"The Relay" Online Newsletter
October 2021 Issue
This is the monthly online newsletter for the car club council. All car hobbyist events are listed on this site under "Calendar." Just click on the link above to view the list of car shows and other activities.
Looks like we are trying to forget about the virus and move on with life. The September calendar was crowded with events. The last two Saturdays I went to two car shows each day and could have made it to a third one. The calendar for October is likewise full of events. Virus worry is becoming a thing of the past except with those in power who like the control of telling people what to do. This looks like a nice finish for the car season and after the last couple of years we deserve it. There has been a toll - some shows have gone and may never return just like some restaurants.
Again I am reminding people in the hobbyist news about electric vehicles and the push for them by the powers that be. There are people in powerful places that want to end the use of fossil fuels. Richmond City has passed a resolution to end the city's natural gas company. Cities like San Francisco have passed laws that prevent the use of natural gas in new restaurant buildings. They want "renewable" energy and legislators are ready to send your tax dollars to the electric companies to buy the infrastructure for wind turbines and solar panels. And as always the tax payers are on the hook for this. Imagine running a company and getting the same people you sell your product to pay for the equipment to make what you sell them. That's government.
Time to relax and get out to the events during October. Then be sure you vote either early or in November. Change is just one election away and we really need changes in this state.
October - last month of car season - time to gas up and go
The next meeting will be Monday, October 25 at 6:30 PM at Mellow Mushroom, 1409 Huguenot Road, Midlothian, VA, 23113 (near Chesterfield Town Center), 804-594-0100. We will eat and meet in a private room. See the entire menu online at mellowmushroom.com/menu
Car Hobbyist News
For those who don't believe that the government really wants to kill all fossil fuels check this:
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the (Richmond) Council hereby commits to working with the City’s Administration on an equitable plan to phase out reliance on gas and shift to accelerated investment in City-owned renewable energy and hereby recognizes that the continued operation of the City’s gas utility is an obstacle to the City’s goal of Net-Zero emissions in accordance Resolution No. 2020-R024, adopted June 8, 2020.
The Richmond Gas Works, a municipal owned public service utility, is targeted for closure. Recall that a few years ago natural gas was much better than coal - now the governments want it gone. There are about 120,000 people who depend on the Richmond Gas Works for heat, hot water heaters and stoves. Looks like some day they will just have to pony up the bucks for electric heat pumps. And Richmond is not the only city that wants to get rid of natural gas - a few cities in California are doing the same. If the election next month goes a certain way look for more California style legislation in the Old Dominion State.
And so it goes with the government trying to get us out of our gasoline/diesel vehicles and into electric ones. There are people who are even experimenting with electric airplanes! You know that isn't going to work out any better than electric ships and submarines, electric tractors and other farm equipment. Once everything is electric the government will have much more control - they can hit the off switch at any time they want you to comply with whatever they wish.
Plus there are car hobbyists who are going right along with this. I've seen it in both print and online media. "The automobiles' future is electric" - quote circa 1900. And now in 2021 people are saying it again. There are companies that will convert your gas powered classic into a soulless electric. But they are so much better because they have instant torque. I recall the first time I rode in a car with a four speed manual. It was an early Corvette and I've never gotten over the feeling of rowing through gears and the revving of the engine. That's fun, an electric not so much: no noise except the tires on the pavement, no gear shifting. I have no clue why a show on the Motor Trend channel is building an electric 1969 Cougar convertible. These guys took apart a Tesla (with help from a special electric vehicle technician) and are going to install all the electric bits into the Cougar. What a waste.
It is hard for me to see why "car people" are so interested in electrics. Perhaps they want to save the planet from climate change. I'm not sure how many people can still buy into climate change when all the climate legislation doesn't seem to do anything to reduce greenhouse gases and improve the environment. Perhaps the politicians pushing this legislation realize you can't fix something that doesn't exist but the legislation sure does remove money from the wallets of taxpayers.
We are now seeing electric car commercials on TV. Electric car ownership is at about 2% in the US and I know of no one who owns an electric that doesn't also own a gas car (you need something you can depend on for range and quick fill ups). Big tax breaks at both the federal and state levels haven't done much to up electric car ownership. Government is going to have to work on getting those gas prices up to a point where people will consider an electric while also working to end production of anything powered by fossil fuel. The infrastructure bill has $12 billion in it for government electric vehicles such as mail trucks.
And if you think government will never ban your gasoline/diesel vehicle from the road; think again. After the virus lockdown I believe that government thinks it can do anything it pleases. We have heard so much misinformation the last couple of years yet the misinformation continues and I don't think the people in government even care - just do what they say. Plus there are some really crazy people who want to do crazy things in the name of climate change - and no one in the government looks like they want to stop them Check out this from the New Yorker:
When the chips are down the car sales are also down. The chip shortage is taking a toll on the auto industry. Keep in mind that it is not only chips but other items and even shipping has been affected. We're living in a crazy world where things don't make sense. This will continue as long as we the people let it happen. We need to vote out of office those that sent manufacturing to foreign countries because "things can be made cheaper over there".
Enjoy it today for tomorrow it may be outlawed. Go shift some gears before they are gone.
Mad Max Fury Road Vehicles on Auction
s Auctions Austria
More than a dozen vehicles from Mad Max Fury Road are going to auction. Just click the link above to view these strange creations.
For his 2015 masterpiece Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller envisioned wall-to-wall non-stop automotive mayhem. Mutant vehicles filled the screen, reflecting the toxic environment Miller wished to portray and serving as personality extensions for the characters associated with them. Much of the press surrounding the film centered on the vehicles, essentially transforming them into central characters. Thirteen of those vehicles have now resurfaced, not for filming the anticipated Furiosa-focused sequel to the movie but for private bids as part of Australian auction house Lloyds's Grand Carmada Event.
Miller's crew dedicated to the mutant vehicles - led by production designer Colin Gibson - reportedly built as many as 150 different vehicles for Fury Road, all of which were required to run, drive, and perform the specified stunts without the aid of CGI. That proved easier said than done, especially once filming relocated from Australia to Namibia. Many of the 150 proved unreliable or were deemed deathtraps unsuitable for filming. Many more met their demise in the process of filming the explosions and crashes and other destruction. In the end, just 15 reportedly survived the film and went on to make promotional appearances at, among other places, the Sydney Opera House.
Included in those 15, and in the 13 that have come up for sale, are some of the most noteworthy vehicles from the film, starting with the Gigahorse, a vehicle meant to express Immortan Joe's disproportionate wealth. Atop its custom-raked chassis sits two 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Villes, towering fins and all, and under its hood a pair of supercharged 502-cu.in. Chevrolet big-block V-8s generated an estimated 1,200 horsepower to turn the dually 70-inch tractor tires. Though Gibson envisioned the Gigahorse, it fell to concept artist Peter Pound to flesh it out and Anthony Natoli to make it all work. In total, it weighs about 23,000 pounds and stands about 13 feet tall.
Racing Out Of Summer Show September 4
See all the photos at Racing Out Of Summer Show.
DMV to Start Offering Appointments and Walk-In Service on Alternating Days
From WY Daily
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has announced that it will start offering appointments and walk-in service on alternating days.
Beginning Oct. 5, residents will be able to schedule appointments or walk-in service on alternating dates at all DMV locations throughout the Commonwealth.
“We are pleased to continue to offer appointments in addition to walk-in service, since our customers greatly appreciate the convenience and efficiency appointments afford,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. “Those who plan ahead should schedule an appointment for service but, if in-person assistance is needed urgently, walk-in service will now be available two and a half days per week.”
Appointments can be scheduled only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays while walk-in service will be offered only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Hours are dependent upon location.
Following a temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DMV began operating by appointment-only at its seventy-five locations across Virginia starting in May 2020. The DMV reports that this appointment-based system has proven popular among residents, in which data taken via survey showed that 77 percent of customers wanted to see this method of service continue.
Additionally, the DMV found that new customers were to utilize online and mail-based services, accounting for over ten percent increase of transactions per week compared to pre-pandemic data.
In a Sept. 9 release, the DMV states that, at the direction of the Virginia General Assembly, the department will begin integrating walk-in service back into its operations. The hybrid service model that goes into effect on Oct. 5 was developed based on research, surveys, experience and the ongoing pandemic.
Those who opt in for walk-in service will be seen on a first come, first serve basis and should anticipate wait times. Lobby chairs will be spaced and customers are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings while inside a DMV location. To schedule an appointment, visit the DMV’s website.
It is important to note that more than fifty transactions can be performed outside of DMV Customer Service Centers, including online, by mail or at a DMV Select partner office. These and more information can be found through the website, dmvNOW.com.
World’s Biggest Machine Capturing Carbon From Air Turned On In Iceland
From The Guardian
Operators say the Orca plant can suck 4,000 tonnes of CO2 out of the air every year and inject it deep into the ground to be mineralised
The world’s largest plant designed to suck carbon dioxide out of the air and turn it into rock has started running, the companies behind the project said on Wednesday.
The plant, named Orca after the Icelandic word “orka” meaning “energy”, consists of four units, each made up of two metal boxes that look like shipping containers.
Constructed by Switzerland’s Climeworks and Iceland’s Carbfix, when operating at capacity the plant will draw 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the air every year, according to the companies.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, that equates to the emissions from about 870 cars. The plant cost between US$10 and 15m to build, Bloomberg reported.
To collect the carbon dioxide, the plant uses fans to draw air into a collector, which has a filter material inside.
Once the filter material is filled with CO2, the collector is closed and the temperature is raised to release the CO2 from the material, after which the highly concentrated gas can be collected.
The CO2 is then mixed with the water before being injected at a depth of 1,000 metres into the nearby basalt rock where it is mineralised.
Proponents of so-called carbon capture and storage believe these technologies can become a major tool in the fight against climate change.
Critics however argue that the technology is still prohibitively expensive and might take decades to operate at scale.
Road Runner - can't buy a rust bucket for this price today
Basics for Building Your Next Long-distance Driver
If you haven't noticed, there’s recently been a definite shift in the muscle machine mentality. For years, nearly all of us held our muscle-car-era rides in high esteem, restoring them, nurturing them, preserving them, and collecting them. What they represented were some of the best times many of us ever experienced, and a blip on the continuum of time that we’d never see again.
As baby boomers, we were young, ambitious, and impatient. The world was ours for the taking, and our powerful, flashy steel machines took us just about anywhere we wanted to go. Decades later, we are still infatuated with them.
During the ’80s, the muscle car movement grew in size and significance, with the focus on preserving them in factory-fresh condition. But to what end? Many simply became garage art, rolling examples of the power and pulchritude that eventually became too rare or too valuable to be considered anything else. But regardless of how well the original designs were executed, the fusion of steel, rubber, and glass can only be appreciated for so long before it becomes mundane.
It’s not surprising then, that as early proponents of the resto theme aged out and younger enthusiasts joined in, a more pragmatic approach to ownership was introduced to the hobby. High performance was still the byword, but its application came from a different direction. Each attempt at updating our rides was to improve functionality, and upgraded suspensions, overdrive transmissions, fuel-injected engines, and comfortable interiors were quickly incorporated into the classic muscle machine designs. A moniker was even attached to this discipline: restomod.
The goal, of course, was to make the hobby fun again. And for many, that meant building a completely capable ride. After all, why just sit and stare at it, when you can fire it up and stand on it instead?
Many restomods are built for the long haul. But prior to the transformation from trailer queen to king-of-the-highway, a lot of planning is needed before the first bolt is turned. Each of these plans is personal. They reflect the owner’s intended use, their sense of aesthetics, and quite likely the most important element: their budget. And while deep pockets might make for a more sophisticated build, they can’t guarantee you’ll have any more fun once it’s done.
But regardless of your budget or abilities, there are certain factors that should be considered for each build. Here’s how they break down for us.
The Comfort Zone
If you’re going to drive your ride cross-country, or even for more than a couple hours at a time, creature comforts have to top your list. Most muscle cars were spec’d out as bare-bones brawlers, with raw power and performance usurping anything else on the option list. While big-blocks and four-speeds easily made the cut, anything perceived to add weight or reduce the amount of available horsepower was unceremoniously ignored.
Being deprived of those power-robbing but comfort-inducing items was fine when we were younger and a lot more tolerant of the denied existence. But today, the game is played differently.
A comfortable place to park your butt for extended periods of time will make a world of difference after a long day of driving, so take a critical look at your options. Extremely deep bolstered seats may be great for the autocross, but they’ll restrict your ingress and egress significantly, especially if you’re taller or carrying a few extra pounds, and even more so if your ride has been fitted with a cage or other rollover protection.
On long trips, having the room to move around behind the wheel is crucial. Being able to readjust your seating position occasionally, rather than being ensconced in a secure but immovable position, will definitely extend your ability to remain seated for the long haul.
Online classifieds or the local auto recycling facility offer a number of acceptable and affordable seating choices. “Factory” seats have come a long way since the muscle car era, and ergonomics play a significant role in modern seat design. Myriad combinations of seat coverings, foam density, lumbar and lateral support —plus electric controls —ensure that adapting a set of late-model seats into your classic ride will be worthwhile.
Of course, there are all kinds of aftermarket options, too. Mail-order companies like Summit Racing Equipment make it easy to select from manufacturers like TMI, Procar, Corbeau, Cobra, and others, while also offering their own in-house brand at affordable prices. Going this route allows endless combinations to personalize your interior.
Having a complementary console package should not be overlooked, either. In addition to being a convenient place to rest a weary arm, a console also offers a place to stash all kinds of over-the road necessities like maps, plus adds charging ports, accessory lights, and (most importantly), cup holders.
Next on the list of creature comforts is climate control. Factory-installed air conditioning systems were a rare commodity back in the day, and owning an example today certainly adds to a car’s desirability. But what about all the ones not equipped with original A/C? Obviously, finding and retrofitting a factory setup is a possibility. But a more reasonable response would be to investigate the aftermarket offerings from companies like Vintage Air or Old Air Products. Many integrate perfectly into the dash, giving the appearance of original equipment, and the compressors are advanced designs that increase efficiency while reducing the amount of power required for their operation.
Finally, noise mitigation and insulation can be addressed by a number of similar products applied to the interior of your ride. Some spray on while others rely on an adhesive to retain them in place. Regardless of which you choose, an easier-to-cool interior and reduced noise levels are benefits that you’ll appreciate on those long runs. And speaking of noise, a solid sound system will also help to make the miles roll by easier while you jam to your favorite cruisin’ tunes.
Reliability is the cornerstone in the construction of any long-distance runner, and nowhere is that principle more aptly applied than with the drivetrain. Having 600 horses at your bidding is great if your travels are strictly local. But step outside of that circle and other factors can come into play.
For instance, high compression ratios demand high-octane fuels. In our travels we’ve found that the best you’re likely to get out of the pump is 93 octane. That’s sufficient to feed a 10:1 compression engine. However, in many places it’s not uncommon to find 88 or 91 octane as the top grades, which will come up woefully short in the combustion process of any higher-compression engine. There is, of course, the option of keeping octane booster in the trunk, but aside from the added hassle and expense, it also claims valuable real estate.
Anticipate the lower levels of octane you might encounter and build your engine accordingly. By keeping the compression ratio in the neighborhood of 9:1, you’ll be relatively assured of operating on nearly any available fuels.
Cogitate on cam timing, too. Many creature comforts like A/C, power steering, and power brakes can’t operate efficiently or reliably if the camshaft isn’t accommodating. Power brakes need about 16-Hg vacuum at idle to operate properly, so choose a cam that will generate close to that, with a willingness to idle at 750 rpm or lower.
Once the engine package is sorted out, an overdrive transmission would complement it perfectly. Whether it’s a manual or automatic is a matter of personal preference, but the end result is still the same. Engine rpm, component stress, and wear all go down while fuel economy and driver/passenger comfort both go up. Typically, an overdrive transmission will net a 30-percent reduction in engine speed, so be sure to match the transmission with a properly geared rear differential, with anything from a mid- to low-three series cog being perfectly acceptable.
Being stranded on the side of the highway, just west of Road Narrows, Iowa, is never a good experience. But if you’re going to travel long distances, it’s a possibility worth considering.
We found ourselves in a similar situation once when our aftermarket ignition system quit. With our ride trailing on the end of a hook, we holed up in the nearest town and tried to find a replacement module at the local parts stores. Luckless, we resorted to the next best option and called our favorite mail order parts store, hoping to have one overnighted. The best they could do was two days, which would have put us substantially behind our travel schedule.
Our solution was to visit the local parts store (again) and purchase an OEM (factory) replacement distributor. It’s probably what we should have installed in the first place, since the chance of finding needed OEM parts is significantly increased in almost any town with a parts store. Lesson learned.
The same practice can be applied to most any other major component, from cooling systems to calipers and alternators to axles. Sure, shiny aftermarket parts might be the epitome of coolness at the show-’n-shine, but as the old saying goes, “Chrome won’t get you home.” But when the others come up short, parts designed for an OEM application will.
Another item not given much thought is the rubber your ride rolls on. The tires of yesteryear were 14-and 15-inch diameter, but have you tried to purchase a 14- or 15-inch tire lately? We’ve found them only available by special order, and then you may wait weeks for them to finally show up, so the chances of finding them while on the road are nearly non-existent. Instead, you may want to bolt on a set of larger-diameter 17- to 18-inch rollers. Many of the cars produced today are factory fitted with larger diameter wheels, making replacement rubber much easier to find if the need arises.
Earlier we mentioned the effects of noise in the interior and how it can impact the driving experience. While noise-mitigating insulation can reduce driver fatigue significantly, another way to lessen the energy-draining effects of automotive clamor is to go right to the source. A raucous exhaust system might sound cool and impress all your buddies back at the local cruise-in, but on the road the constant drone and thrum of a barely baffled engine will quickly have you seeking solace from the racket.
Choosing the right exhaust system isn’t easy and finding the right amount of noise suppression without compromising performance can be a tricky proposition, so it’s worthy of careful consideration. Do you really need a three-inch exhaust with straight, flow-through mufflers? Not likely, unless you’re packing a powerful punch of 600 horsepower or more under the hood.
Generally, most road warriors hit the highway with a much more tractable power source, reducing the requirement for a max-flow exhaust system. In fact, most can use a set of 2½-inch pipes that’ll easily support up to 500 horsepower, with the availability of compatible mufflers to effectively dampen the cacophony without losing the muscular resonance associated with a healthy engine.
When investigating mufflers, here’s a rule of thumb that applies: The larger the muffler, the more effectively it will dampen the sound. Finding the perfect balance of reverberation and noise reduction, however, is always a matter of personal preference.
Tailpipes, too, factor significantly in the discussion of noise control. We’ve seen exhaust systems terminated abruptly at the mufflers, either stashed under the passenger compartment or near the rear axle housing. Either way, the exhaust pulsation remains largely under the car and intrudes into the passenger compartment. Extending the escape path to the rear bumper, or even terminating right behind the rear wheels, will alleviate much of the internal volume without hindering horsepower. And hearing your favorite highway jams will be a lot easier, too!
Life Support Systems
Whether you’re sky diving or scuba diving, it’s never wise to trust your life to inadequately engineered or poorly produced products, and the same axiom applies to your carefully constructed street machine. Wherever possible, choose only the best components you can afford: Whether they are brake pads or brake boosters, accessory belts or batteries, installing high-quality parts decreases the likelihood of making any side-of-the-road repairs.
But just buying the best doesn’t automatically guarantee you’ll be able to ride trouble-free forever. Regular maintenance of all operating systems, too, will ensure your ride remains righteous out on the road. Before any trip, it’s wise to change the oil, check the tune-up, and inspect the cooling system, suspension, and brakes.
Paint protection is also something to consider. Road debris can cause all kinds of carnage, but most will be minor rock chips and abrasions to the frontal areas of your ride. For a while, the car bra was a popular preventative, but it had its issues. Rubbing and chafing wherever the bra came in contact with painted surfaces was a common complaint, and if the affected areas were large enough, they became a strong argument deterring the bra’s use.
Replacing the bra are PPFs, or paint protection films, such as Liquidshield or Stealthcoatings. Both are sprayable coatings that cover painted surfaces with a durable, clear film that is also removable by peeling it off once you reach your destination or return home. Online videos show them to be user friendly and first-hand experience backs those claims, but careful prep is crucial to extracting maximum benefit.
The End Game
Whether you’re planning on constructing a new cruiser or just updating your current ride, if long distance journeys are part of the plan, these suggestions will help you head in the right direction. They are certainly not the end-all to any attempts at personalizing your restomod machine, but they may cause you to contemplate things otherwise overlooked.
Our hobby should be fun, and if your interpretation of that is to drive the wheels off your ride, then have at it! It never takes much coercion to talk us into a road trip, and we look forward to seeing you out on the highway in search of new adventures too!
Stray Cats Hot Rod Association Show September 4
See all the photos at Stray Cats Hot Rod Association Show
Memorial Day on Labor Day - September 4
See all the photos at Memorial Day on Labor Day. Photo by Jeff Malo.
The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA)
Below is a summary of The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA). There is a reason why you should read the legislation - because the news media will not tell you all the facts ~ Fred
Establishes a mandatory renewable portfolio standard (RPS) program.
o Dominion Energy to deliver electricity from 100% renewable sources by 2045
o Appalachian Power 100% renewable by 2050
- Establishes an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS)
o For Dominion, a 5% reduction by 2025 using 2019 sales as baseline
o For Appalachian Power, a 2% reduction by 2025 using 2019 sales as baseline
- Declares Energy Efficiency (EE) pilot programs in the public interest if:
o Program is of limited scope, cost and duration
o Intended to determine whether a new program would be cost effective
- If the utility meets EERS, State Corporation Commission (SCC) will award a margin
equal to the general rate of return on common equity.
- Large general service customers who use more than 1 MW (Megawatt) at a single site
are exempt if they can demonstrate they have implemented their own effective EE
- Requires the SCC to consider the social cost of carbon in any application to construct a
new generating facility.
- Requires the SCC to ensure development of new energy resources or facilities does not
have a disproportionate, adverse impact on historically economically disadvantaged
- Declares 16,100 MW of solar and onshore wind to be in the public interest.
- Declares 5,200 MW of offshore wind to be in the public interest.
- Declares 2,700 MW of energy storage capacity to be in the public interest.
- Allows for at least 35% of storage assets be owned by a third party.
- Requires Dominion Energy to petition the SCC for approvals for 2,700 MW of storage by
- Requires Appalachian Power to petition the SCC for approvals for 400 MW of storage
- Establishes a deficiency payments fund be administered by the Department of Mines,
Mineral, and Energy (DMME) if utilities do not comply with RPS.
o 50% of revenue directed to job training programs in historically
economically disadvantaged communities (HEDC)
o 16% directed to EE measures for public facilities
o 30% directed to renewable energy programs located in HEDC
o 4% for admin costs
- Establishes a Percentage of Income Payment program for low-income customers.
- Raises net metering caps from one to three MW for individual projects.
- Raises the collective cap from one to six percent of the previous year’s adjusted demand
- Requires DMME to report every three years as to whether the VCEA imposes a
disproportionate burden on Historically Economically Disadvantaged Communities
- Declares that it is the policy of the Commonwealth that the SCC, DMME, Virginia
Council on Environmental Justice in the development of energy and job training
programs, shall consider whether and how those programs benefit local workers,
HEDC, and individuals in the coalfields.
For the full Virginia Clean Energy Act, click HERE.
You may wonder how this is going to work out: Virginia gets more than half its electricity from other states, wind and solar do not produce enough electricity to meet demands today while we are looking at lots of electric vehicles in 2025 and the future. Less power, more things requiring power - how is that going to work out?
Electric Car Memes
Yes, there are vehicles to get you when your electric runs out of juice
Won't take but a few hours to get you on the road
Electric cars have a "different" form of pollution
Tesla battery replacement - $10,000 to $16,000
Until 2023? Parts Shortage Will Keep Auto Prices Sky-High
From The Epoch Times
Back in the spring, a shortage of computer chips that had sent auto prices soaring appeared, finally, to be easing. Some relief for consumers seemed to be in sight.
That hope has now dimmed. A surge in COVID-19 cases from the Delta variant in several Asian countries that are the main producers of auto-grade chips is worsening the supply shortage. It is further delaying a return to normal auto production and keeping the supply of vehicles artificially low.
And that means, analysts say, that record-high consumer prices for vehicles—new and used, as well as rental cars—will extend into next year and might not fall back toward earth until 2023.
The global parts shortage involves not just computer chips. Automakers are starting to see shortages of wiring harnesses, plastics, and glass, too. And beyond autos, vital components for goods ranging from farm equipment and industrial machinery to sportswear and kitchen accessories are also bottled up at ports around the world as demand outpaces supply in the face of a resurgent virus.
“It appears it’s going to get a little tougher before it gets easier,” said Glenn Mears, who runs four auto dealerships around Canton, Ohio.
Squeezed by the parts shortfall, General Motors and Ford have announced one- or two-week closures at multiple North American factories, some of which produce their hugely popular full-size pickup trucks.
Late last month, shortages of semiconductors and other parts grew so acute that Toyota felt compelled to announce it would slash production by at least 40 percent in Japan and North America for two months. The cuts meant a reduction of 360,000 vehicles worldwide in September. Toyota, which largely avoided sporadic factory closures that have plagued rivals this year, now foresees production losses into October.
Nissan, which had announced in mid-August that chip shortages would force it to close its immense factory in Smyrna, Tennessee, until Aug. 30, now says the closure will last until Sept. 13.
And Honda dealers are bracing for fewer shipments.
“This is a fluid situation that is impacting the entire industry’s global supply chain, and we are adjusting production as necessary,” said Chris Abbruzzese, a Honda spokesman.
The result is that vehicle buyers are facing persistent and once-unthinkable price spikes. The average price of a new vehicle sold in the United States in August hit a record of just above $41,000—nearly $8,200 more than it was just two years ago, J.D. Power estimated
With consumer demand still high, automakers feel little pressure to discount their vehicles. Forced to conserve their scarce computer chips, the automakers have routed them to higher-priced models—pickup trucks and large SUVs, for example—thereby driving up their average prices.
The roots of the computer chip shortage bedeviling auto and other industries stem from the eruption of the pandemic early last year. U.S. automakers had to shut factories for eight weeks to help stop the virus from spreading. Some parts companies canceled orders for semiconductors. At the same time, with tens of millions of people hunkered down at home, demand for laptops, tablets and gaming consoles skyrocketed.
As auto production resumed, consumer demand for cars remained strong. But chip makers had shifted production to consumer goods, creating a shortage of weather-resistant automotive-grade chips.
Then, just as auto chip production started to rebound in late spring, the highly contagious delta variant struck Malaysia and other Asian countries where chips are finished and other auto parts are made.
In August, new vehicle sales in the U.S. tumbled nearly 18 percent, mainly because of supply shortages. Automakers reported that U.S. dealers had fewer than 1 million new vehicles on their lots in August—72 percent lower than in August 2019.
Even if auto production were somehow to immediately regain its highest-ever level for vehicles sold in the U.S., it would take more than a year to achieve a more normal 60-day supply of vehicles and for prices to head down, the consulting firm Alix Partners has calculated.
“Under that scenario,” said Dan Hearsch, an Alix Partners managing director, “it’s not until early 2023 before they even could overcome a backlog of sales, expected demand and build up the inventory.”
For now, with parts supplies remaining scarce and production cuts spreading, many dealers are nearly out of new vehicles.
On a recent visit to the “Central Avenue Strip” in suburban Toledo, Ohio, a road chock-full of dealerships, few new vehicles could be found on the lots. Some dealers filled in their lots with used vehicles.
The supply is so low and prices so high that one would-be buyer, Heather Pipelow of Adrian, Michigan, said she didn’t even bother to look for a new SUV at Jim White Honda.
“It’s more than I paid for my house,” she said ruefully.
Ed Ewers of Mansfield, Ohio, traveled about two hours to a Toledo-area Subaru dealer to buy a used 2020 four-door Jeep Wrangler. He considered buying new but decided that a used vehicle was more in his price range to replace an aging Dodge Journey SUV.
Mears, whose Honda dealership is running short of new inventory, said dealers are managing to survive because of the high prices consumers are having to pay for both new and used vehicles.
He doesn’t charge more than the sticker price, he said—enough profit to cover expenses and make money. Nor does he have to advertise as much or pay interest on a large stock of vehicles. Many vehicles, he said, are sold before they arrive from the factory.
Chip orders that were made nine months ago are now starting to arrive. But other components, such as glass or parts made with plastic injection molds, are depleted, Hearsch said. Because of the virus and a general labor shortage, he said, auto-parts makers might not be able to make up for lost production.
Some tentative cause for hope has begun to emerge. Siew Hai Wong, president of the Malaysia Semiconductor Industry Association, says hopefully that chip production should start returning to normal in the fall as more workers are vaccinated.
Though Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore and the United States all produce semiconductors, he said, a shortage of just one kind of chip can disrupt production.
“If there is disruption in Malaysia,” Wong said, “there will be disruption somewhere in the world.”
Automakers have been considering shifting to an order-based distribution system rather than keeping huge supplies on dealer lots. But no one knows whether such a system would prove more efficient.
Eventually, Hearsch suggested, the delta variant will pass and the supply chain should return to normal. By then, he predicts, automakers will line up multiple sources of parts and stock critical components.
“There will be an end to it, but the question is really when,” said Ravi Anupindi, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies supply chains.
14th Annual HBC Car Truck & Motorcycle Show September 11
See all the photos at 14th Annual HBC Car Truck & Motorcycle Show.
This must have worked - the world is still here. A man cut off his penis and threw it out the window of his car as he was being chased by police. Tyson Gilbert, 39, allegedly claimed that voices on the radio told him that doing so would save the world. Gilbert, of Cookeville, Tennessee, took police officers on a chase through two counties of the state on Wednesday morning, the Daily Mail reported. State highway patrolman Bobby Johnson was the first to spot Gilbert driving naked and covered in blood after he severed his penis. Gilbert fled when approached by Johnson. ‘When I pulled up behind him and turned my lights on he took off and refused to stop,’ said Johnson. ‘He turned off on Old Liberty Road and came to a stop. He opened his door. He was naked and covered in blood. He then shut his door and kept driving.’ ‘The first spike strips got one of his front tires and the second got the other tire,’ Johnson said. ‘After that it became a slow speed pursuit with him running on his rims until we boxed him in.’
Two Polish companies are joining forces to make construction workers' lives more pleasant, Reuters reported on Aug. 23. Budimex and Lotos have created a floral-scented asphalt with a mixture of natural and synthetic oils that neutralize the typical smell of asphalt. "At times one could smell the scent of flowers, which made working more pleasant," said Slawomir Szpak, a foreman for Budimex. The company is planning to introduce the new compound on a wider scale.
Metro News reported on Aug. 15 that authorities in the village of Wonersh in Surrey, England, are stumped by a serial baked bean bandit who is pouring the savory legumes on doorsteps, cars and into mail slots. Officers have promised to step up patrols in the area, but residents are seeing the lighter side: "What half-baked idiots would do this? I hope they get thrown in the can!" and "Absolutely Heinzous crime."
Two people died and two others went to the hospital in critical condition after a puzzling car crash on Aug. 11 in San Antonio, Texas. A female driver in her 20s or 30s, traveling at high speed, struck a parked car, police said, and when the owner of the parked car and two others came outside to see what had happened, the woman started shooting at them. The parked car's owner was killed; the other two were critically wounded, WOAI-TV reported. Then another neighbor responded to the ruckus and ended up shooting the driver and killing her. Police are investigating why the woman opened fire on the car's owner.
In King County, Washington, an unnamed 47-year-old suspect was taken into custody on July 30 after several road rage reports, the most striking of which was this: On July 27, the suspect, driving a Jeep, started honking at another driver as both entered a ramp onto I-5, Q13 Fox reported. The victim took an exit to try to escape a confrontation, but the suspect followed and eventually blocked the victim's car with his own. Then, as shown on dashcam video, the suspect exited the Jeep and threw an ax at the victim's car before driving over the median and escaping. Charges for the multiple incidents include felony hate crime, felony eluding and theft.
On Aug. 12, a woman in Oconee County, South Carolina, saw Garry Chase Coble Jr. riding a horse down the road in the middle of the afternoon and then leading it inside a home. When deputies arrived and entered the home, WSPA-TV reported, they found horse feces on the floor in the front room. Next, officers discovered the horse standing calmly in the bedroom. Coble was arrested for larceny of livestock; the horse suffered only a small laceration on its front left leg.
Two young nitwits committed a series of drive-by slushie attacks that they recorded with a GoPro camera for uploading to YouTube, according to Florida cops who charged the duo with battery and conspiracy. Police say Rafael Mercado, 19, and Ke’ziyah McKay, 18, targeted victims Saturday afternoon in Pinellas Park, a city in the Tampa Bay area. As alleged in a criminal complaint, the teenage dirtbags purchased seven slushies from a Circle K store and then proceeded to throw the frozen drinks at “multiple persons for the purpose of their YouTube video content.” The slushies were launched at pedestrians by McKay, who was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Mercado (who filmed the misdemeanor action with McKay's GoPro camera).
A naked woman on a midnight golf cart joyride was arrested early Saturday when she drove through a police perimeter in Florida, cops say. While officers were involved in an armed standoff with a teenager, Jessica Smith, 28, drove past several patrol cars while behind the wheel of a golf cart. Smith allegedly ignored a police command to depart the area and continued to approach “the target house of where the armed suspect was on the roof.”
When Smith, police say, refused to exit the golf cart, she “was assisted out and handcuffed” around 12:05 AM. Smith smelled of alcohol and was “completely nude,” according to a criminal complaint charging her with obstruction, a misdemeanor.
A long-haul trucker is facing multiple criminal charges after crashing his tractor-trailer--which was filled with Pop-Tarts and Cheez-Its--while driving early this morning on Interstate 95 in Maine. Police say that Miles McIntyre, a 61-year-old Southern California resident, drove off the road and struck rock ledges, causing the truck to roll on its side (and the vehicle’s contents to tragically spill into a ditch). Officers responding to the rollover crash arrested McIntyre after he was determined to be impaired. McIntyre was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, driving to endanger, and possession of methamphetamine.
The Tesla owner who was watching a movie when his car, traveling in autopilot mode, struck a North Carolina police cruiser has walked away from the crash legally unscathed, records show. Prosecutors recently dismissed a pair of charges filed against Devainder Goli following the August 2020 crash on Highway 64 near Raleigh. Goli, a 67-year-old doctor, was cited for watching TV while driving and failing to move over. Both counts were dropped last month by prosecutors, according to a District Court filing which does not offer an explanation for the dismissal, but indicates that Goli’s insurer paid more than $28,000 in property damage claims. Goli’s lawyer, Henry Neese, did not return TSG calls about the case. In an email, Heather Nicol, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office, wrote that the dismissal notice “is all we will be legal able to tell you. Have a wonderful day.”
The drunken Oregon motorist whose blood alcohol content was measured at more than nine times the legal limit--apparently a U.S. record--has been sentenced to 13 months in prison for his inebriated antics, according to court records. Nathan Danzuka, 28, recently pleaded guilty to DUI, reckless driving, and fleeing charges in connection with a hit-and-run accident (and subsequent police chase) in February in Madras, a city 125 miles southeast of Portland. Danzuka was arrested after crashing his Ford Explorer into a concrete barrier. Police reported finding “several alcoholic beverage containers” inside the SUV. Danzuka was subsequently transported to a local hospital where a blood sample showed that his blood alcohol level was a staggering .778, more than nine times the legal .08 limit. At time of his arrest, Danzuka was driving on a suspended license due to a prior drunk driving conviction. In addition to his 13-month prison term, Danzuka was sentenced to a year’s probation and had his driver’s license “suspended for life,” court records show.
The New York Post: The suspect busted in the hit-and-run crash that killed a 3-month-old girl in Brooklyn was ordered held on bail Sunday — after it was revealed at his arraignment that he asked arresting officers to go easy on him. Wrong-way driver Tyrik Mott, 28, was arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court on the top charge of attempted robbery for allegedly trying to steal a 41-year-old driver’s car to get away after the fatal collision Saturday in Clinton Hill. Judge Deepa Ambekar ordered Mott held on $100,000 cash bail or $200,000 partially secured bond at his arraignment. Mott allegedly blew a red light before crashing into another car, killing the baby being pushed in a stroller by her mom on a sidewalk, cops have said. The suspect was caught after fleeing on foot and trying to steal another driver’s car, according to authorities. At that point, Mott asked officers “if he could just get a ticket,” Assistant District Attorney Tzyonah Langsam said in court Sunday night.
Rolls-Royce's first all-electric aircraft has completed its maiden flight, soaring across skies in the U.K. for around 15 minutes. In a statement, the company said the aircraft's trip on Wednesday marked "the beginning of an intense flight-testing phase" that would involve the collection of performance data on its electrical power and propulsion system. According to Rolls-Royce, the airplane — dubbed the "Spirit of Innovation" — utilized a 400 kilowatt electric powertrain "with the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft." Eventually, the firm wants the aircraft's speed to exceed 300 miles per hour. The Spirit of Innovation is the result of a program called ACCEL, or Accelerating the Electrification of Flight. Partners in the initiative include electric motor and controller specialist YASA and Electroflight, which Rolls-Royce described as an "aviation start-up." YASA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz. In terms of funding, 50% has come from the Aerospace Technology Institute in partnership with the U.K. government's Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate U.K. In a statement issued alongside Rolls-Royce's announcement, U.K. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the aircraft's flight was "a huge step forward in the global transition to cleaner forms of flight."
An 8-year-old boy with a golden heart and a wish to help hydrate hundreds of bikers passing through the Black Hills in western South Dakota during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally set up a lemonade stand that became immensely popular and raised over $30,000 for a children’s hospital. “It’s just been crazy,” motorcycle-loving Wyatt Dennis from Piedmont, South Dakota, told The Epoch Times. His mother, Robin, 40, couldn’t agree more: “We’ve been overwhelmed with the generosity of people in this, we never expected a small little kid’s lemonade stand to turn into what it has.”
A gas station worker in the town of Idar-Oberstein, Rhineland-Palatinate, lost his life after a dispute with a customer over COVID-19 measures, police said Monday. According to the police report, a 49-year-old man is suspected of having shot the gas station employee Saturday evening, over a mask-wearing requirement at the establishment.
52nd Annual AACA Richmond Car Show and Swap Meet September 18
See all the photos at 52nd Annual AACA Richmond Car Show and Swap Meet.
Repair Mistakes & Blunders
From Rock Auto
Back in 1975, I decided to tune up my dad's awesome 1969 Oldsmobile 442. I was 17 and just learning how to work on cars. The 442 was running great, but I decided it needed new points, plugs and a condenser. Everything worked great after the tune up UNTIL I reached cruising speed around 45 mph, when the engine would start misfiring and losing power. The engine would run fine again after slowing down/reducing rpm.
It had to be starving for fuel...so I replaced the fuel pump. Same problem. I dropped the fuel tank and took a look at the sock on the pick-up tube - clean as a whistle. I got my hands on a remanufactured Quadrajet carburetor, bolted it on...same problem. I spent weeks and lots of money on this problem.
My dad was not a car guy but very practical. I still remember him asking me, "What was the first thing you did before all these problems started?" I ignored him of course because I was the mechanic! But he already knew the answer. He popped the distributor cap and said, "There's your problem." I looked very carefully, and the condenser wire was cut into and frayed, but there was nothing touching it to cut it. That is when I learned about timing advance and centrifugal weights. At a higher rpm, the weights moved outward to advance the timing and cut into the ill-placed condenser wire and shorted out the points.
All he did was push the wire down and done. No more interference. The cheapest and quickest fix ever! He was always practical.
Bill in New Jersey
The 36th Annual Mustang & Ford Show September 18
See all the photos at The 36th Annual Mustang & Ford Show.
Soaring Gas Prices, Colder Winter Could Boost Oil Prices, Says Goldman
Goldman Sachs said that with the surge in global gas prices, a colder winter in Europe and Asia could in turn boost demand for oil, driving a $5 per barrel upside risk to its fourth quarter 2021 Brent price forecast of $80 a barrel.
A global surge in wholesale power and gas prices has prompted concerns of high winter energy bills and shortages, having already forced some energy supplies out of business in Britain.
A colder winter could lead to a 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) increase in oil demand, the Wall Street bank said in a note dated Sept. 19.
Old Farmer's Almanac prediction for this winter
"The tightness in global gas supplies creates a clear and potentially meaningful bullish catalyst for the oil market this winter, larger than the downside risk to global oil demand from another Delta-like COVID wave," Goldman added.
The investment bank said that for oil prices to cross the $80 a barrel threshold, prices at the Dutch TTF hub and JKM would have to trade at $23.5 and $25.5/mmBtu respectively. ,
Prices at the TTF hub and JKM are currently trading at $24/mmBtu and $25/mmBtu, respectively.
Brent crude futures were trading at $74.29 a barrel at 0844 GMT and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $70.70 barrel.
Bank of America Global Research said recently it could bring forward its $100 per barrel oil price target to the next six months from mid-2022 if the winter is colder than usual, while Barclays expects low stocks in Europe and strong demand for LNG in Asia, suggesting higher gas prices are here to stay over winter months.
Kerr Lake Ford's 12th Annual All Ford Car Show September 25
See all the photos at Kerr Lake Ford's 12th Annual All Ford Car Show.
Appliance Color Cars
From an article by Consumerist
Why Are We All So Boring Now?
I don’t think there’s one clear reason why we’ve been stuck on shades of gray, white and neutrals in the 2000s — but a quick glance at popular gadgets of our day, devices that play a big part in our everyday lives today. It makes sense, then, if you like your iPod (or later iPhone) in white, maybe you want your car in that color, too. Like the silvery gray of your HTC One? It could show up in your car too.
White’s comeback can partly be attributed to Apple, explains Barb Whalen, designer manager, color and materials at Ford Motor Company. She says that though you might think white is just a boring color that’s never going to change, Apple “helped that trend move on.”
After all, white isn’t just white — there are luxury whites with tricoat paint jobs, and then there are the simpler, sportier whites.
Because of the tried-and-true trio of white, silver/gray and black, many manufacturers will use those basic colors on more than one model, because why mess with a good thing?
“There’s a group of customers that always just goes for those basic colors, and that’s what they’re going to come back to,” Whalen says. “But there are definitely customers out there who want to be on trend that strive for something different. When they lease their vehicle for two years they want to come back with the latest and greatest color.”
But on that note, not every wild and craaaazy color is going to work on every vehicle. Some are niche-specific, Whalen explained to Consumerist.
“Certain colors are appropriate for certain vehicles,” she says. “For example, the Green Envy you would see on a Mustang, you would never put that on an F150. It would just be kind of comical, I think.
“But a Mustang customer loves that bright green on that vehicle and it’s appropriate, it’s inspired and it’s sporty and there’s a customer out there that wants that attention, that wants to say, “Hey, look at me and look at my car.”
We wondered about those names — what’s it like to come up with those unique monikers?
Car manufacturers these days have taken color advisory boards of the past and started employing color development teams, which dedicated to coming up with that name you’ll always remember, or the one you’ll forget but appreciate that it wasn’t just “gray.”
“We have a lot of fun with naming colors,” Whalen says.
The team comes up with a color first, one that’s inspired by design and trend information from Ford’s suppliers, and then that color, purple, perhaps might trigger an image of something, say, of Tahiti. And there you have it, Tahitian Pearl.
As to why companies think we want Tahitian Pearl, Whalen says that at Ford, they don’t ask the customers what they’d prefer, because colors are developed for years ahead of time. As trends change every couple of years, so will consumer preferences.
“Color preferences are personal and if you’re asking a customer that will ever buy a black car if they’re going to ever enjoy a Bronze Fire or a Deep Impact Blue vehicle, their preference is always going to be black, so don’t ask them.”
Instead, Whalen and her team work with suppliers to gather research and look at trends to develop the company’s car palette. Core colors like (sigh) white, silver/gray and black “don’t change a whole heck of a lot throughout the years” barring any change in technology.
“The colors we tend to change more often are trend colors, and those might change every couple of years,” Whalen says.
Are We Totally Over The Rainbow Or Is The Future Going To Be Bright Again?
Whalen agrees that the recession dampened car buyers’ appetite for bright colors, saying consumers were a bit “leery” for a little while, leading to the rise of the neutral set. But the future is bright, she thinks.
“We’re optimistic” about color’s comeback she says, adding, “It was only four years ago that neutrals and whites really were the most popular, you would rarely look in a parking lot and see anything other than those colors,” and now, colors are coming back to those lots.
There are other trends making a splash in the car world these days, Christian Wardlaw points out — including the “stealth” trend that employs matte paint colors and dark windows.
“Among car enthusiasts, especially younger male car enthusiasts, matte has become, I wouldn’t say it was a status symbol but it became popular because it’s different. It lacks luster, so it’s more stealthy.”
Will we ever get a future of made-to-order customizable colors for our cars in any one of say, hundreds of options? Not likely, Wardlaw thinks, mostly because of the associated costs with factory-applied paint. But much like that phone cover you can swap out at whim, there’s always the option to have a temporary wrap applied to a car, like the local bakery/taco place/dry cleaners did with their delivery SUV.
I’m Feeling Crazy — Should I Buy A Car In A Wild And Wacky Color?
Different strokes for different folks — so yes, if you really love that yellow bit of canary-inspired sporty sunshine, go for it, but keep in mind that not all weird colors are rare. There’s a reason there aren’t always a lot of yellow cars, Wardlaw thinks.
“A lot of companies will only offer [colors] that they know will sell in big numbers because they’re not going to take the risk,” he says.
Whether or not you take that risk, it’s up to you. But at least you don’t have to order it in black, if you don’t want to.
• Everyone remembers their favorite car’s unique color, so when did we fade to black?
• Yellow, green and teal cars may fetch you a higher resale value due to relatively few of them
• Cars were first painted like carriages, color was expensive, didn’t last
• Henry Ford offered cars in black asphalt enamels because that color dried the fastest and was more durable than oil-based paints
• General Motors and Dupont partnered up for Duco, a new paint that made it easier to apply colorful paints that dried even faster than before
• Car manufacturers stared color advisory boards to suss out trends in popular culture and report back
•Everyone got wacky on colors for a while, including in the ‘60s and ‘70s
• We’re boring these days, choosing mostly black, white and gray/silver
• The recession scared people into a neutral colors phase, giving rise to the popularity of black, white and silver/gray
• The future is bright once again, however, as experts see colorful paint jobs coming back
Moody's Texaco Fall Cruise-In September 25
See all the photos at Moody's Texaco Fall Cruise-In.
Support the RPM Act
Sign at this link: www.votervoice.net/SEMA/campaigns/45394/respond
The RPM Act is common-sense, bi-partisan legislation to protect law-abiding citizens who convert cars, trucks and motorcycles into racing vehicles. The bill clarifies that it is legal to make emissions-related changes to a street vehicle for the purpose of converting it into a racecar used exclusively in competition. It also confirms that it is legal to produce, market and install racing equipment.
UPDATE TO THE RPM ACT - click link below
River City Cruizers 2nd Annual Car and Truck Show September 26
See all the photos at River City Cruizers 2nd Annual Car and Truck Show.
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