Category Archives: Just for Fun

Traffic Stinks!

We all have complained about traffic before. I do it, you do it, everyone does it. Because it stinks. There’s really no way around it. It’s a time-waster and we can all think of other places we’d rather be than stuck behind an old car with a bad exhaust problem for an hour or so after work. To put things in perspective, TomTom has released a very informative study that they’ve conducted that shows the worst cities for traffic. Some of it may surprise you, some of it probably won’t.

Top 10 Most Congested Cities in the United States
(report is for both North and South America)

4. Los Angeles (no shocker there)
6. San Francisco
7. Honolulu
8. Seattle
10. San Jose
11. New York City
14. Miami
15. Washington D.C.
16. Portland
17. New Orleans

The real shocker?

39. Dallas-Fort Worth

Maybe I think it’s worse when I’m stuck in it, but I was surprised by DFW being ranked number 39. It also makes me not want to travel to Los Angeles or San Francisco anytime soon. The top three most congested cities across the Americas are Rio De Janiero, Mexico City and Sao Paulo. That makes feel wonder just how bad it is down in Brazil with the World Cup going on right now.

A few more interesting findings on the report are the lightest and heaviest days for traffic. In Dallas – Fort Worth, the lightest morning commute is on Friday, while the heaviest is Tuesday. The lightest evening commute is Monday, while the heaviest is Friday, which doesn’t surprise me at all. Anyone who has been in traffic here in DFW on a Friday evening knows that it’s a parking lot all over the metroplex.

Houston and Austin are both above Dallas-Fort Worth on the list (number 23 and 25, respectively).

Check out the full report here and see where your city ranks!

 

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Avoiding Common Driving Annoyances Pt 2.

A few days ago, I started a short series called: Avoiding Common Driving Annoyances. My first goal was to write about all of those things that really bug you about OTHER drivers. Then I thought about it. First, we are already way too negative and really should be striving to be courteous drivers and share the road with patience and understanding. Second, I realized that virtually everything that “annoys” me are things that I either do myself, or are just too completely beyond my control.

  • Can’t keep your take-out food warm while taking it home? Look, I know I can invest in some of kind of over priced underperforming insulation product. But why do that when I can just wrap the food in a blanket? I already have them in the back for cold game nights. The secret though? Wrap it in a blanket then put it on the seat warmer on the passenger side.
  • Can’t tell exactly where you should stop your car whe you pull into the garage? Easy fix. Pull your car into the garage to a position where you know the door will close. Grab that tennis ball that Fido keeps bringing you to toss. Punch a hole through it. Thread a string or fishing line through it. Then simply hang it from the ceiling so that it just touches the center of the windshield. Next time you pull in, just pull up until the ball rests on the windshield and you’re set.
  • Can’t get your remote fob to work farther than a few feet from your car? If you are looking to extend the signal’s range by an extra 20 to 30 feet, try holding the fob directly under your chin, or straight above your head when you press the button. You essentialy become an antenna extention. It may seem silly, but I’ve had customers do this with decent success often. Of course, I suggest a battery change too. A fresh battery for your fob seems to do the trick every time.

Yes, I know these “Driving Annoyances” might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often I hear about some of this stuff. Now if you’ll pardon me, my food is getting cold and I need to pay attention to the tennis ball I have hanging from the ceiling as I pull into the garage.

Do You Know How Your Engine Works?

Freeman Grapevine loves cars. Just like all of you, when we leave here we drive home and experience the same things your do. Sometimes it’s frustration from traffic, others it’s an exhilarating rush when we put the pedal to the metal to overtake a slower vehicle, but how does all of that work?

Most people only seem to know the essentials of their engines: it needs gas and oil changes. What else is gong on in there? How does it work? How is power generated. Well, here’s a good video. Your engine: 101.

Pretty cool, huh? If you think you are having any engine issues, feel free to swing into the service department at Freeman Grapevine.

Highway Improvements Are A Hassle, But Necessary

It’s really easy to complain about traffic. It’s really easy to whine about construction. In fact. it seems like Freeman Grapevine is in the epicenter of construction central. One thing that this Dallas Buick GMC store has to try to keep in mind is that, for all of the inconvenience, our “problems” with traffic and construction are actually because improvements are being made. So that got me thinking, What are some of the GOOD things about improving the safety and conditions of our roads.

Highway safety engineers have been working overtime for years to improve both traffic flow and highway safety.  Improving traffic flow contributes to safer roads as well as getting you to your destination more quickly.

Before the Interstate Highway program began very few highways were divided.  Roads were one solid strip of asphalt divided only by a line painted down the middle. Learning to pass slower vehicles by moving into and back out of the on-coming lane of traffic was a very important part of driver training.

Short wooden poles, strung together by a single strand of steel cable, were all that separated drivers from the road and a deep ditch or sharp curve.  The guardrails and barriers of today weren’t yet invented.

There was much less street and road lighting and some of the light bulbs were always burned out.  Halogens and LEDs have been a huge improvement.

One of the big killers in the past was drivers dozing off while driving and drifting into on coming traffic or bridge supports. The addition of median dividers, crushable barricades, and road shoulder grooving has significantly reduced head on collisions.

Highway safety engineers will continue to make improvements, but we shouldn’t take all the improvements we have now for granted.  Despite all the traffic, our roads and highways are built to be a lot safer for us than for our parents and grandparents.

Let’s say something good about highway and road development! Freeman Grapevine understands the need for constant highway and driving standards, do you?

The things that people try to fit into their cars


What is wrong with people? Would you do this with your new car? A full-sized refrigerator is a pretty sizable appliance, usually requiring at least a van or pickup truck to haul to its destination. But some people, and there’s no good way to put this, some people are just idiots. The picture above is a real picture. Someone really tried to transport a refrigerator that way. It was also something the police in Richmond, British Columbia, had to remind a shopper who thought a few ropes and a prayer would get this fridge home in the trunk of a Honda Accord.

Police said they received a call of a dangerous driving situation outside a store called Liquidation World. As you can see in the above photo taken by the RCMP, the fridge — secured with ropes tied to the rear seat belts…SEAT BELTS! I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t think this would instill a lot of confidence I I saw this guy in from of me on the Highway.

What was the craziest thing you’ve seen someone try to transport in their vehicle? Maybe they should consider coming to Freeman Grapevine for something a bit larger.

What would your vanity plate say?

“You’re so vain!”

We all seen them. You may actually have one. The Vanity license plate. It can say a lot about the driver who owns the plate. I’ve personally never owned a vanity, but I’ve certainly seen my fair share.

Well, as it turns out, the vanity plate has come a fairly long way in a relatively short period of time. What was once an fairly low cost way to personalize your vehicle has now become big business.

After years of selling vanity plates as a modest sideline — charging as little as $5 — states think there’s more money to be made in whatever drives people to buy them. Facing budget crunches, states are raising surcharges or proposing annual fee hikes for custom plates.

Texas has gone a step further. It hired a private company to raise $25 million over the next five years by auctioning off vanity plates.

“People like to express themselves, especially in Texas,” says a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

In fact, vanity plates can boost self esteem for the simple reason that vanity plates say “who I am and what I want people to know about me”. It’s like a mission statement.

In turn, a paper published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology in 2008 found that drivers with vanity plates, bumper stickers and other “territory markers” were far more likely to use their vehicles to express rage — by honking, tailgating and other aggressive behavior.

This year, at the nation’s first such auction, Texas sold 33 plates for $139,400. That’s a hefty chunk of change!

However, don’t think that you can just get anything on those plates. I believe all states who allow vanity plates also regulate what you can and can’t express. States have long denied certain combinations of letters or numbers considered obscene or inappropriate, sparking battles with motorists….and well, some are just down, right dumb like: “3XWYVS,” “H8CATS” and “TROFYWIF.”

So, if you were going to get a vanity plate, what would it say? Leave me a comment below, let’s see how creative you can get!

What’s your Favorite movie car

We all have them: The favorite movie car. In fact, apparently this is a hot debate among some circles: “Is Bandit’s Trans Am better than the Bullet? Does the new Batmobile even hold a candle to Adam West’s Mean machine in the series? What about James Bond? How can you not love his submarine Lotus Esprit with the Explosive Alarm System? Well, cars.com decided to do a little compare and contrast. Check out their top 10 below!
No. 10: 2003 Mini Cooper S, “The Italian Job”

Drivetrain: 163-hp, supercharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with six-speed manual transmission; front-wheel drive
Notable Features: 200 pounds lighter than stock Cooper S; painted red, white or blue

Larger cars would have rubbed fenders with light poles and tunnel walls, but thanks to a nimble fleet of Mini Coopers, a band of conspirators manages to escape captors down congested streets, parks and subway tunnels. (Parks? Mass transit? In Los Angeles?) Computer-rigged signals aid the getaway, stopping cross traffic at red lights. Sounds like California dreaming for drivers.

No. 9: 1959 Cadillac Ambulance, “Ghostbusters”

Drivetrain: 325-hp, 6.4-liter V-8; rear-wheel drive
Notable Features: Tailfins, flashing lights, sirens, attached ladder

Though it plays a relatively small part in its film, the Ectomobile is the finest medical movie car to date. What it lacks in brute force it makes up in style, with red tailfins, strobe lights and more roof gear than a fire truck. Should there ever be a remake, our pick for the new Ectomobile would be the Dodge Magnum. Right, Egon?

No. 8: 1974 Dodge Monaco, “The Blues Brothers”

Drivetrain: 275-hp, 7.1-liter V-8 with three-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
Notable Features: Cop motor, cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks

You usually don’t come out ahead when swapping a Caddy for a Dodge — unless the Dodge has a 440-cubic-inch V-8. The Bluesmobile would be our pick if we had to outrun the better half of Illinois police, not to mention a neo-Nazi outfit and a country-and-western band. The car totally falls apart in the end, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a vehicle that could do better on “a mission from God.”

No. 7: 1932 Ford coupe, “American Graffiti”

Drivetrain: 60-hp, 3.6-liter V-8 with three-speed manual transmission
Notable Features: Bright yellow paint job bound to be noticed by bored teens in Modesto, Calif.

Nicknamed the “Deuce,” this five-window ’32 Ford coupe is the quintessential American hot rod. As built, it came with the engine mentioned above, but in the movie, it’s clear the coupe has been souped up. It was the car’s awesome growl and the cool drag race at the end of the movie that lodged this hot rod into the hearts of American teens for a decade.

No. 6: 1976 AMC Pacer, “Wayne’s World”

Drivetrain: 100-hp inline-six with three-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
Notable Features: Flame decal, licorice dispenser, “Bohemian Rhapsody” on continuous playback

Although this movie may not have driven thousands of people to track down a baby blue Mirth Mobile of their own, it did inspire a number of in-car, head-banging singalongs by fans of the film.

No. 5: 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390, “Bullitt”

Drivetrain: 325-hp, 6.4-liter V-8 with four-speed manual transmission; rear-wheel drive
Notable Features: Fastback roof, higher engine note than the Charger

Never mind the continuity mishaps; just tell yourself there were a lot of green Volkswagen Beetles in San Francisco that day. The seven-minute chase scene between Frank Bullitt’s Mustang GT 390 and a hit man’s 1968 Dodge Charger is among the best of its kind. Voters gave Bullitt’s car the edge because, in the end, you have to root for the good guy.

No. 4: 1964 Aston Martin DB5, “Goldfinger”

Drivetrain: 282-hp, 4.0-liter six-cylinder with four-speed manual transmission; rear-wheel drive
Notable Features: Bulletproof glass, machine guns, incessantly beeping radar screen

Save for the anemic BMW Z3 1.9 in “GoldenEye,” Bond cars are top-notch — the list includes Aston Martins, Bentleys and Lotuses — but voters agreed the champ is the Aston Martin DB5 in “Goldfinger.” Not only is it gorgeous, it outruns and out-gadgets all of its competitors. Plus it gets plenty of screen time with the best Bond, Sean Connery. Any dissenters, of course, are welcome to ride in the “power” passenger seat.

No. 3: 1961 Ferrari 250 GT, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

Drivetrain: 280-hp, 3.0-liter V-12 with four-speed manual transmission; rear-wheel drive
Notable Features: Cherry-red exterior, wire grille, Cameron-sized tonneau compartment

This movie is probably responsible for thousands of teens cutting class to joyride in their father’s car. Of course, none hold a candle to Mr. Frye’s convertible Ferrari. It won votes for all the obvious reasons: It’s red, Italian and bloody fast. If our fathers owned something like this, we’d ditch Econ 101 in a heartbeat to take a spin — especially if Dad didn’t lock the garage. (And yes, we know this was a kit car.)

No. 2: 1977 Pontiac Trans Am, “Smokey and the Bandit”

Drivetrain: 200-hp, 6.6-liter V-8 with three-speed automatic
Notable Features: T-top, CB radio, runaway bride in the passenger seat

The mission seemed simple enough: Get a truckload of bootleg beer from Texarkana, Texas, to Atlanta while Bo “Bandit” Darville runs interference in his Trans Am. The combination of the comical car chases and Burt Reynolds’ mustache sold more than a few black and gold versions of Bandit’s car.

No. 1: 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, “Back to the Future”

Drivetrain: 1.21-gigawatt nuclear/electric hybrid with five-speed manual transmission; rear-wheel drive
Notable Features: Gull-wing doors, 16-port twin exhaust boxes, flux capacitor

This was an overwhelming choice for voters, and why not? Doc Brown’s smoke-spewing DeLorean achieves time travel at 88 mph thanks to a plutonium-powered nuclear reactor and onboard flux capacitor. By the end of the first movie, it runs solely on trash — and it can fly. That’s still futuristic two decades after the movie debuted. Sure, the ignition seems to have some reliability issues, but this car easily won our hearts.

Can anyone out there ad to this list? If so Leave a comment or let us know! It’s all in good fun and hopefully made your day a little brighter remembering the coolest cars from your youth!

Can a Bullet Proof Gel save lives in a car accident?

…and no, I’m not talking about stopping bullets here, but cars. That’s right, an emerging technology that could have a major impact on the way cars are designed in the future is currently being developed, with the new technology having the potential to save thousands of lives in serious car crashes.
According to a report by motorauthority.com:

The new technology is a special gel called d3o, which was developed by British chemical engineering company d3o Lab. The gel is described as a dilatant material and has the ability to harden almost instantly when violently impacted, such as from the force exerted from a speeding bullet or an oncoming car. In its natural state it resembles play dough.

Military groups are currently looking at the material as a lightweight and flexible padding for armored vests and this has led automakers such as Mazda to investigate d3o’s use in an automotive setting.

Speaking with Carsguide, Mazda’s European R&D chief, Peter Birtwhistle, said innovations such as d3o were “fascinating” and presented “glimpses of future design”.

He went on to explain that d3o could be used around a car’s cabin, such as in the lining of seats or around a baby’s bassinet. “It has unlimited applications in a car to protect its occupants,” he said.

Right now, this protective gel is being used in numerous protective products like motorcycle gloves, ski jackets, cell phone cases and more products are emerging with the added protection of the compound.

Here’s a quick video on how it works:

It’s a pretty amazing material and has a nearly unlimited number of protective applications.

I’d really like to see this applied to the automotive world. How do you see this compound being used in the protective systems of today’s cars, trucks and SUVs? Does anyone have first hand experience with d3O? If so tell me about it!