Motor Trend and Hot Wheels

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Recently, Hot Wheels and Motor Trend teamed up and created an exclusive pair of diecast cars if you signed up for a new account of Motor Trend On Demand. New account users would receive the Datsun 240Z made famous by the show Road Kill. On the show, the hosts modified the car with a massive turbo charger and exhaust pipe and named it “The Rotsun.” Hot Wheels made that car so subscribers could have both the before and after version of the car. The photo above is the after version. I am still hunting down the before version.

With Hot wheels and Motor Trend collaborating on projects now, and Hot Wheels now experimenting with cars coming already crushed, could we see more cars from Roadkill and other Motor Trend shows? I’m sure all of us what like to see Blasphemi as an official Hot Wheel. But there are so many more that could be done. The Draguar, the Mazdarati, Stubby Bob, General Mayhem and General Maintenance, and those are just from Roadkill. Dirt Every Day has fantastic examples of vehicles as well. Tube Sock and the Alabama Army Truck come to mind.

I’m curious to see how this partnership continues into the future though. Because, the problem with the above mentioned promotion was that the account MUST be a new account. Current subscribers would have had to create an entirely new account in order to take advantage of getting the cars. That to me seemed like a terrible idea. Hot Wheels already has the Red Line Club where members pay a yearly membership fee to have access to cars only available to the RLC. They come at a cost, normally around $30 a car. I don’t know why Motor Trend doesn’t do the same thing? I am a faithful subscriber to Motor Trend On Demand, and WOULD HAVE BOUHGHT the set of cars from Motor Trend if given the option. Merchandise is supposedly a profitable source of income from what I know about business. Hopefully Motor Trend and Hot Wheels have learned from this situation. Hopefully there are more car choices soon and available to all subscribers. And if they could still keep them somewhat exclusive and limited, that actually might be cool too.

Need For Speed

My brother and I were recently talking about the game Need for Speed, and how after many iterations, it has lost out fans because of one specific game in the franchise. Apparently, that game, required internet to play. There was no way to play offline, which would be a huge deterrent. Since then, the franchise has struggled to get into gamers good graces.

As my brother pointed out, Forza and Grand Turismo are basically simulators rather than play for fun games.

So what would a new Need for Speed look like? Both gamers and car guys are, I think, the overlap in a venn diagram.

Right now, from a car guy standpoint, you have to put cars that are super popular in real life on the cover. A Datsun 510 would turn enough heads. If you want to really throw in a spark, put a GMC Syclone or a Porsche 944. Of course exotic cars are always a draw, but hyper cars tend to be the real show stopper now days. Cars like a McLaren Senna, Pagani Huayra, Koenigsegg Regera, are a bit more attention grabbing to enthusiasts, and still just as appealing to non enthusiasts.

Although, mentioning the GMC and the Porsche got me thinking that an expansion DLC for a Radwood edition would be REALLY popular.

I also recently read an article about how Road & Track had a hand in the original Need for Speed game. Back then, they pioneered the driving connection to the car. As the games increased, Road & Track parted ways. But ever since 2005 when Need for Speed Most Wanted came out, the game has gone down hill. I started to ask myself why.

I think that the game needs to get back to two anchors that made the game what it was. First, as debuted in Underground, they need to allow major modifications to the cars. For example, 2JZ swap a Lamborghini or safari a 94 Acura Legend. Let people get really creative with body kits, engine swaps, colors, lighting, interior, etc. A computer can swap out interiors and engines on a whim. Make it happen.

Second, and most importantly, is to have the ability to race and/or be pursued, at any time, anywhere in the game, in a semi realistic way. The original game was all about fast racing. Hot Pursuit was all about being chased. Suspension of disbelief is hard to achieve in a racing video game, especially if you are not making a simulator. But if there are options, like turning on and off damage, having a speed ratio to what is equipped on the car, and factoring in environmental effects like weather, are all things that have to have a delicate balance to give game players an extremely fun experience, but also have it be somewhat believable. To accomplish this, get a small group of strictly gamers, strictly car people, and people who know both, to accomplish the right balance for the game. If those things could be accomplished, Need for Speed can make an awesome comeback.

Speed enforced by “aircraft”?

Speed enforced by aircraft sign on the side of the highway in Suffolk Virginia.

The thought crossed my mind the other day that it is surprising law enforcement is not utilizing drones to enforce speeding.

Recently, a record for the fastest production car was attempted by SSC in the Tuatara. While there is a lot of drama behind the run, what I want to focus on is the use of time and markings on the road to gauge the speed of a vehicle. A few YouTubers, most notably one that I watch, Shmee150, questioned the top speed run based on the time it took for the car to reach certain points on the road according to the video.

That concept is what is used by law enforcement to track speeding cars by aircraft. They set up lines on the road a particular distance apart and then time how long it takes the car to go from line to line. It should not be difficult for a State Highway Patrol officer to deploy a small drone to fly up and hover over the highway to watch traffic cross from line to line. And now days, with technology being as it is, it could possibly even catch license plates to mail the driver a ticket. Either that or they have the drone send them the results and the trooper can be further up the road to catch the speeding culprit. The drone would relay the proof to the officer of the culprit speeding. Drones would also be hard to spot by those trying to get away with speeding. Planes and helicopters are pretty easy to spot in the sky, and if you knew what they were doing so close to the road, you can keep your right foot in check. Drones are much smaller making them almost unnoticeable until it is too late.

Drones are significantly cheaper to fly and maintain than the standard aircraft that is/was used to monitor speed from the air. Granted, here in Virginia, they have not used aircraft to monitor speeds in quite some time. (A whole side blog could be how much road signs cost which is probably a reason these haven’t been removed.) But, it wouldn’t surprise me that if in the near future drones will be used to catch speeding motorists. They can fly themselves pretty much, are easy to transport, deploy, and are inexpensive to build and maintain. They could provide a large return on investment in a very short period of time. I wonder what why this has not happened yet? At the same time, I am glad it hasn’t happened because I think the freedom of the open road is still free. Drones would begin to drastically cut in on the freedom one feels on the road.

Tow Trucks: Tough as Nails

This blog is full automotiveness. And honestly, if there are hero’s of the automotive world, its tow trucks, semis, and any other heavy duty vehicle and especially those who operate them.

 

Tow trucks fascinate me. There is just something about them that makes me want to cry out “That thing is so BA!” The sheer size and ability of them, especially the rotators, is like a Clydesdale that can perform dental surgery.

 

I’ve always had a fascination with them. It probably came from my dads side of the family. My great grandpa, who I never knew, used to drive trucks from the 30’s through the 60’s and around the 40’s purchased a junk yard and drove a tow trucks. My grandpa, he drove ¼ and ½ ton trucks in the military. I am so thankful I caught that bug…eh trait from them. One of my favorite books as a child was “How Many Tow Trucks Can A Tow Truck Tow?” J I want to get my CDL someday, hopefully sooner rather than later.

 

Knowing those roots, the flame only got bigger when SPEED channel debuted “Wrecked” in 2008. Those guys from O’Hare Towing in Chicago and their pristine white and green towing machines, I was absolutely glued to the screen. Up-righting an overturned semi, moving a bridge, towing one of the largest mobile cranes in Chicago, it was all in a days work for those guys.

 

Because of that show I have set a goal to own a rotator. I have searched Ebay Motors high and low, wishing one of them would get in my price range.

 

Today I was watching SPEED, and their new series “American Trucker” came on. The episode featured Diamond Heavy Haul Inc. A huge heavy haul company based in Ohio (yay Ohio! I’m originally from there!) that specializes in moving the heaviest of the heavy. More like gargantuan things. Those trucks, and the people who drive them…absolutely tough as nails in my mind, and freaking brilliant. The sheer logistics that go into one of those hauls; just blows my mind. Absolutely addicting!

 

Tow trucks, heavy hauls, and brilliant people. That sounds like a recipe for success to me! Hopefully someday I’ll get to that point!