Mustang Parts
   Carrying Saleen wheels and Bullitt wheels.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Interesting CAFE Implication

Part of the new proposed CAFE rules is that they will be applied on a scale that varies with a vehicle's "footprint", which is defined as its wheelbase x track. Vehicles with larger footprints will be allowed to have lower fuel economy than vehicles with smaller footprints; this is a way to (sort of) account for vehicle size. The NHTSA decided to use a sort of s-shaped curve called a constrained logistic curve, to map the footprint to the fuel economy target.

For cars, here is the proposed set of curves for 2011-2015 (copied from here, the NHTSA Notice For Proposed Rulemaking, p. 278). To get some idea of what this curve does to actual vehicles, I calculated the footprint of four vehicles and put them on the chart.

I think a possible side effect of this regulatory pressure could be that carmakers will increase the wheelbase and track of their vehicles, particularly vehicles with poor inherent fuel economy such as sports cars.

For example, if the BMW added added about 1.5" to its track and 2" to the wheelbase of the 328, it would go from a footprint of 44.8 ft^2 to 47 ft^2, and therefore from a 2015 CAFE requirement of about 37MPG to about 33MPG, or about a 10% reduction.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

2010 Taurus Spy Photo

This photo is making the rounds on the net as a purported spy shot of the 2010 Taurus redesign.
Assuming it is, this a sharp looking car, and portends for a much livelier Ford in the future. From this view it looks like very little sheet metal is carry-over from the current Five Hundred/Taurus, although the pronounced arch of the roof line is still there.

It also signals that the tightly packed vertical grilles with large amounts of chrome are going away, and that Ford will go more towards its European design style, which is not a bad thing.
I do see a bit of Honda in the front end, and also, and maybe some Lexus. The shape is sharp, but somewhat generic. One good thing about the current 3-bar chrome grille that Ford is using is that it is a unique design.

It is amazing, to compare the 2010 with the 2008, how bland the 2008 looks.

Update: Someone pointed out to me, that this is probably not a concept car, but is probably a clay styling model. That is, a life size model of a proposed design made from clay and painted to look like a car. One hint is the "glass", which is painted glossy black. Also notice what appears to be another clay model, still clay colored, in the distance.

The point is, this car may be nothing more than a proposal by one group of designers, competing with other proposals. The final car may look very much like this, or it may look not much like it at all!

The next Taurus? (Courtesy of

The Current Taurus

The Ford (Europe) Mondeo

Honda Accord

Lexus IS

Styling dead end? The Interceptor concept

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tasting 3.5 Year Old Budweiser

So Passover is coming up and my wife says to me, "Are you finally going to get rid of the old cans of Budweiser you keep saving for beer-can chicken? They must be stale by now". As I am sure you know, beer is chametz, and as such, must be consumed, destroyed, or sold to a non-Jew before Passover.

In the past, I had "sold" the Budweiser ceremonially by putting it in with our other non-discarded grain products. I could never drink the stuff, being a certified Beer Snob, and somehow I kept forgetting to use it to make beer-can chicken. Every time I needed beer for chicken, I reached for whatever I was drinking at the time.

So, as a zymurgilogical* experiment, I decided to crack open and consume one of my Budweiser cans, which according to the handy "born-on date" stamp, was 3.5 years old. It had been stored on the floor of my basement, in a plastic crate, at a near constant temperature of about 70 degrees.

Here are my observations:

The pour:
Fizzy, lots of head. Good straw color, perfectly clear. Fierce bubble formation (dirty glass?)
Hardly any smell at all. Slight notes of rice. Surprisingly, no metallic odor.
Hardly any. The good news is that the can did not impart any noticeable flavor to the beer (I think the cans are plastic coated these days). Any trace of hops that was in the original beer, which would have been very little, is now completely gone. The stuff tasted just a little bit more beer-like than Zima. There is a hint of malt, some sweet rice, and a bunch of carbonation. Lots of mouth fizz.
Slight rice sweetness. Very little aftertaste.

Overall, I was surprised and pleased with the results of my experiment, and I can offer this conclusion: if you don't like beer that tastes too much like beer, cellar some Bud for a few years to take the edge off. Serve cold, with a slice of lemon.

The other can was used to make beer-bread.

*Zymurgy is the science of beer.