Diatribe

Hp u rt n hl

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour    
 
There’s been talk recently about banning cell phone use in any moving vehicle. This would kill (pardon the pun) two birds with one stone; people wouldn’t be able to talk on the telephone while trying to drive and it would also prevent text-messaging — a plague worse than the great Crablouse Catastrophe of 1839. I personally don’t understand the necessity and the nuances of texting.

Stop lights…the new waiting rooms

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIARIBE
By Al Vinikour    

Fewer environments are more sterile, depressing and quiet than the waiting room at a doctor’s office. No matter how nicely its furnished you’re still going to find a passel of long-expired magazines (if ever you want to see a copy of Colliers, Saturday Evening Post and Look Magazine check out the racks, they’re probably there); a sliding glass panel where you can see at least three to four people working full-time on billing and people speaking in hushed tones, like they’re afraid to wake the dead (pardon the pun).

My, what a big engine you have

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour  


As mentioned many times, I grew up during the beginning of the muscle car era. It’s really subjective as to when this so-called halcyon time began. Some attribute it to the year that Chevrolet sold its first V8 model in 1955 that was 265 cubic inches. Ford already had an overhead-valve V8 in 1954 that was 239 cubic inches. (Chrysler was on the periphery during the initial years but for simplicity’s sake I’ll mostly keep this to the 100 Year’s War between Ford and Chevy.)

Audio systems vs. yesterday’s radios

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour     


If you examine any promotional literature for new vehicles especially those whose demographics include the non-medicinal marijuana crowd, a lot of verbiage (what a stupid word!) is geared towards audio systems. It seems that in order to get the full impact of a song you have to have a 10,000-watt, 5 million amps, Super Double-Tweeter system that doubles the base price of the vehicle to the options column.

Venting' my spleen

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour  

I don’t know exactly how many individual parts there are in a vehicle but for the sake of argument let’s say 10,382. At that rate I'll have enough ammunition to write columns until Methuselah and I reach parity.

My rant this time is about vent placement. Vents are wonderful things. Positioned correctly they can keep you cool in the summer…and keep you warm in the winter. Positioned incorrectly, however, and you’re going to either have frostbite on your legs or face the prospect of having your plastic surgery melt.

Four-Speed transmissions were a rite of passage

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour       
 
I’ve written previously of my disdain for those who have a high-performance car like a Corvette or a Mustang GT and equip it with an automatic transmission. I can’t stress enough the necessity of taking those people to a blacksmith’s shop, tying their hands to an anvil and giving a ball-peen hammer a workout until it becomes too bloody to maintain traction.

Heaven help me – I’m a horsepower junkie

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour            

If you’re anything like me you’re sick of somebody else always trying to tell you enough is enough. Who died and put them in charge? It seems to begin at childhood when you’re sitting at the dinner table and decide you want more potatoes. Your mother tells you, “You’ve had enough.” Years later you’re sitting in front of the television watching your favorite situation comedy and your father comes in and says, “You’ve had enough television for one day, Junior. Go to your room and read a book.” You get the picture; when is it your turn to call the shots?

Auto dealer commercials…a Three-penny Opera…and worth it!

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour  


Some of the best commercials on television are those from the domestic and import automakers. Some of the worst commercials are those by the auto industry’s dealers. It’s hard to believe that such polar-opposite talent can be expended for the same industry. 

The road to hell is paved with…cell phones

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour        
 
I know what you’re thinking…Al, have you finally made peace with cell phone users who still drive while they’re holding conversations? Sorry, you’re dead wrong.
 
If anything, my disdain for people who drive erratically because they’re engrossed in a phone conversation is growing. Instead of minding their
driving it’s getting to the point that it’s less dangerous to walk through downtown Tehran wearing a U.S. Army uniform than it is to drive down I-75 amid cell phone talkers.

Rear seat leg room? Stop living in the past

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour     
 
As an auto writer I always peruse the interior dimensions of the vehicles I drive and even those I just look at like at auto shows. Even though I speak in generalities it never ceases to amaze me how little leg room there is for the rear seat occupants in far too many vehicles.
 
For all practical purposes about the only usable function for a rear seat is extra storage. Have you ever seen the back seat of a Nissan Juke? It’s handy to have a place to stow packages, shopping bags, etc., when off on a “mission.” However, try to put anything short of either small children or Lt. Dan in the rear seat and you have some very uncomfortable riders.