Some of you are looking forward to a three-day weekend. Others deserve to be in jail, among them some well-known car people.
Foremost of these is J.C. France, grandson of Bill France, founder of NASCAR. J.C. was allegedly racing with his half-brother Russell Van Richmond on the streets of Daytona Beach. The cops charged him with DUI and cocaine possession. Autoweek provided some details:
Van Richmond was driving a Porsche Cayenne, and France was driving a green 2007 Lamborghini. Van Richmond also was charged with DUI, possession of cocaine and possession of a controlled substance, hydrocodone. The newspaper reported that Van Richmond additionally was charged with threatening an officer after telling her, “I want your commander now. I am a France. Do you know what that means? We own this city.”
Autoweek referred to these clowns as “NASCAR’s royal family.” Well, how are we supposed to take that appellation? That they deserve utmost respect? That, as Robespierre suggested, we should prepare to cut their French heads off? The fact that NASCAR has become a joke to many of us leads me to wonder why police released J.C. on only a $4,500 bond. Maybe the family does own the town.
On a lighter note, the Michelin Man, aka “Bibendum,” will no longer be the Mr. Nice Guy we’ve grown to love. The company is spending some $20 million on an ad campaign to make him into some kind of superhero, a tough guy whom they hope will provide better traction for the brand.
In the [new] ads, the Michelin Man pulls tires from of his own midsection [sic] and hurls them, either at drivers who use them to replace their presumably inferior tires or at a frightened, cowering gas pump.
On a more somber note, GM is reportedly close to a deal to sell Hummer to a Chinese heavy-equipment manufacturer (with no car-building experience) for a measly $150 million. They were trying for $500 million, but had no takers. The deal faces all kinds of regulatory hurdles, besides being high-risk for the buyers. Sales of Hummer have fallen 63 percent this year (January-September).
GM’s Saab deal is also supposed to close this month. So was the Saturn sale to Penske. Perhaps October is not GM’s month. One recalls the October revolution that brought the Bolsheviks to power.
Guns and cars go together like ice cream and cones. So assumes the Illinois Supreme Court, which just ruled that gun owners can carry weapons in car storage compartments designed for phones, CDs, and sunglasses—you know, the center consoles, as pictured. The Court said that
these compartments can be defined as “cases” in terms of gun laws, which require a gun to be in a case when transported in a car.
In case you’re wondering, the Court’s next case will decide whether automatic weapons can be stowed in the spare tire “case.”
Last but not least is the case of the Toyota floor mats, which we reviewed last month. The company is recalling 3.8 million trucks and cars, because the floor mats can slide under the accelerator and cause it to, well, accelerate. Now, Toyota is telling its dealers to use plastic zip-ties to secure the loose mats. This from the company that transformed the world of automotive production? Zip-ties, for Pete’s sake!
We want to hear your comments on the latest NASCAR scandal: Is the France dynasty finally ending?