Welcome to your "Exhaust Notes" light-news roundup, an occasional feature in which we cover news bits that don't necessarily deserve their own blog post but are interesting nonetheless.
As I've mentioned before
, this is a semiregular thing. In this installment, we'll cover the reappearance of a long-lost Grateful Dead tour truck (it's interesting, really), how Ford
used an auto-show vehicle to help suffering Texas tornado victims, and the ridiculous Mitsubishi
Pikes Peak project. As a bonus, we have news on the new universal electric-vehicle charger mandated by eight automakers and the Society of Automotive Engineers! Isn't that exciting? (You're correct: It is not.)
One more thing: Jim Nabors (left) is going to miss the Indianapolis 500 this year
. If you're from the Midwest, as I am, this is a minor tragedy. (Nabors usually sings "Back Home Again in Indiana" and kicks the 500 off.) It's a tragedy not because Nabors has an outstanding voice -- he sounds like, well, Jim Nabors -- but because tradition is important at the 500. Tip your caps, folks. He'll be missed.
Image: Steve Cabella.
Grateful Dead's long-lost tour truck found
I know, I know. "Long-lost" implies someone was looking for it, and in this instance, I have a hard time believing that's the case. But the Grateful Dead's psychedelic 1954 Studebaker 2R15 pickup -- a machine that once belonged to famed LSD dealer Owsley Stanley, who was known as the "King of Acid" -- has been found
(above). It's now for sale
. Turns out it's in San Anselmo, Calif.
, a town where I once lived.
San Anselmo is not a normal place. I was there for almost three years, from 2008 to 2011. Once, it was a hippie enclave, a rural village within spitting distance of San Francisco. Now it's just wealthy antisocial yuppies and a bunch of policemen who have nothing better to do than be rude to taxpayers. But there are weird cars and trucks parked in back lots. Who knew one of them was the truck that supported the 1960s Dead on tour?
Ford show truck is drafted to help Texas tornado victims
This is very, very cool. I'd summarize it, but really, you need to read this New York Times blog post
. Ford took an F-550 Super Duty pickup off the auto-show floor and used it to help a lot of people in need. Plus, it has a thermal-imaging camera for finding living beings in piles of rubble. Awesome stuff. Yay, America.
Off-road racer Beccy Gordon to drive Mitsubishi i up Pikes Peak
Let's take a look at the Mitsubishi i, shall we? Followed by that, an image of Pikes Peak.
Pikes is more than 14,000 feet tall. The Hill Climb, which has been run for decades, tends to favor cars with big horsepower and very little weight -- anything else suffers during the climb. Now, an electric car should be a good choice for the event -- no horsepower loss due to atmospheric thinning, etc. -- but we're talking about a stock Mitsubishi i, folks. That's 66 horsepower. Hooray for trying something new. But.
It's gonna be one long, slow ride up that hill. Good luck, Beccy. I can't say I'm jealous.
Eight automakers working with SAE on combined EV charging plug
This is happening.
It is not the most exciting news you'll come across this year, but it's also a slow news week. The plug looks kind of cool. We'll see the first production vehicles using it in 2013. A small part of me misses the days when this sort of news was about fire-breathing, fossil-fuel-burning technology, but mostly, I just don't care about electric-vehicle plugs. (Electric vehicles, yes. Of course.) Your mileage may vary.
Japanese owner of Fukushima Harley-Davidson found
A few days ago, a Harley-Davidson (above) once owned by a Japanese man washed up on the shore of western Canada. The bike, which had been stored in a shipping container near Miyagi Prefecture, was swept into the ocean
during the Japanese tsunami/nuclear disaster of 2011
. Amazingly, the bike's owner has now been found -- Harley-Davidson tracked down the owner, who had a few choice words for his motorcycle. The bike is set to be shipped back to Japan and restored.