Cold Fury… Rising.

I just got off the phone with the local VW dealership and I am pissed off. I had my Passat in to the shop for a little look at the transmission (several warning lights had been going off and Bob, service manager extraordinare, thought it best that I bring it in) and thought nothing further about it.
Well, Bob called me back and said

  1. they couldn’t find anything wrong with it today
  2. they’d like to keep it overnight to run some more tests
  3. according to their internal VW systems, my warranty expired in April of this year

I bought this car in November of ’03 from the jerks over at [redacted] and they assured me that it was merely a showroom model and that I was receiving what was, for all intents and purposes, a new vehicle. Turns out they registered it as new in April and sold it to me as a used car. So, not only am I out a warranty, I also paid them new car prices for a used car.
I’m going home, getting my paperwork together and then seeking legal counsel. Immediately. Those sons of motherless goats at Colonial are going to pay.
Removed the name of the offending dealership. Figured I’d rather not give ’em any press at all until this whole thing is sorted.

Marxist Turbines: The New Jersey Toll Roads And You!

Lousy Marxist turbines…
I’m actually surprised nobrainer hasn’t commented on this story as of yet — seems like it’d be right up his alley.
Anyways, here goes: some moron idiot charlatan high school dropout enterprising inventor has proposed placing wind turbines along New Jersey highways in order to “harvest” the “wind energy” generated by traffic and funnel it into powering the public transportation grid. This sounds like a nice plan, if only it weren’t for that darn little thing known as “physics”.
As any halfwitted fan of NASCAR knows, there’s this little thing called “drag” that keeps cars from going their fastest. Good drivers know how to “draft” to reduce their drag and thus gain fuel economy (well, if the rate at which NASCArs use fuel can be considered “economical”, that is) and potentially a good bit of speed. [Note: I am not calling all NASCAR fans halfwits, I am merely stating the obvious fact that there are fans that happen to be halfwits. Please don’t send hatemail. -ed.] Anything causing turbulence (i.e., giant rotating turbine blades positioned next to or under the road surface) increases drag and thus decreases speed and fuel efficiency. Basically, the cars have to work harder to keep the same rate of speed.
Decreased fuel efficiency == increased fuel consumption and, since the current incarnation of the internal combustion engineis not terribly efficient at turning hydrocarbons into usable energy (it’s around 15% efficient or so), it means a lot of fuel is simply wasted every time you start your car. The rest of the fuel is emitted as particulate matter, unburned fuel, heat, sound and waste gasses. Even typical fossil fuel-powered electrical plants run at between 35% and 60% efficiency. So this moron, in an attempt to “save” the environment would instead increase the pollution emitted by cars and increase all Jersey drivers’ fuel bills.
He gives himself away, though, when he blathers on about being excited to harvest energy from privately-owned vehicles for use in the public transit system — he’s a freakin’ redistributionist trying to sell what would amount to a per-gallon energy tax hidden neatly beneath the asphalt of 295 and the NJTP.

The Greatest Movie Car Chase Ever?

It’s a tough one, but the Knoxville News wants to know your pick for greatest movie car chase ever. There are some doozies on the list, for certain:

  • Bullitt
  • The French Connection
  • The Seven-Ups
  • Dirty Mary Crazy Larry
  • The Blues Brothers
  • The Road Warrior
  • To Live and Die in L.A.
  • Ronin
  • The Bourne Identity

Of those, I think The Bourne Identitty is not worthy for consideration on the list (Bourne Supremacy, maybe) and the original Italian Job deserves mention.
Go now. They have clips.
(By the way, the correct answer is Bullitt, for your information. Make sure your votes reflect such.)

I Think I Found A New “Daddy Car”

Pontiac G8
If my Taurus goes belly-up any time soon, I know what I’ll be looking into. Via Left Lane News, I heard about the positively drool-worthy 2008 Pontiac G8:

General Motors has revealed the 2008 Pontiac G8 sports sedan. Based on the Commodore from GM’s Holden subsidiary in Australia, the G8 will serve as a replacement to the aging Grand Prix.
The base model features a 261 horsepower 3.6-liter V6 with 250 pound-feet of torque. A more powerful G8 GT delivers 362 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque thanks to a 6.0-liter V8.
The basic G8 features a five-speed automatic with manual mode, while the GT version is offered with either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual gearbox.
Curb weight for the V6 model is 3,885 lbs, while the GT weighs just five pounds shy of 4,000. 18-inch wheels come standard, while 19-inch alloys can be ordered with the GT model.
The sedan rides on GM’s new Zeta rear-wheel-drive platform, which underpins the 2009 Camaro and the next-generation Impala, in addition to several other planned vehicles.
G8 deliveries are expected to begin in August — a relatively short lead time made possible by some very effective badge engineering.

I love the lines on that thing and it’s flippin’ awesome that GM is finally availing itself of the excellent RWD platforms that it has been squirreling away in Oz for far too many years under the Holden badge.

Providential Timing

A few weeks ago, an anonymous generous soul decided to liberate our Passat wagon of its driver’s-side rearview mirror. Apparently, its existence was superfluous, so much so that said generous soul neglected to even stop and offer an explanation, so generous was their course of action.
I took the wagon in to the VW dealership last friday in order to get an oil change and an estimate on replacing the mirror. Bob, the service manager at Cherry Hill Imports, graciously offered to give me an estimate ($220! For a mirror!) and then proceeded to tell me that the work couldn’t be completed in a single day (the paint takes two days to dry, apparently), so he would have the paint guys do the mirror up proper and then I would drop by on Monday to have it installed.
We’re not exactly rolling in the dough around these parts at this point, so $220 was a bit of a hard pill to swallow. My wife and I had a word when I got home and simply threw up our hands and a brief prayer to God. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much – it’s not that I don’t trust God to provide for us, it’s just that I guess I consider car repairs to be in the noise of daily life and something that, well, I should be responsible for. I bought the car (so my flawed thinking goes), thus I should be good and happy to take repsonsibility for anything that goes wrong with it. “Cattle of a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10) only penetrates my psyche so far, I guess.
Monday rolled around and I put off dropping by the dealership in the morning, opting instead to go around lunch time. I pulled up to the service entrance just as Bob was getting up to leave for lunch, apparently. “All of my installation guys are out for lunch!” he said. “Tell you what, I’ll just install it myself and only charge you for the parts.”
The bill came to a little over $75, tax included – quite a bit off the $220 I was expecting. I sat down in the driver’s seat and offered up a prayer of thanks as soon as Bob ambled back off to grab his lunch, most likely unaware of the odd blessing he had bestowed upon me.

Holy Real Life Gran Turismo, Batman!

It’s a wonder no one was killed. Apparently, a French filmmaker enlisted the help of an F1 driver in August 1978 to make an incredible film of a speed run through the streets of Paris in a Ferrarri 275 GTB. The driver apparently hit speeds of close to 140 mph on open streets, as the filmmaker couldn’t obtain a permit from the Paris authorities for the run, so you’ll see several pedestrians leaping to get out of the way of the speeding car, as well as multiple red lights blown through, one-way streets reverse-traversed and a whole host of nifty driving tricks.