Tag Archives: automobiles

RIP Carbon Motors

Recently, I read some sad news, Carbon Motors has folded. I can’t say I’m surprised. Starting a car company, especially a niche car company is hard. It is sad because E7 concept seemed really thought out, and that’s what I liked about it. I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t write more about Carbon Motors three years ago when they first showed up on my radar. The E7 was was billed as the only purpose built police car in the world. The front seats had cutouts for utility belts and a sucky to blow cool air on the driver’s neck. The rear seats had suicide doors and seatbelts rigged with the latches records the outside so that officers didn’t have to lean over prisoners when securing them in the back. The car also was supposed to come full of gadgets like nightvision cameras and NBE detectors (no doubt to enable police departments to offset the cost of the vehicles through antiterrorism grants).

Apparently getting enough orders and/or bringing the manufacturing cost down for profitability became a problem for Carbon, because they eventually ditched the patrol car, and started shopping around a rather boring paddy wagon.

Sadly, Carbon Motors’s online presence is completely gone, save for the wayback machine.

A salvaged picture of the paddy wagon is after the jump.

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New Woo-Woos

I’ll admit it. This post is just here to look at pictures of police cars. I kind of like police cars. I like the flashing lights. I like that they go fast. The first time I sat in a police car, I was maybe five years old. An Illinois State Police trooper, having lunch/dinner at the DuQuoin Pizza Hut, let me sit on his lap and turn the lights on. I remember leaning out of the car and expclaiming, “The Woo-woos! They WORK!,” and that he had a broken thumb. I imagined that he got shot in it. The last time I sat in a police car, it was getting a speeding ticket after I blew past another Illinois State Police car going about 90 on I-57. I sat in the front, because the back was full of cardboard boxes containing files. (I’m sure Andrew Tanenbaum would have something to say about that.) I noticed there was a lot of crap in a cop car. A laptop and two CB radios. (WTF?)

Now with disclaimer out of the way…

New police cars!

Ford is eliminating the Crown Victoria police cruiser, and replacing it with the 2011 Taurus Police Interceptor (based on the 2010 Taurus). What makes this different from the Crown Vics? This one has unibody construction (which makes repairs more expensive), and 25% more fuel efficient V6 engines (263 HP and 365 HP available, with either front-wheel or all-wheel transmissions).

Not to be left behind, GM is releasing a new 2011 Chevrolet Caprice Police Interceptor which comes in both a V8 (355 HP) and V6 FlexFuel (i.e. E85 or gasoline) engines.

Dodge is staying with their Charger that released in 2006.

However, the coolest police car out there is not the lame-o police Lamborghini, or the from-the-mind-of-a-seven-year-old-boy Caparo T1 Rapid Response Vehicle, but Carbon Motors purpose built (as opposed to a normal conversion) police car, the E7. It comes with night vision, a heads up display,an automatic license plate recognizer, voice control, and suicide doors! (More photos from Jalopnik.)

Photos of all cars mentioned after the jump.
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The Splinter

NC State industrial design grad student, Joe Harmon is building a car by hand. Not just any car. A sports car that can reach 240 MPH. Not just any 700 HP, 240 MPH sports car. A 700 HP, 240 MPH sports car made almost entirely of wood. The body? Wood. The dash? Wood. The seats? Well, they’re wicker. The wheels? Oh, they’re wood too. The suspension? Yes, it’s wood too.

Because he wants strength, but also a reduced weight (wood has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than steel or aluminum), he is creating the body out of custom made plywood that consists of layers of eighth inch wide cherry veneer strips that are then weaved together, and glued on top of a weaved birch veneer, a core of balsa wood, and then another woven layer of birch. The panels are then vacuumed formed into shape, using the same technique that’s used for carbon-fiber composites. All told, about 30 species of wood are used to make up the car.

According to the last update, which was about a year ago, the outer shell was complete, but the internal components such as the V8 Cadillac Northstar engine and six speed Corvette transmission were yet to be installed. However, the car has drawn industrial sponsors like Delta/Porter-Cable, and has been making the rounds at different car shows.

Thanks Dad!