E3 Spark Plugs Recommends - Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-in Movie

Those among us of a certain age remember it well - Sidling up close to your date in the front seat of Dad's car, the window rolled down and topped with a concession tray, and a metal speaker just outside turned up to hear the dialog synched with the action on the giant outside screen. Oh, yeah! Drive-in theaters were the top spot for treating your sweetheart to a fun, romantic night out. Sometimes, we actually watched the movie. With roots going back to 1921, when Claude V. Caver of Comanche, Texas secured a permit from the city to project silent films downtown while the proper folk watched from the dashes of their Tin Lizzies and Hatfield Coupes and Brewster Town Cars, drive-ins are as iconic an American feature as hot dogs and apple pies. The number of theaters grew and the...

July 16, 2015
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Is Your Ride in the Zero Club?

While a title like the "Zero Club" may sound like something you want no part of, we here at E3 Spark Plugs assures you - this one is actually a club you'll hope you're in. Despite the record number of vehicle safety recalls nationwide last year, courtesy of General Motors faulty ignition systems and Takata's airbag fiasco, a new report shows that America's roadways boast more models than ever with proven safety track records. And we're not just talking luxury cars with high-tech safety gadgets -a good number of affordable rides also made the list. Researchers focused driver fatality rates in crashes between 2009 and 2012. They focused primarily for 2011 model-year vehicles, as they're the newest cars that have been on the road long enough to accumulate Federal Analysis Reporting...

July 16, 2015
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E3 Spark Plugs Digs the Toyota Minivan-Turned- Ultimate Utility Vehicle

Here's one for stepping outside the automotive design box. Toyota recently released a beast of a ride that's best described as a mashup between a Sienna minivan and a Tacoma pickup truck. Dubbed the Toyota Ultimate Utility Vehicle, it sports a chic black matte 4x4 Sienna body situated atop a Tacoma chassis, an aggressive custom front bumper, rear-hinged front doors and off-road tires. This cool concept was created as part of the North American Expedition, the second leg of Toyota's Five Continents Driving Project. Known as the Ever-Better Expedition, this portion of the project involves a 140-member team driving a convoy of Toyota's most popular models across North America. Along with the UUV, eight other vehicles will be put through their paces in some of the continent's most...

July 14, 2015
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Great Scott! Lexus Builds Real-World Hoverboard

  Marty McFly wannabes around the world (including a few of us tech geeks here at E3 Spark Plugs) have begged for this one for years, and luxury automaker Lexus has finally delivered - sort of. Officials with the Japan-based company recently announced they've created the first real-world, rideable hoverboard and have the teaser video to prove it. The 38-second teaser features a kid jettisoning his conventional skateboard for a mysterious, fog-oozing board floating inches above a concrete sidewalk, leaving us all aching to see the board and its rider take flight. No such luck - after all, it's called a "teaser" for a reason. What we do know is what's posted on the Lexus website. "The Lexus Hoverboard uses magnetic levitation to achieve amazing frictionless movement. Liquid...

June 30, 2015
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Long Live the Queen - Racer Lewis Hamilton Gets Schooled in Minding his Manners

Here's a little advice for you should you ever find yourself lunching with Her Majesty the Queen - Mind your manners, says Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, who recently got straight-up schooled in etiquette by  England's Queen Elizabeth herself. Lewis is quite the badass Brit on the track, commanding the Formula One checkered flag in 2008 and 2014, and currently driving for the Mercedes AMG team. He's racked up more race victories than any other British driver in the history of Formula One and is currently 5th on the all-time list, with 37 wins. Oh, but the Queen is not impressed and she will have none of that bravado at the table, thank you very much. After all, there are rules that proper folk follow when lunching with Liz and speaking out of turn and all willy-nilly...

June 30, 2015
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Top News & Notes for Racing Game Enthusiasts from E3EXPO 2015

The OTHER E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, just wrapped its 2015 event and we here at E3 Spark Plugs have a few notable items to share. Among all the great gaming reveals at E3EXPO 2015 were a few that appeal to the speed lovers and gearheads. First there's the Trackmania debut. The arcade-esque game has finally jettisoned the PC for the gaming console, bringing with it "all manner of crazy courses and time trial-mastering gameplay." It's as-yet unclear whether the console version will allow for nearly the amount of customizability that has hooked players of the PC version, from music collections to car feature selections. But there's ridiculousness aplenty, still. Another we love is SMS Racing. This one is not only challenging, but serves to drive home an...

June 29, 2015
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Toyota Aims to Produce New Hydrogen Fuel - And That's No Bull

Talk about recycling - Toyota is working on a new car engine that's powered by recycling the ultimate of waste products - cow manure. Yep, you read that right. Toyota engineer Scot Blanchet is hard at work exploiting the stuff of the greenest pastures to harvest the universe's most abundant element. The plan is to extract hydrogen out of massive piles of manure using large "digesters" (We can't make this stuff up). Essentially, these digesters are lagoons where the manure is broken down by bacteria releasing methane gas. That methane then is collected and hydrogen is extracted in a steam methane reformer, a device that uses steam and heat to covert the methane into a form of gas that will power a vehicle. Advocates of hydrogen fuel argue that hydrogen fuel cells are quick to refuel...

June 29, 2015
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Samsung Debuts See-Thru Safety Semi Trucks

  It's happened to us all - Stuck behind a slow-going 18-wheeler and itching for the chance to switch lanes, speed up and swoop in front. But on a two-lane road with no room for correction should an oncoming car approach unexpectedly, it's a bit of a gamble. That's why the tech brainiacs at Samsung have developed the "Safety Truck" complete with a "see-thru" rear door. And we here at E3 Spark Plugs are duly impressed. Okay, so it's not truly transparent. But it sure looks that way from the windshield of the ride directly behind it. The truck is equipped with a camera on the front that displays its footage on four large panels at the rear of the truck. This allows drivers following to clearly see the road ahead, including all on-coming traffic. "So far Samsung has been able to...

June 29, 2015
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20 Worst States for Car Crashes

Unless you're at the controls of your gaming system playing Grand Theft Auto, getting into a car crash is never fun. But those living in certain states have it worse than others, according to a recent study by Wallet Hub, an online resource for financial and consumer information. Researchers looked at multiple factors including varying state requirements for minimum personal injury protection, uninsured/underinsured driver and liability insurance coverage, which protects you in the event of a car crash caused by some other knucklehead. Nationwide, upward of 12.6 percent of drivers lack auto insurance, according to statistics from the Insurance Research Council. That figure represents about one in eight drivers speeding up and down America's roadways every day. State considered...

June 19, 2015
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Classic Cars All New Again

Some of the most coveted classic cars are limited in number and hard to come by. But new legislation soon may change that - Sort of. State Representatives Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Gene Green (D-TX) recently introduced bipartisan legislation that would clear the way for low-volume carmakers to produce modernized replicas of certain classic rides for sale nationwide. Supported by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 (HR 2675) would allow carmakers to build up to 500 classic car replicas a year, subject to federal regulatory oversight by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association and the US Environmental Protection Agency. The new rides would have to meet current model year emissions standards, often via...

June 19, 2015
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