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BACK SEAT DRIVING - NOVEMBER 2009

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Nov 7, 2009

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

HOT WIRES For hot and tender news wires on the car culture, see LA Car's Hot Wires Why Men Shouldn't Write Advice Columns Ford to Introduce Police Interceptor to Replace Crown Vic Cash for Clunkers: AP Report Reveals Gas Guzzlers Traded for New Gas Guzzlers

NAKANO: BACK SEAT DRIVING WHY MEN SHOULDN'T WRITE ADVICE COLUMNS Dear John, I hope you can help me here. The other day I set off for work leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as usual. I hadn't gone more than a mile down the road when my engine conked out and the car shuddered to a halt. I walked back home to get my husband's help. When I got home I couldn't believe my eyes. He was in the bedroom with a neighbor lady making mad passionate love to her. I am 32, my husband is 34 and we have been married for twelve years. When I confronted him, he broke down and admitted that he'd been having an affair for the past six months. I told him to stop or I would leave him. He was let go from his job six months ago and he says he has been feeling increasingly depressed and worthless. I love him very much, but ever since I gave him the ultimatum he has become increasingly distant. I don't feel I can get through to him anymore. Can you please help? Sincerely, Sheila   Dear Sheila: A car stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults with the engine. Start by checking that there is no debris in the fuel line. If it is clear, check the jubilee clips holding the vacuum pipes onto the inlet manifold. If none of these approaches solves the problem, it could be that the fuel pump itself is faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the carburetor float chamber. I hope this helps. John The aforementioned piece has been floating around on cyberspace for several years now. The urban legend site, Snopes, says it's a hoax. More accurately, the piece originated as a spoof of the Dear Miriam column that appears in the UK's Daily Mirror newspaper. The spoof purported ran in the satirical publication, Viz. Americanized versions of the spoof tweaked the language for a U.S. readership (e.g., "he was made redundant from his job" was changed to "he was let go from his job"). The version above is further streamlined from the original Viz spoof. Still another variation of the spoof has the seeker of advice himself supplying the punchline. Under the title "Why Men Are Rarely Published in 'Dear Abby'," Snopes offers up the following: Dear Abby, I've never written to you before, but I really need your advice on what could be a crucial decision. I've suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me. ...I think deep down I just didn't want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to really check on her. I decided I was going to park my Harley Davidson motorcycle next to the garage and then hide behind it so I could get a good view of the whole street when she came home. It was at that moment, crouching behind my Harley, that I noticed that the valve covers on my engine seemed to be leaking a little oil. Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the dealer? Thanks, Worried in Colorado 

Will the 427 serve as inspiration for the new police interceptor?

NAKANO: BACK SEAT DRIVING FORD'S NEW FIVE-O Ford to Introduce New Police Interceptor to Replace Crown Vic Ford Motor Company will produce an all-new purpose-built Police Interceptor specially designed and engineered to replace the Ford Crown Victoria law enforcement vehicle lineup in 2011. The new Ford Police Interceptor is being developed in conjunction with Ford's Police Advisory Board, which provided input during the past 14 months on key vehicle attributes, such as safety, performance, durability, driver convenience and comfort. The new Police Interceptor will be offered without interruption when production of the Ford Crown Victoria ends in late 2011. "We have heard the repeated requests from the law enforcement community to continue uninterrupted support of the law enforcement community" said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "Ford is answering the call with the new Police Interceptor - engineered and built in America." Ford - which currently controls approximately 75 percent of the police pursuit vehicle business in the U.S. - has invested significantly in designing the purpose-built new police and municipal vehicles to meet the needs of these crucial customers. The new Police Interceptor is designed to provide municipalities with reduced ownership costs through improved fuel efficiency, quality and the kind of durability police departments nationwide have come to expect from Ford. "Ford's commitment to the law enforcement community produced the Crown Victoria, the benchmark police vehicle" said Lt. Brian Moran, fleet manager, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and a member of Ford's Police Advisory Board. "This commitment has continued, and Ford has been working closely with the Police Advisory Board on developing the new Police Interceptor. I am confident that the next-generation Ford police vehicle will meet the future needs of the law enforcement community and will set the new standard." Ford plans to reveal the new model and provide full vehicle specifications in the first quarter of 2010 - in time for law enforcement agencies, police equipment manufacturers and upfitters to develop a transition plan from the Crown Victoria to the new product. Each year, Ford sells approximately 45,000 police vehicles, making the Blue Oval the nation's largest provider of police and municipal vehicles. "Ford long has supported our public servants with vehicles that work as hard as they do" said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service. "We intend to build on this legacy with a new generation of municipal and police vehicles that set even higher standards."

Corolla Matrix

BACK SEAT DRIVING THE AP REPORT ON 'CASH FOR CLUNKERS' Some Gas Guzzlers Traded for New Gas Guzzlers The most common deals under the government's $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program, aimed at putting more fuel-efficient cars on the road, replaced old Ford or Chevrolet pickups with new ones that got only marginally better gas mileage, according to an analysis of new federal data by Associated Press, reports AP's Ted Bridis. "The single most common swap - which occurred more than 8,200 times - involved Ford 150 pickup owners who took advantage of a government rebate to trade their old trucks for new Ford 150s," says Bridis. "They were 17 times more likely to buy a new F150 than, say, a Toyota Prius. The fuel economy for the new trucks ranged from 15 mpg to 17 mpg based on engine size and other factors, an improvement of just 1 mpg to 3 mpg over the clunkers." Owners of thousands more large old Chevrolet and Dodge pickups bought new Silverado and Ram trucks, also with only barely improved mileage in the middle teens, according to AP's analysis of sales of $15.2 billion worth of vehicles at nearly 19,000 car dealerships in every state. Those deals helped the Ford 150 and Chevy Silverado - along with Ford's Escape midsize SUV - climb into the Top 10 most-popular vehicles purchased with the government rebates. The most common truck-for-truck and truck-for-SUV deals totaled at least $911 million. "In scores of deals, the government reported spending a total of $562,500 in rebates for new cars and trucks that got worse or the same mileage as the trade-ins - in apparent violation of the program's requirements, according to Bridis. "The government said it is investigating those reports and said in some cases they were probably entered incorrectly by dealers or based on outdated fuel economy figures." The new data, obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act, include details of 677,081 clunker trade-ins processed by the government through Oct. 16. More than 95,000 of the new vehicles purchased under the program - or about one in seven - got less than 20 mpg, according to AP. The Associated Press claims that this represent the first substantial outside accounting of the clunkers program, lauded by the White House and the Transportation Department for improving fuel economy, stimulating sales and taking the dirtiest vehicles off the road. The data does show the average fuel economy was 15.8 mpg for the old vehicles and 24.9 for the new ones. "But plenty of consumers bought relatively low-mileage trucks and SUVs with the help of government checks," says Bridis . "If we're looking for the environmental story here, we're going to be disappointed," said Jeremy Anwyl, chief executive at Edmunds.com, an analyst firm. "It might have started out from the perspective of improving the environment, but it got detoured as a way to stimulate the economy." The Toyota Corolla was the most popular new vehicle bought under the program. See LA Car's The Cash for Clunkers Top 10. Some deals that AP reports: · In at least 145 cases, mostly involving trucks, the government reported consumers traded old vehicles that got better than or the same mileage as the new vehicle they purchased. The government said it was continuing to investigate. A driver in Negaunee, Mich., traded a 1987 Suburban that got 18 mpg for $3,500 toward a new Silverado pickup that got only 15 mpg. An Indianapolis driver traded a 1985 Mercedes 190 that got 27 mpg for $3,500 toward a new Volkswagen Rabbit that got only 24 mpg. "It's possible some quirky deal slipped through the cracks," Anwyl said. · In at least 15 deals in nine states, owners of large pickups cashed in old trucks for between $3,500 and $4,500 toward new Hummer H3 SUVs that got only 16 mpg. · A driver in Arlington, Va., traded a 1999 Ford Explorer with 15 mpg in July for $3,500 toward a new $28,000 Jeep Commander that weighs about 4,700 pounds and gets 16 mpg. · In at least 32 deals, drivers traded older vehicles for new large trucks - including versions of Toyota Tundras, GMC Sierras, Chevrolet Silverados, Dodge Rams and Ford F150 pickups - that got only 14 mpg. · A driver in West, Texas, earned $4,500 in July in exchange for a 1989 Chevrolet Suburban SUV that got 14 mpg and bought a 2009 Suburban that weighed 5,900 pounds and got 16 mpg. Across Texas, seven of the 10 most common transactions involved drivers trading old pickups for new ones. The clunkers program was very good for Longo Toyota of El Monte, Calif., just east of Los Angeles, which sold more than twice as many vehicles under the program as any other dealership in the country, worth more than $30 million, according to Bridis. "That sole dealership was responsible for 1,432 sales worth nearly $6 million in clunkers rebates, mostly from its sales of 323 Toyota Camrys, 277 Corollas and 171 Priuses." 

A JOURNAL OF LOS ANGELES & ITS CAR CULTURE

LA Car

That was LA Car's subtitle when it started back in 1997. It's original website address was about five times the size of lacar.com. Since then, La Car became LA Car. Its subtitle became Reporting From Car Culture Ground Zero, then From The Heart of Car Culture, to The Cars and Culture of Southern California and back. At all times, however, we aimed to chronicle the Southland's automotive spirit - much like one's own journal or diary. LA Car has always been a great source to come back to from week-to-week, to see what articles and reviews have been added to our rather staggering database. With Back Seat Driving, a.k.a. BSD (not to be confused with two similar, well-worn abbreviations, BS and BFD) and Hot Wires - Hot & Tender News From the Car Culture (co-located with Back Seat Driving, and updated at least daily), we give you some reasons to come back more often (all opinions, by the way, are those of the respective author). So, go ahead and bookmark www.lacar.com. We'll be sure to always provide a link to Hot Wires and the latest Back Seat Driving blog entry. In the meantime, welcome to the journal and journey from the heart of the car culture. - Roy Nakano  Visit the publisher and executive editor's Facebook page at facebook.com/backseatdriving  For the story behind LA Car's shift knob avatar, go to Kool Knobs for LA Car For past Back Seat Driving and LA Car Blog entries, click the Archives.

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