Showing 1 - 10 of 12 posts found matching keyword: cars

As you may recall, I destroyed Mom's 2012 Kia Optima back at the beginning of August. Replacing it has turned out to be a bit of an uphill journey.

After a month of insurance negotiations and car shopping, Mom picked out a 2017 Nissan Murano the first weekend in September. (She was looking at a model with a heated steering wheel, and I talked her into saving $5000 by buying a slightly different car. As you will see, I should have kept my mouth shut.)

First try

The Murano had all the safety features she wanted plus luxury to spare. Unfortunately, it also had problems. We only had it for two weeks when I discovered rust under the dashboard (and under the driver's seat, and behind the rear seats, and around the spare tire . . .). It took Nissan another month to declare the problem a factory defect. Eventually, Mom negotiated a buyback under Georgia's Lemon Law. Goodbye, sweet Murano.

(On a related note, we're selling a set of black WeatherTech® floor mats for a 2017 Murano, if anyone is in the market.)

Mom started her car search over from the beginning. She still wanted safety features, but she never got used to driving such a large SUV. So she got something smaller instead. Introducing Mom's 2018 Ford Escape!

Try, try again

I promise you, I've been over the whole car with a magnifying glass. There's a scratch on the interior of the driver's side headlight cover, but I can't find anything else wrong with it. It certainly isn't rusted. (And it does have a heated steering wheel.)

The Escape only has a three-year warranty on the interior electronics, so if I'm going to ruin this one, I need to act fast. I'll keep you posted.

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Earlier today I had to run some errands. Despite the cool weather, I decided to take the Jeep because it hadn't been out of the garage in a few weeks. Turns out, that was a bad idea.

The Jeep had been drydocked because its left turn signal was out. I had tried replacing the bulb that wasn't coming on, the left fender light, but that hadn't solved the problem. Most people would probably have taken their car to the mechanic. Not Walter. I decided to solve the problem myself.

The contacts were corroded in the 20-year-old bulb fixture, so I figured that was the likely problem. I bought a replacement part, pulled the old fixture, reconnected the wiring, and put it all back together. It still didn't flash for turns, but it did come on for hazards. So I replaced the flasher relay. That didn't fix it either.

It was at this point that I realized that one of the parking lights wasn't working correctly. It blinked with the hazards, but stayed off when the headlights were on. Swapping the two parking-light bulbs caused the left flasher to work and the right to fail. Voila! The whole problem was indeed a bad bulb, just not the one I originally suspected.

As I said, after all that, I finally took the Jeep out on the street. It felt great to be driving it again. I turned on the right blinker as I pulled up to a right turn . . . and I got rear ended.

The chain was already there

The good news is that the rear lights were indeed working. The lady who hit me just wasn't paying enough attention. It was a minor fender bender that will cost about $70 to fix. (Bulbs and rewiring the front end had cost $80.) I gave thanks that it hadn't been worse, and went about my business.

On the way home, I hit a deer.

I didn't take a picture of that. (Terrorists don't deserve the recognition.)

For the record, I did get the message. This just isn't the year for me and automobiles. The Jeep is going to stay safely in the garage until 2018.

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For reference, this was the "other guy."

Built RAM tough

Like I said, not a scratch.

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Mom always said the car had a bad blind spot


I'd say "you should see the other guy," but his truck didn't take a scratch. Some people are lucky that way.

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In a recent commercial, Cadillac brags about how clever their engineers are about considering the impact of a raindrop on a windshield at 190 MPH. Rather than marvel at the ability of Cadillac's engineers, this made me wonder why the hell Cadillac would plan to build a car that went 190 MPH in the first place.

Cadillac is advertising their $70,000 CTS-V as the "world's fastest production sedan." I ask you, who the hell needs a sedan of any sort capable of 100 MPH, much less 190 MPH? Should you find a place to avoid any potential traffic, no public road in the United States of America even has a speed limit greater than 80 MPH. That's less than half of Cadillac's advertised top speed -- HALF! Cadillac is advertising a vehicle to the general public that cannot be legally utilized in any public space. And this from a company still 27% owned by the American public.

To put this ridiculous waste of a power in perspective, an average tractor-trailer has a 500 horsepower motor. The Cadillac CTS-V advertises 556 horsepower. Why does the Cadillac need that much power? To accelerate from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds of course. Numbers like that make this a very valuable car for spies in action movies, but not so much for the real world. When was the last time that anyone needed a 4-door car that could peel out of a parking lot like a jet fighter? Someone tell the kids to hold on back there.

Since Cadillac is already recklessly marketing their reckless car to rich people who like to drive too fast, it's my advice to you, any policeman who might be reading this, to ticket the hell out of anyone you see driving a Cadillac CST-V. Odds are that if he bought this car he intends to speed in it, and he certainly has money to waste.

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What hates cars more than Superman, the Man of Steel? Superman, the Truck of Monster!

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Hey! That guy's smashing my car!

Surely, you've seen this before. Action Comics #1 is the godfather of the modern American super hero comic book. Though not the first comic to feature all-new content, characters, or action, it is the first appearance of a super powered hero (Superman, of course). A lot has been written about this issue and its significance to the American psyche. However, one thing bugs me about most critical analysis: the make of the car.

Most simply reference the object of Superman's wrath a "car" or "sedan." Come now, we can do better than that, can't we? How can we, Americans, with our insatiable lust for the automobile and the goods and evils that accompany it, continue to ignore this perfect marriage between super heroic violence and the American Dream-mobile?

This is the car that Joe drew.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman sometime in 1933. Although Action Comics #1 was published in 1938, the contents were largely stitched together from panels of unsold newspaper strips. While this means that the automobile pictured inside could be any model sedan marketed prior to 1939, it is most probable that the car depicted was a model year between 1933 and 1938, as artist Shuster likely cribbed the image from a magazine advertisement or photograph in the typical style of the deadline-driven graphic artist. (To paraphrase the immortal words of artist Wally Wood, "never draw what you can copy.")

The car is clearly a mid-1930s four-door touring sedan. They sold spectacularly well, even during the Depression. Every manufacturer made at least one. So which one is it?

Studebaker? I say thee nay!

First of all, this car is not a Studebaker. Author Chris Knowles and Illustrator Mark Engblom both make such claims in some otherwise insightful online commentary. However, there's one glaring error with those claims: the car doesn't look much like a Studebaker. The 1934-35 Studebaker Land Cruiser (whose body styling was introduced to the public at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair via a spectacular 28-feet tall scale model) doesn't have suicide doors. By 1936, Studebaker's touring sedans had split-windshields, as became the popular choice of most manufacturers within a year.

So if it's not a Studebaker, what can we see about this car that may tell us which one it was specifically? Three things are worth noting: the single-pane windshield with its curved bottom edges; the angled, horizontally-ribbed grill; and the curve of the detailing above the rear fender.

Seriously, when did America ever stop to read that much text in an advertisement?

Like Studebaker, Oldsmobile was using split windshields by 1936. Chevrolet's sedans were very square with straight line detailing. Ford marketed Fordor Model 48 sedans in 1935 and 1936, though again, their body detailing doesn't match the car shown. Not surprisingly, most of the manufacturers making touring sedans (Buick, Ford, Hudson, LaSalle, Packard, Pontiac) fail to meet at least one of the criteria established. Yet the 1937 Chrysler sedans appear to be good matches.

Chrysler Airflow 1934 promotional video

Chrysler produced nearly identical touring sedans with the Chrysler, Dodge, DeSoto, and Plymouth nameplates. These models have minor superficial differences, though their general features are all a great match to Superman's sedan. The car in the pages of Action Comics #1 appears to have different front grills in different panels. It is possible that Shuster used different cars for different panels, depending on which angle he was drawing. Maybe he even had a brochure featuring many of Chryslers sedans. (Chrysler was not shy about the cross promotion.) However, after comparison, the 1937 DeSoto touring sedan is perhaps the best match for the grill depicted on the car in Superman's hands on the cover.

I went to summer camp, and all I got was this lousy Dodge.

It's worth noting that the DeSoto sedan differs from the 1937 Dodge D5 sedan only slightly in the grill and via the bonnet side-vent panels. Hastily-drawn line-art of the two would be practically indistinguishable. Since Dodge was already advertising "toughness" in 1938 (and had already adopted its now-familiar ram hood ornament), it's quite possible that the car Superman is destroying is intended to be a Dodge. What better way to demonstrate the power of a Man of Steel than to have him destroy something Ram Tough?

So now you know. In any event, Superman hates Chrysler. And when Superman hates you, you don't stay in business.

Hey! That guy's smashing my car! Again!

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Sometimes posting to a blog is like being in a food fight: throw enough pie and someone's GOT to get hit in the face. (This column is going Larry King style, baby!)

  • Bravo Channel is showing both The Princess Bride and Back to the Future today. Could those be two of the best movies ever made? I say yes!
  • Huge underdog University of Georgia today beat (nay, CRUSHED!) the mighty Auburn Tigers, destroying any hopes Auburn had of running for the national title. Go Dawgs!
  • Television advertising execs just don't understand: the current Bellsouth ads use the song "Stuck In The Middle With You" to promote that product. The song was written about sitting between recording executives. Can telecom execs be that different?
  • Of all the cars I've ever owned/driven, the one I miss most is a 1985 Ford Crown Victoria LTD Country Squire Station Wagon.
  • Recent studies say that happy people are sick less often than people who are optimistic or active. That means that a cynical asshole like me will likely outlive the rest of you bastards so long as I'm happy being a cynical asshole. Hooray for science!
  • Julia Roberts' single sexiest film role was as Tinkerbell in Hook. Does that say worse things about her or me?
  • The National Football League has a patent on confusion; it is simply impossible to tell who is any good from week to week. Some may call this parity or equality but I call it exciting. Chicago: undefeated. Dolphins: incompetent. Final score: Dolphins 31, Chicago 13. I say this, I sure look forward to December 31, when the Dolphins play the currently undefeated Colts.

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This past weekend I was on I-20 eastbound, returning from a trip to visit my grandfather in Huntsville, AL, when my brother and I got stuck in traffic. As we passed the on-ramp from Oxford, AL, several cars decided to exit the stop-and-stop traffic by travelling the wrong way up the on-ramp. The ramp was unused and vacant; it was clear from the overpass that the traffic jam extended for the foreseeable distance, so no one was even trying to get onto the highway here anymore. Although I have no problem with exiting the highway along an empty on-ramp in theory, these idiots decided that instead of pulling a U-turn and driving up the ramp to freedom, they would pull into the merge lane and then back-up the ramp with the car in reverse. I worry about Americans when they think that driving a car against the flow of traffic on a high-speed one-way street is best accomplished with the car in reverse. (Forty thousand automobile deaths per year can't be wrong!)

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It's been a busy week. I'm painting Dad's house, repairing Mom's front landscaping, and replacing brother's PS2. It only complicated things when I got stuck in the middle of a four-car chain reaction pile-up at the tail end of rush-hour a thundershower this afternoon. I was car #3. Car number 1, the one that started it all, is pictured below. It was driven by an hispanic 17-year old female. I was shocked into silence: I didn't know if I should complain about female drivers, minority drivers, or young drivers. (She took it much better than her father did: he looked like he was trying hard to choose between thanking God that she was alive or beating the life out of her.)


My Jeep suffered only the destruction of its bumperettes (yes, that's a technical term: it's those small D-shaped steel loops on the rear bumper) and the driver's seat now won't maintain an upright position. Worst of all? My Batman tire cover now has a tear in it. It will have to be replaced.

Last month I was complaining about mandatory seat-belt laws. It just so happens that I was wearing one when I got rear-ended. Go figure. You may have won this round, "The Man," but this war isn't over yet!

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To be continued...


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