Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Jeremy Clarkson to Yanks: Keep Piers Morgan, Thank You

 Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson must be enjoying the news that Americans have discovered what the British have known for a long time, the fact that Piers Morgan is a blowhard, self-important elitist with a dislike of the US Constitution, and a total asshole.

A petition to have Piers Morgan deported back to the UK has gone viral and has gathered 65,000 signatures as of Boxing Day. While Jezza may be having a big cup of schadenfreude at Morgan's expense, he would prefer to punish America by keeping Piers Morgan from being sent back to England like he was a bad Christmas gift;

From Jezza's twitter;

Americans. Was the second amendment not introduced to protect you from the tyranny of the British? Piers Morgan in other words.
perhaps we should start a petition to keep Piers Morgan in America!
Americans. It took us 40 years to get rid of Piers Morgan. Pleasse don't send him back. 

I completely understand, Mr Clarkson. How about we throw him in Boston Harbor and call it even? Perhaps we can compromise and send him halfway back, like to the Titanic wreck site?

Clarkson and Morgan have been publicly feuding for years, to the point where Clarkson publicly decked Morgan twice.

The insults have been traded back and forth with regularity, with Clarkson possessing a talent for insults as brilliant as his friend Simon Cowell's. Take for instance this dig while test driving the BMW 1M Coupe on Top Gear;

" Just when you'd think it couldn't get any better, you can push a button and the whole car shimmies. It's like a little shiver of excitement, the kind of feeling you would get if someone suddenly gave you permission to set fire to Piers Morgan."

And these from Clarkson's tweets;

Piers Morgan says I couldn't go on his CNN show because staff there have never heard of me. Another reason is: I'd rather eat my own head.

Actually, the only people who hate Piers Morgan are those who've met him.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

KITT and Der Hoff

For all of KITT's advanced technology, it still lacked an automatic shutoff for the turn signals
In September of 1982, NBC premiered the action/fantasy series Knight Rider, which propelled a customized 1982 Pontiac Trans Am and a cast member of the soap opera Young and the Restless into stardom. The 3rd generation TA was  perfect to play KITT, a high tech, 300 mph and very urbane and erudite computer in the body of a car. It was sleek and stylish for the 80's, a standout from the boxy and dull K-Cars and even it's GM cousin the Camaro which instead of tv stardom became the standard ride of Southern rednecks and Jersey Shore guidos.

The Trans Am that got the role may have been pretty, but as far as performance went, it didn't quite measure up to its looks, just like its human co-star. The top of the line engine for the 1982 TA was a 5 liter V8 which put all of 145 hp to the wheels, about the same output as one got with the baseline 2.8 V6 at the end of the 3rd gen GM F body Camaros and Firebirds. She may not have been fast, but she sure looked good getting there.

Tensions between KITT and Der Hoff on the set.
Here we see KITT shutting down after an argument,
 forcing Der Hoff to hitchhike home from the studio
Any tv action hero requires a villain to match. How can one match the awesome thespian talents of David Hasselhoff other than Der Hoff himself? As the writers of Star Trek found out, all it takes is a beatnik/hipster type of mustache and van dyke beard and voila! The Evil Hoff arises! As any good television action/fantasy writer knows, a bearded villain needs the perfect ride to usher DOOM, preferably a semi truck with a dull paint job and very loud horns
After I take over the world, I shall exile Michael Knight and KITT to forever cruise the Jersey Shore.  Then I will smoke another cigar! BWAH HAAH HAHHHH!
Take one cab-over semi, paint with 20 gallons of gray primer, then pilfer one sorting cabinet from the mail room at Universal Studios and bolt to the front, and you have the formula for PURE EVIL

After the last show in 1986, KITT was left to languish as a collectors item at car shows, and now appears occasionally with Der Hoff on stage, a sad oldies nostalgia act lost in the shadow of his now internationally popular co-star. KITT is also the second banana to Der Hoff in his 2006 music video "Jump in My Car"

David Hasselhoff on the other hand has rocketed to worldwide fame and adoration, more popular in Germany than fecal and urinary porn. He leveraged Knight Rider into the 90s hit show Baywatch along with Pamela Anderson, then on to the lofty stardom of Dancing With the Stars and as a judge on America's Got Talent. It was not only the television world where the Hoff phenomena continues, but on TMZ and Youtube with this video performance which put him on the elite planes with Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen.

But to capture the brilliance that is Der Hoff, one must hear the subliminal baritone of his singing voice, which can only bring to mind the aural bliss of the steel of the Titanic bending as it sank, or the uplifting tones that one would hear from a bear drowning in mud.

Don't just take my word for it, read these customer reviews of Hasselhoff's Greatest Hits CD

Christmas is almost upon us once again, and here is Der Hoff with the original German language version of Silent Night, or Stille Nacht , bringing to mind how it must have sounded to the 101st Airborne in Bastone in 1944 along with shell bursts and men screaming for the medics

Friday, October 12, 2012

Top Gear Translation Guide for Yanks

American fans of Britain's Top Gear may find some expressions and terms puzzling and baffling. It's well to keep in mind that we Americans do not speak English according to the British, we speak American.

Here is a translation guide;

Boot: Trunk
Bonnet: Hood
Hood: Convertible Top
Windscreen: Windshield
Lamps: Lights
Rev Counter: Tachometer
Satnav: GPS
Wings: Fenders
Indicators: Turn Signals
Estate: Station Wagon
Saloon: Sedan
Pub: Bar
Motorway: Freeway, Turnpike, Parkway, Interstate
Carriageway: Lanes
Roundabout: Circle of Hell
Carriage: Train Car
Caravan: Towed Camper
Cock: Ostentatious Jerk or Overpaid Dick in Midlife Crisis
Presenter: TV Show Host

Now, off you go mates!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Slow on the Driveway: 1949 Buick Roadmaster

In the first years after WW II, Detroit was busy retooling from wartime production back to civilian autos for all those returning veterans moving to the new suburbs being created from the G.I. Bill. For the first few post-war years, the cars were basically the same models as they were producing pre-war with a few cosmetic modifications.

1949 would introduce to America's pavement many of the first all new designs with the wider bodies on a lower profile. It was 1949 that introduced the Ford Custom Coupe, the Mercurys that were favored by the low riding customizers of the 50's, and perhaps the best looking of them all, the Buick Roadmaster. These would become the iconic vehicles of the film noir era.

The Roadmaster was long, wide, and would introduce Buick's trademark "holes" in the front fenders that were originally meant to be functional vents for engine heat. More likely the port holes were pretty much a product of the chief designer's admiration for the exhaust ports of WW II fighter planes. The windshield would feature curved glass that enhanced the smoother lines of the new Buicks, and the long hood not only fit the fantasy of the P-51 on wheels, it would also confortably fit the large and long inline 8 powerplants.

The bodies were all new, but the Straight 8 was a holdover from the prewar years, the 320 cubic inch (5.2L) "Fireball Eight". Long and heavy, it was nonetheless very smooth with a sultry low exhaust note. It was rated at 150 bhp which doesn't seem like much for a car almost 18 feet long and over 2 tons, but it produced a hefty torque of 280 foot pounds. For those who loved the luxury of the car doing the shifting the gears, the Dynaflow automatic transmission was standard equipment in all the Roadmasters for 1949.

The Buick Roadmaster was a such a beauty that it shared the big screen with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, the car being a focal point in Charlie and Raymond's relationship with their late father and their transportation from Cincinnati to Los Angeles.

Friday, September 21, 2012

William Shatner's Warp Drives

1 used powerboat + 1 Ford Falcon chassis + 1 Corvair engine + 4 chrome reverse wheels from the Pacoima Pep Boys shop + 1 JC Whitney catalog + 1 East L.A. Paint shop = Babe Magnet
Star Trek occasionally offered us an opportunity to see if Captain Kirk was as adept at handling a car as deftly as he fondled Janice Rand's butt cheeks.

Kirk's first attempt didn't go well. He's lucky that the DMV didn't have the Kobayashi Maru Test.

In JJ Abrams alternate timeline reboot, Kirk is not only a juvenile delinquent as a young lad, he's quite proficient with the gearbox of a 1965 Corvette.

As a long time fan of both Star Trek and the massive ego that is William Shatner, I was curious as to what kind of cars that Shatner fancies.

Here are Shatner's 10 Favorite Cars according to his Twitter account;

1. Bugatti Veyron - If cars were Starfleet cruisers, this would be the Excelsior with Transwarp Drive. Fastest production car ever at 267 mph delivered by an 8 liter W-16 1200 hp powerplant. As for all the technical wonders of this supercar, Scotty would be mesmerized.

2. Chevy Corvair - While the first generation Corvairs made Ralph Nader a household name with it's massive oversteer, the second generation Corvairs were gorgeous, surprisingly fast, and were still a bit lively in the ass end.

Just like Kirk's women.

3. Ferrari Enzo

4. Mercedes 300SL - When Shatner was starting out in 1950's Hollywood, this was the must have car of Tinseltown's leading men. Early 60s icons Steve McQueen and James Coburn had one.

5. Willys Army Jeep - Sturdy and dependable vehicle for the Allies in WW II, but if the Klingons buy a fleet of Schwimmwagens, Kirk is in trouble.

6. Packard 426 - I hope Shatner had better luck driving this than Kirk had with the Caddy 370

7. Jaguar XKE - Like Green Orion Slave Chicks, no man can resist their beauty

8. Dodge Viper - Loud, ostentatious, and a bit crazy. I can just picture the Shat stepping out of the Viper screaming "DENNY CRANE!!"

9. Jaguar D-Type

10.  Citroen 2CV - Slow and hideous, they were loved by European hip youth in the 60s. Shatner must have discovered that they were great for picking up French hippie chicks in 1968.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

1955 Lincoln Futura; Future Superhero Ride

Every year the automakers hold a showcase for their new models along with concept and experimental cars. While many are preliminary teasers of what is to come in a few years, others are one-offs that were probably never serious but are attention grabbers for the automotive press.

In 1955, Ford presented the Lincoln Futura, with massive fins and a bubble top consistent with the flying car fantasies of the 50's

Detroit, We Have a Problem!
Powered by the early version of the Ford 390 (6.4 L) V8 to power its massive length, the Futura probably would have gathered dust in a Ford warehouse had it not drawn the interest of Hollywood.

The car starred with Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds in It Started With a Kiss and then after production was sold to Southern California car craftsman George Barris. The car never had a title registered with the DMV and couldn't be insured, therefore it was probably up on blocks when Barris got hired by the producers of the 1966 television version of Batman.

The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado originally being customized as the Batmobile couldn't be completed in time for production. Fortunately, Barris remembered that the old Futura drying up in his back yard could easily be fabricated into the Caped Crusader's ride with some sheet metal tweaks, a paint job, 60's muscle car Crager wheels and a few gadgets screwed on.

To me there was no cooler car in the world when I was in 3rd grade. My classmates and I probably drove the folks nuts with the repetitive singing of the surfer song type guitar instrumental theme with the single "BATMAN" lyric.

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel!

Friday, August 31, 2012

1943 Schwimmwagen: Hitler's Crossover SUV

A commenter on another blog tipped me to this site about this vehicle, a 1943 "Schwimmwagen", an amphibious military vehicle built on the VW platform.

This looks like a great offroader even today. Note the folding propeller in the rear and the oar mounted on the side in case the Wehrmacht quartermasters shorted you on the petrol. In front of the oar they thoughtfully mounted a shovel for quick burial of whomever they dispatched with the gun mounted in front of the passenger door.

This was on sale for $150,000 but I would imagine that it was sold long ago while the inevitable "Hitler finds out his SUV was sold on Craigslist" video has duly been produced.

I would love to use the Schwimmwagen as a chase vehicle for that smug asshole balloonist in the Subaru commercial, especially with that side mounted gun.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Why I Just Can't Hate Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson; You can love him or hate him but you can't ignore him. I've cringed at his strong dislike of Americans, sadly agreed on his low opinion of what Detroit turns out, but also laughed at his jokes about us.

I cannot hate the man no matter how boorish he can be.


1. Anyone who punched out Piers Morgan in public can't be all bad.

2. He is an entertaining presenter and an interesting writer, several books and two weekly columns in the London Times, one automotive and another on news items.

3. He is blatantly politically incorrect and hates the nanny state

4. The man truly loves cars, lamenting the possible end of the great cars in this film on Top Gear.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dodge Dart: Not Your Mad Trucker's Road Kill

Chrysler/Fiat is bringing back the Dodge Dart nameplate for 2013, a rebadged Fiat Viaggio (try keeping a straight face with THAT name). The base model has a 2.4 155 hp 4, or for a few thousand more you can gain 5 big horsies with a turbocharged 1.4. Certainly a bit flashier looking than the old insurance salesmen Slant 6's from the 60's and 70's, albeit with Fiat and Alfa Romeo's reliability. Which is not a GOOD thing

The old Dart that brought state administrators to work wasn't exactly a thing of beauty, although the late 60's Darts with some wheels and a 340 (5.6L) made for some pretty cool muscle back in the day. Most of them were bland compact sedans with the 226 Slant Six that while indestructable unfortunately came with a free Dart or Valiant to hold it.

This is the 1971 Dodge Dart, sister car to the 1971 Plymouth Valiant that Dennis Weaver drove in Steven Spielberg's "Duel".  Weaver's Valiant not only couldn't outrun a stone age Peterbuilt tractor-trailer, it couldn't outhandle it either. Steve McQueen would have floored his Mustang and taunted the road raged trucker for funsies, and Clint Eastwood just would have shot the bastard. But then again it would have been a pretty short movie.

Here's a clip from the fantastic and terrifying 1971 movie.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Unicorns Not Included

Am I an evil person for hoping that every hipster in the Subaru ads ends up being picked out of the grille of an oncoming semi? Don't get me wrong, Subaru makes decent cars and they have a loyal following, but the people who hog tables at Starbucks for the free wi-fi already buy the cars. Don't even get me started on the sappy soft folk indie tunes they use for background music.

Let's start with the arrogant 40ish hipster in his hot air balloon wandering about while his annoyed wife tries to find a road that'll pick his smug ass up from whatever cow pasture the wind takes him to. Never mind that they've pissed off every farmer in the county while she scares the horses off the pasture.

"Wherever the wind takes me" ....

I hope it takes him over an army artillery range or a mine field

Next there's the hipster who can't find his cool sunglasses and has his cute hipster wife drive him all over the the New Mexico desert to find them.

After a day of searching, he comes running out of a cave being chased by bats when suddenly the shades fall out of his hoodie. Cute wife smiles sarcastically, wonders if doofus can even dress himself in the morning.

Note to cute hipster wife; You're in the middle of nowhere, he's in a cave. By the time anybody finds his body it'll be so decomposed and covered in batshit that the cause of death will be hard to determine.

Then you have the sweet hipster couple who just got married and try to set up a wedding reception for two by pitching a flimsy tent in the middle of a cow pasture. While the breathy male emo metrosexual song plays, he says;

"We could have gone the more traditional route, but it wouldn't have been nearly as memorable" 

Or as cheap. Just as well since the cute hipster couple not only have 5 years of car payments coming, but like most hipsters they probably have student loan debt they'll be paying off till they're in a nursing home, especially if they can't find those self-fulfilling jobs with a dreamy nonprofit or hip web startup during a lingering recession. 

Even their non-hipster ads tempt me to go Elvis on the tv set

Take for instance the helicopter dad giving the keys to his 17 year old daughter. Sure, any parent ages 10 years as soon as their kids get behind the wheel, but this guy strikes me as creepy and anal. I have a hunch that while she's off to the mall in her new Subaru, he's searching her bedroom for evidence of birth control devices and rolling papers, then checking her Facebook page for naked in the bathroom mirror cell phone snapshots.

How about the whiny brat in the back seat who has daddy burning gas at 4 bucks a gallon to chase a rainbow. Oh shit, can you find anything sappier than that? Bet a weeks pay that Little Princess sulked the whole way home because daddy got there too late to get her a new pet unicorn.

Then there's the 20 something suburban guy who says he's nothing like his dad while you see them both with the same tics and habits. Maybe they both wipe boogers under the driver seat too, who knows. Pops gets out of a Legacy while Junior gets out of brand new Impreza at the McMansion of his parents, so it looks they have a mailing address in common too.

Well, one thing you don't have in common with pops. He has a job.

This one is playing all the time now and makes me run for the barf bag;

Leftist mommy takes her little prodigy to work at the hippie dirt farm and is so proud of herself for "sharing" her workload with her offspring. Hello, Child Labor Board? 

The kid looks miserable in the back seat at the end of the commercial, which is understandable because her play time was cancelled because mommy is too cheap to hire some help or hire a babysitter, then slaps sappy sanctimony over it to boot. 

Listen to the background song lyrics; "whenever I see you, I see me". Kind of says it all, doesn't it? I'm so special that if I can't clone myself I'm going to mold my kid to be super special just like me. If she doesn't like it, there's some cowshit that needs to be shoveled into the rows of zucchini plants

Dear ad agency with the Subaru contract,

If you're even thinking of a commercial with a hipster playing catch with his son just like his dad did back in 1985 next to the family Subaru, please be forewarned;



Monday, August 6, 2012

Cool Classic: 1963 Pontiac LeMans

In the early 60's, GM's A-Body platform was their think out of the box lineup. The rear engine Corvair, the 215 (3.5L) aluminum block V8 Buick, the 215 turbocharged Olds F-85, the V6 Buick and Olds, and the Pontiac Tempest/LeMans

Introduced for the 1961 model year, the Tempest featured either the 215 V8 or a 195 ci (3.2L) 4 cylinder which was actually the right half of a 389 V8.  Nicknamed "The Hay Baler" due to the nasty shaking if it was out of tune, nonetheless it came with options of a 120 HP low compression single barrel, or 4 barrel high compression version with an output of 155 hp and 210 ft pounds of torque. Not bad for a 4 banger with the technology of 50 years ago. The 215 was no slouch either, producing 215 hp, one for each cubic inch.

What made the Pontiac Tempest unique was its front engine, rear transmission layout, giving the car a 50/50 weight distribution, making it the best handling mass production American car not named Corvette.

For 1963, the LeMans dropped the 215 option due to lack of demand in all of GM's lines, and introduced the 326 (5.3L) V8, with 260 hp and 350 ft lbs of torque, numbers usually associated with tractor-trailer engines. Pontiac also replaced the dicey swing axle rear suspensions with a completely independent rear suspension. The weight distribution of the heavier 326 of course moved more to the front, but still had a very good 54/46 balance. After dropping the front engine rear transmission configuration in 1964, this setup would not be seen again in American cars until the 1996 C5 Vette.

Not only was the 1963 LeMans a muscle car that could corner, it also figured in the acquittal of Ralph Maccio's character in My Cousin Vinny.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Curiosity Has Landed!

Congratulations, NASA and the JPL team!

Now hopefully nobody locked the keys inside the thing

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Muscle in the Land Down Under

Down under in Oz, they love their muscle cars as much as we Yanks do, and I wish they could be sold here because they are cool Mad Max kind of machines. They always struck me as what American cars would look like on a parallel world, or some would say even the Bizarro World

They're built by the Australian subsidiaries of Detroit's Big 3, the Holden badge is GM's division. Ford and Chrysler kept their same names.

Nowadays, the Aussie cars have the same European derived designs that you see all over the world, so they're no different from their American cousins now other than right hand drive.

Actually, the muscle cars being sold by GM lately have been developed by the Aussies. The Pontiac GTO of 2004 to 2008, the G6's and G8's were all rebadged Holdens, and the fifth generation Camaro was designed by Holden and based on the Commodore platform

If you would like to add an Aussie Muscle car pic in comments, feel free to do so

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Fat Car

Rumor has it that GM has come out with a special edition Cadillac called
"The Michael Moore"

Thanks to rdbrewer, coblogger from Ace of Spades HQ

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It's a Small World After All

If you listen to politicians, small cars are what Americans want to buy, but you can't fit into until the nanny state takes your fries away .

You'll find tiny hatches from all of them available at your local dealer, but they're leviathons compared to the Tata Nano. It's made in the same country that resolves your credit card disputes. It's currently the world's cheapest ride at $2700

As any aficionado of British cars knows, the current Mini Cooper made by BMW is a leviathon compared to the original. This is the chase scene inside a shopping mall from The Italian Job. Wouldn't surprise me if they turned around in a changing booth;

This is the 1957 BMW Insetta, the Beemers that bankers would be driving if it weren't for the TARP bailouts and Quantitative Easing from the Federal Reserve

The world's record for smallest production car ever goes to the 1963 Peel P50, driven in this Top Gear segment by giant clod Jeremy Clarkson

And if you want to go smaller than that, there's always the Radio Flyer;

Thursday, July 19, 2012

And If You Like Show Tunes ...

If you're a male and you drive any of these cars, it doesn't necessarily mean you're gay, but everyone will assume that you are* ;

Mini Cooper convertible

VW New Beetle

Mazda Miata

 Fiat 500

Also the Saab 900, Prius, Chrysler Sebring convertible
* Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

Lesbian cars;

It's great to have a lesbian friend because on moving day they have great rides for hauling your shit. As a bonus, she might even beat up your ex-girlfriend for making you move out.

 Subaru Outback or Forrester

Also any Volvo, the Jeep Wrangler and the Ford F-150

I Want It, I Want It .. 55 Bel Air convertible

Most classic car lovers think of the 55 Chevy as the mean machine with the monster 455 that Harrison Ford and his shitkicking boots drove in American Graffiti, or maybe the quarter miler with the giant blower growing out of the hood, or the auctioneer's special meticulously restored down to the 50's diner vinyl interior.

This one is a different animal altogether, a 55 with sheet metal and chassis about the same age as the Malibus sitting in Chevy dealer lots.

See the whole story in the link to Hot Rod Magazine's web site;

A company in Michigan, EMI Experi Metal Inc, like a lot of other metal fabrication companies, bought the forms to stamp out exact reproductions of the original body parts. For about $25,000, you can buy of these new bodies rather than search the backyards and junkyards for rust particles filling the matrix of what was one time a car body. Probably worth the time and expense to avoid all the patching, straightening, and fabrication with an original.

From there, you can drop in the drive train of your choice, for instance the same technology you get from a brand new Corvette, and put on other Pro-Touring touches as your bank account and family will allow

In the Bel Air ragtop featured in the article, the owner chose the aluminum block LS-1 5.7, a GM 4L60E 4 speed automatic transmission, and 4 wheel independent suspension available from Heidt.

I want a car like this almost as much as a naked play-date with Kate Upton

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

By the Time It Got to Woodstock, everybody was gone

Launched in 1950 under VW's official designation of the T-2, this underpowered tin box became the counterculture icon called the VW Bus, the Hippie Bus, and the Choomwagon.

While loved by the hippies of the 60s, it was hideously bland unless it was  painted with psychodelic rainbows and peace signs, which transformed the plain ugly box into a Peter Max depiction of Dante's Inferno.

The Hippie Bus was underpowered by the same flat 4 air cooled 1200 cc (1.2L) engine that enabled the VW Beetle to move in a forward direction. It had a top speed of 62 mph going downhill with a good tailwind, while 0-60 was measured by counting tree rings. Needless to say, going to San Francisco with seven hippies plus whatever hitchhiking members of the Manson Family they picked up on the way took a bit of time.

As for the ride, let's just say it didn't make the extra time it took to get anywhere a pleasant experience. The clattering box 4 in the back made the interior about as quiet as a chainsaw in a tin outhouse, and the shocks were so stiff it had a bouncing ride similar to a mechanical bull with a wooden saddle.

Those shocks had to be stiff, as the shitbox had a narrow track, short wheelbase and a high center of gravity riding on skinny tires which made any deviation from a straight line an amusement park type thrill. Keeping it in a straight line was no easy chore either as any movement of air blew the thing all over the road. The turbulence from a passing semi usually blew the hippies into a cornfield like it had been blasted by the thrust of a 747 taking off.

Heating came usually from bics lighting up a doob during the ride, and a/c was not even an option, not exactly olfactory bliss on a summer afternoon with a van load of aromatic hippies

For the head hippie piloting the Magic Bus, he, she, or it sat over the front wheels, with 1/8 inch steel and the driver's legs comprising the crumple zone in a collision

It was ugly, slow, dangerous, uncomfortable and noisy. So why do I have a bit of a soft spot for the VW Bus?

Well, it did kill a lot of hippies

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

55-56 Dodge La Femme - Chrysler's Barbie Car

Back in the 50s, Chrysler decided to make a special edition car that they felt would appeal to the as yet untapped market of women drivers coming onto America's streets and highways.

So for the 1955 model year, they introduced a factory option based on the 2 door Dodge Custom Royal Lancer hardtop called the La Femme. It was painted a two tone Heather Rose over a Sapphire white, giving the Dodge an exterior look of what June Cleaver would drive if she was a Mary Kay saleswoman. The Lancer nameplate was replaced by a gold scripted La Femme badge.

It was the interior that made this a full sized Barbie car that Chrysler hoped would be bought by real life Barbie Girls. It was upholstered in the kind of material that Liberace would have made a bedspread with, tapestry in pale silver pink with pink rosebuds and with a darker pink vinyl trim. Each car came with a special matching purse, compact, lipstick case, cigarette lighter, and comb, all perfect for the boss's secretary to freshen up after that long lunch.

To top it off, the La Femme package included a matching raincoat, rain hat,and umbrella stashed away in a compartment behind the driver's seat

The ladies weren't cheated in the powerplant department, as the La Femme was equipped with the same 268 CI (4.4L) V8 available in the more he-man Lancers.

While Chrysler hoped at first that they could corner the ladies market with this car, there were only about 2,500 models ever made. It wasn't heavily promoted by Dodge dealerships, but it's just as likely that this car was too gaudy for June Cleaver and too low end for the Lana Turner La Femme Fatales. Liberace might have taken one for a test drive on Fremont Ave in downtown Vegas, it's appeal would have been just fabulous for the drag queen at the drag strip if the closet doors had been opened in the buttoned up 50s

There are only 7 known to exist in the world, just imagine what one would bring at an auction now, it might even stretch Elton John's budget

Double From Nothing Means Nothing

GM announced that the June 2012 sales of the Obama Motors Volt doubled over 2011. What number made the ObamaStreamMedia drool over the sales numbers of the bellweather car of the company their hero "saved", the numbers that have the MSM calling the Volt the "comeback kid"?


To put this in perspective, the Pontiac Aztek, the car so butt ugly that kids begged their moms to drop them off two blocks from school to hide the shame, posted 27,322 sales in its first year of 2001. That averages 2276 sales per month of a hideous clusterfuck that is blamed for killing off the Pontiac division.

I don't know if the number is buyer sales from the dealers or typical GM channel stuffing to the dealerships, but either way they're not clogging the HOV lanes of the 405 freeway in West LA with self-righteous Gaia worshipping Hollywood folk.

So why isn't the symbolic tree hugging car that's supposed to symbolize the SCOAMF's  brilliant stewardship of corporate America's biggest welfare queen replacing the Prius as the car of Those Who Care More Than You?

Most car analysts cite the Volt's $41 to $45K sticker price as a deterrent, although thanks to the kind generosity of the taxpayer, a $7500 tax deduction comes back at tax time. For $24K to $34K, those who want to show they love the planet can buy the iconic Prius, or for those who go with the hipster flow, a Subaru Outback sets them back at a starting price of $23K and carries lots of arugula and shade grown coffee back from Whole Foods

But I don't think price is the biggest reason, not when the Hollywood Saviors of the Polar Bear like Leo DiCaprio or James Cameron lose more than that between their couch cushions.

Why do they go for the Prius and not the Volt? The real reason that I believe is that the Prius has that unique ugliness, the gopher fucking a Dustbuster design that shouts to all that "I Drive I Prius. I Care. I'm Better Than You."

The Volt is built on the same chassis and has almost the identical sheet metal to the subcompact $17K petrol only Chevy Cruze.

Here is the Cruze

And here is the Volt

See what I mean? If James Cameron is going to leave the Corvette ZR-1 in the garage in Malibu and drive the econobox to work on the 101, he wants you to know that he, James Fuckin' Cameron, is saving the planet that YOU are polluting with your Chevy Tahoe.

Even with all his millions, he's not going to spend 45K on a car that's indistinguishable to his fellow commuters from a 17K rental fleet econobox.

He and the rest of the Hollywood elite COULD easily afford to save the polar bears with the Volt, but it's like pissing your pants in a dark suit. It might give you a warm feeling, but nobody notices.