A Flower In The Parking Lot

Note: Events are taking me on the road before the cock crows, so today the post is something from behind the green door. This post is from a a week ago when I had to rent a car. Something similar is happening this weekend but for entirely different reasons, so the post is appropriate.

We are expecting the white death this weekend and my car is useless in the snow, so I booked a rental for the weekend. God’s country is expecting five to eight inches of snow on Saturday and the tiny roads will not see a plow until late Sunday, so I needed something that could give me a chance to get off the mountain. I booked what the web site said was a front wheel drive Volkswagen or similar.

The key words are always “or similar” with rental cars and “similar” turned out to be a Jeep Gladiator, which is like a Jeep with a pickup bed on it. It did not cost more and they were happy to see me take it, so it worked out for the best. I can now haul some junk from Lagos to the new place. That and the thing is pretty much a tank, so I should have no trouble in the snow.

Standing in the lot waiting for the rental car guy to do his thing, I looked around at the cars and struggled to tell the models. I am not a car guy, but I used to know a Toyota from a Ford without much trouble. Car companies all had their distinctive styles, which was one way they differentiated themselves. Cars are a utility good, but aesthetics are what gets people to sign on the dotted line.

I was reminded of something a crazy guy told me when I was a teenager. He said that by the time I was his age, all cars would look the same. His reasoning was that the drive for efficiency would lead to a singular shape that was the most efficient both in terms of aerodynamics, but also in design cost. All the car maker’s efforts were converging on a singularity of sorts and all cars would look the same.

Crazy guy was mostly right. In the economy and mid-market range, it is hard to tell one model from another. It is not just the exterior. Inside they are all the same too. Options vary, but the options list from Toyota is no different from the options list at the other makers and the pricing is the same. Like the rental car page, we are reaching a point where cars are just small, medium, large and similar.

There are exceptions to this process. The Jeeps are outliers. Ford is selling a Bronco that is supposed to compete with the Jeep, but the best I can tell the Bronco is more like the other SUV’s on the market. The Jeep is a genuine off-road vehicle, even in this age of safety compliance and standardization. Driving this thing around is not quite like a pickup truck and nothing like an SUV.

Of course, there are sports cars. I stopped to grab the mail and there was a Corvette in the parking lot. Like the Jeep, it fills a category unique to itself. It is not in the same league as a Porsche or the high-end BMW’s and Audis. It is not a supercar, but it is not a muscle car either. I see a lot of the new models around so they must be popular with people who are not conformists.

I used to joke that if a man fell asleep in 1965 and awoke in the modern age, he would walk around a parking lot thinking the commies won the Cold War. The aesthetics of this age are dreadful and they are getting worse. That Corvette I saw in the parking lot was like a singular flower blooming against a black and white scene. The dreary cars around it threatening to snuff out the last bit of beauty.

The raises the question of why the car makers are not doing as they did in the past and making weird looking cars. The main reason is the economics of car making have stamped out all signs of adventurism. Every automotive executive knows the story of Saab and its last years making cars. The engineers and managers wanted to make cool cars, but that brought risk and that meant added cost.

General Motors owned Saab at the time and they were not interested in taking risks so they finally shuttered the Saab brand. When you learn about the story of how Saab died you cannot help but think that it was more than just economics. The ugly people at GM could not tolerate the free thinking that was the spirit of the Saab brand. They were the gray background swallowing up the colorful flower.

Of course, there needs to be a market for risk taking. America is no longer a place for young risk takers. It is a place for old fuddy-duddies who live in constant fear of risk because risk could mean the icy hand of death. America has always been a business and now it is a mature business with little tolerance for risk, so even if you wanted to make a funky car for the masses, the market would be small.

At the new place, I noticed that everyone seems to drive a Subaru or a pickup truck with most drives have one of each. The Subaru is great for bad weather driving on hilly country roads and the pickup is good for hauling stuff. I am not ready to be a Subaru man, so maybe I will like this Jeep enough to buy one. Maybe buy a red one so I can be that flower blooming in the grayness for a little while longer.

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245 thoughts on “A Flower In The Parking Lot

  1. Whille there are rational reasons like efficiency and safety regulations for the uniform shapes of cars, this extends to colours, where it is purely an aesthetic choice. Walk around any parking lot these days and you will see four „colours“: Black, white, grey and silver. So by all means, get your new car in red. If anything, it will make it far easier to find it in a large parking lot.

  2. For driving in the mountains, if you have a family, get a lesboru with studded snow tires and you are good to go. Alternatively, for the single man a pickup with chains and firewood in the back should do the trick in winter.

  3. Z’s car observations are sorta like how I feel about today’s “Country” music, or as I like to call it, “Nashville Product.” Today’s mainstream FM radio Country stars all sound and look alike to me. Back in my day, one could easily distinguish Johnny Cash from Buck Owens, Patsy Cline from Dolly Parton, etc.
    A song called “Murder On Music Row” nailed it!

    • I was just expressing same to some “country” folk in upstate NY – Nashville Product on one end, Whatever Passes for Blaque music (Hip-Hop?) on the other…shite, no matter how you…not a good indicator of where we’re at.
      Side note: I was fortunate to see George Jones on “one of his last” tours. The ghost of Marty Robbins appeared to me and said to me “don’t pass up No Show Jones , son, he’s on his way out. And don’t give up on The Shines, neither… Just keep ’em away – for heaven’s sake! – from the tiny-hatz.

      Y’hear me, son?”

    • Chains are overrated. Put some snows on it and a couple heavy sandbags in the back. No sense wasting cargo room on rotting out wood that is getting lighter and disintegrating.

    • Seems like all the “Country Music” I hear on the radio these days is either a repetitive word-salad featuring a random jumble of the same invocations (to wit, “beer,” “sun dresses,” “red dirt,” “neon lights” and “truck”), or heavily influenced by hip-hop, or both.

  4. Strange Saab is mentioned, as before yesterday I hadn’t thought of them since a high school friend son-of-a-doctor got one at 16.
    Anyway, visiting a customer yesterday I was surprised to see a bunch of heavy duty offshore O&G equipment w a Saab logo, and even mentioned it to my contact.
    I guess they diversified their business model.

  5. Strangely enough you see both extremes in the gun world. One side is making ever edgier guns while the other side keeps coming out with new pistols that are just Glock copies.

  6. I can’t post the link because it says it’s sam.but Google “reduxx Oregon breast cancer”

    Tyranny by homosexual (or spiritual homosexuals) is worse than old school tyranny. Otoh, i kind of wonder if calling them the f word is like putting water on the wicked witch. Maybe they just melt

  7. Others on the dissident right have made this point as well, but your observation of cars also holds for architecture. As someone involved in construction, it’s painful to watch the beautiful and unique 100 year old residential and commercial buildings that get knocked down, and then replaced with soulless cookie cutter McMansions. Look at the beautiful Tudor or Victorian homes, and then compare them to a modern McMansion. The craftsmanship in the stone and woodwork is incredible in those old homes.

    • Detroit of all places, once known as the Paris of the Midwest, has some of the most beautiful buildings in the Western hemisphere thanks mainly, of course, to the automotive industry. Of course after WWII the Black Death arrived, anybody with any sense and wealth evacuated the city, and all those beautiful Art Deco structures are now ruins.

      • If you have any sense of history, when you go to Detroit and see what it has become it makes you want to cry. To see all those huge, magnificent factories and the art-deco office buildins and the old homes is just sad. But it also makes you wish you could have seen it when it was in full flower.

      • Ostei-

        Some good news in Detroit – Michigan Central Station is (slowly) being brought back to life. New tenants moved into the building during 2023.

      • I have this theory about anytime you call someplace the Paris of something…… Detroit was the Paris of the midwest, Beirut was the Paris of the Mediterranean, Saigon the Paris of southeast Asia…..

  8. OK Z, tell us when you’re buying your lifted to the sky diesel 4X4 bro-dozer pickup and goin’ Rollin’ Coal along the hollers.

  9. Very timely post. I just saw an image recently, a meme, that made me laugh and utterly captures the generic sameness and soullessness of modern vehicles. These are the -actual- models only the wheels have been made white.

    It perfectly captures the compliant, docile, lifeless, weak, sheep like, nature of our current age.


    • J.

      A nation of “compliant, docile, lifeless, weak, sheep like” hominids is not exactly the most terrifying enemy you could be facing on the b@ttlefield.

      audentis Fortuna iuvat?

    • That’s a great imagine, thanks for the share. I drive an old car and love to complain how all the new ones look the same now I got a pic that perfectly shows it.

  10. Buy it. Red trucks are our automotive uniform.

    Near the beginning of “Brexit & Trump” there was a media-induced hysterical proliferation of hoax hate crimes by right-wing motorists, echoing the devil-possessed-vehicle horror movies of the ’70s and ’80s. In England Satan’s truck, wildly swerving at the sidewalk Muslima etc, was always a white van, because over there that’s the default work vehicle of small contractors and their employees—the “gammon,” the hated ham-faced remnant of white labor. In America the devil’s car, always just barely evaded by the brave black LGBT pedestrian *family*—it’s America!—was, without exception, a “red pickup.”

    People who know MAGA guys know they very rarely drive red pickups. Everyone I know who has one is a sissy musician or girlboss lesbian. MAGA guys stick to white and black. But Trump men are “red” men—red in hat, in state, in rage-painted white face (the ham!)—so “red pickup” was always the story.

    The big everyday difference between us and other guys is that they believe what’s on TV. 2017’s fake stories of noble Democrats menaced by “red pickup” men, though forgotten, have shaped their “lizard brains.”

    Remind them. Get those flight hormones pumping. It’s bad for their hearts.

  11. The richest man I personally know, so rich he probably doesn’t know exactly how rich he is, once bought himself a Lamborghini. Just because he could. At the time he was a fiftysomething fat dumpy balding man, who nobody ever took a second look at. But after he bought this car, the women started coming out of the woodwork. They were all over him. It was incredible. You had to see it to believe it. Eventually he sold it and is driving a Toyota, and the women no longer appear.

    I think the thing to do is to rig up some sort of Lambo or Ferrari looking body, slap their logo and hood ornament on it, put a corolla 4 cylinder under the hood, and you’re an instant ladies man. Probably be able to put it together for under $20k.

    • My take from this is story that he sold the Lamborghini because he was sick of vulture women circling around him thinking they found a fat bald loser with money they could parasitize.

      • Ploppy: “My take from this story is that he sold the Lamborghini because he was sick of vulture women circling around him thinking they found a fat bald loser with money they could parasitize.”

        In the last year or two, muh soul has become heavily burdened by the realization that yuge percentages of all women view their front-holes as nothing but piggy-banks.

        They aren’t necessarily de jure wh0res, but they’re certainly de facto wh0res.

        I often now find myself wondering whether I’m the Last Romantic on the face of this Earth.

        The mere concept of Front-Hole-Piggy-Banks is a spiritual dagger right through very the heart of any possible concept of Romanticism.

        • I don’t see the point of it, even if you can attract women by being (or at least looking) rich you’re putting yourself at great risk. Trying for long term you’re just going to get worn down by a bloodsucker constantly demanding you spend money on her who doesn’t actually care about you and is just waiting for enough time to pass to cash out the divorce settlement (look at Dilbert guy as the classic example).

          Short term the girl is going to either try to trap you or least revenge herself with a pregnancy or threatening to cry rape. We see it happen constantly with rich or famous men. (Yeah I’m sure Russell Brand had to shove women up against the pinball machine, there’s just no way they’d have slept with him willingly…)

          The sensible option is to hide your wealth and hold out for a nonevil woman. I’m sure they exist…they must exist…

          • Ploppy: “…a non-evil woman. I’m sure they exist…they must exist…”

            I guess there’s no law against hoping & praying.

            At least not yet…

          • You need to be deprogrammed…
            Some men like Vettes believe it or not for the car. Not as a status symbol or chic crack,

    • Been done.
      A friend of mine from school owned a stable of three different 2-seater Porsches (Porsche-i? Not sure what the plural is) none less than 25 years old.
      None had Porsche engines.
      Never paid more than $1,500 (’90’s dollars) per car.
      Girls walking around campus would literally jump into his car.

      • I once lived in a locality with a high density of gold diggers. In fact, that was where this Lamborghini “experiment” transpired. They are nice to look at but that’s about the only good thing I have to say for them.

  12. The fatal flaw of the Subaru is that the “safer” boxer engine leaves oil pooling against the head gaskets when the car is off, which eventually eats through the gasket requiring an extremely expensive repair about the 100k mark. (Instead of a $900 timing belt you’re looking at a 3-5k job). Of course Portlandia liberals have no clue about this and want the Subaru for street cred (the Subaru outback station wagon replaced those boxy Volvos as the official shitlib vehicle)

    • Subaru – all your observations are correct, sir.
      I’m generally a Benz guy – my current is a 90’s era W140 S-class.
      But when my 88 year old neighbor put her 1-owner 2012 Outback up for sale “for a ‘song'” two years ago (it needed brake and exhaust work and is soon going to need an engine cradle/subframe replacement – upstate NY winters!), I snapped it up.
      The other day, one of the brake lines gave out while I was on the road, far from home. Well, I managed to drive it home over 400 + interstate miles (I 81 into I 88 plus 50 or so through backroads VA). I did this on 1/2 (maybe 1/2 ???) brakes. I am a heads-up driver, and I kept 100 yds. minimum between myself and anybody else – for 8 hrs! – while en route. Secret sauce (without which I would NEVER have attempted): the Subaru’s paddle shifters for downshifting/speed control through the “virtual” CVT gearbox. I had no need to touch the brakes – at all! – between Central VA and home, in Central NY.
      Well, I don’t WANT to “like” the Subaru – it was supposed to be my “winter beater” – but now, um, I think I’ll fix it some and keep it!

  13. My son-in-law is an independent operator trucker. His favorite loads are crushed automobiles from scrapyards. He says the money is good on those trips. I said to him “and you don’t have to worry about damaging the cargo!”

    I somehow think this relates to the topic … maybe.

  14. Saab subsystems were continually breaking down. This was almost universal across the ownership. My older Volvo 240DL was literally a tank in comparison. Nothing ever broke or failed to work even in harsh rural Michigan winters and full-on transits of the continental US and up to Alaska. Reliable until I sold it at 200k+ on the odometer.

    Jeeps are a blast in the outback but you must routinely replace expensive items like struts, clamps, and wiring harnesses. I’ve had two close friends killed in separate road accidents in Wranglers — Jeeps do not provide good mechanical protection in the event of a collision or flip. Exercise due care, Z, and have fun, WV has some great offroading.

    • You forgot the dreaded Jeep tick, oh excuse me lifter bang that sounds like a rod knock, regardless of the engine series.

  15. Great article, but I would add that there seems to be a herd mentality among automakers in play as well here. Take Subaru – which I love, they make great vehicle for outdoor types who don’t have to haul a bunch of stuff around like dirt bikes, etc. – the Outback used to stand out, nothing quite like it. Now it seems all the other car brands have their own version, or close to it. It’s clear they copied the shape, capabilities, etc. to try and grab that target group.

    • I’d tend to say the Outlook was changed from its old “touring sedan” style to the “crossover SUV” industry standard. So much so that I’d have a hard time explaining why it’s any different than the Forrester.

      (I bought one of the 1st models after the switch)

  16. Rationalization in design, i.e. the convergence on performance- and cost-effective specs, is the enemy of originality and aesthetics. But frankly so is capitalism, which puts so much purchasing power in the hands of the vulgar, tasteless masses that there is a demand-side motivation to actually produce hideous or dull dreck. Then too, the fiends in the Power Structure oppose beauty for egalitarian reasons and seek to annihilate it at every turn. Just look at cheerleaders, fashion models, and postmodern art, and listen to what serves for music these days, if you doubt me. The destruction of beauty and the valorization of ugliness is part and parcel of the destruction of the West.

  17. I agree that GM stamped out Saab (drowned it in the bathtub) because it was too colorful and alive.

    But I disagree that there is no market for unique cars. The supercars you see selling for 1.2 mil are all unique and brilliant. Men aren’t just paying the big bucks because it costs more — the Spyder and the Lamborghini are genuinely eye-catching rides that make you look.

    I have a vision of a Gangster car with a retro look, big as a boat in the Fifties/Sixties styling, with a cassette tape in it and a dark and menacing look. Get all the ghetto kids with cash to buy it. Make it easy to buy with a down payment of only, say, US$2000 on it, and install GPS trackers on every unit so that if payments stop coming in you can easily triangulate and seek out your product from the deadheads out there.

    Also, if you cared to bother, women would pay big bucks for automobiles that weren’t quite so masculine. Cars all seem to be driven by the male esthetic, and a car that was more feminine would be all the rage in VaginaLand. There’s plenty of options in the car industry if they would but open their eyes and look.

    [To read more Greg Nikolic stuff, click on my name up above]

    • Also, if you cared to bother, women would pay big bucks for automobiles that weren’t quite so masculine.

      1) From years of being a gear head, working in the auto industry, following auto racing, working on cars, going to car shows, etc. I’ve formed the view that women don’t “care” about cars the way men do. Here and there there are women that are “interested” in specific cars (Corvettes, Porsches, Jeeps) and like owning them, but don’t have the level of interest that would see them modifying their car for better performance themselves in their own garage. Nor have I ever met a woman who would buy an older car and restore it to its former glory with her own hands. Or buy a car and modify it to take it to a racetrack.

      No, for the vast majority of women, a car is an appliance on four wheels that she only thinks of when something goes wrong. Cars are bought on price, practicality, and (especially when she has children) safety. She could care one whit about if the car is “masculine” or “feminine”.

      2) Cars are too masculine?!?! CUVs are the triumph of Cars as Appliances listed above. All Karen cares about is her CUV keeps Aiden, Jaden, and Braydon safe as she shuttles them from activity to activity, and it’s bigger than the one that B-tch Becky her coworker owns.

      The supercars you see selling for 1.2 mil are all unique and brilliant. Men aren’t just paying the big bucks because it costs more — the Spyder and the Lamborghini are genuinely eye-catching rides that make you look.

      That’s wonderful. Does a working class stiff get an affordable yet cool looking performance car these days or no? Well the Camaro and Challenger are gone so it’s a Mustang or pony up (no pun intended) the cash for a Corvette.

      • You are aware the Ford Mustang is now an electric compact utility vehicle?
        The crazy thing is you can now get a used Ferrari (like a F360) for less than a new Silverado 3500. I havent seen an older Ferrari in the wild in years, I see new Silverados daily. It’s not the providers doing this, its the consumers.

      • “Men love women, of course, but what they really love are cars!”–Lord Hesketh in the movie, Rush (2013)

      • “CUVs are the triumph of Cars as Appliances listed above…”
        (They got rid of the Camaro and the Challenger? When?)

        • Last Camaro rolled off the line 12/14/2023. Last Challenger 12/22/2023. Production of the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 is also complete as of December 2023.

    • I have a vision of a Gangster car with a retro look, big as a boat in the Fifties/Sixties styling, with a cassette tape in it and a dark and menacing look.

      Diamond in the back
      Sunroof top
      Diggin’ the scene with a gangsta lean

    • Saab was never a reliable car, regardless of “innovation.”
      Mercedes BMW $$$ to repair without the gravitas.

  18. Modern jet liners have the same sameness. Two engines under the wings. Gone are all the old tri-jets. Modern fighter aircraft are in the same mold. Two engines, two vertical stabilizers. No funkiness or weirdness left.

    No more iconic designs like the P-38 Lightening, the F4U Corsair, the Black Widow night fighter, F-4 Phantom, U2….

    • What do people expect when six corporations own every “brand” you buy? Why wouldn’t everything look the same? Why is the news all the same? Spreading out ownership and power leads to diversity. Which makes the claims of colleges and corporations all the more insidious. They’re paying attention and using are own arguments, inverted, against us.

  19. I miss my Volvo 122’s. So easy to work on. The bodies went before the engines and the trannies. There’s an old word with a new meaning! The Saabs were wild. We had to take the driver’s side door off to get at the rear sparkplugs to do a tune up. You need a Subaru for winter driving in Northern New England even if they’re trendy among the woke crowd.

    The days of motoring as we know it may be coming to an end with the phasing out of fossil fuels. Too much freedom for the… what do you call it.. the dirt people.

    • I feel sure that the new cars getting brighter headlights a few years ago was a nudge to discourage us from driving

  20. What bothers me is the new drive to activate features by subscription. There’s nothing worse than buying a not-cheap car and finding out that you need to pay to use a feature. The whole world has become rent seeking. I’m sure we’ll eventually need subscriptions to keep our refrigerators cold.

    And then there’s some $2000 sensor that goes out just after warrantee.

    • Well, new cars are not all bad. There are a lot of things I hate about them. But the one thing good about them is they last a long time, longer than ever before.

      The average age of a car on the road is approaching 13 years old. Since the paint and rust protection are better than they used to be, your 03 Toyota doesn’t look like a 21 year old jalopy. Since the general shape of cars has not really changed since the early 90s, it doesn’t look that dated. I first started driving in the late 1980s. Insurance priced me out of financing anything, so I was driving older cars. They absolutely stuck out like a sore thumb as being old.

      Of course, part of the reason for the aging fleet is economic. Cars are just stupidly expensive today. The financing terms of cars has ballooned to like 72 months. In the 50s and 60s it was 2 years. Then, in the 70s it was 3 years. It just gets longer and longer. People are willing to keep the cars on the road longer because the cost of replacement is just so damned high.

    • I agree. My standard joke about making everything a service is that you will be hitting the brakes on your car and a voice will say, “Your brake service has been cancelled because of something mean that you posted on the internet.”

      For people like me with a small government inclination, I’d like to point out that this is one area where big government can make life better. Pass a law that companies can’t turn something that a customer can buy once discretely into a service that requires periodic payments.

      (I know that our current big government hates us. I’m imagining one that doesn’t.)

      It’s possible that there would be other negative consequences of big government that aren’t worth it.

  21. That old guy was right. Sort of.

    An even bigger factor in the sameness of cars has been … regulations.

    There are a lot of them. For fuel efficiency. For safety. Even for how high the front is (or something likfe that) so that if you hit a pedestrian he will bounce in a better way (or something like that).

    There is a wonderful YT cars channel called Savage Geese. They did a nice segment a few years ago analysing all the contributing factors leading to The Great Blandness.

    • Many of the regulations are ostensibly for safety or emissions, and I don’t deny these have some value. But, some skeptics have noted, the regulations tended to favor big bodies, which is something that American makers excel at.

      A Tata Nano is basically a golf cart with a small gas engine. I suspect one could be designed to meet U.S. pollution standards. But safety? Never. U.S. consumers are denied a chance to buy a cheap auto that probably costs a tenth of what even a cheap U.S. model does. But the most important, and usually unstated result is that grossly overpaid UAW workers and bloated corporations are protected against foreign competition.

      And that much vaunted “safety”? Well, please explain why motorcycles are allowed to be sold in America.

      • “But the most important, and usually unstated result is that grossly overpaid UAW workers and bloated corporations are protected against foreign competition.”

        NOT NEARLY ENOUGH. So-called “free trade” is evil and stupid. The only way free trade can work is with other first world countries. What you want to do is make the average American auto worker have the wages and safety protection of the average Indian.
        It used to be that we could compete with low paid Indian workers because we were so much more productive. But with modern regulations and finance, the low paid Indian worker can be outfitted with the same high productivity machinery that an American can be outfitted with.

        Americans should NOT have a choice to buy the cheap made in Asia junk. More importantly, “American” (in name only) companies should not be able to have a product made in Asia and then imported tariff free to the US.

        Finally, American cars are not so expensive because of how much money the blue color workers make. UAW workers were the highest paid in the world when America was the most productive and a cheap car manufacturer in the world.

        • When I lived in Korea in the 90’s, I remember reading that 95+% of cars were Hyundai, Kia (which was still shit at the time), Daewoo, etc. The rest were usually Mercedes or some other high end brand. Such protectionism and racial pride doesn’t seem to have hurt Korea’s precious GDP or standard of living.

        • Z will make references like that on occasion, but no one wants to return to the horrible U.S. cars from the late 70s/early 80s. If there is to be rampant trade protectionism to protect U.S. automakers then there also needs to be more domestic competition (and less regulation) so that bad decision making is still punished.

          • American car companies had even less competition in the 50s and 60s and these are considered some of the best cars ever designed or made (adjusted for technology).

            I don’t think we should outlaw trade. I just think we should not be forced to compete with 3rd world workers who can work for 3rd world wages and where there are no regulations (which our regulations drive up costs). Europe, Australia, Japan and Canada are roughly equal with the US.

            If free trade was ever a valid policy, it was under vastly different conditions. So-called free trade is a race to the bottom and outsourcing. It is difficult to find an “American” name brand who does not do a substantial part (or all) of the manufacturing somewhere else. This is not foreign competition. This is “American” regulation escape. The people doing this should be arrested and imprisoned if we are in a good mood. Of course, ALL of their wealth should be confiscated. They are the lowest form of traitors who sell out their supposed country for coin.

      • They really aren’t grossly overpaid at all, it’s just that other non-union jobs have become underpaid by a big factor. I saw something a year or so ago that shocked me. The minimum wage in the early 60s, whatever it was then if you keep pace with inflation would have been $26 at that time when I saw the article.

        For as bad as unions are, and I’m not in one or from a union family, they made the middle class prosperity that is being destroyed by the elites now. Rather than criticizing the unions, ask why other employers aren’t paying a living wage.

    • Agreed on regulations sucking the creativity out of auto making. Car makers must balance often contradicting requirements for fuel economy, emissions, and safety.

      Make the vehicle light for fuel economy yet add weight back in the form of airbags stuffed in every corner of the car interior. Diesel engines are more fuel efficient than gasoline engines yet hobble them by introducing ridiculous emissions regulations that work as well as “Stand six feet apart to not get COVID!” 🙄 Add airbags in for safety yet now the “A” pillar (the front pillar the windshield attaches to) that holds them is so thick you can miss a pedestrian crossing the street because it shields them from your view. (Had this happen once. Had M’Lady not seen him and yelled I’d have flattened him like a bug)

      On Fuel Economy: As Eric Peters wrote at his blog, imagine the fuel economy we could get if we put modern direct injection engines in cars the size and weight of compact cars from the 1990s. Those built before the demand to stick airbags everywhere and build in passenger cages into the structure.

      On Safety: Apparently in Clown World the driver is not responsible for the safety of themselves, the passengers, or the vehicle.

      On Emissions: So, LA went back to being smoggy sometime recently? Oh, and EVs pollute, it’s just not out of the tailpipe.

      Globalization plays a factor too as cars are designed to be sold many different countries and meet what are becoming more common regulations. Took what made a British, French, German, Japanese, or American car right out of the picture and made them all a grey sameness, sometimes literally as other posters point out on paint choices.

    • But it’s not just cars that have gotten bland as vanilla Ovaltine since the 90s. Architecture, music and interior design (especially color patterns) are all generic and soulless.

      • Don’t you just love every retro 50s and before store/restaurant/hotel/retail-store with a fake weathered and beaten look carefully painted on?

        It has been diversified in the way The Regime commands it now though. Just throw up the photos everywhere that allows them to profess their commitment to black lives. I can’t remember who, but someone the other day described his corp job as a Black Worship Center. Hysterical.

        Corporate got a good ride out of mimicking mid-90s Old Navy store design and now they are all keeping that and just, “innovating and disrupting”, by converting it to a BWC. Let’s hire that one ad agency that only hires Somali Warlords and their harems as models and plaster those up in the windows and on the walls. In the women’s section let’s make sure we have a bit of diversity – the warlord kissing a redhead female. In the men’s section double up on photos of the warlord and his harem. Now that’s innovation!!

        Let’s not get started on web sites. I think the first thing AI will mercifully pummel is web site design. I never meet web designers but this whole thing makes a mockery of that pompous book, “The Rise of The Creative Class.” Looks like the best the, “Creative Class”, of whom web designers are a tiny cohort of, could conjure in creativity is everyone mimicking each other and being interchangeable Molly addled Burning Man attendees.

        I hate the sanctimonious David Cross but he did manage a brilliant skit in Mr. Show with the marketing consultants. They had a dough boy marketing mascot named PitPat. That show’s Silicon Valley entrepreneur caricature was pretty good too. He invented the delete key and gets money every time somebody hit delete. He then runs a sweat shop where everyone is incentivized to hit delete. The top performers get a Tooofuuutttti break where they are forced to mingle with his pet goats. Little did David Cross know he was in bed with this new “Creative Class”, he skewered but whose centrifugal force of FnG he could not escape.

        They resurrected that show a few years ago, and it was some of the most vicious anti-white dark humor I have ever seen. It was disturbing in its open hatred for whites and portrayal of them as vicious and violent authoritarians.

        I ramble. In sum, so much for “The Rise of the Creative Class.” The Conformist Class would have aged much better.

    • “An even bigger factor in the sameness of cars has been … regulations.”

      What gooberment regulation specifies that mainstream new cars be any color you like, as like as it’s white, black, or shades of gray?

      If the manufacturers’ intentions are purely practical, why not offer Mom and Dad cars in high visibility colors to optimize safety?

      Those drab colors say something about the mood of this current era… rolling expressions of the collective mind.

      • Insert here some photos of two tone autos of the 1950’s, supposedly a drab, conformist decade.

  22. Glad to hear that Z has made the move to the mountains; although where I live, the Appalachians would be considered foothills compared to the Rockies. And as for useful vehicles in these environs, yes indeed, a Subaru is best for routine town and highway driving. A mid 90s 3/4 ton GM 4×4 pickup is a necessity for hauling, towing and plowing; and is only driven a dozen times a year. But my favorite is the 1978 Toyota Landcruiser for off-road fun. It can creep up a gnarly 60 degree grade over boulder or stream bed without any hesitation or strain. It’s a loyal friend and my go-to if the SHTF and I must retreat into oblivion. Moral of this tale. You will need some solid tools to weather the interregnum, and a stout vehicle should be on your list.

  23. I love Wranglers, have had a few of them. My last and favorite one was a Unlimited. It was a beast and could plow through anything. Lost it when I was following a semi on black ice at 20 mph and another semi came around a blind corner out of control at speed (65) and rammed head on into the one I was following. Obliterated the fronts of both semis, huge fireball, and shoved the one I was following into me at around 30 mph (did the math). Both me and the dog walked away from it, though my jeep was totaled. The lesson: the jeep might go anywhere, but beware the black swan other drivers.

    I’d get another one, but they’re too damned expensive and the insurance is brutal. Now I drive a rusted out Yooper Cherokee. Also good in the snow, but alas not a Wrangler.

    • Gotta be careful with that black ice. It makes up only 13% of the ice on the roads but it’s responsible for half the accidents.

  24. No mention of older Caprices? I looked at taxis -all Caprices. Mercury Marquis, state trooper cars, both ran 24/7, so I had Caprices,easier to work on.

  25. His reasoning was that the drive for efficiency would lead to a singular shape that was the most efficient both in terms of aerodynamics, but also in design cost. All the car maker’s efforts were converging on a singularity of sorts and all cars would look the same.

    And this is why it would be a good idea to have a nationalized automaker. Much of the automobile market is strictly utilitarian in nature, especially corporate cars, rental cars, and basic transportation for people at the lower end of the wage scale. A national automaker that manufactured cheap, efficient, reliable cars made from modular parts that can be mass produced and swapped out with a minimum of mechanical knowledge would take a huge amount of stress out of the market. And far from limiting people’s choice, it would actually free up the for-profit automakers to be more creative with their designs, marketing explicitly to the people who are willing to pay for superior performance.

    I believe this way of thinking is inevitable and necessary to help deal with the economic problems of living in a post-globalized, post-growth world with an inverted population pyramid. We cannot simply allow vast numbers of post-industrial workers to become destitute and we cannot afford to put them on welfare. The only humane way forward is to offer them a share in the economy that is commensurate with what their labor can produce, without them losing their dignity. A dirigiste, public-private hybrid economy is the answer to that, and it should be applied to many areas other than automakers such as home appliances, housing, travel, and consumer goods. Nationalize about half the industry and let the nationalized half put a floor under the utilitarian lower end of the market, then let private industry operate in a lightly regulated environment that fosters competition through rigorous antitrust enforcement. Private capital, having lost the low end and the debt slaves, would have to be leaner and meaner to earn a profit, but that’s not a bad thing.

    The problem standing in the way of all this is the fact that if it were attempted by the current government, they would get it catastrophically wrong. The national automaker would be a bludgeon forcing EVs on poor people instead of building reliable ICEs for them, because they do not care about the people. Politics has become strictly an affair of the haves flaunting their status in the face of the have-nots. On the other hand, the idea of simply dismantling the government would do nothing to help the people either. They would lose what little social support they have and be plunged into poverty and misery.

    The debate is not between small government and big government. The debate is between having a big government of Davos freaks who hate people and a big government of Caesars who care about them. The first task is to shift the public debate explicitly into those terms, whereupon the answer becomes obvious.

    • And this is why it would be a good idea to have a nationalized automaker.

      The ghost of British Leyland raises its rusted out hand and waves hello.

      It’s nationalized brother Rover Group can’t even raise its hand.

      • Excuse me, Sir – can I interest you in a Lada?

        Top quality, from a Russian state-owned manufacturer.

        • C’mon, you guys are slipping! What of the Yugo, “reflecting the cutting edge of Serbo-Croatian technology.” (H/T Dragnet from 1987)

        • The infamous Trabbie…a car whose body was made of substance akin to Bakelite, and powered by a two-stroke lawnmower engine that someone once described as sounding like a “coffee can full of nuts and bolts thrown into a washing machine.” Early models were so lousy, they didn’t even come with a fuel gauge. Drivers had to insert a dipstick into the tank to guess how much fuel remained.

        • If their motorcycles hadn’t been wired like a Christmas tree they would probably still be here today. Those names today are owned by Indians, and last I heard Triumphs were being made in Thailand. No thanks!

    • ” A national automaker that manufactured cheap, efficient, reliable cars made from modular parts that can be mass produced and swapped out with a minimum of mechanical knowledge would take a huge amount of stress out of the market. And far from limiting people’s choice, it would actually free up the for-profit automakers to be more creative with their designs, marketing explicitly to the people who are willing to pay for superior performance.”

      In the former USSR, that peepuls’ car was the domestically manufactured Lada. On the other hand, the nomenclatura preferred BMW’s and Mercedes.

      Dasein, you’re one of the biggest fools on the Internet.

  26. The amount of cars and the land ceded to roads/parking lots is a BLIGHT; destroyed the beauty and walkability of cities. The noise, traffic, pollution and insanity of every person paying through the nose forinsurance/repairs on their own motor vehicle is nuts.

    But it’s another result of big business and diversity.

    • Nobody said it was perfect, YUGE draw backs to car culture. But the car does offer real freedom, in the end thats the big reason people like cars, or love them depending on what you drive

    • No idea what diversity has to do with this. But yeah, big business in the worst way.

      Historical fact: many many US towns had tramlines. Even quite small towns. The line at least ran down main street and horses pulled the tram. It was cheap and super convenient. You just hopped on. For an old lady it would stop.

      Then the big car companies came along and bought all the local street railways and … shut them down.

      • “No idea what diversity has to do with this.”

        If you have to share public transport with noggers, many people would prefer to drive a car. Case in point: a female acquaintance of mine war riding the Twin Cities light rail when a nogger pulled out his willy and started urinating, and then claimed that since the martyrdom of St. George of Floyd (peace be upon him) he could do whatever the hell he wanted.

        The relatively recently built light rail system in the Twin Cities is now the most dangerous light rail system in the USA (maybe in the world?). I’m all for mass transit but the hazards of using it in the USA gives me pause. A lot of people would rather drive as a consequence.

    • Love autos but they wrecked town and country. Sprawling corporate cookie cutter burbs, oh boy!

    • People need lots of cars and roads to get away from the diversity. In their heart of hearts, no one really wants to be around diversity, not even the diverse themselves.

      • Yup, the problem isn’t too many cars — it’s too many people. Well, certain people. America did just fine with a lot fewer foreigners, shitlibs, and POCs.

        I respectfully disagree with Z re: the dearth of brightly colored cars. My car is a distinguished shade of Confederate Gray. Marse Robert would approve.

    • “the beauty and walkability of cities”

      I get caught up in the romantic idea of living in the Shire too. But I always ask people who favor this, “Have you ever lived in an apartment building?”

      When you live in close proximity to others there are always those who must demonstrate the power of their stereo often, for example.

      In general, my argument with walkable cities (the Shire!) is that people like me who need quiet can’t live around loud people.

  27. The corvette is absolutely 100% a supercar. The c7 with a factory supercharger is known for being almost undriveable because it has so much power and lots were wrecked by inexperienced drivers.
    The Bronco will eat a Jeeps lunch off road. Way more purpose built and well thought out. Jeep has always been known as unreliable junk. Unfortunately all new cars have so much tech they are all untrustworthy. 4runner is still solid until they put a smaller turbo charged engine in it.

    • The new Bronco looks great, but its safety rating was abysmal. Watch a few of the crash tests for the Bronco. It’s an epic fail.

    • Anecdotal, of course, but i have two Jeeps each at 300k miles …. No problems with either, though both are pending engine rebuilds now, and other work. But both were unfailingly reliable. They have quirks, of course. And recent model diesel drives and handles even better; superb out of the box offroad ability (Rubicon). Main problem is company now owned by Stellantis — Left-wing soy boy outfit …. obsessed with tech and eco-bs.

      Way too much tekkie bull-s#it.

      Older Guy writing this ….

    • I picked up a 2019 4Runner a couple of months ago. 4.0 V6. No stupid turbo. Built in Japan. I expect to drive to the grave. (Mine, not its.)

      Years ago I read someone’s comment on an auto forum:

      I have a 4Runner and a Wrangler. I use the 4Runner to drive to the store to buy Jeep parts.

    • All the guys at work pretty much agree that Jeeps are junk. But a lot of gals love them and we all agree that jeep-girls are A-OK.

  28. Wouldn’t have a Jeep if you gave it to me. FIAT junk. In every way Toyota Tacoma/Tundra are far superior. Also the Toyota Highlander. Is superior to the Official Car of the White Prog LGBQWERTY Community. aka Subaru. Toyotas are expensive but they will run forever. You can pay Toyota now or pay through the nose later with most other brands.
    A smart buy is a two year old low mileage V6 Tacoma 4×4. You can buy a lot of gasoline with the savings by buying used, well maintained, stone reliable Toyotas.

    • Dad adopted a rural lifestyle his last twenty years or so. One of his sage advices to me was (approximately): Never buy a truck from a redneck. The redneck would sooner lose his home, his family, his rifle, his hunting dogs, his other possessions, before he’d let his truck go.

    • All of the new Tacomas will have turbocharged engines. The dealer told me that the 2023 Tundras with the turbo V6 have LOTS of blown engines, oil leaks, and all sorts of problems endemic with turbochargers. Instead of being gray, white, or silver pigs worthy of the tastes of fat women in their ’30s, they’re now unreliable pigs.

  29. I own a 2018 Tacoma. Never owned a Jeep, but I can’t imagine they’re much better in the snow. I’ve driven in 8-10” of unplowed snow on dirt roads through the hills, no problem. Plus, it’s an honest-to-God truck, if not a full-size. FWIW.

  30. Saabs were fun to drive. They had great handling and smooth turbos, but maintenance was an absolute nightmare. Everyone who owned one had a “Saab story”. But they weren’t boring, like Volvos.

  31. (Grips keyboard as he tries to avoid a rant about his favorite subject, automobiles and styling)

    I was reminded of something a crazy guy told me when I was a teenager. He said that by the time I was his age, all cars would look the same. His reasoning was that the drive for efficiency would lead to a singular shape that was the most efficient both in terms of aerodynamics, but also in design cost. All the car maker’s efforts were converging on a singularity of sorts and all cars would look the same.

    Sadly he was correct as The Unelected Government ☝😠 hath decreed mandates that force automakers into sameness. As he pointed out there’s only X many ways to slip through the air with a minimum of drag. Even more troubling in the relentless push to get every last foot of travel from a gallon of gasoline cars now use tiny displacement 4 cylinder engines with turbochargers. (In the case of a new “Buick” CUV, it’s down to 3 cylinders). How long will those engines last?

    Coupled with the “Safety Fatwa” (H/T Eric Peters at ericpetersautos dot com) that mandates stuffing airbags everywhere and making sure nobody ever gets hurt in a car, the “Tank Vision Slit” windows come from a high “beltline” needed to protect occupants.

    Quoting Peter DeLorenzo at Autoextremist dot com, “It’s a giant steaming bowl of Not Good”.

    It doesn’t help that as sedans and coupes get emasculated and less useful (Check out how tiny trunks and trunk lids are on current cars) people gravitate to CUVs and SUVs. There’s only so much one can do with “Two Box” styling. So everything comes out looking the same.

    And Pickup Trucks have morphed into the LTDs, Impalas, and Monacos/Furys of yesteryear when Americans were allowed to have full size cars. Most pickups I’ve seen have Quad Cabs and are driven as Family Trucksters. As one can imagine, there’s not much “wiggle room” in designing a pickup, save for making even more massive, uglier front ends.

    And with the fetish over “platforms” (one or two basic designs underpinning a number of vehicles) and seeking to sell cars in as many markets as possible, car makers pump out a bland slurry meant to sell worldwide. So car companies lose what made them unique when they reflected “National” Aesthetics. One knew looking at it a classic Jaguar, MG, or Rolls Royce that it was a Veddy British Motorcar 🧐, the austere, Germanic efficiency reflected in the lines of a Mercedes, BMW, or Porsche, the simplicity of a Honda or Toyota, the Gallic “weirdness” of anything French built (Google Citroën DS). Now all gone in the relentless push for efficiency and sales numbers.

    “The Jeep is a genuine off-road vehicle, even in this age of safety compliance and standardization. Driving this thing around is not quite like a pickup truck and nothing like an SUV.”

    Thankfully, Jeep is still allowed, via it’s reputation, to build true Off Road vehicles meant to be taken off road and beaten to a pulp. Although I’ve heard spotty quality means that Jeep stands for “Just Empty Every Pocket”.

    And from Jeep owners no less. 😂 Sadly the platform consolidation means there are Jeeps, and there are “Jeeps” (A Chrysler product styled to look like a Jeep, but not a true Jeep).

    As for SUVs, that’s Mommy’s Grocery Getter. Try taking Karen’s Palisade or Highlander off pavement and into simple dirt roads and you’ll be picking up front bumper panels and air dams.

    The raises the question of why the car makers are not doing as they did in the past and making weird looking cars. The main reason is the economics of car making have stamped out all signs of adventurism.

    Goes back to The Unelected Government. They WON’T let you do it. Whatever Chrysler is now had to pay Gas Guzzler Fines for every Challenger or Charger with a Hemi V8 that rolled out of Brampton Assembly. Now with the Brave New World of Electricity dawning those 300s/Challengers/Chargers were dropped. A Charger is rumored for 2025. Maybe electric, Maybe an awful bastardized hybrid, maybe an ICE. But rest assured the biggest engine you will get is an I6 (straight six).

    I think I’ll be holding on to my 2018 Challenger for quite a while.

    • Re SUVs: same old as everyone else repeats: get an old good one, keep it running, and they are awesome.

    • I very rarely read essay-length posts, but I did yours and it was darn well worth it. You certainly know your automotive lore.

  32. “fuddy-duddies”, Z?

    Now there is an epithet I have not heard in a long time. I wonder if anyone under 40 even knows of the term, let alone uses it.

    I could be wrong, and perhaps it is making a comeback. A reboot of ancient, déclassé idioms could become amusingly au courant. Imagine the fun. We’d all be hip again, not square. We’d dispense with all that jive as we make the scene and sound totally rad. It’d be tubular. Can you dig it?

  33. I personally think the auto industry is dead, but they don’t know it yet. Awhile back I wanted to buy a new Toyota Tacoma. I told them I was willing to buy a top line one, and had cash for it. My stipulations were it had be a king cab, have a 6 foot bed, and be either blue, red, or green. All they had available were in white, grey, or silver. Period. No choice. I said “F@ck you very much” and walked out.

    Motorcycles are almost as bad. No chrome, flat paint finishes, and the rims and motors are painted with black stove paint. I’m looking to buy another bike by March, and I have a chance to buy a beautiful 60+ year old machine that actually looks and sounds like a real motorcycle and I can fix it myself. I’m leaning towards it as it’s from a time when America was still beautiful.

    There is no imagination anymore and at least the commie motorcycles sold years ago did look like real motorcycles. Most things we make today are ugly and there’s not much else to say.

    • My stipulations were it had be a king cab, have a 6 foot bed, and be either blue, red, or green. All they had available were in white, grey, or silver. Period. No choice.

      Part of the problem is fetishization of data. “Live by the take rate, die by the take rate.” (Take Rate The percentage of new vehicles or passenger cars equipped with a specific feature in a given year.)

      Your dealer wants you to take from his stock. He uses big data to analyze what are the most common color combinations, trim levels, and indeed, vehicles that sell in his dealership and his sales region and orders accordingly.

      “So what?” you says, “I’ll custom order it!”

      Yeah, you’ll be waiting. Another of my wife’s relatives bought a Lincoln Corsair SUV. Wanted it in Red Carpet (No foolin’, that’s the color name at the Lincoln website). None to be found in the Chicagoland area. He had the dealer order it from Ford.

      He got it nine months after ordering it and putting his down payment on the finance department desk.

      Now part of that is Supply Chain issues. But back in the Go-Go 90s I had a co-worker who ordered an F-150 from Ford and it took two months to get the truck. Custom orders get slotted in after all the spoken for Dealer and Fleet orders.

      Don’t hate the playa, hate the game.

      • I don’t need their damn trucks, and I sure won’t buy any 4 door, 4 foot bed fag truck that GM makes. They’re all black, white, silver, and grey butt ugly as well.

      • Got me thinking too when I asked an automotive-worker acquaintance why they don’t offer a “cabless” option for trucks and his simple answer was:
        No one buys them.

        • If GM was run like Boeing they’d just make one four door cab and if you wanted a two door cab, they’d bolt the back two doors shut. 😉

      • Ever notice how rare are green cars? Doubtless a bleed-over from the olde tyme racing belief that green cars were bad luck. Back when racing was as popular in America as baseball–and more popular than football–the beliefs and behaviors of race car drivers carried lots of guns with the American people. And if green cars were bad luck at Ascot, Indy, Winchester and Altoona, they were bad luck on the streets of Atlanta, Ithaca, Wichita and Albuquerque.

  34. The last time GM has an original idea was back when they allowed the Saturn division to have a go on their own. I actually had one when I was working in Silicon Valley and it wasn’t half bad.

    Then Saturn made the mistake of being successful and offering really good customer relations. No pressure on the sales, and they were exactly the same price no matter where you bought one.

    I remember they had a minor recall on a battery cable, and asked everyone to come in on a specific weekend. They turned it into had a massive family event, complete with jump castles, a band and free BBQ. It was a simple fix, but they really took care of their customers.

    I guess taking care of customers went against everything GM stood for, so they took Saturn over and that was the end of it.

    Fun fact – the Saturn Sky 2-seat roadster was remarketed here as the Opel GT.

    • What I’d heard is that GM made bank on Saturn…by not buying any new tooling for them. They were like a hotel owner who puts in the initial investment and then removes it back out over the years just to make some money on the transactions, and finally abandons it when it’s gone completely ghetto.

    • The knock on Saturn was they weren’t a “full line” manufacturer. That is, when they first opened for business in 1990 they had their coupes and sedans based on a design idea from the Pontiac Fiero: Space frame design with dent resistant polymer panels. And nothing else.

      GM was savvy in not associating Saturn directly with GM. Because GM by the late 1980s/early 1990s had a horrible reputation for churning out junk. 🍋 So they got a lot of buyers, especially young women, who would have never been caught dead in a GM dealership and would’ve gone to Japanese makes. The problem was while the Saturn was a “cute” little car in it’s own right, when Becky or Susan or Jennifer found “That Guy”, got married, and needed something that fit baby seats, Saturn had nothing. They didn’t get their first mid-size car until 2000, and that fell back to GM “Badge Engineering” (Slap some different trim on it and a different badge) using an Opel platform. Problem was as Saturn tried to grow as a “full line” manufacturer, they had to grab more and more existing GM vehicles and lost what made Saturn unique. You could get a Saturn SUV from a Chevrolet dealer, and usually for cheaper.

      So Becky, Susan, or Jennifer would buy their one or two Saturns, then go to the Honda, Toyota, or Hyundai dealer and buy a bigger car.

      That and the fact Saturn never really made back the money GM put into it doomed Saturn. Oh, and GM divisions being fiefdoms, seeing one new upstart siphoning $5 Billion off from other GM division budgets meant once Saturn stumbled, the knives were out at GM corporate.

      • My wife had a Saturn Ion for 13 years and just got rid of it because a newer car came available. Her sister had an Ion for 16 years, and it was still basically trouble free. All the Savage Geese know it all’s were saying what a bad car it was. And this was LATE Saturn.

        At the very end GM rebranded an Opal, called it the Astra, and closed up the Saturn shop soon after. Like the GM Epica, Optra Daewoo diversion which failed miserably.

    • Had to bring in my Malibu for a recall problem with the seatbelt. They couldn’t fix it straight away, so I had to rent a car. Did I get a BBQ dinner out of the deal? Not only no, but hell no. They wouldn’t even reimburse me for the cost of the rental, the rotten bastards.

    • Saturn? 😂😂😂
      I was wrenching at a GM dealership when the Saturn came out. They were always junk right off the hauler, and if they were profitable GM wouldn’t have scrapped it.

  35. I don’t know what this means, but I’ve noticed is Indians seem to drive similar cars such as Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Corolla, usually grayish or beige. Nothing that stands out from the crowd.

    • Nothing that stands out from the crowd

      That’s usually advisable in oppressive societies. At this point in time I’d much rather slip in and out of places and be unnoticed and quickly forgotten.

    • Those brands have huge reputation in Asia and elsehwere.

      No self-respecting desert rebel outfit drives anything but Toyota.

      This is just common sense and being thrifty.

      Give the Indians another generation or two and they will be as clueless as the average North American.

    • Indians drive Toyota Camry and Honda Accords because they consider them to be a really good deal for their money.

      I’m not a car expert, so I have no idea where Camries and Accords are on the value vs. money plot, but that’s what I’ve been told by the Indians I know.

      • I’m not a car expert, so I have no idea where Camries and Accords are on the value vs. money plot, but that’s what I’ve been told by the Indians I know.

        Older Camcords (so generic people just fuse them together in their minds) are the cockroaches of the road: You just can’t kill ’em. Take care of them and they’ll last a good long time.

        Perfect example: I had a 1996 Plymouth Neon from 1998 – 2004. (I know, I know) I’d had it for two years and it had 60K miles on it when a friend of mine told me he bought a 1992 Honda Accord sedan with 120K miles. I figured this thing would be beat. Turns out with 60K+ more miles and four years older than the Neon that damned Honda was better built and better running than the Plymouth. (Low bar, I know)

        What remains to be seen is how newer models with smaller, turbocharged 4 cylinders (Honda) and every electric doo-dad (Toyota) hold up for the long haul reliability wise.

  36. Car companies are now banks that peddle cars on the side. I’ve bought a couple of cars without financing. You would think the salesman would be excited that I’m willing to bring a bank check for $30k, but they are disappointed.

    Just help out son buy his first car. He had to finance it to get all the incentive discounts.

    • Car companies are now banks that peddle cars on the side.

      Now?!?!. May I introduce you to the late Thomas Murphy, former President of GM:

      “General Motors is not in the business of making cars. It is in the business of making money.”

      He was president of GM from 1974 – 80.

      You would think the salesman would be excited that I’m willing to bring a bank check for $30k, but they are disappointed.

      The finance guy is the one man you want to keep happy in the car dealership. Paying out of pocket makes him, the dealer, and the corporation no money, and makes them unhappy. 😔

    • Their profit is in the in-house financing. It’s a mistake to tell them up front that you’re paying cash. You won’t get as good of a deal. Negotiate without bringing that up. They’ll assume you’re financing it. Then once you’ve agreed on a price, you pay cash.

    • Financialization is the death of engineering in manufacturing. It yalso short term thinking. On short it is decadent

        • That would explain why I (as an engineer) have always despised MBAs, the practioners of financialization.

          The one I’ve noticed about MBAs is they always take shortcuts and go for short-term gains at the expense of long-term success. Of course, by the time things start to fall apart, the MBAs have already moved to another company to feed off.

    • No law says you couldn’t pay off the dealer’s loan with a loan obtained on better terms from your credit union. I’ve done that twice. Of course, chances are the evil dealer and his lender already made some profit in fees and the like. Still might be worth looking into if considering a new vehicle.

  37. While a friend was overseas for a year, I drove his Subaru Outback now and again to keep it running. Very nice car. Now, of course, Subarus are the go-to cars for lesbians; no idea how that happened.

    • Subarus have a very nasty problem they had back in 1978 and they still have it. People will find that when that 3 piece block starts leaking antifreeze, it will cost $6000+ to fix it. I laugh every time I see one with the sign of death when you see the droplets of antifreeze wherever it’s parked.

      • The “boxer” (flat) engine layout they use is conducive to oil leaks around the cylinder head gaskets. Leak enough and the engine dies. Also lots of coolant leakage back into the cylinders. Don’t know if Subie ever really fixed the issue, but they were notorious for head gasket leaks and failures in the past.

        • Apparently the brakes across the board model years 2011 – 2012 were shit as well. A good friend and my next door neighbor (Outbacks and Imprezzas and one Forester.) all of them had brake issues.

        • My neighbor has one, and the oil “leak” issue still is a problem. Strictly speaking, it’s just leaking past the rings, but if you leave it parked too long, when you start it and blow all that oil into the exhaust, it can give you really funky oxygen sensor issues. Don’t know that it’s necessarily a problem. IMO, if you don’t check your oil frequently enough to catch that, you aren’t much of a car owner, and deserve whatever car problems are going to hit you someday.

        • God love you! From back when we all were broke and drove beaters:

          “Damn! This hunk a junk burns a ton of oil.”
          “So, use thicker oil.”

          Straight 50 Weight For The Win 🚗💨

      • They’re pretty bad with rear wheel bearings that go out. My MIL’s Forrester sounds like a droning Cessna at speed.

    • My wife’s cousin bought a couple of Subarus for himself and his wife. I jokingly asked M’Lady “So, should I ask your cousin if any women in flannel driving Outbacks have honked and waved at him and blown him a kiss?”

      Her reply? “Oh God, DO NOT ask him that!”

  38. Bought one of the last Saabs for my wife before GM murdered the brand. Absolutely loved that car – manual transmission, laggy (fun) turbo, best car seats ever made, great in the snow, and it was bright blue. The car was totalled in a highway pile-up and couldn’t be replaced with the like. Too bad.

  39. How is the Jeep’s gas mileage? Been thinking of getting a relatively cheap 4 wheel drive vehicle, although new Jeeps are expensive. Anybody got any tips?

    • Better than I would have guess, but not great. I got between 25 and 50 to a gallon. I am a lead foot, bit that was mostly highway driving.

    • I’ll be on the market for a mid-sized truck later this year. The Jeep is priced way above competitors. While it may be more off-road capable, I usually drive on roads.

  40. Saab was interesting because it was (is?) also an aircraft manufacturer and they used to advertise their aircraft design and manufacturing expertise as spilling over into their design and manufacture of cars.

    I’m not particularly knowledgeable about these things but I believe there are 18-20 players in the global car market (Toyota, Honda, GM, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Daimler Benz, BMW, Volkswagen etc.). My guess is that the Japanese and Korean manufacturers have produced reliable, relatively inexpensive, yet drab cars and most everyone else has been forced to follow suit to remain in the game of mass production. That everyone is making the same kind of cars probably indicates that they are converging to some kind of “optimal” for current economic and tech conditions (but just not aesthetically).

    • My guess is that the Japanese and Korean manufacturers have produced reliable, relatively inexpensive, yet drab cars and most everyone else has been forced to follow suit to remain in the game of mass production.

      Not gonna ask you how old you are, Arshad, but I’m old enough to remember well the first wave of Japanese imports in the ’70s. led by Datsun Nissan & Toyota (my recollection is that Honda was a little later; maybe not).

      That was the pitch, exactly – cheaper and not so well-appointed, but very reliable. A good “first” car or one that most people could afford to purchase new.

      • They also took advantage of far greater fuel efficiency which was a major issue in the 70s with its stagflation, embargos and gas lines.

        Detroit’s fuel economy solutions were no match for Datsun, Toyota and Honda. I don’t know if it was retooling assembly lines but they capitalized very well on that macro economic environment.

        It seems today they are equally as savvy. The Toyota family understands the large scale engineering and cost challenges with mass EV adoption. They have stated that a full EV conversion with destroy the auto industry. Mary Barra at GM once stated that as well. But, to stay CEO, to keep GM a ward of the government and to comply with the The (Managerial) Regime, she has forgotten that position and is full speed ahead with EVs.

        Toyota has its hybrid line and that is its EV approach so long as the state mandates in California do not force them against their will to comply. If they can forestall compliance or bribe their way to having a hybrid a full EV, then they may just finish crushing the US auto industry as we move forward in The Great Reset.

        Btw, I noticed two things yesterday. NH gubb Sununu is cheerleading Nimarata in a skirt and pom poms. It is embarassing. He let slip and said something to the effect that a Nimrata win in NH could be the Republican’s “Great Reset.” Quite remarkable.

        The other I noticed was that Blinken had a Twitter post where he displayed the US State Department seal. Above the Eagle holding the branch and arrows in its talons, above its head to be clear, was a Star of David.

        It is official now. I don’t have a link, but have a look if you have the stomach for it.

        • “I don’t know if it was retooling assembly lines”

          The Big Three tried. They had to. But if I recall a comment made by Henry Ford, Jr. in the late ’70s, it was costing $500m in retooling costs for each 1 mpg improvement across the fleet. Not cheap in those days.

          When the price of oil went down (e.g., in the mid ’90s), the US automakers aggressively started selling SUVs, which became the cash cow for them (rather than sedans)

        • They also took advantage of far greater fuel efficiency which was a major issue in the 70s with its stagflation, embargos and gas lines.

          Yes, of course, duh…shoulda put that in my original reply.

          I guess I really am getting old; can’t remember obvious stuff.

        • They also took advantage of far greater fuel efficiency which was a major issue in the 70s with its stagflation, embargos and gas lines.

          Detroit’s fuel economy solutions were no match for Datsun, Toyota and Honda.

          Japan is an island nation with minimal to no petroleum reserves of its own. Large, fuel inefficient cars would be wasteful, along with the fact that in places like Tokyo, land is at a premium and so is parking space. So anything they make is by nature going to be small and fuel efficient. Indeed, the Japanese have a domestic category of car, called the Kei Car, which are even smaller than the smallest cars they make and sell in the US. They’re small and have upright styling (think Scion Xb, only smaller) to maximize interior room without taking up valuable parking space.

          So it wasn’t a big stretch for the Japanese to bring small, fuel efficient cars to the US in the 1970s and 80s.

          Of course the HORRID quality of American made compact cars (Vega, Pinto, etc.) helped sell a TON of Japanese cars.

          • American cars have never topped Japanese cars, at least in my price range. Got stuck with more than one terrible 70s era American car. Never again.

      • I remember that when the ’76 Honda Accord came out it was going for up to $2,000 over MSRP — at a time when $2,000 meant something. They’re reliable. Not terribly exciting cars, I readily concede.

        I think you’re correct that Nissan/Datsun goes back further in the US than Toyota. I think it was in the ’60s that German cars like Mercedes and Volkswagen started making serious inroads into the US car market and they were followed soon by Japanese automakers. The US manufacturers have essentially been playing the game of catch-up, especially after the oil price hikes of the ’70s. I think a couple of years back David Halberstam’s book, “The Reckoning” was being mentioned on this blog; the book compares the management practices at Nissan and Ford.

  41. “America is no longer a place for young risk takers. It is a place for old fuddy-duddies who live in constant fear of risk because risk could mean the icy hand of death.”

    I don’t think it’s fear of death per se (although I do see a lot of old people still wearing COVID masks) so much as fear of economic loss. People take plenty of risks if they think that they potential payoff is high.

    If, on the other hand, you have a mature economy and a brand that perpetually rakes in billions, you are incentivized to minimize risk and just keep milking it, unless you want to end up like Bud Light by taking a stupid risk and upsetting the apple cart.

    Demographics play a large role in this as well. The Boomers inherited more wealth and power than any other generation, and as they age they have become far more risk-averse than in their youth. Also the feminization of society and the feminization of business that has taken place within the last 40-50 years has tended to minimize risk.

    It is no longer Lee Iacocca and John DeLorean who run the auto industry… it is Mary Barra.

    • Mary Barra is the front person. Who really dictates to GM is The (Managerial) Regime. You will do this with your fleet by this date, and, by the way, we bailed you out and if you want future bailouts and you want to remain CEO, here is your product roadmap and strategy.

  42. I read somewhere thatself made millionaires drive Ford F150’s more than any other type of vehicle. I’ve had my super crew since 2013. 165K. Just had some work done on it that’ll get me past 200K. Ditched the stock wheels, tires, and running boards. It tows, it hauls ski gear and front end loader buckets of mulch and rock, enormous back seat, 18 mph, quieter ride than my wife’s MDX.

    We bequeathed our 2011 Subie to my daughter so she wouldn’t have to buy a car after college. The worst thing that ever happened to it was a failed radiator cap and the car overheated on the highway. In 12+ years that’s pretty good. It’s noisy and the ride isn’t plush, but it’s a beast in CO snow, and safe for my girl.

    I’ve never been a Jeep guy. They have one specific purpose, which is fun, but day to day driving? No thanks. If I had one, I’d tow it to the mountains with my truck and use it instead of the truck for off roading.

  43. Seems once CAFE standards were implemented the downhill slide began vis-a-vis auto designs. Few muscle cars & godawful creations like the AMC Pacer. Since roughly about 1974, auto designs have become increasingly uglier by the year, much like architecture. Don’t believe me? Go look @ the ugly monstrosity that is the FBI bldg in DC. Built in the mid-‘70’s if memory serves. To me it always looked Soviet-esque.

    • They had to make it so that the ADL felt comfortable going there to give the FBI anti-hate training. Or is it that the agents came there to receive the training. Hard to know.

  44. Here where I live in Western Colorado is definitely Subaru country. I looked around the parking lot yesterday and five of the seven cars were Subies, including mine.

    High-end Toyotas— Highlanders and Land Rovers— are great off the road vehicles, but exceedingly expensive compared to my Subaru.

    I’m probably showing my age, but the 66 ‘Vette is beautiful to my eyes.

    • My daughter lives in Tempe and owns our old 2011 Outback now. She said she was walking out of the gym and there were four Subies parked next to hers and they all had tons of window stickers…

      …and Colorado plates.

      If states had “official cars” like they do trees and birds, the Subaru Outback would be Colorado’s.

    • “The ‘66 Vette is beauty to my eyes.” Abso-effing-lutely! I do not like the new configuration because it reminds me too much of something Lotus would build. Having a father who just finished restoring his ‘63 split-window coupe (it’s a fuelie and all the numbers match, for those of you who know this stuff and are curious) when my daughter started school this past fall, he dropped her off at the front door and helped her out of the car, mainly so she didn’t burn her leg on the sidepipes.
      The looks this kid got floored her! And she told me that all of the adults at the school were dying to know every detail about the car. I could just picture it, here you have a line of cars and suv’s all drab colors and suddenly here comes a red classic from the golden age of American auto manufacturing with an engine note that shatters the morning quiet!
      I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to Vettes and I think the C2 platform of the Corvette – 1963 to 1967 – is by far the most beautiful, but you’re right Z, cars today are dreadfully boring!
      I’m a bit younger than you and I remember the parking lot of my HS when I was a senior (only seniors were permitted cars at school back in the day) from my buddy Erics burnt orange, AMC Gremlin (that he threw a 340 high-output in) to Andy Warners metallic blue ‘66 Olds Toronado, to my friend Wally’s battleship gray Ford LTD, I could go on, the point being that nothing looked the same and each vehicle had it’s own personality as well.
      I had to replace my car this past spring and nothing really made me say “I really like that.” I like the Toyota FJ, but you have to find a used one and those command a hefty price. That and they are true gas guzzlers. My chiropractor has one and he told me that “Yes, it’s a lot of fun, but you can watch the needle on the gas gauge drop as you drive.” Not in this day and age. As for the Jeeps, two former co-workers have them – Gladiator and Wrangler respectively – and both of them have had nothing but problems with them.
      Good lick with the new vehicle Z , as well as the new place.

      • Follow on to my Jeep cmt above:

        I hear people talk about their Jeep problems. I’ve purchased five new since 1997. Never a reliability or mechanical problem with any of them, outside normal things one would expect. Things do wear out or fail. Had a rear differential leak — fixed myself, and a exhaust header that had to be replaced, and I broke a stabilizer bar (my bad). That in 300k miles — that in 18 yrs of daily and off-road driving on one vehicle. No complaint from me on that.

        Now, Jeeps are (were) not the best for comfort, and there were some annoying quirks on earlier models. And when I bought (on impulse when getting divorce) a 2003 Wrangler Rubicon Tomb Raider edition (as I said …. Impulse) I found they had put a 5-speed manual in it. 11 MPG, no matter WHAT you did or where you went, from interstate to rugged mtn tracks … or through the brush. Sold it, but I wish at times I still had it.

        And, yes, they are just not for everyone. And some models / packages were not as capable off road as other, pricier variants w/i like models. And I will admit I’ve never bought one of their models like Grand Cherokee, or the splattering of non-wrangler models they market by hanging the Jeep name on a suburban commuter machine. So my experience across Jeep brand is narrow.

        I’ve just had good experience with the ones I bought.

        Now, as said above, I definately do NOT like all the electeonic features and complications built into the new one. The diesel is quite calable, much more so than the V6 (though the 4.0L in line 6 of my early TJ was a most impressive engine …. Well compensated for the otherwise spartan appointments).

        • So a manual jeep probably has a rear with something around a 5:1. Your average car is around a 2.72 or 3.25 rear. The “guzzler” pulling vehicles (Suburbans etc) are 3.73 to 4.1. You will never get good mileage on such tall gearing, your heat and friction losses are too high.

  45. The Corvette has been a world class super car since the C4 ‘84 – ‘96 which dominated Porsche and Ferrari so much in factory stock SCCA eliminated the class. The C8, with the engine in the back, put it over the top, and cannot be denied as a world class super car in terms of horsepower and handling.
    However it’s a hideous thing to look at, and I have no use for the rear engine deal. It’s no longer a “Corvette,” as far as I’m concerned. It should have been a new platform and called the Duntov on honor of Zora Duntov, father of the Corvette, and leave the Vette platform alone.
    As for GM you left out them deep sixing Pontiac, which was always the “adventurous,” youth oriented brand, since the introduction of the ‘64 GTO which launched the muscle car era, and before that Oldsmobile which was GM’s “experimental” division, the Turbo Hydromatic transmission, The Tri power J2 Olds in the 50’s that dominated NASCAR, the Toronado, first American front wheel drive car, the 350 CID diesel in the 70’s, the Quad 4, dual overhead cammer which was an absolute beast, and the Olds Aurora engine platform which was at the time cutting edge, world class engine tech. There is no current model new vehicle by any brand I would buy. They are all cheap, gizmo laden, over tech’d, massively over priced aesthetically unappealing junk!
    Nothing personal Z but if you drive a Subaru with… pride, you are not a “man.”

    • NASCAR, where all the cars look the same, has been leading the charge to boring sameness for years.

      My dad used to mist up over having to trade in his midnight green ‘64 Mustang. Not a muscle car or anything, but a beautiful car to look at.

      • IndyCar says hello, and asks how do you enjoy our series running all the same chassis that date back to 2012?

    • All I can say as a person who seems to have acquired a number of Corvette Hot Wheels cars for his son is that the C6R looks pretty meaty. But the ’64 Stingray looks much nicer.

    • >if you drive a Subaru with… pride, you are not a “man.”

      Outbacks and Altimas were the go-to’s among tall set for about a decade.

  46. Z,

    Aside from the Jeep putting in a good show on the road, how do you find it ‘tech-wise’? Is it chock full of confusing buttons and gadgets that spy on you?!

    Seriously, I’ve become befuddled by modern cars, and I’m not even 40 yet.

      • Indeed, Clayton.

        I mean, power-steering and sound chassis design are great things; but there are so many utterly useless features that seem to make their way into a car nowadays.

        A couple of years back, a friend bought a brand new Mercedes A-Class. I always thought these were small, hatchback type cars, but when I got inside, boy was it spacious. For me, it was quite luxurious. Said friend then proceeded to show me the ‘feature’ that light up the car with different colours to the beat of the playing music.


    • Agreed, I don’t care for all of the wizardry with little utility and might not be supported in decades to come. We buy older used cars rather than the new overpriced stuff and try to keep them on the road as long as possible.

      Another example of the trend to see every device as another smart phone is the laundry machine. They are loaded with buttons and options despite the fact that the only three variables that can be controlled are agitation strength and duration and water temperature. Sales staff state that you should expect about 6 years of service. The washing machine that serviced the family of 5 I grew up in was purchased in the 60s and lasted until my parents sold their house 30 years later with only a belt changes. And they say this country is getting better…

    • Agreed, I don’t care for all of the wizardry with little utility and might not be supported in decades to come. We buy older used cars rather than the new overpriced stuff and try to keep them on the road as long as possible.

      Another example of the trend to see every device as another smart phone is the laundry machine. They are loaded with buttons and options despite the fact that the only three variables that can be controlled are agitation strength and duration and water temperature. Sales staff state that you should expect about 6 years of service. The washing machine that serviced the family of 5 I grew up in was purchased in the 60s and lasted until my parents sold their house 30 years later with only a belt changes. And they say this country is getting better…ha!

    • It is very basic, compared to most cars. It has satellite radio, but otherwise the controls are primitive. For me, that is fine as I have little use for the extra stuff. If I can get past the weird looks, I will buy a Gladiator. The bed will be useful for projects and I can use it as a 4WD in bad weather and maybe do some off-roading.

    • This is partly market driven.

      A lot of Millennials and Gen Z apparently expect their car (if they can afford one) to be an iPhone with wheels.

      Tons of commenters of car reviews rant about what a nice model this or that is, but damn the thing if it lacks Apple CarPlay.

      Meanwhile the new gen of GTIs will not offer a manual transmission.

      Yes our civ has crumbled.

  47. A new Jeep is one thing. I would not want to own one of the current ones as they get on in years.

    Find a Toyota for reliability and all the hauling, 4×4, etc.

    Our betters in Africa and the ME use them for a reason…

    • Had a Toyo truck then a Subie hatchback for decades. Well over 200K, ran like tops.

      Both taken out by semis. No, not the SAME semi.

      I liked cars better when metal instead of plastic surrounded me.

        • I could sit inside the firewall of my ’69 Chevelle Malibu and wrench on the engine. Plenty of legroom. Try that nowadays.

      • I liked cars better when all parts in the engine was metal and not plastic. Even the Germans have gone this route.

        When the accountants dictate to the engineers, the end is nigh.

    • In Africa a decade and a half ago, the two cars used for off roading were land Rover and land cruiser, a Toyota line. Both were built for genuine work and not as suburban toys. The difference was that land Rover was more conservative in its upgrades so or was often easier to get parts for an older model.

      Conspicuously absent were American and German 4x4s. They are probably more built for weekend dad in the West and not the dust, heat and absent maintenance of Africa

    • I will never forget that episode of top gear or whatever that brit show is called when they tried to murder a hilux (European version of Tacoma) . . . and couldn’t .

    • Was going to say similar. Jeeps, are a notoriously bad value: terrible reliability, constant problems and repairs. A cursory look shows the Gladiator to be especially bad. 2023 is the worst new pickup for sale according to Consumer Reports.
      Might want to consider a Toyota 4-Runner or 4wd pickup if you need the open bed. These are full on 4wd off roading vehicles, superior to Jeeps in every respect, including off road performance.

  48. The next step after that is for the companies and the bankers to talk and come to the conclusion that since they are doing pretty much the same thing in pretty much the same way, why not merge and save money? So they do it, cut employees, release less cars, raise the prices, and collect the rents for as long as they are able to.

    It’s just one more stage in the life of the company and the empire, as the two are so intertwined.

    • I think that’s the key thing. When alot of these companies started out, they had their own ethos and their own ways of doing things. The nature of ‘big business’ being what it is, is it any surprise that when all the smaller companies get gobbled up by huge conglomerates, that things start looking the same?

      In the end, late stage corporatism seems to have the same affect on beauty as late stage communism.

        • Xman,

          I’ll have to defer to you on that one, as I’ve never read anything about or by Marx!

          But I must say, if Marx had a problem with late-stage capitalism, then I must say I’m with him on that. Shame about his Godless, Even-more-Evil solution!

  49. Beg to differ, and I’m not a Vette freak, but it is an animal, just like a Porsche or high end AMG MB or high end BMW. The newer Vette body style is more like a European exotic, unfortunately, as far as I am concerned.

  50. The only place to see “colorful” vehicles these days is at a truckstop.

    The truck owners are the last remaining guys who give their rides some flair.

    • No kidding. East Asia sees all manners of color schemes and custom configurations (and i do mean all). In America it’s like everyone adopted “little old lady’s buick”. It’s gotten so drab.

      • My wife gifted me a 2012 Mini Clubman S last year in British racing green. I put a yellow rally stripe on it and changed out all the interior lights to neon purple, [and the fog lights, too].

        It’s a real driver’s car. No electronics. Fun.

        Mini though, has gone bland with their Countryman. It’s just another small SUV. Boring

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