Spotted is Globe Drive writer Peter Cheney’s weekly feature that takes you behind the scenes of his life as a vehicle and engineering journalist. In coming weeks, we’ll also highlight the best of your original photos and short video clips (10 seconds or less), which you should send with a short explanation. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on Twitter @cheneydrive (#spotted), or join him on Facebook (no login required). All photos by Peter Cheney unless otherwise noted.
Necessity, The Mother of Invention
Reader Ben Holt spotted this Lamborghini with a roof rack in Vancouver. The support system for that rooftop box looks pretty
interesting. Thanks to Ben for sending this.
The World’s Most Disgusting Slurpee
Until I spotted these at a Quebec truck
stop, I had no idea that pizza and spaghetti-flavoured Slurpees had been
invented. We thought about buying one of each to see what they tasted like, but
chickened out (that may be a flavour too.)
History, Written in Fibreglass
friend Ian Greig spotted this Bricklin outside a car detailing shop in
Fredericton a while ago. If you don’t remember the Bricklin, it was a
short-lived venture aimed at producing a Canadian supercar (and creating jobs
in New Brunswick.) I had a bit of a connection to the Bricklin – New Brunswick premier
Richard Hatfield was my mom’s cousin, and we spent quite a bit of time with
him. I thought it was cool that Richard was trying to make cars, but I saw some
problems with the Bricklin, which would compete against the likes of the
Is this the ugliest bumper ever made?
The Bricklin’s body was made from chopper-gun fibreglass at a factory in Minto,
N.B., and it had to conform to 1970s regulations that stipulated
impact-absorbing bumpers. The result was this kluged-on battering ram front
The Devil Is In The Details
This is the switch that operated the Bricklin’s
gullwing doors. The doors looked cool, but they didn’t seal very well, and
water ran into the car when you opened them. As you can see from this
tacky-looking switch, the Bricklin’s execution left a lot to be desired.
The Premier and the Project
My mom shot this picture of her cousin
Richard Hatfield with the Bricklin in New Brunswick back in the 1970s. Although
the car generated a lot of buzz, manufacturing problems and mismanagement by
founder Malcolm Bricklin doomed the project. By the time the Bricklin operation
was shut down in 1976, Bricklin owed the New Brunswick government $4.5-million.
A New Gearhead Generation
My friend Ian Greig shot this picture of
his sons Colin and William at their house in Halifax. It’s great to see some
young guys making real things, not just digital renderings. This picture brought
back a lot of memories of when I was a kid – I spent my formative years building
models and taking machinery apart to see how it worked.
I spotted this flip-down bumper apron on
my last trip to New York City. Not a bad idea. Even better would be an iron
dome that you can drop down over the whole car (although portability would be a
The Rolling Cartoon
This prettified Toyota Venza rolled up
next to us in Toronto. Wonder if those lips and eyelashes are homemade?
The General Lee Settles Down
As you may recall, the General Lee (the
car driven by Bo and Luke on The Dukes of Hazzard TV show) was a 1969 Dodge Charger.
My wife and I spotted this Hazzard-ified Honda minivan on the Gardiner
If you follow my Spotted blog regularly,
you may have noticed the recent pictures of teardrop-style mini trailers.
They’re interesting creations that avoid the massive weight and aerodynamic
drag of a traditional house trailer. This lets you haul a teardrop with a small
car. I spotted this one along I-75.
Race Ready, Except For the Track
If you spend much time at the racetrack,
you’ve probably seen these removable towing attachments. If you crash, track
workers use these to pull you out of the weeds. Now drivers are using them on
the street as fashion accessories. I spotted this one near my wife’s school in
If you haven’t seen one of these before,
it’s a tire pyrometer. The steel pin at the end of the cable measures the
temperature of the rubber on your tires, which lets you fine tune the pressure.
I’ve been using this for a while, and it’s great.
The Pyrometer in Action
My wife shot this last summer at the racetrack.
I’m using the pyrometer to measure the temperature across the width of my car’s
tires after running some high-speed laps. The temperature spread shows whether
the tires are under or over-inflated. I’m going to do a video on this soon.
It’s pretty interesting.