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Millbrook GM European Proving Grounds

European Proving Grounds Millbrook is a 700 acre facility about 40 miles north of London with test tracks and testing facilities for aerospace, military, vehicle production, driver training (Aston Martin), and real-time online vehicle tracking. Here is link to the Millbrook website. Construction began in 1968 for a smaller version …

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Europe Test Crash of Ford Focus at 120 MPH

 

Focus Immediately Before Impact

Focus Immediately Before Impact

The European TV show Fifth Gear had the Transportation Research Laboratory (TRL) crash a Ford Focus at 120 mph.

This staged crash test represents a worst case collision scenario where the car impacts a rigid, non-deformable, barrier.

After impact you will see the non-flammable Stoddard Test Fluid coming out of the fuel tank. The test fluid is put there to test fuel tank physical integrity.

 

Here are calculations associated with 40 mph and 120 mph collisions. The 120 mph collision has 9 times the energy of a 40 mph collision.

 

Note that with this equation the energy goes up with the square of the speed, which means that there is 4 times as much energy at 40 mph than 20 mph (40×40= 1600 and 20×20=400).

You can clearly notice that your car takes a lot longer to stop from 60 or 70 mph than from 40 mph because of the square the speed energy issue. To simplify the calculation some more, if you square 60 = 3600 and the square of 40 = 1600 so there is more than twice the energy at 60 than 40.

With 10 the square is 100 and 15 the square is 225. Auto crash testing is typically conducted at speeds up to 40 mph (40×40=1600). There is 16 times as much energy at 40 than 10.

Remember to drive safely. The reality associated with the math applies every time you get behind the wheel.

Millbrook GM European Proving Grounds

October 18, 2011 Auto Manufacturer No Comments

European Proving Grounds

Millbrook is a 700 acre facility about 40 miles north of London with test tracks and testing facilities for aerospace, military, vehicle production, driver training (Aston Martin), and real-time online vehicle tracking. Here is link to the Millbrook website.

Construction began in 1968 for a smaller version of the Milford Michigan proving grounds at Millbrook on the site of a former airfield. The facility replicated many of the most successful features of the Milford site and benefited from the accumulated wisdom of more than 50 years operation at the Milford proving grounds.

An Invitation To Visit

Automobile manufacturer vehicle test facilities are spectacular places to visit. About six months ago I had an invitation to visit the General Motors Proving Grounds and Track at Millbrook England.

Every Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM has very strict procedures for visitors. OEM’s use the test facilities to test cars and trucks before they go into production and OEM’s do not want photographs or other sensitive or proprietary information leaving the property.

You sign in and the security guard puts a special lift-off tape over cell phone cameras. Regular cameras can be left at security to be retrieved on exit. If this procedure sounds extreme, then just remember that it is their facility and you are the person with the invitation to walk through a very exclusive door.

My group was there associated with an advanced vehicle safety technology. We spent time in a number of areas including the crash test facility and the different dynamic test tracks. Millbrook has many driving surfaces, specific testing areas, and a highly professional staff handling many engineering projects for a number of vehicle manufacturers and suppliers to the automotive industry.

The 2 Mile Long High Speed, Constant Speed Circuit Is Unique

One unique test track at Millbrook is the two (2) mile long High / Constant Speed Circuit. The banked oval permits the vehicle to go through the full two mile loop at speeds in excess of 150 mph. One remarkable feature are the “Neutral Steer Speed” lanes around the two mile track where, essentially, the car has neutral forces at 40, 50, 60, 75, and 100 mph. Millbrook Test Track, website brochure

Neutral steer speed means that, if the car is handling properly, you can take your hands off the steering wheel and the car will steer itself around the circuit at speeds up to 100 mph. This is a very unique test feature sort of like the banked race track all the way around for two miles.

Neutral steer speed also is very significant for vehicle forces on the engine and chassis of the car. At speed the track angle forces are balanced with the centrifugal forces on the vehicle so that fluids are effectively flat or level in the engine and the differential assembly. Another way to think about the fluids is that as the car tips on the slope gravity would pull the fluids down. Moving through the two mile oval at speed causes the fluids to be thrown outwards so on the high banked track the car can run 100 mph and all of the fluids are effectively flat in the car. This is vitally important for proper long distance testing and there are five constant speed lanes at 40, 50, 60, 75, and 100 mph.

Some of the other handling circuits include steep hill upgrades and downgrades, city handling circuit, steering pad, a precisely level one mile straightaway, driveway ramps, truck slopes, textured pavements, Belgian Blocks, traction control pavement challenge, water troughs, an extreme maneuver area, and off-highway test area.

Millbrook operates 365 days per year and 24 hours per day. The Test Track booklet identifies 49 different testing on-highway and off-highway testing surfaces.

James Bond & Driver Training

With high security and unique features it becomes clear that Millbrook would be a great facility for some movie footage. James Bond has been here.

Aston Martin has a driver traing program that is conducted at the facility. If you get a new car be sure and ask for the invitation to the Millbrook driver training facility.

 

Great Facility and Great Staff

Millbrook is one of Europe’s leading locations for the development and demonstration of every type of land vehicle, from motorcycles and passenger cars to heavy commercial, military and off-road vehicles with their staff of 300.

It was a real pleasure to spend a day at Millbrook.

Australia Motorcycle Education Program

October 15, 2011 Driver + Training No Comments

Driver training is a difficult task at best.

Driver training is a challenge for the student, educator, and society in general. Additionally, the general attitude toward driver training information continues to change.

There are a number of posts and articles about driver training, advanced driver training and vehicle handling on this site. A particularly interesting one deals with Police Officer Driver Training.

Here is a recent video from the Australia Transport Accident Commission.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxG5wET_w20&feature=player_embedded”>

National Motor Vehicle Title Information System

September 26, 2011 Dealerships & Salvage No Comments

Has That Vehicle Been Damaged?

 

 

United States Department of Justice

NMVTIS

 

National Motor Vehicle Title Information System is the national federal database that shows if the vehicle has been a total loss.

Came out of 1992 Anti Theft Act.  This took 17 years to come to fruition including Cash For Clunkers.  It is a requirement for salvage yards and automotive recycling companies to report VIN numbers when the vehicle comes in and if the vehicle is crushed that VIN is also submitted. Flood damaged vehicle VIN’s are to be entered.  Auto Auction companies enter the VIN information.

NMVTIS

Reports cost $2.95 to $4.95 and this report is independent of CarFax.

NMVTIS titling is carried forward. Older vehicle historical records may not be in the system.

Alliance Inspection Management (AIM) do inspections for consumers and for dealers. They will run database checks, engine and transmission oil sample analysis, and provide an assessment for the vehicle’s condition.

Automotive Cloning

Bad guys could take an automobile and change or replate the VIN to a good car or a salvage vehicle that they have purchased the salvage VIN. You can expect to find 20 VIN numbers on a modern car.

Creative Crime

In one criminal example the same VIN was used to export six (6) vehicles that had been cloned with the same VIN.

Inspection

Consumer inspection can cost $129 to $400 for a full inspection with fluid samples and vehicle history reports, as reported by Alliance Inspection Management.

Autoline Detroit

Below is the link to Autoline Detroit from September 25, 2011.  The show focuses on flood and damage vehicle issues with representatives from Alliance Inspection Management and the Automotive Recyclers Associaiton meeting with host John McElroy.

httpv://www.autoline.tv/journal/?p=18137

More On Flood Damaged Cars

September 20, 2011 Automotive Topics No Comments

Flood Damaged Cars In The News

With all of the heavy recent flooding you probably have seen a lot of cars in and under water. This topic is very serious because any car that you might consider purchasing could possibly be a flood damaged car. Here are some resources that can help you make a knowledgeable assessment or bring in professional help before purchasing a questionable vehicle.

NAAA Flood Damage Training Presentation

NAAA recognizes that flood damaged vehicles are a significant problem.

Here is a link to their webiste presentation.

Interent research turns up a lot of information about flood damaged cars.

Here is CarFax Reports video on flood damaged cars.

 httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qy0BuwjGfJg”>

Carfax Flood Damage Check. This is new. For no cost they will run the vin for flood damage.

Here is link to a previous Automotive Tribune article on Flood Damaged Vehicles.

Flood damaged vehicles range from partial to complete immersion. If you have concerns be sure and have a professional inspect the car. Some problems are immediate and some problems (wiring corrosion) may take a long time to occur.

Remember that Carfax Reports only what it has available to report. If the car were to be flood damaged and no report was made to the insurance company or the authorities then there will not be a line item in Carfax.

Photo Gallery

September 7, 2011 Everything Else No Comments

top-gear-films-at-spruce-creek

Top Gear flims in Florida in 2009


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James May delivering a letter at John Travolta's home.
James May delivering a letter at John Travolta's home.

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James May and Dr. Bob
James May and Dr. Bob

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BBC Top Gear film crew
BBC Top Gear film crew

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