Saturday, August 31, 2013

Seen but not photographed: BMW SUV, BMW Mini

Once again, the folks at Here-Comes-A-Prototype® made the unremarkable stand out.

The BMW SUV, a black car with the front and back ends wrapped in black with white swirls, looks like what they have made so far. The lines  along the sides slant more, making the front end  appear lower and back end look higher. Like its predecessors, it's hard to look at.   It's top-heavy and suffers from low profile tires.  At first, I thought it couldn't be the ultimate driving anything.  Then, I realized that it is the BMW for those who don't like to drive.

The Mini was entirely clad in black with yellow swirls.  This is the first one in a while that BMW has gotten right.  It's a Mini that's slightly longer, lower and wider.  It's about time.  Their coupe shows that the Ford EXP could have been built in Europe, while their four door just looks bulbous.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Events Surrounding the Concours d'Elegance, Pebble Beach 2013

What an event, complete with the gratuitous use of French!  There were lots of great antiques, hot rods, and many other cars whose owners thought they belonged.  Here's an incoherent series of notes on what happened, because we neither have the time, nor the budget to do any better.

He said, "We're broadcasting live," while taping several takes.  Maybe NBC was doing some of it live.  In any case he did a good job of entertaining the crowd between takes.  "Back to you, Doug!"

Language Usage:  One big difference between British and American English is what gets Anglicized and what doesn't. Every event is filled with ads for future events. The ads in Monterey are for events all over the world.  I saw one for a, "Concourse of Elegance."   Had the term been fully Anglicized, it would have been an, "Elegance Concourse."  Lowering the register for Americans, it could have been an, "Elegance Contest."  Anglicizing various expressions makes their silliness more readily apparent.  Would anyone buy watches because of Cartier's musts?

Best Refreshments:  Hyundai/Kia.  They had two displays, one for each car company.  The company covered both kinds of weather that could happen at the show.  Hyundai was prepared for the North Coast, with hot chocolate, which is perfect on a cool foggy day.  Kia was ready for summer, with a lemonade stand.  Last year was Kia weather.  This year, it was Hyundai.  Covering both bases was a masterstroke.

Biggest Surprise:  A free ride from the Chrysler shuttle.  All 8 of us piled into a luxury minivan.  Attention to detail abounds.  There was a leather interior, an analog clock and seats that collapsed and came back up without landing on the passengers' feet.  Watch out if they get a reputation for reliability.

Biggest disappointment:  The Concours d'LeMons parody is still worth seeing, but the stench of corporate sponsorship is already there.  A 1977 Trabant made the show and ruined it.  It was great to see it, but it had a for sale sign with a long whine about California regulations. He couldn't be selling it because it was unreliable when new and ostalgie in Northern California is in short supply.

Bentley:  There was an old racing Bentley driving around.  It looked like a giant '32 Ford highboy, but with a big, high framed radiator.  On new Bentleys, you can see that updating old ideas doesn't always work.

Rolls-Royce looks as bad as Bentley.

Upstarts from Coventry:  How does Jaguar get away with selling heritage?  The SS90 showed up in 1935, long after the Brass Era.  I have heard Jaguar owners say that they prefer something with a pedigree, unlike a Lexus made by Toyota, an older company which also produced its first cars in 1935.  As such, Nissan was founded in 1934, with a history of car production going back to 1914.  Chevrolet, Buick, Ford, Cadillac, FIAT and even Mack Trucks have much longer pedigrees than Jaguar.

Most Fun:  The FIAT 500 Abarth. Lots of them were buzzing around.  Everyone wanted one.

Lamborghini:  A tragic origami accident.

Absent:  All of GM besides Cadillac, Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, Mazda.

Free Advice from the Other Half:  Ferrari should build something simple that looks like what they made in the 1960's and sell it in the $70,000 range. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Press Release Radio

KNX recently ran a long press release from Cadillac.  They announced that one of their cars would no longer be sized between the BMW 3 and 5 series.  Instead, "The Standard of the World" will follow BMW more closely with cars in the same sizes.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cars of the American West: The Stillborn Series

Before I realize I would be unable to photograph anything, I thought about what stood out.  As you leave Los Angeles and drive upcountry in a modern anabasis, Scions disappear.  A higher percentage of pickups are work trucks, as opposed to bling.  There were a few lone Fiat 500s in Salt Lake City.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Seen but not photographed: Sandwich Loaf

Today's prototype was a small wagon shaped like a loaf of the type of bread that would have been used to make finger sandwiches way back when.  All four corners are rounded.  The rear is pinched off like cheap bread, and there's a hood in the front.  Some cars, when seen for the first time, look new and exciting.  Others, like this one, stand out because they are misshapen.

I wouldn't have noticed it, but for the efforts of the kind people at Here-Comes-A-Prototype!®  This was wrapped up in medium blue with white swirls.

I didn't see any labels, but it doesn't make any difference.  It's a car that could be designed anywhere in the world, made anywhere else, with a badge from the automaker that bought the rights.  While the designers made a car that could be anything anywhere, they still managed to get it wrong.  It's likely to be a third choice all over the world.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mazda CX-9 AWD

The camera comes back! Here's a car I never thought of, much less expected.  An all wheel drive version of one of Mazda's many non-entities.  Mazda is proof that good reviews aren't enough.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Shout Out!

Hey, to all the Eastern European content farms!  You're the only ones keeping the numbers up!  Comment if you're a real person.