Sunday, December 30, 2012

The 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show 6

It's the Mitsubishi RAV-4!  The company is dying in the US, and this would have been just the thing around 1993.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

More food for the crusher.

Now that Christmas is over, it's time to clean up and get rid of things. Remember, when you throw things away, you have more room!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show 5

Toys are the only things at an auto show that capture the excitement of wanting a car.  You couldn't play with the Volkswagens, but you could take a turn on Ford's giant slot car set.

Real cars are just furniture with car doors.  You don't even think about driving.  After all, nobody drives indoors.  Some cars are locked shut.  They are just boring sculptures.

It is worth pointing out that Volkswagen used their toys to show off their colors.  At least part of the team opted for something besides white cars on a white background.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Seen but not photographed: BMW sedan

This one shot by on a short mountain road while I was walking a queasy dog that just saw the vet.  The car was black.  It was either a 5 or 3 series.  It was unlabeled.  It's hard to tell which car is which by the size, because all car companies bloat their cars to no end.  In any case, this one looked ok, and it had a chrome strip above the license plate.  It drove well going down the mountain.  It was fast, and it didn't make any noises betraying any strain.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A bunch of dummies in a trailer

It's hard to see in this picture, but they all have different facial features. Most likely, they are used as extras for movies.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show 3

Here's the Toyota CTS!  The front looks like the back of a Cadillac.  The back looks like, well, you decide.  It's a design exercise that reminds you to walk faster.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show 2

Here's the Fiat Trabant!  It challenges the BMW Trabant in the hatchback segment.  I suppose Fiat thinks that this looks sportier and more profitable than the Panda.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show 1

The best day to go to an auto show is the last.  While it's all about the facade, it's fun to see it come down.  The spokesmodels talk about their feet hurting. Some booths are out of brochures.  No one is as eager to sign you up for a test drive.

I had a good time as it opened, but they had to turn on the displays.  The net effect is one of exhaustion.   As I left the show, I had the presence of mind to take the above picture, but I lacked the awareness to buy something. I had cash with me, and I was hungry.  Although I haven't heard about it before, it certainly looks worth trying.  Watch for it when you're in Los Angeles.

The worst display was put on by Ford.  Blue is normally a cool, calming color.  At Ford, you get neon until you vomit.  There was a great wall of blue around everything.  The music made it worse.  It was loud and annoying, with no explanation of who it was or when it was made. Knowing what you're hearing makes it more tolerable. Ford's car display is in a rut.  Their cars look like an answer to the question, "What if Hyundai licensed their front end design from Aston-Martin?"  It's hard to believe someone asked.

The best display was put on by Chevrolet.  They have embraced their international destiny. Their spokesmodels looked like people at the finish line of a European bicycle or motorcycle race. "We're sponsoring Manchester United!" one man exclaimed.  I thought it was great.

The worst part of Chevy's display was the whiteboards behind the Sparks.  "Keep it clean and positive!" the sign said.  It looked festive, and I took a pen.  As I made my way to the whiteboard, the atmosphere became terribly judgmental.  They were just lurking.  Because I would love to visit Brazil, I wrote, "Sua terra tem palmeiras."  When I went back a few minutes later, it was gone.

The marketing teams at Mazda and Volkswagen have thrown in the towel. Most of their cars were white.  VW went further to make sure that their cars were overlooked.  The display was predominantly white.  Also, VW has a delusion of being German.  The word comes up over and over again.  Why their collection of global products should have any connection to Germany is a mystery.  I overheard someone say that one of their middle managers ate half of an apple strudel in 2005.

Volvo had the most subtle display.  Wooden flooring evoked old Sweden.  Round, uneven 4 person stools made from 1 cm strips of thick latticed sheet metal looked familiar.  After a while, it was obvious:  It was a nod to modern China, put in place for the parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. It was Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Seen but not photographed: Audi A4 2.0T

Are turbos that great, or are they a way to align numbers?  They have had some success on the racetrack but not on the street.  Newer turbochargers are supposed to be different.  In the past, they were a great way to shorten the life of your car with no real benefit.

Once again, Audi makes design look easy.  The car is a swanky and understated sedan.  Audi design is in the same league as a few tasteful exotics.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


For those of you patient enough to decode such things, the VIN is 5UXWX5C5XBLK59069.  I got as far as figuring out that it was made in the US.