October 31, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1957 Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. founded

On this day, two months after a three-man Toyota team flew to Los Angeles to survey the U.S. market, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. was founded in California with Shotaro Kamiya as the first president. Toyota's first American headquarters were located in an auto dealership in downtown Hollywood, California, and by the end of 1958, 287 Toyopet Crowns and one Land Cruiser had been sold. Over the next decade, Toyota quietly made progress into the Big Three-dominated U.S. car market, offering affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles like the Toyota Corolla as an alternative to the grand gas-guzzlers being produced in Detroit at the time. But the real watershed for Toyota and other Japanese automakers came during the 1970s, when, after enjoying three decades of domination, American automakers had lost their edge.

On top of the severe quality that plagued domestic automobiles during the early 1970s, the Arab oil embargoes of 1973 and 1979 created a public demand for fuel-efficient vehicles that the Big Three were unprepared to meet. The public turned to imports in droves, and suddenly Japan's modest but sturdy little compacts began popping up on highways all across America. The Big Three rushed to produce their own fuel-efficient compacts, but shoddily constructed models like the Chevy Vega and Ford Pinto could not compete with the overall quality of the Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics. Domestic automakers eventually bounced back during the 1980s, but Japanese automakers retained a large portion of the market. In 1997, the Toyota Camry became the best-selling car in America, surpassing even Honda's popular Accord model.

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October 28, 2005

Friday Doggie Blogging

Lance and Maggie modeling their newest sweaters!
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And the obligatory "lying on top of each other" picture
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Delphi Backing Down From Previous Comments

I mentioned in a previous post about Delphi wanting to cut workers wages to $10/hour, from the $20-25 per hour they are currently making and the huge uproar it caused.

I stated that even Toyota paid it's line workers close to $20/hour. Well seems Delphi's head man is backing down from what he said because it has come out that even Japanese competitors and suppliers pay their employees more than $10/hour.

Delphi's draconian terms aren't likely to survive wrangling because comparable suppliers in the United States -- Lear, Johnson Controls, Dana -- pay unionized workers anywhere from $14 to $18 an hour, not $9 to $10 an hour. The UAW should know because it represents most of them.
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How Come

How come when you tell a customer you didn't get all that they requested done because you just didn't have time they hyperventate, but when you ask if they did what you requested and they use the same excuse nothing can get said?

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Today in Automotive History

1918 The origins of Tatra

The company later known as Tatra constructed its first automobile in 1897, a vehicle largely inspired by the design of an early Benz automobile. Based in the small Moravian town of Nesselsdorf in the Austro-Hungarian empire, Tatra began as Nesselsdorf Wagenbau, a carriage and railway company that entered automobile production after chief engineer Hugo von Roslerstamm learned of the exploits of Baron Theodor von Liebieg, an avid Austrian motorist who drove across Eastern Europe in a Benz automobile. The Baron himself took the Nesselsdorf Wagenbau's first automobile, christened the President, on a test drive from Nesselsdorf to Vienna. He was impressed with the design and pushed von Roslerstamm and Nesselsdorf Wagenbau to enter racing.

The company put its faith in the talented young engineer Hans Ledwinka, and under his leadership the Rennzweier and the Type A racers were produced, demonstrating modest racing success and encouraging the beginning of large-scale production of the Type S in 1909. The company continued to grow until 1914, when, with the outbreak of World War I, it shifted to railroad-car construction. On this day in 1918, just two weeks before the end of the war on the Western front, the Moravian town of Nesselsdorf in the old Austro-Hungarian empire became the city of Koprivnicka in the newly created country of Czechoslovakia, necessitating a name change for the Nesselsdorf Wagenbau.

Soon after the war, Hans Ledwinka and the newly named Koprivnicka Wagenbau began construction of a new automobile under the marque Tatra. The Tatra name came from the Tatra High Mountains, some of the highest mountains in the Carpathian mountain range. Ledwinka settled on Tatra in 1919 after an experimental model with 4-wheel brakes passed a sleigh on a dangerously icy road, prompting the surprised sleigh riders to reportedly exclaim: "This is a car for the Tatras." In 1923, the first official Tatra automobile, the Tatra T11, was completed, and Ledwinka's hope for an affordable "people's car" had come to fruition. The rugged and relatively small automobile gave many Czechoslovakians an opportunity to own an automobile for the first time, much as Ford's Model T had in the United States. In 1934, Tatra achieved an automotive first with the introduction of the Tatra 77, an innovative model that holds the distinction of being the world's first aerodynamically styled automobile powered by an air-cooled rear-mounted engine.

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October 26, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1955 Birth of an outlaw racer

Sprint car racer and record-holder Sammy Swindell was born on this day. The second-winningest driver in Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series history, with 229 "A" Feature victories, Swindell holds the record for Chili Bowl midget championships, compiled the first clean sweep in Outlaws history in 1995, and is the only driver to win "A" features at two different tracks on the same day--at the New York State Fair Speedway and Rolling Wheels Raceway on October 12, 1991. In 1998, Sammy broke the single lap world record at the Springfield Mile when he ran a 24.719-second lap over a one-mile oval at 145.637mph. Among the most thrilling forms of automotive racing, sprint car racing also features arguably the most unique type of racing vehicle. Nearly 800 horsepower of power, displacing 410 cubic inches, is crammed into a stripped-down frame where any part that doesn't contribute to the car's performance, including driver's comfort, is left off. With a power-to-weight ratio comparable to a Formula 1 racer, the lightweight sprint cars are constructed for one of the toughest arenas in racing: tight half-mile dirt or clay ovals that demand frantic steering and hair-raising sprints from the sport's daredevil drivers. But the most recognizable part of a sprint car is its five-foot square aluminum wing mounted above the roll cage. The wing provides negative lift that sticks the sprint car to the track, increasing its pace to perilous levels in excess of 100mph. First developed in the 1960s, winged sprint cars were opposed by sanctioning bodies like the USAC, prompting the formation of the independent World of Outlaws tour in 1978. Sammy Swindell won his third World of Outlaws championship in 1997, his first since winning back-to-back titles in 1981 and 1982.

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October 25, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1902 Oldfield and Ford race into history

Racing was in Barney Oldfield's blood long before he ever had the opportunity to race an automobile. Born in Wauseon, Ohio, Oldfield's first love was bicycling, and in 1894, he began to compete professionally. In his first year of racing, the fearless competitor won numerous bicycling events and, in 1896, was offered a coveted position on the Stearns bicycle factory's amateur team. Meanwhile in Dearborn, Michigan, the entrepreneurial inventor Henry Ford had completed his first working automobile and was searching for a way to establish his name in the burgeoning automobile industry. In the early days, it was not the practical uses of the automobile that attracted the most widespread attention, but rather the thrill of motor racing. Recognizing the public's enthusiasm for the new sport, Ford built a racer with Oliver Barthel in 1901. Ford himself even served as driver in their automobile's first race, held at the Grosse Point Race Track in Michigan later in the year. Although he won the race and the kind of public acclaim he had hoped for, Ford found the experience so terrifying that he retired as a competitive driver, reportedly explaining that "once is enough." In 1902, he joined forces with Tom Cooper, the foremost cyclist of his time, and built a much more aggressive racer, the 999, that was capable of up to 80hp. On this day in 1902, the 23-year-old Barney Oldfield made his racing debut in the 999's first race at the Manufacturer's Challenge Cup in Grosse Point. The race was the beginning of a legendary racing career for Oldfield, who soundly beat his competition, including the famed driver Alexander Winton. The cigar-chomping Oldfield went on to become the first truly great American race-car driver, winning countless victories and breaking numerous speed and endurance records. But Oldfield's victory in the 999 was also Ford's first major automotive victory, and together they went on to become the most recognized figures in early American motoring--Ford as the builder and Oldfield as the driver

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October 24, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1908 Old 16 defeats the world

On this day, the Locomobile Old 16, driven by George Robertson, became the first American-made car to beat the European competition when it raced to victory in the fourth annual Vanderbilt Cup held in Long Island, New York. The Vanderbilt Cup, an early example of world-class motor racing in America, was created in 1904 to introduce Europe's best automotive drivers and manufacturers to the U.S. George Heath won the first Vanderbilt Cup in a French-made Panhard automobile, beginning a French domination of the event that would last until Old 16's historic victory. Old 16 was first built in 1906 by the Connecticut-based Locomobile Company, and showed promise when it raced to a respectable finish in the second Vanderbilt Cup. With some modifications, Old 16 was ready to race again in 1908. Americans pinned their hopes on the state-of-the-art road racer to end the European domination of early motor racing. Designed simply for speed and power, Old 16 had an 1032 cc, 4-cylinder, 120 hp engine with a copper gas tank, and a couple of bucket seats atop a simple frame with four wooden-spoked wheels completed the design. At the fourth Vanderbilt Cup, Robertson pushed Old 16 to an average speed of 64.38 mph, dashing around the 297-mile course to the cheers of over 100,000 rowdy spectators, who lined the track dangerously close to the speeding motor cars. With a thrown tire in the last lap and a frantic fight to the finish against an Italian Isotta, America's first major racing victory was a hair-raising affair. Old 16 is one of the oldest American automobiles still in existence, and is currently on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

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October 20, 2005

On The Road Again

I am off to Kentucky again, another exciting 10 hour drive (total) for a 1 hour meeting that just couldn't take place over the phone.

Won't be back until late Friday.

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Want to See Harvey Cry?

Click Extended Entry.

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Yep, that's right. MATCHING SWEATERS.


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Today in Automotive History

1965 End of an era at Volvo

The Volvo PV544 was first introduced in 1958 as an updated version of its popular predecessor, the PV444. Like the PV444 with its laminated windscreen, the PV544 featured an important safety innovation--it was the first car to be equipped with safety belts as standard fitting. But the PV544 was also a powerful automobile, boasting a 4-speed manual transmission option and power up to 95bhp. Shortly after its introduction, the 544 became one of the most successful rally cars, dominating rally racing into the 1960s. Yet, the PV544 was also affordably priced, and its first-year sales put Volvo over the 100,000-exported automobiles mark. The PV544 was successfully reintroduced every year until 1965, when it was decided by Volvo that production of the model would cease. On this day in 1965, the last 544 was driven off the Volvo assembly line at its Lundy plant in Sweden by longtime Volvo test driver Nils Wickstrom. Gustaf Larson, the engineer who had co-founded Volvo with businessman Assar Gabrielsson in 1927, was present at the ceremony. An impressive total of 440,000 Volvo PV544s had been produced during its eight-year run, over half of which had been exported.

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October 19, 2005

Hurricane Wilma

I just read that Hurricane Wilma is now the strongest Hurricane in history. Cat 5 with sustained winds at 175 with stronger gusts.

My father-in-law and his girlfriend just got on a plane heading for Palm City where they winter.

I called hubby and told him to call them as soon as they land and tell them to get the heck out of there. To not even head to her house, just to leave now and avoid the rush.

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I'm A Drunken, Ruthless Bastard

William Wallace
You scored 79 Wisdom, 69 Tactics, 68 Guts, and 55 Ruthlessness!
Like William Wallace, chances are you have no problem charging a larger, better trained, better equipped, better armed and armored English army with a band of naked drunken Scotsmen. I'm not contesting that you have balls. It's your brain function I'm worried about.

Scottish soldier and national hero. The first historical record of Wallace's activities concerns the burning of Lanark by Wallace and 30 men in May, 1297, and the slaying of the English sheriff, one of those whom Edward I of England had installed in his attempt to make good his claim to overlordship of Scotland. After the burning of Lanark many joined Wallace's forces, and under his leadership a disciplined army was evolved. Wallace marched on Scone and met an English force of more than 50,000 before Stirling Castle in Sept., 1297. The English, trying to cross a narrow bridge over the Forth River, were killed as they crossed, and their army was routed. Wallace crossed the border and laid waste several counties in the North of England. In December he returned to Scotland and for a short time acted as guardian of the realm for the imprisoned king, John de Baliol . In July, 1298, Edward defeated Wallace and his army at Falkirk, and forced him to retreat northward. His prestige lost, Wallace went to France in 1299 to seek the aid of King Philip IV, and he possibly went on to Rome. He is heard of again fighting in Scotland in 1304, but there was a price on his head, and in 1305 he was captured by Sir John de Menteith. He was taken to London in Aug., 1305, declared guilty of treason, and executed. The best-known source for the life of Wallace is a long romantic poem attributed to Blind Harry, written in the 15th century.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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You scored higher than 98% on Unorthodox

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You scored higher than 42% on Tactics

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You scored higher than 90% on Guts

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You scored higher than 79% on Ruthlessness
Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Hat tip to Laughing Wolf

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Today in Automotive History

1958 Britain's first world champion

Briton Mike Hawthorn, driving a Ferrari Dino 246, clinched the Formula One World Championship at the Moroccan Grand Prix at Ain-Diab near Casablanca on this day. But the triumph of Britain's first World Championship was marred by the death of British driver Stuart Lewis-Evans, who died a few days later from injuries sustained during an accident in the race, and by the tragic death of Hawthorn himself, who died in a road accident just two months later.

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October 18, 2005

7 Things

Blog momma, Tammi, assigned me some homework. She wants me to do a meme listing 7 things.

7 things I want to do before I die:
* Graduate at least Cum Laude (that is a 3.7 grade point or better)
* Visit Alaska
* Be a Manager
* See a women president
* Own a Jaguar XK8
* Retire
* Build my dream home

7 things I can do:
* Find Humor in any situation
* Wait a long time to get what I want
* Mediate
* Dress fashionably
* Drywall
* Use power tools
* Drive in Snow

7 things I cannot do:
* Make friends easily
* Be talkative to strangers in social settings
* Lower my standards for anyone
* Forgive or Forget easily
* Argue well
* Drink as much as I use to
* Take defeat easily

7 things I say a lot:
* Cool
* Awesome
* Your point is?
* Fu*k this shit
* Bite me
* Kiss my Ass
* Dammit
(man I swear a lot)

7 things I find attractive in a male:
* Humor
* Outgoing
* Height
* Brown Hair
* Hard Working
* Old Fashioned
* Dedicated

7 celebrity crushes:
* Eric Palladino
* Sean Connery
* Tom Selleck
* George Eads
* Mark Harmon
* Gary Allen
* Matt Dammon

7 people I feel like bugging: I think everyone has been bugged already.

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I'm Realistic

Your Career Type: Realistic
You are practical and mechanical.
Your talents lie in working with tools, mechanical or electrical drawings, machines, or animals.

You would make an excellent:

Carpenter - Diesel Mechanic - Electrician
Farmer - Fire Fighter - Flight Engineer
Forester - Locksmith - Locomotive Engineer
Pilot - Police Officer - Truck Driver

The worst career options for your are social careers, like social worker or teacher.
What's Your Ideal Career?

All those stupid tests in school use to say the same thing. Probably should have listened to them instead of wasting 3 years in persuit of a teaching degree.

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Hurricane Prepardness Checklist

Toilet Paper........................................check
Bud Light...........................................check
Keystone Ice........................................check
Red Dog.............................................check
Misc. other bottles of alcohol......................check

Piece of plywood to float your chick and booze on...check

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Work Quote of the Week

"The Stripper* will be here this afternoon"

*Refering to our new wire stripper

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Today in Automotive History

1977 Daimler-Benz executive found dead

On September 5, Hanns Martin Schleyer, a Daimler-Benz executive and head of the West German employers' association, was kidnapped in Cologne by the Red Army Faction (RAF) during an assault in which his driver and three police were killed. The Red Army Faction was a group of ultra-left revolutionaries who terrorized Germany for three decades, assassinating at least 30 corporate, military, and government leaders in an effort to topple capitalism in their homeland. Six weeks after the kidnapping of Schleyer, Palestinian terrorists, who had close ties with the RAF, hijacked a Lufthansa airliner to Somalia, and demanded the release of 11 imprisoned RAF members. On October 17, after the pilot was killed, a German special forces team stormed the plane, releasing the captives and killing the hijackers. The RAF's imprisoned leaders responded by committing suicide in their jail cell in Stammheim, and Schleyer's murder was ordered. The next day, October 18, Hanns Martin Schleyer was found dead in Alsace, France.

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October 17, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1973 Origins of a fuel revolution

On this day, 11 Arab oil producers increased oil prices and cut back production in response to the support of the United States and other nations for Israel in the Yom Kippur War. The same day, OPEC, (The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), approved the oil embargo at a meeting in Tangiers, Morocco. Almost overnight, gasoline prices quadrupled, and the U.S. economy, especially its automakers, suffered greatly as a result. The U.S. car companies, who built automobiles that typically averaged less than 15 miles per gallon, were unable to satisfy the sudden demand for small, fuel-efficient vehicles. The public turned to imports in droves, and suddenly Japan's modest, but sturdy, little compacts began popping up on highways all across America. Even after the oil embargo crisis was resolved, American consumers had learned an important lesson about the importance of fuel efficiency, and foreign auto manufacturers flourished in the large American market. It took years for the Big Three to bounce back from the blow; eventually they gained ground with the introduction of their own Japanese-inspired compacts in the 1980s.

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October 14, 2005

Friday Doggie Blogging

The puppies modeling their sweaters!

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Today in Automotive History

1899 A miscalculated prophecy

In the early days of the automobile, many doubted that owning a "horseless carriage" would ever be within the reach of an average citizen. Indeed, some critics of the noisy and expensive invention went so far as to prophesize its eventual demise once the wealthy got over the novelty of owning one. On this day the Literary Digest declared that "the ordinary horseless carriage is at present a luxury for the wealthy; and although its price will probably fall in the future, it will never, of course, come into common use as a bicycle." But what critics of the automobile failed to foresee were the types of revolutionary manufacturing techniques that would be developed by Henry Ford and others. Less than a decade after the Literary Digest predicted that the automobile would remain a luxury of the wealthy, Ford revolutionized the automotive industry with his affordable Model T built for the average American. Ford was able to keep the price down by retaining control of all raw materials, and by employing revolutionary mass production methods. When it was first introduced, the "Tin Lizzie" cost only $850 and seated two people, and by the time it was discontinued in 1927, nearly 15,000,000 Model Ts had been sold.

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October 13, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1953 The Artmobile hits the road

The "Artmobile," a novel way of exposing fine art to the public, was conceived of and designed by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts located in Richmond, Virginia. On this day the Artmobile, the world's first mobile art gallery, began touring Virginia with an exhibition of art objects, making its first stop in Fredericksburg. The Artmobile was an all-aluminum trailer, measuring over 30 feet in length with an interior height of nearly 80 feet.

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October 11, 2005

Hockey Whoopass Jamboree

Ok, so the Wings lost to the Canucks. And the by-laws of the Hockey Whoopass Jamboree state I have to post and link to the winner.

The Wings are 3-1 though. Can't win them all.

So Frinklin here it is

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Today in Automotive History

1928 Birth of a royal racer

Spanish racer Don Alfonso Cabeza de Vaca y Leighton, Carvajal y Are, the 17th Marquis de Portago and 13th Conde de la Mejorada, was born on this day in London, England. Better known as Marquis Alfonso de Portago, the Spanish nobleman became interested in motor racing as a young man, soon finding his way into some of the world's most prestigious and dangerous racing events, owning more to his social standing than his racing skills. For a two-year period beginning in 1956, the reckless Marquis Alfonso drove for the Lancia Ferrari team, managing to rack up four points in five Grand Prix starts, but failing to win any race. In 1957, Alfonso brought tragedy to the classic Mille Miglia event, a 1,600-kilometer race from Brescia to Rome and back, when he lost control of his Ferrari and plunged into a crowd of spectators. Alfonso, his co-driver Ed Nelson, and 10 spectators died in the accident, bringing to an end the 30-year tradition of the Mille Miglia. Twenty years after the Marquis' tragic run along the course, the event was revived, and to this day the Mille Miglia attracts thousands to the streets of Italy to watch a nostalgic run of classic racing cars.

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October 10, 2005

Delphi Can Go F**K Themself

I am sure everyone has heard the news about Delphi asking it's hourly employees to take a 63% paycut or they will declare bankruptcy.

Delphi is saying without the paycut they will not be able to compete with other auto suppliers.

They claim the line workers need to be making only $10-$12 per hour instead of the $20 per hour that they are currently making to compete with Toyota.

Toyota line workers make a minimum $15 per hour.

Delphi also wants the line workers to start paying a minimum of 27% of their insurance instead of th 7% they are paying now.

Delphi says that the line workers would be making a minimum of $20,000 per year before taxes.

How the hell can they buy the cars the are making? There goes a major portion of your customers.

Also poverty level wage is $16,700 per year. You just threw 10's of thousands of people into near poverty level.

I can hear you saying "but they make to much right now for just working on a line".

So make a reasonable proposal to cut wages, take your salary and cut 63% of it out. Now how do you live? Plus you have to pay a lot more for insurance, take that out of your reduced salary and try to figure out how to live on about $15,000 per year while supporting a family?

Now take into consideration this:

Bankrupt auto parts supplier Delphi Corp. plans to offer executives cash and up to a 10 percent stake in a reorganized Delphi as an incentive to stay.

Or this:
The bonus proposal comes on top of Delphi's announcement Friday that it had sweetened severance packages for 21 top executives

Or this:
Under its proposed key employee compensation program, 486 U.S. executives would receive cash bonuses of 30 percent to 250 percent of their salary, totaling $87.9 million, upon Delphi's exit from bankruptcy or sale of the company.

Now where is the compensation to the line workers for wage cuts?

Right, there is none.

So the line workers, the people who really keep the company going, get screwed and the executives, who have run the company into the ground with all their lavish expenese, get bonuses.

I think they should start by cutting the executives wages, take away their free cars, lavish lunches, etc.

Then lets take about cutting the line workers wage.

So I agree with the line workers who say they would rather see Delphi go under then give into wage cuts.

BTW, you can go make $10 per hour at Taco Bell, including benefits.

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Pass Me Some WD40

Which Colossal Death Robot Are You?
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey

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What I Did This Weekend

Want to know what I did this weekend?

Harvey, you probably don't want to read any further so I will put it in the extended entry.

I made doggie sweaters for Lance and Maggie.

It's getting cold out and they need a little extra something to keep warm. They have thin skin and not much hair at all, so they can't keep themself warm.

Here are the front and back:
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And here is Maggie modeling it:
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Today in Automotive History

1901 Henry Ford's first and last race

In the early days of the automobile, it was not the practical uses of the new invention that attracted the most widespread attention, but rather the thrill of motor sports. The always entrepreneurial Henry Ford, who had been constructing automobiles since 1896, recognized the public's enthusiasm for the new sport, and so sought to establish his name as a racing manufacturer and driver. On this day, Henry Ford drove one of his automobiles for the first and last time in an automobile race. Sponsored by the Detroit Racing Club and held at the Grosse Point Race Track in Michigan, Ford puttered up to the starting line of the main 10-lap race in an automobile he had constructed earlier in the summer with engineer Oliver Barthel. Ford's competitors were the famed Alexander Winston and another driver who withdrew just before the start of the race because of a mechanical problem. The experienced Winston was clearly the superior driver, but fortune proved to be in Ford's favor as Winston's machine began leaving a trail of smoke after three laps, and he had to withdraw. Although Ford won the race and the kind of public acclaim he had hoped for, he found the experience so terrifying that he retired as a competitive driver, reportedly explaining that "once is enough." Nevertheless, Ford continued to construct automobiles for motor racing, and a year later Barney Oldfield drove into motor racing history in Ford's 999 racer, kicking off a legendary driving career and winning Ford his first major racing victory. With the prestige of racing under his belt, Ford went on to establish the Ford Motor Company in the following year, making a fortune as he pioneered the modern assembly-line manufacturing that put the automobile within the average American's reach. But motor racing still remained important to the Ford Motor Company, and today Ford is the only automaker that can lay claim to victory in the Indy 500, Daytona 500, 24-Hours of LeMans and Daytona, 12 hours of Sebring, the Monte Carlo Rally, and the Baja 1000.

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October 07, 2005

Friday Doggie Blogging

Sleeping puppies, they are so darn cute when they sleep.

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Today in Automotive History

1960 Television gets its kicks on route 66

Since its conception in 1926, Route 66 has permeated every aspect of American culture, from literature to music to gas-station architecture. One of its most beloved manifestations, the television program Route 66, aired its first episode on this day, relating the roadside adventures of Buz and Tod as they cruised Route 66 in Tod's Corvette. Americans tuned into the popular program for four years, continuing their love affair with their nation's most celebrated Federal highway. Immortalized in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath as the "Mother Road," Route 66 was a symbol of opportunity, serving as an escape route from the misery of the Depression-era Dust Bowl. Its two lanes wove in and out of Middle America, connecting hundreds of rural communities to the cities of Chicago and Los Angeles. And above all, it symbolized the open road and Americana, complete with auto camps, motels, and roadside attractions. By 1970, nearly all segments of the original Route 66 were replaced by modern four-lane interstates, and in 1985 it was officially decommissioned.

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October 06, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1866 Steaming around Connecticut

In the first use of a steam car to garner national attention, brothers Henry and James House transported a party of men in their House steam car from Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Stratford, Connecticut, on this day. With the assistance of his brother James, inventor Henry House had constructed the House Steamer, one of America's first steam cars, earlier in the year. After testing their invention in and around Bridgeport for several months, the brothers approved the first official journey for the House steam car--a six-mile trip to Stratford to watch a vessel launching

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October 05, 2005

Puck Drops Tonight

The puck drops tonight, opening the hockey season up.

I am more than ready to watch some real sports!

And St. Louis, you better like baseball cause that is the only winning team you have in town.

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Today in Automotive History

1919 Enzo Ferrari's racing debut

On this day, 21-year-old Enzo Ferrari made his racing debut, finishing 11th in the Parmo-Poggia di Berceto hill climb in a Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali (CMN) vehicle. Ferrari became a professional driver after World War I, and joined the CMN in Milan as a test and racing-car driver in 1919. The following year, Ferrari moved to Alfa Romeo, establishing a relationship that lasted two decades and a career that took him from test driver to the director post of the Alfa Racing Division. In 1929, he founded the Scuderia Ferrari, an organization that began modestly as a racing club, but by 1933 had entirely taken over the engineering-racing division of Alfa Romeo. In 1940, Ferrari transformed the Scuderia into an independent manufacturing company, the Auto Avio Costruzioni Ferrari, but construction of the first Ferrari vehicle was delayed until the end of World War II. In 1947, the Ferrari 125S was introduced to the racing world, and it won the prestigious Coppa Enrico Faini in the same year. Thus began an impressive 40 years of racing success under the leadership of Enzo Ferrari, a tradition that saw Ferrari vehicles earn 25 world titles, and win over 5,000 events at race tracks around the world.

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October 04, 2005

Automotive Tips

Buying a used car?

Think paying for Carfax is a good idea?

Think Carfax is too expensive?

Want free information about your car's history?

Take the VIN number from the vehicle* into it's respective car dealer (Ford car to a Ford dealer, GM car to GM dealer, etc) and ask them to run a car history for you (service department would do this)

It takes the dealer seconds on their computers and should be able to give you a complete repair history, selling dealer and whether or not the vehicle is over 100,000 miles, been under water, totaled, etc.

* Your VIN (Vehicle indentification number) is located several places on the vehicle. In the drivers side door jam and drivers side dashboard (visible though the windshield) are the two easiest places.

Posted by Quality Weenie at 08:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Today in Automotive History

1983 The end of America's speed domination

After nearly 20 years of domination by Americans, Briton Richard Noble raced to a new one-mile land-speed record in his jet-powered Thrust 2 vehicle. The Thrust 2, a 17,000-pound jet-powered Rolls-Royce Avon 302 designed by John Ackroyd, reached a record 633.468mph over the one-mile course in Nevada's stark Black Rock Desert, breaking the 631.367mph speed record achieved by Gary Gabelich's Blue Flame in 1970. Previous to Gary Gabelich there was Craig Breedlove, the American driver who recorded a series of astounding victories in jet-powered vehicles during the 1960s, breaking the 400mph, 500mph, and 600mph barriers in 1963, 1964, and 1965, respectively. In 1997, Breedlove and Noble returned to Black Rock Desert again, this time in a race to break the elusive 700mph barrier. On September 25, team leader Noble watched as British fighter pilot Andy Green set a new land-speed record in their Thrust SSC vehicle, jet-powering to an impressive 714.144mph over the one-mile course. But the greatest victory for the British team came on October 13 of that same year, when Andy Green roared across Black Rock Desert at 764.168mph, or 1.007 percent above the speed of sound. Appropriately, the first shattering of the sound barrier by a land vehicle came on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the first supersonic flight, achieved by American pilot Chuck Yeager in 1947.

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October 03, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1912 A Duesie of a racing legacy

In the first professional racing victory for a car fitted with a Duesenberg engine, race car driver Mortimer Roberts won the 220-mile Pabst Blue Ribbon Trophy Race, held in and around the village of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. The engine was designed by Frederick and August Duesenberg, two brothers who had immigrated to Iowa from Germany in the late-nineteenth century. After honing his mechanical talents by repairing early automobiles, Frederick Duesenberg became enthralled with the prospect of motor racing, and with his brother August opened an automobile shop. After establishing their reputation with engines and other racing parts, the Duesenberg brothers began construction of the first complete Duesenberg racing cars. The first great racing triumph of one of their cars came in 1921 when a Duesenberg was driven to victory in the 24-Hour event at Le Mans, France. The mid-1920s found the Duesenbergs in the racing world's spotlight, especially at the Indy 500, where their cars won the event outright in 1924, 1925, and 1927. But the Duesenberg's most significant contribution to automotive history came after automobile manufacturer E.L. Cord bought Duesenberg Motors in 1926, with the sole purpose of obtaining the design expertise of Fred Duesenberg. Cord wanted to produce the most luxurious car in the world, and in 1928, the Duesenberg-designed Model J was presented, widely considered to be one of the finest automobiles ever made.

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