Friday, July 31, 2015

A History of Research and Development at General Motors Tech Center, Warren, MI

Hi folks -- I am very interested in finding out more about what was done historically at GM's R&D facility between 1956 and 1990. What main lines of research and development were connected there over the long haul? What were the major accomplishments? What were some of the projects that did not pan out? How was R&D organized, and how did that organization change over time. Who were the leaders at the laboratory and what was their impact? I am starting to collect material and would appreciate any leads on this topic.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mercedes-Benz at Pebble Beach, August 2015

Sir Stirling Moss at the wheel of the 300 SLR with starting number 722 at the Classic Insight “1955 success stories,” 23 April 2015 in Italy.

Staged every year in August, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance is a superlative meeting of the finest automobiles from all over the world. In honour of the racing driver Sir Stirling Moss, who will attend this year's event to be held on 13 to 16 August 2015 in California, Mercedes-Benz Classic will be represented with the iconic 300 SLR and W 196 R from 1955, a historic year in the annals of motorsport. A rare Mercedes-Benz C 111 from the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection will round off the brand's presence at the event.
Stuttgart. – 1955 was a year of triumph for Stirling Moss, who completed Italy's famous Mille Miglia in a record time that has never been matched to this day: 1000 miles, driven at top speed in the truest sporting spirit. His top finishes throughout the entire 1955 season played a significant role 60 years ago in placing Mercedes-Benz at the pinnacle of international motorsport, 1955 being the brand's most successful motorsport season to date.
"Our presence at this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance is especially in honour of Sir Stirling Moss", says Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic and Customer Centre. "We'll be there with two original vehicles from 1955 – the 300 SLR, in which the now 85-year-old racing driver won that year's Mille Miglia, and the successful W 196 R Formula One racing car. Another highlight of Pebble Beach will be a likewise original C 111 from our collection".
On the Thursday (13 August), Sir Stirling Moss will open the field for the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198) – chauffeured by an equally famous racing driver: Jochen Mass. His greatest triumphs include victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1989 in a Sauber-Mercedes C 9 together with Manuel Reuter and Stanley Dickens.
The C 111 will complete the Tour d'Elegance with Michael Bock at the wheel. Like the 300 SL, this striking sports car is a product of the Stuttgart-based brand's distinct culture of innovation. For instance, the 300 SL standard-production sports car featured the same space frame as the original 1952 racer – and consequently also the same gullwing doors, which were dictated by the chassis concept. This design element can also be found on the futuristic-looking C 111 from 1969. This experimental vehicle was used at that time by Mercedes-Benz to study the use of innovative materials and new drive technologies. The C 111 was powered by a rotary piston engine according to the principle conceived by Felix Wankel. One example was produced with a V8 reciprocating piston engine in order to examine the potential of that technology in the high-performance sports car too – and it is precisely this vehicle that Mercedes-Benz will be sending to Pebble Beach.
Starting on the Friday (14 August), the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge will be open to the public. Mercedes-Benz Classic is also supporting the club event "Legends of the Autobahn", which is dedicated in particular to stand-out vehicles of German origin. The show will include a rare rally version of a 500 SL (R 107) from 1980, with two vehicles of customers also likely to put in an appearance – a 230 SL (W 113) from 1964 and a 300 SD (W 116) from 1980.
Concours d'Elegance as the highlight
The highlight of the event is the Concours d'Elegance on the Sunday (16 August). Mercedes-Benz Classic will be there with the 300 SLR, the W 196 R and the C 111. The brand is traditionally represented at the Concours d'Elegance with numerous outstanding vehicles from its almost 130-year history, made available by collectors from all over the world. A prize at Pebble Beach ranks as one of the most coveted awards in the automotive world. And Mercedes-Benz has for years been one of the most successful guests at the Concours d'Elegance: the long list of "Best of Show" awards received under the Californian sun since 1950 includes several outright victories as well as more than 120 class victories and special prizes.
Staged on the 18th green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, the elegant classic car meeting is also the setting for world-famous auctions of historic automobiles, with classic vehicles regularly fetching top prices at these exclusive bidding events.
Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicles at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2015
Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing sports car (W 196 S)
It was with the 300 SLR (W 196 S) that Mercedes-Benz won the 1955 World Sports Car Championship. The vehicle is basically a W 196 R Formula One racing car with a two-seater sports car body, the main technical difference relating to the engine: not bound by the Formula One regulations limiting the engine's displacement, the racing sports car was powered by a three-litre version of the eight-cylinder in-line engine and featured cylinder blocks made not from steel, but light alloy. Apart from that, the 300 SLR was powered not by special methanol-based racing fuel, but premium petrol. Its output of over 220 kW (300 hp) allied to its durability and reliability made the 300 SLR far superior to its competitors in 1955 - which it went on to prove with its double victories at the Mille Miglia, in the Eifel race, the Swedish Grand Prix and the Targa Florio (Sicily). At the 1955 Mille Miglia, Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson (starting number 722) came in first at an average speed, unequalled to this day, of 157.65 km/h. The track record of this sports car remains unique: the W 196 S won every single race the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR entered and finished.
Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR sports racing car (W 196 S)
Period of use: 1955
Cylinders: 8/in-line
Displacement: 2982 cubic centimetres
Output: 222 kW (302 hp) to 228 kW (310 hp)
Top speed: over 300 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 2.5-litre racing car (W 196 R) with open wheels, 1955
In most Formula One races in 1954 and 1955, it was not the Streamliner that was used, but the classic monoposto with open wheels. This variant was significantly better suited to race tracks with numerous bends, because it allowed the driver to take the measure of bends much better. Like the Streamliner, the classic version started with flying colours, winning the very first competition it entered, the European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. The victor was Juan Manuel Fangio, who had already won the opening race in Reims and – with a fourth place in the British Grand Prix – learned that the Streamliner's capability of handling very winding race tracks was limited. The W 196 R was reworked for its second season: the straight intake manifold, which allowed an increase in engine output to 213 kW (290 hp), and the additional dome on the left side of the bonnet became the outwardly distinctive features of the 1955 version of the vehicle. In addition, Mercedes-Benz deployed the W 196 R with different wheelbases, and the arrangement of the drum brakes was varied. The result was a superior racing car that also dominated the 1955 season and helped Juan Manuel Fangio to win his second World Championship title with Mercedes-Benz.
Technical data: Mercedes-Benz W 196 R Formula One racing carPeriod of use: 1954-1955
Cylinders: 8/in-line
Displacement: 2497 cubic centimetres
Output: 188 kW (256 hp) to 213 kW (290 hp)
Top speed: up to 300 km/h
Mercedes-Benz C 111 experimental vehicle with V8 engine (1970)
Mercedes-Benz unveiled the C 111 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1969. With its extreme wedge shape and gullwing doors, the research vehicle had a glass-fibre-reinforced plastic body and was powered by a three-rotor Wankel engine with an output of 206 kW(280 hp). This futuristic-looking sports car could reach a top speed of up to 270 km/h. The following year, a revised version of the C 111 was unveiled in Geneva – this time with a four-rotor Wankel engine delivering 257 kW (350 hp). This version of the C 111 could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 300 km/h. It was this second version of the research vehicle that served as the basis for a V8 variant of the C 111 containing the M 116 production engine (147 kW/200 hp), which Mercedes-Benz engineers and technicians used for comparison with the rotary-engined sports car. Despite numerous orders, the C 111 remained an experimental vehicle and never went into series production. Instead, Mercedes-Benz went on to develop a series of record-breaking vehicles based on it: the C 111-II D (1976) and the C 111-III (1977-1978, both with a five-cylinder turbo diesel engine) and the C 111-IV (1979, V8 petrol engine with turbocharging).
Technical data  Mercedes-Benz C 111 with V8 engine
Production period: 1970
Cylinders: V8
Displacement: 3499 cc
Output: 147 kW (200 hp)
Brand Ambassadors of Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2015
Sir Stirling Moss Born on 17 September 1929 in London, England
With his outstanding victory in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR at the 1955 Mille Miglia, Stirling Moss wrote himself onto the list of all-time Mercedes-Benz racing greats. Already as a teenager, he dreamed of a career as a racing driver. In 1948 he contested his first races in the British 500 cubic centimetre formula (Formula Three). In 1949 and 1950 he was English Formula Two champion. In 1950 he won the Tourist Trophy in a private Jaguar. In 1954 Moss drove for Maserati in Formula One. At the end of 1954, after a series of test drives, he was signed by Alfred Neubauer as a driver for the Mercedes-Benz works team in the 1955 season. At the wheel of the W 196 R Silver Arrow, Moss won the Formula One British Grand Prix at Aintree, and took second place in each of the Belgian and Dutch Grand Prix and finished runner-up in the Formula One championship. His absolute domain, however, was sports car racing in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, which was specially developed for that season. This was the vehicle in which Moss won the Mille Miglia, the Tourist Trophy (with John Cooper Fitch) and the Targa Florio (with Peter Collins). He was thus instrumental in securing the world sports car championship title for Mercedes-Benz. After the Stuttgart-based brand pulled out of active racing at the end of 1955, Moss continued to demonstrate his world-class credentials as a driver in vehicles of other manufacturers. A crash at Goodwood in 1962 brought his active career to an end. Moss, who was knighted by the British queen in 1999, has retained close ties with motorsport. Moss became particularly involved as a Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassador and eyewitness of one of the most dazzling eras in motor racing history at Mercedes-Benz Classic events.
Jochen MassBorn on 30 September 1946 in Dorfen, Germany
Jochen Mass began his diverse career in motorsport in 1968 racing touring cars for Alfa Romeo and as works driver for Ford from 1970 to 1975. During this period, he won the 1972 Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race. At the same time, he also took part in Formula Two (1973) and in 105 Formula One Grand Prix races (1973/74 with Surtees; 1975 to 1977 with McLaren; 1978 with ATS; 1979/80 with Arrows; 1982 with March). Mass won the German Sports Car Championship in 1985, and after working as a works driver for Porsche until 1987 he became a works driver in the Sauber-Mercedes team. Up until 1991, he raced for this team in Group C. In the new Silver Arrow, the Sauber-Mercedes C 9, Jochen Mass, together with Manuel Reuter and Stanley Dickens, won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1989 while the same year finishing runner-up in the World Championship. Three years later, in 1992, Mass moved into team management in the DTM. Jochen Mass still regularly drives for Mercedes-Benz at historic racing events.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Porsche at the Solitude Classic, 2015

Solitude Revival

For decades, motorsport events on the historic Solitude circuit between Leonberg and Stuttgart delighted hundred thousands of spectators. In 1965, a decision was made to shut down the racetrack. In memory of the motorsport events of days gone by, last weekend the classic car motor racing festival “Solitude Revival” was held. The Porsche museum supported the event and presented unique classics from its collection, for example a 356 B 2000 GS Carrera GT, known as the “Dreikantschaber” (“triangular scraper”). A further highlight: the 356 B 1600 GS Carrera GTL Abarth.
The spectators were able to see racing legends such as Hans Herrmann, Kurt Ahrens, David Piper, Rudi Lins and Eberhard Mahle behind the wheel. Also participating were Matthias Müller, CEO of Porsche AG, and Thomas Edig, Board Member for Human Resources. The select starting grid was completed by Porsche works drivers Michael ChristensenMarc Lieb and Timo Bernhard.
However, this year the Solitude Revival was overshadowed by a tragic incident: five people were injured during a race accident and the race was terminated

The 1955 Mille Miglia and Mercedes-Benz at Schloss Dyck

Mercedes-Benz 180 D (W 120) in the Classic Insight "1955 success stories", 23 April 2015 in Italy.

Stuttgart. – At the Classic Days Schloss Dyck from 31 July to 2 August 2015, Mercedes-Benz Classic is celebrating the brand's outstanding victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia: Exactly 60 years ago, Mercedes-Benz not only dominated the overall ranking in this legendary road race from Brescia to Rome and back with a double victory by the 300 SLR racing sports car (W 196 S), but also achieved a triple class victory for series production sports cars over 1.3 litres with the 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198) and with the 180 D Saloon (W 120) in the diesel class.
Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassadors Ellen Lohr, Roland Asch and Dieter Glemser will present the two class winners of the 1000-mile race held 60 years ago, both in the drivers' paddock and on the track during the special Mercedes-Benz demonstration run. The success of John Cooper Fitch in the series production 300 SL is not only commemorated by the original 1955 car bearing start number 417, but also by the Gullwing-inspired "Mille Miglia 417" special edition of the current Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster (R 231).
Mercedes-Benz Classic is also showing another highlight by presenting the 540 K Streamliner on the orangery terrace. This innovative one-off example was built in 1938 on the based on the sporty Mercedes-Benz flagship model of the 1930s. It impresses with its dynamic appearance as the systematic implementation of scientific findings obtained in the wind tunnel. The aerodynamically optimised body has an excellent drag coefficient of Cd = 0.36. This makes a cruising speed of up to 170 km/h possible - and when assisted by the supercharger the Streamliner is even capable of a 185 km/h top speed. Mercedes-Benz Classic is presenting the 540 K Streamliner as part of the concours d’élégance "Jewels in the Park".
Rhineland Mecca for automotive classics
In 2015 Sir Stirling Moss is a guest of honour at this festival for automotive classics in the park of this moated castle on the Rhine. 60 years ago Moss wrote his name indelibly in the history books of motor racing with his overall victory in the Mille Miglia, driving a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing sports car and achieving the best ever time in this road race of 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds. Together with his co-driver Denis Jenkinson, Moss led the double Mercedes-Benz victory for the 300 SLR racing sports car ahead of Juan Manuel Fangio, who was driving alone.
Since the first event in 2006, the Classic Days Schloss Dyck have quickly developed into one of the highlight events in the automotive classic calendar. Mercedes-Benz Classic has actively supported this development as a committed partner from the start. Against the backdrop of the moated Dyck Castle in the Rhineland, the Classic Days will once again offer an attractive and rewarding programme of events centred on the culture of classic vehicles. These include access to the drivers' paddock, regularity runs by "racing legends" on the circuit around the castle and the "Classic Meeting" of the brand clubs on the large field outside the castle. Almost 150 classic Mercedes-Benz vehicles owned by private collectors and enthusiasts are expected in the Mercedes-Benz Club area. The castle's hospitality rooms are also exclusively available to members of the Mercedes-Benz brand clubs with reservations.
The exclusive concours d’élégance "Jewels in the Park" will take place on the museum island, where the orangery is also located. Particularly beautiful, elegant and rare vehicles will be presented here. The "Lovely Heroes" from the time of the economic miracle in the 1950s have their very own chapter in automobile history. During the Classic Days there will also be a meeting of historic advertising vehicles under the motto "Made in Germany", and the programme is rounded off by events such as "Charm and Style" with picnics and presentations of past eras, or the classics camping event "Nostalgic Journeys".
The Classic Days Schloss Dyck are open to visitors on Friday, 31 July from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Saturday, 1 August from 7 a.m. (access for classic vehicles) and 7:30 a.m. (entry for pedestrians) to 6 p.m. and on Sunday, 2 August from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Classic Days Schloss Dyck 2015
Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner (W 29, 1938)
Built in 1938, the Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner was the pinnacle of the aerodynamically optimised vehicles developed by Mercedes-Benz in the 1930s. Based on the Stuttgart-based brand's top sports car model, this unique vehicle set benchmarks both in technical and aesthetic terms. It allowed Mercedes-Benz to take the lead in a development that occupied the entire automobile industry at that time: the rapid pace of technical change and the growing network of fast roads enabling higher potential cruising speeds. Consequently, the aerodynamics of powerful passenger cars became increasingly important with regard to efficiency too. With its aluminium body's flowing lines and low silhouette, minimal sources of disturbance on its surface and underbody cladding, the Streamliner applied research findings in an exemplary way, giving it a sensationally low drag coefficient (Cd value) of 0.36. In 2014, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the vehicle to the public once more following lavish restoration.
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner (W 29)
Cylinder arrangement: 8/in-line
Displacement: 5401 cc
Output: 85 kW (115 hp), with supercharger 132 kW (180 hp)
Top speed: 185 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198), 1954-1957)
In February 1954, the 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198) celebrated its world premiere at the International Motor Sport Show in New York. The Coupé was referred to as the "Gullwing" owing to the roof-mounted doors resembling a gull's wings. The high-speed sports car was based on the legendary 300 SL sports racing car (W 194) from the 1952 season, and was the first series production car with a four-stroke petrol injection engine. With an engine output of 158 kW (215 hp) – a good 20 percent more than the carburettor-equipped racing version of 1952 – the W 198 was in the top echelon of series production sports cars in its day, which also predestined it for racing. Various suspension setups and final drive ratios were available on request for racing purposes, allowing top speeds between around 225 km/h and 250 km/h. One legendary triumph was the triple class victory of the 300 SL series sports car in the 1955 Mille Miglia. John Cooper Fitch achieved fifth place in the overall ranking in his car bearing start number 417, clocking a time of 11 hours, 29 minutes and 21 seconds to head the class for series production sports cars over 1.3 litres. From 1954 to 1957 a total of 1400 units of the 300 SL "Gullwing" were produced, no less than 867 of them in the year of the 1955 Mille Miglia victory.
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198)
Production period: 1954–1957
Cylinders: 6/in-line
Displacement: 2996 cc
Output: 158 kW (215 hp)
Top speed: up to 250 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 180 D (W 120, 1954 to 1959)
The first diesel engine version of the Mercedes-Benz 180 "Ponton" (W 120) had its debut in January 1954. This meant that the Stuttgart-based brand now also offered its modern saloon with the characteristic "Ponton" silhouette with a diesel engine, which delivered 29 kW (40 hp) from a displacement of 1767 cc. A total of 114,046 units of the 180 D Saloon were produced up to the model facelift in autumn 1959. These diesel saloons, which were capable of speeds up to 110 km/h, cannot be compared with the racing and sports cars that raced to overall victory in the Mille Miglia. But the 180 D was an ultra-modern vehicle at the time, with a self-supporting body and a "subframe" on which the front wheels guided by double wishbone axles were suspended.It demonstrated its strengths and great dependability in the Italian road race: Mercedes-Benz entered several model 180 D cars in the 1955 Mille Miglia, with start numbers 04, 09 and 010A, and they achieved a triple victory in the diesel class. The class winner driven by the Austrians Helmut Retter and Wolfgang Larcher took 16 hours, 52 minutes and 25 seconds for the 1000-mile race.
Technical Data for the Mercedes-Benz 180 D (W 120) – road version)Production period: 1954 to 1959
Cylinders: 4/in-line
Displacement: 1767 cc
Output: 29 kW (40 hp), from September 1955 32 kW (43 hp)
Top speed: 110 km/h
The drivers for Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Classic Days Schloss Dyck 2015
Roland AschBorn on 12 October 1950 in Altingen, Germany
Trained as a master automotive mechanic, Roland Asch began his motor racing career as a hobby at first, but achieved victories like a pro: after winning the German Hill Climb Championship in 1981 and the German Motor Racing Trophy in 1983, his début in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) followed in 1985. In 1988 he finished as the DTM vice-champion driving his own Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16. In the late 1980s, he finished first in the overall standings in the Porsche 944 Turbo Cup three times, and in 1991 won the championship title in the Porsche Carrera Cup. In the early 1990s, he won a total of five victories and delivered a number of other good results in the DTM for Mercedes-Benz. In 1993, he finished as the runner-up in the DTM for the second time, and moved to Ford in the Super Touring Car Cup in 1995. As a Brand Ambassador, Roland Asch has close ties to the Mercedes-Benz brand to this day, and can regularly be seen behind the wheel of important racing cars from the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection during events.
Dieter GlemserBorn on 28 June 1938 in Kirchheim/Teck
His pedal-to-the-metal career kicked off in the 1960 Schorndorf Hill Climb. Numerous class victories in various hill climbs and circuit races at the Nürburgring followed. He started racing for Mercedes-Benz in 1963, when he achieved overall victory in the Poland Rally in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE and two 2nd places in the Germany Rally (including a class victory) and in the Argentine Touring Car Grand Prix. In the following year he was part of the triple victory by the teams made up of Böhringer/Klaus Kaiser, Dieter Glemser/Martin Braungart and Ewy Rosqvist/Eva-Maria Falk in the Argentine Touring Car Grand Prix. With Ford, Dieter Glemser celebrated a European Championship title for touring cars in 1971, a win in the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps and the German Motor Racing Championship in 1973 and 1974. He ended his active motor racing career in November 1974, following a serious crash caused by tyre damage in the touring car race in Macao, south-east China. From 1990, Dieter Glemser was a member of the Mercedes-Benz motorsport team for ten years, responsible for organisational matters as a department manager. From 2001 to 2008 he worked as a freelancer for Mercedes-AMG and Daimler AG in the area of sports and driver safety training, as well as at Mercedes-Benz Classic events where he is still active.
Ellen LohrBorn on 12 April 1965 in Mönchengladbach, Germany
Ellen Lohr came to motor sport from the kart racing scene, where she was active from 1979 to 1983. Her greatest successes were participation in the Junior Kart World Championship and a first place in the North-West German Kart Championship. After competing in the German Formula Ford 1600 series (German Champion in 1987), and first races in the DTM (BMW) and the German Formula 3 Championship with VW in 1989/90, she was signed by the AMG-Mercedes team for the German Touring Car Championship. For the 1995 season, she moved to the Mercedes-Zakspeed team, and in 1996 drove for the AMG-Mercedes Persson MS team. Ellen Lohr is the first and only woman to date to have achieved a DTM victory, which she won in May 1992 at the motor racing festival in Hockenheim driving an AMG-Mercedes 190 2.5-16 Evolution II. In 1997, she competed in the European Truck Racing Championship at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz racing truck. Subsequently Ellen Lohr has continued to be actively involved in numerous other racing series, including the Paris–Dakar Rally since 2005 and again in truck racing since 2012

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Milt Marion is declared the winner of the first car race on the Daytona Beach Ro...

The winner was Milt Marion in a Ford V-8. The prize was $5,000. Among the drivers were Indy winner Bill Cummings; dirt track champions Bob Sall, Doc Mackenzie and ben Shaw; Major Goldie Gardner; Miles and Sam Collier; and Bill France.
Marions engine had no gaskets; rather it was held together by Permatex Form-A-Gasket-1 and Form-A-Gasket-2, to prove that the engine could hold together only with Permatex products.

A Solution to the Problem of hacking Into Cars!

Not so funny thing is, in the computer world, we rely upon discovery of virus’ or identification of vulnerabilities proactively and by the good guys and antivirus software, but think about the car thief.  The car thief isn’t wildly propagating a computer virus, they are specifically targeting a vehicle to be taken (and not left for the owner to discover said virus and report it).  So vulnerabilities that thief networks use for exploitation of these car systems will not necessarily be found or publicized.  

Interesting challenges ahead, and some behavioral changes necessary for things such as Infotainment System Updates having to be “maintained” just like other integral components of a car.

Another thought, since North America is going Smart Card Credit Card, is to revamp the traditional Key or Key Fob for access to a vehicle with a Smart Card embedded token of some sort that requires a PIN code to unlock the on token authorization to start the vehicle (and continue to provide authentication real time until removed).  Like IT (and because cars are increasingly being integrated with Information Systems), you really need 2-factor security to ensure all systems are safe.  Single factor security such as a Key or Fob meets the “Something I have” criteria, but not the “Something I know” (such as a PIN) or “Something I am” (such as biometrics).  Keys and or Fobs are easy to take and use (or not even have to use in the case of this video), but having a key plus a PIN code to access any system in the car would easily prevent attacks such as these.

From my son-in-law, Tony.

To learn more about the anti-theft technology, see my book:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Brief Review of Bernhard Rieger's "The People's Car: A Global History of the Volkswagen Beetle"

Another book on the history of the Volkswagen! That was my first thought when I picked up Rieger's book at the local library. But this time around I was pleasantly surprised that something new was said about what many would consider a well-worn topic. The strength of this book is in the historical context it provides, particularly of things German during the Weimar, Nazi and Economic Renaissance eras. It says very little new about the car itself -- its technological development, for example -- but that was not what the author was trying to do. Rather it is the place of the car in broader stands of German History that makes this a fascinating read. Additionally, I thought the chapter on Mexico shed new light on the history of the vehicle beyond Europe and the United States.
However, is it really a global history of the Volkswagen Beetle? Well, not really. What about other South American Countries and then Africa and Asia? Scarcely a word. Sales figures, marketing, cultural reflections from these areas? So the story is still far from complete.
What I really found significant is stated on the second to last page. Here Reiger writes:

"Nevertheless, the first Volkswagen's global properties display clear limits. Commercial success undoubtedly lent the original Beetle global prominence. Yet despite its ability to cross borders, the original Beetle remained firmly rooted in national frames Rather than adopting a hybrid or fully fledged transnational identity, which would have rendered the ascription of a distinct national identity impossible, the first VW developed into an icon with multiple nationalities. Globalization did not divest the car of national resonance. While the Beetle highlights how processes of reception have incoprorated objects from elsewhere into new national landscapes, it simultaneously draws attention to the resilience of national categories in the era of globalization since World War II."

So here we have the global theme of identity and difference standing out in this monograph. I plan on using this material in my HST 103 course this fall, "The West and the World."

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hackers take over Jeep from 10 miles away.

From The Telegraph (UK), Sophie Curtis author.

Hackers took control of a car and crashed it into a ditch by remotely breaking into its dashboard computer from 10 miles away. 

In the first such breach of its kind, security experts cut out the engine and applied the brakes on the Jeep Cherokee, sending it into a spin – all while sitting on their sofa. 
The US hackers said they used just a laptop and mobile phone to access the Jeep’s on-board systems via a wireless Internet connection. 
They claim that more than 470,000 cars made by Fiat Chrysler could be at risk of being attacked by similar means – including those driven in the UK. 
The breach was revealed by security researchers Charlie Miller, a former staffer at the NSA, and Chris ValasekHow hackers took over my computer
They worked with Andy Greenberg, a writer with tech website Wired, who drove the Jeep Cherokee on public roads in St Louis, Missouri. 
In his disturbing account Greenberg described how the air vents started blasting out cold air and the radio came on full blast when the hack began. 
The windscreen wipers turned on with wiper fluid, blurring the glass, and a picture of the two hackers appeared on the car’s digital display to signify they had gained access. 
Greenberg said that the hackers then slowed the car to a halt just as he was getting on the highway, causing a tailback behind him – though it got a lot worse after that. 
He wrote: "The most disturbing maneuver came when they cut the Jeep’s brakes, leaving me frantically pumping the pedal as the 2-ton SUV slid uncontrollably into a ditch. 
"The researchers say they’re working on perfecting their steering control – for now they can only hijack the wheel when the Jeep is in reverse. 
"Their hack enables surveillance too: They can track a targeted Jeep’s GPS coordinates, measure its speed, and even drop pins on a map to trace its route." 
The hack was possible thanks to Uconnect, the software that has been built into the dashboard computers of hundreds of thousands of cars made by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles since late 2013. 
The feature controls the entertainment system, deals with navigation and allows phone calls. It also allows owners to start the car remotely, flash the headlights using an app, and unlock doors. 
But according to Miller and Valasek, the on-board Internet connection is a "super nice vulnerability" for hackers. All they have to do is work out the car’s IP address and know how to break into its systems and they can take control. 
Independent security expert Graham Cluley said: "Note that the researchers believe that, although they’ve only tested it out on Jeeps, the attacks could be tweaked to work on any Chrysler car with a vulnerable Uconnect head unit." 
The incident is the latest hacking episode which shows just how vulnerable we are to modern technology. Miller and Valasek have carried out similar hacking stunts on a Toyota Prius and a Ford Escape. 
A US hacker also recently took control of a passenger jet he was on, in the first known such incident of its kind, according to the FBI. 
Chris Roberts is said to have plugged into the plane’s computer systems through the electronics box under his seat – and briefly moved the aircraft sideways. 
Earlier this week it also emerged that hackers were threatening to release the confidential details of millions of people after stealing information from adultery website 
After being contacted by the hackers nine months ago, Fiat Chrysler released an update to its car systems. However, users have to download it onto a memory stick and plug it into their USB port, or take the vehicle to a local dealership to have it installed. 
The security researchers are now urging drivers of Fiat Chrysler to get the update installed as soon as possible, to protect themselves from similar attacks.

For more on this technology, see John Heitmann and Rebeca Morales, Stealing Cars (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014).

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC Rally Car and the 2015 ADAC Eifel Rally Festival

Rallye Vuelta a la América del Sud, from august 17 to September 24 in 1978. Team Timo Makinen / Jean Todt (number 401) achieved the fourth place with their Mercedes-Benz Typ 450 SLC.

South American mud-track: the Scottish/English rally team of Andrew Cowan / Colin Malkin in action with a Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC on one of the many special legs in the Rallye Vuelta a la América del Sud from August 17 to September 24, 1978. The Britons succeeded in winning the rally.

Southamerican-rallye "Vuelta a la América del Sud", from august 17 to September 24 in 1978. The later victors, the scottish/english Mercedes-Benz Team Andrew Cowan / Colin Malkin with their Mercedes-Benz Type 450 SLC

The Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC rally car and star of the 1978 “Vuelta a la América del Sud” long-distance rally puts in a gala appearance at the fifth ADAC Eifel Rally Festival from 23 to 25 July 2015. The event takes place in and around the City of Daun: one of the original coupés with which the brand from Stuttgart scored a glorious one-two victory at the time, will be driven at the Rally Festival by Andrew Cowan (the 1978 winner) and Klaus Kaiser as well as by the team Hannu Mikkola/Arne Hertz.
Stuttgart. – Powerful greetings from the heat of South America: No less than four former Mercedes-Benz racing drivers will pilot the Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC rally car through the Volcanic Eifel at this year’s ADAC Eifel Rally Festival from 23 to 25 July 2015. The V8 Coupé is one of the vehicles with which Mercedes-Benz took part in the 1978 “Vuelta a la América del Sud” long-distance rally and scored a one-two victory plus a fourth place finish. The winner of 1978, Andrew Cowan (he shared the cockpit with Colin Malkin at the time), will start with Klaus Kaiser (then co-driver of Tony Fowkes in a Mercedes-Benz 280 E) as his team mate. The second team from Mercedes-Benz Classic is formed by Hannu Mikkola and Arne Hertz, who won the 1979 Bandama Rally in Africa with the successor model 450 SLC 5.0 and ultimately won the world rally crown in 1983.
“Authenticity – the motto of the Eifel Rally Festival this year – is a core value of Mercedes-Benz Classic. This is why I am especially happy that in Andrew Cowan, Arne Hertz, Klaus Kaiser and Hannu Mikkola we have four protagonists of such significance to the Mercedes-Benz motor racing history starting in the Eifel with an authentic 450 SLC rally car of the 1978 season,” says Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic and Customer Centre. “All four drivers put their stamp on the success story of the Mercedes-Benz luxury class coupés of model series C 107 in long-distance rally sports in the late 1970s.”
The 450 SLC rally car will take to the track in the Eifel together with numerous other classic cars. All in all, some 150 original or authentically reconstructed rally vehicles from five decades will come to the starting line at the 2015 ADAC Eifel Rally Festival. The event thus offers a unique overview of the various eras of rally sports and once again lives up to its reputation as the largest travelling rally museum this year. The highlights will be the special stages on gravel and asphalt as well as the action on the rally mile in Daun’s Leopoldstrasse, which will be the prime focal point for vehicles, teams and fans during the entire festival.
The festival kicks off on 23 July, with the so-called “shakedown” in Brueck. A open-air rally cinema is scheduled for that evening. 24 July begins with the vehicle inspection on the rally mile, followed by an autograph session with a host of legendary racing drivers. The action on the track starts on 24 July shortly after 2.00 p.m. with the “Bosch Super Stage”, which includes gravel roads complete with water crossing, drift corner and a jump. The new “Festival Parade” will be held for the first time that evening. It presents the vehicles that are too valuable or delicate to compete in the sporty festival schedule. 25 July will be all about the asphalt stages on the route in the Volcanic Eifel. The ADAC Rally Festival ends that evening with a party in Daun.
One-two victory for the V8 Coupés in 1978
It was a triumphant success for the first-time deployment of the near-production Mercedes-Benz luxury class coupés of model series C 107 in motor racing: after 38 days of exhausting driving and almost 29,000 kilometres (about 7,000 kilometres on gravel), Mercedes-Benz triumphed with a one-two victory of the 450 SLC rally cars in the “Vuelta a la América del Sud”. The brand from Stuttgart actually scored an overwhelming quintuple victory in all in the summer of 1978. In addition to the powerful V8 Coupés in 1st (Andrew Cowan/Colin Malkin), 2nd (Sobieslaw Zasada/Andrzej Zembrzuski) and 4th place (Timo Maekinen/Jean Todt), two rally cars of the model 280 E (W 123) finished in 3rd (AnthonyFowkes/Klaus Kaiser) and 5th place (Herbert-Ernst Kleint/Guenther Klapproth).
This marathon through Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile was followed the next two years by two additional long-distance competitions in which Mercedes-Benz was also highly successful with rally cars based on the C 107 model series: In 1979, Hannu Mikkola and Arne Hertz finished in the top spot of a quadruple victory in the 11th Rally Bandama in Ivory Coast with a 450 SLC 5.0 rally car. Their team mates Bjoern Waldegaard and Hans Thorszelius, Andrew Cowan and Klaus Kaiser as well as Vic Preston Jr. and Mike Doughty finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th. In 1980, this success was followed by a one-two victory of the Mercedes-Benz 500 SLC rally car in the Bandama Rally won by Bjoern Waldegaard and Hans Thorszelius ahead of Jorge Recalde and Nestor Straimel.
The vehicle from Mercedes-Benz Classic at the 12015 ADAC Eifel Rally Festival
Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC rally car (C 107, 1978)
Mercedes-Benz put a total of four 160-kW (217-hp) V8 Coupés with automatic transmission on the starting line of the tough South American rally in 1978. A typical trait of the 450 SLC rally cars was that they were very close to the production vehicles. The regulations of the “Vuelta a América del Sud” precluded modifications to engine, transmission and body. However, vehicles were selected whose engine output was at the upper end of the tolerances – the vehicles for the competition produced an output of up to 172 kW (234 hp). A model based on the 450 SLC with an uprated output of 213 kW (290 hp) was produced for competing in the 1979 Bandama Rally in Africa: the 450 SLC 5.0 rally car. In the 1980 season, Mercedes-Benz competed with the final evolutionary stage of this family of competition vehicles of the C 107, the 500 SLC rally car with outputs of up to 250 kW(400 hp).
Technical data Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC rally car (C 107)
Used in: 1978
Engine: V8, 90 degree cylinder bank angle
Displacement: 4,520 cc
Output: 167 kW (227 hp)
Top speed: 220 km/h
The drivers of Mercedes-Benz Classic at the 2015 ADAC Eifel Rally Festival
Andrew Cowan
born 13 December 1936 in Duns, Scotland
Andrew Cowan grew up on a farm in the Scottish Border District and started to hone his driving skills at a young age on the region’s narrow roads together with his childhood friend Jim Clark (the future Formula 1 world champion). His first significant success in motor racing was the victory in the Scottish Rally in 1962 – he defended his title the next year. Cowan was particularly successful as a professional rally driver in long-distance competitions. He attracted the attention of the brand from Stuttgart with his victory as a private driver of a Mercedes-Benz 280 E in the 1977 London–Sydney Rally. This won Cowan a seat in the 450 SLC rally car when Mercedes-Benz expanded its activities in rally racing in 1978 under the leadership of engineer Erich Waxenberger. Cowan won the 1978 Vuelta a la América del Sud and finished in third place in the Bandama Rally in Africa in 1979 with a 450 SLC 5.0. Even after the end of his professional career, Cowan remained a part of rally racing. Among other things, he founded the Mitsubishi Ralliart racing team.
Arne Hertz
born 6 June 1939 in Sweden
As co-driver of Stig Blomqvist in the early 1970s, Arne Hertz won numerous major rallies in Scandinavia with Saab 96 V4. However, he celebrated his greatest successes as co-driver of Hannu Mikkola in the late 1070s – among other things, the duo finished in the top spot of a quadruple victory for Mercedes-Benz in the 1979 Bandama Rally. That same year, Hertz guided his team mate to a second place finish in the 27th East African Safari. In 1983, Mikkola and Hertz won the world championship with Audi. From 1976, Hertz was Mikkola’s co-pilot for 13 years before he shared the cockpit with Armin Schwarz.
Klaus Kaiser
born 29 May 1937 in Stuttgart
Klaus Kaiser made Mercedes-Benz motor racing history in the 1960s and 1970s as co-driver of Eugen Boehringer and other outstanding rally drivers: together with Boehringer, he won overall victories in the Germany Rally, the Liege-Sophia-Liege Rally and in the Touring Grand Prix of Argentina in 1963 alone. The duo repeated the success of Argentina the following year. Kaiser gained his first motor racing experiences on a motorcycle starting in 1954. He won gold, silver, and bronze plaques at various motorcycle competitions. After an apprenticeship at then Daimler-Benz AG, he worked for a while as a driving instructor before returning to Mercedes-Benz as a foreman and later head foreman, where he worked in the test department with a focus on vehicle measurement. When Mercedes-Benz re-entered rally racing in the late 1970s, Kaiser was one of the experienced co-pilots of the works team: in 1977, he started in the London–Sydney Rally together with Alfred Kling and Joerg Leininger (6th place with a Mercedes-Benz 280 E) and became co-pilot of Toni Fowkes in the 1978 East Africa Safari as well as in the 1978 Vuelta a la América del Sud Rally (3rd place), in both cases with a Mercedes-Benz 280 E. After that, he accompanied Andrew Cowan in the 1979 Bandama Rally (3rd place with a 450 SLC 5.0), the 1980 East Africa Safari (6th place with a 450 SLC 5.0), the 1980 Codasur Argentina Rally (280 CE) and the 1980 New Zealand Rally (500 SLC). Klaus Kaiser ended his active career in motor racing after the conclusion of the Bandama Rally in December 1980.
Hannu Mikkola
born 24 May 1942 in Joensum, Finland
As the son of a factory owner, Mikkola learned to drive when he was just 14 years old. At 18 years of age, he competed in his first rallies driving a Volvo. During his academic studies, which he graduated as an engineer in 1965, he continued to compete successfully in rallies – first for Volvo and later for Ford. In 1979, he right away won the Bandama Rally (Ivory Coast) as a guest driver for Mercedes-Benz with the 450 SLC 5.0 rally car and also finished in 2nd place behind Bjoern Waldegaard in the world championship. Mikkola and his co-pilot Arne Hertz won the world championship title in 1983 with Audi. He is considered the rally driver who was among the best of the field of international competitors in this sport longer than anyone else.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Edsel Ford's 1915 Detroit to San Francisco Road Trip

From a story published in  the Detroit Free Press: author Mark Phelan

A century ago, 21-year-old Edsel Ford and six friends whose families would shape Detroit in the 20th Century set out for a last fling, a cross-country road trip before taking up the responsibilities of adulthood.
This week, drivers from the Historic Vehicle Association will leave the ancestral Ford estate in Dearborn in an identical 1915 Ford Model T Touring Car to recreate the forgotten journey.
"It was one last taste of freedom before life and family obligations took over," said Matt Anderson, curator of transportation at the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn. "Edsel's life was pretty well planned for him" by his famously domineering father, Henry. "They slept out in tents they secured to the cars. They carried pistols and rifles because of wild animals and criminals along the route.
"It shows there was a romanticism to the road trip even then," Anderson said. "It wasn't about the destination as much as the journey and the company,"

Product Rollout! The Toyota Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle

Hi folks -- is this the future, a dead end, or one of a number of alternative fuel vehicles that will be a part of a Darwinian competition? Whatever the case, the future of personal transportation will be interesting.
And from the company that brought us the Prius.

Torrance, Calif. (July 13, 2015) -- It’s almost here, and California customers will soon be able to request their own Mirai.  And why wouldn’t they?

The Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle uses no gasoline and emits nothing but water vapor.  It’s the only zero emission electric vehicle on the market that tops the 300 mile range milestone (an EPA estimated driving range rating of 312 miles, to be exact) and offers an EPA estimated 67 mpge city/highway/combined. 

In just one week, on July 20, California trailblazers can request their very own Mirai by visiting  All requests will be made through  Eligible customers will ultimately choose one of the eight authorized California dealers for Mirai delivery.  After placing a request, potential Mirai drivers will be contacted directly by a Toyota representative to explore the possibility of Mirai ownership. 

And ownership does have its privileges.  The Mirai comprehensive, ownership experience offers a range of world-class services, including three years’ worth of complimentary fuel [1], three years of 24/7 customer call support, 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on key fuel cell vehicle components[2]and much more. 

Let the countdown to the future begin!