Here we go

April 7, 2017

It happened again. All set to get a post in early, I had just
sat down at the computer and the doorbell rang. A friend I’ve
had for almost 50 years stopped by and things got delayed. We
hadn’t seen each other for a while so needed to catch up.

He had found out he doesn’t have Parkinson’s but is scheduled
for heart surgery. We talked of families, health, cars, and
what he thought we should have done different. It didn’t take
long for us to once again realize that between the two of us
we’ve had some really nice, and fast, cars.

Whenever he stops by there is always something he wants. A
little favor that he feels he has to talk his way into and I
would do even if he came right out with it. So after a pot of
coffee he came to the point.

It now looks possible that tomorrow we’ll be on some two lane
blacktop on the way to check out an old drag car. His bucket
list contains wanting to put one more really fast car together
while mine is short. I want to live to ripe old age.

The irony is, every time I do something like this with him, he
asks me what I think and when I tell him he does the opposite.
So we’ll see. If he shows up I’ll go along for the ride.
Tomorrow is supposed to be a nice day anyway.

Enjoy our first Friday of the month and we’ll give it our best
shot.
Comments are always welcome.


You ever notice?

February 7, 2017

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When I woke up this morning, as the saying goes, I felt like
I was shot at and missed and shit at and hit all over. The
wife had a bad cold all weekend and with the help of over the
counter products appeared to be over it yesterday. She must be
as I have it now.

And I had a thought. Perhaps you’ve heard those who predict
gloom and doom upon certain industries have been stating that
the auto makers aren’t going to be around much longer. Their
reasoning is autonomous cars will replace what we now drive
and none of the big three are up to speed on self-driving
cars.

Yet we wonder. They may be in trouble but what if it’s
because of the way they sell cars? Sub-prime loans adjusted
for a long term of repayment offered to almost anyone who will
sign on the dotted line. And the lease programs.

Some dealers offer payment plans of 72 months now. Yes, a
full six years. We’ve all heard the “no down payment”. “no
payment for six months” commercials. And sales have been good.

Most people don’t think leasing is a problem. Think of this,
when the lease term is up the dealer is flooded with used
vehicles. Not trade ins, the vehicles they leased out. We have
seen this ourselves.

We don’t know what’s going on but being someone old enough to
remember a while back we wonder where all the old cars are?
In the 60s if you pulled into a parking lot you would see
cars from 40s, 50s, and 60s. In the 70s in the same lot you
would find cars from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. And there were
just as many older cars as newer.

Fast forward to today and pull into a parking lot. You’d be
hard pressed to find a car from the 90s. Did the cars that
are too new to be considered antique just self destruct? Now
I’ve things to do so enjoy the rest of our Tuesday.
Comments are always welcome.


If it ain’t broke…

January 26, 2017

strange

I used to be a fan of NASCAR until they started fixing things
that weren’t broke. The old points system was fine with me,
run the season and if you have the most points you win. Not
long ago it was the race for the chase and then the chase to
win.

Now it seems like that wasn’t enough and NASCAR is mixing it
up again. The official take is: The new race format is
designed to emphasize aggressive racing and strategy, with the
goal of delivering more dramatic moments over the course of
the race and season.

I take that as a push to get more fans into the seats at the
races. So the kinder, gentler, more aggressive, excitment
base version is here. We’ll try to explain it as we understand
it.

Each race will now be run in 3 segments separated by 10
minute driver rest stops. The top 10 finishers in each segment
will be given points and the winner of the first two stages
would get one playoff point, and the race winner (3rd segment)
would get 5 extra playoff points. Said points are added to the
total driver’s points through the 26th race.

The playoff points carry through to the end of postseason
with the championship 4 racing straight-up at Homestead-Miami
for the title. The whole thing is too complicated for this
oldfart which is why I think something else will be our TV
this race season.

If you want to see the rules or figure them out for yourself,
go here.

As for me, I got a headache just reading the BS. Enjoy the
rest of our Thursday as it means we can almost smell the
weekend. Now I have to search for sustenance in preparation
for the marathon grocery shopping we will do tomorrow.
Comments are always welcome.


Did you know?

January 11, 2017

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Since I’ve been thinking of cars and trucks a lot lately it’s
time to share a little timeline of firsts in the automotive
industry. This is not meant to be a list of all firsts, just
the ones we found interesting.

The telescope shock absorber was designed in 1901 by C.L.
Horock. While lever action shocks were used into the late 40s
by some manufacturers, a version of the telescope shock is
still in use today.

Those of us in the hobby know most older car bodies had a
wooden frame covered with sheet metal. So when was the first
all steel body made? Believe it or not, the first all steel
body on a production car was the 1914 Dodge.

Care to venture a guess as to the first American car that had
four-wheel hydraulic brakes? The answer is the 1922 Duesenburg
made in Indianapolis, Indiana.

1926 saw the first power steering system on the Pierce-Arrow.

The 30s saw two firsts that caught our eye. Hard to believe,
but the first flashing turn signal was introduced in 1935 and
was done by a Delaware company. The system used a thermal
interrupter switch to make the bulbs flash off and on. Then in
1939 the Nash Motor Company added air conditioning to its cars.

In 1940 the Jeep was designed and Oldsmobile debuted the first
fully automatic transmission.

A major development in the 1950s was cruise control. Standard
on most vehicles today it was designed by Ralph Teeter, who
was blind.

In the 1960s more attention was paid to safety. That decade
was the beginning of pcv valves, catalytic converters, and
emission standards. The electronic fuel injection system was
also developed in the 60s.

The 70s saw airbags become standard equipment and fuel prices
escalate due to the gas shortage and upcoming ice age.

In the 80s the anti-lock braking sytem (ABS) was made
available on the Lincoln.

And the 90s? 1992 saw the passage of the Energy Policy Act of
1992 that encouraged automakers to produce alternative-fuels
vehicles. We’re still using Ethanol today. And in 1997
Cadillac became the first car maker to offer automatic
stability control increasing safety in those emergency
handling situations that occur while surfing the internet on
your smart phone while driving.

That is our unscientific, totally random, look at some of
the automotive firsts. Make of it what you will, I’m going to
hunt something to eat. Enjoy Wednesday, we’re halfway to the
weekend.
Comments are always welcome.


Progress?

January 10, 2017

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When I stopped over to visit Dad he acted surprised. When I
asked him why he said because it’s Monday. So I told him it
was Tuesday and he didn’t believe until he got his paper and
looked at the day and date. Then after I got home I told the
wife what happened and she said it is Monday.

Which got me thinking about cars and trucks. When I started
driving manual transmissions were in everything, wing windows
were your air conditioning, and arms were the power steering.
My how the times do change.

Catching a bit of the auto show the commentator gave out the
worse kept secret of the decade, Ford is bringing back the
Bronco and the Ranger. We’re told this will happen by the 2021
model year. Their version anyway.

I’m not doubting they’ll bring out something with those
nameplates on them, but will they be a continuation of the
fondly remembered model or a familiar body on a small luxury
platform.

Those of us who remember the debut of the original Bronco
and Ranger recall a base model that was bare bones. No air,
power steering, power brakes, or air conditioners, and we had
to hand crank the windows up and down. It will be safe to
assume that while these new editions may look like the models
they replace, the base model will have more bells and whistles
than a Cadillac did 10 years ago.

Were we that much tougher back in the day, or watch our money
closer? We had to roll the windows up and down with a crank
instead of pushing a button, if we wanted to adjust the seat
we had to do that by hand too. Now we have lighted cup holders
and ambient lighting? I’ll stay old school thank you.

Enjoy the rest of our Tuesday, it’s the only one God gave us
this week.
Comments are always welcome.


Better than sliced bread?

January 4, 2017

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On this, the 4th day of our new year and almost as long with phone or being able to use my desktop, I remember hearing these words uttered in reference to something I hadn’t heard of. The wife recently traded in her old tired Ford for a new to us Ford. Said Focus is two years with super low miles and all the bell and whistles a lazy person could want.

It is a nice shade of silver metallic with a leather interior so the dealer pushed us to purchase a
paint protector called “Xzilon” that is better than sliced bread and works at a molecular level. I did
not tell them that I know that Otto Federick Rohwedder was born in our little portion of the east coast
of Iowa. Yes the inventor of the machine that made sliced bread a reality was born right here in Davenport, Iowa.

But I digress. So I asked if said wonder product would prevent rust. I was told it was more to protect
the paint and would not guarantee against rust. But it is flame retardant and the airlines use it on their planes. Great. Nice to know the next time we get it up to 400 mph at 32,000 feet!

Whatever this product is, they spray it on the body, windows, and interior. We’re told this will help with small dings on the body, streaks on the windows, curb rash on the rims, yellowing headlights, and stains on the interior. Since they threw this is the deal free the wife will have it done Friday while I find my finishing hammer to test the theory.

The cat is still hanging in there, I haven’t heard anymore from our service provider, and we’ll have a wind chill below zero into next week. Have a great hump day and rest of the year.
Comments are always welcome.


Changes

September 19, 2016

The moon was playing hide and seek last but failed to inform
me in the newsletter. I kept going out, camera in hand, to
get a picture of my old friend and he wasn’t there. After a
few attempts I remembered that sometimes he liked to visit
the north side of the house.

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When I went around the house to the north side he was
there with a smile on his face. He seemed pleased. And that
reminded me that all things change and nothing is forever.
The moon was out this morning too highlighted by a bright
blue sky.

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This made me think of Saturday when we attended a cruise-in
that had been around for a long time. The wife had the night
off, the weather was perfect, and we met some old friends we
hadn’t seen in some time.

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We were told that we were attending the next to the last
cruise sponsored by the car club. For many years we have
enjoyed the hospitality, the people, and of course the cars.
But there will be no car club next year if we hear correctly.

The greying of the hobby as older people remain and fewer
young people join, and the continuing restrictions put on
such events are a part of the problem. Hence, nothing is
forever.

All that being said, mark your calendars. October 1st will
be the last NorthPark cruise-in sponsored by the River Valley
Classics Car Club and it is also Toys for Tots night. So even
if it’s raining, drop out and drop off a new toy as the club
will be there rain or shine.

We wish them fair weather for the event, plenty of cars, and
donations enough to help the kids. Great job over the years
and thanks for the memories.
Comments are always welcome.