Thursday, September 18, 2014

Introducing the New 2015 Nissan Frontier!

Yup...this is it.  While the rest of the world will get the Frontier that was shown a few months back as the next generation Navara and will be produced in Thailand for distribution for 43 other countries, THIS will be the Frontier that we will see here in the States.

With tons of torque immediately on demand thanks to its electric motor and no use of gasoline this will be the perfect work truck for your local plumber and electrician.  Plus it makes a great looking little beach truck for surfers and hipsters everywhere.  Can't wait to get my hands on one!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BJ Baldwin and Recoil 2

The original Recoil video had a Nissan GTR and BJ racing around the desert on the northern side of the border.  The sequel has him down in Ensenada (I can say I've driven my own race truck on these streets!!) ripping up the scenery.  BJ has added one Mr. Dan Bilzerian here as well. With Bilzerian's legion of social media followers and some amazing video of the capabilities of his trophy truck, this video may exceed the popularity of the original...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Syrian Rebels Take Out Syrian Artillery with US TOW Missile...

Now here's hoping that these are the "nice" Syrian rebels and not of the ISIS variety.  What we have here is the use of an American made (Raytheon specifically) BGM-71 TOW missile which was designed to be an anti-tank/anti-armor weapon but can also be used as an anti-structure or in this case anti-artillery weapon.  You can see that the operator of the missile has to stay with the launcher after firing as it needs to be guided in to its target--not the best of circumstances in a hot shooting environment but like the video I posted the other day of the helicopter shootdown, they do not seem to be under any pressure from an opposing force during these raids.

BGM-71 TOW in Afghanistan for comparo
Hires 090509-A-4842R-001a.jpg On the Syrian side of the equation it has to be
especially frightening as the attacks come in what appears to be a "calm" environment when suddenly your helicopter is blown apart or your cannon is made into easily recyclable material.  Attacks are very asymmetrical in this environment.  The artillery piece in question looks to be a Russian 2S3 self propelled howitzer of the 152.4mm variety.  The Syrians bought about 100 of these from Russia in recent years.  Given their maximum armor of

 Model of 2S3 for comparo with the video
30mm and the TOWs rating for armor penetration of at least 450mm (up to a reported 900mm in some varieties) it is safe to say that this howitzer is no longer in use.

Nissan GT-R Blows Tire at 203 MPH...On the Highway...

And this would be why its a bad idea to race a vehicle on a public highway.  Traffic here is minimal but you can still see him pass other vehicles at speed and while he tries to bring the vehicle to a controlled stop.  203MPH on a public highway...sheesh...Luckily the car remains stable through the failure and no one is hurt.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

One Nissan and a Couple Datsuns from Stanford's Revs Digital Library

Stanford just released on the Web its collection of photographs taken at various auto events over the past, oh, say 70 years??

Much of the collection is focused on the bigger locations, marques and names in motorsports--Ferrari, Porsche, Sterling Moss, Dan Gurney, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, etc.

Unfortunately the Datsun/Nissan images captured are quite limited though they are shown here.  One is that of the 1976 introduction of the Datsun pickup and another of the Datsun F-10. 

The F-10 is the one that interests me here.  The rear hatch, the louvers on the hood, the sloped rearend...its a pretty sharp looking little car.  The F-10 was Datsun/Nissan's first FWD vehicle sold here in the States and came out in 1974 and weighed a shockingly light 1,664 pounds.

The only Nissan in the collection is from Laguna Seca in the early 1990s.  Love the hornlike air scoops that sit FEET above the chassis on this model...

I also checked through this collection to see if there were any photos of John Fitch and while there are a number photos of Lime Rock and Watkins Glen where Fitch ran numerous races and many of the photos are from time periods when he was active, he did not appear in this collection.

Revs Digitial Library...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Syrian Rebels Take Out Russian Helicopter with Russian Missile

There should be a bit of irony here.  The Syrian rebels (likely to be of the extreme Islamic variety given their use of social media and apparent sophistication) here are using a  relatively modern Russian anti-tank guided missile to shoot down/blow up a Syrian government helicopter of the Russian variety.

The missile appears to be a Kornet which first came into production in the mid 90's and has been used by Iraq against American tanks in the early '00s, damaging a few but not destroying any and also against the Israeli's by Hezbollah (targets have included Isreali tanks and a child laden schoolbus).  Russia has supplied Syria with these anti-tank missiles for years and they appear to have now fallen into the hands of the Syrian rebels/ISIS.

The helicopter here appears to be an MI-2 which is more of a transport helicopter than an attack platform (though it can be outfitted with various short range offensive weaponry).  Supposedly Syria had about 20 of these at one point--make that 19 now...Produced in Poland beginning in the late 60's/70's and designed in Russia these helicopters serve in secondary regimes around the world.  Though the Kornet missile is not specifically designed to take down helicopters, given the static position this one was in during its landing and apparently unpressured position the attackers were located in, made this takedown easy.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Tire Wars?? BFG AT KO2 vs. Toyo Open Country R/T

    Toyo's Open Country MT, new RT and AT
Here, I'll quote a recent article: "It’s not every day that one of the major tire manufacturers launches a new tire."

So its more than just coincidence that both Toyo and BFG introduce brand new tires in one of the largest and most profitable segments of the industry.  While neither of the tires is likely to be found on a dealership lot as factory installed options (perhaps the Ford Raptor excepted) both are likely to be bought in larger than stock sizes and by enthusiasts willing to pay a good deal of extra money for the additional capability and/or appearance.

BFG AT KO2's new tread pattern:
In the case of BFG it is their iconic BFG All Terrain KO tire that is getting a brand new version.  Introduced in print ads this month, BFG has invited a whole host of media and drivers (Andrew Comrie-Picard, Brad Lovell, and Rob MacCachren as examples) down to Baja over the past week to introduce the BFG AT KO2.  Running the new tires on a host of buggies, rock crawlers and other desert racers you should anticipate a raft full of "reviews" of the new tire to begin popping up all over the internet in the next few weeks and then in print a month or two from now.  Its doubtful that there were many competing products present for any true testing of the new carcass.  The new BFG KO2 is the 4th generation in this tire and is meant to recapture a lot of sales lost in the Balkanization of the offroad tire segment and, in my opinion, is a direct response to General Tire's introduction of its General Grabber AT2 a couple years back which is a shockingly good, dare I say, knockoff, of the BFG AT KO2 and sold at a significantly lower price point.  Showing up with big corporate backing the General Tire AT2 has been a big seller for General if the parking lots of most offroad events and malls are any indication.  General's bite out of the market required BFG to respond in a big way and the reportedly tougher sidewalls, redesigned tread pattern (which actually looks even closer to the General AT2's), and side biting tread blocks may have done just that.

                                                                                        Old BFG AT KO tread pattern:
Over at Toyo they have been busy in the past couple weeks in introducing its new Open Country RT.  Toyo is trying to position this tire as one that falls between its MT (Mud Terrain) and AT (All Terrain) but truth be told, Toyo's AT has always been viewed as being TOO street oriented to be a popular offroad option with a bit too many and too small tread blocks, too much siping, not enough lug spacing and not enough tread depth.  Therefore, while Toyo says this tire is an "all new category of tire" that falls somewhere between the AT and MT, its more likely to compete against the BFG AT KO2 and General Grabber AT2 than it is to create its own niche. Like the new BFG the Toyo RT also has some sidewall lugs to grab the dirt and rocks and it retains Toyo's reputation for toughness with a 10 ply, E load rating as well as significant weight with the 35" tires tipping the scales at 77 pounds a piece (point of reference--my General Grabber AT2s in a 31" size are around 45 pounds).  The Open Country RT has already been introduced to the public and there are a handful of "reviews" of them out there already.

An "apples to apples" comparison will be interesting to see between these two tires as they represent the newest technology, thinking and compounds from the two tire company behemoths, though whether we ever see such an honest comparo is debatable as most media tire competitions are merely just regurgitation of tire company PR pamphlets.  Let me know if you have any first hand experience with these as it would be nice to hear a real world report.

With the introduction of these two high profile and highly profitable tire models, we as competitors can only hope for a few things--improved performance for whatever our sport of choice, stable prices (new technology and designs shouldn't result in a large increase in prices given the scale of these operations--does a new Camry result in a huge increase in its price?  No), and, if we're lucky, a bump in marketing dollars put toward offroad motorsports in order to get their message out.
General Grabber AT2 tread pattern:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Death By PowerPoint...

Sometimes an article comes along at a perfect time and hits a sore point.  This one did for me.  Recent events at my own employment where promotions to management (and no, I was not seeking the position in question, just a bystander watching events unfold) were based not on the understanding of an issue, product or procedure, not on intelligence, potential or even the ability to kiss ass but instead upon the ability to take notes like a secretary and compile them into pretty PowerPoint slides.

Not that this was the promoted individual's fault, they were merely taking advantage of a corporate sickness.  Instead, like in this article describing the both the modern and WWII military, it is the upper management's fault for desiring a product that looks impressive to their coworkers vs. one that actually conveys information in an accurate manner.  In truth, the management asking that these documents be produced likely has less than an appropriate understanding of the topic at hand but having underlings prepare pretty slides with different fonts, a plethora of colors and lots of arrows makes them FEEL like they have a comprehensive grasp of the situation.

At some point it feels like all organizations of a certain size contract this disease--one where people say "I'm too busy and important to try and get people to understand these complex issues, so I'm going to assign someone beneath me to boil it down into some simple bullet points and sliding pages" and soon it ends up with "I don't really understand these complex issues, so I'm going to assign someone beneath me to boil it down into some simple bullet points and sliding pages so that maybe I can grasp things".  Once this starts, the snowball rolls downhill, gathers speed and results in a group of people where everyone is sending everyone pretty PowerPoints all day in order to try and convey every issue, policy or procedure, no matter its depth or breadth.  I'll stop here though as the articles linked below explain the problem present in most companies these days (and evidently the military as well) far better than I can--though I could throw together a nice PowerPoint to try and explain it!

War on the Rocks: PowerPoint 1944
Colonel TX Hammes Essay: Dumb-dumb bullets...