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Weekly Open Threads

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.

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

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

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