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E3 Spark Plugs Recommends: "Cop Car"

E3 Spark Plugs Recommends:

They're calling it a "wild blend of innocence and Coen Brothers violence" - and with good reason. Imagine a film in the ilk of 1986's Stand by Me-meets-Joel and Ethan Coen's murderous debut, Blood Simple and you've got sense of Director Jon Watts' Cop Car. The film stars Kevin Bacon as both the cop and the bad guy. When two 10-year-old boys find Sheriff Kretzer's car seemingly abandoned in a field, they take it for a joyride. And that's when the cat-and-mouse game turns deadly. "Edge-of-seat drama," says one reviewer. "The adults are suitably weird/deranged, but the two young stars completely steal the show. Their performances felt totally honest... I would recommend this film even if you think you can't stand child actors. Or Kevin Bacon. Or cop films. Or car chases. Not for the faint of heart, but if you like suspense, you'll enjoy the ride."Cop Car premiered January 24 at the Sundance Festival and landed distribution four days later. It's set for release nationwide August 7. We...

July 31, 2015


Maserati Levante to Glam Up the SUV Market

Maserati Levante to Glam Up the SUV Market

In 2011, all the talk from the moment of its unveiling at the Frankfurt Auto Show was of Maserati's Kubang concept (pictured). Almost immediately, rumors that a production version would hit the market within a decade began to circulate. Turns out those rumors were true. Reportedly set for debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show in January, the Levante will mark Maserati's entry into the luxury crossover/SUV market. It's named for the Via Emilia Levante in Bologna, the street where legend has it that the Maserati brothers, about a century ago, dreamed up the company that bears their name to this day. And you can bet that it'll be a head turner no matter which street it rolls down. Word has it that the 2016 model will feature Maserati's 3.0L V6 engine, with a 560hp V8 planned for the 2018 model. Expect an 8-Speed ZF Automatic Transmission, all-wheel drive and Maserati Touch Control with a full color 8.1-inch TFT touch screen display, as well as a reconfigurable TFT gauge cluster with f...

July 31, 2015


Will.i.am, Three Lexus NX CUVs and a Serious Laser Setup Make Beautiful Music

Will.i.am, Three Lexus NX CUVs and a Serious Laser Setup Make Beautiful Music

One might say that the revving of a well-tuned ride's engine is music only to the ear of a bona fide gearhead. Not so, says hip hop and pop artist will.i.am. To prove it, he hooked up with Lexus and Marshmallow Laser Feast, makers of musical laser forests, light painting and quadcopters. In a single night, organizers built and executed what boils down to a musical racetrack using some350 motion- and auto-sensitive lasers and lights, three Lexus NX CUVs and three drivers with some serious precision skills. The lasers were laid out down a runway and set to go off as the vehicleshttp://e3sparkplugs.com/automotive-sparkplugs sped past. Each ride had to be precise in not only placement but speed to get it right. Why? Because all those lasers and lights were set up to play will.i.am's latest musical hit, #thatPOWER, creating a video like you've never seen before. The setup took the work of 65 people over seven days, but recording the video reportedly too just one very long night. "Worki...

July 31, 2015


Vintage Porsche 911 Falls Victim to Fashion

Vintage Porsche 911 Falls Victim to Fashion

Is nothing sacred anymore? Apparently, in fashion and advertising, anyway, the answer is a resounding "no!" Case in point - the utter destruction of a perfectly good vintage Porsche 911 that any of us here at E3 Spark Plugs would rather have parked in our garage than witness such a senseless (though bizarrely riveting) act of automotive travesty. The purveyors of this particular injustice are the advertising shmucks behind the Rag & Bone fashion label that's sold in more than 700 stores worldwide. The label's newest commercial begins in the odd, heavily black fashion that a lot of haute couture do. In this case, black smoke billows up through a hole in a harshly lit white room where a woman magically changes outfits a few times. Next, a gorgeous black vintage Porsche shows up - and is forthwith crushed by a giant piece of concrete that, likely in the name of subliminal advertising, resemble a handbag, shape-wise.Trust us - it's painful to watch. But bless the guys over at Jalopni...

July 31, 2015


Heads Up, Bikers - Proposed NHTSA Rule Aiming for Your Novelty Helmets

Heads Up, Bikers - Proposed NHTSA Rule Aiming for Your Novelty Helmets

So there's good news and bad news. The good news is that between 1994 and 2012, the total number of motor vehicle fatalities decreased by 15 percent. The bad news is that during that same timeframe, the number of motorcycle fatalities in particular doubled. In fact, statistics show that a motorcyclist is 30 times more likely to die in a crash than an automobile passenger, with traumatic head injuries being the top cause of death. And according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), much of the blame lies in substandard motorcycle helmets that are marketed as road-safe, but actually little more than decorations.NHTSA officials recently proposed a new rule that calls for a boost in safety standards and labeling requirements for motorcycle helmets. Specifically, they're gunning for those increasingly popular novelty helmets that may look cool, but fall short of safety requirements put in place by the US Department of Transportation. Riders - particularly new ...

July 31, 2015


Zombie 222 Electric Mustang the First of a Series of Muscle Car EV Conversions

Zombie 222 Electric Mustang the First of a Series of Muscle Car EV Conversions

At first glance it's a stunningly pristine 1968 Mustang - black with neon green racing strips and chrome trim. But take a look under the hood and it's immediately clear that this is not your classic restoration. Rather, it's the first of a series of muscle car-to-electric vehicle conversions planned by Texas-based Blood Shed Motors. "Something about old school American muscle just really gets my blood pumping," said host Johnathan Buckley in a recent episode of Autoblog's Translogic video series featuring the Zombie 222. "But when you take two electric motors, in this case, producing 1,800 pounds of torque with 800 horsepower and you've got something really, really special." Special, indeed. This classic Pony car's innards have been completely transformed from a 289-cubic-inch V8-fueled ride to an electric beast boasting twinned Warp 11 DC motors and a pair of fresh Zilla controllers that will serve as the basic blueprint for future vehicles. It's proven quicker than every supe...

July 27, 2015


The Albanian Tartan Prancer Just Might Be the Coolest Non-Existent Ride Ever

The Albanian Tartan Prancer Just Might Be the Coolest Non-Existent Ride Ever

"Crafty like lynx. Fast like Eagle. Tough like bear." That's the tagline used to drive sales of the all-new 2015 Albanian Tartan Prancer, the crazy cool ride that's the Eastern European mid-range. You know you already want one. Sorry 'bout your luck - this one's only available if you happen to exist within the fictional realm of the upcoming Vacation movie. That's right - the Griswolds are on the road again in the new film set for release July 29. This time, it's a grown up Rusty at the wheel with his own brood and a mission to treat them to the same fun-filled, family bonding, Walley World road trip experience that dear old Dad provided in 1983's comedy classic National Lampoon's Vacation. But Rusty (played by Ed Helms), wife Debbie (Christina Applegate) and their two sons have their own ultra-modern version of the original Griswold's Wagon Queen Family Truckster Station Wagon. Here's how the film's website amusingly advertises the Prancer which, as best as we here at E3 Spark Pl...

July 17, 2015


When and Why to Recharge Your Ride's AC System

When and Why to Recharge Your Ride's AC System

August is just around the corner. For most US states, it's the hottest month of the year. Here in Florida, where E3 Spark Plugs is based, it's brutal - especially if your ride's air conditioning system is busted. In a desperate effort to avoid sweat-soaked hours feeling like you're riding around town in a pressure cooker on wheels, many of us are tempted to take that whole topping-off thing a little too seriously. Of course, that's exactly what you want to do once a year when it comes to motor oil, antifreeze, etc. But recharging your AC system annually typically isn't necessary. Barring any issues necessitating repair, your AC should only need recharging once every two to three years, automotive experts say. Of course there are a few telltale signs that your ride's AC system is in need of a refrigerant flush and fill - the most obvious being that you've got the system going full blast but still look like you just stepped out of the shower. If that's the case then yeah, a recha...

July 17, 2015


Detroit Childhood Drives Artist Camilo Pardo

Detroit Childhood Drives Artist Camilo Pardo

At 10 years old, Camilo Pardo moved with his family to Detroit. The move would prove a major factor in the budding young artist's career, prompting a fascination with 1960s and '70s-era sports cars. Today, he's among the nation's most celebrated automotive artists. After graduating from the Motor City's prestigious design school Center for Creative Studies in 1985, Camilo was hired by Ford Design Center in Dearborn Michigan with assignments in the company's Torino, Italy and Cologne, Germany studios. Among his most celebrated works are the state-of-the-art redesign of the classic Ford GT race car (which became the 2002 Fort GT concept car) and the wildly successful 2005 and 2006 production Ford GTs. Today, Pardo's designs and his Detroit studio have become so beloved in the industry that they host the annual Detroit Auto Designers Night, an internationally recognized event frequented by the world's top automotive designers and executives. By night, however, Pardo takes his art...

July 16, 2015


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

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 technology improved over the ensuing decades, with popularity peaking post-World War II. By 1958, upward of 5,000 theaters dotted the American landscape. Then came the downfall, driven by the introduction o...

July 16, 2015


Is Your Ride in the Zero Club?

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 System crash data, but also looked at model years dating back to 2008 in vehicles that haven't undergone substantial redesign since. Results turned up nine models that had zero driver fatality rates. T...

July 16, 2015


E3 Spark Plugs Digs the Toyota Minivan-Turned- Ultimate Utility Vehicle

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 challenging driving environments including California's Death Valley in the sweltering summertime, the icy roads of Alaska in winter, Pike's Peak in Colorado and the crazed streets of New York City. The 11...

July 14, 2015


Great Scott! Lexus Builds Real-World Hoverboard

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 nitrogen cooled superconductors and permanent magnets combine to allow Lexus to create the impossible. Wrapped in a design that is uniquely Lexus, the Hoverboard features the iconic Lexus spindle grille signat...

June 30, 2015


Long Live the Queen - Racer Lewis Hamilton Gets Schooled in Minding his Manners

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 simply will not do. "I got invited to a lunch and was sitting next to the Queen," Hamilton told the BBC. "I was excited and started to talk to her, but she said – pointing to my left – 'No, you speak th...

June 30, 2015


Top News & Notes for Racing Game Enthusiasts from E3EXPO 2015

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 important point. Built for the Samsung Gear VR, SMSRacing tests your ability to text while driving. Take too long to reply to a friend's text and you'll be unceremoniously unfriended. Lose three friends and you automa...

June 29, 2015


Toyota Aims to Produce New Hydrogen Fuel - And That's No Bull

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 and allow for about 300 miles of travel before fueling up again. Multiple states agree. Several are beginning to approve funding to build hydrogen fueling stations as consumers demand more environment...

June 29, 2015


Samsung Debuts See-Thru Safety Semi Trucks

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 confirm that the technology works and that this idea can definitely save the lives of many people," Samsung officials wrote in a recent blog on the company's website. That testing was done in Argentina an...

June 29, 2015


20 Worst States for Car Crashes

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 riskiest for drivers are those that have lower minimum liability insurance requirements and higher number of uninsured drivers. Following are the top 20 riskiest states, along with the percentage of unins...

June 19, 2015


Classic Cars All New Again

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 the installation of clean engines from other EPA-certified vehicles. If passed, the bill would serve to provide "turn-key replicas of older vehicles that are virtually impossible to build under today's re...

June 19, 2015


E3 Spark Plugs Recommends: Muscle Car City

E3 Spark Plugs Recommends: Muscle Car City

Summer's here and school is out. If you're looking for fun outing options with the kids and you just so happen to be a classic car enthusiast, E3 Spark Plugs has the perfect solution. Pack up, fill the tank and head to Punta Gorda, Florida for a visit to Rick Treworgy's Muscle Car City. The attraction features a 99,000-square-foot museum chock full of more than 200 vintage muscle cars spanning from the 1950s through the early 1970s, including at least one Corvette of each year from 1954 through 1975 and several of each series up through 2006. There's also a Hot Rod & Speed Shop with an exhaustive assortment of restoration, rebuild and improvement parts from more than 450 manufacturers. And once your ride is sufficiently souped up, make plans to participate in one of Muscle Car City's frequent car cruises. With 720 parking spaces and cruise clubs from around the US making appearances throughout the year, there are plenty of opportunities to show off your vintage roadster and see ...

June 19, 2015


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