AD #1221 – Buy Buy GM, Chrysler’s Shrewd Stock Move, Cherokee Delayed… Again

September 24th, 2013 at 11:39am

Runtime: 6:02

General Motors is back to investment grade status for the first time since 2005. Sergio Marchionne makes a calculated move in taking Chrysler public once again. Production of Jeep’s new Cherokee stalls out due to reported quality problems. All that and more, plus John McElroy explains why the auto industry is getting its butt kicked by the oil industry.

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This is Autoline Daily, your window into what’s happening in the global automotive industry.

BUY BUY GM
And there’s lot of good financial developments at General Motors today. First, Moody’s boosted GM to investment grade status, which the company lost back in 2005 as it went through its financial meltdown on the way to bankruptcy. With that investment rating, GM is going to sell corporate bonds, then take the proceeds and buy back preferred shares from the UAW VEBA trust. Those preferred shares pay a 9 percent return. Merrill Lynch estimates GM will save $240 million a year by redeeming those shares. It also says this could lead to GM paying a dividend on its common shares. Merrill Lynch has a buy recommendation on GM stock with a price objective of $56 a share. GM is currently selling for around $27 a share.

SERGIO’S SHREWD STOCK MOVE
Chrysler is making its move to become a publicly traded company once again. CEO Sergio Marchionne filed for an IPO in an effort to fully take over Chrysler. The company was trying to buy the remaining Chrysler shares from the UAW’s VEBA health care trust fund, but neither side could agree on a price. The trust wants a billion dollars more than what Marchionne is offering. So Marchionne wants to take Chrysler public to let the market decide how much Chrysler is worth. He believes the market price will be closer to his offer, and not what the UAW VEBA is holding out for.

FIAT-CHRYSLER MANAGEMENT CHANGES
Some very interesting executive moves taking place at Fiat-Chrysler. Scott Garberding, who was most recently the Head of Purchasing for Chrysler was named Chief Purchasing Officer for the Fiat Group. And Mauro Pino was named as Head of Manufacturing for the Chrysler Group. We’ve already seen CEO Sergio Marchionne cross-pollinate management talent between the companies, such as with Pietro Gorlier at Mopar and Olivier Francois as the CMO for the Chrysler Group. But this is the first time we’ve seen a Chrysler exec like Garberding take such a senior position at Fiat. Clearly Sergio is getting ready to merge the companies together.

CHEROKEE DELAYED…AGAIN
Hey, what’s the matter with the new Jeep Cherokee? Chrysler just halted production… again. It was supposed to go on sale in July but was delayed due to fit and finish issues and later because of problems with its new nine-speed transmission. Chrysler says it stopped production because it already has enough vehicles to stock dealerships but workers at the plant told the Detroit News production was halted because of transmission issues again. Dealers are screaming for the new Cherokee. Jeep sales are down about 2.5 percent because of those lost sales.

Coming up next, I’ll tell you why the auto industry is getting its butt kicked by the oil industry.

Oil companies are much better at getting their way in Washington DC than the car companies, because they do a better job of lobbying. For example, back in the 1980s there was a raging debate about evaporative emissions. When motorists fill up their fuel tanks, enough gasoline or diesel fuel evaporates through the nozzle to make a noticeable difference in air quality. This is why you often hear warnings on high-ozone days during the summer not to fill your tank.

The decision regulators faced back then was to A, require evaporative emission systems on every single vehicle sold in the American market, or B, require evaporative traps on every fuel pump at every station.

If they had gone with traps as every gas station, it would have been a one-time change and that would have been that. Instead, regulators forced automakers to put elaborate evaporative systems on every single vehicle they make, even though it’s not as effective.

The energy needed to manufacture and install those systems on millions of vehicles every year probably produces as much pollution as they’re designed to save. Why didn’t we just put them on the gas station pumps, which are better at trapping those emissions? Because the oil lobby didn’t want its members to absorb the cost, so they dumped it on the auto industry instead.

Today the argument is all about reducing CO2 emissions. The fastest way to do that is to reduce the amount of carbon in fuel, through ethanol blends or other measures. So why aren’t regulators going after the source of carbon emissions? Because the oil lobby doesn’t want to hear about it.

Automakers need to craft a strategy on how to get the oil industry to carry the load. And they better get started right now to start shaping public opinion. Otherwise Big Oil will easily push the problem back on them because it has a better lobby.

Anyway, that’s how I see it. Thanks for watching today’s report and please join us again here tomorrow.

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80 Comments to “AD #1221 – Buy Buy GM, Chrysler’s Shrewd Stock Move, Cherokee Delayed… Again”

  1. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Wow…quality problems with a jeep product….I’m shocked,I’m over it now ;}>

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    Nothing changes, Chrysler continues to be the crap car company of the Detroit 3. 100 freaking years building cars and they still can’t launch correctly, fit and finish really??? even the crappy Chinese are getting it right.

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Interesting commentary on oil versus automobile ‘fixes’; I don’t know enough (of what you said), but logically thinking, your first comment on evaporative emissions sure sounds spot on. Fix the pumps once, as opposed to fitting every vehicle produced with a ‘system’ (millions of times over).

  4. ColoradoKid Says:

    Chrysler News

    Ahem …. if I may … a correction

    A) – Marchionne is ‘ attempting ‘ to file for an IPO ( for FIAT SpA ) .. but is unable to due to his lack of transparency when it comes to FIAT SpA’s finances

    B) – It is the UAW and VEBA that are in the process of filing for an IPO ( for Chrysler ) in order to save both their Trust;s finances as well as IMO the very survival of Chrysler JEEP … so its the UAW thats playing shrewd game … not L’Stronzetto

    ( NYTimes WSJ Reuters et al )

    And why do I say that ( b ) you might ask ? Because the ONLY reason Marchionne wants that final percentage of Chrysler ownership is so he can access Chryslers cash reserves in order to save the sinking ship that is FIAT SpA

    Honestly … depending on how this turns out .. we may yet see either the end of Chrysler/JEEP as we know it … or the end of FIAT’s ownership of Chrysler/JEEP … as well as the demise of Mr Marchionne should he fail

    Full discloser …. I’m no fan of Chrysler/JEEP in the slightest … but I truly hope this all leads to their independence as well as survival as a raft of Chrysler/JEEP rebadged FIAT’s is no future for the company what so ever … not to mention guess who’ll get stuck with all those health care bills should the UAW’s efforts fail

    That’d be you and I !

    —–

    And ….. an OT shout out to the Governors of Michigan and Florida as well as the ( cough ) ‘ gentleman ‘ from Texas for .. errr … convincing me it’ll be at least another 16 years before I’ll ever consider voting Republican again ;-)

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    9 speed transmission, trying to outdo Lexus and the Germans with their 8 speeds, LOL Sergio, you’re such a funny fellow, anyone buying one of these is a fool.

  6. ColoradoKid Says:

    Oil vs Automakers

    As the saying has gone since the very inception of this country ;

    Money Talks ….. BS Walks …… With the oil companies making huge profits hand over fist for over a century …. while the auto industry continues to try and excuse its continued losses now for decades

    Aint sayin I likes things this way … I don’t …. but thats the way things are … like it or not

  7. Don LaCombe Says:

    About the on board vapor recovery systems-removing them from the car will reduce weight and free up package space. Sounds like its worth a fight to me!

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    5,
    Chrysler’s 9 speed transaxle is a ZF design, but built by Chrysler, I’m embarrassed to say, in my home town of Kokomo, Indiana. It has a very wide range of gear ratios, and should be good for both performance, and mpg, if they can figure out how to build it.

  9. HtG Says:

    1 ahhahahhahahah :) thx GA
    —-
    Lobbying

    Hey man, it’s in the 1st amendment. A good lobbyist can put a hurt on the biggest industry. nudgie nudgie ;)
    —-
    OK, now I can face the beautiful music

  10. motorman Says:

    the average car buyer only buys a car every 8/10 years so the cost of the evap system will only be paid once every 10 years by the consumer. the same consumer buys gas every week so they will be paying forever for the system if the oil companies were forced to install them.

  11. M360 Says:

    John – Correction to your report on GM – You might have noticed by now, but GM common stock is trading around $38 a share, NOT $27 as you reported. But thanks for that report.

  12. HtG Says:

    nnnnnope, I still don’t get what’s going on with the UAW, Chrysler, FIAT, Marchionne, Blooom, and la Familia. Not yet anyways. Hey what is this an LSAT logic problem only with mystery facts?

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’d guess that the oil companies have all that clout with the policy makers, because they are always making lots of money.

    Some states, including CA, have evaporative emissions collection devices on the pumps. Probably all urban areas should require it. When I fill my tank, I alway smell some gas. In a large city, the amount of vapor released to the atmosphere that way would make a difference in air quality.

  14. HtG Says:

    6 Money talks…BS walks

    We shall see. I know a good BSer.

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    #8 Kit why would you be embarrassed, It is not your fault.

  16. HtG Says:

    These days, I don’t know what ‘transmission problems’ mean. Is it the unit or the computer integration of the engine and tranny? Didn’t the Press just get to drive the cars, and give feedback? Maybe there was a reason to redo some software, then reflash the built cars before they get released.

    How’s that for BSing?

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    15,
    Yeah, you are right, but some of my friends work there.

    It appears that Corvette drivers must by safe drivers, and Corvettes, at least semi-old ones, must not have many fire/theft claims. The Indiana insurance (liability and comprehensive, no collision) is cheaper for a ’96 Corvette than an ’89 Dodge minivan. I wouldn’t have expected that.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    could it be because the Vette only carries one passenger usually while the van carries a whole bunch of people? More injuries more claims.

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    So Kit you’re saying that it’s not a design issue but rather a manufacturing one for the 9 speed?

  20. C-Tech Says:

    Jeep is doing the right thing by NOT selling the Cherokee to the public BEFORE solving the trans issue. If this were one of the big 3 Japanese brands I believe there would be much praise for their decision. Given the what rides on a sucessful launch for both ZF and Chrysler (this trans will be used by other manufacturers, I believe Range Rover and/or Ford) I suspect trying get the shift points correct is the issue.

    Kit, they built good transmissions there in Kokomo, nothing to be ashamed of, and if they are stopping production, they are working to make it right the first time.

  21. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro: I think it might be the old computer addage:”garbage in….garbage out”…

  22. C-Tech Says:

    I remember the odd shifts on the 6 speed auto trans. units when they were introduced, before they figured out how to make the shifts smoother (software update).

  23. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – 12 – the condensed version ;

    1) Marchionne wants that last bit of Chrysler the UAW-VEBA owns because without it he cannot access/use any of Chrysler’s cash reserves for anything but Chrysler
    2) Marchionne has been attempting to buy off the UAW/VEBA shares for virtually pennies on the dollar which the UAW/VEBA is refusing to sell for ( wisely )
    3) Most recently L’Stronzetto has desperately been trying ( once again ) to get a financial market … any financial market to give FIAT SpA an IPO so’s to acquire the monies needed to purchases the UAW/VEBA shares at a fair price . Which is an exercise in futility as we know because FIAT SpA et all has never been willing to divulge their P&L’s
    4) So .. now in a counter move … the UAW/VEBA is applying for a Chrysler IPO ( as the 2nd largest shareholder this is their right ) in order to buy out the UAW/VEBA shares yet still maintain the control over Chrysler’s cash reserves for Chrysler’s use only

    That clear things up any ?

    By the way …. as to the who talks and who walks schtick …. guaranteed all the BS in the world isn’t going to get around Big Oils money …. least not in our lifetimes … they rule the roost from top to bottom … and probably always will … unfortunately . Hell … truth be known the automakers aren’t even a challenge to the money of Big Oil … in any aspect of life or government ( ask me AH about the influence Big Oil even has over the classical music world )

  24. C-Tech Says:

    @ #17 Kit I suspect more teens and young drivers inherit minivans of that era than 96 Corvettes, and there are a lot more of them being driven year round than Corvettes. (My 2 sons will have to buy their own Corvettes and if they can afford a Corvette, Mommy is going to want rent money!)

  25. ColoradoKid Says:

    20 – IMO … methinks theres a whole lot more beneath the surface not being revealed about the delay of the Cherokee than what the media has access to may be implying … wink wink .. e.g. methinks it may be more about ‘ politics ‘ in light of the present situation than a ‘ quality ‘ issue .

    So yeah … if whats being said is the entire story …. then Chrysler/Jeep does deserves some kudos for doing things smarter …. but ………..

  26. C-Tech Says:

    @ #19 Designing a functional 9 speed is not the issue. Making it shift smoothly and be efficient, that is another story. If you have a 10-speed (or more) bike, think about how many gears you really use.

  27. HtG Says:

    23 so the UAW is trying to do an IPO before Marchionne in order to protect their shares? And Marchionne hired Bloom so he can’t work for the UAW? Why would Bloom agree, since he’s pro-union?

  28. C-Tech Says:

    C.K. I believe you make sense to me about the Chrysler shares that UAW owns. I am curious and how you may share some light on why don’t they pursue this the opposite way and have Chrysler buy Fiat? Fiat becomes a division and Marchionne can then spend money on them?

  29. ColoradoKid Says:

    27 – Who ever said the world as we know it makes a damn bit of sense ? And lets face it .. when push comes to shove .. Mr Bloom is Pro Mr Bloom and Mr Bloom only … 150% … guaranteed !

    But yes the UAW is trying to protect their VEBA as well as Chrysler’s cash reserves

  30. ColoradoKid Says:

    28 – You tell me . I knows what I knows … but about that I knows nuthin ;-)

  31. G.A.Branigan Says:

    AHAAAA….the plot thickens……

  32. C-tech Says:

    Well everyone here was correct about the first few driving lessons (re: teaching a 26 yr old male to drive). Cell phone rang-once, I silenced that, kept crossing hands and handcuffing himself on turns-50 figues 8′s in the parking lot gave him some new muscle memory for steering, still working on getting him to exceed 30 mph. I guess this is harder than tv or video game driving for him.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19, 20
    It seems they always have “issues” when starting up a new product. It took a while with the Benz 5-speed which they built in a new plant, using the same equipment as used in Germany.

    Yeah, I’ve read that the Evoque will use that transmission, and probably the mechanically similar Escape.

    I suspect they will experiment with shift points, both to maximize mpg, and to make the transmission “feel good” to customers. There is a lot going on with these many-speed transmissions, including skipping multiple gears, both up and down, based on what the driver’s right foot does.

  34. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Wayyy off topic,but worth it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bpIbdZhrzA

  35. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – re; Ron Bloom

    The real question you should be asking yourself when it comes to Mr Bloom is ;

    Why in the H-E- double toothpicks would Ron Bloom .. being as he claims … ‘ Pro Union ‘ ….. accept a job … any job from Marchionne when Sergio has such an abysmal reputation with every Union he’s ever done business with … including the UAW – CAW – Italian Autoworkers Union … etc etc et al ?

    Ahhhh … the plot thickens even further G.A. Branigan ;-)

  36. Jim Thykeson Says:

    John is ‘spot-on’ when it comes to ‘big-oil’ making the auto industry the ‘surrogate ‘bad-boy’ in the global-warming/climate-change war. The auto industry has built electrics, hybrids,CNG,even cars that will run on compressed air! Car companies are not the problem, its ‘big-oil’ in stone-walling the move to the new fuels in order to keep from changing. I’m glad John has pointed this out! Its long overdue!

  37. HtG Says:

    32 tips for tyros

    I was taught by SBR to drive to points, usually big orange cones. You have to focus on the spot you’re driving to, and use peripheral vision for everything else. Also, an instructor said that young people today have spent so much time looking at screens close to their faces, that it’s difficult for them to look expansively and scan the road.

    Just think what’s going to happen as today’s youngster are not even looking out of the car when being driven around by the ‘rents. These kids aren’t going to know boo about how the road works.

    **clicks heels and passes gases, takes flying lunge at a rolling donut** -m’excuse, John

  38. HtG Says:

    35 Bloom, yes, I wonder

  39. MJB Says:

    @32

    I obviously missed out on a few prior chats, but please explain why a 26yr old man is just now learning to drive.

  40. Marshall Says:

    I still hate the idea of one of the ‘Big 3′ auto companies (Chrysler) being foreign owned.

  41. ColoradoKid Says:

    39 – Count me in on that question as well …. I’m curious

    ( no guys … as should be obvious … I do not read each and every post each and every day )

  42. Lex Says:

    The Best Solution for the Auto Industry to beat the Oil Industry at their own game is to built electric or alternative fuel powered vehicles. Spend more R&D money on it’s batteries so that it does not need oil based fuel products. In this scenario the vehicles do not need expensive emission controls and equipment. Then the Department of Energy will only have the Oil and Coal producers who supply electric power plants to wage their war on for lower CO2 emissions and reducing air pollution.

  43. ColoradoKid Says:

    Lex – 41 – A pleasant albeit rather naive thought indeed . Why you may ask ?

    Guaranteed the minute the Oil Giants felt that EV’s had even so much as a chance of succeeding as well as cutting into their profits …… EV’s would go the way of the Dodo Bird faster than you can say Jack Strap !

    Its happened before ( Maas Transit – Fuel Efficient engines – Alternative Fuels etc ) … and it’ll happen again

    Sorry to crush the dream we all wish were true ,,,, but the fact is …. there is no winning when it come to the Oil Industry … at least not in any of us here’s lifetimes

  44. MJB Says:

    Jack Strap!

  45. MJB Says:

    Wow… That was quick.

  46. MJB Says:

    @42

    Not to mention, as it has been made abundantly clear by the facts, EVs just don’t sell (in mass).

  47. ColoradoKid Says:

    37 – HtG .. just think mien freund … the very generations you’re talking about that neither have the background or the inherit skills to learn to drive reasonably … are for the most part the very generation thats designing those Autonomous cars of the future

    Now THAT .. is scary !!!

    Whats even scary is psychological studies have proven that using a computer to design/write/compose etc creates a disconnect between the user and the reality he/she is trying to design work within .. Which goes a long way to explaining part of Adrian Newey /Gordon Murray / Ross Brawn etc’s success … read ..

    http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Hand-Architectural-Design-Primer/dp/0470779292/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380047146&sr=1-1&keywords=the+thinking+hand

    … for the layman’s fuller explanation

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The thing that would make EV’s sell, is for the cost to come down to that of regular cars. An electric Sonic or Fiesta with 100 mile usable range would sell reasonably well, for $18K, if it had a lifetime warranty on the battery. It wouldn’t work as an only car for many people, but it would work as a second car for a lot of people.

    The trouble is, manufacturing cost of the batteries isn’t going to come down that much any time soon, if ever.

  49. MJB Says:

    @47

    I don’t have any stats to speak to, but I just wonder what percentage of car buyers actually “purchase” a second car (vs. the old, outgoing model they decided not to trade in “becoming” the 2nd car).

    My guess is that a good percentage of people (like myself) do well to have just one car (per person in the household). Well, with the exception of certain Corvette-buying folk ;)

  50. Mike Says:

    Re: Evap emissions. Seems to me, there would be 2 issues. One being vapor lost at fueling, the other being vapor lost as the fuel warms in the tank due to outside heat. The oil companies could have put fueling vapor recovery at the pump. I am not sure that car based evap systems are equipped to suck up those fueling vapors. In any case you would still need a car based system to absorb vapor from warming fuel. Maybe someone can clue me in, it seems to me you would need both systems.

  51. MJB Says:

    @49 – yes, someone please chime in here.

    Slight side-bar: I’ve always wondered myself why/how it is (when I go to remove the gas cap after running the fuel down well below the slash with the fuel light on) I get a rush of air being sucked INTO the tank like a vacuum.

  52. Jerry Gregory Says:

    While driving, vacuum is applied to the sealed fuel tank by opening a solenoid off of the intake to pull in the vapors to the canister and from there to the intake, that is where the suction comes from. When evaporation takes place while the car is not running, the vapors are just stored in the canister.

  53. ColoradoKid Says:

    VW … so …

    ‘ Is they is or is they aint ? ‘

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20130924/CARNEWS/130929902

    One minute they’re saying VW’s going all Turbo … the very next .. the VR6 is about to make a comeback . Hmmn .

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    48,
    When I was working (for GM), a lot of co-workers bought “second” cars new, especially couples who both worked, and middle managers who were “expected” to buy a lot of new cars. It seemed that the older cars became “third” cars, driven by the kids, like the minivans C-Tech mentions in #24.

    Yeah, that wasn’t a typical situation for two reasons. I was working for a car company, and the people I worked with made good money.

  55. ColoradoKid Says:

    MJB – 48 – For the record and as a matter of social responsibility … SG ( the wife ) and I have placed a self imposed limit of one internal combustion device per person quota since 2007.. regardless of what we can or cannot afford .

    Why ? Because we place a higher value on our overall carbon footprint rather than the claims of any one particular aspect of our lives we can measure

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    51,
    If you had read the AW article, you might have noticed this:

    “But unlike the earlier naturally aspirated VR6, the new engine has been conceived to run forced induction, with Volkswagen insiders hinting at a twin-turbocharged set-up…”

  57. ColoradoKid Says:

    54 – Oh gee .. a pedantic in our midsts … a 1000 pardons for over looking that small detail oh ever so accurate one .. occasionally I do skip a bit on the minor stuff ….like you’ve never done the same Kit … ;-)

    ———–

    Afternoon Video Break ; A bit of Swedish automotive madness for your viewing pleasure …. G.A. Branigan … you’re gonna love this one …. in spades my friend ;

    http://bangshift.com/blog/this-1947-cadillac-sedannette-drag-car-is-powered-by-a-cummins-diesel-and-it-goes-11s-video.html#comment-44969

  58. HtG Says:

    “…a pedant in our midst….”

    There’s more than one, CK. ;)

  59. pedro fernandez Says:

    I really don’t like insults and put downs that appear on this blog, it is really unnecessary and quite annoying. Why can’t we just be civil and agree to disagree once in a while, and share your knowledge and info for the benefit of others.

  60. MJB Says:

    @53

    Wow, CK… Carbon footprints…

    You weren’t kidding. You certainly WON’T be voting Republican for the next 16 years ;)

  61. T. Bejma Says:

    pe•dan•tic (pəˈdæn tɪk)

    adj.
    1. ostentatious in one’s learning.
    2. overly concerned with minute details or formalisms, esp. in teaching.

    Doesn’t seem like a minute detail to post an article saying that VW is going against their statement to go all turbo, when the body of the article indicates forced induction. Good catch Kit for all of those readers that don’t read every link posted here.

  62. T. Bejma Says:

    #57

    Sorry Pedro, you are right. And you have even been a victim lately with all of the grief you got for liking the Tesla.

    I am going to punish myself and walk away for a little while. Carry on and hopefully discuss something useful and interesting.

  63. HtG Says:

    If it wasn’t clear, I was mocking my own inclination toward pedantry.

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    55,
    Sorry about my comment. I guess it’s just me, but I normally read far enough into articles to get the jist of what they are saying before I post links. Anyway, I’ll try to be nicer from now on.

  65. C-Tech Says:

    @ 37, 39, 40 He is a good young man who went to college in cities with good mass transit and a strong mother who was attending college and working at the same time. He is now in Orlando which has limited mass transit and will need a car for work. Thanks for the new tip HtG, perhaps you should be teaching!?!

  66. C-Tech Says:

    @ #50 The newer gas tanks are NOT vented through the gas cap. As you drive and use fuel, a slight vacuum can be created (especially on a long highway run) so when you pull into the gas station and release the gas cap you get air being sucked into tank replacing the used fuel. The evap system that controls the vapors in the tank also controls the amount of air entering the tank to replace the used fuel.

  67. HtG Says:

    thanks C-Tech. You know, those people at SkipBarber have their teaching very well worked out. The thing they talked about all the time was eyes. I can gab about it all day, but what it took me time to learn was how to control where I looked and focused. From this, all else flowed. I can still hear the instructors urgently asking, ‘where are you looking?’ (instructors also say some pretty salty things once the door closes :) )

  68. pedro fernandez Says:

    My car used to do the whooshhhh sound when I removed the fuel cap, not any more though, I did get a new cap and it still does not whoooossshh any more, that is what happens when you get old you stop whooshing and start farting, snorin’ and groanin’

  69. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #37,
    Along the lines of “watching the spot you are driving to,” I recently took a class for experienced motorcycle riders. I’ve been riding since 1974, but I learned some things. One of them was to look where you are going when making a tight, low speed turn, like a U-turn in a street. Doing that, rather than looking more-or-less ahead makes the tight turns much easier.

  70. HtG Says:

    Bingo. Making a separation between looking where you predict your vehicle is going and where you want to go, is the technique for controlling your progress. It was hard for me to do after having driven for almost 30 years before getting any real instruction. But what happens if you look around a turn is that your nervous system will react much more quickly to your vehicle going off course; faster than you can possibly think. Around the skidpad I had the experience of observing my hands reacting to what I was seeing. It felt like I was just watching my hands, yet consciously directing my eyes.

  71. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ CK: Daaaammnnnnn,that is cool as all gitout.Thanx CK.

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    55, 69
    I was in Sweden for a couple weeks in 1996, and was surprised to see three old American cars on at least two occasions each, apparently being used as daily drivers. Well, probably summer daily drivers. One was an early 60′s Cadillac, and one an El Camino. I don’t remember the other. Anyway, those Swedes really like old American cars, and some of them do special things with them, like building that diesel drag car.

  73. ColoradoKid Says:

    @ G.A, most welcome good sir …. knew you’d dig that’n … I sure as ____ did

    ——-

    HtG- 68- Thats interesting seeing as how both Sir Jackie Stewart’s and Niki Lauda’s teachings all say to look where you Want the car to go… not where you think it might … because where ever you look is where you’re going .Period . Senna as well . As far as watching ones hands … that was one thing all three taught never to do … hmmmn … F1 /Gokart racing specific training mentality vs Skip Barber for the masses perhaps ? Heck even the rally course ( the course .. not the annual ) I took from a certain German rally/racing legend taught the same thing … always look where you Want the car to be .. and regardless the rest will fall in place . Never failed me . Though not having done anything ‘ performance ‘ oriented since trading in Badger ( MINI ) it did take about ten minutes of hauling ____ up Independence Pass in a fun little convoy ( AMG C-Class .. X5M .. and moi … out classed mechanically … but out classed them skill wise … so pretty much dead even and a blast ) to get back into the timing and the grove … once I did though …baby look out ( for the record HtG SG will tell you once I’m full on .. locked and loaded the ride is as smooth as silk … which always shocks her when she looks over at how high the speedometer is reading )

    Hmmn .. I dunno …

    Here’s a hint and the ultimate goal . As the cuz can no doubt tell you when it comes to performing … what you’re looking for is that point where you are no longer thinking about anything and simply running on auto pilot … feeling like you’re floating in mid air rather than driving ( or playing )

    Both when driving and performing …. that point when reached is …….. Sublime ….

    ——

    59 – Hey … wingnut …. check out the REAL dictionary … not that little online condensed kiddy version you keep running to ( time for the Big Boy books son ) …. Pedantic is also used as an IDIOM ( you do know what that is do you not son? ) in the US and the UK to imply over attention to detail – pickiness – or an attempt tp prove ones pretense of superiority .. and it was Kit’s attitude that prompted my using the word .

    So again … where’d you get that degree ?

    Sheesh … make one tiny little error and the Schadenfreuden comes flowing out of the woodwork from all that are too ready to prove you’re only human in their vain attempts to discredit you

    Seriously … sometimes I feel like I should be getting paid for this

    ;-)

  74. ColoradoKid Says:

    G.A. and Kit – re;Sweden’s car scene

    I swear those Swedes of late have gotten more ‘ American ‘ about their cars – customs and hot rodding than we are .

    A few years ago I ran across this Swedish RockaBilly band that proceeded to tell me how much they also loved hot rods etc . So … I offered to take them over and introduce them to my friend Neal East . To my absolute surprise they knew exactly who he was ( how many of you do ? ) every car he’d owned /built .. all his publishing accomplishments etc . Sheesh .. when they met the guy … even Neal said they couldn’t of been more thrilled if I’d of introduced them to the ‘ King ‘ himself . Gave him their CD’s a Jacket – T-shirts etc and took photos galore . Those Swedes are deadly serious about their hot rods …. and what they do to old Volvos etc … is absolutely insane …. gotta love em … I sure do

  75. Kit Gerhart Says:

    71,
    I was ready to be done with the link about the new VR6, but I guess you are not. What you implied in your post was completely at odds with what the AW article said.

    My post was not “pickiness,” or excessive attention to detail. You said the introduction of a new VR6 contradicted VW’s saying that they were going to nothing but turbos, but you didn’t read enough of the article to notice that the new VR6 is going to be a turbo. You really REALLY need to get over yourself.

  76. HtG Says:

    71 hands. yeah, I should have said that I could see my hands moving in my peripheral vision, but without actively directing them. The thing about eyes is so key, I’ve hear M. Andretti say it, too, and seen David Coulthard get wide eyed talking about doing a video for Mercedes where some turns around a road were blind. It’s a spooky thing when you’re going fast, and gives you more time at all speeds. For me, driving on the streets is absolutely limited by my ability to see around corner. Vision sets the speed limit and I wonder what I’d do with a higher performance car. Go fast in a straight line? zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I want the limit to happen at sane speeds.

    ——-
    “…a certain German rally/racing legend….”-WR?

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    72,
    What I saw was basically stock American cars being actually driven for transportation, and it was cool. The cars basically looked like “used cars,” not show quality, but not beaters. A friend recently sold a ’75 two door Lincoln, which I heard ended up going to Sweden. I’m not surprised.

    Do they put Chevy V8′s in the old rear drive Volvos?

  78. C-Tech Says:

    @ #75 Yes they do put V8′s in Volvos. There is a kit to put Ford 302′s in 240′s and 740/760′s (just modify the firewall and floor a bit for the transmission) My fav is a 780 Bertone Coupe with a 302.

  79. Kevin Anderson Says:

    John, You missed the point on the debate about the alcohol levels in fuel. The auto industry says that the higher levels of alcohol void some warranties. The government, which has no liability for car warranties, says it is safe. The oil industry, which never wanted to use corn alcohol in the first place, is being told they will be liable for any damage the alcohol level cause. It is like MTBE all over again. Forced to do something you don’t want to do; then sued because you did it. Welcome to the new USA.

  80. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ CK: I’ve seen a number of tv car shows that highlight the ‘American car scene’ in Sweden.Dennis Gage’s ‘My Classic Car’,is one show I remember right off.’Fast and loud’ dudes have a customer that shows up once in a while from Sweden.There’s other shows as well.It’s a big deal there,and I love to see it too.