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SOUL-SUCKING, JUICE-SAPPING, CANDY APPLE NIGHTMARES, GOATS IN TREES AND THE DAWN OF THE NEW LEVIATHANS…IT WAS GOOD. AND HARD. AND FAST. YES, IT’S TIME FOR THE AUTOEXTREMIST YEAR IN REVIEW! – Rants

SOUL-SUCKING, JUICE-SAPPING, CANDY APPLE NIGHTMARES, GOATS IN TREES AND THE DAWN OF THE NEW LEVIATHANS…IT WAS GOOD. AND HARD. AND FAST. YES, IT’S TIME FOR THE AUTOEXTREMIST YEAR IN REVIEW! – Rants

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By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. To say that 2021 has been “tumultuous” doesn’t even start to cowl it. I’ve used that phrase to explain this enterprise for happening half a decade now, as a result of the chaos continues. The auto business – together with each different business on this nation – has been turned the other way up with shortages and provide chain points. We’re dwelling in perilous occasions, and on each conceivable societal stage too. Typically writing about this enterprise appears trivial at greatest, however then once more it isn’t, as a result of this business is main the best way to greener pastures for this nation, whether or not we’re prepared for it or not.

It’s no secret that this “Grand Transition” to Battery Electrical Autos shall be fraught with peril, missteps and flawed turns. No, a swap can’t be “flipped” and it received’t all be discovered with our collective finger snaps both. It would take severe, intensive, all-consuming work in battery improvement, the considered use of important assets, the constructing out of the charging infrastructure and dramatic enhancements within the provide chain to drag this off. And that doesn’t even start to get on the most troublesome advertising problem in automotive historical past, which is to create the basic want and need to for BEVs. 

Whereas the Sturm und Drang continues over this transition, the pushback from individuals who both don’t consider it’s going to ever occur or don’t consider that it ought to occur appears to be gaining energy by the day. The explanations are many: The infrastructure isn’t there and received’t be there for years to come back. Vary continues to be a perceived downside. Charging stays a difficulty, each for the time it takes and since it actually excludes residence dwellers en masse. The checklist goes on from there. Some individuals are simply disinclined to entertain BEVs below any circumstance, when it comes proper all the way down to it. 

And I get it, I actually do. As somebody who grew up immersed in a few of the best high-performance ICE machines ever constructed, a world that doesn’t echo with the sound of hungry V8s rumbling throughout the panorama is solely arduous to think about. However then once more, as I’ve stated repeatedly, these machines shall be round for many years to come back. They are going to be collected, nurtured and preserved indefinitely. And that may be a excellent factor from my perspective. 

And, it’s not as in case your native “Donuts, Lotto ‘n Fuel” station goes to vanish in a single day, taken over by charging islands. It’ll take time. A lengthy time. But it surely’s additionally clear that for a big portion of the driving inhabitants, BEVs will develop into a staple in each geographical area right here in america. And I’m high-quality with that.

The onset of BEVs doesn’t imply that the automobile “factor” will go away. In reality, it is perhaps an excellent time to take a step again and perceive what this automobile “factor” has meant to this nation. 

How did the automobile “factor” evolve from wanting quicker horses to the constructing of transportation that reworked the world? What propelled the car from being an extravagant comfort to a cultural touchstone that’s such an inexorable a part of the American material that even probably the most hostile of the anti-car hordes can’t appear to dampen our collective enthusiasm for it?

Is it the style assertion? The basic sense of movement and pace? The image-enhancing energy that cars possess? Or all the above?

If something, I hold going again to the one factor that’s plain about our collective love for the car, the one factor that no laptop simulation – regardless of how highly effective or creatively enhanced – can compete with. And that’s the freedom of mobility. And that won’t change within the upcoming BEV period.

The power to go and do, coupled with the liberty to discover and expertise, is just not solely a robust idea, it’s elementary to the human expertise, which is why the car in all of its kinds stays so compelling and undeniably intoxicating.

That the car has progressed from a tool constructed round comfort and luxury to one thing extra, a lot extra, is simple to know. The push of freedom that we’ve all skilled in our first solo drives in an car is one thing that can not be duplicated or brushed apart. It’s ingrained in our spirit and etched in our souls.

I’ve talked to probably the most strident anti-car folks through the years. However even for individuals who merely like to tell me that “I’m not into automobiles,” inevitably, after acknowledging that it’s high-quality that they don’t share my ardour for the car, one thing very attention-grabbing occurs.

If the dialog is allowed to percolate lengthy sufficient, each single anti-car individual I’ve encountered in happening 23 years of doing Autoextremist.com comes round to saying one thing like, “Properly, there was this one automobile that my uncle (or aunt, or buddy, or brother, or father, or grandfather, and so on.) had that I’ll always remember…” They usually then proceed to inform me a couple of automobile that’s so indelibly carved into their reminiscences that they begin speaking about it intimately, together with the place they have been, how outdated they have been, who was with them, the place they have been going, what occurred, and so on., and so on., and so on.

For even these most dispassionate in regards to the car – a minimum of on the floor anyway – I discover there are at all times tales in the event you dig slightly deeper. Tales of coming of age, of journey, of harrowing shut calls, of affection, and life and lives lived. And reminiscences. Numerous, colourful reminiscences that stay on without end.

The auto enterprise itself may be mind-numbingly tedious at occasions, as I’ve properly documented through the years. And it’s with out query probably the most sophisticated endeavors on earth, made up of so many nuanced components that it virtually defies description. However the creation of machines which are secure, dependable, lovely to have a look at, enjoyable to drive, versatile or arduous working – relying on the duty they’re designed for – is greater than only a chilly, calculated enterprise. It’s and has been an industrial artwork kind that has come to outline who we’re collectively.

The auto clearly means extra to me than it does for many. I grew up immersed on this enterprise, and the passionate endeavor surrounding the creation of automotive artwork has by no means stopped being attention-grabbing for me. And it is rather a lot artwork, by the best way. Emotionally involving and undeniably compelling mechanical artwork that not solely takes us the place we need to go however strikes us in ways in which nonetheless touches our souls deeply.

As I’ve reminded everybody many occasions through the years, I for one will always remember the essence of the machine, and what makes it a dwelling, respiration mechanical conduit of our hopes and desires.

WG and I’ve put collectively the next highlights from AE from the previous yr. And do not forget to take a look at “The Greatest Of On The Desk,” “Fumes” and “The Line.” I’ll be again on the finish with a couple of closing ideas.

 

LET’S CALL THE SUPERCAR OBSESSION FOR WHAT IT IS: SWINGING DICKISM WRIT LARGE. And why, precisely? Possession? The necessity to have one thing that nobody else does, as if this delusional pursuit has any advantage by any means? Efficiency? These automobiles are not often – as in by no means – pushed. Why? As a result of their efficiency envelope is past mere mortals, they usually price so rattling a lot that the considered rolling one up right into a ball at a monitor day is, properly, distant, at greatest. No, I attribute this supercar obsession to the final word instance of Swinging Dickism, a pathetic affliction that doesn’t have a statute of limitations, as a result of it has been part of this enterprise for nearly so long as the invention of the automobile itself. The one distinction now could be that the price of being The Largest Software within the Shed has grown to the purpose over the past half-decade of being past absurd. – 2021? SAME AS IT EVER WAS.  (1/6/21)

 

WE’RE BMW, AND WE DON’T HAVE A FRICKIN’ CLUE AS TO WHAT’S GOIN’ ON. BMW operatives have determined to take the good advertising method of insulting their older patrons – you recognize, those who put and have saved BMW on the map – by suggesting they’re out of contact and never price preserving round anyway. And when these patrons registered their unhappiness with BMW’s advertising method, firm entrepreneurs responded with the now comical “Okay, Boomer.” Which, naturally, unleashed a livid torrent of derision aimed toward BMW, and deservedly so. However that monumentally misguided waste of time dropped at life by BMW entrepreneurs was solely setting the desk for an much more egregious mistake: a remarkably insulting and flat-out silly video that BMW operatives had the temerity to unveil on the just lately accomplished CES. You possibly can watch it right here, however I warn you that you just received’t get via it with no few well-placed “WTFs?” and “OMGs!” – AN ENTIRELY NEW DIMENSION OF ABJECT STUPIDITY BROUGHT TO YOU BY BMW. (1/20)

 

WAIT, YOU MEAN THERE ARE STILL RUNAWAY EGOS IN THE AUTO BIZ? WHO KNEW? Sufficient of that and sure, in all probability a lot greater than you must know, nevertheless it supplies a correct introduction to the remainder of my column. The opposite phenomenon I want to discuss right now? Auto executives with runaway egos. Wait, you thought these days have been relegated to automotive historical past books with the departure of Sergio “The Nice” or the exodus of Carlos “I’m The Ghosnster And You’re Not” Ghosn? Mistaken, Lithium breath. – GOATS IN TREES AND OTHER PHENOMENA. (1/27) 

(Nationwide Geographic)

 

I SPENT 100 GRAND ON THIS? It was a fleeting second in time in our formative fanatic years when the solar was brighter and the sky was bluer. All the things gave the impression to be on an upward trajectory again then, and the machines that outlined that period are completely etched in our collective reminiscences as soul-stirring monsters that left an indelible impression that sticks with us to this present day. However once more, the fact was a lot completely different. I can’t let you know what number of hard-core lovers I’ve talked to through the years who recounted prolonged tales to me in regards to the one automobile that they lusted after of their youth, after which, after lastly getting their palms on their dream machine, how an empty disappointment quickly came to visit them. The thought of the automobile was one factor, whereas the fact of really driving a decades-old machine left lots to be desired. – OUR MOTOR MEMORIES PLAY TRICKS ON US. (3/10)

 

I’LL MATCH MY CEO’S FALSE HUMILITY AND SYRUPY PERSONA AGAINST YOURS ALL DAY LONGIt’s marked by an unfailing perception in their very own press clippings – there’s that big ego factor once more – and inevitably masked by a pretend humility and syrupy persona crafted by the dutiful PR minions assigned to shine and mission that “aw shucks, I’m only a regular man looking for our staff and stakeholders” (or one thing like that) picture. And all of this contributes to clouding their pondering, which then propels them to assume that every one of their plans are completely logical and fail secure, to assume that their product selections are infallible, to assume that market circumstances shall be steady and to assume that their brilliance shall be there in dwelling colour for all to see. However to assume that this enterprise is any means, form, or kind predictable is a idiot’s errand that inevitably results in disastrous penalties. As a result of this enterprise can go from “completely satisfied days are right here once more!” to, “uh-oh, I believe we is perhaps screwed” in lower than 1 / 4, which relating to making automobiles and vehicles, is as near a blink of a watch as you may get. – THE DREADED ASSUMPTION DISEASE. (5/5)

 

WILL I MISS THE ICE AGE? YOU HAVE NO IDEA. I consider that technical innovation will rework what has been a transformative business since its very beginnings and propel it – and us – to new and unimaginable heights. Will I miss the Inner Combustion Engine period? Oh sure, very a lot so. However we’ll have fun the ingenuity, the technical achievements, the pace and, after all, the breathtaking fashion for a lot of many years to come back. – RAGING AGAINST THE DYING OF THE LIGHT. (6/16)

 

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR US LATELY? ANYONE? BUELLER? It’s a humorous factor about hype. It’s straightforward to generate, and it’s straightforward to soak up and react to positively with a bullish burst of optimism from the practising swells on Wall Road, which interprets into euphoric statements after analyst calls and rosy predictions from the extra infamous and self-absorbed analysts. However even probably the most creatively crafted hype has a shelf lifetime of, oh, about 5 minutes on this 24/7 media-saturated world we exist in right now. And although the denizens of Wall Road could give their blessings to the most recent maneuvers coming from Detroit and anoint a New Messiah (regardless of how undeserved), it received’t take very lengthy earlier than the inevitable refrain of “What have you ever carried out for us currently?” descends over the Motor Metropolis like a black cloud of doubt. – HYPE, INC.  (6/23)

 

WE’RE TOYOTA, AND YOU’RE NOT. It is without doubt one of the auto business pillars right here and across the globe, and one of many largest automotive conglomerates on this planet. However in its quest to develop into all issues to all folks on this market – whereas constantly pawning itself off as a U.S. automaker – Toyota has developed a homegrown conceitedness and cynicism about what it views as its place on this planet, which rears its ugly head once in a while. And over this previous weekend, we received a full-blown dose of that conceitedness and cynicism that no quantity of PR “spin” can negate. – THE MOST CYNICAL CAR COMPANY IN THE WORLD. (6/30)

 

WE’RE GOOD ENOUGH, WE’RE SMART ENOUGH AND DOGGONE IT, PEOPLE LIKE US! However amazingly sufficient, all of that arduous work to provide you with these model positioning statements can immediately go off the rails when these model statements find yourself creeping into the precise promoting. This often occurs when shoppers develop into connected to the model positioning language as a result of it makes them be ok with their respective manufacturers – and themselves. However when that occurs, it often by no means ends properly. Model positioning statements are simply that, they usually’re not meant to finish up within the promoting. But it surely occurs all too ceaselessly, and it leads to “lower than” promoting that doesn’t do justice to the model. And I am being sort. – IT’S NOT CALLED BRAND POSITIONING HELL FOR NOTHIN’. (7/14)

 

HOW DO THEY SLEEP AT NIGHT? I might agree that packaging dictates a lot of the feel and appear of right now’s automobiles, a minimum of up to a degree. However then once more, how do you clarify the feel and appear – and the design sameness – of the automobiles beneath? What, do designers plug the parameters into a pc and out pops the essential form they usually go from there? As a result of that’s what it seems to be wish to me. I imply, actually, how can designers stand behind this work and name it… good? I can simply hear them now… “Ahem, given our Belchfire EV’s superior powertrain and the passenger and cargo packaging necessities, we really feel this ‘four-door coupe’ design presents the best expression of our model, blah-blah-blah…” Or one thing like that. Ah sure, the “four-door coupe.” That is the design pattern originating in Germany that emerged from a battle of one-upmanship between BMW and Mercedes-Benz. And in design phrases: it sucks. There isn’t any such factor as a “four-door coupe” after all, however due to these two German luxurious producers we’re all caught with this design abomination till additional discover. So, check out the automobiles beneath – forgetting the value factors – and revel within the relentless sameness and the blandtastic design executions. – BLANDTASTIC DESIGN? LOOK AROUND YOU. (7/21)

(Audi)
The Audi E-Tron Sportback: Looking for even a shred of visible curiosity? You will not discover it right here.

(BMW)
BMW was one of many co-conspirators – together with Mercedes-Benz – of the “four-door coupe.” That is the X4 M. Even in the event you squint it would not encourage… a lot of something.

(Mercedes-Benz)
The Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe: Simply because it has a large three-pointed star plastered on the entrance doesn’t make it good.

(Porsche)

The Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe: No, the shot would not level in the identical route because the others, however you get the thought. Even Porsche couldn’t resist the “artwork” of visible blandness, apparently.

(Ford)
The Ford Mustang Mach-E: No, it hasn’t grown on me one bit. Not a shred of originality in sight, and it seems to be much more uninspiring on the highway. “A Mustang for the Subsequent Technology!” in response to Ford. To that we are saying, UGH.

(Photograph courtesy of greencarreports.com)

Placing an exclamation level on this dialogue: The Tesla Mannequin Y.

 

HE WROTE THE BOOK ON HOW IT’S DONE. It’s one factor to do provocative ideas that shine below the auto present lights, nevertheless it’s fairly one other to carry these high-concept executions to the road. Invoice Mitchell, the distinctive design legend who inherited the mantle from Harley Earl and propelled GM to unbelievable heights in the course of the firm’s heyday (1957-1977), specialised in bringing idea automobile seems to be to the streets and byways of mainstream America. It was a 20-year interval unequalled in automotive historical past, actually. Nobody did it higher, and nobody influenced modern automotive design fairly like Invoice Mitchell did. The 1959 Corvette Sting Ray racer; 1963 Corvette Sting Ray; the Mako Shark ideas; the 1963 Buick Riviera (though I want the ’65), the Oldsmobile Toronado; the Cadillac Eldorado; the Chevrolet Camaro; the Pontiac Firebird, Grand Prix and GTO; and the checklist goes on and on. – DESIGN MATTERS, PART III.  (8/11)  

(GM)

Invoice Mitchell and the 1959 Corvette Sting Ray racer. The Autoextremist’s all-time favourite automobile.

(GM)

The 1963 Corvette Sting Ray.

(GM)

The 1963 Buick Riviera.

(GM)

The 1961 Corvette Mako Shark I and 1965 Corvette Mako Shark II.

 

AND YOU THOUGHT MARKETING THE EDSEL WAS TOUGH. Regardless of the Lightning pickups and Mach-Es being wheeled by Ford operatives, and the Hummer EVs piloted by GMC execs (even Polestar made an look close to Pasteiner’s) up and down The Strip, this EV factor has a lengthy strategy to go. It doesn’t matter how briskly EVs go (extra on this in a second), and it doesn’t matter how – allegedly – they are going to enhance your life (the overpromising is being taken to ridiculous ranges by sure producers – yeah, you recognize who you’re), the actual fact stays that the overwhelming majority of the driving inhabitants goes to must be offered on the deserves of EVs. And it’s shaping as much as be probably the most formidable advertising problem the auto business has ever seen. – I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW (EVEN IF THE RAIN ISN’T GONE).” (8/25)

 

FULL-ZOOT ROUGH RIDERS AND ALL-TERRAIN MASHERS: WELCOME TO SUBURBIA. In any case, that’s what the producers assume folks need with the intention to traverse the Costco canyons and Residence Depot hollers. Even in the event you aren’t planning to go to Moab subsequent week, you would in the event you wished to, proper? And therein lies the hook. The “hook” that auto producers have exploited since folks traded of their horses. (Means again when the hooks have been: You could possibly sit on the entrance row at Indianapolis in your BelchFire8, in the event you wished to; or you would qualify for Le Mans in your SuperSqualo Meteor, in the event you wished to. And even just lately: You could possibly qualify for an IMSA GT race in your Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, in the event you wished to.) These hooks are deadly, and extremely worthwhile. As I’ve stated repeatedly since founding this web site, the car enterprise is at the start a style enterprise. It’s consumed by developments, fads and what’s perceived as “sizzling” in the intervening time. And earlier than we’re immersed within the Subsequent Massive Factor – the approaching EV Revolution – these automobiles designed to take us on adventures to nowhere are going to be the factor till additional discover, which isn’t precisely excellent news in my e book. – LAST TRAIN TO NOWHERE.” (9/1)

 

I AM THE PASSENGER. I AM A TECHNICOLOR DREAM CAT RIDIN’ THIS KALEIDOSCOPE OF LIFE.  I’ve seen some issues, certainly, greater than most. Magic issues. Loud issues. Quick issues. – IT WAS GOOD. AND HARD. AND FAST.” (9/8)

 

SOULLESS CONVEYANCES? TRY AISLE 5. As for the truth that plenty of auto-journos and wannabe auto journos are canonizing the Mach-E GT and its variations (how ‘bout these costs, of us?) for its efficiency, let me be crystal clear on this: Simply because an EV is blistering quick doesn’t make it a fascinating high-performance or monitor automobile. I’ve stated repeatedly that with out the visceral attraction of the sound that goes with modern efficiency automobiles, the “efficiency” EVs are a soul-sucking train, and there’s no quantity of computer-enhanced inside audio applications which are an acceptable substitute for the dearth of these sounds. For the report, simply in case you assume I’m piling on Ford’s EV crossover, I drove a Porsche Taycan, and I used to be so underwhelmed and disillusioned that it was painful. Bloated at over 5,000 lbs., the Taycan is about as far faraway from the Porsche splendid as you possibly can presumably get. Even with the improved cockpit audio which you could dial up, there isn’t any “there” there. And with out that, it turns into crystal clear that it’s a soulless conveyance with a Porsche badge and a Porsche price ticket in addition. However yeah, individuals are lining up for them, which is their prerogative, I suppose, however “embrace me out,” as Samuel Goldwyn as soon as famously stated. – THE SOUL-SUCKING, JUICE-SAPPING, CANDY APPLE NIGHTMARE. (10/13)

 

THEY ASKED “WHY NOT?” INSTEAD OF “WHY BOTHER?” To me it is what Shelby and his band of California hot-rodding geniuses achieved. It’s merely mind-boggling to ponder and a singular achievement that can stand the take a look at of time. The start of the Cobra and the next five-year run of triumphs by Shelby American on the world racing stage won’t ever be repeated or recreated on this period of ROI racing and company political hand-wringing. How can or not it’s? The time of Shelby and the rise of the Cobra represented such a special time and a special period for this nation that there isn’t any state of affairs that may very well be put collectively right now that may even come near it. This nation was nonetheless very a lot on an upward trajectory, and the burning query again then was “Why not?” versus right now’s too-often-heard chorus of “Why hassle?” And the best way issues fell into place for Shelby was merely magical. THEY DID IT THEIR WAY.(10/20) 

(Ford Racing Archives)
Carroll Shelby drives a Ferrari 4.9 (subsequent to Marvin Panch in his No. 98 Ford “Battlebird”) on the New Smyrna Seashore Airport Races, in New Smyrna Seashore, Florida, in 1957. 

(Dave Friedman)

Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby speak earlier than an evening pit cease on the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1966.

Ford’s Don Frey and Carroll Shelby on the finish of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 1967. Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt dominated in magnificent style of their Shelby American-entered Ford Mk. IV after the European press stated they’d break early. 

Carroll Shelby at Le Mans in 1965. 

(Dave Friedman)
The nice Dan Gurney crests the hill in his Shelby American Cobra on the famed flip 7 at Riverside Worldwide Raceway (California) throughout a 3 hour endurance race in 1963.

(Dave Friedman)
The primary Cobra 427 race automobile is readied for a Riverside take a look at at Shelby American’s Venice, California, facility in late 1964.

(Dave Friedman)
The primary competitors Shelby Mustang GT350 R is readied for a Riverside take a look at in 1964.

(Dave Friedman)
Invoice Krause at pace within the first Cobra race automobile in its very first race in the course of the L.A. Occasions Grand Prix in Riverside, California in late 1962. Krause was main when the left rear hub broke and put him out of the race, however the writing was on the wall for Corvette: The Cobra was the brand new sizzling factor.

(Dave Friedman)
The primary manufacturing Cobra being assembled at Dean Moon’s store in Sante Fe Springs, Calif., in 1962. 

(Dave Friedman)
Venice, California, 1963. Carroll Shelby with the three Shelby American Cobra crew automobiles that may win the 1963 USRRC Producer’s Championship, earlier than they have been shipped to Sebring.

(Dave Friedman)
One of many True Believers, good race and improvement driver extraordinaire Ken Miles on the 24 Hours of LeMans, in 1966. Miles’ contributing function within the success of Shelby American was virtually incalculable.

(Dave Friedman)
Carroll Shelby on the wheel of a model new Cobra manufacturing automobile in Venice, California, 1963.

UNBRIDLED INSANITY? JUST ANOTHER CHAPTER IN THE MUSKIAN NIGHTMARE. In keeping with The Wall Road Journal, “Tesla’s valuation has soared unusually shortly. It took lower than two years for Tesla’s market worth to develop from $100 billion to $1 trillion, in response to Dow Jones Market Information. In contrast, it took Amazon greater than eight years to cowl that floor.” Learn that assertion to yourselves once more. I don’t learn about you, however to me that’s simply unbridled madness, particularly for an organization that’s about to come back below extreme scrutiny from the Nationwide Transportation Security Board due to the protection deficiencies in its relentlessly promoted driver help applied sciences. I might be shocked if Tesla isn’t nailed for egregious malpractice over this, as it’s the solely auto producer on this planet that has allowed its clients to be the beta-testers for a system that has by no means labored as marketed. Belief me on this one, of us, this isn’t going away, and Tesla’s legal responsibility may soar into the billions. – PERSPECTIVE HAS LEFT THE BUILDING. (10/27)

 

ICE-POWERED VEHICLES? BEVs WOULDN’T EXIST WITHOUT ‘EM.  Why? As a result of these ICE-powered vehicles, SUVs and crossovers (and some sedans) are the place the earnings are being generated to maintain the producers via the transition, which realistically will go on properly previous 2030. Sure, you learn that appropriately, properly previous 2030. In reality, 2035 is nearer to actuality. And even then, I don’t see EVs capturing greater than 50 p.c of the market at that time. Make no mistake, that may be a lot of EVs, however nonetheless, this speak of attaining 100% EVs like flipping a swap? Nah, it isn’t that easy, and it’s not going to occur that means. – BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARDER-TO-GET-TO PLACE.” (11/10)

 

DO YOU LOOK BACK? OR JUST WALK AWAY? A typical litmus take a look at for lovers is to ask this query: Once you shut the door and stroll away out of your trip, do you look again at it for one more admiring look? Or do you press the “lock” button and simply hold strolling? Evidently, if I have been driving the brand new Integra, I wouldn’t even give it a second look. I really like driving Hondas, however I positive do not like them. – ACURA: WANDERING AROUND IN THE DESERT OF DESIGN MEDIOCRITY.” (11/17)

 

The darkness beckons at 3:00 a.m.
A cup or two or three to jump-start me
The information is bizarre, spinning like a high
On one facet, sketchy optimism
On the opposite, the ugly actuality
Imagine your eyes, not the tales

On the best way to the EV Promised Land
The bumps and grinds and guarantees
Are attending to be a bit an excessive amount of
The Future is starry brilliant, if we simply dangle on
However ’23, ’24, ’25?
Who has that sort of time?

Flying automobiles and IPOs
Takeovers within the seek for extra management
The bootlickers and the shallow males
Hankerin’ for one more piece
Elbows out juggling empty tons
One thing tells me we’ve misplaced the plot

– IT’S ALL HAPPENING.” (11/25)

 

THE NEW LEVIATHANS ARE COMING. They’re seamless and spectacular and considerably enjoyable to drive, however the visceral thrill and unforgettable sound of ICE-powered high-performance machines won’t ever get replaced. Sure, you possibly can dial up unbelievable quantities of horsepower equivalents within the coming wave of EVs, however the lack of a defining, signature sound and the prodigious battery weight that comes with them will hinder each side of efficiency aside from in a straight line. These aren’t any dancing lightweights with cat-quick agility, to be charitable, regardless of how a lot the producers protest. These are leaden, cumbersome machines with extreme limitations relating to dynamic efficiency. – GOODBYE TO ALL THAT. (12/1)

 

MUTED VACUUM CLEANERS AND GLORIFIED SLOT CARS. WHAT A WORLD, WHAT A WORLD. With out enhanced or projected digital sounds, these EVs all sound like glorified slot automobiles. So, each automaker has to provide you with a ‘sound signature’ that can outline them going ahead. And I don’t see these firms doing that. I imply, the Taycan sound enhancement appears like a muted vacuum cleaner. Not. Good. Sufficient. That will be my precedence No. 1 for these EV producers. – A LONG STRANGE TRIP INDEED. (12/8)

 

AS HOLIDAY TREATS GO, YOU CAN’T BEAT JIMMY AND SONNY. And at last, a particular Vacation Deal with for our readers: Right here is FOREVER FU-KING MOTORS from final July. The world is a greater place due to Mr. James “Jimmy” Fu and Mr. S.L. “Sonny” King.

 

As a reminder, Autoextremist.com debuted on June 1, 1999, as a weekly Web journal that includes my views, insights and commentaries on all issues automotive: particularly, the folks, the merchandise, the advertising, and all the good, the unhealthy and the ugly that entailed.

Observing this business after being immersed in it from a younger age has given me a perspective that not many can carry to the desk, and I’m grateful for that. My insights into the auto government mindset have been well-documented – as WordGirl says, “It’s like a present” – however I doubt if a few of these execs on the receiving finish of my searing insights admire it. Too unhealthy.

I do know I must be mellowing, in response to what “they” say, however that simply isn’t occurring. My fury is rising, actually. I’m impatient with the Grand Transition to electrification. Each car announcement of late is so untimely that it’s laughable. Any time a mannequin yr is given for a car to reach in-market you possibly can add one other yr to that. As I’ve stated earlier than, at this price 2025 goes to be bangin’. If we’re nonetheless awake for it, that’s.

It doesn’t matter what, the business wheels hold churning. However listen, as a result of guarantees are being made that may’t be saved. A reminder: Simply because a automobile firm has a glittering press convention doesn’t imply that they are going to be capable of comply with via in a given time-frame. That has been a undeniable fact of life on this enterprise time and time once more. And electrification or no, that isn’t about to vary. I’m gratified about one improvement of late, nevertheless, and that’s that individuals are lastly realizing that mainstream autonomous automobiles are many years away, and I view that to be exceedingly excellent news.

For WordGirl and me, this web site has been the perfect of occasions, and the worst of occasions. As I’ve informed my readers many occasions, there was no “plan” with AE. It was simply me and WG creating commentary and content material that was laser-accurate and uncomfortably scary to folks on this city. Keep in mind, this was a spot that was used to current in a “bubble” of rote press launch regurgitation and limitless softball tales passing for “protection” of the auto business. Everybody was strolling round in a blissfully unaware stupor – that’s, till we got here alongside. 

Creating content material for AE has been exhilarating, debilitating, gratifying, irritating and relentless. Normally all in the identical day, actually. And a few days it has been “a delight swallowing siege” to cite a favourite line by Cameron Crowe from “Jerry McGuire.” 

Having stated all of that, it nonetheless doesn’t fairly cowl what it has been like over these 22-1/2 years. Once I say relentless, you actually don’t know. Due to the best way we’ve carried out ourselves through the years our readers have come to count on a stage of high quality in our content material that isn’t anticipated in different auto websites. It may be a burden, sure, nevertheless it additionally depends upon the way you take a look at it, as a result of it is also a supply of immense delight for us that we’ve got established a really excessive normal. So, relentless it’s, however frankly, at this level, we wouldn’t have it another means.

So right here we’re, on the shut of one other yr. We’ve got achieved an ideal cope with this web site. We’ve got rattled the sacrosanct cages, we’ve got decreased sure grandiose executives to the egomaniacal weasels they honestly are, and we’ve got targeted on the act of designing, engineering and manufacturing the car, which continues to be considered one of, if not the most, sophisticated endeavors on earth.

Evidently, I (and we) don’t plan on going gently into the night time. I’ll proceed to hammer no matter I’ve for all it’s price and make each single second rely with Autoextremist.com so long as I really feel compelled to do it. I’m completely satisfied to defer to Robert Frost at this level: 

“In three phrases I can sum up every thing I’ve discovered about life: it goes on.” 

So, we go on, with nice delight and renewed focus and fortitude. WordGirl and I need to thank all of our readers for studying and listening through the years and particularly this previous yr.  

And we want all of you and yours a joyous Vacation season and a peaceable New Yr. We’ll see you again right here on January fifth.

And that’s the Excessive-Octane/Kilowatt Reality for 2021.

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