Dueling Uglies

Let’s play like the folks at Top Gear / Grand Tour guys for a moment, and consider a comparison between two outrageously-expensive performance SUVs for a moment.  (Acting like Clarkson et al. means I don’t wanna hear any guff about “I’d rather buy a new house for that kind of money” or “No car is worth that much” or “I’d rather have a Caddy Escalade and bank the rest of the dough.”  I want opinions on the two SUVs, and nothing else.)

So let’s kick off with the Bentley Bentayga V8 Design Series, with its 4-liter, 542hp  V8 pulling this land-barge to a 0-60mph in 4 seconds, all the way to around 180mph at the top of the speedometer.  In typical Bentley fashion, all that will be done fairly discreetly — it does not  sound like a Ford Mustang 500 doing the same — but remember, Bentley’s mechanicals are 90% German.  As for its looks?

Look, let’s be honest:  the “U” in “SUV “almost always stands for Ugly, and this Bentley is that.  It’s not as ugly as a Range Rover or Escalade — Bentley is always going to find as much classy beauty as it can — but like a plastic surgeon trying to make Amy Schumer beautiful, you can only do so much with what you have.

Unless you’re Maserati, making their statement in the “hyper-luxury SUV” segment with the Levante Trofeo.

Its engine is a Ferrari-based 3.8-liter 590hp V8 which gives 0-60mph acceleration of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 187mph.

I should mention at this point that the Bentley will sell for about $120,000 more than the Maserati, if that means anything.  (Personally, I just know  that the Mazza will be Italian — i.e. not as reliable as the Bentley — but then again, 120 big ones buys an awful lot of maintenance and repairs, even at Maserati prices.)

So, Gentle Readers:  which one would you choose?  The Anglo-German fast utilitarian vehicle with more than a touch of class, or the Italian sorta-Ferrari, with a decidedly Latin feel and all that that  entails?

Difficult Choice

Over at Timewaster’s place, he puts up this poignant statement:

I have to tell you that quite frankly, the whole 50s-era obsession with large fins on cars left me cold.  Not really being infected with sci-fi/space obsession (which was what drove the styling motif of the era), I thought that the large finned American cars of the time were gaudy, ostentatious monstrosities.

However, of late, I’m starting to revise my opinion.  Loyal Readers will recall how I often gripe about the wind-tunnel-driven shape of modern cars which renders modern cars pretty much indistinguishable from one another.  So much do I detest this homogeneity that I find myself drifting towards a scenario whereby if someone were to offer me a choice between, say, an old Chevy Bel-Air:

…or a modern Chevy Malibu:

…I would most likely go for the ’57 Bel-Air despite  all the modern comforts afforded by the 2018 Mali-Boo-Boo.  The first has character, the second looks like a Toyota Camry.

Am I alone in this?


As Longtime Readers will know, one of my favorite — perhaps my absolute favorite — sports car of all time is the (Ferrari) Dino 246 GT from the 1969-1975 period.  I’ve written before about the rights and wrongs of the thing, but all that aside, I am in love with the Dino simply because it is so drop-dead beautiful to look at.

Which is probably why Fiend Reader Darrell M. (who should know better) sent me a video of a Jay Leno’s Garage  episode which featured a modified Dino — modified not with a Porsche Cayman engine (as I’d thought about), but a Ferrari F40 V8.

Oh be still, my beating heart.  Go away and watch the video now, and when you come back, there’ll be some Dino eye-candy from my personal collection of pics filched from all over Teh Intarwebz.  (My only quibble with David Lee’s Dino is the color.  Black is beautiful, but not as beautiful as some of the others…)

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Future Models

I made fun of the new Ferrari Monza SP1 yesterday, but on a more serious note, it’s one of Maranello’s “Icona” series which, as the name suggests, will be cars based on iconic Ferrari models of the past.

Needless to say, only super-rich Ferrari fanbois will be able to afford them, but I have to say that if I had the dough, I’d not only buy the re-release of the 1959 Ferrari 250 (SWB) California, I’d kill anyone who stood in my way:

…as long as Ferrari produced an exact  replica of the old 250’s body shape, that is, and not some bloated modernist excrescence that looked like a 10-year-old’s Play-Doh model.


Here’s a little thought experiment for you.

Let’s assume that the Greenies get their wish, and all fossil fuel-burning cars were replaced with electric cars, by law.

Ignore all practical issues (because the Greens always do), and ponder this thought.

Right now, gasoline is taxed by the FedGov at 18.4 cents per gallon.  (Put those guns away, and concentrate on the issue at hand.)  How do you think the Gummint is going to replace that “lost” revenue (~$25 billion per annum)?

Ah, stop thinking about it, because the poxy BritGov already has.

Ministers have been told to consider a national system of road tolls to compensate for the huge loss in revenue from fuel duty when electric cars become mainstream on the back of new research.

[T]his revenue stream looks set to shrink significantly by 2040 when UK ministers plans to ban the sale of vehicles with combustion engines in a bid to persuade drivers to switch to electric cars.
A new study by Bloomberg News Energy Finance claims a road toll scheme charging up to 9p a mile should be introduced to compensate for the £14 billion lost in fuel duty revenue – a move that would cost motorists £710 a year.

(I should point out that said BritGov currently levies a fuel tax of just under 58p per liter — which is the equivalent of $2.91 (!!!!) per U.S. gallon.  It’s the Brits who should be reaching for the guns… oh wait, they don’t have any.  Sucks to be them.)

I haven’t even touched on how the states  will recover the lost revenue…

Remember Kim’s Iron Law of Taxation:  Never ever allow the government to create a new method of taxation / tax revenue stream because once created, it will never disappear.