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Diesels Motors

For the record, at Strada we have never been fans of diesel engines in cars. Although decades ago we drove around with diesel powered cars for some time.

Mind you not by choice.

"A 4 cylinder diesel, with a manual transmission, totally durable, ideally painted green, working on a farm." Summary of our perspective at the time.

We are aware of call it a "catalytic converter" for diesel engines, the ones for trucks are positively impressive in size.

Why are we not fans of diesel engines in cars? Simple the lack of top end power, the glow plugs, and now the converter with urea. An hybrid from our perspective makes better sense.

In a truck we are huge fans of diesel engines, and will always have a special place for the 2 cycle Detroit Diesel, with the blower, unit injectors, fuel injector racks, and fond memories of discussions on how to adjust the racks on a V8 Detroit.

The heavy duty pick ups with diesels are totally cool.

Here is VW with an interesting niche in the market for folks that love diesel engines in cars, like we love diesel engines in trucks. Diesel engine, manual transmission, the economy and durability....fill it and forget it, its got a clutch pedal, will presumably last till the next generation.

Emission standards are strict in North America, these diesel VW's are in a sensative price bracket, the cost of a catalytic converter with urea is prohibitive for that price segment.

How do you find a cost effective solution to meet emission standards, and pass emission tests?

If you live in a jurisdiction where emission tests are mandatory. The old school put the vehicle on a dyno, run it for a while, and sniff the exhaust, has given way to simply plugging into the OBD and revving up the engine to a specified RPM.

Here is the deal...

"We can pass emission but at those settings the engine loses a ton of power, and the vehicle is dead on the road"...."But what about on a dyno, or plugged in to check the emission"...."Brilliant..and an effective cost saving".

As they say the rest is history...

You would do such a thing for 1 vehicle, or you do it for several vehicles, for several years its the same decision on a different order of magnitude.

Who knew...

"We used the European ECU codes (cost saving), while adding a few lines of code to ensure that the emissions were correct, but omitted to remove line 308 of code"....."Unfortunately it fell through the cracks for all those years, and all those cars. We are deeply sorry"

The aftermath...

Its an ongoing developing story...with dire consequences for VW.





Autonomous Vehicles

An informative and thought provoking discussion on AV's

Autonomous Vehicles ("AVs" - sometimes referred to as “self-driving” or “driverless” cars) are developing rapidly and we are getting an increasing number of questions from investors about what they will mean for the auto industry. The excitement around AVs is understandable – 'newcomers' like Google are making bold claims for their AVs, existing OEMs are demonstrating fast-improving prototypes and suppliers are arguing that they can exploit this new opportunity. People are beginning to ask if AVs are going to fundamentally disrupt the conventional auto industry.




The Age of Forced Induction

Forced induction is not new to internal combustion engines, its been around for 80 years, primarily with crank driven compressors back in the early days of forced induction.

Lets back up for a moment...

We all know the saying "there is no substitute for displacement"...way back in the day the easiest way to increase horsepower was to increase the displacement of an engine. The displacement increase sort of stopped at around 7 liters (427 with a few exceptions.

The rule of thumb was that the larger the bore, the shorter the stroke, the more top end power, while a smaller bore with a longer stroke increased torque for any naturally aspirated engine.

We know that the Roots compressor from a 2 cycle Detroit Diesel (6-71 / 8-71) became and remains a hot rodding forced induction mainstay. Similar compressors are used today primarily by GM, Ford, Chrysler on several high performance models. Think ZL1, Z06, Hellcat to name a few.

If you are of a certain age, you remember the Oldsmobile Cutlass and Corvairs from 50 years ago with turbochargers. Back in the day, turbos were wonderful technology, driven from the exhaust, although the application and usage was "challenging" with the often mentioned "turbo lag" being a negative aspect.

Fast forward to today, with technology (computers) turbo's are dramatically better in real life with no "lag" and in many applications huge torque at lower revolutions.

As we mentioned a few years ago, engines are decreasing in cylinders and displacement while being enhanced with turbos. The old mantra of there is no substitute no longer applies. A V6 with a couple fo turbos generates the same power as a naturally aspirated V8 as an example.

Fuel economy and emission regulations are making 4 cylinders with turbos very popular from all manufacturer, notice all the CUV's with a forced induction 4 cylinder. Agreed...the multi speed (6+) automatic transmissions are also a factor in facilitating these 4 cylinder applications.

From our perspective we are in the "age" of forced induction. While it took a few years to arrive at this juncture its certainly here to stay for the foreseeable future.

We still believe that luxury vehicles must have a luxury engine.




The Lambo Lab

Informative video of the research and usage of carbon fiber...




Vroom Room

Duesenberg - Cobble Beach 2015Good Morning,

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

We are past the mid month mark with the end of the 3rd quarter on the immediate horizon. We know that vehicle sales in Canada will continue to be through the roof, and absolutely set a new record this year.

The federal election, make sure you vote and encourage everyone around you to vote. Last thing we want as Canadians is a minority government.

If you missed our coverage of the Cobble Beach Concours d'

Attending this years Cobble Beach, merely reinforced that "metal must resonate" at least in our case. Yes...some metal resonates more than the Cadillac pavilion it struck us that back in the day of Harley Earl, Bill Mitchell styling (metal) was a huge factor...mind you it still is a huge factor today.

Its the Frankfurt Auto Show, and now every German manufacturer is on a mission to outdo Tesla with a longer range and shorter charging times. Great way to garner attention, and provide free publicity to Tesla.

The compact utility segment is in everyone's sights with various concepts which is good for the customer.

Yes...the Ferrari 488 Spider is a stunning toy, the Rolls-Royce Dawn provides an "erotic tingle on the skin" must be the metal again.

John Krafcik is now with the Google Autonomous Vehicle program, which merely reinforces the fact that Silicon Valley will increasingly influence the auto business especially with AV's (autonomous vehicles). Reflect on this for a moment...

We all use technology in our daily activities, did you know that Google is 2 Billion lines of code? Think about this when some simple software is full of glitches.

GM has resolved the ignition switch debacle to the tune of 900M. With time the number of deaths escalated dramatically from the original number.

Our usual old race cars from the 2015 Goodwood Revival - Freddy March Trophy.




2016 Honda Civic

For Immediate Release


Honda Debuts Dynamic New 10th Generation Civic Sedan for North America: The Most Ambitious Remake of Civic Ever


·   Two new powertrains, including first Honda turbo engine in North America

·   Available Honda Sensing™ technologies

·   Compatible with Apple CarPlay®, the smarter, simpler way to use your iPhone in the car

·   Also supports Android Auto™

·   New styling includes significant use of LED lighting

·   New platform and package yields largest cabin in compact class


LOS ANGELES, Sept. 16, 2015 – Honda took to YouTube to unveil an all-new, dynamically styled 10th-generation 2016 Civic Sedan, slated for sale in Canada this fall. With a more athletic stance and sportier driving position, the 2016 Civic Sedan is a new-from-the-ground-up design intended to recapture the sporty character of Civic while creating the world’s best compact car – setting a new benchmark in the mainstream compact class for fun-to-drive and safety performances and fuel efficiency, together with a new level of refinement.

            The Civic Sedan is the first in a series of new 10th-generation Civic models that will include a sedan, coupe, high-performance Si models, a 5-door hatchback and the first-ever Civic Type-R model for the Canadian market, comprising the most diverse and innovative lineup in Civic’s 43-year history.

            “This tenth-generation Civic is quite simply the most ambitious remake we’ve ever done,” said Dave Gardner, senior vice president of Honda Canada Inc. “It was created with the same innovative spirit that helped established Civic, back in 1973 and subsequently, as the benchmark in its class and Canada’s best-selling car for 17 consecutive years.”

            Backing up the new Civic’s dramatic and sporty design with new power and efficiency, for the first time the 2016 Civic will feature two all-new engines – including the first-ever application of Honda turbo engine technology in North America. These powerful and fuel-efficient new engines combine with a sophisticated new body and chassis design to deliver incredibly responsive and sporty performance with a higher level of ride refinement and top class fuel efficiency.

The 2016 Civic Sedan will be available with the Honda Sensing™ suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, including Collision Mitigation Braking, Road Departure Mitigation and, for the first time in a Honda, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow – bringing new value to the compact segment.

Further, the 2016 Civic lineup joins the freshened 2016 Accord in offering advanced smartphone integration with a new, 7-inch high-definition Display Audio touchscreen, offering tech-savvy customers a more advanced and intuitive connected-car experience.

Apple CarPlay® takes the things you want to do with your iPhone while driving and puts them right on your car’s built-in display. You can get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, and listen to music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. Supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and compatible third party apps. Apple CarPlay® is compatible with iOS 8.4 or later and iPhone 5 or later.

Android Auto™ was designed to give drivers a simple, intuitive way through touch and voice to minimize the potential for distraction so the driver can stay focused on the road. Compatible with Android 5.0 and higher, Android Auto features Google Maps, Google Now, messaging, music and numerous popular apps.

Sporty Civic Design

The dramatic and sporty new Civic design is grounded in its more athletic stance and low and wide proportions. Compared to the current model, the 2016 Civic Sedan is nearly 50mm wider and 20mm lower with a 30mm longer wheelbase, featuring a more compact and sporty front overhang, a longer, more aggressively sculpted hood and fastback-style tail.


The taut and tidy proportions of the new Civic Sedan are complemented and accentuated by refined design details, including sleek and swept-back bodylines, a sharp and aggressive face and bulging wheel arches. The new Civic’s more premium compact sedan character is also highlighted by its available LED exterior lighting, including new Honda LED headlights (in-line type), LED daytime running lights (standard) and distinctive C-shaped LED taillights (also standard).


“The new Civic really is the embodiment of our global design team’s goal of styling a dramatic form that follows and speaks to the dynamic function of this ambitious redesign,” said Jarad Hall, Senior Exterior Designer and project leader of the Civic Sedan, Honda R&D Americas. “The low and wide proportions, with the wheels pushed to the outmost corners, emphasize the Civic’s dynamic handling prowess and give the car a crouched and muscular look, like a tiger ready to pounce.” 


Two All-new Engines

The 2016 Civic Sedan will feature two all-new, more powerful and fuel-efficient engines. Civic Sedan LX and EX trims will be powered by a 2.0-litre, 16-valve, DOHC i-VTEC™ 4-cylinder – the most powerful base engine ever offered on Civic – mated to either a 6-speed manual (LX trim) or continuously variable transmission (CVT). Civic Sedans in EX-T and Touring trims will be powered by a 1.5-litre, direct-injected and turbocharged 16-valve DOHC inline-4, mated to a unique CVT, delivering a new level of responsiveness in this capacity class of turbocharged engine. 


The new 1.5-liter powerplant is the first turbocharged engine on a Honda model and the most powerful engine ever offered on a non-Si Civic in North America.


Advanced and Sporty New Body and Chassis

The 2016 Civic will set a new standard for dynamic handling, steering, ride quality and cabin quietness in the compact class, courtesy of its all new platform, featuring the most rigid and tightly sealed body and the most sophisticated chassis in Civic history. 


Advancing the sporty character of this all-new Civic is its more sporty driving position, with a 25mm lower hip point compared to the current car. The lower hip point is enabled by the new Civic’s lower floor and engine and its all-new suspension design. The new Civic chassis features a redesigned strut front suspension and a new multi-link rear suspension mounted to an ultra-rigid rear subframe.


Torsional rigidity of the new body is improved by 25 percent, aided in part by more intensive use of ultra-high-strength steel.  Twelve percent of the unit body is made of ultra-high-strength steel, up from 1 percent on the current model. Aerodynamic efficiency is improved by 12 percent to class-leading levels, in part through the use of full underbody covers—a Civic first. Despite its larger size, the new Civic unit body is 31 kg lighter than before, while new body-sealing techniques result in a 58-percent reduction in cabin air leaks. Class-leading cabin quietness is further improved by the use of premium noise-reducing features, including a flush-mounted acoustic glass windshield, a more tightly sealed engine compartment and triple-sealed doors.

To achieve the Civic development team’s high targets for dynamic performance and refined ride quality, the new Civic Sedan utilizes hydraulic compliance bushings, a technology typically reserved for more expensive vehicles, aiding the isolation of road vibration. Additional new chassis technologies include variable gear ratio steering, beefier front and rear stabilizer bars and standard 4-wheel disc brakes, along with the application of new Agile Handling Assist brake-torque vectoring technology for more precise and agile cornering.


Spacious, Sophisticated and Advanced Cabin

The new Civic interior is designed to offer the most comfortable, sophisticated and premium-feeling cabin in the compact class. An additional 91L of interior volume translates into the largest cabin in the compact segment with 31mm of added rear-seat legroom versus the outgoing model. In front, new ultra-thin front roof pillars enable class-leading forward visibility; and at the rear, trunk space has been increased by 75L with a lower liftover height, larger opening and wider and taller cargo area. Civic Sedan LX and above trims will feature a 60/40 split and folding rear seat.


The 2016 Civic Sedan offers customers more features than ever before. New  equipment includes automatic climate control on LX – dual-zone on EX and higher trims; auto-up/down front power windows; an electronic parking brake with Brake Hold; Walk-Away auto door locks and an adjustable driver’s seat thigh support with 14 degrees of tilt. All Civic Sedan models also feature a larger, reconfigurable new centre console with up to 7.2 litres of secure storage space, approaching SUV levels of console utility.


The new Civic interior strikes a more premium tone with high-quality materials and high-contrast finishes. These include a new one-piece, soft-touch instrumental panel with molded stitching; more premium seat fabrics; a new full-color TFT centre meter (LX and above trims); a  centre console with piano black finish and high-contrast sliver bezel; door inserts with live stitching; an LED shift indicator and LED overhead lighting; and for EX and higher trims, a leather shift boot. Upper grades offer even more premium features, including an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat and 4-way power front passenger’s seat as well as heated rear seats heated front seats are on LX and above trims, while heated mirrors are standard on all grades. 


Civic Manufacturing

Civic Sedans for the North American market will be produced at the company’s Alliston, Ontario and Greensburg, Indiana auto plants. The Alliston plant has been designated as a global lead plant for the Civic sedan production. The new Civic’s 2.0-liter and 1.5-liter turbo engines will be manufactured in Anna, Ohio, and the vehicle’s two automatic transmissions (CVTs) will be sourced from Honda plants in Russells Point, Ohio, and Celaya, Mexico. 


The new Civic utilizes numerous new manufacturing processes and technologies to advance quality, efficiency and fun-to-drive performance – the result of new investment in Honda automobile and engine plants in North America. This includes the addition of the company’s innovative new inner-frame weld body construction process in both Indiana and Canada, a system first utilized for production of the 2015 Honda Fit. This new general weld system creates a more lightweight, rigid and strong body structure that helps enable the Civic’s top class fuel efficiency, outstanding safety performance and fun-to-drive experience. 


About Civic

Civic is Honda’s best-selling car globally, Canada’s best-selling passenger car in for  the last 17 consecutive years. The first-generation Civic debuted in Canada in 1973, and Civic has played a leading role in advancing fuel efficiency, small-car safety performance, design, technology and fun-to-drive performance for nine generations. Canadian car buyers have purchased more than 1.8 million Civics throughout its 43 years in the Canadian market, and Civic has been manufactured in North America since 1986, with cumulative production in North America exceeding nine million Civics.


About Honda Canada

Honda Canada Inc. was founded in 1969. It has produced more than seven million cars and trucks since 1986 at its two manufacturing facilities and builds engines at a third manufacturing plant in Alliston, Ontario.  Both manufacturing facilities are extremely flexible and currently build Honda Civic and CR-V models.  Honda Canada has invested more than $3.9 billion in Canada and each year it sources nearly $2.1 billion in goods and services from Canadian suppliers. Honda Canada has sold more than four million Honda and Acura passenger cars and light-duty trucks in Canada.




The Public Transportation Experience

In the auto business, public transportation is far removed from your radar. Using public transportation is a reminder of going to school decades earlier before having a car.

At the same time there are thousands of folks in the suburbs that use public transportation on a daily basis.

We hear of urban living, sharing economy, the emergence of self driving vehicles, limited parking, congestion, usage of public transportation.

Last week we had the opportunity to experience public transportation by taking a GO bus to Union Station in Toronto, then a Via train from Union Station to London. This was all done at early hours in the morning.

Its a great way to gain insight on how other generations (younger) experience mobility.

The Colonel who has not touched public transportation in decades is on an early morning mission.

What caught our attention about the GO bus.

> We travelled 55 kilometers on the bus. The fare and the cost of gas is almost the same.

> A bus is a shared self driving vehicle.

> The walks to catch connecting transportation is good exercise.

> It begs the question why would you want to drive.

> Folks park their vehicles to take the bus or the train.

In the various discussions on self driving vehicles, we conveniently forget that GO buses from a passenger perspective are comparable to a self driving vehicle.

What caught our attention about the Via train.

> We travelled 190 kilometers on the train from Union Station. The fare is almost 3 times the price of gas.

> Same thing a train is a shared self driving vehicle.

> Yes...with Wifi, power outlets, food and beverage service, bathroom.

> You get to see a different perspective of the scenery.

> Its relaxing, and you can engage in another activity than driving.

The time difference between driving and public transportation? Its almost the same time, and dramatically more relaxing with PT than having to drive on some of the busiest roads in the GTA.




Technology Meets Reality with a Used Car

Yesterday you surely read of Walter's demise. What a way to start the week! We had a feeling that it would be that outcome, and initiated a casual search for another car.

Interesting exercise, you can wear CMS (Citizen Main Street) shoes, you can wear the dealer, and manufacturer shoes, search for new, search for used. Yes...the sky is the limit on a screen. Be it a PC, laptop, tablet, smart phone.

We even had the epiphany that metal must resonate to close a deal.

Project 200K with Walter was a whimsical idea at the outset, we became whimsical in finding another car; with the entire Strada Crew participating.

Bouncing, and floating all sorts of ideas, perhaps just for the fun of it, or to see what would stick. The reality is that we all knew where the road was leading, but lets float ideas, and possibilities just to make it interesting.

Using technology is easy and fun, have you considered this, take a look at that, there is a deal on this other thing. We could keep on going, you can surely visualise that its fun.

Take all the dots, connect the ones that are meaningful to us, that resonate, and lets see where it goes. Just in case The Colonel actually has to find another car to replace Walter.

Out of the blue (luck) The Colonel uncovers a car that resonates with him, the dots connect, the pieces fit, the online photos are great. Its a Wow moment of "How did I find this car" of those where a car just emerges. Not was the result of a methodical search process...the car was still a surprise.

Lets get the technology going...

The dealer takes this car in trade, enabled by technology features the car, the prospective buyer also enabled by technology finds the car and peruses the photos, and price. Not a big deal its done everyday with thousands of cars, and buyers.

The buyer with technology realises that its a market price, the dealer with technology knows that its an aggressive price. From the dealer's perspective its a unique car, wants to sell it fast, its outside of his business model (a little old).

Lets get the reality going...

In this particular instance The Colonel needs to see, feel, touch the metal. He is looking for a car that resonates. The seller quickly concludes this guy drove a few hundred kilometers he's very interested.

You can do several role plays "If I'd have to take this car in trade I'd pay so much" and so on, and on.

The car is unique with provenance, the dealer had to step up to own that car.

Yes...The Colonel wants the car, he also steps up, closes the deal.

Some things in the auto business never change even with all the technology, that moment when you either step up or step away is timeless.

What we learned...

A- The technology, the values, the role playing are telling you that its marginally too much money. In this instance approximately 8-10% too much. There is more than money.

B- Its a unique car (model, color combination, options, condition) with exceptional provenance. Not easy to find another one. The enduring "Go find another like this one"...its not a 2012 CPO something with good, widespread availability.

C- It was a methodical search to find the car, good fortune that its not sold..."We need to own this car now". Seize the moment.

D- The car resonates, when it comes to your own car we remain big kids which is still fun, and exiciting after all these years.





Infiniti Q30

A peak at the new Infiniti Q30...

Hong Kong – Making its world premiere at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show (15 September), the Infiniti Q30 active compact is a new type of premium vehicle for a new type of consumer. Representing Infiniti’s first global entry into the fast-growing premium compact segment, the Q30 will play an important role in helping the company realise its plans for global growth.


Designed for a new generation of buyers not willing to be defined by their choice of vehicle body type, the Q30 challenges convention with its bold character and daring shape. The car stays true to the signature design cues from the original 2013 concept and exemplifies Infiniti’s design-led, customer-centric approach to product development. The unconventional stance and asymmetric interior contribute to an overall design that is certain to command attention.



Cobble Beach 2015

Best of Show - 1938 Graham 97 SuperchargedWe love our annual visit to the Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance, this was our third year,

The climatic conditions were an improvement from the previous year, although still chilly and blustery, but at least not wet.

As usual the organisation of the Concours was superb, we congratulate all the folks that make this event a success starting with Rob McLeese.

Its a unique world class event in Canada, with remarkable cars, from the brass era to modern super cars. The location is simply stunning, even if its a little cold and blustery.

What caught our attention this year.

As usual remarkable cars, and world class too.

With the appreciable exposure at the CIAS in February our expectation was to see an increase in attendance, which was not the case it remains a cosy event in Owen Sound...which in its own way is wonderful.

The wooden boats were refreshing to see, and well displayed.

The collection of Vincent motorcycles including a Black Shadow was simply stunning.

The pick ups were an added feature of interest.

Yes...Cadillac absolutely made its presence felt this year, with displays, providing road tests, VIP transportation, and selected cars from the GM Heritage Center including the CIEL. Congratulations to all the folks at Cadillac.

Which cars resonated with us this year.

The Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Coupe truly caught our attention, perhaps we have a thing for Bugatti Coupes.

The contrast between the CIEL and the 1953 Cadilac at the Cadillac pavilion was fascinating, you could sense Ed Wellburn with the CIEL and Harley Earl with the earlier Cadillac...totally cool.

The 1957 Kurtis Indy Roadster was interesting with its own patina, and a reminder that the drivers of those cars had a strong sense of immortality.

The preservation class is interesting, the 1971 Trans Am with the Honeycomb wheels really caught our attention.

The 1965 GTO convertible with Tri Power and drum did it stop back in the day.

The 426 Wedge with the short ram manifold...totally cool.

The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe with the stunning interior by Gary Nolan...back in the day there was a ton of sheet metal and chrome on cars.

We could keep on going, as we always say a photo is...

The photo gallery is

Additional photos on flickr are