HomeCar CultureCommentaryHere’s another way ethanol is bad for your vehicle, and other news...

Here’s another way ethanol is bad for your vehicle, and other news updates


Turns out the fuel system of your vehicle isn’t the only part of it jeopardized by ethanol.  And in this case, it’s not just owners of older vehicles who need to be concerned. 

Ford of Europe recently issued a statement that the increasing popularity of hand sanitizers, sunscreen and insect repellents “could be bad for your car’s health.”

Except in this case it’s the interior of your vehicle that may be harmed.

A few years ago, I got into a new vehicle for a week-long test drive and noticed what appeared to be someone’s fingerprints on the padded surface of passenger’s door window sill. When I returned the car, I pointed out that those prints were there when I took delivery, not something I’d done during my test drive.

The press-fleet delivery person said she knew that, and informed me that someone earlier into the car probably had just applied sunscreen and then touched the sill, leaving a set of permanent finger prints.

Now Ford of Europe has issued a new alert about the subject, noting that such things as hand sanitizer, which can contain as much as 80 percent ethanol, or insect repellent with Diethyltoluamide (commonly known as insect-repellent DEET), or the titanium oxide or other ingredients in sunscreen can damage car interiors. 

The news release goes on to explain how Ford is working to counteract such issues through its research-and-development efforts in coatings for interior components.

“Even the most innocuous seeming product can cause problems when they come into contact with surfaces hundreds and even thousands of times a year,” the release quotes Mark Montgomery, senior materials engineer at Ford’s technical center in England.

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Silverado

Baseballs are flying out of major league ballparks at a record rate this season. Ever wonder how many of them you could collect in the back of a pickup truck?

Neither did we until GMPartsCenter.net sent a news release informing that 12,317 baseballs could be carried in the bed of the new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with a regular cab and long bed. The figure is 8,695 for a crew cab with a short bed. 

While a baseball isn’t very large, put 12,317 of them together and they exceed the truck’s weight-carrying capacity by more than 1,500 pounds, the company points out.

Maybe now Ian Callum will design a pickup truck

Ian Callum ending 20-year term as head of design for Jaguar | Jaguar photo

As far as I know, Scottish-born Ian Callum has never designed a pickup truck, but I’m sure if he did it would be the best-looking pickup truck ever designed. 

Callum’s automotive design career includes a succession of beautiful vehicles, including the RS200 at Ford but especially during his years at Ghia, TWR, Aston Martin and Jaguar.  Callum recently announced he is leaving Jaguar after 20 years as design chief, although he will continue to consult, he said, while, at age 64, he explores new design projects.

I once asked Callum if he could design an ugly car if offered such a commission. I think he was surprised by the question, but he stopped, pondered for maybe 45 seconds, smiled and responded, “No.”

Here’s hoping Judy Stropus scores the vote

As far as I know, Judy Stropus never drove a race car, yet I was delighted to see her name on the ballot for the 2020 class of nominees for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. 

Some in racing know her for her work in public relations, but those of us who have been around for longer than we care to admit first knew her for her amazing ability to score and time races, to the point that she singlehandedly could keep track of who was where during an entire 24-hour race.  She was so accurate that the official scorers would check with her from time to time when they’d lost track themselves.

Her skills were such that Penske, Holbert, Brumos and other teams sought her precise abilities with stopwatch and clipboard.

Stropus faces a lot of competition on the ballot, the likes of Jacky Ickx, Dave Macdonald, Pete Brock and Denise McCluggage. This is just her first year as a nominee, so if not now, then she soon should be inducted.

‘Hens’ overtake ‘Stags’ on race track

I’m sure neither Judy Stropus nor the late Denise McCluggage would be pleased to be referred to as a “hen,” but a British driving school headlines a  news release that informs that “Hens ‘Overtaking’ Stags on Race Track Action.”

What TrackDays.co.uk wants to tell us is that the company is “now receiving as many bookings for supercar driving experiences from hen parties as stag do.”

I take it to mean from what we know as bridal showers vs. bachelor parties.

The company says it experienced a 65 percent increase in bookings from groups of women in 2018.

Ritchie Bros. sells ’66 Mustang for $67,000

OK, so that’s $67,000 Canadian dollars (or $51,045 U.S.), but the news is that at its recent heavy-equipment (think huge cranes and Caterpillar graders) auction in Edmonton, Alberta — where it did $50 million (U.S.) in business — Ritchie Bros. sent 30 collector cars from its Leake Auctions affiliate across the auction block.

The top-selling ’66 Mustang was a resto-mod with a 460 Super Cobra Jet engine under its hood.

“We got very strong results,” said Brian Glenn, Ritchie Bros. senior vice president and head of Canadian sales. 

Which leads to this question: How soon might we see a vintage road grader offered at a Leake collector car auction?

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts