The Truth About Cars » bribes The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 20 Jul 2014 13:00:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » bribes Because No Toy Car Collection Is Complete Without a Geo Storm GSi! Thu, 17 May 2012 13:00:33 +0000 Giving gifts to 24 Hours of LeMons judges in order to ensure smooth turning of the gears of justice has been a tradition for several many years now. While jugs of quality booze remain the most common judicial bribe, keeping my liver at least semi-functional mandates that most of that stuff get passed on to track workers. Not so with bribes involving weird toy cars, however; I’ve got quite a collection of such gifts on my office bookshelves now. While I prize my Leyland P76, Nissan Prairie, and Impala Hell Project diorama, the car that now sits in the place of honor on my desk is one that I received from a Denver racer who couldn’t wait for the B.F.E. GP next month and came by Chez Murilee with this lovely Detroito-Tokyo icon of the early 1990s.
Yes, the Geo Storm GSi, a fine example of which I spotted in a Denver self-serve junkyard not long ago. Remember this badge-engineered Isuzu? Quicker than a Civic Si, and (after all the rebates) cheaper as well. Apparently, GM had AMT make up a bunch of plastic promo models of the GSi back in the day… and now I’ve got one, thanks to Cadillac Bob of twin-supercharged AMC Marlin race car fame. Thanks, Bob!
Which isn’t to say that I’m not overjoyed by all the diecast Soviet cars I’ve been receiving from generous racers who understand my obsession with Warsaw Pact drivers. Inspired by this piece about an UAZ-452 I spotted in Vietnam, two racers gave me 1:43-scale Bukhankas at the Michigan race last month.

Toy Geo Storm GSi - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 2- Toy Geo Storm GSi - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Diecast UAZ-452 - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 8
German Paper: Payola At Opel Mon, 17 Oct 2011 08:30:23 +0000

Sex and money are known as the world’s biggest motivators. Volkswagen used sex to make its shop stewards cooperative. This ended in a huge scandal. Opel is using money instead. “The system is the same as formerly at Volkswagen – only without sex,” writes Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in a long article about “illegal bonus payments” to members of Opel’s works council.

Under German law, the works council, consisting of elected representatives of the employees, is a powerful institution. Without its cooperation, a company grinds to a halt. The works council has to agree to hirings and firings. In a large company, half of the board members are representatives of the employees. At Opel, Über-shop steward Klaus Franz is the deputy chairman of the supervisory board. Great is the temptation to make the works council pliant.

According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, works council member receive up to $2,000 monthly, in addition to their normal pay. The “normal” pay of a shop steward can rise quickly. It also can drop after a failed re-election. The bonus payment for Klaus Franz is a secret.

Opel says the system is kosher. Law professors cited by the FAZ call it a “blatant violation of the law which requires that membership in the works council must be unsalaried.” If the payments are illegal, then they may not be booked as business expenses. The matter could also have tax implications.

“Commonly, what we have here would be called bribes,” says the FAZ.

Usually, these revelations are not the works of enterprising journalists. When the VW scandal broke, it was two months before a general election. The incumbent was Gerhard Schröder, a social democrat. He had been premier of Lower Saxony before, had been a member of VW’s supervisory board. The social democrats and the unions traditionally are close. Hurt the unions, hurt the social democrats.  A few days after the first bits of the scandal became known, the New York Times wrote: “VW affair may hurt Schröder at the polls.” The unions were discredited, the social democrats lost heavily.

The current  Merkel government is still holding a grudge against GM  which had reneged on the Opel deal. The next elections won’t be until 2013.


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More Weird Diecast Cars To Clog Up My Desk: Malaise Detroit, Warsaw Pact Thu, 19 May 2011 13:00:15 +0000
Once the word gets out that a 24 Hours of LeMons judge has a thing for oddball toy cars, racers will scour the earth to find increasingly obscure and/or terrible examples. What goes with a Leyland P76 and a Nissan Prairie?

Well, a 1:24 scale ’74 Gremlin, for starters. The employees of the Chinese factory making these things must be wondering what the hell kind of crazy country not only builds a car like this but feels nostalgic enough about it to buy toy versions. To go with it, I have this lovely red Pinto.

Completing the Terrible Malaise Era Compact Cars set is this Chevy Vega, in the bilious metallic green color that GM sprayed damn near all these things. All three cars came to me courtesy of the Team-ing With Bad Ideas turbocharged Beetle team, which managed to get an amazing 207 laps out of their VW at last weekend’s race.

This 1:43 scale ZAZ-968 came to me courtesy of the Communists-Я-Us BMW 320i team. I’m a huge fan of the Soviet Corvair, so this car gets a prime parking spot on my desk.

The Moskvitch 408 rally car will park right next to the Zaphorozhets.

As an A100 owner, I’ve always got room for another diecast Dodge van. Supposedly there’s a large-scale A100 piggy bank out there…

Here’s a toy car that doesn’t require a sense of irony or love of Warsaw Pact machinery to appreciate: a 1936 Tatra 77, straight from a toy store in Prague.

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Weird Diecast Toy Car Bribes Continue To Flood The LeMons Supreme Court Fri, 04 Mar 2011 15:00:08 +0000
As Chief Justice of the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court, I receive many gifts from racers wishing to establish a foundation of mutual respect and understanding during the period in which I inspect the cars for possible cheating. The traditional judicial bribe tends to be a jug of top-shelf booze, but my drinking hasn’t kept pace with the intake of bottles of Stranahan’s bourbon and Zaya rum, and so I’ve been encouraging teams to bring weird diecast toy cars to lubricate the gears of justice. After the last round of LeMons Supreme Court diecast toy car bribes, I thought it would be hard to top the Leyland P76 and Moskvich 402, but the racers at the ’11 Southern Discomfort and the ’11 Gator-O-Rama have done so with the current crop of diecasts.

The Simca Aronde diorama looks nice on the surface, but it’s really the David Lynch movie of diecast car dioramas. When you look closely, the hitchhiker appears to be a cross between Frieda Kahlo and Sterling Hayden. The internal organs of the hapless Aronde driver will soon be pickling in fermaldihyde-filled jars in a shack off the main highway. Obviously, I love this judicial bribe.

This 1:18 scale ’66 Oldsmobile Toronado isn’t quite awesomely terrible enough for prime desk space in my office, but a 425-cubic-inch engine driving the front wheels via chains means I’ll find a spot for it.

This 1:40 scale Nissan Prairie was a gift from the team that ran a Prairie (badged as a Nissan Stanza Wagon in North America) in the Southern Discomfort race. If not for the performance of the NSF Racing ’62 Plymouth Fury, the Stanza Wagon would have taken the Index of Effluency award at that race.

Sure, it’s got some panel-gap issues, but check out the sliding side doors!

The real prize of this bunch-o-bribes has to be the 1962 Citroën HY van, which was held back as a reserve bribe by a team that waited until I really started sweating them over the dubious bookkeeping behind their car’s tasty aftermarket suspension parts. It’s in oddball 1:21 scale, which seems very French.

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What The Hell Is This Thing? Wed, 08 Dec 2010 22:30:56 +0000

When it comes to cars, I much prefer discussing the deeply flawed and/or obscure to, say, getting into a debate over the relative merits of the E36 versus the E46. Give me a Sofia B or ZIL 112 any day! 24 Hours of LeMons racers who wish to bribe the judges and ensure fair treatment know that diecast replicas of weird/obscure vehicles make me very, very happy. Here’s one of the best yet— can you identify it?

This, for those of you who aren’t from Australia and/or scarily obsessed car anoraks, is a 1:43 scale 1976 Leyland P76. The P76 was one of the greatest motor vehicles of all time, in the same sense that Richard Nixon was one of the greatest American presidents of all time. Sort of a British/Australian response to the ’71 Oldsmobile Delta 88, the P76 featured Buick/Rover V8 power, Lucas electrics, and a trunk designed to fit a 44-gallon drum with the lid closed. What comes in 44-gallon drums, and why are such drums so important to Australians? That, my friends, is like asking why Richard Nixon couldn’t make money shipping frozen— but not concentrated— lemon juice by train; you’ll be happier not knowing.
Photo by David Moore
The diecast P76 bribe came from Team Porcubimmer aka Prickstine, seen here lowering Las Vegas’ collective property values with their street-legal LeMons car during SEMA. Thanks, Porcubimmers! Photograph by David Moore.

We might as well check out some of the other fine toy-car bribes I’ve received from LeMons teams during my tenure on the LeMons Supreme Court bench. Here’s a 1:43 Live And Let Die Mini Moke.

It’s hard to beat a P76, but an Evel Knievel commemorative-edition 1:64 scale Aston Martin Lagonda comes close.

It’s not really a car, but the infamous Long Brothers’ Junkyard Wars hovercraft still warrants a place on my bribe-display shelf in the office.

This Citroën DS Chapron Convertible in 1:18 scale doesn’t make the quite the ironic statement issued by, say, the Moke or the Lagonda, but it makes up for it in straight-up beauty.

Likewise, you don’t have to be a complete weirdo to want a 1:24 scale Dan Gurney ’69 Cyclone Spoiler on your desk. Well, maybe you need to be a bit of a weirdo, but as a former Cyclone owner I was ecstatic to get this one at the Mutually Assured Destruction Of Omaha race.

Finally, there’s one guaranteed to make a Dodge A100 owner happy!
BribeCars-P76-side BribeCars-Cyclone BribeCars-DS BribeCars-JunkyardWars BribeCars-Lagonda BribeCars-Moke BribeCars-P76 Photo by David Moore BribeCars-A100 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Daimler Gets Russian Headaches. Without The Fun Of Vodka… Sun, 14 Nov 2010 14:07:06 +0000

A few days ago the BBC reported that, officially, Russia was losing 1 trillion rubles (that’s about $32.5b to you) due to corruption. Also coming 154th on the corruption perceptions index does not help matters, either. “Gigantic sums of money are being pocketed by officials and dishonest businessmen,” said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, “Deal with them and put them in prison – there is no other way out.” So it sounds like President Medvedev is serious about dealing with corruption. He starts with a foreign company with deep pockets: Daimler. Again?

A few months ago, our resident German wrote about how Russia was sniffing around Daimler after the US Government shook down Daimler for $185m. Well, that sniffing has turned into a something more substantial. The Financial Times reports that Russian prosecutors have launched a fully.fledged criminal investigation into alleged bribery of officials by Daimler. Daimler said it would co-operate fully with the authorities.

What will make this investigation even tougher for Daimler is the fact that Daimler’s Russian unit already pleaded guilty to two counts of violating US anti-bribery laws. So now the prosecutors know that Daimler’s Russian division isn’t adverse to a spot of palm-greasing. While this investigation was greeted with cheers from anti-corruption campaigners, some remained a little more cynical. “We hope this will be a real investigation,” said Yuli Nisevich (via The Washington Post), chief researcher at the Moscow office of Transparency International, “and not an imitation of an investigation”.

How much do you think a Russian judge would cost?

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