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Hemp As a Fuel Source??

By motortopia

Hemp is touted as great fuel substitute.

We are starting to do some year-end clean up here at Motortopia.com. Part of that process takes us through story suggestions by many of our members. Here's one that seems interesting for year's end; and, quite frankly, one that we would like to know the thinking of our members about.

Various sources tell us that hemp would make a great bio-diesel.

Other sources seem to indicate that while hemp could be a good fuel, there are some performance characteristics to consider.

And, then again, if it doesn't work our for a fuel source, it seems to make good diapers.

Thoughts, anyone?

Help Motortopia Grow - Win a $250.00 Shopping Spree

By motortopia

Win a Griot's Garage $250.00 shopping spree by helping Motortopia grow. It's so easy!

Join for Free or Invite others to Join for Free. That's it.

Invite your buddies, club friends, and other car, bike, plane, or boat enthusiasts to join Motortopia! Just use our awesome, invitation system. (or click on "Invite" in the Motortopia top navigatoin bar)

For each person who joins Motortopia from your invitation - you increase your chance to win the $250 Griot's Garage shopping spree! An early Christmas for you.

We'll announce the winner at noon on January 20, 2010. So, get started inviting folks to join the best place on the internet for motor enthusiasts.

And, by doing so, you will help Motortopia.com -- entirely created and provided by car enthusiasts.

Thank you.

The Motortopia Team

Women of SEMA 2009 - Day Two - Wow!

By motortopia

Trick our Treat is over. . . but it seemed like a holiday to us.

We promise, we'll get your some car stories and pics soon (tonight) but thought you should have these right away.

And, remember to leave those trophy votes on the photo slideshow to show your appreciation.

New Products at SEMA 2009 -- Look But Don't Touch

By motortopia

Walking all day at SEMA does wear you out; or at least make you thirsty for a cold brew at the end of the day ;-).

Lots of great stuff. On Tuesday we decided to start the day with innovation -- new product offerings at SEMA. See the attached photo album for a view of some of these products. See something you like?

For a full list, information, and contact information for all the products displayed here, just download the product report.

Enjoy!

Some Things Just Amaze You. Victoria's Secret and Lamborghini

By motortopia

I guess if you are in the lingerie business it is ok to spend about $350,000 to get a Lamborghini and put top models all around it for a photo shoot.

That is what the Lamborghini Diablo VS means - Victoria's Secret.

This pearl white model was, well ,for models.

Hey, though, from our perspective...we'll stay with the Motortopia Nebraska Bikini Team.

Nimbus Motorcycle exhibits the art of utility

By motortopia

At the end of our conversation, Kris Thompson mentioned that his 1954 Nimbus motorcycle was designed and built by the Fisker company which builds vacuum cleaners and sewing machines. Then, all of what he had related to me in the previous thirty minutes made sense. This motorcycle was the ultimate utility machine. Built for utility, for a purpose; just like a sewing machine or a vacuum. No hint of "build it sexy" for the marketing department and for the sales guys, this bike was all about getting a job done.

Kris kindly and patiently described his latest motorcycle purchase. Kris was taking part in the European Motorcycle Nightat the Haymarket in Lincoln, Nebraska.

This 1954 Nimbus is an inline machine with a drive shaft and a 45 cubic inch engine. Every part of it, the overhead cam, the kick start, the inline driveshaft power set up; and even the painted tire pressure on the fenders revealed the point of the Nimbus, to get from point to point.

Kris purchased the Nimbus at an auction a few years ago, and except for some clean up, an oil change, a new carburetor, and new tires, the bike started up and ran like a champ.

Kris has had the bike up to a top speed of about 100 KM per hour (about 55 mph), but feels more comfortable at about 40-45 mph riding the bike.

The Nimbus was manufactured in Denmark and its last use before Kris purchased it at auction was with the NATO forces in Europe in the 1960's. This mission-oriented nature for the bike is hinted at with the military-style rear light covers.

Suspension for the bike consists of a few rubber bands to give the seat some bounce.

Kris's interest in the Nimbus feeds a great interest in antique things. He grew up in a family that bought and sold antiques. With this built in interest in the reason and story behind something, the Nimbus is a good fit for Kris. This classic tells a story as it sits in the street. Maybe of a much simpler day when things had a straightforward purpose...and so did the people who rode them.

I met Kris at the European Motorcycle Night get-together at the Haymarket in Lincoln, Nebraska. You can see more photos of that event.

[url]Please join the Nimbus Motorcycle Enthusiast Group[/url]. Free.

For more information, visit the Nimbus Motorcycle Club.

A little Bit of Freedom -- Texas Style.

By motortopia

Many a movie and dime-store novel has told of the freedom-lovin' culture of Texas. Independent, growly, and distrustful of authority, the rebel, don't tie me down, spirit is alive and well in Texas.

And, here is one great sign of it. Speed. On the roads. Real Fast.

There is a stretch of hiway in Texas where you can go fast, as fast as you want, not limits --- once a year that is.

And, the cops don't mind.

It's known as the Big Bend Open Road Race and it features speed demons from all over the country. Amateurs, mostly...but they all wanna go FAST.

And, it is happening now, in Texas.

Leave you comments about a "speed moment" you may have had, in Texas or anywhere.

Read More.

Car Thiefs Mummified.

By motortopia

Stealing a car in Russia can have longlasting effect. From the Russian News Agency, we learned today that a car stolen twelve years ago was found, with the thief inside and mummified. Sometimes you really do get all that you deserve, I guess.

Read more Here.

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 service...drive 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.

Morning Grin. Be Careful About Those Plates.

By motortopia

I'll bet lots of you have customized plates for your cars. Well, check out this plate from Virginia. Someone was not thinking ahead...or maybe they were :-). [photo from photobucket]

How To Be a Great Drag Race Announcer

By motortopia

For all of you who thought you would grow up to be a great radio personality or maybe have crowds of people listen to every word; well, now you have a chance to be an announcer at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

From our friends in Atlanta comes this offer:

Atlanta Motor Speedway is offering fans the opportunity to be the next great announcer from the Peach State during the track’s Friday Night Drags series this summer, calling all of the action during each night of racing.

Friday Night Drags non-points season opener is scheduled for June 6 and fans are invited to participate in a live audition, earning the right to be the track’s public address announcer this summer.

Slated for twelve events, Friday Night Drags has been tremendously successful, regularly drawing crowds of 5,000 spectators to AMS for heads-up drag racing down AMS’ eighth-mile pit-road drag strip.

“We are searching for someone passionate about drag racing,” said Ed Clark, AMS president and general manager. “We could select a professional announcer, but we want someone who will have fun interacting with the crowd. They don’t have to have any previous experience, just someone who will enjoy this unique opportunity.”

Fans interested in participating in the audition should visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com, click on the Friday Night Drags link and register online, or fans can mail their contact information to: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Attn.: Friday Night Drags PA, P.O. Box 500, Hampton, GA 30228. The track will contact those interested individually and provide further details.

If you are a Motortopia member, get on out there and try this. If could be a lot of fun.

P.S. Some advice from someone in our office says you need to be sure to turn off the mic when you are telling personal stories or the kinds of jokes you wouldn't tell at church. :-)

Mystery Car of the Day (#8)

By motortopia

We're looking for year, make, model, and owner. Good Luck!

Bikes, Planes, and Cars all powered by Rotary engines.

By motortopia

Simple and effective concepts are the best. The rotary engine is a great example.

Used in airplanes,motorcycles, and cars; the rotary engine was a stable powerplant for vehicles around the world.

The idea is straightforward. No fixed rotating crankshaft as with the radial engine, the crankshaft remains stationary and the entire cylinder block rotates around it.

They are easy to see in old aircraft because the crankshaft is fixed directly to an aircraft frame, and the propeller simply bolted onto the front of the cylinder block.

Basically a big gyroscope, the flywheel effect of the rotating engine mass could produce smooth power.

An interesting fact is that most rotary engines were built with an odd number of pistons.

Early used in aircraft, the rotary engine was used in most aircraft in the early 1900's. The were great air-cooled engines.

Because of the gyroscopic effect, it could sometimes make it more difficult to turn an aircraft. It was easy to go left, not so easy to go right.

Mystery Car of the Day (#7)

By motortopia

This picture isn't from the main vehicle photo, but the tail lights should give it away... we are looking for year, make, model and owner.

Mystery Car of the Day (#6)

By motortopia

These are too easy! Ok no hints, lets hear the year, make, model and owner of this one...

Mystery Car of the Day (#5)

By motortopia

CrimsonKrush got the last one. OK, now for the next one, you should know who's it is if you've been paying any attention around here ;)

OK I'll throw in a small hint:

In a rocky town in the vicinity of Vegas, this precious stone of a vehicle sits.

Mystery Car of the Day (#4)

By motortopia

OK, car #3 was an easy one, picked up quick by tamatt79.

This one might be a bit trickier, and comes with a riddle:

From the man north of us bearing the finger of a tree. This is one of Henry's finest, touting a hat full of beads.

Mystery Car of the Day (#3)

By motortopia

OK, JerryAndMary easily got the first mystery car, and the second one wasn't quite so easy, but mustang50dominates finally got it!

Here is mystery car #3, can you spot it? We want year, make, model and owner. Good Luck!

Mystery Car of the Day (#2)

By motortopia

OK, so the first mystery car was pretty easy. Here's the next one, it should be easy too. We want the make, model, year and owner. Good Luck!

Mystery Car of the Day

By motortopia

So, we have a picture (or part of a picture) of someone's ride here on Motortopia. Can you identify the make and model, and more importantly, identify it's owner?

A bit of history: Coal - fired Motorcycles?

By motortopia

You use what you have. I can remember my grandparents telling me that all the time. Maybe because that is because they used and ox and a tree bow for their first vehicle when the settled in Nebraska.

Well, this bit of Motorcycle history gives you some perspective on the love of the cycle that the early inventors and riders had for their bikes.

Ridin around with coal-fired engine. Would the EPA allow that today?

The first motorcycle was invented by American, Sylvester Howard Roper (1823-1896). It was a a two-cylinder, steam-engine motorcycle, and powered by coal; which he built in 1867.

How'd Ya Get That Handle, Frog? Need a Chuckle? Read this!

By motortopia

Got a healthy chuckle yesterday when a Motortopia friend shared the story about her handle with us.

The more friends we have on Motortopia, the more we find ourselves talking around here with each other in weird names, in Motortopia-speak. We talk about people with their handles which represent cars - 99_corvette, or jobs - amarillo_banker; or hobbies - guitarman.

But, yesterday, one of our friends shared the story of how she got her handle - FROG. Take some time to watch the video of how FROG got her handle, and then head on over to FROG's GARAGE and leave her a note.

And, tell us about your own, or other funniest handle here in the comments. We'll all enjoy your comments here.

Have a good one.

David (goldylocks, that is :-) ) and the Motortopia team!

Happy Birthday, Dale. We salute you! Share your thoughts here.

By motortopia

I know one of the things we all love about cars, being around others who love cars, and watching folks who love cars, driving, racing and things car related is the unbridled passion, the true and non-manufactured passion, for cars and the car - sports.

No one lived that better than Dale Earnhardt, born today, April 29, 1951; Earnhardt held so many honors: from Rookie of The Year in 1979 to Inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Each one of us probably has our memory of Dale; some image from some race, or winner's circle, or interview which helps us understand and remember; that it is heart and soul that drives the best in motortoports; and Dale gave us a lot of heart while he was on this earth.

Whether you are passionate about cars, bikes, boats, or airplanes; we all know Earnhardt and what he did for the love of his sport.

Today is his birthday. Happy Birthday, Dale. And, Thank You.

Please share your thoughts here.

The Price We Pay to Play

By motortopia

Check out the gas prices in that picture. Not, it isn't Photoshopped--those are actual prices seen Tuesday in the San Francisco area!

With oil prices up to a record $109 a barrel and the increased warm-weather fuel demand just around the corner, gas prices in the U.S. are certain to rise over the next several months. Some are even predicting the rest of the country could see prices like those in the picture.

Assuming prices do rise, how will that affect your driving habits this year? Will you participate in fewer car- (or motorcycle-) related events? Will you continue the same level of participation but cut down driving in other areas, such as family vacations or commuting to work? Or will you just clinch your teeth and dig deeper into your pockets? And how high do the prices need to go before they DO cut into your participation? And for those of you outside North America who already live with high gas prices, how does that affect the hobby in your country?

Let us know in the comments!

We're good to go -- AT LAST -- read the full story here.

By motortopia

"The routes are working, the routes are working!"

That's how a network engineer expresses glee when the packets of information that make the internet go are flowing, once again, easily from your site to the world.

And that is exactly what we heard from our engineers in various locations who were working to solve our "internet headache" this week.

Wow, what a week!

Early Tuesday morning we started with a major data center upgrade ( to help Motortopia run even better and get ready for some cool new services we will offer you on Motortopia :-) )

And, you know the story--- everything was "supposed" to go just as smooth as cybersilk. UhHuh.

The data center upgrade itself was pretty easy. It took about 4-5 hours to get the systems installed and hooked up. We are now coming to you from our new data center with lots of redundant connections to the internet and some other really cool, starwars looking things.

But, the best data center in the world is not so hot unless you can get your servers to talk with the rest of the world. And to do that, the traffic cops of the internet, routing tables, have to be updated around the globe.

Theoretically (man, I am beginning to hate that word ;-) ) this should only take a few hours. And, for many of our Motortopia friends out there...that it all that it took. But for many others of you, Motortopia just seemed to get lost in Cyberspace.

Just like you track down a short in an electrical system -- it can be maddening sometimes -- we worked with engineers with some of the world's largest internet backbone providers to figure this out. At first, we just kept hearing, well, just wait, just wait, all will be fine. Then we pushed the issue because things were not getting fine. Many of you reported you could still not get to Motortopia on Tuesday night, then Wednesday, then Thursday.

So, we are pulling our hair out.

And, finally, a few smart engineers at ( and we don't necessarily want to give out names but it rhymes with AT &T :-)) tracked down a bug in the way their routing tables were telling the world about where Motortopia was at, fixed the little bug, and now we are back up and running.

Hence, two thumbs up. All is good to go.

Thanks to the guys here at Motortopia who worked day and night since Tuesday to get this all resolved. And thanks to the engineers who finally helped figure this out. To some very large telecommunications companies that rhymes with A T & T, we say.........

and, most important, to all of you, our Motortopia friends, we stay thank you for sticking with us this week. Many of you emailed information and support from around the world. This helped us track down the issues and get things resolved. Your're all the best.

Please leave us some comments....and have a great day!

Team Motortopia!

2008 will be GREAT for Motortopia

By motortopia

We have really enjoyed working with you all through 2007 and now, with comments coming from you all year long, we look for a lot of great things in 2008. Watch this spot for new announcements soon.

And please remember to post your comments onour forums. . . . we read them all and they really help us in our development decisions.

Thank You...all you great Motortopians!

Merry Christmas to Our Motortopia Motorcycle Friends

By motortopia

Maybe you are having a quiet Christmas, maybe you are surrounded by lots of people. Maybe you are at home, or maybe you have traveled far away to be with family and friends who are distant most of the year.

Wherever you are, all of us at Motortopia wish you a very Merry Christmas!!!!
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