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(Globe and Mail)   "Never before have cars been better. And never before have cars been more beige and boring. To drive them is to stare down the long, colourless barrel of human existence and contemplate a meaningless eternity"   (theglobeandmail.com) divider line 228
    More: Obvious, Chevy Cruze, manual transmission, town square, Jeep Wrangler, Battle of Britain, boredom, VW Beetle  
•       •       •

2465 clicks; posted to Business » on 07 Apr 2014 at 1:44 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



228 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-04-07 11:04:06 AM  
"And furthermore," concluded the author, "get off my lawn!"
 
2014-04-07 11:59:01 AM  

Sid_6.7: "And furthermore," concluded the author, "get off my lawn!"


I had to look just to see if the author were Jeremy Clarkson.
 
2014-04-07 12:09:02 PM  
I like the way they turn a phrase.
 
2014-04-07 12:16:20 PM  
paid 20k for a 2010 mazda3 hatch - lots of fun for the money!
 
2014-04-07 01:08:47 PM  
"Anyone who would paint a car that colour ought to have his ass removed." - words to live by
 
2014-04-07 01:13:21 PM  
I dont know- you can buy a toyota camry today that is quicker and handles better than exotic sports cars of the 1970s and 80s. Plus it is safer, cheaper and more comfortable.
 
2014-04-07 01:22:14 PM  
Steam-powered cars were much more interesting than these modern cracker-boxes. Why are people so boring and conventional?
 
2014-04-07 01:48:20 PM  
By contemporary standards, the TR3 wasn't a great car. First gear was non-synchromesh, the brakes were weak and today's Chevy Cruze would outrun it. So would a Toyota Corolla. But the TR3 had something that the Cruze and the Corolla don't - soul and interest.

Everybody says this every year about some mythical yesteryear when everyone was zooming around in awesome cars.  The fact is, nobody bought the TR3.  They bought Falcons and Darts with little in-line sixes, leaf spring suspensions, bias-ply tires, and drum brakes.  The average car then was what it is today - a means of conveyance from point A to point B.

If you're rich, you can still get an interesting car, such as a hand-built Morgan Aeromax or an ultra-exotic Pagani Huayra. And then there's the Chevrolet Corvette, which costs a lot less than the Morgan or the Pagani, and is definitely not dull. But it's still not cheap. Lower on the scale, the interesting-car pickings thin out. There's the Jeep Wrangler, which has soul galore, but drinks like a Toronto mayor. And then there's the Fiat 500, which looks cool, but is just another front-drive clone under the skin (the original Fiat 500 had its engine in the back).

This is just dumb.  The guy glosses over cars like the BRZ/FTS, WRX, and even the Lotus Elise which are interesting, fun, non-rich guy cars.  Even a BMW 3 will give you a nice driving experience.  He glossed over this to bolster his weak point which is that nowadays things suck compared to the times when Americans drove awesome cars.  Meanwhile, in reality Americans bought millions of Caravans, K-Cars, Chevettes, and Vegas.
 
2014-04-07 01:50:06 PM  
People have been bemoaning the "loss of a car's heart and soul" since the 70's.  I have read that lament for the past 10+ years I have been on any car forum, and before then it was just in general conversation.
 
2014-04-07 01:50:11 PM  
You have to get a car like that. It's a piece of property that you leave out in the world for anyone to see. You can't stop a vandal or a thief. Your only defense is a car that blends in with all the other cars and hope someone else gets screwed.
 
2014-04-07 01:53:59 PM  
Open article.  Ctrl + F "Tesla".  No results.
 
2014-04-07 01:56:21 PM  
I don't know what the author is talking about - cars are awesome these days, and they don't have to be boring. Infact, other than the lack of chrome and fins, I'd say there's plenty of radical vehicles from the factory out there - many with performance that most would have considered a "supercar" 10 or 15 years ago.
nissanjunkie.com

www.thetorquereport.com

www.blogcdn.com

www.gtspirit.com

www.netcarshow.com
 
2014-04-07 02:02:06 PM  
Notice that nobody says that about vans.  They got it right 40 years ago and it's still right today.
 
2014-04-07 02:07:57 PM  
Nuts. I lived in the 50s. Cars were hideously dull then. Even custom painted cars immediately faded like an ancient Roman mural that suddenly was exposed to air and light. Paints were far inferior then.
 
2014-04-07 02:10:14 PM  

Decillion: You have to get a car like that. It's a piece of property that you leave out in the world for anyone to see. You can't stop a vandal or a thief. Your only defense is a car that blends in with all the other cars and hope someone else gets screwed.


What the hell kind of place do you live in, Detroit?
 
2014-04-07 02:15:42 PM  
So basically, dude is saying that cars are boring today because the better engineering means that they can't kill you as easily as old ones could.
 
2014-04-07 02:15:45 PM  
soul and interest.

Yeah soul and interest sell a few thousand maybe tens of thousands, but bland perfection sells millions.
 
2014-04-07 02:15:53 PM  
Security through obscurity only goes so far. Until every car part is interchangeable with another so the autos are targeted for parts
 
2014-04-07 02:16:05 PM  

vernonFL: I dont know- you can buy a toyota camry today that is quicker and handles better than exotic sports cars of the 1970s and 80s. Plus it is safer, cheaper and more comfortable.


You completely missed the authors point though. Like, whoah.

MrSteve007: I don't know what the author is talking about - cars are awesome these days, and they don't have to be boring. Infact, other than the lack of chrome and fins, I'd say there's plenty of radical vehicles from the factory out there - many with performance that most would have considered a "supercar" 10 or 15 years ago.
[nissanjunkie.com image 850x680]

[www.thetorquereport.com image 850x564]

[www.blogcdn.com image 628x417]

[www.gtspirit.com image 850x542]

[www.netcarshow.com image 640x480]



Also missing the point. All of those pics are $$$$$$ cars. So yea, if you are RICH you can still have an interesting car. Otherwise its beige Camry hell for you.
 
2014-04-07 02:16:08 PM  

Rapmaster2000: The average car then was what it is today - a means of conveyance from point A to point B.


I own two cars. One is a small truck (Chevy Colorado), because I'm married to a gardener, and she insisted that I be able to haul dirt and manure and trees. The other is a Prius, for general daily driving.

I don't care if my car looks flashy. It's not an enhancement to my personality. It's a means of conveyance from Point A to Point B. I want safety, I like good fuel mileage, and I don't care if it's fun to drive. If I could set a GPS and have the car drive itself, I gladly would.
 
2014-04-07 02:17:54 PM  

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: Decillion: You have to get a car like that. It's a piece of property that you leave out in the world for anyone to see. You can't stop a vandal or a thief. Your only defense is a car that blends in with all the other cars and hope someone else gets screwed.

What the hell kind of place do you live in, Detroit?


You don't have to live in Detroit, this is pretty much what you put up with when living in any major city in America. Your best defense from being a victim is to not stand out, second best is to carry an easily concealable weapon, such as a pistol or knife.
 
2014-04-07 02:19:00 PM  
I just bought a 2 year old Subaru Forester for getting around while I save up for something really interesting. I think a Jag.

I kinda just want to say: "I've got a Jag."

/forgot my wallet
 
2014-04-07 02:19:40 PM  
Psylence:

Also missing the point. All of those pics are $$$$$$ cars. So yea, if you are RICH you can still have an interesting car. Otherwise its beige Camry hell for you.

A BRZ might be a rich guy's car in Tanzania, but it's not in the US.
 
2014-04-07 02:19:48 PM  
i love my car. in a possibly unnatural way. the author doesn't know what he is talking about.
 
2014-04-07 02:20:42 PM  

Rapmaster2000: A BRZ might be a rich guy's car in Tanzania, but it's not in the US.


i really want to test drive one of those. i'm a huge fan of RWD cars with a manual tranny.
 
2014-04-07 02:21:31 PM  

Psylence: Also missing the point. All of those pics are $$$$$$ cars. So yea, if you are RICH you can still have an interesting car. Otherwise its beige Camry hell for you.

Point absolutely not missed. The Subaru BRZ is $25k. The Camry is between $22k and 30k.
www.blogcdn.com
 
2014-04-07 02:25:21 PM  
There's the Jeep Wrangler, which has soul galore, but drinks like a Toronto mayor.

Awesome.
 
2014-04-07 02:25:30 PM  
I used to work in automotive.  The conversations people have about cars downright baffle me.  Nobody talks about the "heart and soul" of a vacuum cleaner.

Automotive is second only to jewelry in how successfully marketers convinced people to turn their brains off.
 
2014-04-07 02:26:36 PM  

MrSteve007: Psylence: Also missing the point. All of those pics are $$$$$$ cars. So yea, if you are RICH you can still have an interesting car. Otherwise its beige Camry hell for you.
Point absolutely not missed. The Subaru BRZ is $25k. The Camry is between $22k and 30k.
[www.blogcdn.com image 628x417]


STI BRZ that doesn't exist, sure...

Standard one.... ehhhhhhh. Not so much interesting there. Especially when Granny's Camry will walk it in a straight line.
 
2014-04-07 02:26:39 PM  

MrSteve007: I don't know what the author is talking about - cars are awesome these days, and they don't have to be boring. Infact, other than the lack of chrome and fins, I'd say there's plenty of radical vehicles from the factory out there - many with performance that most would have considered a "supercar" 10 or 15 years ago.
[nissanjunkie.com image 850x680]

[www.thetorquereport.com image 850x564]

[www.blogcdn.com image 628x417]

[www.gtspirit.com image 850x542]

[www.netcarshow.com image 640x480]


What is that pickup truck doing in your post?
 
hej
2014-04-07 02:28:52 PM  
Cars today are generally much more grayscale than they are "beige."
 
2014-04-07 02:29:44 PM  

dragonchild: Nobody talks about the "heart and soul" of a vacuum cleaner.


My sister still uses Mom's Hoover Lark. (c. 1950). That's one sweet vacuum.
 
2014-04-07 02:30:25 PM  

Slaves2Darkness: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: Decillion: You have to get a car like that. It's a piece of property that you leave out in the world for anyone to see. You can't stop a vandal or a thief. Your only defense is a car that blends in with all the other cars and hope someone else gets screwed.

What the hell kind of place do you live in, Detroit?

You don't have to live in Detroit, this is pretty much what you put up with when living in any major city in America. Your best defense from being a victim is to not stand out, second best is to carry an easily concealable weapon, such as a pistol or knife.


When I go into a room, I immediately note all of the escape routes including skylights and windows.  Next, I assess the threats by giving every person in the room an ocular pat down.  If they pass the OPD, then I clear them for travel.  Finally, I make sure to carry at least two firearms, a knife, brass knuckles, and a saber at all times  You never know when you'll need them.
 
2014-04-07 02:30:58 PM  

Cewley: paid 20k for a 2010 mazda3 hatch - lots of fun for the money!


I got the Mazdaspeed3, and I love that car.  I think it's gorgeous, too.  Killed some cones this weekend autocrossing it.
 
2014-04-07 02:31:21 PM  

FlashHarry: Rapmaster2000: A BRZ might be a rich guy's car in Tanzania, but it's not in the US.

i really want to test drive one of those. i'm a huge fan of RWD cars with a manual tranny.


I have a BMW 128i with a six-speed.  Love that little car.
 
2014-04-07 02:32:02 PM  

gfid: MrSteve007: I don't know what the author is talking about - cars are awesome these days, and they don't have to be boring. Infact, other than the lack of chrome and fins, I'd say there's plenty of radical vehicles from the factory out there - many with performance that most would have considered a "supercar" 10 or 15 years ago.
[nissanjunkie.com image 850x680]

[www.thetorquereport.com image 850x564]

[www.blogcdn.com image 628x417]

[www.gtspirit.com image 850x542]

[www.netcarshow.com image 640x480]

What is that pickup truck doing in your post?


At a glance I'd guess "being awesome".
 
2014-04-07 02:33:10 PM  
"Resale value" is a major component.

In the day, an 8-year-old 80k car was scrap.  Seriously, virtually no '64 could sell for real cash in '72.  Today, a beige 'reliable' 2006 with under 100k will damned near get half-of-new.  Unique cars don't do as well as commodities. Thus, risk-aversion.  For an example from the article, people who know how to drive stick don't buy them because that'd make it a little less re-sale friendly (thus it gets difficult for young people to even get the chance to learn how).  Even people who intend to 'drive it forever' pay some attention to resale value projection.
 
2014-04-07 02:33:50 PM  

dragonchild: Automotive is second only to jewelry in how successfully marketers convinced people to turn their brains off.


cars are designed. they can be beautiful or ugly (or nondescript).

i would say that a ferrari 250 GTO has soul. i would say that a BMW 2002tii has soul. i would say that a porsche 911 has soul.

why? because they're all iconic, both in terms of design and engineering.
 
2014-04-07 02:34:28 PM  

tricycleracer: FlashHarry: Rapmaster2000: A BRZ might be a rich guy's car in Tanzania, but it's not in the US.

i really want to test drive one of those. i'm a huge fan of RWD cars with a manual tranny.

I have a BMW 128i with a six-speed.  Love that little car.


Yeah, I have a manual in my 328i.  It's a perfect car for what I need it to do (reverse commute 40 miles a day on the interstate, park easily in the city).
 
2014-04-07 02:35:25 PM  

Psylence: STI BRZ that doesn't exist, sure...Standard one.... ehhhhhhh. Not so much interesting there. Especially when Granny's Camry will walk it in a straight line.

Luckily for people in the real world, overall vehicle performance and enjoyment isn't only measured in straight line acceleration. And pretty much every auto reviewer out there agrees with me that the BRZ/FR-S vehicle is one of the most exciting and best performing new cars on the road, especially for under $30k.

gfid: What is that pickup truck doing in your post?

And just like how performance driving isn't only regulated to a paved track, I included it as a nod that factory offroad performance of new vehicles can be absolutely stellar and exciting. The suspension and engine performance of the Raptor is drool worthy.
 
2014-04-07 02:37:24 PM  

Rapmaster2000: tricycleracer: FlashHarry: Rapmaster2000: A BRZ might be a rich guy's car in Tanzania, but it's not in the US.

i really want to test drive one of those. i'm a huge fan of RWD cars with a manual tranny.

I have a BMW 128i with a six-speed.  Love that little car.

Yeah, I have a manual in my 328i.  It's a perfect car for what I need it to do (reverse commute 40 miles a day on the interstate, park easily in the city).


My next car will probably be a manual E92.  It would be nice to have a car that seats more than 2.5 people.
 
2014-04-07 02:39:55 PM  
Do you know what other car had soul?

www.seriouswheels.com
 
2014-04-07 02:41:10 PM  

Lawnchair: In the day, an 8-year-old 80k car was scrap. Seriously, virtually no '64 could sell for real cash in '72. Today, a beige 'reliable' 2006 with under 100k will damned near get half-of-new. Unique cars don't do as well as commodities. Thus, risk-aversion. For an example from the article, people who know how to drive stick don't buy them because that'd make it a little less re-sale friendly (thus it gets difficult for young people to even get the chance to learn how). Even people who intend to 'drive it forever' pay some attention to resale value projection.

Curiously, the most recent Road & Track magazine (I believe that was the magazine) brought up this very point on a price quality comparison of new cars vs. older cars of the same prices. They brought up an example that I had totally forgotten about, the VW Phaeton - specifically how much that car has fallen in depreciation. You can buy a ~10 year old version for about $15k these days. Considering the car cost ~$85k brand new, that's an impressive 82% loss in value.

/of course, you'd have to deal with the electrical in a 10 y/o VW, which certainly raises up the cost of ownership via maintenance.
 
2014-04-07 02:42:13 PM  
Manual chokes? Good riddance. There was one and only one thing that I truly hated about my old RX-7, and that was the damned manual choke. Get the setting even slightly wrong on a cold day and you're going nowhere. Electronic fuel injection is a Good Thing.

houginator: Open article.  Ctrl + F "Tesla".  No results.


That too. Granted, it's still a rich man's car, but at least SOMEBODY is trying to advance the state of the art.
 
2014-04-07 02:42:22 PM  

Slaves2Darkness: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: Decillion: You have to get a car like that. It's a piece of property that you leave out in the world for anyone to see. You can't stop a vandal or a thief. Your only defense is a car that blends in with all the other cars and hope someone else gets screwed.

What the hell kind of place do you live in, Detroit?

You don't have to live in Detroit, this is pretty much what you put up with when living in any major city in America. Your best defense from being a victim is to not stand out, second best is to carry an easily concealable weapon, such as a pistol or knife.


i always park next to a nicer car.  (I have the same theory for bike lock-up points as well, always find a nicer bike, preferably with a worse lock)

so long as I drive a no-frills 2003 toyota corolla, that's pretty much any car.  (and, other than acceleration, smoothness, and comfort, the car is great.  gets from point A to point B with outstanding gas mileage and very little maintenance).
 
2014-04-07 02:43:51 PM  

hej: Cars today are generally much more grayscale than they are "beige."


I really really like my new car. 2014 Rogue.  But the color choices you are given for new cars are pathetic. The rogue comes in 4 shades of gray, one beige and three other actual colors.  But if you go to a lot, almost every Rogue is a share of gray and they will maybe have a token one in one of the colors.

The annoying commercial for Dodge with Joan Rivers features three cars in boring gray colors.

Driving down the highway, you will only see one monotonous color pallate with the occasional welcome rare color. The cars may be nice, but the colors are soul crushingly boring.

When you were a kid how fast were you to reach for the beige crayons?
 
2014-04-07 02:44:06 PM  
That's why I stick with my mkII GTi once the salt is off the roads.
 
2014-04-07 02:44:36 PM  
We are on the verge of cars becoming really fun.  People are starting to learn about the quickness of electric motors,but tomorrow's cars will have separate electric motors going to each wheel.  With tons of torque in both directions, electronic differential and torque vectoring, it's like driving a full sized RC car.
 
2014-04-07 02:46:57 PM  

tricycleracer: I have a BMW 128i with a six-speed.  Love that little car.


i have a 328i and a 328xi sport wagon, both with 6-speed trannies. they both drive amazingly well.

i've driven a 128 loaner when mine was getting serviced and it handled awesomely well. it wasn't a manual, though. still... brilliant car!
 
2014-04-07 02:47:28 PM  
FlashHarry: BMW 2002tii

I don't often take pictures of cars I see on the street unless it's one of those. A doctor friend of mine has one in mint condition and I don't get to see it enough. That car has Motowns full of soul. It's the only BMW I'd be caught in.

Most of the time, saying a car has soul is like saying someone with Grit and Guts is a good baseball player. The only gritty and gutsy player who was also very good was Pete Rose. The 2002tii is the Pete Rose of cars.
 
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