Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff

About the Author

Thanks sincerely for coming by.

Dennis Simanaitis sees this website as an opportunity to share enthusiasms with kind readers, including those who followed his 33-year career as Engineering Editor at Road & Track magazine. Before that, he worked for the Society of Automotive Engineers (now SAE International). He was Associate Engineering Editor for its monthly Automotive Engineering magazine; later he served as Manager of its Member Relations Division. An earlier career was teaching mathematics at the College of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas. His educational background is in this subject, with a B.S. degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute; an M.A. from Western Reserve University;  and a Ph.D., specialty: dynamical systems theory (sort of differential equations without the dirty bits), from Case Western Reserve University.

He has managed to get this far in life without ever having a real job. His good fortune seems to be continuing.

A contact point: enged@aol.com.

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2013

113 comments on “About the Author

  1. Mark W
    November 15, 2014

    They’ve all been quite informative and enlightening (a good word, that)! Keep up the good “work ” – the world is a better place because of it.

  2. John
    November 15, 2014

    That is because he drives a Morgan!.

    • simanaitissays
      November 15, 2014

      John,
      Full disclosure (and I hope it won’t diminish your enthusiasm), The Mrs. (as we called our Plus Four 4-Passenger Family Tourer) is no longer in our family. An enthusiast in Long Beach is her new pal.
      Our current cars are the Mazda Miata and Honda Crosstour, each talked about here at the website.

  3. John
    November 16, 2014

    We looked at a Cross tourer after all the trouble we had with the Volvo V50 purchased in Sweden. Bought a MINI Countryman cause it is hard to find a car that has all wheel drive, carry a Golden and has a MANUAL trans! We still have the 2002 Cooper S bought in 2001. Figure that one out. The +4 and +8 along with the S stay in the sealed garage till Spring. The Country
    man is a winter rat.
    John

  4. David A Miller
    January 6, 2015

    Since we share so many enthusiasms it occurs to me that you might enjoy the mystery novels written by Edmund Crispin. They feature an English professor named Gervase Fen and always have a few other eccentrics. Occasionally one catches a glimpse of his car, Lilly Christine III” and inspired chase scenes.
    For no easily discernible reason they remind me of the late, lamented Henry N. Manny III.

    • simanaitissays
      January 6, 2015

      Thanks, David. Sounds neat.

    • Marc René Yvon
      January 7, 2015

      Oh my gosh, I must admit I completely forgot about Henry N !
      When I think about this unique man, it reminds me a R&T shot of him all dressed in gothic armour riding a motorized skateboard, no less ! Thanks David !
      Dennis, any news from our other old friend Peter Egan ?
      Ses écrits nous manquent beaucoup !
      Bonne année, Monsieur Dennis. All the best.

      • simanaitissays
        January 7, 2015

        Yes, HNM III was “un type.” One day I must collect stories of him and post them here.
        I believe Peter continues to appear in Cycle World magazine. He still lives in Wisconsin, in what I’d call semi-retirement.

      • Thomas Anderson
        January 7, 2015

        Dennis,I know that I’m not the only one who would LOVE to read HNM’s collected writings.How can I help?Tom Anderson I wrote a short letter to R&T after his passing.  I found myself reading a few sentences in the mag a few months later that sounded familiar … and then I realized that they’d published the letter I wrote.  First time for everything!  I was so proud!!!

  5. John darlin
    February 9, 2015

    Would you or could you know or suggest a writer that would be interested in interviewing a widow of the B-24 pilot that flew secret bombing missions over
    Hitlers “Berchtesgaden?”
    She has a wealth of information and accompanied him a few years back on six week journey to visit his remaining crew.
    I am a personal friend and suggested this to her to keep this information alive.

    John darlin

  6. John McNulty
    February 9, 2015

    I am not sure who I am talking to, but I may have someone to do the interview of the pilot’s wife. I have talked with Dennis many times on Morgans.
    The person’s name is Louis C Langone. I taught with him many years.
    Louis wrote a WW2 book called “Star in the Window”. It was a series of interviews with WW2 people. The book can be seen at http://www.hickoryhillbooks.com
    His email is loubnc81@gmail.com
    He said he would be interested in talking with you.

    John McNulty
    jlmcn@frontiernet.net

  7. Mike B
    February 17, 2015

    I also remember fondly yr fthfl srvt – and promoted a Christmas prsnt some years ago of the book Road & Track released with many if not most of his columns: Henry Manney At Large and Abroad. (https://www.librarything.com/work/5392180/get/). Don’t know if it’s still available new, though used copies should be. Must be pulled out at least once a year or so to re-read.

    If you still have THAT Miata (the one that was R&T’s long-term tester), then it gives me hope for the continued survival of my Protege5. I call it my Miata SUV – fun to drive, agile, quick enough though the average econobox these days is probably quicker, and space in back and on top (with the standard roof rack bars suitably loaded) for all my daughter’s stuff when moving to/from college. And it’s paid for.

    • simanaitissays
      February 17, 2015

      Mike,
      Right on both counts: I have Henry ‘s anthology in my “futures” pile. I’m savoring it now to pick out especially choice bits.
      And, yes, we still have the original Long Term Miata, no. 348, as I recall.

  8. Paul Everett
    March 6, 2015

    Dennis and all —
    Does someone out there remember or have access to the EEFF, the Engineering Editor’s Fun Factor, from days long ago? I was reminded of it seeing stories about the latest Porsche 911 Turbo S and the Miata. Is the 911 more fun?
    By the way, for non-subscribers, Peter Egan has a (typically delightful) column in the latest Road and Track — on visiting the Morgan factory!

    • simanaitissays
      March 6, 2015

      Hello, Paul,
      I’ll dig out EEFF and talk about it here. There was another early computerized bit of R&T as well.
      Good to hear Peter is continuing his wonderful writing, especially that he’s visited my favorite auto works.

  9. Paul Everett
    March 20, 2015

    Thank you for the E2F2 item. Your hint about Excel was helpful; entering a few modest formulas, including the 0.4 power function, produced a handy E2F2 spreadsheet, Some results: VW GTI (R&T, Nov 2012): 98.88. Miata (July 2012): 99.40. Porsche Carrera S (Feb 2012): 113.96. Corvette ZR1 (Oct 2012): 114.67. Porsche Boxster (Aug 2011): 115.13. (Sadly, R&T no longer includes slalom speed, thus the earlier tests here.) My son, who has a 1991 MR2, suggests a “fun to work on” item, which I like, even if difficult to quantify. Thanks for the fun!

  10. David Menaker
    May 1, 2015

    Dennis,

    I read at least 20 years of your columns in R&T. I credit you with teaching me the entire foundation of my automotive knowledge, which is less than some but more than most. My passion for all things automotive began when I learned from you how various systems work together.

    Thank you for the enthusiasm with which you approach your work. It is contagious and I have shared it with others many times. Again, thanks for everything!!

    Respectfully,
    David

    • simanaitissays
      May 1, 2015

      David,
      Many thanks for your kind words. They’re much appreciated.

  11. Bill Mitchell
    May 4, 2015

    I just found your blog while searching for info on Peter Egan, having culled all my old R&T issues from the basement and pulling the columns out before recycling the rest of the issues.Egan, you, and the occasional Allan Girdler column are mostly what I’m keeping, along with a few issues containing road tests of cars I’ve owned. I look forward to catching up with so many things from your columns here, thanks for doing this.

    • simanaitissays
      May 4, 2015

      Welcome, Bill,
      I’m having a ball here (with a somehat broader choice of topics than I had at R&T). It’s fun to recall those days as well.

  12. lawrence romanosky
    June 30, 2015

    I have a set of R&T, every issue from 1947 to about 1990, and they are my most prized possessions. They take a while to move, but not because there are so many boxes – I just can’t resist re-reading all my favourite contributors including Dennis S, Peter Egan, Tony Hogg, Dick O’Kane and also Brockbank and Stan Mott. These magazines gave me untold hours of enjoyment, taught me all about cars, and taught me a fair bit about writing. Thanks Dennis!

  13. Jimmy
    September 19, 2015

    Just looking at the cover of a 1996 R&T Magazine issue with Dennis sitting in a Ferrari 355 Spider, wearing a floppy hat. What a life! : )

    • simanaitissays
      September 19, 2015

      Jimmy, I still have the hat. The 355 Spider is long gone.

  14. Patricia Orsborn
    October 27, 2015

    Today I accidentally stumbled upon this website while searching for something else, and I really enjoyed it. It’s very entertaining and educational. My only problem is that I was so entertained that I lost track of the time and was late for work!!

  15. David Van Lue
    November 8, 2015

    Hi Dennis,
    I just stumbled upon your website while take a break from grad school homework (I’ve been in the engineering industry for many years, but more education is always beneficial). It looks like you have plenty of great future distractions for me here. I’m glad to see your content here and always found interesting insights in your R&T articles.
    Thanks,
    Dave

    • simanaitissays
      November 8, 2015

      Dave, Thanks for your kind words. Hit those books, though.

  16. Bob
    November 17, 2015

    Hello Dennis: thought that some of the information in this article fit in with topics that recur in your interesting site: http://www.alatown.com/?s=citroen&submit=Search Hope that you enjoy. Bob

  17. Dennis Monday
    December 14, 2015

    R&T dropped you, so I dropped them. I just found you again. I can Breath again.
    Question. I just heard from a friend that his truck was totaled because he was off-road in a position where on wheel was off the ground. The ABS released the brakes! He said the same kind of thing can happen with a car in snow.
    I’ve never heard this before. Have you?
    Thanks

    • simanaitissays
      December 14, 2015

      Hello, Dennis,
      Thanks for your kind words.
      Years ago, Kim Reynolds and I did a test on ABS at the time, including ice and snow. One thing we dispelled was the myth about the wedge of snow of a locked wheel being better than ABS.
      No system I know would release all four brakes with one wheel off the surface, but, of course, I haven’t driven ALL vehicles with ABS.
      The better systems (perhaps all of them these days) monitor and act on each wheel independently. If one wheel appears to be locked, for whatever reason, its pressure would be released. But the other three wheels would still be braking.
      In the old days (and possibly today on lesser systems), there were splits of ABS monitoring, perhaps front/rear, or front left/front right/rear or … you get the picture. It saved money by not requiring four of everything.
      Say it’s a front/rear system and one front wheel is off the ground (thus maybe being interpreted as locked). Then the ABS might release the other front wheel brake pressure. However, the rear brakes being monitored would still be operating.
      Obviously I don’t know full details of the accident, so my thoughts here are only suppositional and theoretic. The only thing I can debunk with any reliability is the wedge argument, whether on gravel, sand or snow. all of which we tested. We also tested on an ice rink, where I recall the car took a long distance to stop, whether its ABS was functioning or disconnected. (Mercedes offered us a car specially equipped with an ABS Defeat switch.)

  18. kkollwitz
    February 21, 2016

    Hey Dennis, over at R&T’s site there’s a discussion about What Is a Sports Car? You may recall your featured article from the March 1984 issue on that subject. IIRC you said it was a car that one could drive to the track; race; and drive home. I sure do miss your stuff and am happy to have bumped into this site of yours.

    • jlmcn@frontiernet.net
      February 21, 2016

      At least, the cover of that  R&T had the first and the last of “real sports cars”.John

  19. kkollwitz
    February 21, 2016

    Speaking of engineering, this month I bought my daughter a 2016 Spark LS CVT, which reminds me a bit of my 84 and 86 CRXs. Anyway, I have been pleasantly surprised by the 1.4L and CVT pairing. Question: when stopped at say, a stoplight, with the transmission in D, is the belt turning with the engine pulley, and slipping against the other one?

  20. Paul Berndt
    February 21, 2016

    Hi Dennis,

    I’ve searched and cannot find where to start new topics, so will try here. My question starts with wandering through the Auburn, Indiana Labor Day auction and coming across a Lamborghini Diablo being prepped for the auction. I asked the guy doing the prep about the car and he noted that one of the computer modules had failed and locating a replacement was difficult and very expensive.

    Today’s cars are much better built and can easily last, mechanically, for a few hundred thousand miles. I’m concerned that the electronic components will deteriorate from age and make the vehicle useless. To the point, we have a 2005 Caddy CTS with the 3.6 that has been flawless in its 45,000 miles and I’d like to keep it but am worried that one day we will try to start it, only to find a failed and unavailable module. What are your thoughts on this subject?

    Take care and don’t stop!
    Paul

    • sabresoftware
      February 21, 2016

      Talk about planned obsolescence. I’d imagine that popular cars may have 3rd. party replacement modules available, but some smaller volume models may well be out of luck.

  21. Larry
    February 25, 2016

    Hi Dennis…I shared old buildings and colleagues with you at CVI…Larry Gumbs, upward bound. 1969-73

  22. agatharodi
    April 27, 2016

    Hello from Greece, i stumbled on your blog while searching info on GLENN MARTIN, MY HOME AIR SPACE: ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA was your article written on March 29,2014.Iam writing a children’s picture book about him. I would appreciate any info on him as akid or anything relevant to his speeches about his work. Although i have contacted the Museum in Maryland about Glenn, i still can’t find out if there are any sktetches or drawings while he was thinking of planes. I am thrilled with this Brilliant aviator, all started three months ago while i was writing for a group of writers since then i got glued on this extraordinary person. Thank you Dennis for your help, I would appreciate any suggestions possible, since i am searching on newspaper covers and archives to trace more info, Greetings from Greece, Agatha Rodi

  23. Paul M Everett
    September 21, 2016

    Just returned from a trip to Chicago (Evanston, actually), and southern Wisconsin, and appreciated the Simanitis Says background. On the way to Ken’s Klassics shop in rural Wisconsin, we passed Teliesin (unfortunately the schedule didn’t allow a stop), so your Frank Lloyd Wright item was perfect. Then we visited the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois, an unexpected gem. The Guest House there reminded me of your piece comparing Katsura and Nikko design. Their guest house was clearly an example of the Katsura style, simple and understated. As always, thanks for your wide-ranging and informative work.

    • simanaitissays
      September 21, 2016

      Paul,
      Many thanks for your kind comments. They’re much appreciated.

  24. William Jones
    October 18, 2016

    I thought of you a few weeks ago when camping at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. Had the prividlidge of seeing not 1, but 3 Fokker WWI Aeroplanes, flying about. Also, they built one of the most accurate reproductions of the Spirit of St. Louis, and we got to see it taxi…its a great place to see…

  25. Laura Bell
    November 25, 2016

    Hi Dennis~

    Thank you for your explanation of Eisen glass. I went looking for an explanation after listening to Oklahoma! for the upteenth time and finally decided to finally find an answer to “what the heck IS that stuff?” Now I know.

  26. Douglas Kane
    January 28, 2017

    Is this the car featured in the movie The Quiet Man?

    • simanaitissays
      January 28, 2017

      Hello, Douglas,
      The website bookkeeping is faulty in this regard. Posting in “About the Author” doesn’t identify just which car you’re talking about. Hmm… A good puzzle. “The Quiet Man” is that wonderful John Wayne/Ireland flick, right? I don’t recall a car being especially featured. Please tell me more.

  27. Tom Bright
    July 7, 2017

    I’ve boasted for nearly forty years how you bounced out to the parking lot at R&T’s home base in Newport Beach to talk about headlight patterns for a solid hour with the wife and me in our new 1980 Accord, though we were total strangers and unannounced.

    Your theory at the time was that Detroit avoided sharp cutoffs because they highlighted normal bobbing, telegraphing a subtle message that the car was crummy. Boats back then we wanted, boats they gave us.

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