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Tuesday
Feb222011

Bentley Supersport Ice Record

You probably heard or read about it...a video is worth...

 

Monday
Feb212011

Driving in Winter

Our thoughts last week on drum brakes, and our exchange with @lars2885, in addition to an entry we did on a Suburban in winter a while back prompted us to share our thoughts on driving in winter.

Since the ambition of every Canadian is to have a vehicle that transcends winter. We need to set the stage and time frame for "driving in winter".

The stage and time frame:

A time when the majority of cars were body on frame, front engines, rear wheel drive, with 14 or 15 inch wheels, bias ply or perhaps belted tires, no seat belts in most cars, obvious that if cars did not have seat belts they surely did not have electronic gizmos either. Yes drum brakes and at best winter tires in the rear only.

In 2011 it might come across as suicidal, but when cars had drum brakes, no seat belts, bias ply tires it was perfectly normal, and yes...folks did drive in winter.

Lets not forget carburetors, manual or automatic choke the various vageries of a choke, fast idle, interfacing with an automatic trasnmissions.

Lets assume there was a fresh snowfall overnight, its reasonably cold in the morning, and the car has winter tires in the rear. Yes...today 10 cm of snow are apocalyptical, back then it was winter and snow was normal. 

Here's the deal...

<> You go out unlock the car, hope it unlocks (locks not frozen), get in step on the gas at least once to engage the automatic choke, or step on the gas while pulling on the manual choke knob. 

<> At minus 10C (lets say) the engine starts immediately, and settles on a fast idle (1,500 to 1,700 RPM), get out of the car, brush the snow off the car, make sure the wipers are not encrusted with snow, and hopefully the car was not parked on the street and the plow buried the car in snow. 

<> If the car was in the street buried, you most probably had to shovel just to open a door. 

<> Get back in the car, depress the accelerator to remove the choke, if its a manual choke you probably went in the car to lower the choke setting. 

<> Imagine that you are going to drive without a seat belt, no ABS, no Traction Control, no Stability Control, no Brake Assist, on bias ply tires, with snow tires only in the rear. 

<> Lets not forget that the windshiel washer reservoir is at best 1 liter, you would endure a dirty windshield at times since there was no way of stopping to refill the reservoir. 

<> You knew how to "rock" a car to get yourself out of trouble. 

<> You knew that bias ply or belted tires had poor traction, stopping was always interesting.

<> If you had a vehicle with a positraction it was comparable to an AWD of today. 

<> Cars had steel bumpers giving or getting a "thud" while stopping was normal, folks did not even get out to check...today you give or get a thud and its probably over $1,000. in damage.

<> Imagine driving on country roads with snow drifts across the road...don't slow down...hope that the car will not go sideways and land in a ditch.

<> Hitting black ice and covering a good distance sideways, and perhaps actually doing a 180 waiting for the car to slow down or the tires to acquire some traction, or simply landing in a ditch. 

How did those folks drive in winter? 

 

 

Friday
Feb182011

CIAS '11

Yesterday was the media day at the Canadian International Auto Show, again this year we sent The Colonel to spend the better part of the day at the South and North building. As usual the day starts bright and early, and even earlier when one has to commute in the GTA to be in the downtown core bright and early. 

The observations of The Colonel:

[] There was less gravitas at the AJAC award first thing in the morning with Ford winning with the Edge, and GM with the Cruze it set the stage for an interesting day. 

[] Its getting increasingly competitive with the various forms of "media" (is there such a thing) competing with each other for some sort of media turf...

[] As usual you meet numerous folks that you had not seen in a "while" with the usual exchanges of "bits and bites" and everyone is pressed for time to respect their agenda.

[] The show organisers are saying that CIAS '11 has the most media in attendance than any other Canadian show, yes there are a lot of media folks.

[] Ford is the first on the press conference agenda, simple at 9:15 AM Ford proceeds to steal the show, Wow these guys are cool, the gymnasts are entertaining, the message is short focused, they "get it".

[] Do we have to tell you that everyone else that followed was sort of playing catch up to Ford. 

[] Honda who now has a PR agency gave indications of emerging from under a dark cloud, and having the Acura that competed in the Targa Newfoundland and the guys that drove the Acura there was totally cool.

[] Nissan had the Ellure which was unveiled at Los Angeles in December with a designer describing the car, as well as the polar bear to grasp attention. Infiniti had has usual a wonderful display, the G37 convertible is stunning.

[] GM with less fanfare than Ford and having won with the Cruze is aggressive, focused, makes it a point to mention that they are there to win. The Orlando is interesting, the Verano was launched in Canada, if you are a gear head the area where they build a Z06/ZR1 engine is totally cool.

[] As you would expect Kia sends a clear message that the are serious and focused, with an evocative display. 

[] Volvo has a cool display in the style of Volvo, simple and elegant.

[] Moving on to the North Building the wall of Cinquecento at the top of the escalator is cool.

[] Chrysler is understandably proud of their success in 2010, a clip from the "Imported from Detroit" is featured, with some new or newer product the Chrysler folks are confident.

[] Hyundai with a display that overshadows their neighbors across the aisle, supported by impresive sales results, is bold, and a little brash, although the comments of "its not a Tupperware show" should have been omitted...everyone there knew its a "car show".

[] In their habitual tradition Toyota is conservative, and refreshing to see that they were not overwhelmend by the crush of media like last year (Toyota pedal).

[] Yes...Saab is officially returning to the Canadian market. 

[] The Camaro / Firebird Icons display is interesting...here.

[] The Concorso Exotico has an eclectic collection of cars.

Yes...its till interesting, informative, entertaining to visit a car show, to look at cars!

The photo gallery / slide show is...here.

 

 

Friday
Feb182011

Vroom Room 

Good Morning!

Its another Vroom Room...make yourselves comfortable.

For some reason on Tuesday Drum Brakes created a "Twitter Moment" a few days ago, in case you missed it just scroll down. 

In November of 2009 we reviewed a Buick LaCrosse in our photo gallery...here we made it a point to show Chinese writing on an inspection sticker (green means it passed). We publish Global Auto Sales results the latest entry is...here. If you have an interest in the auto industry, and read our blog, you would have to be hiding under a rock not to acknowledge that China was becoming the epicentre of the global auto industry.

We posted thoughts from Carlos Ghosn...here where he mentions that in mature markets (that's us in North America) the automobile is down to 17th as a desirable object. In emerging markets the automobile is either number 2 or 3 (telling results).

Yes...China is the place that will exert extreme influence on the global auto industry.

There was a Memorial for Chuck Jordan at the GM Heritage Center you can see photos...here agreed its veritable whose who of Detroit folks.

Informative article from a prison interview with Bernie Madoff...here.

Did you know that Secretariat's last race was in Canada...here the movie is informative and entertaining.

Do you remember the days of heated muscle car competetion among manufacturers, and most automotive journalists, writers, publications of the time wondering what they were really getting to road test and review. At that time press muscle cars were "optimised" for 0 to 60 and quarter mile times. Often one car had glaring discrepencies with another similar car. 

Those were the days of carburetors, distributors, slightly bigger jets, altered advance curve. Imagine today with ECU's how easy it is to tweak any vehicle. Especially that we all know that they are tuned on the conservative side.

Are manufacturers tweaking cars, probably not especially for regular commuter cars. Would anyone consider tweaking a car when the 0 to 60, quarter mile, or track time will become bragging rights. Or the car will participate in a shoot out. What do you think? 

Instead of old race cars...how about a Boeing 747-8...here.

The Schlumpf Collection with some old race cars...here.

 

 

Thursday
Feb172011

Explorer Sound System

Seems to be the new direction of ads...