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

MetalWorks attends SEMA 2017

Combining the nonstop buzz of Las Vegas with the world’s largest automotive tradeshow is a guaranteed good time, and SEMA 2017 didn’t disappoint. All the fun aside, SEMA is serious work, and where we keep on top of what is new and hot in the automotive industry so we can offer our customers the latest technologies and aftermarket components.

We strapped on our walking shoes and checked out all that SEMA had to offer. It is always fun to see what will be unveiled, and the direction the industry is leaning towards. One thing was more apparent than ever—80s-era body styles are the next thing. We saw a number of sweet builds base off from square body trucks, 3rd gen Camaros, and fox body Mustangs.

We hope you enjoy checking out a quick peek into some of the amazing builds that were on display. You can check out our BLOG posts for additional images:

At What Price Progress?

Press deadline for this column is coming up right on the heels of the SEMA show. As most readers know the SEMA show is all about the entire motorsports aftermarket. The other thing we know is all the coolest of the latest hotrods built are debuted there. This writer could not make it there this year however he has been enjoying pics sent back to him by SEMA model, Tracy SG Rider. Friend her on Facebook.

I would just like to say that you truly cannot appreciate the magnificence of all of the creativity that goes into all of these cars and parts that are shown down there unless you have been there. And it is a shame that there are many members of our government that would very much like to see everyone of us being transported around in nameless, faceless, driver-less little boxes in the future. And as Gearheads I would like to think that there are damned few of us that would look forward to existing in that kind of a future. So with that said, let’s get on to the news of the day.

Communist China has made an announcement and now California has come on board with them. They are in favor of banning the sale and use of internal combustion engines in the future. And make no mistake about it, California is no bit player in the overall scheme of things. They are the sixth largest economy out there.

And let us consider one thing concerning this all electric vehicle Utopia that they envision. They all require batteries. And what do we all know about batteries? That’s right Egbert — they always go dead. So what then? We throw the whole car away just like our cordless drills, iPads and cell phones because it is too expensive otherwise. And understand this – that will get expensive! As you are forced to use more and more of your residual income in order to have transportation then what will that do to your discretionary income and your standard of living? Think about it.

There is a lot of talk about mining companies these days. This Brave New World that our Visionaries conceive of should work out quite well for them. This world full of batteries is going to require a long list of rare earth metals such as lithium and Cobalt. There is not enough of that around, so… China might be able to dig up a bunch of it. How much do you think they will charge us?

News from the Tesla front. Seems they are having a few problems with their every man car, so to speak. That would be the model 3. Seems they are having problems with the spot welds on the assembly line. Something to do with the car’s construction of mostly steel as opposed to aluminum. All we know is that they are behind schedule and they need to pick up the pace. Now we are hearing that they have fired something around 400 to 700 employees.

Now a tidbit from the European community it seems that the powers-that-be are attempting to declare mandatory insurance for all competitors in all of motorsports, all the way up to F1. But here is the rub, the insurance companies are not interested in issuing those kinds of policies. We will see what happens.

Motorsports magnate, Bob Lutz has written an article about the future of driving cars. It has proved to be quite controversial. Refer to Automotive News for more.

Now, here’s an update on Uber. This has to do with their flying car project. It is moving right along. They have signed an agreement with NASA to create a new air traffic control system for 2020. Elon Musk of Tesla has weighed in on this and he says—not doable.

And finally, back to Earth we have Google’s Waymo operating totally driver-less in Arizona. They are planning to be hauling around the public in just a few months.

Finally I must announce the loss of renowned, local race car designer, Rolla Vollstedt who passed on at the age of 99. Also my 20 + year old cat, Keeper passed on as she approached 99 in human years. Keeper was a car cat who made appearances in many of my Driveway Repair videos that I have done on YouTube. She is sorely missed. That’s all for now GearHeads.
—Chuck Fasst

Kickin’ Some Sand on the EPA

Breaking at press time we have this announcement from the US House: The Joint Chairmen of the Energy, Commerce and Environment Subcommittees announced the dismantling of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. This plan was on shaky legal ground and placed an excessive burden on the EPA in the area of enforcement. With all of this said we can only hope that this will have a favorable result for the RPM Act as well. We will see how this all shakes out.

Speaking of shaking, this brings to mind a totally different subject. I have been helping Steveo, an OG GearHead buddy of mine with some Sand Racing this summer. We concluded a season of campaigning his wild ride called the “Sand Witch.” This thing definitely had some ground all Shook Up where we raced this summer. This buggy featured a blown and injected big block Chev on alcohol and it proved to be a real handful and one hell of a crowd-pleaser. Being faster than everybody was our mantra. And it most certainly provided a good dose of horsepower for those Gearhead addict’s that crave that sort of thing. If you are interested in viewing some of the antics, the videos can be found over at #OregonSandOutlaws .

On to other news. How many of you have heard about the Tesla Model S 60? As Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida. Tesla, as it turns out, lent all the owners of these cars a hand by remotely boosting their battery to enable them to travel further during the evacuation. Turns out the batteries in these models are exactly the same as the ones in their Deluxe models only they are turned down something like 25%. How enterprising? I dunno Gearheads. What do you think of this?

I am a fan of T Boone Pickens, the natural gas entrepreneur who runs the . He had some comments about the Nox emissions that are coming from the coal fired plants that are being used to produce the electricity for all these EVs. They are high! He claims that vehicles powered by natural gas engines would be way cheaper in the long run than the electrical ones. Especially, the heavy-duty rigs will be very expensive. This really is something we all need to think about GearHeads. How many of the masses will actually be able to afford to own these vehicles. There will be plenty more on this subject in the future.

Here is a little something else to chew on, GearHeads. How about the EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt who is currently Under Fire for his excessive air travel on private jets. How much CO2 do you think those private jets are emitting as he flies around on his junkets?

Ok Oregonians, I have a little news on our own Senator Jeff Merkley and his visit to the GM battery plant. He was all excited about GM’s recent announcement to transition to all electric vehicles. Turns out this is coming soon! So the senator took this opportunity to introduce his 100 by ’50 Act. He hopes to have Oregon all-electric by 2050. He says that will create millions of jobs. Not quite sure how all that shakes out.

Then we are receiving word from Jalopnik that California Governor Jerry Brown is discussing banning all internal combustion engines in California. Just give these guys some time and enough rope.

We have an announcement from Land Rover who is introducing their “Road Rover” in 2019. Yes it will be all electric for about $100K.

In closing I would like to salute two more OG Gearheads who are no longer with us. First we have the PowerHouse from NASCAR, Robert Yates. Then we have SEMA vice president of Government Affairs, Steve McDonald. He was one of the founders of SEMASAN, the Specialty Automotive Network that does all of the legislative fighting for us.They were good men.

‘Nuff said,
Chuck Fasst,