Ford trademarks “EcoBeast”

Ford EcoBoost Logo

As recently reported by Motrolix, Ford has made formal moves to trademark the name “EcoBeast,” an obvious reference to its massively successful EcoBoost engine line.

Filed this past week with the US Patent and Trademark Office, the application falls under the “automobiles and automobile engines” category within Goods and Services.

Here are some more details:

Ford EcoBeast trademark applicationFor the uninitiated, Ford’s EcoBoost engine can be found in its ever-popular F-150 trucks, and is known for its unique combination of power and fuel economy. It’s no surprise that “EcoBeast” has been used for some time as a nick-name by Ford enthusiasts, but what makes this new move by the company even more interesting is what comes next. Will Ford use EcoBeast as the moniker for a new line of mammoth pick-ups? A concept car? A higher-end line of engines?

Or, will the Ford Motor Company just let the trademark languish into obscurity as so many other massive corporations have done before, just to ensure no one else can use it.

What do you think?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Read the full story at Motrolix.

Merry Christmas
from the DIY Garage

Santa Claus Christmas carWe wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season 2014.

The DIY Garage Team

Photo essay of the Lone Star Le Mans 2014

It’s one thing to read about the Lone Star Le Mans race, or to watch the competition on television – and something else entirely to be up close and personal at the actual event. We know that plenty of our readers would love to have gone but couldn’t, so we’re bringing you the next best thing: exclusive photos, published nowhere else but on our blog, brought to you by Mike Raffia of Lowered Lifestyle.

The race was held on the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas on September 19-20, 2014. The circuit length is 3.4 miles, with a race duration of 2 hours, 45 minutes. Results of the 2014 race can be found here.

Now, back to the photos. Mike – a 22-year-old photographer from Tampa, Florida – developed a love of motorsports when he was only five years old. He’s worked for years learning how to shoot motorsport photos from the perspective of the audience and now covers top racing events for various enthusiast sites. He currently travels around the country photographing races and hopes to someday shoot races around the world – and show the next generation the thrill of being a true motorsports fan.

Here are some of Mike’s photos, plus the thoughts he shared with Advance Auto Parts.

Turner Motorsports Final race car

Photo credit: Mike Raffia

“The yellow and blue car above,” Mike says, “represents the end of an era of Turner Motorsports in the IMSA / Rolex / Grand-Am world. While they weren’t part of the World Endurance Championship racing later in the day at the Circuit of the Americas, they were in the IMSA race during the day. Then the team announced they’ll be leaving this series.”

Ferrari 458 car

Photo credit: Mike Raffia

“The Krohn Racing Ferrari 458 is incredibly easy to spot and the plain uncluttered livery presents a chance to shoot a racecar that really looks quite close to the road going alternative. This is one of my absolute favorite shots I’ve grabbed of any race all year. I love seeing the Texas hillside in the background reminding me why I liked this track so much in the first place. Since this was grabbed right before the restart of the race following the red flag due to rain, Mother Nature added her own touch with the mist trailing away behind the car, lit by the chasing car just perfectly.”

car racing at night photo

Photo credit: Mike Raffia

“Capturing racing at night at the best lit track isn’t an easy task. Seeking out the perfect spot to shoot without flash was the main goal for me here, but well-lit spots were few and far between the rented construction lighting. I wanted to see the brakes glowing and, in the case of this race, I wanted to grab the shine of the rain-soaked tarmac as the drivers worked to avoid spots not yet dried out.”

car rounding corner

Photo credit: Mike Raffia

“Aston, Ferrari and Prototype all in one spot would usually be quite chaotic as the drivers round the corners and fight for position down the straight, but this time they had worked it out and formed a single line to make this shot. I particularly enjoyed shooting the Aston here because of the classic Gulf livery that beckons to the IMSA cars of years ago.”

Lone Star LeMan

Photo credit: Mike Raffia

“As a road racing obsessed enthusiast, I often get caught up in getting the turns and the motion in the shots, but you cannot ignore the power of a flat out straightaway blast that this prototype and GT car are about to embark on. Shooting down this straight is a view that no spectator has been able to enjoy and that alone can often make for a unique photo that really gives the audience a behind the scenes feel.”

Audi e-tron race car

Photo credit: Mike Raffia

“The Audi e-tron cars are really the cars that I flew from Florida to Texas to see on the track. I didn’t take a photo of every car driving by but, every time an Audi came by, I had to. They make an incredibly airy sound. Audi’s philosophy is that noise is wasted energy, and they’ve proven that theory right.”

Did you attend the Lone Star Le Mans this year? If so, what did you think? What photo in this post really grabbed your attention – and why? Post a comment below.

 

Sharing Our Thanks

Thanksgiving Cornucopia 2014

All of us in the Advance family are thankful for our families, employees and friends in the community.

We extend our warm greetings to you and yours for a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving, 2014 – may your tables be full and your car projects fruitful.

Detroit Lions to give away Custom Team-Themed Ford Mustang

Detroit Lions Mustang

The Detroit Lions have released a brand new Detroit Lions-inspired Ford Mustang with Honolulu blue rims, a silver body with a stripe down the middle and the Lions logos on the car. Valued at over $37,000, the car is a fan’s deam machine.

Jeff Webster with the Lions said that somebody will have the chance to win one of the cars.

“We’re giving this bad boy away to one of our fans at our Fan Appreciation game here at Ford Field on December 14,” Webster said. “The contest is open until November 30.”

The car even has Calvin Johnson’s signature on the dashboard.

“There’s some custom parts that were put in — the exhaust, some of the custom parts in the engine,” Webster said. “It also has custom blue rims. There’s nothing else like it.”

Read the full story and enter the contest at the Detroit Lions website.

Car Museums Aren’t What They Used to Be

Volo Museum 1

An overview of the incredible Volo Auto Museum showroom.

Here at Advance HQ, we get so caught up in debating the latest developments in car culture and DIY that we often find ourselves in need of a serious time out. While those tend to be seldom, we still relish the idea of just being able to talk casually about cars without deadlines to make or milestones to hit.

One way to pass some free time and get your fill of cars, is to hit up a car museum. To that end, we recently explored the legendary Volo Museum – don’t let the word “museum” lead you to believe that all you’ll see is musty, dusty, crumbling history. There’s absolutely none of that here.

Volo Auto Museum Exhibits

Located in Illinois, the Volo Auto Museum specializes in many different types of car collections including:

  • Hollywood cars
  • Bizarre cars
  • Military vehicles
  • Cars of the stars
  • Vintage cars
  • Cars of wonderland

The Grams family purchased the property where the car museum now stands in 1960. The building had a dirt floor and contained old junk cars, including decrepit Ford Model As. “My dad and brother,” Brian Grams tells Advance Auto Parts, “would tinker with those cars at night as a side hobby. As they fixed them up, people wanted to buy them, so they sold a couple. With that money, they bought nicer cars and repeated the cycle, until they got involved with collector cars, both buying and selling.”

By the late 1990s, a large part of the property had evolved into a car museum. Annually, Volo gets about 300,000 visitors, but most arrive in the summer, making wintertime an even better opportunity for a laid-back visit.

Here are more specifics about the exhibits.

Hollywood Collection

Police vehicle, Barricade, from Transformers movie.

Police vehicle, Barricade, from Transformers movie.

The Hollywood collection started with the George Barris Batmobile from the 1966 television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward (Thwap! Pow! Bam!). From that point, the Batman collection – and the entire Hollywood collection – continued to grow. Other Batman-related items now at Volo include the 1966 Batcycle; the Batmobile from the 1989 movie, Batman; the 18-wheeler used by the Joker in Dark Knight; and Dark Knight movie props. You can even watch “Evolution of the Batmobile” in Volo’s theater.

Not a fan of Batman? Then you’ll just need to content yourself with others of the more than 80 vehicles from television and film; exhibits change frequently, so more than one visit could be on the docket. Other cars include:

  • Season 1 General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard
  • DeLorean from Back to the Future
  • One of the Ghostbusters’ Ectomobiles
  • Beverly Hillbillies’ truck
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hearse in Terminator 3
  • and much, much more

Not all cars arrive in pristine condition. The Greased Lightning car, used in the 1978 film Grease, is a perfect example. In the movie, John Travolta and his friends restore this vehicle in an attempt to attract females. While that worked fairly well, at least for Travolta, the condition of the car deteriorated during the post-movie years. Then, a collector bought it and hired someone to begin the restoration process. That owner died, though, mid-restoration, and the car was put outside where its condition continued to deteriorate. So, the Volo Auto Museum stepped in. They bought the car, finished its restoration, and added it to its displays.

You may also remember the Ferrari Daytona used in the television program, Miami Vice. It had been left to the mercies of the rain and sun until the leather interior looked like a “shrunken head.” Enter the restoration genius of those at Volo and this car is also now on display.

With the reputation that Volo now has, they often get asked if they’d like the opportunity to buy a Hollywood car. For example, after Fast and Furious 4 was filmed, the Grams were asked if they wanted to buy every car used in the movie. They made the decision to do so; sold off some; restored others; and have a great addition to their museum: the black Dodge Charger driven by both Van Diesel and Paul Walker in the film.

Bizarre Cars

Volo Museum 3

When this baby hits 88 . . . Back to the Future DeLorean

“The most popular bizarre cars,” Brian says, “are the Roller Skate car and the Piano car.” While enjoying those vehicles, you can also take a close look at an Elvis tribute car and spot some of the 40+ elements in the car’s design that honor the King. Or, perhaps a PG-13 rated Marilyn Monroe tribute car, shown in more than 30 countries, is more to your taste.

Elton John? Michael Jackson and Soul Train? Charlie Chaplin? James Dean? Check out these bizarre cars.

Military Vehicles

The website posts the following caution in the military-vehicle section: Warning Combat Zone: Action-Packed Battle Scenes and Heart-Pounding Sound Effects May Not Be Suitable for Wimps

“This is a very interactive area,” Brian says, “with an atmosphere of a live battlefield.”

Displays range from a 1967 Bell Helicopter #355, shot down by hostile fire in Vietnam to an M114 armored personnel carrier built by Cadillac and powered by a Chevy V-8 motor. The latter item has been completely restored; is fully functional; and one of only 12 legally registered in the United States. The museum also features a 1939 jet engine that was still considered an experimental item. After World War II, though, it became clear that jet engines were the way of the future.

Cars of the Stars

If you were Oprah Winfey and had just turned 46, how would you treat yourself and how much would you spend? The answer is a luxury convertible now housed at Volo, with a spend of $365,000. That car, Brian says, is one of the most popular car of a star housed in their museum. “The other is definitely the Britney Spears car,” he says, “the black Mercedes convertible that TMZ called the most dangerous car in the streets of L.A. They said this because of the various things that happened while Britney was driving the vehicle.”

You can also see the Rolls Royce that transported England’s Princess Diana during her last trip to the United States; the Rolls Royce convertible that Zsa Zsa Gabor was driving before the infamous cop-slapping incident; and much more.

Vintage Cars

From 50s cars to older antiques, and from Corvettes to muscle cars and pony cars, Volo has a wide selection of vintage cars. “The baby boomer crowd often likes the Duisenberg collection,” Brian says, “while the younger crowd often gravitates towards the main showroom with Camaros, Mustangs and 57 Chevys.”

Cars of Wonderland

Volo Auto Museum is a good choice when you are traveling with your children, grandchildren, nieces and/nephews, as there is an entire section dedicated to children – and even the adults love many of the displays. In fact, Brian Grams calls the Cat in the Hat Super Luxurious Omnidirectional Whatchamajigger one of his favorite museum vehicles, calling it an “absolute work of art”; there is also the Flintmobile, a vehicle that you can climb in to have your picture taken; Bugs Bunny’s Karrot Car; a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vehicle; and much more.

“The kids,” Brian says, “really like Lightning McQueen and the Mater.” Not sure what the Mater is? The site helpfully shares that “It’s like Tuh-Mater but without the Tuh”!

There are also coin-operated kiddie rides, Disney display props from the 101 Dalmatians, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast and more, plus Warner Brothers’ studio display props. “Kids and adults alike stop by the Looney Tunes display,” Brian says “because we all remember the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote.”

If you need to rest your feet for a while, you can stop by Pete’s Garage, which is a small theater where relevant 15-minute short films are shown. The museum also often hosts “out of the box events, quirky ones.” Coming up next is a contest in conjunction with the upcoming Transformers movie. The winner gets to enjoy the movie at a drive-in in one of the two Transformers cars available at the museum.

But, before you go, there is something we, uh, need to tell you. The place is haunted.

Gulp . . . Haunted?

Volo Museum 4

Elvis tribute car and James Dean tribute car.

The original structure on the Volo property was built in 1848 as a farmhouse – only four years after the county’s first permanent settler (Captain Daniel Wright) arrived. By 1850, several townships clustered together in this area, with Forksville (the original name of Volo) forming at the crossroads of Chicago Road, McHenry Road and Little Fort Road.

Just 13 short years later, the first shots of the Civil War were fired upon Fort Sumter and, on April 15, 1861, hundreds of patriotic men in Lake County (where Forksville was located) gathered at the courthouse of Waukegan to fight for the Union.

Over the next four years, nearly 2,000 men from this county signed up to fight, including H. Wallace Gale. Wallace was the son of Gardner (who built the now-Volo farmhouse) and Louisa Gale, and was born in 1842. He grew up on the farm where Volo now exists and he died in combat at Fort Donnellson on February 13, 1863 at the heartbreakingly young age of 20. His body was sent back home and he was buried beneath a white monument in a nearby cemetery, “about 50 feet from our property line,” clarifies Brian.

Brian grew up in the original farmhouse located on the Volo property, just like Wallace did. But, by the time that Brian lived there, it already had a solid reputation for being haunted. “Weird things did happen,” Brian shares, “such as the television turning on by itself. So, I thought it was perfectly normal that my house was haunted. If someone seemed shocked, I’d think – what? Isn’t YOUR house haunted???”

Those odd events made it difficult for Brian to convince friends to spend the night at the farmhouse. In fact, he couldn’t. “They’d make it to midnight,” he said, “and then call their parents and say, ‘Come pick me up!’”

Ghostly happenings extended far beyond just televisions turning on, though. “Museum visitors sometimes describe seeing a figure wearing a uniform, or a trench coat or some other type of long jacket or coat,” Brian says. “Other people say that, in the barn [which is now an antique mall], they get a strong whiff of cigar smoke for no apparent reason – and then it suddenly vanishes.

Someone – no one in the Grams family – decided to write to the Discovery Channel about these supernatural events, and the company filmed a Ghost Lab episode there in 2009. After that episode aired, even more stories about otherworldly events on the Volo property poured in.

“The best thing that happened, though,” Brian says, with a laugh, “was when a vehicle transporter wanted to park his rig in our parking lot overnight. We say ‘sure.’ Now, this guy is from Texas. He doesn’t know us or anything about our property. In the evening, he sees someone walking around the parking lot and so he hollers a greeting. The figure keeps walking, then starts running – and then completely disappears through a wall in the barn.”

So, what did the Texan do? “He started his semi up with a roar,” Brian says, “and then he was quickly long gone.”

What’s next?

General Lee vehicle from Dukes of Hazzard, season 1

General Lee vehicle from Dukes of Hazzard, season 1

Editor’s note: Check out our behind-the-scenes look at the Lane Motor Museum, where unique cars from A to Z are displayed.

 


Celebrate America Recycles Day — November 15, 2014

Are you doing your part to reduce waste? We salute America Recycles Day!

As part of the Keep America Beautiful program, America Recycles Day is a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the US. Every year on or around November 15, America Recycles Day event organizers like you can serve to educate neighbors, friends and colleagues through events nationwide.

One way to help the environment as you tackle those car maintenance projects is to recycle your used batteries and motor oil. Advance is here to help. Just visit your nearby Advance Auto Parts store for more details.*

 

Recycling Flyer

*Free services available on most automotive vehicles, most locations, unless prohibited by law.  Services may not be available at all stores due to select local community ordinances. Contact your local Advance Auto Parts store for complete details.

James Hetfield’s Black Pearl to appear at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show

James Hetfield Black PearlMetallica front-man’s prized possession to turn heads at the LA Auto Show later this month.

The award-winning Black Pearl is coming to the Los Angeles Auto Show this November. Built from the ground up and designed by Metallica’s James Hetfield and world renowned custom car builder Rick Dore, the Black Pearl has been turning heads at shows all around the United States for the past year, and is coming home to California to appear at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show November 18th through 30th.

“It is a real honor to have the Black Pearl included in this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show,” enthuses Dore in anticipation of the show. “The Black Pearl is one of those things that – we initially had been taking other vehicles and cutting and pasting, making you own prototype in a way,” explains Hetfield. “This one we actually started from scratch. We started with a ’48 Jag and basically tried to work it, work it down to frame and build it up from scratch from a drawing. It took it to a whole new level of car building: from a drawing.” Metallica James Hetfield

With its fastback roof and sleek lines, the Black Pearl was inspired by some of the early concept cars of the 1930’s, while the chassis is based off of a 1948 Jaguar. The body was completely hand built and shaped by Marcel and Luc De Lay under the direction of Rick Dore, who’s Rick Dore Kustoms built the rest of the project before the lustrous black finish was applied by Daryl Hollenbeck. In the past year the ‘Pearl has made award winning appearances at The Grand National Roadster Show, winning the 2014 Al Slonaker, Blackie Gejelan and George Barris Kustom awards and The Goodguys, winning Mother’s Custom of the Year and Best In Show, and was shown at The Quail and A Motor Sports Gathering, amongst others. 

The Los Angeles Auto Show is open to the public November 21st through November 30th. For admission info and tickets, visit www.laautoshow.com.

Baby, it’s cold outside! Pros and cons about heated seats for cars

Car seatsWhen cars were first invented, rides in them could be downright chilly, especially during winter months. After all, these early-model vehicles were open bodied, so wind could whip around drivers and passengers alike as rain, snow and/or sleet fell freely upon their heads. Glass windshields started to appear around 1907, breaking some of the wind, and motorists bundled up and put gas lamps in their cars to create some radiated heat. But, still! It was cold.

At the 13th National Automobile Show in New York, a mass production car debuted that was fully enclosed: the Hudson “Twenty,” which was produced in Detroit, starting on July 3, 1909. Because this car was a warmer ride, 4,000 vehicles sold that year – this in spite of the cost of nearly $1,000 (about $26,000 in today’s dollars; remember that car financing wasn’t typically available to buyers). In 1910, Hudson built nearly 6,500 of these cars to continue to meet demand and, by 1925, Hudson was the third largest US car manufacturer behind Ford and Chevrolet.

Although an enclosed car was warmer than an open-bodied one, traveling was still a cold proposition in the winter. Enterprising people tried to recycle exhaust fumes into their vehicles to benefit from small amounts of interior heat. This doesn’t sound like a particularly safe idea, though, and it couldn’t have smelled great, either. In 1929, a hot air heater was available in the Ford Model A. It took a while to fire up and it provided inconsistent engine-generated heat, but it had to be safer than inhaling exhaust fumes. In 1933, Ford installed the first in-dash heating unit: gas powered.

Meanwhile, General Motors created a heater that used redirected engine coolant, debuting the first modern heater core in 1930. Although improvements are continually being made in the auto world, including with heaters, this 1930 model is still the basis of what’s being used today.

Heated seats

Although car heaters made driving far more comfortable, a heated seat would provide targeted heat to one particular body part – and that was an appealing idea to many. It’s reported in many places online that General Motors (GM) tested car seat heaters in 1939 on select models, but no additional details or sources seem to be available. But, GM clearly was a pioneer in the heated seat effort, with Robert Ballard of GM credited with the first patent. He applied for his patent in 1951 and was issued #2,698,893 in 1955. See pictures and detailed text of his patent here.

In 1966, the Cadillac Deville came with the option of heated seats, along with two other luxury innovations: headrests and an AM/FM stereo radio. This option more closely resembled heating pads for the seats, rather than today’s more sophisticated options, but at least they were warm. Here’s a photo of the temperature controls.

Who gets credit for the first “real” heated seats? Saab, although the initial goal was to minimize backaches, which would lead to more pleasurable traveling – which would make for safer driving, according to Saab. The original press release reassured car owners that the heating system was not affected by dampness or water, causing Jalopnik to have this bit of fun: I like the “not affected by dampness” part in there, because that’s automaker code for “Go ahead and wet your pants! You won’t die! Enjoy!”

Let’s talk about safety

In a 2011 article in The Legal Examiner, it was stated that approximately 30% of cars on the road today come with heated seats. Edmunds.com states it in a different way: that nearly 300 models of cars come with seat warmers today.

There is no doubt that they provide comfort in the cold months. However, although manufacturers typically list that these heaters max out between 86 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit, temps can sometimes reach 150 degrees. Third degree burns can develop in about ten minutes when temperatures reach 120 degrees, and people with diabetes, neuropathy and/or other paralysis issues may not have the ability to sense danger in time to shut off the heater.

Toasted skin syndrome is an actual condition that, according to the Chicago Tribune in 2013 “results when the backs of your legs, thighs and buttocks become darkened and discolored after too much time snuggled into a heated seat. Yes, your Fanny Fryer accessory package literally could tan your hide.”

The article goes on to say that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Society of Automotive Engineers alike have formed “what can only be called crack teams to get to the bottom of it all and forge safety standards.”

It’s easy – all too easy – to joke about seat warmer challenges but results can be quite serious. The integrity of the burned skin, The Legal Examiner article states, could be compromised permanently – and this is not a theoretical issue, with numerous people already receiving significant burns from car seat heaters.

Heated seat repairs

If you decide that the benefit of more targeted heat is worth potential risks, and your heated seats aren’t functioning properly, then here is a checklist to guide you through troubleshooting, repairs and replacement.*

Question: who wants to tear apart their car seats to diagnose a heated seat problem?

Answer: nobody.

Fortunately, there are plenty of potential problems and fixes to try first, including:

  • Check for and fix blown fuses. Does that solve the problem?
  • Make sure that the plug connecting the seat to the wiring is free from corrosion or dirt. Using a voltmeter, make sure that at least 12 volts exist on each side of the switch.

Still having a problem? Pull out your car manual to see where the thermistor is located. Has it shifted? If so, then that shift probably burned out the heating wire. Burn spots in the car’s fabric indicate the likelihood of this issue. If that’s the case, you’ll need to replace or solder bad wire.

Let’s say that none of this helps. You then should use an ohmmeter to see which section of the heating element is causing a problem (knowing that the answer might be “all”). If you decide to replace the unit:

  • Detach any wires from the seat.
  • Remove the seat from the car.
  • Disassemble the seat, separating the back and base, and removing the cushion and leather from the base.
  • Replace all heated seats parts, including the heating element and the wiring.
  • Put the seat together again.
  • Reconnect the wiring.

Editor’s note: What are your thoughts about and experiences with heated car seats? What questions do you have? Please leave your comments below. And, check out Advance Auto Parts for the best in savings and selection.

 

*Always consult your owner’s manual first. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure warranties are not voided.

Famous radio car guy Tom Magliozzi dies at age 77

Tom Magliozzi

Photo courtesy of Richard Howard.

As co-host of the NPR show Car Talk, Tom Magliozzi became a weekly radio institution.

Public radio personality and car repair expert Tom Magliozzi died on Monday due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease, at age 77.

As one half of “Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers,” along with his younger brother Ray, Magliozzi entertained listeners each week for over three decades on the NPR show Car Talk. The brothers told jokes, talked cars and gave distinctively candid advice to callers about their clunkers.

Famous for his hearty laugh, colorful commentary and undeniable DIY smarts, Tom Magliozzi forged a loyal and lasting bond with listeners that would span over 35 years. His warm radio voice, well-worn wisdom and authenticity will be deeply missed in car circles and beyond.

Read more about Tom Magliozzi on NPR.