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jaguar paint touch up Q&A Review

What are the most common problems that go wrong with older cars?

This is a great question, however the answer is dependent on a few things namely the year, make and model of the car, but also what is its maintenance and driving history, and has it had any major problems or restoration work done. For each model and make of car there are very specific things that are known to wear out over time and these can be predicted with some certainty. Keeping an older car on the road is a great way to stretch a student budget or keep food on the table for a young family. Driving an older car is also a great way to enjoy motoring with a classic sports car or vintage car. There are a few methods to the madness including the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach, a “rolling restoration” where you keep driving your car while you fix it up, a “resto-mod” in which you make improvements to the original design, or a “concours restoration” during which the car is returned to original showroom condition or better. Which of these approaches you take depends on your budget and your goal for your baby driver. However in a very general sense you could look at the major wear and tear items for a start. A 1967 Ford Fairlane V8 First, tyres and brakes are right up and will need replacement and servicing quite frequently. Of course you want to be sure to follow a good maintenance schedule in terms of oil changes and radiator flushes and fixing the little things that might go wrong like light bulbs and switches. Don’t be terribly surprised if your older car needs a new muffler or another part of the exhaust system which tend to rust. Let’s put all that under regular maintenance, and if you don’t do that then you know you will get much bigger problems down the road a few years. A 1986 Porsche 944. Next let’s discuss cosmetics because what’s the use of having an old car if it looks like its heading for the junkyard. If you want to keep your old car on the road it must have some value like its your first car, or its a really cool car, or its a cherry 1963 Corvette Stingray Split Window Coupe with a fuel-injected 427 big block. So you want to keep your ride looking good, there will be bumps and dings, hopefully nothing major, but faded paint, lost trim, upholstery, door latches, windows etc. If you are keeping your car for the long haul then factor in cosmetics to be maintained with touch-ups and occasionally major work, and if that includes body work, paint or rust repair that’s going to cost you. A 1976 Jaguar XJ6 Then let’s look at the mechanicals. Hoses for the cooling system, water pump and hydraulics for the brakes and clutch are often the very first thing to go wrong especially if an old car has been sitting for awhile. Suspension is also one of the first things to go after brakes, so if the car is starting to feel a bit sloppy and bouncy around the bends you probably need new bushings and shocks/dampers, maybe even springs and steering rebuilt. This isn’t major work but it can be costly unless you are doing the work yourself, and the good thing is that this isn't hard work to do if you go step-by-step and you have the tools. A 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Then we have the drive train, including the engine, transmission and final drive or transaxle. Alot of times the ignition and wiring will give problems on older cars, and this can include the battery (the number 1 culprit), the starter, the alternator, ignition coil, spark plugs, distributor, wiring, carburettors, fuel pump, fuel injection system etc. All of that can be difficult to trouble shoot and expensive to repair so unless you know what you are doing or have an aptitude you should probably get some help here from someone who does. A 1990 BMW M3 As we go deeper into the drive train we have the engine mechanicals including the valves, cams, belts, timing chain, pistons, rods, cylinder head, block, oil pump, bearings, crankshaft, gaskets, seals and more. If any of this stuff is wildly out of order you will know it soon, and it will probably require some major work unless you catch it by regular maintenance. Likewise for the gears, axles, driveshafts and universal joints in the transmission, differential gears and final drive mechanism. All of this stuff can and will go wrong over time, especially if a car is not well maintained or is driven hard. Somethings like timing belts and water pumps need to be serviced on a regular schedule or their failure can be catastrophic. A 1932 Ford Model A Driving an older car is a great pleasure, and taking pride in its appearance, maintenance or even restoration can be very rewarding. Whether you are just trying to keep a car on the road because your budget is stretched, or if you are restoring a classic all of these things apply. Well the ’32 Ford doesn’t have a timing belt but it does have a chain to drive the camshaft, a water pump and all of the other things that can break, as does your late model Bimmer. To successfully keep your older car on the road take the long view and be patient. TV shows like “Jay Leno’s Garage” and “Overhaulin” are inspirational but that is not reality, so temper your dreams. Pay attention to the small things and take pride in your vehicle. Most of all have fun! Copyright Kevin O’Driscoll 2018 About the author: Kevin O’Driscoll is a freelance writer based in Switzerland and has suffered a life-long obsession with science, technology and automobiles.

What do you think about the analysis on India-China-Pakistan war on Dokalam issue, by India Today?

I personally found the analysis a little over confident towards the Indian side. Given that this analysis is provided by an Indian TV channel, I think that was expected. Painting a grimmer picture might cause panic among the Indians. The analysis puts way too much focus on the ground movement by the PLA, which I doubt is the correct approach. The PLA boasts about its high number of artillery which has the reach of 150 KM, plus the rocket barrage that it has. The ,number one danger, for the PLA is this mean machine: See that BrahMos it is carrying? I would come to that later. Su-30MKI is a superior aircraft to the Chinese Su-30. You might do research on this later, but there was pressure on Russia to not sell the better aircraft to China. The Su-30MKI would give air superiority to India in any India-China dispute. Although China has other Gen 4 fighters, they are ,untested, in the battle field and not of Russian-Indian ,quality,. The Gen 5 fighters that China has are untested, relatively very new and the pilots don't have enough experience flying them. Given the higher altitude airfields that China has in Tibet, I doubt these fighters would be of any good use. In addition to this, the Su-30MKI can carry the world's best missile in its range - the BrahMos. As Su30-MKI has a reach of about 3000KM, and is the best aircraft in the region, the effective ,reach of BrahMos becomes 3300KM, which is devastating. So, what would China do? Well, it would ensure that ,no Su-30MKI ever leaves the airfield,. It would want to destroy all the Su-30MKIs in their hangars. The first attack of China hence, would be to use the ,artillery/missiles to flatten the Indian air base ,in Arunachal Pradesh, Panagarh, Hidan. It would also not take any chances with other air bases where other fighters like Mirage-2000 and Jaguar are stationed. As per Indian estimates (I have a few sources), the losses to the IAF can range from 10-20%. However, ,a war could go worse than your estimates and if it reaches anywhere within 40-50%, that too within a matter of hours, then India is in deep soup. Of course, both parties have thought of this and don't expect India to just present its best fighters to China on a platter, however this is how China would start its campaign. As the attack on the IAF goes on, ,China will bring in all the forces within 6-8 hours ,using the high speed road and rails to the border. China knows that it would get trapped in Dokalam so ,it won't touch this area for now,. India has a good ,tank regiment, in Ladakh so China would identify that as the ,next big headache,. A small campaign in Ladakh would be started by China to ,lure out, the Indian defenses. The tease will go on till the Indian tanks are out in open. Right now, I would expect India to fly in reinforcements in Ladakh as well, as China would be doing the same. There would be now a ,gunship(China)-tank(India) battle in Ladakh,. The IAF would be under pressure hence it may or may not get involved here. The Ladakh battle would go on and I cannot predict the outcome. China would, of course invade India from the state of Uttarakhand however the ,tough terrain, would kill more soldiers (Indian or Chinese), than the enemy. Whoever is more used to this terrain would win, as I doubt firepower or technology can make a bigger difference. If Indian army has identified good strategic points to defend then China will have real hard time going ahead. ,India does have some advantage over here,. In the state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is already reeling after the ,Chinese attack of water bombs, (,despite lower rain, flooding in the state is much worse,), China will make advances as the water recedes. If IAF survives the long range attacks then Chinese forces will have tougher time cracking in. However, without air support, and with PLAAF hovering in the sky, India would have tough time. The Indian strike corp is stationed there though and these guys are real bad ass. The Chinese push near Sikkim will depend only upon the result of the Ladakh and the AP battle. Uttarakhand would most probably end in a stalemate, all due to the tough terrain. Things can go really out of hand if Indian forces win Ladakh handsomely, and hold on AP. If India start their campaign to free Tibet, then China might be compelled to use the long range weapons on interior India. I cannot tell about the Naval battle as although Chinese navy is better, India has the home advantage. If India is unable to detect the Chinese subs then it would lose a lot of ships. If China is unable to cope up with Indian strategies, then it would not be able to go beyond Andaman & Nikobar Islands. If India gets an upper hand, it would ask China to end the war. If China persists, then the Malaca route would be blocked. Would Chinese navy, if it wins, rain hell on Indian cities? You cannot predict anything in war, but ,if the Chinese Navy reaches South India then India would surrender. But none of this happens if the Su-30MKIs escape the first wave of Chinese attack. If they somehow hide and escape, Chinese would be really, really badly screwed. There are a few powerful people in the high up who want to create the Tibet buffer zone and finish of the Chinese threat once and for all and the temptation would be too high to resist. Yes, it is not a linear analysis but I think no war analysis should be! Of course, I don't agree with the India Today analysis. It was a feel good story which was designed for diplomacy. PS: ,Pakistan will not open the India-Pakistan international border,. Indian cavalry, navy and AF is way too much for it to handle. So, the most that Pakistan will do is ,send in terrorists, and do ,insane shelling and cross border firing, to keep a large section of Indian Military pinned down.

What is the most satisfying thing you have done to someone who blocked your driveway?

Original Question: What is the most satisfying thing you have done to someone who blocked your driveway? Two things spring to mind, although neither of them quite relate to a driveway being blocked. The first was many years ago when the car-park of a small business I was a then director of, often got used by fans when there was an evening football match at a nearby stadium. This was despite several notices at the entrance saying it was private property. We eventually resolved this by having some large (A3 sized) sheets of adhesive paper printed up with words to the effect that it was a private car park and not to use it in future. These were stuck, very firmly, on the windscreens of the offending cars, completely blocking the driver's view. And they were ,very, hard to remove! Locking a few offending cars in the car-park overnight or even over a weekend on occasion, also helped solve the problem. That was certainly satisfying! The second time was when I accidentally and unnoticed at the time must have put a long dent down the side of a car parked rather thoughtlessly opposite my drive. I had a Jaguar XJR, a large car not known for its good turning circle, and at the time I lived on a fairly narrow road which was often fairly congested with (legally) parked cars. As you might imagine, it wasn't the easiest thing to come out of the drive and turn to go up or down the road if a car was parked opposite, often I needed to reverse and go forwards a couple of times to do so - and the same to get back in the drive. On one occasion when I got out of the car at my destination I noticed paint on one corner of the front bumper, the only way it could have happened was if I'd touched, then continued going forwards along the side of the car opposite at very slow speed whilst manoeuvring, putting what could have been a long score in the bodywork. I certainly didn't feel anything at the time. Of course, by the time I got back home the car concerned had long gone, and the driver must have been cursing whoever he/she thought had done it!

I sprayed WD-40 on my Jaguar brake discs, and rotors because they got rusty. How do I remove it? Will it harm my car?

Right.. next time just leave it alone. Brake discs will get rusty if the car sits simply from the moisture around, if the car is parked outside and it rains this happens even faster, but your first drive will normally rub off all the rust. If your concerned about the part of the disc that the brake pads aren’t touching pull your wheel off.. get some sandpaper and rustoleum high heat rust proof spray paint, tape up your calipers and any part of the disc that the pads touches and spray it..(normally that’s the inside part of the disc that touches the rim).. this will prohibit the rust from the more center areas of the disc, the pads will always rub off the rust on the disc face. No need to spray wd40 there.

Is Lexus SC400/300 a good first car?

No Most first cars take a beating. New drivers usually curb rash, get small scratches, scrap a lot because they are not sure of how big and low the car is. The SC has little ground clearence and parts are still pricey to get when they get dinged up. Even if you are a good driver and the people around you will cause a lot of wear and tear to your car. When I was 17 I parked my Jaguar at school and when I came back from lunch another student had parked their car so it was literally touching mines and scratching the paint off the bumper. I would recommend getting a previous generation GM pick-up truck. They have cheap parts and can take the abuse first cars face. After a year get the lexus. Youll get close to what you paid for the truck.

How do the super rich spend their money?

1. Steve Cohen’s 14-Foot Preserved Shark Cost: $8 million to $12 million In 2004, billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen bought what just might be the world’s most unique piece of contemporary art: a 14-foot tiger shark preserved with a combination of alcohol and formaldehyde. Originally purchased for $93,000 in 1992 by art mogul Charles Saatchi, Cohen bought the piece — officially called “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” — more than a decade later for an undisclosed amount, which New York magazine reported to be between $8 million and $12 million. 2. Mukesh Ambani’s Home Cost: $1 billion Mukesh Ambani inherited and controls an oil empire that has earned him an estimated net worth of about $43 billion. The Indian magnate used $1 billion of that fortune to build the most expensive home in his native country — and the entire world. According to Forbes, Ambani’s residence is a 27-story, 400,000-square-foot skyscraper that boasts three helicopter pads and six underground parking levels. Named after the mythical island of Antilla, its amenities reportedly include a ballroom, a 50-seat theater and nine elevators in the lobby alone. About 600 staff members are required to maintain Ambani’s mega-mansion. 3. Roman Abramovich’s Superyacht Cost: $1.2 billion Roman Abramovich owns world’s largest and most expensive yacht, the Eclipse. Launched in 2010, the Eclipse boasts 9 decks, a 16 meter long pool, a disco, 20 jet skis, 4 motorboats and 2 helipads. 4. Larry Ellison’s Hawaiian Island Cost: $300 million For ,the richest of the rich,, even the grandest mansion simply won’t do. For Oracle founder Larry Ellison, home is the Hawaiian island of Lanai, which he picked up in 2012 for a cool $300 million, according to CNBC. His tropical paradise includes 90,000 acres, two Four Seasons resorts and a town with a population of 3,200. Considering a stay in one of those resorts? You’ll certainly vacation in luxury, but it will cost you $21,000 a night. 5. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Airbus A380 ‘Flying Palace’ Cost: At least $500 million Membership in the Saudi Royal Family’s inner circle certainly has its perks. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, for example, already owned a $220 million Boeing 747-400 — but in his world, that’s small potatoes. In 2007, he paid $319 million for an A380 double-decker superjumbo jet — the world’s largest passenger aircraft. He ordered upgrades — including space for his horses and two Rolls Royce cars — that sent the sticker price soaring past $500 million. Before it was even ready, however, he sold his newest toy to an undisclosed buyer. 6. William Koch’s Billy the Kid Photo Cost: $2.3 million William Koch is one-half of the billionaire brother duo famous for their Koch Industries empire and their massive political influence — but he’s also a big-time buff of Wild West history. In 2011, he scooped up the gem of the genre when he paid $2.3 million for the world’s only authenticated photograph of legendary outlaw Billy the Kid. 7. Ken Griffin’s Pair of Paintings Cost: $500 million Ken Griffin, ,hedge fund billionaire,, is a known art aficionado, but the jewel of his collection is a pair of abstract impressionist paintings he bought at the same time at auction, one by Willem de Kooning and the other by Jackson Pollock. In total, he dropped half a billion dollars on the purchase, which the Chicago Tribune called “one of the largest private art deals ever.” 8. Bill Gates’ Scientific Scribbles by Leonardo Da Vinci Cost: $30 million Bill Gates and Leonardo da Vinci have a lot in common: They’re both math geniuses who also changed history. It’s only fitting, then, that the Microsoft founder would be interested in the musings of the original Renaissance man. In 1994, Gates spent $30.8 million to own the Codex Leicester, a 72-page manuscript that da Vinci compiled in the early 16th century, complete with the master polymath’s diagrams, writings, sketches and ideas for future inventions. 9. The Sultan of Brunei’s Car Collection Cost: $5 billion It’s good to be a sultan. Need proof? Just take a look at the collection of cars owned by the Sultan of Brunei, who rules a country smaller than the state of Delaware. His legendary fleet contains between 5,000 and 7,000 of the world’s rarest, finest, best performing and most expensive cars, which Top Speed values at a combined $5 billion — at least. Among the finest gems are 21 Lamborghinis, 452 Ferraris and 604 Rolls Royces, including the “Star of India,” a $14 million Rolls convertible that has the distinction of being ,the world’s most expensive car,. 10. Prince Hans Adam II’s Fancy Furniture Cost: $36 million In 2004, Prince Hans Adam II of the tiny nation of Liechtenstein dropped $36 million on a piece of furniture that you probably won’t find in Ikea. Dating to the 18th century, the Florentine ebony piece known as the Badminton Cabinet is adorned with precious stones like lapis lazuli, agate and amethyst quartz. When the prince bought the chest, the purchase broke its own record. The Badminton Cabinet was already the world’s priciest piece of furniture after selling for $16.59 million in 1990. 11. Jeff Bezos’ Newspaper Cost: $250 million The vaunted Washington Post, the paper that took down a presidency, was controlled locally by the Graham family for 80 years — until Jeff Bezos decided he wanted it. In 2013, the billionaire Amazon founder bought one of the world’s most influential publications for $250 million in what The Wall Street Journal called an “out-of-the-blue deal.” Three years later, Bezos seemed to confirm that assessment when he told Fortune that he “did no due diligence” and simply accepted the first number the seller proposed. 12. Maxim Viktorov’s Violin Cost: $3.9 million In 2008, one of the rarest instruments on earth played music for the first time in seven decades. The audience was what the Guardian called “the cream of Moscow society.” They were the guests of Maxim Viktorov, a wealthy lawyer, darling of Russia’s ruling class and avid violin collector. That night, a maestro played Viktorov’s new Guarneri del Gesu, one of the 150 only surviving violins made by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu during the 18th century. They are considered the only violins more prized than the remaining 600 masterpieces crafted by Antonio Stradivari. 13. Jocelyn Wildenstein’s Plastic Surgery Cost: $4 million In her prime, Swiss socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein hunted with a Saudi arms dealer, dated a European filmmaker, explored Africa and was awarded $2.5 billion in a historically epic divorce. Her true passion, however, is written all over her face — literally. Wildenstein is now in her 70s, and her bizarre and self-inflicted appearance is an often-cited cautionary tale about excessive and obsessive plastic surgery. According to the Mirror, Wildenstein spent $4 million throughout the course of her decadeslong physical transformation. 14. Elon Musk’s Car Submarine Cost: Roughly $1 million Tech billionaire Elon Musk is the mind behind the Hyperloop tunnel, so it stands to reason that his own method of personal transportation might be less than ordinary. In 2013, the Tesla and SpaceX founder became the proud owner of the Lotus Esprit submarine car from James Bond glory in “The Spy Who Loved Me.” According to the Guardian, Musk coughed up the equivalent of $997,000 for the pre-Transformers transformer, which was originally found in a storage shed that a random junk collector bought for $100 in 1989. 15. Carlos Slim’s Museum in Mexico Cost: $800 million There are two types of art collectors: Those who own art collections and those who own their own museums. With a net worth of $71.4 billion, telecom tycoon Carlos Slim is Mexico’s richest man. In 2011 he was the richest man in the world. That, according to NPR, is the year he opened the Museo Soumaya — an $800 million, six-story, metallic and windowless art museum — to showcase his legendary collection. In total, Slim owns more than 65,000 pieces, including some of Europe and Mexico’s most priceless works of art. 16. Clive Palmer’s Titanic Cost: $425 million to $567 million Some rich people settle for luxury yachts. But for Australian businessman and politician Clive Palmer, only the most famous ship in history will do. The Titanic, however, has been at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean since it sunk in 1912. Not easily swayed, Palmer commissioned “Titanic 2,” a nearly exact replica of the doomed nine-deck White Star Line ship — right down to the grand staircase featured in the 1997 movie, but updated for modern travel. Also important to note: “Titanic 2” has enough lifeboats for everyone on board. Some More Facts 17. It's a gold car Saudi billionaire Turki Bin Abdullah has a fleet of cars - Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe, Mercedes jeep, Lamborghini Aventador SuperVeloce and gold Bentley. 18. Diamond ring? No, car Buying a luxurious Mercedes Benz is not enough for Prince Al Talal bin Abdulaziz, so he crusted some diamond all over the car for his 38th birthday. You read it right, that's a diamond studded car. Prince Waleed was charging people $1,000 to touch the car. 19. Incredible Collections III: Sultan of Brunei's Cars Among many, many other cars, the collection includes: over 600 Rolls Royce's over 570 Mercedes-Benz over 450 Ferrari's over 380 Bentley's over 200 BMW's over 170 Jaguars over 130 Koenigsegg sports cars. By ,Vivek Sheel

What type of paint can you use to touch up Cellulose automotive pain? There are small areas of the original paint which have been sanded through to the metal.

Cellulose (lacquer) auto paint hasn't been mass produced in decades. There are a few places in the US and other continents that still have it, but I can guarantee it won't match well. One of my former work mates had success repairing a vintage Jaguar's original lacquer with some colour matched acrylic enamel. The trick was in the “blending”. He prepped a minimal area, and essentially airbrushed the colour in. Then he wet sanded and partly polished the repair area to match the finish. That's the hard part, the finish. Colour pigments no longer in production can be simulated by a clever mixer, but the real difference between new and old paints is the lustre, or “finish”. At that point application is more art, so you need someone with that artistic attention to detail and patience to make the repair blend in and become practically invisible. That car won best in show shortly afterward, by the way. I don't know if you've met any, but Jaguar owners are pretty picky.

What does it feel like to live in a super-large house?

The biggest problem with living in a large house is the amount of staff that it requires. Before I headed to university there was a staff of fourteen people. That effectively meant having to deal with people all day long, in your own house. The good part was the cook, she cooked what you liked. And when my father was particularly himself, she would bake me my favorite strawberry cake. The bad part were some of the maids, always minding your business, and reporting your every move to the governess. She was particularly mean spirited. I was raised by my nanny. When I was six I fell out of a tree. Instead of going to mother for emotional comfort, I walked right past her and went to my nanny. I heard the thought process in my mother's head, and was immediately overcome with grief. Two days later my mother fired the nanny and that easily was the most traumatic event in my childhood. The house had its own fully ordained chapel. It smelt funny. We went to catholic skools. Once the priest asked me why I never went to church. I told him I did. He said very matter of fact "I never saw you in church", to which I answered "that's because our house has a chapel that sits 48, you can ask the Bishop, he comes over for dinner often...". He never bothered me again. The house's contents were all antique. Every cent spent was for the maintenance of the house, and the acquisition of new art. My father firmly believed that nothing past 1789 should enter the house. That of course was the date of the beginning of the French Revolution. The unfortunate effect of that was that there was not a single comfortable couch in the whole house. Before Christmas, every year we would do inventory. It was a whole day affair. My father would point to an object and I would have to give a detailed description of the provenance. Three strikes, and no Christmas presents. I am to this day, quite the expert in antiques. I can look at a painting, and tell you pretty much everything about it. I can spot a forgery in under a second. Its one of those "useless" skills I carry around in my head. I wish my father would have taught me how to pick stocks instead, much more usefull a skill. But commerce was the domain of shop keepers, and anglosaxons. My grandfather never ever touched money. He would buy something, leave with the goods, and send one of the servants with cash to settle the bill. When I was in my teens, my parents realized that french was no longer the language to know. That was a realization with full effect, as recently as the early 1990's. Before that, a life of privilege meant having a perfect knowledge of french culture. So out went the french governess and in came the english governess. My father never really liked her, but she was kind. There were no fancy cars. Maybe when young you were expected to indulge in a fancy sports car. But never after marriage. Cars lasted until they died of old age. My father never had fancy cars. But he always had a driver. I think my father was well into his sixties before he ever drove a car. My grand father never drove a car either, he always had a driver. My grand mother looked on in horror every time my mother got into her car, and actually drove it. The first thing my father did when he married my mother was force her to sell her Jaguar. She is still bitter about it. We had rich friends. What that meant was people who spent money. On crap mostly, but they spent it. We never spent money, that was "nouveau riche". You spent money on art, that was okay. What people don't often realize is that those with inherited wealth don't actual see themselves as "rich". What they see themselves as, is privileged. Privilege is a completely different animal. Privileged people live in houses that are different from the houses of the rich. Because privilege is different. You are not raised, you are bred. I remember my grand father saying about me "He is not particularly intelligent, he should marry a spectacularly intelligent woman if he expects his children to escape his limitations..." Of course dyslexia was not a category of thought. My father still refers to me as the retard. When I made my first millions in technology, he exclaimed "I guess that field requires aggressiveness, and so does living in the US, your natural traits fortunately allowed you to overcome your lack of intelligence...". That completely enrages my ,american, soul mate. My father insists american females "are too bellicose..." The thing about privilege is that its born out of tradition. Everything is tradition. Every piece of furniture or art serves a specific purpose. We had four silver sets for the dinner table, because each addressed a different constituency. When englishmen were the guest of honor, english silver came out. When frenchmen were invited over the french porcelain and silver ware came out. My father would rearrange the furniture depending on the guests. Furniture had to be French or Italian. English pieces were allowed not because the english ever did anything beautiful, but because they were so well put together... "ugly as a pair of english lady's bovine ankles, but expertly crafted". Paintings were either Italian, French or Flemish. Carpets were Persian or Turkish. End of discussion. One of my first purchases as an adult was of a seventeenth century Spanish still life. That got a long "hummmm" out of my father. I pointed out his title was granted by a Spanish Monarch. He replied without hesitation "Aragonese". Spanish is so 1812, way past his cut off. My family got its title before "las espanas" existed or america was discovered. The only thing Germanic allowed in the house was Meissen porcelain. It was the only exception to the rule that "no German, or anything german, was allowed inside the front door". When my sister went to study in England, she had an african boyfriend. That was okay, he was of rank, as demonstrated by the scars on his face. When I bought my first german car, my father did not speak to me for months. He referred to me to my mother as "your son". My grandmother insisted it was because my mother drove her own car. Its always the mother's fault. The house otherwise was always dark. Curtains were always closed. Antiques are always colored with organic dies. Sunshine would bleach anything in an afternoon. I still cringe at the idea of leaving the house with the curtains open. My mother had her living room, and my father had his. My mother loved the sunshine. My grandmother thought that more scandalous than driving a car. My father always insisted that all the live in staff had to be off the premises on Sundays. On sundays my father would run around naked. He was a nudist. Then when dinner time came, he would put on a jacket and tie, and sit at the dinner table. Super large houses existed because they were not houses. They were estates. Business revolved around the estate especially if it was landed wealth. Lots of non family members lived on the estate. Most of the estates I frequented no longer exist. Most have been carved up into multiple apartments, especially the palazzi. Some of the grand houses in the countryside still exist, but even those are starting to get carved up. There is no economic justification for them. And with the disappearance of the large estates, also disappeared the traditions. Its hard to explain the familiar bond with somebody that has worked for your family for generations. The greatest privilege that comes from breeding is the entitlement to be "sui generis". You are a "sovereign" in as much as nobody can tell you what to think or do. You are a culture onto yourself. Your children are your private domain. Nationalism is considered blasphemy. Children were expected to read latin and greek, not play with toys (I never had toys as a child). Every object around you was to create a particular personal vision of the world. Conformity was abhorrent. And people who showed loyalty to a corporation were "sell outs". Most large houses today are ugly. They are ugly because the people who inhabit them are nouveau riche with no tradition. The purpose of the house is not to show individuality, but to conform to what they think is the standard. They throw $50K birthday parties for their six year olds, because they need to demonstrate richness, not taste and breeding. You would think that some of the billionaire who's houses I have been in would at least show wealth, but they don't. Nothing in them is irreplaceable. Everything in them can be bought with an internet connection and a credit card. And they are mostly put together by professional interior designers. They are boiler plate. And yes, this is anonymous because I don't want to have to explain myself to people I know. The large houses I frequented were testaments to a world that no longer exists or is possible. The large houses of today reflect the values of today. They are as obscene as private ships. But they serve their purposes too. Fortunately they are so badly built that they will not survive their owners or the expense put into them. Its the temporary nature of their existence, that is offensive. Permanent revolution, and conspicuous consumption.

How much will it cost to repaint BMW's side mirror?

I hope this is helpful…I own a 2011 Camaro SS/RS convertible. I bought it new and it now has ,just, under 10,000 miles. It is black/black/black. The new Camaros and Corvettes receive the same paint process as the Audis, BMWs, and Mercedes. My car has a ,flawless,, perfectly flat (in terms of surfactant, not shine), unbelievably glossy midnight in a cave black finish I’ve ever seen. Or it ,was,, until a photographer at a Christmas parade, two 8-year-olds sitting on the bonnet in a homecoming parade, and Miss Ardmore High School of 2013 all left their very minor marks on it. Fortunately, all the marks were in the clearcoat; none went to the paint or primer. I personally know and very much like the body shop manager at the Chevy dealer I bought the car from. It’sa fine body shop, and they’ve touched up cars and trucks for me before. But they don’t use the factory process. There was ,no way, Chevy was going to touch my car. So in March of 2015 I took it to the BMW/Audi/Jaguar dealer in Huntsville. They have the only body shop in town that would guarantee the repair in writing to be invisible and leave no swirl marks in the finish. Their labor fee: $50.00 per hour. ,Cheaper ,than Chevy. They had my car in the shop for 5 hours; the total bill, tax included, was $255.00. The repair is invisible, and there are no swirl marks. I do my own paint and body work except on the Corvette and Camaro. I’m ,very good,. Those cars require ,perfect. Take it to your local BMW dealer. Their paint will match perfectly, they use the BMW factory process, their techs are ,all, factory certified, and their work is without peer. And guaranteed. And I’ll bet you’ll pay for about 3 hours of labor and a smidge of paint and walk out for under $300.00.

Why are American cars exceedingly bad in retaining value while they have great engineering companies and schools?

The answer is simpler than you may think, but it requires context. In the 1920s, Henry Ford’s factories began rolling off the Model-T, a highly reliable, touch and endurable vehicle that was priced low enough that almost anyone with a steady income could afford one. They came in one color: black. They were simple and utilitarian, lacked amenities, and with the only major enhancement being the removal of the back seat and installation of a cargo box, turning it into a pickup, they became the staple vehicle for the US for a decade. In the thirties, other manufacturers joined the game and upped the ante, producing cheap and affordable vehicles; at the same time, they recognized the demand for more comfortable and sportier cars and a wider variety of types, from sedans and touring cars to coupes and roadsters, as well as larger and more useful trucks of all sorts, as well as status-symbol vehicles. Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, all arms of General Motors, Mercury, a Ford subsidiary, as well as Studebaker, Hudson, Packard, and many others entered the market with brightly colored vehicles of all kinds of designs, boasting all kinds of extras from radios to actual flower vases mounted on the door posts. Electric starters replaced cranks, engines became more reliable, wheels and tires improved, and upholstery and other comforting amenities, such as clocks and enclosed headlamps followed. Not to be out done, Ford issued the Model-A, and then newer and larger and fancier models as well. But certain brands topped the mark. Cadillac is the most enduring, and the very name of the vehicle has become synonymous with high quality; Cadillac, in a word, was “The Cadillac of the industry.” This upwardly mobile and constantly improving design trend was halted in the 1940s, when World War II all but shuttered the automotive production industry in favor of the production of war machines—tanks and planes and jeeps and armored vehicles and many other products. What cars that were still made were plain and utilitarian, largely useful to the military or essential civilian services, such as police and fire stations. The increasingly sleek and art-deco designs of the thirties were interrupted in their forward march for those years. Orders for 1946 and 1947 models, though, went through the roof, as GIs were mustered out, their pockets full of back pay and personal ambitions on the rise. Sometimes the waiting period for a new model might be as much as six months. Following WWII, the American economy enjoyed a major period of prosperity that elevated the working class to the middle class and made affording a new car quite possible for millions and millions of Americans who, before the war, could only have dreamed of such. The major manufactures tuned into that quickly, and they began a process of releasing new models with entirely new designs, at least in body style, and with additional attractive options each year in a competitive frenzy to dominate the market. There was a make for every pocketbook and purpose, it seemed, and what had been called “agencies” before the war became “dealerships” the used car market also flourished with hundreds of thousands of used car dealers popping up everywhere. It also was a boon for the banking and finance industries, as they carried the notes for these vehicles. Oil companies expanded the old gas pump style garages and stores into full-service filling stations, some with restaurants attached, and tourism became a thing as Americans took to the road, so the motel, hotel, and restaurant industry boomed as well. Highway construction expanded, and by the end of the 1950s the national network of interstate freeways was well underway and growing. American auto engineering was at its peak. Each year saw vehicles with higher style, greater comfort offerings, more luxurious upholstery and options such as air conditioning and automatic transmissions, electric windows ands seats, more powerful engines and sturdier transmissions. All of this made available for those who could afford it, but depending on purchasing ability, there still was a variety of choices in every price range. Improvements in mechanics and rubber for tires, brakes, power steering, more comfortable upholstery, and other devices, much of which was the result of wartime innovation and manufacture, appeared. Better paint, better glass that now could bend, adding to sleekness of design, better electronics all made vehicles safer, easier to operate, and, of course, more expensive to buy. In the meantime, the American auto manufacturing industry boomed. Competition among manufacturers was fierce, and vehicle advertising became a growing industry of its own. It was a given that American cars were the best in the world; everyone knew it. They might not win European races such as Le Mans, but they were competitive, and American cars quickly became status symbols both at home and abroad. German, French, Italian, and British manufacturers struggled to keep up, but they lacked the industrial capacity in the immediate postwar years to compete. There was no appreciable interest in Asian manufacturing, such as it was. Not yet. Smaller American auto companies, eventually, folded, one by one, because they didn’t have the factory infrastructure and the capital to retool entirely on an annual basis to produce new models every twelve months. Still, all was not positive. Built into the scheme was something we all are familiar with: planned obsolescence. The realistic notion was that a car should only last, without significant repairs, for about three years, although with proper maintenance, some could be stretched to five or beyond, although major overhauls and repairs might be required to keep it running. Most owners could do some of this on their own—creating another boon in the tool industry for home auto enthusiasts. Even soo the average vehicle owner would start thinking about a new car or at least a replacement used car about the time his loan for the old one was paid off, roughly thirty-six months, on average, leading many into debt. To enhance the appeal of newer models, the auto companies picked up on the public’s interest in modern technology, designing cars with absolutely useless features that made them look, at least somewhat, like jets, the new aircraft that was all the rage. Tail fins, sleek swept-back profiles, additional but totally visceral body features that were designed to remind folks of modern aircraft, and ultimately spacecraft, were deliberately created to appeal to the popular interest. But the key was a new model each year, and few motorists were insensitive to the emergence of “next year’s models” in the early autumn, especially as the older one wore out, broke down with greater frequency, required more expensive repairs. Often the new designs were kept under wraps until the public reveal to heighten suspense and stimulate further interest. The key word, of course, was “power,” not “economy,” with “comfort” being the second important consideration. Anticipation of the new models dominated a lot of American interest every fall. There were other considerations on the list of new innovations each year, but durability wasn’t one of them. It doesn’t take a degree in finance to figure out that if auto makers build durable, reliable, and trouble-free vehicles, that pretty soon, everyone would be content with the old family jitney, and no one would be looking to buy a new one. This philosophy extended throughout American manufacturing and included household appliances, implements, power tools, radios and televisions, and, of course, tires and other products that would require replacement, rather than repair, sooner rather than later. The capability of building or making products that would last longer, cost less, and provide more efficiency was counter-productive to a capitalist economy that was rapidly moving toward the corporate monopoly structure we have today. It’s not an accident, for example, that, today, any given car in any given class of cars, similarly equipped, costs about the same, no matter who makes it. There are exceptions, of course, but these are usually imported products; among imports, though, within a given class of vehicle, prices are almost always identical, depending on equipment. When Saturn emerged on the market with what was touted to be an affordable and durable vehicle some years back, it could have been a game-changer. But it wasn’t. Saturn never could design a vehicle attractive and exciting enough to capture the romantic imagination of the American motorist, and they also found that keeping cost down meant that sales had to be steady and upward trending. The American consumer is the biggest sucker in the world. People will buy anything that is advertised as being “new and improved,” even when it’s not. Having the latest, glitziest, most advanced, and most expensive that one can afford of anything is the ultimate American status symbol. Today, the emphasis is supposedly on “economy” and “environmentally friendly.” But it’s not, really. That’s all just eyewash, a smoke screen to disguise the darker and more sinister forces that work in the background of the American economy. Financial success and stability depends on a constant upward trend in profit. Maintaining a solid status quo year after year is a sure-fire way for any CEO to be dismissed. In the meantime, though, Japanese, then other nations’ like Korea, started manufacturing automobiles of high quality. The labor practices and management organization of their factories and industries were different from the US’s, which was dominated by unionized labor. The demands of American workers were significantly effective in the consistent raising of prices of new cars. To make up for the shortfall in profits that couldn’t be fully realized through the raising of retail prices, the major manufacturers understood that sales of new product were essential, so they upped their competitive game; at the same time, they began cutting costs by eliminating their emphasis on overall vehicular quality. They sold more style than substance, in a manner of speaking. What remained of the smaller companies—Nash, American Motors, Studebaker, Hudson, Packard all faded away, driven into history by labor demands, rising costs of materials, sinking sales figures, and a general demand for higher quality, more luxury, better amenities, and more attractive designs from year to year. In the meantime, European and British manufacturing increased, with the appearance of Volkswagen, Jaguar, Triumph, MG, BMW, Fiat, Mercedes Benz, and Renault making bids for a chunk of the American market. All of these, of course, were constructed with the same “planned obsolesce” that governed American manufacturing, and with higher-than-usual maintenance costs, to boot. And because they were “imports,” they cost more to purchase. The Japanese had entered the market with Toyota, as well; Datsun came about the same time and then Honda. The Asian imports were notoriously cheaper, plainer, smaller, less comfortable, and less reliable (some said less safe) because their parts were hard to get and most of them were constructed with metric-sized mechanics. American mechanics, for the most part, did not even own metric wrenches. Still, Japanese models and some European models, most especially VW, still had a steady influence on the market, and very quietly, their engineering improved, their quality rose; American vehicles tried to match the foreign competition by reducing their retail prices by cutting frills and reducing overall quality; Asians and Europeans were moving in a solidly opposite direction and improving in these areas while keeping their prices competitive, if slightly higher, than their American counterparts. Foreign manufacturers began to put greater and greater emphasis on engineering. They began accentuating safety features, fuel economy, and while their overall designs were humdrum for a long while, truly the same year after year, and their amenities remained basic, they began eating into the American market where luxury and style even in a mid-level model was the emphasis. Quality engineering in US models was suffering badly by the late 1970s and into the 1980s. Imports were growing in the reputation for quality. When the Japanese introduced the Lexus and Infinity lines and made them truly competitive with Mercedes and Cadillac, they had arrived. The pickup and SUV markets were next for them. And their reputation was that they were more durable, better made, easier to work on, and cheaper and more economical to drive. Even in areas where this wasn’t true—the light truck line, for example—their superior warranties seemed to compensate for it. Today, much assembly of imported brands takes place in the US. Many imports from Europe and Japan are also assembled in Mexico and other countries. Most all American vehicles depend on parts and large assembly elements made abroad; Chinese steel goes into American vehicles. American engineering has rebounded and improved, particularly in the SUV lines and pickups and luxury models, but energy efficiency and required safety devices keep retail prices up. Today, a mid-range, plain sedan with minimum options and few comfort amenities costs as much as did a three-bedroom house forty years ago, and they seem to go up in price each year, although the difference between one model-year and another in terms of appearance is now mimimal; moreover, the distinction between brands of vehicles is also faded into a single blurb. A common observation is “Every car in the lot looks like a Honda” is not much of an exaggeration. Outward appearances are now dictated by required aerodynamics, which effects fuel economy, that in turn, effects the environment. On the whole, it’s safe to say that today, American engineering is not much different in quality from that used by makers of imports. In many cases, the engineers are the same people or people who move from one company to another. The quality control on all new vehicles is about the same across the board, and because of the high price of new cars, the necessity for extended warranties, and the higher quality of technology applied to a vehicle, their durability is probably longer than it’s ever been. Most people wait around seven to nine years before trading up to a new model, today; some push their cars well past 150,000 miles, keeping them closely maintained. There’s more to go wrong with a vehicle today, because there is more in the way of electronic dependency and technology. But the mechanics of a traditional internal combustible gasoline engine are pretty much unchanged from the days of the Model T. We still use ignition spark and pistons and cylinders and driveshafts and differential gears to make the wheels go round. We still burn gas and lubricate with oil. We still need rubber, even if its synthetic and steel-belted, for tires. We still want comfortable seats, durability, and a bit of style in our machines. And there is nothing like that “new car smell.” Even all that said, there is probably no worse decision in the world than buying a new car. The moment a new buyer gets behind the wheel and drives it off the lot, a vehicle loses 25% or more of its value, and that cannot be recovered. Nothing we buy that costs so much depreciates in value so rapidly. That’s because the final price we, as consumers pay for new car, includes so many extraneous charges, fees, taxes, saleman’s commissions, dealership overhead, and other costs, that the amount that the actual vehicle costs and is worth is far below our final negotiated sum. It’s the most foolish purchase anyone ever makes; but we all seem eager to do it, and at least as often as we can afford to do so. So there is a lot to be said for having a new car. Probably few experiences are so satisfying, or, probably, demonstrative of worse judgement. If you have shopped recently, you’ve probably had the experience of the salesperson asking you “what color you want,” as the first question, even before learning what model or even type of vehicle you’re looking for. As the song says, “It’s all about the bass; no treble.”