Weekly Roundup: Because Your Kiss Is On My UL List Edition

We had a surprising amount of discussion last week about the Shinola x General Electric extension cords. One commenter noted that he didn’t see a “UL Listing” sticker anywhere. I took a quick look at the plugs and didn’t see anything about UL anywhere.Could it be that this $175 extension cord didn’t even have a basic safety rating, the way that hyper-expensive watches can’t be trusted to keep time as well as a Seiko?

Well, Danger Girl returned from a business trip with a smaller Shinola extension cord for me. This matches the Natuzzi recliner in my stereo room/writing room. And it had a very prominent UL listing sticker on the woven cord cover. I swapped my black five-plug extension out for this one, and sure enough, a closer inspection revealed a UL listing hologram near the wall-plug end of the cord.

Glad to have that mystery solved, I tell ya.

Is the world ready for the return of the Fiero? And should you buy one of the last normally-aspirated, straight-six BMW sedans before they all disappear? Those are the questions I covered for R&T this week.

At TTAC, I discussed the Miata RF, deconstructed an Audi advertisement, and wrote about the Grand Am one more time.

It’s all-hands-on-deck this week for our race team as we get ready for the American Endurance Racing season opener at Road Atlanta. But I have a few topics I want to cover before I get in the car and die in a ball of flame win the whole thing. As always, watch this space, and thank you for reading!

16 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Because Your Kiss Is On My UL List Edition”

  1. Tomko

    Mark my words: These last two weeks that we’ve lived in America will be retold many years from now in a Bollywood movie.

  2. Felis Concolor

    1st Super Bowl OT.
    Greatest of All Time.
    Greatest Choke in Sports History.
    Russia hacked the Falcons.
    Fuck Audi.

  3. 1A

    “You know what it’s missing? UL certification.
    Good luck with your insurance if your house burns down.”

    Also, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!

    • Eric H

      Hey, I’m glad it is UL listed, it gives the insurance weasels one fewer excuse to screw you over.

      • Ark-med

        Every time I see the word ‘fewer’ nowadays, I guffaw in my head because of a peurile joke I read:
        Trump: The less immigrants we let in, the better.
        Pence: The fewer.
        Trump: Don’t call me that in public just yet.

  4. Feds

    Man, you really know how to rile up my inner pedant.

    Moving a transverse FF powertrain to the back of a car does not require a 180° rotation of the powertrain. In all cases I can think of at the moment, the engine in a modern FF car is in front of the axle centreline. Simply translating the engine back to the rear wheels makes it mid engine by default.

    (using the citation as an exemplar)
    http://s.hswstatic.com/gif/chevrolet-citation-1.jpg

    https://i1.wp.com/www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/img406.jpg

    Rotating the engine 180° would also change the effect of the forward and reverse gears such that the forward gears would move the car backward, and the reverse gear would move the car forward.

    From a packaging POV, I’ve always wanted Subaru to slide their powertrain back such that the engine is under the rear seat. In a Forester-style profile, you could raise the rear seat enough to avoid headroom issues, and removing the rear takeoff from the transmission would keep the rear overhang under control.

    http://www.smcars.net/attachments/aset14-jpg.6962/

  5. Ronnie Schreiber

    In the 1960s there were some British specialist firms that made mid-engine sports cars using Sir Alec’s Mini mechanicals. Wikipedia says that they were the GTM and Unipower brands.

  6. Doug

    Your BMW article was spot on. I just bought an ’06 325 with few options and only 87k on the odometer. After three months and 2,000 miles I can say I love it. Being 6’4 it is a bit small, but I am glad I have a chance to own this dying breed before they are all gone. If I can make it last to 200,000 or more then I will be happy.

    And I would not buy one of those turbo 4 cylinders, a friend of mine has one and it pales in comparison overall. His turbo is quicker but soulless. .

    • viper32cm

      Agree 100% on Jack’s article. Enjoy your E90. I had two, a 2006 325i like yours and a 2008 335i, both sedans. I sold the 335i in August and bought a Z4M Coupe in November. I don’t regret my purchase, but I do miss my 335i.

      They are great cars, but bear in mind a few things:

      1. The cooling system might be the car’s Achilles’ heel. The thermostat and water pump are wear items, expect replacement every 60-100k miles. Also, I’ve heard of problems with the coolant reservoir, and the small gauge return lines can and will fail around 100k miles. If you work on your own cars, working on the cooling system on E90s can be a pain since the bleed procedure involves running that water pump off the car battery. The Bentley service manual states that you are supposed to attach the car to a vehicle power supply while bleeding the cooling system.

      2. Beware battery registration. You can’t just replace a dead battery. You have to hook the car up to a scan tool and run a registration routine. If your car seems to be taking a long time to start, replace the battery ASAP, as it can and will strand you.

      3. Fluid filled bushings. Replace them with urethane and don’t look back. But when you have to replace ball joints you’ll have to replace the whole control arm.

      4. If you have an auto, get the fluid flushed ASAP. The idea that the fluid is “lifetime” is complete bullshit, but it is serviceable.

      The 335i is great, but the turbos add a lot of complexity to the car and, thus, service expense equal to or greater than the costs arising from the cooling system and the auto transmission (if so equipped). My understanding is that there’s some fear of the 335i and the N54-powered cars in particular on the used market due to the potential service costs.

      The real unicorn of the lineup is the one year only (in the US) 330i. The 325i was one year only too, but the 328i fits the same market niche as the 325i. The 330i with its 255hp N52 engine is the most powerful NA 3-series ever made that doesn’t come with an M badge. Not as fast as the 335i but a noticeable upgrade over the 325i and 328i with no additional service costs. If you find a 330i with a stick that hasn’t been abused, buy it and enjoy the shit out of it. It doesn’t matter if it’ll ever be worth anything in the future.

  7. Pat

    I’ve often thought about “updating” my e46 with an NA e91… if I ever find a manual RWD touring I might do it. Deep into unicorn territory there though. I figure at 135k I’m only half to two-thirds of the way through the lifespan of the e46.

    Not sure any generation mazda is going to replace my NA, but that’s simply because my wife probably (definitely) doesn’t want two Miatas in the driveway and I couldn’t replace another car with the Miata anyway. But canvas for me if I ever do get that second one.

  8. ZG

    That BMW article is the truth. Having climbed the sport sedan ladder from Saab 9-2x to Acura TSX, I fully expected the next step to be a 3 series. Unfortunately, by the time I could afford one, they stopped making them with the NA straight 6. Thus, there is no BMW in my driveway and I may go to my grave without ever owning an I6 powered vehicle. Although there is that 90s F150 on craiglist…

  9. Frank Williams

    The sad thing about he Fiero is that when Pontiac finally got the performance and styling right, they killed it. I don’t think this concept needs a V-6. A lighter-weight 4 in a plastic-bodied, aluminum-framed two-seater with a manual transmission would be a hoot to drive. But please, make it big enough inside that someone over six feet could fit in it comfortably!

  10. Panzer

    I was never in love with the E90’s when they came out, but now, every time I see one, I think to myself – “Damn that’s a handsome car”
    I’m saving up right now to get into Uber and the heart wants an E90, but the brain will probably win and i’ll get a ’11 Passat wagon 😊

  11. N3TRUN

    Enjoyed the BMW article as well. Naturally I would as my daily driver is a 2002 330i. While I would appreciate the interior space of the E90 I’m not as enthusiastic about the exterior. In any case, you spoke the truth that a replacement for such a vehicle is nowhere to be seen. The I6 is such a magical engine in its smoothness and tenor I find myself turning the radio off when I drive so I can hear it better.

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