Thursday, April 26, 2012

AWD vs. One Wheel Drive: Audi TT RS Plus pitted against Ducati 1199 Panigale S

AWD vs. One Wheel Drive: Audi TT RS Plus pitted against Ducati 1199 Panigale S

It was only a matter of time, folks. As soon as Audi finalized its purchase of the Ducati brand, we knew to expect a slew of comparison tests pitting the German automaker's finest wares against the two-wheeled exotica rolling out of Italy's best-known motorcycle maker.

The scribes from Germany's Auto Bild have indeed taken up the challenge. But what machinery to choose? Naturally, the mind first turns to the R8 supercar and its Lamborghini-derived V10 engine, but, in reality, Audi officials have conceded to us that its 360-horsepower TT RS is actually quicker around most race tracks. So, the all-wheel-drive TT RS Plus it is.

Holding the mantle for Ducati is none other than the 1199 Panigale – an easy choice, as this is the marque's premier superbike for 2012. Sure, there was a replica MotoGP machine a few years back called the Desmosedici RR, but that bike is sold out and the Panigale is likely faster in the hands of all but the most talented riders anyway.

So, who wins? You'll have to scroll down and watch the video to find out, but suffice it to say that it wasn't even close.

Triumph Daytona 675R vs Ducati 848 EVO Corse SE

Triumph Daytona 675R vs 
Ducati 848 EVO Corse SE

On this episode of On Two Wheels, Sport Rider's Bradley Adams and Kent Kunitsugu pit Triumph's 2012 Daytona 675R against Ducati's new 2012 848 EVO Corse SE. The battle begins at Streets of Willow racetrack in Rosamond, CA, then continues along some of our favorite canyon roads in Southern California. Come find out which bike is crowned up-spec middleweight king.

Bonneville: The Great American Playground

Bonneville: The Great American Playground

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ford Model T from Wikipedia. @JBBurtoni2

I know this is completely random, but I just read this entire Wikipedia entry regarding the Model T and Model A.

Ford Model T

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ford Model T
1919 Ford Model T Highboy Coupe.jpg
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
AssemblyDetroit, US;
Highland Park, US;
Minneapolis, US
Buenos AiresArgentina;
São Bernardo do CampoBrazil;
Walkerville, Ontario;
PredecessorFord Model S
SuccessorFord Model A
ClassFull-size Fordeconomy car
Body style2-door touring (1909–11)
3-door touring (1912–1925)
4-door touring (1926–1927)
no door roadster (1909–11)
1-door roadster(1912–1925)
2-door roadster (1926–1927)
roadster pickup (1925–1927)
2-door coupé (1909–1912, 1917–1927)
2-door Coupelet (1915–17)
Town car (1909–1918)
C-cab wagon (1912)
2-(Center)door sedan (1915–1923)
2-door sedan (1924–1927)
4-door sedan (1923–1927)
Separate chassis were available all years for independent coachbuilders
LayoutFR layout
Engine177 C.I.D. (2.9 L) 20 hp I4
Transmission2-speed planetary gear
Wheelbase100.0 in (2,540 mm)
Length134 in (3,404 mm)
Curb weight1,200 pounds (540 kg)
DesignerHenry FordChilde Harold Wills,Joseph A. Galamb and Eugene Farkas
The Ford Model T (colloquially known as theTin LizzieT‑Model Ford, or T) is anautomobile that was produced by Henry Ford'sFord Motor Company from September 1908 to October 1927.[1] It is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, the car that opened travel to the common middle-class American; some of this was because of Ford's innovations, including assembly line production instead of individual hand crafting.[2] The Ford Model T was named the world's most influential car of the 20th century in an international poll.[3]
The Model T set 1908 as the historic year that the automobile became popular. The first production Model T was produced on August 12, 1908[4] and left the factory on September 27, 1908, at the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan. On May 26, 1927, Henry Ford watched the 15 millionth Model T Ford roll off the assembly line at his factory in Highland Park, Michigan.[5]
There were several cars produced or prototyped by Henry Ford from the founding of the company in 1903 until the Model T came along. Although he started with the Model A, there were not 19 production models (A through T); some were only prototypes. The production model immediately before the Model T was the Model S,[6] an upgraded version of the company's largest success to that point, the Model N. The follow-up was the Ford Model A (rather than any Model U). Company publicity said this was because the new car was such a departure from the old that Henry wanted to start all over again with the letter A.
The Model T was the first automobile mass produced on moving assembly lines with completely interchangeable parts, marketed to the middle class.[citation needed] Henry Ford said of the vehicle:
"I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces."[7]




1908 Ford Model T advertisement
The Ford Model T car was designed by Childe Harold Wills and two Hungarian immigrants, Joseph A. Galamb[8] and Eugene Farkas.[9] Henry Love, C. J. Smith, Gus Degner and Peter E. Martin were also part of the team.[10] Production of the Model T began in the third quarter of 1908.[11] Collectors today sometimes classify Model Ts by build years and refer to these as "model years", thus labeling the first Model Ts as 1909 models. This is a retroactive classification scheme; the concept of model years as we conceive it today did not exist at the time. The nominal model designation was "Model T", although design revisions did occur during the car's two decades of production.

[edit]Engine and means of starting

The Model T had a 177-cubic-inch (2.9 L) front-mounted inline four-cylinder en bloc flathead engine(that is, all four cylinders in one block, as common now, rather than in individual castings, as common then) producing 20 hp (15 kW) for a top speed of 40–45 mph (64–72 km/h). The Model T four-cylinder side valve engine was first in the world with a detachable head, making service like valve jobs easier. According to Ford Motor Company, the Model T had fuel economy on the order of 13–21 mpg-US (16–25 mpg-imp; 18–11 L/100 km).[12] The engine was capable of running ongasolinekerosene, or ethanol,[13][14] although the decreasing cost of gasoline and the later introduction of Prohibition made ethanol an impractical fuel.

1926 engine
A flywheel magneto was an electrical generator that produced the high voltage necessary to produce a spark to initiate combustion. This voltage was distributed by the timer (analogous to a distributor in a modern vehicle) to one of the four trembler coils, one for each cylinder. The coil created a high voltage current, directly connected to the spark plug in the cylinder. Ignition timing was adjusted manually by using the spark advance lever mounted on the steering column which rotated the timer. A battery could be used for starting current: at hand-cranking speed, the magneto did not always produce sufficient current (a starting battery was not standard equipment until sometime in 1926, though all T's had a bat position on the coil box switch). A certain amount of skill and experience was required to find the optimal timing for any speed and load. When electric headlights were introduced in 1915, the magneto was upgraded to supply power for the lights and horn. In keeping with the goal of ultimate reliability and simplicity, the trembler coil and magneto ignition system was retained even after the car became equipped with a generator[15] and battery for electric starting and lighting. Most cars sold after 1919 were equipped with electric starting, which was engaged by a small round button on the floor.

1910 Model T, photographed in Salt Lake City
Before starting a Model T with the hand crank, the spark had to be manually retarded or the engine might "kick back". The crank handle was cupped in the palm, rather than grabbed with the thumb under the top of the handle, so that if the engine did kick back, the rapid reverse motion of the crank would throw the hand away from the handle, rather than violently twisting the wrist or breaking the thumb. Most Model T Fords had the choke operated by a wire emerging from the bottom of the radiator where it could be operated with the left hand. This was used to prime the engine while cranking the engine slowly then starting the engine with the left hand with a rapid pull of the crank handle. The car only had to be cranked half a turn for it to successfully start. This "quick start" is because of the engine's small displacement and low compression.
The car's 10 US gal (38 l; 8 imp gal) fuel tank was mounted to the frame beneath the front seat; one variant had the carburetor (a Holley Model G) modified to run on ethyl alcohol, to be made at home by the self-reliant farmer. Because Ford relied on gravity to feed fuel to the carburetor rather than a fuel pump, a Model T could not climb a steep hill when the fuel level was low. The immediate solution was to climb steep hills in reverse. In 1926, the fuel tank was moved forward to under the cowl on most models.[16]
Early on, the engine blocks were to be produced by the Lakeside Foundry on St. Jean in Detroit. Ford cancelled the deal before many were produced.
The first few hundred Model Ts had a water pump, but it was eliminated early in production. Ford opted for a cheaper and more reliable thermo-syphon system. Hot water, being less dense, would rise to the top of the engine and up into the top of the radiator, descending to the bottom as it cooled, and back into the engine. This was the direction of water flow in most cars which did have water pumps, until the introduction of crossflow radiator designs. Many types of water pumps were available as aftermarket accessories.

[edit]Transmission and drive train

1925 Ford "New Model" T Tudor Sedan

Ford Speedster T
The Model T was a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Its transmission was a planetary gear type billed as "three speed". In today's terms it would be considered a two-speed, because one of the three speeds was reverse.
The Model T's transmission was controlled with three foot pedals and a lever that was mounted to the road side of the driver's seat. The throttle was controlled with a lever on the steering wheel. The left pedal was used to engage the gear. With the handbrake in either the mid position or fully forward and the pedal pressed and held forward the car entered low gear. When held in an intermediate position the car was in neutral, a state that could also be achieved by pulling the floor-mounted lever to an upright position. If the lever was pushed forward and the driver took his foot off the left pedal, the Model T entered high gear, but only when the handbrake lever was fully forward. The car could thus cruise without the driver having to press any of the pedals. There was no separate clutch pedal.
When the car was in neutral, the middle pedal was used to engage reverse gear, and the right pedal operated the transmission brake - there were no separate brakes on the wheels. The floor lever also controlled the parking brake, which was activated by pulling the lever all the way back. This doubled as an emergency brake.

The three pedal controls of the Model T
Although it was uncommon, the drive bands could fall out of adjustment, allowing the car to creep, particularly when cold, adding another hazard to attempting to start the car: a person cranking the engine could be forced backward while still holding the crank as the car crept forward, although it was nominally in neutral. As the car utilized a wet clutch, this condition could also occur in cold weather, where the thickened oil prevents the clutch discs from slipping freely. Power reached thedifferential through a single universal joint attached to atorque tube which drove the rear axle; some models (typically trucks, but available for cars as well) could be equipped with an optional two-speed Ruckstell rear axle shifted by a floor-mounted lever which provided an underdrive gear for easier hill climbing. All gears were vanadium steel running in an oil bath.

[edit]Suspension and wheels

The suspension components of a Ford Model T. The coil-spring device is an aftermarket accessory, the "Hassler shock absorber".
Model T suspension employed a transversely mounted semi-elliptical spring for each of the front and rear axles, which was a solid beam axle, not an independent suspension, which still allowed a great deal of wheel movement to cope with the dirt roads of the time.
The front axle was drop forged as a single piece of vanadium steel. Ford twisted many axles eight times and sent them to dealers to be put on display to demonstrate its superiority. The Model T did not have a modern service brake. The right foot pedal applied a band around a drum in the transmission, thus stopping the rear wheels from turning. The previously mentioned parking brake lever operated band brakes on the outside of the rear brake drums.
Wheels were wooden artillery wheels, with steel welded-spoke wheels available in 1926 and 1927.
Tires were pneumatic clincher type, 30 in (76 cm) in diameter, 3.5 in (8.9 cm) wide in the rear, 3 in (7.5 cm) wide in the front. Clinchers needed much higher pressure than today's tires, typically 60 psi (410 kPa), to prevent them from leaving the rim at speed. Horseshoe nails on the roads, together with the high pressure, made flat tires a common problem.
Balloon tires became available in 1925. They were 21 × 4.5 in (53 × 11 cm) all around. Balloon tires were closer in design to today's tires, with steel wires reinforcing the tire bead, making lower pressure possible – typically 35 psi (240 kPa) – giving a softer ride. The old nomenclature for tire size changed from measuring the outer diameter to measuring the rim diameter so 21 in (530 mm) (rim diameter) × 4.5 in (110 mm) (tire width) wheels has about the same outer diameter as 30 in (76 cm) clincher tires. All tires in this time period used an inner tube to hold the pressurized air; "tubeless" tires were not generally in use until much later.
Wheelbase was 100 inches (254 cm); while standard tread width was 56 in (142 cm), 60 in (152 cm) tread could be obtained on special order, "for Southern roads".

[edit]Design changes

1913 Ford Model T Touring equipped with an electric starter in place of a hand crank, and electric headlights in place of acetylene gas ones.
Early Ts had a brass radiator and headlights. The horn and numerous small parts were also brass. Many of the early cars were open-bodied touring cars and runabouts, these being cheaper to make than closed cars. Prior to the 1911 model year (when front doors were added to the touring model), US - made open cars did not have an opening door for the driver. Later models included closed cars (introduced in 1915),[17] sedans, coupes and trucks. The chassis was available so trucks could be built to suit. Ford also developed some truck bodies for this chassis, designated the Model TT. The headlights were originally acetylene lamps made of brass (commonly using Prest-O-Lite tanks),[11] but eventually the car gained electric lights after 1910, initially powered from the magneto until the electrical system was upgraded to a battery, generator and starter motor, when lighting power was switched to the battery source.
The Model T production system, the epitome of Fordism, is famous for representing the rigidity of early mass production systems that were wildly successful at achieving efficiency but that could accommodate changes in product design only with great difficulty and resistance. The story is more complicated;[18] there were few major, publicly visible changes throughout the life of the model, but there were many smaller changes. Most were driven by design for manufacturabilityconsiderations, but styling and new features also played more of a role than commonly realized. In fact, one of the problems for the company regarding design changes was the T's reputation for not changing and being "already correct", which Henry Ford enjoyed and which was a selling point for many customers, which made it risky to admit any changes actually were happening.[19] (The idea of simply refining a design without making radical visible changes would resurface, and score even greater production success, with the VW Type 1.)[20]


By 1918, half of all the cars in the US were Model T’s. However it was a monolithic bloc; Ford wrote in his autobiography that he told his management team in 1909 that in the future “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black”.[21]
However, in the first years of production from 1908 to 1914, the Model T was not available in black[22] but rather only grey, green, blue, and red. Green was available for the touring cars, town cars, coupes, and Landaulets. Grey was only available for the town cars, and red only for the touring cars. By 1912, all cars were being painted midnight blue with black fenders. It was only in 1914 that the "any color as long as it is black" policy was finally implemented. It is often stated that Ford suggested the use of black from 1914 to 1926 due to the cheap cost and durability of black paint. During the lifetime production of the Model T, over 30 different types of black paint were used on various parts of the car.[23] These were formulated to satisfy the different means of applying the paint to the various parts, and had distinct drying times, depending on the part, paint, and method of drying.

[edit]Diverse applications in a world not yet widely paved, motorized, or electrified

When the Model T was designed and introduced, the infrastructure of the world was quite different from today's. Pavement was a rarity except for sidewalks and a few big-city streets. (The sense of the term "pavement" as equivalent with "sidewalk" comes from that era, when streets and roads were generally dirt and sidewalks were a paved way to walk along them.) Agriculture was the occupation of many people. Power tools were scarce outside factories, as were power sources for them; electrification, like pavement, was found usually only in larger towns. Rural electrificationand motorized mechanization were embryonic in North America and Europe, and nonexistent elsewhere.
Henry Ford oversaw the requirements and design of the Model T based on the realities of that world. Consequently, the Model T was (intentionally) almost as much a tractor and stationary engine as it was an automobile, that is, a vehicle dedicated solely to road use. It has always been well regarded for its all-terrain abilities and ruggedness. It could travel a rocky, muddy farm lane,ford a shallow stream, climb a steep hill, and be parked on the other side to have one of its wheels removed and a pulley fastened to the hub for a flat belt to drive a bucksawthreshersilo blower,conveyor for filling corn cribs or hayloftsbaler, water pump (for wellsmines, or swampy farm fields), electrical generator, and countless other applications. One unique application of the Model T was shown in the October 1922 issue of Fordson Farmer magazine. It showed a minister who had transformed his Model T into a mobile church, complete with small organ.[24]
During this era, entire automobiles (including thousands of Model Ts) were even hacked apart by their industrious owners and reconfigured into custom machinery permanently dedicated to a purpose, such as homemade tractors, ice saws,[25] or many others. Dozens of aftermarketcompanies sold prefab kits to facilitate the T's conversion from car to tractor.[26] In a world mostly without mechanized cultivators, Model Ts filled a vacuum. Row-crop tractors such as the Farmalldid not become widespread until the 1930s. Like many popular car engines of the era, the Model T engine was also used on home-built aircraft (such as the Pietenpol Sky Scout) and motorboats.
Many Model Ts were converted into vehicles which could travel across heavy snows with kits on the rear wheels and skis replacing the front wheels. They were popular for rural mail delivery for a time. The common name for these conversions of cars and small trucks was Snowflyers. These vehicles were extremely popular in the northern reaches of Canada where factories were set up to produce them.[27]


[edit]Mass production

The knowledge and skills needed by a factory worker were reduced to 84 areas. When introduced, the T used the building methods typical at the time, assembly by hand, and production was small. Ford's Piquette plant could not keep up with demand for the Model T, and only 11 cars were built there during the first full month of production. More and more machines were used to reduce the complexity within the 84 defined areas. In 1910, after assembling nearly 12,000 Model Ts, Henry Ford moved the company to the new Highland Park complex.

Ford assembly line, 1913
As a result, Ford's cars came off the line in three-minute intervals, much faster than previous methods, reducing production time by a factor of eight (requiring 12.5 hours before, 93 minutes afterwards), while using less manpower.[28] By 1914, the assembly process for the Model T had been so streamlined it took only 93 minutes to assemble a car. That year Ford produced more cars than all other automakers combined. The Model T was a great commercial success, and by the time Henry made his 10 millionth car, 50 percent of all cars in the world were Fords. It was so successful that Ford did not purchase any advertising between 1917 and 1923; more than 15 million Model Ts were manufactured, reaching a rate of 9,000 to 10,000 cars a day in 1925, or 2 million annually,[29][30][31] more than any other model of its day, at a price of just $240. Model T production was finally surpassed by the Volkswagen Beetle on February 17, 1972.
Henry Ford's ideological approach to Model T design was one of getting it right and then keeping it the same; he believed the Model T was all the car a person would, or could, ever need. As other companies offered comfort and styling advantages, at competitive prices, the Model T lost market share. Design changes were not as few as the public perceived, but the idea of an unchanging model was kept intact. Eventually, on May 26, 1927, Ford Motor Company ceased production and began the changeovers required to produce the Model A.[32]
Model T engines continued to be produced until August 4, 1941. Almost 170,000 were built after car production stopped, as replacement engines were required to service already produced vehicles. Racers and enthusiasts, forerunners of modern hot rodders, used the Model T's block to build popular and cheap racing engines, including CragarNavarro, and famously the Frontenacs("Fronty Fords") of the Chevrolet brothers, among many others.
The Model T employed some advanced technology, for example, its use of vanadium steel alloy. Its durability was phenomenal, and many Model Ts and their parts remain in running order nearly a century later. Although Henry Ford resisted some kinds of change, he always championed the advancement of materials engineering, and often mechanical engineering and industrial engineering.
In 2002, Ford built a final batch of six Model Ts as part of their 2003 centenary celebrations. These cars were assembled from remaining new components and other parts produced from the original drawings. The last of the six was used for publicity purposes in the UK.
Although Ford no longer manufacture parts for the Model T, many parts are still manufactured through private companies as replicas to service the thousands of Model T's still in operation today.


The standard 4-seat open tourer of 1909 cost $850[33] (equivalent to $21,987 today), when competing cars often cost $2,000–$3,000 (equivalent to $51,733–$77,600 today);[citation needed] in 1913, the price dropped to $550 (equivalent to $12,933 today), and $440 in 1915 (equivalent to $10,108 today). Sales were 69,762 in 1911; 170,211 in 1912; 202,667 in 1913; 308,162 in 1914; and 501,462 in 1915.[28] In 1914, an assembly line worker could buy a Model T with four months' pay.[28]
By the 1920s, the price had fallen to $260[34]because of increasing efficiencies of assembly line technique and volume.


Henry Ford used wood scraps from the production of Model T's to create charcoal. Originally named Ford Charcoal, the name was changed to Kingsford Charcoal after Ford's relative E. G. Kingsford brokered the selection of the new charcoal plant site.[35]

[edit]First global car

The Ford Model T was the first automobile built by various countries simultaneously since they were being produced in Walkerville, Canada and in Trafford ParkGreater Manchester, England starting in 1911 and were later assembled in GermanyArgentina,[36] France, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan.[37] Ford made use of the knock-down kit concept almost from the beginning of the company.
The Aeroford was an English automobile manufactured in Bayswater, London, from 1920 to 1925. It was a Model T with distinct hood and grille to make it appear to be a totally different design, what later would have been called badge engineering. The Aeroford sold from £288 in 1920, dropping to £168-214 by 1925. It was available as a two-seater, four-seater, orcoupé.[38][page needed]

[edit]Advertising, marketing, and packaging

Ford created a massive publicity machine in Detroit to ensure every newspaper carried stories and advertisements about the new product. Ford's network of local dealers made the car ubiquitous in virtually every city in North America. As independent dealers, the franchises grew rich and publicized not just the Ford but the very concept of automobiling; local motor clubs sprang up to help new drivers and to explore the countryside. Ford was always eager to sell to farmers, who looked on the vehicle as a commercial device to help their business. Sales skyrocketed – several years posted 100% gains on the previous year.
Sales passed 250,000 in 1914. By 1916, as the price dropped to $360 for the basic touring car, sales reached 472,000.[39]

[edit]Car clubs

Cars built before 1919 are classed as veteran cars and later models as vintage cars. Today, four main clubs exist to support the preservation and restoration of these cars: The Model T Ford Club International, the Model T Ford Club of America and the combined clubs of Australia. With many chapters of clubs around the world, the Model T Ford Club of Victoria has a membership with a considerable number of uniquely Australian cars. (Australia produced its own car bodies and therefore many differences occurred between the Australian bodied tourers and the US/Canadian cars). In the UK, the Model T Ford Register of Great Britain celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. Many steel Model T parts are still manufactured today, and even fiberglass replicas of their distinctive bodies are produced, which are popular for T-bucket style hot rods (as immortalized in the Jan and Dean surf music song "Bucket T," which was later recorded by The Who).

[edit]In popular media

"Someone should write an erudite essay on the moral, physical, and esthetic effect of the Model T Ford on the American nation. Two generations of Americans knew more about the Ford coil than about the clitoris, about the planetary system of gears than the solar system of stars. With the Model T, part of the concept of private property disappeared. Pliers ceased to be privately owned and a tire iron belonged to the last man who had picked it up. Most of the babies of the period were conceived in Model T Fords and not a few were born in them. The theory of the Anglo Saxon home became so warped that it never quite recovered."
  • In Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, where Henry Ford is regarded as a messianic figure, graveyard crosses have been topped off and become T's.
  • Comedy teams of the 1930s, like Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy and The Three Stooges, were driving the Model T in many of their films.