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alwaysakid

M –59
Burnsville, Minnesota
United States

 
 

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Why They Call Them 'Pony Cars'

By alwaysakid

Check out this photo of a 1966 Mustang parked between two 1966 Chevy Impalas at a car show in Farmington, MN this past weekend. The cars were parked so the front bumpers were even with one another. But besides the difference in length, you can also see a dramatic different in height. It's almost like someone snuck a 1:50 scale car in a 1:43 scale display or diorama.
It really shows how the term "pony cars" came to describe these new style of vehicles. Of course, the Mustang name also hints as to where the term originated, but the "pony cars" label was quickly placed on all smaller, sporty vehicles by the public during that era.
In this view, however, I'm inclined to think the Chevys look more like Clydesdales than Impalas next to that pony car.
By the way, I tried to include this photo in the attached photo album, but for some reason the Motortopia program wouldn't allow it there. Maybe it thought there was something wrong with the photo because it had two different "scales" of cars in it.

How about a Sinclair transistor radio?

By alwaysakid

Remember the transistor radios that were so popular back in the 1960s? Everyone had to have one to listen to their favorite radio stations. And you could hang it from almost anything with the little looped cord, or sometimes even fit it in a pocket. They were far more mobile than the "boom boxes" that would follow.
I found one amongst my stuff recently that I had obtained as a kid from a Sinclair service station. It was some kind of promotional thing, and the radio was made to resemble a gas pump, with the station numbers showing where the "gallons" would be displayed on the pump. It's pretty neat.
But after having it stashed away in a box for decades, I decided to see if there's someone else who would like to have it more than me. So, I listed it on ebay. It's item # 121144036760 on ebay and the bidding ends Friday evening. If you think you might be interested, check it out at:
http://www.eb...4.m1555.l2649

Setting a Scene From Long Ago

By alwaysakid

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

In April of this year, during a brief moment when it wasn't snowing or raining, I took the 1950 Studebaker for a ride to Fridley, MN, where I watched a steam train go by. The train was pulled by a Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 steam locomotive. I took a picture in hopes of creating a scene that might look like it came from the early 1950s. I think I got pretty close, other than the modern Amtrak diesel that promoters had to add behind the steam engine for insurance purposes. I guess they didn't trust the steam locomotive to make it without a break-down. Imagine if we had to tow a modern car behind our antique cars every time we went out because our insurers were worried our classic car might have a break-down!

Away Alot

By alwaysakid

Not spending much time on Motortopia lately. That's mainly because I busted up my right hand and it's painfully slow doing anything on the computer with one hand, especially since I'm right-handed.
But the last few times I tried to get on Motortopia (until today), I've gotten warning messages from Google that this website has been reported several times as being used to plant computer viruses to infect users. That makes me leery of coming on here anymore, especially since the spam abuses have gone ignored by the new owners for so long.
Nonetheless, I'm here today because I miss my Motortopia friends.

Merry Christmas!

By alwaysakid

Here's wishing everyone a very merry Christmas. May the true meaning of the birth of a savior bring extra joy to you this year.

Lotsa Snow

By alwaysakid

Well, this should be enough of the white stuff to assure us of a white Christmas, unless some unusual tropical breeze gets stuck in our direction for several days before then.
We got almost a foot of snow Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. The snow started coming down very early in the morning and never stopped until well after night-fall.
When I drove our four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi up the hill in our front driveway, it got stuck, even though it was in four-wheel-drive. It took a second attempt and getting a run at it to make it up to the garage to deliver the full gas can for the snow blower..
After the previous winter when I never even put gas in the snow blower, I had it out twice today. Fortunately, the long dormancy did it no harm and it handled the heavy, wet snow just fine.
But it does cause one to pause and ponder, is this just a sample of what is to come? There is still a lot of winter ahead.

Heck Of A Deal

By alwaysakid

A friend of mine in South Dakota is selling his 1974 Charger. It's got a rebuilt 440 and rebuilt transmission, and he's only asking $4,500. If I had room for it, I'd be buying it.
If you might be interested and want more info, go to:
http://sd.cra...41982827.html
Might make a nice Christmas present.

Dental Work

By alwaysakid

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

So, it's nice out and I'm fooling around in the garage. The next thing I know, the Mitsubishi Outlander has teeth! I thought it would give it a more aggressive look, kind of like the semi trucks with their teethy winter radiator covers. But I'm not sure if I like it or not. However, I do find it amusing.

Out Of The Polls and Out Of The Closet

By alwaysakid

I've seen a lot of commentaries following Tuesday's elections stating that election results may indicate our country has become more liberal. Since the Marriage Amendment in Minnesota, defining marriage as for one man and one woman, failed, maybe it's true. I can remember a time when it was a great scandal for a guy and a girl to "shack up together" without getting married, and now it doesn't gain any thought. And we're seeing the gay lifestyle coming close to similar acceptance.
I was pondering this yesterday as I drove back to Sioux Falls for a funeral, and decided maybe it was time for me to come out of the closet.
I have done very well over the years at driving close to the speed limit, but I really have a need for speed. I get out on the highway and I really want to drive fast, especially if the road curves a lot. I can't help it that I'm that way, I just am. Even as a kid, I often rode my bicycle fast. Apparently I was born with this need for speed.
So, why do people want to persecute me? If I release that inner fast self, I'm hit with mean-spirited speeding fines. And everywhere I go, there are "speed limit" signs to curb me from being myself.
I think it's time for our country to become more tolerant of people like me. Society should stop stunting my inner expression.
After all, we re-elected a liberal president and the news commentators say we're a more liberal country these days. Have we become liberal enough to accept people like me? Should I come out of my speed-restricted closet and swap my old six-cylinder Studebaker for a muscle car?

My Truck Is On Ebay

By alwaysakid

Every once in a while I list something on ebay as it helps my wife think I'm thinning my massive accumulation of stuff. When I saw a die-cast car identical to one I have go for $585 on ebay, I decided that would be a good item to list so I can say my toy car collection is smaller than it used to be (at least until I buy another one). It turns out that this particular Matchbox vehicle is in a rare paint scheme. I like it a lot, but it's not one of my favorites, so I thought I'd see if the ebayers want it more than I do. If it goes for the starting price where I listed it, then I'll be the loser because I really didn't want to get rid of it that bad. I don't expect to see it go for $585, though, because I don't have the original box, but I thought it was worth the risk to list it and see how it does. My collection is big enough and the truck is small enough that it won't really leave a hole.
If you want to also watch to see how it does, it's ebay item 120999333770, or just go to:
http://www.eb...4.m1555.l2649
And, of course, if you want it in your collection, please put in a bid.
This has got to be more exciting than the jerseys and jackets and stuff we usually see for sale on Motortopia's blogs.

It's Going To Go

By alwaysakid

Since there is such a wide variety of blogs selling stuff on this website lately, I thought I'd add my own. But at least mine is automotive related.
I've got an old new-car brochure listed on ebay and it has received its first bid! That kind of excites me, because it's fun to watch something like this to see how well it does. I'm not so much interested in making money on it as I am in seeing it go to someone who really wants it, and of course the higher the bid indicates how much the person wants it.
The brochure is from 1973 or 1974 (it doesn't have a year on it) and is for a Datsun pickup truck. You can see more description of it on the ebay listing at:
http://www.eb...4.m1555.l2649
I would especially like to see it go to someone on Motortopia, since I have a connection with my fellow Motortopians, but I don't know if I would learn whether or not it sold to a fellow Motortopian unless they told me.
The bidding ends Sunday evening, in case you're interested. Not much time left.
And since I'm writing this blog about it, at least I'll have something to remember what I found, what I had and what I let go of.

Bumper Thumper

By alwaysakid

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Whatever happened to bumpers that could withstand a bump? Isn't there still federal regulations requiring bumpers to withstand a 5-MPH hit?
Our Outlander Sport got hit from behind Sept. 10, 2012, and, as you can see in the picture, got a hole punched in it. A pickup truck was stopped behind it at a stop sign when the pickup driver dropped something and while leaning over to retrieve it released his brake. It rolled into the back of our Mitsubishi.
The Mitsubishi goes into the shop tomorrow for repairs, to be completely covered by the dude's insurance, including a rental car while the Mitsubishi is being fixed. The repairs are going to cost over $1,100, the result of a little bumper-thumper.
I'm thinking maybe today's bumpers no longer hold up to those 5 MPH hits like they should. Maybe manufacturers should go back to steel bumpers. I think in our situation it would've held up much better.

Analyse This

By alwaysakid

I heard on the radio yesterday that Dr. Phil's 1957 Chevy convertible was stolen! According to the radio news dude, Dr. Phil of TV psychoanalysis fame had his classic towed to a Burbank, CA, repair shop to have some work done on the transmission and a short time later it disappeared from the shop's parking lot in broad daylight.
I wonder if they catch the culprits, will Dr. Phil have them on his TV show to help them overcome their character defects? Having personal insight on the incident, he could really come up with some good questions.
"During the act of the dastardly deed, did you ever think about the great personal and emotional stress you were perpetrating upon the car's owner by the denial of his possession of so great an icon? Did you give any thought as to how much personal attachment the true owner may have to this car and the depth of the emotional scaring you may be causing?"
And if he doesn't get the answers he wants to those questions, he might get personal.
"Do you hate your father? If not, I do, just for conceiving you, you car-thieving worm!"
Oh what the heck, Dr. Phil, you're rich enough, just go buy another one. It'll make you feel better.

Ulterior Motives

By alwaysakid

I own four cars and I ride the bus to and from work. Can you imagine that? But it saves me $86 a month in the cost to park in downtown Minneapolis versus the bus fares, not to mention the cost of gas and wear-and-tear on the car.
Then there are the experiences I gain from mingling with the public, too.
So, I'm standing at the bus stop, waiting for the bus, when a guy comes up to me. He introduces himself and starts talking to me like I'm a buddy with all things in common. Finally, he came to the part I was expecting. He needed a couple bucks.
When I told him I couldn't give him any money because I spent it all the night before, he suddenly turned and walked away. Wait a minute, I thought we were friends. I didn't get a chance to tell him how I spent all my money.
In fact, come back, I made a mistake. I didn't spend all my money. ... My wife did.
Do you know what my wife spent all my money on? Portraits. Not pictures, but portraits. Pictures you can get for 25 cents at Wal-Mart, portraits cost $50.
And it's a portrait of us. She gets to see my ugly mug every morning when I get up and every evening when I get home from work, after riding the bus ... twice. Why does she need to see my picture if she's always seeing me? And why does she need to see a picture of herself? We have mirrors in the house, all over the place. Surely she doesn't forget what she looks like while going from one mirror to the next.
And the salesman wanted us to buy more portraits. How many portraits does one need to hang in their house? Besides, he got all my money, I didn't have any more.
But the salesman said we could buy more and put it on our charge card. No I can't, because I already ran that up with an airline ticket. My wife is using an airline ticket to go see her 96-year-old aunt, perhaps because she's tired of seeing me -- I know she's not planning on taking our portrait with her. How am I going to pay the charge bill if I buy more portraits and give my money to people who think I have a lot in common with them, except for hopefully not needing money as much as them?
But I didn't get to tell the guy all that because he walked away. We could've been friends and shared stories, all but for a lack of $2.
That's OK, I ride public transportation, there'll be another time.

Sheriff of Mayberry Passes On

By alwaysakid

Andy Griffith, long known as the sheriff of Mayberry, died July 3, 2012. He was born in 1926, and will continue to live on in forever in the perpetual rebroadcasts of the Andy Griffith Show.
We've had Motortopia's announcement of Carroll Shelby's death on the website's main page for two months, so perhaps it's time to announce someone else's passing. Shelby did leave a far greater mark on the automotive world, but Griffith drove a lot of Fords, too.
So here's to another great loss. May Andy Griffith enjoy his new citizenship in heaven, and may all Motortopia members mourn his loss here on Earth. Because, "a man's got to do, what a man's got to do," as Barney Fife always said.

Gas Mileage Extremes

By alwaysakid

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

My car of choice for long road trips is the 2001 Toyota Celica. But this time I took the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport to see how it does on a long trip, mainly because my wife had hurt her ribs and it was hard for her to get in and out of the low-sitting Celica.
So, we drove to western Montana (an annual excursion) in the Mitsubishi this time.
This is my synopsis of how the Outlander did in comparison to past trips in the Celica. And the biggest surprise was the gas mileage.
The Celica is much more fun to drive because it handles so well. And while I thought the four-wheel-drive might come in handy in some areas of Montana, in the end we never went anywhere that the Celica couldn't have handled. And driving over the mountain passes is a blast in the Celica, but became a chore in the Outlander.
The disadvantage of the Outlander's height affecting its handling was only a small part of why it isn't so much fun going over the passes. The biggest reason was because the cruise control was grossly inefficient over the passes.
In driving the Outlander on the Interstate highway, I usually put it on cruise control. And on the way west I found my gas mileage varied from 18 MPG to 24 MPG. But when I quit using the cruise control, the gas mileage improved to 26 MPG in the mountains because I managed the speed so that the RPMs never went over 3100 even if it meant losing 5-10 MPH while going up the hills. With the cruise control on, the RPMs often went up to 4500.
We did hit some head-winds on the way out, which I'm sure was a factor, since like many SUVs this car has a large profile to push through the winds. But the cruise control didn't start accelerating the car until it had already started upgrade and was losing momentum. The trick to efficiently driving over hills is to avoid losing any momentum.
On the trip home, we had a strong tail wind and I did not use the cruise control unless the terrain was flat. We got 25-31 MPG. That's an amazing difference in my mind.
The car is rated at 28 MPG on the highway. I've never owned a car before that exceeded it's manufacturer's MPG rating. And this car did it on more than one tank of gas!
My conclusion is that this car is very well made for efficient operations by a 4x4, but it's cruise control design sucks. And while it is more comfortable for long drives than many other cars I've owned, it still does not live up to the bar set by my Celica (which doesn't lose hardly any gas mileage when the cruise control is on).
The Celica is still my first choice for long trips, but I wouldn't mind taking the Outlander again, either, now that I know when not to use the cruise control

Keep Them Running And Values Stay Up

By alwaysakid

This is the oldest motor vehicle car in the world that still runs.
It was built one year before Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler invented the internal combustion engine.
The world's oldest running motor vehicle has been sold at auction for an astonishing $4.62 million, more than double the pre-sale estimate, as two bidders chased the price up in a three-minute bidding war.
The 1884 De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout drew a standing ovation as it was driven up onto the stage at Friday's RM Auction in Hershey, Pennsylvania - to prove that this 127-year-old car really does run! - and attracted a starting bid of $500 000, which was immediately doubled to $1 million. Encouraged by the applauding crowd, the bidding went swiftly up to $4.2 million - 4.62 million including the 10 percent commission - before the car was knocked down to an unnamed buyer.
The Dos-a-Dos (Back-to-Back) Steam Runabout was built in 1884 by George Bouton and Charles-Armand Trepardoux for French entrepreneur Count de Dion, who named it 'La Marquise' after his mother. In 1887, with De Dion at the tiller, it won the world's first ever motor race (it was the only entrant to make the start line!) covering the 32km from the Pont de Neuilly in Paris to Versailles and back in one hour and 14 minutes.
La Marquise has only had four owners, remaining in one family for 81 years, and has been restored twice, once by the Doriol family and again by British collector Tom Moore in the early 1990's. Since then, it has taken part in four London-to-Brighton runs and collected a double gold at the 1997 Pebble Beach d'Elegance in California .

How Long Before Bad Reputations Are Forgotten?

By alwaysakid

I went to a car show this past summer and saw a Yugo there. I don't know much about Yugos, as I've never owned one, but I've heard a lot about them and none of it was good. They sound like they are cheaply made and VERY prone to failure. A friend of mine who had one called his Fewgo.
So, if everyone hates Yugos, why would someone want to bring one to a car show, much less preserve or restore one? And it even got a trophy in my photo album of that car show, but no disrespectful comments (except maybe my photo description)!
That got me to thinking. You don't see Yugos anymore. It's not that they're antiques, but maybe just rare because they were hard to keep going and didn't last. And if they are rare, maybe they're collectible now.
It got me to thinking about Ford's Edsel, if I can dare make the comparison. Not long after the Edsel came out it got a reputation for being an unreliable and unwanted car. But now they're highly collectible. Instead of a lemon, it's called an icon.
How long did it take for the Edsel to gain popularity? Is the Yugo there yet? And if not, will it ever be there?
I have to admit, the Edsel has a very distinctive appearance, whereas the Yugo looks like just another econobox. But maybe some day econoboxes will be iconic reminders of a distinctive era. And maybe the Yugo will be highly sought after as one rare example.

I've Got The Blues

By alwaysakid

Usually one doesn't want to have the blues. But I like the blues. I like rhythm and blues music, and I seem to like cars that are blue in color.
After I purchased my Mitsubishi, I realized out of four cars I currently own, three of them are blue. Had I thought about that before I bought that car, I might've held out for something in a different color. As much as I like the color blue, I like variety, too. I think I like variety more than I like blue, which might be partly why all four of my cars are different makes.
While I like the color blue, I wouldn't say it's my favorite color. But there sure are a lot of nice shades of blue out there. And whoever makes the paint for cars deserves accolades for a lot of those nice shades.
Of the three blue cars I own, I didn't buy any of them because they were blue, but it was a factor in two cases.
When I bought the Celica, I wanted something small and sporty and there weren't many choices out there. In fact, of all the car lots I visited in Sioux Falls at the time, all I found in my price range were a red Mustang, a red Celica, a white Celica, a black Celica and the blue Celica. There weren't a lot of options, and it appeared the odds were stacked in favor of getting a Celica. I got the best deal on the blue Celica, and I liked the color.
Then came the Studebaker. I actually went to buy a '61 Studebaker Hawk but it turned out to be in much worse shape than the seller first told me and the work it needed was way more than I could afford, never mind the price of the car. But I knew he also had the '50 Champion for sale and asked to see it. I've always liked the bullet-nose Studebakers, but because of the shade of blue this one wore, it appeared to be the prettiest bullet-nose I'd ever seen (OK, I know, I know, the bullet nose is chrome, don't get technical on me).
When I went to look at Mistubishis, the one I purchased seemed to stand out on the lot because it was such a nice shade of blue. I really went to look at Mitsubishis because I had never owned one before (there's that variety thing again) and always liked the Eclipse. I had first sought a Nissan Juke and looked at a red one, but the Nissan dealer didn't like our trade-in (the yellow [not blue] Mazda), while the Mitsubishi dealer seemed to really want it. And since the Outlander was similar to the Juke but had more interior room and got slightly better gas mileage, I ended up with another blue car in the garage.
Then I started thinking about the cars I've had in the past, and quite a few of them are blue. In fact, if I counted right, I've had nine blue cars, way more than any other color.
So, why am I telling you this? I don't know, it just seemed like a catchy title for a blog, "I've Got The Blues." Why did you read it?

Remembering the NYC attack

By alwaysakid

It's been 10 years since the bold terrorist attacks against New York City and Washington, DC, using airliners full of passengers for missiles.
I thought I'd take this opportunity to share some of my son's thoughts after standing guard over the site of the Twin Towers in NYC shortly after the attacks. He was activated as a member of the National Guard to beef up security at NYC. After serving a couple months and then being released, he sent an email to all his family and friends about the experience, as he knew everyone was wondering what it was like for him. Here is some of what he said:
"As I was standing there, a woman approached the police barrier to view what she could see. As I looked at her, she had a very lost look on her face, like she was trying to figure out what everyone was looking at. She seemed lost as to what had happened here. I could see a pain in her eyes, confusion, someone looking for resolution. Then she looked at me. This took me aback, because at that moment her facial expression changed. She came here to see what had happened, and now that she knew, her eyes asked me what I was going to do about it. It was like she was pleading with me, to bring back all the people, to single-handedly raise the towers back into existence. I didn't have to see my own facial expression to know that my face said despair. No matter what I did, or how much I helped with the effort, it would not make one damn bit of difference to the people that were already gone. Then the woman turned and walked away, and I was relieved to find myself alone again, but more alone than I had been before.
After a few hours, I was relieved to go to the church that the Red Cross had set up for rescue workers and soldiers. I walked down the street to the church, seeing store windows broken from debris, and dust that had not yet been cleaned up. Most of the streets had been cleaned, but a few stores had not been visited by their owners. It looked as if it had snowed inside the shops.
Another strong sense that was ever present the time we were there was the smell. After a month of the actual attack, the odor carried for blocks still. You could not get away from it.
I reached the church and ran quickly inside. It was very cold and when you stand out in the cold all night, it doesn't help much. The church was wonderful. It was so quiet. Rescue workers were sleeping in the balconies upstairs, and random bodies were seen to be dosing off in the pews. I sat down in one of the pews, and I couldn't seem to get warm. I said a prayer, and sat up so I wouldn't fall asleep. There were other guys standing out in the cold that I still needed to relieve. I turned around, and in the row behind me was a mother holding her daughter close to her, glad to still have her family, and sad because others had lost theirs. She seemed to hold her tightly, as if she was afraid to let her go because she might not be there for her tomorrow. I can understand how precious life is, especially for those who are shown how quickly it can be taken away. I found myself missing my family very much at that moment. I had to turn away to keep myself from weeping, but it did no good, as I wept anyway. I gathered myself after a few minutes, and went back into the cold."
May we never forget.

Too Much Of A Good Thing

By alwaysakid

I guess when it's too big to handle, it's too big to enjoy. A week or two ago I posted a photo album of the Back To The Fifties event in St. Paul. This is an annual event that draws in excess of 11,000 collector cars every year. I tried to only take pictures of the vehicles I thought were particularly interesting and still ended up with 328 photos.
As a result, almost nobody has looked at this album. And those who have can't even get half way through it. I think I've had fewer people look at this album than any other album I've posted.
Of course, it is summertime, when people are outdoors instead of in front of the computer.
And we live in a busy society, where people don't have time to sit down and look at over 300 pictures on the computer.
It's too bad, though, because there were a LOT of interesting vehicles there. Some of the photos I got include a Packard convertible sedan from the classic period, Cadillacs, Studebakers, radical customs, flamed streetrods, gassers, a panel with a saloon in the back, a dog peeing on somebody's car and even a hotrod that looks like a traffic cone.
Even if I do say so myself, if you've got time, it's worthwhile going through this album.
But for those of you who do not have time, I understand.

Where The Spark Plugs Belong

By alwaysakid

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

My son says I'm "such an old school hotrodder."
I was changing the spark plugs in my Toyota Celica, and since he's a mechanic, I had to call him about it.
"What's up with this car?" I demanded to know. "The spark plugs are, like, six inches down inside the engine! They're supposed to be sticking out the side of the engine block, where you can see them without having to pull parts off!"
He laughed at me.
OK, it's been a while since I changed the spark plugs on a car. Now that they only need changing every 100,000 miles, you don't do this job very often.
I'm not sure why they put these covers on top of the engines nowadays, although I have seen them on some fancy customs, so maybe the car makers are just trying to make their cars look fancier. And I don't know what those long, plastic tubes were that sat on top of the spark plugs. But I'm sure they were necessary because the thick spark plug wires have been replaced with small, telephone wires that come out of a plastic strip on top of the engine manifold (at least I think that's the manifold because it used to be the manifold was always on top of the engine, but that was also when the spark plugs stuck out of the sides of the engine).
All this leaves me wondering, why doesn't all that plastic on the engine melt?
Well, I got the new spark plugs installed and put everything back together and the car started and ran fine. But it always has run fine. Maybe its all the plastic that makes this car run so good.
Hmmm, I think I'll go bolt a Tupperware container on top of the flathead-six in my Studebaker and see if that enhances it any.

Paddle Shifting

By alwaysakid

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

OK, so I keep hearing on "Top Gear" how the host Jeremy hates flappy paddle shifters. Or is it floppy paddle shifters? I don't know, I've never had them before. The owner's manual calls them paddle shifters.
Anyway, our new Mitsubishi has them, so I had to try them.
My verdict? I guess I haven't played enough video games; I don't like them so much, either.
But to be honest, my biggest problem is I shift by sound, not by sight. The Mazda was somewhat noisey. In fact, that was the only complaint Consumer Reports had about the car: it had too much engine noise. That's bad?
The Misubishi is quiet. If I have the radio on at a very low volume (what fun is that?) I can't hear the engine at all. How am I supposed to know when to shift? Look at the tach? Aren't we supposed to keep our eyes on the road?
Well, it is an automatic, it just has a setting for manual, clutchless shifting. The problem is, going to that setting puts you in first gear, so I haven't figured how to go from automatic to manual on the fly so I can down shift on downhill grades. Maybe that's possible, maybe not.
Of course, the best answer would've been getting a manual transmission to begin with, but shifting gets old in daily city traffic. I like being able to do that just occasionally. So, I'll go to the Studebaker if I want real manual shifting.
In the meantime, I think I'll just keep the Ditsi Mitsi in automatic mode. At least for now. The time will come, though, that I'll just have to try that paddle shifting again, sooner or later.

Good Bye Old Friend

By alwaysakid

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

It's been a good car, but it was time to move on.
We traded in the 2003 Mazda Protege 5 yesterday for a 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. It was with some hesitance that we let this car go, as it has been a good car and a very fun car to drive. In fact, in some ways it is better than its brand-new replacement. It's certainly faster, as it has been thee fastest four-cylinder car we have ever owned.
But we have found on more than one occasion that if we're going to continue living in the North (and circumstances currently dictate that we will for some time), then we really should have something with four-wheel-drive. And the only way we could buy another vehicle was to let one we currently own go. The Mazda drew the short straw, mainly because our other daily driver, the Celica, gets about 25 percent better gas mileage and has more comfortable seats for long distance driving.
We turned down one dealer's trade-in offer on the Mazda because we felt it made the Mazda the better value in comparison to the price of the Nissan we were looking at. But a few days later we went to a different dealer to look at the Mitsubishi and they showed much more desire to acquire ole "Yeller." Apparently they saw at least some of what we could see in this Mazda.
And so, the Mazda now wears the "No Longer Owned" tag on Motortopia. But the photos are still there, as will be our memories of this fine car.

I Might Want to Buy a Baja

By alwaysakid

I was looking at a 2006 Subaru Baja today. I might want to buy it.
But I was troubled because the sales dude said the turbo version requires premium grade gasoline, whereas the Baja without a turbo can run on regular unleaded gasoline. Why does a turbo require higher octane? It's the same engine and same compression ratio in the cylinders.
With the price of gasoline continuing to rise, I don't think I want to have to purchase the higher priced premium gasoline.
But without the turbo, the Baja drives like any other regular car.
Does anybody know, does the addition of a turbo really bring the need for the higher grade of gasoline in the Subaru? Or is that a automotive legend and the Subaru with a turbo can run just fine on regular gasoline and still maintain its reputation for longevity?

A New Car for $600?

By alwaysakid

I got an email forward touting this car as a new model VW will be marketing in China that gets 258 miles to the gallon of diesel fuel and sells for the equivilent of $600 US.
What do you think? Is this for real or another cyber legend?
This is what the email said:
This is not a joke and they do sell for $600.00.
They wont be able to make them fast enough -- be good just to run around town.
Here's a car that will get you back and forth to work on the cheap....... $600 for the car. 258 miles per gallon... Only a one seater however.
Talk about cheap transportation....... Volkswagen's $600 car gets 258 mpg -- It looks like Ford, Chrysler and GM missed the boat again!
This $600 car is no toy and is ready to be released in China next year. The single seater aero car totes VW (Volkswagen) branding.
Volkswagen did a lot of very highly protected testing of this car in Germany, but it was not announced until now where the car would make it's first appearance. The car was introduced at the VW stockholders meeting as the most economical car in the world as presented.
The initial objective of the prototype was to prove that 1 liter of fuel could deliver 100 kilos of travel. The aero design proved essential to getting the desired result. The body is 3.47 meters long and just 1.25 meters wide, and a little over a meter high.
The prototype was made completely of carbon fiber and is not painted to save weight. The power plant is a one cylinder diesel positioned ahead of the rear axle and combined with an automatic shift controlled by a knob in the interior. Safety was not compromised as the impact and roll-over protection is comparable to the GT racing cars.
Better than Electric Car? 258 miles/gallon: IPO 2010 in Shanghai. This is a single seated car.
From conception to production: 3 years and the company is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany ..
It will be selling for 4000 Yuan, equivalent to US $600.
Gas tank capacity = 1.7 gallons
Top speed = 62 to 74.6 Miles/hour
Fuel efficiency = 258 miles/gallon
Travel distance with a full tank = 404 miles.

One of the Most Reliable Cars I've Ever Owned

By alwaysakid

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

I hadn't posted this car, the 1978 Datsun 510 station wagon, in my Motortopia garage until now because I had so few pictures of it. In fact, I don't have any of the whole car by itself. This is a real shame, because this car served my family during good times and bad like nothing else built by man. We drove it across country a couple times, neglected it during difficult economic times and yet it always got us where we needed to go. And it got 30 MPG, without an overdrive, which is quite good for that era.
I put studded snow tires on it for the winter and it never got stuck. In spite of it being a rear-wheel, two-wheel drive station wagon, it was incredibly easy to control in the snow.
It was the family transport when the kids were growing up, and became the teenager's transportation when we finally replaced it. And we only replaced it because it was getting old and had a lot of miles on it.
I'd have to say it was probably the best car our family ever had. I like my current Toyota Celica just as well, if not better, but it's not a family car and would not have served our family like that Datsun wagon did.
So, if it was such a good car, how come I don't really have any pictures of it?

Is it Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary?

By alwaysakid

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

My 1961 Ford Thunderbird is 50 years old this year. Actually, I haven't taken the time to look up the car's actual build date, but just going by the car's model year and present actual calendar year this is the year it becomes a half century old.
Looking at the car it's hard to believe it's actually half a century old. Maybe that's a reflection on how old I am, because when I start using the word "century" I have thoughts of headlights that are attached on top of fenders that are attached to the sides of the cars. My '61 T-Bird actually looks kind of modern for an antique car.
Then we get into that great question of "How old does a car have to be to be considered an antique?" Based on Minnesota automobile license plate laws, any car 20 years old or older is an antique, although they have sub-categories within that antique definition that would indicate a car built after 1948 is a "collector" car. I've heard other arguements that a car must be 25 years old or 50 years old to be an antique, or that it must've been built before World War II (what, not enough people were killed in any the wars after WWII to create a new dividing point for antique cars?). And if the latter definition is used, how many years do we wait before we finally move that WWII boundary up to include some of the millions of cars built after then?
Regardless of whether or not my T-Bird is an antique, there is no question that it has become a half century old this year. And when we're talking about a mechanical product that is still performing its intended functions, I think that's very significant. And when I look at the odometer, it means this car averaged about 2400 miles per year; try making it to work within that many miles of driving in a year. And try looking as good as my T-Bird when you turn 50.
I don't think I'll be around when the car becomes a whole century old. So, I'm celebrating the half-century as a landmark moment in this car's existence by writing this blog dedicated to it.
Happy Birthday, T-Bird! or would that be, Happy Anniversary T-Bird? I don't think it really cares.

Snowed In

By alwaysakid

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

The last big blizzard in Minneapolis (about 2 months ago) I got stranded in downtown Minneapolis, but this time I got stranded at home, thanks in part to my employer.
I was at work Sunday, Feb. 20, and people were struggling to make it in to work. Enough so that I was worried if I could make it home again. But I didn't want to get stranded downtown again, and I knew it would cause a hardship if I was unable to make it in to work Monday. So, I went to my immediate supervisor and said, "If the company wants to put me up in a hotel I'll stay so you can be assured I'll be here at work Monday. But if not, and I don't make it home tonight, then I won't be able to make back it in to work either." He went to his boss, who said "no" even though one other employee was already staying at the hotel.
I was cool with that. I'd rather get snowed in at home anyway. So I headed home, and I was doing OK, even in my little two-wheel-drive Celica with the roads full of snow. I passed a lot of other vehicles that were stuck or had slid off the roadway, but I had no problems.
That was, until I got to my neighborhood. Then I turned down the street that led to the street I live on and it was full of way more snow than the others (apparently the plows had been out on the major arteries although it didn't look like it). I tried following a pair of ruts from a previous vehicle, but they turned off. It was downhill from there, so I thought maybe if I got enough momentum I could slide into my driveway. That worked until the car got high-centered from snow built up in front and under it.
I decided the easiest thing to do was to walk home and get the snow-blower to cut a path for my car. The snowblower broke before I got it out of the driveway.
So my wife and I returned to the car with a couple shovels and started digging. An hour later the Celica still wouldn't budge, so I returned to the garage and got a hydraulic jack to lift the car so I could shovel the snow out from under it. That did the trick. At least it enabled me to get it into the driveway and out of harm's way, barely.
It was 2 a.m. and I finally got to bed.
When I got up in the morning, I discovered the snowplow had gone down the street and burried the rear end of the car. Back to shoveling again.
That pretty much sealed the deal. I called work and told them I was unable to get in.
I finally got it freed again and the driveway shoveled (because the snowblower was still broken) but by then it was mid afternoon, way too late to go to work.
This is the first "snow day" I've had off from work as far back as I can remember. The news reports said it was the worst February snow storm on record. We got about 18 inches in a 24-hour period, and a couple more inches after that.
But it's behind me now. Only 27 days until the official start of spring.

Old maps

By alwaysakid

Who needs GPS when you have all these old maps around for just about every state in the union? OK, so maybe the highway system has changed some since 1972, which is why I tossed the old Atlas. But I'm not sure I should toss the individual maps. The ones from the auto club (AAA) may not have any value, but I'm thinking the ones from the gas stations maybe do. There are people who like to collect memorabilia from the old gas stations, and a couple of my maps proudly display Exxon and American oil companies' logos or related art work. Then there's the official, Canadian government map of Ontario which features a photo of a 1971 Chevy Nova. It's not a very good photo, but good enough I could determine what the car is within a year or two.
So what do I do with them? List them on ebay? Display them on a shelf (that could displace one of my toy cars, heaven forbid!)? Maybe just hang on to them for posterity -- I think that's what I did some time in the past and now I found them again almost 40 years later!
What do you think? Am I making much ado about nothing or have I got something here?
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