And we’ve already restored one airhead to the living, and we’re working on a second. Transmission rebuild number one was routine, being a mere four decades old example. But then we went to mic the shaft stack height to determine the proper shim thickness, and one shaft stood a bit inadaquately proud… Perhaps a deviantly dimensioned bearing?

Transmission number two was more historicly significant, being out of an R68/3… But low and behold, after a minor battle, daylight shown on the gears for the first time in six decades. I’m still waiting to see just where the gears come out, the back of the tranny being a solid face of aluminum. Sorry, no pix yet, as WordPress, supposedly the best blogging latform in the biz, can’t handle ’em at the moment.

DSC_5006

So what if they sold 15 million cars… Cars are for Costco runs to procure victuals for tech daze! Low and behold, Tech Daze officially begins friday and unofficially begins thursday, and it’s wensday and we’re already fixing bikes…

DSC_5008That’s Mark from Wyoming busy fixing an air leak at the carb spigot on his son’s /7… one heck of a dad!

We’ve got two engines to work on, enough gearboxes for a Naples tranny tech day (Joe Cuda, you still got time to make it from KC), and who knows what else may roll in. I’ve got the Motorvation F2 chassis with a Costco cargo box mounted to my R65LS, now I just have to find the VIN so I can re-insure it and ride it… Just in case you see me on the floor peering at a frame or trying to hack the DMV website tomorrow. But first we gotta make another Costco run, they’ll probably just tell us to pull around to the loading dock so we don’t clog up the checkout lines!

DSC_4907Travel the roads a bit, and you’ll notice that they tend to follow the railroads. And were those railroad surveyors really all that ingenious in their routing? No, the smart railroad surveyors hired native americans to guide them! And didn’t Lewis and Clark have Sacajawea to guide them? As you can imagine, nomadic native americans figured out the best routes, and we’ve been following in their footsteps and wakes ever since.

That natural gearhead talent is still seen today on the Dakota 38+2 Ride of Reconciliation as a whole fleet of horse trailers and support vehicles follow the ride, blizzard or not. As the ride left Pipestone a couple years back one of the Indians noted a low tire on his pickup and I advised him of the local tire repair shop. But he had some feed in this truck that would be needed by the horses at the first rest stop in less than an hour, so he pulled out his tools and plugged and pumped up the tire right there. Couple days later I saw another Indian blind side back a crew cab pickup towing a horse trailer into a narrow driveway, first shot. Got to talking with him and turned out he was his tribe’s chief… The tribe obviously chose well. All this gearhead aptitude comes naturally to a largely low income population that has to keep old vehicles running to travel long distances in the rural areas the Indians were forced into.

Thus it’s no surprise that on just about every rez there’s a prominent shop or even shops that house the tribal DOTs and transit systems. DOTs? Yup, tribes run transportation departments just like counties and states, and design and maintain roads, bridges, docks, and even airports. Their transit systems often serve multiple counties and in some cases multiple states. For example, the Standing Rock reservation straddles the South Dakota/North Dakota border, it’s a hundred miles across, and it’s population of around 10,000 is spread out over dozens of small towns and rural lands. Just running a transit system to serve this area that is 3 or 4 times the size of a big city metro area would be a major accomplishment. But the Standing Rock Transit System provides regular scheduled service to not only Bismark but Fargo, Sioux Falls, and Rapid City over 200 Miles away. That’s not exceptional for native american gearheads… There are tribal DOT’s and transit systems that operate ferries and even air transportation!

Makes you wonder why big manufacturers locate a plant in the big city and complain that they can’t get enough qualified workers, when there are tribal nations populated by native gearheads just a couple hours drive away…

 

 

 

If you live in California and own a VW TDI diesel, you may have gotten a form letter from the California Air Resources Board offering you $1500 and a free loaner car in return for your letting them “test” your TDI for emissions for 3 months. Now there are probably around 50,000 of the allegedly “non compliant” VW diesels in California of three generations, and how many do they need for testing? Heck, probably could score a dozen TDIs just off craigslist in Sacramento in a weekend, and with a budget of the better part of a billion dollars, I’m sure CARB has more than enough petty cash to swing the deals.

Sounds like CARB may be setting up a ┬áscam… Couple decades back I noted a crack in the fork of my Teledyne Titan titanium bicycle frame. I promptly replaced it with a steel fork of similar geometry, and wrote Teledyne to see about repair or replacement. They wrote back that they’d be happy to fix it… Month later I get a letter but no package back from them, Teledyne’s “fix” was to confiscate the fork and send me a check for $75.

So being a good California citizen like most diesel drivers, you gladly hand over your TDI to CARB for “testing”. Couple months pass and another form letter from CARB arrives, saying that you car was “damaged in testing” and here’s a a compensation check for KBB book value and a rebate coupon good on a new electric car! Is CARB setting up a scam?

Taking off the tin foil hat, CARB has a quite public distaste for diesels no matter how efficient and a love affair with electric vehicles, market forces be damned. CARB has crushed vehicles they didn’t like before, and that seems to be their strange idea of fun. And even if CARB isn’t scamming to confiscate and destroy diesel cars now, getting a list of where they are would make confiscation easier at a later date… The Nazis used a similar strategy to find, label, concentrate, and mass murder Jews, gays. gypsies, and the disabled…

So if you get CARB’s form letter asking to “borrow” your VW diesel, don’t throw it… Save it for evidence!

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In the lowest tradition of late friday PR dumps, the California Air Resources Board has asked VW if it’s OK to give them an extension until January 14th to come up with a “dirty diesel” recall plan that they’ll accept. I kid you not… How many years is this recall gonna take to even get started?

Again proving themselves to be an ethical company afflicted with a few rogue emissions engineers, VW has hired Ken Feinberg to run an independent program to compensate any “victims” of the emissions cheating scandal. Mr. Feinberg was the Special Master who determined compensation for the victims of the 9/11 attacks and has since administered claims for BP’s Gulf oil spill and GM’s defective ignition switch fiasco. He’s been near universally lauded for his fairness, and VW has shown a lot more class in hiring Feinberg than the dozens of diesel car chasing class action lawyers who are suing VW in hopes of making a multi-million and maybe even billion dollar looting of VW’s treasury. As the owner of one of the affected diesels, I’ll keep you posted on the progress of my claim… If I can find a reason to file one.

Meanwhile, in a public letter along with the usual Sierra Club sorta suspects, Tesla CEO and corporate welfare king Elon Musk suggests that CARB force VW to make electric cars instead of cleaning up the offending diesels. Now that might be just a bit of good environmental citizenship were it not that Musk insists that those cars be built in California, where his company just happens to have an underutilized plant and VW doesn’t.

Now Musk has built an entire corporation on selling environmental guilt and regulatory relief to affluent environmentalists and real automakers that know it’s cheaper to buy zero emissions car credits from Tesla than to actually build at a loss and worse yet service electric cars. But in no way should VW buy Tesla at it’s current inflated prices… When VW could run them right outa business! Musk wants VW to build enough (presumably 500,000 or so) electric cars to offset the pollution of VW’s 500,000 or so “dirty diesels” in 5 years. That’d be enough to totally saturate the american electric car market for a good decade, bringing down Musk’s Tesla house of cards and killing off every other wretched electric car in the process… And as VW makes 300 times as many cars as Tesla, they could absorb the electric car loss and pull this trick off.

VW, just don’t you dare brand that token electric car as an Audi, Porsche, or even Volkswagon!

 

Thank you!

Most bankruptcy hearings are pretty routine, most of the deals already having been cut in the lawyer’s offices and the judge granting the court’s approval. But this morning a normally too quiet courtroom was alive with the sounds of Buell and EBR riders who in no way were ready to let Buell and EBR slip quietly into the night. In person and by phone conference call, they objected to the cold blooded corporate murder of Buell and EBR, and the judge made rare exception to the corporate “business as usual”, refusing to approve the sale of EBR to a serial liquidator.

Continuance was granted until the next hearing January 14th, which gives us upstart Buelligans a month minus holiday distractions to come up with a plan. Given that the serial liquidators bid was a measly 1.6 million for an inventory of at least a couple hundred new bikes and the tooling to make hundreds of thousands more, even a fallback business plan to just provide parts and support to the installed base of EBR and Buell bikes is a viable business plan. And with millions already invested in engineering and tooling up for production, why stop there?

This is the kind of passion the world needs, the kind of passion that spits in the face of corporate mediocrity and kicks their corporate butts with innovative products and superior service. This is the kind of passion that HOG(NYSE) and their favorite serial liquidator cannot silence… Bring on the EBR revolution!

 

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