Photo Gallery
Powered by Squarespace

Random Thoughts on Money

A few years ago we wondered where all the money went with Where Is The Money. It still resonates today.

Auto Business:

The auto business requires cubic amounts of money to function, operate, generate results. Some things never change through the years.


Specifically credit powers sales, especially in Canada, where we have seen a robust sales increase during the past few years...powered by banks enabling credit.


At the retail level money is scarcer, and scarcer as the years go by, with a myriad of ramifications. You can fill in your own blanks and comments.

Dealer Groups:

Have the advantage to move money around, while taking advantage of group results. Most folks focus on the sales results, overlooking the various benefits of moving money around at the group level.


Having access to money, enables manufacturers to offer aggressive leasing terms, assuming residual risks. Remember when a few manufacturers could no longer raise money to lease vehicles?


Credit facilities enable the financing of inventories at the dealer level. Especially new vehicle inventories.


Are all the folks, stakeholders, in the auto business aligned to make money? Some areas of this business continue to struggle to arrive at optimum alignment, and dealing with disruption.





Suzuki GSX-R Part 1

Informative video on the history of the "Gixxer"...




Vroom Room

Good Morning,

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

Our hearts go out to the family of Justin Wilson.

The gyrations of the global financial markets is enough to make anyone dizzy at this point. Hopefully your seat belt is fastened, there is more to come. Canada its been anything but a quiet, or relaxing summer this much for the "Dog Days of Summer".

You know the saying "The only constant is change"...we are seeing, experiencing a ton of change this summer.

A few days ago we invested some time to review manufacturer's web sites, configuring vehicles, and calculating payments. We were impressed as to how easy it is to configure a vehicle, calculate a price, payments, and even find inventory at dealers. These are activities that were an intrinsic part of the showroom. Which reinforces that when CMS (Citizen Main Street) does the due diligence online, by the time they start interfacing with a dealer they are ready to do business.

But...there is always a but...finding the vehicle that fires up the emotions is still a very human endevour. Up until a vehicle does not have an emotional appeal...its a chellenge to close a deal.

There is a chasm between the "online" and "physical" in finalising a purchase decision.

Did you have a feeling that all this technology in the center of the dash...

A new study from J.D. Power suggests that automakers are investing billions into technologies that a considerable number of drivers aren’t using.

J.D. Power’s first 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience Report found that at least 20 percent of new-vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features measured.

You have to wonder who has time and desire to get totally interactive and fully interface with their vehicle.

Brilliant photography of the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance.



Random Thoughts on Disruption

Disruption is all over the place in one form or another.

In the auto business a few decades back if we thought that the Internet was disruptive, we will be facing additional, and more dramatic disruption in the years to come.


From our perspective when "old school" business structures and practices, as well as business models are showing strain in one fashion or another. Its disruption...

Agreed, there are numerous forces, organisations, that are on a mission, and have a business model to make disruption presumably palatable for a variety of stakeholders.

Obvious that disruption does not go away...


By now the internet in the auto business is old school disruption, a case of "been there done that" where everyone has the "conference answers" that everyone else has....

Twenty years ago when you told a dealer  that the Internet would disintermediate their showroom, and responding to e-mails was important. "Who is this nut case...." was a convenient response for years.

Social Media:

CMS (Citizen Main Street) is further empowered, everyone can publish, how do we deal with this new wave of disruption? media scared numerous stakeholders to the point that the same stakeholders retreated to the dark ages, and intellectual moats...never mind old school.

With social media you can reach out and also turn inward. In the auto business there was an initial reaching out, and then a corresponding turning in. Go immense missed opportunity.

Technology in the Product:

Over 3 decades ago, technology started making its way in vehicles, be it ECU's to control the engine, to achieve emission standards, to ABS brakes.

Various technology companies are encroaching on the auto business, while the auto stakeholders continue on their vector of having stand alone technology in their vehicles. With a new generation of customers on the horizon which will not accept this "old school stuff".

Technology in the Business:

Think about it, the auto business is a strong user of technology, from super computers to simulate accidents, to CAD for design, engineering and collaboration...agreed we could keep on going. At the retail level in dealerships there is a rash of technology, with the majority being used at a fraction of its potential.

Imagine how disruptive it would be if dealers productively used all the technology they currently have at their disposal...think about it for a moment.


How many entities create barriers, level of comforts to deal with disruption in an old school fashion which is easy to measure on a spreadsheet, and present on a Powerpoint. "This thought vector is too disruptive, lets crank it back several increments will present better on a spreadsheet, and PPT."

Reflect on this for a moment...





Cobble Beach Concours

Its that time again, we are approaching the Cobble Beach Concours for the 3rd year.

As you know we always look forward, its becoming a Strada tradition to cover the Concours.

If you have an interest in cars, especially older cars, there is no better place to be on Sunday September 13 than at Cobble Beach. Its absolutely worth the case you are thinking that its too far.

Rob McLeese is the visionary and mastermind behind the Concours and every year he, along with his team holds a memorable event.

What is new for 2015?

Wooden Boats it follows that such a Concours should have wooden boats.

Pick Ups it will be interesting to see this new addition for 2015.

As usual the scenery is absolutely stunning, the facilities and amenities are simply the best. We urge you to attend the Concours its time well spent, a priceless experience.

A video is worth how many words...




2016 Harley-Davidson Models


The official press release...


Iron 883, Forty-Eight, S Series Cruisers with Twin Cam 110s and Road Glide Ultra Lead New Models


MILWAUKEE (Aug. 23, 2015) – Two new hard-hitting Dark Custom models, the most powerful cruiser lineup in company history, and a broad range of performance and styling enhancements throughout the range highlight Harley-Davidson’s powerful new model lineup for 2016.


2016 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Highlights


  • ·         New Iron 883 and Forty-Eight® models assert Harley-Davidson’s Dark Custom leadership with motorcycles inspired by the rebellious spirit of the past updated with modern design and new suspensions that put a little extra smooth in the Harley-Davidson soul.


  • ·         New S series limited-edition cruisers feature big power and cutting-edge style. The Fat Boy® S and Softail Slim® S combine rich finishes with the impressive Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine to deliver head-turning style and performance. 


  • ·      Previously only available in Harley-Davidson Touring bikes, the High Output Twin Cam 103™ engines upgrade the power for all Softail® and Dyna® models (except Street Bob), rounding out the most powerful cruiser lineup in Harley-Davidson history.  


  • ·      Project RUSHMORE’s touring revolution expands with the return of the Road Glide® Ultra motorcycle.  


“This is another historic year for Harley-Davidson,” said Mark-Hans Richer, Harley-Davidson Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “We’re introducing the most powerful collection of cruisers in our history, including the brand-new S series. We’re raising the bar on Dark Custom motorcycles with the new Iron 883 and Forty-Eight models, the purest expression of the design movement we started in 2008. And we’re extending our lead in touring with the return of the Road Glide Ultra and redesign of the popular Heritage Softail Classic.”


Dark Custom Soul

The new Iron 883 is intentionally raw and rough around the edges, with a modern design inspired by garage-built bobbers past and present. All-new front and adjustable rear suspension, lighter-weight mag wheels and improved seating increase comfort and control to smooth the road ahead. The new Forty-Eight achieves its menacing stance with a burly front tire, new mag wheels and a massive front end with new 49mm forks, and also benefits from improved adjustable rear suspension and seating. Retro styling cues and a perfect ratio of black, color and chrome give this bike a bold visual presence. Riders navigating rough and tumble urban streets on the lean and nimble Harley-Davidson Street® 750 and 500 models will appreciate the improved confidence from new front and rear braking systems. See separate Dark Custom release for details.


Most Powerful Cruiser Lineup Ever

Rear tires will beg for mercy with the most powerful cruiser model lineup in Harley-Davidson history. Powered by the Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine, the new Fat Boy Sand Softail Slim S cruisers deliver power and performance once reserved for Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) models. Both limited-edition models feature dark styling for menacing looks that match their muscle. The Softail Slim S is available in a new Olive Gold Denim color with military-inspired styling, paying homage to the post-war customs that launched the bobber movement. Harley-Davidson gives more riders a dose of Project RUSHMORE performance by making the High Output Twin Cam 103 engine standard in every other 2016 Softail model. The High Output Twin Cam 103 is also the new standard engine for all 2016 Dyna models except the Street Bob® model. See separate Cruiser release for details.


Softail Cruise Control

There’s more cruiser news in 2016; for the first time ever electronic cruise control is available on all Harley-Davidson Softail models. The convenience of Harley-Davidson electronic cruise control, enabled by new electronic throttle control, is standard equipment on 2016 Heritage Softail® Classic, Softail® Deluxe, Fat Boy S and Softail Slim Smodels and available as an accessory for all other 2016 Softail models.


New Sportster Suspension

All 2016 Sportster® models will tame rough roads with all-new front and rear suspension and improved seats working together to enhance rider comfort and control. The new seats incorporate premium materials and revised shapes to provide more supportive comfort. The re-engineered Sportster suspension pairs emulsion coil-over shocks with new front cartridge forks. Nitrogen gas-charged shocks resist oil aeration and feature an internal valve stack with 36mm pistons and high-performance oil to provide superior compression and rebound damping control that reacts quickly to small bumps and keeps the tires in contact on uneven road surfaces. Progressive-rate spring pre-load is adjustable by a threaded collar using a spanner that stows under the seat. Tuned to complement the shocks, the stout forks feature a calibrated piston and valve stack and progressive rate springs for consistent feel throughout the compression and extension range of the suspension. The triple-rate spring and oil lock allows the forks to resist wheel hop under hard braking.


Road Glide Ultra

A two-year absence from the Harley-Davidson Touring line was time well spent infusing the Road Glide Ultra with enhanced style, outstanding aerodynamics and optimized touring ergonomics for rider and passenger– the full influence of the customer-led Project RUSHMORE product-development effort. Propelled by the unrelenting performance of the Twin-Cooled™ High Output Twin Cam 103™ powertrain, the new Road Glide Ultra will exceed the expectations of the most demanding touring motorcyclist. See separate Road Glide Ultra release for details.


Heritage Softail Classic

Combining nostalgic style with smooth, modern Softail performance, the Heritage Softail Classic receives refreshed styling for 2016 plus the High Output Twin Cam 103 powertrain, standard electronic cruise control, and a new and improved saddlebag support structure. See separate Cruiser release for details.


The new 2016 Harley-Davidson® motorcycles and accessories start rolling into Harley-Davidson® dealerships immediately. Visit to see all 2016 Harley-Davidson models and to find a local authorized Harley-Davidson dealer.


About Harley-Davidson Motor Company  

Since 1903, Harley-Davidson Motor Company has fulfilled dreams of personal freedom with cruiser, touring and custom motorcycles, riding experiences and events, and a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, general merchandise, riding gear and apparel. For more information, visit



Car Reviews

An interesting opinion on car reviews with an Australian twist.



Vroom Room

Good Morning,

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

With a couple of weeks left in the Dog Days of Summer, hopefully you will take advantage of the remaining time, and enjoy your family and friends. Its been exciting this year and perhaps not relaxed as the usual Dog Days of years back.

Agreed, times change...its been a lively summer.

Would you agree that perhaps this summer we have learned that not "everything" keeps on going up and up, and some "stuff" gets a reality check. You can fill in for yourself everything and stuff.

A quick flavor of where oil prices are headed Oil's New Normal...not really going up anytime soon.

Over a decade ago The Colonel learned that business e-mail exchanges can easily be presented in court as evidence. You have to truly wonder why folks forget that e-mails, Facebook, Twitter, Text Messages in the digital world that we live in have en enduring life, and can be interpreted in a myriad of fashions.

What happened to "eyeballing an individual in a conversation"...go figure.

Fascinating thoughts by Google on #Elxn 42 The Digital Election

If you missed our "random thoughts" which are attracting attention, just scroll down.

The various auctions at Pebble Beach last week, Ferrari prices were/are in the "nose bleed" section, you have to be part of the 0.01% to afford these cars. Browse through the RM Sotheby's results.

A stunning photo gallery from the Pebble Beach Concours...enjoy




Random Thoughts on 4 Cylinders

Several years ago we mentioned that enhanced by a turbochargers engines in cars would diminish in the number of cylinders, and displacement.

Our thought process at the time mentioned that a V8 would be replaced by a 6 cylinder and a 6 cylinder would be replaced by a 4 cylinder.

In 2015 there is a rash of turbocharged 4 cylinders powering a myriad of vehicles.


Its an inexpensive way to generate more horsepower, and especially torque from a smaller displacement. In 2015 the most popular smaller displacement is a 4 cylinder.


Without the aid of technology turbo motors would still display some erratic characteristics, and not torque up the way they do.


Obvious that 6-7-8 speed automatic transmissions are a true benefit to make a 4 cylinder even with a turbo, seem to have more power.

Front Wheel Drive:

Most if not all platforms using a turbocharged 4 cylinder are front wheel drive. Agreed they might have morphed to all wheel drive. Its almost surprising the low level of torque steer with the majority of these applications.

Fuel Economy:

You know the saying "You need gas to make horsepower" we have noticed that the 4 cylinders that truly torque up, are less economical that the 4 cylinders that are more sedate, or have different modes. In general these engines powering a CUV on the highway are not that economical from our perspective.

The optics of fuel economy appeal, and sell.


Yes...when you increase the air flow in any engine above atmospheric pressure, there is a fine line and trade off between power and durability. In addtion to increased complexity.


There is a "rush" by all manufacturers that have a "generic" 2.0L Turbocharged 4 cylinder as a price leader especially in entry level "premium economy" vehicles. The belief seems to be "If you don't have a 4 with a turbo you are missing out".






Random Thoughts on Luxury Brands

A few days ago we took a moment to read "Luxury Branding Below the Radar" in the latest issue of HBR. It struck our imagination and thought process.

This morning we have The Colonel with us...yes he has spent a few decades dealing with luxury cars, and luxury brands. Lets pick his thoughts.

Q: Colonel, you are well tanned.

A: Good Morning guys, yes its summer, working outside on week ends will generate a tan.

Q: From your perspective what is going on with luxury brands?

A: I surely don't have all the answers, but they do not resonate as they did is my first impression.

Q: You mean there is an entire generation that unless they are part of the 1% do not assimilate with luxury brands.

A: Up to a point you are correct, Millenials that through their parents have been exposed to a myriad of luxury does not impress them in the least bit.

Q: Luxury cars are selling very well in Canada.

A: Yes...the premium economy versions of the luxury brand is doing very well...I stress premium economy.

Q: A Saddlback briefcase is expensive especially with the low CDN dollar today.

A: Precisely, its expensive, its rugged, its not luxury, it generates comments.

Q: A Rolex is expensive too...and luxury.

A: Yes...and who really cares about a Rolex in 2015? Its a personal experience, more than flashing the brand on your wrist. It used to be the other way.

Q: We could keep on going, perhaps you are correct that luxury is becoming a personal experience, more than an outward display of the brand for other to see.

A: I believe that "luxury" is becoming an one time there was a thought vector that was leaning towards democratising luxury...its happened. Now its the experience.

Q: Luxury can have different aspects for different folks.

A: Precisely...but flashing the brand resonates less.

Q: A bunch of folks are flashing the brand with cars.

A: Agreed...its premium economy (affordable aspirational luxury), its good for sales, is it really good for the brand?

Q: Is luxury still synonymous with quality and durability.

A: You would hope so, although everyone is on a cost saving mission.

Q: Where do you think luxury is headed.

A: With the exception of the 1%, luxury in the past few years has been democratised, diluted, more accessible at a lower price. We have a good indication of where its headed.

Q: Closer to home in the auto business.

A: Its premium economy that will generate the bulk of the sales for the gain of some at the expense of others.