Browsing: Interesting Information

Cadillac CTS-V When Dreams Come True

Yesterday I participated in the Cadillac Experience at Monticello Motor Club.  This was an event put on by Cadillac to show how awesome the new CTS-V is.  Historically, the thought of a Cadillac conjures up memories of huge, boat-like vehicles that were comfortable and rode beautifully, but were not exciting or fun to drive.   In recent years, Cadillac has tried to change that image.  Cadillac wants their cars to be seen as high performance vehicles that are also comfortable, everyday drivers, so they offered the Cadillac experience.

The day began with registration, lunch and then 30 minutes of class time to discuss the car and proper driving techniques.  The Cadillac CTS-V is a beast of a machine with a 556 Horsepower engine that delivers 551 lb.-ft. of torque.  It is the fastest production sedan in the world and has a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds.   Needless to say, trips to the grocery store in this machine would be more exciting than in your typical everyday driver.

Our first experience on the track was sitting shotgun as an instructor drove us around the course.  The entire Cadillac experience was driven on the South Course of Monticello Motor Club, which is a 1.6 mile course with 12 turns.  To feel the power and handling of the Cadillac CTS-V as it whipped around the course nearly knocked my socks off – and this was while merely riding shotgun.

The second part of the Cadillac Experience involved the participants driving the cars to test handling and braking.  As I sat in the vehicle, I felt like the seat was hugging me.  It was plush yet supportive.  The steering wheel gave me the feeling of being in a sports car.  The interior was classy, yet modern.  I was already impressed.  As I stepped on the gas, the engine roared like a fire-breathing dragon, yet it was muted beautifully by the vehicle’s impressive sound diminishing technology.

The first stop was at the accelerating and braking area.  As I arrived at the start cones, the instructor said, “FLOOR IT”.  We got up to 60 m.p.h in the blink of an eye, then the instructor said, “Firm brake”.  The car came to a halt as if a parachute flew out of the back of it, yet there was no skidding.  The next part was a drive around a hairpin turn.  This is when I became ultra impressed with this vehicle.  Even though this vehicle is heavy, it cornered impressively, with almost no body lean.

Next was the slalom course, where I was instructed to go as fast as I could while going through 4 sets of cones.  So I floored it.  I made it through the first three sets of cones but was going too fast to recover and make it through the fourth cone.  The instructor told me how valuable a lesson this was.  It wasn’t about flooring it, it was about figuring out how fast I could go to make it through the cones.

The third stop was the passing portion.  Cones were set up to simulate passing a vehicle.  The purpose of this portion of the course was to test handling, acceleration, and braking.  I stopped at the cones.  The instructor said, “floor it”.  So I whipped around the cones, flew into the braking area, and stomped on the brakes.  The massive brembo brakes brought the car to a quick stop, again with no skidding.   We performed these exercises 5 more times to get a feel for the car.

Then we went back to the classroom for more instruction.  The next portion of the Cadillac Experience involved driving the course behind an instructor in order to view the proper lines to take around the course.  It was difficult to keep up with the instructor the first couple times because I couldn’t seem to harness the power of the car coming out of the turns without creating under-steer.  But the third time, I was able to keep my car behind the instructor as if we were connected by a steel rod.  This provides a testament to how easy the Cadillac is to drive.  The steering is not too stiff, and not too loose.  It is just right, and the car is superbly responsive.  The most amazing thing about this vehicle is the lack of body roll as it zooms through the turns, considering it is over 3800 pounds.

The third portion of the Cadillac Experience allowed us to drive the car around the course on our own.  I had only driven the car a few times, yet already felt like it fit me like a glove.  The final part of the Cadillac Experience was a “hot lap” sitting shotgun as the instructor showed us the true abilities of the car, and how fast a professional driver could make it around the 1.6 mile course.  My heart was in my throat.  I could not believe how fast we were going and at many points thought to myself, “there is no way we are are going to make it around this turn at this speed.  Yet, the Cadillac CTS-V handled it like it was a walk in the park.

I have always owned foreign cars, and have driven a BMW 650i and the BMW B7 Alpina.  In fact, I have said that I would never buy an American car.   Participating in the Cadillac Experience, and driving this world class car, has completely flipped my belief system on its  head.  As of the day before the Cadillac Experience, I coveted the aforementioned BMW’s.   I now covet the Cadillac CTS-V.

{ Comments are closed }

My Top 5 Pet Peeves

We all know what a pet peeve is, but apparently no one knows where the term came from.  Searching through the Internet yields no concrete answer.  The past week has been a very annoying week for some reason.  Usually things don’t bother me, but I have had a lot of stuff happen this past week that has set me off a bit.  Here are 5 pet peeves that I experienced this past week.

1. If you don’t know the answer, don’t try to come up with one out of thin air.  If I ask a question, it’s because I want to know the answer,  not an assumption.  I am intelligent enough to guess what the answer may be.  If you are trying to impress me with your “knowledge”, you aren’t.  You are simply aggravating me because you are wasting my time.

2. Wash your freakin hands after you go to the bathroom sir!  CAN YOU PEE INSIDE THE FREAKIN URINAL SIR, SO THAT OTHER PEOPLE USING THAT URINAL AFTER YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAND IN YOUR PUDDLE OF URINE?  I hate using public restrooms.  I am not a germophobe, but the bathroom is a disgusting place.  I don’t touch the door handle with my hand.  I do not flush the toilet with my hand either, FOR OBVIOUS REASONS (you should see me flushing the urinal with my foot – yes, I am pretty flexible!).  But what really annoys me is seeing someone at the gym not washing his hands.  Is it really that hard?  I guess it is so hard that everyone who uses a machine after you has to share in your filth.  THANKS PAL!

3. If you put a list on the Internet,  don’t make it a list of pictures that I have to click through one by one in order to set the whole list.  Listen here,  website programmer, your list is not captivating enough for me to sit through clicking for ten minutes just to find out what you think are the top 20 franchises to buy.   There are 100 other sites that have the same information.  You just lost me as a reader!

4. Parents with small children – FAST FOOD PLACES ARE FOR CHILDREN, sit down restaurants are for adults.  Please find a babysitter if you want to go to dinner at a restaurant.  If I am paying $100 for a meal for two, I don’t want to listen to your child throw a tantrum because he is tired, sick, hungry, not hungry, or just a plain ole pain in the ass.  I have an 8 year old.   I wouldn’t think of bringing him to a restaurant if I thought he would cause a scene.  Please, please, if you are going to a restaurant, don’t torture me by bringing your whining kid.

5.  HEY PEOPLE, I realize that this gas station has gas that is 3 cents per gallon lower than the one down the street, but do you have to wait in line and block the damn road just to save 3 cents per gallon?  I was driving down the street and people were backed up waiting for gas at a gas station that had gas at $3.79.  Down the street the gas was $3.82 and there wasn’t one car at this station.  HEY GENIUSES, DO SOME MATH.  15 gallons times 3 cents saves you 45 cents.   The strange thing is, if I threw 9 nickels on the ground in a parking lot, most people wouldn’t pick it up because they feel that they are “above” picking change up off the ground.  Yet, they will wait 15 minutes idling in their car to save 45 cents.

Okay, I feel better now.  Back to finances tomorrow.  Thank you blogging world for providing me an outlet for my frustration!

Do you have any pet peeves that you would like to share?

{ Comments are closed }

Gas Prices: The New Reality

This chart fascinates me.  Between 1987 and 2005, The demand of Oil in the U.S., Western Europe and Japan was on an upward slope.  In the last few years the demand for oil has been declining.  In fact, the demand for oil in these three countries has declined so much in the last few years, that it is lower than it was in 1996.

The demand in the rest of the world has skyrocketed.  If you want to read the story that Ed Yardeni did regarding this chart, click here.    Next I will show you a chart of the price of gasoline since 1990.

This data comes directly from The U.S. Energy Information Administration.  From 1990 to 1999 our gas price stayed in a range of roughly $1.00 to $1.50.  On a side note, remember when gas was below $1?  It was actually below 90 cents per gallon on average in February of 1999.  So what caused this rise in the price of gasoline?  One reason is the falling dollar.   Remember, oil is only traded in dollars.  Iran is trying to trade oil in something other than dollars because of the sanctions, but we shall see how far they get.  Here is a chart of the dollar.

If you put the huge increasing in demand together with the falling dollar, it makes sense why the price of gasoline has skyrocketed.  So the answer is simple, right?  Increase the value of the dollar and the price of gasoline will come down.  On the face of it, that is the easiest way to do it.  The problem is, the only way to get the value of the dollar to rise is by raising interest rates.  We all know Bernanke can’t do this because we will fall back into the Great Recession.  The economy has stabilized, but in no way can it grow on its own without the massive amount of stimulus being provided by the Fed.  The reality of it is we simply have to get used to gas prices peaking out around $4 and dropping back down towards $3.25.  That is the new normal.  Fortunately, gas prices tend to peak in May and slide for a few months as shown in the chart below, so our pain at the pump is going to be at a maximum very shortly.

What are your thoughts? Is the government responsible for bringing gas prices down?

{ Comments are closed }