It was a beautiful day in Northeast Ohio last Saturday, perfect for walking around the Studebaker Drivers Club Ohio Chapter meet in Talmadge.
Today's discussion will deal with an automobile I saw there that is anything but delightful. In fact, one might go so far as to call it disturbing. We're talking about a vehicle that flirts with Ssangyong Rodius and Fiat Multipla levels of wrongness. Before you scroll down or click the "continue reading" link, just remember: once you see something, you can't un-see it.
Yes, it's "Back To School" time. And it's also "2015 Year Model Clearance" time. Funny how both events happen together.
There's the Lincoln Summer Invitation Sales Event. And Volvo has the Wonder Of Summer Event. Volkswagen offers the VW Model Year End Sales Event, while Lexus proposes the Lexus Golden Opportunity Sales Event.
Infinity gives us the Summer In The Driver's Seat opportunity, while Acura has the It's That Kind Of Summer Event. And not to be left behind, there's the Toyota Annual Clearance Event, plus the Mazda Summer Drive.
You could do the Honda Summer Clearance Event, but don't forget to read the fine print there.
This 10-minute educational film from 1936 is probably the best explanation you will ever see of the inner workings of a manual transmission.
This is the place to discuss stick shifts, or any other automotive topic that strikes your fancy.
--Cookie the Dog's Owner
Dear Jezza, Captain Slow, and Hamster (Can I call you guys that, seeing as we're co-workers now?),
Now that you are joining us on the Amazon payroll (even though, to be completely forthright, we're not exactly on the Amazon payroll, at least most of us), I thought I would take the opportunity to welcome you to the company, late-comers though you are to this whole Internet-thingie. Admittedly, your penchant for expensive super-cars might put you a bit at odds with what we do here, but I like to think of your new role here as complementary rather than competitive. Nevertheless, although we've largely cornered the market on cheap domestics (and even some cheap exotics!), we have been somewhat remiss in covering European models that are, shall we say, not at the top of anyone's Ten Best list. We've done a few missives on your Brit cars -- Stag, TR6, and a Jag or two -- but unless it was imported in (relative) droves, we haven't given our typical Car Lust treatment to your own set of cheap domestics.
I'm guessing you'll have a slightly bigger budget than we do (which is, basically, nothing nil). I actually suggested we start our own Car Lust television program at one point, but the idea was stillborn owing to the fact that it's difficult to do much on a budget of $0.00. We would have had to use our own cars for all of our road tests and challenges and what-not and just put a sticky-note on the dash that would let the viewer know what car we were supposedly reviewing:
"Now, If this were an actual Lincoln Continental Mark V, I could show you the plush velour seating, but since it's a 1978 Mustang II you'll just have to imagine that it has copious amounts of room and no chamois-colored vinyl bucket seats. . . ." Our production facilities would, of necessity, be somewhat limited; instead of our own hangar and track, we'd be pretty much limited to Hafner's driveway.
I'd also like to offer our services as Producers. I'm certain we could find difficult and entertaining challenges for you to accomplish, even throwing in some of our own North American vehicles for you to enjoy ("Your challenge is to each buy a 1970s GM subcompact for less than $500 and then get it to start"). We can also demonstrate the proper way to drive a 1970s land yacht; please note that it does not involve "handling", but more like a long, flat highway and AC/DC.
We might even see our way, as fellow Amazoners, to letting you guest-post here once in a while. I'm betting we'd even waive the initial writing sample. You'll probably appreciate the fact that we have little editorial oversight. If you wish to do so anonymously we could even generate noms de plume for you. You would, obviously, have a certain leeway in terms of subject matter, but you might want to leave the pickup trucks to us (cuz we're experts and stuff).
So that's it. If you have any questions on how to maneuver around the Amazon world headquarters building or navigate the various rules and regulations covering employment here, well, don't email us because none of us know anything about that stuff ('cepting maybe Hafner, they supposedly pay him to do this). But we'd certainly welcome your input here at Car Lust, and will gratefully accept a great deal of money to name your new show "Car Lust". FYI.
-- The Car Lust Team
Credits: Photo lifted from The Independent.
Tonight we here in the US of A bid a fond farewell to Top Gear when the last show featuring the trio of Jeremy "The Orangutan" Clarkson, Richard "The Hamster" Hammond, and James "Captain Slow" May airs on BBC America. I'm sure I don't need to go into the details about how their run on the show came to an end, but there was some doubt whether we would get to see the last of the programmes that were filmed before it all went belly up. It was a bit of a let down, just sort of petering out mid-season series like it did. I have no idea what tonight's episode will include, if anything, regarding their exit from the Top Gear stage, but at least it's something we know is coming this time and we can treat it with the profound respect it deserves.
More or less.
When I first started this post -- if I'm honest it was about 2 months ago -- I was trying to find some clever hook by which to hang many profound insights into the allure and worldwide popularity of the show. At first I thought it was simple writer's block (heaven forbid), but then decided that attempting to be all and melodramatic 'n junk would have done a disservice to what they'd accomplished over the last 13 years. So I ditched the profundity idea and decided to just blather a bit on what I think about it. Which will, if you bear with me for a few sentences, hopefully make some sense.
We've already had one thread this summer devoted to driving music and some good choices there were. I'm sure we also have our share of one or two songs or albums or even entire genres that might seem a little. . . odd. But whatever; we write paeans to Ford Pintos so what's another oddity? Here are my two:
That's right, 16th century sacred polyphony, this one by Tomas Luis De Victoria, his Responsories for Tenebrae. These were sung during Holy Week, and I first stumbled upon them several years ago when the Internet was young and I was actually searching for Allegri's Miserere (which remains my single favorite piece of music, period). Definitely a morning drive CD, I'm not sure how I came to associate it with summertime, but I think I took it along with me one summer vacation and ended up having it locked in my mind with warm mornings with few cares in the world save for having fun with my family back in Maryland and Wisconsin. Hence, I find starting out early on a cool summer morning with one of these sorts of CDs immensely peaceful. You can hear a sample here.
The great Nat "King" Cole. This favorite is more straightforward: Probably 10-15 years ago I went through a 'standards' phase: Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin mostly. Nat was a bit later, and I came to link him and summer via. . . .The Twilight Zone? Yes. The Sci Fi Channel (now SyFy) used to (still does, actually) run a Twilight Zone marathon on the 4th of July. I'm too young to have seen them originally, and didn't see many earlier in life, so these marathons really got me hooked. I love the creepiness, the cool early 1960s vibe, and, of course, the many cars. That might be where I really got my affection for that era.
At any rate, I got that whole nostalgia thing going for that time, and then snagged a Nat CD and played it concurrently with summer and The Twilight Zone and it all kinda stuck together. Especially. . . .
Anybody else have any sort of oddball summer driving music? And, as always feel free to discuss anything else vaguely auto-related.
Credits: Images from Amazon.com.
As my little "hook" to this little bit of theorizing, I shall remind readers of our mixed opinion on the Beige Toyota Camry. We'd kicked the Camry around a bit, and even voted it the Most Boring Car Ever, although one of our number sought to defend its honor. We have even, somewhat perversely, come to a grudging respect for its sheer indomitable will to live despite our loathing indifference.
We have also, on occasion, evinced some disgust for certain models, and -- let's be honest -- the people who drive them. We have bemoaned the utter banality with which the 1969 Camaro is held in such high regard by so many, such that you can't swing a dead torsion bar at an average car show without hitting at least a dozen. For myself, I have even written a missive attempting to articulate my disgust for a certain yuppie-mobile which, as I admit in that post, is due in part to my own hangups toward a certain segment of the population.
But ever since then I've had cause to contemplate the following question: Who are the best drivers? I daresay most of us would answer "Why, I am, of course". Which I -- of course -- immediately thought of when I pondered the issue.
Frankly, I'm wrong. I'm not the best of drivers. Neither are the guys in their European Sport Sedans blasting along in the fast lane, or the guys in the hopped-up ricers switching lanes every 1000 feet to get to Point B ahead of whoever they happen to be trying to get there ahead of. Certainly not the guy pretending to be on the racing circuit, coming up to within spitting distance of your back bumper and flashing his/her lights if you don't move over within 9 milliseconds of his/her being there. Nor is it the one who can do a J-turn with ease. Or scream into a parking space sideways (despite how cool it is).
Well, okay, maybe those last two have some non-day-to-day Best Driver applicability. . . .
No, after wondering about the question for a while I came to a decision: It's the people you never even notice. Not the ones puttering along in the slow lane going 5 miles under the speed limit; you notice them and they can be a hazard if you're not paying attention. Not the ones who wait to turn left until there is at least a block between oncoming cars, or who turn on their turn signals three blocks before they actually turn. No, I'm talking about those who probably drive a near-pristine Beige Camry, drive within a few miles of the speed limit, always use their turn signals, stay in the right hand lane except to pass, can execute a parallel park on the first try, and never get speeding tickets or get in accidents that are their fault. They treat driving as transportation to get them where they need to be safely, but without fuss or muss.
Yes? No? Feel free to discuss, and anything else that comes to mind.
Credit: The Beige Camry is from our earlier post.
--Jeremy Clarkson, Top Gear, on a brief description of then-contemporary (mid-‘00s) automobile design, though not directly referring the lot above.
Ah, the '00s. Wii We could talk a lot about that decade –though I doubt a lot of you would have positive, rose-tinted comments about it, not initially at least. I don’t think we’ll be labeling it “epic” any time soon. It started out with a bang, or more specifically didn’t –Y2K and all that, unless you count the ‘Dot-com bubble’ bursting- and quickly turned sour after certain major events took place afterwards not only in the U.S., but also around the world. Things picked up, until a little thing with the economy affected, oh, the whole world. This was the decade that I believe treated the word ‘billion’ as if it was just a ‘million’. It’s an inconvenient truth, I know. We’d notice that the letter ‘i’ and being green became cool and geek became chic. Through it all, this was the decade that my generation was forced to come of age kicking and screaming. No wonder people tried to bring the 1980s back, for better or worse.