Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Best Cars of the 20th Century.

The Best Cars of the 20th Century.

#10, the Ford Model ‘T’
                While this car would not even be street legal any more, it was heralded as the answer to the horse manure problem facing cities of the day.  At 600 dollars a copy it was easily available to most middle class people.  Given a straight road, an extra gas can and two spare tires it could travel 100 miles in 8 hours. 

#9, the Wiley Jeep
                Designed in just 120 days as a ¼ ton truck for the Army, this was the car that won World War 2.  It had unprecedented power for a vehicle its size and was extremely adaptable to everything but swimming.(they tried, it didn’t)  650,000 were built in 3 years, enough motorization to place every man in the army on the road at the same time. 

#8, the Volkswagen Beetle.
                Cheap, reliable, cramped.  The beetle was and is the worlds most popular car.  Designed in the 30’s, it is still produced, to this day with the original blueprints in Brazil.  All attempts to upgrade this car have failed in the market.  There is only one Beetle.        (Note, this was written in 2001, before the invention of the new Beetle.)

#7, the 57 Thunderbird.
                What a boat.  Beautiful, powerful, and sleeps 6 in a pinch. 

#6, the Delorien
                This car only had 4 problems, parts, narcs, parking too close to other cars, and its inability to exceed 88 mph without hitting yesterday.

#5, the Jenson Healy
                After the split from Austin, Healy took the complaints to heart on his previous creation and teamed up with car maker Jenson, to create the Jenson Healy.  As looks went, women who were just out shopping, suddenly had the urge to hitchhike when it rolled by.  Its aerodynamics were 20 years ahead of its time.  Its three liter engine treated the 140mph speedometer as a “suggestion” 

#4, the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
                The name in pomposity.  The company that had no car repairmen on the staff because they were never required.  (True English chauffeurs being what they are).  It is the only car that gains value after it leaves the dealership.    

#3, 67 Ford Mustang
                There may have been better built cars, but none are better loved.  It had every thing, affordability, looks, upgradablility and cameo shots on most TV shows for the next 10 years.  Parts were available every where, from WWII surplus fighters to nuclear subs, if you removed a nut or bolt, it would fit somewhere on the Mustang.

#2, the 57 Corvette.
                Route 66, sky blue, there was no better convertible to tool around in.

#1, the Lamborghini Countach (loosely translated “Oh My God”)
                The acceleration limits on this car is limited only by the drivers ability to move the shift lever.  It is rumored that the Star Trek warp speed visual effects were a retouched video of a Countach hitting 2nd gear while being used to accelerate particles at Fermi lab.  With the hot tub option, this car can be a single seater.  At 4mpg, it makes the ideal commuter car for oil company executives.  Due to the handcrafted nature of the vehicle, no Countach has ever been stolen, as its parts are not even compatible with other Lamborghini’s.  It’s unique styling also makes it subject to frequent police stops for speeding, even while garaged.

Honorable Mention.
The Trabant.
                The Trabant borrowed ideas from all the greats.   It had longer waiting lists than the Lamborghini. It faded to sky blue after a few months.  It had parts salvaged from burned out tanks.  The company had no car repairmen on the payroll.  Women would try to hitchhike rather than ride in one.  It had a problem reaching 88 kph. Otherwise, it emitted more smoke than a T bird on fire, it was cramped like a beetle, sank like a jeep, and could not get 100 miles on a tank of gas. But the “Trabbie” made East Germany what it is today, an impoverished suburb of West Germany.  It is the Car that won the Cold War.

The 10 Worst Cars of the 20th Century

Top 10 plagiarized wholly from Car Talk.
10th worst car of the 20th Century
The VW Bus

"If everyone had to own one of these as a first car as I did, there would be no traffic jams anywhere.
 At least half of us would be so turned off by the experience of owning a car, that we would seek alternate means of transportation."

 "There was no heat--unless, that is, the auxiliary gas heater caught fire."

 "The flower stickers were the only things that held the car together."

 "The bus had no heat, blew over in the wind and used the driver's legs as its first line of defense in an accident."

 "It was a death trap on the highway-you could never go fast enough. The chances were good that you'd be hit from the rear."

 9th worst
Renault Dauphine
 "Truly unencumbered by the engineering process."

 "At the time, it cost about half the price of a Volkswagen... which was half the price of everything else. How could Renault do this?  Simple. It had half as many parts."

 "This car topped out at 45 mph.  Since the minimum speed on the Florida Turnpike is 40, patrol cars would follow me, waiting for me to hit a hill so they could ticket me."

 "From a historical perspective, it's a shame that the French spent their Marshall Plan dollars on automaking."

 "A side impact by a bicycle totaled my Dauphine after only one year."

8th Worst Cadillac Cimarron

 "GM thought they could take a Chevy Cavalier, slap some Cadillac stuff on it, add an extra $5,000.00 and sell a bundle. Tragically enough, they pulled it off-for a while."

 "Hands down, worst car for the money spent. Yugos were junk, but at least they were cheap. This heap had a Caddy price tag!"

 "A stupid marketing ploy. Nothing more than a Chevrolet Cavalier, which Roger Smith gussied up and called a Cadillac."

 "When we traded it in my wife was upset because we didn't keep it long enough for her to buy a gun and shoot it."

7th worst Dodge Aspen/ Plymouth Volare
 "This car began to rust while it was still in the showroom."

 "The stalling problem was so bad that I had to take a clockwise route to work so I
 could make all right turns, and not risk stalling on a left turn in front of oncoming traffic."

 "After the floor boards rusted out in the rear, they would fill up with water and freeze. I ended up putting soda crates on the floor in the back to keep people from falling under the car."

 "The only useful purpose this car served was as the model for the car used in National Lampoon's Vacation."

 "Owning a Volare was total ego death--the theme song, the vinyl Landau roof, the inability
 to pass another car on the highway."

 6th place Renault LeCar
 "I'm convinced that the body metal for this car was supplied by Reynold's Aluminum."

 "Like any French restaurant in America, it was overpriced, noisy, moody, and would put you in mortal danger if you had an accident with anything larger than a croissant."

 "Our Le Car couldn't climb a hill fully loaded, so the passengers had to get out and walk up."

 "I left it unlocked overnight, and it was finally stolen. The insurance check paid for a textbook."

5th Place Chevy Chevette

 "An engine surrounded by 4 pieces of drywall!"

 "The Chevette just reeked of dinky-even the ad shouted that this was the dinky little car for you. The ad didn't show the car going anywhere fast... because it couldn't."

 "Plywood floor, printed circuit 'wiring' and no redeeming qualities. It was a throw away, 'Saturday Night Special' from the word go."

 "If I got on the Interstate without being run over, the car would creep towards 55. About an hour later, I'd reach it. Then, the shaking would begin."

 "The big winter of 82-83 froze all the Chevettes in my town like dumb ducks on an icy lake."

4th Place AMC Gremlin
 "Calling it a pregnant roller skate would be kind."

 "It was entirely possible to read a Russian novel during the pause between stepping on the gas and
 feeling any semblance of forward motion."

 "The car had all the quality and safety of a cheap garden tractor."

3rd place the Pinto
"Dad had a baby-poop-orange Pinto the year that car thieves hit our street. Although a dozen cars
 were stolen in one night, ours was there the next morning, on a strangely empty block."

 "Remember that great Pinto bumper sticker, 'Hit Me and We Blow Up Together?'"

 "The car would do 75 mph in 2nd gear, shaking apart and sounding like a bat out of hell. In fourth gear, the top speed was 70 mph. What's wrong with this picture? You do the math."

 "I took this car to a high-crime shopping mall and left it unlocked with the keys in the ignition. I came back several days later and, much to my disgust, it was still there."

2nd Place Chevy Vega
 "When the rear end went on my Vega, the Chevy dealer accused me of racing it. Racing who? My grandfather in his wheelchair?"

 "As near as I could tell, the car was built from compressed rust.

 "My Chevy Vega actually broke in half going over railroad tracks. The whole rear end came around slightly to the front, sort of like a dog wagging its tail."

 "Burned so much oil, it was single handedly responsible for the formation of OPEC."

Worst Car of the Century, THE YUGO

"I once test drove a Yugo, during which the radio fell out, the gear shift knob came off in my hand, and I saw daylight through the strip around the windshield."

 "The Yugo's first stop after the showroom was the service department: 'Fill 'er up and replace
 the engine!'"

 "Any time we made a right hand turn, we all had to lean to the right to prevent the driver's side rear tire from scraping against the wheel well."

 "At least it had heated rear windows--so your hands would stay warm while you pushed."

Honorable Mention

In my experience, so I can't name the Yugo, the worst car built, at least in the last half of the century was the VW 411 wagon, not to be confused with the 410 wagon.

I remember my father telling me that the transmission fell out of the car. Being a naive 10 year old I asked, "Is that normal for a car with only 500 miles on it?" He mumbled something about a warranty.  6 months later, the second transmission failed, and I had to ask, "Is that normal for a car with only 3,000 miles on it?"

I never saw that car again. I also noticed that within 2 years, I never saw any VW 411’s again. Volkswagen must have only made two extra transmissions per vehicle, and thus doomed them to extinction with a 6 month half life.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Top 10 Funniest Moments on Television

We see a lot of lists on the internet.  This is my list of the top 10 all time funniest moments on television.  

1) WKRP in Cincinnati's episode 1.7, "Turkeys Away", "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

2) The Nairobi Trio by Ernie Kovak.

3) Night Court, Dan Fielding for the prosecution, "Upon entering the restaurant, she smashed the lobster tank then encouraged them along by shouting, 'Run like the wind.'  One of them almost made it to a cab."

4) Babylon 5's episode 4.10, "Racing Mars", "Woo-Hoo?", by Lennier to Captain Sheridan after an all night ritual on pleasure with Dalenn.

5) Red Green's episode 502, skit "House Moving".  It has a long lead to the best moment, but well worth it.

6) Frasier's episode 2.23, "The Inn Keepers",  Second half of the episode.

7) Carol Burnett's "Went with the Wind Sketch."

8)  Taxi's episode 2.3, "Reverend Jim: a Space Odyssey".  In which Jim Ignatowski is taking the written drivers exam.

9)  Soap's episode 2.16, Where the ventriloquist dummy Bob passes out in the bar.

10) I Love Lucy episode 2.4, Where Lucy gets a job at the chocolate factory.