March 30, 2006

New CAFE Rules by 2011

Bush has told auto manufactures that he is raising the CAFE requirements for all light trucks (SUV's, Minivans, Pickup Trucks) that by 2011 the new gas mileage requirements will have to average 24 MPG for their Light Truck Fleet.

This also includes the larger SUV's like Hummer and Chevy Suburban.

What does this mean for the environment?

The changes for light trucks will cost about $6.7 billion and add about $200 to the price of a vehicle, which owners can recover in gas savings after four years, Bush officials said. About 10.7 billion gallons in gasoline will be saved over the program, which will be phased in over four years beginning in 2008.

How did the auto manufactuers react?

Automakers reacted cautiously.

"It is going to be a challenge for automakers but they are committed to meeting it," said Eron Shosteck, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "There are going to be significant engineering questions that have to be addressed."

And of course the greenies had to put their 2 cents in.

But environmentalists and car safety groups charged that the new fuel economy standards fall far short of President Bush's drive to dramatically reduce American dependence on foreign oil.

"This is the president who has said we are addicted to oil. But if this is the best we can do, we aren't going to get out of rehab," said spokesman Charlie Miller of the Environmental Defense.

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Delphi's Excistance In Danger?

The big news around here right now is the Delphi-GM-UAW talks about wages and contracts.

Delphi/GM wants to lower employee wages from $27/hour to $16.50/hour. Just on a 40 hour week the employees would be losing $22k/year in wages. Most people work a lot more than 40 hours/week, so potentially they could be losing $30k, $40k or even more per year.

Of course Delphi/GM is pointing the fingers at the hourly worker as the reason why they are near bankrupt, but instead they should turn that finger around and point it at themself.

GM recently is in trouble for "accounting irregualarities" with the Securities Board, hmmm gee that wouldn't hurt the company would it?

Also, why are the top executives taking paycuts also? Their salaries are out of hand and don't match up to the job they doing running the company.

Delphi/GM say they will take it to court and have the judge dismiss the contact under Bankruptcy laws but if that happens the workers will go on strike. And it will be a long, nasty strike. A strike wouldn't be good for GM because something like 80% of their parts are supplied by Delphi, which would close down all GM manufacturing plants.

I mean, what do the workers have to lose by striking? Not much.

Posted by Quality Weenie at 08:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Today in Automotive History

1947 Tucker announces car concept

Preston Tucker announced his concept for a new automobile to be named "the Tucker". Having built a reputation as an engineer during WWII when he served as general manager of his company, Ypsilanti Machine & Tool Company, Tucker looked to capitalize on the high demand for cars that post-war conditions offered. No new car model had been released since 1942, and so the end of the war would bring four years worth of car-buyers back to the market. Tucker intended to meet the demand with a revolutionary automobile design. His 1945 plans called for an automobile that would be equipped with a rear-mounted engine as powerful as an aircraft engine, an hydraulic torque converter that would eliminate the necessity of a transmission, two revolving headlights at either side of the carýs fender, one stationary "cyclops" headlight in the middle, and a steering wheel placed in the center of the car and flanked by two passenger seats. However, a series of financial difficulties forced Tucker to tone down his own expectations for the cars. Production costs rose above his projections and investors became more cautious as the Big Three continued their astounding post-war success. To raise money for his project, Tucker sold franchises to individual car dealers who put up $50 in cash for every car they expected to sell during their first two years as a Tucker agent. The deposit was to be applied to the purchase price of the car upon delivery. The SEC objected to Tuckerýs strategy on the grounds that he was selling unapproved securities. It was just one intervention in a continuous battle between Tucker and federal regulatory bodies. Tucker loyalists espouse the theory that Tucker was the victim of a conspiracy planned by the Big Three to sabotage independent manufacturers. More likely, though, Tucker was the victim of an unfriendly market and his own recklessness. Unfortunately for his investors, the SEC indicted Tucker before he could begin mass production of his cars. He was acquitted on all counts, but his business was ruined. In the end, only fifty-one Tuckers were produced and none of them were equipped with the technological breakthroughs he promised. Still, the Tucker was a remarkable car for its price tag. Whether as an innovator silenced by the complacent authorities or a charlatan better fit to build visions than cars, Preston Tucker made a personal impact in a post-war industry dominated by faceless goliaths.

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March 29, 2006

Ladies, Start Your Engines

Ladies, ever feel like cars that are designed by men are designed for men? Today something like 65% of all vehicles purchased are purchased by women and something like 85% of all vehicles purchased have input by women.

So why are vehicles not more women friendly?

Carmakers are starting to introduce male engineers to some of the problems women have with today's vehicles. How you ask?

In Detroit, Mary Sipes, General Motors' vehicle line director for full-size SUVs, had an unusual assignment for one of her male engineers as the 2007 Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon were being developed.

The engineer was told to go to Payless Shoes and buy a pair of size 12 high heels. He did just that, picking out a cream-colored pair.

It was all for a good cause: the "Mr. Mom" competition in the automaker's internal "Olympics" held at the GM Proving Grounds in Milford.

The all-male contestants in that particular event had to wear a skirt, heels, and fake fingernails. They were given a baby stroller and a baby doll. Before them stood a row of Escalades, Tahoes and Yukons. They had to wheel the baby stroller up to the vehicle, unlock it, load the baby in a car seat without "hurting" it and jump into the driver's seat without ripping the skirt or a nail.

All of these "mommy exercises" have resulted in some practical improvements.

Sipes says one step forward is a rear-seat DVD entertainment system that can be loaded from the instrument panel. Some SUVs, like the 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, have awkward systems in such odd locations as the bottom of the right passenger's seat in the second row.

"Moms want to have control over that, especially if the kids are in child seats," she said. "With earlier systems, moms had to reach back to get the movie going."

Escalade buyers who opt for rear-seat entertainment can now load DVDs from a slot on the dashboard -- a feature I suspect will be copied by the Chinese before too long.

Hattip: The Detroit News

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Today in Automotive History

1806 Treasury funds first highway

The Great National Pike, also known as the Cumberland Road, became the first highway funded by the national treasury. Built between 1806 and 1840, the Great National Pike stretched from Cumberland, Maryland, to Vandalia, Illinois. On this day the first appropriation of $30,000 was made by congressional act. Eventually over $6 million was appropriated for the highway. In 1856, control over the road was turned over to the states through which it ran. Roads would be left to the devices of the states almost exclusively until the dawn of the automobile. Henry Ford and other leaders of the automotive industry were instrumental in encouraging the federal funding of national highways.

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March 24, 2006

I Am Demanding The Truth From The Media

I just signed a petition to Demand the Media "Tell the Truth!"
from the liberal media and I'm asking you to join me in signing it.

Click here to sign the petition

Already, the media's bias is distorting the Supreme Court
vacancy crisis. The media are doing everything in their power
to demonize conservatives and force a so-called "moderate"
Justice on our nation.

We must take a stand. Thanks for joining with me.

P.S. After adding your name to this important petition, please
alert your friends and family and urge them to take action with

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Sneak Peek: 2007 Cadillac STS

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The Cadillac STS has a facelift in the works, likely for the 2008 model year. The big four-door gets a new, Escalade-inspired grille treatment, with a more detailed chrome treatment and a subdued mesh grille. The STS's new face looks much lighter and more expressive than the current model's - a subtle but effective update. New taillights ditch the full red lenses, in favor of styled LED lamps that complement the STS's chiseled lines. The clear lenses have only a sliver of red reflector at the inside edges, but separate vertical LED strips glow red (braking) or orange (turn signals) in a truly eye-catching display. It appears that two additional reflective red strips have been added between the tailpipes, but it's unclear whether this is a final production application, or merely a safety add-on for testing purposes. We expect similar updates to be applied to the CTS and SRX models, to tighten up Cadillac's revamped family look.

Hattip: The Car Connection

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Lawsuit Lottery Stopped Dead

Looks like the automotive industry fought back and actually won for once in the Lawsuit Lottery and they also got a Lawyer disbared!

In a classic turnaround, DaimlerChrysler has demanded disbarment of a Texas lawyer whose reported misconduct included diddling a Dodge Neon supposedly to show its steering system was defective - in support of a bogus $2 billion product liability action.

According to DaimlerChrysler lawyer Steven B. Hantler, "Our company was the victim of one of the most outrageous examples of lawyer misconduct in Texas history. This lawyer prosecuted a lawsuit that he knew was based on fabricated evidence."

In 1998, three San Antonio lawyers sued DC and others in a case involving a Neon which rolled after the driver fell asleep, killing four passengers. Just before trial, Chrysler learned the Neon's steering system had been tampered with after the crash to make it appear it was defective. The plaintiff lawyers refused to provide "before" photographs to the court, and their investigator tried to bribe witnesses to lie that the driver had not fallen asleep.

When the fraud was revealed the judge dismissed the case and fined the lawyers nearly $1 million which, according to DaimlerChrysler, still remains unpaid. The trial judge referred the matter to the Texas Bar for disciplinary action, which resulted in one of the trio being disbarred after he fled the country, while the other two received less sanctioning than DC attorneys felt was justified.

Accordingly, they have intervened with the Bar for further review of the remaining lawyers' status.

This is not the first time an auto company has fought back against misconduct by plaintiff attorneys or their allies. Several years ago, a contract trial lawyer defending General Motors sued the Center for Auto Safety for defamation by the CAS in post-trial statements concerning GM's defense of its trucks. The Center's insurance carrier settled for the full amount of the liability coverage held by CAS, $500,000.

Hattip: The Car Connection

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Today in Automotive History

1954 AMC is born

Stockholders of the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and the Hudson Motor Car Company approved the proposed merger of the two firms. The companies would form the American Motors Corporation (AMC). AMC is recognized as the most successful postwar independent manufacturer of cars. It owed its success in large part to its remarkable President George Romney. Born to Mormon missionary parents on a Mormon colony in Chihuahua, Mexico, Romney grew up poor. His grandfather, Miles Romney, who had been born in Nauvoo, Illinois, the original site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, had four wives and sired 30 children. Unlike most of the great figures of the American automotive industry, Romney had little experience actually building cars. He had made his mark as a spokesman and advocate during stints as a lobbyist. His first car-related job was the director position of the Automobile Manufacturers Association. He joined the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation in 1948 as the special assistant to then company Chairman George Mason. Romney learned the business side of the automobile industry, and his exceptional skills as a negotiator propelled him to the upper echelons of the company. By 1953, he was an executive vice-president and a member of the board of directors. A few months after the merger that formed AMC, George Mason, company president, died and the board elected Mason's protégé, George Romney, to succeed him. As head of AMC, Romney emphasized the independents' need to avoid direct competition with the Big Three. The company developed the Rambler, and Romney coined the term "compact car" to promote it. Romney is also credited with coining the term "gas-guzzling dinosaur" to describe the Big Three's extravagant 1950s models. AMC recorded profits by 1958, and George Romney was rewarded for his remarkable achievement with name recognition. Still a devout Mormon, Romney used his recognition for social improvement. He led a campaign against the monopoly held by Detroit's Big Three. Romney argued that no car manufacturer should be allowed to maintain more than 35 percent market share. He termed his business philosophy "competitive cooperative consumerism" and argued that monopoly "either by labor or by industry, is bad for America." Romney's views, perhaps ahead of their time, were never fully taken seriously due in part to his tendency to change his stance. His career as a car manufacturer was followed by a political career, during which he served as governor of Michigan and ran for the Republican nomination for president.

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March 23, 2006

Airless Tires?

VW from One Happy Dog Speaks sent me an email asking if I had heard anything about Airless tires, I hadn't so I did some checking.

They are actually real, research is being done by Michelin.

Oh they are not ready for automotive use yet, they are still in "concept" phase.

They are being used on mobility devices and on Segways.

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Today in Automotive History

1956 Studebaker-Packard looks for a merger

The Studebaker-Packard Corporation halted merger talks with the Ford Motor Company to pursue talks with the Curtiss-Wright Corporation. Studebaker-Packard itself was the result of a merger in which the large Studebaker firm merged with the small and successful Packard line. After World War II the independent car manufacturers had a difficult time keeping pace with the production capabilities of the Big Three, who were able to produce more cars at lower prices to meet the demands of a population starved for cars. Independents began to merge with one another to remain competitive. Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson Motors merged successfully to become American Motors (AMC). Paul Hoffman, the manager of Studebaker, realized his company would have to merge or perish. He negotiated an arduous merger between his company and Detroit-based Packard Motors. The merger took over five months to come through, as unionized labor on both sides balked at the proposal. Finally, in October of 1954, Studebaker and Packard merged to become the country's fourth largest car company. Hoffman chose Packard President James Nance to lead the new operation. Nance, spiteful of the inefficiency that Studebaker brought to his company, generally ignored the input of his colleagues, instituting his own policies in an attempt to turn around the fortune of his new company. His policies failed, and renewed labor problems brought Studebaker-Packard to its knees. In 1956, Curtiss-Wright purchased Studebaker-Packard. The failed merger between Studebaker, which had been in operation since the 1890s, and Packard was emblematic of the post-war independent manufacturers' scramble to consolidate. While Studebaker-Packard failed, AMC was able to stay alive into the 1970s, when it was bought by French giant Renault

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March 22, 2006

Today in Automotive History

1926 River Rouge is renamed

The Ford Motor Company renamed its massive River Rouge facility the Fordson Plant. The name River Rouge, synonymous with Ford history, would continue to be used. River Rouge was established in response to the massive demand for the Model T. In the spring of 1915, Henry Ford began buying huge tracts of land along the Rouge River, southwest of Detroit. He later announced his plans to construct a massive industrial complex which would include its own steel mills. Ford proclaimed he would no longer be "at the mercy of his suppliers." Ford Lieutenant William Knudsen disagreed with his boss's notion that bigger was better. The pugnacious Ford responded to his advice with typical urbanity, saying, "No, William, no. I want the Ford business all behind one fence so I can see it." The outbreak of war in Europe brought with it a scarcity of steel that threatened to halt production of the Model T. Ford ordered Knudsen to buy up all the steel he could. Henry Ford, a proclaimed pacifist, objected to the idea of preparing for war. He likened a war-ready nation to a man carrying a gun: bound for trouble. Nevertheless, once war was declared, Ford stood behind President Wilson and River Rouge became an "arsenal of democracy." The largest industrial complex of its day, River Rouge looked like a small city. After the war, the factory remained a primary character in the Ford drama. By 1937, General Motors (GM) and Chrysler recognized the United Auto Workers (UAW) as a labor union. But, despite the fact that the federal government, with the New Deal, guaranteed a worker's right to belong to a union, Ford refused to negotiate with the UAW. Instead, he ordered his strongman, Harry Bennett, to keep the workers in check. On May 26, 1937, union leader Walter Reuther led a group of men through the River Rouge Plant to distribute literature to the workers. Upon leaving the plant, Reuther and his companions were attacked by Bennett and his men. The event, named the "Battle of the Overpass," received national attention. Ford's reputation as a labor negotiator, already bad, grew worse. Amazingly, though, Bennett's fear tactics postponed the inevitable triumph of labor leaders for almost four years, when a massive sit-down strike finally succeeded in shutting the River Rouge plant down. The Ford River Rouge plant is also well-known for a Ford family controversy over a series of murals by artist Diego Rivera, which were commissioned by Edsel Ford on behalf of the Detroit Art Institute. Henry Ford objected strongly to the communist aesthetic of the murals and ordered their production ceased. Edsel, in a rare moment of defiance, refused his father's demands and the murals remained on display at the River Rouge Plant. Today, just as Henry Ford desired, the Fordson Plant at River Rouge really is "the Ford business all behind one fence," where we can see it.

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March 21, 2006

Blog Help

You know the line at the end of posts

"posted by namehere"

I need to change my namehere, how and where do I do that?

Posted by Quality Weenie at 04:27 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Did some house cleaning relating to the issues I have been having lately, so if you thought you saw something but don't see it now that's why.

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Today in Automotive History

1960 Senna is born

Ayrton Senna da Silva is born in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Senna was first given a 1 cc car by his father when he was only four years old. He raced throughout his childhood and began to compete at the age of 13 in local Brazilian KART races. Senna rose from the anonymity of KART racing to become one of the greatest Formula-1 drivers in history. He was worshipped in Brazil to an extent nearly unimaginable in the U.S. Senna, known for his belligerent competitive spirit, won 41 Grand Prix events, and remains second all-time to Alain Prost in Formula-1 victories. He was a key player in the golden years of F-1 racing when he, Nigel Mansel, Alain Prost, and Nelson Piquet battled for the top position in car racing's most glamorous circuit. Senna died in a crash in 1994 during the Grand Prix of San Monaco. A manslaughter investigation still shrouds Senna's death in mystery. It is presumed that Senna's fatal crash may have been caused by a faulty steering column on his Williams-Renault automobile. However, the cause of Senna's death has become a point of contention among Brazilian racing fans who hold the Williams team responsible for the death of their national hero.

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March 20, 2006

Today in Automotive History

1928 Packard founder dies

James Ward Packard, founder of the Ohio Automobile Company and the Packard Motor Car Company, died in Cleveland, Ohio, on this day, at the age of 64. A native of Warren, Ohio, James Packard and his brother, William, started their industrial careers manufacturing electric lamps. They entered the automobile business after James Packard purchased a Winton Motor Carriage. He was so dissatisfied with Winton's machine that he decided to build his own. Using the shops of a Packard Electric Company subsidiary, J.W. Packard completed his first automobile in 1899, driving through the streets of his hometown of Warren. Wishing to keep their automotive and electrical interests separate, the Packard brothers, along with fellow engineer George Weiss, started the Ohio Automobile Company in September 1900. That year the Packards boosted their company's profile by selling two cars to William D. Rockefeller. In 1901, an Ohio Automobile Company employee was arrested for speeding through the streets of Warren at 40mph. The nationally publicized speeding arrest also raised the company's profile. A shrewd promoter, Packard developed one of the car industry's first widely recognized slogans. Responding to a customer's inquiry about the performance of his car, Packard said, "Ask the man who owns one." Packard's deft promotion left the company with more customers than cars. A Detroit financier named Henry Joy volunteered his services to raise capital in order to raise the company's production capabilities. In 1902, the reorganized Ohio Automobile Company was incorporated as the Packard Motor Car Company. Packard cars would be the first to carry a steering wheel in the place of a tiller and the first to utilize the H-gear-shift configuration.

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March 17, 2006

Friday Doggie Blogging

It's Friday!

That means it's puppytime!

My most favoriteist picture of Lance
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And here we have Maggie looking at the recent Hockey trades.
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And here we have Lance standing on the arm of the couch, something he is not suppose to be doing.
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And Maggie caught mid-shake
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Lance chewing on one-arm kitty
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And Maggie sporting a funky patterned sweater
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Happy St. Patrick's Day

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Both of my Great Grandparents on my mothers mother side were Irish. I've been told they came from Dublin but that is all I really know about that side.

So today may your luck be gold and your beer be green!

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Today in Automotive History

1914 NYC welcomes new buses

The Fifth Avenue Coach Company of New York introduced the first bus with cross-wise seats. Prior to this introduction, all buses had been equipped with longitudinal seating. Cross seats allowed passengers to face forward, affording them a less one-sided view of their world. The company's double-decker buses were capable of seating 44 passengers.

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March 16, 2006

Today in Automotive History

1961 New Jaguar debuts

Jaguar Cars Ltd. introduced the XK-E, or E-Type, at the Geneva Auto Show. Th E-Type was the successor to the C- and D-Type Jaguar that had earned the company's reputation for racing excellence. The D-Type, with a top speed of 170mph, captured first place at the 24-hour race at Le Mans in 1955, 1956, and 1957. In 1956, Queen Elizabeth II knighted Sir William Lyons, Jaguar's founder, to recognize his achievement in bringing Jaguar to the heights of the international sports-car world. In 1957 a massive fire at the Jaguar factory halted the further development of Jaguar race cars. The disaster left many wondering whether Jaguar Motors had not already seen its best days in the successful 1950s. The release of the E-Type in 1961 signaled an impressive return by the British racing giant. The E-Type did everything the D-Type had done and more. With a top speed of 150mph and a 0 to 60 time of 6.5 seconds, the E-Type engine growled loudly. What's more, the E-Type averaged an unheard of 17 miles per gallon. By the mid 1960s, the E-Type had become the most famous sports car in the world; today the E-Type is cherished as a car of beautiful lines and precision engineering.

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March 14, 2006

Did You Know?

Motor vehicle occupants have a 17-percent greater chance of being killed if they are in a crash in a state with a secondary enforcement seatbelt law than in a state with a stronger primary enforcement law according to a new study of crash fatality data from 2000-04 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The study found that the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in states not having primary enforcement laws was 1.21, compared to 1.03 in states with primary enforcement, or 17 percent higher. The fatality rate per 100,000 population was 23 percent higher in states not having primary enforcement laws. Fatality rates were higher for all age groups in the states not having primary enforcement seatbelt laws.

Hattip: The Car Connection

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Today in Automotive History

1914 Famous father is born

Stock-car racer Lee Arnold Petty was born near Randleman, North Carolina, on this day. Now famous as the father of Richard Petty--the all-time "winningest" racer in NASCAR history--Lee Petty was no slouch in his own day. In 1959, Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500 at the brand new Daytona International Speedway driving a new hardtop Olds 88 to a photo finish with Johnny Beauchamp. The Pettys would switch to Plymouths midway through the season that year. Lee and Richard Petty drove Plymouths, Chryslers, and Dodges for most of their remaining careers. Together the father-and-son team combined for 254 wins, including eight Daytona 500s. However, Lee and Richard also took father and son competition to its extremes. The embodiment of stock car racing's hard-nosed past, Lee Petty never lost a race on account of being too kind to his competitors, even if his competitors were family. Richard Petty remembers his quest to win his first NASCAR race at the Grand National Exposition in Toronto, "Cotton Owens was leading and daddy was second. They came up on me and I moved over to let them pass. Cotton went on, but daddy bumped me in the rear and my car went right into the wall." Richard finished in 17th place. In 1959, Richard thought he had won his first race after finishing first in the Grand National at Lakewood, Georgia. However, Lee, who finished second in the event, protested his son's victory. The protest was upheld, and Lee won the race. Before you call Richard Petty "The King," remember "The King" isn't an absolute monarch when his daddy is around. Richard's son Kyle is also a successful NASCAR racer, and no doubt benefits from the family's competitive edge.

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March 13, 2006

Japanese Automakers Lying About Something Else

I have posted before about Toyota and Honda artifically increasing the gas mileage reports on their vehicles, well that isn't the only thing that are fibbing about.

It turns out Toyota Motor Corp. isn't as strong as it appears in at least one area -- under the hood. Testing under stricter new horsepower standards reveals that most of the models in Toyota's lineup have less oomph than the company has advertised. Even though the engines are unchanged, the automaker had to lower the horsepower ratings on all but few 2006 Toyota, Lexus and Scion models. The reductions range from 4 to 20 horsepower compared with 2005 models.

Honda Motor Co., the No. 2 Japanese automaker, also has downgraded the horsepower ratings on several models, including most of its Acura luxury brand.

So your saying, hey what about the American automakers. I bet they are fibbing also.

But while the Japanese automakers overstated their power, an analysis of data compiled by shows domestic vehicles have generally been testing at or slightly above previously stated horsepower. The testing suggests Detroit's automakers may have suffered unfairly in the battle of perceptions.

Yep, looks like the American automakers are unfairly getting kick around again.

The Japanese automakers have been building their reputation in the last decade, but now we come to find out that it is a reputation built on lies. So what else have they lied about?

Posted by Quality Weenie at 11:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Today in Automotive History

1980 Henry II abdicates throne

Henry Ford II resigned as Chairman of the Ford Motor Company after naming Philip Caldwell his successor. With Ford's resignation, the era of the Ford family as an automotive dynasty temporarily ended. Henry II was, like his grandfather, a tough and formidable leader. He reorganized the company and instituted a modern bookkeeping system. His father, Edsel, had been considered a dreamer by Henry I. Edsel had spent much of his energy designing cars and improving Ford's labor relationships. He hadn't been a hard-edged businessman and often drew his father's criticism on those grounds. Like the archetypal ruling families of England, the Ford family followed its own generational legacy: Henry the Great, Edsel the Confessor, and Henry II. It sounds like Shakespeare.

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March 09, 2006

Google Search To Beat All Google Search's

I thought I have had some wierd google searches before, but this one takes it all.

I present to you a search for "Quality Ass"

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Would Flood Gates Have Helped New Orleans?

I received this email from my hubby's Uncle. Hubby's Uncle just retired from Northrup Grummen and he worked closely with several branches of the U.S. Military on projects and knew a lot of higher ranking Military people.

He received the email from one of them, while I can not vouch for it's true authenticity I can say I have never recieved a untrue email from Hubby's Uncle.

Take the information for what it's worth.


Here is the story in New Orleans as per Vald Heiberg:

I was the District Engineer in New Orleans in the '70's as we fought the "Greens" over putting two huge "Dutch style" flood gates at the east end of Lake Ponchartrain. That was the Corps plan, to allow us to protect ALL of the lake shore and to keep the levees where needed along the lake (especially at New Orleans) lower. The soil conditions near the big Lake are atrocious, unlike along the Mississippi River where centuries of natural levees with far better soil exists. Higher levees near the Lake clearly was the wrong answer for the hurricane protection. I even invited all our "green" attackers to Vicksburg, flying them there for a day in 1975, to visit with the world's best model and hydraulic
experts at the Corps labs.

But I didn't convince those rabid "greens," and they sued the Corps to stop those massive flood gates. A Federal judge agreed with them: "Just build those New Orleans Levees higher", we were told in court.

Meantime, Dutch, British, and Italian engineers visited our Vicksburg experts to get their facts right for their projects, and yhey built systems providing far more protection. For the Dutch, they protect their urban areas against 10,000 year flood events. The Congress allows the Corps to build to (at most) 100- or 200-y ear protection.

In 1986, the Corps finally gave up the decade-long fight to keep those huge gates. That concession was perhaps my biggest error as the Corps' "Chief," but there simply was no support from the Federal courts or the Congress who assumed "higher levees are the answer."

Katrina showed everyone the error of abandoning those huge flood gates, yet that story remains poorly told. There are some critics who say "It wouldn't have made that much a difference." I am certain they are wrong, and know that future hurricanes will be far better handled by a flood gate system more like the Dutch, Brits, and Italians have chosen. But in yhe '70's and beyond, the "greens" had the upper hand. Perhaps now, with the waste and chaos of Katrina and Rita behind us, our future protection will include those large flood surge gates! I have provided these thoughts to the chair of the National Academies committee who are studying "the big picture" for future New Orleans Hurricane flooding protection.

Now you know "the rest of the story" . . . and I was there. Too bad the author of that scurrilous attack on the Army Corps of Engineers didn't know his/her facts. And I hope you find a way to share this with those who saw your earlier piece.

Vald Heiberg Commander, New Orleans District '74-'75
Member, Mississippi River Commission, '75-'78
Director, Civil Works, Corps of Engineers, '79-'82
Deputy Commander, Corps of Engineers, '82-'83
Commander and "Chief of Engineers", Army Corps of Engineers,

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Sneak Peek: 2007 Hyundai Elantra

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Hyundai is developing a replacement model for its compact Elantra sedan, using components and architecture from the recently redesigned Kia Spectra.

The new Hyundai goes into production this spring in Korea, where it is sold as the Avante. Its American cousin, the Elantra, won¹t get the new design, however, until model year 2007.

Early reports say the new model gets a curvier body and a longer wheelbase, which means more passenger space inside. Major mechanical components, including a twin-cam 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, will likely be shared with Kia.

Hattip: The Detroit News

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Put Down The Compact And Put Your Hands In The Air

TCConfidential: Makeup a Max Factor in Speeding Ticket

Maybe you see it every day on the 405, I-95, or the Perimeter - distracted drivers applying makeup on the way to work, or perhaps on the way to the cabaret show. London's Daily Mail reports that it's happening in the U.K. too, and one woman has been caught by the city's network of speeding cameras. The Welsh woman, 22-year-old Donna Maddock, was caught applying her makeup at 32 mph and was fined a total of 255 pounds (nearly $450) and was given six points on her driver's license for wielding a compact mirror and brush while driving on Welsh highways. A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (how's that for bloated government?), Roger Vincent, told the Daily Mail that "nowadays, there are enough distractions without motorists literally making up their own."

Hattip: The Car Connection

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Today in Automotive History

1901 Fire destroys Olds factory

On this day, a fire destroyed the Olds Motor Works factory in Detroit, Michigan. Legend holds that Olds employee James Brady pushed a Regular Runabout, affectionately called the Curved Dash, out of the building to safety. Over the course of the previous year, Olds had developed over 11 models for cars, all of which varied greatly in price and design. He had reportedly not decided which Olds models on which to focus the company's production capability, but, as the first destroyed all but one prototype, fate decided that the Runabout would be the first major production Olds. The Runabout, a small buggy with lightweight wheels and a curved dashboard powered by a one-cylinder engine, not dissimilar from today's lawnmower engines, became the Olds Motor Company's primary automobile. The Runabout maxed out at 20mph. Olds later viewed the fire as a miracle, a sign that the Runabout would make his fortune. He expressed his enthusiasm for the little car, "My horseless carriage is no passing fad. It never kicks, never bites, never tires on long runs, never sweats in hot weather, and doesn't require care when not in use. It eats only when it's on the road. And no road is too tough for the Olds Runabout." In preparation for his success, Olds contracted other companies for parts to comprise his Runabout and, in doing so, he revolutionized the automobile industry. Previously, all cars had been built from start to finish on one site. Olds' methods allowed for an assembly line in which parts were produced outside his factory and systematically assembled in his own factories. Among Olds subcontracted partners were the Dodge Brothers; Henry Leland, who founded Lincoln and Cadillac; and Fred Fisher, whose family produced bodies for General Motors. The Olds Runabout sold for $650.

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March 08, 2006

Personality Test

Found this over at blogsis VW's of One Happy Dog Speaks.

This test is scary real.

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March 07, 2006

Today in Automotive History

1916 BMW is born

The manufacturing firms of Karl Rapp and Gustav Otto merged to form the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (Bavarian Aircraft Works). The company would later become the Bayerische Motor-Werke (Bavarian Motor Works or BMW). As the original name suggests, BMW began as a manufacturer of aircaft engines. In 1923, BMW built its first motorcycle. The BMW R12, a classic-looking BMW motorcycle, was the first motorcycle to have a telescopic hydraulic front fork, providing a smoother ride and better contact with the road. BMW is still the leader in motorcycle design and production in Europe. In 1929, BMW built its first car, the Dixi, in a factory in Eisenach, Germany. Prior to opening the factory in Eisenach, all BMW products had been manufactured in Munich. By 1938, BMW was racing in the biggest car races in Europe. The 328 won its class at the Mille Miglia Italian road race. The outbreak of World War II saw BMW, like its U.S. counterparts, switch production to war manufacturing. BMW facilities were destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II. After the peace, a three-year ban was imposed on BMW by the Allies for its part in the war. The BMW R24 motorcycle became, with its release in 1948, the company's first post-war product. BMW completed its first postwar car, the 501, in 1951. BMW is still one of the world's leading automobile manufacturers. The company is noted for its innovations in the field of ABS, Anti-Lock Breaking Systems.

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March 06, 2006

Today in Automotive History

1896 First motor car in "Motor City"

Charles B. King tested his automobile on the streets of Detroit, Michigan, becoming the first man to drive a car in the Motor City.

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March 04, 2006

Lawsuit Lottery

Another contestant in the Lawsuit Lottery has struck it big, I guess one of her children are worth $4.5 million dollars.

A jury has ruled that DaimlerChrysler AG must pay damages to the family of a toddler who died when she was run over by her mother's minivan after the child inadvertently shifted the vehicle out of park, attorneys for the family and the automaker said Friday.

Just from that part of the article you would think that maybe Chrysler might be at fault, but:

DaimlerChrysler won't have to pay the full amount since the jury determined the mother of 2 1/2-year-old Madison Hamby was partially responsible for the accident.

Ahh, so now we see that maybe the parents weren't really paying attention to their 2 1/2 year old child.

Hamby's family said DaimlerChrysler should have installed a brake shift interlock, which prevents vehicles from being shifted out of park without depressing the brake pedal.

Vehicles are equipped with that feature, so why did this happen to this vehicle?

DaimlerChrysler said even though the minivan was parked, the key was left in the ignition in the “on” position, which disengaged the safety device that locks the vehicle's gear shifter into “park.” The family also failed to use the parking brake even though the minivan was parked on a slope, the company said.

Ok, now we see the reason behind the accident. But the courts ruled that the parents were only partially responsible for their child being run over by the vehicle.

Now onto the jury, seems they feel that the parents shouldn't be 100% responsible for their children.

The jury also found that DaimlerChrysler should have warned consumers that children could shift the vehicles.

Damn them auto makers, don't they know that parent just don't know what their kids can do and shouldn't be held responsible when something happens to their kids.

But fear not people, not all juries feel that auto makers should be responsible for the actions of children.

Last month, a jury in Iowa ruled in favor of the company in a similar case involving a Dodge Ram pickup.

So to win this lottery you just have to claim you are not responsible for what your 2 1/2 year old does, doesn't matter that you were not watching them and let them be placed into a situation that you created you will still win.

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March 03, 2006

States Appeal to Supreme Court on CO2 Emisions.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A dozen U.S. states appealed to the Supreme Court on Friday on a case that seeks to force the U.S. government to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks, an environmental group said.

The states, three cities including New York, and several green groups had sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to regulate the car emissions most scientists link to global warming.

Last August the full bench of the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., the nation's second-highest court, denied a request to hear the case in a 4 to 3 decision.

Earlier, that court had ruled 2 to 1 that the U.S. government does not have to regulate carbon dioxide emissions spewed from cars and trucks.

The court did not decide central questions on whether EPA has the authority to regulate global warming pollution, or the agency's claim that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.

The EPA had said in 2003 that global warming has risks, but it could not regulate greenhouse gas emissions because Congress had not granted it authority to do so under the federal Clean Air Act.

Friday's petition claims the EPA unjustifiably concluded that the Clean Air Act does not provide it authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, according to John Stanton, Vice President for the National Environmental Trust.

The petition says a review by the Supreme Court "is necessary to prevent the (EPA) from continuing to claim that a decision of this Court prevents it from taking regulatory action to address climate change," according to Stanton.

Passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs account for 20 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, with power plants responsible for 40 percent.

*rant on*

So let's look at this realistically and say the gobberment regulates CO2 in cars and demands that automanufacturers cut the emissions.

The auto manufacturer's are going to raise the price of cars, because it's going to cost more to research and manufacture those kinds of engines, etc. So you will be paying more for your vehicle.

They can't demand a huge decrease, so even an unrealistic cut of 50% will bring that down to 10% emissions from cars. That isn't a huge decrease in CO2 emissions from the air.

I mean the power plants are spewing out 40% and I don't see the "green groups" bitching about the power plants or in fact they are not bitching about anything else that spews CO2. What about other gas engines like motorcycles, or lawnmowers or snowblowers, etc.

Why are the "green groups" not bitching about anything else that spews CO2?

Because "green groups" hate SUV's and Trucks. They feel everyone should be driving electric, milkbox sized cars.

Excuse me while I take my SUV loving white hairy ass out to spew some greenhouse gas.

*rant off*

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Friday Doggie Blogging

Our puppies names are Lance and Maggie and I have gotten into the habit of calling Maggie, Maggie May. The other night I am standing at the stove making dinner and the following conversation ensued with hubby:

Hubby: Lance Micheal get down
Me: WTF? Lance Micheal?
Hubby: Well Maggie has a middle name, you call her Maggie May so Lance needed a middle name.
Me: Huh?
Hubby: Michael was Lance Parrish's middle name (Lance Parrish was on the Detroit Tigers in the 80's/90's and most recently a coach) so I gave Lance his middle name.
Me: *blink, blink*

So there you have it folks, our puppies now have middle names.

Maggie May and Lance Michael, enjoy their picture.

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Today in Automotive History

1985 Lyons and Jaguars and cars, oh my!

Sir William Lyons, founder of Jaguar Motors, retired as Chairman of Jaguar Cars Ltd. on this day. Lyons got his start making motorcycle sidecars in Blackpool, England. In 1926, he co-founded the Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company with William Walmsley. Recognizing the demand for automobiles, Lyons eventually built wooden frames for the Austin Seven Car, calling his creation the Austin Swallow. Spurred on by the warm reception of his Austin Swallows, Lyons began building his own cars, which he called Standard Swallows. In 1934, his company, now SS Cars Ltd., released a line of cars called Jaguars. After WWII, Lyons dropped the "SS" initials that reminded people of the Nazi SS soldiers. Jaguar Cars Ltd. went on to produce a number of exquisite sports cars and roadsters, among them the XK 120, the D Type, and the XK-E or E Type. Perhaps Lyons' most monumental achievement, the E Type was the fastest sports car in the world when it was released in 1961. With a top speed of 150mph and a zero to 60 of 6.5 seconds, the Jaguar made a remarkable 17 miles to the gallon and suffered nothing in its looks. In spite of Jaguar's distinguished record on the race track, the company is associated most with the beautiful lines of its car bodies--appropriate considering Lyons's first offering to the automobile industry was a wooden frame bolted to another man's car.

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March 02, 2006

I Think My Work Is Effecting My Outlook On Life

You Are 78% Evil
You are very evil. And you're too evil to care.
Those who love you probably also fear you. A lot.
How Evil Are You?
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Banking Question

I am hoping someone out there (Harvey) can answer this question or point me in the right direction.

Savings bonds (those things you got as a kid instead of money that took like 20 years to mature) is there a way to track down how many are in your name?

I ask because it looks like someone in my family, whose name was also on the bonds cashed them in and are now telling I never had any. But I know I did, I remember getting them for birthday, communion and the such.

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Today in Automotive History

1918 Tatra engineer dies

Hans Ledwinka, the engineer who created the Tatra marquee, died in Munich, Germany, at the age of 89. Early in his career, Ledwinka took over engineering for Nesseldorf Wagenbau of Austria-Hungary when the founder of the company, Hugo von Roslerstamm, decided the company should enter racing. Under Ledwinka's leadership, the Rennzweier and the Type A racers were produced. The cars demonstrated modest racing success, and wide-scale production of the Type S began in 1909. Nesseldorf Wagenbau continued to grow until 1914, when, coinciding with the outbreak of WWI, it shifted to railroad production. On October 28, 1918, two weeks before the end of the war on the Western Front, the Moravian town of Nesseldorf of Austria-Hungary became the city of Koprivnicka in the newly created country of Czechoslovakia. Just after the war, Hans Ledwinka began construction of a new automobile to be marketed under the marquee Tatra, a division of the newly named Koprivnicka Wagenbau. The Tatra High Mountains are among the highest mountains in the Carpathian Mountain Range, the legendary home of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Ledwinka settled on the name Tatra in 1919 when an experimental model of his car with four-wheel brakes passed a sleigh on an icy mountain road, prompting the sleigh riders to 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" was realized. The reliable, rugged T11, like Ford's Model T, gave many Czechoslovakians their first opportunity to own an automobile. In 1934, Tatra achieved automotive notoriety with the introduction of the Tatra 77, the world's first aerodynamically styled automobile powered by a rear-mounted air-cooled engine

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March 01, 2006

Ash Wednesday

I was over at blogsis LeeAnn's Place and she had a post up about Lent, being Catholic myself I have observed Lent since birth. It's been part of my upbringing, although my family was in no way a very religious family we still followed the church.

We were always "guided" to sacrafice something near and dear to us for Lent and I could never figure out anything to give up until one year in late childhood. This tradition has continued every year since then for me and I considered it the ultimate sacrafice I could make.

I give up all forms of chocolate for Lent.

Folks, Lent lasts 40 days and ends with Easter. I give up all forms of chocolate for everyone of those days. I think I should be considered for Sainthood, especially with all that I am going through with work right now, either that or my hubby should get sainthood.

I have included a little primer on Lent for those not in the know.

In Christian churches, the first day of the penitential season of Lent, so called from the ceremony of placing ashes on the forehead as a sign of penitence. This custom, probably introduced by Pope Gregory I, has been universal since the Synod of Benevento (1091). In the Roman Catholic church, ashes obtained from burned palm branches of the previous Palm Sunday are blessed before mass on Ash Wednesday. The priest places the blessed ashes on the foreheads of the officiating priests, the clergy, and the congregation, while reciting over each one the following formula: “Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

Hattip: The History Channel

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Sneak Peek - 2008 Porsche 911

Sneak peak: 2008 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabrio

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Porsche is introducing its sixth-generation 911 Turbo this week at the annual Geneva Auto Show, but the German engineers already are testing the next new model variant, the 911 Turbo Cabrio.

The all-wheel-drive convertible will share most major features with the hardtop, including a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 480 horsepower and can be ordered with either a six-speed manual or five-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox.

Porsche estimates the 911 Turbo Cabrio will be only marginally slower than the hardtop, which rockets from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds with the manual transmission.

The 911 Turbo hardtop model goes on sale this summer in North America, priced at $122,900.

The 911 Turbo Cabrio is expected to follow next spring, as an early '08 model, for about $10,000 more than the coupe

Hattip: The Detroit News

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Hybrid Hype Dying?

Honda Backing Away from Hybrids?

Recent reports have suggested that Honda is having second thoughts about hybrid powertrains. It's fair to say that CEO Takeo Fukui isn't rushing to fill the automaker's lineup with the high-mileage technology - at least not yet. While he told hybrids have great potential, he stressed that it will be hard to push the technology into the mainstream "unless (production) costs come down." The outspoken executive said that while they represent an ecologically-friendly alternative, "there has to also exist a good business equation," and that is hard to justify right now, Fukui said. "We'll probably have more" than the current Insight, Accord and Civic hybrids, he suggested, but when remains a question. Besides, he added, the hybrid "is not the only solution." Honda, Fukui said, is looking at a variety of other options, including ethanol and diesel powertrains, as well as hydrogen power.

Hattip: The Car Connection

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Today in Automotive History

1897 Winton & Co. is born

The Winton Motor Carriage Company was organized in Cleveland, Ohio, on this day, with Alexander Winton as president. After 12 years in the bicycle manufacturing business, Winton began producing cars with his name on them in 1896. A fiery Scotsman, Winton took the challenge to build the world's fastest automobile personally. Like Ransom Olds, he raced his own cars. Racing at Daytona Beach is said to have begun with a match race between Winton and Olds in 1902, which the two men declared a draw. A year later, Winton won a multi-car race at Daytona, driving his Winton Bullet to an average speed of 68mph and becoming the first person to break the mile-per-minute barrier. Alexander Winton's personal rivalries did not stop with Ransom Olds. In 1901, Henry Ford, after being passed over for a mechanic's job with Winton's company, defeated Winton in his first and last car race. Ford's future notoriety would depend heavily on the publicity won in his encounter with his one-time potential employer. James Ward Packard also maintained a personal rivalry with Winton. After having purchased a Winton, Packard complained about the car's reliability. Winton reportedly politely urged Packard to build his own car. Packard responded by starting his own company. In the first decade of American car racing Wintons and Packards, driven by Barney Oldfield and Ralph DePalma, respectively, would fuel the sport's greatest rivalry. In 1903, Winton drove his car from San Francisco to New York to prove the reliability of his vehicles. It was the automotive industry's most dramatic achievement up to that point. A popular anecdote sums up Winton's involvment in the early automotive industry. Faced with mechanical problems in an early Winton, a Cleveland area resident reportedly towed his Winton through the streets of Cleveland with a team of mules exhibiting a sign reading, "This is the only way you can drive a Winton." In response, Winton hired a farm wagon carrying a jackass to follow his detractor, exhibiting a sign that read, "This is the only animal unable to drive a Winton."

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