I read Tom Vanderbilt’s book Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do earlier this year and it was an eye opener. He dissects driving behavior across a wide variety of situations, including lane merging, traffic signals, eye contact at speed, and pedestrian interaction. He sites numerous studies to analyse many of the misconceptions we have about how skilled we are at driving and how we deal with each other on the road.
From the NY Times book review:
Vanderbilt, who writes regularly about design and technology, cites a finding that 12.7 percent of the traffic slowdown after a crash has nothing to do with wreckage blocking lanes; it’s caused by gawkers. Rubberneckers attend to the spectacle so avidly that they themselves thenget into accidents, slamming into the car in front of them when it brakes to get a better look or dig out a cellphone to take a picture. (This happens often enough for traffic types to have coined a word for it: “digi-necking.”)
It’s now available in paperback, and I highly recommend it.
After spending the morning finalizing my design for a “Save the Clunkers” t-shirt, it turns out the C4C program will end Monday. Let’s hope the government’s servers can handle the last-minute rush from people who were on the fence about trading in their old Mercury Marauders for Honda Fits.
Please give me a vote of “6″ at the 6 dollar t-shirts site. If I get enough votes you’ll be able to buy the shirt for… $6.
Slate’s finance site “The Big Money” launched in fall of 2008, while I was working at Condé Nast’s competing finance site Portfolio.com. Just because I got laid off in a round of firings at Halloween doesn’t mean I harbor any ill-will towards “The Big Money”. Two separate sites with two different agendas. OK.
Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, WTF is up with “The Big Money”?! They’ve posted a photo album of cars they claim will be junked in C4C. Both the intro and first slide feature a Volvo 240. Sorry, but our precious bricks get better than 18MPG and aren’t eligible for C4C. While Matt DeBord’s copy is cute, it’s obvious he didn’t do his research. They had to pull the BMW 325, diesel Mercedes and Mazda Miata (!) slides after a commenter pointed out they have better fuel economy than the program calls for.
Matt, please visit cars.gov. It’s a horrible site, I know, but somewhere beneath the UI you’ll find eligibility requirements and a list of vehicles. Dry the tears from your eyes, stand up and rejoice! Four of the ten cars you’ve mourned as dead will still be here to drive another day.
Some of the commenters on a Jalopnik “Cash for Clunkers” thread (C4C) were hoping for “Save the Clunkers” T-Shirts, so I put together a couple of quick images. They would be a 2-color silk screen, one black, one white. If anyone wants to produce these, contact me at boucher002 at yahoo dot com.
UPDATE: I posted a cleaned-up design of the van illustration to sixdollarshirts.com . Vote now!
Jalopnik features this custom 700 series. At what point does it cease being a Volvo and become an El Camino?
I finished rendering my Avanti Wagon and entered it into the Studebaker Design Museum show. I haven’t done much 3D before but Google SketchUp was really simple to use. It didn’t give me everything I wanted though, so I ended doing some vector drawing on top of the model to get it to look right. Not quite as cool as Top Gear’s Porsche Shooting Brake but I’m happy with how it all turned out.
I wrote some marketing copy and created two ads for the 2-door Avanti Estate. The ads were loosely based on these illustrations posted on theavanti.com. I love the rough, vignetted edges on those marker drawings and the colorful rendering given to the backgrounds.
I’m ashamed to confess my previous ignorance of the Avanti’s designer, Raymond Loewy. He was THE industrial designer of the mid-20th century. In addition to designing for Studebaker, he designed buses for Greyhound, logos for Nabisco, Shell and Exxon, and even the iconic bottles that distinguished Coca-Cola from other sodas through the end of the last century. His design for the exterior of Air Force One is still in use today.
While I was working on the renderings I discovered thatAvanti Motors still exists and creates a limited run of new cars out of Mexico and Canada. I don’t think they’re planning a wagon though.
CORRECTION: A reader informed me that Avanti ceased production in 2006. An interesting note from Wikipedia:
Michael Eugene Kelly, owner of Avanti Motors Corporation, was arrested by the FBI on Dec 22, 2006 in Florida. Kelly is suspected of running a $400 million Ponzi scheme from 1992–2004 and is in jail without bail facing mail fraud charges.
Jalopnik has a Comment of the Day that seems to defy common sense:
This car didn’t stop me from ‘snagging’ a man… Volvo 240 will get you laid faster than any of the cars listed above… I hope it’s useful to Jalops of both genders and all orientations. Go buy an old Volvo.
Your mileage may vary.
Tonight is the 5th Episode of “10 Things I Hate About You”, a show where Kat, the main character, drives a pale yellow 244. In this episode, titled “Don’t Give Up”, Kat goes DIY and takes the brick into the shop.
After blowing major smoke out the tail pipe of her “Chernobyl-mobile”, she decides to switch to bio-diesel to cut her carbon footprint. Using a manual she downloaded off the internet, she jacks up her brick and tinkers around, while enduring harassment from the boys in the shop. Eventually her father helps out, and she ends up with a smooth running french-fry flier.
The Truth About Cars ran a sky-is-falling-on-old-bricks post but I think the fear of losing RWD Volvos is misguided. They don’t qualify for the CAT program, as they get average gas mileage.
This video documents the death of an Olds Aurora, which qualified because of the V8 engine. Oil is drained, then a solution of water and silica sand is poured in. The car is turned on and run until the engine seizes. Not for the squeemish.
UPDATE: Prolonged death of a FWD Volvo.