If you’re waiting for a sign, here it is. Get your car inspected before you buy so you don’t overpay. TireKickers!
If you’re waiting for a sign, here it is. Get your car inspected before you buy so you don’t overpay. TireKickers!
Your car would be rather odd without windows but it’s not something most of us think about. Looking through the history of cars there are a few odd window choices which might be worth investigating.
Most early cars were built by buckboard or wagon manufacturers. At horse-drawn speeds driver and passengers are not too worried about wind, but as vehicles go faster the idea of a windshield became quickly necessary. Windshields actually came about on cars before roofs.
The rest of the history of windshields centers on safety and is actually not very interesting. According to OTTO, In 1930 Henry Ford was injured in a wreck, which prompted Ford Motor Company to begin installing laminated glass (a piece of clear plastic between two sheets of glass). Eventually in the 1950s all auto makers moved to tempered glass.
The real issue these days is disposal. The glass can no longer be thrown in a landfill, at least in Europe, which necessitates the creation of a recycling process. By exploiting the different melting temperatures of glass and plastic the materials can be separated and reused independently.
Another evolution of Windshield was using a center column to support 2 flat panes of glass which were smaller and tougher than one longer sheet of glass. This was replaced once glass could be curved during manufacturing, which was actually stronger than flat glass.
We’ll start with vent car windows, also known as “ventiplanes,” when on the Pontiac Torpedo. They were triangular shaped and set in the corner of the door, probably making them more of a novelty.
These were also known as quarter windows and were noteworthy for rotating inwards. They can be seen in cars such as Buick Encore or Fiat Grande Prio. As well as many discontinued cars you probably never heard of, but they are still remembered somewhere. You could find these on several model of pickup as well.
There is a certain dated look about them, but they had a pretty long run, lasting all the way up to the 1980. It doesn’t seem immediately obvious why it suddenly went out of style. Maybe certain marketers decided it was time for a revamp?
The opera window was a small round window near the C pillar in some cars. The C pillar is between the passenger part of the car and the hood. Originally the opera window was a complete circle but can also be oval or even any shape.
The Opera window has a long history. They date back to the days of horseless carriages, many of which included a round window on the side. Again, the 1980s seemed to be the end of this specific type of window. It might make sense to get rid of a round window as most windows nowadays seem to follow a certain horizontal cross section around the car that causes a circular window to stand out.
Once only used by the most top of the range cars, the power window has now become the industrial standard. Its origin lies in vacuum assists which was used in vehicles such as the Plymouth to lift the lids of convertibles. The first type was hydro-electric in the Packard. In 1947 in addition to the power windows General Motors also created cars where the seats were also adjustable by electric power.
When it comes to tinting windows there are a number of plus points such as keeping the car cool in hot weather, reduce the glare and block ultra-violet rays. Blocking sunlight will also extend the life of leather seats.
Unfortunately, different states in the US have their own laws on how dark the tint should go due to safety reasons. It should have 30-70% transparent, dependent on state and whether you’re talking about the windscreen or a side window.
If the car has a factory tint then it must comply with industrial standards. Police have the power to ticket windows with the wrong kind of tinting in the US, which is generally the result of an aftermarket customization.
If you have certain medical conditions, for example melanoma, you can have darker windows your state normally allows, but must carry the documentation with you at all times.
Is your glass laminated or tempered? Laminated glass is on the wane; only 1 in 3 cars used laminated glass. Laminated glass is designed to stay in one piece while tempered glass (also known as safety glass) shatters into hundreds of pieces.
It’s a shame that most people look for an unoriginal car window but it’s never been a selling point. Even items like vent windows were done for convenience’s sake.
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.
Why might you need a tracker? Well there are several reasons…
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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).
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).
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.
The Kicker has covered Rivian a few times, but they’re not the only E-Truck coming.
The electric truck is a fairly new on the scene and suddenly so many companies added it to next years offering that it could make your eyes water. Players like Tesla are giving the bigger fish a run for their money, to mix metaphors a bit. It is still possible that designs will change before they finally reach the market.
An electric pickup is advantageous when compared to a diesel engine in that it is drastically more compact. Nor does the vehicle require a transmission or multiple gears so this saved space may be applied to other uses.
Atlis’s XT does seem like an electrified version of a conventional pickup with conventional proportions, but it still has some extra features. There’s a choice of cab sizes and whether you have single or dual rear wheels. It has an electric motor per wheel rather than one per axle (apparently the norm) and goes from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds. These cars are shrouded in mystery, even where they are being manufactured.
General Motors have come up with the GMC Hummer. The debut date was May 20, 2020 and goes from 0-60 in 3 seconds. It was created in the Detroit plant, however, there’s yet to be any announcement on the price though there are rumors on a 80,000 price tag.
The Lordstown Endurance takes its name from a city in Ohio. The factory creating the Endurance was purchased from General Motors and is planned to produce the first pickup of many this year. Having one motor per wheel helps control the torque, similar to the XT above. The workers who used to be in General Motors could be repositioned.
Bolinger Motors could have a disadvantage when weighed up against its rivals in that it has been in operation for a relatively short time. It started in New York and has now moved and is based in Detroit, where similar companies are based. Both the B1 and B2 have a door to the bed section, differentiating from similar designs. The door also allows items which are longer than the bed itself to fit in the vehicle.
Both vehicles have features you might expect in similar pickups such as 4 wheel drive and can operate both on-road and off-road. It is well worth watching Bolinger to see what they come up with next.
The Tesla Cybertruck has a controversial design involving a number of strong angles and the cab pushed forwards. It can run on 500 miles per charge, only it isn’t clear from their reports how long a charge is. There is also a lack of paint options with the only color being a steel gray.
The Cybertruck isn’t technically a pickup as it hasn’t a bed, the area behind the cab where items are stored. Despite this it can tow 7,500lbs of weight. The lower priced Cybertrucks won’t be manufactured until 2021 and the tri-motor in 2022.
Maybe it’s some sort of prejudice that only the sporty type of vehicle has used electric motors. But with these upcoming vehicles many companies are making up for lost time.
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).
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.