Someone in Crete ponied up the $17+ thousand dollars for one of these things, and there it sat on the street near the grocery store and the gym.
Some moron took a couple of cell-phone pictures of it while I waited for Mom to come out of the grocery store. I mean, WTF is the point of that? "Oh boy, I must take a picture of this so I can always remember the first time I saw a Smart ForTwo in real life!"
There are probably millions of pictures of these things all over the Internet, of better quality than a cell phone can ever manage--WTF? And in a year or two there'll be so many of the stupid things running around that no one will find them remarkable.
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Tomorrow I expect to go to the insurance office and take out a policy on the Escort, restoring it to 100% street legal status. It'll cost a few $ but ultimately it should save me some money, particularly if gas remains near $4 per gallon.
Here in Crete it dropped from its all-time high of $4.08, to $3.97, but with about 10 days remaining before Memorial Day I expect prices to rise, and probably then remain over $4 for much of the summer. For the most part prices have followed a ratcheting waveform: rise, fall a bit, rise more, fall a bit, rise more, etc, with the end price always higher.
I expect prices to remain above $3.50 even after the refineries stop making summer blends; the high prices will continue as long as oil is trading over $100 per barrel.
Thanks to the triumph of eco-stupidity, we're not going to be drilling in ANWR for a long freaking time. On the plus side, it also means that if the rest of the world runs out of oil we'll be able to sell the stuff under ANWR for $1,000,000 per barrel--assuming we even bother to exploit that resource then. More likely, China will invade the place and we'll have a nice messy war up there--and thusly do more ecological damage than drilling for oil could ever do.
...actually, the most likely scenario is that ANWR will be under the ice by the time the rest of the oil in the world is gone and we really need the oil that's there. The ecology of ANWR will be utterly eradicated by glaciers and the oil will be completely inaccessible for tens of thousands of years.
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I was thinking some more about the "Escort engine in Fiero" project I'm contemplating, and came up with some ideas.
For one thing, I'm going to have to work out how to fill the cooling system. You have to have a fill point on the engine in a Fiero, regardless of what that engine is, because of how the cooling system works. You must fill a cooling system from the highest point in the system; in most cars that's the radiator, but not in a Fiero. No. In a Fiero, it's at the thermostat housing on the engine. Fieros thus have two radiator caps--one on the radiator, one on the engine--and to make sure you don't leave huge air bubbles in the cooling system you must use both.
I'm thinking I can modify the thermostat housing, though I'm not entirely sure how just yet. Worst case, I can do a half-ass fill job by taking the radiator hose off. It'll get most of the air out, hopefully enough to do the job.
The other thing: I was thinking of having a custom decal made. It would be the traditional Ford blue oval, only instead of "Ford" inside it would say "Fiero", perhaps like this:
...and I also contemplated fooling people by having "Powered by Ford" on the car somewhere. People would point and laugh--"That's a GM car! It ain't powered by Ford!"--and then if anyone spoke to me about it, I could open the decklid and show him the Ford engine. But honestly, I think a small "blue oval" decal on the decklid is more than enough.
I need a life.