Episode 74 – Clarkson, Carlos & Uber Cars
Welcome to the auto podcast that you deserve.
On this episode of Throwin’ Wrenches…
- Uber wants a car. Would you drive it?
- Are Renault and Nissan finally over Carlos?
- Will Jeremy Clarkson ever work again?
All that and more on this episode of Throwin’ Wrenches.
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Eric shops for tires for Treehugger 3.0, and contemplates a mild lift at the same time. He also talks about his recent plumbing work.
Daryl discusses the joys of plastic fasteners while replacing headlights in his Dad’s 2008 Saturn Vue. He also receives his newly-restored Bendix power brake booster for the ’55 Caddy.
Nissan, Renault near rebalancing of alliance
Source: Japan Today
Nissan and Renault are nearing a “historic” rebalancing of their auto alliance, with a deal likely to be announced in the coming weeks, a source close to the talks said Tuesday.
The Japanese and French giants have been wrestling with a reshaping of their partnership for months, with discussions including a reduction of Renault’s hefty 43.7 percent stake in Nissan.
The pair joined forces in 1999 and were later joined by Mitsubishi Motors, but the union has been contentious, particularly in recent years.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Nissan’s independent directors had “given their green light” to a deal, paving the way for a “historic” agreement.
Final details are expected to be ironed out at a meeting in Japan on January 26, with the signing and an announcement the following week, the source added.
A Nissan spokeswoman declined to comment on “speculation”, but Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun daily also reported the deal was close to completion, and Jiji news agency said Renault’s CEO would be in Japan over the weekend.
Renault is expected to reduce its stake in Nissan to 15 percent, matching the size of the Japanese firm’s stake in its French partner.
Ghosn’s Daring Escape Cost His Extraction Crew Their Freedom
The father and son sentenced to serve time in a Japanese prison for smuggling Carlos Ghosn out of the country in a large musical-equipment case were transferred to the U.S. a week ago, ending another chapter of the corporate saga involving the former chairman of Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA.
Michael Taylor, the father and a former U.S. Green Beret, and his son Peter Taylor were imprisoned last year after they pleaded guilty to helping the auto industry executive flee trial in late 2019 and make his way to Beirut. Ghosn was arrested in Japan in 2018 on charges of underreporting income and other corporate crimes, which he has denied.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons flew both out of Japan late in October after the two governments agreed to let them serve the remainder of their sentences in the U.S., according to Peter, who was released soon after arrival. Michael is set to be freed soon, pending procedural matters, he added. A call to a spokesperson for the Tokyo prosecutor’s office was unanswered on Saturday.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Peter Taylor said from Massachusetts, adding that he’s trying to regain some of the weight he lost in prison. “It feels great. It’s difficult to put into words.”
With Ghosn out of reach — Lebanon doesn’t extradite its citizens — the pair’s situation became a proxy in Japan for Ghosn and his case. Greg Kelly, a former Nissan director who was detained on the same day as his boss, was exonerated of most charges and left Japan earlier this year. He is appealing the verdict.
Michael Taylor received a sentence of two years while Peter Taylor was ordered to serve 20 months in prison.
After spending time in jail in Japan, Ghosn was free on bail when he staged his escape. Ghosn traveled to Osaka’s airport on Dec. 29, 2019, by bullet train. From there, he was rolled onto a private jet that flew to Istanbul, where he switched planes and made his way to Beirut.
The duo had apologized to prosecutors and Japan’s justice system, saying that helping Ghosn flee was a mistake. Michael Taylor has never denied his involvement in the escape, speaking in court last year about how he organized and carried out the brazen operation. Peter’s role is less clear.
Amazon Likely to Part Ways With Jeremy Clarkson After Final Commissioned Shows Go to Air; ‘Grand Tour’ Host Sent Email Apology to Harry & Meghan
Amazon Prime Video is likely to be parting ways with Jeremy Clarkson mere weeks after his comments about Meghan Markle were published in British tabloid The Sun.
Sources tell Variety that the streaming service won’t be working with Clarkson beyond seasons of “The Grand Tour” and “Clarkson’s Farm” that have already been commissioned. This means that the notorious “Top Gear” presenter likely won’t be appearing in any new shows on Prime Video beyond 2024 (though there’s every chance a final “Grand Tour” episode could carry over into 2025).
Prime Video already has a number of shows in the works with Clarkson, which are going to go ahead, but the decision effectively means that “Clarkson’s Farm” will end with Season 3 (expected in 2024). It also means that motoring format “The Grand Tour,” one of Prime Video’s biggest shows, will also come to an end. Variety understands the series will conclude after four more special episodes — the last of which is expected to land in late 2024.
In a lengthy statement posted to his official Instagram on Monday afternoon, Clarkson says, “I really am sorry. All the way from the balls of my feet to the follicles on my head. This is me putting my hands up. It’s a mea culpa with bells on.”
The extensive apology for his December comments — in which Clarkson suggested Markle be made to “parade naked” through Britain while people “throw lumps of excrement at her” — comes a day ahead of a planned press conference for “Clarkson’s Farm.” (The promotional event for Season 2 of the show, launching on Feb. 10, was scheduled just days prior to Clarkson’s comments.)
Uber wants its future to have three-wheeled cars, face-to-face seats
Source: CNN Business
Uber drivers don’t always need four wheels, front-facing passenger seats and top speeds over 50 miles an hour just to drive people or deliveries from one place to another in a city. So Uber is working with automakers to create custom-built cars for urban ride- hail and delivery work, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said.
Custom-made electric vehicles with three wheels, for instance, could “have a much smaller footprint in terms of environmental but also traffic flow” than typical passenger cars, Khosrowshahi said in an interview with the the Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The discussion is shown in a video posted in the Journal’s website. Uber has said that it will offer only fully electric rides in the United States and Europe by 2030. Uber is already working with the electric commercial vehicle startup Arrival to create a a car just for ride-hailing applications.
In Uber’s custom ride-hail vehicles, Khosrowshahi said, passengers might sit facing one another to ease interaction rather than facing forward as occupants typically do in cars. Many cities, like New York, have low-speed limits which make higher horsepower, and, in turn, large and expensive battery packs, unnecessary.
Obnoxiously loud car? A traffic camera might be listening
Source: AP News
After the relative quiet of the pandemic, New York City has come roaring back. Just listen: Jackhammers. Honking cars and trucks. Rumbling subway trains. Sirens. Shouting.
Over the years, there have been numerous efforts to quiet the cacophony. One of the latest: traffic cameras equipped with sound meters capable of identifying souped-up cars and motorbikes emitting an illegal amount of street noise.
At least 71 drivers have gotten tickets so far for violating noise rules during a yearlong pilot program of the system. The city’s Department of Environmental Protection now has plans to expand the use of the roadside sound meters.
“Vehicles with illegally modified mufflers and tailpipes that emit extremely loud noise have been a growing problem in recent years,” said City Council member Erik Bottcher, who heralded the arrival of the radars to his district to help reduce “obnoxious” noise.
New York City already has one of the most extensive noise ordinances in the country, setting allowable levels for a host of noisemakers, such as jackhammers and vehicles.
A state law known as the Stop Loud and Excessive Exhaust Pollution Act, or the SLEEP Act, that went into effect last spring raised fines for illegal modifications of mufflers and exhaust systems.
Most New Car Buyers Are Now Paying Less Than Sticker Price
A year ago, record tight inventories meant 80% of buyers were paying more than the manufacturers’ suggested retail price (MSRP), or sticker price, according to data from Edmunds. For decades, car buyers had been able to negotiate a discount. Today, only 36% of buyers are paying above sticker. After paying an average of $700 above MSRP in the spring, buyers paid an average of $300 less than sticker in December.
Wyoming Pushes EV Sales ‘Phaseout,’ But Senator Behind Legislation Shrugs at Its Prospects
Source: Automotive News
Wyoming State Senator Jim Anderson sponsored a bill last week that, if enacted, would phase out new electric vehicle sales in the state by 2035. However, Anderson told Automotive News on Wednesday, he doesn’t intend for it to pass, and he doesn’t begrudge anybody buying EVs. The bill comes as a number of other states are moving in the opposite direction, eyeing the end of gasoline-powered vehicle sales in favor of electrics and plug-in hybrids.
Is it legal to ride in the back of a pickup truck in Illinois?
If you grew up in Illinois with someone who owned a pickup truck, chances are you rode in the bed of that truck at least once or twice.
There are a lot of reasons one might ride in the back of a truck, especially since it can feel liberating to do so. But is it legal?
Although there aren’t any specific laws banning passengers from riding in the cargo area, Illinois law requires that everyone in the vehicle wears a seatbelt.
Additionally, children under the age of 16 must be secured by a seat belt or child safety seat under the Child Passenger Safety Act. It’s also illegal to ride in a tow vehicle on a public highway, such as a trailer, semitrailer, or wagon.
In other words, you cannot legally ride in the back of a pickup truck in Illinois, as there are no seatbelts to secure anyone riding in it.
Other states also have restrictions on who can ride in the bed of a truck or trailer. For example, drivers in Texas transporting anyone younger than 18 in the bed of a truck or on a trailer can face a fine between $25 and $200.
Regardless of age, the risk of traveling without a seatbelt still exists, and drivers should be aware of how dangerous traveling with riders in the back of a truck or trailer can be.
Cars of the Weak
Eric: 2023 Winnebago Class B RV Solis 59P – $99,900
Source: RV Trader
2023 Winnebago Solis 59P w/ Pop Top, 19’9”, No Slides, 3.6L V6 Gas, 2022 Ram ProMaster Chassis, 220 Watt Flexible Surface Solar Panel, Electric PS, Dash Air, Cruise, Radio/Rearview Monitor System w/ Touchscreen, USB Ports, Digital Rearview Mirror, Push Button Start, Full Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus, Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking System, Post Collision Braking, Crosswind Assist, Power Mirrors w/ Defrost, Slide/Swivel/Recline Cab Seats, Front Cab Air Mattress, Side Screen Door, Rear Screen Door, Aluminum Running Board w/ Pet Loop Attachment, Rod & Privacy Screen For Rear Annex, Exterior Wash Station, Truma Combi Eco Heating System, Eco Hot Water System, Heated Drainage System, Monitor Panel, USB Charging Ports, Zipped Window Coverings, 2 Burner Range Top, 3.0 Cu. Ft. (12V) Single Door Compressor Driven Fridge/Freezer, Sink, Dinette Seating (w/ Seatbelts), Removable Pedestal Table, Wet Bath w/ Swiveling Cassette Toilet & Shower, Murphy+ Bed w/ Slat Bed System, Movable Table, Deluxe Powered Ventilator Fan in Bedroom Area, Pop-Top Sleeping Area w/ Froli Sleep System, Sleeps 5, Nomad Interior (Beige), Weathered Teak Wood, Bright Silver Exterior
Daryl: 1966 Dodge Coronet 500 Convertible – $54,998
Source: Volo Auto Museum and Sales
From the listing: Outstanding body! Laser beam straight, the gaps are precise. No rust or damage. The bright red paint is polished like glass. You would have to look really close to find a flaw. It even feels slick like teflon. Bright white power top. Our shop replaced the top cylinder and bled the system. We aligned the windows and repaired the regulators. The Magnum 500 wheels sparkle like new. They are wrapped in reproduction Wide Oval redline tires.
Correct 383 big block with a 4 barrel carb. All stock including manifolds, valve covers, air cleaner etc. All the components look like new- alternator, wiper motor, master cylinder, distributor etc.
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