The Good Oil: Oh yeah, we have a few in the basement '

When the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles opened its hidden storage garage to the public for guided tours officials expected only a handful of visitors would pay $30 for the 90-minute look-see. But enthusiasts flooded in each day.

So now they're extending the viewings to twice a day on weekdays, and four times a day on weekends.

Why the fuss? Well, the garage is just loaded with great stuff that even interests people who aren't interested in cars. Among them are Steve McQueen's 1957 Jaguar XK-SS "Green Rat," a mint 1967 Toyota 2000 GT (think James Bond's, You Only Live Twice), GM's hand-built Cadillac Fleetwood-based 1998 Popemobile and a 1972 Ferrari Daytona Spyder from The Gumball Rally movie.

Steady does it

We all know how speed kills. Endless road safety advertising has drummed it in, and here's someone who has really taken the message to heart.

Motoring  along Scenic Drive in Auckland's Waitakeres the other day, the Good Oilmobile joined the tail of a dozen cars, headed by a Honda Jazz seemingly speed governed to 30km/h whether on a straight or in a corner.

Ten minutes later, frustrated and curious about how many others were now being held up by the driver who wouldn't do more than 30, we slid over ... and another 22 vehicles crawled past.

The frustration in the queue was obvious, some pulled out to try to pass before thinking better of it, others tooted to try to get the Jazz driver to pull over.

The long procession of scowling drivers was not a pretty sight. Police say they do target slow drivers holding up traffic.  

Yeah, right.

Has anyone ever seen them actually doing that?

Good scare deters dodgy drivers

Engineers at the Fukuoka Institute of Technology in Japan are devising ways to encourage people to drive more safely ... by scaring the  hell out of them.

Rather than a pansy flashing red light or limp beeping tone to warn drivers of potential crashes, this system would warn drivers  with such messages as: ''You would die

right now if you were in a crash.''

Good Oil's too scared to give any other examples.  The safety system uses radar, sonar and lasers to monitor how the car is being driven.

Smile, you're UConnected

The first annual AOL Autos Technology of the Year Award has been won by Chrysler's upgraded UConnect system.

Judges said UConnect won not because of what it does, but for ''how it performs every time it's used ... the way it's supposed to, and puts a smile on your face''.

More than 35 entries considered for the American award were narrowed down to six in three categories: Connectivity, Telematics and Active Safety. The judges chose UConnect over the MyFord Mobile app, Audi Connect with Google Maps, Cadillac's CUE, Honda's LaneWatch and Nissan's Tyre Pressure Alert and Refill System. Readers also favoured  UConnect.

We are the world

A cosmetics company in Gaza is selling a fragrance dedicated to victory over Israel and named after the signature M-75 missile that Hamas has been firing across the border. ''The fragrance is pleasant and attractive,'' says the company owner,  ''like the missiles of the Palestinian resistance''.

A principal recommendation following the 9/11 attack was that emergency  workers  have a secure radio frequency on which all agencies in  the Department of Homeland Security could communicate. Despite $360 million it is almost useless. A survey of 479 workers found only one who knew how to find the frequency, 72 per cent did not know

one existed, and half the department's radios couldn't have accessed it even if employees

knew where to look.

 Austrian artist Alexander Riegler installed a one-way mirror in the ladies' room at a cafe in Vienna to allow men's room users to peer inside. He said he wanted to start a ''discussion about voyeurism and surveillance''. But now he's reversing the process so women can peer at the men. The cafe put up  a sign telling restroom users  they would be in  an ''art'' project.

Justin Jedlica, 32, of New York, calls himself the ''human Ken doll'' after a 10-year 90-operation odyssey of cosmetic surgery for the ''perfect'' body. ''I love to metamorphose myself and the stranger the surgery, the better,'' he said.

Number Crunching

105 YEARS since the first electric headlights, on an American Peerless

66 YEARS since the first seatbelts, in an American Tucker

67 YEARS since Michelin patented the radial ply tyre

77 YEARS since Chrysler introduced the first safety padding


- Hamilton News

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