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Friday
Feb122016

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.

Think of this its already mid month, the Toronto Auto Show (CIAS) opens today, and its the long Family Day week end too.

Here is a paradox, we want these huge screens for a television while spending most of our time on a small 5 inch smart device screen...reflect on this for a moment. If you conclude that mobility trumps screen size you are correct.

The digerati are still admonishing that your site has to be mobile friendly. In 2016 its ancient history, most of the traffic on your site is from a smart device. If your site is not mobile friendly you already took a beating in Google search, and eyeballs.

Sometimes it just happens, on a recent flight we simply took photos out of the window, stretch your arm get confirmation that its focused, and shoot...sort of thing...take a look click. Not often that you can sit in an aisle seat with no one on the window seat. You can call them unique moments.

Never mind driving, when you fly over dowtown Toronto, the explosion of condos truly captures your attention and imagination.

If you are in the auto business you have certainly heard that Automotive News will have a Canadian edition in the near future. Which has a few folks in the publication business concerned about the future direction of advertising spend.

Yes...The Colonel was at the media day of the Toronto Auto Show yesterday, by now its the annual pilgrimmage to see new models, and connect with a bunch of folks that are in the auto business.

Our usual old race cars from the Winter Marathon Rally, its an impressive photo gallery.

 

 

Thursday
Feb112016

The Humans in the Business

In the auto business there is a constant mention of technology here, and there accompanied by processes, reinforced by seeking various form of automation. Lately there is even an increased quest to automate human processes.

Between technology to design, engineer, and assemble vehicles, as well as technology in the showroom, and to empower consumers we are inundated and often buried under a thick layer of techno talk.

At the end of the day it staill takes a human moment to close a deal in a showroom. Reflect on this...after its all said and done...it takes a human moment.

The old saying that "We are in the people business through cars" is as true today as it was decades ago.

Another old saying was that in this business "Controlling the variables" arriving at simple solution was a test of true understanding.

The astute individual has an innate understanding that all this technology should facilitate the controlling of variables and being in the people business. Obvious that its easier said than done.

Here is the deal...

Put a good number of auto individuals in a room, with speakers, presentations, break out sessions and it gets very interesting.

Recently we had an opportunity to attend and participate in such an event, it was a learning experience not so much to learn about the business, the technology, but how easily humans get lost in the trees and miss the forest.

It turns into an immense ball of grey, a bunch of trees, while the forest is missed, the true picture is cloudier after than before. There is a cognoscenti here, a guru there, an expert somewhere, an analyst elsewhere...you surely get the picture.

It begs the question that if the auto business upholds this model will folks get smarter or stupider? If you are in high school there is a curriculum, in university another, gradute school another, doctorate another. When you mix all these curriculums together it dumbs everything down to the lowest common denominator. Although it probably works to monetise the event.

If back in the day, folks were in the people business through cars and extolling the vitues of how a valve body shifted gears, or the duration of the intake lobe on a camshaft was not going to close a deal. Today getting lost in the technology be it the Internet, social media, big data, empowered customer is not going to close a deal.

Agreed...there are a ton of vehicles sold in Canada in the past few years, so something is working. Absolutely its working with cheap money, aggressive incentives, consumers seeking mobility.

Notice that at the point where the product is converted to a customer, and turned into money, the profitability is eroding.

Reflect on this for a moment...similar to an airport a consumer scans his "buying pass" in a showroom, is directed to the specific vehicle, invited to a test drive, while another scan will generate the paperwork. As the profitability cotinues to erode, automation will save the day or will it?

Obvious that "something" is not aligned.

From an article in HBR The Soft Skills of Great Organisations 

Smart organizations have recognized that introducing new technology into the workplace isn’t about hardware or software: it’s aboutwetware, also known as human beings. If you want to be the kind of nimble business that can make the most of successive waves of tech innovation, you need human beings who can adapt to change.

 

Monday
Feb082016

The Auction Action

Now that the Scottsdale auction dust has settled, and if you are of a certain age that you remember some of the cars.

 

What caught our attention in no particular order.

Trans-Ams:

Wow after being dormant for decades these cars have gone through the roof price wise. Yes...The Colonel owned a black 1977 Trans Am back in the day. Nothing very exciting or tuggin your heart strings about a Trans Am with a lazy 400 or an even lazier 455.

Resto Mods:

Agreed its probably a ton of money to engineer, and build a totally cool "resto mod" and some of the cars were epic. But the prices...were stratospheric on most of the stuff.

GNX:

Takes your breath away, guess if you bought a GNX back in the day, and kept it. Obvious that a V6 with a turbo resonates with some folks in 2016 when turbo's are all the rage on 4 cylinders.

GTO:

When a brown Judge convertible with a 455, 4 speed, and something like 4.33 gears does cubic money. What can you say...or what else is there to say. Then the conversation turns to Ram Air IV's in GTO's with the endura front bumpers...The Colonel remembers to short life span of these engine.

Back in 1972 The Colonel would order Pontiac LeMans Sport with the GTO front end, even ordered a Le Mans Station wagonwith a 400 and a GTO front end. You have to wonder what that wagon would do in Scottsdale.

One Off:

Some of the stuff is just plain ugly, with awful proportions. But...its a one of one by so and so. Still ugly with awful proportions.

Corvette:

Do you have have the feeling that they are becoming an industry. Find one that is a mess, turn it into a resto mod, by accident find one that was an old race car with spotty provenance...Wow.

Maserati:

Wow...epic prices what else can you say.

Ferrari:

By now its a staple product at any auction that will bring cubic money. Think of this Testarossa's that were interesting back in the day are increasing in price.

Mercedes-Benz:

Yes...a 540K set a record and probably deserved it. A wide body SEC from back in the day...go figure?

 

 

Saturday
Feb062016

Corvette Z06 vs Viper ACR

Totally fun Head 2 Head...see who wins.

 

 

Friday
Feb052016

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.

Its a 1935 Chevrolet

For a Corvette fan it was a joy to see Corvette Racing finish 1-2 in GTLM at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Especially the last 15 minutes when number 3 and 4 were racing each other in a purposeful fashion. More impressive this was after 23 hours of racing.

Canadian sales for January, what can you say a record month, an epic month, almost increadible but true.

A thought on vehicle weight. If you remove weight you can raise the level of performance with a smaller engine, or you can immensely increase the performance by decreasing the weight, and increasing the size of the engine. Guess which direction we would go...yes drop the weight, increase the engine. Guess which direction manufacturers are going? Precisely drop the weight, and decrease the engine.

The 1935 Chevy Coupe, by now you know that we have an affinity for hot rods. You can click on the photo to make it bigger. Notice the chopped top, and the angle, the stance, the louvers on the hood, the pan under the grille, the kidney wheels. Yes...its bare metal. What colour would you paint it?

You certainly heard the various comments about Apple and the softening sales of iPhones, the subsequent deterioration of the share price. At some point how many iPhones can you sell? Especially when the carriers control the sales more than Apple (in North America). In the same thought vector, how many vehicles can you sell in Canada when you have reached 1.9M in 2015?

In case you misssed it, we started Tip of the Day its our way of giving back on our 10th anniversary. Do we give a step by step tip, or advice? You know that its not our style, we offer advice and a direction for the thought process.

If you have been around small block Chevrolet engines for a few decades, you surely remember the early versions of the engines. This build is considered "old school" today. Take a look at Part 1 and Part 2. It will carry you back a few decades just looking at the photos, while refreshing you memory.

An impressive photo gallery of the Cavallino Classic 2016 held as usual at the Breakers in Palm Beach.

 

 

Wednesday
Feb032016

Global Sales - 2015

You know the saying a picture is worth...

Click on chart to enlarge

Monday
Feb012016

The Power of Dreams

Informative, inspiring, totally cool video from Honda...

 

Saturday
Jan302016

2000 Ford F150 Harley-Davidson

Fascinating and informative conversation with Jay Leno about his 2000 F150...which will be auctioned at Barrett Jackson with proceeds going to MS.

Sold last night for $ 200,000.00 with Jay Leno on the auction block.

 

 

 

Friday
Jan292016

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its the last Friday of the month, January is almost a done deal. Its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti. Join the conversation.

In a few days it will be fascinating to see the January sales results. Be assured that climatic conditions will become a factor in many of the comments especially for the US.

This week end is the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and the myriad of auctions in Phoenix. Yes...we remain Corvette fans. As you watch the auctions on Velocity, keep in mind the value of the CDN dollar.

If you remember reading Hot Rod magazine from back in the day, perhaps you read this road test, and obviously forgot about it in the fog of time. A 1970 Chevelle SS with a 450 HP 454, a Muncie M22 rock crusher with 2.20 1st gear), and 4:10 gears in the back. The combination of the day for quick 1/4 mile times. Way back in the day when most hot engines were getting about 10 miles to the gallon. Hot Rod averaged 8 mpg or 35 L/100 kms with this car. Which was normal for the time. Take a look at the road test...click.

Wondering about the new Cadillac CT6? An informative review, and photo gallery by Wards Auto...click. Want to see how the Cadillac V6 is assembled? Take a look at an informative video...click.

Do you have a vehicle with a sunroof? How often do you open it, or even just open the shade. Its a case of personal preference. In our case Walter had a panorama roof that remained closed along with the shade for years.

Instead of our usual old race cars, we have a Retrospective On Race Drivers.

 

 

Wednesday
Jan272016

Motorcycle Cannonball

Watch the video...for a taste of the Cannonball Run on a motorcycle.

The press release

Man Breaks Solo Cannonball Motorcycle Record from LA to NYC in 38 hours, 49 minutes

Planned documentary to showcase trip footage and highlight the history of U.S. transcontinental records

LOS ANGELES (Jan. 27, 2016)—Carl Reese of Santa Clarita, California broke the solo cannonball motorcycle record from Los Angeles to New York City in 38 hours, 49 minutes. Reese completed the 2,829-mile feat on a 2015 BMW K 1600 GT six-cylinder motorcycle, breaking George Egloff’s previous record of 42 hours set in 1983.

No one in history, with the exception of Erwin “Cannonball” Baker himself, has set as many cross-country records in such a short period than Reese and his team. Reese set six records in under seven months from April through October 2015, including the official Guinness World Record for the shortest charging time from Los Angeles to New York City in an electric vehicle. In October 2015, Reese and two other drivers set the first semi-autonomous driving record from Los Angeles to New York City in 57 hours

, 48 minutes in a Tesla Model S P85D.

“There is a reason this record has gone unchallenged for over 30 years. Unless you have completed Army boot camp, it is difficult to relate the mental and physical exhaustion,” said Reese. To prepare his body, he gave up all stimulants before the run, including coffee, tea and sugar. “The immense level of fatigue driving a motorcycle solo for 38 hours is like finishing a UFC fight, then getting hit by a freight train. This was far more difficult than any other transcontinental record I’ve set to date.”

Reese is now working with Hollywood-based filmmakers to produce a documentary highlighting the history of transcontinental driving records. The production team is seeking funds to complete the documentary. The documentary trailer can be viewed on YouTube and donations made on Indiegogo. Transcontinental driving records date back more than 100 years, when “Cannonball” Baker drove an Indian motorcycle from Los Angeles to New York City in 11 days. Historians attribute interest around such trips to advancements in transportation and manufacturing in the U.S.

The BMW K 1600 GT used was acquired from West Valley Cycle Sales in Winnetka, California—the oldest BMW Motorrad dealer in the U.S. West Valley provided additional support and technical assistance throughout the trip. Leading technology provider of GPS tracking software for businesses with vehicles and other mobile assets, GPS Insight provided telemetry equipment.

Notaries and film crews were present at the start and finish locations, along with 13 witnesses, including transcontinental record holders and members of the TransContinental Drivers Association, Ed Bolian, Dave Black, Deena Mastracci, Alex Roy and Vic Manuel.

As in his previous record runs, Reese carried an American flag for good luck. It was gifted to him by veteran and friend, retired Sgt. 1st class Rod Hawk. The flag originally flew in Iraq and was presented to Hawk for his accomplishments during the war. Reese, whom also served in the Army, said “I carry that flag to remind me of the men and women who have put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom.”

Trip photos and video footage from the record-breaking trip in August 2015 are available to members of the media upon request. Please direct all media inquiries to Josie Hankey at 410-420-2001 or by email at josie.hankey@fallstongroup.com. For more information about this record-breaking trip and future expeditions, follow Reese’s Twitter account, @EVRecordAttempt

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About TransContinental Drivers Association
Currently seeking legal entity status, the TransContinental Drivers Association is an organization that aims to celebrate those who make long trips. The TransContinental Drivers Association mission is to:

  1. Celebrate the long, cross-country driver and his/her journey.
  2. Preserve, validate and promote the history of transcontinental driving.
  3. Nurture and support the interstate driving community.

For more information or membership, visit www.transcondrivers.org or www.facebook.com/transcondrivers/.


www.transcondrivers.org