Archive for November, 2006

Riding Safe: Scooters, Wheelies and Broken Teeth.

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

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Series II Lambretta, sketch by David Irving.

As some of you know I have vintage Italian scooter, a 1959/60 Lambretta LI 125 (series II). I bought the little scoot right after I graduated from college. The 1950’s styling and amazing patina spoke to me in ways that shiny new motorcycles never could, so I plopped down $1200, loaded it up in the back of my friends Toyota pickup and headed home. Having never ridden scooters or motorcycles before, I fired up the Lambretta and went about teaching myself to ride. I had one close call that involved too much throttle and a parked car, but soon enough I was competent and comfortable on the scooter.

I bought myself an open face helmet on Craigslist and began riding the scooter to work. Not long after that two of my good friends got Lambrettas as well and we began going to vintage scooter rides in San Francisco. On one of these events while doing some scooter drag racing I accidentally figured out that my little 125cc two-stroke scooter could pull a wheelie under hard acceleration. I was stunned at first but soon my shock turned to confidence and confidence to arrogance and… well it lead to an expensive accident.
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This one’s not me, but you get the idea.

While riding our Lambrettas to dinner one night my friend and I pulled up to a stoplight and saw some little kids waving and pointing at the scooters. I got really fired up that they were into our Lambrettas and I decided to try and put on a show. I pulled up to a 15 mph speed bump and goosed the throttle popping a pretty good sized wheelie. But when the antiquated front suspension hit the ground the scooter went completely out of control. I knew I was going down so I tried to lay the scooter on its side but it bucked me off hard. I smacked the ground with my left shoulder first followed by the side of my head, then I rolled forward and my face hit the ground. It felt like all my teeth had been knocked. In a state of shock I hopped up and ran to the nearest car mirror. To my horror I had a massively split lip and had seriously chipped two of my upper front teeth off, amazingly enough the scooter kept idling on its side all the while.

When I got home I tended to the road rash on my elbow, knee and ankle (asphalt will rash you right through a leather jacket). I got checked out for a concussion, and then went in to have my teeth worked on. Months of fitting and refitting, a painful root canal, a self conscious smile and thousands of no-dental-insurance dollars later and my teeth look just fine. I now have a gold front tooth with a porcelain veneer and it looks better than before.
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Chunks of my teeth may be missing but I still flash a smile.

As soon as the accident happened I promised myself I would buy a good full face helmet. Don’t get me wrong, I know the big lesson is “don’t stunt on your scooter or ride it recklessly”, furthermore I know that the open face helmet saved my ass by taking the initial impact on the ground, but I also realize that my face could have been much worse than it was after this low speed accident.

That was three years ago, and I still have an open face helmet. I also have dental insurance, but I’ve been feeling really guilty about not coming through on my promise to myself. Yesterday was my birthday and my girlfriend came through big where I could not. She bought me a nice Nolan N100 flip face helmet, the one I told her I was eyeing months ago, but never caught on that she was listening. All I have to do is go pick out a color and size and bring it home. But don’t worry, I won’t tempt fate and ride my scooter to pick it up.
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Nolan N100 flip front, full-face helmet.

After my accident I highly recommend full face helmets to anyone riding a motorized two-wheeled machine. While there are other lessons to be learned about safety and arrogance from my story, buying a full face helmet is a no-brainer. It’s like using your seat belt; you may be able to drive safely without one, but if you put it on and have an accident that isn’t your fault it might just save you from serious injury or death.
Keep two wheels down.

-Bill Mertz

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James Bond: Casino Royale

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

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I finally got around to seeing the latest Bond flick, Casino Royale. As many people know there has always been a strong relationship between car lovers and James Bond. It seems that in each movie he has a cool new ride full of gadgets and inevitably gets involved in a car chase and thrashes his vehicle to the point of destruction right in front of our faces. So I had very high hopes for Daniel Craig–the new Bond–and his Aston Martin DBS.
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James Bond’s new Aston Martin DBS
Well I’m happy to say that movie itself was awesome. A good plot, an incredible opening action sequence, excellent scenery and Daniel Craig is “hella bad ass” to quote a friend. But from a car lover’s perspective the film was a bit of a let down. Early on in the movie Bond wins a silver Aston Martin DB5 from one of his enemies, a clear nod to the days of Sean Connery and Goldfinger. I anxiously awaited the ensuing chase scene but it never came. Not only that, but the car was a left-hand drive model. No Bond that I know would ever drive on the left hand side of a vintage Aston.
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Sean Connery and his right-hand drive DB5 in Gold Finger.

As the movie rolled on and the action picked up we got our first peek at Bond’s new DBS. A beautiful car, perfect for the film, the DBS embodies everything that James Bond stands for–mainly danger and sex. But within moments of seeing the car Bond chases after the girl and promptly puts the DBS up on its roof. The stunt itself looks great, but I was a little said to see the noble car crash out so quickly. Maybe the British double O’s have a really good body fender guy and it will be back for the next movie.

So just some fair warning, if your looking for car chases just go rent Ronin, but if you want to see a great spy movie Casino Royale fits the bill just fine.

-Bill Mertz

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Giugiaro Glass Roof Mustang: You Have to See it to Believe it.

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

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Fabrizio Giugiaro and the boys at Italdesign Giugiaro have had their hands full creating one of the most stunning Mustangs ever to grace the stage of a car show. Spotted earlier this year in Italy by a mustang enthusiast the new Giugiaro creation has finally been unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show and the finished product looks absolutely breathtaking.
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With a slippery fastback skin, aggressive front end treatment, scissor doors and a bold sleek rear-end that rivals any European exotic this Mustang is well beyond any tuner version of Ford’s pony car that we have seen in the past. But the most eye-catching feature on the whole car starts where the hood ends and ends where the trunk begins. To achieve radical new look for the concept Mustang, Italdesign Giugiaro made the windshield, panoramic roof and rear window out of one solid glass unit. The look is astonishing, but the process is just as amazing.
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This one-piece roof was not something that could be created in house, so Giugiaro went to Saflex, a part of Solutia Inc., to create the all-glass top. The panel is made of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) glass which has solar-absorbing abilities. In a vehicle where the occupants face this much exposure to the sun, these solar-absorbing characteristics are crucial. The Saflex interlayer absorbs infrared energy and radiates it back outside the glass. In addition the roof provides 50 SPF. The Saflex PVB glass also proved to be the perfect medium to work in for the Mustang by Giugiaro concept because its single interlayer construction is well-suited to complex curves such as those in the Mustang’s roof line.
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-Bill Mertz

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Tiger Woods is at it Again.

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

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Nothing says Buick like a young superstar golfer, except for maybe a really old superstar golfer. On the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show Tiger Woods helped to unveil the production version of the all new Buick Enclave at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. In the past I laughed out loud when I saw Tiger Woods standing next to a horrific looking Rendezvous trying to help Buick sales. But for once it appears that Buick has designed a product worthy of a top notch athlete who wants a luxury ride with a little bling, and Tiger doesn’t look half bad standing next to it.

The new Enclave is Buick’s new offering for the luxury crossover segment. The concept debuted in Detroit earlier this year to good reviews, and it appears that the production version won’t leave anyone disappointed. The exterior appearance of the Enclave is about as elegant as they come in the SUV world, and while it might be the stuff inside that counts the stuff outside is what really sells cars. Not offensive in the least bit it is almost pretty to look at. I’m glad to see Buick putting a good product on the market and not wasting their amazing spokesman on a bunch of rubbish. Look for the 2007 Buick Enclave to go on sale in mid-summer of ‘07.

-Bill Mertz

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Toyota Executive and Hybrid Mastermind David W. Hermance Passes Away in Plane Crash

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

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On November 25, David W. Hermance was involved in a fatal airplane crash after performing aerobatic maneuvers in his plane off the coast of San Pedro, California. Hermance was Toyota’s top North American engineer for advanced technology vehicles. He was also a staunch environmental advocate and one of the pioneers of hybrid vehicle technology for Toyota. David Hermance career spanned four decades and included long stints with both General Motors and Toyota. Aside from being an outstanding engineer he was known for his ability to break down the complexities of hybrid systems into easy to understand terms and his ability to communicate with the public about all issues relating to hybrid vehicles.

My condolences go out to the family, friends and co-workers of Mr. Hermance. The industry has lost a brilliant man.

For a complete story please view: NY Times

-Bill Mertz

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RAV4: Star of the San Francisco International Auto Show

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

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This past weekend I made my annual visit to the San Francisco International auto show. For some reason the show was lacking in excitement this year. Sure there were cool cars like the Tesla, the light-weight electric sports car. But nothing was getting me revved up. So I decided to take a different approach to the show and look for a car for my mother.

Previously my mom had been driving a Subaru Legacy Outback, but the car was totaled in an accident which left her behind the wheel of my parents’ second car, a ‘99 Honda Civic. So she has been tentatively looking for a vehicle to replace the Civic which, although still running strong, has a faulty heater and vague steering issues that are probably the result of several thefts. She wants something with a high seating position meaning a small SUV is a real consideration. She is also considering things like four wheel drive for trips to the snow, and leather seats and other luxury items because she’s put up with hauling kids around for years and she deserves it.

So I walked around to all the manufacturers’ displays and check out various cars that might suit her needs. The Subaru Forester was top contender and so was the Honda Pilot, but then I walked into Toyota’s showcase. At first I checked out the Highlander, a car my mom has mentioned to me, but frankly I think it is a bit too big for her to use as a commute vehicle which is represents a good portion of her driving.

Just passed the Highlander I spotted a nice silver-blue ‘07 RAV4. The interior was stylish (it can be ordered with leather seats) and spacious enough to haul around grandchildren and strollers or seat tall adults like myself in the back seat comfortably. Even with the optional V6 gas mileage wasn’t atrocious at all, I believe it was around 30mpg highway, and the RAV4 could also be ordered with four wheel drive. I also really like the size of the vehicle. While it has the added ground clearance and driving position of an SUV it is still very car like in its size and stance. It is also short enough and narrow enough to park without difficulty. Add in the Toyota dependability factor (from personal experience) and I really feel that I found the perfect car for Mom.
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Unfortunately my mother still remembers the early days of the RAV4 when it looked like a cheap plastic vehicle and she doesn’t really like the cache that this Toyota carries with it. So I’m facing an uphill battle in trying to convince her that the RAV4 has all the luxury she needs but with the practicality too. Hopefully she will bite. If any RAV4 owners out there want to chime in on their experiences I’m all ears.

-Bill Mertz

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Jeepers Creepers

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

I’ve never owned a car that didn’t rattle and squeak a little, but even I have my limits. My Jeep has always put out a good rattle on the freeway. With mud tires that are always going out of balance, it seems that 4th gear causes an ash tray full of change to start singing right around 2000 rpm. In the past I would just live with these rattles, but after swapping a modern fuel-injected motor into my CJ7 I decided that the Jeep deserved to be treated a little better, so I started going after each rattle I heard.
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My 1986 Jeep CJ7. I can just hear it squeaking.

Chasing rattles is no easy task but after tightening loose bolts, lubing grease fittings, adding shims to doors, and sticking empty matchbooks in windows I eventually got the rattles to a minimum. Of course, that’s when the mother of all rattles decided to strike. While driving on the freeway I heard a noise that sounded like a chipmunk caught in a washing machine. It was shrill, loud, and horrible. I limped home very cautiously fearing a mechanical problem, but after an extremely thorough vehicle inspection I found nothing. Worse yet the rattle seemed to occur completely at random.

More tightening and lubing proved futile. Just when I thought I found the source and fixed it, the chipmunks would sing their siren song. So I decided to give up and just live with it. It wasn’t a mechanical problem so there was no real danger, only a foul sound in my ear. After a month of looking the other way toward my death rattle, the sound has completely vanished. It was almost as if someone was trying to get me angry and when they found out it wasn’t working they simply gave up.
I’m sure there is a lesson to be learned in all of this, but I have no idea what it is… perhaps it’s as simple as: “why don’t you just leave well enough alone?”

-Bill Mertz

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Two Cool Corvette Videos

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

The Corvette Z06 is an amazing machine. After driving one fast enough to require clean underwear I know that the Z06’s performance will rival most anything on the road. If you need further proof check out these two videos:

The first is a top speed run on naval air base runway. Top speed on the Vette is achieved in 5th gear even thought it is a 6 speed. Despite rumors that it was done on a dyno, I think the wind noise indicates that this 190mph run in is real.

This second video is from one of the greatest car shows on TV, Top Gear. This British based show regularly flogs and beats both exotic and benign machinery for the benefit of the viewers; the results are usually quite extraordinary. This video shows the host of Top Gear starting a Corvette Z06 in fifth gear and running it all the way up to 160. Truly amazing!

-Bill Mertz

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Porsche Cayman: a remarkably unremarkable way to travel.

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

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Today I drove my MGB up to Marine County to pick up a Honda S2000 press car for the night. While I was waiting for my co-pilot to finish some business I was given the opportunity to drive a beautiful Yellow Porsche Cayman. In my opinion the Cayman is the best looking vehicle in Porsche’s lineup. With sexy rear fenders, an elegant greenhouse and a flowing roofline the car turns heads without seeming arrogant.

Stepping into the Cayman it is instantly clear that this car is 100% Porsche. The well-appointed interior is stylish but not overdone, with a simple three-pod gauge cluster, a handsome three-spoke steering wheel and some very comfortable and sporty leather seats. The shifter is the only item inside that seems a bit cheap, but after running through the gears it is clear that this is only an aesthetic observation and doesn’t effect driving at all. The cockpit is plenty roomy even for tall drivers and rearward visibility isn’t as bad as you would expect for a mid-engine car.
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On the road this Porsche is good; almost too good. The steering is razor sharp and the power steering is weighted well giving it an excellent feel. The suspension does an amazing job of blending performance and comfort. High speeds, twisting corners and rough roads all produce the same results, a confident, comfortable and sporty ride.

Step on the fly by wire gas pedal, and the Caymans 2.7 liter flat six begins to make some pleasant noises. Although a bit quiet from the outside, the inside sound effects make the will make you long for the Targa Florio. While out and out power is below super-car levels the 245 horse motor has more than enough spunk to get you into trouble with the local law enforcement. It also has a very flexible power band with plenty of low down torque making the Cayman fun to drive even at 2000 rpm.

In my short 20 minute drive I found very few flaws with the Porsche, yet it didn’t really live up to my expectations either. I guess I was hoping for more 911 and less Boxster, but the Cayman lies right in the middle. Like the middle child who gets straight A’s, plays sports, is an artist and never complains, the Cayman does it all without as much as a grumble. For me this epitomizes what I both loved and hated the car. Compared to my MGB it lacked soul and quirkiness. But two people could throw their luggage in the back and travel just about anywhere in any whether and the Cayman would be right at home. It won’t thrill you like a Corvette, or make you smile like an Elise; rather it will lull you into its confidence with its utilitarian ability.

-Bill Mertz

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Fast, Cool, Scion

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

The Scion tC is a far cry from the boxy xB that put Scion on the map. The third offering from Toyota’s Scion brand was designed to be a performance oriented sports coupe with all the qualities of a high-end model at a fraction of the price, and the tC definitely delivers the goods.
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Under the watchful eye of Chief Engineer Dr. Shigeyuki Hori performance was a priority. Following the simple boy racer guideline of taking engines from big cars and putting them into small ones, the standard engine for the tC is the same robust 2.4 liter 4 cylinder used in the
Camry. Specifically tuned to suit the smaller coupe, this all aluminum twin-cam power plant is good for 160 horsepower and a hefty 163 lb-ft of torque. While this is ample power to give the Scion coupe a genuinely sporty feel, a quick trip to the Toyota dealership will give even the hottest shoed enthusiast all the oomph they could ask for. Toyota Racing Development has developed a bolt-on supercharger as well as a host of other aftermarket goodies that can bump the power up and over the magic 200 horsepower mark. Even more impressive than the power output, is the fact that Toyota will still honor the cars warranty in supercharged trim.
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Quick Revenge for Poorly Parked Cars

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

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Have you ever come out of the grocery store to find someone has parked within inches of your driver’s door? Or have you been searching for a space in a crowded lot and see someone who has parked their car across two spaces? Well now you can get a little a bit of revenge without going Jack Nicholson and breaking their windows with a golf club.

Revengeisyellow.com is selling customized fake parking tickets so that good drivers with a chip on their shoulder can get back at those folks who ruin everyone’s day by doing a terrible parking job. The British based company puts a good dose of English sarcasm into to each ticket, and the packaging looks pretty convincing from the outside. It will definitely get your blood pressure up when you see it stuck to your windshield.

Here is a sampling of some of the tickets:

“Well done! It must of taken years of practice to be that bad. Maybe if you let your guide dog park next time, you might only take up one space, or at least get it straight.”

“This is just a note to say thank you for parking so close to my car…Next time, please leave a sodding tin opener so I can get my car out….Do society a favour and take the bus next time!”

While most of us Yanks don’t know what a “sodding tin” is, it still gets the point of cross and does it with a distinctive British wit.

-Bill Mertz

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World’s Best Auto Glass Technician Decided in National Competition

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

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This is not a joke. While the rest of us go on with our normal 9-5 jobs there are Auto Glass Technicians all over the country honing their skills to become the best of the best. In the world of Automotive glass replacement there is one competition that reigns supreme, The Auto Glass Technician Contest. The event, which is touted as the “Olympics” of Auto Glass Replacement, is co-sponsored by Auto Glass Repair and Replacement magazine (AGRR), the largest auto glass magazine in the world, and the Independent Glass Association. In case you can’t tell this is a big deal in the auto glass world.

This years Auto Glass Olympics were held November 1-3 in Las Vegas, Nevada. During the event competitors go up against regional champions from all over the US in front of live audiences. In the individual bouts contestants must install a windshield on a car in accordance with Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council (AGRSSC) Standard 002-2002. As each competitor completes an installation their work is scrutinized by a panel of four judges. Each competitor starts with a total of 110 points. Points are then deducted for errors in technique, safety or the installation process itself. The field is eventually weeded down from twenty-nine competitors to four finalists who have impressed the judges with their windshield installation abilities. Before a champion can be crowned the four remaining contestants must test their skills with a final task; the removal and reinstallation of a backlite.
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Backlite
This year Robert (Rob) Grace of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass, Harrisburg, PA., won the gold medal. Grace was given a $5000 purse, his gold medal, a large trophy, and most importantly the esteemed title of “World’s Best Auto Glass Technician”.

Hey Rob, you think you could do my MG when your schedule frees up?

-Bill Mertz

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New Poll Shows Americans want the Government to Enforce Stricter Fuel-Efficiency Standards

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

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The Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) recently completed a national opinion survey for the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (CSI). The survey focused on questions pertaining to fuel-efficiency, US auto manufacturers, gas prices, and Government intervention on all of these subjects. The survey results proved to be interesting and enlightening showing almost no partisan tendencies.

Here is a sample question and finding from the ORC survey.

Respondents were given the question: “Do you think President Bush and the Congress should dedicate a portion of existing or increased gasoline taxes for investment in research and development of renewable energy and related clean technologies?”

74 percent replied yes compared to only 24 percent who said no. Of the people asked 70 percent of Republicans said yes, 73 percent of Independents said yes and 78 percent of Democrats said yes.

Other substantial findings from the ORC poll include:

  • 3 out 4 Americans want the Government to impose a 40 mpg fuel-efficiency standard
  • 90 percent of Americans expect fuel prices to increase “in the near future”
  • Nearly half of Americans are now more likely to by a “hybrid or other fuel-efficient vehicle” than they were 6 months ago.
  • Most Americans think Detroit is to blame for its current woes.
  • Nearly all Americans want President Bush to pressure U.S. automakers to focus more on the latest in fuel-efficiency technology.
  • A majority of Americans see Japanese automakers ahead of U.S. car manufacturers.
  • 80 percent of Americans agree that greater fuel efficiency for cars, SUVs and trucks is in our national security interests
  • SURVEY METHODOLOGY
    “Results are based on telephone interviews conducted among a sample of 1,016 adults (509 men and 507 women) age 18 and over, living in private households, in the continental United States. Interviewing by ORC was completed during the period of November 9-12, 2006. Completed interviews of the 1,016 adults were weighted by four variables: age, sex, geographic region, and race, to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total adult population. The margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the sample of 1,016 adults. Smaller sub-groups will have larger error margins.”

    For the full survey results go to: http://www.civilsocietyinstitute.org/

    These findings certainly seem to indicate that the American public is trying to buck the trend of gas-sucking SUVs in favor of smaller more efficient vehicles. It also shows that across the line the public wants there to be more done in the area of alternative fuels.

    I was really happy when I read this survey. It gave me a renewed confidence that people as a whole are not as dumb as I often think they are. I know surveys don’t prove anything, but a well conducted survey such as this one is usually pretty close to the mark when it comes to accuracy. The one thing that concerns me is how naive we the general public can be. We often don’t know all the facts–I know I certainly don’t– and don’t have time to go digging for answers so we become vulnerable to ads, rumors and propaganda from ill informed friends posing as know-it-alls, corporations and especially the media (hey that’s me!). This often leaves people disoriented. So while you might be all for lower emissions, higher fuel-efficiency and alternative fuels–because that’s the latest buzz and you feel pressure to express that view point especially on a survey–you still might go out and buy a piggy SUV.

    I personally find myself in this position quite often. Neither of my vehicles come close to the 40 mpg barrier, but yet I’m totally supportive of higher efficiency standards. If I could afford one, and they made a cool sporty version, I would buy a hybrid or super-efficient car. In fact if the Bay Area had a good public transit system I wouldn’t drive my car to work at all.

    As much as I love cars and internal combustion, I love having breathable air, trees and parks just as much. I like the idea of having a safe and peaceful Country and I feel like using renewable resources instead of foreign oil to power our vehicles would go along way to promote these goals. Perhaps the poll results and the poll itself are a bit idealistic, but I’m glad Americans are thinking about the future. Now the question is will the people who took this poll simply talk (in the form of this survey) or will they take action by buying efficient vehicles in the future? We shall see.

    -Bill Mertz

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    Toyota to make an offer at GM?

    Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

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    Carlos Ghosen, chief executive of Nissan and Renault.
    In recent months GM has been entertaining thoughts of forming an alliance with Nissan-Renault. Top executives from both companies have come together to discuss the details of how a partnership between GM and Nissan should be pursued and what the possibilities would be. If plans go forward for some type of merger Nissan-Renault could end up with as much as a 20% piece of GM.

    According to a recent BusinessWeek Online article, Toyota may also be poised to make a play at GM. Unwilling to let their direct competition get the upper hand so easily the rumor mill has it that Toyota is working an up an offer of their own to hedge off a potential GM-Nissan-Renault alliance (pun intended). Toyota is also worried about the possibility of GM falling apart altogether and the repercussions it would have throughout the entire auto industry. Because it is in there best interest to keep GM around they may be willing to help bail the US auto manufacturer out with some type of partial buy-out.
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    Renault Alliance. A terrible vehicle.
    GM and Toyota do have a history together which includes several joint production plants and even a couple joint-effort vehicles like the mid-’80s Chevy Nova. But will this past working relationship give Toyota any kind of edge in bidding war for GM? Since I don’t want to pile speculation on top of speculation I’ll simply say that it remains to be seen. Whatever happens, it is looking increasingly likely that someone will step in to help out GM. And what about ailing Ford? Word around the office is that if GM balks at the offer from Nissan-Renault, Ford might step right in to accept it. Is that enough conjecture for you?

    -Bill Mertz

    Ghost Ride the Volvo

    Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

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    It looks inevitable. My home town Oakland A’s are heading to Fremont and I’m not happy about it at all. But I’m not the only one. All across Oakland there is a sweeping feeling of sadness and depression as Oaklanders come to grips with their team heading to the south bay. Some residents are still clinging to the shred of hope that the A’s will remain in the Land of O but that is as unlikely as Jeremy Giambi sliding into home plate… unless the citizens of Oakland come together to protest this injustice.

    That’s exactly what Ben and Nate, two youngsters from “the Town”, decided to do. The only question was what form the protest should take. Oakland has a long standing tradition of social justice and protest. From Huey P. Newton and the Black Panthers to Barbara Lee, a quick look in the history books would have given these guys plenty of info on staging sit-ins, rallies and marches. But Ben and Nate wanted something that was uniquely Oakland. That’s when they knew they had to “Ghost Ride It”.

    For those who don’t know, ghost riding, also known as ghost ridin’ the whip, is a trend that started in Oakland involving a car driving in gear with know one behind the wheel. Usually there is someone on the hood or trunk of the car and the doors are open. The effect makes it look like a ghost is driving the car, hence the name. This trend has been encapsulated in several hip hop songs as well, the most notable being Ghost Ride It by Oakland’s own Mr. FAB.

    The first known person to ghost ride was a young Oakland gentleman by the name of Critty Bo. Following in Mr. Bo’s footsteps Ben and Nate did some ghost riding of their own–in their Volvo. I don’t know if ghost riding the Volvo will help keep the A’s in Oakland but it sure is entertaining and it can’t hurt.

    -Bill Mertz

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    About Automotive Blogger

    Some people use their automobiles only to get from Point A to Point B. You know there's more than that. You get mad when someone makes a remark about your car that's less than flattering. You get riled when a cool car is destroyed in a straight-to-video movie. You realize when a new car doesn't deserve it's name of a great car of the past. When you see someone driving a boring vehicle, you feel sorry for them. You know it's not the destination that counts - it's the journey. Welcome home gearheads. Welcome home, car freaks. Welcome to the site that fuels your automotive obsession - AutomotiveBlogger.net

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