Friday Fun: April 6, 2018

Lamborghini's new SUV.
By Jeff Sanford
Toronto, Ontario — April 6, 2018 — In today’s Friday Fun: Crazy crashes and wind-damaged cars in Toronto, a Chevy dealership gets sucked into the Trump circus and a shop owner retires to roll meatballs.
A collision of six cars north of Toronto last week involved both a Lamborghini and a vehicle from a driving school. The exotic sports car was trying to pass on a two-lane highway when the accident occurred. According to a CBC report the Lamborghini may have been sighted racing another high-end sports car on a road near the highway where the accident occurred. A follow-up story on the crash finds the driver of the Lambo was also the owner of a closed-down luxury car dealership, who had declared bankruptcy in 2009. Somehow the driver had still managed to purchase two homes, one in Vaughan for $1.7 million this past February. Neighbours told CTV News that the driver had been storing a number of luxury cars on the property and parking them on the street. According to the report one of the neighbours had been in a dispute with the individual and accused him of, “treating the street like a car dealership.” According to the story he had also recently gotten a ticket for, “doing 119 km/h in a 70 km/h zone, which is 1 km/h short of a street racing charge.” That’s just 1 km/h under the speed at which a more serious charge would apply. As one commentor online suggested it looks like the officer that ticketed him knocked the speed down to avoid the more serious charge. Too bad. Maybe he would have learned a lesson before the accident. 
Also this week, a report from the New York autoshow finds that Lamborghini’s new $200,000 SUV is, “more popular than expected – with one New York dealer saying he expects to sell out of his orders as soon as they arrive.” Brian Miller, president of Manhattan Motorcars, is quoted in the story as saying he already has orders for 60 of the SUVs even though the vehicle doesn’t start arriving until December. The story goes on to note that 70 percent of these SUV buyers have never owned a Lamborghini. According to the report, “One reason for the first-time-buyer surge is that wealthy car enthusiasts who live in cities or countries with bad roads couldn’t drive Lamborghini’s low-slung sports cars without ruining them. The higher-sitting [SUV] has Lambo’s signature power, engine sound and bold angles but can easily glide over potholes, dirt and steep bumps.” The chief executive officer of Lamborghini is quoted as saying, “Lamborghini has always been a brand that many people stretch to get into. We had a lot of younger people and it wasn’t the big money people we would have loved to see. I think the SUV is bringing in a lot of those people.” 
As many as 50 vehicles were involved in a single collision on Highway 400 near Barrie, Ontario last week. The crash was related to a wild weather system that saw winds hit 104 km/h in the southern part of the province. In the downtown core of Toronto large buildings channelled the high winds into damaging gusts that knocked balcony items, glass sheets and debris onto the street. Police suggested people stay inside. Judging by the steady stream of reports on the Toronto Police Service twitter feed there were more than a few cars that ended up like this one: https://bit.ly/2GVOAee
How many times will it have to happen before techs learn the lesson: Don’t take the client’s car on any trips, especially if the work may be incomplete. This is especially pertinent in the digital era, when it is easier than ever to get caught. CTV News ran a television report in Ontario featuring an annoyed BMW owner. The driver had brought his car in to be serviced at a mechanical repair shop. He later checked the dash cam and found the car was on the lift for only 11 minutes, after which the techs took the car out to get coffee. The owner complained to the television station as he didn’t understand how the mechanical repair could have been done so fast and he was annoyed the techs took his vehicle for a joyride. 
When was the last time a Chevy dealership became involved in the political events of the day? It doesn’t happen often, that’s for sure. But this past week a Chevrolet dealership in Chantilly, Virginia, was caught up in the craziness of the Trump administration. The dealership had agreed to host an appearance by Trump-appointed EPA head Scott Pruitt, who would announce a plan to cut Obama-era mileage standards. The owner of the dealership in question is said to hold similar views about climate change as Pruitt, who has stated he doesn’t think there is any consensus on the issue. Pruitt is under fire for taking money from the fossil fuel industry. And so he is another of the controversial characters around Trump. Wisely, when other local Chevy dealers in the region found out about the upcoming announcement they complained about the event and managed to have Pruitt’s appearance at the dealership cancelled. 
The decline in sales of diesel cars in Germany accelerated in March. This was the first month after a court ruled that cities in the country can ban such vehicles to tackle pollution. According to a Reuters report, “Sales of diesel-powered cars in Europe’s largest auto market plunged by a quarter last month after declining 19.5 percent in February and 17.6 percent in January.” Said a source quoted in the story, “For the time being, new diesel sales will not recover. Rather, the downtrend looks set to continue in coming months.” Predictions are that the share of diesels in the market would sink towards 25 percent from the current 31 percent. Also affecting sales is the broader, ongoing global backlash against diesel cars in the wake of the admission by Volkswagen that it cheated on U.S. emissions tests. Nevertheless, the new finance minister of Germany was quoted as saying last week that, “everything possible must be done to avoid the imposition of diesel car bans in the country’s cities.” The minister is worried about what would happen to the German car industry (which is highly dependent on diesel engines) in the wake of such a ban. 
Wondering what to do in retirement once the shop is sold? Gus Olivas, a former collision repair centre owner, has come up with an answer. A story appeared in his town’s local paper last week noting that Olivas is about to bring some old world flavour to his local region by opening up Europa Italian & Spanish Cuisine in picturesque Kennewick, Washington. The article notes that while, “Repairing and rebuilding cars is an art form, so too is cooking.” As Olivas contemplated retirement, the 63-year-old knew he wanted to keep working. So he is opening a restaurant that will bring some Mediterranean-style deliciousness to the town. The restaurant will specialize in pasta and Spanish paella. Also on the menu, picadillo, “a sweet-spicy Spanish stew of ground beef, potatoes, tomatoes, raisins and cinnamon.” He spent a lifetime fixing cars, now it’s time for dinner. He’ll have cooks making the dishes, but he has reserved one kitchen job for himself: hand-rolling the meatballs. Olivas is quoted as saying, “This is an art. If I stop doing autobody repair, I want to cook.”

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