Crossing the Country Really Fast

for-the-blog-across-the-cou

The subject of Cannonball has been incredibly popular in the last few weeks. Prior to that, it had been somewhat of a novel automotive hobby that was starting to gain popularity again thanks to Ed Bolian and VINwiki and the “fraternity of lunatics.”

Recently, the solo cannonball record fell, which, surprisingly enough, beat Ed’s record run that had lasted up until November 2019. Then during the pandemic, many attempts were made and the record just kept getting lower and lower. A point could be made that the pandemic made it easier to cross the country from the Red Ball parking garage in New York City to the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach, California. Maybe there should be a separate record category for the pandemic runs? I was curious to know what Ed would think, since he seems to be the face of all of this. He described in a video that the situation is different than it was before the pandemic and there is some controversy among those in the activity, but this isn’t exactly an activity with defined rules.

With that said, back to the solo cannonball run. It was done in a rented Ford Mustang that was modified to hold 3 fuel tanks in the cabin of the car. The driver only had to stop for 8 minutes to get fuel. And this is what I started to ponder, could those 8 minutes be eliminated with on the move refueling?

BMW created a system to refuel a car while moving when they attempted the longest drift record. It looks similar to the way aircraft refuel in flight. If this system was applied to cannonball, where you could get a lighter, faster, (electronic speed limiter turned off), and covert car that gobbles up ground quickly, it would be a very serious record breaking run.

Wrangler Raptor Bronco Battle

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A few weeks ago, I commented on a Ford Bronco post on social media that was about how Ford thinks the new Bronco will eat the Jeep Wrangler for lunch (I’m not really sure where the exact quote about that is). My comment was, that on paper, the new Bronco looks to be a superior off-road vehicle to the Jeep. Many people quickly commented back saying that being able to make a prediction like that is not sound and that there is one crippling feature the Bronco does not have which will always make the Jeep superior.

That feature is a solid front axle. Jeeps always reign supreme because of having a solid front axle. The Bronco will be coming with independent front suspension. While I completely agree, that my opinion about the Bronco on paper is premature to call it superior to the Jeep without actually physically being able to compare them yet, I had to really think about the solid front axle issue.

After thinking long and hard about it, I concluded that I believe the Bronco is intended to be a different kind of off-road vehicle. I am not saying that the Bronco should not be compared to the Jeep, but I think the type of off-roading each vehicle is good at is slightly different. Jeep is intended for mountainous trails with steep inclines and jagged rocks. The Raptor and soon to be Bronco are created for desert trails and speed. That conclusion was solidified when I watched one of Doug DeMuros recent videos about the Jeep Mojave. I think Jeep built the new Mojave to specifically go head to head with the new Bronco in desert speed. The Fox shocks installed on the Mojave is almost the sole reason I think this.

What vehicle are Fox shocks famously found on? Oh yeah, the Ford Raptor. While no one is exactly comparing a Raptor to a Jeep, the Raptor is an insane desert off-roader. That is the type of driving I believe that the Bronco will fulfill to an even greater degree, but also tackle mountainous trails in an above-average way than what the Raptor currently does. This is why I think Jeep is installing Fox shocks, increasing the speed in low gear via the transfer case, and raising the ride height of the Mojave to prepare to compete with the Bronco on desert trail running. They know the Bronco is a threat and they are preparing for it. On the flip side, one could wonder why Jeep is moving away from “Trail Rated” and now placing “Desert Rated” badges on the Mojave? I think they want to show dominance in all areas first.

All of this makes sense when you look at the type of vehicles most popularly used for desert rally and endurance racing. Trophy trucks and the H1 Hummer are not exactly solid axle. The rear axle of a trophy truck is solid, but the front is independent and Hummers are portal. Looking at those vehicles and knowing that the Raptor is built to be with those vehicles, I believe it is safe to assume that the Bronco, with its independent suspension, is intended to join those vehicles playing in the sandbox.

One last side point is the modification capability of each vehicle. A point I made in my comment on social media was that the Jeep culture is vast and strong, and the aftermarket modification parts, capability, and customization is enormous. The Bronco out of the box will not have that. It will take some time for the aftermarket accessories to increase and bugs to be ironed out.

Even with all of this, I am incredibly excited for the Bronco to come on the market. Choices and competition are amazing and this will only make the off-road segment even more popular. Although, most of these will probably never leave the asphalt.

The End of the C8 Wait

The New C8 Corvette
I attended a pre-sale party for the C8 at a local dealership and was able to get photos of it as well as sit in it.

For years now I have been hoping, wishing, and supporting that the Corvette would become a mid-engine vehicle. I have wanted that as far back as around 2008, with hopes the C7 would be a mid-engine and properly pay tribute to the C2 “Stingray” name plate. The original Sting ray attributes were polarizing compared to the C1 design.  I thought having a split window should have only been applied to a “Stingray” Corvette, that should have been mid-engine. I was disappointed that Stingray name was re-introduced for the C7 and that the C7 wasn’t mid-engine.

So here we are. The C8 has finally been released and we have a mid-engine Corvette. What do I think?

Well, I think the styling is AMAZING. The proportions are a bit large, but it works and the car seems to have a lot of practicality to it. Since GM doesn’t have to put a massive 10 or 12 cylinder engine in the back, there is a lot of space for cargo. But don’t let all that practicality fool you. This thing can scoot. From all the videos I have seen, this car, even in stock form, is a true track monster.

I was able to attend an event at a local dealership for the C8 where I got to sit in it. It was nice to get up close and personal with it. The interior is stunning, but both my wife and I were not thrilled about the seating position. I was too tall and she was not tall enough to make all the driving ergonomics comfortable. Although, I am 6’4″ just like Doug DeMuro, and when he reviewed the C8, he had no problem driving it. He actually commented on how large the cabin was compared to other mid-engine vehicles. So, I should give it second chance if I am ever given the opportunity.

There were delays upon delays for this car, some of them were chassis related. While that is believed to have been sorted upon now finally launching the car, there still might be some issues that arise, as with any new vehicle. One of the issues is a wavy dashboard where the material/fabric is starting to wrinkle on the passenger side dash. Another issue that might come about is a noise that comes from the passenger front end. I don’t know much about this, but it is heard on a C8 in a video done by one of my favorite YouTubers, The Stradman.

While this blog shows I have little personal experience with the car and is slightly picky to some both personal and production flaws, I want to convey how much I truly like this car. It has been a long time coming, it looks amazing, performs well, and I believe that it has not only met, but exceed the hype that has surrounded it. It is a true American icon and it has now started a new chapter. I am just surprised that Hot Wheels has not come out with a C8 Corvette yet. Whenever they do, I will be adding that to my collection. Chances are it will be the only one I will ever own.