Document 421058

November 2014 Nashville Automotive Report 1
VOL 28, NO 6
november 2014
Monthly News for the Local Automotive Industry in Middle Tennessee, South Central Kentucky and Northern Alabama,
including Body Shops, Mechanical Shops and Dealers.
From marketing and production
to staffing, shop owners share
what works for them
Grande Cherokee Red Vapor
Old Sckool Muscle Shop
1913 Fiat
Franklin, TN
Permit No. 357
Dated Material
2 Nashville Automotive Report November 2014
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November 2014 Nashville Automotive Report 3
New car technology may not
lower insurance rates
By Dave Collins
WINDSOR, Conn. — More cars and
trucks are being equipped with cameras,
radar, automatic braking and other safety
technology that help avoid accidents, but
drivers may not see their insurance bills
go down anytime soon, experts in the auto
and insurance industries said recently.
Industry representatives gathered in
Windsor, Connecticut, near Hartford for
an auto safety symposium hosted by the
Travelers Companies Inc.
Kim Hazelbaker, senior vice president
of the Insurance Institute for Highway
Safety in Arlington, Virginia, a nonprofit
and industry-funded research organization, said the effects of new safety technologies on auto insurance remain to be
While crash avoidance systems, backup
cameras and other safety features avert accidents and injuries, cars and trucks with
the technology are more expensive to
VOL. 28, NO. 6 • November 2014
Barry Forkum
Publisher / Advertising Director
Garnett Forkum
Art Director
Allen Forkum
Copy Editor
Tom Williams
Steve McLinden, John Cox
Buster McNutt, John Yoswick
Jay Hirsch, Tony Nethery
Advertising Sales
Tom Williams
615-757-3042 • Fax: 888-607-0921
[email protected]
James Gammon
1-800-467-3666 • Fax: (615) 391-3622
Email: [email protected]
Nashville Automotive Report is published every month by
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Rights Reserved. Reproduction of any contents, graphic
or editorial, without permission is prohibited. Member
of Associated Press. NAR accepts no responsibility for
opinions of writers or for claims made by advertisers.
Views expressed by writers are not necessarily those of
the publication.
NAR is mailed free of charge to independent repair shops
in Middle Tennessee, South Central Kentucky and Northern Alabama. AutoGraphic’s Automotive Report newspapers are also published for the regions in and around
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Autographic Publishing Company
repair when they do get into crashes, he
said. Some safety systems also don’t work
well in bad weather and at night, and some
drivers are turning off the systems because
of annoying alarms and false alerts, he
“Consumers tell us that there are a lot
of false positives,” Hazelbaker said. “This
stuff doesn’t always work.”
Automakers have been ramping up installation of crash avoidance technologies
in their vehicles over the past few years.
Many cars and trucks now come with sensors that can detect an imminent collision
and either stop the car automatically or
alert the driver. Cameras and radar also
can determine when a vehicle is leaving
a lane and either alert the driver or steer
the vehicle automatically back in between
lane lines.
Sensors and cameras also warn drivers of cars and trucks in their blind spots
and of objects behind them when they’re
backing up.
Up-and-coming technology includes
driverless cars popularized by Google and
wireless systems that let vehicles send
data to each other — including location
and speed — to help avoid collisions.
The Insurance Institute for Highway
Safety estimates that one in three fatal
crashes and one in five accidents with injuries could be prevented if all passenger
vehicles were equipped with forward collision warning, lane departure warning,
blind spot detection and other safety systems.
The institute also found that some models of Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Honda and
other manufacturers with crash avoidance
technology had 14 to 16 percent fewer accident insurance claims, compared with
Continued on page 7
2015 Z06 does 0-60 mph in 2.95 seconds
DETROIT – The performance of the all-new, 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 establishes it as one of the most
capable vehicles on the market. The Corvette Z06 accelerates from a rest to 60 mph in only 2.95 seconds
when equipped with the all-new, available eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission – and achieves
it in 3.2 seconds with the standard seven-speed manual transmission. A quarter-mile sprint takes just 10.95
seconds with the eight-speed automatic and 11.2 seconds with the seven-speed manual. With both versions,
the Corvette Z06 hits 127 mph at the end of the quarter-mile.
Jeep Grande Cherokee SRT Red Vapor
PARIS - The 2014 Paris Motor Show kicked off its two-week run with press days on October 2-3. Making
its European debut is the Jeep® Grand Cherokee SRT Red Vapor, a limited edition of the high-performance
Grand Cherokee SRT version, the fastest and most powerful Jeep model to ever be made. It features an
aggressive look as demonstrated by the 20 in. five-spoke “Goliath” wheels with black chrome finish and the
various glossy black “SRT, “Jeep” and “Grand Cherokee” badges. In terms of performance, the 2015 Grand
Cherokee SRT runs from 0-60 mph (96 km/h) in 4.8 seconds, 0-100-0 mph in 16.3 seconds and can cover the
quarter mile in the mid-13 second range. Top speed is 160 mph (258 km/h).
SHOP PROFILE: By Steve McLinden
Old Sckool Muscle Shop,
Montgomery, AL
fresh ideas
By John Yoswick
TONY TALKS: By Tony Nethery
SPARE PARTS: By Buster McNutt
Silt Snails, Love Bugs, and Why Didn’t
the Turtle Cross the Road
Next Issue
Ten Stories You
May Have Missed
In 2014
Advertiser Index
Mid-Tenn Ford — 9
Bachman Chevrolet — 16
Scoggin_Dickey Chevrolet — 10
Downtown Hyundai — 15
The Kia Store — 11
Universal Kia — 2
Nelson Mazda Nashville — 11
Gary Mathews Chrysler — 6
Action Nissan — 15
Newton Nissan — 7
Bachman Subaru — 16
Downtown Subaru — 15
Bachman Volkswagen — 16
Harper’s Volkswagen — 7
4 Nashville Automotive Report November 2014
Feature Story
By John Yoswick
While spending money on a
consultant or on business training can be worthwhile for shop
owners, sometimes there’s no
substitute for spending a few
minutes talking to the real
expert up the street: another
shop owner. Build a network
of other shops you know across
town or across the country, and
you can get great ideas like these
recently shared by shop owners.
Fast-lane helps cut cycle time
Terry Mostul predicts there
will be a change in at least how
some insurance companies market themselves — and believes
his three Artistic Auto Body
shops in the Portland, Ore., market are well-positioned as they
“I don’t think insurance companies are going to compete
on price forever,” Mostul said.
“Eventually one of them will
come along and say, ‘Price is
good but what about safety?
Don’t you want your car fixed
properly?’ I believe shops that
are properly-equipped and have OEM certifications and are able to fix cars properly
are going to be in a better position then to
be asked to partner with them.”
A self-acknowledged perfectionist,
Mostul said it can be a challenge to find
the right people for positions within his
55-employee company.
“We are always looking to help improve
the team, and when hiring we place more
emphasis on character than we do on competence. Unlike character, competence can
be developed with training and experience,” he said. “But when we do find the
right people who also appreciate quality,
integrity and respect, they tend to be here a
long time.”
Mostul said he learned, through several
failed attempts, that having the right people in place first is the key to successfully
implementing any business change.
“Those people then have to have a clear
understanding of why the change is important,” Mostul said. “There first needs to
be a goal to accomplish, and the process
then becomes just a tool to accomplish
that goal. I think I’ve been guilty at times
of making the process the goal, and that
didn’t work.”
In addition to blueprinting jobs to reduce
or eliminate delays once a vehicle is in production, Artistic has a “fast-lane” system
established for small and medium jobs.
“That allows the guys working on big
hits to not be interrupted and get them
done, while these guys just burn through
the small jobs,” Mostul said.
Switch to fleet, government work pays off
Vicky Haye-Roberts, the second-generation of owner of Southland Auto Body
near San Diego, Calif., said she began
working at the shop for her father about
a year after he opened the shop at its current location in 1974. She said she transitioned into running the business after her
father died in 2001. A few years later, she
From marketing and production
to staffing, shop owners share
what works for them
decided to shift the company focus away
from insurance work and toward fleet and
government accounts.
“That’s the best thing I did,” she said.
“We had been a direct-repair shop for one
insurer, and they had us doing so much of
their paperwork that I didn’t have time to
get out and market my own business. I felt
like I was an employee of the insurance
The shop still has a loyal following
among individual customers as evidenced
by its online reviews.
“There are people who will tell their
insurance company, when they try to steer
them somewhere else, ‘No, we’re taking it
to Vicky at Southland,’” she said.
But many of the vehicles in the shop
on any given day are owned by a major
national rental car firm, or are city, county,
federal or military vehicles. Haye-Roberts
said there’s really no downside to that type
of work.
“You may be asked to reduce your labor
rates, but these days who doesn’t ask you
to give them a deal or lower your rate,”
she said. “You make it up in volume. And
you’re working with fewer people. You
don’t have the insurance industry telling
you that you have to do this or you have to
do that. You can’t let people dictate to you.
Otherwise you just carry a load of stress.”
Taking care of the customer
John Spinnett has a simple philosophy
that guides his work as general manager of
Steve Imports, a collision and mechanical
shop in Southeast Portland.
“My biggest concern is that everyone
feels they are cared about,” Spinnett said.
“When people pick up their car and pay
their bill, we want to leave kind of a family
feeling with them. So they come back in
here looking forward to seeing us, rather
than devastated because they’re dropping
off their Mercedes and it’s going to be a
$1,000 bill. I’ve worked with family my
whole life, and I like to think of everybody
as family, because family are the people
you are more loyal to. And if you treat
employees and customers like you love
them like family, it works out for everyone.”
Honesty and integrity are another cornerstone at the business.
“Whether I’m right or wrong, if I’m
honest about it, it will all end okay,” Spinnett said he’s learned. “In every interview
we do with potentially employees, we give
them a little test. We ask, ‘Would you lie
for me, if I asked you to?’ We really hope
they say, ‘Absolutely not, I’d be out of
here.’ Because our theory is: If you lie for
me, you’ll lie to me.”
Systems enable mid-sized shop to turn big
Visual cues play a key role in both the
front office and production area at Amato’s
Auto Body, also in San Diego, Calif. A
blue sticker on each vehicle’s windshield
indicates when a vehicle is expected to
be delivered; if that deadline is missed, a
red sticker and a flag are attached to the
car. Each job file is color-coded to indicate which front-office team member is
handling that job. Stars added to that file
(and the corresponding vehicle) let everyone know that customer is particularly
demanding or challenging.
“So whoever is working on it knows
that customer is going to be really picky,”
shop owner Paul Amato said. “We do great
work. But for those guys it needs to be better than great. That works fabulously.”
The visual cues extend down even to
each piece of sandpaper in the shop. The
shop’s paint preppers each have their own
rolling cart of materials, which are filled
on Monday morning with that prepper’s
name on everything in the cart.
“So if I see a piece of sandpaper on the
ground that’s still good, I know which
prepper it belongs to,” Amato said.
Overcoming a less-than-ideal
Owner Steven Jensen
said that Better Body & Paint’s
location “off-the-beaten-path”
north of the city of Eugene,
Ore., isn’t ideal, but it has some
advantages, too.
“I wouldn’t have chosen
this, but originally I thought this
would be my home as well, and
I didn’t want to live in town,”
Jensen said. “But for the most
part it’s worked out. My cost
of doing business out here is
a lot less in terms of taxes and
inspections. And if you truly
have something special to offer,
people will find you. Plus we
offer free mobile estimating
and free pick-up and delivery.
Probably half our customers
never even come to the shop.
They don’t have to. We’ll go
pick their car up at their office
or home.”
Growth and a less-thanoptimal painting set-up led Jensen to acquire the property next
door for a new building with a
new spray booth.
“The new building was
larger than what we needed at
the time, but it was an investment in the future,” Jensen said.
“I think the presence and magnitude of the
building convinced some people we were
the real thing. It catapulted us into a different league, and we pretty quickly got a
couple of DRPs.”
The shop, which employs 11 people,
also added four loaner cars, an idea Jensen said he resisted but which has proven
effective at winning over potential customers who lack rental car coverage.
Jensen has hosted as many as 200 people at the shop for Chamber of Commerce
events that include live music and a chance
for attendees to watch through the booth’s
windows as a vehicle is being sprayed.
He’s also had custom boxes printed to
deliver locally-made muffins to insurance
agents and other referral sources. Nearly
70 agents participate in the annual golf
tournament the shop hosts. And the shop
actively assists a number of local charities,
recently offering to make a donation to the
customer’s choice of charity after a repair
job or referral.
“Any business person who has any
amount of success owes it to the community to give back,” Jensen said. “The charities get the money they need to do good
things, and we get some advertising. Any
time you can win-win like that, I think it’s
really a cool deal.”
MSO presents “Metal of Honor Project”
CollisionMax Autobody & Glass Centers conducts a “Metal of Honor Project”
though its dozen shops in Pennsylvania
and New Jersey. Each month, Collision
Max selected a U.S. military veteran to
receive free repairs to their vehicle.
“The Metal of Honor Project is our way
of saying thank you and honoring the men
and women of our armed forces who put
their lives on the line for all of us,” Jim
Tometta, president and CEO of CollisionMax, said.
The company set up a website for the
Continued on page 10
November 2014 Nashville Automotive Report 5
I-CAR group discusses
aluminum F-150 repairs
By John Yoswick
Updates on Ford’s new aluminumintensive F-150 pick-up, plus a look ahead
at other new materials and technologies
collision repairers will soon see in their
shops, were among the topics at this year’s
I-CAR conference. More than 360 people
attended the annual event, this year held in
Detroit, Mich.
Peter Reyes, Ford’s chief engineer for
the F-series, said the automaker considered a shift to aluminum on a Lincoln or
other vehicle but instead went for it in a
“big way,” using it on its best-selling vehicle.
“We wanted to help jump-start the industry by saying there’s going to be 700,000
of these trucks,” Reyes said. “We knew
that would motivate everybody.”
Paul Massie, collision product marketing manager for Ford, shared some new
information about the automaker’s roll-out
later this year of the F-150 and what it will
mean for collision repairers, and reiterated
some key information he shared at industry meetings earlier this year.
At one such meeting, for example, some
repairers expressed concern about Ford
allowing structural pulls on the vehicle,
something that some European automakers prohibit on their aluminum-intensive
“We stand behind this; this vehicle
can be pulled,” Massie said at the I-CAR
event. “You have an aluminum chassis
and cab and box sitting on a steel frame.
It’s not like some of the other OE vehicles
where they have castings or all-aluminum
Several different rivets are used in the
vehicle, he said, and it will be important
to use the correct ones indicated on the
instruction sheets that are included in the
box with replacement parts.
“It’s really critical when you get the box,
don’t just throw it away,” Massie said.
“Pull the instruction sheet out and make
sure the tech has it, that it goes with the
work order.”
In response to a question at the conference from State Farm’s Roger Cada,
Massie said he would check to see if
the instructions could be attached to the
replacement part rather than just loose in
the box.
The rivets will be sold by the spool,
Massie said. He was asked if the estimating systems will prompt users selecting a
replacement part to include the needed rivets as well.
“I don’t know how the estimating equipment company will handle that,” Massie
“But that makes sense to make that a
recommendation to them, and to work
with them on that.”
Massie has previously said the automaker hoped by the end of this year to
have about 800 dealership body shops and
about 750 independents meeting the aluminum-repair requirements to qualify for
the Ford National Body Shop Network. As
of this summer, Massie said, 760 dealers
were enrolled along with about 650 inde-
By the end of 2016, Ford hopes to have a
total of about 3,000 shops (including about
2,200 independent shops) in the network.
To qualify for the network, an independent shop must be nominated by a Ford
dealer. A shop must be “aluminum capable,” including having an aluminum MIG
welding system, a self-piercing rivet gun,
a set of hand and power tools dedicated to
aluminum work, aluminum dent and dust
extraction systems, and an area separated
off by curtains or walls for aluminum
“The purpose of the curtain is when
you’re not repairing an aluminum vehicle,
once you properly clean that stall and the
equipment, and isolate your aluminum
equipment, you can open that curtain back
up and turn it back into a productive stall
for steel,” Massie said. “You’re not going
to be working on 33 million F-150s on
Day One. We wanted a common sense
The presentations by Ford were followed at the I-CAR conference by a trio of
speakers discussing how automakers will
likely use new steels, more aluminum and
even carbon fiber as part of their “lightweighting” of vehicles to meet increasing
fuel economy requirements.
Randall Scheps, marketing director for
aluminum producer Alcoa, was asked if it
was true that Ford had pretty much locked
up the majority of the sheet aluminum supply for the next three years, which might
limit other automakers from a large-scale
shift to use of aluminum.
“We have new capacity coming online
in 2016, and our competitors are investing
as well, so I think getting to the 2017 timeframe, there’s capacity available,” Scheps
said. “But I won’t say it’s a huge amount.”
He said getting aluminum producers
involved about three years ahead of a vehicle launch is generally ideal.
Scheps was asked about Japanese automakers’ seeming reluctance to allow for
use of adhesive bonding in repair of aluminum components.
“I think ultimately they’ll have to change
their opinions about structural adhesives,
because I think when you do the math,
mechanical fasteners are quite expensive
and slow to install,” Scheps said. “I think
eventually they will come around and get
comfortable with adhesives.”
State Farm’s Cada told the panel that
whatever new types of materials automakers move toward, he hopes the OEMs
won’t focus so much on vehicle sales and
safety that repairability issues get overlooked.
“In the last couple months, the auto
steel partnership, which is Ford, GM and
Chrysler, just initiated a project on repairability of advanced high-strength steels,”
speaker Ronald Krupitzer, a vice president
at the Steel Market Development Institute,
responded. “And we’ve invited Honda to
join us, and other OEMs as well.”
Krupitzer said the partnership would
make sure it connected with I-CAR, insurers and repairers to help his organization
manage that effort. •
Tony Talks
The New World
By Tony Nethery
As we approach Thanksgiving, I am
reminded of what excitement the Pilgrims must have felt as they landed in
a New World. It is a similar situation
for the Body Shop owner today. Vehicles and technology are changing and
there is unrest in the air concerning the
relationship between shops and insurers. Add to that the growth of the large
Multiple Shop Operators (MSO), and it
seems that the old collision industry as
we know it is going away and a strange
New World is going to emerge. If you
are going to survive this transformation, I believe there are six areas you
need to conquer in your business. This
will require you to put together a business plan and will most likely require
some outside help. I could write chapters in a book on these six topics, but
for this article I will only take a quick
OSHA and EPA Compliance
While no one can insure that your
facility is in
compliance with
every regulation
every minute of
every day, the key
to winning the
battle is to be as
proactive as possible. Some people hire an outside consultant,
and that may be
a good solution,
but I believe it is
important to train an
employee to manage this process. At
the end of the day, it is the business
owner who is liable, not an outside consultant.
Training Management
Just as the saying goes, “Practice
does not make one perfect; perfect
practice makes perfect,” so it is with
training. Training does not make you
effective, but effective training makes
you effective. To make training the
most effective without being invasive
to production, it has to happen on site
and be customized to that shop’s SOPs.
Even when training is done effectively,
the cost can be an issue. Every business
has to develop an internal training plan
regardless of how much outside training they do.
Materials Management
While paint and materials is the
smallest profit center, with the exception of sublet, it can affect productivity tremendously. Add this to the fact it
consumes a lot of cash flow, the profit
center that is extremely hard to manage
and is a very small percentage of your
business, P&M, typically has the lowest gross profit margin. If you depend
on your supplier to manage your cost,
I am afraid it will not work out in your
best interest.
Production Management
With cycle time or touch time being
one of the most important KPIs to insurers and customers today, it cannot be
neglected by the collision shop owner.
Production management for every shop
is different for many reasons. Things
such as insurance relationships and
insurer percentage of business, customer base and clientele, shop size and
layout, the number of technicians and
pay plans are just a few of the things
that differ from shop to shop—however each of these affect production.
To improve production not only makes
the day to day operation more enjoyable for all employees, it also improves
customer satisfaction, profitability and
insurer numbers.
Estimating and Sales
With the increasing administrative
duties that most insurance companies
are requiring, it is more important than
ever for the customer service representative that we
formerly referred
to as an estimator
not only be trained
to be efficient time
wise, but also efficient at getting you
paid. This takes
negotiation, sales
and technical skills.
These skills will not
develop by accident
but are actually
habits that have to
be developed in
your employees.
In the collision industry we have
allowed the insurance companies to out
market us for years. Marketing is much
more than advertising; it is everything
we do that gets vehicles in the shop,
through the shop and delivered. The
keys to marketing are to identify these
targets, step out of the box to reach them
and measure the results.
I am sure you may need to look at
other factors to be prepared for the
future of your business, but I am convinced these six should be at the top of
the list as you put together a business
plan. It is a strange New World that we
will be arriving in this coming year, but
I believe the shop who addresses these
issues will not only survive but flourish. ‘Vehicles and technology are changing and
there is unrest in the air
concerning the relationship between shops and
Tony has worked in the collision
industry for over 35 years. Tony currently works as Business Development
Manager for Interstate Marketing Inc. Tony is also Tennessee’s busiest I-CAR
Instructor and the Executive Director for the Tennessee Collision Repair
Association. Call 731-394-5628 or
E-mail Tony at [email protected]
6 Nashville Automotive Report November 2014
Spare Parts
Silt Snails,
Love Bugs and
Why Didn’t the
Turtle Cross
the Road
By Buster McNutt
So not only did my tree-hugger neighbor give me a “Save the Ichetucknee
Siltsnail” bumper sticker, he actually put
it on my bumper! Excuse me? Isn’t that
just a tad too touchy-feely with someone
you’ve only known a couple months? Not
to mention any concerns regarding defacing a vehicle that just celebrated its tenth
anniversary of being listed on the Clunker
Historical Register. That’s like putting aluminum siding on the outhouse at Abe Lincoln’s childhood home!
Now I have nothing against the Iche
Siltsnails and wish them all the best —
their entire habitat on the whole earth is
a 10-square-yard cul-de-sac on the Ichetucknee River, which of course was made
famous by the Cowbell Brothers song,
“Itching and Tucking With my Baby on
the Ichetucknee” back in the ’60s. I just
really don’t want them on my bumper. So,
rather than scraping it off and causing a
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66908_LR7_Q_AAR.indd 1
7/24/14 10:53 AM
snit with the neighbor, I did the next logical thing and removed the bumper and hid
it in the tall grass near the sinkhole on the
adjoining property. When he asked about
it, I told him I had hit a particularly nasty
dirt-road pothole that knocked the bumper
off, and it bounced to the side of the road,
coming to rest on a giant fire ant hill during
fire ant mating season, which really ticked
the little guys off, and they started chewing everything they could off the bumper,
including, (sigh) the bumper sticker! He
said no problem, he had just put one on his
car and he had another one left. So I added
a little more color to my little-white-lie and
told him the bumper was in “the shop” getting “re-chromed” and the “shop guy” told
me not to put any bumper stickers on the
newly “re-chromed” bumper for at least
six months, which certainly sounded logical to me, and actually had a ring of truth
to it, even if it was a wrong number. Then
a couple days later when neighbor went
to work I retrieved the bumper, scraped
off the bumper sticker, sprayed the whole
thing down with Chrome-In-A-Can, put
it back on the car, and did a few laps on
the dirt roads to make it look even more
realistic. It is amazing the lengths I will go
to rather than risk hurting someone’s feelings!
This is Love Bug season in North Central Florida. These are little flying bugs
that are not called Love Bugs because they
look like VW Beetles. They are permanently “coupled” which makes mile-highclub flying tactics particularly challenging,
with destinations often as not terminating
on windshields. And you can hardly wash
them off. The best way is to let them dry
and then use, you guessed it, dryer sheets to
get them off! Bounce brand seems to work
better than the store brands. Well, naturally
that caused a run on Bounce sheets and
there were none to be found on the store
shelves. Kids on high school playgrounds
were selling them for $1 a sheet, or two
cigarettes, or a hall pass and/or a key to
the faculty restroom. So I did the next best
thing — I bought a
couple bottles of liquid Bounce and put
it in the windshield
washer reservoir. It
didn’t do such a good
job of getting the
dead bugs off, but
if I sprayed it when
I first started seeing
them approaching,
it coated them, and
when they did hit
the windshield, they
Bounced off! Unfortunately for them it
also decoupled them,
which could lead to
a lot of jokes about
tiny little cigarettes,
even smaller little
blue pills, and possibly a TV remote control, glass of wine, and visit to the tattoo
parlor. Okay, maybe we all haven’t had the
same experiences here.
With the exception of the Love Bugs
and a few other more road-kill-oriented
critters, just about every animal in North
Central Florida is on the Endangered or
Threatened Species list. You can’t hunt
them, fish them, chase them with a weed
eater, tie their tails together and toss them
over clothes lines, or even “harass or bully
them”! This means they have total right of
way on the roads. Last week traffic was
backed up for two hours and 30 minutes
when a family of gopher turtles decided
to cross the road. Not that it took them
that long to cross the road — the problem is that they stopped in the middle of
the road, and, did I mention this was a
“dirt” road and they are called “gopher”
turtles? That’s right, the biggest of the
group decided it was getting too hot in the
Florida sun, so it started digging a burrow in the middle of the road! The others,
who were stretched out from one side of
the road to the other, decided this seemed
like a good idea, so they started digging as
well. You couldn’t drive around them, and
until they were safely underground, you
certainly couldn’t drive over them. Well,
you weren’t supposed to. One of the cars
in the line decided that enough was enough
(hmmm, is enough ever enough?), and got
out of line, stomped on the accelerator
(“burned dirt”), and promptly drove right
over a coupe of the tails up turtles.
One of the other drivers was horrified,
pulled out her cell phone, and called the
police. When they arrived they interviewed
all the drivers to get a description of the
offending vehicle. Dirt dust being what
it is, none of the drivers was all that sure
what color or even kind of a car it was. But
there was one thing they all agreed about
the vehicle. It had an odd bumper sticker.
Yep, you guessed it: “Save the Ichetucknee
I wonder who that could have been? •
November 2014 Nashville Automotive Report 7
2 families settle with GM
over crash
By Tom Krisher & Amy Forliti
DETROIT — As General Motors begins to compensate the victims of crashes
tied to faulty ignition switches, last month
more than a dozen families were given a
choice: accept a settlement, presumably in
the millions of dollars, or fight GM in a
potentially lengthy court battle.
The families of two Wisconsin teenagers killed in an Oct. 24, 2006 crash of a
Chevrolet Cobalt accepted cash offers
from Kenneth Feinberg, the lawyer hired
by GM to settle with victims on its behalf,
according to Robert Hilliard, the families’
attorney. They recently dropped a lawsuit
against GM in favor of seeking a settlement.
The crash that killed Natasha Weigel,
who was 18, and Amy Rademaker, who
was 15, was among the first blamed on the
faulty switches. Despite evidence from
that crash and others that the switches
could cause the engine to stall and the air
bags to be disabled, GM and federal regulators failed to make that connection for
GM finally recalled 2.6 million cars
equipped with the switches early this year. The girls’ deaths are among 21 that
Feinberg has deemed eligible for payments from GM. Feinberg began accepting wrongful death and injury claims on
Aug. 1.
As of September, Feinberg had received
143 death claims, with the rest still being
evaluated. The offers to the Wisconsin
girls’ families were two of 15 he made last
month, his spokeswoman said.
GM has admitted that people within the
company knew for years that the switches
were defective yet failed to act to fix the
problem. Even so, some victims’ families would have a difficult time winning
against the automaker in court because of
the terms of GM’s 2009 bankruptcy.
A bankruptcy judge ruled that GM is
shielded from liability in crashes that occurred prior to July 2009. It’s unclear how
many small-car crash injuries or fatalities occurred prior to then. GM engineers
knew of problems with the Cobalt switches as early as 2004. The first fatal crash the
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company learned of happened in 2005.
Amy Rademaker’s mother, Margie Beskau, of Woodville, Wisconsin, said she
saw little chance of winning in court because her daughter died before GM filed
for bankruptcy.
Both families accepted Feinberg’s offers last month, Hilliard said. He would
not disclose the amounts, although a day
earlier he estimated the families would
each be offered around $3 million, based
on the formula Feinberg uses to calculate
compensation. (AP) •
... insurance rates
Continued from page 3
the same models without the technology.
Air bags, stability control and other
safety systems have made driving safer over the past decade. Passenger car
and truck accident fatalities nationwide
dropped from about 32,300 in 2003 to
about 21,700 in 2012 — a decrease of
about 33 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Insurance industry experts say that despite safety technology growing more and
more sophisticated, they don’t believe
auto insurance will become obsolete.
“We don’t see that accidents are just going to go away,” said Chris Hayes, a vice
president of transportation risk control at
Travelers. “Technology is great. It’s going
to keep making us safer. But the human
element is always going to be part of the
vehicle.” •
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8 Nashville Automotive Report November 2014
Shop Profile
Old Sckool
Muscle Shop
‘This is my passion, and I really
do this for the love of cars and to
benefit other people’
By Steve McLinden
After a 30-year Army career, Sergeant
Major Orlando Durr has retired—that
is, if you call scraping and painting and
fabricating metal six days a week at his
new classic-auto restoration body shop in
Montgomery, Ala., “retiring.”
For Durr, a combat engineer who
designed military installations in Afghanistan and the world over with over 5,000
soldiers, sailors and airmen under his wing,
the shop is a labor of love. The owner got
bitten by the classic-car bug about halfway
through his Army stint and is yet to find
a cure. The die was actually cast decades
ago: his father worked 39 years for Chrysler in Durr’s birthplace of Detroit “and I
was always outside working on cars with
him,” he said. “It was something we could
do together.”
Durr, who settled in Montgomery after
being assigned to Maxwell Air Force Base
early in his military career, now has a
chance to live his dream. He opened Old
Sckool Muscle restoration shop early last
year in an industrial area not far from the
base, where he already had a built-in customer base of active-duty personnel and
fellow retirees who’ve grown to admire his
painstakingly detailed work.
Old Sckool does classic restoration work
only. Although the shop does no insurance
jobs and hence needs less coverage since it
doesn’t have a garage full of new vehicles,
that didn’t stop some liability insurers from
trying to charge him full-service shop rates
as he sought coverage. Durr finally found
a reasonable one, collector-car insurer
Grundy Insurance, which appraises the
shop’s liability only on the custom jobs it
has on hand, which is a huge help in keeping overhead down, he said,
Another of Durr’s challenges is finding
qualified restorers. Presently he employs
a host of different part-timers to fill the
breach but is seeking a couple regulars.
“Most of the trade schools teach only
insurance work. The young body guys
aren’t learning classic restoration, and that
makes it tough to find someone with the
right skills,” he said One exception is the
WyoTech trade school, where Durr sent his
right-hand-man and oldest son, Orlando
Jr., to study street-rod and sheet-metal fabrication, among other custom-repair crafts.
Even at a young age, Orlando Jr. has
evolved into a valued classic-restoration
man: he owns a self-restored 1969 Mustang convertible and a 1970 Challenger,
the latter of which won first place in the
Orlando Durr with a 1970
Challenger RT (above)
which was restored at his
shop located at 2600 Day
Street, Montgomery, AL.
At right, owner Orlando Durr
along with some of his best
help, his sons Orlando Jr
and David.
Orlando Jr and David
(below left) with one of their
cars they helped restored.
1970 division at a large car show in Georgia this year.
“He is also a master at finding parts,” his
dad said.
To market his work, Durr uses the local
Montgomery Advertiser and online sites,
including a Facebook page (, where
he maintains an extensive log of his recent
restoration work, including dozens of
before-and-after photos. The owner also
parks a few restored classic cars in front of
the shop daily to showcase his services.
“People drive by and see them and come
in and ask questions,” he said. “It generates interest.”
In his spare hours, Durr has been re-fac-
ing the exterior of the shop, adding a new
sign and making other improvements.
“I am doing it right and doing it piece by
piece, not rushing anything — kind of like
restoring an old car.”
The Durrs scour junk yards and swap
meets to find original parts, and when
they’re not available, the shop relies on the
Chrysler Group’s Mopar parts division for
quality duplicates. While the shop’s stated
specialty is muscle cars from the 1960s
and 1970s, other jobs filter in, including a
1937 Chevy pick-up that’s now in the shop.
Old Sckool draws work from all over the
region and at least one international job.
A 1966 Ford Mustang Fastback that was
shipped over to the shop from Nicaragua,
a job generated by his internet presence, recently arrived.
Durr said he’ll have his hands
full trying to undo some of the
sub-par work that was previously performed on the car.
The shop also picks up its own
classic cars/frames from time
to time and offers to customize them on a build-to-suit
basis, such as a 1966 Chevrolet Impala two-door arriving in the spring, said a Facebook entry. Commented Durr:
“We are building dreams and
investments!” Durr
is slowly adding equipment
as his workload increases and
already has a side-draft paint
booth, a restoration rotisserie
and couple of
youngest son,
David, 15, is
involved with
As is the industry norm, most
take at least six
months to complete at Old
Sckool Muscle
because of the
deliberate stepby-step nature
of the work.
“You have to
be a perfectionist in this kind of field, because other
people are going to see your work and will
critique you,” he said. “My work is my
best marketing tool.”
The shop, located just five minutes from
both I-65 and I-85 and seven minutes from
downtown Montgomery, is spacious and
can easily accommodate future growth.
The 6,000-square-foot building sits on two
acres, which will allow Durr to store cars
for individuals or organizations as a sidelight once he completes some large carports he is assembling.
In 2012, Durr, then of the 411 Engineer
Brigade, gave a “holiday shout out” from
Bagram Field, Afghanistan, to his family
(see it at
sgt-maj-orlando-durr#.VEAiNBbp99Y). Durr is just 46 — he entered the Army at
17 — so he feels he is settling in to enjoy
his next long career. While he has done
work in home improvement, construction
management and facilities management to
supplement his income over the years, his
shop is the real thing: a gig he’s dreamed
about for years.
“It is also a legacy I can leave for my
boys,” Durr said.
Right now profit is not as strong of a
motivator as his dedication to his craft,
said the owner.
“This is my passion, and I really do this
for the love of cars and to benefit other
people,” he said. “As long as I can keep
the bills paid and pay my guys, I will keep
it going.” •
November 2014 Nashville Automotive Report 9
New body shop group
affiliates with SCRS
By SCRS press release
Prosser, Wa. — The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) recently
announced its affiliation with the Auto
Body Association of Texas (ABAT), a
brand new association dedicated to “levelling the playing field for collision repairers
across the state.”
Currently headquartered in Henderson,
Texas, and in existence since June of this
year, ABAT was formed by a group of
collision repair professionals hungry for
information and determined to use that
information to influence positive change
for the industry sooner rather than later,
according to a press release.
“A group of us that were getting tired of
being told ‘we were the only one’ making
requests to ensure fair compensation on
our repairs,” said ABAT President Burl
Richards. “And we were getting concerned
over what we perceived to be insurance
overreach through programs like PartsTrader. Most of us were from a rural area,
and it was becoming obvious we didn’t
have enough access to information that
would help us make informed decisions
and take an effective stand against what we
thought were unfair practices. We’d visited
the Houston Auto Body Association and
saw the power of having a bunch of sharp
operators in one room. We also understood
that there was a need for education on the
fundamentals of estimating and other subjects. Thus, we decided to form our own
Forty like-minded shops found themselves together at an educational seminar
in Tyler, Texas, given by local paint jobber
Chad Neal. The prospects of forming an
association were discussed and developments moved forward rapidly.
“At first people were hesitant to talk
about much, because we didn’t really
know what the anti-trust laws allowed,”
added Richards. “With the help of Barrett Smith, a consultant out of Orlando,
Florida, we quickly got up to speed. After
a few more meetings things really took off,
and we were attracting some of the biggest
shops in the state which gave us the numbers we needed to be effective as a united
voice. Jobbers, suppliers, and local OEM
paint reps that joined were given an equal
United by the motivation to effect positive change in a timely manner, the fledgling association reached out to SCRS.
“They had a track record of getting the
right things done and getting them done
quickly, so it was only natural to turn to
them,” explained Richards. “They bring
a wealth of practical knowledge and educational information to the table, which is
exactly what our members were looking
for. SCRS has its finger on the national
pulse of the industry, and that’s especially
important to our members given their tendency to be geographically remote.”
“There are many areas in this country
where repairers haven’t had a consistent
local voice to support their businesses, and
the ABAT is an example of an association
Warren Buffett buys Van Tuyl Auto Group
that developed to meet that need,” said
SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. “Groups like this strengthen our
industry and play an important role in the
survival of body shops that continue to
experience unrelenting pressures on their
profitability. We extend our heartfelt welcome to the ABAT, and look forward to
providing whatever leadership and assistance they may need as they grow and
mature, in addition to providing a national
network of experienced professionals at
their disposal.” (SCRS) •
OMAHA, Neb. — Warren Buffett is getting into the automobile sales business.
The billionaire’s Berkshire Hathaway, owner of businesses ranging from the BNSF
railroad to Dairy Queen, Geico insurance and power providers, is buying the privately
owned auto dealership company Van Tuyl Group. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Van Tuyl Group says it is the biggest privately owned auto dealership group in the
U.S. It has 78 independently operated dealerships and more than 100 franchises in 10
states. The company will be renamed Berkshire Hathaway Automotive and be based in
Buffett, in an interview on CNBC, said that there are huge opportunities for market
consolidation in the fragmented auto dealership business.
“This is just the beginning for Berkshire Hathaway Automotive,” Buffett said.
This deal is one of a handful of times Buffett has applied his conglomerate’s name to
one of the businesses it owns. In 2012, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services was created,
and the national real estate franchise network continues adding agents at a brisk pace.
A couple of insurance companies carry the name, including Berkshire Hathaway
Specialty Insurance. And earlier this year, the company’s utility division was renamed
Berkshire Hathaway Energy. (AP) •
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10 Nashville Automotive Report November 2014
... fresh ideas
John Yoswick, a freelance writer based in
Portland, Oregon, who has been writing
about the automotive industry since 1988,
is also the editor of the weekly CRASH
Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit He
can be contacted by email at [email protected]
Truck deals boost US auto sales in September
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DETROIT — Big discounts on pickup trucks kept U.S. auto sales strong in September.
General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group led the industry with 19-percent sales increases over last September. Toyota sales rose 2 percent; Ford and Volkswagen were
The pace was expected to slow from a blistering August, which was the best month
for the industry in eight years. August got a boost from 2014 model year clearance sales
and Labor Day promotions.
While August was fueled by incentives on midsize cars, September saw good deals
on pickup trucks. Chevrolet was advertising up to $8,500 off the price of a crew cab
Silverado with a trade-in, while Chrysler’s Ram was offering zero-percent interest.
The second half of the year is usually stronger for pickup sales, and stable gas prices,
employment gains and higher consumer confidence have more people shopping for
trucks, automakers said.
But GM and Chrysler were also hoping to take advantage of Ford, which has temporarily closed a truck factory to retool for its new aluminum-clad F-150. Ford cut back
on discounts in order to keep more trucks in stock during the shutdown. As a result, GM
said its light-duty Silverado outsold Ford’s F-150 for the first month since 2011, and for
only the second time in the last five years.
Pickup truck owners are the most loyal in the industry, but they also have come to
expect big discounts, said Larry Dominique, president of the ALG auto forecasting firm.
Full-size truck buyers may spend their entire annual income on a truck, Dominique said,
so they’re sensitive to price.
“If you have two or three good trucks in the marketplace and Ram has an extra $2,500,
they can pull off the fringes from each other,” he said. But automakers should beware:
Those customers may not stay loyal when it’s time to buy a new truck.
Ford’s sales dropped 3 percent to 180,175 as F-Series pickup sales dropped 1 percent
to 59,863. It was the first time in seven months that Ford’s monthly truck sales have
dropped below 60,000. Ford Motor Co. saw a 9 percent increase in Fusion sedan sales,
but otherwise its car sales were down.
Sales of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup rose 54 percent to 50,176. GM averaged just
under $5,000 in incentives per pickup, which was 30 percent, or $1,140, higher than a
year ago, according to estimates by J.D. Power and Associates. By comparison, Ford
said its incentive spending dropped $160 per truck to $4,300. (AP) •
Racing is our Passion
particular Ferrari fixtures in North America for quite a few years.”
The Jones have hosted events at the shop
for Ferrari and BMW car clubs, and a convertible the shop customized was featured
in “Excellence,” an independent magazine
for Porsche owners.
Advantages to staying ‘small’
The owner of Mike Minegar’s Auto
Body in Boise, Idaho, said that keeping his
business relatively small — 6,250-squarefeet and four employees — has both challenges and advantages.
“In hindsight, I know I could have been
a big player in the market, had that been
my decision,” Mike Minegar said. “But
I’ve also worked to enjoy what I enjoy
outside of work. I’m not a workaholic.
I’ve enjoyed the independence of owning
my own company. Sometimes you need to
be happy where you are. I don’t think it’s
always healthy to strive to be the biggest.
You need to be content at some point.”
Minegar said he also thinks some control over quality is lost in a larger business.
“And how many places do you do
business with where you get to talk to an
owner? There are people like me who seek
those places out,” Minegar said. “They’re
impressed by that.” •
project (,
which enables anyone to nominate a veteran in need of vehicle repair. The website
also includes video interviews and other
information about each of the winners.
Specializing — even in a tiny market
Visit many small-town collision repair
shops in rural locations, and you’re likely
to see lots of American-made pick-ups in
for repairs. But walk into Canyon Auto
Rebody in tiny Mehama, Ore. (population
300), and you’re as likely to see high-end
European cars.
“You can fit more Porsches in the shop
than you can Ford F-350 pick-ups,” coowner Kelley Jones said, laughing.
“Yeah, but there’s a lot of F-350s around
here, too,” her husband Chris Jones, said.
“The crew cab truck is almost a family car
here. We work on all types of vehicles, but
we specialize in European cars. It’s a little
different than most people expect, given
that we’re in the middle of nowhere.”
The shop is 25 miles from Oregon’s
capitol city, but even that has a population of just 154,000. So how does the shop
attract the upscale vehicles?
First, it has invested in the right equipment: Not only a Celette bench, for example, but also many of the jigs needed for
Porsche, Ferrari, Mercedes and BMW
vehicles, something they rent out at times
to two other Oregon shops that also focus
on those vehicles.
“We’re the only shop on the west coast
that has all the Celette fixtures for Porsche
from 1964 to 2013 models,” Chris Jones
said. “And ours were the only set of these
Continued from page 4
November 2014 Nashville Automotive Report 11
Feds studying Toyota acceleration problem
A look back at the Toyota 2000 GT
DETROIT — U.S. safety regulators are looking into a consumer’s petition alleging
that older Toyota Corollas can accelerate unexpectedly at low speeds and cause crashes.
The inquiry covers about 1.69 million of the compact cars from the 2006 to 2010
model years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will decide whether
to open a formal investigation.
An unidentified consumer said in a letter to the agency that a Corolla surged at low
speeds several times, and the brakes failed to stop the car. The consumer said the problem caused one collision with a parked vehicle on June 8.
Investigators said they found 141 consumer complaints about the problem. No other
crashes or injuries were reported. (AP) •
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12 Nashville Automotive Report November 2014
Racing Notes
Terry Labonte called it quits after Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala. — Terry Labonte competed in his final NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway.
The two-time Cup champion ran 26 full seasons at NASCAR’s top level, and a partial
schedule the last decade. Labonte first announced his retirement in 2006, at home track
Texas Motor Speedway, but he’s raced 41 times since.
“You know, it’s only about the third time I’ve said this is going to be my last race,” he
said. “But this is really going to be the last one. It’s been fun.”
Labonte, who will turn 58 on Nov. 16, had four scheduled races this season with Go
FAS Racing and good friend and crew chief/owner Frank Stoddard. All four were at
Daytona and Talladega, and he finished a season-best 11th at Daytona in July.
The final start for “Texas Terry” was the 890th of his career, which is tied for third in
NASCAR. It was his 61st start at Talladega, which is tied for the most.
Labonte won his Cup titles in 1984 and 1996, and has 22 career victories. He drove
10 full seasons for Billy Hagan, three for Junior Johnson and 11 for Rick Hendrick. He
also has driven for Richard Petty, Roger Staubach/Troy Aikman, Joe Gibbs and Michael
Waltrip through his career.
Labonte’s first career start came at Darlington in 1980, and looking back, he’s not sure
it was the place to debut. “Being from Texas, I really wasn’t that familiar with Darlington. If I would have
been, I probably wouldn’t have picked that one as my first race,” he said. “They had a
rookie meeting and they showed a video that they played of all the things not to do. I
was sitting there watching that thing, and the guy that starred in that video was the guy
that drove the car I was driving the year before. So everything he did wrong they pointed
out in that video.
“So I sat right there and thought, ‘The thing to do is not make next year’s video. Don’t
make all the highlights of the things not to do.’ “
Labonte ran the race — the longest distance he had ever completed — stayed out of
trouble and finished fourth.
“I’m going to the garage and Bobby Allison and Donnie Allison came over and congratulated me, and I thought that was the coolest thing,” Labonte said. “So I ran that
race and went to Richmond the next weekend and I think I finished seventh up there
and I thought, ‘Man, I think I’m going to like this.’ It never got any easier after those
two races.” (AP) •
Kenseth doesn’t regret scuffle in pits
TALLADEGA, Ala. — Matt Kenseth would not change anything about his actions in
a post-race scuffle with Brad Keselowski at Charlotte, where tempers flared as several
drivers slipped to the edge of elimination in NASCAR’s championship race.
Brad Keselowski was fined $50,000 by NASCAR for his actions at Charlotte. He hit
Kenseth’s car near the entrance to pit road, tried but failed to wreck Denny Hamlin after
the race and ran into the back of Tony Stewart’s car.
Hamlin tried to confront Keselowski, but he was restrained by his team. Kenseth,
angry he was hit while his seatbelts were off, jumped Keselowski from behind but was
quickly peeled off the driver. Hamlin and Kenseth were not fined, and Kenseth seemed
adamant that Keselowski had it coming.
“I don’t regret my actions,” Kenseth said. “I’m not proud of them or happy about
them, but I don’t regret them. I don’t know that I’d do anything different if the same
thing would have went down again.”
Kenseth and Keselowski have now tangled three times this season, and Kenseth felt
“everybody has their breaking point.” He was nearly wrecked as Keselowski blocked
his attempted pass for the lead at Charlotte, and admitted he swerved at Keselowski
under caution with six laps remaining.
Keselowski says that contact damaged his car and prevented him from racing for the
win when the race resumed with two laps remaining. The contact under yellow is why
he hit Kenseth after the race, though even that is up for debate.
“Brad is greatly exaggerating that point,” Kenseth said. “I did indeed swerve at him
... because I was mad he put me in the wall and totally ruined my day, but if you look at
his car there is absolutely no damage on it. That was just him greatly exaggerating the
story.” Keselowski did not view it the same. (AP) •
Courtney Force wins NHRA Midwest Nationals
MADISON, Ill. — Courtney Force raced to her second consecutive Funny Car victory in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs in Sept., winning the NHRA Midwest Nationals.
Force outran championship rival Matt Hagan in the final round at Gateway Motorsports Park to move within 30 points of series-leading John Force, her 65-year-old father.
After beating her father in the semifinals, she had a 4.094-second run at 313.44 mph
in her Ford Mustang to hold off Hagan. She has four victories this season and seven
overall, both records for female Funny Car drivers.
“We are working our way back up the ladder and winning this Countdown championship is our goal,” said Courtney Force, the first female Funny Car driver to win
consecutive events. “I just have to thank my team for giving me a really fast race car all
Antron Brown won in Top Fuel, Dave Connolly in Pro Stock, and Jerry Savoie in Pro
Stock Motorcycle in the third of six NHRA Countdown playoff events.
Brown raced to his third straight victory at Gateway, beating defending series champion Shawn Langdon in the final round with a 3.844 at 315.42 mph. (AP) •
Stewart never considered
retiring after Wards death
By Jenna Fryer
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina —
Tony Stewart said he never considered
retiring from racing following the death of
Kevin Ward Jr.
The three-time NASCAR champion
talked with reporters Monday, Sept. 29
at his first news conference since a grand
jury decided not to charge him in Ward’s
death. The 20-year-old driver was struck
and killed by Stewart’s car during a sprint
car race in upstate New York on Aug. 9.
“This is what I’ve done all my life.
This is what I’ve done for 36 years, and
I wouldn’t change anything about it,” he
said. “I love what I do. I love driving race
cars, but I think it might change right now
as far as how much of it and what I do,
but there was never a thought in my head
about stopping. That would take the life
out of me.”
Stewart took 29 questions over 36 minutes at Stewart-Haas Racing, but did not
discuss what he remembers about the incident that killed Ward. He has been advised
by legal counsel not to discuss it because
he still could face a civil lawsuit from
Ward’s family.
He admitted he’s not been properly engaged with the four-car race team he coowns. He missed three races following
Ward’s death as he secluded himself at his
Indiana home, but has been back since the
Aug. 31 race at Atlanta.
The 43-year-old Stewart didn’t earn
a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup
championship, but teammates Kevin
Harvick and Kurt Busch both made the
16-driver field. Stewart, who barely
watched the three races he missed, said he
has not been the leader he’d like to be for
his team. “I’ve let my team down from that
standpoint. I’ve been a little bit of a cheerleader, but that’s about all I’ve been able
to contribute here the last seven weeks,”
he said. “It’s been hard for me to function
day-to-day. There hasn’t been anything
normal about my life the last seven weeks,
so it’s been very hard to try to do anything
to be productive to help those guys.”
Stewart has been receiving professional
help to cope with Ward’s death. Asked if
he could go back and change anything
about the last seven weeks, Stewart said
he would not have gone to Canandaigua
Motorsports Park for what turned into a
tragic sprint car race.
Stewart told The Associated Press that
he had lost his desire to race sprint cars
and he repeated that Monday, Sept. 29.
“When I got hurt, it was as soon as I got
healed, and as soon as things got settled
in with the Cup car I was set that I was
wanting to get in one,” he said, “but right
now, I wouldn’t even be able to give you a
small idea of if and when I’ll ever get back
in a car.” (AP) •
Johnson says no discord with Knaus
TALLADEGA, Ala. — Six-time and defending NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson
dismissed the idea that there is any tension with crew chief Chad Knaus after the two
were overheard bickering on their team radio.
Johnson and Knaus revealed discord during the Saturday night race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Johnson dropped to the brink of elimination from NASCAR’s
championship race. The two were terse with each other at points during the race, but
Johnson dismissed it as frustration over how the Hendrick Motorsports team is performing.
“Frustration is high, for sure,” Johnson said. “Chad and I, in our relationship, have
had these peaks and valleys. We’ve had times where there has been plenty of frustration
on the radio. But who we are and what we are as a team and the way our relationship
works and us moving forward — things are still as they have always been.
“It isn’t fun, and I’m sure people hear plenty of colorful things from drivers and crew
chiefs during the course of a race,” he said. “Last weekend there was plenty of color on
our channel. It just comes with the territory. Johnson and Knaus were almost split by
team owner Rick Hendrick following the 2005 season, but Hendrick made them hash
out their differences over a snack of milk and cookies. They went on to win a record five
consecutive titles.
He has three wins this season, and two career victories at Talladega. Johnson said he
and Knaus were approaching Talladega with a must-win mentality.
“Granted, it’s a tough one and a lofty goal,” he said. “There are many other guys out
there with the same goal, not only from a Chase situation but also trying to win a race
this year. I’ve got a lot of work ahead for myself and this team this weekend, so we’re
ready for the challenge. We’ll get out there to work and see what happens.” (AP) •
Johnson, Earnhardt and Kahne fail to advance
TALLADEGA, Ala. — Jimmie Johnson was a solemn spectator for Brad Keselowski’s post-race celebration after a disappointing day for Hendrick Motorsports.
Johnson, the six-time and defending NASCAR champion, led nearly half the laps at
Talladega Superspeedway. He couldn’t stay up front in a race he had to win to advance
to the third round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Hendrick teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne also dropped out.
Johnson, who led a race-high 84 laps, perched on his car window to watch Keselowski celebrate.
Earnhardt led the second-most laps at 31, but got swept up in contact from Greg Biffle
late. Jeff Gordon is the only Hendrick driver in the final eight. (AP) •
November 2014 Nashville Automotive Report 13
Chrysler recalls vehicles to fix ignition switch
DETROIT — Chrysler is recalling nearly 350,000 older cars and SUVs to fix defective ignition switches that can cause the vehicles to stall.
With the latest recall, Chrysler has called back more than 2 million vehicles for defective switches. The switches can slip out of the “on” position, which is similar to the
problem that forced General Motors to recall millions of vehicles this year.
The new recall covers Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee SUVs, Chrysler 300
and Dodge Charger sedans and Dodge Magnum wagons from the 2008 model year. All
were built before May 12, 2008.
Chrysler says the ignitions, after being rotated to the “start” position, may not fully
return to the “on” position. If the switches lodge between “start” and “on,” the windshield defroster and wipers may not work. If the switches move to “accessory” or “off,”
the engine could shut off and knock out power-assisted steering and other features.
Chrysler knows of one crash and no injuries from the problem.
The company is still determining the cause of the switch problem and what repairs
will be needed, a spokesman said Thursday, Sept. 25. In the meantime, Chrysler is telling owners to use the key without a keychain or other attachments and confirm that the
switches return to “on” after starting their cars.
The recall stemmed from a broader industry probe by U.S. safety regulators after GM
recalled 16.5 million vehicles for defective ignition switches.
In 2011, Chrysler recalled 196,000 Dodge Journey SUVs and Dodge Caravan and
Chrysler Town & Country minivans from the 2007 through 2009 model years to fix their
ignition switches.
After this year’s GM recalls, Chrysler added 696,000 minivans and SUVs to the 2011
recall, covering the same vehicles and the Volkswagen Routan minivan — which Chrysler made — from the 2007 to 2010 model years. In July, Chrysler recalled 792,300 Commander and Grand Cherokee SUVs from the
2005, 2006 and 2007 model years for the same issue. (AP) •
Company recalls floor mats fitting GM trucks
DETROIT — A company that makes after-market floor mats for General Motors fullsize pickup trucks and SUVs is recalling more than 45,000 of them because they can
interfere with the gas pedals.
Omix Ada of Suwanee, Georgia, says the recall covers Cabela’s Custom Fit, Line-X
Truck Gear, Rugged Ridge All-Terrain and Tread Lightly mats. They can move forward
unintentionally and stop the gas pedal from returning to the idle position. That can increase the risk of a crash.
The plastic mats fit Chevrolet and GMC trucks and SUVs from 1999 through 2014.
The mats were made from Nov. 1, 2009 to Aug. 27, 2014, and most were sold at O’Reilly
Auto Parts stores.
Omix Ada will furnish an anchor-and-hook system to fix the problem that should take
about 10 minutes for a customer to install. Those that don’t want to install it themselves
will be sent to a service center.
The company redesigned the mats to add hooks in the first quarter of this year. It
received three consumer complaints about older mats touching the bottom of the gas
pedal. No crashes or injuries have been reported to the company, said Engineering Manager Alain Eboli.
The company plans to begin notifying wholesale customers and to find as many mat
owners as soon as possible starting this month. People with questions can call (844)
642-7625. (AP) •
Ford recalls 850K cars on short circuit concerns
NEW YORK — Ford is recalling about 850,000 cars and SUVs because of a problem
that could stop the air bags from working in a crash.
The recalled models include the 2013-14 Ford C-Max compact, Fusion midsize, Escape SUV and the Lincoln MKZ luxury car, all sold in North America.
Ford says the restraints control module in the car could short circuit, causing the airbag warning indicator to light up. If the short circuit occurs, restraint devices including
the air bags, pretensioners, and side curtains might not work in a crash.
The short circuit could also affect the car’s stability control and other systems.
Ford Motor Co. says it is unaware of any accidents or injuries related to the problem.
Dealerships will replace the restraints control module at no cost.
The company said 745,000 of the vehicles were sold in the U.S., with 82,000 sold in
Canada and 20,000 sold in Mexico. (AP) •
Toyota recalls 690,000 pick-ups to fix rear springs
DETROIT — Toyota says it is recalling 690,000 Tacoma pickup trucks because the
rear leaf springs could break, puncture the gas tank and cause a fire.
The recall covers Tacoma Four-by-Four and Pre-Runner pickups from the 2005
through 2011 model years.
The automaker says the leaf springs can fracture due to stress and corrosion. They can
move out of position and come into contact with surrounding components, including the
gas tank. Toyota says it’s not aware of any fires, crashes or injuries from the problem.
Owners will be notified by mail and Toyota says dealers will fix the problem at no
Owners with questions can call Toyota at (800) 331-4331. (AP) •
Compiled from AP, manufacturer, EPA and NHTSA news releases.
CHRYSLER Group is recalling 25,483 2014 – 2015 Fiat 500L vehicles manufactured from March 3, 2012, to July 25, 2014. Dealers will replace the driver-side
knee airbag, which my have benn improperly folded during assembly.
Chrysler Group LLC is recalling 18,245 2013 – 2015 Ram C/V Tradesman cargo
vans equipped with front bucket seats. Certain of these vans, when driven over
rough roads and pot holes, may experience deployment of the side-curtain airbags.
Dealers will update the software in the airbag controller.
GENERAL MOTORS is recalling 132,921 2013 – 2015 Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the electronic parking brake may not
fully release, causing the brake pads to stay partially engaged. Dealers will update
the brake software.
GM is recalling 10,005 2004 – 2007 Cadillac CTS-V vehicles, which could
experince a fuel-pump failure and a vehicle stall due to overheated pump wire
terminals. Dealers will replace the fuel module and jumper harness.
GM is recalling 290,241 2010 – 2015 Cadillac SRX vehicles and 2011 – 2012
Saab 9-4X vehicles to inspect, and repair if necessary, the rear suspension toe
adjustor link. The original toe adjuster nuts may have been improperly torqued.
HONDA is recalling 6,292 2015 Honda Fit vehicles manufactured from April 11,
2014, to June 9, 2014. Certain of these vehicles may have been manufactured with
an interior A-pillar cover not designed for side-curtain airbags. Dealers will inspect
the A-pillar covers and replace any improperly-designed covers.
MITSUBISHI Motors is recalling 1,810 2010 – 2014 i-MiEV electric vehicles to
correct a condition that could cause the brake vacuum pump to stop working. Dealers will inspect the recalled vehicles and reprogram the controlller or replace the
pump or do both.
TOYOTA is recalling 1,787 2014 FJ Cruiser vehicles equipped with the Trail Team
Ultimate Edition suspension package. Certain of these vehicles may have insufficiently torqued lower-ball-joint-to-steering-knuckle fasteners.
2013 Altimas recalled for hood latch problem
DETROIT — Nissan is recalling more than 238,000 Altima midsize cars worldwide
because a secondary latch can fail and allow the hoods to fly open while the cars are in
Only Altimas from the 2013 model year are covered by the recall so far, but Nissan is
investigating whether other models could be involved, according to documents posted
Friday, Oct. 10 by U.S. safety regulators. It appears the problem is limited to Altimas,
but Nissan is checking other latches with similar designs, spokesman Steve Yaeger said.
On the Altima, Nissan’s top-selling vehicle in the U.S., debris and rust can combine
with interference between the secondary latch lever and the hood, causing the latches to
bind. That could keep them unlatched when the hood is closed. If the primary latch is
inadvertently released, the hood could open while the cars are being driven.
Nissan says dealers will modify the latch lever, as well as clean and lubricate the secondary latch joint. The latch assembly could be replaced. The company hasn’t come up
with a schedule to notify owners.
The problem was discovered when Nissan received reports of a small number of
hoods coming open and damaging the cars. No injuries have been reported to Nissan,
Yaeger said.
Just over 219,000 Altimas are affected in the U.S., with 10,049 in Canada, 5,267 in
Mexico, 2,042 in South Korea and a small number in Latin America, Guam and Saipan,
he said. The cars were made at Nissan’s factories in Smyrna, Tennessee, and Canton,
Mississippi. As long as owners don’t release the main hood latch and drive cars, there
won’t be any problem, Yaeger said.Owners with questions can call Nissan at (800)
647-7261. (AP) •
Mitsubishi recalls vehicles for stalling problem
DETROIT — Mitsubishi is recalling nearly 166,000 older small cars and SUVs in the
U.S. because the engines can stall unexpectedly.
The recall covers the Lancer and Lancer Evolution from the 2008 to 2011 model
years, as well as the Lancer Sportback from 2009 to 2011. Also affected are the Outlander small SUV from 2008 to 2011 and the Outlander Sport from the 2011 model year.
All the cars have the company’s 4B1 2-liter turbocharged engine.
The company says in documents posted by safety regulators that pulleys can experience unusual wear and damage the drive belt. The belt can detach and the battery won’t
be charged, and that can cause stalling. The problem can also disable power steering. No
crashes or injuries have been reported to the company.
Dealers will replace worn belts and pulleys at no cost to owners. Notification letters
were mailed to consumers starting on Oct. 15. (AP) •
14 Nashville Automotive Report November 2014
1913 FIAT
By Jay Hirsch
Mention the Italian car company Fiat
and most people today may think of the
Fiat 124s and 128s from the 1970s (that
had their rust problems), the new Fiat
500, or that Fiat Motor Company today
owns Ferrari and Maserati. At one time,
from 1910-1917, Fiat made cars in the
United States in the Hudson Valley City
of Poughkeepsie,
The Fiat seen
was here made at
that Poughkeepsie
plant. It was bought
new by the Mohonk
Mountain House
Hotel and resort in
New Paltz, N.Y.,
which is across the
Hudson River from
The Fiat Type
56 sold for $6,000
when a Model
T Ford sold for
$550. This was
when Henry Ford
announced he was
going to pay his
assembly line workers the ghastly sum
of five dollars a day, nearly double the
standard daily wage of a worker for the
Or, to put it in today’s money, that is
about $126,000 for the 1913 Fiat and
$11,500 for the Model T.
This Fiat went through several owners over the years, eventually finding its
way to a collector in Washington state.
Mr. Dina, a collector of pre-1920 cars,
bought the car in 2008 and brought it
back “home” to the Hudson Valley.
Giovanni Agnelli, who had been
managing director of F.I.A.T. (Fabbrica
Italiana Automobili Torino) since 1902,
inaugurated the American Fiat Automobile
Company in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., along
the Hudson River in 1909. This was due
to the 45 percent duty that was imposed on
imported cars, so Agnelli needed to establish a manufacturing plant to serve the
American market.
By this point in history, there were plenty
of automobile manufacturers, engine sup-
pliers and coach builders. Henry Ford
was putting the world on wheels with his
Model T, and there was no shortage of
elegant and luxurious automakers, such
as Pierce-Arrow, Packard, Peerless, and
Cadillac, but Fiat was determined to create
an American-built luxury car of their own.
For 1913, Fiat’s large vehicles ranged
from $4,000 to $6,100. The entry models
were the Type 53, 54, and 55, powered by
a four-cylinder engine. The Type 56, ranging in price from $5,000 to $6,400, was
powered by a six-cylinder engine. Production of the U.S.-exclusive model began in
1912 and lasted until 1916. Body styles
included Touring, Phaeton, Landaulet and
Limousine, and they rested on a 135-inch
wheelbase. Up front was a large, 8.6-liter,
L-head straight six developing 45 horsepower. Power was sent to the rear 27-inch
artillery-spoke wooden wheels via a
torque tube. The vehicles were kept in the
driver’s control via internally-expanding
mechanical drum brakes plus an externally contracting parking brake.
The good and bad about restoring a
coach-built car like the Fiat 56 is that it is a
coach-built vehicle. The color of the car’s
exterior and interior were at the customers
discretion. There were no color charts. As
long as a color existed, one could have that
applied to
the car.
Pearlesc e n t
were not
most of
the body
w e r e
h a n d
built, even if there were “parts” from
another car that were available, when
restoring the car those body parts could
be slightly different due to being hand
formed. The only thing that was consistent
when the car was built was the motor. The
type of bolts and other hardware on the car
that were used, as with many cars of the
period usually came from a local hardware
supplier. When restoring the Fiat one has
a choice of numerous screws, bolts, and
lug nuts, as long as
they were made when
the car was originally
these items would
be machined in the
restoration of the car
to comform to what
was standard for the
As for the
color of this car, since
it was bought new by
the Mohonk Mountain House there were
records from the hotel
describing the cars
“deep blue color and
natural leather interior.” The color of the
wheels was up to the
buyer of the vehicle.
The wooden spokes could be stained and
varnished or painted the same color of the
car. The previous owner to Mr. Dina had
the wheels painted the body color. Since
there are no color photos of the car, the
shade of blue used is what could have been
on the car when new. The drying time of
paint in 1913 depended on the color used.
Black dried the quickest, giving Henry
Ford reason to say: “You can have any
color you want as long as it is black.”
With a coach-built, hand-made-car such
as the Fiat 56, time was not the utmost of
“How does the Fiat ride?” is one of the
frequently-asked questions of Mr. Dina
when he shows the car or is out for a
Sunday drive. Yes, the car is driven.
As for the ride, when the Fiat was built
many “roads” were no more than dirt, or
at best gravel, roads with ruts and holes.
On today’s smooth roads, the Fiat is a
joy to ride in … as long as you do not
mind some wind blowing in your face.
The ride is smooth, and the deeply-padded leather seats with their firm back
support are extremely comfortable.
The Fiat is in a way like an SUV in that
you step up to get into the passenger
area, and when riding you are looking
“down” on others. The Fiat 56 was not
made for
p a r k ing,
the car is
not moving even
steering” is
The Fiat
has to be
rolling to
turn the
steering wheel.
The Fiat factory was across the road
from what is now the main campus of
Marist College. Few residents seemed
to know the building’s original purpose
before it was razed in the ’90s to make
way for a shopping center.
In 2012, the Mr. Dina’s Fiat 56 was
invited to be at the Pebble Beach Concours in Pebble Beach California. •
72 inches
80 inches
5,500 lbs.
Inline 6 cyl 525
cid/8.6 liter
50 hp
Bore & Stroke
4.3’’ x 5.9’’
Fuel Tank
12 gals
27 x 5 on artil lery-spoke wooden wheels Suspension
Front: solid axle leaf
Rear: solid axle leaf
Wood and steel
frame Body
Aluminum and steel panels
4-speed manual floor shift, non-synchro mesh
Final drive
Price new
$6,000.00 Owner
Kay and Ed Dina
November 2014 Nashville Automotive Report 15
Deer-vehicle collisions on
decline in one state
By Rudi Keller
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Deer populations
in Missouri declined dramatically in the
past decade, a combination of more liberal
hunting rules for does and young bucks
and the onset of a severe disease during
the 2012 drought.
That might make a fall hunting trip
more difficult — the 251,924 deer killed
last fall and winter was down 19 percent
from the year before — but the highways
are safer, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported ( ). Deer-vehicle collisions declined by more than 50
percent in Boone County between 2002 to
2011, according to figures from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Collisions
within Columbia decreased even more
dramatically, with only 10 in 2011 compared to 34 in 2002.
Columbia allows bow hunting for deer
within city limits. That has helped cut
deer numbers in town and the designation of an urban zone for Columbia and
Jefferson City has helped cut the numbers
elsewhere, said Department of Conservation deer biologist Jason Sumners.
The decrease in collisions is visible in
statewide numbers as well, although it is
not as dramatic. State Farm Insurance Cos.
releases an annual report on deer-vehicle
collisions each year as the breeding season — and hunting season — approaches,
said Holly Anderson, a spokeswoman for
the insurance company.
The figures show Missourians were 8
percent less likely to hit a deer in 2013
than in 2012. One in 124 Missouri drivers
hit a deer in 2013, the report states, above
the national average and 18th highest in
the nation.
Statewide figures for 2013 show 3,498
deer-vehicle collisions were reported to
law enforcement, said Capt. Tim Hull of
the patrol.
That is down from 4,200 collisions in
2002, the earliest data available on the patrol’s website.
Annual reports show motorists are most
likely to hit a deer in October, November
or December.
The number of collisions averages one
every 2.5 hours, but deer are most active
at dusk and at dawn. Half of collisions occur between 5 p.m. and midnight . One in
six occurs between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.
Highways are quieter in the evening and
at dawn, Hull said.
“The deer will go ahead and walk on the
highway, then all of a sudden a car comes
over the hill and there is a deer standing
there,” Hull said.
Deer-vehicle collisions caused five fatalities in 2011 and five in 2012, while
none were reported in 2013, Hull said.
Repairs after deer collisions averaged
$3,888 last year, Anderson said. (AP) •
Top insurers solicited by ASA on refinish issues
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas — The Automotive Service Association’s board
of directors and Collision Division Operations Committee have begun their second initiative as they continue to focus on refinish issues and the issues’ effects on collision
repair facilities. ASA’s goal is to educate the industry, bring clearer understanding and
— more importantly — resolve the issue relative to refinish times on damaged panels.
Dan Risley, ASA’s president, has sent letters to the top 10 insurance carriers. The letter
requests a written reply that states each company’s position regarding the reduction of
refinish time on a repaired panel and solicits each company’s participation in creating a
“This is a call to action for the entire industry,” said Risley. “It presents the perfect
opportunity for all the industry stakeholders to work together, because it is the right
thing to do. Repair facilities should be reimbursed for the labor and materials necessary
to complete a safe, proper and quality repair. Reducing the refinish times (blend within/
zone refinish) on repaired panels without any supporting documentation is ‘arbitrary’
and likely is a result of lack of knowledge and information. The irony of this situation
is that it actually requires more labor and materials to properly refinish a repaired panel
and blend within/zone refinish. We are optimistic that this issue will be resolved by the
collaboration of all the industry stakeholders. ASA will continue to monitor the issue
and provide updates as information is gathered. (From ASA press release) •
307 Thompson Lane
Nashville, TN 37211
16 Nashville Automotive Report November 2014
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