The ACCCA’s involvement in the new monthly breakfast car meet – the Meguiars Coffee & Cars - started right back at the beginning, when club member Alex Ross mooted the idea and asked if we – among several other Auckland based car clubs, might like to assist him getting it up and running, and in particular, operations on the actual event days.
Long story short, Alex approached Auckland Stadiums for a suitable venue - the excellent and slightly underused Mt Smart Stadium – and they were immediately enthused. Another chat, this time to Meguiars, to see if they may be keen to come on board as naming-right sponsors netting a similarly enthusiastic response.
And after a couple of ‘false starts’ as a result of the frankly infuriating Covid lockdowns and daft ‘Traffic-Light’ system we’ve had to endure for months now, the Net result of hours of planning and meetings had it all came together rather spectacularly on Anzac Sunday, April 24th, 2022.
Alex and his small but passionate team of helpers can feel justifiably proud of their efforts, as can Stadium Auckland & Meguiars, as over 800 cars attended during the 3-plus hours of Sunday morning (the event officially ran from 9am till 12 noon) and what must have been at least 2000 people spent the vast majority of that time enjoying the autumn sun and an absolute cracker of a show, with so much variety it was mind numbing! The comparisons to the former Caffeine & Classics event at Smales Farm are not necessarily coincidental! They also kept Lilyworld café staff and the various other Coffee vendors around the stadium rather busy! And a healthy sum was also raised by way of gold coin donations, the takings going on this occasion to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Here is a small selection of pics – for more on this event, see Coffee & Cars - Auckland | Facebook
Everything has to begin someplace. ..
CAR TUNES Radios are so much a part of the driving experience, it seems like cars have always had them. But they didn’t. Here’s the story.
SUNDOWN One evening in 1929 two young men named William Lear and Elmer Wavering drove their girlfriends to a lookout point high above the Mississippi River town of Q uincy , Illinois , to watch the sunset. It was a romantic night to be sure, but one of the women observed that it would be even nicer if they could listen to music in the car.
Lear and Wavering liked the idea. Both men had tinkered with radios – Lear had served as a radio operator in the U. S. Navy during World War I – and it wasn’t long before they were taking apart a home radio and trying to get it to work in a car. But it wasn’t as easy as it sounds: automobiles have ignition switches, generators, spark plugs, and other electrical equipment that generate noisy static interference, making it nearly impossible to listen to the radio when the engine was running.
SIGNING ON One by one, Lear and Wavering identified and eliminated each source of electrical interference. When they finally got their radio to work, they took it to a radio convention in Chicago . There they met Paul Galvin, owner of Galvin Manufacturing Corporation. He made a product called a “battery eliminator” a device that allowed battery-powered radios to run on household AC current. But as more homes were wired for electricity, more radio manufacturers made AC-powered radios. Galvin needed a new product to manufacture. When he met Lear and Wavering at the radio convention, he found it. He believed that mass-produced, affordable car radios had the potential to become a huge business.
Lear and Wavering set up shop in Galvin’s factory, and when they perfected their first radio, they installed it in his Studebaker. Then Galvin went to a local banker to apply for a loan. Thinking it might sweeten the deal, he had his men install a radio in the banker’s Packard. Good idea, but it didn’t work – half an hour after the installation, the banker’s Packard caught on fire. (They didn’t get the loan.)
Galvin didn’t give up. He drove his Studebaker nearly 800 miles to Atlantic City to show off the radio at the 1930 Radio Manufacturers Association convention. Too broke to afford a booth, he parked the car outside the convention hall and cranked up the radio so that passing conventioneers could hear it. That idea worked – he got enough orders to put the radio into production.
WHAT’S IN A NAME
That first production model was called the 5T71. Galvin decided he needed to come up with something a little catchier. In those days many companies in the phonograph and radio businesses used the suffix “ola” for their names – Radiola, Columbiola, and Victrola were three of the biggest.Galvin decided to do the same thing, and since his radio was intended for use in a motor vehicle, he decided to call it the Motorola. But even with the name change, the radio still had problems:
When Motorola went on sale in 1930, it cost about $110 uninstalled, at a time when you could buy a brand-new car for $650, and the country was sliding into the Great Depression. (By that measure, a radio for a new car would cost about $3,000 today.)
In 1930 it took two men several days to put in a car radio – the dashboard had to be taken apart so that the receiver and a single speaker could be installed, and the ceiling had to be cut open to install the antenna.
These early radios ran on their own batteries, not on the car battery, so holes had to be cut into the floorboard to accommodate them. The installation manual had eight complete diagrams and 28 pages of instructions.
HIT THE ROAD Selling complicated car radios that cost 20 percent of the price of a brand-new car wouldn’t have been easy in the best of times, let alone during the Great Depression – Galvin lost money in 1930 and struggled for a couple of years after that. But things picked up in 1933 when Ford began offering Motorolas pre-installed at the factory. In 1934 they got another boost when Galvin struck a deal with B. F. Goodrich tire company to sell and install them in its chain of tire stores. By then the price of the radio, installation included, had dropped to $55. The Motorola car radio was off and running. (The name of the company would be officially changed from Galvin Manufacturing to “Motorola” in 1947.)
In the meantime, Galvin continued to develop new uses for car radios. In 1936, the same year that it introduced push-button tuning, it also introduced the Motorola Police Cruiser, a standard car radio that was factory preset to a single frequency to pick up police broadcasts. In 1940 he developed with the first handheld two-way radio – the Handie-Talkie – for the U. S. Army. A lot of the communications technologies that we take for granted today were born in Motorola labs in the years that followed World War II.
In 1947 they came out with the first television to sell under $200. In 1956 the company introduced the world’s first pager; in 1969 it supplied the radio and television equipment that was used to televise Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon. In 1973 it invented the world’s first handheld cellular phone.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO….
The two men who installed the first radio in Paul Galvin’s car, Elmer Wavering and William Lear, ended up taking very different paths in life. Wavering stayed with Motorola. In the 1950’s he helped change the automobile experience again when he developed the first automotive alternator, replacing inefficient and unreliable generators. The invention lead to such luxuries as power windows, power seats, and, eventually, air-conditioning.
Lear also continued inventing. He holds more than 150 patents. Remember eight-track tape players? Lear invented that. But what he’s really famous for are his contributions to the field of aviation. He invented radio direction finders for planes, aided in the invention of the autopilot, designed the first fully automatic aircraft landing system, and in 1963 introduced his most famous invention of all, the Lear Jet, the world’s first mass-produced, affordable business jet.
(Not bad for a guy who dropped out of school after the eighth grade.)
I’d got my second jab on Dec 31st 2021, so armed with the controversial Vaccine Passport I decided to celebrate by getting the hell out of Dodge.. or in this case, Auckland! I met up with a mate of mine Mike and his partner Gaylene at the Classic Cover Jalopy Dustup at the Waihi Beach dirt Track, for a change of scenery.
And what a day! Stinking hot and aptly named, the views from above the track out over Waihi Beach alone were to die for, let alone the motley crew of jalopy racers who entertained solidly all day. What a hoot of an event!
It was all about having a good time… the racing was hardly fast, or furious, yet there were still a few thrills and spills from over-enthusiast throttle application or woeful 1930’s suspension dynamics, or maybe both. The parade laps at lunch showed the immense variety present and the water splash was hilarious.
After a thorough dusting sitting up in the one ‘stand’ – essentially a row of about eight plastic seats – we departed the venue around 3pm as things were starting to wind down and headed to the Waihi Beach RSA for a well deserved cold one and some damn decent wedges.
What a cracking day… never been before, we now intend to make it an annual pilgrimage, such was the entertaining and low-key nature of the event. Well done (again) to Noddy Watts and his team – as if worrying about what to do about the Beach Hop wasn’t enough on his plate! Seriously, it’s worth the 2 and a bit hour drive down from Auckland – just bring a sun umbrella and a change of clothes! Rob.
Electric Cars and Electricity Supply Requirements - Toyota Warns (Again) About Electrifying All Autos. Is Anyone Listening?
BY BRYAN PRESTON MAR 19, 2021 12:50 PM ET - Story supplied by club member Rodger Anderson
Depending on how and when you count, Japan’s Toyota is the world’s largest automaker. According to Wheels, Toyota and Volkswagen vie for the title of the world’s largest, with each taking the crown from the other as the market moves. That’s including Volkswagen’s inherent advantage of sporting 12 brands versus Toyota’s four. Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche, Bugatti, and Bentley are included in the Volkswagen brand family.
GM, America’s largest automaker, is about half Toyota’s size thanks to its 2009 bankruptcy and restructuring. Toyota is actually a major car manufacturer in the United States; in 2016 it made about 81% of the cars it sold in the U.S. right here in its nearly half a dozen American plants. If you’re driving a Tundra, RAV4, Camry, or Corolla it was probably American-made in a red state. Toyota was among the first to introduce gas-electric hybrid cars into the market, with the Prius twenty years ago. It hasn’t been afraid to change the car game.
All of this is to point out that Toyota understands both the car market and the infrastructure that supports it perhaps better than any other manufacturer on the planet. It hasn’t grown its footprint through acquisitions, as Volkswagen has, and it hasn’t undergone bankruptcy and bailout as GM has. Toyota has grown by building reliable cars for decades.
When Toyota offers an opinion on the car market, it’s probably worth listening to. This week, Toyota reiterated an opinion it has offered before.
That opinion is straightforward: The world is not yet ready to support a fully electric auto fleet.
Toyota’s head of energy and environmental research Robert Wimmer testified before the Senate this week, and said: “If we are to make dramatic progress in electrification, it will require overcoming tremendous challenges, including refueling infrastructure, battery availability, consumer acceptance, and affordability.”
Wimmer’s remarks come on the heels of GM’s announcement that it will phase out all gas internal combustion engines (ICE) by 2035. Other manufacturers, including Mini, have followed suit with similar announcements.
Tellingly, both Toyota and Honda have so far declined to make any such promises. Honda is the world’s largest engine manufacturer when you take its boat, motorcycle, lawnmower, and other engines it makes outside the auto market into account. Honda competes in those markets with Briggs & Stratton and the increased electrification of lawnmowers, weed trimmers, and the like.
Wimmer noted that while manufactures have announced ambitious goals, just 2% of the world’s cars are electric at this point. For price, range, infrastructure, affordability, and other reasons, buyers continue to choose ICE over electric, and that’s even when electric engines are often subsidized with tax breaks to bring price tags down.
The scale of the switch hasn’t even been introduced into the conversation in any systematic way yet. According to FinancesOnline, there are 289.5 million cars just on U.S. roads as of 2021. About 98 percent of them are gas-powered. Toyota’s RAV4 took the top spot for purchases in the U.S. market in 2019, with Honda’s CR-V in second. GM’s top seller, the Chevy Equinox, comes in at #4 behind the Nissan Rogue. This is in the U.S. market, mind. GM only has one entry in the top 15 in the U.S. Toyota and Honda dominate, with a handful each in the top 15.
Toyota warns that the grid and infrastructure simply aren’t there to support the electrification of the private car fleet. A 2017 U.S. government study found that we would need about 8,500 strategically-placed charge stations to support a fleet of just 7 million electric cars. That’s about six times the current number of electric cars but no one is talking about supporting just 7 million cars. We should be talking about powering about 300 million within the next 20 years, if all manufacturers follow GM and stop making ICE cars.
Simply put, we’re gonna need a bigger energy boat to deal with connecting all those cars to the power grids. A LOT bigger.
But instead of building a bigger boat, we may be shrinking the boat we have now. The power outages in California and Texas — the largest U.S. states by population and by car ownership — exposed issues with powering needs even at current usage levels. Increasing usage of wind and solar, neither of which can be throttled to meet demand, and both of which prove unreliable in crisis, has driven some coal and natural gas generators offline. Wind simply runs counter to needs — it generates too much power when we tend not to need it, and generates too little when we need more. The storage capacity to account for this doesn’t exist yet.
We will need much more generation capacity to power about 300 million cars if we’re all going to be forced to drive electric cars. Whether we’re charging them at home or charging them on the road, we will be charging them frequently. Every gas station you see on the roadside today will have to be wired to charge electric cars, and charge speeds will have to be greatly increased. Current technology enables charges in “as little as 30 minutes,” according to Kelly Blue Book. That best-case-scenario fast charging cannot be done on home power. It uses direct current and specialized systems. Charging at home on alternative current can take a few hours to overnight to fill the battery, and will increase the home power bill. That power, like all electricity in the United States, comes from generators using natural gas, petroleum, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, or hydroelectric power according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. I left out biomass because, despite Austin, Texas’ experiment with purchasing a biomass plant to help power the city, biomass is proving to be irrelevant in the grand energy scheme thus far. Austin didn’t even turn on its biomass plant during the recent freeze.
Half an hour is an unacceptably long time to spend at an electron pump. It’s about 5 to 10 times longer than a current trip to the gas pump tends to take when pumps can push 4 to 5 gallons into your tank per minute. That’s for consumer cars, not big rigs that have much larger tanks. Imagine the lines that would form at the pump, every day, all the time, if a single charge time isn’t reduced by 70 to 80 percent. We can expect improvements, but those won’t come without cost. Nothing does. There is no free lunch. Electrifying the auto fleet will require a massive overhaul of the power grid and an enormous increase in power generation. Elon Musk recently said we might need double the amount of power we’re currently generating if we go electric. He’s not saying this from a position of opposing electric cars. His Tesla dominates that market and he presumably wants to sell even more of them.
Toyota has publicly warned about this twice, while its smaller rival GM is pushing to go electric. GM may be virtue signaling to win favor with those in power in California and Washington and in the media. Toyota’s addressing reality and its record is evidence that it deserves to be heard.
Toyota isn’t saying none of this can be done, by the way. It’s just saying that so far, the conversation isn’t anywhere near serious enough to get things done.
This event at the Kumeu Showgrounds on the 10th of April, was unfortunately not pushed very hard and many people I have spoken to were not aware that it was taking place. Even people living in Kumeu and surrounding districts were in the dark. My elder daughter, who was aware, suggested Pat and I give our 1929 Deluxe D.A. Dodge a birthday and enter it in the Vintage section, so with help from Fiona and her family, we extricated the 92 year old vehicle from my garage and registered for the event.
W e have often dressed in period clothing for Vintage Car Club events and did so this time just for the hell of it, not for a moment looking to enter any competitions other than with the car. However, we were outnumbered by the family and entered the “Best dressed couples” category and to our astonishment won hands down. My wife Patricia has worked in the rag trade all her life and made most of our clothing, while our daughter Fiona, who was taught much of what she knows by Pat, entered in the “Western Clothing” section and she won that class by a country mile.
T he judging for the vehicles was by popular vote and we were beaten here by a very nice looking 1930 Model A Ford Roadster. Although she had a fantastic two pack paint job and had chrome work for Africa, the chrome plated items and the after-market overhead valve head and twin carburetors were not period correct.
John Campbell Snr
Saturday February 13th I decided to check out round one of the NZ Stadium Off-Road Championships being held at the relatively new track at Colin Dale Park, out by the northern end of Auckland Airport. The fact a work colleague was racing his Pro-Buggy class racer there sealed the deal.
This is the same facility that also hosts the self-drive jet-sprint boats, where you get to have a go around the pond in a jet-sprint boat. There is also a moto-cross track behind the off-road track as well. My understanding of this facility is there are plans afoot to properly develop it into a dedicated motorsport park. Of course, if Auckland Council has any input into it, the land will probably be sold off for housing developments to the highest bidder… but I digress.
For now, it’s a work in progress but frankly, coming along nicely with good access and a sizable tar-sealed carpark already laid. This round was only the third time the off-road track had been used and the organizers got a large field of racers, in all manner of very confusing categories and classes. Even the juniors were catered for, with an > 14 year old class of, I think, 250cc buggies. Good to see the young ones being encouraged.
The racing was for the most part, fast and furious, with two main heats of no less than seven races each ranging from five to eight laps, then the semi-mains comprising another seven races, accommodating up to eleven different classes. How they keep track of all that going on, beats me! To confuse matters for me, several of the races had multiple classes racing together, with the fastest classes at the back… made for some busy times on-track for sure and great for the considerable number of spectators present. Never a dull moment, as they say.
Then there were two feature races basically featuring the fastest from the semi-mains, with four categories racing in the first feature and three in the second, including the outrageous Thunder-Trucks and only slightly less outrageous Pro-Lites and including drivers like drifter Mad Mike Whiddett and former NZ Rally Champion Andrew Hawkswood. And something like 21 laps for each feature!
The event itself was very well run, with virtually no delays between races other than the mandatory track watering – to try in vain to keep the dust at bay. All it did was make the track almost un-drivable for the first cars out on it, with many a resulting spin! My colleague Vince had a shocker, as it seemed every race he was in was just after!
I thoroughly enjoyed it, you could see at least 2/3rds of the track from spectator area, there were ample food/beverage vendors, even a licensed bar if you were so inclined, as well as sponsors hospitality areas with arguably the best vantage point to watch the action. Even the Portaloos were plentiful, clean, well stocked and within easy walking distance of the track and the pits. Speaking of the pits, these too were fully open to the public and worth a wander around. Some of the rigs of the top category racers were something else! The next round at the same venue is Saturday March 6th. Worth a look if you have no other plans, for sure. Rob Milligan
Club member Bill Hohepa features cars at Muscle Car Madness Rangiora, held on January 23-24, 2021
A stunning blue sky morning saw five club members turn up at the BP Service Centre Papakura for a run down to Thames – Peter & June (1975 Oldsmobile Delta) Fred & Diana (1962 Oldsmobile Starfire) Mark & Margaret (1966 Ford Thunderbird) Greg (1969 Buick Electra) Russell & Cindy (1957 Pontiac Star Chief). Just missing out on the departure time was Kerry (1962 Thunderbird) who put pedal to the metal and turned up shortly after our arrival at Thames Airfield.
Luckily Fred had bought along a gazebo, which was most welcome as the blazing sun was relentless, although there was a nice light southerly throughout the day. The tremendous variety of cars in the display area was surely overshadowed by the range and type of aeroplanes, some of which were truly spectacular. A NZ Navy Sea Sprite helicopter flew down from Whenuapai for the day, and this was constantly surrounded by fans young and old throughout the day.
The highlight of the day though was the air displays, which were truly spectacular and varied. These ranged from mock airfights between Red Baron/Snoopy type bi and tri planes, to formation and aerobatic flights, and the Warbirds aircraft. The displays just kept coming throughout the day as per the programme, and provided spectacular viewing against the deep blue skies.
It was certainly different to the normal car focussed shows we usually frequent, and was a joy to both car and aircraft aficionados alike. Well worth the lovely drive down to the Coromandel, and one that I would highly recommend for next year. Ciao4now, regards Russell