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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Miscellaneous

2010 Highlands Church Labor Day Car Show Pt.1

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 12:27PM | By: John Welch

2010 Highlands Church Labor Day Car Show Pt.1 test 1-1

Drew Christy seems to have forgotten the meaning of the Labor Day weekend. You are supposed to honor America, America's workforce, America's freedom, your right to be an American, and your right to spend Labor Day celebrating, not working. Drew didn't get the memo.

Instead of wasting away in a kiddie pool all day (ahem,) Drew strapped on his camera and ventured down Lakeland Highlands Road to the Highlands Church Labor Day Car Show. Though small by central Floridian standards, this show had several rare beauties filling its entry list.

Inside this post you will find an assortment of Drew's images, the first of a two part series. Look out later this week for the coupe de gras, the Gentry Morrison Meteor/Buick hearse. This car personifies "rolling art".

Today though, notice the exotic American machinery we have here, a late fifties Chrysler Imperial for instance. A car that proves the idea of a flat-bottomed steering wheel is nothing new. Several classic Mopars dot the gallery, as well as our usual obsession with hood ornaments. Enjoy!

Men Spend Thousand of Dollars Refusing to Ask For Directions

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 11:12AM | By: Chris Weiss

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Most every man is quite familiar with the situation. You're driving down an unfamiliar highway. Chances are good that it's dusk and you're half an hour or more late for wherever it is that you're going. You've seen the same underpass three or more times in the past 20 minutes, or maybe you're driving in a single direction on the hunch that the next exit is the one. It isn't. But that's not stopping you.

You drive past 7-11s, gas stations and grocery stores with reckless abandon. You can literally feel the burning stare from your lady's eyes searing your skin. But still, nothing's stopping you. There's something greater compelling you forward, something deep within your very being. Like an erection at Sunday morning mass, it's completely inconvenient and you know it's wrong. But you can't really help it.  For better or worse, it's a part of the very fabric that makes you man.

You're lost. Hopelessly, in fact. And the longer you drive, the more determined you are not to ask for directions. It's like admitting defeat. Because if you succumb, you're basically admitting that you've been lost for the past 45 minutes and really should have asked for directions 42 minutes ago. And then she's right. No, my friend, you're not going to be wrong today, but you are going to waste a lot of unnecessary time and effort. And you probably shouldn't expect any sexual favors from the unwitting hostage in the passenger seat. Oh, and it turns out, you'd be better off just pulling over and throwing your wallet into the sewer because your stubborn defiance is costing you thousands of dollars.

Coulomb Technologies Opens First of 4,600 Car Charging Stations

On: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 9:10AM | By: Chris Weiss

Coulomb Technologies Opens First of 4,600 Car Charging Stations test 1-1

Everyone loves to talk green vehicles nowadays. However, not everyone loves to drive green vehicles. And no one really loves the idea of getting stranded out on US-50 in eastern Nevada due to a drained pack of lithium-ion.

Range anxiety is a formidable opponent of the electric vehicle industry, and until the country begins to address this issue with action, EVs aren't likely to fly out of dealerships. At least not at the rate they could be flying out of dealerships with the right charging infrastructure.

Well, if you happen to live in Michigan, that process is under way. The proverbial ribbon-cutting ceremony on the nation's first free electric charging station under the ChargePoint America program took place last Thursday. The new charging station stands in front of the NextEnergy in downtown Detroit. The electric juice stand is one of 4,600 that will be installed across the United States under the ChargePoint America program.

Michigan, which is set to be one of the first launch markets for the Chevy Volt, will get several hundred of the free charging stations in areas like Flint, Dearborn and Detroit. Charging stations will go to  businesses, communities and homes. The equipment will come free of charge under the federally funded program, but owners will have to pay the installation fees.

Coulomb Technologies of Campbell, California is spearheading the $37 million nationwide installation program, which includes about $15 million of federal stimulus funding. On their own, each station would otherwise cost between $1,700 and $5,000, so the new program should help defray some of the costs for starting up a charging infrastructure. Installation can cost anywhere from $250 to $4,000.

Coulomb CEO Richard Lowenthal summed up the importance of getting an infrastructure in place: "With cars like this, you’ll never go to the gas station. But you need a place to charge them. If you can’t fuel your vehicle, you won’t buy one."

Taxpayers Likely to Lose Money on GM's IPO

On: Tue, Sep 7, 2010 at 9:16AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Taxpayers Likely to Lose Money on GM's IPO test 1-1

Financial analysts are predicting that the U.S. government has a very high chance of losing money on its investment in General Motors Co. in the very first offering of the automaker’s stock.  According to sources familiar with the preparation for General Motor’s IPO. Sources are saying that subsequent offerings may be more successful depending on how the stock is traded by investors.

The government may not see a break-even return on its $50 billion investment for years (possibly into the next presidential term), as the Treasury continues to sell its remaining stake in General Motors after the IPO.

A decision to price the initial GM shares below cost would be in line with the usual Wall Street practice of giving the first investors in a new stock a discount, but it could also help offset investor concern regarding the slow recovery of the U.S. economy and declining auto sales for 2010.

The projected market value of GM, according to analysts, is from $50 to $90 billion, based on estimates regarding GM’s future cash flow, and looking at the value of its closest competitor, Ford Motor Co., in addition to evaluating trading and bonds from the old General Motors.


Dodge Durango Launches In Anger

On: Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 3:39PM | By: John Welch

Dodge Durango Launches In Anger test 1-1

Chrysler has always had trouble unloading SUVs that don't carry "Jeep" badges. Remember the Ram Charger? Chevy sold five C/K Blazers for every Ram Charger. Ford sold seven Broncos for each Ram Charger. Yikes, not good! The numbers get worse for the Durango. The Ford Explorer absolutely trounced the Durango in every calculable sales statistic during the nineties and early 2000s.

Dodge is rebooting and revamping its mid-size contender for 2011, and just like its Jeep cousin, the Grand Cherokee, the Durango is completely new. In many ways, this Dodge represents the first in a string of new products designed to shed the Ram brand's poor reputation for out-dated styling and technology. You can't glean too much from pictures and descriptions, but on paper this well balanced ute might be a winner. It looks pretty good as well.

Slab sided, proportional body panels converge on muscular headlights and a complicated chrome grille. This grille, I'm sure, can be ordered in flat-black. It marks the first time I have been taken aback by a Chrysler design that wasn't packing ten cylinders. The Durango is attractive in the way Gina Gershon is attractive; rough around the edges but still a solid knock-out. Some of that appeal may come from Gina's ability to knock you out, and that trait may also extend to the Durango. This is an impressive machine, on the outside. Like any good Corvette, the worst part about Chrysler products is their cheapo, Little Tykes interiors . . . how does the Durango look from the driver’s seat?

Auto Loan Credit Terms Improve

On: Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 11:56AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

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Experian Automotive (the institution in charge of collecting and reporting consumer’s auto credit data) has reported for the 2nd consecutive quarter that auto loan delinquencies are declining.  So what does that mean to new car buyers? As lending institutions begin to collect more payments on time, auto loan terms (including rates) improve for all borrowers and credit becomes available to more consumers. This will have a direct impact on the automotive industry as a whole, resulting in increased sales which will subsequently help the economy.

The 30-day delinquency rate for auto loans declined from 3.07 in 2009, to 2.89 in the second quarter of 2010, and the number of 60-day delinquent payments also fell from 0.8 to 0.71.

President of Experian, Scott Waldron, stated: “A drop in delinquencies year over year is a positive sign for both the lending and automotive industries.” Waldren also commented: “The fact that we've seen a drop for the second consecutive quarter is an indication that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel for the economy.”

As loan delinquencies drop, the number of subprime loans that are approved goes up because lenders begin to “loosen credit terms,” according to Experian. In fact, compared to the second quarter of 2009, the number of reported subprime loans that were approved this year was 16.73% as compared to only 16% last year.  Subprime lending is said to have increased in the mortgage industry in the most recent period as well.

Analysts Predict U.S. Automotive Industry Recovery Rate

On: Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 11:42AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

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The U.S. auto industry has historically been a primary indicator of how well the economy is doing. Therefore, financial analysts were pleased to report that in July retail auto sales were up, indicating that economic recovery was looking promising. As reported in an automotive news article it, “felt like it dodged a bullet in July when retail sales to consumers held up and confounded forecasts for a drop,” but when August rolled around, the numbers started to fall and the optimism for a quick turn-around of the recession plummeted.

But the game isn’t quite over yet; August sales will forecast the future outlook of what most experts are projecting will be a “slower-than-expected industry recovery,” just as General Motors prepares for its Initial Public Offering. 

This effect on the auto industry is said to result from consumers’ hesitancy to purchase new automobiles because of high unemployment rates and job uncertainty; simply stated, a lack of consumer confidence.

Rob Partelo and Winner's Circle Racing

On: Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 10:04AM | By: John Welch

Rob Partelo and Winner's Circle Racing test 1-1

Diving head-first into local motorsports, our sister-site, AutoShopper.com has sponsored a local circle-track stand out, Rob Patelo and Winner's Circle Racing. Tonight you have a chance to meet the team and drivers at the Pinellas Park Boys & Girls Club's Grand opening, tonight, from 5:30 until dark.

Pinellas' new Boys and Girls Club is located at 7790 61st Street N. Pinellas Park. Rob will have his late-model Chevy Impala on hand as well as his son Cole's Mini Cup Car. The Winner's Circle Team will be handing out AutoShopper.com freebies, and will be taking donations for the United Way and Boys and Girls Club. If you are in the area stop by say 'Hello', enjoy the machines and grab some AutoShopper.com swag!

Winner's Circle is a full service used car dealer, located at 4242 54th Avenue North, Saint Petersburg, FL 33714, they can be reached at 727-526-0046. With over 95 vehicles available, they have your transport needs covered. Offering full warranties, buy here pay here, and guaranteed financing, Rob is also buying cars. Search their AutoShopper.com ad for some stellar deals!

The AutoShopperBlog will be covering Rob's races, but you can meet him tonight from 5:30 to dark. One more time, here is the address:

Pinellas Park Boys & Girls Club

7790 61st Street N.

Pinellas Park, FL 33781

Not All Recalls Are Created Equal

On: Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 5:12PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Not All Recalls Are Created Equal test 1-1

When Mazda Motor Corp. announced the most recent recall involving a half a million Mazda3 models worldwide, with defects that could potentially result in loss of power steering (which has allegedly caused at least three crashes), the press did not report. Just another of a string of recalls right? Well, maybe not; when the history of the problem is really examined some may wonder “where’s the outrage?” Which is the question the title of a recent Automotive News article poses.

When the facts are examined, it’s interesting to note that Mazda, being a Japanese automaker with its headquarters in Hiroshima, Japan, instantly brings to mind a comparison with Toyota; Mazda recalling half a million vehicles with potential life threatening risks that could occur from sudden loss of power steering, and Toyota Corp. recalling thousands of vehicles for potential problems with sudden unintended acceleration. All things being equal, it seems that both automakers would receive equal press, particularly considering that Mazda, like Toyota, didn’t inform the U.S. public of its knowledge of power steering problems even though Mazda had knowledge of potential risks for fatal accidents for at least 1 year prior to the recall.

Yes, that’s right, one year. Federal regulators began an investigation in June of the Mazda3 models equipped with electronically assisted power steering as a result of complaints that had been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Mazda replied with a letter dated August 12th stating: “rust that forms within the steering hydraulic system can damage a motorized pump, triggering an automatic shutdown to prevent overheating.”

Toyota Recalling 1.13 Million 2005-2007 Corolla and Matrix Models

On: Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 3:40PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Recalling 1.13 Million 2005-2007 Corolla and Matrix Models test 1-1

The never-ending recall saga continues for Toyota as the Japanese automaker announced today that it will voluntarily recall 1.13 million Toyota Corolla and Matrix models for problems related to engine stalling. The most recent recall raises the grand total of vehicles that Toyota Motor Co. has recalled to 12.3 million globally and 10.5 million in the United States.

The recall will concentrate on engine control modules that may be defective. According to Toyota, the company received the first field report regarding the defective electronic control units in November 2005 and began an investigation in March 2006.

Obligitory Cop Car Article: 2011 Dodge Charger Pursuit

On: Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 2:16PM | By: John Welch

Obligitory Cop Car Article: 2011 Dodge Charger Pursuit test 1-1

As is the custom with every other US manufacturer, Chrysler is using a beefy law enforcement motif as a 'vehicle' (sic) for launching the Crispy-new 2011 Dodge Charger. Redesigned inside and out, the new Charger is fairly intimidating already (if spy shots are to be believed . . . which they usually are) but tack on some red'n'blues and a little mean-ass black paint and you have Cobra's next Mercury.

Reshaped headlamps, fog lamps and grille, the new Charger is the Charger the Charger should have been since the Charger name was resuscitated in 2003. Now looking sleeker, but still somewhat dated, the new Charger is none the less attractive in a crude, Chrysler sort of way. Blacked-out grille and blacked-out lamps team with performance suspension tuning, heavy-duty anti-lock vented-disc brakes (ABS), front- and rear-stabilizer bars, 18-inch performance tires on (Black) steel wheels, and two-mode police-specific Electronic Stability Control (ESC) calibration. Which adds up to an more effective crack-head buster. Or, as Dodge's media site puts it, "providing law-enforcement the best combination of tactical technology, safety, power, efficiency and an iconic design that makes any suspect stop in a panic,"

"For world-class ride and performance handling dynamics, the Dodge Charger Pursuit features a rear-wheel drive design and redesigned front and rear multi-link suspension geometries to deliver a smooth comfortable ride for law enforcement officers who spend long days protecting our streets." I guess that works . . .