Automotive Thoughts and Topics 2

In the diecast part of my automotive passion, I have a follow up on the black and gold series of Hot Heels I mentioned in my last vlog/blog. There have been two pictures of two cars that have been displayed and they are nothing like how I imagined them looking. The 67 Camaro I predicted was not one of the cars. While I still don’t know if it will be, based on the color schemes of the cars that debuted, I am leaning towards a no. See for yourself below.

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In the real automotive world, I took a trip  a few weekends to my wife’s parents home in Maryland. My wife was a bridesmaid and because she had to be with the wedding party all day before the wedding, I spent time with her family. Her dad took me to see a friend of his who has a 1963 Ford Galaxie. He told me the story of the Tasca Ford badge he had on the car. I was not familiar with Tasca before, but the story he told me about their tuning of Ford vehicles had me riveted. I looked then up further when I got home and I was fascinated at their legacy and story. If I had a Ford product, (someday I will get my wife her dream car, a red convertible Mustang) I would certainly consider having Tasca tune it. If you are not familiar with them you can check out Tasca here.

If you have not heard, there is a very big scandal being exposed in the steel industry. A Japanese steel manufacturer and supplier, Kobe Steel, has been discovered to have lied about its steels strength. This could have catastrophic effects on the safety of automobiles, planes, and other people moving things. What I find fascinating about the whole situation is that this is really as common now as it ever has been. In my time on this planet I have seen the Firestone tire scandal, the Takata air bag scandal, the VW diesel scandal, and a host of others that just are not at the top of my mind. All that to say, eventually, it will all be in the history books and show up on lists like this in another 10 years.

Lastly, and this topic is actually the one I am most opinionated about this week, is the sponsorship of the Number 24 car in NASCAR for the 2018 season with William Byron behind the wheel. That sponsor is Liberty University. I am excited for the rookie driver to take his skills to the Monster Energy series. I have nothing against William, Hendrick, or Chevrolet (how about those Camaro’s for 2018?). I actually don’t have anything against Liberty University either. It is a great school. My cousin graduated from there and I have known many people who have attended and graduated.

The truth is that I am a bit sore, maybe jealous, that they are sponsoring a NASCAR team. You see, I attended Regent University. It is known to those who are familiar with either of these universities, or the culture that surrounds them, that Regent and Liberty are rivals. In recent years, Liberty has been leaving Regent in the dust in just about every way from a collegiate standpoint. Beyond academia, their promoting power is extensive, and it became very real to me when they are going to be a full time sponsor for a NASCAR team in the highest series. I am not sure of the complete budget, but based on this article here, in 2013, a primary sponsorship could cost anywhere from $5 million to $35 million. An associate sponsorship is anywhere from $250,000 to $2 million. That was in 2013. That means, Liberty University is shelling out, at minimum of $250,000. To be honest, we all know that it is MUCH higher than that. Liberty is sponsoring one of the most iconic numbers with one of the most successful teams, with one of the brightest rookie drivers in the sport.

The fact that Liberty has that much money in their advertising budget, or any budget, is INCREDIBLE. They must be doing incredibly well. My alma mater can barely house their student population, they have no cafeteria, no gym for their newly formed soccer team to train in, or really any other facility to provide for all the things on campus students need. To build those, Regent has to have money. Regent can barely provide for the needs of students and here Liberty is able to sponsor a NASCAR team. Gosh…I wish I could say the college I went to sponsors a NASCAR team. I so wish I could. Oh well. I will be rooting for William in the number 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro. I will be rooting for him to win and to have as much success as he can. I want him to win because the whole story situation is just awesome.

It is like any other rivalry, where you have someone in your camp, that really isn’t for your side at all. It is comparable to living in either Ohio or Michigan and rooting for the opposite states college football team. I will gladly root for Regents rival in NASCAR, because I like NASCAR. But I will NEVER root for the team up north. Go Bucks!

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Automotive Thoughts and Topics 1

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I would like to share a few quick thoughts about the real life automotive world and the die-cast world.

First up, they have more confirmed reports that the new C8 Corvette will be mid-engine. I am in full support of that. I wrote a blog about it back on March 10, 2010. I think they should have waited until now to bring back the Sting Ray name plate, though. They should do some sort of split rear window with a mid-engine car in tribute to the 1963 Corvette. However, I do think that giving it the “Zora” name is legacy appropriate and a fitting nameplate for the car.

Second, electric cars and trucks have been around for a long time. I have some doubts about the Tesla semi. Will it happen, yes. When, I don’t know. I would place a stronger chance on the news that Dyson, yes the vacuum maker, will at least have their concept electric car on the road before a Tesla semi hits the road. This should be a whole blog entirely.

In the die-cast world, Hot Wheels has their 50th anniversary in 2018. That is the golden anniversary. They are set to come out with a 50th anniversary black and gold theme set of cars. I think they teased one of the cars that will be in that set in their recent “The Drive” commercial. It is a gold 67 Camaro with black accents. I think that will be one of the cars, along with the Gas Monkey Corvette from last year. They will just spruce it up with black accents.

My dad found the whole set of Forza cars that were just released exclusively to Walmart. I really appreciate him finding and buying those for me. He was unable to find the chase car. I won’t be able to un-box those for you until I get them because he is a few states away and I am not sure when I will get them. However, I’ll be on the hunt for the chase car.

I found the last four cars of the Target exclusive Retro Style Series. My wife was able to find Turbine Time behind a Hot Wheels play set on the shelf. I am glad she looked! I was also able to find the last 3 remaining Red series Target cars as well. I am only missing the 55 Chevy Gasser from the first set released this year.

I am writing down some goals for All Out Octane for 2018 and I am excited to try to put them into a reality. I appreciate all your support. Thank you so much for your time and consideration as I share my hobby and passion for automobiles with you.

Replacing the horn on my 05 Impala

 

The horn on my 2005 Chevy Impala had slowly started to sound like it was a weakened, trapped animal, desperate to escape. Finally, it died and wouldn’t work at all. With an inspection looming, I decided to fix this one myself. I had a strong assumption it was just the horn that had gone bad and not anything more serious such as wiring or fuses. Just to be sure, I looked up ChrisFix videos on how to check the horn fuses and wiring. He always has high quality how to videos.

Confident that it was just the horn and upon advice from a ChrisFix video, I decided to purchase an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) horn. The reason for this decision was to make it as simple as possible to take out the old horn, plug in the new one, and put it all back together. However, the initial internet search did not produce the results I had hoped. All AC Delco horns I could find were either for GM SUV’s or Cadillac cars. They were also expensive, delayed on shipping, and designated as not being able to fit a 05 Impala.

After doing more extensive research, I decided upon buying a 03-07 Cadillac horn on eBay. While it says it does not fit a 05 Impala, it is simply because the bracket that it comes on does not fit the car. The electrical component, which was the most important factor in my quest, was exactly the same and would plug right into the existing connector. I simply removed the horns from their respective brackets and put the new horns on the old bracket. It is important to note to place the new horns in the same direction as the old horns. After that, all that was left was to plug in the horn, test it with my key fob, tighten it back into place, and tidy up the rest of the parts I had to move to accomplish this task.

Overall, it did not take much more than a half an hour. I feel so accomplihed to work on my car. Thankfully, that part of the inspection passed with flying colors. The tie-rod ends, however, did not fare so well. Oh well, I can’t win them all…yet.

Collecting Influence

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Economics teaches us about the law of supply and demand and how they affect one another. I have found that to be true in the real life collector car world and it’s influence on diecast cars. Lately, I have been following the trend of the Ferrari F40 and the McLaren F1. These two cars in real life have skyrocketed in value, and that spike in popularity and prestige has carried over into the diecast collector world. It is hard to find a good Hot Wheels Ferrari F40 or McLaren F1 for a price below $10.

A few years ago I experienced the same thing with the Hot Wheels versions of the Tesla Roadster, Lamborghini Murcielago, and the Bugatti Veyron. I ended up spending far more than I care to admit to purchase a 2009 Dream Garage series Murcielago in green on eBay. Asking prices for that car are still quite high.

That situation plagues my mind while Hot Wheel hunting in stores now days. Often times when I find something on the pegs, I will tell myself, “It is only a dollar now. If you want it later, it is going to cost you.” Sometimes I still put it back on the shelf and walk out empty handed. I am trying to be a responsible adult. I am also hoping I’ll find it again to solidify that I should in fact purchase it.

One similarity between the two collector car markets is that the real life collector car world has concourse condition. Diecast car collecting conditions are in the package or not. This topic alone could lead to so many other discussion points. In real life, actual completely “original” vehicles are becoming very rare as age and limited replacement parts slowly take away from factory original condition. I think diecast has the same type of issue going on. The “DLM” or diecast liberation movement is a sweeping craze right now. That movement simply means that the cars are being opened and removed from their packaging. That might not be a big deal for diecast cars produced from 2000 on because of such a large number produced and records of those numbers. But, for cars produced in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, that can be alarming. The amount of still packaged cars from that time is dwindling and the unknown amount of produced versions is certainly going to factor in. The more cars that get opened from that time frame, the higher the demand and higher the price for an unopened original model will be.

A second similarity is that the real life collector car world has rare limited edition models and trims. Diecast has both limited edition production numbers in some cases as well as wheel and paint variations. Diecast has an advantage in this area because not only can they produce the real life car models with special trims, they can also customize them further. This can produce even greater demand for such limited models.

All collecting for both markets boils down to what are people willing to pay for what they want. Perception is important and closely following trends in both real life car collecting and diecast collecting will certainly be beneficial. With all this in mind, know what you want, know how much you want to pay for it, and go enjoy the things you purchase.

 

Oh, what a show!

Over the weekend my wife and I went to a car show hosted by ODMA at the Founders Inn in Virginia Beach. The weather was warm and comfortable. The overcast skies provided superior conditions for photo taking. The cars ranged greatly in make, model, and year, the oldest in attendance of which we believe was a 1909 Franklin.

That was the particularly interesting part to me. It is nice attending car shows with such a variance in age of vehicles. There were many pre-war cars in attendance. They are always a pleasure to see.

Not only was the large attendance of pre-war cars interesting to me, but also the incredible kindness by the owners of the vehicles. Never have I been to a show where people have been so friendly and enthusiastic about sharing their car. My wife, beautiful as always, looked like a southern belle and was offered many times to sit in vehicles to get her picture taken. She basked in the attention and experience and I was one incredibly proud husband.

We enjoyed ourselves very much at the show. It was a unique and rare experience and I am so glad that people in the car culture world have such warm welcomes to strangers. My wife and I are looking forward to more car shows this year, and certainly for the return of this show next year!

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My wife in what we believe was the oldest car at the show, a 1909 Franklin.

 

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My wife in her favorite car at the show, a 1966 Ford Mustang convertible.

The Lamborghini Lament

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When Lamborghini first rumored they were going to be building a new SUV, I was super excited. I remembered the first one they made, the LM002, and what an outlandish, absurd, and over the top vehicle it was. It was a brutish vehicle that looked like it was in the military reserves one weekend a month, two weeks out of the year. It then would practice law by day, and shuffle the family from horse riding lessons and ballet at night. It was amazing. At least, it has become that iconic to me. I have never driven it but, I guess, I just have this perception, this expectation of what it is.

So when they released the Urus, I was a bit taken aback. That was not the SUV I was envisioning. Now, I know it has not been tested yet. I know that when they conceived this vehicle, they did not know that Ford would be rumoring the return of the Bronco, or that Jeep would be rumoring the return of the Grand Wagoneer. All the big players in the off road game, like Hummer, Land Rover, Jeep, Mercedes G Class, Lexus, and the Ford Raptor should have been worried. The more luxurious ones and soon to be ones, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Maserati should have taken note. Instead, they made something that looks like “an urban mom” would drive, as my wife described.

Harken back farther than the 80s and you’ll remember that Lamborghini made tractors before it made sports cars. Yes, that’s right tractors. In fact, they still make tractors. With all those years of agricultural earth crawling and hauling knowledge, why could they not have applied that to a new SUV? They could have made it rugged, rambunctious, and ridiculous. They have all the right ingredients to make something fast, powerful, and luxurious. It would have been beyond capable, practically at home, off road, to outperform the competition in every conceivable way.

I really wanted the Lamborghini SUV to be a gorilla in a tuxedo. A big, bulky, but surprisingly good looking sight that you can’t take your eyes off of because it is just…bewildering. Its performance would be as obnoxious as expected, but with enough charm that you can’t blame it. These are all qualities that I think are in the lineage of the company and were expressed in the LM002.

Maybe I will put a poster up on my wall like many kids did back in the day with their dream cars. This time, the poster will just be filled with words. Words about a car, because it only exists in my dreams.

Caution : Throwing the Win(d)

I recently read an article by Jenna Fryer, an AP Auto Racing Writer, via the Advertiser Tribune in Tiffin Ohio.  The article was entitled “NASCAR Call To Throw Caution Isn’t Even A Debate.” I would encourage you all to read her article before reading my thoughts and opinions on her article and the subject in general.

I have some serious disagreements with her article.  For starters “The gripe could not have been more off base,” is just plain bold to state. There are always two sides to anything, and for that caller to make the comment, is welcoming articles like Jenna’s to be written, and then commentaries like mine to be written. I’ll accept the heat taken for what I write.

An area of the article I don’t see how it relates in any form or fashion is “Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti was just released from a hospital last week…” and what does this have to do with NASCAR throwing a caution?! All motor sports are dangerous, and the drivers realize that. Ms. Fryer, if you are going to get on the soap box and make a point, stick to it. If you want to have a beef with NASCAR, have a beef, but don’t support it by lumping in all the drivers hurt, injured, or killed from all types of motor sports. Your point is safety, and more specifically, safety in NASCAR. Don’t get off point.

Ms. Fryer states that “In a season that will be remembered for a rash of driver injuries, not throwing a caution would have been negligent of NASCAR.” I would love to know how that is the case? Caution flags DO NOT prevent wrecks or injuries. A caution simply raises awareness that there is a hazard on the track.  Taken directly from  the NASCAR website, “Yellow flag: Signals a caution, which tells drivers to slow down to a predetermined speed. Debris on the track, typically following a wreck, is often the chief culprit for this flag.” No where does it state that a yellow flag predicts and prevents wrecks. Quite the contrary actually. So, in my opinion, I don’t understand how it would have been negligent to NOT throw a caution?

The next statement that had me stunned was, “That this is even being discussed and there are people complaining about NASCAR’S decision, is appalling.” Well, let me tell you Ms. Fryer, that if you had not written about the caller to SiriusXM NASCAR, the topic would not be subject to large scale discussion. But because YOU took the action you did, and just one of the many places it ended up getting printed was in a paper of a town of 20,000 people, well…you are just begging for the topic to be discussed. Well done. I am appreciating the chance to share my opinions on a large scale now as well.

In regard to the whole Darrell Wallace Jr. bit, it makes sense he is afraid. But fear cannot control or dictate how the sport gets called. These drivers, this is their profession. Any one of us humans have to realize that no matter where, or how fast we go, whenever we enter in a vehicle, there is a chance we might not come back.  It seems the deeper issue here is if we are comfortable as participants and spectators of continuing to put our mind, body, and soul into something. If we aren’t, then why are we existing?

The line stating, “It’s on NASCAR to back them down, and at Talladega, where the scramble to the finish line is always, chaotic, NASCAR did the absolute right thing on Sunday.” I don’t think so, and I am going to let the picture below, of the AP website, prove my point.

Read the two headline stories that are side by side. Ironic?
Read the two headline stories that are side by side. Ironic?

The next bit of the article, from “To some fans,” and ending with “had up his sleeve,” is just really…unsettling. The whole point of NASCAR trying to even out the field and provide racing like that of which was on Sunday is to watch the cars RACE to the finish line as fast as they can, doing what it takes to get there. If you don’t, what is the point?

One of the lines in the article I couldn’t help but laugh at was “This isn’t a blood sport, drivers aren’t Roman gladiators, and there comes a time when a race is simply over.” If that is the case, then I suggest you call up Bruton Smith and tell him that you don’t agree with way Bristol Motor Speedway is advertised, as proven in the video below.

Lastly in the article, all this information about Tony Stewart, it just goes back to the whole motorsports is dangerous overall. I fully understand and accept that Ms. Fryer. I am certain all the drivers do too. Again, I believe safety is the topic and issue you wanted to write about, you just used NASCAR as a way to bring it up. While I don’t quite agree with the way you brought this point up, I do agree that “Nobody wants any more driver deaths or injuries.” I do believe there is common ground to be found and that there can be races that are entertaining, fast, AND safe. Then everyone can enjoy that from all the many areas to which we participate in our love for motorsports.