Blogs at Amazon

Weekly Open Threads

May 11 Weekly Open Thread: Car Lusts of the ‘00s

Rebellious-boxes-photo-68535-s-787x481
Look at them. So cool and clean, they could be fueled with Frappuccino. This is a grey and silver powerbook world of discreet sculpture, subtle art-deco-like fittings and cascading brushed aluminium.

--Jeremy Clarkson, Top Gear, on a brief description of then-contemporary (mid-‘00s) automobile design, though not directly referring the lot above.

 

Ah, the '00s. Wii We could talk a lot about that decade –though I doubt a lot of you would have positive, rose-tinted comments about it, not initially at least. I don’t think we’ll be labeling it “epic” any time soon. It started out with a bang, or more specifically didn’t –Y2K and all that, unless you count the ‘Dot-com bubble’ bursting- and quickly turned sour after certain major events took place afterwards not only in the U.S., but also around the world. Things picked up, until a little thing with the economy affected, oh, the whole world. This was the decade that I believe treated the word ‘billion’ as if it was just a ‘million’. It’s an inconvenient truth, I know. We’d notice that the letter ‘i’ and being green became cool and geek became chic. Through it all, this was the decade that my generation was forced to come of age kicking and screaming. No wonder people tried to bring the 1980s back, for better or worse.

Continue reading "May 11 Weekly Open Thread: Car Lusts of the ‘00s" »

April 20 Weekly Open Thread: "What Is A Blueprinted Engine?"

"Hey, I have a hot rod with a blueprinted engine!"

Engine-blueprintMany of us have heard somebody say that, then we nod our heads in agreement. And some of even have a slight idea of what that means. So to help explain this, we turn to EngineBasics.com, who at least partially define Engine Blueprinting as:

"A true blueprinted motor though, is one were every single part has been measured and matched exactly to a tolerance that FAR EXCEDES the manufacturers original tolerances. On a blueprinted motor one could say there “are no tolerances”, since everything is matched at times to a hundred thousands of an inch. The amount of balancing a blueprinted motor needs is so low its off the scale. All bearing and races are measured to be with-in thousands of each-other."

They can say that a lot better than I can.

Therefore, basically, a blueprinted engine is one built to incredibly tight tolerances, mainly to avoid power-robbing vibration issues.

So there. And of course, this is also the place to discuss anything else even ever so slightly automotive related. With or without blueprints.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credit: Our blueprinted engine example came from EddiesPerformance.com.

April 13 Open Thread: The Quantum Leap Challenge

This thread may or may not be in the process of being written by me. Or it may be someone else who is using my body temporarily to write -- or rewrite -- the whole thing in order to achieve a certain result. 

WE'LL NEVER KNOW FOR SURE. Quantum-Leap-Jennifer-Runyon-Car

And with that bit of logical conundrumness we kick off the latest Car Lust Challenge: The Car Lust Quantum Leap Automobile. . um, Challenge. . .Thingie. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, Quantum Leap was a science fiction television show that aired on NBC from 1989-93. It starred Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell who. . .well, I'll let IMDB set it up:

Doctor Sam Beckett (Bakula) led a group of top scientists into the desert to research his theory that a man could time travel within his own lifetime. Unfortunately, in order to save his funding, he was forced to enter the accelerator prematurely and vanished. He then found himself in someone else's body with partial amnesia. His only contact from home is Al (Stockwell), a holographic image only he can see and hear. Setting right things which once went wrong, Sam leaps from life to life, hoping each time that this is the final leap home.

The central theme is that Beckett would go back in time each week and inhabit someone else's body for a time in order to right some wrong that took place in the past. For example, he occupies the life of Lee Harvey Oswald and tries, unsuccessfully, to avoid assassinating Kennedy. . . .but we find out that in the original time line Jackie Kennedy was also killed, who he manages to save this time. I was never a fan of the show myself, but I always thought it was kind of a neat concept. 

But it recently got me to thinking: What would I do if I could go back in time and be in a position to change the way some automobile was made? I mean, we all sit here and b*tch about how GM should have done this or that with the Vega, or that AMC should have done this or that with the Pacer, assuming that with a few changes this or that model would have been AWESOME.

So here is your challenge, Car Lust readers: If you could go back in time and inhabit some auto executive's or designer's or engineer's body for some length of time and change the course of history for one model, what would it be? And how would you go about it? No need to be super detailed ("Yeah, I'd lengthen the trailing arms on the front by 6.8 mm, and then bore the cylinder out another 0.5 mm. . . .") but give enough detail that we get an idea how it would change things.

This might be a big thing, like, say, to give an example of something really dumb that would never happen in any sane universe, decide not to assemble cars in a separate country by flying them back and forth across the globe on 747s, or maybe something more modest, such as changing the suspension somewhat and avoiding the resulting bad press (misguided though it was). 

I'll have my choice out this week and my confrères will be getting theirs together in the future to sprinkle in as we go. Feel free to make yours in the comments or even send more detailed plans in and we'll publish them in the future. 

And feel free to talk about anything else that catches your fancy. 

If, in fact, it's really you doing the typing. . . . 

Image here.

March 16 Weekly Open Thread: "What Is A Crate Motor?"

Crate motor 3We've all heard the term tossed around a lot, but do we really know what a "crate motor" is?

Well, there is no easy definition of a crate motor. It's easy to say that a crate motor is a brand new engine assembly, usually with a warranty, delivered right to your front door. And though that's true, things don't stop right there.

Some crate motors are just an engine block, crankshaft, and pistons, all nicely bolted and torqued together. This is called a short-block. A long-block crate motor is a short-block, but with the cylinder heads and gaskets also in place.

Next up the menu (And price range) is the more or less complete engine with all of the above, plus an intake manifold and exhaust headers. And finally, there is the ready-to-run option that includes everything you'll need except for oil, fuel, and electricity.

Oh, and money. You'll need money. Most crate motors are expensive. Really expensive. Why, a new GM 640-horsepower Supercharged LS9 like they drop into a Corvette will set you back around 30,000 big 'uns. But the ease of just dropping in one of these power plants saves a lot of time which makes up for a lot of that expense. Or so "They" say.

Continue reading "March 16 Weekly Open Thread: "What Is A Crate Motor?"" »

March 9 Weekly Open Thread: "Nissan Theme Week"

Nissan AdWhether it's "Major Motion," or "We Are Driven," you know a Nissan ad when you see one. They are fast, tightly-cut ads to promote their vehicles with great excitement.

And rightly so. From the 240Z to today's 370Z and in between, we have seen a lot of great innovative cars from Nissan. Plus, Nissan builds many of their vehicles right here in the USA, so not all of them are "imports."

This week, we here at Car Lust will pay tribute to a few Nissan models, both old and new. And we might even pull an appropriate Nissan post or two from the Car Lust archives.

So whether you call them a Nissan or a Datsun, you can't call them dull. Well, most of them you can't.

And of course, this Weekly Open Thread is also the place to speak about anything even nearly automotively related.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credit: Our ad image was found at InsideEVS.com.

January 26 Weekly Open Thread: No. Just. . . . . .No.

America's Best-Selling Cars and Truck are Built on Lies: The rise of fake engine noise

Fake engine noise has become one of the auto industry’s dirty little secrets, with automakers from BMW to Volkswagen turning to a sound-boosting bag of tricks. Without FartCanthem, today’s more fuel-efficient engines would sound far quieter and, automakers worry, seemingly less powerful, potentially pushing buyers away.

Softer-sounding engines are actually a positive symbol of just how far engines and gas economy have progressed. But automakers say they resort to artifice because they understand a key car-buyer paradox: Drivers want all the force and fuel savings of a newer, better engine — but the classic sound of an old gas-guzzler.

Read, as they say, the whole thing. 

In your humble correspondent's opinion, when Ford decided to tune the exhaust and pipe in some of the noise to the cabin to give more of that muscle car feel, I was a bit wary, but eventually (mostly) okay with it. It was the actual noise, just redirected a bit. Meh. Whatever.

And putting some sort of noisemaker on super-quiet electrics and hybrids just makes sense; it really is a safety issue. 

But a completely digital noise solely for the purpose of driver enhancement? No. Stop it. Stop. It. That's even worse than a fart can on an untuned Honda Civic. 

Feel free to vent and agree with me on this one. And anything else. 

Photo here.

December 29 Weekly Open Thread: "The World's Most Irritating Car Commercial"

Lately here at Car Lust, we've featured a few new and old commercials, for better or for worse. A Corvette ad of over 30 years ago is probably the best of the best, but now this ad may be the worst of the worst.

Now please don't get me wrong, I love FIATs. It was a pleasure to cover their "FIAT FreakOut" here in Nashville a few years ago, and I even owned an X1/9 for a few hours... which of course is another story.

But personally, I don't like people shouting at me. So every time this commercial comes on, I dash for the Mute button. Madly and instantly. The moment I hear those notes and that voice screaming coursely and repetatively, it has to go. Now.

Here is said ad:

 

Hopefully their Gran Finale commercial will have its swan song soon as well.

Your thoughts please? And of course, this is the place to vent anything even slightly automotively related. Anything.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

December 15 Weekly Open Thread: This Is The Time Of Year When Dreams Come True

It may not be on the scale (pun intended) of "Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men" but for we here at Car Lust, the following development is truly, awesomely, magnificently welcome. Gone are the days (hopefully) when all you could decorate your mantle with were Lambos, Ferarris, and other assorted supercars. Or even just the souped-up (sorta) versions of some regular cars. Now, we might just have the opportunity to display. . . .our own cars. This story from Autoweek:

If you had given up all hope of finding a scale model of your family truckster from back in the day, NEO Scale Models may be able to help. Models of domestic cars in 1:43 scale had basically been written off by model manufacturers because the U.S. market was never really deemed big enough to support them. Those that were offered tended to be purchased exclusively for decorating model train diaramas (O Gauge is 1:48 scale, by the way), and thus had to meet a very low price point. Thus diecast manufacturers like Minichamps, Norev, Herpa, and others focused their attention on churning out models of European cars, producing twenty different versions of a Porsche 911 race Dodge-aries car for every one car that someone might have actually had in their driveway, like a Volkswagen Golf.

Or a Mustang II! VW Caddy! Ford LTD! I've been looking for a Mustang II model kit for a while, but with no success (though never mind eBay). Even if I did find one in the box it would ruin its collectibility (I think) to put it together. So I'm hopeful these things will take off and become viable enough to expand. The design is virtual and, as the article notes, with 3D printing perhaps in the not-too-distant future we'll be able to specify year, color schemes, and options. Even so, once they make a fastback Mustang II, I'll be tempted to just buy whatever they have and paint the mother pink brown.

Lawdy, just go to their web site and start clicking away, but hold on to your credit card. Following the jump are a couple more images for your Lusting pleasure. Also, feel free to discuss anything vaguely auto-related. 

Continue reading "December 15 Weekly Open Thread: This Is The Time Of Year When Dreams Come True" »

November 10 Open Thread: The More Things Change. . . . .

You know the saying "There's nothing new under the sun"? Yeah. 

Submitted for your contemplation: Girls + Cars. Cars + Girls. I'm fairly certain that the average Roman  curri dealer occasionally had a couple of calida mulierculae Romana* posing next to the new (AD) 14 models. And you can bet that the first thing some guy will do when he invents an anti-gravity landspeeder is dress up a future honey or two in quasi-futuristic bikinis (or perhaps grab a couple of Fembots) and sit them on the hood. It's what we do. Hence, compare and contrast:

Flappercar

That, according to Vintage Everyday, is a Peerless Touring Car, taken in 1923 in San Francisco.

And here. . . .

Two_girls_one_car_by_Graffton

is a more recent rendition.

A couple of things I noted:

-- There's no bumper on the Infiniti to stand on

-- There's probably more steel in the hood of the Peerless than in the entire Infiniti

-- You could probably outfit 20 of the modern ladies in the material in one of the vintage ladies' suits. 

Anything else? 

Sources for the photos in the links above. And let me tell you, if was a tough assignment doing research for this post. . . . .

* Hot Roman Babes. Loosely translated, of course. 

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.

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

Powered by Rollyo

Car Lust™ Contributors

May 2015

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31