Good Oil: Porsche forced to issue owners sunglasses
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Here at The Good Oil, we're continually stunned by the litigious lengths some people go to righting perceived wrongs.
Here's one that sounds like it has come straight off the pages of some satire on consumer privilege. Owners of Porsches from model years 2007 to 2016 with beige-coloured interiors can now be reimbursed for the cost of a pair of sunglasses.
It's true. Why? Well, because there's a website for everything, an online portal called carcomplaints. com has reported that Porsche settled with an owner effectively suing the company over sun glare. But the issue is restricted to certain interior hues.
Any American owner of an example of the company's finest 2007-2016 era product resplendently specified with interior colours including Cognac, Luxor Beige, Natural Brown, Platinum Grey or Sand Beige are now able to collect between US$50 and US$175 in compensation for a pair of polarised sunglasses, such is the alleged glare issue off surfaces rendered in these colours.
The caveat on this is that finicky Porsche owners with ocular issues need to have made their request for subsidised face frames before September 21. Yes, in a small concession to the sanity of the carmaker -- possibly issued by the presiding judge with an appropriate eye-roll -- there is a deadline on this ludicrous but lawful consumer right.
We're not usually prone to offering sympathy for massively profitable carmakers. But in this case, we reckon Porsche has been the victim of a strangely obtuse, but ultimately successful legal ploy. We wonder how many sunglass designers drive Porsches, just out of interest ...
A car vending machine? But of course
The sort of madness available via vending machine is old trope these days. Especially in Asia -- where railway station platforms and city streets are home to any manner of desired consumable available from a coin-operated glass cabinet -- the idea of a Gregorian monk fancy dress costume or a set of spanners distributed from a vending machine is nothing new.
But what about a car? And by "car", we mean, an actual car ...
Well, by this time next year it might be the norm in certain parts of the world. That's if the globe's largest retail commerce company Alibaba Group, has its way.
In China, Alibaba plans to offer users of its "Tmall" shopping platform the opportunity to buy new cars on their smartphones and then collect them from a vertical tower, resembling a large vending machine.
Yu Wei, general manager automotive of Alibaba's e-commerce platform, told media that the e-commerce giant "will make buying cars as easy as buying a can of Coke".
Not just anyone can purchase a new car in this way, however. An Alibaba customer must first pass a credit test. Once any new car buyer keen to purchase a shiny set of wheels passes the check, they'll be sent the location of the vending machine location, select the model, pay a deposit and drive away.
What happens if your new Volkswagen Golf GTI gets stuck halfway out the vending machine slot, however, hasn't been disclosed.
An oldie but a goodie, too
Our favourite Bonneville Speed Week competitor was a 1948 panel van. No, that's not a typo. The most wonderful entrant at this year's festival at the iconic Salt Flats was a yellow 1948 Austin A40 Devon panel van.
Entered in the Classic Gas Altered class (limiting engine sizes to between 1524 and 2015cc), the Austin van was run by the California-based Team Masson & McGavin. And we'd suggest there isn't a flat cap or pair of brown overalls between them.
These hypo-powered classics are amazing; much more interesting (and potentially dangerous) than the modern fare that makes its way to Bonneville each year. We can only assume Team Masson & McGavin chose the Austin because of those airstream-like front wings. Or perhaps its bread bin aesthetics glue it to the salt.
The van is powered by a 1970s-era Nissan L20 four-cylinder engine, with a displacement of just under 2.0-litres. For the record, it ran to a respectable average top speed of 171.60 km/h. It was trumped by a pretty wild 1966 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia this year, which ran an average in excess of 199 km/h across both timed runs over the flats.
Still, if you'd suggested to the local roadside cafe in 1948 that their bread would be getting delivered at over 160 km/h, they'd have slammed the shop door in your face.