It Ain’t That

The Car God opines:

Jeremy Clarkson blames “idiot” climate change activist Greta Thunberg for killing the car show.
The former Top Gear presenter, who is returning with another series of Amazon Prime motor series The Grand Tour, claimed young people have been turned against cars by the 16-year-old environmental campaigner.
Clarkson, 59, told The Sun: “Everyone I know under 25 isn’t the slightest bit interested in cars – Greta Thunberg has killed the car show.”

Most of the time, I agree with Clarkson, but I’m not so sure about this one.

My opinion is that young people aren’t interested in cars for two reasons:

  • They all look the same.  (I’ve ranted and raved about this situation so many times, I’m starting to bore myself.)
  • New cars cost too much, and youngins don’t have the cash to buy them — hence the popularity of the “no-car” ownership and Uber.

Much as I detest her and her ilk, neither of the above is the fault of that little bint Thunberg.  The real fault lies with government — our government, European governments, all governments — who have mandated expensive changes to cars in the name of SAFETY and CLIMATE.  The first is arguably a good thing, but the second a lot more questionable.

But when an “entry-level” (i.e. modest) secondhand car like this one costs nearly 20 grand…

I’m not sure that many under-25s are going to want to spend this much even if they have it.  College loan repayments, ObamaCare medical insurance, under-25 auto insurance rates… even if they’re filling the stereotype and living with Mom and Dad, money is going to be tight, assuming they’re pulling in the typical youngin annual salary of $24k – $36k.

(Yeah, I know  you can get cheaper cars — the Son&Heir scrimped and saved out of his paltry waiter’s income until he could afford to buy a twelve-year-old Oldsmobile Beater from a friend for $1,500, but his maintenance costs almost killed him.  If he’d had more money, it would have saved him money to buy a Honda like the above;  but he didn’t have the money.  I don’t think today’s kids are any better off — they may even be worse  off, come to think of it.)

Of course, adding the Blame Game onto all that via Thunberg and the other EarthFirsters doesn’t help — nor does it help that the under-25 group are malleable and vulnerable thanks to their crap secondary education and foul neo-socialist tertiary education, so they’ll believe anything and hope that Mommy and Daddy (or Big Brother Gummint) will bail them out.  But that’s not the primary reason for their lassitude in matters automotive.

In my day, boys had wall posters on their bedroom walls which featured supercars (and supermodels).  Nowadays?  They can’t afford the fucking posters.  They can’t even afford the ticket price for the car show.

And that’s because their priorities have changed.  Why spend money on a four-wheeled money pit when they can spend as much or more each month on a money pit which can fit in the hand?

And why drag-race your buddy down Main Street (à la American Graffiti ) when you can play Grand Theft Auto?  Or pick up your girlfriend and take her to the movies, when she can catch a Lyft over to your place and the two of you can “Netflix and chill”?

It’s not just the money.  Times and priorities have changed.  And as with all this stuff, it’s not just one thing (like Greta Thunberg) that has caused the change;  it’s everything.  Our kids live in a different world;  and in that world, the car isn’t important anymore.  Too bad.  Here’s a pic of my teenage dream car:

In today’s dollars, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT  would have cost about $14,000 — brand new.

Here’s #2 Son’s dream car:

Brand new, the Honda Fit costs about $17,000.  He has less chance of getting this econobox than I did the Alfa Romeo.

Not-So-Vintage Beauty

While wandering along the various highways and byways of Ye Olde Internette (i.e. looking at stuff that wasn’t written yesterday by some illiterate / ignorant Millennial), I stumbled upon something that I hold near and dear to my heart:  a Maserati 4200 GT from the early 2000s.  Here’s what it looks like, in both Coupé and Spyder configurations:


Now here’s why I love this creature [2,000 lines of drooling foolishness redacted]:

  • 4.2-liter V8 Ferrari engine giving
  • 385 horsepower (395 in the later GranSport)
  • Skyhook suspension system
  • manual transmission
  • proper 4-seater (not 2 adults + 2 amputees, like most of the ilk)

But those are just the technical specs, and impressive though they are, a whole bunch of cars today can produce the same or better.

However, what gets my various body parts tingling, moving and enlarging is the sheer beauty of this car.  This guy (who uses his twelve-year-old Mazza 4200 as a daily driver!!) puts it perfectly:

I’m a huge fan of the beautiful styling. I believe it’s a timeless design. When the 3200/4200 was initially released it may have seemed a bit bland for the time. But today with every new car resembling a transformer mated with largemouth bass fish front end, it really makes me appreciate the elegant smooth aerodynamic curves of 90’s vehicles.

I just hope he doesn’t mind if I steal “a transformer mated with largemouth bass fish front end”, because I’m gonna.  And a reminder of the topic under discussion:

I absolutely love the smooth, elegant lines that flow gracefully, compared to the angular offerings of most of today’s sports cars.  And I actually prefer the “standard” styling above over the later GranSport’s, which while also lovely, is starting to look dangerously fish-mouthed:

I am also completely cognizant of the fact that “older Maserati”  and “daily driver”  are not terms that should be combined in a single sentence.

But you could do worse.  A whole  lot worse.


Running Around In Circles

No, I’m not talking about the Republican Party (although I could be).  I refer here to a comment from last week’s post about traffic:

Unfortunately the only “foreign” traffic design feature that the local traffic “engineers” are looking to implement are traffic circles.

Yeah, I see a couple of these foul things have appeared just north of me, in Frisco TX.

Traffic circles work only under two sets of circumstances:

  1. When there’s absolutely no other traffic (e.g. at 4am), and
  2. If they’re located in Britain, where drivers are more polite and courteous.  (Not valid in Manchester, Sheffield or Liverpool.)

Don’t even get me started about New Fucking Jersey, where (unlike anywhere else in the entire world), cars entering  the circle have the right of way over cars already in  the circle.  How I survived that day is almost enough to turn one into a theist (guardian angels, etc. etc.).

And if any Murkin starts preaching at me about the superiority of circles over regular intersections, I invite him to rent a car in Paris, drive around the Arc de Triomphe, and emerge unscathed (in mind as well as vehicularly).

And anytime someone has a bright idea about “improving” traffic conditions in the U.S., I feel they should first test them on the Long Island Expressway, during rush hour.

Creating Problems

This little piece caught my eye the other day:

A miscreant driver is facing a £100 fine after he drove along the middle lane of a motorway for three miles unaware he was being tailed by a police car.
The driver was making his way along lane two of the M20 in Kent, refusing to pull into the nearside lane as the law requires.
When pulled over by police, the motorist refused to accept that he had done anything wrong.

Kent Police tweeted with the photo: ‘This driver was stopped having driven for a colossal 3.050 miles in Lane 2 of the M20 without any other vehicles about. The driver refused to accept that this was Careless Driving. TOR issued.’

The attitude of the Cunt Kent cops is the same one which sees traffic wardens clamping ambulances which have parked in a no-parking zone while collecting an injured patient.

Seriously:  if the freeway is devoid of cars (stop laughing, American Readers), what possible harm can come from someone not moving into the slow lane?  Clearly, the Cunt Kent police have solved all the major crimes in their county, which frees them up to do bullshit like this.

All that said, I should point out that in Texas, at least, such driving is not an offense.  Not only that, but you’re allowed to overtake slow middle-lane traffic on the right (what the Brits call “undertaking”), which is appallingly dangerous because you often find people turning into the center lane from both sides.  It’s a recipe for disaster, and as someone who drives well over 500 miles a week on freeways, I have to be on my guard pretty much all the time.  [5,000-word rant on asshole pickup truck drivers and unlicensed/uninsured Mexicans deleted]

I know why people stay in the center lane, by the way — at least, why they do in Texas:  it’s because the right-hand “slow” lane is frequently (and without much notice) turned into an “exit-only” lane, which means that you have to scramble over to the left to avoid being forced off the freeway.  It’s one of the several things the Euros and Brits do better than we do, traffically speaking:  a turn-only exit lane is always added  to the freeway, which means that the ongoing traffic is not constricted.

I’m not even going to get into the lunacy of making 25-yard-long freeway entrance ramps (which are the norm in Texas), whereby drivers have to accelerate like fucking Max Verstappen just to be able to merge into the traffic, only to be faced by asshole drivers (see above) who refuse to let you take “their” place in the lane, or who are too busy undertaking another car in the center lane to notice your arrival.

Take a look at this picture (downtown Dallas freeways) and imagine negotiating this nightmare:

There is at least one serious accident at this junction every single day in the morning rush hour, and again in the evening.  (It’s even worse  a half-mile north, where I-35 is joined by the cross-town expressway and the Dallas North Tollway traffic, and contains not only exit-only off-ramps but a left-hand split into the DFW Airport Freeway, where one might have to cross six lanes over in order to get to the airport.  And did I mention the current road construction sections?)

It says something that after two years driving, logging nearly a hundred thousand miles with Uber, the only accident I’ve had was a minor fender bender (paradoxically) in a parking lot, where I reversed out of a parking space into someone illegally parked on a red line.

The plain fact of the matter is that in Texas, we drive too fast and too recklessly for the amount of traffic on the roads, and we are not helped by idiotic highway design.  By comparison, the Brit police can only look with relief on “problems” such as caused by someone not driving in the correct lane on a deserted highway.


So here was the news:

Volkswagen announced in January 2019 that it planned to invest $800 million in its Chattanooga plant and bring 1,000 jobs with the expansion.



Chattanooga will be the first manufacturing facility in North America that will produce vehicles using VW’s modular electric toolkit chassis, or MEB.  The first Volkswagen electric vehicle will roll out in 2022.

Oh, that’s just great.

That’s all we need…

Next thing, VW will announce that they’re replacing the Tiguan with Electro-Bugs, whereupon:

Just sayin’…