Stealth PC perfect for a carputer

If you're building a computer into your car, you probably couldn't do much better than Stealth's new LPC-625F for a platform. This mini PC is about the size of a hardback novel, so could be mounted under seats or behind an interior panel. A fanless design means less noise while keeping dust and dirt from getting into the case--the aluminum case works as a heat sink to cool the processor. The LPC-625F uses a 2.5-inch ruggedized hard drive designed to work in mobile environments, and a solid-state hard drive is available for serious shock resistance. The … Read more

Drag race a Scion tC RS 5.0

In conjunction with the launch of its tC Release Series 5.0, a Scion tC featuring racing components, Scion is offering 2,000 virtual versions of the car for the online drag racing game Nitto 1320 Legends. To get the car, you will have to register for and download Nitto 1320 Legends, a free game, and poke around the Scion tC Release Series 5.0 Web site to find an Easter egg. Once found, enter your username for the game, and the site will let you know if you've won the car. Scion is giving away the virtual racers … Read more

Mini and Airstream make surfer-mobile

In a special collaboration, Mini has contributed a Cooper S Clubman to which Airstream has hitched a 22-foot trailer with an interior design from Republic of Fritz Hansen, a Danish furniture designer. Designed for surfers, the trailer has a waterproof interior and a sun bathing bed, while the Clubman has a black exterior with neoprene-look accents to mimic the style of a wetsuit. Republic of Fritz Hansen used its egg and swan-style chairs for the trailer.

The car and trailer combination will debut at the alone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, Italy, and be on display from April 21 to … Read more

VW builds Barbie dream car for Barbie Malibu mansion

Some might call it a bit of an extravagant gift for a girl who doesn't even exist, but VW helped Barbie celebrate her 50th birthday by creating a pink custom convertible Barbie car for her dream home in Malibu.

Five colors were mixed to create the perfect hot pink. The New Beetle is outfitted with a custom white leather interior and convertible top, hand-stitched floor mats, pink quilted leather-lined door pockets and armrests, and plenty of rhinestone accents and vanity mirrors. In the trunk is what every girl will be asking for in her next car: a motorized vanity. … Read more

Formula 1 champ uses BlackBerry app to drive car

Vodafone teamed up with Formula 1 team Mercedes McLaren to develop an application that kicks the pants off of any iPhone application on the market.

In a video circulating on, engineers Simon and Steve show off an accelerometer/gyroscope application they built for their BlackBerry Storm that uses Bluetooth technology to steer a modified remote control car.

After achieving victory in their Remote Control Office Grand Prix, they apply their technology to a McLaren Formula 1 car for world champion Lewis Hamilton to test drive, but not behind the wheel.

This application raises the question, if you're … Read more

Volvo Start/Stop system: Another cool technology we won't be getting

Stealing a move from the hybrid playbook, Volvo will present three cars at the Geneva auto show that improves fuel efficiency by turning the engine off when the car is at a standstill.

The European DRIVe versions of the C30, S40, and V50 are equipped with 1.6-liter diesel engines, paired with manual transmissions, and feature Volvo's Start/Stop system. When a driver puts the car in neutral while stopped and releases the clutch, the engine automatically turns off. The engine automatically restarts the next time the driver presses the clutch. The Start/Stop technology reduces fuel consumption by 4 percent to 5 percent in mixed driving conditions, and as much as 8 percent in urban traffic.… Read more

How it's built: Armored vehicles

Texas Custom Armoring issued a promotional video on how it bulletproofs vehicles for customers around the world. TCA does brisk business with more than 30 countries and countless heads of states, routinely armoring vehicles for the world's elite in war-torn countries. The cost for armoring a vehicle ranges from approximately $80k to the-sky's-the-limit, depending on vehicle size and features. Its customizations can include attack deterance (think: electric shock door handles) to offensive equipment, such as hidden ballistic steel bumpers.

Opt for the Obama package on your next limo

No industry is immune to Obamania marketing. Texas Custom Armoring announced last month that it is offering bulletproof limousines for sale to the public.

It's not exactly breaking news; TCA has been armoring vehicles, including limousines, for more than 30 years for the world's richest people and many heads of states. But interest in its services has dramatically increased since Cadillac debuted the president's new wheels.

TCA can bulletproof almost anything (it currently has a Bentley and a Mercedes-Benz Maybach in its shop), and its typical armored limousine is a custom-stretched SUV, such as an Escalade, that it outfits with European B6 grade protection.

What you get with a B6 grade armored-limo is protection against your garden-variety terrorist or well-equipped kidnapper armed with AK-47s or M16s. The cost: about $160,000 plus the price of the car.… Read more

Custom cars at CES (photos)

The automotive hall is full of custom cars at CES, from vintage numbers to new machines, all fitted with the latest amps, stereos, speakers, and subs, not to mention all the extraneous video screens. We were particularly impressed that Kenwood put '73 and '09 Dodge Challengers next to each other, each customized with Kenwood stereo equipment. Then there's the Nissan GT-R, complete with custom paint job and Lambo doors.

See these photos and more in our gallery of custom cars from CES 2009.

E-mail alert for petrolania buffs

Do you love the "ding-ding" sound of a service station bell, triggered by driving over a pneumatic hose. Milton Alberstadt of Houston, Texas, certainly does--he makes his living selling them at Milton's Bells.

But he's also a geek, so he has rigged an interface on his PC that is triggered by incoming e-mail rules in Outlook to ring one of his bells. The "merger of the Internet and petrolania," he says.

Milton sells all the distinctly analog parts you need to do the same (bells, hose, y-splitters, and so on.) but you'll have … Read more