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Wednesday
Jun292016

Our Thoughts On Motor Oil

What is there to say about motor oil...its a liquid that spends most of it time in an oil pan.

If you have been around cars for a few years, perhaps there are a few things to say...

Let's engage a conversation.

Back in the day

If you remember from way back in the day when motor oil was a straight grade 10 or 20 or 30 and in cold winter climates 30 was a summer oil. Then there was the advent of multi grade 10 W 30, or 20 W 40 and so on.

Oil changes were supposed to be performed on a regular basis since oil would deteriorate rather quickly.

All the urban legends in one fashion or another regarding oil, and the qualities of different brands, and so on. While everyone had their favorite brand of oil.

Doing your own oil change was fashionable.

Oil Filters

Way back in the day an engine oil filter was not standard. Agreed...there was alway additional "stuff" in engines. When filters started appearing they were paper and were installed in a removable metal container. Back then filters were quite large and easily contained at least 1 liter of oil.

The advent of "spin on" filters made it much simpler to replace a filter, although at times removing a spin on was a challenge.

Performance

If you had performance inclinations back in the day, and perhaps had a blueprinted engine, or partially blueprinted engine. The clearances were slightly more generous to diminish friction in the engine, and you would use a heavier than lighter grade of oil.

Most oil pans were 4-5 liters, and the filter was close to 1 liter...was it enough oil? Needless to say that you also wanted to keep the oil away from the crankshaft. Ideally if you had intentions of having a strong running engine you also wanted to cool the oil.

Back to oil...yes you would use "straight 30" and wait to warm it up before getting close to the redline. When multi grade oils became available you would use "20W40".

If you did not wait to warm up the oil...you quickly learned that it could come out of the engine by all the breathers and literally make an oily mess.

Synthetics

Today we have a vast choice of synthetic oils from a myriad of sources. Similar to the old days some brands are even recommended by manufacturers.

Oil change intervals are appreciably longer than the 5,000 kilometers from back in the day.

 

 

Monday
Jun272016

Highly Automated Driving

As you know we have been sharing our thoughts on AV's call them self driving or autonomous vehicles for some time.

A thoughtful, and thought provoking paper from McKinsey...

An autonomous vehicle requires five specific technologies to operate effectively. First, it needs high-definition maps of roads that are accurate down to 10 centimeters. Currently, only three companies are actively working on automotive-grade HD maps, and a consortium of German automakers has purchased one of them. Second, autonomous driving requires localization sensors and algorithms that automatically position the vehicles within the HD map in real time. Third, engineers have to integrate the highly automated driving features seamlessly into the vehicle technology stack. The fourth component is a robust object recognition system capable of identifying people and cars near the vehicle in real time. Finally, autonomous driving requires cars to have stronger onboard capabilities in the software stack in areas such as object recognition and decision algorithms. Since OEMs can’t depend on the cloud all the time for these capabilities, in-car computational power needs to increase to handle this critical new software. The question is, who will develop and test this code and take responsibility for it?


 

 

Saturday
Jun252016

Porsche 718 RS60

Go for a drive with Derek Bell in a Porsche 718 and a bit of history on the Targa Florio.

 

 

Friday
Jun242016

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the discussion.

As we progress towards the Dog Days of Summer, and its almost the end of June. Think of this 2016 is half done already. We agree time is accelerating...

Brexit

On this morning of the Brexit, with presumably no going back, and financial markets in a state of agitated turmoil. Let's not forget the Prime Minister resigning after the LEAVE vote. Its a unique opportunity for a myriad of experts, pundits, analysts to share their thoughts.

Yes...the dust will settle, it will become yesterday's news....

Le Mans

What can we say Corvette Racing was somewhere in the pack. It looked like Toyota had the overall win, until the last 5 minutes. The Ford GT replicated the same strategy as 50 years before. Interesting race with an element of unpredictability this year.

Basketball

Game 7 was thrilling, and yes...LeBron James is very good. Who would have thought that the Cavaliers were going to win the championship at the 3-1 mark in the series.

Hockey

Perhaps there are folks in Canada that persist in seeing hockey as a "Canadian Thing", when the reality says that its no longer the case.

Showroom

Is it possible that some folks are understanding that the retail auto business remains centered in the showroom. While its humans that continue to make all the difference.

VW

Are you surpirsed that Martin Winterkorn after promptly resigning, is being investigated?

Safety Inspection

In Ontario new safety inspection parameters will be in effect on July 1st.

Canadian Sales

Month end is on Thursday, it will be interesting and fascinating to see how sales developed for the month and the first half.

Panama Canal

The expanded version of the Panama Canal is opening tomorrow June 26. What does the Panama canal have to do with cars? At one time European made vehicles headed for western Canada would cross the Panama canal.

Our usual old race cars from Indianapolis - SVRA Brickyard Invitational 2016...an impressive gallery.

 

Thursday
Jun232016

Strada Content

Just in case...

In case you did not know the various platforms we use publish/disseminate our content.

Yes...we have been featuring our content on several platforms for years now.

Go to our Welcome page, and see for yourself.

Why do we use several platforms? It all started by happenstance years ago, by adopting one, then another, as the story goes we ended out on several.

Twitter

We have been on Twitter since 2009 its a few years now, the early days of Twitter were more interactive with a myriad of folks. We still have several good "Twitter Friends" that we interact with on an almost daily basis.

Flickr

We started our "Wall of Reviews" again several years ago. Perhaps to uphold the tradition we still have the first car that we reviewed and onward on the wall.

Slideshare

We have a ton of content on Slideshare, go for a visit you will be surprised as to what is available. The same for Scribd.

Pinterest

We feature photos that capture our attention. Yes...we have an affinity for Peterbilts.

Making a Difference

Through the years, we have concluded that our content "makes a difference". In one fashion or another we make a difference. We are also emulated. We have a regular readership of a wide spectrum of folks that are involved in the auto industry, or simply have an interest in cars.

Passion

We have to thank The Colonel for his passion which is boundless.

 

 

Wednesday
Jun222016

Strada Search

As we are on the cusp of the Dog Days of Summer, and perhaps this year everyone will take it a little easier, or will it be a little busier.

If you are entertaining a thought, have a question and seeking an answer, or simply curious about something automotive.

Try our Strada Search you will be pleasantly surprised. Often we are surprised when we search our content.

Why you should try our search, and perhaps even tell your friends.

  • We have been publishing for 10 years, all our content from the past 10 years is available and searchable.
  • We continue to cover most aspects of the auto business, we try to take a 360 degree view.
  • We always strive to uphold a thought leadership position.
  • We seek to provoke a thought process.
  • Many of our thoughts have held the test of time.

We encourage you to try the Strada Search.

 

 

Tuesday
Jun212016

Is It Still Canada 1 vs US 10

Been in the auto business for a few years or decades. You surely remember when Canadian auto sales were 1 tenth of US, or US sales were 10 times Canada. It all made sense, 10 times the population in the US, kinder climatic conditions. Way back in the day folks in the US were more levereged than Canada.

Consider recent sales...the US is appreciably behind Canada, or better yet Canada is way ahead.

At 10 times Canada the US should be at 19 million annual sales not 17 million.

Have you noticed that no one is asking "How come?"

This morning we are responding to "How come?" and "What has changed?"

How come?

Canada: is on a mobility model, and has been migrating towards mobility for several years.

US: remains on the static tried and true ownership model.

Can we conclude that the mobility model moves more iron than the ownership model? Absolutely.

What has changed?

Canada: the Canadian consumer espoused mobility over a decade ago, when leasing comprised 50% of vehicles sold. in 2016 mobility is reinforced by converting negative equity from one vehicle to the next.The Canadian consumers has a limited desire to own their mobility device.

US: persists in the ownership model, with the same finance terms, same percentage of leasing as Canada in 2016. Perhaps due to the milder climate, the US consumer is focused on ownership, keeping a vehicle longer, and a stronger desire to own the mobility device.

Fascinating that most analysts, pundits, experts never mention the difference in the Canadian mobility and US ownership business models.

 

 

Monday
Jun202016

Our Thoughts on Depreciation

All vehicles depreciate what else is new. Depreciation has been a constant in the "ownership experience" as well as in the auto business.

In 2016 with big data, algorithms, auctions, one can look at depreciation from a myriad of angles. Yes...you can probably "torture the data" in one fashion or another to arrive at desired results.

Depreciation also impacts residual values of leased vehicles.

Its fashionable for various organisations to award Top 10 in depreciation or residual value retention. Model aaa depreciates the least, or model eee has the best residual value. Its one more thing to talk about.

Let's look at some points in no particular order.

Depreciation: all vehicles depreciate its that simple. The more you use and abuse them the more they depreciate.

Performance: the favorite models of gear heads and pundits usually depreciate more than non performance versions. It costs more all around to have a performance vehicle.

Odometer: you could call it the "depreciation gauge" the moment any vehicle varies from the 20,000 kilometers per year, the value either increases or diminishes accordingly.

Condition: we agree that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The condition will impact the depreciation of the vehicle. Is it pristine, has the expected wear and tear, has been abused?

Provenance: where did this vehicle come from, number of owners, accidents, service history, and so on. In 2016 the provenance with the exception of "accidents" is not so important. Its as if vehicle all come from the same "used car factory".

We could keep on going, but you surely grasp that depreciation is a mathematical exercise based on several reference points. Agreed...for popular models auction prices have an influence.

Let's look at some other factors

Dynamic Pricing of New Vehicles: when you want to trade or sell, but especially trade and the manufacturer has an aggressive promotion on the same model that you are trading in, that 6 months prior won a depreciation award.

Residual Values: your lease is up, and the residual value is beyond the market value, on the vehicle that won a residual award. You discover that manufacturers bolster residual values to move new iron.

MSRP: Manufacture Suggested Retail Price is a baseline to calculate depreciation. Have you noticed the various cash discounts, subvented finance and lease rates, and supported residual values.

Auctions: as of today some makes and models due to the low CDN dollar command astronomical prices at auctions beyond what the Canadian market supports.

 

 

 

Saturday
Jun182016

Rebuilding an Engine

There is a ton of nostalgia in this video. It's a flathead (not a fan), removing an engine with the transmission, hand tools, washing parts, re assembling with new parts. Its all cool...especially if at a stage in your life you were rebuilding engines as a week end project.

 

 

Friday
Jun172016

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation. Leave a comment if you wish.

 

This past week we again saw the dark side of humans as well as the bright side. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the folks that have been impacted by the events in Orlando.

At the beginning of the year we shared our thoughts on station wagons. Its interesting to see Mercedes-Benz launch a C Class wagon in Canada, and now an E Class wagon. The classic case of filling every possible niche, with every possible model. Its also interesting to read and hear the comments from various pundits regarding wagons.

If you missed our thoughts on fuel economy, its what you make of it yourself, not the published figures which are for comparison purposes. Create your own fuel economy map for your vehicle.

We think we had an epiphany moment with pick ups. 1-There are folks that expect a pick up to be a morphed luxury car bursting with the latest of everything. Its a truck that can also replace a luxury car. 2- There are others that want a pick up to be a pick up. Sure they want features, but they want a pick up, not a morphed luxury car. We could have a lenghty discussion about either of these perspectives.

The 24 hour race at LeMans starts tomorrow...obvious we remain Corvette Racing fans. Let's not forget the retune of the Ford GT after a 50 years hiatus.

Our usual old race cars a comprehansive story of a Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix.