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Episode 76: Cybertruck & the Search for Lost Catalytic Converters

Welcome to the auto podcast that didn’t find the cats on the last show. Thanks, Regan!

With some help from our friend Gabe Casey, we will try to find them on this episode.

Episode highlights

  • We are talking kegs and cats!
  • Rivian and Amazon: What’s going on?
  • Elon is building a utopia in Texas.

Remember kids, you can join in on the fun anytime by sending us email at info@throwinwrenches.com or hitting us up on Facebook.

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Preshow Plug

Patreon and iTunes Premium members will get to enjoy an extra hour of material featuring Gabe’s latest escapades and Eric’s health advice for people over 50. You know you want to listen to that, right?

We thought so.

Also, all medical advice is anecdotal and not to be taken seriously. We are not doctors. Heck we’re barely humans. Enjoy at your own risk.


GM Looks to Deepen Mining Ties With Stake in Brazil’s Vale

Source: The Wall Street Journal
General Motors Co. has discussed taking a small stake in Brazilian miner Vale SA’s base metals unit, a business that mines and processes nickel and other metals crucial to building electric vehicle batteries, according to people familiar with the matter. Vale said in December it would consider selling up to a 10% stake in the business, without disclosing a potential sale price. A stake of that size could be valued at as much as $2 billion, according to some of the people. Global automakers are racing to lock in enough battery resources to support their electric-vehicle-sales targets in coming years.

Volvo CEO stirs up new angst among U.S. dealers

Source: Automotive News
Volvo Cars will introduce a direct-to-consumer sales model in the United Kingdom by the end of this year. And the Swedish automaker intends to export the concept to additional markets. The notion is already causing unease among Volvo’s American dealers. Former Dyson exec and Volvo’s newly minted CEO, Jim Rowan, stated he believes the normal means of promoting big-ticket autos by way of third events is “flawed.”

Rivian In Talks With Amazon To Get Rid Of Van Exclusivity Clause

Move could allow Rivian to sell its electric delivery vans to other fleet and retail customers.
Source: Inside EVs
Electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive and its largest shareholder and customer Amazon are reportedly in talks to end the exclusivity part of their electric van deal.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter, Amazon informed the EV maker it wanted to buy about 10,000 vans this year. The number was at the low end of a range it previously provided Rivian.

In response, Rivian proposed removing the exclusivity terms, which would allow the company to sell its Electric Delivery Vehicles (EDV) to other fleet and retail customers, increasing revenues. The sources added that the talks are ongoing.

Special Cat Section:
Catalytic Converter News Roundup

‘Cat’ Thefts Continue, Could Get Worse

Source: Auto Dealer Today
The jump in catalytic converter thefts since the pandemic continues and could worsen. Statistics compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a group focused on preventing and prosecuting insurance crime, show theft of “cats” skyrocketed 1,215% from 2019 and 2022. A congressional bill supported by the National Automobile Dealers Association has been reintroduced to fight the thefts. The Preventing Auto Recycling Theft Act, or PART, would require new vehicles’ VINs to be stamped on their converters, making stolen parts traceable, and create a grants program to pay for the marking of existing vehicles.

Catalytic Converter Thefts Are on the Rise Across the Country. Russia Could Make It Worse.

Source: Auto Remarketing

There has been a stark rise in catalytic converter thefts across the country since 2019 and there’s a chance Russia could make it worse. Each of the metals has faced supply chain issues since the pandemic occurred, but Russia may limit its imports of palladium, according to the Times. As of March 2022, Russia is responsible for exporting approximately 40% of the world’s palladium, the Times reported, citing Moody Analytics.

NADA notes: Catalytic converter theft proposal & Assurant donation

Source: Auto Remarketing 

A couple of developments surfaced this week after the National Automobile Dealers Association wrapped up NADA Show 2023. First, NADA welcomed the reintroduction of the Preventing Auto Recycling Theft (PART) Act (S. 154) by four U.S. Senators. Then, the association’s workforce initiative received a $30,000 donation from Assurant.

Bill cracking down on catalytic converter thefts goes into effect in Oregon

A new law aimed at stopping catalytic converter thefts went into effect in Oregon in 2022. Senate Bill 803 works to stop the spike in catalytic converter thefts by limiting which metal recycling companies can buy them, creating a barrier for people selling on the black market.
Those approved buyers are only allowed to take “legitimately acquired catalytic converters” and keep the make, model year, VIN and license number of the vehicle it came from to redeem their value.
According to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, this stops “those unscrupulous commercial vendors willing to buy stolen catalytic converters” from making any profits.
“Beer kegs are made up of valuable metal, yet we don’t have an epidemic of beer keg theft. That’s because there are market protections in place that make it nearly impossible to profit from selling them because there are no buyers,” said Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Demer.
The bill was fast-tracked to curb the dramatic rise in thefts across the region.
“We can’t rely only on arrest and prosecution to solve this problem. SB 803 strikes at the heart of catalytic converter theft by taking away the market. This will help us get upstream of this scourge and allow us to focus our limited resources more effectively,” Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt said.

Legislation Introduced to Combat Catalytic Converter Thefts

Source: Automotive Fleet
U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., reintroduced a bipartisan bill Thursday mandating that vehicle owners and independent repair shops have the same access to repair and maintenance tools and data as automakers and their franchised dealerships. The bill — known as the Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair Act — was previously introduced last year by Illinois Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush, who retired after his term ended Jan. 4.

Elon Musk Offers Another Brazen Prediction After Photo of Cybertruck Goes Viral

Source: The Street

After having downplayed the rollout of the Tesla (TSLA) – Get Free Report Cybertruck, CEO Elon Musk has continued to tweet about it. Cybertruck sightings on public roads have been reported over the last week, and Musk has been popping into the comments of some of these posts on social media.

“Yeah, still many small tweaks to make it better (and the side mirrors are removable by owner), but this is very close to production design,” Tesla CEO Musk said in a Feb. 3 tweet.
In another tweet on Feb. 10, Musk offered a thought about the Cybertruck’s impact.
“It will change the look of the roads,” wrote @elonmusk.

Musk hasn’t committed to a specific timeline on any shipments yet, however.
“We do expect production to start, I don’t know, maybe sometime this summer,” Musk said on a January 26 conference call. “But I always like to try to downplay the start of production because the start of production is always very slow. It increases exponentially, but it’s always very slow at first. So I wouldn’t put too much thought into the start of production. It’s kind of when volume production actually happens, and that’s next year.”

Meanwhile in the Twitterverse…

Musk Forced Algorithm Change to Help Boost His Tweets, Platformer Says

Source:  Bloomberg via Yahoo! News
Elon Musk had Twitter Inc. engineers working late on Sunday to alter his social network’s algorithm and prioritize his tweets, resulting in a glut of them in users’ feeds on Monday, according to a report by Platformer.
The billionaire Twitter owner was said to be unhappy with the number of views of his Super Bowl tweet. As a result of his request, Twitter excluded Musk’s tweets from filters designed to improve the quality of users’ timelines, Platformer said, and artificially boosted them by a factor of 1,000. Users across Twitter complained about seeing an abundance of the owner’s missives on the day following the Super Bowl.
Musk’s message of support for the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday got significantly lower engagement than US President Joe Biden expressing a similar sentiment. The company’s chief has been increasingly focused on — and frustrated by — his personal engagement numbers, which have been dropping in recent weeks, the report said. Musk has nearly 129 million followers, whereas Biden’s account has 37 million.

Before taking the company private in a $44 billion deal in October, the Tesla Inc. chief executive officer spoke of his desire to make it an even playing field and eliminate bias in the system. Twitter didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. Musk tweeted liberally about Twitter and its functionality after the publication of the report but didn’t address its content. Earlier, he tweeted a meme suggesting his tweets were going to be force-fed to Twitter users. He also said the company was making adjustments to the algorithm.

Cars of the Weak

Eric: 1959 MG MGA

This 1959 MG MGA is a black-over-tan roadster that was completed on January 13, 1959 for the North American export market and is said to have remained in long-term ownership in Alabama until 2011 after which it was acquired by the seller as a non-running project in August 2015. Subsequent work included rebuilding the 1.5L inline-four and four-speed manual transmission, replacing the wiring harness, refurbishing the instrumentation, and installing leather upholstery. Additional equipment consists of 15″ wire wheels with chrome knock-offs, chrome front and rear bumpers, dual SU carburetors, a black soft top and side curtains, a tonneau cover, and lap belts. This MGA roadster is now offered at no reserve with parts invoices, a tool kit, repair manuals and literature, a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust (BMIHT) certificate, and Georgia registration.

Daryl: 1962 Ford t-Bird M-Code $10,000

Source: Facebook Marketplace

1962 Thunderbird M-code
As is
Not running
They only made a few hundred m-codes in 1962.
Been in dry storage for most of its life.

Why does Daryl like stuff that doesn’t run?

Gabe: 1949 Dodge Power Wagon – $38,000

Source: Facebook Marketplace

Mostly original, added disc brakes, power steering, tires and rims.

PTO winch, 4×4

It’s in Pekin, so this is close to being feasible.

As always, thanks for listening!


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