Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Funkengroovin Wednesday

Two cars from the 60's (we think): A Bay Window VW Bus and look ma - no rooftop carrier! And a Mercedes, we suspect is from the same era. Anyone know better, please let us know.

VW's Home Town Finds Ways to Cope With Globalization

For most of its history, Wolfsburg has prospered greatly from globalization. The city was founded in 1938 on Adolf Hitler's orders with a mission to manufacture an affordable "people's car." Although Wolfsburg was bombed heavily during the war, it soon revived and Volkswagen churned out millions of Beetles, exporting them to every continent except Antarctica.

That record has bred confidence among some longtime employees that Volkswagen will never abandon Wolfsburg, no matter how unstable the global auto industry becomes.
Wilhelm Blum, 56, a Volkswagen employee who develops transmission and gear designs, shrugged off the recent experiences of U.S. auto companies. Ford and General Motors have posted billions of dollars in losses in recent years, while Chrysler, part of a conglomerate with Germany's Daimler group, was sold last month to a hedge fund.
"VW was here before the war and it will still be here 100 years from now," Blum said while drinking beers with friends at a bar outside Volkswagen's sprawling factory in the center of Wolfsburg. "That's different from Chrysler. Chrysler's dead. It just doesn't know it yet."
"We cannot blame globalization for all our economic problems," Busse said. "And we can't forget how much we benefited from globalization in the years after the Second World War."
Meantime, civic leaders in Wolfsburg are stepping up efforts to diversify the local economy, just in case.
The city has built a new sports stadium and a $100 million science museum to attract tourists. It's also created a public-private partnership with Volkswagen to nurture businesses, many of them unrelated to the auto industry. The partnership, known as Wolfsburg AG, has even recruited Chinese firms that serve as suppliers to Volkswagen, offering cultural exchanges and Chinese language courses to the locals.

"We have local people who tell us we're bringing in the competition to their home," said Henning Eckel, one of Wolfsburg AG's board members. "But it's necessary. They're coming anyway, and we need to be prepared."

533,000 Miles and It Runs Like a Top , By JOSEPH SIANO, Published: June 3, 2007
Owners of vehicles that have reached 200,000, 400,000 and even 500,000 miles all seem to have pet strategies to extend the lives of their cars.
“The commonality I’ve seen among people who drive cars 300,000 or more miles is that they do their own service on the car,” he said. “That way, you know the oil has been changed and it’s changed right.”
Automobile repair experts said that while using the right oil and changing it frequently were vital for a car to last that long, little things also help. Michael Florence, a co-author of “The Everything Car Care Book” (Adams Media), said that owners should heed service recommendations and other tips found in their car’s owner’s manual.
“Any part of the car that’s supported by lubrication or has fluid in it should be carefully maintained,” said Mr. Florence, an auto mechanic who lives in Flemingsburg, Ky. “Like the brake system. The fluid should be changed every two years because it helps stop corrosion.”
Mr. Faeth, who has the Mercedes with 400,000 miles on it, takes oil changes very seriously. He recommended that owners who want their cars to last should get a chemical analysis of their used engine oil. The analysis could turn up metal particles and show areas of excessive wear. That knowledge helps determine the optimum grade and formulation of the oil the car needs.
Mr. Faeth uses the Oil Analysis Company (youroil.net) of Chester, Va. “Originally, I had hoped to keep it until I got a million miles on it,” Mr. Faeth said about his Mercedes, but he isn’t sure the body will last. “So I’m hoping for one million kilometers.” That would be 620,000 miles.

This Sunday is the final episode of the Sopranos. A show we have not been able to watch here in Cairo, but a family member is taping it for us. I will be back in the States, just in time to see the finale. Boss Man and I have been reading spoilers and updates to figure out what's up and what might happen. I'll miss everyone in the family, but I'll just end up watching it, over and over again on DVD. I have heard that this past season has had some of the best episodes. I'm waiting with baited breath for the DVD!

So in tribute to a great show, here's Slash playing a solo of the Godfather Theme:

I was thinking about putting Funkengroovin Wednesday on hiatus for a week, until Number One Son returns from Bonnaroo with our '87 Camper Van and photos of all the other VW Vans he spots. But then I went to dinner at Max's, in Maadi Gedida, and found a few VW Bugs that were pretty interesting, so I'll post them and whatever else I find, before I leave Cairo in next week's Funkengroovin Wednesday. Check out the New York Times article, 533,000 Miles and It Runs Like A Top, that I linked above - that has got to have a clue to it about how the Egyptians keep these old cars running. After what I've seen (and not been able to take pictures of because the camera I'm using has such a lag and totally piss poor flash) I think "Pimp My Ride" would be a number 1 hit show here.

Btw, only 3 days till I get my new camera and turn in my Nikon D70 for repair. No more crappy photos!!!!


  1. What are you replacing the Nikon with? Just bought a camera on ebay: Canon Rebel XT. I had the film version of this camera and LOVED it. I heard it's comparable to the Nikon D70 but better colours (though I consider the nikon for a while)

  2. I'm getting a Nikon D40. It's comparable to the D70, but smaller and lighter. I carry my camera around with me all the time, otherwise, especially with VW's, I'd miss a lot of shots. The only setback with the D40 is that it doesn't work with any of my other digital Nikon lenses, so if I wanted to use my long angled lens I would have to manually focus it.
    The Canon is suppose to be just like the Nikon. As for colors I don't know, but I've been very happy with it ever since I bought it, several years ago. My guess is I will be with the D40 too. I'm sure, if the Rebel is like the Nikon D70 you will very easily become addicted to it.