May the Best Car Win

If you have been watching anything on the news, you know that Chrysler and GM are still in deep trouble. Ford has been buoyed by the fact that they didn’t take any government money and they picked a great CEO. A comment that I didn’t think made sense during the congressional hearings came from a GM exec that is no longer at GM because President Obama had him removed. He said something to the effect of “Our problem isn’t that we don’t build good cars, it is that we build cars to good.”

I have only had five different GM cars in my personal fleet over the last 26 years. The first was a 1966 Corvette that I let a buddy drive and he burned the car to the ground. I had the air filter off to work on the car and he drove it that way. This one wasn’t GM’s fault, it was mine. The second was a Chevy Nova, the worst car I have ever owned. I bought it used, and used hard at that, not GM’s fault. The third was a Chevy Fleetside pickup truck I bought new. It had electrical troubles the day I bought it. Fourth was a Saturn sedan that had so many issues, engineers flew out from Detroit to fix it. After that car I swore off all GM products.

This year my partner and I created the Rust Bucket Racers. The Rust Bucket Racers is a charity racing team to raise money for kids with cancer. The deal is simple, all the drivers have to fund the racing and all the sponsor money goes directly to the kids. We are shooting for 95% or more of the money going directly to research or kids in financial need. We added my Dentist, Jack Stephens and another former board member from the local chamber of commerce, David Brewer.

We signed up for the 24 Hours of LeMons racing events. The idea is to buy a car for $500 and make it safe enough to race. The only car we could find at that price last year was a 1993 Chevy Cavalier. The car was originally delivered to Canada so it had seen a lot of road salt in its time. You could see the road through most of the floor boards and the doors. When we tried to weld the roll cage in the car the floor would fall out as we were welding. I was sweating that the car would even make the race.

Saturday morning of the race, the inspectors gave it the “OK, good enough” sticker so we could race. They also started placing side bets on how many laps it would go before blowing up. There were 140 cars that started that day. The head of the race was the most positive of the group when he bet 20 laps.

I have to tell you that I was stunned and amazed when we were in the final laps Sunday afternoon. I was driving the last hour when I got flagged for a violation. The judge said “Dude you gotta get this piece of junk back on the track” so we worked our penalty and were on the finishing lap.

I want to put into perspective what our team did with a 1993 Chevy Cavalier. We took out the interior, welded in a roll cage, put on new tires and brakes and finished out by running that car on a race track for nearly 20 hours. 10 hours on Saturday, and 10 hours on Sunday. The car was driven by six different drivers, only one had any previous racing experience (me) and one other had any track experience (my brother). The rest had never been on a race track. That engine didn’t have any coolant, only water is allowed for safety. I am 100% positive we took that engine several hundred RPM over the limit, downshifting into the tight back corners and we didn’t suck a valve, blow a ring or drop the transmission.

We placed fifth for our class which was a huge victory to me and a total redemption for GM even though I have been a Ford loyalist since my Saturn. On my way home, towing the car, I saw a Chevy dealer with a sign, “May the best car win.”. I couldn’t help but smile as I was leaving a trail of rust all the way home. As hard as the Canadian road salt tried to kill that car, it still had spirit and just finished a grueling race that over 25% of the participants couldn’t finish.

No matter what the economy brings, run your business like that Cavalier ran the race. Never give up, others will quit and you might not be in first but you can still have some fun in the fight while you survive in an economy when others don’t. We are going to run that same car again February 20 and 21st, You can follow us on Twitter and You Tube so you can keep up and see if the Cavalier can do it again.

How to Find the Best Car Rental Companies

When renting a car, either home or abroad, finding an excellent car rental agency is of paramount importance. Getting a good deal and working with a reliable agency can make the difference between a pleasant experience and one that is costly and fraught with aggravation.

Finding a good company does not have to be hard; here are a few tips on how to hire the best car rental companies and benefit from only the best car rental experience, whatever your needs and wherever you are in the world.

Firstly, make sure that you choose a company with transparent pricing. This is often an issue with many companies that rent out vehicles of all kinds. People who to choose to hire a car from companies can find themselves faced with complicated contracts, complicated pricing schemes and plenty of hidden extra charges.

Hidden charges can come in the form of extra insurance, fees for extras such as baby seats, insurance waivers, pick up from a location such as an airport and much more. In fact, it is not unheard of for people to be encouraged to hire a car for an advertised price and then drive away having paid at least double that.

Unfortunately these somewhat dishonest practices seem to be rife nowadays. This is not true in all cases however, with the most reputable car rental agencies making sure they offer fair and completely clear prices.

Ask a company that you are thinking of hiring to provide a quote for all the services that you need. Be sure to check on breakdown cover and insurance, as these can end up costing you significantly if they are extra.

A second tip to finding a reputable car rental company is to look for one which offers an up-to-date and modern fleet of vehicles. This is not simply about looks or ease of driving, but for your own security and peace of mind too. After all, an older vehicle might be much more unreliable, and chances are that you will need your vehicle to be reliable for your purpose.

Although a cheap vehicle might be a lot easier on the wallet, if the car breaks down you could be in a potentially difficult situation. Although your rental agency might be able to offer you breakdown cover and roadside assistance, they may not have a spare vehicle for you available as a replacement straight away, causing you great inconvenience.

Be sure to check that the vehicle that you are hiring is modern and is serviced on a frequent basis. If necessary, consider paying a little bit more money for peace of mind when hiring a vehicle, rather than opting for rock bottom prices and unreliable vehicle.

The next tip to bear in mind when you hire the best car rental companies is to check that they have an excellent customer service system in place. Many of the most reliable companies have a 24-hour agency hot line just in case you encounter issues. Be wary of companies that are difficult to get hold off when you need them the most.

The best car rental companies will care that you have the best experience with them.

This includes not only giving you a transparent pricing structure, but also ensuring that you have help on hand should you need it, especially if you are hiring in an area that you do not know well and driving a vehicle that you are not too familiar with.

If in doubt, consult the company’s customer testimonials or feedback to see whether or not you are making a good choice. The best agencies will not be shy about showing off all the positive client reviews they have on their website or elsewhere, and this is often a very reliable indicator of quality.