Automotive Thoughts and Topics 1

vlogphoto

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.

Advertisements

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

19532448_10155375156116598_336392191_o

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!

DSC02197

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

 

DSC02270

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

The Lamborghini Lament

DSC02155lam002

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.

I Shed A Little “Light” On The Subject

An interesting story in the automotive news world recently has been the issue over headlights. While the story has currently been on many automotive sites, I first read about it on Yahoo, and in any case, many seemed to make this issue seem very recent. However, after looking into it, the issue was actually started much further back, as  you can read in an article here that was written in February 2013 about it.

Audi has introduced “matrix LED” headlights to the world, which in short, is an advanced headlight with the ability to turn corners and automatically brighten or dim to properly illuminate the drivers view. The problem with this new system is that a United States law from 1968 says that there can only be two setting for headlights, high and low, thus, prohibiting the “matrix LED” from being on a vehicle sold in the US. Our friends in Europe will be able to enjoy Audi’s “bright” idea on their vehicles. I did do a little digging, and found what I believe is the law that states the high low beam issue. The more interesting thing to note is that before I found what I believe is the law, I am became much more aware of all the issues at hand.

One such issue is that due to the government and private sector being so distant from one another in advancement of technology, and the inability to communicate to one another about such technology; that in turn causes the government to cautiously proceed when they do not understand and cannot properly define or regulate certain technologies. That is one issue in this headlight ordeal.

Another is the overall American automotive headlight laws and regulations in general. Each state has their own laws and rules, which obviously must first adhere to the national laws. This is where I see a problem.

The problem is that not all headlights are created equal. We have all seen the cars equipped with the xenon headlights. Those emit a much different light that standard headlights. The sheer difference in light emitted by all sorts of headlights on cars on the road is really not a good case for the government to claim cars can only have two settings. Sure you can have a “high” and a “low” but the light emitted in those settings can vary from bulb to bulb and vehicle to vehicle. From what I understand, “matrix LED” equalizes what each car emits because it is senses the light surrounding your car. That would be much more beneficial to all drivers.

We have all come across a driver who has forgotten to turn off their brights. That can be unpleasant and sometimes it results in an accident. “Matrix LED” would eliminate that because it would dim for you. However, it is also fair to point out that, a system like this can be distracting and unpleasant as well. The ability for lights to change on their own in fractions of seconds could result in distracted driving in the same manner as our current method of headlight change, human error.

I can see the pros and cons of the issue. I understand both the government and the auto makers side of things. I also understand the consumer side. There are so many factors and opinions that can be weighed and expressed. Feel free to let me know what you think.