30th November 2008

11/29/08 Roundup

posted in Car News Articles |

Gorgeous Panamera


About a week ago, Autoblog put up a post highlighting the official photos of the new four-door Porsche Panamera. The idea of a Porsche sedan hasn’t exactly excited Porsche purists already disillusioned by the existence of a Porsche SUV, and that’s understandable. For my part, I have to admit that I’m about as eager to see a Porsche sedan as I am to see a Jeep sedan or a Lamborghini sedan. I’m sure Porsche can produce a fine sedan, but what’s the point?


Well, imagine Porsche-istas’ outrage when the official photos revealed that the Panamera is a five-door hatchback. The horror! I, of course, am delighted. Rather than just another fast, anonymous sedan in a world filled with fast, anonymous sedans, now the Panamera has a purpose. Sport wagons are cool; five-door sport hatchbacks are cooler. A Porsche five-door hatchback, swaddled in leather and wood, with (dare I dream) folding rear seats? Be still my beating heart.

I understand this won’t be a $20,000 five-door hatch, and I doubt anybody will use a Panamera 4S to haul a load of beauty bark. Still, you have to admire Porsche’s chutzpah here. I love the Panamera’s rounded rear, and I love the idea of a high-speed, grand-touring five-door hatch. It’s enough to confirm my faith in humanity.


And of course, it’s deeply cool that the Panamera’s bulbous derriere visually references the great 928; the fact that this led Autoblog to link to our 928 post is just gravy.


Ninja Hauler


Car Lust contributor David Colborne found a fantastic used-car listing in Montana Craigslist–while the post quicky disappeared, David archived the text for posterity. The photos showed a plain-Jane Nissan Xterra and a pair of Hammer pants. The text was composed entirely of genius.

“OK, let me start off by saying this Xterra is only available for purchase by the manliest of men (or women). My friend, if it was possible for a vehicle to sprout chest hair and a five o’clock shadow, this Nissan would look like Tom Selleck. It is just that manly.

“It was never intended to drive to the mall so you can pick up that adorable shirt at Abercrombie & Fitch that you had your eye on. It wasn’t meant to transport you to yoga class or Linens & Things. No, that’s what your Prius is for. If that’s the kind of car you’re looking for, then just do us all a favor and stop reading right now. I mean it. Just stop.

“This car was engineered by 3rd degree ninja super-warriors in the highest mountains of Japan to serve the needs of the man that cheats death on a daily basis. They didn’t even consider superfluous nancy boy amenities like navigation systems (real men don’t get lost), heated leather seats (a real man doesn’t let anything warm his butt), or On Star (real men don’t even know what the hell On Star is).

“No, this brute comes with the things us testosterone-fueled super action junkies need. It has a 265 HP engine to outrun the cops. It’s got special blood/gore resistant upholstery. It even has a first-aid kit in the back. You know what the first aid kit has in it? A pint of whiskey, a stitch-your-own-wound kit and a hunk of leather to bite down on when you’re operating on yourself. The Xterra also has an automatic transmission so if you’re being chased by Libyan terrorists, you’ll still be able to shoot your machine gun out the window and drive at the same time. It’s saved my bacon more than once.

“It has room for you and the four hotties you picked up on the way to the gym to blast your pecs and hammer your glutes. There’s a tow hitch to pull your 50 caliber anti-Taliban, self cooling machine gun. I also just put in a new windshield to replace the one that got shot out by The Man.

“My price on this bad boy is an incredibly low $12,900, but I’ll entertain reasonable offers. And by reasonable, I mean don’t walk up and tell me you’ll give me $5,000 for it. That’s liable to earn you a Burmese-roundhouse-sphincter-kick with a follow up three fingered eye-jab. Would it hurt? Hell yeah. Let’s just say you won’t be the prettiest guy at the Coldplay concert anymore.

“There’s only 69,000 miles on this four-wheeled hellcat from Planet Kickass. Trust me, it will outlive you and the offspring that will carry your name. It will live on as a monument to your machismo.

“Now, go look in the mirror and tell me what you see. If it’s a rugged, no holds barred, super brute he-man macho Chuck Norris stunt double, then contact me. I might be out hang-gliding or BASE jumping or just chilling with my ladies, but I’ll get back to you. And when I do, we’ll talk about a price over a nice glass of Schmidt while we listen to Johnny Cash.

“To sweeten the deal a little, I’m throwing in this pair of MC Hammer pants for the man with rippling quads that can’t fit into regular pants. Yeah, you heard me. FREE MC Hammer pants.”

Massive Momentum


This isn’t recent, or news, or even automotive. But for those of us who are addicted to speed in all its forms, it may be of interest.


A few years ago I rode the Japanese Shinkansen bullet train, and it left a profound impression on me. It was incredibly smooth, impossibly fast–in short, a fantastic way to travel. More than anything, the tremendous mass of a train, combined with the speed of the Shinkansen added up to a feeling of immense momentum that was deeply satisfying for this speed freak.


Well, I stumbled across some videos on You Tube this weekend showing off some really fast trains and was so excited by them that I just had to share.

This first video shows a specially outfitted French TGV bullet train hitting 574 kilometers per hour, or 356 mph. For reference, that’s only about 20 mph slower than the famous Supermarine Spitfire WWII fighter. That’s a world record for a train on conventional tracks


The video is remarkable for the tremendous feeling of speed and power it conveys–I love the sparking electrical transmission lines, the view of the transmission towers frantically disappearing in the distance, and the way the train explodes underneath the pedestrian bridge. Truly fantastic.

The second isn’t quite as visceral, but it’s perhaps more intellectually stimulating. This video describes the Japanese maglev trains, which use magnets to levitate and propel the trains–effectively removing friction from the tracks. A Japanese maglev train actually went 581 kph (360 mph)–slightly faster than the TGV.


–Chris H.

This is syndicated from Car Lust, and written by Chris Hafner.

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