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Corvette Museum’s Sinkhole Exhibit

December 2, 2016 by Our Sponsors

Corvette Museum Sinkhole

In case you didn’t hear about the collapse of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky just a few years ago, here’s what happened. In the early morning hours of February 12, 2014, the floor under museum’s main display dome gave way and eight very special Corvettes fell into a deep subterranean sinkhole. Just like that, the Earth swallowed up eight irreplaceable Corvettes. When the museum’s own security footage of the disaster made its way to news organizations, it became an international event. Though the owners of the museum quickly removed the undamaged cars from the museum and rescued the mangled ones, the buzz from the story turned the museum into a major tourist destination virtually overnight.

After the disaster, the museum’s board of directors wanted to rebuild the museum and repair and display the damaged Corvettes as soon as possible. After all, the National Corvette Museum is a source of national pride for many stakeholders. There was no question that this needed to occur as soon as possible. However, the museum had immediately become an attraction because of the cave-in. The museum attendance had more than doubled and this was important because more paying customers allowed the museum to pursue its goals easier. After much discussion, then, several members of the board suggested that the cave-in incident become part of the museum’s new displays. And that’s exactly what happened.

Today, the Corvette Cave In, as the museum is now called, features both aspects of its history. First, the Corvettes that fell into the sinkhole have been fully restored. This was a major task, since they were heavily damaged during the disaster. Now, all the original Corvettes that were present, damaged and undamaged, are back on display for enthusiasts to see. In addition to the Corvettes, the museum now includes a primer on Kentucky’s karst landscape of underground caves, the sort that gave in to create the sinkhole in the first place. Who would have thought that a museum dedicated to American automobile technology would become a major science exhibit too?

So if you are in Bowling Green any time, the folks at Wolf Chase Chrysler in Memphis, TN, just a short drive away from Bowling Green, encourage you to visit this new, unusual museum. Not only will you be able to view some of America’s most famous and significant Corvettes, you will be treated to a first-rate geology lesson concerning Kentucky’s landscape of underground caves.

Image credit: foxsports.com

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All About Airbags

October 9, 2016 by Our Sponsors

airbags

Some people were worried that they would be trapped in their vehicles when accidents occurred when car manufacturers began putting seat belt contraptions in vehicles in the 1950s. Despite early beliefs, however, most states in the United States have adopted seat belt laws today.

Like seat belts, the concept of the airbag—an inflated pillow to land against during a crash—was controversial. An airbag’s goal is simply to slow the passenger’s forward motion down as evenly as possible during a crash. The process begins with signals from motion sensors. When one of the sensors detects a large collision-level force, the car’s airbag inflation system receives an electrical pulse. Typically, that ignites a charge that produces a warm blast of nitrogen gas to drive the airbag out from its storage site.

Since auto airbags’ early days, experts have cautioned that airbags are to be utilized in conjunction with seat belts. Seat belts are still needed because airbags originally worked only in front-end collisions happening at more than 10 mph. Only seat belts could help in side swipes and crashes (although side-mounted airbags are becoming common), rear-end collisions and secondary impacts. Even as more and more technological features come about, airbags still are only effective when used with a seat belt.

It didn’t take long to learn that an airbag’s force can hurt those who are too close to it, particularly children. Experts agree that children aged twelve and under need to ride buckled up in a properly installed, age-appropriate car seat in the car cabin’s rear. This is also what the sales team at Bosak Honda Michigan City, a full-service car dealership in Michigan City, IN, recommends.

A Brief History of the Airbag

Around the same decade that seatbelts appeared patent applications for airbag devices did. As early as 1951 John Hedrick from the United States and Walter Linderer from Germany applied for some patents. Hedrick received a patent—U.S Patent #2,649.311– for a “safety cushion assembly for automotive vehicles,” while Linderer’s German patent #896312 was for a compressed air system that was released by either the driver or by bumper contact. It was in 1968 that Allen Breed invented a “sensor and safety system.” This was the first electro-mechanical automotive airbag system on the planet.

In 1971 the Ford vehicle brand built an airbag fleet for experimentation. A 1970s Chevrolet automobile had airbags in cars sold only for U.S. government usage. A couple decades or so later airbags—particularly ones for the driver and front passenger—became mandatory in all passenger cars. Most all controversy of the airbag wore away as time passed.

Did You Know That You Can Deactivate Airbags?

In certain cases, car owners can request the ability to deactivate their airbags. You can not usually deactivate your airbag without installing a retrofit on-off switch. However, if a retrofit on-off switch is not yet available (from the car manufacturer) for your car, the U.S government will authorize airbag deactivation on a case-by-case basis in appropriate situations.

Image credit: thecarconnection.com

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Winged Wonder:
Plymouth Superbird

August 28, 2016 by Our Sponsors

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The Plymouth Superbird came out of Detroit in the 1970s. With a massive wing mounted on the rear trunk and a wedge-shaped nose, the Superbird manufactured by the Chrysler Corporation was something to behold.  

The Superbird was built with a singular purpose in mind and it was to win NASCAR races. At the time, winning at NASCAR was a huge branding statement that could sell plenty of cars. It was a simple formula: Win at NASCAR, and sales of the model that won exploded within days. 

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NASCAR Rules

The 1970 NASCAR rules required “one car for each of a manufacturer’s dealers in the United States.” That meant 1,920 Superbirds needed to be manufactured and sold by the country’s entire stable of Plymouth dealers so that they could be eligible to race in NASCAR that year. So that’s what Plymouth made happen. 

The Plymouth designers added a huge aerodynamic nose-cone, smoothed out the body and added a large rear wing. In the power department, the cars could be bought with one of three engines: a 440 cu. in. Super Commando with a single four-barrel, a 440 cu. in. with a 6-pack, or the full-race 426 hemi. For people who are wondering how many of these unusual cars were made, only 135 street cars were sold with the Hemi; 665 took the option of the 440 Six Pack, and the rest were equipped with the 440 Super Commando with the four-barrel carb. The Superbird was essentially a modified Plymouth Road Runner. 

NASCAR races have been “stock car races.” That meant that in order to compete that you had to drive a vehicle that was stock meaning “available to the general public.” It also needed to be sold in huge numbers to make it a “real production model.”

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How Superbirds Performed

How did they do in 1970?  According to the service team at Bosak Motor Sales, a full-service Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM dealer in Merrillville, IN, Superbirds did well on the NASCAR tracks, winning eight big races and placing in many more. It didn’t hurt that Richard Petty, known as one of the greatest NASCAR drivers of all time, was behind the wheel of a Superbird during the 1970 NASCAR season.  In fact, he won many of those eight big races.  

For all the drama, Plymouth made a name for itself in the 1970s but sales of actual Superbirds were another story.  The exaggerated looks of the ‘Birds were a bit extreme for many customers and most wanted the more conventional standard Roadrunner instead.  As a result, Plymouth only made the Superbird model for one model year. Another similar car was the Dodge Charger Daytona that was only built for the 1969 model year. Yet another car like the Superbird was the Ford Torino Talladega. 

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The Value of Superbirds Today

Today, these cars that represent a genuine slice of automotive history, are very, very valuable.  A nice example of a genuine Superbird with the 426 Hemi option can bring up to $500,000 at a car auction.

Image credits: mecum.com, ebizautos.com, classicrecollections.com

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Getting Hosed

May 18, 2016 by Our Sponsors

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It was simple in the old days, when you needed to repair a fuel line your auto parts store had rubber hose that they sold by the foot. All you needed to know is what size to buy. It’s a lot more complicated today. The problem, Paul Conte Chevrolet in Freeport, NY says is that gasoline today isn’t the petroleum-based product that it used to be. Most of today’s gasoline comes with ethanol mixed in. Ethanol can eat away at some rubbers, plastics and even metals. The result is that fuel line problems are becoming more common than in the past. So, we offer this guide to the car owner so that they can better understand the different types of gas line hoses you may find today:

Standard Neoprene

Standard neoprene fuel hose can be used for fuel and EEC systems on all vehicles where working pressures are under 50 psi or vacuum ratings are under 24″. For fuel line in particular, the neoprene hose has a covering that resists weathering, ozone and heat and can be used for both ethanol-laced fuels and diesel fuel. Neoprene fuel line is available in 1/8″ through 5/8″ sizes on bulk rolls, with additional 3′ sections of large 1-1/2″ through 2-1/4″ sizes available for gas filler neck applications. Neoprene with an outer steel braiding is also offered for custom applications.

High-Pressure Neoprene

High-pressure neoprene fuel hose for clamp-type fuel-injection systems is also available. This fuel hose uses a fluoro elastomer inner liner that will withstand up to 180 psi and 300 degrees. It is approved for all fuel blends including straight methanol, and the outer coating is also ozone- and abrasion-resistant.

Nylon Fuel Line

Many late-model production cars are now using hard, black nylon tubing with special connectors to attach fuel lines to the gas tank. This gas-resistant nylon tubing can be purchased by the foot or in short sections with the proper ends already attached to one end. Nylon tubing uses special barbed fittings that are inserted into the tubing, and the connection is then heated to shrink the tubing around the fitting.

Tygon Fuel Line

Small engines on your lawnmower, ATV or motorcycle use a gas-resistant vinyl tubing called Tygon. It is usually clear or transparent yellow in color. Tygon is available in short sections or on a large roll and can be rather expensive, but it will outlast the standard vinyl by many years. This is because Tygon fuel lines and do not turn brown and brittle after extended use, as vinyl tubing often does.

Note: Standard rubber vacuum or heater hose should never be used in fuel applications. The hose will deteriorate from the inside out and can plug fuel filters and carburetors with rubber debris, long before it springs an external leak.

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The Best 1950s Cars to Restore

April 16, 2016 by Our Sponsors

Have you always dreamed of restoring a 1950s classic car? Today, the cars of the 50s are considered great restoration projects because most of the replacement parts are being reproduced again. When finished, certain cars of the 1950s are quite valuable today too. In this article we will look some of the best 1950s cars to restore.

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1955-1957 Chevrolets
We have to start off our list of 1950s cars with the famous “Tri-Five” Chevys – the 1955, 1956 and 1957 models. These are tremendously popular cars and you can buy just about every single part of these cars today. The service guys at Bob Pulte Chevrolet in Lebanon, OH say the Tri-Five Chevys are not only easy to work on, they have huge following of enthusiasts worldwide ensuring that these cars will always be in demand.

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1950-1954 Packards
It used to be that the only desirable Packards were the cars of the 1930s and some of the 1940s. Today, the 1950s Packards are becoming sought after mainly because they are good looking cars too. As far as replacement parts are concerned, nearly all mechanical and electrical parts can be bought new. Body and trim pieces are still tough to locate so look for a vehicle that that is in pretty good shape to begin with.

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1953-1957 Cadillacs
Finding a good, restorable example of these Cadillac models isn’t a hard task because so many were made. All Cadillac sedans made this year were of the hardtop body style, so they all have that fantastic long Fifties look. (Just Google 1955 Cadillac and take a look at length of the trunk!) Unfortunately, these year Cadillacs weren’t simple cars. Most all of them were loaded with power features so you have a lot of sub-systems to take care of. Fortunately, there is a very active club, the Cadillac-La Salle Club, that currently has thousands members that can provide assistance.

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1956-1958 Studebaker Golden Hawks
Studebaker’s classy Golden Hawk is just a great looking car. Plenty were built, so you should have no trouble finding one to restore. At one time, restoration parts for Hawks were few and far between but that’s changed now. The Studebaker Hawks were relatively simple cars so they aren’t any more difficult to restore than your average Chevy or Ford. Thanks to their upscale character and smashing good looks, a well-restored Golden Hawk will make you a nice investment vehicle.

Image credits: cargurus.com, wallpapers.com, bluechipmotorcars.com, oldcarsweekly.com

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Some Insight Into
Programmable Headlights

May 1, 2015 by Our Sponsors

Headlight LED

Imagine car headlights made up of many small cones of light instead of one broad fixed beam. Now make these cones movable so you can direct them away from oncoming traffic at night or project around angles when your car is turning. But why stop there; let’s make these lights capable of projecting arrows or lane markers onto the road too.

Welcome to the concept of programmable headlights. A team of engineers from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has developed a prototype of a programmable headlight that performs these functions. The secret is not new, it is a version of the Digital Mirror Device (DMD) chip that Texas Instruments has been making for video display devices for years. In older rear screen projection televisions, DMD chips are mated with spinning color wheels to make bright video images. In the Carnegie Mellon application, only a DMD-like chip and an light source are needed to light up the road ahead.

As you may imagine, driving the DMD chip in a programmable headlight device requires some sophisticated electronics and sensors. One amazing feature still under development is the ability to make snow “disappear” when you drive. To make snowflakes disappear, the system tracks the falling flakes, predicts where they are going, and then turns off the beams that would otherwise reflect light off the flakes. This occurs so rapidly that to the driver it appears that that the snowflakes aren’t there. The driver effectively sees “between the flakes”.

For more information, Google “programmable headlight” and you will find a sizable number of articles and technical papers.

Thanks to: http://www.arrigopalmbeach.com/programmable-headlights.htm

Image credit: motortrend.com

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The Psychology of Car Colour

February 26, 2014 by Our Sponsors

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When it comes to buying a car, the decision-making process is often a lengthy and sometimes convoluted one. For anyone deciding between manufacturers, models and engine specs, the options have a nasty habit of growing in size instead of reducing. Selecting the colour you’d like your vehicle to be can dramatically aid you in your choice of car – particularly if you’re shopping in the used car market. Once one factor is taken care of, you can concentrate on other elements you need your motor to comprise.

The colour of your car might initially seem like the easiest aspect to decide upon, but how much does the colour of your car actually say about you? According to a survey conducted by Trusted Dealers, the psychology behind your choice of car colour can speak a thousand words – and we’re seemingly just as judgemental when it comes to the colour of other people’s cars, too.

Half of us reckon that there’s a relationship between irresponsible driving and car colour, with a fifth of us pegging owners of red cars as the culprits – and apparently, this perceived recklessness only increases with age. Gone are the days where boy racers seek out a red car, as only 15 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds agreed with the idea that drivers of red cars are more careless. Compare this with the statistic that shows a quarter of over 55-year-olds reckon there is a correlation, and you’ve got an interesting show of the generation gap between car owners.

Neil Addley, MD of the used-car site Trusted Dealers has commented on how curious this notion is, saying: “Older people have seen enough trends come and go to develop a stronger association with different car colours, and their response in this survey has given us a fascinating glimpse into the cultural impact that car colour can have on the industry as a whole.”

The poll’s results indicate that the colour pink would be avoided entirely when looking at making a vehicle purchase, even though the association between pink and recklessness is seemingly non-existent.

Black cars took second place on the grid when it comes to association with reckless driving, with 17 per cent of survey respondents making the connection. Addley commented: “There’s no correlation between reckless driving and car colour that we know of, but the fact that people hold these emotional associations shows that there’s a real connection in the way different cars are perceived – whether that’s through the media or elsewhere.”

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