Just for Fun 72

If you’re waiting for a sign, here it is. Get your car inspected before you buy so you don’t overpay. TireKickers!

Until now, you didn’t know that getting a car inspection before buying will keep you from buying an unsafe car. Now you do. Tire Kickers come to you.

Truck Stops

Trick Stops began in the 1940s, though many have been rebranded as Travel Centers. Their main purpose is to provide a secure stopping off point as well as access to fuel.

Although there are supposed to be secure they don’t have the best reputation in the world, especially at night. It’s advisable to drive slow around the premises and not go against the direction of the traffic. When you park it’s best to back in and pull out.

Other pieces of advice…

  • Inspect your vehicle every time you leave
  • To watch out for potential scammers around the place – is someone offering you something which seems too amazing to be true?
  • Keep to the well-lit areas.

Although truck stops will have huge parking spaces it is vital to park your wagon in the right place. Many drivers needlessly crowd the gas station region, so don’t be one of those.

Large chains like Flying J, and Loves often have an app for truckers to help guide you along the correct roads in the truck stop.

A number of truck stops don’t have the best reputation. It’s generally agreed to commit to a specific chain. Some truckers go for places with the best value fuel, either the cheapest base price or through a cash back program.

Other Amenities

Another consideration is access to food. Some truck-drivers could look for specialty diners, especially if they have dietary requisites, while others don’t necessarily want a premium diner, preferring somewhere that is open 24/7 and passes all food hygiene specifications.

Moving onto more detailed attributes, these may include medical services, dental services, even items like churches and casinos, even a cinema. (Some of these are just a TV projector in a rest room though).

You may want someone to wash your truck or deal with repairs and there may be people at the truck stop who can do that. Some may allow you to take advantage of their free showers. As with anything it is vital to shop around.

Some drivers look for something else in their truck stop such as easy access from the freeway and cheap prices. There is something for everyone if you research a bit.

The biggest truck stop in the US is the Iowa 80 which even has things such as a gift shop, museum as well as a truck showroom. It has been in operation since 1964.

Covid Update

Note that some things have changed at truck stops since the advent of the Coronavirus, they are shutting down all but essential business here, that is food and fuel. Some restaurants may close at 9 and they have removed refillable mugs; there may be a limit to the number of customers who enter the cafe and the removal of buffets. Driver’s rooms may also be closed.

At these times you may find the toilet area is dirtier than usual due to lack of cleaners. This is why it is vital to use sanitizers and soap.

Unfortunately, a number of quarantined drivers are still working on the road. If you are still working while quarantining then it is vital that you stay away from public areas as much as possible, for instance taking advantage of drive throughs.

Stay safe and stay healthy during the pandemic—drink plenty of water, vitamin C, D, and Zinc. Get plenty of rest.

Link to article about mask requirements at Truck Stops

Car Adverts – Hit or Miss?

Many car adverts in the past may have led you to think “What the Hell?” But surely these days people are more refined, more sensitive. However, controversial car adverts are not a thing of the past. In 2020 a commercial feature a black man being flicked by a giant hand (thanks to a perspective trick). It’s a bit confusing to why they thought the advert was okay.

Why do Car Ads Bring out the worst?

Could the reason be that so many car commercials that agencies are given full reign? It could explain recent sales tactics of showing a car in a huge shopping cart.

Bad Messaging

Starting in the 60’s car ads have drawn some of the oddest ideas for advertisements. Why else did a Ford Focus advert in the 1960’s use the Peanuts characters? One doesn’t think of luxury when they think of Peanuts. It might have given the comic strip some exposure, but what did Ford think they were gaining?

Let’s look at individual campaigns. No one today would ever say, “Women are soft and gentle but they hit things” in a car advert today. However, this was one of the less successful adverts in the 60’s saying that the parts are easily replaceable, so it doesn’t matter if she breaks them.

The difficulty was that all car adverts at the time seemed to be aimed at men. Indeed, until women had disposable income (which is later than you think) there was no reason to market cars at women at all, sad to say.

Nearly everyone knows the Delorean failed but most people don’t know it was advertised by a picture of the vehicle over an image of two whisky glasses clicking. It is of little wonder that drink hasn’t featured in any car advert since. A total disaster.

Bad Execution

A public display by Volvo involved one of their cars being driven towards a truck trailer by remote control. The idea was to highlight its safety level when the auto-brake system kicked in. This could have been a fantastic display only the autobrakes didn’t kick in, the car hit the trailer.

In Spain, large numbers of women received letters with phrases like “You were looking at me funny yesterday.” It turns out that it was meant to have been written by a car. However, it wasn’t clear it was an advert and women felt as if they were being stalked, because evidently the idea that a car has written you a note isn’t the first thing most females think of.

A strange way to advertise a Toyota pickup was getting potential owners to undergo a selection process, which involved eating hot pies at a service station (slightly possible) or moving.sheep away from an electric fence (less possible). This was an Australian campaign which may explain the questioning.

The Lexus IS was compared to a ballerina. A Fiat ad had people running after a car which had Jennifer Lopez in it. Okay, some reasoning here, but not much.

No wonder many commercials prefer a car driving along an empty road in black and white with good music. A bit safe but it has the plus point that the customer sees the car more or less as it is. People always require a good-looking car which seems to handle the road comfortably – why overcomplicate things?

Gifts for Race Enthusiasts

How can you treat your car-mad acquaintances for Christmas? Many people spoil their loved ones with racing car events and supercar events, especially those who love pistons and adrenaline. Use any gift vouchers quickly, even if they may be valid for several months. As with all gift cards, racing gift cards cannot be exchanged for cash.

Another sticking point is to make sure you can use the voucher locally, some of these vouchers are designed to be used in several places around a specific state or even nationally, so have a venue in mind. Many racing tracks allow you to experience racing cars of various vintages; even off-road driving is possible.

Before you can start driving you will need to show a driving license. If you book a time for your drive and wish to change it you could have to pay an admin fee. It’s always dependent on how close you are to the event whether you can alter the date. They tend to supply you with racing gear-but this doesn’t tend to include sensible shoes.

For those who want to continue beyond a single day could look into obtaining seasonal passes, becoming what used to be known as a “gentleman driver” or a “lady driver,” that is, a non-professional one. If your budget is in the four figures you could look into training to drive a speedster over several days. Usually, insurance is included in such activity, but it’s best to check.

It’s not essential for a trainer to be with you in the vehicle, indeed NASCAR trains people via a radio device. For those who only drive on the main roads it can be hard to become accustomed to driving on a track, especially racing at fast speeds on long periods. A trained racing driver may be on hand to assist you in increasing your timings, even if many drivers seem to prefer riding without the instructors. Due to the layout of most racing cars, especially Formula One types, it may be impossible to carry any sort of teacher or passenger.

Not all of these driving experiences are the same; some allow you to pass the slowcoaches on the track, some do not.

For those who don’t want to race there are opportunities to be a passenger on supercars or racing cars. There may be sticking points if you are above average weight or height in fitting in a racing car, it’s best to check these things beforehand.

The look of racetracks can vary. A drag strip is a length of track to test acceleration of vehicles. Other tracks are ovals or “figure eights”. If you are going round in a circle track you will begin and end your journey in the pitstop or the pits. But there are so many terms in driving you will find it hard to remember them all.

Hopefully, you will be able to enjoy your race day in perfect health. Have a great Christmas as well.

How to Prepare for a Road Trip: Holiday Edition

With an end to the pandemic nowhere in sight, families are turning to road trips to give themselves a break from the stress of their daily lives. Vacations involving airports and hotels are not feasible, or even considered safe at the moment. So, families are deciding to pack up their car and drive to a vacation spot that is within reach.

If going on a road trip sounds like just what your stressed out, quarantined family needs, you are in luck. Below, we discuss, in detail, everything you need to do to prepare for a road trip. All you’ll have to do is pick where you want to go (if it’s not to visit family)!

Get Your Car Checked

The first thing you’ll have to do before your road trip, and perhaps the most important, is to take your car in to get checked. Whichever car you choose to take on the trip needs to be strong and reliable. Take your car in to a shop that you trust. Make sure they change your oil and top off your fluids, rotate your tires and check your brakes. Let the mechanic checking your car know that you are going on a road trip and ask him to do a diagnostic check to make sure everything else is running smoothly. If you’re sure your car is well serviced, consider calling a mobile inspection service, who can verify there isn’t anything wrong in a place you wouldn’t normally thing to check.

On your end, make sure to check the dates that your registration and inspection expire. If they are close, consider renewing your car registration papers and getting your car inspected while you are at the shop. Additionally, you will need to make sure your car insurance is updated and active. It may also be helpful to join a roadside assistance service like AAA before you leave in case something goes wrong on the road.

Clean Before and During Your Trip

Since you will be spending a lot of time in your car, it is necessary to clean it well before embarking on your adventure. Before leaving, complete a thorough clean on your whole vehicle, inside and out. Use proper cleaning fluids to wipe down the dashboard and console, removing any little crumbs as best as you can. A different cleaner can be used to wipe down the seats of your car. The right cleaner will both clean and condition the fabric. Driving in a clean car will improve your mental health and have you feeling less overwhelmed or claustrophobic.

Consider hiring a detailer. This sounds a bit much, but they’re not busy in the winter and might be surprisingly affordable. Think of it as a practical Christmas gift to yourself given the amount of time you’ll be inside your car.

Once you get driving, it is vital to try to maintain the cleanliness of your car as much as possible. A lot of people in a confined space tend to make a mess quickly. So, do a clean out of the trash every time you stop at a rest stop or get gas. Try to remind your kids to keep their personal space tidy.  Seat back organizers are great for helping kids to keep their space organized. No matter how you figure it out, try your best to stay on top of the mess in your car. It will help keep you, and your family, sane.

Prepare A Loose Itinerary

Before leaving, take some time to come up with a loose itinerary for your trip. All of your stops do not have to be rest stops and fast-food restaurants. Take the time to do some research and find a few interesting places to stop along the way to your final destination. Beautiful scenic lookouts, delicious diners, and interesting museums my lie along your general route. Plan them into your trip to expand your experiences and give your family a more well-rounded trip.

It’s proven fact that incorporating these kinds of activities to break up the monotony of a drive can allow you to arrive fresher at your destination. As an added bonus, you can arrive at a good time instead of 10 o’clock at night when your in-laws thought you were going to make it for dinner. Just add a day to the itinerary and make each leg of the journey less hectic.

While planning can help your trip run smoothly and be more interesting, there is also a fine line between not enough planning and too much. No plan or itinerary will make your trip seem boring, but over planning and trying too hard to stick to a schedule makes your trip seem hectic and stressful. This is the opposite of what a vacation is supposed to do. So, do yourself a favor and only plan a few extra stops along the way. Keep in mind, if there are more places you’d like to stop, you can always add a few stops on your way home.

The Easiest and Most Common Mistakes

The key mistake most people make when they don’t road trip often, is planning around gas stations or not planning enough around gas stations. Figure out how far your car goes between fill-ups and locate places with gas stations near the road. Don’t plan on running your tank nearly dry because sometimes stations are closed for remodeling. No sense pushing your luck.

Final Thoughts

A road trip may be just the thing you and your family need to escape life for a few days. Often, when you live a ways from family you spend all your vacation time traveling to see them. Consider taking the scenic route to at least give yourself some time off in this high stress year.

While a road trip is less involved than flying or using other types of transportation, a little bit of planning can go a long way to make your trip a success. At the bare minimum, follow the steps above, and you will eliminate a lot of stress and anxiety from your trip to that you can enjoy yourself as much as possible.

Beyond Supercars

Pagani

Op-Ed by P. Wimsett

What exactly is a supercar? It’s one of the big luxury names: Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghi as well as more contemporary names. The name is applied to automakers with a long reputation and a focus on strong engine roadsters. This piece is not talking up the middling cars, so much as talking down what many talk of as “the best of the best.”

There’s a jet-like nature in some of these cars–especially in the headlights (many of these car manufacturers are behind the construction of private planes). No luxury car can ignore its interior, though customers might be divided on what type they want–artificial leather with all the trimmings may be preferred to standard leather style. Chances are, the supercars give you a better choice of interior, but there’s no reason affordable cars couldn’t compete.

Porsche

It’s inevitable that you find these types of cars attempting to break land speed records; not that you should try this on the road, obviously! It’s likely a marketing stunt, but it makes us yearn for the luxury cars.

So, what is my beef with supercars? Is it a permanent version of the “new car syndrome,” the fear of getting damaged so it’s only pulled out on special occasions? Is it possible that they are too much muscle? Is it that they are simply priced beyond what’s reasonable for a budget lifestyle?

No, the problem is one of compromise, you spend all that money and you still can’t “have it all.” Why, if I spend $150,000 and up, should I be making so many concessions.

Fiat and Porsche are defined as mid-engine, meaning that the engine can be found between the front and rear axle, which should improve handling. Usually supercars place the engine under the hood.

Because passenger space is so compromised the mid-engines are no good for family cars, something they have in common with most supercars, it’s just designed in. It does mean that these cars are easier to brake due to the back wheel having much more weight. (Depends on rear wheel drive or 4-wheel drive.)

Other requisites of a supercar is a vehicle which has turbo acceleration (an impressive 0 to 60 rate). That’s what you are buying: an impressive pick-up in terms of speed.

Affordable Supercar-like Cars

Or possibly you could take a look at sedans, at contours, something with a more manageable price than the top of the market cars. It doesn’t mean you should give up the idea of owning a roadster altogether.

Dodge Chargers and Jaguar XE are sedans to look out for as well as Alfa Romeo and the Cadillac CT6-V. On a racetrack these can shift at speeds such as 190-200 MPH, depending on model.

Yet most buyers prefer the higher ticket cars. It comes down to prestige, how a car looks, rather than what a car can do.

One thing you don’t receive with lesser cars is complementary products, the Porsche 911 has just arrived on the market and comes with a free watch, which mimics the 1919 “Globetime.” We’re talking about highly expensive toys here and the promoters will do everything in their power to reel you in. If you’re a prestige conscious buyer then there is a car for you.

A Worldwide Look At Nissan

Nissan has been updating their factories (which they call “powerplants”) for 2020. They have needed to work on the CVT transmission as there have been accounts of shaking and stuttering.

The Versa Note has a hatchback rather than the SUV shape most associated with Nissan but it is still defined. The latest model has overcome the handling problem, according to reviews. It has various extras such as blind spot monitoring allowing you to see the tricky areas. Its only available in manual transmission but it has a great interior.

Altimas sold well in the January–March period but wasn’t as successful in the next two quarters, beaten by other cars. Altima is regarded as a midsize car for a commuter to use, not as an especially sporty car. Nissan is at the top price point in each class so they can be expected to rise and fall with the economy in each market and the US economy stalled in April.

Rogues have a similar story beaten by cars such as the Toyota. Still they are doing relatively well. Now in the third generation, this vehicle has been available since 2007.

In Europe and Asia the Rogue is known as the X-Trail. The only place that Rogues and X-Trails are made is Mexico. First made in 2000, the X-Trail was marketed as a cross-over SUV.

It appears that Nissan might be scaling back on the European market by selling the Barcelona plant but keep the British one.

The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport previewed at the 2019 Chicago Show with two new colors for Nissan; Monarch Orange Metallic and Nitro Lime Metallic. It came with a 141 horsepower engine as well as Safety Shield Technology.

The Rogue Sport initially sold in the UK as the Dualis but it is now known as the Qashqai. It is all about adapting to the audience. The Nissan Juke didn’t work in the USA and was discontinued in 2017. It was marketed as a sports crossover designed for young males, which makes sense for a car with sporty elements. Its replacement was the Nissan Kicks with it’s new additions such as electric power steering which is also responsive.

Another big player, The Nissan Murano looks rugged butit’s built for a comfy ride, especially given its large rear seats and its luxury filled front seats. It’s actually not much of an off-roader.

The Nissan Leaf’s big selling point is a philosophy of zero emissions tailpipe. It comes in two versions, the Leaf and the Leaf e+, the latter allowing for a longer charge, up to 239 miles on a 69 kWh battery while the Leaf can manage 168 miles on a 40 kWh battery. This may change according to which speed you drive, whether you drive on the freeway or less well-maintained roads or whether you are driving in the winter or the summer.

The Nissan Sentra is performing well too. When it came out in 1982 it was a subcompact (a car smaller than a compact) but over those intervening years it has been reclassified as a compact.

When it comes to the Nissan, whether you are talking about the US or somewhere else in the world, they definitely have a number of strong players.

Virtual Car Shows for the 2020 Season

With the onset of the pandemic, all in-person, large events have been postponed or cancelled. As upsetting as this is, there are alternatives to these large events. Most companies and businesses have transferred their events to the internet so that people all over the world can still attend, in a way.

If you are a regular at car shows in your area, you are in luck this season. Some of the biggest car shows this year have modified their events to be online. While this may seem like a bummer, it is actually quite a positive. Having these great car shows online gives you the chance to visit shows out of your area that you normally would have to travel many miles to go to. Another perk is that if you missed these events you can still take in a lot of the action even if its less excited recorded than live. We’ll do our best to update this list when the 2021 event calendars are announced, but these links should take you to the 2021 event as soon as those are announced.

Good Guys Rod and Custom Association

The first virtual car show on our list is from the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. This show, that typically takes place in Pleasanton, California, features categories for hot rods, tricked out trucks, and muscle cars, among others. This association has multiple virtual car shows on different days, so make sure to check the events calendar when you get to their website.  These events also have a schedule of events, so if you aren’t interested in watching the entire car show, you can log in for the categories that you want to see.

NASCAR Ford Performance: Virtual Speedway

The NASCAR Ford Performance Virtual Speedway is a virtual performance car show. This show is sponsored by NASCAR and focuses on Ford vehicles. This virtual car show is a playlist of YouTube videos that showcase different aspects of different Ford vehicles. This is a great virtual car show for someone that wants to see cars actually driving as opposed to cars sitting still. This playlist has the ability to keep you occupied for a long time. It consists of almost 200 video clips for you to enjoy.

Gilmore Car Museum: Hickory Corners, Michigan

The Gilmore Car Museum, located in Hickory Corners, Michigan, was established in the 1960s.  It began as a private collection of vintage vehicles by Donald S. Gilmore and grew into a larger collection as he continued to acquire cars. Eventually, his collection was so vast, he had to purchase 90 acres of land in Michigan to accommodate it. Eventually, Gilmore and his wife decided to turn his collection into a museum that opened to the public in 1966. This year, the Gilmore Car Museum decided to create a virtual overview of all their vintage cars for you to peruse. This is a great opportunity to see a quality vintage collection for free.

The Petersen Museum’s Global Cars & Coffee Show

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California has hosted a free Cars and Coffee event once a month for the past eight years. When COVID-19 hit, the museum did not want to cancel their long-standing tradition. Holding this event virtually has allowed the Petersen Museum to host cars from all over the world in their virtual show. Those who wish to participate submit a video of their car where they explain the key features and history of their vehicle. These virtual shows are still happening once a month online.  heck the Museum’s website for the date and time of their latest show.

Dub Magazine: Dub Show Worldwide

Dub Magazine is another car show that has taken their operation virtual due to COVID-19. Their virtual car show Dub Show Worldwide takes submissions in multiple different categories. Browse vehicles in categories like Lifted Jeeps, Lowriders, and Motorcycles. Each vehicle in their virtual event has a place where it can be liked by those who visit the show. At the end of a certain period of time, likes are tallied, and the vehicle with the most likes in each category is placed in their winners’ circle.

If you are a car enthusiast, you don’t have to miss out completely on car shows for the 2020 season. In fact, since submissions are easier, attending virtual events could give you exposure to more cars from all over the world. If the events listed above aren’t what you have in mind and you’d like a closer look at the cars, there is an alternative. Some virtual car shows are just picture images from multiple angles of the cars so that you can zoom in and really see the details of each car closely.

The Pearl Harbor Buick

What makes a car collectable? The condition it’s in? No, that effects the value up or down, but lots of cars are in great shape. Another possibility is that you know the provenance of the car–who owned it in the past. Sometimes a car was owned by someone famous and that makes it collectable, but there’s one more key factor.

It often starts with the actual original cost of the car, but that’s sort of a side effect. The real reason a car becomes collectable is that it’s rare. A high priced car means fewer sold which is the first element of making it rare. Another reason a car could be rare is that it’s old. A lot of that car were sold, but not many of them remain. (Cars owned by famous people is another example of rarity.

But one of the best ways a car becomes rare, and collectable, is that it has a great story, and few cars have better stories than the Pearl Harbor Buick.

Original Owner:

According to the Roanoke Times, this particular Buick, a 1939 Buick Special Convertible Coupe 46C with Dynaflash 8, was owned by DeForest “Dee” Venter. Dee was a sailor from Connecticut who went to Pearl and brought the car with him.

Pear Harbor Day:

When Japanese surprise attack hit the US fleet stationed in the Harbor in 1941 killing more than 2,400 people, and destroying Millions of dollars of property and vehicles. The Pearl Harbor Buick sat on the street through the bombing without receiving a scratch.

Provenance:

When Dee and a his buddy, George Bullard, went to sea, the Buick went to Georges wife, Mary. Mary Bullard kept the car for 30 years and then sold it to her cousin, A.C. Wilson. A.C. proudly drove the car in parades.

Where is the Buick Now:

A.C. finally decided to sell and put the car at auction. Tom Beasley of Stuart, Virginia, won the car for a mere $73,700. No word yet if Beasley will display the car, or keep it in his private collection.

Note: We at the Kicker proudly support our Active Military Servicemen and women as well as our veterans who fought so bravely for our freedom. Our sponsor, TireKickers.biz, is veteran owned and employs as many veterans as possible. We wish all of you the best this Pearl Harbor Day.