Cars used to be weird, man. We take for granted that for the most part, we can hop into anything in, say, an airport rental fleet, and no matter what badge graces the front, the basic controls and driving characteristics will be the same. If you know how to drive a Hyundai, you know how to drive a Nissan. But back in ye olde days, some cars were truly weird.
And nobody was weirder than Citroën. I mean, these were people who literally reinvented the (steering) wheel. I’m not kidding; theirs had but one spoke, and that spoke juts out at the 4 o’clock position when driving straight. Why? The spoke-less top of the wheel bends if you hit it in a crash, and the single angled spoke points your body towards the centre of a car in a collision.
This Citroën is at about the 95th percentile for weirdness compared to other cars, but only about the 50th percentile when compared to other Citroëns. It’s a 1978 Citroën GS in Pallas luxury spec, equipped with the bizarre C-Matic transmission (more on that later tonight).
The owner, Simon Walker, has a warm and fuzzy history with Citroëns that go back to owning a 2CV during his formative years at university. A lover of all things Citroën, he wanted one with the amazing hydropneumatic suspension like the revolutionary DS or the exotic SM. Those cars carry with them some steep price tags, however, so he had to get creative.
The GS is obscure even for Citroën standards. Never officially imported into Canada, they nonetheless sold around 2.5 million of them between 1970 and 1986. There are just 50 registered in the U.K. currently, and an estimated six in Canada as we speak. Where have they all gone?
The GS was intended to bridge the gap in Citroën’s lineup between the, um, basic 2CV and the expensive DS. A brand-new engine was developed just for the GS, an air-cooled, overhead-cam, horizontally-opposed four-cylinder making in the neighborhood of 60 hp. Mind you, this was like a lit missile compared to the two-cylinder 2CV engine.
The GS engine is smooth yet tractor-like in the Citroën tradition. It idles like a household appliance, with a reassuring warble like a kettle or a washing machine hard at work. It’s hopelessly charming. Wind up this little cartoon motor and you’ll scoot happily up to 110 km/h, but not much faster.
Corralling all 60 of those horses through the front wheels is the C-Matic semi-automatic transmission. It has two pedals like a regular automatic. No clutch. But it also has a three-speed H-pattern shifter like a manual. Basically, you drive it like a manual but without the clutch.
The transmission doesn’t have a “brain” so it can’t shift itself. So you sit at a light in neutral, then shift into 1st, accelerate, then lift off the gas, shift into 2nd and repeat for 3rd. It operates with a modicum of smoothness, but a skilled left foot would be quicker. Still, it makes this rare car even more unique.
But this car’s pièce de résistance is its magical hydropneumatic suspension. Like the famous DS and SM, the GS forgoes conventional springs in favour of an advanced and complex system that transforms the driving experience of the car.
The system might as well be pure magic because it allows complete and utter smoothness over bumps due to its responsive valving and massive wheel travel; it also allows the GS some surprisingly flat handling due to its relatively high roll resistance. Luxury car ride with sporty car handling. No other car was able to combine the two quite like Citroën back then.
Today, no one knows quite what to make of it. Walker surmises the car looks so modern, most people don’t assume it’s a 1970s classic. Nonetheless, for all its innovation and weirdness, the GS has been a very useable car for him. It served him well on a long 1,100-km drive from his home in Oakville, Ontario to Saratoga Springs, New York for an all-Citroën car show.
As it sits, the car is a perfect fit for him. The paint is shiny enough to present well in person and on camera, but not so perfect that he has to fret over it and not use the car. Best of all, it’s the perfect companion for the 2CV already in his garage. A garage with a GS and a 2CV? It doesn’t get much weirder than that, man.
Ford Mustang owner says angry neighbour filled his exhaust with foam – Driving
The owner of a Ford Mustang in Ohio recently woke up to an angry letter from his neighbour, complaining the exhaust on his vehicle was too loud.
But besides the note, the neighbour also left Aaron Robinson a nasty surprise: when he checked his Mustang’s exhaust, he’d found it had been filled with expanding foam.
The note dares Robinson to call the police or install video cameras to try and catch the people responsible, claiming nothing will work and that the only solution is to fix his too-loud muffler.
Robinson himself made some threatening comments toward the perpetrator, but it’s understandable why he’s angry. His muffler has been destroyed and now he’s been forced to fix it, and while the note demands he put the stock mufflers back on, it’s likely the system was already stock.
Ford introduced a “Good Neighbor Mode” on the Mustang a short while ago, which allowed the driver to quiet their exhaust on start-up, then turn it back up once they were on the highway or outside of their cul-de-sac.
It seems like Robinson might’ve neglected to choose or use that option, but that doesn’t mean he deserves to have his vehicle ruined.
Hopefully Robinson installs security cameras and files a police report to catch the people responsible. According to his Facebook post, it seems like he has some good friends in the car community who would be more than happy to make a lot more noise in front of the angry neighbour’s house.
PlayStation Plus' June 2020 lineup includes Call of Duty: WWII, going free this week – MobileSyrup
PlayStation has revealed that Call of Duty: WWII will become free on PlayStation 4 for PlayStation Plus subscribers starting May 26th.
Interestingly, PlayStation says WWII counts as one of June’s free PS Plus games, despite it launching in late May. PlayStation promises to share more details on the June PS Plus lineup “later this week.”
Traditionally, PS Plus offers two free PlayStation 4 games per month, but given the unique release situation with WWII, it’s currently unclear if PlayStation is planning something a little different for the service in June.
PS Plus members: Call of Duty: WWII is part of the monthly games lineup for June, and will be available for download starting May 26.
We’ll share additional details of our monthly lineup later this week. Enjoy! pic.twitter.com/ECVwca1cXq
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) May 25, 2020
In the meantime, PS Plus subscribers will be able to download WWII from May 26th to July 6th.
When it released in 2017, WWII marked a return to the Call of Duty series’ World War II-era roots. The campaign follows a squad in the U.S.’ 1st Infantry Division in the European theatre during the events of Operation Overlord. WWII also features Call of Duty‘s signature competitive multiplayer and cooperative Zombies modes.
Image credit: Activision
New overdose prevention app available in Interior Health region – iNFOnews
The Provincial Health Services Authority has launched a new app aimed at preventing those who use illicit drugs while by themselves from overdosing.
“The launch of this new resource couldn’t have come at a better time,” Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy said in a news release. “As we face down two public health emergencies – the overdose crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic – we must ensure that people who use drugs have the resources they need, when and where they need them.”
“Knowing the majority of people who use drugs use alone in shelters, hotels or at home, in addition to the challenges of physical distancing, the Lifeguard App is a new and innovative approach that can directly link people to emergency responders if an overdose does occur,” she said.
The app is activated by the user before they take their dose. After 50 seconds the app will sound an alarm. If the user doesn’t hit a button to stop the alarm, indicating they are fine, the alarm grows louder. After 75 seconds a text-to-voice call will go straight to 9-1-1, alerting emergency medical dispatchers of a potential overdose, the ministry said.
Interior Health had the second-highest rate of overdoses deaths out of any health authority in the province in 2020, according to data collected from January to April.
The app is being launched in regional health authorities in a phased approach between now and early June and is available in the Interior Health region as of today, May 25.
The Provincial Health Services Authority, B.C. Emergency Health Services, Vancouver Coastal Health, Overdose Emergency Response Centre and other regional health authorities have been working with Lifeguard Health for the (past two years) to test and pilot the app.
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