Armchair Quarterbacking: JEEP.

I’ve not come to terms that Jeep is now owned by the Italians.  Fiat of all things.  Who could have guess that would happen 20 years ago?  Fiat, the makers of cars that break down more often than cars from Jaguar.  Fix It Again, Tony… now has Jeep in it’s pocket.  This is the automotive equivalent of Jennings owning Browning.   It’s an absurd notion… But Fiat made some good moves and positioned themselves to buy Lancia, Alpha, Ferrari, and Maserati… Unbelievable.  Now they own Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep.  Boggles the mind.

I think that this is the reason that Jeep is probably the most Bi-Polar of automotive brands.  When one says “Jeep” it invokes a mental image.  One of rugged outdoorsiness.  A majestic warrior off-roading rig perched on a mountain ledge like the Lion King, chin into the wind and looking stoic.
Jeep_King

That’s “Jeep”.  That’s what we think about.  We think about taking Jeeps through deserts and mountain trails hunting Orc and Adventure.  And that’s been The Jeep Thing for decades.  But unfortunately Jeep has become this:

900_acc070611_2_

The new Jeeps, the Patriot and the Compass are a pair of Dodge’s trying to look butch.

WTF?

This is Automotive Evolution gone wrong.  While some companies are making better and better vehicles all the time, Jeep is kinda… going the wrong way.   These butch little Mall Hunters are not keeping in the spirit of the brand.  The Identity.  I swear to heaven that I saw “It’s a Jeep thing” on the back of a Compass.  Do you know why?  Because people are forgetting what a Jeep thing is.  This is an utter failure of the Brand.  To keep up with the Lion King train of thought – this is most fitting:

Jeep needs to Remember.  They need to kill off the Compass and the Patriot.  Get rid of these pathetic little Cute-Utes and return to it’s core.   To do this, they need to bring back two vehicles in updated versions.  First.  The Wagoneer.

jeep-wagoneer

Jeep has defecated on the Wagoneer badge… Used it like a Trim Package that just put terrible wood patterned vinyl on the sides of Cherokees and Grand Cherokees.  I’m talking about bringing back the real thing in an updated version.  A real honest Wagoneer.  Full sized, no apologies.   Jeep doesn’t think this can work, so they have not done anything of this sort.  But it does work.  And I can prove it as evidenced by exhibits A, B, C, D, E… I could go on, but you get my drift now.   Jeep had that.  A full sized, luxurious, commanding vehicle that could carry people and cargo and tow just about anything that needed towing.    I still see them on the road once in a great while… and they are beautiful.  I had one once… and letting it go was a huge mistake.  It was awesome.  Jeep needs to bring this back.  Do some Retro Styling on it for the sake of Identity, but build it on a RAM 1500 platform.  Body on Frame.  Give it some off roading chops.  And give it three engine options.  The 6.4 liter “392″ Hemi for the Petrol Guys.  The 3.0 Liter V-6 EcoDiesel, for those family guys wanting economy and room.  And for those that need to tow heavy things… the 6.7 liter Cummins Diesel.   Give it three Jeep trim levels.  The Limited, the Overland and the Summit in keeping with current Jeep SOP.

Jeep_Wagoneer_Lifted

And maybe a stripped down version for the Die-Hard off roading Jeep Enthusiasts.  Keep it simple, straight forward, honest and truck-like and guys will cheer and sell their houses to buy it.  Ram does this with a version of the 1500 truck and it sells well to those guys wanting to hotrod it out.

The new “Cherokee“?  I hate it.  It may be a decent all roader and something people are wanting – vehicle class wise.  But come on.  For the love of all that is holy at least make it look like a Jeep.  Make it look like a smaller Grand Cherokee with similar styled lights and grills.   What you have now is alien and disgusting.

Batarians_Codex_Image
Not in a good familiar and hot way.Avatar-bug-eyed-alien-1

You get my point?

The other vehicle you need to bring back… Is one of your pick up trucks.  There was the Comanche and others… and they didn’t sell well, because Jeep was owned by people who didn’t know what they were doing.  But they did make a solid truck.  They just didn’t know how to market it.

1980 Jeep truck

People want Jeep Trucks.  And they are willing to pay for them.  Do you want to know how I know?  See the Brute and tell me people don’t get weak in the knees like that.   You guys tried with the Comanche. But that failed because quite frankly, that was a stupid idea.  Cutting down a unibody into a pickup?  Who’s idea was that?  It was so bad, that your Dealers had to ask you to stop it.  But the Brute shows us something.  The Brute shows us that Gladiator Concept was a good idea.   The problem with the Brute is that it’s expensive as hell.  Too expensive.   As is everything with a Jeep badge these days… but the Brute is just stupid expensive.   You get what I’m saying.  Make the Gladiator and make it simple.  If you did that… Adventurers would be applauding around the world.

758

 

Armchair Quarterbacking Chevy, Part 2

Continuing my Armchair Quarterbacking of Chevy; it’s time to look at the SUV’s and Trucks.

2013_chevrolet_equinox

This is my ride.  A 2013 Equinox 2LT.  I own this.  I got it brand new last May in 2013.  I added a trailer hitch to it and other than that, it’s bone stock.  This is a great car.  Well, it’s really a crossover SUV according to the Auto Industry, an SUV/Truck according to Chevy, and a Station Wagon according to my friends.   It’s got a direct injected, 3.6 liter, multi-fuel, V-6 engine that cranks out over 300 horses.  It can really haul ass. I love the big bore looking dual exhausts.   I’ve got 15,000 miles on it now, and the only problem I’ve had was a bad battery that was replaced under warranty at 8,000 miles.
Here’s the problem though.  I keep calling it a car because it doesn’t feel like an SUV at all.  SUV/Truck?  There is nothing truck-like about it and there never well be.  It’s a Station Wagon.  Even the All Wheel Drive versions… are just all wheel drive station wagons.  So let’s improve upon what it really is.
What I don’t like about the EQ is the lack of testosterone in the Shifter.  When in Manual Mode, to up and down shift you have a tiny toggle think on the shifter.  Come on.  Let me play with that stick.  I want to move the stick to shift.  Not toggle the button.  And also, when in manual mode, make it stay in the gear until I manually shift it.  And if I want to down shift – let me down shift it.  The EQ’s Manual mode has no control over anything – it only takes your command as a suggestion that it will consider later, down the road.  Manual Mode should also involve a sport setting.   An SS version would be nice too, because… Reasons.  Really there should be an SS version of everything.  Because having the option of More Power should always be available.

2014_chevrolet_traverse
Keeping up with Chevy’s evident idea of taking one thing and making it a bit bigger… The Chevy Traverse is to the Equinox what the Sonic is the Spark.  Basically the same damn thing a bit bigger.  Again, this is supposed to be an SUV.  What it really is, is a Mini-Van.  Anyone telling you differently is selling something.  The Traverse really is a nice vehicle.  They sell very well, as I see millions of them on the road, just like the EQ’s.  But they should be called the Transverse because it’s just a cross-dressing Mini-Van trying to look a little more butch.  It even has Eyeliner.

2014_chevrolet_traverse_Eyeliner

Not that there is anything wrong with that…
What Chevy really needs to do though, is get off it’s ass and bring back the Trailblazer.  Here’s a rendering of what that could look like:
2015-chevrolet-trailblazer
Now THAT is a freaking SUV.  And Chevy, when you do this.  Don’t make it like how Dodge did the Durango and Ford did the Explorer… That’s what the Traverse is… a huge bloated Station Wagon.  No.  Base it on the Colorado.  Truck First.  What you need to do is make it something that can compete with Toyota 4Runner.  Something that has some actual Off Road capability instead of the rival’s Dirt Road capability.  Make the Trailblazer live up to it’s name.  Give it the comfort of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, but the clearance and ruggedness of 4Runner.  That’s the target.  People would go BONKERS for it.  I’d trade my EQ in on it.  Engine options would of course have to start out with the 3.6 Liter V-6, but then give it that 5.3 Liter V-8 option.  Because – BALLS.  That’s something missing in the Off-Road market.
Colorado

I’m loving the new Colorado… or what I’m seeing of it.  Dropping it was a mistake.   I really liked the last one.  I did.  I had a friend who got one and I was jealous.   A great little truck.  But it was rather gutless.  You had rather weak engine options in it.

Chevy really needs to do something to answer to the Ford Raptor.  Toyota brought out some cosmetic upgrades to make their truck look like a Raptor type Rig… but it’s only weak sauce.  So here is what you do, Chevy… Go to YouTube and watch every video on something called the King of Hammers.  Eat Bacon.  Listen to Heavy Metal. Go shooting.  Grow a beard.  And then eat some more Bacon… and then let your engineers do a version of the Colorado called the Hammer.  Give it some serious performance chops, and make it a freaking Off Road Super Hero.  And put one in every Dealership.  Get the Hammer Pro Team out and run it to the North Pole like what Top Gear did with the Toyota.  Run it around the Nurburgring like what Ford did with the Raptor.  Promote the hell out of it and show the world that Chevy has it.

One last thing, Chevy.  Remake the Avalanche on the Colorado platform instead of the Silverado.

Arm our Armed Forces

It was decades ago when I first said it… A pistol and a fixed blade knife should be part of the Uniform.  If you are in Uniform, you should be armed.
Our Military Bases are essentially Gun Free Zones.  Most bases are like small cities, lots of traffic in and out.  And the MP’s or DOD Police are too few and far between to be effective at insuring people’s safety.   It’s asinine that we expect our Military to “Protect our Freedom” when we do not allow them to even protect themselves. This has always been the greatest hypocrisy and injustice.

When a soldier graduates their AIT… not boot camp, their Advanced Individual Training, and are officially trained in their MOS… Part of that graduation ceremony should be that they are bestowed their weapon of office.  A pistol and a knife.  These items should be given to them with the expectation that they are now part of their uniform and should be maintained and cared for and that while in uniform they should be worn at all times.

I’ve been told that my idea is “extreme”.  Really?

At Ft. Hood, 2009, an Officer shot and killed 13 other soldiers and wounded 30 others.  Now at Ft. Hood, April 2014, a soldier shot and killed 4 other soldiers and wounded 16 others.    The Navy has had a couple recently as well.  Let’s ask those people and their families if my idea is too extreme.  I bet there are a great many soldiers – trained warriors – who would have given anything to be able to defend not themselves, but their brothers and sisters in arms.   How many of the loved ones of those killed and wounded would have wanted their servicemen to have been able to defend themselves?  Ask them if my idea is too extreme.

I heard a pundit on the radio say that they need to have been searches at the Base Gates.   Search every car and ever person coming on base.  This person is an idiot.  We can’t even keep contraband out of Prisons, let alone a busy military base.  This person has obviously never been near a military base.   Let’s take a look at a small one.   I happen to live right close to a small Marine base.  And every morning I am in the traffic flow heading into that base.  I turn off before the gate, thank heavens.  It’s bad enough as it is.   Seriously… the traffic is hell on wheels.  And a detailed search of everything going in?  That’s just flat out unrealistic.  Getting on base would take hours.  And for what?  You take all the problems of the TSA at Air Ports and magnify that to controlling the incoming traffic into city sized areas?

How about we trust our Armed Forces with Arms?  Considering that we train them to use them, it seems like a pretty simple solution.   A pistol and knife is a lot cheaper than hiring and training an army of TSA type security people to secure every gate and every fence-line at every military base.   And you’ll keep the traffic flowing.  No one wants to go to work 3 hours early just to get through security to get into work.  That’s just stupid and short sighted.  Because you only serve to maintain the gun free zone inside.  You would have a hard shell on the outside… and inside would be just as gooey and soft as it’s been and a mass shooting could still happen.  Because like I said before – we can’t even keep contraband items out of our prisons.

To make this worse, even the Base Commander at Ft. Hood is against the idea of his soldiers being armed.   Think about that for a moment.  He feels like he can’t trust his own soldiers?  Isn’t that an indication that maybe he shouldn’t be a Commander of any base?   Here’s a question to you Officers out there… If you can’t trust your own men, what does that say about your Leadership?

Think of the disconnect of logic here… Civilians are protecting our Armed Forces, because we don’t trust them to protect themselves. Yet we trust them to protect the Civilians.  Where is the logic in this?  Just thinking about that gives me a migraine.

Also note – The shooter in this case was rampaging for 15 to 20 minutes.  This has been repeated in the media’s news coverage.  So now would be copycat maniacs and terrorists now know the response time at Ft. Hood and probably other bases.  And they know our bases are essentially great Gun Free Zones.  Which means that situations like this are more likely to happen in the future than before.  We’ve already had 3 this year?  We’re going to see this happen again and again.

Why?  Why are our soldiers good enough to Protect America yet the troops are too inept to be allowed to protect themselves?  I’ve heard even other Military Guys say that they would hate to see a PFC packing.   Come on.  I’ve seen plenty of PFC’s with more sense than many Lieutenants and yet “Officers” automatically get a pass?  So an Officer’s Rights according to the Bill of Rights is more important that a PFC’s?    That’s bullshit.  Utter bullshit.   And don’t talk to me about the antics of the younger Enlisted – That’s a direct reflection of their Leadership and you know it.

A few days of pistol training, as a part of BASIC TRAINING is not too much to ask for.   You could pay for the cost of a Battalion’s worth of pistols for the price of a couple Javelin Missiles.  Here is the extreme part.  When the Soldier leaves the service… They keep the knife and the pistol as a token of their Oath.  Because that Oath doesn’t expire.

We can roll this out easily.  Start by arming our Officers and NCO’s.  E5′s and above.  Then cycle the rest through training and issuing sidearms as the training is complete.  Then issue sidearms at AIT Graduations moving forward.

Arm our Armed Forces.

Top 10 Rigs for the Zombie Uprising.

Hummer-Humvee_Military_Vehicle_2003_photo_01

10.   The HMMV, or Hummer.   While it is not a ideal in areas of operation where landmines and IED’s are used by insurgent forces, the HMMV offers many advantages.  It has enough power and clearance to plow through and over hordes of undead walkers.

2014-Jeep-Wrangler-Pictures-HD

9.  The Jeep Wranger.  Wait, what?  Yes.  A Jeep Wrangler… But specifically the Sahara or Rubicon and specifically with a Hard Top.  Ideally it would be the Rubicon.  A 2012 or newer stock or older with something other than the factory engines.  Any crate motor swap will do.  While not as overly rugged as a HMMV, the Jeep has the ability to thread through areas the big Hummer can’t go.  It’s also quicker.  Forget the things like soft tops, half doors and the popular Jeeper summer options… You don’t want nothing but canvas protecting you for the Biters.  You want something that can get you out of trouble and over those mountains?  This is good way to go.  That and you can find them at any abandoned Dealership.  So just go into the offices and find the keys.

MATV

8.  The MATV.  Built for warfare in areas too hostile for the HMMV, the MATV offers more mine resistance and greater clearance.  It’s high saddle allows you to see well over the heads of the oceans of shamblers you may have to roll over.  This beast can punch through into areas other rigs can’t go.  A turret up top allows one of your team to mount up a belt fed to help clear out path when things get rough.  And incase you run into marauders and bandits, it’s armored hull may prove to be a life saver.

Chevy_Avalanche

7.  Chevy Avalanche.  The Avalanche is a great truck for a jack of all trades, do everything sort of rig.  4 doors allows your team to quickly get in and out, and the pickup bed can let you guys haul a lot of stuff and it has decent towing.  You’ll want to outfit it with some brush guards for pushing through undead biomasses.

halo-ford-raptor-660

6.  The Ford Raptor.  Sometimes you really need to get somewhere fast.   The Raptor can deliver your Rapid Response Team like no other.  Fast.  Agile.  Perfecting for racing over mounds of fallen undead.

patriotic_semi

5.  RAMROD.  You are going to need a vehicle that haul a lot of people and supplies.  You are going to need a vehicle that can push abandoned cars out of the way and clear the highway.  You need a Semi.  When you raid that Sam’s Club or Costco or Cabella’s, how are you going to bring all those good home?  You are going to have to find someone skilled to drive that if you don’t know how.  Don’t worry… you’ll find plenty of volunteers.

DSCN4566

4.  A Highway Snow Blower.  Because sometimes to get where you need to go… You may need to paint the town red.  The problem with pushing your way through a horde of zombies is that they will be waiting for when you come back.    The upside to clearing a path this way… You have one hell of trail of bread crumbs to find your way back.

Toy_FJ

3.  Toyota FJ.  Giving you a more room and protection than a Jeep, but a smaller footprint and more range than a HMMV, the FJ just may be the best Zombie Rig that isn’t a Ford Raptor.  Great reliability for when you explore far from your base of operations.  These can go anywhere and do anything.

Blackhawk helicopters (AP file)

2.   A Blackhawk.  To get your team in and out of an area fast, extractions or tracking a target… You need some air power.   The Blackhawk is tough and reliable and easy to fly… as far as choppers are concerned.  And you get to yell “Get to the Choppa!”  Because you know you want to.

Centauro01

1. The Centauro.  Because you may need a tank.  Normal tanks are slow, cumbersome, and the tracks are problematic if you have a long way to go.  The Centauro can get there and bring everything you need a tank to bring, and then can haul ass home.  You can carry a squad of dismounts with you.  So you and your team can ride in style, kick ass, and bring back the bubble gum.

Armchair Quarterbacking: Chevrolet. Part 1.

I’m going to run through all the major automakers in a series.  Since I’m driving a Chevy and my last cage before it was a Chevy, it only seems right.  So, let’s start at the bottom.

chevy_spark

The 2014 Spark.  The Spark is designed to be an entry level city car.  Small, and economical… It’s a cheap car.  There are some comfort upgrades, but not many.  For what it is, it’s designed very well.  This is the spiritual successor to the Metro.  My wife bought one and we actually had it for a great many years.  That was a good solid little car and I would expect this to fill that nitch… so I understand the Spark. New for 2014 though is a new CVT automatic transmission.   That version is a total dog that gives up fuel economy, speed, acceleration, and makes the car feel a lot cheaper than it is.  Don’t get the CVT version.  Get the 5 speed Manual.  The car will be more fun and you’ll get more out of it.  And it will probably last a lot longer as well.
Here’s what Chevy needs to do with the Spark.  They need a Hot Hatch.  The Automotive Journalists like to compare the Spark to the Fiat 500.  Not the hotter Abarth version of the 500, just the base 500.  The Spark is better looking, with a better ride and a better interior.    Chevy needs to drop some Turbo into the Spark and call it the Hot Spark.   It needs some more energy.   It doesn’t have  a lot of room for bigger brakes, but some cross drilled rotors will help.  Body Paint the calipers on that.  Give it some aggressive suspension.  While doing that, give it some race styled wheels and some sticky rubber.  Offer the Hot Spark only in a 5 speed manual.   Have some fun with it.  Oh, and one last thing.  Put the Dash back onto the Dash and not the Steering Column.  The way it is now is kinda just stupid.  The half analog and half digital dash configuration… Just go all digital and call it good.  Please?

chevy_sonic

 

The Chevy Sonic is basically the bigger brother to the Spark.  Everything I said about the Spark can be applied to the Sonic.  The Sonic is slightly more expensive, slightly bigger, but not too much and it’s in fact “Just Right”.  I was initially thinking that the Sonic would be comparable to the Ford Focus or the VW Golf…  Unfortunately it isn’t.  It competes closer to the lesser Ford Fiesta, or a Dodge Dart.  There is a turbo version, but the 1.4 liter engine they put the turbo on is just not quite enough.  At least the Sonic is built in the United States, so I do like that.  A lot. Which means I like the Sonic a lot more than the Spark.  The Turbo version comes with a snarlier Borla exhaust.  This lets the Sonic make the right sounds, but it still isn’t making the right moves.  I think this is just a much nicer car all around than the Spark.
Again, there needs to be an angry version.  The Turbo doesn’t do enough for it because there just isn’t enough engine under it to make a lot of difference.  It also has that half analog and half digital type dash that the Sonic has – which really irritates me a great deal.  Give it an all digital dash.  Or a GTI style analog dash.   I have to say I really like the way the Sonic looks.  Chevy needs to up the trim levels into an SS version and really knock on the VW GTI, Focus ST doors.  Chevy – you can do it.  And it would be completely awesome.

Given the differences between the Spark and the Sonic… I’d just drop the Spark all together.  We don’t need to import a South Korean car to compete with the  Made in the USA Sonic.   The base versions of the Sonic and Spark are only like 2000 difference.  You can make the difference by dropping features to cheapen the Sonic down to Spark levels, and adding enough to really make the Sonic what it wants to be.  A Hot Hatch.

chevy-cruze

The Cruze is a solid little car.  It’s what the Chevy Cavalier used to be… Something for Rental Agencies, Municipal and Corporate Fleets, and Pencil Necks.   It’s a good looking car, for what it is.  It looks like it could be sporty.  It looks like it could compete with a Civic or Corolla or an Altima from 10 years ago.   It’s not a bad car and it’s very economical.  There’s a diesel version that’s new…  which will make this a great economical option for that want to just blend into the background… be one of the masses.  This is the anonymity for the Meek and Mild.  These are cars for Eunuchs and Librarians.   There is no sex appeal at all.  The Cruze is what replaced the Cobalt.  Which was a car that had a lot of spirit.  I really liked the Cobalt.  The Cruze though…  doesn’t have any of that spirit… none of the moxie.  It’s rather sad.  What makes it even more sad is that in other markets, there is a hatch version which actually looks badass.
2012_Holden_Cruze

Not bad, eh?  Too bad… You can’t have one.  Which is a shame, because it really takes the Cruze up a notch.  Now here’s the thing… Chevy could amp the Cruze up if they wanted.  Add the Super tag to the Sonic and add it to the Cruze.   The Super Sonic and the Super Cruze.  Yes, SS versions.  The DNA is there.   Throw twin turbos on the Diesel (instead of the one small one) and slap a Duramax tag on there and give it a monster exhaust note.  With some good torque under the Diesel Cruze  it would have some machismo as well as good economy.  The Cruze doesn’t have to be a Bean Counter’s Ride.   Sure, have the versions that are all about being economical.  But give it some versions that EARN that BOWTIE BADGE.

The Malibu.  I’m not even going to post an image of the Malibu.  Drop the Malibu.  Just get rid of it.  Why?  Because you can have trim options of the Cruze that go up and the Impala that could go down that could overlap the Malibu and be done with it.  Maybe I’m biased… But I’ve always hated the Malibu.  I’ve hated the name, I’ve hated every time I’ve ridden in one, and every time I’ve driven one.  It makes the Cruze look like the good looking sister.   Just make the Malibu go away.  It really doesn’t fill any nitch.  It’s like that weird looking Ginger in the Butterfinger commercial.

I’m just not comfortable with that.

Chevrolet-impala

The Chevy Impala.  I love this car.  It’s one of my very favorite cars for 2014.  I could happily have one and drive it for the rest of my life.  I love it that much.   The Impala has been a name plate second only to the Camaro and Corvette in terms of Chevy Iconic Heritage… Because there has been some ultimate badass Impalas in Chevy’s history.
But the new Impala isn’t one of those.  It’s good though.  It’s very good.  Now, let’s take a quick look at the Caddy CTS Vsport.  Linking you here to a simple review from C&D.   The CTS Vsport and the Impala have the same base engine.  It’s the same engine that is in my Equinox.   It’s a good engine.  It’s a great engine for an entry level Impala.  But the CTS Vsport throws in twin turbochargers that bumps the power from just over 300 horses, to an impressive 420 angry warhorses.   The Impala needs this as an option.  And here’s why they should do this…
Chevy brought out the Camaro Z/28 for 2015 and in doing so they threw caution to the wind and said “screw it” to all conventional thinking.  They gave the Z/28 EVERYTHING they could.  From suspension and brakes to engine and transmission.  They crossed all the lines and turned a Muscle Car into what everyone dreams a muscle car could be.  It fulfilled the muscle car promise.  They didn’t care if it stepped on Corvette toes.  Screw it, they said.  Let the Corvette stand on its own merit.  No protected territory here.
Chevy needs to do that to the Impala and bring out an SS version.  Because every Car Guy is waiting for that.   So what if it steps on the toes of the Chevy SS… Let that car be it’s own thing – We’re talking about the freaking Chevy Impala here and that means something to a lot of people.   The Impala badge isn’t ready to retire to a Golf Course.  Not with this American Resurrection of the Muscle Car Era.

As far as the Chevy SS goes.  How come a factory Supercharger is not an option?  Where is the hood scoop and the Supercharger?  The Chevy SS is a car without Tradition.  Calling it just the “SS” I think was rather stupid.  Chevy’s history is that the SS was a Trim Level and not a Name Plate.  This was a Mistake.  People know what an Impala SS is… or a Chevelle SS.   But just as SS?  Where’s the Tradition?  Where’s the Heritage?  It’s just out from the wild blue, here’s a rebadged Pontiac.   That’s just wrong.  The SS needs to be rebadged as the Chevelle.  Think I’m wrong?  Take a look at this.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Look at that!  That’s the history Chevy should have touched on when they brought out the “SS”.  Give it the standard package that it has now… All Muscle Car… that’s good.  That’s the Chevelle.  Now add the SS badge to the new 2015 Chevelle and throw in a Supercharger.  And just for some fun – Hood Pins.  Because screw the Dodge Challenger, that’s why.  Freaking fake-ass Shaker hood scoop.  Give the Chevelle SS a real one.  The Commercial for it would be simple.  A tire scorching, mushroom cloud burnout for 60 seconds.  That’s it.  No spoken words… at the end of the commercial zoom in to the bowtie.  Done.

The Camaro – Keep it going, Chevy.  I want a turbo version though.  And I really do think you should drop all the V-6 versions unless they are turbocharged.  There should be no Mild versions of a Camaro.  Leave the watered down V-6 options for Dodge.  Every Camaro should be filled with hot sauce.

The Corvette – keep doing what you are doing.  You finally hit the nail on the head.

Coming up in Part 2, we’ll look at Chevy’s line of SUV’s and Trucks.

Auto Rags

To judge an automotive journal these days, you can’t take them on just their print media anymore… You have to look at their social media as well.  That means facebook, instagram, twitter, and Youtube.  How connected the magazine is to its audience, and how relevant the information and entertainment is.

The top three are MotorTrend,  Road & Track, and Car & Driver.
In that order.

MT is awesome in Print and Video.  Their channel on YouTube is a Must to Subscribe.
R&T has FB posts so good that if you are a Car Guy, you are missing out of you don’t follow them.
C&D has solid FB posts and a good layout in the printed medium.  Their writers have some good insight that provides more perspective.

If I was to only pick one, MotorTrend would be the Magazine.  But MotorTrend is not as strong without it’s social media.   As solid as it is.   A couple years ago I used to think that these magazines were going to be a thing of the past and that Digital Media is the future.  I could get the magazine, as printed, in digital form on tablet or smart phone.  Here’s the thing though… I did that.  And it was interesting.  But nothing beats kicking back with the Printed Pages.  No batteries, no distractions… Unplugged.   I find that I enjoy the magazine so much better than it’s digital counterpart.  While the digital format of the magazine is great… I really prefer it in print and will read an issue cover to cover.  In digital, really it’s just skimming the photos while you are waiting for something else to happen.
Print is not dead.

 

Leather

george-h-1911

 

THIS is what it’s all about.  Luke Adams of Adams Holsters is a freaking Artist with Leather.  This… This is stunning… This is the most beautiful holster I’ve ever seen.  Does a holster get any better?   Hell No.

See, Tactical Kydex is fine when the job requires it.  But when it doesn’t… Why not step it up?

I hate Appendix Carry

Appendix Carry is fad that I wish would go away.

The 4 Rules of Firearms Safety:
1.  Handle all firearms as if they were loaded.
2.  Never point the gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
3.  Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until you have made the decision to fire the weapon.
4.  Know your target, and know what is beyond the target.

These 4 rules are pretty simple.   But with Appendix Carry, you violate Rule #2.  I can’t get past this.  Forgive the crude language, but I hate the fact that when I tried Appendix Carry, I was muzzling my Cock and Balls.  Should an accident have happened – it would have been a Contact Shot.   WARNING: The LINKED TEXT is GRAPHIC:  I’ve seen the photos of what Contact Shots do to human beings, but never one that happened to a man’s Junk.   This filled my mind with graphic images that I wish never popped in there.  Horrific.
I know that I have friends that carry Appendix, and I have friends who teach Appendix Carry.  Because the position does offer some great tactical advantages.  It really does.  The speed and ease of the draw is an advantage.  Easier draw from awkward positions.  While driving.  While laying on either side.  Drawing with the weak hand.  Yes yes yes… I know all of this.   It makes sense.
But then there is Rule #2.
You see, in the more traditional position of 3:00 or 4:00, should an accident happen… a Negligent Discharge… The results are usually a visit to the hospital for a session of Shame and Stitches and you are back out again.  Because nothing vital was destroyed.  Usually.  Not always, but most of the time.  I personally know two guys that ND’d from the holster.  I will not say the names… They know who they are.  One, the weapon was at the 3:00 and the bullet went in and out of his leg.  He was out of the ER in 2 hours and on his feet the next day.  The other fellow was packing at the 4:00 position and he suffered a Flash Burn to his Ass.   No ER visit.   As they had been considering Appendix carry before… I asked both fellows how they would have faired if they had been packing Appendix.   There was much uncomfortable silence  as they both considered the results of a Ballistic Castration.  No, neither of them are packing Appendix now.

This isn’t just an unreasonable fear.  I remember reading more than one news article about some thug that shot his balls off packing in the appendix position.  Usually with a very sad mug shot to go with it.  But there was another story of a guy – not a thug – and with a holster… in a car with his family.  He didn’t survive.  That’s not a way that I would want to go out.

So you want the advantages of Appendix, but without the liability… What is the option?   Cross Draw.

skycop3-1150

It’s not just for Cowboys and Peacemakers.  The muzzle is NOT pointing at your dick.  You can access the gun quickly with either hand.  You have more control over it in a weapon retention tussle than in the 4:00 position.  And it’s just badass.  So you get the advantages of Appendix, with none of the liability.    There is a downside though, and that is problem with most cross draw rigs out there… and that’s concealment.    But most cross draw rigs I’ve seen were not designed for concealment.  But there are some.  I believe DeSanti is still making the Skymarshal rig.  And Kirkpatrick is making their Texas Cross Draw rig, which looks excellent.  I’d like to see more Cross Draws come out and I’d like to see less Appendix.

 

 

 

Designs

Looking at the newest Fords and Chevy’s one thing is clear… Ford is slipping.   Ford is concentrating on making everything look like generic Aston Martins.  Including the new 2015 Mustang.  Now, I’m really digging the new Mustang.  A lot.  I mean… a lot…  Love it.  But when all the cars are starting to look the same way… it waters the Ford brand down.

Ford-Fusion-3dCarbon-body-kit-000
Chevy is doing much the same with all their cars… The Cruze, the Malibu, the SS… they all look the same from the front.  This is disappointing.   Honestly, it’s hard to tell them apart on the street.  Save for the Camaro and the Corvette.. They all look they came out of the OctoMom.  I’m not saying that they look bad individually… But when you walk around a Dealership… It’s a shallow gene-pool.  It’s like the same guy just phoned in the designs.

2014-chevy-Volt
Making everything in your brand look the same… isn’t making it all look like Family.  It makes everything look Inbred.  This may have worked for British Royals through the middle ages… but it doesn’t work for me.  I don’t know about you.  What do you guys think about that?
I think where designs have really taken off, is with the interiors.

Continue reading

Go Big

994325_10201226366874642_910207755_nI’m done.  I’m not going to do it any more.  I’m not going to carry a tiny mouse gun anymore.  That’s over.  As a main carry gun, of course.  Maybe as a backup piece, or a hold out.  But no more as my main carry gun.  It’s time to go big.
Why do we carry at all?  Think about this for a minute, or more.  And think about the possible scenarios that might require you to actually have to use your concealed carry gun.  In any of these scenarios, does it play out that you would be better off in those situations with a smaller gun?  Or did you, like me, come to the conclusion that you would rather have as much gun as you can?
You have a CFP, or more commonly a CCW Permit.  Most States do not require you to carry a specific gun.  You have the option to change it up.  If you have the option, why not go big when you can?  Let me tell you, it doesn’t matter to the Anti-Gun Biggots what gun you carry.  They have never said “Oh, its okay, he only has a .380.”   In fact, they have tried specifically to ban small guns because they are more concealable.  Remember they made a run against Saturday Night Specials?  They don’t care.  That being the case, f you are going to get wet, you might as well go swimming.   Should you have to use your weapon, and you end up in a court of Law, they will make no distinctions regarding the size or type.  Or if you are in a store and lift your arm up to reach a top shelf item and someone sees the grip of your pistol. They call the cops no matter what it is and when The Bronze approaches you they don’t make any distinction either.  You are either legal to carry, or you are not.   Size does not matter.
The last several months I’ve been packing bigger guns.  Mostly full sized duty pistols.  Government Model 1911′s, Railed Commander 1911′s, Beretta 92FS and full sized Storms, Glock 22′s.  The smallest gun I’ve carried is a Glock 23. None of these are Mouse Guns or Pocket Pistols.  Each on let’s you know you have a “fist full of Iron”. Or advanced polymer as the case may be.  As I write this, on my hip right now is a Springfield 1911 .45 and there is a great deal of satisfaction in having it on me.
Bigger guns make fewer compromises.  They hold more rounds, are more reliable, more accurate, maybe more powerful, and are certainly more intimidating.  The more intimidating the gun is, the more likely you won’t have to actually pull the trigger.  The only disadvantage to them is the greater challenge of carrying it concealed.   To carry a full sized gun concealed, you are going to have to take a bit more care in your holster and wardrobe selection.
Thankfully the good folks at Crossbreed Holsters can help us out.  The Supertuck is available for many handguns, including the big 92FS.  This holster allows for the big gun to be carried comfortably, inside the waistband, all day long.  For me, that’s the advantage I need.  Because I’ll wear a gun from the time I get out of bed until I give up on the day and go back to bed.
Normally I wear Pancake style rigs, wide, outside of the waistband holsters that help contour the shape of the gun to hide it, and pack more comfortably while wearing normal sized pants.  I find this to be an advantage when riding a motorcycle.  The downside to a pancake rig, is that the length of the gun makes it easier for the muzzle end to peak out from under your jacket or shirt.
This isn’t so much of a problem during most of the year.  But during the peak of the summer, wearing jackets and sport coats becomes less than ideal.  During these times, as much as possible, I’ll wear a Mechanics style shirt or a Bowling shirt.  If one is less fashionable, or a huge fan of Weird Al, you can wear a Hawaiian style shirt.  Anything that can be worn untucked, loose, and can cover up the whole gun.  But this is me and I am not required to wear Business Casual.  But even then, there are still ways to carry a full sized gun.
Not long ago I was talking about packing large handguns with a local Police Officer.  I mentioned that I was packing a Beretta 92FS and he didn’t believe me.  I was in the process of selling him a Beretta but he was balking on the purchase, thinking it was too big to be carried undercover.  I was wearing an Under Armor polo shirt.  You should have seen his eyes when I pulled my Beretta 92FS out, cleared it, and laid it on the counter.  I can’t repeat what he said, but he was clearly surprised that I had it on me as he normally could tell if someone was packing or not.  After that, it became a discussion regarding holsters instead of the gun.  To end this story, he bought the gun and has enjoyed it ever since.
I live in a very rural area of Utah.  My front yard is a farmer’s field.  We get all sorts of wildlife here at “Ogre Ranch”.  Some big, some small.  One night I came home on my motorcycle, late and in the dark.  I shut off my bike and jumped off.  As I stepped around the big KTM Enduro, I saw a dark shadow and eye shine.  Something was there in the shadows beside my house.  I don’t remember drawing, or even making the decision to draw, but suddenly my gun was in my hands and that gun was in a ready position as I was squinting to try to identify what was over there in the shadows.  At that moment, a full sized duty sidearm was very comforting.  The only problem was that I didn’t have a light mounted on my weapon and my normal companion of the Surefire Aviator flashlight was with me but tucked safely in my backpack.  Inaccessible and useless to me as this didn’t feel like a time when I could shrug my pack off and dig through it to find my light.  Instead I was there, gun in hand, waiting until I could ID this thing as a threat or not.  I could hear it breathing.  I could see it’s eye-shine, and that was it.  It really was a freaky moment.  The moment ended though when my wife pulled up and her headlights illuminated what I was in a standoff with.  It was a large Mule Deer Buck.  I can chuckle about it now, but in that moment of looking into the unknown, had I been armed with something small and mousy, I’d probably have been a lot more uncomfortable with the situation.
This goes back to what the great Clint Smith has said.  Guns are not supposed to be comfortable, they are supposed to be comforting.  He is exactly right.  I don’t recall ever being in a situation where I was comforted by packing a tiny little gun.  I remember one time I needed something small and concealable where low profile was critical.  A .25 Caliber Baby Browning the answer.  I could stand there with my hands in my pockets and still be ready to draw that little pistol.  I thought it was a perfect solution.  Until I needed it.  I reached into my pocket and grabbed the little gun, but didn’t draw it.  Let me tell you, that pistol offered no comfort.  In fact, I let it go and instead opted for the ASP Baton tucked inside the waistband.  At least that felt solid.  It felt like a weapon. The .25 felt like a squirt gun.  In this situation, neither was required to be used, thankfully.  But it impressed upon me that the small gun was useless.  Harsh Language proved more potent.  That was the last time I bothered with the .25. I think I remember that I traded it for a few boxes of ammo.
I’m not saying that only huge hand cannons are the way to go.  I’m just saying you don’t have to limit yourself to tiny guns.