2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS Review

EQS

Mercedes continues to deliver through its electric flagship car designed for the future. This car’s curvaceous looks go well with the 516 horsepower and 631-pound feet of torque. This make from Mercedes is focused on providing a luxurious car experience with zero emissions.

Mercedes-Benz has also announced that an even more powerful AMG-branded version will debut later in 2022. Whether you’re looking for an ultra-luxurious and technologically advanced electric car or an eco-friendly alternative to gas-guzzling luxury sedans, the Mercedes-Benz EQS should have popped up on your radar.

The Mercedes-Benz EQS is an all-new, all-electric luxury sedan that debuts for the 2022 model year. It’s the first Mercedes-Benz to be built on an entirely new platform designed specifically for electric vehicles, and it boasts a suite of cutting-edge technology.

The EQS is also one of the most aerodynamic cars on the market. Under the hood, the EQS is powered by a single electric motor that produces approximately 328 horsepower and 419 pound-feet of torque. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds. 

This machine’s battery can run up to 350 miles on a single charge. Speaking of charge, this Merc can charge from 10% to 100% in about 11 hours.

The new Mercedes-Benz EQS offers an impressive blend of luxury, performance, and range. It has a spacious, comfortable interior with plenty of leg room for passengers. The wheelbase comes in at a lengthy 126.4 inches, which is most or on par with most luxury sedans at this price point.  

The seats are upholstered in high-quality leather, and the cabin features a variety of luxury amenities, including a heated steering wheel and massaging front seats. The EQS also has a large trunk that can accommodate plenty of luggage thanks to its huge hatchback.

The all-new Mercedes-Benz EQS is a sleek and stylish sedan that offers an impressive array of high-tech features. The most notable of these is the car’s “hyper screen,” a massive dashboard-mounted touchscreen that serves as the primary control center for the vehicle’s infotainment and navigation systems.

In addition to the hyper screen, the EQS also features several other cutting-edge technologies, including a wireless charging pad for mobile devices and an advanced audio system with support for six USB ports and Bluetooth streaming.

It also features a voice-command system that can control various car functions, including the navigation system, climate control, and audio system.

The EQS also features a Burmester audio system, which includes 15 high-end speakers and 15 separate amplifier channels that combine to give 710 watts. In addition, the EQS comes standard with a fingerprint scanner that activates the different driver profiles.

The all-new and fully electric 2022 Mercedes Benz EQS is an all-around beast with beautiful curves that complement its features. Mercedes is known for its luxurious amenities, safety, driver assistance features, smooth ride, and overall premium feel. This car lives up to the brand’s name, adding electric drive capabilities to its already reasonable frame.

Automakers: Italy (Part 5b)

Link to Part 1 of Italian Auto Makers

This summer we did a 6 part series on US Auto Makers starting with July 4th. It’s time to continue with Italian car makers. Part A covered luxury sports car makers, but today lets cover members of the fifth largest car conglomerate in the world (by sales).

For those who don’t know, or have never heard of Stellantis, you are not alone. They’re new (16 January 2021) and we covered them under US makers since the core of the company is Chrysler. You can learn all about the parent company at this link. Italy accounts for five out of the 16 car brands managed by Stellantis from their headquarters in Amsterdam.

Abarth (1949–present)

While a relatively new name to the US market, Abarth has been around since 1949, when it was founded by Italo-Austrian Carlo Abarth. While it is currently the Italian performance division of Stellantis making racing and road cars, it was not always so.

Italian soccer player, entrepreneur and racecar driver Piero Dusio, founded the Cisitalia racing team, but in 1948 Piero fled to Argentina leaving a man named Armando Scagliarini to pick up the pieces. Along with the other assets of the folded car company Scagliarini inherited it’s sporting director Carlo Abarth.  Scagliarini decided to rebuild the business around Abarth, naming it after him and creating it’s emblem to honor Carlos Astrological sign Scorpio.

1950 Abarth 204A

From the complete and partial racers Cisitalia had in stock, Abarth began hiring experienced drivers like  Tazio NuvolariFranco Cortese and Piero Taruffi, and began winning races.

The races made money but the stock and trade of Abarth in the early days was manufacturing aftermarket parts for FiatLancia, Cisitalia and Simca cars.

In 1951 Abarth moved it’s headquarters to Turin and started building a more formal relationship with Fiat. Abarth continued to win races due in part to their brilliant exhaust designs. Thanks to Fiat, they brought their exhaust systems to production cars.

Abarth 595 under Fiat Ownership

Noteworthy: Believe it or not some Original Abarth LD exhausts are now valuable collectors’ items with some replica being made and stamped Abarth without permission from Fiat.

In 1971 Carlo sold Abarth to Fiat, who turned it into their racing division. Fiat didn’t do Hill Climb or Sport Prototype racing so the sold that off to Enzo Osella who found a great deal of success with it, and continued to race in the rally circuit.

Three things all the Zonda’s have in common: they max out around 215 MPH, they go 0-60 in less than 3.5 seconds, and they all look hot.

On 1 October 1981, Abarth & C. ceased to exist and was replaced by Fiat Auto Gestione Sportiva. In the 80s, the name was slapped onto some performance cars, and Fiat used the brand to designate a trim/model level in 2000s. 2007 Abarth was reborn as an an independent unit, controlled 100% by Fiat, to create and sell passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.  

The first models launched were the Abarth Grande Punto, they went on to make 16 more car models that basically all looked alike, while the parent company changed it’s name a few times. In In 2017, Abarth collaborated with Yamaha to produce a limited-edition motorcycle, but it has otherwise been a solid small car maker with little to set it apart and no resemblance of it’s former racing glory.

Alfa Romeo (1910–present)

Founded 24 June 1910, Alpha Romeo is the old man of this group. Headquartered in Turin, Piedmont, Italy (the Detroit of Italy), AR sells cars world wide, with it’s main markets being the US, Canada, and Europe. Currently AR is known for luxury cars but they were best know for sport-oriented vehicles have been heavily involved in car racing since a year after they began.

We don’t really know who founded Alpha Romeo, probably a man named Ugo Stella and other investors because at the time of its birth AR was an “anonymous” company, which means the investors names weren’t public. In fact the “A” in Alpha stands the Italian word for anonymous, “Anonima.” The rest to the acronym stands for “Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili.” The founders built their first factory in Milan where they were able to snatch up manufacturing space from the Portello Factory which was closing up shop. AR continued to make cars at the Portello Factory until 1960.

Romeo came from engineer, entrepreneur, and politician Nicola Romeo, who took over the factory during WWI to make more important things for the war effort. When the war ended they went back to racing making Torpedo 20–30 HP in 1920. Alfa Romeo won the inaugural world championship for Grand Prix cars in 1925 and as an engine maker AR was favored by private race teams. In fact, Enzo Ferrari founded the Scuderia Ferrari racing team in 1929 as an Alfa Romeo racing team.

The A.L.F.A. 24 hp was the first car made by Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (A.L.F.A.) in 1910

On the business side, Alpha Romeo has a complicated history that’s very much tied to the fortunes of Italy herself and the ways Italy chose to handle their economy after WWII. Italy has always been a bit more socialist than the US and as part of an extensive 1933 Italian state industrial bailout/ re-organization Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale (IRI), and remained under government control until it was sold to Fiat in 1986.

Italian worker unrest and the government ownership caused a lot of trouble for AR, including building a factory in the south to make a new compact car in the 1970s. AR’s finances remained in the red much of their existence. They did, however, continue to build great racers and win a lot of races though to be fair the racing portion of AR was privatized.

When I see an Alfa Romeo go by, I tip my hat.

Henry Ford talking with Ugo Gobbato in 1939
Giulietta Spider

Things changed when Fiat took over.

Here’s what happened. In the early 80’s Alpha Romeo was suffering and draining money from the Italian government who’s main goal was jobs for Italian workers. They attempted a joint venture with Nissan, but the companies were simply not compatible.  

Fiat was approached with a joint venture, but Ford offered a cash infusion in exchange for enough ownership and authority to restructure the company, which they couldn’t guarantee would allow current staff to retain their jobs. Fiat stepped up and took over A.R. which kept the Italian car maker entirely in Italian control. Fiat also guaranteed that all workers would stay in their jobs. The only sticky point was a desire by Alfa Romeo’s then-President Ettore Massacesi to never build an Alpha Romeo car with a Fiat engine. The deal was done by the end of 1986.

The resulting cars from the takeover retained AR’s avant-garde styling and sporting panache without losing Fiat’s understanding of economy and production efficiency. When Fiat bought Maserati back from Ferrari they created a luxury sports division.

In 2007 Fiat reorganized as Fiat Group with 4 divisions of which Alpha Romeo was one. In 2010 Alpha Romeo turned 100, however there was little cause to celebrate. International sales had been trending down since 2001 and they continued to decline until today, despite the merger with Chrysler and eventual formation of Stellantis Italy.

Fiat (1899–present)

Fiat formed in 1899 when Giovanni Agnelli and 8 other investors decided to launch an automobile manufacturer in Turin. In fact the name Fiat is an acronym of Fabbrica Italiana Automobili di Torino or Turin Auto Factory.

Their 35 staff cranked out 24 Fiat 4 HP cars. From these humble beginnings Fiat would grow to be that largest car maker in Italy, then Europe, and third largest in the world for many decades. Fiat of the 1970’s employed more than 100,000 employees an pumped out 1.4 million cars a year.

Fiat has also produced Fiat has also manufactured railway engines, military vehicles, farm tractors, aircraft, and weapons such as their water-cooled machine gun for WWI & WWII, and won awards such as their nine European Car of the Year

Murcielago R-GT 

Noteworthy: In 1910 Fiat manufactured cars in  PoughkeepsieNY, which were sign of wealth among Americans at the time. In fact, a Fiat in 1918 would cost you $6,400 when you could buy a Ford Model T for $525.

Both WWI and WWII interrupted car production for the war effort (the American plant closed for good) and soon after WWI the sociality party took over the Fiat factory causing Agnelli to resign in protest. After WWII the Agnelli were again forced out of the company as a result of their ties to  Benito Mussolini. Giovanni’s grandson, Gianni, took over again as general manager in 1963 (later chairman until 1996).

Of course Fiat would ultimately join with Chrysler to form FCA and then later with French car conglomerate PSA to form Stellantis. Fiat’s secret to success was knowing the home market and then expanding to nearby markets with similar needs for a similar product. Hence Fiat has always made “City Cars” for small urban drivers. See examples below…

Fiat Punto
Fiat 500X

If you look closely at the pictures above you’ll see that these are in fact two different cars.

Lancia 

(1906–present)

 Lancia & C., a manufacturing concern founded in 1906 in Torino by Vincenzo Lancia (1881–1937) and Claudio Fogolin back in 1906.

Lancia is one of those car names that gets bounced around car talk circles but the average person has probably never seen one. Even in the UK and Ireland where Lancia’s were sold until 2015 (although these were technically rebadged Chryslers.)

Noteworthy: Lancia had a long tradition in rally racing, winning more manufacturers awards than any competitor until 1992 when they stopped racing. (They still hold more awards than any other brand, BTW).

If you live in Italy these days you definitely know Lancia, not only as the historic maker of cars they were but as the maker of the second best-selling car in Italy, the Lancia Ypsilon. This is currently Lancia’s only product.

Ypsilon by Lancia

What happened?

Lancia’s founders were both race car drivers for Fiat. They created the “Tipo 51” which looked like an old time fire truck, but sold well enough. They also exported parts to an America assembler who sold the cars under the name SGV.

When Lancia died in 1910, his widow and son brought on designer Vittorio Jano who created some of their best selling models. What Lancia is best known for is innovation. They’re the first people to put a complete electrical system in a car (1913). They first used the monocoque or unibody chassis and the five speed gearbox. They also invented the ‘Sliding Pillar‘ independent front suspension that incorporated the spring and hydraulic damper into a single unit on their Lambda (produced from 1922 to 1931).

Lancia Delta S4 Group B rally car

The down side of all this innovation, and there are more, is that each production model is unique. When your primary goal is invention instead of finding a market need to meet it’s difficult sell enough units to remain viable. What it does do is make you a target for acquisition as other car company’s want your patents.

In 1969 Fiat acquired Lancia but maintained the distinctive Lancia marque with models like the StratosGamma and Beta, which made money for Fiat. In fact Fiat had just attained full control of Autobianchi which it put under the Lancia brand.

When Fiat reorganized to a group of four in 2007 Lancia became one of the four. It was the merger with Chrysler that proved to be Lancia’s demise. The brand was built on innovation and unique design. Producing rebadged Chryslers failed completely.

Will Stellantis prove to be the death blow for Lancia? It’s too soon to tell, but Stellantis has signaled its intentions to rebuild the brand by including it in a group with Alfa Romeo and DS Automobiles which are commissioned to create new models in 2024. The also appointed Luca Napolitano CEO, and Jean-Pierre Ploué its chief designer. The rumor is they will develop three new models, all EV’s – a replacement for their successful city car (Ypsilon), a cross over, and a hatchback.

Noteworthy: the documentary “Elegance on the Move,” celebrates Lancia’s 115th anniversary.

Maserati 

(1914–present)

The Maserati brother all worked in auto manufacture and they founded the company that would bare their name in 1914 to produce race cars.

Maserati’s racing success was top of the range with wins against the German powerhouse , Auto Union and Mercedes on the European circuit and even an indie 500 win. Then in 1957 tragedy struck at the Mille Miglia race when a worn tire caused a wreck, killing Spanish driver Alfonso de Portago, his co-driver/navigator Edmund Nelson, and nine spectators 5 of whom were children.

Maserati quit racing as a team, but continued to make cars for independent racers. They chose to focus on road-going grand tourers from that point on. The 3500 GT became the marque’s first series-produced car designed from scratch which came out the same year as their racing tragedy. Available in two-door coupe and convertible, the 3500 GT took production from a few dozen to a few hundred cars annually.

Noteworthy: Mohamad Reza Pahlavi (aka the Shah of Persia) wanted a road going GT with one of Masarati’s racing engines so they built him the 5000 GT with a 450S racing engine. This was a popular redesign and they sold another 33 of them over the next few decades.

Masarati also introduced four more models before 1967; the two-seater Mistral coupé in 1963 and Spider in 1964, the Quattroporte a sedan literally called the “four-door,” and the Ghibli coupé.

Citroën

To understand what happened in 1968 we need to know a couple things. First is that Alfieri Maserati, the families primary driver for racing, died in 1932. His brothers ran the business for another five years, before selling to Adolfo Orsi and family. the brothers stayed on with their company as engineers for another 10 years. After moving the headquarters from Bologna to its modern location in Modena, Orsi brought on engineer Giulio Alfieri, who not only contributed to winning racecars before 1957 but also lead the team who created the 3500 GT which saved the car company from going under when they left racing.

Tipo C114 Maserati V6 in a Citroën SM

Under Adolfo Orsi, in 1968, Maserati began a joint venture with Citroen to make engines for their new four-seat front-wheel-drive coupé called the SM. Citroen ended up in control of Maserati, but it wasn’t all bad. With stable Citroen financing and hydraulics and Maserati’s expertise and engines Alfieri was able to launch a series of ambitious designs.

This lead to four models, although the  Quattroporte II with it’s more powerful engine, was never put into full production do to financial issues.

The Fuel Crisis of the early 70’s destroyed the market for large engine touring cars. Citroen it’s self went bankrupt and reformed with Peugeot into a conglomerate to survive. In 1975 Citroen, announced a plan to liquidate Maserati, which the Italian government along with many local politicians fought as best they could. The plan was halted when a buyer came forward, saving 800 jobs.

 Alejandro de Tomaso was a racecar driver, turned industrialist, turned owner and designer of cars. He fired Alfieri on day one and produced at least three car models that relatively flopped. He finally had a win with the Biturbo, a compact front-enginerear-drive coupé in the 1980’s. The Biturbo used a V6 designed by Alfieri of course, and it became the basis for all the models of Masirati going forward for 10 years. The cars got snazzier names and sleeker designs, updated performance enhancement, but were all based in the same framework.

Noteworthy: Maserati competed fiercely to construct a V16 town car for Benito Mussolini before Ferry Porsche of Volkswagen built one for Adolf Hitler. This failed.

By 1989 De Tomaso bought the Italian government out of their share of his company. De Tomaso also owned a share of an Italian car and scooter maker called Innocenti, but the two companies remained separate. Fiat began buying both Innocenti and Maserati stock beginning the transition to a single car maker under Italian control and the Maserati name.

Maserati 3200 GT

On 19 May 1993, De Tomaso sold the last 51% of his shares to Fiat, who continued to build versions of the Biturbo for several years. Fiat had purchased majority control of Chrysler in 2011 as a result of their bankruptcy. So Chrysler was again in business with Maserati. As Citroën had joined PSA Peugeot Citroën this meant with the 2021 creation of Stellantis, Maserati was now entwined with nearly all it’s former partners save for De Tomaso. Maserati is the only company in the group to be quite so connected to all the partners independent of the final merger.

But first Ferrari?!?! Yep

Fiat pulled an interesting maneuver in 1997 selling 50% of Maserati to long-time rival Ferrari, which Fiat owned entirely. The result was a new factory to replace the 1940’s style factory and complete redesigns of each of their models. The new Maserati re-entered the American market which became it’s biggest cash cow. They also re-entered racing, winning the teams championship for world FIA GT championship three consecutive times in the early 2000’s.

4-door full-size saloon

In 2007 Fiat split Maserati away from Ferrari and joined them to Alpha Romeo, which finally started them making a profit. In 2010, Fiat through Abarth into the brand group but this didn’t result in shared technology or joint projects, although it did allow Maserati to focus on directly competing with Mercedes and BMW. As of 2014 Maserati had hit a market saturation point, where they would sell about 70,000 units a year. They decided to stay there, rather than create down-market versions of their cars to appeal to a lower price point.

What will be the fate of Maserati under Stellantis? There are are currently no big plans to change things, beyond of course creating EV versions of all their models.

Is Driving A Tesla Really Maintenance Free?

Teslas are often advertised as being maintenance-free, but is that the case? Although Teslas do not require scheduled maintenance, like oil changes and tune-ups, some maintenance tasks still need to be performed.

For example, the brakes on a Tesla will wear out over time and need to be replaced. The tires will also need to be regularly inspected and rotated. In addition, the battery pack will gradually lose its capacity over time and eventually need to be replaced.

For one thing, Teslas require less frequent maintenance than traditional gasoline-powered cars. Teslas have far fewer moving parts thanks to their electric motors than conventional cars, which means there are fewer opportunities for something to break down.

As a result, owners can expect to save money on repairs and maintenance over the life of their vehicles. In addition, Teslas also have much lower fuel costs than gas-powered cars. Although the initial purchase price of a Tesla may be higher than that of a traditional vehicle, owners can expect to save money in the long run, thanks to lower operating costs.

What kind of maintenance is required for a Tesla?

Teslas are designed for minimal maintenance, and many owners report infrequent trips to the service center. The first is to keep the interior and exterior clean. This will help to protect the paint and prevent dirt and debris from damaging the car’s finish. The second is to check the tire pressure and tread depth regularly. Proper tire inflation and tread depth are essential for safety and fuel efficiency.

Finally, it is essential to have the vehicle’s software updated regularly. Software updates can add new features and improve performance, so it is necessary to stay up-to-date. Tesla vehicles require very little maintenance, but paying attention to the car’s needs is still crucial.

What are some common problems with Teslas?

Teslas can have its fair share of maintenance problems like any other car. One common issue is that electric motors involve reliability, particularly during hot weather or when the vehicle is used for long-distance driving.

Another problem is that the batteries can lose their charge relatively quickly, frustrating owners who are used to gas-powered cars with much longer ranges.

Additionally, the high-tech nature of Tesla vehicles can sometimes result in glitches with the infotainment system or other digital features. Software problems are not new for tesla owners, as sometimes you’ll be forced to perform computer reboots to correct a few minor issues.

While these problems can be frustrating, they are usually relatively easy to fix and should not deter potential buyers from considering a Tesla.

Teslas are marketed as being maintenance-free, but this is not the case. While there may be less work that needs to be done on Teslas than on classic cars, they still require some maintenance.

If you’re considering buying a Tesla, it’s essential to know that they require some maintenance, and it’s not quite as “maintenance-free” as the company would have you believe.

Do Teslas Really not have ANY oil in them?

I would be hard to believe a vehicle can run with no lubricant. And you’d be right to be suspicious. The marketing claim is that they don’t need traditional oil changes, which is not the same thing as being oil free. They have “gear boxes,” which is their version of a transmission, which requires lubricant.

Auto Makers: Italy (Part 5A)

When you think about car makers the US, UK, Germany, Italy, & Japan are the big names that come to mind. Of course the actual manufacturing is done all over the world no matter what parent company name goes on the final product or where it is ultimately sold.

It’s also true that a ton of cars are made by manufacturers other than the big 5 listed above. Many are even sold in large markets like the US but some of them are not sold outside their own borders. This series starts with the big auto countries but it won’t stop until we’ve covered every country that makes a car for sale to the public.

This summer we did a 6 part series on US Auto Makers starting with July 4th. Now that we’ve finished that and fall is upon us, let’s dive into a country that doesn’t export as many cars by volume but makes up for it by what they charge per car. Italy is known for it’s luxury sports cars and super cars, so this should be a fun one.

Pagani

Horacio Pagani founded and is still at the helm of this Pagani in San Cesario sul PanaroMO, Italy, in 1992, only 30 years ago. So why start this post with such a young car maker? Because as of the writing of this post, it’s one of only two Italian car manufacturer that’s not currently part of a giant, car-making conglomeration.

Pagani left Lamborghini Composites division on good terms in 1988 to form his own, Pagani Composites Research. The new company continued to work with Lamborghini on the four editions including the Diablo. By 1991 Pagani established Modena Design to handle his design and prototyping services and went to work on creating his own car, which he intended to name after his friend and dominant F1 Racer, Juan Manuel Fangio.

In 1994, Mercedes-Benz agreed to supply V12 engines and the Zonda C12 began rolling off the line for a couple million dollars a piece. Out of respect the car was renamed when Fangio died in a racing disaster.

In 2005 Pagani announced their decision to increase production and enter the American market.

2014 Pagani Zonda Revolución 

Noteworthy: On 30 June 2010, the Pagani Zonda R completing the Nürburgring in 6:47, a new record for production-based cars (beating the Ferrari 599XX).

Pagani’s first model, the Zonda, featured a unique circular, four pipe exhaust system. It is powered by a mid-mounted Merc DOHC V12. Pagani made 3 varieties of the Zonda (including a roadster and racecar conversion), and three more varieties of Zonda F, the Zonda cinque and the Zonda Tricolore, before peaking with the Zonda HP Barchetta of which there were only 3 ever made. Two of the Barchetta’s were sold for $15 million a piece and one remains in Pagani’s personal collection.

Three things all the Zonda’s have in common: they max out around 215 MPH, they go 0-60 in less than 3.5 seconds, and they all look hot.

In 2011 Pagani released a second model the Huarya (named after an Incan god). Meant to be a successor to the Zonda, Pagani seems to have continued to make their Zonda for several years. The Huayra had a a Merc 6.0-litre twin-turbo M158 V12 engine, and a carbotanium body. (Carbotanium is a carbon fibre / titanium composit.) It’s acceleration remained the same but its top speed grew by 20MPH.

Huarya BC

After making only 100 of the base models, that retailed for 1,000,000 pounds each, they released the Huayra BC, a track focused named for Benny Caiola. Caiola was a car collector and friend of Pagani’s who bought the first Zonda. The Huayra BC has more torque and weighs over 1,000lbs less than the stock version. It’s tires contain12 different rubber compounds, the suspension and wishbones are made of Avional (aeronautical grade aluminum) and a Xtrac 7-speed sequential manual transmission plus an electro-hydraulic actuation system.

In 2017 Pagani made a roadster version with gull wing doors. What really sets it apart from the coupe version is the body composition, a material developed by Pagani that he calls ‘carbon triax.’ It’s allowed the car to be 40% lighter than the coupe. Pagani claims it accelerates so fast a driver experiences 1.8 G.

Pagani also created what are called Bespoke Editions, which are often commissioned by buyers, with other colors or upgrades. Pagani made 15 of them between 2004 and 2018 based on the Zhonda model and 10 on the Huayra.

Ferrari

Farrari is the other independent Italian car maker, but with a longer and very different type of origin story. One thing Ferrari and Pagani have in common is that they had no intention of making a production car. Officially founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1939 and headquartered in Maranello, Italy, but the story goes back further than that.

Born in 1898 Enzo rose to the top of Alfa Romeo’s racing division, which he named formed Scuderia Ferrari in 1929. Scuderia basically means stable and refers to a team. In 1939 Alfa spun Ferrari off and by 1940 they’ produced their own racecar based on a Fiat platform.

The Ferrari factory was bombed in WWII and rebuilt to include a production line of cars. The first Ferrari badged car came out in 1947. In 1969, Fiat took a 50% stake in Ferrari and the infusion of cash was put to good use expanding the factory. Fiat’s stake rose over time to 90% by 1988 the year of Enzo’s death.

As Fiat was acquired by Chrysler, Ferrari became a part of a major conglomerate, but the decision was made in 2015 to restructure Ferrari back to its own independent brand, by offering their stock to the market. The process was complete by January 3rd, 2016.

Ferrari did have enormous success in F1 racing gaining 16 constructors’ championships (the most of anyone) and having produced 15 drivers’ championship wins–again the highest number.

Testarossa

In the 1950s and 1960s, Ferrari allowed clients to personalize their vehicles straight from the factory. This philosophy added to the brand’s mystique. They went through a period of  Carrozzeria Scaglietti programme where customizations were standardized a bit, but the returned to their roots of building every Ferrari to an individual customer’s specification.

Ferrari’s production cars were also consistently successful. They made several popular models for the luxury sports car market, most noteworthy being the Enzo. F-60, or Enzo, came out in 2002. The company made 400 units (sold 399 and donated one to the Vatican.)  

Ferrari has produced 16 concept and special project cars beginning in 2008 and in the early 1980’s they went into supercars. There most iconic and perhaps most popular production car was the  Testarossa which went into production in 1984.

Lamborghini

It seems fitting to cover Lamborghini next, given it’s connection to Pagani. Lambo is currently part of VW group (there is probably an Axis joke in there but we’re too classy to make it.)

Ferruccio Lamborghini, an Italian manufacturing magnate, founded Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini S.p.A. in 1963 to compete with Ferrari, having previously founded Lamborghini Trattori, in 1948 to make tractors.

The line of 12 cylinder, a rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, luxury sports cars, sold well for about ten years, but the financial collapse and high gas prices of the early 70’s took there toll and in 1973 Lamborghini spun off their tractor division which still makes tractors today. The car division went bankrupt, was bought by Chrysler, sold to an Indonesian investment group or two, who ultimately flipped it to Volkswagen Group, who placed it under their Audi Division.

In 2021, the CEO of Lamborghini said that by 2024 all its models will be hybrid.

Lamborghini also makes Marine Engine, Motorcycles, a luxury SUV (the Urus) and racecars, but lets skip down to their iconic, and frankly sexy, luxury sports cars.

The company currently makes two models, the Aventador and the Huracán. The Aventador is a V12-powered sports car available in UltimateSVJ coupés, and roadster version. Lamborghini will phase out making this car by the end of 2022 so they can concentrate on their SUV…which may well be an attempt at suicide.

Murcielago R-GT 

The Huracan, is V10-powered and comes in  all-wheel-drive LP 610-4 coupé and Spyder, or low cost rear-wheel-drive LP 580-2 coupé and Spyder, or the track oriented versions of both.

Lamborghini is heavily involved in racing both GT3 and F1.

Also Lamborghini has created a number of Concept Cars, including Bertone’s 1967 Marzal, 1974 Bravo, and 1980 Athon, Chrysler’s 1987 Portofino, the Italdesign-styled Cala from 1995, the Zagato-built Raptor from 1996, but their very first was the 350GTV in 1963.

Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 Spyder

Bullfighting is a key part of Lamborghini’s identity, beginning with Ferruccio visiting a Spanish fighting bull breeder in 1962 about a year before he founded his company with it’s raging bull emblem. The nomenclature of bullfighting is most seen in their naming conventions.

Lambo did name a couple cars alphanumerically, but grabbed three in a row from bullfighting:  Islero after a bull killed in the ring, Espada (and Estoc) are Spanish for the sword used to end a bull, and Jarama which is a region of Spain, famous for bull fighting (and car racing).

The Countach (/ˈkuːntɑːʃ/) is perhaps the most iconic of all Lambo’s and while it ironically doesn’t tie directly to bull fighting, it does come from a Piedmontese expletive roughly translating to “Holy Cow.”

Jalpa was named for a bull breed, and Diablo which means Devil is in reference to a famous fighting bull. And there are at least four other Lambo models that can be tied to bull fighting.

Two more noteworthy things about Lamborghini before we end: first, while the company was owned by Indonesian investors the name and IP were licensed to Mexican businessman Jorge Antonio Fernandez Garcia, which gives him the exclusive right to sell Lambos in Latin America, and to sell merch, and to manufacture certain models of Lamborghini locally. (Garcia means horse, which is Ferrari’s emblem, and that’s a joke we aren’t too classy to make.)

Second, there are two museums in BolognaEmilia-Romagna centered around the brand. One is Museo Lamborghini which targets the cars and company and Museo Ferruccio Lamborghini which targets the man, his houses and personal car collection.

Coming later this month we’ll cover Italian car makers that belong to the new mega, car-conglomerate Stellantis.

How California’s Ban On Gas-Powered Cars Will Effect You

OP-ED For and Against

Statement For

California made history when its regulators approved a bill that will see the state ban all gasoline or petrol-powered cars. This means that residents of the Golden State might have to go shopping for electric vehicles in the future. This comes in the wake of the government’s ineffective efforts to incentivize and encourage the purchase of electric cars. But what does this mean for you?

First, let’s better understand what California regulators are pushing for. At the time of writing, about 16% of all car sales in this state are zero-emission vehicles. Through the new rules, regulators are pushing this number to go up by 35%, especially in deals involving new passenger cars and light trucks.

So, how will you be affected? This bold move was part of the government’s efforts to reduce environmental emissions. Electric cars produce zero emissions, which will help improve air quality in California’s cities and towns.

Regulators in favor of the new rules estimate that this mover could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 50% by 2040. This means better and cleaner air for you, reducing your odds of catching respiratory diseases from related emissions.

It also means that you’ll save a lot more money than you typically would on gasoline-powered cars. Electric cars are cheaper to maintain and run than traditional gasoline cars for various reasons:

  • First, electric cars don’t require oil changes, tune-ups, or other regular maintenance tasks necessary for gasoline cars.
  • Second, electric cars have far fewer parts than gasoline cars, which means fewer things can break down or need repairs.
  • Third, electric cars are more efficient than gasoline cars, so they use less electricity and cost less to operate.
  • Finally, electric cars generate no emissions, so they’re much better for the environment. In sum, electric vehicles are cheaper to own and operate than traditional gasoline cars in several ways.

You’re probably wondering if you’ll have to give up your old car, and rightly so. But the new legislation only applies to the sale of new vehicles. This means that you can keep your gasoline-powered machine even after 2035. It also means that you can buy or sell used fuel-powered cars afterward.

As electric cars become more popular and affordable, it’s not inconceivable that one-day gasoline-powered vehicles may be banned altogether. Besides, many businesses and municipalities are already investing in infrastructure for electric cars, so there will likely be more options available in the future. This includes charging stations with similar infrastructure.

You can also expect other states to follow suit as more than a dozen states have followed in California’s footsteps. States like New York, Washington, and Massachusetts have all followed California’s new rules.

So, what would a ban on gasoline-powered cars mean for you? It would likely be very disruptive in the short term as the government and automakers transition to electric vehicles. However, it could also mean significant savings in fuel costs and emissions down the road.

Statement Against

It’s not only possible but likely that California will kick the can down the road and delay their ban on non-electric vehicles as most experts agree that they don’t have the infrastructure in place to implement it, nor are they going to be there before 2035. If that’s true, it makes their new law one of those “feel good” optics kind of laws like taxing booze to help the homeless when they don’t have an effective way to help the homeless attached to the funding.

But that’s not really at the heart of the question, how will it affect you? So, assuming they stick to this timeline…you can expect demand to go up on electric power causing the cost of power to go up. This means that you will not only pay more to drive your EV than you currently do but you will also pay more to heat or cool your home whether you own an EV or not.

This increase in power cost also erases any claim that your fuel costs will go down. Today’s power rates aren’t a good representation of power rates in 2035.

The big push for EV’s is that they are environmentally sound because they have reduced emissions. This position assumes that by 2035 all electric power will be generated via “green” or renewable energy. This position is as impossible to prove as it is to disprove. If they aren’t generating entirely green energy then it’s possible that the generating the power to charge an EV has at least as much environmental impact as burning gas in a car, because of line loss.

Line loss is the energy burned up by resistance when power is transmitted over long distances. Currently California doesn’t produce all the power they need and everything they import from other states has to be brought over long distances. This means more energy is created to get enough power to a vehicle to charge it. Which means if you’re burning any kind of fossil fuel to create EV energy you’re actually less efficient than putting the fossil fuel in the car and burning it for power there.

EV’s weigh about 1,000 pounds more than ICE cars. That means they take more in electricity to move than an ICE car. So again, you need to create more power to charge an EV than to power an ICE car.

What does all this mean for you? You’re cost of living will go up! But wait, there’s more.

The claim that EV’s are better for the environment discounts the environmental impact of mining battery components, which is often done in nations without the kind of regulations the US has on coal or natural gas. There is also a great environmental impact to dispose of car batteries. Not only will the batteries wear out with use, car accidents will also impact attrition. So rechargeable cell phones are nothing compared to rechargeable cars.

On the topic of power costs, gas taxes currently pay for a lot of road maintenance. How does California intend to pay for roads when everyone charges their car at home? The most likely answer is to tax electricity. So people who don’t make enough money to own a car, will still have to pay road taxes when they turn on their TV or try to make toast.

What’s the impact of this law on you? It’s expensive. But wait, there’s more.

By insisting that all new cars purchased be EV’s they’ll create artificial at least initially. Which means the price of new cars will go up. Higher priced cars mean more expensive insurance. Higher priced cars means more expensive transportation which as we’re seeing right now, raises the price of goods that need to be transported.

It’s likely since ICE cars can still be sold as used, that car services will spring up to buy new cars in neighbouring states and then resell them inside California. This will necessitate laws to regulate who can buy and sell private cars when they come from out of state. A lawsuit will follow as this violates the 10th Amendment of the constitution.

So again, California has created a law they know they won’t be able to implement, or enforce long term, but it sure makes them feel good.

How will this law affect you? Short-term warm feelings, long-term expensive.

What is Toyota Remote Connect?

Toyota Remote Connect is a mobile app that allows drivers to connect with their Toyota vehicles in a variety of ways. The app can be used to lock and unlock doors, start the engine, and check vehicle status. It also includes a GPS locator, so drivers can always find their car in a crowded parking lot. In addition, the app can send alerts if the vehicle is driven outside a specific location or if the engine is running for an extended time.

Toyota Remote Connect is designed to give drivers peace of mind by providing them with constant vehicle access. Whether checking to ensure the doors are locked or tracking their car’s location, the app makes it easy to stay connected to their Toyota.

Functions of Toyota Remote Connect

Toyota’s Remote Connect system offers many features to help drivers stay connected to their vehicles. Perhaps the most useful is remotely starting the engine, which can come in handy on cold mornings or when the car has been sitting in the sun for a while. Other features include locking and unlocking doors, checking fuel levels, and receiving maintenance alerts.

Toyota’s Remote Connect system offers several safety features, such as automatic collision notification and stolen vehicle location assistance. In addition, the system can be used to locate a parked vehicle and track its movements if it is stolen. Toyota’s Remote Connect system provides a wide range of features that can be extremely useful for drivers.

Step-by-Step Process of Setting Up Toyota Remote Connect

Toyota’s Remote Connect system allows drivers to control various features of their cars using a smartphone app. The system can be used to lock and unlock doors, start the engine, and even honk the horn. Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up Toyota Remote Connect:

  1. Download the Toyota app on your smartphone.
  2. Open the app and create an account.
  3. Once logged in, select the “Vehicles” tab.
  4. Select the “Add Vehicle” option.
  5. Enter your vehicle’s information, including the year, make, and model.
  6. Agree to the terms and conditions.
  7. Select the ” activate” button. Your car is now connected to Toyota Remote Connect.

How Far Can Toyota Remote Connect Work?

Toyota’s Remote Connect feature allows you to do various things with your smartphone, including starting the engine, locking and unlocking doors, and checking the fuel level. But how far away from your car can you be and still use the app? The answer depends on a few factors. First, your vehicle must be within Bluetooth range, about 30 feet.

Second, your car must have an active cellular connection. If you’re outside the cellular range, you’ll still be able to use some of the app’s features, but others will be unavailable.

Finally, the app will only work if your phone and Toyota’s servers have an active data connection. So even if your car is within Bluetooth range and has a strong cellular signal, the app may not work if you’re in an area with poor cell reception. In short, Toyota’s Remote Connect feature is a great way to stay connected to your car, but it has its limitations.

The Top Five Most Stolen Vehicles in America

Each year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau releases a report of the most stolen vehicles in America. Below you will find the most stolen vehicles in America before making a purchase.

1.    Honda Civic

There are a number of reasons why the Honda Civic is so often targeted. To begin with, it is a very popular car, which means there is more of them on the road and more opportunity for thieves to steal them. Additionally, Civics are often parked in public areas, making them easy targets for thieves looking for a quick getaway. Finally, Civics tend to have weaker security systems than other cars, making them easier to break into. As a result of all these factors, the Civic remains one of the most stolen vehicles in America.

2.    Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 has been America’s best-selling truck for four decades. But despite its popularity, the F-150 is also one of the most stolen vehicles in the country. There are a number of reasons why the F-150 is such a target for thieves. First, its high resale value makes it an attractive proposition for thieves looking to make a quick profit. Second, the F-150’s parts are also highly sought-after, making it easy for thieves to sell them on the black market.

Finally, the F-150 is simply an easy target for theft; its large size and heavy weight make it difficult to hide, and its popularity means that a large number of them are on the road, making them easy to find and steal. Whatever the reason, the Ford F-150 is one of the most stolen vehicles in America. And unfortunately for owners, there’s not much that can be done to prevent it from happening.

3.    Chevrolet Silverado

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is the most popular truck in America and one of the most stolen vehicles. There are a few reasons why the Silverado is such a target for thieves. First, it’s a highly sought-after vehicle, so there’s a high demand for it on the black market. Second, it’s relatively easy to steal, thanks to its large size and easy-to-disable security system. Finally, the Silverado is valuable, so it can fetch a high price when sold illegally. If you own a Silverado, take extra steps to protect your vehicle from theft. Park in well-lit areas, use a steering wheel lock and consider investing in a GPS tracking device.

4.    Honda Accord

The Honda Accord is one of the most popular cars on the market and one of the most stolen cars. In fact, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Accord was the most stolen vehicle in America in 2015. There are a number of reasons why thieves target the Accord. First, it’s a popular car, which means there are more of them on the road. Second, it’s easy to break into and hot-wire. And third, parts from the Accord are in high demand so that they can be easily sold for a profit.

5.    Toyota Camry

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Toyota Camry is one of the most stolen vehicles in America. It’s the most stolen vehicle in California. While the Camry is a popular car, it’s also an easy target for thieves. This is because the Camry is often left unlocked with the keys inside. This makes it an easy target for thieves looking for a quick getaway car. The Camry is also a popular choice for carjackers due to its popularity and ease of access.

Just for Fun #118

Looking for a sign you should get your car inspected before you buy it?

…because you never really know what happened to your car before it was listed for sale…

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.

Auto Makers: US Defunct (Part 4E)

The best way to tackle Car Manufacturers in the US is to break them up by category. We started with the big three, and now let’s get to three noteworthy US Auto Makers that have been phased out or gone out of business.

Hupp

Vital Stats: 1909-1939, Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.

The short 20 year run of Hupp motors has some unexpected twists. It started with a design and prototype by Bobby Hupp, financed in large part by his first partner Charles Hastings ($8,500). Hupp would later become the VP and general manager of his own company and Hastings would sink to assistant general manager. How?

The prototype went to the1909 automobile show where it won a modest $25,000 ($753,981 today’s money) from investors like J. Walter Drake, Joseph Drake, John Baker, and Edwin Denby. Drake became President using his experience running Oldsmobile before it sold, and he brought from Oldsmobile Emil Nelson as chief engineer.

This total $33,000 startup gave Hupp the 8th position out of the eight big Detroit automakers. But thei Hupp Model 20 was a marvelous car, and that still matters for something in the car biz.

Well, it was under-powered and the gear ratio was whacky, but selling for $900 with a manufacturers guarantee to replace damaged material except for tires struck a chord with buyers. The car also featured an innovative oil system.

1909 Model Roundabout

In 1911 Hupp decided to be the first American Automaker to feature an all steel body (Only BSA in the Uk was doing it.)  Hale & Kilburn Company in Philadelphia had been replacing cast iron in train cars with a pressed metal which saved a ton of weight and therefore gas. The success of an all-steel body came as a result of the work of three men, Nelson (Chief Engineer of Hupp), Edward Budd and Joseph Ledwinka were General Manager and Budd Chief Engineer of Hale & Kilburn. They worked tirelessly to design and fabricate the system in a way that could be taken apart, shipped and then reassembled…but never thought to patent it. The Hupp 32 was born.

Bud and Ledwinka left to form their own company. Ledwinka later tried to patent the tech but a judge ruled against him by reason that it was now in the public domain.

Nelson resigned as Chief Engineer in 1912 ending the companies desire to be edgy and innovative. They returned to traditional body parts.

Noteworthy: Hupp innovated both the Freewheeling Transmission and a filtered air heater called  the Evanair-Conditioner.

Hupp had been fortifying his business by vertical integration–buying up parts manufacturers. In 1913 Hupp decided to leave Hupp Motors, and despite his promise to continue to supply parts, Hupp Motors decided to build a plant to make parts for themselves.

1933 Model K, Cycle Fenders
Noteworthy: Minnesota Car dealership owner, Carl Wickman, turned a 7 passenger Hupp mobile into the first Greyhound Passenger Bus.

Sales grew and peaked at  over 65,000 units by 1928 but began to slump even before the stock market crash and great depression. Why? Beginning in 1925 Hupp started courting a luxury market, something most car makers were attempting to do around that time. The difference is that larger companies could afford to continue producing their mid-priced cars while growing their new market. Hupp struggled to find a design that would take off with luxury buyers, and while they experimented they turned their back on their existing customer base. They also failed to stick with any one design long enough to achieve economy of scale. Add to that the fact that they were moving the wrong direction (toward more expensive cars) when the depression hit…by 1935 stockholders were angry and they company was nearly taken over.

1925 Model R Touring Car

During their rise, Hupp had acquired additional manufacturing facilities, which they began to sell off in 1936. They managed to develop a new line of six and eight cylinder cars but their number of dealerships had shrunk along with their manufacturing, they just couldn’t battle their way back, which lead them to the joint venture below.

The joint venture was the end of Hupp Motors. They fulfilled their orders and closed up for good.

Graham-Paige

Vital Stats: 1927-1962, Headquartered in Evansville, Indiana.

Three Graham brother founded the company, Joseph, Robert and Ray. Technically the 1962 end date above refers to the end of the corporate identity, the original company was bought out by Kaiser-Frazer in 1947.

The Graham Brothers got their start in glass then moved into modifying Model T’s into trucks. They sold off the glass company began branding their creations under their own name. Eventually Dodge became their engine of choice and their relationship with dodge grew such that dodge dealerships were selling their trucks and a dodge plant in Canada was making their trucks to supply the Canadian market.

So, as with so many car companies these were successful business men who moved into car building a step at a time, and as with so many car makers they were swallowed up by a larger company–in this case Dodge in 1925. All three Graham brothers accepted leadership positions with Dodge as part of the deal.

Then in 1928, Chrysler bought Dodge and the Graham brother brand was dead a year later. The brothers saw these challenges coming, so a year earlier, in 1927 they bought the  Paige-Detroit Motor Company, for $3.5 million. They also bought the Wayne Body Company which resolved the main reason Paige had struggled to become profitable–they couldn’t get bodies. Graham-Paige sourced engines from Continental part of the time, and parts to their specs for their own engines most of the time. The result was a successful line of cars with six and eight cylinder engines, which didn’t technically compete with Dodge, which would have violated their sale. Paige already made a line of trucks which the brothers got around to closing down when Dodge complained.

Graham-Paige succeeded as a car company even despite the great depression which wiped out so many car makers. Their secret was a winning design from Amos Northup. This 1932 model featured an 8-cylinder engine dubbed the “Blue Streak” and the car would become the most influential design in automotive history. Innovations included moving the radiator cap inside the hood and changes to the grill and bumper in a way that prevented mud and road debris from collecting in the engine. They also moved the drive train and mounted the rear springs outside the chassis, lowering and widening the car. In 1934 they added a crankshaft driven supercharger and went on to make more supercharged cars than anyone until Buick in the 1990’s.

Graham-Paige built a solid reputation for making reliable automobiles but by 1938 the brothers were desperate for a second hit design. They rehired Northrup but he died part way into the design. They managed to finish the redesign and include a few more innovations that won them races in France, but ruined the look and killing off sales.

This lead to a desperate joint venture with Hupp, to be detailed below. Post WWII, Graham-Paige brought out a new model under their new president, Joseph Frazer. Financing came from none other than shipbuilder and industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. Graham-Paige tried to rally their success into a new line under their name, but stock holders intervened placing the companies assets at the disposal of Frazer and Kaiser, who diversified to make all sorts of things including farm equipment.

Ultimately, Graham-Paige dropped motors from their name and went into commercial real estate, acquiring Madison-Square Gardens which was later acquired twice more.

Cord

Vital Stats: 1929 to 1932 and again in 1936 and 1937, Headquartered in Connersville, Indiana. Founded by E. L. Cord.

Cord is interesting for several reasons but the first is that it existed for two short 3-year spurts. Cord is a luxury brand name for a line of cars manufactured by Auburn Automobile Company. The brainchild of E.L. Cord who was also the force behind Auburn Auto, Cord is most famed for its innovations and streamlined design.

L-29

The Cord L-29 for instance was the first car offered to the public with front wheel drive. To be fair Ruxton was only months behind. The L-29 was also the first production car to use CV-joints. By not having a rear drive train the L-29 was lower to the ground than other cars of the era, giving it a sleek look. It also came with full instrumentation: temperature gauge, oil pressure and oil level gauge, speedometer, gas gauge, and Ammeter.

Cord also pioneered hidden headlamps 4 decades before they would return on other luxury models. Their second model the 810 featured independent suspension. Cord could have been iconic but they were plagued with reliability issues (common among the first years of automobile startups), and there was pretty stiff competition. Dealerships abandoned Cord for more lucrative models and soon investors started suing, alleging fraud .E.L. Cord abandoned the company and moved to Arizona where he made his next fortune in real estate.

812 Phaeton

In 1940 Hupmobile saw an opportunity to develop a cheap car using an existing body and frame design but couldn’t really afford to produce them. Graham-Paige offered to help and the Hupmobile Skylark and Graham Hollywood were born. Naturally Hupmobile wasn’t interested in creating a luxury car, so the hidden lights and front wheel drive were scrapped in favor of cheaper, standard options. The total number of cars made by this collaboration is believed to be 1850 units, mostly Graham Hollywoods. By 1941 the deal fell apart.

Noteworthy: Cord’s have been drafted no less than 6 times by Hollywood, notably for the movie “Live and Let Die,” (to be driven by a bad guy) and for basis of the original Batmobile as creator Bob Cane felt it had the right look for a millionaire vigilante. Also, Puzzle maker “bePUZZLED” turned a creme colored 1936 810 Cord into a feature of their murder mystery. PlayStation has tapped a Cord twice for their video games. Jay Leno owns a Cord 812 making it a car worth taking not of.