In the “Fifty Shades of Grey,” book trilogy written by E L James, the number fifty describes Christian Grey, a man of many moods, talents, personalities, and vehicles (including jets and yachts).
With all the buzz in the media about the upcoming “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie adaptation, I thought it would be fun to list 25 shades of grays for 25 of my favorite cars. To be sure, most cars do look super sexy in certain shades of silver.
The Los Angeles Auto show was a buzz with “Green Automobiles,” the alternatives to the gasoline-powered internal combustion engines (ICE) we are all so accustomed to driving. Seems to me that electric automobiles have been increasing in popularity for the last couple of years!
Manufacturers have made some great progress with plug-in electric automobiles: they’ve increased the distances the automobiles are able to go on a single charge, and there are more charging station outlets available for electric car drivers to use. Fisker and Tesla have also made sure that frumpy style is no longer an issue. Automakers have even made great strides to reduce cost and make the electric automobile much more affordable and appealing to mainstream public. However much to my surprise electric automobile reveals were not the only big thing at the Auto show this year: it was actually the hydrogen fuel cell automobile presented by Hyundai stealing the “green” show…
Having spent most of my life around race cars and collector
cars, I often wonder about the stories behind each car. Yeah I know they are
inanimate objects but I still like to use my imagination now and again... or
maybe I just watched movies like “Cars” and “Christine” one too many times.
Take an old race car for instance... Wouldn’t it be neat to
hear the stories about when it was in its heyday? About the characters who drove the car, about
its “injuries and burns,” about its “surgeries,” about its arch rivalries on
the track, about getting soaked in champagne in Victory Lane, about the day its
owner moved on to a newer and younger model… And what about the rest of the
story? Did it end up getting refurbished and reincarnated for a museum or did
it head to the graveyard like most? Or even worse: did it end up in the crusher?
Art mimics life in Kristin (MK) Ducote’s newly released book "Naked
Paddock." In this novel Ducote’s main character and the events surrounding the
lead's life are very similar to what Ducote herself has experienced. Throughout
"Naked Paddock" there are many ‘true tales’ regarding a woman’s insights (and juicy
behind-the-scenes drama) that occur within the fast and flashy world of motorsports,
and nobody can tell it better than the wife of Le Mans driver Chapman Ducote.
Although Kristin Ducote grew up riding horses on a little farm in Florida, her humble (and very grounded) childhood and later adulthood helped to
train and prepare her to be the amazingly successful 30-year-old she is today.
It was a bad sign recently when Henrik Fisker, co-founder
and executive chairman of Fisker Automotive, stepped down from the
company that bears his name. Reported to be the result of "disagreements
with management," Fisker's resignation was “not expected to impact the
company’s pursuit of strategic partnerships and financing to support Fisker
Automotive’s continued progress.”
Noted. Facebook works for everything from keeping up with friends, keeping track of trends, to learning about great deals on cowboy boots.
Facebook also works for philanthropic outreach. Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good, a Facebook initiative, launched in 2011 and repeated in 2012, awarded 100 cars to 100 nonprofits over the period of 100 days to charitable organizations. In 2012, you helped Toyota give 100 vehicles to nonprofits. Daily winners were determined by popular vote on 100carsforgood.com. Now those vehicles are on the road and helping those in need.
Toyota is currently in discussions about how to repeat the plan for 2013. A representative from Toyota just this week explained that "the program will be placed on hold until further notice due to internal changes. We're pleased that the program has helped many organizations and will continue to build on the program’s success while supporting nonprofit organizations. "
Five nonprofits were profiled each day at www.100carsforgood.com. Facebook users voted for the cause they feel would do the most good with a new vehicle. At the end of each day, the winner received a new vehicle and the four runners-up will receive a $1,000 cash grant from Toyota.
“The average person doesn’t think about a non-profit needing a vehicle to get its work done,” remarked Michael Rouse, Vice President of Diversity, Philanthropy and Community Affairs for Toyota Motor Sales USA.
Rouse explained that the idea for 100 Cars for Good – a Facebook site for voting–was the result of a brainstorming meeting at the end of 2010. “We looked at what was going on in social media with non-profits and realized that, while we didn’t have a dollar budget to contribute, we do have cars and trucks. This program puts our products as the star of the show to help keep non-profits going.”
“Over the past 20 years, Toyota has contributed more than half a billion dollars to non-profits throughout the United States. 100 Cars for Good allows us to build on that commitment in new ways, putting the public in the ‘driver’s seat’ as we work to help community organizations make an even bigger impact,” offered Jim Lentz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Motor Sales.
In the past, local causes included Central Vermont Humane Society, A Child’s Place of Charlotte (helps local homeless children with school work, socialization and more), All Hands Volunteers (aids communities struck by natural disasters), Special Olympics Illinois, and Abby’s House (provides women and children across Central Massachusetts with shelter, housing and advocacy).
“In year one, when we announced that we were giving away 100 cars, perhaps people didn’t realize it was the real deal. Now everybody knows that it’s a legitimate program,” explained Rouse.
To learn more visit: www.100carsforgood.com. You can also see a short film at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjjeHoJbv1Y&feature=youtu.be
This story began at a New Orleans race track. I was test driving the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish with my own driving instructor.
I could bore you with superlatives or say, very honestly, that after many years of trying out vehicles on racetracks, this time I got it! The exhilarating feel of driving at speed, the sound of the engine, the smell of the leather, the way the Vanquish catches light when it is in motion. Yes, I finally understood the lure of the racetrack and the draw of the Aston Martin. And yes --(ladies you will understand) ---it was a ‘shades of grey’ moment!
The next big name in automobiles may not be an American, or Japanese, or even German or Italian: Believe it or not, India is poised to change the face of the US Auto Industry with the introduction of the Tata Nano to the US Market.
For those who don't know, the Nano is an adorable, no-frills, egg-shaped four seater car introduced in India in 2009 as an alternative to scooters and other super-efficient means of transportation. It's known as the "World's Cheapest Car," and to say that it's bare-bones is an understatement: it boasts a 4-gallon tank, a top speed of 65mph, about 3 cubic feet of storage space, and its major advertised features include "headrests" and an interior fuel warning light. But with simple features comes a simple price tag. In 2009 it was introduced with an unbelievable price of $2500.
The rest of the world is definitely taking notice of the little Nano that could - I learned about this adorable car from Live with Kelly & Michael, and have since learned that auto aficionado Jay Leno has already snagged one of the Indian models for his car collection.
The Nano will certainly undergo a bit of a redesign before it hits the US market, and those vital statistics seem certain to improve. Also being added are power steering, traction control, and some other bells and whistles missing from the base model in India - AC and Heating come to mind. All these improvements will raise the price a bit, of course, but the plan is for the Nano to hit the US market in 2013 with a price of about $8000. That would make it the cheapest car on the market, and if it's done right, it could change the face of the industry.
The Nano is being redesigned for the European market as well. I think they're adorable, and moreover, I think the US is ready for a new wave of super-economical automobiles. India isn't the first nation to be experimenting with this concept - China boasts super-affordable cars with some pretty cool features, and in Japan, Nissan is reintroducing the Datsun brand, as a line of low-cost autos poised to retail for around $3000 in Asia. I'm watching these sagas, and the Nano's, very closely, so keep an eye here for updates.
Have a great weekend, and TTFN: tata for nano! (I couldn't resist.)
When I was invited to my very first Bentley event I was
ecstatic to learn more about the car model which costs more than most people’s
homes, (including my own). When I
stepped into the Bentley of Austin’s showroom which resembles that of an art
gallery as opposed to a car dealership, I was taken aback by the beauty of the
vehicles I was surrounded by. “These
cars are a work of art because they are built by artists,” John Eagle European
Motors and Bentley of Austin’s Dealer Principal, T.L. ‘Sonny’ Morgan said.
The main vehicle we were invited to the boutique dealership
to preview and drive was the 2013 Continental GT V8 which is equipped with a
4.0L twin turbo with variable displacement which has the capabilities to switch
(unnoticeably) from a V8 to a more efficient V4. “The Continental GT V8
combines the power and performance of a sports car with the efficiency of a
grand tourer,” said a recent Bentley press release.
On-hand for the reveal of this and a few other 2013 Bentley
models was President and COO of Bentley Motors, Christophe Georges. Georges shared a little history mixed with
what to expect of the models we would soon be test driving. “Bentley’s are about passion,” Georges
said. “The company was created in 1919
and our vehicles have always featured the best combination of luxury,
refinement, and craftsmanship.”
#1 Visiting the Chicago firehouse directly across from Wrigley Field and trading chicken soup recipes with its chef.
#2 Driving an ambulance through the streets of downtown Chicago.
#3 Hanging out watching TV in a fully tricked out luxury RV.
#4 Soaring above Soldier Field (home to the Chicago Bears) in an aerial lift (cherry picker).
#5 Tucking into a creamy bowl of brisket from the Southern Mac and Cheese Truck.
I did all of the above and more at a recent Mercedes-Benz event in Chicago to introduce the many diverse ways that their Sprinter commercial vans are utilized.
Bottom line, the Sprinter can be morphed into anything from a cupcake truck to a luxury motor home, executive coach, ambulance or refrigerated van. As Claus Tritt, Vice President of Operations for Daimler Vans USA, mentioned, “For a commercial vehicle we always say it’s got a sexy back; behind the B pillar it’s all about functionality.”