From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Carrying spare fuel
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 03:48:00 EST
"Steph and Dud B." wrote:
> As far as today's cars go, I agree they lack the character of the old cars.
> However, their designs are much safer. The idea that a heavy, rigid vehicle
> would protect its occupants best in a crash did not bear fruit. It does
> work if the object you strike is lighter/softer than your car, but if you
> hit a bridge abutment or tree you want a car that crumples. This concept
> was born in the auto racing industry. Early racers were designed to be very
> rigid. Unfortunately, all this did was transfer the energy of the impact
> directly to the most non-rigid part of the car - the driver. Modern race
> cars are designed to literally self-destruct in an impact - the front end
> crumples and shears off, absorbing impact. The only rigid part of the car
> is the driver's compartment. Modern passenger cars are designed the same
> way. That's why you see pictures in the news of cars that are completely
> demolished but the passengers survived.
You might want to trundle over to Gordon Baxter's National Motorist
Association and check out their research. Gordon and company (the
guys who lead the fight against the 55 mph speed limit) specialized
in debunking the government's abuse of statistics to justify
policy. A while back they took a look at this claim that a little
lightweight shitbox car could be made as safe as a large car with a
few crumple zones and a few strategically placed explosives. This
is, of course, counter to common sense and physics. It's also
counter to the numbers. Even the NTSHA is sorta
through-the-back-door admitting as much. Take a look at their
Now I'm reasonably confident that if I happened to run into a crash
barrier at 38 mph (or whatever) and at exactly 90 degrees to the
barrier in a modern car, the explosives and crumple zones would
probably protect me. Real world tends to be a little less neat. I
know, for example, that if an 1800 lb Honda hits my 5000 lb Fury,
the honda and its driver will lose. That's just basic physics. If
I glance off a tree or a guard rail, I have a much better chance of
surviving simply because the ability of those flexible barriers to
decelerate my car at a fatal rate is much less than with the Honda.
And if I happen to roll my car over, the roof will remain intact.
Even if it doesn't, I'm still in better shape in my Fury with a good
6" of headroom than I would be in a shitbox with my head touching
the roof. If I happen to slide off the road and impact a projectile
in the door, say a guy wire stay or some rebar, I have the upmost
confidence that the rugged metal in the 300 lb door on my Fury will
give me more protection than the tin can metal used in modern
doors. And I know that with the addition of a modern 3 point seat
belt system, I have many more inches to work with between my body
and the steering wheel and the dash. When trying to control
potentially fatal G-forces, even a few inches over which to allow a
controlled deceleration is important - perhaps lifesaving. This
concept is straight from the racing world, BTW.
At least with my car, I don't have to worry about what happened to
an aunt of mine who was blinded when the airbag in her Lincoln
spuriously exploded and blinded her. She was blinded, BTW, not by
the explosion but by the sodium oxide that is the byproduct of the
propellant burn. When dissolved in water, sodium oxide forms lye.
This lye corroded her corneas to the point that she can now see
light and dark and shapes but not much more. And yes, Ford paid her
a lot of money which I'm sure she would give back in return for her
I have some really interesting pictures of a OLD car that protected
its driver from a 60 mph head-on collision with a drunk driver. The
car was my then-brand-new 75 model Datsun 280Z. All of the car
forward of the firewall is gone. The engine is under the driver's
seat. The steel steering wheel rim is bent down around the column
where I had placed my arms right before the impact. Most
interesting, the seat belt is fused rigid. The internal friction
between threads in the webbing dissipated sufficient energy that the
strands softened enough to fuse together. The belt quite properly
allowed me to move right up to the steering wheel to spread out the
decelerative forces over as long a period of time and distance as
possible. I stepped out of the wreck with little more than bruised
pelvic bones and a nasty welt across my chest. The drunk driver
(properly, IMHO) was killed.
What does this prove? Nothing, IMHO. It is a single point of
anecdotal evidence. No more credible than the photo of a modern
car crash "proves" that they're safer. At least in my case, it does
give me some confidence that if I ever get hit again, I won't fare
so badly, probably better than the guy in the new car will.
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Towing behind an RV with a Dolley
Date: Sat, 08 Apr 2000 21:14:45 EDT
> On 4/6/00 Neon John <johngdNOSPAM@bellsouth.net> writes:
> >Uh, assuming the guy just bought a NEW Impala, it IS a
> >chevette-sized shitbox. GM has prostituted the Impala mark on just
> >another 4-wheeled microturd.
> Uh, John, have you actually driven one of the new Impala's?
No. I'd need a couple, one for each foot.
? I have and they
> are actually a pretty nice mid-size car. In my younger and poorer days I owned
> a Chevette and believe me, the new Impala in no Chevette.
Oh, I guess it'd be an OK car for a FWD but I'm so incensed at
seeing a legendary marque like Impala prostituted on a compact FWD
econobox that my mind is pretty closed to its positive features.
> > It has nothing in common other than
> >the badges with either the old Impalas or the gorgeous Caprice-based
> >hotrod they built in the mid 90s.
> This is true and nobody cried more than me when they announced that they were
> going to stop building the old Impala SS's. The problem was and is that the
> market for large low tech rear wheel drive cars has been steadily dwindling for
> the last fifteen years or so. As gorgeous as the SS was, not enough were being
Low Tech? With a computerized Vette motor? And compared to the
trucks with permanent bed covers (aka SUVs) their building on that
same line? Nah. As you know, the market is whatever the marketers
make it. For reasons known only to GM (though I've been told it
had to do with CAFE), they chose not to advertise the Impala. Word
of mouth still sold a blue-shitload of 'em. I know that they were
always on allocation here when I inquired. To me, the Impala is the
perfect car. High tech engine and drivetrain management. Basic,
low tech amenities elsewhere with a nice degree of fit and finish.
Hauled ass and yet could carry 5 or 6 when necessary. That was
literally the ONLY vehicle the American auto industry made which
appealed to me in the least in the last 15-20 years.
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Big Mopars
Date: Sun, 04 Jun 2000 04:07:59 EDT
> >Haven't you heard? C Bodies are hot. The mags say so. Seems like
> >a lot of folks are discovering what I already know - that a C body
> >can be a lot of fun to hotrod AND drive,
> Neon: I had a 1972 Newport YEARS ago....er um, I'm giving away my age.
I had a Datsun Z car then. Still have the one that replaced it.
Also a 64 Olds F-85 that my mom bought new.
> Envelope Body they called. Sheesh...it was a tank. And after I installed a
> 4BBL manifold and that thermoquad carb, it drank gas like crazy....if I kept my
> foot in it.
68 Fury III here, nicknamed the Rolls Knardly (Rolls down one hill
and Can'ardly get up the next) that I've owned for 15+ years.
Actually that was only true until I yanked the 2BBL 318 out (what
were they THINKING?) for something a bit more suitable. "More
suitable" in the immediate future is a 360/320 hp Mopar Performance
crate motor. I have no idea what I get for mileage and don't really
care. Just not something I worry about.
>I don't need the kind of car that requires you to stop and scoot
> half way across the seat to roll down the passenger window...really I don't.
Boy, I do. I LOVE being able to crawl in the back seat, stretch out
and nap when I get tired on trips. Though at 6'7", "stretching out"
ends at the knees, that's enough for me. I also love the 4" of head
room, the ability to stretch my legs out fully and the ability to
take 6 or 8 of my closest friends along for the ride. Do that in
> Nor was Chrysler's power steering all the wonderful at high speeds (too much
Well yeah. But there's an outfit that offers recalibrated Mopar PS
boxes with three levels of stiffness. I've driven the middle unit.
A little too stiff to me. I have a leaking seal in mine right now,
so I might consider the first level when I replace it.
> For you kids...it's a novelty to drive a BIG RWD car. I'v been there...done
> that...when gas was 0.40 cents a gallon. But you can enjoy your C car. I
> might still have the new advertisement for my old Newport somewhere. I'll
> look for it! :)
Hey, geezer, speak for yourself! I'm only a kid at heart.
I suspect that what so many "kids" are discovering is what has been
stolen from them by the econazis and federal gestapo. The first
long trip I took in my Fury was an epiphany. It was absolutely the
most restful trip I've ever taken and I got out at the end of 500
miles feeling like I'd only driven across the street. This car is
silky smooth (in a way no modern car I've ridden in can match) and
handles well at high speed. I've been known to set the cruise on 90
after Macon on I-75 and not touch it til the Florida line. My
mother's new Lincoln rides like a log wagon in comparison. Ditto my
wife's Caddy. In addition to smooth, the HUGE cabin let me stretch
out and get comfortable instead of having my knees trying to grip
the steering wheel.
Don't get me wrong. I still love to take the Z out and raise some
hell. It's the right tool for the job of carving up mountain roads
(and eating an occasional poontang or camaro for lunch - should I
mention the late model 'Vette motor under the hood? :-) But the
right tool for eating up hundreds of miles of highway in a day is
the land barge. Since the federal gestapo won't allow the
manufacture of such land barges anymore, I guess I'll keep mine
running probably til I die. I'm just glad that the younger types
are discovering the C bodys. As more repro parts come on the
market, the job of keeping mine in good shape just gets easier.
It's really funny the way the kids are attracted to the Fury. I
can't go anywhere where kids are about that one of 'em doesn't want
to buy it even though it needs some paint work.
> To those who kavetch, more
> time is added to their lives.
BTW, thanks for the brochure scan. I love looking at those old
ads. I have the sales brochure for my Fury that I got from the
original owner along with all the other paperwork. I've collected
several magazine ads and a couple of audio clips of radio
commercials. Just recently acquired an original factory service
manual and parts fiche. Hey, if I can't go back in time, this is
the next best thing :-)