Episode 850 – China’s Gravy Train Derails, Durango Special Service, Ford’s “People-Hauling Van”

March 20th, 2012 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 7:33

It looks like China’s gravy train is derailing and German luxury automakers are panicking.  Dodge is introducing a new version of the Durango SUV aimed at law enforcement and fire departments.  Ford may have debuted a completely redesigned Tourneo van in Geneva a few weeks ago, but the name has a long and interesting history.  All that and more, plus we take the new Hyundai Azera for a test drive.

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Welcome to Autoline Daily for March 20. I’m John McElroy and here’s the news.

Uh-oh, looks like the gravy train is coming to an end in China. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, sales will not hit the government’s 7 percent growth targets this year. They may increase by 5 percent, which would be a healthy increase in any mature market, but that represents a remarkable slowdown in China. But here’s the real eye-opener. The waiting lists for luxury cars have evaporated, and the German luxury brands are panicking. Bloomberg reports that Mercedes-Benz is discounting its S-Class in China by up to 25 percent. That translates to a $31,000 discount on the S600. The BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 have 20 percent discounts. And here’s the real worry. Strong profit margins in China have helped the German luxury brands weather the downturn in Europe. Amazingly, Audi gets 30 percent of its profits from China, BMW gets almost half. Daimler’s and BMW’s stock took a pounding on the news, falling 4 percent yesterday. China will remain a critically important market, but the days of whopping big profit margins are quickly coming to an end.

And yet, there’s good news for Chrysler in China. Even though the Chinese government is clamping down on foreign automakers and doesn’t want them expanding their manufacturing capacity, the president of Guangzhou Automotive, which has a joint venture with Fiat, says it’s perfectly legal for it to with build vehicles from the Chrysler group. They’re still discussing what and when, but we would bet the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty would be the most logical products to make there.

Speaking of the Chrysler Group, Dodge is introducing a new version of the Durango SUV. No, it’s not some luxury trim level, this one is for real work. The Durango Special Service model is tailor-made for law enforcement and fire departments. Heavy duty is the name of the game here. The vehicle’s brakes, battery, alternator and cooling systems have all been improved. And the package is wrapped in a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Inside, there are customizable storage compartments and special wiring for spotlights and other equipment. Dodge is taking orders for the Durango Special Service model right now and deliveries should begin in the second-quarter of the year.

We showed you Ford’s redesigned Tourneo van a few weeks ago. And here’s an interesting factoid, Tourneo is actually an internal name Ford has used for decades to designate “people-hauling van.” I don’t know the origins of the term, but I believe they first started using it in Germany in the 1960s. Hey, it’s just part of our effort to keep you as the best-informed audience in the business.

A few weeks back, the Fisker Karma make headlines when Consumer Reports bought one and it promptly broke down during the magazine’s testing. Well, they got the car fixed and now the magazine has its first driving impressions. They liked the styling and the interior design, but they were not impressed with driving it. CR says the Karma is a tight squeeze inside and that’s its obese, 5,400 pounds hurt acceleration, agility and fuel economy. The magazine also said display gauges went out and warning indicators popped up while they were driving it, so it’s hard to imagine the Karma is going to get glowing reviews from Consumer Reports.

The Azera’s 3.3-liter V-6 comes with direct injection and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is 20 MPG in the city and 29 on the highway. That translates to a combined rating of 23 MPG which Hyundai claims is best in class.

In addition to the styling upgrade, the interior is also more refined than before. It offers best-in-class head and legroom for passengers in the front, ambient lighting, heated and cooled seats in the front and heated seats for the rear. And it also comes with standard features like navigation, leather seats and a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel.

While the previous Azera struggled in the U.S., Hyundai believes the improvements to the new model will make it more appealing.

There are just two trim levels for the Azera. The base model starts just under $33,000 and with the technology package, which adds features like a panoramic sunroof, a premium sound system and 19-inch wheels, the price jumps to about $37,000.

The Azera is a nice car and is definitely an improvement over the previous model. But it’s in a competitive segment, so it will be interesting to see if it can continue Hyundai’s recent success.

It’s just amazing to watch Hyundai cranking out so many new products, year after year.

And that wraps up today’s show. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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114 Comments to “Episode 850 – China’s Gravy Train Derails, Durango Special Service, Ford’s “People-Hauling Van””

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Azera, best in class (in certain segments): maybe, but help an old guy out; what class is this thing in (and what other vehicles reside in this, said class)?

  2. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I was going to let Ford Tourneo slid (on its front facing look) but that side shot was all I could do from retching. Maybe it’s that old guy thing I mentioned in my first post; too swoopy for me though.

  3. tj Martin Says:


    Told you so ! ;-)

    Been doing so for months . Nobody listens .

    Heads up now though : and PAY attention

    The BRIC’s are all but played out

    Germany is up next for the EU Crash & Burn award , with the Benelux’s pulling up the rear .

    The proverbial Seagull poop on the very tip of the Iceberg as far as VW is concerned is just beginning to reveal itself ( EU suing Germany its over favoritism on behalf of VW- Audi )


    FISKER Karma – This was a ‘Bad’ omen from the day it was announced .

  4. tj Martin Says:

    @ Chuck Grenci

    re; #’s 1 & 2


  5. tj Martin Says:

    Mercedes Benz

    Looks like my GLK helped contribute to the R-Class’s demise in the US ;


    Told you the GLK is a brilliant CUV . Even gets rid of its ugly step brothers ;-)

  6. C-Tech Says:

    I agree with Mr. Grenci, what “class” is the Azera in? What are you comparing it to?

  7. Ron Paris Says:

    THE CHINA THING: This is what happens when any manufacturer is naive (stupid?) enough to overcommit to a market that is subject to the whims of central planners rather than free market forces!

  8. C-Tech Says:

    @ #5
    The R-class was an upscale Chrysler Pacifica. The Pacifica, even after many corrections and improvements missed the mark in that segment. So did the R-Class.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    #7 AKA Communism!

  10. C-Tech Says:

    I don’t know alot about the China market. What Ron Paris makes sense. Are ther other reasons for the slow down in the luxury market for China?

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Azera’s class consist of Avalon, and maybe one of the Buicks.

  12. tj Martin Says:

    @ C-tech


    Gotcha . The Pacifica and the R Class have nothing to do with one another under the skin , with the exception of similar looks

    The R is built on M-B’s W251 platform where as the Pacifica was built on Chrysler’s FWD platform

    But I’ll agree in the US they were both failures . Funny for the life of me I can’t figure out why the Euro’s are so hot on the R-class though … but they are . Oh well at least a few more US autoworkers are staying employed due the the R-Class demand in the EU ( read the article )

    You Porsche quiz BTW is tomorrow . I should mention 50% of the grade will be on the Porsche VW ‘ Family ‘ ( as in people ) Tree .

    You think the Porsche -VW business relationship has been a Soap Opera . Wait’ll you take a gander and the family squables involved .

  13. tj Martin Says:


    You hit the bloody nail smack on the head !

    Which ….. is also why the rest of the BRIC’s are facing the very same future . All run by what is in essence Despotic Governments

    Despots do NOT want a rising Middle Class as that threatens their power


    #10 – Yes . Mainly because all that can afford a car right now have already purchased what they want and there’s no one coming up behind them to fill in the gaps till the current owners are in need of / want another car

    Same in the rest of the BRIC’s

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The R-Class is/was, like Pacifica, just an expensive minivan with hinged doors.

    I see a surprising number of Pacificas on the road, mainly driven by the geriatric set. The thing that impressed me about the Pacifica when it was new, it that it was so heavy, over 4600 pounds as I remember. Today’s minivans weigh that much, but the Pacifica really seemed obese when it was new in the early-mid 2000′s.

  15. C-Tech Says:

    @ #11
    Thanks Mr. Gerhart, the Buick LaCrosse is comparable to the Azera. I would even throw in the Chrysler 300 Touring.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Do you know if they are going to start using the “new” 3.5 engine in the GLK, the one that drastically improved the gas mileage of the E-Class?

  17. MJB Says:

    Looks like something’s different with your studio light there, John. Either way, I think it’s an improvement over the norm. You (and your clothes) look less ‘washed-out’ in this lighting.

  18. C-Tech Says:

    @ #12
    No “Gotcha” I did NOT mean they were technically the same, just similar in style and trying to appeal to a market which did not want that style (different price points).
    @ #14
    At the introduction, they (Chrysler Rep) compared/contrasted the Pacifica with the Lexus RX 300. That was the market they aiming at. When they realized they were missing the mark, they started to offer Pacificas’ with much less content (the less content actually made it more reliable!)

  19. C-Tech Says:

    @ #12
    Ok professor, bring it on (hope grading is on a curve :) )

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    Remember we love the mini-van over here and most families, even affluent ones, prefer it over wagon-like vehicles like R class and Pacifica.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I kind of like the R-Class, for what it is. I guess that explains why it doesn’t sell well in the U.S.

    It’s about midway between a car and most SUV’s in height, which makes it a more car-like vehicle than regular SUV’s, and it is decidedly “un-trucky” in styling, which I like. Most Americans don’t like that, though.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    I would not trust a brand new Fisker to go on a long trip more than my crapola with all its miles on the odometer.

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    At least with the Crapola, any tech could be able to work on it, should it break down.

  24. aliisdad Says:

    That Fisker with guages and warning lights coming on and off intermitently…Wow, sounds a lot like my 2010 Dodge (that I traded for a loss in less than a year just to get rid of it) except that it was a lot cheaper POS!!!

  25. tj Martin Says:

    # 16

    Scuse me ? What might you be talking about ?

    All 350 petrol engines from M-B are the same

    Difference in mpg being the different type of vehicle , not the motor .

    Mercedes – E350 4Matic – City 19 Highway 28

    Mercedes – GLK 350 4Matic – City 16 Highway 21

    Drastic ? Hardly

  26. tj Martin Says:



    Too big , ungainly and bulky to be a wagon

    Too short to be a CUV/SUV

    Far too ugly to be a Mercedes ( looks wise it really was far too close the the Pacifica for comfort )

    Really it has neither the practicality of a wagon , nor its CUV counterpart ( M-Class ) … nor does it have any better ride than the M – Class .

    A couple of ‘ associates ‘ have R-Class’s and even they question the wisdom of buying one . Not that its a bad car mind you , it just doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense . Buy an E-Class wagon or the GLK / ML / GL ( depending on size needed ) instead .

    And with mpg of 16 – 21 ( R 350 4Matic ) there’s not much to gain MPG wise as well .

  27. tj Martin Says:


    In light of the family tree addition I’m giving you till next Wednesday to bone up .

    A rare moment of kindness on my part . Don’t expect the same again anytime soon ;-)

    ( :o )

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    #24 beware you will draw the ire of all those around here who believe the new Chrysler Corp under the capable hands of Sergio are now making world-class vehicles that can compete with the best the world has to offer.

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    Question for the group: do you feel the new trend for bigger tires/wheels is worth it when you consider how much more expensive these 16 and 17in. tires cost, even for “economy”cars?

  30. Brett Says:

    The Chrysler Pacifica->R class is the only instance I’m aware of where a product concept from Chrysler migrated to Mercedes Benz. Somebody in Germany liked the concept (maybe they drove one or something) and M-B moved to implement their own interpretation.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    My son’s xB needed new tires at $105.00 ea for 16 inches when I’m used to pay about $55 for my 14 in. ones.

  32. Wim van Acker Says:

    Hello. John just mentioned that the S Class is currently being discounted by 25% in the Chinese market and mentioned that that means a $31,000 discount for the S600.

    I wonder, whether that is correct. It would mean the sales price of the S600 in China is $124,000. The S600 sells for $159,000 in the U.S. and for EUR 158,151 (= $208,759)in Germany. As far as I know luxury cars cost more in China than in the U.S., hence my question whether the statement was correct.

    Best regards, Wim

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For the 2012 model year, the EPA number of the E350 went from 17/24 to 20/30. I researched it a little, and they went to direct injection and made some other changes which apparently accounted for this. The power rating of the E350 is also higher than the 2011 E350, and is higher than the GLK350 which, apparent still uses the non-direct injection engine. I figured they might use the revised engine next year, but haven’t heard. I thought you might have.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    M-B uses the moniker “blueefficiency” for the GDI engines, not to be confused with “blutec” that they use only for diesels.

  35. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Increased mpg can be as simple as offering/changing the rearend to a higher final drive ratio (usually at the cost of acceleration); might this be the case with the Merc?

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    No, they changed the engines. See:


    This is from the UK, but gives a better explanation than the MBUSA site. It looks like they started using the “blueefficiency” engines in Britain, and probably the rest of Europe, a year earlier than here.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They mention using start/stop as part of the mpg improvement in the UK cars, but they probably don’t use that here. The direct injection, and some kind of multi spark system probably accounts for the improvement in the U.S. cars.

  38. C-Tech Says:

    @ #31
    It depends. My girlfriend’s Eclipse has 14″ tires and a set cost $250, however not everyone stocks 14″ tires anymore. It seems 16″ tires are getting to be the new standard and depending on the width and brand that will factor into the cost. I am considering moving her to 16″ wheels just case she gets stuck somewhere and has to buy a tire.

  39. 012345 Says:

    tjMartin (no offense) But, you predicting China’s slow down, it would be like me predicting a future earthquake in Japan “I see an earthquake in Japan’s future!!, listen me you jerks; it will happen” :) Also, you do realize that if China’s (you know!, the good communist oppressive regime) economy was to really slow down it could mean higher taxes for us here in the U.S. (did I mention, China’s government is not really a nice government)

    I mean!, the American people are more than a trillion dollars in debt (and ever increasing debt) to China, so one; this could mean higher taxes in order to pay the higher interest rates for the debt OR! 2 China cutting all lending to the U.S which will definitely mean paying higher taxes plus pay more for pretty much everything else including fuel (and yes, even more than we pay now). China slow down does not! mean that China’s government ability to screw the U.S on the world market has also slow down.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here is what MBUSA has to say about it:


    Move down to “All-new 3.5L Direct Injection V-6″

  41. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Looks like they went from a six speed to a seven speed tranny, which could also alter the final drive ratio. Don’t know this for fact (ratio) but the tranny is now seven.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and both my ’89 minivan and my ’86 VW have 14 inch tires. The VW originally had 13′s, but I put 14 inch aftermarket wheels on it when it was a few years old.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think it’s been a 7 speed since 2006, but yeah, they could have changed the gearing.

  44. HtG Says:

    Big wheels just look right on today’s larger, taller cars, IMO. But more mass on a longer radius doesn’t exactly translate into responsive handling. And I wonder how many people that take the Elantra’s 16″ 205 wheels understand how much those will cost to replace on their low priced car; Tirerack starts them at ~80 each compared to ~60 for 15″ 195.

    (personally, I’m quite happy with the R14 tires I have–very easy to break loose, which is actually a ‘safety feature’ when I’m screeching around an off-ramp and need to trail the throttle in order to tighten the radius. But I digress)

  45. HtG Says:

    oil prices. Saudi will try to stabilize oil prices at an ‘ideal’ $100, and China has jacked up the price of the stuff. It’s positively dialectical!

    “…China increased retail fuel prices for the second time in two months, increasing concern that demand in the country – the world’s second-largest oil consumer after the US – will decline.”


  46. HtG Says:

    Here’s a link to a WSJ article on centrally planned pricing in the Middle Kingdom.


  47. tj Martin Says:


    ( vs the current wave of Parasites upon the American Tax payers we’re dealing with in the Auto Industry e.g. TESLA Fisker et al as well as much of the so called ‘ Green ‘ industry )

    Motus Motorcycles


    Find a niche you’re comfortable with . Create a product to fill it . Find the best partners you can to develop it ( check out the roots of that V4 and who Motus brought in to help create it ) Flush out private financing as well as using your own monies . Go to the Magazines and Testers with your prototypes to get honest feedback before creating the finished product . And voila ! Real , honest to goodness BUSINESS !

    Heck ! Even if Motus fails ( and they might ) at least unlike Fisker/TESLA etc etc etc they did it on their own and the failure will be theirs and their investors alone … not the whole damn country’s

    Win Lose or Draw Motus – Thank you for making the likes of Henrik Fisker and Elon Musk to look like even bigger Con Artists and Grifters than they already do

    >> And am I the only one wondering what that little V4 might be like in a small roadster/ sports car / A segment ?

    A V4 for your Miata perhaps HtG ? Good ol mericun bits n pieces ( small block chevy roots ) Sounds intriguing to me


    @ T Bejima – Y’all lookin in perhaps ? Maybe your minders might have a look at using this little V4 in something we all might actually wanna buy ?

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    C-tech I could go nuts and get top of the line Michelins as well for over $100 for my Crapola, but it would be like serving a Big Mac and fries on fine china.

  49. C-Tech Says:

    Didn’t Ford try a V4 in the Mustang prototype way back when? TJ you’re old enough to remember for sure, right?

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That looks interesting. The engine must be a really scaled down half Chevy V-8, having only 1.6 liter capacity. I expected 2.5 liter, or something like that.

    A 90 degree V4 is a good engine configuration for balance and even firing, but it doesn’t seem to be used in cars much, probably because it doesn’t package as well in a transverse engine front driver as an in-line 4. Also, having two heads, it would be more expensive to make. I remember Ford of Europe using some V-4′s in the 60′s and 70′s, and selling some to SAAB.

  51. C-Tech Says:

    Don’t knock the “burger on fine china” routine. Steak and Shake’s business model.

  52. C-Tech Says:

    @ #50
    Thank you Kit, always on top of it!

  53. tj Martin Says:


    Well …….. I’ve got the AMG 20″ on Franz . And in all honesty I love em . Not for the looks , but rather the handling and the ride

    Are they worth the extra money ? ( reminding you I got a deal on Franz w/AMG kit )

    Hmmmn .. Yeah having just driven someone else’s GLK without them … yeah i’d say they’re worth it

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    hey since we’re talking burgers, any of you experienced In and Out burgers, supposedly they’re the best!

  55. C-Tech Says:

    @ #44
    I hear you. A friend’s daughter found out the hard way those cool looking low profile wheels and tires on her Scion (225/45R17) cost $250+ each when the sidewall pinched a curb – more than a week’s pay for her.

  56. C-Tech Says:

    @ #54
    Not here yet. What an interesting choice of name!?!

  57. C-Tech Says:

    @ #44
    Are they better than 5 Guys Burgers and Fries?

  58. HtG Says:

    I’d say I think about going there once a week, Pedro. Fly to CA, buy an S2000, go driving in the mountains, and stop at In and Out. Yes, it’s good.

  59. HtG Says:

    It’s not just the burgers C-Tech. The franchise makes its own buns and vegetables. The food is fresher than you’d expect. I bet tj can say which In ‘n Out in LA is the one to go to.

    I need to stop thinking about this, right now.

  60. tj Martin Says:

    @ 54

    eeesh ! So good when you order home delivery if you’re not there they can ‘ Sliiiiiiiiide ‘ them under the door

    Stay away from ‘ Chain ‘ Burgers pedro

    You really DO NOT want to know whats in them

    Parts is parts not even coming close :(


    @ Kit – M-B and the disappearing 350

    Weird . Go to the press ( which is what I did ) and you get one story . Go to MBUSA and there’s another story entirely .

    So I’ll assume MBUSA knows whats what and say you were correct

    As far as the next model 2013 GLK the only ‘ Official ‘ news thats come down the pike is that a Diesel ( most likely 4 cylinder turbo ) WILL be on offer .

    Rumors abound that a V8 is coming as well ( heck the G Class is getting the V12 …… Roseberg’s new ride perhaps as he currently has the G55 ? ) along with a full on AMG treatment for the GLK .

    But those are just rumors

    I’ll assume though , with the 2013 model GLK that new 350 will be in there as well . Kind a stupid to keep them both around logically speaking

    We’ll see

    BTW No I will not be considering the Diesel GLK when my lease is up . Talking to several club members that had Diesels they hold no appeal for me .

    But …. that new 350 might just convince me to trade in Franz when the time comes . Be interesting to see what the MPG will be as the E350 currently on offer is not a 4 Matic

  61. pedro fernandez Says:

    According to most people I’ve spoken to, they say it’s the best around, even better than Fudds and Red Robin. Re: tires, a couple of years back this guy was selling a set of rims with 17in low profile tires that he had on his totaled Corolla which would have fit mine, he just wanted $100 for all 4. When I saw how much them tires cost and how fast they wear out, I said: Thanks but not really my cup of tea.

  62. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj does not recommend In and Out?? BTW good name for a massage parlor!

  63. tj Martin Says:

    In and Out

    Better than Mcdonalds or Bugger King ?

    Well yeah . Good though ?

    Not IMHO

    We stay as far clear as possible of any restaurant even resembling a Chain

  64. tj Martin Says:


    Nasty …… but funny :o

  65. HtG Says:

    Bugger King? Is that in the south?

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It will be interesting to see what the mpg of the GLK will be with the 4 cylinder diesel, and also with the new 3.5 gas.

    The EPA ratings of the 2012 E350 4matic sedan are 19/29, and the 4matic wagon are 19/27.

  67. tj Martin Says:

    GLK 350 4Matic DI

    Hmmn . As fast as Franz is in his current tune I can’t even imagine what he’d be like with that extra HP .

    With a V8 and full AMG treatment ? My license wouldn’t last a month

    With this ;


    I’d give it a day . Maybe 8)

  68. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Burger King is big in Indiana, but I don’t see them in my part of Florida. I’ve never really looked for them, though.

  69. tj Martin Says:


    re; Bugger King . Thats the ‘real ‘ name behind the moniker they put out front to fool you into buying their grease burgers , milk shakes that are not , fries that are barely potato’s etc

    #66 Those must be for the UK/EU as MBUSA is only listing the E 4Matic w/ V8 for 2012 .

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s the EPA site. See:


    You enter the year and make, and you then see a list of models to choose from.

    Maybe they dropped the E350 4matic mid-year or something.

  71. pedro fernandez Says:

    #68 are you for real Kit? Down here you can’t swing a dead squirrel without hitting a BK joint, maybe that is because this is their home market, BTW don’t go out of your way for them, ain’t worth it! how about 5 guys? they’re good!!!

  72. tj Martin Says:


    Or …… as per usual the EPA is a Day Late and a Dollar short .

  73. tj Martin Says:


    You might not want to put ‘ Dead Squirrel ‘ and ‘ Burger King ‘ in the same sentence as thats just a little too close for comfort if’n you get my drift ;-)

  74. pedro fernandez Says:

    #70 I looked up the Vibrolla and it claims 30 mpg hwy with the 3 speed auto, to that I say: Panda bear dong! Unless they did it traveling at 55mph or less, I can attest this is not accurate at all, the best I’ve done at posted hwy speeds is around 26 which is less than my average around town. (I ain’t no lead foot)

  75. Kit Gerhart Says:



    MBUSA lists 4matic as a “package” for the E350 sedan. Go to “E”, then “E350,” and then the “build”section on their site. That’s odd since they list the E550 4matic and E350 4matic wagon as models, but they show a way to “build” an E350 4matic sedan.

    Thinking further, I guess it’s not so odd. The E550 sedan and E350 wagon are available only with 4matic.

  76. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oh, like cats in Chinese neighborhoods, or is it dogs? I think in Korea they eat dogs, right?

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I checked the Burger King locator, and there’s a store on Merritt Island that I would have driven by over the years, but didn’t notice. They have no stores in Cape Canaveral or Cocoa Beach

  78. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Did your car get better mileage at one time? I wonder if it’s possible that your torque converter clutch is not locking up. That really hurts highway mileage.

  79. C-Tech Says:

    ENOUGH ! I’m hungry and going home!

  80. C-Tech Says:

    Hey Kit, was at Mercedes of Melbourne yesterday, they say the recession is over, selling as fast as they come in, except the McLaren.

  81. tj Martin Says:

    Science Experiment

    ( and what turned me off of chain restaurants for all eternity along with the book ‘ Fast Food Nation ‘ which i read afterwards )

    Buy a Mcdonalds / Burger King ‘ Shake ‘

    Leave it out of the fridge over night

    What you’ll wind up with is a separated ‘ mess ‘ consisting of ;

    Highly refined petroleum by products

    Corn Starch

    Artificial coloring

    Artificial flavors

    approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar

    Yeeeech !

    I’ll have a Strawberry 10w-40 and the wife will have a chocolate 20w-30 with our Squirrel/Rat/Pigeon/Beef and what ever else falls in the vat Burger . Side of cornstarch/MSG/potato fries and some of that ten day old barely lettuce anymore salad if you please .

  82. tj Martin Says:

    Hey C-tech

    There is no McLaren Mercedes street car anymore ! So WTH they talking about ????

  83. tj Martin Says:

    Hopefully # 81 curbed all your appetites for awhile


  84. C-Tech Says:

    That is the point. That was the ONLY one left over.

  85. tj Martin Says:


    Dogs in both cases

    Woof !

  86. tj Martin Says:


    They should keep it like ours here did ( Aristocrat )

    They display it at all the local car shows and use it to draw in folks to the dealership when things are slow

    Brilliant marketing tool and in a few years it’ll only increase in value whereas now the prices are a bit soft on the McLaren Mercedes . Righfully so as it was a bit of a failure . Mercedes and McLaren being unable to agree on anything when they built it

    Luckily M-B left their AMG arm alone when it came to the SLS which is why the thing , though not the prettiest girl in town is an absolute Joy to drive . Wouldn’t want one but sure love them

  87. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj I refuse to drink any of those so-called shakes, I only trust a couple of near-by joints that actually use ice cream, milk and ice or one in particular at the entrance to Everglades Nat Park that uses real fruit, what a concept!

  88. Chuck Grenci Says:

    If anyone is inclined: found this on the net about v-4 engines. Seems the most successful were in motorcycles. http://www.carthrottle.com/obsolete-engines-101-the-mythical-v4/

  89. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG


    Buy this ;


    Beyond beautiful . Trust me .

  90. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why a V4? aren’t the inline 6′s better than the V6′s,? the only reason they came about was so they could fit in the FWD car, right?

  91. tj Martin Says:

    Motus M/C

    Here’s the website ;


    Trawl around the internet a bit and theres a ton of techno info on their little V4 . Somebody ( maybe Leno’s site ) has a video of the little beast running . What a sound !

  92. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Steak ‘n’ Shake uses actual ice cream for shakes. They started in Indiana, and worked their way down to Florida.

  93. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “as per usual, the EPA is a day late and a dollar short”

    Not really. Even if they had discontinued the E350 4matic, which they haven’t, they would still list it, just as they still list my 1986 VW that was discontinued more than 25 years ago.

  94. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That Motus engine is interesting. They went out of their way to make it NOT even firing. Is that to get a unique exhaust note, perhaps?

  95. HtG Says:


    thanks, tj. I’m listening to it right now. Having a bit of trouble breathing in the midst of Der Abschied.

    BTW, next Monday, a program about american mavericks will happen at the Green Space. Is there a question you’d like me to ask? John Adams will be there.


  96. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There have been a number of V4′s in motorcycles. They package well, especially when mounted with the crankshaft fore and aft, as in the Motus, and some other bikes like Honda ST1100 and ST1300. Also, if done properly, V4′s are inherently smoother than I4′s.

    This is not the case with 6 cylinder engines. I6′s are inherently balanced, and even firing. V6 engines need balance shafts and splayed crankshafts to be smooth. As you say, V6 engines exist mainly, or only for packaging considerations. V6′s fit more easily, even in rear drive cars, if you don’t want a long nose on the car, which is why Mercedes went to V6′s several years ago. BMW are the “purists” on this, sticking with I6 engines, at least for now.

  97. pedro fernandez Says:

    Thanks for the explanation Kit, I suppose they don’t think of putting V4 in cars due to the high cost or they feel it’s just not needed.

  98. HtG Says:

    I can still feel in my bones, Kit, the six cylinder BMWs my father had. It was like a turbine, and the mufflers weren’t tuned to growl. rrrrrrwwwwwwooolllllmmmmm

  99. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If you wanted to make a rear drive car with a really short front end, a V4 would be good, but small cars have almost universally gone to transverse engine, front drive, which works well with an I4, and I3 for smaller cars.

    Subaru seems to do pretty well at packaging their flat fours, but it’s hard to see that they offer any real advantage over an I4, except that the fore/aft crankshaft may simplify the AWD hardware a little.

  100. pedro fernandez Says:

    I’ve read here and other forums where there seems to be a universal cry out for an affordable, small, RWD platform that could accommodate various designs, incl. 2 and 4 door cars as well as CUV’s based on such chassis, but car-makers are not listening or can’t be bothered.

  101. Jonathan Says:

    Big discounts by the germans in china…let me cry me a river! LOL

    Thanks for yet another great show!

  102. Jon M., Says:

    No surprise that the Azera was not a hot seller; what a prime example of bland and boring. I agree it’s in an ill-defined class. Hey, maybe we should call them BUVs, as in boring utility vehicles; after all, any new class of vehicle has to called –UVs. But I digress, with the Genesis and Equus it’s as curious a car as the Avalon. Even though Hyundai distinguished it from the Genesis, I think it’s still an overlap. And yet the Avalon sells…apparently.

  103. tj Martin Says:

    Ugh !!!!

    First Maserati , then Bentley , now Jaguar :(


    Where will it ever end ?

    Well ….. looking at just BMW’s future line up ;

    and possibly an X7

    ( info from CAR )

    Never !!! Oh well …… all you SUV/CUV detractors ;

    Deal with it ;-)


    CHEVROLET today is announcing the re-birth of the Chevy Trailblazer …. well ….. except ……..

    Its probably NOT coming to the US

    You’ve got a lot a splainin to do T Bejima

    First no Cruze wagon and now the last vestiges of a genuine American SUV and we’re not getting that either ?

    FYI ; In my dictionary ( every current and former overlander agrees BTW )

    SUV= Body on Frame – Class 3 off the showroom floor ready with Class 4 trails after a bit of upgrading

    CUV= Unibody construction – Class 1 or 2 only – even after modifying maybe Class 3 . More comfy road car than Sport Utility .

    So yes my GLK is most definitely a CUV . Which is what I wanted/needed at this point in my life

    And no matter what the hype JEEP , Land/Range Rover et all may feed you their Unibodies are in fact …… CUV’s

  104. tj Martin Says:


    Hee Hee ! Well …….. if there’s a question I have for JA I can ask those personally ……. Hmmmmn ……… how do I say this without revealing too much ?

    Suffice it to say I’ve been invited on a few occasions to ……. participate in some composers forums with JA and others ..

    No ….. its Johnny Greenwood I’d like to ask a few questions of at this point . BTW his new one with Penderecki is brilliant . Thorny ( especially Krzysztof’s contributions ) but bloody brilliant . The NYTimes Magazine article was well done

    I’d suggest listening beforehand but recommended as well

  105. HtG Says:

    103 am I right to be hearing Mahler 2 in Der Abschied? And how about those colors in the Schubert!

    I always wonder how contemporary stuff sounds to people that haven’t listened to much of the repertoire. Are you a FranzK reader, tj? There’s a similar game going on; you heard it here first.

  106. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Franz K – of course thats me ! Told pedro that already / Silly HtG :o

    Mahler – Spot on . Good ears . You must of done the iPod thing as the linear notes tell all about the influences / references

    How does Contemporary sound to the uninitiated ? Usually like a bunch of Nose in the Air noise . Which granted a lot of it is

    Moshe Safdie – Went to his lecture last Thursday . If you haven’t already and he comes your way … GO !!!!! So much of his philosophy of design is in line with my compositional ethics . His book ” Form & Purpose ” is available free online and the chapter on Pop Culture is a Must read ( pg 68 onwards )

    You can ask JA when ” City Noir ” and ” Absolute Jest ” will make it to CD . I’d be interested to hear his public response

  107. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    But …….. did you ever figure out what my main instrument is ?

  108. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Told you the Kronos CD was beyond beautiful . Believe me it takes a lot for me to go that far with a recommend

  109. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Here’s the ” Form & Purpose ” link ;


    Chapter 4 is the Pop discussion

  110. HtG Says:

    I’m respecting your privacy,tj. I won’t pursue leads. One question, have you got a little spot on the left side of your neck? Don’t answer.

    I saw the liner note after I listened, but then the Mahler 2 is one of those pieces that gives me an earworm, I’ve heard it so many times. It’s impressive how Kronos can capture the feel of earlier works.

  111. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Thats the composer , not Kronos’s doing mien freund

    SAFDIE & the GLK

    So … after the Safdie lecture we went to a late dinner at one of our Fav’s ( Webster House ) which is right next to the Kaufmann . After dinner since it was still 68 out and it was a clear moonlit night we decided to walk around Moshe’s masterpiece ( love the looks – hate the sound ) . In front Aristocrat as a sponsor had an E Class on one corner and a GLK ( black ) on the other in front .

    Well ……… seeing that work of art ( building ) with the GLK in front …. it really hit me just how well designed and architecturally inspired the GLK really is . Just blew me away !

    So we got back and drove Franz up to the entrance and put him in the middle and took a few snaps .

    Stunning ! Too bad we can’t share photos here like we could on the CAR site . You’d love em

    On the sound . Went to the Organ debut . 2nd time there for us . Dead . More Anachoic chamber than concert hall

    You know how a pure note ( flute ) will just gently decay into nothingness ?

    At the Kaufmann its like a specter is in the air with a Catchers Mitt , grabbing every note Mid Air .

    so instead of the flute stop C above middle c going ;


    you get ;


    Zap ! Nothing . There’s not even enough time for all the harmonics to develop l

  112. HtG Says:

    108 thanks. I’ll check it tonight. You may want to check out Thomas Leslie’s book on Louis Kahn. The historicism of Kahn may interest you.

  113. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG


    read the poem at the end of the Safdie book . It’ll either encourage you ( me ) anger you – disgust you – or at least get you thinking …. but its a winner

  114. HtG Says:

    You could use Picasa to share pics, tj. So what’s going on with that Safdie building in KC? I’ve seen two building in DC, the ATF and Peace Institute.

    Sound in a hall story. Years ago I heard from my cuz about the round trip some drum part took taking so long to come off the ceiling that in rehearsal they had to work on getting the guy to play out of time so that the ultimate sound would be in step. I can’t remember which hall it was, but then Berlin are so sensitive to timing.