Weekly Roundup: You Can’t Quit You Edition

Few things in life, other than my son (and my new 2022 F-250 Platinum 7.3 4×4) (and my new(ish!) 2019 Radical SR8 Generation 3), have given me as much joy as watching the much-ballyhooed Twitter Quitter movement among automotive journalists (and other completely feckless people) completely implode inside seventy-two hours. Jimmy Page regularly went without heroin during the Seventies for longer periods than these voices-of-a-generation could keep themselves from posting “hot takes” on the Internet. Let’s be real: if you can’t do without something for three days, you’re addicted to it. There’s one exception to that rule, and it’s “water”. Going 72 hours without eating is hard, but it’s not impossible.

I first observed Twitter Addiction firsthand about eleven years ago, during a weekend I would later describe in fictionalized form for TTAC. A relatively well-known female autowriter had agreed to travel with me in under-the-radar fashion for a few days. We had sound reasons for this secrecy: I was living with someone at the time, as was she. Plus she was trying to build a career in autowriting that would have been irreparably damaged were people to realize that she and I were an item. We flipped a coin to see which one of us would stay off social media for the four days we would be together, and she lost.

Two days later, she had a full-fledged mental breakdown in a junkyard because she wasn’t allowed to Tweet.

Her outburst caught me by surprise, to put it mildly. Even though: I’ve been online longer than almost anyone else, having started writing on USENET in 1989 and opening my first personal literary website in the summer of 1997. (The earliest archive of it, from 1998, is here.) I’ve literally made a couple million dollars, and have traveled the world, writing for outlets that were just dots on a monitor. I’ve also been party to all sorts of shenanigans that had an online component to them. But I’ve never taken social media all that seriously. As DC says, “Twitter is not a real place.”

The things that matter to me — parenting, friendship, fast cars, beautiful women, bespoke tailoring, $13,000 mountain bikes being ridden very badly — all happen in real life. I don’t write online because I want clout online. I want money, resources, and experiences in the real world. Writing online has been a path to that. I like having “online friends”, but only so far as they are likely to become real friends. I quit Facebook eight years ago, and Twitter four years ago. Didn’t miss it. The only social media I use is Instagram, largely for the purpose of keeping in touch with real people who aren’t geographically convenient to me.

My single-serving girlfriend didn’t feel that way. She was engaged in any number of highly intense personal relationships with… what, exactly? People she’d never met and never would meet. Faceless cowards who hid behind fake names or handles. Meaningless enigmas who dealt primarily in snark or inanity. Many of them were part of that, ah, unusual group of individuals who refer to themselves collectively as “Car Twitter”. I would go on to meet a few of them in real life over the years that followed; with one or two exceptions, they were deeply flawed and hugely disturbing individuals who would have been better off retaining their status as anonymous posters.

As worthless as I thought my friend’s online relationships were, they were nonetheless deeply important to her. Back in 2011, she was unemployed and living off her parents in a remarkably expensive SoCal home paid for by her ex-husband. Her “real life” wasn’t much to write home about; there wasn’t a lot of extra money for fun stuff and she often struggled to connect with her pre-teen daughter. (For the sake of my always-empathetic readers, I hasten to add that it all worked out in the end: she got a few high-profile jobs then eventually inherited a ton of money and moved in with the love of her life.) On Twitter, however, she was the queen bee, a belle of the ball. She had just the right amount of wit. She photographed well. In an era where “understanding the algorithm” wasn’t yet a thing, she understood the algorithm. She was super-fun when she was in the mood to be super-fun, and her love of cars was truly genuine.

The contrast between her difficult “real life” and glorious “Twitter life” led her to disappear from the former into the latter, to the point where the vacuous blather-beasts of Twitter became all-important. I would wake up hungover at 4AM in some five-star manufacturer-provided hotel to heed the request of my oft-damaged kidneys, and I would see her full lips parted unconsciously in the light of her BlackBerry screen as she scrolled and scrolled through a night without sleep. She had “friends” in other time zones. She would excitedly recount episodes from their lives to me. Like they mattered. Like they were real.

I shouldn’t have been surprised when she started screaming at me about not being able to Tweet our trip, but I was. To me, all those Extremely Online people were just sad sacks who were better off not knowing about our blissful affair. To her, by contrast, they were the vitally important support system that kept her from self-harming. Going four days without them was painful. It was almost like solitary confinement. She had gone from a world in which she was constantly surrounded day and night by hundreds or thousands of admirers and well-wishers to… a rental Town Car with a sullen and not always sober 39-year-old Jack Baruth as her only companion. It was the comedown of all comedowns.

Six months later, after I had reluctantly terminated our relationship due to frankly insane behavior on both of our parts, she told the Internet all about us, of course. As John Updike once wrote, no act is so private it does not seek applause. Her Twitter and Facebook friends breathlessly reinforced the idea that I was a monster, an (emotional, mind you) abuser, and just the worst person on earth.

I didn’t care, because Twitter is not a real place.

But it certainly made me any number of sorta-real enemies, mostly among the dudes who had admired her from afar and her YASS QUEEN YOU GO GIRL female friends. Some of them are still complaining on Twitter about me today, using snarky terms or putting asterisks in my name so I don’t find what they’ve said. Even today you can go on Twitter and read the most hateful comments about me from people whom I have never met, with whom I have never interacted. They are not real to me, but I am very real to them.

Many of these people are Extremely Upset that Elon Musk has purchased Twitter. And why not? Over the past fifteen years the Twitter “Trust and Safety” team has worked tirelessly to turn a relatively stupid idea (TEXT THE WORLD IN 140 CHARS ZOMG!) into a focused and dedicated machine for bullying, abuse, and echo-chamber stupidity. People lose their jobs over Twitter. They commit suicide over Twitter. They also reinforce the worst ideas and most hateful rhetoric endlessly. If Twitter were not staunchly Blue Team, with 98.7% of political contributions going Democratic, the platform would have been nuked into nonexistence years ago, the way that every potential Red Team rival to Twitter is immediately doxxed, hacked, bank-account-canceled, and credit-card-denied.

Twitter is the electronic manifestation of the Two Minutes Hate, where people ALL CAPS SCREAM about the current thing until their fingers are sore. It is a vicious purity spiral where the slightest deviation from pure progressivism is punished with personal threats and endless doxxing. As far as I can tell, the average Twitter feed is ninety percent socialist agitation and ten percent corporate-branded inanity.

Elon’s purchase of Twitter threatens to disrupt this cozy state of affairs. I hope it does. I hope Elon drastically changes Twitter into something better, more interesting. Or he could shut it down entirely, which would be a net benefit to society. Twitter provides zero value to society. Its lopsided political activism aside, the very concept behind Twitter is inherently evil.

There is no room for nuance in a Tweet. No room for thoughtfulness. No room for balanced approaches, which are immediately shouted down as “bOtH sIdEs” or “whataboutism”. A Tweet is (now) 280 characters, no more. You can barely fit two lines of Wordsworth in there. Is it any wonder that we never find beauty, or literary merit, flowering on such parched ground?

Twitter is the domain of the “hot take”. The purpose of the “hot take” is to make people angry and therefore obtain their attention. There is no room in 280 characters to explain your hot take, to support it. Which is fine, because you don’t want that. You’re not trying to convince anyone. (And how could you, with such a stupid and self-destructive “take”?) You’re trying to upset them. You just want attention. Nothing more, but also nothing less. The best “hot takes”, like the most successful pornographic videos of the modern age, are pure trash aimed at immediately eliciting the strongest visceral response. So Twitter is a place where phrases like “defund the police” and “build the Wall” are all-powerful. Where you must choose a team then immediately start screaming the cherished catchphrases of that team louder than anyone else.

The thoughtful internal deliberation one experiences while reading the ancients or even the best of the twentieth century thinkers is replaced in the Twitterverse with the relentless stomach-sick shock of battering high concepts designed to humiliate you into acquiescence. The average Spectator of Addison and Steele would use 2,500 words to make a point. The longest possible Tweet is less than two percent of that. No serious person can engage with it.

Which is not to say that there are not artists of Twitter, the same way there are artists of mumble rap or abstract painting. Elon Musk is one such artist. Donald Trump was another. The “Twitterati” hated them, despised them for being masters of the 280-character format. Elon’s decision to buy Twitter is the ultimate stunt-on-these-fools, the ultimate punking of these people who, like my girlfriend of long ago, only feel alive when they are babbling into the void and hearing it babble back. Elon might take that away from them. It is easy for me to sit here in the real world and laugh at that, but then I recall seeing a beautiful face collapse into tears because she couldn’t be with her online friends for a few days, and I feel more pity than triumph.

Jimmy Page didn’t give up heroin until he’d lost his teeth, his self-respect, and his ability to write a song. Which I can understand, because heroin is wonderful. It’s the opposite of Twitter in many ways; it takes a brutish world and makes it beautiful, while Twitter takes the subtle beauties of the real world and shellacs them with human shit. It should be easier to quit something bad than it is to quit something good. My advice to all you addicts out there is to go cold turkey on the Tweets, difficult though it might be. Make some real friends. It won’t kill you. Ask my ex-girlfriend, who appears to have written a total of six Tweets in the past two years. She’s living a real life now, away from the Internet, with someone she truly loves. You could do the same. And if you know that you can’t, maybe you should put down the Cheetos, unplug the keyboard, tape over the forward-facing lens on your iPhone, and work on that.

* * *

For Hagerty, I wrote about a very real Mercedes-Benz.

For Hagerty Insider, I wrote about profoundly unreal investments.

50 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: You Can’t Quit You Edition”

  1. Adam Cawley

    Hi Jack, Long time reader here, just created an account to comment about your recent dealership article at Hagerty. I had the pleasure of picking up my new Ford Maverick last month and you were very correct in your description of how things work right now. I ordered a Maverick (XLT, Ecoboost, AWD, Fx4, tow package) last July. Luckily, I was in a position where I didn’t really need a new vehicle, I just wanted one. So I didn’t have a problem waiting. It took right around 9 months for it to get built and delivered. The salesmen I had worked with were very good about checking in throughout that time. I confirmed with them multiple times that the price was still the same as we had agreed to last July. They helped me complete most of the paperwork over the phone ahead of time so it would be easier picking it up (My wife and I both work full-time and we have a 2 year old daughter so we didn’t want to spend too much time at the dealership). When we went to pick it up, we still ended up spending 3 hours at the dealership. After a short test drive we started to talk numbers which should have been easy since we had already agreed to paying MSRP ahead of time. He brought out the sales worksheet and started to talk about payments and they had added about $2500 worth of “addendums”. The “addendums” were things like paint protection and tire warranties and Lo-Jack and fabric protection etc. I told him I didn’t want any of that. He went back to the manager and when he came back out they had removed everything but the Lo-Jack. He explained that the Lo-jack was already on the truck and they couldn’t take it off. He weakly tried to sell me on it but from what I can tell it mostly just duplicates functionality that ford already built into the truck. I told him I didn’t want to pay for it and after a little more back and forth about my trade-in they agreed to eat the cost of the Lo-jack. So we were back to MSRP. Then in the finance office they tried to sell me an extended warranty for $3500! But they didn’t fight me when I refused that. Overall, it was a very positive experience and I feel like we were treated well but even a good experience was mildly stressful. It is sad when MSRP feels like a good deal but dealers are having no problem right now selling Mavericks for MSRP +$10k. It’s weird to have a truck appreciate when you drive it off the lot but that’s the times we’re living in.

    • Trucky McTruckface

      “Overall, it was a very positive experience…”

      I guess we have different standards of “positive.” To me, hours of negotiating just to get back to paying the previously agreed to (sticker) price on a vehicle I ordered NINE MONTHS AGO is the very definition of a bad experience. It’s only “good” in that they didn’t try even harder to make you walk away from the deal so they could sell it to some other sucker for way over sticker.

      Anecdotally, I’ve come to expect this kind of BS from Ford dealers, supply constraints or not. I’ve bought seven new cars from five manufacturers over the last 12 years, and my two Ford sales experiences (different dealers in different states) were easily the sleaziest. Last-minute add ons like vin etching (“we add it to all our cars when we take delivery!”) and the hardest extended-warranty sells. One of the numerous reasons why Dearborn isn’t getting a third shot at my business anytime soon.

      • jc

        I had a lousy experience with one Ford dealer where they insisted on installing a tracking device on the car, refused to take it off, and they actually scuttled the deal over it. Then the dealer from out of state agreed to everything I asked for and even delivered the truck, in better condition than the photos indicated.

        So it’s very much driven by the individual dealer (and whoever their corporate owner is) not by Ford Motor Company.

        I expect that the chain of command from the individual dealer and its owners up to Ford “Dealer Relations” or whatever is the equivalent entity, is so long and so filtered that customers would have to be marching on dealerships en masse with pitchforks and flaming torches, before anyone in Dearborn would even be aware that there was dissatisfaction.

        • Adam Cawley

          The GPS tracking was the one thing that they put up any kind of fight over removing but when I was firm that I didn’t want it, they agreed to eat the cost. It is even sillier to add the Lo-jack on this vehicle because the functionality is already built into the truck by Ford. The FordPass app lets me see the location of my truck, the oil life, any engine codes, even the tire pressure. So why would I pay extra for a worse version of that?

      • Adam Cawley

        It was a good experience in that I got the truck I ordered at the price I expected and I was kept informed during the process. 9 months is just how long it takes right now. The dealer had nothing to do with that. When I told them I didn’t want any of the additional stuff they removed everything expect the Lo-Jack without a fight. They didn’t try to hard sell me on anything and I didn’t resent them trying to make some additional profit with the way things are right now. It’s a pain to deal with auto dealers but that’s the way the system works. We can try to change it but we have to deal with it in the meantime. I don’t fault the salesmen who are just trying to make a living. They were very helpful and great to work with.

  2. -Nate

    Tweets for twits .

    It’s nice to hear she got off the mouse wheel of all that nonsense .


    • VolandoBajo

      Hi Nate.

      We used to interact more back in the JB era of TTAC. (VolandoBajo).

      Never pulled the trigger on a Ural but close to jumping for another orton. Atlas more familiar to me as a former Dominator SS owner but Jack & I lean Commando.

      Your comment about the mystery authoress leaving the mouse wheel behind triggered another thought. Perhaps she has moved on and into the friendly online world of online bike riding exercise classes, where REAL online community exists.

      • VolandoBajo

        I know you know I was being sarcastic, and most of Jack’s audience probably gets that but I am obviously not an online-friends-are-my-real-friends set.

        And for the motorcycle illiterate Orton -> Norton.

        • -Nate

          @ Volando ;

          Not just Norton but SNORTING NORTON =8-) .

          It’s time for me to sell on all three of my Urals, projects all the 750CC Solo sT is very badly wrecked, good only for engine and tranny I think .

          I don’t really understand the need some have, I enjoy meeting people online and helping them with their old vehicle issues, beyond that not so much .


          • sgeffe

            I don’t know if you realized thedouble-entendre of what you said. I think you meant what a small rodent would exercise on, while I took it to mean the scroll wheel on many computer mice, both of which would make sense in the context Jack’s post!

            Well played, sir! 👍

  3. John C.

    On the E350 being perhaps the last real traditional Mercedes, to date. Do you really think the E350 matched the assembly quality of the w114 or w123? Given the inflation adjusted price cuts that saw a 2014 at only 51k, it is understandable why that level could not continue.

    As far as the 70s Benzs lacking the hidden delights to attract the luxury buyer, I would disagree. Remember how heavily things liked groved plastic cladding that was supposed to keep road grime off of windows or horizontal grooves in the tailights that allegedly were more visible at night , or the cupped out shape of the headrests for safety, being highly promoted as safety/engineering advances. The proof that were instead cheap gimmicks is that they were not copied beyond ESS Granadas and did not continue on later Benzes.

    • gtem

      IIRC the horizontal slats were to keep taillights visible when the back of the car was dirty/covered in snow. Other than that I agree, there’s no way a modern Benz (or any other “mainstream” car will have the insanely overbuilt hinges and door latches, etc of those 60s-early 90s MB products. It simply doesn’t make sense. (Some) of that money got put into touch screens, some more airbags, etc. The rest of that money went into lower (inflation adjusted) MSRPs.

  4. CitationMan

    Twitter always reminded me of when you put a mirror in a parakeet’s cage, and the bird gets all excited to see its own reflection, thinking it’s another parakeet.

    • VolandoBajo

      Twitter always reminded me of a large community bird cage where all the parakeets pooped where they ate. YMMV.

  5. Disinterested-Observer

    For the longest time I didn’t know what twitter was, in large part because I could not believe it is what it is.

  6. LynnG

    IMHO. You have to understand who the audiance is to understand the power of Twitter. I am not talking about the millions of everyday users, or those addicted to it, or friendless people living in their parents basements with their worthless modern Art degree from Havard or Yale. There is a relatively small subset of the overall Twitter population that are the infulencers with power. Here in the Washington area, the young people striving 80 hrs per week on Capital Hill for an opportunity to get a postion on K-Street and a $1M 3br rancher in McLean are unbeliveably upset at Musk buying Twitter. As being part of the Twitter conversation was one of the ways these striving young people believe will assist them to their desired final destination. Likewise the media elites for the major networks with their Georgetown/Chevy Chase/Potomac homes are just besides themselves. Why, because these are the influencers that matter. These are the Twitter users that share ideas for the next headline in the WashPost/NYT or the lead story on Meet the Press/This Week/Face the Nation. Twitter over the last half decade has become the communication channel of choice or people what want to control the conversation and some how Musk buying the platform is somehow considered an attack on their power. It is not in my pay grade to understand, the threat the elites now experience regarding the purchase of Twitter. As someone who has never “Tweeted” so take MHO for what is worth.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Oh yeah you are certainly right. Twitter has an outsized influence on how The People Who Matter think. Which is reason enough to wipe it from the earth and salt the ground where the headquarters once stood.

  7. Trucky McTruckface

    If you think sharing a bed with a girlfriend who has to scroll Twitter late at night is bad, try sharing a bed with a girlfriend that has to watch TikTok late at night…

    Social media is garbage, primarily because it’s made up of garbage people. I’ve felt that way since I was a freshman in college and “Thefacebook” first opened up to university students (but not kids, grandma, politicians, etc). It’s only entertaining when somebody uses it to fly in the face of the increasingly suffocating, humorless orthodoxy. People rage quitting Twitter because Musk, the god of EVs, has the Nazi-like intent of dialing back the thought police on the platform, is absolutely hilarious.

    I’ve never heard anyone who wasn’t Extremely Online talk about NFTs. Maybe I’m just not autistic enough to understand the concept, but I think you have to be absolutely insane to “invest” in this nonsense.

    Also, I really enjoyed the butthurt from a few of the commenters for you “getting political” on that dealership article. How dare you point out that the incompetence of the Uniparty correlates with the inability to get new cars for the last two years!

    • dejal

      TikToc search #dating or #dating2022
      I somehow got Youtube reccomended channels where guys (so far anyways) savage women and their TikToc videos.

      “What do I bring to then table? Honey, I AM THE TABLE!!!!”
      Uh, yeah, ok.

      Guys may have the exact same opinion of themselves, but don’t tend to broadcast that.

      Most of the blue check marks probably drive Teslas

    • sgeffe

      Mark Zuckerberg basically started Facebook so he could get laid in college!

      And even though I’m a Gen-X computer geek through and through (and have been thought to be at least a little “on the spectrum”), I never knew how blockchain worked, nor did I ever have any desire to get into crypto or anything else like it! Even more so after reading the article!

  8. VolandoBajo

    Truth is never a defense in online feel good lefty forums. In a Greta Thunberg voice: “How dare you?” If you’ve melted any snowflakes we will expect your public apology & humiliation, and your letter of resignation from the human race. Followed by ritual seppuku on the Rachel Maddow show. That or we will paint a target on you, all in the name of humanity. Damn old f*rts singing Kumbaya out of key. You’d better re-read Alinsky’s paper before you are sentenced to cultural Re-education.

  9. Daniel J

    The fundamental problem is that at this point, and probably starting before the Trump presidency, Twitter has become real life. Even though Twitter only has 40 million or so active American users, Twitter absolutely drives the news cycle. News breaks on Twitter first. The culture war starts on Twitter first.
    – CRT issues started in Twitter first before the media picked it up
    – Child grooming nin schools was reported on Twitter first
    -Most of the good quality journalism surrounding BLM and Antifa riots hit twitter first
    – Texas energy infrastructure failures during an ice storm hit twitter first

    I could go on. I have colleagues who ask me how I know things 24 hours before the news cycle is because of Twitter. Why watch CNN or Fox when I could just follow Twitter.

    Twitter drives the news cycle. Twitter, more importantly, drives culture. TilTok is trying to influence the latter with some mild success. This is why the left is so scared because they won’t be able to hide Hunter Laptop stories. Teachers doing drag queen hours to first graders. Hide violent rioting videos.

    I don’t have an actual Twitter account. I just visit a handful of prominent personalities in the news space to see what they are reporting on.

    It’s reali because whatever culture and political war we have going on maybe has prevented it from going out into the streets.

    One thing of note is that Twitter puts a spotlight, moreso than national brews outlets, issues that should be resolved.localky and at the state but have now become national issues because of Twitter.

    • stingray65

      I believe that many Leftist fears about Elon’s purchase of Twitter are due to the likelihood that Twitter might in fact become real life when previously suppressed and cancelled conservatives are allowed to tweet real world facts that pop some of their fantasy bubbles.

    • gtem

      This is why I got on twitter in 2016 before the election, to see Trump stuff “from the horse’s mouth.” Met some cool people that I’ve now turned into very good “IRL” friends. When I had it on my phone I’ll admit I would categorize myself as “addicted,” had built up a sizable account (>3000 followers), the dopamine hits are real. When you start thinking “oh that would be a good tweet” in day to day life that’s when I knew I had to delete it. Since the start of this new war in the Ukraine I’ve installed Telegram, again, to see stuff most immediately and directly as it’s happening on the ground. I think the picture is rather different than American MSM is pitching (fed to them “human centipede” style by Ukrainian media).

  10. MD Streeter

    I liked Facebook back when I was living in Japan and could easily share photos of my kids with my parents back here in MI. It was also more than a little fun to show off a bit to my friends from high school since I’m not above being shallow and occasionally easily amused. I’m never on it anymore and I only remember it exists when I’m extremely bored. But I never got Twitter. I signed up when it first started and I scrolled through it a little bit I never saw the point. The most entertaining thing about it to me was watching YouTube videos of people laughing at or complaining about Twitter feuds and drama. I guess I don’t really have anything profound to say about it.

    I read a Richard Hanania article a little while ago where he tried to make the opposite point (“yes, Twitter is real life!”), but sometimes when I’m reading his articles my eyes glaze over and I can’t finish them. I think that was one of them because I don’t remember anything else about it other than his general thesis and me rolling my eyes about it (he wrote another article about how strong China is that gave me the impression he was too busy trying to be Important to learn about what he’s talking about). No one I’m close to in real life uses it. I have colleagues who are on it but they share the only acceptable outlooks on The Current Thing so it makes sense they love it (they’re all quiet these days in the office since this administration is an absolute disaster). We have fine relationships because it’s much nicer working with non-enemies, and isn’t that more important than what’s going on online anyways?

  11. stingray65

    The “racist” and white privileged Mark Twain once wrote: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt”

    The rise of Twitter and social media more generally has given a scarily large portion of our supposedly well-educated and mostly Leftist elites and elite wannabes to use 280 characters to remove all doubt about how mentally ill and ignorant they are.

      • Dean

        It’s been widely attributed to both Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, but there is no evidence that either said or wrote it. But it fits in with Stingray65’s grievance narrative.

  12. hank chinaski

    On distributed computing and intangible investments:
    I dabbled briefly in the Folding@Home project. Before that SETI@home was a thing.
    I recall, back when you could mine them with CPUs(!), thinking that Bitcoin was a stupid way to convert dollars into heat and an imaginary asset like a TF2 hat. Oh well. Bernanke/Yellen/Powell bucks are solid, right? Or the stock market, that’s legitimate. Or my house, which they will auction away if I don’t pay my property taxes. Or my vehicles, which I pay the nearly the equivalent of their value to insure over time.

    At least I have my health.

    • stingray65

      Ben Franklin said there were only two certainties in life: death and taxes. I think there may be a third, which is that all speculative bubbles eventually burst, and while I know that housing, stocks, collector cars, and many other tangible investments are in bubble territory, when the bubble bursts you still at least have the stuff (assuming you can continue to pay the taxes on them). The question that I have a difficult time understanding is how do you evaluate all this crypto “air” whose location is virtual and value is entirely based on speculative bubble, but something is truly wrong with the world when there are people with enough money to pay $350K for a digital picture of a monkey.

  13. SteveR

    Usenet in 1989? Wait a sec. Are you Waste-O Wojowicz?

    I cannot possibly spell that name correctly, and it is one which is immune to Google, but somebody out there from the dark ages of rec.autos will recognize that.

  14. TJG

    I quit twitter awhile ago. I don’t miss it. I previously only used it to follow reporters on other subjects about which I occasionally wrote. Its an utter pain. I don’t have any other social media, less the omnipresent and nearly omniscient Fakebook, which I mostly use to stay in touch with geographically dispersed family, if only in an utterly fake way.

    I’m with you Jack. Lets live in the real world.

  15. hex168

    I have a W212 E350 4Matic. My wife has a 1992 E300 4Matic. The ’92 is better, but the E350 at least reminds me of it.

    The 1992 MB-Tex, I think, must be made from General Products hull material. The 2012, not so much – quite a bit of visible wear already. (Yes, I did just write “already” in regard to a 10 year old car. Kind of the point of buying a Mercedes, right?)

    Some other notes: The seats are excellent in both, for me, but the range of adjustment in the 2012 is inferior to the 1992, which is odd since the 2012 is a larger car. The 2012 cannot be made to fit my wife comfortably at all, she is a foot shorter than I am, while the 1992 is perfect for both of us. Visibility is worse in the 2012, and the headlights range from awful in the 1992 (really that car’s only flaw) to barely adequate in the 2012. Oh, and the 2012’s so-called fog lights are useless.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      “The 1992 MB-Tex, I think, must be made from General Products hull material.”

      Reading something like this makes me glad I got up in the morning.

    • Acd

      About 10 years ago a local new car dealer had a 1992 400E with about 120,000 miles on the lot that I test drove and declined to buy because at the time I didn’t know what I’d do with it. I owned a 2008 Acura TL and driving it home with my son I realized that while newer cars might have more features and gotten more complicated they don’t drive any better than that old Benz and I genuinely would rather be driving it than my Acura but no one in their right mind would sell an almost new Acura and replace it with that old car. I wish I had.

      • gtem

        “I realized that while newer cars might have more features and gotten more complicated they don’t drive any better”

        I’ve come to this realization as well. Yes there have been incredible NVH advancements in economy cars (except for my 2012 Civic it seemed), in most cases fuel economy, safety, sure (excepting visibility). But honestly some of my favorite driving cars from the last few years were all from the 90s: my 96 4Runner limited, my B5-gen 01 Audi Quattro (stick, 2.8 V6), ’91 Buick Park Avenue, ’98 Subaru Forester. All had a certain level of satisfaction with how they went down the road, the ergonomics, just the overall experience of going down the road in them seems (subjectively) superior to our newer daily drivers, which are (objectively) better in most metrics of NVH/grip/power/etc. The Audi and Buick in particular were incredible mile-eaters but went about it in their own way: the Audi felt like it hunkered down at 85-90 and just wanted to go even faster, awesome immediate linear throttle response from “just” 190hp in that super smooth 24V 2.8L that was geared pretty short (and got 25mpg on premium). The Buick was a laid back cruiser, happier closer to 70-75mph where it would loaf along gobbling up terrible sections of I70 across Indiana, and was unperturbed by some very fast driving through twisty roads down towards Appalachia as well as some gravel backroads and even a few (small) water crossings. Big split bench, old school looking dash with plenty of super fake burlwood, lots of ashtrays, classic GM corporate metal belt buckles… just awesome. I didn’t own the Forester long enough to take any fun road trips in it (was a very quick and lucrative flip), but just running around town it was a really sweet little runabout: classic 90s Japanese “fishbowl” visibility, perky engine even with the automatic, really nice tune on the suspension: long travel but not sloppy. I feel like I can drive 50% of new 2022 cars across different categories (crossover, sedan, etc) across different manufacturers and they will all drive remarkably similar. To whit: I test drove an F30 gen BMW 328xi a few years ago and honestly it didn’t feel or do anything remarkably different/better than my wife’s 2012 Camry SE 2.5 in normal driving. Had the same opinion of a Golf Alltrack, and a Mazda3…. etc.

  16. Dirty Dingus McGee

    I never really understood the whole “social” media concept, and still don’t. If your life is so bereft of enjoyment that social media is your high point, I feel sorry for you. When MySpace (yes, I’m old) first came about, good friend of the time recommended it. I signed up, got the standard welcome from Tom, and within 3-4 days got at least a dozen folks who wanted to be my “friend”. Wanna be my friend? I don’t even know you and in reality probably wouldn’t want to. Right after that I canceled the account and haven’t tried any of the NEWER BETTER HARDER FASTER replacements. Having watched countless people I know, in real life, cause themselves all manner of trouble, I’m glad I haven’t. I’ve seen folks lose jobs, family’s and even their freedom, over stupid shit they post on various social media. If that’s the state of “life” these days, I’m glad to be a Luddite.

  17. -Nate

    ? Isn’t this forum ‘social media’ ? .

    I don’t think being a luddite is necessarily a bad thing .


    • Dirty Dingus McGee

      “? Isn’t this forum ‘social media’ ? .”

      Well, I haven’t heard about anyone posting a picture of their butthole so I’ll go with no, it’s not a social media site.

      I comment here and a couple other blogs, including one that is invite only, and am a member of a couple other marque specific forums. If any were to devolve to the level of Twatter or the others, I would disappear like a trailer park in a tornado.

  18. Ken

    I’m still glad you recommended I move on the E Coupe. It’s been a treat.

    My only other experience with MB was a W203. A 2005 C230 “sport sedan” complete with a whopping 1.8L (supercharged) engine. At least it was a 6 speed. Bought (stupidly) brand new, right after college.

    Even at 22 and jumping from a 1992 Nissan Stanza to a 2005 MB, I wasn’t all that impressed. This car just didn’t live up to the MB reputation rooted in my brain, established over years of car shows, and buff books touting 80s and 90s MB iron, consumed during my more impressionable years.

    Sold the W203 to a family friend (who still has it, it’s been surprisingly reliable, and aged relatively well). Went back to Nissan, well an ’07 Infiniti G35 – for the money I got a bigger car, more power, more tech, and arguably a better interior. Mercedes had certainly cheapened out in the early 2000s. The only downside in the change was women… a MB (even a cheap class) carried a certain “cachet” with a non-insignificant percentage of young females. Arguably though, relationship material doesn’t come from the pool that finds you cool by what you drive. And finding a lady who drove a modified RX-8 and knew exactly what an Infiniti was, makes for much better Wife material anyway. (Coming up on 12 years of marriage this month.)

    A bit older and a little wiser, I bought a used 2010 E550 coupe on the cheap last year. I’m glad for Jack’s analysis, it certainly is a lot more of what I envisioned a Mercedes to be.

  19. LynnG

    Ken,I have a colleague that has driven MB’s since 1990’s and as I have never owned one, I asked him how is the upkeep. He told me that you should never own a MB’s after the warranty expires. He said that is why he has owned so many as he gets a new one every two or three years. He pays for scheduled maintenance when he buys each car and has no out of pocket expenses. So my question is, have you been hit with an excessive repair bill on your E550?

    • Ken

      Hi Lynn,
      My 2010 E550, which I bought a year ago w/80k on it, has not had any excessive repair bills. My old C-Class, which is still owned by a family friend for 15 years, was a bit more reliable than I thought, though it needed timing chain guides and bearings for the super charger before 100k. My neighbor (who has the same W212) and also convinced me to buy one, has had his for 10+ years and over 200k w/only maintenance.

      I think when folks have pre-conceded notions (good or bad) it’s based on the manufacturer. Which certainly helps, but it is a generalization. While you’re buying the brand, you are specifically buying the car. That car – may (or may not), mirror the generalizations of the brand (good or bad). I’ve had experiences with Japanese cars that weren’t reliable (Nissan’s CVT, Mazda’s Rotary), and been surprised by how far American cars have come (we love Lincoln, and we’re in our 30s).

      It’s a bit easier now with the internet. It helps with research, knowing the common issues with a car, and seeing if there are any Achilles heels. Typically, I avoid first year versions of any car. I didn’t entirely listen to my own advice, as my 2010 is the 1st year of this generation. However, the engine M272/M273, which is the V6/V8, is based on the same design that MB has been using for years and in this iteration, it was fully flushed in design. Similar with the transmission.

      So, start with the brand, learn about the car, and then learn about YOUR car (if buying used). I wanted a V8 coupe, which narrowed my pool. I found a private sale and met the owner. He had been trying to sell the car for 2 months @ $14k w/no takers. (This was before used car prices went totally nuts.) The car just didn’t show well, it had peeling trim, smelled of his wife’s perfume / makeup, and had an airbag light on. But it drove good, and he had service records. I could tell the car was not loved, it was used, but it wasn’t abused. When something mechanical went wrong it was taken care of. I’m relatively handy and could see that other “red flags” weren’t there. Tires were near new, brakes as well. CLean carfax, and 2 owner car.

      So we settled on $12k, but I told him that was provided the airbag light was due to the recall and that he would have it addressed prior to sale. He called me back a week later, the light was not from the recall, and MB was quoting $3500 to fix. I asked if he could send me a copy of the quote. It included not only the airbag work, but also the trim work (which MB wanted ANOTHER $1500 for). Looking at the quote I could tell it was OVERLY INFLATED. MB was replacing entire components, major components, rather than diagnosing the car and addressing it. Some quick research and I found what could be the airbag issue (wiring under the seat that can be prone to rubbing from the seat movement OR a bad main battery, which I thought the car could have as well, since it would hard start).

      I used this ridiculous dealer quote to get the car down to $9,000 – knowing that I could do most for much cheaper myself or work with an Indy that my neighbor recommended (having a good HONEST Indy is very important). I was still rolling the dice a little bit, but I felt between what the car was worth, the purchase price, and potential repair I’d be OK.

      In the end, I spend $20 to have the wire loom repaired, and the air bag light reset. No problems. The hard starting was not a bad main battery as I thought, but a starter on the way out, that was a $500 repair. I then did a bunch of preventative maintenance; just so I knew the car was 100%. Had my Indy change coolant, transmission fluid, and brake fluid for $600. Then did a tune up myself (air filters, oil, spark plugs) for $200.

      I then replaced all the interior trim w/MB factory trim for $300. (If I wanted, I could have bought China chrome pieces for a fraction of the cost).

      So far, I’ve spent $520 mechanical in repair bills, $800 in maintenance, and $300 in cosmetic issues. $1620 + 9000 buy = $10,820 all in, not bad.

      Long winded, but I think if you do your research on the model and have a good, honest, Indy mechanic – owning the right German car outside of warranty shouldn’t be a worry.

      To be completely honest though, this is my spare car. While I expect it to be reliable, to last for years to come, and to get me where I need to – it’s not my primary vehicle. It is a little bit of a toy (although I do drive it about 50% of the time). To be completely frank, while I would be completely comfortable with this 12+ year old car (or the sedan version) as my only driver – I can’t recommend it for someone who’s looking for drop dead reliability. I think any car that’s 12+ years old, needs to be taken with a grain of salt – and a little bit more if it’s a German one. If you need dead reliable transportation, you need new or new-ish. That’s why my Wife has the new car 😉

      • LynnG

        Ken, thanks for the reply. Seems you follow the advice of the flipper that writes for Hagerty in following his rule, “have knowledge of the brand and model of car you are buying”. With the inflation in not only new but classic car prices that rule is even more important today.

  20. -Nate

    I love it ~ Mercedes certainly dropped the ball in the 1990’s .

    As it turns out, many middle age and old women love older Mercedes’ too ~ my Sweet can’t go anywhere in her cherry 1984 graymarket 300TD without several asking to talk to her about it and when I drive it they flock to me, I find that funny as who’d want any woman who’s only interested in what you drive ? .

    @ D.D.McG. ;

    Wow, I can’t imagine posting pictures like that, I see I’ve not missed anything .

    When tweets for twits was new i remember folks telling me old men loved it and shared every moment of their incredibly boring days on it….



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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