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Women of SEMA 2008 Photo Album is here.

By motortopia

Happy Monday everyone. This was our first SEMA show and even though colleagues explained to us that we would sometimes have a hard time looking at the cars.....we didn't understand until we got there. For all of you Motortopians out there facing a tough week, well, just enjoy our "Women of SEMA 2008" photo album.

Feel free to leave trophies and comments!

Have a good one!

SEMA - Our feet are tired but our spirts are high!

By motortopia

Our last two SEMA were highlighted by the good deeds and charity events promoted by SEMA, the ingenuity of the new products division, and, of course, the great ladies of SEMA who help take your mind off the zillion miles we walked in the last several days.

Since launching Motortopia we have been always impressed by the great many "good guy" and charity events and deeds done by car guys and gals. Things that don't end up on CNN and the nightly news, but do help real people in real need and give folks a helping hand when they need it. It is part of why God put us on this planet, we think, and we are encouraged by what we see the automotive community doing in this regard.

This year two events were highlighted. The 15th annual SEMA Show Silent Auction featured a 2008 Ford Flex customized West Coast Customs. The money goes to fund a scholarship program for those wanting to enter the automotive aftermarket business. Several other events and auctions raised money, but we did note the silent auction for a once-in-a-lifetime ride along with NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, which money goes to help fund the Victory Junction Gang Camp, founded by Petty to serve chronically ill children. What a great thing. Kudos to all involved.

And, of course, the great ladies of SEMA. We can only say that we enjoy bringing you this pics and hope you enjoy as well. Watch for our "The Women of SEMA" later today or tomorrow ( we are flying home today so will likely work on this on the plane ).

Last evening was capped off by a great dinner with Jerry and Mary; early devotees and Motortopians of Merit. Great people and it was our please to meet Jerry and Mary in person. I will post a personal blog post later, but just short note to say Thank you Mary and Jerry.

Thank you everyone, and enjoy!

SEMA inspires patriotism! Go USA.

By motortopia

This is the engine that drives America and it is uniquely an American Event.

Now after having spent two full days wandering around SEMA, I can report that ingenuity is alive and well. Yesterday was sort of like the State Fair that caught my attention as a young man. I was always fascinated with the demos...the folks showing and telling about their wares and services.

Yesterday I watched folks demonstrate new buffers, creams, polishes, and other things that make a car or vehicle nice and shiny and protect it from the elements. Wow. I saw cloudy finished get shined up in instants.

Here are some of the highlights of the day.

I had fun looking and testing the new Autonet Mobile down the road and connect to the internet. Oh, and the new Sony car amplifiers. Wow. Great, clear sound. With those you would be spending more time in the car.

And, interesting to me as something new in the Gentex Rear Camera Display. I know lots of folks that could use that.

A panel discussion by the woman of NSRA was informative. Peggy Llewellyn, Karen Stoffer, Hillary Will, Melanie Troxel and Ashley Force talked about how it is for women in drag racing. Hey, all the women in my life have proved to me that women can do anything they put their minds to... and this talk showed it as well. Very interesting.

Also interesting to me was the Green Zone .... cars, motorcycle, engines, and fuels using soybeans, vegetables, corn stalks, and all sorts of interesting inventions. Many of the exhibitors in this area were at SEMA for the first time. Here is the engine that drive American..personal innovation. Very inspiring.

And, this on a day when all the big automakers were looking for $50 BILLION in government funding, here were little entrepreneurs pointing the way to the future.

Now, I am not much of a tire guy, but when the president and CEO of Pirelli introduces their new tire lines flanked by the Pirelli girls...well it drew a crowd.

Again, being sort of a gadget nut, I was especially impressed by the cool laser tire diagnostic equipment. A long way from the old tire gauge that I used to use.

Now, I will never look at a wheel again without considering the thousands of new wheel types here at SEMA. It seemed like miles of shiny wheels. There were more wheels here than Emelda Marcus had shoes -- a lot.

And, finally, in the last hours, I watched artists ply their metal cutting and welding skills. Anyone who says that the industrial arts have all moved off shore and that Americans can't do this type of work have not been to SEMA.

I know this has had a bit of a patriotic theme; but it impressed me yesterday and I am certainly proud of the American auto and aftermarket industry.

SEMA - A fella can learn a lot here. And the shenery is pretty good too!

By motortopia

Day two of SEMA in Las Vegas.

We gotta head back to the show, but thought you would like these photos!

Walking 8 zillion miles of high-performance and specialty wonder.

Boggles the mind.

Question of the Day: Should the national speed limit be lowered to 60 mph?

By corsa

I'll keep this one short. You may have heard that Senator John Warner has asked the Energy Secretary to study the effects of lowering the speed limit to 60 mph on fuel consumption, and Congresswoman Jackie Speier has proposed a national speed limit of 60 mph.

You thoughts: should the national speed limit be lowered? I vote "no." Let us know what you think in the comments.

When Size Matters: Huge Motorcycle Headed for Production

By corsa

If a Harley just isn't big enough for you, Clemens F. Leonhardt might have what you're looking for.

The Leonhardt Gunbus, billed as the "world's biggest motorcycle," is a giant motorcycle that is -- get this -- designed to be ridden on normal roads. This monster packs a 410 cubic inch, air-cooled, pushrod V-Twin. Yeah, a 410 cubic inch V-Twin.

And you'll be able to buy one soon. Oh, and do you like sidecars? A sidecar for the bike is on its way too.

I can't wait to start seeing these things on the road!

Source: Autoblog

Analysts say gas could fall to $2... if Congress acts

By corsa

Now this was something I didn't expect to read yesterday. An article on (part of the Wall Street Journal network) said that on Monday, four energy analysts spoke to Congress and told them that gas could fall to $2 a gallon within 30 days if they pass a law to limit speculation in energy-futures markets.

According to the analysts from Masters Capital Management, Oppenheimer & Co., Energy Security Analysis and PFC Energy Consultants, the high price of oil is being inflated by speculation, and don't make sense based on the market supply and demand. Without the speculation, oil should be around $60 per barrel right now.

In fact, one of the analysts said it wouldn't even take 30 days from passage of the law for gas and oil prices to drop, because fund managers would liquidate their positions in futures markets quickly.

Not everyone agrees with these analysts though. Instead, they say the high gas prices are because of simple supply and demand. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman both dismiss the notion that speculators are having an impact on gas prices.

And Neal Ryan of Ryan Oil & Gas Partners said he does not think Congress should focus on speculators, but instead work on a U.S. energy policy that increases our domestic supply of oil and works on energy conservation.


Question of the Day: Are you still using premium fuel?

By corsa

With older cars, a lot of us have no choice but to run premium fuel. Our high performance cars from the 60s have no computers and fancy electronics to automatically detect knock and retard the timing.

But most newer high-performance cars that specify premium fuel can actually run on lower-octane fuel just fine, thanks to these previously-mentioned computers. Of course, there is a trade-off in that power and fuel economy will decrease when using lower-octane fuel due to the computer retarding your timing to compensate. But, if you don't drive aggressively, chances are you won't notice the performance difference. As for the fuel mileage difference, you would need to check your mileage on a tank of each type of gas, figure out what percentage change in fuel mileage you got, and compare that to the price difference between premium and regular gas to see if you come out ahead or not. This will probably differ for everyone.

On the flipside: since it is commonly a 10 cent difference from regular to mid-grade, and another 10 cent jump to premium, the cost difference per tank is the same with $4 gas as it is with $2 gas. So let's say you have a 14 gallon tank. At 20 cents per gallon difference, it costs you $2.80 a tank more to fill with premium than with regular. And that doesn't change, whether gas is $2 per gallon or $4. In fact, percentage-wise, the price of premium is actually less of a "premium" over regular gas now then it was a year ago (10% for $2 gas, 5% for $4 gas.) On the other hand, even a savings of $2.80 per tankful will save you money over time... assuming your fuel mileage doesn't decrease by more than 5%... which, if you get 20 mpg city on premium, and you get 19 mpg city using regular gas, the price difference is a wash.

So, you really need to do some calculations to see if you will save money by dropping down to regular gas in your car. Of course, keep in mind, if you car does not specify premium gas, it is ALWAYS a waste of money to put premium in your tank in the first place.

So tell us: are you still using premium in your car or has your car gone on an octane diet? Let us know in the comments!

Fuel Prices Affecting Everything -- Even Prostitutes

By corsa

According to an article in Newsweek, the high price of diesel is having a serious effect on Nevada's legal brothels. Business is down 45% for some brothels, and according to the director of the Nevada Brothel Owners' Association, it is in the lowest slump he's ever seen.

It seems the truckers are spending so much to fuel their rigs that they are spending far less on entertainment. Also, since some of the brothels are in the middle of nowhere, a lot of truckers aren't taking the detours to visit them.

Some brothels are turning to advertising to try and attract new business, while another is offering a recession special: the first 100 customers who show up with their tax rebate checks receive twice the "services" for the price of one.

How's that for a little economic stimulation?

Source: Newsweek

Blimey! Gas hits $18 per gallon in the UK!

By corsa

Man, you think it is bad to fill your tank here in the US, just be glad you aren't in the UK right now! Due to a strike by Shell tanker drivers, the supply of fuel in the UK is drying up. As a result, over 380 gas stations are either short on gas, or completely out.

Those that have gas remaining have jacked prices up to £1.99 per liter, which works out to about $18 per gallon. Gas station owners say the prices will return to normal as soon as they start receiving fuel deliveries again.

Too bad you can't just bottle up some fuel and sell it on ebay, you'd make a killing!

Source: BBC via Jalopnik

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