DUIA: What does the future hold?

By the time you guys read this, you should have one foot solidly planted into 2019. What are your resolutions? Do you want to build up your Rods further or do you want to kick ass on the track like I want to?

What do I mean by DUIA? I will delve into that while reminding you that the opinions in this column are of this writer only. For the past couple of years now I have been trying to keep you GearHeads up-to-date on this regime change in the car world. All I can do is touch the surface as there is far too much information to relay.

Consider the racing cars… They are coming up on us all – and fast! So this electrified Volkswagen goes to Pikes Peak and wins its class hands down. It makes the run up the mountain in under 8 seconds. This just happens to be the all-time record for any kind of vehicle ever attempting this. Guys, this really is the canary in the coal mine for all of us internal combustion aficionados!
Next thing coming down the pipeline is crate motors. I will say that it is looking to me like we will soon see over-the-counter crate motors that are plug-and-play. You will be able to bolt  electric motors into your muscle car and everything will fit! It’s a brave New world folks and it’s coming at warp speed, like it or not.

Of course, news of the MuskFather is never-ending. Elon Musk has been keeping very busy working at his factory, defending himself against financial claims, building rocket ships and he just unveiled a tunnel he built underneath LA that can zip people back and forth at warp speed. I mean – if you have ever driven in LA…?

Then there is the upstart named Rivian who is coming out with EV pickup trucks. Oh yes and remember the GM plants that could be closing down? Well, I said there were some labor issues and this and that and the other. Now we have the MuskFather making noises like he might want to buy one of them! Alrighty then – let us see what the Big GM has to say about that!
And we have mentioned Waymo before. They have been logging a lot of miles in Chandler Arizona preparing to launch their driverless taxi service. however they have been receiving a lot of backlash from the populace it seems.

It seems the natives are not so happy with the many things that have been happening with these AVs. There are the crashes, the burnings, the death and destruction of people, animals and property coming from these cars running into other cars, bicycles, pedestrians, trees, bushes and a long list of other.

If you are to ask the corporate wonks they will simply answer that it is just so much collateral damage like the bycatch from the factory trawler who throws back the wrong species, some of them dying. These are necessary casualties in order to develop the technology.

Well, the regular folks don’t appear to agree with this and they have responded with attacks and burnings, pulling guns, vandalizing, tomfoolery and more. AutoBlog reports on Douglas Rushkoff, who is an official in the middle of all that, down there.  He sez this, “… there is a growing sense that the giant corporations may not have our best interests at heart.” Listening to this kind of stuff, sometimes I will get all pragmatic. Then I come up with something like Driving Under the Influence of Autonomosity.

As these vehicles which are obviously impaired continue to wreak death and destruction across our highways, should they not be subject to the same penalties as our DUII laws? Is this not impaired driving? On behalf of all of the hapless drivers out there who went down the other road, wouldn’t it be fair for all those guilty of Impaired Autonomosity suffer the exact same consequences. Oh, and there is a long, long list of punishments. Lawd don’t make me go there! Mebbe another time.

So if we are to use Uncle Sam’s logic, we need to get out there and catch them before there is the slightest of chances that they will go out and cause harm. Punish the masses for the sins of the few? After all, if one life can be saved by wrecking the lives of thousands of drivers – its all good. Right? I mean this will allow Uncle Sam to continue his double taxation one driver at a time. Fill those coffers much fuller. Cuz, lawd knows, Guv’ment needs all the dollars they can get from us in these days and times …  Yup, there I go being pragmatic about things.

’nuff said,
Chuck Fasst   #GearHeadsWorld

Greetings GearHeads

By the time y’all read this it will be a New Year. Hope y’all had a good one cuz the next one is sure to be wilder than the last one. Me … I am still in recovery from #SEMA2018 as well as my big move from Portland. Myself and my Flying Dutchman Camaro now reside out in Fairview, OR. by the mighty Columbia.

Y’all know how I like to keep you abreast of the latest news in the electrical car world and the automated driving scene. But I’m not going to say too much this time around as there is simply too much going on out there. Big-time mergers continue to take place as the biggest corporations in the world vie for the almighty dollar.

Mighty GM managed to surprise us all with their big move. They announced the closing of five plants and the firing of 14K workers. Now it is not like this was done out of any dire emergency. GM is simply looking forward. They are eliminating several lines and coming out with several others. And yes they will be electrified. They are bound and determined to not be left behind.

There is a much larger story to this new strategy. It has to do with Auto workers unions and such things as cheaper labor. It remains to be seen what plants will be actually shut down and what plants will receive new assembly lines and what will become of current workers. We will simply have to wait to see how it all shakes out.

There will be more vids coming out on #SEMA2018 – just keep an eye out at #GearHeadsWorld for new releases on through the New Year. Oh and – Happy New Year.

’nuff said, Chuck Fasst #GearHeadsWorld

SEMA Show of 2018 is a Dazzler

I often write about the future of the motoring world with the electric cars coming onto the scene and all. And there is plenty of news on that front both in the electric car world and the racing world. However, now is the time for news of the Here and Now. The SEMA show has come. There should be no more explanation necessary.

SEMA show of 2018 in Las Vegas lived up to its reputation. How could the biggest car show on Earth be a disappointment? All of the latest baddest builds were there. Racing celebrities were there and Industry Giants along with a growing Cadre of reality TV and social media, up-and-coming Stars.

SEMA Ignited, the giant after show, car party was off the hook as well. Badass cruising along with Hooners belching fire and smoke … and Budweiser. I must certainly put in a special word for the Cackle Fest. those old dudes who have been here since the beginning, can still put on a great show with Nitro.

The battle of the builders was decided and this author was happy to see another Camaro take the big win. You will want to check out #GearHeadsWorld to find the vids covering all of this. I enjoyed bumping into many of the 405 Street Outlaws from Discovery Channel. Several of their rides were there.

Plenty of exciting new parts and pieces were introduced that you GearHeads will start seeing in 2019. There were blinged out wheels everywhere from every corner of the planet, it seemed. It has become expected that one would see the most radical of Rat Rods there but I would have to say that lifted trucks seemed to dominate the scene this year. There were hundreds of them everywhere with all of their wonder and bling.

’nuff said, Chuck Fasst
GearHeadsWorld.blogspot.com

20th Annual Rockin’ Around the Block Cruise

It was a dark and stormy night… Somewhere. But not in sleepy little town of Gresham Oregon located just on the outskirts of bustling Portland. As the sun peeked over the Eastern Horizon on Saturday August 11th, it gave way to a cool crisp morning as the town began to enjoy a brief respite from a record-setting heat wave.

Off in the distance, finely-tuned ears could tell that something was amiss. A kind of cackling sound gradually approaching downtown Main Street. Those who were there will atttest to the rising cacophony of sounds that all of a sudden seemed to surround the town. The sounds seemed to approach from all directions… Ack ack ack, pocketa pocketa, whompa. For the 20th year the annual Rockin Around the Block Cruise was underway in Gresham.

And just as had been done for so many years before, Main Street quickly filled up with arriving hot rods, gassers, muscle cars and whatever else ones imagination could conjure up. Soon all of the surrounding streets and parking lots throughout downtown were filled.

This time there would be no need for the town fathers to call in the gendarmes, as this event is a result of the finely-tuned effort between the promoters, Northwest Motorsports Association, Mount Hood Community College automotive program,  Chamber of Commerce and all of the other partners, sponsors and volunteers who take part in this successful event.

Again this year there was dancing in the streets as the Ron Ruedi Band laid down his signature rock and roll Tunes. In addition, Spenellis brought in the band, Saturated Phats to entertain fans from their front porch. As always, there was plenty for the whole family along with the clowns, face painting and competitions for the kids. And as always, there were plenty of trophies for the big boys (and girls) and their toys.

In addition to the well over 300 cars, the vendors, sponsors and all of the other attractions make for quite a draw, resulting in far morer spectators than one would see at the average Cruise In.

Show promoter Jerry Lyons, heads up the Mount Hood Community College automotive program. he said they have set up two distinct accounts to directly benefit outstanding Automotive students with what has now resulted in well  over  $350, 000 in scholarships.

Vern Farris is sergeant-at-arms of the Northwest Motorsports Association and has promoted this event many years. His answer as to what makes this event so successful is short and sweet. He says – it is just the coolest. This Association is a conglomeration of a number of car clubs. Other car clubs out there who would like to become involved should inquire. ’nuff said.

Chuck Fasst
GearHeadsWorld.blogspot.com

National Collector Car Appreciation Day

As this goes to press, it is Friday the 13th, National Collector Car Appreciation Day. Congress has honored all Gearheads by making this our special holiday. We hope it was special for you.

The Wednesday night Beaches cruise-ins opened out at PIR June 6th. And what a Whopper it was, reportedly over 1800 cars in attendance. Unfortunately I have no coverage of this event as the pixel 2 work phone holding thatinfo, mysteriously disappeared Into Thin Air out there. #GearHeadsWorld is still on the lookout for it.

Tesla Makes The News Again:

Another Tesla Model S has gone up in flames. This one belongs to a movie star who had parked it on Santa Monica Boulevard. Some of you may have seen the viral video. in the meantime, Elon Musk has fired a load of his mid-level managers. Looks like he is trimming things down.

Next we have a self-driving Uber that has fatally killed a bicyclist. The driver was behind the wheel streaming “The Voice.” Charges have been brought.

Speaking of bicycles, did you hear the one about the Motorcycle Company who goes back to building bicycles just like they did a hundred years ago when they started? Yep, we are talking about Harley. It seems that the bubble has burst that consisted of the successful baby boomers who climbed aboard their Harleys in the wake of the tremendously successful Discovery show American Chopper which has also settled back down to earth.
Now Harley is looking at the millennial yuppies who don’t want motorcycles. They prefer Nifty bicycles so Harley will be supplying them. They won’t be cheap. You will have to drop around 4 Grand for one. So, now the word bike will have a whole new meaning for Harley.

We like to put in a good word for the RPM bill which continues to be successfully lobbied. Now we have a new wrinkle, it seems that EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, has resigned under pressure. Now we wait to see how all that shakes out.

Now, here is our high performance news of the week. And this, most definitely is a harbinger of things to come. The Pikes Peak competition has recently wrapped. There has been a world record run hosted by an electric car. This was the VW l. D. R electric car. It posted a 7. 57 at 148 mph, which is the fastest run for any kind of vehicle ever!
In conclusion we would like to make mention of The Rockin Around The Block cruise in which is coming right up in Gresham. This is the event put on by the Northwest Motorsports Association to benefit the Mount Hood Community College automotive department. Hot rods will take over the entire downtown for the entire day on Saturday August 11th.

’nuff said, Chuck Fasst.
GearHeadsWorld@blogspot.com

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of it All

Hey there GearHeads, after the glowing report we gave on the new Corvette ZR1 in this last column — I guess I would have to say that we are somewhat obligated to report on the latest, not so good news at press time. It seems that one of these glorious new Corvettes suffered grievous injury at the hands of, shall we say, a high-level GM exec.
“A good Corvette gone bad… With a little help.”

Right, you all heard this. It was the pace car at the Indy Car races and the big wig behind the wheel appears to have gotten a little over-excited and got himself into a understeer situation in a corner as he was leading the pack. So, the old girl came around on him and he put her in the wall. Oops! We are guessing that at some point during the ride, he reached down and clicked the Traction Control button to the off position. But we are just speculating. Let’s just say that it was a party foul.

And now for our monthly report on the Muskfather. The boys over at Bangshift have reported something about a memo regarding a movement to “flatten” Tesla’s management structure. Whatever that means. However we can say in his defense that his production numbers are climbing.

Aw but what is not so good is the latest from Consumer Reports. They have downgraded the Tesla 3 due to its stopping distance. They are saying that it is worse than a Ford F-100! Finally there is speculation that those Tesla big rigs we have seen, might have been some kind of one-off deal. Nobody is seeing any others around. So I guess we won’t be hearing anything about their stopping distance anytime soon?

Now here is a bit of the ugly – some of you may have heard about the “Social Credit” program going on over in China? That deal is so incredibly ridiculous and repressive that I won’t even waste time in this column. But I will mention that China really likes the EVs! Well, small wonder that they would like the electrical vehicles, seeing how they are sitting on the largest cache of rare earth metals that are required to make batteries.

Anyway, China has decided to be a good Big Brother to all of their population who can afford to buy the new EVs. They will receive license plates for free! However, the rest of the poor misfortunates who cannot afford them, will have to pay excessively High premiums for their plates and they will have to wait a very long time to get them.
Perhaps this may lead to a glut in the market for gas-powered, Chinese cars. Anybody interested?

In conclusion, I would like to jump up onto my stump for a moment. I don’t know if it is my social sciences college degree from back in the day. or my days as a Navy guy staring into a radar in various parts of the world or my more recent, short career with the Merchant Marines where I was a watch stander all around the world. But I have always been an observer of society and how it is changing. By that I mean – not for the better! Everybody pulling for their own selves or their own ideologies at the expense of others. There is that saying – history is doomed to repeat itself. I often wonder why us humans in our civilizations can be so damned dumb through the centuries?

I have recently been in situations where I have been personally harmed by others asserting their will over me. And these others were racers. It is painful for me to note that even amongst racers, there are those who would hold so little regard for the welfare of fellow Gearheads. It’s sad.

’nuff said on that. So GearHeads, most of you should know by now that National Collector Car Appreciation Day is coming right up in July, Friday the 13th. This would be a good time for car clubs or events to incorporate this into their day. At least we should all take the time to think about the impact our whole industry has had on the American way for the last century.

—Chuck Fasst, GearHeadsWorld.blogspot.com

Welcome to the Brave New World and Toaster Cars

At press time we have just entered into the New Year and the CES Show is rolling out their latest in technology with an emphasis on new. But first we must mention a name that should be familiar to many of you Northwest Street Rodders, Mitch Kim could use your thoughts. He has fought his way through a few maladies recently and is now locked in battle with liver cancer.

Now everyone hold your breath. Then let out with a loud, collective, hip hip hooray! Early believers are now receiving shipment of their new Tesla Model 3. As we have previously mentioned, Elon Musk has been experiencing his fair share of problems concerning getting his latest planet saving autocar shipped out to the prepaid buyers. Yay for him.

Now how about this, what if you could get a Tesla station wagon? For those who waited, maybe they can plop down their dollars on one. It seems that Qwest has completed the first working prototype.

Now, most of us know that Elon Musk has been getting his fingers into all kinds of different projects ranging from under the Earth to the furthest limits of outer space. Now, here is one that should make your collective mouths water, GearHeads: Drive Ins. Yes Homer, you heard that right. Now we don’t know if he is talking about the kind with the big screen and teenagers making out in the front seats of cars. But we do know that it involves roller skates. Watch for the first one to pop up down in Southern California somewhere.

How about this, can we talk about something that actually burns good ole gas? Super sly shutterbugs have been releasing camera spy shots of the new C8 Corvette which they are now saying is due to be released in 2020. Of course the shots are all camoed out. But it sure looks like the mid-engined monster that everyone has been talking about. Word has it that it will be powered by the latest LS design with dual turbos. Horsepower numbers? Who knows but up there for sure.

Now wouldn’t it be rad to pull up to one of those Tesla Drive Ins in one of these bad boys? Speaking of bad boys I would like to call your attention to the #BaddazzPortlandCarz list of the baddest Portland area cars featured at GearHeadsWorld. Just go to YouTube and punch into the search bar – Blown ’67 Chevelle Outlaw Street Racer to find the very first feature we ever did. And there are a number of badd Vettes in the list as well.

Okay now let’s get back to the truly important news of our future. That would, of course be what the tech Geeks have in store for all of us. No place better to find out about that, than the CES Show. We are hearing that China has opened an office in Silicon Valley to tout their new future car called Byton. This will be a slick piece featuring what they call an “Intuitive Digital Experience.”

This ride will feature facial recognition sensors that will open your door for you. The first vehicles will be level 3 autonomous, meaning that you will be able to take your hands off the wheel from time to time. They will be capable of connecting to Smart devices such as your phones and watches. Amazon’s Alexa will be integrated into your fine experience. They will be introduced in China in 2019. Expect to see them here in the US of A in 2020.

Then we have Nissan Intelligence Mobility which will leave the Driving Experience to the human brain. Will your brain be ready for that? And with no further adieu we introduce to you this month’s featured wondercar, the Toyota Palette Transport Vehicle a k a Toaster Car.
This fine representation of the future of humanity features the pictured 6-pack shaped vehicle which can be utilized to haul all manner of humans and whatever else. Just pop open the sunroofs in the top and drop the humans down in vertically where they will be stacked side-by-side. Okay… We don’t exactly know how the humans will be loaded into these things.

GearHeads, just make sure you don’t find yourselves in one of these things.

’nuff said,
Chuck Fasst  GearHeadsWorld@blogspot.com

This Li’l Red Roadster Will Roast You

Greetings to a new year GearHeads. We certainly hope you had a set of happy holidays. Now that a New Year is about to be had, what say we get down to the business of the future, which is officially here.

First order of business is the RPM bill. As most of you know, this is the battle in Congress that pits the EPA against the dedicated race car industry. Recently, a 13-9 vote has sent the bill out of the Subcommittee on the Environment. The bill currently resides in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee where more debate is taking place.
At some point it will come time for the deal-making on this bill. I for one, hope that all the rest of us who can only afford to drive street cars do not suffer heavy blowback once deals are made that benefit the rich GearHeads who compete in the upper levels of Motorsports.

Now that we are in the future we might as well mention the Switchblade flying car currently being built in a secure location somewhere in Central Oregon. Expect to be seeing the prototype sometime later this spring.

Now we have Jaguar making a big jump into the EV world. They are creating a new racing series: the I-Pace etrophy Series is planned to run in conjunction with the Formula E Series at top tracks around the world, next year. Since that announcement we are hearing that Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is the first team to commit to this new series.

How about a little bit of news from Uber, the ones who are poised to unleash a fleet of Tesla autonomous cars upon us. It seems that they were hacked a while back! But they handled it. They took the novel route of buying off the hackers and swearing them to secrecy. They are currently being sued by the Washington Attorneys General. But wait! They are currently being investigated for espionage for hiring former CIA agents to spy on their competition.

Oh, and speaking of Tesla, how about a bit of news from Reuters. It seems that more than 90% of the Tesla Model S and X have defects coming off the production line. Tesla says they have a special place where some of them are sent, called the “yard.” It is a special place where they go to be fixed. However they are saying not to worry, all is good. Perhaps this is just a sign of the times.
But then, we would be remiss if we did not mention the big, gala affair Tesla put on at the Big car show recently. We got to take the first look at their swoopy new 18 wheeler electric truck. And I must say it is a streamlined looking unit. But the old man was holding back the biggest surprise when… out of the back of the truck rolled the Li’l Red Roadster, as I have dubbed it.

“The fastest production car ever made period.” As they have dubbed it. They threw some numbers at us and they are impressive—very impressive! When I hear a quarter mile number that is under 9 flat—they got my ears!

We will leave you with this quote: “The point of this is just to give a hardcore Smackdown to gasoline cars.” Elon Musk

Chuck Fasst GearHeadsWorld.blogspot.com

And the Hits Just Keep on Coming when it comes to EVs

Some of you know we have been talking a lot about EVs and AVs in this column as of late. That is because there is plenty of news to be had concerning these vehicles. And we have more news for you this month.

First I would like to say that the RPM Act is moving right along with more than 180 members of Congress endorsing it so far. And I hope you enjoyed Collector Car Appreciation Day last month. This is another example of congress steppeing up and recognizing us GearHeads for the contributions we have made to America with our cars, down through the years. They recognize that we have made contributions in a number of ways. One of which is the advancement of Americana. This uniquely American, hot rodding phenomenon did indeed manage to spread around the world through the years.

Now this leads into another subject that I would like to address. Cruising these hotrods was also a unique part of Americana that served as a rite of passage for many young hot-rodders in cities and towns throughout this country. Unfortunately, those who hold positions in leadership came to feel that this kind of pastime was unwholesome and not worthy of the good people in this country.

So, town by town and City by City the pastime of cruising was gradually stamped out from one Coast to the other. Now many years have gone by. And guess what? It seems that many of those cities and towns now miss us.
As a result, there has been a resurgence of organized cruising activities in cities and towns all across the country. In particular, the current powers-that-be have recognized the benefits to local merchants and economies that come hand in hand.

In recent years we have seen cruising events spring up in the Vancouver and Battle Ground areas. The biggest one around has been the Vancouver Cruisin’ the Gut which was growing from year to year and contributing to a number of charitable causes along with many local Merchants along Main Street.

This annual, Summer Event had been started by a local Gearhead, Phil Medina. The event continued to grow, drawing in tens of thousands, despite the promoter being saddled down with increasing bills for insurance and police. All of a sudden, this year the name gets changed to Cruisin’ The Couve. That is because the original OG was no longer in charge. City Hall and the merchants stepped right up and took it all over.

I am not going to go into the nitty-gritty of all of the details but the information is out there in social media. I will just say that no GearHead would just simply give up his event because he couldn’t handle it anymore. Some out there would say that he could not afford to keep going.

I for one fail to see the necessity for having an army of police out there working overtime in cars, motorcycles, bicycles and walking around along with a big headquarters trailer parked there. What I found particularly offensive was when they moved in at 10 PM sharp with their lights and barricades and shut down the entire street to close down the event.
What are they afraid of? A riot might break out? Did anybody get a load of most of the Cruisers that were out there? They were old dudes. OGs from a past era, cruising along and behaving themselves just fine. I mean give me a break!

Well that was then and this is now. And now is the future. And the future is autonomous vehicles. So these AVs are electric cars that drive themselves. I don’t expect that there will be much cruising being done in those things. So here is a little news coming out of Portland. The new Transportation bill is going to allow a $2,500 rebate towards the purchase of some EVs. In addition a $2,500 rebate will be made available if you scrap your car that is 20 years old or older. And this is in addition to the $7,500 federal tax credit you will receive.

This should be a great savings for many. But let’s not forget where much of that money comes from. You know how it is, it’s always the people who eventually end up footing the bill. Let us not forget that.

Next, on a bit of a sad note the Dodge Viper which has been in production since 1995 is coming to an end and the plant will be shuttered. Also AM General has sold their Hummer plant to an outfit called SF Motors who will be a manufacturing EV’s. Oh and the CEO of shell has announced that he will be buying a plug-in.

Intel has been doing their research and has recently released numbers. Essentially they are saying that the autonomous ride-hailing industry which is mainly Uber and Lyft will generate trillions for the economy. Maybe we are all going to get rich? And then we have news from the UK and France. It is looking like internal combustion vehicles will be gone by 2040.

So there you have it GearHeads. Let’s end this month’s column on a fast note. A company called Lucid Motors has an EV that has hit 235 miles per hour and they are making it faster.

‘Nuff said, Chuck Fasst

THEY ARE COMING TO PORTLAND: Are You Ready?

We start off this month’s column with some breaking news—the AVs are coming to Portland. That’s right autonomous vehicles will soon be driving on Portland streets. The mayor of wonderfully weird Portland has sent out an open invitation to all of the AV experimenters. They are invited to come and practice on Portland streets. We are to understand that their travels will be on only selected streets but it is as yet unclear on exactly where that might take place.This will be called the Smart Autonomous Vehicle Initiative.

So, heads up Gearheads guess you might want to keep an eye out.

In fact more and more people are learning they need to keep an eye out for Tesla cars as well, as more and more of them continue to crash, some fatal the lawsuits continue. In fact the latest is the class action suit against Tesla Model S and Model X. This one involves safety defects and enhanced autopilot AP 2.0. they are saying that owners have become essentially beta testers of half-baked programming. Numerous crashes have insued.

Here is an interesting factoid about Tesla. They are said to be the biggest player in the AV and EV fields. However they are currently losing somewhere around $16,000 per vehicle on every sale. They expect that to change drastically soon.

So there is a little something more for all of you Gearheads to chew on. And remember that SEMA continues the battle with the RPM bill. I expect the RPM bill is the 1st of many more major battles to come as regards the rest of our cars.

~Chuck Fasst