Weekly Roundup: You Know I’d Love You If I Knew You’d Let Me Down Edition

Highly ironic that just as I sail into my sixth decade on this planet I have my first authentic experience of We Found Something Else during a talk with a doctor. Some of my older readers will know this phenomenon very well: you’re talking to a medical professional about a problem you’ve had and they explain that their testing uncovered another problem. In my case, I was in the middle of getting some bad news about my left wrist (Cliffs Notes: the bone isn’t going to heal correctly) when I was told that they also found some nerve damage in my arms.

Cue an early-morning appointment with a bunch of electrodes and needles. “You have some real problems at both inside elbows. Do you know if anything ever happened to you there?”

“Look at the texture of the skin in that area,” I replied, “because that’s what you get when you land on your inside elbows a hundred-plus times, following some sort of cycling mishap.” There’s some surgery that could fix it. Ninety-nine percent chance of improvement, I’m told. One percent chance of making it worse. Since we’ve shut down the whole country for something with a 99.9% survival rate, I’m thinking one percent sounds pretty scary. In any event I don’t have time for two nerve surgeries right now, so we will, ahem, continue to monitor the situation.

As of last night, however, I am back on my bike in earnest, having survived an evening with the kid at Ray’s indoor MTB park in Cleveland. The wrist worked pretty well. It is a little painful on each landing, but I’m not bothered by that. The problem would be if the pain was followed by weakness, the way it is when you have a bad tendon or ligament in a joint. And that’s barely the case. Truthfully, I’m hardly riding any worse than I would be if I took eight weeks off just at random.

Which leads me to a few thoughts about reliabilty. In people, in everything else.

A few months ago I ran into a fellow at Willow Springs whom I hadn’t seen since the winter of 2010 or thereabouts. Back then he’d been a nineteen-year-old with a bit of family money and a bit of driving talent. We ran a NASA enduro at Road Atlanta together as part of the “Pakistan Express” race program. Now he’s working with Lamborghini as a coach and data analyst.

“I have some photos of you from 2010,” I said. “I’ll find them and send them your way.” I have a storage device with thousands of photos from 2001 to the present day. Maybe tens of thousands of photos. A few terabytes. They’re not arranged particularly well, since back then you didn’t always get reliable EXIF data in a photo from point-and-shoot cameras and in any event the files have been copied and moved a few times over the years.

I couldn’t find any photos of my friend. Instead, I found photos I’d thought were long gone, lost in various hard drive failures over the years. Places I’d gone, cars I’d owned or borrowed. And people, of course. A few shots of a girlfriend who is now dead, blurry from being taken in a bar with no flash, unflattering. I should delete them, they don’t reflect who she really was. Candids with colleagues who seemed like friends at the time but who would go on to choose popularity in the autowriter social scene over loyalty to someone who had been loyal to them when they’d needed it. Pictures of my son in the back seat of my Town Car, nestled in the car seat that would later save his life. The silver 560SL I owned for a brief moment, photographed at the Mound City Native American National Park. The park was shut down on that day, to my surprise, as part of the October 2013 standoff between two mostly identical political parties.

And of course the endless parade of currently-very-much-alive-even-if-I-am-dead-to-them ex-girlfriends. Here I am with So-and-so at the Golden Gate Bridge, driving a C-Class. And with someone else on the beach at Palm Springs, a whole country away. A race in Texas, a new-model debut in Michigan. Here’s a pretty girl driving an R8 at Waterford Hills, and another one trying on a swimsuit in Clearwater, Florida.

Most of these relationships were based on what we would call “unsound fundamentals” in the investing world, of which I am emphatically not a part. I was wasting their time, either deliberately or accidentally. It’s depressing to consider. All those roads not taken, and most of them never even examined.

One of the women in these photos was inordinately fond of a song called “Love Is Colder Than Death”. I must have heard her play it a hundred times; in her apartment, in her car. It went something like:

Oh I know we’re both being used
Don’t make no sense
Just to carry on as we do
you know I’d love you if I knew you’d let me down
you know I’d love you if I knew you’d let me down
Oh we need to get away (yeah we want to get away)
But we’ll never get away now
it’s easy when it hurts so say goodbye
We’ll fall in love again just give it time
It’s easy when it hurts so say goodbye
We’ll fall in love again just give it pain

Looking back, that was a message from her to me. She knew I would let her down, but she loved me anyways.

What do you do when someone lets you down? This is what I do, and have done for thirty-six years: I ride my bike. A while ago I wrote about a day in Louisville’s Mega Cavern and a rider there who had declaimed, “[Alcohol and drug use is] weak… If you can still ride… you can fix your problems on the bike. That’s why we have the bike, man. So you don’t need that other shit.” If you can still ride, you can fix your problems on the bike. If. If you can still ride.

Regardless of various traumas and injuries, I always assume that I have the bike. That I’ll be able to ride at some point. It’s an escape for me: from all the people I dislike, especially the people I love but whom I also dislike from time to time. My indifferent recovery from this broken wrist, coupled with the aforementioned nerve stuff, has brought me to the realization that I won’t always have the bike. It’s no reason to stop riding now, mind you. Just the knowledge that at some point I won’t be able to hide from my problems at a bike park. Knowing I will always love cycling, but also knowing that at some point, it will let me down.

* * *

For Hagerty, I wrote about a Genesis SUV and the idea of a Hyundai Biscayne. I also collaborated with H-Town local Sajeev Mehta for what turned to be a remarkably controversial and unpopular (with some Boomer-era readers) take on the Houston slab scene.

Last but not least, I did a small piece for Modern Luxury about the unlikely/illogical Panerai/Brabus tie-in. It’s a pleasure to share byline space with my old R&T pal who goes by “K. James Kinard” when he’s writing about watches but whom I will always and forever know simply as “Toby”.

114 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: You Know I’d Love You If I Knew You’d Let Me Down Edition”

  1. jc

    “She knew I would let her down, but she loved me anyways”

    That’s a hell of a thing ain’t it. Been there before. My brother told me this afternoon he’d heard she got engaged. It feels weird for some reason even though I had no intention of marrying her when we were together. Maybe I’m just a pussy

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I feel the same way any time I see someone buy some adventurous piece of shit car/bike that I could easily afford but haven’t been willing to endure. Three people in my circle of acquaintance have recently found and purchased Nineties-era Ducati 900 Supersports (or CRs, same difference). It’s been twenty-something years since I was too broke to buy a Ducati 900 on a whim, and I’ve never bothered to do it, but now I’m highly agitated that I don’t have one. Not owning a Ducati 900 is keeping me up at night. But if I had one, would I ever choose to ride it instead of my other bikes? Maybe five times a year.

      Reply
      • JMcG

        The one that causes me to heave wistful sighs is the’ ‘91 750SS. Under 400 lbs. The Ur-Motorcycle to go with the Ur-Pickup.
        I remember looking for 1983 GPz-1100s on CL a few years ago. There was a cherry one in New York State for 1300.00. I’m sure that’s no longer the case. I wonder if the fuel injection is still serviceable? Probably better to throw some Lectron flat-slides on it.

        Reply
      • jc

        I want a ducati like that BAD. At least I have the excuse of only having room for 1 car and 1 bike, so I need a reliable bike because my truck is an 80’s dodge.

        In similar bike related bad idea news, if I had less impulse control I’d buy my buddy’s cbr1000 that he crashed doing wheelies a while back. He hasn’t had time to fix it and I could get it cheap if I showed up with cash. I just know I’d be dead or in jail on a liter bike. He needs to fix the damn thing or sell it before I make a bad decision

        Reply
      • Panzer

        But who cares Jack?
        Even if you only rode it 5 times a year, would you regret the purchase when you were riding it?

        Reply
  2. Binksman

    My family feels the same about motorcycles- dirt bikes or street bikes, it doesn’t matter.

    Jack, how did you and your son like Ray’s? I just took my kids to The Wheel Mill a few weeks ago and Rays is next on our list. I don’t ride pedal bike any more but The Wheel Mill was nice for the wandering parent keeping an eye on multiple kids of different skill levels.

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Put it this way: If the Wheel Mill is an Escort GT, Ray’s is a Mustang GT. It’s so much better that there almost isn’t any point comparing them. That being said, Wheel Mill has the edge on parental observation; most places in Ray’s can’t be easily or quickly visited on foot. Drop me a note if you think you’re going to Ray’s any time soon; I have no idea what your kids’ skill level is but if it’s below “can clear everything that doesn’t require an adult’s strength for the pedal up” then John would be a useful coach for them.

      Reply
  3. LynnG

    Jack, discussed your H-Town article with number of my fellow baby boomer members of the club, we did not see what was controversial about it. Really was interesting to see how these guys appriciate RWD Fleetwood/Broughams. However the overall thought was that the “elbos out” was flat our dangerious, but it is not like these guys are driving these cars everyday to work in downtown Houston on I-45 everyday. These are weekend show cars. I was struck how full size Cadillacs/Buicks are still being customized as they were in the 1970’s.
    Also, we all agree your contributor photo on page 30 of Modern Luxury should be used on your bio page, has that Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones look…no worse for the miles… 🙂

    Reply
  4. Ryan

    The slab article was great, I’m glad y’all were able to do this. A long time ago, I suggested something similar on the donk/big wheel drag scene to someone and was told that there was no way it could be done without them being what we’d now consider being cancelled.

    I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of guys from other car “scenes” from my dad who has always had some sort of job selling auto parts and equipment to shops in the city. There’s a lot of people out there building cool stuff that never get the kudos that they deserve because it’s outside the norm of what most consider to be car culture.

    Finding artifacts of your past is both a blessing and a curse. I finally took the time recently to go through the last of what I had in storage from the move. A lot of it was what you described: SD cards and drives full of photos, ticket stubs, cards, etc. Those Neon parts were a pretty big part of it as well.

    Most everything from my early 20s I got rid of. Some of the pictures I threw in a Google drive, the others featuring people no longer in my life were deleted. Those cards and letters were thrown away. The Vette is the only thing from then that I have left, and even that has spent two years collecting dust under a cover. Feeling disconnected from your past self is a weird feeling to say the least.

    Reply
    • jc

      Donk drag racing is the coolest goddam thing in the world. I’m a sucker for anything that goes fast that isn’t supposed to go fast. I helped my buddy put a compound turbo setup and a p pump on his old dodge and that thing lit all 4 tires from a 40 roll.

      Reply
    • Eric L.

      +1. I’d never heard of a “slab,” but that was a great article. Loved the pictures too, which really tied the thing together.

      Reply
  5. -Nate

    I know your pain and flexibility issues intimately, just keep following the P.T. regimen, you’ll gain flexibility, I’m still riding Motos and you’re clearly a better rider than I ever was .

    Interesting article on the slabs, I saw a home video of these in *very* rural Missouri a long, _long_ time ago and wondered how they’d manage in town with other traffic .

    -Nate

    Reply
  6. GMAN

    I also recently turned 50 and have been riding my entire life (broken bones and scars to prove). I agree about the cathartic benefit of riding. There’s nothing like an afternoon of singletrack to set your mind straight. For some reason, however, 50 was tough for me. How long will I be able to ride? Am I too old to attempt that jump? Do I look ridiculous on the pump track in my BMX and grey beard? Will my skills ever improve, or is this as good as I’ll ever get? For the first time in my life I’ve noticed that the end is closer than the beginning.

    Reply
  7. stingray65

    I liked the Houston Slab article, but it is interesting to contrast the hot rod movement with urban ghetto car scenes such as the slabs and low riders. Hot rods became popular after WWII as returning servicemen looking for excitement and often with mechanical/metal fabricating skills from patching up flak damaged B-17s and keeping Packard Merlins purring, set about turning ratty deuce coupes into high performance machines. Modifications were largely about making the cars more functional by stripping off unnecessary weight to improve power-to-weight ratios, porting heads to let motors breath, and lowering centers of gravity and streamlining. Hot Rod magazine emerged offering ‘how to’ stories about polishing combustion chambers, installing new Isky cams, or adjusting multiple Stromberg carbs. Cars were largely built by the owners, paid for from their wages earned as machinists, mechanics, or in other skilled blue collar professions. Nobody was shooting a rival to get their wheels, and run-ins with the law were mostly limited to street racing which morphed into legally sanctioned drag strips and race tracks. Reputations were earned through craftmanship, innovation, and skill behind the wheel, which were often passed down from father to son.

    In contrast, the urban ghetto car scene seems to be about taking ratty old luxury sleds and writing checks to have customizer shops add glitz and more “road hugging” weight to the machines. The skill sets of the owners seems to be more about avoiding getting shot and somehow in white privileged America coming up with $10K for set of flashy wheels that add dysfunction to their Caddy. Reputation seems to be earned by breaking windows and eardrums with a trunk full of speakers and amps. I also have to wonder how many of the featured owners are behind on their child support payments and getting food stamps?

    Reply
    • Eric L.

      You went a bit weird in your last two sentences, ray. You think the guys “customizing” cars to race nowadays have the same set of skills you describe? They write a check and bam! Here’s your Miata/Mustang/911 all souped up to compete in whatever series. And normal performance car enthusiasts? Heck no! We’re a consumer economy, man. Some nerd 3D prints phenolic plastic intake spacers, does a before/after on the dyno, I buy ’em and slap ’em on my VQ35DE, and that’s it. The entire category is called “bolt ons” for a reason: braindead easy to install.

      And what’s your career, anyway? You seem to know a lot about a lot; exotic bits of history I’ve never been exposed to.

      Reply
      • stingray65

        My point is that hot rod culture was built on DIY efforts in backyards and garages of owners with mechanical skills and aptitudes. Most of the slab movement seems to be built on appearance “upgrades” that the owners pay for rather than do it themselves. If you have ever looked at old Hot Rod magazines, they regularly featured hot rod families where father and sons built cars together, or hot rod builders talked about learning their skills from family members (modern well known example: Chip Foose), but if you compare that with the modern black “family” where 70% are missing a father figure, I suspect there is little inter-generational family togetherness in the slab sub-culture. Also given supposed economic difficulties that blacks face in “white privileged” America and the high rates of black welfare usage, it is an interesting question to ponder how the featured owners came up with $50 to $100K they have in their customized Cadillacs – not to mention the thousands they have spent on inking their bodies.

        Reply
    • Ronnie Schreiber

      I’ve covered the Detroit Autorama for more than a decade and “writing checks to… customizer shops” describes the high dollar custom scene pretty well. I can recall only a handful of Ridler Award finalists that were entered by the shops that built them. Not many shops can afford to invest a half million dollars of their own money in trying to win a Ridler.

      Reply
      • stingray65

        The Ridler is a far cry from the hot rod roots, although I’m sure a lot more hot rods today are also a product of owners writing checks to customizer shops. The rat rod movement is much more in line with the DIY original hot rod sub-culture – although it is retro rather than adopting the latest technology as the original hot rodders did.

        Reply
  8. stingray65

    I enjoyed your Korean car stories. The Baruth brothers seem to have become Genesis true believers, and it is amazing how far the Koreans have seemingly come in recent years, but I can’t quite figure out how they have done it. Their volume is not very impressive in the higher end of the market, so they can’t have economies of scale advantages over the Germans or Japanese. South Korea is no longer a low-cost production site, so I doubt if they have lower labor costs than US built BMWs or Mercedes. The bulk of their sales and volume are in the cheaper/smaller end of the market where profit margins are typically pretty thin, and they continue to pitch themselves as value leaders in offering more car and warranty for the price than the Japanese or Americans. So how exactly are they able to offer nicer interiors, Turbo V-6 power, and better warranty for the price of a bare-bones 4 cylinder German or modestly equipped Acura or Lexus?

    As for a Korean Biscayne. Would anyone buy one versus one of the luxury pickups – especially when easy payment 96 month loans are available? From what I can see in today’s marketplace, very few new car buyers (or leasers) are interested in relatively bare-bones “Biscayne” anything, which I suspect is mainly due to the availability of leasing and long-term loans that were not options for buyers in the large family era of the full-size Chevrolet Biscayne, which is why they bought the cardboard interior, wheezy 6, and 3 on the tree Biscayne instead of an flashy Impala with V-8 and Powerglide. When the current asset bubbles pop, perhaps we might see a return to “good honest transportation” type vehicles, but until then it seems to be “party on”.

    Reply
    • John C.

      I have wondered about that too. Remember their high end cars even have European designers and one can imagine how expensive that must be and to have them be able to operate on the other side of the world not speaking the Korean language. The Asians must have some sort of special sauce to get things like this done, tax credits for buying tooling or exporting?

      As a former colony of Japan, it is understandable that they would follow the Japanese playbook to worm their way in to places where they have no heritage or local expertise. What Korea has lacked are the tastemakers Honda for example had to explain why the masses should consider them. Jack is clearly trying to fill that role today. I think he might have just have spotted a business opportunity rather than something that coincides with his politics as in the 1970s with the Honda shills.

      Reply
      • Jack Baruth Post author

        Just for the record, I have literally zero business relationship with Hyundai or any of their subsidiaries. To the contrary, until recently I was on their no-press-loan list because one of their employees was obsessed with my wife and took out his agitation on me by canceling every press loan.

        Reply
        • John C.

          You are perhaps missing your calling. Grasping at straws to say something good about the GV70, you hit on the texture of the fake idrive knob. Brilliant. Out of any other mouth it would be seen as damming with faint praise. From you it just sounds like forget the particulars of this model and concentrate on the righteousness of the Genesis endeavor succeeding. Very on message.

          Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I can do the South Korean math easily, particularly after my visit to Korea a few years ago. They have a massive advantage over the United States, and that massive advantage is zero diversity. If you’re right wing, you can see the benefit as being free of multiple permanent classes of citizen who don’t work and who introduce immense societal costs via crime, transfer payments, and industrial sabotage. If you’re left-wing you can see the benefit as having no white supremacy, which is the greatest problem facing America today, because they have no whites.

      Either way, it’s a harmonious society with very few government supported externalities. Their biggest cost is military defense and that’s largely subsidized by Uncle Sam, who performs the amazingly stupid trick of borrowing money from China to fund a military apparatus in opposition to a Chinese puppet state.

      Reply
      • Eric L.

        Hmmm, isn’t more about Hyundai pricing luxury goods however they want? Surely Mercedes is not spending (looks it up) lol $70,000 to build and sell a $76,500 GLE “coupe.” Hyundai have decided to sell their big SUV for $50K instead of $77K. My brain refuses to accept that Mercedes crams an extra $27K worth of stuff into the GLE “coupe” or the base GLS. …right?

        Reply
        • stingray65

          Whether Mercedes packs $27K of extra “goodness” into their vehicles relative to Hyundai “equivalents” is not the central issue, because I assume part (most?) of the price difference is brand equity that allows Mercedes to get higher profit margins. Yet those profits are critical, because those are what allows the firm to invest in future new products and/or demonstrate earnings/dividend growth that keeps the stock value high to attract investors. If the Koreans are shorting themselves on profit with cut-rate pricing (because they have little or no cost advantage), in the medium/long term they are not going to be able to have up-to-date products or be able to attract investor capital looking for good returns. This is something that Tesla will also face when their stock bubble pops, because they have not been earning any profits from actually selling cars to fund new models, upgrade old models, or build new plant capacity, and will no longer be able to easily float a new round of equity or debt to continue operations as they have done in the past.

          Reply
      • Panzer

        Now now Jack, John’s right, the real reason the Koreans are successful is because you and the other auto writers and the Commies are their stooges or something..

        Nothing to do with being competitive and giving the people what they want, oh no.

        Reply
        • -Nate

          Panzer wrote : “Nothing to do with being competitive and giving the people what they want, oh no.”

          That’s the sad part = all the manufacturers do is make what sells and that’s nothing most gear Heads want =8-( .

          -Nate

          Reply
    • Carmine

      Most people didn’t even want a Biscayne back them, the Impala far outsold all the cheaper full size Chevrolets by far, it was similar across the board, Malibu”s and Monzas outsold the cheaper Chevelle 300 and Corvair 500’s……

      Reply
      • stingray65

        Absolutely right Carmine – about the only people who bought the cheap ones tended to be cheapskate fleet buyers and racers who would buy the lightest body (which was always the de-trimmed cheap model) with the biggest motor.

        Reply
  9. John C.

    Even as a gen Xer, I am glad Jack and Sajeev got pushback om that Houston ghetto stuff. Who could possibly want to hear about presenting human filth as something to relate to just because their cars were nice before they got their hands on them. We get enough of that from the MSM and it never fails to turn the stomach.

    Reply
    • hank chinaski

      I have to clutch pearls on this one as well. The common denominator of got shot/did time is bad enough, but those anti-engineered mechanical abominations, no matter how lovingly crafted, make me want to claw my eyes.

      When you both deep down know you’re going to let each other down, and jump anyway, that really sucks. How many of them thought they were wasting your time, I wonder?

      Reply
      • Jack Baruth Post author

        Arguably the slab folks are preserving cars that otherwise would have long ago become Haier dishwashers. While I personally own and adore an Eighties full-sizer, there are very few of us who want to have these cars stock. What these people do is no worse than what RWB does to air-cooled Porsches.

        Reply
        • John C.

          You are perhaps missing your calling. Grasping at straws to say something good about the GV70, you hit on the texture of the fake idrive knob. Brilliant. Out of any other mouth it would be seen as damming with faint praise. From you it just sounds like forget the particulars of this model and concentrate on the righteousness of the Genesis endeavor succeeding. Very on message.

          Reply
        • hank chinaski

          I didn’t know what RWB was, and now that I do, wish I hadn’t. Whatever keeps more reversibly molested samples of anything from the crusher or rust gods works, and I concede the slabs are better in that regard: easy enough to take off the Ben-Hur wheels and oversized badges. An LT1 drop-in is more my speed. For their part, the Fast and Furious types did enough damage to surviving Mk4 and FD populations.

          It’s no surprise that the baloney and mayo on Wonder bread crowd that probably makes up most of the Haggerty readership made a fuss. That and mister ‘Kiwi’, of course.

          Before he was tagged as a serial rapist, rather than a celebrity comic who may have furnished groupies with drugs for sex (that never, ever happens), Bill Cosby would berate young black men for romanticizing the culture of gangs, drugs and crime. Scalia did the same for Italians whose cultural attachment began and ended with The Godfather, Goodfellas and The Sopranos. They weren’t wrong. Since it makes someone, somewhere money, it will continue.

          Reply
    • Disinterested-Observer

      My old ears can’t hear those whistles, but I am wondering what cars were “nice” before that “human filth” got their hands on them. Are you a 14 year old child unfamiliar with the term “malaise era” and how crappy those cars were?

      Reply
      • John C.

        Yes join with the thugs and despise the first owners who cocooned in comfort as a way to survive the filth headed their way. Celebrate filth. Disinterested demands it.

        Reply
        • Ronnie Schreiber

          Do you have any joy in your life? You come across as being exceedingly unhappy about nearly everything. Ever been treated for depression?

          Reply
  10. JMcG

    I was passed yesterday by a Hyundai CUV identical to the one in your review. I thought it was a new Macan or Cayenne. I’m not as bothered by the current dominance of the CUV. The roads in my neck of the woods are terrible and getting worse every year. Drains don’t get cleaned, potholes get a dab of cold patch. My wife is looking at a Bronco in the next couple of years and it’s definitely going to ride on steel wheels. Welcome to mid-nineties Russia.

    Reply
    • stingray65

      It is interesting that people claim to want CUVs because the roads are bad, but then buy a model with 21 inch wheels and rubber band tires. Are car platform based CUVs actually any more resilient in taking pothole strikes than the cars they share suspensions and unit body frames with? Furthermore, do buyers actually want the rubber band tires or is the trend towards low profile tires on big wheels driven by stylists and tire companies?

      Reply
      • JMcG

        To be clear, they aren’t the vehicle for me. That was a very badly written comment on my part. My wife likes them for the higher driving position. She feels safer in her AWD CUV than she did in the minivans she drove when our kids were little.
        My wife isn’t remotely a car person. She wants reliability, safety, comfort, and cuteness.
        I don’t really see a lot of 20s with low profile tires on CUVs around my part of PA, but I don’t really look, either. She finds it incomprehensible that I refuse when my mechanic offers to put cheaper tires on our cars at replacement time.

        Reply
        • stingray65

          I wasn’t criticizing you or your wife, but I honestly don’t know if car based CUVs are any “tougher” in withstanding pothole and frost heave damage than the equivalent cars, and also don’t know whether it is demand pull or supply push that is leading to the ever larger wheels and ever less cushy tires. I just find it amusing that there are so many sport oriented CUVs on the market that were originally designed to mimic true off-road vehicles but come equipped with tires that are more appropriate for billiard smooth race tracks.

          Reply
          • hank chinaski

            It’s both: demand from ‘safety conscious’ women, oldsters for the hip angle, not-a-minivan for the moms as well as supply push for higher profit margins than cars and (intentionally?) broken CAFE incentives.

            I’d hazard to guess they are marginally more durable, *if* fitted with higher profile tires, but most likely have only slightly greater wheel travel and ground clearance. Gas/tires/brakes are likely all more costly/mile.

          • gtem

            RE: CUV durability vs sedans

            I think it’s a double edged sword: it’s a question of to what degree engineers beefed up the subframe/suspension components/wheel bearings/etc for the added weight of the crossover, including the added weight of larger brakes and wheels. 1st gen XC90s are a perfect example: absolutely notorious for prematurely wearing front ends and bearings. They took a 3300-3500ish lb sedan platform and now had it underpin a 4500-4800lb crossover. The failure rate of control arm bushings and wheel bearings indicates they did not adequately beef up those components. Conversely one of the most stupidly overbuilt suspensions I can think of is the AE100 chassis Corolla. It’s a 2300-2400lb car with lower balljoints that look like they came off of a damn truck. They typically last the 250k+ mile lifetime of the car, even when pounded over terrible roads (or no roads at all, they’re a staple of taxis in spots like Afghanistan).

          • Disinterested-Observer

            @gtem

            Somewhere in South Asia I made a nine hour trip out of the city in a Landy Defender and came back in a Corolla. I’m sure the average suburban CUV driver would have sworn the road was not passable in anything short of an H1. This was a while ago, and the Corolla was already ancient at the time. The driver told me it cost him over $7000 because of the import taxes. This was before “Cash to Destroy Perfectly Serviceable Automobiles,” so at the time it probably wasn’t worth $1500 in the US. Ran just fine though, certainly more comfortable than the wooden benches in the Landy.

      • Daniel J

        stingray,

        I can tell you that that the CX-5 is infinitely better at absorbing potholes over my Mazda 6, any day and all day. However, they both share 19 inch wheels. We drove an XT4 with 20″ wheels and it even handled potholes better.

        21 inch wheels on the GV70 doe seem to be a bit much.

        Reply
  11. Disinterested-Observer

    re-H-Town, I’ll take the Boomer Haterade with a side of racism. And make it snappy, you insolent whippersnapper. Kids these days have no manners!

    On the real, as the kids say; I don’t care for slabs, or stance, I think fart cans are stupid, I like low-riders but not low-rider mini-trucks. What I do like though, is enthusiasm in almost any form. Basically anything up to and including street racing, as long as it does not endanger people who are not participating is fine with me.

    Reply
    • John C.

      Disinterested still needs his adrenalin rush, and to casually throw around labels at people who follow the rules of decency. THEY are the problem. Maybe consider the reverse?

      Reply
      • Ronnie Schreiber

        John,
        I’m pretty sure you can group humans by any criteria you want, including just how blue their blood is or how closely they are related to the signers of the Mayflower Compact and you will still end up with human beings who act like human beings. Some will be noble, some will be knaves, some will be decent, some will be indecent. I’m not sure that you and Viktor Frankl use the same criteria for decency.
        Not every entrant in the Amelia Island, Pebble Beach, and Detroit concours, as well as the Autorama Ridler Award, America’s Most Beautiful Roadster, and Good Guys competitions made their money in a pure an unsullied manner. One of the world’s most prominent patrons of the high end custom world, George Poteet, made his money in multi-level marketing. Offhand I can think of maybe a half dozen racing teams that were funded by criminal activity or fraud.
        I’m not happy about the French government nationalizing the Schlumpf brothers’ fabulous car collection, but the brothers were hardly saints. Hell, there are plenty of folks who don’t think the late John O’Quinn, the so-called “lawyer from hell”, funded his 1,200 car collection very ethically.

        Reply
        • stingray65

          An interesting question is the degree that the big money car hobby is used as a mechanism to launder dirty money. I’ve read credible accounts that the big money art market is largely a money laundering operation, so when I see people paying crazy money for vintage Ferraris, etc. I have to wonder how legitimate it all is.

          Reply
        • John C.

          The black fellows that Sajeev and Jack chose to feature were/are career criminals. I suppose to make the whole thing sound more “Grand Theft Auto” and Jack and Sajeev appear to be a men of the hard streets in drawing their ghetto cartoon. Not me, as I don’t subscribe, but Hagerty readers objected because they didn’t pick up a classic car magazine to have their stomach turned and Jack insulted them here, notably not there, based on his guess of their generation.

          I agreed with the objectors to the article. My objection is important in that I am 2 years older than Jack and not a boomer, so the authors were misreading objectors. Sensibility might include a revue of how they present themselves given the room they were playing to. Remember Blues Brothers playing the theme from Rawhide to the country/western club cartoon in the movie. Remember Lee Iacocca, early on as a southern district dealer guy worried that his ethnic manner wouldn’t play joked that his name was really Iacocca Lee and he was old south. Ice broken.

          I respect that you want to stand with Disinterested as you also caught the stereotype of his attack on me and wanted to stand beside your brother. I am also going to stand with the perceived boomers and call a thug a thug and warn again of the damage to society of promoting thug life.

          There is a stereotype that your side is actively promoting thugs and he/shes for the direct purpose of destroying the nuclear family as a way to break down society. That way the cumulative wealth can be transferred and subcontinent Indians can replace white Christians in management, Orientals in manufacturing, and Jews at the top, feeding off the blood of what was stolen from the now destitute whites who will be generously provided with Jewish depression chemicals sourced from India, Jewish produced pornography, Chinese synthetic Opiates routed through the Sacklers, and coming soon Asian style bug food not even from Bourdain. I noticed your suggestion for me directly included one of those bullet points and excitement as to the blueness of my blood. Every time I see it, it is red, sorry. Why do you guys go so far out of your way to make the stereotype real.

          Reply
          • Ronnie Schreiber

            From Lenny Bruce, circa the early 1960s when the courts were expanding their understanding of free expression while he was still getting busted for saying words like “cocksucker” and church leaders like Bishop Sheen were cultural forces to be reckoned with.

            “The ACLU are mostly Jews, American Civil Liberties Unions. Most of the alleged pornographers are Jews, and the judges that are liberal are Jews.
            So the [mumbles] is where Jews are pornographers.
            Ah, here’s how it works.

            The reason that they’re concerned and liberal with it, and this is really weird, when people are liberal with something, they’re ignorant.

            So you can always understand something you don’t understand.

            The Jew has no concept that there’s a dirty word graph.

            In other words, F-U-C-K, the Jew doesn’t know is 90 points, and S-H-I-T is 5 points, because both rabbis and priests S-H-I-T, only one F-U-C-Ks.”

          • John C.

            Ronnie points out that the Jews provided public vulgarity in addition to pornography, dog whistles, privacy moving away from your papers to women killing your babies, and psychosis. Can we get we get a shout out for the Jews? Not from me.

      • Disinterested-Observer

        I thought it was pretty clear from the context that I was referring to automotive enthusiasm, Godwin. You know what they say about arguing on the Internet.

        Reply
  12. bluebarchetta

    As a big fan of the ’77-’96 GM full-size sedans, I have a grudging admiration for “slab culture.” The “poked” wheels and 140dB stereos aren’t my thing, but at least they retain the cushy ride for which the stock cars are known, unlike donks. And candy paint is always nice on a classic car.

    It would be fun to ask every guy in the slab article: “Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg wants to tear down urban freeways and replace them with conventional urban streets, or in some cases, with grassy parks, in the name of racial justice. What is your opinion of this?”

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I can tell you what their opinion of Chasten Buttgig’s husband would be, and it’s a two-syllable word currently far more unacceptable in society than the ‘Piss Christ’

      Reply
    • stingray65

      I would also be interested in their opinion on Democrat plans to raise the price of gasoline to European levels in the name of climate justice. Or perhaps they going to take Mayor Pete’s advice and just buy an EV – I wonder if anyone makes “poked” wheels for a Tesla or Leaf?

      Reply
      • Eric H

        They’ll love it.
        They’re quiet and can be smooth like all other overweight luxo-barges.
        Just wait until the custom audio guys start making amps that run straight from the 400+VDC rails.

        Reply
          • stingray65

            I would imagine that a need to add security to the SuperCharger network won’t help Tesla profit margins very much.

        • sgeffe

          Which will reduce the usable range of said glorified golf cart to twenty miles!

          I know I went into the wrong business! But should I have picked dermatology to make bazillions on tatt removal, or audiology to assist an entire generation-plus with working through their permanent hearing loss from listening to the filth that they call “music” at volumes great enough to shatter entire glass storefronts?! (Well..maybe the former, as I don’t feel sorry for idiots that blast their eardrums into sawdust from music which degrades women as “hoes” and “bitches!”)

          I’ll be 70 years old in 2040! Maybe I still have a chance!

          Reply
  13. gtem

    As far as Korean Biscaynes go, I think they already had them, around 2016-2018ish with the toned down Sonatas. I had a few as rentals, and really rather liked them. Very roomy, very nice rides in the basic SE trim riding on 205/65R16 tires, and pre-covid mania you could buy a NEW one for around $16-17k if you looked around. The proposed concept of a “true fullsize” with RWD etc, sounds cool to you and me, but I really doubt the “normies” would go for it. Like you, I do wish the LX platform cars were just a bit bigger, in terms of trunk room if nothing else. My perfect daily driver would be something like a Charger SE/SXT (V6 is fine, a hemi would be the cherry on top) optioned with some heated seats, with a fullsized trunk and larger windows. Or a Chrysler 300 with the same features, and some more wood and chrome on the interior. Most of the 300s I see around have that grey/charcoal colored bit of fake wood, just doesn’t cut it. They also should have made that premium “Indigo/linen” interior option on Platinum trims available to more than just RWD Hemi cars.

    Genesis SUVs: within the context of how ugly everything else is and how everything is now a humpbacked crossover thing, the styling of these things is not half bad at all. The GV90 in particular looks like some money.

    Reply
    • stingray65

      I think the fact that you found your Korean Biscaynes on the rental lot or offered for sale at 20+% off retail sticker indicates just how (not) popular they were with the buying public. The fact that Chrysler hasn’t done anything with the body of their LX sedans to give them more glass or more generous dimensions would also suggest they don’t believe such efforts would get many people out of their RAMs or Grand Cherokees, which they likely make much more profit on anyway.

      Reply
      • gtem

        Pardon my ignorance, but wasn’t the OG “Biscayne” a cheap roomy base-trim sedan, often sold to fleets? Am I missing something here?

        Reply
        • stingray65

          yes the original Chevy Biscayne was the baseline full-size Chevy (except 1958 when the Delray was the bottom). It is impossible to buy a new car today that has the minimal amount of standard features that the original Biscayne offered (even heater/defrosters were optional). I remember reading a story about the baseline Fords of the era where the accountants calculated they were more expensive to build than the higher-line models because taking the exterior chrome trim off to give them the extra cheap look meant extra handwork on the body line to fill in the unused attachment holes with lead filler. In other words, they were purposely designed to be as ugly and uncomfortable as possible so that more people would upgrade to a BelAir, Impala, or Caprice, but you did get the same amount of space, which did appeal to fleet buyers and little old ladies on a tight fixed income.

          If you are old enough to remember My 3 Sons TV show, here is an Biscayne ad featuring the cast.

          Reply
  14. NoID

    A properly equipped Challenger is about as close to an American PLC as you can get nowadays, though maybe we cannot capitalize the “L” in that particular acronym. And even then, the wheelbase is still about 10″ too short to really harken back to anything from the 70s. I wish so badly that Chrysler had opted to build a coupe on the 120″ Charger/300 wheelbase.

    Basically, Kia/Genesis is doing all the things that Chrysler/Cadillac could have done and that Lincoln kinda-sorta-almost started to do before wussing out. I got so tired of seeing amazing concepts by Cadillac at Concours, only to see them phone it in for production. Dare Greatly my ass.

    I’d only want minimal “poke”, but I’m digging the slabs (at least the original ones). That deep red caddy is giving me big feelings that I might need to discuss with a responsible adult.

    Reply
  15. Frightastic

    I liked the Houston car scene article very much although the crazy wire wheels looked like something from a Bronze Age war chariot. Most of those rides were easier on the eyes than some of those rolling abortions drawn by Chip Foose.

    Reply
    • Ryan

      I respect Chip’s skills, but the aesthetic is dated and repetitive. Most of his cars are some combination of a light/dark grey with an orange pinstripe separating the two.

      Reply
  16. Ronnie Schreiber

    One of the things that I like about enthusiasm is that it comes in different colors. Some Deadheads liked to spin and twirl during Drums/Space and some used the time to hit the bathrooms.

    If I was honest about it, automotively and in terms of enthusiasm I’m pretty far from Slab culture but then I’m also pretty far from the part of the hobby that involves 8 figure Ferraris and prewar Mercedes-Benzes.

    I’m old enough now to be able to appreciate your enthusiasm without neccesarily sharing it’s precise details.

    Reply
    • Ken

      Most sensible comment I’ve seen on this entire thread. It was a good read and enjoyable to learn about the slab culture. There was no promotion of thug-life, except by those that want to see politics in everything.

      By those arguments, should I then be angry about Ferraris driven by white collar hedge fund “thugs” who boiler roomed the middle class?

      It’s a freakin’ article about cars.

      Reply
  17. Crancast

    The only hope for a full sizer to return is rather ironically in the form of an EV. Better CoD, less frontal area providing more range in a form factor that provides equivalent space of a large SUV minus the third row (which could be added in a wagon version perhaps).

    Not going to happen.

    But while we are in full sizer fantasyland, I’d go with using the Ranger platform that can be used worldwide and create a new Crown Vic. A sales floor would be guaranteed as municipalities would gravitate back and throw in the Everest so cities, counties, states can run a large sedan and SUV with the same maintenance underpinnings. When/If everything goes BEV, batteries in the frame like the Lightning. As for ride height, BEV’s have the higher floor sandwich so it’ll be the same. I’m sure there is some reason I’m not aware of as to why that cannot work outside of ‘want to’, but again fantasyland.

    F-the angst on the slab piece. That is the kind of long form, story telling, open a window to a different world piece we need more of, not less. In these shortened attention span days, the fact I made it to the end rather easily and so did all those who are complaining about it tells you everything.

    Now inquiring minds – Even think about making a manhood insecurity joke to the 24″ poke’s crowd? Only one answer is acceptable here. So the real question is –

    Reply
  18. JMcG

    It’s interesting to compare the prices on the 5 liter Coyote crate motor and the EV crate motor from the Mach E that Ford is selling with the MSRP on the Mustang and Mach E. There’s apparently a fair amount of profit in those EVs.

    Reply
    • stingray65

      Not a fair comparison. To be fair you would need to price out the Coyote crate motor + gas tank versus the Mach E crate motor + battery. Furthermore, the Coyote crate motors tend to have 400+ hp, while the Mach E motor is 280.

      Reply
        • stingray65

          I’m pretty sure the powers that be wanted you to forget about the cost of the batteries, because such information might cause uncomfortable questions about the “EVs are the future” narrative.

          Reply
    • Ronnie Schreiber

      It will be interesting to see if sellers of EV retrofit kits will allow some flexibility in terms of the shape of the battery pack. Also, can you turn a Miata into an EV with at least 200 miles of range without making it significantly heavier?

      Reply
      • stingray65

        The BMW i3 is the lightest non-golf cart EV due to its carbon-fiber body, and it seems to weigh about 2900 lbs with about 150 to 180 miles of real world range. Thus I suspect a Miata EV would be significantly heavier than the gasoline version and would of course carry all the extra weight around all the time, because a full battery weighs almost exactly the same as an empty one.

        Reply
        • CJinSD

          When a gasoline drivetrain is replaced by an electric motor and controller, there is the potential to shed two hundred pounds of mass. When a gas tank is replaced by a battery pack, the increase is more than seven hundred pounds. Even before you consider that the giant battery pack needs to be supported and protected, you’ve already wiped out most of the difference between a car’s shipping weight and its gross vehicle weight rating. Maybe they can be driven by remote control.

          Reply
  19. LynnG

    JMcG, do not know about EVs but I saw 2019 Ford GT in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago and the sticker price was $599,495.00 and that was before dealer markup. I think Ford has a pretty good margin on that model, not something that is in ever Ford dealer show room. 🙁

    Reply
    • JMcG

      In 2007, I took my wife’s Windstar in to the local dealership for a warranty fix. Sitting in the showroom was a red GT with white racing stripes and the engine compartment open. Having nothing better to do, I spent a good twenty minutes looking it over. It was stickered at 125k if I remember correctly.
      The salesman came over and started chatting. He told me they had only gotten a GT allotted to them because they were one of the oldest Ford dealers in the country. This was near the beginning of the Great Recession.
      He told me he’d sell it to me for 85k.

      Reply
  20. TL

    Count me in as one who appreciated the Elbows Out article. With any automotive subculture that goes on a bit, there is always an aspect or two that makes the outside world think, “why would you do that?” Thanks for shedding a light on the history of the slab.

    Reply
  21. gtem

    Sajeev did a great job on the slab article. I happen to like a lot of Houston rap so it was interesting to hear the origins of “84s” etc. Are the “giraffe” wheels dumb? Absolutely. So is a lot of other stuff (donks, stancing/stretched tires, Carolina squat, etc). At least the slab cars look to be the easiest to un-screw up.

    Reply
  22. goose

    There is something to be said for the angst & frustration you can work out on a bike. Plus it’s good exercise, which is beneficial to your mind/body. And if you don’t crash ( !! ) it’s lower impact than running & better for your knees.

    I just set up a trainer in the basement, with a big set of speakers & a fan in front. Will be spinning thru the winter to “work it out on the bike” & stay in shape. Taking it easy though: your friend’s heart attack is a cautionary tale. RIP.

    Reply
  23. danio

    RE: Full size sedans. I’ve thought about this as a sedan enthusiast myself. Give me a full size Chrysler sedan based on a lowered Ram DT chassis, which does a great job of emulating a quiet and compliant ride. A 5.5′ bed would function better as a trunk, and I don’t need the ride height or ground clearance.

    Since we primarily use our 2021 Big Horn as a family sedan with occasional towing, I’d appreciate the improved aero and corresponding fuel economy along with the aesthetic profile. Of course CAFE absolutely prohibits such a vehicle unless it has the mandatory ride height, approach/departure angles or an actual bed, so it’ll never happen. One can dream.

    Reply
  24. Jeff Weimer

    Dave Burge (@iowahawkblog on twitter) has written about the “slab” scene in Texas, amongst other things. I believe he’s a Hagerty member and insurance customer, being into prewar hot rods and such. He’s also written for automotive publications (finding the Orbitron in Mexico for Garage magazine https://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2009/03/orbitron-apocalypto.html), has deep connections to the hot rod scene, and would be an absolute asset if you could get him to write here, Jack.

    Reply
  25. Harry

    I read the Slab article, and now I know a bunch of things I didn’t know before. And I enjoyed learning them. Good article.

    Reply
  26. Trollson

    I think some of the heat the article took is well-placed. There is a fine line between ‘car culture’ and dumb hood shit. Are you going to do another series on crappy clapped-out civics and corollas with stick-on hood vents from pep boys and fartcan exhaust? That’s definitely a ‘genre’ of car mods.

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Possibly; neither slabs nor PepBoys Civics are as intrinsically stupid and laughable as, say, modern Porsches in Gulf Blue.

      Reply
      • -Nate

        Interesting .

        Everyone thinks _their_ interests are smarter and better than others…..

        It took me decades to grasp that low riders are not automatically wasting money .

        A lot of it is in _HOW_ you do _WHAT_ you do .

        This makes jack’s bully pulpit a double edged sword .

        -Nate

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.