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March 2013
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I was watching a show on TV with some of my friends, where these guys were literally taking badly rusted cars - they were literally junk pots, and turning them into beautiful "vintage" automobiles that would go for several hundred dollars. We were chatting about a similar program on MTV I used to watch called "Pimp my ride" where cars fit for the junkyard were modified, cut, converted and painted into beautiful machines.

The guys I was hanging out with happen to be engineers and we ended up discussing the pro and cons of sand blasting rust off cars. I learnt that's not a very good idea as it can do more damage. Anyway, sandblasting is quite popular and that was what the guys in the show were doing. They removed the rust, patched the holes and scratches, painted them to what I thought was a really high standard. However, my engineer friend told me that the only way to confirm the smoothness of the surface is by using a 'surface roughness tester' also known as a profilometer. Yes, you learn new things everyday.

Apparently you can quantify the roughness of a surface by measuring the surface's profile. Most of these are big machines in the labs but I also found out that there are even hand held portable versions. For example, blast cleaned surfaces can be tested for the peak-to-valley height using a Portable Surface Roughness Tester Profilometer (yes, that's the official name of these machines). I did not get much of the technical stuff, but that's how the experts test the smoothness (or roughness) of metalworking or even a paint job.

So if you have a workshop and want to known as a professional today, your shop floor has to have one of these gadgets.

When I ask people what comes to their mind when they think about Toyota cars, among the answers I get include "reliability", "quality" and "value for money". However, all these are perceptions of the brand in the minds of consumers and I was wondering whether these were actually true.

I was looking at the Highlander (known as the Toyota Kluger in Japan and Australia) which is one their  best-selling mid size SUVs. The 2011 model only has some minor cosmetic changes to the 2nd generation. They also have a Hybrid variant. I really like this model but the question was with regards to the Highlander cost of ownership.

2008-2010 Toyota Highlander

Well, I found this site which allows you to compare the Highlander with other brands. It was quite interesting because according to the site, the Highlander costs much less to own as compared to it's nearest competitors, namely, the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Ford Explorer.

The projected ownership costs include depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, state fees and repair and maintenance costs. This was based on 2012 model year study carried out by intellichoice (www.intellichoice.com) 

I have never driven a Porsche - I want to but never had the opportunity. All I know about the car is what I read in magazines, read on the net and what I heard form friends who had the chance to drive one. Anyway, recently Porsche  got together 50 people who were not Porsche owners, set a MPG challenge and gave them a Panamera to drive for 24 hours each after

I guess that's a cool way to attract new potential customers.

Lucky buggers. 





In its 65th anniversary year, Jaguar Land Rover recently announced plans for further investments in technology and innovation at the Geneva International Motor Show.

This includes the introduction of 8 new or updated products this year and £2.75 billion (US$4.2 billion approx. ) investment in new product development. They are also increasing total investment to more than £500 million (approx. US$755 million) to their state-of-the-art Engine Manufacturing Center in the UK, doubling the number of jobs to 1,400.

The new model releases will include the world's first 9-speed transmission in a passenger vehicle, alongside its new all-electric Defender research vehicles. The Jaguar XFR-, which is their Jaguar's fastest and most powerful sports saloon car, also makes its eagerly awaited European debut alongside the new two-seat sports car, the Jaguar F-TYPE.

When you have something big to celebrate, like a wedding, prom or even a anniversary, a chauffeur driven limousine ride with your closest friends and family to the venue and back, can make it really memorable. I mean going back home by getting on a cold bus is not the best way to end a great night.

Most limos can seat between 1-10 passengers but there are even bigger ones like the stretch Hummer limos that can carry up to 20 passengers comfortably. Now, they even have Limo buses which are really comfortable buses equipped with every conceivable luxury. Because of their size, they can carry more passengers making them perfect for corporate events. For example, if you have a corporate event (or thinking of a memorable night out) in San Diego, US, you can rent 45 Passenger Party Bus from the Pacific Limo Bus service. The bus has some amazing features including a 4,000 watt sound system, 2 Chrome Dancer poles (if you are into pole dancing), Hardwood Floor, Club Disco Lights, Fog Smoke Machines and of course a Center Bar cooler. Now, that's going out to party in style.

Just check out the video of the Party bus San Diego below:

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