A Blog About Cars ... And More
Wednesday November 24, 2021
21st Century Reliability: Consumer Reports released its latest reliability study and Japanese automakers dominated it. "The study found Lexus, Mazda and Toyota suffering the fewest reliability issues, with eight Japanese brands in the top 10. Only Buick made that cut among domestics, while Mini was the sole European." Lexus topped CR's reliability list, followed by Mazda in second place and Toyota for third..
The CR study revealed that hybrids and plug-in hybrids are among the most reliable vehicles on the market. But pure battery-electric vehicles, especially those built by Tesla, suffered from a number of serious problems. Tesla "continues to have major quality issues, both with its technology and the sort of traditional mechanical issues that few other automakers today suffer from. The "below average" Model Y SUV had issues with things as far afield as faulty climate control, bad paint and leaks. The rest of the Tesla line-up, according to Consumer Reports, also fared poorly."
"Among the concerns Consumer Reports had for the Tesla Model S, X and Y lines, according to CNBC, were issues with 'heat pumps, air conditioning' and notoriously, misaligned panels. It's also worth noting that Tesla's Model X ranked dead-last among all cars for reliability, scoring a 5 out of 100."
I got a good look at a Tesla Model X - a dark blue one - last week in Vancouver. It was ahead of me in traffic for a bit and later, we were stopped side-by-side at a traffic light. I thought that the styling was ungainly.
"The bottom spots went to Jeep, Tesla, and once again Lincoln in dead last. 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."
Back To The '80s: General Motors is cutting the popular heated-seat feature from much of its vehicle lineup, including some Chevy and GMC trucks, Buicks and Cadillacs, due to the ongoing global chip shortage. A heated steering wheel feature will also be eliminated in many of the same models.
The first car we ever owned with heated seats was my wife's 1996 Lincoln Continental. It was a wonderful feature and every new car we've bought since had heated seats. My Lexus LS 460 has heated and cooled seats, as well as a heated steering wheel.
I no longer need to wear gloves when driving in winter. I wouldn't buy a car without these warm features.
Exactly 50 Years Ago …. on the night before Thanksgiving, a skyjacker claiming to carry a bomb in a briefcase seized a Northwest Orient Airlines Boeing 727 en route from Portland to Seattle. D.B. Cooper hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in United States airspace between Portland and Seattle on the afternoon of November 24, 1971. He extorted $200,000 in ransom and parachuted to an uncertain fate over southwestern Washington state. The crime remains the only unsolved air piracy in commercial aviation history.
Due to multiple "copycat" hijackings in 1972, the FAA required that all Boeing 727 aircraft be fitted with a device, later dubbed the "Cooper vane", that prevented lowering of the aft airstair during flight.
The drop-down rear stairs on the 727 worked well for loading passengers at small airports that didn't have jetways. I did a lot of flying in the early 1970s and remember boarding from the 727's rear stairs on numerous occasions. The hijacking, plus the increased use of jetways at airports, caused rear stair entry to fall into disuse in the U.S. The 727 itself fell out of favor as newer, wider-body planes with more efficient engines displaced it in service. Its last commercial passenger flight was in January 2019.
Cooking By Flashlight: With the time change, we're back to grilling in the dark. I used to use a flashlight to check grilling progress, now I wear one of those hands-free headband lights.
It was cold - 37 degrees - and pitch black at 5:30 pm, when I was on the deck, cooking a large fillet mignon which my wife and I shared. We also shared some Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon, a Napa Valley wine from 2019. The label claimed that it offered "ripe fruit flavors and silky supple tannins." I dunno. I do know that it tasted very good - fruity, not bitey and yet robust like all good Cabs - and went well with the meal.
Happy Thanksgiving: I hope you enjoy your turkey dinner tomorrow. And I trust it's better than this:
Book Review: 'Woke, Inc.' by Vivek Ramaswamy
Ramaswamy is an entrepreneur in the healthcare and technology sectors and founded biopharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences. He is an opponent of critical race theory and stakeholder capitalism. He considers wokeism to be a scam.
I wanted to like ... (more >>>)
"I Did That - Let's Go Brandon!": Dollar Tree announced it will be permanently raising prices to $1.25.
Question Of The Day: If a bottle of poison expires, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?
Monday November 22, 2021
Electrifying Exhibit: The LA Auto Show, which kicked off last week, had several new vehicle debuts - almost all were electric. So were most of the "concept" vehicles.
According to The Detroit Bureau, new vehicles included the "production version of the Toyota bZ4X, the automaker's first long-range model - and the first of seven that will make up a new Beyond Zero' sub-brand; the Subaru Solterra. The Japanese automaker partnered with Toyota to develop the all-electric crossover which is expected to deliver about 250 miles of range; the Nissan Ariya, the long-awaited second BEV offering from Japan's second-largest automaker. It effectively will replace the Leaf as Nissan's battery flagship; the Hyundai Seven, officially dubbed a "concept," it is a thinly disguised version of the Ioniq 7, an all-electric SUV similar in size to the Korean carmaker's Palisade model; the Kia EV9 will share key underpinnings with the Hyundai SUV and serve as the battery-powered counterpart to the carmaker's popular Telluride model; Fisker Inc. will show an updated, production-ready version of the Ocean SUV it plans to bring to production next year (and) Vietnamese startup VinFast will bring two new battery-electric models to the show, the products set to become the company's first offerings in the U.S. market."
The 2023 Toyota bZ4X made its debut at the show. "In its standard configuration, the 4,232-pound bZ4X is powered by a single electric motor that zaps the front wheels with 150 kW (201 horsepower). Optionally, buyers can add an electric motor to the rear axle for through-the-road all-wheel-drive and a combined 160 kW (214 hp) output, with each motor contributing half. That doubling the motor count adds so little power may seem strange, but the AWD motors are smaller, producing just 80 kW apiece. Hitting 62 mph from a stop takes 8.4 seconds with one motor and 7.7 with two, so the modest power improvement is obviously secondary to the benefits of all-wheel traction, even with a little more weight. The second motor adds roughly 190 pounds." Pricing has not yet been announced and the Toyota BEV is expected to be available in mid-2022.
The 2023 Nissan Ariya BEV starts at $47,950 and has a range at 300 miles. "That comes from the liquid-cooled 87-kWh (usable) battery pack. It has a single electric motor sending 238 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels. It comes standard with a CCS port for DC fast charging up to 130 kW, as well. Standard features include LED lighting, 19-inch wheels, manual-adjustable cloth seats, ambient lighting, a 12.3-inch instrument screen, dual-zone automatic climate control, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, ProPilot Assist adaptive cruise control and lane-centering and blind-spot monitoring."
When the 2021 model year drew to a close, there were 13 long-range, battery-electric vehicles available on the U.S. market, along with a handful of short-range offerings. According to a study by The Detroit Bureau, the number will top 50 by the end of calendar 2022.
Don't Piss Off Your Core Customers: NASCAR is woke now. And dying. First it was the Bubba Wallace Fake Noose fiasco, and now the banning of 'Let's Go Brandon'.
Is there no place that's immune from woke billionaires appeasing loudmouth liberals who aren't even customers?
Still Autumn, But On The Way to Winter: On Saturday, it was a chilly 49 degrees at 1:00 pm. And the skies vacillated between partly cloudy and mostly cloudy. But I decided to fire up my '39 Plymouth coupe and go for an old car drive. Traffic was moderate to light but the sky was socked in to the north - no views of Mt. St. Helens - with dark clouds north and east.
The roads were relatively dry - important because we've had rain for much of the month and rain is forecast for the foreseeable future.
Nevertheless, I had a good drive on the back roads of North Clark County, partly because I dressed warmly, since I have 23 seasons of experience with the Plymouth's original, anemic box heater.
The Plymouth ran well and I had an enjoyable drive.
Afterward, I carefully parked the Plymouth in the garage, based on the assumption that I probably won't be taking any more drives for a while. Night temperatures are close to freezing and rain is forecast for most of the week.
More Horses: The Lucid Air Dream P EV four-door sedan is rated at 1111 horsepower - an easy number to remember.
"At an estimated 5,200 pounds, it'll never shuffle-step like a Lotus, but the Air steers with soul. The feedback flowing into your hands makes it possible to detect change in pavement types. … We'd estimate a 60-mph time in the mid-two-second range with the quarter-mile potentially cracking 10 seconds. Top speed is governed to 168 mph."
Bring a checkbook - or a few Bitcoin - base price is $170,500.
Magnet Miracle: Courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage, you can watch a clip from a 1923 silent movie starring comedian Snub Pollard and his Magnet Car. It's a fun, two-minute comedy.
Rail News: I am pleased to report that my O-gauge model train layout is up and running as of last Thursday morning. Here's a night photo:
Remembering Camelot: Recently, I've watched a couple of television specials on the Kennedy years. The various film clips and stills are like a time capsule. The clothes people wore, the hairstyles, the cars on the road, the store signage - all are fit for a museum but simply remind me of what things were like when I was young.
Quote Of The Day is from Walt Disney: "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."
Thursday November 18, 2021
Trying To Recapture The Magic: Last week, Acura unveiled its Integra four-door hatchback concept, called the Prototype. It reportedly looks very much like the forthcoming production model. Evoking Integras of yore, the car will feature a turbocharged engine and an available manual transmission.
"The new 2023 Integra will be marketed as a premium sport compact, one which will surely be hucked as the first factory turbocharged Integra. A 6-speed manual transmission will be offered in concert with the 1.5-liter turbo mill, and pricing will start under $30,000. ... The launch of the 2023 Acura Integra will mark the first time for Integra to be built in America when it begins mass production next year at the Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio." No two-door coupe version is planned.
Along with many other once-iconic brands, Acura has morphed into a purveyor of boxy crossovers. Will the reborn Integra burnish the Acura name? Only time will tell.
Little Boxes … And They're All Made Out Of Ticky-Tacky: Jesse Bowers of Just A Car Guy posted images of 23 crossovers, demonstrating that they're almost indistinguishable from the side view.
As the song says, "Little boxes all the same. There's a green one and a pink one. And a blue one and a yellow one, And they're all made out of ticky-tacky And they all look just the same."
If all vehicles look the same from the side - or from 50 feet away, why pay more for a premium crossover? No one ever confused a Cadillac Eldorado with a Lincoln Mark V in 1979. Or a Pinto with a Vega that same year.
The Truth About Tires: As I look through 'All-American Ads of the '50s' (I'm rereading some of my old books), I find that there are several ads devoted to 'foundation garments' - ladies' girdles, corsets and the like. Those rubberized things pretty much disappeared by the late 1960s.
Feminist writers claim that the demise of these garments was due to the liberation of women in the 1960s. Conspiracy-theorist that I am, I wish to point out that the rate of decline of foundation garment sales in the 1960s exactly equaled the rate of increase in radial tire usage on cars. I believe that much of the ... (more >>>)
Book Review: 'Porsche At Le Mans - 70 Years' by Glen Smale
When I write book reviews, I normally don't tell readers how to read a book. But this one deserves an exception. Flip through the pages and you'll find an almost flip-book-like animation of Porsche's evolution from humble racing cars which resemble 1951 stock autos to the race-only 917s of 18 years later.
In 1951, Porsche entered two cars at Le Mans. Both were early ... (more >>>)
November 2021 Virus Update: As of November 10th, there have been a total of 38,881 total cumulative confirmed cases of the Wuhan flu and 469 confirmed cumulative deaths in Clark County, WA. Only 42 of the deceased were vaccinated, according to the Clark County website. This number is far lower than national figures I've seen on television news reports.
This table summarizes data for cases and deaths in Clark County over time, beginning with March 2020.
Washington State has a total cumulative case rate of 91,601/million. The U.S. coronavirus case rate is now 138,368/MM - 51% higher than Washington state's case rate.
Clark County had ... (more >>>)
Questions Of The Week are from Jack Baruth: "Why has President Biden tied mandatory vaccination to employment in the private sector, while steadfastly refusing to even discuss the idea of making it mandatory in order to receive public assistance? And how, exactly, have most states determined that being terminated for non-vaccination makes you ineligible for unemployment benefits?"
Headline Of The Day: 'Elf Finger Found In Box Of Keebler Cookies'.
Tuesday November 16, 2021
Lordstown Death Watch: Short on operating funds, troubled electric truck startup Lordstown Motors has again delayed the launch of its Endurance pickup, now until the third quarter of 2022. Maybe.
Or maybe never.
In August, Lordstown said it would be making trucks by September 2021.
Lordstown Motors "has recently turned over its entire leadership team (much like Workhorse, the EV startup that Lordstown Motors was essentially birthed from) and has sold its factory to Foxconn to stay alive."
Meanwhile, electric truck-maker Rivian reached a market value of more than $100 billion two days after its initial public offering, exceeding the market cap of all U.S. automakers except Tesla.
Punish Everyone For The Sins Of A Few: As part of the huge, pork-laden $! trillion infrastructure package, Congress has mandated that all new vehicles from 2026 onward, must be equipped with monitoring systems to stop drunk drivers.
Of course, any drunk with a little money and some friends will have these things disconnected, so the bill will accomplish nothing except add expense to the price of new cars.
Currently, some convicted drunken drivers must use breathalyzer devices attached to an ignition interlock, blowing into a tube and disabling the vehicle if their blood alcohol level is too high. But that's not good enough for MADD and other lobbying groups.
Using the mentality of a sourpuss elementary school teacher, the entire class must be punished for the misbehavior of a few miscreants.
62 Years Ago ... I attended the 1960 Philadelphia Auto Show with a few of my high school buddies. And all the cars we saw, are now considered 'collectable' and many are worth more than their original asking price.
In recent years, I have bemoaned the lack of exciting new cars. This got me thinking back to many years ago - the 1960 model year.
While there was no GM Motorama that year and not many concept or dream cars from other makers (the Valiant-based Plymouth XNR asymmetrical roadster was the only one I remember), there were some completely new models to inspect and examine at dealerships and auto shows. As high school Juniors, my car buddies and I toured the 1960 Philly Auto Show in November 1959.
The big news for '60 was the introduction of compact models by the Big Three. The Chevy Corvair was a radical departure for Detroit - a rear-engined, air-cooled compact car with a host of aluminum components to save weight. It was full of technical novelties.
The Ford Falcon was a pleasantly-styled - if a bland-looking - downsized Ford, in every way. Its entire powertrain was simply a smaller version of its larger brother's. But it offered proven technology for the less adventurous small car buyer. Period ads claimed the car had "three years and three million miles" behind it and that it was "the world's most experienced new car." Ford also reminded prospects that the Falcon provided "nearly four times more luggage space than the most popular imported new car."
The Falcon outsold the Corvair by almost twofold in 1960 - 429,676 to 250,007.
Introduced a bit later than its competition ... (more >>>)
Race In Peace: Former race car driver Bob Bondurant, who raced for the Shelby American, Ferrari and Eagle teams and whose School of High Performance Driving has been responsible for training generations of American racing drivers, has died at age 88.
During his teens, Bondurant raced an Indian motorcycle on dirt ovals. In 1956 he switched to sports car racing with a Morgan and started to attract attention when he won the West Coast 'B' production Championship, in a Chevrolet Corvette winning 18 out of 20 races.
Bondurant is the only American to bring home the World Championship trophy back to the U.S. while racing for Carroll Shelby. He won his class at Le Mans and has been inducted into ten motorsports halls of fame. Bondurant Racing School was founded in 1968 and has graduated celebrities for car movies like James Garner, Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Nicholas Cage, and Christian Bale, along with over 500,000 graduates from around the world.
Here's a story about Bob from the book, 'F1 Mavericks': Racing at Spa in 1966, Jackie Stewart crashed and was trapped by the steering wheel in his twisted BRM. "Only the brave intervention of Bob Bondurant and Graham Hill … and a wrench borrowed from a spectator to remove the wheel kept the incident from turning into a disaster. Stewart would keep a wrench taped to the inside of his cockpit for the rest of his career." RIP.
Buh-Bye: Located in Northeast Portland, Lloyd Center opened in 1960 as a 100-store, open-air mall, the largest in the world at the time. It was covered in the 1980s with a glass ceiling, then extensively renovated in the 1990s into a more traditional enclosed shopping mall with a central food court. Now it will soon be gone.
In recent years, it has ... (more >>>)
Now It's Reversed: In 1985, Yakov Smirnoff quipped, "In Russia, you wait for food. In America, food waits for you."
Quote Of The Day is from Will Rogers: "We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress."
Friday November 12, 2021
Fewer Dealers: Cadillac is expected to have lost one-third of its U.S. dealerships this year - going from nearly 900 physical locations at the start of 2021 to an estimated 560 by year's end.
"Last year, Cadillac asked dealers to spend the capital necessary to install charging stations, update their service centers, and retrain staff to better tackle EVs or take a buyout before the automaker's first battery-driven car (the Lyric crossover) hits the market early in 2022. It would seem that a meaningful portion of the whole decided to bow out, which Cadillac seems totally fine with."
Cadillac is gearing up to become an all-electric brand by 2030 and it ... (more >>>)
Mystery Car Identified: The always enjoyable James Lileks has posted a bunch of old restaurant postcards from the 1950s and 1960s online.
The image of The Brahma restaurant of Ocala, Florida has a small red car with a fabric surrey roof in the parking lot. James commented, "Automotive historians will no doubt recognize that car. I don't."
The car is a relatively rare one - a Fiat Jolly. These were standard Fiat 500s and 600s converted to open air vehicles by Ghia, the Italian coachbuilder. The resultant beach buggy was marketed worldwide as the Jolly, meaning "joker" in Italian.
The Jolly was introduced in 1957 and was manufactured until 1966. Jollys were mostly used in resort areas (St. Thomas, Barbados, Capri , etc.) and were popular with hotels and rental car firms.
The cars had cut down sides (no need for doors) and wicker seats. Less than 1,000 were made over the years.
Happy Birthday Grandmom! The only grandmother I ever knew (my other one, Delia, died a year before I was born) had her birthday today.
Ellen was born in 1878, although she always lied about her age and would probably admit to being about 10 to 15 years younger. Born in County Mayo Ireland, she emigrated to the U.S. in 1904 and later married a fellow immigrant from her old village. They worked hard, prospered and raised three children.
When I finally got a car to commute to college - my wonderful grandmother paid for it as a gift. When she gave me the money, I considered buying a new Austin-Healey Sprite or an MG Midget. My parents persuaded me to buy a Volkswagen Beetle instead. Good thing that they did - the Beetle was dead-bang reliable. I'm sure the Sprite would have been a nightmare to own and keep running.
Having a car was a good thing; it cut my round-trip commute time by two hours each day. What precipitated the car gift was a ... (more >>>)
Perfect For Thanksgiving Dinner: Thanksgiving will be here sooner than you think. I didn't buy one of these only because I couldn't justify paying 50 bucks for it. But maybe you think its worth the money.
It's the Titanic Gravy Boat. Be sure to keep it away from any iceberg lettuce on the table. "There's a stack of mashed potatoes off the port bow. Hard to starboard!"
Thought For Today: A lazy man often gets busy manufacturing excuses.
Wednesday November 10, 2021
Imperial Hearse: I've never seen one in person, but National Body Co. of Knightstown, Indiana produced a 1957 Imperial hearse for the House of Diggs funeral home in Detroit Michigan.
National built at least one Imperial long wheelbase landau end-loader in 1957. National Body Manufacturing Co. produced hundreds of Chevrolet and Pontiac-based professional vehicles. Later, the company offered ... (more >>>)
Long In The Tooth: The average age of vehicles on U.S. roadways rose to a record 12.1 years last year, as lofty prices and improved quality prompt owners to hold on to their cars longer. It was the first time the average vehicle age rose above 12 years, according to research firm IHS Markit. While the average vehicle age has risen steadily over the last 15 years, the trend accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Whereas 20 years ago, a car might have changed hands once or twice and lasted 100,000 miles, it is more common today for a car to have multiple owners and last for 200,000 miles or more," said Todd Campau, associate director of aftermarket solutions at IHS.
Today's vehicles hold up longer and they are far more expensive than they used to be. Growing up, I remember that many neighbors got a new car every two or three years. But the look of cars changed a great deal in three years - back in the day when styling was king.
Consider this: a 1985 Ford Taurus is now over 35 years old, yet it doesn't look out of place compared with other sedans on the road. Imagine a 1959 Cadillac parked next to a 1924 model. The difference would be quite obvious - even to people who didn't know much about cars.
The Preserve at Woodstone Village And Other Fake Names: The proprietor of Sippican Cottage takes on developers who assign billion dollar names to tract houses. His humorous posting is titled 'If You Lived Here, You'd Be Crapi Now'.
Excerpt: "... naming your buildings, and the neighborhoods they're in, is an American art form. There's a list of only a dozen or so words allowed for naming tract-house neighborhoods, which can be used in any combination of pairs to differentiate your cul-de-sac slice of heaven from the benighted troglodytes that live two streets away."
My late mother-in-law once lived in a place named Nomad Park Estates. There were no 'nomads' - just old people, no 'park' - just blacktop, and no 'estates' - just single and double-wide mobile homes. And those 'homes' weren't really 'mobile' either.
Honoring Veterans: November 11th is Veterans Day - a time for all of us to be grateful for their sacrifices which have kept and continue to keep us safe.
Freedom is never free. Thanks to all soldiers who serve or have served.
Book Review: 'American Dreamer: How I Escaped Communist Vietnam and Built a Successful Life in America' by Tim Tran
This is the inspirational autobiography and highly-engaging memoir of Tim Tran, a Vietnamese born in 1950, who grew up during the turmoil in Southeast Asia. From his childhood in a poor (by American standards) rural area, his visit to America as a USAID scholarship student, to his return to a war-torn country and his dangerous escape and eventual return to America, where he rose to become the CFO of a multi-billion-dollar Portland, Oregon company, his story is one of courage and perseverance. Tim and his wife and co-escapee, Cathy, now live in Camas, WA.
While his story is exemplary, many such boat people from Southeast Asia settled in the Portland area with no money. They worked at ... (more >>>)
I Hope Anthony Likes The Smell Of Shit: Recently, I received an e-mail notice from my high school. It declared: "Anthony Bush, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, has accepted an offer with the City of San Francisco to become the Chief Equity Officer for their Homelessness and Supportive Housing Department."
The school is conducting a search for his replacement.
Vaccine Entropy: Researchers who scoured the records of nearly 800,000 U.S. veterans found that in early March, just as the Delta variant was gaining a toehold across American communities, the three vaccines were roughly equal in their ability to prevent infections. But over the next six months, that changed dramatically.
By the end of September, Moderna's two-dose covid-19 vaccine, measured as 89% effective in March, was only 58% effective. The effectiveness of shots made by Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, which also employed two doses, fell from 87% to 45% in the same period. And most strikingly, the protective power of Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine plunged from 86% to just 13% over those six months.
Among veterans 65 and older who were ... (more >>>)
Wile E. Mindset: Basil, a conservative gentleman from Georgia, has written about liberals and their strange, twisted logic.
"It still amazes me that people can be so stupid and still manage to walk upright. It's sort of like a Road Runner cartoon. Wile E. Coyote thinks he's a "Super Genius" but comes up with some hair-brained plan that ends with him ordering rocket-powered roller skates and blowing himself up or splattering himself against a canyon wall."
Basil offers nine examples of convoluted liberal logic:
Amen. Nuff said.
Quote Of The Day is from writer Elmore Leonard: "If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you're the asshole."
Monday November 8, 2021
October Vehicle Sales: Light vehicle sales for October were 12.99 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) in October 2021, up 6.8% from the September sales rate, and down 20.8% from October 2020. Auto industry boffins are predicting/hoping that the worst of the supply chain issues are over, with the worst of it peaking in September. Others are predicting that the semiconductor shortage for the electronics in cars will extend well into next year.
Economist Stephen Moore wrote, "A good friend who owns a major auto dealership in the Dallas area recently told me he typically has about 500 to 1,000 cars and trucks on his lot. Now, he has 15. That's how severe the supply chain problem has become.
He said people are buying cars over the sticker price. You usually haggle down the price for a new car. Now, you haggle up the price! Welcome to Bidenflation."
Ford's October new vehicle sales were down 4%, compared with October 2020, but 16% better than September, showing the company is coming back from its semiconductor problems. Lincoln brand sales declined 17% for October year-over-year to 8,346 units.
Toyota Division sales for the month totaled 124,039 vehicles, down 31%, while Lexus Division sales for the month totaled 22,631 vehicles, down 15%. Honda brand sales dropped 23% while Acura sales were down 27%. Subaru of America reported a 40% decrease compared with record October 2020 sales. Hyundai reported its sales dropped by 1% in October. Kia reported its sales dropped 7% for the period. Mazda sales declined 14% from last October.
In the good news department, sales of the Genesis brand increased 403% year-over-year in October to 5,300 vehicles.
Another Reincarnated Luxo Brand: Audi has introduced the Horch luxury sedan as a competitor to Mercedes Maybach. Based on the large, long-wheelbase version of the Audi A8will debut , the 2022 A8 L Horch features a distinctive grille, unique badging and will debut at the Guangzhou Auto Show on November 19th.
"Inside are the finest materials Audi has available, with more Horch badges scattered here and there, and diamond pattern perforation across the high-quality hides. Said seating comes with a standard eight-way massage at the front, and two luxurious thrones in the rear. Also standard is the most expensive Bang & Olufsen 3-D stereo system." At present, the Horch will be sold only in China. Because of China taxes on large engines, "Audi has restrained its engine offering: The Horch uses a turbocharged 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 and adds a 48-volt mild hybrid system to the party for a total of 340 horsepower."
I knew a guy who once owned a late-1930s Horch cabriolet powered by an eight-cylinder engine. He loved driving it. But the pre-war Horch was a different car altogether - not today's tarted-up Audi.
Lotsa Pix, Too: For the best coverage of the many cool cars at last week's Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association Las Vegas Show, go to Jesse Bowers' 'Just A Car Guy' SEMA 2021 pages - start here.
And, over the weekend, Jesse's blog turned 15 years old. Congratulations.
Moving Story: At 11:30 am on Sunday, we brought the train platform in from the garage. We did so in-between rainstorms, although there was light drizzle and it was a chilly 46 degrees. The rain stopped just before the move and resumed as we were putting away the ramps and other moving materials. My kids, their spouses and my grandson did most of the work - which was awesome.
There is much work to be done but I hope to have my O-gauge train layout operational before Thanksgiving.
Time Flies: My wife has been repairing old photo albums; many of the snapshots have come loose over the years. These old photos have brought back a lot of memories. It's hard to believe that 43 years ago, we were just taking delivery of a large vacuum forming machine - our plastic company's first major equipment purchase. We had to rent a crane to lift it off the semi.
The tall fellow in the tan coat and brown knit cap is my business partner, John Koegler. The equipment had traveled across the U.S. from North Carolina to Oregon in 1978, arriving on a cold, foggy late-Fall morning.
For many years, small companies have ... (more >>>)
Pop Tort: A woman is suing Kellogg's over the lack of strawberries in strawberry pop tart. Coming soon: 'The Never-Ending Story' is fraudulent because it ended.
You Betcha! Don Surber wrote that "Trump would have unloaded the cargo ships by now."
He details the many failures of the Biden administration to fix the supply chain problem. "According to Goldman Sachs, more than 30 million tons of cargo now sit aboard vessels idling outside of U.S. ports. It predicts that port congestion will not ease until the second half of next year."
Don quipped, "Our supplies cannot get in but millions of illegal aliens can and do. What would President Trump do different? Everything."
Forget It, Jake, It's Portland: Pro-choice activists are celebrating an amendment to Portland's bereavement leave policy that has made it the first local government in the United States to give paid time off to public employees after an abortion. One pro-life group is calling it an unwitting acknowledgment of the loss of life.
Thought For Today: I miss the 1980s when bread was still good for you and no one knew what kale was.
Thursday November 4, 2021
Dream Buick: Mac's Motor City Garage posted an interesting article on the 1951 Buick XP-300 concept car.
The XP-300 contained many technical and styling innovations - so many that two different examples were constructed. The XP-300’s body shell was ... (more >>>)
The Birth Of The Inifiniti Brand ... according to Jeremy Clarkson: "Toyota decided that a Lexus should be built to a standard unparalleled in the world and that the cars should drive and feel better than any Mercedes. Nissan, on the other hand, just wrote Infiniti on the back of a Datsun. In crayon. Hoping the Americans would be fooled."
The Quest For New Tires: It was time for our Avalon to get new tires. We bought our last set in 2012 and, while there was still some tread on them, they were worn enough that I was concerned about the coming winter's worth of Northwest rain and slippery roads. I had read that new tires - like almost everything else - are getting scarce due to supply chain issues.
We had been purchasing Toyo Tourevos, ever since we replaced the original equipment Michelins (which I didn't like), from the Les Schwab Tire Center in Battle Ground. I called about buying new tires and found out that Schwab no longer carries Toyos and that the best they could do was Bridgestone Dueler H/L 400s, which I found out later was a truck/SUV tire, shipped from Nevada to arrive in three weeks or so.
Celine told me that there was only a three-year warranty and no mileage warranty. She seemed confused by … (more >>>)
All The Leaves Are Brown ...
... and the sky is gray.
Uh Oh: Stock market crash ahead? The graph looks ominous ... (more >>>)
Climate Hypocrisy: Prince Charles took a private jet to Rome to take part in the G20 conference before returning via private jet to the Climate Change Summit in Glasgow to express his concern over global warming.
Approximately, 400 private jets arrived at the climate summit.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden traveled through Rome in an 85-vehicle motorcade before heading to the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference Summit. Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe has called climate change a "limousine liberal issue." She also cited Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), illegally parking her $59,000 Tesla outside of a Whole Foods store and U.S. climate envoy John Kerry exclusively flying private as "examples of limousine liberal issues… that hurt hardworking Americans the most."
"If Democrats actually cared about emissions, they would look toward things like natural gas, nuclear power as well," Boothe continued. "But they don't care about these issues. They don't care about emissions. All they care about is virtue-signaling to their other limousine liberal friends."
Two, Four, Six, Eight. Time To Excommunicate: The Catholic Church should develop some backbone and very publicly kick that ghastly Nancy Pelosi out of its Congregation of the Faithful.
And not just for the sin of Pride - I mean, how many facelifts has she had anyway?
Consider … (more >>>)
Windows 11, Dorian Gray Edition: Bill Gates just turned 66 years old. Seventy-five year old Gerard Van der Leun doesn't think Bill looks good for his age. One of Gerard's posters commented that Gates looks older because "see what an evil heart and deceitful mind will do to ya?" It seems to me that Gates jumped from a geeky-looking college kid to an old man in an instant.
Here's a photo ... (more >>>)
Book Review: 'How I Saved The World' by Jesse Watters
I don't know who came up with the phrase "punchably smug" but, if its ever included in the big Random House dictionary, it should include a picture of Jesse Watters. Stacked up, hundreds of copies of his book will stand as a testament to his monumental ego. His cockiness pervades every page of this 280-plus page book.
The odd thing is ... (more >>>)
Still Around: My wife showed me an article in the 'Temple Review', her alumnae magazine, about some School of Pharmacy graduates who now work at Sun Ray drugstores.
I didn't realize this drug chain still existed. Stores can still be found in the Delaware Valley, New Jersey and New York. I probably haven't set foot in a Sun Ray drugstore in 40 years.
I wonder - does Sun Ray still sell ... (more >>>)
Democrats Want Sick People To Die: The California Assisted-Suicide law prompted a medical insurance company to deny coverage to a terminally ill California woman.
Stephanie Packer, a wife and mother of four who was diagnosed with a terminal form of scleroderma, said that her insurance company initially indicated it would pay for her to switch to a different chemotherapy drug based on the recommendation of her doctors but shortly after the California assisted suicide law went into effect, her insurance company denied her treatment.
Don Surber commented, "Remember when Democrats told you health care was a right and demonized insurance companies? Nyah, Democrats just want you dead and they work for the insurance companies."
Remember the Obama death panels? I do.
Time Change: We'll be turning clocks back this weekend. Gaining an extra hour in 2021 is like getting a bonus track on a Yoko Ono Album.
Just Wondering: What do vegetarians keep in the meat drawers of their fridges? (permalink)
Quote Of The Day is from Theodore Roosevelt: "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official."
Tuesday November 2, 2021
Scene From A Gas Station:
This 1940s-era photo shows a 1939 Plymouth coupe parked at ... (more >>>)
Not A Small Block: Chevy Performance is offering a big-block, 1,004 horsepower, 632 cubic-inch V8 crate motor.
"This obviously isn't the kind of motor you would buy for tooling around town. It's specifically designed for drag racing applications, with Chevy saying the iron block endured 200 simulated runs on a dyno without a single hiccup."
Pricing is expected to be close to $20,000.
"Oh, The Days Dwindle Down ..." Fall has definitely arrived. There has been a change in the light - it now has that Fall Look - wan and a bit shadowy. The sky is a paler, anemic blue - the color of an old oxford shirt that's been washed too many times. Daybreak is later; darkness falls earlier.
But there was nary a cloud in the sky on Saturday. It's getting colder, dropping into the mid-30s on Friday night.
Colors are past peak. Many tree leaves have the dull, darkening brown of death. There are still a few semi-bright reds here-and-there, but the yellow ones are getting a decidedly brown cast. By 12:15 pm Saturday, the temperature was around 52, so I fired up my '39 Plymouth coupe and went for a drive.
After all the rain earlier in the week, the air was quite clear and I had a perfect view of snow-covered Mt. St. Helens.
The traffic was fairly light but those vinyl tuck-and-roll seats were cold enough to drain all the heat from any buttocks within a 200-foot radius of the Plymouth. I left the windows rolled up and waited for the little box heater to start warming the car. As is usual in colder weather, it kicks in only after many miles. In my case, just as I turned on my street on the way home. Nevertheless, I had a good drive and the Plymouth ran well. And the bright sunshine kept me warm.
Clouds and rain are forecast for the week. I woke up to rain Monday morning. At 6:00 am, it was 39 degrees and pitch black outside. Summer is long gone.
Free-Falling: The car with the highest five-year depreciation is the Nissan Leaf at 65.1%, the Japanese manufacturer's small electric-powered car. "It has received mostly mediocre reviews from car research organizations and car magazines."
Second place went to the BMW i3 - another small electric car.
Taxpayers On The Hook: The Wall Street Journal reported that the Hertz/Tesla deal is all about government subsidies.
"Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he isn't giving Hertz a discount on the reported $4.2 billion order. But he doesn't need to because the House reconciliation spending bill includes a 30% tax credit for 'qualified commercial electric vehicles'.
The text doesn't clearly define what is a 'qualified commercial electric' vehicle, but our sources say Hertz's Teslas would likely make the cut. The credit could save Hertz $1.26 billion and make a Tesla almost as cheap for Hertz to buy as a Toyota Camry.
Hertz plans to install thousands of electric-vehicle chargers, which could also be eligible for taxpayers subsidies. The House spending bill extends a 30% tax credit for the installation of EV charging stations through 2031, which is on top of the $7.5 billion appropriation for stations in the separate Senate infrastructure bill."
The WSJ asked "if EVs make business sense, why must the government subsidize them? Democrats complain that corporations aren't paying their fair share in taxes, but then they give them generous tax breaks for promoting progressive policies that reduce their tax payments.
Enjoy that Hertz Tesla ride. You'll have paid more for it than the rental contract says."
Back To The Thirties: Recently, I rewatched an old 1937 black and white movie, 'Topper', which starred Cary Grant, Constance Bennett, Billie Burke (later to be immortalized as The Good Witch) and Roland Young as Cosmo Topper, the bemused recipient of his dead friends' good deeds.
The film has one song running through it - a Hoagy Carmichael ditty, 'Old Man Moon'. In the nightclub sequence, the tune is ably performed by the vocal quartet, 'Three Hits and a Miss'. The talented Martha Tilton was the "Miss" in the group. She later joined the Jimmy Dorsey Band. Martha eventually joined singer Jo Stafford and others to form a swing chorus for Benny Goodman on his radio show. She became Goodman's lead vocalist after his former girl singer parted ways and hit the big time with the song 'And the Angels Sing.'
For me, the biggest star of the movie was the Topper car ... (more >>>)
Time Travel Thoughts: Imagine going back in time 60 years and trying to describe satellite radio to people. "What!?! In the future you have to pay for radio!?! What's next? Having to put money in a machine to fill your tires with air?!"
32 Years Ago ... I sold Discovery Plastics, Inc. I became an investor in late 1977 and joined as a working partner in July, 1978. We sold our plastics display manufacturing company to a large ($220 million in revenues) store fixture conglomerate in 1989. In 11 years, Discovery had grown from ... (more >>>)
All Souls Day: Today is All Souls Day, as celebrated by Catholics (as well as some other Christian denominations).
In the Catholic Mass, during the post-Consecration Eucharistic Prayers, there is a section where the priest calls for prayers for the Pope, the local bishop and, finally, the dead, saying something like "Remember also those who have died in the peace of Christ and all the departed, whose faith you alone have known." At that point, the priest usually pauses for 2-3 seconds so you can add names of your own.
That worked out fine when I was 10 years old and didn't know many dead people but, as I've gotten older, the names on my personal list has expanded and I cannot possibly include everyone in a mere 2-3 seconds. I solved the problem by developing 'The List'. Before Mass begins, I recite a list of 40-50 people who played a significant role in my life, ending with the prayer, "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace." Then, when the priest does his two-second pause, I simply mutter the words The List. God's smart enough to figure it out. Problem solved.
The Catholic Church has a particular affinity for the dead and offers a system where God can modify His judgement based on a prayer received long after the deceased's personal judgement day. It's kind of like post-dating a check.
Quick China Flu Update: As of last week, Clark County (WA) is experiencing 12 deaths/week from covid and 837 cases/week. Hospital admissions have decreased to 46/week.
Death rates have dropped substantially since mid-August and are now - surprisingly - about the same for fully-vaccinated people, partially-vaccinated and the unvaccinated. 64.3% of Clark County's population (over age 12) are vaccinated.
Since the pandemic began, no one under 20 years of age in Clark County has died from covid and only one person between 20-29 died. Over 42% of the dead are 80 years or older; most had underlying conditions.
Liberal/libertarian Bill Maher ... (more >>>)
Hearing Difficulty: Morris, an 85 year-old man, went to the doctor to get a physical. A few days later, the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.
Later, the doctor pulled Morris aside and said, "You're really doing great, aren't you?"
Morris replied, "Just doing what you said, Doc: 'Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.'"
The doctor said, "I didn't say that, Morris. I said, 'You've got a heart murmur; be careful.'"
Quote Of The Day is from Winston Churchill: "Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you."
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