Alternative uses for a car


car table automotive

Obviously the automobile has been designed with one intent in mind - to transport people or cargo from one point to another, however, as a tool, the humble car has been used in many ways since it's invention other than this. Here are just a few examples of how vehicles have been used in more ways than just moving people.

Camper vans - Not only will it move you from one point to another, but a camper van is effectively a mobile home. These come with incredibly versatile features to ensure you are getting the most efficiency out of the diminished living space in the back, including folding beds and chairs, stowaway tables, intelligent space design and rearrangeable furniture. Some of these are so advanced they even have flushing toilets and shower systems. There is a trend to convert old people carriers and estate vehicles into temporary camper vans amongst backpackers and travellers which involves turning the back seats into a comfortable bed, under which clever storage systems can be placed to keep everything you need, from camping stoves to cutlery and so on. While somewhat less advanced, this is usually considerably cheaper and an excellent way to travel if you don't mind getting in touch with the fine outdoors.
Filming - While modern technology is beginning to replace cars used for filming by using drones and systems based on rails, cars have been used extensively for filming and will probably be used for many years to come. You can acquire some really unique shots by filming from a moving platform, and when filming car chase scenes or any scenes involving transportation, it allows for a greater diversity of shots. Cameras can be attached to different parts of the car for different effects, or can be held and operated by people sitting inside the car. Sometimes, cars have even been modified to become remote controlled while holding filming equipment for shooting scenes.
Furniture - People have been using spare car parts for years to create furniture for their home. BBC's Top Gear famously turned an engine into a coffee table, and have also created living room seats from car seats, but other examples found online have been sofas made from car bodies, beds made from pickup trucks, BBQ's made from car grills, lamps made from suspension springs, coasters made from gears and other car parts, gear stick top wine stoppers and of course, the old tire swing. Vintage cars seem to be most commonly used for their aesthetic effect, but using cars and car parts to decorate your home creates a very unique, retro and quirky style.
Music - in 2009, Julian Smith composed a piece of music designed to be played on a Jeep. He placed microphones in and around the vehicle and connected them to a sound desk before several people created sounds using the car doors, the horn, the engine, the ignition, jump cables, and even the seat adjustment buttons and arranged them to create a techno style piece of music all filmed in one take. This goes to show that with a little imagination, incredibly unique and creative ideas can come from every day objects.


Alternatives to Gasoline


Electric cars 2019 motor world

The world's oils supplies are quickly diminishing, and with so many households owning more cars that the number of people they contain, the demand for alternative methods of fuelling transport is ever increasing. Here is a brief insight into some alternatives that are currently on the market and the benefits of using them.

Alcohol or Ethanol
This is made using distilled crops such as corn, barley or wheat. These are renewable sources, although are sometimes blended with petroleum to improve emissions and increase octane levels. Where food sources are used to create this fuel, food prices can potentially increase and availability of them could potentially decrease, so it doesn't come without a price.
Electric cars are effectively refuelled by charging a battery, and there is already an extensive electric network installed in many countries. Electric cars are by far the greenest mode of private transportation, despite the fact that a lot of the electricity is produced using natural gas, coal or oil. If electric cars run on fuel cells, they do not rely on combustion and therefore do not create emissions that harm the environment.
These are the new electric vehicles coming later this 2019: Audi e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQC, Mini Electric, BMW i3, Nissan Leaf e+, Porsche Taycan, Kia Niro EV, Volvo all-electric XC40, Hyundai Kona Electric, The $35,000 Tesla.
This alternative fuel is made using vegetable oils or animal fats, occasionally recycled from restaurants after they have finished cooking with them. It can come in either it's pure form or be combined with petroleum, the product of which can even be used in unmodified engines.
Certain internal combustion engines can use a mixture of hydrogen and natural gas as an alternative fuel. The positive of this method is that there are no harmful emissions, however it is a very expensive method to use and there is no real infrastructure in most places to support this system. The power is created using a reaction between the hydrogen and the oxygen.
Sometimes referred to as liquified petroleum gas or LPG, this byproduct of natural gas processing and crude oil refining is also used for cooking and heating. It does produce harmful emissions, although less than gasoline, although one of the major disadvantages is the excess of methane which is very harmful to our atmosphere and the rise in global warming issues.
Natural Gas
Like propane, natural gas produces high levels of methane, although overall it produces less harmful emissions than petroleum or diesel. It is quite easily accessible in countries that use it frequently in households for cooking and heating.
The most popular alternative to petroleum is diesel. Diesel engines are considered more efficient and require less maintenance than gas engines. Over time, the development of diesel engines has reduced excess noise that was initially quite a large problem. Diesel engines tend to deliver 25 - 30% better fuel economy. Diesel used to be cheaper than petroleum, however now the prices have risen and they are often much the same per a litre, and as the demand for diesel increases due to more consumers using it for heating and transportation, the price will only rise. Diesel still omits harmful emissions to the atmosphere and is not a long term solution for the shortage on petrol.


Volkswagen Camper Bus


Volkswagen Camper Bus

Officially labelled the Volkswagen Type 2, the VW Camper has become renowned all over the world as an iconic image of both the worlds of travelling and automobiles. Following the Type 1, more commonly known as the Volkswagen Beetle, this was the second car model to be produced by Volkswagen and was introduced in 1950. Production of the Type 2 ceased in December 2013 in Brazil which contained the last factory to produce the vehicle. The end of it's production marks the last production of rear-engined Volkswagens.

The idea to create a van came about when a dutch man named Ben Pon visited Wolfsburg in 1946 with the intention of importing Volkswagen Type 1s to the Netherlands, but decided something better could be designed using some of the parts he saw in the factory. He sketched a design in 1947, and when the factory had the capacity to create more automobiles, the Type 2 started it's journey to becoming the camper van we know and love today.
The original prototypes had bad aerodynamics, and so after some tests the windshield and roofline were split into the iconic V shape to reduce wind resistance, but otherwise the design stuck fairly closely to the original sketch. in 1951 Volkswagen produced an ambulance using the Type 2, repositioning the fuel tank and adding a spare tire and tailgate rear door, which became standard features in the 1955 to 1967 revisions. The Type 2 was one of the first commercial vehicles to place the driver in front off the front axis, which is a configuration referred to as “forward control” and was adapted by several other companies such as Ford, Dodge and Citroën. There have been many different designs since it's initiation into the market, and the Type 5 Volkswagen Van was even based on many of the same features.
It became extremely popular in the 1960s amongst the hippie counter culture and is still seen as a hippie icon today. It is frequently used in brochures to promote travel and road trips as well as music and festivals, and has immersed itself amongst many different cultures throughout modern history. There are even tents available that mimic the design of the camper bus for those who are unable to afford the car itself but still want the camping experience of sleeping inside one.
In January 2017, Volkswagen revealed intentions to reintroduce the Volkswagen bus to the market, featuring the distinctive two tone design and diverting away from the traditional gas engine to be powered instead by two electric motors. Other concepts included the ability to drive fully autonomously after the driver pushed a button that would retract the steering wheel into the cockpit allowing the car to take over using a combination of laser scanners, radar sensors and cameras to monitor activity on the road, an augmented reality dashboard that can hook up to the drivers smartphone, and a range of 373 miles. The Grand California (in the photo) is expected to become available around 2020, but it has not been confirmed whether or not the car will actually go into production. Currently in 2019 the most similar options from VW are Caravelle and California, two awesome rides.


Benefits of using Diesel


Benefits of using Diesel

in Europe, diesel cars make up about 50% of the total cars on the road, however only about 3% in the US. While petrol engines rely on ignition and a spark to create velocity, diesel engines use compression. Air is drawn into the motor and subjected to high compression as it heats up.

The fuel emits less carbon dioxide gas, which is the main contributor to greenhouse gasses creating a global warming problem. The engines do, however, produce higher amounts of nitrogen oxide which can be linked to serious health hazards and also produces more smog.
The fuel also contains more energy than petrol which means that users tend to acquire 20 - 40% better fuel economy, allowing some diesel cars to travel as far as 700 miles on a single tank of gas, due to being one of the most dense and energy efficient fuels on the market. They even deliver better fuel economy than gasoline-electric hybrid motors. Initially, diesel fuel was a lot cheaper than petrol by the gallon, however prices tend to be roughly the same on today's markets, but providing these higher prices don't succeed the 20-40% margin set by the stronger fuel economy, diesel will remain cheaper overall than traditional gasoline.
The engines are designed to withstand more compression, and therefore, tend to last a lot longer before they require major reparation work than standard petrol engines. Mercedes Benz holds a record for clocking over 900,000 miles on a car's original diesel engine. Engine reliability and lifetime longevity can have serious benefits to trade-in and resale values. When you do have to pay for maintenance, it can be a little more costly as diesel engines tend to include more technology than petrol engines.
Modern diesel engines tend to be faster from a standing start. Because of how the diesel fuel is burned, more torque is provided to the driveshaft. For the same reasons, diesel engines tend to have an increased haulage capacity, making it a popular choice for larger vehicles and for commercial trucking companies. They may be faster off the starting line, but petroleum engines tend to be faster overall, however diesel engines tend to be stronger and more enduring, despite being a little slower.
Technology is constantly improving for diesel engines and they are forever becoming cleaner and emitting lower emissions due to specialised catalytic converters, advanced sisters and other devices cutting down and destroying toxic emissions. These advancements have also eliminated some of the earlier problems with diesel linked to excessive noise problems and have also reduced maintenance costs. They are also less likely to spew black smoke out of the exhaust, which made early users believe the fuel was dirty and worse for the environment than petrol.
Diesel cars retain their value a lot longer than their petroleum counterparts. According to ALG, compact diesel cars held 63% of their value after 36 months, whereas gasoline cars only retained 53%.
Since 2006, every car to win the 24 hour race Le Mans burned diesel instead of petrol, proving it's ability for endurance and longer journeys over petrol cars.


Benefits of driving a Manual


manual gear

With the rise in popularity of automatic cars, the demand for manual transmission vehicles is slowly on the decline. Only 6.5% of cars sold in America use manual transmission, and although this figure is much higher in other countries, automatic cars are steadily increasing in number. While there are a number of legitimate reasons to drive an automatic, there are a few good reasons why a manual transmission might just be better for you.

The biggest argument for owning a manual transmission is the fuel economy. While automatic engines are quickly developing and catching up with their manual counterparts, fuel economy can increase as much as 15% when driving manual. This is due to the additional fuel requirements of the torque converter and hydraulic pump as well as the car not always automatically choosing the most economic gear to drive in. Not only does driving an automatic save you on fuel, the initial price of a car with a manual engine tends to be cheaper than an automatic, especially when looking at the bottom end of the market.
Money aside, a lot of drivers choose to drive a manual for the feel. A lot of people argue they are more fun to drive as the driver is much more involved with how the vehicle operates, but also driving a manual means you have a lot more control over the performance of the car. The driver has the ability to choose the exact gear that is required for the situation, and in some driving conditions it pays to have a higher or lower gear than what an automatic torque converter pushing you forwards chooses for you. It is also much easier to perform an engine brake or to use the momentum of the engine to slow yourself down. The cars tend to be lighter, have less power loss and quicker acceleration and so the performance, when driven properly, is somewhat increased.
Manual drivers also argue that there are less distractions when driving a manual as you have to concentrate more on the operation of the vehicle and so therefore have less capacity to let your mind wander, although it could be argued that with less to do to operate the vehicle, one could concentrate better on what is happening on the road.
Manual cars tend to be cheaper to maintain as their engines are less complicated. The most common aspect to repair is the clutch which often doesn't require maintenance for thousands of miles. Manual engines also use engine oil as opposed to automatic transmission fluid which doesn't deteriorate as quickly and therefore doesn't need to be changed as frequently either.
With less people opting for manual engines, it is becoming rare to see somebody using that third pedal and a gear stick, although this could be to your advantage. In terms of security, there are less people who are able to drive your car and so the chances of it being successfully stolen are lower.
Lastly, for those who are able to drive manual cars and possess a license that allows it, you are also able to drive automatic cars, which doesn't work vice versa. By owning a manual license, you keep your options open should you wish to switch to automatic transmission in the future.


Benefits of electric cars


Electric Car Charging

As fuel prices constantly rise and oil reserves are becoming worryingly reduced, electricity is becoming a much more desirable fuel for our transportation and becoming increasingly popular. As well as being by far the greenest way to power your mobility, it comes with a number of other benefits that are worth considering when you are deciding which kind of car to purchase.

The environment - while your car itself does produce zero emissions, it is worth mentioning that unless the means of generating the electricity were environmentally friendly, your car is not completely green. There are solar charging options, and also companies such as GreenPower who produce green electricity you can put into your car to reduce your emissions even further. Electric vehicles tend to be more environmentally conscious right from production, and are often made using eco-friendly materials, reducing your impact further. Some people even have charging stations at their homes, eliminating the need to go to a gas station.
Reducing the harmful emissions from your personal vehicle is also beneficial to your health. By reducing the emissions you are improving the air quality, and owning an electronic vehicle also reduces noise pollution as they tend to be quieter than a petrol or diesel engine.
They're cheaper to run - electricity to power a vehicle can cost as little as a third per a kilometre of the price of a petrol engine. In some places, such as London, there are economic benefits as one doesn't have to pay additional congestion charges when they own certain electric car models that others do. Also in Victoria, Australia, electronic vehicles receive a $100 reduction in registration fees annually. They're also cheaper to maintain as they have a lot less moving parts in the engine than a conventional petrol or diesel engine and no expensive exhaust systems. Electronic vehicle batteries are usually warranted for around 8 years. Some users have reported savings of up to $10,000 a year.
Electronic vehicles are also becoming more popular, which means there is more demand for developments in the market. Over time, the price will continue to reduce and improvements to the vehicles will be made as car companies compete with each other, benefitting the buyers of electronic vehicles.
Electronic vehicles tend to have a lower centre of gravity which basically means they are less likely to roll over. Due to the specifications of their engines they are less likely to catch fire or explode in accidents.
There are a few disadvantages to be aware of when owning an electric vehicle. They do tend to have a limited range as most commercial electric vehicles can't go further than 100 miles on a single recharge. For some people, this is a long way to go and more than sufficient, however for any longer distance travel this is problematic. Refuelling or recharging can take a few hours, and again, for drivers who don't exceed standard milage, providing they remember to charge their car overnight, this isn't a problem, but can be for people who travel further.
Currently there is not too much choice on the market, although this will change quicky over time. The vehicles that are available are initially expensive to buy, however this doesn't represent the long term savings which the user benefits from.


British Racing Green

British Racing Green
Since the very early 1900s, many British cars have adapted a dark green shade known as British Racing Green, or BRG for short. It began when it was suggested that each national entrant in the Gordon Bennet Cup was allocated a unique colour to distinguish the teams from one another, and when Britain first entered the race in 1902 the obvious colours of blue, white and red that correspond with the British flag had been respectively taken by other countries (America, Germany and France).
At the time, motor racing was considered more of a competition between countries instead of a competition between different car manufacturers and drivers. The cars used in thew Gordon Bennet Cup races had to be composed of elements manufactured entirely within their home countries and each car (limited to three entries per a country) had to carry both a driver and mechanic at all times. The cup began in the year 1900, with France winning the initial race. The winning team of the previous year would host the next race, however although the British team won in 1902, local laws meant that motor racing was illegal in Britain at the time and so the race was hosted in Ireland instead.
The first cars to officially feature the green colour were the English Napier cars used in the Gordon Bennett Cup races, manufactured by D. Napier & Son Limited. The driver of the winning Napier car in the 1902 race was Selwyn Edge.
In 1903 the race was to be held in Ireland, and out of respect for the hosts the English cars were painted in a shamrock green. This meant that before British Racing Green as we know it today existed, it was officially a lighter hue more similar to an emerald green, however over time darker shades of green became more and more popular. The exact hue of British Racing Green is still debated over today, however it tends to cover a large spectrum of deeper greens. Colours have ranged from a very light lime green right down to an almost black seen on a Bently, still labelled under the British Racing Green colour.
The colour has been seen on many successful British racing cars from the Sunbeams that won the 1912 Coupe de l'Auto as well as on the cars in the British team that won the European Grand Epreuves Grand Prix in 1923 and 1924. It was also featured frequently on Bently cars in the 1920s that had a high success in the 24 hour races at Le Mans.
It's usage began to phase out in the 1960s were rules regarding racing colours in the Formula One races were relaxed and sponsorship paint jobs became more popular, although it did briefly make a comeback between 2000 and 2004 when the Jaguar F1 team cordoned the colours for their vehicles. There have also been a number of British car manufacturers that have released models in the traditional racing colours including Lotus, Jaguar, MG, Rolls Royce and even the Mini Cooper.


Benefits of cars over public transport


public transport

With an increasing awareness of global warming issues and pollution levels, more and more people are opting to use public transport in a way to reduce their effect on the environment. There are numerous articles that discuss how public transport it better than private transport, but here are a few reasons it might be worth hanging onto your car.

Timings - if you own a private a vehicle, you are able to leave the house whenever you want, and to arrive at your destination when it is convenient for you. When you use public transport, however, you rely on bus timetables which may not be optimal to your schedule. This can mean waiting around for busses in the cold, arriving considerably earlier than planned, long connections and longer journey times. Also, you are not relying on others for your punctuality, traffic reliant.
Comfort - private transport tends to be a lot more comfortable than public transport, especially considering that when you use public transport, a certain amount of walking is almost always involved, to and from the station from your house and on the other side between the station and your destination, whereas a car will take you all the way from point to another.
Rural communities - while connections to rural communities are always improving, the infrastructure in some smaller towns and villages is not so strong. In most rural establishments, it is almost always better to own your transport.
Cargo - It is much easier to travel with larger amounts of luggage in your own car instead of hauling it around on crowded busses and trains. This can also have long term health benefits for your back as you don't have to physically carry everything with you.
Specific point access - Public transport can only take you so far, and in cities, this is not so much a problem, but when you want to access national parks and walking trails and places further from the beaten path, it is often extremely difficult, if not impossible to access these places using public transport unless you pay for a taxi as well.
Economic - okay, overall public transport can be considered cheaper when you consider the cost of fuel, tax, maintenance, insurance and the initial cost of the car, but there are a number of ways you can win back some of those hard earned dollars with your car. Ride sharing apps not only reduce your carbon footprint, they can also offset the cost of your fuel as riders pay for your empty seats. You can also create a car pool to and from work.
Weather - your car is a nice warm and cosy haven that blocks out the outside world and optimises your immediate atmosphere. Walking to and from points of public transport can expose to rain, snow, wind, hail, colder temperatures and a whole number of unpleasant experiences. Arriving to work in your car ensures you are dry and looking optimal, however a quick walk in the rain could leave you damp and dripping all afternoon behind your desk.
Emotional - who doesn't love a good drive to your favourite playlist? A number of people find driving very cathartic and, traffic and conditions reliant, it can be very stress relieving.


Convertible Cars


Convertible Car

Convertible cars are an evolution from the phaeton cars which were open vehicles without glass side windows, sometimes with removable panels for weather protection. The first retractable hardtop system was invented in 1922, and the first power operated retractable roof was produced by Peugeot in 1934.

The biggest benefit to driving a convertible car is obviously the roof. When the sun peeks out from behind the clouds there is no better way to travel the open road with the wind in your hair and sun on your shoulders. Without any window panels to block your vision you have almost no blind spots, and visibility all around is vastly improved. For taller passengers, there are no headroom limitations, and this also allows you to carry large objects without the interference of a roof, much larger than you could in a standard hard top car.
Other benefits include multiple entry options and, if parked with the roof down, the ability to eliminate the risk of locking your keys inside the car (with reduced security). With the option of also having the roof up, you can protect yourself against the elements and can adapt your vehicle to almost all weather conditions.
There are several disadvantages to owning a convertible. Firstly, the prices tend to be between $5000 USD and $30000 USD higher on average than comparable sedans and coupes. Soft top convertibles are often very noisy from the inside, even with the roof up, and produce more wind resistance which results in higher fuel consumption and slower speeds. It is also very difficult to talk to fellow passengers above the noise of the wind when travelling at substantial speeds.
While improvements are always being made, a watertight convertible is harder to find than a watertight hardtop, and snow and rain can create very expensive leaks in your automobile. Also, if you happen to be out enjoying the road with the roof down and you get caught unsuspected by some flash weather, between the time it takes to pull over to the side of the road to stop and to put up the roof, you can easily have damaged electrical and personal items inside the car, as well damaging your mood as you spend the rest of your journey drying off. Exposing the interior to the elements also means that it ages quicker, although careful maintenance can minimise this effect.
Convertibles also have compromised security as it is much easier to break through a soft fabric than a hard metal, and have become easy targets for thieves.
Although they come with a number of disadvantages, it is hard not to have a huge smile on your face when driving on convertible with the roof down, which arguably compensates for the lack of security, the risk of leaks and the higher prices associated with the cars. Most convertible owners are enthusiastic about the classic retro style of their cars and the sporty feel. It is hard to think of a greater place to be than behind the wheel of a classic convertible car on a warm summer afternoon.


Damon Hill


Damon Hill

Damon Hill is a former Formula One Grand Prix racing driver from Great Britain. He started his racing career on motorbikes in 1981 before moving onto single seater racing cars in 1985 at the age of 25, after some small successes. By 1989 he was racing in the International Formula 3000 championship, although he never won a race at that level.

At the start of his career, he would prepare his racing bikes himself before personally towing them to and from the races that he competed in, sleeping in a tent in between events. He joined Formula Ford racing in 1985 but didn't have too much success despite showing a lot of promise. He started racing in Formula Three, and, although he didn't produce many victories, his personality attracted the likes of Sir Francis Owen Garbett “Frank” Williams, the founder and team principal of the Williams Formula One racing team. Williams made Damon a Formula One driver, and has since said that it was because of his fierce determination and because he was a “tough b***ard”. Damon attributes these qualities to his parents, especially his father Graham Hill who was also a racing driver, and feels he needed them to endure and overcome the hardships of his racing career and life.
His first year in Formula One was not too successful. Driving a rather uncompetitive car on an improvised team, Hill only qualified twice in eight races. At the same time he was working a testing role with Williams, and a car that he helped to develop driven by Nigel Mansell won the 1992 driving title. This lead to Hill replacing Mansell in Formula One when Mansell left to race IndyCars in America.
in 1993 Damon's Formula One career really picked up. He won three races and finished third overall to his teammate Alain Prost who then retired. Prost's replacement was Ayrton Senna who was unfortunately killed in his third race with Williams, which then meant that Williams had to step in as the team leader which he did successfully, rebuilding morale and pushing the team forwards in the wake of the tragedy.
Damon's biggest rival was Michael Schumacher, and in the 1994 championship they collided during the final race. This has been a somewhat controversial moment in Formula One history as some people think that Schumacher crashed on purpose to eliminate the competition, allowing him to take the championship by a single point.
In 1996 he won the driving title after winning eight out of sixteen of the races. In 1998 he moved to the Jordan Racing team and won their first title. He finished his racing career in 1999 with Jordan. He currently works for the Sky Sports Formula One broadcasting team.
During his rollercoaster career for Formula One, Damon Hill has undeniably left a huge impact in the racing community and has been a role model for many drivers in the competition since. The Williams' name is well regarded thanks to his humble attitude and unrivalled contribution to the sport.


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