Cars in Tintin.

“Herge’s Adventures of Tintin!” began the famous cartoon. Herge, whose real name was George Remi, certainly loved to draw cars and made sure they were full of intricate detail. It would take an age to show all the cars that featured in his books. Here is just a selection.

When drawing a car your mind goes into what makes a car a car. It’s the radiator, the color of the hub, the shape of the doors, the shape of the headlights (many are more than just round, they might have some decoration at the top) and so on. Some cars like a Peugeot 202 and a Land Rover which feature in the comics have a visible spare wheel at the back. It gives much more of a background style to the piece.

It’s not about drawing stationary cars, you need to look at movement. This is not about showing smoke coming out of an engine, a Lancia for example is shown which all wheels off the ground as if it going over bumpy terrain. A quick way of doing it was a squiggle shown next to car as if the car isn’t going to be at that point for very long.

The Model T Ford from Tintin in the Congo shows its distinctive canopy, side plates and visible axels.

Many cars seem to date from the 1930s, maybe this is where Tintin is meant to be set. Even comics which seem to be set in the 1960s, such as Destination Moon, include both a blue Dodge and blue Ford both manufactured in 1949.

Sadly not all the cars can be linked to real cars. There are number of cars in Tintin in America which are long enough to be Chevrolets, but not quite the pattern, the coloring is all wrong for instance. The cars driven in the part set in Chicago seem to have noticeable fenders, but there’s not that much which distinguishes them from other cars.

With a book like The Black Island you can see a noticeable love of British cars. Those who have watched the UK series Morse cannot help but recognize the hood of the Jaguar, in this case a Mark X.

Because the type of car dates a comic, when filming a book, many vehicles were replaced by other ones. Thomson and Thompson were shown driving a Peugot 201 in Black Gold, but that was changed to a Jeep.

The Calculus Affair is the comic book which features the most cars, including French cars such as 2CV (which is still recognisable as such despite being in a crashed state) and the Citroen 15 which has a noticeable sheen to the black paint.

With 205 vehicles to choose from, this is a gigantic subject and there is much more to say on the matter, including the advert that Herges made about Citroen cars. In the meantime check out François de Dardel’s website for a number of images from the comic books for a complete picture on the subject.

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Macho Cars?

You might be tempted to think, in this day and age, that the love affair between men and cars isn’t what it once was—and you’d be wrong. While car ownership is down a bit, and men don’t make up the 90% of drivers they once did, the topic hasn’t disappeared until advertisers stop asking THE question, and they have not.

What is THE question? “what makes a car a ‘man’s’ car?”

The idea that every man want to drive a tank or a truck is misguided but it’s fair to say that men have a type. It’s not, statistically speaking, women who are buying long vehicles!

Driving still seems to be a male activity. According to a poll by Strategic Vision 31% of men say they love driving compared to 18% of women. But not all the time men spend with cars can be blamed on the love of the open road. Men also prefer tinkering with cars and washing their car when compared to women.

Reasons for the love affair:

Traditionally, at least according to car salesmen, a car is associated with wealth by men. Some men may even see their car as making them more attractive, even in these days. There must be some signals in the opposite sex, otherwise men would quit thinking this way. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that a man who believes women are attracted to status symbols will be able to attract some women who are attracted to status symbols. In other words, he may not notice the women who are repulsed by a fancy car.

Perhaps the real question isn’t do men buy cars to attract women? Is it possible that men buy cars to advertise their style, and thereby attract the kind of lady they’d like to date.

What are macho men looking for—in a car?

Although men’s cars seem to be about looking good and going at fast, something like a Lamborghini maybe impractical for day-to-day use. Now that we’ve said, “looking good and going fast,” we see where a car can vibe with a man’s thinking.

To represent an animal nature, automakers use big wheels pushed to the corners of the vehicle, suggesting high shoulder lines. They use taut lines resembling muscles. What doesn’t appeal is the overdone interior. The jury is still out on animal names like Jaguar.

Some cars are even known as muscle cars, known for their rumbling, deep sounding engine. This is a good chance to test our theory about men using a car to express style in a potential mate. It seems likely that a woman who finds a man in a muscle car is probably very different than a female who might prefer a male who drives an Aston Martin or Rolls Royce, should they have any preference at all. Even if it doesn’t exactly attract the women of your dreams you still have a mean machine in your possession.

The macho cars include the Ford Mustang, the big black 7 by Aston Martin, Range Rover and Dodge Vipers. Men seem to like boxy cars. The Hummer1 was driven by Arnold Schwarzenegger and this seem to increase its popularity. Certainly, taking the idea of muscle car literally.

So is that raw power a metaphor for something more primal?

There are a number of obvious innuendos to be seen in adverts such as a “hot hatch”(back) but in general, as the rest of the world has become more sexually overt, car innuendos have become more subtle.

Are their car designs aimed at women?

Absolutely! There are even cars aimed at the Metrosexual. Cars aimed at non-macho men seem to be VW Beetle, Mazda and Nissan Cube according to sales. For some reason convertibles are not liked by men. It’s not immediately obvious where these conventions come from.

When 47% of cars are purchased by women it is maybe time to go beyond lazy stereotyping but only time will tell.

Dealing with Rust in Cars

Why does it happen? In older cars it can mean that scratches went untreated or that a below average paint sub was left in the weather with no protective coat of wax for too many years. BUT why do newer cars rust?

You may have noticed some rust on your car, which feels out of place because your car just isn’t that old. Well there are several reasons for this, but generally it’s the result of something that happened, or didn’t happen, during the production of the vehicle.

Most newer cars don’t get a rust problem, but it’s such a pain to deal with let’s look at it in this post.

It’s the places we don’t see which tend to be where problems flare up. One factor that causes the underside and the wheel wells to rust is that this area gets a lot of exposure. Rainwater falls on your car and runs off, but water in puddles on the road get picked up and thrown up into the car from underneath as long as the roads are wet.

However, all cars get exposed to rain so why do some rust? The second factor is a lack of under-sealing. Under-sealing is essentially a coat of paint, which doesn’t have to look good, it just covers the raw metal preventing rust.

You most often hear the term under-sealing from a car salesperson, but it’s a real thing. It might seem like they’re charging you for something and then waving a magic wand over the car, but mechanics do recommend an under-seal. Its factory standard for most cars made in the US, but imported cars are hit and miss. Japan in particular often skips the undercoat as they have milder winters and want the buyer to have the option of saving the money. Under-sealing is particularly vital to make sure that cars don’t rust underneath the trim and bumpers, and the wheel-arches. This tough pain cope with road chippings.

A third factor in auto rust is if salt is used as a deicer in winters, or if you drive on rough roads. Rough roads can expose areas of your suspension that aren’t really made to sit out in the open. Even if this is temporary it can introduce dirty water to these parts, which will act abrasively to create areas that eventually rust.

Vehicles which travel through salty water are more likely to rust because the salt will act on metals such as nickel and chromium. Cars with an underside of metals such as aluminium and magnesium are less likely to rust, which are generally modern cars. It’s the steel chassis which are the pain.

Prevention

To help prevent this you should wash behind the tires using clean, soapy water. Applying a pipe cleaner to hard-to-reach areas is also a plus. If there is an excess of paint or putty substance on the underside use sandpaper or an abrasive wheel to remove it.

Although pressure washers use massive amounts of water, they can also damage the underside and should be done sparingly.

Even when you get your undercarriage sealed.

The coating may get chipped when a person jacks up your car who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Some “underseals” are a type of thick wax, which will prevent rust by denying air and water to the metal parts. It generally prevents rust but could melt in hot weather or be washed away too much water on the underside of the vehicle.

When you discover rust.

It’s best to start by cleaning surfaces like the wheelarch with a wire brush to remove flaking rust. Then apply a rust converter with a paintbrush for the best results.

Bitumen is a traditional patch for a rusty area, but it’s really inferior for a couple reasons. It doesn’t last that long. It should be applied with gloves and masks. It’s awkward to remove the excess. When dry it turns into a brittle substance and is liable to break off.

Some old-school mechanics will apply grease or old engine oil to problem areas. The problem is that this drip on the road and cause a hassle for motorcyclists and other road users.

When you have a classic car you will just have to face it, you will have to deal with tricky things like rust. It’s just one of those annoying things in life.

What’s News: new electric truck revealed

Original Story

Ohio EV startup Lordstown Motors revealed its first electric pickup truck, the Endurance, for the first time today at an event that featured Vice President Mike Pence.

The truck, which is aimed at the commercial market, will start at around $52,500. It’s powered by four in-hub electric motors that give it not only all-wheel drive but the ability to independently deliver differing amounts of torque to each wheel, which especially helps when driving off-road or in poor conditions.

But other than that, very little is known about the Endurance. Despite unveiling a prototype version on stage, the company is keeping mum on practically all of the relevant specifications. Nothing much was said about the battery pack, range, charging time, or performance during the hour-long event… 

Early Electric Cars

Today we will be looking into early electrical cars, generally designed for one person such as The Solo and similar. Why didn’t these cars go mainstream and why did people at the time prefer gas vehicles? Things do change but why were these cars so ahead of their time?

The Solo was made by ElectraMeccanica based in Vancouver, Canada. It was built for just one person. The sales pitch was simple, why drive with empty seats. The advantage of this is to cheaper to build and retails at a comparatively reduced price.

Technically it is a motorbike rather than a car as it has three wheels (why cars can’t be called cars unless they have four wheels is not clear). Many three wheeled vehicles have the one wheel at the front, but the Solo has the one wheel at the rear of the vehicle.

Although the modern idea of electric cars is to save energy and riding around in an electric car by yourself may fly in the face of modern idealists but ElectraMeccanica had a decent idea. According to the Census Bureau90% of Americans drive alone, so why not get the saving on both the purchase an operation of your commuter vehicle.

It’s unclear why people seem to prefer to drive a car designed for three or more passengers rather than single cars, maybe people want to keep seats in reserve, or they feel claustrophobic in a tiny car. Or maybe a 3 wheeled electric car is somewhat geeky? Hard to say.

Other single person vehicles include the Bond Bug and the Corbin Sparrow.

Let’s take these one by one.

The Bond Bug is a Reliant car whose color makes it resemble an orange wedge of cheese, or a German Bubble car. It doesn’t so much have a door as a compartment which opens up.

The Corbin Sparrow has three models, the Jellybean, the Hatchback and Pizza Butt. Sparrows featured in the Austin Powers movies because they look so novel. They were manufactured in Ohio with the byline “NmG” – No more Gas.

They were plans for the company to go beyond a single electric car and into creating a Duo in 2009 running on lithium ion batteries but plans were shelved, likely because everyone suddenly jumped onto the electric car bandwagon and it’s hard to compete with major manufacturers when they join your little niche.

Okay, so they’re tiny, but why did all these makers decide to go electric?

These cars were so small that they couldn’t be gas propelled or hybrid, they had to be electric. It’s not just being kind to the environment, they have to run on electric propulsion. They weighed more than a bike so they needed more power, but they were too small for safe gas tank.

Then and Now

There was never a mass production of electric vehicles until 2010 and there were plenty of automakers that tried their hand at it. Enough so it could be said there wasn’t a market for it.

It’s taken a government grant to the consumer to drive sales which could fall off quickly for two reasons. 1st if the cars are actually inferior, which they don’t have to be, but they might be. And 2nd, because they aren’t really saving the environment.

After all 64% of the electric grid is still based around fossil fuels such as coal and gas. Those supporting ecological issues would prefer this to be lower, but it all comes down to cost.

Still things are changing, there is a noticeable increase in cars run off wall sockets and battery packs, though they aren’t as revolutionary in appearance as the Solo, Bond Bug or Corbin Sparrow.

So, we solute the pioneers of the electric car, even if they couldn’t stand the competition once the government bribed people to buy on a large scale. If electric cars are going to corner the market we’ll need the major manufacturers to supply the demand. It’s sad for the smaller companies though who probably only wanted to carve out a niche.

The Business of Trucks

It should reassure the average commuter; how many safety procedures are built into the business of trucking just so that it can function day to day.

As trainee truck drivers begin their learning journey by adjusting to the different feel of driving a big rig when compared to other vehicles. One aspect is the length and being aware of your large blind spots. Another is reaction time and stopping time and maintaining following distance.

Another big difference when driving truck is the brakes need to so much larger than a conventional vehicle. Even the way the brakes are applied can make all the difference. How much extra distance can depend on payload. Any liquid tanker will require a special license because the stopping distance over a regular big rig is around 30% extra.

Perhaps the aspect of driving truck that car drivers don’t think of first is that truck drivers are situated higher up with potentially a better view to any potential danger. They also have blind spots right up front. When you are too close you might not be able to observe the danger and that is when mishaps could occur.

All drivers must consider things like rain, ice and snow when deciding speed and safe following distance but truck drivers must get used to even more buffer when in inclement weather. While a truck driver is seldom at risk of dying in a crash they are more at risk of killing someone, so job safety is a priority.

The real problems come with the drivers who have to explore the Ice Roads in Alaska and Canada. Here especially is where stopping can be the difference between life and death.

When watching out for other vehicles the biggest challenges come from the fact that other drivers aren’t familiar with big rigs. Vehicles often tailgate trucks or weave in and out of traffic in a way that makes it difficult to predict their next move. It’s hard on any vehicle to deal with erratic drivers, but given the need for maximum stopping distance, it’s extra hard for truckers.

By the same token a truck causes more agitation when weaving or constantly changing lanes. If you discover a truck behaving like this you should give it a wide berth.

Trucks often accelerate at a slower rate even if they can go faster, because the dangers of navigating an intersection require time you don’t have when speeding.

ELD

With the latest of ELD or Electronic Tracking Device records any accident but remember that all computers are not the same and data needs to be interpreted. There’s too much detail contained in these “truck black boxes” to go into here, but the gist is this, truck drivers are monitored for how they drive and how long they’ve been driving so that fatigue isn’t an issue.

For obvious reasons, truck drivers oppose ELDs and prefer manual logs. But they day is fast approaching when ELDs will be required.

Hazmats

A dangerous good (also known as hazardous material or HazMat) may be explosives, flammable gases and liquids and even flammable solids, substances which react violently to water, poisonous materials, infections and radioactive substances. Some HazMats are so large that can cause damage to property if transported incorrectly. More HazMats are transported by truck than rail or ship.

If you are travelling hazardous material you need to have a placard on the truck which isn’t damaged, deteriorating or obscured. The placarding must comply to Hazmat standards.

The more complex the substance the more the urgency the need for a truck to be well-driven. When a dangerous substance needs to be taken from one place to another it all becomes hugely significant when problems do occur.

Specialty Trucks

While all big rig trucks, or tractor trailers have a standard design many are built for a special purpose. The fire service uses trucks made by Alexis. Marion on the other hand make garbage trucks and Oshkosh makes military trucks.

This is a small bit of the information about trucks, but we hope it helps you share the road with these lumbering giants.