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Why Were These Cars Built?

Every manufacturing company wants to make great products. Great products get great reviews and make lots of sales, however sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes a company makes a real dog of a product and consumers are the ones who get to live with it. In this article we worked with Kindle Dodge of Cape May Courthouse, NJ, a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealer, and compiled a collection of several examples of cars that were really dumb ideas and never should have been built.

Some people claim the Ford Edsel is the number one automotive blunder of all time. Personally we think that’s a little harsh but it nonetheless was a classic misstep. Meant to slot just below their flagship Lincoln line, Ford sunk $400 million into developing the Edsel. The problem was that despite all the experts and researchers they hired, no one actually polled the public about the design or features they wanted. When the Edsel started shipping, the car was rejected quickly because of its funny front end with an odd upright grill (known as the “horse collar”) and its overall garish styling.

In the mid-1970s, tiny Wisconsin-based American Motors (no longer in business) designed an innovative little car called the Pacer. It was advanced for the time and had many features that others didn’t, things like rack-and-pinion steering, an elongated passenger door and a rollbar – plus a very odd looking fishbowl-like body design. It’s hard to believe that AMC made the pacer for 5 years because it did not sell very well.

Back in the 1960s, virtually every car was enormous and powered by a beefy V8. Gas was cheap and this was simply the way things were. Then gas prices started to climb and all the sudden “gas mileage” became an important detail to consider. Most of the American manufacturers started to build smaller, more thrifty cars; Fords the Pinto. It was a small car with great fuel economy – and it almost destroyed the company. Here’s what happened: to save $11 in manufacturing costs of every Pinto, Ford decided to place the Pinto’s gas tank in a spot under the car where it could be punctured during accidents. The result: untold numbers of Pintos went up in flames when rear collisions occurred.

Around the mid-nineties, the folks at Plymouth needed to inject a little pizazz back into the staid Plymouth brand. Here’s what they did: they remade the classic 1930s hotrod. The styling was great. It had open wheel design, wedge-shaped fuselage, sloping arches and could be purchased in a multitude of bold colors. It didn’t sell very well. First, it was powered by Chrysler’s 3.5-liter V6 and all of its 250 horsepower. This turned off a majority of potential buyers who simply expected the car to have a potent V8. The $38,300 ($56k today) base price didn’t help matters either. The Plymouth Prowler was just built for three years.

Barn Finds

6 Ways You May Be Inadvertently Damaging Your Car

No one wants to intentionally damage their car but it still happens to the best of us. Usually it’s because of a busy lifestyle and a lack of time to focus on car-related things. Sometimes it’s just because the driver just isn’t aware that they are doing something damaging to their car. With the help of , a factory authorized Chevrolet dealer, we put together a list of 6 different ways that drivers may be damaging their car when they drive.

Few tires on our nation’s cars are inflated properly. According to a 2010 Department of Transportation study, 60% to 70% of the cars on the road have tires that are underinflated by 10% or more. What does that mean? According to the study, those underinflated tires cut your gas mileage by 10% or more. Not only that, you are probably damaging your tires too. When tires are run underinflated, they tend to wear excessively on the edges. If you do this for months on end, you will likely have a set of tires that are so badly worn that they won’t even pass inspection. The solution: Check your tire inflation monthly and add air if necessary.

If you constantly brake hard, your brakes will wear out faster. In specific, the pads and rotors will wear out sooner than usual. An obvious solution is to try to anticipate stops and slow down gently. Clearly this is not possible in every braking situation, but it is possible in more situations than you might think. Bottom line: Driving “gently” can literally save you money.

Some people accelerate from stop signs and lights like they competing in a drag race. OK, if you are late to an important engagement, it might be sort of excusable (just don’t break the speed limit!) but why do it when you aren’t in a hurry? Not only does this eat up gas mileage, up to 10% says the American Automobile Association, it also stresses engine and transmission parts which can lead to premature failure.

Little known fact: The coolant used in your car does more than just cool your engine, it also performs another critical task – it prevents internal corrosion. That’s why most car manufacturers recommend using a minimum of a 50-50 mix because you need at least 50% antifreeze to benefit from the anti-corrosion additives put in. Ask any mechanic: Cars that run 100% water eventually develop problems like head gaskets failing and radiators leaking before long.

Heat and direct sunlight can do a number on both your car’s interior and exterior. Inside the car the effects may include cracked dashes, torn seats and faded upholstery. Outside the car, the sun usually causes any plastic lenses (like over the headlights) to become cloudy and the UV rays in sunlight can damage the clearcoat on your vehicle’s paint. Bottom line: while it isn’t always an option to park in the shade, its really worth the trouble if you can.

You probably know that the oil in your car’s engine lubricates all the internal parts so they can move freely. It’s a very important job, so you want to keep the oil in your engine both filled to the proper mark on your dipstick and changed frequently. In the old days it was said that oil should be changed every 3000 miles. Today that interval is longer but don’t leave it to chance. Look in your owner’s manual and see what the manufacturer suggests.

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A Car Powered by Salt Water

If you ever need an example of “click-bait,” the title of this article would be a good one. After all, just imagine a car that actually runs on something as common as salt water. Who wouldn’t want to read about it? What’s amazing about this statement is one thing though – it’s true. There is a company called NanoFlowCell in the tiny country of Liechtenstein that is showing a prototype car powered by a fuel cell that is powered by a special type of salt water. With some assistance from , a Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep dealer, we have the complete story.

As you probably surmise, this salt water isn’t water you get from the ocean. It’s a special kind of salt water. The salt water is technically called “Bi-ion Fluid” and it’s a solution containing organic and inorganic salts. Bi-ion Fluid has been around for a while. NASA put a lot of work into the fluid and fuel cell in the 1970s but gave up on it because the energy density was so poor. Today, however, the chief technical officer of NanoFlowCell, Nunzio la Vecchia, has perfected the technology. It actually exceeds the storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries.

Bi-ion fluid consists of two components. One component holds a positive charge, the other a negative charge. The way the fuel cell works is that the two fluids are pumped through a membrane and the interaction of the charged electrons generates an electrical charge. During the process, the liquid is vaporized and released harmlessly into the environment. The process is 100% environmentally friendly.

To demonstrate the potential of their fuel cell, NanoFlowCell has built a car they call the Quantino. It’s a real good looking car with an electric motor that produces a modest 136 horsepower. This gives the Quantino the ability to run from zero to 62mph in five seconds and have a top speed of 125mph. For short bursts of power, electricity is stored in a supercapacitor. This device is like a giant industrial-strength battery but more resistant to frequent charging cycles. The supercapacitor is about the size of a shoebox. Fuel safety

The liquid fuel is perfectly safe – not volatile like gasoline – so it’s easy to store and transport. The bi-ion solutions don’t have any sort of shelf-life either. An interesting fact concerning bi-ion fuel is that you fill up the car with a special twin nozzle pump. The process is just as simple as gas, though. It’s just like filling your car with gasoline or diesel, it’s a five-minute pit-stop. On the Quantino's future

Quantino is adamant they are a tech company, not a carmaker. They have built the Quantino just to illustrate the concept. La Vecchia tells us that the company is in talks with a major automaker to sell its propulsion concept to in 2017.

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Improving Your Credit Score

You probably know that people with good credit scores get loans easier and at lower interest rates than those with low scores. Good credit is a nice thing to have. If you are considering a car purchase soon, it might be a good idea to check your credit score so you aren’t surprised. But, how do you find out what your credit score is?

It’s not like the old days. Not long ago, you had to pay money to access your credit score. There were many institutions that would do it for you -like banks and credit unions. Today, it’s different. You can get your credit score for free from a number of websites. A very popular one is www.CreditKarma.com. Credit Karma not only gives you your credit scores from both Transunion and Equifax, it will give you tables of payments from your creditors so you can see your payment history. Another popular free site is www.annualcreditreport.com.

Credit scores generally range from 300 to 850. If you find that your credit score is lower than 700, it’s a good idea to see if you can build it up a little. There are several things that you can do. The finance guys at , a Ford and Mopar dealer, suggested the following.

This may seem counter intuitive but if you have a high credit limit, your credit score may go up. This is because of a factor called “credit utilization ratio.” This factor is the ratio of how much credit you use compared with how much you have available to you. Here’s an example: If you have a credit card with a $10,000 limit and $1,000 of debt on that card, your credit utilization ratio is 10 percent. You want that number to be as low as possible. So, how do you get a lower credit utilization ratio? The best way is to pay off debt, if you can. The other thing you can do, believe it or not, is ask for a higher credit limit. Why not give it a try? One caveat though: once you have this additional credit, do not use it!

Your credit score is calculated based on information in your credit reports. Your reports are like mini- biographies of your financial past. Here’s what you should know: sometimes they are wrong. Definitely look over the financial history the credit report has. Go to one of the free credit report sites and get copies of your credit reports from the big three reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Then carefully review the reports and see if there are any mistakes. If you find any, contact the creditors involved and politely ask them to change the data.

Just as creditors have the power to add positive data to your credit report, they also have the ability to delete negative data. They are generally reluctant to do this but, if you are a good customer and have a good argument why the negative information should be removed, they might do it. Here’s a good example: If you missed a payment because of medical reasons, mention that. The key here is to be able to show that the negative data point isn’t representative of the quality of customer you are. If you’re a significant and longtime customer, remind the person how much the company should value your business and how many offers you get to go elsewhere.

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