All posts by Paul Daniel

Family, Faith, and Speed....... My wife works for a major healthcare provider. She's the brains of the operation since she has a Masters in Nursing. Our daughter takes after one of her grandmothers with her passion for music. Really great kid! Even loves aviation, one of my passions, and is looking at a possible career in it. I'm heavily involved in a variety of volunteer rolls at the Catholic Church we attend. I love speed!!! I'm a pilot, car guy, and ride a Suzuki Hayabusa. 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, 0-100 in 5 although I'll have to take Suzuki's word on that. I love going for rides with friends and enjoy the twisties where my bike really shines. I've been in the cockpits of a DC-8, DC-9, 767, 747, MD-80, and Embraer 190. I spend a week each year volunteering at the EAA flyin in Oshkosh. Love the Thunderbirds (autographed one of my F-16's) and the Blue Angels. Love the roar as they make passes.

Why I despise EV’s but am big on electric propulsion

Born into a car family

I don’t have blood, pretty sure I have motor oil in my veins. It started before I was even born. My mom’s dad sold Pontiacs and Hudsons while my other grandpa was a Chevy guy. My dad worked for AMC/Chrysler for 27 years and I’ve been told that I was conceived in the back of a Nash. I love everything about cars, from how they are designed, manufactured, marketed and tested. I especially love high performance cars and have driven, the new Corvette, Dodge Challenger Hellcat, Ram TRX, along with several Jaguars. It’s the sound, I love the sound, and the power when I step on the gas. I love the way they handle and have driven several of them at Road America.

Me all smiles after experiencing the Ram TRX

EV’s to me are a waste of time.

I will admit that most of them can out accelerate even the biggest and baddest V8 but outside of that see no upside. Ok tree huggers, jump in telling me how they save the planet with their zero o2 tailpipe emissions but you are forgetting one huge item, actually several. First, all the current EV’s are manufactured the same way ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles are. In a factory that uses tons of electricity to make the steel and or aluminum uses in the body, frame, and other areas, the plastic found in the interior, and carpeting. How about that glass. Forged in the same factory that supplies manufacturers of ICE vehicles. And let’s not forget about the batteries. Their carbon footprint for manufacturing is even larger and where do they go when they wear out?

Mustang Mach-E we reviewed earlier this year. Nice car but not a Mustang

Related Video: Come along with Mark as he reviews the Mustang Mach-E

So much for the manufacturing. Now let’s talk about tax revenue. With the exception of Teslas, owners receive a tax credit. Less revenue to run this country which almost always seems to be running out of money. Now since EV’s don’t fill up with gas, there’s lost tax revenue there that goes to many things like road construction and repairs. Boom, gone!

Now let’s talk about charging. It’s gotten a lot better. The longest range EV according to the EPA is the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus that will got you 263 miles before needing a charge. But here comes the downside and deal breaker for me. It requires 8.5 hours to get a full charge and that’s assuming you can plug into 220V. Sure, the standard argument is that you can do that overnight but what if you need to travel a longer distance? I hate waiting.

Tesla Model 3, Photo: Tesla

Let’s talk about them spontaneously bursting into flames. Have you read about the Chevy Bolt? Here’s a new term for you, thermal runaway. This happens when the battery overheats, over-pressurizes and boom! (I’ll talk about my experiences in a bit).This happened so much that GM was forced to recall all of them. Do EV’s catch fire more than ICE cars? There is no reliable data. What is a fact though is that because of all that energy in the battery they generate more heat and take longer to put out.

Remains of a Chevy Bolt. Photo: Electrek.com

My blogging partner, Mark, reminds me that EV’s are coming. More like the flavor of the month. With virtually no infrastructure for charging, they are decades from any mainstream acceptance. Here’s an example. Kwik Trip is a large midwestern gas station/convenience store operator and I go there a lot.

EV plug at Kwik Trip in Wisconsin

I found this example recently. Their charging station with the same 120 v plug you’d find in and outside plug at your home. Think of the charge time on that bad boy. Even with tax credits according to Pew Research about 231,000 all-electric vehicles were sold in 2020, down 3.2% from 2018. In each of the past three years, EV’s accounted for about 2% of the U.S. new-car market which is tiny. It would most likely be even smaller if it were not for government tax credits as incentives, some as high as $7,500.

I’m fine with hybrids and had a chance to drive two very different ones recently at the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) event at Road America.

First, there was the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe which I had a chance to take off road. The first thing I noticed, especially after just driving the Wrangler 392 with its rumble, was how quite it was. And it was never lacking for power when I needed it to climb a hill or get through some mud. FYI, it is the number one selling hybrid. What does that say for saving the planet and having a whole lot of fun doing it?

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe doing what it does best, get dirty.

The other vehicle was the Karma GS-6, a masterpiece of design. This car oozes cool both inside and out. The interior looks like it was designed for the 25th century. So futuristic looking but with a price tag of just over 100 grand, not for everybody.

Karma GS-6 looking like it would do well on the four-mile track.

Electric propulsion works well on a smaller scale

Here’s where I’m big on battery powered propulsion. One of my time, and money sucking hobbies, is radio controlled airplanes. This is the segment that has experienced a huge jump in technology the last couple of years. My first electric plane I was small Piper Cub, or something that resembled one, with a two-foot wingspan. It carried 6 nickel cadmium batteries slightly smaller than AAA’s. The battery took about an hour to charge and the plane flew for maybe five minutes. Charging the battery was sketchy at best. If you looked at them the wrong way, they would burn up. Sound familiar? The plane barely had enough power to get out of its own way.

Several of my LiPo batteries

Flash forward to today. Now we fly with Liquid Polimer batteries (LiPo’s) which hold tons more energy. I just sold my last gas-powered airplane and with the exception of my turbine jet am now an all-electric fleet. This wasn’t something that I had decided to do on a whim. It took a while so that I could have several planes utilizing similar batteries based on their size. While there are still electric planes that will have very short flight times, mine can fly on an average of five to eight minutes. That might sound like a short time but it’s maybe slightly shorter than gas powered planes. Care must be taken with the batteries just like the ones that go in the car because they can catch fire and have been known to burn up a car or entire garage.

EDF from my A-10.

Some of my planes are actually jets with electric ducted fans powering them. Sort of like a little turbine except with an electric motor. It takes 30 minutes to an hour to charge the batteries on one of the several chargers I have. All of the flying fields have power for me to charge the batteries. One even uses solar cells that charge storage batteries. Unlike the EV auto industry there are no tax breaks for guys like us for doing this. It is driven by demand only and doing really well. Each time I show up at the field I see new electric planes.

While converting planes from fuel to electric is popular I want to share an example of one of my planes that I built designed specifically for electric power. The Avro Vulcan was a cold-war era four-engine jet bomber the English flew. It was designed to defend England from a Russian nuclear attack. Go check out this video and turn up the volume to hear what’s called the Vulcan Howl. The Jet was so far ahead of its time.

Avro Vulcan in flight

My radio control model is a large one, 80 inch wingspan, the fuselage is 74 inches long and it weighs just 14 pounds. It’s powered by four electric ducted fans and requires four Li-Po batteries. Efficiency in the build was critical here and with a combination of balsa, ply, carbon fiber and foam it has a 14-1 thrust ratio.

A friend of mine an I both built Vulcan’s a few years ago and they are a blast to fly. We have had both of them up at the same time as you can see in this video.

My RC Avro Vulcan on display at EAA’s AirVenture

Will commercial aviation go all-electric? Not in mine or your lifetime. Right now they are just getting into that but on a very small scale. Commuter aircraft are a possiblity but that represents about 2% of all commercial flights.

And finally my point

A good friend of mine, Mike Dorna, who works at Briggs & Stratton here in Milwaukee forwarded and great article on this hole electric bruh ha ha. Mike’s dad was one of the engineers who developed an EV hybrid for the company while they were still just dreams. Jay Leno did a segment on it.

Briggs and Stratton Hybrid designed and built in Milwaukee. YouTube screen grab.

In the article by Tony Adams, who launched Engine + Powertrain Technology International brings up valid points that are often ignored by the media. He points out that gigafactories are being built but the eco-ramification of building them is being ignored. The exhaustion of cobalt and other rare earth materials with questionable supply chains are being overlooked. Then there’s the eco credentials of the batteries themselves is being disregarded and so are the weight and generally negative dynamic effects of heavily over-burdened cars.

Rather than trying to create a totally new system that will expend gobs of energy, how about alternative fuels like maybe hydrogen? It’s free and the most abundant chemical in the universe and we don’t even have to drill for it! Talk about zero emmissions, this is it and cars can be developed to run on it. Gas stations can dispense it just like they do gasoline now and it’s a much better alternative than electric.

They simply take energy and turn it into rotational movement – the difference is that in a normal electric car, this energy only comes from an on-board battery that needs to be charged up, while in a hydrogen car it comes from an on-board generator that uses hydrogen. A hydrogen car can be taken from empty to full in a few minutes at a fuel pump, like a petrol or diesel car – so in this way they’re better than electric cars, and it’s convenient.

Photo: Porsche

Porsche is testing a synthetic eFuel made out of CO2 and hydrogen and are produced using renewable energy. This creates a liquid that an engine will burn the same as if it was gasoline made from crude oil, but in theory, an eFuel can be produced in a climate-neutral manner. They expect to have its first small test batch, 34,340 gallons ready by 2022.

Ok, I’m done now. Watch carefully how the EV game is played out in Europe. The UK has set 2040 for a date where they are going to ban the sale of ICE cars. Good luck with that. Please somebody make sanity take over. This is nuts!

The Piper CUB of EAA’s Automotive Fleet

By Paul Daniel

If you’ve ever attended EAA’s AirVenture, your eyes probably spent more time on things in the air than on the ground. Well, you’ve missed the event’s unsung hero, the vehicle that gets the safety crews and staff all over the grounds, their staff of VWs. Here’s the story of the Piper Cub of their fleet.

A golf cart that thinks its a 747

Me in the cockpit of a Grumman Goose just before a flight

In all the years I have been going to AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, I have seen all kinds of planes and all kinds of vehicles. There was this boatmobile a couple of years ago. All kinds of fun stuff which is what makes this event so great. Well how about the guy in this video who mated parts of a Boeing-747 to two golf carts? Don’t believe me? Check out the video. This year’s AirVenture began on Monday and runs through August 1st. Will I see you up here?

So that’s a Matador

AMC’s entry into the personal luxury market.

American Motors almost always had to swing for the fence when it came to introducing new products because they didn’t have the big budgets to work with like GM, Ford, and Chrysler did. The same went for their marketing.

Enter the second generation Matador in 1974 and with the Ambassador being dropped became AMC’s largest car. With its second generation, the Matador became AMC’s largest automobile after the discontinuation of the Ambassador. A lot of effort went into this entry in the personal luxury market, one which AMC was looking to cash into. Premium trim levels of the second generation Matador coupe were marketed as the Barcelona and Oleg Cassini.

One of the many AMC ads I’ve collected over the years.

The Barcelona edition was loaded with a 360 V8, auto transmission, tilt steering, air conditioning, 8-track player, matching vinyl landau roof, rear opera windows along with unique interior markings and seats your butt could get lost in.

There was a love-it-or-hate-it mentality regarding the Matador coupe even among AMC geeks. I liked it. It beat the coffin-nose front end that the Matador adopted when it replaced the Rebel in 1971. My first car was a 70 Rebel SST with the one year only aluminum side molding.

My first car. Had a 360 V8.

The coupe, designed by Richard Teague, sold well the first couple of years, outselling the four-door by nearly 25,000 units in 1974 but dropped to less than 10,000 in 1978 just over 2,000 and the company pulled the plug. It had a claim to fame being featured in the James Bond movie Man with the Golden Gun where it flew.

The last Matador. Photos: BAT

These don’t sell for a lot of money. According to Classic.com an average of just short of $20,000 which makes this one sold on Bring A Trailer for $41,000. An eye-popping price even for me. That’s quite a return on a car that listed for around 7 grand. This is the kind of money that first-gen AMX’s sell for!

What makes this one so special? According to the listing it was built for its designer, Teague, and was the last one off the line. It went up for sale with only 7,000 miles and the original window sticker. Like most of the ones ordered, this one two was well equipped and lived in Minnesota. Check out that interior. Those seats were pure butt vacuums. Love the license plate. Hope it found a good home.

Why most Motorcyclists are better drivers

Well most of them

It’s coming up on a year when I had my motorcycle accident where a moron in a car pulled out in front of me earning me a trip to the ER and my bike to the salvage yard. And yet, I’m still here to tell about it.

My dream bike

My 07 Hayabusa was starting to cost me money and I was looking for it’s replacement. Not wanting to buy one from the local Suzuki dealer who’s service reputation had gotten sketchy, I looked at other brand, one I had lusted after for a very long time, Ducati. What I purchased was the first bike I saw when I entered the dealership, this 2019 959 Panigali. I think it was the color that caught my eye. Totally different than the Busa but even more fun.

It was love at first sight, my first new bike in about 30 years.

Let me hop back to the title of this blog entry for a second before I get into the details of the accident. I have been riding since I was maybe 20 and have taken multiple bike safety classes, even a racing class at Road America.

Related Video: See me at the California Superbike School

A good instructor will pound into your brain from the beginning that you don’t have all the metal around you like in a car so an accident will most likely leave a mark. You spidey senses have to be on high alert looking way ahead of traffic so you can anticipate a move by a car before it happens. When driving with my wife, she is constantly amazed on my eyes ahead. The other thing taught at the high performance classes is how to fall off the bike when you’ve been hit. Long story short, never put your hands out ahead of you to break the fall and try to relax. Well that last part is kind of hard.

Note I said in the headline that “most” motorcyclelists are better drivers. I know you’ve probably seen the kids on crotch rockets roar past you at high speed, some doing wheelies at 90 mph. Those we call squids because that’s pretty much what they look like after loosing control. If you haven’t seen this, just do a search for videos on YouTube.

That fatefull day

I needed a part for my lawn tractor so decided to take the bike for a spin. I was going on a road that I have traveled tons of times. I was coming up on a 4-way intersection where traffic going in my direction could turn left. If there are drivers stopped waiting for their opportunity to turn, there is a passing lane on the right. So with traffic stopped I proceeded to pass in the right hand lane. Well that’s when the bonehead who was stopped second in line to turn decided to turn right in front of me. Holly shit, this is going to leave a mark I though traveling at 40 mph.

Found this picture of one in a junkyard in Colorado. A good place for it. Wiki photo

The piece of shit that pulled out in front of me was a Toyota Tercel 4-wd sr5 wagon turd brown like this one. The Toyota logo got real big in my visor just before impact. I remember the horizon rotating three times before I came to rest on the pavement. The driver of the Turdcell had pulled way over to the right after impact. I remember laying on my back, mostly there, when the passenger got out and asked why I ran into them. Adrenaline was really pumping and I lifted my head up to respond, what the f…. are you talking about, you turned into me. I was hot. Apparently not getting my message, she asked me again and I responded the same. Then I decided to just lay down and let the paramedics and police take care of things. Witnesses confirmed that the car had indeed pulled in front of me and I flew over the car three times.

Diagram from accident report

Before getting loaded onto the ambulance, I heard the driver tell somebody that he had hurt his hand and was looking for a hospital. Still juiced up on adrenelin, my parting shot was to tell him just to follow the ambulance he put me in. It turns out, the he had a suspended liscense and no insurance. Have a nice day.

My brand new Ducati down. I loved that color

I was fortunate

I always wear a helmet. I can’t believe that there are people out there that don’t. I most likely would not have been writing this blog entry without wearing one.

This helmet saved my life. Note the scratches on the top and back. That could have really left a mark.

I got off easy with some road rash on my hand and a sore back that required therapy. I know, I should have had a broken arm or something. God was watching me that day. I guess it wasn’t my time and I keep asking myself, why am I still here? Well maybe to write this blog entry in the hope that motorists will be more aware of motorcycles, riders take a class, and please wear a helmet. And yup, I got back in the saddle buying a 2020 Panigalli V2 and love it.

My new ride with all kinds of electronic rider aids

Two car guys reunite after 36 years.

And we didn’t even know each other were car guys then

Author (left), Darrel (right) on set doing a special on the Milwaukee Brewers just before the ’82 World Series where they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals. It was a fun season!

It’s funny how life sometimes comes full circle and you are reunited with a coworker after a very long time and you find out something you didn’t know about him when you both worked together. That happened to me recently when I was reunited with Darrel Burnett. He was the Sports

Me and Darrel now. Slightly less hair and a few more pounds:)

Director at WLUK-TV in Green Bay, WI and I was his backup doing weekend sports and reporting during the week. From about 1981 to 1985, we rocked the Green Bay market until new owners came in and both of us ended up leaving.

RELATED: Hear the story about Bart Starr’s MVP Corvette.

Darrel drove this yellow 1978 Porsche 924 while I arrived in a 1979 AMC Spirit and later upgraded to this Spirit AMX with a 304 V8.

Fast forward 36 years

I retired a couple of years ago and started this car blog with buddy Mark Savage. Darrel found me on Facebook and I discover he is running The Automobile Gallery in Green Bay. So of course I had to go up there and catch up with Darrel along with checking out a place I call car heaven. As it turns out we are both huge petrol heads and The Automobile Gallery has some pretty cool cars as Darrel told me during this interview.

This hot wheels car is da bomb!

It was 1996 when we built the house we’re in now and had one big decision. Go to New Orleans to watch the Packers beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl or use that money to put in a Jacuzzi®. Well since going to the game would have been cool, it would only have been cool for a while, the Jacuzzi® would be with us for years.

I love taking what I call a “swirly”. Don’t read anything special into that word, it’s just warm water, jets, and something to make my skin feel silky smooth. It really relaxes me. Recently, I found a way to combine water jets and cars. For my birthday, my wife and daughter gave me a couple of Hot Wheels™ Da Bomb Bath Fizzers.

A quick look at the packaging and you might think that they are just regular bath fizzers with the Hot Wheels™ logo slapped on them. I plopped it onto the warm water and as it dissolved it revealed what else but a car. It’s made out of plastic and is about an inch long. It has a spring motor in it so if you hold it down and reverse it, the car will move forward on its own. Hot Wheels™ finds yet another way to reach new audiences and I love it.

The fizzers come in three colors, yellow, red, and blue and you should not have to pay more than seven or eight bucks for them. There are some places that are charging more. Go figure, price gouging on kids’ stuff. I thought that only happened when hot new cars come out.

Super Bowl trivia: Who was the first MVP and what car did he win?

By Paul Daniel

After the game this year between the Chiefs and Buccaneers, (go Chiefs) there will be an MVP named. Please not Tom Brady. In the past that player would have been awarded a new car or truck. But not this year since Hyundai has started sponsoring the game, they haven’t given one out. The last winner was Brady in 2015 giving him a total of four. Please not five. Just in case you don’t know, I’m a Packer fan and still smarting from the loss to the Bucs.

Well if you’re a Packer fan, this will be an easy trivia question for you to answer. Who won the first MVP and what car did he receive? No Googling allowed. It was Bart Starr and he won a Corvette convertible. That car is now located at The Automobile Gallery & Event Center located in Green Bay. What a small world because not only is it back in Titletown but the person who runs the Gallery is my old boss from my days in TV, Darrel Burnett. It was like old home week.

There are lots of other cars to see besides this one and I’ll have a video up on that shortly.

 

 

Back to a time when American motors built cars worldwide

The Concord with a side of rice and beans

 

France, Germany, Iran, New Zealand, South Africa, and England all at one time manufactured Jeeps, Javelins, Americans, Hornets and more through partnerships put together by AMC’s E-VP, International Operations Roy D. Chapin Jr. One of those unique partnerships was set up about 2,000 south of the company’s major assembly operation, Kenosha, WI, in Mexico with Vehiculos Automotores Mexicanos, S.A.

For 40 years, this government-controlled company imported and produced automobiles and light trucks under license from Willys, AMC, Eagle, Jeep, Chrysler, Renault and designed their own vehicles based on AMC platforms.

One of the more interesting cars they designed and produced was the VAM Lerma, a cross between the Concord and Spirit. It was available as a three-door or a five-door hatchback, something not available on AMC cars built in Kenosha. It was named after Lerma, a city in Mexico where VAM produced engines. This wasn’t just a warmed-over Concord, it featured a different interior and the only element carried over from AMC was the instrument panel. It was focused on the top-end market in Mexico and never exported. While I couldn’t find sales numbers specific to the Lerma, it was a top 10 seller and at one time held a 9% market share.  But when Renault bought into AMC in the mid-eighties they had no interest in building AMC cars in Mexico and the partnership ended.

The Lerma lives on

It’s a 1/43 diecast model of the Lerma manufactured by IXO Models in Hong Kong. Besides this, they make all kinds of hard-to-find cars, motorcycles, and trucks based mostly on non-u.s models.

This one has a ton of miles on it. While it was manufactured in Hong Kong, I bought it off eBay and it came from Spain. That’s a lot more miles than you would see on the real deal. While I knew about VAM because of my dad working at AMC, I had never seen a model until I was poking around on Facebook and found a group of VAM enthusiasts.

The detail on this one that I acquired has amazing details. While the doors, hood, and hatch don’t open, there is a full interior. Exterior details include a hood ornament, simulated glass headlights, windshield wipers, side view mirrors, even the scripted name of the car on the back. I don’t normally collect cars this small because they lack the details of their larger counterparts but would consider any of their cars.

2020 Mustang leaves Mopar guys snake bit

The Shelby guys have thought of everything with the racy 2020 Mustang GT 500 …

Two new hot rod Tangs!

By Paul Daniel and Mark Savage

PAUL: I sort of backed into loving Mopar stuff after Chrysler bought American Motors Corp. in the late 1980s. I’ve always been the kind of person who has a soft spot for the underdog. I’ve driven all the Challengers, with the exception of the Red Eye, and enjoy the driving experience they provide. In fact, if I could go out and buy a high-performance pony car I’d go buy one. That was until I drove the 2020 Mustang GT 500. Continue reading 2020 Mustang leaves Mopar guys snake bit