Safety Season: Winter Driving

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The Holiday Season at The Kicker is Safety Season. Every Monday we’ll post about safety and include helpful information and tips to keep you and you’re family as safe as possible on the roads. If you’d like to find helpful links to all this information and more please check out our Safety Tab on thekickerblog.com (Drive Safe, Buying a Safe Car, After Accident Action Steps).

Here are some quick tips for staying safe this winter.

Winter driving tips

Winter brings all sorts of driving headaches: snow, freezing rain and slush, which all make the roads more hazardous. To handle the hassle of winter driving:

  1. First of all, buckle up. Basic car safety encourages the use of seat belts and car seats at all times. They’re one of your best defenses in a crash. And it’s the law.
  2. Use extra caution in areas that ice up quickly, especially intersections, shaded areas, bridges and overpasses.
  3. Get in the habit of regularly checking weather reports on TV or online so you can prepare for bad weather. On severe weather days, schools and workplaces might close or delay opening. Consider staying at home if you don’t need to be on the road.
  4. Keep an emergency kit in the trunk of your car – including blankets, a first aid kit and jumper cables. Check out our full list of items for your emergency car kit.
  5. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and that your car always has a full tank of gas.
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Best of the Web: Tesla Truck is, well…

Tesla chose to unveil this here and now because Musk loves Blade Runner. And to date, he’s made some wild claims about what it can do: out-truck a Ford F-150, outperform a Porsche 911, be “literally bulletproof” and ideally start under $50,000. It’s also “the official truck of Mars.’”
(Story Link)

Yes that’s really the new Tesla Truck and it may challenge Tesla fans loyalty. It’s ironic that it’s the official truck of Mars because Musk’s Mars rocket just blew up too. Ominous!

Compare for yourself.

With Rivian

Update:

The ugly design appears to have a function. According to Musk’s recent tweets the body material, 30x cold roll steel, is too tough for ordinary machines to shape it.

While we grieve the lack of style brought to most modern design cars the cybertruck might be a step too far. Or not, you be the judge of that.

Fluffy Pink Car Dice

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Of course, car dice are tacky, but where did they come from. They’re among the first items sold to be hung from a rear-view mirror, and before they were fluffy, they were made of a polystyrene material. Most source agree that they started in Glendale, California but opinions are divided about whether they started in 1959 or 1952. Either way, the question is, WHY? Why on earth do we need to hang a pair of fuzzy dice where they can swing in our way?

Perhaps part of the reason they leave a bad taste in our mouth is that people who have these decorations are actually more likely to get in an accident. Traditional thought is that it’s young, drivers of hot-rods, which at one time is who was most likely to decorate their cars in such a manor. But that’s not strictly true anymore.

Brief History of Fuzzy Dice

The reasoning for this is that car dice or fluffy dice originated from US airmen during WWII, which would explain the association with flashy young men who take risks. Although several board games make use of just one die, car die must be in pairs. And while many games use dice the proper display of car dice is so that they display some combination that totals seven, leading to the obvious theory that it alludes to playing craps.

Maybe there should be more research done on whether woman hang dice in their cars, but typically this is associated with dudes. Online sources (and we all know how reliable these are!) link the practice with “hot rods;” and since its associated with people who “feel the need for speed” cements the link to airmen. This might not be reliable evidence, but it seems logical.

Nowadays both young and old have dice on their mirror – and you are more likely to have dice if you are of the older persuasion. Many men who couldn’t afford their dream car when they were new discover in retirement they can afford them. And if you want the exact car you wanted as a teenager you want the fuzzy dice that were on the hanging on the mirror back when you first saw them.

The Golden 80s

The golden age of car kitsch was the 1980’s with nodding dogs on dashboards, items stuck to the windows and bumper stickers. This was the time of the “fluffy pink dice.” If the drive to have such items was to express your individuality, then it lost its ability to satisfy as soon as everyone had them. The ultimate, flash in the pan, fad, that faded into a cliché, but never completely left.

The fad found a second life in “pimping” up the inside of your car (though there are more stylish and less obvious ways to achieve this). A reference to “pimp dice” can be found in the Urban Dictionary in 2007, but it probably originates with certain TV and movie characters like Huggee Bear from Starsky and Hutch.

Not all states support the hanging of the two dice. In Minnesota it is illegal to drive with this “tag” when the car is in motion. A citation or warning may be given if a car is being driven with anything from the rear-view mirror, be it dice, air fresheners or whatever as it may obscure your view.

The latest innovation seems to be using these fluffy dice as a speaker system. Giving them a purpose is a good idea, but generally a car’s speaker system is built-in. Probably more of a novelty.

What’s News: Mustang Mach-E Reveal

While Sean O’Kane of the Verge says of the reveal…

Ford’s newly revealed electric Mustang SUV, the Mach-E, is quickly becoming one of the more buzzed-about car reveals of the last few years. But while the new EV looked competent at its LA Auto Show debut, the company pretty much whiffed on one really important part of the Mustang Mach-E: the software.

Frugal Moogal told Clean Technicathe reveal felt scripted in comparison to the Tesla way of revealing a car.

O’Kane felt the Sync 4 software, “was so buggy that the handlers hovering around the car kept stopping people from tapping the screen.

Moogal writes…”As they are describing the car, I’m struck again by the fact that I expect that this is the first real challenger to anything that Tesla is doing.

Will the buggy software be fixed by the next reveal in L.A.? Will it give Tesla a run for it’s money?The car is due on showroom floors by late 2020 so we will soon know answers.

What’s News: Ford & Tesla Tussle

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The atmosphere is getting positively electric.

Ford Motor Co. on Sunday finally lifted the curtain on its first battery-powered sport-utility vehicle, in a debut that’s poised to usher in a new era of fierce competition among automobile makers vying for the electric-car crown.

Original story

And, most notably, Ford’s hotly anticipated launch of the Mustang Mach-E could be a big problem for industry darling Tesla TSLA+0.72%  .

F vs F: Endurance Racing

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When we think of motor racing we think of a few laps around a circuit and the odd pit stop and the slight possibility of a crash. It’s a given that there is a singular driver. Race goers have become so obsessed with Formula One type of driving that they are ignoring other forms of racing. Endurance racing for example. If you are a motorsport aficionado, you might like to seek out this more unusual type of racing.

In an endurance race it is all about how long a team of racers can keep going and how long the equipment (the engine, the wheels, etc.) can hold out. Most endurance racers can last six hours but it is not that unusual for races to last twelve hours or even twenty four. The teams are between two and four participants, who need to take adequate sleeping breaks in order to achieve the best results.

A Brief History of Endurance Racing

The very first endurance race occurred in Coppo Florio in Italy in 1900 with a prize of 500,000 lira (about the equivalent of $25,000 in today’s money) in addition to a cup. Originally it began and ended in Brescia, but 1908 it had changed its route totally, circulating through several places in Bologna such as Castelfranco and San Giovanni.brno-2870695_1920

Although it might be thought as one race it may be more accurate to say it is seven races, with the winner of all seven being awarded the prize. The competition was originally for sports cars, but open wheel cars were finally allowed to take part

(Note: Open wheel cars are cars where the wheels are outside the main body, such as are used in Formula One).

The “Triple Crown” represents one of the greatest accolades an endurance team can go after. If may sound more like a horse racing achievement but it goes to the team that wins the 24 hours of Daytona, 12 hours of Sebring and 24 hours of Le Mans. It’s worth noting that no one has won these races in the same year, it’s more like a lifetime achievement award. The first person to win this trio was the American Phill Hill.

The Circuit

The WeatherTech Sportscar Championship season begins with the 24 hours of Daytona event, continues with the other two Triple Crown events and then goes on to 6 hours of Watkins Glens and Petit Le Mans. To confuse matters, there is also a European and Asian Le Mans series.

The names associated with this kind of racing are not the same as Formula One. For Le Mans each team has a specific sponsor, USA is Dragonspeed and the UK is RLR Msport. There is only a certain number of teams which can enter an event for a country, it might be a bit confusing for the novice to understand.

inline-4039073_1920.jpgOf course endurance racing as a sport goes beyond cars, but even just considering things with wheels you have motorcycles, karts, motorboats, bicycle and even roller skating (the latter is takes place on public roads rather than a race course). If you’ve got the strength of mind to take part in an endurance race there is probably something out there for you.

F vs F: “Ford v Ferrari” The Movie

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Matt Damon and Christian Bale are costar in the new movie this month “Ford v Ferrari.” which is sure to be a fan favorite for car enthusiasts.

Ford_v._Ferrari_282019_film_poster29 Matt Damon plays automotive legend Carol Shelby who is tasked by Henry Ford II and Lee Iaccoca of Ford to settle a score with Enzo Ferrari for not selling his company to Ford in 1963. Enzo might have entertained selling off his brand and the line of custom street machines, but had no interest in selling their racing division. The reason is pretty obvious when you consider that Ferrari won every La Mons from 1960 to 1965.

Together with British Driver, Ken Miles (Bale), Shelby sets out to prove that Ford didn’t need to buy a winning race team to win races. The team of American engineers and designers produce the GT 40 which manages to take the win in La Mons 1966, and bragging rights the likes of which go unrivaled in auto racing.

420px-GT40_at_GoodwoodDirector James Mangold has put together a solid movie that’s fun to watch, not only for great acting but for great performance and racing scenes.

With a budget of $97 million the film makers could have designed the MK II for themselves. (Pictured Left)

 

F v F: Ford Builds it’s Last Car for the Blue Oval

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Last August we mentioned the 50th anniversary of a legendary event in car racing history. But now that they’ve made a movie about the incident it’s worth revisiting the memory, which is a very sweet one for most Americans.

“The Ford GT race car competed in its final 24 Hours of Le Mans as a factory backed team in June, only three years after it rolled back into France with a four-car squad built to kick Ferrari’s teeth in on the 50th anniversary of its legendary 1966 win. It won its class in that race, making the second-coming of the GT a legend for Blue Oval fans.”

Click above to watch the race coverage.

Races all have rules, some to keep drivers safe and others simply to keep it one type of race and keep everyone playing by the same rules. What you see below is a car designed to compete on a track where the rule book was thrown to the wind. This is as close to an airplane without a prop that a car can get.

Wings, you ask? You don’t see the wings? Well, they’re their in a sense. Well, listen to its designers from Multimatic, Larry Holt, describe how they produce downforce…”a new dual-element rear wing, a larger front splitter, louvered fenders, new dive planes, and a more prominent rear diffuser…”

Yep, wings, just upside down wings. This MKII is not only a “track only model” its not going to be entering any big races soon. The tires and breaks are especially upgraded to withstand the 2G’s of force it often pulls in corners.

The MK II is a swan song to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford’s Le Mans win, but Ford will be pulling out of future races on this level. If you’ve been following the news lately you know Ford will focus on trucks.

If you’d like to own one of these limited edition (only 45 made) MK II’s it’ll cost you roughly $1.2 million.  If you do buy one, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE drop us a like and let us test drive it!