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Friday
Apr172015

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room make yourself comfortable we have cappuccino and biscotti. Join the conversation.

The days are getting longer, and finally the climatic conditions are milder...must be that time of year. Hopefully you started you motorcycle.

Have you noticed how RM Auctions presents vehicles in catalogues for auctions? The catalogue for the upcoming Andrews Collection is simply stunning...take a look.

Yes...we are Ferrari fans, been like that for a few decades, there are all sorts of stories, reviews, road tests about Ferrari's from a myriad of pundits. Interesting that after he passed away a few year ago, it seems everyone knew Luigi Della Grotta, and Nicola in Montreal, although less people knew George Wooley from way back in the day.

Take a few moments or bookmark it, this is a fascinating experience/story about, Fiorano, an F12, and Kimi.

It would seem that The Benniss from last week attracted attention. Agreed we took a different and imaginative approach.

Have you noticed that every manufacturer is scouring the planet to find a more cost effective location to assemble vehicles. Technology empowers this scouring, while robots that handle complex tasks on assembly lines make it simpler to relocate to cheaper locations.

Needless to mention that Canada is on the losing end.

If like us you have an interest in older cars, and follow auction results. This report of the Auction America Ft.Lauderdale sale offers unique insight with comments on 99 cars, that sold, or did not sell, how much they were paid, how often they have been at auctions.

We urge you to take a few moments to review the article...here.

 

Thursday
Apr162015

Luxury Engines

Pundits talk about luxury cars, SUV/CUV, interiors, amenities, and rarely talk about luxury engines.

What is a luxury engine?

Go back a few generations when luxury cars of the day had an engine with more cylinders, more power than regular cars. Duesenbergs with a supercharged straight 8, Cadillacs with V12's and V16 to name a few.

From our perspective V12's are the ultimate luxury engine, and if you have never owned and/or driven a V12 with serious horsepower. Put it in your bucket list to spend some time in a car with a V12, to experience of how it delivers power is unique.

There are are V8's, 6 cylinders, 4 cylinders and so on. You surely grasp what we are saying.

As superchargers, be it a blower or turbo have gained in popularity engines have down sized in cylinders, and displacement. Often for the sake of fuel economy. Ford as an entire line of Ecoboost engines topped by a V6.

A V8 with a turbo is comparable to a V12, a V6 with a turbo to a V8, and a 4 cylinder with a turbo is comparable to a V6...on a spread sheet it all makes pragmatic sense.

But...we are humans, and emotional and when it comes to luxury what is under the hood is part of the luxury value proposition and package. When most econo boxes are powered by 4 cylinders, powering a luxury vehicle with a 4 cylinder even with a turbo misses the luxury mark.

Agreed...there are a ton of "premium economy" vehicles powered by a 4 cylinder; with a ton of folks acquiring or leasing these vehicles. As you probably know 4 cylinders over 2 liter displacement have rough spots, accompanied by the rough 4 cylinder sound.

From our perspective to uphold the traditional essence of luxury, a vehicle must have a "luxury engine".

 

 

Wednesday
Apr152015

Simplicity

Have you noticed the emerge quest for simplicity?

When an individual is very good at doing "something" it looks simple and easy.

When most folks have shortened attention spans, keeping it simple, short, impactful,  is a "de rigueur" requirement.

At t time when everyone can generate and publish content, being your own editor as we have been saying for years now is essential.

You have to wonder when the auto business in general will embark on a heightened quest for simplicity. Taking a myriad of complex components and making it simpler, easier, more intuitive for folks to understand and use.

A rear view mirror is simple.

A back up camera which should be simple is complex with a myriad of different settings, to almost ensure that you will bump into an obstacle until you get used to its specific distance settings.

Do you really need a computer in the center of your dash?

Think about this for a moment...if you just paid more money to have a premium sound system, why are there so many settings to fine tune or completely mess up the sound coming from the system.

How many ways do you really need to see a map? With a computer and the myriad of settings you can possibly get lost within the map, let alone getting there.

Back in the day of mechanical cars it was simple, intuitive, pre set.

Have you experienced the drive settings in cars.

Economy is often giving up on horsepower, accompanied by totally relaxed shifts from the transmission.

Normal is usually what you would expect while being somewhat conservative especially with the newer multispeed automatic transmissions.

Sport is either what normal should be or totally over the top thinking you are on a track with a vehicle that is not track oriented from the outset.

Today its complex, often counter intuitive, and infinitely variable.

Think about this, some products command a premium price...they use technology to simplify complexity, make it intuitive, and control the variables.

 

 

 

Tuesday
Apr142015

Powershift

If you have been a drag racing aficionado for a few decades, you surely remember folks "powershifting" a 4 speed manual transmission with a clutch pedal.

Not familiar with powershifting? Simple, never lift you foot from the gas pedal and shift gears at WOT (Wide Open Throttle).

What did you need to powershift?

  • A scattershield to be safe in case you missed a shift and blew a clutch.
  • Modified synchros in the transmission.
  • Very stout shift mechanism for the transmission.
  • Clutch pdeal adjusted to you preference, usually engaging close to the floor for a quick start.

Powershifting was not something you did with a normal street car, especially with you right foot very close to the bellhousing. It was the 2 to 3 shift that was the most challenging.

Take a look...

 

Monday
Apr132015

Canadian Sales - First Quarter 2015

Our thoughts, and observations on Canadian Sales during the First Quarter of 2015.

We have included links that permit to quickly visualise some vehicles.

 

 

 

Saturday
Apr112015

1937 Talbot-Lago

Its a 1937 Talbot-Lago Type 150 CS, a beautiful, stunning car, accompanied by a fascinating conversation between Jay Leno and Peter Mullin. Wait for the shift mechanism act up...

 

 

 

 

Friday
Apr102015

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

 

Another Garage
Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, come in make yourself comfortable. We have cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation, leave a comment.

 

The ongoing Cadillac, and Lincoln conversation...Cadillac has been trying to garner a foothold in the luxury segment for the past decade...think about it, at least 10 years. They are great world class cars, and still in the starting blocks...go figure.

Lincoln...they have the MKC and MKX that are selling reasonably well in Canada, while they seek the true essence of a luxury car.

Imagine for a moment if Cadillac instead of showing the CT6 would have shown the replacement for the SRX.

Several years ago we concluded that utility vehicles are lifestyle vehicles, family kickers, and make a fashion statement, and fall out of fashion. We are of the opinion that folks have a different "luxury" expectation from a utility vehicle, than a car.

More forgiving towards utility luxury shortcomings.

Looking at Canadian Sales for the first quarter, its emerging that "premium economy" is superceding "luxury" for the Germans. We did say that they were engaging in a fine line. You know the saying water flows dowhill.

Looking at the big picture these folks have the top end covered, although selling less, and now are inexorably moving downstream with their product offerings.

A brilliant photo gallery from the Sebring Historic Races.

 

 

Thursday
Apr092015

The Benniss

What is a "Benniss" its the Mercedes-Benz / Nissan pick up.

When you reflect on the possibility of this pick up being sold in North America it will make a ton of sense.

Think of this M-B is relocating its head office to Atlanta, and Nissan is in Franklin, TN both locations are auspicious to pick ups. 

Nissan has the Titan and has been an outlier in the pick up business for some time now.

Now think of the Mercedes-Benz senior executive commuting from Buckhead to head office in the "L350 Benniss"  it needs an L as a model designator....L=Lastwagen=truck in German.

For cost saving purposes it will be built on a modified Sprinter platform...not really. Perhaps a modified Nissan Titan platform with distinctive Mercedes styling cues.

To compete with the Ford Ecoboost it will have a twin turbo V6 from AMG specifically engineered for truck duty to generate massive torque from the get go. The transmission will not be double clutch, paddle shift, but a good ole torque converter, and a valve body tuned by AMG for optimum shifts.

The transfer case will be from Unimog with a simple F (forward) and R (reverse) to faciliate snow plowing applications. For the Benniss the transfer case will have an overdrive, direct, and low range an industry first to offer OD gears, as well as accommodating 2 PTO openings.

The brakes are from Brembo with ceramic discs and 2 yellow calipers per wheel on the front, to provide awesome braking power.

The trailer towing version will have a light duty Mercedes diesel engine sourced from Freightliner, coupled to an Allison automatic, a 10,000 lbs rear axle with dual rear wheels (a duelie). Ideal to move the polo ponies in a fifth wheel trailer from one field to another.

Needless to mention...the full AMG version is just around the corner.

 

 

 

Wednesday
Apr082015

Cameras and Technology

Yashica Minister DIf you have been a gearhead for a "while" (decades) you probably started out with a 35mm point and shoot camera where you could adjust the aperture and the shutter speed. You were probably taking photos with 100 DIN during the day, and 400 DIN for conditions that had less light.

Then progressing to an SLR with a telephoto lens especially useful when you went to races. Now the SLR with a couple of lenses became bulky, you needed a bag, rolls of film and so on.

Unless you were a professional photographer and developed your own film. Getting your photos developed was not an inexpensive undertaking.

The flash was usually an attachement for the camera, and lets not get into flash bulbs.

Back in the day if you wanted to send photos of a car to a prospect. The routine was to get a roll of 12 or better yet have several rolls of 12, do the photo shoot, go the the 1 hour photo developer, and courier the photos to the individual that was interested in the car. Think about the time involved in this process.

Today its a digital camera with a memory card, that permits you to take a gazillion photos, and Flickr is the ideal platform to share your photos. Obvious that sending/sharing photos is literally instantaneous.

What does The Colonel prefer ...after hauling around a camera, lenses, film, flash for a good number of years? If its small, it focuses by itself, has a telephoto lens, integrated flash...totally cool.

 

 

Monday
Apr062015

The Technology We Use 

A couple of days ago we were reading that Microsoft is celebrated its 40th anniversary on April 4. It caught our attention of how quickly time passes, the immense leaps in all sorts of technology.

Then it sort of comes back home, and the thought of how did we get started with all this stuff?

Transistors:

Using transistors to build a capacitive discharge ignition system for a car, mounting it inside the car under the dash to protect the circuitry from the elements. Testing ti on a distributor machine, with worn out ignition points.

Today's ignition system are a quantum leap from a capacitive discharge system.

Cellular Phones:

It all started about 30 years ago, when a portable cell phone was the size of an attache case, with a coiled cord to the handset. They were installed in the trunk of a car, and the dial pad was on the handset.

Limited number of "cells",and calling ability. Today cell towers are all over the place.

The Motorola shoe phone was revolutionary, the Motorola Star Tac was a revelation at the time.

What do we use? A variety of iPhones from 4 to 6.

Computers:

If you remember the early PC's from 30 years ago with a 5 1/2 inch floppies, and having start up floppies to boot up the PC on MS-DOS. Yes you are of a certain age. Limited software with Lotus 123 being the workhorse of the day.

Laptops were the size of an attache case.

Its come a long way...similar to the usage of computers in cars.

As an aside the concept of digital computers started with Alan Turing.

Internet:

Dial up modems were the order of the day 20 years ago, with 56K being the fast connection. You probably used Netscape, and downloading IE required several hours. You had an e-mail address with few folks to communicate through e-mail.

Video was out of the question.

Today we run connections that are thousands of times faster, with seamless WiFi compared to the old routers.

Back in the day, broadband was on the horizon somewhere.

We jump from PC, to laptop, to tablet, to phone with a multitude of variations.

We use, a PC with a huge screen, laptops, iPad, and iPhones.

Most folks expect the connectivity of the home transferred to the car.