In March Ford announced another recall for their Ford Freestar minivans. The last time this happened I took my Freestar to my local dealership for transmission work and a few weeks later ended up replacing the entire transmission at my own cost when the part suffered an “unrelated problem.” This time Ford tells me that my van may suffer from corrosion in the wheel wells and that the affected areas include the third row seat mount. Presumably, the metal under the seat rusts out which could prevent the seat from latching properly. The condition, they continued, affects about 196,500 vehicle registered in the United States and that the vehicles most at risk are in states where salt is used on the roads to melt snow in the winter. I made note of the recall but then life intervened and my best laid plans to take the van in for a quick repair evaporated.
Yesterday, we ran a News Blog post relating the LA Times report that the Petersen Museum was selling off 1/3rd of its collection to focus on motorcycles and French cars from the Art Deco period. Now, the museum has responded with vigorous denials, saying that the newspaper was wrong about what is really planned for the facility. Following our publication of that post, the Petersen’s PR rep reached out to TTAC, offering to share information that they say is more accurate. She called the LA Times story “a pretty big misrepresentation” and supplied us with prepared talking points (below) on the vehicle sales, the museum renovations and a response to the LAT article. In an interview with Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky, museum director Terry Karges said that the Times’ headline, ”Petersen Automotive Museum Takes A Major Detour” was “absolutely incorrect.” Karges, who is in the motorcycle business and used to race bikes, denied that his own personal interest in motorbikes, or museum Chairman Peter Mullin’s interest in French classics will affect the collection at the Petersen. Read More >
Like so many other cities in the American North East, Buffalo’s days as a great manufacturing center appear to be over. With a few notable exceptions, industry has moved on and the result has been closed factories and hard times. Buffalo must change if it hopes to survive and, like so many other cities these days, it is working to redefine itself. That doesn’t mean that it will forget its roots, however, and well it shouldn’t. It is, after all, the town that gave birth to the legendary Pierce-Arrow and thanks to one local collector it even has a museum to celebrate that fact. Now that museum is set to be more impressive than ever.
“Fewer drivers will take to the road during the Independence Day holiday in part due to a sluggish economy, but also because people will take less time off,” the AAA told Reuters.
Gas is around 10 cents a gallon higher than last year, but that’s not what’s keeping Americans off the highways. Read More >
Here’s a confession. I found this cool thing and I want to tell you all about it because, frankly, it is interesting and if it reaches the right person it might just change someone’s life for the better. My problem is that I don’t know how to begin an article in a way that doesn’t pull on your heartstrings or otherwise involve some bad pun that leaves me looking like a total ass. The subject is sensitive and it needs to be handled delicately, but at the same time I can’t write anything makes me feel like an overly PC tool, either. Since I am trapped, I guess I’ll just say it outright: I found this company that will convert a full size GM pickup for use with a wheelchair in such a way that it preserves the vehicle’s lines and doesn’t tell the entire world that the truck is a handicapped conversion unit. What’s more, this truck can be set up so the wheelchair bound person can be either the passenger or the driver. That’s cool, and whether or not someone in your life is confined to a wheelchair, I think you’ll want to see this too. Read More >
I had no idea that today is National Donuts Day, would Jenna of Webershandwick.com (“Our passion, intelligence and commitment are essential ingredients in our clients’ success“) not have sent me a free link to a free donut video. Read More >
42 journalists who had the honor of being invited by Porsche to what was called a “Plug-In Hybrid Technology Workshop” found themselves used as lab rats, and to produce a mileage rating that supports Porsche’s published results for the hybrid Panamera. It didn’t quite work out that way. Says a Porsche press release: Read More >
Yesterday, the astute Derek Kreindler added to his already excellent body of work on TTAC another installment of his “Generation Why” series in which he explored Land Rover’s resistance to the current trend of marketing lower cost vehicles to young people. In the body of the article a couple of sentences in particular jumped out at me –
The best movie so far this summer is not really a film. Jaguar just revealed its new platform to promote the new Jaguar F Type. A 13-minute short film called Desire. It’s not original but it’s still better than GI Joe: Retaliation.
Should you see this new film? Hell yeah you should; it’s awesome. As if you were do something important today. HD version here. If you REALLY don’t know what to do today, here are a few more car movies worth watching. Read More >
The California state DMV is offering motorists the chance to step back in time and order new license plates in historic color combinations.
An alert REDDIT reader (manuelv 19) spotted the Seattle Police Museum’s 1970 Plymouth Satellite patrol car responding to calls on the coffee scented streets of dowtown Seattle earlier this week. According to the Seattle Police Museum website, only 53 Special Order Police Satellites were produced in 1970 and 21 of those were purchased by the Seattle Police Department. The cars were mid-size police vehicles and featured the 383 Super Commando engine package complete with 4 bbl carburetors. They were reputed top be quite fast at the time.
The salesman must have thought I was nuts. I could hear the incredulous tone in his voice, “Some guy calling from Okinawa wants to buy a used car that we put on Craigslist? When does he want to come and look at it? He doesn’t? How’s he going to pick it up? He isn’t?” Fortunately for the both of us, money talks.
If you haven’t guessed it by now, I love cars and like a lot of people I spend a lot of time thinking about the ones I might like to own. My daydreams live in an odd place, they don’t run towards the higher plane of pure fantasy where the Ferrari and Lamborghini live, and, despite the fact I expect to be buying a new minivan or SUV in the next couple of years, they don’t run to the purely practical, either. No, my fantasies live in that middle place. A place where the cars are interesting and, as unlikely as a purchase may be, still attainable.
The Seattle area traffic was light. A few hours earlier, at the peak of the Friday night rush hour, Interstate 405 had been bumper to bumper. Now, just after 7 PM, the road was crowded but moving freely. I had a killer commute, 40 miles each way, and I was thankful I had missed the worst of it. I spent a lot of time on the road and I understood how traffic ebbed and flowed in that same intuitive way that way someone who works on a river understands how a ripple on the otherwise smooth surface betrays the roiling currents in the depths below. On a Friday night like this, for example, I knew I was behind the great outward rush from the urban centers and into suburbs and just ahead of the second, smaller rush of people from the suburbs heading back into the city for an evening of food, fun and friends. To the west, the sun was sinking slowly into the Pacific while on the Earth, in the growing drakness, the hunt was on… Read More >