BYE-BYE BIG THREE
While a co-op student at Northeastern University in the early 1970s, when Ford began getting creamed by Toyota, Nissan, and Honda, I had firsthand experience at Ford Motor Co. I was in its “Customer Relations” department at the Boston Sales Office and saw the company’s (and independent dealers’ ) arrogance on a daily basis. It was obvious that Management and unions played a major role in the demise of the domestic auto industry. As you noted, both parties are still at odds and making excuses for their failures. Whining rather than working together and winning. Protesting, rather than solving problems and performing.

During the past 30 years I have promoted products for hundreds of manufacturers and have seen the “Buy American” reaction to global competition first hand. I’ve also seen companies that have dug in and figured out how to win. Experience and hindsight have taught me that consumers want quality at a fair price. And all things being equal, it doesn’t matter where they are made.

Steve Stroum

I hope the right people are paying attention to the message in your latest editorial (“Don’t hold your breath waiting for U.S. automakers to thrive, ” Oct. 25). The UAW is a cancer, which, I am sure a lot of your readers would agree, needs to eliminated. Their benefit to the American society/worker has long expired.

Charles Buchert

WIND SUCKS
The article you titled “Is wind power ready for prime time?” (Aug. 9) should have been called “Why wind power will never be ready for prime time.” The ar t icle hi ts some high points, but you also missed a couple.

For example, the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory and American Wind Energy Assoc. are still under the illusion that this country could get 20% of its power from wind by 2020. But they are ignoring the land use issue. Wind and solar power require vast amounts of land. You would have to pave over several midwest states for so-called alternative energy sources to even come close to 20% of our electricity today. We’d need even more 13 years from now.

Dr. David Pimentel at Cornell published a paper (BioScience, Dec. 2002) confirming the above facts in an exhaustive land-use survey. “We really wish this had turned out differently, we really do,” lamented this truthful environmentalist. This type is a rare breed, especially when you see what NASA’s James Hansen did to try to hide the facts that six of the 10 warmest years on record were in the 1930s and 40s, not the 1990s.

You al so say that “aver - age output (of a windmill) is roughly 30% of total rated capacity.” That is not true. Their true capacity has been stated as 23, 25, and 25% since 2003.

Both American Electric Power and Florida Power and Light have told me that the only way they can justify their wind farms is because of the federal subsidy. Take away these foolish subsidies and you will never seen another windmill project again. We know this because our company supplied 80% of the windmill controls for the 1980s Altamount Pass fiasco in California.

Cheap energy, lower taxes, and freedom are our country’s reasons for continuing to lead al l the wor ld’s economies. Change any of those at your peril.

Henry E. Payne

YOU GOT THE WRONG CAR
The gadget from this months magazine (Oct. 25) is a hybrid race car that gets it main propulsion from a large flywheelbased energy storage system.

Clearly a Group 44 car, most likely an IMSA prototype. This was first race car to have a plas t ic engine. I bel ieve its name was Polyamotor. It was raced in IMSA prototype events.

This looks like a kit car body, specifically a Fiberfab Laser 917 that bol ted onto a VW chassis.