By Jeff Sanford
Toronto, Ontario -- April 27, 2017 -- This week’s Friday Fun looks at how all three of Canada’s coasts will finally be connected by permanent roads, a Fort McMurray resident who customized a “post-apocalyptic” car in honour of the city's residents resilience in the face of the 2016 fire, a new PDR technique you probably won’t want to try and much, much more!
- ”You'll soon be able to drive to the top of the world,” according to a news report about the first highway to reach all the way to the Arctic Ocean. According to the report, “In November, to coincide with Canada's 150th birthday, it will be possible for the first time in history to drive to the top of Canada's mainland year round ... Currently, the only way to cross the Arctic Circle by car in Canada is to head north on the Dempster Highway, which starts near Dawson City, Yukon, and ends in Inuvik, a frontier town of 3,000 people in the Mackenzie River Delta ... Now, after four years of construction in brutally harsh conditions, the last 137 kilometres connecting Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk, on the shores of the Beaufort Sea, will finally stitch Canada's coasts together.” Tuktoyaktuk is only connected to Inuvik by an ice road in the winter.
- GM has had an auto plant in Venezuela seized by authorities. The country is undergoing an intense period of chaos as low oil prices have undercut the revenue flows that normally prop up the state. In a Reuters report, GM described the takeover as an "illegal judicial seizure of its assets." The automaker said the seizure showed a "total disregard" of its legal rights. It said that authorities had removed assets including cars from company facilities. "[GM] strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights," it said in a statement.
- A story by the Edmonton Sun tells the tale of a Fort McMurray resident who has customized a car as a sort-of “post-apocalyptic” tribute to the city's resilience in the face of the terrifying fire of 2016. “My son’s idea was that it should look like it had escaped the last disaster and should be prepared for the next,” said the owner of the car. “So we are slowly gearing up with all the tools to help people along the highway.” The owner is a contractor who does home exteriors. He needed a “smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle to use on the highway,” he picked up a used Honda Civic that had “suffered burns, front-end damage and other scrapes during the fire.” Instead of fixing it up like new, the father and son customized it with old rims. They distorted the fenders, scratched the paint and added items found around town after the fire. The car has a sign that reads, “Beauty Survives the Beast.” They have also added items that might help other motorists should there be another evacuation. They have stowed “containers of water and gas, a pick, shovel, jack, ramps and a winch,” in the car. “You don’t expect a little Civic, especially one as creepy as this is, to stop and help you...But we do a lot of that highway travel back and forth, so if we can help with gas or help you get a tire back on, why not?” the owner was quoted as saying.
- An article in an Illinois student newspaper tells the story of Dave Dunn, owner of Dave’s Auto Body. Along with providing collision repair services, Dunn has also been marketing his own brand of hot sauce, Dave’s Gator Sauce. According to the story, “The auto shop distributes nearly 5,000 bottles a year.” Dunn also operates a marketing firm, and “The group is constantly searching for new and exciting ways to improve upon a brand.” The branded hot sauce is a perfect way to do that. According to the story, “There is no marketing gimmick that would make a person want to wreck their car, so in Dunn’s mind, the most they can do to encourage people to come in is to build a brand.”
According to Dunn, “It’s hard to have a relationship with somebody if you only see someone every seven years, which is statistically how often you see someone in collision repair. So we have many things, Gator Sauce being one of them, that continues that relationship outside of any transaction.” The story goes on to explain that the, “... theory behind the gator sauce as a marketing tool is inspired by the Purple Cow Theory. The theory simply states that if you are driving near a farm and only see black and white spotted cows, they are indistinguishable and unremarkable. However, if you were to see a purple cow, you would pull over to the side of the road and tell all of your friends about it.” The story also quotes Dunn as saying, “For us, it’s not about making a buck or two on a bottle of sauce. It’s about forming relationships in unusual ways.”
- Sometimes journalists wish we could avoid reporting on a story for reasons of decorum. However, we have a duty to inform the public that must trump our personal tastes. This, we are sad to say, is one of those times. A video popped up this week that appears to show a woman in a parking lot doing a bit of amateur paintless dent repair (PDR) work on her car door. She used a rather unusual tool to get the job done. It was, uh … look, it was a dildo, okay?
According to a story on Refinery 29, “Getting a dent in your car can be an annoying situation. Whether it's from a parking job gone awry, a rogue shopping cart, or an overzealous car door, a dent can be an eyesore. Instead of ringing up a body shop, however, Twitter user @_ITgay captured a dent repair using something from a decidedly different kind of body shop—a dildo.” You can check it out in the player below:
- Kentucky’s Governor and the Chairman of Braidy Industries announced this week that the company will construct the nation’s “first Greenfield aluminum rolling mill” in over three decades. According to a news report, “The rolling mill seeks to become the nation’s low cost producer of high quality auto body sheet aluminum, plate ... The mill will open with capacity of 370,000 tons per annum, producing series 5000, 6000, and 7000 aluminum sheet and plate products.”
- Mitsubishi Electric Corp. has been fined $13.4 million by Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice after the Japanese auto parts company pled guilty to three counts of rigging bids, the Toronto Star reports. “It’s the second-largest fine to date by a court in Canada since a federal investigation into bid rigging was launched more than four years ago ... Canada’s Competition Bureau says Mitsubishi entered into illegal agreements with a competing Japanese car parts manufacturer ... The companies conspired to determine who would win certain calls for bids issued by Honda and Ford for the supply of alternators, and by General Motors for the supply of ignition coils. The calls for bids occurred between 2003 and 2006.”
- There is a dedicated Twitter account for the phenomenon known as the “Camry Corner.” Have you ever noticed how often it is that beige Camry's have a pushed-in back bumper corner? According to a story, “The Camry Dent, also sometimes known as the 'Camry Corner,' is pretty much what it sounds like: a prominent dent on the corner of a Toyota Camry’s bumper. The Camrys affected seem to be the ‘wide-body’ Camrys, starting with the XV10 Camry from 1991. Every Camry generation from the 1990s on to the present (XV20, XV30, XV40, XV50) seems to be at risk for the Camry Dent.”
Midsize Camry sedans “typically outsell every other vehicle save the Ford F-Series pickup in any given year, yet remains virtually invisible,” according to the report. “Once you notice them, you notice them everywhere … Some of the Camrys, like the '03 to '06, they have a lot of space between the bumper cover and the metal body. They get a little hit on the corner then the whole corner is going to be bumped in," according to M.J. Hernandez, an estimator with Globe Auto Body in Los Angeles. “The center of a car's bumper may absorb a light hit and pop back out on its own,” he said. “In the corner, the same light impact creates more friction ... In the corner it normally gets heated to the point where it just stays.”
- Sales of new vehicles fell 0.1 percent to $2.79 billion, while “used car sales also dropped by 0.1% to $1.2 billion,” according to the latest statistics. This is not necessarily cause for concern according to the “outspoken” chairman and CEO of AutoNation, the largest publicly-traded auto dealership company in the US. According to the CEO, car buyers are being blown away by all the new technology on cars. According to the CEO, "Most people, it has been four, five six years since they've been in a showroom, and they are absolutely amazed at the new technology -- it's a big reason why they step up and buy a new car," and so demand should stay healthy, he says.