It is always fun to spit out random facts, figures and trivia. Here is some information to make you the hit of the dinner party.
Urban Legends: Contrary to popular belief, the word “doosey” (also sometimes spelled doozy, duesie, dusie — all used to indicate superlative) was not derived from Duesenberg. The earliest documented use of the word is in a letter sent from one brother to another shortly after the Civil War.
Technology: Chevrolet’s first OHV V8 came not in 1955, but rather in 1918. A 4.7 liter V8 appeared in Chevrolet’s Eight, but the company pulled the plug after problems with repeated mechanical failures. Examples of the car and engine still exist – one was exhibited at the Steamworks Concours in
Vancouver, B.C. just weeks ago.
Reliability: According to JD Power, the least dependable brand over the long-term is Land Rover. The company’s Vehicle Dependability Study found perennial cellar-dwellers Land Rover averaged 438 problems per 100 vehicles over three years. The industry average was 227, and Lexus was best with 136.
The best American manufacturer was Mercury with 151, yet nearly identical platform-mates Lincoln and Ford scored 220 and 224 respectively, leading one to believe Mercury owners’ inability to discern problems might have skewed the results. BMW was ninth with 212 problems – making it the only German manufacturer above the industry average. Swedes continued to struggle with Volvo scoring 272 and Saab 326 (second worst only to Land Rover.) Hyundai (253) and Kia (310) showed the long-term warranties synonymous with Korean manufacturers are well used by customers.
Safety: Volvo and Subaru both make a point of safety in their advertisements, but is there any truth in advertising? According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety actual statistics on driver death rates a driver in a Volvo S80 is 4.5 times more likely to die in an accident than one in a Mercedes E Class…and a Subaru Forrester driver is seven times more likely – so much for the safety of all wheel drive!
Toyota’s best use of century-old technology: If anyone tells you that Toyota is the leader in gas-electric hybrid technology, tell them they’re wrong – Porsche is. The first gas-electric hybrid, the Mixte, was developed by Ferdinand Porsche while he worked for Belgian automaker Lohner. It was first displayed at a Paris technology in 1900. Over 300 were sold.
By 1906, the Auto-Mixte utilized regenerative-braking as a means to recharge battery cells – much like
ZZ Top Award for Longest Run: The longest running single model is the Suburban, which started production in 1940. Tragically, a radio was not standard equipment, so it would be impossible to listen to ZZ Top, which for the record is the longest running band without a member change.
How Snell became a household name: The Snell rating stickers on crash helmets come from William “Pete” Snell. Snell died when his Triumph TR2 rolled in a SCCA race in 1956.