Pinnacle Auto Appraisers' Blog

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Recent blog posts

If you are a typical trucking company, you have one female driver for every 19 males. This is the national average (around five percent). There are some carriers who enjoy a much higher female driver pool. What are they doing differently?

First, they have a culture that values and appreciates women. Years ago you could walk into a terminal and see more women in the mechanics’ calendars than you did in trucks. There were only men’s restrooms and showers and the few female drivers who entered the lounge were teased mercilessly. 

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Posted by on in Car Industry RSS

Last week I was at the Great America Truck Show in Dallas, TX.  I moderated a session at the Commercial Vehicle Outlook Conference talking about how technology can influence driver behavior to achieve better fuel economy and safer operation.  The conclusion is that technology can be transformative and significantly improve operations.  Nussbaum Transportation outlined how they have improved fuel economy 25% in just over 3 years.  They are now achieving an average of 8.81 miles per gallon on their latest vehicles.  Earlier this year, at the Technology and Maintenance

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We've all watched the commercials and seen the news, distracted driving is a serious problem today in the US. There are almost as many smartphone users as there are people, and that doesn't even include tablets. It's no wonder we are finding ourselves at the crossroads of value and danger. When does availability of power and convenience come with too much risk?

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Posted by on in Car Industry RSS

I am intrigued by some new technologies for refrigerated trailers.  Everyone wants to reduce fuel.  Much of what I have done in the past, and do today, is focused on the tractor.  However, the fuel used in refrigerated trailers can be saved, which also reduces greenhouse gas.  In addition to the typical reefer technology using a diesel engine, I have now seen four other alternatives.

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The Porsche 918 Spyder is effortlessly, ridiculously fast.

The thing was impossible to parse in two quick laps. And the story’s been told and retold by practically every journalist who has driven the cerebrum-denting 918 Spyder. “There I was at [famous racetrack], chasing a very experienced racing driver caning a 911 Turbo S. And dude couldn’t shake me!”

Porsche had invited us out to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to celebrate the launch of the Boxster GTS and Cayman GTS, with a session in the 918 as the carrot at the end of the stick. Sports-car racer David Donohue was in the Turbo S. The 918 chased him around the track effortlessly. The thing is so easy to drive at speed, your author can hardly take any credit for piloting skill. Sure, the insaniac-tech Porsche was more fun than a Nissan GT-R on the same track but perhaps not as enjoyable as the McLaren 650S, a car that feels for all the world like a last-generation Cayman with a twin-turbo racing engine stuffed behind the seats. It was hard to be sure. It was all over so quickly. But hey lawdy mama, that V-8 sure does make a sound!

Zuffenhausen had flown a pair of the new GTS twins over from Germany. They’d also rounded up base Boxsters and Caymans, plus examples of their attendant S models. Picking our way through a bumper crop of zesty machines, we found our favorites at the top and bottom of Porsche’s mid-mounted flat-six range.

During the Boxster and Cayman’s previous generation, known to Porsche-philes as the 987, the Cayman gained a reputation as the more serious of the two cars due to the added stiffness of its fixed roof, a slight horsepower advantage, and a higher price. The harder of the hard-cores may notice a difference between the new 981 generation of mid-engined twins, but for the rest of us, you pays your money and you takes your choice. The Boxster comes at a discount, the fast-dropping top is a well-sealed miracle of modern design, and the additional exposure to the elements and the whappy, poppy snarl of the exhaust makes it a more visceral and engaging choice.

2015 Porsche Cayman GTS

Porsche’s Cayman GTS offers effortless speed with limits approachable by mortals.

Or does it? As equipped, the Cayman GTS couldn’t be denied as the do-it-all-quickly sweetheart of the bunch. The example we drove was fitted with a manual transmission and the Sport Suspension package, which drops the car by 0.8 inch. It’s a no-cost option on the GTS, replacing the standard Porsche Active Suspension Management adjustable setup. So equipped, the Cayman positively ripped its way around Laguna. The optional carbon-ceramic brakes offered a skosh more assurance after repeated laps than the still-excellent iron rotors of the Boxster GTS also on hand. Although 340 horsepower doesn’t sound like a ludicrous amount these days—especially given the GTS model’s $76,195 base price—it’s certainly enough for a spirited crack up the Rahal Straight to the Corkscrew. Just make sure the sport-exhaust button is turned off or you’ll wind up exceeding the track’s 92-decibel maximum-loudness threshold. At which point the suede-denim secret police descend and run you right out of Monterey County.

If you’re interested in a shot of Swabian joy but find 76K a slightly hard pill to swallow, there’s no shame in aiming lower on the mid-engine totem pole. In Porsche’s online configurator, we built a very enjoyable Boxster for $58,080 by choosing only three options: Sport Suspension, Sport Exhaust—which really should be standard on every Porsche—and 19-inch Boxster S wheels. We admit to being tempted by the pricey Burmester audio system, but if we stepped over that threshold, we figured we’d probably start adding extras like leather-wrapped air vents and Alcantara tire warmers. And perhaps an alpaca shifter cozy embroidered with the Martini Racing logo.

2013 Porsche Boxster

The base Boxster makes you work harder for speed but is all the more rewarding for it.

The Sport Suspension–equipped base Boxster that Porsche brought to Laguna was supremely captivating. The 265-horse 2.7-liter engine is all high-and-tight wind, meaning that you’re rowing through the gears to keep the roadster roiling. The S and GTS models, in contrast, can cover a multitude of mistakes with their ample torque spread. In the base car, it’s your skill as a driver that keeps you moving. Its brakes aren’t as brutally effective or fade-resistant as are the beefier units on the S and GTS, making brake management more crucial. Everything about the entry Boxster forces you to work that much harder for what you get, but the sensation of getting it just right brings the same sort of satisfaction that Porsche’s trickier older cars often did. Unlike some of those older cars—including the friendly-until-it-swaps-ends 914—the chassis is so neutral, so capable of coping with more, that to get in huge trouble, you’d have to be patently idiotic. The Boxster shrugs off small-to-medium errors with only a loss of momentum.

2015 Porsche Cayman GTS: 911 Performance for $10K Less 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Tested: 2.2 Seconds to 60! Porsche Boxster Research: Photos, Tests, Reviews, News, Pricing, and More

It’s a beguiling car to learn the art of speed in, quick enough to be fun, demanding enough to offer a challenge, and approachable enough that you’ll take up the mantle again and again. You want to go fast? Buy the Cayman GTS. If you want to get fast, do yourself a favor and give the base Boxster a look. Whichever you choose, just don’t forget to tick the Sport Suspension box.

Stuttgart in the Middle: Driving Porsche's 918 Spyder, Cayman and Boxster GTS at Laguna Seca

Free Evaluation:

If you are looking to increase your insurance coverage on your vehicle, the insurance company may require you to obtain a certified auto appraisal.   If you have a custom car, truck or motorcycle, the insurance company won't pay you more than book value. Get a stated value appraisal to cover money spent customizing your vehicle.  Have a collector or exotic vehicle?  Book value does not justify the vehicle value  In case you are in an accident, have a certified auto appraisal done.  Contact us today for a Free Evaluation!

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Accident:

If you were involved in an accident and the insurance company deemed your vehicle a total loss, we can help.  If you don't agree with the insurance company's offer, you have the right to hire an independent certified appraiser to determine the actual cash value of your vehicle.  Our certified appraiser will go to the vehicle location, conduct the inspection and complete a certified total loss appraisal on your vehicle.  Total loss claims do require a negotiation phase which we will take care of for you at no additional charge!

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