Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A tragedy in a small town, ten years later, the case of Charles Campbell and Richard D DiGuglielmo

Sorry folks, way off topic today, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. 10 years ago today a terrible tragedy happened in a small suburban town. Lives of many people both inocent and not were changed forever. And for what? A parking space! And 10 years later, the man who ended another's life, says that he'd do it again if he had to and his supporters act as if he is a victim. I have no personal bone to pick with these people, no vendeta. I don't have a grudge against Police Officers or Italian Americans, nor with the town of Dobbs Ferry New York. But I've read quite a lot of unbalanced opinion in the forums of my local paper concerning this story. I've seen webpages devoted to the "railroading" of this unintentional killer and feel a need to speak out.
Richard D. DiGuglielmo was 31 years old and had aproximately 10 years on the New York Police Department, but was off duty on the 3rd of October 1996 at 5pm when the events that shatterd lives occurred.

Charles Campbell was 37 years old and a father of one son. I have to admit I didn't know him, and unfortunately couldn't find much information on him online. But how much can you find online about an average citizen. I'm sure he was no angel, how many of us are? Maybe he had a few encounters with the law, but many people do, especially young black men. But Charles Campbell's only "crime" that day, was that he stopped on Ashford Avenue for a slice of Pizza and parked in the nearest parking lot to the little shop. Unfortunately he couldn't have known how fatal that mistake would be. You see, the Pizza shop doesn't have any parking and the street that it's on is a busy road with no on-street parking in front of it. So Mr Campbell like many before him, parked in the lot for the Venice Deli, owned by Richard B DiGuglielmo who was 54 on this date.

The Venice Deli was the busiest business in a tiny commercial property that included a nail salon upstairs and a florist on the next lot. The owner was fiercly protective of the few spots in the small lot, and his frustration must have been very great that day. I'm sure that Mr DiGuglielmo the senior's blood would boil everytime he saw another car park in "his" lot and run across the street to the Pizza Parlor on the corner. So when Charles Campbell pulled up in his 1993 Corvette, jumped out and started across the street, the elder DiGuglielmo yelled after him. Campbell is reported to have called back to the shop owner, that he would come back and purchase a soda from his deli after he got his slice of Pizza.

Frustration and anger forced the Deli owner to go inside and grab a "No Parking" sticker, then return to the Corvette plastering it to the driver's window. Now it was Mr Campbell's turn for anger.

There are rarely inocent parties in this type of confrontations, and only the people who were there can know exactly what happened, but the reports say that Campbell and the elder DiGuglielmo started with heated words, then pushing and shoving. At some point The son and son in-law both men in their 30's emerged from the Deli and Campbell probably fearing being out numbered went to his trunk to get an aluminum baseball bat. Like I said there are rarely inocents involved in this type of tragedy. So one man against three armed with a baseball bat. At that point, you would have thought someone would have called the Police.

Dobbs Ferry, a town I lived in for a few years, is not a big town, from the Deli to the Police station is maybe a mile and a half, and the hospital and fire station are only half a mile from where this happened. I can't tell you how many times I've seen Police cars parked in the Deli's lot. It couldn't have taken more than a few minutes if someone had called for officers to arrive. But no, instead Richard the younger went back into the Deli and retrieved a 32 caliber pistol from behind the counter. His father's gun from what I've read in the paper. A curious detail that probably means nothing, but why would an off duty Police officer need to go for a gun? I have friends and family on different Police forces and they ussually have an off duty gun on their person.

You can see where this is going I'm sure, the son came out and shot the "bat weilding fellon" as his family and supporters have portrayed him, three times in the torso. He was defending his father, a noble thing. Something I can appreciate, if I could have saved my father's life the same way, I'm sure I would have. But that's purely an emotional response on my part, and probably of many suporters.

Many of the people who left comments on the local paper's forums sound like Police supporters, and I don't take issue with that. But how many know the ground where this happened? How many can take a step back and see how many ways this could have been avoided. Why is Charles Campbell's past examined in any way? The man stopped for a slice of Pizza! He wasn't holding up the Deli! He parked where an angry shopkeeper didnt' want him to!!!!

I knew Richard D DiGulielmo in High School, not as a friend, but in passing. He seemd like a very nice guy, just your average high school kid. Not a jerk or a bully at all. I did not know him on October 3 1996, nor can I put myself in his place. I'm sure he felt justified in killing a man that was swinging a baseball bat at his father.

But all this over a parking spot!

Many lives were changed that day a decade ago, one was ended. A son, a boy of 12 never saw his father again, Charles Campbell's son. A father watched his son taken away to prison, Rich DiGuglielmo's father. The pain for these families won't go away, the events of that fatefull day will haunt them all for the rest of their lives. And well it should.

DiGuglielmo's family and supporters claim an overzealous District Attorney played the race card and his punishment was too severe. I'm not a lawyer, I don't know, but 20 years to life sounds about right for killing a man. Despite emotions, this was not self defense, and nobody involved was a total inocent. Charles Campbell feared for his safety when he got the bat from the trunk.

The sad truth may be this, one man is dead and another's future is ruined, because on petty man wanted to lay claim to a piece of asphalt.

I feel sorry for Charle's Campbell's family and even for Richard DiGuglielmo's family. It's hard not to feel that all this could have, should have been avoided.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Continuing rants and raves over at MyFordDreams2!

Did you come here looking for my latest ramblings on FoMoCo and are now disapointed to see no activity? Don't worry MyFordDreams continues on a new blog! http://myforddreams2.blogspot.com

Some of my latest posts have been about Mustang GT, Ranger and what FoMoCo can and should do to turn it around.

Click on the link in title to read about the Ranger/F100 question.
The picture above is a photoshop of what a new Ranger based on the Explorer would look like and it's well done.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

MyFordDreams moving, but still on Blogger

OK, so if you read my blog, you will know that I've been having technical problems this week. And I've been reading others people's blogs and comments, as well as receiving e-mails from fellow bloggers, letting me know that it wasn't just me. Apparently Blogger was having problems with servers or something?? But I had considered moving MyFordDreams to another service or ending it alltogether. Gary The Garage Guy even offered to host my blog on his server, Thank you Gary.

But I've decided to stay with Blogger, and have decided to continue MyFordDreams in a new blog MyFordDreams2. But not satisfied with that alone, I've gone a little nuts, and created some campanion blogs for MyFordDreams2, there will now be Non-FordDreams where I talk about ineresting Non-Ford vehicles and AlternativeFuelUniverse where I will discuss things like BioDiesel, E85, Ethanol, Hydrogen and Hybrids, simply from an enthusisasts point of view. So now I will have 3 blogs of my own and hopefully still contribute to The Blog for Auto Bloggers also .

Now I've moved all of my links from the sidebar to the new blogs, so actually anyone who had one link from my blog, now has 3 links. I would hope anyone who reads my blog will bookmark my new page http://myforddreams2.blogspot.com and if you subscribe to an RSS feed, make that update as well. Now I'm not saying that you need to bookmark all 3, my main focus will continue to be Ford, but I want to try and spread my wings a little and by having 3 blogs, not fill up one too fast.

I have no intention of deleting any part of MyFordDreams original site, hopefully it will remain as long as Blogger will allow. I may have to post something from time to time to keep it active, I don't know. So I hipe I'm not inconveniencing anyone too much or taking on more than I can chew. I've spent the better part of the day working on all 3 new blogs, transferring links and such, and anticipate starting up again Monday full force on MyFordDreams2

Wish me luck,

Friday, March 24, 2006

New GT350H at AutoBlog?

Now I've seen this one on several websites, but Edmunds Inside Line claims the exclusive, and I'll give the hat top to AutoBlog, because that's where I saw it first. It looks like Ford is going to introduce a 2006 Mustang GT350H at the New York Auto Show in April. I'm planning on going, so I'll try and get a decent digital photo. The original GT350H was a specially prepared Shelby GT350 Mustang in special black and gold livery sold to Hertz and rented through a special program. So in this year the 40th aniversary of that special model it sort of makes sense to pay tribute.

Now I had mentioned a while back that this 06 Pony Package V6 Mustang bears a striking resemblance to the 66 GT350H. It's got the stripes and that retro styling, including the fog lights on the grill bar. Now the new GT350H won't have the GT500's supercharged 450 hp engine, but will instead be a slightly modified Mustang GT with an extra 20 hp. Still a fitting tribute. Edmunds says there will be 200 available for rental at select Hertz outlets.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Test post

I had intended to post about the Mustang GT350H that was discussed at AutoBlog and the Panoz Esperante before I started to experience problems here.
Now it looks like it may have only been a temporary situation, so I'll see how things look on Friday. Brian of Racedriven.com and Ben of Ben'sOzCarBlog have given me some advice over at AutoBloggers, but I still don't know what the fate of this blog will be. My contingency plan is to continue MyFordDreams on a new blog linked above, and also hosted on Blogger. I may just have reached some limits on photo storage or post limits. I have over 1100 posts and at least as many photos on here, and so many links that it maybe what's causing publishing problems.

So this is a test to see how the situation is shaping up.

Could this be the end of MyFordDreams?

I've been having major problems with Blogger this week. It's taking forever to get anything posted, no matter how simple. And loading pictures is hit or miss at best. I don't think it's my computer, because I use more than one to post. I've tried testing the situation, by creating and posting to 2 new blogs; www.alternativefueluniverse.blogspot.com and www.myforddreams2.blogspot.com

Maybe I've just used up my storage limit on this blog? I don't know, but I'm going to shut down for a couple of days until I can figure out what to do.

Technical problems keep blogging slow

I've been having problems with Blogger the last few days. I know it's not my computers, it's got something to with Blogger itself. So I may have to move over to a new blog, for now on Blogger. Starting Friday, I'm going to try posting on 2 pages.

Petition for C1 Focus

A frequent commentor ThatDudeMike, sent me the link above for an online petition urging FoMoCo to bring the C1 "Euro" Focus to the US market.

Hybrid/Alternative fuel talk again, I'm going to sound like a broken record here

I had an earlier post about the fact that Ford was putting incentives on the hood of Escape Hybrids, and that I thought this was unussual. Two readers commented on this situation, Shawn, who believes that people who buy Hybrids, are not your typical domestic car buyer, and Igor who points out that Ford is not the only manufacturer that is seeing a slowdown in Hybrid SUV sales. So I thought on their comments and the subject in general, and this is my take on it.

Shawn may have a point that many people that would buy Hybrids would not oridnarilly be domestic vehicle customers, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a place in the market for Hybrids. The idea is that people that wouldnt' normally buy Hybrids wil buy them. As gas prices go up and down ( and never down enough) people that wouldn't normally be drawn in by new trends, may want a Hybrid, thinking of the savings in fuel costs. So while Hollywood types and the cultural elite, may not be snapping up Ford Escape Hybrids, maybe some average Joe or Jane would. Escecially if they need a slightly larger vehicle than a Prius.

But Igor points to the fact that Toyota Highlander, Lexus and Honda Accord Hybrids are slowing down in sales. Now when I say they're slowing down, that doesn't mean they're not selling, just that the waiting lists are gone. This was innevitable, as gas prices normalized after the recovery from Hurricane Katrina. But the end of waiting lists is being overhyped by journalists and pundits. Hybrids will have a part of the market in the future, maybe not a huge part, but they're not going away. Especially in fleet sales in the future. The Hybrids that are still selling like hotcakes are the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic, because of their lower prices relative to the others and of course their higher fuel economy.

Ford has new Hybrid models in the pipeline, expect a Fusion/Milan and possibly an Edge version and later the 500/Freestyle. Ford hopes to sell up to 250,000 Hybrid units a year when they're fully up to speed. Spread over the different models this should lower the premium paid for a Hybrid slightly, and offer flexability to customers. But Ford should also consider Hybrid versions of their Focus and Fiesta models when they are replace/introduced in the US market. The trend for Hybrids is toward smaller vehicles. There are several common sense reasons for this. First the increase in economy is higher in smaller models, and since Hybrids are better suited to an Urban style of driving it makes sense that smaller models are easier to park in the city. So Hybrid versions of vehicles like the Focus and Fiesta, and possibly and EcoSport would be better for these markets.

Hybrid versions of 500/Freestyle and Fusion/Milan would be better suited to fleet sales, such as taxis, police cars and municipal services. Ford will have the systems ready by 2008 (?) for many of these models and it's a smart move.

But I've said before, Hybrids aren't for everyone, there has to be more options. The higher price of purchase and maintenance of a Hybrid will keep some people away. Ford and others need to suppliment their Hybrid efforts with Diesel and E85 models. Diesels are also slightly more expensive to buy than gas version of the same model, but maintenance is not more expensive, and they are known for lasting longer ( the powertrains anyway.) Add the Bio Fuel situation into the mix and Diesels can make better sense for people that do longer highway commutes and non urban driving. Ford has a small advantage in their Hybrid Escape, since they've been testing E85/Hybrids taking advantage of both technologies. Ford needs to increase the mix of E85 models too.

No single technologie will be enough to eliminate our dependance on foreign oil or help clean the air we breath. What we need is a mix of alternative fuel technology, Hybrids and smaller more efficient vehicles. Remember the Reflex concept that I love so much? It's got a Hybrid/Diesel powertrain with energy reclaimed for braking and solar panels in the roof, so it can achieve fule economy of 65 mpg. Not bad huh? And if the Diesel it's using is Bio Diesel, what little fuel it burns is cleaner than we could have dreamed of a decade ago.

Ford's "Driving American Innovation" campain, is more than words, they're working with all of these technologies and more. Ford has been working with Hydraulic Launch Assist and Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engines, as well as Direct Gasoline Injection (Mazda) so they are covering all the bases and if they can survive these tough times, can be in a position to respond to consumer's preferences. A good mix of these technologies is what I hope to see from Ford over the next few years.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Honda Fit is coming in late April, when and how should Ford answer?

Recently there's been a lot of talk of the upcoming Honda Fit, the new B-Segment model positioned below the Civic. I've read about it recently on Jalopnik, AutoBlog and Edmunds including pricing and driving impressions. Honda sees the Civic as moving slightly up in size and price, and saw the need to have a new entry level model positioned to compete with new Korean and Chinese models. Nissan has the new Versa coming, and much has been made of GM's imported Chevy Aveo. I don't know how big this new market segment is going to be, but I do know that Ford needs to be there too.
It's been reported that Ford intends to bring a new B-Segment model based on the Fiesta/Mazda2. Now look closely at this Fiesta and the Fit above, they're very close in size and style. Ford has it's B-Segment model in their overseas lineup. The Fiesta comes in 3 and 5 door models, with 2 petrol and 2 diesel engines.
There's even an ST version with 150 hp! Now just to remind you, ST is Ford of Europe's version of SVT. 150 hp may not sound like a lot, but consider this models lower weight and price. This is comparable to a Fit Sport, which Honda is rumored to be bringing in later this year or next. There is even a mini MPV or SUV version called the EcoSport/Fusion and a pickup version the Bantam/Courier.
So what ever it takes, Ford needs to answer Honda's challenge and have product for the US market as quickly as possible. Wouldn't you want a sporty hatch that gets 40 mpg for under $20K ? Fiesta mechanicals can underpin niche models like the Bronco and Reflex also. Rumors had been that Ford is going to build a new plant in Mexico to produce Fiesta based vehicles. Smart money would make it a flexible production facility, with the ability to build 3 and 5 door Fiestas, EcoSports, Broncos and the new Reflex. Even if Ford only sells 30-40,000 of each model, the shared platform and production facility will share costs. Make all versions E85 ready from the start, and bring at least one of the Diesel powerplants. A Hybrid in the future couldn't hurt, but may not be necessary considering the economy of both petrol and diesel models.

When I was in Ireland a few years ago, I was able to see the Fiesta and Fusion up close, and they're nice little cars, I've already said I would be first in line to buy the Reflex if it is built. Now is the time to "drive American Innovation" not sit back and watch from the sidelines.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wood chips and corn stalks? and more Ethanol from AutoBlog

Seems to be a lot of alternative fuel talk over at AutoBlog today. First is the article linked in the title, about Bio Mass fuels and then this article later in the afternoon about Ethanol . And you all should know by now, that I'm a big believer in Bio Diesel and Ethanol. These two fuels have so much potential on very different fronts. From health benefits and evironmental friendliness to economic boosts and national security improvements. But as many point out on different forums, the petrolium industry isn't jumping at the prospects of non petrolium fuels. MBTE, and adative used in gasoline is being phased out, because of health issues, and is expected to be replaced in gasoline, in levels less than or equal to 10%, so it can be used in any gasoline powered vehicle, not just E85 prepped ones.

I've said it before, legislation may be needed to give industry the incentive or push to create the infrastructure to create and distribute these bio fuels. I pointed out in a post last week, that the largest effort at bio fuel produciton seems to be a French owned Agri-Business in the midwest. We need more domestic investment and involvement for this fledgling industry, or we will be replacing dependance on foreign oil with dependance on foreign Ethanol.

I don't care if you use wood chips, corn, grass clippings or algae, hell use a combination of all of them if need be, but this is an exciting time in our history and I'd hate to see it pass. With all the groups that seem to be supportive of bio fuels including the American Lung Association of the Midwest, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, polaticians, celebrities like Willie Nelson and our President and don't let me forget the environmentalists, who we all used to laugh at, but now don't laugh as hard. There are just too many good points and not enough detractors for this not to go through. To be honest, I'd rather pay $3.50 a gallon for some domestically produced fuel than $2.65 for Gasoline.

NY City politicos call for Hybrid Crown VIc Taxis

I was reading in the New York Post, a paragraph saying Two Brooklyn Democrats were "urging" Ford to make a Hybrid version of the Crown Victoria. It amazes me that these two think Ford can just whip up a Hybrid, because they ask nicely. Now that doesn't mean I don't think Hybrid taxis couldn't work, far from it, but let's put a little thought into it.

I had posted several months ago about testing of Escape Hybrid taxis in several cities. Now for New York Escapes are too small for taxi service. But as I said then, the new 500 is sufficient in size for the job. And Ford is closer to a production Hybrid on the 500/FreeStyle. The Escape represents the 1st generation Hybrid fromFord, next will be Fusion/Milan Hybrids and later 500/Montego/FreeStyle versions. So New York taxi fleets should start evaluating the 500/FreeStyle for fleet use. Their all wheel drive and spacious itneriors would be an advantage. The chances of Ford creating a gas/electric hybrid of the Crown Victoria is like a snowball in hell, not going to happen. Hell, Ford is getting ready to phase out the large rear wheel drive platform, and shoot itself in the foot doing so.

I can't wait to figure out why I'm not able to post pictures to blogger, I've tried on 2 different computers, so I don't think it's me.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Next Freelander to be based on C1 platform, that's Focus of Europe

Now, you may notice that I haven't posted pictures with the latest pieces, I'm having technical difficulties so bear with me. But I hope that people stop by more for my rants than the pictures. So here we go.

Over at AutoBlog, there is a piece about the new Land Rover Freelander, saying it's going to be based on the new C1 platform and styled similar to the LR3 (Discovery.) Neither is a huge surprise, it's been mentioned on this blog and many others before. The C1 platform if you didn't know is the European Ford Focus (Mazda3 Mazda5 Volvo S40/V50/C70 Ford C-Max/S-Max) and maybe some day, come here to the US as a Ford. But the Freelander, may have company on this new all wheel drive variation of the C1, the XC50 from Volvo and the next generation Jaguar X-Type. Rumors on the X-Type say it will be an Estate/Shooting Brake, that's station wagon to us Americans. Some purists will argue about the Freelander being based on such lowly a chassis as a Ford, but to hell with them. Land Rover needs a fresh start with the little SUV, and will of course tune the C1 chassis and powerplants enough to distinguish itself from it's lesser siblings.

So I say again, why don't we in the US get a Ford on the C1 platform? It's available here as a Mazda and Volvo, and obviously soon as Jaguar and Land Rover, so it's good enough. But again the argument about costs comes up. And again I say Bull, it's getting to the point, that Ford can't afford not to bring this new Focus to the US. Not that the US version of the Focus is actually a bad car, it's just the knowledge that a better Focus is available everywhere else, really grinds my teeth.

What say you? Should Ford bring the C1 Focus to the US? What do you think about the C1 based Freelander? Is it diluting a brand?

Fusion vs Sonata, I drive both back to back in the real world

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to drive both the Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata on the same day and same roads. I had driven the Fusion a couple of times, but it was my first drive of the new Sonata. So having fair weather and time to burn I headed over to the local Hyundai dealer first.

The Sonata is a decent car, it feels solid, nothing like the first Hyundais I drove 16 years ago. It's styling is very nice, more Honda than the Accord actually. And standard equipment and warranty make it a good value. But how is it to drive? That's what I had been wondering for several months. I had read comparisons with the Fusion and Sonata (among others) and other reviews. Now on paper the Sonata compares favorably to the Fusion and others, but despite the warranty and standard airbags, it's still not quite as good as the Fusion. I know, you're thinking I'm biased, after all the name of my blog is MyFordDreams, but I went into this with no preconceived notions. I walked into each dealer as if I was shopping for a new car. The interior and trunk space seems slightly better in the Hyundai, but the interior materials were slightly better on the Ford. Styling would go to Hyundai also, I like the looks more than the Fusion.

But where the Ford really showed it's superiority, was on the road. Both cars were 4cyl auto base models. I took each on local streets and then onto the Sprain Brook Parkway, where I didn't drive like a nut, but wanted to see how each accelerated, shifted, handled the road and braked. The Fusion obviously benefited from it's Mazda DNA, as it's road grip was very good for a 4 door family sedan, it stayed planted and steering effort and feel was very good. The Sonata on the other hand felt like a 20 year old Buick sedan, it's steering was vague and sloppy, it wallowed over the same roads feeling floaty like only a 1986 Buick Century could. Acceleration was good on both, as were shift from the slush boxes, I honestly couldn't give the nod to either here. Each car merged onto the fast moving parkway with ease and cruised up to 70 mph with no strain or sense of buzziness. Where the Fusion really out did the Sonata was again road holding, ride and braking. The Sonata's brakes felt mushy, not the safest feeling at all.

Pricing was very close, with the Ford's sticker price actually a few hundred dollars less for similar equipment. But for my money the Fusion was the hands down winner. Not that a Sonata wouldn't make someone a happy motorist, just not anyone who's ever driven a better car. So if you wanted to know what to trade your 86 Century in on, now you know. You'll feel right at home. There's room for improvement with the Fusion, to be fair, but it's the better driver's car.

Will GM beat Ford to the punch with Diesels for US?

I read this article over the weekend at AutoBlog, saying that GM could be bringing Diesels from their European models here to the US. A 3.0 liter V6 and a 4.7 liter V8. Now the V6 makes sense, and I expected Saab to have one, but the 4.7 V8? Why no I4 Diesels? But we'll have to see what GM has in mind. But it was innevitable that one of the "Domestic" automakers would tap their Euro assets for Diesels.

Ford has a comprehensive range of I4 and V6 Deiels that could be brought to the US. From the Fiesta 1.4 DuraTorq to the new 3.0 V6 from the new Ranger, there are several choices that could easilly be planted in new and existing models from the blue oval.

But will Chrysler beat both to the punch? They already have the 2.8l I4 Common Rail Diesel in the Jeep Liberty, and of course the I5 Turbo Diesels in their Sprinter vans. But could we see Parent Mercedes lend Chrysler their BlueTec powerplants for the E based 300/Magnum/Charger? What about Mitsubishi Diesels? Chrysler no longer owns much of a stake in Mitsu, but shared platforms could mean shared powerplants.

So who shoots first? Who has the foresight and guts to bring a Diesel back into a "Domestic" vehicle? Obviuosly Jeep division of Chrysler is there and rumors of CDI Calibers have been spotted by people like the AutoProphet.

click the link and read AutoBlog's article on GM's efforts.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Whatt the Heck? Ford needs to put incentives on Escape Hybrids ?

Now this makes no sense to me and looks like a black eye for Ford. It seems that in select markets Ford is offering incentives of $1,000 on Escape Hybrids. How can this be? The 2 markets are California and Washington DC. Ford has the Escape and Mariner twins as Hybrids, but if they really want to make a substantial impact, they need to roll out their Fusion/Milan versions ASAP!

National BioDiesel Day? AutoBlog has the scoop

Maybe in a few years it can be changed to National Fuel Independance Day, but for now it's National BioDiesel Day! Very interesting article and link to the site anouncing and explaing the event at AutoBlog. Above is a map of Arab Oil Fields, the main source for our national dependance. The "Crack Dealers" in Sheets, that cry for our deaths as they count our dollars.
It's important that we take these issues seriously. It's easy to laugh off "National BioDiesel Day" as some "Greenie" non-event, but that would be to our shame. I see Bio Fuels, especially Bio Diesel as one of the most important changes this country NEEDS to make. It just makes too much sense.

Yes BioDiesel is difficult to buy at this time, and depending on where you buy it, may cost slightly more, but it burns much cleaner than Petro Diesel and requires no modification to run in any Diesel Powered Vehicle. Diesel, the man originally designed his engines to run on Peanut Oil, and despite the development and evolution of Diesel powerplants over the last century, you can take any Diesel vehicle and run them on BioDiesel, with no modifications. And you'd be improving the Environment, Health of your neighbor, Economy and National Security with no more effort than filling your tank. And BioDiesel would work so well in some of those great European Ford models that we don't get!

I'll take the Mondeo Estate with the 2.0TDCI and 6 speed manual!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

MyFordDreams off for the weekend, Happy St Pat's

I'm going to be taking a break for a few days, don't expect to be posting. It's Saint Patricks Day Friday, and me being of Irish descent, I'm going to be going to the Parade in New York City and seeing family. You won't find me in some dark pub drinking green beer, that's not every Irishman. I won't be in church either, even though it is a feast day.

But I will be celebrating my Celtic heritage proudly and hopefully be surounded by Family and Friends. My oldest brother is a Fireman and will be marching. We're all very proud of him, and his involvment in several Irish American organizations like the AOH and Emerald Society. One of my brother in-laws is a Police Officer and will be playing the bagpipes for the first time in the New York parade, so we're all looking forward to that. Unfortunately my mother will not be in the city Friday, because the crowds and standing are too much, so hopefully my siblings and I will take a few pictures.

I'm Irish American on both sides, my Father's Grandfather being born in Ireland and both of my Mother's Parents being born in Ireland. My mother actually lived there for a short period, before her family returned to the US. And here's a stretch, but just so I can say that this post is Ford related, my Mother's Father worked in a Ford plant in New Jersey for a period of time.

Have a safe and happy holiday if you celebrate, and remember what it's really about, not beer and stupid hats, but family.

Jalopnik has the story on the coolest Rally school, but I don't think I'd fit in one of those little cars

Now tell me that this doesn't look like fun. I was reading Jalopnik, like I do everyday, and saw a story about Ford running a Rally Driving school, for kids as young as 10! Now we in the US have many driving schools, but this just struck me as very cool.

Last year the love of my life, offered to send me to a race driving school, but money was too tight, so I passed. I'd love to do something like this, but I'm not sure I'd fit in one of those little cars. Some day I guess

Jeremy Clarkson is not happy with his photo printer or the new Volvo C70

Jeremy Clarkson drives the new Volvo C70 (Focus Cabrio) and is disappointed. Not that you would know if you read the first page of his review, which deals with his odessy through the world of Photo Printers. He praises the styling and the stereo, but says the steering is awful, and he was afraid to really dig into the 220 hp.

I'm interested in what other reviews will say about the C70. Clarkson is not a review I would read if I was shopping for a car, but he is very entertaining. And he's one of the reasons we in the US love Top Gear. Word online is that the Discovery Channel is bringing an American cast to recreate Top Gear in an American version. But without that thoroughly British attitude, I'm not sure it will succeed. Clarkson is one of those people who can say anything and not many get offended. Well maybe they get offended, but who cares, he's entertaining.

Mazda 2 to be less ugly, facelift for Europe

These pictures are small, I'll try and post some larger ones when they are available. But the news is that the Mazda2, which shares a platform and powertrains with the Euro Ford Fiesta is getting a facelift.
You can see a familial look with the grill and tail lights. Looks like a Mazda3 that was left in the dryer too long.
A little improvement over the last 2, but still not as nice as the Fiesta.
This is the latest update on the Fiesta, and possibly the basis for a new US B-Segment model

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ford Reflex, needed my fix

I just didn't think I had enough pictures or links on my new favorite, the Ford Reflex so I did a Google search and came up with the following; Serious Wheels and Hybridcars.com andAutobytel and even Wikipedia . I wonder can you overdose on Reflex? No, so that's why I want to point out the following also, FordMuscle.com and TuningNews

I think the Reflex is the best new concept I've seen this year and could be a real exciting product that could draw new buyers to Ford. Think about it, there are "Green" websites and "MuscleCar" websites talking about the concept. It's an easy car to bring to market also. Base it on the new B-Segment platform for the US ( Fiesta/Mazda2) and build it in the same plant as the Bronco/EcoSport down in Mexico. I'd like to see a gas and diesel version and if it could be built and priced reasonably I wouldn't mind the Hybrid version. I'm not too hot on the solar panels in the roof or the "butterfly" doors, but neither would keep me from buyint one.

You may notice fewer posts over coming days, as I've been very busy with other matters. It's another case of "Life getting in the way of blogging," I'm not a journalist, this is just a hobby.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Lincoln/Mercury bizare internet sites

I was reading Jalopnik last night and they had a post to two sites that Lincoln and Mercury divisions of Ford have featuring bizare short films. It requires you to have a Flash player, but it's a free download if you need it. I would also say that like many videos, it requires a broadband connection.

I want to write it off as stupid, but it was amusing. I just don't see how it helps to sell cars. The first one is The Neverything (link in title) and the second is www.lovelybysurprise.com

Check it ou, then let me know if you think it will help sell cars.

Reader asks, "Can I convert my Ford to run on E85?"

I received an interesting email from a couple that have a Bronco II and wanted to know what they need to do in order to run it on E85. Now just for the record, I'm not an automotive mechanic or engineer, I don't even do my own maintenance on my truck. But this raised some interest on my part. Their Bronco II is an 88 with the 2.9L V6. So I did an internet search and found the article linked above. It says that at one point it was looking like Conversion kits would be marketed, but Federal rules were too much of a roadblock. But I'm not sure this would apply to do it yourself types.

Now, this is just a guess on my part, but in the case of the Bronco II, there may be an answer using Factory Ford parts. The Bronco II is based on Ranger mechanicals, and Ford did indeed offer Flex Fuel Rangers, capable to run on E85. So many of the Flex Fuel parts should be available in Salvage yards or even from your Ford dealer. In 1999 when I bought my Ranger, there was an option for a 3.0L V6 Flex Fuel, so the computer, fuel tank and lines should be a bolt over swap. It may be advisable to swap the engine and transmission as well.

I'll try and follow up on this subject over coming days.

Monday, March 13, 2006

AutoBlog post about Ford opening photo archives

I got my hopes up when I saw this post on AutoBlog. Ford is offering photos from their corporate archives. Much like the New York Times offers prints for sale.

But unless you want Mustangs and GT40s, you're out of luck. Don't get me wrong of course I love both Mustangs and GT40s, but would love to see more Ford products and especially some of the concepts from the past.

Ford Ranger Sever Off Road Vehicle package for the world, but not US

I had seen comments from several readers about a Ranger SORV or Severe Off Road Vehicle model and assumed that they meant the new Ranger that was introduced in Thailand recently. I then came across this article about the SORV Ranger in Indoniesia. It seems to be just a package on the current Ranger. I remember seeing a similar option on the UK Ranger a few months ago. It's a neat package, better shocks and some skid plates, as well as a new intake snorkelt and prefilter. In the US, you can bye these pieces from aftermarket companies, and I wouldn't expect to see any manufacturer to release a factory package like this any time soon. There's one simple reason, the American propensity for litigation.

Think about it, some idiot buys a truck from the factory with a snorkel, drives into a situation beyond his ability as a driver and a lawsuit is the result. It's a neat idea though, and if a Diesel Crew Cab Ranger were availalbe here in the US, I would consider some of these upgrades for myself.

Video of Kabura at UK site WhatCar, need broadband for best viewing

I found this article through Google, it's a UK website that has a video post of the Kabura concept on the road. Interesting point, if I heard it correctly, they said the price in the UK was going to be near 40,000 Pounds, that's over $80,000 US. I'm hoping I heard that wrong.
With talk of the Kabura possibly coming to production, I only hope Ford can some how bring the Reflex to market. I like both of them, but really love the Reflex. I'd like the Reflex to come to market in the low to mid $20k range.

I don't know how much the Brits pay for an RX8, but can't imagine that $80,000 would be reasonable for the Kabura. Can anyone from the UK tell me what they think?

Mazdaspeed 6 vs Subaru Legacy GT Spec B at Edmunds.com

My brother has one of these Mazdaspeed6 and it's an amazing car. And I'm posting this for him mostly. It makes sense to do a head to head between the Mazda and Subaru.
The Legacy GT spec B is an all wheel drive turbo charged midsize sedan that costs close the Mazda and doesn't have the "boy racer" look of the WRX STI Impreza.

But I want to know when we can expect this powertrain in the Fusion? Call it the SHO since SVT is essentially dead. Ford could use the image boost.

Focus (Euro C1) and Mazda3 selling like hot cakes in China! Why can't Ford sell this in US??

Here's an article discussing how well the new Focus and Mazda3 are selling in China. Every time I read an article like this, I want to smack whoever at FoMoCo made the decision not to bring the new Focus here. Again, the world gets new improved, and in the US we get warmed over mediocre. Igor a new commenter here, from the Foculjet forums says that a new Focus is due in 2008. I believe it's long overdue and by 2008 I'll be writing a new blog called "I remember when Ford built cars, do you?"

French own company starts first large BioFuel production, it's a begining

A promissing story over at AutoBlog, on a French owned Agri-Business starting large scale production of Bio Diesel. I'd like to see more American owned business take this leap, and I think we will. The unique oportunity we may see here, is that companies not ordinarilly associated with fuel production, can use what would be natural byproducts of their operations to help in the production of alternative fuels. Just think Anheiser Bush or Miller Beer could be filling your tank? Or how about Purina, the makers of animal feed? It's not such a stretch when you realize they have half the infrastructure in place, and it gives them a way to diversify with little risk.

The large oil companies can't be trusted to volutarilly make the switch to bio fuels, it would be like asking a crack dealer to switch to candy. So maybe what the US needs is legislation to incentivize bio fuel production and distribution. I had read recently that Ford Motor Company was lobbying in Washington. If Brazil and Sweeden can do it, why not the US?

I'm not so naieve as to believe that a sudden availability will slash our dependance on foreign oil over night. It will take years for our current vehicles to reach the end of their lives and be replaced by new ones. But with government tax breaks for owners and manufacturers to convert some older vehicles for Ethanol or E85, and the fact that Diesel vehicles require no retrofit at all. It could be possible within 10-15 years to cut our use of foreign oil by as much as 50%. It's going to be a cumulative effort of alternative fuel production and distribution, more fuel efficient powertrains, partial retrofit of existing vehicles and education of consumers.

I'm sure that E85 retrofits for older classic cars would be minimal and performance could be improved.

Review of Ford Falcon from Australia

It's no secret that I love the Australian Ford Falcon, and think that it should be here in the US. So as part of my policy of promotion for the Falcon, I offer you this link to an article reviewing the new Falcon's base model. You know for a "base" model it comes very well equiped, check some of the standard features.

Friday, March 10, 2006

White flag of surrender

There's a piece at AutoBlog with a link to Newsweek, that seems kind of stupid to me. The article discusses whether the domestic auto manufacturers should follow the lead of Harley Davidson, and cloak itself in an all American persona, what they call playing the "America Card." And while this could be working for Harley Davidson, that's because it's a much smaller market for motorcycles than Cars and Trucks. Not that the big three (2 1/2 ) don't do this already with Trucks, they do, and Toyota is trying to squeeze into that full size truck market. But pulling back into some segregated "American" mode isn't going to help.

AutoBlog rightly comments that it could be just waving a white flag in surrender. Giving up on certain market segments to concentrate on the more profitable sectors, such as Muscle Cars, Trucks and SUVs. It doesn't make sense to me, why give up any segment of the market. If the domestic brands would build interesting vehicles for the US market, like the do for the world market, and make sure quality was "Job 1" then they wouldn't need to concede defeat. I've pointed out many of Ford's offerings around the world, and how well they compete with Japanese and European makes. Why can't they do that here? Now is not the time to be the "Surrender monkeys" of the Auto Industry. Now is the time to innovate, bring new models with more efficient powertrains and exciting styling. Instead of "Dave" we should be getting the "Kinetic" designs that Ford is offering elsewhere. GM and Chrysler too, they offers some unique models and concepts for Europe and elsewhere, that never come to these shores.

The domestic auto makers, need to fight as if their very existence depended on it, because it does.

Ford Ka news at AutoBlog

There's a piece on AutoBlog, that links to a story at AutoExpress, about the new Ford Ka and it's Fiat 500 platform mate. There's a mistake in the AutoBlog piece, can anyone tell me what it is? I've talked about this before, not in the best light either. Check my previous post here; Dumb move

The Mazda BT50, their version of the new Ranger

OK, more Ranger/Mazda B series truck news. Just days after the anouncement of the new Ranger in Bankok, to nobody's surprise, Mazda unveiled their new BT-50 pickup.
It's identical to the new Ranger, and built in the same plant. So you'll notice the styling and specs are very close. The name change to BT-50 is supposed to designate it's half way status between a small truck and a large truck. Much is being made about it's 1 ton payload capacity. I think that's metric ton.
Styling is just as nice as the ranger. If you want to read more on it, here are several sites doing reviews;Bangkok Post CarKeys UK CarGuide Australia Car Today, South Africa

All the reveiws a glowing, as this new Ranger/BT-50 are great trucks.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

More New Ranger over at MPH

The new Ranger from Thailand is being rolled out Europe, and MPH has the story and more pictures here MPH Online including new crew cab. Now you can tell me that this new Thai Ranger isn't the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if it's going to Europe, it can't be crap either. I think that if this Ranger doesn't eventually make it to the US market, it will be one more big mistake on Ford's part.

Ford Focus C-Max 4x4? over at Jalopnik

Europe seems to be the land of mini vans, although they avoid that label, preferring MPV or People Mover. And Ford seems to have a full spread for the market. Here is the Ford Focus C-Max. I've already posted photos this week of the Galaxy and S-Max, so you can see the family resemblance among them. Based on the C1 Euro Focus platform, this is a neat little package. And Jalopnik points to spyphotos of a possible 4x4 version.
If you want a Focus C-Max in the United States, buy a Mazda5, they're both C1 based. I believe the Focus version came first, as I know the C-max has been out for a few years.
Again with a glass roof. Ford can't seem to deliver a decent mini van in the US, but boy they've got some nice options in Europe.
This is the Fusion MPV, based on Fiesta mechanicals. So this would be the smallest, then the C-Max, S-Max and finally the Galaxy. These are their car based MPVs.
And this Ford EcoSport is a 4x4 version of the UK Fusion, sold in Latin America and possibly headed to the US.
And if the Galaxy is too small how about the Toureno ? This I believe is based on the Transit commercial van from Ford's European line.
No glass roof or sporty styling, I'm not sure if this is still offered.

But it's interesting that Ford can make not 1 but 4 interesting MPV/Mini Vans in Europe and we got the FreeStar??????