Monday, August 31, 2009

No, the lens didn't strech it...

The top really is chopped and it really is a 4x4. Not only that, it's got four wheel steering. Come on, you know you've always wanted something like this!

Here's the much maligned sign!

From our previous post and comments about funny signs, here's the one Ashley and her sisters used to giggle about as kids (yes, it's been there 30+ years now!):

The "funny" here is that a "chapel" already is a "church" in this sense. So the girls would apparently spend the next little while saying things like "look, there goes an automobile car" and "cool, check out that gravel rock" and such redundant nonsense. I'm sure there was much giggling involved, too.


Submitted by my friend John, we have this little gem:

I'm pretty sure this little maneuver is not OSHA approved.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Goodbye, Don't Bring a Trailer

You might notice some new posts intermingled with original ones on my blog today. Those are the content from my now-defunct "Don't Bring a Trailer" blog. That site was a bit of a parody on the very popular Bring a Trailer website, but those guys felt there were some trademark issues there, so they are buying us out. I can't disclose the financial terms of the deal, but let's just say they are substantial. They have to be, since I can't disclose them. And the coolest thing is I can still keep blogging with those interesting vehicle finds, I just can't associate them with that name any more, so I probably will and just post them here. You'll find all the past content under the "dbat" label. Enjoy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lego Tedium!

Thanks to my friend Mr. Blizzard who posted this on Facebook. If you've got kids, fire this video up in full screen mode and let them check it out. Adults who ever cared about any classic video games and/or Legos will enjoy it, too. It's done with stop animation, which is also called "claymation" when the animation is done with clay (so maybe we should call this legomation!). It's basically the process of moving things tiny amounts and taking a new picture each time and stringing the pictures together to produce animation. They claim 1500 hours of moving lego pieces and taking pictures to make this, and frankly, that number seems low to me! Kudos to the author of this one, especially since it's nice to find kid-safe videos on Youtube!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

She's a beauty!

We might be going out on a limb by putting this absolute beauty into our collection, but what the heck:

It's got an opening price of $499. We've seen some working examples of this early 1980's electric car on eBay in the past and we're not sure there's any parts on this thing that are worth $499. It's mostly toast from the sound of things, and these weren't worth much when they were new, let alone now. You can find a lot more scary pictures here. And in case you were wondering, the Electric Boogie by Marcia Griffiths actually came nearly ten years AFTER this lovely beauty above. That makes this thing nearly THIRTY years old. We're not sure which is more annoying, looking at the above car, or playing this video:

But, much like coming to this site day after day, you'll watch the video. We know you will. And somewhere deep down inside, you'll be dancing to it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

We like dune buggies, but...

...this one just doesn't cut it:

Let's see. Last ran when parked seven years ago, most lights missing, interior is sparse at best, tires look scary, and, well, it's just ugly. We wouldn't have spent eBay listing fees on it, we would have had a scrap yard pick it up and thanked them for doing it (assuming they didn't CHARGE us for the privilege!). But maybe we can help this poor seller out by finding him the perfect buyer. If that's you, by all means, go get yourself a deal. On the plus side, you still Don't [need to] Bring a Trailer because it does have that handy tow-bar built in!

Hiking near Blowing Rock with the Conservation Trust for NC

Through a strange twist of fate Ashley and I found ourselves doing a hike today with Ashley's sister, Hilary, and some folks from the Conservation Trust for NC. The hike was around five and a half miles and almost all downhill (they left shuttle vans at the downhill end of the trail which was quite awesome). I'll post my GPS track from it soon, but can't tonight. The above was one of many beautiful waterfalls along the hike.

Anyway, the highlight of the trip was Thunder Hole waterfall (which is not the one pictured above). A very pretty little waterfall and swimming hole that I and a few of the others on the hike decided to take advantage of. Here's a short video of me going behind the waterfall and then through it back out:

And here is another video of me sliding off the top of the waterfall and into the water:

A huge thanks to John Bell and Johnny Wilson for working so hard to put on this event, and it was great meeting a lot of awesome new folks today. We look forward to seeing you all at future events. And for those of you reading my blog who weren't there, please consider donating to CTNC! They are doing some great work to help conserve NC's beauty. They not only buy land to conserve it, but they fight to stop the forest service from logging land already owned by the government. Thunder Hole won't be the same if they lose their current battle to stop the Globe logging project, for example. Visit their site and help if you can!

More on the Whole Foods/John Mackey Story

My friend Dave sent me a link to this article by a friend of John Mackey's. Folks might recall that John Mackey is the CEO of Whole Foods and recent wrote an article that was published in the Wall Street Journal speaking out against ObamaCare. That resulted in a fairly large backlash of folks starting all sorts of different movements to boycott shopping at Whole Foods.

The whole thing is quite funny, but if you're at all interested in the issue of ObamaCare, this article is a good read. My personal opinion is that this author (Michael Strong) and John Mackey are both a little too far down the Libertarian path for my tastes, but they are a lot closer to good ideas than the Democrats currently, too. What do I want? Reasonable regulation that protects consumers and preserves fair markets. You know, the kind of thing Elizabeth Warren is harping on.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rocket Dragster

Okay, we admit that we want it. And we want it bad:

So why does it make our list here at DBaT? Simple. It's a rocket and it's sold as-is and looks like that. Seriously. Who in their right mind would jump into a rocket that someone else built that they bought off of eBay and think "oh, I can't wait to fire this puppy up!" It's called a death wish, and we don't have one. But if you do, hey, knock yourself out. Literally. Or just use it to do your own tribute to the great Hal Needham and one of his classic movies, like this scene from Hooper (yeah, we're showing our age here):

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reverse Trike

This just wasn't well executed at all:

Reminds us of a Pontiac Fiero in the front, and we're not really sure in the back. We started to post a picture of a Pontiac Fiero for comparison, but then we realized we just don't want to do that to our blog. Anyway, the concept of the reverse trike with side-by-side seating isn't new, and can be done fairly well as evidenced by the Campagna T-Rex:

Now, we admit that even the T-Rex isn't great looking, but it's a lot better (especially without the saddle bags pictured above, which are removable) than the "Trigger Y150" (where did they come up with that jewel of a name?) above. Outperforms it, too, and they're available already in the US for about the same money if you look around. But if you just have to get the Fiero-wannabe, find it here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our first submission! Or SCOOBYDOOBYDOOOOOO!!!

Okay, so we're a bit excited about our first reader submission. Here we bring you the Mystery Machine:

We've got a pretty serious soft spot for golf carts, but a Mystery Machine themed one? Someone had way too much time on their hands. They also seem to think their time is worth quite a pretty penny at the $2500 asking price, too! No, they didn't post a great picture, but searching Google Images for Mystery Machine will find you plenty of other not-so-awesome clones. We prefer the original:

But if you just have to have a golf cart that vaguely resembles the van that Thelma and Shaggy and Scooby and the gang all rode around in, find it here on Craigslist. Thanks to John for the submission, and John, if this is your golf cart for sale, well, you've got a LOT of explaining to do.

Doubledecker Limo?

We're not entirely sure what to make of this one:

What we do know is that the exterior is way better than the interior. We don't exactly understand why it has a huge stuffed animal inside, nor why there are pictures of a random box of jumper cables. If you scroll through the photobucket pictures you'll find a video of the engine running and the bus driving around. What you won't find is any mention of how difficult it can be to drive something that's 14'4" tall, and you can certainly leave your trailer at home since the last thing you want is to have something even taller to drag home. But hey, we love any vehicle with a true hot tub in it, and you gotta admit the Vegas wrap is pretty cool. What it is doing in Miami we have to wonder, but hey, it's Miami. Anything goes in Miami. We think you have to be the most interesting man on earth to rock this bus, though:

But if you're that guy, well, you aren't surfing eBay and you certainly aren't reading this blog. But if you want to try to be that guy, well, get a plane ticket to Miami and get to bidding.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A V8 RWD Geo Storm? Well, almost.

Just needs a few small details ironed out to get her running:

Now, we like "sleepers" just as much as the next guy, and if this was a finished and running car it might not grace our precious web space. But you can't just get part of the way done on a project like this (a "mock up" motor?) and then expect to get any kind of money out of it. Yes, the wheels appear to be worth more than the current bid of $152, but it's not at reserve and we're quite confident it won't make it there, and that's without any idea what the reserve really is. If you are hurting for more projects of your own that you'll never finish (like this guy), find it here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pet Resale?

These two signs appeared to me to be the same actual business. Sadly, it was closed so I couldn't verify that for myself, especially since I love me some "Clothin." Combine that with "Pet Resale" and you have a clear winner. More from Blytheville, AR.

Mobile "Dance" Club

No, seriously:

We at the DBaT offices are unsurprised that such a creation exists, but we have never spent one single minute inside a moving "dance" club. Not one. *cough* This seller claims some lofty prices for what they have invested in this little beast, but we're unimpressed with the painted windows and the general appearance. And I suppose the idea is to be too distracted by "the show" to care that those seats look pretty darned uncomfortable. And there can't be many states where it's legal to be selling alcohol for consumption inside something like this, can there? And where does the "dancer" go when the show is over? And where do the patrons go to relieve themselves? Do you just have the driver make regular stops at McDonalds? We want more details on how this business venture can work! Or, uh, no we don't. But we do want to make sure you get to see the video of the cool light show inside this thing:

And if you're so inclined to get more info, you can just head on over here and place your bid now!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

PeopleMoving is Big Business

Well, it might be big business, but even this isn't likely to meet reserve:

This auction made us ask a lot of questions. First, who would spend $80k on something that looked like this originally? Second, why does a church own it (look at the listing ID) if it's not even street legal? Third, why wouldn't it be street legal? Looks to have lights and wipers and all that jazz and it's powered by a drivetrain that appears to have been out of something street legal (and fairly efficient, no less). Anyway, if you have to have an unattractive peoplemover that isn't street legal, this just might be for you.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

We're full of hot air.

And so is this thing:

So what we have here is a hot air balloon that seems to be a rainbow tribute to a mace:

I mean, here at the DBaT offices we can appreciate a big bag of hot air as much as anyone, but this thing is one of the least attractive hot air balloons that we've seen. But if you've got a hankering for a big medieval weapon themed balloon, find it here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

H3 hits the links

The good news here is that this is probably just as off-road capable as a real H3, if not more:

So if Hummer owners are "compensating for something", what are owners of Hummer-clone golfkarts "compensating" for? A poor golf score? Or something, err, worse. We're actually very impressed at the level of detail this builder puts into these, but at the same time we just can't help but ask "why?" It's like a Power Wheels for adults:

Look, even the Power Wheels version is more off-road capable than the real thing! But if you already own a real H3, a Power Wheels H3, a 1/10 die-cast H3, and just have to add the golfkart version to your stable, you can find it here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thank You, Les Paul

Les Paul passed away today. If you've ever listened to Rock and Roll or any of its many derivatives, you owe Les Paul a big thanks. His innovations in music since the 1950s are probably unmatched. By all accounts he was a truly amazing individual and musician, and a friend to many of the folks revered as the greatest of all time. You will be missed, Les Paul, but your legacy will live forever.

The color is good.

Past that, well, not so much.

But you'll have to change the color and a decent amount more to turn this into what it should have been, and that's a replica of the car from the old TV show, The Munsters:

Outside of a Munsters tribute, we're really not sure what else you might do with this thing. But if you have a compelling desire to try, you can find it here on eBay. It isn't at reserve, but if it isn't too high perhaps the 283, TH400, and 9" Ford posi will end up worth the hammer price by themselves. It's a shame because it looks like some quality work is hidden by poor aesthetic design with no clear way likely to fix it. But it does have a lot of side area for advertising!


If you care at all about the healthcare debate, this article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday is an awesome read (thanks for pointing it out, Trudy!). It's by the CEO of Whole Foods, one of the better run companies as well as a pretty awesome grocery store.

In a nutshell, there are good alternatives to a government run healthcare plan, and people need to voice their support for what they really want in healthcare. Personally, I think tort reform to cut down on all these crazy lawsuits would put a HUGE dent in healthcare costs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Blog Announcement

I've decided to start a new blog for car enthusiasts called Don't Bring a Trailer. It follows on the Bring a Trailer website, which is a very popular site that brings attention to cars for sale that might be desirable to true auto enthusiasts.

My site, on the other hand, points out vehicles for sale that you should not buy and in fact probably shouldn't have been built. Turns out there is a lot more of that kind of thing out there than you might think! Check it out...

A "buffer" still can't make this look like a 917!

We've seen these around before, but never quite so compared to a Porsche 917. You'll note in the ad for the car that a rear picture does have a 917 logo on the rear, which made me throw up a little bit in my mouth. For reference, here is a real Porsche 917:

We do admit there are similarities, but none significant enough to try to pass the first one off as a clone or anything with the numbers "917" in the name. Anyway, find the real ad here, but please, only for a chuckle. As always, Don't Bring a Trailer.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gem Car gets a lift?

Okay, the golf cart lifting craze we sort of get, but a Gem Car?

For those unaware, the Gem Car is an electric car that's sort of golf cart sized but actually comes with a title and can be legally registered for road use in many states, but only on roads with a speed limit of 35MPH or less. The creator of this little beast replaced the electric drivetrain with his own custom gas powered unit. We're not really sure why, especially since his asking price isn't that much more than what a used Gem Car in running condition goes for now. Another eBay "gem" found here.

The Whip

Oh, it's definitely "The Whip."

This is not only a vehicle, but in the back you'll find a complete amusement park ride. It appears to just ride you around in circles, and maybe the little cars spin, we can't tell. What we can tell you is that we've been to a lot of carnivals and we never wished we would have seen something like this. And we doubt Disney is beating this guy's door down to build them some of these. Find it on eBay here.

Nomad? NoJeep?

We don't know what to call it, but here at the DBaT offices we like it.

Sure, you can make a case that someone wasted a perfectly good Nomad, but we're sure that wasn't the case. Certainly the donor body was missing the center section already in some hideous accident where it was hit by an errant projectile from a failed ballistic missile test or something. Find it here on eBay.

If a Saturn rear-ended a motorcycle...

...this might be what pops out.

Find it here on eBay. This one has the dubious distinction of being the first item posted to DBAT (that's Don't Bring a Trailer for those of you who may have never heard of Bring a Trailer). We give it props for apparently being quite a nice piece of engineering in some ways. But this definitely falls into the "should have never been done" category. We only bring up the Saturn part because it is powered by a Saturn drivetrain. You'll note the excellent use of racing stripes on both the upholstery and the, err, decklid.

Have I turned a corner?

Okay, I've been mountain biking fairly regularly for the past two and a half years or so. In that time I've done two big trips to Pisgah with my friends (uno and dos) and a good bit of riding with a bunch of different people in Chapel Hill and lately at my place. That said, I've honestly never felt like I was in good shape. Maybe I've been better than the national average (okay, I surely have), but the guys I usually ride with kick my butt. All of them. One of them was recently recovering from a broken collar bone that had kept him off the bike and away from running for weeks and yet even he was roasting me on the trail.

What do I mean by roasting? Well, technically, I feel like I'm very close to all those guys. Often on longer rides I've been gassed early enough that they ride obstacles I don't, but I can honestly say it's not because I can't do it, it's because I'm already too winded to do it. I've proven that on most every obstacle at SOME point, it's just that often I lag behind because I get winded and then can't do them without stopping (or I try and crash...heh). Then you lose touch with the pack and it becomes harder to catch up because I don't know the trails in Chapel Hill very well and have to slow down to find my way (you really can go faster on a trail you don't know if you're following someone that does know the trail).

I have always tried to keep data, though, and the moving average on those Chapel Hill rides has usually been around 6.5MPH. I say "moving average" on purpose because those rides typically have some rest breaks (and those guys get longer rest breaks than me because, well, they're waiting on me). So over the past few weeks I've been riding more. When I can't ride outside I've been spinning inside on a stationary bike and/or running. Last week in particular I rode four out of five business days. I took Saturday off and then rode a short ride and did some trail work on Sunday. Then yesterday I just did an upper body workout. Today I decided to get up early, have a great breakfast, and hit the trail here at the house. I rode nine miles with an average speed of just over 7MPH. Notice I didn't say "moving average" because I didn't have to. I took no breaks. So the real and the moving averages are the same.

Now, how does that compare with a Chapel Hill ride? Well, I'd say the pedaling is a little easier. It's at least as hilly here and I have SOME good trail, but the reality is that in nine miles of pedaling I was probably on some pretty easy "trail" (or gravel road) for a third or so of it. You don't have to do that in Chapel Hill, and that's definitely easier. But I kept the pace up very well and took no breaks, even though I do have some significant climbs. This would probably be an average Chapel Hill distance day, though we've done more "epic" twelve and fourteen mile days in the past.

The point here is doing all this with no breaks. The bigger point was when I finished I wasn't dead. I feel pretty good, in fact. I could have done more and probably should have. The reality is I got a little bored with my trails today. And I have a small foot problem and my podiatrist says don't run for a little while, so I'm going to listen to that for at least ONE day (I mean I just had x-rays yesterday, after all). But for now I'm pretty happy that I feel like I've turned a fairly significant corner in my training. And it's only going to get better from here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Discussing Politics

No, this isn't about politics itself, but about discussing politics. While some folks have always considered public discussions of politics to be somewhat taboo and others think it's ALL you should talk about, I've notice a trend. It seems like recent events have served to cause a lot more discussion of politics among those who "never" do that.

It might be easy to say "well, that's to be expected when you elect the first black president." Sure, I'd agree. But I think it goes beyond that. Sure, the economy is largely to blame for it, too. But I also think recent events have caused the government to get involved in so many facets of this country that they are now heavily and regularly involved in some item that almost every American cares about. We've got huge issues right now with insurance, banking, automobile manufacturing...the list goes on. And we're all touched by it not just in small ways, but in many cases large ways.

What I've found refreshing is that so much of the discourse really is positive. Sure, recent news stories have focused some attention on the outbursts of protesters at town hall meetings, but in even some of those cases we've really had nothing more than passionate speeches delivered by individuals who care perhaps a little too much. Sure, some people will always be around to go over the top, and those folks can be dealt with accordingly. But what I find refreshing is the volume of people getting involved.

At times I get upset at the two party system because all too often it's seemed like at least one of the candidates offered up was just so bad that you had little choice but to vote for the other one even though you really didn't like that one, either. Or you felt like abstaining because both were terrible. But those situations are usually a result of other elections and those people were voted to that position. Now I honestly think we'll see a lot more people asking a lot better questions of these candidates and my hope is that a lot more good ones rise to the top rather than what we've seen lately.

I can dream, can't I?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Where is the adventure, exactly?

I'm just not sure these two words belong together. I mean seriously. Pontoon boats are for drinking beer and throwing the kids in the water. And what does the cartoon crab add, exactly? Is looking at crabs from a pontoon boat considered "adventurous"? I really don't think so. At least not at the outer banks, where you can just go walk in the sound and see a bajillion crabs without the need for any kind of boat, much less a pontoon boat.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

iPod Fitness Earphones

So a lot of companies, including Nike, have fitness headphones and earphones for the iPod. So far, however, nobody but Apple has any with the controls built in (please send me links to other products if I'm wrong!). That's only important for users of the newest iPod Shuffle, because it only has a power switch. Everything else is controlled by the little "stick" on the right earphone cable, which basically has three squeeze buttons. That keeps the unit tiny and easy to pack away somewhere, as well as making it really easy to control while running or biking or whatever.

The problem with the Apple ones is that sweat can render the control useless until it dries back out. The other problem is that they don't like to stay in your ears (and Apple only has in-ear earphones, I believe). The ones that come with the iPod go in your ear, but not really into the canal. They won't stay in during exercise, in my experience. The higher end Apple earphones actually extend into the ear canal and come with three different sized cups. They work fine for a lot of stuff, and might work well for the right sized ears during exercise. For me, however, they wouldn't stay in while running or biking.

I decided to take matters into my own hands and customize mine. I took a set of real earplugs (the kind that you squeeze with your fingers and stick in your ears where they expand to fit) and cut them to about the same length as the cups that came with the earphones. Then I used a soldering iron with a fine tip and melted a hole through the center. Careful here as supposedly the fumes from this kind of foam can be very toxic! Some trial and error and one wasted set of earphones (they're cheap in bulk!) got me a set that would stay on the earphones very well and also stay inside my ears just about no matter what I do. They also cancel ambient noise VERY well. That's great for airplanes and such, but BE VERY CAREFUL using something like this for exercise. I wouldn't use these if you run or bike on a road. I only use mine on trail and on a very tiny private road, and even then I'm VERY careful. You really can't hear anything else.

The problem with sweat was significant, too. There are probably a lot of different ways to solve this one, but the one I chose was to cut some clear plastic from a ziploc baggy and wrap around the button "stick." I made the plastic about an inch longer than the stick so it went a half inch on each end. Then I used some 3/8" dental rubber bands to go around each end to seal it up (thanks for the rubber bands, Shelley!). Seemed to solve the problem fine, and I can still use the buttons while running and biking. You can see everything below.