Patrolling in style
If you're driving the freeway near Salerno, Italy, and are just itchin' to put your leaden foot to the metal, don't even think about outrunning the cops.
For the 152nd anniversary celebration of the Italian State Police or Polizia di Stato, execs from exotic car maker Lamborghini gave the boys in blue a Gallardo supercar. It's fully equipped with police siren and lights...and a 500-hp 5.0-liter V-10 powerplant to quickly get to the scene of a crime. That's quickly as in from 0-60 mph in 4.68 seconds.
The car also has, according to the Web site www.italiaspeed.com, all kinds of snazzy electronics that can send images of an emergency scene and retrieve information from police databases. The Gallardo also will be used in first-aid activities thanks to its special defibrillator equipment and will transport plasma and human organs for transplants.
Use of the car also will be possible in bad weather and hazardous road conditions, the Web site said, ``due to its high performance with permanent four-wheel drive and special `Sottozero' snow tires developed by Pirelli for Lamborghini vehicles.''
Manufacturers suggested retail price for a Gallardo we priced on the Internet is about $165,900. Not that it matters much, but this rocket gets 9 mpg in the city and 15 mpg on the highway. If you can afford this two-seater, who cares about gas mileage, right?
By the way, the Gallardo isn't the first fast-pursuit vehicle to be used by Italian polizia. In 1962, cops in Rome received a brand new Ferrari 350 GTE, which was driven by legendary Italian crime fighter Marshal Armando Spatafora. He was said to heroically chase criminals around the streets of Italy's capital, ``always careful, though, to put the safety of the city's inhabitants first.''
Its name says it all
Where do you turn when you're in need of a really big fan to cool off your factory or service bay?
Check out the Big Ass Fan Co. The firm-which has as its logo a big donkey-boasts its fans offer a ``rare combination of size and economy.'' Its Web site, www.bigassfans.com, claims its 8-foot to 24-foot fans, for industrial and commercial buildings, ``move up to 246,000 cfm of air over an area as large as 20,000 square feet for about a nickel an hour.''
According to company lore, the firm chose its name because people would look at their 24-foot wide fans and say, yep, ``That's a big-ass fan.''
And in case you've ever wondered whatever happened to beloved former Chicago Bear Pro Bowl defensive lineman William ``The Fridge'' Perry who, according to his Web site, www.thefridge.net, wears the largest Super Bowl ring ever made...he is now the Big Ass Fan spokesperson. (Don't even go there.)
This 'n that
Dr. Freud, your slip is showing-The Pawtucket Times, out of Pawtucket, R.I., ran a story about Bridgestone/Firestone spearheading a drive to remove and recycle thousands of scrap tires, some which were more than 50 years old. However, the paper's headline said: ``Forestone funds removal of 2,100 tires.''
Perhaps it's a new branch of BFS's ag/forestry division.
* * *
Honorable-``It is better to deserve honors and not have them,'' Mark Twain said, ``than to have them and not deserve them.''
* * *
Who you calling an `oxymoron'?-How's this for a late-20th century oxymoron: ``Microsoft Help.'' And of course, there's the ever-popular ``military intelligence.''
* * *
Quote du jour-``Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work,'' observed Aristotle. Apparently he'd never busted truck tires or had to deal with surly customers demanding ``your lowest price.''
* * *
Poli-Sci 101-``It is dangerous for a national candidate to say things that people might remember,'' advised former presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy.
* * *
Off to da big house-Germans likely were relieved to learn that a German man dubbed the ``serial tire-stabber'' pulled a three-and-a-half-year prison term after being convicted of puncturing about 2,000 car tires in a 16-month criminal damage spree.
The 32-year-old unemployed carpenter, who cut the tires of 669 cars in the eastern city of Chemnitz, Germany, got caught only after police formed a special team (the ``rubberbusters''?). Up until then, they'd been warning drivers parking around the city to check their tires before motoring off. A Reuters report said an expert witness at the trial testified the guy wanted to gain attention through his attacks.
Ya think? We thought maybe he just had a tire fetish.
As tire makers and dealers struggle to stand out among a herd of competitors, they could learn a thing or two from a group of Florida friends who have been making spectacles of themselves since 1993.
The guys don their heavy (sweaty) cow suits-complete with rubber udders-every year for the races leading up to the 12 Hours at Sebring, which was held a few months back in Sebring, Fla. Other ingredients mixed in for good measure: healthy doses of beer, of course, and decorative beads to complete the outfit of any fashionable heifer.
Their goal is simple: ``A bunch of old guys having a little fun, getting some notoriety,'' explained Joe Sowinski, 55, of Tallahassee, Fla., who, to mix metaphors, crowed about being the ``original cow.''
Mr. Sowinski began the ritual after deciding it would be fun to recycle an old Halloween costume by wearing it at the annual race, which observers say includes as much partying in the campgrounds as racing on the track. Other friends joined him through the years to form ``Club Bovine.''
As other, uh, ``cows'' mentioned to Tire Business, race enthusiasts can't help but notice their group and often ask to have photos taken with them. TB caught up with the mad cows after they posed for photos by some high-end Cadillacs in the auto maker's display at the races. However, unwilling to cow-tow to the group, Caddy reps stressed General Motors Corp. is not considering a new bovine-based advertising strategy.
The cows then sauntered toward the Johnsonville Brat tractor-trailer, which was selling ``Atkins diet'' brats-on-a-stick for $5 (minus the carb-filled bun). Not content to just chew their cud, the cows chanted ``Pork! Pork!'' as they passed the ``diet'' bratwurst grilling station.
Later Tire Business learned some tire dealers were more unnerved not at brats offered as diet fare but that the ``other white meat'' on a stick cost $1 more than the same on a bun.
Guess you could call it porkflation. (OK, we've about milked this item enough already.)
Edited by Sigmund J. Mikolajczyk
E-mail to: [email protected]