By Jeff Sanford
Toronto, Ontario -- October 26, 2017 -- In this week's edition of Friday Fun, we look at Halloween vandalism, how Canada’s Motor City opened a library branch dedicated to automotive history, why a shop in the US is suing a competitor, a local dealer and Mercedes all at the same time, and much, much more!
- Halloween’s almost here, and that means insurance claims related to car vandalism are probably about to jump for a few days, according to Kevin Quinn, VP of Claims with Mercury Insurance. He made the comments in a story on USA Today. “Raw eggs, pumpkins and rocks are all common projectiles,” tossed at cars by vandals. According to the story, if a car can’t, “... be cleaned or suffers serious damage, such as a broken window, it's usually covered by comprehensive car insurance.” The night before Halloween is sometimes called "Mischief Night" or “Devil’s Night” and is practiced in parts of the United States and Canada, “... but is chiefly associated with the serious vandalism and arson seen in Detroit, Michigan from the 1970s to the 1990s,” according to Wikipedia. “Devil's Night dates from as early as the 1940s. Traditionally, city youths engaged in a night of mischievous or petty criminal behavior, usually consisting of minor pranks or acts of mild vandalism.” We guess it depends on how you define “mild.” It became a practice in Detroit to light old abandoned houses on fire on Devil’s Night, a trend that peaked in the late ‘80s, when the fire department was unable to respond to thousands of houses that were burnt down over the course of a couple hours.
- In San Antonio this past week a car split in half after being struck by another vehicle going the wrong way on a local highway. Two people were hospitalized after the rollover crash. According to police, the driver of a pickup truck was driving the wrong way on an expressway when he hit an oncoming car. “The pickup truck rolled over several times and ejected the driver. The truck eventually landed on some electrical wires. Officers said the other car was cut in half. Both drivers were transported to the hospital in serious condition. Police believe speed was a factor in the crash,” according to a report by a local NBC affiliate.
- In Regina this past week, an autobody shop, a bank and a local community centre were forced to close down at noon by police. The officers were creating a safety perimeter around a couple engaging in a standoff with police. According to a report by CJME, “Several Regina police officers in tactical gear were involved in a standoff in North Central all day Monday before taking a man and woman into custody. According to police, it began as a result of a previous gun investigation, which started around 6 a.m. Monday … Around 10 a.m gunshots seem to have been fired at police from a home. Regina police set up a safety perimeter and called in extra resources, including an RCMP tactical armoured vehicle, the SWAT team, crisis negotiators, police dogs and plain-clothed officers.”
- Repairer Driven News reports that one of the first Mercedes-certified autobody shops in America has sued a local dealership, a competing shop and Mercedes Benz for demanding what the repairer called a "mafia-style bribe.” The lawsuit names North State Custom competitor S&L Collision Center, “... alleging it agreed to the kickbacks and improper behavior before it obtained the now-uncertified North State Custom's Mercedes business.” The shop that lost the cert program offered by the local dealership demands $11.5 million, plus interest, on each of the counts against Mercedes, Celebrity, and S&L. According to the story, “North State Custom did about $1.5 million in Mercedes repair work annually and has invested for years in equipment and other necessities to preserve Mercedes certification. Both the revenue and the sunk costs in such a scenario would be leverage for an unscrupulous dealership.”
- Windsor's automotive history has a new home in the city. A report in the Windsor Star notes that the William F. Chisholm library branch recently opened in the trendy South Walkerville neighborhood. “The 4,600-volume automotive archive is unique in Canada and has already generated inquiries from motorheads across the nation who are looking for specs and colours of their beloved old cars,” according to the report. The branch is named after William "Bill" Chisholm, the founder of long-running and very popular dealership, Rose City Ford. The Chisholm family financially supported the Windsor Public Library's newest branch, according to the story.
"I've been involved in the auto industry as long as I can remember," said Chisholm. "The information housed in the library hasn't been available to the public. It's been scattered around the city. I think it's wonderful that it's now easily accessible to everyone."
According to the story, “Contained in the collection are service manuals dating back decades from the Detroit Three automotive manufacturers. Even the service manual for Ford's Model T is available. As is the collection of Ward's Automotive Magazine annuals. The collection is largely the result of past library boards buying the automotive service manuals each year and collecting sales brochures, pamphlets and press kits over the decades.”
In addition to the library's collection, local residents have donated items such as racing programs from the Dayus and Checker Flag race racks. There's even correspondence from the Packard Motor Company. The automotive theme is carried on throughout the branch, which cost $2.5 million to build. There are three old gas pumps on display, posters outlining the evolution of the Mustang, a mini car once displayed on the riverfront and a statue made of mechanical parts. Even the windows are decorated with auto-themed art.
- Tesla is testing a new approach to car insurance. The company has started, “... quietly rolling out the InsureMyTesla program in February in Hong Kong and Australia. The electric car maker is testing a different insurance companies across the globe to offer InsureMyTesla, which lowers overall insurance costs by factoring in the vehicles' Autopilot safety features and maintenance costs. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that insurance agencies should adjust their prices for Tesla vehicles because the cars come with Autopilot, the company's advanced driver-assistance feature,” according to a report on Bloomberg. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that crash rates for Tesla vehicles have plummeted 40% since Autopilot was first installed,” according to the story. Elon Musk was quoted as saying, "If we find that the insurance providers are not matching the insurance proportionate to the risk of the car then if we need to we will in-source it.”