June 30, 2006

Happy Independance Day

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I will be leaving on vacation tomorrow, so I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.

I will be basking on the beaches of North Carolina at the Outer Banks for a week!


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Today In Automotive History

1953 First Corvette produced

The first Chevrolet Corvette, a white convertible roadster with a red interior, was produced in temporary facilities in Flint, Michigan. The Corvette was born as a dream car for the 1953 Motorama. The first all-fiberglass-bodied American sports car, the Vette turned heads with its release. The sleek lines of the 1953 edition are among the best produced by American car design. But underneath its exterior, the first Corvette's inner workings were less than impressive. They were comprised mostly of existing General Motors' (GM) parts, including a "Blue Flame" inline six-cylinder engine, a two-speed automatic transmission and the drum brakes from Chevrolet's regular car line.

The Corvette was at best a half-hearted attempt at a sports car. Events, however, combined to keep the Chevrolet Corvette in production in spite of its dismal sales record early on. Ford's release of the T-Bird in 1954 necessitated the existence of the Corvette as GM's answer in the small, sporty market. GM gradually improved the vehicle's design until, by 1961, it was undoubtedly America's favorite sports car. Unique in American history in its longevity as a model, the Corvette has remained an impressive machine throughout its lifetime. In recent years, GM has been able to rank the Corvette among the world's elite sports cars in 0 to 60 times, top speed, and overall muscle. The Corvette's list price modestly remains half of its European competitors.

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June 29, 2006

Chrysler To Play Up German Roots

Chrysler will be running a new ad campaign for the summer sell-off of vehicles before the new model year vehicles hit in October.

The new campaign will heavily tote their relationship with Damiler and Germany. They said they did a survey and found that a lot of people in America don't know that Chrysler has ties to Damiler (they have been hiding under a rock I guess).

Question is, do they really want to play up their German roots and play down their American ties? They are actually telling people that they are not an American company anymore. Not wise if you ask me.

Chrysler Group this weekend will break a new ad campaign that touts the company's summer sell-down, but it will also contain a message delivered in part by DaimlerChrysler chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche that Chrysler has a lot of German blood running through its veins and fuel lines.

The CEO on Wednesday hedged about the ads, which will be shown at a press conference Friday. But he said that the ads will talk up Chrysler's connection to Mercedes-Benz and its German ownership. Zetsche's German accent should help drive the point home. The ads, which he says, will be "product-focused" will be tagged with the summer sale offer, which dealers have said will be "employee pricing."

Why push the "German" button? Zetsche says that one reason Chrysler is having to use the highest consumer incentives in the marketplace and is carrying the highest inventories of unsold vehicles is that consumers are bundling Chrysler with GM and Ford, which have been the subjects of ongoing negative news coverage. "There is a great amount of negative news about GM and Ford that has had negative fallout on us," said Zetsche. "Lots of people out there don't differentiate among Detroit brands," he said.

Chrysler communications chief Jason Vines says research the company did recently shows a "remarkable" lack of awareness about Chrysler being part of DaimlerChrysler or being related to Mercedes-Benz. "We want people to understand that DaimlerChrysler has superior resources to deliver product technology," said Zetsche, citing the rear-drive 300 sedan and Grand Cherokee diesel as two examples of how Mercedes benefits Chrysler. "We have technology and know-how that is not available to other volume brands," said the CEO.

Hattip: The Car Connection

Another article about it.

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Today In Automotive History

1957 Europe and U.S. duel on the track

Giuseppe Bacciagaluppi, managing director of the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, staged the first race at his newly remodeled track, a match race between the top 10 Indy Car drivers and the top 10 Formula One drivers in the world. Monza enjoyed the reputation of being Europe's fastest racetrack. Jimmy Bryan of the United States won the Two Worlds Trophy in a Salih roadster at 160mph. The race did little to settle the dispute as to where the world's best drivers reside, on the high-speed ovals of the United States or on the curvy Grand Prix tracks of Europe. In those days, many racers bridged the gap between the two worlds-- like Jim Clark, who won at Indy in the same year he captured the F1 crown. Today it is widely held that the world's best drivers compete on the F1 circuit, though the specialized cars of today make the two types of racing more difficult to compare.

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June 28, 2006

Bumper Stickers

Jesus loves you...but everyone else thinks you are an ass.

If you can read this...I can slam on my brakes and sue you.

Some people are only alive because it is illegal to shoot them.

Welcome to America ....now speak English

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Supreme Court To Rule On Emissions

Supreme Court Takes Up Emissions

Global warming will become a legal issue before the Supreme Court this year, as the judges have decided to hear a case that pits the Bush Administration against environmental groups. The court will hear a case filed by California and ten other states, which charges that the Environmental Protection Agency must treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant and must regulate emissions in cars as a result. A ruling in favor of the states could push automakers to offer far more alternative-fuel and smaller vehicles. The court will hear the case in the fall and rule by next summer.

I can not believe how dangerous this is going to be. The Supreme Court to rule on emissions and possibly forcing automotive makers to bow down to the envirowakos to only make electric and small cars. Nothing like taking away my freedom to drive something I don't want to drive.

Again I state, automobiles only make-up 10% of all carbon dioxide in the air. Manufacturing plants make more, but they are not being regulated by the Supreme Court.

I would like to know who the envirowakos paid off to get their case to the Supreme court.

This is so bad, it's actually scaring me. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the envirowakos I can only imagine what kind of unholy doors that ruling would open.

Hattip: The Car Connection

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Today In Automotive History

1914 Ferdinand assassinated in Austro-Daimler

Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, while riding in an Austro-Daimler that was chauffeured by Otto Merz, a Mercedes team driver. The assassination resulted in the outbreak of World War I. The archduke and his wife, Sophie, rode into Sarajevo in a motorcade consisting of four cars; the royals occupied the second. On the way to the City Hall as they crossed the Milijacka River at Cumuria Bridge, Serbian nationalist Nedjelko Cabrinovic threw a bomb at the Daimler carrying the archduke and his wife. Franz Ferdinand managed to deflect the bomb onto the street. About a dozen people, including Sophie, who was hit in the face with shrapnel, suffered injuries, but no one was killed. The assassin swallowed a cyanide pill and jumped off the bridge. Unfortunately, he coughed up the pill and landed in only a foot of water. He was taken into custody. The first two cars of the motorcade continued on their way to the Sarajevo City Hall. Upon his arrival at the welcome ceremony, Franz Ferdinand interrupted the mayor's speech, seizing him by the arm and crying, "One comes here to visit and is received with bombs. Mr. Mayor, what do you say?" He later calmed down and finished his own speech with a reaffirming pledge of his regard for the people of Sarajevo. After the speech, Franz Ferdinand ordered his chauffeur to carry him to the hospital to visit the victims of the bomb; Sophie accompanied him. Their driver took a wrong turn after crossing the Imperial Bridge and the car ended up on a street named after Franz Ferdinand's father, Franz Josef. Noticing his mistake, the driver applied the brakes and the car came to a halt a foot short of another Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip. Princip fired his pistol into the car, striking the archduke in the neck and his wife in the stomach. In shock and unaware that she had been wounded, Sophie cried to her husband, "For heaven's sake, what's happened to you?" Franz Ferdinand keeled over whispering "Es ist nichts, Es ist nichts..." A lengthy investigation into the conspiracy failed to prove any complicity in the plot on the part of the Serbian government. Nevertheless, the Austrians sent their army into Serbia and World War I was born.

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June 27, 2006

Capture Of Miami Terrorist Stupid?

I was on the computer yesterday with the TV on for background noise, the local news had just ended and Geroldo came on.

At the end of the show I guess Geroldo does a "commentary" on a subject and he chose yesterday to do one on the capture of the terriorist in Miami.

I could not believe what was coming from his mouth.

He literally said the government was stupid for wasting tax payers money by spending any amount of time investgating and eventually for a trial.

He said that these terrorists were to stupid to waste time on nor were they smart enough to carry out any of their plans because they didn't even know where the Sears tower was nor did they know how to shoot guns so there was no way these terrorist would have amount to anything.

He kept going on and on about this and how stupid the government is for even arresting them. He felt that the terrorist should have just been ignored and the government should have been working on more important things.

So this is how the Democrats feel, if terrorist are stupid just let them be.

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Today In Automotive History

1990 Days of Thunder is released

Paramount released Days of Thunder, a film created by the team that brought the world Top Gun. In Days of Thunder, Tom Cruise stars as Cole Trickle, a brash young stock-car racer with more skill than brains. He gets a ride from team owner Tim Daland (Randy Quaid), and sets out to take the NASCAR establishment by storm in his Mellow Yellow car. In his way stands hard-nosed Winston Cup champion Rowdy Burns (Michael Rocker).

While Cole is faster on the qualifying track, Rowdy teaches him a few lessons about car contact ("Rubbin's racing," he says to Cole after pushing him into a wall). But Cole Trickle has experienced pit-crew leader Harry Hogge (Robert Duvall) to lend him an experienced perspective. Hogge has demons to chase out of his own closet relating to a mysterious accident that caused the death of a former driver, for which he blames himself. The plot thickens when Rowdy and Cole crash into each other at the Daytona 500, both suffering career-threatening injuries. Rowdy never races again, and the two men overcome their competitive differences to become friends. Cole must erase the specter of his life-threatening accident in order to regain the edge he once maintained. He's helped by his neurosurgeon and lover, Dr. Claire Lewicki (Nicole Kidman).

Now, with Harry, Rowdy, and Claire in his corner, Cole rejoins the circuit. The new racer to beat is another young hotshot, Russ Wheeler (Cary Elwes). Cole turns the tables on the fast, cocky Wheeler--clearly a reference to Top Gun's Iceman--and captures Daytona. Days of Thunder may be a formulaic film that draws heavily from Top Gun, but fans felt that its cast and racing scenes more than made up for the somewhat dubious script.

Days of Thunder was released at a time when NASCAR was taking over as one of America's most popular spectator sports. The movie inspired even greater interest in stock-car racing, spawning video games, fan clubs, even a documentary. In retrospect, Top Gun appears a pale shadow of its protégé. Call to mind the emotion you felt when you first heard Maverick say, "I'll hit the brakes and he'll fly right by," with the surge of adrenaline you felt when Cole, over the roar of his engine, yells into his headset for the last time, "Harry, I'm dropping the hammer."

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June 26, 2006

Men With Older Brothers More Likely To Be Gay

Having several older brothers increases the likelihood of a man being gay, a finding researchers say adds weight to the idea that there is a biological basis for sexual orientation.

Um, Harvey?

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Your Priest Does What?

I was over at Mrs Who's at House of Zathas and she let her hubby grab the keys for a guest post.

His post was about a visit to his priest's house when he was a younger lad.

It reminded me of a funny priest house visit story from Mr Weenie.

A couple years ago Mr Weenie was put on Gen-Pool (a version of temporary lay-off) and was given the choice of sitting in a room at work (because work was paying most of his salary still for the "lay-off", it's a long, confusing situation and it isn't too relevent so that's all you get) or doing charity work.

He sat in the room for a month and couldn't take it anymore so he went the charity route and used our church as the charity.

He volunteered his time as maintenence helper and was told to go paint a couple rooms at the priest's house (we have 2 priest's and live together). So off to the house he went with paint in hand, it took him 3 days to paint the rooms and everyday he would come back in total awe.

Day 1 - Holy crap, the priests have a big screen TV and one of them was even out golfing that day.

Day 2 - They offered me a beer and sat with me and had a beer with me.

Day 3 - The priest don't make their bed and one is a real slob, clothes all over the place. I couldn't believe it.

It was hilerous when he was telling these tails because when one grows up Catholic (we both did) you look at the priest as something other than human. That they don't do things that normal people do.

So priests acting as normal people, golfing, drinking beer and not making their beds just throws you into total shock.

So everytime we see the priest who doesn't make his bed we have to tease him about it.

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North Korea Can Kiss Our Ass

Or least our missles will kick their missles ass.

My BIL works for Lockhead Martin and is very involved in this program. He's been in Hawaii for 3 weeks getting ready for this test.

A Navy Standard Missile-3 shot down the warhead portion of a two-stage target rocket fired Thursday from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on West Kauai. It was the seventh actual hit in eight tries for the sea-based anti-ballistic missile defense program.

The Kauai test is part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Program and had been scheduled for months; its timing is not related to any developments in North Korea, Missile Defense Agency spokesman Chris Taylor said. But reports of a possible test launch by the reclusive nation have focused new attention on the U.S. missile defense effort.

In the June 22 test, a target rocket was fired about noon from the Kauai missile range. Two minutes later, the Aegis-class cruiser Shiloh had detected the launch and launched its interceptor. The missile defense system tracked the target, and the Standard Missile’s warhead crashed into the target warhead four minutes after it left Kauai. The impact occurred about 100 miles high and 250 miles northwest of Kauai.

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Today In Automotive History

WJR Auto Report: Interstates Turn 50

As a young Baby Boomer, I loved joining my father in the family station wagon as we'd explore the winding, country lanes that connected much of the country back in the 1950s and early '60s. But there was nothing more exciting than discovering one of the new super-highways that were carving their way across the countryside. Nearly a half century later, there are interstates everywhere - a network of nearly 43,000 miles, according to federal records, which cost the country $114 billion to build. This month marks the 50th anniversary of the interstate highway system. On June 26th, 1956, President Eisenhower signed the bill that made it all possible. Initially, they were sold as defense highways, necessary to move around the Minutemen missiles protecting us against attack by the Soviet Union. The missiles now have their own silos, but the interstates remain, and but the roll-out of the first Model T Ford, it's hard to think of anything that has had a more profound impact on our country. The interstates literally rewrote the map of America.

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June 23, 2006

New Beer?

Ok, which beer company is making blended puppy beer now?

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Sitemeter Hit Goodness

Of course I, like everyone else, check my sitemeter stats often and I can not believe the number of hits I get for a picture of firemen I posted at some point on my blog but I can not find it.

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I am also getting a crap load of hits for the Volvo Treasure hunt.

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Sneak Peek: 2007 Honda Element

Butt-UglyQuirky Element gets update for 2007

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Honda's quirky crossover, the Element, isn't due for a major redesign until model year 2009, when it will get all-new sheet metal, suspension, driveline and cockpit.

Honda will update the Element this fall, at the start of the 2007 model year.
Exterior changes include a revised grille and front bumper and new projector-beam headlamps.

The '07 Element also will get some updates to its cabin.

Hattip: The Detroit News

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Democrats Show Their Bias Against American Automakers.

Another example of bias against american automakers and ass kissing of the asian automakers. Senators are ripping american automakers for their dismissing the Senates efforts to unrealistically raise gas mileage standards while kissing the asian auto makers ass saying that they could do it so why can't american automakers do it. Except they never checked with asian automakers for their opinions on raising the standards before making that statement.

Detroit's automakers should raise gas mileage requirements by 40 percent or face extinction, a key U.S. senator said Tuesday in a tongue-lashing of the industry for its failure to embrace fuel efficiency in the past.

So senetors feel they are in the business of putting businesses out of business.

Led by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, four U.S. senators didn't mince words in touting a proposal to drastically raise fuel economy standards by model year 2017, a move they argued would save America 2.5 million barrels of Middle Eastern oil a day.

Figures it's California leading the charge. Of course touting that it's all about saving oil is ment to make the american automakers look bad if they fight against the ridiclous standards that are trying to be set.

Called the "Ten in Ten," the bill would require automakers to have a fleetwide fuel economy average of 35 miles per gallon by the 2017 model year. The measure also would mandate onboard fuel economy display by the 2013 model year and require cars to average 31.1 miles per gallon by model year 2009 and light trucks to average 23.6 miles per gallon.

"This is really a help to the industry," Feinstein said. "And I think stonewalling it, getting in a bunker mentality, fighting it doesn't make any sense at all."

Again, making any protests by the auto industry seem like they are horrible people.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the Big Three didn't get it.

"Some of us have felt that they should have received the message long ago that their product line needed to be changed," he said.

Again, the american auto industry is the only one being called to the boards. No mention of asian auto makers.

Jason Vines, a Chrysler Group spokesman, called the proposal unrealistic.

"What we don't want is to get something so technically ridiculous that everyone's forced to buy a Fred Flintstone car," Vines said. "If anyone could build an SUV that gets 40 miles per gallon, don't you think we would? We'd corner the market. No one can do it, not the masters of the universe, Toyota, not BMW, Mercedes. It's not technically feasible."

But it's the american auto industry making these points.

U.S. Rep. Vern Ehlers, R-Grand Rapids, has long been the only Michigan member of either party to endorse across-the-board fuel economy increases -- and his wife recently bought a Toyota Prius, though he has a Ford and GM.

He said the Big Three had better embrace fuel economy improvements. (emphasis mine)

"If they haven't, they got bigger problems than they think," said Ehlers, who has resisted heavy industry lobbying over the years.

This guy isn't going to get re-elected. If you live in Michigan and your consituents jobs are heavily dependant on the auto industry and your voting for proposals that are unattainable and could force one or more american auto makers out of business you better be a good shot. He should be shot for buying a Prius anyway, americans make electic vehicles too.

Feinstein heaped praise on Toyota.

"Increasingly, it's becoming the dominant global force in the auto industry," she said.

Ass kissing by democrats at it's finest.

But Toyota declined to endorse the proposal.

Jo Cooper, Toyota's group vice president for government affairs, said there were questions about the feasibility of the bill.

"That's a huge number. It doesn't sound like much, but that's a huge leap forward," Cooper said.

A strong bitch slap delivered by Toyota.

At Ford Motor Co., CEO and Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and Americas President Mark Fields said in recent weeks that they believe the experts at NHTSA, rather than Congress, should set gas mileage standards.
(emphasis mine)

Ford is right, congress should stay out of setting gas standards. They should let the experts set the standards that is why we NHTSA for.

Democrats are just trying to make theyself look better for election by jumping on the high gas price bandwagon without any thought to the consequences of their actions.

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Hey, I'm No Lady

Found this quiz over at blogsis Boudicca's. The results are just about right for me. And like Bou said they don't ask about swearing, if they did then I would proably score 0%. Swearing is a regular part of vocabulary, that is what not having kids does for you, lets you swear when and where you want. Doesn't help that I work in a plant which almost demands swearing as part of the job.

You Are 36% Lady
You tend to make up your rules of etiquette, throwing all conventions aside.
And while you try to be a lady (sometimes), your behavior is often quite shocking.
Are You A Lady?
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Today In Automotive History

1996 Zanardi wins first CART Indy race

Alessandro Zanardi, former Formula One driver, won his first CART Indy car race in Portland, Oregon, in his Reynard-Honda. Zanardi made a name for himself in his native Italy by winning the Kart racing championship in 1985 and 1986, followed by the European Karting championship in 1987. His performance earned him a spot on the Alfa Romeo Formula Three team. Zanardi performed well in F3 competition, finishing second to Christian Fittipaldi for two consecutive seasons. His strong finishes attracted the attention of a handful of Formula One teams. But Alessandro's successful run stalled during his three races with F1 Minardi, and failed to improve the following season in an underpowered Lotus car. His slow decline scared teams off from the driver many once thought to be the sport's next superstar. Zanardi left European racing and took up Indy car racing. His driving style immediately gelled with the high-speed ovals. Zanardi suffered a high number of crashes in his first two years on the CART circuit, but he had his fair share of spectacular results also, earning himself Rookie of the Year honors. After a successful campaign in 1997, Zanardi blew away the rest of the Indy car field in 1998, winning seven races and taking the points championship. Having regained his confidence and eager to take on a new challenge, Zanardi returns to F1 racing with the Williams team in 1999. Now a seasoned veteran, it will be interesting to see what Zanardi, once highly touted for his passing ability, will be able to accomplish for Williams.

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June 22, 2006

Jeep Burying Treasure Now

Jeep is getting in on the Buried Treasure hunt, guess they saw how good Volvo was going with it and wanted in on the action.

Jeep(R) is looking for adventurous consumers to go on a modern day
treasure hunt to unearth the ultimate prize -- keys to an all-new 2007 Jeep
Compass -- as part of the "Jeep Come and Dig It" event, which kicks-off the
annual U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition, the largest sand castle building
competition in the country.

Anyone interested in hunting for buried Jeep treasure can sign up for a
chance to participate in the "Jeep Come and Dig It" event online , beginning June 22 at 12:01 a.m. (EDT) until July 14 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT). All participants must by 18 years or older.

And before anyone asks, I do not have any clues, hints or cheats about the game. I am just posting on the contest.

Those Volvo treasure hunters are driving me crazy by emailing me and asking me for hints, like I know something.

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Today In Automotive History

1934 Porsche builds prototypes

Ferdinand Porsche contracted with the Automobile Manufacturers Association of Germany (RDA) to build three prototype "people's cars" over a 10-month period. The contract was a direct result of Hitler's personal request to Porsche that he design such a car. The result, of course, was the Volkswagen. But it would take years for Porsche to accomplish his dream of bringing a small, affordable car to the market. In 1899, at the age of 24, Ferdinand Porsche became one of Europe's most famous automotive engineers with the introduction of his Porsche-Lohner electric car. It was his first offering to the world, and it was characteristically ingenious. Ferdinand Porsche is the automotive world's answer to "the Natural"; his designs have always been incomprehensibly ahead of their times. At a time when all automotive designers focused all their energies on mustering speed, Porsche's car came with two separate breaking systems, one mechanical and one electric, while still supplying competitive speed. For the next 35 years Porsche would strive, often under the auspices of Daimler Motors, to produce the smallest, fastest cars in the world. So recognizable was Porsche's genius that his quest was sadly hindered by outside interference. Consider that in 1932, while first working on the design for a "Volksauto" for Zundapp Motors in Germany, Porsche was approached by a group of Russian engineers with a remarkable offer. Having studied his work, the Russian engineers had deemed Porsche the greatest automotive engineer, and as such offered to take him back to Russia to show him the state of their country's industry. Porsche didn't know what they wanted but, flattered by the invitation, he went along. He was received like royalty, an honored guest of the state. The offer from the Russians was inconceivable: they offered him the position of state designer of Russia, a position in charge of all automobile, tank, and electric vehicle production. Every one of his designs would be realized by the country's vast sources of material wealth. All he had to do was sign a contract. Porsche respectfully declined, but such was his prowess that only two years later Adolf Hitler approached Porsche with the project of designing a people's car for the state of Germany. Because making a small, affordable car was Porsche's dream, he jumped at the offer. The Volkswagen prototype was completed in 1936. But war in Europe erupted before production could begin. Porsche was asked to supply tank designs, which he did, creating the Tiger, Ferdinand, and Mouse tanks for the German army. Hitler moved Porsche from Stuttgart to the remote Austrian town of Gmund, in order to keep him away from Allied bombing. At the end of the war the U.S. Army captured Porsche, interrogated him, and released him to his villa in Gmund. Then French officials arrested him for his participation in the war, and Porsche served a two-year sentence at the Renault estate in France. He was finally released in 1947, and he returned to Gmund. There he undertook, with his son Ferry, the project of building a small performance car with his own name. Meanwhile, the Volkswagen had gone into mass production. The first Porsche, the 356, was a convertible sports car version of the Volkswagen with much improved suspension.

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June 21, 2006

My Congressman Kicks Ass!

I have been emailing my Congressman and Senetors for a few years now as the need arose, and a lot more lately.

The only one to actually answer, every.single.time I wrote was my Congressman.

I also get snail mail updates from him and returnable post cards asking our (his constituites) opinions on matters.

He's matched all my opinions on everything of importance lately, immigration and Iraq war.

Was just at his website looking to see if he had anything additional to say about the Amnesty bill that just got to Congress.

Looking around I found this, he was commenting on H. Res 861

“The House must not parse and equivocate in its statements regarding the War on Terror,” said McCotter, who was particularly disturbed the resolution termed terrorists our “adversary” rather than our “enemy.” “In the Cold War, President Reagan had the moral courage to call communist Russia an ‘evil empire.’ In the War on Terror, the U.S. House must have the moral courage to call Al Qaeda our enemy,” he said.

McCotter then added a final, cautionary note: “Remember: unlike most, the enemy will read this resolution. It had to more surely and strongly tell our enemy we are going to annihilate him and win.”

Yea, my Congressman kicks ass!

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We Are Batman

America is Batman

Guess who Robin, Alfred and Commissioner Gordon are.

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Today In Automotive History

1947 Mille Miglia is reborn

The first postwar Mille Miglia began in Brescia, Italy. The Mille Miglia was originally conceived by Aymo Maggi in 1927, who gained the approval of the Fascist government in Rome to run a road race from Brescia to Rome and back, over Italian roads. The course was plotted for 1,000 miles. Italian drivers, racing primarily for Alfa Romeo, dominated the early years of the Mille Miglia. Tazio Nuvolari was the race's first great champion. In 1929, Mercedes, haunted by racing accidents, chose not to field a team at the Mille Miglia. Their star driver, Rudolf Caracciola, was crestfallen at the prospect of missing such an important race in his racing prime. Mercedes told him they would give him a car if he wanted to enter the race as a private entry. Caracciola, one of the greatest racers in the world, took a four-man crew to Italy. In contrast, the Alfa team employed over 90 mechanics for its Mille Miglia campaign. Nevertheless, the undermanned Caracciola took the victory in dramatic fashion, passing three Alfa cars near the finish line and proving the adage "He who leads at Rome is never first home." The race was halted by World War II. After the war, a new generation of racers and teams took the forefront at the Mille Miglia. Moss and Fangio replaced Taruffi and Caracciola, and Ferrari succeeded Alpha. The last Mille Miglia was run in 1958. The race was discontinued after a horrible accident killed Alfonso de Portago and 10 spectators. Enzo Ferrari best describes the importance of the Brescia to Rome classic, noting, "The Mille Miglia was an epoch-making event, which told a wonderful lesson. The Mille Miglia created our cars and the Italian automobile industry. The Mille Miglia permitted the birth of GT cars, or grand touring cars, which are now sold all over the world...and proved that by racing over open roads for 1,000 miles, there were technical lessons to be learned by the petrol and oil companies, by the brake, clutch, transmission, and electrical and lighting component manufacturers."

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June 20, 2006

Today In Automotive History

1987 First junior Go-Kart race run

Racer William Smith captured the Junior Division of the Eastern Shore Go-Kart Classic at a three-quarter-mile cross-country course outside of Easton, Maryland. Smith's victory in his 50cc Yamaha Green Dragon was the first Junior Division Go-Kart race sanctioned by the Mid-Atlantic States Go-Kart Association.

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June 19, 2006

Life Lesson #78

Never eat a powered donut while wearing dark pants just before you go to a stand-up meeting in which your presenting at.

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Take Your Dogs To Work Day

Friday, June 23rd is offically, Take Your Dogs To Work Day

Hey, if the kids can have a day why can't the dogs!

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Today In Automotive History

1949 NASCAR stages first Grand National

NASCAR staged its first Grand National event at the Charlotte Fairgrounds; the event marked the birth of NASCAR racing as we know it today. In 1946, race promoter Bill France began promoting an event in Charlotte. As he explains it, "I wanted to run a 100-mile national championship race at the fairgrounds, but [local sports editor] Wilton Garrison said I couldn't call it a national championship race." Garrison argued that France "might call it a North Carolina championship race, but you have to get some kind of a national organization to sanction it in order to call it a national championship race." So began Bill France's dream of creating a national sanctioning body for stock-car racing, which would govern a points standing as well as organize races in states across the country. During the 1946 stock-car season, France formed the National Championship Stock-Car Circuit. France withheld a purse for the point fund, kept track of standings, attempted to enforce uniform rules, and paid the drivers on time. That year, France expanded stock-car racing's range, arranging races all over the South. The 1947 season began with a 160-mile race at Daytona Beach. By the middle of the season, France had incorporated more than a dozen tracks into his circuit; he offered a guaranteed purse of $2,000 at each event; and he had a slogan, "Where the fastest that run, run the fastest." But at that point most of the race cars were modified stock pre-war Fords, and France and his governing body had a nearly impossible time enforcing regulations placed on modification of the car engines. The combination of his success with the NCSCC and his failure to enforce strict rules led him to call a meeting in December of 1947 at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona to discuss a more substantial governing body for stock-car racing. What emerged from the meetings was the National Association for Stock-Car Auto Racing, or NASCAR. The 1948 season was a more tightly governed version of the previous year; the sport's final breakthrough came in 1949. France decided that product identification would greatly add to fan interest in stock-car racing. As all of the major car companies had released postwar models, France created rules in the off-season that would allow for a Grand National division of NASCAR racing. Only late-model, strictly stock cars would be allowed in the Grand National class. A crowd of 13,000 watched as Jim Roper won the inaugural event on the three-quarter-mile dirt track at the Charlotte Fairgrounds. The Grand Nationals later became Winston Cup Series events.

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June 16, 2006

5 Things Meme

My blogmomma, Tammi, tagged with the 5 things meme, she said "now that should net some interestin' stuff". She's going to be disappointed cause 1) very small purse 2)Mr Weenie is a Carnut and doesn't allow me to leave stuff in the car.

5 things in my refrigerator:
Green Olives
Pudding cups
Mikes Hard Lemonade

Now if you asked about my freezer ... well lets not go there

5 things in my closet:
Containers of dog food
Dog Sweaters
Other Dog Paraphnalia (seeing a trend here)
Case of water

5 things in my purse:
Asthma Inhaler
(and folks, that is ALL I have in my purse)

5 things in my Car:
Dog treats (for when Lance goes and gets his allergy shots)
CD's (6 disc cd player,which are in the player so does that even count?)
Snow brush (This is the great white north, it's standard)
Garage door opener
Change in the cupholder
(and again folks, that is ALL I have in my car)

Boy, looking that over I am pretty boring huh.

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Today In Automotive History

1917 Golden Submarine is completed

Harry Miller completed the Golden Submarine, the first of his expensive custom-made race cars that would change the shape of things to come in American auto racing. The Golden Submarine carried an unimaginable ticket price of $15,000 at its completion. Its gold color was the result of a combination of lacquer and bronze dust. Built for Barney Oldfield, America's most brash race-car driver, the Golden Submarine had an enclosed cockpit. Oldfield, who helped design the car, thought the closed cockpit would make the car safer if it rolled; he'd lost his close friend, Bob Burman, in a crash the year before. The Golden Submarine was the first American race car to possess an all electrically welded steel chassis. Also unique to the sub was the liberal use of aluminum in engine and body components. The engine--the component that would later define Miller's career--contained four cylinders and a single overhead cam. It put out 130hp at 290 cubic inches of piston displacement, and, most remarkable for its time, it only weighed 410 pounds. Consider that the car's competition carried engines that produced around 300hp at over 400 cubic inches of piston displacement, and it is clear how forward-thinking Miller was. Prior to Miller's designs, engines had just been getting bigger and bigger. With the use of alloys and revolutionary engineering, he began introducing light cars that handled well but provided enough power to push them down the straightaways at speeds comparable to those cars carrying the massive aircraft-type engines. Miller's engineering and Oldfield's daring were put on public display in late June of 1917, when Oldfield in the Golden Submarine raced arch-rival Ralph DePalma in a conventional Packard with a 12-cylinder aircraft engine. To start the 25-mile race, DePalma barreled past Oldfield in the first straightaway. After the first turn, though, it was clear that the lighter Golden Submarine was better suited to the track, and Oldfield won by an overwhelming half-minute margin. The Golden Submarine never won the Indy 500, though it ran in 1919, pulling out with engine trouble; but its designs foreshadowed the future of American racing. Miller's design would dominate Indy for over 30 years.

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June 15, 2006

30 Random Questions

Blogdad, Harvey, tagged me with a meme awhile ago and I forgot about it. So here are my answers to 30 random questions.

30 Random Questions

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?
Yes, but he didn't have any clothes on so does that count?

2. Do you close your eyes on roller coaster?
Um, yea, I don't do roller coasters.

3. When's the last time you've been sledding?
College, my dorm buddies and I went sledding at Frog Island. It was great fun until one of the guys sledded head first into a tree and ended up with a concussion.

4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?
Well I sleep with someone elses so sleeping with just 1 someone would be great. (get your minds out of the gutter, in bed at night it's me, Mr Weenie and 2 puppies who seem to grow to german sheppard size in bed)

5. Do you believe in ghosts?

6. Do you consider yourself creative?
Yes, very. Just look at those sweaters I made the puppies.

7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife?
Guilty as sin

8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?
Um, yea. Neither, don't do chicks

9. Can you honestly say you know ANYTHING about politics?
Mostly where it concerns the automotive industry, but other then that I would say average.

10. Do you know how to play poker?
Yes, played it at bowling every week using naked people cards.

11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?
Yes, started the night before St Patricks Day during college.

12. What's your favorite commercial?
Commercial? Isn't that when your suppose to get up and pee and get food?

13. Who was your first love?
Mr Weenie

14. If you're driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around you, do you run a red light?
Only if there is a gang walking down the middle of the street and I am in a city I have never been and I am scared shitless and it's like midnight.

15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?
Yes. That should keep you guessing

16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?

17. Have you ever been Ice Skating?
Yes, in my youth my friends and I all thought we would be olympic ice skaters.

18. How often do you remember your dreams?

19. What's the one thing on your mind?
Right now? Revenge.

20. Do you always wear your seat belt?
Always, darwin has nothing on me.

21. What talent do you wish you had?

22. Do you like Sushi?

23. What do you wear to bed?
PJ's. Hey with dogs anything less could make for an embarssing moment.

24. Do you truly hate anyone?

25. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?

26. Do you know anyone in jail?

27. What food do you find disgusting?

28. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back?
Yes, but not in a cruel way.

29. Have you ever been punched in the face?

30. Do you believe in angels and demons?
Yes, even met and angel once.

Posted by Quality Weenie at 11:53 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Today In Automotive History

1986 Petty makes 1,000th start

Richard Petty made his 1,000th NASCAR start at the Miller American 400 in Brooklyn, Michigan. Petty's records of success and longevity are likely never to be broken. "The King," as he is called, is first all-time in wins (200), races started (1,184), top-five finishes (555), top-10 finishes (712), pole positions (126), laps completed (307,836), laps led (52,194), races led (599), and consecutive races won (10). His statistical domination of NASCAR racing is unparalleled in the sports world. Petty, of course, grew up on the NASCAR circuit watching his daddy, hall-of-famer Lee Petty. Richard started his first race on July 10, 1958, just after his 21st birthday. During the early part of his career he normally had to beat his dad to earn victories--and Lee wouldn't let him have anything for free. Richard explained his accident in his first Grand National race this way: "Daddy bumped me in the rear and my car went right into the wall." By the late 1960s, Petty was the dominant figure in stock-car racing, recording the astounding record of 10 consecutive victories in 1967, a year in which he won 27 of 48 races. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Petty dueled spectacularly with fellow Ford driver David Pearson. Petty's star power was in large part responsible for keeping NASCAR alive in the lean years of the '70s. Winston began sponsoring the circuit in 1972, and in that year Petty's car was the only one to run with factory sponsorship. STP offered "The King" lifetime sponsorship and for the rest of his 35-year career, and now long into his career as a team owner, Petty cars have carried the red oval. Petty won his last of seven Daytona 500s in 1981. Victories began to dry up over the next few years, but Richard's enthusiasm for racing and his fans kept him running. In 1984, with President Ronald Reagan there to watch, Petty won the Pepsi Firecracker 400 at Daytona raceway to capture his 200th win. The second winningest driver in circuit history, Dave Pearson, won only 105 times. From 1984 until his retirement in 1992, Petty didn't win a race but his name recognition was important to the sport. Not knowing what else to do with himself, "The King" stayed on the circuit to watch NASCAR become one of America's most popular spectator sports.

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June 14, 2006

Don't Forget About Dogs On Your Road Trips

With the dog days of summer coming up and everyone planning their road trip vacations, lets not forget about our 4 legged furry friends.

While statistics were not available on how many animals riding inside a vehicle are injured or killed during an accident, the Web site travelinpets.com points out the physics involved with an accident.

A 15-pound dog will hit anything else in the car with 300 pounds of force during a 30 mph crash, the Web site says.

Furthermore, unrestrained dogs can cause an accident by distracting the driver. Imagine a 90-pound German shepherd deciding the best time to sit in your lap is while you're passing a semi on Interstate 275, or that beagle suddenly barking in your ear as you negotiate a construction zone.

There are many different harnesses on the market today, all giving dogs the freedom to sit-up, stand and change positions all while keeping them safe.

We have these ones for our puppies, we got them at Petsmart.

So when your in your car, traveling with your dog don't forget about their safety too.

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Today In Automotive History

1928 Duray sets record in Miller Special

Leon Duray drove his Miller 91 Packard Cable Special to a world close-coursed speed record, recording an astonishing top speed of 148.173mph, at the Packard Proving Ground in Utica, Michigan. Two weeks earlier, Duray had posted a record lap of 124mph at the Indy 500, a record that stood for 10 years until the track was banked. From a mere 91 cubic inches or 1500cc, the Miller's supercharged engine produced 230hp while weighing in at a svelte 290 pounds. The front-wheel-drive Miller Special never won an Indy 500, but its 1928-1929 results there prompted track officials to ban supercharged engines from the contest for over a decade. The 91 was engineer Harry Miller's crowning achievement. Today, one of Miller's masterpieces sits in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian. After the 91s were forced out of Indy, owner Leon Duray took his two Miller cars to Europe and proceeded to set international speed records for cars of similar engine displacement. He drove the 91 at 143mph over one kilometer and 139mph over five kilometers. Ettore Bugatti was so impressed with both the Miller's front-wheel drive and its engine design that he bought the cars form Duray in order to study them. Bugatti's later engines borrowed heavily from Miller's innovations to the designs of the combustion-chamber, port, valve, and head. Miller built only 11 of his front-wheel-drive superchargers, and today they are prized antiques. The two cars that Bugatti purchased were discovered, dusty but intact, by a Danish diplomat in a Bugatti warehouse in France in 1954. Auto historian Griffith Borgeson bought the two cars in 1959 and had them shipped to his home in Los Angeles, the city in which the cars had been built. One of those cars sits in the museum at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Harry Miller was, simply put, a legendary genius in the history of American racing. The technology he pioneered with his Miller 91s is still in use today. Miller went bankrupt in 1929 and all of his assets, including his drawings and designs, were sold at auction. One of his associates, Fred Offenhauser, struggled to purchase enough of the drawings and patent rights to carry on what Miller started. From 1922 to 1965, Miller and Offenhauser engines won all but six Indy 500s.

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June 13, 2006

Today In Automotive History

1978 Ford fires Iaccoca

Ford Motor Company Chairman, Henry Ford II, fired Lee Iaccoca from the position of president, ending a bitter personal struggle between the two men.

Since his grand emergence into the spotlight with the release of the Ford Mustang in 1964, Lee Iacocca had risen precipitously through the ranks at Ford, ascending to the position of company president in 1970. As president of Ford, Iacocca--previously known exclusively as a sales and marketing expert--set into motion a rigorous cost-cutting policy that would increase Ford's stagnating annual profit margin. Within four years, he recalls, his policies had earned him "the respect of the one group that had always been suspicious of me: the bean counters."

Over the course of the 1970s, Iacocca instituted quarterly reviews of Ford staffers by their superiors. Known as an authoritarian, Iacocca would not take excuses from his employees, and he held each employee personally responsible for their output. His policies proved successful, but as Iacocca became more and more obsessed with making Ford profitable, he neglected to maintain the approval of the family business's volatile boss. Personal relations between the two men turned from distant to ugly. The rift is often explained by Ford's notion of Iacocca as a lower-class hired gun, a gifted immigrant salesman good for business and little else. One Ford public relations spokesperson explained, "Mr. Ford always regarded Mr. Iacocca as a rather vulgar Italian." And all the while, Iacocca believed that his future in the automotive industry rested wholly on his balance sheets.

Iacocca admits to becoming blinded by his hefty salary, and to ignoring Ford's poor treatment of him. He claims, though, that "in 1975, Henry Ford started his month-by-month campaign to destroy me." Ford launched company investigations into travel expenses of leading executives. He targeted many of Iacocca's proteges. Iacocca was repeatedly asked, at the risk of losing his job, to fire close friends of his. Iacocca wouldn't resign because he had spent his whole professional career at Ford and, as he puts it, "I wanted that $1 million [salary] so much that I wouldn't face reality."

Ford installed a series of new positions to decrease Iacocca's power as company president; finally, in 1978, he called Iacocca into his office to inform him his services were no longer needed. Iacocca stated that Ford gave him no reason for the firing. "It's personal. Sometimes you just don't like somebody," Ford had said. So Lee Iacocca, arguably the automotive industry's most successful executive, was left without a job. He would later agree to run Chrysler.

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June 12, 2006

Speeding Excuses Contest

Ever get out of a speeding ticket with one hell of an excuse? Well know is your chance to actually win something for that excuse.

The Car Connection is holding a "Speeding excuses contest" the best excuse wins a naviagation system with some honorable mention prizes.

Summer is here, and barbeques, picnics, and family road trips are just a part of the fun. Getting there is a big part of it too, and from pastimes like the license-plate game to "Let's get Daddy's temper going," you just know it's going to be a time to remember.

Especially if there's a nasty side to the trip. There'll be plenty of cops sitting on the side of the road, using radar and lidar, and handing out tickets with abandon. For every speeding ticket, there seems to be a frantic excuse.

So, with that in mind, it's time for TheCarConnection's Third Speeders' Excuses contest - and time for you to win the hottest navigation system on the market, Garmin's StreetPilot 2730, as well as a Pioneer Inno XM2GO audio player, and more!

More information can be found here.

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Today In Automotive History

1952 Chevrolet chassis completed

Maurice Olley, Chevrolet's chief engineer, completed his chassis, code-named Opel, which would eventually become the chassis for the 1953 Corvette. The Opel project had been initiated after Harley Earls' General Motors (GM) Design Division created models and drawings for a new GM sports car. Later in 1952, a prototype GM fiberglass car accidentally rolled during testing. The car's fiberglass roof remained structurally intact, and GM engineers for the first time considered building an all-fiberglass body for one of their cars. As project Opel moved forward, the new sports car took shape as a rear-engine, all-fiberglass sports car, the first in America. In July of 1952, the Corvette got its name from an extensive search through an English dictionary, which found that a corvette was a small-sized, speedy warship of the Royal Navy. Strong consideration was also given to the name Corvair. In January of 1953, the Corvette was exhibited as a dream car at the Motorama Car Show in New York City. The first Corvette, a white convertible with red interior, drove off the assembly line on June 30, 1953. That year, the car was produced in limited numbers, but full-scale production began the following year after Ford released its T-Bird at the New York Auto Show in February. The small-car competition from Ford prompted Chevrolet officials to continue Corvette production in spite of misgivings. By 1954, the Corvette was a failure, with some 3,500 cars sold and another 1,200 left unsold by year's end. Chevy engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, initially brought on to develop the Corvette's performance, urged his superiors not to admit defeat on the project; instead, he sought to create a separate department to oversee development of the car. From this point forward, Arkus-Duntov took turning the Corvette into a legitimate sports car as a personal challenge. He overhauled the engine and drive-shaft. Over the next two years, minor adjustments were made to the car's body and styling. By 1955, the Corvette, equipped with new suspension and a 195hp engine, was tested in disguise at the Pike's Peak Hill Climb, where it shattered the stock-car record with Arkus-Duntov behind the wheel. In February of 1956, Arkus-Duntov drove a modified Corvette V-8 to a two-way stock-car record of 150mph at the Daytona Raceway. While the Corvette would not surpass the T-Bird in sales during the 1950s, it would fulfill its initial expectation to become the first American sports car.

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June 09, 2006

Dining With Your Dog In Florida

Florida signed a new bill into law yesterday that allows your dog to dine with you at restuarants that have outdoor dining.

The measure creates a three-year pilot program, and the state will determine whether to continue it. Allowing dogs to dine will be up to each county, and even if it's allowed, restaurant owners will still decide individually whether to participate

Bush said the bill will allow dog lovers and their pets to "have a brewski together, have a hot dog together or whatever they want outdoors."

But not everybody agreed with the bill

Not everyone supported the bill. Orlando resident George Jones said he thought legally allowing dogs to dine in public was "the most ignorant thing I've ever seen."

"They eat well, but they don't eat with me," Jones, 51, said of his border collie and black Labrador. "I've already made the decision that I won't go to any place that will allow them. I just don't think people should eat with dogs; that's disgusting."

Um, George, the dogs won't be sitting AT the table like humans.

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Car Interior Awards

Ward's Auto World Magazine sponsors a competition every year for the best Interiors amoung automobiles. They have 2 judging groups, automotive industry people and the media.

Here are this years winners:

Award Category / Industry At-Large Vote / News Media Vote

Overall Vehicle Interiors

Popular-Priced Car / Pontiac Solstice / Audi A3

Premium-Priced Car / Lincoln Zephyr / Lincoln Zepher

Popular-Priced CUV / Chevy HHR / Mazda CX-7

Premium-Priced CUV / Subaru B9 Tribeca / Audi Q7

Popular-Priced Truck / Chevy Tahoe / Toyota FJ Cruiser

Premium-Priced Truck / Cadillac Escalade / Land Rover Range Rover Sport

Interior Features

Best Instrument Cluster / Ford Mustang (Delphi) / Ford Mustang

Best Navigation System / Acura (Alpine) / Acura

Best Cup Holder / Mercedes M-Class (Fischer Automotive)

Best Sound System / Dodge Magnum (Boston Acoustics) / Audi S8 (Bang & Olufsen)

Best Seat System (Driver) / Dodge Charger (Johnson Controls) / Mercedes S-Class - Mercedes

Best Interior Innovation / Dodge Grand Caravan - Stow N' Go Seat System (Chrysler Group & Magna/Intier) / Honda Ridgeline - trunk in pickup bed (Meridian Automotive Systems, Inc.)

As you can see, amoung the auto industry (this included Asian and European auto people) they overwhelmingly picked Domestic vehicles but amoung the Media they overwhelmingly picked Asian / European vehicles

Nope, no media bias here.

Posted by Quality Weenie at 07:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Today In Automotive History

1916 Robert McNamara is born

Robert Strange McNamara was born in San Francisco, California, on this date in 1916. McNamara received a degree in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, and then later an MBA from Harvard Business School. At the age of 24, following a brief stint at the accounting firm of Price, Waterhouse, McNamara returned to Harvard to become an accounting instructor at Harvard Business School. With the outbreak of World War II, he attempted to enlist in the Army but was rejected because of his poor eyesight. The fortuitous rejection prompted him to volunteer as an instructor for a Harvard program designed to teach Army Air Corps officers the principles of systematic management, especially in regard to the allocation of personnel, materiel, and money. McNamara's excellence in this field eventually earned him a commission as a Captain in the Army Air Corps. He was one of the first members of a special unit called the Office of Statistical Control, led by Colonel Charles Thornton. The OSC was charged with assembling and analyzing data to provide logistical support for American bombers. After the war, Thornton marketed his team's management skills to private companies. Enter Ford Motor Corporation. Reigning atop a messy, outdated family company registering heavy losses, Henry Ford II was smart enough to recognize that the system he had inherited form his grandfather was in need of an overhaul. He hired Thornton's group, en masse, to begin work in February 1946. The members of the group ranged in age from twenty-six to thirty-four, signalling a major change in Ford's until-then stodgy hierarchy. The group was labeled the "Whiz Kids." They instituted a modern economic approach to Ford's business administration, implementing organizational changes to make the planning and production processes more systematic. Six of the Whiz Kids eventually became vice-presidents and two, Arjay Miller and McNamara, rose to the position of company president. Thornton left Ford soon after he started, and McNamara became the de facto leader of the Whiz Kids. He instituted the systematic sampling of public opinion, "market research"; he hired Lee Iaccoca; and he conceived the Ford Falcon, Ford's most successful car until the release of the Mustang in 1964. A registered Republican, McNamara was offered a cabinet position by John F. Kennedy after the 1960 presidential election. Given the choice of becoming secretary of defense or secretary of the treasury, McNamara chose the Defense Department. McNamara remained secretary of defense until 1968, when his changing attitude toward the war in Vietnam led him to resign.

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June 08, 2006

Ahoy, Mateys: Volvo Launches Worldwide 'Pirate' Treasure Hunt for a Buried SUV

The buried one-of-a-kind, pirate-themed Volvo XC90 features a variety
of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest-inspired elements, including
menacing graphics from the film, black leather seats, custom painted 20
inch wheels and more.

To find out more go here

Posted by Quality Weenie at 07:16 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Today In Automotive History

1986 Tim Richmond is born

Tim Richmond won the first of his seven Winston Cup Series races in 1986, a total that would vault him to third place in the Series point race and solidify his reputation as one of NASCAR's greatest drivers. NASCAR named he and fellow racer, Dale Earnhardt, co-drivers of the year. Born in Ohio, Richmond started out racing USAC sprint cars and Indy cars, and he was named Rookie of the Year in his first year on each of those circuits. He turned to NASCAR for the first time while recovering from an injury he suffered in an Indy race. Richmond immediately fell in love with stock car racing. He won his first superspeedway event in 1983 at Pocono International. In late 1985, Richmond got his break with a powerful team. Team owner Rick Hendrick picked Richmond to drive his Folger's Coffee car. The 1986 season was Tim's breakthrough. He and Earnhardt captivated the stock-car world with their aggressive driving styles and their contrasting looks off the track. Earnhardt was the prototypical NASCAR racer. He wore boots and a cowboy hat, and drank beer on the weekends. Richmond, on the other hand, was a true child of the '80s. He wore Armani suits, dated beautiful women, and rubbed elbows with a variety of jetsetters, including actors and rock stars. On the track, Earnhardt and Richmond were both flat out all the time. NASCAR's executives were less accepting of Richmond's flamboyance, but they could do little to prevent their sport's newest star from expressing his opinions. The fans, for the most part, loved him, and his teammates and co-competitors respected him. Richmond fell sick during the winter of 1986-1987. At first diagnosed with pneumonia, Richmond struggled to get himself ready for the 1987 season. His condition continued to worsen and he was soon diagnosed with the AIDS virus. His friends and family were caught off-guard. His team leader and mentor Rick Hendrick explained, "It was like my first time... I didn't know what it actually meant--what the prognosis was. The more you found out... it just killed you." AIDS was still a mystery to most at that stage. Richmond missed the 1987 Daytona 500 with double pneumonia. Slowly, rumors leaked about his condition. The Miller 500 at the Pocono Speedway was Richmond's first race back. Earnhardt approached him before the race and asked, "You ready to get it on?" Richmond won the race. Earnhardt, Kyle Petty, and Bill Elliott drove alongside him to offer congratulations, and Richmond burst into tears. He remained in tears on victory lane. It was his last victory. In September 1987, Richmond resigned from Hendrick's team. When he attempted to arrange a comeback at Daytona in 1988, NASCAR did everything they could to keep him off the track. Slowly, Tim's friends and supporters dwindled. NASCAR trumped up a failed drug-test charge to keep Richmond off the track. He sued, but later withdrew his case on the grounds that he wanted to keep his condition private. He died that winter. Richmond has virtually disappeared in the NASCAR history books. "It all boils down to AIDS," said his friend Kyle Petty, "I don't care what anybody tells you, nobody knows how to handle AIDS, especially in a sport as backward-thinking on so many things as this sport is." When asked about Richmond, Dale Earnhardt responded, "I miss him. Period." Undeniably, Tim Richmond was one of the most talented drivers to ever race a stock car.

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June 07, 2006

2005 Most Stolen Vehicles

The insurance institute has put out their list of the most stolen vehicles for 2005. Here they are:

Vehicle / Thefts per 1000
Cadillac Escalade / 13.8
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4WD / 11.9
Dodge Ram 1500 quad cab / 11.1
Ford F-250/350 supercrew 4WD / 8.9
Chrysler Sebring / 8.5

Looks like even theives don't like stealing those foreign jobs!

And now, the list of the least stolen vehicles:

Vehicle / Thefts per 1000
Ford Taurus station wagon / 0.3
Pontiac Vibe 4WD / 0.4
Buick LeSabre / 0.5
Buick Park Avenue / 0.5
Toyota Sienna 4WD / 0.6

If your car is on the least stolen vehicle list, you may want to consider getting a new car cause you have a car that even theives don't want.

Posted by Quality Weenie at 06:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Today In Automotive History

1954 Edsel design team goes to work

On this day in 1954, the Ford Motor Company formed a styling team to take on the project of designing an entirely new car that would later be named the Edsel. The decision came as Ford enjoyed its greatest historical success in the 1950s. The 1955 Thunderbird had outsold its Chevy counterpart, the Corvette, and the consumer demand for automobiles, in all price brackets, was steadily increasing.In exuberant Ford plants, signs that had once read "Beat Chevrolet" were changed to a more ambitious tune, "Beat GM (General Motors)." The Ford Motor Company consisted of four brand names: Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, and Continental, listed from lowest to highest in price range. Ford executives believed that there was a gap in the marketplace between the Mercury and the Lincoln, where a new car would compete against GM's Oldsmobile and Buick lines.

In the mid-1950s, Americans seemed to have an insatiable hunger for high horse-powered, heavily styled cars, with lots of chrome and many accessories. So Ford planned to fill the public's appetite with a suitable answer. The company spared no expense in the development of its new car, even going so far as to employ famous American poet Marianne Moore to supply possibilities for its name. After an extensive name search and no satisfactory result, somebody suggested that the car be named after Henry Ford II's father, Edsel. Ford balked at the suggestion initially and later relented, on the grounds that his father deserved a tribute; he urged the car's designers to live up to his father's name. Edsel had always had a knack for design, even if his business sense hadn't always lived up to his father's expectations. The Edsel project was launched with great fanfare and vigorous advertising. During the years between the car's conception and its production, the American economy took a downturn.

By the time the Edsel was released in 1957, the high end of the car market had once again contracted. Public reaction to the car's exaggerated styling was tepid at best, with particular objections aimed at the Edsel's awkward-looking "horse collar" grill. Sales for the car started slowly and foundered. Newly appointed company Vice President Robert McNamara was charged with the task of salvaging the operation. Had McNamara held the position years earlier, historians point out, the Edsel project may never have been taken on, as McNamara strongly believed Ford should concentrate on the economy car market. McNamara attempted to improve the car's construction and appearance, but when the attempt failed, he was forced to halt production of the car at a disastrous loss of $250 million.

To this day, the Edsel remains the biggest failure in American car history, "a monumental disaster created for tomorrow's markets created by yesterday's statistical inputs." History has treated the Edsel more kindly, as its looks are now considered to be an attractive example of 1950s flair. Like its namesake, Edsel Ford, the Edsel has come to be known as an unfair victim of circumstance.

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June 06, 2006

Today In Automotive History

1932 First gas tax enacted

The first gasoline tax levied by Congress was enacted as a part of the Revenue Act of 1932. The Act mandated a series of excise taxes on a wide variety of consumer goods. Congress placed a tax of 1¢ per gallon on gasoline and other motor fuel sold.

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June 05, 2006

Nissan Stops Production Due To Quality Issues

Bet you didn't hear about this one either. A Automotive manufacturer actually stopped produciton of 2 of it's vehicles because of "excessive oil use" which could cause a fire.

Yep, I didn't hear about it on the news nor read about it in the newspaper. But of course there is no media bias towards Japanese Auto Manufacturers, nope none at all.

Reports of excessive oil use in some 2006 four-cylinder Altimas and Sentra SE-Rs have led Nissan to stop selling the vehicles. The company, in a release issued last Friday afternoon, said that the problem could lead to engine fires and vehicle damage. The company did not specify what specific defect leads to the problem, but it did note that up to 100,000 vehicles built from January to May of this year could be involved in the recall, based on 215 reports of oil consumption and 17 reports of engine fires. The affected vehicles will have their warranties extended to seven years or 100,000 miles.

Nope, no bias at all.

Hattip: The Car Connection

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Today In Automotive History

1951 T-Top patent is issued

Gordon M. Buehrig was issued a U.S. patent for his "vehicle top with removable panels," an invention that would eventually appear as a "T-top" on the 1968 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Buehrig was a member of America's first generation of automobile stylists. As a boy he had always dreamed of designing cars, so at the age of 17 he took a summer job with the Yellow Cab Company in Chicago in order to be around the greatest variety of cars possible. He held the job until the company discovered he was under-aged. Before he left Chicago, Buehrig called Clarence Wexelburg, designer for the custom body-building C.P. Kimball Company, and asked him how he should go about becoming a car designer. Wexelburg directed him to take classes in drafting, wood and metal shop, and art. Buehrig pursued all three at Bradley Polytechnic before leaving for Detroit in search of an apprenticeship, which he found at Packard. His inexperience limited him to unexciting work as a body panel designer; but it was at Packard that he made valuable connections in the design industry and where he first discovered Le Corbusier's book, Toward a New Architecture, a text that would influence Buehrig's own aesthetic sense for the rest of his life. In 1928, Buehrig was the fourth man hired by Harley Earl for General Motors' (GM) new Art and Colour Section, the first GM department dedicated solely to design concerns. Buehrig stayed there just long enough to share Earl's frustration with the Fisher Body Department's execution of the art department's designs. Of the 1929 Buick, dubbed the "pregnant Buick," Buehrig objected, "Harley Earl's original design was a masterpiece, but Art and Colour was new and he couldn't swing a lot of weight." Leaving GM's fledgling art department may have been a mistake for Buehrig, as Earl would rapidly establish the department into the industry's first design dynasty. But just as likely, Buehrig's inventiveness would have been harnessed by Earl, and while Buehrig would have become rich, he might never have achieved the boldness of his later designs. Buehrig, just 24, left GM to become chief body designer at Stutz before moving on to the even more prestigious role of chief designer at Duesenberg. At the age of 25, he began designing America's most high-profile car bodies. His crowning achievement came in 1936 with the Cord 810. Heavily influenced by Le Corbusier's designs, the 810 had disappearing headlights, a hidden gas cap, and venetian blind louvers that accentuated the car's lean, "coffin-nosed" hood. It was an affordable future car. In 1951, the Museum of Modern Art picked the Cord 810 as one of eight automobile selected worldwide to be exhibited as pieces of art. Curator Arthur Drexel wrote Buehrig that in the museum's view, the 810 was "the outstanding American contribution to automobile design." Buehrig quietly changed the way cars look today. Ironically, his former employer Harley Earl would follow Buehrig's work closely, often incorporating his innovations into GM's designs. It was Buehrig who first erased the running board from the American car... and Earl who first got the credit.

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June 01, 2006

Today In Automotive History

1917 Cadillac founder resigns

Henry Leland, the founder of the Cadillac Motor Car Company, resigned as company president on this date in 1917. Ever since William Durant had arranged for General Motors (GM) to purchase Cadillac, Leland and Durant had endured a strained relationship. But Leland's electric starter had made Cadillac so successful early on that Durant had avoided meddling with the autonomy of his company. Leland's next great achievement at Cadillac was his supervision of his son's proposal that Cadillac should introduce a V-8 engine. Previously Cadillac, and most other American companies, had only offered four-cylinder engines. The in-line six- and eight-cylinder engines experimented with by other companies had proven troublesome and required constant maintenance. Henry's son, Wilfred Leland, suggested that Cadillac oppose two four-cylinder engines in a V-shaped formation. The idea was not unheard of, as the French automaker, DeDion-Bouton, had already used such a configuration. But Cadillac aimed to create a more powerful, higher quality V-8 engine. In order to keep the project secret, Leland contracted the engine parts for his new engine to over half a dozen New England firms in such a way that the companies had no idea what the parts were for. They were then delivered to a dummy manufacturing firm called Ideal Manufacturing Company. The new Cadillac car with its V-8 was put on the market in 1914. It was received with a good deal of skepticism, based on the claim that such a complicated engine would create problems for drivers. Nonetheless, the engine proved a great success and was standard in Cadillacs until 1927. The success was followed, however, by the outbreak of war in Europe. Leland had visited the continent a few years earlier as part of a contingent of engineers. He had returned to America convinced that war in Europe was inevitable, and that it would decide the fate of Western Civilization. He was adamant that the United States would become involved sooner or later, and at the outbreak of the war he urged Durant to let Cadillac convert its facilities to the manufacture of aircraft engines, specifically the Liberty engine. The two stubborn men butted heads. Durant refused to respond to Leland's urgings, and Leland resigned. Durant assistant Charles Mott suggested that Leland had not resigned but was fired for other reasons. Whatever the circumstances, Leland left and started the Lincoln Motor Car Company. In 1917, he won the first contract to manufacture Liberty engines for the war effort. Leland worked closely with British, French, and American engineers to design a high-production, high-powered twelve-cylinder airplane engine for the war effort. By the war's end, Lincoln had manufactured more Liberty engines than any other single company. Two GM brands, Cadillac and Buick, also manufactured Liberty engines.

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