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A particular class of vehicular networks is the one that includes off-the-shelf end-user equipment (e.g., laptops and PDAs) running from the interior of vehicles: in-car nodes. They are subject to limited communication conditions when compared with nodes specifically designed to this context. Existing works either consider antennas installed on top of the vehicle roof or nodes that operate in infrastructure mode. In this article, we investigate through real experiments the characteristics of links formed by in-car nodes running off-the-shelf wireless technologies such as IEEE 802.11(a/g) in ad hoc mode. We surprisingly observe that in-car nodes do show enough performance in terms of network capacity to be used in a number of applications, such as file transfer in peer-to-peer applications. Nonetheless, we identify some key performance issues and devise a number of configuration recommendations and future work directions.