Exterior Color: Black
Interior Color: Black
Number of Cylinders: 8
Drive Type: 2WD
Saint Petersburg, Florida, United States
It's not really a secret that the city of Detroit is in lots and lots of trouble. Even with an emergency manager working to guide it through bankruptcy, a number of the city's institutions remain in very serious danger. One of the most notable is the Detroit Institute of Arts, a 658,000-square-foot behemoth of art that counts works from Van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin and Rembrandt (not to mention a version of Rodin's iconic "The Thinker," shown above) as part of its permanent collection.
Throughout the bankruptcy, the DIA has been under threat, with art enthusiasts, historians and fans of the museum concerned that its expansive collection - valued between $454 and $867 million by Christie's - could be sold by the city to help square its $18.5-billion debt.
Now, though, Detroit's hometown automakers could be set to step up and help save the renowned museum. According to a report from The Detroit News, the charitable arms of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler could be set to donate $25 million as part of a DIA-initiated campaign, called the "grand bargain." As part of the deal, the DIA would seek $100 million in corporate donations as part of a larger attempt at putting together an $816-million package that would be paid to city pension funds over 20 years. Such a move would protect the city's art collection from being sold off.
Proving that there is still something to be learned on television these days, National Geographic Channel recently introduced a new series called Duck Quacks Don't Echo. On the first episode of this science/comedy show, host Michael Ian Black proposes the idea that a truck can be supported with a ceramic coffee mug under each wheel - yes, he says that the entire weight of a truck can be balanced on just four coffee mugs.
Looking to find out whether this is fact or myth, the show uses a regular cab Ford F-150, weighing in at 4,800 pounds, and four average coffee mugs. Lowered onto the mugs, the idea is quickly put to the test. Can the cups hold up under 4,800 pounds? If so, what, exactly, would it take to break them? Scroll down below to find out.
Highly intrigued, we recently visited a Southern California Gas Company office to check out several hybrid vehicles promising something new. Unlike more commonplace gasoline-electric hybrids, we were there to evaluate innovative gasoline-compressed natural gas (CNG) hybrids - yes, they run on unleaded gasoline and compressed natural gas. According to the experts on hand, this arrangement delivers extended range and reduced emissions while chipping in with lower operating costs than pure-gasoline vehicles. There are advantages over its gasoline-electric counterparts, as well.
The program is part of a three-way collaboration between The Carlab, a Southern California-based automotive consulting firm, Landi Renzo USA, a company specializing in alternative fuel solutions, and America's Natural Gas Alliance, a group that promotes CNG. Long story short, the team has engineered a way to allow a modified internal combustion vehicle to seamlessly switch between two fuels (gasoline and CNG) with no driver intervention. In theory, and if it works as well as promised, it's a win-win for the vehicle owner and the environment.
Parked at the Gas Company office were six different gasoline-CNG hybrid vehicles. To demonstrate the technology's versatility (just about any gasoline vehicle may be modified) Carlab brought a varied assortment of bodystyles, each from a different automaker. After taking a quick glance at the half-dozen in the parking lot, we made a beeline for the performance-oriented Ford Mustang GT - a 2012 model - with the six-speed manual gearbox.