While You Were Away #14 - July 7, 2016

More Tantalizing Tidbits to Satisfy Your Automotive Cravings

According to Bankrate's Interest.com, You Can't Afford The Car You're Driving
Nor can the majority of Americans afford a new car with an average price of $32,086 or make the associated payment of $641 per month. 

That's right, and according to the details, if you reach the average earnings amount in each state, people in 49 out of 50 states don't make enough. To compensate, loan terms have grown to seven years on average and leasing has become far more popular than in years before, especially those including a down payment.

So the question is "Then how did Americans find a way to set a new record by purchasing 17.5M new cars and trucks in 2015?" Even more amazing, new cars sales have continued to rise year over year at a rate of about 3.5% through March of this year. Pre-owned sales have also increased to similar levels. According to available details nearly 28M used vehicles were sold through established dealer outlets.

Experts are pointing out, the sizable sales increase is the result of growth in sub-prime loans. The concern is a growing rate of delinquencies, which have hit a 20-year high. But they also point out the loans are backed by the equity in the vehicle itself.  

A potential surge in repossessed cars may end up increasing the number of used cars for sale, but other than that, don't expect to see the huge write-offs by mortgage lenders that caused so much harm to the financial system and broader economy. So, no, subprime auto loan don't have the makings of the next subprime mortgage crisis.

Heidi Hetzer Update #35 - Dead Skunk In The Middle of The Road - Part Two?
Unfortunately, Yes...
No new textual content to definitively ascertain what has occurred since the last update on May 26th, but based on the pictures (which is all that is available) Heidi made it to Santiago Chile just in time for the newly rebuilt motor to fail. Pictures show the engine being pulled and sent out for repair at an entirely different facility.

After translating and reviewing Instagram comments, we were able to confirm "After extensive work on Hudo throughout May, Heidi was supposed to be back on the road now. A worrisome sound from the engine holds her back. It's a long ride to Buenos Aires and Heidi has had enough breakdowns for a lifetime. So she's back at work, living at a friends apartment, walking distance from a very friendly and generous Opel dealer who is allowing her to use his repair shop."
To fill in her time Heidi did a significant amount of sightseeing which included a trip to Easter Island. Additional photos show Heidi is back on the road now. We'll keep an eye out for the next update.
Rare Ford Model T Speedster Stolen
We added this to our Facebook and Twitter pages as soon as we learned of the story and in the hope more people would learn of the theft.
Please note, this video is a bit slow to load, but has not failed to play. Houseman’s wife called KRQE News 13 late Friday night and said police had found their truck but the classic car and trailer are still missing.


Stolen 2005 white Haulmark 20-ft enclosed trailer. Trailer says "Palm Beach Garage, Watsonville, CA" with logo on the back door and sides.Inside the trailer: 1926 Model T Ford speedster - parrot green. Truck and trailer were stolen late Thursday (June 30th) or early morning (July 1) from the Elegante Hotel in Albuquerque. Trailer license plate number: 4GD5301 (California) Speedster license plate number: 5FTA198 (California)

If Located Contact: Albuquerque Police if located (505) 242-2677

Only in America are you likely to find a customized '56 T-Bird with the nose and tail from a '65 Cadillac hand-grafted onto the body, the seats and steering wheel from a Mustang, '62 Cadillac dash and powered by a Pontiac 389 straight out of a GTO. And it's for sale, only $22,500, just in case you're asking.

Tesla's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Rotten Week
Sadly and although it may be old information to you, negative news has continued to pile up. We'd much prefer to report the positive, but we don't control what is happening. All we can do is report the specifics as accurately as possible. 
Here are the raw details we found while researching this article. Tesla missed sales projections again and sales have dropped for two consecutive months. May's miss was reported to be the result of ramping up production and June's (-14%) miss was cited to be the result of an inability to deliver cars pouring off the assembly line. 

While this information can be viewed negatively, those familiar with projections and production are more likely to comprehend these events as the result of changes implemented to overcome identified issues; can't build enough cars, change the production process. Deliveries backed up, change the delivery process. It's a slow moving curve that should lead to improved results providing the demand is equal to or greater than output. That is the part we have to wait for, results. Unfortunately, those monitoring conditions are becoming increasingly impatient.
Next were two highly publicized accidents and one death involving the use of "Auto Pilot". Fortune published an in-depth article regarding numerous concerns about the system. Tesla responded with a critical review of the article's content. 

Rather than paraphrase what's already been written, this CNBC article, also published today, provides a solid review with links to the Fortune article and Tesla's response.
These were capped of by an announcement Tesla would bid $2.8B purchase Solar City, frustrating many who cited Tesla's recent capital call, failure to meet production numbers, falling sales and focus on Model 3 production didn't need additional distractions of running another company.  

You have to admire someone who takes so many calculated risks and has had as many successes, but these recent details show there is significant pressure in a number of areas. We guess we'll all have to watch for the July numbers to learn if the risk pays off. Best of luck. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Fourth Of July Cars Shows Numbered in the Hundreds
We were greeted with dozens of emails alerting us to shows all across the US. and Collector Car Appreciation Day events will be held over the next few days. We'd like to show off your event photos and mention your Car Club.  Please drop us a note using the Contact Us link below and we'll send you instructions. (That will keep your email from being scraped by people who don't need to have it)