25 January 2008

Where I work* ...

It's been a while since I posted here. Apologies.

Hood Ornament Harry

Mrs. S is a sweet little old lady, though she's about 150 years old and shouldn't drive. She pulls into the lot last week with both side view mirrors blown off her Saturn. Now, this poor little car doesn't have a straight panel on it, bounced it off everything on the narrow streets in town and her garage. Every three months or so, I put a new side view on her car. It was a double this time. Heh ...

So, as I said, she pulls into the lot, swerves a left right off the Avenue in front of me as I'm trying to pull this crew cab Silverado pickemup truck into the shop. Thank god I saw the white roof of the Saturn in front of the push bar before I drove into the driver's door. I blow the horn and she looks around vacantly, not noticing the grille of the big Chevy a foot from her window. I get out, get her attention by tapping on the window, and motion her over next to the dumpster. Fine. She moves without hitting anything and I get the truck into the shop.

Since I got real work to do, Harry goes out to Mrs. S (who's still in her car) with his book to write down the vehicle info and send her on her way. We get the mirrors in a day and she comes in to get them installed. Five minutes later, Harry comes back in and calls for the new mirrors. I look out the window and see Mrs. S backing up to get out of the lot, straight for another customer's car. Harry sees it too and runs out, yelling at her to stop. Happily she sees him and hits the brake. Just in time.

Harry goes to her door and asks if she wants him to turn the car around so it's pointing at the street. Now, her window doesn't go down because the door has been banged up so much, so she opens the door to hear Harry. She says yes, but leaves the car in 'reverse'. Harry yells at her to put it in 'park'. Who the Hell knows what she heard, but she hit the gas. The car lurches backward and the door catches Harry, launching him across the hood of the other customer's car, just as Mrs. S' car backs into it. Ain't seen Harry move that quick in a long time. Heh ...

Thankfully there was no damage, to Harry (the old man was sore for a couple days though) or the other customer's car. We got Mrs. S pointed the right way and turned her loose after assuring her Harry would survive. While we can laugh at it now, there's a buncha old folks who shouldn't be driving. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do and it's up to their families to take action to get them off the road. From personal experience, it's a difficult thing to do, especially in places like Long Island where mass transit isn't exactly old-friendly but Mrs. S, and a lot of sweet little old ladies like her, is gonna kill somebody one day. Hopefully it ain't one of us.

I Pity Mr. T

Mrs. T is a little woman, about 98 pounds, just over 5 feet tall, a transplant from Georgia who married a local boy and moved back here. They don't have any kids but they have a little Yorkshire Terrier named Danny. Now, Mrs. T had this Mitsubishi Montero that she loved. It was the sport model, so it had the bigger V6 and was fun to drive. It wasn't that big so she and Danny (they go everywhere together) could zip in and out of the narrow streets in town. It had a lot of miles on it, so Mr. T was a good guy and bought her a Christmas present. Nice guy, right? Heh ...

Mrs. T and Danny show up the other day in the Christmas present for its first oil change. He goes and buys her a GMC Denali XL, big 6.2 liter V-8, every bell and whistle, fucking thing is the size of a Greyhound bus, barely fits in the shop.

She and Danny come to pick it up and ask her how she likes it.

1 - "The thing is so big, it takes me a half hour to get down the Avenue."

2 - "I can't park it anywhere on the street because somebody's already hit the mirror."

3 - "It's a bitch to turn corners with and it takes forever to find a parking space big enough."

4 - "But Danny likes it."

No shit. Fucking thing's a playground for the little dog. "So why'd ya get it?" I ask her.

"I didn't," she says. "This is my husband's idea of practical. I'm gonna kill him, bless his heart."

Sucks to be Mr. T. Heh ...

*Part of an ongoing, semi-regular series.

Hey Gord?

Fuck that 'Vette,
I want one of THESE!!

23 January 2008

The End Of An Era

General Motors now has a reason to pull it's head out of the sand and start getting serious about a few things.
Quality products for one,putting hybrid and electric vehicles on a fast track for two.

It's a safe bet that the days of the Hummer are limited, it was a niche market anyway.

GM is going to have to get real serious about costs too, something they whine about constantly.

GM, Toyota in Dead Heat in 2007 Sales

The Associated Press

Wednesday, January 23, 2008; 10:04 AM

DETROIT -- General Motors Corp.'s 76 years of global sales supremacy is ending, as totals for 2007 released on Wednesday showed the automaker in a virtual tie with Toyota Motor Corp.

GM said it sold 9,369,524 vehicles worldwide last year, up 3 percent from 2006. Earlier this month, Toyota reported global sales of 9.37 million vehicles, but the Japanese automaker did not release a number down to the last vehicle, leaving the sales race too close to call.

Detroit-based GM has held the title of world's largest automaker since the 1930s, but Toyota's strong U.S. growth and GM's U.S. sales decline helped Toyota move closer to the top spot in recent years.

20 January 2008

Better Living Through Chemistry

Better Plastic From Detroit?

By William Diem

DETROIT — One nice thing about being a journalist on the show floor during press days is that you run into people who have answers to your nagging questions.

Ever wonder why Toyota interiors are better than those from Ford or Chevrolet?


Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have had less money than their competitors to spend on car projects because they had to spend so much for pensions and health care, Mr. Cole said. And because interiors are the last part of a car to get commitments for investment, that is where corners are cut when the money runs out.

According to Mr. Cole, thanks to new contracts signed last fall with the union workers, G.M. will save $5,000 per car by 2010 and be on a level playing field with Toyota. And the first place consumers may notice a difference is better quality in future interiors.

And here I always thought we had the best plastic shit.
Who knew?

15 January 2008

New Vette, New Price, New Top End

Better start looking under the couch cushions now, Gord.
Estimated to cost a Hunnert Grand.
602 HP, 200MPH flat out.
It's a quick little Devil, but whatever you do, DON"T SCRATCH IT!!!

General Motors says that the clear coat paint additive used on top of the carbon-fiber parts costs $60,000 a gallon, which breaks down to $900 a car. As for the rest of the car, Mr. Danahy said, “We tried not to go too crazy with the appearance.”

Jeez Mareze!

The original article is from the Automobile section of the NY Times.

I couldn't afford to pay anymore attention.

14 January 2008


The V-8 is dead

According to this article

The Vette and the Caddy CTS-v are the last holdouts, both using derivatives of Chevrolet's venerable 1955 Small block.

Now everyone is focusing on Direct Fuel Injection and Turbo'd 4 bangers and V-6's.

Long Live The V-8

07 January 2008

This Is Exciting, I Just Punked Myself!

No batteries, gas, oil, or coolant.
A regenerating super efficient electric motor, with an automatic behind it.
You can use this thing to make electricity for your house, barn, you name it.
This is fantastic.

H/T to my buddy Dale, my Dad's oldest friend.

Cross posted at Ornery Bastard

I've had Bullshit called so take it at face value until I can look into it.
I put it up right after getting it.

Update two
OHHHKAY, I see where I screwed up now. A nice gentleman pointed out the way I said regenerating violates the second law of thermodynamics.
Gotta love Google, I didn't have a clue.

Second Law of Thermodynamics - Increased Entropy
The Second Law of Thermodynamics is commonly known as the Law of Increased Entropy. While quantity remains the same (First Law), the quality of matter/energy deteriorates gradually over time. How so? Usable energy is inevitably used for productivity, growth and repair. In the process, usable energy is converted into unusable energy. Thus, usable energy is irretrievably lost in the form of unusable energy.

Thus the word regenerative would imply something along the lines of a perpetual motion machine, my bad.
I did find a reference to Mr. Reed and his remarkable engine here;
Conspiracy Central.
It concludes that attempts to locate Mr. Reed were unsuccessful.

Update 3.

Turns out he never did have a self sustaining motor and the video is bogus.
Thats what I get for getting excited and putting it up without thinking critically.

My sincere apologies.

Go here for what happened and where it stands as of right now.

H/T One Fly for pointing me to the error of my ways.
Thanks bud.

03 January 2008

Ford, Jaguar, and Royal Enfield

From AFP via Raw Story:

The US automaker Ford on Thursday named Tata Motors of India as the preferred buyer of Ford's luxury Jaguar and Land Rover models.

Why not? Indian concerns have some history of taking over English companies.

For instance, Royal Enfield motorcycles. This make started making bikes in England in 1901 and ceased production in 1970. A good history here.

These sleds started being manufactured under licence in India in 1955 and are still being manufactured there today. As a matter of fact, they are still building basically the 1955 model! The bikes have been upgraded over time, of course, but they are the last old-style "Limey" sleds still available as brand new.

Since Mrs. G got a new bike earlier in the year, we figured it was only fair that I get one too. Since she's planning to retire later this year, the theory is we better get new shit while we're still under the delusion that we have money. We've been working this theory like a red-headed stepchild. She also got a new icebox and range, and I got a new dishwasher. These three items match for the first time in our lives! We figure a) they're the last we'll need, and b) at our age, they probably won't wear out. There are other acquisition plans in the works as well, but I digress.

I made a deal with my friend Larry to buy his Indian Enfield. An '04 model (I think, but they're kinda all the same so it doesn't really matter) with 150 miles on it and a shitpot fulla spares and accessories. We've been talking about this for almost a year, and now that the bike has been offered, and the offer accepted (the sword fighting over the price took all of ten seconds), naturally he wants it out of his garage right now!. Yeah, like that's gonna happen. The bike's in L.A. and I'm 500 miles and 80 feet up a snow-covered driveway away. Soon, Larry, soon...

Check out Royal Enfield's U.S. site for a good look at some of these old-fashioned bikes.

Really, the whole point of this post was to tell the following story, which I swear is absolutely true:

The other day I had occasion to call a customer service number, for what doesn't matter. The gent had an Indian accent so I asked him where he was. India. I had to ask, I've heard the same accent on the phone to Texas, and in any case I always ask where folks at 800 numbers are located just out of curiosity.

I mentioned that I had just bought an Indian Enfield and this is how he replied:

"Oh yes! I am having one of those in 1999-2000. Very pleasant to drive! Also very heavy when it is laying on my leg..."

Ya can't make this shit up, folks.

More on the new bike when I get it. I'm excited.