[V8] The Darker Side of Lightening....

Etdmail at cs.com Etdmail at cs.com
Fri Aug 4 12:25:38 EDT 2006

Hi Roger and All,

Roger, sorry I missed your articles in The 928 Journal.
I've not, been doing much on the Porsche front, these
days. Have been diverting most of my time and resources 
elsewhere. - Though, do miss getting to the occasional 
NER-PCA event. However, I surely don't miss clutching, 
through, the ever thickening traffic. So this steed may 
soon follow yours - and turned out of the stable.

928s were one of Porsches earlier production experiments
in the wide application of Aluminum construction (eg: doors
nose panels, drive-train and suspension bits). The bulk
of the unit-body's structure was left as steel for the
added extra strength and stiffness, at the time.

All this effort still left the car less than svelte,
and surely not frugal on fuel. But as has often 
been said of Porsches "There is no substitute".

It was a then current bar, and often bought, by the
other manufactures, to dissect and study for designing
their future models. Perhaps this is one of the reasons
why many current models are heavy and fuelish? 

Also with this car initially - Many independents were
unable or unwilling to take on, the complex machines.
As well as - added requirement of special tooling. Not
that this model was unique, in this respect - It could
be viewed as a convenience, that the tools were available
at all. And not have to be made, for example like some 
of the early Italian Exotics.

On one front - I think the manufacture's want, 
to control the quality of is marque's field service
good. In theory, to protect it's name - and the 
quality (and price) of the used cars. Who doesn't
want a high quality selection of high quality cars? 

As with, all captured markets (and customers)
there is much potential for plunder. Here too
the manufactures are sometimes the victim of
their own proprietary model - And are often
plundered, by their own dealer network, on
warranty repairs .. Which of course must
be eventually passed on to the - now not
so loyal customers.

Some might argue instead of bolstering
used car markets for the models - that
there are pressures, for the opposite.
And many BMW, Volvo (& Audi models
also) - linger in the auction yards and
used car lots - even at 'sub-market'
prices - Due to their complexity and
cost to make serviceable. And most 
seem to have 'issues' for the
very same reason.

These are often the heavy models with
high complexity and resulting high TCO.

Roger, I wish you luck on your quest
to silence, the 'The Black Mariah' so 
you can soon return to a comfortable
(and quiet) bliss .. And not be relegated
full time, to a 'F-250-Buckboard' or 
the like. (And a better Audi R.O.I.)

Then again, if you need a truck,
here too, there is no substitute ...


In a message dated 8/4/06 3:28:28 AM EDT, rmwoodbury at adelphia.net writes:

> Subj:  Re: The Darker Side of Lightening....
> Date: 8/4/06 3:28:28 AM Eastern Daylight Time
> From: rmwoodbury at adelphia.net (Roger M. Woodbury)
> To:   v8 at audifans.com, Etdmail at cs.com
>  A while ago I wrote a piece for "The 928 Journal" called something like
>  "Have All the Best Cars Been Built?".  When Audi came out with the A8
>  aluminum wonder car, I felt that Audi had turned a corner that the
>  automotive world would soon turn also.  Lighter bodies and structures make
>  the cars ultimately easier to pass the ugly fuel mileage restrictions
>  current at the time, despite the endlessly increasing number of
>  non-automotive stuff that need to be hung onto the carcass in the interest
>  of "marketing" .. more and more cupholders, gps electronic gizzies and an
>  endless assortment of airbags that can pop out at you from any and every
>  conceivable direction at the hint of a crash.
>  So, now we have a situation where almost ANY vehicle purchased new costs
>  thirty thousand bucks, and can only be fixed at a shop over which is the 
>  logo.  The independent mechanic who might be very highly qualified and is
>  likely MUCH more highly motivated that the guy standing in the forth bay of
>  an eighteen bay factory like garage, simply cannot afford the $2500 make
>  specific hardware or software that enables diagnosis and repair of that new
>  Blurbmobile.
>  BMW is an excellent example of a manufacturer who is trying harder and
>  harder to make their vehicles unrepairable except at a BMW dealer.  So 
>  also is Volvo, and this concept applies not just to bodies, but to the
>  electronics especially.  The simple fact that this smacks of restraint of
>  trade and has attracted some interest at the Federal level here is
>  notwithstanding the fact that the proprietary approach to automobile
>  manufacture is become more rather than less the rule and not the exception.
>  Ever tried to repair the "fly by wire" throttle system on some of the
>  Volvos?  
>  Ultimately GM and Ford will probably win.  Maybe Chryslbenz, too, if you 
>  stand the obnoxious Dodge commercials and the ugly, V8-like wannabe known 
>  as the 300. The reason is that while it may be necessary to take that
>  Silverado or Aspire to the Ford or Chebbie garage to be fixed, it probably
>  won't cost $175 per hour and require a hundred and fifty mile one way trip
>  to do it.  Time is money, afterall, regardless how it is counted.
>  For my part, if I could have it all my own way, I would have two or three 
>  everything.  I would have a couple of V8's and a couple of 200 20-V Avants
>  sitting in a big barn just waiting until I needed that little gizzie that 
is no
>  longer made by an OEM Supplier from Audi.  Neither car would be insured
>  against physical damage, and for about six hundred bucks a year, I could
>  keep both cars insured and on the road full time...lessee:  which one do I
>  really want to drive today?
>  Roger
>  Incidentally, I read through the article in Motor Trend today about the new
>  full size pickups from Chebbie/GMC.  How disappointing:  under the skin 
>  are exactly the same as the basic Model A pickup that my Uncle Ralph was
>  driving the day that I came into this world:  steel box on the back of a
>  rectangular steel frame, with a cab not really big enough for more than two
>  people with a giant hunk of iron in front with pistons going up and down
>  being pushed by gasoline ignited by a spark system. 
>  Of course the new ones will have more cupholders and better stereos. 

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