Photo Gallery
Login
Powered by Squarespace
Monday
Jan232017

Car Repair Nostalgia

Although we read about the new here, the just launched there, the upcoming in just a few months somewhere else. In addition to new technology here, there, and all over the place.

Somedays its envigorating to just stop, and look back in a reflective fashion.

Here we go...

Tools:

If you are of a certain age you remember the various hand tools used back in the day. Ratchets, extensions, sockets were commonplace. Flat and philip screwdrivers, ball peen hammers, and so on. Air tools were usually a substantial impact wrench, and subsequently a ratchet, both dragged around an air line, and were noisy.

Today many of the air powered tolls have been replaced by the electric equivalent with a battery.

Tool Boxes:

A couple of generations ago what was a sophisticated tool box was usually built up from a few components on casters. Yes...Snap On ruled the day. Tool boxes today are a thing of beauty, totally cool.

Distributor - Coil - Spark Plug Wires:

If you remember replacing ignition points on a regular basis, using a dwell meter, coils going bad and going nuts trying to figure it out. Plug wires wearing out, the same with distributor caps and rotors. Setting the timing with a timing light.

It  sounds old, archaic, a lost art. Even on TV shows some of the cars that are restored the engines run like shit.

The lost art is to get an engine to run well, and start in a crisp, lively fashion.

Batteries:

If you remember batteries with acid, battery caps, the posts and cable connectors getting all corroded with the "fuzzy stuff". Yes...you have been around for a while, you also remember cleaning the battery posts, and cable connectors.

Today its maintenance free batteries, and screw in cables. Yes...batteries still wear out.

Human Knowledge:

Good ole human knowledge is priceless. With all the technology, modern tools, testing and diagnostic equipment. In many instances it facilitates diagnosing, and repairing a vehicle.

But...having an intrinsic understanding of how a vehicle funstions, what the various components are supposed to do, how one thing relates to another. Its priceless...

It goes back to the days when the human brain stored the knowledge base, experience, skill set to understand how a vehicle worked. Understanding what was amiss, which today shows up as an error code.

Agreed...its becoming a lost art that is also extremely challenging to replace...perhaps even bordering on the impossible.

 

 

Saturday
Jan212017

Mercedes-Benz S65 vs Bentley Continental GT

An entertaining episode of Head 2 Head with an S65 Cabrio and a Continental GT Cabrio...yes both cars are big money, with a 12 cylinder engine.

 

 

Friday
Jan202017

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation, and please tell your friends to join.

Today is the inauguration of a new President in the US, and you have to wonder if it will generate less or more opinions, comments, tweets...what do you think? Have you noticed that from Canada all we hear usually has some sort of negative undertone. There has to be a few upsides...that are discreetly kept out of the limelight.

Lets not forget Kevin O'Leary running for the Conservative leadership. Do you think we will have our own show in Canada in the months to come?

The auto business was a pioneer in going global over a generation ago. Reflect on this for a moment, its global, its huge, it has a myriad of stakeholders. Taking this global business and trying to roll back time and make it local...is easier said than done.

Yes...Scottsdale is buzzing with all sorts of auction activity especially as the week end approaches. 

Talking of collector cars, how about collector tools...do you remember the speedwrench?

The 2018 Mustang is a cool looking car, and you have to wonder why Ford unveiled the car so early.

Have you noticed that diesels continue to get slammed as being "dirtier" than expected? Which begs the question who really knows what is going on in the various black boxes that control motors in any vehicle. What programming, codes, algorithms are actually doing, and when...click.

We have often mentioned a shoebox Chevy. Well...yesterday watching Barrett-Jackson a blue 1956 Chevy 2 door post with a 502, automatic, independent rear suspension, Morrison frame rolled on the block. "That's a shoebox Chevy..." a few individuals want this car...it finally sold for 152K.

Some cool old cars and racrs too from the Bicester Heritage.

 

 

 

Thursday
Jan192017

Sideswpided

At times you have an epiphany moment, and the other day it appeared on our radar that not only can you get disrupted from a myriad directions. Yes...everyone is constantly talking about disruption, business models changing, revenue sources altering.

In most instances you will get an initial signal of disruption on the horizon, then its up to you to adjust and recalibrate your actions and/or business model. Remaining stagnant is not an option.

But you can also get sideswiped and perhaps in a totally unexpected fashion, with varying negative results.

Canada is in the ideal position of being sideswiped in the near future by economic forces, or just a tweet. Yes...you want to reflect on this for at least a moment.

Auto Business:

We make auto parts and components, as well as assemble vehicles in Canada. Been doing it for decades, its always worked, although there have been pressures to perhaps make components, assemble vehicles elsewhere for less money.

We have had record auto sales for the past few years.

What happens when you start applying additional fees on the components and assembled vehicles? What decisions will be made? What will be the impact? Who wins and who loses?

The old Auto Pact was simple if Canada shipped $1.00 to the US it had to import $1.00 from the US, and July was the month to balance the books. Today NAFTA is a free for all with stuff coming from all over the place.

Perhaps nothing will change...but there is a cloud...the auto business just got sideswiped.

Lets not forget that the Canadian dollar at 75 cents is still not cheap enough.

Economy:

How often are you still hearing "The Great Recession" which in reality never happened in Canada. We experienced a slowdown but certainly not a major upheavel. In the meantime many Canadian companies made money and conveniently sat on the money. The premise was the great recession, uncertainty, and whatever other flavor of the day. In the meantime lets leave the money in the bank, lets sit on it.

Lets drop the interest rates to stimulate the economy, lets piss away the value of the Canadian dollar to encourage exports, and with time something will come our way.

As we roll into a time of "I'm going to get my shit together and I really don't give a fuck about anyone else". Do you think that Canada is getting sideswiped?

Citizen Main Street:

CMS is the only bright spot. Cheap money, low Canadian dollar, solid Canadian banks, a ton of money available. "Lets buy real estate, lets buy vehicles, lets take care of ourselves while keeping the economy rolling".

Who is going to buy all these houses at "ridiculous" prices, who is going to buy a record number of vehicles. Who else...CMS.

It worked so well that it scared the piss out of a ton of folks, and construction developed into the biggest Canadian industry. Not oil, not manufacturing, construction powered by CMS.

Will CMS get sideswiped? NO  Can CMS be more mindful with money? YES

 

 

Wednesday
Jan182017

Middle of January 2017

Yes its mid week and a few days past mid month.

We start the year, we want to get a "feel" for what is going on around us, we take a look at our plans, direction, and really take it all in to improve the understanding.

What caught our attention...in no particular order.

Eyeballs:

Unreal how everyone is scrambling for eyeballs to monetize whatever they are doing. Obvious some are even bolder than the bold.

Autonomous Vehicles:

Although its all moving in the direction of AV's we are not there yet, its progressing, a ton of folks are learning, and technology is being calibrated. Is there an upside for Canada?

People:

If you are in the auto business, you are in the people business...its that simple. Been like that for decades. Even with all the technology, all the empowerment...still in the people business.

Politics:

Its a great arena for a bunch of folks to try and get more eyeballs for their platform. In 2017 disruption is a huge eyeball attractor (is there such a word). Lets leave it at that.

Glass Palaces:

The retail auto landscape in Canada in reaching "peak glass palace" (which is often the price of entry) you have to wonder what's up next...the glassier palace on top of the glass palace?

Finance Terms:

"You can finance them for longer because they last longer". In 2017 the naivete of the statement is mind boggling, and completely detached from the reality in Canada.

Peak Technology:

Ask yourself "Are we reaching or have we reached peak technology in the auto business in Canada?" At some point its all pedestrian technology that anyone can access.

Motorcycles:

Boomers powered a generation of V Twin cruisers. Now the industry is still seeking a footing with younger generations. Is it a sport bike, is it a cruiser? One thing is certain it has to be less money. Victory shut down, MV Agusta is still challenged.

Utilities:

They are versatile, more profitable for manufacturers, and fashionable (life style vehicles). Are dealers making money with utilities?

Pick Ups:

The old school full size body on frame car, reincarnated as a pick up, and add a transfer case for good measure. By now we all know that an F150 is aluminum.

Real Estate:

Will keep on inching up especially in the GTA. The next few months will be revealing.

Interest Rates:

That they inch up by 25 points, manufacturers will continue to subsidise lower rates. Its not a big deal.

Used Vehicle Values:

We have been fortunate in Canada to move a ton of used iron to the US in the past. Will it continue? Probably but at lower prices. Values will come down in 2017.

Auto Shows:

Its not the reveals (eye candy), its the attendance by CMS (Citizen Main Street) that makes the difference, and moves iron.

Millennials - Gen Y:

Are increasingly becoming a factor in the Canadian auto business.

Disruption:

Ongoing in 2017, its a time when a "tweet" can quickly get folks do a 180.

Individual in the Back of the Room:

Might as well coin another one IBOR (individual in the back of the room), the person that observes the pedestrian knowledge and behavior to gain an advantage. You want to be an IBOR in 2017.

Time:

The equaliser, its the same for everyone, a precious resource that is constantly accelerating with increasing velocity. Successful individuals start their day early...very early.

We suggest that you make your own list of some of the stuff that has caught your attention so far this month.

 

 

Tuesday
Jan172017

Air Bags

Of all the safety features on any vehicles the air bag was one of the first developed over 40 years ago by General Motors.

Think about this...the air bag is 40 years old.

It goes back to when folks in many instances adamantly refused to buckle up a seat belt in a vehicle. The air bag was there to protect these folks that were refusing to buckle up.

Now its widespread on videos. But way back in the early days of air bags, seeing a vehicle pulled towards a solid barrier with dummies not buckled up; clearly depicted the violence of coming to a sudden stop. Perhaps we still overlook the violent effects of coming to a sudden stop with a vehicle.

Today we jump in any vehicle a quickly overlook the fact that we are surrounded by a bunch of instantly inflatable bags.

Just like coming to a sudden stop is violent, an inflating air bag is just as violent since it has to deploy in a few milliseconds.

Perhaps you remember when air bags were deploying with such force that smaller adults and children could be injured by the air bag.

The bottom line is that all vehicles offer better protection to occupants because of air bags in case of an accident. Yes...you still need to buckle up.

Obvious that if air bags start grenading, spreading shrapnel when they deploy its a problem...its a huge problem. This problem has been ongoing for a couple of years now with a regular announcement of new cases/possibilities.

You have to wonder who knew what, where, when, how can this keep on going for such a long time?

 

 

 

Monday
Jan162017

While Sitting in Traffic

If you live in the GTA and have been dealing with congestion for a while; you are familiar with just sitting in your vehicle and not moving very fast.

It gets even more interesting when you just got off a plane at Pearson, fetched your vehicle out of the parking, and start on a couple of 400 series highways. Yes...400 series highway are some of the most congested roads in Canada, and probably North America.

At Strada we are not strong on being on the phone or multi tasking in a vehicle preferring to focus on the task of driving. It gets even more interesting after spending several hours in a plane, and now sitting in a vehicle, and crawling.

Here is the deal:

We review all sorts of vehicles, always have an interest of what is on the road, and when you are crawling its a great opportunity to observe what folks are driving at a slower speed. Interesting enough at some point its all a blur of cars, utilities, trucks, and heavy duty trucks pulling trailers.

Absolutely...the folks that are forever changing lanes trying to gain half a length.

You start observing who is driving what, and perhaps reasons for driving such a vehicle.

At one point we are gaining on a utility in the middle lane. Most utilities look the same from the back, this one is a GLC300 (M-B) with an older individual driving. "Why would this guy get a GLC at his stage in life?" this thing is lacking any kind of a cool factor. Its another utility lost in a sea of utilities on the road. 

Behind us for the longest of time there's a CTS Coupe a few years old that still looks cool, with also an older individual driving.

"Are we the only ones that feel strongly that metal must resonate?"

"Is everyone just getting metal for the sake of having transportation?"

"Why am I usually looking up from the car I'm sitting in?" Simple with the sea of utilities and pick ups a car is quite low.

"All this time and gas literally wasted going nowhere fast." The joys of urban living.

"What are my chances of apexing the exit?" Probably not good...too many vehicle, too slow.

"Why did this guy get a GLC?" Still no answer...must be that utilities are practical, and sort of all look the same.

 

Saturday
Jan142017

1969 Camaro

This is a totally cool Camaro from the Ring Brothers, get a comprehensive walk around with Jay Leno and the Ring Brothers...

 

 

Friday
Jan132017

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday the 13th, its the Vroom Room, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation and please tell your friends to join.

Last week there was a substantial pile up of vehicles on the 401 eastbound, fortunately there were no fatalities or serious injuries. You have to wonder how AV's be it cars and heavy duty trucks would have handled the situation of blinding snow, icy road, stopping in time.

Take a few minutes browse the RM Sotheby Arizona 17 auction catalog...click.

NAIAS by the comments from the experts, pundits, journalists was a boring affair this year. Are we forgetting that auto shows are directed at consumers that actually pay an entrance fee and hopefully are assisted in making a vehicle decision.

Detroit is cold in January, if pundits stay in the right hotels its as simple as jumping on the People Mover to Cobo Hall. Have to go somewhere else get a cab from your hotel. If folks are seeking the killer reveal that will attract eyeballs for their publication auto shows are perhaps no longer the place.

The success of an auto show is the attendance from consumers.

What caught our attention at NAIAS, the Kia Stinger, the Lexus LS500 that finally broke the mold, the GMC Terrain by its poor (being polite) styling, the refreshed Camry.

Miss our thoughts on Canadian Sales for 2016?...click.

Stunning photography in this collection of the Best Vintage Racing of 2016...enjoy.

 

Thursday
Jan122017

Mobility Business

Lets clarify a point or will it be a few points.

Today there are a lot of folks talking about mobility which is immediately interpreted as some sort of "self driving" or "autonomous" conveyance. Its also become an interesting catchword for a lot of folks.

When you reflect on it for a moment..."An auto dealer is in the people business to provide mobility".

You want or need a vehicle to go from A to B, and all vehicles today will get you from A to B.

Its that simple...

At Strada when we refer to mobility we prefer to think of it as the initial shift from ownership to having mobility on a monthly payment basis.

For decades in Canada we were ingrained in owning the mobility conveyance (car), there was a sense of pride in having ownership of the car.

Fast forward to today and the inexorable rise in consumer credit which is primarily driven by auto loans. It begs the question "Who owns a mobility conveyance?" Not many...

As you read the various virtues, and benefits of autonomous vehicles, from less accidents to car sharing, to vehicles returning home after a short commute...we could keep on going. In Canada we are already a few steps closer towards the model of AV's where less and less folks truly own a vehicle or are seeking an equity position in a vehicle.

Its costing me "So much per month" to have a conveyance that provides mobility.

Obvious that a lot of folks will still own their "toys" be it a car, a truck, motorcycle, hot rod. But the conveyance that is relegated to commuting, going from A to B, doing the errands. That one is on a "So much per month" basis.

Canada is steadily progressing in the "So much per month for mobility" since the past few years. Its the reason that we are seeing record sales.