Over my years as an editor with a vintage car magazine and an automotive journalist-at-large, I’ve had the opportunity to go to many a Concours d’Elegance: Pebble Beach, Amelia Island, Greenwich, the oldest such event in the country, the Hillsdale Concours in Hillsdale, California. Here’s one thing I know about them: They all suck.
The Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards set forth by the Obama administration has been called the single most important aspect in shaping the future of the automotive industry. It is hard to argue with that. Given our current love of speed and need for large trucks in our infrastructure, we still have a healthy thirst for fuel, which makes the CAFE industry goals of 35.5 MPG by 2016 and 54.5 MPG by 2025 an incredibly daunting task.
Toss on the TV, and you will be bombarded with ads featuring various forms of electronic music. I recently saw a Mad Men ad with a dubstep tune in it, and Avicii’s Levels in a Nissan ad pretty much killed any allure for that jam. In our social-media-driven world, taste becomes a fickle thing, and muscial fads are only going to come and go more quickly. But there has been one constant that pre-dates the current EDM (electronic dance music), and that is the duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter. You know them as Daft Punk.
When it comes to classic car auctions, there is a large spectrum. On the one hand, you have the American muscle car auctions (which will go unnamed, you know who they are) where balding, overweight gentlemen in flamed-adorned bowling shirts are bidding on Chevelle 454 SS clones. On the other end, you have the rarified air that we call Bonhams. Several years back, they auctioned off the original Great Gatsby car, and are generally known as the place to go for the best and rarest cars to ever be sold at auction. Want proof? How about this Ferrari once owned by John Lennon, going on the auction block at Goodwood, July 12.
Sigh…to be a member of the Dubai Police force. Not only do they patrol some of the wealthiest streets in the world, filled with some of the most exotic vehicles known to man, but on occasion, they also get to drive said exotics as well.
Ferraris, Bentleys, Lamborghinis- all coated in the signature white and green police formal. Why do they get to drive all of these sweet exotic supercars though compared to, say, the Nantucket police dept.? Mostly because they’re loaded up to the gills with cash, and also maybe because they’re a bit of attention whores. But who can blame ‘em- only question is, where the hell do we sign up?
The Gulf Oil racing livery is one of the most iconic schemes to ever grace the top side of a race car. Hell, we covered the P1 in a sexy cover up of our own. But now, the LaFerrari gets the blue-and-orange treatment courtesy of Carbon Designs.
Cataloging the “top auction cars sold” is a fool’s errand. It’s difficult to account for the vagaries of the market and money in general, making what sold for record money 10 years ago look like a relative bargain now. Taste also factors in. A few years back, Barrett-Jackson sold the Truppi-Kling 1970 Chevelle LS6 Convertible for $1.2 million, certainly a record for an LS6 at that point. At the depths of the economic downturn just two years later, that same car sold for $264,000, which was probably what it was worth in the first place.
Merchandising is a great way for those who cannot afford a high-end supercar to feel connected to that brand. You think everyone with a Ferrari shirt owns a 458 Italia? Hell no! But when it comes to supercar brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini, even the merchendising is prohibitively expensive.
The subject of today’s “Sucks/Rocks” rant is a deviation from the standard format of focusing on a particular make or model, but it required addressing. This argument is a philosophical one, for the soul of the performance car world, and questions the very root of the high-performance realm of the last 50-60 years.
The question is: Should performance car companies be allowed to make vehicles in any kind of mass production, or do the high numbers essentially water down what makes these vehicles special? It is beyond a First-World Problem, but we shall examine it nonetheless.
There has been an explosion of automotive video in the last five years. From Petrolicious to the DRIVE web series, it has been proof that the automotive realm does not need the cheese-ball weekend car shows. A few months ago, I realized that one area where this emphasis on quality had not truly been capitalized was in the spoken word. Go to any car show, and you’ll find plenty of motorheads, exchanging car stories. It was at that point that the Larz Anderson Auto Museum and I got together to create MotorMouth: The Insider Series.
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