By Jeff Sanford
Toronto, Ontario -- August 24, 2017 -- In this week's edition of Friday Fun we look into why magnesium may be showing up in more cars sooner than previously thought, Calgary’s airport ends its experiment with “Lexus-only” parking spaces, the biggest ticket cars at Pebble Beach and much, much more!
- A report on Engineering.com suggests that a new extrusion process developed by the US Department of Energy should make it, “... more feasible for the auto industry to incorporate magnesium alloys into structural components.” The story notes that, “It’s been a barrel of aluminum vs. steel for some time, but a new method of extrusion could introduce a third player into the mix: magnesium ... The lightest of all structural metals, magnesium is 75 percent lighter than steel, 33 percent lighter than aluminum and the fourth most common element on earth behind iron, silicon and oxygen. Yet despite its light weight and natural abundance, auto makers have been stymied in their attempts to incorporate magnesium alloys into structural car parts, requiring rare-earth elements such as dysprosium, praseodymium and ytterbium to shore up its strength.” Now, apparently, this new extraction method solves some of those problems and has the potential to, “... reduce cost by eliminating the need for rare-earth elements, while simultaneously improving the material's structural properties.”
- The plaintiffs in two lawsuits against State Farm have dropped their cases, just 13 days after they were originally filed, according to a report by glassBYTES. The suits alleged that the insurer had influenced John Eagle Collision Center to glue the roof of a 2010 Honda Fit, rather than welding it in place as indicated by OEM requirements. The plaintiffs, Matthew and Marcia Seebachan, purchased the vehicle in 2013. They were unaware at the time that the roof had been repaired.
“Four months after purchasing the vehicle, the couple was in an accident, and both sustained serious burn injuries after the roof collapsed and doors jammed, trapping the couple inside as the vehicle caught fire. They alleged this was due to the repair work of the collision center, “ according to the report by glassBYTES. “Boyce Willis, director of John Eagle, stated in his July 7th deposition, that the insurance company wouldn’t have paid the bill if the center didn’t perform the repairs as they had specified, as opposed to the OEM’s … According to the lawsuit, the couple dismissed their lawsuits without prejudice to refiling. No reason was provided.”
- The Calgary airport announced this week it would convert its “Lexus-only stalls” back to accessible parking. Executives of Calgary International Airport ended up apologizing for reducing the number of accessible parking spots to allow a Lexus marketing campaign to use the space.
According to a report in the Times Colonist, “The pavement in the parking spots close to the terminal had recently been painted to indicate they were reserved for drivers of the luxury car. New stalls for those with disabilities were displaced to the row just behind. The issue was initially brought to the airport's attention by a man who saw the stalls being painted while he was dropping off his mother ... It wasn't long before outrage started spreading on social media.”
The airport quickly backed away from the plan. "The airport apologizes for even considering looking at these spots. Accessibility is important to us," said airport management in a press release. "I think clearly we didn't put enough thought into the impact that would have on our passengers and we apologize."
The carmaker also apologized. "In the future, we will more carefully scrutinize the details of these types of marketing campaigns," said Michael Bouliane, Lexus Manager of Corporate Communications. "We were truly embarrassed by this mistake. It shouldn't have happened and we are taking steps to make sure that it doesn't happen again."
- Mercedes-Benz is trying to get into the rarified world of so-called “supercars'with a vehicle it calls Project One. Developed by the company's AMG division, the car will cost roughly $2.8 million and, according to a report from Wired, “... will rival million-dollar vehicles like the forthcoming Aston Martin Valkyrie, McLaren BP23, and Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta.”
- It may never have set a record on the track, but it certainly set a record at the auction house. A McLaren F1 was sold for $15.62 million at the latest Bonham’s auction. According to a report from Autoweek, “... the car reportedly acquired half of its 9,600-mile odometer reading in one bite, when its very first owner took it on a tour of Europe straight from the factory. [Since then] this F1 has resided in the same east coast collection for the past 22 years in the care of its original owner, accumulating mileage in small increments along with regular services performed by BMW National Workshop-East. A low mileage and one-owner history helps to explain the high bid achieved here but the trajectory of F1 values has been heading in this direction for some time, ever since F1 values started taking off about a decade ago.”
The report goes on to note that it was only in 2014 that the, “... best examples topped the $10 million mark ... a decade ago, the F1 could be bought for 'merely' a million or so, with some well-used examples trading for well below that number.” What to make of the rapid price inflation? According to the story, “As a number of market analysts, collectors and owners had noted in the past few years, there is an emerging belief within the supercar community that the F1 has not really been surpassed in its ability, engineering or historical importance since its debut. This is a relatively recent view of the F1, as values had rested comfortably in the six-figure range until about eleven years ago.”
- Speaking of extremely expensive cars, the most expensive Porsche ever sold was bought for $14 million at Pebble Beach recently. According to a report by CNBC, “Sales at the Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach this weekend topped $327 million. Although higher than expected, that figure was 3 percent below last year's sales.”
The record setting Porsche was featured in the Steve McQueen movie Le Mans. According to David Gooding, President and founder of Gooding, as quoted by CNBC, "Steve McQueen is really at the top of the car mythology. If you're a car guy, this Porsche is your nirvana."
Check out the list of the top 10 sellers at Pebble Beach this summer:
1. 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 Roadster, $22.55 million
2. 1995 McLaren F1 Coupe, $15.62 million
3. 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Coupe, $14.52 million
4. 1970 Porsche 917K, $14.08 million
5. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Coupe, $8.305 million
6. 1959 Aston Martin DB4GT Prototype Coupe, $6.765 million
7. 1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spider, $5.72 million
8. 1959 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Series III Coupe, $5.335 million
9. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT SI Cabriolet (open headlight), $4.84 million
10. 1950 Ferrari 166 MM Berlinetta, $4.51 million
- Hagerty, the specialty classic car insurer, has recently purchased a company called Classics&Exotics. Hagerty says it will change the name to DriveShare and will offer a service that allows customers to rent classic cars such as Ford Model As and Lamborghinis in hundreds of cities, according to a report by Insurance Business. McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty was quoted as saying, “The equation is a reputable car on one side, owned by someone who’d like to make some extra money and share the vehicle they love, and on the other, a thoughtful driver who is careful and curious about what these amazing machines are all about.”
The story goes on to say that, “Part of the company’s motivation, of course, is to get a new generation hooked on classic cars. Most car collectors are baby boomers; but if a few millennials catch the bug, they open up a new market for Hagerty’s insurance products.”
- A Chinese car maker known as Great Wall Motors said last week that it intended to make a move to buy Fiat Chrysler for its Italian-American automotive business. The announcement sent shares soaring … until the rumour was refuted by FCA. The company put out a press release, saying that, "In response to market rumors regarding a potential interest of Great Wall Motors in the Jeep brand, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ... confirmed that it has not been approached by Great Wall Motors in connection with the Jeep brand or any other matter relating to its business. FCA is fully committed to its 2014-18 plan, having achieved each one of its targets to date and with only six quarters left to its completion."