Damn

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.

 

But:

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’…

And Speaking Of Commies…

I see that the strike at GM has ended:

Negotiations between General Motors and the United Auto Workers reached a tentative contract deal on Wednesday that could end a month-long strike that brought the company’s US factories to a standstill.

Good.  Now they can go back to making mostly crappy cars* that few people want to buy.

Driven up by the longest economic expansion in American history, auto sales appear to have peaked and are now heading in the other direction.

I would be curious to see how the auto sales numbers break down between new and used cars.  Also, between cars and trucks/SUVs.  Anyone have any ideas or info on this?

But here’s an interesting statement as to perhaps a good reason why GM is tanking:

GM and other car makers are also struggling to make the transition to electric and autonomous vehicles.

…which very few people want to buy.  Nothing like a sinking company investing in products that people either don’t want, don’t need or hate the thought of.

Maybe they should trash all their current car designs and go into the retro/mod business:

Hell, they probably would;  except that, knowing GM, they’d make them electric-only and ergo  doomed.


*  Except for maybe some Cadillac models and the Corvette.  Note that I’m specifically excluding GM trucks, which are generally quite good, from the above comments.

Safe Queens

I’ve talked about this topic before, but I’m not sure I’ve ever told this story here.

Many years ago, a guy heard from a Reader of this website what a sucker I was for WWI- and WWII-era guns, and offered to sell me a brand-new, still-in-the-box, never-been-fired Colt Government 1911 from that time (with Colt certification).  As it happened, I was a little flush with cash right then, and after a little pondering (and deciding not to pay down the car debt), agreed to his price.  I went over to his house to complete the transaction, and checked it out.

(Not a pic of the actual gun.)

It was a beauty.  Needless to say, I was nuzzling it and whispering terms of endearment to it (as one would a new puppy), but I did let it slip that I couldn’t wait to take this beauteous thing from my grandfather’s era out to the range and see how it could shoot.

The seller looked aghast.  “You’re going to shoot  it?” he asked.
“Hell yes,” was my response.

Whereupon the guy immediately canceled the sale, clearly traumatized that someone was going to take his baby’s virginity.

I told you that tale as an intro to this foolishness:

If you had a supercar, you’d probably drive it, right? Not the three owners of this Ferrari 328 GTS over the last 30 years.
They’ve clocked up a combined- and frankly meagre – 283 miles in total, making this one of the best time-warp examples of an iconic ’80s supercar we’ve seen for some time.
And it could soon be yours, if you have pockets deep enough. That’s because it’s being sold at auction in the UK next month, and the expected purchase fee is set to hit £150,000.

And the accompanying pics (out of several):

Now I have to say that I’m casting lustful eyes upon this beauty, and if those bastards at PowerBall had fulfilled their side of the bargain over the weekend, I’d be winging my way over to Britishland as you read this, letter of credit from Gringotts Bank clutched in my sweaty little hand.

And let me tell you that once I’d got it back Over Here, and after having had it checked and serviced by Giovanni at Boardwalk Ferrari of Plano (yes of course  we have a Ferrari/Maserati dealership in Plano — do you even have to ask?), I would turn that 283 miles/30 years into 12,830 miles/30 years+1 month faster than you can say “Scuderia Maranello“.  I’m thinking of an epic road trip around the southern states, going from one Ferrari dealership to another (because Ferrari) before the weather turns chilly.

I’ve never understood the concept of “safe queens”, whose possession is so precious that usage is forbidden.  As Longtime Friend and Ex-Drummer Knob puts it so elegantly:

“Owning a beautiful car and never driving it in case you lower its value is like having a supermodel girlfriend and never fucking her, just to make her more attractive to her next boyfriend.”

In fact, now that I think of it, I’d not only drive this 328 GTS, I’d invite Knob over to drive it as well.  (What the hell, as bandmates, we once shared two girls — not simultaneously — because in those days we both liked the same kind of woman:  low moral standards, voluptuous figure and huge breasteses.)  I figure we’d each get as much fun out of the 328, so to speak, as we did from Penny and Big Jenny.

Anyway, to wrench this train of thought back from the branch line:  I have no time for people who treat machines and tools like investments, even though they can be regarded as such.  And as for the Ferrari’s owner/idiot:  if he’d plonked the original purchase price of the 328 into a stock index fund (to name but one  investment vehicle) thirty years ago, he’d have made far more money than he’s currently going to realize from its sale.  Some investment, smart guy.

And in the meantime, that gorgeous car has been wasting away like Rapunzel in the tower.

Fach.

Angular Beauty

I think the 1980s get a bad rap about just about everything (although I will agree that the female shoulder-pad thing has deservedly been tossed in the trashcan of history).  I generally enjoyed the 80s music — Level 42? Oh, mercy! — but I have a soft spot for many of the era’s cars as well.  Here’s one, the Lancia “Rally” 037 Stradale:

From the boffins at Classic Driver  comes this little bit of history (with my emphasis added):

The Lancia Rally formally debuted in March 1982, and homologation was certified on 1 April 1982, by which time 207 examples had been constructed. The 037’s first competition test was the Tour de Corse in May 1982. Although the new car finished a promising 9th overall, Lancia recognized that the 1982 season would be used for intense development rather than a championship run. The year ended with Markku Alén and Ilkka Kivimäki taking their 037 to a strong 4th-place finish on the RAC Rally. The following year, 1983, saw Walter Röhrl and Markku Alén lead the Martini Racing Lancia team to wins at Monte Carlo, Tour de Corse, Acropolis, New Zealand, and Sanremo on its way to the 1983 World Rally Championship—Lancia’s fifth championship and the last WRC title by a two-wheel-drive car.

Does anyone still wonder why I would take one of these beauties in a heartbeat?  And here’s how one would get access to that superb little 2-liter engine (which delivered 200hp in the street car, and 280hp in the rally version):

I’ve only ever driven a Stratos (breathtaking, literally) and the pretty little Fulvia (the ultimate lady’s car), but I would sell somebody else’s firstborn to take a Stradale for a spin around, say, Lake Como for a day or two… with Level 42’s Mr. Pink (or ZZ Top’s Sharp Dressed Man) blasting through the stereo.

There’s the 80s for ya, man.

Just Three

Evil Bastard I mean Loyal Reader Petec directs my gaze to this bunch of Brit ne’er-do-well resto-modders, and my question to everyone is this:

Forget the price, and ignore the fact that it may have been sold;  list your top 3 of the cars on either the “Blue Chip” or “Prestige” pages.

Mine are, in no specific order:

Trying to pick a #1 from this lot is like trying to pick a favorite child.

And if New Wife wanted in, I’d get her this little beauty (because she thinks most modern sports cars are utterly vulgar and horrible):

It’s a good thing that I haven’t won the lottery, or these guys would be getting a visit from me.