Last dance

December 31, 2017

Since today is last day and last month of the year and soon
people will be celebrating a new year with a new dance, it felt
fitting to do this now.

The February edition of Motor Trend magazine arrived in the
mail yesterday and was set aside until a short while ago when
there was time to peruse it properly. You may notice the text at
the bottom of the picture which says “Supersized Subaru
3 rows 19 cupholders.

Naturally I assumed it referenced a 19 passenger SUV type
vehicle that looked like a station wagon on steroids. After a
quick read of article inside it was discovered the 2019 Subaru
Ascent would carry 7 or 8 passengers. Which made me wonder if it
had so many cupholders because it didn’t have any other options.

Turns out it will be the biggest vehicle Subaru ever made and
will be powered by a 2.4 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder engine
with a variable speed transmission about the size of a Toyota
Highlander, Ford Explorer, or Nissan Pathfinder. Prices will
start around $30,000 and the American version will be made in
Lafayette, Indiana.

It can tow 5,000 pounds, has Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive, and
has a smart rearview mirror that gives the option of camera
views. It has power outlets, Wi-Fi, and 8 USB ports to reduce
the need for seat mounted DVD screens. The vehicle also has
ledges in the front for phones, Starlink for connectivity, Apple
Car Play, Android Auto, a Harman Kardon stereo, and the earlier
mentioned 19 cupholders.

All this leaves me with a couple questions. Do all those
features allow for any time to drive the thing? And; what in
the hell do 8 people need 19 cupholders for?

Enjoy our Sunday for tomorrow is a new day of a new month in
a new year.
Comments are always welcome.

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Selling a dream

December 11, 2017

We follow car auctions just to see how certain cars stand up
to pre-auction estimates. We’ll be paying attention in January
2018 when the RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale comes around. There
will be what we consider a rare car there and pre-auction
estimates are between $1.25 and $1.5 million.

The car is Preston Tucker’s personal Tucker 48. A rare car to
begin with as only 51 cars were built by tucker in 1848 before
the company folded. Tucker cars were advanced for the time and
had features many others didn’t.

The third head light in the center turned with the front
wheels, the engine was an adaption of the Franklin 0-355 flat
six aircraft/helicopter engine converted to water cooling. It
had 355 cubic inches, made 166 horsepower and was installed in
the rear of the car.

For a transmission Tucker used an adaptation of the Cord 810/
812 with a Bendix electric shifter. Tucker’s personal car had
a Tucker Y1 transmission, a larger, more improved version of
the Cord tranny.

The car being auction has less than 20,000 original miles.
The vehicle was Preston Tuckers personal car from 1948 to
1955, was then a daily driver of future Arkansas governor
Winthrop Rockefeller, and was in the Francis Ford Coppola’s
1988 film “Tucker: The Man and His Dream”.

When we hear the results of the auction we’ll put them up.
Now we know a little more about this event. Enjoy our Monday
as we’re one step closer to spring.
Comments are always welcome.


You ever wondered?

November 21, 2017

Yes, this post is late again. But a thought stuck in my head
and a little research is sometimes necessary for me to truly
understand a situation.

I got to thinking about pictures of the earliest cars and how
they all had that tall flat glass. Reasoning that this era was
not known for a population of giants why was the top so high?


from the Model T Ford Club of America

Looking into photographs of the era one notices that if people
are in the shot they are wearing hats. In particular, the men
wore top hats. So I wondered if that had anything to do with
the design of the automobile.


from IFCAR

In the thirties the windshields shrunk as top hats were no
longer in fashion. Fedoras, derby’s, and straw hats were the
rage. These hats didn’t need the extra clearance of the top
hats so windshield height lessened.


unkown


by sicnag

Around the 1950s hats were starting to be phased out as a
daily part of ones wardrobe. And the tops again got lower. Some
of the 1960s vehicles appeared to have taller roofs as the
body height of cars was shortened.


U.S. News

Today there are cars around that I honestly don’t know how
anyone over the age of 20 can even get into. Tne new Camaros
come to mind. While the lower body has gotten taller it looks
like a designer chopped the top.

You may have noticed that the most popular hat today is the
baseball cap. That doesn’t need a lot of clearance, and there
are many who don’t wear any type of hat when it’s warmer out.
And in the winter, a basic stocking cap doesn’t add height.

I haven’t found confirmation of this yet but do believe our
cars were designed around our fashion trends at the time they
were built. If I’m wrong I’ll admit and if I’m right it was
worth the time trying to figure it out.

Enjoy our Tuesday. It means Thanksgiving is only 2 days away.
Now I need some coffee and a couple chocolate doughnuts.
Comments are always welcome.


Sunday service

November 5, 2017

Yes, it’s time for another edition concerning cars. In this
one we’ll take a quick walk down memory lane before going back
to the future. This is one concept we hope makes it to
production.

If you’re old enough to remember commercials from the late
1960s this one might start a stroll down memory lane, “Ford
has a better idea”. Wonder how many Mustangs they sold with
that ad campaign? Well, we don’t know if they had a better
idea in 1968, but we’ve heard of one they have now that
caught our eye.

Ford engine designer, Jim Clarke, has designed an engine that
has a turbocharger for each cylinder. Ever since the fuel
economy standard and the emission laws came out designers have
been looking for a way around them. Ford is already in the
game with their EcoBoost engine with its turbocharger.

If you have an EcoBoost powered vehicle, as we do, you know it
has enough power for a long Interstate cruise and sips gas
while doing. Ours has been reliable in the short time we’ve
had it. The engine also doesn’t suffer from turbo lag.

The new engines are being designed with the intent to get more
and cleaner power out of a smaller engine. These won’t have neck
snapping, tire smoking, super car power but more than enough to
get out of its own way.

Back to Mr. Clarke’s new engine. His concept is called
synergistic induction and turbocharging. That’s 10 dollar words
for an engine with two throttle bodies on each cylinder instead
of just one, and a turbo on every cylinder. The turbos will also
be smaller as there are more of them.

For now this is only a concept, but with a CAFE standard that
will force car-makers to produce vehicles that get over 54 mpg
in the foreseeable future, it’s an option to an electric car.

This isn’t a pipe dream. BMW has 3 and 4 cylinder engines with
multi-turbos, Volkswagen has one with electric turbos, and as
mentioned Ford has the EcoBoost. It will be an honest rival to
the electric with great gas mileage, and we hope they run with
it.
Comments are always welcome.


Tremor

June 26, 2017

On the way back home this past weekend we came across a
pickup truck I’d never heard of before that got my
attention. I knew it was an F-150 Ford, yet it was unlike
any I’d seen. When we got closer the side of the bed
proudly proclaimed it was a Tremor F-150.

I also noticed it had “twin turbo-charged” badging which
almost made the low profile tires make sense. It just looked
fast. Turns out Ford has discontinued this series according to
research I’ve done since we got back.

It does have two turbos on a 3.5 liter ecoboost V6 making 365
horsepower and 420 pound feet of torque. That size would equal
about 213.5 cubic inches. With the torque and a set of 4.10
rear gears it would be a stop light bandit. And you could get
it in 2-wheel-drive or 4-wheel-drive.

Marketed as a truck that would appeal to street truck
enthusiasts looking for V8 power with V6 fuel economy. It does
look like they might bring both the Tremor and the Lightening
as Ford promised 12 new global performance vehicles through
2020.

I looked at the Lightening when it first came out and wasn’t
impressed. Yes it had a V8 and was fast for truck. But it had
as many options as a Cadillac and a stripped down version was
not available. If you want a laugh, go to a dealer and tell
them you want a half-ton pickup with manual transmission but
without air, power steering and power brakes. The look on their
face is something to see.

Enjoy our Monday and have a great one.
Comments are always welcome.


Just eliminate lies

January 31, 2017

1-102

As the sun sets on the east coast of Iowa signaling the end
of January we look upon the golden sky and wonder what some
people are smoking. It took us back to a time before common
sense died from acute apathy.

Recent events cause us to lapse into such a state and
we’ll mention one. We have been following the Dakota
Pipeline fiasco and noticed the drive-by media claiming that
said pipelines don’t leak so the protest is futile.
The Magellan pipeline runs through Illinois, Iowa, North
Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin must be unlucky.

The Magellan pipeline moves diesel, gasoline, jet fuel,
natural gasoline, naptha, propane, natural gas, and butane.

Just recently 138,000 gallons of diesel leak out of a
ruptured pipeline and came up in a farmers’ field. Rest a
assured though as vacuum trucks are sucking up the leak
and the contaminated soil will be taken away.

Another pipeline operated by Magellan near Decatur, Nebraska,
last October leaked anhydrous ammonia and that leak killed one
unlucky soul while 23 households had to be evacuated.

In 2010 5,000 gallons of diesel leaked into a creek near
Milford, Iowa. The same year there was a 45,000 gallon
gasoline spill in Oklahoma. Worry not, the company paid hefty
fines. The entire report is here.

According to Inside Energy, there have been 4,269 pipeline
incidents since 2010 and 64 of those involved fatalities. To
learn more, or see the map of spills, go here.

Yet we don’t remember hearing much from the media about this.
The next time we hear how safe pipelines are for transporting
oil products, or protesters called whiners, we will pull up the map
in the last link to get a dose of reality.

Enjoy the rest of today for tomorrow is another month. A
little later I shall enjoy a pizza while watching Perry Mason.
Comments are always welcome.


What if?

January 30, 2017

eyes

A friend shared an interesting report and the future that at
first sounded crazy until given some thought. Then it paints
a grim picture of what life may be like for our kids. We won’t
share it here as it is too long but will touch on some of the
highlights.

In 1998 Kodak sold 85% of all photo paper in the world while
we were having “Kodak moments” on a regular basis. Due to the
onslaught of digital cameras Kodak filed for bankruptcy in
2012, turned the company around, and joined the digital age.

Digital cameras for the masses have been around since 1975.
They didn’t become a threat to film cameras until the price
came down and the resolution soared. The next such trend could
well be software.

Think about it. Uber is just software, they don’t own any
taxis yet are the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is
the largest hotel company in the world and the software giant
owns no property.

Watson gives legal advice with 90% accuracy and it is IBM
software. Watson also helps nurses diagnose cancer and is four
times more accurate than humans. Even Facebook has pattern
recognition software that can remember faces better than we
can.

Our cars aren’t even safe. As early as 2020 we could see the
beginning of the end for automakers as autonomous cars take
over. Driver’s licenses won’t be needed nor car ownership. The
up side would be with less cars there would fewer traffic
fatalities. Of course, if the accident rate drops drastically,
car insurance would be an endangered species.

Claim is 20 years 70-80% of current jobs would be gone. New
jobs would spring up but no one is sure there would be enough
of these to help some of us.

Agricultural robots could be the farmers of the future, tech
trades would take off, aeroponics will replace meat with petri
dish produced veal, and insect protein known as alternative
protein source will be available.

There is no proof any of this will actually happen and some
things mentioned are available now. This is meant to be food
for thought. So enjoy our Monday but don’t think about the
future, live in the present.
Comments are always welcome.