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What Is it With Old Cars?

What is it with old cars that captures the imagination?

If you have been around cars for a while (how long is a while?) at some point lets call them old cars start blipping on your radar in one fashion or another.

Why do they blip?

We certainly all have our own reasons as to why certain old cars blip, other blip louder, and still others blip brighter.

At some point you surely read about Cadillac, Packard, Duesenberg, Pierce Arrow, and hopefully a V16 Cadillac from the 1930 captured your interest, if not imagination. Obvious that a Duesenberg with the stately coachwork, the green straight 8, and the supercharger in the SJ...its a serious car.

Perhaps you might even speculate as to who could afford a Duesenberg way back in the day.

You also wonder how you stopped any of these cars with mechanical brakes.

We cross the Atlantic, we run into Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Rolls Royce, Bentley all cars that stand out for their own reason.

Yes...back in those days, engineering, technical features, were the order of the day.

Fast forwarding to the mid to late 1960's and the halcyon days of muscle cars in North America. There was the mild version, the semi mild version, and the high strung version. can just imagine which version captured the imagination...the high strung one.

Back then a high strung V8 with a mechanical lifter camshaft, a miserable idle, usually over carbureted for city traffic generated an unmistakable sound...irrelevant of which manufacturer the engine originated. Today the wild totally high strung versions are the ones that are more valuable.

A 1969 big block Corvette is interesting and it has value, but an L88 a totally different story.

Yes...there was an hierarchy in the muscle car world...back in the day.

Agreed...all these old cars were mechanical. Where the engineering, mechanical features, execution, workmanship were a direct factor of the price of the car.





Full Floating Rear Axle

The other day this video from literally 80 years ago caught our attention.

If you have ever been or are in the truck business, and to think of it with truck sales exploding there should be more folks in the truck business.

Yes...some things never change, and a full floating rear axle has been around for decades.

What does full floating mean? Usually any truck bigger than a 3/4 ton has a full floating rear axle. But what does it mean? The weight of the load is supported by the rear axle housing, and not the axle transmitting the power to the wheels.

The axle transmitting the power to the wheel, floats in the axle housing with bearings.

Any passenger or utility vehicle with a solid rear axle and usually smaller than 1 ton, does not have a full floating rear axle. The weight is carried by the axle, and not the axle housing.

How does it relate to modern cars? An independent rear supension is a full floating rear axle, the weight is not carried by the axle, its the rear wheel hub that carries the weight. Think of it as a full floating rear axle with a joint at the differential and another at the wheel.



Mercedes-Benz 350SL

Its a 1971 Mercedes-Benz 350SL, yes the first year of the R107 SL that endured till 1989.

If you remember the iterations, it started as a 350, then progressed to a 450, continued to move along to become a 380, and completed its life as a 560 in Canada and the US.

During that time on a per capita basis, Canada was one of the largest SL market on the planet.

As Harry mentions, they were expensive cars, not a sports car, while AMG barely existed back in the day.

It was a wonderful cruiser that made a compelling statement.

Harry takes the time to show how to put up the soft top. Imagine for a moment that up to 1989 these cars had a manual soft top that required several steps to put up or retract. While keeping in mind that the 380 version was very popular with women. Lets not forget...there was no headliner for the soft top.

The R107 SL captured the imaginations, and the senses in Canada for years, especially the 380 version.

Watch the video, spend a few minutes to see how it all started...




Tremec Transmissions

Everything you always wanted to know about Tremec transmissions...with Jay Leno.



Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti. Join the conversation, tell your friends to visit Strada.

"Around The Corner" by Jay Koka

Well...the Olympics are a done deal, Canada had a respectable medal performance. Agreed some athletes had spectacular performances, and now onward to the 2020 summer games in Tokyo.

If you travel or have travelled across Canada on a few occasions some places are "fly overs". Its interesting when someone tells you that they went out of their way to stop at a "fly over" location. Almost as if its some ways it is exotic.You respond..."Been there a little while back".

Its the last Friday of August, and we are nearing the end of the Dog Days of Summer. We hope that you had a wonderful summer, enjoyed your family and friends, did a few activities that you wanted to do, and so on. Yes...there are probably some outstanding items on the list, and a few more days to catch up.

Have you noticed all the "noise" the entire Monterey experience generates, be it Pebble Beach, the historical races, and the myriad of other activities. These events have the ability to bring out the best and worst, and everything in between too.

The usual thought vector is that its not enthusiast driven, its for the elite with cubic money, and so on. Its true, when auction houses can sell vehicles for millions of dollars its for folks with serious money. When it can cost thousands to simply freshen up a car for the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, its not for folks on a tight budget.

Because it attracts folks with cubic money, it also attracts a myriad of businesses starting with manufacturers that want an opportunity to interface with these folks. There is always a level of discretion which makes it seem like a private enclave for moneyd individuals. Which again seems anti enthusiast oriented.

Reflect on this...they are all enthusiasts, with different budgets, and levels of transparency.

An extensive photo gallery of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance...enjoy.

Lets not forget the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance 2016.




New Model Launches

Have you noticed that the majority of new model press launches from any manufacturer all follow the same format to emphasize the various virtues of the model being launched.

Here is the format

  • Pick an inetresting location, if its exotic even better.
  • Invite auto journalists that write for a platform that attracts a gazillion eyeballs for a few nanoseconds.
  • Expect the journalists to write an "inviting" article on the new model, that will be instantly forgotten by the target audience.
  • At a later data have press vehicles available for the same and more journalists.

This launch model goes on and on, and on. While costing substantial sums of money.

Its all done at a time when vehicles are basically good, most of the components come from the same suppliers to augment economies of scale, and obvious that all vehicles encompass a myriad of technologies and user interfaces that are increasingly complex and distracting.

Yes...there is a strong level of product parity.

Subsequently the dealer personnel is trained on the new product, while most manufacturers have one form or another of "online" training / learning supported by tests. There are also various live sessions with various dealer personnel.

Reflect on this for a moment...who should go to the exotic place to experience the vehicle, the journalists that will attract a gazillion eyeballs for a few nano seconds...or the individuals that will eyeball customers and prospects in a showroom on a daily ongoing basis.

With the auto industry slowly migrating towards a customer experience model to distinguish itself from increasing product/feature parity.

How do you launch the customer experience attached to the vehicle being launched?

How do you launch the passion required to close a deal ounce the vehicle is in a showroom?

How do you launch the ownership experience attached to that specific vehicle?

New model abc has all the features you expect, in addition to this new sensor here, the other gizmo there, it almost drives itself, the all important fuel economy (that you will never achieve) is xyz. It will be available in showrooms on such a date for a starting price of so much.

Sound familiar?

Sometime in the future...

We visited a dealer with new model abc to give you an overview of the ownership experience, besides the navigation, adaptive cruise control, warranty,  the ownership experience encompasses 1-2-3...and its the coolest thing.

Reflect on this for a moment...

The astute manufacturer will not simply launch a new model but also the service, and ownership experience attached to the new model. 



The Child In You

If you have an interest in cars, are an enthusiast, or perhaps are even involved in the auto business. You have hopefully realised that perhaps there is still a kid in you somewhere.

Especially today with all the technology that is used, and the social media that is constantly buzzing with anything and everything automotive. There is hopefully still a big kid somewhere.

What does "the child in you" accomplish? Simple it keeps the passion burning, and going, and going some more.

With time you refined your personal preferences, likes, dislikes, and your course of action.

Hopefully with time you also realise that your passion developed/refined the individual that you are. Obvious that with time you also refined your bullshit and ass hole detection mechanism. Its part of the evolution.

With time you also developed your own sense of what you would like to own, and more important what resonates with you. Since just having a vehicle for mobility never satisfied "the child in you". The vehicle must resonate, must pull at your heartstrings.

As the years go by, its just another car, been there, done that, sort of thing its easy to start losing the passion. Its the time to find a vehicle that fires up the emotions, passion, the child in you.

Today being part of a social media circle, participating in forums with die hard fans of this or that, and so might be fun. But its no substitute for doing it yourself, generating your own experiences to keep the child alive and well while raising the fires of the passion.

If you are in the business, once the dust of the technology settles. You still need to move iron and service a customer, and you are still in the "people business through cars". You still need to perform in a showroom. Generations ago folks did the same...reflect on this for a moment.

If you are of a generation where you had to go to races since they were not televised you surely remember memorable moments that still capture the child in you years later. Agreed...some of those moments are brighter than others.

Perhaps you are of a generation where understanding where the product came from, visiting assembly plants, observing people and robots assemble the product, and watching it roll off the assembly line fired up your imagination...while keeping the child in you fascinated.

Yes...being there is a different experience than watching a video.

We could keep on going, and going. As the Dog Days of Summer are ending, nurture the child in you, your passions.




No Replacement For Displacement

In case you don't remember the saying. It goes back to the old days of naturally aspirated engines when displacement ruled the day.

Its simple the more displacement there was in an engine, the more power.

Today its the opposite where forced induction usually with a turbo has replaced displacement. Think of this, a 4 cylinder with a turbo is the popular engine of choice on many vehicles.

But back in the day it was displacement that made all the difference. Usually the more luxurious the car the more displacement, and usually it was a V8.

Displacement generated torque, and the engine was coupled to a 3 speed automatic with a torque converter, or a 4 speed manual transmission...agreed in some case it might have been a 5 speed manual.

Let's fast forward to today. You could say that the transmission is partially replacing the displacement, with 6-7-8 and even 10 speed automatics. You don't have the displacement, downshift a couple of gears.

Let's apply a simple rule, atmospheric pressure is 14.7 pounds per square inch, and lets say that the boost of a turbo is 7.5 poumds or 50% of atmospheric. Obvious that the boost varies, a constant 7.5 pounds is aggressive, it starts lower and peaks at 7.5 at full throttle.

The 2.0 liter 4 cylinder with a turbo becomes a 3.0 50% more displacement. We will not get into the intricacies of boost pressure, combustion chamber design, or twin turbos to alleviate lag.

The 3.0 liter V6 becomes a 4.5 liter naturally aspirated, and the 4.0 liter V8 becomes a 6.0 liter naturally aspirated.

Obvious that the boost is controlled by technology, there is an emphasis to enhance low end torque, and to calibrate top end power. Some 4 cylinders are torque monsters at low revolutions, others are stronger on the top end as an example. Usually top end performance implies a good dosage of gas. still need gas to make horsepower.

Go back to the good ole days when a 427 (7 liters) was the top displacement for the majority of performance engines, usually a big block, usually in at least a mid size car. A strong 427 would usually generate 500 to 550 HP although the official rating was often 425 or 435 horsepower.

Today a 5.0 liter V8 with twin turbos easily generates 550 HP and more with massive amounts of torque, now couple this engine to a 10 speed automatic, yes...its a monster.

Which begs the question:

  • Do you like your displacement naturally aspirated?....Nostalgia.
  • Do you like your displacement with forced induction?....Technology.

What is your preference?



1967 Ferrari 275 GTB4 

Informative walk around with Jay Leno, 4 cam engine, 6 Webers, gated shifter, Nardi steering wheel, Campagnolo knock off alloy wheels, Michelin XWX tires...enjoy.

Yes..."Everyone should experience a V12 in their life."




Vroom Room

Good Morning,

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

The Olympic games had a few moments of brilliance, interspersed between the tedious coverage of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and so on and on. You have to wonder how relevant the Olympics Games are in 2016. What remains relevant are some great personal athletic performances on the world's stage.

The Pebble Beach Concours is this week end. We agree it will be a spectacle of/for the rich and famous, and a bunch of other folks not so rich or famous. Its all part of a huge maketing machine.

Is it all too much, overhyped, and perhaps even over done? Its all part of human evolution. Way back in the day folks would tow their car to drag races with a tow bar up front, and free wheeling hubs for the rear wheel. Reflect in this for a moment. Years ago we saw Don Garlits towing Swamp Rat with a pick up and an enclosed trailer. Yes with a trailer hitch in the back of the pick up.

Today if we don't see a highway tractor pulling a trailer, we start wondering if the team has enough funding to race.

Way back in the day there was the known gathering place where enthusiasts with appropriate cars would gather usually on a week night. To exchange stories, peruse under the hoods, and perhaps even make some wagers on which car is the fastest. By today's standards the cars back then were unsafe and a little scary.

You could replicate that today, perhaps the Woodward Dream Cruise is as good as it gets in replicating.

Times change, we change, expectations are altered, the impact of technology is ever present.

Are we nearing to end of the Dog Days of Summer...yes we are. Are the days getting shorter...yes they are.Take a moment to reflect on your summer, and if there are a few remaining items on your list, there is still time.

If you are looking for an aluminum travel trailer, but not an Airstream, take a look at the this truly unique Bowlus Road Chief.

Our usual old race cars to give you a flavor Monterey Motorsports Pre-Reunion.