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Driver rescued after car was submerged in Baltimore highway underpass

Shantay Allen was going home after visiting a friend in East Baltimore when she drove through an underpass that was filling with water. The car in front of her stalled, then water began seeping into Allen’s car.

Allen said she had to think quickly to get out of the car, climb on top and begin livestreaming on Facebook as her car became submerged in a mix of water and raw sewage. She was later rescued by a Baltimore Fire Department dive team.

The incident happened as quick downpours caused flash floods across the Baltimore region Tuesday afternoon. Downpours dumped between 1 and 3 inches of rain on parts of the Baltimore region, including Ellicott City, on Tuesday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue flash flood warnings.

They urged drivers to avoid flooded roads. Most flooding deaths occur when people become trapped in vehicles.

Bank of England agents issue car finance warning

Bank of England agents issue car finance warning

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Race Junk, Going Cheap: Skip Barber Racing School Selling Off Assets

Race Junk, Going Cheap: Skip Barber Racing School Selling Off Assets

After 40-plus years in the business of grooming the skills of drivers and racers around the country, Skip Barber Racing School filed for bankruptcy in May. Now we’ve learned that the school’s assets will be auctioned off over a three-month period starting August 29 in Braselton, Georgia.

The auction was announced by Liquid Asset Partners of Grand Rapids, Michigan, the entity tasked with selling SBRS’s stuff, and it will include most or all of the physical assets owned by the “Skippy schools.” This includes engines, transmissions, spare parts for its training vehicles, and race equipment. It also includes hundreds of vehicles, including semi-trailers, trucks, and lots and lots of chewed-up sports cars, including Mazda MX-5 Miatas, Ford Mustang GTs, and Porsche 911s. We think the school’s collection of open-wheel training cars could be of particular interest to amateur racers interested in taking their endeavors to the next level.

Also set to cross the auction block, according to the company, are some historic vehicles that, depending on their condition and actual history, might be of interest to collectors.

Liquid Asset Partners is also offering the Skip Barber Racing School brand name for licensing or outright sale to anyone who could make use of it. “The demand for Skip Barber Racing School training is very high, and it’s amazing how most men know the Skip Barber Racing School as the best of the best,” said Liquid Asset Partners owner Bill Melvin in the company’s press-release pitch. “It just needs the right structure for it to grow for another 40-plus years.”

Interestingly, since SBRS’s 11 partner racetracks around the country are said to be among the entities to which SBRS owes serious debts, one of the chief beneficiaries of the Skip Barber Racing School liquidation could be Skip Barber himself. Barber, now 80, relinquished ownership of his racing-school enterprise in 1999 but has owned one of the school’s partner racetracks, Lime Rock Park, since 1984.

Despite the bankruptcy, Skip Barber is probably the most recognizable name in advanced driver education. We’ll be watching to see if anyone is willing to give the school another green flag. In the meantime, if you’re looking to pick up a well-used sports car, more information about the auction can be found here.


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Bail denied for Charlottesville car attack suspect

The driver accused of intentionally plowing his car into counter protesters and killing one woman during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend has been denied bail, the Associated Press reported Monday.

James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio is charged with second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in a collision that resulted in death. Federal officials have also opened a civil rights investigation into the incident.

Video footage shows a car ramming into other vehicles ahead of it into a crowd of counter protesters at the far-right event on Saturday, leaving scores of people injured.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster on Sunday said the car attack was an act of terrorism.

“I certainly think any time that you commit an attack against people to incite fear, it is terrorism. It meets the definition of terrorism,” McMaster told ABC’s “This Week.”

Violent clashes had erupted in the college town on Saturday as white supremacist groups demonstrated against the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

President Trump has come under fire for his vague statement after the attack, in which he condemned hatred and violence that came from “many sides.” 

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Man Spends 15 Days Tearing Down Miata Engine to Make Epic Stop-Motion Video

Mazda MX-5 Miata

If you’ve ever wanted to see a Mazda MX-5 Miata‘s engine get torn down using stop-motion animation, then Alex Muir of How a Car Works has the video for you!

Muir and his team spent a total of 15 days shooting and editing 2500 photos of the little roadster’s four-cylinder engine being taken apart to create the video below. Despite the video’s high quality, the Belfast Telegraph reports that the whole process was done on a minuscule budget. The team relied on bits of string, coat hangers, and pieces of wood to get the various individual pieces to appear as though they are flying out of the engine. 

This isn’t the only such video How a Car Works has in store. The team also has a 20-hour video series that goes through the various parts of a car as they tear down a Miata—presumably the same Miata this engine previously called home. While we’re sure the video series will appeal to a handful of souls who have questioned what makes a car tick, we’d wager the people most likely to throw down the $20 required to watch the series will be Miata owners hoping to better understand the key pieces that define their tiny two-door convertibles.

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How to find the perfect back to school car

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    Back to school is a busy time for students and parents alike. Does your car have what it takes to make it through the school year? What about your student’s car? If your daily driver has had a maintenance light on for the last twenty thousand miles, it may not be school-year-ready. What should you look for in a back to school vehicle?


    Reliability is the most important feature in a back to school vehicle. As a parent, you can’t afford to have your car stall out in the school pick up line or breaking down on the way to football practice.

    If you’re shopping for your student heading back to school (or even college!), it’s doubly important that they have a vehicle that safely gets them from point A to point B — if they don’t have a reliable car, they definitely won’t be able to drive home to visit as often!

    Cargo Room

    If your college freshman is moving into the dorms they’re going to need some way to haul all of that stuff. A hatchback or SUV will make move-in day even easier. Bonus points if the vehicle has a hitch you can use for a little U-Haul trailer!

    Even as a parent or teacher preparing to head back to school, extra space will come in handy. Baseball bats, science fair projects, and who-knows-what-else won’t get themselves to school!

    Fuel Economy

    One of the worst parts of back to school season? Traffic. Whether you’re sitting in the school drop-off line yourself or just stuck behind a school bus, that time you spend with your engine idling is wasting precious gas. Give yourself a boost by driving a vehicle with good gas mileage.

    For college students heading to their new home, fuel economy is even more important! Your broke student doesn’t want to fill up their tank any more than they have to, and you don’t want to send them any more gas money than you have to. The more miles they can get per gallon, the better it is for everyone.


    This is a given, but important anyway! For parents, nothing is more important than their child’s safety, whether they’re riding to school with you or driving themselves. Of course, you hope an accident never happens, but if it does, you want them to be protected.

    Recommended from McLarty: The 2017 Ford Escape

    The 2017 Ford Escape checks all of our boxes with features like Auto Start-Stop that supports fuel economy, a roomy cargo area with a towing hitch that can haul up to 3,500 lbs, and a 5-star Crash Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association. The entertainment technology in the 2017 Ford Escape is a pleasant bonus – Sync 3 gives you more voice-activated control than ever before.

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      Ready to find your Ford Escape? Look no further than McLarty Ford, the #1 Ford Dealer in Arkansas. Head on over to McLarty Ford at 4400 Landers Road in North Little Rock or give them a call at (855) 981-4130. For the month of August, McLarty Ford is offering $3,900 cash back and 0.0% APR financing for up to 72 months on select 2017 Ford Escape for qualified buyers.

      McLarty is so confident that they can offer you the best deal, they offer a 110% Price Difference Guarantee — if you find a lower price, they’ll refund you 110% of the difference.

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      A Springfield Cop Mocked Victims of the Charlottesville Car Attack on Facebook

      “Love this,” officer Conrad Lariviere wrote.

      Photo via AP

      People around the world were horrified when news broke that, amid this weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, a man drove his car into a crowd of anti-racism protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and wounding at least 19. The attack, which by all indications was committed by a Nazi-sympathizer, was widely condemned.

      Except, not by Springfield Police officer Conrad Lariviere, who appeared to laugh at the victims of the attack on social media.

      “Hahahaha love this,” Lariviere wrote in a since-deleted Facebook comment below a post about the incident by conservative writer Ben Shapiro, which was obtained and published by the site MassLive, “maybe people shouldn’t block roads.”

      When another commenter criticized him and asked, “How many times has a car plowed into you?” he replied, “Actually [redacted] I’ve been hit by ashitbag [sic] with warrants but who cares right you ignorant brat live in a fantasy land with the rest of America while I deal With the real danger.”

      Lariviere, who spoke with MassLive, has walked back his comments. “Never would I want someone to get murdered. I am not a racist and don’t believe in what any of those protesters are doing,” he said in an interview. “I’m a good man who made a stupid comment and would just like to be left alone.”

      Springfield Police confirmed their force includes a police officer by that name and are now investigating.

      Lariviere also wrote, apparently responding to someone who referred to the driver as a “Nazi,” a comment asking “how do you know he was a nazi scumbag? Stop being part of the problem.”

      It would later be reported that the alleged driver of the car, 20-year-old James Alex Fields, Jr. attended the rally along with the white supremacist group Vanguard America and was seen carrying a shield bearing its insignia.

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      The Body Electric: Infiniti’s 1930s-Inspired Prototype 9 Concept Is Great

      Infiniti Prototype 9 concept

      Earlier in the week, Infiniti teased its Prototype 9 retro racer that is set to bow at Pebble Beach. Nissan’s luxury unit has now released more images and details, and the more colloquially inclined among us breathed quiet exclamations to the effect of: “Dag, bro. That’s a mo’ flippin’ machine.”

      Infiniti Prototype 9 concept

      Underneath its front-engined Grand Prix racer skin, the 9 carries what Infiniti terms a “prototype electric motor and battery from Nissan Corporation’s Advanced Powertrain Department,” apparently based on the next-generation Leaf powertrain. The motor makes 148 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, allowing the low-slung silver machine to hit 60 in 5.5 seconds and top out at nearly 106 mph. And while the powertrain may make it the most relevant aspect of the car to modern buyers, it’s hardly the point of the thing. Experiencing it is the point. It’s a distillation of late 1930s cues and configurations, most of which lasted into the late 1950s, until Cooper’s lightweight, mid-engined machines changed the way European racing machines in the top rank were constructed.

      Infiniti Prototype 9 concept

      While some of the Axis powers dove straightaway back into motorsport once the post-conflict chaos of World War II began to clear, with Enzo Ferrari’s first cars appearing in 1947 and Mercedes reentering the fray in the early 1950s, it wasn’t until the 1960s that Japan began to compete in global motorsport, Honda’s exploratory foray at the 1959 Isle of Man TT notwithstanding. Thus, the Prototype 9 really is a “what if” machine. What if Japan had leapt back onto its feet with the same speed as the industrialized West? What if Infiniti had existed 40 years before Nissan ginned it up to compete with Honda’s Acura and Toyota’s Lexus in the race to take on the established European luxury marques? What if history wasn’t history?

      The result is a blazing success. The Prototype 9 expertly covers the spread between classic and modern, its body creases the result of modern machine technology and old-fashioned panel beating.

      The 9 was originally an after-hours project, a dalliance based on a brief handed to Nissan senior vice president of global design Alfonso Albaisa. As more divisions of Nissan saw what was taking shape, the labor of love snowballed into an actual concept-car program. Sometimes hype and navel gazing can overwhelm a concept machine, and more and more often, what’s hailed as a concept is merely a thinly disguised preview of an upcoming vehicle. In the Prototype 9, Infiniti has taken on a captivating flight of fancy, the sort of thing that was de rigueur during the eras celebrated on the Monterey Peninsula every August. It’s a shot across the bow of complacency as well as a fine, fine piece of eye candy. We can’t wait to bask in its presence.


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      UPDATE: 1 person to hospital after 3-car crash in Fauntleroy, possibly connected to 35th/Barton hit-run

      2:37 PM: A three-car crash at 44th/Director [map], north of the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse, is sending at least one person to the hospital, we’re told at the scene – the driver of the red vehicle, which hit a pole. Police are also looking into a report that vehicle may have been involved in an earlier hit/run crash at 35th and Barton; we’re heading off to check that scene.

      2:49 PM: The photo above is from 35th/Barton; the white car visible between the fire engine and police cars is the one struck by a hit-run driver suspected of involvement in the aforementioned crash. No serious injuries, we’re told.

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      Your Parents’ Car Culture Is Nearly Dead: Here’s Why

      Guy Penini is experimenting with a carless lifestyle, relying mostly on ride-share giants Uber and Lyft, after he turned in a leased Audi SUV in May.

      The 38-year-old Los Angeles real estate developer’s three to five rides a day tend to be short, minimum-fare trips. But a few months into his ongoing experiment, he says the cost and convenience benefits of ride-sharing are up in the air. When Uber hikes rates, he cuts back on usage. In a pinch, he borrows cars from family members or gets rides with friends. He’s tempted to buy a car again, but he isn’t giving up on ride-hailing apps.

      (Nils Davey)

      “I’m an easily frustrated driver, and you get a little more Zen in an Uber, sitting in the back,” says Penini. “I definitely see myself doing more car-free days.”

      The story of ride-sharing is one of explosive growth as Uber and Lyft race to accumulate more customers and venture capital ahead of anticipated IPOs while they develop self-driving technologies. But underneath the automotive industry upheaval is the transformation of U.S. car culture, as Americans weigh how much owning and driving a car is still a source of freedom — and how much it’s become an obstacle to freedom.

      The cultural shift will be felt in many ways. For one, customers’ relationships with car brands could change, if automakers cater more to Uber and Lyft as the new dominant buyers. And as people are freed from grinding out a daily commute behind the wheel, the car interior could emerge as a new space for work and leisure activities, kicking to the curb the act of driving as a form of recreation.

      To be sure, most people still rely on their own cars to get around. A recent Pew survey showed that 66% of American adults were familiar with ride-sharing services but a mere 15% had actually used them and 33% were unaware they even exist. And the heaviest users may be concentrated among wealthier people in urban centers.

      The impact on sales of General Motors (GM), Ford (F), Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) and the like is still uncertain. The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) said there isn’t enough data yet to estimate the effect of ride-sharing and similar “new mobility services” on future sales.

      But the cultural shift’s ramification could be profound and play out over years. Observers call today’s changes the biggest to hit transportation since the Ford Model T and the interstate highway system.

      Car Ownership Vs. Uber And Lyft

      For decades, Americans have derived a sense of freedom and independence — as well as style, innovation and distinction — from their cars. That was reinforced in songs, TV shows and movies and accommodated by fast-food drive-thrus and drive-in theaters.

      But new services promise freedom and mobility without being tied to the very costly asset that is a personal car, says CAR analyst Adela Spulber.

      “In the future, you could rent a pickup truck one day and the rest of the week is a compact car,” she told IBD. “From a consumer’s point of view, it’s an opportunity to have products and services that are a lot more tailored to their changing needs during their day-to-day life.”

      In addition to the standard service, ride-sharing companies allow customers to choose between shared or solo trips, and among compact cars, luxury sedans, SUVs or even the thrill of “exotic” rides in a Porsche Cayenne or Tesla (TSLA) Model S. Coupled with the vehicles they may already own, Americans now have more diverse ways to get around than they have ever had before — and many are loving it.

      Even a city like Los Angeles, which exemplified America’s love affair with cars, is changing. Take the case of Matthew Jacobs. The Los Angeles native loves automobiles and has a Smart car for running around town, an SUV for family drives and a Maserati sports car for the joy of it. He still averages five Uber or Lyft rides a week.

      “Let’s say I am running over to Century City — it is just a few miles from my home in Hancock Park,” said Jacobs, 41, a real estate developer. “Getting in and out of the garages is slow. With an Uber, I wait a few minutes, but I don’t have to think about parking.”

      Ride-Sharing’s Cost-Benefit Analysis

      If you compare the monetary costs of owning a car against taking Uber and Lyft, short trips are ideal for ride-sharing. Still, relying solely on Uber or Lyft can be 1.5 to 3.8 times more expensive than owning and driving a car, according to CAR.

      Americans spend on average $8,558 every year to own and operate a vehicle, according to AAA’s 2016 Your Driving Costs study. That includes fuel, maintenance and repair, tires, insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges. (But it doesn’t account for the hassle of fighting traffic or hunting for a spot to park.)

      CAR’s research has found that Uber or Lyft is a cost-effective option for those who travel less than 2,200 miles per year. But for those who travel more than 2,200 miles, which is just a fraction of the 10,900-mile national average, owning a car is more economical.

      CAR researchers point out that ride-sharing is normally used as part of a mix of transportation modes. It based its cost analysis on some extreme scenarios to develop estimates on exclusive use of ride-hailing.

      Even ride-sharing devotees use other modes of transit. Rather than own a car, Zach Winston prefers to bike or use Lyft to get wherever he needs to go. The 28-year-old data scientist has a driver’s license but doesn’t like driving.

      “We have way too many cars in this country,” he says. “It messes up the environment and makes our cities less livable and affordable.”

      His ride-sharing and biking cost less than owning a car would, although he’s finding Lyft isn’t always cheap. He recently spent more than $100 on Lyft in a week in San Jose, about what he’d spend in a month in Philadelphia, where he used to live.

      Before Uber And Lyft, Attitudes Were Changing

      As industry-shaking as Uber and Lyft have been, car culture was already in flux before they arrived on the scene. With technology becoming a bigger part of daily life, a separate shift in people’s habits made a large chunk of the population ripe for the picking.

      The car generally has a lesser symbolic role in terms of life achievement for today’s younger generation than it had for previous ones, says CAR’s Spulber. And the average age of new-car buyers increased by almost seven years between 2000 and 2015, according to the Federal Reserve.

      Smartphones are often the object of greater interest for today’s teens and young adults than cars are, others say, with the teeming world of social-media apps and multiplayer games diminishing the car’s relevance to a social life.

      “You don’t need to have your mom drive you over to your friend’s house to discuss what happened in school that day,” says Ed Niedermeyer, an auto-industry analyst and co-founder of car blog Daily Kanban. “You can do that on Snapchat.”

      Niedermeyer, who is 34, believes this attitudinal shift is more pronounced among millennials younger than himself — such as his brother, who is 25 and for whom “it’s not just that it is easier to connect digitally, but it makes less sense to try to get everyone into a physical space together and it’s just not as important.”

      The cost of education and the associated debt burden also discourage young people from buying cars, which saddle them with the extra responsibility of car loans, he adds. “They don’t get a sense of freedom, and freedom is essentially what cars are about.”

      Leslie Kendall, curator at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, recognizes that getting a driver’s license isn’t a big deal for young people anymore.

      Young adults aren’t visiting the museum in any lesser numbers than they did when it was founded nearly 25 years ago. But he sees one noticeable and telling change.

      “What attracts younger people now is more the technology than style or nostalgia,” he says.

      What Ride-Sharing Means To The Auto Industry

      Fortunately for the car industry, more technology is on the way, and it will fill up what some call the “third space,” after the living room and workplace.

      Car interiors are set to become the new tech battleground, as automakers, auto suppliers and tech firms step up innovations to give customers a more comfortable and entertaining time in a cabin that no longer has to be geared toward driving.

      Ford has already integrated Amazon’s Alexa cloud-based voice service into its vehicles, allowing consumers to shop, search and control smart-home gadgets on the road. But Amazon executives see a bigger future for the AI platform, saying “Alexa either becomes a mobile living room or mobile office.”

      Yanfeng Automotive Interiors has a vehicle interior concept with seats that can be rearranged into driving, family (or home theater), lounge and meeting configurations. And Panasonic sees a future where driverless cars zip along while families play board games across foldout tables in the cabin. Windows would become augmented reality surfaces, allowing passengers to learn about and interact with the world they are driving through.

      Others imagine futuristic autonomous pods where social media feeds scroll across windows and glass roofs, with cabin lights changing based on passengers’ moods.

      When he’s a Lyft passenger, Winston spends his time checking Twitter (TWTR) or messaging people via Facebook (FB) Messenger, WhatsApp, text and Twitter’s direct messaging.

      As ride-hailing services emerge as a bigger force dictating demand for cars, the industry will cater more to their needs. Companies are reportedly looking at the airline and hotel industries for lessons on how to keep shared spaces tidy. A Fiat Chrysler executive told the Wall Street Journal that car interiors must be “puke proof” and a GM exec has said cars need “odor management.”

      The prospect of ride-sharing companies becoming major buyers for automakers is easing worries that vehicle sales will get killed.

      “Selling to fleet managers represents not only a steady revenue stream from sales, but also an advertisement for their brand directed to car-sharing or ride-hailing users that may be tempted to buy a car one day,” the CAR study said. “Ride-hailing and car-sharing companies could become reliable customers specifically for fuel-efficient, electric or luxury vehicles.”

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