Episode 23 – Donuts, Dubious Drivers, and Diesel Debacles
Welcome to the latest episode of The Auto Podcast… for people who get it. (Eric’s toes are curling)
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This week, we check in with Eric and his son’s ongoing Plasti-Dip project on the 4-Runner. Will they get it done before the next episode?
Eric also discusses his upcoming trip to SEMA 2019 in the coming months and what’s been popular in the shop. Here’s a hint: lift kits and rooftop tents for the outdoorsy-types.
Meanwhile, Daryl managed to track down a good brake booster for the ‘69 Volvo and bought it online using a questionable app. Hopefully, his credit card info isn’t on the Dark Web.
We break down the story of the not-so-good-kind-of-donuts that made an appearance at Friday Night Lights and discuss why folks shouldn’t mess around at cruise-ins. We also spotlight the good-natured folks who make up the majority of the local car culture and why it’s always best to ‘do the right thing’ when others act inappropriately.
Nissan, Ghosn fined $16 million by SEC for failing to disclose pay
Nissan Motor Co. and former CEO Carlos Ghosn have agreed to settle claims from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over false financial disclosures related to Ghosn’s compensation, an SEC statement said on Monday.
Nissan will pay $15 million, while Ghosn agreed to a $1 million civil penalty and a 10-year ban from serving as an officer or director of a publicly traded U.S. company, the SEC statement said.
Ghosn was arrested in Japan and fired by Nissan last year. He is awaiting trial in Tokyo on financial misconduct charges that he denies.
Ghosn’s legal team said in a statement they were “pleased to have resolved this matter in the U.S. with no findings or admission of wrongdoing …
GM UAW Strike Stretches On
The UAW and General Motors are far apart on several key issues that could take a week or more to resolve before a tentative agreement is reached, two people familiar with the talks told the Free Press on Thursday.
That also means the strike could last at least two weeks longer if the UAW acts on a plan it is considering to keep members on the picket lines until the GM rank and file votes to ratify the deal, as the Free Press has reported.
About 46,000 GM UAW members have been on strike at GM’s plants nationwide since Sept. 16. The 2015 contract with GM expired at midnight Sept. 14. GM had made an initial proposal for a new contract two hours earlier, but the UAW turned it down.
In a letter to members, the UAW said Wednesday that “all unsettled proposals are now at the main table and have been presented to General Motors and we are awaiting their response. This back and forth will continue until negotiations are complete.”
Those unsettled proposals were described Thursday as key economic issues. These are the main ones:
- UAW workers’ share of health care costs
- Temporary workers
- Wage increases
- Building more product in the United States
Source: Detroit Free Press \ Marketwatch
During the first half of the 20th century, General Motors produced cars using a just-in-time delivery system called “flexible production.” The automaker carried no stockpiles of inventory; it ordered vehicle components as it needed them. It also clustered its suppliers around its American plants, where virtually all of its cars were built at the time.
This made it easy for striking workers to cause the disruption they needed to extract major concessions from GM. For example, the Flint strike in 1936 and 1937 resulted in the closure of key plants, which shut down 75% of GM’s production.
This high level of structural leverage helped UAW strikes to be consistently successful, whether they were national strikes or small wildcat strikes conducted by workers against the will of leadership.
Things look different today.
GM and other U.S. auto companies abandoned flexible production during the 1950s and ‘60s to weaken labor’s leverage, as we learned in our research. Today GM carries large stockpiles of inventory, and its suppliers and assembly plants are located all over the world. Just 28% of its workforce is in the U.S., and its cars don’t rank high on an index measuring how much of a car is made in the United States.
Lawsuit “Almost Certain” in Kevin Hart Crash
Kevin Hart is likely to be slapped with a lawsuit following the Sept 1 car crash. Sources close to the situation tell TMZ that Kevin and the two other people in his car – the driver, who sustained serious neck and back injuries – as well as the other backseat passenger — have all lawyered up. While Kevin wasn’t behind the wheel of the car, his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda did not have safety harnesses or airbags. This could constitute negligence, according to the website.
But Kevin isn’t the only person who could be on the hook. After the California Highway Patrol’s investigation, the driver could also be responsible as well as the company who customized the classic car. According to TMZ, “the company is the expert and even if Kevin wanted a custom job without safety harnesses, the company should have refused the job because it wasn’t safe … especially with a powerful, 720 horsepower engine.”
They also claim that law enforcement sources have revealed to them the CHP may lobby the California State Legislature in order to prohibit custom car companies from rebuilding cars without harnesses … whether the customer wants them or not.
In better news, Kevin returned back home this week, is walking again and immersed in physical therapy. A source previously told the webloid that the actor “a new perspective on life” and is “grateful” and “shocked” that he is alive.
Hart was riding shotgun in his 720-hp Speedkore Barracuda SEMA car with friend Jared Black behind the wheel when Black lost control and sent them through a fence and down into a ditch. The roof of the car was crushed, as were Hart’s and Black’s backs. Both have been through surgery and will survive with a lot of physical therapy to come.
Vice President Mike Pence Ticks Off Michiganders With 8-Car Motorcade on Mackinac Island
Cars have been prohibited on Michigan’s Mackinac Island for 121 years. Previous Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Ford, Bush, and Clinton managed to visit without a set of wheels, but this week, VP Pence rolled into town in a motorcade of not one, but eight black SUVs for the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference. Apparently the locals didn’t like it.
Sure, Illinois Roads Suck, but They Don’t Actually Suck THAT Much.
An analysis of Federal Highway Administration data shows Illinois ranks 22nd among all 50 states when it comes to “Worst Road Infrastructure”. The report, which looked at the following criteria:
- Percentage of poor condition roads
- Annual cost per motorist due to roads in need of repair
- Percentage of structurally deficient bridges
- Rhode Island
Source: Quote Wizard by LendingTree.com
Who knew that Lending Tree was all over these kinds of stats! They might be my news hub from this point on! E
Moment of Musk
As reported in Jalopnik
Musk jokingly tweeted at Porsche about the use of “turbo” as a name for a vehicle that doesn’t actually contain a turbocharger.
Porsche Taycan’s P.R. manager, Mayk Wienkötter is quoted as saying. “Free P.R. for us,” . “I’m not sure everyone was aware of the Taycan,”
asked whether Porsche planned to respond to Tesla’s recent unofficial lap time, which was set by a pre-production Model S and which undercut the Taycan’s lap by roughly 20 seconds.
Wienkötter said Porsche is a highly competitive brand when it comes to racing, but that it doesn’t plan to make a one-off car just to beat Tesla., Porsche wants to make sure its comparing “apples to apples.”
The P.R. manager said it’s not clear if the Model S that ran the Nürburgring contained standard production-intent components like suspension parts, brakes, cooling, and tires. Plus, he mentioned that he doesn’t know what sacrifices Tesla had to make to score that lap, specifically mentioning battery longevity.
With that said, if Tesla does release a production vehicle that outdoes the Taycan’s lap, Porsche will respond, with Wienkötter saying: “We will definitely try to give an answer,” before saying: “If another apple is better than our apple, we will have to find an answer.” The manager didn’t mention exactly how Porsche would go about answering. When I asked if Porsche was planning a dual rear-motor Taycan, Wienkötter answered with a negative.
We report. You decide (whether or not you want to check it out on Netflix.)
Eric reviews some more Netflix goodness, including the conclusion of Hyperdrive and Fastest Car Season 2.
Daryl gets the garden hose out and yells at those meddling kids who still think running glass pack mufflers in 2019 is acceptable.
Cars of the “Weak”
After getting my most recent copy of WIRED magazine in the mail this month… I became enamored with this Electric Motorcycle from ZERO.
“The designers of Zero’s latest electric ride left the 14-kWh battery exposed, as if to trumpet the potential of our high-performance, rechargeable future. Nestled behind that power cell is an air-cooled 110-hp motor, which puts out 140 pound-feet of torque that can rocket the bike from 0 to 60 in under two seconds. Four default ride modes dictate the amount of traction control and the rate of acceleration.
Cruise downtown in Street mode, choose Rain when things get slick, or create custom settings via Zero’s smartphone app. The 161-mile range is just enough for a week’s worth of there-and-back commutes. To replenish your electrons, either hook it to a standard J1772 charging station (4.5 hours to 100 percent at a level 2 station) or use a wall socket (8.5 hours). Best of all, there’s no transmission, so there are no clutch-grabbing gear shifts required. A twist of the throttle jets you all the way to the office—or as far from work as your charge allows.”
Yeah, we’re in. But maybe when these reach half this price. Bleeding edge is not my style!
1962 Airstream Bambi Camper
$42,000 current bid on eBay
When fall finally arrives in the Midwest, my mind wanders to fall camping trips to Wisconsin and traveling at the crack of dawn with a weekend’s worth of essentials to a remote place… probably filled with spiders and other random bugs. Because of many years on bedrolls and faulty air mattresses, I’ve always wanted to step up our camping game, but not with some fiberglass bucket of formaldehyde foam. No, I want a REAL camper.
A Vintage Airstream much like this 16-foot 1962 Bambi model. Totally restored to like-new original condition, the folks who redid this one kept it just like it looked in the brochure. No satellite dish. No XM radio and LED lights. These tiny things were only made from 1961-63 and are highly sought after today since most Airstreams are much larger. This would look great pulled behind the ‘55 Plymouth… or perhaps an early 60’s Country Squire with a big 390 V8 under the hood.
Post-Show Bonus Items
- German prosecutors fined Daimler AG 870 million euros ($960 million) for “negligent violation of supervisory duties” to settle a probe into selling rigged diesel cars. Prosecutors found the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars sold about 684,000 vehicles that didn’t completely comply with regulations on emissions of nitrogen oxides, according to statements from Stuttgart authorities and Daimler. The company agreed not to contest the verdict and confirmed its financial guidance.
- A senior manager at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV was charged in connection with the Justice Department’s probe into excess emissions in diesel vehicles, according to documents unsealed Tuesday. Emanuele Palma, a diesel drivability and emissions senior manager at Fiat Chrysler, was charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud, defraud the United States, violating the Clean Air Act and making false statements about the emissions system used on Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. diesel vehicles …
Think Diesel cars are going to be popular in the US ever??? Probably not. Thanks again, Germany!
In other news…
- A retired salesman in Canada is heading to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, to be reunited with a Ford Mustang he accidentally sold 55 years ago. Ahead of the launch of the Ford Mustang in 1964, car dealerships were sent a pre-production vehicle to display. They weren’t intended to be sold to customers, but one — with the very first Mustang serial number — was purchased by a pilot in Newfoundland.
And finally, because modern oils aren’t meeting the performance demands being placed on today’s overworked, forced-induction, stop-start, we-want-300-horsepower-from-a-2-liter-motor world… the International Lubricant Specification Advisory Committee (ILSAC) will begin licensing sales of a new oil designated the GF-6 standard. This is mainly to address pre-ignition and excess timing chain wear that has occurred on newer engines with existing motor oils.
Two new types will appear after May 1, 2020.
GF6-A: backward-compatible standard for SAE 0W-20, SAE 5W-20, SAE 0W-30, SAE 5W-30, and SAE 10W-30, but not SAE 0W-16 viscosity grades.
GF6-B: OW-16 standard for newer vehicles that are originally equipped for this oil.
Talk to your service folks for the best advice on how to navigate this minefield.
Source: Motor Magazine
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