Spring cleaning vol.2

Nobody likes a dirty car

Well here we are again, it’s that time of year to get your whip all cleaned up for the summer. After a long winter your ride needs a thorough cleaning, especially if you live in a place where the water freezes into snow and the air hurts your face. If you don’t live somewhere like this im jealous and don’t like you. Im kidding, im just jealous….and only slightly dislike you. Here in the midwest the winter months can be very harsh on your car inside and out. The salt put down on the roads can trash your paint and is corrosive to the metals on your car. It will also ruin the carpets in your car in a hurry too if your not careful. I am a little bit of a clean freak, especially when it comes to my cars. I drive a 22 year old station wagon but its clean. I don’t see how people can drive around in a car with food wrappers and soda bottles rolling around in it but i wont judge. That stuff can accumulate quickly, especially during the winter months. I swear my car runs better when it’s clean and nobody can convince me otherwise!

I mentioned the exterior metals on a car can take a serious beating in the winter with the salts and chemicals put down to get rid of the snow and ice. It also takes a toll on the paint of your car as well. If left unattended for too long the salt will eat through the paint and cause some nasty damage. If you park in a heated garage and the salt is on your car it only worsens the effects. Newer cars with modern paint are less susceptible to this happening because painting compounds and techniques have changed considerably over the years. Pre 1924 cars were painted with the same techniques used for painting carriages. These techniques required numerous coats and painfully long drying times, some as long as 52 days! Can you imagine? Almost 2 months to fully paint a carriage or automobile. They would use large fairly sanitary buildings to dry the carriages out. In the early 1920s a worker at DuPont left out a drum of cotton fibers treated with a nitrate solution used in movie film manufacturing in the heat for too long and it turned into a liquid that became the basis for nitrocellulose lacquer. This lacquer became the leading automotive finish for the next 50 years.

The first car was spray painted in 1923, just a few short years after the accidental discovery. Nitrocellulose lacquer, alkyd, and derivations of the two were used to paint and refinish cars well into the 1970’s by OEMs. The Europeans focused more on enamel systems to paint their cars after WW2, mostly due to restrictions on items such as nitrocellulose lacquer and other materials that could be used to construct explosives. These enamel systems were far superior to the air dry processes used in the United States. The Europeans invaded the market here in the U.S. during the 1980s with their superior paint systems and it has taken decades to catch up. This was also a time of stricter standards set forth by the EPA. Paint companies, as well as paint equipment companies, pointed the finger at everyone but themselves as to who was responsible for helping meet these stricter regulations. Both groups scrambled through trial and error, eventually finding solutions in the mid to late 80’s.

Today’s cars are completely dipped in baths of chemicals by machines and painted with robotic painting arms. The paints and sealants of yesterday are a far cry from what is used
today. Today’s paints are very durable and impervious to UV degradation. White still reigns supreme as the most popular new car color followed by black, then gray, then silver. Speaking of new cars, maybe you don’t want to get out there and clean your old car up. Maybe you want to trade it in, old McDonalds bags and all, for something new. This is a perfect time of year for car shows around the country as manufacturers are out showing off their newest variants to the consumer. I attended the Kansas City International auto show a few weeks ago and while my focus was on mid size SUVs, #dadlife, there are some pretty interesting cars new for this year!

Being as i was looking at SUVs and wagons, the new Subaru Ascent was at the top of my list to check out although I’m pretty set on a turbo Forester for the next family car, or atleast i was. I found out just last week that Subaru has axed the turbo model for the 2019 forester ruining my plans. That’s a rant i’ll save for another time. The ascent is a 3 row SUV and is the largest vehicle in their lineup. It will actually tow a decent amount of weight for a Subaru, 5,000 lbs, and is powered by a 260 hp turbocharged flat 4. For anyone looking for a new mid size SUV to haul the whole family this new Subaru is probably a pretty safe bet. The other new midsize SUV i am interested in is the new Volkswagen Atlas. At roughly the same size as the Ascent they are almost direct competitors. After owning a VW for a couple years it’s hard to beat that German quality feel. The atlas is also a 3 row capable family hauler that is available with VW’s 4motion all-wheel-drive. It’s available with either a 235hp turbo four cylinder or a 3.6L 276 hp V6 and is also capable of towing up to 5,000 lbs. I was able to get in the atlas at the car show and like my gti, the doors close like a bank vault.

I think one of the coolest cars new for this year is a Kia. That’s right, say what you want about Kia but they build some nice cars these days and have for years now. This year Kia has come out swinging with the Stinger. The base stinger is offered with a 2.0L 255 hp engine but the GT model is what’s getting all of the attention. It offers a 365 hp twin turbo 3.3L V6 that help the car hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. This is serious performance from a Kia of all cars but It’s not cheap though at just over 38K msrp but i think it’s just the beginning for the company. From what I hear they are taking this car very seriously which will open up future models with even higher performance levels. I’m sure the GT will be a hit with the aftermarket in no time and as long as there is a little bit left in the turbos im sure they will be making well in excess of 400 hp with minimal tuning. Sadly they are only offered with automatic transmission but they can be had in either rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive and with available features like electronically controlled suspension, Michelin pilot sport tires, and Brembo brakes they are sure to be crowd pleasers. Kia has definitely come a long way in the last ten years!

Another car, make that a truck, is making its comeback this year as well. The all new Ford Ranger. It seems like we all know someone who has owned one, my little Brother had one for his first car. The small truck segment has pretty much been left to Chevrolet and Toyota with thier Colorado and Tacoma since Dodge axed the Dakota and Ford stopped selling the Ranger here. The new “small” trucks are larger and more capable now so Ford has to come out swinging. I don’t think the new Ranger is particularly good looking but i’ve seen worse. It will be powered by a 2.3L ecoboost engine mated to a 10 speed automatic transmission. The variant i’m most excited about is the Raptor version that Ford has introduced for the Asian market. Right now there are no plans to bring it here yet. But it’s only a matter of time. I don’t think Ford would deny the largest population of truck buyers in the world a raptor version of the mini truck. The version they have now sports a twin turbo diesel engine in Asia but i would expect them to put the 2.7L ecoboost unit in it here. I think the raptor version would be a sweet option for someone who doesn’t need a full size pickup but could use some utility without sacrificing cool looks and good performance.

If you’ve got deep pockets and don’t feel like cleaning that old Ferrari up maybe you would be interested in a new car from Britain. If I had to buy a new supercar, the Huracan would be pretty hard to beat but any McLaren would give it a run for its money. I really like the styling and racing pedigree behind all of McLaren’s cars. The new 720S is no exception. Its several hundred pounds lighter than its competitors, the Ferrari 488 and the Lamborghini Huracan. In fact, when you option the 720S with all of its available carbon parts from the factory it comes in at just under 2900 lbs. The two italians are just a shade over 3400 lbs. Thats a 500 lb difference for those of you who didn’t major in math. McLaren didn’t skimp on the power either. Its 4.0L twin turbo V8 is good for 711 hp and and 568 ft lbs of torque. This kind of power to weight ratio is what makes the 720S so damn fast. 0-60 times in the 2.5 second range, 0-100 in the low 5’s and a 10.4 quarter mile time out of the box! That is crazy fast for a rear wheel drive car with 700hp. Whether you are going to clean up your dirty ass car for spring or pick up a new ride we support you either way!

From all of us here at Gearbox have fun, be safe, and keep the shiny side up!

– Ryan

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