A Patriotic Purge

So there are a few things on my mind today.

I read an article talking about how a guy is selling off his entire project car collection. I have been thinking that people like that should really get into finding the right home for those vehicles. Someone out there would absolutely appreciate the project car you have. In all reality I think the problem is timing and communication. When people want a car, they are going to find someone who has it. The problem is that many of the people who have the cars are not communicating that they have them. Its a sad day when amazing vehicles get hauled off the the junk yard because the owner thinks no one wants it.

I also read about how rally racing is probably the most expensive and hardest forms of racing. I have never been to an actual rally but I can imagine that it is more fun for the participants than the spectators. That is probably a factor into why it costs so much. Then again, there can be watered down versions of rallies that one can do with friends on public roads. The kicker there is just gas prices.

I am pretty impressed at the number of first time winners there have been in NASCAR this year. David Ragan is a wonderful driver and deserved to win last weekend in Daytona. Congrats to David Ragan. This upcoming Kentucky race should be pretty thrilling. These powerhouse teams really have not shown bright this year. Then again, was it really the teams or more so the individuals? If anything, this year has shown it is all about the individuals. Just take a look at the top 12 drivers. Then again, the teams have become tighter simply because of the tension on the track between individuals and the ability for more than one individual on one team to consistently do well. This chase will not be over till its over and I am completely ecstatic to watch it unfold!

I spent a little time with my friend today looking up Hot Wheels on Ebay. Pricing out cars we already have and looking up the cars we don’t. I love Hot Wheels but its hard sometimes to justify buying them when I could save the money to buy a real car. I guess being a passionate automotive enthusiast, I consider such things.

I was also thinking today about how the new styling of the Chrysler 300 would make a perfect coupe. Since the newer styled 300’s came out,  they have always had that watered down Bentley / Rolls Royce look. They have a chance now to take an “Imported from Detroit” vehicle and give it some flair, similar to a two door Audi/Bentley, since that’s what I think it would most collectively look like if it were a coupe. Not to mention that Cadillac has made a gorgeous coupe out of its well loved CTS. Then they hopped it up on some supercharging steroids to make it a CTS-V. Such an epic vehicle. I am a huge fan of GM and particularly Cadillac. However, I will support any American made company, such as Chrysler if they built a world class coupe. After the fourth of July, I have been all but thrilled to be as patriotic as possible. Hopefully the American automotive industry will do the same! 😀 God bless the USA!

Tow Trucks: Tough as Nails

This blog is full automotiveness. And honestly, if there are hero’s of the automotive world, its tow trucks, semis, and any other heavy duty vehicle and especially those who operate them.

 

Tow trucks fascinate me. There is just something about them that makes me want to cry out “That thing is so BA!” The sheer size and ability of them, especially the rotators, is like a Clydesdale that can perform dental surgery.

 

I’ve always had a fascination with them. It probably came from my dads side of the family. My great grandpa, who I never knew, used to drive trucks from the 30’s through the 60’s and around the 40’s purchased a junk yard and drove a tow trucks. My grandpa, he drove ¼ and ½ ton trucks in the military. I am so thankful I caught that bug…eh trait from them. One of my favorite books as a child was “How Many Tow Trucks Can A Tow Truck Tow?” J I want to get my CDL someday, hopefully sooner rather than later.

 

Knowing those roots, the flame only got bigger when SPEED channel debuted “Wrecked” in 2008. Those guys from O’Hare Towing in Chicago and their pristine white and green towing machines, I was absolutely glued to the screen. Up-righting an overturned semi, moving a bridge, towing one of the largest mobile cranes in Chicago, it was all in a days work for those guys.

 

Because of that show I have set a goal to own a rotator. I have searched Ebay Motors high and low, wishing one of them would get in my price range.

 

Today I was watching SPEED, and their new series “American Trucker” came on. The episode featured Diamond Heavy Haul Inc. A huge heavy haul company based in Ohio (yay Ohio! I’m originally from there!) that specializes in moving the heaviest of the heavy. More like gargantuan things. Those trucks, and the people who drive them…absolutely tough as nails in my mind, and freaking brilliant. The sheer logistics that go into one of those hauls; just blows my mind. Absolutely addicting!

 

Tow trucks, heavy hauls, and brilliant people. That sounds like a recipe for success to me! Hopefully someday I’ll get to that point!

 

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.