Racing in Patagonia: 1000 Millas Sport, 2013

There are plenty of classic car events organized annually around the U.S. and Europe, but there is a classic car event that stands out from the ordinary and it is hosted in South America. Have you ever imagined racing with a classic car across Patagonia? It sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Well, for the last 25 years the 1000 Millas Sport Argentina has been drawing the world’s attention to what it stands as South America’s single most prestigious classic car rally. This year the event took place between the 14th and the 16th of November and there was a good reason for celebration, as this year marked the 25th anniversary of this event.

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For its 25th anniversary 1000 Millas Sport Argentina welcomed more than 130 classic cars that raced across one of the world’s most inspiring landscapes.  The Italian race event Milla Miglia is actually the inspiration for Argentina’s take on celebrating the everlasting beauty of classic cars. The event is hosted by the Club de Automoviles Sport of Argentina which is included in the schedule of the World Federation of Historic Vehicle Clubs. In other words, 1000 Millas Sport Argentina is an internationally recognized event that applies the same quality standards as most of the festivals held in the U.S., the UK and elsewhere in the world.

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The race will also host some international stars such as the five times winner of Dakar Rally Cyril Despres or Juan Tonconogy, who won the Milla Miglia race this year. Overall, participants from fourteen countries will compete while driving classic cars that were produced between 1918 and 1983. These cars will be split in seven categories in relation to their characteristics and age.

BMW couldn’t have missed this high-status international event. The German automotive brand participated with three of its vast number of classic cars. Each one of these three BMW cars has left its own mark in the brand’s long history of car manufacturing. The three cars are: the BMW 328 Kamm, the BMW 2000 CS and the BMW 3.0 CS. Probably some of you are dreaming of buying these cars one day. However, how about settling with some used BMW cars from AA Cars that will come in much cheaper for any pocket!? I guess that this is up to every pocket!

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Milla Miglia-wise, it is certainly worth mentioning a few words about the route. Drivers participating in this rally have the unique chance to race for 1.600km across the lakes, valleys and tall mountains of the Patagonia area. Driving parallel to the Andes, South America’s longest continental mountain range, must be a precious experience. The race also crosses Chile, in what must be a lifetime experience, given the uniqueness and the splendor of the morphology of the landscape in Patagonia.

As far as it concerns me, one thing is for sure. If I had had plenty of money to spend, I would have invested some of them into buying a classic car. The era of my preference would have been the period between the 1940’s and the 1960’s. In that way, I would have felt like one of those important guys in Hollywood movies that spend their time driving around their luxurious cars in the streets of Chicago, New York and the like. You can never get bored of these cars…

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Some of the cars that represented this time period at the rally were the Jaguar XK 120, Chevrolet Corvette, the Austin Healey 100/6, the Porsche 356, the BMW 328 Kamm of course, the Merceds benz 190 SL, the Maserati 3500 GT and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta SV, among many others…

To summarize: superb cars, magnificent route and an international interest turns 1000 Millas Sport Argentina into a very appealing event. Till next year!

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Using Technology to Improve Our Lives: the ‘Walking Assist Device’

2436045994_5072442046_oWe believe in progress. This belief is embedded in the DNA of our modern civilization. Without this idea of progress dictating and governing our lives our world would have felt much less secure and stable. It is when people feel secure that they become determined. And when people become determined they tend to do great things. Fear derives from insecurity and greatness from the belief that our world always moves forward despite the obvious setbacks and any possible misfortunes.

Progress sounds great as a general concept, but the problem is that we need to limit down the meaning of it. We want progress, but do we want it at all costs? Let me answer to this briefly: NO! The idea of progress must serve the interest of human beings. Technological advances can mean nothing, or can even create troubles, if they’re not directed in such a way as to make the world a better and more comfortable place to live in.

Hopefully for us, some people want to use technology to make our lives better. The Japanese motor company Honda is one of these companies. What better proof is there than Honda’s Walking Assist Device?

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Honda has been experimenting with the Walking Assist Device for the last fourteen years. The time has come, though, for this ingenious device to be tested in the real world and at a large scale. One hundred of Honda’s exoskeletons will be rented to hospitals around Japan in what could prove to be a decisive moment towards a future where diseases will scare us less.

There is a significant number of people worldwide suffering from walking disabilities, with strokes being the leasing cause for this painful reality. Only in the U.S. almost 800.000 people are forced to deal with the daily anxiety and pain that walking disabilities bring to the life of an unfortunate individual.

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Honda recently announced that a clinical research study will be organized for the first time in the U.S. in order to measure the scientific assessment of the Walking Assist Device. This is undoubtedly an important step that might lead to a further integration of exoskeletons on the market.

It’s not the first time that Honda experiments with such devices. The company’s Bodyweight Support Exoskeleton is yet another example that Honda cares about the future of technology at the service of citizens.  This device could find use within a military context but, and maybe even more importantly, it might become a very helpful device for the workers of this world as well.

Asimo Robot at a Honda factory, 2011

Asimo Robot, 2011

Honda’s trip to the future of technology might have as well started with Asimo robot, which has been helping us to study better the human walking. But it is only now with the Walking Assist device that things might have reached a crucial turning point, as Honda’s 2.6kg device gives hope to millions of people around the world that have been deprived by the simple pleasure of walking this life. The device will work with a lithium battery that will allow a one-hour walk to its owner. In addition, the device it will be visible and water resistant.

It is possible that you might agree with me that there must be many reasons to like the Japanese technicians and researchers. Their dedication and perfectionism must be impressive characteristics of professionals who might feel proud of their history concerning the invention of robots and devices.  However, they might just as well feel proud for the… future! How can one be proud of its future when this is still unknown? Well, if you are a researcher or technical engineer in the field, especially in Japan, you have something more than a promise that the future, in terms of technological innovation at least, will be bright: you have the Japanese longstanding commitment to perfectionism and progress…

2015 Ford Mustang Will Make its World Debut on December 5

Ford Mustang Finally Lands in Europe

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The sixth generation of Ford Mustang will be revelead on December the 5th in six different cities around the world. Ford Mustang will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014. Read More.

Seven Best Cars as Voted in the Golden Steering Wheel Awards

Seven Best Cars as Voted in the Golden Steering Wheel Awards

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If you love cars and especially the best cars available, then you must have heard already about the Golden Steering Wheel Awards. Learn about the seven best cars of the year as voted by millios of readers and experts of the field. For more, check my storify.

Used Cars Are More Popular Than Ever

Used Cars Are More Popular Than Ever

The second hand car market is growing rapidly in many countries around the world. This new trend is surely related with the longstanding economical crisis as more customers seem to care more about their budget and tend to prefer used cars rather than new ones. Read more.

CDP Global 500 Climate Change Report, 2013

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CDP Global 500 Climate Change Report is an important publication that indicates and evaluates the environmental strategies of the world’s 500 biggest companies.
If you think that the fight against climate change should unite us all,

read more on this story..

Vauxhall Adam: Urban fashionism on four wheels

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Adam follows in the footsteps of a fresh range of premium superminis who definitely have placed contemporary design at the foundation of their existence. The Fiat 500, Citroen’s DS3, Audi’s A1 and, not to mention, obviously, the Mini. But there is absolutely nothing retro concerning Adam. He is a teenage fantasy connected with never ending choices and options. The online “configurator” features around 30,000 variations in anything from wheels to mirror covers. It’s also possible to request interior ambient illumination that rotates through seven tones.

The Adam is unquestionably an appealing piece of set, unashamedly trendy, without any sign involving old fashion along with certain pleasant style details. At 12ft 1.5in, the Adam is longer compared to a Mini plus, at 6ft 5.4in wide, it is amongst the widest of the category. They ‘ve had some fun with this particular car, an uncommon option within the doom-lashed European automotive industry. Consider the trim packages; Jam (eye-catching as well as affordable), Glam (cozy, classic, for traditional individuals) as well as Slam (Sporting). The twelve body colours have gotten cheesy titles, as well; White My Fire, James Blond, Saturday White Fever, Buzz Lightgreen.

With over a whooping million combos regarding car’s interior trim and exterior specs, there will be something (obviously there certainly is) for almost any taste and budget. Moreover, they just don’t attempt to slay you with the option costs such as many other models and brands of the category. At the base, Jam level, a contrasting white rooftop will set you back only 200 quid more when compared to starting price.  Include two-tone graphics on the facia and wheels and that is all in all, 400 ₤.

On the inside, Adam is actually roomier than you would believe; he’s got a decent back seat, his boot is deep and narrow, ideal for a standing suitcase, however rather constrained for almost all the rest of it. He comes with a selection of engines, however the 1.2 petrol ended up being suitable for the task and also the reason of the car’s existence. Zippy and cost-effective, it more than held its own in town, and that is exactly what Adam is focused on. Regarding the open road Adam coped, although you would think carefully before a very long getaway.

Every model gets standard air-conditioning, remote central door locking and a CD/DAB radio. There is additionally the 279 ₤ intelliLink selection, a 7in centre-console monitor, that screens the contents of your smart phone including Vauxhalls own satnav application. There are many distinctive dashboard materials, printed and in addition illuminated headlinings (425 ₤), foil and coloured facia treatments (70 ₤), backlit foil facias (150 ₤) and Splat, Fly, or Stripes graphics (150 ₤).

The motors are, as stated by chief engineer Dieter Metz, tried and tested and well-known read carried over from the Agila and Corsa models. These are not really the very last word in power but have demonstrated to be functional and reliable. The 69bhp, 1.2-litre four-cylinder provides a top speed of 102mph, 0-62mph in 14.9sec.

Their top engine is a 98bhp version of the 1.4 model giving 115mph, 11.5sec, 55.4mpg and 119g/km. All cars get a five-speed manual transmission. There are not any diesel versions, however an LPG model is scheduled to arrive the coming year, then followed in 2014 by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol model, part of a brand new range of engines produced by General Motors and SAIC. It is going to include a six-speed transmission, a characteristic which will turn out rather valuable for out-of-town trips.

Out of town you easily understand this car desperately could use a sixth gear. At 70mph the engines rotating at 3,200rpm, at 100mph the needles on 5,200rpm and ready for take-off. Overall performance is actually satisfactory, the steering is fairly direct and nicely weighted (along side an additional boost parking feature), however it is engine vibrations rather than road vibrations that is felt through the wheel rim.

The 86bhp 1.4 whirrs mightily, though there is very little happening under 2,000rpm. The transmission slots effortlessly. On 16in rims the drive is good, however there is a great deal of lost movement at the steering wheel. Most appropriate compromise would be the optional 17in wheels (300 ₤ but standard on Slam models). These provide a decent ride, better grip as well as an enhanced steering response.

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Underneath the skin the Adam implements a shortened version of the existing Vauxhall Corsa. There is nothing groundbreaking here; eight inches hacked out of the Corsas wheelbase, MacPherson strut front and twist-beam rear suspension, front disc brakes and rear drums, and electronically aided rack-and-pinion steering. Its not a great thrill to drive Adam as one might expect, it is although comfortable and uncomplicated.

Completely loaded with options, the launch cars offered a comfortable position to sit down, with roomy and greatly bolstered front seats, adjustable for height and back tilt. The steering can be adjusted for reach and rake and there is enough headroom for six-foot-plus adults. The two-dial instrument binnacle is stylish plus the knobs and rotary dials are very well made as well as simple to utilize. There is plenty of space for storage and field of vision towards front side and corners is good. However the rear view is a little bit obstructed by the C pillars so you might want to invest in the blind-spot warning system that comes with the 450 ₤ self-parking option. Its a little bit cramped, as expected, at the back but not an unbearable experience. If you fold the rear seats you get a total of 484 litres boot space which is not bat at all.

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Adam is certainly a fresh approach on the category of minis. Full of options, with great looks and adequate driving experience, it’s a great compromise between eye catchy commuting vehicle and just-right-for-the-job flexible and cost effective town car. It is strangely likeable and now all we have to do is sit back and wait to see how well it will perform on the competitive minis vehicles category.

The World’s Most Valuable Brands of 2013

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Interbrand, Best Global Brands of 2013

I’m pretty sure that if Steve Jobs had still been alive, the day that Interbrand released its rankings would have been a day of celebration for him. To cut a long story short, Coca Cola lost the first place on the list after 13 years, as now it is Apple that looks the world from above. Who would have thought only a few decades ago that a small technology company would have managed to overthrow what it is the most recognizable brand in the world for half a century now? I guess it would have been an almost impossible guess; however, technology nowadays is just as important as the drinks we drink (probably), since five companies managed to make it to the top ten of Interbrand’s rankings (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Intel).

Generally speaking, I don’t think that Apple’s success must be perceived as an unexpected surprise. As a matter of fact, one only has to think of how familiar we are with the company’s products in order to understand that it didn’t make it to the top… without our support! Apple’s value is estimated at $98.3 billion, while Google, which came second on Interbrand’s rankings, is worth $93.3 billion. Coca Cola fell on the third place after a long reign as the world’s most valuable brand. IBM was fourth with its value at $78 billion and finally Microsoft ended up fifth in the highly competitive race.

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Apple’s Logo

As it concerns the automotive industry, there was strong competition between Toyota, Mercedes and BMW. Toyota will enjoy for this year the 10th place on the list, with Mercedes and BMW following at the 11th and 12th places respectively. As it concerns Germany’s most recognizable car manufacturer (that is, of course, BMW), the news are definitely encouraging. 2012 was the brand’s most successful year ever and everything indicates to the fact that there are still more good news to come for BMW in the future. BMW increased its sales by 40% on the Chinese market; given the facts indicating to the huge potentiality for growth on the Chinese market (as China’s expanding middle class is growing more and more demanding), BMW is expected to do even better in the near future. In addition, China is also expected to be BMW’s biggest market for the sale of electric cars, along with the U.S., that is.

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BMW

Interbrand has been releasing its rankings since 2000. There are several factors and criteria that determine the rating of the brands that appear on Interbrand’s list. First of all, the brand in question must have a presence on at least three continents, while at the same time at least 30% of its revenues must come from outside the brand’s home region. What is more, Interbrand also takes into consideration the financial performance of the brand’s products and the brand’s influence on the customers’ desires and preferences.

One thing is for sure, if you merely look at the Interbrand’s rankings: Americans must be particularly happy, as the first five companies are all based in the U.S. No surprises here, though; the United States of America are still far ahead in innovation and technology compared to the rest of the world. As for Facebook, yet another American brand, it gained 43% during the last year, which makes it the top riser among all other brands on the list. It is currently positioned on the 52nd place. However, given these speedy rhythms of growth, next year it might climb much higher.

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Google

To sum this up, maybe it is not a coincidence that as I was writing this post I opened a bottle of coke. Then, I started researching on Google while using Microsoft’s technology embedded on my notebook. As for Apple, well, my iPod must be somewhere around here, as I am writing down these lines; not to mention that I cannot stop thinking of the moment my environmental-friendly BMW vehicle, that takes me anywhere I dream to go! So, here you have it: indeed, these brands are shaping out our lives! Enjoy!