Sgt. Pepper and his Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Ride Turn Heads at New York Auto Show

Most concept cars unveiled at major auto shows are decidedly futuristic. But one currently on exhibit at the New York Auto Show is an impressive mix of the future as envisioned in the past and a bit of the Hollywood magic of your youth. Retired New York City police officer Tony Garofalo, who goes by the name of Sgt. Pepper, has put his spare time and retirement savings to good use, creating a street-legal replica of that iconic flying car from the 1968 musical Chitty Chitty Bank Bang. Seriously, E3 Spark Plugs fans of a certain age, you KNOW you wanted that ride. It took Garofalo five years and $100,000 of his hard earned cash to turn a 1914 Overland Coupe with a 1928 Ford engine and a few handcrafted elements like a wooden passenger compartment and copper-plated exhaust...

March 31, 2016
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Fun Facts About Speeding Tickets

Let’s face it – there’s nothing fun about getting hit with a speeding ticket. But there are a few fascinating and arguably fun facts about these ubiquitous citations. Unless, of course, you live in and drive in Germany. Check out these scintillating stats … Each day in America police officers hand out 34 million speeding tickets. That’s 93,000 a day, 3,875 per hour, 65 per minute. Speeding tickets can be a serious revenue driver for cities, states and countries. Here in the US, they generate upward of $5.1 billion. And don’t think the government bean counters don’t notice. When a city’s economic growth tanks 10 percent, the number of speeding tickets doled out jumps an average 6.4 percent. Ergo… Speed traps!...

March 31, 2016
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10 Rides Most – and Least – Likely to Land You a Ticket

Each year in America, coppers dole out some 34 million speeding tickets nationwide. That’s 93,000 per day, 3,875 per hour, 65 per minute. If the thought of those blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror are enough to give you an instant headache, we here at E3 Spark Plugs have a tip for you – Don’t speed. But also keep in mind that your choice of rides may actually reflect the likelihood of a police officer flipping on that siren or letting you slide.   According to a recent study by Insurance.com, if you drive a Lexus ES 300, chances are you’ve got a citation or two in your very near future. And if there’s a Buick Encore in your driveway, you might drive like Grandma, but your record’s probably squeaky clean. To reach these...

March 31, 2016
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Mazda MX-5 Miata Wins World Car of the Year Award

The New York International Auto Show is underway at the Jacob K. Javits Center in the Big Apple. And all the talk is about the annual World Car Awards. This year, the big overall winner is the Mazda MX-5 Miata, which handily beat the Audi A4 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, as well as the Czech Skoda Superb, French Renault Kadjar and Japanese Subaru Levorg. The top nominees in each of five car categories that also included World Luxury Car, World Performance Car, World Green Car and World Car Design of the year were chosen by a jury of 73 international automotive journalists via secret ballot and announced at the Geneva International Motor Show earlier this month. The international accounting firm KPMG tabulated the jurors' ballots and winners were announced this week in New...

March 25, 2016
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US Supreme Court Kapows Batmobile Replica Maker’s Copyright Case

A Los Angeles-based maker of replicas of the iconic Batmobile got another sucker punch in a long, drawn-out legal case earlier this month – an update to a story E3 Spark Plugs first brought you last year. The ongoing battle is over whether Gotham Garage owner Mark Towle violated copyright when he built and sold replicas of the car as it appeared in the 1966 television show featuring Adam West as Batman and the 1989 movie starring Michael Keaton, racking up about $90,000 for each. DC Comics promptly filed suit and last year, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the company, finding that the Batmobile is entitled to copyright protection of the Batmobile. Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court agreed, letting stand the lower court ruling that said the Batmobile's...

March 25, 2016
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1937 Bugatti Draws $9.7 Million at Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Auction

The recent Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance featured dozens of the world’s most coveted classic and antique rides. And one lucky auto buff took a piece of the show home – for a cool $9.7 million. Deemed by the Bonham’s auctioneer to be among the most valuable of its kind ever, the 1937 Bugatti 57SC Sports Tourer. Though it lags behind the 57SC Atlantic that sold for more than $30 million in 2010 and the 1931 Bugatti Royale that held the record for its $9.8 million sale by Christies in 1987 (that’s nearly $21 million in today’s money), the going price ain’t exactly pocket change. This particular ride was built by Belgium’s iconic Vanden Plas coachbuilders and is powered by a 200-horsepower supercharged 8-cylinder engine. Its wealthy...

March 25, 2016
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Kids in the Back Seat? May Want to Rethink It

Dad in the driver’s seat, mom up front, and Junior safely strapped in behind Dad. It’s the standard on-the-road setup for most families. But national safety officials are calling foul. Turns out the back seat can be a dangerous place for the kiddos. According to the Center for Auto Safety (CAS), between 1990 and 2014, there were nearly 900 instances of children sitting in the back seats of cars being crushed to death when a front seat holding a driver or much heavier passenger collapsed collapsed backward. And this doesn’t just happen in high-speed crashes. In fact, at just 30 miles per hour, most seatbacks are capable of crushing children sitting in rear seats. You’ve likely heard that the back seat is safest for kids. The National Highway Traffic Safety...

March 17, 2016
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Historic Motorsports Trophies Showcased at Amelia Island Concours

At any Concours d’Elegance, the focus is on the gorgeous antique and classic cars showcased. But at this week’s event on Florida’s Amelia Island, there’s another set of head-turners – 11 historic motorsports trophies along with, of course, the amazing cars that won them over a century of racing. Sure to impress are the Borg-Warner Trophy from the 1970 Indianapolis 500 and the rarely seen Maurice G. Bauer Trophy, emblematic of victory in the legendary Cannonball Run – dubbed “emblematic” because it was never awarded. But the centerpiece of the exhibit is the imposing, seven-foot-plus sterling silver Wheeler-Schebler Trophy created by the famed New York luxury jewelry and specialty designer Tiffany & Co. First awarded in 1909, The...

March 12, 2016
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2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance to Honor Hans-Joachim Stuck

The 2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is officially underway and this year, top honors go to Formula One racer Hans-Joachim Stuck. Born in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a mountain resort town in Bavaria, southern Germany, Stuck is son of the legendary racer Hans Stuck, best known for his multiple Gran Prix successes during the 1930s – the Silver Arrows era. The younger Stuck learned to drive on the famed Nürburgring and ran his first race in 1969 at the Nordschleife. “Getting to the grid was extremely exciting,” Stuck said of that first race. “All of a sudden, my wishes to become a racer came true. I just wanted to start the race and give everybody hell!” Stuck won his first 24-hour race the next year at age 19 and many more victories...

March 12, 2016
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GM Issues a Recall over Airbags – And for Once, Takata Ain’t to Blame

Detroit’s General Motors just issued a recall and stop sale on nearly 1,800 2016 Chevrolet Colorado, Malibu and GMC Canyon vehicles. The issue involves a faulty airbag, but for once, beleaguered Japanese auto parts maker Takata is not to blame. The latest recall involves a missing part – namely a component required for the second-stage, high-output deployment of GM’s airbags. Turns out the part wasn’t loaded during the making of the airbag’s inflator in affected rides. Trouble is, this missing component means that the airbag won’t deploy as quickly as it should in a high-speed crash. This recall is fully unrelated to the Takata airbag issue which, thus far has resulted in multiple recalls affecting upward of 24 million rides made by 14 different...

March 12, 2016
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