SpaceX rocket blasts into orbit with 2 American astronauts

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A rocket built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company thundered away from Earth with two Americans on Saturday, ushering in a new era in commercial space travel and putting the United States back in the business of launching astronauts into orbit from U.S. soil for the first time in nearly a decade.

NASA’s Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken rode skyward aboard a sleek, white-and-black, bullet-shaped Dragon capsule on top of a Falcon 9 rocket, lifting off at 3:22 p.m. from the same launch pad used to send the Apollo astronauts to the moon a half-century ago. Minutes later, they safely slipped into orbit.

“Let’s light this candle,” Hurley said just before ignition, borrowing the words used by Alan Shepard on America’s first human spaceflight, in 1961.

The two men are scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station on Sunday for a stay of up to four months, after which they will return to Earth in a Right Stuff-style splashdown at sea.

The mission unfolded amid the gloom of the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed over 100,000 Americans, and racial unrest across the U.S. over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police. NASA officials and others held out hope the flight would would be a morale-booster.

“Maybe there’s an opportunity here for America to maybe pause and look up and see a bright, shining moment of hope at what the future looks like, that the United States of America can do extraordinary things even in difficult times,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said before launch.

With the on-time liftoff, SpaceX, founded by Musk, the Tesla electric-car visionary, became the first private company to launch people into orbit, a feat achieved previously by only three governments: the U.S., Russia and China.

The flight also ended a nine-year launch drought for NASA, the longest such hiatus in its history. Ever since it retired the space shuttle in 2011, NASA has relied on Russian spaceships launched from Kazakhstan to take U.S. astronauts to and from the space station.

In the intervening years, NASA outsourced the job of designing and building its next generation of spaceships to SpaceX and Boeing, awarding them $7 billion in contracts in a public-private partnership aimed at driving down costs and spurring innovation. Boeing’s spaceship, the Starliner capsule, is not expected to fly astronauts until early 2021.

Musk said earlier in the week that the project is aimed at “reigniting the dream of space and getting people fired up about the future.”

Ultimately, NASA hopes to rely in part on its commercial partners as it works to send astronauts back to the moon in the next few years, and on to Mars in the 2030s.

Before setting out for the launch pad in a gull-wing Tesla SUV — another Musk product — Behnken pantomimed a hug of his 6-year-old son, Theo, and said: “Are you going to listen to Mommy and make her life easy?” Hurley blew kisses to his 10-year-old son and wife.

A launch attempt on Wednesday was called off with less than 17 minutes to go in the countdown because of lightning. On Saturday, stormy weather in Florida threatened another postponement for most of the day, but then the skies began to clear in the afternoon just in time.

Nine minutes after liftoff, the 260-foot rocket’s first-stage booster landed, as designed, on a barge a few hundred miles off the Florida coast, to be reused on another flight.

“Thanks for the great ride to space,” Hurley told SpaceX ground control. He and his crewmate batted around a sparkly purple toy, demonstrating that they had reached zero gravity.

Bridenstine pronounced it “just an amazing day.” SpaceX controllers at Hawthorne, California, cheered and applauded wildly.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence flew in for the launch attempt for the second time in four days.

“I’m so proud of the people at NASA, all the people that worked together, public and private. When you see a sight like that it’s incredible,” Trump said after liftoff.

Inside Kennedy Space Center, attendance was strictly limited because of the coronavirus, and the small crowd of a few thousand was a shadow of what it would have been without the threat of COVID-19. By NASA’s count, over 3 million viewers tuned in online.

Despite NASA’s insistence that the public stay safe by staying home, spectators gathered along beaches and roads hours in advance.

Among them was Neil Wight, a machinist from Buffalo, New York, who staked out a view of the launch pad from a park in Titusville.

“It’s pretty historically significant in my book, and a lot of other people’s books. With everything that’s going on in this country right now, it’s important that we do things extraordinary in life,” Wight said. “We’ve been bombarded with doom and gloom for the last six, eight weeks, whatever it is, and this is awesome. It brings a lot of people together.”

Because of the coronavirus, the astronauts were kept in quasi-quarantine for more than two months before liftoff. The SpaceX technicians who helped them get into their spacesuits wore masks and gloves that made them look like black-clad ninjas. And at the launch center, the SpaceX controllers were seated far apart.

Hurley, a 53-year-old retired Marine, and Behnken, 49, an Air Force colonel, are veterans of two space shuttle flights each. Hurley piloted the space shuttle on the last launch of astronauts from Kennedy, on July 8, 2011.

In keeping with Musk’s penchant for futuristic flash, the astronauts wore angular white uniforms with black trim. Instead of the usual multitude of dials, knobs and switches, the Dragon capsule has three large touchscreens.

SpaceX has been launching cargo capsules to the space station since 2012. In preparation for Wednesday’s flight, SpaceX sent up a Dragon capsule with only a test dummy aboard last year, and it docked smoothly at the orbiting outpost on autopilot, then returned to Earth in a splashdown.

During the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and shuttle programs, NASA relied on aerospace contractors to build spacecraft according to the agency’s designs. NASA owned and operated the ships.

Under the new, 21st-century partnership, aerospace companies design, build, own and operate the spaceships, and NASA is essentially a paying customer on a list that could eventually include non-government researchers, artists and tourists. (Tom Cruise has already expressed interest.)

“What Elon Musk has done for the American space program is he has brought vision and inspiration that we hadn’t had” since the shuttle’s retirement, Bridenstine said.

The mission is technically considered by SpaceX and NASA to be a test flight. The next SpaceX voyage to the space station, set for the end of August, will have a full, four-person crew: three Americans and one Japanese.

Wednesday’s first human flight was originally targeted for around 2015. But NASA’s commercial crew program encountered bureaucratic delays and technical setbacks.

A SpaceX capsule exploded on the test stand last year. Boeing’s first Starliner capsule ended up in the wrong orbit during an crew-less test flight in December and was nearly destroyed at the mission’s end. Both companies had trouble with such things as the landing parachutes.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Wildest rideshare driving experiences

Driving for Uber and Lyft is usually pretty mundane. You don’t get crazy passengers all that often — thankfully — because crazy passengers come with a lot of baggage. Sure, they give you good stories to tell and re-tell for years to come, but I’m not sure that makes up for the damage they do or pain they might inflict.

In fact, some “crazy” passengers can put a driver’s job at risk or his health and every now and then his life. Very rarely does a driver escape a brush with a wild and crazy passenger with just a good laugh and some funny stories. These experiences usually come with some degree of pain and suffering for the driver.

Here, let me share a few driving stories and see if you get the idea.

The crazy

During a ride when Uber first came to town, I picked up a foreign exchange student along with some of his friends from a bar near the college they attended.

The college was having a welcome reception for all the new students. As they approached my car, I could see that he and his friends seemed a little “off.” And by “a little off” I mean they were drunk out of their minds. A couple of them were on the sad side while the other couple were more on the agitated side. I couldn’t tell if they were going to fight or cry, but I knew something bad was headed my way.

Halfway through the ride, the friend who was sitting in the back middle seat suddenly started freaking out. He pulled his MacBook Pro out of his backpack and started smashing it against the back window of my car. Startled, I immediately pulled over and demanded that he get out. His friends, though, were insistent that we finish the trip and they assured me they would take care of him and make sure he did no further damage.

The guy on each side of him each held one of his arms down until we got to the destination. Halfway there, though, that same guy broke into tears and cried his eyes out the rest of the ride!

In the end, they made it all worth my time with a rare $100 cash tip. It was a nice gesture, but I was never sure if it made up for the scratches left behind on my door. There’s always a cost to the driver for these bizarre stories.

That was one of the weirdest rides I had had until one night when I got a call to pick up a couple from an MMA fight at an arena in town.

When I arrived at their pickup location, I saw the two of them standing there, a grown man and a grown woman. They looked like nice people, and I had no idea what was coming my way.

Upon entering my car, they immediately started bickering. They didn’t want to keep their bickering private. They made it apparent before we even got out of the parking lot that they wanted to drag me into it. Each of them wanted me to take their side.

There were cars everywhere and it was taking what felt like forever just to get out of the parking lot — as usually happens during sporting events and concerts.

When it was finally my turn to exit out onto the street, out of nowhere this massive white lifted Ford F-150 comes barreling the wrong way down the street and headed straight toward the car in front of me. It stopped just before it hit it, and four guys jumped out of each vehicle and start beating the crap out of each other. Fortunately, the police showed up in near record time.

All this time I’m still sitting behind that car watching the fight and fearing for my life. But at the same time the couple in the back seat had not shut up, and they were still trying to suck me into their fight. They were going at it so hard they didn’t even notice the street brawl going on right in front of us.

Once everything finally cleared, I took them to their destination without saying a word. I decided after that ride I would head home, so I drove the 30 minutes back across town. Just as I pulled into my driveway, I noticed the grown woman had left her cell phone in the back seat. I drove all the way back across town to their location where I found them still fighting. I wasn’t sure how they’d react when they saw me again, but I rang their bell and told them I had their phone. They were so pleased they tipped $100. No joke. It was crazy, but awesome! 

The illegal

People don’t realize, but when there is a traffic or driving law that effects Uber rides, it is ultimately up to the driver to enforce it. If passengers request a driver to do something that’s illegal, there are no police on the scene. There is no one from Uber shaking a finger and saying, “No, no, no… that’s not allowed.” All of that falls to the driver.

So one Friday night, I was out driving and picking up college kids from the local bars and transporting them to other local bars. I got a ping, and when I arrived at the pickup location, four drunk college kids got in. They closed the doors and I thought we were on our way, so I started the trip on the app and pulled out of the parking space.

The minute the car was in motion one of the kids shouted, “Wait! Stop!” So, I stopped, and suddenly one of the back doors flung open and another kid piled in. Since I wasn’t drunk, though, I immediately knew that was too many kids in the back seat.

I’m allowed, by state law, to drive four passengers and no more, and my state takes that law very seriously. In fact, they have cops staking out the local bars, looking for this specific violation. I told the college kids that one of them, or all of them, have to get out. I was adamant and firm in my resolution not to break this particular law. The penalties are really stiff and not something I needed on my driving record.

The kid in the front seat said, “Ah, come on man, we’re just going a few blocks and no cops will see us.” I said, “No.” He pleaded more, “Please, just take us, we’re almost there!” I felt like saying if we’re almost there then why don’t you just walk? But I remembered I had started the trip which means they would now have the ability to rate me. Once a driver indicates to the app that the trip has begun, the passenger will always have the ability to rate the driver. If I hadn’t pushed the “Start Trip” button in the driver app, they couldn’t have left a rating and I would have kicked them all out on the spot.

But knowing they could rate me now, I wanted to try to handle it in the most diplomatic way possible, so they wouldn’t have additional reasons to give me a one-star rating.

Finally, the kid in the front seat made his best offer, he said, “if you take us, I’ll give you a really big tip.” To which I replied, “How are you going to give a big enough tip to compensate me in case a cop does pull us over and gives me a ticket for this, which would then lead to me being deactivated by Uber for at least the next three years until this violation expires from my record? And how are you going to give me a big enough tip to compensate me for the higher insurance rates I’ll have to pay for the next few years as a result of a ticket?”

With that, he realized I wasn’t going to change my mind so he motioned for his buddies to get out. Phew! That ended relatively drama-free. But a few minutes later I got a notice on the Uber driver app telling me someone had complained that I had acted in an “unprofessional manner.” Upon checking my rating, it had sure enough gone down by the exact amount it would have gone down if someone had left me one star. I tried to contact Uber to let them know the reason they gave me one star is because I wouldn’t break the law for them. Uber, as usual, didn’t care.

There’s always a cost to the driver for these crazy stories.

The dangerous

I mentioned that it falls to drivers to enforce any laws that are relevant during a rideshare trip. It also falls to drivers to enforce any rules Uber itself may impose on passengers.

Recently Uber issued a new rule requiring all drivers and all passengers to wear face masks during Uber trips. That strikes me as a reasonable requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic, because we drivers may have up to 15-20 people in our car in a single day. We’re cooped up with them in a very small space with no ventilation, making it the ideal conditions for the virus to spread.

Literally, the first passenger I picked up on Monday morning after this new rule went into effect didn’t have a face mask with them. I told them, “No mask, no ride.” They started yelling at me! But fortunately for me, this time I did not start the trip before everything settled so I knew I could cancel it which would leave them with no way to give me a bad rating or even complain about me. (As part of Uber’s new face mask rule, they have also said they are no longer going to count trip cancellations against drivers — so we’re free to cancel as much as we want now).

The next passenger that day was wearing a face mask but had it pulled down below his nose, which is basically the same as not wearing a mask at all. I don’t understand why people even bother with the mask in the first place if they’re not going to cover both their mouth and their nose, but this guy was one of those.

So, I asked him nicely if he wouldn’t mind pulling it up to cover his nose. He looked annoyed but complied to appease me. I asked him if he would feel safe riding around with me, cooped up in my car, if my mouth and nose weren’t both covered and he said, “No.” But of course, he left me a low rating.

That’s the thing about Uber rules … it’s up to the driver to enforce them, but drivers put themselves in jeopardy of getting bad ratings if they do try to enforce them. But this COVID-19 rule, I am definitely going to enforce that. I am not going to take unnecessary risks with my health or my life to drive for Uber.

And I’m no longer going to put myself in a position to get bad ratings from passengers who don’t want to do the right thing and wear masks — and wear them properly. From now on, whenever a passenger walks up to my car either without a mask or with one but one that’s not worn properly, I’m just going to cancel the trip and drive off. The minute you so much as ask these people to do the right thing, you know you’re going to get a bad rating. I’m only going to take people who don’t have to be asked.

As long as I haven’t tapped “Start Trip,” they can never rate me. It may anger them to no end, and they may be shouting and screaming at me as I drive off, but there’s no retribution they can take out against me.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Jamaican bobsled team pushes a Mini around town to keep Olympic dream alive

PETERBOROUGH, England — The Jamaican bobsleigh team is used to training without snow, but the coronavirus lockdown has seen its male athletes resort to pushing a car around the streets of an English city to stay in shape, with an eye on Olympic qualification.

Some residents of Peterborough have offered their help to Shanwayne Stephens and Nimroy Turgott as they push a Mini down the road, before realizing it is part of a new training regime to work around the closure of gyms in England.

“We had to come up with our own ways of replicating the sort of pushing we need to do. So that’s why we thought: why not go out and push the car?” Stephens, 29, told Reuters.

“We do get some funny looks. We’ve had people run over, thinking the car’s broken down, trying to help us bump-start the car. When we tell them we’re the Jamaica bobsleigh team, the direction is totally different, and they’re very excited.”

The couple said they had been inspired by the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics men’s bobsleigh team, immortalized in the 1993 film “Cool Runnings.”

But they said they aimed to qualify for the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 and then outperform the 1988 team, who did not officially finish the four-man bob competition after crashing.

“Those guys set a legacy, and a movie came out of it. For me personally, I want to surpass that level, and even go beyond that,” Turgott, 27, said.

Turgott, who normally lives in Jamaica, has been staying with Stephens since January, and the pair had always planned to do summer training in Britain, albeit in gyms rather than on roads.

“If you’re able to do the same sort of training without the same equipment, then you should be able to achieve more with the right equipment,” he said.

The pair are focused on qualifying for Beijing 2022. While the woman’s team competed for the first time in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the men’s team failed to qualify.

“The last Olympics, we missed it by one slot. And now we are using that experience as our motivation moving forward,” Turgott said.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Junkyard Gem: 1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special Sedan

If you lived in North America in 1967 and you wanted to show the neighbors you’d clawed your way to the peak of the success pyramid, only one car would do: Cadillac Fleetwood. Today’s Junkyard Gem is 4,685 pounds of General Motors luxury hardware, finally knocked off the road at age 53 by an unfortunate wreck and now residing in a Denver self-service wrecking yard.

The Cadillac brand endured some rough years during the 1970s and 1980s, but rode high during the 1960s. The Fleetwood Sixty Special Sedan started at $6,423 in 1967, or just over $50,000 when figured using inflation-adjusted 2020 dollars. A Mercedes-Benz 250SE sedan set you back $6,385 that year, but it weighed barely half as much and packed just 148 horses against the Cad’s 340. Really, you had to get a genuine Rolls-Royce to out-swank the Fleetwood-driving Joneses back then (the Lincoln Continental and Imperial didn’t have quite the snob appeal at that time), and the Roller cost more than several Fleetwoods combined.

This car has been around during its long life. On the windshield, we see 1980 and 1981 parking stickers from the Keeneland Club in Kentucky. This car was already 13 years old by that time, but still very classy.

At some point, the car must have migrated to California. Here’s a U.C. Berkeley sticker.

This ancient In-N-Out sticker comes from the Southern California-only era of the famous hamburger chain.

Sometimes it’s tough to determine the reasons that an old car ended up in a place like this, but that’s not a problem here. Let’s hope the car’s occupants had their belts on (lap belts only in 1967, but still better than nothing), because these old Detroit land yachts didn’t have much in the way of energy-absorbing crumple zones.

The paint and interior are quite rough, so this car depreciated from being worth perhaps a couple of grand to scrap value in an instant. 

Cruise control was a very rare option in 1967, and this car has it.

The famous Fleetwood triple-tone horns were still there when I got to this car.

Under the hood, 429 cubic inches (7.0 liters) of super-smooth Cadillac pushrod V8. This engine grew to 472 and then 500 cubic inches during the following few years.

The paint shows some great patina.

Did I buy the horns? Of course I bought the horns — I always bring my trusty lightweight junkyard toolbox when I head out to shoot some Junkyard Gems.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Uber launches $50-per-hour booking option in some U.S. cities

Uber will offer rides by the hour in some U.S. cities, a feature aimed at helping Americans with essential trips during the coronavirus pandemic. The option, which is already available in a handful of cities in Australia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, will cost $50 per hour. Fares for regular Uber rides are generally based on the level of demand and the trip distance.

Uber said it decided to expand the hourly feature to the U.S. after riders requested an option for extended trips during the pandemic to avoid exposure to different drivers and vehicles when taking multiple trips in a confined time period. The company said it expected the option to be used for trips to grocery stores, pharmacies and doctors appointments, but would monitor use going forward.

Hourly bookings will be available in Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Tacoma and Seattle beginning June 2, with expansions planned in the following weeks.

Ride-hailing trips, which generate the bulk of Uber’s revenue, dropped 80% globally in April, but the company earlier this month said demand was slowly recovering.

Since May 18, Uber requires riders and drivers around the world to wear face coverings or masks and allows both parties to cancel trips and report users who do not comply with the measure. Repeated failure to comply can lead to account deactivation for both riders and drivers.

Source: AutoBlog.com

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime comes in under $40K, with over 300 hp

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime SE will ring the till at $39,220 (including a $1,120 destination charge) when it goes on sale this summer, Toyota announced Friday, as the company looks to claim the performance high ground in the compact crossover segment with its high-output plug-in hybrid. 

So far, hybrid variants of smaller mainstream two-row crossovers have been focused entirely on efficiency; even Toyota’s own RAV4 Hybrid is rated at 41 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 40 combined on the strength of its 219-horsepower conventional hybrid drive system. 

While Toyota insists the RAV4 Prime will be plenty efficient, squeezing the most out of a drop of fuel is not its top priority. Its plug-in hybrid system produces a total system output of 302 horsepower, making it the most powerful compact SUV from a non-luxury brand. Toyota says it’ll also go from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds (down from an earlier estimate of 5.8), which should be in contention for quickest alongside the high-output 2020 Ford Escape.

Toyota says the EPA has rated the RAV4 Prime at 94 MPGe. Precise city and highway figures have not yet been provided. For context, the company’s own Prius Prime — rated at 133 MPGe — achieves 55 mpg in the city, 53 mpg on the highway and 54 mpg combined. The last-generation Hyundai Sonata plug-in hybrid, which was rated at 99 MPGe, was certified at 39 mpg combined.

The 2021 RAV4 Prime shares the same 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle, gasoline-powered four-cylinder as the regular RAV4 Hybrid, but it’s tuned differently. Its 176 horsepower is the same, but it produces 168 pound-feet of torque at 2,800 rpm versus 163 lb-ft at 3,600-5,200 rpm. Toyota says that greater grunt in addition to more powerful electric motors means you’ll be able to notice a definite difference in low-speed driving. The fact that the Prime is a full two seconds quicker from 0-60 would certainly back that up. Toyota says the RAV4 Prime’s battery is good for 42 miles of pure electric driving — up from a previous estimate of 39 miles. 

Toyota will offer the RAV4 Prime in two flavors: SE (the base model) and XSE. Standard equipment on the SE will include heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power liftgate, and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration. The XSE ($42,545 before options) will include a 9-inch touchscreen, upgraded audio, wireless device charging, a moonroof and a fancy two-tone exterior paint scheme, among other features.

While the price may seem steep, keep in mind that the price will be offset by up to $7,500 in the federal EV tax credit, plus state incentives depending on location. 

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Source: AutoBlog.com

2021 Chevy Corvette base price won’t increase

When the mid-engine 2020 Chevy Corvette was revealed with a base price of $59,995, everyone suspected that the company wouldn’t maintain that price point for long. But at least for next year, the price isn’t budging. And that comes from the foremost authority on the current Corvette, the car’s chief engineer, Tadge Juechter. He made the announcement during the National Corvette Museum Virtual Bash online stream, which we were able to view thanks to an anonymous tipster.

Besides the price, Tadge shared a couple more details about the new model year. Magnetic suspension will become a standalone option, so it can be added to a car without the Z51 performance package. The order code for the standard car with magnetic suspension is FE2. Two new colors were announced for the car as well, which will replace two existing colors. Silver Flare Metallic, which Juechter described as having particularly bright highlights, will replace Blade Silver. Red Mist Tint Coat will replace Long Beach Red, and the new color looks slightly more orange and bright than the existing color. Also, in a Q&A portion of the stream, there were hints that stripes with the “Jake” Corvette skull design could be offered in 2021.

The 2021 Corvette is not yet available for ordering, in part because production of the 2020 model has been extended. The reason for the longer 2020 model year production is because of a combination of high order numbers and plant shutdowns due to the coronavirus crisis. But ordering for the new Corvette should open up later in the summer, possibly in July according to Tadge i the stream.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is coming, and it’s trivia time | Autoblog Podcast #629

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder and Associate Editor Byron Hurd. The big news this week is the new Mustang Mach 1 that Ford teased as a new track toy. John has been driving a Subaru Outback alongside their long-term Forester. Byron has been enjoying a Jeep Gladiator. Greg has been piloting a Toyota Corolla Hatchback as well as a new Highlander. 

Greg tries to stump the other editors with some automotive trivia — see if you can answer (no cheating) in the comments section below. Then they talk about car movies they’ve been watching during quarantine and their favorite orphan car brands. Finally, they help a listener in The Netherlands pick a new electric crossover.

Got any automotive trivia questions you want to hear on the podcast? Some (in)famous figure in the industry, a random fact about a car or a brand, racing history … it can be straightforward or totally off-the-wall. Send those — along with your Spend My Money requests — to [email protected]

Autoblog Podcast #629

Get The Podcast

  • iTunes – Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
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  • MP3 – Download the MP3 directly

Rundown

  • 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is coming
  • Cars we’re driving
    • Subaru Outback vs. Forester
    • Jeep Gladiator
    • Toyota Corolla Hatchback
    • Toyota Highlander
  • Automotive trivia
    • Side topic: remember this guy?
  • Best car movies for quarantine
  • Best orphan brands
  • Spend My Money: EV crossovers

Feedback

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Angry she couldn’t park in garage, woman has boyfriend’s Impala project car junked

Amidst the black hole that is Reddit.com, there is a SubReddit, or individual community, called “AmITheAsshole,” or AITA for short. It has 2 million followers and is self-described as “a catharsis for the frustrated moral philosopher in all of us, and a place to finally find out if you were wrong in an argument that’s been bothering you.” The page encourages visitors to “tell us about any non-violent conflict you have experienced, give us both sides of the story, and find out if you’re right, or you’re the asshole.” There, to his audience of anonymous judges, Reddit user @JimothyIsYourUncle spilled the tale of how his live-in girlfriend towed his 1967 Chevrolet Impala project to the scrapyard when he was away for work.

Via PowerNationTV, the story starts as one of love. Jimothy’s relationship with his girlfriend reached the point where the two agreed she’d move into his recently purchased first home. The house included a 2.5-car garage, in which Jimothy stored a ’67 Impala project car that he’d purchased in February 2019. Once he started the total restoration of the car, the body was in one bay, the chassis was in the other, and parts were strewn about the rest of the space.

That she couldn’t park her vehicle in the garage supposedly severely irked the girlfriend. “She wants to park in the garage, but I have two acres of land with a lot of nice places to park under shady trees, or hell, even in the barn if it has to be inside,” the post details. “I tell her tough luck, it’s my house, and it’s not like I can just throw it back together real quick.” 

Angered by her boyfriend’s stance, the girlfriend took matters into her own hands. While he was out of town on a business trip, she hired people to take everything associated with the vehicle out of the garage and straight to a scrapyard. In the post, he describes his reaction when he returned home to find his girlfriend’s car parked in the garage: 

I was absolutely dumbfounded. I had spent over 11k on that car including new parts, services, and the car itself. I told her that I was going to be taking her to court for that and she brushed me off like I was being dramatic. I told her that its done between us and to pack her things and leave. I admit I was a really angry but I did end up getting a lawyer, and as I have all the receipts for all that money spent and I have her on my house’s security cam footage letting the guys in and watching them take it all I think I can win.

Her family and friends are absolutely blowing me up saying its just a stupid old piece of junk and that she cannot pay back all that money I spent, and that I should just let it go. But I have been putting all my time, effort, and money into that car for a year and a half now and goddammit if I am not going to get justice for what she did.

In two updates to the post, Jimothy says that he went to the police station and filed charges for grand larceny and grand theft auto. The police were also able to locate the Impala, though it has yet to be returned to Jimothy, as the situation is still under investigation.

Unfortunately, the location of the spat is not mentioned, so there is no way to verify this story through news reports or otherwise. Read the full story straight from the source on Reddit.

Source: AutoBlog.com

A 2020 Porsche 935 is already up for auction, and it has zero miles

Porsche first announced the new 935, not to be confused with Bisimoto’s 935 K3V electric restomod, back in 2018 as a recreation of the 935/78 “Moby Dick” racer from the ’70s. This modern interpretation is based on the 991.2-generation 911 GT2 RS Clubsport, and only 77 examples were planned for production. Already, a 2020 935 has hit the resale market, and it’s the second one built. The original buyer from Monaco took delivery of the car in February of this year, and it seems this buyer’s sole intent was to flip the car for a profit, as it will hit the RM Sotheby’s auction block without a single driven mile.

Porsche used carbon fiber bodywork to reshape the GT2 to look like the 935. It is longer, wider, and features the famous smoothed-over front end with headlights in the lower portion of the fascia. The aero wheels and giant rear wing (though it’s not the same) help mimic the old car’s aesthetic, as does the contrasting exposed-carbon-fiber rear end. 

Weighing 3,042 pounds, the new 935 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter flat-six that makes 700 horsepower. Shifting is handled by a seven-speed PDK gearbox.

Inside, the track-only machine has more racing influences. The laminated wood gearshift lever is inspired by the 917, 909 Bergspyder, and Carrera GT. The carbon fiber steering wheel and cluster display were sourced from the 2019 911 GT3 R, and a single racing seat with a six-point safety harness reinforces the car’s purpose.

Although we’ve seen the new 935 in numerous retro liveries, this example wears the red, white, and blue Martini livery the car debuted in. The modern 935 originally sold for roughly $780,000, and this car is expected to draw in $1.4 million to $1.6 million, not a bad return after a few months. Visit RM Sotheby’s and Porsche for more information.

Source: AutoBlog.com