Hunting on the Range

Electric vehicles have created a new problem for commuting. That issue is called range anxiety. Essentially, it is the worry that the cars battery will die before a charging station is able to be found. While Tesla is the most well known electric vehicle, this blog is about is the Porsche Taycan.

A video on YouTube by Shmee150 shows his journey of taking his Taycan from London to Birmingham, which is roughly a 250 mile round trip. In the video, he says that the charging is not always the most quick thing to do. Not only did he wait over an hour, but he said it is a very social event. Part of that hour wait was waiting for the charger to become available. So, that is something to consider if you are going to drive an electric vehicle. The other part of the hour was trying to get the charger to work. Once it was working, it was not able to fast charge, so he spent over a half an hour to gain only 15 miles of range. In my eyes, that sounds like a waste of time. In regard to the social event, he said while charging his car other EV owners or just people in general come up to talk about their vehicles or experiences, or want to ask him about the Porsche. This does not sound like a car for people in a hurry or those who are introverts.

The other big story about the Taycan was published in Road & Track magazine. There, they took a cross country trip of the US from New York to California, and stopped 19 times to accomplish the trip. What most surprised me is that the chargers they preferred to use and the ones most accessible, were located at Walmart. While they were struggling to kill time at all the Walmarts they stopped at, because face it, we are not used to the idea yet that road tripping involves stopping for 30 minutes or far more at a time and gas station atmosphere is far more convenient in terms of travel foods, beverages, and accessories. The Road & Track drivers made it sound like the Walmarts became monotonous and boring after the first few.

This comes to my main point. As a Hot Wheel hunter, it sounds like a Taycan in the US would be the ultimate Hot Wheel hunting vehicle. You have more than one reason to stop at every Walmart now! Not only do you get to look for Hot Wheels, but you can charge your car as well! That is a win win situation! Although, paying the base model price of $103,800 for a Taycan can buy a lot of Hot Wheels and the waiting time to charge is still too much when on the hunt for the little cars. I like to get in and get out as fast as possible. As cool as the Taycan and the social event of charging sounds (I’m an extrovert), I think I’ll stick to Hot Wheel hunting in my Buick Rendezvous.

Speed enforced by “aircraft”?

Speed enforced by aircraft sign on the side of the highway in Suffolk Virginia.

The thought crossed my mind the other day that it is surprising law enforcement is not utilizing drones to enforce speeding.

Recently, a record for the fastest production car was attempted by SSC in the Tuatara. While there is a lot of drama behind the run, what I want to focus on is the use of time and markings on the road to gauge the speed of a vehicle. A few YouTubers, most notably one that I watch, Shmee150, questioned the top speed run based on the time it took for the car to reach certain points on the road according to the video.

That concept is what is used by law enforcement to track speeding cars by aircraft. They set up lines on the road a particular distance apart and then time how long it takes the car to go from line to line. It should not be difficult for a State Highway Patrol officer to deploy a small drone to fly up and hover over the highway to watch traffic cross from line to line. And now days, with technology being as it is, it could possibly even catch license plates to mail the driver a ticket. Either that or they have the drone send them the results and the trooper can be further up the road to catch the speeding culprit. The drone would relay the proof to the officer of the culprit speeding. Drones would also be hard to spot by those trying to get away with speeding. Planes and helicopters are pretty easy to spot in the sky, and if you knew what they were doing so close to the road, you can keep your right foot in check. Drones are much smaller making them almost unnoticeable until it is too late.

Drones are significantly cheaper to fly and maintain than the standard aircraft that is/was used to monitor speed from the air. Granted, here in Virginia, they have not used aircraft to monitor speeds in quite some time. (A whole side blog could be how much road signs cost which is probably a reason these haven’t been removed.) But, it wouldn’t surprise me that if in the near future drones will be used to catch speeding motorists. They can fly themselves pretty much, are easy to transport, deploy, and are inexpensive to build and maintain. They could provide a large return on investment in a very short period of time. I wonder what why this has not happened yet? At the same time, I am glad it hasn’t happened because I think the freedom of the open road is still free. Drones would begin to drastically cut in on the freedom one feels on the road.

Panther Popularity

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My parents in law have recently purchased a 2004 Lincoln Town Car. In reality, that “recent” was actually back in May. That is how long it has taken me to get to finishing this blog. Since that time, I have been noticing the rise of the Panther platform popularity.

The Panther platform is a frame that the Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Car are all attached to. It has been around for a long time and has been produced in the millions. It is somewhat easy to work on and parts are plentiful. Since they are easily found for cheap at public auctions after their public service has come to an end, these cars are an inexpensive, reliable vehicle to add to your garage.

I recently watched one of Cleetus McFarlands YouTube about preparing for the 2.4 hours of LeMullets. They have over 20 Ford Crown Victorias competing and over 50 in inventory. They have even have a full time Crown Vic mechanic. The internet has complained to him that he is single handedly causing the prices of these cars to increase. Cleetus says he is not and I believe him. These cars are just becoming popular in general and finding really clean examples is becoming difficult. YouTubers are using these cars left and right. A long while back on Hot Rod Garage, they took an old F150 and put it on a panther platform Crown Victoria.

I have grown to really like these cars. Especially for the straight up utilitarian use that they were made for. Those raw, simple characteristics, along with the sheer amount of them that were produced at a current, relatively cheap price are what attract me to the Panther platform vehicles.

While they are cheap, I still can’t quite afford one. I have resorted buying diecast versions. They are cheap and fun. Maybe someday I’ll be able to afford a real one. Owning a big cat sounds fun. For the time being, I’ll just have to take my in-laws Town Car for a spin when I visit

Bronco Launch: Boom or Bust?

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Ford introduced the Bronco on Monday night and it was met with great fanfare and rejoicing. I have been incredibly excited for it to debut and would love to have put down a deposit on one. The website to reserve one crashed almost immediately. It will be a very successful and popular vehicle. But for as hyped as the Bronco was, the launch, especially being all virtual, did not go as well as it could have in my opinion, and here is why.

Ford teamed up with Disney Creativeworks to create three short films about the Bronco directed by Jimmy Chin. You can watch each film here, here, and here. They were shown around the 8 o’clock hour on Monday, July 13th. One on ABC, one on ESPN, and the last National Geographic. Ford also did a virtual launch on their YouTube channel.

After watching all three, I now see what Ford was trying to do and where they were trying to go. They are trying to say get off your butt and go out in nature. Stop watching it on TV, get in a Bronco, and go live. They want to show they are going back to their roots, ready to tackle the tough terrain and take on Jeep. It is showing that Ford has climbed up out of there old ways because each film has climbing in it. Jimmy is not just an award-winning film director, he is also a climber. That is evident in all three short films that he made. The climbing aspect was much better in Jimmy’s own film than it was in the other two.

Jimmy’s own film was just much better overall. He did better at making the Bronco a part of his story, sort of like a supporting role, rather than just a vehicle being driven by a celebrity. I do not want to belittle those celebrities either. Their stories were amazing and they are awesome people. I just don’t think Jimmy could incorporate the Bronco into them as well and it seemed more forced and less natural. But that is simply my opinion.

The main issue I have is this. For as much hype that had been put into these films and the Bronco launch in general, it was insanely overrated. It is also ridiculously hard to find where they said they said they were going to place these films. They said they would be available on Hulu starting July 14th, the day after the launch. Maybe they were there. I wasn’t able to check. But, I did check on July 16th and did not find them. I searched, but I didn’t see anything Ford or Bronco related. Therefore, I went to YouTube. All three films are there but they have so few views in my opinion. Ford really dropped the ball on these films, I think. The most views one of the films has is 272,000. You might think that is a lot, but when you look at the live launch they debuted on YouTube, that video has over 2.8 million views. The films to me were a total dud and a total distraction.

Ford has had issues with launches in the past, especially the Explorer. If you want to hand Ford a pass because of the pandemic, that is fine. I will cut them a little slack. But really, they have rumored the Bronco for YEARS. Ford kept changing the date because the first launch date was set to be in the spring of 2020. Then the pandemic hit and caused them to set a new date. That date was July 9th, which was OJ Simpson’s birthday. How did they not know that? When your vehicle is associated with something like that, one would think a simple Google search would tell you a birthday? Not intentionally doing that, and wanting to not cause controversy, they moved it to July 13th and said all 3 films would come out across 3 Disney network of channels. Then there would also be something on YouTube. Yet, in none of these did a CEO get up and say anything about the vehicle, or show one in action in real life. Everything was staged and filmed prior. Nothing was live. There were hardly any facts given that we didn’t already know.

If it seems like I am ranting and long-winded it is because I can’t seem to articulate how confusing this launch was. My point is this. It should have been a very simple, inspiring, and proud event. In reality, it had very few of those things.

Let me be clear though. The Bronco launch did not fail. There was so much hype about it to begin with that it really couldn’t fail. It just wasn’t as amazing as it could or should have been in my journalism degree, automotive enthusiast opinion.

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.