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Old 04-22-2010, 02:14 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by payne171 View Post
...says the guy from Arizona. Really, maybe you lived somewhere where snow can shut down the STATE for a couple of days at a time...
Snow doesn't shut down the whole state, I admit, but it does the strip along the Sierra Nevada where I live. Spent a couple of years making weekly trips over the Sierra Nevada (Carson Pass on Calif 88) in my Insight, and the only time I couldn't make the trip was when a semi had jacknifed across the highway. And frequently drive it to ski - my usual spot is at 8900 ft elevation.

Sure, if there's more than about 4" on the roads, I prefer something with more ground clearance, and 4WD is handy when the grades are 6% or better for 10 miles. But you can get that from a vehicle that's more efficient, and more generally useful, than a Hummer or other large SUV.

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Old 04-22-2010, 08:32 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I rather enjoy punching through snowdrifts in a metro, honestly Waving to the piles of SUVs in the ditches and medians and wedged up on guard rails... Lightweight is easier to manage when you hit the ice as well. Winter is my favourite time to drive (excepting for the mpg hit).
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:03 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
Couple of things you're missing. First is that in 2009 America, wealth would also buy you a Tesla. Indeed, it's wealth that allowed the Tesla to be built. (And in 2010 America, wealth won't buy you a new Hummer.)

Second is that you notice that portion of the "wealthy" (which, with Hummers, extends well down into middle-class territory) who decide to drive a Hummer, but you don't notice the ones who don't. How many wealthy people were early adopters of the Prius?

There are some stupid rich people out there, who inherited their wealth, or made it in some way - like sports or popular "music" - in which intelligence isn't a requirement. But there are also plenty of smart ones.
James,I agree with what you say.
And while the Lotus Elise isn't the worst platform out there ( I realize Tesla wants to do a Sports Car first ) something better could be generated I feel.
You could just start with R.G.S.White's recipe for a low-drag car from 1968 and go from there.
Honda did it with their P-100 in 1972 and it helped them achieve 173-mpg.
We've learned a lot since 1913,and "if we could apply real aerodynamics to a family car" ( Alex Tremulis ) along with contemporary materials technology,We'd have cars on the street achieving only what concept cars have done so far.
Since wealthy people have such an influence on our culture,they'd be in a position to really get people to re-think their thoughts about transportation and expectations as they already do with consumer electronics,telecommunications,etc..
Store's closing,gotta go.Thanks for comments,will catch up as I can.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:52 PM   #24 (permalink)
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oil crisis

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Originally Posted by RobertSmalls View Post
The technology for super-aerodynamic bodies has been around for many, many years. People have been building streamliners all along, for salt flats runs, and human and solar powered vehicles. I'm sure that at some point, someone involved with one of these streamliners thought about building a daily driven one. But why give up the practicality and presentability, when all you have to gain is fuel economy?

A boat-tail would have been nice to have during the 1970's oil crisis. However, with a national speed limit of 55mph, aeromods had less of an impact than they would today. Plus, there was a lack of good donor platforms. Tall, square roofs mean the tail must be extremely long, to the point of requiring a trailer, which is too cumbersome for a daily driver. Also, back then, the vehicle's wake was just one of many major aerodynamic defects. Cd=0.13 would have required major rework of almost the entire car.

How many daily-driven streamlined cars are there in the USA? One? If there were instead a few dozen, it would be more likely that someone would see one, and ask an automotive customizer to build one.

However, if you don't build it yourself, it won't pay for itself in fuel savings. Nor will it serve your eco-vanity, because people don't currently know what boat-tailed cars are and why they should want one.

At the current price of gas, major automakers would be stupid to touch them. Just look at the reception that the Honda Crosstour recieved, then multiply its overall length by 1.5 and imagine what people would have said. Except perhaps for a few X-Prize contenders, streamlined cars will remain DIY endeavours.
The Arab Oil Embargo was an act of war against the United States.
President Carter made the right call.
The 'act' did not possess the galvanizing affect as did Pearl Harbor,Havana Harbor,Gulf of Tonkin,USS Panay,Lusitania,etc.,so it never really mobilized the collective American Public mind.
As to the effect drag reduction would have had with the 55-mph speed limit I'll agree with you,within the context that Americans never complied with the speed limit.
Aside from that,the physics remains the same.A 10 % drag reduction = 5 % mpg at 55-mph. 6 % at 70.8.5 % at 80.
In 1968,R.G.S.White published his recipe for a Cd 0.24 car.Korff had published his Cd 0.21 recipe in 1963.
Soichiro Honda was the only automaker stupid enough to actually use the recipe,when in 1972,Honda revealed the 173-mpg P-100 hybrid ( a year ahead of the energy crisis ).
With many body-on-frame cars still in production,an automaker had the option to simply build a different 'top' to place on a commonplace 'bottom'.This was the premise for Fiber Fab's kit-car bodies which were 'dropped' onto VW chassis,exactly what GM would later do with it's Citation concept,which added 22-mpg just by changing the 'top'.
If you want to bring up the issue of 'practicality',don't forget the millions of human body parts,strewn all over the planet since 1913,generated in the pursuit of hegemony in access to petroleum.Very practical!
As to the major re-work,that is typically done within a product cycle of 48-months.
Every thing you think about can be changed with 3-days of Television.
We also have a public school system in place which already provides a vehicle with which to disseminate information.
Edward Bernais' ' Crystalizing Public Opinion ' changed the world beginning in 1933.
There could easily come a time when everyone worldwide would know exactly what a boat-tail was,what it did,and the significance of it all.
With respect to how many streamlined cars are there out there.All of them,when taken in the context of what the state-of-the-art was once.
As to vanity,perhaps we should do a poll to see what it is that motivates ecomodders.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:06 PM   #25 (permalink)
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to express

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Originally Posted by Bicycle Bob View Post
People use cars to express their values. Most of the money spent on them is wasted to show off wealth. A peacock's tail is mostly liability, but the peahens like it, so it became essential.
Bob,I agree.
It has been written,that at the close of the Indian Wars in the U.S.,that with the 'Frontier' 'closed' by around 1900.that Madison Ave. came into it's own,creating a virtual frontier for Americans to go to,driven by all the human frailty observed since Sumerian times,driven mostly by fear.
Very early automobile advertising is absolutely amazing to read,as the themes conveyed have nothing whatsoever about the utility of transport.
Power,prestige,potency,success,sex,intelligence,su periority,exclusivity,-------------- it just goes on and on.
Just like today.It's that George Santayana thing.We haven't learned a ___ _____ thing from the past.
And we're comfortable trading peacock feathers for soldiers.
Needs/ wants. No distinction.

Last edited by aerohead; 05-06-2010 at 04:07 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:26 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dcb View Post
I'm not too keen on the peacock analogy, too many folks may see a cop-out opportunity there "hey it's in my genes, whaddawant?" While there are plenty examples of human societies that have learned to cherish thrift, respect for limited resources, utility.

I'm sure each has their own version of "peacockness" but I'd be willing to guess that just being "good" and acting in the villages best interests can have appeal at a societal and genetic level.
My straw poll for around here,infers that the notion of 'good guys finish last' is firmly entrenched.
Random acts of kindness by men are viewed with homophobic suspicion.
When Chris Paine was here,he showed us a clip from the Simpson's movie he'd purchased for his next movie.
The clip has a Prius driving down Main Street Springfield,while the men are diving off the sidewalk attempting not to see it for fear of turning gay.
Smoky and the Bandit,The Fall Guy,Bullet,The Dukes of Hazard,Fast and the Furious,Demolition Man,etc. have had lasting impact on America culture.
Since there is no 'rights of passage' into adulthood,Madison Ave.,and Hollywood can have a field day ----ing with peoples sense of self,never knowing if they have 'made it.'
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:32 PM   #27 (permalink)
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safe

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Originally Posted by Lazarus View Post
Hmm does not look very safe. I think I'll stick with the Hummer

I would love to drive that!
Remember,it's 1913 and roads are so poor that driving speeds are necessarily low.
The canoe-bodied Stanley Steamer has already set a land speed record at Ormond Beach by now,so Alfa definitely has the shades up on their office windows and is making the connection to efficiency on the eve of World War-I.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:35 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Thymeclock View Post
Was it called the Ricottamobile?

In my mind's eye I'm envisioning a huge cannoli on wheels.
Best I know,is that it is referred to as the Ricotti Alfa.
The French referred to it as Trompe le vent ( wind deceiver ).
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:43 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
^Yeah.

I've noticed that in the region I'm visiting there are vast quantities of "exotic" and "luxury" vehicles, vs where I'm from where Benz', Porsches, Bentleys, Ferraris, etc. are so rarely seen they basically don't exist. Seems a little strange to me that the first thing one does when they get some money (or even worse, some access to credit!) is run out and buy an expensive vehicle. Were I to get a windfall, I'd put it into a house, or a trip, or something that really makes an impact in my life. What people don't seem to appreciate is that nobody gives a rat's *** about them and what they are in out on the street!


Picked up a magazine lately?

Unfortunately, people do give a rat's patootie what others are doing/driving/eating/taking home/sleeping with, etc. It's got a name - Keeping up with the Jones'.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:44 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 99LeCouch View Post
Yeah, there are much better things to use the money for than an ostentatious guzzler. Like a solar panel and wind farm for your custom Tesla. And giving a pet engineer free reign to make said Tesla go 200 miles on a charge while flooring it from every f'ing stoplight in southern Cali kind of crazy.

If I had 10 billion dollars that's what I'd do with it. Of course the enviro-whackos funded by Big Oil would say the endangered Spotted Lesser Bumblebird lives in my backyard where the solar/wind farm to charge the Tesla would go, and the neighbors across the valley would say the windmills ruin the view from their second bathroom.

Every time a rich person wants to do something truly eccentrically good for the planet, they get a bunch of little yapping dogs yapping how much it'll destroy something. And so we get the status quo extended to its logical, wasteful extremes.
Dr.Michael Seal,at Western Washington University built a series of 'Viking' cars.There were a few paid assistants,quite a bit of grant money,and student labor was discounted.
That said,they were constructing 100 mpg cars for crash-testing for in the neighborhood of $100,000.
Simplistically,and not doing the adjustment for inflation,these cars were constructed for what the U.S.Treasury allows for a tax deduction on a Hummer H2.

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