Over the next few days, we are on vacation here in The Garage. We’ll be out and about, hiking and paddling around different parts of Ontario and visiting Mosport for a bit of kart racing. To keep our readers somewhat entertained, Jaime is going to help out a bit by posting some memorobilia for me. We have some cool stuff coming your way including Can Am, Grand Prix, sports car racing and a really cool book of Achievement from Castrol.
Archives for July 2006
Over at AskPatty.com Amy Mattinat has a great post explaining why you don’t have to service at your dealer. While I’ve built my career working in dealerships, I’ll be the first to tell you that there are some great independants out there. Amy is correct in pointing out that often a top dealership tech will leave and open his own specialty shop. These are the guys who you should be looking for, the shop that specializes in your brand of car. They are going to be the ones who are most likely to have the computer equipment needed for your modern car and the knowledge to use it correctly.
One thing I wanted to touch on is the use of aftermarket parts. One of the great things about the aftermarket is the incredible selection that is available. A good jobber may have brake pads at 4 different price points for any given car. Chances are that they will have 2 pads that are cheaper than the OE pad and one that is more expensive. Is there a difference? You bet there is. You wouldn’t believe the number of people who take their car away from the dealer based on price, only to return to complain that the brakes they had done cheaper elsewhere are noisy. Which of the above pads do you think they used? Sure, the cheaper pads are still safe, but they may not last as long and they’ll almost always make more noise.
Engine related parts, such as oil filters and ignition parts are built by a supplier to the OE manufacturer’s specs. Then, those parts are warranted by the OE manufacturer. The aftermarket parts may even come from the same production line, but depending on their intended price point they may not have been built to exactly the same specs. They will almost certainly not be covered by the same warranty as the OE product would have been.
Many years ago, when I worked for one of the traditional domestics, a customer’s van was towed in with a blown engine. The van had under 50,000 km on it and had received regular oil changes at the dealer, until the most recent one. The oil had been changed less than 1,000 km before by a major Canadian automotive retail chain & had one of it’s branded filters. Investigation found that the paper from the filter had disintegrated and had been sucked up against the oil pump screen, stopping the flow of oil through the engine. The oil starved engine spun a connecting rod bearing and threw a rod through the side of the block. Ironically, the major chain brand filter had been manufactured by the same company as built the OE filters at the time. The difference was in the warranty. Of course the vehicle maufacturer refused to cover the engine repair for obvious reasons. The retailer that did the oil change offered up a new filter! The retail chain’s customer relations department stated that the extent of their liability to the consumer was to replace the faulty filter, not to repair any resultant damage. After a legal battle that took close to a year, the retailer was ordered to install a used engine in the customer’s van. After a year, he got a used engine! Had the failed filter been branded as OE and had been installed at a dealer, the repair would have been covered under warranty and he would have had his van back in a couple of days.
This story is and extreme case, but it is a true story. This stuff does happen. That extra little bit of security is something to think about when having an independant install aftermarket parts on your car.
Think the Tesla looks like a massaged Lotus Elise? Well, there is a good reason for it. The car was designed by Lotus staff for Tesla, based on the Elise. Teslas developed the advanced Lithium Ion batteries that allow the car to travel up to 250 miles without a charge. A newspaper in Norfolk UK is reporting the Lotus has signed an agreement with Tesla to produce the Tesla Roadster at the Lotus plant in Hethel.
At this year’s VARAC festival, The Garage had a chance to speak with Dave Boone about his wonderful vintage dirt track racer, the Hubley Bluenose Special. The car was built in 1930, from an assortment of parts, many from the Chevrolet Brothers Speed Equipment Catalogue from the 20’s. The car is powered by a 1925 “490” Chev engine that in stock form may have put out a whopping 35 HP and sports wheels from a 1935 Chevy. The engine inhales through a Fish carb that was built in Daytona and exhales through a unique, custom built header pipe. Due to it’s southern origin, the Fish carb has no choke, which works well in Florida, but not so well in the cooler months in Ontario.
Way down south in Death Valley, those guys from Edmunds Straightline blog have snapped some pics of the 2008 Nissan Armada. With more power and flex fuel options, most of the upgrades shown seem to be of the interior variety.
The Swiss have smoked the Italians and looked a damn site cooler doing it! Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht piloted the Rinspeed Splash across the English Channel, setting a new world record of just over 193 minutes to surf from Dover to Sangatte. This record puts the high tech hydrofoil car into the Guiness Book of World Records. I bet it was a hell of a lot more fun than the Fiat
Panda Pontoon Party boat.
pics and press release after the break.
They say that the Cougar Ace is as water tight as a ziploc baggie and that 4,700 Mazdas aren’t headed to Davy Jones locker. It seems that a ballast adjustment gone awry is what caused the ship to tip. While the extent of the damage isn’t known, it would seem likely that there is little if any damage to the vehicles. Ocean going cargo ships are designed to withstand some pretty big waves, that often roll ships up on their side momentarily and cargo (like cars) are usally secured in anticipation of this. I suspect that there will be more damage while they figure out how to unload. Let’s face it, they’re going to need something a lot bigger than what Bob’s Towing can offer to pull this thing upright.
Mazda press release after the break
It’s been close to 40 years since Cosworth started building engines for Grand Prix cars, specifically for Matra and Lotus. Now, British Formula 1 team Williams has confirmed that their cars will no longer be using Cosworth power. Williams have entered a 3 year contract with Toyota to run the same engine as powers the Toyota F1 car. This leaves only the Torro Rosso entry using Cosworth engines.
Cosworth Engines have scored World Championships with Graham Hill and Michael Schumacher, but have not scored a race win since Fisichella wond the Brazilian GP in 2003.
Source Full Throttle
Nissan press release
Round 5 of SUPER GT was held at Sportsland SUGO. The XANAVI NISMO Z (#23) with Satoshi Motoyama and Tsugio Matsuda took a 2nd place finish after an exciting and fierce battle. The MOTUL AUTECH Z (#22) with Michael Krumm and Richard Lyons started from 5th, finishing on the 3rd step of the podium. The number of spectators totaled 50,100.
I must be pretty oblivious. Somehow I’ve completely missed the release of this beautiful machine, which was really surpising given the amount of reading I do while researching for The Garage. When we were over at BMW Canada taking pics of Kenzie’s Mini, there were actually 3 of these things sitting there. Just a sweet looking piece. I’m going to have to get some seat time in one.
more pics after the break