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Friday Fun: Flying car crashes into second-floor window; CBC News sends 15-year-old to cover Detroit Auto Show

By Jeff Sanford

Toronto, Ontario — January 19, 2018 — In today’s Friday Fun: Did Edmonton set a record for most collisions in the shortest period of time? A vehicle in California managed to get stuck in the second floor of a nearby building, and CBC News covers the Detroit Auto Show in an unusual way. 

– Edmonton collision repair centres were certainly busy a week ago. As this winter’s nasty weather continued to disrupt travel across the country, the city’s police force tweeted that some 70 collisions had occured in just four hours. Surely that sets some kind of record. 

– A picture of a car that managed to get airborne and then stuck in the second floor of a nearby building went viral on the net last week. On Sunday, a car that went airborne after its drug-addled driver collided with a concrete median, eventually landing in the second-storey of a dentists office, some 20ft above the road. While the one passenger was able to make a quick escape, the other was stuck in the precarious position for more than an hour, when emergency responders were able to stabilize the vehicle. Both occupants escaped with only minor injuries.

– CBC News in Windsor is covering the Detroit Auto Show in a unique way. The station is sending a 15-year-old to the show to act as their reporter. The youngster, Kegun Morkin, is surely destined for some kind of position in the auto industry. According to a report from CBC he has more than 65,000 followers on his auto-based Instagram page. He can’t even drive yet. According to the story he currently works for Formula First Collision, a Windsor-area collision repair shop, where he wipes down repaired vehicles. This past week CBC sent Kegun over to Detroit to cover the show at Cobo Hall. His mother sometimes shuttles him to different auto dealers in the region to check out various cars. According to CBC the kid is already making his way as an auto photographer, “… snapping photos of cars for money is something he’s done for several companies already – an interior design company that’s worked with European automakers such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz has also offered to pay Morkin for his photography.” Morkin plans get his G1 license right when he turns 16 on October 25. His dream job is to one day work for a major OEM. He’s got taste. His favourite car is the $5 million Swedish-made Koenigsegg Agera RS. But he’s also realistic. He expects that when it comes to his first car, it’ll be, “some sort of used Chrysler.” Also interesting: The shop he works for, Formula First Collision, is arguably the southern Ontario shop with the most brand certifications. The organization is certified by Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, Lexus, Jeep, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover and Porsche.

– An interesting post from the “just rolled into the shop” subreddit (on the popular website reddit.com) poses an interesting question–what is the best way to repair bullet holes in an auto body? Has anyone handled this? Are there official OEM guidelines documenting the proper way to patch bullet holes in a car body? Email us tips! 

– Another report from the Detroit Free Press seems to solve a mystery about a famous on-screen car: The 1968 Mustang Fastback driven by movie star Steve McQueen in the 1968 movie Bullitt. Ford is rolling out a new Mustang called the Bullitt at this year’s show, and so the timing of the article is, well, perfectly timed from a PR perspective. The story about how the car came into the possession of Sean Kiernan is an interesting one. The car is one of his family’s most prized possessions. But the car’s provenance has long been kept secret. The Free Press spilled the beans this past week. According to the story, Kiernan’s dad bought the car for $3,000 to $6,000 out of a classified ad in a 1974 issue of Road & Track magazine. The  family never talked publicly about it. “My whole life I have never been able to say Bullitt in front of anyone outside of my family,” Kiernan said to the Free Press. But he reached out to Ford two years ago as the movie’s 50th anniversary neared. The car needed to be seen he says. Steve McQueen famously drove the car in a 140-mile-an-hour pursuit scene through the hilly streets of San Francisco. According to Keiren Steve McQueen later tried to buy the car. Estimates are that the car is worth at least $4 million. 

– Police in the US are stepping up the war on distracted driving. It was reported by The Detroit News this past week that the city of Chicago is about to become the first city in the US to give its police officers a device that can tell them if a motorist was texting when they got into a accident. The news report notes that a company has developed a gadget called the “Textalyzer,” which can be used at the scene of an accident to figure out if someone was texting just before the collision occurred.  

– Also at the Detroit Auto Show this week: Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler, sat down with Bloomberg for a two hour interview. Marchionne has promised to keep production of Chrysler vehicles in Windsor, Ontario. The company’s huge van plant makes the new Pacifica, which Waymo has ordered for its automated vehicle fleet. Marchionne also went on about the big trends playing out in the industry during the interview. According to the CEO, “Carmakers have less than a decade to reinvent themselves or risk being commoditized amid a seismic shift in how vehicles are powered, driven and purchased… Developing technologies like electrification, self-driving software and ride-sharing will alter consumers’ car-buying decisions within six or seven years.” He went on to say that the industry, “… will divide into segments, with premium brands managing to hold onto their cachet while mere people-transporters struggle to cope with the onslaught from disruptors like Tesla Inc. and Google’s Waymo.” He is quoted as saying, “Auto companies need to quickly separate the stuff that will be swallowed by commodity from the brand stuff.”  He also expects, “… widespread adoption of cars at Level 4 autonomy, capable of driving without human intervention in restricted geographic areas. By 2025, he predicts that fewer than half the cars sold will be be fully combustion-powered.” Marchionne is quoted as saying, “I think the likelihood that combustion will continue to represent the large proportion of the power unit world is very small. Automation will become widely spread. Certainly up to Level 4… By 2025 more than half of the power units you see on the road will have some relevance of electrification. There may be a base combustion engine, but it is combustion and electrification that will make the machine run. Electrification will happen not necessarily as full battery‑electric vehicles but in combination with other forms of power. It’s going to be a very interesting time.” 

– Earlier this week, at 4:00 am, a driver’s dash cam captured a car going the wrong way on a Toronto expressway. Here’s the footage.

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