Friday, October 31, 2008

Rover P6 2000TC For Sale in SoCal

The 4 cylinder 2000TC was European Car of the Year in 1964. The P6 (P- post war) was produced from 1963 untill 1977 as a 2000, 2200, and 3500V8.

Here's a rare opportunity to buy a very original California Rover 2000TC with manual transmission and air conditioning! (That little chrome box on the grille is an ice warning device)

The Rover competed in the near-luxury market with the 6 cylinder Triumph 2000. Both Rover and Triumph became part of British Leyland, and there was only room for one executive saloon. Rover won. And the result was the new Rover SD1, which also became Car of the Year in Europe (The six cylinder versions of the SD1 used an engine developed from the Triumph motor).

This car looks surprisingly original and unmolested except for a few dings and dents.
More pictures here. Contact seller here.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Citroen DS Cabriolet by Chapron

The beautiful Bertoni styled Citroen DS (1955-1975) was transformed into a convertible by the French coach builder Chapron. Chapron's first conversions had an unsightly chrome strip covering the seam where the rear door skins joined the rear quarter panels. Later conversions commissioned by Citroen used single seamless panels, and they were sold by Citroen dealers. The DS Cabriolet is quite rare, but very rare in RHD.

Photos from Citroenet

Monday, October 27, 2008

Up To 34% Better MPG ...

I'm adding a new category to the Treough Blog: Hucksterism.

According to The Free Dictionary a Huckster is "One who uses aggressive, showy, and sometimes devious methods to promote or sell a product" . Hucksters are con artists who know something different from what they’re telling their customers.

There have always been hucksters selling devices they promise will improve a car's fuel economy. I've seen their advertisements in Popular Mechanics magazine. Shame on Popular Mechanics.

With the high price of petrol and the downturn in the economy I would expect to see more of these devices offered. Here's one now. A $200 device called "Blade" that bolts to the end of your car's exhaust pipe:

That's $400 if your car has dual exhaust pipes.

The claim made for the device is that your car will get up to 34% better mileage and lower CO2 emissions.

The people selling "Blade" must have complete contempt for their fellow man to tell such blatant lies. These are the same people who sell exercise equipment on tv infomercials, and the same people who stole your lunch money.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

MacBook Disappoints Not Suitable for Me Pleases Me

My new MacBook arrived Tuesday morning and I migrated all my files and
applications to it from my failing iMac. I used the Migration application and an Ethernet cable.

Then today I started using it... and then I noticed...
1) The display has a very narrow viewing angle.
2) The 13" display is small. I could only view one window at a time.
3) The bottom of the screen meets the keyboard at the hinge. I feel as
if my hands are blocking the screen.

If you're a notebook user you're probably wondering what I expected.
I expected a similar experience to using my iPhone.

The MacBook is beautifully made, just like my iPhone. But when I use my iPhone I get to hold it and touch the screen. It's a pleasant tactile interface.
With the MacBook I only get to touch the keys.

Perhaps if the MacBook was a tablet then I could enjoy it.


Update: 10/23/08
The display is much easier to read now that the sun has set and there are no annoying reflections on the screen. I'll try using the MacBook again tomorrow in the daylight. It's a good machine. I want to like it.

Update: 10/25/08
The MacBook has some tricks to get around the limitations of a 13" screen: Four fingers on the trackpad displays all windows. Two fingers scroll up/down and left/right.

The speakers aren't very loud, but the sound is good.

Update: 10/27/08
Click with two fingers on the scroll pad for a right mouse click. I'm starting to like the MacBook.

Update 3/26/09
I adore the MacBook. The lack of FireWire has not been a problem because the MB will boot from an external USB HDD, and I use my Canon SD1100is for video as well as still photography. The test will come this weekend when I use my Mini DV camera (I'll use my old iMac to load the video onto an external HDD, then edit it with the MB)

All in all, buying the MacBook was a good decision!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Open Houses Sunday, 2 - 4 PM

(Between 2 and 4pm on Sunday is when San Francisco realtors show houses to the public.)

I was walking down the street to The Beanery for a cup of coffee and a pound of grounds for the coming work week when I saw a sandwich-board sign for an open house on 10th Avenue. After leaving The Beanery with my coffee I turned west on Irving and I saw another sign for an open house on 11th:

This building reminds me of our old flat on 6th avenue, except this building is much bigger and in perfect condition. The back of the building has been added onto creating a top floor studio and extra bedrooms/bathrooms/closets. Everywhere I looked there were more rooms and storage space. Very nice! I'd be happy living here. There is a small garden in back. They want $M1.4 for the building. That's what our old building on 6th Ave sold for! I'm glad we didn't buy that bag of hurt.

I turned back to walk to my original destination on 10th Ave. That's when I was distracted by this open house on Funston across from St. Anne's elementary school:

From the street it's an unassuming family home. Hardwood floors, but white carpet (yuck!) in the master bedroom. Everything in the house was new, remodeled, modernized, or well maintained. This is typical of the houses for sale in our neighbourhood. Good for a family. But too much of a family home for us. I mean it has space we don't need and can't use. $M1.3

Next is the house on 10th Ave that I first wanted to see. It's next door to a house that is almost unique in our neighbourhood: A freestanding bungalow with a front and back yard, and 12 feet clear on each side:

Spacious and immaculate. Barely recognizable as having been built in 1924. Everything looks new. Nothing needs repaired. Large. Perfect if you like house guests. Lonely if you don't. $M1.85

I was almost home when I saw this place on Kirkham:

Double glazing and good insulation keeps the Kirkham Street noise out. Nice but not special. $1.2M

lastly there's this top floor flat on the last block before I got home:

Lani and I looked at this flat three months ago. Ugly colour but that can be changed. We liked it but for one thing: No parking. The insides of the flat have been partly remodeled by cowboys with an IKEA credit card. But we're not super fussy about details, and we liked the spaciousness, backyard, and sundeck. Also, the bedroom was away from the street noise. There must be something very wrong with this flat because it's been on the market 3 times in 3 months. This time it's reduced again in price to $575K

Categories:San Francisco Architecture

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Upgrading and Downsizing

My iMac has been slowly dieing and I've been looking for a replacement. Found it: The new 2.4GHz 13" MacBook with 250GB HD, 2GB RAM, LED backlit display, and backlit keyboard. And the case is machined from a solid block of aluminium!

It should arrive in 3-5 days. That's enough time to get used to the idea of a 13" display (if I can write this on an iPhone then I can surely adjust to a 13" screen). And that's enough time to relocate the printer and scanner, and simplify my office-in-an-armoir. Actually sell the
armoir and free up that space for a comfy chair.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Treough Exclusive: We Ride the New Pi Prototype.

I've always wanted to write a Motor-Trend/ Car-and-Driver/ Road-and-Track headline. Now that I have, I must take a shower.

Marcus Hays, founder and CEO of Electrobike, kindly allowed me to test ride this prototype for a new Electrobike Pi. The bike is clearly still in the final developement stage: The monocoque spar frame is the only major component whose design is finalized. And even it wasn't yet painted. Some components on this prototype were machined, or adjustable for testing: the chain stay is a one-off piece of machined aluminium that carries the bottom bracket and electric motor. The riding position is being worked out with adjustable handlebars. The design of the chain stay, and deletion of the seat post is the biggest visual difference between this and earlier Pi models. This test mule had an internal geared 4-speed rear hub that will be replaced with a single gear when the new electric motor is installed.

The prototype is designed within the legal constraints of the DMV's definition of a bicyle: The engine is at most 1hp, and top speed limited to 20 mph. Anything more than that and it would have to be registered as a moped or motorcycle. That's not to say Hays hasn't built an "unlimited" Pi. The 30hp Pi X gas electric hybrid Bonneville Racer is awesome.

So, how does it ride?
First, Hays adjusted the seat to fit me. The seat "post" is a parallelogram design that moves the seat down and forward for smaller riders. Nice. There's a keyed "ignition" for security. Below the key is a 12 volt outlet for accessories. The riding position is similar to a cruiser bike. The "throttle" is a small lever on the left of the handlebars, and the brakes are hydraulic discs (the front brake was still being assembled, so I couldn't test the stopping power).

I stepped on the pedals in first gear and the Pi moved forward. I then engaged the electric motor with my left thumb. The bike accelerated firmly with the low speed torque typical of electric motors. The bike was very well balanced and easy to control in slow turns. I stopped. Clicked it into second gear and accelerated again. It felt a bit sluggish this time. But remember this is not the production motor and gearing combination the public will eventually get. And the geared hub was probably there just to test various gear ratios.

Conclusion: While the Pi is worthy of an industrial design award, it is also practical transportation that is legal to ride anywhere a bicycle is allowed. The visual strength of the spar frame is as impressive as the light balanced handling.

25+ mile range
36-volt nickel metal hydride batteries
Recharges in 2.5 hours from a household outlet

Update 4/18/09:
Today I was able to examine the prototype's final design. The final components were in place. The internal hub gears in the rear wheel is an automatically variable item. Marcus said the gear range is equivalent to 10-speed cassette.
The front fork now has trailing arm suspension (designed by Martin), with the springs/shock cleanly hidden on the inside surface of the fork.
The parallelogram seat 'post' has been refined to perfection. There is a fine adjustment for the tilt of the saddle, and a quick-release lever to lock everything in place. The throttle lever is on the right of the handlebar.

Update 2/18/12:
The final design is for sale on the PiCycle web site.
It differs from what I thought would be the final design in that the motor is in the front wheel.  I guess that change had to be made once the decision was made to use an internal geared rear hub on the production bike.

Cool name and it looks good.

Categories:Cars Design Science