Showing posts with label Automotive.Buisness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Automotive.Buisness. Show all posts

September 1, 2013

VW The Only Good Thing Hitler Left ‘The People” "The People Mover"

In 1945, a rare and curious Volkswagen car was shipped from its bomb-damaged German factory to England. Here, a commission of leading British motor manufacturers, chaired by Sir William Rootes, inspected the small, streamlined saloon. It would be “quite unattractive to the average motorcar buyer”, the commission reported. “It is too ugly and noisy”, while “to build the car commercially would be a completely uneconomic enterprise.”
This damning judgement proved as ill founded as that of Decca record bosses who, in 1962, declared “The Beatles have no future in show business”, and turned the mop-tops down. Since then, global sales of highly lucrative Beatles’ albums have topped two billion. The Volkswagen Beetle, meanwhile, with its friendly styling by the Austrian designer Erwin Komenda, and innovative engineering by Ferdinand Porsche, became the best-selling car of all time.
Production of the Beetle outstripped that of Henry Ford’s Model-T when the 15,007,034th car rolled off the line at Wolfsburg in 1972. The very last Beetles were made in Mexico in 2003 by when more than 21.5 million had been built worldwide. As its name made clear, the Volkswagen was truly a ‘People’s Car’, and, although many modifications were made between 1945 and 2003, the first and last Beetles were clearly peas in the the same mechanical pod.
Star vehicle
The remarkable thing about the Beetle is not just the sheer number of sales, but the fact that a car developed from an idea of Adolf Hitler’s was to become as loved by Californian surf dudes, college kids and free lovin’ hippies as it was desired by fervent Nazis. Herbie – the anthropomorphic star of six Hollywood movies beginning with The Love Bug in 1968 – was the same car German families had saved up for before Hitler’s invasion of Poland dashed their hopes.
Ultimately, the sheer quality, along with the affordability, reliability, economy and distinct look and feel of the Beetle, ensured its success. It had, though, been touch and go for Volkswagen in 1945. Although the car had been on the drawing board since 1934, following a meeting between Hitler and Porsche, the Volkswagen failed to get into production before the war.
The idea had been for a small saloon that could carry a German family of five flat-out at 100kph along the country’s new autobahns. It was to have cost 990 Reich Marks, which represented 31 weeks’ pay for the average German worker in 1936, making it cheaper than the £100 Fords being made in England (31 weeks pay for the average British worker in 1936 was about £100). To buy one, however, members of the Volk had to join a special savings scheme run by the organisation KdF (Kraft durch Freude, or Strength through Joy); from 1938, the Volkswagen was officially named the KdF Wagen.
There was little joy, though, in rival engineering camps. The Czech car company, Tatra, claimed that Porsche had infringed several design patents, notably those by Hans Ledwinka, an Austrian engineer much admired by Hitler. Tatra took legal action, but Hitler invaded Austria, seized its factory and banned Ledwinka’s VW-like prototypes from public show. In 1961, however, VW made a substantial payment to Tatra through an out-of-court settlement. By then, though, Volkswagen had conquered the world.
In 1945, factory and car had been saved by Major Ivan Hirst, a British army officer and engineer. Hirst had witnessed first hand the sheer quality of VW-based military vehicles during the war and believed that, once in production, a peacetime Beetle would have an appeal well beyond Germany.
Size matters
Sold to the United States in a brilliant ‘Think Small’ advertising campaign launched in 1959 and devised by the New York agency Doyle Dane Bernbach, the Beetle became the biggest selling foreign-made car in America throughout the ’60s.
It went on to sell in various guises, as a soft-top, a sportscar – the svelte, if unhurried VW Karmann Ghia – and as an interminably fashionable Camper van. A ‘New Beetle’, based on the floorplan of the VW Golf, the Beetle’s replacement, went on sale in 1998, although this was always something of a mechanical dress-up doll rather than the real thing.  
These days, and despite global recession, there is a lot more money in the world, so the elemental nature of the honest-to-goodness Beetle will seem a little too severe for those who dream of buying, let’s say, a Bentley. But, in an almost comic turn of events, Volkswagen now owns Bentley. However impressive, an elite Bentley can never be a People’s Car. Few cars since have ever really lived up to the name, one devised by a brilliant Bohemian engineer and a brutal Austrian-born German dictator seventy years and more than twenty million air-cooled cars ago.

March 5, 2012

Six Car Myths That Cost You $MONEY!!

 By:     Most of us view our vehicles as something between an immutable feature of daily life and a rabid, suicidal dragon that gorges on explosions until it inevitably explodes itself. That's because we all know it's only a matter of time until something goes horribly wrong with our cars, and then we're epically, mythically screwed. As a result, various rules of thumb for regular car maintenance have been passed down through the generations -- precious wisdom handed to us by our ancestors in order to stave off, for a spell, the ruinous, virgin-eating car repair monster. But many of these rules are, at best, wildly outdated and, at worst, a total waste of money.
Note: I work as a mechanical engineer on diesel engines for locomotives. I can back up how a car engine works and the science behind these myths, but I don't want to give the impression that I'm a professional mechanic. As with all Cracked articles, you should probably use this as a jumping-off point and explore the information more on your own, rather than take it as gospel. Because if something goes wrong and you tell somebody that you got your bad advice from a website spinoff of a defunct Mad magazine imitator, they're going to laugh at you. Forever.

#6. Change Your Oil Every 3,000 Miles
The Myth:
To maximize your engine's life, you should change the oil and filter every 3,000 miles. At this point you should also say several quiet prayers to the gods of breakdowns and have a mid-ranking church official -- no lower than a nun but no higher than a bishop -- bless the water in your vehicle's coolant.
"I'm sorry, my child, but the Lord can't drive or bless a manual transmission."
The Reality:
The idea that you should change your car's oil every 3,000 miles is so pervasive that it has its own Wikipedia page ... specifically debunking it. This misconception has its roots laid all the way back to the 1970s, when oil technology was still developing and the engine operating environment wasn't nearly as smooth and controlled as it is today. Back then, 3,000 miles was actually a pretty good rule of thumb. So was "Never trust a European" and "Chest hair, son: Always chest hair." However, just like international relations and grooming habits, engine and oil technology have improved drastically over the decades. The life of the oil in your car has now increased far beyond that allegedly sacred 3,000-mile barrier.
So why do we hang onto it? Because no one has bothered to tell the oil-change industry. Those poor, naive fellas still "recommend" changing it every 3,000 miles, despite the fact that synthetic oils lasting up to 15,000 miles have been available for years. If only somebody would show them the backs of those bottles in their tiny, uncomfortable lobbies; why, we're sure they'd immediately mend their ways and return all that needlessly spent money of yours.
"So as you can see, it was clearly a moral dilemma, and I just couldn't do that to you. Here's $300 for your trouble."
Sure, 3,000-mile oil changes won't hurt anything, but neither will 1,000-mile changes or 500-mile changes, or just a big hose attached to a barrel in your trunk that constantly pumps only the finest, freshest artisanal crude right into your engine block.
So how often should you actually change your oil? However often the manufacturer of your actual engine tells you to. For most cars built in the last decade or so, that's around 7,500 miles, but could be as high as 20,000.
Shit, some people sell their cars before they ever see that number.
Probably the same people who toss their champagne once they've poured the first glass.

#5. Warm Up Your Engine Before You Drive
The Myth:
Whenever you start your engine, particularly on cold days, you have to let it warm up to its normal temperature before driving, otherwise it will turn into a bear and eat your dog. Or wait, no, that's feeding ferrets after sundown. If you drive a cold engine, the whole blasted thing will self-destruct, right?
"Seriously? This is goddamn California."
The Reality:
As long as you're not flooring it everywhere you go, you can get going as soon as you turn the key. This myth comes from an understandable place: Various engine parts and oil do take some time to warm up before they can operate at full capacity. However, an idling engine takes much longer to warm up, so it ends up experiencing far more cold-start wear and tear than if you just hopped in and drove it.
Think about it: When your engine is idling, it's still producing power, so what difference does it make if that power is being used to move the car or just scratch its shiny metal ass? Additionally, there are other parts of your car that also need warming up, like your transmission and wheel bearings, and those don't get any help until you actually get the thing moving.
As demonstrated here, with the Cracked company vehicle.
Plus, there's another one of your components that needs warming up to function: your catalytic converter. Until that gets up to operating temperature, your emissions are through the roof. Every second you let your car idle in the cold, a single tear freezes to Al Gore's face. And that's only funny the first dozen times or so. Just avoid highway speeds and rapid acceleration for a few miles, and you can drive right off, winter be damned.
Of course, that all applies to newer, fuel-injected cars. If you've got an old carbureted classic out there, you can hang out in the parking lot for a while, if only to let the opposite sex get a good heaping eyeful of you.
You won't be laughing when we hit 88 mph and have your pre-you grandpa at gunpoint.

#4. Fuel Additives Are Good for Your Engine
The Myth:
Gasoline is a bunch of dead dinosaurs. It's just chock full of dirt, sediment, bone fragments and the occasional restless raptor soul. Using a fuel additive helps keep deposits from building up and clogging your fuel system. Some of them may also increase gas mileage and prevent fuel line freezing, but only if you kiss them after and promise to call.
"Baby ... do you think that ... well, if I promise to be gentle and go slow ... could we try the tailpipe tonight?"
The Reality:
Gasoline does indeed have crap in it that can clog up your fuel system. That's why every gasoline manufacturer since 1995 has been required by law to add detergents that prevent deposits and buildups. Using an aftermarket additive is basically like rubbing two bars of soap together; you're not actually cleaning anything and you look really stupid doing it. Gasoline antifreeze additives are largely useless, too, since most gasoline is good for temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, and if you're driving in climates colder than that, just move. There are way nicer places, even in Canada. You don't have to live like this, Saskatchewanites.
Move to balmy Nova Scotia, where the snow drifts never get deeper than three or four feet.

#3. Get Regular Engine Tuneups
The Myth:
Engine tuneups help keep your car running at peak performance and should be done regularly by your mechanic to extend the life of your engine. If you don't get a full tuneup every six months, your vehicle will fold into itself and implode. And is there anything worse than that? The sudden absence of a useable car is like waking up one morning to find that your wallet's been stolen and you've suddenly lost access to both of your feet just below the ankles.
"Can't go on ... six feet too much ..."
The Reality:
Most "engine tuneups" are just an expensive way to get your spark plugs and air filter replaced. You see, old cars had a lot of different components working in a precarious balance. Things like ignition timing, idle adjustment and air-fuel mixture all needed to be within a certain range to operate optimally. Getting a knowledgeable mechanic, or a drunken uncle who "swears he 'members how to do this," to tune these things on a regular basis prevented your engine from getting too far out of whack.
"No, I said 'beer.' What the hell am I going to do with that?"
Today, however, everything is controlled by your car's computer and can't actually be changed at all without buying a new chip. While it's probably prudent to have a mechanic check your car every 50,000 miles or so to gauge the state of your spark plugs, belts and fluids, and to make sure that raccoons aren't nesting in your turbo booster, your engine's computer can handle the month-to-month: It checks everything millions of times per second anyway, making fine adjustments and tweaks automatically for best performance.
"Human extermination sequence: Activated."

#2. Winterize Your Car
The Myth:
Due to the brutal conditions that winter months put your car through, many mechanics recommend you bring it in for winterization so they can replace your fluids with cold-weather-resistant ones. You're also going to need new fuzzy dice; the pink ones are only for summer. They got some blue winter dice in the back, but they'll run you about two hundos. Better safe, though, right?
"Got a nice parka we could install on your hula girl if you don't mind payin' the extra."
The Reality:
With the exception of putting on snow tires and adjusting your tire pressure, your car is ready to go. This myth is another carry-over from olden times when men were men, women were sexy steak dispensers and engine oil was a lot simpler than today. For example, it used to be that you used one grade of oil in the summer and another during the winter. That's because oil gets thicker when it's cold and thinner when it's warm. So a summer oil (like SAE #30) would be too viscous during the winter, and a winter oil (like SAE #5) would be too thin for the summer, necessitating you to change oil with the seasons.
"We're gonna need a bigger cap to fit all of that on there."
Nowadays, oil is designed to function in both summer and winter, because some genius fluid engineer at some point figured out that seasons are things that just keep happening. That's actually why modern oil grades are hyphenated, such as 5W-30. That means it works as both 5 and 30 grade oil (the "W" stands for "winter" and not "weight," as is popularly believed). As for engine coolant, unless you're living pretty far north, even summer coolants are rated to -34 degrees Fahrenheit. And if you find yourself saying, "Well, it gets way colder than that here," you need to shut up. Not because you're wrong, or bad, but because talking uses breath, and breath is heat escaping your body. The only way you'll live to see another beautiful Sasketchewanese sunrise is to conserve that warmth in grim, grim silence, friend.
Seriously, just pack your shit and move to -- oh. OK. Hey, never mind us; you do your thing.

#1. High-Octane Gasoline Is Better for Your Engine
The Myth:
Using premium or super-grade gasoline will give you more power and better mileage, and make your engine run smoother. Think about it: paychecks, simultaneous sexual partners, amount of successive fights you've won against crocodiles -- bigger numbers are always better.
Fuck off, kid. Nobody likes a smartass.
The Reality:
With the exception of a small percentage of automobiles that require high-octane fuel, using plus or premium-grade gas won't do anything for your car. High-compression engines like those found in sports cars require high-octane gas, but not for the reason you might think, which is to go from "fun" to "funnest" as fast as possible. It's because those engines like to squeeze the gas and air in a super tight piston-driven bear hug, and the gas can sometimes get too excited and prematurely explode inside the engine (presumably while muttering shameful apologies into its shoulder). When this happens, it causes a phenomenon known as detonation or "knocking." Even though the engine tries to reassure the gas that it's perfectly natural and isn't anything to be ashamed of, it still wouldn't mind if the gasoline got a little help with its "staying power," which comes in the form of higher octane ratings.
Wait, what were we talking about again?
The vast majority of cars, however, use lower compression engines, so knocking isn't an issue with regular gas. Using higher grades won't make your engine run smoother, won't give you more power, won't improve your gas mileage and sure as hell won't make everybody in high school who makes fun of your hand-me-down Geo Metro sorry. The octane rating is purely a measure of how well the gas will resist knocking and has nothing to do with energy content.
In fact, as many gas stations now add 10 percent ethanol to their gas (pure ethanol sports a beastly octane rating of 113, but actually has 34 percent less energy than gasoline), the overall octane rating is usually two or three points higher than what the label says anyway; i.e., 87 gas is actually closer to 90 with 10 percent ethanol added. That means that even if your highfalutin, special-needs engine requires 89, you might be able to use 87 rated E10 in total safety. Plus, that way, you'd be stickin' it to The Man, who keeps tryin' to tell you what numbers you can and can't use. Who does he think he is, The Count? You go ahead and stick your 87 octane right in his craw and pump it until it goes "click."
Or do what we do, and just kind of taunt your car with it. It learns respect that way.
When Chris isn't trying to look under your hood, he writes for his website and tweets.
And stop by LinkSTORM wherein you'll learn who your friends are. (We are. No one else.)
And don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get sexy, sexy jokes sent straight to your news feed.

Featured Posts

Two Gay GOP's Get Married by Their GOP Libertarian Friend Denver Riggleman, But The GOP Now Wants Riggleman OUT

 VICE When Anthony “Rek” LeCounte and Alex Pisciarino tied the knot last summer, they didn’t expect their weddi...