Weekly Roundup: Things Went Better Than Expected Edition

Truthfully, I could have put myself anywhere between the edge of John’s new kicker ramp and the sidewalk — he cleared the nine-foot gap and landed on the concrete with no trouble. But he was worried about hurting me. Back in the Riverside Green days I’d line a bunch of kids up and bunnyhop all of them. Sometimes I miscalculated and landed on somebody. You cannot make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

Speaking of — here’s the omelet for this week.

At TTAC, I asked for reader feedback on a pickup purchase, answered a reader question about unusual FWD cars, and discussed how to handle a correction.

For R&T, I dared to question watercooled-Porsche residuals and railed against insurance companies.

It’s been great to have the week at home to catch up, but time waits for no man and it’s almost time to get back on the road… luckily my son and I still have the weekend to get in some trouble!

43 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Things Went Better Than Expected Edition”

  1. Joe

    About flipping the front wheel drive thing, GM did that and came up with a rear wheel drive car, it was all front wheel drive parts and some rear wheel drive stuff, it was called the Fiero! Then just when they finally got the suspension right they shitcanned the whole project.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Just in the service of being ABSOLUTELY, ANNOYINGLY CORRECT, GM did NOT flip the powertrain to create the Fiero.

      In both the Citation and the Fiero, the engine is ahead of the driven wheels.

        • Joe

          What I actually meant was that they flipped which end of the car the power/driveline went in, I miss the old days when a automaker was more adventurous and would come up with the front drive Eldorado, and the Toro, also cars like the corvair and rope drive tempest. Those days are over.

  2. everybodyhatesscott

    The insurance on (certain) motorcycles is painful. My street triple is like 300 bucks a year which is cheap enough but my R1 brings my total policy to over a grand. If I didn’t have the triple, the R1 alone is over a grand. I magically become a worse rider on my R1 because some 19 year old squids shift the risk pool. And, like you said, the adjustment only ever goes one way.

    • yet another commenter

      As a Kawasaki fan, I’m now a former Kawasaki fan because of the “Ninja” idiocy. Instead of getting a nice new ZX14R or ZX1000R sport-touring bike, I’m going to have to buy an inferior machine like a Honda VFR1200 just because of the uninsurability of anything called “Ninja”. I highly doubt sport-touring machines mainly owned by fat old men like myself are crashing at the same rate as cheap clapped-out mid-2000s Ninja 600s.

      • Yamahog

        I have half a mind to start an insurance company that ‘gets it’.

        The insurance on my FJR1300 is substantially cheaper than the insurance on my SV650 – surely a sign that they should price the insurance on the basis of my liklihood to crash / cost of the claim, not the likelihood that a generic rider crashes.

        It’s not as if the SV is substantially more dangerous than the FJR – or that an identically skilled rider would be more likely to wreck an SV than an FJR (ABS nonwithstanding).

        And to the situation of Danger Girl – I’d say a person who puts miles on a ‘vette is probably less likely to wreck a truck than the average bear.

        Maybe there’s a niche in determining a risk profile by considering how a driver behaves with their fastest vehicle.

        • jz78817

          it can be really opaque at times. I paid less (for the same coverage) on my 400+ hp Mustang GT than I did on a 230 hp SRT-4. And I owned them at the same time!

  3. silentsod

    My insurance company quietly upped the rate on my 2003 911 to the tune of $30/mo without telling me. I’ll be seeing about moving that car over to another provider or both 911s to Hagerty, perhaps.

    I have 0 moving violations, 0 accidents on record and the actuarials pull shit like this.

  4. DeadWeight

    People who ride donorcycles should pay far higher premiums for insurance than passenger car, truck, cuv or SUV (fully encased drivetrains with crumple zones, stability control, airbags, 3 point seatbelts, airbags, antilock braking systems, and dozens of other injury/death presentation and mitigation devices/systems that donorcycle owners don’t have the advantage of.

    By “far higher insurance premiums,” I’m speaking in the realm of 8x to 200x more, given the massively higher risk of injury, serious, permanent bodily disfigurement and malfunctioning and death that donorcycle riders impose upon themselves, with the externality costs being born by emergency rooms (where non-paid medical charges get shoved off onto the taxpayers in some form or other).

      • Deadweight

        I give motorcyclists more attention, distance and respect than likely 99.9999% of motorists for precisely the reasons I mentioned.

        They are extraordinarily vulnerable.

        Whereas I maintain a 5 to 12 car distance between the next passenger vehicle ahead of me, depending on speed (5 car lengths under 75, up to 12 car lengths if I’m out west on AZ/NV rural stretches doing 100mph plus), I stay as far back as possible from bikers and give them space all around.

        Your previously held assumptions about me are wrong.

        • Dirty Dingus McGee

          “Your previously held assumptions about me are wrong.”

          I doubt that statement. By referring to them as donorcycles, and inferring that anyone who rides any motorcycle (see, it isn’t hard to spell) as an un/under insured moron, shows a complete and utter disregard for that person.

          Did the mean kid down the street “steal” your girlfriend because he had a motorcycle?

          • hank chinaski

            ‘Donorcycle’ is also a common pejorative used by ER staff and particularly trauma surgeons.

          • jz78817

            I know a couple of ER docs. Total detachment and dry wit are how they get themselves through the day.

          • Deadweight

            Hey fuck you, dirty dingus.

            You don’t know jack shit.

            If you ride with the same attitude you move that shithole of a mouth, layer up.

    • Yamahog

      A lot of riders go under/uninsured and higher premiums would exacerbate the problem. Though I unequivocally support better licence / insurance enforcement. In my state, you get a ticket for driving uninsured or without a licence, but almost no one gets locked up for it – that needs to change.

      On the flip side, if you have mandatory health insurance – why should your vehicle insurance cover injuries? Rock climbers and skydivers don’t carry activity insurance and their health insurance picks up the bill for their risk.

      It’s sub-optimal (esp. because health insurance companies can only price premiums with respect to a few attributes) but hey, if I’m going to pick up the tab for someone’s pregnancy, they can chip in a few bucks for me. Turnabout is fair play.

      • Eric H

        I specifically have travel insurance that covers ‘contests of speed’ so when I’m in the states racing my family won’t lose the house if something unfortunate happens on the track.

      • Tony

        My life & ADD insurance policies have specific costs for my auto racing activities. I find this completely baffling – I’ve had scores of friends get seriously injured or die while skiing, skydiving, hang-gliding, and walking around drunk. But the only exception checkboxes they put on the application are “do you race cars?” and “do you ride a motorcycle”?

    • Don Curton

      Motorcycle and auto insurance basically covers damages and physical injury to OTHERS caused by your wreck. If you carry full coverage, it also covers damages to your vehicle. It does not cover physical injury to you. That’s what your health care policy is for.

      Thus your entire argument is wrong.

      And thanks to Obama, everyone has healthcare insurance now, so no worries.

      • 1A

        Hmm, yeah, sorry to correct you, but you’re wrong. Some people don’t have Dufuscare, so they buy ‘Medical Payments’ on their AUTO INSURANCE—which covers..you guessed it, your physical injuries.

  5. Joe

    Insurance through one of the larger providers for my low rider s is in at 504 for a year, not too bad considering the cost of the bike, a little bit cheaper than what it costs for my m6 c5 for the same one year period.

  6. mdm08033

    I hoped that your Can We Flip the FWD Script article was going to be about why small compact FWD cars can’t be converted to RWD.

    Why can’t we have a RWD Sentra, Civic, Protege 3, or Corolla?

  7. VoGo

    Pour one out for the V6 Accord, Jack. AutoGuide is reporting that the 2018 Accord will be ‘Sport’-ing the 2.0T instead of a V6 going forward.

    Honda really going downhill, joining BMW, MB and Volvo?

    • SixspeedSi

      Oddly reported both powertrains will have manual options. So I am not completely giving up on Honda..but yeah V6 Camry’s for all!

  8. Hogie roll

    Mazda designed their blue sky engines with a nice long straightish tubular header style exhaust manifold off the back of their 4 bangers. When they put in a car it had to be moved forward from the firewall, stretching the hood. The car designed to fit around this was inadvertently the best looking front driver on the market, the Mazda 6.

  9. Sseigmund

    Re: A pickup truck for towing a 20′ trailer and going to mountain bike trails

    Jack, on all things related to writhing and high performance driving I defer to you. On this truck/towing thing, you need to defer to me. To ask a 1500 series pickup truck to regularly tow a 20′ enclosed trailer is the automotive manifestation The Peter Principle. You provided the most critical piece of information, “I cannot stress enough that I don’t need to use this vehicle on a daily basis.” All V8 1500 pickups are likely rated to tow 8,500lbs, but when you hook up a 20′ enclosed trailer and drag it through everything from corn country to WV mountains, it’s about competence and reserve capacity not some BS arbitrary tow rating. The 1500 will have enough motor, but it will lack the bigger brakes, stronger chassis and shocks to really control a 20′ enclosed in the the most demanding situations. Your family and friends will often be riding in that truck and you owe it to them have to right tool for the job. You will be much happier too in the end.

    When you move to a 2500 series the option list is almost endless. Just for fun, I spec’d out a Ram 2500 Tradesman crew cab for you. I gave you the 6.4 Hemi, well, because horsepower and torque. No point in getting tired on the way to have fun. I also gave you the folding trailer towing mirrors, brake controller, and oh yeah, the Power Wagon package! You never now how much you need a built in wench until you don’t have one. Yes, the price is slightly above your stated limit, but acres of our local fairgrounds are currently decorated with new Ram trucks and there are deals to be had. You could save a load of money by ditching the Power Wagon package for the Off Road package which has much of the Power Wagon goodness. Resale on this truck will be really good because you aren’t paying for a lot of high depreciation non-trucky shit that you don’t need. Some outdoorsy drywall contractor will jump at the opportunity to buy it when you move on. This is pretty damn close to an old school, simple truck but it works in a modern world.

    My 2¢

  10. Dirty Dingus McGee

    Deadweight sez

    “Hey fuck you, dirty dingus.

    You don’t know jack shit.

    If you ride with the same attitude you move that shithole of a mouth, layer up”

    Well, I have apparently touched a nerve here. Or perhaps you skipped a medication?

    Either way, I don’t give a rats round ass what you think. You post as a pompous asshole, then get all pissy when someone calls you on it. If you run your soup cooler like that in public, I suspect you go home with loose teeth and not being able to see well out of at least one eye.

    Feel free to crawl back under your bridge..

    • Deadweight

      Again, go fuck yourself, you presumptuous fuck.

      I give bikers more respect, leeway and room for error (often to the point of inconveniencing myself) than just about anyone I’ve ever witnessed in everyday driving – yet you come in on the rag and tell me I’m somehow a pretentious asshole, which is a fundamentally untrue characterization.

      The fact remains that people who ride bikes on public roads intermixed with passenger vehicles, heavy trucks and all other sort of far larger, safer, more rigid, extensively engineered crash-cocoons (with every sort of active and passive safety device known to man) are literally placing themselves at a risk of serious injury or death that is so much statistically higher than other commuters that is not an understatement to refer to bikers as suicidal (whether overtly and unconsciously, or unconsciously).

      • Will

        People who ride pedal (road) bikes (on the roads, not what Jack and his son do) are the real dickheads. Especially with their tour de france/messenger fantasies. Just saying.

        • Ronnie Schreiber

          I’m sure that some bikies are insuferable but I commuted by bicycle 7 months out of the year for many years plus many thousands of miles of recreational/exercise riding, including plenty of group rides. I’ve seen bikies do stupid things, but then I’ve seen way more drivers do stupid things.

          I don’t consider myself a particularly assertive rider and I try very hard not to piss off drivers as inattentive ones are dangerous enough to two wheeled vehicles. I ride about 12-18″ from the curb and if it’s a standard lane you have plenty of room for just about anything shy of a semi to get around me.

          I have no truck for the Critical Massholes who clog up streets and alienate drivers with their mass rides but also think that drivers who feel threatened by adults riding bicycles in the street need to discuss their issues with mental health professionals.

          FWIW, Jack still has a road bike.

        • jz78817

          As with anything, the “capital letter” subset ruins the perception of the group. There’s nothing wrong with cyclists; but Capital-C Cyclists are self-important twats. Most people who don’t eat meat just go on with their lives, but capital-V Vegans need to let you know about it every three minutes.

  11. 98horn

    Just wanted to give you my 2 cents as a former Chevy truck owner (1995 Tahoe and 2006 4.8L work truck C1500.) They work great. Drivetrains are bulletproof. The A/C and some interior bits stopped working in the Tahoe at 155K miles, and I sold the work truck because it was so steady, reliable, and flawless that I became bored with it.

  12. Bill Malcolm

    The Renault 5 had the inline engine so far back against the firewall, the firewall was in the passenger compartment! Carpeted, mon ami! The transmission was at the front behind the grille ahead of the differential. My brother had one for seven years, simple to see the layout.

    The Audis had the engine up against the grille, then the diff, then the transmission. In other words, exactly 180 degrees opposite to the Renault 5, and much more nose heavy. I had an Audi 100LS when my brother had the 5.

    I cannot tell from the TTAC article whether Jack realizes this or not. The Renault was standard French FWD architecture, popularized by the prewar Citroen Avant. Same layout as the Cord, and which remained with the DS19 and DS 21 Citroens until the middle 1970s. Also the Renault 4 which sold in the billions was the same, the 5 being mainly a prettier update.

    The Renault 9 and 11, and Alliance in four cylinder form had the standard transverse layout with driveshafts nearest the firewall. So the engine was not behind the axle line. Sorry. The feature touted was the end-on transmission in line with the transverse engine, which was itself considerably leaned back towards the firewall, and a nasty non-crossflow head design at that. Both intake and exhaust butted up against the firewall.

    Renaults had the cheapest nasty front driveshafts for decades. Not for them the plunging joint at the differential and CV joints at the hubs. No, you got lashed up nightmare cheapy joints. The 18 was renowned around these parts for early failures of these cheapo parts.

    I don’t know of any transverse engine FWD car sold in any numbers whose engine block was behind the axle line. For the few inches in cg movement rear you’d get, you then would have to contend with spring towers further forward from the firewall, requiring extra beam strength to get the same rigidity as having them nestle closer to the main body structure. Not worth the time and trouble for a few tenths of a g cornering ability.

    • rwb

      It sure seems like the first third of this article hinges on an egregious lie:

      “The surprising thing about the stereotypical aimless young man, detached from work and society, playing video games in his parents’ basement: He’s actually happier than ever.”

      Of course it reaches the obvious conclusion that this does not end well, but the self-reported happiness of people who are in such a situation probably shouldn’t be taken at face value, in my opinion.

      After putting aside the tangible consequences of being unskilled and/or unemployed, the fact remains that even the most realistic and impressive simulacra is inherently dissatisfying compared to real experience. Because of this I must assume that it’s delusional to claim that the engrossing distraction of modern video games could be more beneficial than the type of self-confrontation that does sometimes create violent crazy people, but is also required for average people (like those of us discussing this) to actually admit to and accept our shortcomings, and improve ourselves.

      Escapism is great if you’ve had a bad day; I don’t think it’s as healthy or useful if you’ve led a bad life.

  13. dal20402

    Late to the party because I’ve been out of the office a lot and therefore less likely to read stuff.

    But insurance companies aren’t trying to steal your fun. They’re driven entirely by numbers.

    I had a relationship of ten years (that never turned into marriage for what turned out to be good reasons) with a highly quantitative woman who, midway through that period, found her calling as a property/casualty actuary. While we were together she passed about half of the mind-numbingly tedious series of exams required to be fully credentialed (and has since, I understand, passed the rest). Listening to her talk about her work thoroughly and forever convinced me that insurers do not understand anything but numbers. They don’t care about image, reputation, whether people have fun, or whether people kill themselves. They just make risk calculations based on the data they have. If there is a 2-cent difference between your premium and someone else’s, there’s an experience-based reason for it. Likewise if your premium is ten times as high as someone else’s.

    In other words, cars that are expensive to insure are that way because they are much more often driven by dickheads who think I-5 at 7:30 p.m. should be a scene from the Fast & Furious movie of your choice, So they crash, injure and kill people, and destroy stuff at a correspondingly higher rate.


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