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Wednesday
Aug052015

ABS Brakes and AV's

What are we doing talking about ABS brakes?

Well...lets see...they have been around for 30 years now, and were the first application of technology outside of engine management, and electronic fuel injection.

If you are of a certain age you surely remember that ABS was developed by Bosch and Mercedes-Benz, and was exclusive to Mercedes-Benz for a couple of years.

As you would expect they were available on the top of the line 500SEL of the time, and it took a while to explain what ABS brakes did, and how to use them..."with your foot on the brake steer out of trouble". Like many new "things" there were adopters, and detractors.

Even before the Internet there were a ton of articles on ABS brakes at the time.

Agreed the technology of ABS brakes spawned traction control, stability programs.

Today its considered a normal feature on all vehicles.

What do ABS brakes have to do with "autonomous vehicles"?

The fully autonomous vehicles will be the more expensive versions of models offered by various manufacturers. Again there will be adopters and detractors, you can sense that one coming, and with the Internet there will be a "ton" of commentaries.

Imagine sitting in the back seat of the top of the line model from manufacturer XYZ commuting to work, or a meeting, and no one is driving.

Think about countries on this planet where folks that can afford luxury vehicles, do not drive them, or sit in the front seats. The focus is on the back seat...reflect on this for a moment.

In all of this, some folks are still wondering what ABS brakes do...

 

 

Tuesday
Aug042015

The Joys of Driving

If you are of a certain age you have certainly enjoyed driving, while refining and honing your driving skills. Usually in a car that offered rudimentary safety features at best accompanied by basic handling capabilities.

There was a fun factor about driving such a car, and enjoying the moment.

Back in the day the "wishful thinking" that cars would be better, driving would be safer, and the even more wishful thinking of going faster. Back then you could go pretty fast in a car that would do a good job trying to kill you if anything untoward would happen.

The envelope around the car was "free spirited" a level of creativity was tolerated in most instances. If you can think back to the actual era of muscle cars, where the power under the hood overcame most other components in the car. You can just imagine that some of the activities going on would be interpreted today as speeding, stunt driving, reckless driving, street racing, and so on. 

Lets fast forward to today....

Technology has enabled dramatically safer cars, higher horsepower, better handling, and so on. While the envelope around the car is increasingly "congested / legislated" with little tolerance for creativity.

Did we forget that in our road environment most folks have little interest in actual driving.

With little to no joy...

 

 

Monday
Aug032015

Driverless Vehicles - 3

We experienced an adaptive cruise control over a long distance, our thoughts vectored towards "driverless cars", which is fascinating.

Take a look at Revolution in the Driver's Seat...


 

Saturday
Aug012015

Ford Flathead V8

A bit of nostalgia for the week end...

 

Friday
Jul312015

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

NostalgiaIts Friday, last day of the month, a long week end on the horizon, and its the Vroom Room, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti.

Join the conversation.

We just had a warm (understatement) week, in the Dog Days of Summer, its all good...

Fascinating that Sergio Marchionne seems to find that everything is expensive, and there is always a place on the planet that is less money for one reason or another. At the same time FAC gets hit with a 105M fine for mishandling recalls. Think about that for a moment...105M fine.

An informative article on how to save money assembling vehicles Japans Back Door.

The thought vector in the auto industry is to use universal components, and increasingly with the smaller size of vehicles sharing even more of these components. One common platform, common components, with different bodies, finishes, interiors to uphold the branding.

It all makes a ton of sense to save money...and perhaps, hopefully, presumably provide more value to the customer. Better yet...perhaps customers don't even care.

Here is the deal...

We will see cases where the concept will be stretched, especially within the "premium economy" segment. Customers will pay a premium for the brand, a better interior, the touch points, and have a common money saving platform that perhaps does not fit the brand.

Here is another deal...

How many combinations of a 4 cylinder with a turbo coupled to a multispeed automatic do you think we will see? Agreed there is already a ton of 4 cylinders with a turbo. As well as a wide variety of multispeed (more than 5) automatic transmissions. The torque curve of these 4 cylinders is fascinating since each manufacturer has their own vision of how their engine should torque up.

Are we finally witnessing the demise of the manual (with a clutch pedal) transmission? Would you really prefer padelling around to shift gears?

Think of this...the old rule of thumb was that if a manual had X gears, an automatic could have X minus 1 with the torque converter compensating for 1 gear. Now that automatic transmissions have 8 gears a manual would have 9 gears...who will actually use and shift a manual transmission with 9 gears?

Agreed its also getting into truck territory with a 5 speed and 2 speed rear axle for a total of 10 if all the shifts would be split. Or a 13 speed, or delete the overdrive splitter on the 13 speed and its down to 9 speed. Think of this...cars have comparable gears to medium and heavy duty trucks.

Our usual old race cars from Monza Historic 2015.

 

 

 

Thursday
Jul302015

Recession

Have you noticed the "Dog Days of Summer" are more exciting than usual. Its not the quiet summer that most folks anticipated. 

How come?

Well...the Pan Am games have created their own level of excitement, and a ton of medals for Canada. Its a unique instance where Canadians truly feel like winners. Watching athletes bring in the gold.

The looming campaign for the federal election.

The burning question...

Are we in a recession, are we not in a recession, why use the "R" word in the first place.

Lets take a look...

The Canadian Dollar:

Its in the dumpster, CMS (Citizen Main Street) will spend more for the same "imported" stuff, and feel poorer while doing so. Keep in mind the feel poorer aspect...

The "Its great for manufacturing, jobs, exports..." we have heard that tired mantra for so long now that you truly have to wonder about its validity at this point. Did appliance making return to Canada? Did furniture making return to Canada?

Low Interest Rates:

At this stage its a big yawn, who cares anymore, they have been low for such a long time that its a given they will stay low. If the rates increase...think Walmart, Dollarama.

Price of Oil:

The oil industry in Canada, needs oil priced at $70 US a barrel to have a viable business model. We have known that for decades...nothing new here. Agreed...at $100 a barrel it was all good...at $50 a barrel no so good. Its a new reality.

Auto Sales:

Through the roof, even with Alberta the 4th largest market in Canada behind this year. Go figure...easy CMS has no desire for ownership, its mobility for a monthly payment. Canadian banks have been empowering CMS to truly adopt the mobility model. Observe the increased share of leasing with the lower CDN dollar.

Real Estate:

Its over valued, its on fire, a crash is just around the corner, where is all this money coming from? Reflect on this for a moment...CMS feels in control with real estate, Canadian banks aided by the government have encouraged CMS to be in control.

Think about this too...its our collective money that is guaranteeing a "shit load" of mortgages.

Recession:

The future direction of Canada is in a recession...reflect on this for a longer moment.

Canada has been at a pivot point since the presumed great recession of 2008/09 which never really occured in Canada. Besides solidifying the position of Walmart and Dollarama.

Canadian companies are very adept at making money with CMS. While CMS is adept at taking care of himself.

We could keep on going...

Canadian economic thinking is in a recession....must be the reason everyone wants to stay away from the discussion. The longer this "recessionary thinking" endures...the more interesting, and deplorable its going to get.

The "cloudier" Canada's future will be...

Must be our rant of the day.

 

 

Wednesday
Jul292015

Ferrari 488 Spider

Cool car...enjoy.

 

 

Saturday
Jul252015

Hurst Barracuda

Nostalgia with Jay Leno...

 

 

 

Friday
Jul242015

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

1958 Buick Station WagonIts Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.

You have to be proud of all our athletes at the Pan Am games winning a bunch of medals, especially gold. Sort of makes up for the traffic congestion with the HOV lanes all over the place.

Have you noticed the downward spiral of the Canadian dollar, agreed its only a question of time before a myriad of prices will creep further up. Agreed too...CMS (Citizen Main Street) has been carrying the Canadian economy for the past few years.

There are several automotive platforms on the interwebs that encourage "automotive digerati" with a glancing knowledge of anything and everything to share pedestrian opinions on a wide range of subjects. Reminds you of back in the day when folks would openly mention that they knew everything about cars in one fashion or another. When the conversation got serious the knowledge base was pedestrian at best. Yes...we are being polite and subtle...

Mind you it probably attracts a bunch of eyeballs, while keeping these platforms going. As you know at Strada we are not in the eyeball business.

Have you read some reviews lately where the opinion of the reviewer is often very subjective, and somewhat detached from reality. At times you have to wonder if the review is to feature the product or the personal brand of the individual doing the review.

Why the Buick wagon? The photo caught our attention, back in the days of 4 door hard tops, station wagons, lots of glass and chrome...the "utility" vehicles of the day.

Our usual old race cars from The Hawk at Road America.

 

 

Thursday
Jul232015

Old School Stuff

The entire bubble of cars, and the auto industry, is fascinating some days, boring others, competitive, ruthless, focused on cost, a ton of technology, and a bunch of old school stuff that we often overlook or conveniently omit.

Today we watch videos of this and that, of cars with incredible performance, and almost ridiculous horsepower ratings. Its all cool...

Internal combustion engines remain heat engines, that generate heat, and need to be cooled to stay in one piece. Although with technology one can build in a bunch of safety measures. The old school way was that you needed a ton of oil on a high performance engine, you needed a bigger than smaller radiator, and you needed an oil cooler.

Yes...you could do a couple of flat out runs before the temperature went up too high, but if you wanted to run that engine at higher revolutions you absolutely needed to keep it cool. Especially if you had 3.73 gears or higher, or you had a lower ratio and wanted to cruise faster.

The same with brakes, hopefully you never had to experience drum brakes on any vehicle. If you did, and if you got creative and swapped engines. You perhaps discovered the inadequacies of drum brakes, and brake pedals slowly hitting the floor while the brakes are fading into oblivion. Or a brake line bursting and literally running out of brakes.

This is old school stuff that most folks have never experience, and no longer exists with modern cars.

But...in our case the old school perspective persists, if there are 400 HP under the hood, there had better be at least 50% more power in the brakes. To this day we have little patience, understanding with brakes that do not perform aggressively to scrub off speed.

Yes...you need gas to make horsepower...today you could probably run an engine on 70 octane and it would be sort of cool. While most engines and some for reasons of being "politically correct" run on regular gas.

Here is the deal...

When an engine has 400 HP and a compression ratio of 10:1 it will run on regular, but will run better with premium. Back in the day one would pick a gas and tune the engine accordingly. Today the engine management system quickly recognises a better grade of gas and tunes the engine accordingly.

Yes...VP Racing Fuels do a ton of business at races selling gas with a higher octane than is available as premium at gas station.

Some things never change...