Archive for Driver’s Seat

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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Think what you’d save on hinges

A TTAC piece suggesting that Suzuki return to the US market with its tiny-ish Jimny SUVlet brought a complaint from the field that the Jimny, after all, only has two doors, prompting this expostulation:

JFC, FFS why? Why does every GD thing have to have four doors? Surely if a niche product like this were to actually be imported in some way, than perhaps part of its charm/uniqueness and value might possibly be the mere fact that it has only two doors, and thus might actually help it stand out in a marketplace that over the last 20 years has been completely and utterly pussified into a dork-mobile-four-door-family-truckster love fest? Spare the crybaby crap about fitting a car seat into the back … go buy one of the other 673 four door options instead. Yes, we are a minority, but there are enough of us Gen-X aged folk that are old enough to remember when four door vehicles were considered crappy looking, second class citizen, mom-mobiles and would gladly buy something that isn’t available in four doors, largely for the fact that it isn’t available in four doors and isn’t a Joe Dirt trailer park Mustang/Camaro/Challenger, a baby boomer’s wet dream of their youth Corvette, or an impractical AF Miata.

I’m assuming you can decipher the abbreviations on your own.

Really, the only vehicle that absolutely, positively must have four doors is the Maserati Quattroporte, whose very name means “four-door.” And Hyundai’s Veloster soldiers on into its second generation, still with three doors (two on the passenger side).

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Not an auspicious beginning

In the first month — that would be January 2019 — Ford sold 2,153 Ranger trucks in North America. Not bad. But then they had to recall 3500 of them:

The issue involves the truck’s shifter, which can move out of “park” while the engine is off. The automaker claims “the PRNDL bezel wiring may interfere with the shifter interlock override, preventing the shifter from locking in the park position and allowing the driver to shift the transmission out of park with the vehicle off and without a foot on the brake pedal.”

Of the 3,500 recalled vehicles, some 500 or so are located in Canada. The affected trucks rolled out of Ford’s Michigan Assembly plant between June 4th, 2018, and Jan. 9th, 2019, with the automaker claiming it isn’t aware of any accidents or injuries resulting from the fault.

Obviously some of the affected trucks are still on dealer lots, unsold. Perhaps not quite so obvious is Ford’s longstanding inability to make a PRNDL work correctly:

On June 10, 1980, NHTSA made an initial determination of defect in Ford vehicles with C-3, C-4, C-6, FMX, and JATCO automatic transmissions. The alleged problem with the transmissions is that a safety defect permits them to slip accidentally from park to reverse. As of the date of determination, NHTSA had received 23,000 complaints about Ford transmissions, including reports of 6,000 accidents, 1,710 injuries, and 98 fatalities — primarily the young and old, unable to save themselves — directly attributable to transmission slippage … this defect finding eventually resulted in a pseudo-recall wherein Ford agreed to mail warning labels to 23 million owners of Fords with these transmissions rather than recall them for mechanical repair.

Factor out the bathos — one can rather easily imagine the headline “WORLD ENDS: Women and minorities hardest hit” — and you’re still left with “What the hell were they thinking?” And the mention of JATCO puts the cherry on top: Ford apparently bought some transmissions from JATCO, Nissan’s in-house transmission maker, and somehow managed to mess those up too.

For the record, the one Ford I have owned, a 1984 Mercury Cougar, had a C5 slushbox, which was essentially the C4 with a lockup torque converter; it was the one powertrain component that never gave me any grief.

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A true crapmobile

The French, they have a word for it, and the Germans didn’t notice:

German automaker Audi should have thought about checking with its neighbors in France before settling on a name for its new all-electric line, the e-tron. As it happens, it’s a little too close to the French word “étron,” which means “excrement” or “turd.”

Audi is literally calling its new vehicle a POS.

Better they should do it than the buyers, am I right?

Then again, inept naming is hardly restricted to the Germans:

Take, for example, Pee Cola, a soft drink from Ghana. Beverage site Dizzy Frinks notes that the soda is bottled in Ghana’s capital city of Accra and points out that Ghana’s official language is English. Awkward. Dizzy Frinks users ranked Pee Cola 7.6 overall, averaged across 50 ratings.

Not content with Pee Cola, Ghana is also on the list of poorly-named products with Shitto, a spicy pepper sauce. You can buy Shitto on Amazon, just like almost everything else in the world.

(Via Fark.)

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Now you tell me

This is almost too funny to relate:

I installed an aftermarket stereo in a 2018 Nissan Sentra. Stock stereo adjusts time. How do I adjust my dash clock without the stock stereo?

Before I send the poor shlub off to the dealership, it would help to know his level of OCD, and how badly he’s taking the idea of a clock that’s wrong.

I myself don’t take it too well, and my daughter knows this, so back in 2006, when she first climbed into my new(ish) car, she spotted the analog clock on top of the center stack, and asked: “What happens when this clock doesn’t agree with the clock in the stereo?”

A turn of the key cleared that up: no clock in the audio system.

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Welcome to 1999

None of that fancy-schmancy infotainment equipment for you, Mr. Jag Buyer:

It looks as if certain 2019 model year Jaguar E-Pace crossovers have left the factory improperly equipped. Back in November, an owner created an account on the EPaceForum to share their experience. According to the posting, the E-Pace arrived with some features missing. Functions like navigation, WiFi, live weather and sports updates, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto were all absent.

Software update, right? Wrong:

The poster said they were swiftly contacted by Jaguar Land Rover and their dealer, only to be told what they already knew: that their vehicle left the factory missing the “InControl Pack and Smart Settings” that make these systems functional.

Worse still, JLR said nothing could be done about it.

No, really, they said that:

“A small quantity of cars left the UK without the Connect Pro Pack — this includes functionality for features like InControl Pro Services, WiFi HotSpot and Smart Settings — which are required for Apple Car Play and Android Auto to function correctly,” a JLR spokesperson explained. “Adding this pack is not something that can be retrofitted, so the decision has been made to proactively communicate this to potential buyers (of vehicles at retailers) and offer a $600 credit in lieu of the content.’

“We’re sorry your milk was sour. Please accept this coupon for 50 cents off your favorite brand of American processed cheese food.”

How about No? Does No work for you?

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Tireless commuter

No, wait, that’s tyreless commuter:

Police said they were “shocked” to find a car being driven erratically on a major road was missing a front tyre.

The driver was stopped on the A11 near Wymondham, Norfolk, by officers in the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team (NSRAPT) on Saturday.

The vehicle was missing its front right-hand tyre.

Something's missing where the rubber meets the road

What’s the first thought that comes to mind? Right you are:

After giving a breathalyser reading of more than three times the drink-drive limit, the driver was arrested on suspicion of drink driving.

(Via Fark.)

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Somebody’s gotta pay me

Horribly wronged individual, or lawsuit-happy crapweasel?

Ill make this brief and straightforward. Bought a new 2017 car a year ago. Got into an accident which was my fault, caused severe damage to my radiator. Geico covered the repairs. Had multiple inspections done to make sure all issues were resolved. Year later my transmission acts up. Transmission and radiator severely damaged. 2 Geico inspectors sent to check my car’s damage, found that the piece used to fix my radiator was a faulty one and actually badly damaged the radiator and the transmission. Almost 10g in damage. Piece was sent to manufacturer for further “inspection” of it. Been a month and haven’t heard a word. No rental car was provided, had to get one out of pocket, had to pay for rides, and lost my job during the time. I want to formulate a case of some kind, would this be something a lawyer could work with?

My thinking: yeah, he might get $10,000, but he’s going to be paying $20,000 in legal fees.

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Both sneaky and stupid

What kind of nitwit comes up with this sort of thing?

Why don’t people intentionally crash their cars right before the car insurances expire and take the insurance money to buy new cars?

Dimwit probably thinks this is a foolproof plan.

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Also barely distinguishable

In the Quora queue: Which car is the better coupe the Subaru BRZ, Toyota GT86, or Scion FRS in terms of reliability?

First, you tell me which of these young ladies is the prettiest:

Triplet toddlers

These three girls have more differences than those three cars.

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The hand will not leave your pocket

Not now, not ever:

Drivers who take a highway exit to avoid having to pay a toll on Virginia’s Interstate 81 could end up paying far more after a ticket arrives in the mail. The state Senate Transportation Committee will consider a proposal … that would authorize tolling on I-81. Introduced by state Senator Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg), the measure would also allow private companies to operate a new type of automated photo enforcement camera that issues tickets based on a motorist’s choice of route. Those attempting to save a bit of money by taking a side street could be subjected to a fine set by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

“The operator of a vehicle that the board determines is through traffic or that is subject to a through travel restriction … shall be considered to be in violation … if the operator (i) exits the interstate highway to travel on a parallel route in proximity and prior to a toll collection point and (ii) re-enters the interstate highway after the same toll collection point that demonstrates the routes traveled were selected to avoid paying the toll at such toll collection point, determined by the board,” Senate Bill 1716 states.

When Republicans are pushing for things like this, you really start to worry what the Democrats have in mind.

(Via Fark.)

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Fuel if you think it’s over

This tale of woe begins Monday, when:

Tuesday: same sort of wind. I didn’t even try.

Which brings us to Wednesday, and the appearance of the dreaded orange Low Fuel Light. (For some reason, all the warning lights I really hate seem to be orange.) At that precise moment, I was two blocks from that gas station.

I pulled in and filled up. The pump clicked off at just under 15 gallons.

A previous experience with the dreaded orange Low Fuel Light:

There is no gas to be had between Carlsbad, New Mexico and the eastern edge of El Paso, around 150 miles. And you will burn up most of what you have: once you cross back into Texas, the speed limit is mostly 75, and while it’s slowed down a bit through the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, there are enough downhill grades to threaten your placid, law-abiding nature. Not that I’d ever admit to doing 95 through there.

Actually, I did find one station, a little cash-only outfit south of Dell City, but (1) they had no premium, or even mid-grade, and (2) they were closed.

And just inside the eastern edge of El Paso, there was a truck stop, and I drizzled just about 15 gallons into the tank at somewhere on the wrong side of four bucks a gallon.

Filling up for $60ish was painful enough — this week’s haul was $2.419 a gallon, $36 total — but the real zinger was verifying in all of Nissan’s service materials that the tank holds 70 liters.

Which, duly rounded, is 18.5 gallons.

So I’m getting this damnfool light with about 75 miles left.

If nothing else, this is an argument for one of those newfangled electric cars, none of which are reported to be that egregiously inaccurate.

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Pae as you go

It’s as least as silly as “Carpae Diem,” the slogan which appears on Rep. Daniel Pae’s LinkedIn paege. The freshman legislator, a Lawton Republican, is known mostly for this session’s House Bill 1071 [pdf], which scoots the speed limit on rural toll roads up to 80 mph.

“Hot damn,” says Hayley at TLO:

Now instead of puttering along at a slow and steady 75-mph, Oklahomans may soon be able to cruise at a cool 80 on the turnpike. Oh, who am I kidding. Everyone already takes a 75-mph speed limit as permission to travel at least 80, if not 85. But whatever lets me legally shave 7-12 minutes off of a trip to Tulsa to actually see a non-country musician perform in concert is fine with me.

Should this measure be enacted, and frankly I can’t imagine Governor Stitt not signing it, the effective date, typically for new Oklahoma laws, will be the first of November.

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Despite all his rage

He is still just a troll in the Quora queue: What can I do if a driver throws a bottle at my car after I flashed my headlights at him for 45 minutes and repeatedly asked him to pull over so that we can discuss his driving?

This is a really good way to get shot. I’m acting on the assumption that there are better ways, but this way is still really good.

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Though he’s not so bright

We have here a clod who is desperate to make an impression but who’s dumber than a bag of hair: What type or brand of headlight can i but for my car that has one million candle power?

We’re going to assume he meant “buy” rather than “but,” though the latter comes closer to describing the location of his head. Evidently he covets one of those high-zoot spotlights they sell at the unsporting-goods store. He ignores the fact that, well, they’re spotlights; they aren’t worth a damn for automotive use because the beam is so narrow. I expect he also wants 130 dB of exhaust noise, in which case he should be locked away and the key dropped into the ocean.

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Not the Hershey highway

But it had to be said, if perhaps not by me [warning: autostart video]:

Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory isn’t the only place to house a river of chocolate.

A section of Interstate 40 near Flagstaff, Arizona, was covered in the cocoa confection after a tanker trailer carrying more than 40,000 pounds of the liquid overturned Monday morning around 9 a.m., Arizona Department of Public Safety Public Information Officer Bart Graves told ABC News.

The truck originated in Ontario, Canada, and was headed to Henderson, Nevada, Graves said. Authorities believe the tanker overturned after the latch between truck and the trailer became unsecured and the trailer became separated from the truck, Graves said.

If you’re headed that way, bring your graham crackers.

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Attention unpaid

We’ve all heard about the idiot who drove off from the gas station with the pump nozzle still inside the fuel-filler door, with suboptimal results. Will things improve as we move away from fossil fuels? Obviously not: I drove away with my car still plugged in & the 3 prong plug coming from my car broke off. How do I fix it?

Some things never change:

It broke off right at the plug, so there’s still a good amount of cord coming out from the car (but no cord coming off the broken male 3 prong plug). Is there a specific type of replacement plug should I buy? How do I reattach it to the cord coming from the car?

Then again, there’s a lot to be said for not having an explosion.

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Soixante-nope

No 69 for you. Not yours:

Areas with a high stoner population have similarly been graced with 419.9 mile markers instead of 420.

US 2 runs for 666.6 miles through Montana. When I was up there on World Tour ’04, the last of the mile markers was 665.

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I know the feeling

Tony LaHood admits to something I could admit to, but won’t:

I am an idiot in any situation involving a woman. One hundred percent of the time, I will follow a great pair of legs into hell (or a Mercedes dealership, as the case may be) with both eyes open.

Then again:

It doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, I get to teeter on the edge of sanity for just a few moments and contemplate things that can’t possibly be, before the real world reasserts itself and gives me a dope-slap.

And, well, the circumstances were right: a sunnyish (for March) afternoon, traffic crawling at 25 mph, and in front of me, a beautiful (this is my delusion, and I say she’s beautiful, so back off) blonde in a Benz.

Not just any Benz, either; this was the SL55 AMG in Arrest Me Red, the first one of these I’ve seen in the city, and for a moment I had a flash of “Am I even allowed to drive around here?”

After about two blocks, I’d gotten to the point where we’d negotiated the prenup, and after two blocks more, we were flying to Stuttgart to pick up some AMG accessories Mercedes had unaccountably forgotten to include in the car’s $124,020 price.

She veered off after half a mile, which at 25 mph takes longer than you’d think, and I wound up a few blocks later inhaling the diesel fumes from a Metro Transit bus. Back to reality.

It always ends that way.

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Bad automotive ideas

The worst automotive idea I can recall was the skirted front fenders of the bathtub Nash, both standard- and Rambler-sized, which made for a turning circle unworthy of a school bus.

But geez, there’s an awful lot of competition for second place.

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