Tag Archives: Jalopnik

Five Die In California Limousine Fire

In a bizarre and sad bit of news out of California early this morning, five women were killed when a limousine caught fire while travelling across the San Mateo bridge.

The women were all in their 30s, though their names have not been released pending notification of the families, police told local news station KGO-TV. The cause of the fire has also not been determined, and local news reports did not identify the car, although it looks like it was a Lincoln Town Car from these photos.

Four other passengers escaped with moderate to severe injuries, ranging from smoke inhalation to burns:

The blaze occurred around 10 p.m. on westbound lanes of the bridge, which connects San Mateo and Alemada counties, about 20 miles southeast of San Francisco.

The patrol said that smoke started coming out of the rear of the limo, and the driver pulled over as the vehicle quickly became engulfed in flames. Officers were trying to determine the cause of the blaze, which wasn’t the result of an accident.

“We have no idea right now where they were going or where they were coming from,” CHP officer Amelia Jack told KGO.

Viewers of the local NBC affiliate also sent in this photo:

That picture must’ve been taken shortly after the blaze began, as it doesn’t appear as if the victims had much time from the beginning of the conflagration.

We’ll update this if we get more on it.

This Mercury Can Make You Feel Like You’re On Another Planet

Welcome to Found Around The Quarter, where I highlight fascinating cars I found walking around a city that is known for being Big and Easy, with great music and a great cruising culture: New Orleans, Louisiana.

We’ll return to your regularly scheduled programming over the next few weeks, but as I recently took a trip to New Orleans and Patrick deserves the well-earned chance to sleep in on a Sunday, I figured I’d highlight some of the beautiful cars that seem to be absolutely littered all over the French Quarter of New Orleans and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Jalopnik used to feature Down On The Street, set on the pretty little Island That Rust Forgot- Alameda, California. New Orleans is most certainly not free of rust, with its constant heat and humidity nine months out of the year and the ever-present salt coming off the Gulf of Mexico. It’s for that reason alone that it’s so surprising to find this Mercury Meteor 800, albeit with South Carolina plates, sitting right on the main drag of New Orleans’ Central Business District.

This particularly pretty sky-blue example looks like it might’ve had a restoration at first glance, but once you get a look at those torn-up bench seats, you know it’s nothing but a survivor. And a good-looking one at that.

This example is a Mercury Meteor 800, and these things are more rare than you think. Even though they look like the quintessential car from the early 1960s, the Mercury Meteor was never really all that popular, and was only on sale from 1961-1963. The "Meteor" name itself was used in bid to goose-up public interest in the wake of the all of the publicity surrounding the NASA space program. Gosh I love those whitewalls.

Yeah, those are cowboy hats.

DUI Arrestee Was Celebrating Getting License Back After Earlier DUI

Illinois resident Erin James was caught speeding early Friday morning after she spent a night out celebrating getting her driver’s licence back after a DUI arrest. She was drunk this time, too.

The 58-year-old told Riverside police officers that she had been out celebrating her restored license. She then blew a .155 alcohol content, nearly double the legal limit of .08.

“Ms. James purposely drove a car that she did not own to avoid the ignition lock device and was driving back from a Forest Park bar where she was celebrating that fact that she would finally have her driving privileges back after her 2012 conviction for DUI,” Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel said in a statement. “Ms. James is exactly the type of motorist I want kept off the road permanently under a new proposed habitual DUI law that I will be proposing in the very near future.”

So for all you drivers getting sloppy on mint juleps right now, wait a few hours after the horse race, watch a basketball game, and eat a sandwich. Drive sober, folks!

Your Ridiculously Awesome Ferrari F430 Wallpaper Is Here

The Ferrari F430 was always sort of an odd duck, being an evolution of the previous Ferrari 360 Modena but coming before the sublime Ferrari 458. This picture, however, makes it look like anything but a duck.

Lowered down onto 20" HRE wheels, the Italian Stallion contrasts beautifully with the rusty industrial background, and really just pops. The traditional red paint makes it stand out even more, and serves as a visual reminder of the auditory scream of that flat-plane crank V8.

Photo credit Ronnie Renaldi. Used with permission, and you can also find his stuff on Facebook. Click here for a big desktop version.

Weekend Wallpapers are featured on Saturdays. Got one you’d like us to run? Send it to ballaban@jalopnik.com with the subject "Weekend Wallpaper." Just make sure you have the rights to use it.

Help Catch The Hit-And-Run Driver Who Injured A New York Motorcyclist

A late-night ride turned into a road-rashing crash for a motorcyclist in upstate New York last night. Worse than the injuries, which thankfully were minor, was the jerkbag driver of the black Suzuki Vitara who hit him and then fled the scene.

Here’s what the biker wrote on Facebook. How did he know the car that hit him was was a Suzuki Vitara? All it took was a side mirror housing and some very savvy Google CSI work:

So this morning at 1:06 am, I was on my motorcycle, headed east on Rt 211, between Middletown and Montgomery. I put on my blinker, and make a blatant left hand signal to turn on to Van Amburgh road. As I began to turn, the vehicle behind me decided to attempt to pass me on the left side. I was hit. Bike went down and I slide a good ways.

The scum bag drove away without even tapping the brakes. I got up scraped and bruised, but bike didn’t fare as well. I gathered the parts from the street. Inside the mirror housing was a part number. Google says the vehicle who hit me is a black Suzuki Vitara.

If you live in Wallkill or Montgomery NY area, be on the look out for a black Suzuki Vitara missing a passenger side mirror. If you see one fitting this description, please get their plate. Also, please share this so we can get wide spread coverage.


If anyone from the land of Orange County Choppers sees a Vitara with a missing side-view mirror, let us know. Let’s find the cager who put this biker’s life at risk on a lonely highway.

$16 million Porsche, WTF

Lately, many of us like-minded enthusiasts have been browsing ebay and the like for used Porsches, whether or not we have any intention or ability to buy them. I have a theory on why that is, but that’s a story for a different post.

I had to share today’s find with you because it boggles my mind (which is currently in quite the flu-induced fog, anyhow).

A few minutes ago, I looked up 911s on ebay, and found "674 for sale: $100-$16,000,000"

Sixteen. Million. Dollars.

This is the $16 mil. listing. Apparently, the seller claims it to be some sort of prototype, but exactly what it is, I’m not sure. The description reads more like some sort of whacko conspiracy theory than a car ad, filled with strange photos of what appear to me as noting of significance.

Fortunately(?) the seller provided a website, http://www.porscheprototype.com . After briefly browsing the site, it’s not much clearer to me what is so special about this particular rusty, dusty, unloved 911. I think it’s supposed to be an original 901, but as I said, I’m not thinking too clearly today.

Anyway, just wanted to share this with my fellow weirdos.

EDIT: I now see the same ad’s been floating around for years now, discussed on Pelican Parts’ forums & VW Vortex, if not elsewhere. Whatever. Happy bidding!

Watch A New BMW Touring Car Face Off Against A Classic One

Just in time to celebrate this weekend’s race around the Hockenheimring, BMW has posted this video of their old E30 DTM M3, which won the championship in 1989, racing around the track against their modern DTM M3, which won the championship in 2012, because race car.

Just to double the fun, they have the man who won the title in ’89, Roberto Ravaglia, switch cars with the one who took it 23 years later, Bruno Spengler.

It seems like Ravaglia’s overwhelming impression of the new car is "I can’t see."

Also, that old car slides around like it’s got no grip at all.

Just remember, you can catch this week’s race live on Youtube.

What’s The Best Party In All Of Motorsports?

This weekend is the venerated Kentucky Derby, in which three-year old horses gallop about the track and people drink mint juleps and wear silly hats.

I want a silly hat.

But I can’t have a silly hat, for I, your noble scribe, am here scribbling away for all you weekend Jalops. Which I actually like better than any silly hat party.

Speaking of silly hat parties, though, us lovers of all that have wheels over legs also love a good party. That begs the question, then.

What is the best party in all of motorsports?

Is it the infield at the Indy 500? The 24 Hours of Le Mans? Could it be the one that Raphael almost died at because he goes around stealing other people’s drinks? Or maybe just some LeMons instead?

F1 always has some insane parties, like the one above. But my vote is with the Bathurst 1000. The greatest race in all of Australia, it features V8 Supercars storming around the track, and thirsty Ozzies storming all over the grounds.

It’s such a lively party, in fact, that in 2009 authorities had to limit the amount of alcohol consumed. To only 24 cans of beer, per day, per person. Or, if you were feeling extra fancy, only four liters of wine, per day, per person. Which is fun, I suppose. Rumors swirled at the time that fans were heading up to the track ahead of the race, burying beer in the dirt, such was the thirst of the fans.

But the Bathurst is just full of hooligans. Maybe you prefer the splendor of the Monaco GP, with all of the yachts and official festivities? You tell us!

Photo credit Getty Images

The Aston Martin V12 Vantage Is Reportedly No More

In my first full day as your humble weekend Jalop, it pains me to bring you all sad news. Aston Martin has reportedly discontinued the V12 Vantage, and thus it departs from our earthly realm.

Aston fansite Aston-Martin.com first reported the news from a dealer communiqué, and the company itself has confirmed the information, with a spokesman telling Motor Authority that "the current generation is indeed now done."

Yes, just the current generation, which leaves plenty of room for a new one.

That said, let us doff our caps to the Aston Martin V12 Vantage, a gorgeous little car with a humongonormous V12 somehow shoved into the front end. It was loud, brash, and ridiculous, with extra holes in the hood, and came in roadster, Zagato, GT3,and other forms, and just over 1200 were produced. Vantage, we hardly knew ye.

When we saw you as but a babe concept, we were enamored. We first met you in 2009, and you had lots of trinkets attached that your V8 sibling was not born with. We liked how you moved, and we liked how you sang. We liked you when you grew up and put on a suit, and when we saw you take those steps around the Nurburgring.

Alas, you are no more. We will miss you, first-generation Aston Martin V12 Vantage. You drove well.

At least until the next one.

Photos credit: Aston Martin

‘El Dentista’ Charged With Pulling Teeth In His Chevrolet

Alright, this is going to be one of the nastier things you read this week. I promise.

Sante Fe, New Mexico police arrested a man known as “El Dentista” who was practicing dental work (without a license, obvi) out of his car, complete with portable drill and other dental equipment.

That is totally, really gross. Most cars I know of have three-day old coffee cups and maybe their kids’ crumbs all over the back seat. Add blood, spit, painkillers, stuff that comes flying out of people’s mouths… you know what, I’ll just let the police themselves tell it, via local news station KRQE:

“Leftover residual materials, just disgusting conditions,” says Celina Westervelt, a spokesperson for the Santa Fe Police Department.

It is a grimy toolkit with teeth molds you probably would not want anywhere near your mouth, more molds on the seat of a car and prescription drugs.

Disgusting. Exactly.

Now I don’t mean to knock the dental industry in general, as it provides a useful, necessary, and healthful service. That being said, I always hated the dentist. I’m not sure I’ve ever met anybody who actually liked the dentist. The high-pitch whirring of all the pieces of equipment, the plastic things they stick in your face to take an X-Ray, the nice lady who claimed to be cleaning my teeth but instead it just seemed like she was trying to make my gums bleed- all of it for that delayed gratification (the worst kind of gratification) of having teeth when I’m an Old.

Try to imagine all that in the back of some guy’s car. Oh, and he’d been doing it for at least the past five years. I get the lengths people go to when they don’t have insurance, but at least if you went down an alleyway looking for a root canal you can rest assured that the alleyway will remain stable at all times.

Understandably, police are looking for his victims.

H/T to Creative Accidents!

Photos credit Santa Fe Police Department