Archive for the ‘BMW’ Category

cannonball run

Before the transcontinental race in “Cannonball Run,” the starter tells the gathered racers, “You all are certainly the most distinguished group of highway scofflaws and degenerates ever gathered together in one place.”

Ed Bolian prefers the term “fraternity of lunatics.”

Where the 1981 Burt Reynolds classic was a comedic twist on a race inspired by real-life rebellion over the mandated 55-mph speed limits of the 1970s, Bolian set out on a serious mission to beat the record for driving from New York to Los Angeles.

The mark? Alex Roy and David Maher’s cross-country record of 31 hours and 4 minutes, which they set in a modified BMW M5 in 2006.

Bolian, a 28-year-old Atlanta native, had long dreamed of racing from East Coast to West. A decade ago, for a high school assignment, Bolian interviewed Brock Yates, who conceived the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, aka the Cannonball Run.

Yates, who played the previously quoted organizer in the film he wrote himself, won the first Cannonball in the early 1970s with a time of 35 hours and 53 minutes.

“I told him, ‘One day I’d like to beat your record,’ ” Bolian recalled.

It sounds like great outlaw fun — and certainly, Hollywood added its embellishments, like the supremely confident, infidel-cursing sheik with a Rolls Royce and Sammy Davis Jr. in a priest getup — but Bolian said it took considerable research and groundwork.

Beginning in 2009, about the time he started working for Lamborghini Atlanta, Bolian researched cars, routes, moon phases, traffic patterns, equipment, gas mileage and modifications.

He went into preparation mode about 18 months ago and chose a Mercedes CL55 AMG with 115,000 miles for the journey. The Benz’s gas tank was only 23 gallons, so he added two 22-gallon tanks in the trunk, upping his range to about 800 miles. The spare tire had to go in the backseat with his spotter, Dan Huang, a student at Georgia Tech, Bolian’s alma mater.

To foil the police, he installed a switch to kill the rear lights and bought two laser jammers and three radar detectors. He commissioned a radar jammer, but it wasn’t finished in time for the trek. There was also a police scanner, two GPS units and various chargers for smartphones and tablets — not to mention snacks, iced coffee and a bedpan.

By the time he tricked out the Benz, which included a $9,000 tuneup, “it was a real space station of a thing,” he said, describing the lights and screens strewn through the car’s cockpit.

Yet he still wasn’t done.

“The hardest thing, quite honestly, was finding people crazy enough to do it with me,” he said.

Co-driver Dave Black, one of the Atlanta Lamborghini dealership’s customers, didn’t sign on until three days before they left, and “support passenger” Huang didn’t get involved until about 18 hours before the team left Atlanta for Manhattan.

If his difficulty finding a copilot wasn’t an omen, Manhattan would deliver one. While scouting routes out of the city, a GPS unit told Bolian to take a right on red, in the wrong direction down a one-way road. He was quickly pulled over.

Bolian got a warning — and a healthy dose of relief that the officer didn’t question the thick odor of fuel as he stood over the vents pumping fumes from the trunk.

The trio ignored what some might have considered a harbinger and the left the Red Ball Garage on East 31st Street, the starting point for Yates’ Cannonball, a few hours later. To be exact, they left October 19 at 9:55 p.m., according to a tracking company whose officials asked not be identified because they were unaware that Bolian would be driving so illegally when he hired them.

They hit a patch of traffic in New York that held them up for 15 minutes but soon had an average speed of about 90 mph. In Pennsylvania, they tapped the first of many scouts, one of Bolian’s acquaintances who drove the speed limit 150 to 200 miles ahead of the CL55 and warned them of any police, construction or other problems.

They blew through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, hitting St. Louis before dawn.

“Everything possible went perfect,” Bolian said, explaining they never got lost and rarely encountered traffic or construction delays.

By the time they hit southern Missouri, near the Oklahoma border, they learned they were “on track to break the existing record if they averaged the speed limit for the rest of the trip,” he said.

Yeah, right. This wasn’t about doing speed limits.

They kept humming west, and as they neared the Texas-New Mexico border, they calculated they might beat the 30-hour mark, a sort of Holy Grail in transcontinental racing that Bolian likened to the 4-minute mile.

Not one to settle, “we decided to break 29,” Bolian said.

The unnamed tracking company says the Benz pulled into the Portofino Hotel and Marina in Redondo Beach, California, at 11:46 p.m. on October 20 after driving 2,803 miles. The total time: 28 hours, 50 minutes and about 30 seconds.

“Most of the time, we weren’t going insanely fast,” Bolian said, not realizing his definition of “insanely” is a little different from most folks’.

When they were moving, which, impressively, was all but 46 minutes of the trip, they were averaging around 100 mph. Their total average was 98 mph, and their top speed was 158 mph, according to an onboard tracking device.

“Apart from a FedEx truck not checking his mirrors before he tried to merge on top of me, we didn’t really have any issues,” Bolian said.

He concedes his endeavor was a dangerous one, especially when you consider Bolian slept only 40 minutes of the trip, and co-driver Black slept an hour. But Bolian went out of his way to make it as safe as possible, choosing a weekend day with clear weather and a full moon — and routes, when possible, with little traffic or construction.

“I had plenty of people at home praying I’d make it safely, and, more importantly, had my wife praying that I wouldn’t have to do it again,” he said, adding he has no children, which was also a factor. “That was one of the spurs to go ahead and get this over with. That’s probably the next adventure.”

Asked if the technological advances since the previous record holders made their run gave him an advantage, Bolian replied, “Absolutely.” Because two teams broke the 32-hour mark in 2006 and 2007, he had a detailed “guide book” on how to do it, where they had to rely on word-of-mouth tales from the 1980s.

“I thank Alex for that. We’re all adding chapters to the same story of American car culture,” Bolian said. Alex Roy did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Bolian had hoped to revisit that high school interview and tell Yates he’d followed through on that promise to break his record, but Yates now suffers from Alzheimer’s.

“I’ll pay him a visit just for the sake of it,” Bolian said, “but I can’t tell him.”

Where the Cannonball scofflaws aimed to make a statement about personal freedom, Bolian said he has the utmost respect for law enforcement. His goal was merely to “add myself and pay tribute to this chapter of automotive history,” he said.

Bolian also hopes that he shattered Roy’s record by such a stark margin that it discourages would-be Cannonballers from attempting to break his record, and it’s not just a matter of his own legacy, he said.

“It really isn’t something we need a whole band of lunatics doing,” he said.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/31/us/new-york-los-angeles-cannonball-speed-record/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

matt-milstead

mean-note

I would love to see your wheelchair!”

That’s one line of a mean-spirited note left on the car of 36-year-old Matt Milstead — a Michigan man who parked his BMW in a handicapped spot at a Grand Rapids YMCA.

Milstead, a quadriplegic, was there to play wheelchair rugby — and did display a handicapped tag on his rear-view mirror.

His wife Leslie told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Zahra Huber she wants to set the record straight.

“He’s not just some jerk parking in this spot; he has a right to park there. He deals with a lot of stuff on a daily basis that parking in a handicap spot does not compensate for,” she said.

Leslie posted the following response to the note-writer on her Facebook page:

“To the author of the note left on my husband’s car at the David D Hunting YMCA:

I wanted to tell you a little bit about my husband since you took the time to write him in the parking lot last night.

You were so close on the age, he’s actually 36, and he is a professional with a full-time job. He is also a quadriplegic, which for him means that he can no longer move his legs or his fingers in either hand. He has no grip.

So, if you are willing to give him your functioning hands and legs for the rest of your life in exchange for his 6-year old BMW and handicapped parking pass, I’m sure he’d make that trade.

As for ‘having the world by the ass’ …you think he’s some arrogant jerk who wants to park his fancy car in a handicapped spot and strut into the YMCA in Grand Rapids, MI because he thinks he’s a bad ass? Why are you so confident that a handicapped person couldn’t be a hard worker who is successful and owns a nice vehicle?

I would say he’s a good guy dealing with some tough circumstances that he refuses to be knocked down by. Thankfully, he just shakes his head at people like you who leave notes on his car. Trust me, you aren’t the first. Ignorance is everywhere.

P.S. Look Matt Milstead up on Facebook. You’ll get to see lots of pictures of that wheelchair you had questions about.”

Leslie Milstead said there’s a lesson to be learned from this.

“I think that the message for everybody is that we have to really think before we make rash judgments,” she said. “We’ve all done it; I’ve done it, Matt’s done it — we’re not perfect.

“But it was just really upsetting to get just an unkind note for no reason.”

http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2013/10/21/quadriplegic-finds-nasty-note-on-car-in-handicapped-spot/

pool car
The photo provided by the police in Chemnitz on June 23, 2013 shows a car that has been converted into a driveable pool in Eibenstock, eastern Germany. Young people from the Erzgebirge mountains have converted their car into a pool. Four people fled from the car when it was stopped by a police officer.

A car caught cruising the streets of a sleepy east German village on a sweltering summer’s day sported a decidedly unorthodox feature: a pool filled to the brim with water.

German police say a motorcycle cop couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw four men, including the driver, splashing about in the open-top BMW as they passed him Sunday afternoon near Blauenthal, about 155 miles (250 kilometres) south of Berlin.

Chemnitz police spokesman Frank Fischer says the men pulled over and jumped into a nearby river as soon as they saw the officer, but one later returned to claim his clothes.

Fischer said Thursday that police were still investigating which of the men drove and whether he was drunk. He said the vehicle itself “probably didn’t have a road permit.”

http://www.theprovince.com/news/world/Making+splash+German+police+stunned+find+with+builtin+pool/8706243/story.html

 

BMW North America has probably had to deal with plenty of  unusual lawsuits, but one filed last week may be a first — a California man says the seat on his motorcycle has given him an erection he just can’t shake.

Henry Wolf of California is suing BMW America and aftermarket seatmaker Corbin-Pacific claiming his issue began after a four-hour ride on his 1993 BMW motorcycle, with a ridge like seat. Wolf is seeking compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, emotional distress and what he calls “general damage.”

He said he’s had the erection non-stop for 20 months. And it comes with another side effect: The lawsuit says Wolf is “now is unable to engage in sexual activity, which is causing him substantial emotional and mental anguish.”

WWJ Newsradio 950 spoke with Dr. Michael Lutz, at the Michigan Institute of Urology, who said there is no medical data to support the man’s claim. However, “It’s been long-known that compression of the neurovascular supply to the penis —  if it’s compressed for a period of time, whether it be on a bicycle seat or some other device — it can actually cause prolonged numbness of the genitalia,” Lutz said.

“Not only in men, but women can also get numbness in that region if they’re compressing those nervous structures to that region of the body,” he said.

BMW Motorcycles of Southeast Michigan in Canton, Mich., checked out the story and noted the man wasn’t riding a standard BMW motorcycle seat. He was on an after-market seat, which start at about $200. People generally buy them to make the ride more comfortable.

“Sometimes people say it’s more comfortable, sometimes people can get a tall seat or a low seat or they’re shorter or taller, they can come heated,” said Theresa at BMW Motorcycles of Southeast Michigan.

http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2012/04/30/calif-man-sues-bmw-for-persistent-erection/

Thanks to Steven Weihing for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.