GIVE TIL IT HURTS!

Hitching a ride

Family learns the hard way that they’d be better off to spit on their asses and slide than relying on a coal-powered EV for their transportation needs.

Family ditches electric truck on drive from Winnipeg to Chicago after charging troubles
Road trip completed with rented gas-powered vehicle, while Ford says charging infrastructure is improving

The owner of a 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat with an extended-range battery regrets buying the electric truck after attempting a road trip, only to abandon it and finish the drive with a gas-powered rental vehicle.

Dalbir Bala of La Salle, Man., left the truck in Minnesota last month after he said he tried unsuccessfully to charge the battery at two different charging stations.

“It was really a nightmare frustration for us,” Bala said.

He bought the truck — which is advertised as having a range of 515 kilometres — for $115,000 in January. He spent an additional $16,000 installing chargers at his home and his trucking business, and upgrading his residential electrical panel.

Bala, his wife and three kids left on a trip to visit Wisconsin Dells, Wis., and Chicago for business, on July 27. The truck was fully charged when they left their home just south of Winnipeg, and Bala had plans to stop at level 3 charging stations, which provide faster charges, located along the planned route.

Bala’s first stop was about 350 kilometres south of Winnipeg in Fargo, N.D. He paid $56 to charge his vehicle’s battery from 10 per cent up to 90 per cent.

The trouble started at his next stop in Albertville, Minn., where Bala said the only fast charger brought up a faulty connection message in his truck when he plugged in. He called the number on the charger for help but never got a response.

He headed to another charging station in nearby Elk River, Minn., but a charger there wouldn’t work either, he said.

With only 15 kilometres remaining on his battery and no fast charger within that range, he decided to ditch his Lightning. Bala got it towed to a Ford dealership and the family rented a gas-powered Toyota 4Runner to finish their trip to Chicago.

A nightmare indeed. The ultimate lesson here was expressed in a great movie from many years ago:

There’s another great old movie clip that is quite apropos to this sad story.

Heh. Indeed.

1

Resuscitating the hallowed V8

As my old H-D shop boss and close friend Goose always liked to say: ain’t no replacement for cubic-inch displacement.

Report: Mercedes-AMG Bringing Back V8 Engines
Word has it that Mercedes-AMG is mulling over how best to bring back V8 power to the C and E-Class. While the performance unit downsized its powertrains in a bid to be more emissions compliant, fans pointed out that AMG had long been synonymous with under-stressed and over-engineered V8s making enough power to burn through a set of tires in a single outing.

The shift ended up being a bit of a scandal and one that left a sour taste in the mouth of the people that would actually buy AMG-branded products — which may explain the claimed change of heart.

According to two unnamed sources speaking with Car and Driver, Mercedes-AMG is in the midst of deciding how to bring back the V8. Though the overarching plan remains ambiguous, the rationale behind it is anything but.

It would be stupid to pretend that a 2.0-liter Mercedes optimized for performance can’t still be a hoot to drive. The iconic Mercedes-Benz 190E (W201) is an absolute legend with the 2.0-liter. But there’s a reason models featuring the I6 tend to be more sought after. It isn’t because they’re more reliable, it’s definitely not because they’re cheaper to run, and it might not even have all that much to do with their being faster. People want the larger engines to have the mental satisfaction of knowing they’re driving something with a larger engine.

Not to mention the mental calm of knowing they have enough horsepower to safely get around any pokey-ass, underpowered little i4 road-obstacle they might ever find themselves impeded by.

While perky little four-bangers have a lot to offer, their implementation can sometimes be a little disappointing. Imagine you’ve been given a free Ford Mustang with the badging removed and are told to open the hood to see which motor is inside. Your level of excitement is going to be determined almost entirely by how many cylinders you find.

Compact cars can thrive on small and peppy turbocharged motors. But there’s something truly sad about seeing one tucked inside an engine bay of a vehicle that could have accommodated something larger — especially when it’s also a premium luxury product that costs as much as some starter homes.

“Sad” might be one word for it, yeah. I can think of several others: disgusting, appalling, infuriating spring immediately to mind. Especially considering that those squirrel-on-a-treadmill “powerplants,” tucked away under wafer-thin sheet-tin hoods mounted on a Kleenex box rolling on four go-kart wheels, were forcibly fobbed off on the world by overpowerful goobermints in the name of coping with a climate “crisis” that never existed. More on the origins of that sorry development can be found at this recent Eyrie post.

Good on Mercedes for having the gumption to at last toss a big, fat FUCK YOU at the slimy government enviro-queefs. Would that Ford might be able to find balls enough to join them, but I won’t be holding my breath waiting for it.

(Via Insty)

5

Hybrid

These intrepid gearheads built a Tesla worth driving.

We Built the World’s First V-8 Tesla
The Rich Rebuilds team had a dead Model S. They fixed it with a Camaro engine.

The Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas is extravagant, it is inspiring, it is perhaps the greatest automotive pissing contest you’ll ever witness. It’s an annual gathering for every somebody in the car world to show off the fanciest thing they can create on four(ish) wheels.

My business partner, Rich Benoit, and I thought we finally had something radical and bold enough for the event. We didn’t just want to exist there. We wanted to steal the show. That also meant we needed a car that could actually move under its own power. Most of the cars at SEMA get pushed onto the expo floor, but nobody’s happy about it. The shame of an unfinished ride is something to avoid at all costs. And yet with 30 hours until our transport truck arrived, we were approaching the city limits of Shamesville.

After two years of patiently converting a Tesla to an internal-combustion-engine muscle car—we’ll get to why on earth anyone would do this—we were down to just hooking up the fuel lines but were caught waiting for fitments to arrive in the mail. And they weren’t going to make it in time.

Rich and I have been revitalizing Teslas for about six years now. It started when Rich, an intrepid tinkerer, wanted a Tesla Model S but didn’t think it was reasonable to pay $100,000 for one. His solution: Take a couple of salvaged Teslas and put them together. Simple, right? Start with a flooded electric vehicle—good for its shell, not its corroded batteries—and wait for a second Tesla with a battered shell and a good set of Duracells. After a year and a half of wrenching, our first fully functional electric car emerged for a total of $6,500. It also launched our YouTube channel (Rich Rebuilds) featuring odd and eclectic EV projects in 2017, and eventually the Electrified Garage, our sister company that performs EV maintenance, repair, and conversions for the public.

After a couple of years, we were running out of Tesla projects and started building up cars that we simply wanted to enjoy. We resurrected a BMW i8. We gave a 1932 Ford Model A an electric powertrain from a crashed LAPD motorcycle. And we restored a neglected twin-turbo Audi RS7—too beautiful not to save. Not every project had a battery, which upset the die-hard EV hive, but we love all things automotive.

It’s an amazing project, which yielded a beautiful result. I especially dig the S1 Sequential short-throw shifter they used—all billet and leather, just a loverly piece of old-school craftsmanship. This next bit will sound all too familiar too anyone who’s ever worked in a custom car or motorcycle shop and has turned a wrench on a totally wild, outlaw project like this—which, y’know, I have.

Normally we’re a chipper group of people, but two weeks out, our garage felt like a funeral home. We were eating meals in there, napping on-site in a Mercedes Sprinter van conversion, and showers? Meh, no one was coming near us anyway. The lack of sleep started to make us feel numb inside, but we could see the finish line again. Then we got a call that the fitments were delayed. There was no way our Tesla could drive onto the trailer under its own power for the trip to Vegas.

Yup, shoprat cred: ESTABLISHED, firmly and fully. Ahh, but did the boys make it to the show on time? You better believe they did, amigos; ain’t no stopping a gearhead who’s motivated and dedicated enough to not bother about piffling trivialities like sleeping, eating, or bathing in his quest to put another custom-build notch on the proverbial bed-post.

After 2,733 mind-bending miles (seriously, check out how weird it gets on our YouTube), we pulled into Geddy’s driveway on Monday morning at 8 a.m. We had until 5 p.m. to deliver the car 20 minutes down the road to the SEMA floor. Taking our box of fitments, Geddy tuned the motor so that it didn’t run too lean and sound like a clangorous mess of sputters and backfires, or too rich that it bogged itself down and smelled like a BP tanker spill. Either option would be as embarrassing as pushing the car to its booth. We had precious few hours to find the balance, and then…the cylinders started to align like the planets to an astrologer. The sound was snappy, throaty, and downright mean.

We drove into SEMA with two hours to spare. It was time to scare and confuse people with something they’d never seen or heard before. Our work isn’t conventional, but you have to respect it—we received praise and admiration from a lot of our industry heroes that week.

It’s funny, we’ve been looking at the Tesla T on hoods of ever-so-quiet cars for the better part of a decade. But when our eyes drift to the side exhaust on our Model S, they begin to moisten from the inky smoke of 376 cubic inches ready to lay down now-444 ponies. We’re brought back to the thing that made us love automobiles in the first place: the thunderous sound of power.

Amen, brother. And that right there is the real payoff: finally firing that bad boy up, cracking a beer, leaning back on your Snap-On mechanic’s creeper seat to just catch your breath and listen to a high-output mill you’ve built with your own greasy, aching, scarred-up hands as it purrs like a contented big cat who just caught the daily impala. Such blissful moments usually come along well after regular business hours, and trust me, folks, there’s no feeling in the world quite like it.

And just think: not one stop did they have to make on the road to Vegas so as to charge the gott-damned battery overnight, either.

Update! Think I was kidding about those totally wild, outlaw projects, do ya? Well then, try Goose’s legendary Model-A bodied, overbored big-block Chevy crate motor-powered barbecue smoker on for size.

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Slick, no? Can’t see it in these pics, but the radiator overflow-catcher is a standard-issue, Mark 1-Mod 0 Jack Daniel’s Black Label bottle, in the handy dandy fifth size. Somewhere around here I also have pics of the outrageous Pro-Street Bar Stool we built, a no-shit drag-racing barstool powered by a hopped-up Evo Sportster engine out of one of my old bikes. It’s a beaut, too. Have to see if I can’t dig those snaps up and add a cpl of ‘em to this post later on, maybe.

Updated update! Almost forgot to tell ya, the big round thing on the back is a 500-gallon propane tank Goose liberated from a local junkyard, the actual smoker part of the whole dealio: slice two big oven-style doors in the side, mount two levels of huge, gnarly steel racks inside for the pork, stoke up the firebox on the back, and away we go. He told me the idea for this thing came to him in a dream one night, which is how Goose usually gets his best ones. Porky’s Purgatory, he ended up naming the beast, which apt moniker is now splashed in big, bold yellow letters across the top rear of the cab.

The vintage, beat-to-hell Model A body was too narrow to be squeezed onto the early-70s Chevy pickup frame rails, so we had to cut it into two sections, then weld in a widening strip to make it fit. All pinstriping was done by hand by the justly-renowned Eddie Brown up near the CMS, and a fine job of it he did too. Eddie’s fee? The aforementioned JD Black bottle, which he returned to us after it had been duly emptied.

The wooden booster steps on each side are actually garden-variety indoor house-stair sections from Lowes, stained in the usual fashion. To make them look more rugged and antique, we burned shallow holes into ‘em all over with a soldering iron, then applied clear varnish for the finishing touch. The zoomie-style exhaust stacks were handcrafted from tube stock by Goose, rattlecanned with Krylon Hi Heat exhaust paint. Carburetion is via a matched set of dual-quad Holly 750s, topped by an old turbo-ram intake, all of which we had lying around the shop for years before Goose finally came up with a fitting Forever Home for ‘em.

Some dream Goose had, eh?

Update to the updated update! OH OH OH—found a pic wherein the JD radiator-overflow receptacle is visible, at mid-top left:

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Heh. How can you not love it, I ask you?

Updates, forsooth! Upon reflection, I realized I simply must dedicate this post to my friend Phil, who will surely understand.

2

Daredevil done RIGHT

Evel Knievel shows us the way.


A Sportster, of course, the model he did all those crazy-ass jumps on. Harleys are notoriously difficult to wheelie on, but it’s by no means impossible, as my own Fakebook profile pic demonstrates:

Wheelie

Taken by my then-girlfriend Evelyn, on a visit to her mom; that’s the street one row back from Ocean Blvd where her Myrtle Beach crib was, a mere couple of blocks from the grand old Myrtle Beach Pavilion, long since tragically defunct.

The trouble with wheelies and older, factory H-Ds is multifaceted: excessive weight, lack of power, and a low center of gravity all add up to make the crucial balance-point quite high in comparison with the rice-grinders. The exception to that rule would be the also-long-defunct Buells; as with my extremely-modified 06 Sporty above, with those you actually had to go out of your way to keep the front wheel DOWN. Picking it up and carrying it a ways was almost the default..

Which, with the 06, was definitely the case, to my continual delight. When I romped down hard on the throttle in 1st gear, the front wheel would start to dance lightly as the motor “came on the pipe” and really started making horsepower; hit 2nd, and it would lift off the ground, daring you to keep it up as long as you could. Same in 3rd, incredibly enough.

Even my old boss Goose, who hated all Sportsters with a blazing passion, would jump on mine to give it a good, vigorous flogging now and then, eventually bringing my baby back to the shop not merely “rode hard and put up wet,” but “drenched in sweat, with its tongue hanging out,” as he liked to say.

I swear, it was the most fun bike I ever did build, no foolin’.

So yeah, for a bone-stock Harley, the wheelies can be a real trick. But as this guy shows, it’s always best not to make any assumptions when you’re out on the street.

Yep, that fella definitely knows what he’s about.

Update! Well, how about that: turns out Buell is NOT defunct after all. They’re still available, hand-built bikes orderable directly from the Buell factory.

Days of yore

Peters reminisces about a better time, now forever lost.

When We Didn’t Drive Devices
It has been more than 20 years since the day after which Americans got used to being handled like felonious cattle at airports. Stand here, don’t go there. Off with your shoes. Open your purse. Spread your legs. Those born after that day have no memory of what it was like to just get on a plane – sometimes, at the last minute – and fly to your destination without having to do more than show a boarding pass to the stewardess – as opposed to the “flight attendant” – at the gate.

Well, a day may come when people no longer remember what it was like to drive a car – as opposed to a device.

A car was a machine, first of all. It had a thing called an engine – and these were often radically different, car to car. But all of them were the same in that they burned liquid energy stored in a tank.

One of the really neat things about this liquid energy was its portability and stability. You transferred about 15-20 gallons of this liquid – they called it “gasoline” and “diesel” – into the car’s tank, which only took a few minutes to do and the car was ready to drive for hundreds of miles.

Unlike the way things are now, you didn’t have to wait all the time in order to get going. So you could just go – pretty much anywhere and whenever you felt like it. Almost like flying was, a long time ago – when it was possible to catch a flight, the saying went, on the spur of the moment and without having to show up at the airport an hour or two before the scheduled departure time and wait for the flight.

Because you could just go – by car, in those days – you never had to plan. Life had a spontaneity you may never fully appreciate. If you just felt like driving somewhere, you could – no matter how much gas or diesel you didn’t have in the tank. Even if there was almost none. We were able to do this because there were gas stations – where diesel was also usually available – all over and almost always within range. It was only a small hassle if you ran out of gas on the way to the station because it was possible to carry a small can or plastic jug of liquid fuel from the station to wherever you left the car and pour it into the tank and then drive to the station, where the tank could be filled in about five minutes or even less.

And a lot more cheaply than at today’s exorbitant Biden prices, too. Some truly drool-inspiring photos included with this one as well, folks, so check it out.

The cold, ugly facts about EVs

You had me at hello.

It’s Time To Admit It: EVs Are EVIL

We’ve had enough of the left’s guilt-tripping anyone who drives a gasoline-powered car. If anyone should be ashamed, it is those who are smugly plugging in their cars each night.

They are the ones responsible for raping the planet, poisoning entire communities, enriching genocidal tyrants, and creating a massive hazmat problem while doing nothing to stop “climate change.”

Does that sound harsh?

Here’s one recent bit of evidence. A Bloomberg investigation found that the aluminum Ford is using to build its “eco-friendly” EV pickup comes from Brazil.

“There, in the heart of the Amazon, rust-colored bauxite is being clawed from a mine that has long faced allegations of pollution and land appropriation,” it found. A class action lawsuit against the mining company accuses it of polluting the water, causing cancer, hair loss, neurological dysfunction, birth defects, and increased mortality.

While all cars use aluminum to cut pounds, EVs use far more to offset the enormous weight of the batteries themselves.

“For consumers seeking to lower their carbon footprints, the environmental and social costs of electric vehicles may be greater than they realize,” Bloomberg says.

No kidding.

Here’s the dirty, rotten truth about EVs.

Follows, a deft and copious skewering of the dirty, rotten pieces of junk, winding up thusly:

It’s time to end this hypocrisy.

It’s time to admit that EVs are being wildly oversold.

It’s time for EV owners and manufacturers to answer for the environmental and human rights crimes they are bankrolling in the name of “climate change.”

It’s time for those of us who drive gasoline-powered cars to take pride in the fact that our vehicles are safe, efficient, reliable, and don’t require ritual human sacrifices to build.

Amen to all that, with great big bells on. As I said: you had me at hello.

1

Vintage iron

Good ol’ American ingenuity, creativity, and know-how.

Arizona Mechanic Builds Own Fleet of Dwarf Cars Out of Old Fridges, Junkyard Scraps—Opens Own Museum

Master tinkerer Ernie Adams had always wanted a race car. But who has money for a race car?

Moreover, living in a little trailer park in Harvard, Nebraska, at the time he had no room to park one.

So, Adams, who has worked in a garage since age 16, satisfied his longing by building his very own antique dwarf car.

Over the years, his hobby would snowball massively. Now 82 and retired, Adams has an entire fleet comprised of some 15 antique dwarf cars—including several race cars—all made by his hand.

No stranger to tinkering in the shop, growing up, Adams lived just a quarter mile from the city dump, which fed his hobby. “That city dump was like a free department store for me,” he told The Epoch Times.

“At that time, they were taking gas washing machine motors off and putting electric on, and they’d throw the old motors in the dump.”

There were old bicycle and wagon parts, too, and he started deconstructing and reconstructing them and then selling his fully-functioning contraptions.

“I didn’t realize I was learning my trade back then,” he said, adding that his learning to build his own vehicles in those days came easy, because “time meant nothing, and there was no money involved.”

Lots of great pictures of this true American artist’s amazing work at the link, including this one.

DwarfRod

You do NOT want to miss any of this one, folks, trust me on that. The interior pic of the 49 Merc—which features an old-school shrunken head dangling from the mirror stanchion, and a CD player in the dash—is worth the click all by itself. And then there’s this:

The mechanic’s dwarf cars can easily handle the highway, zooming at speeds up to 100 miles per hour, while traveling as far as 200 or 300 miles on a tank of gas. They run on Honda motors installed by Adams.

Sure, it’s cozy but not uncomfortable, as Adams drops the floors down low to provide legroom aplenty.

Plus, they’re street legal; Adams, now living in Maricopa, contacted Arizona authorities and had them registered as “homemade” vehicles—as one would register a homemade trailer.

Having participated in dozens upon dozens of antique car competitions across the state and beyond, Adams boasts a wall full of trophies.

What an incredible, all-American story. I hope Adams gets rich as Croesus off of this hobby of his, I really do.

2

A future so bright

We have to be dragged into it against our will, kicking and screaming.

Road Trips in Our Long-Term EVs Have Been…Interesting

Broken chargers, full charging stations, single-digit temperatures, and optimistic range estimates have tested our patience.

While winter has seen many travelers stranded at airport check-in counters this year, MotorTrend editors have been braving the open road in our expanding fleet of long-term electric cars, trucks, and SUVs. During road-trips, MT’s Slack channels often become a de facto logbook of our exploits, capturing the headaches and small victories of long-distance EV driving in real time. Here’s a lightly edited look at how our drivers have fared in the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, the 2022 Rivian R1T, the 2022 Volkswagen ID4, the 2022 Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance, and the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 when holiday travel peaked, the weather and temperatures turned nasty, or they simply headed to far-flung destinations.

If you thought that was tons o’ fun, just wait till our antiquated and way-overtaxed power grid crumbles into pieces-parts under the weight of all these state-mandated struggle buggies. The only practical answer? This.

Chris Reed: I’m going to still drive the same vehicle I am now in 2040. I won’t be alone.

Assuming you’ll be allowed to, that is.

People routinely go down memory lane when they see decades-old vehicles — lovingly and ingeniously kept up for years despite replacement parts no longer being readily available — still on the streets long after they typically would have been consigned to scrap heaps. While wealthy collectors of older vehicles focus on classic sports or muscle cars, those with economic motives often prefer those they grew up with, such as the Volkswagen Beetles first sold in 1949. It was the best-selling car in the world in 1968 — popular in the U.S. in large part because of its countercultural associations, popular elsewhere more for its durability, affordability and excellent (for its time) gas mileage. In 1972, the Beetle passed the original Ford Model T to become the most manufactured vehicle in history.

Now there is an increasingly strong chance that this phenomenon — of aging vehicles still being a common sight long after they were first sold — will just keep growing in the United States, and that it could be strongest of all in California.

So I guess they’ve finally gotten it done, then: we are all Cubans now.

1

More on those electric Harleys

Thanks to Himself for hipping me to this vintage Eric Peters post, from 2018.

The Electric Suicide of Harley-Davidson

Imagine a Harley that doesn’t vibrate. No bark through the straight pipes when you push the starter button. No nothing through the pipes – which aren’t there anymore.

There is no starter button.

Just an On/Off switch.

No shifter, either. Because no gears.

All that remains is the “Harley” name on the tank – which isn’t one because it will never be used to store any gas. Might as well paint it on the side of your toaster.

Welcome to the 2019 LiveWire – Harley’s first electric motorcycle. The first of a whole line of them – intended to be ready by 2025.

They’re betting the future of the company on it.

If you have any Harley stock, better unload it.

Quickly.

Because an electric Harley is as silly as juice-bar speakeasy. It runs counter to the point.

People buy motorcycles – and especially Harley motorcycles – because they make that sound.

And also because of the smells – of gas and oil – which attend those sounds. Without which you’ve got what amounts to alcohol-free beer.

Or a girlfriend who won’t sleep with you.

Heh. Indeed. Oh, you’ll for sure be getting yourself a good fucking alright, but you won’t enjoy a single minute of it.

This is not going to end well. For the intangible reasons already articulated – a BLT without the bacon – and for other more tangible reasons.

Harleys – more than any other make of bike – appeal to the cruiser. The long-haul rider. The open road.

But electric bikes – like electric cars – are stunted by abbreviated operational range. A 2019 V-twin Sport Glide carries 5 gallons of easily and quickly replaced gas and gets 47 MPG. It thus can travel almost 240 miles – and when the tank runs low, this Harley can be back on the road in minutes.

That is freedom.

With the LiveWire, you are tied to an electric umbilical cord.

The opposite of freedom.

Yes, t’is, with cars and bikes both. Which is precisely why TPTB insists so vehemently on cramming their blasted EVs down our collective throat.

Over at Eric’s place, there are a cpl-three Harley-hating sourpuss types in the comments who scornfully profess their complete lack of concern for whether H-D carries on as an independent motorcycle manufacturer or not, and who the hell would want one of the outdated POS dinosaurs anydamned way? They’re missing the point at issue, which is, was, and shall eternally remain freedom. This ain’t about motorcycles and/or who makes ‘em. Ultimately, it’s about taking your freedom away from you, nothing more nor less. Y’know, just like with everything else.

2

Gawd help us

A black day for bikers will be dawning soon.

Harley-Davidson Will Soon Be All-Electric, CEO Says

As the celebration of its 120th anniversary kicks off, Harley-Davidson knows it needs to evolve in order to survive.

The storied American motorcycle maker may have spun off the battery-powered Livewire as its own separate brand, but that doesn’t mean the brand isn’t fully committed to electrification. In fact, its CEO, Jochen Zeitz, says that company will eventually only make electric bikes.

Jochen Zeitz, huh? Now THERE’S a real all-American name for ya. Kinda like all those native-born Englishters with monikers like Habib Abdullah and Rajnej Prajneesh, I suppose.

“At some point in time, Harley Davidson will be all-electric,” the executive recently told Dezeen. “But that’s a long-term transition that needs to happen. It’s not something you do overnight.”

Needs to happen? Um, no it doesn’t. It really, really doesn’t.

Zeitz’s pronouncement seems guaranteed to make a not-insignificant portion of the manufacturer’s customer base cringe. For many enthusiasts, the thing that really sets a Harley apart from other motorcycles—American-made or otherwise—is a thunderously loud internal combustion engine. But the company knows that no matter how important those large-displacement mills might be change is on the horizon.

Correction: a thunderously loud V-TWIN internal combustion etc. Preferably, with the jugs canted at a comely 45 degrees, not 90 like the Jap crappers and other foreign-copycat “cruiser” style bikes run. Anything else is just another rice burner. The angle of the dangle is what produces that sweet, lumpy “potato-potato-potato” idle sound, which cynical, old-school Harley mechanics like moi have for years maintained sounds much more like “to-the-dump-to-the-dump-to-the-dump-to-the-dump.” That sound is so distinctive, so beloved, that H-D actually tried to claim it as their exclusive legal property.

A major component of Harley’s lasting appeal is the sound of the engine—a kind of potato-potato-potato rhythmic mantra of America engineering. Making a V-twin is fairly easy, but Harley chose the easiest way to do it in having the two connecting rods share a single pin on the crankshaft. This means the 45-degree offset of the cylinders is also a 45-degree offset in ignition. That short gap between power strokes means there is a “bang-bang-pause” sound that rhythmically comes out of the exhaust. The wasted-spark ignition also affects the sound, since it is throwing spark into the front cylinder that is not on its power stroke just because the rear cylinder is. The signature sound really is that simple.

When I say signature sound, it is worth noting the difference between “signature” and “trademarked”. Harley Davidson tried, unsuccessfully, to trademark its exhaust note in 1994. Vibration is just as important as noise, and anyone that has ridden a Harley either loves or hates these rumblings. That shake is a byproduct of the two-connecting-rods-one-crankpin arrangement. This design makes is near impossible to counterbalence the engine to smooth things out, so instead of trying, Harley leans into it.

Hey, you don’t mess with success, Bub.

As for the wasted-spark thing, that can easily be rectified by installing a single-fire ignition rather than the OEM dual-fire arrangement, like my personal preference, the Crane HI-4. It’s the real-deal hot setup, not only because it’s single-fire but also because it allows you to retard the rear cylinder’s spark slightly, the better to cope with the fact that, being an air-cooled engine, that back one tends to run somewhat hotter than the front jug does. My old boss always recommended the dual-fire Dyna modules to our customers, owing simply to the fact that the Crane asking price was twice as high. For my money, though, the Crane was well worth it; three of my four hot-rod Sportys had ‘em, and they all ran like raped apes.

Hey, you gets what you pays for, right?

As for Harley’s all-electric ambitions, Ed quips:

Will the big electric choppers at least have a Jetsons-style bleebling sound as they zoom past?

Well, the aftermarket will probably come up with some sort of onboard sound system for that, but no matter. If it’s electric, then it ain’t a Harley, dammit.

Clueless update! Houston, we have a problem.

But after all, what does Harley-Davidson really have to offer aside from a bad boy image connected to loud exhaust pipes and the buy-American preferences of some motorcycle gangs clubs? I am not a biker nor an expert on motorcycles,

Why the hell are you still talking, then?

but I spent a lot of time as a consultant to two of the world’s biggest auto manufacturers and talked to a lot of engineers about manufacturing tolerances and other arcana of internal combustion engines, and I know that Harleys are not exactly pushing the frontier of excellence. In fact, one American executive with whom I worked was an enthusiast and drove a BMW machine, while others praised the engine technology of Japanese manufacturers.

Uh huh. So perhaps you could explain to me why it might be that every single one of the Big Four Jap maufacturers offers at least one transparently-obvious Harley clone in their model lineup, usually several of the ghastly things?

For many years now, Harleys have primarily appealed to older bikers—ironbutt types who think nothing of getting up early on a Saturday morning and taking a 250-300 mile jaunt, one way, in a pack, just to go to some diner out in the boonies and have breakfast. These guys don’t give a fat rat’s ass about canyon-carving, flying down a twisty mountain road as fast as they possibly can, urban lane-spliitting through monstrous traffic, or LeMans style road-racing.

No, what they like is a nice, laid-back putt way out on some gently-winding country two-lane, on a plush, easy-riding, low-slung sled they’ve made uniquely their own via extensive customization. For them—s’cuse me, for us–it’s all about being In The Wind, getting their knees in the breeze, enjoying that special frisson of total freedom that comes along with that, and nothing else. And yes, the tradition, cachet, and mystique of an American-made V Twin is the only thing that does it for ‘em.

Yes, some of us are indeed horsepower junkies too, which extra ponies can easily be had from a Harley engine with relatively little effort or expense, most of which bolt-on tweaking can be done in your own garage or backyard shed without specialized tools and/or machinery.

Especially my beloved Sportsters. Love them lean, mean little beasties, and I always will.

The old HD bumper-sticker adage still holds perfectly true: If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.

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3

Doing in diesel

As fossil fuels go, it just might be the most “problematic” of them all.

The $5.25 Per Gallon Canary in the Coal Mine

There may not be a shortage of diesel fuel yet but there is something else that amounts to the same:

Unaffordable diesel.

A gallon currently sells for about $5.25 per gallon on average.

Interestingly, this is about $2 more per gallon than the current cost of a gallon of regular unleaded. The Biden Thing has succeeded in temporarily tamping down the cost of the latter by draining the Strategic Petroleum Reserve – but diesel prices have not come down appreciably from their spring/summer high of about $5.70 per gallon.

Diesel cost less than half as much two years ago – just before the Biden Thing was selected president.

If you have a diesel-powered car (such as the excoriated-anathematized VW Jettas, Golfs and Beetles equipped with the TDI engines you can’t buy anymore) with a 15 gallon tank, you’re currently paying about $80 to fill ‘er up.

That’s not very affordable.

But not many people are driving diesel-powered cars – chiefly because the car companies haven’t been selling them for about seven years now, ever since the federal government sicced itself on VW for selling them. In italics to emphasize the true nature of VW’s “crime,” which was not “cheating” on government “emissions” certification tests anymore than Matt Strickland’s restaurant, Gourmeltz, was Hut! Hut! Hutted! the other day for supposedly selling alcoholic beverages without an ABC permit.

Alternatives always present problems for those who do not want others to have alternatives.

And now, they don’t.

Diesel-powered vehicles are problem vehicles – from the point-of-view of those pushing the electrification of vehicles. Not only because they go farther than gas-powered vehicles and  much farther than electric vehicles – but particularly because it is possible to keep them going independently of a centrally controlled distribution apparatus.

Gas-powered vehicles require gasoline to keep on going. If there’s none at the pump, it is hard to refine your own. Gas does not store very well for very long, either.

Actually, it used to, but not since FederalGovCo foisted the ethanol-based shite on us all, which worthless crap will reliably convert itself into so much sugary glop in about, oh, an hour and a half or thereabouts.

So even if you thought ahead and stored 50 gallons in a drum for just-in-case, its shelf-life is limited.

Electricity is hard to generate independently in the quantity needed by electric cars. Even on 120v grid power, it takes a day or more to instill a charge in a 400-800 volt electric car battery. If the grid goes down, it will take much longer – unless you have a seriously mighty solar array on your roof or on your backyard.

Diesel, on the other hand, stores almost indefinitely. And many diesel engines can burn bio-diesel, which is “diesel” not made from petroleum. It is made from vegetable oil, animal fats and restaurant grease. In other words, almost anyone can make it.

Themselves.

This presents a dangerous alternative to those pushing “electrification,” which is really more about centralization.

Annnnnd BINGO. In other words, for our Deep State lords and masters, this is really about exactly what it’s always about: Power, and Control.

Update! Ernie drops a most interesting and informative comment.

Eric, you have a bit of a technical error. Natural fuels are refined using fractional distillation, the light stuff comes off first, then some gasoline, then kerosene, then progressively heavier grades of fuel oil, down to bunker fuel and asphalt/tar. In a barrel of crude oil there is inherently a lot more diesel fuel of various types than gasoline. Diesel fuel is inherently far more abundant and used to be far cheaper than gasoline- thus its use in heavy haulers like rigs, trains, and ships.

Also, old school mechanically injected diesels are inherently cleaner than gasoline engines until the 90’s closed loop engine management. As usual, pinheads saw occasional puffs of soot and assumed they had to be dirty, leading to a lot of prejudice against Rudolph Diesel’s “black mistress.”

Man, I’m so old I can remember back in the Olden Thymes of the late 70s/early 80s, when diesel was in fact so much cheaper than regular gasoline that people all over the country were dumping their old rides for diesel cars because of the savings they could realize from making the switch. My, how times have changed.

2

Preview of coming attractions

Not that they’re at all attractive, natch.

Now that the Left has secured its power, expect the Left to exercise it.

This will manifest in numerous ways but perhaps the most directly felt will be at the pump, shortly – where we can expect the cost of gas and diesel to increase, suddenly – to the point of unaffordability for many. Especially people who do not live in or near cities.

The point of this being to nudge them out of the country, long a percolating desire of the Left.

Superficially, it will be done as a way to nudge people into EeeeeeeeVeeeeees – which are said by the Left to be “zero emissions” vehicles that rely on “renewable” and “clean” energy. Claims that are as false as they are disingenuous (it not being a question of ignorance about those those claims being false). But never mind that, for the moment.

At this moment, it is necessary to at least triple the current cost of gas and diesel – in order to make driving gas and diesel-powered vehicles – including hybrids – financially impossible for most people. In order to make an EeeeeeeeVeeeee seem – per Pete Buttigieg – the “affordable” alternative to them.

Never mind the cost of the EeeeeeeeeVeeeeee itself, as opposed to the cost of gas or diesel fuel.

The point being to make the EeeeeeeeeeeVeeeeee look – just plausibly enough – to the not-too-numerate – as being a way to “save money” vs. spending it on gas and diesel made very costly, indeed. That will be the sell. The hook will be that – even if you can afford to spend what it takes to buy an EeeeeeeVeeeee – you will have difficulty using it.

Unless you live in or near a city.

Do you think it’s possible the people nudging us into EeeeeeeVeeeeees might just do that? In order to nudge people who don’t live in or near a city to move out of the country? If you don’t suppose it, you probably haven’t read about it. Urban planners – as they style themselves – who are all of the Left – have for the past 50 years-plus been planning to use their power to curtail what they sneer at as “sprawl.” By which these Leftists mean you not living in or near the city – and so under their control – but rather as far away from it as it is economically and practically feasible for you to get away from it.

The car – not the EeeeeeeVeeee – made that possible.

People who didn’t want to live anywhere near the crowds, the costs and the general diminishment of life that attends city life for all who are not rich enough to afford a handsome townhouse (or swanky condo) in the best part of the city but who had jobs in or near the city were able – via the car – to live very far away from all of that because it was feasible as a practical matter and affordable as a financial matter. They could avoid city life. Could live a much larger life than was economically possible in or near the city, where they could not afford the handsome townhouse or the swanky condo – nor the expensive private schools for their kids, either (so as to keep their kids away from the pathologies that afflict in-city government schools).

The upshot is, they want the country, the nice houses, the wide-open spaces, for themselves and their kind. Not…not…not YOU PEOPLE, ick!

1

EV follies

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh, and laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

Wyoming Electric Vehicle Road Trip Nightmare: Man Spends 15 Hours to Travel 178 Miles Across State

A Colorado man learned the lesson of just how bad electric vehicles are for long-distance travel when he discovered that it took him 15 hellish hours to drive from Cheyenne to Casper, Wyoming.

At around 180 miles, this is a trip that only takes about three hours in a gas-powered vehicle. But because he was in an EV, the trip took five times more time to make the distance.

The 15-hour slog was his first attempt at using his EV for the trip to Wyoming. He has made the trip since, too. But he has only been able to shave four hours off that time, even with the experience.

The huge problem is, of course, a lack of charging stations. And since EVs only travel a few hundred miles between charges, that meant he was stuck trying to find places to charge — which were usually way out of his way — and then sit idly for hours as his vehicle charges up.

Certainly, electric cars themselves are not always a problem, especially for local driving. Instead, the problem comes with the Biden administration’s attempts to force Americans to switch to electric vehicles rather than allowing them to determine for themselves what kind of vehicle best fits their needs.

Another problem is the fact that our entire electric grid is not set up to charge millions of electric cars. Already this year California told EV users not to charge their cars during its repeated summer blackouts.

The hilarity rolls on from there, until we slam headlong into a grievous category error.

If individual consumers want to buy a far more expensive electric vehicle only to drive locally, that is their choice, of course. But the government’s idea that we all should be in an EV is simply not a logical goal.

Huston’s closing statement is based on a flawed premise: that FederalGovCo’s true aim here is to facilitate clean, Green transportation to save Mother Gaia and halt the deadly scourge of Climate Change (formerly Global Warming, formerly Global Cooling, formerly The Weather™). Not so, I’m afraid, not at all; the true aim here is to inhibit freedom of movement for the Great Unwashed masses to the greatest extent possible, that’s all. Once you’ve got that bit down, the rest is all too logical.

4

The Great Undoing

Sido calls a spade a spade.

One of the marvels of White civilization that we take for granted is how easily one can travel enormous distances in a relatively short amount of time. I am not talking about air travel, that is a whole different beast also resulting from White ingenuity, but rather travel by car.

For example, if I wanted to hop in the car and go see Big Country Expat in Florida I could get there is just over 16 hours, travelling a little over 1,100 miles. Let’s call it 17.5 hours to account for stopping for gas. That means that every hour I would go 62 miles. Back in the pioneer days, going 15 miles via covered wagon in a day was a solid day so I can basically cover the equivalent of four days of wagon travel every hour. For contrast, for me to walk to nearby Toledo, Ohio would take over a day on non-stop walking while I can drive it in about an hour and a half. Riding a bike, something I haven’t done since the 1980s, would take around 7 hours.

Automobiles, cheap gas, the intricate highway system and our travel infrastructure which includes gas stations every few miles on most highways make travelling across our nation a breeze. With a credit card and a reliable vehicle you can go anywhere in the continental U.S. of A in just a few days, even from Bangor, Maine to San Diego in just 48 hours of driving. Add in a built in GPS included with most phones and if you give me an address, I can hop in the car and land right at that doorstep with no preparation.

No one really thinks about it. It just is, just as we rarely think about having unlimited potable water coming from the tap or unlimited electricity (except in California) when we flip a switch. Getting to that point where amazing conveniences are something we don’t even notice took centuries of innovation and hard work.

Undoing all of that innovation and hard work is taking a lot less time.

Well, naturally; after all, it’s easier, especially for a muttonheaded shitlib wrecker who really can’t comprehend doing anything else. Arthur goes on from there to dispense with the EV scam, in the process linking to the incomparable John Wilder’s thoroughgoing, leave-no-rare-earth-stone-unturned evisceration of same. As always, it’s tough to excerpt Wilder’s stuff without leaving out something important, but here’s a taste.

Electric cars are, in most ways, absolutely inferior to cars powered by Oil, Our Slippery Friend™. Why? The technology is relatively new, the first electric car (really a locomotive, but who’s counting) having been invented only in 1842 in Edinburgh by engineer Robert Davidson. It traveled at the breakneck speed of 4 miles per hour, which is roughly 4 miles per hour faster than Davidson could move after a fifth of something that John Walker® (yes that one) might have been selling back then.

So, it’s not fair to judge electric cars, since they have been only developing for 180 or so years. It’s still an infant technology. Oh, wait.

But California has decided to ban the sale of new gasoline cars by 2035. Hurray, California!  You’re geniuses beyond imagination! You’ll single-handedly solve global warming.

Or…will that pesky math get in the way?

Let’s see – in order to get California girls to the beach, it takes 13.8-15 billion gallons of gasoline. We’re skipping diesel for now, and just dealing with gasoline. I’ll use 15 billion gallons because in the immortal words of the captain of the Hindenburg, “Close enough.”

Let’s do the math.

15 billion gallons of sweet, sweet gasoline is 500 TW-h (that’s terawatt hours, which is the metric equivalent 5,000 bushels per fortnight). California produces in electricity, in total…drumroll please, 277 TW-h. So, California produces slightly more than half the electricity needed by its stunning new fleet of cars.

To keep just the same level of energy production available for homes (because, presumably, all new citizens between now and then will live in tents) that California will need to triple the amount of power it produces. If you count in increased uses for the iAndroid™ Eleventy-X® and GameBoxStation 2000©, the grid will have to multiply by four or five times. And, remember, we skipped diesel engines, so it’s nearly certain that my estimate is low.

It all reminds one of Heinlein’s classic quote from The Notebooks Of Lazarus Long.

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now & then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

Indeed. So with shitlibs firmly in charge, we can count on an extended run of nothing but the very worst sort of “bad luck” for the foreseeable future, until enough of us get enough of a bellyful of this shit to remove the icy, dead hand of Leftism from around our necks.

You’ll want to read all of both Arthur’s and Wilder’s excellent posts, folks.

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