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Whatchamacallits on Wheels

We were talking about car names.
“I don’t like cars with ‘V’ names.” Me speaking: Generalizing on a crotchety prejudice.
“You don’t like ‘Viper’?”
“Viper’s different. It’s a real word applied to a car. It’s the made-up ‘V’ names I don’t like, or ones that sound made up. Like Volvo. But for that matter I don’t really like Viper much either.”

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Car ReviewsNew CarsEuropeUSA

Bob Lutz and the New World Order.

[Published on The Detroit Bureau]

Anyone reading or most certainly writing about cars is delighted that Bob Lutz hasn’t gone gently into that good afternoon of retirement after all. Consultant to GM renewed. (Insultant to all deserving of it, if the Lutzian manner hasn’t changed.) Bob was always the go-to guy if a deadline loomed and no lively quotes sprang from a reporter’s notes.

Bob continues to swerve off course when it comes to what is officially OK to talk about. Wow, truly inside info beyond the press release. And he is sure to talk about it in more colorful terms that most. He’s always a car guy; he’s always his own guy. I join the gang that’s glad he’ll be around.

That said I take the opportunity to disagree with what he said in an interview with a German writer. (I read what only was translated into English not being bilingual as Bob is.)

Bob told the German journalist that the top three car companies in the world were now GM, the Volkswagen group, and the Hyundai group. Read more >>

Car ReviewsNew CarsEuropeUSA

Splash/Dash. Make that: Nope/Hope.

[Published on The Detroit Bureau

Is it just me or are there more fuel management problems than usual in racing?

Take Chip Ganassi’s team at Indy’s 100th anniversary run. A one-two finish looked to be a lock with either Scott Dixon or Dario Franchitti crossing the line first. Dario had set fastest lap of the race; Scott the fastest lap while leading. Combined they were assured of having led more than half the race already. At worst, with the pair on different fuel strategies, Chip was confident that one or the other of his drivers would be guzzling milk in Victory Lane.

Then the one-two finish turned to five-twelve as the checker dropped. Thanks to bloody running low on gas!


Quotable ...

“Driving is a spectacular form of amnesia.  Everything is to be discovered, everything to be obliterated.”
Jean Baudrillard , French semiologist.



Your car has a built-in disaster trap, but you’re so used to it you’re probably not even aware of its danger.

Think brake pedal and accelerator. If an engineer today came up with the idea that two controls governing opposite outcomes would be placed inches apart and be operated by the same foot performing the same pushing motion he would be forthwith stripped of his pocket protector and directed back to the drawing board. Nincompoop.

Think brake, accelerator and the driver’s right foot.

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[Published on The Detroit Bureau

When you next go out on the street that’s what you’re going to see. Blue. Bright blue cars and pick-up trucks. (I do like a blue truck.) You are going to see them because I started noticing more of that particular blue – not navy, not baby, but blue like mouthwash is blue; blue like my Alfa Giulietta that I tossed around Europe circa 1958 was blue.

Classic CarsNew CarsEuropeTravelUSA

Ideas, Fully Baked or Half Done, Have Their Own Website

So do you think it would be a good idea to have scrolling electric signs - Times Square-like - mounted in car windows so a driver could comment on another driver’s performance? Something like: “Thanks for moving over” or “You drive like my Aunt Nellie”? 

Well, I don’t either. (Who’s minding the wheel while you type in your busybody messages?)

So what about pellet guns that can splotch another car with color (different hues for different transgressions) thus announcing to the driving world what sort of road action to expect from the piebald car.

How about having a central site where you can report faults you noticed on other cars (such as a failed tail light) so that the word would be passed on to the owner?

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The website of The First Lady of Racing, Denise McCluggage.

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