30 October 2007

The Nissan 'Hokey-Pokey'?

From the LATimes on the Tokyo Motor Show:

Consider the Nissan PIVO2 on display here. It's an electric three-seat "city commute" vehicle (as opposed to a "Hollywood Freeway commute" vehicle) that is essentially a glass-and-metal bubble atop four small wheels.

Among the features: When you need to back up, rather than shifting into reverse, looking over your shoulder and inching into oncoming traffic, you wait while the cabin rotates 180 degrees and then drive straight ahead.

Hate to parallel park? Pull up next to that choice-but-tight space, rotate the cabin and all four wheels 90 degrees and proceed just as if you were pulling into your garage.

The PIVO2 also has a charming dashboard-mounted "robotic agent" that, according to Nissan's promotional brochure, "infers the driver's condition. It not only gives necessary information for the operation, but also speaks to you to cheer you up or to soothe you accordingly."

Shit, I've got the 'cheer you up and soothe you' feature in my '92 Dakota. It's called an 'Auto Suck' (video). It don't wanta talk afterwards, neither...

But seriously folks, I've always wanted an Isetta. Maybe this Nissan would do.


Under no circumstances should you attempt to use the Auto Suck in an old English sports car with a positive ground electrical system! Oh, it'll work, but in a strange manner that may be quite disconcerting at speed.

You may, of course, use the Lucas equivalent, the 'Nobber Bobber'.

Please don't ask how I discovered that. Let's just say our R & D department is on the job and let it go at that.

Driving PT. 2

After reading Maru's most excellent rant, I got to thinking about people and their cars.
I'm getting old, like a lot of us, and I kind of feel sorry for these younger people.
The crap they call cars now, and the unadulterated joy of driving that we used to be able to enjoy.
Who can't feel sorry for a 25 year old kid out tooling around in his little four cylinder, front wheel drive plastic wannabe?
Back in the day, we had V-8, rear wheel drive cars that actually had working suspensions and were comfortable and fun to drive.
Take a 1970 or so Ford LTD.
Nice car. It had plenty of power, a hell of a nice ride and you could play with it.
Go find a gravel road and start dirt tracking the son of a bitch till hell wouldn't have it.
Find an empty parking lot and spin donuts until the wheels fell off.
When you got done playing, you could pack your friends up and take off across country, cruising at 80, all day, and feel like you were sitting on your couch.
Same thing with GM or Chrysler cars.
Sure, you could go down and order the latest factory hot rod, but just the everyday vehicle was a potential fun to drive car.
Now we have the little soap bubbles on wheels, all front wheel drive, road noise out the ass.
Hit a fucking pot hole in one of those at 40 and it sounds and feels like the fucker just dropped the transmission out in the road and you just ran over it.
You can spit on one and put a dent in it.
I will never forget the time a friend of mine got pissed off at his 69 Chevy wagon, he was working on it and he just lost it. He literally picked up a two by four and started wailing on the front fender.
I sat back and laughed at him. Not only did it just bounce off, it never even scratched the paint.
That's a car.

Driving ...

Maru is a kindred spirit:


Right. Barrrrrrffff. No. First of all, I don't "turn my car on." I "fucking start the damn thing." Then I "spend the next half hour crawling behind dump trucks, garbage trucks, school buses, asswipes driving 15 mph below the speed limit" and/or "hitting every goddamn traffic light between here and there." Secondly, the only thing I ever want to do with my -- mmmm, hard! -- stick shift is rip it from whatever its bolted onto and use it to repeatedly pummel the head of the jerkoff ahead or behind me that's driving like a fucking moron. Thirdly, go fuck yourselves, you pretentious asstools.

Heh ...

27 October 2007

Bad boy ...

Another shithead who gives car people a bad name ... busted.

Albany -- Acting New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Barbara Billet Thursday announced the arrest of a Long Island car dealer on charges of tax fraud stemming from an investigation initiated by Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

Salvatore Cioffi, 66, of 404 Landing Avenue, Smithtown, New York is the owner of Automart of LI Inc. located in Patchogue, a corporation engaged in the wholesale and retail sale of used automobiles. Cioffi was investigated for alleged underreporting of taxable sales and failure to remit sales tax collections.


If he's willing to screw the state out of taxes (not that I'm defending NY's use of those taxes), I can imagine what he did to his customers.

26 October 2007

Say what?

You want me to do what by when? On Friday?

Mrs. Indian should never have let him get a cell phone with a camera. At least he didn't catch me in the bathroom. Heh ...

25 October 2007

Dear NYSDOT* ...

I'm just wondering, as I sit here at Exit 49 of the Long Island Expressway, entertaining all around me with Richard Strauss' Macbeth Op. 23 (very well done by the Munich Orchestra, I might add) at full volume, moving slow enough that my speedometer doesn't even register, why the digi-board I can read through my moonroof says "Traffic Moving Well To Exit 64"? A sense of humor maybe?

Just askin' ... twits.

*New York State Department Of Transportation.

18 October 2007

Where I work* ...

Sample of the daily conversation in the shop:

Me: Sam, come over here.

Sam: What?

Me: You got little fingers, right?

Sam: Yeah. She grins, holding up an index finger.

Me: Perfect.

Sam: For what?

Me: I got this flapping snot in my left nose hole and I can't get up there deep enough to snag it. Could you get it for me?

Sam: You're disgusting!

Me: Be that as it may, could ya do it for your pal?

Sam: I'm not putting my fingers in any of your holes.

And so it goes ...

*Part of an ongoing, semi-regular series.

17 October 2007

The One That Got Away

A while back we were reminiscing about THE old truck or car that we wish we had never parted with.
This is the year and model of old Ford truck that I had once.
When I bought it, it was on the side of the road with an eleven foot cab over camper on it.
Both were trashed. The guy wanted $125 for the truck and $200 for the camper. The camper had a hole in the side of it looked like an RPG went through it.
I said no thanks but I'll take the truck.
The engine was a 223 CID straight six that also had a big hole in the side of it.
I got my brothers, cousins and a couple of friends and it took six guy's that all weighed over two hundred each just to pick the camper up enough to drag the truck out from under it, no jacks of course.
I was happy and we towed it home with very little brakes and no lights.
Upon further inspection I found it had; 16 leaf springs on each side in the rear, bent axle tubes from the weight of the camper,the roof caved in from the camper,completely worn out kingpins and a whole chop list of other to do jobs.
I got a wrecking yard engine and over the course of five years ended up putting a 351 Windsor and a C6 transmission in it, along with several hundred man hours, a new roof ( a story in itself) and lots of money.
When I was just about ready to paint it, it looked just like the bottom photo,lowered straight and fairly quick due to the 4 speed rear end gears I left under it.

Notice the bed and the cab are all one piece, they only built these for 3 years.
Anyway, right before I was going to paint it, I was tooling around in the rain at night on this twisty river road, this is shortly after the engine swap.
I turned onto a bridge and romped on it.
The carb linkage jammed and stuck wide open. I went screaming across the bridge with both feet on the brakes, holding onto the wheel for more leverage with the back tires spinning the whole way.
Before I could reach down to turn it off I was across the bridge and hit a telephone pole head on at 50+ MPH.
It ripped the engine and trans out of the mounts and through the radiator, ripped the battery posts out of the battery and crushed the nose, It hit on the frame horn dead on.
All I got was a badly cut finger from the custom steering wheel.
It took several months but I rebuilt that son of a bitch.Made sure the carb linkage worked right too.I kept it for a couple more years but it kept costing so much money I didn't have, I finally sold it to a kid I worked with for $500. I think I actually got two and never saw him or the truck again.
I had way too much money and time in it, but was raising the girlfriends kids and had to say goodbye.
Due to length this is only a very small part of the story with that truck, there is LOTS more.
I sure do miss that fuckin' thing.

13 October 2007

I'm obsolete ...

I've rubbed off on Mrs. F over the past 20 years. Yesterday I come home from work and give her a kiss and she says "Hal called".

Hal is our car salesman. We mentioned, back when we got my Escape that we wanted to be a little more fuel-conscious and we'd probably be interested in getting rid of the V-8 Explorer for another Escape for Mrs. F.

"He said he's getting an Escape in this week," she tells me. "And it's got everything I want (that means loaded) in it."

"Do you want me to look at it with you?" I ask.

"No," she says. "We just have to stop by the dealership Saturday to sign the papers. I'm getting it."

For the first time in 20 years, I didn't have any input into her car purchase. I love it that she did it all on her own and yet it's something she doesn't need me for anymore. Maybe she should try her hand at installing fiberglass insulation. Heh ...

So here it is. Black on black, leather, JBL Audiophile 6-CD MP3 SIRIUS satellite radio, 17" wheels, moonroof, heated seats and mirrors, and all the little frou frou options as well. The Queen is used to her comforts.

And here's where it pays to be a loyal customer. There are 5 more payments left on the Explorer's lease and Ford and the dealership got together to eat them. This will be our 7th vehicle from them and buying a car has become a painless, stress-free, 15 minute process for us.

Newins Bay Shore Ford
219 W Main St.
Bay Shore, NY 11706

12 October 2007

Dear Fellow New Yorkers ...

New Jerseyans, Pennsylvanians, and whatever the fuck they call you Connecticut people; all of you who share my daily commute with me.

I'd like to alert you to this little thing we have here on the Isle of Long called rain. You might have seen it; little water droplets that fall from the sky and collect on our roadways? Yes, that. I believe you've experienced it once or twice.

Now, just because we haven't had any in about a month or so doesn't mean the physical properties of water have changed. Swerving wildly and applying brakes suddenly on wet roads causes your car to slide out of control, even with whatever fancy 'roll control' or 'traction control' your car maker built into the motherfucker. Driving like Enzo Ferrari on rain-slicked roads in your Toyota with bald tires and bad brakes ends somewhat inevitably.

Also, be advised this rain stuff won't hurt you if you drive more than 20 mph on an interstate fucking highway. What the fuck is with you people? If you're scared of going a bit too fast in the rain, use the excellent service road (frontage road for you 'other' folks) system for the Long Island Expressway, not the left fucking lane of the highway.

Another point. Rain collects in lower-lying areas of our roadways. At this time of year here in New York (we call it autumn, by the way), the leaves that fall from the trees (those crunchy brown things) clog the drains and these low lying areas fill up quickly. You know this, you live in the neighborhood by the shop, the same places that flooded in the last rain (last month) flooded yesterday.

You see me laughing at my other customers who drive through the lake at the bottom of the Avenue at full speed and destroy their engines or other parts of their cars. You see 'em in my lot waiting for the insurance adjuster to get there and total them. Why the fuck do you have to do the same thing? That 2 month old, 7-series BMW sure was a nice car until you filled it up with water to the dashboard, until the engine sucked in enough water to hydro-lock and make me pick up the internal parts with a broom and snow (that's a whole other post) shovel after they slide off the flatbed with your car.

What the fuck? We get 43 inches of rain a year. Can't you get used to driving in it?

04 October 2007