QOTD: Is AI Ready To Replace Human Writers At CC?

my truck as rendered by dream.ai in “retro-futurism” style

We’ve had several posts here of car images rendered by AI software, either changing their style or placing them in a different time. That’s been a lot of fun, and I’m going to play with it more too, when I get more time. But the really big news in AI is ChatGTP, and open-software AI platform that has the potential to impact the written word profoundly, as it answers questions in a much more human form than Google, sounding very authoritative. It can write essays, poems, sonnets, and much more.

So I decided to test its automotive knowledge, in the fear (or hope?) that it could replace me. Here goes:

(Note: regular font are my questions, italics are the answers, and bold are my comments)

(Let’s start with an easy one) What year did KaiserFrazer start building cars?

KaiserFrazer started building cars in 1947.


Why did General Motors go bankrupt?

General Motors declared bankruptcy in 2009 due to a combination of factors including a global economic recession, increasing competition from foreign automakers, high labor costs, and mismanagement of funds.

Not bad, for such a short answer.

 What was the last year for the Chevrolet 409 V8 engine?

The last year for the Chevrolet 409 V8 engine was 1965.


Was the Fiat 1400 sold in the US?

Yes, the Fiat 1400 was sold in the US from 1958 to 1960.

False. The 1400’s last year was 1957.

How much did the Fiat 1400 cost in the US in 1958?

The Fiat 1400 cost $1,935 in the US in 1958.

Obviously false, but the specific price is curious. Mixed up with another model? My Catalog of Imported Cars does not show any 1958 Fiat with that price.

What year did Ford first offer antilock braking?

Ford first offered antilock braking in 1978.

False. It was in late 1969.

How did Ford‘s Sure Track work?

Ford‘s Sure Track system used a combination of sensors, valves, and solenoids to continuously monitor wheel speed and adjust brake pressure when it detected wheel slippage. This allowed for controlled braking and improved vehicle stability.

Good enough.

What was the size of the engine in the Tatra 77?

The Tatra 77 had a 3.0 liter, V8 engine.

Correct, for the initial version. The 77A had a 3.4 L V8.

How fast could it go?

The Tatra 77 could reach a top speed of 118 mph (190 km/h).

False. More like 90 mph, and 93 mph for the 77A with the larger engine.

What Tatra patents did VW infringe upon?

Volkswagen infringed upon Tatra‘s patents for the aircooled, rear engine design and the independent suspension system used for the Tatra 77.

That was only the claim, but not what was decided by the court.

What part of the independent suspension system?

The part of the independent suspension system that Volkswagen infringed upon was the swing axle rear suspension design.

That‘s not true, actually. (my response to ChatGTP)

Volkswagen didn‘t infringe upon the swing axle design, but rather the independent rear suspension design.

It’s hedging. Or BS’ing.

What aspect of that design in particular?

The aspect of the independent rear suspension design that Volkswagen infringed upon was the arrangement of the rear axle and differential.

False. Those were included in the claims, but the only one VW was held to be infringement on was certain details of the air cooling ducts, a point that was not given in the answers by ChatGTP. But then this is an issue that has been widely written up incorrectly.

When was that issue settled?

The issue was settled in 1961 when Volkswagen agreed to pay Tatra a onetime fee of 3 million Deutsche Marks in compensation.


Why Did Chrysler downsize the 1962 Dodge and Plymouth?

Chrysler downsized the 1962 Dodge and Plymouth models in order to reduce the cost of production and to make the vehicles more competitive in the market. The cars were also made lighter and more fuelefficient.

Wow! This is a huge surprise and better than 99.9% of automotive writers/journalists/bloggers would answer. ChatGTP nailed it, instead of the ubiquitous “Chrysler VP William C. Newberg unilaterally demanded this downsizing on a Monday after overhearing a comment from Ed Cole at a garden party/golf club about a downsized 1962 Chevy. This answer reflects the essence of my post on these cars that debunks that lame old story

Were they successful?

Yes, the downsized 1962 Dodge and Plymouth models were successful and allowed Chrysler to remain competitive in the market.

Oops. Not exactly. But they weren’t quite as unsuccessful as often depicted, and after a bit of a restyle in 1963, they did become successful. In other words, it was their styling, not their trimmer size that impacted their success in 1962. And the B-Body did become a key element of their future success.

Why did the Corvair fail?

The Corvair failed due to its poor handling, lack of power, and a series of negative reports from consumer advocate Ralph Nader. The reports highlighted the Corvair‘s design flaws and highlighted its potential for rollover accidents.

ChatGTP wasn’t reading my posts on the subject, obviously. The gen1 Corvair’s handling was known to be something of an issue prior to Nader’s 1965 book, but not one that materially impacted its sales through 1965, which were actually quite good. By the time Nader’s book came out, the Corvair’s future was already sealed by the overwhelming success of the Mustang.

Did the Mustang impact the Corvair‘s sales?

Yes, the Mustang had a negative effect on the Corvair‘s sales. The Mustang was a popular, affordable sports car that was released around the same time as the Corvair and it quickly gained market share.

It was not “released around the same time as the Corvair”, but otherwise it’s a pass.

How did the Corvair influence the Mustang?

The Corvair‘s independent suspension system had a significant influence on the design of the Mustang. Ford engineers borrowed the Corvair‘s independent suspension design and adapted it for the Mustang.

Front or rear independent suspension?
Ford engineers adapted the Corvair‘s rear independent suspension system for the Mustang.
The Mustang didn‘t have independent rear suspension. What other elements did they borrow?
Ford engineers borrowed the Corvair‘s doublewishbone suspension design and adapted it for the Mustang‘s front suspension. They also borrowed the Corvair‘s rear suspension geometry and adapted it for the Mustang‘s live axle design.
A series of Fails. No, the Mustang did not adopt the Corvair’s rear swing axles (good thing). And no, they didn’t “borrow” the Corvair’s front suspension design, other than both used the ubiquitous SLA front suspension, but the Mustang’s was a fair bit different in that its coil spring were above the upper control arm. And of course the Corvair’s rear suspension geometry was not adapted for the Mustang. But it sure sounds like it knows what it’s talking about, which is precisely the danger of AI.
Was there a 1964.5 Mustang?
Yes, there was a 1964.5 Mustang, also known as the1964 1/2 Mustang“. It was a special edition of the Mustang released between April 1964 and August 1964 that featured a number of design changes compared to the 1965 Mustang.
Were these technically 1964 or 1965 MY cars?
The 1964.5 Mustang was a special edition of the Mustang released between April 1964 and August 1964 and is technically considered a 1964 model year car.
Not exactly, but yes, it is technically a 1964 MY.
Can you write me an essay about the history of the Chrysler Imperial?
The history of the Chrysler Imperial is a long and storied one that spans more than seven decades. The Imperial was first introduced in 1926 as Chryslers flagship luxury car and was produced until 1975, when it was discontinued due to declining sales. The original Imperial was designed to compete with the luxury cars of the time, such as the Packard, Cadillac, and Lincoln. It featured a powerful engine, stylish design, and luxurious interior. The Imperial was also the first car to feature fourwheel hydraulic brakes. Throughout the years, the Imperial underwent numerous design changes. In 1955, the Imperial was redesigned to have a longer wheelbase and a more powerful engine. In 1957, the Imperial was the first car to have power windows, air conditioning, and cruise control. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Imperial was competing with the other luxury car brands for market share. However, due to increasing competition, the Imperial was discontinued in 1975. Despite its discontinuation, the Imperial still holds a special place in the hearts of many car enthusiasts.The Chrysler Imperial was a powerful, luxurious car that was ahead of its time. It was the first car to feature many innovations and its legacy continues to live.
Not bad, except for the part about the ’57 having standard power windows. a/c and cruise control. Chrysler’s Cruise control (“Auto Pilot”) didn’t arrive until 1958. And a/c was not standard either.
How does a torque converter work?
A torque converter is a type of fluid coupling that is used to transfer rotational power from the engine to the transmission. When the engine is running, the torque converter uses centrifugal force to create a hydraulic pressure that transfers the power from the engine to the transmission. This allows for smoother and more efficient power transfer.
Good enough, if a bit thin.
How did Studebaker‘s Automatic Drive work?
Studebaker‘s Automatic Drive was an automatic transmission system that was released in 1939. It used afluid coupling to transfer power from the engine to the transmission. This allowed for smoother acceleration and improved fuel efficiency. The system also incorporated apreselector device that allowed the driver to shift gears without using a clutch.
False. AD was released in mid-year 1950, and used a torque converter, not a fluid coupling. It did not improve fuel efficiency over a manual. And there was no “pre-selector device”. I’m thinking part of this might be a confusion with Studebaker offering “Automatic Overdrive” on its manual transmissions, but that happened before 1939.
Can you write me a poem about Chevrolet‘s small block V8?
The small block V8 from Chevrolet,
A powerplant of renown
It‘s been a mainstay of their lineup
For many years around
It‘s been used in so many cars
And trucks, both big and small
Its power and performance
Can‘t be matched at all
The small block V8
The heart of Chevy‘s power
It‘s reliable and strong
For any hour
It‘s been a trusted companion
For generations of drivers
It‘s a symbol of American pride
That will last forever.
How can you argue with that?  Well, some of you will.
How about a sonnet about the Ford flathead V8?
A Sonnet for the Ford Flathead V8
The Ford Flathead V8 is a classic engine,
A symbol of American craftsmanship.
It‘s been around for decades and has seen
The rise and fall of many trendsetters.
It‘s been used in many different vehicles,
From the Model T to the classic Ford.
It‘s powered many generations of drivers,
And continues to be a reliable force.
With a simple design and powerful punch,
It‘s easy to maintain and service.
It‘s light and compact and still makes us hunch
When we hear its roar and feel its presence.
The Ford Flathead V8 is a timeless machine,
It‘s been a part of our lives for many scenes.
There’s a few misses in there (“Model T”, “It’s light”), but since I don’t write sonnets, I give it props for that.
Now for the final and key question:
Is AI going to be able to replace writers at curbsideclassic.com?
No, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not currently able to fully replace human writers at curbsideclassic.com. While AI can be used to generate content, it is not yet advanced enough to produce the indepth analysis and storytelling that is required for automotive journalism.
True that, except for the part about “storytelling”. It appears to be quite good at that.
This is where ChatGTP is, but it seems to be overloaded a lot.