Monthly Archives: December 2009

Lincoln’s Vision

Sometimes the story is about the relationship between the owner and the car. Sometimes the story is about the owner’s vision of what the car could be. And sometimes the story is the car itself. Then, of course, you have Calgary’s Murray Hoines and his ’49 Lincoln where the story is a little of all of the above.

Lincoln has been building cars for the luxury end of the automobile market since 1921, and a division of Ford Motor Co. since 1922.

The make’s main claim to fame for most, if not all, of its existence has been as the main domestic competitor to the higher-level brands of General Motors.

When people think of the Lincoln, they think of a smooth ride and luxurious appointments. High performance? Not so much. There was a brief time in its history, however, that Lincolns were serious racing contenders.

The Lincoln for 1949 was all-new sporting much more modern styling than the ’48s and powered by a 337-cubic-inch (5.5-L) V-8 originally designed for Ford’s line of medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

Also new in 1949 was a racing circuit in the southern United States that would feature strictly stock automobiles, just like the ones people were lining up at dealerships to buy. The circuit was called NASCAR and its first race was held in Charlotte, N.C., on a dirt track on June 19.

After 197 dusty, bumpy, wreck-strewn laps, a ’49 Lincoln was declared the winner.

It’s unlikely that the father of Murray Hoines was influenced to buy his ’49 Lincoln by that NASCAR win. Nevertheless, the car the elder Hoines purchased was a ’49 Lincoln coupe with a three-speed manual transmission and big, flathead V-8, just like the winner in Charlotte.

Where Does All the Horsepower Go?

When a car manufacturer  advertises that a V-8 engine delivers 250 horsepower, what does this mean? Technically, the term horsepower means the capability for doing so much work in so much time. One horsepower is defined as 33,000 foot-pounds of work per minute. So, the power necessary to lift 33,000 pounds one foot in one minute is equivalent to one horsepower. Suppose you weigh 200 pounds fully clothed. If you were to climb a stairway 10 feet high in slightly over 3 1/2 seconds, you would be developing about one horsepower.

Advertised horsepower, the figure you find in brochures and tabulations of data, is measured at the maximum power output point on a curve of horsepower vs. engine rpm. Normally, power output increases with engine speed up to a maximum. At higher speeds, the friction and flow losses cause power output to fall off. However, a car that advertises 250 horsepower may deliver only about half of that power to the rear wheels. Where does the rest of the power go? When rated for output, an engine is stripped. Accessories and power train elements subtract from this maximum power until, by the time the power reaches the driving wheels, half of the available engine power has been drained away. Some of the power-robbing elements include:

  • Dual mufflers reduce power output by roughly 7 per cent at high speed – single mufflers  by roughly 14 to 15 per cent.
  • Air cleaner subtracts another 3 per cent at high speed. Muffler and air cleaner losses are proportionately less at low speeds.
  • Heat-riser valve to speed warm up it takes its bit out of the horsepower pool to the tune of 2 to 5 per cent.

How to Pick the Car

For comfort and convenience. Only you can determine whether their added cost is worth their convenience.

Sound Systems – Controlled audio systems have progressed a far piece from the old squawk box in the dash. Now offered are AM-FM stereo radios, hi-fi tape decks in mono or stereo, and fore and aft speakers that can literally surround you with sound. Although quite a gimmick, if you are a hi-fi enthusiast, the time you spend riding in your car offers an opportunity to increase your listening time. If you qualify in this bracket, the added cost will be no bar to having your own traveling concert hall.

Heating Systems – Far from the old “foot warmer,” today’s heating system control comfort levels equally in front and back seats without draft or hot spots. Most new cars today include a heater as standard equipment. Some manufacturers have added sophistication to the heating system with options that vary widely.

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Buy Selectively During “Gas Wars”

An oversupply of gasoline stocks generally causes competitive price reductions that spread among stations in an area until prices change almost daily. Such a “gas war” opens excellent buying opportunities if you keep alert for price differentials. Certain areas of a city, suburb, or strip of developed highway consistently lower prices first and reach a lower level than other areas. These hotly competitive areas may be at the edge of town, near a bulk plant, or close to a fiercely competitive independent station. Watch these indicator station for clues to price movements. When the price heads down, wait to fill your tank as long as possible, then buy 10 gallons or half a tank only. If one of these low-cost stations is close to your commuting route or shopping area, plan ahead to fill up at a saving. Too much trouble, you say? Let’s see – From Table 2B you can read that running costs average about 3.65 cents per mile. If a competitive station offers three cents off – the savings from buying only one and a third gallons pays the out-of-pocket cost for a trip one mile out of your way. By timing your fill-ups, you can save perhaps 45  cents per tankful – about 10 per cent of your gasoline bill. If your indicator station suddenly raises its price, immediately find a station that has not yet changed its price and fill up. Two or three days sometimes slip by before all stations know the “gas war” is settled.

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Seth Godin

Take Full Advantage of Competitive Gimmicks

Marketing practices among oil companies are fiercely competitive. This scramble for your patronage has spawned the trading stamps, glassware premiums, TV bingo cards, and a wide variety of other gimmickry. You can benefit from one or more of these promotions. If trading stamps are offered, by all means keep them. Their cost is built into the price you pay for gasoline. Look for stations advertising “double stamp” day offers an extra saving. You’re likely to find, too, that stamps gain bonus points with your wife – all out of proportion to their actual redemption value. Free glassware, china, toys, and a catalog selection of premiums are typical of other promotion schemes. One plan for building repeat business uses a card with numbers totaling 100 around the edge like a meal ticket. When you buy 10 gallons of gasoline, the attendant punches out a printed 10. When the card is punched out, you get a free lubrication, five gallons of gasoline free, or some similar reward. Nearly all of these competitive plans, frequently used by small independent dealers, lead to the “gas war” from which you, as a consumer of gasoline, benefit directly.


Summing Up

Most car owners fear the sudden breakdown, the expensive engine rebuilding, and the frequent nickel-and-diming of small repairs. Maintenance costs can be a worry – particularly if you are all thumbs under the hood. The answer is to learn more about your car – what you can do to head off repairs and to keep repair costs low. Information in this chapter to help you accomplish both of these goals included -

  • A hard look at the economics or car care – why spending a little pays off while you own your car and at trade-in time.
  • Cash-saving possibilities from do-it-yourself maintenance.
  • Applying tender loving car (TLC) to keep your car looking its best inside and out.
  • How to keep your car running young with preventive maintenance.
  • Buying corrective maintenance when you need it at the best price value ratio.
  • How to find a good, honest mechanic – and how to recognize when you’re being gypped.
  • What diagnostic centers can tell you about your car and the maintenance it needs.

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Learn When and How Much to Spend on Car Maintenance

These should be corrected immediately. Other faults may be minor in nature, or the cost to correct them may be more than potential savings. Evaluate each indicated fault and repair for cost effectiveness.

Second, you are not required to buy repairs from the center. With the complete diagnosis in hand, you can fix the trouble yourself if you have the tools, equipment and know-how. Or, you can take your car back to your friendly mechanic, show him the report and ask him to fix specific items – secure in the knowledge that the real fault and not some suspected fault will be repaired at a fair price.

Steering: Communication between Car and Driver

In a high performance car, the steering must do more than respond with precision; it must also communicate back to the driver the interaction of tire and road. The power-assist steering in the 911 Turbo achieves these objectives with true finesse.

One of the key features of the new steering system is its variable-ratio gearing. Around the straight-ahead position, the ratio is less direct, enabling smoother maneuvers at highway speeds. Turn the wheel harder and the ratio becomes more direct, enabling better manageability through twisting back roads or in tight parking situations. Sensitive, accurate and engaging, the steering is everything you expect from a 911 Turbo.

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