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Actions Are Louder Than Words

By now you surely know that its easy to publish words in 2015, been like that for a while. We always mention to be your own editor , while making a choice in what is published, its transparency or opacity and so on.

At a time when anyone can publish, and transparency is the operative word, we often forget that humans are an old model of a common platform (to use auto terms)...we don't change that much, although some folks would like us to believe differently.

Having been around for a few thousand years you would think that by now we would have an improved understanding of humans. Especially with the communication devices that we access. Augmented by the myriad of pundits, that willingly share opinions, snippets of knowledge, and so on.

One example...

If you are in the retail auto business, you need to understand Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z, have enough technology that half of the folks that work in a dealership could potentially stay home, and business should be a breeze...a walk in the park.

Get this app that plugs in, and it will solve that issue, get that other app it will solve another issue, and so on.

In the meantime in 2015 dealers are closing appreciably less deals in their showrooms that the previous year. Go figure...while everyone has well worn, antiquated answers.

Another example...

Company A just acquired company B, or company C just sold division D, we read about this stuff everyday. The CEO comes out and makes glowing statements about the acquisition, the synergies, the increased reach and cost savings. Or whatever other flavor of the day is popular.

In the meantime this old model on the common human platform endures a litany of corporate verbiage on a grand scale, accompanied by a multitude of platitudes. The capacity of humans to deal in an opaque fashion with other humans is to be admired. Especially at a time when "transparency" is the operative word.

One more example...

In Canada we vote for a new federal government next week, in 2015 there is the regular vote, the strategic vote, the intelligent vote, the researched vote, the old fart vote, the young person vote, we could keep on going.

To have higher voter turn out the one thing you can't do is vote online...go figure.

While the professional pollsters have no clue of what is really going on, even with all the technology that is available.

Reality Check...

In 2015 in many instances our actions are almost opposite to our words, and we collectively create additional bumps when in effect it should be smoother.

We all know about the Internet, we all know about the informed customers, we all know about technology, we all went to the latest summit, and we close less deals in the showroom.

How about the company that was arrogantly selling "clean diesels".




Happy Thanksgiving

From all of us...



Ferrari F40

A bit of nostalgia this morning...




Vroom Room

Good Morning,

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

Yes...we are on the cusp of a long Thanksgiving week end. Take the time to enjoy your family and friends.

Before we forget, the other day The Colonel is told by a captain that its a new aircraft...Wow a new plane. Looking around it begs the question is it configured to accommodate people? Dynamic prices for the flight, the seats, tight configuration, and the flight is full...go figure.

Canadian Sales:

A record September, and obvious a record year so far...we told you so. Which increasingly reinforces that CMS in Canada is inexorably migrating towards a mobility model, shifting away from ownership.

Interesting to see CMS (Citizen Main Street) give VW a clear Canadian message in September.


As we become more reliant on technology, in its various aspects we also become more dependent on people power.

Last week we posted a fascinating talk on Human Energy.

Vehicle Exports:

You could see this coming that with the low Canadian dollar, vehicle would be exported to the US primarily, with used vehicles its been ongoing for several months now. While manufacturers are warning their dealers not to export new vehicles. Imagine several years ago when the dollar was even lower, the imagination that everyone was applying to export new vehicles.

Somethings never change...

Our usual old race cars Porsche Rennsport Reunion Behind the Scenes.

From all of us have a wonderful Thanksgiving



The Computer Code Epiphany

By now you know that the technology content of vehicles has always interested us, starting with transistors, and moving to black boxes.

Perhaps its the fact that The Colonel decades ago built a capacitive discharge ignition system from scratch, and at the time realized that technology made an appreciable contribution.

We could keep on going, but you surely grasp the overall picture.

Let's rewind for a moment...

  • Way back in the day of mechanical vehicles, you knew the specs on a camshaft, you could alter the advance curve on a distributor, rejet a carburator to name a few.
  • You could alos tweak the oil pressure in an automatic transmission, adjust the kick down linkage, again to name a few more details.
  • In the early days of computer programming you wrote your own code, used a flow chart, and transferred the code to punch cards to program the computer.

If you were a hard core "gear head" you knew exactly what was going on with your vehicle, and could tweak, and alter a myriad of parameters. There was a fun factor attached to the exercise.

You perhaps even remember Don Garlits during the days of Saturday night drag match races mention that he finally bumped the advance on his nitro Hemi to some obscene amount and dramatically improved the performance. While deeply fearing that he would grenade his motor.

While reading various comments and opinions on the VW debacle...

It struck us that in 2015 we have absolutely no clue of what is going on with the engine, transmission, and most of the technology (ABS, traction control) in any vehicle...think about this for a moment.

The programs, computer code are closely guarded proprietary information...think of this for a moment. All manufacturers are totally reluctant in sharing the code for the programs, or even how they arrived or developed the code.

Here is a modern vehicle controlled by millions of lines of code in the various programs, and we are clueless as to how this code was derived, the thinking, the rational behind it....agreed its a Wow moment.

Simple example...

Way back in the day a 327 with a Duntov cam, you had the specs for the cam, you ran a roller timing chain, tweaked the advance curve, the jets in the carbureter, to optimise the performance of the engine above 3,000 RPM. Keep in mind that you still need gas to make horsepower, and the more power you want to make the more gas you need.

Today do we know what goes on when an engine gets on the cam or the turbo?

Do we know how this engine is tuned/adjusted to meet emission standards?

Do we know when an engine "opens up" to generate the massive amounts of power some of these engines develop?

A couple of months ago we had a Camaro SS for a few days. The 6.2 small block once it opened up would slam itself against the rev limiter in a nano second, if you paddled a shift a nano second too late. At lower RPM's that engine gave no indication of how aggressive it is once it got on the cam and opened up.

You can speculate that with variable cam timing its retarded at lower RPM's for a multitude of reasons, and its probably also retarded at highway cruising speeds. Once it gets on the cam, how far is the camshaft advanced, the timing, what is the delay between paddling a shift on the automatic and actually shifting.

The other side, is the folks at Chevrolet being very discreet, and activating an aggressive rev limiter to safe guard the engine. A rev limiter is a fool proof to keep the code / software locked.

Which begs the question "What would Smokey Yunick have done?"



GMC Truck Centre-Montreal

Some truck nostalgia from 1979...

The Colonel uncovers a brochure of the GMC Truck Centre in Montreal.




GMC Astro 95

A bit of nostalgia this morning.

Do you remember GMC Astro's the cab over truck, not the van of later years.

If you have ever been in the truck side of the business you encountered or perhaps even sold Astro's way back in the day.

This morning The Colonel is jogging his memory about Astro's.

The idea of a cab over (hinged truck) was simple, in the US back in the day the overall lenght for a truck and trailer was 55 needed a cab over to haul in the US...yes 80,000 lbs GCW which by Canadian standards was "light".

Back in the day an Astro was a popular truck. While the styling was appealing compared to other offerings in the segment.

In the truck business for a sales consultant to sell an Astro was comparable to today selling a top of the line luxury car or was HUGE to close a deal on an Astro.

Some perspective computers, no word processors, no showroom software for the product. It was a voluminous "data book", accompanied by a comparable price book, to "spec out" and price an Astro or any truck for that matter.

When you hear today about product knowledge, back in the days of Astro's it was product knowledge, and application knowledge. You were the wikipedia of both product and application knowledge. A myriad of exchanges were going on a daily basis among sales consultants exchanging knowledge among themselves regarding applications, usage, fuel economy, speeds, gear ratios...and on and on.

It was a prime example of humans curating, disseminating the knowledge to prospective customers. Not software, not the Internet. It was and still is with trucks..." I'm hauling this from here to there, my GCW is so much, and I want to travel at that speed"....from there the sales consultant would always ask additional questions to uncover the finer points of the application, and expectations.

In trucking terms...the Astro had to lift the load, move it, and overcome wind resistance". Put this into perspective of when HD trucks had about 300 HP to do all of this and no turbos.

Back in the day when folks acquired an HD GMC truck, it had a GM diesel, you did not sell many Astro's without a Detroit Diesel.

These trucks were assembled in Pontiac, Michigan literally hand made in an aging truck plant, which was fascinating to visit and see all the manual operations from riveting aluminum, to bolting various components.

What were the "specs" of an early Astro?

Detroit Diesel 8V71 with 65mm injectors 318 HP, a Fuller RTO9513 13 speed transmission with a 0.85 overdrive ratio, a 12,000 lbs front axle with soft ride springs, and a 38,000 lbs rear tandem either Rockwell or Eaton, and either an Hendrickson extended leaf (Canada) or a Reyco (US) rear suspension. Depending on how fast the truck had to travel it was a 4.11 or 4.33 or 4.44 rear axle ratio.

The specs on the later versions

A Royal Classic cab, Detroit Diesel 8V92 TT or T (365 to 430 HP), a Fuller RTO 12513, and a 40,000 lbs rear tandem usually a Rockwell SQHP with the oil pump to lubricate the power divider, same rear suspensions, the gear ratios were 3.70 or 3.90 or 4.11. The turbo motors had dramatically more torque, and metallic clutches which presented a learning curve for some old school drivers. "Release to clutch and lift the load with the engine, do not try to slip the clutch as you are accustomed with a non turbo motor".

Today cab over trucks are a rare sighting, having been replaced by "conventional" cab trucks with a hood.




Road Kill Charger

If you are a drag racing aficionado this episode of Road Kill is totally cool...its an added bonus if you are also a MoPar fan.





Vroom Room

Good Morning,

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

A new month, and in a few days we will see how September sales developed. It will be interesting to observe the results for the 3rd quarter.

If you missed "The Power of Human Energy" its a

Have you noticed the folks that compile lists of the 10 best of "something" from a narrow perspective, and pedestrian knowledge. The other day we were perusing a 10 best list, and were surprised to see a bunch of stuff that was sort of relevant, but missed the point in the history of the brand of cars.

Its the same with horsepower, as you know several years ago we went on a quest of 600 HP when it did not exist yet from manufacturers. We took our own car and subtlely cranked it up to 600 HP, it was an interesting experience at the time. Years later when folks talk about horsepower, and yes its beyond 600 today but only with a few exceptions. We were there almost a decade ago.

Another yes...if you are a gear head, enthusiast, you absolutely need to experience a 12 cylinder for a period of time. It will cost you some money, but its a memorable experience, especially in an age of 4 cylinders with turbos, a 12 cylinder with turbos is in a league of its own, and truly a luxury motor.

Not to honk our horn, through the years we have had the opportunity to enjoy "tweaked" 12 cylinders which were an absolute joy. We love V8's but nothing generates horsepower, and pulls like a 12 cylinder.

If you live in the suburbs and have not ventured in your respective downtown area on a Saturday, we urge you to do it, its a revealing experience. Last Saturday night we experience the downtown core of Toronto with a baseball game ending, a hockey game starting, and a myriad of other activities and events. Busy, people, congested is an understatement, as well as a cool experience that tests the patience.

For some reason a ton of "MerbimAu's" converge downtown on a Saturday night.

From our perspective the VW debacle was last week, and had been going on for several years. You have to credit those folks for being "bold" and perhaps for a fleeting moment think they were "masters of the universe" until the shit hit the fan.

For a different view people and not cars Celebrating the People of the Goodwood Revival.




The Power of Human Energy

A fascinating talk by Angela Ahrendts on human energy.

Hint: If you are in any business, but especially in the auto business at the retail level, we urge you to connect dots that resonate with you.

You know the saying "We are in the people business through cars"