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Friday
Dec112009

Vro9m Ro9m 

Good Morning!

We have cappuccino, and biscotti make yourself comfortable. 

Not to brag or honk our horn, we have been saying for countless months "the Canadian consumer is trading up and trading down in 2009". We were saying this when a myriad of pundits were expressing a myriad of opinions to literally cover all the angles. At the same time the automotive industry does not endure a vacuum for a long time. In addition we still wonder how come a certain Japanese manufacturer is still dormant?

Now that the "trading down" is a done deal for 2009 (we are almost in the middle of December) the folks at Hyundai are expressing their thoughts

You may have noticed that this month we are expressing our thoughts on a variety of issues that caught our attention during the year (its easy just scroll down). At times we enlist The Colonel for a different perspective. We invite you to share your thoughts just leave a comment. 

Are you seeking an original gift for the consummate gearhead? Send them a link, or print it out and give them a hard copy. The Nordschleife Line is a turn by turn guide....need we say more!

Do you know someone that needs a serious rotary combine? Presenting the New Holland CR9090.

Where you around when Citroen SM's were introduced? The SM was a technological "tour de force" in its time, an informative story of SM's. Why are we talking about SM's this morning, you know the guy (Colonel) that got stuck in the Suburban, he was telling us that he leased an SM to a friend. Perhaps one day he will tell us the SM story.

If you have had an interest in Ferrari's for a few years, you probably remember reading about N.A.R.T. competition Ferrari's. For many years Luigi Chinetti was the official Ferrari importer for North America, and N.A.R.T. is short for North American Racing Team, yes it was Chinetti's racing team at the time. An informative article and photo gallery of a recent gathering in Saratoga

Overdrive was/is The Voice of the American Trucker before cellular phones and PC, and the rest of the technology. When truckers were shifting RTO-9513's, and keeping an 8V-71 within the narrow 400 RPM band...Overdrive was required reading, its still around online.

While we are talking about trucks, Custom Rigs is totally cool, with comprehensive videos. 

Did you know, sure you knew the Toronto Motorcycle Show opens today.

 

 

Thursday
Dec102009

Thoughts on Social Media

Are human beings really that social? How social are we? How competitive are we? How understanding and generous are we, especially during challenging economic times? How much WIIFM (what's in it for me) is exercised? Put a few human beings together it gets political, and opaque.

Here is Social media touting transparency, and openness.

We can ask more questions, give it some thought as to how social we are, or should be! As well as what will social media do for the auto industry? In an atmosphere were the Internet has reached a level of saturation for the auto industry.

At the same time we can make fascinating connections with intelligent, and interesting people through social media. Yes...there are usually 2 sides, perhaps in the case of social media there are many sides, which makes it even more interesting.

Are we seeing increased momentum in "autotainement" (automotive entertainment) folks that entertain, and entertain themselves through their interest in cars. 

 

  • Is social media enabling the widespread dissemination of "autotainement"?
  • Does social media resurrect automotive urban legends that were forgotten? Or close to fading into obscurity?
  • How long do social media moments last? 

 

Social Media is a fascinating mosaic of how to communicate and connect with people, they could be friends, business associates, customers, collaborators, enthusiasts, and anything and everything else that you can imagine.

We are strong believers that in an age where everyone can publish, you absolutely need to be your own editor, seeking simplicity, and transparency. While being mindful that we are all different, we all have an opinion, we can all express our opinion and thoughts

It will be fascinating to see how, and where Social Media will carry, and lead us in 2010.

Your thoughts!

 

 

Wednesday
Dec092009

The Suburban Story

Its a snowy day, and we always heard The Colonel make reference to a very specific experience with a GMC Suburban, since he's around this might be the ideal time. 

Lets see, Oh yes he is willing to share.

Q- Colonel when did this experience occur?

A- Guys a few years ago, its was a 1/2 ton 4x4 GMC Suburban with a 4 speed manual transmission, base model with black rubber mats. It was snowing like today, and I asked to take the Suburban to make it home that afternoon. 

Q- Big deal you jumped in a 4x4 and drove home.

A- Driving home was not a big deal, its the next morning trying to get back to work.

Q- Again what is the big deal you drove to work.

A- Not that simple, it snowed for the better part of the night, the next morning was a case of serious snow, with side streets literally blocked.

Q- Now you seem to have a story?

A- It gets much better, it was fluffy snow, I remember dealing with snow up to the hood to get through a few side streets.

Q- That must have been fun?

A- The idea is that if you hear a loud clunk you probably hit something (a car) buried under the snow, did not hit anything. 

Q- Keep on going....

A- By the time I reached a major route, which are not cleared, I noticed that I am the only vehicle on the road, strange feeling, one of the busiest routes in Canada, no traffic, I'm driving in about 20 cm of snow with the snow curling on each side of the truck. 

Q- Perhaps you should have turned back?

A- Its a huge 4x4 Suburban I think it even had a Positraction in the rear differential, it was fun with no traffic, what an experience all by myself in the truck and on the road....really cool. As I reached opened country I start to notice that the drifts are very high.

Q- You mean the country roads with areas swept by the wind, and other with drifts?

A- Not a country road, a major highway, I'm alone and cutting through drifts, when the whole truck shudders. I reach the exit I need to take, its a case of a 4 meter drifts, I'm not taking that exit, and I surely don't want to drive further either. 

Q- What did you do?

A- Did a U turn on the highway, and drove back to the previous exit.

Q- You drove in the opposite direction on an major highway?

A- Yes!! I was still the only vehicle. It was that bad of a storm. 

Q- Lets see you cannot take your exit due to 4 meter drifts, you return on the same side of a divided highway, you must have been a little concerned.

A- By then I must have been a little concerned, drove back, took the previous exit, but I had a lingering feeling that it was going to be futile, since the side road was littered with abandoned cars, 4x4's are not monster trucks that drive over cars. 

Q- You never made it?

A- Wait it gets better, I manage to turn around on this narrow side road, and see a fellow in a car, I stop and go to the car, the fellow has spent the night in his car. I guess he was cold, it took him a while to start speaking coherently. 

Q- Now you rescue a fellow that spent the night in his car, you are on a side road what will you do?

A- Side road in the middle of a field, the wind is howling, and I'm cutting some serious drifts, suddenly a vehicle is coming on the opposite direction, I flash my lights, I want to tell this guy to stop and turn back, since he has nowhere to go.

Q- This sounds interesting, side road, wind, drifts....

A- The vehicle never slows down and I move over and end out getting into a higher / thicker section of a drift.

Q- What happened?

A- I was not going to slow down not to lose momentum, I'm punching through drifts, you know when the snow explodes and covers the windshield, those drifts. This particular drift, after the snow exploded, covers the windshield, I step on the gas and I'm not moving?

Q- Something broke? 

A- Yes I thought the same but what could break so instantly that the truck no longer moves, and I have a feeling that I'm on top of something.

Q- The Suburban was on top of the drift, in the middle of nowhere, with a howling wind, tell us you don't even have a shovel....

A- You got it....as I get out I have snow to my waist, the 4 wheels are turning, I don't have a shovel, I have the fellow I rescued a few minutes earlier in the truck. He's happy, very happy since he is warming up. I am deeply unhappy (an understatement) especially that I am dressed for work.

Q- By now you are a little cold and a little wet, and a little frustrated.

A- At one point the vehicle that never stopped comes back on the road, now it stops, and there are 2 or 3 guys in the vehicle, guess what....they have shovels. As you can imagine removing packed snow from under a Suburban even with shovels is a bit of work. At one point it finally gets down to solid ground / snow. 

Q- What did you do?

A- The fellow that I rescued is warm, and I am cold, wet, not pleasant. I remember bringing this fellow home or very close to his house. never made it to work that day.

Q- Colonel any lessons that you learned from that day?

A- If you are alone in a 4x4 and the situation deteriorates, either turn back or stop. If you are going to have fun in the snow with a 4x4 bring friends, proper clothes, shovels, and absolutely a full tank of gas. Snow drifts are a lot of fun to smash through until you jack yourself up on one, that's when you need the friends, shovels. When you are good and stuck with a 4x4 you absolutely need friends to get yourself out of that situation.

This was in an "old school" 4x4 with tall tires, tow hooks, skid plates, steel bumpers, monster gas tank, locking transfer case, positraction.

Q- Colonel, Thank You now we know the famous Suburban story.

A- Yes...now you know! 

 

Wednesday
Dec092009

Super Tenere

Its very cool....enjoy!

 

 

Wednesday
Dec092009

Thoughts on Technology

Modern vehicles are bristling with technology...nothing new.

At the same time all this technology costs money, and prices of vehicles are not increasing as dramatically as the technology is increasing...just saying.

Before we go further lets get introspective, and a little nostalgic. Do you remember vehicles with an igition system with points, adjusting the gap on the points, and/or using a dwell meter? If you remember points and condensor, you surely remember what was known as "transistorised ignition" which did away with the points in the distributor. Perhaps you even remember capacitive discharge ignition systems (the MSD box).

Yes...technology has enabled, and in numerous ways facilitated the operation of vehicles. Lets just say that there is a ton of computing power in a modern vehicle.

Do you interface with the vehicle, the technology or both?

Do we understand what all this technology does? Or do we just take it for granted, and expect it to work on a regular basis?

Have you ever wondered why we still persist in talking about vehicles like we did 50 years ago, engine, transmission, brakes, acceleration, and so on...when we are no longer interfacing directly with the vehicle? Think about this for a moment.

The technology architecture of many vehicles is based on OSEK, ideally with common hardware, and propriatery software.

On a modern vehicle you are interfacing with the operating system of the vehicle as per the specific software of the manufacturer for that particular model. Is it you, or the algorithm or a combination of both that controls the vehicle. Are you (driver) simply a guidance system for the vehicle, since it can do the rest by itself.

Can we say that most vehicles are pretty smart?

If most vehicles are pretty smart technology should simplify our interface with the vehicle! Do we agree?

At the same time technology allows us to adjust the controls of a vehicle to our personal preferences. Just like you fine tune the operating system of your computer.

Your thoughts?