29 July 2006

More Tesla

Some follow-up on Fixer's post (scroll down a little) from the LATimes.

When Tesla, the upstart auto company based in Silicon Valley, unveiled its all-electric Roadster at a swank affair in Santa Monica last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger dropped in for surprise visit. Recognition hung in the air. The man who became famous for playing one seriously aggressive electric appliance had come to pay his respects to another.

That's not too germane to the subject, but I couldn't resist! Also see photo "Assault with battery". Ah, the pun electric!

The Tesla is a toothsome sports car. The EV1, um, wasn't.

Perhaps most important and most unlike the EV1, the Tesla offers something beyond mere virtue as a reward to its buyers. Fun, in large, hair-raising voltages. The company claims 0 to 60 mph acceleration in four seconds and a top speed of 130 mph.

Big brakes, racy suspension, optional leather and navigation system, air conditioning, heated seats. There's even room for golf clubs. With the Tesla, the electric car seems poised to move past its groovy-granola beginnings.

"There's a big market for green," says Chris Paine, EV advocate and director of "Who Killed the Electric Car," "but not as big as the market for something more primal. Speed and power have always sold cars."

There are more variables than an algebra textbook and Tesla's success is far from a sure thing. GM, with all its technological prowess and financial depth, couldn't make a business case out of the EV1 - and I submit that those who think otherwise don't understand the car business.

The Big 3 don't seem to understand the car business much anymore either, other than "build what sells". Expensive gas will change that more than green thinkin' will. Dinosaurs historically have not been receptive to evolutionary change. Seen any of those lately?

Shorter "The times they are a-changin'": We're goin' from dirty-dirty suck-squeeze-bang-blow to cleaner 'whirrrr'. I hope we're in time.

23 July 2006

Yeah, what he said

Our pal, Badtux the Penguin gets stuck on the highway thanks to the cheapness of others:


And YOU, random blog reader: This heat ain't nothin to fuck around with. If you're not a mechanic yourself and you haven't taken your car to a mechanic lately to have him check your coolant mix, radiator cap, radiator hoses, and everything else that's a normal service item to make sure everything's working right when the weather gets hot, *DO IT*. The last fuckin' thing your kids need is for your stupid cheap ass self to strand them in the middle of fuckin' nowhere in 100 degree weather without any fuckin' water to drink on some mountain grade where there's no real shoulder to pull off so you're all just kinda dangling on the edge of a fuckin' cliff because it's too goddamned hot to stay in the car and cars are blowing by honking their horns and shit at you and the tow company says it'll be at least four hours before they can come get your car because every tow truck in the whole fuckin' region is tied up hauling fucking morons back home where said morons thought takin' their car to Jiffy Loob every few thousand miles was "maintaining" it... is that what you want for yourself? No? Then TAKE CARE OF YOUR GODDAMNED CAR, for cryin out loud. And no, I don't mean take it to fuckin' JIFFY LOOB for some fuckin moron even dumber than you to open the hood and look in it and say, "Doh, there's an engine under here awrite!". Shit, you could do that much yourself and get the same goddamned result. Take your piece of shit car to a MECHANIC. Someone who actually KNOWS somethin' about cars. Got it?


Yo, didja get it or are you still clueless?

22 July 2006


John turned me on to this via email this morning and I poked around a little more.

Last night Tesla Motors unveiled their uber-chic Roadster, a supercharged electric vehicle that looks, feels and drives like many other high-end sports cars. The main difference is the noise. Powered by a 3-phase, 4-pole AC induction motor, the Roadster can go 130 mph and does 0-60 in about 4 seconds, all completely silent. [my emphases]


This is the beginning of the end for the internal combustion engine. Cars with this type of styling and performance will garner interest with the die hard hotrodders. Unlike Reaganomics and Bush's ownership society, this stuff trickles down to the general public. "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday" isn't just a happy little saying.

15 July 2006


Note to self: Be more careful with the exhaust probe after running a car at 60 mph on the dyno.

13 July 2006

Chickasaws Chisel Chinks, Revive MG


A struggling Chinese manufacturer, the remnants of a failed British automaker and an ambitious American Indian tribe plan to pool their resources to rescue the iconic MG sports car from the automotive junkyard.

A consortium led by Nanjing Automobile Group announced a $2-billion plan Wednesday to construct a state-of-the art production facility in China, reopen a shuttered MG factory in England and open an assembly plant and a distribution center in the small town of Ardmore, Okla.

The Nanjing-led group - knowing that customers may well be skeptical of an upstart Chinese manufacturer - will have to produce a car that is well-designed and without flaws right out of the gate or risk damaging the brand's reputation.

Good for them. The old MGs were well enough designed, and a lot of fun to drive. Without flaws? Hardly.
The new MG team also is counting on additional help from the Chickasaws, a 38,000-member tribe based in Ada, Okla. Under federal law, Indian tribes are considered sovereign nations and are exempt from paying taxes. Hale said his group was researching ways that the MG operation could benefit financially from a partnership with the tribe.

"I can tell you, there may be some unique tax advantages there," he said.

Marc Nuttle, a partner in the MG project, said he was working with the Chickasaws on a plan to develop a 3,000-acre parcel north of Ardmore, Okla., where the MG facility would be based.

That site was selected because it has a long runway that could be expanded to accommodate large cargo aircraft and is close to a rail line and freeways.

In addition to casinos, the Chickasaws operate a medical services company, a historic hotel and a factory that makes chocolate-covered potato chips. This year, the tribe projects that its businesses will net nearly $200 million.

A long runway near a rail line and freeways, huh? In a 'sovereign nation', huh? Look for an influx of Chinese. They could be the 'new Mexicans'. Ha!

As far as the car itself goes, it may look like a retro MG TF, but it'll more likely have just a family resemblance. Those things were fine in their day, but there's no way they could produce anything remotely like it today that would even be legal to sell in the U.S. in terms of emissions and safety standards, not to mention reliability. It will be interesting to see what Nanjing comes up with.

They're serious, though. They've sent their own chefs to Birmingham. Apparently, the Chinese don't like fish and chips.

I wonder what they'll think of mutton stew and fry bread?

07 July 2006

Is it really worth it ...

To sit in traffic on the Long Island Expressway for 3 - 6 hours to get out to the Hamptons and your timeshare, only to have to do it again Sunday night in the other direction? I mean, the high-brows who actually live out there either have a chauffeured limo or a helicopter bring them out. All the rest of you assholes are stuck with me in traffic. I don't get it.

And another note, if your car's nose dives and the ass jumps up every time you barely touch the brake, threatening to go wildly out of control, it might not be a good idea to drive around at 80 mph. You might want to think about getting new struts and/or shocks before you kill your damn self.

03 July 2006

Love and Hate

As most of you know, I'm a mechanic. Before I started working for Harry, I was an engine builder at Ford Motorsport. It doesn't take much imagination to know I love high performace cars and racing. I got into the life early, my dad racing a car at Islip and Freeport Speedways on Long Island.

That said, much as I love NASCAR, I find myself becoming more averse to it. The problem is their close association with the Republican-Conservative-Neocon agenda. It's things like this that turn me off, as well as the blatant displays of 'patriotism' that are nothing more than the use of our troops as props. After being a die hard fan for over 40 years, I'm not so much of one anymore. If NASCAR is losing me, I'm sure they're also losing a lot of others who love the sport but can't abide the politization of it.

Cross-posted at the Brain.

02 July 2006


How cool is that? I saw pix of this a couple months ago and it immediately brought back memories of the Challengers and 'Cudas of yore.

And yes, that's King Richard on the left.