Ignore those highway panhandlers at your peril.
In what turned out to be not only a clever sting operation, but also a very telling piece of social commentary, police in San Bernadino, California, recently went barely undercover to bust a whole bunch of drivers for distracted driving or seatbelt violations.
It seems that the clever coppers simply stood by the side of an off-ramp in casual clothes holding a cardboard sign. That’s it.
Passing motorists simply took them for homeless panhandlers and utterly ignored them, allowing officers to wander right up to the cars.
In a press release, Chief Jarrod Burguan says that 50 vehicles were stopped and 33 citations were issued for drivers using phones, 15 citations issued for drivers not using seatbelts and five cars impounded because the driver was found to be either unlicensed or suspended from driving.
There are two things that particularly amuse The Good Oil about this story — the first is that the press contact at the San Bernardino police is the awesomely named Lieutenant R. Lawhead (and we desperately hope the “R” stands for “Rock” ...), which is just about the best name for a police officer ever.
The second amusing thing is what the cops had written on their signs — rather than pleas for money/jobs/food, these officers had written: “I am not homeless. SB Police looking for seatbelt/cellphone violations.”
We are the world
■Some people will complain about anything. One of those people is Deonna Ryder from Long Island in the United States. It seems Ryder was offended by what a neighbour parked in their driveway, so complained to, well, probably everybody about it, but also to the local police. What was “it”? Rather awesomely, “it” was the Cessna light plane that 69-year old Harold Guretzky had parked there to avoid paying the US$150 ($229) a month it would cost him to store it after he had to give up his pilot’s licence. Dunno about you, but if a plane appeared in The Good Oil’s neighbour’s driveway, we would be over there having a beer with the most awesome guy in the street.
■Despite the fact it will sell you some of the tackiest merchandise ever, Ferrari is very sensitive over what people do with its cars. Remember when Canadian DJ and Ferrari fan Deadmau5 had his 458 decked out in a very un-subtle Nyan-cat internet meme livery? Ferrari sent him a cease and desist because he had custom badges made for it. Really. So what did he do? Sold the Ferrari and bought a Lamborghini that now proudly wears the happy cat livery and “PURRICAN” numberplate.
Mustang puts pedal down to help aviators
The 2013 US Air Force Thunderbirds car pulled in more than US$400,000 and the F-55 themed Mustang, below.
The particularly awesome Ford Mustang Apollo Edition we told you about a few weeks back has sold at auction for an impressive US$230,000 ($349,000).
But that is actually not that impressive.
You see, for the past eight years Ford has prepared a special one-off Mustang to be auctioned off at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture Oshkosh event with proceeds going to the EAA’s youth aviation programmes.
Over that eight years the Mustangs have raised around US$3 million for the charity, with last year’s F-35 Lightning-inspired car going for US$200,000.
But it seems the new Mustang isn’t as popular with plane fans, because the 2010 SR-71 version went for US$375,000, while the 2011 Navy Blue Angels version and the 2013 US Air Force Thunderbirds car both pulled in more than US$400,000.
Bitten by the Viper bug
Wayne Rauh and his personalised brown/black Dodge Viper, and D’Ann Rauh and her purple/white Viper; their other 77 Vipers are not shown.
Some people take their obsession with a particular car a wee bit too far.
Texas couple Wayne and D’Ann Rauh like Dodge Vipers. In fact, they like them so much that they recently took delivery of not one, but two customised examples of the mighty Viper, courtesy of Dodge’s “1 of 1” customisation scheme that allows customers to personalise the car just the way they want it, with 50 million combinations said to be available.
As you would imagine, 50 million combinations would allow for some fairly creative colour schemes, and Wayne and D’Ann have proven just that with their selections of a brown car with black stripes for Wayne and a purple one with white stripes for D’Ann.
While you might be tempted to suggest that simply having brown and purple his-and-hers Vipers isn’t that obsessive and slightly crazy, we should probably point out that these two cars take the Rauh’s Viper collection up to a staggering 79.
That’s right, they have another 77 examples of the V10 muscle car tucked away at home, including the last of the previous generation Vipers decked out in a tasteful “two-tone gold” colour scheme.
The price in US dollars of the first of the original generation Ford Mustangs in 1964
More than 8 million Mustangs have been sold since 1964
The period the third generation Mustang was produced (1979 to 1993)
The power output of the first turbo Mustang in 1979 (98.4kW)