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Tuesday
Mar012011

Saved by Technology

Every self respecting gear head prides himself in the fact that he knows how to drive, understands a vehicle, is the consummate expert in shifting a transmission with a clutch pedal, will always hit the sweet spot of an apex every time...all the time.

There is an endearing sense of causality in mastering the control of a vehicle...or thinking that we have mastered the abilities of a vehicle. Folks actually pay to go play with a vehicle on ice and snow, to understand how a vehicle behaves in adverse conditions. 

Must be the reason that genuine hard core gear heads have motorcycles, and derive an immense pleasure and satisfaction in riding a motorcycle...out in the wind, responsible for all their actions, keenly aware of their riding environment.

By now you know that The Colonel has been around for a little longer...lets turn it to him, and see what he understands about technology and vehicles.

Collapsing Steering Columns: If you are of an age that you remember bent steering wheels almost contacting the seat back, or head liner it was always a gory scene. A steering column that absorbed collision energy was a meanigful advance in safety.

Seat Belts: Remember the early lap belts which were considered of questionable benefit, since the upper body was not restrained. A pony car still being sold today, back in the day had metal side panels for the rear seat area (today immense plastic panels do the same thing) with the window cranks sticking out. You got it, rear passenger flew from one side to the other, the head lands on the metal, fortunately did not hit the crank. 

Air Bags: First saw an air bag deployed in the mid 1970's when folks were refusing to wear seat belts, a demonstration up close of what happens when the vehicle stops abruptly (collision) and the passengers continue through the windshield or under the dash was very convincing. Fortunately it was all done with "crash test dummies". Back in the day, a deploying air bag was a violent incident...very violent.

ABS: First encounter with ABS was in the late 1970's as FMVSS 121 on HD trucks with air brakes, very cool at the time to see and hear it work, although is was not accepted on HD trucks. The first model year that certain cars had ABS brakes in Canada was 1985. A few years later had an opportunity to experience ABS under various conditions, yes ABS lets you steer out of trouble for one. In addition at highway speeds, is it just wet, is there ice, safe and simple with ABS to gently apply the brakes to see the outcome, could not do that with a vehicle without ABS. Agreed...some ABS systems were scary with the noise and pedal pulsation.

Brake Assist: A momentary distraction, the vehicle in front brakes a little harder that you expect, brake assist is very useful to avert an embarrassing situation. 

Traction Control: The early days of traction control...very useful under slippery conditions, with patience and low speeds traction control is effective. Although human nature interprets traction control as an instant remedy to get out of situations. In many instances there is a disconnect between the right foot, and traction control. In addition to the disconnect between the vehicle with traction control, and the one with AWD.

Electronic Stability: How many manufacturers would put 20 inch wheels on SUV/CUV if the vehicles did not have ESP...think about it. Especially when the wheels are one size too big, and the tires two sizes too wide to achieve the "look". In snow trying to stop or steer this thing generates another look and activates enough computing power to fly a plane.  

These are just a few...yes there's a lot more in a current vehicle...how often have the precedings saved you from an embarrassing situation? 

 

Monday
Feb282011

Challenger 392

If you are of a certain age that you remember the iconic Hemi 392, then you also remember Don Garlits, and the early Chrysler 300 letter cars. Needless to say that when you see the latest Challenger 392...for a multitude of reasons the car resonates. 

Here is Jay Leno, and Ralph Giles having a bit of fun with a Challenger 392.

 

Friday
Feb252011

Vroom Room 

Good Morning!

Manoir RichelieuIts Friday, its the Vroom Room, come in we have cappuccino and biscotti, make yourself comfortable, plus its the last Vroom Room of February which has literally flown...

Last week we were at the Toronto Auto Show, we shared our thoughts, posted photos of vehicles and people that caught our attention at the time. Toronto has the largest population in Canada, the show is known as the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS), general consensus is that something is missing...we will discuss the "something" at a later date. 

If you watched the Daytona 500 and are a NASCAR fan, you had a good idea of how the race was going to develop, it was probably quite accurate, boring, everyone is glued to someone else, one false move and its a crash...the race did not disappoint in that regard. The finish was priceless, no one expected the Wood Brothers to win, or a 20 year old rookie Trevor Bayne to be driving the car. Absolutely priceless...must have been the gold in the 21 that did it.

We did our story on Drum Brakes and it caught attention, this weeks Winter Driving caught attention again, must be something about going back a few years. Here we are doing a story on winter driving, and 2 days later we are driving a Ford Explorer in very wintry and icy conditions. Since we are all attuned to technology, we must admit that technology makes it much easier, seamless, and perhaps reckless to drive in winter. Its at the point where the vehicle will save a distracted driver from embarrassing or worse situations.

Here is our theory, on a side road with little traffic, out of range of smart devices, its easy, and enjoyable to focus exclusively on the driving, adjusting and recalibrating for the prevailing conditions. In major metro areas, aggravated by the traffic congestions, distracted by activated smart devices, technology probably saves several individuals every day from an embarrassing situation or worse. 

The question to ask: "How often has the vehicle saved you from situations or worse? Did you notice? Did you care? Did you take it for granted?" Tell us when technology saved you from an embarrassing moment, leave a comment.

Do you remember when auto publications had classifieds at the end?...take a look...here.

 

 

Thursday
Feb242011

Falcon Kestrel

Totally cool....enjoy! The Falcon site is...here

More coolness...

 

 

Wednesday
Feb232011

Car Simulator

You will find this interesting...