Blog

VW Hippie Bus, was it really called that?

VW Hippie Bus, was it really called that?

The Volkswagen Bus – also called Type 2 – is the second model that was produced by postwar Volkswagen. hippie-van-wallpaper

After the Second World War there was a large demand for commercial vehicles. Volkswagen soon developed to become the leader in this market. Under the name, Type 2, they brought 5 variations to the market; the T1 to T5.

The name Type 2 is, in contrary to what sometimes is thought, not synonymous with a T2 bus. During the fifties, the Type 2 had no competition. Of course, many car manufacturers around the world produced a commercial vehicle, because many retailers were very dependent on their van, but with the introduction of the Volkswagen Bus, it was the start of a new era.

So what made the VW Bus so attractive to the Hippie Counterculture movement? Good question. Is it because of the characteristics and appearance of a cozy, happy, smiling car – something the competitors at that time could not match? It’s the same feeling of friendship we also experience with the Volkswagen Beetle.

So what was this movement really all about that made this type of vehicle so attractive? The 1960’s hippie counter culture movement involved a variety of social concerns and beliefs. The hippies’ primary tenet was that life was about being happy, not about materialism or what others thought you should be.

VWHippieBusTheir “if it feels good, do it” attitudes included little forethought, nor concern for the consequences of their actions. Hippies were dissatisfied with what their parents had built for them, a rather strange belief given that their parents had built the greatest booming economy the world had ever seen.

Hippies rejected established institutions, calling them “The Establishment,” “Big Brother,” and “The Man.” Hippies believed the dominant mainstream culture was corrupt and inherently flawed and sought to replace it with a Utopian society.

Hippies rejected middle class values, opposed nuclear weapons, and the Vietnam War. They embraced aspects of Eastern philosophy, and sought to find new meaning in life. So did they really all drive a VW Bus? No, not really, Hippies drove anything they could get their hands on that was cheap, and during that era, VW buses were just that.

You could pack a lot of people into this VW bus. The mileage was above average and the engine was air cooled, keeping the maintenance down to a minimum. Having a so called party bus was very inviting. These VW Buses are still popular today. Check out your local car shows and see who still owns them.

There are many opinions out there as to what type of vehicle was popular during this counter culture era, but in the past, many have labeled it the Hippie Bus for a reason.

What To Know About Buying A Hybrid Vehicle

What To Know About Buying A Hybrid Vehicle

Recently a reader of my column in the Happy Herald contacted me regarding her A/C (air conditioning) not blowing cold air. She wanted to make an appointment to have it looked at, but during our conversation we also began discussing Hybrid vehicles. It seems she purchased a Chevy Volt back in 2007 and just loves it. But now she is in the market for another vehicle and was inquiring about the Hyundai Hybrid 2016.

I am not a fan of first year model vehicles since there are no reviews to fall back on before making such an expensive purchase. Also, no mechanical issues are documented, so you have no idea what problems there might be, and you, the consumer, become the guinea pig.

Hyundai Santa Fe blue Hybrid concept

Hyundai Santa Fe blue Hybrid concept

So, if you are in the market for a hybrid vehicle, let’s go over a few things to think about prior to signing on that dotted line.

1) Check out all manufacturers that offer Hybrids.
2) Research any related issues, or check for reviews (if not first year model).
3) What is your insurance going to cost?
4) Is there any information on resale values for Hybrids, since one day you might want to trade it in, or trade up?
5) What is the batteries’ life span and what is the cost to replace them, if needed??

hybrid-1Let’s talk about the batteries first.

It’s true that batteries aren’t cheap, and at some point down the line they will have expended their useful life and require replacement. But what do these packs actually cost, if and when that replacement date comes?

I’ve previously looked at many articles discussing the cost of replacing battery packs in the first-generation 2001-2003 Toyota Prius, but with several other hybrids on the market from Toyota alone, which they wanted to investigate further.

Replacement is rare.

The first, and most reassuring thing you should know about these battery packs, is that replacement is a rare occurrence.

Toyota stated that their engineers considered the NiMH batteries in Prius and other Toyota hybrids to be a life-of-the-car component. It could be several owners and hundreds of thousands of miles down the line before the pack requires replacement, at which point the car itself may well be past its prime.

That’s backed up by stories like the 300,000-mile Ford Escape hybrid taxis, and Consumer Reports recently tested a 215,000-mile 2003 Prius and found its performance had barely diminished. In the latter, the only component that had needed replacement was a fan belt, at 127,000 miles.

Warranties are long

Toyota clearly has confidence in its battery packs, and offers an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty in most states. In states that adopt California’s emissions regulations, that rises to 10-years/150,000-miles.
So, in a worst-case scenario, any battery failure or significant performance drop-off will be covered by the warranty for up to a decade. That is impressive.

Now that we have discussed batteries, what are the pros and cons of Hybrid vehicles?

Hybrid Car AdvantagesFord-Escape-Hybrid-Feature-1212

• Clean energy. An electric motor together with a gas powered engine make a vehicle that has lower emissions and better gas mileage. It conserves energy while having the power of a standard engine.

• Performance improvements. New technologies allow hybrids the same kind of performance as normal cars, and they are continuing to be developed, improving efficiency, getting better mileage, and reducing emissions even further.

• Incentives. Varying from state to state and federally, hybrids may come with a tax benefit and savings in the form of much less money spent on fuel.

• Regenerative braking. Each time you brake, the battery is recharged a little, eliminating the need for stopping to recharge the battery periodically.

• Lower fossil fuel dependence. Because hybrids are much cleaner and require less fossil fuel to run them, they ultimately help to reduce the dependence on foreign oil and do their part to lower prices domestically.

• Lighter weight. Because hybrids are constructed using lighter materials, the car does not have to expend as much energy to do the same task.

• A smaller engine. Again, a smaller engine means a lighter one, and because there is less cylinder displacement, the engine does not have to work as hard, and a hybrid uses far less fuel in the process.

• Higher resale values. As more and more people are turning to hybrid vehicles to help save money on annual fuel bills and protect the environment, used hybrid vehicles are commanding higher than average resale values. Many popular fuel-efficient vehicles, such as cars made by Honda and Toyota, have always enjoyed high resale values, and the hybrid versions of vehicles made by these manufacturers are demanding even higher selling prices. So, in the event you need to sell a hybrid vehicle, it is safe to assume that you will be able to recoup much more of your investment than you would with a standard gasoline engine powered vehicle.

Chevrolet-Tahoe-Hybrid-1213Hybrid Car Disadvantages

Depending on how you drive, a hybrid car might not be the right choice for you, because they tend to perform quite a bit differently than the vehicles most of us are used to.

• Lower power output. These vehicles are built for economy, not for speed. The gasoline engine (which is the car’s primary source of power) is much smaller than in comparable vehicles. If you need more acceleration than the conventional engine can provide, the electric motor assists in getting the car going. However, even with extra help, the total power output of the hybrid platform is often less than that of a comparable gas powered car.

• Poorer handling. Hybrids as a rule don’t handle as well as conventionally-powered vehicles. The reason for this is centered around the issue of weight. Extra weight results in a loss of fuel efficiency, so manufacturers tend to cut weight wherever possible. Hybrids generally have less bracing and support in the suspension and body, and they use lighter-duty components than in cars that are more performance-focused.

• Higher center of gravity. A car’s center of gravity and weight distribution has a huge effect on how it drives. Vehicle manufacturers do their best to distribute the weight as well as they can, but it’s just not possible to mitigate this factor completely. Hybrids are usually front-wheel drive, and the easiest and safest place for the batteries tend to be in the rear of the car. This distributes weight away from the drive wheels which tends to have a negative effect on performance.

• Sticker shock. The price difference of hybrid cars versus standard vehicles is considerable. In many cases, the hybrid electric version of a vehicle may cost between $5000 and $10,000 more than the standard version. Many consumers will simply not be able to afford the price difference in the two types of vehicles regardless of how much money may or may not be saved with the better fuel efficiency of hybrid vehicles.

• Higher maintenance costs. Hybrid vehicles also cost more to repair because of the complexity of the dual compulsion system used in most hybrid vehicles. Not all mechanics are trained, or equipped, to work on hybrid vehicles, and repair bills will be larger than with standard ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles. Also, because of the increased weight of hybrid vehicles, you can expect to replace tires and brakes more frequently.
If you are in the market for a Hybrid, or just in the consideration stage, I hope this has helped to give you a little more food for thought. Do your homework and make the right choice.

Reference: Green Car Reports

Auto’ Repare’ – France

Auto’ Repare’ France

 

I love how the Internet can connect people from across the world. I never anticipated that my career would bring me to having my own radio show, let alone having it also connect me with people from other countries. I was telling a friend about all the wonderful people I have been meeting who listen to Teresa’s Garage Radio Show in countries like Africa, Spain, France, and Uganda, not to mention from across the United States.

So how do these listeners find the radio station I broadcast my show from?  Many ways. Of course, they Google “Automotive.” Also, searching Twitter, and Pinterist, will find me. Friends share my Facebook posts, which travel across the internet faster than the news can report it and, maybe they find the show by luck. I really cannot pinpoint just one way since they all apply.CMmAMbzUcAAEwU0

Recently on Twitter, I noticed that an auto repair shop started following my posts, so I reciprocated by following their posts. I always find myself sending thank you messages to followers, and in this case, extended an invitation for them to be a guest on my radio show. I’m constantly searching for new guests to highlight on the Show.

I was amazed to hear from ‘Auto Repare’, an Automotive Repair Business in France. Wow, I don’t know about you, but this just blows my mind that I can connect with other countries in just one click. Ahjon Francois, the owner of ‘Auto Repair’ informed me that he would love to have been a guest on Teresa’s Garage Radio Show, but a few problems keep him from doing so. One, he can’t speak a lick of English, and two, neither can he read or write it. In order for us to communicate with each other, he is using Google translator to do so.

Now I have to admit that in the translation, some words are not what they appear to be, or should be. But if you read it a few times, you get the drift of what Ahjon is trying to express. I took French in High School, but I can only remember a few words and sayings, so no chance of translating it on my end. Thanks Google!

Ahjon Francois, was born in Corsica, France, and from an early age he was always tinkering in the automotive field in electricity and mechanics. He pursued this career by working for several companies as a mechanic. He started as an electrician for Sud Auto Diesel (Technical Centre Bosch Diesel and Electricity), then as a workshop manager, and ended his career there as the Sales Manager at a Porsche/Mitsubishi dealership.

Having the desire to own his own business, he decided to leap into a franchise for the Bosch Car Care Network.  He opened his first garage under a franchise. After six years in business, and some achieved success, along with some enthusiastic advice from those around him, he branched out into a second location.

It was at this time he met his beautiful wife, Benedicte, who was working for Panasonic on the commercial side. It was unfortunate that not long after opening his second location, that Ahjon would experience his first loss. According to Ahjon, he had to close his original location due to lack of customers, and bad advice from his accountant.

From the perspective of looking back on it all, he realized that the false success of his first garage was energized by the enthusiasm of the franchisor and lack of attention by his accountant. Ahjon took a year to reflect on all the errors made, which might have been a blessing since he was able to reassess, reflect, experience a short time of depression, and then a bounce back.

OZnw5-IC_biggerSince automotive engineering is his passion, Ahjon did not take this loss sitting down, but used it to re-energize his yearnings to succeed. It wasn’t long before Ahjon and his wife began looking for a new location to open another garage, this time working together to achieve success.

One thing for sure was, this time, no franchise type business; if they were going to leap, it would be on their own and on their own terms. They found a perfect location for their new beginnings, and having reflected on the past failure, Ahjon knew what now needed to be done in order to be profitable.

He also knew that he wanted to make a difference in the automotive industry by being sensitive to his eco-footprint by recycling the used parts not requested back by the customer, specializing in personalized service, and explaining in detail to his customers the work performed. He also knew that the customers’ safety was top priority. Plus, he needed to be competitive, where, as a Franchiser, he was unable to do so, since prices were somewhat fixed and the franchise costs would mean a higher price to the end user.

CNbgqo_WoAAZuc-Ahjon found himself reaching out to the network and social media to promote his newly formed ‘Auto Repair’ business on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others. The internet also gave him the edge to communicate with other business professionals in the industry to remain informed on market trends.

His business was a success, due in part to the internet, since 80% of his business comes through the internet, all across France. He has clients who travel from afar just to have their vehicle serviced at his shop.

Ahjon’s wife was not standing on the sidelines. Because of her past experience, she was able to bring to the business the commercial side, allowing them to advertise and attract a different clientele. She designed and distributed flyers promoting what ‘Auto Repair’ offers the consumer, along with a coupon offering a 10% discount.

Not only are Ahjon and Benedicte married and partners, but their success is due in part by both of them being on the same wavelength. Although Benedicte is not in any way a mechanic, she comes in handy when 3 hands instead of two are needed on occasion. In turn, she has been able to learn a few tricks of the trade.

This newly developed business has no employees as yet; the hard work, dedication, and every demanding detail of running a business still falls on the owners. Ahjon performs the mechanical repair, and administers the entire internet streaming, while his wife handles the office and advertising. So it goes to show you, it’s not how hard you fall that matters, it is what you do to pick yourself and learn from your mistakes that counts.

To me, success is not measured by how much money or how many things you have, but how you live your life, and the things you learn in life from your failures. I’d say, Ahjon and his wife have succeeded. Failure appears to have made him even stronger. Good Luck ‘Auto Repare’.

Girls N Garages

girlsngarage magHow do girls go from just being a girl, to a Car Chick, then to creating the Girls N Garages website? This story is about a young woman who was never originally a car gal, but did know the basics about cars. When I say basics, I mean more like how to check the oil, change a tire, the wiper blades, and a few other basic items, but that was about it.

I think I can say that she, (we will call her Karen for this article), fell into the same category as many women out there who own cars. This all changed when Karen met her now fiancé four years ago in a garage. A close friend of hers was into Rock Crawling, and a friend of his just happened to be a builder and fabricator of Rock Crawlers. So one day, her friend asked her to go with him to check out the progress on his Crawler, which was being worked on at a local garage.

Karen, being out of her element, found all this fabricating to be some pretty crazy stuff. She sparked up a conversation with the mechanic and they hit it off right away and Karen started learning a lot more than she ever knew about Jeeps, off road vehicles, and the basics of maintenance.

Karen became so fascinated with what she was beginning to learn about automobiles from her fiancé, that she decided it was time to branch out to educating and connecting with other women who love cars, wanted to know more about cars, or just connect about cars. I guess you could say, meeting her fiance has changed her life’s direction and her new found passion for everything automotive. So much so that she has began working on publishing a magazine, Girls N Garages.

GirlsngaragesIt is amazing how one day your life is heading in one direction and then the next day it takes a “right turn” into another. This magazine has become more than she could have ever imagined.

Karen states that if she can help at least one woman learn something new about her car, or persuade one young lady that going into the automotive industry is right for her, then she has conquered her dream.

The magazine Girls N Garages just launched its first issue in June of this year. This is just the beginning for Karen; she is so excited to be featuring all the inspiring women in the Automotive Industry in future issues.

Karen will also be my guest on Teresa’s Garage Radio Show on September 15, 2015. For more information on Girls N Garages, listen to the prerecorded show at Teresa’s Garage Radio Show Archives  scroll down to Teresa’s Garage, click it on, the scroll down to 09-15-15 to listen after the show has aired or go to www.girlsngarages.com for more information about this amazing magazine.

What To Check On Your Vehicle Before Planning Any Trip

What To Check On Your Vehicle Before Planning Any Trip

Whether you plan on visiting your local campground or simply want to do a pilgrimage on Route 66, your vehicle needs to be up to snuff. Imagine what would happen if it wasn’t. Imagine yourself stuck by the side of a deserted road, trying to flag down cars that will likely never come by. Imagine the stress, the loneliness, the agony. And it never fails, you think you have help right at your finger tips by using your cell phone, well, what if there was not cell service available or your battery died?

You have to take matters into your own hands. If you’re planning on taking a road trip, make sure you provide your car with some basic maintenance. A top-notch horn might be more useful than you think.

What To Check

Let’s start by listing the parts on your car that you should check to be certain that the vehicle is in perfect working order. Notice that, while you may be able to verify some of them on your own, for the most part, you’ll have to rely on a competent mechanic.

Fluids

In a way, cars were modeled after living organisms. Consequently, a car has as much bodily fluids as a human. You must make sure that there’s always enough juice in every domain so that the car can function flawlessly. Be aware that the first three items on the following list also have filters that will need to be examined.oil pouring 1

Engine oil
Transmission fluid
Gasoline
Antifreeze/coolant
Radiator coolant
Brake fluid
Windshield washer fluid
Power steering fluid

Hoses & beltsbelts-hoses

These are like the blood arteries of the human body; they connect the entire system. If there’s a loose connection, you might find yourself hitchhiking before you know it. Make sure all hoses and belts are tightly secured.

Tires

Your tires are what tie your car to the road. At any given time, your vehicle is touching the pavement only through a few square inches of rubber. Therefore, it’s important that your treads are deep enough to ensure adequate traction.
You should also check your tire pressure. The number on the tire’s side is the maximum pressure it can withstand, not the recommended amount. Your tires should be a little less inflated in winter, and closer to their maximum in summer.

Tire PressureNever inflate your tires too much as it could provoke a blowout. And don’t forget that paramount spare tire, just in case. Nothing more embarrassing than having your spare just as flat as the one you are removing.

Karl’s Kustom Corvettes – Making The Best Even Better

Karl's CorvettesKarl’s Kustom Corvette’s – Making The Best Even Better

The saying goes everything old is new again. In this case something old is making the best even better. That is exactly what Karl’s Kustom Corvettes is all about. If you love Corvettes or love owning them, then this is a must read. Here is a company that is not only the largest Chevrolet Dealership in the country, but they produce some incredible 63 Split Window Coupe and the 67 Roadster of yester year with new technology of today’s C6 platform.

These year Corvettes remain the most iconic and sought-after collector car to date. At Karl’s Kustom Corvette’s, they have created the look of both. So how do they do this, well only the skin is left behind because these cars are assembled on the factory built, advanced GM engineered platform of the C6, with its powerful standard LS3 engine, or the Z06, with its aluminum frame and LS7engine.

Karl's Corvettes PhotosAll of these Corvettes begin their lives as factory GM models and are covered under the GM factory powertrain warranty. With the style and look of the 60’s Corvettes, your Karl’s Kustom Corvette is provided with your modern safety attributes, conveniences, and options that you desire. They truly give you the opportunity to create your classic dream car.

There are four phases to creating this beautiful and unique classic car by allowing you to do, pick the heart of your custom corvette, choose interior options, select exterior colors and select finishing details. You dream it, they build it.

What about horsepower? Karl’s Kustom Corvettes are a factory authorized Lingenfelter Dealer, so you can build your own powered 63-67 Coup or Roadster that is next to none. Their partnership with Lingenfelter allows them to offer you engine options like never before. They can be Supercharged, Twin Turbo, or Naturally Aspirated engines. These engines can offer as high as 1,038 horsepower.

Wait there is more, how about brakes, sway bars, specially tuned exhaust systems and much more. Like they said, you dream it, they will build it. Check them out at www. KarlKustomCorvettes.com.

You won’t be disappointed.