Friday, December 18, 2009

A Pillow-Soft, Chrome-Plated Town Car

The Town Car is a full-sized luxury sedan considered to be the flagship of Ford’s Lincoln automobile brandname. It is widely noted for its generously wide interior where one could stretch in the same way as sitting in a business class airline seat. Forbes magazine described the Town Car as a pillowy ride dressed in plenty of chrome.

It is the largest American-made car at nearly 18 feet long. The Signature L edition is slightly longer at 18 and 1/2 feet. This model is competing against other top luxury automobiles like the LS 460 of Lexus, the BMW 7 series, and DTS by Cadillac. It remains America’s most used limousine or chauffeured car. It is more affordable than its European counterpart in the luxury sedan category. Priced at $42,175 (basic Signature Series), the Town Car is the most expensive among its American equivalent. The Signature L is considered as its top-of-the-line at $56,745. A 2003 bullet-proof edition is priced at $144,995.

The Town Car is produced at the Wixom Plant in Michigan. After the 2007 model, Ford decided to move the production of this model to its Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada where other luxury cars like the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis are currently built.

The first Town Car was custom-built for Henry Ford in 1922, and the same name surfaced in 1959 as one among Lincoln’s Continental models. In 1981, the name Town Car stood as a model itself. The latest models are named the Signature series, the Signature L and the Designer.

This car model is generously provided with a powerful 4.6-liter SOHC 16-valve V8 engine that is matched with a 4-speed electronic controlled automatic transmission. Its speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion power steering lets you drive with ease. The black sidewall P225/60R17 tires are all-season compatible.

Inside, the plush cabin is blessed with glove-soft premium light camel leather. The dashboard and other interior platforms are made up of trimmed American walnut burl wood. Although in looks the Town Car is more of a retroactive design, a modern hi-tech touch-screen map and destination navigator console is installed, using DVD mapping and GPS satellite technology combined. The auto-dimming rear view mirror is equipped with a microphone capable of receiving 170 recorded voice commands.

It is like having a concierge on-board while navigating the way to your office or to the ATM terminal of your bank. The navigator could also be programmed to help you find the nearest hospital or police station in times of emergency.

This model from Lincoln is the first to pass a 5-star crash test rating in all five categories – driver frontal impact, passenger frontal impact, front seat side impact, rear seat side impact and roll over. From 2003 to 2007, it garnered the top ratings granted by the US government’s road safety regulation body, beating other leading luxury sedans. The Town Car is also equipped with Anti-Lock Brake System and All-Speed Traction Control.

Entertainment is also VIP class. The cabin is always filled with clear sound, thanks to a THX certified 300-watt stereo. The system is equipped with a subscribed SIRIUS satellite radio with 125 channels to provide you and your passenger with the latest news, sports update, and bulletins on weather and traffic from coast to coast.

Show everyone the legacy of America’s top luxury car by dressing your key with Lincoln Town Car keychains. It is available in round Chrome, oval metal and leather-based designs featuring a black dome inscribed with the rectangle and thin cross logo and the text “Lincoln Town Car”.

A Few Words About Car Dealer Auctions

Car dealer auctions are becoming quite popular today. They are a great venue for the average citizen to be able to find a good car at a very reasonable price. Car dealer auctions are also a very useful service for small used car sales operations as they can keep a constantly replenished stock of used automobiles that are often in very good quality or require a minimal amount of repairs to make them an easy sale to the car shopping public. Many dealerships will also make use car dealer auctions as a way of rotating their stock by auctioning off the cars that have been on their lot for an extended period of time and then buying new cars from the incurred profits.

Where Does One Find Car dealer auctions?

Car dealer auctions are a very easy thing to locate with the great wealth of information that surrounds us. Many times the local newspaper will have several listings for various car dealer auctions around the area. Just pick up the local paper and give it a good looking over, especially in the classified advertisements section and you will likely find a car dealer auction near your hometown. Special times of year, such as the holiday season or income tax return time, seem to bring car dealer auctions out of the woodwork as they try to boost sales for the year.

With the easy access to the Internet these days, why not take a peek at your favorite search engines result for car dealer auctions? With the popularity and ease of email, many car dealerships even offer an online auction and thus, many times, the search will lead to car dealer auctions that you can participate in with never leaving your home. Imagine sitting at your desk and buying a car while watching cartoons with your kid. Can you imagine any more efficient version of multitasking?

If none of these options strike your fancy, you could always ask around to find your local venue of car dealer auctions. The local new car dealerships can usually tell you if they plan on hosting any car dealer auctions in your area. After all, they really don't want to lose your business to someone else and every person attending car dealer auctions is a potential sale and profit for the dealership.

In closing, get out do some checking and you will find car dealer auctions near your home town. With just a small investment of time and research looking for car dealer auctions, you could save yourself a lot of money and find just the car you are looking for.

A Comparison Of Car Registration Number Systems In Europe

Although there are many new harmonisation laws across the European Union , each country still has its own unique way of identifying the vehicles registered in each country. The only common element is the blue border on the left edge of the number plate with the EU flag and country of origin and even this is optional in many member country. This article compares some of the member countries display of car registrations.

Beginning with England, number plates have black digits on white background ( front ) and yellow background ( rear ) with EU border optional number plates generally stay with the car during its lifetime.The numbering system has 7 digits with age and area identifiers. The first two digits are alpha characters and depict the area the car was first registered the next two are numbers giving the year of registration and the last three letters are random. France is adopting a new system in 2008 of 7 digits comprising two letters three numbers and two letters all purely random any area identify will be by a logo on the blue strip at the right hand side of the plate.

The number plates will remain with the car during its life. France’s current system comprises 3 or 4 numbers then two letters the two numbers , the last two numbers are the area identifier and if a car moves areas it is re-registered. Similar to England the digits are black on a white background for the front plate and black on yellow for the rear. Spain adopted a new system in 2000 which comprises 4 numbers the 3 letters, black digits on white backgrounds front and rear, although the last 3 letters can give an indication of where and when the car was first registered it is not as blatant as the old system where the first two letters of the registration number indicated the capital city of the region concerned e.g M for Madrid and MA for Malaga.

The blue EU border at the left hand side is compulsory on new number plates but was optional on the old system.Germany adopted its current system after re-unification in 1990 with a maximum of 8 black digits on a white background. Much emphasis is placed on the area coding and if the owner changes his/her area of residence new plates must be bought. The registration will start with letters identifying the city and even district with numbers following. The exact combination of letters and numbers depends on how big the city/district is and how many cars are likely to be registered there.

Curiously a space is considered to be a character so any a gap between digits would have a hyphen in it if it was not a space character. In between the area code and the rest of the digits there is a sticker signifying compliance with emmissions and safety testing.

The EU blue strip at the left is mandatory with the letter D for Deutschland. Italy adopted its current system in 1994 comprising 7 digits starting with two letters then 3 numbers then two letters. They discontinued the area identifier with this system but this proved unpopular so since there is option of having a regional code on the right hand side blue band which also displays the year of registration they also added the blue EU band at the LHS at this time. Both front and rear plates are white with black digits.

Belgian car number plates differ enormously from the previous countries in that they are specific to the driver not the car and when you change the car you keep your registration number. The rear plate is government supplied with red digits on a white background. It is usually mounted on a further plate which has the EU blue band at the right hand side. The front plate can either be the same as the rear or can be a European style similar to the previous countries covered earlier. Current numbering system is three letters followed by three numbers although because they are driver specific there are many still in use with one letter and four numbers or 2 letters and 3 numbers.Obviously area and age identifiers are not used as the registration number is specific to the driver not the car.

Dutch number plates have followed the format of two numbers two letter two letters with hyphens between since 1999 , earlier systems were similar but varied the interchanged pairs of letters for numbers and vice-versa.Both plates are yellow with black digits and have the blue EU band at the right hand side. Apart from special plates such as dealer and export plates the numbers and letters have no significance. Danish number plates normally have two letters followed by 5 numbers, displayed by black digits on white background since 1969 there is no area or age identifier although the number part signifies whether the vehicle is a car or bike etc. The blue EU band at the left border is not due to be implemented in 2008.

It is interesting to note that the United Kingdom is the only country amongst the above to use plastic car number plate , nearly all others use pressed metal plates.

A Car Racer’s Badge

What is in Monte Carlo that Chevrolet named one its cars from it? This sounds like a $500,000-question in the famous game show “Who wants to be a millionaire?” Is it the casinos and Europe’s best resorts? Absolutely not. So it must be the Circuit de Monaco, the home of Formula One Grand Prix. One of the longest running and most respected car rallies marking the first event of the season during the World Rally Championship calendar is a regular event in Monte Carlo.

Chevy Monte Carlo has always been a sports car. In 1970, the model started as a two-door coupe resembling Pontiac’s G-body Grand Prix. Upon its retirement in 2007, it evolved as a mid-range two-door sedan. “On Tuesday, June 19, 2007, the last two 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo models rolled off the line at the Oshawa Assembly Plant [in Ontario, Canada]….. The two models features the "SS" 5.3L V8 Engine with its "best in class" rated 303 horsepower (226 kW); 18" polished aluminum wheels; heated exterior mirrors; and AM/FM/CD and XM Radio", the GM On-line Auction News announced in August 2007.

The Monte Carlo came out as a two-door, sports car looking model consistently. This is obviously to mark its difference from the Impala, the street variant of Chevy’s mid-sized sedans.

Maybe this Chevy model is already a part of history, but one should not forget its glorious days in National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) races. Every owner of this racing stock deserves a badge – a Chevy Monte Carlo keychain. These very affordable memorabilia are available in varying elegant designs made of distinct materials, such as leather (silver or gold plated), round Chrome (silver or gold coated), and stainless metal (round or oval) priced modestly at $6.99 a piece.

The name ‘Monte Carlo’ stands out over a black or blue crystallite dome attached to a silver, gold, Chrome or metal plate. In other variants, the old red, white and blue Chevy Logo is placed above the ‘Monte Carlo SS’ insignia. SS stands for the ‘Super Sport’ edition of Chevy models.

You may have won a NASCAR race with your Monte Carlo. You may have not won any official race at all, tried the underground race tracks and nearly got busted. But this faithful roadrunner always took you to work, to the beach or simply back to the comfort of your home.

I am sure you’ll agree with me. You chose Monte Carlo because racing is your first love. You’ve always felt that craving and need for speed, just like racing in that famous computer-simulated game called Need for Speed Series.

Do not hide this truth to your peers and the people around you. In today’s corporate rat race, your personality should be intimidating at times. Let your car do that thing for you. The more “I will not dare to race with this guy” remarks you’ve got, the more chances that lesser people will be joining you in the competition on the way to the top. Hang on to that grand car racer’s badge always.

A Brief History Of Air Compressors

Air compressors have been around for literally thousands of years. Now granted the devices the ancients used for compressing air bear little resemblance to the modern air compressor. However, the basic principle is the same and without the primitive air compressors, civilization would not have evolved as fast it has. One of the primary uses for compressed air was to increase the combustion in a furnace. The operator of a forge would use a bellows to blast compressed air into the furnace to stoke up the heat. This allowed ancient man to produce stronger and better metals for tools and weapons. Most people today would not equate a bellows as an air compressor, but that is exactly what it is. The blacksmith would pull apart the handles on the bellows and a check valve would allow fresh air to rush into the accordion like chamber. Then using muscles as the power source, the blacksmith would squeeze the handles together and the compressed air would shoot out the fitting on the end. Using this process it became possible to create a fire hot enough to smelt ores of copper, tin, lead and iron. Bellows are still used today in a variety of applications. The organ at your local church is probable powered by a bellows that is practically identical to one a thousand years ago. They even pop up in medical applications such as breathing machines in operation rooms.

It wasn’t until later in history that it became possible to compress air using mechanical methods. In the past, only human and animal power was possible to power crude air compressors and this severely limited the utility of these primitive devices. With the industrial revolution, the mechanical air compressor was born. Engines running from steam power became the first method to power an air compressor. One of the first uses of a steam powered air compressor was in underwater diving equipment. This opened up whole new methods for under water exploration and even underwater construction. The compressed air could be pumped down to a diver and allow extended stays below surface. Compressed air was also much safer to use as a power source for early pneumatic tools and drills. For example, early rock drills were powered by steam. However, hot steam is far more hazardous than compressed air. A ruptured steam line can kill or seriously injure a worker while compressed air is relatively benign. Steam powered rock drills eventually gave way to drills powered by air compressors.

As the internal combustion engine gained popularity, they began to be used as a power source for air compressors. Gasoline engines are today commonly used in piston type air compressors. This would be a common air compressor you would find in your garage or on the back of a service truck. The gasoline engine drives a crankshaft and piston. As the piston moves into the downstroke postion, air flows into the cylinder on the low pressure end. When the upstroke begins, air moves into the high pressure. This action produces compressed air. In larger industrial applications, a rotary type air compressor is used. Rotary air compressors produce compressed air by turning a vaned rotor inside of a long enclosed chamber. As the engine spins the rotor, air is sucked inside the chamber. The air is then forced down the vanes into smaller and smaller areas. This action compresses the air and forces it out the other end. Rotary vane air compressors work very well in industrial applications because they are capable of producing large amounts of compressed air for extended periods of time.

2007 Hyundai Entourage: The Minivan Wars Heat Up

It was only a matter of time before they entered the minivan fray and after several false starts the on again and off again Hyundai minivan appears to be on once again. Hyundai is targeting a market it has long sidestepped and it appears that a long wheelbase version of the Kia Sedona will soon be sold in the US as a Hyundai Entourage. The minivan wars are heating up again even as one competitor exits the market and another also gives serious consideration to abandoning the minivan segment. Is there an Entourage in your future? Read on for all the details and then decide.

Two decades ago, Hyundai entered the North American market with its $3600 Excel Pony. This cheaply priced, cheaply built model set the tone for the new importer and it wasn’t a good one at that. Low quality went arm and arm with the low price, but consumers still bought Hyundais anyway as a new Excel compared favorably with prices for late model used cars of that era. Many owners shrugged off the cheap plastics and quality problems, citing that the Pony gave them something they never had before: a brand new car.

Eventually, Hyundai expanded its line up and improved its quality levels. An industry best warranty plan was crafted and put in place which helped to underscore that Hyundai was serious about building quality vehicles and would stand behind their many products. Mysteriously, a minivan was not part of the line up even as its Kia subsidiary successfully introduced the Sedona and as demand for minivans remained strong.

Rumors of a Hyundai minivan have been circulating for several years. Even previous company press releases hinted at the possibility, but no official announcement had been forthcoming. Finally, late in 2005, Hyundai signaled that they would go ahead and produce a minivan based on the stretched wheelbase version of the Kia Sedona. No short wheelbase van is planned, so the Entourage will clearly target a slightly higher and more lucrative end of the minivan market.

With a 3.8L V6 engine, power sliding doors, ABS, traction control, six airbags, and triple zone air conditioning, the Entourage will be equipped to compete directly against four popular models: the Dodge Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, Honda Odyssey, and the Toyota Sienna. Based on the Sedona, Hyundai does have its work cut out for itself as the Sedona has been below average in quality and reliability.

To Hyundai’s advantage will be its competitive pricing and with Ford out of the market and General Motors considering doing the same, Hyundai’s focus will be set squarely on competing against the two Chrysler products as well as the pricey Honda and Sienna models. While Chrysler is currently the sales leader in this segment, a smartly optioned Entourage will probably grab sales from fully equipped versions of each model. This will not happen if quality levels do not improve.

Knowing the competitiveness of this Korean automaker, you can expect that the Entourage will present a strong battle once quality issues have been overcome. Should that happen, you can expect that the Hyundai Entourage and Kia Sedona will grab more sales and become a force to be reckoned with. The consumer may be the biggest winner as prices are likely to hold or even come down in the face of strong competition.

2007 Chevy Tahoe: Selling Like Gangbusters

The jury is in regarding the recently released big SUVs from General Motors: they are an overwhelming success story. The Chevy Tahoe along with its GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade siblings are bringing in big gains for GM. Just in time too as the automaker pares excess capacity, closes plants, and lays off tens of thousands of workers. So, what is it about the Tahoe that is stimulating sales? Everything!

Just what is it about the new Tahoe that is bringing in the customers? With sales up nearly 50% over the previous year’s model there has to be something that sets the big SUV apart from its predecessor. In fact, everything has changed with the Tahoe as it is an all new model:

New body – The size of the Tahoe remains about the same: it is big. Yet, the body has been restyled with fresh sheet metal giving the truck a thoroughly modern and imposing look. The Tahoe is much more aerodynamic than the preceding model with a wind drag that is lower than the smaller Porsche Cayenne SUV according to Chevrolet.

New engine technology – Back during the 1980s, GM experimented and failed when it launched Cadillac vehicles that could shut down unneeded cylinders at various times during the engine cycle. Two decades later, the company has perfected the technology and its “displacement on demand” engines are some of the most economical motors sold today. In fact, car critics have noted that the Tahoe’s fuel mileage is comparable to the much smaller Kia Sorento.

New interior features – GM squeezed extra room out of the already roomy Tahoe interior by sculpting out more space from seat backs, doors, and the headliner. The result is an even roomier feel for passengers. In addition, Chevrolet is reporting that the new Tahoe is 20% quieter than its predecessor thanks to acoustic dampening materials and the improvements in aerodynamics.

Rallying cry -- Besides the progress over the previous model, there is one other thing that is stimulating sales: owner loyalty. GM’s misfortunes haven’t gone completely unnoticed by loyalists who enjoy the big SUV and insist on supporting the brand. Typically, when any popular model is redone, sales do surge. However, in the face of high fuel prices the lift that Chevrolet is getting is much higher than had been expected. This is good news for GM as the SUVs carry a high per unit profit margin to them; money the “general” needs as it attempts to right its listing ship.

Of course, not everyone wants a vehicle the size of the Tahoe. Instead, they will have to wait a few more months before the even bigger Suburban joins the line up. And you thought I was about to mention some sort of compact SUV, right? Not for Chevy owners who are loyal to their big trucks, vans, and SUVs!