Archive for Driver’s Seat

Rolled back into the parking lot

Walmart’s long game, so far as I can tell, is to sell everything to someone, and to sell something to everyone. Inevitably, I suppose, they would have had to test the car business:

Launching in April, Walmart’s CarSaver program will make it the perfect middleman for impulse car buyers and local dealerships. CarSaver is designed to allow shoppers to browse, select, finance, and insure a vehicle through its website or at kiosks positioned outside of the nail salons and vision centers of twenty-five Walmart Supercenters.

At launch, 16 AutoNation stores in Phoenix, Houston, and Dallas will be participating, said AutoNation Chief Marketing Officer Marc Cannon. All of the dealerships are within 15 miles of a Walmart CarSaver kiosk.

Oh, well, we don’t have any AutoNation stores here, so — wait, what?

The kiosks will also be available in Oklahoma City Supercenters, however, those will be unaffiliated with AutoNation.

This might be interesting. Maybe. I’m not in the market for a new car at the moment.

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Daydream fail

I mean, this character is delusional from the word Go:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Can i be able to buy and keep a lamborghini huracan?

To justify this delusion:

i earn 140-170k per year
i average 8-11k per month

Um, no you don’t. That alleged maximum of $11k per month comes out to only $132k a year. If you made that kind of money, you’d either be able to figure that yourself, or perhaps hire a fourth-grader to do it for you.

Last I looked, base price was $203,295, though I suspect none are sold at anywhere near base price: most of them have $30,000 or more worth of options.

I suspect this guy won’t be getting out of his ’99 Corolla for a long time.

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Standard cab

I don’t quite believe this just yet, but the idea tickles me something fierce:

Checker pickup truck

If this looks to you like half an old Checker Marathon, the definitive 1960s taxi, with a truck bed attached, well, that’s kind of what it is:

Checker Motor Cars, based in Haverhill, Massachusetts, is the indirect descendant of the Kalamazoo, Michigan company that cranked out odd but iconic Marathons from 1961 until 1982. Those boxy vehicles, which looked old even when the model debuted, populated taxi fleets from coast to coast and earned the Marathon a cult following. The original company officially bit the dust in 2010 after leaving the auto manufacturing business in 1982. Now, a reborn Checker services and restores those earlier vehicles.

Yeah. So?

With fingers crossed, Checker plans to take advantage of the recent Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act and build two models — a two-door pickup version of its classic sedan (called the Sport Pickup Cross-over), and a six-door, 12-passenger version, similar to the old Aerobus airport hauler. The company says it’s making headway, with a host of suppliers lined up.

“Low volume” is defined in the law as 325 per year, and Checker doesn’t expect to bump up against that ceiling. The pick-em-up will be powered by a GM crate engine, which makes sense, inasmuch as the original Checker cars, after a few years with the same Continental inline-six that powered Kaiser/Frazer cars, were equipped with Chevrolet mills.

Production target date: sometime in late 2018.

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Bolts for dolts

The Bolt is Chevrolet’s Pure Electric Car: no gas engine and an estimated range of 238 miles on a full charge. When can you get one? Where do you live?

The first deliveries of the Bolt began right before 2016 came to a close, with 579 vehicles delivered — primarily in California. Oregon dealerships should receive their remaining cars later this month and a quick inventory search shows that some dealerships have Bolts already.

Following the model’s western launch, the next states to see the rollout are Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia. Those states should have the EV by the end February. By March and April we should see the Bolt cropping up in New York, New Jersey, and Washington.

Don’t expect to see one in sunny Soonerland until September; for the moment, Chevy is happily sending us Silverados, which do more for their bottom line but don’t attract the attention of the Media Machine.

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Two wheels good, four wheels better?

A member of TTAC’s Best and Brightest comments on the all-wheel drive craze:

In my experience, some (not all) people — the ones who generally don’t try to understand technology/machinery, but just listen to the buzz — treat AWD like “Monster cables”. It’s magically better, and I don’t have to know anything about it. Like my acquaintance who I was told drove like a maniac in his ’92 Jetta because “it has ABS — we can’t crash”. Most of those AWD people in the ditch, I’m guessing, fall into these groups:

1) inexperienced drivers, especially in snow

2) thought that they didn’t need snow tires, because AWD, or rented an AWD car that came with all-seasons (I’ve been there!)

3) don’t know anything about how their AWD works, and expected it to save them from their own insanity

4) thought that AWD magically improved braking capability in the snow compared to regular cars

My own take on this: AWD may indeed get you going. It isn’t worth much of a damn at bringing you to a stop, though.

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That whatever-it-is over there

Contemporary automobiles are largely indistinguishable, to the annoyance of the Z Man:

The root of this, I suspect, is the dominance of the Left in American culture. The neo-Puritan hags have been screeching at us about how form must always follow function for so long we have lost our sense of style. You see that in cars where the goal of designers is to make them more aerodynamic and pack them with useful functions. The result is a fleet of well-built cars that look like they came from East German film noir during the Cold War. Our cars are ugly because inside, we have become an ugly people.

If you doubt this, look at pics of parking lots from 40-50 years ago. They were a carnival of colors, shapes and sizes. A person’s taste in cars said something about him, a form of advertisement. A people embracing life and its potential were out buying all sorts of cars in all sorts of colors. We are now a people marching to the inevitable end of our miserable existences so we buy cars that are suited for the task. The top three car colors in America are black, grey and white, with dark gray the top interior choice.

Disclosure: My car is white, with a dark-grey interior.

And actually, I’m kind of used to this particular shade of cheese-mold grey, which I’ve had for two of my last three cars. (In between was a Mazda 626 in Mojave Beige Mica, a name I never quite understood; I’ve driven through the Mojave, and it ain’t beige. Its interior, rather than cheese-mold grey, was more of a butterscotch-pudding shade.) At least it’s relatively free of brightwork: there’s a chrome bezel on the clock at the top of the center stack, which occasionally passes on some glare, but that’s about it. The logo on the steering wheel is sort of intaglio; I suspect that in later models they cut out a chrome-y looking brand emblem and pressed it into the embossed shape.

Still, next time around, if there is a next time around, I’d like something a bit less funereal.

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I can’t see over this damn truck

In Ukraine, they’ve solved this problem:

Traffic lights from Ukraine

(From the Pics subreddit via TYWKIWDBI.)

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Assaulted with battery details

Question of the day:

Why anyone would want to put a charging station for electric vehicles in Beatty, Nevada, is beyond me. You are on the road from Las Vegas to Reno. Your only other choice is Death Valley. Some kind of bullshit, this is.

No present-day electric vehicle can make it from Las Vegas to Reno, about 450 miles, on a single charge; Tesla, whose chargers these are, claims a mere 265. (Beatty is closer to Las Vegas than to Reno.)

Still:

I’ve been trying to figure out why I don’t like electric cars. Right now they have some shortcomings, but they are getting better every day and so it probably won’t be too long before they perform as well and are as cheap as, or cheaper, than a gasoline powered car. So why don’t I like them? There are a number of issues you could quibble over, but the gasoline empire has corresponding problems of its own, it’s just been around longer so we have learned how to cope.

Except for that business about charging, performance is pretty much on par. I put ten gallons of Shell V-Power in my car yesterday, which took me about four and a half minutes and cost me $27. I can drive a couple hundred miles on that, easy, and then, four and a half minutes later, I’m on the road again. No existing electric can do that. Then again, 200 miles in a Tesla, at Oklahoma electric rates, would cost between $5 and $10. If you don’t ever have to go 200 miles, electric makes a pretty good case for itself.

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Looking for a mailing list you can trust

Unlike, for example, the one that somehow found Joe Sherlock’s name (12/20):

Inexplicably, I received a direct mail piece over the weekend, suggesting that I buy a new Chrysler Pacifica Minivan. The nicely-done four-color glossy piece offered me a “$1,000 bonus cash allowance.” I’m scratching my head because:

  • I’ve never owned a minivan.
  • I’ve never owned a Chrysler product of any kind. (My Chevy-engined 1939 Plymouth doesn’t count.)
  • I’m old and have no kids to haul around. I don’t see many septuagenarians driving minivans.
  • My income level is probably far above that of the typical minivan owner.
  • There are few minivans in our neighborhood.

What sort of creature is this “Pacifica,” anyway?

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is the Canadian-built successor to the Town & Country. It has more of a nose/hood than its predecessor and is not as tall. While you can get a stripper for under $30K, a loaded-up 2017 Chrysler Pacifica stickers at a whopping $52,270.

Fiat Chrysler does a lot of dumb things. Purchasing whatever mailing list they used for this direct-mail campaign is just another one.

At least they didn’t try to sell him a Chrysler 200.

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Truly, timing is everything

The only thing surprising about this, if you ask me, is that it showed up on Facebook rather than on Yahoo! Answers.

Photo of a timing belt installed incorrectly

(Via Country & Ford.)

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The bigot underneath

On the face of it, this would seem to be a perfectly reasonable question:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Do people buy Chevrolets, Fords, and Chrysler vehicles because they are so reliable, long lasting, and well engineered?

But he let it slip in his “update”:

whenever i see someone driving a new chevrolet, i think…someone that ‘loves America” and probably hates immigrants and muslims, apple pie, country music and most likely a church going christian?

Well, whenever I see someone writing this, I think I’m dealing with a thickheaded Pajama Boy, or worse, who has never seen anything of the real world and wouldn’t learn anything from it if he did. He probably cried his little heart out when the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua failed to steal the White House.

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Barely better than clubs

The diamond industry (think De Beers) would have you believe that synthetic, laboratory-created diamonds are somehow inferior to those dug out of a mine. Actually, there’s not very much special about any diamonds regardless of provenance:

Don’t believe a word of the hype from the diamond industry about how “natural” gems are somehow “better” than synthetic gems. They’re lying — and, what’s more, they’ve been living a lie for generations. You see, there are parts of the world where diamonds are common or garden items. If it were allowed (it’s not), I could take you for a walk in the so-called Sperrgebiet — “Forbidden Area” — in Namibia, and literally pick up diamonds off the sand as we walk. I know. I’ve done it on an escorted tour, near Oranjemund. (Of course, the area has long been stripped of most of its best diamonds, at enormous profit to the local diamond industry but giving virtually nothing back to the local population or the country.)

But there is a difference, right?

Put two identical gems next to one another, one natural and the other synthetic, and you probably won’t be able to tell them apart unless you examine them microscopically. (Indeed, the synthetic gem may well be “superior” to the natural one, in that it’ll probably contain fewer impurities.)

What price mystique? Ask the poor shlub who spent student-loan-level fundage on a solitaire for his ladylove.

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Decaf for CAFE

Everybody except your friendly neighborhood treehugger — the ones who live near me are downright jovial, but your mileage may vary — can find something wrong with the government’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy scheme. So far, though, only Jack Baruth has figured out a simple solution:

Two weeks ago, the EPA announced that it would “finalize” its 2025 regulations earlier than expected. This action has no force of law; it’s merely meant to enshrine President Obama’s desires in writing before President Trump takes over. There is no reason that Mr. Trump could not change these regulations as he desires. Early indications are that he’s not terribly impressed by the EPA in general. He might choose to lower CAFE targets a bit. He might choose to abolish them altogether.

I have a different suggestion, one that will probably manage to enrage both the tree-huggers AND the red-state conservatives. I think he should set ambitious CAFE goals that apply to both cars and trucks equally. Instead of 60mpg for cars and 30mpg for trucks, how about 45mpg for everybody? Let’s stop playing favorites and picking winners. There should be one CAFE for everybody.

Cars are becoming increasingly trucklike, just to meet that lower standard: the late, unlamented Chrysler PT Cruiser had just enough truckitude in its design to allow the Pentastar to include it in the truck average, and newer vehicles from FCA and others don’t even pretend to be cars anymore. I don’t know about you, but I am weary of these so-called “crossovers” with jacked-up height and visual bulk.

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Four or more on the floor

The Truth About Cars put up this Question of the Day yesterday: “What keeps you in a stick shift?”

Of the first hundred or so answers, this one struck me as particularly on point, despite its politically-incorrect undertones:

I live in Detroit. A manual is a darn near mandatory anti-theft system, what with staggeringly few people able to drive it.

Of course, this viewpoint is just as valid outside the Motor City.

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And Manhattan yields

Three in the morning on the 6th of December in the City of New York, and here’s a guy who makes 240 green lights in a row:

Noah hits 240 green lights. from Shawn Swetsky – Post Producer on Vimeo.

Which says something about NYC, too:

The fact that this feat is possible at all say a lot about the New York City system’s efficiency. Fewer stops means quicker travel times and better fuel mileage. Yes, [Noah] Forman’s drive happened during off hours in order to avoid traffic, but sometimes those are the best times to get out and drive.

I don’t think I’ve ever made ten in a row here in the Okay City.

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Troll level: hitchhiker

This is just colossally dumb:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: I have a honda crx dohc zc1 engine is it okay to put half a quart less engine oil to save engine drag and get more horse power

This is not quite as intelligent, as, say, substituting Clorox for Metamucil. Still, I sort of want to encourage the guy so he’ll ruin his car faster.

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We are not amoosed

Something like this would definitely leave a mark on one’s psyche:

The Alberta government has issued a warning to drivers to be on alert for tongues eagerly lapping at the sides of their vehicles. The muscular appendages, in this case, belong to moose, especially those found in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, southwest of Calgary.

Mountainous splendor and pristine wilderness is nice, but these moose want your car. Or more specifically, what’s coating it. Liberal use of road salt means a rolling buffet for local moose, who turn up in parking lots like it’s an after-work function at Ponderosa.

Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti…

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Is this a feature?

It sounds like a bug to me:

On Wednesday, Uber rolled out a handful of its self-driving cars in San Francisco to be used by the public. Also on Wednesday, one of those cars ran a red light.

It’s not totally clear how that happened or who is at fault, since the cars have a safety driver ready to take over as well as an additional engineer. But it is very clear that the robot car — a Volvo XC90 the company developed in collaboration with the automaker — ran a red light.

The view from the dashcam in a cab:

Interestingly, Uber doesn’t have a California permit for self-driving cars; they claim that there is a human operator always at least somewhat in control. California is not impressed with this argument.

Update, 7 pm: The DMV has now shut down the Uber program.

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Shaving Megan’s privates

And you thought texting was distracting:

As authorities nationwide warn motorists of the dangers of driving while texting, Florida Keys law enforcement officers add a new caution: Don’t try to shave your privates, either.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers say a two-vehicle crash Tuesday at Mile Marker 21 on Cudjoe Key was caused by a 37-year-old woman driver who was shaving her bikini area while her ex-husband took the wheel from the passenger seat.

“She said she was meeting her boyfriend in Key West and wanted to be ready for the visit,” Trooper Gary Dunick said. “If I wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have believed it. About 10 years ago I stopped a guy in the exact same spot … who had three or four syringes sticking out of his arm. It was just surreal and I thought, ‘Nothing will ever beat this.’ Well, this takes it.”

Could this possibly be worse? Yes, it can:

The day before the wreck, [Megan Mariah] Barnes was convicted in an Upper Keys court of DUI with a prior and driving with a suspended license, said Monroe County Assistant State Attorney Colleen Dunne. Barnes was ordered to impound her car, and her driver’s license was revoked for five years, after which time she must have a Breathalyzer ignition interlock device on any vehicle she drives, Dunne said. Barnes also was sentenced to nine months’ probation.

She faces a year in jail for probation violations, presumably without access to razor blades.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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Alabama wants asphalt

At least, the County Commissioners want it:

The Association of County Commissions of Alabama voted today to seek legislative approval of a $1.2 billion bond issue for road construction during next year’s legislative session.

The plan calls for a 3-cent tax on gasoline and diesel fuel to pay off the bonds. The tax would expire when the bonds are paid off.

ACCA Executive Director Sonny Brasfield said no counties voted against the plan at today’s meeting in Montgomery. He said about 53 counties were represented at the meeting.

This isn’t the first time this was thought of, either:

A bill to raise the gasoline tax by 6 cents a gallon failed in the Legislature this year, and similar proposals died last year.

It’s been about a decade since I drove on any Alabama roads, but I wasn’t impressed at the time:

One thing I won’t miss is I-65 through Montgomery. There would be suicide on a Guyanese scale in ODOT had Oklahoma City’s soon-they-say-to-be-supplanted Crosstown Expressway deteriorated to this point: the speed limit is down to 45, and even that’s a pain in the ball joints.

Maybe that project is finished — or maybe they need to restart it.

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A Normal development

The recently shuttered Diamond-Star Motors plant in Normal, Illinois, built as a joint venture of Chrysler and Mitsubishi in 1988, may be seeing future duty as, yes, an automobile plant:

According to Reuters, Detroit-based Rivian Automotive has agreed to purchase the plant and reopen it within five years. Going by Rivian’s website, the only thing we know for sure about the automotive venture is that it’s “coming soon.”

The company, which hasn’t confirmed the purchase, bills itself as an automotive technology venture interested in sustainable mobility. At the helm is CEO RJ Scaringe, who formed the company in 2009.

Still, Normal mayor Chris Koos says it’s a done deal. He told Reuters that Rivian plans to employ a workforce of 500 when the plant reopens in 2021, with that number eventually growing to 1,000 employees. State and local economic development agencies claim Rivian will invest $175 million into the operation by 2024.

A lot of vaporware has wafted past our sensors in recent years, and we don’t even know what Rivian plans to do, let alone how they plan to do it. TTAC’s Steph Willams takes a guess:

Though it sounds like a garden-variety mobility technology startup, Rivian seems to want to produce actual vehicles, though it hasn’t mentioned any potential partners or suppliers. What those (clearly electric) vehicles might look like is anyone’s guess. Assuming this gets off the ground, the rolling stock would likely form part of a ride-sharing service.

Uber, but without Uberness.

Mr Scaringe brings some serious educational heft with him: graduate of Rensselaer, PhD from MIT. And the auto industry is always in need of Smart Guys, especially Smart Guys who go their own way. (See Musk, Elon.)

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Baby remains on board

If you’re clueless enough to forget that you’re hauling a kid in the back seat, General Motors has a vehicle for you.

GM Rear Seat Reminder

Or will have soon, anyway:

Having made its debut in the 2017 GMC Acadia earlier this year, the technology aims to prevent heatstroke-related deaths and reduce the number of children left unattended in parking lots.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists heatstroke as one of the leading causes of non-traffic vehicle-related fatalities for children under fourteen. According to KidsAndCars.org, that works out to an average of 37 fatalities per year. The majority of the time, those children were simply forgotten in the back.

GM’s Rear Seat Reminder works by monitoring the vehicle’s rear doors. The feature activates whenever a rear door is opened and closed within 10 minutes before the vehicle is started, or if they are opened and closed while the vehicle is already running. When the vehicle is turned off after a door activation, the system sounds five audible chimes and a display message reminder drivers to “Look in Rear Seat.”

This system makes certain assumptions: that the kid hasn’t been in there for more than ten minutes, and that the alleged adult at the wheel isn’t whacked out on meth.

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Specsmanship

Only one of these numbers is at all relevant:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: On the autobahn, can a g37x sedan keep up(pacing)with other high performance vehicles(Amgs, m series, Audi rs, Porsche, Ferrari)?

Justifications, so to speak:

The car is a 2013 g37 x Sedan the car has a 7 speed automatic transmission. The car is in physically and mechanically in good condition and is easily capable of doing over 110 mph on highways that are legally limited to as high as 75 mph. The performance on this car seems phenomenal and seems to have really good handling capabilities at extremely speeds(150 mph or more).

Anyways the car has
-328 hp, 269ftlbs of torque
3.7 liter v6 naturally aspirated
0-60 in 5.4 sec
Has awd
Speed is limited up to 155 mph

My real question is based on the performance of this car, does it have what it takes(performance) to compete against other high end sports(like the ones I mentioned above) or would it be left in the dust?

If so, could it AT LEAST KEEP PACE WITH THEM?

Also can the g37x sustain speeds of 140 mph or would the engine blow up? Would adding a heavy duty radiator cooler, better tires, stiffer suspensions and an intake filter help it?

Note that he has no idea whether this Infiniti actually has “really good handling capabilities at extremely [sic] speeds.”

But none of this is relevant in the light of this one line:

Speed is limited up to 155 mph

Those other guys? Not limited to 155 mph. What do you think would happen, assuming there’s enough space on the autobahn to allow this kind of boy-racer fantasy?

This has to be either a bar bet, or a 15-year-old who dreams that the parental units are going to get him this car and who will be threatening suicide when they come home with something appropriate to his capabilities — say, a ’99 Toyota Corolla.

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Give me convenience

Actually, it’s not that we want convenience; it’s that we want to avoid inconvenience. Jack Baruth understands:

The always-changing Uber app, which never presents me with the same look, choices, or order flow twice in a row, told me that the ride to the airport would be $34 with UberX. Or it would be $77 with UberSelect. I considered this briefly, and thought about the last few UberX rides I’d taken. A lot of cramped, weary Toyotas, trunks and hatch areas full of grime that threatened to befoul my custom-color RedOxx bags, drivers whose command of English was both minimal and surprisingly malleable depending on how the conversation was going.

For an extra forty bucks, I could skip all that. I’m now at the age in life where I’m willing to spend money to avoid misery. I park at the $16/day garage that is connected to the airport instead of at the $6/day shuttle lot because I hate the uncertainty and the noise and the crowding of the shuttle. That’s where I am as a human being right now; willing to drop $10 a day so I don’t have to ride for 10 minutes in a bus. Thirty years ago I earned two and a half dollars an hour scrubbing pizza pans after midnight so I could pay six-dollar entry fees for Saturday morning BMX races. My childhood self doesn’t understand this extended dream I live now, an endless progression of travel and attractive women and Kimpton reservations and $50 filets. Certainly he wouldn’t have spent a month’s worth of pan-scrubbing income to ride in a different kind of car to the airport.

My childhood self just barely comprehends Uber.

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Death quarter-panels

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia provides auto insurance for all comers in that westernmost province.

Or they did, anyway. Now they’re imposing something that looks like a means test:

British Columbia will no longer insure high-end luxury vehicles through its public auto insurance policies, says the province’s transportation minister.

The government is working on legislative changes to have the Insurance Corporation of B.C. no longer insure luxury vehicles worth $150,000 or more.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone says it’s expensive to repair high-end cars and creates “pressures” on basic rates for all drivers.

Owners of cars priced above $150,000 will have to buy private insurance instead.

The worst-case example provided:

The ministry said in a statement the cost for parts to repair the fender, grille, headlight and intercooler on a 2015 Bentley Flying Spur W12 was approximately $38,000.

“While the cost to repair this car is substantially more than the everyday car, the basic insurance rates of about $1,000 per car are about the same.”

Last year, the average repair cost for a high-value luxury car was about $13,000, compared to an average repair cost around $2,500 for what the province called a typical private vehicle.

A Spur starts at $200k in the States, probably 50k more than that in Canada.

(Via The Truth About Cars.)

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Whatever that may mean

The Car Talk newspaper column continues, and sometimes it throws me for a loop:

The standard trucks, like the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado, are humongous now. And the so-called smaller trucks, like the Chevy Colorado, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, are simply “big.”

Of those smaller trucks, the Chevy is the most modern, the Tacoma is the most reliable and the Nissan is the most Nissany.

Damning with faint praise, or praising with faint damns? I’m not quite sure what “Nissany” actually means.

I do know one person who has owned two Frontiers in succession. Perhaps I should ask her.

In the meantime, I probably should try to make up adjectives for other auto marques. I plead guilty to using “Bimmeresque” once or twice.

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Rubber, meet road

I’d been driving on Cooper CS4 Touring tires, which were discontinued a couple of years back to make room for the slightly more upscale CS5. The tire shop might have been expected to push a set of CS5s, but they came back with the CS3 instead:

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has launched its new CS3 Touring, which the company said is a mid-range tire ideal for “accidental performance” consumers looking to spend less on replacement tires for their H-, V- or T-rated vehicles.

Yeah, that’s me, Accidental Performance. Well, I did show up behind a walker.

If the CS5 is a hair pricier, the CS3 is a step down: I paid $500ish for the four, plus all the usual tire things, which pushed the tab over $600.

And should anyone care: 215/55R16 97H, 440 A A. Green valve caps, too.

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Maximum wrongness

This is just so wrong on so many levels:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Can I replace the engine in a modern vehicle with a 1940 Cadillac V16 engine and not be subject to an emissions inspection?

Um, no, no, and once again no. You have to meet the emissions spec for the vehicle’s model year, irrespective of engine. This boat anchor weighs nearly as much as the two straight-eights from which it was derived, which will screw up your suspension something fierce. And today there are contemporary fours that put out more power than the low-revving Caddy sixteen while drinking far less fuel.

Let’s hope this is a troll, because if someone that stupid is out there … but never mind, let’s not even think about that.

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Radioactive leadfoot

I remember discussing this on Twitter and wondering how the frack it was possible:

A 19-year old with some kind of savage, magic 2011 Mustang was reportedly clocked doing 208 MPH on Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City. There’s no question that anyone doing 208 in a Mustang on public roads is an idiot who’s incredibly lucky they don’t kill themselves or anyone else. But there is a question about what kind of Mustang does 208 MPH?

The driver, Hector Fraire, was reportedly initially clocked doing 84 MPH. He sped up in an attempt to lose the trooper, along with turning off his headlights, and, according to some outlets, his brake lights as well, which is quite odd.

As he was fleeing, he was allegedly clocked doing 176 MPH and then peaked at a surprising 208 MPH, before finally getting pulled over at a red light, where he admitted defeat and dropped his keys out the window.

Well, yeah. The Kilpatrick is only 25 miles long; sooner or later he had to get off, and at that speed “sooner” is the operative word.

But this was the point I raised in the discussion:

A stock 2011 Mustang GT with the 5.0 V8 is electronically limited to 155 MPH. It’s easy enough to lose the limiter, so with that gone, what would a 2011 Mustang GT do? A 2013 Shelby GT500 Mustang would do 189 MPH.

This doesn’t seem to be a GT500, but a lot of work had to be done, I’d imagine. To get from a stock 2011 5.0 top speed of about, let’s say 170 (optimistic, based on a number of forums and sources) to 208 is not trivial. It’ll take more than just lightening the car, and since it’s still recognizable as a Mustang to cops, I’m guessing no dramatic aero changes to alter the frontal area were involved.

Reckless driving and “felony eluding” charges were filed against the kid. Me, I want to see that souped-up Ford.

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Speed demon

The days of Really Great Writing in car mags have probably long since expired, but every now and then someone — I’m looking at you, Jack Baruth — comes up with a true zinger. This one is from Aaron Robinson in the December Car and Driver:

Mario Fasanetto goes shrieking through the forests of the Eifel Mountains in a Lamborghini Aventador SV, a car that seemingly came about when Clark Kent and the devil had a baby. The Lambo’s body is slashed with cuts and gouged with holes and tattooed with black blades that order the wind to either go through it or go around it. The four pipes under the rear origami “bumper” gushes flame — flame! — a good six inches when the whip comes down on the 6.5-liter, 8500-rpm V-12. This is the car that appears when you call for an Uber in Mordor.

That last line just tickles the heck out of me.

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