Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Impressions from a visit to GM Powertrain, Pontiac, MI

Last Friday I had the opportunity to take a brief tour of GM Powertrain facilities in Pontiac Michigan.  I doubt I saw  more than 1/3 of the facility, but our group did get a sense of some of the work that is done there and one brief snapshot of a segment of the "new" GM. Nice and knowledgable folks, and good tour guides.  A very young workforce -- average age 28. We saw a demonstration of oil pump testing, and of course later on the dynamometer test facility with many bays and operations taking place simultaneously.
A good number of the technicians and engineers are contract employees.  If  one demonstrates ability, ambition, and commitment, a job offer from GM may be forthcoming, but I suspect there are few guarantees. Most testing is tedious and takes advantages of sensors and software.  This "drudge" work, however, is absolutely necessary for the development of an efficient and reliable product.  For many of the technical folks, it is looking at a computer screen and a long hallway with no windows, a tough job in terms of tedium. But at least this takes place in Michigan where the sun often does not shine for the winter months anyway!

 A air suspended pallet that is used to move engines in and out of dynamometer bays

A tilt engine apparatus

Sunday, April 28, 2013

VW on the move! World's largest automaker by 2018?

April 28 news story from the Detroit News:

Volkswagen AG, Europe's biggest automaker, aims to offset plunging European demand this year by rolling out 60 new and updated models, including luxury cruisers like the Bentley Flying Spur.
"The European debt crisis remains a source of far-reaching turmoil," Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said. "Regardless of whether we are in an upturn or a downturn, our goal is to ensure the Volkswagen group reaches the top of the automotive industry."
VW is targeting higher auto sales and revenue this year as the revamped Golf, an updated Skoda Octavia and a new Audi A3 sedan help make up for a slowdown in Europe, where demand is heading to a 20-year low. Maintaining growth momentum is key for the company, which aims to overtake General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. by 2018 to become the world's largest automaker.
"Volkswagen will continue to do better than the market," said Juergen Pieper, an analyst at Bankhaus Metzler in Frankfurt. "March was relatively weak, but with rising Golf sales the group should perform better."
The manufacturer's growth all but stalled last month as sales edged up 0.2 percent to 864,400 cars, restraining the first-quarter advance to 5.1 percent as sales in its home German market tumbled 17 percent.
To further dilute its exposure to Europe's car market, the company will open 1,500 sales outlets in growth regions in the medium term, adding to its network of 20,000 dealers around the world, Winterkorn said.
Volkswagen is pinning its hopes for keeping up sales volumes on new models, such as the seventh generation of its best-selling Golf compact, introduced at the end of last year. The Audi premium brand, VW's largest earnings contributor, has been rolling out the revamped A3 hatchback and will add a sedan version of the model later this year to lure American and Chinese buyers seeking a small car with a separate trunk.
Luxury brands account for more than half of VW's earnings and the presence in this market segment will expand.
"The Volkswagen group's unparalleled know-how and strength in the premium segment is — quite literally — paying off," said Winterkorn. "We will further extend our excellent position in this highly profitable business."
Porsche will add the Macan compact sport utility vehicle at the beginning of next year and development of an ultra-luxury SUV for the British Bentley unit is "well under way," he said.
The Czech Skoda brand will double its lineup in China to six models, including the new Rapid compact sedan, which was unveiled at the Shanghai auto show last weekend. The Spanish Seat unit, VW's only money-losing brand, is rolling out a revamped version of the Leon hatchback in a bid to spice up its image and return to profit.
VW's presence in China, Brazil and Russia has enabled it to steer through the European industry gloom better than mass-market rivals PSA Peugeot Citroen, Europe's second-largest carmaker, and Renault SA. Peugeot is eliminating jobs and closing a factory to end losses as the region's auto market shows no signs of a rebound.
VW reported that first-quarter operating profit fell 26 percent to 2.34 billion euros, matching the average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The carmaker stuck to a goal for full-year operating profit to be on the same level as 2012.
VW's revenue declined 1.6 percent in the first quarter revenue. That compares with a 6.5 percent drop at Peugeot and a 12 percent plunge at Renault. Peugeot said additional cost savings may be necessary next year if the market doesn't improve.
Winterkorn said European markets will remain "extremely weak for the foreseeable future."
VW has ramped up investments to boost its manufacturing footprint outside Europe and roll out a new modular technology to speed up development and production of new vehicles.
It has seven new Chinese plants in various stages of planning, part of $19 billion in investments in production outside Europe expected by 2017. After spending $1 billion on a factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., the company may further increase U.S. capacity with production of a sport utility vehicle based on the Crossblue concept.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130428/AUTO0104/304280308#ixzz2Rl8a7nEr

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Visit to the Sloan Museum Buick Gallery, Flint MI

Hi folks -- at the conclusion of the Society of Automotive Historians' spring board meeting we had a brief visit to the Buick Gallery at the Sloan Museum in Flint this morning (Saturday, April 27). We had the run of the place, and unfortunately my camera batteries died!  I took tow photos of cars that were a part of an exhibit that opened today on muscle cars, 1950-1969. The two cars have great personal meaning for me, as the Oldsmobile 88 was one of the first cars I remember riding in when I was a child, and my cousin's 1964 GTO convertible made a lasting impression on my during my teenage years. The GTO in the photo was nice but not totally original -- it did not have the proper hub caps or red-line tires, and the drivers side exterior mirror did not look exactly right.  But that said, some nice cars at the Buick Gallery, although I wondered why there was no GS 455 Skylark!

Two interesting photos from HST 344 Student Scott Adinolfi

I hope all is well in Flint!  I have dug through my files and found 2 pictures you might enjoy.  One is the Corvair Convertible I showed you on my phone after class.  The second, and most enjoyable, is a late 90's Chevy Caprice with an "Ice Cream" paint

job, and raised up on 26" rims.  I saw this car parked in the parking lot while interning in North Carolina and couldn't pass up the opportunity to snap a picture of it.

More photos from the GM Heritage Center, Sterling Heights, MI

 A recreated 1950 Cadillac Lemans race car

 A 1930s Cadillac V-12
 Maybe the most important photo of this group -- a Kettering copper-cooled air cooled engine form the early 1920s
 1959 Cadillac taillights
 The dash from a late 1950s concept car

 The Buick Y Job from 1938 -- note the boattail rear end
 The headlights pop up on the 1952 LeSaber concept car

 a Buick dash
The emblem from a 1950 Rocket 88 -- what could be better!

A Visit to the GM Historical/Heritage Center, Sterling Heights, MI

 This truck greets visitors to the GM Heritage Center.  It is a very difficult to find facility that is not open to the public.  In addition to the cars there is an archive that one can use by appointment.
 A wide angle shot of the floor with cars all around. About 150 are on the floor, many more in storage. One criticism -- this is all about thecars, but not about the people. Nice for the enthusiast, but asa histoical presentation it has a long way to go to reconstruct the past.  Most auto museums just throw cars on  the floor and think that is enough -- not so! people make history, not things.
 An electric Corvair project form the 1970s.
 A 1960s project car -- plenty of technology, not very much real vision.
 A classic 1955 Chevy dashboard. There were great GM successes, and in 1955 they hit the jackpot.

 Another economy project car -- with all that tlaent, they could not see the future.
My favorite -- taken from a Kentucky dealer, the fabulous Oldsmobile Rocket.  See the epilogue of my book, The Automobile and American Life.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

5000 Kilometer Africa -- a 1940 photo book

5000 Kilometer Africa 

Pictorial report on an early Egypt-Sudan car expedition.
The route went from Cairo via Aswan to Khartoum and on about
 Sennar, Gedaref and Kassala to Port Sudan at the Red Sea.
 Irmgard von Opel and her husband Georg von Opel and
 his friend Eric Phelps have been sent on behalf of an English
 film company to this Egypt and Sudan expedition to gather material for a film.

All photos have been taken with a Leica on Agfa-Isopan-
und Agfa-Color-Film.
Fantastic photographs of a past time, including Sultan-Hassan-Mosque,
 Suez Canal, Nile, Karnak Temple at Luxor, Wadi Halfa area,
died camel, Abu Simbel, nile cataracts, big turtle, market in Omdurman
, girls, crocodile, eagle, tamtam man, Fuzzi-Wuzzi bedouins and more ....

Hi folks -- this book is being advertised
on ebayright now. I found it so fascinating
and rare, Iwanted to share it with you.
It is a $150, andout of my price range,
 but perhaps one of youwill buy it.
 A worthwhile book to won if you are
into the history of road trips.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

1970 and lee Iacocca as a Prophet -- a critical Point in American Automobile Industry History

Hi folks -- now that the Stealing Cars book is in the hands of the publisher I am turning to the first stages of a new study, this time dealing with the end of the Golden Age. Drawing from a statement taken from John Jerome's The Death of the Automobile, I am looking at the years 1969-1972. Recently I found an interview of Lee Iacocca in 1970 that proved to be quite prophetic. The major point of the article was that the Auto industry had reached a point in its history and that how it responded in the months that would follow "could affect the business health of the nation for years to come."

Iacocca would remark that "Ten years from now, if we do this wrong...."

He saw potential mistakes coming from the manufacturers, labor and federal government that would increase inflationary pressures and open the door to foreign competition.

From Iacocca "that the new American minicars [the Pinto and Vega] coming on the market would be Detroit's one chance to defend its home market against the foreigners....If we don't win them [consumers] back now, we never will."

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Automobile as an Object of Desire: Kenneth Grahame, "The Wind in the Willows"

In Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind and the Willows," Mr. Toad, traveling with Mole and Rat in their horsecart, encounters his first automobile.
"Glorious, stirring sight!" murmured Toad. "The poetry of motion! the real way to travel! the only way to travel!"
"What are we to do with him?" asked the Mole. "Nothing at all," replied the Rat firmly. "He is now possessed."

As I explore the end of the golden age of the automobile and the love affair with the car, I also am looking at the origins of the affair.  Certainly this source raises important insights about the pioneering days of automobiling and the love affair  as it emerged.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Study Sheet, HST 344, Final Exam Spring, 2013

HST 344, Final Exam Study Sheet, Spring 2013
 Tuesday, April 30, 2:30-4:20 Dr. Heitmann
I Identification and Significance. (20 pts).  I will choose four of the following and you must answer two.
1.      Ralph Nader and the Corvair
2.      The Federal Government, the automobile industry, and the 1960s
3.      Bullitt and the automobile chase scene
4.      NASCAR in the recent past
5.      Women, Poetry, and Passion, post-1980
6.      Who Killed the Electric Car?
7.      The Revenge of the Electric Car

II  Essay. (40 pts.) Answer one of the following by writing a coherent essay harnessing factual evidence whenever possible.  Your answer should have both an introduction and a conclusion.  For the final exam I will choose two of the following three essays!

A.     It seems obvious that the current decline in the American automobile industry didn‘t happen during the past few years.  In your own words and using what you have learned in this course; trace the decline of the American industry beginning with the 1950s, making sure to discuss key aspects and developments in chronological fashion.  Do you think this decline was inevitable or not, and why?
B.     Culture, past or present, high or popular, is important.  Discuss the culture related to the automobile in America between 1950 and 2000, making sure to include examples from music, film, and literature (including poetry).  Broadly speaking, what does post-WWII car culture tell us about how automobiles contributed to being American during the second half of the 20th century?
C.     In James Flink’s article, “The Three Stages of Automobile Consciousness,” the author remarks that “Automobility has had more important consequences for 20th century American man than even Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier had for our 19th century forebears.”  Elaborate on this idea within the context of the second half of the 20th century.

III. In a well-organized and factual essay that contains both an introduction and a conclusion, answer the following question. (40 pts.).  You must answer this question. 
Ben Hamper’s Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line is a remarkable tale focusing on the nature of assembly line work at General Motors during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It is among other things, quite an indictment of General Motors’ management practices, ironically coming from an unhinged worker.  At the same time, it is sorry depiction of UAW work ethic. First, being as specific and detailed as possible, describe Hamper’s portrayal of management style and managers.  Secondly, how did Hamper and others cope with their work environment? To what degree do you think that Hamper’s account is on target, or perhaps not?  

Seemingly another Mercedes 380SL Problem Solved

Hi folks -- this issue involved the door locks, which would not close. Or the gas flap and trunk either. So I did a lot of reading on this matter.  The master door locking system is one powered by vacuum, with its source ultimately being manifold vacuum that is routed to a storage tank.  From there the line goes to a "Master Element Switch" in the drivers side door, and then on to the passenger door and the rear of the car. Since the major culprit is the "Master Element Switch" according to internet reports, I just ordered one of those, replaced it, and "bam," the locks work!

This is a Mercedes vacuum system diagram, but not the one for my car.  The point is that there are lines running all through the car, rubber connections that can be disconnected, and diaphragms that can go bad.  The only way to diagnosis this is with a vacuum pump and patience, and I have neither. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Replacing the Hirschmann Antenna on my 1982 Mercedes Benz 380SL

The first photo shows what the innards of the original unit looks like when you remove the cover.  Mine was pretty mucked up.  I disconnected the wiring harness and used it in the installation.  That way, rather than cut and splice, I still have the original connectors if sometime in the future  I go back to the original design unit. This is one sturdy and substantial device, unlike the new Chinese made Hirschmann unit. The second photo is taken from a M-B discussion board and illustrates the dilemma of the installation -- the wiring doesn't match up. Just follow logic, match red to read and white to yellow/green, and black to brown.  Don't worry about the two black wires that were a feature of the antenna switch on the dash.

This is what the new product looks like. Check around Ebay and don't pay more than $45 for one. Look at the parts several times before you start to install, and weigh the options concerning spacers and angled parts. 

This photo is taken from Mercedes Source where they will sell you a kit with instructions. A good information source, but you must pay for it.  Here the unit is about $90. Personally,  I would trim the wires and also save the connectors.
 So one of the problems on my 380SL that came from California in February was that the rear automatic antenna flopped up and down. That was a problem because it resulted in very poor AM reception, and I am a big fan of listening to the Reds on WLW and Colin Cowheard on ESPN radio.

OK so I needed a replacement unit. From what I read, don't even think about rebuilding the original Hirschmann unit unless you have more money than sense. The best strategy is get one of the Hirschmann replacement units, made in China.  If you buy a unit from Mercedes Source with instructions, you pay $90. I bought my unit new on Ebay for $45 including shipping. That is about right, as I installed one of these years ago on my 1971 Porsche 911. Taking the old unit off is easy -- look inside -- mine was all cruded up. I'll play with it sometime in the near future, but no hope of bringing it back to life.

The new unit isn't as easy to install as you might think. For one, the Hirschmann instructions are totally visual with diagrams.  So it took me a longtime to understand what parts to use to fasten the antenna to the body of the car.  The 0-35 degree set up has a rather cheap stainless top, so I opted for the all plastic set up. Play with the spacers, there are three and you can mix and match to suit your needs.

The other issue is wiring, made complex because Mercedes has a dash switch that on the original model enabled the owner to bring up the antenna to half full extension. What that means is that you have 5 wires on the original, but only three on the replacement antenna. I opted to take the wiring coming out of the original Hirschmann unit so I could keep the connector plug functional.  I connected black to brown (ground), Blue to yellow/green, and white to red, with the black wires just taped.

There are plenty of queries on the web but little definitive instructions.Whatever you do, take your time, work at a slow pace, always think of doing work on a level of quality that respects the Mercedes tradition.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Two Women and a 1930 Road Trip from West Virginia to Mexico -- from Ed Garten

Probably not for the blog (up to you) but this is a great photo that a cousin of mine just ran across.  This photo was taken in 1930 (detail of the auto's license plate shows West Virginia plates that say 1930).  These are late aunts who -- can you believe -- drove a car and as tourists and as women with no men along, from West Virginia to Mexico.  In this photo they are boarding some sort of ferry that has taken them or will take them across a small Mexican river.  Clearly the photo supports the argument that women took to the automobile -- even without men along -- and set out looking for adventure!  Note the sombaros two of the aunts are wearing (smile)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bill Clinton' Opel Station Wagon -- a contribution from Ed Garten

So What Was Bill Clinton Driving When He Became Involved with Hillary Rodham During Their First Year at Yale Law School?
Answer: A 1970 Opel Station Wagon
Photos attached but not the actual car, but ones like it -- front and rear views.
Perhaps due to the fact that Bill had just returned from two years as an undergraduate at Oxford, he may have fallen for European cars?  Secretary Clinton recounts this in her recent biography "Living History."  One might disagree with her claim that the Opel was one of the ugliest cars ever manufactured as, indeed, it was little different in style from many other small European station wagons at that time.  Actually, it was a rather pleasant and generally dependable little car and in the United States sold through Buick franchises.

But in her book, our former Secretary of State observes:

"In between cramming for finals and finishing up my first year of concentration on legal issues related to advocacy for children, we spent long hours driving around in his 1970 burnt-orange Opel station wagon — truly one of the ugliest cars ever manufactured — or hanging out at the beach house on Long Island Sound near Milford, Connecticut, where he lived with his roommates, Doug Eakeley, Don Pogue and Bill Coleman. At a party there one night, Bill and I ended up in the kitchen talking about what each of us wanted to do after graduation. I still didn't know where I would live and what I would do because my interests in child advocacy and civil rights didn't dictate a particular path."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

2013 Crossover Comparison -- Ford Escape, Mazda CX5, and VW Tiguan -- a contribution from Albert Tang

Crossover Comparison 2013

The crossover is a vehicle that combines the features of a sports and passenger car while at the same time giving the looks of a higher station wagon. This type of vehicle uses a uni-body construction layout rather than body on frame construction implemented in light trucks and wagons. These cars were introduced by the automobile industry in 1987 for the first time and were initially considered as a blend of a hatchback and conventional passenger cars. Some of the previous versions of crossover cars include Willys – Overland Jeepster, AMC Eagle, Fiat Sedici, and Honda HR-V.
Over the years, several improvements have been made in crossover car design and the latest 2013 crossover vehicles include the Ford Escape, Mazda CX5 and VW Tiguan. Today we have a closer look at these 3 cars.

2013 Ford Escape

The 2013 version of the crossover Ford Escape has been completely redesigned and is a compact version of older models of the Ford brand. In Europe the car is released under the name Ford Kuga. The Escape is available in three different types of engines:
·         2.5 Littre, 4 Cylinder Engine (168 HP)
·         2.0 Littre, Turbocharged 4 Cylinder Engine (240 HP)
·         1.6 Littre, Turbo Charged 4 Cylinder Engine (178  HP)
The Ford Escape offers a great fuel economy and you can choose between a diesel and petrol, and you also have the choice between manual and automatic transmission. Some of the other features of the Ford Escape include:
·         Advanced navigation system
·         Power lift gate
·         Stability control enhancements
·         Anti-lock braking
·         Automatic tire pressure monitoring
Moreover, the compact design, modern functional enhancements, advanced entertainment system and versatile aerodynamic shape differentiate the Ford Escape from other 2013 crossover vehicles.

Mazda CX5

This 2013 Mazda CX5 is referred to as a 2013 crossover car without comparison. It is one the finest outcomes of automobile engineering designs of this year. The comfortable drive, all-weather capability, spaciousness and advanced control features offered by this crossover make this vehicle modern and unique. The Mazda CX5 is equipped with the latest “Sky active” automobile technology that integrates the engine operations, transmission system, body and chassis attributes to enhance the vehicles stability manifold.
Some of the prominent features of the 2013 Mazda CX5:
·         2.0 Liter gas engine
·         Higher engine compression ratio
·         Improved Engine combustion delivering power up to 155 HP
·         Electronically assisted steering system
·         Reinforced suspension
The Mazda CX5 is unique in its interior design and handling capabilities as well. With smartly shaped wide opening doors, 34.1 cubic feet of luggage space, navigation touch screen, automatic HVAC controls and adjustable steering wheel are designed to provide ease and comfort while travelling over long distances. The Sky active technology further improves the vehicles handling and stability especially at high speeds and swift turns.

VW Tiguan

As far as 2013 crossover vehicles are concerned there is no better option than the 2013 VW Tiguan if you’re looking for a car with a simple design that focuses on practicality. Equipped with all the latest accessories known to modern vehicles, the 2013 Tiguan is no less good than any other crossover vehicles currently out there. Some of its features include:
·         2.0 liters, 4 cylinder engine
·         Cruise control enhancements
·         Telescoping steering vehicle
·         Keyless entry
·         Automatic transmission
·         Antilock disc brakes with traction and stability control
The Tiguan also gives improved fuel economy as compared to its older versions. It is an artistic piece of automobile engineering. Its interior design is attractive and unique although most people will probably agree that the Mazda CX5, and especially the Ford Escape, look more stylish. The front seats are firmer, heated on SE models, and they provide extra grip and support. The rear seats can provide three way split adjustments allowing the passengers to enjoy a comfortable long ride. The vehicle can also provide cargo spaces up to 23.8 cubic feet once the rear seats are pushed down. Also, the vehicle’s exterior body strength keeps the crash impacts limited and adds to the safety of the vehicle.
Overall, the 3 2013 crossovers mentioned above are great rides, are great examples of modern mobile engineering, and are designed to serve the multiple purposes of cargo and passenger travelling.
Author: Albert Tang is an avid automotive enthusiast, writer, and blogger for Las Vegas Honda Dealers.

Hatchback Comparison -- a contribution from Albert Tang

 Ford Focus
 VW Golf

Audi A3

Hatchback Comparison 2013

The name hatchback is generally used to refer a car that has a sloped back and a rear door that swings upward when opened. The automobile industry started manufacturing these cars as they wanted to provide cars that could seat 4-5 people and still offer a decent amount of cargo space. Some of the first hatchbacks released on the market are the Aston Martin DB2, AC Aceca, Chevrolet Nova and DB Mark III, which were introduced in the 1950’s and their improved versions were continually used later.

Most Popular Hatchbacks Today
Today hatchback cars are extremely popular. They make for great city cars, are not too expensive yet comfortable and are usually very fuel-efficient and thus very suitable for long journeys, too. In the early 2000’s the popularity of hatchback cars reached new heights when they became top selling cars in America. Some great new models released in 2013 are in example the Focus, Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf. Let’s have a closer look at these 3 very popular cars.

Ford Focus ST

One of the most modern versions among hatchback cars, the Ford Focus is a classic piece of automobile engineering from the 20th century.  Some of the features of the 2013 Ford Focus include:
·        Turbo engine
·        Extended engine torque up to 270 Lb. – ft. in just 15 seconds
·        3000 to 4500 extended RPM
·        Electronically assisted steering system
·        Torque steer compensation
·        Throttling enhancements
This hatchback car runs much like a sports car. The Focus ST has an engine with efficient torque speed adjustments and is capable to switch among different modes of operation. While sports mode is active, it picks up the top speeds within fractions of a minute. Moreover, the guided features like water temperature, turbo boost indication and oil pressure gauge keep the driver up to date with different car statistics.
Other than having a highly powerful engine and a modified classic exterior, the ST has the most fascinating interior that other hatchback cars of 2013 might lack. Front seats are spectacular with techy cloth inserts and leather bolsters. Moreover, a meaty leather wrapped steering wheel and contrast colored dashboard enhance the interior looks of the vehicle.

Volkswagen Golf

Following the Focus ST, the 2013 Golf is also one of the more modern versions of 2013 hatchback cars. It is known for its superior handling and for being a secure ride. The 2013 Golf has a 2.5 liter five cylinder, 170HP engine which is exactly comparable to its rival Focus St’s engine. Golf’s engine can offer torque up to 177 Lb. –ft., which is somewhat less when compared with the Focus. However, this high power engine can compromise on fuel consumption which is somewhat better than the ST’s.
To improve the fuel economy a Golf TDI 2.0 liter diesel engine is highly recommended. This engine is more robust than the engine in previous versions of the Golf and can deliver up to 236 Lb. – ft. of torque. Some of the other features of Golf worth mentioning include:
·        Six speed manual transmission
·        DSG optional transmission (manual plus automatic)
·        Traction and stability controls
·        Antilock disc brake
·        12.4 Cubic feet of cargo area

Audi A3

The Audi A3 holds a leading position among the most consistent and light weight 2013 hatchback cars. Having a weight of only 1,175kg this car is significantly lighter than other hatchback competitors in the market. Some of the specs of the 2013 Audi A3 are:
·        180-200 HP, 1.8 TFSI engine
·        Electromechanical braking system
·        Power steering system
·        Radar assisted adapted cruise control
·        Automatic traffic sign detection
·        MMI navigation system
·        Adaptive shock absorbers and magnetic ride technology
·        ESC stabilization control
The 2013 Audi A3 offers a unique highly efficient electromechanical driving experience while the improved chassis design and wheel suspension imparts high stability and enhanced road grip to the vehicle. The ESC stabilization control system integrates an electronic differential slip, which makes the vehicles handling easy especially during swift turns and at high speeds.
You can rest assured knowing all three vehicles discussed did very well in the crash tests monitored by Euroncap. The 2012 Audi A3 showed 95% safety, the 2012 Ford Focus was rated at 92% and the 2012 Golf rated 94%. You can count on all 2013 versions of these cars being as safe as or even safer than the 2012 versions.
As you can see all 3 of the discussed 2013 hatchbacks belong among the finest pieces of automobile engineering and are competitive in technology, design, efficiency and performance.
Author: Albert Tang is an avid automotive enthusiast, writer, and blogger for www.lasvegashondadealers.com

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

1933 Ford Deluxe Coupe: A Garten Family Photo

A contribution from Ed Garten

 Its always a treat to be able to track down the history of an automobile that may have been in the family many years ago.  Recently I encountered this photo of my aunts and uncles playfully sitting on or hanging onto what appears to be an early 1930's Ford Deluxe.  Through conversations with elderly relatives and though some Internet searching for similar photographs, I discovered that this was a 1933 Ford Deluxe Coupe.  First the 1933 and then the 1934 Ford models are now considered iconic.  Of course not only were they favored by the general public, they were often the choice of bank robbers and gangsters due to their speed and good handling characteristics.
The 1933 revision of the car was substantial, especially considering how important the 1932 change had been. For its second year, the wheelbase was stretched, from 106 inches to 112 inches on a new cross member frame. The grille was revised, gaining a pointed forward slope at the bottom which resembled either a shovel or the 1932 Packard. Both the grille and hood louvers curved down and forward. The overall design and grille were inspired by the English Ford Model Y.  Power from the V8 was also increased in 1933 to 75 hp with a revised ignition system.
Have you ever wondered why so many family photographs from the 1930s on into the early 1960s found family members gathering around a family car or a relative's new wheels?  Today, how rare it seems that people are photographed standing beside or inside their automobiles.