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Weekly Open Threads

October 27 Weekly Open Thread: Will No One Rid Me Of These Turbulent Noises?

FIle this one under First World Problems: Since I bought a new vehicle to replace one of 1970s vintage (and an addition to one of 1990s vintage), I have experienced many neat and wondrous things. Such as heaters that heat quickly; quiet; a smooth ride, etc. However, there are one or two things that have been really bugging me. In this case, constant beeping and flashing:

 

Yes, all the infernal beeping and flashing that seems to accompany virtually every press of a button, though to be honest it's mainly locking and unlocking it with the fob. Lock it and it beeps a couple times and the lights flash. Unlock it and it beeps a couple of times and the lights flash. Lock it before the doors are all closed and it beeps and flashes and then beeps again once the doors are all closed. Can this thing not do a simple task without being a drama queen about it? 

I did try to bypass all the beeping and flashing early one morning by simply opening the driver's side door with the key, but then it immediately started beeping and flashing and added blowing the horn to the mix. "No!" it seemed to say, "Bad owner! No driving!"

I imagine there's some way make it all shut the hell up, but it's not risen to that level.

Yet. 

Stealthy entry is not its strong point. 

Sometimes it's really pleasant to get into my old Mustang with a simple turn of the key and nary a beep or a flash to be heard or seen. 

Please discuss this or any other auto-related topic.

October 20 Weekly Open Thread: American Retro Edition

This week we bring your attention to a photo essay by Vanessa, also known as Nessy, the proprietress of Messy Nessy Chic. Recently, Nessy highlighted a few photos by photographer Ryan Schude, many of whose works feature automobiles, both newer and older. Sayeth Nessy: Tree

The fascinating scenes, the colours, the cars, the people, the places– there’s just so much to soak in, but I’m going to let the pictures do all the talking. All I can say is that his pictures have stolen my American retro-loving heart…

Some of them are a bit busy and, well, goofy for my taste (if that's worth anything) but in most cases the photographs featuring automobiles are mostly simple but elegant in composition. You'll notice often the color pallette of the background scenery and the featured automobile are nicely complementary to one another. They look like they really do fit where they are. Most of them have sort of a mid-century modern flair to them (which I adore), even when there's nothing particularly "mid-century" involved (e.g., the '85 Volvo). I'm particularly tickled that one features one of my faves, the Subaru BRAT.

I'll let you all click over and check out the images in her essay and the photographer's Tumblr pages, all of which are both gorgeously shot and feature several cars known throughout these Car Lust parts. And feel free to discuss anything else. Enjoy.

My favorites (so far) include the photo above and this one in particular:

Jag

 UPDATE: Schude's web site is here and he has a Facebook page for more photos.

October 13 Weekly Open Thread: Mystery Edition

We get the Halloween season going with a little mystery for Car Lust readers:

MysteryTrucks

Any guesses as to the what, where, significance, etc?

The only hint I'l' give is that I took the photo myself about a week ago.

 

I'll let this sit out there and give a fuller explanation later in the week. 

Feel free to discuss anything else of automotive interest as well.

September 22 Weekly Open Thread: The Top 10

Rusty-car1As we all know, every car publication, blog, and TV car show has produced its choices of the "10 Worst Cars Of All Time." And many cars, such as the Chevy Vega, the Pontiac Aztek, and the AMC Pacer, have shown up on virtually every 10 Worst Cars List ever done.

So since those lists have become all too familiar, we're now going to do a 10 Worst Cars Of All Time list, but with a little twist. And we need your help.

The twist is this: We're putting together a list of "The Next 10 Worst Cars Of All Time," and we need your choice(s) for any of the Top 10 worst cars of all time, especially when you exclude the following:

Chevy Vega/H-Body Cars

GM X-Body Cars

Continue reading "September 22 Weekly Open Thread: The Top 10 " »

September 15 Weekly Open Thread: The People's Car?

Over at Top Gear -- that poor stepsister to Car Lust -- James May had a 3-episode series on Cars of the People (which, you know, we've been highlighting FOR YEARS). Largely devoted to automobiles designed 1024px-VolkswagenBeetle-001 for ordinary folks to carry out their daily business in -- like the VW Beetle, Ford Transit VanCitroën 2CV, Ford Mustang, Fiat 124/VAZ-2101, and various other primarily inexpensive automobiles produced for the masses -- it was an exercise ostensibly directed at determining what the ultimate Car of the People was. Not the car everybody wanted, but the car that the majority of people needed and could get along with and, you know, use

What do you think he decided on?

The VW Golf

"Pah!" said I, "That's not it because. . . .well, because it's. . . .I mean, it can't be since the real ultimate People's Car is. . . . .hmmmmm."

And you know, I couldn't really come up with any good reasons. It seats five. Drives well. Has a hatchback so it's practical. Covers a range of budgets, from basic to hot. And over six generations since 1974 it's sold over 30 million copies so they've got to be doing something right.

Right?

Maybe. But for my money, it's the Honda Civic. It comes in sedan, coupe, and hatch versions in a variety of trim and option levels, it's more reliable and cheaper to maintain than the Golf, and has had its own hot hatchback at times. It hasn't sold quite as well though, only reaching about half the number of the Golf in about the same amount of time (sales figures here). So maybe I'm wrong (perish the thought).

Then there's the Toyota Corolla, the best-selling nameplate ever at 40 million and counting. That must count for something.

He mentioned the Model T and I think that, considered across the entire span of automobile history, I would probably go with it over everything else. It was the first car that was really built for the masses and it fulfilled that role magnificently. As I noted earlier, the Model T was for everything from an around-town runabout to delivery trucks -- beer, milk, you name it -- to ambulances to farm implements. They fulfilled every conceivable use and made motoring a part of daily life for everyone, not just toys for the rich. 

So, what do you think? The Golf? Civic? Toyota Corolla? Something else? 

And feel free to discuss anything else auto-related that comes to mind. Beetle photo from Wikipedia. 

September 1 Weekly Open Thread

WP_20140824_13_01_10_ProAs always, this is the place to talk about anything you want to talk about.

For your amusement and edification, may I present a vintage non-digital gasoline pump, encountered (and refuelled from) a week ago in the bustling (not really) metropolis (not quite) of Sulphur, Indiana, where it is still in service. Apparently, it's not the only preserved artifact of a bygone age to be found thereabouts.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

August 25 Weekly Open Thread: Childhood Toy Car Ads

Recently while perusing Youtube, I ran across this vintage toy car ad. And at my (Soon to be) ripe old age, I can honestly say that I totally remember when it was first shown:

 

I've got to say that I wanted one of those sets back then and to be honest, I wouldn't mind having one now. To share with the next generation. Of course. And, this ad also might have made a Car Lust Carspotters post, maybe asking our loyal readers to try to identify the rolling wrecks in the video.

So, do any other vintage toy car ads come to mind? Maybe Hot Wheels and their tracks... or even the Big Bruiser (I had one of them!)?

And as we say every week, this is also the place to discuss anything even somewhat automotively related. In an adult and responsible way. Of course.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

August 18 Weekly Open Thread: Photographs and Memories

A slightly different Open Thread this week. Feel free to discuss anything else auto-related

Two happenstance events came together to make me post the photo to the right. I'm not entirely sure of the date of this, but probably from the later 1960s. It’s from one of many family summer trips to Alabama that we took to visit my dad’s folks when we were growing up. He hailed from deepest darkest Alabama, married my mom while both were in the Air Force stationed in England, and they eventually Catalinasettled in Wisconsin near where she grew up.

I'm also not sure what car that is but it looks like it would have been the Pontiac Catalina. The location is no doubt somewhere between Wisconsin and Empire, Alabama, probably in July or August which is when we went down there. We’d make the trip in one day, usually starting out about 4 a.m. and getting to "grandpaw’s" house early in the evening. It was a looooong day of driving in a hot car with just the stock car radio and whatever other junk we brought along for entertainment.

Anyway, some time ago I was trying to figure out the ftp function on my (new to me) Mac, and came across a set of old photos I’d scanned some time ago. The negatives were sitting in mom’s attic and I brought them back, scanned them in, and mailed them back. I noticed this one in particular because of an old Car Lust post. What a nice piece by one Steven Manseau:

Certain cars remind one of certain periods in our lives, just as certain songs and certain smells can transport us back to simpler times. I didn’t own this car, but the memories from when I was 10 years old will last a lifetime.
. . .
The snapshot-in-time came on a summer afternoon in 1968, upon leaving Hampton Beach sunburnt and sandy (sunblock? what’s that stuff?). Mom stopped at Brown’s Clam Shack to satiate her hungry brood. Afterward, we all piled in (no seat-belts required), fought for our choice seats, and Mom got on the then-new Interstate 495. Back then, few people were on those new roads (my father-in-law later explained it this way–his contemporaries took awhile to realize where these new roads went, and how much time they would save).

Read the whole thing.

Continue reading "August 18 Weekly Open Thread: Photographs and Memories" »

August 4th Weekly Open Thread-- "Theme Week: New Cars Week"

New Car SmellThey say nothing smells as good as a new car. And that is kind of hard to argue with. Just ask these two olfactory experts.

This is the time of year when the dealers are "giving away" the 2014 models to "make room" for the 2015s. From "$1,000's Off!" to "Zero Down, Zero % !!!," the dealers will be working overtime to "Get you into this beauty!" with whatever it takes.

So this week, we're going to feature some new cars. Or maybe I should say new vehicles. At least one of these posts isn't about a car.

And as always, this is the place to discuss anything even remotely automotively related. "Anything!"

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credit: The picture here was found at CHZBGR.com.

July 28 Weekly Open Thread--It's a(n Urban) Jungle Out There

"Welcome to the jungle, it gets worse here everyday/Learn to live like an animal in the jungle where we play...."That driverless car revolution we were talking about at last week's picnic might not come as fast as some people have been predicting. MIT Technology Review reports that Google has its hands full getting its new-model autonomous cars to safely navigate the "urban jungle":

Academic experts at the conference say Google is taking on some of the hardest problems in artificial intelligence and robotics, essentially trying to replicate the ability of humans to effortlessly make sense of their environment. That’s because driving safely relies on much more than just knowing to avoid big objects, such as people or other cars, or being able to recognize symbols such as a stop sign. Humans make use of myriad “social cues” while on the road, such as establishing eye contact or making inferences about how a driver will behave based on the car’s make and model . . . . Even if a computer system can recognize something, understanding the context that gives it meaning is much more difficult . . . .

John Leonard, an MIT expert in autonomous driving who attended the conference, says that he and other academics find themselves constantly battling the assumption that all of the technology challenges associated with robotic cars have been solved, with only regulatory and legal issues remaining. “It’s hard to convey to the public how hard this is,” he says. Leonard stands by a comment that earned him some online criticism in an MIT Technology Review story last year, when he predicted that he wouldn’t see a self-driving Manhattan taxi in his lifetime , , , ,

It may take decades to "teach" computers all the things you need to know to drive safely in a complex environment. What I expect we will see more of in the short term is automated driver-assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control, lane-change warning and collision avoidance, and maybe even semi-automatic "platooning" for highway driving.  When we do get fully-robotic road vehicles in general service, I would expect the first to be long-haul robo-trucks that operate on the Interstates only.

This is the place to talk about robot cars, or any other car topic.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

(The illustration is a Google Cars project promotional image.)

Pictured above: This is a forlorn Chevy Vega photographed by reader Gary Sinar. (Share yours)

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