Sunday, August 5, 2012

What's New In The World of Car Audio?

It's fascinating to think about how far and fast car radio technology has evolved. You can't even really just call it "car radio" anymore, because it includes so much more than that.

From the start of the auto era, if anybody knew how to put a home radio into their car it was pretty much the only option. These were usually DIY and tweaked versions of home radios, home stereos, that the typical tinkerer might have come up with. Rarely, if ever, was anything actually included in the initial manufacturing build of those older automobiles any time before the 50s/60s (it is difficult to find an exact date/model car that first shipped with a radio factory installed).

In the 60s there were reel-to-reel players which quickly evolved into 8-track cartridges, which then in turn also quickly evolved into cassette tapes by the late 70s. 1985 saw the first car CD player - now 28 years ago!

After CDs arrived, it became clear that digital was the way to go and we soon saw car technology following the path of the computer system. Many of the same technologies have been used, and the trend of shrinking data down to the smallest phsyical units was very beneficial for car audio as portability was such a primary factor of consideration.

Now, who remembers what a car phone used to look like? A real, true, actual first gen car phone. The really big phones that you had to wire to your car itself. While it's true that car audio equipment of generations past can and does look quite retro, the mobile phone technology we used to have looks absolutely prehistoric. In-car technology has progressed at a lightning rate and if you compare the components from day one against what we have today then you might not even know they performed the same way.

Today we are seeing a merging of these technologies into one unit that controls music, radio, communication, and so much more that we used to never dream about. MP3s have been a fundamental part of car audio for almost two decades. Cell phones are completely integrated thanks to Bluetooth wireless systems. And more and more we are seeing these control units incorporating features and abilities of our computers and smartphones.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Classic Car Insurance for Young Drivers

For those young people who are lucky enough to own a classic car it can be incredibly difficult to find any insurance for it. It isn't just a case of finding affordable classic insurance. It's a case of finding any insurance at all as some insurers may just refuse to insure a young person with a classic or vintage car without any questions. However, it's possible to find insurance for young people with classic cars, it's all about knowing what to look for.

What's Classic Car Insurance?

Classic insurance is basically like conventional car insurance except it's especially for classic cars. Classic refers to cars that are generally over a certain age, which is usually about 25-30 years. Only certain insurers offer this type of insurance so the first task is to actually find somebody who offers this type of policy. There are plenty of lists around on the internet so just perform a Google search and that should be enough.

The Age of the Driver

The main sticking point for insurers is that the driver is considered to be too young. Statistics have shown that those who are under 25 carry the biggest risk of getting into an accident. This is due to their inexperience, and in many cases blatant immaturity. Insurers don't take risks so every young person is lumped into the same category. That's why conventional car insurance is so expensive and why classic car insurance is even more expensive, if they'll even give out the policy at all.

The Car

When it comes to this sort of insurance the type of car doesn't really matter as much because the policy is going to be expensive for young people no matter what. When making a rough estimate assume that the rarer the car the more expensive the insurance will be. And also remember that the older the car the more expensive the insurer will be.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tips For Finding Antique Car Parts

Some car fanatics have a real zeal for renovating and refurbishing antique cars, their only restriction being their level of know-how and their expendable income. Hunting down the rarer accessories can be challenging, but it is possible to find the antique car parts you need.

For example, you wouldn't find the fabric covering for the interior of a 1956 Buick's roof in a normal shop; however, it would be possible to order this online. If you are prepared to search for it, you could even find cotton nap materials for a Buick in the 1940s to 1960s in the initial shade and fabric originally employed by General Motors.

It is important to realize that the majority of antique car parts you unearth will not likely be the materials that the manufacturer originally used in building the first model of that car. This is because after some years, manufacturers pass on the manufacturing of substitution parts to manufacturers, known as "aftermarket manufacturers." With the original manufacturer, you would be assured of a flawless match and could be certain the part would do its job perfectly. However, the aftermarket manufactures make the parts in similar condition and quality as the original manufacturer in the hope of gaining customer loyalty.

The popularity of antique cars in America make the market for antique car parts very worthwhile. Different generations attend the car fairs where antiques cars are shown and spot the models of their first cars from their youth. This might bring back a flood of memories and emotions from their younger days igniting a desire to own one again.

The aftermarket for antique car parts is flourishing, but there will be times when a specific tool or accessory you need can't be found. It might be that only limited quantities were originally created, and they have possibly already been taken. When there is no other option, it may be that a metal shop can make a new one to fit your order. It would be beneficial to keep the original piece to match the measurements, but any decent machine shop will be able to verify if making a replacement is feasible.

An orphan car, which is a car where the nameplate no longer exists, may present a special challenge in tracing needed parts. From 1929 to 1931, Indiana manufactured a car called a Cord, which is a case in point of an orphan car. Another example would be the car manufactured from 1939 to 1952 in Cincinnati, Ohio called a Crosley model.