A Blog About Cars ... And More
Friday, January 21, 2022
(Joe's son posting here. My dad passed away peacefully on December 29, 2021. This is the final post he planned for this blog. Below it, you will find his obituary. Thanks to all his readers)
My blog, 'The View Through The Windshield', debuted on May 13, 2004 (http://www.joesherlock.com/blog-2004-05.html).
I've described this blog as "about cars ... and everything else that catches my eye." I usually lead off almost every posting with something vehicle-related. Non-automotive postings have included news articles which I find significant or humorous, nostalgic items as well as my opinions on social and political issues. And lots of other stuff, including business and economic subjects.
Recent health events have led me to conclude that it's time for me to stop blogging. I've decided to disconnect the battery, drain the oil and put The View Through The Windshield up on blocks.
In early December, I suffered a major heart attack and arrived at the hospital by ambulance. Surgery was attempted and was stopped because my other organs were affected. After numerous attempts to increase my blood pressure and organ function, I elected to be given palliative care only and arrived home a week later. I am now in hospice care. My prognosis is grim, so any prayers or good thoughts you'd like to send my way would be appreciated.
Hospice is doing a good job for me and I have lots of family support. While I can't get around without an electric mobility scooter, I am relatively pain-free, although I am taking a bit of supplemental oxygen as I write this.
I can no longer drive or walk more than a few feet without getting winded. Sadly, there will be no more drives for me in my old '39 Plymouth coupe, nor am I able to work the controls of my model train layout.
Most of us do not leave behind lasting markers of our presence on this earth. The garden projects, home remodeling work, business reports, spreadsheets and other little footprints disappear with the passage of time. We can only hope that the good deeds we've done, the lessons and values we've passed along to our children and grandchildren and/or the societal changes we've helped to create will somehow make an impact on subsequent generations.
When one visits the great cathedrals of Europe and marvels at their massive magnificence, a little research will often disclose the name of each master builder. But not much else. Yet, what makes these structures so interesting are the details which reveal themselves upon close examination. The 15th Century artists who carved detailed cornices, lifelike statuary, gilded ceiling bosses and fanciful gargoyles at York Minster are long dead and their names forgotten. But they live on through their work over five centuries later.
This blog is perhaps my version of those gilded ceilings and fanciful gargoyles, and I've asked that it remains available as an archive, including my collection of essays and car drawings.
I sincerely thank those loyal readers who have been 'regulars' at The View Through The Windshield as well as the many who have offered favorable comments and encouragement during my blogging years. I wish all of you the best that life has to offer.
Happy Motoring. God Bless. Godspeed.
Joe Sherlock, entrepreneur, engineer, "car guy" extraordinaire, and O-gauge rail enthusiast, died on December 29, 2021, of complications following a heart attack. He was 78 years old.
Joseph Michael Sherlock, Jr., was born August 5, 1943 in Philadelphia, PA, to Joseph and Anne (McNicholas) Sherlock. His father was a trainman with the Pennsylvania Railroad; his mother was a Catholic school teacher.
He graduated from St. Joseph's Preparatory School, Philadelphia, PA, in 1961, and from Villanova University, Villanova, PA, in 1965 with a BS in mechanical engineering. After graduation, Joe worked as a development engineer at Uniroyal, Inc., in Philadelphia, and then at Rohm and Haas Company, first in the engineering lab in Bristol, PA, and later in sales and marketing in the downtown Philadelphia headquarters.
In 1966 he married Carol Jean Howell, the "love of his life." They welcomed a son in 1967 and a daughter in 1970.
In 1978 Joe and his family moved to Corvallis, OR to pursue his dream of owning his own business. Together with a business partner, they built Discovery Plastics, Inc. from a single-employee plastics fabrications company into a worldwide distributer of acrylic displays and store fixtures with over seventy employees. In 1989, Joe and his business partner sold Discovery Plastics, at the time North America's largest producer of acrylic store fixtures and displays, to RHC/Spacemaster Corporation.
After the Discovery sale, Joe moved to Battle Ground, WA, and began a new career as a management consultant to small and mid-sized companies. He wrote a popular "Doin' Business" newspaper column for eight years, and the book Joysticks, Blinking Lights, and Thrills: How to Have Fun and Success in Your Small Business (Psi Successful Business Library, 1997). Joe volunteered with SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) for over 25 years. He retired from his consulting business, "Sherlock Strategies," in 2011.
A self-described "car nut," Joe had a passion for antique cars, especially classic Lincolns. He owned a 1956 and a 1957 Continental Mark II, along with a 1939 Plymouth street rod, which he enjoyed driving early mornings on the mostly empty back roads to the sound of '50s rock 'n' roll. He showed his Lincolns at North American meets, winning a Ford Motor Co. Award at the 1994 Western National Meet. A long-time member of the NW Lincoln Continental Owner's Club (LCOC), he served as its director, and wrote and edited the chapter's newsletter, "The Continental Connector," from 1992 to 2003. A talented illustrator, he contributed many auto sketches to the newsletter and other venues. He also wrote extensively about cars on his blog ("The View Through The Windshield," at joesherlock.com) as well as contributing to car books and reviewing books about cars.
Joe is survived by Carol, his wife of 55 years, their son Joseph III (Evette) and grandson Connor, their daughter Kathleen Anne Bowers (David), and a brother Terence (Margie). In addition to his immediate family, he also leaves many cousins, friends, and neighbors.
Despite many medical problems in his later years, Joe always lived life to the absolute fullest; his humor, determination, and intellect were truly unmatched. After reading Joe's blog, a close friend best described Joe by saying, "He sure had a good time with things!"
Wednesday December 29, 2021
After a winter storm, a black 1939 Plymouth ... (more >>>)
Time Machine: Back in 2005, James Lileks asked his readers what objects they might take with them on a trip back to 1950.
One replied: "1950? I'd take a laptop, since you could plug it in. And I'd take a Mac, since Windows' susceptibility to viruses would probably mean my PC laptop would catch polio."
I'd choose to take a car with me. What kind? At the time, I said I'd take a early 1990s-era Nissan 300ZX and provided some reasons for my decision.
In 2008, I wrote another time travel piece and took a brand-new car back 50 years to the big, befinned and overchromed auto world of 1958. My choice surprised many readers.
Now that the 2022 models are out, I have picked a different car in which to travel to back in time to 1950. I decided to choose a sedan, rather than a crossover or SUV because people in 1950 wouldn't understand why so many people drive trucks and would ask too many questions. (Did the Russian atomic bombs wreck all the roads? Do you have to drive through the woods to avoid the polio virus?) Besides, I don't think they'd believe that the Ford F-150 pickup truck is now the best-selling vehicle in America.
I'd take a Tesla Model S Plaid back to 1950. And a 220 volt charger along with ... (more >>>)
Wipe Out: Growing up in the 1950s, I never accepted the futurists' visions that, by 2000, we'd have flying cars with Plexiglas bubble tops and three-foot tall stabilizer fins. But I didn't expect cars to still have windshield wipers in 2005. The very idea of a motorized reciprocating device that mechanically wipes water from a glass surface using a vulcanized squeegee seems very Rube Goldberg - circa 1925. I expected today's vehicles to be equipped with hi-speed air curtain devices to keep the windshield clear. Or a force field.
How Was Your 2021 Christmas? I hope it was as good as mine. I received a few bottles of Bordeaux, which we enjoyed with our dinner meal.
I was given a nice gray cashmere/cotton V-necked sweater with a one-of-a-kind crimson St. Joe's Prep logo (Thanks, Evette!) and finally, the gift of a loving family who ... (more >>>)
Quote Of The Day is from Steven Wright: "It's a small world but I wouldn't want to paint it."
Friday December 24, 2021
The Wexford Carol: This Irish Christmas song comes from County Wexford in the southeast corner of the country, where my Sherlock ancestors settled in the 11th Century. In the 1640s, Sherlock Castle was seized by the English and destroyed because it had sheltered the rebels, during the Irish Rebellion of 1641.
Some claim that 'The Wexford Carol' dates from the 12th Century. Here is an excerpt:
Good people all, this Christmas time,
Watch Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss perform 'The Wexford Carol' with bagpipes, violin and bodhrán (Irish frame drum) here.
Merry Christmas To All!
Wednesday December 22, 2021
This photo was taken in October of 1949 at the Paris Auto show. On the right is ... (more >>>)
The Glory Of Internal Combustion: Gerard Van der Leun weighed in: "We come over a rise in my red Mercedes 560 SEL and see curling out before us between the forests a rolling S-curve of smooth asphalt arcing down the valley and then up and over the hill far beyond and gone." My passenger, skilled in racing very large motorcycles very well, looks at it and says, "That's the road motorcyclists dream of. Perfectly banked and perfectly curved with a long, long sight line and no oncoming traffic. Give it the gas."
I nod and give it the gas. The turbocharger kicks in. The car leaps forward with a growl. The forest outside becomes a green blur. We sweep down and around, up and over the hill.
"We pin the speedometer.
And we're gone."
"Say what you like about our poor beaten-down gas guzzlers, they've given us over a century of thrills for everyman.
I pity that future that wont ever experience the sweet feeling of motoring in a vehicle with a large internal-combustion engine running on heavy fuel. A vehicle with a glutton's diet of pure petrochemical byproducts. A car that turns the sunshine that fell to Earth on some antediluvian day 500 million summers gone into a surge of pure speed on this fine August afternoon.
I pity my descendants who will never be able to look out at some sweeping mountain road, perfectly curved, perfectly banked, with no oncoming traffic and just 'Give it the gas."
"Give it the photons" just doesn't have the same cachet."
God Gets The Last Laugh: Over the past several years, I've often disparaged electric vehicles. Now I can't drive anymore, nor can I walk more than a few feet.
So, I'm getting around the house using an electric mobility scooter. It is very nimble and allows me to zip from room to room, scaring the hell out of my daughter's dog. It's a nice clean design and is done in black plastic and Candy Apple Red trim. It has silver alloy wheels and plugs in to recharge overnight.
I have no data on 0-60 times. Look at me - I'm Elon Musk!
OFWG Alert: Greg Gutfeld observed the audience at an '80s band reunion, "featuring all pudgy, balding white people, swaying, dancing in an orgy of self-congratulation. It reminded me that nostalgia is worse than porn."
These are the same OFWGs (Old Fat White Guys) who overpay for badly-restored Mustangs and Camaros at auctions and collector car 'dealers'. And buy cheesy reproductions of period Coke signs as well as movie and concert posters from their 'youth'.
OK. I admit it. I have a few tin repro signs. Some car posters and lithos. And enough other nostalgibles to fill a couple of large Dumpsters. Sigh. I've written more about real and fake nostalgia here. (permalink)
This Kinda Spoke To Me: Jim Benton produced a heart-warming cartoon for believers ... (more >>>)
Resolution Kept: In January 2009, I wrote, "I'm going to make 2009 a Dave Salesky-free year. I don't need to waste any more of my life listening to inaccurate weather forecasts from this Portland TV doofus." Well, it's almost 13 years later and I've never watched him since.
Bad Pun Of The Day: One of Santa's helpers was sent to a therapist because he seemed depressed. Diagnosis: Low Elf Esteem.
Monday December 20, 2021
What's The Worst Year In Automotive History? After careful consideration of 1929, 1957 and 2008, automotive journalist Larry Printz proclaimed it to be 1980. "With the arrival of the second OPEC Oil Embargo the year before, a recession took hold of the country. Sales of US-made cars came in at 6.58 million units, down 20% from 1979, as import automakers claimed a 26% market share, up from 21% percent in 1979. Ford lost a record $1.5 billion as domestic sales plunged 33% and worldwide sales declined 29%. Chrysler, having lost $2 billion in the past year and a half, was in such bad shape that banks wouldn't lend it money. Instead, Congress did, providing a $1.5 billion loan guaranteed by the federal government. Even General Motors was hit by a $763 million loss, the company's first since 1921.
But bad numbers alone don't earn 1980 the title of 'Worst Automotive Year Ever'. Having to engineer cars with new technology for the first time in decades, the Big Three struggled to meet the unprecedented demand for small fuel-efficient cars. And in the face of profits and market share declining, Detroit responded by, frankly, fielding some of the worst cars it has ever produced."
Larry saves a special sort of wrath for GM's X-bodied cars, such as the Chevy Citation and Oldsmobile Omega: "If any GM cars proved the ineptness of product development under GMAD (the General Motors Assembly Division), these cars are exhibit A. GMAD's poor management would handicap GM product development for decades, leading to a market share that was one-third of what it was in 1962.
While initially popular, the X-Car came with a slew of defects as standard: bad welds, failing transmissions, vibrating engines, and exceptionally poor brakes. Many recalls followed. More than a million people bought them, but how many bought another GM car?"
People flocked to imports, especially Japanese cars. In Oregon, there was a waiting list for new 1980 Honda Accords.
Stating The Obvious: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety - a bureaucracy funded by a portion of your car insurance premium - has wasted your money by funding a study showing that "seniors are more likely to drive older cars which are less safe than new ones." Thanks for nothing.
"Drivers age 71 or older were significantly more likely to be driving vehicles that were at least 16 years old compared to drivers aged 35-54, and those vehicles were significantly less likely to achieve good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front and original side crash tests."
Our teenage daily driver vehicles are plenty safe. They have lots of airbags, stability control, shoulder/seat belts and other safety equipment. Sounds like a scam to sell new cars to the elderly, so they can drive right off the road while trying to figure out how all the electronic gizmos work. Now that's dangerous.
I always joked that, when I got old and really sick, I could still terrorize people with a handicapped scooter. I'm having one delivered this week.
Service Writers: Is There Anything They Can't Say With A Straight Face? Many years ago, we took my wife's Avalon in for its a service. Early in the car's life, we patronized a Toyota dealer in case there's ever a problem with engine-oil sludge. Then we'll be able to say that the car was properly serviced by an authorized dealer and can provide documentation for any post-warranty claim.
We wanted the standard 'by the book' service. Without even looking at our car - much less actually starting and driving it, the service technician said, "With the gas around here, we should probably do a fuel injector cleaning."
The first images that came to my mind were the various videos I've seen of AK-47-toting terrorists riding around in the beds of Toyota pickups in Afghanistan, Somalia and other nasty spots. I bet the gas Around Here is a lot cleaner and more refined than the gas Over There. Probably contains less sand and dust as well. Yet, the insurgents' Toyota engines never seem to stall or misfire.
I can't imagine a service writer Over There saying to some fellow carrying an Igla-2M heat-seeking SAM launcher on his shoulder, "Now, Azam, I am recommending that you get your fuel injectors back-washed. After all, fast acceleration and maneuverability are important when being targeted by a missile-equipped drone."
Our Avalon was running fine and its engine has never missed a beat. It started right up every time. In my opinion, absent any symptoms, injector cleanings are unneeded and just a way for the dealer to put an extra $100 on the bill.
So I said, "No." But I'm considering putting a fatwa on the service writer. (permalink)
Merry Somethingmas: Anglican churches are making traditional Christmas carols politically correct by removing words such as "king", "son" and "virgin", it is claimed. Enduring favorites such as 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing' and 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' are being altered by clergy to make them more "modern and inclusive."
A Church of England vicar has banned his congregation from singing 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' because he believed its words do not reflect the suffering endured by modern residents of Jesus's birthplace.
Another clergyman has rewritten the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' to include Aids victims, drug addicts and hoodies.
Quote Of The Day is from Steven Wright: "I didn't get a toy train for Christmas like the other kids, I got a toy subway instead; you couldn't see anything but every now and then you'd hear this rumbling noise go by."
Saturday December 18, 2021
Streamlined Beauty: Most so-called 'teardrop cars' don't really look much like a teardrop. This one, pictured at Mac's Motor City Garage, really does look the part.
This one-off, three-wheeled 1936 Arrowhead teardrop car was made for ... (more >>>)
Hi-Dollar Gran: The 2022 BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe is a very expensive four-door sedan with a steeply-sloped rear. It offers luxury along with speed and power but is aimed at the buyer who wants quick and posh, rather than track racing.
AutoBlog's test car was priced at $163,095 (base price is $131,995) and was equipped with a 617 horsepower, 4.4-liter biturbo V8 engine, coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The car is AWD, does 0-60 in 3 seconds and has a claimed top speed of 190 mph. It weighs just over two tons and seats five.
John Beltz Snyder wrote, "Prior to testing the M8, I had the Audi RS E-Tron GT, a car with a similar body style and specs - 637 horsepower, 0-60 in 3.1 seconds. Of course, it has a completely different approach to achieving those numbers. The M8 does it with cylinders firing and a lot of fanfare; the E-Tron does it with motors spinning and eerie calm. They even come at a similar price, with this $163,095 gas-guzzling BMW coming in at $1,205 more than the electric Audi."
I'd choose the roar of a V8 over an electric hum. But, you do you.
Back To The Forties: The lower level of my train layout is a pre-World War II setting. The streets are filled with cars from the era - a tan '39 Graham Paige Sharknose sedan, a maroon and black Model A Ford and a green 1940 Packard Darrin. The parking area contains a Cord, a maroon Chrysler Airflow and two Ford woodies - a '35 and a '40.
The cool, art-deco styled, gray and blue, full-skirted sedan behind the lamppost is a 1937 Panhard Dynamic Berline, something not often seen in the U.S. But I placed it there because it looks very properly Thirties Aero, like you might see in a Disney or Merrie Melodies cartoon from the period. Additional photos can be seen here (scroll down).
Prayer Requests: If you're so inclined, please pray for the soul of my dear friend, Elizabeth Takai, who passed away last week after a lengthy illness at age 76. I first met Liz over 60 years ago and she was a very kind person as well as an accomplished pianist. She is survived by her husband Ken, son Kentaro as well as a grandchild and her brother, Ed.
Liz grew up in Pennsauken New Jersey and was a graduate of Notre Dame Academy on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. She was predeceased by both of her parents. Requescat in Pace.
I could use some prayers myself. Regular readers have noticed that I've not been posting anything lately. Last Thursday (12/9), I suffered a strong heart attack and arrived at the hospital by ambulance.
Surgery was attempted Friday and was stopped because my other organs were affected. After numerous attempts to increase my blood pressure and organ function, I elected to be given palliative care only and arrived home late Thursday afternoon, 9/16. I am now in hospice care.
My prognosis is grim, so any prayers or good thoughts you'd like to send my way would be appreciated.
Quote of the Day is from Victor Borge: "Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year."
Friday December 17, 2021
There's Nothing More Tedious Than Heavy Traffic And Snow: In this early 1950s Philadelphia street scene, cars and trucks are lined up as snowflakes fall at 3:45 pm on a workday.
At left, a dark-colored Philadelphia Bulletin truck is visible, with a two-tone ... (more >>>)
The Madness Of Mass Electrification: Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has said that the growing pressures being placed on automakers to shift toward electric-vehicle production "are unsustainable and run the risk of the public getting subpar products at decidedly higher price tags."
He expounded on his statement, "What has been decided is to impose on the automotive industry electrification that brings 50% additional costs against a conventional vehicle. There is no way we can transfer 50% of additional costs to the final consumer because most parts of the middle class will not be able to pay."
Automakers need time for testing and ensuring that new technology will work, Tavares said. Pushing to speed that process up "is just going to be counter productive. It will lead to quality problems. It will lead to all sorts of problems," he said.
"Tavares suggested that governments slow down, stop fixating on encouraging manufacturers to build EVs, and focus on making them more appetizing to the public by developing the charging infrastructure essential for their existence. He also stated that the energy sector would need some sprucing up if the shift to EVs is actually going to have a positive effect on the environment. But he maintained that it would be the financial aspects causing the most serious problems, noting that it's ultimately the public that has to get behind the tax structures currently propping up EV sales and maintain sufficient wealth to actually continue buying them over the next several years."
Lipstick On A Pig Dept.: Last month, Consumer Reports released its latest reliability study. Lincoln came 'n dead last out of 28 automotive brands in the survey. CR noted, "While all Lincolns received poor scores, the Aviator was notable for getting only 3 points out of 100. … All Lincoln models have below-average reliability, with the Corsair and Aviator being well-below average. They, along with the Nautilus, have transmission, in-car electronics and power equipment problems."
The Lincoln Aviator is one of the worst models for reliability. So, what was Lincoln's Response? The 2022 Lincoln Aviator gets a new blackout trim package, called the Jet Package.
Lincoln should be spending money improving its products, not painting blackout packages on the deck chairs of the Titanic.
Automotive Birth Control: A paper by Jordan Nickerson of MIT and David H. Solomon of Boston College posits that car seats for children is a form of contraception.
"Since 1977, U.S. states have passed laws steadily raising the age for which a child must ride in a car safety seat. These laws significantly raise the cost of having a third child, as many regular-sized cars cannot fit three child seats in the back. Using census data and state-year variation in laws, we estimate that when women have two children of ages requiring mandated car seats, they have a lower annual probability of giving birth by 0.73 percentage points.
Consistent with a causal channel, this effect is limited to third child births, is concentrated in households with access to a car, and is larger when a male is present (when both front seats are likely to be occupied). We estimate that these laws prevented only 57 car crash fatalities of children nationwide in 2017. Simultaneously, they led to a permanent reduction of approximately 8,000 births in the same year, and 145,000 fewer births since 1980, with 90% of this decline being since 2000."
Another Of Catholicism's Mysteries: Does the Pope's speedometer have Roman numerals? (permalink)
I Didn't Know There Were Any Left: There are only 26 Sears stores left in America.
Sears was founded in 1892. At that time it was known as Sears, Roebuck which included the names of its two founders. One of its earliest successes was in the mail order catalog business. However, over time it built so many stores that it was the largest retailer in America in the late 1980s. It filed for bankruptcy in 2018. Two of the remaining stores are in Washington state; neither are near me.
Some Breeds Are Worse Than Others. Found in the 'Wireless' Christmas catalog:
If Something Worked, Why Change It? Don Surber wrote, "Biden's failures all stem from one source: his obdurant obsession with undoing everything President Trump accomplished."
"President Trump dropped unemployment to a 50-year low and kept it there for a year until covid came along. He left Biden with a 1.4% inflation rate, three covid vaccines, and no combat deaths in Afghanistan for 11 months. Illegal border crossings were at a 30-year low.
Biden reversed those policies and disaster, calamity, and catastrophe followed.
Under Trump, we were energy independent for the first time in 50 years. Now Biden is begging the House of Saud to increase production to make up for the drop in production his policies wrought."
Conrad Black added, "On the afternoon of his inauguration, (Biden) killed the Keystone XL Pipeline and curtailed fracking and offshore oil and gas exploration, and ordered the end of construction of the southern border wall. The consequences have been over 200,000 illegal migrants entering the United States across the southern border most months and the rise in the price of gasoline from approximately $2 a gallon to $5 a gallon across the country."
Quote Of The Day is from Frank J. Fleming: "Due to rising energy costs, Santa will no longer leave a lump of coal in your stocking if you're naughty and instead just punch you while you sleep."
Friday December 10, 2021
November Vehicle Sales: U.S. sales fell to 12.86 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) in November 2021, down 1% from the October sales rate, and down 19% from November 2020, due to supply chain issues, which has reduced available inventory at dealerships.
"The market is stuck in low gear," noted Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough. "We believe there are potential buyers out there, but many are waiting on the sidelines, put off by limited selection and high prices"
Ford Motor Co. sales were up 6% in November. Ford brand sales up 8%, while Lincoln sales declined 23% to 6,426 vehicles. With sales of 158,793 vehicles, Ford claimed it was the best-selling automaker in the USA for the third consecutive month in November, a streak it hasn't achieved since 1974.
In November, almost half of the Mustangs Ford sold to U.S. customers were of the battery-powered variety, the company said Thursday. All told, the Blue Oval shipped out 6,797 Mustangs, 3,088 of which were the Mach-E SUV.
Toyota brand sales fell 29% while Lexus sales dropped 32% to 18,996 units. Hyundai Motor America reported total November sales fell 20% compared with November 2020. Kia sales declined 5%. American Honda reported a 17% drop in sales as Acura brand sales fell 22% and Honda brand sales fell 17% due to what the company described as limited inventory. Subaru of America's November sales dropped 35% compared with year-ago results. Toyota and Lexus reported a steep decline in sales during November. Mazda sales fell 6% to 20,547 vehicles. Volvo sales dropped 34% in November versus a year ago.
Genesis bucked the downward trend - sales leaped 435% year-over-year to 5,002 units in November.
Another Electric Contender: Vietnamese automaker VinFast plans to enter the North American market with two Pininfarina-styled electric SUVs, the compact VF e35 and the intermediate VF e36. The Vietnamese company's ambitious plans for North America include SUVs with up to 422 miles of range to be marketed in a Tesla-style direct sales format. Los Angeles will be VinFast's home base for a new North American operation.
"VinFast Global CEO Michael Lohscheller told Car and Driver that the company's first two EV models will initially be produced in Vietnam and imported to the U.S. and Canada, but that there is a plan to localize production in North America starting in the second half of 2024."
There's A New Airflow In Town: In 1934, Chrysler shocked the world with the streamlined, if strange-looking, Airflow. It looked like nothing else on the road.
The latest Chrysler Airflow - a concept which appears ready for production - is an EV with a generic-looking crossover body. It looks like everything else on the road. The anonymous styling is yawn-provoking, unlike the 300 sedan, which offered stunning gangster looks when introduced in 2005. It looked like nothing else on the road. It was successful and still remains profitable for the company.
Matthew Guy of TTAC wrote, "With each of the 14 Stellantis brands generously given approximately a decade to prove their worth, a machine like the Airflow could be just the ticket to bolstering Chrysler's lean showroom. Since the crew at Dodge are busy making electric muscle cars and Jeep is fiddling with off-road EVs, the upmarket EV crossover segment could be the play that saves Chrysler's bacon."
Dear Chrysler - wake up and make something cool - that people want to buy.
More EV Madness: The Dodge Hellcats are being discontinued in 2023, to be replaced by something battery powered. Jack Baruth wrote, "All around us, the automakers around the world are engaged in a humiliating retreat the likes of which we haven't seen since, uh, August of this year in Afghanistan. In this case, however, there's no Taliban rushing forward to take pictures with swimming pools and Blackhawk helicopters. Rather, the manufacturers are rushing to kneel before the 'EV', a device which has yet to prove itself more than a toy for rich people and city dwellers. There is no clear pathway to a national EV infrastructure, nor is it clear just where the materials for all of the batteries will be sourced. In any event, the vast majority of the batteries and electric motors will come from China, so this spectacular act of cowardice isn't just stupid, it's also suicidal."
"How ironic, then, that this repugnant genuflection before an illusory god of perceived future social direction is going to call time on one of the greatest examples in history of giving the customer what he wants - namely, the Chrysler/FCA/Stellantis 'Hellcat' engine and the vehicles which it inhabits. In the unlikely event there are any business schools of the future that actually concentrate on doing business rather than "doing good," surely those schools will teach the Hellcat as a shining example of understanding and responding to the demands of the people who actually pay for the product."
Jack predicted that EVs "will be cheaply built from ecologically catastrophic materials by slave labor in a manner calculated to primarily benefit a Communist dictatorship, but they'll also be massively expensive and about as long-lived as a BIRD scooter."
Most people don't want electric vehicles, any more than they "want" more taxes. Or regulations. Why aren't the self-proclaimed Libertarians speaking out loudly and often about the wasteful government spending on electric car rebates and nationwide charger infrastructure?
Congregation Votes With Its Feet: Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church sent out a letter condemning recently-acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse.
John Hinderaker wrote, "This is the sort of left-wing nonsense that the ELCA spews on a regular basis. It is not coincidental that the ELCA is a failing denomination. The ELCA had over five million members when it was formed out of a merger of three Lutheran churches in 1988. As of the end of 2020, it had shrunk to 3.3 million, with no end in sight." Why? Because the Evangelical Lutheran Church doesn't welcome Christians who are not hard-core lefties.
Get woke, empty the pews.
Killadelphia: Philadelphia has shattered its 30-year-old record for annual murders, surpassing the much larger cities of New York and Los Angeles as a dozen major cities post all-time records for homicides - all of them with Democratic mayors.
As of December 6th, Philadelphia had recorded 521 homicides for the year, surpassing New York's 443 and Los Angeles at 352. This is despite the fact that with a population of 1.5 million, the City of Brotherly Love is less than half the size of Los Angeles and one-fifth of New York.
A dozen major U.S. cities smash annual homicide records (and they are all Democrat) ... (more >>>)
Question of the Week is from Tom McMahon: "When they buried Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton, I wonder if they encased his body in a big drop of amber first."
Sad State Of The Union: Daniel Greenfield wrote that the Biden Administration, "includes a president who gropes small children, a defense secretary who focused on critical race theory while Afghanistan fell, a transportation secretary who took a two-month vacation during a transportation crisis, a windsurfing traitor, a mass murdering version of Klinger, and a health secretary whose only health experience is persecuting journalists who exposed the baby parts ring of his abortion allies, being the most unpopular is an achievement."
Afterlife: Do you ever wonder what's it's like? Malachi Ward provides the answer with a map of Heaven. When you get there, don't forget to visit America Land. Don't miss the Arena of Answers. And stop by the Damned Viewer and feel smug. See you at the awesome go-cart track.
Bad Pun Of The Day: Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
Wednesday December 8, 2021
Down At The Station: A late 1940s photo - posted at The Old Motor - was taken on a cold winter day at the Pennsylvania Railroad's Villanova station.
The photo looks westbound toward Paoli; the station is northwest of the main Villanova University campus. The station building was originally built in 1890 by the Pennsylvania Railroad and is within the campus of Villanova University. The rail service is part of ... (more >>>)
Toyota Is Winning Big: Despite continuing supply chain problems affecting all automakers, Toyota is on track to sell almost 10.5 million vehicles worldwide this year.
"With only two more months to go for the year, Toyota's position as World's Largest Automaker 2021 looks pretty much unassailable.
Toyota leads the pack more than 1.1 million units ahead of second-placed Volkswagen. For Volkswagen to pass Toyota, the Japanese automaker would have to cease sales in the last two months of the year, and it did not do so in November."
Toyota makes reliable vehicles that people want to buy.
Box Bimmer: BMW will launch the very boxy, odd-looking and very expensive XM hybrid crossover as a 2023 model. The hybrid, expected to sell for over $100,000, offers 750 horsepower.
Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH "suggested that the XM was intentionally designed to entice consumers that hadn't previously considered BMW before, stating that it's a vehicle for non-conformist, extroverted types that just have to spend a barrel of money on trendy, status-oriented automobiles. … Like most BMW products, this one is being marketed toward people who believe they're ahead of the curve."
Or maybe toward people with too much money and too little taste. BMW's M-series has a long and distinguished history - 50 years worth. I hope they don't sully their reputation with this model.
Toyland Revisited: Recently, I was re-reading an excellent book, 'All Aboard,' the story of Lionel trains. This 1981 tome pointed out that Lionel's sales peaked in 1953 at $32.9 million/year. And declined quickly; by 1958, annual sales had dropped to $14.4 million. That was the first year since the depression that Lionel was unprofitable. While the author gives his reasons why Lionel declined in popularity, I have my own thoughts.
First of all, Lionel trains were expensive. In the 1951 Sears catalog, the lowest-priced Lionel ready-to-run set (steam engine & tender, three cars, oval of track and power supply) was $35.75. This was a lot of bucks in those days, probably equivalent to about $385 in today's money.
In 1951, a 59-piece cowboy ranch set was only $3.89. A Marx two-level metal service station (with parking on the upper level, a car elevator, 'down' ramp and several molded plastic cars) was only $2.98. And a Jeep pedal car could be had for $19.95. Meanwhile a ready-to-run Marx O-gauge train set (steam loco & tender, three cars, oval of track and power supply) was a mere $9.69 - 70% less than a similar Lionel set … (more >>>)
Book Review: 'The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America' by Victor Davis Hanson
In this book, VDH charts the decline and fall of the once-cherished concept of American citizenship. Even in the pre-Roman Era, citizenship was valued and cherished. Over the past 50 years, our citizenship has been devalued by liberal politicians and bureaucrats. The evisceration of the middle class over that period has made many Americans dependent on largess of the federal government.
In his previous works, Victor Davis Hanson was ever the intellectual political scientist. In this book, he provides personal life experiences to back up his assertions. Such an approach made the book more meaningful for me.
Growing up, Hanson witnessed ... (more >>>)
Battles May Have Been Won, But The War On The Constitution Is Not Over: The Z Man recently wrote about the future of America and how challenges to American's freedom are being fought. "The Rittenhouse trial is the latest big court case to expose the massive cultural rift in the country. The Derek Chauvin trial in the summer was another example."
"What all of these cases and some others have in common is they are tests of the civic nationalist theory of politics. Civic nationalism is the argument that a country can be organized around a set of ideas, rather than people and land. The citizens, rather than connected by blood and history, are connected by ideas. In the case of America, the organizing ideas are in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution."
The Western elites are not interested in civic nationalism. Instead, they want open borders and no national sovereignty. "The words 'civil war' should be a reminder that the Confederacy won a lot of skirmishes and battles, but they lost the war. The lesson of that war was that the side that does not accept defeat usually wins in the end. The reason the trophy room of Conservative Inc. is empty is they always assume these small victories are definitive, while the other side uses them to redouble their efforts."
A significant number of people reject the principles necessary to have a rule-based society. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence mean nothing to them.
Z-Man concluded, "Is civic nationalism capable of defending itself from its enemies? Can the defenders of participatory order find the courage to do what must be done to preserve the ordered society? If the answer is no, then something else must come forward to beat back the forces of darkness threatening Western civilization. Otherwise, it is the long dark winter Joe Biden has promised."
Just Wondering: Exactly when did order takers stop saying "the computer is down" and replace it with "the system is down"? (permalink)
A Holy Day Celebrating A Blessed Event: On December 8th, Catholics throughout the world celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
The Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived free from original sin by virtue of the foreseen merits of her son, Jesus.
Although the belief that Mary was sinless and conceived immaculate has been widely held since before the Middle Ages, the doctrine was dogmatically defined in 1854 by Pope Pius IX.
Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. (permalink)
Happy Birthday ... to my great-grndmother, Kate Sherlock. Born on this day in 1836, Kate lived in County Mayo Ireland until she emigrated with my great-grandfather to America. The only photo I have of her was taken around 1895 in Cincinnati. She was in her mid-50s at the time and had emigrated from Western Ireland a couple of years earlier.
I had never seen a photo of her before. This one was smudged, cracked and quite yellowed but I fixed as much as I could in Photoshop. It's amazing that this 120+ year-old photo has survived at all. Kate has a nice smile.
I still haven't seen any photos of her husband, my great-grandfather. The couple had nine children, all of whom came to America.
Holiday Fact: The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.
Monday December 6, 2021
In America, You're Free … to do anything you want. Even if it's tasteless. Earl Bruce of Hollywood, CA had famous California artist/pinstriper/flame-painter Von Dutch do a flame paint job on his Mercedes-Benz 300 SL gullwing coupe. Von Dutch later said, "I thought they were going to lynch me for desecrating a shrine."
Earl owned one of the early custom cars - a 1940 ... (more >>>)
More Blue Oval Electrics: Ford plans to double its production capacity of electric vehicles to 600,000 units annually by 2023, making the company second only to Tesla in U.S. EV production.
"That production is expected to be spread across Ford's first three new EVs: the Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning and E-Transit."
"In connection with the increase in EV capacity, CEO Jim Farley said Ford plans to convert more than 80% of reservation holders for its upcoming F-150 Lightning EV into owners. Ford says more than 160,000 reservations that require a $100 fully refundable deposit have been placed for the vehicle ahead of its arrival in dealerships by mid-2022."
Lexus Birthday: On December 6, 2007, I took delivery of my new 2008 Lexus LS 460 sedan.
As of this week at age 14, it has a mere 42,540 miles on the odometer. Barring a major accident, I expect it to last the rest of my life.
"A Date Which Will Live In Infamy ..." Eighty years ago tomorrow - on December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. This event galvanized our nation and made us officially part of the Second World War, even though we had already been involved in assisting England - and other nations - against the Nazis.
It was a true World War, involving countries throughout the globe - in Europe, Russia, South Africa, North America, many Pacific Island nations, Australia, Japan, China and Indonesia. Over 400,000 Americans gave their lives for freedom and the world changed forever as a result of this war. Disinterested-Observer, a commenter on Jack Baruth's website, wrote, "The best possible memorial for December 7th, 1941, happened on 6 and 9 August 1945." He also noted that "when faced with a seemingly implacable enemy that would rather die than surrender, the U.S. did not need to kill all of them, it just had to convince them that we were willing to."
Today's generations wring their hands about our use of nuclear weapons on Japan but, at the time, there was no other solution, given Japan's stubbornness and continued fierce fighting. The first bomb did not convince them. It took a second bombing to change their minds - late on the evening of August 14 (a full five days after the second atomic bomb was dropped). Experts have estimated that, without the atom bombs, it would have taken a land invasion of Japan and an anticipated death toll of over 100,000 Allied soldiers and sailors before victory could be declared. Harry Truman did the right thing.
Family legend has it that ... (more >>>)
Global Warming Alert: The Barents Observer reported, "Deep freeze sweeps across Arctic Europe; sends power prices soaring.
Exceptional cold is affecting northern Scandinavia and Russia's Kola Peninsula with temperatures below -30°. Sweden hit a 41-year low temperature in November."
Don Surber quipped, "If we get much more of this global warming, we will freeze to death."
What's In A Name? Colorado has stopped using 'sex offender' term due to 'negative impacts' on sex offenders. Ya think? I certainly hope so. Convicted sex offenders can't have enough 'negative impacts' done to them as far as I'm concerned.
"The Colorado Sex Offender Management Board voted to soften the language used to refer to sex offenders in the state board's standards and guidelines. The board voted 10-6 to change the term sex offenders to "adults who commit sexual offenses" in its Standards and Guidelines for the Assessment, Evaluation, Treatment and Behavioral Monitoring of Adult Sex Offenders."
Cops Save Lives: I think that many of us with real world experiences suspected this.
A team of criminologists has found that every 10 to 17 new cops added by a city police department can be expected to save one black person from being murdered. The researchers looked at 242 cities over a 38-year period and concluded "that each additional police officer hired abates between 0.06 and 0.1 homicides. … Although the total reduction in homicide is roughly equal across Black and white victims, the decline in homicide is twice as large for Black victims in per capita terms."
Multiple studies have shown that extra policing works. Studies also show that it works best when high-crime neighborhoods are targeted. Most of these are black neighborhoods, so snowflakes cry 'racism' - an unfair allegation. "Broken windows policing" - "a criminological theory that states that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder" - has also been proven. Just examine the revival of NYC's Time Square area after 'Broken Windows Policing' was implemented by the Guiliani administration in the early 1990s.
The Defund the Police movement is a nutty idea, is not supported by facts and has led to riots, burnings and lootings in cities across America. Permissive Policing doesn't work.
Crisis By Design: The supply chain crisis in the U.S. will be here until at least the second half of 2022, according to economist, consultant and writer, Milton Ezrati. Why? The two biggest issues are Biden-caused: too much government spending, and shutting down oil and gas.
"That's not a supply chain issue, that's policy" said Ezrati. "They know that there is a problem, they tried to dismiss it and hope that it would go away. It hasn't. The inflation is severe."
Quote Of The Day is from Jay Leno: "The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a Nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn't for religious reasons. They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin." There was no problem, however, finding enough asses to fill the stable.
Thursday December 2, 2021
Pre-War Idaho: A photo taken in Twin Falls, Idaho in May 1941 shows a row of parked cars.
Third from left is a 1939 ... (more >>>)
Another COTY Dud: The Lucid Air, the first model from California-based electric car start-up company Lucid Motors, has been named Motor Trend's 2022 Car of the Year.
It's the first time any automaker has won the award with its first car. Motor Trend's panel of judges lauded the Lucid Air for its extraordinary range and efficiency - some versions can go up to 520 miles on a single charge - as well as its performance and luxurious interior.
It's not the first time MT has given the award to an electric vehicle. Motor Trend selected the Tesla Model S as its 2013 Car of the Year. The fire-prone Chevy Bolt EV was chosen as the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year.
In its announcement, Motor Trend called the Air "the new [electric vehicle] benchmark." The Air's electric motors were developed by Lucid itself. With no space taken up by a gasoline engine, the Air has a large cabin area with ample storage space in the trunk as well as under the hood.
The COTY has been awarded to some awful vehicles, including the meretricious and underpowered PT Cruiser (2001), the unloved Renault Alliance in 1983 and the deplorable Chevrolet Citation - one of General Motors' X-body horrors - in 1980.
The Chevrolet Volt was selected as Motor Trend Car of the Year for 2011. In 2002, the faux, late-to-the-party and trouble-plagued New Ford Thunderbird won top honors. In 1997, the perennial Rental Car Queen Chevy Malibu, a vehicle more boring than either 'Dune' the book or 'Dune' the movie, was presented with MT's top prize. In 1988, another member of GM's Rental Car Royalty, the Pontiac Grand Prix, was crowned.
In 1976, the twin rattletraps known as the Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Valor shared the prize. Since most of them rusted away and/or fell apart, they are now seen less often than a Higgs boson particle.
Back in 1974, you could listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd perform 'Sweet Home Alabama' using the eight-track player inside the miserable Mustang II. This muffin stump of the 1970s automotive universe, whose only saving grace was that, as a junkyard resident, it donated many a subframed front-end for late '30s and early '40s street rods (including my '39 Plymouth coupe), won MT's COTY in '74.
On Every Kid's Christmas Wish List: Check out this 1957 Revell catalog for 1:32 and 1:24 model car kits:
I think I received ... (more >>>)
Book Review: 'BMW M: 50 Years of the Ultimate Driving Machines' by Tony Lewin
BMW's Motorsport division - which produced M-series cars - came about at the urging of Bob Lutz. Maxumum Bob, as he was later known, was - at the time - BMW's Sales and Marketing Director.
Founded in 1972, Motorsport at first concentrated on cars for racing; later, the 'M' designation became a marketing icon, driving retail sales to performance-oriented buyers. The BMW 2000 series, particularly the 2002tii and 2002 Turbo, was performance oriented. The compact, boxy two-door sedan's style belied the performance within. When introduced to America in the late 1960s, the 2002tii was expensive compared with other imported and American compact cars. BMW took the European version and offered only the top trim levels to Americans. In Europe, similar-looking cars with smaller 1.8-liter engines were sold at lower prices.
In 1974, I took my first ... (more >>>)
Inflation Is Here To Stay: Don't be fooled by those talking heads on television. The inflation we are witnessing is neither temporary nor transitory.
Recently it was announced that energy costs for electric customers are going up by as much as 50% across Pennsylvania. General Mills informed its retail customers that prices would rise about 20% on hundreds of its items throughout dozens of its brands in mid-January. Dollar Tree has increased prices by 25%. Bidenflation is going to skyrocket next year and it looks like things may be worse than during the Carter administration.
Scott Grannis recently wrote, "The Fed, not supply chain bottlenecks, is to blame for a significant rise in inflation. If the Fed were targeting low and stable inflation correctly, supply chain bottlenecks would result in an increase in some prices, but not all. Think of stable monetary policy as putting the economy on a fixed spending budget; if you spend more on some things, you perforce need to spend less on others."
Today, consumers have a super-abundant spending budget which ... (more >>>)
This Certainly Rang My Bell: The Salvation Army wants its white donors to give it more than just money this Christmas season. Its leadership is also demanding they apologize for being racist.
It's part of a push by the Christian charitable organization to embrace the ideas of Black Lives Matter, and "dismantle white privilege" and "disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure." "It asserts Christianity is institutionally racist, calling for white Christians to repent and offer "a sincere apology" to blacks for being "antagonistic ... to black people and the values of the black community."
Don't expect an apology from me. Or any more donations.
What was founded in 1865 in London, England, as both a protestant Christian church and an international charitable organization, the once wonderful Salvation Army has now embraced Critical Race Theory and believes that all whites are racist.
As longshoreman/philosopher Eric Hoffer once wrote, "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket."
Like The Man Himself: Joe Biden's new Presidential helicopter hit a big setback: it’s unreliable in a crisis. The new bird is not being put into service because it is "not operationally suitable" or "sufficiently reliable" - just like Biden. He should never have been put into service.
Marks & Sparks Gets Woke: Famous British department store Marks & Spencer has given its staff "the option of stating their preferred pronouns on their name badges. The company badges feature the logo alongside the person's first name, and a selection of pronouns, such as 'He/Him/His', 'She/Her/Hers' and 'They/Them/Their'."
My preferred pronouns are 'More/Wine/Please'.
Quote Of The Day: Politicians are like Christmas lights. They all hang together, half of the suckers don't work and the ones that do aren't that bright.
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