Posts from ‘Entertainment’
Cars were an important part of the Jazz Age and of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald mentions only two cars by make in The Great Gatsby— Nick Carraway’s Dodge and Gatsby’s Rolls-Royce. The rest are left to the reader’s imagination.
Jay Gatsby’s Rolls-Royce plays a crucial role in the story and is described as having “a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns.” Jay Gatsby embodied conspicuous consumption, and a Rolls with flamboyant coachwork in a bright color suited him. The 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Ascot dual-cowl phaeton used in the 1974 production of The Great Gatsby is the perfect embodiment of the Gatsby car—except that it’s too new. The novel was published in 1925 and was set in 1922. Imagine this 1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost painted yellow.
The Chicago Auto Show is predominantly about new and upcoming production vehicles that can be bought at your local dealership, but the show also gets its fair share of concept vehicles, one-off custom cars, and TV and movie cars. Here are three Hollywood-inspired machines that we came across at this year’s show. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Speed. Power. Versatility. Longevity. These are traits that define Hall of Fame football players—as well great cars and trucks.
With another football weekend upon us, we thought it would be fun to showcase the best in each category: the speediest NFL player and the fastest car on the road; the strongest pro lineman and the most powerful vehicle you can buy. You get the idea.
So start your engines, and hut, hut, hike!
When Sports Illustrated asked more than 300 NFL players to pick the fastest player in the league, Chris Johnson placed first—as he often does. The Tennessee Titans running back, who was clocked in the 40-yard dash in an otherworldly 4.24 seconds, set an NFL record with 2,509 yards from scrimmage in 2009. Johnson, who will make $8 million this year, can afford to buy the world’s fastest car: the 1200-horsepower 8-liter 16-cylinder Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. The $2.4 million supercar outclasses all competitors with a top speed of 268 mph and a 0-60 time of 2.4 seconds.
Note: Also see Ed’s What Would Mario Drive? (And Other Nintendo Characters).
Today we shift from the eldest of the three primary video game console companies to the youngest. Microsoft entered the home console market in 2001 with the original Xbox, which had the largest footprint of any such device since the Atari 5200. Redmond’s (Microsoft’s hometown in Washington state) large black monolith sported some forward-thinking features, including a built-in hard drive and the first centralized online community, Xbox Live.
With a more advanced feature set and a year’s head start on Nintendo and Sony, the Xbox 360 became the platform of choice for the hardcore crowd. With it, both classic franchises and new, original IPs (intellectual properties) have found homes.
Let’s take a look at some of these characters and see what types of vehicles you might find in their garages.
Horst-to-the-what now? Viva Piñata might not be the first game that comes up when you think of Xbox 360 titles, but it was surprisingly popular. In the game, you basically tend a mystical garden inhabited by colorful piñatas. It even spawned a 52-episode cartoon show. While there’s no single main character in the game, Horstachio, which looks more like a donkey than a horse, is the “face” of the franchise.
Inspired by esteemed Consumer Guide Publisher Tom Appel’s entries about what cars Star Trek characters would drive, I figured I would take my own passion for video games and do something similar.
My plan is to split this among the major video game companies: Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. Today we start with “The Big N,” one of the granddaddies of the business. I’ll largely keep within the same framework as the Star Trek entries. Production vehicles only, but I would like to keep the costs to less than $100,000.
Though I didn’t grow up on Mario (ours was a Commodore 64 household), I’ve spent plenty of time with this iconic Italian plumber since his title debut on the original Nintendo Entertainment System. When he’s not flying off to the Mushroom Kingdom to save Princess Peach from the evil Bowser (and company), I envision Mario nipping around the tightly packed streets of Turin. What better car for him to do that in than a Fiat 500 Abarth? Its raw exhaust note will draw the attention of every Goomba (the enemy mushrooms) in the area, and its zippy acceleration will easily get him away from danger.
Also see Tom’s “What Would Star Trek Crewmembers Drive? Part 1”
Last time, we looked at the rides of Deanna Troi, Jean-Luc Picard, and Spock. This week, let’s check in with the original captain, the guy with the positronic brain, and the first Klingon to serve in Star Fleet. As before, we’re looking at production vehicles. Also, we’re assuming these guys don’t have budget issues.
James T. Kirk
What can you say about a guy who has saved everyone in the universe a dozen times over? He’s brash, brilliant, solidly egotistical, and inarguably cool. Kirk is a guy who values power and prestige—and he likes company. Kirk’s a talker, and thrives in front of an audience, so he needs a real back seat. For him, I choose a big, fast sedan. Something that’s a little less subdued than a Mercedes, but not quite so baroque or ponderous as a Rolls-Royce. For the man who beat Khan, I pick the Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed. The car’s boisterous five-word name alone pays tribute to a man whose legend is larger than life. With 600 horsepower on tap, the Flying Spur gets about as close to warp speed as any land-based vehicle should. And with space for an audience, Kirk can regale a small entourage with tales of green-lady conquests and evenings laced with Romulan ale.
Yeah, they live in space, but they have to come down sometime, right? Here we ask ourselves simply, “If the crew of the Enterprise needed wheels today, what would they buy?” Today, we look at two members of the Enterprise D crew as well as a legend from the original warp-ready vessel. It may be a while before we get to Quark or T’Pau, but we probably will.
Counselor Deanna Troi
As a Betazoid, Counselor Troi has the ability and predisposition to communicate through nontraditional means. Likely she would, despite its detractors, embrace the MyFord Touch suite of control tools as a step toward more open relations between crew and vessel. Also, given Troi’s willingness to sport the occasional, rather-flattering non-regulation jumpsuit, we can assume a certain appreciation for things subtly on the more expressive side. Because she’ll need rear-seat space for group therapy sessions, I’m putting Troi in a Ford Taurus SHO. The car’s taut lines hint gently at the potential beneath the calm surface, and the over-the-top level of vehicle-to-humanoid communication options are just what the empath ordered.
The Batmobile didn’t originate in a secret research center of Wayne Industries, but instead began in the styling studios of Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury Division. The Caped Crusader’s vehicle actually started life as the Lincoln Futura concept car.
A true child of the Fifties, Futura had jetfighter-inspired styling, with fins and a Plexiglas canopy. Even though the Plexiglas roof panels of the 1954-55 Ford Skyliner and Mercury Sun Valley had baked their occupants, stylists still believed that bubble-top cars were the future. Ghia coachbuilders of Italy turned Lincoln’s design into metal. Unlike some show cars that have to be pushed on stage, the Futura actually ran.
The Ghia-built body rode on a modified 1953 Lincoln frame complete with a 317.5-cid Lincoln V8. Although Lincoln claimed 330 horsepower for the Futura, it’s not known if they made any modifications to the stock 205-hp mill.
When you drive a Nissan Leaf or some other all-electric car, you’re always in danger of running out of charge on the road. And if you run out, you’re screwed. There’s no such thing as a portable charger. Unless you can push the car to an electrical outlet, you’re stranded until a truck arrives to haul it to a charging station.
Electric vehicle owners are said to suffer from “range anxiety,” meaning the fear of running out of charge and being stranded. I drove a Leaf for a few days and I began to experience range anxiety dreams. Tossing and turning in a cold sweat, I envisioned myself being stranded . . .
Unless you’re a serious rock ’n’ roll aficionado, the name Jim Peterik might not ring a bell. Remember the Survivor song “Eye of the Tiger”? Of course you do . . . and now you’re probably humming it. Well, Jim cowrote that song as a founding member of Survivor. And prior to the success of “Eye of the Tiger,” Jim penned another memorable hit with his first band The Ides of March—the rollicking 1970 tune “Vehicle.” He’s had a hand in many other Top 40 hits over the years as well, working with artists such as .38 Special and Sammy Hagar. These days, Jim remains incredibly active as a musician, songwriter, and producer. He performs regularly with a handful of bands and enjoys working with new talent on his own label, World Stage International.
Turns out that Jim is also a car guy, and Consumer Guide Automotive recently enjoyed an exclusive peek at his, uh, vehicles. We tagged along with our longtime friends (and legendary Chicago radio hosts) Steve King and Johnnie Putman as Jim graciously gave us a tour of his collection and suburban Chicago home.