California Air National Guard Drone Helps in Disastrous Carr Fire

The California Air National Guard’s 195th Wing, stationed at Beale Air Force Base, has been assisting the state’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection agency (CAL FIRE) with aerial reconnaissance and surveillance to help combat the Carr fire in Redding, California, according to a Department of Defense press release.

Unfortunately, rampant wildfires have filled the airwaves too often in recent years, frequently destroying homes, properties, and lives in the drier climates of this country. On the bright side, efforts by the likes of Northrop Grumman, Colorado lawmakers, and fire departments across the U.S. are increasingly arguing for efficient unmanned aerial systems to help combat these disastrous emergencies. With a simple surveillance drone serving as the proverbial eye in the sky, the men and women working tirelessly on the ground can use this unmanned bird’s-eye view to their firefighting advantage.

“We’re able to provide real-time eyes in any area where the fire’s at,” explained Air Force Maj. and intelligence analyst manager Nicholas Edwards. “We can provide information to where CAL FIRE can direct resources. We give information to the decision makers in a timely manner.”

Within a week, wildfires have damages around 90,000 acres of land, destroyed over 500 homes and buildings, and killed a minimum of six people. For thousands of Redding residents, evacuation was imperative. CAL FIRE intelligence officer Capt. Robert DeCamp sees the California Guard’s contributions as a major relief, stating they’re “seriously helping us.”

“The knowledge they have and the information they provide are critical for us to fight the fire,” said DeCamp. “They have equipment we don’t have, and that helps us tremendously.” We’ve covered similar sentiments before, and have seen firefighters use invaluable drone assistance to contain rapidly spreading fires. In California, however, things have gotten so bad that recreational drones don’t quite cut it, and the Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper drone has been put into play.

Practically, the Reaper uses its wide-range sensors to collect and relay precise data regarding heat temperatures, location and movement, alongside high-resolution imagery of the fire, to help CAL FIRE more strategically and efficiently manage its resources. Twice daily, Air Force Sgt. and imagery expert Matthew LeMaire and Air Force Staff Sgt. and analyst Marlon Ramos use the Reaper to monitor the fire and provide informative printouts to CAL FIRE.

The collected data is then overlaid and compared to maps of the region, giving first responders and firefighters on the ground a more informed view. They can then prioritize their resources by essentially tracking the fire’s movements, and then methodically counter the situation more efficiently. “This is one fire that’s very unpredictable, but we can track it with the capabilities the Guard provides us,” said DeCamp.

At the time of writing, the Carr fire is the seventh most destructive wildfire in California history. While it’s deeply unsettling to see nature’s indifferent response to the lives of local residents and their loved ones, it’s heartening to see CAL FIRE and California’s Air National Guard work so closely together in tempering the situation. Hopefully, we can take advantage of our modern unmanned aerial systems even more, as time goes on, in order to prevent fires like these from unnecessarily spreading before they wreak such unfortunate havoc.

BMW Announces Construction of $1.17 Billion Factory in Hungary

BMW announced Tuesday that it intends to build a manufacturing plant in Hungary, near the town of Debrecen, in which it will invest around €1 billion ($1.17 billion).

The facility is expected to have a production capacity of 150,000 vehicles per annum and will employ upwards of 1,000 locals. BMW cited the region's favorable infrastructure, qualified local labor force, and proximity to longstanding Hungarian suppliers (whose services were worth €1.4 billion to BMW in 2017) as reasons for the location's selection. Its increased demands from its local suppliers will add jobs to its suppliers as well.

"The BMW Group's decision to build this new plant reaffirms our perspective for global growth," stated Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management, in the automaker's press release.

"After significant investments in China, Mexico, and the USA, we are now strengthening our activities in Europe to maintain a worldwide balance of production between Asia, America and our home continent. Europe is the BMW Group's largest production location. In 2018 alone we are investing more than €1 billion in our German sites to upgrade and prepare them for electric mobility."

"In the future, every BMW Group plant in Europe will be equipped to produce electrified as well as conventional vehicles," added Oliver Zipse, board member for production.

The new plant will be equipped to handle the manufacture of both internal combustion and electric vehicles but will bake flexibility into its design and manufacture both on a single production line, Zipse explained.

"It will bring greater capacity to our worldwide production network. When production commences, the plant will set new standards in flexibility, digitalisation, and productivity," he said.

The automaker has already declined to comment on Reuters's inquiry as to whether the United States' metal tariffs influenced its decision to build the Debrecen plant. These and similar tariffs have already encouraged BMW to move production of the X3 crossover from its Spartanburg, South Carolina plant to China, where it used to export American-built X3s, a practice now ended by the tariffs.

A BMW spokesperson confirmed to The Drive in an email that the Debrecen plant will not leach any of the Spartanburg plant's production, and that the plans to build its Hungary facility began long before the United States' trade policies became less favorable. The company declined to comment on which vehicles could be made in Hungary but confirmed that the new Z4—planned for production by Magna-Steyr in Austria—will not see its manufacture transferred to Debrecen.

"We will now finalize all contracts, then purchase the ground and prepare it," stated the automaker's spokesperson to The Drive. "The construction will start the second half of 2019 and will last some years. We don't mention a specific date."

Here’s How The Pentagon Plans To Create A New U.S. Space Command Within Months

The Pentagon is reportedly working to create a new U.S. Space Command to oversee the nation’s space-focused military forces and a new entity to handle buying military satellites and space launch services within months. This could serve as a stepping stone to a fully independent Space Force service branch, but the plan already highlights many of the potential pitfalls of pursuing that course of action, including who will pay for it and how it will fit in with other, existing military organizations.

Defense One’s Marcus Weisgerber got the scoop that the U.S. military is planning to implement the sweeping organization changes by the end of 2018, according to a draft of a report. Following a failed push by some members of Congress to pass legislation to create the wholly separate Space Force in 2017, the Pentagon agreed to study the issue and give its recommendations to lawmakers on how American forces should handle operational and other activities related to space in the future.

“The Department of Defense is establishing a Space Force to protect our economy through deterrence of malicious activities, ensure our space systems meet national security requirements and provide vital capabilities to joint and coalition forces across the spectrum of conflict,” the draft report, dated July 30, 2018, says, according to Defense One. “DoD will usher in a new age of space technology and field new systems in order to deter, and if necessary degrade, deny, disrupt, destroy and manipulate adversary capabilities to protect U.S. interests, assets and way of life … This new age will unlock growth in the U.S. industrial base, expand the commercial space economy and strengthen partnerships with our allies.”

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is reportedly the principal architect of the report. He is no stranger to controversial decisions, having also been the primary author of the Pentagon’s latest policy regarding cluster munitions.

The US Air Force's secretive X-37B space plane, one of the projects that could end up under the control of a new US Space Command or Space Development Agency.

Three new space-focused organizations

His plan for space will create three distinct entities, U.S. Space Command, a Space Operations Force, and a Space Development Agency. This goes beyond the provisions in the proposed defense spending bill for the 2019 fiscal year, which called for the creation of the first organization, but within U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM). The Senate is expected to vote on that legislation in August 2018, after which President Donald Trump could quickly sign it into law.

Though the changes the Pentagon review recommends will be significant, creating a functional U.S. Space Command, or SPACECOM, will be among the easiest things for the Pentagon to do. Between 1985 and 2002, this entity actually existed before then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered it merged with STRATCOM. This subsequently evolved into the Joint Functional Component Command for Space, or JFCC-Space, which stood down in December 2017. The head of the Air Force’s own Space Command, or AFSPC, was also in charge of JFCC-Space and now has the additional title of Joint Force Space Component Commander.

Shanahan’s report describes creating a new, fully separate SPACECOM that will be on equal footing with the U.S. military’s other three functional commands – STRATCOM, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), and U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) – but that still shares a commander with AFSPC. In effect, substantial parts of the existing U.S. military space bureaucracy will gain new titles and certain additional authorities, but will remain otherwise unchanged.

The insignia of US Space Command, which existed from 1985 to 2002.

The same goes for the Space Operations Force, which will have to be abbreviated SpOF to prevent confusion with Special Operations Forces, or SOF. “Similar to Special [Operations] Forces personnel provided by all military services, the Space Operations Force will be composed of the space personnel from all Military Services, but developed and managed as one community,” the draft report says.

It’s not clear if this is truly an accurate representation of the plan, though. When it comes to the SOF community, individual services continue to have some administrative responsibilities for these specialized units, but cede all operational control of them to SOCOM.

The SpOF could similarly end up referring to a collection of existing space-focused units, such as those under AFSPC, with a similar command relationship to the future SPACECOM. It might also refer to the services contributing personnel to create new units, similar to how U.S. Cyber Command went about establishing the National Cyber Mission Force for operations in cyberspace. It may turn out to be a combination of both.

Either way, this will almost certainly involve leveraging most, if not all of the existing U.S. military space units and expanding them, but only as necessary. Again, though this will help improve communication and coordination between existing organizations, it won't necessarily fundamentally change much of their existing command structure, especially at the lower echelons.

Vice President Mike Pence during a visit to the US Air Force's 50th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base. This unit could end up as part of the new Space Operations Force.

A single manager for buying satellites

The biggest change, by far, will be with the creation of the Space Development Agency, or SDA, which will be similar in concept to the Missile Defense Agency, or MDA. It’s not clear if SDA will be a separate entity as is the case with MDA and distinct from SPACECOM or if this organization will be subordinate to the new space-focused headquarters.

Regardless, this new agency will take charge of buying any new military space systems or services, Defense One explains. As existing space-related contracts come up for renewal, responsibility for continuing those deals, or not, will pass to SDA.

At present, the Air Force handles approximately 85 percent of space-related acquisition. With SDA, the service’s direct role in this will effectively cease and could lead to the shuttering of the Space and Missile Systems Center, which oversees most of this work. It is possible that the center could simply morph into the SDA, too, and take on the small amount of space-focused purchasing that exists elsewhere in the U.S. military, primarily within the U.S. Navy.

Even more importantly, the Pentagon report says all of this will serve as a starting place for a fully-fledged separate service branch, as some members of Congress have called for in the past. The plan would be to include a request to create the Space Force in the annual defense budget request for the 2020 fiscal year.

An artist's impression of “Neighborhood Watch” space monitoring satellites of the Air Force Space Command's Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program, or <a href=GSSAP, one of many programs that the Space Development Agency could take responsibility for in the future." />

A change in attitude at the Pentagon

This is a dramatic change in the Pentagon’s opinion on the matter from just a year ago, when Secretary of Defense James Mattis personally intervened to kill the previous proposal to create a Space Corps under the Department of the Air Force. The Air Force itself remains vehemently opposed to the idea and stands to lose the most in terms of personnel and resources to an independent space-centric service.

“I think the most important thing is to stay focused on the warfighter and maintaining the lethality of the service, no matter how the org-chart boxes go,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said during an event The Washington Post hosted on July 25, 2018. “If we keep focused on that and not on which boxes move around which place in the Pentagon, then we’ll do the right thing for the nation.”

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson speaks at an event in January 2018.

The shift at the Pentagon is likely in no small part due to Trump’s own increased support for a Space Force. The president has publicly declared more than once now that the new service is coming, even though it would be up to Congress to create it, and it continues to face opposition from the Air Force. Deputy Defense Secretary Shanahan reportedly cut the service out of the planning process some time ago, even though their participation will be essential to make the process work, according to Defense One.

And there’s no guarantee that even if a provision for a Space Force ends up in drafts of the Fiscal Year 2020 defense spending bill that it will be part of the legislation when it becomes law. When the plan first appeared in 2017, many lawmakers felt the idea had been sprung on them out of nowhere and questioned whether it made any sense. Those same individuals could easily seek to block funding just for the new SPACECOM or the SDA or demand the Pentagon make additional changes to its space-related command structures and budgeting.

There remains a healthy debate around the notion of a Space Force and it’s unclear how much support the initiative has in Congress at present or might have in the near future. The Pentagon’s immediate plans already underscore many of the possible issues with the idea, chiefly where the money will come from and how SPACECOM will work together with other agencies that have interests in space, such as MDA, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

President Donald Trump has become a vocal supporter of an independent Space Force.

Serious questions remain

As I have noted before, supporters of the Space Force concept argue that the Air Force doesn’t have the time or inclination to make space issues a priority and that a single manager is necessary to focus on the issue and streamline the purchases of necessary assets and services. But if the Air Force’s top space officer ends up in charge of SPACECOM, it’s hard to see how that changes. That individual’s attention, especially when it comes to developing budgets, will actually end up split between the service and the military-wide command in this arrangement. Critics have similarly questioned whether it makes sense for the head of U.S. Cyber Command to also be in charge of the NSA and whether that individual can realistically give adequate attention to both entities.

And if SPACECOM ends up having its own budget supplemented with funding through the individual services, as is the case with SOCOM, this might lead to confusion and disputes over who is actually responsible for paying for what programs. There’s also the simple matter of adding another major line into the Pentagon’s overall budget that could lead to infighting for certain resources. This could become more pronounced if SDA ends up separate from SPACECOM and requires its own distinct funding stream.

“Creating a Space Force won’t reduce those tribes,” former Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, who is also opposed to the plan, said during a panel discussion at the Brookings Institution think tank on July 30, 2018. “It’s too small and will be lost in the shuffle.”

The budget issue will be inseparable from a discussion about what roles and missions SPACECOM, or an independent Space Force, will actually have, too. Any difficulty in segregating its functions from other organizations will become readily apparent if the Pentagon follows through with its plan to create the command and SDA by the end of the year.

A view inside the U.S. military's Joint Space Operations Center.

Immediate hurdles

The proposed 2019 defense spending package requires MDA to begin development of new sensor-carrying satellites to spot and track incoming ballistic missiles, as well as weapons to destroy them on those missiles on their launch pads from space. Under the Pentagon’s plans, SDA could end up in charge of procuring the satellites and getting them into space, while MDA would be in charge of the payloads.

This could create additional layers of unnecessary bureaucracy and the potential for costly miscommunication that might lead to delays if there is any confusion about the exact technical requirements. The same questions will arise when it comes to other satellite launches for NRO or other intelligence agencies.

A Cold War-era artist's conception of a notional hybrid ground- and space-based laser weapon to destroy enemy satellites or incoming ballistic missiles.

Of course, none of this is to say that the U.S. military doesn’t need to ensure that it remains serious about how it operates in space and responds to emerging threats in that domain. American forces are increasingly reliant on space assets for communication, navigation, weapon guidance, and more. At the same time, potential high-end opponents, such as Russia and China, have focused their energies on mitigating those advantages in any future conflict through anti-satellite weapons, electronic warfare systems, and other technologies and strategies.

Russia has already criticized the plans for the Space Force, accusing the United States of seeking to militarize space, and these broader issues won't be a purely military problem. At the same panel discussion at Brookings where former Secretary of the Air Force James spoke, Frank Rose, a Brookings senior fellow who previously worked on space security policy for President Barack Obama’s administration, called for a more thought out, whole-of-government approach that combined diplomatic efforts and input from civilian space stakeholders.

Whatever happens, there is a real need for the Pentagon to reassess how it operates in and with regards to space and it appears to be doing just that with the plans for SPACECOM and its associated entities. At the same time, it seems likely that the future military space organization will continue to evolve in the coming months and years and there’s still no guarantee that the end result will actually be a separate, independent Space Force.

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Entire Police Department in Massachusetts Town Resigns

The entire Blandford Police Department resigned Monday after multiple complaints to the town about unsafe working conditions, reports 22 News WWLP. Among the reasons cited by Interim Police Chief Roberta Sarnacki is cruisers that don't work, expired bulletproof vests, poor radio communications, inadequate staffing, and improper wages.

The newest, best cruiser is a 2010 Ford Crown Victoria, purchased from the Otis Police Department on Cape Cod. It overheats at times, has no air conditioning, and the driver's seat is stuck in an excessively reclined position. If this is the best cruiser, one can only imagine how much worse off the other cars are.

As the great Elwood Blues says, "You can't outrun a Motorola," but in Blandford, the police radios are another huge problem. They don't work across most of the town, making it impossible for officers to call for backup if they get in trouble. I know all too well from personal experience just how important adequate radio communications are in an emergency.

Staffing is another major concern. Aside from Chief Sarnacki, there were just three officers for the entire town, with three openings that the town had not filled. A request to the Blandford select board for new hires was turned down because they wanted to work out the details of a pending merger of Blandford's police department with the nearby town of Chester before hiring anyone.

Finally, police officer wages were a laughably low $14 to $15 per hour. That's less than minimum wage in some places, and the dangerous work that police officers do, including putting their lives on the line, is worth significantly more than that. As a result of these conditions, the entire Blandford Police Department resigned Monday.

"For the past two months, Interim Chief Sarnacki has done a fine job with our police officers and our police department," said Blandford Selectboard Chair Cara Letendre in a statement to 22 News. "It is unfortunate that she led this officer walk out as she would have been considered as one of our candidates for Acting Chief position as we pursue the future opportunities with our police force. We have had multiple public meetings with our police force and have offered them the opportunity to engage and provide their opinions for the direction of the force."

But don't go to Blandford thinking you can get away with massive speeding and other lawless abandon. As with other Massachusetts towns lacking their own police forces, the State Police have been assigned to take over patrolling the town of Blandford. Residents have been instructed to call 911 for emergency services and referred to the Russell State Police Barracks for other non-emergency police services.

AeroVironment Working on Mars Helicopter Drone Project for NASA

The last time we covered NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), it concerned Colorado-based Black Swift Technologies garnering a contract to develop unmanned aerial systems that could study Venus’ upper atmosphere. The lab’s most recent news concerns a different company and revolves around another planet entirely: Southern California’s AeroVironment Inc. has been tasked to build the rotors, landing gear, and materials necessary to hold the solar panels for the Mars Helicopter project being assembled at JPL, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Scheduled to deploy from NASA’s Mars rover in 2020, the unmanned helicopter drone will collect high-resolution imagery of the surrounding landscape to ascertain where the ground-based rover should head to next. In an environment with an atmosphere as thin and dense as that of around 100,000 feet above Earth’s sea level, the engineering ingenuity on display here is fairly mind-boggling.

“There’s been a lot of doubts about being able to even fly in the atmosphere of Mars,” said AeroVironment chief executive, Wahid Nawabi, to the LA Times. “It’s been over 100 years since the Kitty Hawk moment. This is the next event.”

Nawabi is referring to the North Carolina town where the Wright brothers achieved what's purportedly first airplane flight in 1903. His point is that, should NASA successfully deploy a UAV on Mars, the entire landscape of aerospace engineering and planetary exploration will change irrevocably.

The four-pound drone’s lithium-ion batteries will be charged with AeroVironment’s solar panels, which will allow the UAV to travel about 328 feet from the rover. AeroVironment’s rotors will spin at around 2,300 to 2,900 per minute, which is a whopping increase by a factor of 10 from helicopter rotors here on Earth. The blades themselves will be made of a foam core, with carbon-fiber composites serving as their exterior, allowing them to be both lightweight and strong at the same time.

NASA and JPL conceived of UAVs on Mars as early as the 1990s, but the technological standards of the time, such as batteries, composite materials, and solar cells, weren’t advanced enough to bring that idea into tangible fruition. These days, Mars Helicopter project manager MiMi Aung says drone surveillance on Mars could feasibly lead a thorough exploration of the red planet. Clearly, we’ve come a long way.

“Having something fly 10 to 40 meters above ground will give you a totally different vantage point,” said Aung to the LA Times. “There are very interesting scientific areas of interest…you can’t get to with astronauts on foot or rovers.”

AeroVironment has been in the high-altitude drone game for quite some time now, having developed the long-endurance, solar-electric-powered Helios which broke a record in 2001 when it reached 96,863 feet.

“There have been a number of breakthroughs in battery technology and solar technology that really appear to enable high-altitude, long solar systems to become a reality,” said Philip Finnegan, director of corporate analysis at market research firm Teal Group.

To his point, we’ve seen a noticeable increase in these kinds of UAVs over the past few years, from Russia developing a multi-day flight drone and Airbus’ solar-powered Zephyr S to Facebook’s prematurely abandoned Aquila project, engineering and aviation experts are realizing the potential of our current solar-power, battery, and composite material standards, and what can feasibly come of them. “If [drones] stay up for months on end, it means a lot of what happens can be done automatically so there’s less manpower needed, fuel costs go down, operating costs go down.”

In terms of unmanned aerial systems, and the technological growth we’ve seen in the industry in a few short years, seeing AeroVironment partner with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to aerially explore the red planet is nothing short of stunning. Perhaps, through the ingenuity of some of our own planet’s most hardworking engineers and physicists, their innovative efforts can reveal some of Mars’ most informative, undiscovered elements to a whole new generation of Earthlings.

Look at These Wonderful Little Lego Engine Models

Working on cars and the assembly of a Lego set both have a similar tactile gratification. Whether it’s driving your fixed-up beater or replicating the Eiffel Tower out of bricks, the project’s completion can be equally satisfying. Odds are pretty good that if you like cars, you also have a soft spot for Lego, and that soft spot is going to be manipulated by a series of scale replicas of engine models built by Instagram user Replica Motorsport.

LS Lego ????????? Who can name that engine in the back? ____ #lsswap #ls1 #lsxnation #zr1 #zo6 #vette #corvette #bigblock #chevypower #racecar #supercharged #corvettelifestyle #corvettefamily #c7corvette #camaro_porn #visciouscamaros #onesickcorvette #stingray #carstagram #carlifestyle #lowsociety #stancenation #stanceworks #drifting #driftlifemagazine #driftcar #driftworks #classiccars #driftkng

A post shared by LEGO® Replica Official Page ???? (@replicamotorsport) on Jul 27, 2018 at 6:18pm PDT

Replica Motorsport recreates some of the automotive world's most beloved engines, such as the Chevrolet LS seen above. Their portfolio also includes models of Porsche's air-cooled flat six engines, the 3.0-liter 2JZ-GTE twin-turbo inline six from the Toyota Supra, and a Honda K-series inline four complete with moving pistons.

Watch what happens when you take off the limiter of your Engine ???? 20k rpm ____ Full video on our YouTube page: Brick Brothers Inc. ???????? ____ #speedhunters #civic #kseries #hellaflush #driftcar #jdm #nsxfanclub #nsxgram #vtec #vtec_society #stance #stanced #slammed #slammedenuff #lowlife #import #honda #lowsociety #stancenation #stanceworks #stancewars #racecar #instagood #instagramers #carsofinstagram #supercarsoflondon #mechanic #diesel #nyc #carstagram

A post shared by LEGO® Replica Official Page ???? (@replicamotorsport) on Jan 19, 2018 at 6:26am PST

The popularity of Replica Motorsport's creations prompted them to order enough spare parts to sell kits, so that others may replicate the engines they’ve designed. They’ve exhausted their supply of moving Honda K-series engines like the one above and their smaller, stationary Honda B-series engine, though they still has two of their Toyota 2JZ models left for sale on their Etsy store. Seeing as they're $35 per piece for a model the length of your thumb, however, it may be for only the most Supra-obsessed of Lego fans.

Those that wish for a more involving build can plop down money for any of Lego's existing lineup of car model sets, or even wait for the Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 coming in August. There are larger desk decorations available as well, such as the 3,599-piece Bugatti Chiron, though at $350, it costs an order of magnitude more than the 2JZ kit.

The truly dedicated can also just build a full-scale replica of a Toyota Camry, which according to napkin math, would cost around $50,000 were it sold as a kit at retail. Given that it took 900 hours (almost 38 days) to construct, we would rather spend that time building a car we can actually drive.

A Rare 1953 Glasspar G2 Is for Sale

A gorgeous piece of mid-20th Century American art is for sale. The restored, and extremely red, 1953 Glasspar G2 is offered at $129,500 by Hyman Limited Classic Cars in St. Louis, Missouri.

Designed by a California boat builder named Bill Tripp, the Glasspar was highly influential in its day.

An early version of the G2, originally called the Brooks Boxer, was running in 1951. It was one of the first fiberglass sports cars on the market, beating competitors like the Chevy Corvette (introduced and released to dealers in 1953) and the Kaiser Darrin (introduced in 1952, but not production-ready until 1954).

Glasspar built cars for other manufacturers, but the G2 was only offered until 1954.

Tripp is considered a pioneer in the kit car industry because he designed his sports car to accept a range of American V-8s, and sold most of his production run without powertrains so customers could add their own. Weighing barely a ton and with the engine set largely behind the front axle for balanced weight distribution, the G2 was one of the best performers of its day.

This formula—putting a big V-8 into a small, lightweight two-seater—would be employed again a decade later in the legendary Shelby Cobra.

The G2 was built to a high standard, with hand-laid fiberglass and top-notch fit and finish. No two of these Glasspars are identical, and only about 10 were sold as complete vehicles, according to a history of the marque at Forgotten Fiberglass. This particular car is one of those 10.

Its stunning white and black interior is set off by an engine-turned aluminum dash. The car is equipped with a three-speed manual and a 331 cubic-inch Cadillac V-8 putting out nearly 200 horsepower, according to the seller. Hyman notes that the sleek G2 combines "hot rodder ingenuity with high-tech sports car engineering."

Considering that the Cobra has sold for up to $14 million at auction, the G2's sub-$130,000 price tag seems like the bargain of the century.

The Toyota Tercel from Sorry to Bother You Is for Sale

In case you haven’t seen it, Sorry to Bother You is a comedy currently in theaters about a broke telemarketer named Cassius “Cash” Green, played by Lakeith Stanfield of the FX show Atlanta and the movie Straight Outta Compton. In order to provide for his girlfriend and uncle, Green makes his way through the ranks of a telemarketing agency. And making periodic appearances in the film is a 1990-something Toyota Tercel with mismatched body panels.

The Tercel was given to Green’s character as a gift from his uncle. In the car’s on-screen appearances, it usually has a cloud of steam spewing from the hood. There’s also a gag where Green has to operate the Tercel’s broken windshield wipers by tugging on a creatively placed piece of rope. If those all sound like desirable features to you, then boy are you in luck, because that exact car is currently up for sale on the movie’s official site.

In the film’s online store, next to some merchandise such as tee-shirts and stickers, is a listing for the car. The item in question is described as “Cash’s Tercel,” and comes with a brief but apt description.

“The one and only Cassius Green Toyota Tercel. Get a buddy on wiper duty and take this original movie prop for a spin.”

  • An actual car
  • Drives!
  • Look in the ashtray, there’s 40 cents…for gas.

What does an actual movie prop car that drives cost? Well, according to the site, exactly $24,999 and 40 cents. That figure is quite a bit more than the Tercel sedan’s Kelly Blue Book value of $629 to $1,472, but a price must be paid for the exclusivity of owning an actual piece of the film.

If you, or someone you know, is thinking about shelling out the money for this Tercel, please let us know in the comments down below.

Watch Philippine Strongman Duterte Crush $5.2 Million in Confiscated Exotics and Motorcycles

When it comes to intimidation, few do it quite as well—by which we mean cruelly—as dictators. Just ask Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, who on Monday presided over the crushing demise of what reported amounted to approximately $5.2 million in confiscated automobiles and $340,000 in motorcycles, in what was described as an act of "condemnation and public destruction."

According to the Daily Mail, 68 cars and seven motorcycles were destroyed during the stunt in the northern Philippine port city of Sta Ana, Cagayan. The vehicles were among 800 recently confiscated by customs officials while being smuggled into the country, according to a statement by the president's office.

"I did this because you have to show to the world that you have a viable place of investment and business," Duterte said, according to the Daily Mail. "'And the only way to show it is that you are productive and that you have the economy, to absorb the productivity of the population."

Footage from the event clearly displays a wide variety of sports cars and luxury sedans going under the 'dozer, including at least one Lamborghini Gallardo, several 996- and 997-generation Porsche 911s, and numerous Mercedes-Benz and BMW models. A handful of Japanese sport coupes, including some Nissan 350Zs and at least one Toyota Celica, are also present, as well as several motorcycles. (We also caught sight of a Chevy SSR in there, because apparently that oddball smallblock-powred convertible trucklet counts as exotic over in the Philippines.)

This isn't the first time Duterte has smashed cars in a grand public display as part of what has been described as his anti-corruption campaign. Several months ago, the Philippine president presided over a similar mass crushing of high-end vehiclesa group which, oddly enough, included a C3-generation Corvette and a Ford Explorer.

Duterte has become somewhat infamous for his aggressive methods against alleged law-breakers—most notably, his endorsement of vigilante death squads that wantonly murder drug users, small-time criminals, and homeless people, including children living on the streets. During his 22-year stint as mayor of the city of Davao prior to assuming the presidency, human rights groups tabulated at least 1,400 extrajudicial killings tied to said death squads; Duterte also claims to have personally shot three kidnapping suspects to death while mayor.

Since assuming the top office in the nation, Duterte has kept up the bloodshed, embarking upon what his administration has described as the "Philippine Drug War." Both police and extrajudicial death squads have killed thousands as part of the effort; while the national police stopped counting at 7,000 back in January 2017, independent observers have pegged the current death toll at closer to 12,000, while opposition politicians have suggested it could be closer to 20,000. (Duterte himself has gone on record urging citizens to take matters into their own hands and kill drug users.)

You can watch the whole video, uploaded to Facebook as a live stream by the Philippine government's presidential communications bureau, below. It's an hour long, but if you want to skip past all the setup, the vehicular crushing starts right around the 20-minute mark. Be warned, however: It's a little uncomfortable.

Man Rides Scooter from Massachusetts to Maine Using Phone as Headlight

A man rode his scooter from New Bedford, Massachusetts to Maine on Friday night, but was eventually stopped by the Maine State Police in Kittery. The man had been using his cell phone as a headlight.

At approximately 1:22 a.m., Trooper Scott Harakles pulled over the scooter driver, who was traveling north on the Maine Turnpike, just across the border from New Hampshire. The scooter was unilluminated aside from the light on the rider's cell phone. Additionally, scooters and mopeds are banned from the Maine Turnpike and every other Interstate highway in Maine. The scooter was not registered. Although a motorcycle endorsement is not required to operate a scooter, the rider did not have a valid driver's license at all.

On 07-27-2018 at approximately 0122 hours, Trooper Scott Harakles of Troop G stopped a motorized scooter operating on the Maine Turnpike at mile marker 3 northbound in Kittery without headlights. The 26 year old male from Massachusetts stated that he had traveled from New Bedford, Massachusetts using his cell phone as a headlight. The operator did not have a valid drivers’ license, and the scooter was not registered. Thankfully, he was stopped after traveling only a couple miles into Maine as he was very difficult to see at night without lights. Just a reminder that mopeds and motorized scooters are prohibited on the Maine Turnpike. Title 29A §1252-3: Mopeds and motorized scooters A moped or motorized scooter may not be operated: By a person who does not possess a valid license of any class or a license specifically endorsed to operate a motorcycle or a moped; orOn an interstate highway or on a way in which a bicycle is prohibited.

A post shared by Maine State Police (@mainestatepolice) on Jul 29, 2018 at 9:07am PDT

The Boston Globe reports that the man, who the police did not identify, was issued a summons for operating without a license and operating an unregistered vehicle. He was also given a warning for riding a scooter on the Maine Turnpike. Although the scooter was towed away, State Troopers were kind enough to give the man a ride to his intended destination, about 70 miles away.

Although we can't say for sure what route the night rider took, we can say that assuming he took the fastest possible route—including having no regard for laws banning scooters from highways—the man probably rode about 117 miles from New Bedford, on the southern coast of Massachusetts, to Kittery where he was finally stopped. This route would have taken him straight through the middle of Boston, which is no stranger to scooter shenanigans. It likely would have taken him much longer than the two hours predicted by Google Maps at a scooter's lower speed restrictions.