Paper" by PES


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ken Block Drifting on Mountain in Russia

Argument over a parking spot in Denver, CO

Tamerlane's Thoughts: 10 Honda Generations

A nice post on Tamerlane's Thoughts summing up briefly the 10 generations of the Honda Civic. 

Quoting, aka reposting. 

Civics have been so ubiquitous for so long, they're an integral part of our lives.
1st: Mom's Civic

2nd: The "new" Civic, compared to mom's Civic

3rd: Cheap Civic in school; took a road trip to Santa Barbara for Halloween in one with three other guys

4th: Roommate had one; probably the most dependable car ever

5th: What people were driving in grad school

6th: What friend's younger brother drove; ugly

7th: What my wife has been driving for 11 years

8th: When Honda started losing its way
(me: an 8th-Gen Honda Civic was stolen from my neighbor in the middle of the night in our apartment block's back yard.)

9th: There's a 9th generation?

10th: The future

1966 Volga GAZ-21 - Jay Leno's Garage

It would be a nice vid if Leno didn't talk so much BS.

And the only one but t-ugly in this vid is the presenter.

Still worth a look but mute the Leno clown.

Did you Know UK Leading Way in Developing Driverless Cars?

This is not a joke, apparently, come from the PM. Catapult?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Monday, September 7, 2015

Car movie - Death Proof

Today's car movie is Death Proof directed by Tarantino.

The dialogue scenes are way too long, stupid, lead nowhere and a waste, here Tarantino gets finally found out.

However, the driving scenes, the car scenes are good, and the death proof car, and Kurt Russel is mostly good, the final car chase is not too bad at all.

The concept of a death proof car is an interesting one, as well, especially considering all the criminal uses you can put such a car to, should you be so inclined.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Two ladies trying to fill up car / Две блондинки на заправке.

Two ladies somewhere in Russia trying, and not quite succeeding, to fill up their car. Watch them insisting on using the wrong fuel pump, completely disregarding the easier correct option of using the pump on their side.

New York City sets start date of April 20 for Taxi of Tomorrow with Nissan

Nissan issues a press release on the Nissan Taxi of Tomorrow.

New York City sets start date of April 20 for Taxi of Tomorrow with Nissan

The Nissan NV200 taxi is the only taxi that leaves the factory with the installed partition, which has been specifically designed to ensure that no safety features are compromised by after-market installations. In fact, the Nissan NV200 Taxi was crash-tested with the partition and meets Federal safety standards, an attribute no other automaker provides for taxis. After-market installations in some taxis can render safety features such as airbags non-functional.

The Nissan NV200 also meets global pedestrian-protection standards aimed at softening the impact to a pedestrian if struck by a vehicle.

Following its selection as the exclusive Taxi of Tomorrow provider, Nissan engaged with organizations long at the forefront of the Taxi of Tomorrow program, including the Design Trust for Public Space, Smart Design and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Nissan created its own “New York Ave.” at its Arizona proving grounds to replicate harsh conditions of NYC streets to rigorously test the Nissan NV200 taxi to tune the suspension specifically to NYC road conditions. Additionally, Nissan hired New York City cab drivers to test vehicles around the city, collecting data that was used to refine the vehicle. In total, these drivers logged enough miles to cover every street in Manhattan more than 300 times.

The Nissan NV200 taxi also offers passengers a variety of amenities to make their trip more pleasant, including ample cargo room for transporting luggage and USB charging ports in addition to a 12-volt electrical outlet.

The Nissan NV200 Taxi offers a functional and spacious interior housed in a compact exterior footprint; in fact, when the Nissan NV200 Taxi is deployed across the entire taxi fleet, the equivalent of five square-acres of space will be freed up on city streets.

Key safety features include:
  • Front and rear-seat occupant curtain airbags specifically designed to deploy around the integrated partition and seat-mounted airbags for the front row
  • Standard traction control and Vehicle Dynamic Control
  • Sliding doors to lessen risk of pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists getting struck by doors opening unexpectedly
  • Lights that alert other road users that taxi doors are opening
About Nissan NV200 Taxi
Drawing on insight from New York taxi drivers, medallion holders, fleets and passengers, the Nissan NV200 taxi features more content tailored specifically to the unique needs of metropolitan cab service than ever before. In addition to stunning views of the city, other new features include:
  • Ample room for four passengers and their luggage, offering substantial improvements over current and recently-unveiled taxi models
  • Breathable, antimicrobial, environment-friendly, durable and easy-to-clean seat fabric
  • Sliding doors with entry step and grab handles, providing easy entry and exit
  • Mobile charging ports for passengers, including a 12-volt electrical outlet and two USB ports
  • Flat "no hump" passenger floor area for more comfortable ride and easy entry and exit
  • Independently-controlled, rear air conditioning
  • Active carbon-lined headliner to help neutralize interior odors
  • Overhead reading lights for passengers and floor lighting to help locate belongings
  • Opening side windows
Other notable NV200 taxi features focus on driver comfort, customer satisfaction and the environment:
  • A low-annoyance horn with exterior lights that indicate when the vehicle is honking, so the horn is used less frequently
  • Hearing Loop System for the hearing impaired
  • Driver and passenger intercom system
  • A 6-way adjustable driver's seat featuring both recline and lumbar adjustments, even with a partition installed
  • Proven 2.0L 4-cylinder powertrain, engineered to enhance the emission performance and fuel efficiency of the taxi fleet
  • 150,000-mile powertrain warranty
  • Unique driver's seat material and stitching to promote improved airflow
  • USB auxiliary audio input and charge port for driver
  • Standard navigation system with integrated rearview backup monitor
  • All necessary wiring and installation provisions
The NV200 taxi is now on sale at select Nissan dealerships in the greater New York City area. Total manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of the vehicle is approximately $29,700.

2014 Nissan NV200 Taxi

Friday, August 28, 2015

Why you should never drive with under a quarter of tank of fuel

Motoring advice from the Daily Mail.

 Why you should never drive with under a quarter of tank of fuel

‘Running out can cause a lot more damage to diesel engines,’ says Ray Sparrow, a mechanic for nearly 40 years whose garage, Autowork, is in Salisbury, Wiltshire. ‘The bills can run into thousands. That may be good news for a garage, not for the driver.’

Without getting too technical, the seals, pumps and injectors in a diesel engine can be damaged by the engine drawing just on air, rather than a rich, oily mix of diesel and lubricant. ‘You may just get away with it,’ says Mr Sparrow, ‘but you’ll be causing expensive problems down the line.’

Petrol engines fare a little better running on empty, and are less likely to suffer severe damage. But there is little to be complacent about — even if you do have petrol in the boot, or get some from a garage, you may find the car still won’t start.
The likelihood is that air will have built up in the system, stopping the fuel moving from tank to engine and, in that case, you will need a mechanic to ‘bleed’ the system, much as one has to bleed a malfunctioning radiator at home. The net result is that you’re not going anywhere fast.

Also, by relying on fuel from the bottom of a petrol tank, you risk clogging up your filters and pumps with sediment. ‘Think of it as the bottom 10 per cent of a bottle of decent red wine,’ says Mr Sparrow. ‘It’s not the stuff you want to drink, is it?’
Modern cars will suffer worse than a jalopy. As Mr Sparrow says, newer car systems are more sensitive and the tolerances much tighter.
This is what to do if you still find yourself running on vapour.

Try to drive as ‘fuel-efficiently’ as possible. Maintain an even speed of around 40-50 mph if it’s legal, and avoid sudden braking and acceleration. Look at your rev counter, and try to pick a gear that keeps the engine running between 2,000 and 3,000 rpm.
Don’t be tempted to freewheel; you can’t accelerate and could end up with points on your licence if caught by the police for not being in control of your vehicle. Moreover, most modern cars use less fuel when they are in gear as long as the accelerator is not depressed. This is because when you put the car into neutral, it will go into ‘tick-over’ mode (as if you were idling at some traffic lights), which uses more fuel.

Turning the car off when stationary will save fuel but only if you stop for more than a minute. Starting a car uses the equivalent of about a minute’s worth of fuel with the engine at 2,500 revs.

Best of all, remember the Jerry can. Those spare five litres may not only save your face, but also the cost of your next holiday.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Movie of the night - The Stunt Man 1980

Good movie, even though not a car movie per se, and I am into car movies, if only for purposes of this blog, but it has the seal of my approval all the same.

I have it on a DVD myself and currently watch it for about 15-20 minutes on my large TV before going to bed each night.

There is something to see for everyone. 

Apparently, it is a multi-layered thing, with multiple "meanings" (if there's such a thing as "meaning" in movies).

Quite a bit of action too, not too many cars but still a Duesenberg or two but also WWI aeroplanes and small helicopters are there.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Man keys Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Volga wants to be a Mercedes-Benz in Uzbekistan

Nice Volga GAZ-31105 all made up to look like a Mercedes-Benz (and even better).

But, in my biased view, the Volga is sooo much better than any MB... so much better in fact that this treatment couldn't spoil it. 

Picture courtesy Central Asia Rally