Posts Tagged ‘transportation


reading: The Car: The Rise and Fall of the Machine that Made the Modern World

The Car: The Rise and Fall of the Machine that Made the Modern World [Kindle Edition]
By: Bryan Appleyard

There are those that portend that the transportation industry is about to change in radical way. Our former relationship with the automobile and it’s supporting industries is drastically being challenged. The love of our life will be a simple utility.

Before I comment, a moment of reflection. In today’s world consider any object including people.

Now that object is in a place. Consider the following.

Does object need to be moved?

How much energy is required to move that object.?

A totally cold assessment of transportation , I agree. but to some analyst that is the end game, a zoom out view of what needs to be considered in today’s world when every aspect of our lives may be quantified by cost, carbon footprint, environmental impact and safety.

Now back to the book.

This title caught my eye as electric vehicles have stirred such a frenzy like a poked hornets nest.

The haters have mounted a campaign in a last ditched effort to prove that the electric vehicle is a pipe dream concept and has no benefit over the ICE vehicles that we were taught to love. But the fact that a set amount of energy can only be extracted from a gallon of gas was a nail in the coffin of the Internal Combustion Engine no matter how “clean” it was. Other technologies could be improved many times.

From first hand experience, cars were a freedom to leave the nest, I bonded many friendships over grease and oil soaked clothes, grimy hands and tools. It was a benefit as far as the learning experience. I never attended any structured automotive education. We learned mechanical engineering by turning this or that and disassembling, modifying and repair as a way to afford our wheels. At the time our effort, time and labor didn’t get considered. For our generation and demographic the automobile was an escapism, a hobby and for some the calling to a career.

Later in life I came to question the allure of the automobile. No longer did I want to be prone, face up under a vehicle. It became a futile effort expending time and money to fuel, repair, insure, register and maintain this form of transportation. It was a point in life I didn’t have the need for transportation to get me to a physical location for employment.

One of the pivotal moments of transportation (and briefly mentioned in the book) was the birth of ride hailing. Amazing is the fact that it did not require a retooling of any sort. It was born from, as in my opinion we will see more of this, a stitching and marriage of software technology. Financial software gives us the ability to eliminate any sort of physical exchange of paper currency. Billing and payment is seamless with the service. Employment software let these services hire and manage the workforce of available drivers, a subset of the existing gig economy. Finally, mapping software and tracking allows instant , or close to it , on demand transportation from any point A to any point B. Quietly underrated this was in my opinion one of the greatest disruption and an option to the complex and increasing expensive mechanical contraptions that sit in our driveways. A direct counter culture to the heart of the Automotive Industry.

Purchase and ownership of the automobile is now not required.

This all combined to give the user a safe, up to date well maintained vehicle and vetted driver at their whim. The naysayers balked , taxis seemed to disappear from the landscape overnight. As with all technology it will evolve with the addition of electromechanical revelations and increased computer power, the driver will be removed from the equation.

This book goes into detail of the history of the automobile. From inception to it’s present state. It’s a bit thin on present but the author has laid the groundwork to make his point. The shift from horses to self powered vehicles was equally disturbing and disruptive to the way of travel and business. No one today mentions that we were at a time almost knee deep in horse shit or the pollution, disease and damage it caused.

The author brings up another lesser know fact that the expansive infrastructure required that followed the development of the automobile changed the landscape dramatically, the haters of the time rejected the idea of the proliferation of the automobile and it’s required infrastructure as it would be an ecological disaster waiting to happen. DID IT ?

So was the relationship of the automobile in our lives a grandiose effort to support the automotive and associated industries?

All in all, to me an interesting read The Car: The Rise and Fall of the Machine that Made the Modern World is yet to have the final chapter written. It’s about to unfold.

Addendum 10/02 :

Will part of the final chapter be that we are still being catered to as far being sold a device we don’t need? Is the illusion that the transportation we need is still a necessity of boasting ownership of speed, luxury and a status symbol we display ? How will industries react to a vehicle that does not require a driver and accidents are reduced to nearly none? Will signs be erected that read ” Autonomous vehicles only beyond this point” ? Perhaps the signage will be barcodes for the vehicle own sake.


91 ranger- retired/and other vehicles

I knew i had to get the 91 Topaz that I bought from my daughter on the road as the ol Ranger would need major rust-oration and probably wouldn’t pass state inspection.The winter is tough on vehicles that had any rust due to the salt and chems that are used on the roads. I had kept up with the chassis as best I could but the brake lines started to go and laying on your back in the driveway messing with frozen rusted fittings is bad news. The rear cab mounts are just about history also. The main brake line going from front to rear blew out at the rear. I had patched it up till I could replace it during a break in the weather, still the anti-lock was not functional and with frozen fittings no easy way to bleed out the brakes. 200,000 just passed and even the paint wore out more and more adding to a rat rod look. I don’t know what happened to the paint on the hood and roof it looks like someone took a blowtorch to it when I got it, major peeling and cracking The definite winner though is the drive train. The 2.3 L 4 cylinder still starts and runs every time, the only exception when the starter solenoid crapped out, very reliable with the dual ignition 2 plugs per cylinder and five speed tranny (4 speed with overdrive for you purist). Most likely will part it out for the 95 ranger. It’s easy to work on for the most part except for the rust and chassis and I don’t have the facilities to pull it apart down to the chassis, it would take me years (and much noise and $$$) working in the driveway. Several years ago the rust caused the front spring mount on the passenger side to pull away from the chassis, that had to go to the shop for replacement, a new one was welded in place, by the hour, welding is expensive but I got several more years out of it. Most of the other repairs/replacement I did, probably 99% of the parts were purchased on-line, tires , rims, cooling system, exhaust system, components etc. One of the advantages of the ranger is that there is a good supply of restoration parts still available even online bone yards that have rust free parts down south that I got a tranny cross member from. Purchase date was October 6th, 2003 ,$800.00 USD and odometer reading  noted was 148296. About 7300 per year average. (mostly back and forth to work).

by the way, I like to work on vehicles for the most part not 24/7, so if could get a (newer) vehicle with payments that would last 60k and be equal with the parts and labor I would put into it repairing it myself……..BORING !!!!! and definitely not classic……..and what would I learn , better finances ? and besides, does having a hobby mean that you have to turn a profit on it ?




This posting has not been updated in quite some time current vehicle is a 2003 XLT Ranger, from Sandy Lane Auto, compared to the former Ranger Sport, more luxury, larger cab and 6 cly engine. Searching for  a used ranger is in this model year/ mileage  using a computer search gave us results of similar vehicles in the area, there is some  rust but overall a well running vehicle compared to other Rangers viewed. Small LED conversion project for interior dome lights. Fuse # 26 powers the dome light , speedometer, and windshield wipers. Thanks to the many forums on the internet I was able to find this after the interior light failed.


more to follow (when I get around to it)

cat back exhaust replacement


slight leak at front cat gasket from manifold pipe,replacement hardware when necessary.


oil change 07/27/17


Sentra , A/c repair, Oring, evac and recharge 07/26/2017, McCruddens , West Shore Road

later, throttle body , (air bag replacement (warranty))



Here we are 2019, who would think that the transportation industry would be on the cusp of a great change.  Who would think that it would effect me ! Just like the old blue ford above, the old 2003 though a nicer vehicle was up for the “rather have a root canal then ” State Inspection. Not to mention the rust had started the  invasion, all tires would have to be replaced and the A/C went kaput..  One other tiny factor is that I didn’t need to utilize a vehicle to get back and forth to work! LOL. AAAHHH !

Anyways, after the brake line let go no less while on a trip to Boston, and a sudden appearance of a crack across the windshield of course on the drivers side, the reassessment of actually driving , or more correctly owning a vehicle started to get a more weighted consideration.

BOOM: listed it on Ebay: BYE ! SOLD

It needs RUSTORATION ! at least

On the rise was ride sharing utilizing a smart phone one could summon a vehicle with a few button pressings on a smart device. Of course, after a major part of your life has been devotion to the iron horse and it’s repair, I also realized that in the coming years i would want to do less wrenching and the other factor of replacing my labor with that of a mechanic would be $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. You see other family members that have bought their cars to the shop have not have the best experience coupled with the fact that pouring money into a depreciating value vehicle doesn’t make sense in an older vehicle.  Now the driveway would only be able to contain on vehicle among the household members here.

W H A T ! “you don’t own a car”? !,   “NO” !,  OMG !, call a doctor !

The notion of the vehicle ownership started to fade  (for now) Now Uber and Lyft are the “second car” Relatives maybe sensing trouble since  vehicle ownership signifies some type of badge, and offer rides at times.   Budget wise and planning  make the ride sharing transportation a freeing experience. (But don’t say it too loud if other have used your vehicle insurance, repairs and fuel purchases for their living.)  No more going the gas station, getting into a vehicle that doesn’t start or have low tire pressure, needs cleaning and washing, maintenance, waiting for repairs and unplanned breakdowns, auto club expenses, pothole pounding damages, paying for parking if needed, worrying about damage in parking lots, cold freezing days cleaning off the car of ice and snow etc.. Oh well !

To properly put things in perspective, put a small box in your vehicle, every time you use use the vehicle ,put money in  for  yourself an hourly labor rate, mileage fee , and a maintenance/cleaning and insurance fee. Transporting others?


Are we leaving the ICE age?

Internal Combustion Engine age that is .

TO BE CONTINUED ……………………………



March 2023

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