January, 2013

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Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

The Toyota Dream Car Art Contest for kids is accepting entries until August 2013. The contest has been running since 2004.  The Contest Charter is to “help children develop and express their creativity and to share  [their] dreams”. There are three age groups and eligibility is under 16 years of age.

2013 Toyota Dream Car Kids Contest

2013 Toyota Dream Car Kids Contest


Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Toyota Ice Castles…This is a full size Toyota Land Cruiser carved out of a block of ice!  How about the Champagne Reception that this thing ends up at. It even has an open door so you can sit in it.


Toyota Land Cruiser Carved From Ice



Saturday, January 26th, 2013

As you cruise along listening to your Toyota audio and infotainment system, a fabulous musical artist like Beegie Adair playing, thank a couple of eager Guys who were  ready to tackle any project no matter where the idea came from and how their harvesting of one startup idea, one destination postcard, a car, and a radio led to so much more along the way.

Two Guys With An Idea

It was an evening in 1929 and two young men, William Lear and Elmer Wavering were driving their girlfriends to a high lookout point to watch the sunset.
It was a romantic night and one of the young women observed that it would be even nicer if they could listen to music in the car.

A lightbulb went on! Lear and Wavering, looking over at each other, knew they liked the idea. Both men had tinkered with radio in the U.S. Navy during World War One . It wasn’t long before they were taking apart a home radio and trying to get it to work in a car. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds… automobiles with ignition switches, generators, spark plugs, and other electrical equipment that generate noisy static interference, made it nearly impossible to listen to a radio with the engine running.

Not discouraged, Lear and Wavering identified and eliminated, one by one, each source of electrical interference. When they finally got their radio to work, they took it to a radio convention in Chicago.

There they met Paul Galvin, owner of Galvin Manufacturing Corporation. He made a product called a “battery eliminator” a device that allowed
battery-powered radios to run on household AC current. But as more homes were wired for electricity more radio manufacturers made AC-powered radios, thus eliminatring the need for the “battery eliminator”.

Galvin needed a new product to manufacture. When he met Lear and Wavering at the radio convention, he found it.

He believed that mass-produced, affordable car radios had the potential to become a huge business. Lear and Wavering set up shop in Galvin’s factory, and when they perfected their first radio, they installed it in his Studebaker. Galvin went to a local banker to apply for a loan. Thinking it might sweeten the deal, he had his men install a radio in the banker’s Packard.

Smart idea, but it didn’t work… Half an hour after the installation, the banker’s Packard caught on fire…Half an hour after that, they didn’t get the loan.

Galvin didn’t give up .He drove his Studebaker nearly 800 miles to Atlantic City to show off the radio at the 1930 Radio Manufacturers Association convention. Too broke to afford a booth, he parked the car outside the convention hall and cranked up the radio so that passing conventioneers could hear it. That idea worked — He got enough orders to put the radio into production.

Name Branding is nothing new. Turns out it was alive and thriving in 1930! That first production radio model was called the 5T71. Galvin didn’t like it. He decided he needed to come up with something a little catchier. In those days many companies in the phonograph and radio businesses used the suffix “ola” for their names – Radiola, Columbiola, and Victrola were three of the biggest. Galvin decided to do the same thing, and since his radio was intended for use in a motor vehicle, he decided to call it the “Motorola”. Clever, but even with the name change, the radio still had problems.

When Motorola went on sale in 1930, it cost about $110 uninstalled, at a time when you could buy a brand-new car for $650, and the country was sliding into the Great Depression. By that measure, a radio for a new car would cost about $3,000 today! In 1930 it took two men several days to put in a car radio. The dashboard had to be taken apart so that the receiver and a single speaker could be installed, and the ceiling had to be cut open to install the antenna. These early radios ran on their own batteries, not on the car battery, so holes had to be cut into the floorboard to accommodate them. The installation manual had eight complete diagrams and 28 pages of instructions!

Selling complicated car radios that cost 20 percent of the price of a brand-new car couldn’t be easy in the best of times, let alone during the Great Depression. Galvin lost money in 1930 and struggled for a couple of years after that. Things soon got better.

In 1933 things picked up when Ford began offering Motorola’s pre-installed at the factory.
In 1934 they got another boost when Galvin struck a deal with B.F. Goodrich tire company to sell and install them in its chain of tire stores. By then the price of the radio, installation included, had dropped to $55. The Motorola car radio was off and running and the Galvin Manufacturing Company officially became “Motorola” in 1947.

Galvin continued  to develop new uses for car radios.

  • In 1936, the same year that it introduced push-button tuning, it also introduced the Motorola Police Cruiser, a standard car radio that was factory preset to a single frequency to pick up police broadcasts.
  • In 1940 he developed the first handheld two-way radio, The Handie-Talkie, for the U. S. Army. A lot of the communications technologies that we take for granted today were born in Motorola labs in the years that followed World War II.
  • In 1947 they came out with the first television to sell under $200.
  • In 1956 the company introduced the world’s first pager.
  • In 1969 it supplied the radio and television equipment used to televise Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon.
  • In 1973 it invented the world’s first handheld cellular phone.
  • Today Motorola is one of the largest cell phone manufacturer in the world. It all started with the car radio.

What about the two guys who installed that first radio in Paul Galvin’s car, Elmer Wavering and William Lear? Well, they took very different paths in life. Wavering stayed with Motorola. In the early 1950’s he helped change the automobile experience again when he developed the first automotive alternator, replacing inefficient and unreliable generators. The invention led to such luxuries as power windows, power seats, and,eventually, air-conditioning.

Lear also continued inventing holding more than 150 patents. Remember eight-track tape players? Lear invented that. But what he’s really famous for are his contributions to the field of aviation. He invented radio direction finders for planes, collaborated on the invention of the autopilot, and designed the first fully automatic aircraft landing system. In 1963 Lear introduced his most famous invention of all, the Lear Jet,
the world’s first mass-produced, affordable business jet. Not bad for a guy who dropped out of school after the eighth grade.

Oh, One more thing my wife insists that I not leave out… You may recall, It all started with a woman’s suggestion!!


Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Driving your new Toyota down the road, the ride is smooth, the drive is quiet. Life feels good. But wait, you need a secret weapon of smooth toe tapping tunes to jazz things up!

Meet Beegie Adair

We have just the artist to recommend. You must meet Beegie Adair and the Beegie Adair Trio. You cannot listen to Beegie without putting on a happy face and taking it to the next level. Every time we have Beegie playing in the background, just like clockwork, people stop and say, “Who is that fabulous artist playing that piano?”

There are almost 45 albums to enjoy or download tunes. Take a look at the Beegie Adair body of work:Fabulous Beegie Adair

One More Thing, As Of This Posting, Valentine’s Day Is Just Around The Corner!…


Monday, January 21st, 2013

The 2013 Toyota Avalon Limited is the first vehicle in the world offering in-console Qi wireless charging for Qi–enabled mobile phones and devices. The useful feature, part of a Technology Package that also includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Automatic High beams and a Pre-Collision System, is available for both the gasoline and hybrid version of the new Avalon Limited.

Qi is the global standard for wireless power and charging. Qi enabled devices can be charged just by placing them on, or near, any Qi-enabled surface. Any Qi-enabled device works with any Qi charger, regardless of brand or manufacturer.

The Avalon’s wireless charging pad is integrated into the vehicle’s center console lid. The system can be enabled by a switch beneath the lid, and charging is as simple as placing the phone upon the lid’s high friction surface.

Supplied by DENSO, the Avalon’s wireless charging system relies on a platform that elevates the high technology experience of the new Avalon sedan like no other.

Qi wireless charging is now integrated in 34 mobile phone models, including recent launches of the LG Google Nexus 4, Nokia Lumia 920, HTC Windows Phone 8X. The name missing from the list is the Apple iPhone. IPhone wireless charging is coming soon; and, to charge your iPhone wirelessly now, Qi does offer adapter sleeves that make it possible.

Qi-certified products range from smartphones to charging pads, gaming controllers, Blu-ray Disc recorders, smartphone docking speakers, automobile phone chargers, alarm clocks and battery packs, to charging modules that can be installed in tabletops and furniture.


Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Toyota Entune infotainment services offers a high level of in-car connectedness and is available in most Toyota vehicles.
You’ll find traveling easier than ever. And, you’ll find new favorite spots in your local neighborhood.

Toyota Entune App Capabilities

–    Pandora – Create and enjoy
–    Open  Table – Locate restaurants serving the cuisine you’re
craving and make reservations
–    iHeartRadio – Access 750-plus stations
–    Bing – Get answers to your search queries, fast

Toyota Entune Complimentary Data Service

–    Fuel Guide
–    Stocks
–    Sports Traffic
–    Weather
Toyota Entune is quite versatile.You’ll never be caught with delays from traffic congestion again. And if you’re stuck at a
standstill, you can use the time to check tomorrow’s weather, make that 7:30
dinner reservation, or enjoy some great song selections.

To Start Using Toyota Entune, All You Have To Do Is

  • Register your Entune account online
  • Link your existing apps to Entune and download the Entune app from
    the online store serving your smartphone brand  (i.e., iTunes, Blackberry
    Appworld, or Android Market).
  • After your smartphone is integrated with the new
    Toyota car via Bluetooth, the apps may be easily accessed through a mix of
    in-car controls and voice recognition.

Don’t forget the CD capabilities. And, if you enjoy The American Song Book with a jazzy beat, We strongly recommend the artist Beegie Adair.

Beegie does jazzy piano arrangements like no other with full 5 Star Album Ratings! Check these out below:


    Thursday, January 17th, 2013

    The Scion FR-S captured the first car award of 2013, Best of 2013 award from Cars.com.

    The Cars.com site is an online review and consumer information website. The win was announced at a Cars.com event surrounding the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

    To earn the Best of 2013 overall award, the FR-S competed against all new and redesigned vehicles. Judges applauded the FR-S driving experience and affordability across all categories. After  winning the best sports car award, the FR-S also bested competitors in the best SUV, midsize sedan, luxury sedan, pickup and hybrid categories to earn the overall prize.

    Many drivers are discovering the energy and excitement of the FR-S which is truly bringing the affordable sports car back.


    Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

    Toyota U.S. sales rose 27 percent last year, thanks in part to strong sales of its recently expanded Prius lineup and the Camry sedan.

    Now, Toyota is turning his attention to the Corolla, Toyota’s dated small car.

    Corolla Concept

    Corolla Concept Car

    The company unveiled a concept version at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week showing hints of a radical styling change for the Corolla.

    The company must now decide how edgy it can go with the Corolla’s styling, to win over new customers, without losing longtime buyers.

    U. S. Chief, Jim Lentz stated this week that over the past two difficult years, “I don’t think we’ve lost existing buyers. I think we had a slowdown in conquests (from other brands). Very shortly after the recalls, our loyal buyers – partly because of the great treatment they received from our dealers through all this – very quickly came back to the brand because they understood there were not issues with the electronics in our cars. Those that didn’t have an experience with us, either with a product or our dealers, weren’t quite sure what to believe.”

    Lentz went on to say, “Last year, 40 percent of our sales were new products. This year we’re going to have another nine new or redesigned vehicles. I think that will continue to bring the conquest buyers back. Are we back to the level where we were prior to all the crises? Not yet. But we’re approaching that.”


    Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

    2013 Toyota Avalon a Limousine Rockstar?2013 Avalon

    Until recently, the Limousine Service Car Market was dominated by the Lincoln Town Car, which accounted for roughly 80 percent of livery sedan sales. With that car discontinued, livery fleets are looking for alternatives.

    Interestingly, when I got a first look at the new 2013 Avalon last month and having owned several Avalons, it crossed my mind it could also be the replacement car for the Limo market. It turns out that my thoughts were on target. Toyota recently announced they are offering two livery models of the all-new 2013 Avalon to meet the needs of car service fleet operators. There are more than 12,000 livery operators nationwide with an average fleet size ranging from 12 to 18 vehicles. Sedan sales to these companies typically range between four and six thousand a year.

    On average, livery operators keep their cars in service for about five years, driving between 40 and 50 thousand miles a year.

    The new Avalon, with its mix of styling, comfort, performance, reliability, and fuel economy can offer a compelling sedan to livery operators. The new fleet-focused models will also mark the introduction of the first Avalon Hybrid that promises to help reduce livery operator’s fuel costs.

    The two livery versions of the 2013 Avalon are a V6 gasoline model and the Avalon Hybrid.

    The V6 version of the Avalon livery model starts with an XLE grade and adds rear HVAC, heated rear seats and deletes the heated front seats. The gasoline model relies on a 3.5-liter, DOHC, 268 horsepower V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission to help it achieve a combined EPA-rated fuel economy of 25 mpg (21 city/31 hwy). Other standard features include; 10 airbags, 8-speaker Display Audio system, Smart Key for the two front doors, leather seating surfaces, heated outside mirrors with turn signal, 17-inch alloy wheels and a black on black treatment for the exterior and interior. This livery vehicle package is available with a $31,360 MSRP.

    The 2013 Avalon Hybrid utilizes a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle, four-cylinder engine with an electronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) that houses electric motors powered by a Nickel-Metal hydride battery to produce a total system output of 200 horsepower. This efficient fleet model is EPA-rated at 40-MPG combined (40 city/ 39 hwy). The base Avalon Hybrid livery model adds rear HVAC, rear seat heater, and two-door smart key to the Hybrid XLE Premium grade.

    Equipment deleted from this XLE Premium for the livery model includes three-door Smart Key, back-up camera, moon roof, heated front seats, and the inside mirror that includes a garage door opener. The Avalon Hybrid Livery model in XLE Premium grade is expected to start at $33,750.


    Even though Avalon’s restyled exterior is more compact, and every exterior dimension smaller, interior space and comfort including that large rear backseat and floor space don’t seem to have been compromised.  Here are those backseat area dimensions: headroom (37.9 in); legroom (39.2 in); shoulder room (56.9 in)

    Premium materials and craftsmanship are combined with the latest technology to create an upscale feeling.  Extensive use of soft-touch materials helps enhance the interior’s feeling of quality and comfort.


    Avalon V-6  has a 3.5-liter, 90-degree, DOHC, engine with dual variable valve timing to optimize the intake and exhaust valve operation. It produces 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 248 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm. Even though the axle ratio has been reduced to 3.23-to-1 from 3.54 on the outgoing model to improve fuel economy, Avalon can sprint from 0-to-60 mph in a little over six seconds,

    Transmission response is enhanced with a torque converter that locks up early, even in second gear. The transmission can be shifted from D mode into S mode so shifts can be actuated with + or – movements of the lever. The Sport mode provides quicker upshift control and throttle blipping downshift control.

    Three drive modes include Eco, Normal and Sport. The Eco Mode prioritizes fuel efficiency by reducing driving performance and air conditioning. Sport mode gives you a more direct steering feel and quicker throttle response. Avalon gets an EPA-rated 25 mpg combined (21 city/31 hwy). When equipped with the 18-inch wheels, the rating drops to 24 mpg combined.


    Ride and Drive quality has been enhanced. Up front, the Macpherson strut suspension has been tweaked for ride comfort. Unique, more rigid knuckles and lower control arms have been adopted for the 18-inch wheel applications to improve handling and steering feel. A dual-link rear suspension is used to maintain both ride quality and handling precision.

    Avalon’s electric rack and pinion power assist responds to vehicle speed to create a lighter effort sensation at lower speeds and increased effort and on-center feel at higher speeds. Test-driving in hillside-country, Avalon’s steering, ride and handling delivers just the right feel for a variety of driving situations.  Steering is quick and accurate with excellent on-center feel. Ride quality is best described as family sedan-pleasant, but handling is still fine enough to have some fun in the hills and around curves.

    The 2013 Avalon unibody is designed to absorb and effectively dissipate frontal, side, and roof impacts to minimize cabin deformity. Avalon is equipped with 10 standard airbags to maximize occupant protection. Plus, an available Blind Spot Monitor uses radar to detect vehicles in the adjacent lane where drivers may not see them. The same radar technology has been adapted for a Rear Cross Traffic Alert that is designed to detect low-speed cross traffic behind the vehicle.


    Toyota expects fuel mileage should  be a key advantage for Avalon. Based on current gas prices and driving 50,000 miles a year, the gas and hybrid livery editions could deliver substantial fuel cost savings. Those savings and fuel economy are available for every Avalon owner as well!