OK, all you custom-wheel aficionados...get your heads out of the sand.
If you're dying to be on the cusp of what's really hip, think ostrich. Galpin Motors Inc. in North Hills, Calif., which some consider the arbiter of good taste in the San Fernando Valley, has outdone itself. The car dealership's custom Lincoln Navigator features purple ostrich-skin seats and a complete set of purple ostrich-skin wheels.
Galpin says it ``will do just about anything to get you to buy a car.'' It even has full-service Starbucks shops attached to its four dealership locations. The company claims to have sold the first Saturn and calls itself the No. 1 volume retail Ford dealership in the world. In 2003, Galpin had sales of $774 million so it must be doing something right. For example, it rents and customizes...er, make that ``Galpinizes'' vehicles such as its Tailgate Party Truck with a built-in stainless steel barbecue and refrigerated beer kegs.
The avian skins are made by Lexani Wheel Corp. and retail for-hold onto your beaks-only $8,595 for a set of four. Or, if you want to go on the cheap and get the fake purple ostrich skins, it'll set you back a mere $7,595.
We have only one question: How many more of our fine-plumed friends must die for the sake of fashionable wheels?
Once you've got your nice new ostrich-skin wheels on your ride, you'll hardly want to cover 'em up with an ad.
But wheel-cover ads are becoming the latest rage in new marketing mediums. A Santa Monica, Calif.-based firm called AdFleet Advertising Inc. is working with taxi fleets in major cities to place these ads-dubbed ``wheelvertising''-on 10,000 cabs, according to a USA Today report. The rolling 16.5-inch ad discs-which are attached to the wheel's lug nuts with a special clamp that keeps the ad stationary and readable while the tires roll-are available for 50 bucks a pop for a four-week ad run.
AdFleet President Ian Klassen told the newspaper the ads are real head-turners that make the car appear as if it's floating. The first ads, for Jiffy Lube, the L.A. Dodgers and Taco Bell, began rolling recently on 2,000 cabs in Los Angeles.
No need for custom rims when you're running these dudes. Maybe you could rent out the space enough times to save up for some real slick hoops.
This 'n that
Hello, I must be going-``Some cause happiness wherever they go,'' mused playwright Oscar Wilde, adding: ``Others whenever they go.''
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Oil's not well-Israel's third prime minister, Golda Meir, once lamented: ``Let me tell you the one thing I have against Moses. He took us 40 years into the desert in order to bring us to the one place in the Middle East that has no oil!''
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Eclipse-ing the competition-Well, the cab's out of the bag, so to speak. Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. unveiled ``Raider'' as the name of its new midsize truck the company plans to debut at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
So let's see...if Ralph Nader buys one, we can call it ``Nader's Raider.''
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Playing dress-up-When someone does the ``mystery shopper'' routine-maybe in one of your own tire stores to check out the quality of your customer service-they don't make a spectacle of themselves, right? Hence the word ``mystery.''
The same can't be said for those brave undercover federal air marshals who travel our sometimes unfriendly skies watching for suspicious characters on our nation's airliners. A group of them recently expressed anxiety to their fed bosses over the rigid dress code imposed upon them. If you guess they probably dress drown to blend in with the crowds, you'd be wrong-o. Next time you travel, give a silent salute to the well-dressed G-men-looking guys with the short-clipped hair in the dark suits.
At least they could take the advice of ZZ Top and get some cheap sunglasses.
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Get the point?-Ah, friends, the residents in Bayonet Point, Fla., were angry.
How come? The St. Petersburg Times reported that their cars' tires had been slashed by vandals, which kept sheriff's deputies busy fielding calls from the disgruntled. What do they expect for living in such a sharply-defined community?
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Quotes du jour-Auto maker Henry Ford noted that ``failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.'' (At least one would hope that's true.)
Author A.K. Griffin intoned a popular sentiment: ``If it weren't for lawyers, we wouldn't need them.''
Public service announcement
In his ``News from NH'' column in the September Tread Depths newsletter from Maynard & Lesieur Inc. in Nashua, N.H., company principal Roland Lesieur offered a warning all dealers should heed.
``We do a lot of used tires and you have to be careful about checking the tires,'' he wrote. ``Check for nails, bead damage, erratic wear and a new item is to be sure you don't put a radial trailer tire on a car.'' Mr. Lesieur said they've begun ``to see more used trailer tires and not many people will catch a mistake. Be careful-trailer tires do not go on a car under any circumstances.''
And that means especially not on one of those big-'ol boat-like Buick Roadmasters.
In search of...
...a good ``redneck woman?'' Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Chuck Yarborough recently interviewed country singer Gretchen Wilson, noted for her song ``Redneck Woman.'' He then offered a few of his own descriptions.
In the country-fried comedian Jeff Foxworthy vein, Chuck noted you might be a redneck woman if:
* You drink Bud Light because the sound of it reminds you of romantic evenings spent under the bug light.
* You have children and grandchildren the same age.
* You can listen to Foxworthy jokes and identify your family members.
* Your youngest asks Santa for a Dale Earnhardt Jr. tattoo.
* Your oldest does it for her.
* You understand what racer Earnhardt Jr. is talking about when he says, ``My car got a little loose in the rear, so comin' into the far turn, I couldn't keep the 24-car from draftin' behind me.''
* You have to decide whether to wear the John Deere gimme cap or the International Harvester gimme cap to the big dance.
* Your prom night began with a fancy dinner at Shoney's and ended with breakfast at Waffle House.
* Your prom theme song was ``Rawhide.''
Oh, there are a ton more. But here's one you might be able to do at the upcoming Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas:
* Your husband's most prized possession is a picture of himself with a Richard Petty cutout.
Edited by Sigmund J. Mikolajczyk