The Pros and Cons of Spoilers

Mehta_Spoilers

Adding a rear or chin spoiler is one of the necessary accessories for many drivers. What are the benefits? Some just prefer the look and consider it an extra dosage of muscle in the Pony. Of course, spoilers are “supposed” to add performance to the car, but whether or not any downforce is added is up for debate. Some pros say yes, some say no, so it’s up to what research strikes your fancy – but really, it’s what you think of the look.

One thing to consider is whether or not your specific model is “supposed” to have a spoiler. Some cars, like the 2008 Shelby GT, have ducktail spoilers made by Shelby for Shelby. Other models come straight from the manufacturer with a low wing rear spoiler. There are some enthusiasts who belong to the camp of believing only real Ford Mustang parts belong on these machines. On the other hand, there are others who enjoy thinking outside the box and are up for creating a one of a kind powerhouse with whatever spoiler floats their boat.Mehta_Spoilers2

The Downside

Adding the “wrong” spoiler will not negatively impact the performance of a car. However, choosing to modify a Mustang with a spoiler obviously costs money. Prices of spoilers can range drastically, so it’s important to do a little research to find one that fits a budget. More importantly, adding a spoiler – especially one that is not made specifically for a particular Mustang model – might make a difference when (or if) it comes time to sell. Will the new owner be a fan of your choice?

What Some Fans Say

Regardless of what you believe, the “real” reason spoilers were born was to increase a car’s grip on the road. How much downforce a car has is extremely important in the racing world and most of the time the only thing keeping a Mustang on a track is the weight of the car. One way to help with grip is to increase the weight of the car – but that negatively impacts how a Pony performs in turns. Spoilers are basically upside down airplane wings that are meant to add grip without the added weight. Does it work? That’s up to you to decide.

Options Abound

So, you’ve decided a spoiler is a right option for you. Now comes the tough part – there are seemingly limitless spoilers out there. Cobra styles come with or without lights. Maybe you want to replace that factory low wing rear spoiler with an F-40 high wing spoiler with a red light. An AIT racing spoiler is a popular option for drivers looking to improve on the track. No matter what you decide, remember that spoilers require some serious changes to the car (like holes in the trunk), so choose wisely.

Why The Car Industry Is So Vital

OP-ED By P. Wimsett

The building of cars is the number one industry in the US and other countries. This is why in a pandemic economy it has been protected by the government.

There’s more to it than that though. You need to able to travel to school or work. Then you have business conferences, expos and similar. Added to this, various aspects of the entertainment, travel & leisure industry/hotels, theaters and sports arenas…the list goes on and on. It’s all about people being at the right place when you need to be there. So, there is a definitely an argument to be made that transportation impacts ever other industry on some level.

But is domestic manufacture vital as an industry?

The History of American Car Making

The mass production of cars was famously begun by Henry Ford. He also created large plants or super factories as well as moving assembly line. This was the only way a Model T could be created every 24 seconds.

The superfactory infrastructure was also vital in getting the time down, having a glass factory and a steel mill as well as a number of other plants in the general vicinity. If you have to rely on deliveries the process breaks down.

There is an argument for assembling cars one at a time in a shed using parts (glass frames, radiators etc) but it would be very unlikely to make a profit. Some luxury sports cars are made this way. This business model relies on having a car ordered in advance of making it and these cars are by definition, luxury (not needed) meaning if they aren’t made the buyer can simply get a different car elsewhere.

If we’re only looking at vital cars, then we’re looking at affordable cars or vehicles built to a vital purpose like hauling goods to market. Affordable cars need to be mass produced not made to order. A modern car factory needs to work at 80% capacity just to break even. You also have the difficulty of maintaining working conditions in a small environment. So, a superfactory is better.

Well, this might be an exaggeration as it would be hard to visualize the big-name cars being “clinker-built.” It wouldn’t be safe, it wouldn’t be quick and it wouldn’t be economical. So, it could be said that the superfactory system is the only way.

As well as the factories you also need showrooms and forecourts (auto lots) as well as the annual motor-shows for the system to work. With motor-shows being cancelled (most notably the one in Detroit but there usually hundreds around the world) and car lot sales so restricted that sales in general are breaking down.

Detroit

To examine how vital the industry is, it is probably worthwhile to focus on the city of Detroit. What sort of city would it be without the Big Three-General Motors, Ford and Chrysler? And what would the US economy be without these three names? There are so many questions and because we are still living through it, so few answers as yet.

Although the Big Three are no longer the biggest names in car processing they are still big enough to the US economy to be protected.

So, this is where we are, in a non-industrialized state of limbo. For our own good this state of affairs cannot continue for that much longer. There is the health risk, true, but poverty in a country causes mental complications. How long can the US economy survive on handouts from the government, which is really barrowing against the future? No one knows, but it appears we’re going to find out.

Fill ’er up…

We do it every day, fill up the car with gas or diesel. But it might be worthwhile looking at gas stations themselves. Many are owned by the big names such as Shell and Gulf, and fair number of the smaller names have gone under.

What we commonly call a “gas station” in the US is more technically called a “Filling Station” as the idea was to supply automobiles with whatever sort of fuel or lubricant they needed—be it gas or deasil, oil, and yes, Propane.

They became known a little later as service stations when they were combined with small mechanic shops to provide basic tire and engine repair functions. Later still, the service portion was remodelled to include snacks and beverages, which came at a high mark-up because they were convenient. This was, of course, called a convenience store.

A Little About Gas Station Design

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filling_station

Filling stations typically offer one of three types of service to their customers: full service, minimum service or self-service.

Full service An attendant or gas jockey operates the pumps, often wipes the windshield, and sometimes checks the vehicle’s oil level and tire pressure, then collects payment and perhaps a small tip.

Minimum service An attendant operates the pumps. This is often required due to legislation that prohibits customers from operating the pumps.

Oregon and New Jersey forbid you to pump your own gas.

Self service The customer performs all required service. Signs informing the customer of filling procedures and cautions are displayed on each pump. Customers can still enter a store or go to a booth to give payment to a person.

Unmanned Using cardlock (or pay-at-the-pump) system, these are completely unstaffed.

The First Gas Stations

The first filling station in the US (and also the world) was built in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1905 at 420 South Theresa Avenue. (The 2nd was in Seattle, WA. BTW). You could get your hands-on fuel prior to that, but it was an add-on to an existing business—like a dry goods or general store. When Henry Ford made the automobile a middle-class purchase the need for a boutique store became obvious. By 1909 a third station was built in Altoona, Pennsylvania. But none of these stations would have looked quite right to the modern eye.

The first “drive-in” station came December 1, 1913 when Gulf Refining Company built it in Pittsburgh, PA.

Historic Gas Stations

In America, when you think gas, you probably think of Texas. There’s an obvious reason why, the oil boon from the start to the middle of the 20th century. The Oil Boom moved Texas from a rural state with lots of ranches to a largely industrial state where petroleum dependent manufacturing could be near the source. Texans depend so much on gas for daily living- so much so that they are known as the “oil patch community” and many of the towns located throughout the state are known as “oil towns.”

Additionally, several oil patch museums are located within the State which are no doubt worth seeking out for anyone with an interest in how Texas became so prosperous. Here are a few examples of Lone-Star States historic gas stations.

The Old Sinclair Station was built in 1933, an interesting part of the façade are the wood-sash windows (metal ones are much more common nowadays). It exemplifies Spanish Colonial architecture service stations which at one time could be found all over the US. These have become increasingly rare, unfortunately.

Schauer Filling Station

The Schauer Filling Station, completed in 1929, can be found in Houston. It consists of a blue bungalow with a wide veranda (where the gas pumps used to be). The building has fallen on hard times, described in 2013 as being in a ruinous condition. Scavengers have been salvaging parts off without asking. It has since been listed as a national historic site, which will hopefully attract someone willing to restore the building, or at least prevent further pilfering.

Jenkins-Harvey Super Service Station

The Jenkins-Harvey Super Service Station and Factory was also built in 1929 and has an Art Deco style with various foliage designs. It was built by local architect James P. Baugh and funded by local businessman Samuel A Lindsey. The gas pumps were removed in the 1980s but it is still in relatively good conditions, probably due to how much concrete is in its construction.

The Phillips 66 gas station in McClean, Texas has a gabled roof and has a general Tudor revival style, as well as a front chimney. Unfortunately, this specific one was completely remodeled in 1991 but still bears some of its old style.

Gas Station Memorabilia

Dino

Not only do gas stations themselves offer an interesting history but sometimes it’s the logos, mascots or other paraphernalia associated with them. Sinclair Gas was associated with a green dinosaur for instance called Dino which can still be found throughout the US. Other mascots included a figure looking at a flame wearing white with the message “Happy Motoring” on their top (Esso), a beaver with a red hat (Buc-ee’s, which also run convenience stores and fast food restaurants) and a blue X with a long nose (Idex; the mascot’s name is Idekkun). There are too many mascots to mention them all here, but generally speaking they are all quite colorful in order to get drivers attention.

Dealing with an emergency vehicle

So, who is in charge when you are on a driving exam? Even though the person grading you on your exam is giving instructions and even though they hold your fate in their hands, you are ultimately responsible for the vehicle because you are the driver.

Actually, the law always takes precedent over the exam proctor during a driving test. They won’t tell you things like, “the speed on this road is 45MPH.” However, the most stressful thing that can happen during a driving test is when an emergency vehicle enters your route. Sometimes an exam proctor will give you instructions in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances but many times they simply wait to see how you react to it.

One of the challenges is that many drivers on the road don’t know what to do when an emergency vehicle comes on the scene. Other vehicles on the road may not behave exactly as you think they should.

So, when you see an emergency vehicle what do you do?

Well, its simple really; pull over. If you don’t pull over and it was safe to do so you will fail your driving test. A police car on the scene can site you for failing to yield but they generally don’t have time.

If you are stuck somewhere where it’s impossible to pull over, you may have to pull over as far as possible for the emergency vehicle to get through. You should also beware that another emergency vehicle isn’t following it (it may not be the same type by the way, for instance if you have an ambulance you may get a police car following on behind).

Remember though it is always advisable only to stop if the situation isn’t hazardous; do not put yourself in danger.

The Toughest Thing About Emergency Vehicles!

Because the sirens are generally on it should give you plenty of time to respond, though you might have initial confusion on where the emergency vehicle is coming from. As with all times on a driving test it is essential not to panic. If you aren’t on a driving test and you were listening to music turn it off until the emergency vehicle has passed.

It is always a good idea to stay especially alert in a situation such as this.

Although you might be tempted to follow an emergency vehicle through traffic, especially if its an ambulance carrying a loved one, do NOT do this. You should be more than 500 feet away from the emergency vehicle at all times.

When you overtake an Emergency Vehicle.

When you see an emergency vehicle at the side of the road you should reduce your speed slightly and change lanes if it is safe enough to do so. If you can’t change lanes you should proceed with caution.

Emergency Vehicles from Different Directions

How exactly you deal with an emergency vehicle depends on where they approach from. If they approach from behind (that is, if you see one in your rear view mirrors) you must attempt to pull over, staying as close to the curb as you can.

If they are approaching from the front you must still stop and pull over. This is in case the drivers in the opposite lane cannot pull over fully.

The difficulty with emergency vehicles may reveal itself at intersections. Ideally, no part of your car should be impeding the emergency vehicle’s progress.

This specific law is known as the “Move Over” law, but it also known as the “Steer Clear” law in Pennsylvania. There may be a specific speed limit for cars that cannot get out of the way of an emergency vehicle, for instance in Texas it is 20 mph below the advertised speed limit.

According to information released by Taylor & Francis Online more firefighters die in traffic accidents than the fire itself, though it does refer to these vehicles being a hazard to other road users. It’s difficult to think of a solution to this problem as a fire engine must get to the incident as quickly as possible.

The Great Racing Car Teams

Farrari Racing

Top racing teams include McLaren, Williams, Ferrari and Red Bull. The reasons these teams stay on or near the top year after year is because they recruit the best race car drivers and support the best engines.

As with anything else, money can buy success, but only to a limited degree. Ferrari seems to be one of the highest funded – a cool 300 million according to a recent New York Times article.

Financial crises are not good for any business, but the successful race teams become smaller and more streamlined.

Qualities of a good Driver:

Sometimes it is about luck, finding the right drivers for instance. It’s a high-pressure job and in order to race effectively, drivers must stay in shape — it’s not only steering a car. The most easily overlooked aspect of racing is the teamwork. Drivers must be able to communicate constantly with their team, via radio, and work to make good decisions as a team.

Let’s look over the different teams:

Mercedes racing began in 1954. Along with Auto-Union cars they acquired the name of Silver Arrows. This is because German cars tended to race in silver, though they did have white cars too such as the Blintez Benz. Even now many German cars are referred to as being colored “Silver Arrow Gray”.

Red Bull Racing

The team currently uses AMG-Petronas cars which are silver with a green – or possibly turquoise- trim. In 2020 Merc introduced black livery in support of Black Lives Support.

Ferrari’s racing team is Scuderia Ferrari known also as the Prancing Horse. Confusingly though other teams can still use Ferrari engines and it makes sense for them to do so as they are one of the most efficient, both on the racetrack and off. Strange it may seem, although the team was created by Enzo Ferrari they originally used Alfa Romeo engines instead of Ferrari ones. Although it seems a long time ago it wasn’t until 1947 that they used Ferrari engines. This was due to Alfa Romeo’s teething troubles at the period.

Their supporters are known as the tifosi (please note they do support other Italian cars though!) who famously cheer when the cars go past them. Italians are one of the biggest fan groups of motor racing. As with the domestic cars Ferrari race cars have a strong red hue.

The Williams team was formed in 1977 in the Spanish Grand Prix. Although it used Ford, Honda and Renault engines it also used the lesser-known Judd and Cosworth engines. Judd and Cosworth don’t make ordinary cars, just the racing engines.

Red Bull has also used Cosworth engines as well as Ferrari and Renault engines. In 2019 they changed to Honda. In order to support future drivers, they also have a Red Bull junior team.

Whether it comes down to getting the lucky breaks, or being able to finance a team well, these great teams have and will continue to field some of the most winning drivers on the circuit.

Rare Pickups on The Market

GMC Crewcab

Although pickups seem designed to carry a load, only 15% of them are designed for work. One reason is that they were built as a passenger vehicle only with a little more cargo capacity. Regardless of the original design intent, many car makers have tried their hand at making a pickup and many pickups are quite collectable.

Collectable Trucks

The Lincoln Blackwood doesn’t look like a regular pickup, it barely has enough room for a load. Nor does it have a 4×4. A crossover in all but style, you may say.

The Sierra California Sundancer has such a huge cab and the sunroof is another unusual addition. It was only sold for one year in the state of California in 1987. They appear rather cumbersome and either didn’t catch on or they were just too expensive to make.

VW

VW Rabbit

The VW Rabbit doesn’t have the iconic VW look but it was a breakaway design created in the 1970s to satisfy those who wanted a pickup with qualities similar to the Datsun Truck and Ford Courier.

Created in a plant in Pennsylvania with a choice of 1.6L diesel and 1.7L it was strange that the VW Rabbit didn’t do better. A notable feature was that the normal gear was marked “E” for economy – a low gear is best for the bank balance – instead of “D” for drive.

Chevy

Chevy Cameo

It’s weird to turn the design of Chevrolet into a pickup but the Cameo attempts this. Again, it had limited manufacture, in this case in the 1950s. Still, it remains a stylish pickup.

Other Chevy pickups include the Chevrolet Colorado has an extended cab size and a payload of 1,575 pounds (the payload is the amount that can be carried); also it can tow 7,000 pounds. The most successful Chevrolet pickup model has been the Silverado which has both basic and luxury models. In 2020 a Silverado HD model came out.

Dodge

A strong red model with a huge hood is the Ram Heavy Duty. It has 1000 pounds weight of torque. The torque is the power it needs to work through gear changes; because a pickup truck carries or tows more weight than a sports car it needs to have more power, especially when driven at low speeds.

Cadillac

How can you improve an ancient pickup? Take the 1949 Cadillac Diamond T201, it’s wise to repaint the black fenders and handlamps and re-upholster the leather interior. Unfortunately, as it’s a traditional pickup it only has a cab so no room for backseat passengers. You still have the 6-cylinder engine and 4 speed transmission to their credit.

With less than 10,000 models around this is an ideal pickup to rejuvenate, especially given the walking cane gear stick – it just oozes class in a way unusual in a pickup, but that’s what you would expect from Cadillac.

In conclusion

Ultimately these types of vehicle require strong suspension to allow them to carry heavy loads, an SUV provides a smoother ride for you. The pickup is there if you want the option to move heavy loads too. You have balance out the need for smoothness or the need for storage space.

What is a Performance Car?

Porsche Cayman

A high performing car is obviously about speed, but also it needs to be able to use that speed safely. This kind of vehicle gives more power and acceleration (the 0-60 rate) than its weight would suggest. To be considered a performance car a vehicle needs to be above average in such variables as acceleration, reaching a top speed, braking and cornering.

Deep Dive on Cornering

Cayman who runs Porsche has explained the process of cornering as merely changing directions at speed – in other words having strong and quick reacting controls (which includes but it is not limited to steering) so you can change your mind in an emergency.

An essential part of performance cars is the power-to-size ratio. The performance car tends to have sporty, bigger engines. This trend can be traced back to Carrol Shelby who designed both Corvettes and Mustangs during his career.

McLaren

Performance Cars vs Supercars

The most well-known performance cars today are Porsche, McLaren and Ferrari, known as supercars, but Dodge is definitely an up and coming alternative. The Dodge Challenger and the Dodge Charger are two cars which can reach 200 mph and are more economical than the Ferraris of the world. So, a supercar is a performance car but a performance car is not automatically a supercar. The difference isn’t just price but things like custom made performance features in the case of a supercar vs factory made performance cars that are a little more practical in fuel economy and street legality.

Comfort and Amenities

A surprising thing about performance cars is lack of comfort. They tend to be much more about power and grip. The vehicle needs to be aerodynamically sound, so as to get rid of any bit of friction. They are known to for their strong suspension and the traction force on the tires. So in layman’s terms they will always look cool but seldom have a smooth ride or comfy seats.

Notable Performance Cars

Looking at the Dodge Charger you will see a sports sedan which makes it not as popular as its coupe rivals or the Ferrari types referred to, but it does have eight cylinders. Most coupes (two door vehicles) have a more classical look but if you require something more modern the Charger could be suitable for you.

The Toyota Supra has a six-liter engine which reaches 0-60 in 40 seconds. The Brembo brakes are one of the top selling points, they are one of the leading manufacturers of high performing brakes.

For those looking at a front wheel drive vehicle there is always the Honda Civic (R type) though it also has 4×4 controls. Is it the type of car associated with boy racers? Not necessarily, it has some space for the driver and passengers and a feeling of luxury. It’s just this one may not be a family car.

Giulia Quadrifoglio

Giulia Quadrifoglio has similar elements, a twin turbo and a rear wheel drive. The idea was to develop a new performance car for Alpha Romeo based on the Ferrari 458 Speciale platform. It has a host of extras from the Ferrari including carbon fibre on the hood. Not surprising since they borrowed a lot of Ferraris design team to create it.

In conclusion

What is considered high performance is constantly changing. Should you wish to improve the handling, braking or acceleration you can obtain performance parts. It is important that the part you purchase is correct for your make of car – you may know these extras as “aftermarket car parts,” it’s a phrase mentioned earlier in these articles. If you’ve had the car a few years it’s more likely to need these replacement parts.

Essentially a performance car is a sporty car which is designed to maximize your enjoyment; some could be described as “a car and a half” but all are about obtaining pleasure behind the wheel.