Quickly…name two things that are the main obstacles between you buying a car you’d really like to have and the reality of what you wound up buying; time is up, Cicero. The correct answer is: money! Now let’s carry this one step further; if money were no object, what kind of car would you have. I’ve asked myself this question and in no particular order I’ve listed them below.
Three of them are vehicles I always wanted from the Muscle Car Era of my youth. I’ve reported before that I look through Hemming’s every month and allow myself to purchase one pretend vehicle. If an audit was done after a year there’d be a pattern because I tend to reminisce over the same vehicles.
Talk about a kumbaya moment. That word “optimism” epitomizes the start of each year in the auto industry. It’s January and the domestic auto show season continues with the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, then to Chicago in February, heading East at Easter-time to New York and then a long break until the Los Angeles show in November when it starts all over again.
If there’s one thing the shows have in common it’s this: a smile is an auto executive’s umbrella. There is more optimism spewed at a major auto show than water running over Niagara Falls.
There’s been talk recently about banning cell phone use in any moving vehicle. This would kill (pardon the pun) two birds with one stone; people wouldn’t be able to talk on the telephone while trying to drive and it would also prevent text-messaging — a plague worse than the great Crablouse Catastrophe of 1839. I personally don’t understand the necessity and the nuances of texting.
As most of you know one of my biggest gripes in life are those drivers who do not use turn signals. If I had my way about it anybody who does not use turn signals should be sent to Chernobyl to enjoy the facility’s famous warm baths and be waited on hand and foot – which if legend has it will be the last identifiable body parts left after a two-lap swim of its Olympic-sized pools.
But as despicable as those who refuse to use turn signals are there’s another group that seems to be emerging and they have the potential to be a lot more dangerous than the original group I loathe. I’m of course referring to people who don’t realize their lights aren’t on when driving at night.
When I was growing up in Indiana there was only so many times you could tip over a cow, make out at Bartz’s Woods or eat a “Pig’s Dinner” at Brownie’s Drive-In. So creative juices flowed, and out of this mind-searching came a trend of naming one’s car.
Not just to talk about, but to actually paint a name on it. After all they painted names on the side of military airplanes. I had a ’55 Ford in high school and at the same time the Everly Brothers had a hit song entitled “Problems.”
A lot of things make me sick; rancid chili, memories of my ex-wife, and overt breakers of traffic laws. I’m equally sick of the excuse that “we don’t have enough jail space to house lawbreakers.” Apparently this philosophy is allowed to prevail because it’s alleged we don’t have enough money to build jails. No? But we do have enough money to fund bridges that go nowhere, foreign aid to those we owe trillions to and payoffs to third-world dictators for overfly and drive-through rites of their various countries.
For some time now it seems that “retro” has worked its way into the U.S. vernacular. Actually it has been around since there was something before — it. Automobile-wise there was a trilogy of retro cars that came out about the same time several years ago; Mustang, Challenger and Camaro. They all bore some resemblance to the same nameplates of the 60s and 70s — some more than others.
This is the time of year when peoples’ spirits are perhaps at their best — that period between Halloween and New Year’s. For all the hustle and bustle there still doesn’t seem to be the angst there usually is when times are just ordinarily busy.
However, for all the frivolity that’s prevalent during these too-few weeks there’s also a period of stress, when one little thing could rotate the earth on a different axis and we’re liable to find ourselves headed towards Uranus. I’m of course referring to the infamous first snow of the season, and the resultant breakout of steering wheel Alzheimer’s.
If you’re anything like me you’re sick of somebody else always trying to tell you enough is enough. Who died and put them in charge? It seems to begin at childhood when you’re sitting at the dinner table and decide you want more potatoes. Your mother tells you, “You’ve had enough.” Years later you’re sitting in front of the television watching your favorite situation comedy and your father comes in and says, “You’ve had enough television for one day, Junior. Go to your room and read a book.” You get the picture; when is it your turn to call the shots?
As an auto writer with a substantial readership I’m invited to a lot of programs that highlight future products. Some involve technology and some involve design. But the common thread of all these is the excitement generated by the manufacturers over their new “things.”
It doesn’t matter if the industry just came off its worst sales year since the Civil War; because of the new fuel-efficient engine they’ve developed the “future is theirs.” There’s not a darn thing wrong with this thinking, either.