Why It’s Time to End Vehicle Inspections

Are you tired of getting your car inspected?  What a good reason it should stop?  Here you go.

Advertisements

What They Aren’t Telling You About the Oncoming Hybrid Revolution – Car Side Chat, Episode 18

Recently you may have heard that many brands are going hybrid or complete electric.  Many are excited about this thinking that these brands are getting on board with cutting edge technology, but the reality is they are being forced to do this and consumers aren’t excited about signing up.  On our 18th episode of Car Side Chat we discuss this Hybrid Revolution and why it’s actually really bad for the automotive industry and what the cost will actually be to both cars and you, the consumer.

 

10 Automotive Jokes All Car Guys Should Know

So you’re a car guy, but you’re having a problem with comedy.  Well here’s a list of great jokes you must know.

1.) I want to die peacefully in my sleep… not screaming in terror like his passengers.

2.) My wife took her driving test yesterday and she got 8 out of 10!  The other 2 were able to jump clear.

3.) The salesman came up and said, “you want to get a new car for your wife?”  Best deal I’ve ever made.

4.) A wise man once said, a man who runs behind a car gets exhausted, but a man who runs in front of the car gets tired.

5.) I didn’t realize how bad of a driver I was until my GPS said, “turn right, stop, and let me out.”

6.) I had a friend who was addicted to brake fluid, but he said he could stop at any time!

7.) My mechanic came up to me with a discouraged look.  He said, “Sorry, we couldn’t fix your brakes, so we made your horn louder.”

8.) My mechanic said, “I blew a seal.”  I replied, “keep my personal life outta this!”

9.) I’ve never seen a tree that didn’t hit a car in self-defense.

10.) Don’t drink and drive… you’ll spill your drink!

5 Reason Bob Lutz Self-Driving Car Predictions Don’t Hold Weight?

Bob Lutz said that in the not-so-distant future that cars would be obsolete and that we would be carried around in self-driving pods, powered by Google, Uber and Lyft, similar to the way the horse drawn carriage was eradicated from existence.  Since then I’ve been inundated with messages about the impending doom of the automotive industry in the next three to eight years.  My answer is, let’s not worry quite yet and here are some reasons why.

1.) It Already Doesn’t Work
The idea of mass transportation is nothing new.  If you think Google was the first company to dream of a world where everyone got on some common mode of transportation to easily get from point A to point B, you’d be sadly mistaken.

Planes, trains, and buses were all thought up, some as much as 100 years, prior to Uber.  That’s why we have the taxi in the first place.  Although the horse drawn carriage has gone the way of the dodo, the personal mode of transportation has reigned far longer than even recorded time and its many applications are too varied for a single automated system to overcome, which is why taxis haven’t taken over.  We’ve seen the train die, the air travel industry has had troubles, and it’s so bad now that it spawned Uber, which is literally any consumer with a car and some time is outsourced to do some driving for people in need.  With all that we haven’t seen Uber monopolize the roads.  No Uber driver could ever take you off-roading, or let you borrow his RV, and it’s the same reason that nobody ever showed up to take their date to a valet restaurant in a yellow cab.

The reason is because transportation only thinks about transportation.  It only thinks about the people in the box as the commodity.  When people want to be people they think differently.  No soccer mom is considering the load capacity of that automated vehicle when she drops off 8 kids with all the groceries in the back.  And when it doesn’t do what she wants it to do, when she wants it done, well I pity that unfeeling vehicle.

2.) Identity
If there is one thing that defines us, it’s the vehicle we drive.  From the environmentally conscious Prius driver to the Executive in his Mercedes or the muscle guy in his off-road truck, we could be considered stereotypical in our vehicle purchase.  What vehicle will tow our boat to the dock for instance?  Where would your RV or camping equipment fall into the pod concept?  Simply put, it wouldn’t.

Now look outside at the cars in your parking lot right now and ask, how many of those people would love to own a ‘pod’.  Now think, how many of those would love to be hauled to work in a taxi every day.  If you find yourself shaking your head in disagreement then you’re on the right track as to why these scheme couldn’t work.  We’re consumers and we are going to consume big fast food burgers, instead of protein pills (another prediction that didn’t work out).

Lastly, nobody wants to be seen as a commodity.  Every time in history someone says, we’re taking away all your fun and now you’re a robot, the world revolts against the notion.  If you’re just fuel for the industry around you, what are you?  A nameless, faceless, robot in a crowd of pods?  Who would accept that fate?

3.) The Cost of Accidents
Currently when an accident happens we blame the driver.  What happens when the runaway self-driving truck decides your kids little league practice is part of its loading dock or people decide that suicide by automated vehicle might be a thing?  It’s easy to say, “insurance pays”, but that’s not how this works.  If that was true the McDonald’s Hot Coffee lady would’ve just collected the insurance and we would’ve never heard about it again.

On a small scale the automated company could deal with a couple of litigations, but if the entirety of the road (253 million vehicles in the US alone) was chocked full of automated vehicles driving on roads easily accessed by children playing ball accidents will inevitably mount and the mounting litigation could easily bankrupt the parent company.  All it takes is one emotional mom to say, “these automated vehicles are terrorizing the streets” for a MAAV (Moms Against Automated Vehicles) to take hold.

That’s not taking into account vandalism of vehicles.  I’m sure each vehicle will have an emergency button and if you make a big red button everyone naturally wants to push it to see what happens.  Go to any car rental or taxi service and ask how much it is to upkeep, clean, and otherwise keep the fleet going and the cost is staggering.

Need I remind you of Murphy’s law number 27.  Make something idiot proof and they will build a better idiot.  I know it all sounds good on paper right now, but if something seems to good to be true… well, you know the rest.

4.) Infrastructure
When thinking about the automated vehicle we have to understand that it won’t all be rolled out it one day.  When it’s quickly proven that vehicles aren’t nice about sharing the road, automated vehicles will probably receive their own lane at first and be told to be dedicated to it and it won’t be going 100 mph, as the speed limit is the speed limit, so when that lane is drudging alone at a meager 50 mph you can be assured that people will be thinking twice about their purchase.  I know they say now that those vehicles are safe, but if you’ve driven rush hour traffic you know how belligerent things can get.

Currently 65% of US roads are in need of repair*.  How does an automated vehicle deal with a washed out road or sink hole?  How about a blown out tire?  How about snowy or inclement weather?  Does someone change the wheels on the automated car from summer, to all season, to snow?  What if the owner doesn’t do that (like it doesn’t happen on cars today)?  If anyone has driven their Mercedes with the proximity sensor covered in snow you’ll know what I’m talking about.  I’m okay with cruise control, but my foot is there in case I need to hit the brake.  What happens when the steering wheel is completely gone?  The cost to upkeep millions of miles of roadway will be insane and if you say it’s the responsibility of the owner he’ll be sure to pass that cost on to the city or town of the road they’re on and to the manufacturer when their technology doesn’t cut the mustard.  Trust me, nobody is paying if they aren’t responsible and that’s exactly what the automated vehicle does, is take the responsibility out of the hands of the driver.  So when you tell the insurance company they can’t surcharge an automated driver that has been in seven accidents, trust me, they’ll pass it on to someone.

5.) Legislation
The wheels of bureaucracy grind at the speed of a millstone and you can be sure that automotive lobbies, gas lobbies, and whatever other kind of powerful lobby will have their mitts so deep into the ears of politicians that they could be considered a part of the earwig family!  Not to mention they’ll be a unified front to keep people buying cars.  Even the surmise that Uber will do it’s own thing misses the point that Uber is sourced by normal drivers and if they don’t have a car, what good will they do?  No politician who loves his job would ever even elude to the idea of outlawing the personal vehicle or regular transportation.

What will happen?  The self-driving car will require a roll-out and after a successive failure of being “injected” into traffic, legislation will be created to give them their own lane.  So if you’re a self-driving car you’ll have your own travel lane based dedicated to your type of vehicle.  Nobody uses that travel lane, so you might as well use that.  There’s even a chance they’ll be subjugated to highway travel only and their speed will be reduced to deter accidents.

Will they totally take over the road?  There may come a point when self-driving cars will populate the highway, but that will be when the technology is cheaper and anyone can afford it and there’s little or no chance that wheelless automation could survive in the city, which is where they would be best put to use.  It will never take hold rural areas (72% of the US is considered rural) at all, where the demand for them will be small or non-existent.

What will happen is a demand for automation in our vehicles, such as adding it to our current vehicle for long trips, an RV for cross country non-stop runs, or truckers who don’t have to worry about driving sleepy when they have that super long delivery.  In these areas automated vehicles would shine like the sun.  We may not even use it, but we are going to want the option to replace cruise control.  If we use it like that we won’t care if we’re subjected to some automated lane where we have to drive 50 mph.  The reality is it will still be an option, not a rule.

In conclusion, I’m all for calling an Uber driver when I need to.  Most of the times that will be in the city where I need quick and cheap transportation a couple of blocks.  I’m also not against calling an automated cab, which I’m sure Google will quickly implement, that drives me to airport, but to say that automated vehicles are going to move your current cars to the way of the dinosaur in eight years is well, just short sighted.  There are just way to many hurdles to overcome before it’s even a possibility.

So to all you collectors, don’t sweat it quite yet.  You have some time before manual transmission and electric cars take-over and then you can worry about self-driving cars.

 

 

 

*according to the American Societyof Civil Engineers 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure

Best Muscle Cars Are Cruising for CJ 2018

On a lazy Sunday a dedicated group, similar to thoroughbred horses, assembled some of the most powerful vehicles in the state to support Boston’s Children Hospital in an event that has famously come to be known as Cruising for CJ.

It’s something we look forward to covering every year and this year was no different.  Loaded up with three cameras and back-up batteries, when I got to the final destination even my smart phone was almost shutting down and I could hardly contain my excitement.

So without delay, if you like cars, if you like muscle cars, if you like antique cars, if you like lowriders or led sleds, hydraulics, or airbags, burnouts, if you like anything with four wheels, this video is for you.

 

6 Awesome Supercar Concepts That Were Never Produced

We’ve all dreamed about concept cars.  Cutting edge machines that get us excited about what is coming next.  Then sometimes we’re extremely disappointed when these cars are left on the design table.  Some of the cars you’re about to see may have had a limited production, but in reality they never made it to the streets the way they should have and usually it’s for heart breaking reasons.

So break out the tissues because if you’re any kind of car enthusiast you’ll probably shed a couple of tears for these amazing vehicles.

6.) Jaguar C-X75
How many were made?  1 Concept and 5 Prototypes
Price: $1.15 million
4191857_tcm97-10930_desktop_1366x769[1].jpg
When Jaguar makes a concept car they don’t play around.  In 2011 Jaguar unveiled this technological marvel.  The vehicle is a mixture of diesel (as well as various fuels including bio), forced induction, and electric to make a 900 horsepower of combined wheel power.  Jaguar planned to make 250 of these extremely limited vehicles.  Alas only 3 were auctioned off to buyers before the project was scrapped.   The only time you’ll to enjoy it is watching the 2012 Bond film Spectre, but the 7 cars provided for the film none of them were true to the original vehicle.

Why it wasn’t made: Global Economical Crisis

5.) Lamborghini Estoque
How many were made?  1 Concept
Price: $223,000
120429940[1]
Originally I had thought about adding the Miura concept, but early on Lamborghini revealed it had no plans to make that vehicle.  On the other hand in 2008 the Lamborghini Estoque was a serious thought for Lamborghini.  At the time a successful performance 4 door market was gaining traction so Lamborghini wanted a piece of the action.  The Estoque was equipped with the familiar 5.2 liter V10 although horsepower numbers were just a rumor we would expect it around the 570 horsepower mark.  Unfortunately Lamborghini was late to the 4 door game and on March of 2009 they announced that the Estoque production had been canceled, presumably not ready to take the risk.  Fortunately Lamborghini never truly ruled out production of a four door down the road so there is no telling if the market ever turns that we may see this awesome car again.

Why isn’t wasn’t made: Market Downturn.

4.) Toyota Alessandro Volta
How many were made? 1 Concept
Price: ???
2004-toyota-alessandro-volta-concept[1].jpg
Born of an unholy union of Japan’s Toyota and Italy’s Italdesign Guigiaro this was like a sweet and tasty Cannoli that would help you live to be hundred years old.  A 3 seater that allowed you to hand the steering wheel to anyone that sat on the bench seat it was both eye inspiring and original in design.  Named after the Italian physicist that created the battery, the Volta was guaranteed to be electric.  It was four wheel drive with a petrol engine but also added two electric engines connected to each axle to produce 402 horsepower with a top speed of 155 mph.   Unfortunately it would remain a concept for its short life.

Reason it wasn’t made:  Production Costs Were Too High

3.) Maybach Exelero
How many were made? 1 Test Car
Price: More than $8 million
2005-maybach-exelero_800x0w[1].jpg
So lets say you’re a tire manufacturer and you want to test a tire under high speed stresses?  What do you do?  Well if you’re Daimler Chrysler in 2005 you build a $8 million dollar test mule.  So they got a couple of students to design a car that would wear the Maybach badge and go 217 mph.  They were very successful.  Packed with a twin turbo V12 engine it produced 690 horsepower with 752 ft-lbs of bone crushing torque at an incredible 2,500 rpms and reached 218 mph with a 0 – 60 mph of 4.4 seconds.  Nicknamed Vader it lived up to its title with a meticulous interior to match its foreboding exterior.  All requests to produce it fell on deaf ears and soon after Maybach was considered a loss for Mercedes.

Reason it wasn’t made: It Was Only Made to Test Tires

2.) Cerbera Speed 12
How many were made? 1 Rebuilt Race Car
Price: $245,000 (Actual selling price unknown)
tvr-speed-12-1305869-7190209[1].jpg
No stranger to any of our lists, the Speed 12 was the dream forgotten.  A 7.7 liter supercar that made close to 1,000 horsepower and capable of 240 mph it was a monster of sorts.  A race car with an unsuccessful dream to be tamed for the streets.  It was originally designed in 1998 to be a GT1 race car, but rules changes and set-backs prevented it from having any sort of success.  The solution was to make a consumer version, but after the owner took the car home for the night, he returned to the office and deemed the street car too powerful and undrivable, mothballing the project.  In 2003 he changed his mind and decided to award the potential to purchase to one lucky owner.  This would require a full interview and other hoops to overcome to the potential buyer, but one buyer did make the grade.  Unfortunately they had destroyed any of the original road cars so they rebuilt a race car, upped the power, took off the restrictions and sold that instead.

Why it wasn’t made:  Owner Didn’t Feel it Was Safe for the Public

1.) Chrysler ME 4/12
How many were made? 1 Show Car and 2 Test Mules
Price: Based on Production Numbers
2004_Chrysler_MEFourTwelveConcept2[1].jpg
In 2004 Chrysler had thought of a halo car to define all halo cars.  It took them only a year to make something that was viewable.  Packing a Mercedes Benz V12 with 4 turbos it would produce 860 horsepower mated to a 7 speed sequential gear box.  It was believed it could do 0 – 60 in 2.9 seconds onto a top speed of 248 mph.  All this with a beautiful interior, cutting edge sound and climate control.  Pricing would be based on the amount of vehicles potentially produced, but numbers ranged from $400,000 to $800,000 or higher.  The worst part is the car was literally inches from the production finish line, taking automotive media on spins in the test mule to show off the raw power of what was about to come as well as a car show tour to show off the finished vehicle.  Then right before launch Chrysler shut it down.  It was believed that financial concerns of the company wouldn’t allow it, a similar fight that Viper faced throughout its run.  Unlike the Viper, once the ME 4/12 was mothballed it would disappear for good.

Reason it wasn’t made:  Company Financials Wouldn’t Allow It.

If you were heart broken at this list we understand your pain, but vehicles continue to come out and excite our invention and hopes for the future because these cars are lost forever.

Have any cars you wish they had made?  Put them in the comments!

 

5 Rockstars of the Automotive World

Who doesn’t like the idea of being a Rockstar?  The fame, the fortune, helping define your art.  Wait, we have the same thing in the automotive world!

Yes, it’s true.  When it comes to vehicles there are some specific styles that identify with certain people that when you see a specific car you know exactly who it’s associated with and just like cranking up your favorite music you want to do the same for these guy’s vehicles.  In turn this has created notoriety and fame for their owners, going on tours to different car meets to show off their ability.

These folks truly are the rock ‘n’ roll of the auto world!

5.) Magnus Walker, Serious Clothing Company
Unlike others on our list Magnus is kinda the odd man out.  He didn’t start out a car guy, he started off a fashion designer.  It wasn’t until he retired from his fashion business that his Porsches would make him famous and start a style consistent with him.  Just like his success with his cloths, which was just old cloths fixed up to look good, his Porsche started to gain traction.  His 1972 911 T, labeled STR II, went for $275,000 at auction and even more shockingly it went to a Porsche purist collector.  Setting the stage for his fame and everyone wanting a photo with him and his autograph.   The rest is history.

4.) Valentino Balboni, Automobili Lamborghini 
valentinobalboni1[1].jpg
Valentino started working for Lamborghini in 1968 as a mechanic’s apprentice.  A charismatic man with a penchant for conversation, one day Ferruccio Lamborghini, the founder of the company asked if he would put a newly built car through the paces and the job stuck.  You would think he would settle into a pretty uneventful career in a job that any car guy would kill to have, except he was featured with Jeremy Clarkson leisurely cruising a Lamborghini around their test track at break neck speed giving Clarkson noticable concern.  This appearance slowly lifted him to cult status.  He has since made appearances on multiple shows with numerous requests for his autograph on personal Lamborghinis.  In 2009 he was offered his own Lamborghini represented vehicle, the Gallardo LP 550-2 Balboni, notably a rear wheel drive version.  Even after he retired Lamborghini contracted him as a consultant and put him on tour to the love of fans everywhere.

3.) Akira Nakai, RAUH-Welt BEGRIFF
qlkyznstcj703morsi8n[1].jpg
No stranger to cars, Akira started off drifting custom AE86s for the Rough World Drifting Crew.  It wasn’t until later in the ’90’s that he would find himself in the possession of an old damaged Porsche.  After fixing it up he fell in love with the car.  He purchased a 930 and six years later founded his company.  What made him famous was his work style.  He shows up to a buyer’s garage, performs an in-depth interview with the buyer, and then feverishly creates their car to their specifications cutting everything free hand and finally naming each car specifically.  Anyone that appreciates cars would be hard pressed to not respect his work.  For that reason people wanted to have their picture with the legendary designer.  Just look at it!

2.) Bryan Salamone, Team Salamone
Of all the people on our list, Bryan looks the part of a rockstar.  From the flashy outfits, a lady by his side named Concubine, and a chrome plated Lamborghini we’d probably ask him when his next album was coming out if we didn’t know.  Rest assured his tour is specifically driving events.  Bryan attends some of the most exclusive driving events in the world and makes waves the whole way through while happily interacting with his fans.  His success put him in numerous videos and landed him a featured spot on Fastest Car on Netflix and the rest, as they say, is history.  There’s no doubt he’s made it to rockstar status and shows no signs of letting off the throttle.

1.) Ken Block, Hoonigan Racing
Ken Block is no stranger to fame.  He is a well-known rally driver and the co-founder of DC Shoes, but he’s most notably known for his gymkhana style videos where he takes a prepped vehicle and drifts his way around a pre-constructed course usually through city streets.  When he created a video using a modified Mustang to drift through the streets of LA the rockstar status was all but sealed.  Soon everyone was wanting him on their show to take them for a spin.  Today you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn’t know the name Ken Block.

We know our list isn’t complete.  There are constantly rockstar level car guys out there making a name for themselves and we’re looking forward to hearing about them all!

Do you know a rockstar?  Comment!