SR-71 Blackbird.

“Everything needed to be invented.” Kelly Johnson the Designer of the SR-71 blackbird. In order to build this astounding aircraft, not only did the aircraft need to be invented, but the tools required to build it, the materials it was built out of, and the techniques of putting it together all had to be invented. Even today, Titanium is used sparingly because of the high cost involved with the material, but on the SR-71, it was constructed out of 80% titanium and the rest was custom made carbon-polymers.

The SR-71 Blackbird

Able to fly at mach 3.3, or over 2000 mph, the leading edges of the aircraft would heat up to well over 500 F due to the friction force of the air. Even the inside of the glass would get up to 250 F, so a special cooling system had to be designed.

Due to the heat that it had to endure, it could not use smooth metal sheets for the “skin” of the aircraft, as they would warp and crack. Instead, it used a corrugated skin that could expand and handle the extreme environment that it had to operate in. This meant that the panels were loose fitting on the ground, but would expand in the air once it got up to temperature. Funny enough, that meant that it leaked constantly while sitting on the ground, and required refueling immediately after take off. Especially considering the MASSIVE engines this thing had. The J58-1 engine was developed specifically for this airframe (albeit, on the A-12 oxcart version). It proved over 34,000 lbf of thrust, and it had two. Just unreal. It was designed to be able to outrun any missiles that may have been fired at it, which it did so on several occasions. It was jokingly said, that the SR-71 could fire a missile, speed up in front of the missile that it fired, back off the throttle and shoot itself down.

Dryden's SR-71B Blackbird, NASA 831, slices across the snow-covered southern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California after being refueled by an Air Force tanker during a 1994 flight. SR-71B was the trainer version of the SR-71. The dual cockpit to allow the instructor to fly. Note the streaks of fuel from refueling spillage.

It flew so high, that a normal pilots mask could not provide enough oxygen to the pilot. In order to ensure the pilot would not black out flying at its operational altitude of 85,000 feet, a pressurized suit had to be developed, similar to an astronauts suit. No other aircraft has been able to surpass its altitude records. Some have hit a peak altitude of over 85,000 feet, but no other plane has ever maintained the altitude in continuous flight.

Whats even more amazing is that even though this aircraft was initially designed in the 50’s, it still holds many records for speed and altitude. It flew from LA to Washington DC in in 64 minutes. which is 2,299 miles, averaging over 2100 mph to do it. While it has since been retired, the technology that it pioneered is still being used today. Even more so, no other aircraft (except maybe the F-22, but that is debatable.) has been as game changing as this one. I truly envy anyone who gets to sit in the cockpit of this bad boy, let alone fly one at altitude.

The best vehicles for cross country trips

Sometimes cross country driving can be a monotonous nightmare. But there are a few vehicles out there that I think would make it enjoyable rather than a nightmarish battle with bad traffic, bad weather and bad scenery, like if your driving through western Kansas for instance. Most manufacturers keep a vehicles range to about 300 miles, so fuel economy isn’t necessarily the most important thing.

First, I’d have to say the Porsche Panamera Turbo

0-60 in 3.9 seconds and 550 hp, it would make any road trip instantly better. With one of the best interiors I have ever seen and Porsches renowned reliability, it is easily one of the best options for longer drives. The only downside is it has a price tag of $141,000, so you had better have deep pockets. But if you can afford it I don’t think you’ll mind the 18 mpg you are probably going to be getting out of its twin turbo v6.

My second choice would be the Chrysler 300c SRT8.

With a 6.4 liter Hemi that cranks out 470 hp and 470 ft lbs, this thing is the highway missile id probably put my money on. Nothing screams fuck yeah better than these things. It also has an amazing interior, it is super comfortable, and is surprisingly quiet. The brakes are fantastic, which is a good thing because they have 4300 lbs to bring to a screeching halt if necessary.

Next would be the Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit with the Eco diesel v6.

Fully optioned, this thing will run you north of $55,000 which is a lot of money. Not to mention that in that price bracket, it has some stiff competition from some very quick sports cars and if you consider the used vehicle market, you can get some amazing vehicles. But again, with a super comfy interior and a fuel range of over 600 miles, you can spend more time getting to where your going comfortably and less time stopping.

Last choice is a curveball, but I’d have to say the Ural Patrol with sidecar.

With a sidecar you can carry more gear with you than you could with only a couple hard cases that you strapped onto your BMW R1200 GS. You also have the benefit of 2 wheel drive to get you through the terrible road conditions you may encounter. Sure it may only have 41 hp pushing its considerable heft, but it’s a great way to get the open air experience and not have to worry about dumping it when you go farther down the trails than you should have. And for only $16,000 who doesn’t want to drive cross country on a motorcycle?

Lancia 037. The want is strong.

Group B was where the men were separated from the boys in rallying. The quite lax regulations that the FIA had in place for this category of cars, lead to many developers creating monster machines that defied physics, were amazingly complex, and sacrificed almost everything in the name of speed. I recall a story about how Toyota even developed a secret intake system to fool the field marshalls during vehicle inspections. The intake would only open while at full throttle gaining them over 100+ hp on the course, but in the inspection pits while not running it would shut, thus remaining hidden during. Group B lead to some of the most thrilling rally racing the world has ever seen, and is still referred to as “the Golden Age of Rally”. Even to this day, no rally car has matched the speeds of some of these machines from 20 years ago. The vehicles used to race in this class were notoriously difficult to drive and lead to a series of accidents, some of which were fatal for drivers and spectators alike. Ultimately Group B was only around for all of 4 years, 1982-1986, as these machines were deemed so powerful that they were too dangerous to be raced.

During that time however, manufacturers truly created some wonderful machines that even today inspire admiration and awe. The Lancia 037, at least in my humble opinion, is the most beautiful of all the Group B cars, if not necessarily the one I would pick if I had an unlimited budget. That would probably go to the Ford RS200, another of the Group B Badasses. But the Lancia 037 has such a classic design, that even today I would call it beautiful. I think it belongs in the Pantheon right next to the Lamborghini Miura as one of the most awesome cars of all time.

Here is another of Petrolicious’ stunning videos. Definitely worth the watch.

Filson and AEV team up to create possibly the most badass Jeep ever.

Filson, the purveyors of the insanely priced fine clothing, have teamed up with world renowned Jeep experts AEV to create one hell of a $70,000 Land Rover competitor. If I had the money and seriously wanted a luxury off road rig, I would be hard pressed to not go for this one. ‘Cept maybe the FC concept.

Is This $70,000 Luxury Jeep Wrangler A Better Buy Than A Range Rover?

For $70,000 you’d expect it to have some serious upgrades, and since they partnered with AEV, it most certainly does.

Taken straight from the Filson website

  • Optional 5.7L or 6.4L HEMI V8 engine
  • Both 2-door and 4-door models available
  • WARN 9.5cti-s winch and AEV winch mount
  • IPF 901 off-road lights
  • IPF back-up light
  • AEV 17” Savegre wheels – matte black
  • BFGoodrich 35” Mud-Terrain KM2 tires
  • AEV 3-1/2” DualSport SC suspension
  • AEV ProCal module
  • AEV jack base
  • AEV 3-1/2” DualSport SC suspension
  • AEV ProCal module
  • AEV jack base
  • AEV premium front bumper
  • AEV front skid plate
  • AEV heat reduction hood
  • AEV rear bumper
  • AEV water pump kit
  • AEV tire carrier
  • AEV splashguards
  • Color-matched three-piece hardtop
  • Color-matched fender flares
  • Exclusive Filson green exterior paint
  • Exclusive Filson Rugged Twill and leather interior
  • Filson Rugged Twill bulkhead storage bag
  • Filson Original Briefcase
  • Filson Medium Duffle
  • AEV front floor liners
  • AEV rear floor liner (4-door only)
  • AEV cargo liner (4-door only)
  • Exclusive Filson and AEV badging
  • AEV instrument cluster
  • AEV serialized build plaque

The best part aside from the standard AEV goodies is the optional Hemi’s. Although the 6.4 would be badass, I’d probably stick with the 5.7.

Check out more of this awesome rig at

Steve McQueens Jag

Steve McQueen is the epitome of badass. He raced, drank, swore and fought his way to fame and fortune, and he did it by being ‘Muricas badass. He joined the Marines, went AWOL, and STILL wound up guarding President Harry Truman (his yacht at least). I will be publishing a piece on Steve McQueen here shortly, but in the meantime, here is a quick little video about one of his Jag’s.

The Jaguar XKSS is an incredibly rare car. In 1957 a fire broke out in Jaguar’s own Browns Lane production plant, destroying all but 16 of the cars, most of which were sold in the US. The one in the video was Steve McQueens, which he bought for $5,000 dollars way back in the day. Today it is worth over $30 million.

Ferrari 250 GTO by Petrolicious

Ferrari’s 250 GTO is arguably the most beautiful car ever made. It has certainly become one of the most expensive, with Number 5111GT selling for $52 Million Dollars last year. The cars were handbuilt from the ground up and had a 3.0L V-12 that made 300 horsepower in 1963. They are the vehicles that truly started the stripped out luxury gentlemen racers that Porsche has been copying recently with its 911 GT2. Just seeing one of these cars is on my bucket list.

Fiat 600 Abarth

Never heard of it? Nor had I, but after seeing what David Obendorfer has created, I sure hope that more and more people do. Hopefully Fiat will eventually put this thing into production. An Italian hot hatch with all the Italian flare someone could ask for? Sounds like a recipe for success. Just imagine this with 300 hp, stanced out with some aggressive rubber, fender flares and some fancy Ferrari derived tech (since Fiat owns Ferrari, at least for the time being)  racing against the Focus ST, Mazdaspeeds, and all the other Hot Hatches. The sound would be Uhhh-Mazing.

This Four-Door Fiat 600 Abarth Concept Is Something We Can Get Behind