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Watch this BMW take flight at Viru Rally

Autoblog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 21:57

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An E36 BMW 3 Series might be a good choice for a lot of purposes - a long road trip, a track day, rallycross, impressing your friends... but a full-on rally? It's rear-drive when the best rally machines are front- or all-wheel drive. But that didn't stop Pritt Koik and Alari-Uku Heldna from entering their stripped-out E36 in the Viru Rally in Estonia... or from getting some big air time when they did.

Fortunately the jump was not just caught on video... it was caught on video from three angles: two from the side of the rally stage and one from inside the cockpit. Check out all three below to see how this particular BMW got back into the aircraft business.

Continue reading Watch this BMW take flight at Viru Rally

Watch this BMW take flight at Viru Rally originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Space-minded Ural MИР comes with solar panel, unique repair instructions

Autoblog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 21:30

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The individualist aspect of motorcycle culture is a well-known thing. Bikers pride themselves on being different, whether they're on the back of a Suzuki or a Harley-Davidson. Ural riders are particularly unique.

These Russian bikes are known for being robust, go-anywhere things, and they routinely arrive with sidecars and camouflage paintjobs. The brand's latest limited-edition model, though, does away with the camo'd color scheme and replaces it something a bit... extraterrestrial.

This is the Ural Mir, named in honor of the Shuttle-Mir program, a space-based collaboration between the United States and Russia that saw shuttles visit the orbiting station in a then-unprecedented spirit of cooperation.

In addition to its most obvious change, the Orbital White Metallic paint, the Ural Mir features a solar panel affixed atop the nose of the sidecar. According to Ural, it can serve as a battery tender or as a source of power for accessories. It can also be simply removed and replaced with a luggage rack, should you need more space (or if it's cloudy). High-intensity LEDs adorn the nose of the sidecar for peering into the pitch-black abyss.

The other cool feature of the Ural Mir is its special instruction system. A QR code has been fitted on a large wrench, and when accessed, it provides "when all else fails" instructions including a, um, clip from the disaster flick Armageddon. So yes, if your Ural breaks down, it seems the manufacturer advocates you beating it with a wrench to get it running again. Your results may vary.

The Ural Mir starts at $16,999 and will be limited to just 20 units and arrives at dealers in November. Take a look below at the press release from Ural Motorcycles and then head over and check out Ural's special instructions.

Continue reading Space-minded Ural MИР comes with solar panel, unique repair instructions

Space-minded Ural MИР comes with solar panel, unique repair instructions originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Porsche 918 Spyder already almost sold out?

Autoblog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 21:01

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Still planning on getting your hands on a Porsche 918 Spyder? You'd better act quickly, because word has it that the hybrid hypercar is nearly sold out.

While Porsche has reportedly only delivered a little over 30 of the 918 examples of the Spyder it plans to manufacture in total, Automotive News says that production is sold out through late March or early April - just a few months shy of when production is set to wrap in July.

That's pretty impressive for a car with a base price of almost $850,000, especially one requiring a $200,000 deposit just to get your name on the list. Still, that sum is significantly less than its competitors get for the McLaren P1 or LaFerrari, both of which sell for over a million (if you can actually get on one at that price), though in fairness, production of each is limited to less than half of the 918 Spyder.

Porsche 918 Spyder already almost sold out? originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NHTSA issues warning over defective airbags in 4.7M vehicles

Leftlane - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 20:41
Agency urges owners to "act immediately" to replace airbags prone to explosion.






Toyota explains what names like Camry and Yaris mean

Autoblog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 20:30

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Ever wonder where automakers get the names for their cars? You're not alone. The sitcom Seinfeld opened Episode 94 - the one where George Costanza buys a Chrysler LeBaron instead of a Volvo - with a bit about nameplates like Integra, Supra and Impreza. Toyota, clearly, is not exempt from choosing evocative but enigmatic names for its models, and now the Japanese automaker is taking us through the etymology of some of its nameplates.

Names like Supra may require no clarification, but what about Camry? That comes from the Japanese word kanmuri for Crown (which is, incidentally, the name of another Toyota sedan).

Yaris? According to the company, it's "an amalgamation of words from Greek mythology and German. In Greek mythology, 'Charis' was a symbol of beauty and elegance. Toyota swapped the 'Ch' with 'Ya' - German for 'yes' - to symbolize the perceived reaction of European markets to the car's styling."

Uh-huh. By comparison, Corolla couldn't be simpler - its name refers to the innermost ring of pedals around the center of a flower. Previa is derived from the Latin word for providence (as in foresight, not capital city in Rhode Island).

Some of these name meanings you may already be aware of, but others might still be a mystery, so head over to Toyota's UK blog to delve deeper into ten of the company's most 'iconic' names.

Toyota explains what names like Camry and Yaris mean originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Citizen pulls over unmarked WA police car, education ensues

Autoblog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 19:58

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Dog bites man, that's not news. Man bites dog, now that's news. Or so goes the old newspaper adage, and we see it manifested all the time. Take this latest video clip for example. While it wouldn't usually be news to see a cop pulling over a motorist, seeing a motorist pulling over a cop and asking to see ID is another matter entirely.

The video comes courtesy of one Gavin Seim, a self-styled liberty activist and former congressional candidate from Washington State's 4th district. In this instance, Seim is advocating (and civically enforcing) a law on the books in Washington that precludes law enforcement officers from patrolling in unmarked vehicles, a measure designed so that motorists know they're being lawfully pulled over by police and not by an impersonator.

Seim sees a sheriff's deputy patrolling in an unmarked, plain-white Dodge Charger, so he flags him down and - in as clear a reversal of roles as we've ever seen - proceeds to ask the deputy for ID while alerting him to the state law which he's apparently violating. Fortunately, both parties act respectfully, as you can see from the video which Seim captured and posted online in both edited and full versions.

Continue reading Citizen pulls over unmarked WA police car, education ensues

Citizen pulls over unmarked WA police car, education ensues originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jaguar Land Rover in talks for Southern US factory

Autoblog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 19:30

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Jaguar Land Rover is getting serious about global expansion, and that means it can't only build its vehicles in the UK anymore. The British automaker is cutting the ribbon at its new plant in China tomorrow, marking the opening of its first factory outside the UK. In 2016, it will open another factory in Brazil. But the latest intel has it that JLR is looking into a US factory, as well.

The report, which comes to us from the Sunday Times by way of Automotive News Europe, indicates that the company is evaluating locations for a North American factory, with options centering around Southern right-to-work states like South Carolina, where BMW operates its plant in Spartanburg and a wide array of other automotive operations are based as well. The JLR plant would reportedly ramp up to a capacity of 200,000 units per year.

In related news, while that new plant JLR is inaugurating in Changshu, China, is initially slated to produce the Range Rover Evoque, it is also expected to start building the new Discovery Sport as well - just like the Halewood plant in the UK that has handled Evoque assembly from the start and which just built its first Discovery Sport, as well.

Jaguar Land Rover in talks for Southern US factory originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Honda bringing HR-V to LA show, promises US launch this winter

Leftlane - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 19:29
Fit-based entry-level crossover will slot below CR-V.






Honda to present HR-V, updated Acura ILX at LA show

Autoblog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 18:59

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Honda has already showcased its new Fit-based crossover around the world. We've seen it in Tokyo wearing the Vezel name and we've seen it in Paris in 'prototype' form. We've even seen photos of the US-spec version. We just haven't seen that North American model in the flesh, but that'll all be fixed next month at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

That's where Honda will, at long last, unveil the US version of its new HR-V subcompact. The Japanese automaker hasn't told us much else, save to say that the HR-V will, of course, slot in below the CR-V in US showrooms. It'll also feature the company's lauded Magic Seat system, "which allows for multiple seating configurations and the ability to fold the second row seat completely flat for added cargo space."

Alongside the HR-V, Honda's luxury division will also be showcasing a revised version of its ILX sedan at the LA show as well. Acura hasn't revealed precise details of what revisions are in store for its smallest sedan - or a more detailed photo than the teaser inset at right - but it is promising "a comprehensive update that include a potent new powertrain, more forceful, sporty exterior styling and a substantially upgraded interior design."

Continue reading Honda to present HR-V, updated Acura ILX at LA show

Honda to present HR-V, updated Acura ILX at LA show originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action

Autoblog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 18:30

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation are taking the unusual step of issuing a followup press release urging owners of certain recalled vehicles "to act immediately" to fix their cars and trucks. The problem in question concerns the repair campaigns for rupturing Takata airbag inflators issued in June and covers a long list of models from Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Acura, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Infiniti, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Oldsmobile and Pontiac.

While NHSTA doesn't specifically say why the recall is vital in the new release, Toyota's own explanation in its newly announced renotification campaign earlier today sheds some new light on the topic. According to the Japanese automaker, in testing, Takata found a possible link between the rupturing airbag inflators and high humidity. NHTSA is advocating that all owners pursue repairs immediately if they haven't already done so already. This is especially crucial for those drivers especially in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii because of the humid conditions there.

We don't need to tell you how dangerous an inadvertent airbag deployment could be - even in a stationary vehicle - but adding to the Takata issue is fears that the deployment could lead to shrapnel being sprayed into the cabin.

If you're unsure whether your vehicle is covered under this campaign, NHTSA has a new VIN lookup tool for all recalls recently that could be handy in this situation. Scroll down for the full list of potentially affected models and the agency's statement - there are upwards of nearly five million vehicles that could be affected.

Continue reading NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action

NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Toyota, Lexus expanding Takata airbag recall, re-notifying customers

Autoblog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 17:57

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Toyota is re-notifying owners and expanding its Takata airbag inflator recall for some regions. The renewed campaign covers 247,000 examples of the Toyota Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia, Tundra and Lexus SC430 that are located in southern Florida, along the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa. All of the models come from the 2001-2004 model years and have potentially faulty Takata-made inflators on the front passenger side. According to the company, testing shows the problem warrants "immediate action," and its press release says, "this action intensifies Toyota's efforts to reach customers and remedy previously recalled vehicles, and a small number of newly included vehicles."

According to Toyota, it submitted some recalled inflators to Takata for testing, and it found a high probability of rupturing in high humidity areas. The automaker said it had no reports yet of injuries or fatalities related to the problem.

This is Toyota's third inflator recall this year. In June, it called in for repair the same vehicles from the 2003-2005 model years in high-humidity areas, and it conducted a separate campaign nationwide for the parts in additional models. In April 2013, it also announced a fix campaign for 1.73-million vehicles worldwide for the same issue.

To fix the problem, Toyota will send a letter to owners this week, and dealers will replace the inflator. If the part isn't ready, dealers will deactivate the passenger side airbag and will advise owners that no one should sit there until repaired. Scroll down to read Toyota's full release.

Continue reading Toyota, Lexus expanding Takata airbag recall, re-notifying customers

Toyota, Lexus expanding Takata airbag recall, re-notifying customers originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Porsche almost sold out of 918 Spyder

Leftlane - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 17:37
Buyers quickly reserve production run through April.






Translogic 161: Detroit bike culture explored

Autoblog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 17:31

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Detroit is known as the Motor City due to its rich automotive history and deep affinity for cars. So, what are all these people-powered, two-wheeled wonders doing everywhere?

Bike culture has taken over Detroit, from group rides that attract massive crowds to new manufacturing in old factories. Translogic host Jonathon Buckley heads to the D to investigate the trend, meeting with the head of assembly at Detroit Bikes, chatting up the co-founders of Detroit Slow Roll and taking a cruise with the East Side Riders.

Join us for this new episode of Translogic as we see how Detroit's motorized past may be contributing to its pedal-powered present.

Continue reading Translogic 161: Detroit bike culture explored

Translogic 161: Detroit bike culture explored originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster

Autoblog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 16:57

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Aston Martin previewed its most powerful, quickest-accelerating and fastest production roadster ever at this year's Pebble Beach Concours. The 2015 V12 Vantage S Roadster is essentially a convertible version of the V12 Vantage S Coupe, which we reviewed last year, a model that drops the automaker's most potent powertrain into its smallest chassis.

Unlike the outgoing V12 Vantage Roadster, this new S model boasts a more powerful engine, a new transmission, new adaptive suspension and more luxurious appointments along with freshened styling. While last year's beloved six-speed manual gearbox is gone - a thought that continues to bring tears to our eyes - everything else about the updated roadster piques our interest. We recently spent a full day in the mountains and deserts surrounding Palm Springs with a China Grey (with red carbon fiber accents) version of the British automaker's latest.

Driving Notes
  • Mirroring its coupe sibling, the Vantage S Roadster features an all-aluminum monocoque platform with lightweight aluminum body panels. To replace stiffness lost when the roof was removed, a rigid cross member has been added to the open platform. The Roadster's power-operated soft top is fully automatic in operation, opening and closing in about 20 seconds at speeds upwards of 30 miles per hour with the touch of a switch. When tucked away, the entire assembly is hidden cleanly beneath an integrated hard tonneau cover.
  • So as not to be mistaken for its predecessor, Aston Martin has upgraded the model's signature grille from aluminum to carbon fiber with black or titanium silver mesh, with or without body-color accents. The lightweight, forged aluminum, 10-spoke alloys are also new, as is the obvious scripted red "S" on the trunklid. Inside, occupants will find additional grippy Alcantara on the seats and new patterns in the stitching. There are also a slew of upscale options and access to Aston Martin's bespoke Q treatment available.
  • Aston's famed, naturally aspirated, 6.0-liter V12 has been upgraded with a larger throttle body, dual variable valve timing, a revised intake manifold, an improved fuel pump and fully machined combustion chambers. Combined, the improvements are enough to warrant a new AM28 engine designation. On a dyno, the engine cranks out 565 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. The previous version of the 6.0-liter, with 510 horsepower, was spectacular, but this year's enhanced powerplant has been elevated to the level of being jaw-droppingly magical. The engine is silky smooth, and in practice it feels every bit as strong as it looks on paper, but the Roadster's 3,847-pound curb weight means it has to be in its higher powerband (above 4,000 rpm) to feel especially quick. The free-flowing exhaust note is phenomenal, especially in Sport mode.
  • The new standard gearbox, mid-mounted in the chassis and connected to the engine via a rigid torque tube, is Aston Martin's Sportshift III AMT (Automated Manual Transmission) - marketing-speak for a seven-speed single-clutch automatic gearbox. While it sounds inspiring by name, in practice it is clumsy and slow. To avoid jerky shifts, the driver must lift off the accelerator slightly as each gear is engaged. Only during heavy flogging, which the race-bred gearbox seems to enjoy, does it earn an average passing grade.
  • Fixed dampers were standard fitment on the outgoing model, but the Vantage S arrives with a three-stage Adaptive Damping System (ADS) that is driver-selectable (Normal, Sport and Track) via console switch. While many automakers offer adaptive damping, the range of adjustment is often hard to notice. Not so with Aston Martin. The Normal setting is sporty, the Sport setting is very firm and the Track setting is so stiff that it should be reserved for only when driving across plates of smooth glass. Gumball Pirelli PZero Corsa tires (255/35-19 and 295/30-19) stick tenaciously, but do make a bit of racket on rough surfaces. Enormous carbon-ceramic brakes make effortless work of stopping.
The 2015 V12 Vantage S Roadster is an old-school European muscle car that reeks of tradition, a reality credited to the company's near-century of history, frustrating age-old English ergonomics and the fact that the Vantage has been in production since 2005. Yet there are very few late-model cars that are as satisfying visually and emotionally to drive. In 30 years, when our grandchildren ask us to reminisce about our favorites from this era, rarities like the V12 Vantage S Roadster will come to mind.

2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Toyota adds 247K vehicles to Takata airbag recall

Leftlane - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 16:41
Campaign expansion lists 2001-2004 models.






Ford Focus Electric gets $6,000 price drop, now starts at $29,995

Autoblog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 16:30

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In early 2013, the Nissan Leaf shed a massive $6,500 from its $35,200 base price to offer a new starting price of $28,800. Since then, we have seen numerous other plug-in vehicles get smaller price tags, from the Honda Fit EV (lower lease price) to the Chevrolet Volt (around $5,000 lower) to the Mitsubishi i (a $6,130 drop). Last year, Ford lowered the $39,200 price of the Focus Electric by around $4,000, but that hasn't been enough to get the Ford EV to really compete, saleswise, with other plug-in vehicles on the market.

But wait, as they say, there's more. This past weekend, Ford lopped another $6,000 from the price of both the 2014 model year Focus EVs currently on dealer lots as well as the redesigned 2015 models that are now rolling out (they're basically the same car, minus some appearance changes). Ford spokesman Aaron Miller confirmed to AutoblogGreen that the Focus EV will now start at $29,995 and said that reducing the price should make the Blue Oval's only pure EV competitive. "We hope by reducing the price we're giving consumers another reason to consider it," he said.

Through the end of September 2014, Ford has sold just 1,534 Focus EVs in the US (the model sold 1,335 in the first nine months of 2013). For comparison's sake, the Nissan Leaf starts at $29,010 and sells around 3,000 units a month in the US. Miller notes that the Focus EV has been selling the best on the West Coast, and is also doing well on the East Coast. After that, he said Atlanta and the Great Lakes area also see decent sales of model's admittedly small pie. We can only assume that offering the EV for under $30,000 will make that pie somewhat bigger.

Ford Focus Electric gets $6,000 price drop, now starts at $29,995 originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Refreshed Chrysler 300 SRT won't be sold in NA [UPDATE]

Autoblog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 16:01

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UPDATE: Autoblog received the following statement via email from a Chrysler spokesperson confirming the model's future in the US. "The Chrysler 300 SRT will not be sold in the US in 2015."

It looks like it might be time to bid farewell to the V8 rumble from the Chrysler 300 SRT - at least if you live in North America. The reported change comes as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reshuffles its ranks with the Dodge brand, re-absorbing SRT and building its muscular reputation with the Challenger and Charger Hellcat models. Meanwhile, Chrysler is taking a more mainstream approach, and that likely means the end of overt high-performance models from the division for now.

According to Automotive News, the 300 SRT will be discontinued in the US for 2015, but it won't be totally dead. Some right-hand drive markets will still get the brawny V8 sedan next year, a distinction that goes a long way toward explaining some spy shots we've seen recently.

The 300 SRT's North American demise probably shouldn't come as a total shock. In FCA's five-year plan, it says that the 300 is destined for a refresh to be unveiled later this year, presumably at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show. There's no mention of the SRT model in the document, though, which seems to signal its end.

In regards to the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the other non-Dodge from the former SRT brand, it's likely sticking around in spirit, if not in name. According to Automotive News, insiders say that the recent trademark filing for the Trackhawk could be meant for a sporty Grand Cherokee for 2016, but there's no official decision yet. The high-performance SUV still wears the SRT badge for 2015, though. Still, Trackhawk sounds like a nice fit with the off-road Trailhawk models on the Cherokee and upcoming Renegade, and it's possible that the Trackhawk designation will supplant that of SRT on this model.

Refreshed Chrysler 300 SRT won't be sold in NA [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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First drive: 2015 Toyota Sienna [Review]

Leftlane - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 15:45
Toyota's mid-cycle refresh has made the 2015 Sienna an even more compelling family hauler.






Jaguar Land Rover eyeing US factory?

Leftlane - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 15:37
British company in talks with southern states, sources claim.






Father does donuts with son in '68 Camaro, ends up in handcuffs

Autoblog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 15:30

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Think pulling a couple of donuts in an empty lot is harmless? That's what one Joe Graham of Ontario, New York, thought... right up until he was arrested.

Graham was driving by a parking lot in the Wayne County town with his son in his red 1968 Chevy Camaro SS on Columbus Day when he entered the empty lot and did a couple of donuts. The whole episode was said to have lasted only about 15 seconds, but Graham seemed to have chosen the wrong location: that lot was next to the town hall and a local sheriff's office. And when the commotion started, a deputy came out and proceeded to place Graham in handcuffs - right in front of his teenage son - and impound his muscle car.

"We were just pulling out of the lot and the cops rushed over to the car and proceeded to arrest me," Graham said to the local ABC affiliate, 13 WHAM. The culprit said he offered to pay to have the freshly painted yellow lines on the lot redone, but officials reportedly claim that he put his son's safety in jeopardy.

What do you think, should the cops have gone this far with Graham given that he had a youngster in his car? Have your say in Comments.

Continue reading Father does donuts with son in '68 Camaro, ends up in handcuffs

Father does donuts with son in '68 Camaro, ends up in handcuffs originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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