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.
Steven Tyler’s $1.1-million Speedster
Margo Hagar spotted this
The Long Arm of Miley Cyrus
Southern car culture runs toward the pickup truck and NASCAR end of the scale, but I spotted this lowered Lexus in Kentucky last week. The oversized wheels, low-profile tires and deeply cambered suspension mark the driver as a member of the “stance” crowd, an enthusiast subset that focuses on shortened springs and speed-bump avoidance. I could see that this driver also spends plenty of time at the graphics shop.
King Kong Comes to Subway
I noticed this Ford F-250 in Kentucky. They love big trucks down there, but as you can see, this creates some problems. What do you do when your ride is bigger than most parking spots? Creativity is essential.
I’ve noticed these flip-out tail panels on a few trucks lately. It looks like they’re designed to reduce drag by extending the trailer and tapering the airflow at the tail end. Without a fairing like this, the tail end of a truck is a giant, squared-off
Why You Should Carry a Fire Extinguisher
We saw this as we headed south on I-75. Not sure how long this fire had been going, but the truck was a
A Tiny Mystery Mobile
This was sitting in the corner of the New Life body shop here in Toronto a few weeks ago. The owner wasn’t there, but it looks like one of those scooter-based European delivery trucks. If any of you know the manufacturer and model, send me a message or post a comment.
The Screaming Chicken Rides Again
Smokey and the Bandit came out in 1977, and for some, the dream lives on. I spotted this Pontiac
Definitely a One-Off
Hang glider pilots tend to be a pretty inventive bunch. This custom
Aeronautical Roof Rack Engineering
As I said, hang glider pilots are an inventive bunch. (We have to be, since no one makes a commercial rack designed to carry a flying machine on your roof.) Here’s one pilot’s solution – a cut-down sewer pipe with lightening holes and a custom-built aluminum strut to support the tail end. (The extra-wide crossbar on top of the vertical tail strut makes room for extra gliders.) I spotted this in the landing area at Lookout Mountain Flight Park.
What We Carry on Those Weird Roof Racks
Here’s what a modern hang glider looks like when it’s assembled. (My wife shot this while I was launching from the ramp at Lookout Mountain a while back.) Folded for transport, the glider becomes a four-meter-long tube that you can carry on top of a car. It needs to be supported along its length (hence all those crazy roof racks.)
A Jeep Where It's Meant to Be
When I’m down in Georgia, I always go
Scoping the Trail
I shot this while scoping out a trail on top of Lookout Mountain.
Further Metalworking Ingenuity
Matt made this nice front bumper for his Jeep by combining aftermarket parts with custom-made pieces from his own shop. The silver slot is for a winch line that you can use to haul yourself out if you get stuck, and the vertical tube is for a hang glider support strut that plugs in when you need it. Look closely and you’ll notice that the tube has an inner sleeve made from aircraft aluminum. Nice work.
The Aztek Lives (Unfortunately)
Related: The 12 worst cars ever built
I’ve always been fascinated with
No Reasonable Offer Refused
More worst cars of all time list.)
I drive Interstate 75 a lot, and am always amazed at the way the mix of cars changes as you travel between Michigan and Tennessee. I spotted this bashed-up Nissan as we passed through southern Ohio, a state that’s in the heart of the American
Rolling Wrecks Redux
Here’s another rolling wreck from the
The Carnivorous Truck Stop
They take their beef jerky seriously down south. This is one of the racks at a truck stop near London, Kentucky. (There was more than one beef-jerky rack, plus a chewing-tobacco display.)
The Return of I-75 Jesus
If you drive I-75 much, you probably saw the famous “Touchdown Jesus” statue outside the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio. As you may know, Touchdown Jesus burnt to the ground when He was struck by lightning in 2010 (that’s what you get when you have a steel frame inside a
If You’re Going to Be a Parking Pig, Why Not Go Whole Hog?
Reader David Wilson spotted this in front of his