Petty tire tips
It's not often that you get some savvy tire-shopping tips from an expert like Kyle Petty, a third-generation member of a legendary NASCAR racing family.
Talking with Laurie Squire of Newsday, Mr. Petty said he must have ``a tire that handles the weather and wears well. I look for a multi-purpose tire. I want one that goes decent in slush and is really good in rain.''
He wasn't talking about the tires he depends upon at the racetrack (Goodyear is the sole supplier of race tires for NASCAR). He noted that ``tires are the only things that protect me from the road, so getting a good-quality one that's right for my specific make and model is important.''
Asked what one thing he hates, he told the newspaper: ``Don't fall for some profiled tire with tricked-out sidewalls or other gimmick. It's not about the best-looking tire, it's about getting the best-fitting tire.''
He recommended for a sports car a tire with a ``lot of lateral grip that performs well in the rain.'' And for all those drivers out there, like soccer moms, piloting their precious cargo in minivans, Mr. Petty suggested a tire ``that can handle towing and is more all-weather durable.''
His pick: ``A performance tire provides traction in wet and dry conditions. For errands and getting around at the track, I drive a Dodge Caravan, so I look for a good touring tire, which makes up in wear what it sacrifices in traction.''
The next best thing, he told Newsday, is a less-expensive performance tire. As far as where to shop, he said ``any local dealer will tell you what you need for your car.''
Some dealership should sign this guy as a spokesman.
Ford fantasy-for a GM guy
A 37-year veteran of General Motors Corp.'s assembly plant in Janesville, Wis., finally got his dream car.
You're probably thinking 'Vette, but no-David Leeder didn't save up his pennies for the Chevrolet speedster. The thing is, the car he got doesn't even have a GM badge. Mr. Leeder plunked down $175,600 for a new silver Ford GT supercar from a car dealership in Kenosha, Wis., according to Automotive News.
``It will probably shock a lot of people that I know,'' he confessed to a local Wisconsin newspaper. He said he paid about three times what he paid for his house to acquire the car but considers it an investment.
And Dave...pay no attention to all those key marks and scratches when you park that Ford in the GM lot at the plant. They'll probably buff right out.
This, that 'n the other
Petunia pessimism-A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin, observed newspaperman, book reviewer and political commentator H.L. Mencken (1880-1956).
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Quote du jour-``Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.''
That George Orwell guy (1903-1950) sure knew his stuff-even back in 1984.
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Maybe yes and maybe no-Sometimes newspapers (except for TB, of course) try to cover all the bases when writing a headline.
Such apparently was the case in the Kingsport, Tenn., Times-News, which stated: ``AAA says record gas price predictions may or may not come true.''
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Sign language-``At least I think it was their thumb,'' chortled Peter Horbury, design chief for Ford Motor Co.'s North American unit, referring to the hand gesture he received from a passing motorist reacting to the chrome-and-bling grille treatment on his Lincoln Navigator.
Aww...what's a finger among friends?
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Doughboy-We got a kick from the vanity license plate we spotted on the car of a masseuse: `KNEAD U.''
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Work ethic-Good ol' Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC) observed: ``Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.'' Obviously he never busted tires for a living-eight hours a day, six days a week.
The last issue of Tire Business had a story by Senior Washington Reporter Miles Moore on how the number of states mandating vehicle inspections has fallen off.
Too bad New York's still doing them. It might have saved one guy from himself. A 41-year-old motorist was flying low when a New York state trooper tried to pull him over. Rather than acquiesce, he sped off, at times driving at up to 90 mph and going the wrong way on a freeway, according to the Web site www.thisistrue.com.
He then jumped out of his car and started running before eventually being caught by local police.
At this point you're very astutely wondering: Murderer? Dope dealer? Tire thief? Heck no. The trooper was trying to stop him because his car had an expired inspection sticker.
The dim bulb was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, criminal contempt and a host of other traffic violations.
And why the big hurry? At his arraignment he told a town justice that he was on his way to get his car inspected. ``I'm stupid. I'm an idiot. I don't know what makes me do stupid things,'' he said, as quoted by the Rochester, N.Y. Democrat and Chronicle.
Vehicle inspections tend to bring out the worst in vehicles-and apparently people.
Let dad do it
Looking for a catchy sign for your service bay?
PWM Enterprises Inc. is offering a new product it says ``will look great in any garage.'' It's described as a ``whimsical'' tin sign-with a 1950s nostalgic look-advertising ``Dad's Repair Service.''
The motto of Dad's: ``If we can't fix it, throw it away.''
We'd like to amend that sentiment a bit, however, to reflect personal experience: ``If a pair of vise grips, a hammer or duct tape won't fix it, then it's probably ready to be tossed.''
You never know what's going to turn up on the eBay Internet auction site.
Late last month there was a nearly three-hour police chase and standoff in southeast Houston during which a few cop cars were damaged. So, to help out the boys in blue, a couple of local guys came up with a bit of an oddball way to raise some cash to repair the cruisers.
They've put up for auction a tire-slightly used, no bullet holes that we know of-that flew off the suspect's truck. The do-gooder duo, who had watched the saga on TV (talk about reality programming), decided to retrace the route taken by the perp as he tried to outrun the cops. They found the Uniroyal-brand tire, size LT 285/75R16, complete with police spike strip embedded in it, and took the trophy home.
``OK, we've got this thing, now what?'' they probably wondered, coming up with the bright idea, according to the Web site www.houstonist.com, to try their luck on eBay. Bidding started at 25 bucks and, at one point, reached close to $200. The auction ended Aug. 5.
One of the guys said all the money from the tire's sale will be donated to the police department, which was staring down the barrel of at least a $60,000 repair bill for the damaged cruisers. He also couldn't resist a little droll humor, observing that the tire is a Uniroyal Liberator, but it didn't liberate the fleeing suspect.