Archive for Driver’s Seat

Fare thee well

I knew that rideshare stuff like Lyft and Uber was cutting into the taxi market, but I didn’t think it was this much:

This leaves two competitors: OKC Twister Cab and Thunder Cab. I have spotted a couple of Orange Cabs around here, but I’m not sure if they’re local or just passing through.

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Down toward the bottom line

This item from the Quora queue is more disheartening than usual:

In terms of messaging, how do you persuade a consumer to select a very highly priced family-sized vehicle at a period in their lives when, arguably, they have the least disposable income?

Now you know why it’s called the Almighty Dollar: it has its own set of worshippers.

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Licensed bird

Digitus impudicus, the ever-popular upraised middle finger, is apparently subject to First Amendment protection:

When Debra Cruise-Gulyas was pulled over for speeding in Taylor, Michigan by Officer Matthew Minard in 2017, she gave in to that very temptation. Well, not right away. After he stopped her, Officer Minard had apparently gave Cruise-Gulyas a bit of a break, citing her for a non-moving violation instead of speeding. Not mollified by the break she got, following the stop, as she drove away, Cruise decided to make a crude gesture directed at the police officer.

As the court put it, “she made an all-too-familiar gesture at Minard with her hand and without four of her fingers showing.”

Apparently piqued that he was not shown sufficient gratitude for his act of grace, Minard turned his emergency lights on and pulled Cruise-Gulyas over again, voiding the original ticket and instead rewrote her up for speeding. Cruise-Gulyas sued, arguing that she and her middle finger have rights to free expression under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In a unanimous 3-0 ruling earlier this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th federal circuit agreed. “Fits of rudeness or lack of gratitude may violate the Golden Rule,” Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote in the decision. “But that doesn’t make them illegal or for that matter punishable.”

Oh, and there were Fourth Amendment issues as well:

The Fourth Amendment’s protections against “unreasonable” search and seizure require police to have a reason to pull you over. Once the first stop ended, the court ruled, those conditions no longer existed, making the second stop unconstitutional. “Cruise-Gulyas did not break any law that would justify the second stop and at most was exercising her free speech rights,” the court wrote.

Everybody knows that the Bird is the word.

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In lieu of extension cords

I can’t even come close to be surprised at this:

In our little community of 150 homes, some “sustainability” folks formed a HOA committee and they decided we should have a charging station. Hilarity ensued when the quotes came in — just to install the hardware: $75K to $300K. If used regularly, power bill is over $10K annually.

Rather a lot of people have turned up in fora to boast of how much they’re not spending on gas, and that’s fair, but I’m betting most of them have no idea what they’re paying for traveling kilowatt-hours.

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So it looks lopsided

This guy doesn’t care: Two different size tires on the rear?

Bought a truck the other day, tire blew out in the front. I had a spare on a 17 inch rim (rest is 15s) the tire on the 17 inch rim standing next to the 15 inch seems to be about 3 inches maybe 4 inches taller. Had to go down the road the other day and when I started to slow down the whole truck started shaking uncontrollably. Can that one tire cause the truck to shake like that? Happened a couple times and I had to slow the truck right down to 15-20 mph.

“A” spare, not “the” spare. Has he hosed up his differential? I guess we’ll know in a few days when he gets the repair bill and complains bitterly to the world.

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Hardware adjustments required

This Quoran is quacked up: Can I be legally identified as a female to lower my car insurance rates?

I was going to mutter something untoward about genitalia, but fortunately, an actual insurance agent beat me to the punch:

If you are a man, asking that if you put down that you are a female, could you get rated as a woman? Possibly, but if you then have an accident, the company will probably say FRAUD, and not pay you for your claim (won’t stop them from paying the other party if you were guilty) until you paid them all of the BACK PREMIUMS.

I say possibly, because for instance, if you give me a Florida Driver’s license number, without the name of the driver, I CAN TELL WHETHER YOU ARE MALE OR FEMALE. A typical Florida License # looks like this X123–456–78–901–0. That 901 section tells me your Birthday AND whether you are Male or Female. Men’s birth dates are from 001 to 499 and Women’s birth dates run between 501 & 999.

So there is an EXCELLENT likelihood, that you won’t get away with it. OH, and when your Driver’s License Record comes in saying Gregory not Georgia, it might also tip off the insurance company.

Something fake-ID users in Florida need to consider, I guess. And now I’m curious, inasmuch as I have a real-life trans woman friend in Florida, and … never mind, we shouldn’t go there.

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Reaper thwarted

“NO MERGE AREA,” says the temporary highway sign on the way onto the temporary bridge, and they aren’t kidding: if you’re coming on from I-44, you’d better hope that the guys already on I-35 are hanging to the left so you can stake out a piece of the right lane for yourself. Yesterday about this time, though, the driver of your basic Large Tractor/53-foot trailer combo was intent on taking his half of the road out of the middle. Caught between big wheels and Jersey barriers, I wound up with no place at all, accompanied by a very loud noise. The semi, of course, never noticed, and anyway sunrise was still almost half an hour away.

The body-shop owner was, as always, full of useful information. The only really damaged parts were the left front fender (“Smashed flat,” he said), and the driver’s side mirror, conspicuous by its absence. The estimate was prepared, I handed over the key, and I prepared myself mentally for a four-digit repair bill. Fortunately, the remains of my investments had actually grown by about that amount this quarter, so I don’t really feel any poorer. But I am the only person I know who’s lost two mirrors to the Big Frigging Trucks.

And really, it was a narrow window of dubious opportunity: three seconds either way, and nothing would have happened, or they’d have to unroll me like a croissant in a can.

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Torqued on

If you were hoping for something from Cadillac badged “Eldorado” in the near future, forget about it:

Not only does General Motors’ luxury division plan to maintain its alphanumeric naming convention on future models, it also plans to add additional badging for the 2020 model year. The badges are numbers, designed to give both the owner and passer-by a sense of what’s under the hood.

No, it isn’t a return to prominently displayed cubic-inch engine displacements. It’s a torque figure.

In newton-meters.

So does Caddy’s XT6 “400” sport 400 nm of twist? Um, no:

If you’re wondering why the XT6’s standard 3.6-liter V6 warrants such a designation (the mill’s 271 lb-ft of torque works out to 367 newton-meters), it’s because Cadillac rounded up. This will be the case on all models, apparently. The brand doesn’t want any badging that doesn’t end in “00” or “50,” though a “T” will be added to signify a turbocharged engine.

None of these freaking alphanumerics make any sense, and I’m thinking they probably never will.

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One of your closer calls

Truth be told, I don’t think the poor fellow was really worried about that particular detail:

A driver has had a lucky escape after his car plunged 400m off a cliff and on to a nudist beach.

The male driver was bleeding but not seriously injured after the crash on to Sillery Sands, a beach in Devon that is popular with naked sunbathers in the summer.

The motorist climbed up to a set of holiday apartments to raise the alarm.

The remarkable thing here is that he apparently got out of the car before it went over the edge:

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “We received information of debris on the road in the area where the accident was reported. Further investigations revealed the vehicle had gone off the road down into a ravine having had serious damage caused to it. The driver of the vehicle was subsequently located apparently uninjured.”

And now I have to wonder how many sun-worshippers actually show up:

Sillery Sands is a small beach of sand and light shingle south-west of Foreland Point. Due to storm damage, this beach is now only accessible along the shore from Lynmouth on very low tides. Normally, the closest parking would be at lay-bys on the descent from Countisbury to Lynmouth. The coastal path runs just below the road, and the path to the beach branches off a little further up. Unfortunately this has been closed, and is becoming overgrown due to lack of use / maintenance. It ends approximately 20 feet above the shore, where the steps have been washed away and there isn’t a way down these last few feet without a rope or a ladder.

Unless, of course, your car plunges off the edge.

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Maybe this will fit

There are people I know who swear they can feel their wallets getting thinner as they pass an automobile dealership; God forbid they should ever actually go in, right? But then there’s this:

Aftermarket auto parts are a bit of a crap shoot. New car dealers charge exorbitant amounts for replacement parts, so shade tree mechanics will go for the cheaper versions available from the corner auto parts store. Rebuilding common components like water pumps and alternators can be done in a small shop and usually means replacing some relatively inexpensive parts like bearings, so there is a huge margin available. But some of these rebuilding shops turn out shoddy products, products that might last as long as the warranty, which doesn’t bother these guys much, because the car will likely be sold before it fails, and the new owner will replace the failed part again, which means more business for rebuilding shop. But then China got into the act and they started building new replacement parts and selling them for the cost of ones rebuilt in America, which I suspect caused the quality of replacement parts to go up in most places. Except maybe in Texas.

It’s been said of the Chinese that they can deliver any level of product quality you want, from ultra-shoddy to next year’s iPhone, provided you make it clear exactly what is required of them. The guy who shows up on a message board with a tale of woe involving three replacement starters in a single year, well, you know what he’s getting. And you know he’s happier spending $450 at Parts B Us for those three than he would have been if he’d shelled out $449 for a single OEM unit with a one-year warranty from the dealer’s parts counter.

That said, I’ve had good luck with locally-rebuilt CV joints, which cost next to nothing compared to a brand-new joint from the factory; even dealers use them. And my car is old enough that some of the common replacement parts are apparently no longer available from OEM. (Brake rotors come immediately to mind.)

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Hit the road, jacked

From the Serves You Right files:

I have a 2016 f150 XLT and recently bought 33’s that have a -25 offset. Wheels for great and ride smooth however they seem to rub slightly in the front. I looked at the cause of it and it’s rubbing on a piece of metal that sits behind the fog light. It is only held on with a couple of bolts but I want to make sure it doesn’t serve an important purpose. Anybody know what it is?

I’m guessing it’s his penis, in which case he’s in the clear.

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Out from under stifling wings

Set free by General Motors after losing metric tonnes of dollars, Opel is somehow now turning a profit:

After trying and failing to return Opel (and sister brand Vauxhall) to profitability, GM offloaded the automaker to the French in August, 2017. In cutting its losses, Opel’s former parent put the brand’s future in the hands of PSA’s shrewd CEO, Carlos Tavares, who then enacted the same cost-cutting turnaround plan he performed on his own company.

The financial about-face was a quick one. As Automotive News Europe reports, Opel’s 2018 earning report shows a “historic” profit of $979 million — the automaker’s first in two decades.

PSA, owner of the Citroën, Peugeot, and DS brands, wasn’t in the mood to keep a cash-sapping dud around just for production volume bragging rights. It laid out its intentions in a strategic plan, then went about cutting 3,700 manufacturing jobs in the German heartland, transferring 2,000 R&D staff to France in the process. Declining models were put on the chopping block, incentives were slashed. Inventory tightened up.

You’d think, if M. Tavares could do that from Europe, surely the General could have done it from the States. (And no, union opposition is not to blame; if anything, European unions are far more intractable than the United Auto Workers.)

And this does not seem to herald the eventual return of PSA to North America, though the company will continue to supply the Buick Regal to GM for the time being.

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There’ll always be an England

An English automotive industry? Maybe not so much:

Morgan Motor Company, one of the last remaining British-owned carmakers, is to be bought by an Italian investment firm.

The 110-year-old classic sports car firm, based in Malvern, Worcestershire, said it had sold a majority holding to Italy’s Investindustrial, which owns stakes in a broad range of auto brands, including Aston Martin and the motorbike maker Ducati.

It did not disclose the value of the takeover, announced after the unveiling of its Plus Six model at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday but managers and the workforce will have a stake in the business.

The Morgan family will continue to represent the brand and retain a minority stake after the scheduled completion of the deal in April.

After Morgan, who’s left? Aston Martin, maybe, but Investindustrial, those very same Italians, owns a 37.5-percent share, and Daimler AG (otherwise known as Mercedes-Benz) owns 5 percent. TVR? Well, their Russian owner did sell out to a UK-based consortium in 2013. And Kamal Siddiqi’s vast holdings in sterling have yet to yield up more than a handful of Bristol Bullets.

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Drivers die in darkness

Then again, sometimes it just takes stupidity: When old cars get traded in for a new one, do they usually retain the taillights they originally had?

Have you ever seen anyone change out the taillights for any other reason besides “They’re broken”?

After pondering for several minutes, I came up with the following scenario: This guy does not own a Ford Mustang, but he wanted Stangalike three-section sequential turn signals, and he paid someone a hell of a lot of money for the fabrication thereof. One day he’s out shopping for cars, and he asks the guy on the lot how much extra he can expect in trade for those fancy filaments. Guy on the lot is still laughing; aftermarket crap, especially aftermarket crap that does not in any way improve performance, usually gets a negative number at trade time. Feelings hurt, he turned to his buddies at Yahoo! And you can pretty well imagine what they thought of it.

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I’ll just get a Uber

Sure you will:

What about avoiding or getting away from a disaster? If a major hurricane were to threaten your neighborhood, or flooding, or an earthquake or volcanic eruption or other natural disaster, how will you get away from the danger zone without transport under your control? What’s that? You’ll trust City Hall to take care of you? That’s a good one! Tell that to the New Orleans residents who waited to be evacuated before Hurricane Katrina … in vain. In a disaster, Big Brother will do what’s easiest for Big Brother — and that is to control your movements, and force you to stay where you are, or go to where he can control your movements and your destiny. Independence is the last thing on Big Brother’s mind. If he finds it more convenient to restrict or even eliminate voluntary travel at any time, he can and will do so — whether you like it or not. You’ll be treated as a subject, rather than a citizen.

Now imagine this: storm-surge pricing.

Where it’s going to get ugly, though, is when they start calibrating the optics: so far as the politicians are concerned, if 50 survive and 950 perish, those fifty who were able to save themselves will get their Pariah Badge, and will be denounced for not being poor and helpless. It will be at that exact point when you can pronounce the end of the Republic.

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Not so motley

Jack Baruth on the crew-cab pickup truck:

[G]reat for tradesmen, great for families, great for pulling a race car or boat, long-lasting, quiet, comfortable. There’s just one little problem, and I think that this is at the heart of chattering-class objections to the breed: they are, in general, utterly tasteless. They’re festooned with giant badges and silly names and wide-open plains of elephant-testicle-grained plastic. For drivers (and passengers) who have become accustomed to the jewelry-delicate polished metallic inlays of something like an Audi A8, the interior of a Silverado will feel like public transportation. That’s OK, those folks are free to buy something like an Audi Q8, which has half a Silverado’s utility at just twice the cost. Nor will a Ram Rebel ever have the subtle gorgeousness of a Series I Jaguar E-Type — but ask yourself this: If you needed to get your child to a hospital tomorrow, or even make it to work in winter-storm conditions, wouldn’t you willingly sacrifice that beauty?

I don’t even want to know how he grades the grain on those plastics.

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Time to close the schools

If the best we can do is to turn out people at this level of dumbth, it’s pointless to spend a single dollar more on the effort. Live from Quora:

Why don’t car manufacturers make cars with lifted and/or bigger back wheels so the car is always going downhill? It would increase gas mileage by a ton?

As a matter of fact, I’ve actually driven something like this: Susannah, my ’66 Chevy, had 13-inch wheels up front and 14s in the back. The most obvious effect was hoping that if I got a flat tire, it would be in the rear, because the spare was a 14. Fuel economy was every bit as indifferent as you’d expect from middle-1960s Detroit iron.

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Somewhere below subprime

Bark M. remembers a time when he was selling, or perhaps not selling, cars:

I knew what cars we’d be trying to push that day — it was going to be the day we got rid of the remaining 2013 Dodge Avengers. The special finance companies LOVED them. We could get just about any roach on the lot approved for an Avenger. Just prove that you make $1000 a month and you can walk away with a 72 month term and a $379 payment. Don’t do the math on that. It will make you die a little inside.

This is the price you pay for a 602 FICO; if your local demagogue tells you that “America hates poor people” this may be what he’s referring to. I consider it the height of irony that I have my best credit scores ever at a time when I’m not even thinking about a new car.

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Plenty of amps

Electrification is even reaching Italian cars these days:

Earlier this month, Maserati announced upgrades for its Modena assembly plant in preparation for its upcoming Alfieri sports car. That vehicle’s existence, heralded by a 2014 show car, is a key plank in a five-year product plan unveiled last summer.

The two-seat Alfieri won’t carry the V8 powerplant seen in the show car; rather, buyers can expect two green powertrain options in two bodystyles — coupe and convertible. Wards Auto reports that the more consumer-friendly Alfieri variant will adopt a plug-in hybrid layout, utilizing a V6 engine to keep the party going after battery depletion. The other choice is a fully electric Alfieri of undetermined range.

FCA said last year that the battery-electric Alfieri will boast three motors, propelling the car to 62 mph in about 2 seconds. Production should commence before the halfway point in 2020, with consumers gaining delivery of their cars by early 2021.

But will it do 185?

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High-ish hopes

A Quora query: How can I make a billion dollar selling job lots, job lots of cars (used cars, new cars, luxury cars), new cars and luxury cars through an LLC?

All the cool kids are setting up as Limited Liability Companies these days, so that’s certainly understandable. (An LLC is not quite a corporation; the rules governing LLCs and the creation thereof are not quite as stiff as those governing corporations.) And really, no one cares about millionaires anymore: you want that tenth digit to proclaim your status.

Still, I’d believe Taylor Swift calling me up for a date before I’d believe this kid’s made it to a billion.

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We got the shaft

Having once repaired an exhaust manifold with duct tape, I’m really not in a position to grumble about this:

Driveshaft repaired in a haphazard manner

Analysis by the Pergelator:

Driveshafts don’t twist in two unless you apply a heck of a lot more torque than they were originally designed for, which means that either they added a compound low range gearbox to the drive train, or they replaced the driveshaft with some lightweight, high-performance model that wasn’t up to the job. And if (when) it does twist in two, you don’t patch it back together, you replace it. And if you do patch it back together, well, I guess wrenches are as good choice as any for patch material. And who carries a welding rig on the trail? I mean this was an emergency repair performed in the back of beyond, wasn’t it? Not in some guy’s shop where he has access to tools and, you know, parts.

Incidentally, that duct-tape repair lasted for thousands of miles.

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Dumbass wants more speed

Someone using the name “Chris” popped up with this: Can you change a cars “redline”? Alleged justification:

Okay so I used to have an 07 maxima and am thinking about getting an 8th gen maxima, However, the max horsepower is at 6400 rpm where as redline is at 6,600 rpm from my experience with my last maxima its hard to get the gas pedal at the proper rpm for the best acceleration. This leads me to the question can the computer in the car be programed to think redline is at 6400 rather than 6,600 rpm for optimal acceleration?

As the owner of the equivalent of a fifth-generation Maxima, allow me to point out the following, which was undoubtedly obvious to everyone else: “Why in the flying fark are you looking at the gauges instead of at the road?”

An actual tech who knows this engine noted:

The redline rpm is the speed of the motor right before the valves float and engine damage can occur. If you want higher rpms you need a different camshaft and heavier duty valve springs, high flow fuel pump and bigger injectors. Then the valves can mushroom against he valve seats and you’ll need to buy competition cylinder heads.

There’s a couple of grand right there, and for what? A tenth of a second faster to 60, maybe, if you’re lucky? I’d suggest that this is so he won’t get beaten by his girlfriend again, but what are the chances this clodhopper actually knows any girls?

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3M0J1

I knew this was going to happen, and so did you:

If a personalised number plate simply isn’t enough to express your complex personality, worry not — soon you will be able to add an emoji to the mix.

OK, you’ll have to move to Queensland, Australia — but once that’s sorted, you can get your own little smiley starting next month.

The emojis will cost you some extra of course, and are only for decoration.

Queensland license plate with emoji

Oh. Decoration. I thought they said “desecration.”

Wonder what they mean by “some extra”?

Since the plates have a price point of 475AUD (£260, $340), some commenters pointed out that it’s a nifty way for authorities to make yet more money from personalised plates.

Oh.

For that kind of money, they should be offering the cartoon poop.

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Tales of the Blue Oval

Several times a week, I hear from people who would cut off one arm rather than visit an actual auto dealer. This is not one of them:

[T]he mechanics they have — or at least the “customer facing” guys — seem to be pretty good and pretty professional. (The guy I worked with was “Freddie” but I am guessing that wasn’t his actual given name but a name he adopted so Americans can pronounce it). But anyway: would definitely use again. They may be a bit more expensive than the budget places but based on some stuff people have said about the budget places in town, I don’t trust those, and I figure if these guys are at least operating under the Ford flag, if they donk something up, Ford will expect them to make it right.

Rather a lot of the dealerphobes don’t even trust the budget places in town; they throw themselves at the mercy of the message boards, pleading for assistance, and then hunt up YouTube for a how-to, as though they have the slightest idea what they’re watching. Alternatively, they run to AutoZone to get codes pulled for free, and then start stocking up on any parts mentioned or even suggested, because they’d rather throw $600 worth of parts at a problem than spend $125 on a proper diagnostic.

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Don’t call it a car

I have to admit, this contraption is sorta cute, in a too-many-LEGOs sort of way:

Steph Willems has the details:

The car vehicle urban mobility object, which borrows its name from a popular B-segment model built from 1961 to 1978, is Citroën’s idea of transportation for the masses. In a sense, it’s a new take on the people’s car — a latter-day 2CV, only slower. And smaller. And electric. And rentable for periods of anywhere from five minutes to five months, or maybe longer, should you sign a five-year lease.

Slower than a Deux Chevaux? Whoa.

Built frugally, the two-seat, closed-cabin vehicle is said to be capable of 100 km (62 miles) of emission-free driving on a single charge, at speeds of up to a blistering 45 km/h (28 mph). Barring a horrible navigation error, you and your passenger clearly won’t find yourself speeding down a European motorway in this rig. This is a city car designed for people who don’t feel like hailing a cab, taking transit, or hoofing it to their destination a few miles distant.

All of this service would be accessible to anyone with a smartphone, Citroën claims. Whip out your phone, open the mobile app, locate a car, unlock it, and drive away. Find charging facilities in the same manner. Paying for the service would be accomplished just like any other app-based short-term rental.

And it might be more desirable than taking your chances with some neckbearded wacko with an Uber. In Europe, if you’re at least 16, you wouldn’t even need a driver’s license, given the critter’s low top speed.

Still, it’s only a concept, and what works in Bratislava won’t necessarily work in Bakersfield.

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You are what you drive

Certainly some believe that:

We show that socioeconomic attributes such as income, race, education, and voting patterns can be inferred from cars detected in Google Street View images using deep learning. Our model works by discovering associations between cars and people. For example, if the number of sedans in a city is higher than the number of pickup trucks, that city is likely to vote for a Democrat in the next presidential election (88% chance); if not, then the city is likely to vote for a Republican (82% chance).

Deep, maybe; deep learning, maybe not so much. “That’s weird,” says Mr Pergiel:

Could it be that people who know how to work with things prefer pick-em-ups because they are, like, useful? And people who drive cars have no such interests, prefer instead to work with people, or not do any work outside of their job? Since my truck died (the transmission gave out and I sold it for junk) I have been driving my daughter’s old car. Does this mean I am going to turn into a Democrat? Younger son bought an old Ford F-150, so I have a pickup truck by proxy. Does that count?

Lots of pickup trucks in the corporate parking lot, which tells me nothing. Where it gets interesting is when you look around for hybrids. You’ll find two, one driven by a left-of-center female, the other by a male decidedly to the right. Statistically, of course, this doesn’t mean squat. But ultimately, I find myself thinking that it doesn’t mean squat in any other aspect.

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Wares to be pedaled

General Motors has skipped right over the electric scooter to announce yet another product that isn’t a car:

Thursday … GM announced its electric bicycles will carry the brand name “Ariv” (styled as ARĪV by the company) and commence sales within Europe in the second quarter of 2019. Customers have a choice between a compact e-bike and an even smaller, foldable one for a little more money.

You will be expected to contribute something that isn’t, but is sort of like, elbow grease:

Designed and engineered at GM’s facilities in Michigan and Ontario, both bikes offer a claimed 64 kilometers (about 40 miles) of ride time on a single charge. However, the manufacturer didn’t make it clear how much pedal power that entails. Since these are e-bikes and not scooters, owners will have to be willing to exert themselves physically even before the battery is depleted.

That said, GM promises a 3.5-hour recharge time at a normal wall plug and an electric motor delivering “top-of-segment power and torque for its size.” Both bikes possess a top speed of 15 mph, which is roughly on par with your average Bird scooter.

If you didn’t like scooters, maybe you’ll like these bikes.

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Thirst come, thirst served

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles wrote a big check to the Feds for not quite meeting 2016 fuel-economy standards, and they shrug:

Shane Karr, head of external affairs for Fiat Chrysler in North America, confirmed the company’s $77-million penance with Reuters. Karr is one of the few automotive spokespeople willing to openly endorse a rollback. He told the outlet that the government’s fuel economy program should be reformed, thus ending the practice of automakers making “large compliance payments because assumptions made in 2011 turned out to be wrong.”

However, Karr also noted FCA remains “committed to improving the fuel efficiency of our fleet and expanding our U.S. manufacturing footprint.”

It’s not difficult to understand why Fiat Chrysler incurred the fines. While Fiat offers fuel-sipping options, the same cannot be said of the firm’s more American nameplates. Most of Dodge’s lineup doesn’t even come with an available four-cylinder, since the brand cut loose many of its smaller and less profitable models several years ago. In fact, Dodge frequently frames its surplus of powerful V8 engines as an important selling point.

One of Dodge’s Hellcats breathed into my ear on the way up Interstate 35 yesterday. It was incredibly loud, and it’s difficult to imagine how the driver could be talked into a hybrid: give it a big enough battery, and it will be just as quick, but there is apparently no joy in dead silence.

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Perhaps not such a mystery

But you wonder just a little bit about the backstory: How do i know if my Impala has remote start if it didn’t come with a key fob when i bought it?

Because the seller is going to use that same fob on his new car?

Let us pray the Automotive Cheapskate’s Prayer:

O Lord, grant us this one request, because I can’t afford to spend any money on diagnostics, and besides I’m saving up for a subwoofer. Amen.

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Back to the Forward Look

Chuck Pergiel remembers, sort of, the 1959 DeSoto:

The good old days, when beautiful girls wore gloves, cars were shiny, every seat had an ashtray, and a six by nine speaker in the parcel shelf was the epitome of automotive audio.

Indeed. My 1966 Chevrolet had a cutout in the rear shelf for a 6 x 9 speaker, which was presumably standard on higher trim levels. I installed one myself.

1960 was the last year for DeSoto.

Sad. There was a brief run of ’61s, with arguably the most hideous front end until, well, any current Toyota:

The Great Automotive Shakeout was well under way in those days. After 1957, Hudson and Nash were glued together to form American Motors; the last Packards, thinly-disguised Studebakers, appeared for ’58; Ford killed off Edsel, a mere child of three, after 1960; and Studebaker itself disappeared into Canada for its last two model years (1965-66).

I have long believed that the utterly gorgeous ’57 Plymouth killed demand for the pricier Dodge and DeSoto models on the same platform, to the extent that only one of them could possibly survive. By 1960, even the Plymouth was overwrought.

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