by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img Warner Bros ::: Rebel without a Cause
ACCORDING to the BBC, American youth may not be what they once were: car fanatics. Specifically, the BBC’s Brian Wheeler thinks that American teenagers may – due to economic circumstances – be falling out of love with cars and into love with gadgets like iPhones and iPads. Of course this may just be one of those Is-The-Theater-Dead? pieces, but, $4 per gallon gas must be having an impact on the family budget and therefore on the realities of automotive acquisition and enjoyment.
Easier and cheaper to connect on Facebook, je crois.
by Gunnar Heinrich ::: YouTube ::: Requiem for Detroit (BBC)
“The all-American dream is dead. We’re in the process of weaving a new American Dream. It’s happening in Detroit.”
DEATH. Decay. Urban blight. The fallout of dreams once in motion but now motionless.
Requiem for Detroit is long-form journalism which aired this spring on BBC2. An archetypal British-style documentary, Requiem sensationally interweaves archive footage depicting utopia with contemporary scenes of destruction to paint a modern dystopia.
Detroit was once America’s fourth largest city (2 million+) and a beacon of industrialism. Cue post-industrial fallout. Detroit now lies mostly in ruins with poverty and illiteracy rates taking hold of about one of every three of its 800,000 citizens.
Requiem for Detroit treats us to the many individual accounts of what made Detroit great, good, bad, and ugly. The documentary casts no specific villains nor deals meaningfully with the complexities of the city’s problems. The film does, however, cast an unwavering spotlight on the symptoms of Motown’s decline and the darker aspects of the American way – past and present.
The film takes our focus and pans wide to consider the historical sociology of Detroit’s dilemma.
To wit: Detroit industry (i.e., Henry Ford & rivals) manufactured a need. Industry met that need expertly for many years. And then, somewhere along the road, Detroit lost its grip on its own game (the car biz). Industry left town or went bust – leaving the mighty metropolis free to implode.
And so it has. But, the documentary points to a silver lining to Detroit’s somber story. Nature, it seems, always finds a way.
Tesla broke through the BBC defenses earlier in the game.
By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG from AP
JEREMY Clarkson is fighting back.
There was plenty of online chatter and lots of backlash from Tesla’s P.R. people last December resulting from the Top Gear personality’s decision to push the electric car (plus editorial honesty standards) off the track (O.C.) to make it appear to viewers as though the car’s lithium ions had run out of juice when in fact they hadn’t.
The truth was one of the test car’s brakes had stopped working and another’s motor had overheated.A total of two test cars were involved, with Tesla staff on-hand to make sure things didn’t go too badly. Which, in fact, they did.
And now in Mr. Clarkson’s Sunday Times column, he strikes back at the heart of the Tesla fiasco calling the Roadster “good for your sex life” but as useful as a “muddy bag of spinach.”
For the rest of us auto scribes, Mr. Clarkson shares a little inside-football with stories of previous fallings-out with the likes of Renault, Toyota, Kia, and BMW.
Apparently, the Bavarians didn’t take too kindly to Mr. Clarkson’s attitude towards BMW drivers which he insists are known for their “pushy attitude, their silly sunglasses, their awful short-sleeved shirts, their hair gel, their orange wives, their awful houses, their fondness for golf and their membership of the Freemasons.”
In sum, his bit in the Times this week makes for a bloody good read.
[Linked: Sunday Times]
It’s a big surprise…
By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG Bugatti Trust
ONE family in the UK is set to have a strong fiscal start to their new year.
After passing on in 2007, the “reclusive” Dr. Harold Carr of Newcastle bequeathed the contents of his locked up garage to his family. It hadn’t been opened in years and no one had any clue as to what was stored there…
The End Is Nigh!
By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG via BBC
SIR JEREMYis being an ass.
Adding his popular voice to the chorus of navel gazing doomsayers, Mr. Clarkson pontificated on Detroit and the world economy in an interview with BBC Radio.
“I believe we’re sort of heading for an end of days, economically speaking,” he said.
Mr. Clarkson didn’t have facts ‘n figures to back up his assertions except to suggest that he was in the know from having spoken with several (mysterious) bankers. One wonders if these were the same financiers who scolded the Top Gear presenter for publishing his Barclay’s account details in his Sunday Times column.
Adding some premium unleaded to the market’s inferno, Mr. Clarkson acknowledged that more than 850,000 Britons held gainful employment in the auto industry – and that Ford and GM were components “too big to fail.”
But let them, said he.
Channeling Mrs. Thatcher and doubtless remembering that socialism didn’t work for British Leyland when “Communists” made Jaguars, Sir Jeremy shrugged that Detroit shouldn’t get a bail out.
“I don’t believe that governments can endlessly bail out, because where does it end?”
Who’s talking about endless? It’s ok to keep funding hundreds of billions to banks that aren’t releasing Federal capital to credit markets but not when MoTown wants $34 Billion to get them through next year?
While he was at it, he called Chrysler, the third largest American car company employing 129,000 workers, “Two bit.”
Thanks, Mr. Clarkson. I guess we can say from his casual matter-of-fact manner that this Jeremy is NOT for turning.
Until the economy rebounds, that is.
Watch Clarkson’s interview excerpt by tapping the link.
By Gunnar Heinrich
TOP GEAR wasn’t always Top Gear.
And there’s no better proof of that than this clip of ye olde Top Gear from the Y.O.L. nineteen hundred ninety one. In it, a very un-Clarksonesque presenter takes us through an arc-storyline presentation of the Lexus’ then new LS400.
Assembling a crowd of “The traditional European competition” – a BMW (E32) 735i, Jaguar (XJ40) XJ6, and Mercedes-Benz (W126) 420SE (with those bloody Euro-spec lights ‘n bumpers) – the presenter performed a rather matter of fact review of all three’s kit and tags next to the cheap ‘n cheerfully stuffed and hushed LS.
The presenter’s notes on the Europeans was firmly stiff upper lip.
- Speaking of the Jag, “It’s got exceptional ride and handling… and extra instrumentation; something the Americans demanded.” Hey don’t blame us, pal.
- The Bimmer, “Very much a driver’s car. Very efficient in design and layout.” Naturally.
- The Benz, “Long in the tooth. Good performance, ride, and handling.” I beg your pardon?
- And the Lexus, “Toyota have undoubtedly produced a quality car.” Quite.
And that’s about as heated as the review gets. No rants nor raves. Just a mild assessment of the qualities and shortcomings of four luxury sedans.
Top Gear really wasn’t always Top Gear.
By Gunnar Heinrich
WE’VE all heard about great dealer incentives, but this is one dealer’s bid for your buck hits the bullseye.
The BBC is reporting that Max Motors a Chrysler, Ford, and GM dealer based out of Butler, Missouri (pronounced “MahZURah”) is giving a way a free Kel-Tec 38 handgun or a $250 gas card (your pick) with each car purchase from now through Memorial Day.
The message at the top of Max Motors website – max71.com – states the dealer’s “position” plainly, “We are aware of the gasoline and crime problem in America. Max Motors, the Country Dealer wants to be part of the solution and not the problem.”
Incredible. Who’d have thought that guns could be the solution to America’s crime problem?