There’s no doubt they offer impressive high-end performance, but many Aston Martins stand apart from the competition because of their elegant sheetmetal, exquisite interior appointments, and, of course, the Bond factor. A staple since Sean Connery drove one in 1964’s “Goldfinger,” most recently the British marque’s DBS supercar was most recently used for an on-screen flip in “Casino Royale,” and unintentionally driven into a lake on the set of the upcoming “Quantum of Solace.” And while 007 mostly values performance and rocket-launching ability, now in-between takes Daniel Craig can better enjoy his favorite tunes thanks to a new partnership between Aston and famed audio specialist Bang & Olufsen. Known for creating high-priced, high-style stereos, Bang & Olufsen’s new BeoSound DBS system outfits the supercar with a total 13 individual speakers specially tuned for the top-end Aston’s interior. The speakers are … [Read more...] about Sick of your V-12’s rumble? Aston offers new Bang & Olufsen stereo for the DBS
The National Transportation Safety Board — an arm of the U.S. government in charge of investigating crashes — has recommended sweeping changes to laws regarding the use of mobile phones in cars. In fact, the NTSB recommended outlawing the use altogether by drivers. The push came this week from the board, headed by Chairman Deborah Hersman. Hersman is quoted as saying “no call, no text, no update is worth a human life.” From the looks of it, the NTSB is recommending a regulation that would outlaw the use of mobile phones for voice or text communication, even those utilized through headsets or portable speakers. That would outlaw the use of Bluetooth and wired apparatuses, as well as speakerphones and Bluetooth-connected car stereos. Reports say that the NTSB wants to exempt systems like OnStar and GPS navigation from an all-encompassing portable device ban. The issue with this, of course, is that a countrywide ban on mobile phone and portable electronic device … [Read more...] about NTSB Pushes for Total In-Car Cell Phone Ban, Is it Realistic?
In Jim Boswell‘s great revisionist automotive history The CAFE Continuum, a Cadillac salesman shows off the “wonders of fin-mounted 3-D backup camera imaging”. Stereo backup cameras are still waiting for automakers to adopt autostereo (glasses free) display panels but forward-looking stereo cameras in cars are no longer the stuff of science fiction. Subaru has announced that the North American debut of their EyeSight™ driver assistance system will take place at the New York International Auto Show next month. Unlike the more common radar based ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) devices, EyeSight uses algorithmic analysis of the video stream from a camera. Well, actually cameras, since the system uses parallax information from two CCD cameras mounted near the top of the windshield.The system provides pre-collision braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure and sway warning, and adaptive cruise control. Subaru made a point of saying that the cameras were … [Read more...] about Subaru Uses Stereo 3D Tech in New EyeSight™ ADAS
When Chrysler touts its well-performing 8.4 inch UConnect touchscreen, somewhere Earl “Madman” Muntz smiles. When drivers use UConnect and other manufacturers’ infotainment systems to play their favorite music Muntz’s smile broadens. You see it was Muntz who started the convention of measuring video screens diagonally in the early days of television. He was also an important pioneer when it came to automotive audio systems, inventing and selling the first affordable car stereo systems. Muntz could also be attributed with selling the first modern personal luxury car, or even the first American sports car (though Crosley buffs would demur). Not only did he influence the way people entertained themselves behind the wheel and at home, perhaps more importantly he influenced the way mass consumer goods, including cars, are manufactured and marketed. Muntz was a serial entrepreneur who made and lost fortunes several times, coming up with timely ideas and riding … [Read more...] about Crazy Ads & Car Stereos: How Earl “Madman” Muntz Changed Car (and American) Culture
Carroll Shelby wasn’t the first person who thought of putting a powerful American engine in a British sports car. Sydney Allard did it more than a decade before Shelby made his first Ford powered A.C.E. and called it a Cobra. As a matter of fact, Shelby raced an Allard J2 in the early 1950s. So did Zora Arkus Duntov, whose ARDUN heads were equipped on the flathead Ford V8s that Allard fitted to UK domestic market J2s. Allard’s American customers generally preferred to buy cars without engines so their could fit their choice of high compression OHV V8s that were proliferating in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The most popular engine was the 331 cubic inch Cadillac V8, introduced in 1949. Actually Allard wasn’t the only British manufacturer with the idea of using American muscle in his performance cars. Donald Healey also wanted to use Cadillac engines in his sports cars and traveled to Detroit to buy them. A chance encounter while shipboard with a large man … [Read more...] about Stereo Realists: Donald Healey, George Mason and How the 3D Craze Led to the Nash-Healey
Seth writes:Sajeev (and your evil twin)OK, you asked for it so here goes: I have an 2005 saab 9-3 5-speed convertible that is having issues.I use it as a summer car. It is my third saab so I am use to some weird stuff. Last year, I parked it for the winter and everything worked. I lost my garage space for the winter so I had it under a car cover. When spring came my SID (Saab Information Display) did not work. I know the SIDs in previous generations were an issue but not on this model. As a bonus, my CD player also died, but the radio still worked even without its display.So I get the SID replaced — really the only reason was so I could see radio the current station — by an independent Saab mechanic, but now the radio does not work. The indie said the amp is bad. The Saab amp setup (I have a 7-speaker, 150W ARC sound system, I think) is fiber optic and a PITA. He checked the fuses and said they are fine. It seems odd the radio does not work the minute … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: The Saab SID, the Dead CD Stereo!
M.D.K. writes:Sajeev,Over the years I have come to appreciate vehicles that are built to last for a long time versus the disposable appliances. I drive a 93 Land Cruiser that fits the former while my wife’s 07 Hyundai Tucson seems to fit the later. It is a fine appliance and has given us no issues over the first 60,000 miles of use but The three years I spent stationed at Fort Drum are taking a toll. The body has a couple rust spots and any work underneath is an adventure thanks to the road salt doing its thing Plus my boys have really taken their toll on the interior.I am a Warrant Officer in the Army and due to retire in 4 years. So right when I retire the Hyundai will be pushing 10 years old. It has been my experience that appliances start to nickel and dime at this stage plus if the body is already rusting I can’t help but think it will be nearing the end of it’s life at a time I’ll be cutting back financially. The Land Cruiser should be good as I have … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: W123 Love in 2013?
Bruce writes:Hi Sajeev,In the comments for “QOTD: Are All These Turbocharged Cars Going to Last?” there was a long discussion on whether dashboard entertainment systems were also a weak point in modern cars. Well, it’s turned out to be a weak point in my 2004 Acura TSX.It’s a first-generation TSX with a 6-speed manual gearbox and a total hoot to drive, but the dash computer/radio has always been a problem. The high-mounted LED display failed and was fixed under a recall (the problem was a bad chip in the radio). It gave up the ghost again nine years later and the dealer threw up his hands at fixing it for free. Now the infotainment system constantly reboots rendering it unusable.My question: Is it worth having this problem fixed on an 11-year old car?Not having the infotainment system is more of a nuisance than anything else. The CD player works. I can adjust the radio and temperature controls using the knobs and buttons. I … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: Cold Feelings About Depreciated ICE?
Is there a car enthusiast whose pulse does not quicken when he or she hears the brrrap brap of the exhaust when the North American spec Fiat Abarth fires up? TTAC’s managing editor Derek Kreindler is correct, the Abarth does indeed sound faster than it actually is, but it still sounds glorious. Don’t tell me that an inline four can’t sound as exciting as a V8 or even a V12. Saying that an eight or a twelve “sounds better” than a four is like saying that a big band sounds better than a trio, as if you can’t enjoy both Duke Ellington and Cream.Not only does it sound good when you start it up, I suspect that the ECU on the Abarth’s turbocharged and twin-intercooled 1.4 liter motor may even be deliberately dumping a little unburned fuel into the exhaust manifold on throttle overruns. You start looking for tunnels and concrete walls just to hear the sound reverberate. Of course, while the Fiat Abarth playing the Rice Krispies … [Read more...] about Review: 2015 Fiat 500 Abarth
If one of your DIY car enthusiast friends built a home or office audio system from the muffler and exhaust pipes of their favorite car as both an acoustic and visual part, you’d probably think it was a clever idea — something like using an engine block for the base of a glass coffee table, only more practical.What, then, to think of the $3,500 Porsche Design 911 Soundbar Bluetooth loudspeaker that incorporates an actual titanium rear silencer and twin chromed exhaust tips from a Porsche 911 GT3 in its subwoofer?My older brother says that his younger male sibling is too clever by half. I admit to having a fondness for clever things and, even more so, clever people. I plead guilty to a sense of wonder at human creativity. That’s probably a big reason I like cars.I also think the exchange of goods and services for things of value — for lack of a better word, let’s call that capitalism — is pretty cool, particularly when … [Read more...] about $3,500 Porsche Design 911 Soundbar Sounds Ridiculous No Matter How Aurally Pleasing