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From The Truth About Cars:

Who Killed The Camry?

By Jack Baruth on January 6, 2017

Blame the Rebels.

Nissan’s Rogue was the best-selling vehicle without a pickup bed in December of 2016, largely thanks to a massive advertising campaign that tied into one of the two recent Star Wars movies where only teenaged girls can be trusted to save the universe. …

You can learn a lot about American society by looking at the best-selling car in any given year. …

Once upon a time, the best-selling car in the America was the Ford Model T. This makes perfect sense, because the Model T was an utterly perfect device for putting a country on wheels for the first time. Simple, easy to operate, and hugely capable, the T was everybody’s first car well into the postwar period.

After that, the best-selling car in America was generally the full-sized “standard” Chevrolet. In 1965, it moved over a million units, making it nearly twice as popular as the overnight-sensation Mustang.

1970 Olds 4-4-2: Life-sized Hot Wheels

It wasn’t until the Seventies that the Cutlass Supreme made a play for the top slot, mostly on the strength of the hugely popular coupe variant.

Everything I bought in 1970 (mostly backpacking gear and Hot Wheels) was orange or lime green.

The Chevy Citation and the Ford Escort were best-sellers after that.

By 1990, however, the holy trinity of Taurus, Accord, and Camry were in charge of affairs. The Camry eventually took the top spot and held it, on and off, for 20 years, easily fighting off a production-constrained Accord and a, um, demand-constrained Taurus.

Wildly popular expansions to the lineup, like the hybrid model and the SE/XSE, should have ensured the Camry’s hegemony among actual passenger cars well into the supposedly inevitable electric-car transition phase.

Instead, the catfish-faced juggernaut finds itself scrapping with CUVs and subcompacts for a top-five slot. What’s going on? There are a few different theories that might apply.

Let’s call the first theory Lowered Expectations/Bigger Subcompacts. In this theory, Americans are short on money and optimism, so they’re making the move from the Camry to the Corolla. (The same holds true for the Accord, which is beaten in the sales charts by the Civic as often as it is not.) Surely this was why the Ford Escort took the top spot 35 years ago; a country drunk on long-hood expressions of personal-luxury power woke up the morning after the party and found a note from the President telling them to wear a sweater in the winter and choose a fuel-efficient car. …

Those are the theories. Which is correct? Maybe it’s all of them. But I yearn for a world where none of them would have any power whatsoever. I think about what Americans were expressing when they made the mighty V8-powered Cutlass Supreme (yes, I know not all of them were V8-powered) the nation’s leading car. I thrill to think of a country that would make a two-ton four-seater its favorite whip. We had style back then.

But in a world where the automobile is increasingly seen as a problem to be solved, rather than an escape to freedom, who wants style? When our heroes are teenaged girls, why wouldn’t we be satisfied with a nice, safe, mommy’s-basement car like the RAV4?

Personally, the Toyota RAV4 seems fine to me.

The thing you have to keep in mind when reading car critics is that they like driving more than you do. The closer a modern car is to a 1965 English roadster like a Triumph Spitfire or an MG MGB — the kind of car you didn’t own, it owned you — the better.

I spent an hour watching videos of the Larry Sanders Show looking for a clip where Elvis Costello talks Hank Kingsley into buying his lemon MG sports car, but couldn’t find it.

Thus, Mazda gets great reviews even though they tend to be too loud inside to carry on a conversation because car writers find conversations a tedious distraction from communing with the car.

Anyway, this is just an excuse to bring up the name of Jack Baruth who is a really good car writer.

 
341 Comments to "The Truth About Cars"
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  1. anonguy says:

    I don’t understand the thesis of this posting.

    Be careful reading car reviewers? Has something untoward happened recently involving car journos with secret agendas? Haven’t they always been this way quite unashamedly?

    And Journalists who write for fashion magazines like fashion.

    Guys who have HBD blogs are interested in HBD, earth to Captain Obvious.

    Or different eras in US history had different favorite cars. That isn’t some big secret.

    So WTF?

    Or maybe are you coming out with the Rav4 sly thingie? I certainly wouldn’t buy one, it is emasculating.

    What is the frequency, Kenneth?

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonguy
    "Anyway, this is just an excuse to bring up the name of Jack Baruth who is a really good car writer."

    That line wasn't in the version of the post I originally commented upon.

    You shouldn't be fishhooking commenters like me by putting up partially completed postings that seem pretty weird. It is grossly unfair and it isn't the first time this has happened.

    I suppose that is the risk of being the first commenter, you just toss something up and let us QA it for you. Crowdsourcing does work.

    , @Father O'Hara
    There's a new movie coming out about how a small group of black women,with an assist from a muslem lesbian,invented the Model T. "Hidden Pistons",a film produced by Ari Goldstein,directed by Shlomo Watnick and starring Beyoncé,Rihanna and Black Chyna (look that one up),tells the inspiring story of three black women whose mechanical aptitude allowed Henry Ford to avoid bankruptcy and a possible suicide and triumph against all odds with the Model T. Eloise Jenkins tinkered with machines her whole life. Denied entry into college because of her race,she read every book on engineering in the Booker T. Washington Library in her home town of Clio,Alabama. The finl scene brought tears to reviewers eyes: Henry Ford: "What color should the T be?" Eloise: "Why...BLACK,o f course!"
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
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  2. anonguy says:
    @anonguy
    I don't understand the thesis of this posting.

    Be careful reading car reviewers? Has something untoward happened recently involving car journos with secret agendas? Haven't they always been this way quite unashamedly?

    And Journalists who write for fashion magazines like fashion.

    Guys who have HBD blogs are interested in HBD, earth to Captain Obvious.

    Or different eras in US history had different favorite cars. That isn't some big secret.

    So WTF?

    Or maybe are you coming out with the Rav4 sly thingie? I certainly wouldn't buy one, it is emasculating.

    What is the frequency, Kenneth?

    “Anyway, this is just an excuse to bring up the name of Jack Baruth who is a really good car writer.”

    That line wasn’t in the version of the post I originally commented upon.

    You shouldn’t be fishhooking commenters like me by putting up partially completed postings that seem pretty weird. It is grossly unfair and it isn’t the first time this has happened.

    I suppose that is the risk of being the first commenter, you just toss something up and let us QA it for you. Crowdsourcing does work.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonguy
    You're a hoot, Steve. Must be a slow night, trolling your commentariat...
    , @Hunsdon
    Should our host perhaps post trigger warnings?
    , @bored identity
    Fly, You Fools!

    Steve knows (duh) that Mexifornia is a failed state well beyond repair.

    Steve also knows that in Age of Trumpquarius,with a growing consumers confidence and increasing willingnes to buy domestic product, it's right time to expand and diversify.:

    http://www.sailerfordinc.net/about/


    Yes, Sailer's lot is on Sherman...Avenue.

    Why Ackley, Iowa ?



    Reason #1:

    Ackley is the birthplace of Art Reinhart a left-handed pitcher who played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1919 to 1928.

    Reason #2.:

    Ackley, Iowa - 2010 census:

    The racial makeup was 94.8% White,
    0.1% African American,
    0.1% Native American,
    4.0% from other races,
    and 1.0% from two or more races.
    Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.8% of the population.


    Ackley, Iowa- 2000 census:

    The racial makeup was 93.75% White,
    0.17% African American,
    0.28% Asian,
    0.06% Pacific Islander,
    4.48% from other races,
    and 1.27% from two or more races.
    Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.24% of the population


    Ah,I just love that smell of a fake news in the morning...
    , @bored identity
    Fly, You Fools!

    Steve knows (duh) that Mexifornia is a failed state well beyond repair.

    Steve also knows that in Age of Trumpquarius,with a growing consumers confidence and increasing willingnes to buy domestic product, it's right time to expand and diversify.:

    http://www.sailerfordinc.net/about/


    Yes, Sailer's lot is on Sherman...Avenue.

    Why Ackley, Iowa ?



    Reason #1:

    Ackley is the birthplace of Art Reinhart a left-handed pitcher who played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1919 to 1928.

    Reason #2.:

    Ackley, Iowa - 2010 census:

    The racial makeup was 94.8% White,
    0.1% African American,
    0.1% Native American,
    4.0% from other races,
    and 1.0% from two or more races.
    Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.8% of the population.


    Ackley, Iowa- 2000 census:

    The racial makeup was 93.75% White,
    0.17% African American,
    0.28% Asian,
    0.06% Pacific Islander,
    4.48% from other races,
    and 1.27% from two or more races.
    Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.24% of the population


    Ah,I just love that smell of a fake news in the morning...
  3. wren says:

    I borrowed a co-worker’s convertible Corvette for a little while yesterday. That was fun, even though it has been about 30 years since I have driven a stick shift. I managed to stall all 450 horses starting from a red light up a hill…

    My car, a Jaguar, is a demanding mistress, but also sort of fun. To fix and keep running.

    And OT: The Daily Mail is featuring this article near the top of their site right now, but not mentioning race. It must not be fun to be a white guy in a Chicago prison.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4098240/Chicago-inmates-hospitalized-brawl-maximum-security-Cook-County-Jail-prisoners-fought-weapons-inhalers.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @wren
    Now they have put a gif up under the headline showing two white guys getting knocked out from behind.
  4. wren says:
    @wren
    I borrowed a co-worker's convertible Corvette for a little while yesterday. That was fun, even though it has been about 30 years since I have driven a stick shift. I managed to stall all 450 horses starting from a red light up a hill...

    My car, a Jaguar, is a demanding mistress, but also sort of fun. To fix and keep running.

    And OT: The Daily Mail is featuring this article near the top of their site right now, but not mentioning race. It must not be fun to be a white guy in a Chicago prison.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4098240/Chicago-inmates-hospitalized-brawl-maximum-security-Cook-County-Jail-prisoners-fought-weapons-inhalers.html

    Now they have put a gif up under the headline showing two white guys getting knocked out from behind.

    Read More
  5. anonguy says:
    @anonguy
    "Anyway, this is just an excuse to bring up the name of Jack Baruth who is a really good car writer."

    That line wasn't in the version of the post I originally commented upon.

    You shouldn't be fishhooking commenters like me by putting up partially completed postings that seem pretty weird. It is grossly unfair and it isn't the first time this has happened.

    I suppose that is the risk of being the first commenter, you just toss something up and let us QA it for you. Crowdsourcing does work.

    You’re a hoot, Steve. Must be a slow night, trolling your commentariat…

    Read More
  6. bomag says:

    I’d say today’s muscle car is the large four door pickup truck.

    Read More
    • Replies: @psmith
    This is absolutely correct, though I might quibble about the cab configuration.
    , @Stan Adams
    The big, tripped-out, four-door pickup truck is the redneck car, or maybe the male-inadequacy car. The sports car is the midlife-crisis car, especially when driven by a fifty-something guy with a girlfriend young enough to be his daughter.

    I know a number of tiny - five-foot-nothing - ladies who drive monster trucks that they can barely climb inside. Is it Freudian?

    And I know a 6'8" guy - all legs - who drives a classic Volkswagen Beetle. That seems like pure masochism, but he says it works for him.

    As for me, my head scrapes the roof of a 2011 Nissan Altima, even with the seat all the way back and reclined to a 40-degree angle. (The headrest ends at the top of my neck. I never get to see the sky through the windshield.)

    Maybe I should get a Cube.
    , @Johnnygeo
    here in Houston large pickups are as likely to be family haulers or legit work vehicles as they are toys. Lately the trend in toys is a tricked-out Wrangler Unlimited
    , @another fred

    I’d say today’s muscle car is the large four door pickup truck.
     
    I drive a full size pickup because of its utility, but there is a great deal of truth in what you say.

    They've tricked the damned things out to appeal to the guy who drives one for his ego. The worst thing is that they have made the sides of the beds so damned high (for looks) that you can't reach in from the side and access the entire bed. I have to climb up in the damned thing to empty it.

    My next pickup will be a 1984 model. Something with a bed I can reach into and a carburetor and distributor I can work on. Just getting at the plugs in my Ford is an unbelievable hassle.

    Most of the men who drive them never put a damned thing in the bed so they don't care about the problem. They are just a status symbol.
  7. SFG says:

    Maybe he’s just sick of politics?

    I’ve had the same thought about movie reviewers. A lot of casual movie viewers will enjoy melodramas and cheesy movies because they only see a few movies a year so the plot devices and holes aren’t as obvious. But if you see hundreds of movies a year, cliches become a lot more annoying. Steve?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "But if you see hundreds of movies a year, cliches become a lot more annoying. Steve?

    Does Steve watch more films than the average American? I don't get that impression from him.
    , @whorefinder
    A meta-jokes that the Red Letter Media/Mr. Plinkett guys make in their film reviews is that their characters are ostensibly blue-collar manual laborers (repairmen) while their film reviews are snobby, complex, and supercilious.

    So they'll hate on Adam Sandler/Kevin James/Michael Bay films; rip apart Star Wars prequels on film-school/artistic grounds as well as for being boring; and attack low-budget horror movies for, well, being low-budget and schlocky, while having a Tarantino-esque love for the crap for being crap.

    They aren't disconnected from mainstream America, and do enjoy most popcorn entertainment, but they also enjoy throwing in their advanced film knowledge and snotty disdain about half the time, but in an entertaining and self-aware way.

  8. MC says:
    Read More
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    A taste (from a list of answers to objections to putting a V-8 into the ATS):

    What about the CTS and XTS, which don’t offer a V-8? Doesn’t this destroy our brand hierarchy? It’s too late to worry about crap like that. It’s go time. The CTS can and should also get a standard V-8. Every existing XTS should be burned to the ground then dropped into the Marianas Trench. The people who designed and approved it should also be dropped into the Marianas Trench, as a warning to the others.

    It doesn’t fit. You sound like my high school girlfriend when you say that. Make it fit, the same way she did: with an engine hoist and a plasma torch.
  9. Jefferson says:
    @SFG
    Maybe he's just sick of politics?

    I've had the same thought about movie reviewers. A lot of casual movie viewers will enjoy melodramas and cheesy movies because they only see a few movies a year so the plot devices and holes aren't as obvious. But if you see hundreds of movies a year, cliches become a lot more annoying. Steve?

    “But if you see hundreds of movies a year, cliches become a lot more annoying. Steve?

    Does Steve watch more films than the average American? I don’t get that impression from him.

    Read More
  10. unit472 says:

    Thinking about the distaff auto market one notes that females need a vehicle that can carry a child and or a dog. An SUV performs either task much better than a ‘car’. A hatchback accomodates the dog without having the animal destroying the upholstery and, my assumption is, it is much easier to secure a child in their car seat with an SUV. For females horsepower, acceleration, towing capacity etc. are to be found, if at all, in their male partner’s vehicle.

    Read More
  11. whorefinder says: • Website

    Love how Jack subtly criticizes the latest grrrl-power Star Wars films backhandedly.

    Cars are one of those subjects that is very guy-oriented and the feminists have a hard time getting into. Feminists just don’t seem all that interested in breaking through the glass ceiling of the mechanic’s garage floor, though they like the occasional depiction of the tomboy chick covered in grease changing someone’s oil—-except when her depiction fulfills both feminist and straight male fantasies, e.g. Megan Fox in the Transformer movies.

    It seems feminism can’t be happy if men are also made happy in the process.

    Also, women, even feminists, even today, still seem to expect that men will know a lot about/be absolutely competent at certain activities based on being men. Cars, computers, and killing bugs seem to be the big three. Doesn’t matter who the guy is, he’s just supposed to know and do those things, according to gyno-americans.

    I dated a strident feminist in my younger days (forgive me, I was young), and one day I was driving and we had to pull over to the side of the road to assess a problem. She practically ordered me to get out and fix it and didn’t get out at all, despite knowing my paucity of knowledge about cars. To this day I can’t tell if it was more about her feminism evaporating in the face of an automobile problem or about her feminism requiring that all men serve her needs and bow down before her.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Neoconned
    That's me, I know fuck all about cars.

    If I could I'd live in a big city where you didn't even need a car.

    Steve, here are some of those articles:

    http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/15/technology/uber-bill-gurley-sxsw/

    https://www.google.com/amp/amp.usatoday.com/story/78994526/?client=ms-android-americamovil-us

    The number of ppl driving is falling & the number of miles being driven is falling.

    People are buying fewer cars and keeping them for longer.
    , @Lagertha
    Gentleman, enjoy: https://youtu.be/3nGQLQF1b6l

    Also, can someone recommend a smaller SUV (must be snow car) that could accommodate say, Great Danes....preferably a vehicle where I can remove seats, or seats fold down into compartments? I've got to replace my ancient minivan soon. Head room for dogs is key...and use in backcountry conditions calls for not going "minivan.".

  12. “I don’t understand the thesis of this posting.”

    Steve regularly posts stories that touch on his various interests that have a social component such as movies and baseball. Personally, I think the original article is terribly argued piece of rose-colored nostalgia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonguy
    You forgot to read my second comment. The post was incomplete when I first commented.
  13. The “unintended acceleration” phenomenon is one of the original examples of FAKE NEWS.

    Promoted by the trial lawyers and bought by gullible juries, the meme has no credible evidence behind it, but is responsible for hundreds of millions$ in redistribution from the corporate class to the victim / shyster class.

    The meme was originally pushed against the Audi 5000s in the 1980′s.

    The federal government got in on the game and dusted off and re-used it against the Toyota Camry right around the same time that GM was being nationalized.

    Read More
  14. Jefferson says:

    From a pop culture standpoint 1970s cars are so cool.

    Read More
    • Replies: @psmith
    I've got four-eleven positrack out back. Seven-fifty double pumper. Edelbrock intake, bored over thirty, eleven to one pop up pistons. Turbo jet, three ninety horse power. We're talking some fucking muscle.
    , @Malcolm X-Lax
    My older brother graduated from high school in 1974 and had car just like that. I sat him down to watch Dazed and Confused not long after it came out, and 7 seconds into the opening, he goes: I like it already.
  15. Nate says:

    Just wait until the Model 3 or some other EV is the best selling car

    Read More
  16. Neoconned says:

    Steve Google “millenials hate cars” and read the doom and gloom car companies and gearhead mags are predicting.

    I’m broke and I can only speak for myself. I owe the govt almost 40k in loans and as I near 40 I’m beginning to stop caring about any status symbols.

    To me a little hatchback is just fine. To others it’s emasculating.

    I hate cars, they’re expensive and yt?the break down too much.

    To me mass transit is a better option.

    The only people with newer cars where I live are retirees and white girls with fourt or five men pumping thenmoney theu child support arrangements.

    I see people in newer cars but I’m baffled how they can afford them unlessthey’re paying everything they Owen for it

    Read More
    • Replies: @anon

    I see people in newer cars but I’m baffled how they can afford them unlessthey’re paying everything they Owen for it
     
    It's the next housing bubble.

    The banks weren't fixed or punished so they're doing it again but with cars this time.
    , @Bleuteaux
    I agree. And the fact that at least half the time I am in it is going to and from my employer makes me hate the expense more.

    That being said, the higher end SUV market in my area is ludicrous.
    , @Ttjy
    "I hate cars, they’re expensive and yt?the break down too much.

    To me mass transit is a better option."

    I hate cars too. The amount of money society spends on them is ridiculous.

    23 hours of the day on most days it sits in my garage or lot at work.

    The govt could be the cause of car proliferation.

    The govt builds the roads. They subsidize the oil industry for the cars.The create zoning laws that favor cars.

    We might not be in this predicament if the govt had nothing to do with cars.

    We had better towns and private mass transit in those towns before the govt started to pass zoning laws and help the oil industry. How much money do we spend on the military in the middle east?

    The more we moved into metro ares the more cars proliferated.

    Cars would have been more useful in the 1800's when most people lived on farms. They could have driven their goods to the town and picked up their provisions.

    Cars spread everything out, but not enough to live in the countryside, Most metro areas are crowded and car dependent. It might be ok if we could live in a small town away from the congestion, but everything in metro areas in built for the car, so there really is no way to live without them.
  17. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Those cars from the seventies had primitive suspensions and crude mechanical systems such as gravity-operated fast idle cams on carburetors. They were simple to work on but changing your points every 12,000 miles was a chore. They handled abominably compared to today’s sporty sedans and to characterize a Toyota Camry like car as a “mommy’s basement” like car compared to a land whale like the Cutlass is nonsensical.

    Today’s Camry, Civic or Accord with rack and pinion steering and MacPherson strut suspension runs a slalom test faster than any car (commonly) commercially available in 1973 or 1965, including Triumphs, Fiats, Stingrays, Jaguars etc. I drove an old TR3 then and it was basically a tractor motor mounted in a crude crate with a ride like a buckboard bouncing down a dusty trail in one of those old western movies.

    Sometime around 1985 or so Car and Driver (or one of those rags) ran a piece in which the sawed-off Honda CRX ran their slalom test in the third fastest time they’d ever recorded, beaten only by a Ferrari or Maserati and the current Corvette Stingray. And the auto industry has never looked back.

    It’s fun to muse about old times and ponder the bad old days, but I suspect the author’s recollections are tinted rosily by his recalling his first big date and Friday night burgers at Frisch’s BigBoy with the gang in Dad’s sporty 442 which could indeed, outrun everyone else’s Impalas, Furys, Galaxies, Polaras, and 88s–and Country Squires, who could forget them?

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonguy
    You nailed it.

    Get in one of those dreamboats in heavy rain and traffic dense enough to be competitive but light enough to remain high speed someplace like Beltway in DC or Perimeter in Atlanta and you'll have the white knuckle experience of your life.
    , @Chief Seattle
    Agree with that, old cars handle terribly. My friend referred a 1960s mustang and let me borrow it every once in a while. The steering was horrible , It was generally pointed in the direction you wanted to go and eventually it might turn to get there.

    I had a late 80s Nissan Sentra as my first car. I think the engine was 90 hp. It was ugly. But with the five speed manual, it was plenty quick , And handled really well. Top speed was about 105, experimentally verified.
    , @keypusher
    As I learned from about five minutes of clicking, one of the author's themes is that all cars now are good, and that you're pretty near guaranteed 100,000 trouble-free miles given minimal maintenance. He specifically noted that even a mediocre modern sedan handles better than a 2001 top-of-the-line Lexus. So he's quite aware of the quality improvements you describe. His complaint is that the uniform reliability, quality, and performance of new cars makes his job a challenge.

    Of course, for most of us, boringness is a bug, not a feature. I've been driving for a long time. I now have a used 2010 Civic and I can't believe how good it is. Whenever I rent a car, whatever it is, I'm blown away.

    Also I can't believe a thread about cars has over 250 comments.
  18. Vinay says:

    “Personally, the Toyota RAV4 seems fine to me.”

    The entire genre of interpreting consumer choices as an indicator of cultural malaise is deeply silly. Mostly people choose differently over time because their circumstances are different or the consumer good no longer plays the same role. Not because people’s values have changed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @psmith
    Yes. When we observe that hunting, golfing, V8 engines, motocross, land ownership, and flying on the Concorde are out and digging in the dirt with a stick is in, the issue is not cultural malaise but economic and technological malaise. (Though social technology is a kind of technology.). At any rate, malaise of some kind--not "innovative less-materialistic values", contra, for instance, Scott Sumner--is what we're dealing with.

    To be clear, this is actually and unironically what I believe.

  19. OT- More evidence supporting Steve’ thesis that almost everything is a racket designed to pay off for Rich Guys or Hot Babes.

    Comcast faces backlash over black-ministry channel the Word

    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/comcast-nation/Comcast-faces-protests-over-black-religious-channel.html

    White guy used black protests to get his cable channel into more homes than ESPN.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Triumph104
    Televangelists love black viewers because they are an easy touch in the wallet.

    The reason Comcast is going from a white-owned religious channel to a black-owned one is Byron Allen. Comcast just had a $20 billion discrimination suit filed by Byron Allen dismissed. Allen has filed an appeal and his $10 billion racial discrimination lawsuit against Charter Communications was allowed to proceed.

    After the Charter ruling Allen said, “Today, we made history by doing something about it. This lawsuit was filed to provide distribution and real economic inclusion for 100% African American-owned media. The cable industry spends $70 billion a year licensing cable networks and 100% African American-owned media receives ZERO. This is completely unacceptable. We will not stop until we achieve real economic inclusion for 100% African American-owned media.”

    http://www.blackenterprise.com/small-business/byron-allen-racial-suit-cable/


    Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, of Great Faith Ministries in Detroit, owns the Impact Network, which is distributed to 75 million homes on DirecTV, Dish,  and cable systems, including parts of Comcast. He said he was excited about the new Comcast homes.
     
    This is the guy to watch. Wayne T. Jackson's wife has a fake doctorate. His son Brandon has had several minor acting roles and was the star of Beverly Hills Cop the TV show, but the pilot did not get picked up. Wayne T. Jackson himself made the news a few years ago when he dry-humped future bishops during a consecration ceremony. At first the video was removed from YouTube for music violations, so the video was reuploaded without the original audio. LINK
  20. Hyundai Sonata and Elantra hurt the Camry bad the past four or five years. The Accord and Altima, too. First to DFI, first to 40 MPG, the Accent-Sonata lineup hurt em all.

    Meh, behind the wheel, the reviewers OUGHT to say that there isn’t a pinch of shit’s difference between them. Cookie-cutters all, clean burning, efficient, supposedly “safe”. The fuels, the oils and lubricants, fuel injection, all the cars are the same. Hell, in Los Angeles and the smog-ridden venues of China, these cars emit cleaner emissions than the air they took into their engines. Win, win.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonguy

    Meh, behind the wheel, the reviewers OUGHT to say that there isn’t a pinch of shit’s difference between them.
     
    True dat. I suspect all come out of the same one or two plants just like VCR's used to.
  21. bob sykes says:

    Had a Miata for three years. Loved it. Wife hated it, so I drove it alone and didn’t need to converse. Best in Spring and Fall with the top down.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonguy
    Loved my 3rd gen RX7. Lent it to a lady friend when her car was in the shop. When she returned it, she was practically traumatized, said it was hard to drive (literally, took strength to turn wheel, brakes, clutch, stick shift), and so forth.

    I was utterly astonished at her perspective, I thought it was the dreamiest thing...
  22. Anon7 says:

    The truth about cars? Ok, but you won’t like it. They cost about $25 per day to own, and most people use their car for about an hour per day. Vast resources are expended to conceal these facts from us.

    It costs about $9,000 per year in after-tax income for a reliable four seat vehicle. Sure, argue with me, but car execs (and the leaders of related industries like insurance, road construction, oil) know it’s true. They (and their dads and granddads and great-grandads) have been playing this game for 100 years, my friend.

    We’re now at a point where this is a lot of money for people under thirty (no real jobs) and people over sixty (no real jobs). One of two things will happen / are happening:

    1) Autonomous car tech doesn’t really quite work; level 4 and 5 can’t really be achieved. Vast advertising resources will be spent to assure us that smaller/underpowered/cheesier material cars that are the best we can really afford (that auto execs can make the profits they need with) are exactly what we want – hey, pretty screen teen girls who save the world like them! Rogue One, in theaters near you! You thought that a naive rural boy named Luke, riding in a hot two-seater landspeeder he could fix himself, was cool?* Actually, it was a smart, strong, cute young leader girl who saved the galaxy. Go Nissan, go Rogue! In theaters near you. Oh, and black people were the actual founders of America, and black women were the secret of the American space program, and it was Jackie Kennedy who was the important one, not JFK. It’s all in theaters near you.

    Or

    2) Autonomous car technology really works, in which case by 2030 no one who lives in a big city or even a 2,500 person town will own a private vehicle. Again, you can argue with me, but auto engineers know the truth – fleets of autonomous cars can meet our transportation needs for about $2.50 per day (this is Ford’s stated autonomous car strategy – and they’re the smartest American car company). Americans will not have the money for private cars, period. And I’ll tell you that once you get used to it, you’ll admit that owning a car was mostly an expensive pain in the ass you can finally do without.

    * This is the missing hook for your article, Steve. Rural boys used basic car tech to multiply their independence times ten (my Depression-era dad owned his first car at age 12, road trips were an adventure! Carry your own tools, go with a gang of friends, help people you see stuck – and meet girls, who wanted to go for rides, but couldn’t master the technology.) In the future, girls will slide a piece of glass from their yoga pants, gesture daintily, and a robot car will take them and their friends wherever, for cheap. Who needs boys?

    Read More
    • Replies: @blackpill dispenser
    WELCOME TO THE GYNOKRATIE

    "We are all bug people now."
    , @Russell
    I think option 2 is likely based on the progress Google have made with their program, and the fact that everyone in the car industry and plenty in IT both software and hardware and many others have taken note and jumped in boots and all.
    Transport as a service is coming and it's coming fast.
    The cars themselves will change enormously as a result. The end result will be a low performance, very low weight, relatively short range electric vehicle.
    Of what use are 200 horses in a robotaxi? If crash rates go down to near zero of what use is all the heavy crash protection?
    The other thing that will change enormously is the load factor (currently a pitiful 1.3 people per vehicle). Once enough people start using Uber or equivalents in ride sharing matches will be easier to find. Increasing load factor could see the end of congestion.
    Our cities are also going to change enormously as a consequence.
    Goodbye parking buildings, goodbye vehicle smog.
    If it's done properly I'm not going to miss driving eve one little bit.
    , @MarkinPNW
    I remember back in the '70's reading a book with the title, if I remember right, "The Screwing of the Average Man" or something similar. The chapter on cars explained that if you took all the time the "average man" spends driving, maintaining his car, working to pay insurance, taxes and registration, gas, oil, repairs, and the monthly payment and divided by miles traveled the average speed was about 5 miles per hour. I suspect today's figure would be similar.
  23. cipher says:

    What purpose does a high performance vehicle serve in a driving environment packed to the gills with traffic congestion, poor and getting poorer driving habits and an over-reaching State that seeks to control, punish and extract sustenance – with the utmost technology-enabled efficiency – from those who possess the temerity to drive Their vehicles on Its roadways?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jacobite
    I take my Sunday drives on Tuesday mornings after everybody else is in school or at work!
  24. Dr. X says:

    Let’s call the first theory Lowered Expectations/Bigger Subcompacts. In this theory, Americans are short on money and optimism, so they’re making the move from the Camry to the Corolla. (The same holds true for the Accord, which is beaten in the sales charts by the Civic as often as it is not.) Surely this was why the Ford Escort took the top spot 35 years ago; a country drunk on long-hood expressions of personal-luxury power woke up the morning after the party and found a note from the President telling them to wear a sweater in the winter and choose a fuel-efficient car. …

    Those are the theories. Which is correct? Maybe it’s all of them. But I yearn for a world where none of them would have any power whatsoever. I think about what Americans were expressing when they made the mighty V8-powered Cutlass Supreme (yes, I know not all of them were V8-powered) the nation’s leading car. I thrill to think of a country that would make a two-ton four-seater its favorite whip. We had style back then.

    But in a world where the automobile is increasingly seen as a problem to be solved, rather than an escape to freedom, who wants style? When our heroes are teenaged girls, why wouldn’t we be satisfied with a nice, safe, mommy’s-basement car like the RAV4?

    This guy needs to get out into Trumpland and see what’s really going on. People are still buying two-ton V-8s with style — they’re called trucks.

    I just did a bit of car-buying myself, and observed some interesting things. Ford is making a major pitch for “green”cars, hybrids, electrics, and improved fuel mileage. They’ve got plenty of compacts and subcompacts. Maybe they’re selling them, but not around here. People are buying big, pimped out 4×4 trucks — and paying stupid money for them, too. A cheap truck these days is thirty grand, and there’s a lot of them in the $45-50,000 range. And they’re selling.

    For densely populated coastal (read: liberal) areas, it’s true that the ideal vehicle might be a Civic or Rav4 for making those trips from mommy’s basement to the mall. In flyover country it’s all trucks.

    Read More
    • Replies: @cthulhu


    For densely populated coastal (read: liberal) areas, it’s true that the ideal vehicle might be a Civic or Rav4 for making those trips from mommy’s basement to the mall. In flyover country it’s all trucks.

     

    Here in my part of coastal SoCal, the most popular vehicles are (in no particular order)
    Big pickups, usually tricked-out enough that you can be certain that they aren't used for work;
    Small pickups of indeterminate age, used almost exclusively by Hispanic men in the 30-to-50 age range, clearly doing either gardening/lawn care or construction work;
    Large SUVs driven by soccer moms;
    Hybrids (Toyota Prius in particular) driven by either incipient cat ladies, or white collar men and women who want the carpool lane stickers (supposedly carpool lane stickers can increase the resale value of a car by up to $5k in LA);
    Everything else out in the long tail of the distribution - sedans of all ages; Mercedes and Cadillacs in regions where the average age is pushing 60+; quite a few Audis among the 30+ reasonably affluent professionals; BMWs for the dickhead drivers; etc. I see few new Camrys or Accords, but I don't see many Rogues except among college-age women. And Tesla is pretty popular among a certain demographic.

    Me, I like my low end sports sedan; I can fit four people into it without too much difficulty, it is quiet, gets good gas mileage, handles well, and I was able to get it with a manual transmission. That's a pretty good compromise for me.
    , @Anonymous
    I don't understand how people afford these trucks, which as you note easily reach 40 or 50 grand plus use lots of gas. Especially since most people who own trucks rarely use the truck beds.
  25. Arclight says:

    Time for another book on the unbearable whiteness of America, although even the Post can’t pretend it’s any good: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/book-party/wp/2017/01/06/a-sermon-on-the-unbearable-whiteness-of-america/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-f%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.1344c6ffcab4#comments.

    In general, professional race men tend to be pretty intellectually dull, but having observed Dyson over the years he’s shown himself to be particularly stupid. Please keep him on the air, MSNBC. He’s doing invaluable work.

    Read More
    • Replies: @fish

    Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University, a prolific author and a Baptist minister, leavens his anger — at racism, at police brutality, at economic injustice against black Americans, at indifference to their plight — by presenting his book as a sermon and by seeding his words with flowery, loving language. “I offer this sermon to you, my dear white friends,” he writes, “my beloved comrades of faith and country.”

     




    Sounds like an internal family matter to me.

    Most of the metropolitan areas in the US have been run by the left and his people (anybody other than stale, pale males of a non lefty inclination) for the last 50 years. What exactly does he think we deplorables can do for him?
  26. The Z Blog says: • Website

    One of my favorite things to point out to people is the drabness of our age. In 1970, a walk through a parking lot offered a rainbow of colors and all sorts of shapes and sizes. In the early seventies, the most popular color for Corvettes was orange. I think that was ’73 or ’72. My father’s Valiant was powder blue and my mother’s Plymouth was green.

    Today, the top three colors are black, gray and silver. Walk through a parking lot and it looks like film noir made in the GDR. The general ugliness of our cars is due to the unrelenting claim that form follows function in all things at all times. The neo-Puritan scolds in charge of our lives lie awake a night worried that somewhere, someone is enjoying themselves.

    One of the ironies of the age of plenty is we have a lot less fun.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonguy

    One of the ironies of the age of plenty is we have a lot less fun.
     
    No kidding. It seems like the inflection point was the end of the Cold War. Color went out of style with grunge trend and has never come back. Base color on all clothing these days is what I call Homeless Heather. Once in a while I go about in Oregon in a pink polo shirt just to troll everyone...

    PC went from an annoyance to deadly serious purges with Tailhook 91, Anita Hill, etc.

    Everyone got fat and started wearing formless, baggy clothes.

    Goes on and one....

    Recently, my 13yo son and i had The Talk...

    ...about Eighties dance music. I remember the clubbing then, the non-obese/non-tattooed/non-pierced women in flashy clothes. About the only part one can slag on was the big hair and if that is all ya got, well....

    He was inexplicably fond of The Bangles:

    https://youtu.be/Cv6tuzHUuuk

    Worth a watch to fondly remember the times before the commissar scolds took over.

    Generally, I think it has been a less serious age since the end of the Cold War, just less to worry about and hence easier to pillory the un-PC without risk of breaking vital links in society.

    And it isn't just Cold War, though that was huge. What ever happened to famines, epidemics, runaway kids, killer typhoons that wipe out 100k in Bangladesh. Now it is one kid washing up on a shore that is world historical.

    It is amazing how many things we don't have to worry about anymore and how little this is remarked upon.

  27. Svigor says:

    Ever tried to buy a used RAV4? They hold their value too long, because they’re very popular. Civics are the same way, you pay a premium. I got a Lexus for less.

    The thing you have to keep in mind when reading car critics is that they like driving more than you do.

    This is broadly true, in my experience. Paid or privileged reviewers are enthusiasts, and like what they review a lot more than I do. And they tend to overspend, by my lights. They tend not to be great at stepping back and looking at the big picture, putting themselves in others’ shoes (as you’ve mentioned about movie reviewers). So I have to ignore their conclusions and stick to the details.

    Then there’s the whole conflict of interest thing *cough* game reviews *cough*.

    Read More
  28. fish says:
    @Arclight
    Time for another book on the unbearable whiteness of America, although even the Post can't pretend it's any good: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/book-party/wp/2017/01/06/a-sermon-on-the-unbearable-whiteness-of-america/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-f%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.1344c6ffcab4#comments.

    In general, professional race men tend to be pretty intellectually dull, but having observed Dyson over the years he's shown himself to be particularly stupid. Please keep him on the air, MSNBC. He's doing invaluable work.

    Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University, a prolific author and a Baptist minister, leavens his anger — at racism, at police brutality, at economic injustice against black Americans, at indifference to their plight — by presenting his book as a sermon and by seeding his words with flowery, loving language. “I offer this sermon to you, my dear white friends,” he writes, “my beloved comrades of faith and country.”

    Sounds like an internal family matter to me.

    Most of the metropolitan areas in the US have been run by the left and his people (anybody other than stale, pale males of a non lefty inclination) for the last 50 years. What exactly does he think we deplorables can do for him?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Arclight
    Dyson's livelihood is no doubt almost entirely paid for by tuition and ad revenue earned primarily from the pale and stale, but he probably doesn't want to think about that too much. If it wasn't for the people he most despises, there wouldn't be much of an economy and certainly not many viewers to tune into MSNBC.

    I do sort of feel bad for him, though - he has titles that are very important from a status standpoint (professor, minister) but he's probably self aware enough to know that no one really takes him seriously. That has to be frustrating.
  29. FPD72 says:

    I was always a fan of Brock Yates, founder of the Cannonball Baker race across America. I would buy a Car and Driver just to read his column. He just passed away in October of last year. RIP

    Read More
    • Agree: Jacobite
    • Replies: @Alfa158
    One of his greatest contributions was the book" The Gross-Pointe Myopians" that he wrote in the 60's. He diagnosed the inherent weaknesses of the US car industry that eventually led to its fall from market dominance. Unfortunately the book was too good a piece of prophecy, and was published at a time when the Detroit auto industry was at its absolute peak of wealth and sales. The industry leaders scoffed at the idea that such a powerful empire could ever falter and ignored his jeremiad.
    , @SportsFan
    Brock was a staunch conservative and not shy to share his political opinion in the pages of an automotive magazine.
  30. prosa123 says: • Website

    The Camry is far from dead, it still sells in huge numbers even if it’s no longer in the top spot. If it has a drawback it’s that it has become stereotyped as an old person’s car.

    One thing to note about most SUV’s is that they’re built on the same body platforms as cars, modified to give higher ride height and a station wagon-style rather than separate trunks. Not many are on truck frames. For instance, the Toyota RAV-4 is a modified Corolla, the Highlander a Camry, and the Honda CR-V a Civic.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SportsFan
    Camry is probably the worst car to be stuck behind, because it is predominantly driven by extremely timid, slow, risk-averse people, old or not. Even worse than Prius, which caters to a similar, but greener demographic. Lexus is a basically a Camry/RAV/Highlander for retirees with more money.

    Toyota obviously knows and encourages this, as the TV ads for their cars are soaked through with oxytocin and prolactin to such a degree that they could make an NFL defensive end lactate. I'm not talking about the Tundra or Tacoma, of course, which cater to a different demographic.

    Car psychology - how consumers self-select into particular makes and models - is fascinating.
  31. Okie says:

    The thesis is subituting a hot hatch or cuv for a 442 or a cutlass isn’t a upgrade, its a pretty substantial downgrade, not to blame the car makers too much, as the quality of the former is better, but cafe standards , the cult of auto safety that is generally frogifying cars, and a lot of other gov. Acts have not only taken away our flying car future, but pushed us back in comfort and style

    Read More
  32. rienzi says:

    Not sure if Spitfires go all the way back to 1965. Owned a 1975 model for years. I’ve had Porsches, Jaguars, and Mustangs, but that Spitfire was the most fun car I’ve ever owned. That thing was so small, I could sit in it, reach out the window, and touch the ground. Others may have suffered from problems, but mine was a brick. I drove it 87k miles with no problems at all.

    The cars from that era could be differentiated from a distance. Nobody was ever going to confuse a Volvo for a Chevy. Today, you have to be close enough to see the badge to know what it is. Sad really.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Nunnya Bidnez, jr
    I had a '64 spitfire with a '67 engine, so they go back that far.
    But the bestest car I ever had was a '84 Celica GTS .. built when the Dollar was worth 300 Yen. You got a lotta car for $9k. Power windows, doorlocks, sunroof, AC so cold the outside air would condense on the windows. I usually drove around 85-95 mph in NYC, 90-100 in the suburbs, had it up to 125 on the Thruway ocassionally.
    Good Times.
  33. TheJester says:

    Nissan’s Rogue was the best-selling vehicle without a pickup bed in December of 2016, largely thanks to a massive advertising campaign that tied into one of the two recent Star Wars movies where only teenaged girls can be trusted to save the universe.

    Real men drive trucks! Besides, I get to look down on everyone driving those tweeny plastic cars from the vantage of the driver’s seat in my Armada. My gas mileage sucks … but that’s my business.

    I also own an Xterra. Its gas mileage also sucks. It was a sad day for “truckdom” when Nissan replaced the Xterra body-on-frame truck with the unibody Rogue SUV … although in recompense Nissan did leave out the plastic flower vase for the Rogue’s new female drivers.

    Read More
  34. athEIst says:

    Everything I bought in 1970 (mostly backpacking gear and Hot Wheels) was orange or lime green.
    By 1972 and for the rest of the decade the colors were a yellow(Harvest Gold), a green aptly named Avocado and a purple (Grape). The appliances matched.

    Read More
  35. I love Honda Accords. I’ve had two go over 200,000; my current one has 265,000 miles. I bought it, salvaged, for $5k in 2007 at 110K miles. My previous one I drove from new to 233K until a small accident (which I have rarely) “totaled” it–I just know the mechanic who bought it from me fixed it up. I expect to have this one for another 150K

    So style, shmyle, bestselling or whatever. Hondas last forever.

    Read More
  36. whorefinder says: • Website
    @SFG
    Maybe he's just sick of politics?

    I've had the same thought about movie reviewers. A lot of casual movie viewers will enjoy melodramas and cheesy movies because they only see a few movies a year so the plot devices and holes aren't as obvious. But if you see hundreds of movies a year, cliches become a lot more annoying. Steve?

    A meta-jokes that the Red Letter Media/Mr. Plinkett guys make in their film reviews is that their characters are ostensibly blue-collar manual laborers (repairmen) while their film reviews are snobby, complex, and supercilious.

    So they’ll hate on Adam Sandler/Kevin James/Michael Bay films; rip apart Star Wars prequels on film-school/artistic grounds as well as for being boring; and attack low-budget horror movies for, well, being low-budget and schlocky, while having a Tarantino-esque love for the crap for being crap.

    They aren’t disconnected from mainstream America, and do enjoy most popcorn entertainment, but they also enjoy throwing in their advanced film knowledge and snotty disdain about half the time, but in an entertaining and self-aware way.

    Read More
  37. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Tom McCahill was the best automobile writer in history.

    Although he died in 1975, much of his writing is still relevant.

    Read More
  38. anon says: • Disclaimer

    off-topic, just watched an interesting fillum on netflix called “Criminal” which looked dumb from the description but had Tommy Lee Jones in it so watched anyway

    kind of a more knowing version of “Runaway Train”

    some very iSteve-esque themes or they will be by around 2020 (assuming we haven’t been blown up by then)

    Read More
  39. Cars suck. There are whole layers of needless technology making them unaffordable to purchase, unaffordable to repair, and unaffordable to insure.

    Read More
  40. 2Mintzin1 says:

    Completely off-topic, but fun: in the news, Hillary Clinton is pressuring herself to run for Mayor of NYC.
    Bill DeBlasio and his posse are under investigation for possible crimes…the investigators are people of his own party, so it is safe to say that the Dems want him out because of his poor performance in office (probably including failures to give patronage jobs to the right people)…as the musicians say, DeBlasio has “stunk up the room” and needs to get gone. The criminal investigation is probably intended as a gentle nudge towards the exit.

    Enter Hillary? As Mayor, Hill could keep some cash flowing to the Clinton Foundation. I am sure she would be elected by a huge margin. The minor point of residency could be easily solved. Remember, Hillary has always been a Yankees fan, a fact she first realized when she ran for the Senate for NY.

    The really interesting part of this is how she would interact with Cuomo II.
    He does not like rivals.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Boomstick
    Donald Trump Jr should enter the race for mayor if she does.

    A regular columnist at the NYT is openly advocating using the power of the city government to harass political opponents, and the comments section is cheering him on. Apparently the editors approve of this sort of thing.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/opinion/sunday/rumors-of-hillary-clintons-comeback.html

    Hillary Clinton as New York City mayor?

    Imagine the fun:

    City building inspectors start to show up daily at Trump Tower, where they find a wobbly beam here, a missing smoke detector there, outdated wiring all over the place. City health inspectors fan out through Trump’s hotels, writing citations for clogged drains in the kitchens and expired milk in the minibars.

    The potholes near his properties go unfilled. Those neighborhoods are the last to be plowed. There’s a problem with the flow of water to his Bronx golf course, whose greens are suddenly brown. And the Russian Consulate keeps experiencing power failures. It’s the darnedest thing. Clinton vows to look into it, just as soon as she returns from the Hamptons.
    ...
    The city’s Mexican Day Parade would be rerouted, from Madison Avenue over to Fifth, right past Trump Tower. A new city zoning experiment would locate detention centers in the strangest places. And in the city’s libraries, “The Art of the Deal” would be impossible to find, while upfront, on vivid display, there’d be copies galore of “It Takes a Village” and “Hard Choices.”

     

    Note the racism inherent in assuming that the Mexican Day Parade would attract undesirables.
    , @Jefferson
    Will Crooked Cankles have Jay-Z and Beyonce perform for her again if she runs for mayor of New York City? Crooked Cankles 99 problems and Donald J. Trump is all of them.
  41. psmith says:

    Not Wrong.

    Used Rav4s are pretty good for light dirt-road work on a budget, I’m told. Can’t speak to the new ones.

    I hope motorcycles hold out for another generation or so. Cars are pretty much shot at this point, at least for fun-adjacent purposes.

    Read More
  42. Jack D says:

    The Truth About Cars guys are (or profess to be) mystified at the popularity of compact SUVs. They are mystified that no one wants a manual transmission anymore. They are mystified that people prefer reliable Honda Civics to lively (but less reliable) Mazda 3′s . They seem to be mystified by a lot of things which are perfectly understandable if you de-center and don’t assume that the average car buyer wants the same things that you want. Most people just want to get where they need to be and don’t want to be rowing away at a gear shift – they’d rather be texting with that hand.

    BTW, that V-8 Cutlass that they are mourning had less hp than a modern 4 cylinder and terrible space utilization – it was all hood for that giant V-8 with a cramped passenger compartment and 2 doors because GM was too cheap to give you 4. The reason the engine had no power is that the Big 3 refused to switch to fuel injection because carburetors were really really cheap. If it made it to 100k miles before it rusted through or blew the engine it was a miracle. The good old days – they were awful.

    This is only going to get worse – the current generation (for the most part) is not into cars at all. They prefer to live in some hipsterish place and take an Uber. Once the Uber is driverless they will prefer it even more. No one really cares about what brand of taxi is picking you up anymore than they care about what brand of elevator they are riding in or whether the plane they are on is an Airbus or a Boeing. Some folks at MIT just figured out that if you replaced all the taxis in NYC with shared (probably driverless) Uber type vehicles by connecting all ride requests to one dispatching system you could reduce the # of vehicles needed by 2/3 and speed up traffic tremendously.

    The TAC guys will be really sad when they take their driver’s licenses away, not because they are old and decrepit (though they will be) but because it will no longer be considered safe to allow drunk, distractible, fallible humans to control 2 ton boxes of steel hurtling at 70mph. Not only will they not be allowed to manually shift, they won’t be allowed to steer or brake either.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jacobite
    Baruth writes:

    I know not all of them were V8-powered
     
    The Cutlass Supreme always had a V-8 until the POS 1973 models onwards,. My mom's 1966 Holiday Sedan four-door hardtop (not at all cramped) was pretty darn fast if a little floaty handling when running above 100 mph.

    From Wiki:

    the standard Supreme engine was Oldsmobile's 330 cu in (5.4 L) "Ultra High Compression" Jetfire Rocket V8 rated at 320 hp (239 kW) with a four-barrel carburetor. Transmission offerings included a standard three-speed manual with column shift, floor-mounted four-speed manual with Hurst shifter or a two-speed Jetaway automatic.
     
    http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Olds-Cutlass-1966-supreme-4dr.jpg
    , @Grumpy
    Just saw an old friend in the Bay Area. He works for Google; his wife works for a start-up. They're in their thirties. They have a car but almost never drive. They take public transportation to work (not BART, because it's "too crowded and dirty," but not the private Google bus). They have all of their groceries delivered.

    One issue increasingly affecting the poor and the affluent alike in the Bay Area is that there is nowhere to park.
    , @BenKenobi
    As a highly drunk, distractable, and fallible human being I must say this:

    Manual transmission is the only way to drive. All four limbs operating the vehicle as you see fit. Live your own version of PJ O'Rourke's "Drive/Handjob/Drink".

    Also, keep on rockin' in the free world.
    , @Olorin
    Safe schmafe.

    The people causing the most accidents should be kept off the roads.

    The people not causing the most accidents drive well until their senses deteriorate to the point of nonfunctionality in every realm.

    Of course this would quickly expose the HBD component, so we can't empolicyfy it. Might have white guys driving well and without incident into their 80s or 90 or something.

  43. Wilkey says:

    My wife drives a a full-sized SUV because we have kids and need something that can tow a boat. My vehicle of choice used to be a car, and I always thought of myself as a car guy, but after the last one expired I realized it was silly to drive anything but a 4wd while living in the Mountain West. I replaced it with a crossover and have never looked back. I’m not going on long country drives to write an article about how much I’m driving. I love the cabin, I love the way it handles, and unless I’m filthy rich some day (or living in Florida) I can’t ever imagine going back to a car.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    Scott Adams says that humans make decisions based on emotion first and then rationalize their choices. They rationalize their choices so much that they don't even know it and would swear that they made a rational choice based on objective criteria. Wouldn't a minivan work for your wife and an all wheel drive sedan work for you? Why is it in Vietnam that women with kids don't need 2 1/2 ton SUVs and just put them on the back of their motor scooters? How did our moms get around without Range Rovers? What a coincidence that your choice of vehicles just happens to be fashionable right now. (I'm not picking on you personally - I'm just trying to make a point.)
  44. Hunsdon says:
    @anonguy
    "Anyway, this is just an excuse to bring up the name of Jack Baruth who is a really good car writer."

    That line wasn't in the version of the post I originally commented upon.

    You shouldn't be fishhooking commenters like me by putting up partially completed postings that seem pretty weird. It is grossly unfair and it isn't the first time this has happened.

    I suppose that is the risk of being the first commenter, you just toss something up and let us QA it for you. Crowdsourcing does work.

    Should our host perhaps post trigger warnings?

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  45. prosa123 says: • Website

    Car trivia: the typical Lamborghini is a sixth car, in other words the average owner has five other cars.

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  46. anon says: • Disclaimer

    (((Jack Baruth)))

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    • Replies: @SFG
    I was wondering how long it would take someone to bring that up given it's completely unrelated in this particular case. Unless Israel wants to start making cars?
  47. @MC
    This is my favorite Jack Baruth article:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/how-gm-could-save-the-cadillac-ats-from-its-otherwise-inevitable-fate-of-complete-marketplace-failure/

    A taste (from a list of answers to objections to putting a V-8 into the ATS):

    What about the CTS and XTS, which don’t offer a V-8? Doesn’t this destroy our brand hierarchy? It’s too late to worry about crap like that. It’s go time. The CTS can and should also get a standard V-8. Every existing XTS should be burned to the ground then dropped into the Marianas Trench. The people who designed and approved it should also be dropped into the Marianas Trench, as a warning to the others.

    It doesn’t fit. You sound like my high school girlfriend when you say that. Make it fit, the same way she did: with an engine hoist and a plasma torch.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    Again he confuses what HE wants wants with what the market wants. It's not 1979 anymore. Who CARES how many cylinders the motor has? In most cars, you can't even SEE the motor anymore - it's all covered up with a plastic cover. When something breaks a little light goes on in the dashboard and you take it to the dealer and he plugs it into his computer to find out what is wrong - it's a mystery black box. The V-8 in his dream Eldorado - it got all of 145hp out of 6 liters. They are getting 300+ hp out of V-6 and even turbo 4s. 300 hp is 300 hp whether it comes from 8 cylinders or 6 or 4 or none. People are driving Teslas that have ZERO cylinders but are crazy fast.

    I think it's like music - a lot of people are into whatever music was popular when they were kids and they stick with those artists for the rest of their life. The TAC guys are fixated on the kind of cars that were cool when they were kids and they keep measuring today's cars with that yardstick. The average car buyer today wasn't even BORN in 1979 and she doesn't give a damn what Cadillacs back then used to be like. What they were like, actually, was pretty crappy and most car buyers today (even Baruth himself, truth be told) wouldn't want to live with one for a week. He wants Cadillac to make some modernized version of the 1979 Eldorado that 3 people would buy (and Baruth himself probably isn't one of them - I don't get the feeling that TTAC pays all that well and most of their writers could never afford most of the cars that they are reviewing).
  48. dearieme says:

    I suspect my choice of vehicle may relate to my having first driven tractors. It always feels very confined if I can’t see over the vehicle in front.

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  49. Travis says:

    CAFE regulations killed the muscle cars, like the Olds Cutlass and Chevy Monte Carlo..the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards are one reason the Japanese automakers were able to steal market share from Detroit, which was not geared for making compact cars and were forced to put 4 cyl engines in the Mustang

    My first car was a 1971 Cutlass Convertible, bought in 1985 for $2,100 and sold it in 1993 for $7,500 (after I painted it and did some bodywork) but today it would go for $36,000. Gas was again cheap in 1985, so I did not mind getting just 12 miles per gallon but Detroit was no longer producing many large cars with 8 cyl engines after 1980…

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  50. @anonguy
    "Anyway, this is just an excuse to bring up the name of Jack Baruth who is a really good car writer."

    That line wasn't in the version of the post I originally commented upon.

    You shouldn't be fishhooking commenters like me by putting up partially completed postings that seem pretty weird. It is grossly unfair and it isn't the first time this has happened.

    I suppose that is the risk of being the first commenter, you just toss something up and let us QA it for you. Crowdsourcing does work.

    Fly, You Fools!

    Steve knows (duh) that Mexifornia is a failed state well beyond repair.

    Steve also knows that in Age of Trumpquarius,with a growing consumers confidence and increasing willingnes to buy domestic product, it’s right time to expand and diversify.:

    http://www.sailerfordinc.net/about/

    Yes, Sailer’s lot is on Sherman…Avenue.

    Why Ackley, Iowa ?

    Reason #1:

    Ackley is the birthplace of Art Reinhart a left-handed pitcher who played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1919 to 1928.

    Reason #2.:

    Ackley, Iowa – 2010 census:

    The racial makeup was 94.8% White,
    0.1% African American,
    0.1% Native American,
    4.0% from other races,
    and 1.0% from two or more races.
    Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.8% of the population.

    Ackley, Iowa- 2000 census:

    The racial makeup was 93.75% White,
    0.17% African American,
    0.28% Asian,
    0.06% Pacific Islander,
    4.48% from other races,
    and 1.27% from two or more races.
    Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.24% of the population

    Ah,I just love that smell of a fake news in the morning…

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  51. @anonguy
    "Anyway, this is just an excuse to bring up the name of Jack Baruth who is a really good car writer."

    That line wasn't in the version of the post I originally commented upon.

    You shouldn't be fishhooking commenters like me by putting up partially completed postings that seem pretty weird. It is grossly unfair and it isn't the first time this has happened.

    I suppose that is the risk of being the first commenter, you just toss something up and let us QA it for you. Crowdsourcing does work.

    Fly, You Fools!

    Steve knows (duh) that Mexifornia is a failed state well beyond repair.

    Steve also knows that in Age of Trumpquarius,with a growing consumers confidence and increasing willingnes to buy domestic product, it’s right time to expand and diversify.:

    http://www.sailerfordinc.net/about/

    Yes, Sailer’s lot is on Sherman…Avenue.

    Why Ackley, Iowa ?

    Reason #1:

    Ackley is the birthplace of Art Reinhart a left-handed pitcher who played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1919 to 1928.

    Reason #2.:

    Ackley, Iowa – 2010 census:

    The racial makeup was 94.8% White,
    0.1% African American,
    0.1% Native American,
    4.0% from other races,
    and 1.0% from two or more races.
    Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.8% of the population.

    Ackley, Iowa- 2000 census:

    The racial makeup was 93.75% White,
    0.17% African American,
    0.28% Asian,
    0.06% Pacific Islander,
    4.48% from other races,
    and 1.27% from two or more races.
    Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.24% of the population

    Ah,I just love that smell of a fake news in the morning…

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  52. carol says:

    The rear end of the new Rav4 and all the other small SUVs is hideous. I mean they start out well and then get to the back and sorta give up… at least the old but very useable spare tire on back gave it a little distinction.

    And the SUVs and crossovers, Edge, CRV, Escape, Rogue, ALL look the same now except for obligatory variations in the grille. Even Jeep and Subaru are tending that way now. Are they all being made at the same factory? Designed by the same people? Sheesh.

    I’ll keep my spunky 99 Rav4 thanks.

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  53. pyrrhus says:

    For the money, the Toyota RAV4 is the best and most versatile vehicle on the planet, no doubt about it. But here in Tucson, I see a lot of sleek convertibles and sports cars, usually in immaculate condition, including several Maseratis….so clearly there are a lot of automobile reviewers around here!

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Cars are easy to keep in mint condition in areas where they don't have to salt the roads in winter. My family moved from the north to the south when I was a kid and I was amazed at how old the cars suddenly became, and the fact that they didn't have any rust.
  54. I drive a Lexus. When it gets really old, I replace it with another Lexus. Apart from the rare flat tyre I never have any car-related issues.

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  55. Jack D says:
    @Wilkey
    My wife drives a a full-sized SUV because we have kids and need something that can tow a boat. My vehicle of choice used to be a car, and I always thought of myself as a car guy, but after the last one expired I realized it was silly to drive anything but a 4wd while living in the Mountain West. I replaced it with a crossover and have never looked back. I'm not going on long country drives to write an article about how much I'm driving. I love the cabin, I love the way it handles, and unless I'm filthy rich some day (or living in Florida) I can't ever imagine going back to a car.

    Scott Adams says that humans make decisions based on emotion first and then rationalize their choices. They rationalize their choices so much that they don’t even know it and would swear that they made a rational choice based on objective criteria. Wouldn’t a minivan work for your wife and an all wheel drive sedan work for you? Why is it in Vietnam that women with kids don’t need 2 1/2 ton SUVs and just put them on the back of their motor scooters? How did our moms get around without Range Rovers? What a coincidence that your choice of vehicles just happens to be fashionable right now. (I’m not picking on you personally – I’m just trying to make a point.)

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    • Replies: @Travis
    station wagons were popular in the 70s, but today no American auto-maker actually manufactures any station wagons and most of the foreign wagons are compact cars, not much different from a hatchback. Also regulations are different today...my parents had an 1976 Olds and they would often pack 5 kids in the backseat, my friends mom had a VW bug and once took 5 of us (average age was 11) to the Jersey shore (2 hour drive) ...today she would be arrested but in 1981 this was quite common. Not even sure if the car had seat belts, since we never once used them.
    , @anonguy

    Scott Adams says that humans make decisions based on emotion first and then rationalize their choices.
     
    Well, if Scott Adams said it, it must be so.
    , @Anonym
    Why is it in Vietnam that women with kids don’t need 2 1/2 ton SUVs and just put them on the back of their motor scooters?

    That works great while everyone else is riding around on motor scooters. When everyone has SUVs it's not a fighting chance any more to drive motor scooters, in general. Maybe mothers make decisions based on emotion, but preferring not to have your family wiped out is quite logical, if also an emotional decision.
  56. I owned a ’60 MGA, that I bought for myself, used, when I turned thirty. Worst electrical system ever. Two carburetors that you tuned by listening to them with a length of hose stuck in your ear and make up case size rear view mirrors waaaay out on the fenders so you could never adjust them. A convertible top that was easier to remove than to raise or lower and wooden floors. Did I mention that the side widows were nothing more than shower curtains that hung from the roof, zip in or zip out, no up and down. No exterior door handle, but a cable you reached through the side curtain to pull and release the latch. Car was so low that you could strike a match on the pavement because the door had a scooped profile. Your ass was about 8 inches off the pavement, so on a hot summer day you roasted your butt. I could bypass the faulty electrical system by starting in with a hand crank. Boy, I loved that car, still miss it.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    I had a friend who had an MGB that only ran when it was warm and dry. Any amount of cold and damp and the thing would refuse to start - I think moisture would short out the electricals so you would get no spark. Since England is mostly cold and damp all year I imagine they never ran back home.

    The English never really got the hang of electricity (or plumbing). Until recently at least, when you bought an electrical appliance in the UK, it came with a bare wire because there was no standard plug. The most common plug was the size of your fist because it had an internal fuse. You could only have pull strings in the bathroom because they thought it was too dangerous to directly touch a light switch in a wet location. I think they were happier when they had gas lamps. Since it was cold most of the time, having a gas lamp burning all the time is not so bad.

    You should get a Miata or the new Fiat that is really a Miata. The Miata is what the MG's would have been if the British actually knew how to make a reliable car. For maybe $8 or 9,ooo (which is like $300 in 1960 money) you can pick up a low mileage Miata and drive it in the summer and relive your youth a little.
    , @2Mintzin1
    Probably equipped with Lucas brand electrics, which were notoriously unreliable and would cut out at the worst possible times...for riders of 60's British motorcycles, Lucas was known as The Prince of Darkness.
    , @Paul Walker Most beautiful man ever...
    "Worst electrical system ever." Lucas - Prince Of Darkness.
  57. Jacobite says:
    @Jack D
    The Truth About Cars guys are (or profess to be) mystified at the popularity of compact SUVs. They are mystified that no one wants a manual transmission anymore. They are mystified that people prefer reliable Honda Civics to lively (but less reliable) Mazda 3's . They seem to be mystified by a lot of things which are perfectly understandable if you de-center and don't assume that the average car buyer wants the same things that you want. Most people just want to get where they need to be and don't want to be rowing away at a gear shift - they'd rather be texting with that hand.

    BTW, that V-8 Cutlass that they are mourning had less hp than a modern 4 cylinder and terrible space utilization - it was all hood for that giant V-8 with a cramped passenger compartment and 2 doors because GM was too cheap to give you 4. The reason the engine had no power is that the Big 3 refused to switch to fuel injection because carburetors were really really cheap. If it made it to 100k miles before it rusted through or blew the engine it was a miracle. The good old days - they were awful.

    This is only going to get worse - the current generation (for the most part) is not into cars at all. They prefer to live in some hipsterish place and take an Uber. Once the Uber is driverless they will prefer it even more. No one really cares about what brand of taxi is picking you up anymore than they care about what brand of elevator they are riding in or whether the plane they are on is an Airbus or a Boeing. Some folks at MIT just figured out that if you replaced all the taxis in NYC with shared (probably driverless) Uber type vehicles by connecting all ride requests to one dispatching system you could reduce the # of vehicles needed by 2/3 and speed up traffic tremendously.

    The TAC guys will be really sad when they take their driver's licenses away, not because they are old and decrepit (though they will be) but because it will no longer be considered safe to allow drunk, distractible, fallible humans to control 2 ton boxes of steel hurtling at 70mph. Not only will they not be allowed to manually shift, they won't be allowed to steer or brake either.

    Baruth writes:

    I know not all of them were V8-powered

    The Cutlass Supreme always had a V-8 until the POS 1973 models onwards,. My mom’s 1966 Holiday Sedan four-door hardtop (not at all cramped) was pretty darn fast if a little floaty handling when running above 100 mph.

    From Wiki:

    the standard Supreme engine was Oldsmobile’s 330 cu in (5.4 L) “Ultra High Compression” Jetfire Rocket V8 rated at 320 hp (239 kW) with a four-barrel carburetor. Transmission offerings included a standard three-speed manual with column shift, floor-mounted four-speed manual with Hurst shifter or a two-speed Jetaway automatic.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    He is talking about the period in the '70s when Cutlass was the #1 best selling car in America, not the period of your mom's Cutlass. The old HP numbers were somewhat inflated because they used to measure without the belt driven accessories attached (not even the water pump), but then once the EPA regs kicked in (right at the time when the Cutlass was the top seller) the HP went in the toilet and was less than 1/2 of your mom's Holiday Sedan. This lasted until Detroit reluctantly gave up on using $20 (GM cost) carburetors and put in fuel injection systems that could actually be controlled for emissions. In addition, after the '73 oil crisis they started putting Chevy 250 straight 6's in them. These cars were all hood with less useful space than you'd get in a Honda Civic today, so why they were big sellers at the time is a mystery to me, except that the competition was even worse.

    As you say, the '66 was great in a straight line on a smooth dry road (we had a '68 Delmont 88 that was a great highway cruiser) but that was about the best that could be said. They could get away with a 2 (yes 2) speed transmission in '66 because the V-8 had a flat torque curve and gas was 29 cents/gallon.
  58. OMG. Steve. You’re not COOL!!??

    The following will fix that. Pick one up cheap at CarMax. I did:

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  59. Travis says:
    @Jack D
    Scott Adams says that humans make decisions based on emotion first and then rationalize their choices. They rationalize their choices so much that they don't even know it and would swear that they made a rational choice based on objective criteria. Wouldn't a minivan work for your wife and an all wheel drive sedan work for you? Why is it in Vietnam that women with kids don't need 2 1/2 ton SUVs and just put them on the back of their motor scooters? How did our moms get around without Range Rovers? What a coincidence that your choice of vehicles just happens to be fashionable right now. (I'm not picking on you personally - I'm just trying to make a point.)

    station wagons were popular in the 70s, but today no American auto-maker actually manufactures any station wagons and most of the foreign wagons are compact cars, not much different from a hatchback. Also regulations are different today…my parents had an 1976 Olds and they would often pack 5 kids in the backseat, my friends mom had a VW bug and once took 5 of us (average age was 11) to the Jersey shore (2 hour drive) …today she would be arrested but in 1981 this was quite common. Not even sure if the car had seat belts, since we never once used them.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    What is the Prius-V if not a station wagon?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Prius_V
    , @Brother John
    Those body-on-frame wagons were all over the place until the early/mid 1980s. I personally drive one of the last of them, a '94 Caprice 350 wagon as my backup/stuff mover vehicle. I *like* that car.

    But the dirty little secret is, the minivan might have killed the big wagon, but it's been resurrected in the form of the SUV. Explorers, Suburbans, Tahoes, Rav4s, each and every one is used like a Ford LTD Country Squire c. 1972. They nearly never see off road use, the seat cushions are full of crushed Cheerios and snacks, and there's a child's car seat somewhere inside it. The heaviest use it sees is a trip to Florida, or somewhere, just like the Wagon Queen Family Truckster's trip to Walley World.

    But no one who drives one will admit it or understand it....
  60. Jack D says:
    @Desiderius
    A taste (from a list of answers to objections to putting a V-8 into the ATS):

    What about the CTS and XTS, which don’t offer a V-8? Doesn’t this destroy our brand hierarchy? It’s too late to worry about crap like that. It’s go time. The CTS can and should also get a standard V-8. Every existing XTS should be burned to the ground then dropped into the Marianas Trench. The people who designed and approved it should also be dropped into the Marianas Trench, as a warning to the others.

    It doesn’t fit. You sound like my high school girlfriend when you say that. Make it fit, the same way she did: with an engine hoist and a plasma torch.

    Again he confuses what HE wants wants with what the market wants. It’s not 1979 anymore. Who CARES how many cylinders the motor has? In most cars, you can’t even SEE the motor anymore – it’s all covered up with a plastic cover. When something breaks a little light goes on in the dashboard and you take it to the dealer and he plugs it into his computer to find out what is wrong – it’s a mystery black box. The V-8 in his dream Eldorado – it got all of 145hp out of 6 liters. They are getting 300+ hp out of V-6 and even turbo 4s. 300 hp is 300 hp whether it comes from 8 cylinders or 6 or 4 or none. People are driving Teslas that have ZERO cylinders but are crazy fast.

    I think it’s like music – a lot of people are into whatever music was popular when they were kids and they stick with those artists for the rest of their life. The TAC guys are fixated on the kind of cars that were cool when they were kids and they keep measuring today’s cars with that yardstick. The average car buyer today wasn’t even BORN in 1979 and she doesn’t give a damn what Cadillacs back then used to be like. What they were like, actually, was pretty crappy and most car buyers today (even Baruth himself, truth be told) wouldn’t want to live with one for a week. He wants Cadillac to make some modernized version of the 1979 Eldorado that 3 people would buy (and Baruth himself probably isn’t one of them – I don’t get the feeling that TTAC pays all that well and most of their writers could never afford most of the cars that they are reviewing).

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    • Replies: @snorlax
    IIRC Baruth is wealthy from a previous career and auto writing is a hobby. Although I may be confusing him with Doug DeMuro.
    , @Anon
    Whenever I sell a car that I've owned, I get a flood of calls from teenage boys who always start with the same question: Does it have a V-8 engine?

    I have to refrain from saying, 'If you think the Honda Civic/Volkswagon Rabbit that I mentioned in my ad is a V-8, you're too stupid to be buying cars, and what's more it's going to become a V-Zero if you do what I think you're planning to do with it, namely use it for drag-racing.'
  61. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Neoconned
    Steve Google "millenials hate cars" and read the doom and gloom car companies and gearhead mags are predicting.

    I'm broke and I can only speak for myself. I owe the govt almost 40k in loans and as I near 40 I'm beginning to stop caring about any status symbols.

    To me a little hatchback is just fine. To others it's emasculating.

    I hate cars, they're expensive and yt?the break down too much.

    To me mass transit is a better option.

    The only people with newer cars where I live are retirees and white girls with fourt or five men pumping thenmoney theu child support arrangements.

    I see people in newer cars but I'm baffled how they can afford them unlessthey're paying everything they Owen for it

    I see people in newer cars but I’m baffled how they can afford them unlessthey’re paying everything they Owen for it

    It’s the next housing bubble.

    The banks weren’t fixed or punished so they’re doing it again but with cars this time.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    "The banks weren’t fixed or punished so they’re doing it again but with cars this time."

    I've heard that subprime car loans are possibly the next bubble, along with school loans.

    Also, I think the banks are still doing it with houses - low down payment requirements, low interest rates, some kind of government assistance to purchase houses. People who shouldn't be buying houses are buying them. Where I live, 25-year-olds are buying 400K-500K houses, because the mortgage payments are not much higher than, or are equal to, rent. Sometimes a few people are going in together to buy a house or they're buying one with the expectation that they'll rent out a room, This doesn't sound like very fiscally sound policies.
  62. cthulhu says:
    @Dr. X

    Let’s call the first theory Lowered Expectations/Bigger Subcompacts. In this theory, Americans are short on money and optimism, so they’re making the move from the Camry to the Corolla. (The same holds true for the Accord, which is beaten in the sales charts by the Civic as often as it is not.) Surely this was why the Ford Escort took the top spot 35 years ago; a country drunk on long-hood expressions of personal-luxury power woke up the morning after the party and found a note from the President telling them to wear a sweater in the winter and choose a fuel-efficient car. …

    Those are the theories. Which is correct? Maybe it’s all of them. But I yearn for a world where none of them would have any power whatsoever. I think about what Americans were expressing when they made the mighty V8-powered Cutlass Supreme (yes, I know not all of them were V8-powered) the nation’s leading car. I thrill to think of a country that would make a two-ton four-seater its favorite whip. We had style back then.

    But in a world where the automobile is increasingly seen as a problem to be solved, rather than an escape to freedom, who wants style? When our heroes are teenaged girls, why wouldn’t we be satisfied with a nice, safe, mommy’s-basement car like the RAV4?
     
    This guy needs to get out into Trumpland and see what's really going on. People are still buying two-ton V-8s with style -- they're called trucks.

    I just did a bit of car-buying myself, and observed some interesting things. Ford is making a major pitch for "green"cars, hybrids, electrics, and improved fuel mileage. They've got plenty of compacts and subcompacts. Maybe they're selling them, but not around here. People are buying big, pimped out 4x4 trucks -- and paying stupid money for them, too. A cheap truck these days is thirty grand, and there's a lot of them in the $45-50,000 range. And they're selling.

    For densely populated coastal (read: liberal) areas, it's true that the ideal vehicle might be a Civic or Rav4 for making those trips from mommy's basement to the mall. In flyover country it's all trucks.

    For densely populated coastal (read: liberal) areas, it’s true that the ideal vehicle might be a Civic or Rav4 for making those trips from mommy’s basement to the mall. In flyover country it’s all trucks.

    Here in my part of coastal SoCal, the most popular vehicles are (in no particular order)
    Big pickups, usually tricked-out enough that you can be certain that they aren’t used for work;
    Small pickups of indeterminate age, used almost exclusively by Hispanic men in the 30-to-50 age range, clearly doing either gardening/lawn care or construction work;
    Large SUVs driven by soccer moms;
    Hybrids (Toyota Prius in particular) driven by either incipient cat ladies, or white collar men and women who want the carpool lane stickers (supposedly carpool lane stickers can increase the resale value of a car by up to $5k in LA);
    Everything else out in the long tail of the distribution – sedans of all ages; Mercedes and Cadillacs in regions where the average age is pushing 60+; quite a few Audis among the 30+ reasonably affluent professionals; BMWs for the dickhead drivers; etc. I see few new Camrys or Accords, but I don’t see many Rogues except among college-age women. And Tesla is pretty popular among a certain demographic.

    Me, I like my low end sports sedan; I can fit four people into it without too much difficulty, it is quiet, gets good gas mileage, handles well, and I was able to get it with a manual transmission. That’s a pretty good compromise for me.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Hybrids (Toyota Prius in particular) driven by either incipient cat ladies, or white collar men and women who want the carpool lane stickers (supposedly carpool lane stickers can increase the resale value of a car by up to $5k in LA);

    There are a reasonable number of Prius drivers who just like using a lot less gas than everyone else.

    But Steve's bang on with his analysis - car reviewers generally just like driving more than the rest of us. It's like they are permanently 18 years old males. As long as it's safe, cheap to run, does what you want it to, comfortable, who cares? It's not like you ever use the handling much on a modern road, as it's too risky to speed enough to where the handling becomes important.
  63. mp says:

    Jack has gotten better, I think. His early stuff was too heavy on the gonzo. That was OK for Hunter Thompson, but once Hunter died, the style should have been put to rest.

    BTW, I owned a canary yellow MG Midge. It was the most fun car I’ve owned (with the possible exception of a Jeep). It was also the most garbage car I’ve ever owned. Once I needed some parts for the primitive transmission–the British Leyland factory was on strike so you couldn’t get new. I wound up pulling something out of a junk yard, which was fine, considering. My next car was a Fiat 124 Spider. It was a big step up in quality from the MG. The fact that a Fiat was a step up in quality tells you how garbage the MG was. But the Midge drove like a go cart, and fit me like a glove. You’d have to be completely nuts to want one, today. I’d sure like mine back.

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  64. Jack D says:
    @Jacobite
    Baruth writes:

    I know not all of them were V8-powered
     
    The Cutlass Supreme always had a V-8 until the POS 1973 models onwards,. My mom's 1966 Holiday Sedan four-door hardtop (not at all cramped) was pretty darn fast if a little floaty handling when running above 100 mph.

    From Wiki:

    the standard Supreme engine was Oldsmobile's 330 cu in (5.4 L) "Ultra High Compression" Jetfire Rocket V8 rated at 320 hp (239 kW) with a four-barrel carburetor. Transmission offerings included a standard three-speed manual with column shift, floor-mounted four-speed manual with Hurst shifter or a two-speed Jetaway automatic.
     
    http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Olds-Cutlass-1966-supreme-4dr.jpg

    He is talking about the period in the ’70s when Cutlass was the #1 best selling car in America, not the period of your mom’s Cutlass. The old HP numbers were somewhat inflated because they used to measure without the belt driven accessories attached (not even the water pump), but then once the EPA regs kicked in (right at the time when the Cutlass was the top seller) the HP went in the toilet and was less than 1/2 of your mom’s Holiday Sedan. This lasted until Detroit reluctantly gave up on using $20 (GM cost) carburetors and put in fuel injection systems that could actually be controlled for emissions. In addition, after the ’73 oil crisis they started putting Chevy 250 straight 6′s in them. These cars were all hood with less useful space than you’d get in a Honda Civic today, so why they were big sellers at the time is a mystery to me, except that the competition was even worse.

    As you say, the ’66 was great in a straight line on a smooth dry road (we had a ’68 Delmont 88 that was a great highway cruiser) but that was about the best that could be said. They could get away with a 2 (yes 2) speed transmission in ’66 because the V-8 had a flat torque curve and gas was 29 cents/gallon.

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  65. Jacobite says:
    @cipher
    What purpose does a high performance vehicle serve in a driving environment packed to the gills with traffic congestion, poor and getting poorer driving habits and an over-reaching State that seeks to control, punish and extract sustenance - with the utmost technology-enabled efficiency - from those who possess the temerity to drive Their vehicles on Its roadways?

    I take my Sunday drives on Tuesday mornings after everybody else is in school or at work!

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  66. jb says:

    OT, but I just stumbled across the most amazing example of entitled black hypersensitivity, and its promotion by the mainstream media.

    ‘Learn your manners,’ a white man wrote to his black neighbor. This was the response.

    In brief, a black guy was shouting on the phone at 2AM, and the white guy in the apartment downstairs — who didn’t even know the noisemaker was black — left a mildly rude note on his door asking for more consideration in the future. The black guy, who proudly boasts “a Master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University,” not only wrote a response that has to be read to be believed (make sure you read the full response, not just the snippets), but he posted his response to Facebook, where apparently it went viral. Even worse, the Washington Post considered the story important enough to publish, and (naturally) sided with the black guy. I have to say that if I had written a “fake news” story with the hostile intent of making educated blacks look bad, I could not possibly have done a better job.

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    • Replies: @SIMPLE
    There's a reason why these reporters and creative culture types don't live to close to black people (especially when married with children). We are talking about some really slimy, cowardly liberal weasels.
  67. psmith says:
    @bomag
    I'd say today's muscle car is the large four door pickup truck.

    This is absolutely correct, though I might quibble about the cab configuration.

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  68. Jack D says:
    @Buffalo Joe
    I owned a '60 MGA, that I bought for myself, used, when I turned thirty. Worst electrical system ever. Two carburetors that you tuned by listening to them with a length of hose stuck in your ear and make up case size rear view mirrors waaaay out on the fenders so you could never adjust them. A convertible top that was easier to remove than to raise or lower and wooden floors. Did I mention that the side widows were nothing more than shower curtains that hung from the roof, zip in or zip out, no up and down. No exterior door handle, but a cable you reached through the side curtain to pull and release the latch. Car was so low that you could strike a match on the pavement because the door had a scooped profile. Your ass was about 8 inches off the pavement, so on a hot summer day you roasted your butt. I could bypass the faulty electrical system by starting in with a hand crank. Boy, I loved that car, still miss it.

    I had a friend who had an MGB that only ran when it was warm and dry. Any amount of cold and damp and the thing would refuse to start – I think moisture would short out the electricals so you would get no spark. Since England is mostly cold and damp all year I imagine they never ran back home.

    The English never really got the hang of electricity (or plumbing). Until recently at least, when you bought an electrical appliance in the UK, it came with a bare wire because there was no standard plug. The most common plug was the size of your fist because it had an internal fuse. You could only have pull strings in the bathroom because they thought it was too dangerous to directly touch a light switch in a wet location. I think they were happier when they had gas lamps. Since it was cold most of the time, having a gas lamp burning all the time is not so bad.

    You should get a Miata or the new Fiat that is really a Miata. The Miata is what the MG’s would have been if the British actually knew how to make a reliable car. For maybe $8 or 9,ooo (which is like $300 in 1960 money) you can pick up a low mileage Miata and drive it in the summer and relive your youth a little.

    Read More
    • Replies: @mp
    I had a friend who had an MGB that only ran when it was warm and dry. Any amount of cold and damp and the thing would refuse to start...

    Starting an MG was pretty trivial. Never count on the electrics to work. But you didn't need them. An MGA came with a crank that worked pretty well. Later models didn't have a crank, but were so lightweight that you could push them a few feet, then jump in and pop the clutch in second (couldn't use first since the transmission was not synchronized), and the engine would turn over. That's how I always did mine. The trunk (boot) was pretty small. It had enough room for a plastic milk jug full of water, which was necessary to keep on hand because it was always overheating, and spilling coolant.
    , @Crawfurdmuir
    "The English never really got the hang of electricity (or plumbing)."

    Ah, Lucas - Prince of Darkness! There must be enough Lucas jokes to fill a book.

    You know that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and Joseph Lucas invented the short circuit.

    Lucas introduced a 3-position switch. The positions were off, flicker, and smoulder.

    Lucas considered making a vacuum cleaner. It would have been the only product they offered that didn't suck.

    And on and on...

    I own a 35 year-old Morgan. It is a delightful car, fun to drive, with ample speed and acceleration for freeway driving, and agility for winding country roads. Mechanically it is simple and reliable. Its design is elegant. The only problems I have experienced with it in the dozen years I've owned it (I am its second owner) have been electrical. Maybe in another 5 years I will have replaced the wiring in its entirety, and then it will give no further trouble.

    , @5371
    Recently for you must be 1960.
    , @Jim Don Bob
    There are a lot of people around here who drive Range Rovers. God knows why. My boss ten years ago had one and the drive shaft fell out while he as on vacation; the car had < 70k on it.

    I had an MGB about 25 years ago. It was fun at first, but then became just a PITA.
    , @Lurker
    All true about British cars. Minis were notorious for getting damp in the distributor.

    It's still commonplace to have cord pulls for bathroom lights, it was a building regulation, possibly still is.

    True about the Miata, although copied from a Lotus rather than an MG

    But I must defend the fist sized UK plug. Those flimsy, crappy two pin affairs one sees in the US, Europe. Pah!

    , @Dan Hayes
    Jack D:

    Fiat = Fix It Again Tony!
    , @snorlax

    You should get a Miata or the new Fiat that is really a Miata.
     
    The Fiat is hideous (at least in pictures; haven't seen one IRL yet), and word is it's slower and gets way worse mileage than the Maz, combined with typical Fiat reliability.
    , @Anon
    It's easy to have modern plumbing and electricity when you build from scratch. Most of the US housing stock is less than 100 years old. It's much harder and and a heck of a lot more expensive to add these features in when the house is already built, or if it's 500-odd years old and you need a load of permits and approvals to do anything to it, or if the last guy to order any work done to your plumbing was a Roman Legionary.
  69. psmith says:
    @Jefferson
    From a pop culture standpoint 1970s cars are so cool.
    https://youtu.be/MrtQ5uIOcKY

    I’ve got four-eleven positrack out back. Seven-fifty double pumper. Edelbrock intake, bored over thirty, eleven to one pop up pistons. Turbo jet, three ninety horse power. We’re talking some fucking muscle.

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    • Replies: @Ivy
    You're speaking my language, an engine that will make a car leap tall intersections in a single bound.
  70. Muse says:

    BTW, that V-8 Cutlass that they are mourning had less hp than a modern 4 cylinder and terrible space utilization – it was all hood for that giant V-8 with a cramped passenger compartment and 2 doors because GM was too cheap to give you 4. The reason the engine had no power is that the Big 3 refused to switch to fuel injection because carburetors were really really cheap. If it made it to 100k miles before it rusted through or blew the engine it was a miracle. The good old days – they were awful.

    Yes, all true, but you have to make comparisons to cars available at the time. For its time, the Cutlass was a fantastic car. The Olds 8 cylinder Rocket Engine was a reliable and durable engine. Owners were able to drive the car almost alway to 120k miles without major repairs. Having a car last this long was uncommon at the time. This was not true of most other vehicles at the time. If you wanted a four door version, you bought a Delta 88 or a 98. These cars were mostly made in Lansing Michigan plants, which historically were some of GMs best.

    There were two issues that heralded the end of the design.

    1) In the late 1970s and early eighties, fuel shocks made running the cars to expensive. 2) While the rear wheel drivetrain was excellent, the bodies of the cars still rusted. In fact it was a rare car that did not have holes in the rocker panels and lower fenders after 2-3 years.

    Japanese manufacturers capitialized on these shortcoming by having smaller, more efficient cars. Additionally, the work of coatings researcher Yoshio Shindo and others at Nippon Steel developed patent corrosion resistant galvanized, electro galvanized and aluminized Steels. Honda in particular had car bodies that lasted far longer than any others and that were also lighter and thus far more fuel efficient because lighter gauge corrosion resistant metal could be used. There were other innovations such as transverse front wheel drive, unibody construction, McPherson struts, aluminum engines etc that made Japanese cars eclipse US models.
    The GM Olds Omega, Chevy Citation, Ford Escort and Chrysler K cars were made in response, but all of them were initially inferior to the Honda Accord.

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  71. @Anon7
    The truth about cars? Ok, but you won't like it. They cost about $25 per day to own, and most people use their car for about an hour per day. Vast resources are expended to conceal these facts from us.

    It costs about $9,000 per year in after-tax income for a reliable four seat vehicle. Sure, argue with me, but car execs (and the leaders of related industries like insurance, road construction, oil) know it's true. They (and their dads and granddads and great-grandads) have been playing this game for 100 years, my friend.

    We're now at a point where this is a lot of money for people under thirty (no real jobs) and people over sixty (no real jobs). One of two things will happen / are happening:

    1) Autonomous car tech doesn't really quite work; level 4 and 5 can't really be achieved. Vast advertising resources will be spent to assure us that smaller/underpowered/cheesier material cars that are the best we can really afford (that auto execs can make the profits they need with) are exactly what we want - hey, pretty screen teen girls who save the world like them! Rogue One, in theaters near you! You thought that a naive rural boy named Luke, riding in a hot two-seater landspeeder he could fix himself, was cool?* Actually, it was a smart, strong, cute young leader girl who saved the galaxy. Go Nissan, go Rogue! In theaters near you. Oh, and black people were the actual founders of America, and black women were the secret of the American space program, and it was Jackie Kennedy who was the important one, not JFK. It's all in theaters near you.

    Or

    2) Autonomous car technology really works, in which case by 2030 no one who lives in a big city or even a 2,500 person town will own a private vehicle. Again, you can argue with me, but auto engineers know the truth - fleets of autonomous cars can meet our transportation needs for about $2.50 per day (this is Ford's stated autonomous car strategy - and they're the smartest American car company). Americans will not have the money for private cars, period. And I'll tell you that once you get used to it, you'll admit that owning a car was mostly an expensive pain in the ass you can finally do without.

    * This is the missing hook for your article, Steve. Rural boys used basic car tech to multiply their independence times ten (my Depression-era dad owned his first car at age 12, road trips were an adventure! Carry your own tools, go with a gang of friends, help people you see stuck - and meet girls, who wanted to go for rides, but couldn't master the technology.) In the future, girls will slide a piece of glass from their yoga pants, gesture daintily, and a robot car will take them and their friends wherever, for cheap. Who needs boys?

    WELCOME TO THE GYNOKRATIE

    “We are all bug people now.”

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  72. Boomstick says:
    @2Mintzin1
    Completely off-topic, but fun: in the news, Hillary Clinton is pressuring herself to run for Mayor of NYC.
    Bill DeBlasio and his posse are under investigation for possible crimes...the investigators are people of his own party, so it is safe to say that the Dems want him out because of his poor performance in office (probably including failures to give patronage jobs to the right people)...as the musicians say, DeBlasio has "stunk up the room" and needs to get gone. The criminal investigation is probably intended as a gentle nudge towards the exit.

    Enter Hillary? As Mayor, Hill could keep some cash flowing to the Clinton Foundation. I am sure she would be elected by a huge margin. The minor point of residency could be easily solved. Remember, Hillary has always been a Yankees fan, a fact she first realized when she ran for the Senate for NY.

    The really interesting part of this is how she would interact with Cuomo II.
    He does not like rivals.

    Donald Trump Jr should enter the race for mayor if she does.

    A regular columnist at the NYT is openly advocating using the power of the city government to harass political opponents, and the comments section is cheering him on. Apparently the editors approve of this sort of thing.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/opinion/sunday/rumors-of-hillary-clintons-comeback.html

    Hillary Clinton as New York City mayor?

    Imagine the fun:

    City building inspectors start to show up daily at Trump Tower, where they find a wobbly beam here, a missing smoke detector there, outdated wiring all over the place. City health inspectors fan out through Trump’s hotels, writing citations for clogged drains in the kitchens and expired milk in the minibars.

    The potholes near his properties go unfilled. Those neighborhoods are the last to be plowed. There’s a problem with the flow of water to his Bronx golf course, whose greens are suddenly brown. And the Russian Consulate keeps experiencing power failures. It’s the darnedest thing. Clinton vows to look into it, just as soon as she returns from the Hamptons.

    The city’s Mexican Day Parade would be rerouted, from Madison Avenue over to Fifth, right past Trump Tower. A new city zoning experiment would locate detention centers in the strangest places. And in the city’s libraries, “The Art of the Deal” would be impossible to find, while upfront, on vivid display, there’d be copies galore of “It Takes a Village” and “Hard Choices.”

    Note the racism inherent in assuming that the Mexican Day Parade would attract undesirables.

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    • Replies: @5371
    It doesn't seem to have occurred to this person that USG has buildings in Moscow itself, to which unpleasant things can also happen.
    , @res

    Apparently the editors approve of this sort of thing.
     
    In one direction only. Try doing it in the opposite direction and watch the outrage. They really have abandoned any pretense of consistent enforcement of the law.

    Who, Whom? strikes again.
  73. psmith says:
    @Vinay
    "Personally, the Toyota RAV4 seems fine to me."

    The entire genre of interpreting consumer choices as an indicator of cultural malaise is deeply silly. Mostly people choose differently over time because their circumstances are different or the consumer good no longer plays the same role. Not because people's values have changed.

    Yes. When we observe that hunting, golfing, V8 engines, motocross, land ownership, and flying on the Concorde are out and digging in the dirt with a stick is in, the issue is not cultural malaise but economic and technological malaise. (Though social technology is a kind of technology.). At any rate, malaise of some kind–not “innovative less-materialistic values”, contra, for instance, Scott Sumner–is what we’re dealing with.

    To be clear, this is actually and unironically what I believe.

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  74. 2Mintzin1 says:
    @Buffalo Joe
    I owned a '60 MGA, that I bought for myself, used, when I turned thirty. Worst electrical system ever. Two carburetors that you tuned by listening to them with a length of hose stuck in your ear and make up case size rear view mirrors waaaay out on the fenders so you could never adjust them. A convertible top that was easier to remove than to raise or lower and wooden floors. Did I mention that the side widows were nothing more than shower curtains that hung from the roof, zip in or zip out, no up and down. No exterior door handle, but a cable you reached through the side curtain to pull and release the latch. Car was so low that you could strike a match on the pavement because the door had a scooped profile. Your ass was about 8 inches off the pavement, so on a hot summer day you roasted your butt. I could bypass the faulty electrical system by starting in with a hand crank. Boy, I loved that car, still miss it.

    Probably equipped with Lucas brand electrics, which were notoriously unreliable and would cut out at the worst possible times…for riders of 60′s British motorcycles, Lucas was known as The Prince of Darkness.

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  75. mp says:
    @Jack D
    I had a friend who had an MGB that only ran when it was warm and dry. Any amount of cold and damp and the thing would refuse to start - I think moisture would short out the electricals so you would get no spark. Since England is mostly cold and damp all year I imagine they never ran back home.

    The English never really got the hang of electricity (or plumbing). Until recently at least, when you bought an electrical appliance in the UK, it came with a bare wire because there was no standard plug. The most common plug was the size of your fist because it had an internal fuse. You could only have pull strings in the bathroom because they thought it was too dangerous to directly touch a light switch in a wet location. I think they were happier when they had gas lamps. Since it was cold most of the time, having a gas lamp burning all the time is not so bad.

    You should get a Miata or the new Fiat that is really a Miata. The Miata is what the MG's would have been if the British actually knew how to make a reliable car. For maybe $8 or 9,ooo (which is like $300 in 1960 money) you can pick up a low mileage Miata and drive it in the summer and relive your youth a little.

    I had a friend who had an MGB that only ran when it was warm and dry. Any amount of cold and damp and the thing would refuse to start…

    Starting an MG was pretty trivial. Never count on the electrics to work. But you didn’t need them. An MGA came with a crank that worked pretty well. Later models didn’t have a crank, but were so lightweight that you could push them a few feet, then jump in and pop the clutch in second (couldn’t use first since the transmission was not synchronized), and the engine would turn over. That’s how I always did mine. The trunk (boot) was pretty small. It had enough room for a plastic milk jug full of water, which was necessary to keep on hand because it was always overheating, and spilling coolant.

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  76. snorlax says:
    @Jack D
    Again he confuses what HE wants wants with what the market wants. It's not 1979 anymore. Who CARES how many cylinders the motor has? In most cars, you can't even SEE the motor anymore - it's all covered up with a plastic cover. When something breaks a little light goes on in the dashboard and you take it to the dealer and he plugs it into his computer to find out what is wrong - it's a mystery black box. The V-8 in his dream Eldorado - it got all of 145hp out of 6 liters. They are getting 300+ hp out of V-6 and even turbo 4s. 300 hp is 300 hp whether it comes from 8 cylinders or 6 or 4 or none. People are driving Teslas that have ZERO cylinders but are crazy fast.

    I think it's like music - a lot of people are into whatever music was popular when they were kids and they stick with those artists for the rest of their life. The TAC guys are fixated on the kind of cars that were cool when they were kids and they keep measuring today's cars with that yardstick. The average car buyer today wasn't even BORN in 1979 and she doesn't give a damn what Cadillacs back then used to be like. What they were like, actually, was pretty crappy and most car buyers today (even Baruth himself, truth be told) wouldn't want to live with one for a week. He wants Cadillac to make some modernized version of the 1979 Eldorado that 3 people would buy (and Baruth himself probably isn't one of them - I don't get the feeling that TTAC pays all that well and most of their writers could never afford most of the cars that they are reviewing).

    IIRC Baruth is wealthy from a previous career and auto writing is a hobby. Although I may be confusing him with Doug DeMuro.

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    • Replies: @Lot

    IIRC Baruth is wealthy from a previous career and auto writing is a hobby.
     
    I remember it was inherited. I stopped reading the site when they got too political and spent half their time attacking GM.
  77. @Jack D
    I had a friend who had an MGB that only ran when it was warm and dry. Any amount of cold and damp and the thing would refuse to start - I think moisture would short out the electricals so you would get no spark. Since England is mostly cold and damp all year I imagine they never ran back home.

    The English never really got the hang of electricity (or plumbing). Until recently at least, when you bought an electrical appliance in the UK, it came with a bare wire because there was no standard plug. The most common plug was the size of your fist because it had an internal fuse. You could only have pull strings in the bathroom because they thought it was too dangerous to directly touch a light switch in a wet location. I think they were happier when they had gas lamps. Since it was cold most of the time, having a gas lamp burning all the time is not so bad.

    You should get a Miata or the new Fiat that is really a Miata. The Miata is what the MG's would have been if the British actually knew how to make a reliable car. For maybe $8 or 9,ooo (which is like $300 in 1960 money) you can pick up a low mileage Miata and drive it in the summer and relive your youth a little.

    “The English never really got the hang of electricity (or plumbing).”

    Ah, Lucas – Prince of Darkness! There must be enough Lucas jokes to fill a book.

    You know that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and Joseph Lucas invented the short circuit.

    Lucas introduced a 3-position switch. The positions were off, flicker, and smoulder.

    Lucas considered making a vacuum cleaner. It would have been the only product they offered that didn’t suck.

    And on and on…

    I own a 35 year-old Morgan. It is a delightful car, fun to drive, with ample speed and acceleration for freeway driving, and agility for winding country roads. Mechanically it is simple and reliable. Its design is elegant. The only problems I have experienced with it in the dozen years I’ve owned it (I am its second owner) have been electrical. Maybe in another 5 years I will have replaced the wiring in its entirety, and then it will give no further trouble.

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    • LOL: Ivy
    • Replies: @cthulhu
    Q: why do the British drink warm beer?
    A: because they have Lucas refrigerators.
    , @Buffalo Joe
    Craw, The Lucas jokes are very funny. I always carried a spare battery in the trunk, as the generator rarely replenished the main battery. Dim lights that glowed brighter as you accelerated. Pretty car though.
  78. 5371 says:
    @Jack D
    I had a friend who had an MGB that only ran when it was warm and dry. Any amount of cold and damp and the thing would refuse to start - I think moisture would short out the electricals so you would get no spark. Since England is mostly cold and damp all year I imagine they never ran back home.

    The English never really got the hang of electricity (or plumbing). Until recently at least, when you bought an electrical appliance in the UK, it came with a bare wire because there was no standard plug. The most common plug was the size of your fist because it had an internal fuse. You could only have pull strings in the bathroom because they thought it was too dangerous to directly touch a light switch in a wet location. I think they were happier when they had gas lamps. Since it was cold most of the time, having a gas lamp burning all the time is not so bad.

    You should get a Miata or the new Fiat that is really a Miata. The Miata is what the MG's would have been if the British actually knew how to make a reliable car. For maybe $8 or 9,ooo (which is like $300 in 1960 money) you can pick up a low mileage Miata and drive it in the summer and relive your youth a little.

    Recently for you must be 1960.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    Actually the requirement that appliances come with plugs in the UK went into effect in 1994. I think in the US the 2 bladed plug has been standard since at least the '20s.
  79. To me a little hatchback is just fine. To others it’s emasculating.

    I hate cars, they’re expensive and yt?the break down too much.

    To me mass transit is a better option.

    You have have just described a beta male. Is that you?

    Cars suck. There are whole layers of needless technology making them unaffordable to purchase, unaffordable to repair, and unaffordable to insure

    Another loser. Voices old-school Democrat money complaints.

    This is only going to get worse – the current generation (for the most part) is not into cars at all. They prefer to live in some hipsterish place and take an Uber.

    This one’s a Democrat of the newer Cultural Marxist, fuggeddaboud da workin’ class, set.

    Hey pal, not all of the current generation are Democrats with Democrat tastes, get it?

    This lasted until Detroit reluctantly gave up on using $20 (GM cost) carburetors and put in fuel injection systems that could actually be controlled for emissions.

    Fuel injection was not y-u-u-g-ge–ly better than carburation for mass market autos until microprocessors became available for fuel/air mixture control.

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    • Replies: @Brother John
    Cars suck. There are whole layers of needless technology making them unaffordable to purchase, unaffordable to repair, and unaffordable to insure.

    You gotta admit, here, he's got a point, beta or not. The insurance mafia and the tree-huggers destroyed the muscle-car generation and gave us screaming chickens on the hoods of Firebirds post-1972.

    As for needless technology, he's got a point there, too: I had an '86 Honda Accord that had a quarter million on it and still averaged in the high 30s in gas mileage; it, and its contemporaries both foreign and domestic, were simple cars that were basic transport. Now, to achieve anything like that kind of mileage with the acres of mandated crap, emissions nonsense, batteries, the fact that no one can custom order any more, means that all sorts of technology has been thrown like good money after bad to achieve what Honda did decades ago.
  80. 5371 says:
    @Boomstick
    Donald Trump Jr should enter the race for mayor if she does.

    A regular columnist at the NYT is openly advocating using the power of the city government to harass political opponents, and the comments section is cheering him on. Apparently the editors approve of this sort of thing.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/opinion/sunday/rumors-of-hillary-clintons-comeback.html

    Hillary Clinton as New York City mayor?

    Imagine the fun:

    City building inspectors start to show up daily at Trump Tower, where they find a wobbly beam here, a missing smoke detector there, outdated wiring all over the place. City health inspectors fan out through Trump’s hotels, writing citations for clogged drains in the kitchens and expired milk in the minibars.

    The potholes near his properties go unfilled. Those neighborhoods are the last to be plowed. There’s a problem with the flow of water to his Bronx golf course, whose greens are suddenly brown. And the Russian Consulate keeps experiencing power failures. It’s the darnedest thing. Clinton vows to look into it, just as soon as she returns from the Hamptons.
    ...
    The city’s Mexican Day Parade would be rerouted, from Madison Avenue over to Fifth, right past Trump Tower. A new city zoning experiment would locate detention centers in the strangest places. And in the city’s libraries, “The Art of the Deal” would be impossible to find, while upfront, on vivid display, there’d be copies galore of “It Takes a Village” and “Hard Choices.”

     

    Note the racism inherent in assuming that the Mexican Day Parade would attract undesirables.

    It doesn’t seem to have occurred to this person that USG has buildings in Moscow itself, to which unpleasant things can also happen.

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  81. Russell says:
    @Anon7
    The truth about cars? Ok, but you won't like it. They cost about $25 per day to own, and most people use their car for about an hour per day. Vast resources are expended to conceal these facts from us.

    It costs about $9,000 per year in after-tax income for a reliable four seat vehicle. Sure, argue with me, but car execs (and the leaders of related industries like insurance, road construction, oil) know it's true. They (and their dads and granddads and great-grandads) have been playing this game for 100 years, my friend.

    We're now at a point where this is a lot of money for people under thirty (no real jobs) and people over sixty (no real jobs). One of two things will happen / are happening:

    1) Autonomous car tech doesn't really quite work; level 4 and 5 can't really be achieved. Vast advertising resources will be spent to assure us that smaller/underpowered/cheesier material cars that are the best we can really afford (that auto execs can make the profits they need with) are exactly what we want - hey, pretty screen teen girls who save the world like them! Rogue One, in theaters near you! You thought that a naive rural boy named Luke, riding in a hot two-seater landspeeder he could fix himself, was cool?* Actually, it was a smart, strong, cute young leader girl who saved the galaxy. Go Nissan, go Rogue! In theaters near you. Oh, and black people were the actual founders of America, and black women were the secret of the American space program, and it was Jackie Kennedy who was the important one, not JFK. It's all in theaters near you.

    Or

    2) Autonomous car technology really works, in which case by 2030 no one who lives in a big city or even a 2,500 person town will own a private vehicle. Again, you can argue with me, but auto engineers know the truth - fleets of autonomous cars can meet our transportation needs for about $2.50 per day (this is Ford's stated autonomous car strategy - and they're the smartest American car company). Americans will not have the money for private cars, period. And I'll tell you that once you get used to it, you'll admit that owning a car was mostly an expensive pain in the ass you can finally do without.

    * This is the missing hook for your article, Steve. Rural boys used basic car tech to multiply their independence times ten (my Depression-era dad owned his first car at age 12, road trips were an adventure! Carry your own tools, go with a gang of friends, help people you see stuck - and meet girls, who wanted to go for rides, but couldn't master the technology.) In the future, girls will slide a piece of glass from their yoga pants, gesture daintily, and a robot car will take them and their friends wherever, for cheap. Who needs boys?

    I think option 2 is likely based on the progress Google have made with their program, and the fact that everyone in the car industry and plenty in IT both software and hardware and many others have taken note and jumped in boots and all.
    Transport as a service is coming and it’s coming fast.
    The cars themselves will change enormously as a result. The end result will be a low performance, very low weight, relatively short range electric vehicle.
    Of what use are 200 horses in a robotaxi? If crash rates go down to near zero of what use is all the heavy crash protection?
    The other thing that will change enormously is the load factor (currently a pitiful 1.3 people per vehicle). Once enough people start using Uber or equivalents in ride sharing matches will be easier to find. Increasing load factor could see the end of congestion.
    Our cities are also going to change enormously as a consequence.
    Goodbye parking buildings, goodbye vehicle smog.
    If it’s done properly I’m not going to miss driving eve one little bit.

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    • Replies: @anonguy
    Yeah, no one misses having stables in their back yards and people forever getting thrown or knocked off horses, etc.

    I figure it is the endgame for driving one's vehicle so I'm riding this out in style with a 2016 370z Nismo and a supercharged 2015 Tacoma.

    Note to Steve and weenie Rav4 and w/apologies to Crocodile Dundee: That's not a car, this is a car.

    Making sure I'm taking lots of pics/vids roaring about in both for my great-great grandchildren to marvel over.
    , @Anon7
    Before the autonomous car news hit some years ago, I attended a conference on the topic. After hearing information similar to your comments, a young woman in the audience asked "But what about the pleasure of driving? What about the joy of the open road?" Her comment was a good one, but everyone over forty laughed. If you've ever spent a decade doing a one hour commute both ways, or driving the kids to sports, stores, etc. you have totally had it with driving.
  82. J1234 says:

    As I recall, it was the mediocre “Colonnade” body style of Cutlass that set the sales records, not the pretty pre-Colonnade “hardtop” versions (the 442 in the pic is a hardtop.) GM offered the beautiful hardtop body style on various cars from ’49 to ’72. For this reason, some custom auto shows of 25 to 30 years ago wouldn’t allow vehicles made after ’72 to enter.

    I believe the ’73 and later Colonnade Cutlass outsold other cars (in part) not because it was pretty, but because it wasn’t as homely as other cars of the era. When I was in high school in the mid-70′s NOBODY wanted a brand new car. The mandated 5 mph bumpers were considered hideous. I think the earlier hardtops may have been considered less safe in a rollover than Colonades – which all GM brands had switched over to – so safety was perceived as being reason for the change in body styling. They even discontinued convertibles in the ’70′s for a while.

    And then there was the dramatic reduction of horsepower in ’73 and ’74. I remember a guy I worked with bought a brand new ’75 Corvette with an insurance windfall, and all of us guys were like “yawn” – our reaction would’ve been totally different had he bought his car 4 or 5 years earlier. Some makes did continue attractive body styles past ’72 – the Dodge Challenger and the 2nd generation Ford Mustang – but most didn’t. The top selling Cutlass didn’t exemplify the apex of the model, IMO.

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    • Replies: @anonguy

    When I was in high school in the mid-70′s NOBODY wanted a brand new car.
     
    I was going to say the same thing. Between first oil shock, safety and emissions standards, and malaise driven crappy design/workmanship, 70's cars sucked.

    It was the sixties ones that rocked and maybe into early 70's. Some of the seventies ones had the similar bodies/lines, but they were potemkin villages.

    Everyone thought it was impossible to ever have a fast car again because of emissions and fuel mileage issues. Not without reason, since they couldn't even make a reliable car clock. Convertibles were thought to have been mandated out of existence, it was this weird urban myth, but nobody made any convertibles at all for years and years.

    I remember many times in the 80s being delighted that the auto industry was starting to make stylish, powerful, and more reliable cars, being delighted at the reintroduction of convertibles, etc.

    Cars sucked in the 70s, period.

  83. Alfa158 says:
    @FPD72
    I was always a fan of Brock Yates, founder of the Cannonball Baker race across America. I would buy a Car and Driver just to read his column. He just passed away in October of last year. RIP

    One of his greatest contributions was the book” The Gross-Pointe Myopians” that he wrote in the 60′s. He diagnosed the inherent weaknesses of the US car industry that eventually led to its fall from market dominance. Unfortunately the book was too good a piece of prophecy, and was published at a time when the Detroit auto industry was at its absolute peak of wealth and sales. The industry leaders scoffed at the idea that such a powerful empire could ever falter and ignored his jeremiad.

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  84. Thus, Mazda gets great reviews even though they tend to be too loud inside to carry on a conversation because car writers find conversations a tedious distraction from communing with the car.

    That’s very much an American preference. The Euros prefer fine-tuned engineering for their super cars and pseudo-super cars. The lads on Top Gear commonly complain about loud interiors on American cars.

    You should write more about car culture, Steve.

    So Cal millennial whites don’t seem to care about cars, though their fathers and grandfathers did. My dad used to drive out to Palmdale in his Roadrunner to play chicken on the two-lane roads. A friend of his died doing same. Maybe the traffic wasn’t so bad back then.

    On the other hand, out in the Inland Empire, there is a relatively big rice-rocket street racing scene among the East and Southeast Asians. These guys put more money into their Civics and Accords than the car ever cost. There are—or were—lots of long sparsely traveled roads in the IE, particularly in the industrial areas. As the IE grows and those roads become congested, I’m not sure if this culture will survive.

    IE whites love their raised trucks. I have no idea where these bubbas get the money to pay for it, though. My South LA family seem to be more enamored of bikes.

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    • Replies: @cthulhu


    My dad used to drive out to Palmdale in his Roadrunner to play chicken on the two-lane roads. A friend of his died doing same. Maybe the traffic wasn’t so bad back then.

     

    I've spent some time in the Antelope Valley in the last 20 years. The two-lane roads out north of Lake Los Angeles and south of EAFB are still somewhat usable as leadfoot alleys. But Hwy 138 is still a death trap, although parts of it have been improved.

    My favorite thing to do coming back from the AV, especially late at night, was to crest the pass on the 138 going east toward I-15, then put the car in neutral and try to coast all the way down the mountain to the 15 without putting the car back in gear and touching the throttle. You had to be willing to build up some serious speed on the steeper sections to make it through the flat sections down by the Mormon Rocks. I managed it twice out of probably 30 trips; usually traffic got in the way. But very cool (if pointless) to make it all the way down.
    , @Olorin
    The "loudness" of Mazdas is overstated.

    I can listen to ambient Brian Eno at highway speeds in a manual CX-5--basically a sitting-higher-up Mazda 3, every bit as fun to drive, great mileage (37-39 mixed, closer to 32 in the city).

    Highway speed in Pugetopolis ranges from 0 to about 75. Conditions are louder in the pishing down rain, but there's information in that, including what the wheels are doing, especially in crosswinds and downslope areas prone to freezing above 32 F.

    I like hearing an engine. When turning around on a narrow icy no-shoulder/no-guardrail mountain logging road to avoid last week's washout, listening to what your torque and treads are doing at all times is essential.
  85. @Jack D
    I had a friend who had an MGB that only ran when it was warm and dry. Any amount of cold and damp and the thing would refuse to start - I think moisture would short out the electricals so you would get no spark. Since England is mostly cold and damp all year I imagine they never ran back home.

    The English never really got the hang of electricity (or plumbing). Until recently at least, when you bought an electrical appliance in the UK, it came with a bare wire because there was no standard plug. The most common plug was the size of your fist because it had an internal fuse. You could only have pull strings in the bathroom because they thought it was too dangerous to directly touch a light switch in a wet location. I think they were happier when they had gas lamps. Since it was cold most of the time, having a gas lamp burning all the time is not so bad.

    You should get a Miata or the new Fiat that is really a Miata. The Miata is what the MG's would have been if the British actually knew how to make a reliable car. For maybe $8 or 9,ooo (which is like $300 in 1960 money) you can pick up a low mileage Miata and drive it in the summer and relive your youth a little.

    There are a lot of people around here who drive Range Rovers. God knows why. My boss ten years ago had one and the drive shaft fell out while he as on vacation; the car had < 70k on it.

    I had an MGB about 25 years ago. It was fun at first, but then became just a PITA.

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  86. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    It’s even worse in Europe, where our CUVs and subcompacts in the US are considered on the larger side and Fiat 500 sized cars are the norm, although there really wasn’t a tradition of owning big V8s in Europe to begin with.

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  87. scrivener3 says: • Website

    One thing about giant SUV’s (and probably about huge pickup tucks), people make room for you. When I merge into packed traffic space magically appears. Sometimes I put the turn signal on and drift into the exit lane and the sedans part.

    Reminds me of a TV show that demonstrated things like (i) a big 6 ft 250 lb man picked up a beer the subject finally got from the bartender and drank it before his eyes without protest, (ii) a guy painted a box on the ground of a subway tunnel and squeaked at people walking by “stay out of my box” and everyone ignored him but when he lowered pitch to an authoritative deep bass everyone walked around the painted box. Maybe at an emotional level we defer to giant cars that could smash ours with little damage to themselves.

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  88. Lurker says:
    @Jack D
    I had a friend who had an MGB that only ran when it was warm and dry. Any amount of cold and damp and the thing would refuse to start - I think moisture would short out the electricals so you would get no spark. Since England is mostly cold and damp all year I imagine they never ran back home.

    The English never really got the hang of electricity (or plumbing). Until recently at least, when you bought an electrical appliance in the UK, it came with a bare wire because there was no standard plug. The most common plug was the size of your fist because it had an internal fuse. You could only have pull strings in the bathroom because they thought it was too dangerous to directly touch a light switch in a wet location. I think they were happier when they had gas lamps. Since it was cold most of the time, having a gas lamp burning all the time is not so bad.

    You should get a Miata or the new Fiat that is really a Miata. The Miata is what the MG's would have been if the British actually knew how to make a reliable car. For maybe $8 or 9,ooo (which is like $300 in 1960 money) you can pick up a low mileage Miata and drive it in the summer and relive your youth a little.

    All true about British cars. Minis were notorious for getting damp in the distributor.

    It’s still commonplace to have cord pulls for bathroom lights, it was a building regulation, possibly still is.

    True about the Miata, although copied from a Lotus rather than an MG

    But I must defend the fist sized UK plug. Those flimsy, crappy two pin affairs one sees in the US, Europe. Pah!

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  89. Dan Hayes says:
    @Jack D
    I had a friend who had an MGB that only ran when it was warm and dry. Any amount of cold and damp and the thing would refuse to start - I think moisture would short out the electricals so you would get no spark. Since England is mostly cold and damp all year I imagine they never ran back home.

    The English never really got the hang of electricity (or plumbing). Until recently at least, when you bought an electrical appliance in the UK, it came with a bare wire because there was no standard plug. The most common plug was the size of your fist because it had an internal fuse. You could only have pull strings in the bathroom because they thought it was too dangerous to directly touch a light switch in a wet location. I think they were happier when they had gas lamps. Since it was cold most of the time, having a gas lamp burning all the time is not so bad.

    You should get a Miata or the new Fiat that is really a Miata. The Miata is what the MG's would have been if the British actually knew how to make a reliable car. For maybe $8 or 9,ooo (which is like $300 in 1960 money) you can pick up a low mileage Miata and drive it in the summer and relive your youth a little.

    Jack D:

    Fiat = Fix It Again Tony!

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  90. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “Personally, the Toyota RAV4 seems fine to me.”

    Generally speaking, I love Honda CR-Vs, and I’ve always thought that Camrys were a little boring.

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  91. Lot says:
    @snorlax
    IIRC Baruth is wealthy from a previous career and auto writing is a hobby. Although I may be confusing him with Doug DeMuro.

    IIRC Baruth is wealthy from a previous career and auto writing is a hobby.

    I remember it was inherited. I stopped reading the site when they got too political and spent half their time attacking GM.

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  92. Hardinge says:

    I drive a Camry. Their attraction is that you can pick up a good, low mileage example for half the cost of a worn out pickup and they rarely need repairs. The people who choose a Corolla over a Camry are sacrificing a lot of room and comfort for a couple of MPG. My Camry gets in excess of 30 mpg at highway speeds and is just cruising casually at 75 mph–about 2200 rpm.

    I strongly suspect that my Camry will outlive me by at least 100,000 miles and still be capable of going cross country on a moment’s notice with nothing but regular maintenance.

    It’s one of the best cars ever conceived–a poor man’s Lexus.

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    • Replies: @Desiderius
    I'm still driving my '08 Optima I got with 21k miles in '09 for $8900*. Going strong at 110k miles with minimal repairs.

    * - uncle is a Kia dealer, so retail might have been $12-13k. Still a reasonable buy. The wife wants my next to be a pickup.
  93. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Dr. X

    Let’s call the first theory Lowered Expectations/Bigger Subcompacts. In this theory, Americans are short on money and optimism, so they’re making the move from the Camry to the Corolla. (The same holds true for the Accord, which is beaten in the sales charts by the Civic as often as it is not.) Surely this was why the Ford Escort took the top spot 35 years ago; a country drunk on long-hood expressions of personal-luxury power woke up the morning after the party and found a note from the President telling them to wear a sweater in the winter and choose a fuel-efficient car. …

    Those are the theories. Which is correct? Maybe it’s all of them. But I yearn for a world where none of them would have any power whatsoever. I think about what Americans were expressing when they made the mighty V8-powered Cutlass Supreme (yes, I know not all of them were V8-powered) the nation’s leading car. I thrill to think of a country that would make a two-ton four-seater its favorite whip. We had style back then.

    But in a world where the automobile is increasingly seen as a problem to be solved, rather than an escape to freedom, who wants style? When our heroes are teenaged girls, why wouldn’t we be satisfied with a nice, safe, mommy’s-basement car like the RAV4?
     
    This guy needs to get out into Trumpland and see what's really going on. People are still buying two-ton V-8s with style -- they're called trucks.

    I just did a bit of car-buying myself, and observed some interesting things. Ford is making a major pitch for "green"cars, hybrids, electrics, and improved fuel mileage. They've got plenty of compacts and subcompacts. Maybe they're selling them, but not around here. People are buying big, pimped out 4x4 trucks -- and paying stupid money for them, too. A cheap truck these days is thirty grand, and there's a lot of them in the $45-50,000 range. And they're selling.

    For densely populated coastal (read: liberal) areas, it's true that the ideal vehicle might be a Civic or Rav4 for making those trips from mommy's basement to the mall. In flyover country it's all trucks.

    I don’t understand how people afford these trucks, which as you note easily reach 40 or 50 grand plus use lots of gas. Especially since most people who own trucks rarely use the truck beds.

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    • Replies: @Dr. X

    I don’t understand how people afford these trucks, which as you note easily reach 40 or 50 grand plus use lots of gas.
     
    I don't either. I paid $13,500 for my fullsize pickup truck OTD in 2008 when gas was $4 and they couldn't give them away fast enough. It was a hell of a deal -- but the MSRP on it back then was only $18,000.

    Try finding an $18,000 truck today! I think people are "affording" them the following ways: 1) leasing them for 30,000 miles 2) making payments for seven years 3) buying used ones with 90,000 miles for $20 grand 4) inheriting money 5) living in a singlewide trailer and paying truck payments instead of mortgage payments, or 6) some combination of "all of the above."

  94. SPMoore8 says:

    I like normal sized sedans and I’ve been driving Ford-Lincoln-Mercurys for the past 35 years and racking up 50 K miles every year. Every single one went over 200 K and three over 250 K, and never had a major repair issue under 200 K (one tranny and one onboard computer chip). To be honest I’d have twice as many as the four cars I currently have if I just didn’t quit on the cars.

    In the NE, with the snow and ice, RWD is a waste of time and money. But even with the sedans I have driven accelerations to 90-100 have never been a problem.

    My theory about speeding BTW is that a lot of it has been driven by the SUV / large pickups of the last 25 years. You can’t see over them, so you have to pass them to see what’s ahead. So the leapfrogging effect accelerates everyone.

    Sports cars are nice but because they are usually very low slung they are a nightmare to drive. And high performance is meaningless in traffic. I keep remembering the time I saw the yellow Lamborghini riding the bumper of a blue and rusty Chevy Caravan going 50 mph in the fast lane during a commute.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    50k miles per years? 1,000 miles every week. Where do you drive?

    200k is not that much for a vehicle that is driven 50k miles per year. That means the car only lasts 4 years. When one of my cars is 4 years old it has maybe 32K miles on the clock and is still on the original tires.
  95. cthulhu says:
    @Crawfurdmuir
    "The English never really got the hang of electricity (or plumbing)."

    Ah, Lucas - Prince of Darkness! There must be enough Lucas jokes to fill a book.

    You know that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and Joseph Lucas invented the short circuit.

    Lucas introduced a 3-position switch. The positions were off, flicker, and smoulder.

    Lucas considered making a vacuum cleaner. It would have been the only product they offered that didn't suck.

    And on and on...

    I own a 35 year-old Morgan. It is a delightful car, fun to drive, with ample speed and acceleration for freeway driving, and agility for winding country roads. Mechanically it is simple and reliable. Its design is elegant. The only problems I have experienced with it in the dozen years I've owned it (I am its second owner) have been electrical. Maybe in another 5 years I will have replaced the wiring in its entirety, and then it will give no further trouble.

    Q: why do the British drink warm beer?
    A: because they have Lucas refrigerators.

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  96. @bomag
    I'd say today's muscle car is the large four door pickup truck.

    The big, tripped-out, four-door pickup truck is the redneck car, or maybe the male-inadequacy car. The sports car is the midlife-crisis car, especially when driven by a fifty-something guy with a girlfriend young enough to be his daughter.

    I know a number of tiny – five-foot-nothing – ladies who drive monster trucks that they can barely climb inside. Is it Freudian?

    And I know a 6’8″ guy – all legs – who drives a classic Volkswagen Beetle. That seems like pure masochism, but he says it works for him.

    As for me, my head scrapes the roof of a 2011 Nissan Altima, even with the seat all the way back and reclined to a 40-degree angle. (The headrest ends at the top of my neck. I never get to see the sky through the windshield.)

    Maybe I should get a Cube.

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    • Replies: @Not Raul
    The classic VW Beetle is a tour de force of engineering and a model of practical simplicity. Very wu.

    The New Beetle, is for rich, stupid, narcissistic first wave baby boomers.

    What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission.

    Steve: it looks like an Israeli agent trying to "take down" U.K. MPs has been caught. Perhaps the U.K. might still be a somewhat independent country.

    https://news.google.com/news/amp?caurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Famp%2F38545671#pt0-715821
    , @Crawfurdmuir

    The sports car is the midlife-crisis car, especially when driven by a fifty-something guy with a girlfriend young enough to be his daughter.
     
    I didn't buy my sports car because I had a midlife crisis. I bought it because a bond I owned was called, and I decided I'd rather have the car instead of a less than 3% yield to maturity on another bond.

    Nonetheless you remind me of a funny experience I had while driving that car. My passenger on that occasion was a blonde woman, not young enough to be my daughter, but perhaps ten or fifteen years younger than I am. I should add that she was one of my employees, and happily married. We were on our way to a local restaurant for a luncheon meeting with a customer when the traffic light at an intersection ahead of us turned red. I was in the right hand lane when I stopped, and in the lane to our left a biker riding a Harley stopped beside me. He leaned over and said to me, "blondes and cowpies!"

    I wasn't sure he had said what I thought I heard, and responded, "Beg pardon, what did you say?"

    "Blondes and cowpies - do you know how they are alike?"

    Now I had no idea where this conversation was headed, so I replied "no - how?"

    "The older they are, the easier they are to pick up!"

    The light turned green, off he rode, and off we drove. Luckily my companion had a good sense of humor, and we laughed all the way to lunch.
  97. A major reason car guys love Mazdas is because of the Wankel (rotary) engine. The Wankel engine is almost like the “what if” or science fiction alternative to the V style engine. It’s a fun gimmick that has some tradeoffs with the V or W style engines, so gearheads love to argue if it’s better or worse.

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Ari, I had a Mazda RX7, with the rotary Wankel engine, great, fun car, but they never offered it as a convertible. Air conditioning was a dealer install, with all the hook ups under the hood if you cared to install it. When I bought mine back in 81 0r 82, you went to the dealer, gave them your three favorite colors and a $300 deposit and then waited for the next shipment of cars. Worry free driving but useless if there was even a dusting of snow. Miss that car too.
    , @cthulhu
    It been a while since Mazda has sold a Wankel-powered car. By the mid-90s, the only rotary engine car that Mazda sold was the RX-7, and its successor the RX-8 was discontinued in 2012. Emissions killed it - inherent features of the design made it next-to-impossible to meet stricter emissions standards (which is also what killed aircooled Porsches in the mid-90s).
    , @snorlax
    Mazda hasn't sold any cars with a Wankel in nearly a decade. Although it is probably a big part of why auto journalists have a soft spot for the brand.
    , @Jack D
    SS Obersturmbannführer Wankel was a pretty hardcore Nazi.

    No one (including Mazda) has really been able to get the rotary to work as well as a piston engine. Conceptually it's great that it creates its own rotary motion and doesn't have to convert linear motion to rotation with a crank so you can rev really high. But there have always been issues with getting the tips and side of the rotor to seal to the combustion chamber . It is similar to a 2 cycle engine in that there are no valves so you always get some mixing of exhaust gases in the combustion chamber and unburned fuel in the exhaust, which leads to high emissions and lousy fuel economy. The Japanese in their usual determined fashion were able to refine the thing to the point where it could pass emissions but it will always be a curiosity and not mainstream.
  98. @Crawfurdmuir
    "The English never really got the hang of electricity (or plumbing)."

    Ah, Lucas - Prince of Darkness! There must be enough Lucas jokes to fill a book.

    You know that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and Joseph Lucas invented the short circuit.

    Lucas introduced a 3-position switch. The positions were off, flicker, and smoulder.

    Lucas considered making a vacuum cleaner. It would have been the only product they offered that didn't suck.

    And on and on...

    I own a 35 year-old Morgan. It is a delightful car, fun to drive, with ample speed and acceleration for freeway driving, and agility for winding country roads. Mechanically it is simple and reliable. Its design is elegant. The only problems I have experienced with it in the dozen years I've owned it (I am its second owner) have been electrical. Maybe in another 5 years I will have replaced the wiring in its entirety, and then it will give no further trouble.

    Craw, The Lucas jokes are very funny. I always carried a spare battery in the trunk, as the generator rarely replenished the main battery. Dim lights that glowed brighter as you accelerated. Pretty car though.

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    • Replies: @Crawfurdmuir
    Speaking of the generator not replenishing the main battery - my most vexing (and expensive) electrical problem with my Morgan occurred a couple of years ago to similar effect. I had driven to a city about 150 miles away for a conference, and because it was summer and the weather was pleasant, I took the Morgan. The morning after I arrived I could not start the car - the battery was dead. I got a jump, drove it some more during the day, and the next morning, again it was dead.

    There was a local garage not far from the bed & breakfast where I was staying, so I had them give me another jump and drove it over there. Their mechanic tested the alternator and determined that it was not putting out enough power to recharge the battery. Also, the battery was on its last legs from having been run down too often. So, at significant cost, I had a new alternator flown in from Morgan Spares in New York, they installed it, and a new battery. I was able to drive the car home without trouble.

    Over the next couple of weeks I drove the car until finally it abruptly died while I was on the road. Clearly the new alternator was not recharging the battery, or even supplying enough power to operate the car. I had it towed to my regular mechanic, who was a real whiz with electric issues.

    He determined that the real source of the problem was that when the ignition key was turned to the start position, a circuit should have been energized to turn on the voltage regulator. It wasn't being energized because it ran through a light bulb that illuminated a colored lens labeled "ignition." After the engine had started, and the key was in the normal operating position, the light bulb was turned off. This light bulb, about the size of a flashlight bulb, had burnt out, and I hadn't noticed it. The new alternator was fine. So the old one was too, but sadly it had already gone into the scrap bin.

    The upshot was that I had needlessly replaced the alternator (at a cost of more than $500, overnight delivery included) when all I needed to do was replace a 50¢ light bulb. Only Lucas could have conceived such a circuit!

    It was an expensive lesson - now I always pay attention to that lens, like the general who always re-fights the last war, the farmer who closes the stable door after the horses have escaped, or the cat that never sits on a hot stove a second time.

  99. Jack D says:
    @SPMoore8
    I like normal sized sedans and I've been driving Ford-Lincoln-Mercurys for the past 35 years and racking up 50 K miles every year. Every single one went over 200 K and three over 250 K, and never had a major repair issue under 200 K (one tranny and one onboard computer chip). To be honest I'd have twice as many as the four cars I currently have if I just didn't quit on the cars.

    In the NE, with the snow and ice, RWD is a waste of time and money. But even with the sedans I have driven accelerations to 90-100 have never been a problem.

    My theory about speeding BTW is that a lot of it has been driven by the SUV / large pickups of the last 25 years. You can't see over them, so you have to pass them to see what's ahead. So the leapfrogging effect accelerates everyone.

    Sports cars are nice but because they are usually very low slung they are a nightmare to drive. And high performance is meaningless in traffic. I keep remembering the time I saw the yellow Lamborghini riding the bumper of a blue and rusty Chevy Caravan going 50 mph in the fast lane during a commute.

    50k miles per years? 1,000 miles every week. Where do you drive?

    200k is not that much for a vehicle that is driven 50k miles per year. That means the car only lasts 4 years. When one of my cars is 4 years old it has maybe 32K miles on the clock and is still on the original tires.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "50k miles per years? 1,000 miles every week. Where do you drive?"

    Maybe SPMoore8 is an Uber driver.
    , @Ivy
    A guy who lived two blocks away used to commute over 200 miles a day. His kids were screwed up, delinquents, promiscuous, who would have thought they'd be impacted.
    , @SPMoore8
    I live in the NE, about 100 miles from NYC. I used to have to commute to NYC, which is not only a long distance, but also expensive and very time consuming. In my case it had more to do with just paying the bills and I had two jobs 90 miles apart.

    But yes, when I was working full time I averaged a 1,000 a week, and 20 hours on the road. I usually baby the cars when they get somewhere over 200 K. After that, they would last forever, if I wanted to juggle them all (which is also very time consuming.)
    , @Crawfurdmuir
    50k miles a year is not unusual for a traveling salesman (there still are such people - mostly in wholesale or industrial lines). I've known many who called on my business for which that much annual mileage, or more, was typical.

    The wear and tear on a car driven that much is quite different from that experienced by the city or suburban resident who drives to and from a nearby place of employment, to shop for household needs, and maybe one long trip a year. The heavily driven car will experience wear to the drive train. On the other hand, the car driven 5,000 miles or less a year will often have its exhaust system rust out faster, because it seldom gets hot enough to dry the condensation out of it.

    Also, local climate has a great effect. I live in a part of the country where we have snowy, icy winters. The highway department uses lots of salt. Any car that is driven year-round rusts quickly. When I travel in the southern or western states, where it is either warm enough or arid enough that the roads are not regularly salted, I see a lot more older cars that still look good than I do at home. Here an old rusty car may still have less than 100k miles on the clock, and a good drive train, but off to the junkyard it will go.
  100. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “I suspect my choice of vehicle may relate to my having first driven tractors.”

    I’m a Farmall M, MD, and Super H fan. Talk about simple. We didn’t have starter motors in them. Just park them on an incline and let them roll a few feet to start them (except for the diesel MD, which you started by pulling with one of the others.)

    The Super H was really fun to drive, including on roads. That thing could make like a sportscar. On a road it was fast enough that you might have been able to flip it if you were not careful. And it made a superb high-speed cross-country off-road vehicle, regardless of weather conditions. Could climb straight up. D(*&n I had fun with an old but completely solid Farmall Super H.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ivy
    My first car was like your tractors, best to park on an incline to assure a jump start. It was light enough to push if needed.
  101. @Aristippus
    A major reason car guys love Mazdas is because of the Wankel (rotary) engine. The Wankel engine is almost like the "what if" or science fiction alternative to the V style engine. It's a fun gimmick that has some tradeoffs with the V or W style engines, so gearheads love to argue if it's better or worse.

    Ari, I had a Mazda RX7, with the rotary Wankel engine, great, fun car, but they never offered it as a convertible. Air conditioning was a dealer install, with all the hook ups under the hood if you cared to install it. When I bought mine back in 81 0r 82, you went to the dealer, gave them your three favorite colors and a $300 deposit and then waited for the next shipment of cars. Worry free driving but useless if there was even a dusting of snow. Miss that car too.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SIMPLE
    Had a roomie who had one. F-14 driver. And a MechE.

    Burned oil. Just as you would expect.
  102. Jefferson says:
    @Jack D
    50k miles per years? 1,000 miles every week. Where do you drive?

    200k is not that much for a vehicle that is driven 50k miles per year. That means the car only lasts 4 years. When one of my cars is 4 years old it has maybe 32K miles on the clock and is still on the original tires.

    “50k miles per years? 1,000 miles every week. Where do you drive?”

    Maybe SPMoore8 is an Uber driver.

    Read More
  103. cthulhu says:
    @Aristippus
    A major reason car guys love Mazdas is because of the Wankel (rotary) engine. The Wankel engine is almost like the "what if" or science fiction alternative to the V style engine. It's a fun gimmick that has some tradeoffs with the V or W style engines, so gearheads love to argue if it's better or worse.

    It been a while since Mazda has sold a Wankel-powered car. By the mid-90s, the only rotary engine car that Mazda sold was the RX-7, and its successor the RX-8 was discontinued in 2012. Emissions killed it – inherent features of the design made it next-to-impossible to meet stricter emissions standards (which is also what killed aircooled Porsches in the mid-90s).

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  104. snorlax says:
    @Jack D
    I had a friend who had an MGB that only ran when it was warm and dry. Any amount of cold and damp and the thing would refuse to start - I think moisture would short out the electricals so you would get no spark. Since England is mostly cold and damp all year I imagine they never ran back home.

    The English never really got the hang of electricity (or plumbing). Until recently at least, when you bought an electrical appliance in the UK, it came with a bare wire because there was no standard plug. The most common plug was the size of your fist because it had an internal fuse. You could only have pull strings in the bathroom because they thought it was too dangerous to directly touch a light switch in a wet location. I think they were happier when they had gas lamps. Since it was cold most of the time, having a gas lamp burning all the time is not so bad.

    You should get a Miata or the new Fiat that is really a Miata. The Miata is what the MG's would have been if the British actually knew how to make a reliable car. For maybe $8 or 9,ooo (which is like $300 in 1960 money) you can pick up a low mileage Miata and drive it in the summer and relive your youth a little.

    You should get a Miata or the new Fiat that is really a Miata.

    The Fiat is hideous (at least in pictures; haven’t seen one IRL yet), and word is it’s slower and gets way worse mileage than the Maz, combined with typical Fiat reliability.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    Since the Fiat 124 Spider is made on the same assembly line in Japan as the Miata, how do they manage to make it less reliable? Do they pay the Japanese assembly line workers extra to drink red wine at lunchtime so they will be more like Italian auto workers?

    Actually, the Fiat does have a Fiat engine in it, so that may be the answer. However, I suspect that like most Fiat-Chrysler products (1) they are going to have to discount the thing heavily in order to sell it and (ii) the resale value will really suck. If you were paying the exact same $, then I'd go with the Mazda fer sure, but I strongly suspect that the actual street price of the Fiat after incentives (not their phony inflated list price) and the value of a used one will both be considerably less than the Mazda similarly equipped. Is half a second in the 0-60 worth thousands of $?

  105. snorlax says:
    @Aristippus
    A major reason car guys love Mazdas is because of the Wankel (rotary) engine. The Wankel engine is almost like the "what if" or science fiction alternative to the V style engine. It's a fun gimmick that has some tradeoffs with the V or W style engines, so gearheads love to argue if it's better or worse.

    Mazda hasn’t sold any cars with a Wankel in nearly a decade. Although it is probably a big part of why auto journalists have a soft spot for the brand.

    Read More
  106. Yankee says:

    I bought a lightly-used car two years ago, and I worry about its eventual replacement. I hate seeing high prices on used cars with over 100k miles on them. I want something simple, without all the added electronic features that make cars needlessly complex. And I dislike these current designs, with their ugly-looking ratio of bulging hoods to tiny side windows. And it would be nice to have a set of keys you could slip into your back pocket, instead of those over-sized plastic pieces of crap.

    I suppose it’s not surprising that I like the type of cars that I saw the most of in the late 1980s when I first got my driver’s license. Make automobiles great again, Donald.

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  107. Arclight says:
    @fish

    Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University, a prolific author and a Baptist minister, leavens his anger — at racism, at police brutality, at economic injustice against black Americans, at indifference to their plight — by presenting his book as a sermon and by seeding his words with flowery, loving language. “I offer this sermon to you, my dear white friends,” he writes, “my beloved comrades of faith and country.”

     




    Sounds like an internal family matter to me.

    Most of the metropolitan areas in the US have been run by the left and his people (anybody other than stale, pale males of a non lefty inclination) for the last 50 years. What exactly does he think we deplorables can do for him?

    Dyson’s livelihood is no doubt almost entirely paid for by tuition and ad revenue earned primarily from the pale and stale, but he probably doesn’t want to think about that too much. If it wasn’t for the people he most despises, there wouldn’t be much of an economy and certainly not many viewers to tune into MSNBC.

    I do sort of feel bad for him, though – he has titles that are very important from a status standpoint (professor, minister) but he’s probably self aware enough to know that no one really takes him seriously. That has to be frustrating.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterike

    but he's [Dyson] probably self aware enough to know that no one really takes him seriously
     
    On the contrary! Many thousands of white Liberals will take him seriously enough to buy his book. You think black people are going to read it? Sure, sure, a handful of the old school Communist blacks (the "black intelligentsia") that still populate areas like Brooklyn's Fort Greene will buy it so they can mention to their fellow black commies and shaik dey heads over how terrible it all is. But mostly, Dyson -- like Genius T. Coates -- sells books to whitey. What other race would buy a book that could, and should, be called, "Hey Whitey! You suck!" Only white people do this.

    Jews will flock to this book, as will the growing cadre of Asian anti-whites being churned out by our University system.

    You think Dyson is stupid? He's smarter than you are, chump!

    PS - What the hell is with the Wash Po web site? It's borderline unusable. Isn't Bezos supposed to know a thing or two about building websites?
  108. Jefferson says:
    @2Mintzin1
    Completely off-topic, but fun: in the news, Hillary Clinton is pressuring herself to run for Mayor of NYC.
    Bill DeBlasio and his posse are under investigation for possible crimes...the investigators are people of his own party, so it is safe to say that the Dems want him out because of his poor performance in office (probably including failures to give patronage jobs to the right people)...as the musicians say, DeBlasio has "stunk up the room" and needs to get gone. The criminal investigation is probably intended as a gentle nudge towards the exit.

    Enter Hillary? As Mayor, Hill could keep some cash flowing to the Clinton Foundation. I am sure she would be elected by a huge margin. The minor point of residency could be easily solved. Remember, Hillary has always been a Yankees fan, a fact she first realized when she ran for the Senate for NY.

    The really interesting part of this is how she would interact with Cuomo II.
    He does not like rivals.

    Will Crooked Cankles have Jay-Z and Beyonce perform for her again if she runs for mayor of New York City? Crooked Cankles 99 problems and Donald J. Trump is all of them.

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  109. Ivy says:
    @Jack D
    50k miles per years? 1,000 miles every week. Where do you drive?

    200k is not that much for a vehicle that is driven 50k miles per year. That means the car only lasts 4 years. When one of my cars is 4 years old it has maybe 32K miles on the clock and is still on the original tires.

    A guy who lived two blocks away used to commute over 200 miles a day. His kids were screwed up, delinquents, promiscuous, who would have thought they’d be impacted.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    Most of the people who do the 200 mpd gig work in a big city, with consequent long hours, thus six hour daily commutes (leave at 5 AM and get home at 830 PM.) I know people like that. They are usually married to their careers and the family suffers. My case was atypical, it was driven more by necessity than ambition.
    , @Rod1963
    IOW a fool who put his career before his life and family. Sadly they are a dime a dozen among white working professionals who want that nice suburban life along with that nice urban paycheck. Of course they never can enjoy where they live because they are either too tired or working.

    Oh yeah it's corrosive as hell on their physical and mental health.

    And what money he made will be blown on his kids lawyers and rehab stays.

    But hey look at that nice 2 story ranch style home.
    , @Olorin
    But did they have to live among Sacred Melanists?
  110. Dave32 says:

    I deliver a weekly newspaper to stores in Georgia. Every Indian has a Toyota , Honda , or a Nissan. Never an American car. I haven’t had an American car for 30yrs. 2004 Honda C-RV has 309,000. Last Accord had 280,000. Last Sentra had 260,000. None quit running. I gave them away to nephews and nieces.

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  111. Steve brings up a topic I love just when I have to go outside and start up my snowblower.

    If I don’t go outside and start up my snowblower, there won’t be any point in writing about cars.

    Dammit!

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  112. I bought my first car – a 1969 Camaro – in 1979 at age 15 for $300. I worked on it for a year: a new 327 V8, new 4-speed transmission, a lot of body work and candy apple red paint with black racing stripes. Turned a 14.0 at New England Dragway. Sold it in 1982 for $3000! Followed that up w/ a V8 Gremlin and a series of other American muscle cars.

    Today I’m driving a cream puff 16-year old Ford Taurus that I’ve owned for 15 years and a cherry ’08 low mileage Honda Ridgeline that I bought last year after looking for over a year; I expect to get 200K miles out of it!

    I recently decided to downsize and over the past month, I sold the 16-foot center console boat and the Kawasaki Ninja 500, and a guy is coming to possibly buy the Yamaha Waverunner tomorrow.

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  113. @Buffalo Joe
    I owned a '60 MGA, that I bought for myself, used, when I turned thirty. Worst electrical system ever. Two carburetors that you tuned by listening to them with a length of hose stuck in your ear and make up case size rear view mirrors waaaay out on the fenders so you could never adjust them. A convertible top that was easier to remove than to raise or lower and wooden floors. Did I mention that the side widows were nothing more than shower curtains that hung from the roof, zip in or zip out, no up and down. No exterior door handle, but a cable you reached through the side curtain to pull and release the latch. Car was so low that you could strike a match on the pavement because the door had a scooped profile. Your ass was about 8 inches off the pavement, so on a hot summer day you roasted your butt. I could bypass the faulty electrical system by starting in with a hand crank. Boy, I loved that car, still miss it.

    “Worst electrical system ever.” Lucas – Prince Of Darkness.

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  114. Bleuteaux says:
    @Neoconned
    Steve Google "millenials hate cars" and read the doom and gloom car companies and gearhead mags are predicting.

    I'm broke and I can only speak for myself. I owe the govt almost 40k in loans and as I near 40 I'm beginning to stop caring about any status symbols.

    To me a little hatchback is just fine. To others it's emasculating.

    I hate cars, they're expensive and yt?the break down too much.

    To me mass transit is a better option.

    The only people with newer cars where I live are retirees and white girls with fourt or five men pumping thenmoney theu child support arrangements.

    I see people in newer cars but I'm baffled how they can afford them unlessthey're paying everything they Owen for it

    I agree. And the fact that at least half the time I am in it is going to and from my employer makes me hate the expense more.

    That being said, the higher end SUV market in my area is ludicrous.

    Read More
  115. SPMoore8 says:
    @Ivy
    A guy who lived two blocks away used to commute over 200 miles a day. His kids were screwed up, delinquents, promiscuous, who would have thought they'd be impacted.

    Most of the people who do the 200 mpd gig work in a big city, with consequent long hours, thus six hour daily commutes (leave at 5 AM and get home at 830 PM.) I know people like that. They are usually married to their careers and the family suffers. My case was atypical, it was driven more by necessity than ambition.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "Most of the people who do the 200 mpd gig work in a big city, with consequent long hours, thus six hour daily commutes (leave at 5 AM and get home at 830 PM.) I know people like that. They are usually married to their careers and the family suffers. My case was atypical, it was driven more by necessity than ambition."

    I have read about some Silicon Valley employees who reside as far away as Sacramento. They must be some very frugal techies who feel housing prices in the Valley & San Francisco are way too expensive for their tastes and they much prefer the housing prices of Sactown.

  116. How does this Cadillac impress you gentlemen?

    Cadillac V series 3.s 0-60MPH

    Cadillac’s trying to reposition itself* to compete with BMW, Audi, Lexus, Jaguar, etc. The ATS-V is Caddy’s reply to the BMW M3. 0-60 miles per hour ( not km ) in 3.8 seconds? That’s not Donald Trump’s father’s Cadillac! It’s faster than an M3.

    * Not selling too successfully so far. Caddy’s old image persists.

    Me, I’d like to have a bright red four door ( fours doors for practicality ) ATS-V with six speed manual transmission. Take that, foreign snobs, Camaro and Mustang drivers, and Democrats!

    Can’t afford a new one just now, but the resale value of the things seems to drop rapidly.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Not Raul
    Wow! That's a hot car. It accelerates almost as fast as a top of the line Jag.
    , @reiner Tor

    Not selling too successfully so far. Caddy’s old image persists.
     
    It won't be a success for that reason. Alfa Romeo is trying to compete with BMW, too. They built a car better than the BMW M3, too. It might even be of comparable quality, too. I don't think it will be successful, either.

    The way to success, as I see it, is simple, but not easy. Build good, reliable cars, with great performance and comfort being necessary if you want to go premium. Keep doing this for decades, even if they are not selling so well for a while. After a while customers will take note and give the car the reputation it deserves.

    Usually car companies want to make profits in the meantime, so they scrap these models after one or two unsuccessful generations, or they will try to save money on the quality, which makes it impossible to make them successful.

    That's my prediction for both Cadillac and Alfa Romeo.
  117. I had an MGB convertible back when I was a kid. White with Wire Wheels.

    Pain in the ass to keep on the road. What a chick magnet though.

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  118. SPMoore8 says:
    @Jack D
    50k miles per years? 1,000 miles every week. Where do you drive?

    200k is not that much for a vehicle that is driven 50k miles per year. That means the car only lasts 4 years. When one of my cars is 4 years old it has maybe 32K miles on the clock and is still on the original tires.

    I live in the NE, about 100 miles from NYC. I used to have to commute to NYC, which is not only a long distance, but also expensive and very time consuming. In my case it had more to do with just paying the bills and I had two jobs 90 miles apart.

    But yes, when I was working full time I averaged a 1,000 a week, and 20 hours on the road. I usually baby the cars when they get somewhere over 200 K. After that, they would last forever, if I wanted to juggle them all (which is also very time consuming.)

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  119. res says:
    @Boomstick
    Donald Trump Jr should enter the race for mayor if she does.

    A regular columnist at the NYT is openly advocating using the power of the city government to harass political opponents, and the comments section is cheering him on. Apparently the editors approve of this sort of thing.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/opinion/sunday/rumors-of-hillary-clintons-comeback.html

    Hillary Clinton as New York City mayor?

    Imagine the fun:

    City building inspectors start to show up daily at Trump Tower, where they find a wobbly beam here, a missing smoke detector there, outdated wiring all over the place. City health inspectors fan out through Trump’s hotels, writing citations for clogged drains in the kitchens and expired milk in the minibars.

    The potholes near his properties go unfilled. Those neighborhoods are the last to be plowed. There’s a problem with the flow of water to his Bronx golf course, whose greens are suddenly brown. And the Russian Consulate keeps experiencing power failures. It’s the darnedest thing. Clinton vows to look into it, just as soon as she returns from the Hamptons.
    ...
    The city’s Mexican Day Parade would be rerouted, from Madison Avenue over to Fifth, right past Trump Tower. A new city zoning experiment would locate detention centers in the strangest places. And in the city’s libraries, “The Art of the Deal” would be impossible to find, while upfront, on vivid display, there’d be copies galore of “It Takes a Village” and “Hard Choices.”

     

    Note the racism inherent in assuming that the Mexican Day Parade would attract undesirables.

    Apparently the editors approve of this sort of thing.

    In one direction only. Try doing it in the opposite direction and watch the outrage. They really have abandoned any pretense of consistent enforcement of the law.

    Who, Whom? strikes again.

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  120. Jack D says:
    @snorlax

    You should get a Miata or the new Fiat that is really a Miata.
     
    The Fiat is hideous (at least in pictures; haven't seen one IRL yet), and word is it's slower and gets way worse mileage than the Maz, combined with typical Fiat reliability.

    Since the Fiat 124 Spider is made on the same assembly line in Japan as the Miata, how do they manage to make it less reliable? Do they pay the Japanese assembly line workers extra to drink red wine at lunchtime so they will be more like Italian auto workers?

    Actually, the Fiat does have a Fiat engine in it, so that may be the answer. However, I suspect that like most Fiat-Chrysler products (1) they are going to have to discount the thing heavily in order to sell it and (ii) the resale value will really suck. If you were paying the exact same $, then I’d go with the Mazda fer sure, but I strongly suspect that the actual street price of the Fiat after incentives (not their phony inflated list price) and the value of a used one will both be considerably less than the Mazda similarly equipped. Is half a second in the 0-60 worth thousands of $?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    The Eyetalians get those made on a Monday morning.
    , @snorlax
    You think a used Fiat will save you thousands of dollars?
  121. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @pyrrhus
    For the money, the Toyota RAV4 is the best and most versatile vehicle on the planet, no doubt about it. But here in Tucson, I see a lot of sleek convertibles and sports cars, usually in immaculate condition, including several Maseratis....so clearly there are a lot of automobile reviewers around here!

    Cars are easy to keep in mint condition in areas where they don’t have to salt the roads in winter. My family moved from the north to the south when I was a kid and I was amazed at how old the cars suddenly became, and the fact that they didn’t have any rust.

    Read More
    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    Cars are easy to keep in mint condition in areas where they don’t have to salt the roads in winter.

    Growing up in New England in the late '70s - early '80s, all the car guys would take their hot rods off the road for the winter and drive a $200 junker from December through March.
  122. @Jack D
    50k miles per years? 1,000 miles every week. Where do you drive?

    200k is not that much for a vehicle that is driven 50k miles per year. That means the car only lasts 4 years. When one of my cars is 4 years old it has maybe 32K miles on the clock and is still on the original tires.

    50k miles a year is not unusual for a traveling salesman (there still are such people – mostly in wholesale or industrial lines). I’ve known many who called on my business for which that much annual mileage, or more, was typical.

    The wear and tear on a car driven that much is quite different from that experienced by the city or suburban resident who drives to and from a nearby place of employment, to shop for household needs, and maybe one long trip a year. The heavily driven car will experience wear to the drive train. On the other hand, the car driven 5,000 miles or less a year will often have its exhaust system rust out faster, because it seldom gets hot enough to dry the condensation out of it.

    Also, local climate has a great effect. I live in a part of the country where we have snowy, icy winters. The highway department uses lots of salt. Any car that is driven year-round rusts quickly. When I travel in the southern or western states, where it is either warm enough or arid enough that the roads are not regularly salted, I see a lot more older cars that still look good than I do at home. Here an old rusty car may still have less than 100k miles on the clock, and a good drive train, but off to the junkyard it will go.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    Locally driven cars are more susceptible to engine problems because they are usually operating at below optimum temperatures and the number of cold starts- i.e. no oil on bearings for a second or so is higher.
    , @Steve Sailer
    My son is driving the 1998 Infiniti I-30 to work and will -- with luck -- pass 250k miles in a month or two.
    , @anonguy

    The highway department uses lots of salt. Any car that is driven year-round rusts quickly.
     
    Is that still as much of a thing as it used to be? Several decades ago, driving around northeastern cities one would see fleets of rustbuckets with cancerous rust areas over wide swaths of the car but I don't seem to see this any more. My take was they've been doing way better on rustproofing cars these days but I may be wrong.

    But I can't remember the last time I've seen a genuine rustbucket tooling along, remnants of a fender flapping around in the wind.

  123. Here’s something that needs a good Trumpeting

    New Zealand Prime Minister resigns after getting caught giving $13.7 million in taxpayer money to the Clinton Foundation…. Merkel gave 5 million to the Clinton Foundation during our election!

    Read More
  124. Jack D says:
    @Aristippus
    A major reason car guys love Mazdas is because of the Wankel (rotary) engine. The Wankel engine is almost like the "what if" or science fiction alternative to the V style engine. It's a fun gimmick that has some tradeoffs with the V or W style engines, so gearheads love to argue if it's better or worse.

    SS Obersturmbannführer Wankel was a pretty hardcore Nazi.

    No one (including Mazda) has really been able to get the rotary to work as well as a piston engine. Conceptually it’s great that it creates its own rotary motion and doesn’t have to convert linear motion to rotation with a crank so you can rev really high. But there have always been issues with getting the tips and side of the rotor to seal to the combustion chamber . It is similar to a 2 cycle engine in that there are no valves so you always get some mixing of exhaust gases in the combustion chamber and unburned fuel in the exhaust, which leads to high emissions and lousy fuel economy. The Japanese in their usual determined fashion were able to refine the thing to the point where it could pass emissions but it will always be a curiosity and not mainstream.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Desiderius

    No one (including Mazda) has really been able to get the rotary to work as well as a piston engine.
     
    If you're going to go rotary, you should really go all the way:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0XbqHUAI-0

    h/t Iowahawk
  125. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Jack D
    Again he confuses what HE wants wants with what the market wants. It's not 1979 anymore. Who CARES how many cylinders the motor has? In most cars, you can't even SEE the motor anymore - it's all covered up with a plastic cover. When something breaks a little light goes on in the dashboard and you take it to the dealer and he plugs it into his computer to find out what is wrong - it's a mystery black box. The V-8 in his dream Eldorado - it got all of 145hp out of 6 liters. They are getting 300+ hp out of V-6 and even turbo 4s. 300 hp is 300 hp whether it comes from 8 cylinders or 6 or 4 or none. People are driving Teslas that have ZERO cylinders but are crazy fast.

    I think it's like music - a lot of people are into whatever music was popular when they were kids and they stick with those artists for the rest of their life. The TAC guys are fixated on the kind of cars that were cool when they were kids and they keep measuring today's cars with that yardstick. The average car buyer today wasn't even BORN in 1979 and she doesn't give a damn what Cadillacs back then used to be like. What they were like, actually, was pretty crappy and most car buyers today (even Baruth himself, truth be told) wouldn't want to live with one for a week. He wants Cadillac to make some modernized version of the 1979 Eldorado that 3 people would buy (and Baruth himself probably isn't one of them - I don't get the feeling that TTAC pays all that well and most of their writers could never afford most of the cars that they are reviewing).

    Whenever I sell a car that I’ve owned, I get a flood of calls from teenage boys who always start with the same question: Does it have a V-8 engine?

    I have to refrain from saying, ‘If you think the Honda Civic/Volkswagon Rabbit that I mentioned in my ad is a V-8, you’re too stupid to be buying cars, and what’s more it’s going to become a V-Zero if you do what I think you’re planning to do with it, namely use it for drag-racing.’

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    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
    What's the fascination with V8s? Here's Wiki on inline sixes.

    "The straight-six layout is the simplest engine layout that possesses both primary and secondary mechanical engine balance, resulting in much less vibration than engines with fewer cylinders."

    "Because it is a fully balanced configuration, the straight-six can be scaled up to very large sizes for heavy truck, industrial and marine use, such as the 16 L (980 cu in) Volvo diesel engine and the 15 L Cummins ISX used in heavy vehicles.[5] The largest are used to power ships, and use fuel oil. The straight-six can also be viewed as a scalable modular component of larger motors which stack several straight-sixes together, e.g. flat- or V-12s, W-18s, etc."

    "The length of the straight-six was not a major concern in the older front-engine/rear-wheel drive vehicles, but the modern move to the more space-efficient front-engine/front-wheel drive and transverse engine (left-to-right versus front-to-back) configurations in smaller cars made the length of the V6 (one half the length of an L6 with the same bore size, plus the width of one rod) a major advantage. As a result, in recent decades automobile manufacturers have replaced most of their straight-six engines (and many of their V8s) with V6 engines.."

    "Exceptions to the shift to V engines include BMW, which specializes in high-performance straight-sixes used in a lineup of front-engine/rear-wheel-drive vehicles, almost all of BMW's current 6-cylinder model line-up use the straight configuration, Volvo, which designed a compact straight-six engine/transmission package to fit transversely in its larger cars, and the Australian Ford Falcon, which still uses a straight-six configuration. TVR used a straight-six configuration exclusively in their final cars before their demise.

    In a reversal of previous trends, Mercedes-Benz announced a return to inline-6 engines in October 2016.[9] This was a part of a trend toward higher efficiency engines with fewer cylinders but the same power output as previous larger engines as fuel economy standards became more stringent. Manufacturers began to replace V8 engines with straight-6 engines and V6 engines with straight-4 engines, while V8 engines became smaller."

    "An inline six engine is in practically perfect primary and secondary mechanical balance, without the use of a balance shaft. The engine is in primary couple balance because the front and rear trio of cylinders are mirror images, and the pistons move in pairs (but of course, 360° out of phase and on different strokes of the 4-stroke cycle). That is, piston #1 mirrors #6, #2 mirrors #5, and #3 mirrors #4, largely eliminating the polar rocking motion that would otherwise result.

    Secondary imbalance is largely avoided because the crankshaft has six crank throws arranged in three planes offset at 120°. The result is that the bulk of the secondary forces that are caused by the pistons' deviation from purely sinusoidal motion sum to zero. Specifically, the second-order (twice crank speed) and fourth-order inertial free forces (see engine balance article) sum to zero, but the sixth-order and up are non-zero. This is typically a tiny contribution in most applications, but may be significant with very large displacements, despite the usual and advantageous use of long connecting rods reducing the secondary (second-order and up) oscillation in the piston motion in those applications.

    An inline four cylinder, or even a V6 engine with a crank-speed balance shaft, will experience significant secondary dynamic imbalance, resulting in engine vibration. As a general rule, the forces arising from any dynamic imbalance increase as the square of the engine speed — for example, if the speed doubles, vibration will increase by a factor of four. In contrast, inline six engines have no primary or (significant) secondary imbalances, and with carefully designed crankshaft vibration dampers to absorb torsional vibration, will run more smoothly at the same crankshaft speed (rpm). This characteristic has made the straight-six popular in some European sports-luxury cars, where smooth high-speed performance is very desirable."

    And so on. An inline six has much to recommend it. Who needs a V-8? Remember the ad "I could have had a V-8."? It was all just hype.
  126. @Crawfurdmuir
    50k miles a year is not unusual for a traveling salesman (there still are such people - mostly in wholesale or industrial lines). I've known many who called on my business for which that much annual mileage, or more, was typical.

    The wear and tear on a car driven that much is quite different from that experienced by the city or suburban resident who drives to and from a nearby place of employment, to shop for household needs, and maybe one long trip a year. The heavily driven car will experience wear to the drive train. On the other hand, the car driven 5,000 miles or less a year will often have its exhaust system rust out faster, because it seldom gets hot enough to dry the condensation out of it.

    Also, local climate has a great effect. I live in a part of the country where we have snowy, icy winters. The highway department uses lots of salt. Any car that is driven year-round rusts quickly. When I travel in the southern or western states, where it is either warm enough or arid enough that the roads are not regularly salted, I see a lot more older cars that still look good than I do at home. Here an old rusty car may still have less than 100k miles on the clock, and a good drive train, but off to the junkyard it will go.

    Locally driven cars are more susceptible to engine problems because they are usually operating at below optimum temperatures and the number of cold starts- i.e. no oil on bearings for a second or so is higher.

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  127. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Jack D
    I had a friend who had an MGB that only ran when it was warm and dry. Any amount of cold and damp and the thing would refuse to start - I think moisture would short out the electricals so you would get no spark. Since England is mostly cold and damp all year I imagine they never ran back home.

    The English never really got the hang of electricity (or plumbing). Until recently at least, when you bought an electrical appliance in the UK, it came with a bare wire because there was no standard plug. The most common plug was the size of your fist because it had an internal fuse. You could only have pull strings in the bathroom because they thought it was too dangerous to directly touch a light switch in a wet location. I think they were happier when they had gas lamps. Since it was cold most of the time, having a gas lamp burning all the time is not so bad.

    You should get a Miata or the new Fiat that is really a Miata. The Miata is what the MG's would have been if the British actually knew how to make a reliable car. For maybe $8 or 9,ooo (which is like $300 in 1960 money) you can pick up a low mileage Miata and drive it in the summer and relive your youth a little.

    It’s easy to have modern plumbing and electricity when you build from scratch. Most of the US housing stock is less than 100 years old. It’s much harder and and a heck of a lot more expensive to add these features in when the house is already built, or if it’s 500-odd years old and you need a load of permits and approvals to do anything to it, or if the last guy to order any work done to your plumbing was a Roman Legionary.

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    • Replies: @Lurker
    The core of my mother's house (bits have been added on over the years) predates the USA by nearly 100 years. The electrics were somewhat temperamental.
    , @Fredrik
    You write as if it's the US that's unique here. The rest of Europe can manage but until recently the UK couldn't. In a few years time the UK won't manage again...
  128. @anonguy
    I don't understand the thesis of this posting.

    Be careful reading car reviewers? Has something untoward happened recently involving car journos with secret agendas? Haven't they always been this way quite unashamedly?

    And Journalists who write for fashion magazines like fashion.

    Guys who have HBD blogs are interested in HBD, earth to Captain Obvious.

    Or different eras in US history had different favorite cars. That isn't some big secret.

    So WTF?

    Or maybe are you coming out with the Rav4 sly thingie? I certainly wouldn't buy one, it is emasculating.

    What is the frequency, Kenneth?

    There’s a new movie coming out about how a small group of black women,with an assist from a muslem lesbian,invented the Model T. “Hidden Pistons”,a film produced by Ari Goldstein,directed by Shlomo Watnick and starring Beyoncé,Rihanna and Black Chyna (look that one up),tells the inspiring story of three black women whose mechanical aptitude allowed Henry Ford to avoid bankruptcy and a possible suicide and triumph against all odds with the Model T. Eloise Jenkins tinkered with machines her whole life. Denied entry into college because of her race,she read every book on engineering in the Booker T. Washington Library in her home town of Clio,Alabama. The finl scene brought tears to reviewers eyes: Henry Ford: “What color should the T be?” Eloise: “Why…BLACK,o f course!”

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  129. @Jack D
    Since the Fiat 124 Spider is made on the same assembly line in Japan as the Miata, how do they manage to make it less reliable? Do they pay the Japanese assembly line workers extra to drink red wine at lunchtime so they will be more like Italian auto workers?

    Actually, the Fiat does have a Fiat engine in it, so that may be the answer. However, I suspect that like most Fiat-Chrysler products (1) they are going to have to discount the thing heavily in order to sell it and (ii) the resale value will really suck. If you were paying the exact same $, then I'd go with the Mazda fer sure, but I strongly suspect that the actual street price of the Fiat after incentives (not their phony inflated list price) and the value of a used one will both be considerably less than the Mazda similarly equipped. Is half a second in the 0-60 worth thousands of $?

    The Eyetalians get those made on a Monday morning.

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  130. SFG says:
    @anon
    (((Jack Baruth)))

    I was wondering how long it would take someone to bring that up given it’s completely unrelated in this particular case. Unless Israel wants to start making cars?

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  131. Not Raul says:
    @Stan Adams
    The big, tripped-out, four-door pickup truck is the redneck car, or maybe the male-inadequacy car. The sports car is the midlife-crisis car, especially when driven by a fifty-something guy with a girlfriend young enough to be his daughter.

    I know a number of tiny - five-foot-nothing - ladies who drive monster trucks that they can barely climb inside. Is it Freudian?

    And I know a 6'8" guy - all legs - who drives a classic Volkswagen Beetle. That seems like pure masochism, but he says it works for him.

    As for me, my head scrapes the roof of a 2011 Nissan Altima, even with the seat all the way back and reclined to a 40-degree angle. (The headrest ends at the top of my neck. I never get to see the sky through the windshield.)

    Maybe I should get a Cube.

    The classic VW Beetle is a tour de force of engineering and a model of practical simplicity. Very wu.

    The New Beetle, is for rich, stupid, narcissistic first wave baby boomers.

    What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission.

    Steve: it looks like an Israeli agent trying to “take down” U.K. MPs has been caught. Perhaps the U.K. might still be a somewhat independent country.

    https://news.google.com/news/amp?caurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Famp%2F38545671#pt0-715821

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission."

    The Mazda Miata is pretty much the descendant of lightweight nimble convertible underpowered British sports cars.

    , @snorlax

    Steve: it looks like an Israeli agent trying to “take down” U.K. MPs has been caught. Perhaps the U.K. might still be a somewhat independent country.
     
    By Al Jazeera.

    Between the Israelis and the Qataris, I'll take the former any day of the week.
    , @Jack D
    A lot of the smaller British sports cars had 4s and not 6s. Some of them had less than 100hp. These cars didn't actually go fast, it just FELT like you were going fast because you were in a tiny car only inches off the ground and you could see the road rushing past from the holes in the floorboards.
    , @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Steve: it looks like an Israeli agent trying to “take down” U.K. MPs has been caught.
     
    From The Guardian:

    Labour calls for inquiry into Israeli diplomat's 'take down MPs' plot


    The revelations also provoked anger among many Conservative politicians. One former minister in David Cameron’s government said the embassy’s efforts to exert improper influence on British public life went far further than any plot to “take down” unhelpful members of parliament.

    Writing anonymously in the Mail on Sunday, the former minister said: “British foreign policy is in hock to Israeli influence at the heart of our politics, and those in authority have ignored what is going on.
     


    “Lots of countries try to force their views on others, but what is scandalous in the UK is that instead of resisting it, successive governments have submitted to it, take donors’ money, and allowed Israeli influence-peddling to shape policy and even determine the fate of ministers.”
     
    Maybe the Israelis were long-game motivated and brazen enough to have helped stop the Hildebeast. If I were a Zionist hawk, I wouldn’t want to risk having US President Merkel 2: Katzenfrau Boogaloo yelling “Mr. Netanyahu, bulldoze those settlements!”

    If Hillary’s wack enough to parade around with “Mothers of the Movement,” giving public approval to apologists and sowers of violent discord in her own country, she could’ve easily ‘thrown Israel under the bus’ if she found it to be personally or emotionally expedient: What if her Huma has her own specific, unpublicized ideas about foreign policy and threatened to stop giving Presidential cankle rubs?

    , @Stan Adams
    Have you ever seen The War of the Roses (1989)? It's a black comedy about an acrimonious divorce.

    There's a scene where the wife tries to kill the husband by crushing his Morgan 4/4 with her monster SUV:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Iza5db5Zvk
    , @Crawfurdmuir

    What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission.
     
    I've already mentioned the Morgan Roadster, but there's also the revived Alvis -

    http://www.thealviscarcompany.co.uk
    , @SIMPLE
    I had a 1983 280zx turbo. Bought used in 1987 with less than 10K on it. And literally little old lady driven. And not the millennial literally. Literally literally.

    Straight six. Looong nose.

    My USNA roomie, who owned a 1960s EJAG. E! always said good things about it.
  132. About six months ago I shopped for a car for the first time in over 30 years. (I’m moving from NYC, where you don’t need a car, to CA, where you definitely do.) Research junkie that I am, I did a lot of test driving and I read a lot of reviews and comments online. The car journalists are definitely well-informed and they write well, but Steve’s right — car journos live in their own universe, where cars and car-ness are infinitely more important than they are to the rest of us. I finally wound up relying on the car forums on Reddit; the buyer reviews on Edmunds were much more helpful to me than the pro reviews were. Everyday people’s reports are often great.

    I was mainly interested in mid to fullsize SUVs, and I wound up buying a Toyota 4Runner. That was an interesting case. Pro reviews of 4Runners are only half enthusiastic, but real-people comments and reviews on the car are 90% very enthusiastic. The difference between the pro reviews and the real-people enthusiasm where the 4Runner goes was really dramatic, more so than on any other car I looked at. The pro reviewers have a lot of reservations, all of which are intelligent and valid btw. But a lot of real people love the 4Runner. I found I loved it too, much more so than the SUVs that ticked off the boxes that the pro reviewers seem to think are important. The 4Runner isn’t just well-made and practical, it’s also lovable and fun. A lot of cars these days are well-made and practical, but few of them are lovable and fun, and lovable and fun turned out to be important to me. I smile every time I drive my 4Runner, and I really enjoy that. I don’t know why the pro reviewers don’t register that about the 4Runner.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SFG
    Toyota directs their work directly at the mass market, which is why critics don't like it. They're the Norman Rockwell of cars--technically proficient with values (dependability and ease of use in the case of Toyota) the elite doesn't appreciate but the commoners do.

    As I recall from your blog, you liked Rockwell for that reason. I think it makes sense you would like the Toyota too. ;)

    I still have my Camry I bought in 2003, used.

  133. snorlax says:
    @Jack D
    Since the Fiat 124 Spider is made on the same assembly line in Japan as the Miata, how do they manage to make it less reliable? Do they pay the Japanese assembly line workers extra to drink red wine at lunchtime so they will be more like Italian auto workers?

    Actually, the Fiat does have a Fiat engine in it, so that may be the answer. However, I suspect that like most Fiat-Chrysler products (1) they are going to have to discount the thing heavily in order to sell it and (ii) the resale value will really suck. If you were paying the exact same $, then I'd go with the Mazda fer sure, but I strongly suspect that the actual street price of the Fiat after incentives (not their phony inflated list price) and the value of a used one will both be considerably less than the Mazda similarly equipped. Is half a second in the 0-60 worth thousands of $?

    You think a used Fiat will save you thousands of dollars?

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  134. Not Raul says:
    @David Davenport
    How does this Cadillac impress you gentlemen?

    Cadillac V series 3.s 0-60MPH


    Cadillac's trying to reposition itself* to compete with BMW, Audi, Lexus, Jaguar, etc. The ATS-V is Caddy's reply to the BMW M3. 0-60 miles per hour ( not km ) in 3.8 seconds? That's not Donald Trump's father's Cadillac! It's faster than an M3.

    * Not selling too successfully so far. Caddy's old image persists.

    Me, I'd like to have a bright red four door ( fours doors for practicality ) ATS-V with six speed manual transmission. Take that, foreign snobs, Camaro and Mustang drivers, and Democrats!

    Can't afford a new one just now, but the resale value of the things seems to drop rapidly.

    Wow! That’s a hot car. It accelerates almost as fast as a top of the line Jag.

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  135. Kaz says:

    Sounds like a case of population aging to me.

    Cars when baby boomers were in their youth are different from cars they need when they realize they didn’t save enough for their old age.

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  136. @Not Raul
    The classic VW Beetle is a tour de force of engineering and a model of practical simplicity. Very wu.

    The New Beetle, is for rich, stupid, narcissistic first wave baby boomers.

    What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission.

    Steve: it looks like an Israeli agent trying to "take down" U.K. MPs has been caught. Perhaps the U.K. might still be a somewhat independent country.

    https://news.google.com/news/amp?caurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Famp%2F38545671#pt0-715821

    “What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission.”

    The Mazda Miata is pretty much the descendant of lightweight nimble convertible underpowered British sports cars.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Not Raul
    I was thinking of a car with a straight six (inspired by cars like the MGB), not an underpowered car with a four cylinder (like a Miata). Something closer would be a Honda S2000.
    , @Olorin
    Good luck closing the convertible top if you're over six feet tall.
  137. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “50k miles a year is not unusual for a traveling salesman…”

    Steve could do a nostalgia piece on this old icon from the glory days:

    Checker Marathon:

    “…automobile produced by the Checker Motors Corporation…

    …between 1961 and 1982…

    …With the exception of United States government-mandated 5 mph bumpers in 1974 and ongoing mechanical changes, the Marathon remained virtually unchanged during its 21-year production run…

    …For decades, Checker was the taxicab of choice for New York City and many other American cities…”

    Checker Motors Corporation:

    “…Checker usually managed its target volume of 6000-7000 cars a year.”

    “An Illustrated History Of Checker Motors”, Paul Niedermeyer, The Truth About Cars, April 15, 2010:

    “…For sixty years, Checker Motors had a record unbroken run of profits building a few thousand cars per year …In 1981, it posted its first loss, $488,326, and its owner made good on his threat to stop production of the iconic Marathon if his workers didn’t accept wage concessions.”

    “1960-1982 Checkers”, Daniel Strohl, Hemmings Classic Car, December, 2006:

    “…The company took that lack of change during this period seriously, almost to the level of religious zeal. When the hottest trend in automobile design was glitzy chrome and sky-high fins, Checker didn’t change…

    …Checker’s insistence on the reliability of its cars has proven a double-edged sword for the cars’ fates…

    …As early as 1966, Checker began to install Perkins 4.2-liter four-cylinder diesel engines, staking a claim as the first American automobile manufacturer to offer a diesel and allegedly returning 30 miles to the gallon at the time. That Perkins diesel lasted just one year in the domestic market…

    …in 1979, Checker made optional the Oldsmobile 350-cu.in. diesel V-8–which could return 23 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. Gaseous fuel was also an option–our feature car uses a liquefied petroleum gas (propane) version of the 3.8-liter V-6, a version that Checker made available from the factory only in 1982, for $275.”

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  138. SFG says:
    @Paleo Retiree
    About six months ago I shopped for a car for the first time in over 30 years. (I'm moving from NYC, where you don't need a car, to CA, where you definitely do.) Research junkie that I am, I did a lot of test driving and I read a lot of reviews and comments online. The car journalists are definitely well-informed and they write well, but Steve's right -- car journos live in their own universe, where cars and car-ness are infinitely more important than they are to the rest of us. I finally wound up relying on the car forums on Reddit; the buyer reviews on Edmunds were much more helpful to me than the pro reviews were. Everyday people's reports are often great.

    I was mainly interested in mid to fullsize SUVs, and I wound up buying a Toyota 4Runner. That was an interesting case. Pro reviews of 4Runners are only half enthusiastic, but real-people comments and reviews on the car are 90% very enthusiastic. The difference between the pro reviews and the real-people enthusiasm where the 4Runner goes was really dramatic, more so than on any other car I looked at. The pro reviewers have a lot of reservations, all of which are intelligent and valid btw. But a lot of real people love the 4Runner. I found I loved it too, much more so than the SUVs that ticked off the boxes that the pro reviewers seem to think are important. The 4Runner isn't just well-made and practical, it's also lovable and fun. A lot of cars these days are well-made and practical, but few of them are lovable and fun, and lovable and fun turned out to be important to me. I smile every time I drive my 4Runner, and I really enjoy that. I don't know why the pro reviewers don't register that about the 4Runner.

    Toyota directs their work directly at the mass market, which is why critics don’t like it. They’re the Norman Rockwell of cars–technically proficient with values (dependability and ease of use in the case of Toyota) the elite doesn’t appreciate but the commoners do.

    As I recall from your blog, you liked Rockwell for that reason. I think it makes sense you would like the Toyota too. ;)

    I still have my Camry I bought in 2003, used.

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    • Replies: @Desiderius
    I bought a '93 Camry with over 100k miles in '99 and sold it three years later with 150k miles for more than I paid for it. Ran like a top.
  139. Jack D says:
    @5371
    Recently for you must be 1960.

    Actually the requirement that appliances come with plugs in the UK went into effect in 1994. I think in the US the 2 bladed plug has been standard since at least the ’20s.

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  140. snorlax says:
    @Not Raul
    The classic VW Beetle is a tour de force of engineering and a model of practical simplicity. Very wu.

    The New Beetle, is for rich, stupid, narcissistic first wave baby boomers.

    What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission.

    Steve: it looks like an Israeli agent trying to "take down" U.K. MPs has been caught. Perhaps the U.K. might still be a somewhat independent country.

    https://news.google.com/news/amp?caurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Famp%2F38545671#pt0-715821

    Steve: it looks like an Israeli agent trying to “take down” U.K. MPs has been caught. Perhaps the U.K. might still be a somewhat independent country.

    By Al Jazeera.

    Between the Israelis and the Qataris, I’ll take the former any day of the week.

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    • Replies: @Not Raul
    If the Israelis get caught red handed, and they even admit to what they did, you can't get them off the hook by bashing Arabs. The fact that Israel may be preferable to Qatar doesn't mean that they have a free pass to do whatever they want.

    Look at it this way: Does the fact that you like Israel more than Qatar mean you'd let an Israeli steal your wallet?

  141. Jack D says:
    @Not Raul
    The classic VW Beetle is a tour de force of engineering and a model of practical simplicity. Very wu.

    The New Beetle, is for rich, stupid, narcissistic first wave baby boomers.

    What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission.

    Steve: it looks like an Israeli agent trying to "take down" U.K. MPs has been caught. Perhaps the U.K. might still be a somewhat independent country.

    https://news.google.com/news/amp?caurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Famp%2F38545671#pt0-715821

    A lot of the smaller British sports cars had 4s and not 6s. Some of them had less than 100hp. These cars didn’t actually go fast, it just FELT like you were going fast because you were in a tiny car only inches off the ground and you could see the road rushing past from the holes in the floorboards.

    Read More
    • Replies: @res

    A lot of the smaller British sports cars had 4s and not 6s.
     
    There were also small British sports cars with V8s like the Sunbeam Tiger and AC Cobra. Those went fast.
    , @Buffalo Joe
    Jack, Bingo. The thrill of the old MGs, Austins and Triumphs was in down shifting and cornering down some country lane not roaring down the ThruWay
    , @Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta
    OK ya'll are having just too much fun mocking hatchbacks & FIATs...

    Two years ago in a fit of premature (perhaps right on time?) mid-life-crisis, I was shopping for a fun ride. After testing Mustang GT and Audi TT, I thought what the hell I'll try a FIAT 500 Abarth C. The dealer that loaned me out one to test for the whole weekend sure knew what they are doing just like drug dealers give the first taste for free. It put some real WHEEE in the weekend. I'm not a car expert by any means, but that tiny little machine was so much more fun to drive than the Mustang... even if it lacked the macho swagger and elegance of the newest series. It's 160 hp more than well enough move the little lightweight body around and its small form and tight suspension made it handle more precisely than the Mustang. Maybe I'm just not skilled enough driver to handle all the power of the Mustang; it did feel like trying to hold the reins on some strong wild horses. Compared to that, like Jack D mentions, the 500 is so close to the road it just feels fast and is incredible fun.

    Instead of responding directly to all the mocking comments about FIAT quality and Tony having to fix it again, I'd rather not jinx my experience by saying anything about the quality of its build. But every time a friend with a VW has a car in the shop for expensive repairs I tease that if they really wanted reliability they should have gone with precision Italian engineering and quality instead of being seduced by the German appeal to romance and passion behind the wheel.

    So what does the hatchback represent about lowered expectations? The Ciquecento's backseat is serviceable as long as the passengers are <70 inches tall, whereas the Mustang's backseat can at best be used by children. Furthermore, as previous commenters note a hatchback is infinitely more versatile than a sedan with a trunk. Hatches give more and more variable cargo space and are fine for transporting everything from bicycles, flatpack furniture to dogs... for which sedans are completely useless. (Unless one uses the Romney family approach of putting the dog in a crate on the roof of the car...) So something that Mr. Baruth doesn't really consider is that perhaps people might have been married to the sedan form more for image and status reasons than for functionality and comfort. Perhaps people had been choosing the sedans, even though they don't offer the functionality of the hatchbacks, because in their minds sedans were what proper cars looked like, and they were insecure and didn't want to be associated with the the hatchbacks that were viewed as cheap and inferior. Now the CUVs, SUVs and hatchbacks are almost the same car, if in different dimensions. For the young active & adventurous urban but casual folks who like to play outdoors, in the woods, the mountains or on the waters these clearly offer superior utility. Sedans would be a real compromise no matter what it means for the driver's image.

  142. What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission.

    Someone has:

    https://www.morgan-motor.co.uk/roadster/

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  143. Rod1963 says:
    @Ivy
    A guy who lived two blocks away used to commute over 200 miles a day. His kids were screwed up, delinquents, promiscuous, who would have thought they'd be impacted.

    IOW a fool who put his career before his life and family. Sadly they are a dime a dozen among white working professionals who want that nice suburban life along with that nice urban paycheck. Of course they never can enjoy where they live because they are either too tired or working.

    Oh yeah it’s corrosive as hell on their physical and mental health.

    And what money he made will be blown on his kids lawyers and rehab stays.

    But hey look at that nice 2 story ranch style home.

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  144. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @anon

    I see people in newer cars but I’m baffled how they can afford them unlessthey’re paying everything they Owen for it
     
    It's the next housing bubble.

    The banks weren't fixed or punished so they're doing it again but with cars this time.

    “The banks weren’t fixed or punished so they’re doing it again but with cars this time.”

    I’ve heard that subprime car loans are possibly the next bubble, along with school loans.

    Also, I think the banks are still doing it with houses – low down payment requirements, low interest rates, some kind of government assistance to purchase houses. People who shouldn’t be buying houses are buying them. Where I live, 25-year-olds are buying 400K-500K houses, because the mortgage payments are not much higher than, or are equal to, rent. Sometimes a few people are going in together to buy a house or they’re buying one with the expectation that they’ll rent out a room, This doesn’t sound like very fiscally sound policies.

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  145. prosa123 says: • Website

    A recent article at Jalopnik had a highly disturbing statistic: 32% of new car buyers are upside-down in their trades, in other words they owe more money on the vehicles they’re trading in than the vehicles are worth. Dealers are only too willing to help, rolling over these deficiencies into the new car loans, which of course just perpetuates the cycle of being upside down.

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  146. anonguy says:
    @Cletus Rothschild
    "I don’t understand the thesis of this posting."

    Steve regularly posts stories that touch on his various interests that have a social component such as movies and baseball. Personally, I think the original article is terribly argued piece of rose-colored nostalgia.

    You forgot to read my second comment. The post was incomplete when I first commented.

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  147. Neoconned says:
    @whorefinder
    Love how Jack subtly criticizes the latest grrrl-power Star Wars films backhandedly.

    Cars are one of those subjects that is very guy-oriented and the feminists have a hard time getting into. Feminists just don't seem all that interested in breaking through the glass ceiling of the mechanic's garage floor, though they like the occasional depiction of the tomboy chick covered in grease changing someone's oil----except when her depiction fulfills both feminist and straight male fantasies, e.g. Megan Fox in the Transformer movies.

    It seems feminism can't be happy if men are also made happy in the process.

    Also, women, even feminists, even today, still seem to expect that men will know a lot about/be absolutely competent at certain activities based on being men. Cars, computers, and killing bugs seem to be the big three. Doesn't matter who the guy is, he's just supposed to know and do those things, according to gyno-americans.

    I dated a strident feminist in my younger days (forgive me, I was young), and one day I was driving and we had to pull over to the side of the road to assess a problem. She practically ordered me to get out and fix it and didn't get out at all, despite knowing my paucity of knowledge about cars. To this day I can't tell if it was more about her feminism evaporating in the face of an automobile problem or about her feminism requiring that all men serve her needs and bow down before her.

    That’s me, I know fuck all about cars.

    If I could I’d live in a big city where you didn’t even need a car.

    Steve, here are some of those articles:

    http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/15/technology/uber-bill-gurley-sxsw/

    https://www.google.com/amp/amp.usatoday.com/story/78994526/?client=ms-android-americamovil-us

    The number of ppl driving is falling & the number of miles being driven is falling.

    People are buying fewer cars and keeping them for longer.

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    • Replies: @CrunchybutRealistCon
    Yeah, the future will be one of more bicycles, motorbikes, Uber, Car sharing co-ops, and people buying 3 three yr old 4 cylinder cars. When people's incomes get pinched, eventually their expectations about car needs get recalibrated.

    One of the interesting things about the Camry - if you talk with a Toyota mechanic - is that the 1985-90 vintage is considered one of the best car models EVER for reliability & longevity. It was common for them to exceed 300,000 miles on the original transmission if cared for reasonably. Some argue that it was such a good car that it was hurting Toyota's sales, and it was intentionally degraded in the 90s so it would't last so darn long.

    The looming decline in car ownership, and falling frequency of new car sales is the canary in the coal mine for the housing market correction. Millenials simply aren't going to be buying new homes or cars in anywhere near Boomer levels. Condos, rentals or 1940s minimalist homes will be the new normal after 2020.
  148. Dr. X says:
    @Anonymous
    I don't understand how people afford these trucks, which as you note easily reach 40 or 50 grand plus use lots of gas. Especially since most people who own trucks rarely use the truck beds.

    I don’t understand how people afford these trucks, which as you note easily reach 40 or 50 grand plus use lots of gas.

    I don’t either. I paid $13,500 for my fullsize pickup truck OTD in 2008 when gas was $4 and they couldn’t give them away fast enough. It was a hell of a deal — but the MSRP on it back then was only $18,000.

    Try finding an $18,000 truck today! I think people are “affording” them the following ways: 1) leasing them for 30,000 miles 2) making payments for seven years 3) buying used ones with 90,000 miles for $20 grand 4) inheriting money 5) living in a singlewide trailer and paying truck payments instead of mortgage payments, or 6) some combination of “all of the above.”

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  149. Grumpy says:
    @Jack D
    The Truth About Cars guys are (or profess to be) mystified at the popularity of compact SUVs. They are mystified that no one wants a manual transmission anymore. They are mystified that people prefer reliable Honda Civics to lively (but less reliable) Mazda 3's . They seem to be mystified by a lot of things which are perfectly understandable if you de-center and don't assume that the average car buyer wants the same things that you want. Most people just want to get where they need to be and don't want to be rowing away at a gear shift - they'd rather be texting with that hand.

    BTW, that V-8 Cutlass that they are mourning had less hp than a modern 4 cylinder and terrible space utilization - it was all hood for that giant V-8 with a cramped passenger compartment and 2 doors because GM was too cheap to give you 4. The reason the engine had no power is that the Big 3 refused to switch to fuel injection because carburetors were really really cheap. If it made it to 100k miles before it rusted through or blew the engine it was a miracle. The good old days - they were awful.

    This is only going to get worse - the current generation (for the most part) is not into cars at all. They prefer to live in some hipsterish place and take an Uber. Once the Uber is driverless they will prefer it even more. No one really cares about what brand of taxi is picking you up anymore than they care about what brand of elevator they are riding in or whether the plane they are on is an Airbus or a Boeing. Some folks at MIT just figured out that if you replaced all the taxis in NYC with shared (probably driverless) Uber type vehicles by connecting all ride requests to one dispatching system you could reduce the # of vehicles needed by 2/3 and speed up traffic tremendously.

    The TAC guys will be really sad when they take their driver's licenses away, not because they are old and decrepit (though they will be) but because it will no longer be considered safe to allow drunk, distractible, fallible humans to control 2 ton boxes of steel hurtling at 70mph. Not only will they not be allowed to manually shift, they won't be allowed to steer or brake either.

    Just saw an old friend in the Bay Area. He works for Google; his wife works for a start-up. They’re in their thirties. They have a car but almost never drive. They take public transportation to work (not BART, because it’s “too crowded and dirty,” but not the private Google bus). They have all of their groceries delivered.

    One issue increasingly affecting the poor and the affluent alike in the Bay Area is that there is nowhere to park.

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  150. anonguy says:
    @Anonymous
    Those cars from the seventies had primitive suspensions and crude mechanical systems such as gravity-operated fast idle cams on carburetors. They were simple to work on but changing your points every 12,000 miles was a chore. They handled abominably compared to today's sporty sedans and to characterize a Toyota Camry like car as a "mommy's basement" like car compared to a land whale like the Cutlass is nonsensical.

    Today's Camry, Civic or Accord with rack and pinion steering and MacPherson strut suspension runs a slalom test faster than any car (commonly) commercially available in 1973 or 1965, including Triumphs, Fiats, Stingrays, Jaguars etc. I drove an old TR3 then and it was basically a tractor motor mounted in a crude crate with a ride like a buckboard bouncing down a dusty trail in one of those old western movies.

    Sometime around 1985 or so Car and Driver (or one of those rags) ran a piece in which the sawed-off Honda CRX ran their slalom test in the third fastest time they'd ever recorded, beaten only by a Ferrari or Maserati and the current Corvette Stingray. And the auto industry has never looked back.

    It's fun to muse about old times and ponder the bad old days, but I suspect the author's recollections are tinted rosily by his recalling his first big date and Friday night burgers at Frisch's BigBoy with the gang in Dad's sporty 442 which could indeed, outrun everyone else's Impalas, Furys, Galaxies, Polaras, and 88s--and Country Squires, who could forget them?

    You nailed it.

    Get in one of those dreamboats in heavy rain and traffic dense enough to be competitive but light enough to remain high speed someplace like Beltway in DC or Perimeter in Atlanta and you’ll have the white knuckle experience of your life.

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  151. Jefferson says:
    @SPMoore8
    Most of the people who do the 200 mpd gig work in a big city, with consequent long hours, thus six hour daily commutes (leave at 5 AM and get home at 830 PM.) I know people like that. They are usually married to their careers and the family suffers. My case was atypical, it was driven more by necessity than ambition.

    “Most of the people who do the 200 mpd gig work in a big city, with consequent long hours, thus six hour daily commutes (leave at 5 AM and get home at 830 PM.) I know people like that. They are usually married to their careers and the family suffers. My case was atypical, it was driven more by necessity than ambition.”

    I have read about some Silicon Valley employees who reside as far away as Sacramento. They must be some very frugal techies who feel housing prices in the Valley & San Francisco are way too expensive for their tastes and they much prefer the housing prices of Sactown.

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    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    There are a lot of reasons for long commutes. Sometimes people move their families far away where it is cheap and are willing to make that sacrifice. Yes, sometimes it is about the guy with the McManson, the 3 car garage, and the BMW. But not always.

    Sometimes people have a home in one location, and the only kind of work they can get is far away from home: so you have guys commuting 80-90 miles each way not to disrupt the family, and/or also because they have all their money in their home. This was not that uncommon even 30 years ago. Sometimes, after the kids are grown and gone, they compromise by getting a cheap flat near where they work and then commute back and forth on the weekends.

    I will be the first person to say that spending 20+ hours behind the wheel is not good for your health. But there are positive tradeoffs, if you like diving: music, books, languages, and solitude. The guys who work in Silicon Valley are probably not only saving money on housing, but also by living in Sacto they have a lower standard of living, more space, debatably better and more open environment for children, lower mortgage, etc. At least that's how I would process it.

    When I was a kid in the '60's I used to meet older family men who lived up beyond Santa Rosa and who would commute to SF or the Est Bay. I thought that was ungodly. But I can see the wisdom of it now.
    , @res

    They must be some very frugal techies who feel housing prices in the Valley & San Francisco are way too expensive for their tastes
     
    Not sure if it's an issue in these cases, but prop 13 can result in a disincentive to move.
  152. anonguy says:
    @Jim Christian
    Hyundai Sonata and Elantra hurt the Camry bad the past four or five years. The Accord and Altima, too. First to DFI, first to 40 MPG, the Accent-Sonata lineup hurt em all.

    Meh, behind the wheel, the reviewers OUGHT to say that there isn't a pinch of shit's difference between them. Cookie-cutters all, clean burning, efficient, supposedly "safe". The fuels, the oils and lubricants, fuel injection, all the cars are the same. Hell, in Los Angeles and the smog-ridden venues of China, these cars emit cleaner emissions than the air they took into their engines. Win, win.

    Meh, behind the wheel, the reviewers OUGHT to say that there isn’t a pinch of shit’s difference between them.

    True dat. I suspect all come out of the same one or two plants just like VCR’s used to.

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    • Replies: @Jim Christian

    True dat. I suspect all come out of the same one or two plants just like VCR’s used to.
     
    Well, as regards engines, the tech is quite the same, emissions governed under OBD 2 and 3 and whatever other they've advanced to. That cursed Check Engine light rules all these days.

    There is variety in the engineering that's unique. Some cars spin small engines to high redlines, others use Turbos, others are just big old engines, they all get results different ways, but end of the day they're quite refined, and again, efficient and long lived. The interiors, once you get past leather or cloth, the ergonomics are mostly the same, the layouts, no difference in them.

    Well, until you start talking Volvo, heh..
  153. I still have my 1968 SS396 Chevelle. Hate the offshored stuff. Make America Great Again!

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    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

    I still have my 1968 SS396 Chevelle. Hate the offshored stuff. Make America Great Again!

     

    My first car was a 1969 Chevelle. Lordy, but I loved that thing. I wish I still had it!
  154. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    I am a 50-something guy who only owned a car for a year or two in his 20s. It was a dying Fiat Spider convertible and god was it fun to drive. As Jack D in comment 146 says “it just FELT like you were going fast”. Later on I also had a rental car for work a few months at a time. Otherwise I prefer to ride a bicycle or take public transportation or walk or jog, for various reasons.

    My realization now is: wow, I never got laid as much and as easily as when I had a car…* It wasn’t that hard without a car, but wow, having a car took it to another level. It’s just way more easy and intimate and nice to drive a girl around than to take the subway with her.

    If I had had a car longer I would probably be married with kids now. Wow. I was too dumb to fully realize that until now. I wonder what the correlation is between fertility and car ownership.

    * Okay I also got laid super easily over a few months backpacking in Europe in my late twenties, but it was less potentially-serious sleeping around.

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  155. @Hardinge
    I drive a Camry. Their attraction is that you can pick up a good, low mileage example for half the cost of a worn out pickup and they rarely need repairs. The people who choose a Corolla over a Camry are sacrificing a lot of room and comfort for a couple of MPG. My Camry gets in excess of 30 mpg at highway speeds and is just cruising casually at 75 mph--about 2200 rpm.

    I strongly suspect that my Camry will outlive me by at least 100,000 miles and still be capable of going cross country on a moment's notice with nothing but regular maintenance.

    It's one of the best cars ever conceived--a poor man's Lexus.

    I’m still driving my ’08 Optima I got with 21k miles in ’09 for $8900*. Going strong at 110k miles with minimal repairs.

    * – uncle is a Kia dealer, so retail might have been $12-13k. Still a reasonable buy. The wife wants my next to be a pickup.

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  156. anonguy says:
    @Russell
    I think option 2 is likely based on the progress Google have made with their program, and the fact that everyone in the car industry and plenty in IT both software and hardware and many others have taken note and jumped in boots and all.
    Transport as a service is coming and it's coming fast.
    The cars themselves will change enormously as a result. The end result will be a low performance, very low weight, relatively short range electric vehicle.
    Of what use are 200 horses in a robotaxi? If crash rates go down to near zero of what use is all the heavy crash protection?
    The other thing that will change enormously is the load factor (currently a pitiful 1.3 people per vehicle). Once enough people start using Uber or equivalents in ride sharing matches will be easier to find. Increasing load factor could see the end of congestion.
    Our cities are also going to change enormously as a consequence.
    Goodbye parking buildings, goodbye vehicle smog.
    If it's done properly I'm not going to miss driving eve one little bit.

    Yeah, no one misses having stables in their back yards and people forever getting thrown or knocked off horses, etc.

    I figure it is the endgame for driving one’s vehicle so I’m riding this out in style with a 2016 370z Nismo and a supercharged 2015 Tacoma.

    Note to Steve and weenie Rav4 and w/apologies to Crocodile Dundee: That’s not a car, this is a car.

    Making sure I’m taking lots of pics/vids roaring about in both for my great-great grandchildren to marvel over.

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  157. @SFG
    Toyota directs their work directly at the mass market, which is why critics don't like it. They're the Norman Rockwell of cars--technically proficient with values (dependability and ease of use in the case of Toyota) the elite doesn't appreciate but the commoners do.

    As I recall from your blog, you liked Rockwell for that reason. I think it makes sense you would like the Toyota too. ;)

    I still have my Camry I bought in 2003, used.

    I bought a ’93 Camry with over 100k miles in ’99 and sold it three years later with 150k miles for more than I paid for it. Ran like a top.

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  158. anonguy says:
    @J1234
    As I recall, it was the mediocre "Colonnade" body style of Cutlass that set the sales records, not the pretty pre-Colonnade "hardtop" versions (the 442 in the pic is a hardtop.) GM offered the beautiful hardtop body style on various cars from '49 to '72. For this reason, some custom auto shows of 25 to 30 years ago wouldn't allow vehicles made after '72 to enter.

    I believe the '73 and later Colonnade Cutlass outsold other cars (in part) not because it was pretty, but because it wasn't as homely as other cars of the era. When I was in high school in the mid-70's NOBODY wanted a brand new car. The mandated 5 mph bumpers were considered hideous. I think the earlier hardtops may have been considered less safe in a rollover than Colonades - which all GM brands had switched over to - so safety was perceived as being reason for the change in body styling. They even discontinued convertibles in the '70's for a while.

    And then there was the dramatic reduction of horsepower in '73 and '74. I remember a guy I worked with bought a brand new '75 Corvette with an insurance windfall, and all of us guys were like "yawn" - our reaction would've been totally different had he bought his car 4 or 5 years earlier. Some makes did continue attractive body styles past '72 - the Dodge Challenger and the 2nd generation Ford Mustang - but most didn't. The top selling Cutlass didn't exemplify the apex of the model, IMO.

    When I was in high school in the mid-70′s NOBODY wanted a brand new car.

    I was going to say the same thing. Between first oil shock, safety and emissions standards, and malaise driven crappy design/workmanship, 70′s cars sucked.

    It was the sixties ones that rocked and maybe into early 70′s. Some of the seventies ones had the similar bodies/lines, but they were potemkin villages.

    Everyone thought it was impossible to ever have a fast car again because of emissions and fuel mileage issues. Not without reason, since they couldn’t even make a reliable car clock. Convertibles were thought to have been mandated out of existence, it was this weird urban myth, but nobody made any convertibles at all for years and years.

    I remember many times in the 80s being delighted that the auto industry was starting to make stylish, powerful, and more reliable cars, being delighted at the reintroduction of convertibles, etc.

    Cars sucked in the 70s, period.

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    • Replies: @J1234

    Everyone thought it was impossible to ever have a fast car again because of emissions and fuel mileage issues. Not without reason, since they couldn’t even make a reliable car clock.
     
    I remember that about car clocks. Of course, even back in the 1960's and 50's, car clocks were notoriously unreliable. Only so much chuck hole trauma a mechanical movement can take.

    My theory is that GM went to the ultra large engine displacement in performance passenger cars in the early '70's (455 c.i.d. for Pontiac, Olds and Buick - 454 c.i.d. for Chevy) because they could see lower horsepower ratings coming. Why do I say that? Because large displacement still gives lots of torque, even while horsepower decreases. The '72 models saw the first substantial HP decline, but the 1972 Olds 442 W30 still made 300 HP...that's still a lot of power, just not factory race car power. The power magic for consumers, however, was because of the 410 ft/lb.s of torque that the Olds 455 made. The (full size) '63 Olds 88 Holiday coupe I just sold recently only made 280 HP with it's 2 bbl 394 engine, but it had 415 ft/lb.s of torque (at whatever rpm) and you could really feel it, despite the probably substandard performance as a dragster. 1972 was still considered a desirable year to own a new car (for most "car guys") but 1973's new body styles were emblematic of the direction Detroit was going.

    Of course, for Trans Am owners, the muscle car era didn't really end till the early '80's, but we always saw those guys as living in a delusional fantasy world filled with "screaming chickens." Keep in mind, however, you could still do an aftermarket build on lots of v8's that would bring back the power.

  159. anonguy says:
    @bob sykes
    Had a Miata for three years. Loved it. Wife hated it, so I drove it alone and didn't need to converse. Best in Spring and Fall with the top down.

    Loved my 3rd gen RX7. Lent it to a lady friend when her car was in the shop. When she returned it, she was practically traumatized, said it was hard to drive (literally, took strength to turn wheel, brakes, clutch, stick shift), and so forth.

    I was utterly astonished at her perspective, I thought it was the dreamiest thing…

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  160. @Jack D
    SS Obersturmbannführer Wankel was a pretty hardcore Nazi.

    No one (including Mazda) has really been able to get the rotary to work as well as a piston engine. Conceptually it's great that it creates its own rotary motion and doesn't have to convert linear motion to rotation with a crank so you can rev really high. But there have always been issues with getting the tips and side of the rotor to seal to the combustion chamber . It is similar to a 2 cycle engine in that there are no valves so you always get some mixing of exhaust gases in the combustion chamber and unburned fuel in the exhaust, which leads to high emissions and lousy fuel economy. The Japanese in their usual determined fashion were able to refine the thing to the point where it could pass emissions but it will always be a curiosity and not mainstream.

    No one (including Mazda) has really been able to get the rotary to work as well as a piston engine.

    If you’re going to go rotary, you should really go all the way:

    h/t Iowahawk

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  161. OT but far more important.

    I do not know of any law that mandates the swearing in be done in DC.
    Several Presidents were not.
    If I were Trump I’d pick a good right to bear open arms carry State in middle America.

    Let’s see how the liberal violent filth handle that.

    How better to demonstrate that things have changed?

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  162. SPMoore8 says:
    @Jefferson
    "Most of the people who do the 200 mpd gig work in a big city, with consequent long hours, thus six hour daily commutes (leave at 5 AM and get home at 830 PM.) I know people like that. They are usually married to their careers and the family suffers. My case was atypical, it was driven more by necessity than ambition."

    I have read about some Silicon Valley employees who reside as far away as Sacramento. They must be some very frugal techies who feel housing prices in the Valley & San Francisco are way too expensive for their tastes and they much prefer the housing prices of Sactown.

    There are a lot of reasons for long commutes. Sometimes people move their families far away where it is cheap and are willing to make that sacrifice. Yes, sometimes it is about the guy with the McManson, the 3 car garage, and the BMW. But not always.

    Sometimes people have a home in one location, and the only kind of work they can get is far away from home: so you have guys commuting 80-90 miles each way not to disrupt the family, and/or also because they have all their money in their home. This was not that uncommon even 30 years ago. Sometimes, after the kids are grown and gone, they compromise by getting a cheap flat near where they work and then commute back and forth on the weekends.

    I will be the first person to say that spending 20+ hours behind the wheel is not good for your health. But there are positive tradeoffs, if you like diving: music, books, languages, and solitude. The guys who work in Silicon Valley are probably not only saving money on housing, but also by living in Sacto they have a lower standard of living, more space, debatably better and more open environment for children, lower mortgage, etc. At least that’s how I would process it.

    When I was a kid in the ’60′s I used to meet older family men who lived up beyond Santa Rosa and who would commute to SF or the Est Bay. I thought that was ungodly. But I can see the wisdom of it now.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

    There are a lot of reasons for long commutes.

     

    Indeed. Have you read this article by Nick Paumgarten on extreme commuting? Interesting stuff.
  163. anonguy says:
    @The Z Blog
    One of my favorite things to point out to people is the drabness of our age. In 1970, a walk through a parking lot offered a rainbow of colors and all sorts of shapes and sizes. In the early seventies, the most popular color for Corvettes was orange. I think that was '73 or '72. My father's Valiant was powder blue and my mother's Plymouth was green.

    Today, the top three colors are black, gray and silver. Walk through a parking lot and it looks like film noir made in the GDR. The general ugliness of our cars is due to the unrelenting claim that form follows function in all things at all times. The neo-Puritan scolds in charge of our lives lie awake a night worried that somewhere, someone is enjoying themselves.

    One of the ironies of the age of plenty is we have a lot less fun.

    One of the ironies of the age of plenty is we have a lot less fun.

    No kidding. It seems like the inflection point was the end of the Cold War. Color went out of style with grunge trend and has never come back. Base color on all clothing these days is what I call Homeless Heather. Once in a while I go about in Oregon in a pink polo shirt just to troll everyone…

    PC went from an annoyance to deadly serious purges with Tailhook 91, Anita Hill, etc.

    Everyone got fat and started wearing formless, baggy clothes.

    Goes on and one….

    Recently, my 13yo son and i had The Talk…

    …about Eighties dance music. I remember the clubbing then, the non-obese/non-tattooed/non-pierced women in flashy clothes. About the only part one can slag on was the big hair and if that is all ya got, well….

    He was inexplicably fond of The Bangles:

    https://youtu.be/Cv6tuzHUuuk

    Worth a watch to fondly remember the times before the commissar scolds took over.

    Generally, I think it has been a less serious age since the end of the Cold War, just less to worry about and hence easier to pillory the un-PC without risk of breaking vital links in society.

    And it isn’t just Cold War, though that was huge. What ever happened to famines, epidemics, runaway kids, killer typhoons that wipe out 100k in Bangladesh. Now it is one kid washing up on a shore that is world historical.

    It is amazing how many things we don’t have to worry about anymore and how little this is remarked upon.

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  164. @Neoconned
    That's me, I know fuck all about cars.

    If I could I'd live in a big city where you didn't even need a car.

    Steve, here are some of those articles:

    http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/15/technology/uber-bill-gurley-sxsw/

    https://www.google.com/amp/amp.usatoday.com/story/78994526/?client=ms-android-americamovil-us

    The number of ppl driving is falling & the number of miles being driven is falling.

    People are buying fewer cars and keeping them for longer.

    Yeah, the future will be one of more bicycles, motorbikes, Uber, Car sharing co-ops, and people buying 3 three yr old 4 cylinder cars. When people’s incomes get pinched, eventually their expectations about car needs get recalibrated.

    One of the interesting things about the Camry – if you talk with a Toyota mechanic – is that the 1985-90 vintage is considered one of the best car models EVER for reliability & longevity. It was common for them to exceed 300,000 miles on the original transmission if cared for reasonably. Some argue that it was such a good car that it was hurting Toyota’s sales, and it was intentionally degraded in the 90s so it would’t last so darn long.

    The looming decline in car ownership, and falling frequency of new car sales is the canary in the coal mine for the housing market correction. Millenials simply aren’t going to be buying new homes or cars in anywhere near Boomer levels. Condos, rentals or 1940s minimalist homes will be the new normal after 2020.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "One of the interesting things about the Camry – if you talk with a Toyota mechanic – is that the 1985-90 vintage is considered one of the best car models EVER for reliability & longevity."

    Before Toyota brought out the Lexus luxury marque at the end of the 1980s they put everything they had into their Camrys. After that, they tried not to make Camrys too good to give you a reason to upgrade to a Lexus.

    , @Marty
    300k miles is common with the 98-01 Camry. I did it myself. Those are the ones to get, if only because they're the last with a mechanical accelerator linkage. Drive by wire is crud.
    , @Neoconned
    My roommate in college drove a 1996 Camry his mom gave him. He drove it like a grandma.

    It broke down ONE TIME in 09 and other than that lasted him without trouble til 2011 when it final got totalled in a wreck. It was almost a twentyyear car.....
  165. anonguy says:
    @Jack D
    Scott Adams says that humans make decisions based on emotion first and then rationalize their choices. They rationalize their choices so much that they don't even know it and would swear that they made a rational choice based on objective criteria. Wouldn't a minivan work for your wife and an all wheel drive sedan work for you? Why is it in Vietnam that women with kids don't need 2 1/2 ton SUVs and just put them on the back of their motor scooters? How did our moms get around without Range Rovers? What a coincidence that your choice of vehicles just happens to be fashionable right now. (I'm not picking on you personally - I'm just trying to make a point.)

    Scott Adams says that humans make decisions based on emotion first and then rationalize their choices.

    Well, if Scott Adams said it, it must be so.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ivy
    Hume said it before Adams. Also, see Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind.
  166. res says:
    @Jack D
    A lot of the smaller British sports cars had 4s and not 6s. Some of them had less than 100hp. These cars didn't actually go fast, it just FELT like you were going fast because you were in a tiny car only inches off the ground and you could see the road rushing past from the holes in the floorboards.

    A lot of the smaller British sports cars had 4s and not 6s.

    There were also small British sports cars with V8s like the Sunbeam Tiger and AC Cobra. Those went fast.

    Read More
  167. @Anon
    Whenever I sell a car that I've owned, I get a flood of calls from teenage boys who always start with the same question: Does it have a V-8 engine?

    I have to refrain from saying, 'If you think the Honda Civic/Volkswagon Rabbit that I mentioned in my ad is a V-8, you're too stupid to be buying cars, and what's more it's going to become a V-Zero if you do what I think you're planning to do with it, namely use it for drag-racing.'

    What’s the fascination with V8s? Here’s Wiki on inline sixes.

    “The straight-six layout is the simplest engine layout that possesses both primary and secondary mechanical engine balance, resulting in much less vibration than engines with fewer cylinders.”

    “Because it is a fully balanced configuration, the straight-six can be scaled up to very large sizes for heavy truck, industrial and marine use, such as the 16 L (980 cu in) Volvo diesel engine and the 15 L Cummins ISX used in heavy vehicles.[5] The largest are used to power ships, and use fuel oil. The straight-six can also be viewed as a scalable modular component of larger motors which stack several straight-sixes together, e.g. flat- or V-12s, W-18s, etc.”

    “The length of the straight-six was not a major concern in the older front-engine/rear-wheel drive vehicles, but the modern move to the more space-efficient front-engine/front-wheel drive and transverse engine (left-to-right versus front-to-back) configurations in smaller cars made the length of the V6 (one half the length of an L6 with the same bore size, plus the width of one rod) a major advantage. As a result, in recent decades automobile manufacturers have replaced most of their straight-six engines (and many of their V8s) with V6 engines..”

    “Exceptions to the shift to V engines include BMW, which specializes in high-performance straight-sixes used in a lineup of front-engine/rear-wheel-drive vehicles, almost all of BMW’s current 6-cylinder model line-up use the straight configuration, Volvo, which designed a compact straight-six engine/transmission package to fit transversely in its larger cars, and the Australian Ford Falcon, which still uses a straight-six configuration. TVR used a straight-six configuration exclusively in their final cars before their demise.

    In a reversal of previous trends, Mercedes-Benz announced a return to inline-6 engines in October 2016.[9] This was a part of a trend toward higher efficiency engines with fewer cylinders but the same power output as previous larger engines as fuel economy standards became more stringent. Manufacturers began to replace V8 engines with straight-6 engines and V6 engines with straight-4 engines, while V8 engines became smaller.”

    “An inline six engine is in practically perfect primary and secondary mechanical balance, without the use of a balance shaft. The engine is in primary couple balance because the front and rear trio of cylinders are mirror images, and the pistons move in pairs (but of course, 360° out of phase and on different strokes of the 4-stroke cycle). That is, piston #1 mirrors #6, #2 mirrors #5, and #3 mirrors #4, largely eliminating the polar rocking motion that would otherwise result.

    Secondary imbalance is largely avoided because the crankshaft has six crank throws arranged in three planes offset at 120°. The result is that the bulk of the secondary forces that are caused by the pistons’ deviation from purely sinusoidal motion sum to zero. Specifically, the second-order (twice crank speed) and fourth-order inertial free forces (see engine balance article) sum to zero, but the sixth-order and up are non-zero. This is typically a tiny contribution in most applications, but may be significant with very large displacements, despite the usual and advantageous use of long connecting rods reducing the secondary (second-order and up) oscillation in the piston motion in those applications.

    An inline four cylinder, or even a V6 engine with a crank-speed balance shaft, will experience significant secondary dynamic imbalance, resulting in engine vibration. As a general rule, the forces arising from any dynamic imbalance increase as the square of the engine speed — for example, if the speed doubles, vibration will increase by a factor of four. In contrast, inline six engines have no primary or (significant) secondary imbalances, and with carefully designed crankshaft vibration dampers to absorb torsional vibration, will run more smoothly at the same crankshaft speed (rpm). This characteristic has made the straight-six popular in some European sports-luxury cars, where smooth high-speed performance is very desirable.”

    And so on. An inline six has much to recommend it. Who needs a V-8? Remember the ad “I could have had a V-8.”? It was all just hype.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Not Raul
    I agree. The demand for V-8s and V-6s is driven largely by hype.

    The straight six is a beautiful design, and one of the things I like about BMW is that a lot of their cars have that type of engine.
    , @Anonymous
    Part of the appeal of V8s are the unique sound and vibration they have, which straight 6s lack.

    Straight 6s aren't necessarily better. They can give you more torque, but V8s can generally get you more max horsepower and get you faster on straightaways and on the highway, which is what muscle cars are for.
    , @Dr. X

    An inline six has much to recommend it. Who needs a V-8? Remember the ad “I could have had a V-8.”? It was all just hype.

     

    Some of the best engines from the 1950s-1980s were straight sixes from Ford and Dodge. They were low-revving, long-strike, torquey motors. Why, then, do people like V-8s? Because V-8s, with a shorter stroke, rev higher and make power at higher revs. The power band is wider, which is good for the tire-burning performance crowd. So for that kind of thing the V-8 was not "just hype." But for low-rev, high-torque applications such as daily commuting and trucking, straight sixes are great.
  168. res says:
    @Jefferson
    "Most of the people who do the 200 mpd gig work in a big city, with consequent long hours, thus six hour daily commutes (leave at 5 AM and get home at 830 PM.) I know people like that. They are usually married to their careers and the family suffers. My case was atypical, it was driven more by necessity than ambition."

    I have read about some Silicon Valley employees who reside as far away as Sacramento. They must be some very frugal techies who feel housing prices in the Valley & San Francisco are way too expensive for their tastes and they much prefer the housing prices of Sactown.

    They must be some very frugal techies who feel housing prices in the Valley & San Francisco are way too expensive for their tastes

    Not sure if it’s an issue in these cases, but prop 13 can result in a disincentive to move.

    Read More
  169. @Jack D
    A lot of the smaller British sports cars had 4s and not 6s. Some of them had less than 100hp. These cars didn't actually go fast, it just FELT like you were going fast because you were in a tiny car only inches off the ground and you could see the road rushing past from the holes in the floorboards.

    Jack, Bingo. The thrill of the old MGs, Austins and Triumphs was in down shifting and cornering down some country lane not roaring down the ThruWay

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  170. scrivener3 says: • Website

    I drive a Ferrari 458. The cost of the car is stupendous. Three hundred grand tied up, depreciates 10 to 20 grand per year – if – if you drive it fewer than 2,000 miles a year – more miles and it becomes a worthless paperweight that no Ferrari dealer will touch. Insurance high, maintenance high. If you drive it it will have “road rash” a nick here or there that cannot be rectified without repainting many panels which of course is death to a modern Ferrari.

    However it is a thrilling possession for someone with the money (or a person who waited a lifetime to buy a dream). Sometimes I just go into the garage an look at the lines. I am a “garage gazer.”

    In high school, the father of one of my friends was a civil war geek. He owned uniforms, weapons, swords, everything. Whenever the American History teacher covered the Civil War my friend would bring in parts of the collection. When bought it was just old junk. It might be worth $10 million complete by my estimate. His father had no interest in the money he lost or could gain. It was a passion. As an adult it is hard to kindle a passion.

    Read More
  171. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Part of it is that CUVs and hatchbacks can haul lots of stuff, especially with the rear seats down, and thus can be more practical than larger sedans.

    Read More
  172. Mr. Anon says:

    I have a 2000 Camry; it’s a 4-cyl and is woefully under-powered compared to the mid-80′s era Camrys (my parents had one of those and it was pretty zippy. At some point in the 90s, they upgraded the engine from 1600 cc to 2000 cc, but increased the size and weight of the car a lot.

    On an unrelated note, why is that you always seem to see fat guys driving those ridiculous little Smart Cars. I know a car that small will tend to make the driver look bigger, but even taking that into account, the Smart Car still seems to attract a more rotund motorist.

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  173. Johnnygeo says: • Website
    @bomag
    I'd say today's muscle car is the large four door pickup truck.

    here in Houston large pickups are as likely to be family haulers or legit work vehicles as they are toys. Lately the trend in toys is a tricked-out Wrangler Unlimited

    Read More
  174. Lurker says:
    @Anon
    It's easy to have modern plumbing and electricity when you build from scratch. Most of the US housing stock is less than 100 years old. It's much harder and and a heck of a lot more expensive to add these features in when the house is already built, or if it's 500-odd years old and you need a load of permits and approvals to do anything to it, or if the last guy to order any work done to your plumbing was a Roman Legionary.

    The core of my mother’s house (bits have been added on over the years) predates the USA by nearly 100 years. The electrics were somewhat temperamental.

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  175. Dave says:

    The Rav4 is one of the few Toyotas with a poor long term reliability index ranking. In the great words of my own self, “It ain’t no 4Runner.”

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  176. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Matt Yglesias is a source of refreshing honesty:

    https://twitter.com/mattyglesias/status/818261447406981120

    I still can’t get over the fact that he said that “My guess is that in a Trump administration angry mobs will beat and murder Jews and people of color with impunity”.

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  177. @Not Raul
    The classic VW Beetle is a tour de force of engineering and a model of practical simplicity. Very wu.

    The New Beetle, is for rich, stupid, narcissistic first wave baby boomers.

    What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission.

    Steve: it looks like an Israeli agent trying to "take down" U.K. MPs has been caught. Perhaps the U.K. might still be a somewhat independent country.

    https://news.google.com/news/amp?caurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Famp%2F38545671#pt0-715821

    Steve: it looks like an Israeli agent trying to “take down” U.K. MPs has been caught.

    From The Guardian:

    Labour calls for inquiry into Israeli diplomat’s ‘take down MPs’ plot

    The revelations also provoked anger among many Conservative politicians. One former minister in David Cameron’s government said the embassy’s efforts to exert improper influence on British public life went far further than any plot to “take down” unhelpful members of parliament.

    Writing anonymously in the Mail on Sunday, the former minister said: “British foreign policy is in hock to Israeli influence at the heart of our politics, and those in authority have ignored what is going on.

    “Lots of countries try to force their views on others, but what is scandalous in the UK is that instead of resisting it, successive governments have submitted to it, take donors’ money, and allowed Israeli influence-peddling to shape policy and even determine the fate of ministers.”

    Maybe the Israelis were long-game motivated and brazen enough to have helped stop the Hildebeast. If I were a Zionist hawk, I wouldn’t want to risk having US President Merkel 2: Katzenfrau Boogaloo yelling “Mr. Netanyahu, bulldoze those settlements!”

    If Hillary’s wack enough to parade around with “Mothers of the Movement,” giving public approval to apologists and sowers of violent discord in her own country, she could’ve easily ‘thrown Israel under the bus’ if she found it to be personally or emotionally expedient: What if her Huma has her own specific, unpublicized ideas about foreign policy and threatened to stop giving Presidential cankle rubs?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Daily Mail with the players, transcripts and Cameron ex-minister’s full polemic.
  178. OT: Steve recently cross-referenced SlateStarCodex’s essay on crying wolf on Trump. I finally read the whole piece and noticed this quote from Trump’s 2000 statement declining to run for president on the Reform Party slate:

    Now I understand that David Duke has decided to join the Reform Party to support the candidacy of Pat Buchanan. So the Reform Party now includes a Klansman, – Mr. Duke, a Neo-Nazi – Mr. Buchanan, and a Communist – Ms. Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep.

    I’m quite disturbed that Trump called Pat Buchanan a “Neo-Nazi.” This strikes me as wrong in so many ways–first, of course, that it was a libel, but also as self-condemnatory in that Pat’s campaigns are widely seen as a precursor to Trump 2016.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Not Raul
    Perhaps the Reform Party should be given the mission of holding Trump accountable. They could threaten to run somebody against Trump if he sells out to Goldman Sachs and throws his voters under the bus. It would give Trump the encouragement he needs.
    , @CrunchybutRealistCon
    Presumably Trump had not been red-pilled way back in 2000. He probably still had some thoughts that the media of its day was at least a little bit objective.
    The impression you get is that his world view was transformed during Bush 2, with an accelerating change ever since culminating in his warm relations with Ann Coulter.
    , @anonguy

    I’m quite disturbed that Trump called Pat Buchanan a “Neo-Nazi.”
     
    He's a Hitler/Nazi apologist at a minimum and a documented draft dodger with a big mouth playing tough guy all the time

    Unsavory character all around.

    Trump wasn't too much off the mark back then and made the right call. No way he would have gotten elected this year had he been on the ticket at some point with the likes of Buchanan.
  179. Not Raul says:
    @snorlax

    Steve: it looks like an Israeli agent trying to “take down” U.K. MPs has been caught. Perhaps the U.K. might still be a somewhat independent country.
     
    By Al Jazeera.

    Between the Israelis and the Qataris, I'll take the former any day of the week.

    If the Israelis get caught red handed, and they even admit to what they did, you can’t get them off the hook by bashing Arabs. The fact that Israel may be preferable to Qatar doesn’t mean that they have a free pass to do whatever they want.

    Look at it this way: Does the fact that you like Israel more than Qatar mean you’d let an Israeli steal your wallet?

    Read More
    • Replies: @snorlax
    Am I supposed to care about some cUKservatives who love Muslims more than British people and so want to further destroy the Middle East after they've finished ruining Britain and Europe?

    If we're finding fault here, I do wish the Israelis could've been a little more competent what with taking them out.

  180. @CrunchybutRealistCon
    Yeah, the future will be one of more bicycles, motorbikes, Uber, Car sharing co-ops, and people buying 3 three yr old 4 cylinder cars. When people's incomes get pinched, eventually their expectations about car needs get recalibrated.

    One of the interesting things about the Camry - if you talk with a Toyota mechanic - is that the 1985-90 vintage is considered one of the best car models EVER for reliability & longevity. It was common for them to exceed 300,000 miles on the original transmission if cared for reasonably. Some argue that it was such a good car that it was hurting Toyota's sales, and it was intentionally degraded in the 90s so it would't last so darn long.

    The looming decline in car ownership, and falling frequency of new car sales is the canary in the coal mine for the housing market correction. Millenials simply aren't going to be buying new homes or cars in anywhere near Boomer levels. Condos, rentals or 1940s minimalist homes will be the new normal after 2020.

    “One of the interesting things about the Camry – if you talk with a Toyota mechanic – is that the 1985-90 vintage is considered one of the best car models EVER for reliability & longevity.”

    Before Toyota brought out the Lexus luxury marque at the end of the 1980s they put everything they had into their Camrys. After that, they tried not to make Camrys too good to give you a reason to upgrade to a Lexus.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CrunchybutRealistCon
    That had not occured to me, but it rings true. The scuttle that is taught about Japanese manufacturing in general (high school level geography) is that they flooded their export stream with cheap "Jap-crap" in the 70s to gain market share, then worked like hell in the early 80s to crush US & Euro competitors with hyper focus on quality & detailing. It probably wasn't too hard to win that battle considering how awful US cars were in the period 1977-82.
    , @anonguy
    "Before Toyota brought out the Lexus luxury marque at the end of the 1980s they put everything they had into their Camrys. After that, they tried not to make Camrys too good to give you a reason to upgrade to a Lexus."

    Fake News, Steve.

    Until 2 or 3 years ago, all the Lexus models were sold under the Toyota brand in Japan, where it has always been considered a premium brand among domestic car-makers.

    No way they were diluting the quality intentionally. Total urban myth, or Fake News as we say today...

    Declining quality may have been a response to the yen shock, everyone realizes that the Japanese were totally gilding the lily on products when you got 260 yen (or more) to the buck.

    Can't say much for current gen, but Tacomas up to the 2002 model, last of that gen, run forever.

    And Toyota was producing what were then premium models in Japan in the 80s, just not exporting them to USA.

    , @ThreeCranes
    Also, 1985 Dollar/Yen = $1/240Yen. Today approx. $1/100 Yen.

    In 1985-90 a dollar bought an American a lot more Japanese expertise and sweat, high-quality, hardened steel and precision machining.
    , @Jack D
    We have a lot of hidden inflation, where a box of cereal still costs $2.49 but now it weighs 13 oz. instead of 16. The "decontenting" of the Camry was another such example.

    Toyota realized that their cars were better than they had to be. If their engines were already 150% more durable than everyone else's, they could make them 120% more durable and no one would care. If there was a piece of plastic lining the underside of the trunk where no one ever even looked, they could make it out of cheaper plastic or even leave it out. They were getting squeezed on profits and this was a way to keep up margins without raising the price of their cars more than the competition.

    After Toyota decontented the Camry they kept going for a while with the Lexus until they later decontented that too. My late FIL had one of those Lexi - an absolutely bulletproof car that would have gone 20 years/ 250,000 miles with just oil changes. Nothing ever broke on those cars. My MIL gave it to one of his grandsons (not hers - 2nd marriage). A few months later she heard that he had totalled it in an accident.
  181. Not Raul says:
    @Steve Sailer
    "What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission."

    The Mazda Miata is pretty much the descendant of lightweight nimble convertible underpowered British sports cars.

    I was thinking of a car with a straight six (inspired by cars like the MGB), not an underpowered car with a four cylinder (like a Miata). Something closer would be a Honda S2000.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim Christian

    I was thinking of a car with a straight six (inspired by cars like the MGB), not an underpowered car with a four cylinder (like a Miata). Something closer would be a Honda S2000.
     
    The old Datsun 240-260 or 280Z's had straight sixes. Lots of trucks had them. I had a Plymouth Duster wthat had the old 225CI slant 6. I put a lot of miles on that pig, it was much abused.

    Most are V's now, not sure anything new is issued in a straight 6, but as usual, I could be wrong. Beemers, maybe? Shrug..
    , @Jacobite
    Austin-Healy 100-6 and 3000 had six cylinder engines as did the Triumph Spitfire and TR6. They were all pretty zippy as they could put out upwards of 150 horsepower and were relatively light. The 100-6S Austin racing model won some sports car championships.

    I personally prefer the nifty Alfa Romeo chain driven twin cam four cylinder cars to any of those British sleds. The small light and graceful Giulietta Spider and the race winning, elegant, and gorgeous Giulietta Sprint Coupe are particularly nice.
  182. Not Raul says:
    @Percy Gryce
    OT: Steve recently cross-referenced SlateStarCodex's essay on crying wolf on Trump. I finally read the whole piece and noticed this quote from Trump's 2000 statement declining to run for president on the Reform Party slate:

    Now I understand that David Duke has decided to join the Reform Party to support the candidacy of Pat Buchanan. So the Reform Party now includes a Klansman, - Mr. Duke, a Neo-Nazi - Mr. Buchanan, and a Communist - Ms. Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep.
     
    I'm quite disturbed that Trump called Pat Buchanan a "Neo-Nazi." This strikes me as wrong in so many ways--first, of course, that it was a libel, but also as self-condemnatory in that Pat's campaigns are widely seen as a precursor to Trump 2016.

    Perhaps the Reform Party should be given the mission of holding Trump accountable. They could threaten to run somebody against Trump if he sells out to Goldman Sachs and throws his voters under the bus. It would give Trump the encouragement he needs.

    Read More
  183. @Percy Gryce
    OT: Steve recently cross-referenced SlateStarCodex's essay on crying wolf on Trump. I finally read the whole piece and noticed this quote from Trump's 2000 statement declining to run for president on the Reform Party slate:

    Now I understand that David Duke has decided to join the Reform Party to support the candidacy of Pat Buchanan. So the Reform Party now includes a Klansman, - Mr. Duke, a Neo-Nazi - Mr. Buchanan, and a Communist - Ms. Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep.
     
    I'm quite disturbed that Trump called Pat Buchanan a "Neo-Nazi." This strikes me as wrong in so many ways--first, of course, that it was a libel, but also as self-condemnatory in that Pat's campaigns are widely seen as a precursor to Trump 2016.

    Presumably Trump had not been red-pilled way back in 2000. He probably still had some thoughts that the media of its day was at least a little bit objective.
    The impression you get is that his world view was transformed during Bush 2, with an accelerating change ever since culminating in his warm relations with Ann Coulter.

    Read More
  184. @Steve Sailer
    "One of the interesting things about the Camry – if you talk with a Toyota mechanic – is that the 1985-90 vintage is considered one of the best car models EVER for reliability & longevity."

    Before Toyota brought out the Lexus luxury marque at the end of the 1980s they put everything they had into their Camrys. After that, they tried not to make Camrys too good to give you a reason to upgrade to a Lexus.

    That had not occured to me, but it rings true. The scuttle that is taught about Japanese manufacturing in general (high school level geography) is that they flooded their export stream with cheap “Jap-crap” in the 70s to gain market share, then worked like hell in the early 80s to crush US & Euro competitors with hyper focus on quality & detailing. It probably wasn’t too hard to win that battle considering how awful US cars were in the period 1977-82.

    Read More
  185. Not Raul says:
    @ThreeCranes
    What's the fascination with V8s? Here's Wiki on inline sixes.

    "The straight-six layout is the simplest engine layout that possesses both primary and secondary mechanical engine balance, resulting in much less vibration than engines with fewer cylinders."

    "Because it is a fully balanced configuration, the straight-six can be scaled up to very large sizes for heavy truck, industrial and marine use, such as the 16 L (980 cu in) Volvo diesel engine and the 15 L Cummins ISX used in heavy vehicles.[5] The largest are used to power ships, and use fuel oil. The straight-six can also be viewed as a scalable modular component of larger motors which stack several straight-sixes together, e.g. flat- or V-12s, W-18s, etc."

    "The length of the straight-six was not a major concern in the older front-engine/rear-wheel drive vehicles, but the modern move to the more space-efficient front-engine/front-wheel drive and transverse engine (left-to-right versus front-to-back) configurations in smaller cars made the length of the V6 (one half the length of an L6 with the same bore size, plus the width of one rod) a major advantage. As a result, in recent decades automobile manufacturers have replaced most of their straight-six engines (and many of their V8s) with V6 engines.."

    "Exceptions to the shift to V engines include BMW, which specializes in high-performance straight-sixes used in a lineup of front-engine/rear-wheel-drive vehicles, almost all of BMW's current 6-cylinder model line-up use the straight configuration, Volvo, which designed a compact straight-six engine/transmission package to fit transversely in its larger cars, and the Australian Ford Falcon, which still uses a straight-six configuration. TVR used a straight-six configuration exclusively in their final cars before their demise.

    In a reversal of previous trends, Mercedes-Benz announced a return to inline-6 engines in October 2016.[9] This was a part of a trend toward higher efficiency engines with fewer cylinders but the same power output as previous larger engines as fuel economy standards became more stringent. Manufacturers began to replace V8 engines with straight-6 engines and V6 engines with straight-4 engines, while V8 engines became smaller."

    "An inline six engine is in practically perfect primary and secondary mechanical balance, without the use of a balance shaft. The engine is in primary couple balance because the front and rear trio of cylinders are mirror images, and the pistons move in pairs (but of course, 360° out of phase and on different strokes of the 4-stroke cycle). That is, piston #1 mirrors #6, #2 mirrors #5, and #3 mirrors #4, largely eliminating the polar rocking motion that would otherwise result.

    Secondary imbalance is largely avoided because the crankshaft has six crank throws arranged in three planes offset at 120°. The result is that the bulk of the secondary forces that are caused by the pistons' deviation from purely sinusoidal motion sum to zero. Specifically, the second-order (twice crank speed) and fourth-order inertial free forces (see engine balance article) sum to zero, but the sixth-order and up are non-zero. This is typically a tiny contribution in most applications, but may be significant with very large displacements, despite the usual and advantageous use of long connecting rods reducing the secondary (second-order and up) oscillation in the piston motion in those applications.

    An inline four cylinder, or even a V6 engine with a crank-speed balance shaft, will experience significant secondary dynamic imbalance, resulting in engine vibration. As a general rule, the forces arising from any dynamic imbalance increase as the square of the engine speed — for example, if the speed doubles, vibration will increase by a factor of four. In contrast, inline six engines have no primary or (significant) secondary imbalances, and with carefully designed crankshaft vibration dampers to absorb torsional vibration, will run more smoothly at the same crankshaft speed (rpm). This characteristic has made the straight-six popular in some European sports-luxury cars, where smooth high-speed performance is very desirable."

    And so on. An inline six has much to recommend it. Who needs a V-8? Remember the ad "I could have had a V-8."? It was all just hype.

    I agree. The demand for V-8s and V-6s is driven largely by hype.

    The straight six is a beautiful design, and one of the things I like about BMW is that a lot of their cars have that type of engine.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    Most cars nowadays are front wheel drive and the engine is mounted transversely (sideways), which is a better layout for FWD than having the power shaft facing the back of the car. It's very difficult to fit a straight 6 engine into an engine compartment sideways (though Volvo did it), thus all the V-6's that you get nowadays. BMW still makes rear wheel drive cars so they still use some straight 6's. If you want a new(er) straight 6, RWD car then BMW is just about your only choice at this point.

    In the US, straight 6s were the workaday engines found in low end cars (American cars rarely had 4s). Dodge Darts, Chevy Novas, Ford Falcons, etc. all had 6s as did base model pickup trucks, etc. - not at all sexy.
  186. anonguy says:
    @Steve Sailer
    "One of the interesting things about the Camry – if you talk with a Toyota mechanic – is that the 1985-90 vintage is considered one of the best car models EVER for reliability & longevity."

    Before Toyota brought out the Lexus luxury marque at the end of the 1980s they put everything they had into their Camrys. After that, they tried not to make Camrys too good to give you a reason to upgrade to a Lexus.

    “Before Toyota brought out the Lexus luxury marque at the end of the 1980s they put everything they had into their Camrys. After that, they tried not to make Camrys too good to give you a reason to upgrade to a Lexus.”

    Fake News, Steve.

    Until 2 or 3 years ago, all the Lexus models were sold under the Toyota brand in Japan, where it has always been considered a premium brand among domestic car-makers.

    No way they were diluting the quality intentionally. Total urban myth, or Fake News as we say today…

    Declining quality may have been a response to the yen shock, everyone realizes that the Japanese were totally gilding the lily on products when you got 260 yen (or more) to the buck.

    Can’t say much for current gen, but Tacomas up to the 2002 model, last of that gen, run forever.

    And Toyota was producing what were then premium models in Japan in the 80s, just not exporting them to USA.

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    • Agree: Jacobite
    • Replies: @Whoever

    No way they were diluting the quality intentionally. Total urban myth, or Fake News as we say today…
     
    That's true. There's a lot of misinformation about the automobile industry in this thread. It's surprising because so many very thorough books have been written about this subject over the years. A good place to start re the rise of the Japanese is Michael Cusumano's The Japanese Automobile Industry -- an oldie but a goodie. Cusumano actually knows what he is talking about.

    Everyone realizes that the Japanese were totally gilding the lily on products...
     
    I remember a story my father told me: He used to be a hard-core British bike fan when he was in high school in the sixties. He raced BSAs, flat-track and TT against the Harley wrecking crew, and he was used to dealing with British crappiness and assumed that's just the way motorcycles were.
    Then one day he took a ride on a Honda CB450K. What a revelation. Besides being a good-looking machine that had as much power as British bikes with a third greater displacement, it was wildly technically advanced, a DOHC with torsion-bar valve springs, electric starter, five-speed transmission, utterly reliable--and it didn't leak a drop of oil!
    And what's more, when he disassembled it to have a closer look, he noticed that the inside of the valve covers had been polished. Nobody except a mechanic working on the bike would ever see that or notice, but the Japanese made sure that every piece of that motorcycle was as good as it could be.
    What a contrast with the lousy British junk.
    I recalled this story when I read some comments in another thread about how great the Spitfire airplane was. What a laugh. I thought about deconstructing that hoary old myth, but I couldn't be bothered.
    http://i.imgur.com/uVtJ84A.jpg
  187. @anonguy

    Meh, behind the wheel, the reviewers OUGHT to say that there isn’t a pinch of shit’s difference between them.
     
    True dat. I suspect all come out of the same one or two plants just like VCR's used to.

    True dat. I suspect all come out of the same one or two plants just like VCR’s used to.

    Well, as regards engines, the tech is quite the same, emissions governed under OBD 2 and 3 and whatever other they’ve advanced to. That cursed Check Engine light rules all these days.

    There is variety in the engineering that’s unique. Some cars spin small engines to high redlines, others use Turbos, others are just big old engines, they all get results different ways, but end of the day they’re quite refined, and again, efficient and long lived. The interiors, once you get past leather or cloth, the ergonomics are mostly the same, the layouts, no difference in them.

    Well, until you start talking Volvo, heh..

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  188. @Not Raul
    I was thinking of a car with a straight six (inspired by cars like the MGB), not an underpowered car with a four cylinder (like a Miata). Something closer would be a Honda S2000.

    I was thinking of a car with a straight six (inspired by cars like the MGB), not an underpowered car with a four cylinder (like a Miata). Something closer would be a Honda S2000.

    The old Datsun 240-260 or 280Z’s had straight sixes. Lots of trucks had them. I had a Plymouth Duster wthat had the old 225CI slant 6. I put a lot of miles on that pig, it was much abused.

    Most are V’s now, not sure anything new is issued in a straight 6, but as usual, I could be wrong. Beemers, maybe? Shrug..

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  189. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @ThreeCranes
    What's the fascination with V8s? Here's Wiki on inline sixes.

    "The straight-six layout is the simplest engine layout that possesses both primary and secondary mechanical engine balance, resulting in much less vibration than engines with fewer cylinders."

    "Because it is a fully balanced configuration, the straight-six can be scaled up to very large sizes for heavy truck, industrial and marine use, such as the 16 L (980 cu in) Volvo diesel engine and the 15 L Cummins ISX used in heavy vehicles.[5] The largest are used to power ships, and use fuel oil. The straight-six can also be viewed as a scalable modular component of larger motors which stack several straight-sixes together, e.g. flat- or V-12s, W-18s, etc."

    "The length of the straight-six was not a major concern in the older front-engine/rear-wheel drive vehicles, but the modern move to the more space-efficient front-engine/front-wheel drive and transverse engine (left-to-right versus front-to-back) configurations in smaller cars made the length of the V6 (one half the length of an L6 with the same bore size, plus the width of one rod) a major advantage. As a result, in recent decades automobile manufacturers have replaced most of their straight-six engines (and many of their V8s) with V6 engines.."

    "Exceptions to the shift to V engines include BMW, which specializes in high-performance straight-sixes used in a lineup of front-engine/rear-wheel-drive vehicles, almost all of BMW's current 6-cylinder model line-up use the straight configuration, Volvo, which designed a compact straight-six engine/transmission package to fit transversely in its larger cars, and the Australian Ford Falcon, which still uses a straight-six configuration. TVR used a straight-six configuration exclusively in their final cars before their demise.

    In a reversal of previous trends, Mercedes-Benz announced a return to inline-6 engines in October 2016.[9] This was a part of a trend toward higher efficiency engines with fewer cylinders but the same power output as previous larger engines as fuel economy standards became more stringent. Manufacturers began to replace V8 engines with straight-6 engines and V6 engines with straight-4 engines, while V8 engines became smaller."

    "An inline six engine is in practically perfect primary and secondary mechanical balance, without the use of a balance shaft. The engine is in primary couple balance because the front and rear trio of cylinders are mirror images, and the pistons move in pairs (but of course, 360° out of phase and on different strokes of the 4-stroke cycle). That is, piston #1 mirrors #6, #2 mirrors #5, and #3 mirrors #4, largely eliminating the polar rocking motion that would otherwise result.

    Secondary imbalance is largely avoided because the crankshaft has six crank throws arranged in three planes offset at 120°. The result is that the bulk of the secondary forces that are caused by the pistons' deviation from purely sinusoidal motion sum to zero. Specifically, the second-order (twice crank speed) and fourth-order inertial free forces (see engine balance article) sum to zero, but the sixth-order and up are non-zero. This is typically a tiny contribution in most applications, but may be significant with very large displacements, despite the usual and advantageous use of long connecting rods reducing the secondary (second-order and up) oscillation in the piston motion in those applications.

    An inline four cylinder, or even a V6 engine with a crank-speed balance shaft, will experience significant secondary dynamic imbalance, resulting in engine vibration. As a general rule, the forces arising from any dynamic imbalance increase as the square of the engine speed — for example, if the speed doubles, vibration will increase by a factor of four. In contrast, inline six engines have no primary or (significant) secondary imbalances, and with carefully designed crankshaft vibration dampers to absorb torsional vibration, will run more smoothly at the same crankshaft speed (rpm). This characteristic has made the straight-six popular in some European sports-luxury cars, where smooth high-speed performance is very desirable."

    And so on. An inline six has much to recommend it. Who needs a V-8? Remember the ad "I could have had a V-8."? It was all just hype.

    Part of the appeal of V8s are the unique sound and vibration they have, which straight 6s lack.

    Straight 6s aren’t necessarily better. They can give you more torque, but V8s can generally get you more max horsepower and get you faster on straightaways and on the highway, which is what muscle cars are for.

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  190. snorlax says:
    @Not Raul
    If the Israelis get caught red handed, and they even admit to what they did, you can't get them off the hook by bashing Arabs. The fact that Israel may be preferable to Qatar doesn't mean that they have a free pass to do whatever they want.

    Look at it this way: Does the fact that you like Israel more than Qatar mean you'd let an Israeli steal your wallet?

    Am I supposed to care about some cUKservatives who love Muslims more than British people and so want to further destroy the Middle East after they’ve finished ruining Britain and Europe?

    If we’re finding fault here, I do wish the Israelis could’ve been a little more competent what with taking them out.

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    • Replies: @Not Raul
    So now "cuckservative" means someone who doesn't take their orders from Israel?

    Goldwater was a cuckservative by that definition.

    I thought that MPs were supposed to be responsible to their constituents, rather than to a foreign power; but I guess that's old fashioned.

    If a MP's constituents disagree with him, they can remove him from office by voting for someone else. It's the job of the constituents to decide who represents them, not foreign agents.

  191. Ivy says:
    @psmith
    I've got four-eleven positrack out back. Seven-fifty double pumper. Edelbrock intake, bored over thirty, eleven to one pop up pistons. Turbo jet, three ninety horse power. We're talking some fucking muscle.

    You’re speaking my language, an engine that will make a car leap tall intersections in a single bound.

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  192. @Jack D
    A lot of the smaller British sports cars had 4s and not 6s. Some of them had less than 100hp. These cars didn't actually go fast, it just FELT like you were going fast because you were in a tiny car only inches off the ground and you could see the road rushing past from the holes in the floorboards.

    OK ya’ll are having just too much fun mocking hatchbacks & FIATs…

    Two years ago in a fit of premature (perhaps right on time?) mid-life-crisis, I was shopping for a fun ride. After testing Mustang GT and Audi TT, I thought what the hell I’ll try a FIAT 500 Abarth C. The dealer that loaned me out one to test for the whole weekend sure knew what they are doing just like drug dealers give the first taste for free. It put some real WHEEE in the weekend. I’m not a car expert by any means, but that tiny little machine was so much more fun to drive than the Mustang… even if it lacked the macho swagger and elegance of the newest series. It’s 160 hp more than well enough move the little lightweight body around and its small form and tight suspension made it handle more precisely than the Mustang. Maybe I’m just not skilled enough driver to handle all the power of the Mustang; it did feel like trying to hold the reins on some strong wild horses. Compared to that, like Jack D mentions, the 500 is so close to the road it just feels fast and is incredible fun.

    Instead of responding directly to all the mocking comments about FIAT quality and Tony having to fix it again, I’d rather not jinx my experience by saying anything about the quality of its build. But every time a friend with a VW has a car in the shop for expensive repairs I tease that if they really wanted reliability they should have gone with precision Italian engineering and quality instead of being seduced by the German appeal to romance and passion behind the wheel.

    So what does the hatchback represent about lowered expectations? The Ciquecento’s backseat is serviceable as long as the passengers are <70 inches tall, whereas the Mustang's backseat can at best be used by children. Furthermore, as previous commenters note a hatchback is infinitely more versatile than a sedan with a trunk. Hatches give more and more variable cargo space and are fine for transporting everything from bicycles, flatpack furniture to dogs… for which sedans are completely useless. (Unless one uses the Romney family approach of putting the dog in a crate on the roof of the car…) So something that Mr. Baruth doesn't really consider is that perhaps people might have been married to the sedan form more for image and status reasons than for functionality and comfort. Perhaps people had been choosing the sedans, even though they don't offer the functionality of the hatchbacks, because in their minds sedans were what proper cars looked like, and they were insecure and didn't want to be associated with the the hatchbacks that were viewed as cheap and inferior. Now the CUVs, SUVs and hatchbacks are almost the same car, if in different dimensions. For the young active & adventurous urban but casual folks who like to play outdoors, in the woods, the mountains or on the waters these clearly offer superior utility. Sedans would be a real compromise no matter what it means for the driver's image.

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  193. Ivy says:
    @anonymous
    "I suspect my choice of vehicle may relate to my having first driven tractors."

    I'm a Farmall M, MD, and Super H fan. Talk about simple. We didn't have starter motors in them. Just park them on an incline and let them roll a few feet to start them (except for the diesel MD, which you started by pulling with one of the others.)

    The Super H was really fun to drive, including on roads. That thing could make like a sportscar. On a road it was fast enough that you might have been able to flip it if you were not careful. And it made a superb high-speed cross-country off-road vehicle, regardless of weather conditions. Could climb straight up. D(*&n I had fun with an old but completely solid Farmall Super H.

    My first car was like your tractors, best to park on an incline to assure a jump start. It was light enough to push if needed.

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  194. anonguy says:
    @Percy Gryce
    OT: Steve recently cross-referenced SlateStarCodex's essay on crying wolf on Trump. I finally read the whole piece and noticed this quote from Trump's 2000 statement declining to run for president on the Reform Party slate:

    Now I understand that David Duke has decided to join the Reform Party to support the candidacy of Pat Buchanan. So the Reform Party now includes a Klansman, - Mr. Duke, a Neo-Nazi - Mr. Buchanan, and a Communist - Ms. Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep.
     
    I'm quite disturbed that Trump called Pat Buchanan a "Neo-Nazi." This strikes me as wrong in so many ways--first, of course, that it was a libel, but also as self-condemnatory in that Pat's campaigns are widely seen as a precursor to Trump 2016.

    I’m quite disturbed that Trump called Pat Buchanan a “Neo-Nazi.”

    He’s a Hitler/Nazi apologist at a minimum and a documented draft dodger with a big mouth playing tough guy all the time

    Unsavory character all around.

    Trump wasn’t too much off the mark back then and made the right call. No way he would have gotten elected this year had he been on the ticket at some point with the likes of Buchanan.

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  195. Ivy says:
    @anonguy

    Scott Adams says that humans make decisions based on emotion first and then rationalize their choices.
     
    Well, if Scott Adams said it, it must be so.

    Hume said it before Adams. Also, see Jonathan Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonguy

    Hume said it before Adams.
     
    Now that is a reference I can get behind, especially if you had said that Adams repeated Hume's observation....

    Or left Adams out of it completely. He's a vile person, I feel sorry for him and in no way is he any sort of deep thinker. Its snark all the way down with him, he's still bitter about all the atomic wedgies he was getting and the cheerleaders he wasn't in high school and is pretty much just trying to get the last laugh on everyone as revenge for this.

    Sad way to live one's life.
    , @Desiderius
    It's the software that comes installed with the system, but there are upgrades available.
  196. Not Raul says:
    @snorlax
    Am I supposed to care about some cUKservatives who love Muslims more than British people and so want to further destroy the Middle East after they've finished ruining Britain and Europe?

    If we're finding fault here, I do wish the Israelis could've been a little more competent what with taking them out.

    So now “cuckservative” means someone who doesn’t take their orders from Israel?

    Goldwater was a cuckservative by that definition.

    I thought that MPs were supposed to be responsible to their constituents, rather than to a foreign power; but I guess that’s old fashioned.

    If a MP’s constituents disagree with him, they can remove him from office by voting for someone else. It’s the job of the constituents to decide who represents them, not foreign agents.

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  197. The classic VW Beetle is a tour de force of engineering and a model of practical simplicity.

    Bullshit. The classic Beatle manufactured and sold in the US in the 1960′s was a largely unchanged 1930′s car. People bought them because they were cheap. They sold for $1800-$1900 new.

    I am familiar with the classic Beatle. It was unstable in windy weather. You had to make steering corrections for crosswinds blowing on the car. Beatles made before 1968 or thereabouts had heaters and defrosters but no blower/fan. The heating and defrosting effect was feeble.

    It was easy to swap out a classic Beatle’s air-cooled flat four engine, and replacement engines were cheap. This was good, because classic Beatle engines often blew completely — overheating,* perhaps resulting in a broken connecting rod. I don’t know where the classic Beatle’s reliability reputation comes from … Maybe from the nostalgic memories of aging hippies. I dunno.

    If you are a Baby Boomer, you should also remember the Volkswagon Type 181 “Thing” which USA VW dealers sold in the 1970′s. This new/old car was also sadly underpowered.

    What’s interesting about the Type 181 is that it was an almost unchanged reissue of the WWII German Army’s Kubelwagen.**

    The Kubelwagen was the Wehrmacht’s counterpart to the American Jeep. However, the Jeep was a vastly better vehicle, either on or off road. Granted, the Volkswagen_Schwimmwagen varaint of the Kubelwagen might be a fun ride.

    * If you ever check out dune buggies made from classic Beatles, the dune buggies usually have an oil cooler added to try to prevent overheating. I’ll bet that vintage Kubelwagens had the same temperature control problem.

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    • Replies: @Chriscom
    It was easy to swap out a classic Beatle’s air-cooled flat four engine, and replacement engines were cheap. This was good, because classic Beatle engines often blew completely — overheating,* perhaps resulting in a broken connecting rod. I don’t know where the classic Beatle’s reliability reputation comes from … Maybe from the nostalgic memories of aging hippies. I dunno.

    We had a 1966 Beetle, the first car my Dad ever bought new (and the last, for about 50 years), and a red Volkswagen bus, powered IIRC by the same engine. We had them for a fair number of years and they were trouble-free. I don't recall any trouble with the engines, other than low power. There was a mild mountain road one way out of town and the bus never managed more than 40-45 mph uphill. We all thought it was hilarious.

    I don't know anything about the dune buggy scene but it seems to me that use case would be a bit different than usual.

    I learned how to drive in the Beetle and it was kind of adorable to drive--only car I ever did donuts in, in the snow. I think the bus was my Mom's favorite car. They were both fun, and they were both coffins on wheels if you ran into anything (we didn't).

    Even at the time the Kubelwagen seemed an odd play. There were plenty of buying-age WWII vets at the time. Wonder how it sold.
  198. @Anonymous
    Those cars from the seventies had primitive suspensions and crude mechanical systems such as gravity-operated fast idle cams on carburetors. They were simple to work on but changing your points every 12,000 miles was a chore. They handled abominably compared to today's sporty sedans and to characterize a Toyota Camry like car as a "mommy's basement" like car compared to a land whale like the Cutlass is nonsensical.

    Today's Camry, Civic or Accord with rack and pinion steering and MacPherson strut suspension runs a slalom test faster than any car (commonly) commercially available in 1973 or 1965, including Triumphs, Fiats, Stingrays, Jaguars etc. I drove an old TR3 then and it was basically a tractor motor mounted in a crude crate with a ride like a buckboard bouncing down a dusty trail in one of those old western movies.

    Sometime around 1985 or so Car and Driver (or one of those rags) ran a piece in which the sawed-off Honda CRX ran their slalom test in the third fastest time they'd ever recorded, beaten only by a Ferrari or Maserati and the current Corvette Stingray. And the auto industry has never looked back.

    It's fun to muse about old times and ponder the bad old days, but I suspect the author's recollections are tinted rosily by his recalling his first big date and Friday night burgers at Frisch's BigBoy with the gang in Dad's sporty 442 which could indeed, outrun everyone else's Impalas, Furys, Galaxies, Polaras, and 88s--and Country Squires, who could forget them?

    Agree with that, old cars handle terribly. My friend referred a 1960s mustang and let me borrow it every once in a while. The steering was horrible , It was generally pointed in the direction you wanted to go and eventually it might turn to get there.

    I had a late 80s Nissan Sentra as my first car. I think the engine was 90 hp. It was ugly. But with the five speed manual, it was plenty quick , And handled really well. Top speed was about 105, experimentally verified.

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  199. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    My daily is a ’73 Olds wagon with a LS6 and the matching automatic. I get 25+ mpg and antique tags are $35 a year.

    And the flat back area has been put to good use more than once.Yeah, she was half my age….but I’m over 42, so what’s the problem?

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  200. @Steve Sailer
    "One of the interesting things about the Camry – if you talk with a Toyota mechanic – is that the 1985-90 vintage is considered one of the best car models EVER for reliability & longevity."

    Before Toyota brought out the Lexus luxury marque at the end of the 1980s they put everything they had into their Camrys. After that, they tried not to make Camrys too good to give you a reason to upgrade to a Lexus.

    Also, 1985 Dollar/Yen = $1/240Yen. Today approx. $1/100 Yen.

    In 1985-90 a dollar bought an American a lot more Japanese expertise and sweat, high-quality, hardened steel and precision machining.

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  201. Dr. X says:
    @ThreeCranes
    What's the fascination with V8s? Here's Wiki on inline sixes.

    "The straight-six layout is the simplest engine layout that possesses both primary and secondary mechanical engine balance, resulting in much less vibration than engines with fewer cylinders."

    "Because it is a fully balanced configuration, the straight-six can be scaled up to very large sizes for heavy truck, industrial and marine use, such as the 16 L (980 cu in) Volvo diesel engine and the 15 L Cummins ISX used in heavy vehicles.[5] The largest are used to power ships, and use fuel oil. The straight-six can also be viewed as a scalable modular component of larger motors which stack several straight-sixes together, e.g. flat- or V-12s, W-18s, etc."

    "The length of the straight-six was not a major concern in the older front-engine/rear-wheel drive vehicles, but the modern move to the more space-efficient front-engine/front-wheel drive and transverse engine (left-to-right versus front-to-back) configurations in smaller cars made the length of the V6 (one half the length of an L6 with the same bore size, plus the width of one rod) a major advantage. As a result, in recent decades automobile manufacturers have replaced most of their straight-six engines (and many of their V8s) with V6 engines.."

    "Exceptions to the shift to V engines include BMW, which specializes in high-performance straight-sixes used in a lineup of front-engine/rear-wheel-drive vehicles, almost all of BMW's current 6-cylinder model line-up use the straight configuration, Volvo, which designed a compact straight-six engine/transmission package to fit transversely in its larger cars, and the Australian Ford Falcon, which still uses a straight-six configuration. TVR used a straight-six configuration exclusively in their final cars before their demise.

    In a reversal of previous trends, Mercedes-Benz announced a return to inline-6 engines in October 2016.[9] This was a part of a trend toward higher efficiency engines with fewer cylinders but the same power output as previous larger engines as fuel economy standards became more stringent. Manufacturers began to replace V8 engines with straight-6 engines and V6 engines with straight-4 engines, while V8 engines became smaller."

    "An inline six engine is in practically perfect primary and secondary mechanical balance, without the use of a balance shaft. The engine is in primary couple balance because the front and rear trio of cylinders are mirror images, and the pistons move in pairs (but of course, 360° out of phase and on different strokes of the 4-stroke cycle). That is, piston #1 mirrors #6, #2 mirrors #5, and #3 mirrors #4, largely eliminating the polar rocking motion that would otherwise result.

    Secondary imbalance is largely avoided because the crankshaft has six crank throws arranged in three planes offset at 120°. The result is that the bulk of the secondary forces that are caused by the pistons' deviation from purely sinusoidal motion sum to zero. Specifically, the second-order (twice crank speed) and fourth-order inertial free forces (see engine balance article) sum to zero, but the sixth-order and up are non-zero. This is typically a tiny contribution in most applications, but may be significant with very large displacements, despite the usual and advantageous use of long connecting rods reducing the secondary (second-order and up) oscillation in the piston motion in those applications.

    An inline four cylinder, or even a V6 engine with a crank-speed balance shaft, will experience significant secondary dynamic imbalance, resulting in engine vibration. As a general rule, the forces arising from any dynamic imbalance increase as the square of the engine speed — for example, if the speed doubles, vibration will increase by a factor of four. In contrast, inline six engines have no primary or (significant) secondary imbalances, and with carefully designed crankshaft vibration dampers to absorb torsional vibration, will run more smoothly at the same crankshaft speed (rpm). This characteristic has made the straight-six popular in some European sports-luxury cars, where smooth high-speed performance is very desirable."

    And so on. An inline six has much to recommend it. Who needs a V-8? Remember the ad "I could have had a V-8."? It was all just hype.

    An inline six has much to recommend it. Who needs a V-8? Remember the ad “I could have had a V-8.”? It was all just hype.

    Some of the best engines from the 1950s-1980s were straight sixes from Ford and Dodge. They were low-revving, long-strike, torquey motors. Why, then, do people like V-8s? Because V-8s, with a shorter stroke, rev higher and make power at higher revs. The power band is wider, which is good for the tire-burning performance crowd. So for that kind of thing the V-8 was not “just hype.” But for low-rev, high-torque applications such as daily commuting and trucking, straight sixes are great.

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    • Replies: @Ivy
    Dodge slant-6 was a strong engine that would like to run forever. Simple and easy to maintain, often in cars with an engine compartment that you really climb into for access and leverage.
  202. anonguy says:
    @Ivy
    Hume said it before Adams. Also, see Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind.

    Hume said it before Adams.

    Now that is a reference I can get behind, especially if you had said that Adams repeated Hume’s observation….

    Or left Adams out of it completely. He’s a vile person, I feel sorry for him and in no way is he any sort of deep thinker. Its snark all the way down with him, he’s still bitter about all the atomic wedgies he was getting and the cheerleaders he wasn’t in high school and is pretty much just trying to get the last laugh on everyone as revenge for this.

    Sad way to live one’s life.

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  203. I was thinking of a car with a straight six (inspired by cars like the MGB), not an underpowered car with a four cylinder (like a Miata). Something closer would be a Honda S2000.

    I don’t think that Morris Garage ever built a car with a straight six engine. You probably have the Triumph TR6 in mind.

    The S2000 had a four cylinder engine. Honda stopped selling the S2000 in the USA in 2007 due to slow sales.

    What you want is a BMW Z4. It’s a got an inline six, causing it to have a long hood line, and also a higher polar moment of inertia than a sports car should have. I once heard a woman comment that “That car ( a Z4 convertible belonging to somebody else, not me ) sure does look like a penis.”

    ////////////////////////////////////

    Spelling correction: ” varaint of the Kubelwagen” should be “variant of the Kubelelwagen.”

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    • Replies: @Auntie Analogue
    "I don’t think that Morris Garage ever built a car with a straight six engine. You probably have the Triumph TR6 in mind."

    My dear David Davenport, MG made the short-lived MGC, which was an MGB that squeezed in a straight-six motor covered by a huge ugly hood blister to accommodate its bulk.


    "Austin-Healy 100-6 and 3000 had six cylinder engines as did the Triumph Spitfire and TR6."

    My dear Jacobite, the Triumph Spitfire had a 4-banger, the Triumph GT6 and GT6+ coupes had straight-sixes, and so did the Triumph TR-250 (the TR-250 soon lost its TR4 body style, covered up by the TR-6's newer body).


    Critics of the VW Beetle overlook that it was ultra-cheap to buy - actually, affordable, that it was inexpensive to maintain, that its engine could be replaced inside of four hours, and that for those reasons it dominated the compact market for many years (in the 1960's, one-third and often more than one-third of the cars in many college parking lots were Beetles). Moreover, used Beetles in good condition were ubiquitous and exceptionally affordable. Today the Beetle has no equivalent in initial cost - and perhaps also in maintenance costs as well. Sure, the Beetle needed some care in high winds, yet on how many days of the year do high winds impinge upon driving?

    One midwinter Sunday at dawn, crossing the empty Verrazzano Narrows Bridge to Brooklyn, my twelve year-old 1962 Beetle got blown from the right lane all the way to the Jersey barriers at the far side of the left lane - but she was not out of control: as soon as she got to the left lane the New Jersey barrier center-divider blocked the wind and my Beetle rode off the rest of the bridge as straight as an arrow. I bought that '62' Bug in 1974 with 36,000 miles on her clock, and I drove her hard for two years, putting 96,000 miles on her before driving her last four miles on her last two working cylinders. I then sold that Bug to my neighbor who dropped in a cheap used motor that kept the car running well for another three years. She was an excellent get-around-town car, not bad for long trips either; and in all depths of snow she was a champ - left a great many RWD American compacts and muscle V-8's at the bottom of snowy-icy hills. Her only drawback was indifferent heating/defrosting for lack of a ventilation system fan (the faster she went, the better the heating/defrosting, stuck in traffic and you had to have a rag handy to clear the fog from the inside of her windshield). The 1962 model was the first year that the Bug had a fuel gauge - earlier models incorporated a dashboard fuel reserve switch that the driver flipped when the fuel supply dipped low enough, and the reserve fuel yielded another 25 miles of motoring before the tank emptied. Another advantage: you could pop-clutch-push-start your Beetle by yourself!

    After 1968 graduation from high school, a classmate owned a gas station a couple of blocks from a state university and did immensely profitable business in buying and selling college grads' used Beetles to undergrads, and in maintaining and repairing undergrads' Beetles. From his vast stock of used engines he routinely replaced Beetle motors in well under three hours. For young people on a shoestring budget the Beetle was a superb car - and, again, today it has no equivalent.
  204. Anon 2 says:

    OT: Tourist arrivals in France were down 8.1% in the first
    10 months of 2016, causing a significant loss of revenue.
    This will probably help the conservative candidates. One
    way that Paris is coping with the loss of business is by
    allowing major department stores to be open on Sundays.

    It’s not clear if the new policy applies to the Monoprix retail
    chain which is almost as ubiquitous in Paris as the ABC stores
    (“All Blocks Covered”) are in Honolulu. I’m exaggerating but
    not by much. In Paris you’re never far from a Monoprix

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  205. @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Steve: it looks like an Israeli agent trying to “take down” U.K. MPs has been caught.
     
    From The Guardian:

    Labour calls for inquiry into Israeli diplomat's 'take down MPs' plot


    The revelations also provoked anger among many Conservative politicians. One former minister in David Cameron’s government said the embassy’s efforts to exert improper influence on British public life went far further than any plot to “take down” unhelpful members of parliament.

    Writing anonymously in the Mail on Sunday, the former minister said: “British foreign policy is in hock to Israeli influence at the heart of our politics, and those in authority have ignored what is going on.
     


    “Lots of countries try to force their views on others, but what is scandalous in the UK is that instead of resisting it, successive governments have submitted to it, take donors’ money, and allowed Israeli influence-peddling to shape policy and even determine the fate of ministers.”
     
    Maybe the Israelis were long-game motivated and brazen enough to have helped stop the Hildebeast. If I were a Zionist hawk, I wouldn’t want to risk having US President Merkel 2: Katzenfrau Boogaloo yelling “Mr. Netanyahu, bulldoze those settlements!”

    If Hillary’s wack enough to parade around with “Mothers of the Movement,” giving public approval to apologists and sowers of violent discord in her own country, she could’ve easily ‘thrown Israel under the bus’ if she found it to be personally or emotionally expedient: What if her Huma has her own specific, unpublicized ideas about foreign policy and threatened to stop giving Presidential cankle rubs?

    Daily Mail with the players, transcripts and Cameron ex-minister’s full polemic.

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  206. MarkinPNW says:
    @Anon7
    The truth about cars? Ok, but you won't like it. They cost about $25 per day to own, and most people use their car for about an hour per day. Vast resources are expended to conceal these facts from us.

    It costs about $9,000 per year in after-tax income for a reliable four seat vehicle. Sure, argue with me, but car execs (and the leaders of related industries like insurance, road construction, oil) know it's true. They (and their dads and granddads and great-grandads) have been playing this game for 100 years, my friend.

    We're now at a point where this is a lot of money for people under thirty (no real jobs) and people over sixty (no real jobs). One of two things will happen / are happening:

    1) Autonomous car tech doesn't really quite work; level 4 and 5 can't really be achieved. Vast advertising resources will be spent to assure us that smaller/underpowered/cheesier material cars that are the best we can really afford (that auto execs can make the profits they need with) are exactly what we want - hey, pretty screen teen girls who save the world like them! Rogue One, in theaters near you! You thought that a naive rural boy named Luke, riding in a hot two-seater landspeeder he could fix himself, was cool?* Actually, it was a smart, strong, cute young leader girl who saved the galaxy. Go Nissan, go Rogue! In theaters near you. Oh, and black people were the actual founders of America, and black women were the secret of the American space program, and it was Jackie Kennedy who was the important one, not JFK. It's all in theaters near you.

    Or

    2) Autonomous car technology really works, in which case by 2030 no one who lives in a big city or even a 2,500 person town will own a private vehicle. Again, you can argue with me, but auto engineers know the truth - fleets of autonomous cars can meet our transportation needs for about $2.50 per day (this is Ford's stated autonomous car strategy - and they're the smartest American car company). Americans will not have the money for private cars, period. And I'll tell you that once you get used to it, you'll admit that owning a car was mostly an expensive pain in the ass you can finally do without.

    * This is the missing hook for your article, Steve. Rural boys used basic car tech to multiply their independence times ten (my Depression-era dad owned his first car at age 12, road trips were an adventure! Carry your own tools, go with a gang of friends, help people you see stuck - and meet girls, who wanted to go for rides, but couldn't master the technology.) In the future, girls will slide a piece of glass from their yoga pants, gesture daintily, and a robot car will take them and their friends wherever, for cheap. Who needs boys?

    I remember back in the ’70′s reading a book with the title, if I remember right, “The Screwing of the Average Man” or something similar. The chapter on cars explained that if you took all the time the “average man” spends driving, maintaining his car, working to pay insurance, taxes and registration, gas, oil, repairs, and the monthly payment and divided by miles traveled the average speed was about 5 miles per hour. I suspect today’s figure would be similar.

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    • Replies: @Anon7
    I totally agree. I've worked for 2 of the Big 3 automakers, and it's all about not leaving any money on the table. I mean, sure it's a business, but we've been taking it in the neck for decades. we'll love our autonomous cars... if they work. Keep your fingers crossed.
  207. Jacobite says:
    @Not Raul
    I was thinking of a car with a straight six (inspired by cars like the MGB), not an underpowered car with a four cylinder (like a Miata). Something closer would be a Honda S2000.

    Austin-Healy 100-6 and 3000 had six cylinder engines as did the Triumph Spitfire and TR6. They were all pretty zippy as they could put out upwards of 150 horsepower and were relatively light. The 100-6S Austin racing model won some sports car championships.

    I personally prefer the nifty Alfa Romeo chain driven twin cam four cylinder cars to any of those British sleds. The small light and graceful Giulietta Spider and the race winning, elegant, and gorgeous Giulietta Sprint Coupe are particularly nice.

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  208. cthulhu says:
    @Seth Largo
    Thus, Mazda gets great reviews even though they tend to be too loud inside to carry on a conversation because car writers find conversations a tedious distraction from communing with the car.

    That's very much an American preference. The Euros prefer fine-tuned engineering for their super cars and pseudo-super cars. The lads on Top Gear commonly complain about loud interiors on American cars.

    You should write more about car culture, Steve.

    So Cal millennial whites don't seem to care about cars, though their fathers and grandfathers did. My dad used to drive out to Palmdale in his Roadrunner to play chicken on the two-lane roads. A friend of his died doing same. Maybe the traffic wasn't so bad back then.

    On the other hand, out in the Inland Empire, there is a relatively big rice-rocket street racing scene among the East and Southeast Asians. These guys put more money into their Civics and Accords than the car ever cost. There are---or were---lots of long sparsely traveled roads in the IE, particularly in the industrial areas. As the IE grows and those roads become congested, I'm not sure if this culture will survive.

    IE whites love their raised trucks. I have no idea where these bubbas get the money to pay for it, though. My South LA family seem to be more enamored of bikes.

    My dad used to drive out to Palmdale in his Roadrunner to play chicken on the two-lane roads. A friend of his died doing same. Maybe the traffic wasn’t so bad back then.

    I’ve spent some time in the Antelope Valley in the last 20 years. The two-lane roads out north of Lake Los Angeles and south of EAFB are still somewhat usable as leadfoot alleys. But Hwy 138 is still a death trap, although parts of it have been improved.

    My favorite thing to do coming back from the AV, especially late at night, was to crest the pass on the 138 going east toward I-15, then put the car in neutral and try to coast all the way down the mountain to the 15 without putting the car back in gear and touching the throttle. You had to be willing to build up some serious speed on the steeper sections to make it through the flat sections down by the Mormon Rocks. I managed it twice out of probably 30 trips; usually traffic got in the way. But very cool (if pointless) to make it all the way down.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    My dad and I went up to Mt. Wilson (5600 feet elevation) a long time ago, and the engine died. He coasted all the way down Angeles Crest Highway and into a service station in La Canada, even passed a car on the way down.
  209. @Ivy
    Hume said it before Adams. Also, see Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind.

    It’s the software that comes installed with the system, but there are upgrades available.

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    • Replies: @Ivy
    Why do so many people void the warranty?
    When properly maintained and upgraded the system is a daily blessing.
  210. Fredrik says:
    @Anon
    It's easy to have modern plumbing and electricity when you build from scratch. Most of the US housing stock is less than 100 years old. It's much harder and and a heck of a lot more expensive to add these features in when the house is already built, or if it's 500-odd years old and you need a load of permits and approvals to do anything to it, or if the last guy to order any work done to your plumbing was a Roman Legionary.

    You write as if it’s the US that’s unique here. The rest of Europe can manage but until recently the UK couldn’t. In a few years time the UK won’t manage again…

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  211. @Fran Macadam
    I still have my 1968 SS396 Chevelle. Hate the offshored stuff. Make America Great Again!

    I still have my 1968 SS396 Chevelle. Hate the offshored stuff. Make America Great Again!

    My first car was a 1969 Chevelle. Lordy, but I loved that thing. I wish I still had it!

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  212. Dee says:

    The most fun is trying to drive a slow car, fast. End of discussion. You can do this for decades and not get bored. Fast cars just get wadded up when you make the inevitable mistake at speed and die.

    First car at 17 was a Triumph TR-250. 111 horsepower and would get smoked by a minivan today. But I could toss it into opposite lock, four wheel drifts at 70+ and just grin my ass off.

    Some of you are probably thinking, “what’s opposite lock four wheel drifts”? That’s when you enter a turn too fast, the rear of the car breaks traction and slides to the outside of the turn. To control it, you turn into the skid; cornering to the right, you point the front wheels to the left. All the while you have the throttle pegged and the back wheels spinning. And the whole thing balances and you slide thru the corner with the front wheels turning left, even though the car is turning right.

    I watched the F1 races on ‘Wide World of Sports’ in the ’60s, four wheel drifts were the fast way around the track. Turned out a TR Triumph was one of the best cars to emulate that….the $1800, 2 year old car I bought in ’69 is now $30K+ Still would like to have another one….

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  213. @Jefferson
    From a pop culture standpoint 1970s cars are so cool.
    https://youtu.be/MrtQ5uIOcKY

    My older brother graduated from high school in 1974 and had car just like that. I sat him down to watch Dazed and Confused not long after it came out, and 7 seconds into the opening, he goes: I like it already.

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  214. @SPMoore8
    There are a lot of reasons for long commutes. Sometimes people move their families far away where it is cheap and are willing to make that sacrifice. Yes, sometimes it is about the guy with the McManson, the 3 car garage, and the BMW. But not always.

    Sometimes people have a home in one location, and the only kind of work they can get is far away from home: so you have guys commuting 80-90 miles each way not to disrupt the family, and/or also because they have all their money in their home. This was not that uncommon even 30 years ago. Sometimes, after the kids are grown and gone, they compromise by getting a cheap flat near where they work and then commute back and forth on the weekends.

    I will be the first person to say that spending 20+ hours behind the wheel is not good for your health. But there are positive tradeoffs, if you like diving: music, books, languages, and solitude. The guys who work in Silicon Valley are probably not only saving money on housing, but also by living in Sacto they have a lower standard of living, more space, debatably better and more open environment for children, lower mortgage, etc. At least that's how I would process it.

    When I was a kid in the '60's I used to meet older family men who lived up beyond Santa Rosa and who would commute to SF or the Est Bay. I thought that was ungodly. But I can see the wisdom of it now.

    There are a lot of reasons for long commutes.

    Indeed. Have you read this article by Nick Paumgarten on extreme commuting? Interesting stuff.

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  215. Anonym says:
    @Jack D
    Scott Adams says that humans make decisions based on emotion first and then rationalize their choices. They rationalize their choices so much that they don't even know it and would swear that they made a rational choice based on objective criteria. Wouldn't a minivan work for your wife and an all wheel drive sedan work for you? Why is it in Vietnam that women with kids don't need 2 1/2 ton SUVs and just put them on the back of their motor scooters? How did our moms get around without Range Rovers? What a coincidence that your choice of vehicles just happens to be fashionable right now. (I'm not picking on you personally - I'm just trying to make a point.)

    Why is it in Vietnam that women with kids don’t need 2 1/2 ton SUVs and just put them on the back of their motor scooters?

    That works great while everyone else is riding around on motor scooters. When everyone has SUVs it’s not a fighting chance any more to drive motor scooters, in general. Maybe mothers make decisions based on emotion, but preferring not to have your family wiped out is quite logical, if also an emotional decision.

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  216. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Travis
    station wagons were popular in the 70s, but today no American auto-maker actually manufactures any station wagons and most of the foreign wagons are compact cars, not much different from a hatchback. Also regulations are different today...my parents had an 1976 Olds and they would often pack 5 kids in the backseat, my friends mom had a VW bug and once took 5 of us (average age was 11) to the Jersey shore (2 hour drive) ...today she would be arrested but in 1981 this was quite common. Not even sure if the car had seat belts, since we never once used them.

    What is the Prius-V if not a station wagon?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Prius_V

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    • Replies: @Travis
    Station wagons in the 70s had 2 bench seats, could easily fit 8 kids in the back. Had more seating than the minivans which destroyed the market for station wagons. The Prius-V seats 5 and is smaller than a typical mid sized sedan from the 80s.
  217. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @cthulhu


    For densely populated coastal (read: liberal) areas, it’s true that the ideal vehicle might be a Civic or Rav4 for making those trips from mommy’s basement to the mall. In flyover country it’s all trucks.

     

    Here in my part of coastal SoCal, the most popular vehicles are (in no particular order)
    Big pickups, usually tricked-out enough that you can be certain that they aren't used for work;
    Small pickups of indeterminate age, used almost exclusively by Hispanic men in the 30-to-50 age range, clearly doing either gardening/lawn care or construction work;
    Large SUVs driven by soccer moms;
    Hybrids (Toyota Prius in particular) driven by either incipient cat ladies, or white collar men and women who want the carpool lane stickers (supposedly carpool lane stickers can increase the resale value of a car by up to $5k in LA);
    Everything else out in the long tail of the distribution - sedans of all ages; Mercedes and Cadillacs in regions where the average age is pushing 60+; quite a few Audis among the 30+ reasonably affluent professionals; BMWs for the dickhead drivers; etc. I see few new Camrys or Accords, but I don't see many Rogues except among college-age women. And Tesla is pretty popular among a certain demographic.

    Me, I like my low end sports sedan; I can fit four people into it without too much difficulty, it is quiet, gets good gas mileage, handles well, and I was able to get it with a manual transmission. That's a pretty good compromise for me.

    Hybrids (Toyota Prius in particular) driven by either incipient cat ladies, or white collar men and women who want the carpool lane stickers (supposedly carpool lane stickers can increase the resale value of a car by up to $5k in LA);

    There are a reasonable number of Prius drivers who just like using a lot less gas than everyone else.

    But Steve’s bang on with his analysis – car reviewers generally just like driving more than the rest of us. It’s like they are permanently 18 years old males. As long as it’s safe, cheap to run, does what you want it to, comfortable, who cares? It’s not like you ever use the handling much on a modern road, as it’s too risky to speed enough to where the handling becomes important.

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  218. Jefferson says:

    Tonight’s golden globe awards was predictably a bash Donald J. Trump awards.

    The Fanook Mulignan movie Moonlight won best picture. The higher ups who run Hollywood definitely chose it to send a political Social Justice Warrior message, not because it’s actually the best movie of 2016, far from it.

    This Homo Negro movie was definitely not made for red state film audiences.

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    • Replies: @Desiderius
    They've got to control the black population somehow. If Planned Parenthood gets the axe, look for heavy black homo promotion.
  219. @Crawfurdmuir
    50k miles a year is not unusual for a traveling salesman (there still are such people - mostly in wholesale or industrial lines). I've known many who called on my business for which that much annual mileage, or more, was typical.

    The wear and tear on a car driven that much is quite different from that experienced by the city or suburban resident who drives to and from a nearby place of employment, to shop for household needs, and maybe one long trip a year. The heavily driven car will experience wear to the drive train. On the other hand, the car driven 5,000 miles or less a year will often have its exhaust system rust out faster, because it seldom gets hot enough to dry the condensation out of it.

    Also, local climate has a great effect. I live in a part of the country where we have snowy, icy winters. The highway department uses lots of salt. Any car that is driven year-round rusts quickly. When I travel in the southern or western states, where it is either warm enough or arid enough that the roads are not regularly salted, I see a lot more older cars that still look good than I do at home. Here an old rusty car may still have less than 100k miles on the clock, and a good drive train, but off to the junkyard it will go.

    My son is driving the 1998 Infiniti I-30 to work and will — with luck — pass 250k miles in a month or two.

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  220. NickG says:

    In Mad Men the 60s E-Type Jag is rightly panned for it’s unreliability. Old British cars were, and are pervaded by a smell of burnt oil because they almost always leak. Indeed on Land Rovers Defenders oil changes are known to be a process, not an event.

    Japanese cars – especially Toyotas – tend to be competent, practical yet bland. Cars should be German – I drive a 22 year old BMW E36 326 made in Rosslyn Pretoria- in that one should stick to Toyota for 4x4s – at least in Africa – as every 3 horse town has a dealer with parts back-up.

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  221. @cthulhu


    My dad used to drive out to Palmdale in his Roadrunner to play chicken on the two-lane roads. A friend of his died doing same. Maybe the traffic wasn’t so bad back then.

     

    I've spent some time in the Antelope Valley in the last 20 years. The two-lane roads out north of Lake Los Angeles and south of EAFB are still somewhat usable as leadfoot alleys. But Hwy 138 is still a death trap, although parts of it have been improved.

    My favorite thing to do coming back from the AV, especially late at night, was to crest the pass on the 138 going east toward I-15, then put the car in neutral and try to coast all the way down the mountain to the 15 without putting the car back in gear and touching the throttle. You had to be willing to build up some serious speed on the steeper sections to make it through the flat sections down by the Mormon Rocks. I managed it twice out of probably 30 trips; usually traffic got in the way. But very cool (if pointless) to make it all the way down.

    My dad and I went up to Mt. Wilson (5600 feet elevation) a long time ago, and the engine died. He coasted all the way down Angeles Crest Highway and into a service station in La Canada, even passed a car on the way down.

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  222. @David Davenport
    How does this Cadillac impress you gentlemen?

    Cadillac V series 3.s 0-60MPH


    Cadillac's trying to reposition itself* to compete with BMW, Audi, Lexus, Jaguar, etc. The ATS-V is Caddy's reply to the BMW M3. 0-60 miles per hour ( not km ) in 3.8 seconds? That's not Donald Trump's father's Cadillac! It's faster than an M3.

    * Not selling too successfully so far. Caddy's old image persists.

    Me, I'd like to have a bright red four door ( fours doors for practicality ) ATS-V with six speed manual transmission. Take that, foreign snobs, Camaro and Mustang drivers, and Democrats!

    Can't afford a new one just now, but the resale value of the things seems to drop rapidly.

    Not selling too successfully so far. Caddy’s old image persists.

    It won’t be a success for that reason. Alfa Romeo is trying to compete with BMW, too. They built a car better than the BMW M3, too. It might even be of comparable quality, too. I don’t think it will be successful, either.

    The way to success, as I see it, is simple, but not easy. Build good, reliable cars, with great performance and comfort being necessary if you want to go premium. Keep doing this for decades, even if they are not selling so well for a while. After a while customers will take note and give the car the reputation it deserves.

    Usually car companies want to make profits in the meantime, so they scrap these models after one or two unsuccessful generations, or they will try to save money on the quality, which makes it impossible to make them successful.

    That’s my prediction for both Cadillac and Alfa Romeo.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    Although BMW has gone downhill lately (they move most of their cars (and increasingly SUVs - a BMW SUV makes no sense but that's what people want) via 3 year leases - what happens after 3 years is not their problem) I doubt that Alfa is really their match. If you get an Italian car that was put together on a good day, it seems really great at first - you can't believe how good it is. The design is beautiful, the handling is great, etc. Then in a remarkably short time, it falls to pieces.

    Brand equity is like money in the bank. You can either keep replenishing your brand equity and building up the balance or you can spend down the built up equity for a while until it's all gone, until the only people who buy your cars are old people and people with impaired credit. How many times have you heard a variation of this story: "I always used to buy [Big 3 brand] cars until I bought a 19XX YYY. That thing was a piece of crap. I replaced it with a [Honda/Toyota/ Mercedes/BMW] which never gave me any trouble and I vowed never to buy an American car again." At one time a brand name like Oldsmobile or Pontiac was worth billions but then GM spent them down to zero. They've spent the Cadillac brand down to maybe 20% of its former value.

  223. anon says: • Disclaimer

    Mel Gibson is a great man. Truly one of the greatest men of our time. Here he is reacting to Meryl streep’s anti-trump speech

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C1s9bNWVIAA3Pgw.jpg:large

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  224. BenKenobi says:
    @Jack D
    The Truth About Cars guys are (or profess to be) mystified at the popularity of compact SUVs. They are mystified that no one wants a manual transmission anymore. They are mystified that people prefer reliable Honda Civics to lively (but less reliable) Mazda 3's . They seem to be mystified by a lot of things which are perfectly understandable if you de-center and don't assume that the average car buyer wants the same things that you want. Most people just want to get where they need to be and don't want to be rowing away at a gear shift - they'd rather be texting with that hand.

    BTW, that V-8 Cutlass that they are mourning had less hp than a modern 4 cylinder and terrible space utilization - it was all hood for that giant V-8 with a cramped passenger compartment and 2 doors because GM was too cheap to give you 4. The reason the engine had no power is that the Big 3 refused to switch to fuel injection because carburetors were really really cheap. If it made it to 100k miles before it rusted through or blew the engine it was a miracle. The good old days - they were awful.

    This is only going to get worse - the current generation (for the most part) is not into cars at all. They prefer to live in some hipsterish place and take an Uber. Once the Uber is driverless they will prefer it even more. No one really cares about what brand of taxi is picking you up anymore than they care about what brand of elevator they are riding in or whether the plane they are on is an Airbus or a Boeing. Some folks at MIT just figured out that if you replaced all the taxis in NYC with shared (probably driverless) Uber type vehicles by connecting all ride requests to one dispatching system you could reduce the # of vehicles needed by 2/3 and speed up traffic tremendously.

    The TAC guys will be really sad when they take their driver's licenses away, not because they are old and decrepit (though they will be) but because it will no longer be considered safe to allow drunk, distractible, fallible humans to control 2 ton boxes of steel hurtling at 70mph. Not only will they not be allowed to manually shift, they won't be allowed to steer or brake either.

    As a highly drunk, distractable, and fallible human being I must say this:

    Manual transmission is the only way to drive. All four limbs operating the vehicle as you see fit. Live your own version of PJ O’Rourke’s “Drive/Handjob/Drink”.

    Also, keep on rockin’ in the free world.

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Ben, I bought my daughters "stick shift" (manual transmission) cars to take to college. The reason? Most kids can't drive stick, so they couldn't borrow my girls' cars. One less thing to worry about.
  225. @Anon
    Cars are easy to keep in mint condition in areas where they don't have to salt the roads in winter. My family moved from the north to the south when I was a kid and I was amazed at how old the cars suddenly became, and the fact that they didn't have any rust.

    Cars are easy to keep in mint condition in areas where they don’t have to salt the roads in winter.

    Growing up in New England in the late ’70s – early ’80s, all the car guys would take their hot rods off the road for the winter and drive a $200 junker from December through March.

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  226. anonguy says:

    My first car when I was 15 (Georgia) was a VW bug. My biggest gripe was it was a dork-mobile and a very effective means of birth control.

    I sold it as fast as I could and bought an old MGB, the earlier, coolio ones with full chrome bumpers and unadulterated performance.

    In red, naturally.

    Me and a friend roadtripped it down to Mexico the summer I was 16, sleeping at night on Padre Island, etc.

    Hit Boy’s Town in Matamoros, and started to head back, but the engine blew in Corpus Christi. I joined the Marines shortly after that, sold the car to my college-bound sister who ended up dating a MG mechanic for the duration of her ownership of that car, which was several years.

    Practical woman……

    Anyhow, you have boatloads more fun in an MGB than in a VW, I can attest to that. I also wrecked my uncle’s VW thing when I was 16, what a POS that was.

    It was a riot driving that MGB and I’ve owned some fairly high-end performance cars in the decades since. Torquey little engine and the low just off the ground seating…

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  227. anonguy says:
    @Crawfurdmuir
    50k miles a year is not unusual for a traveling salesman (there still are such people - mostly in wholesale or industrial lines). I've known many who called on my business for which that much annual mileage, or more, was typical.

    The wear and tear on a car driven that much is quite different from that experienced by the city or suburban resident who drives to and from a nearby place of employment, to shop for household needs, and maybe one long trip a year. The heavily driven car will experience wear to the drive train. On the other hand, the car driven 5,000 miles or less a year will often have its exhaust system rust out faster, because it seldom gets hot enough to dry the condensation out of it.

    Also, local climate has a great effect. I live in a part of the country where we have snowy, icy winters. The highway department uses lots of salt. Any car that is driven year-round rusts quickly. When I travel in the southern or western states, where it is either warm enough or arid enough that the roads are not regularly salted, I see a lot more older cars that still look good than I do at home. Here an old rusty car may still have less than 100k miles on the clock, and a good drive train, but off to the junkyard it will go.

    The highway department uses lots of salt. Any car that is driven year-round rusts quickly.

    Is that still as much of a thing as it used to be? Several decades ago, driving around northeastern cities one would see fleets of rustbuckets with cancerous rust areas over wide swaths of the car but I don’t seem to see this any more. My take was they’ve been doing way better on rustproofing cars these days but I may be wrong.

    But I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a genuine rustbucket tooling along, remnants of a fender flapping around in the wind.

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    anonguy, They still salt like crazy here in WNY and on the Thruway, pre-snow, during snow and after snow. We have the best seasoned roadways in America. Cars now have "Rust Through Coverage" in the warranty, so better bonding of paint to metal. Years ago there were dozens of rust proofing shops, biggest one I remember was Ziebart. Basically, they sprayed the inner door panels, wheel wells and undercarriage with waste oil.
    , @Crawfurdmuir
    Some states have reduced the use of salt. This may account for what you've seen. My state has not, and one sees the effect not only on cars but on the blighted trees and shrubs on either side of many of our roads.

    Fleet mileage standards initially forced the reduction in weight of cars, which led to the use of thinner metal for auto bodies, and these rusted through more quickly. It's probable that the potential improvement in mileage by reducing weight has been exhausted, and now makers are concentrating on getting better performance out of smaller engines, automatic transmissions with more speeds, etc.

    A further point is that "light trucks and vans" have more lenient mileage standards and are, in a period when gasoline has been cheaper, more popular than small passenger cars. Because the mileage standards are more generous, SUVs and pickup trucks can be more robustly built and tend to rust out more slowly.

    But still - rust they do, when encrusted with salt from the roads around where I live.

  228. […] This post on Sailer’s site the other day struck a chord with me. I’m beginning the process of buying a car so I have been thinking a lot about cars of late. I truly hate the car buying experience for a number of reasons. The biggest one is that it feels like a waste of time. The dealership model is a carryover from a bygone era when a man would spend a lot of time on purchases. Most of us buy on-line now so walking car lots looking for the right car just feels like a time suck to me. […]

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  229. Jack D says:
    @Steve Sailer
    "One of the interesting things about the Camry – if you talk with a Toyota mechanic – is that the 1985-90 vintage is considered one of the best car models EVER for reliability & longevity."

    Before Toyota brought out the Lexus luxury marque at the end of the 1980s they put everything they had into their Camrys. After that, they tried not to make Camrys too good to give you a reason to upgrade to a Lexus.

    We have a lot of hidden inflation, where a box of cereal still costs $2.49 but now it weighs 13 oz. instead of 16. The “decontenting” of the Camry was another such example.

    Toyota realized that their cars were better than they had to be. If their engines were already 150% more durable than everyone else’s, they could make them 120% more durable and no one would care. If there was a piece of plastic lining the underside of the trunk where no one ever even looked, they could make it out of cheaper plastic or even leave it out. They were getting squeezed on profits and this was a way to keep up margins without raising the price of their cars more than the competition.

    After Toyota decontented the Camry they kept going for a while with the Lexus until they later decontented that too. My late FIL had one of those Lexi – an absolutely bulletproof car that would have gone 20 years/ 250,000 miles with just oil changes. Nothing ever broke on those cars. My MIL gave it to one of his grandsons (not hers – 2nd marriage). A few months later she heard that he had totalled it in an accident.

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    • Replies: @anonguy

    After Toyota decontented the Camry
     
    Proof? Quit repeating urban myths/Fake News and cite some factual basis for your contentions other than you started getting used to higher quality cars and started taking them for granted.
  230. @Milo Minderbinder
    OT- More evidence supporting Steve' thesis that almost everything is a racket designed to pay off for Rich Guys or Hot Babes.

    Comcast faces backlash over black-ministry channel the Word

    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/comcast-nation/Comcast-faces-protests-over-black-religious-channel.html

    White guy used black protests to get his cable channel into more homes than ESPN.

    Televangelists love black viewers because they are an easy touch in the wallet.

    The reason Comcast is going from a white-owned religious channel to a black-owned one is Byron Allen. Comcast just had a $20 billion discrimination suit filed by Byron Allen dismissed. Allen has filed an appeal and his $10 billion racial discrimination lawsuit against Charter Communications was allowed to proceed.

    After the Charter ruling Allen said, “Today, we made history by doing something about it. This lawsuit was filed to provide distribution and real economic inclusion for 100% African American-owned media. The cable industry spends $70 billion a year licensing cable networks and 100% African American-owned media receives ZERO. This is completely unacceptable. We will not stop until we achieve real economic inclusion for 100% African American-owned media.”

    http://www.blackenterprise.com/small-business/byron-allen-racial-suit-cable/

    Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, of Great Faith Ministries in Detroit, owns the Impact Network, which is distributed to 75 million homes on DirecTV, Dish,  and cable systems, including parts of Comcast. He said he was excited about the new Comcast homes.

    This is the guy to watch. Wayne T. Jackson’s wife has a fake doctorate. His son Brandon has had several minor acting roles and was the star of Beverly Hills Cop the TV show, but the pilot did not get picked up. Wayne T. Jackson himself made the news a few years ago when he dry-humped future bishops during a consecration ceremony. At first the video was removed from YouTube for music violations, so the video was reuploaded without the original audio. LINK

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    • Replies: @Triumph104

    This is the guy to watch.
     
    I forgot to mention that Milo Minderbinder's link states that Donald Trump appeared at Wayne T. Jackson's church in September and Jackson will be speaking at the inauguration.
  231. @bomag
    I'd say today's muscle car is the large four door pickup truck.

    I’d say today’s muscle car is the large four door pickup truck.

    I drive a full size pickup because of its utility, but there is a great deal of truth in what you say.

    They’ve tricked the damned things out to appeal to the guy who drives one for his ego. The worst thing is that they have made the sides of the beds so damned high (for looks) that you can’t reach in from the side and access the entire bed. I have to climb up in the damned thing to empty it.

    My next pickup will be a 1984 model. Something with a bed I can reach into and a carburetor and distributor I can work on. Just getting at the plugs in my Ford is an unbelievable hassle.

    Most of the men who drive them never put a damned thing in the bed so they don’t care about the problem. They are just a status symbol.

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  232. Chriscom says:
    @David Davenport
    The classic VW Beetle is a tour de force of engineering and a model of practical simplicity.

    Bullshit. The classic Beatle manufactured and sold in the US in the 1960's was a largely unchanged 1930's car. People bought them because they were cheap. They sold for $1800-$1900 new.

    I am familiar with the classic Beatle. It was unstable in windy weather. You had to make steering corrections for crosswinds blowing on the car. Beatles made before 1968 or thereabouts had heaters and defrosters but no blower/fan. The heating and defrosting effect was feeble.

    It was easy to swap out a classic Beatle's air-cooled flat four engine, and replacement engines were cheap. This was good, because classic Beatle engines often blew completely -- overheating,* perhaps resulting in a broken connecting rod. I don't know where the classic Beatle's reliability reputation comes from ... Maybe from the nostalgic memories of aging hippies. I dunno.

    If you are a Baby Boomer, you should also remember the Volkswagon Type 181 "Thing" which USA VW dealers sold in the 1970's. This new/old car was also sadly underpowered.

    What's interesting about the Type 181 is that it was an almost unchanged reissue of the WWII German Army's Kubelwagen.**

    The Kubelwagen was the Wehrmacht's counterpart to the American Jeep. However, the Jeep was a vastly better vehicle, either on or off road. Granted, the Volkswagen_Schwimmwagen varaint of the Kubelwagen might be a fun ride.

    * If you ever check out dune buggies made from classic Beatles, the dune buggies usually have an oil cooler added to try to prevent overheating. I'll bet that vintage Kubelwagens had the same temperature control problem.

    It was easy to swap out a classic Beatle’s air-cooled flat four engine, and replacement engines were cheap. This was good, because classic Beatle engines often blew completely — overheating,* perhaps resulting in a broken connecting rod. I don’t know where the classic Beatle’s reliability reputation comes from … Maybe from the nostalgic memories of aging hippies. I dunno.

    We had a 1966 Beetle, the first car my Dad ever bought new (and the last, for about 50 years), and a red Volkswagen bus, powered IIRC by the same engine. We had them for a fair number of years and they were trouble-free. I don’t recall any trouble with the engines, other than low power. There was a mild mountain road one way out of town and the bus never managed more than 40-45 mph uphill. We all thought it was hilarious.

    I don’t know anything about the dune buggy scene but it seems to me that use case would be a bit different than usual.

    I learned how to drive in the Beetle and it was kind of adorable to drive–only car I ever did donuts in, in the snow. I think the bus was my Mom’s favorite car. They were both fun, and they were both coffins on wheels if you ran into anything (we didn’t).

    Even at the time the Kubelwagen seemed an odd play. There were plenty of buying-age WWII vets at the time. Wonder how it sold.

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    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    I learned to drive stick in my girl friend's black VW. You could start that car in fourth gear.
  233. peterike says:
    @Arclight
    Dyson's livelihood is no doubt almost entirely paid for by tuition and ad revenue earned primarily from the pale and stale, but he probably doesn't want to think about that too much. If it wasn't for the people he most despises, there wouldn't be much of an economy and certainly not many viewers to tune into MSNBC.

    I do sort of feel bad for him, though - he has titles that are very important from a status standpoint (professor, minister) but he's probably self aware enough to know that no one really takes him seriously. That has to be frustrating.

    but he’s [Dyson] probably self aware enough to know that no one really takes him seriously

    On the contrary! Many thousands of white Liberals will take him seriously enough to buy his book. You think black people are going to read it? Sure, sure, a handful of the old school Communist blacks (the “black intelligentsia”) that still populate areas like Brooklyn’s Fort Greene will buy it so they can mention to their fellow black commies and shaik dey heads over how terrible it all is. But mostly, Dyson — like Genius T. Coates — sells books to whitey. What other race would buy a book that could, and should, be called, “Hey Whitey! You suck!” Only white people do this.

    Jews will flock to this book, as will the growing cadre of Asian anti-whites being churned out by our University system.

    You think Dyson is stupid? He’s smarter than you are, chump!

    PS – What the hell is with the Wash Po web site? It’s borderline unusable. Isn’t Bezos supposed to know a thing or two about building websites?

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  234. @Triumph104
    Televangelists love black viewers because they are an easy touch in the wallet.

    The reason Comcast is going from a white-owned religious channel to a black-owned one is Byron Allen. Comcast just had a $20 billion discrimination suit filed by Byron Allen dismissed. Allen has filed an appeal and his $10 billion racial discrimination lawsuit against Charter Communications was allowed to proceed.

    After the Charter ruling Allen said, “Today, we made history by doing something about it. This lawsuit was filed to provide distribution and real economic inclusion for 100% African American-owned media. The cable industry spends $70 billion a year licensing cable networks and 100% African American-owned media receives ZERO. This is completely unacceptable. We will not stop until we achieve real economic inclusion for 100% African American-owned media.”

    http://www.blackenterprise.com/small-business/byron-allen-racial-suit-cable/


    Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, of Great Faith Ministries in Detroit, owns the Impact Network, which is distributed to 75 million homes on DirecTV, Dish,  and cable systems, including parts of Comcast. He said he was excited about the new Comcast homes.
     
    This is the guy to watch. Wayne T. Jackson's wife has a fake doctorate. His son Brandon has had several minor acting roles and was the star of Beverly Hills Cop the TV show, but the pilot did not get picked up. Wayne T. Jackson himself made the news a few years ago when he dry-humped future bishops during a consecration ceremony. At first the video was removed from YouTube for music violations, so the video was reuploaded without the original audio. LINK

    This is the guy to watch.

    I forgot to mention that Milo Minderbinder’s link states that Donald Trump appeared at Wayne T. Jackson’s church in September and Jackson will be speaking at the inauguration.

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  235. Jack D says:
    @Not Raul
    I agree. The demand for V-8s and V-6s is driven largely by hype.

    The straight six is a beautiful design, and one of the things I like about BMW is that a lot of their cars have that type of engine.

    Most cars nowadays are front wheel drive and the engine is mounted transversely (sideways), which is a better layout for FWD than having the power shaft facing the back of the car. It’s very difficult to fit a straight 6 engine into an engine compartment sideways (though Volvo did it), thus all the V-6′s that you get nowadays. BMW still makes rear wheel drive cars so they still use some straight 6′s. If you want a new(er) straight 6, RWD car then BMW is just about your only choice at this point.

    In the US, straight 6s were the workaday engines found in low end cars (American cars rarely had 4s). Dodge Darts, Chevy Novas, Ford Falcons, etc. all had 6s as did base model pickup trucks, etc. – not at all sexy.

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  236. SportsFan says:
    @FPD72
    I was always a fan of Brock Yates, founder of the Cannonball Baker race across America. I would buy a Car and Driver just to read his column. He just passed away in October of last year. RIP

    Brock was a staunch conservative and not shy to share his political opinion in the pages of an automotive magazine.

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  237. @rienzi
    Not sure if Spitfires go all the way back to 1965. Owned a 1975 model for years. I've had Porsches, Jaguars, and Mustangs, but that Spitfire was the most fun car I've ever owned. That thing was so small, I could sit in it, reach out the window, and touch the ground. Others may have suffered from problems, but mine was a brick. I drove it 87k miles with no problems at all.

    The cars from that era could be differentiated from a distance. Nobody was ever going to confuse a Volvo for a Chevy. Today, you have to be close enough to see the badge to know what it is. Sad really.

    I had a ’64 spitfire with a ’67 engine, so they go back that far.
    But the bestest car I ever had was a ’84 Celica GTS .. built when the Dollar was worth 300 Yen. You got a lotta car for $9k. Power windows, doorlocks, sunroof, AC so cold the outside air would condense on the windows. I usually drove around 85-95 mph in NYC, 90-100 in the suburbs, had it up to 125 on the Thruway ocassionally.
    Good Times.

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  238. anonguy says:
    @Jack D
    We have a lot of hidden inflation, where a box of cereal still costs $2.49 but now it weighs 13 oz. instead of 16. The "decontenting" of the Camry was another such example.

    Toyota realized that their cars were better than they had to be. If their engines were already 150% more durable than everyone else's, they could make them 120% more durable and no one would care. If there was a piece of plastic lining the underside of the trunk where no one ever even looked, they could make it out of cheaper plastic or even leave it out. They were getting squeezed on profits and this was a way to keep up margins without raising the price of their cars more than the competition.

    After Toyota decontented the Camry they kept going for a while with the Lexus until they later decontented that too. My late FIL had one of those Lexi - an absolutely bulletproof car that would have gone 20 years/ 250,000 miles with just oil changes. Nothing ever broke on those cars. My MIL gave it to one of his grandsons (not hers - 2nd marriage). A few months later she heard that he had totalled it in an accident.

    After Toyota decontented the Camry

    Proof? Quit repeating urban myths/Fake News and cite some factual basis for your contentions other than you started getting used to higher quality cars and started taking them for granted.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    OK, sure:

    http://www.autonews.com/article/19960122/ANA/601220731/decontenting-when-theres-no-costs-left-to-cut-japan-wrestles-with-what-to-take-out-of-cars-trucks
  239. SportsFan says:
    @prosa123
    The Camry is far from dead, it still sells in huge numbers even if it's no longer in the top spot. If it has a drawback it's that it has become stereotyped as an old person's car.

    One thing to note about most SUV's is that they're built on the same body platforms as cars, modified to give higher ride height and a station wagon-style rather than separate trunks. Not many are on truck frames. For instance, the Toyota RAV-4 is a modified Corolla, the Highlander a Camry, and the Honda CR-V a Civic.

    Camry is probably the worst car to be stuck behind, because it is predominantly driven by extremely timid, slow, risk-averse people, old or not. Even worse than Prius, which caters to a similar, but greener demographic. Lexus is a basically a Camry/RAV/Highlander for retirees with more money.

    Toyota obviously knows and encourages this, as the TV ads for their cars are soaked through with oxytocin and prolactin to such a degree that they could make an NFL defensive end lactate. I’m not talking about the Tundra or Tacoma, of course, which cater to a different demographic.

    Car psychology – how consumers self-select into particular makes and models – is fascinating.

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    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Fascinating: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/06/how-subarus-came-to-be-seen-as-cars-for-lesbians/488042/
  240. Chriscom says:

    It was easy to swap out a classic Beatle’s air-cooled flat four engine, and replacement engines were cheap.

    By the way, I still say Pete Best was underrated and I don’t think Ringo would appreciate being referred to that way.

    Yeah too easy but I had to go for it.

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  241. @BenKenobi
    As a highly drunk, distractable, and fallible human being I must say this:

    Manual transmission is the only way to drive. All four limbs operating the vehicle as you see fit. Live your own version of PJ O'Rourke's "Drive/Handjob/Drink".

    Also, keep on rockin' in the free world.

    Ben, I bought my daughters “stick shift” (manual transmission) cars to take to college. The reason? Most kids can’t drive stick, so they couldn’t borrow my girls’ cars. One less thing to worry about.

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    • Replies: @BenKenobi
    Excellent idea! I'll probably do that with my girl, although it's at least 12 years before she can get a beginner's license.
  242. @anonguy

    The highway department uses lots of salt. Any car that is driven year-round rusts quickly.
     
    Is that still as much of a thing as it used to be? Several decades ago, driving around northeastern cities one would see fleets of rustbuckets with cancerous rust areas over wide swaths of the car but I don't seem to see this any more. My take was they've been doing way better on rustproofing cars these days but I may be wrong.

    But I can't remember the last time I've seen a genuine rustbucket tooling along, remnants of a fender flapping around in the wind.

    anonguy, They still salt like crazy here in WNY and on the Thruway, pre-snow, during snow and after snow. We have the best seasoned roadways in America. Cars now have “Rust Through Coverage” in the warranty, so better bonding of paint to metal. Years ago there were dozens of rust proofing shops, biggest one I remember was Ziebart. Basically, they sprayed the inner door panels, wheel wells and undercarriage with waste oil.

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  243. My college car, I was married by my sophomore year, was a Plymouth Valiant. Dependable slant six engine with a push button transmission. Fake spare wheel molded into the trunk lid. Remember those?

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  244. Jack D says:
    @reiner Tor

    Not selling too successfully so far. Caddy’s old image persists.
     
    It won't be a success for that reason. Alfa Romeo is trying to compete with BMW, too. They built a car better than the BMW M3, too. It might even be of comparable quality, too. I don't think it will be successful, either.

    The way to success, as I see it, is simple, but not easy. Build good, reliable cars, with great performance and comfort being necessary if you want to go premium. Keep doing this for decades, even if they are not selling so well for a while. After a while customers will take note and give the car the reputation it deserves.

    Usually car companies want to make profits in the meantime, so they scrap these models after one or two unsuccessful generations, or they will try to save money on the quality, which makes it impossible to make them successful.

    That's my prediction for both Cadillac and Alfa Romeo.

    Although BMW has gone downhill lately (they move most of their cars (and increasingly SUVs – a BMW SUV makes no sense but that’s what people want) via 3 year leases – what happens after 3 years is not their problem) I doubt that Alfa is really their match. If you get an Italian car that was put together on a good day, it seems really great at first – you can’t believe how good it is. The design is beautiful, the handling is great, etc. Then in a remarkably short time, it falls to pieces.

    Brand equity is like money in the bank. You can either keep replenishing your brand equity and building up the balance or you can spend down the built up equity for a while until it’s all gone, until the only people who buy your cars are old people and people with impaired credit. How many times have you heard a variation of this story: “I always used to buy [Big 3 brand] cars until I bought a 19XX YYY. That thing was a piece of crap. I replaced it with a [Honda/Toyota/ Mercedes/BMW] which never gave me any trouble and I vowed never to buy an American car again.” At one time a brand name like Oldsmobile or Pontiac was worth billions but then GM spent them down to zero. They’ve spent the Cadillac brand down to maybe 20% of its former value.

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  245. Marty says:
    @CrunchybutRealistCon
    Yeah, the future will be one of more bicycles, motorbikes, Uber, Car sharing co-ops, and people buying 3 three yr old 4 cylinder cars. When people's incomes get pinched, eventually their expectations about car needs get recalibrated.

    One of the interesting things about the Camry - if you talk with a Toyota mechanic - is that the 1985-90 vintage is considered one of the best car models EVER for reliability & longevity. It was common for them to exceed 300,000 miles on the original transmission if cared for reasonably. Some argue that it was such a good car that it was hurting Toyota's sales, and it was intentionally degraded in the 90s so it would't last so darn long.

    The looming decline in car ownership, and falling frequency of new car sales is the canary in the coal mine for the housing market correction. Millenials simply aren't going to be buying new homes or cars in anywhere near Boomer levels. Condos, rentals or 1940s minimalist homes will be the new normal after 2020.

    300k miles is common with the 98-01 Camry. I did it myself. Those are the ones to get, if only because they’re the last with a mechanical accelerator linkage. Drive by wire is crud.

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  246. Lagertha says:
    @whorefinder
    Love how Jack subtly criticizes the latest grrrl-power Star Wars films backhandedly.

    Cars are one of those subjects that is very guy-oriented and the feminists have a hard time getting into. Feminists just don't seem all that interested in breaking through the glass ceiling of the mechanic's garage floor, though they like the occasional depiction of the tomboy chick covered in grease changing someone's oil----except when her depiction fulfills both feminist and straight male fantasies, e.g. Megan Fox in the Transformer movies.

    It seems feminism can't be happy if men are also made happy in the process.

    Also, women, even feminists, even today, still seem to expect that men will know a lot about/be absolutely competent at certain activities based on being men. Cars, computers, and killing bugs seem to be the big three. Doesn't matter who the guy is, he's just supposed to know and do those things, according to gyno-americans.

    I dated a strident feminist in my younger days (forgive me, I was young), and one day I was driving and we had to pull over to the side of the road to assess a problem. She practically ordered me to get out and fix it and didn't get out at all, despite knowing my paucity of knowledge about cars. To this day I can't tell if it was more about her feminism evaporating in the face of an automobile problem or about her feminism requiring that all men serve her needs and bow down before her.

    Gentleman, enjoy: https://youtu.be/3nGQLQF1b6l

    Also, can someone recommend a smaller SUV (must be snow car) that could accommodate say, Great Danes….preferably a vehicle where I can remove seats, or seats fold down into compartments? I’ve got to replace my ancient minivan soon. Head room for dogs is key…and use in backcountry conditions calls for not going “minivan.”.

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  247. Q: Hiw many car guys does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: Two. One to change the light bulb and one to talk about how great the old light bulb was.

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  248. @David Davenport
    I was thinking of a car with a straight six (inspired by cars like the MGB), not an underpowered car with a four cylinder (like a Miata). Something closer would be a Honda S2000.

    I don't think that Morris Garage ever built a car with a straight six engine. You probably have the Triumph TR6 in mind.

    The S2000 had a four cylinder engine. Honda stopped selling the S2000 in the USA in 2007 due to slow sales.

    What you want is a BMW Z4. It's a got an inline six, causing it to have a long hood line, and also a higher polar moment of inertia than a sports car should have. I once heard a woman comment that "That car ( a Z4 convertible belonging to somebody else, not me ) sure does look like a penis."


    ////////////////////////////////////

    Spelling correction: " varaint of the Kubelwagen" should be "variant of the Kubelelwagen."

    “I don’t think that Morris Garage ever built a car with a straight six engine. You probably have the Triumph TR6 in mind.”

    My dear David Davenport, MG made the short-lived MGC, which was an MGB that squeezed in a straight-six motor covered by a huge ugly hood blister to accommodate its bulk.

    “Austin-Healy 100-6 and 3000 had six cylinder engines as did the Triumph Spitfire and TR6.”

    My dear Jacobite, the Triumph Spitfire had a 4-banger, the Triumph GT6 and GT6+ coupes had straight-sixes, and so did the Triumph TR-250 (the TR-250 soon lost its TR4 body style, covered up by the TR-6′s newer body).

    Critics of the VW Beetle overlook that it was ultra-cheap to buy – actually, affordable, that it was inexpensive to maintain, that its engine could be replaced inside of four hours, and that for those reasons it dominated the compact market for many years (in the 1960′s, one-third and often more than one-third of the cars in many college parking lots were Beetles). Moreover, used Beetles in good condition were ubiquitous and exceptionally affordable. Today the Beetle has no equivalent in initial cost – and perhaps also in maintenance costs as well. Sure, the Beetle needed some care in high winds, yet on how many days of the year do high winds impinge upon driving?

    One midwinter Sunday at dawn, crossing the empty Verrazzano Narrows Bridge to Brooklyn, my twelve year-old 1962 Beetle got blown from the right lane all the way to the Jersey barriers at the far side of the left lane – but she was not out of control: as soon as she got to the left lane the New Jersey barrier center-divider blocked the wind and my Beetle rode off the rest of the bridge as straight as an arrow. I bought that ’62′ Bug in 1974 with 36,000 miles on her clock, and I drove her hard for two years, putting 96,000 miles on her before driving her last four miles on her last two working cylinders. I then sold that Bug to my neighbor who dropped in a cheap used motor that kept the car running well for another three years. She was an excellent get-around-town car, not bad for long trips either; and in all depths of snow she was a champ – left a great many RWD American compacts and muscle V-8′s at the bottom of snowy-icy hills. Her only drawback was indifferent heating/defrosting for lack of a ventilation system fan (the faster she went, the better the heating/defrosting, stuck in traffic and you had to have a rag handy to clear the fog from the inside of her windshield). The 1962 model was the first year that the Bug had a fuel gauge – earlier models incorporated a dashboard fuel reserve switch that the driver flipped when the fuel supply dipped low enough, and the reserve fuel yielded another 25 miles of motoring before the tank emptied. Another advantage: you could pop-clutch-push-start your Beetle by yourself!

    After 1968 graduation from high school, a classmate owned a gas station a couple of blocks from a state university and did immensely profitable business in buying and selling college grads’ used Beetles to undergrads, and in maintaining and repairing undergrads’ Beetles. From his vast stock of used engines he routinely replaced Beetle motors in well under three hours. For young people on a shoestring budget the Beetle was a superb car – and, again, today it has no equivalent.

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    • Replies: @Not Raul
    Fascinating stuff.

    You get what I was saying.

    I've never owned a VW Beetle myself; but a lot of my relatives have.

    My father's family had a Beetle in Cuba and a used Beetle was the first car they were able to afford after they fled. My father's first car was a Beetle, as was my uncle's. My uncle also owned two VW vans.

    They weren't supposed to be like modern $30,000 cars. For what they were, they were great.
    , @J1234

    MG made the short-lived MGC, which was an MGB that squeezed in a straight-six motor covered by a huge ugly hood blister to accommodate its bulk.
     
    Didn't MG also put a V8 in it's sports cars? The engine was made by Rover, I think, but was actually a remake of the old GM aluminum small displacement V8, which Rover bought the rights to. I was interested in this at one time because the shop manual I bought for my early 60's Olds 88 also had a section on the compact F 85 (pre-Cutlass) which had a 215 c.i. alum. V8. I was fascinated because I was so unfamiliar with this engine.

    It was amazing what they could get to fit under the hood of an MG. Buick made an aluminum V6 about the same time, but I don't think they ever put these in MG's. Lots of forgotten engines out there. GM sold a lot of air cooled Corvairs, but that was an idea that went nowhere.

  249. @Not Raul
    The classic VW Beetle is a tour de force of engineering and a model of practical simplicity. Very wu.

    The New Beetle, is for rich, stupid, narcissistic first wave baby boomers.

    What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission.

    Steve: it looks like an Israeli agent trying to "take down" U.K. MPs has been caught. Perhaps the U.K. might still be a somewhat independent country.

    https://news.google.com/news/amp?caurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Famp%2F38545671#pt0-715821

    Have you ever seen The War of the Roses (1989)? It’s a black comedy about an acrimonious divorce.

    There’s a scene where the wife tries to kill the husband by crushing his Morgan 4/4 with her monster SUV:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Iza5db5Zvk

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  250. Anon7 says:
    @Russell
    I think option 2 is likely based on the progress Google have made with their program, and the fact that everyone in the car industry and plenty in IT both software and hardware and many others have taken note and jumped in boots and all.
    Transport as a service is coming and it's coming fast.
    The cars themselves will change enormously as a result. The end result will be a low performance, very low weight, relatively short range electric vehicle.
    Of what use are 200 horses in a robotaxi? If crash rates go down to near zero of what use is all the heavy crash protection?
    The other thing that will change enormously is the load factor (currently a pitiful 1.3 people per vehicle). Once enough people start using Uber or equivalents in ride sharing matches will be easier to find. Increasing load factor could see the end of congestion.
    Our cities are also going to change enormously as a consequence.
    Goodbye parking buildings, goodbye vehicle smog.
    If it's done properly I'm not going to miss driving eve one little bit.

    Before the autonomous car news hit some years ago, I attended a conference on the topic. After hearing information similar to your comments, a young woman in the audience asked “But what about the pleasure of driving? What about the joy of the open road?” Her comment was a good one, but everyone over forty laughed. If you’ve ever spent a decade doing a one hour commute both ways, or driving the kids to sports, stores, etc. you have totally had it with driving.

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  251. Anon7 says:
    @MarkinPNW
    I remember back in the '70's reading a book with the title, if I remember right, "The Screwing of the Average Man" or something similar. The chapter on cars explained that if you took all the time the "average man" spends driving, maintaining his car, working to pay insurance, taxes and registration, gas, oil, repairs, and the monthly payment and divided by miles traveled the average speed was about 5 miles per hour. I suspect today's figure would be similar.

    I totally agree. I’ve worked for 2 of the Big 3 automakers, and it’s all about not leaving any money on the table. I mean, sure it’s a business, but we’ve been taking it in the neck for decades. we’ll love our autonomous cars… if they work. Keep your fingers crossed.

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  252. Not Raul says:
    @Auntie Analogue
    "I don’t think that Morris Garage ever built a car with a straight six engine. You probably have the Triumph TR6 in mind."

    My dear David Davenport, MG made the short-lived MGC, which was an MGB that squeezed in a straight-six motor covered by a huge ugly hood blister to accommodate its bulk.


    "Austin-Healy 100-6 and 3000 had six cylinder engines as did the Triumph Spitfire and TR6."

    My dear Jacobite, the Triumph Spitfire had a 4-banger, the Triumph GT6 and GT6+ coupes had straight-sixes, and so did the Triumph TR-250 (the TR-250 soon lost its TR4 body style, covered up by the TR-6's newer body).


    Critics of the VW Beetle overlook that it was ultra-cheap to buy - actually, affordable, that it was inexpensive to maintain, that its engine could be replaced inside of four hours, and that for those reasons it dominated the compact market for many years (in the 1960's, one-third and often more than one-third of the cars in many college parking lots were Beetles). Moreover, used Beetles in good condition were ubiquitous and exceptionally affordable. Today the Beetle has no equivalent in initial cost - and perhaps also in maintenance costs as well. Sure, the Beetle needed some care in high winds, yet on how many days of the year do high winds impinge upon driving?

    One midwinter Sunday at dawn, crossing the empty Verrazzano Narrows Bridge to Brooklyn, my twelve year-old 1962 Beetle got blown from the right lane all the way to the Jersey barriers at the far side of the left lane - but she was not out of control: as soon as she got to the left lane the New Jersey barrier center-divider blocked the wind and my Beetle rode off the rest of the bridge as straight as an arrow. I bought that '62' Bug in 1974 with 36,000 miles on her clock, and I drove her hard for two years, putting 96,000 miles on her before driving her last four miles on her last two working cylinders. I then sold that Bug to my neighbor who dropped in a cheap used motor that kept the car running well for another three years. She was an excellent get-around-town car, not bad for long trips either; and in all depths of snow she was a champ - left a great many RWD American compacts and muscle V-8's at the bottom of snowy-icy hills. Her only drawback was indifferent heating/defrosting for lack of a ventilation system fan (the faster she went, the better the heating/defrosting, stuck in traffic and you had to have a rag handy to clear the fog from the inside of her windshield). The 1962 model was the first year that the Bug had a fuel gauge - earlier models incorporated a dashboard fuel reserve switch that the driver flipped when the fuel supply dipped low enough, and the reserve fuel yielded another 25 miles of motoring before the tank emptied. Another advantage: you could pop-clutch-push-start your Beetle by yourself!

    After 1968 graduation from high school, a classmate owned a gas station a couple of blocks from a state university and did immensely profitable business in buying and selling college grads' used Beetles to undergrads, and in maintaining and repairing undergrads' Beetles. From his vast stock of used engines he routinely replaced Beetle motors in well under three hours. For young people on a shoestring budget the Beetle was a superb car - and, again, today it has no equivalent.

    Fascinating stuff.

    You get what I was saying.

    I’ve never owned a VW Beetle myself; but a lot of my relatives have.

    My father’s family had a Beetle in Cuba and a used Beetle was the first car they were able to afford after they fled. My father’s first car was a Beetle, as was my uncle’s. My uncle also owned two VW vans.

    They weren’t supposed to be like modern $30,000 cars. For what they were, they were great.

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  253. Olorin says:
    @Steve Sailer
    "What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission."

    The Mazda Miata is pretty much the descendant of lightweight nimble convertible underpowered British sports cars.

    Good luck closing the convertible top if you’re over six feet tall.

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  254. Ivy says:
    @Dr. X

    An inline six has much to recommend it. Who needs a V-8? Remember the ad “I could have had a V-8.”? It was all just hype.

     

    Some of the best engines from the 1950s-1980s were straight sixes from Ford and Dodge. They were low-revving, long-strike, torquey motors. Why, then, do people like V-8s? Because V-8s, with a shorter stroke, rev higher and make power at higher revs. The power band is wider, which is good for the tire-burning performance crowd. So for that kind of thing the V-8 was not "just hype." But for low-rev, high-torque applications such as daily commuting and trucking, straight sixes are great.

    Dodge slant-6 was a strong engine that would like to run forever. Simple and easy to maintain, often in cars with an engine compartment that you really climb into for access and leverage.

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  255. Ivy says:
    @Desiderius
    It's the software that comes installed with the system, but there are upgrades available.

    Why do so many people void the warranty?
    When properly maintained and upgraded the system is a daily blessing.

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  256. @anonguy

    The highway department uses lots of salt. Any car that is driven year-round rusts quickly.
     
    Is that still as much of a thing as it used to be? Several decades ago, driving around northeastern cities one would see fleets of rustbuckets with cancerous rust areas over wide swaths of the car but I don't seem to see this any more. My take was they've been doing way better on rustproofing cars these days but I may be wrong.

    But I can't remember the last time I've seen a genuine rustbucket tooling along, remnants of a fender flapping around in the wind.

    Some states have reduced the use of salt. This may account for what you’ve seen. My state has not, and one sees the effect not only on cars but on the blighted trees and shrubs on either side of many of our roads.

    Fleet mileage standards initially forced the reduction in weight of cars, which led to the use of thinner metal for auto bodies, and these rusted through more quickly. It’s probable that the potential improvement in mileage by reducing weight has been exhausted, and now makers are concentrating on getting better performance out of smaller engines, automatic transmissions with more speeds, etc.

    A further point is that “light trucks and vans” have more lenient mileage standards and are, in a period when gasoline has been cheaper, more popular than small passenger cars. Because the mileage standards are more generous, SUVs and pickup trucks can be more robustly built and tend to rust out more slowly.

    But still – rust they do, when encrusted with salt from the roads around where I live.

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  257. keypusher says:
    @Anonymous
    Those cars from the seventies had primitive suspensions and crude mechanical systems such as gravity-operated fast idle cams on carburetors. They were simple to work on but changing your points every 12,000 miles was a chore. They handled abominably compared to today's sporty sedans and to characterize a Toyota Camry like car as a "mommy's basement" like car compared to a land whale like the Cutlass is nonsensical.

    Today's Camry, Civic or Accord with rack and pinion steering and MacPherson strut suspension runs a slalom test faster than any car (commonly) commercially available in 1973 or 1965, including Triumphs, Fiats, Stingrays, Jaguars etc. I drove an old TR3 then and it was basically a tractor motor mounted in a crude crate with a ride like a buckboard bouncing down a dusty trail in one of those old western movies.

    Sometime around 1985 or so Car and Driver (or one of those rags) ran a piece in which the sawed-off Honda CRX ran their slalom test in the third fastest time they'd ever recorded, beaten only by a Ferrari or Maserati and the current Corvette Stingray. And the auto industry has never looked back.

    It's fun to muse about old times and ponder the bad old days, but I suspect the author's recollections are tinted rosily by his recalling his first big date and Friday night burgers at Frisch's BigBoy with the gang in Dad's sporty 442 which could indeed, outrun everyone else's Impalas, Furys, Galaxies, Polaras, and 88s--and Country Squires, who could forget them?

    As I learned from about five minutes of clicking, one of the author’s themes is that all cars now are good, and that you’re pretty near guaranteed 100,000 trouble-free miles given minimal maintenance. He specifically noted that even a mediocre modern sedan handles better than a 2001 top-of-the-line Lexus. So he’s quite aware of the quality improvements you describe. His complaint is that the uniform reliability, quality, and performance of new cars makes his job a challenge.

    Of course, for most of us, boringness is a bug, not a feature. I’ve been driving for a long time. I now have a used 2010 Civic and I can’t believe how good it is. Whenever I rent a car, whatever it is, I’m blown away.

    Also I can’t believe a thread about cars has over 250 comments.

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  258. @Not Raul
    The classic VW Beetle is a tour de force of engineering and a model of practical simplicity. Very wu.

    The New Beetle, is for rich, stupid, narcissistic first wave baby boomers.

    What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission.

    Steve: it looks like an Israeli agent trying to "take down" U.K. MPs has been caught. Perhaps the U.K. might still be a somewhat independent country.

    https://news.google.com/news/amp?caurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Famp%2F38545671#pt0-715821

    What someone ought to build is an update of the classic British sports car: simple, elegant (in the Zen sense), with a straight six and manual transmission.

    I’ve already mentioned the Morgan Roadster, but there’s also the revived Alvis -

    http://www.thealviscarcompany.co.uk

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  259. J1234 says:
    @anonguy

    When I was in high school in the mid-70′s NOBODY wanted a brand new car.
     
    I was going to say the same thing. Between first oil shock, safety and emissions standards, and malaise driven crappy design/workmanship, 70's cars sucked.

    It was the sixties ones that rocked and maybe into early 70's. Some of the seventies ones had the similar bodies/lines, but they were potemkin villages.

    Everyone thought it was impossible to ever have a fast car again because of emissions and fuel mileage issues. Not without reason, since they couldn't even make a reliable car clock. Convertibles were thought to have been mandated out of existence, it was this weird urban myth, but nobody made any convertibles at all for years and years.

    I remember many times in the 80s being delighted that the auto industry was starting to make stylish, powerful, and more reliable cars, being delighted at the reintroduction of convertibles, etc.

    Cars sucked in the 70s, period.

    Everyone thought it was impossible to ever have a fast car again because of emissions and fuel mileage issues. Not without reason, since they couldn’t even make a reliable car clock.

    I remember that about car clocks. Of course, even back in the 1960′s and 50′s, car clocks were notoriously unreliable. Only so much chuck hole trauma a mechanical movement can take.

    My theory is that GM went to the ultra large engine displacement in performance passenger cars in the early ’70′s (455 c.i.d. for Pontiac, Olds and Buick – 454 c.i.d. for Chevy) because they could see lower horsepower ratings coming. Why do I say that? Because large displacement still gives lots of torque, even while horsepower decreases. The ’72 models saw the first substantial HP decline, but the 1972 Olds 442 W30 still made 300 HP…that’s still a lot of power, just not factory race car power. The power magic for consumers, however, was because of the 410 ft/lb.s of torque that the Olds 455 made. The (full size) ’63 Olds 88 Holiday coupe I just sold recently only made 280 HP with it’s 2 bbl 394 engine, but it had 415 ft/lb.s of torque (at whatever rpm) and you could really feel it, despite the probably substandard performance as a dragster. 1972 was still considered a desirable year to own a new car (for most “car guys”) but 1973′s new body styles were emblematic of the direction Detroit was going.

    Of course, for Trans Am owners, the muscle car era didn’t really end till the early ’80′s, but we always saw those guys as living in a delusional fantasy world filled with “screaming chickens.” Keep in mind, however, you could still do an aftermarket build on lots of v8′s that would bring back the power.

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  260. Whoever says:
    @anonguy
    "Before Toyota brought out the Lexus luxury marque at the end of the 1980s they put everything they had into their Camrys. After that, they tried not to make Camrys too good to give you a reason to upgrade to a Lexus."

    Fake News, Steve.

    Until 2 or 3 years ago, all the Lexus models were sold under the Toyota brand in Japan, where it has always been considered a premium brand among domestic car-makers.

    No way they were diluting the quality intentionally. Total urban myth, or Fake News as we say today...

    Declining quality may have been a response to the yen shock, everyone realizes that the Japanese were totally gilding the lily on products when you got 260 yen (or more) to the buck.

    Can't say much for current gen, but Tacomas up to the 2002 model, last of that gen, run forever.

    And Toyota was producing what were then premium models in Japan in the 80s, just not exporting them to USA.

    No way they were diluting the quality intentionally. Total urban myth, or Fake News as we say today…

    That’s true. There’s a lot of misinformation about the automobile industry in this thread. It’s surprising because so many very thorough books have been written about this subject over the years. A good place to start re the rise of the Japanese is Michael Cusumano’s The Japanese Automobile Industry — an oldie but a goodie. Cusumano actually knows what he is talking about.

    Everyone realizes that the Japanese were totally gilding the lily on products…

    I remember a story my father told me: He used to be a hard-core British bike fan when he was in high school in the sixties. He raced BSAs, flat-track and TT against the Harley wrecking crew, and he was used to dealing with British crappiness and assumed that’s just the way motorcycles were.
    Then one day he took a ride on a Honda CB450K. What a revelation. Besides being a good-looking machine that had as much power as British bikes with a third greater displacement, it was wildly technically advanced, a DOHC with torsion-bar valve springs, electric starter, five-speed transmission, utterly reliable–and it didn’t leak a drop of oil!
    And what’s more, when he disassembled it to have a closer look, he noticed that the inside of the valve covers had been polished. Nobody except a mechanic working on the bike would ever see that or notice, but the Japanese made sure that every piece of that motorcycle was as good as it could be.
    What a contrast with the lousy British junk.
    I recalled this story when I read some comments in another thread about how great the Spitfire airplane was. What a laugh. I thought about deconstructing that hoary old myth, but I couldn’t be bothered.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonguy
    Thanks.

    Japanese cars were actually heavily upcontented starting in the 80s. They had been bringing in unlimited quantities of economy compact cars.

    Then, sometime during the Reagan administration, in addition to tariffs on >=750cc motorcycles, which lead to brief existence of the 700cc class motorcycle, an informal gentleman's agreement was forged between Japan/US to limit imports of Japanese cars to 2.1 million, if I recall the number correctly.

    So in order to keep increasing revenue/profits, etc, the Japanese manufacturers started shipping cars with tons of options, releasing upmarket models, etc. It was a very remarked upon development at the time, I'm surprised no one has mentioned it in this thread.

    By the end of the 80s, it was quite difficult to find something like a basic, strippo, Datsun B210 on a new car lot.

    These are facts, not the urban myths that many, including, to his shame, iSteve, have been parroting on the subject in this thread. This informal limit had an enormous effect on the Japanese car in America and the Japanese auto industry in general.

    It was also a spur for the Japanese to start opening plants here.

    Reagan had his head screwed on right about trade, something that no Republican, at least until Trump if he walks his talk, has had since then.

  261. J1234 says:
    @Auntie Analogue
    "I don’t think that Morris Garage ever built a car with a straight six engine. You probably have the Triumph TR6 in mind."

    My dear David Davenport, MG made the short-lived MGC, which was an MGB that squeezed in a straight-six motor covered by a huge ugly hood blister to accommodate its bulk.


    "Austin-Healy 100-6 and 3000 had six cylinder engines as did the Triumph Spitfire and TR6."

    My dear Jacobite, the Triumph Spitfire had a 4-banger, the Triumph GT6 and GT6+ coupes had straight-sixes, and so did the Triumph TR-250 (the TR-250 soon lost its TR4 body style, covered up by the TR-6's newer body).


    Critics of the VW Beetle overlook that it was ultra-cheap to buy - actually, affordable, that it was inexpensive to maintain, that its engine could be replaced inside of four hours, and that for those reasons it dominated the compact market for many years (in the 1960's, one-third and often more than one-third of the cars in many college parking lots were Beetles). Moreover, used Beetles in good condition were ubiquitous and exceptionally affordable. Today the Beetle has no equivalent in initial cost - and perhaps also in maintenance costs as well. Sure, the Beetle needed some care in high winds, yet on how many days of the year do high winds impinge upon driving?

    One midwinter Sunday at dawn, crossing the empty Verrazzano Narrows Bridge to Brooklyn, my twelve year-old 1962 Beetle got blown from the right lane all the way to the Jersey barriers at the far side of the left lane - but she was not out of control: as soon as she got to the left lane the New Jersey barrier center-divider blocked the wind and my Beetle rode off the rest of the bridge as straight as an arrow. I bought that '62' Bug in 1974 with 36,000 miles on her clock, and I drove her hard for two years, putting 96,000 miles on her before driving her last four miles on her last two working cylinders. I then sold that Bug to my neighbor who dropped in a cheap used motor that kept the car running well for another three years. She was an excellent get-around-town car, not bad for long trips either; and in all depths of snow she was a champ - left a great many RWD American compacts and muscle V-8's at the bottom of snowy-icy hills. Her only drawback was indifferent heating/defrosting for lack of a ventilation system fan (the faster she went, the better the heating/defrosting, stuck in traffic and you had to have a rag handy to clear the fog from the inside of her windshield). The 1962 model was the first year that the Bug had a fuel gauge - earlier models incorporated a dashboard fuel reserve switch that the driver flipped when the fuel supply dipped low enough, and the reserve fuel yielded another 25 miles of motoring before the tank emptied. Another advantage: you could pop-clutch-push-start your Beetle by yourself!

    After 1968 graduation from high school, a classmate owned a gas station a couple of blocks from a state university and did immensely profitable business in buying and selling college grads' used Beetles to undergrads, and in maintaining and repairing undergrads' Beetles. From his vast stock of used engines he routinely replaced Beetle motors in well under three hours. For young people on a shoestring budget the Beetle was a superb car - and, again, today it has no equivalent.

    MG made the short-lived MGC, which was an MGB that squeezed in a straight-six motor covered by a huge ugly hood blister to accommodate its bulk.

    Didn’t MG also put a V8 in it’s sports cars? The engine was made by Rover, I think, but was actually a remake of the old GM aluminum small displacement V8, which Rover bought the rights to. I was interested in this at one time because the shop manual I bought for my early 60′s Olds 88 also had a section on the compact F 85 (pre-Cutlass) which had a 215 c.i. alum. V8. I was fascinated because I was so unfamiliar with this engine.

    It was amazing what they could get to fit under the hood of an MG. Buick made an aluminum V6 about the same time, but I don’t think they ever put these in MG’s. Lots of forgotten engines out there. GM sold a lot of air cooled Corvairs, but that was an idea that went nowhere.

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    • Replies: @Auntie Analogue
    My dear J1234, you may have confused an MG V-8 with the Rootes Group maker's Sunbeam Tiger, which had the Sunbeam Alpine (a 4 cyl. ragtop) body but with a robus