Cars in Tintin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Macho Cars?

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

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

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

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

Reasons for the love affair:

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

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

What are macho men looking for—in a car?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are their car designs aimed at women?

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

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

Dealing with Rust in Cars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prevention

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

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

Even when you get your undercarriage sealed.

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

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

When you discover rust.

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

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

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

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

Early Electric Cars

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s take these one by one.

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

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

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

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

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

Then and Now

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

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

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

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

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

Choosing a Car Tracker

There are so many different options for car trackers that it’s hard to obtain a complete picture of the technology and application. Some of them are useful, others might be charitably described as not fit for purpose. The smarter companies have decided to niche down to one market segment so they could better represent what they do for their customers.

Potential Purposes for Vehicle Tracking:

Why might you need a tracker? Well there are several reasons…

Assuring that a vehicle doesn’t get stolen.

  • The first thing that leaps to mind on the topic of car tracking, perhaps due to early offerings in the field like Lo-Jack.

Check that a troublesome teen is driving within the law.

  • Monitoring your teen sometimes means knowing where they are, but it can also mean monitoring how they’re driving. It’s possible to verify that your teen is driving within designated speed limits or using their vehicle within times you’ve allowed—like only during daylight on a school night. Teen

To keep tabs on an older relative.

  • Hopefully if your aging parents and grandparents aren’t able to safely operate a vehicle you or their doctor have already helped them stop driving. However, there are a number of seniors who can drive safely with a few accommodations. It could give you peace of mind to have a GPS tracking on their car so if they breakdown they can call you with their location. It’s possible that that they could suffer a heart attack or other life-threatening issue and not be able to tell you where they are. This service started with companies like OnStar, but have mostly transitioned to personal car tracking so that consumers don’t have to combine the expense of monitoring with the expense of roadside assistance.

Possibly it is used as a business investment.

  • Knowing what your employees are doing when they are out “in the field” or on delivery has become a standard. Some systems even monitor how you drive—like the ones for parents of teenagers. This is far superior to the old system of installing a governor to prevent workers from speeding in you moving van. It also lets you know if they’re actually going about the delivery rout you hired them to.
  • It’s not just about how they drive or do their job though. These monitoring systems keep track of the locations of major assets your company owns. This could be reflected in a discount on your insurance bill.

Tracking your Spouse.

  • Then there are people who wish to spy on a partner who may be having an affair or secretly taking drugs or gambling. It’s a personal choice and a tough issue to even address in a post like this, but it’s one way in which people use the technology and therefore some companies market to that purpose.

Desirable qualities in a Tracker:

Many of these systems do have some tethering, or connectivity problems. A 24 hour helpline is vital in order to deal with any difficulties – but these are common problems when you purchase a new device these days. When checking reviews, listen to what other people stay about helplines. How hard was it to get through to a person? Do they have limited hours as in they’re out of office whenever you need to locate your teen at a party they were grounded from?

In choosing a tracker look for ones who work with programs such as Google Maps, so you have a clear view where each vehicle is, from any google enabled device.

If you fear your car will be stolen and the license plate changed, opt for global coverage, in case the car gets shipped abroad.

Another feature to look for is whether you must check it or if it gives you push notifications. Spy Tec. For example, can be programmed to send you periodic updates and can be placed anywhere in the car. Marketing from the company states that the strong battery can last up to four weeks, which to be honest is a big consideration if you’re not wiring into the cars power system.

The MotoSafety Teen GPS, and Spy Tec for that matter, require a monthly subscription. If you research you maybe able to find ones that don’t have further payments once they’re installed.

The Drawback to tracking?

Using a tracker does indicate a lack of trust though. If your relative/employee/whoever needs to be tracked in this complicated way is it time to just have a tough conversation.

It’s also less expensive to do your own detective work if we are talking about a relative or a partner. In these days of mobile phone it’s getting exceedingly harder to keep things private, you might do a bit of snooping and learn the same information.

Monitoring your partner’s movements probably shouldn’t be a way of life, only a way to eliminate concerns. In a similar way, your teen is likely to move on from borrowing your car to driving their own vehicles so…do you really want to invest in buying and installing a tracker.

The most lucrative market for trackers must surely be commercial fleets. To think of it, it would be hard to run a cab business or any enterprise involving delivery vehicles without a number of tracking devices.

If you have a fear that your car will be stolen then a tracker is definitely for you but ultimately it’s all dependent on the car you drive—frankly you can just buy a car that’s less likely to be stollen.

The other difficulty with a tracker is that many you have to pay to install. Although many try a tracking device on the cheap, the easier it is to find the easier is it to dismantle.

Still it’s a developing market and if you feel your vehicle or group of vehicles need it, go for it!

Behind the Scenes of Car Stunts (Part 2)

The previous article discussed story-boarding stunts. After this phase the stunt coordinator takes over. But what exactly is a stunt coordinator? Well they can be thought of as the director of stunts–they coordinate, cast, and choreograph. As you might guess, they usually worked as a stuntman before becoming a coordinator.

Rémy Juliannne is a typical example of a stunt driver turned coordinator. He started his professional life as a rally cross driver and a motocross driver. He has now been in 1,400 films including James Bond and Italian Job. He also teaches other stunt drivers. 1,400 folks! How many actors can make that claim?

The car stunt coordinator works with the crew and cameramen to line up the correct camera shots. Even when everything is planned in minute detail things can still go wrong. And “go wrong” has two definitions:

1) you have to repeat a very expensive shot.
2) Someone get’s hurt.

Someone gets Hurt:

That’s not to say there’s no choreography or some mechanical rigging to make a car stunt as safe as possible. A fit stuntman also increases the likelihood they will survive the stunt, even if there are injuries to the body.

When creating a truck roll as seen in Mad Max 2 a gigantic cage was built into the cab and as a precaution an ambulance was on standby. For stunts as dangerous as this, stuntmen don’t eat for a day in case of operations. All that happened to the stuntman after this was a dirty face, bizarrely enough.

What many people may not know is that custom engineered safety feature from stunt coordinators actually inspires safety features in cars that are commercially sold. If you have airbags in your vehicle you can thank the stunt industry.

Equipment also changes:

The French film C’etuit un Rendezvous used video cameras instead of film cameras to follow stunt drivers as they went mad on the streets of Paris. At least using a Mercedes meant that the handling was as fine as it could be. Cameras mounted on the hood also assisted with the overall effect.

More Technically Difficult Stunts

The harder the stunt, the more precision is needed. Most cars cannot be turned 360° in mid-air, but the Chevrolet Sonic can—with a little special engineering. A ball-like scaffold created the effect. A similar stunt was achieved using an AMC Hornet.

To flip a Mini you need to get an angle of 37° and still might not be easy. Think about it, is the goal to get a full revolution, to land on your roof, to land on your tires…either way you are rigging the Mini up with some kind of cage.

Using Regular Streets

Beyond the obvious step of getting permits and shutting down regular traffic, you can add the step of simulating traffic with cars driven by stunt people. Of course, the stunt coordinator must examine the surfaces to ensure that they are more than roadworthy. A test track or a controlled sound studio won’t change a lot between filming one scene and another, but a road could have random damage the night before filming.

The ultimate stunt drivers can use the streets of San Francisco for suitably hilly stunts involving a number of chicanes, and negotiating streetcars and cones with a number of 180° turns as well as jumps.

A stunt in 2009 involved jumping from the beach onto a barge. It used a Subaru STi and took place on the Long Beach on Los Angeles. The difficulty in the stunt is not to crash into the barge.

Sexism or Practicality

There’s a great deal of talk about “wigging” in the industry where a stuntman does the stunt which should have been done by a woman. There’s probably no winning this debate because there are more stunt men in the business than women. I the golden era of cinema, when an actress fell off a horse and was drug out of scene, you put a man in a wig and drug him behind the horse.

Now, there are more stunt women and really no good reason why a woman couldn’t drive a stunt as well or better than a male counterpart. By the same token, there’s a lot less effort in disguising a drivers gender inside a car during a stunt so there’s really no reason to intentionally pick one gender over another regardless of the sex of the character that’s supposed to be driving. Naturally this creates a bit of contention.

The truth is there’s no stunt register in the US, so the only way a stunt man or woman to gets ahead is to know the right person. So, there’s no way to prove that bias isn’t applied, and no easy way to attempt to fix the situation. On the upside, Hollywood has a reputation of being forward thinking and as more female stunt drivers enter the business, you’ll likely see plenty of jobs available for them. Only time will tell for sure.

It’s that a person who wants to drive through fire will always have employment, though he or she might not have time to enjoy the beauty of the vehicle?

Behind the Scenes of Car Stunts – Part One.

Any stunt devised begins with an idea. If it’s stunt for a film it must work with the story so even if it is altered for safety reasons it must make sense for the character or situation. Of course the car doesn’t always fit the star, sometimes it’s about product placement but the intention is to get something that you might believe the character could conceivably drive.

An example of a stunt fitting the plot is the car roll in Casino Royale. A car must go out of control and roll a couple of times but also avoid the person tied up. We don’t blink at this when the action hero gets himself this type of situation—but this is M. Would our desk jockey drive fast enough to lose control? Sure, if the emotion is high anyone can drive unwisely, but would M own a car that is likely to do it? So, if the director wants the stunt, he/she must show why M is upset and why M grabs someone else’s car.

From the stunt coordinators standpoint. If M drives a large, luxury, or classic car (true to the character) there’s a better chance that an out of control car would roll. So if the movie goes that way challenges like slower acceleration and less than performance breaking require a few cheats. It may sound silly but movies sometimes pour a few thousand dollars into car so that it can be safely destroyed in a wreck.

Stunt People are Also Actors:

It needn’t necessarily be the action hero, it could be the getaway driver or a bumbling incompetent, but how the car moves should show that. This is where the next stage of the production comes in. The stunt driver must drive the car in the manor that fits the character and the scene.

From a technical standpoint, stunt coordinators sit into meetings with the screenplay writer earlier in the process than most people would guess. The stunt moves need to be planned with the storyboard artist. Although the storyboard artist tends to agree with what the screenplay writer says, they will be more likely to look int how the car, tank or whatever, moves in certain conditions. Some stunts must be conducted at separate locations so that weather and crowds are controlled. Research at this point can head off problems further along the line.

From scribbles they come up with something more coherent—a plan to prepare for each stunt to be filmed. It helps them to watch other films with stunts to see how they do it. It’s usual practice to have a library on how each vehicle reacts in certain circumstances. You may believe that one SUV works the same as another SUV but it doesn’t, some are easier to handle, some might work easier around chicanes. You can see through footage or though attempting it (with the correct level of safety applied, it should be added).

Movie Storyboards

It’s important to plan the stunts during the storyboard phase. In many ways it’s easier to show action on a storyboard rather than a script. The only missing elements are actually filming, adding the soundtrack and dialogue, which will be assigned later.

The storyboard artist different devises to clearly represent the action. Instead of using a HB pencil on these drawings they use a 3B which is softer. (Would a hard pencil be good for showing night time stunts? Like a 3H for instance? Possibly).

The Lawyers

You probably think you know what a car stunt is, but the actual definition is a car negotiating unfamiliar territory. Simply driving at high speed, driving slowly through a crowd, or parking in a tight space are considered stunt for the movie industry. It’s obvious when you really think about it. Lets not assume that an actor can parallel park shall we? Not when we can have a professional driver do it and then film the actor getting out of the car.

The harder the stunt the more precision is needed. There will be a number of reworkings of the stunt plan to go through before eventually talking to the lawyers. Many manufacturers don’t wish to show their product acting in a dubious way. It takes a huge amount of PR to bring a stunt to the screen. Do you want your sports car associated with mob hit men? It gets you attention the first time your luxury car gets rolled into a building, after the 3rd movie does it you could get a reputation.

Stay tuned for part two where we’ll go into detail into specific stunts and the best practices in order to bring the stunt to the screen. It takes a huge amount of effort to make the car the true hero of the silver screen.

Sedan Cars – Who Buys And Should It Alter?

First What is a Sedan?

Sedan, according to Wikipedia, is a style of car which characterized by a box 3 design. Box 3 is when the engine, passenger and cargo compartments are separate and enclosed.

Why are sedans shaped as they are? The design started as a box to hold the engine, the second box used for the driver and passenger, the trunk makes up the third box, which came last of all. The focus is getting the second box right in design terms, is the interior up to date? Does it have all the modern conveniences? Not that you shouldn’t ignore the hood or trunk areas.

We get the name Sedan from rather unsavory roots. The name refers to a form of transportation much older than vehicles. Royalty and wealthy people used to sit in a box protected from the elements. The box was then lifted by poles and carried by servants or slaves.

The UK name has a better connotation. Saloon car originated after luxury carriages in trains, which in turn comes to the French word saloon, a hall (the hall being the most luxurious part of a house).

The Sedan’s Fall from Popularity

For many decades, the sedan or as the call them in England, Saloon car, was the primary car displayed and sold by automakers around the world. It was either a sedan, a truck, a van, or a motorcycle.

However, the bosses of Ford and GM hinted that sedan cars are dead in the water in 2019. Is that really true? What happened is the birth of car design more tailored to purpose. Traditionally a vehicle was more than just a major purchase, it was a cornerstone of your lifestyle. You were driving or you were walking. In those days you bought a swiss army knife vehicle for commuting to work, shopping for groceries, or taking the family outings. Sedans reigned king.

Now cars cost more than ever, but if you’re going to buy one, you buy it to suit your current life circumstance. Automakers have brought us compact (and subcompact etc.) for commuting on minimal gas. They’ve brought us station wagons, which are better suited to family transportation. They’ve brought us sports cars for driving enjoyment, and so on. Then they came full circle and started offering minivans, crossovers and 4 door trucks. It’s all an attempt to let you get a vehicle that fits your custom needs instead of one that is good at everything but not great at any of them.

But is the Sedan Dead?

American automakers might be a bit myopic in their judgement of sedans. US car makers sell a lot of trucks, which has pulled so much of the market for them to one side that the SUV has become the primary showroom product in the US.

There are a number of good sedans, Germans, British, Swedish and South Korean, which sell just fine even in the US. With the big US players not manufacturing sedans the smaller US players have also stepped up. It’s worth noting that Tesla started with a sedan.

So Who in the Market Is buying Sedans?

There are some identity problems with sedans, it’s the type of car politicians and tycoons use, with higher end models used also as a chauffeur’s car. They aren’t popular at showroom but are sold nonetheless with several pockets of society.

One group of sedan shoppers is the Hispanic community. They are one of the fastest growing sedan buyer groups, and the Toyota Corolla is currently most popular among this group.

Another market segment preferring sedans are young people. There is some disconnect in that large engines mean higher insurance, but that doesn’t stop the under 30s buying them. (It is worth looking for a 1 liter engine. They can be still be described as turbocharged, but they don’t break the bank so much.)

Why Sedans might still Compete.

Sedans have bigger engines but not to the exclusion of fuel economy. 38 miles per gallon is not uncommon and some vehicles could possibly convert higher.

Another plus to that big engine to weight ratio is the power to get out of the way when you need to.

The sedan is sportier (it picks up easy and gives better vision to the driver and passengers) than SUV. They drive like a proper car, well what people suppose a proper car to be.

They’re described as better looking than SUV’s, which to some people look like a car on stilts. The SUV having a higher viewer point as a passenger/driver has some advantage but ultimately not that much.

In conclusion.

Although the sedans might not set showroom on fire they are comfortable and practical. The term reliable bring visions of not breaking down, so let’s market with words like purposeful or practical.

Crossovers might be coming up to compete with SUV and sedans. Sedans might be harder to sell, they make up 30% of the American markets, so SUVs and Crossovers maybe more about fixing something that isn’t broken…even money says that the market for sedans is long from dead.

Cars and Smoking – A Bad Combo.

Op-Ed by P. Wimsett and A. Bunch

Imagine a cartoon scene that’s all too familiar for most of us. The picture is of a car lot complete with a dodgy car dealer in front of a number of dubious vehicles. In the cartoons he (it usually is a he in the cartoons) has a Clarke Gable mustache and a wide brim hat. You can almost smell his cologne and you know when he smiles a gold tooth will glint in the sun. As he sells you the car he smokes a cigar which produces smoke rings in the shape of dollar signs. And all is clear what is on the car dealer’s mind; fleecing the punter.

Would he really do that in the non-cartoon world? Only if he’s dumb. It’s not advisable to smoke near tires or engines not to mention smoking while showing a customer the interior, it’ll only mean trouble.

It’s common knowledge, unless you’re Kelley Bluebook, that bad smells, like cigarette smoke, reduces the value of a car. KBB.com doesn’t seem to have a category for bad smelling vehicle. Either they assume you have a magic wand that will erase the smell, or they lump it in with poor condition. It’s an unofficial reduction, but it’s a reduction all the same.

Smokers’ cars can be 7-9% cheaper than non-smokers, according to a survey from the year 2000. (20 years old but sentiment is not likely to have relaxed on the topic.) Cigarette smoke will form part of the dust in the car, not mention sticking to surfaces. You probably don’t need to be reminded that this dust contains nicotine and similar toxic ingredients.

But is it possible to remove the smell?

Not really, it would be like smoking in a closet and to expect the smell to vanish! Most methods you encounter online tend to temporary, the smell will come back a bit weaker in a few days.

The chief problem, which smokers don’t truly grasp, is just how detectible smoke is to a non-smoker. Smokers have a dulled sense of smell and often think they’ve taken precautions to remove the smell. The reality is quite different.

So, what do I use if I bought a great runner with a B.O Problem?

Something like furniture polish won’t cut it, you’ll need anti-bacterial or bleach wipes to remove the oils from the plastic surfaces like dashboards.

The seats, the carpets and the area underneath the carpets need to be steam cleaned. An ozone generator is another option, but again it can only be temporary. Steam cleaners and ozone generators are not cheap but if you got $700 bucks off the price…

Change the cabin filter!

Really Kicker, No Ninja tip to Fix this Oder Problem?!?!

OKAY! If you’ve tried everything else…you can take dryer sheets and put them all over the dashboard and rear window area (on the inside you…) on a hot day. You want heat to activate this little miracle. It’ll do a pretty great job of pulling the smell out.

Car Dealers aren’t the only ones who try to pull a fast one.

We hear stories of potential buyers “looking at the engine” and then you notice white smoke emitting from your car. You’ve not seen any smoke from the engine before, what should you do?

Well, don’t feel pressured into dropping your price. What it may be is the potential buyer surreptitiously applying a coolant on the vehicle in order to make it smoke—then asking for a discount. It’s a general rule that if you notice something strange when selling your car to take it to a mechanic as possible.

Also consider reporting the potential buyer to the police. If local police are alerted the scammer may move onto better hunting grounds.

(But don’t jump to the conclusion that your buyer is trying to pull a fast one. An engine overheating will cause irreversible damage. If there’s a fuel smell in addition to the smoke it’s could be something like faulty fuel injector or the valve timing?)

In summary, cars and smoke in any form is best avoided. If you smoke and have children under 18 please consider not smoking in your car. That’ll protect your resale value and preserve the other things you care about.

Noisy Engines

A car can produce so many niggling little noises and it’s best to get them dealt with as soon as possible. No one likes a car with too many splutters and spurts, though an amount of revving does sound attractive to the car buff.

If a car is running too loud this may be caused by a dirty sensor. The sensor causes too much or too little fuel to enter the engine, which makes it seem to the driver as though it’s running rough. Faulty spark plugs in contrast will cause it to backfire.

A knocking, or grinding noise is likely coming from a bad engine bearing – these are what the engine is sat on. Driving long distances will really bring out this noise. The bearings might not be shot entirely, if could be low oil pressure that indicates inadequate lubrication. Either way—it’s recommended that you deal with this as soon as possible.

Transmissions can be a source of noise. Having a low transmission fluid levels can damage the torque converter. If the transmission is failing see a mechanic straightaway.

If your vehicle sounds louder than it used to, another reason could be a damaged muffler. In this case you would hear the engine because it’s not being masked by the muffler. Usually one of your neighbors will clue you into this problem if you haven’t noticed yourself.

Noise Pollution

New plans to fine people whose exhausts are too loud involve using a noise camera. A noise camera might be better explained as a traffic camera with an audio sensor attached. Much like a motion detector camera, the noise camera will trigger when it detects a loud car and snap a picture of the cars number plate. A trial of this system in Edmonton, Canada just made people rev their engine around the camera producing inaccurate results.

Noise pollution makes lives a misery, and it’s not just uptight killjoys who have a problem with it. Too much noise can cause high blood pressure, stress eating and even type 2 diabetes. But the issue could be just too many vehicles in one location. If it’s the total number of cars, motorbikes and trucks you can still try to fine the worst offenders, but that means on the ground tickets by police. In reality, cars make more noise when starting up than running, and a little extra noise for a short time is considered acceptable. So, police would need to ticket only those who’s vehicles “run” loud, not just because they’re capable of being loud at times. No one likes an on-the-spot fine but it’s the only solution.

Other Possible Solutions

If engine noise is a problem a flame retardant pad under your hood can suppress it. It’s important to replace the item after a few years as when it becomes worn out it becomes useless. You can probably tell when it’s worn out as the sound will gradually come back.

Of course, the main reason cars are loud is because their owners deliberately changed the muffler. It’s not just police you get into hot water with when you replace your stock muffler to make your car sound more muscular. Like with your insurance company for instance. Most policies say that you shouldn’t alter your vehicle without letting them know. “Souping up” your exhaust counts as an alteration even though it doesn’t change your horsepower.

It’s increases the appeal to thieves. It’s more likely to be stolen and you’re more likely to want that feature in your replacement vehicle they buy you. So, it increases their liability and they’ll increase your rates. Not telling your insurer may make your policy invalidated.

One Final Note:

Technically when you modify a car it violates the warranty and wrecks the value, however if you do a good job it can make your car more desirable to people with the same taste—so it sells faster. Some exhaust replacement does improve performance. But think before you spend the money.

On that note, think before you make a ton of noise. Some noise is good, but go overboard and you’ll get a ticket.