Friday, January 21, 2011

XPLORE Off-Road Vehicles | Performance Business http://ping.fm/Y9uAP

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A rule issued in 2008 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate certain auto body refinishing operations took full effect on January 10, 2011. The rule targets metal compounds emitted as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) during paint coating or stripping operations. The compounds include chromium, lead, manganese, nickel and cadmium.

The EPA rule establishes “best practices” (spray booth, spray gun cleaning, etc.) for minimizing HAP emissions during surface coating operations. All shops are effectively required to have a filtered spray booth or prep station and use high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) or equivalent spray equipment. Owners and operators are required to provide training for their painters on how to properly spray surface coatings and clean equipment. 

Companies subject to the rule must send the EPA a one-time notification form stating that they are in compliance with the rule by March 11, 2011. Click here for the compliance form. (Companies were required to contact the EPA by January 11, 2010, informing the agency that they were subject to the standard. Click here for the initial notification form.

The regulation does not apply to paint stripping and surface coating performed by individuals as part of a hobby, or for maintenance of their personal vehicles so long as those activities do not exceed two motor vehicles (or the equivalent in pieces) per year.  Additionally, the rule does not apply to painting done with an airbrush or hand-held non-refillable aerosol cans. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Behind the scenes with the Three Wise Men - BBC Top Gear http://ping.fm/RfQOn

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Top Gear’s Hot Hatch Power League - BBC Top Gear http://ping.fm/kF9YC

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Judging from the TV commercials that were running constantly during the month of December, getting a new car for Christmas—or, excuse me, during “the holidays”—is apparently quite commonplace. So I imagine there were some spoiled 16-year-olds who woke up on December 25th to find in their driveway a new Chevy Camaro with a giant red bow on the roof. To them I say, bully for you—and try to be a bit less snotty to your parents, at least for the next few weeks.

I, too, found myself at the wheel of a new Camaro over Christmas, a bright orange SS with a pair of fat black stripes on the hood, and a black-and-orange interior (what, no houndstooth?).

Backing up all that flash, my Camaro SS featured a 6.0-liter V-8 with a potent 426 hp and a rip-snorting exhaust note. That engine makes this car blisteringly fast, and it’s also plenty torquey enough to let the Camaro cruise happily in its ultra-tall fifth and sixth gears. The manual transmission gets full marks for the action of its clutch and shifter, with one major exception. GM is still using its obnoxious 1st-to-4th “skip shift,” that hackneyed old EPA-cheating trick, which dates all the way back to the last Camaro.

Also dating back to the last Camaro—and every one before that—is the cramped back seat. Front-seat occupants need to scoot their chairs forward to make enough space back there even for kids. Unlike in Camaros of yore, here Chevrolet engineers did not scoop out the seat cushion to aid the cause of headroom, but maybe they should have. A more endearing bit of retro is the dash design; it looks cool and has easy-to-use switchgear. The SS has a firmer suspension, but even so the car rides well and resists tramlining despite its wide tires.

One of the biggest knocks against the new Camaro is the visibility—that’s the outward visibility. This particular example, at least, proved highly visible to others. That’s one reason to appreciate the head-up display (standard on the 2SS trim level), which is great for keeping precise track of one’s speed, useful in such a fast and highly conspicuous car.

This extroverted machine got a warm reception everywhere it went, despite the freezing weather. On the day the big blizzard was approaching the Northeast, one parking-lot commenter said, “Nice car,” but then admonished, “You better get that thing home.” I did make it home just as the snow started to fly. But the next day, I drove it into an only partially plowed-out New York City. Historically, Camaros have been good for only one thing in the snow: doing donuts. This new one, with the aid of snow tires and traction control, was able to make it all the way to its parking garage in Manhattan despite the snow-covered streets—which made this one happy return.


The dash takes cues from the first-generation car.
Joe Lorio on January 7 2011 12:27 PM
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