A Blog About Cars ... And More
Friday June 11, 2021
Too Many Companies, Too Many Brands: Big technological change finds companies flocking to cash in. But, usually there's not enough room for all of them and many just go out of business. This has happened twice before in the automotive business and it's happening again with the new technology of electric vehicles.
In the early days of the 20th Century, there were many companies which raised capital, built a few cars, couldn't compete or make money in a market that had fast-moving technology and consolidation of suppliers dealers and manufacturers. Some were just scammobiles conceived to sucker money out of investors. If you're a car guy with total recall, you may remember ... (more >>>)
Another Moon Eyes Babe:
Photo taken in April 1964. (permalink)
One Man's Truth: Bill McGuire, the man behind the great auto website Mac's Motor City Garage, has owned a Tesla Model 3 for nine months and 8,000 or so miles. He's written about it in a post titled 'The Truth About Owning a Tesla'. Bill has had a mostly positive experience with his new car and provides a detailed report. He believes that the future is electric and makes a compelling case. His article is worth a read.
In other Tesla news ... (more >>>)
Tasty T: In the 1970s and '80s, Tasty Baking used this 1915 Model T delivery van in TastyKake livery to promote their snack cake products:
I have a ... (more >>>)
What's In A Name? In 1959, the Guide Lamp Division of General Motors (now a separate company known as Guide Corp.) developed the Twilight Sentinel - a sensor system which automatically turned the headlights off and/or on at dusk/sunrise.
It was first offered as an option on 1960 Buick models. …. (more >>>)
Wiener Queen: Presenting Miss Frankfurter of 1952:
She's probably ... (more >>>)
St. Woke Prep: My old alma mater, St. Joe's Prep, was once an affordable private Catholic school for the middle-class. No more. Tuition is now over $25,000 per year. Like other expensive private schools, it has, sadly, become Woke. For example, the Prep now has a Director of Diversity and Inclusion.
The school recently published Our Year Of Solidarity' which mentioned "marginalized members of society" and "systemic racism." Systemic racism, I've read, is nebulously defined as "a form of racism that is embedded through laws and regulations within society or an organization. It can lead to such issues as discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power, and education, among other issues."
I don't buy it. Today ... (more >>>)
Political Observation Of The Week is from Chris Cardillo: "Hunter Biden is the son the left wanted Trump to have."
Quote Of The Day is from Don Surber: "The national sin of the 19th century was slavery. It ended in 1865. The national sin of the 20th century was segregation. It ended in 1964. The national sin of the 21st century is abortion. It, too, will end."
Wednesday June 9, 2021
Mr. Paint: Born in 1908, Earl Scheib never went to college. Instead, he got a job as a gas station attendant changing oil and tires for General Petroleum Co. in the late 1920s. Not long after, he went into business with his own gas station on the corner of Whitworth and Fairfax in Los Angeles. His neighbors soon began asking if he knew anyone who could paint their cars. So, each night, after closing time, Earl would paint cars in the station's lube garage.
It didn't take long for word of Earl's painting service to spread, and soon ... (more >>>)
The King Of Drag Racing: I've added more photos to my Don Garlits page.
Supply/Demand: According to the car shopping website CarGurus, used car values have risen 30% in the past year.
"The list is led by Ram (up 40.5%), followed by Aston Martin (38.1%), Ford (38.7%), GMC (37.9%), Chevrolet (37.3%), Dodge (36.4%), VW (35.1%), Lincoln (32.9%), Toyota (30.5%), and Hyundai and Kia (both 30.1%)."
Kaboooooom! People gathered and watched in the stands as a Dodge Ram with a hopped-up Cummins diesel revved up … and exploded. The engine failed catastrophically and sent pistons and other pieces into the grandstands.
There's a video posted on the link. One spectator is holding a hot shredded piston with a pair of pliers. Who would think to carry Vice Grips to a truck meet? The article and video are posted on Road & Track. R&T's founder, John R. Bond, must be spinning in his grave.
Another Inflation Indicator: Maz Wooley of Model Auto Review reported, "Shipping from China continues to be an issue, with restricted capacity available and costs being quoted now 500-600% higher than they were before the pandemic.
Such increases in shipping costs are not sustainable, without cost increases being passed on to the consumer, so I expect that prices of models announced for 2022 will rise substantially."
Book Review: 'Fish Out of Water: A Search for the Meaning of Life' by Eric Metaxas
I was looking forward to this book because I've read the author's other works ('Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy', 'Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World' and 'Seven More Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness'. I have also seen Eric on television and he is well-spoken.
This book is part-memoir, part-autobiography - it ends with his 'conversion' to born-again Christian thirty-some years ago. I wanted to like this book but his writing tends to be ponderous and - perhaps because he is part German - this one sits heavier than a big serving of Rahmschnitzel with a large side of Dampfnudeln.
Unfortunately ... (more >>>)
The Department Of Trivial Information ... brings you this: "Based on their estimates, each fast-food "value" meal would cost an adult 5¢ more in fuel expenses - as heavier passengers reduce a car's fuel efficiency - and about 35¢ in overall food costs, since heavier people need more calories." I mean, who gives a rat's patootie?
Robo-Clean: Windoro, the window-cleaning robot, consists of two modules that go on opposite sides of the window and hold each other using permanent magnets.
Its creators say that it's designed for cleaning windows at homes and stores.
Face Diaper - Yes, Everything Else - No: Philadelphia bike riders won’'t need their shirts, pants, skirts or even underwear - just a mask. Organizers of the annual Philly Naked Bike Ride say this year's event will take place August 28th and will require masks, based on the city's coronavirus restrictions.
Thought For Today: Every 20-minute job is one broken bolt away from becoming a three-day ordeal.
Monday June 7, 2021
May Vehicle Sales: The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated sales of 16.99 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) in May 2021, down 9.5% from the April sales rate, but up 40% from May 2020. Since April 2020, sales have increased and are now close to sales reported in pre-pandemic 2019. 2021 sales-to-date are up 1.5% compared to the same period in 2019.
Sales in May were likely impacted by supply issues, especially a shortage of microchips. Many car dealers have almost no inventory on their lots. Charlie Chesbrough, Cox Automotive senior economist said, "Supply is more than 40% below last year’s levels, and many dealers have little inventory available." The stockpile of unfinished Ford Super Duty pickups with missing microchips is so great it is visible from space. General Motors has over 20,000 pickups in storage awaiting chips.
Gerard Van der Leun remarked, "The fallout from the 2020 Chinese Communist attack on America continues." Indeed. And while a lot of chips come from China, notice that China is trying to get rid of Taiwan - a major source of microchips. Multiple sources have reported that Taiwan produces far higher-quality chips than Red China. 75% of all microchips are made in Asia. Only 12% are made in the U.S.
Nevertheless, brands such as Kia and Hyundai are posting record months. Honda and Toyota are also reporting big increases thanks to brisk sales in the long-dormant passenger car segments. In May Hyundais passenger car sales increased by 105%, while SUV sales increased 34%. Overall, Hyundai sales were up 56% compared with a year ago as the South Korean brand sold more than 90,000 vehicles.
Kia America reported its third-successive best-ever monthly sales result, totaling 80,298 units, surpassing the previous mark set in April 2021. Four Kia nameplates - Forte, K5, Sportage and Carnival MPV - enjoyed their strongest months ever. Through May, Kia sales are up 43.9% over 2020. Honda, which saw its sales increased 52% in May, cited strong sales of Honda Civic and Accord - even the Acura ILX posted its best sales numbers in five years. Toyota division sales for the month totaled 212,447 vehicles, up 47%. Lexus division sales for the month totaled 29,724 vehicles, up 49%.
Mazda reported total May sales of 42,187 vehicles, an increase of 69% compared to May 2020. Subaru also reported an 8% increase in sales as dealers scrambled to fill orders.
I guess ... (more >>>)
Another June Drive: On Friday, the temperature was 61 degrees and the sky was blue - perfect weather for an old car drive. So I fired up my '39 Plymouth coupe and took off. Traffic was fairly light and I had a clear view of Mt. St. Helens.
I drove with the windows down so I could here this mix of exhaust burble combined with songs of 1957-59 playing through the Plymouth's speakers: Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Billy Ward and the Dominoes, The Five Satins, Lee Andrews and the Hearts, The Platters and more. I felt like I was 16 again.
On 159th St., I saw a blue early-1950s Studebaker 2R series flatbed truck parked in a driveway. These old Studies were so distinctive, you couldn't mix them up with any other truck brand.
Anyway, I had a most enjoyable excursion and the old Plymouth ran great. I'm glad I went out when I did - it rained Saturday and Sunday.
Car Character: Andrew Dederer wrote, "When people say a car has 'character', they mean one of two things. First and foremost, the word is deployed to praise gross ergonomic errors. We're not talking about minor design quirks: Saab ignitions on the floor, CR-V shifters high on the dash, horns on the wheel spokes. Pistonheads trot out the 'C' word to heap praise upon those interior peculiarities that stand up and demand you notice them when you should be doing something else, like driving. While enthusiasts have been praising these automotive "eccentricities" for years, it's time for carmakers to write this character out of the program."
Yes, well ... in my article about Road Test Lingo, I defined 'character' a little differently: "A marque with a storied history but you never know if the car is going to start in the morning."
Auction Results: A unique 1929 Duesenberg Model J 'Disappearing Top' Torpedo convertible coupe with a polished and brushed bare aluminum body, sold for $5.725 million to lead RM Sotheby's Amelia Island auction.
RM Sotheby's reported sales totaling $42,174,340 with over 95% of the 99 collector cars offered going to new owners. "Just four cars did not achieve their reserve prices." Eight cars sold for more than a million dollars each during the single-day live auction, with Ferraris reigning as the next-four highest sellers, with prices ranging from $1.5 million to $3.8 million.
Homicides Leap … in Democrat cities. Examples (year-to-date): Portland +800%, LA County +148%, Minneapolis +93%, Atlanta +52% and Philadelphia +38%.
Make 'Em Pay: Don Surber wrote, "President Donald John Trump to Red China: "You owe us $10 trillion for unleashing covid 19 upon the world." Suing Red China for $10 trillion makes sense.
In fact, that should be the Republican platform in 2022: we will make Red China pay. Fight the real enemy."
In the U.S., over 600,000 people have died from the China Virus. Worldwide, there have been almost four million deaths. Every day, more evidence is revealed indicating that "China may have intentionally unleashed the most deadly bioweapon in world history."
And, here's a shocker: "Sources say DIA leadership kept the defector within their Clandestine Services network to prevent Langley and the State Department from accessing the person, whose existence was kept from other agencies because DIA leadership believes there are Chinese spies or sources inside the FBI, CIA, and several other federal agencies." Wow. Just wow.
Let's kick China out of the World Trade Organization, too. I bet the European Union would go along with us on this.
"A Little Dab'll Do Ya!" Brylcreem hair cream was created in 1928 by County Chemicals in Birmingham, England. Brylcreem is an emulsion of water and mineral oil stabilized with beeswax. It is notable for the high shine it provides.
It is sold worldwide and was very popular in the U.S. from the 1930s through the '60s. It was advertised on radio and television with the jingle ... (more >>>)
New Word: Treeware (noun) The new derogatory term for a printed book, used mostly by ebook enthusiasts. Derived from the phrase "a dead-tree book."
Quote Of The Day is from economist, historian, logician and sociologist Ludwig von Mises: "Socialism is an alternative to capitalism as potassium cyanide is an alternative to water."
Thursday June 3, 2021
Royal Imperial: In 1953, Chrysler created a one-off Chrysler Imperial show car to celebrate the coronation of England's Queen Elizabeth II.
It was never ... (more >>>)
Eighty-One Years Ago ... the 7 millionth flathead Ford V8 engine was produced June 4, 1940.
Seventy-Five Grand Wrangler: Ezra Dyer of Car and Driver tested the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 and began by noting Jeep's engine options. "Jeep's lucrative four-wheel-drive anachronism is available with a turbocharged four-cylinder, a naturally aspirated V-6 (with or without 48-volt hybrid assistance), a plug-in hybrid turbo-four, or a turbodiesel V-6. And now, rounding out Jeep's offer-all-the-engines policy, you can get a Wrangler stuffed with a gargantuan 470-hp 6.4-liter Hemi V-8. No, Jeep didn't use the supercharged Hellcat engine. Nobody has enough life insurance for that."
He described the big-engined Jeep as a "mud-bog Maserati. It's "hold my beer" with an eye-level hood scoop. While everyone's fawning over the 2021 Ford Bronco, Jeep is clearing its throat through quad tailpipes and asking for a moment of your attention."
With 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, Jeep claims the Wrangler Rubicon can hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. The fun doesn't last much longer than that, though, as this is the rare sub-5.0-second-to-60-mph machine that can't hit 100 mph. Top speed is governed to 99 mph, so as not to abuse its huge 33-inch, Q-rated BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires.
Prices start at $74,999.
Truck Farming: A good friend, who lives in Tokyo, wrote me about going shopping: "I went to the huckster." I hadn't thought about hucksters in years. I remember when hucksters (sometimes called truck farmers) used to drive slowly through our neighborhood in trucks with awnings over the beds selling fresh vegetables. It turns out that those huckster trucks actually had a name for the special body configuration. It was known as a 'canopy express'.
A canopy express is a light-duty cargo hauler, often based on the chassis of a panel or pickup truck. They were offered by several manufacturers in various sizes from half-ton to one-and one-half ton. The vehicles had open display areas behind the driver's seat commonly used for peddling vegetables and fruit but also used for other kinds of deliveries that require easy access. Many had roll-up or swing out canvas awnings on the side and back openings.
As the U.S. became more suburbanized after World War II, sales of canopy express vehicles declined. GM offered the last ones in 1955.
In the '50s, everybody in our urban Philadelphia neighborhood had a milkman, a bread man and a farmer. And hucksters. And ... (more >>>)
Attention-Grabbing Headline: 'Slavery Makes Electric Cars Possible'.
The story is about cobalt mining in the Congo. "There is no question that defendants have specific knowledge that the cobalt mined in DRC they use in their various products includes cobalt that was produced by children working under extremely hazardous conditions, that serious mining accidents are common due to the primitive conditions and complete lack of safety precautions in the mines, and that hundreds, if not thousands, of children have been maimed or killed to produce the cobalt needed for the world's modern tech gadgets produced by defendants and other companies."
Every smartphone, tablet, laptop, electric vehicle or other device containing a lithium-ion rechargeable battery requires cobalt in order to recharge. And that comes from cobalt in Congo.
When Stores Were Stylish And Elegant: We live in an age of big box stores - dreary and bland tilt-up concrete warehouses reminiscent of buildings found in 1970s USSR. They are part of the Retail Apocalypse, where millions of department and specialty stores are perishing due to cheapie chains such as Wal-Mart and the rapid rise of online shopping. This inevitable decline was hastened by the 2020 pandemic.
Once upon a time, stores were elegant with entertaining window displays, designed to entice customers inside, where they could be dazzled by the decor and induced to buy something. Much attention was paid to ... (more >>>)
Bottled Marketing: In an article about bottled water, John Stossel explained "why 'Evian', spelled backward, is 'naive'."
Tomorrow is National Donut Day:
Go buy a dozen or so and celebrate.
Book Review: 'The Tyranny Of Big Tech' by Josh Hawley
This book has an interesting back story. Senator Hawley's book was cancelled by publishing giant Simon & Schuster, after Hawley refused to blame President Trump for the January 6th "riots" and condemn the participants. I know what a riot looks like, I see television coverage of Portland's daily burning and destruction on my local news programs. I am also aware of the falsehood that D.C. protesters "killed" policemen. The only person killed was unarmed military veteran Ashli Babbitt - fatally shot by an as-yet-unidentified Capitol policeman.
Hawley had correctly questioned the results of the 2020 presidential election, which thousands of people protested at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. And the police invited them inside. Unlike what is seen in Minneapolis, Detroit, Seattle, Portland and elsewhere, there were no fires, no looting and minimal damage during this protest.
In any case, conservative publisher Regnery Publishing picked up Hawley's book and it is now a best-seller ranking number six in Publishers Weekly's latest list of hardcover nonfiction titles. Winning is the best revenge, they say.
This well-written book documents ... (more >>>)
What Many Suspected Has Been Confirmed: An explosive new study revealed that researchers have found 'unique fingerprints' in covid-19 samples that they say could only have arisen from manipulation in a laboratory.
A new 22-page paper authored by British Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr. Birger Sørensen showed there's evidence to suggest Chinese scientists created the virus while working on a Gain of Function project in a Wuhan lab.
The researchers, who concluded that the Wuhan Virus 'has no credible natural ancestor', also believe Chinese scientists reverse-engineered versions of the virus to cover up their tracks.
This vindicates ... (more >>>)
Joke Of The Day is from Tom McMahon: "The psychologist congratulated his patient on making good progress, but the patient wasn't buying it. 'You call this progress?' he snapped. 'Six months ago, I was Napoleon. Now I'm nobody.'"
Tuesday June 1, 2021
The third car from left, a 1939 Plymouth coupe, is parked on ... (more >>>)
Feels Like Summer: The weather icon showed partly cloudy, but it was wrong. Saturday was gorgeous with bright blue skies with a few wispy translucent clouds here and there At 11:00 am, the temperature was already in the mid-60s (it eventually reached 80 degrees), so I fired up my '39 Plymouth coupe and went for a drive. Traffic was surprisingly light and the beat-up road I've previously complained about is now paved, although it doesn't have the top coat yet. The drive is now much smoother.
I had a crystal-clear view of brilliant-white snow-covered Mt. St. Helens. I rolled the windows down and, at one point, got a dose of freshly cut grass from a large field I passed. What was most noticeable was the greenery - it was that unique shade of Spring Green observed during my little tour. Grass, trees, weeds, etc. are a vibrant, glossy, verdant hue with no hint of the dull, dry look of summer.
Having the windows down gave me a great mix of fifties rock-and-roll from the speakers along with the V8 burble filtered through the car's Glasspacks.
At one four-way stop, there was no traffic, so I rolled off and then put the hammer down on the old coupe. The nose lifted, rose more as the four-barrel carb kicked in and the car roared to 60 mph. Geezer delinquent.
Anyway, I had a fun drive along the back roads of Clark County - my old Plymouth ran great. It was a perfect day for an old car drive.
Mr. Peanut Goes For A Ride: A 1929 Planters Peanutmobile ... (more >>>)
Auction Results: A red 1934 Mercedes-Benz 500/540K Spezial Roadster was the top sale at the Bonhams Amelia Island auction, fetching $4.9 million. The sell-through rate fell just shy of 90% with 161 collector vehicles sold at the in-person auction.
Another notable sale was the second-place result, that of the sole-surviving 1913 Mercer Type 35K Runabout, a ale-yellow sport-luxury version of the Indy 500 Type 35 Raceabout, which sold for $2,425,000. A red and black 1933 Duesenberg Model J 'Sweep Panel' Dual Cowl Phaeton sold for $1,655,000.
Another Bad Product Idea From The 1960s ... can be found here.
"Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis …" In St. Louis, Mo., the worst-in-country murder rate is at a 50-year high, the police department has nearly 100 unfilled jobs, and the mayor wants to defund the department and shut down a city jail. St. Louis had 87 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2020, the worst rate in the country.
It's now at its highest rate in 50 years even as the population has dwindled in that same time period.
St. Louis' Tishaura Jones, who became the city’s first black female mayor last month, had campaigned on a promise to enact progressive criminal justice reforms. She said in an interview that "more police doesn't prevent crime." Yeah, right.
How Was Your Memorial Day Weekend? I hope it was a good one. Ours was very nice. Our daughter came over for a visit and a traditional Memorial Day cookout - the kind we've been doing for over 50 years. For dinner, I cooked Don't-Bother-Me Burgers and my wife whipped up her Famous Potato Salad, the closest thing you can find around these parts to the delicious white potato salad once offered by authentic Jewish delis along the mid-Atlantic states. (Foodie photo here.)
The big surprise was lunch - my daughter brought Texas-style smoked beef brisket from Matt's BBQ, a food truck in North Portland. Matt's uses an oak-fired smoker. I've had a hankerin' for BBQ brisket for several weeks and this was a really satisfying lunch. It went well with a side of Famous Potato Salad. I used Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce on it.
In the early 1970s, I had BBQ brisket for the first time at a small restaurant in Tyler, TX. And have enjoyed it ever since. For Father's Day 2014, I FedEx'd in a mess of Corky's BBQ from Memphis. It was great but it's nice to have a source of fine brisket closer to home.
That said, it is important to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day. May those who gave their lives for our freedom rest in peace.
Quote Of The Day is from Steven Wright: "Every morning, I get up and make instant coffee and drink it so I have the energy to make real coffee."
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