Archive for Driver’s Seat

So much for this species

Manitoba licence plate ASIMIL8

The United Federation of Canadians is apparently not amused:

Documents from a legal challenge by a Star Trek fan who had his personalized ASIMIL8 licence plate revoked show a Manitoba Public Insurance senior executive was shocked the plate was ever issued at a time when reconciliation with Indigenous people was coming to the forefront.

The email from vice-president Keith Ward to registrar of motor vehicles Carla Hocken on April 24, 2017, said approving the licence plate did not follow MPI procedures and required immediate action.

“We are considering serious disciplinary action for those who were involved and contributed to approving a plate that is so obviously inappropriate at a time when there was significant media coverage about the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, etc.,” Ward wrote.

Maybe Elizabeth Warren can help.

(Via Fark.)

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A task no one loves

I’m sort of hoping that I never have to do this again:

You have no idea what a benefit a company car is until it goes away after more than 20 years. I’m off to look for a cheap used car this morning to get me back and forth to work. It is a ten minute commute, so I just need a vehicle that will start and not need tons of repairs. I’d like a pickup, but used truck prices are ridiculous. I don’t want a payment, but I also don’t have piles of cash and coin in my basement vault where I slide and ski down money mountains like Scrooge McDuck.

And then you have to deal with the Sneakie Boys:

I hate the high pressure “What do we need to get you into this car today” spiel. I can handle that, sales is my profession too. But more, I despise the hours waiting on financing to do their thing then come out with a whole different deal than what you agreed with the salesman. If I find something today, I will wait a little for them to work up the numbers then I’m leaving. They can call me Monday with a final deal. I’m not sitting around the dealership for hours on a Saturday. Mostly I loathe the idea that I’m going to get cheated. I am. I just don’t like it.

The alternative, of course, is to pay the factory price on a Tesla. Connecticut, and a few other states, won’t let you.

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All that cop stuff

In a hybrid? Ford says yes:

It’s a pursuit-rated vehicle, so the hybridized rig isn’t a slouch. With standard gas-electric operation and all-wheel drive, Ford wants this vehicle to be the reason agencies around the country ditch their Chargers and Tahoes.

In Michigan State Police testing, Ford claims the hybrid Police Interceptor Utility ran away from the pack, besting even V8 offerings from other brands. The new rig beats the outgoing 3.7-liter model by 1.1 seconds in a 0-60 dash, and by 4.7 seconds in a run up to 100 mph. Top speed is 137 mph. The automaker states that in terms of 0-100 acceleration, lap time, average lap speed, and top speed, the eco cruiser can’t be beat. Well, except by another, hotter variant of the same vehicle.

There are wise guys out there who will look at that 137 and snicker. I would remind them that they can’t outrun a radio.

And furthermore:

In hybrid guise, the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery doesn’t consume any additional cabin space, nor will it electrocute nearby fish while traversing 18 inches of water at 15 mph.

The only apparent downside is that it’s a 2020 model, so it will be a few months before Dearborn looks at your purchase order.

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Do what you Musk

Tesla, says Bark M., gonna Tesla:

I have no idea why every autowriter in America appears to either be Team Tesla or Team Haterade, but I find myself squarely in the “meh” camp. Musk and crew have proven to be brilliant, and I do mean brilliant marketers. They don’t spend a dime on advertising and yet they dominate the news pages. They have managed to create more raving fans in just a few years than their competitors have with several decades of a head start. Mercedes buyers will consider BMW. Audi buyers will consider Lexus. Tesla buyers only consider Tesla. That, in and of itself, is a fantastic accomplishment. Yes, the cars appear to have some quality and consistency issues on delivery, and I still think that Tesla will fight an uphill battle against dealers and unions. But they are making and selling a genuinely significant number of cars right here in the United States at a time when Ford and GM are fleeing for China. That alone is worthy of applause. I don’t think they’ll go out of business, and I don’t think they’ll dominate the industry from top to bottom. Apparently I’m wrong by not having one of those two opinions, but whatevs, you know?

Whatevs. The fact is, Tesla is somehow managing to deliver about 200,000 cars a year, more than Acura, more than Infiniti, almost as many as Mazda. No one ever questions those guys. And while one may weary of Tesla fanboys, try to imagine the same number of bodies clamoring for Buicks, and admit defeat.


The wake-up call goes to 11

They want 16-year-olds to be able to vote. Were I intent on providing a reason why this should not happen, I need only point to this alleged 20-year-old: I need to get car repod. I plan on buying a car 3 weeks after the repo. Do i have to be worried? Im 20 btw.?

Three weeks? He’ll be lucky if it’s three years.

A blue-clad anonyme told him off right smart:

Do you have to be worried? Yes. It’s not going to happen. If you voluntarily surrender your vehicle, you do not get completely out of debt. The lender will auction the vehicle and deduct what they get for it from what you owe. To that amount they will add the auction fee and repo fees. This will leave you with no car and significant debt, and you will be unable to finance another vehicle for years. The only way you could buy another car after the repo is for cash, but if you had that amount of cash you could make your payments. In short, you’re an ignorant dumbass and soon to become a walking one. I hope you own decent walking shoes.

First thought, of course, was Troll! But I looked back at some of the guy’s previous questions, and he would lose a game of Jeopardy! to two bags of hair.


Nothing to scrutinize, really

This month’s car-insurance renewal is priced exactly the same as the renewal six months ago, so there’s no deep analysis this time around. Lucky me. (I mean, I did turn 65 this year.)

I’m starting to think about once I retire, start the groceries on delivery and getting rid of the car altogether. I have yet to decide whether this is a bad idea or not.

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This will not end well

I’ve had issues with gas stations before. I remember gassing up a loaner G37 one day and not knowing how to open the fuel door. (Hey, my I30 has a proper remote release on the driver’s door.) I got to act foolish for a few moments, one of which I spent looking for the owner’s manual, which the dealership had thoughtfully removed, presumably shrinkwrapped in storage for the benefit of the ultimate buyer. Eventually, I was able to get gas and get going.

Yeah, I was dumb. But I wasn’t this dumb:

Eventually, one of the laughing fellows behind the camera got out and gave assistance to the distressed damsel.

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And Amazon has a chestnut roaster

The Internet has screwed up Christmas shopping, says a Grauniad scold:

Christmas shopping was so much easier when stuff existed.

If you cast your mind back into the distant past, you may remember a simpler time before we lived our lives online. A time when, if you knew your mom loved Linda Ronstadt, you could purchase a recording of Linda Ronstadt, wrap it up, and place it under the tree. On Christmas morning, your mom would delightedly open the package and have something new.

It was hers, this Linda Ronstadt album. It didn’t exist as some sort of intangible entity on some distant corporate server. It was just there, in her house. Your mom had that Linda Ronstadt album, and no one could claim otherwise.

Or let’s say you were 16 and you saw Garden State with your girlfriend, Amanda, and you were both convinced it had changed your lives. Zach Braff, you realized, just understood your generation. When Christmas came around, if you were still under this mistaken impression, you could be very romantic and obtain this film for Amanda. She would treasure it. When she brought her impressive film collection to college, every time she took it out, she would think of you and those heady days of ninth grade, hanging out in Xavier’s basement. (It’s cool you had a friend named Xavier. Not a lot of people do.)

It was a time when the various media everyone accrued was a fundamental part of who they were. Helping to expand others’ collections was a way of helping them build that identity. You were saying: hey, I know what you care about and by God, I’m going to find it for you. And it won’t even be that hard.

I don’t want to brag, but I used to be a great gift giver. You mentioned Smokey Robinson on our first date? Bam, you’re getting the Tamla Motown Gold Collection. You like Sleater-Kinney? Prepare for some B-sides in your stocking. You think you’re some kind of “film buff?” I’ll find you some weird black and white thing you can claim to be really into.

But every year, as more and more stuff evaporates from the physical world to take up residence on a subscription service, the holidays get a little harder. It’s not like you can just buy someone a Netflix account — that’s a monthly financial commitment, and anyway I think there’s only about three accounts in existence, shared by 78% of the global population.

I realize having unlimited access to every form of media ever created has its perks. I just get a bit nostalgic around this time of year.

Fortunately, one ancient technology seems, against the odds, to be surviving. Yes, Borders is gone, Barnes and Noble is in trouble, and e-readers are omnipresent. But small bookshops have actually seen growth, and ebooks just can’t seem to kill off their paper predecessors. Even Amazon, the maker of the Kindle, is going out of its way to promote real books with its own physical shops.

A great New Yorker cover a few years ago shows an alien sitting among the post-apocalyptic wreckage of a future Earth. Nothing works any more, but the alien has still found a way to entertain itself: it’s reading a book.

I bet that alien would be really easy to shop for.

If there’s anyone left to shop for him.

I can’t get quite so exercised about matters. If one sort of gift has been reduced in stature, others are doing just fine, thank you very much.

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Drop the coin right into the slot

You gotta drive something that’s really hot:

Proposed Carvana location in OKC

KFOR-TV and OKCTalk have already reported:

Carvana is planning to build a new facility in north Oklahoma City.

The facility is expected to include a multi-story vending machine that can dispense cars to local buyers.

After purchasing a car online, customers can select the option to pick up their car from the vending machine location. When they arrive at the site, customers find their transaction in a kiosk and the car is dispensed.

The company will continue to offer car delivery to a home or business as an alternative.

The new facility, which will be built at 1800 W. Memorial Rd., will consist of a 5,800 square foot building and vending tower.

Purchase of the land has just closed ($900,000, including the adjacent lot at 13551 North Indiana), and Carvana has applied for a city building permit. Expected cost: $3.5 million. That’s a lot of damned cars. And how is this supposed to work, anyway?

Carvana is the whole new way to buy a car, so our process is nothing like what you would experience on a sales lot. Just like shopping for a new couch or your next favorite pair of shoes, Carvana offers a car buying experience for today’s world: completely online, done from the comfort of your home, on your own time, with delivery right to your door.

Using our list of comprehensive filters, you can narrow down your search and check out the 360-degree tours of the actual cars! No stock photos here. On each vehicle’s display page, we’ve also highlighted all the details and specs, pointed out the most noticeable imperfections, provided review data from Edmunds, and you can even find a direct link to the vehicle’s CarFax!

Once you’ve found the car that’s right for you, click “Get Started” to see all the steps on the online purchase dashboard. There you’ll be able to select your payment option from Carvana Financing, third party financing, or cash. Next, you can choose to apply a trade, add GAP coverage, or add a Carvana Care extended warranty (if available on your chosen vehicle). We will ask you to upload your driver’s license along with some other documents based on your purchase. In the last step, you get to choose your delivery or pick-up details! Once your order is placed, our Underwriting Team will review your account and reach out with an update. Don’t worry, we’ll always contact you to confirm your appointment. The specifics of your delivery or pick-up will depend on your location, so click here [well, not here exactly] for more information. Regardless of your location, every car will come with a 7-day Money Back Guarantee and 100-day/4,189-mile Limited Warranty.

Sounds easy right? It is. We’re committed to putting our customers first and giving you a great experience every step of the way.

So you’re apparently not buying out of the machine: you’re buying from their Web site, and then they ship it to the nearest machine.

I have a couple of qualms, one obvious, the other perhaps less so. I hate the idea of giving up the traditional test drive, even though it’s probably less informative than it used to be, simply because I don’t match up physically with most cars. (Even when I was healthy and walking, I was six foot one with an inseam of barely 28 inches, which means I’m more likely to scrape against the headliner than your average NBA player is. Well, your guards, anyway.) And why 4189 miles? Sounds weirdly specific, and no conversion factor suggests itself. It turns out that the average driver, according to their surveys, drives 41.89 miles per day.

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In lieu of a proper crate engine

This got tossed into my Quora queue: Has anyone ever rented an expensive car, swapped the engine out for the one in their car, then returned the rental car with a different or defective engine?

I thought I’d heard of this having happened many years ago. Fortunately for my odd combination and laziness, someone had already addressed the matter:

Yes, 1966 Ford Mustang GT350-Hs (for Hertz) were rented from the vehicle rental company before the engines were swapped out for nearly identical-looking engines before they were returned. That’s because the K-code 289 engines in the GT350s were rated at 271 horsepower as opposed to the lesser 225 horsepower A-code engines which were covertly smuggled into the cars. The K-code mills were popular for drag racing as well as road racing, and many left the factory making significantly more horsepower than their factory-rated 271 HP.

Today, one of the most valuable vintage Mustangs on the auction market is the GT350-H, often fetching hundreds of thousands of dollar$.

I’m guessing that an original, numbers-matching GT350-H will probably be worth more today than one of those sneakily-derived Frankenfords, but you never really know at a classic-car auction until the hammer comes down.


But they gotta pay me

Doofus thinks the more numbers he throws out, the better his return is going to be: How do I know if my car value has dropped and how much it has dropped?

The moment you bought it, it dropped. But that’s almost another matter:

I bought a new car on June this year, and 2 weeks ago, an incident happened and the car was damaged pretty bad. The car has been fixed and now it looks like new. The incident is not my fault, and I believe it is cause by a defect of the car itself even if the maker, which is Honda, denied it. I probably need a lawyer to talk to them but that is another topic. Now as the car has been repaired once, how do I know if t he car value has dropped? and how much it has dropped. Is there any place I can take the car and evaluate how much its value is?

Update: The reason I am asking the questions is that I plan to ask Honda to pay for my financial damage, including the depreciation of the car, my rental car, my insurance deduction, and so on. I have specific numbers for all the others except the depreciation of the car. that is why I want to know if there is anyway to find out.

Um, you said Honda had already told you to go pound sand. So you’re going to fling a bunch of numbers at them and you expect them to change their mind?

You might want to spend some of your vast cash holdings on proving Honda is wrong. This is going to require legal and possibly engineering assistance; perhaps the best you can hope for is that hiring all these experts doesn’t exceed whatever fantasy value you put on it.

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Power door locks are standard

Anyone old enough to remember Elwood Engel’s ultra-tasteful 1961 Lincolns won’t even bat an eye at this:

Then there is the ever-watchful, always ahistorical, Clueless Twitter:

Though no official communications from Lincoln or Ford use the term “suicide doors,” just about every news report on the new Conti called them exactly that. Autoweek and Road & Track used the term in their tweets about the car. CNN, Fox News, and CBS News all used “suicide doors” in their headlines. Since few people these days seem to actually read, the Twitter mob was provoked by the headlines to inveigh against the automaker for being insensitive about suicide, even though Lincoln isn’t using the word.

Every day I find more reason to be less sensitive.

And seriously, can you really call them “suicide doors” with that big fat B-pillar blocking your exit?

Addendum: On this date in 1961, Elwood Engel, having saved the Lincoln brand from certain death, found himself occupying the Chief Stylist slot — at Chrysler.


Son, I am ahead of you

Get a whiff of this: How do i disappoint my parents on purpose?

Spiteful child explains:

They refused to get me Porsche 718 Cayman S.

I suspect the little twerp has been disappointing them for a long, long time already.

This proffered answer, though, has resonance:

It’s OK, they aren’t your real parents — just the prostitute and her John who found you in a dumpster of medical waste at the AIDS hospital.

They still sound more respectable than the kid.


This is your Holy Father’s Popemobile

And it could, assuming a miracle or two, be yours:

Roughly a year ago, Lamborghini customized a Huracán RWD for Pope Francis. This was not a commissioned job but a gift from the automaker to the Vatican. Tragically, His Holiness wasn’t interested in holding onto it so he could more easily cruise for babes and [the] Catholic Church decided the best course of action would be to auction the vehicle off for charity.

While sold by Sotheby’s in Monaco last May for 715,000 euros (about $813,000 USD), it would appear the final bidder either didn’t have the necessary funds or experienced a change of heart. Maybe it was divine intervention. Regardless, the Huracán is now being raffled off for ten bucks a ticket — though you can choose to donate more and better your chances.

The winner will “head to the Vatican to receive the keys to your new car during a private ceremony with Pope Francis and Lamborghini’s CEO, Stefano Domenicali. Flights and hotel included.”

And what of the money raised?

Proceeds will go toward rebuilding villages “that have been devastated by violence and war, assist victims of human trafficking, provide medical care and education to those living in poverty.” Funds will be distributed through Charities Aid Foundation of America.

The brunt of that was previously said to go toward the reconstruction of the Nineveh Plain in Iraq and aid to help the Christian community resettle the area. However, a significant portion had been reserved for the Pope John XXIII Community — a charity that focuses on helping women who were victimized by human trafficking at the hands of ISIS.

There are seven weeks to go before the drawing.

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Gotta have my status

Loser really hates when he isn’t given the props he thinks he deserves: So I rented a premium car with hertz and they gave me an Avalon for the same price?

You can hear the pain self-righteousness in his voice:

So I had reserved an Infiniti or similar which came out to 80$/day and that’s on the premium car category aka “prestige” the Avalon is just a full size car and they wouldn’t adjust the price. Am I wrong to want to dispute it with my credit card company if they don’t adjust it?

What needs adjusting, farknozzle, is your attitude. The only Infinitis you’re going to find in regular rental fleets are bottom-of-the-line Q50s with nowhere near the amount of equipment you’ll find in an Avalon, and the Q50s are one size smaller besides. (I’ve rented two of the Qs. I know.)

Now, did this cost you a date with an actual (as distinguished from “inflatable”) woman? Then you’re better off. Once she’d listened to you whine for five minutes, it’s over. And besides, if you can’t put the dollar sign in the right place, you’re too stupid for either rental cars or women.

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As things grind to a halt

“Tiny violins sought as infamous Alabama speed trap town sinks into further financial trouble,” says Fark:

In the small Alabama town of Castleberry, once a highly profitable speed trap where the police department was five times larger than the national average, a lawsuit accusing the former police chief of theft, false imprisonment, and enforcing a made-up law, may about to be resolved.

More than 20 months have passed since local attorney Richard Nix filed suit against former police chief Tracy Hawsey and the town. During that time the contentious town law, or ordinance, that enabled Hawsey and his officers to pull people over and tow their vehicles for $500 each has been shelved and the police department shrunken from five full-time officers to two part-time officers that work on their days off from their regular jobs.

But the lawsuit, which is expected to be mediated before Christmas, according to Hawsey, remains. And while it may bring restitution to the plaintiffs in the case, some of which have never had their cars or cash returned, it also has the potential to devastate an already struggling Castleberry.

Yeah, I suppose five full-time officers would be quite an expense for a town of 600.

“We’re still terrible financially,” said Mayor Buddy Kirksey, who narrowly beat out the former mayor by just 30 votes during an election a little over two years ago. “The town can’t afford anything like this so right now we’re depending on the insurance companies to pay for it.”

And what of this Hawsey fellow, anyway?

In 2002, Hawsey saw multiple drug bust cases thrown out of by judges after he and his deputies used improper police procedure when entering suspects properties, according to reporting from the time. Four years later, he stepped down as Conecuh County Sheriff two months before his second term was up, according to the Evergreen Courant. He had just lost a run-off. The resignation was seen at the time as being unprofessional given that deputies under him lost their arresting powers. A new Sheriff was sworn in immediately, only to find that food for inmates at the county jail had run out. New Sheriff, Edwin L. Booker, was forced to use his own money to feed inmates.

Which is not to say Hawsey was loath to spend money:

In 2016, revenues from the court system and the drug towing law, brought in more than $546,000, approximately double from the year before. At the same time, however, payroll for the cops and court quadrupled, according to financial documents.

The city began to accrue new debts, which was compounded by debts incurred by Hawsey’s ambitious plan to grow the police department with personnel, dispatchers, new equipment and at one point five cop cars.

And cop tires, cop suspensions, and cop shocks run into some serious money.

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This started with Fillyjonk having to wrestle with the tire-pressure monitoring system again:

I decided to haul out my little pump and bring them back up to 40 psi (max inflation is 44, but I thought “given the changeability of our temperature, maybe it’s best not to go to the very max on a chilly day” and also it’s hard to read the marks-between-the-tens on the little gauge). So that took maybe 10 minutes to make sure all four tires were up to the right level, but it shut off the light, so that was good.

Now to me, 44 psi, which is what it says on the sidewall of the tire, seemed awfully high, and I wondered if maybe the mandatory label inside the vehicle might call for something thirty-ish. But no, she confirmed: 44 is where it’s supposed to be. Not the first time that she was right and I was wrong.

And of course, this wasn’t any of my business in the first place, but I do get antsy about Ford tire pressures:

On March 6, 2000 the NHTSA began a preliminary inquiry and on May 2, the NHTSA began an investigation (PE00-020) concerning the high incidence of tire failures and accidents of Ford Explorers and other light trucks and SUV’s fitted with Firestone Radial ATX, ATX II, and Wilderness tires. On August 9 Firestone recalled all ATX and ATX II tires and all Wilderness AT tires manufactured in Decatur, IL. On August 31, 2000 the Office of Defect Investigation (ODI) upgraded the investigation to an Engineering Analysis (EA00-023) to determine whether Firestone’s recall covered all the defective tires.

Ford and Firestone both issued root cause analyses to the NHTSA. Firestone argued that vehicle weight, tire design, low recommended inflation pressure, and lower tire adhesion for tires manufactured at the Decatur, IL factory contributed to the tire failures. Ford argued that the tire design led to higher operating temperatures compared to similar tires manufactured by Goodyear and that differences in manufacturing at Decatur led to weaker tires that were more prone to failure. Ford also argued that the size of the wedge, a strip of rubber between the first and second belts, is smaller in Firestone tires than Michelin tires making them weaker than comparable Michelin tires.

Publicly Firestone argued that Ford’s recommended 26 psi inflation pressure was too low and should have been 30 psi. In addition Firestone argued that the Explorer was abnormally dangerous and prone to rollovers in the event of a tire failure, leading to more injuries and fatalities. In the words of Firestone CEO John Lampe, “When a driver of a vehicle has something happen such as a tread separation, they should be able to pull over not rollover.”

One could go back further, to the first-generation Chevrolet Corvair. A rear-engine car with an obvious rear weight bias, the Corvair was fitted with swing axles out back, creating a tendency to oversteer, to which General Motors provided the cheapest remedy possible:

As with the Renault Dauphine and pre-1968 Volkswagen Beetle, Corvair engineers relied on a cost-free tire pressure differential to eliminate oversteer characteristics — low front and high rear tire pressure–a strategy which induced understeer (increasing front slip angles faster than the rear). Nonetheless, the strategy offered a significant disadvantage: owners and mechanics could inadvertently but easily re-introduce oversteer characteristics by over-inflating the front tires (e.g., to typical pressures for other cars with other, more prevalent suspension systems). The recommended low front tire pressure also compromised the tire load capacity.

The General’s recommended pressures: 15 psi front, 24 psi rear. It was in the manual, but your average pump jockey, while he was filling your tank up with Good Gulf, wouldn’t see that as he pumped up those low-looking front tires. The second-generation Corvair had a much better rear suspension, possibly even better than Corvette would get for 1965, but by then, the damage was done, and by model year 1969, so was the Corvair.

Still, none of these were really pertinent to FJ’s TPMS issue, and I guess I’m sorry I brought it up in the first place.

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The incredible shrinking dingus

Overview, from Wikipedia:

Koro is a culture-bound syndrome delusional disorder in which an individual has an overpowering belief that one’s sex organs are retracting and will disappear, despite the lack of any true longstanding changes to the genitals. Koro is also known as shrinking penis, and it is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The syndrome occurs worldwide, and mass hysteria of genital-shrinkage anxiety has a history in Africa, Asia, and Europe. In the United States and Europe, the syndrome is commonly known as genital retraction syndrome. The condition can be diagnosed through psychological assessment along with physical examination to rule out genuine disorders of the genitalia that could be causing true retraction.

Case history, from Yahoo! Answers:

Im a 16 year old guy and my mom bought me a black tdi 2014 beetle convertible cause my mom always wanted one. what can i do to make it manly?

Is it too late for this lad? The question is left as an exercise for the student.

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Terrors of Colorado Boulevard

Francis W. Porretto has apparently been thumbing through the old 45s once more, and briefly he settled on the genre of Car Songs, which was dominated by exactly two acts:

Car and Driving songs: The Beach Boys had hits with “Little Old Lady from Pasadena,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” and “My 409,” while Jan and Dean scored with “Dead Man’s Curve.”

I thought at first that I should make a fuss, what with the song about the Little Old Lady being properly a Jan and Dean title — but this perhaps would have been unfair, inasmuch as while the J&D single (Liberty 55704, if you’re keeping score) had crested at Number Three, the Beach Boys did a creditable live version of the song on their late-summer concert LP, which topped the album charts.

Both organizations also put out versions of “Little Deuce Coupe,” which song has provided me with sexual euphemisms (“She’s ported and relieved and she’s stroked and bored”) and a glossary of Californisms (“I got the pink slip, daddy” is “What’s more, it’s paid for“).

But “Little Old Lady” introduced a twist on the California milieu: while anyone who grew up within the broadcast range of Los Angeles stations understood the reference to Pasadena, that leaves only the rest of the world to puzzle over it. The Italians, for one, were not having any of that:

Italian 45 sleeve for Old Ladies Seldom Power Shift

None of this quite explains Pontiac Grand Prix owners Patience Proper and Prudence Prim, members of the Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review and Timing Association, which outros with Jan’s “Go, granny, go” refrain.

Oh, and on Beach Boys’ Party! there’s a cover of the Regents’ “Barbara Ann.” Which Beach Boy sings lead? None of them. That’s Dean Torrance (of Jan and) up front. Now how often is a hit song sung by someone who’s not actually a member of the group? At least once more.

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Another future bus patron

What are these people thinking? I got a title loan on my car is there any way around not paying?

Sure. Just surrender the car to whatever repo person is dispatched to collect it, and hope that it brings enough at auction to cover the balance of your loan.

Of course, this means you’re going to have a credit score of about twelve and a half for the foreseeable future, so you might want to put the money you’ll no longer be spending on the car into a savings account, in case you ever want to buy anything ever again.

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Does not excel

Not sure what to make of this:

I drive a 2013 Nissan Maxima sv, I have been having trouble with my car. The car when it was moving i would press the Excelerator and it would move but at a certain point I will be pressing on the Excelerator and it would and then it’ll try to catch up. So today when I was driving I stopped at a red light and the light turned green I had the Excelerator the call would not move at all. What I noticed was the motor was not ribbon nor was the car moving so I figure it can’t be just the transmission.

The motor was not ribbon? Yikes!

Up until the red-light incident, this sounded like normal CVT behavior: the engine revs, and the transmission eventually gets to where it wants to be. They usually don’t stall out, though.

And I am troubled by that phrase “just the transmission,” as though that wasn’t bad enough in and of itself.

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Just try to show your work

Because I am not at all seeing the connection here: Is it good to fill your gas every time it hits the halfway mark?

I mean, I think I know what he means:

Like I thought it would be a good idea to save money on gas if I was to fill up every time it hit the 1/2 way mark or is it bad to do that?

If anything, it should reduce your gas mileage a tad, if only because you’re carrying around the weight of at least half a tank of gas all the time. (Half a tank in my car would weigh about 55 lb.)

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Not new, and not turned over

At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Margot Robbie is drawing attention to, or away from, the 2019 version of Nissan’s battery-powered Leaf:

Margot Robbie and a Nissan Leaf

The ’19 Leaf has a 40-kWh battery pack, good for, the EPA guesstimates, 151 miles, about twice as far as Version 1.0 in 2011. About 350,000 Leafs (Leaves?) are on the road today, with nearly 40 percent of them in the States.

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My Little Road Hazard Kit

US Patent No. 5,094,905A:

This invention relates to three dimensional members made from rubber fragments obtained from discarded tires. These items can be used as structural articles such as landscaping ties, dock bumpers for boat docks or truck loading docks, as resilient mats for workers or certain types of farm animals, or as substitutes for various products that are normally made of wood but which do not need to withstand large longitudinal loads. These articles are made by cutting, grinding, or shredding discarded tires into fragments. The fragments are mixed with an adhesive and molded, preferably under pressure, into a shape such as a rectangular beam. If desired for a particular use, these articles can be reinforced with strips of rubber or strands of fiber to give them greater tensile strength, or with reinforcing bars to give them added stiffness. If desired, they can be covered by a material such as plastic, impregnated cardboard, or a waterproof layer of adhesive. — Kevin N. Murray

Well, Mr. Murray, I hope the guy who was tooling along at 59 mph in the center lane of I-44 this morning was bringing you something you could use. It would have been even nicer had he tied the stuff down properly to prevent that one five-foot strip of Tire That Once Was from dropping into the road directly in front of me. I carried that sumbitch for about a mile before it finally dislodged itself. God only knows what it did to the underside of my car; the splash guard was already somewhat loose.

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Candidate for a bus pass

He clearly can’t afford to drive:

Long story short my car run out of fuel and was sedentary for a while (I couldn’t drive it and refuel because i had no license at the time). The battery went dead after I kept turning on the ignition and listening to the radio, messing with the lights etc when I was bored (ye ye dumb I know). So after a while I got some fuel from a jerry can and jump started it which worked but the next day it was dead again. I tried buying 2 different car chargers but both showed the battery full when obviously it isn’t. I even left it on charge for 11+ hours and it still wouldn’t start. I’ve tried leaving the car on after jumping it and gently reving the engine for almost an hour and it still won’t start after without jumping again. Is the battery completely useless? On top of the battery it shows partially charged. I haven’t drove the car around to know if it will charge (I don’t have the money to insure the car for a few more weeks)

So much fail. And nothing here suggests he’s ever going to change his ways.


Miku is your co-pilot

Hatsune Miku, recently wed (in holographic form) to a Japanese fellow, has a new gig:

Miku and a Honda

The “Let’s Drive with Miku!” project includes a customized Honda S660 automobile with integrated support for osoba, a smartphone application for iOS that allows voice-interaction with fictional characters. With osoba, the Miku-mobile will comment on subjects such as mileage and fuel levels as well as providing maintenance reminders for oil changes, tire rotations, and so on.

Of course, the tiny S660, out of Japan’s kei-car class, isn’t sold here, but:

American Honda Motor Co. president Tetsuo Iwamura was quoted as saying “I would personally fight for it,” to come to the United States if the US market asked for it.

One can only hope.

(Via @Joanna Blackhart.)

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Soccer mom?

Kathryn Hahn has done commercials for Chrysler’s Pacifica minivan all year, and they’re all at least somewhat wacky, but this one goes the extra 1.6 kilometers:

This may be the first time in ages I’ve seen someone in a car ad actually reading the manual.

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Ghosn with the wind

In 1999, Carlos Ghosn created the Nissan/Renault Alliance, to which Mitsubishi was added last year. Three utterly disparate automakers. But Ghosn, apparently, spent a great deal of time looking out for Number One:

Nissan Motors chairman Carlos Ghosn has been arrested and will be dismissed for alleged under-reporting of his income and misuse of company funds, the company said Monday.

The Japanese automaker’s CEO Hiroto Saikawa confirmed that Ghosn was arrested after being questioned by prosecutors following his arrival in Japan earlier in the day.

It was a stunning development that will pose a daunting test for the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance, one of the world’s biggest automakers.

The biggest, at least during the first half of 2018, beating out both Volkswagen Group and Toyota.

The Yokohama-based company said the alleged violations involving millions of dollars by Ghosn, 64, and another executive were discovered during a months’ long investigation that was instigated by a whistleblower.

Did Ghosn think himself to be underpaid?

Ghosn’s Renault pay package amounted to a shareholder-approved 7.4 million euro last fiscal year ($8.46 million), with Nissan and Mitsubishi chipping in $6.52 million and $2.01 million, respectively.

I’m pretty sure I could get by on $17 million a year.

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When racing is a drag

This guy is looking for “sick mods” for his modest Mustang:

I wasn’t approved for the 18 Mustang EcoBoost, so I got the 16 instead. I feel like my 2014 V6 is faster than my new EcoBoost. I don’t know the terminology mods but I’m sure i can look them up. Any suggestions on how to make my EcoBoost run a faster 0-60 than a 6.8?

Speed costs money, and you have to figure that his finances are somewhat constrained, or else he’d have gotten the loan for the newer model. But the best answer came from this guy:

Nothing that won’t void the 5 year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty, and possibly your insurance policy. My little Chevy Bolt (fully electric) does it in 6.3 seconds and costs pennies per mile to operate. Your dinosaur eats my dust and blows a couple bucks out the tailpipe every time you put your foot down hard. Hahahahaha.

Harsh, perhaps, but likely accurate.

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The last mile

Remember the guy with the Volvo with more than three million miles on it? The car has now officially outlasted him:

Irv Gordon, who bought a new Volvo P1800S in 1966 and drove it to a Guinness World Record 3.2 million miles, has died. He was 77.

Gordon didn’t set out to become a Guinness world record holder. As he told Wired back in 2010 — when his Volvo showed just 2.8 million miles — he simply wanted a reliable ride after having bad luck with a brand-new Corvair. “I liked the way the car looked and the way it rode, but it broke down four blocks from the showroom the night I bought it,” he said of the Chevy.

Last time he posted to Facebook, he’d hit 3,250,257.