A Proportionate Problem

Something I have always struggled with as far as automotive design goes is the use of un-proportionate parts/designs etc. It drives me nuts. Whether it be to big a spoiler, not big enough spoiler, side grilles with no purpose and horrible lines, headlights that are just ugly looking because they are too big or small, the list could go on and on.

Today I saw a picture of a Ram that made me really think. The truck is MASSIVE, and its ride height is incredibly high, yet with such a beastly truck, there was one thing that looked incredibly out of place, incredibly un-proportionate. The tires. Why does such an aggressive vehicle deserve such lil un-proportionate tires? I understand that there has to be fender clearance if it is loaded down, however, the ride height is so great, it really makes me wonder, even with a weighted back end, how low is that thing going to go? If it were to clear all that space, that would raise two problems, one, that’s probably WAY too much weight, and two, that would cause the nose to be so dang high, you wouldn’t have any real good maneuverability or sight line. So, this insignificant problem, my observance being annoying, thinks that they should increase the tire size of vehicles like this. It would make it look much more proportional.

Road Racing

I am watching the replay of Sunday’s NASCAR road race at Sonoma. I am quite impressed by the strategy and driving of Kurt Busch and his team. This season has been one of the best seasons of NASCAR to date, at least I think. Not one particular team is really dominant which provides everyone the ability to get to victory lane. There are sometimes I wonder if certain things don’t happen because they are planned, but if that were the case, it would be getting so obvious that people would catch on. If that was the case in years past, it is getting harder to recognize.

I really do think that NASCAR should really do more road races. Maybe take one of the Indy circuits and give that a try. Particularly in Baltimore. I have also been thinking that it would be fun to do a double header on the same day or at least within 24 hours. Say NASCAR goes to a mile or so track with lights. They run in the morning a full race, for lack of better words, pause and rest until the evening, and then do it all over again, starting back where they ended up from the first race and the winner of the second race is the official winner. It would provide some flare and endurance to the sport and make the whole event more like the Rolex series and such. Because the drivers are already doing so many other racing series, it would be good practice endurance wise for them, and also provide a chance for those who have never done it, to get that experience of racing for 2 races straight. All of this is completely feasible. Its a matter of actually convincing the people in charge to do it. Hopefully someone is listening! 😀

Retool for the New School

Reading Autoblog today, stirred up some thoughts I have been mulling over for a while…the matter of automobile production. What really does it take to produce an automobile? If it is just like anything else in life, the willingness, passion, desire, and devotion to get it done are the ingredients to success. Why that doesn’t seem to work, or at least it was never popular up until this point I just don’t know. But I see a shift coming. A shift that will change the way automobiles are conceived, made, bought, and driven. More importantly there will be a shift to a unique connection between company, machine, and consumer.

I think the turn around time for creating a concept vehicle by a company, and either not producing it, or saying that it will be produced 3-5 years down the road…is absolutely stupid. That’s a lie. If you want to make something, you will make it, end of story. Sure it takes time to reset production plants and assembly lines, gather the materials and resources, create new machines that can make the new parts…yes I get that. But really, where has that gotten us? It has gotten us to this point, where new ideas are being generated faster than that old process can keep up.

Three stories on Autoblog today relate to this topic. The first is that Nissan is planning to build a new vehicle every 6 weeks until 2016. I say that is the most brilliant plan of any company to date. That kind of diversity will make their vehicles more exclusive and personal for consumers. In this day in age, consumers want to be part of a whole, but they want to stick out in that whole. This plan that Nissan has will provide that. Creating that type of momentum for niche audiences will also start creating a desire for people to own something that has the ability to become rare, which instead of seeing an automobile, particularly a grocery getter, as a expense, it is seen as an investment.

Second story is that Lamborghini is undecided on whether to create the four dour Estoque (Which has been around for what I think is a while and it is dumb they haven’t made it yet. It’s a great vehicle with would serve a purpose.) or an SUV. My opinion, BUILD THEM BOTH! Lamborghini shocked the world a few months ago with talk that they might start creating an “everyday” line-up of vehicles. People think that it might tarnish their image. I don’t. Lamborghini will never be a second rate company. If they want to build the most powerful exotic SUV, let them. It just goes to show that others can’t do what Lamborghini can do.

Lastly; the Jeep story. Just emerging from bankruptcy and paying off their debt, Chrysler has got some major catching up to do. They had an epic super bowl commercial, but I don’t think they are being wise on riding that success. Jeep has been considering producing a pick up Wrangler for a while, aka the Gladiator. Why they have not built it yet has made sense, paying back loans and all. But the decision to yet again put it on the back burner because cash is tied up in other places; like making small cars…REALLY? The Jeep has global sales capability, it already does, and it could add to it with the pickup model. To retool the assembly line to make a pick up Jeep Wrangler is much easier I think than to retool it to create a whole new car! Chrysler, I don’t know what you’re thinking but I don’t think it is very wise on this one. Try to remember your super bowl commercial and make the right decision to do something brilliant.

Copy Paste

I would really like to know why Ford styling still keeps showing up on the non Ford vehicles…and vice versa? I saw a picture of the new Ford Focus EV and thought dang, that looks like a micro Aston Martin! What the heck? And Land Rover still takes the design from the new Explorer? Really…can we be a bit more creative here?

Up the game

I wonder why companies now days are taking their lower brands/models and tweaking them to almost out do their upper brands/models? Take for example the Corvette ZO6 and the ZR1. This article will explain my point. http://www.autoblog.com/2011/06/23/2012-chevrolet-corvette-z06-laps-the-ring-in-7-22-68-shaves-20/

One of the other companies I can think of off hand is BMW. Why they seem to neglect the M3 is beyond me. They come up with all these innovations, these new models, concepts, and the incredibly impressive 2012 M5, and yet the M3 is left to sulk in what little reputation it has left. Car companies, you really need to cherish what you have. Up your game with your models that are known for it.

Where Did That Come From?

The other day while watching TV I sat on the couch in complete awe of what I was seeing. I was watching a supercar commercial filled with pavement peeling exhaust and shattering glass. What mighty car is this? The LFA???? Let me quickly go over this…

Yes my friends Toyota has brought us not only a validated supercar, but is advertising it on TV. Not only did they break ground in the supercar world but also in the media world. So the question would be what is Toyota trying to gain? Reputation? A place in the supercar arena as well as the domestic automotive world? No one knows. One thing is for sure…we don’t want the gas pedal on this 560 bhp beast sticking on anyone.

With a 4.8-liter V10 engine we see a substantial amount of performance out of this vehicle expressing Toyota’s attempts to distance themselves from the almighty Prius. With only 175 available to the U.S. market I guess this will become yet again another well known unknown vehicle. The question is does Toyota have any other supercar concepts under their sleeve??? The stats on the LFA is impressive for their first supercar, let’s hope thier $375,000 tag doesn’t send people toward Lamborghinis same price doors.

I greatly appreciate a supercar as well as the next person, so I have to admit my interest in this vehicle. I appreciate the vehicle, but I still remain a little confused as to the price tag and the time of its release. Price range is steep, launched at a transition time for the company, and so my mind wonders as to what their estimates of return or profitabilty will be for this vehicle. But for those who can afford it I say buy now, because who knows where the company will go next in this arena.

                                                                                                                                   -Josh

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