29 October 2006

More Taurus

Here's the Wes' Coas' take on the demise of the Taurus. LATimes:

The Ford Taurus, which entered the world as a revolutionary new take on the American automobile, will exit Friday as a forlorn reminder of things gone wrong with the American auto industry.

Good article. Go read.

27 October 2006

"Red hair and black leather, my favourite color scheme..."

As a socially responsible gearhead blog, we present a cautionary musical tale of what youth, raging hormones, a fast motorcycle, and a no doubt somewhat speedy redhead can do for you:

Richard Thompson - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

If you understand this Englishman singing in English as well as I do, here's the lyrics:

Oh says Red Molly to James "That's a fine motorbike.
A girl could feel special on any such like"
Says James to Red Molly "My hat's off to you
It's a Vincent Black Lightning, 1952.
And I've seen you at the corners and cafes it seems
Red hair and black leather, my favourite colour scheme"
And he pulled her on behind and down to Boxhill they did ride

Oh says James to Red Molly "Here's a ring for your right hand
But I'll tell you in earnest I'm a dangerous man.
For I've fought with the law since I was seventeen,
I robbed many a man to get my Vincent machine.
Now I'm 21 years, I might make 22
And I don't mind dying, but for the love of you.
And if fate should break my stride
Then I'll give you my Vincent to ride"

"Come down, come down, Red Molly" called Sergeant McRae
"For they've taken young James Adie for armed robbery.
Shotgun blast hit his chest, left nothing inside.
Oh come down, Red Molly to his dying bedside"
When she came to the hospital, there wasn't much left
He was running out of road, he was running out of breath
But he smiled to see her cry
He said "I'll give you my Vincent to ride"

Says James "In my opinion, there's nothing in this world
Beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl.
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeves* won't do,
Ah, they don't have a soul like a Vincent 52"
Oh he reached for her hand and he slipped her the keys
Said "I've got no further use for these.
I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome,
Swooping down from heaven to carry me home"
And he gave her one last kiss and died
And he gave her his Vincent to ride.

*"Douglases and Rudges and Nortons" in this version. He wrote it, he can change it.

More on the motorbike that led our hero astray. You're on your own for the redhead and the raging hormones, dammit.

Goodbye, old pal ...

In my book it was the best all-around automobile ever built (this coming from a man who made his money building winning race engines). I worked for Ford when every 3rd car they sold was a Taurus. I enjoyed working on them and I'll miss them. One of Ford's biggest mistakes was letting the brand stagnate and wither. Browsing the net, I found a kindred spirit:

It's twisted and a bit pathetic, but I will be shedding a tear next week in honor of the Ford Taurus officially and finally going out of production. It had a 21-year run that in retrospect is the longest fall from grace in history. During that time Ford sold 7 million Tauruses and another 2 million Mercury Sables. Since January 1st of this year, however, Ford had halted sales of the Taurus to the public, accepting orders only from fleet and rental companies. Despite that, the Taurus remained Ford's best selling passenger car almost every month this year, selling more units than the Focus and even the red hot Mustang. The Taurus saved Ford when it was introduced in 1985 and immediately sold 263,000 units during that first year. That number would rise to 410,000 units in 1992 when the Taurus overtook the Honda Accord to become the best selling passenger car in the U.S., a title it held for five straight years.


The last Taurus rolled off the line this afternoon.

25 October 2006

Classics at Castletown

This YouTube deal's got me feelin' like a super-annuated kid with a new toy. Here's a 5-minute video of a Vintage Motor Cycle Club (VMCC) Rally at Castletown, Isle of Man, during the '06 Manx Grand Prix. All the photog had to do was stand in one place and push the button!

Lotsa neat old primarily English bikes, with single-cylinder machines well represented. I like one-lungers. The longer-stroke models fire at about every telephone pole.

From about 42 to 47 seconds in is a very unusual motorcycle with a very distinctive sound: A Scott Flying Squirrel 500cc or 600cc twin. I've seen 'em, but I never heard one run before. Now I know why they call 'em "the yowling two-stroke"! More at the Scott Owners' Club or Wikipedia.

Please enjoy this. I did.

22 October 2006


We harp on tires every year at this time. A little tip. If your right side tires have a whitewall from scraping up against the curb, spring for a new set before the really bad weather gets here.

And just a little rant:

I used to love working on Volvos. Ugly cars but easy to work on. I did an alternator on an XC70 this week. What a fucking clusterfuck getting the thing out. I don't like working on Volvos anymore.