Thursday, December 28, 2017

Mercedes-Benz Repeats as the Luxury Sales Winner for 2017

An interesting bar graph to say the least. I guess the Mini is excluded from the cost because it is not classified as a luxury car.

To what degree is Mercedes-Benz's success the consequence of its strong SUV sales? What about quality ratings?  Has Mercedes turned the corner related to quality issues, particularly relevant;ated to electronics?

Why would anyone want to buy a Lexus? The seem boring to me and anything but a status symbol. Sort of a dull, upgraded Toyota brand.

Note hat the that brand Audi lags in sales compared to the "Big Three." Yet it is Audi that makes the statement more than any of its competitors.  An Audi reflects a discerning sense that blends aesthetics with luxury.  And unlike the other three, there are not quite as many around to make them too common. Smooth and rounded shapes more effective in attracting upscale sales than edgy and at times drawing on bio-mimicry.

Ultimately, German engineering and design rules.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Why Can't Southerners Drive in the Snow? It's Science!

A fascinating video! Ice makes a difference when driving in the winter.  But so does experience!

Learning to Drive, 1908

  • Title: Teaching an old dog new tricks
  • Creator(s): Harding, Charlotte, 1873-1951, artist
  • Date Created/Published: [ca. 1908]
  • Medium: 1 drawing : crayon.
  • Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-54798 (b&w film copy neg.)
  • Rights Advisory: Publication may be restricted. For information see "Cabinet of American Illustration,"(
  • Access Advisory: Restricted access: Materials in this collection are often extremely fragile; most originals cannot be served.
  • Call Number: CAI - Harding, no. 15 (B size) [P&P]
  • Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
  • Notes:
    • Cover design for Collier's; not published.
    • (DLC/PP-1934:0221).
    • Forms part of: Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress).
Another image from the Library of Congress, this time with a novice driver fearfully trying to teach oneself how to drive.  Give the controls for throttle, timing, brakes, clutch, etc., it is no surprise that driving was considered as much a "sport" in those days as a skill to be learned by all. 

Driver Education, 1917 -- a Dual Control Briscoe Car

  • Title: [Student and instructor in automobile - notice the dual controls]
  • Date Created/Published: c1917 Aug. 4.
  • Medium: 1 photographic print.
  • Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-47339 (b&w film copy neg.)
  • Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
  • Call Number: SSF - Automobiles--Driver education [item] [P&P]
  • Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
In my studies on the history of driver education I generally begin in the 1930s with the first efforts to bring driving in the high school curriculum. But of course driver education began with the first automobiles on the streets of the U.S. as drivers were taught by manufacturer's representatives, friends, salesmen, etc.  I found this photo in the Library of Congress Collection.  It is of interest because of the rather crude "dual controls." Nevertheless, it is important to note just how difficult it was to drive there early vehicles. It took skill, good reflexes, and quick thinking.

West Virginia Leads the Nation in Highway Fatalities Per Capita

Picture of girls playing in the road in West Virginia

The number of car crash fatalities in West Virginia is 14.7 per 100,000 people, which is not only higher than the national average (11.6 per 100,000) but it is also higher than rates in most of West Virginia’s surrounding states (Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia). Kentucky is the only surrounding state that also has rates higher than the national average, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The state’s mountains and winding rural roads are also partly to blame for the high rate of fatal car accidents.
“One reason our roads are more challenging is because of the topography of the state of West Virginia,” says David Martinelli, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at West Virginia University. “Rural roads are in many ways more dangerous because they tend to be narrower, and they tend to not get high priority for maintenance.”
With its mountainous terrain and higher elevations, West Virginia often experiences severe winter weather conditions. Yet while surrounding states have shifted more ownership of local roads to municipalities and counties, West Virginia’s Division of Highways owns and has to maintain roughly 95 percent of the state’s roads. As a result, state workers have a tough time keeping already treacherous roads plowed and clear during snowstorms.

Friday, December 22, 2017

The restoration of the Number 57, Porsche 901


The Porsche 901 is a legend. That’s because it was the forerunner of the 911. In the autumn of 1963, Porsche presented the 901 as a show car at the IAA.
The return of the Number 57
One year later, Porsche unveiled a production-ready vehicle – but within just a few weeks, the coupé had to be renamed as a result of a trademark dispute. From then on, it was known as the 911. All of the customer vehicles produced up to that point were manufactured as 901 vehicles, but sold as 911 vehicles. For 50 years, the Porsche factory collection had lacked one of these rarities – until August 5, 2014, when a single phone call changed everything.
It was on this day that Alexander Klein, Manager Classic Car Collection at the Porsche Museum, received an enquiry from German television station RTL2. He was told that a couple of “barn finds” had been uncovered in the form of two old 911 vehicles. A team filming a docu-soap had found them while salvaging a long-abandoned collection. When they mentioned the number 300 057 in their description of the vehicle, “the penny dropped”, says Alexander Klein. This is the chassis number of one of the first 911 vehicles ever produced, built in autumn 1964 as a Porsche 901. 
911, “barn find”, 2017, Porsche AG

This old 911 vehicle was among the “barn finds”

Eleven days later, two experts from the Porsche Museum went to a former farm in Brandenburg to inspect the two vehicles. They first encountered a gold-coloured 911 L from 1968 in a very poor state of repair. At the very back of the barn, for the most part still covered by a thick layer of dust, the two visitors from Zuffenhausen found the remains of a red 911. Both of its front wings were missing and large sections of the vehicle had already been eaten away by rust. Save for the instrument panel, most of the interior consisted of mere fragments. The brakes were seized, and so was the engine. But the chassis number was pristine, and it proved beyond all doubt that the vehicle was an original. One of the museum team’s long-cherished dreams was finally within reach: To have in its collection a 911 from 1964.

A valuable history: Over EUR 100,000 for the museum’s oldest 911

Time was running out – the car needed to be sold as soon as possible. In order to make the right offer, it was agreed that a detailed inspection should be carried out in Zuffenhausen. Two valuation reports provided by external experts delivered the same verdict, and it was far beyond the seller’s expectations. Porsche paid EUR 107,000 for the red original 911, and EUR 14,500 for the golden 911 L. The latter will remain in exactly the same condition: as an unwashed, living history.
911 interior, “barn find”, 2017, Porsche AG

The offer was far beyond the seller’s expectations

The inventory carried out by the two experts revealed that a great deal of work needed to be done to the historically significant 911, henceforth known by the nickname “Number 57”. The engine and transmission were not the original units installed but were of an identical type. Many components were very heavily corroded and unusable. Other parts – such as the inner and outer sills on the right-hand side, as well as the front bumper and its mountings – were missing completely. Things didn’t look much better in the chassis area. All the axle and axle guide mountings on the front and rear axles had been severely affected by pitting corrosion. The two longitudinal beams in the area of the rear axle cross tube had rusted away completely. And these were just a few examples.
Nevertheless, the classic vehicle contained a number of details that delighted Kuno Werner, Head of Museum Workshop: “Many of the features only included in the very first models have been preserved in the car”. One example is the leather sleeve around the shift lever, which was only installed in this form during the 901 era. The experienced museum experts were also presented with a number of puzzles during their investigations. For instance, it was only after extensive research that the two square pipes under the seat adjustment system could be identified as a seat raising mechanism that was available from the factory on request.
The seats themselves have a history of their own. The Number 57 and the 911 L arrived in Zuffenhausen together with two pallet cages full of parts. In amongst this mish-mash of things were two 911 seats. It had been assumed that they belonged to the Number 57, but the backrests had five “pipes”, which was the name given to the vertically stitched subdivisions of the seat cushion. The first 911 vehicles had seats with six pipes. And the museum experts were surprised to find that the six-pipe seats were fitted in the gold-coloured model from 1968, which Porsche had bought at the same time in Brandenburg.

Everything must go: Restoration begins

As usual, the restoration of the Number 57 started by completely disassembling the vehicle. This was done gently and with great care. Even if it proved impossible to save a particular component, there was still a chance that it could serve an important function as a sample part. The individual parts of the early 911 were then sent to a network of specialists at Porsche Classic and suppliers, as well as body engineers, saddlers and upholsterers.
911, “barn find”, 2017, Porsche AG

As usual, the restoration of the Number 57 started by completely disassembling the vehicle

The remaining torso was put into a chemical bath for derusting and paint removal. This procedure is much gentler than mechanical processes that use blasting materials. The surfaces that were uncovered were in exactly the same condition as when they were sealed over 50 years ago. “You can see exactly where any modifications have been made”, explains Kuno Werner. Discolouration in the metal indicates that it has been welded or that grinding machines have been used. If blasting is carried out, however, these traces may disappear because the blasting materials alter the surface. This is particularly important in the area of the chassis number, which is stamped onto a cross plate above the tank.
The Number 57 was the original – entirely untouched. Kuno Werner also identified the grinding marks in the roof as authentic: “Our colleagues back then must have needed to do some reworking”, he adds with a smile. His initial assessment was better than expected. Before diving into the vehicle, the experts had assumed that over 50% of the body had been destroyed. It now turned out that over half of the sheet metal was worth preserving.

Twelve months of craftsmanship for the shell

The parts that needed to be replaced were supplied by the bodyshell of a 911 vehicle from 1965. This guaranteed that the composition, characteristics and quality of the sheet metal and steel would be as authentic as possible. The body engineers took the “donor” vehicle apart into its individual components. For example, the restoration workers drilled a small triangular piece of sheet metal out of the rear, welding point by welding point, and transplanted it into the body of the Number 57. The longitudinal beams were also replaced, as were all of the vertical, interior and exterior panels in the side skirts. And there was a surprise inside: Unlike in the later 911 vehicles, the heating pipes passed underneath the rear axle tube rather than over it. So while the heating pipes in the body of the other vehicle were accommodated in the sills, the supply lines were built from scratch at the relevant point. This was one of the few components that needed to be recreated from old sheet metal. New vertical plates, the front wings and front end of the later 911 body completed the reconstruction of the front.
The body engineers moulded and welded the steel and sheet metal for around 12 months. Piece by piece, the torso of the Number 57 was restored to its original condition. Then came the precision grinding stage, which involved mounting the glazing, bumpers, door handles, antenna, headlights and trims, as well as all add-on parts from Porsche Classic, on the unpainted body. By doing so, the experts ensured that the clearances in the body all matched up, as well as the distances and symmetries of the bumpers and overriders, panels and grilles. Even very small deviations were reworked or adjusted with bodywork tin.

Fascination across the generations: An ashtray from the training workshop

The Porsche training workshop has traditionally acted as a supplier to the restoration workers. Detailed sheet metal work and paints are the most common items on the wish list submitted by the museum workshop to these trainees. In the case of the Number 57, for example, the museum ordered a bracket for the exhaust system and a brake anchor plate. The trickiest task for the budding body engineers was the restoration of the ashtray. The rear third of the slide-in unit had rusted away and the chrome-plated support with a rectangular hole for a cigar was missing. It was typical in models from 1964 for the rectangular hole and thus the cigar holder to disappear as early as the following year. Both needed to be replaced. Modellers from Weissach provided a wooden mould into which the trainees tapped, pressed and rolled the fragment of the ashtray.
911, “barn find”, 2017, Porsche AG

The body engineers moulded and welded the steel and sheet metal for around 12 months

But even for the Number 57, authenticity has its limits. When it came to the layers of paint, for example, the restoration workers opted for modern coating processes and their superior protection against corrosion. The body of the classic vehicle was therefore dipped in the same cathodic dip coating bath as today’s 911 vehicles. This CDC process is considered to offer the best rust protection currently available. Another significant advantage is that the paint film also forms an optimally sealed layer in cavities and angles.
Authenticity also had to take a back seat in respect of the Signal Red 6407 paint colour. Instead of the original mixture of solvent-based paints, the specialists developed environmentally friendly water-based paints. In line with the original plans for the application of black paint, the red paint was also covered in certain areas – such as around the cutouts for the fittings – in order to prevent the colour showing through the gaps. However, the luggage compartment and the underbody were given a PVC coating, just like in the original.

Complete overhaul: New lease of life for the six-cylinder engine

Porsche Classic took on the task of reviving the engine. The cylinder heads and control system could be removed without any problem, but the pistons were stuck fast in the cylinders. A combination of rust remover, heat, time and patience finally brought away the crankshaft. The crank mechanism was then rebuilt in its entirety from new genuine parts. However, it was possible to restore the cylinder heads. The right-hand camshaft was returned to its rightful place, and a genuine new part was installed in place of the worn left-hand camshaft.
Over the course of around 120 working hours, the six-cylinder engine was painstakingly restored to perfection. One of the reasons it took so long is because of the care required. Even the smallest of mistakes might have irreparably damaged this historically significant machine. On top of that, a significant amount of intuition and creativity were often required. Many of the parts were not held in stock by Porsche Classic. For example, certain clips on the carburettor linkage had to be reworked in order to restore the original synchronous control. In spring 2017, the engine was put into operation for the first time on the test stand, ready for installation.
911, “barn find”, 2017, Porsche AG

Authenticity had to take a back seat in respect of the Signal Red 6407 paint colour

The chassis and drive, seats and fittings gradually returned from restoration in autumn 2016. But there were a large number of areas that still required work during assembly. Some of the problems were extremely detailed in nature, like the shape of the screws that had originally been used to mount the indicators. It was possible to retain all of the original glass in the vehicle, but the cable harness was replaced with an adapted replica for a 911 vehicle in the later F series.
In order to restore the original design of the interior roof lining, the restoration workers had put the best preserved piece carefully to one side when disassembling the vehicle. The square pattern of holes seen in the very early 911 vehicles was later replaced by a diamond shape. The original tool was one of the few from the 1960s that remained intact. This spiked roller, which was used to stamp patterns when repairing the roof lining or the panels, made it possible to restore the original pattern of the interior roof lining.
In summer 2017, the “marriage” of the Number 57 took place as the flat engine returned to its rightful place. After some final fine-tuning, the oldest 911 vehicle in the Porsche Museum was given its new lease of life in the autumn.

An evolutionary Porsche history: From the 754 via the 901 to the 911

In the late 1950s, the Porsche 356 was approaching the limits of its capabilities. Having been created as a derivative of the Volkswagen, the potential of the engine, chassis and bodywork had been virtually exhausted. After several preliminary ideas – including a four-seater – the first specifications for a successor to the 356 finally took shape.
Heinrich Klie, Ernst Bolt, Hans Ploch, Hans Springmann, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, l-r, Porsche 901, 1964, 2017, Porsche AG
A wishlist jotted down by Ferry Porsche on squared paper included the following features: “2-seater with 2 comfortable jump seats. Rear view mirror integrated in the wings. Easier entry”. At the same time, the Sales department demanded the following: “Retain previous Porsche line. Not a fundamentally new car. Sporty character”.  The general direction was therefore clear: evolution, not revolution. The same also applied to the technology. The drive principle – including a flat engine at the rear – would remain, but the chassis concept would be modernised.
Porsche type 695, 1957, 2017, Porsche AG

Porsche Type 754 T7 (draft by F.A. Porsche)

At first, the focus was on the shape of the future series. Porsche did not have a design department at the time, and deciding on the shape was part of the body development process. Several proposals from the engineers and from well-known designers had been received by Porsche. Even though some of them were very elegantly drawn, none of them found approval from Ferry Porsche: As nice as they were, the head of the company felt they were not a Porsche. A design by a brand-new recruit who had joined the design office of the former Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche KG in 1957 was the crucial deciding factor: In 1959, Ferry Porsche’s son Ferdinand Alexander produced a model of a coupé that for the first time came close to the founder’s ideas. On the basis of his designs, the prototype 754 was created in 1960 as a highly promising four-seater study.

Forerunner of the 911: Type 754 from 1959

The Type 754 featured most of the typical characteristics of the modern-day design icon that is the 911. The flattened bonnet between the free-standing wings. The inclined built-in headlights, the A-pillars with the windscreen, the elegantly shaped rear section. Almost all of the requirements in the specifications had been met in the design by F.A. Porsche, as he was called by his colleagues. With one exception: the fastback style that had been requested. Ferry Porsche insisted on this feature, which meant rejecting the four-seater. As a compromise, the 2.40-metre wheelbase from the previous design was shortened to 2.20 metres.
Porsche type 901, IAA Frankfurt, 1963, 2017, Porsche AG

1963 IAA Frankfurt/Main, presentation of the new Porsche type 901

In 1962, work started on the development of the fastback coupé with a 2x2 seating arrangement. Its type number was 901. On the evening of November 9, 1962, the first prototype rolled out of the Zuffenhausen factory gates for a test drive. Time was short. A ready-to-drive car was needed by autumn 1963 so that the world premiere could be celebrated at the IAA. The engineers were busy working not only on the 901, but also on a whole series of other design commissions. After all, Porsche continued to be a busy design office as well as an automotive manufacturer. A further complication was that Reutter, the supplier of the bodywork, was reluctant to make the investment required for the new model. To ensure that series production was even possible, Porsche had to take the bull by the horns: In summer 1963, the company took over the pressing plant, including the 1,000 or so employees working there.

World premiere of a pre-series vehicle: 901 makes its debut in Frankfurt in 1963

At the IAA on September 12, Porsche celebrated the world premiere of the 901 with a pre-series vehicle, even though its specification was far from being finalised. It was only in May 1964 that development of the vehicle had advanced to a stage that the new model could be presented to industry professionals. The six-cylinder flat engine with eight crankshaft bearings was a completely new development. Dry-sump lubrication ensured an adequate supply of oil, even at high longitudinal and lateral acceleration. One camshaft rotated in each of the cylinder heads, driven by intermediate shafts and a chain. With a compression ratio of 9:1, the engine delivered power of 130 hp at 6,200 revolutions per minute from a displacement of 1991 ccm.
Type 901 prototype, 1963-1964, 2017, Porsche AG

Type 901 prototype from 1963

On the exhaust side, Porsche borrowed a tried-and-tested approach from the 356 in the shape of vehicle heating via heat exchangers. The heating pipes were routed into the sill boxes, with vents at the height of the footwell. The rear window and windscreen were supplied with hot air directly by defroster vents. In order to prevent any reduction in comfort compared to water-cooled vehicles manufactured by competitors, additional heating was provided as standard in the front of the 901. A newly developed five-speed transmission was used to transmit power and was also fitted in the 904 Carrera GTS, which debuted at the same time.

From 901 to 911: Pragmatic name change as series production begins

On September 14, 1964, the Porsche 901 went into series production. The first vehicles were kept by the factory or used as exhibition vehicles. One of them was sent to the Paris Motor Show, which opened in the same month. However, the exhibition gave Porsche an unexpected problem: An astounded Porsche management team received an objection from the French car manufacturer Peugeot in early October 1964, indicating that the 901 type designation was an infringement of French copyright and trademark protection. The sales management team suggested that the name of the vehicle type should be changed by replacing the “0” with a “1”. One benefit of this pragmatic solution was that it prevented extensive changes being made to the print layouts that had already been prepared for sales and advertising copy, operating instructions and other documents.
On October 22, 1964, Ferry Porsche gave the order for the name to be changed. From this day on, the 901 was called the 911. And on this very day – October 22, 1964 – a 901 vehicle was taking shape in the production department that would later hit the road under the new 911 title. It was the third and last vehicle built on this day. The red coupé bore the chassis number 300 057. Today, “Number 57” is the pride and joy of the Porsche Museum.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Looking at the Origins of Driver Education

Trinity Lutheran School, Cape Girardeau, 1961 

It appears that the driver education movement of the 1930s flowed out of the school safety patrol movement that began sometime around 1919. I can remember so vividly the excitement and pride that I had when Mr. Bruno, my 6th grade teacher at  Lindbergh Elementary School in Kenmore,  New York appointed me  Lieutenant of the Safety Patrol. That belt and badge gave me a special status and importance that I never had had before. As Forest Noffsinger stated in a 1939 article on the American Automobile Association and safety education, the "distinctive Sam Browne belt and the badge of the patrols are recognized as th insignia of respected and worthy school civic service." In that amman year of 1939 some 275,000 boys and girls served on safety patrols in 3,250 communities. Noffsinger further emphasized the importance of this movement by remarking that "No other activity in the shivery of the safety movement so readily caught and effectively utilized the interests of children and the universal desire to stimulate and develop the exercise of constructive citizenship among youth."

Lindbergh Elementary School, Kenmore New York

Saturday, December 16, 2017

1959 (1 of 4) "Signal 30" Ohio Highway Patrol Driving Safety Film!!!

"Signal 30"  -- meant in the 1950s  the occurrence of a fatal accident on Ohio roads. It was a code that has a "morbid meaning."

This film is in part the story of the training and tasks of the Ohio State patrol. That is a mid-film digression from the main theme.

But more importantly  this film is about a neglect for  signage and speed limits.  "Neglect and stupidity" caused two lives in the first vignette. And further examples follow. Accidents are the result of driving carelessly and not paying attention to the mechanics of driving.

"Signal 30" is one example of many films made from the 1930s to the present concerning the failure of the driver rather then the failure of the car or automotive industries. The safety campaign that was mounted beginning in the 1930s to at least the 1960s has a historiographical issue associated with it.  Was it the more top down impetus of elites and "Motordom" to control the problem of accidents and safety?  Thus it is the "Nut" behind the wheel, and therefore the automobile is exonerated. Or was it more a bubbling up of concern and action from the public that led to driver education programs and auto safety campaigns? Or is it a more complex and nuanced tale?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Chilling Story Told in This Driver's Ed Film: "And Then There Were Four" 1950...

Narrated by Jimmy Stewart, this film is simply captivating. It is about taking small risks and thoughtlessly driving by consciously performing minor violations, writing them off as insignificant.  Five people leave in the morning for school and work -- a young man driving a hot rod; a landscaper driving a broken down truck that is improperly maintained.; a newly married salesman who drives off after dropping off his wife at a bus stop reckless turning left without consideration for other traffic; an arrogant  Doctor who is due in traffic court and later forced to attend a Driver Ed class; and a widow with two young children driving into the city to try to find a job. Only four come home.

If there is one lesson that stuck with me after watching this heart-wrenching film is that you should always leave in the morning telling your loved ones that you love them.  Never take them or your own life for granted.  It can change or end in a second!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Why Young People Continue to Fail to Buckle Their Seatbelts??

Well, you may think you are indestructible or immune to calamity, but it can happen to anyone.  And your life will change in an instant.

Below is a contribution from Ed:

Probably worthy of a blog post, John, but have you noticed the shear number of local area car crashes where occupants have died and were not wearing a seat belt.  It just amazes me as long as we've had seat belts in vehicles, many people still refuse to wear them.  Why do folks not heed the obvious proven safety value of seat belts?  

This accident occurred in Greene County yesterday during the snow that fell rapidly.  Photo of the crashed truck attached here.  My late stepfather was one who never wore a seatbelt and, indeed, when vehicles started to have buzzers or bells that would ring when seat belts were not fastened, he would find a way to disable the bell and then he would sometimes just cut the seat belts out proclaiming them to be "useless" and that in a wreck he'd prefer to be "thrown clear" of the car.  Yes, land and be impelled by a fence post. 😣

This local story also sadly reminds me that my late father-in-law was killed in a pick-up truck on ice slick roads in northeastern Ohio over twenty years ago.  The state trooper report, which was shared with us stated, yes, he wasn't wearing his seat belt.
A young girl is the lone survivor of a double fatal crash this evening in front of Camp Jabez in Spring Valley Township.
XXXXXXXX, 49, of Xenia, was identified as the driver of a 2004 Ford F-Series pickup truck who was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, XXXXXXX, 73, also of Xenia, was taken with life-threatening injuries to Miami Valley Hospital, where she died, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Xenia Post.
At the time of the crash, reported around 5 p.m., it was snowing and the pickup was headed north in the 3100 block of Ohio 380. The pickup struck a sign, overturned, struck a fence and then struck a tree.
“They were going down a downhill grade, so obviously it struck the tree with a significant amount of force,” Sgt. Richard Milstead said.
A young girl was restrained in a child seat. She suffered injuries that were not life-threatening and was taken to Dayton Children’s Hospital. Neither adult was wearing a seat belt, according to the state highway patrol.


Hi folks -- I am getting interested in the history of Driver's Education and started looking at film that might be shown in a classroom. This film is as gory as it gets. But once viewed, was it really effective? I am not so sure!

1961 -- seat belts only rarely used, safety not yet mandated by the federal government.

Sum up:  we take driving not very seriously.  Too many distractions, not enough respect for speed limits. Nevertheless, the kind of accidents shown in this film will never happen to us. Seriously?

Put away the cell phone and stop texting. Focus on driving!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Porsche Leipzig: The Machine in the Garden!

In May of this year, the Porsche location in Saxony set up 25 bee colonies in the factory’s off-road area. The honey is even available in the Porsche Leipzig customer centre shop under the name “Turbienchen”.
The honey bees will spend the upcoming winter months in the off-road area before appearing again in the spring. “We will continue the initiative next year and we are planning to expand it. Our nature reserve offers the ideal conditions for bees”, says Gerd Rupp, Chair of the Executive Board at Porsche Leipzig GmbH. Bees are some of the most important productive creatures in Germany but are severely endangered. They pollinate most of the country’s agricultural crops. Environmental factors such as pesticide residues, bacteria, viruses and parasites have threatened bee populations for decades. In addition, there has been a gradual loss of natural bee habitats. As they are so important in ensuring biological diversity, bees are protected in Germany by the Federal Nature Conservation Act and the Federal Species Protection Regulations.

Sustainable pasture concept

The sustainable pasture concept at Porsche Leipzig is unique in the automotive industry. In addition to the honey bees, Porsche established colonies of Exmoor ponies and aurochs in the factory’s off-road area as long ago as 2002. The 132-hectare nature area is also home to many other wild animals, including various species of birds, amphibians, hares, deer and bats

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The First SUV? Willys-Overland Jeep Station Wagon

A Contribution from Ed --Thank You!

The first SUV?  The Willys Jeep 4x4 Station Wagon?  Just ordered a newly released 1:16 scale model (see attached photos) of this vehicle (the 1955 version).  Our rural West Virginia mail carrier whose name was "Punk" Mann drove one exactly like this one pictured.  If one met him at one's mailbox he would sell you stamps and money orders.  

Brings new meaning to "back in the day" and "Rural Free Delivery" (RFD).  During my years as a newspaper boy delivering the small town Hinton Daily News, I also delivered The Grit (Williamsport, PA).  Every Thursday, without fail, "Punk" would deliver my roll of The Grit to our mailbox.  Punk's Jeep station wagon is fixed in my brain!