By on February 18, 2016

1979 Ford LTDII

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of editing Daniel Ho’s theories on crossovers as reflections of the zeitgeist. In his thoughtfully-written piece, Daniel argues that crossovers are chimeras, reflecting a social trend towards generalized products that combine social signaling attributes from multiple socio-economic categories. The crossover, therefore, is the “blazer and jeans” look, offering broader but shallower capabilities than the specialized vehicles that preceded it.

It is my hope that Daniel, and the rest of the B&B, will take it as a signal mark of my esteem and admiration for the both the substance of Daniel’s original argument and his stylish manner of expressing it when I say that he is absolutely, completely, thoroughly wrong.

I’ll start by saying: yes, High-Low is really “a thing” in the fashion world and was a thing long before there was such a phrase to describe it. I will also suggest that High-Low has long had a place in the automotive world. The original Mini, which was owned and driven by everyone from rural pensioners to Paul McCartney and Enzo Ferrari, was an example of “fast fashion” with universal appeal. In the United States, the original Beetle had similar mojo, although it’s worth noting that elsewhere in the world the Type I VW was a simple and depressing statement of poverty and perhaps that’s why Europeans don’t get excited about the various New New Beetles.

It’s tempting to ascribe the ’90s body-on-frame SUV boom to a similar “High-Low” spirit, but it would be wrong. Much of the chic appeal of the Grand Wagoneer et al. came from the fact that it was closely associated with the country homes of the wealthy; this was also the secret of the Range Rover’s upscale credibility. It’s hard to believe it in 2016, but there was once a time that driving a Rangie in the City of London directly implied that one was to the manor born, as it were. Similarly, the possession of a trimmed-up Suburban in the United States suggested the simultaneous possession of horses.

Yet the SUV would have remained a curiosity had it not been the beneficiary of a perfect storm in the auto industry. The cars offered by the Detroit Three in 1992-1994 were mostly based on platforms that had been conceived in the darkest days of the Carter/OPEC oil crisis. They were also CAFE-conscious. But the price and artificial scarcity of oil never quite returned to their late-’70s levels. So customers who had no fear whatsoever of rationing or $5/gallon gasoline bounced over to their local dealers to buy a new car, at which point they were faced with a wide array of depressing shitboxes like the Ford Tempo and the Chevrolet Celebrity.

The Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee were not good vehicles in any sense of the word. Trust me. I sold ’em when they were new. But to buyers who were absolutely horrified at the prospect of having to drive a Cutlass Ciera for the next 80,000 miles, they were characterful, rugged, durable alternatives. The vast majority of Explorer buyers I met during 1995 and 1996 would have been better-served by a Taurus wagon — but just 10 minutes listening to the front subframe of a Taurus crash and bang around on their test drives made the case for the truck.

What happened next was exactly the same thing that had happened during the personal luxury coupe explosion of the ’70s: The people with the most financial freedom were early SUV adopters. Their neighbors envied their acquisitions and slavishly imitated their betters. Before long, everybody had a body-on-frame SUV. Consequently, non-prestige cars acquired the stigma of being prole-mobiles. After all, the last people in any middle-class neighborhood to own a conventional automobile were, by definition, the poorest people in that neighborhood and the ones who therefore had held on the longest to their pre-SUV-era vehicles.

I need make no other case for the ascent of the crossover than this: it offers the same driving position and perceived capability of the SUV, but at a lower price. The Lexus RX300, the ur-crossover, was successful because it was massively cheaper than the Lexus body-on-frame SUVs while managing to send about the same social image to everybody who did not have an address in Martha’s Vineyard or Telluride.

The historically astute or just plain old readers among the B&B will recall that the 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix and 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo featured extra-long hoods that gave them the presence of a full-sized coupe at the price of a mid-sized coupe, thus creating the PLC phenomenon.

The story of the crossover thus far has been a blow-by-blow recapitulation of the PLC’s rise to dominance in the ’70s. In 1977, the best-selling car in the country, the Cutlass Supreme, was primarily delivered as a long-hood coupe. When the RAV4 or CR-V finally assumes the title of best-selling “car,” we’ll know that we are in the 1977 of the crossover era.

You can see, therefore, that we need not have recourse to any sort of specific “fashion theory” to explain the crossover. It is to the SUV what the PLC was to the big coupes of the ’60s: the same look and feel, but for less money. It is the cheapest way to have approximately what everybody else has.

This also explains why all crossovers look exactly the same; they’re meant to, because having a crossover that looks unique defeats the point of having what everybody else has. Those readers who are feeling unnecessarily sanctimonious about the abject similarity of the Santa Fe and the X3 and the RAV4 and the Equinox and the rest should take a look at pictures of the late-’70s PLCs and see how well they can distinguish a 1978 from a 1977 Monte Carlo from a 1978 LTD II.

Only two things separate the crossover phenomenon from that of the PLC. The first is sex. Or gender, if you insist on using the wrong word. Forty years ago, most purchase decisions were made by men. No surprise, then, that personal-luxury-coupes are basically dicks on wheels. Remember that the artificially long hood is the defining characteristic of the PLC. Crossovers, on the other hand, are exclusively purchased by women and the men who can’t stand up to them. No authentic man has ever had any genuine feeling for a modern crossover, any more than he would have a settled opinion on a panty liner. Women buy the things and therefore they are cocoons that suggest height and protection and safety and capability in reserve.

The second difference between 1976 and 2016 is something I can only call give-a-damn. Nobody gives a damn about cars any more. It is understood by the reader that the “nobody” to which I refer includes him, the same way that if I wrote “Nobody truly cares about Twilight Sparkle” on a “subreddit” it would be generally true no matter how many thousands of “bronys” there are in this country.

People used to buy cars a lot more frequently than they do today. Cars cost less and factory work paid more and, in any event, you couldn’t expect that a car would last very long before requiring extensive refurbishment or outright replacement. The American Dream was generally interpreted to mean moving out of a shithole apartment in New York to a comfortable suburban home, not the inverse. Young people wanted to have adventures in their cars because Tinder didn’t exist and parents didn’t let you have sleepovers with your high-school non-gendered bi-sex otterkin sex partner like they do today.

No wonder, then, that the ’77 Monte Carlo was styled at the expense of all else. Even if the style was, frankly, odious — it was style. Today’s crossovers are meant to be non-styled. They’re the equivalent of that “Soylent” stuff that programmers are supposed to drink at their desks so they don’t accidentally see the sun through a cafeteria window and turn into dust. It’s all the car you need. All the car you’re supposed to have. And, eventually, all the car you’ll be permitted to buy.

Until the next thing comes along.

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553 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: High-Low, High-Low, It’s Off To Work You Go...”


  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    “No authentic man has ever had any genuine feeling for a modern crossover.”

    Wew lad

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      “No authentic man has ever had any genuine feeling for a modern crossover.”

      John Cooper and his Works may disagree with you somewhat. As may Carlo Abarth soon. Not to mention NIhito S. MOyaymoto, who I assume NISMO must be named after. ;)

      Just as with any other segment, there are vehicles that are designed with emotion, vehicles designed to trigger emotion, and vehicles that are designed to destroy emotion.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Are you using a medium to correspond with John Cooper and Carlo Abarth?

        • 0 avatar
          npaladin2000

          Yes. :)

          Luckily, their spirits infest the tuner brands that bear their name…for well or ill, JCW and Abarth have been immortalized in the metal that bears their names.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I’m not sure how much either of those guys would appreciate what’s been done in their names in recent years.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            Well, the JCW Countryman could have been done better, and I’m not so sure about the Abarth Cabrio. But the JCW Cooper and JCW Paceman are pretty good, and the Abarth 500x that’s coming is supposed to be pretty special too. And the Abarth 500 has a pretty mean bite too.

          • 0 avatar

            John Cooper died in 2000, before the BMW designed MINI went into production. Carlo Abarth (who was Jewish, btw), from what I understand, had a strained relationship with Fiat. He sold the Abarth company to Fiat in 1971 and he died in ’79.

            The current JCW and Abarth branded models have absolutely nothing to do with the men behind the names, beyond the names.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            If it was just the names, they’d use stupid names like…oh, SS, or SRT maybe. :) Instead, they tried to take these people who were important to the performance history of each brand (friction or not), and create the performance marque around each one. Yeah, to some degree it’s marketing, but it’s as much internal marketing as external, to create more of an esprit de corps within the tuner team based around the memory of that name.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        From the article:
        “…and the men who can’t stand up to them.”

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      “No authentic man has ever had any genuine feeling for a modern crossover”

      I dunno, the Forester XT is pretty cool.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I don’t like that it requires premium fuel. It’s also a bit costly for what it is.

        And it always goes down the road going KRAKALAKARARRA assaulting your ears.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Is there any properly enthusiastic vehicle that doesn’t require premium? The only cars I’ve ever owned that didn’t require it were the boring ones. (’06 Civic, ’88 Accord, ’87 Vulcan Taurus)

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Miata! Boom.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Fair enough.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            practically nothing *requires* premium these days, those that say premium is “recommended” will run fine on regular at the cost of a tiny bit of performance. The manual for my Coyote Mustang says it’s perfectly fine to use 87 octane (on 11:1 compression!) but at the cost of some horsepower.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Both my ’13 Forester turbo and my ’08 LS460 say “premium fuel only” on the gas cap. (My ’95 Legend does too, but it’s too old to count.) I’ve run regular by accident once in the Forester, and it was clearly unhappy — way down on power and occasional slight knock despite cold weather.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Dal

            I read recently the UZ in the LS460 switched to direct injection but the variant used in Land Cruiser/4Runner/LX/GX etc did not so I wouldn’t be surprised if your LS is more susceptible to issues on regular vs say the equivalent LX. Does your Subbie use DI?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            VQ engines run like sh!t on medium or regular. I tried that with my VQ30, which is certainly more tolerant of general BS than the VQ35HR that’s considerably more high-strung.

            I tried mid grade in my Audi once, and that was very noticeable as well.

            Have the standards on octane for what counts as “premium” changed over the years? How long has it been 91/93?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            28, the LS460 engine (and the 5.0L variant of it in the LS600h and the F cars) have Toyota’s dual port/direct injection system. The truck variants have regular port injection. But I think the premium requirement is more about the higher compression ratio and revs than the fuel injection system. Truck engines aren’t expected to rev to 6700 rpm or generate ~90 hp/L.

            I haven’t tried regular in the LS and don’t plan to.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @dal

            I think you’re right on compression requirements, this hadn’t occurred to me. Feel free to school me some more.

            @Corey

            Its probably because of compression reasons as Dal points out. I couldn’t get a good article on “when” octanes were developed but I will point out the current recipes are only as old as about 1987 because of the lead phaseout.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            My Abarth says 91 recommended 87 minimum and I use (top tier) 87 in it

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            Accord Sport uses regular. Not saying it’ll be mistaken for an Integra Type R but it’s enthusiastic enough, especially in the context of what’s being sold today. By that standard it’s a bare bones, lightweight hot rod.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            dal20402 You may scoff all you wish, but my 97 Grand Marquis is a nice combo of a comfortable and reasonably well-handling and accelerating vehicle, and it does so on 87 octane in a V8.

            Unless I was going for ultimate sleeper performance, I’d rather put that extra several cents a gallon into aftermarket performance parts, than in the gas tank.

        • 0 avatar
          MUSASHI66

          New ones have equal length headers on the FE20DIT engine, and they have no subaru burble at all. Pity…

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          Not really a big deal when you have knock sensors and the ability to adjust the timing.

          The argument can be made that your not getting “all the power” but if an engine is designed to run on a fuel with a low octane rating it wasn’t developing all the power it could in the first place.

      • 0 avatar

        The Forester is really a station wagon. As are the raised Legacys, the Ford Flexes, and various other so-called xovers that are really station wagons. Important distinction.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          At this point (and starting with the SH generation of Forester in ’09) there is no meaningful dimensional or dynamic difference between either the Forester or Outback and others in their respective segments. They got there via different ancestry, but they’re CUVs just like all the others.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            The Outback is almost a foot longer, about four inches between the wheels and seven behind the rear axle. That’s what makes it a lifted mid-size wagon and not a midsize CUV.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You’re looking in the wrong segment. The Outback isn’t really a CR-V/RAV4 competitor but an Edge/Murano competitor with a different marketing emphasis. It’s dimensionally similar to those bigger CUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            OK, I thought you were saying there was no difference between a Forester and an Outback.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Yeah, I noted that on Jalopnik the other day. There is an entire sub-class of crossovers that are *literally* (and not just architecturally) raised wagons:

          – Ford Flex
          – Subaru Outback
          – Volvo V70
          – Volvo V60 Cross Country
          – Audi allroad
          – Subaru XV Crosstrek
          – upcoming VW Golf Alltrack

          The Flex counts because it just looks so much like a wagon, but the rest of those are actually lifted versions of cars sold either here or elsewhere.

          • 0 avatar
            nitroxide

            All due respect, Kyree, but all of the cars on that list sell rather slowly because they’re seen as filling a peculiar niche. They don’t sell 300,000 of any of those models a year in the US. Even the Forester is a slow seller relative to almost any Honda, Toyota, or Ford crossover.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff Semenak

          FWIW My wife and I love our Flex. Long hood and excellent power for a heavy car. Good handling though, I plan on upgraded tires after the originals wear out. I guess we are outliers though… LOL

      • 0 avatar
        MUSASHI66

        I like them – just bought a pair of Premiums for wife and myself.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        In this depraved age, anything with a manual is.

      • 0 avatar
        sabotenfighter

        I see your XT and raise you an STi

        http://dudesphotography.smugmug.com/Cars/Jeremys-Forester-on-18×95-Gold/i-2rKkSLT/0/L/IMG5996-L.jpg

        Hot! Though does the Gen1 count as a CUV or a wagon?

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      My favorite TTAC headline was on March 15: “Trackday Diaries: In which our author falls in love with a cute-ute.”

      Jack, do you happen to recall writing about all your “genuine feelings” for the Mazda CX-5? Some reminders:
      – “I really, really, liked that CX-5 I drove two weeks ago”
      – “I did nearly sixty laps of Laguna Seca in the CX-5. The first three were for you, dear readers; the rest were for me”
      – “Maybe you’ll get as excited about it as I did.”

      Meaning that by your own logic you are not an authentic man?

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Don’t now about Jack, but the CX-5 comes with a manual. Which, given their current scarcity, makes up for virtually anything.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          But the manual is only on the FWD base model, which only comes in black, dark gray, and silver.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The base model, or closer-to-base model, with a manual gearbox, is the one you want.

            People that buy 15k to 22k MSRP vehicles and then load them up with options until they approach 35k to 45k base MSRP vehicles aren’t generally the sharpest tools in the shed.

            And as for this more general column, most CUVs are sh!tboxes and a scourge, virus and pox on the broader automotive landscape, and their widescale acceptance and adoption by the lemming consumers marks Phase II of the Automotive Malaise Era.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            And why would a “man” care about that?

    • 0 avatar
      dartman

      Any man (authentic or otherwise) with “genuine” feelings for a machine or any inanimate object probably has some serious self-esteem and relationship building issues…jus’ sayin’…

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Think deeper, do they have feelings for the inanimate machine or are the feelings more about what the machine represents to them?

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          If no one had any feeling for inanimate objects then there would be no 20, 30, 50, or 100 year old cars left in the world. There would be no antique market – WWII Veterans wouldn’t tear up while standing on the deck of the Missouri.

          • 0 avatar
            dartman

            Those old vets tearing up on the deck of any ship are not crying because they have missed and loved the ship they are on….

            Enjoying any cars are inanimate objects and investing time, money etc in them is perfectly fine and healthy. Respecting the talent and artistry that went into their creation is admirable. When you cross the line to douchiness is when one begins to apply human emotion to objects rather than beings (human or otherwise)

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “…and see how well they can distinguish a 1978 from a 1977 Monte Carlo from a 1978 LTD II.”

    Easy – the Monte Carlo always contains a higher number of gold chains.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    why did you have to ruin my day by showing me a picture of an LTD II?

    I don’t know who the hell thought stacked rectangular headlamps was a good idea at all, but the LTD II was the worst of the bunch. Looking at it reminds me of this:

    http://www.coolopticalillusions.com/crazy/images/drunk.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      I remember reading an interview with an engineer who decried the misuse of rectangular headlamps. He hated how it tooks years of lobbying to get them approved with the goal of lowering hoodlines for better aerodynamics only to have them stacked in the name of style.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      One more thing. I hated the motorcycles of the eighties that used rectangular headlamps on non-faired bikes.

      Yamaha offered a 650 Seca and 750 Seca in 1982. The 650 has a gorgeous, 8″ round headlight and very classic lines (one of the prettiest of the Japanese UJMs, in my opinion). The 750 has a rectangular monstrousity of a headlight and is a styling mess. Under the tank, they were very closely related.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        I have a fondness for the square-light bikes but it’s just nostalgia for my youth. When it was time for me to buy a new standard, I picked the round-light CB1100.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        My brother has an ’81 Seca, with the very weird looking and high mounted headlight, with a strange foglight underneath it. Very ugly bike, the optional sport touring fairing makes it much more palatable. His also has an enormous plastic-fantastic gauge cluster with the obnoxious warning light that will flash about any possible thing you can think of (kickstand left down, etc). it won’t shut off until you press a button to reset it. Very 80s. Aside from that, it is actually a very pleasant bike, great motor and shaft drive. On our cross country ride from NY-CA and back, his Seca had zero issues aside from a fuse that worked itself loose as I recall. All the other bikes had much more serious things go wrong (as they will on 40 year old motorcycles ridden across the continental US).

        Jack the CB1100 is freaking choice. The details on that thing like the rear taillight pod and the fenders fooled even me, a serial 70s Jap-bike owner the first time I saw one in traffic. It is more honest to the UJM theme than a re-made Triumph Bonneville is to an old ’69 Bonnie. If you want a retro-remake brit bike, hunt down a W650 Kawasaki. I owned a ’01 Bonneville briefly, and quickly sold it, it was a very sterile/bland bike. The CB1100 would be a good fit for me I think, I really enjoyed my ’78 GS1000 and currently own a ’98 Bandit 1200S, I miss the aesthetics and true upright seating that a UJM offers.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Tell me more about this brit like W650 Kawasaki. Gonna look into that…sounds appealing to me, more solid than the new retro Bonnies but perhaps true to the essence of the original ones, pls the Atlases and the Lightning Rockets, and even the Royal Enfields.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            The W650 didn’t sell to well when briefly imported into the US, it actually beat the Bonneville to market by a year.

            Here’s a comparison test of the two:

            linkhttp://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/motorcycle-comparison-kawasaki-w650-meets-triumph-bonneville

            The Kawi has a kickstarter, which I think is awesome and a legitimately useful feature. It also uses a bevel drive valvetrain ala Ducati. I’d love to own one! A clean XS650 is also a good candidate for a brit bike on the cheap, a mid 70s one that hits the right combination of handling improvements but prior to that awful early 80s “cruiserification” trend. They’re becoming collectible and rising in price at a surprising rate however. I own a ’77 XS500 with 55k miles that I rode from NY to CA and back in 2008, there’s just something so right about an aircooled parallel twin on a twisty back road. My brother who owns the Seca is looking to get back into the parallel twin game right now, eyeballing a cheap ’76 Kawasaki KZ750B. Cosmetically mediocre, but a mere 4k on the clock and these things are tanks so it should just be a tune up and some tires to get it road worthy.

    • 0 avatar
      whynotaztec

      my local pd used to run these in lime green, with simple blue block letters on the door (which looked hastily applied)

      back then, it was pretty easy to id a cop car in the rearview, day or night!

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Back in high school, the first car I changed spark plugs on was a Ford Elite, which was the same care as the LTD II. Huge V8, not much room to get to the back plugs. It was my girlfriend’s car… an oversized, gas-guzzling pile of junk. She worked to make enough money to buy gas and pay for insurance… so she could drive to work. Holy cow, time flies.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    A vehicle can easily cost a billion bucks to develop. Unless your OEM is staring at the abyss of bankruptcy, it’s probably wise to increase the odds of having a successful investment by not taking too many risks.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      hell, I think just a refresh or an MCA can run that much. The original Taurus cost billions to develop.

      in 1986.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Pch101 – Agreed. I read a great article in Cycle Canada by a fellow who used to be a designer for Yamaha and design studios in Europe.
      He argued that enthusiast bikes and bikes with character (often one and the same) get softened and loose their character due to trying to make them appeal to as many buyers as possible.

      It all boils down to profitability. Companies don’t pay the bills by making highly specialized niche products unless that is all they sell (i.e. Ferrari).

      I do not think that Daniel Ho is completely wrong. Chimerism does explain the splicing of dissimilar vehicles into one that has genetic superiority. High/low in some respects fits with Jack’s explanation which sounds like “keeping up with the Jone’s”.

      It does make sense that we want to appear better off than what we actually are so we buy the closest object that mimics where we want to be.

      Styx Grand Illusion comes to mind.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        High/Low also fits in with Jack’s focus on neomasculinity and dicks on wheels. 40 years ago, buying a not cheap but still attainable dick on wheels, got you laid. You were going somewhere, and a prospect.

        Now, to get laid, you need to either be a bankster driving a Maserati (high), or a half (or more) criminal Bad Boy driving a stolen car (low). If you’re aiming for Taylor Swift, both rolled into one…..

        Exactly how something as insanely middle as a mass market CUV can be bent into a High/Low example, I never did understand, though.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Home run.

    • 0 avatar
      nitroxide

      This is literally Jack’s finest piece since the Watery Big Bang expose. And that’s saying something because I’m a bit of a Baruth writing fanboi at this point.

    • 0 avatar
      alexndr333

      I agree, TD. Baruth provides a credible explanation for the SUV / CUV phenomenon while reminding us that fad and fashion are part of our shared experience. Using the PLC’s as a source of comparison is an interesting and instructive choice. I would only add that those late ’70’s and ’80’s coupes were the among last examples of how cars were designed and sold as stylistic expressions of American wealth in the post-war era.

      They also signaled the beginning of the end of the dominance of the Big Three in the United States auto market as the industry began to transform itself and the US became just another part of an integrated international market (from which GM, Ford and Chrysler have yet to fully recover, in my opinion.) Consequently, the SUV / CUV phenomenon has to be considered in light of an industry marketing to a much broader audience than was necessary in the 1970’s – those RAV4’s, Escapes and CRV’s (or their clones) have to appeal to North Americans, South Americans, Europeans, Asians and Africans if they are to succeed. Their design and style has to be less offensive than the exaggerated points of those Grand Prix’s, Cougars and Cordobas which could be the stylistic outliers to the more sedate Malibu’s, Torino’s and Volare’s.

      While I miss the whimsy that was American car styling from the 1949 Cadillac to, say, the 1978 Trans-Am, ’83 Mark VI, or ’86 Fiero GT, the mechanicals were still largely from the ’40’s. Thanks to the electronics revolution, we have improved the underpinnings substantially since then. I’d love to see a new expression of the exuberance of post-war style for the masses – but it would probably require a matching national or international swagger that is unlikely to occur in my lifetime.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    David Lee Roth said he made a career out of hyperactivity. Baruth is trying to prolong his with misogyny.

    Good laughs.

    • 0 avatar

      Somehow that term has transformed from a clinical description of a small number of men with a psychopathology to any male that disagrees even the least bit with a feminist, or, per current feminist dogma, any male.

      The term, however, does serve as a a useful shibboleth. It usually means that I can stop reading right then and there, safe in the knowledge that there will be little in the way of original thought from that point on.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Hey, trust me.. emerging an ardent feminist from my grunty background required a lot of original thought.

        But that was decades ago and I’ve been pretty much dormant since :-)

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          RideHeight – I’ve always had issue with the whole guy jobs and guy vehicles and chick jobs or chick vehicles.
          Somehow one is less a man if they don’t fit the steriotypes. My current job isn’t traditionally a man’s job unless you were steriotypically “gay”.

          I’d say you are more of a man if you feel perfectly happy driving around in an atypical “man car”.

          well………. unless you happen to be an invertebrate.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      On the etymology of the word misogynist:

      “In fact, the first use in English was during the Swetnam controversy four decades earlier when opponents nicknamed Swetnam and his followers “Misogynos.””

      Whomever actually coined the term in the 1620s isn’t cited and is perhaps unknown, however the term “sexism” is credited to Pauline M. Leet:

      “It’s somewhat older than the term sexism, which was very likely coined in 1965, by Pauline M. Leet, through a direct comparison to racism”

      http://www.thefword.org.uk/2009/09/where_does_the/

      The misogynist term was coined in response to this 1615 work of Joseph Swetnam:

      https://mysite.dmacc.edu/personal/sdphillips2
      /instructor/lit190/Course%20Materials
      /Joseph%20Swetnam%20The%20Arraignment%20of%20Lewd.pdf

      “A King’s crown and a fair woman is desired of many”

      “Men, I say, may live without women, but women cannot live without men: for Venus, whose beauty was excellent fair, yet when she needed man’s help, she took Vulcan, a clubfooted Smith. ”

      “Man must be at all the cost and yet live by the loss; a man must take all the pains, and women will spend all the gains. A man must watch and ward, fight and defend, till the ground, labor in the vineyard, and look what he getteth in seven years: a woman will spread it abroad with a fork in one year, and yet little enough to serve her turn, but a great deal too little to get her good will. Nay, if thou give her never so much and yet if thy personage please not her humor, then will I not give a halfpenny for her honesty at the year’s end.”

      Real damning stuff here /s

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    “Tinder didn’t exist and parents didn’t let you have sleepovers with your high-school non-gendered bi-sex otterkin sex partner like they do today”
    Jack,
    I laughed so hard at this that I’m ruined for the rest of the day.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    They are also very practical and versatile.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    Crossovers actually have uses. What use was a PLC besides burning off excess hydrocarbons and taking up as many parking spaces as possible?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Looking Superfly.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Elegance!

      • 0 avatar
        Acd

        And the simulated burl wood trim on your Monte Carlo dashboard matched your 27” Curtis Mathes Mediterranean style console TV sitting on the gold shag carpet in your new split level house.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I think were I a homeowner in the ’70s era I would have avoided shag carpet, in favor of a nice soon-dated parquet floor. I don’t like how long carpet feels on me feet.

          The rest of that sounds fine though. But I would have ditched the bi-level by 1988.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            We had green shag until about 2001. My grandparents’ house, built in 1988-89, is a bi-level. When we redid my sister’s room in, what, 2004? there were no less than 8 layers of wallpaper underneath. Old habits die hard.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s a very late bi-level, I think. I remember growing up my friend still had blue shag in her room. That would have been about 1990.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            There were plenty of bi-levels built in the late 80s and early 90s. Certainly wasn’t peak bi/split-level though.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            How’s about tri and quad levels? Were those mixed in or did they have time spans also?

            I know I’ve seen a late ’90s quad level.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The previous owners of our condo had such strange taste. One manifestation of it was beige near-shag carpet… installed around 2010. We’ve left it for now because new carpet and toddler just don’t go together, but once he’s done drooling and spilling stuff everywhere it’s GOT TO GO.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That was like the incense room for remembering the good days, man.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            I have a tri-level, built in ’59. Wasn’t my first choice in floorplans, but in the grand convergence between location/schools, budget, condition, availability, features, etc, it came up a winner. One of very few 2-car garages on my block, too. What wasn’t already updated is being redone by us (we completely gutted the wood-paneled basement, etc).

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Here in SW Ohio, if you’re shopping in the smaller home segment, you’re down to three options really. Ranch, Tudor, Cape Cod. If you insist on a two car garage, you’re down to the ranch only.

            I always wanted an upstairs (it provides me with a nice mental separation of awake/living area v. sleeping), so a ranch was out of the question. My house is 20 years older than any of the houses around it as result.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Split level homes were built from the 1950s to all the way into the present. It’s less common to see one built these days. That goes for bi-level, tri-levl, quad-level, etc. Like Chris indicated, there are a lot of them from the 50s and 60s in desirable suburbs (they were often built in the next level out from the city during that time).

            It may not be the ideal floorplan, but they typically have better floorplans than a 30s or 40s bungalow, which is what I live in.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I don’t like all the little sets of stairs in bi-level+ houses. Always feels choppy to me.

            My dad always says Re: bi-levels. “I never wanna have to make a decision when I step in the front door.”

            Is there much difference between a bungalow and a ranch, besides N-S vs. E-W orientation vis-a-vis the street? Detached garage too with a bungalow, I suppose.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            In hindsight, it wasn’t a good idea to put grandma in a house that doesn’t have everything on one floor (quad-level). Bedroom is here, kitchen is there, piano room (she’s only been teaching for 52 years) is down there. Old knees don’t go up and down stairs like they used to.

            As far as bungalow vs. ranch, the identifying factor of a bungalow is that it must have an integrated porch. A ranch (almost) never does. A ranch also (almost) never has a second floor, which a bungalow might have. We could get more nitpicky and say a bungalow is usually closer to square, while a ranch is a rectangle with the long side facing the street, but this is not always the case.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Thinking of when I drive around here – I bet 70% of the ranches have an integrated porch, even if it’s a little square one over the front door. A lot of the ranches here have it where the garage door is perpendicular to the front door as well.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Bungalows typically have a smaller footprints than ranches. At least around here, bungalows have a upstairs that is built into the sloping roof. My house has 1 1/2 stories according to realtors and insurance.

            I don’t have an integrated porch. I have a porch, but it isn’t covered or built into the house. It’s very similar to me neighbor’s porch, and he has a ranch.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            So is your upstairs where you have to lean way over to get near the wall?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            No, but that’s because we have a decent sized bungalow and the upstairs has been redone as a master bedroom/bathroom. The only spot where headroom is reduced is in the large walk in closet and the alcove we had bumped out to better fit a king size bed. I can stand anywhere in the upstairs without having to lean over. It wasn’t always like that though.

            The only downside to the room is that it is less than half the size of the main floor. As a bedroom, it is perfectly fine. Eventually, we’ll blow out the back wall of the house and put on a two story addition that moves our master bedroom downstairs.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Sounds like yours is a pretty decent one then. A lot of the Cape Cods here have a chopped up upstairs area with little rooms and really steep slants to the walls, without dormers. I found one with taller ceilings, so there’s just a little rounded C shape at the top corners of the ceiling, with separate dormers you can step into.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            It seems like some people are confusing a split entry with a split level. A split entry has the front door between the two levels. Those are the house where you must make a choice of going up or down once you are in the door. On a split level, no matter how many levels you usually but not always have the front door on the main level, that is the one with the kitchen and living room.

            Both are still being built today and are enjoying a little resurgence at least in my area. That is due in part to the fact that the price of land close in combined with the allowance of smaller lots means the builder can fit more sqft of house on a small lot that isn’t level.

            Around here to be considered a rambler (ranch) it can not have a floor above the floor that the main entry is on. It can have a floor below that level, ie a basement.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Ranch = One floor with bedrooms on same floor as kitchen/great room/study/etc.

            Colonial = Two stories, typically with bedrooms up, and kitchen/great room/study/etc., down.

            Split level = Two stories, with offset roof (more expensive to build), typically with master bedroom on first floor along with kitchen/great room/study/etc., and other bedrooms on 2nd floor.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Split level = Two stories, with offset roof (more expensive to build), typically with master bedroom on first floor along with kitchen/great room/study/etc., and other bedrooms on 2nd floor.”

            There are lots of different types of split levels. I think a lot of people confuse them with raised ranches, which is the “doorway between the floors” type of house:

            https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4029/4246095389_0b7fa8a96c_b.jpg

            Our tri-level has a main floor (doors into the house on this level) with a kitchen, living room, dining room, and powder room (bathroom with just sink and toilet). In the back of the house, there are 5 stairs up to three bedrooms and a full bath, and 5 stairs down to a basement that’s half above-ground. The main floor is over a crawl space.

            Mine looks like this kinda, except my garage is attached on the side:

            http://ap.rdcpix.com/188698078/6efb16f09c060c1ad396cde5dcb6faafl-m0xd-w640_h480_q80.jpg

            Frankly, I think splits suck, just because you tend to have a lot of small rooms scattered on various floors. My wife grew up in a large (~3k sq ft) split that had 4 levels, but the two rooms everyone spent all their time in, the kitchen and the family room, were small and cramped. It looked kinda like this:

            https://1cdn.cbhomes.com/s3/mediasvc-prd/properties/4fBdC26891444EB-09126894.jpg?preset=trim

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      No they don’t, its the same thing with rear doors and a smaller trunk.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        Actually, wouldn’t the droppable seats make it a bigger trunk?

        Might be a bigger trunk anyway, those PLCs might have had 6 foot long trunk lids, but half of that was so they could hold enough gas to get down the street. ;)

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That’s a good point. Although if there is one thing those old land barges did well, it was trunk space. Probably in percentage of footprint, the rear seats removed/down are on par or very close to the 70s Broughamtastic PLC.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The whole purpose of the ’70s (especially to marketers) was to try to have sex with as many random people as physically possible. The PLC was an effort to help that cause, in the same vein as sideburns, color-tinted glasses, leisure suits, and long hair for men.

  • avatar
    86er

    “This also explains why all crossovers look exactly the same; they’re meant to, because having a crossover that looks unique defeats the point of having what everybody else has.”

    That’s another theory for why the Flex languishes.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    There are some issues with the PLC comparison. For one thing, PLCs were a short-lived phenomenon. They peaked eight years after they were created, and you’d have looked ridiculous driving one five years later.

    People were using them as family cars in the mid ’70s, and they were horrible family cars. They weren’t just bought by single men, nor were they mostly bought by single men. Guys looking to substitute a car for an opening line were driving Trans-Ams, 280ZXs, and 320is. Broughamed versions of everything crowded every driveway. Mustang IIs had padded vinyl tops and wire-wheel mimicking hubcaps, as did everything to the degree that personal transportation has elevated ride-heights today.

    Why did everything suddenly have fake vents, fake landau bars, fake wire wheels, fake radiator shells, fake convertible tops, and even fake gauges in their dashboards in many cases? Because authentically good cars were gone from Detroit. Engines performance was crushed by emissions controls, unleaded fuel, and CAFE. There was no point building a performance car that would invite comparisons with what had come before, because there was no comparison between a ’77 RoadRunner and a ’69 RoadRunner. With performance dead, some other gimmick had to be used to move metal, and Iaccoca’s MKIII had revealed a deep well of bad taste that needed to be mined. Nobody else had a better idea in Detroit, so everything would be modeled after the horrible fake Rolls Royce that followed years of trying to sell tasteful Continentals with minimal success. Detroit also had to incorporate 5 mph impact bumpers into their cars, and it was clear that they had no idea how to integrate them into a cohesive design. The solution was to balance their impact with a whole bunch of other overwrought ornamentation, and that’s what broughamization is all about.

    CUVs are not just another PLC style fad. They’re popular because they’re as practical as can be. They may be styled to look like something they’re not, but they excel at what people use them for. When people dumped their PLCs, they were rewarded with better fuel economy, better visibility, better accommodation of their families, and less cheap trim falling off of two year old cars. What will be the rewards of dumping CUVs for people that use them to commute and shop in all weather?

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “Iaccoca’s MKIII had revealed a deep well of bad taste that needed to be mined.”

      “CUVs are not just another PLC style fad. They’re popular because they’re as practical as can be.”

      Some days you’re marvelous.

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      I agree with much of this, but I’d also note that performance cars and personal luxury coupes did overlap at first, and not just in the showroom. For example, the 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix not only was sold alongside the GTO, it offered its own high-performance variant: the SJ with 428 H.O. and 4-speed (or THM).

      All our current vehicles have tailgates, and we surely don’t miss any other configuration. None are too high off the ground, nor too low for easy entry/exit: a 13-year-old Legacy wagon and two pre-2009 Foresters.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Detroit also had to incorporate 5 mph impact bumpers into their cars, and it was clear that they had no idea how to integrate them into a cohesive design.”

      Chrysler was consistently better at it than pretty much anyone else. Especially Ford; the ’74 Thunderbird’s rear bumper looks like they just threw up their hands and said “F**k it!”

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I always thought part of it was that they were in the middle of a model cycle and had the bumpers forced upon them. So they said “No, too much effort and money” and just bolted them on.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I was about to say: Chrysler’s ’74 C-bodies had the best-integrated 5 mph bumpers of any car, because they were designed that way from the get-go. The Mustang II’s railroad tie was fairly well-hidden with a monochrome paint job.

    • 0 avatar
      theoldguard

      Good analysis.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      “CUVs are not just another PLC style fad. They’re popular because they’re as practical as can be.”

      Compared to minivans, for many of their owners this is not true. The larger ones such as the Lambdas have less room for people and cargo, inferior fuel economy, higher prices, less handling safety, and lack the parking lot convenience of sliding doors. They get bought because their (usually mom) buyers are in heavy denial about becoming as middle-aged and dowdy as their memory of their own mothers. See the automakers’ own consumer research as detailed in High And Mighty by Keith Bradsher for details.

      Terrific column, Jack, and much more grounded in reality than its High/Low predecessor. The only part I’d slightly alter is when you asserted that women buy CUVs because they “suggest height and protection and safety and capability in reserve.” All that is true, but I think that’s all superseded by the belief that they also suggest daring and safari-type adventure in a way no minivan ever can. Bradsher reports the carmakers’ findings that moms who are comfortable with being moms buy minivans. Moms who are insecure about themselves and subliminally uncomfortable about being moms buy SUVs.

      On a related note, I recall an unscientific survey of women on what kind of car would help a guy pick them up. The winner was the Jeep Wrangler, because it suggested to them that the guy was up for adventure. Hilariously, most Wranglers in my area (where most people have more money than I do) are driven by rich guys’ kids who will never take them off the road except to vandalize somebody else’s lawn. In on-road use, they’re about the worst, most impractical and dangerously tippy new car imaginable for an inexperienced young driver, but boy, do they sell.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I was mostly thinking of the compact CUVs that dominate the sales charts; models like the CRV, RAV4, Equinox/Terrain, and Rogue. They’re not exactly modern minivan competitors, but they’re super practical for anyone with less than three kids. Modern ‘minivans’ are huge. Considering that the passenger vans they were once distinguished from are all but extinct, perhaps it’s time to drop the mini. The bigger minivan-with-hinged-doors CUVs do fit what you’re saying for anyone that doesn’t have to deal with mid-eastern-seaboard weather, where you have weeks of 50 degree weather punctuated by nine inch snowfalls. I could imagine justifying a big CUV in Virginia, but not so much in San Diego for family use.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          In my neck of the woods, Odysseys, T&Cs, etc. are all coloquially called “vans,” no mini. But IMO the “official” name of the segment should still be minivan, if only to distinguish them from Transits and ProMasters. But then we also have the passenger versions of “mini-vans” (note the hyphen, it’s very important), things like the Transit Connect and ProMaster City. Those deserve their own segment mostly because they’re not passenger-oriented vehicles.

          The Equinox/Terrain are only compact in that they’re priced to compete with actual compact CUVs.

        • 0 avatar
          slance66

          I ended up with one. House with a steep driveway in a place that got 9 feet of snow last year. Commute that got 6X longer than it was. Potholed streets that were killing my 3 series (and my back). My little CX-5 isn’t even ugly honestly. Has a bit of style and is practical as hell. It’s not cool enough but I suppose I’m too old to care the way I once did.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        “The winner was the Jeep Wrangler, because it suggested to them that the guy was up for adventure.”

        Times have changed. Most of the Wrangler owners I know are women. I think they realize that trying to combine the guy(s) they want to date/marry and the car they want to drive doesn’t make sense. May as well get the car right.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        If you don’t have a use for the size of a minivan, it’s just too much car and money. The HR-V (and CR-V) are lot’s less money than an Odyssey, without a need for the room, it’s not “practical”.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      How is it that you can be so astute about the car industry and such a fathead when it comes to political topics?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Why did everything suddenly have fake vents, fake landau bars, fake wire wheels, fake radiator shells, fake convertible tops, and even fake gauges in their dashboards in many cases? Because authentically good cars were gone from Detroit.”

      Disagree. This was part of a change in general tastes during the decade. The general design ethos in the the 1960s was minimalist and modern, with clean, spare lines and minimal adornments. This was true of cars, and carried through to things like architecture, clothing and home furnishings. But by the early ’70s, pretty much everything featured garish, faux-opulent designs.

      Even without Detroit’s decline or federal regs, cars would have gone disco in the ’70s anyway – everything else did.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        This is a good point about the ’60s — it was at least partly an island of taste between the baroque ’50s and the even more baroque ’70s. Detroit produced some of its all-time great body designs in the ’60s. ’66 Fairlane, ’65 Impala, ’63 Riv — none of the ’70s coupes could hold a candle to those.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The ’70s are also the decade when West German cars that stressed authenticity with almost no ornamentation took over the aspirational luxury crown from Detroit. A 1977 BMW 320i did not have fake anything, and yet many ’70s Americans valued it above the most pimped out intermediate on the market. Mercedes-Benz had a fake radiator shell, but they’d had them longer than Rolls Royce did. Other than that, there wasn’t anything in a Mercedes-Benz that didn’t look like what it was and do what it was supposed to. Germany lost its restraint after reunification, but they capitalized on the ’70s and early ’80s by not gluing a bunch of medallions and artifacts to their cars. I think the only chrome on a 1978 Porsche 928 was added when they fitted headlight bezels to integrate the installation of sealed-beams on the US models.

        There was some atrocious fashion in the ’70s, although most people were smart enough not to permanently adopt fads then. Most people still knew that a Series 2 XKE looked like it had been vandalized compared to a Series 1 XKE. The design freedom that had created such good looking cars was gone, and so people lacking the ability to find new solutions sought balance through heavy ornamentation. It is similar to how so many cars are ugly as sepsis surgery today. Pedestrian regulations make for high hoods, so big wheels are needed for balance. Hateful flame-surfacing is used to break up expanses of sheetmetal. Maybe things will get even worse if CAFE wrings all the performance out of mass-market cars again. We’ll see.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          True, CJ, but then again, that’s what was going on in Germany, not America. Some people did adopt the more functional look, but sales of BMW / Mercedes cars were minimal compared to the Detroit luxury brands.

          And when Detroit DID adopt Mercedes-style looks, what did they do? The Ford Granada is a good example – they took a basic Mercedes-sedan design, and festooned it with a vinyl roof and tons of chrome. Same story with the Dodge Aspen and the first Cadillac Seville. They were all big sellers.

          Detroit was STILL selling chromed up, vinyl-roofed, bordello-interior disco-mobiles well into the 1980s. The first maker to truly “go Euro” with their designs was Ford, with the ’84 Tempo and Lincoln Mark VII, and the ’86 Taurus.

          It just took a while for tastes to change.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          German cars did not assume the aspirational status among the general public/consumers that we now associate them with until a number of factors emerged and these really only started in the early 80’s:
          1) The D3 downsized their vehicles
          2) As Jack wrote about a year ago, the D3 changed the structure of their lineups so that a Buick or Olds had comparable luxury ‘fitings’ size and performance as a Cadillac (or Mercury to Lincoln).
          3) The ‘Boomer’ generation acquired the disposable income to purchase ‘luxury’ cars and as does everyone generation rejected the luxo-barge marques that their parents aspired to. This coincided with the development in the early 80’s of the ‘Yuppie’ phenomena.
          4) The ‘Boomers’ did not equate buying German and Japanese products with WWII in the same way that many of their parents did.
          4) Sue Ellen Ewing started driving a Mercedes wagon. That signalled that German vehicles were even accepted in Texas.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Exactly.

            By the 1970s, there wasn’t much difference between a Caprice and a DeVille, or a LTD and a Town Car – the platforms were basically the same and the cheaper cars had just about every power toy and option you could imagine.

            And when you drove something like a Mercedes back to back with a Caddy, the difference in engineering and quality was very easy to see.

            Luxury car buyers aren’t stupid by and large – if they were they wouldn’t have the money to buy luxury cars.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the main driver for brougham roofs and the like was simply that they were cheap. Designing a car cost money, sticking a vinyl roof and a “waterfall” grill on an Aries and calling it a LeBaron was practically free.

      Cost is also a driver for the initial SUV boom (we’ll put a different body on a Ranger and call it an Explorer) and the CUV boom (we’ll put a different body on an Avenger and call it a Journey).

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        FWIW, the K-body LeBaron had a completely different front and different taillights, not just a different grille. And the vinyl roof actually came down over the doors on the sedan.

        • 0 avatar
          Funky

          I liked the look/design of the 1980’s LeBaron. When I had an opportunity to buy one, I decided against the purchase after having gone for a lengthy test drive in both a new and a used version of the vehicle. That was a long time ago; my recollection is that there was significant road and wind noise, the transmission was “choppy”, and the front brakes seemed to be inadequate (especially noticeable on the used vehicle on which the front brakes “shuddered”). Still, it was a nice looking vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        I think at that point a lot of it was because it was old guys designing cars for other old guys. Iacocca had Chrysler still doing the tacky vinyl roof/landau thing up until the ’90s.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      CJinSD – great comment

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      American cars were never particularly reliable. That only became obvious when the Japanese raised the bar.

      Vinyl roofs, grilles, etc. are just styling features that come and go. They are popular with automakers because they create visual differentiation at virtually no cost.

      The OPEC crisis created a problem for American automakers because their idea of innovation was to add displacement. That isn’t a good strategy when the price of gas leaps and the corner gas station doesn’t have any gas to sell.

      The Germans invented the sports sedan and borrowed from the European tradition of emphasizing handling over horsepower, which helped to redefine tastes for the American consumer. Between the Japanese showing Americans that their cars were junk and the Germans showing them that they weren’t sophisticated, that left Detroit with the truck market.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        This is why Chevy and Ford’s small cars are designed in Europe and Korea now. And Chrysler is leaving designing small cars to Fiat.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Which is their ” Golden Egg” they hope will keep bringing in the major part of their Global profits

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “Between the Japanese showing Americans that their cars were junk and the Germans showing them that they weren’t sophisticated, that left Detroit with the truck market.”

        Boom. The past 35 years in 26 words.

        Obviously you couldn’t tell us which but I hope you’ve helped write some text books. Concision, concision, concision.

        • 0 avatar
          npaladin2000

          Now if only the Germans would teach Toyota about driving dynamics…Hyundai too come to think of it. :)

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Agreed. Toyota is selling entirely too many vehicles in the US even with Akio at the helm and some German tutelage would tremendously help reverse that.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            The one big upside about Ford is that their European design studios handle their small cars now. GM splits theirs between Europe and Korea, but I think the Cruze is European-designed also? Certainly that and the Focus drive so much better than a Crapola.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Germans reign supreme selling luxury cars in the US

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            It’s easier to hide a scarlet letter branded in one’s forehead than to prevent the detection of car guy ordure in comments like yours.

            You just don’t get that we schlubs in the middle don’t care *how* a care drives so long as it does. And we’re way mightier than your little tribe.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            I shall not be deterred from my holy mission, if I must bring light to the zombie drivers one at a time I shall persevere until my mission to bring life to the highways of America is complete. :D

    • 0 avatar
      Dingleberrypiez_Returns

      Yep, CUVs are practical. So were SUVs. Both are functionally tall wagons, and we all know how much “enthusiasts” love wagons. That doesn’t take away from some of Jack’s points, but it certainly contributes to the success of CUVs (likely more than anything else).

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      CJ, you are spot on. Thanks for summing it up so well.

  • avatar
    John

    I actually OWNED a ’76 Monte Carlo – for three years. I loathe SUVs, but I would take ANY modern SUV over that godawful piece of shoddily assembled, unreliable, underpowered, gas swilling piece of effluent.
    The high point of Monte Carlow ownership, for me, was the time the pot metal crankshafts snout broke off when I went over a bump in a parking lot – I am not making that up.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Fracking brilliant observations, especially on the lemming argument I made yesterday.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      The lemming effect is huge with auto purchases, and is reflected in segments coming and going, only rarely coming back again. Let’s see: station wagons, tiny pickup trucks, cars with 2 doors including big coupes, sports coupes, & roadsters, and the minivan.

      Fashion? Oh hell yes, and there was some interesting SUV marketing – see Bradsher’s High & Mighty. 4 door sedans with frameless doors were popular in Japan, with some of them showing up stateside: Acura Integra, Lexus ES, Acura Vigor/TL, Subaru Impreza & Legacy.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        I don’t know why people here have to snottily deride others as “lemmings.” You’re too busy patting yourself on the back to realize most people buy cars as tools to get them around during the day. They don’t care about whether the vehicle they have has a shorter ‘Ring time or a bit less body roll than the competition. They care way more about how easy it is to get themselves, their kids, and their s**t into and out of the vehicle with a minimum of hassle. And if they can afford it.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The lemming effect is at least partially the result of failure to use critical thinking skills and a deference to more base “me too” type human impulses.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            yet more insulting people who don’t like what you like. Awesome.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I could play this game with you but in truth it is entirely possible for an individual to reach the conclusion the CUV or any other en vogue product meets their needs the best of available products. There is nothing wrong with this whatsoever. However the reality is there is a significant percentage of people who do not apply those skills and simply mimic what others are doing no matter the situation. We as a species are not so exceptional, we are simply the bell curve.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            28-Cars-Later – humans are NOT logical. They are emotive beings. That lends itself to a “herd” mentality. We are successful as a species due to the fact that we know how to work as a social group. It is a recent phenomenon where “rugged individualism” has been something lauded. in reality, it doesn’t work well and it definitely doesn’t sell enough vehicles to make money.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “rugged individualism”

            Ron Swanson drives a Park Avenue Ultra.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            And also a ’79 Ford pickup.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Lou

            This is precisely what I have argued, but evidently the concept of the lemming effect offends some people.

            @Corey

            Ron is a disciple of the Church.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            There’s a factual error in the show RE: his car, at least in the script. While the Ultra is a 98 or 99 model, he states “I’ve had the same car since 1991.”

            Other than that giant flaw (ha), I love the show.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @28-Cars-Later – no one wants to be viewed as a lemming running of en mass off a cliff.

            Somehow ‘hyper-socialized cooperative homogeneous tribal animal” sounds so much better than lemming.

            I recall telling an “out to lunch” colleague that she was a pseudo-flaxen follicled pneumocephalic.

            Again – sounds much better than “bubbleheaded bleach blonde”.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Lou

            I tend to be blunt but it really depends on my level of patience, which tends to wear thin in the face of stupidity.

            Pneumocephalic is brilliant btw, seems to be the medical equivalent of encountering an ID10T error.

            http://definithing.com/pneumocephalic/

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Lou_BC
            Or one I heard, some people are so socialised, they make a flock of sheep look like a group of independent thinkers

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Never mind that lemmings don’t actually run off cliffs en masse…

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            28-Cars-Later – thanks. In my past workplace I did develop a reputation for being blunt. The administration of that facility were overly PC and always managed to avoid dealing with any problem head on. It pizzed me off all the time they wasted on circling an issue or punting problems off to die in a committee of B-team bench warmers.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Technically, lemmings don’t run off of cliffs at all in nature.

            http://mentalfloss.com/article/50957/do-lemmings-really-run-cliffs-their-death

            Lemming behavior like many animals is very herd focused and in their case occasionally chaotic.

            @Lou

            This is the case in my place of employment although it is not as severe as I have seen in the past.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            28-Cars-Later – it is a pervasive myth about Lemmings. Not much different than the pervasive myth of the evils of socialism.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You can call it a “lemming” argument, but in reality it’s just a fashion thing, 28. I’m sure you’re not wearing what you wore in the ’80s anymore.

      Or are you still rocking the Members Only jacket? :)

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @Freed

        I was a toddler through much of it, so no. Fashion to me is one of those things were one simply flushes money down the toilet. Sure we all need clothes and some clothes you just need to bite the bullet and spend the money. However for example the “fleece”, of which I am partial to wearing in winter, can be purchased second hand or NOS for 20% of its original purchase price. Why should I rush out to get the latest color or style when I can have the same thing older in good condition for much less cost
        (Esp if materials and assembly location are constant)? Conspicuous consumerism is more the realm of the Valley Girl, IMO.

        @Waftable Torque

        Interesting figure, I felt compelled to learn more and found the below link. This theory seems to confirm the lemming hypothesis in that once critical mass is reached, 34% seem to fall in line with the other 34% being the “late majority” playing catch-up and thus 85% are on board with an idea – the only variable seeming to be time period as you point out. Since theory dates to 1962, I do wonder if the proliferation of mass media since 1962 has adjusted the figures a bit? Perhaps only say 10% are required to reach critical mass these days?

        http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/SB/SB721-Models/SB721-Models4.html

        @Corey

        Nice prediction. I think you’re right on losing blocky styling and lowering the overall roof but I am not as sure on coupe proportions. I predict the traditional footprint to remain the same but the wagon of old make a comeback in some form. The SUV and CUV are after all, new variations of wagons, I expect a third iteration to be forthcoming.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Heh I still wear my watch with the face on the inside of my wrist.

        My fiancée still sports big hair. I guess some habits die hard.

    • 0 avatar
      Waftable Torque

      The lemming effect is also known as the Diffusion of Innovation Theory, where a new idea or product doesn’t gain traction until it reaches a critical mass (~16% market share if we’re to believe Gladwell et al.’s interpretations of Rogers’ theory). Sometimes that can take decades, like color TV’s and racial equality, sometimes it can take hours in the case of viral videos.

      Crossovers probably passed the tipping point a decade after the RAV4, CRV, and RX300 debut. There’s probably available today a new trend that will supercede crossovers, but it’s too early to count the winners.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        My instinct tells me the future mass market segment will be the AWD all-weather coupe. Fuel economy regs will push overall roof height back down, while making engines ever smaller and more turbo charged. Getting rid of the big blocky tall shape in favor of a slightly raised coupe sheds a ton of weight automatically. The increasingly sloped rear roof line lends itself to things with two doors as well.

        At the same time, everyone will have been hypnotized by their CUV into loving/needing AWD, so they won’t want to lose it. Several concepts to this effect from major manufacturers have already been shown.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The lemming argument is weak. It’s a pile of judgmental bovine excrement that you’re flinging at those who don’t share your personal tastes, not good analysis.

      The Model T came in a multitude of body styles. The primary difference between then and now is that the automakers tend to give different names to those different body styles and make a bit more effort to differentiate them.

      But the concept of producing a platform/drivetrain combination and squeezing a bunch of products out of it remains the same — this is Cost Amortization 101. The coupes are mostly gone because people don’t want them, and there’s no point in building things that few people want.

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque

    I thought I did a good job of explaining why crossovers weren’t basic transportation because they cost MORE than an equivalent car or hatchback.

    And now I know my 1976 Pontiac Grand Prix was awesome in the phallic sense. :)

  • avatar
    Piston Slap Yo Mama

    My apartment dwelling neighbors across the street own matching crossovers, a white Hyundai and a white Ford, (forgive me for not knowing the models). They might as well be twins, as nothing differentiates one from the other. My neighbors are emblematic of the me-too culture we live in, trying to be as mainstream and lackluster in their choices as possible. I don’t think it’s high-low at all – that would require conscious thought and a modicum of expectations for what their vehicle’s purpose is or should be capable of. I am inclined to agree with Jack, what drives buyers is a desire to NOT be the nail that sticks up – and to do so with a minimal outlay of their ever-shrinking middle class paychecks.
    I’ve never been a cultural lemming. Top-40 makes me murderous, I won’t cue up in a line for the latest fashionable burger joint, I mock look-alike hipster style and don’t spend my precious time with people who think a holiday in Las Vegas or Disney World is cool. The “me-too” paradigm of crossovers certainly reflects a greater dearth of individuality in our society. Then again, dashing out and buying a Hellcat, or a Harley Davidson Road Glide Ultra (without mufflers) or a Raptor etc. etc. to prop up your ego similarly strikes me as another facet of the same lemming Weltanschauung, so there’s that. Meanwhile I split my time between bombing around in a 1st generation sleeper Insight with a 220hp K20 engine swap or a ragged looking but mechanically sorted TR6 as literally nothing in the current crop of attainable automobiles speaks to my value system.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Aren’t you a special snowflake.

      reddit.com/r/iamverysmart

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Do you have a large selection of moustache waxes?

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      You are a hipster.

    • 0 avatar

      That original Insight was a very interesting car. Must go like stink with 220hp.

      • 0 avatar
        Piston Slap Yo Mama

        Not surprised I’d get a 4:1 disapproval ratio. I especially like the suggestions I’m a hipster, despite stating otherwise and as my own preference is to shove hipsters in front of busses. Maybe it’s an exaggeration that nothing currently on the dealer lots interests me – given the BRZ/FR-S twins, new Miata and reasonable deals on used Teslas. But then again I’m not trying to impress the neighbors and my current stable gets the job done. The wife’s Mazda B2300 couldn’t be more useful or proletarian either.
        The modified K20 Insight is a riot and spanks pretty much any modern $50k automobile for the hole shot in traffic or in the twisty bits. The bro’s in their bro-mobiles and bro-dozers tend to sneer at it until they realize they’ve been had, and that’s worth the price of admission alone.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “my own preference is to shove hipsters in front of busses.”

          Yes we can!

          Nice mod on the Insight btw, I wasn’t even aware such a thing was possible.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Of couse that means you’ll have to be outside and near public transportation, instead of in your car with tints like an American.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          You don’t have to dress like a hipster to be a hipster. You are an automotive hipster.

          • 0 avatar
            Piston Slap Yo Mama

            Can you be more … specific?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            THX 1138 FTW.

            “You are a true believer. Blessings of the state, blessings of the masses. Thou art a subject of the divine. Created in the image of man, by the masses, for the masses. Let us be thankful we have an occupation to fill. Work hard; increase production, prevent accidents, and…be happy.”

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Drzhivago138 – “THX 1138”

            Deep real deep.

            I was thinking the Lego movie and “Everything is Awesome”

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            In his 2011 book HipsterMattic, author Matt Granfield described hipster culture:

            “While mainstream society of the 2000s (decade) had been busying itself with reality television, dance music, and locating the whereabouts of Britney Spears’s underpants, an uprising was quietly and conscientiously taking place behind the scenes. Long-forgotten styles of clothing, beer, cigarettes and music were becoming popular again. Retro was cool, the environment was precious and old was the new ‘new’. Kids wanted to wear Sylvia Plath’s cardigans and Buddy Holly’s glasses — they reveled in the irony of making something so nerdy so cool. They wanted to live sustainably and eat organic gluten-free grains. Above all, they wanted to be recognized for being different — to diverge from the mainstream and carve a cultural niche all for themselves. For this new generation, style wasn’t something you could buy in a department store, it became something you found in a thrift shop, or, ideally, made yourself. The way to be cool wasn’t to look like a television star: it was to look like as though you’d never seen television.”

            Now, read off your original diatribe and tell me how many perfectly parallel this description of hipster culture. You hate top 40 music, you hate chains, you hate “normal” vacation destinations, and you hate most modern cars. Other than saying that you hate me-too hipster fashion, it is spot on. You even MADE your own unconventional was-nerdy-but-now-K20-cool car!

            BTW, I’m not saying that hipster/counterculture is bad. I’m a father that daily drives an FR-S, my wife daily drives a 6MT supercharged MINI, and we tend toward non-mainstream music. We also love Disney World and have an SUV as a family vehicle. Zero desire to go to Vegas, though. Anyway, not everything that is popular is bad and not everything that is popular is good. Like most things, it is somewhere in the middle.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I would love to see a result of testing the lead and mercury levels in Mr. Granfield’s blood. Heavy metals cause various neurological problems among other things.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            @Quentin

            the difference is that hipsters constantly have to tell you that they hate those things.

    • 0 avatar
      economist

      Las Vegas and Disney World are two places where you know exactly what you are getting and have large structures in place to satisfy people who choose to spend their precious vacation time there. I don’t understand the objection to vacationing in either spot, especially if your kids like Disney or you like gambling.

      • 0 avatar
        Piston Slap Yo Mama

        There’s a big world out there and it’s endlessly fascinating. There’s too little time in this life for schlepping the progeny around in a me-too crossover and visiting the same me-too places. A business acquaintance of mine proposed to his still non-wife at the ESPN Zone in Vegas – or started to. She wasn’t really into going there to begin with and when she realized the artlessness of what he was about to do (and there of all places!) she shut him down. On the other hand if you dig gambling (being fleeced) or want to wear your socks & sandals ensemble at Disney, then be my guest. Diff’rent strokes as they say.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          I’m not sure how old you are, but Disney has a certain appeal when you reach a certain point in your life. My wife and I honeymooned in Scotland, went to England to catch an Arsenal match over a long weekend, went to Belgium, Netherlands, and France a few years back. I’ve been to Japan a few times and visited Italy and Spain during my study abroad in England. I’ve spent multiple weeks backpacking at Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, and the Beartooth Mtns. And I still freaking love Disney World.

          When my two year old daughter was saying “I so ascited, I so ascited!” in her Mickey ears on our way to the entrance, a memory that I’ll never forget was created. I hope to take her to all of those cool places that I’ve visited some day, but that Disney moment was incredible for me.

          • 0 avatar
            Piston Slap Yo Mama

            Okay Quentin, thanks for the Granfield quote, it does bolster your contention. You’re nothing but tenacious. Nevertheless I dislike the affectations of most hipsters – and their avowed aversion to car culture. Maybe there’s a degree of self-loathing there, ha ha.
            And yes, if I had a child I’d suck-it-up and go to Disney. Once. Alas for various reasons, children aren’t in our future so we’re spending that $ on adventures that our well-paid but broke counterparts blow on progeny.
            My core contention stands however – Americans generally don’t want to be the nail that sticks up – on any subject. And when they do, it’s the safe confines of name brand conspicuous consumption. See my polar opposite commentator BigTruckSeries if that’s your thing.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            >BTSR
            >polar opposite

            Pull the other one.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            PSYM – Tenacious is one of the nicer ways of saying it. haha. A K20 Insight is pretty awesome, though. When we still had our Prius v, I sometimes thought it would be cool to find a wrecked Highlander Hybrid and do a full drivetrain swap.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I’m curious – Gen 1 Insight or Gen 2?

        • 0 avatar
          RHD

          He’s lucky she turned him down. There is no benefit for a man in getting married.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          All cars — even the unpopular ones — are mass-produced consumer products. Unless your car is handmade and bespoke (and it ain’t), you aren’t proving anything by buying one other than the fact that you, too, are a target market.

          Your desire to avoid “me too” purchases only shows you to be a conformist — you define yourself by why what others have decided is unpopular and act accordingly. You’re like a hipster, except that you forgot the irony and the sense of humor.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I think PSYM got the same tattoo as all of his friends to prove to his parents how unique he is.

          • 0 avatar
            Piston Slap Yo Mama

            Pch101: I stated that I drive a highly modified sleeper and a crusty British icon – these speak to me and actually ARE mostly handmade or restored by my own two hands. The rest you assume. You shouldn’t take it personally that I don’t want to be you: 40 payments left on a Kia Sorento, love Nickelback and trapped in a loveless marriage. I’m spitballing, but your desire to cast me as the opposite of what I am probably stems from either jealousy or impotence.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Nature abhors a vacuum, including the one in your skull.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Crowds.

        Wasn’t vacationing supposed to be about getting away from it all? Not to go where it is even more concentrated?

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Go to Tokyo Disney in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Even though that’s one of the busiest vacation weeks of the year, chances are it’ll be a blustery 48 degrees and the crowds will be thin.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Lol @ “value system”.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The LTD II had stacked headlights because the T-Bird had hideaway headlights. You needed something to show that you had the more expensive model. And the hideaways on the 7th gen (77-79) T-Bird had a tendency to open up when parked overnight. Meaning that you immediately thought that you had left the lights on and killed your battery.

    As someone who loved the PLC and had an inordinate amount of them: Grand Prix, Cordoba, T-Bird, Grand Torino Elite, I still love the long hood, short trunk look. Of course the Lincoln Mark IV which is my personal favourite vehicle was the absolute pinnacle of this style and look. Unsurpassed for pulling up in front of the disco in your Tony Manero suit.

    But then as with fashion and music there is a substantive amount of research that shows that your preference in all of these also coincides with your first sexual experience(s).

  • avatar
    friedclams

    Well, that nailed it.

  • avatar
    86er

    I should pose this question in Daniel Ho’s article, but it be full (get a room, Corey and 28).

    If form is again meeting function, then are we just returning to the Model T paradigm*?

    *not meant to be taken too literally; of course 100 years have refined the utility/comfort ratio.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Must’ve missed something.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        Tongue-in-cheek. A similar comment was made in jest at Psarhjinian and I some years ago for going off on amusing (to us) tangents.*

        *I don’t know where he’s been lately; probably died on a surgical waiting list or something (no letters; he’ll appreciate the joke).

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      We may be…some argue that the AMC Eagle was the first ‘crossover’ wagon, but an argument could be made that the Model T was a crossover car in it’s own right. Except they were still inventing cars and roads at the time.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        AMC was Subaru before Subaru was Subaru. The Eagle line consisted of 6 different vehicles; a coupe, sedan, and wagon (basically 4×4 Concords,) a hatchback (a 4×4 Spirit,) the “Kammback” (basically a 4×4 Gremlin,) and a convertible.

        AMC near its end was basically the Taco Bell of automakers. They were taking the same 5 basic ingredients and making a bunch of different things.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      You don’t have to go back to the Model T. Look at some like a ’48 Ford: it was a tall, slab-sided car with decent ground clearance. Like I said in my post to Daniel’s article: cars are returning to the form they had before Bill Mitchell took over GM design and revolutionized the industry with form over function. Before his cars, almost all cars had a high driving position and basically hip height entry with tall rooflines.

      Really if you divorce the design from your preconceived notions, the crossover is one of the most logical car designs you’d think of.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    I will call your Monte Carlo and raise you a Cordoba. And I had to google otterkin. Seriously, where do you find this stuff and how is that even a thing?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    “No authentic man has ever had any genuine feeling for a modern crossover, any more than he would have a settled opinion on a panty liner.”

    Man, this is just harsh, even if most examples of the style usually appeal to women. No love for the X1, the last old-school BMW? Or the EX/QX50, which is just a slightly lifted G35/G37 wagon? Or turbo Foresters that can make use of basically all the Subie parts out there? Or the GLA45, which amounts to das WRX Hatch (complete with dreadful interior)? Or even the Q5 3.0T, which is so fast and so boring on the outside that it may be the best sleeper since the Olds LSS? There’s enthusiasm in crossovers if you look hard enough. It’s just often drowned out by the sea of lifted ~180hp automatic snoozemobiles.

  • avatar
    david42

    Jack, I love your writing. Your take on the socioeconomic history of the car industry and car enthusiasm is usually enlightening and always entertaining. And when it comes to actually describing the experience of driving/racing any given vehicle, there is simply no competition. But your recent detours into the gender stuff are starting to sound paranoid, like those Christians who actually believe that they are a persecuted minority in America.

    This is usually the moment where the commenter is supposed to make a self-deprecating “get off my lawn” statement, but I’ll pass on that. Please dial back the hetero-male self-righteousness. It doesn’t matter whether you’re right or wrong–I’m not actually trying to convince anyone either way; that’s for another time/place–but rather the problem is that the way you write about it is beneath your usually high standard.

    I don’t know if this will resonate with you, but based on what I’ve seen before, I’m confident that at least you’ll read the comment and think hard about it. I’m grateful for the way that you engage us, your readers. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t have even bothered writing this.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      If I want to be optimistic about this, I’ll theorize that Jack was telling the truth in a couple recent comments where he talked about feeding a shoe habit. Outrageous opinions generate clicks.

      If I want to be pessimistic about this, I’ll look at some evidence that Jack has recently fallen down a “red pill”/MRA/alt-right rabbit hole and doesn’t seem to be able to evaluate material from those clowns critically. Sometimes it’s like he’s taking his thesis that the genders are not actually the same — which I agree with at a statistical level — way too far, maximizing every difference and always assuming the worst about genders other than his own.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I appreciate your comment, and I believe that I understand it.

      With that said, as the years pass I see my function in this business more and more as the last holdout at the Alamo of traditional “car-guy” masculinity. My Millennial successors have grown up thoroughly steeped in the value-neutral hugbox. It’s not for me to say that they are right or wrong. What *is* for me is to offer my dissenting opinion until I’m killed in an embarrassing low-speed motorcycle accident like T.E. Lawrence.

      Admittedly, I am a poor vessel for the message; raised as a self-consciously intellectual liberal, oft-broken by fate and circumstance, sentimental to a fault, not handsome, not charismatic. But I will take up the cross and carry it the rest of the way to Golgotha before we are all leveled into Harrison-Bergeronian equivalence by force.

      Alternately, just view me as someone who finds meaning, and humor, easier to unearth on the ground less trod. Had I been born in 1750, I’d have been an atheist.

      • 0 avatar
        david42

        That’s why I keep coming back. Thanks.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        This is a fantastic response. But I’ll just say that old-school masculinity and your more than occasional paranoia about being forced to do things you don’t want to do, particularly by social pressure, are a bit incongruent.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          I don’t think there is anything wrong in writing about it. Everything is so diluted and PC, and he disagrees with it. That is his underlying thesis. The style in which he writes reflects how he feels towards the new trend of conformity.

          I have recommended this site to a very progressive manufacturing engineer female friend of mine and she hates the ‘misogyny’ that she ran into on the sunday stories series. The same way I hate motherjones and huffpo. It’s OK my friends and gf read that tripe. The media has the power to influence us. Journalism without an edge can be regurgitated by a robot. Robots managed by pale skinned techies hiding in a cubicle who frequent reddit. Just like these flaming piles of sh1t CUV’s that we build for the masses. Built by soulless robots, designed by gender neutral overpaid accent wielding espresso sipping drones in a studio sitting on the coast of the worst state of the Union. The only difference is my robots are ran by my dumb racist, misogynist, gun loving, tobacco and alcohol abusing divorced ass.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Tres are you in fact Bender B. Rodríguez?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Disagreeing is fine. What I’m objecting to is more specific: the more than occasional dark predictions Jack makes that he’ll be “forced” to do this or that manhood-threatening thing, either by social pressure or by some wildly implausible government action. Real men are able to resist social pressure when it’s important, and don’t get scared that someone else will control them until it actually looks likely.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            I’m not worried about me. I’m going to go to the grave more or less unchanged. It’s my son, and his friends, that worry me.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Jack, as a father you wouldn’t be human if you weren’t concerned. But he’s going to be fine. If there’s one thing I think I know about your son from your writing, it’s that he’s headstrong and willing to find his own way. Even at his very young age, he seems like his own man.

            My almost-two-year-old, I’m happy to say, is showing some of the same signs. He does his own thing without worrying what we think about it.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “I’m not worried about me. I’m going to go to the grave more or less unchanged. It’s my son, and his friends, that worry me.”

            Somehow we’ve managed to keep going for centuries (millennia even) even as though we’ve always worried that the generation we’ve spawned is doomed.

            Your kids are not clones of you. They aren’t going to think exactly like you, they aren’t going to live their lives exactly in the way you think they should. But what they *are* going to do is respond to their environments in the way they think makes the most sense. Just like you did when you were a kid. Sometimes it’ll be the right thing to do, sometimes it won’t be.

            It’s like people think that “I’m going to prevent my kids from making the same mistakes I did when I was a kid.” Well, no you aren’t. Nobody ever has.

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            “Built by soulless robots, designed by gender neutral overpaid accent wielding espresso sipping drones in a studio sitting on the coast of the worst state of the Union.”

            But West Virgina doesn’t even *have* a coast?

      • 0 avatar

        I’m half a generation older than Jack. If he’s the last holdout at the Alamo, I must be like one of those Japanese soldiers they’d find on otherwise deserted islands in the Pacific in the 1960s, unaware that WWII had ended.

        As Sly Stone said at Woodstock, just because something’s old, doesn’t make it bad.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Harrison Bergeron was my first exposure to Vonnegut, back in the mid 80’s. I fell in love with that author immediately. Good times, great times.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Mother Night was my favorite because its so bizarre.

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            For me it will always be Breakfast of Champions. I can’t explain why; I know it’s not his best, but it’s the one I always found the most entertaining.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            My sophomore class was assigned Slaughterhouse 5, the other English class studied Breakfast of Champions and thus I’ve never read it. One of these days I may have to check it out.

      • 0 avatar
        Frank Galvin

        Sorry – I’m not seeing “hetero-male self-righteousness” or “outrageous opinions.” Yes, we’re heterosexual males, Catholic school educated, with fathers or grandfathers who served. We view the world differently. Is is self-righteous? Absolutely not. Our actions are derived from discipline and values imparted onto us by those that viewed the world in black and white, good and evil, masculine and feminine. There is nothing outrageous about the fact that many women with children(or anticipate having children) view the CUV as the safety box on wheels for their young. Namby-pamby parenting where everything is fluid and blameless? Good luck with that. I work in higher education and see how destructive this is. Old school masculinity – what is that? It certainly does not mean being a vile misogynistic animal. No, the fact that traditional guys (whether gay or straight) are labelled with “taking the red pill” is a disgrace. Traditional masculinity is working and sacrificing so that the children’s mother may be able to not work, or work less to be with their children during the most formative years. Its leadership and sacrifice.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @Frank – Amen Brother.

          My wife gave up teaching to become a secretary because she felt that she was not able to give 100% to both simultaneously. She could only give 100% to one and do the other half-assed and she had too much integrity to phone in either one. It was important to her to choose our child and our future children. And it was important to me to do everything within my power to make it financially viable.

      • 0 avatar
        Piston Slap Yo Mama

        Any story from Jack that doesn’t obliquely or blatantly reference whatever hot single-mom that he’s currently shagging might as well have been written by an imposter. This is the Jack I like, and when he equates crossovers to pantyliners all I can do is chuckle and be glad to have him as a muse. Personally, I can’t stand misogynists – but Jack expertly walks the line that divides humor and anger like a modern day Hemmingway – with some James Garner thrown in for good measure.
        And I agree with his contention that crossovers are the perfect appliance for those who want anonymity in a package that will appease the wife, so there’s that too.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Thanks Jack I will let my friends who are single males know that are not authentic men because they drive a Escape and a CRV.

    No authentic man has ever had any genuine feeling for a modern crossover, any more than he would have a settled opinion on a panty liner. Women buy the things and therefore they are cocoons that suggest height and protection and safety and capability in reserve.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Better yet, tell them the following, from me:

      Listen, you mooks, you have your whole life to own some suppository-shaped crapwagon that drips with estrogen and brands you as the meekest moron to ever camp out in the left lane.

      You’re only young and single one. Go get an old Corvette. Have a story in your life that doesn’t involve the Internet, nutritional supplements, or gender equality.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        What if they bought the vehicle because they wanted it? Oh wait–they’ve just been brainwashed by the SJWs. It’s the only logical explanation. I mean, how could any man in the world not want the same things out of their automotive experience as the almighty Jack?

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Those who haven’t been young once yet, could do lots worse than listening to someone who has. Kids, and their parents, may “want” their tumultuous youth years rendered less tumultuous by Prozac, safe sex and 90mph bumpers. Until they realize they did nothing worth remembering, and it’s too late to do anything about it. Like women putting off having kids, since we’re being all traditional and misogynistic here….

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            So a life without excitement on the most visceral level is not worth remembering? Well, I guess I’ll just kill myself now. I mean, shoot, why care about all the people who love me if I didn’t have an exciting life?

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Not so fast, pal.

            Who’s gonna click these stories and pay for my next Paul Reed Smith Private Stock if you check out?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            I’ll be back. I always come back.

            DON’T FORGET: YOU’RE HERE FOREVER.

      • 0 avatar
        Driver8

        That should be a T-shirt, and not an ironic one.

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        Well that’s all well and good for those who are young and single. What about those of us who are married and 49? With bad backs? Who truly loved the 328xi they just traded on a CUV, but who just couldn’t make it work any more on nasty potholed pavement? Yes, I should have gotten the 4Runner…but who the hell knew gas would go to $1.75?

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        As someone who has been driving for over 4 decades and has owned/leased/purchased probably as many vehicles as Jack has shoes, my current first choice for a new vehicle purchase would be a mini-van.

        As someone once said and as I have quoted before, a mini-van is proof of your virility. It demonstrates that you are more than capable of impregnating your partner(s) multiple time and participating in raising your offspring.

        A coupe/2-seater indicates that you are incapable of, or unprepared for either of the above.

        And my testosterone level/production is still so high, that it actually endangers my lifespan.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “endangers my lifespan.”

          How so?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Is that the whole testosterone makes you do aggressively stupid stuff theory?

            or is that based on the fact that women live longer than men?

            Never heard that one unless you have a cancer that is stimulated by testosterone.

            My favorite testosterone blocker based just on name alone is Firmagon.

            Who thought that one up?

            Luckily they didn’t name Viagra = Firmaget!

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            1) History of very fast spreading and virulent prostate cancer in the family.
            2) Testosterone related rage/activity in men over a certain age, is neither healthy or easily forgiven.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Arthur Dailey

            Thanks for the reply, I wish you good health.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Arthur Dailey – my apologies for my comment. I didn’t think the latter part of it would be that close to the truth.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “A coupe/2-seater indicates that you are incapable of, or unprepared for either of the above.”

          or, that we choose not to.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Or, like, that you may have more than one car………

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Does an ultra-rare ’97 or ’98 F-150 Lariat regular cab with leather bucket seats count as a coupe? Yes, they do exist.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @lou and @28. No need at all to apologize. If I have to go the same way as The Old Man, (and with current medical advances it is not guaranteed that I have to) just hope that I can muster up half the courage he displayed.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        People don’t like being told their vehicles are crap unless together you happen to be working towards the bottom of a 30 year old bottle of whiskey.

      • 0 avatar
        SP

        Jack, I really liked the piece. Very amusing. I do think that you engaged in a bit of revisionist history to suit your narrative (like most historical writers). Your recollections of the automotive hierarchy in the mid-1990s don’t quite match up with mine. (For the record, neither do those of JohnAX4N or whoever, as enumerated below.) But by and large, this piece gets to some interesting truths about the car market. This is a really complex industry, and consumer reaction to it is likewise. There is a lot to mine there, as seen by the number of auto columns that have been written over the last century and continue to be written.

        Now, the other bit of revisionist history that caught my eye was about no real man having real feelings for a crossover. How about this piece, in which you described jamming out to Corinne Bailey Rae while reminiscing about a CX-5?:
        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/trackday-diaries-in-which-our-author-falls-in-love-with-a-cute-ute/

        Now, I get that in a lot of your writing, you actually wear multiple hats, being in a sense both the serious thinker and the troll commenter. But those words from 2012 seemed to be from the heart. Was that just a fling? Or are you secretly CU-curious?

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          I thought the CX-5 was just brilliant.

          But… with my own money, I’d have rather had a Mazda6 hatchback.

          No man yearns for a CUV. He settles for one.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            I suppose that depends on how fast the 500x Abarth and Renegade Trackhawk turn out to be, don’t you think?

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            +1 this. You’re buying the CX-5 because you need the space and want something fun to drive but don’t want the unreliability of a Golf Wagon and Mazda won’t sell a 6 wagon or hatch.

          • 0 avatar
            slance66

            That’s fair. I did settle for one, as it hit all my practical needs. And I chose the CX-5, because it compromised least the areas I still yearned for. The steering is superb really…better than in the GS350 I thought about getting.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            I was looking at a Mazda6 wagon parked on the street recently. It still looks great to me. Much better than a CX-5. But I’ve driven a V6 5-speed Mazda6 and I think my buddy’s 6-speed manual CX-5 might be more enjoyable to drive, at least in the city where visibility and damaged-road capability are important. Even on the highway, I might still prefer the comfort and spaciousness of the CX-5 interior over the stability of the wagon. In my younger days, the supreme highway passing ability of the V6 wagon would be a big plus. Not so much anymore.

            But it’s true that I don’t yearn for any CUV. Well, other than maybe an SG Forester XT. But only because there exists no MT B8 Audi S4 Allroad to fulfill the role of my winter dream vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I can’t afford one!

        Guess I’m gonna be Steve Carell in the 40 Year Old Virgin.

      • 0 avatar
        NetGenHoon

        Hey there, Jack.

        Modern man here. I’m equally likely to be seen in a suit and tie and a pop-culture t-shirt with dirty jeans. I’m a keyboard jockey by day who lifts heavy and hikes rocks on weekends. I’ve driven stick for the last 10 years. I traded the love of my life, a Focus ST for my first “CUV” and I’m pretty happy.

        There, I said it. I love my Cherokee Trailhawk.

        Just got finished wheeling it all around Sedona’s red rocks with the wife and a couple friends. This a couple weeks after tooling around New River and sleeping in the back.

        My wife drives it on-road most of the time. Her opinion is important to me. I drive it off-road often enough. My opinion is important to her.

        Isn’t this the core of man-hood? Analyse your goals and resources and maximize the joy of those you care about?

        PS I’ve been reading TTAC since the RF days. Love your writing, will debate your opinions. I remember when you were the new JB on the block, but I’m glad you stuck around.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      An authentic friend would pass on the wisdom cited.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        “Where are you going? Come back! Look, I’m just insulting you and your choice of vehicle because we’re /friends/!”

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          A good friend keeps it real and someone who recognizes they have a good friend takes feedback and considers it.

          You’ve never been head over heels about a girl who is no good for/to you and your best friend didn’t find a tactful way of pointing it out while reminding you he will be your friend no matter what you choose?

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “A good friend keeps it real and someone who recognizes they have a good friend takes feedback and considers it.”

            “keeping it real” usually means “I’m going to be an a**hole” and when it comes to vehicle choice that “feedback” is usually unsolicited and unwanted. If I had the misfortune to have a “friend” who was always telling me the stuff I have is garbage he would quickly find himself no longer my friend.

            “You’ve never been head over heels about a girl who is no good for/to you and your best friend didn’t find a tactful way of pointing it out while reminding you he will be your friend no matter what you choose?”

            nope. neither of those situations has happened to me.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Right, I’d rather have “yes” men for close friends who never point out any flaws or possible mistakes in my actions because of course I am perfect and have never ever made a bad decision. I guess you’re perfect then, never make mistakes, and regret none of life’s choices. Kudos.

        • 0 avatar
          Driver8

          Yeah, men walk off in a huff all the time when their friends dis their rides.
          I think I saw tears at the last Ford/Chevy/Mopar debate.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          My friends and I rip on each other all the time. I’m positive if one bought a CRV they would get ribbed about it fairly often.

          That said, they’d also get grief if they bought the Corvette Jack recommended.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Kinda like consoling a friend who just broke up with a chick and telling him, “yeah, she’s a ball busting bitch. you are better off without her.”

          Then 2 weeks later they are back together and you are now persona non grata, a Muslim at a Trump rally.

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            My best friend did one better. He banged one of my exes several months after she dumped me because her religion made her feel guilty about sex out of marriage.

            As I told him back then, “you truly ARE God walking amongst mortals!”

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I learned that lesson the hard way in eleventh grade. The girl in question tried to stab me twice after they got back together. It was a valuable lesson though. I remembered it well every time the situation repeated itself, and it doesn’t repeat itself that often for me. I usually don’t care one way or the other about the people my friends date or marry. Recently though, I had a friend who let a girl move in with him and spend $44K of his money on a bunch of nothing in a month while damaging his relationships with his friends and neighbors. She may have made a point of keeping up a good act in front of his family, because she was in it for the dough and they’re probably .6%ers. They don’t direct domestic policy to enrich themselves while setting up retirees for poverty, but a recent family wedding was televised and they get millions from the government for doing unproductive things with some of their land. My friend wants to be nice to everyone, so dating a sociopath doesn’t have a natural comfort level for him. When his girlfriend’s dog attacks a sleeping sunbather and she never even acknowledges the victim while calling her accessorized rat by cutesy nicknames, a part of my friend dies. Anyway, after weeks of emotionally abusing the guy, she took her yappy little dog and fled San Diego to go back where she came from. My friend seemed to understand what he’d dodged and spent the next few weeks telling everyone who would listen about what a horrible mistake he didn’t make. We were drinking an afternoon away at a great OB bar with a couple twenty-something girls who cared more about his money than they did that he was talking about a recent ex. I finally allowed myself the guilty pleasure of saying, “buddy, you really dodged one there.” “She was a zero threat.” “I’ve got no idea what made her worth the trouble, but I’m glad for you that she’s gone.” She called that night and they decided she was coming back. The dumb thing is that I knew what would happen even as I was saying it. Stupid PB&Jager shots.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            “We were drinking an afternoon away at a great OB bar…”

            Tony’s?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            CJinSD – “The girl in question tried to stab me twice after they got back together.”

            I hope that was figurative not literal?

            Not that figurative hurts any less………

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            We were at OB Noodle House 1502, the new one where the Blue Parrot used to be.

            She tried stabbing me with my friend’s stiletto knife. I got it away from her and returned it to my friend. Later, she got it back from him and made another attempt. I think the only cut I received was on my hand. I was pretty drunk, so it wasn’t particularly terrifying. It was sobering though. How do you figuratively try to stab someone?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            CJinSD – I thought you meant something like “back stabbing”. That would be figurative.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          this is part of why I’m glad I don’t really have any “friends.”

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      “No authentic man has ever had any genuine feeling for a modern crossover”

      Not true. I’ve owned Jeeps, foreign luxury cars, a few pickups and SUV’s, and last year bought a new Nissan Murano that I am very happy with. It is fast, quiet, solid, can haul a surprising amount of stuff, and is a great in-town and highway cruiser. The purchase was solely my decision and the Murano is my daily driver.

      I own a bunch of 18 wheelers and have driven 18 speed Peterbilt 379’s with 600hp Cat motors so I get the high that comes from power and presence. My testosterone count is over 800, so I’m pretty sure that is not an issue.

      Yes, I like my crossover. It works for me, and I really don’t give a damn if others like it or not.

      • 0 avatar
        Frank Galvin

        Its easy to talk oneself into a CUV. It holds stuff! It can carry stuff! Fold the seats down for more stuff! It will hold 7 people and their stuff! Its the Ronco rotisserie of the automotive world. It does everything you want it to do, adequately and without a great deal of effort. But…..its never going to fill that void of spirited motoring.

    • 0 avatar
      Waftable Torque

      JB’s remarks on gender identification are his, not mine. I just don’t think a man’s opinion of manhood has any business in a public blog. And I can’t say I even agree that he’s closer to the truth about crossovers than I am.

      But I will say that his hypothesis and mine are imminently testable. Over the next few years we should see crossovers from Maserati, Lamborghini, and Rolls Royce to compete alongside Bentley. If Jack is right, we should seem a gender split of buyers to be female dominant, say 60:40 or 70:30. In that socioeconomic stratum, there are plenty of female buyers who have the means to afford it. If I’m right, the mix will be predominantly male, say 30:70 or dare I predict 20:80 female to male buyers. Right in line with what the specialized cars in that price range cost; i.e. aspirational to “authentic” men. 50:50 says we both missed.

      Return in 5 or 10 years to find out?

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        “I just don’t think a man’s opinion of manhood has any business in a public blog.”

        Please elaborate, if you have time. Would you say the same think about black people discussing blackness? Gay people discussing gayness? Or is manhood a special taboo subject?

        “But I will say that his hypothesis and mine are imminently testable. Over the next few years we should see crossovers from Maserati, Lamborghini, and Rolls Royce to compete alongside Bentley. If Jack is right, we should seem a gender split of buyers to be female dominant, say 60:40 or 70:30.”

        Actually, all we’d need to prove my idea would be if the SUV buyer ratio was different from the sedan/sportscar buyer ratio by any significant amount. And the numbers are already in:

        http://www.cnbc.com/id/100915925

        Women buy Cayennes more than twice as often as they buy proper Porsches. Now cometh the Macan, expected to increase that ratio:

        http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/how-porsche-is-wooing-women-761218

        So far, therefore, the statistics are in favor of the idea that CUVs are inherently female-oriented.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Numbers for one model in one brand don’t really prove anything. What are the numbers for CUVs as a whole?

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            The last time anybody bothered to do a “Top Ten Cars For Women” based on sales data, it was AutoGuide’s list in 2011. Seven of the top ten were CUVs. Two of the others were Volkswagens.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            I meant, “what percentage of CUVs are bought by women?”

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “Women buy Cayennes more than twice as often as they buy proper Porsches.”

          Yes but the Cayenne outsells the 911 by 1.6:1, which would suggest that men buy plenty of Cayennes.

          While women like crossovers, men aren’t exactly avoiding them. The migration is happening across the board.

        • 0 avatar
          Waftable Torque

          That Cayenne link indicates a 85% male to 15% female ratio. I’d argue that it leans towards me being correct, though more data points would be ideal.

          david42, sportyaccordy and Crancast already expressed how I feel about your column. Perception is reality, and this is one of your weakest TTAC posts because your valid arguments become invalidated by it’s tone, set to antagonize anyone who doesn’t believe that there is some agenda out there to attack masculinity.

          “Listen, you mooks, you have your whole life to own some suppository-shaped crapwagon that drips with estrogen and brands you as the meekest moron to ever camp out in the left lane.

          You’re only young and single one. Go get an old Corvette. Have a story in your life that doesn’t involve the Internet, nutritional supplements, or gender equality.”

          “No man yearns for a CUV. He settles for one.”

          I don’t doubt those are your convictions, even if you jest. Many here have enabled and even encouraged this. But in being true to your self, you’ve done so much damage to TTAC. You’ve pulled a Bertel, and I don’t think you even know it yet. I hope our future collaborations may be more amenable.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Good for you for writing this.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            “That Cayenne link indicates a 85% male to 15% female ratio. I’d argue that it leans towards me being correct, though more data points would be ideal.”

            Except that the ratio for the 911 is more like 96% to 4%.

            So when you take two Porsches, and one of them is an SUV, women are four times as likely to buy the SUV. And they’re twice as likely to buy the SUV as they are any other Porsche.

            Aspie to Aspie — that’s a correlation.

            If standing up for men, young men in particular, is “pulling a Bertel”, well then — tie me up with shibari and throw me to the Chinese dogs. I don’t apologize for wanting my son to grow up in an environment that doesn’t penalize him for being masculine.

          • 0 avatar
            Waftable Torque

            Then I don’t need to be here anymore.

            And thanks for the fish.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            So what you’re saying is that you cannot read any website where one of the nine primary authors believes in the traditional view of men that has existed for ten thousand years.

            Brother, that’s fascist.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Okay, so it’s an appeal to tradition?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Oh the “Traditional view of men” and “If standing up for men, young men in particular”

            That does explain the line of questioning and comments in relation to my two son’s gay friend.

            I found what was hardest about accepting homosexuality was the fact that there is a chance that one’s own son could be gay. That hits hard when one carries the baggage of the “Traditional view of men”.

            You then think, what did I do wrong?

            or if its an intrinsic inborn train…..

            am I less of a man because I somehow passed on that trait?
            am I also a weak mixed up poofter?

            The answer is ***NO***

            Might as well burn my “man card” if all that unfounded and unnecessary guilt, fear, and anxiety is part of the package, especially if there is any chance I’ll pass all of that baggage onto my sons.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If 85% of Cayennes are sold to men, then that’s a reasonable indication that men like them.

            And the reality is that very few people buy 911s or cars that similar to 911s; 911s are a niche within the car market. You can’t judge broader consumer tastes by a tiny drop in the automotive bucket.

            One of the basic flaws of conservative thought processes is this fondness of bogus either/or constructs. Just because women like crossovers (which they obviously do) does not mean that men don’t like them.

            Believe it or not, it is possible for men and women to have certain things in common. And as Craig Bradsher notes in his anti-SUV diatribe, one thing that they have in common is a fondness for ride height. Timid and aggressive people both like it for the same reasons: They like the sense of power that comes from being taller and not surrounded.

          • 0 avatar
            Frank Galvin

            Pray tell, Jack states that he has a “traditional view of men”; that he is “standing up for men, young men in particular” and offers the tongue in cheek “high-school non-gendered bi-sex otterkin sex partner like they do today.” How is this a slam on gays? Where does he state that gay men are not masculine. This recent gender fluidity has nothing to do with homosexuality. The vast majority of gay men I know, and I suppose Jack does as well, are masculine and exhibit traditional masculine behaviors. Are you trying to take his statements and infer that he’s equating gay men as effeminate “poofters” or that they are part of this recent gender swapping phenomenon? I don’t see it, and I think you do all of us a disservice by pursuing that train of thought.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I respect all of your opinions but ultimately I see it as I am starting to see everything in this world; the Daoist concept of yin and yang in a perfect balance. Good/evil. Intelligent/unintelligent. Male/female. Force/Dark Side. One cannot exist without the other and yet both must be in perfect harmony to achieve balance. I would say all of the points made here do not represent a balance, because lets be honest this is deeper than CUV ownership statistics.

            Above I posted the etymology of the word “misogynist” and I encourage everyone to at least skim the 13 page document which inspired its creation. Maybe in 1615 it was scandalous stuff, but in it I am not seeing anything particularly hateful. The word came about by its invention of opponents to that document – people who simply disagreed with it at the time for whatever reason. Today the feminine side uses this word and others like it to decry when it feels the masculine side is out of balance, yet I am not aware of an English word which the masculine issues if and when the feminine is out of balance, which is curious since both energies are equal. I submit to you Western society as a whole is incredibly out of balance to the yin and dysfunction will only continue until the balance is restored. The balance can only be restored by yang energy countering the excess yin energy, this is just how the universe works.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “a fondness for ride height”

            Oooahh!

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Frank Galvin – my comments were pursuant to a conversation that occurred the latter part of yesterday.

            Your comment is taking this current thread in complete isolation.

            Just the very act of “defending young men” and standing up for “Traditional Masculinity” and feeling like “masculinity is being penalized” sets up a confrontational circumstance, an “us versus them” mentality.
            You then are either masculine or feminine or what?

            confused?

            My youngest son gets bashed because he isn’t into any traditional “masculine” hobbies or sports.(Piano, singing, choir,band) My other son who is in MMA and Scouts gets raised upon a pedestal by other boys and adult men.
            “Gay” just happens to be another unfortunate subset of that bashing that occurs if you aren’t “traditionally masculine”. My youngest son gets “accused” of being gay all of the time.

            It all interrelates.

            @28-Cars-Later sums it up rather nicely, he talks of balance, Yin and Yang.

            I too believe that there has to be a balance.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @RideHeight – at least someone if feelin’ the luv’today ;)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Rideheight loves micro-vans, pass it on.

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            Jack,

            Do you contend that ideas are inherently valuable or worth perpetuating simply because they’ve “existed for ten thousand years”?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @28-Cars-Later – I found some mini-truck p0rn for RideHeight, it is even called a HiJet.

            The name on it fits the mood around here too. LOL

            https://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/e8/1c/35/e81c3563fdbba1409ff0dbad91435a52.jpg&imgrefurl=https://www.pinterest.com/pin/125326802101880830/&h=417&w=564&tbnid=jmucP9xu5kwpdM:&docid=VFNqutUXXdi3JM&ei=ZlzHVsjDFtbkjwOHtYfQAw&tbm=isch&ved=0ahUKEwjIjqSNuITLAhVW8mMKHYfaAToQMwgtKBEwEQ

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            “Jack,

            Do you contend that ideas are inherently valuable or worth perpetuating simply because they’ve “existed for ten thousand years”?”

            I say it’s always a mistake to assume that you, or your friends, or your social set, is smarter than everybody who has ever lived in the whole of human history.

            I can attest to this. I was taught at university to think that having children and a family was stupid breeder hick stuff. As a consequence, I have one son instead of five, because it took fifteen years for me to realize that maybe humanity as a whole was smarter than Chomsky was.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @Jack, see it took me until I was 37 to have my first child because it took me that long to find a female that I wanted to combine my DNA with and see what the result would be. :-)

          • 0 avatar
            Frank Galvin

            @Lou_BC. Respectfully, I would argue that advocating for traditional masculinity does not condone or correlate to the meatheads that cheer on MMA while heaping disdain on a boy interested in the arts and that platform of self-expression. Nor does it set up a necessary confrontation between “choosing” feminine and masculine. True or traditional masculinity is embracing life, pursuing goals, leading by example, and sacrifice. If your youngest is into arts – then obviously you’d want him to succeed, work hard, and put in his best. There is nothing about that that is feminine.

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            Jack,

            Regarding “I say it’s always a mistake to assume that you, or your friends, or your social set, is smarter than everybody who has ever lived in the whole of human history.”

            I think that you and I could probably sit down and come up with many examples of things that were almost universally done/believed throughout human history that we would both agree are in fact wrong and not worth of continuing.

            For example, until fairly recently belief in variations of the “Divine right of Kings” were widespread throughout humanity. Do you object to this idea now, even though it has “existed for ten thousand years”?

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Bikegoesbaa,

            What you’re missing is that forced deviation from historical norms is just another expression of allowing ‘kings’ to define what is right and wrong. The only difference is what is being enforced as the new norm is against the communal wisdom. Plutocrats have tired with the presence of impertinent members of the bourgeoisie, and they now have a concrete plan for how to eliminate their intrusions into the comforts of supremacy. The middle class will soon be as powerless as the ‘beneficiaries’ of LBJ’s great society. Won’t the SJWs be proud!

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            CJ,

            Is it your contention that (presumably liberal) “plutocrats” are encouraging the acceptance of homosexuality and other forms of nontraditional gender behavior as part of a plot to destroy the middle class?

            Can you please explain further how this plot works?

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “against the communal wisdom”

            Like modern medicine. Guy I know:

            “The f*uck do I need all these pills for? I threw ’em all away. I gotta die of *something*.”

            He’s 5 years younger than I.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            My mom: “I don’t need to take vitamins.”

            Me: “Yes you do, unless you’re eating a perfectly balanced diet – which you’re not. And even then, you should.”

            Mom: “Vitamins don’t do anything.”

            Mmmkay. We’ll go with that.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Yeah, but we’d love to have your Mom over.
            Dave, probably not.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            She can bring a lasagna, cause she makes a mean lasagna.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I hope MRS Bark wrote that, because an authentic real man would never own a CUV.

    If getting a great car at an even greater price is more important to you than having the latest and greatest, I’d swing by your Ford store to negotiate on a 2016 Escape as soon as the 2017s start showing up.

    In fact, if they can get me out of my Flex at anything like positive equity, I’ll probably be right there with you.

  • avatar
    eamiller

    “No authentic man has ever had any genuine feeling for a modern crossover”

    You must feel HUGE in your Accord Coupe, Jack.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The Accord Coupe *is* a modern PLC. I’m the product of my generation, too.

      And it’s not like I don’t still have two Porsches and three motorcycles, you know.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’m not sure the Accord is large enough or luxurious enough to be considered PLC.

        The SL, S-Coupe, the E-Coupe, the 4 and 6-Series? Yes.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          The Accord Coupe is exactly what the Monte Carlo used to be: a mid-sized two-door with plenty of motor.

          It’s also just as fast as most of the 4er and 6er cars out there, as I demonstrated with my recent test of a 640i.

          But to say that a 640i is a PLC is wrong, wrong, wrong. PLCs have to be middle-class affordable.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “PLCs have to be middle-class affordable.”

            Really? The Mark IV and Mark V weren’t PLCs? I think of them as the cars everything else in the segment aspired to be. The S550 coupe *is* today’s Mark V.

            I also think PLCs absolutely require long hoods and the only reason your Accord isn’t a PLC is because the hood is too short. Honda’s only ever built one PLC: the longitudinal, long-hooded second-generation Legend coupe.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            There were Ford, Mercury, Buick, Olds, Pontiac, and Chevrolet PLC models in reach of the prole which I think was Jack’s point. The category wasn’t exclusive to Cadillac/Lincoln etc, which is what it is today more or less with the S-Klasse coupe, 650, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s a fair point. I didn’t think about how many middle class PLCs there were. My mind goes to the Mark and Toronado usually. I get to cherry pick the ones that come to mind, because I wasn’t there when they were a thing.

            To dal’s point, the length also factored in. The Accord isn’t big, overall. But I bet it’s as long as a downsized Monte was perhaps.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            ’78 downsized Monte: 200″
            ’14 Accord coupe: 189″

            A foot shorter, but only an inch shorter WB.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Thanks for looking that up.

            #bigoverhangsmatter

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            @dal: No wonder I love the S550 coupe, the Mark V is my second favorite of the numbered Marks after the Mark VII.

  • avatar
    theoldguard

    I’m 58 and the only reason I can think of for the S/CUV craze is the fact that in the south the roads are so bombed out that driving now consists of negotiating pot holes. In the 90’s when I lived in Germany, driving consisted of cornering dynamics in a German car with a “sport” (stiff) suspension. Today in South Carolina driving is negotiating broken pavement trying to avoid a busted tire or wheel. S/CUV’s do this better than cars with low-profile tires. My next car probably ought to be a Honda CRV, but I still look at all those corner-carving cars with longing. It reminds me of the world I grew up in, a world that is largely gone. Is it the condition of the roads that is pushing sales of these vehicles?

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Many of us live in places where we encounter a substance called “snow”. CUVs work better in this environment than sedans. And most people don’t care about carving corners. For many people, CUVs are a perfectly logical choice. They’re not for everyone. What car is?

      • 0 avatar
        Driver8

        Hogwash. Both are related more to tire/wheel choice than anything else. Blame the European pedestrian safety guidelines for the plague of 18″+ wheels and rubber band tires.

        The CUVs I’ve driven ride worse, with high CoG related pitch/yaw compared to their shared car platform brethren.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          No one’s forcing you to buy 18s. And yes, CUVs ride worse than cars in terms of body roll (you’re confusing roll for yaw), but they ride better than the BOF SUVs they replaced.

  • avatar
    madman2k

    I wasn’t around in the 70’s, and most of these cars were off the road long before I was old enough to start noticing (born in 89).

    While in some ways the comparison is valid, I don’t think it’s a simple set of reasons why people buy so many crossovers. The me-too aspect could be part of it. The high-low aspect could be as well. But maybe there’s something smart about the basic design of a small, relatively high-riding vehicle.

    It was pointed out a couple months back that many of the crossovers have similar width and ride height to the sedans of the 30s through the 50s, before everything started getting wider and lower.

    I think the huge rims are kind of pointless (although cars are designed around them, to make base rims look stupid and small), but a combination of ground clearance and fuel efficiency makes for a compelling vehicle.

    Sure, a sedan will get more miles per gallon, but with the sad state of roads in a lot of places, more ground clearance is peace of mind. The little plastic ‘chin’ on the front of sedans usually manages to get caught on a curb long before the front wheel touches it.

    And although most people won’t technically go off-roading, they might well go camping or just driving on a dirt road with rocks/bumps that would be nerve-wracking in a low-riding sedan.

    What about the stupidly steep driveways in some places, usually older parts of town? I can imagine the frustration owners of these houses faced in the 60s when their sedan with huge front and rear overhangs would scrape every time, because even now that longer relative wheelbases are used it’s a close call.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The reason behind this trend is simple: with middle incomes stagnating and cars becoming expensive enough that you have to take out a six or seven year loan to afford a new one, cars need to be offer far more versatility than a Cutlass Supreme coupe did. If you’re dropping $30,000 on a new car with a six (or seven) year note, it makes sense to buy something that will fit every conceivable need.

    Thus, CUVs, which are undeniably versatile. They’re roomy enough for a family, decent to drive, get acceptable mileage, and can handle a trip to Home Depot. The addition of AWD is another plus. For many folks, this is all the car you would ever possibly need, and that appeals to Americans, who buy by the pound.

    And given that cars are traded less often, the trend towards generic styling makes sense – if you’re keeping a car for 10 years, it doesn’t make sense to buy something that will go out of style, which was commonplace in the ’60s and ’70s. Think about it – what 10 year old car looks as completely out of place today as something like a ’75 Cordoba would have looked in 1985? The list is short (PT Cruisers, and a couple of others, maybe).

    CUVs are very sensible vehicles for a time that demands sensibility. It’s no mystery why they sell.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      Wouldn’t that also be a (rather twisted, admittedly) explanation for all of the “classic styled” cars like said PT Cruiser, as well as the Beetle, the Minis, and the Fiat 500 lineup? In their case, more like they’re styled to already look 10 years out of place, and go downhill from there, until they eventually become “classic looking?” :)

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      But not every change in style (back when styles changed more frequently) was a change for its own sake. For example, whether or not the publication of Unsafe at Any Speed was a factor, it became a matter of common sense that pointy tailfins and forward-slanted front ends were much more dangerous than other designs with respect to pedestrian impacts. Another example would be the near-universal adoption of curved side glass among domestic cars during the 1960s, which has other than stylistic benefits, even though it surely made cars more pleasing to look at.

    • 0 avatar
      AK

      OK to pretty much all of this.

      But a Honda Accord sedan does just about all of what a comparable CR-V does while offering much better driving dynamics and better fuel economy.

      The CR-V counters with all wheel drive (largely useless) and a taller cargo area.

      I’d argue the midsize sedan is quite a bit more sensible.

      • 0 avatar
        Zoom

        Trade better driving dynamics for a taller seating position (visibility=safety).
        Trade lower entry/egress for higher (easier) entry/egress.

        The “X is better than a CUV” argument seems to come up often. Sales are the counter argument. The MSRP of a midsize sedan is about the same price as a compact utility vehicle/crossover (CUV). Actual selling prices are even moving in the sedans favor, due to reductions in demand.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The Accord does not allow drivers to sit higher. That’s pretty much the start and end of the argument, and it’s enough by itself for a whole lot of buyers. For a whole lot more, there’s the fact that A Sedan Is A Dad Car.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “much better driving dynamics”

        How can we, the People, convince you that the any lack thereof in our CUVs concerns us much less than the fact that Downton Abbey is over?

        My steel-bladed pusher shovel can’t split logs like my ax, but I’m good with that.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    A new low in subversive clickbait. I was going to go point by point but why bother… the damage is already done.

    • 0 avatar
      Crancast

      +1

      BaruthAboutCars — Featuring the Howard Stern influenced comedy stylings of Jack and Dear Abby-esque musings of Bark.

      Semi-Kidding aside, I will keep clicking because Jack’s and Bark’s past work has always been a fantastic read. Barks pics alone in the Escape article are great. But if this kind of shock jock content is what is needed to keep the site alive, it might be time to consider closing up the shop.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’m curious, how is it subversive?

    • 0 avatar
      Zoom

      Young people seem to be overly sensitive these days.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Gross overgeneralizations do not foster meaningful dialogue.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Drzhivago138 – do you mean that in general?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            It was more towards those who might make overgeneralized comments towards all “young people” just because they might have had a single negative experience with one person younger than them.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Okay. But this comment doesn’t foster meaningful dialogue either. I get the impression I’m not being alone in my inability to identify anything subversive or offensive about what Jack wrote. I don’t agree with some of it, but I’m not offended by any of it. I don’t think I interact with too many people that would be offended by it. It is a foreign concept to me. I’ve had someone explain why something offended them before and gained some understanding from the process. That isn’t what’s going on here.

          • 0 avatar
            pdieten

            Apparently Jack was picking on people who can’t (won’t) sort their gender into the usual “male” and “female” categories, and/or sort their sexual preferences into the usual “hetero” and “homo” categories.

            As Jack is almost certainly well aware, there are noticeably large groups of folks on the internet (and in real life on the country’s more liberal university campuses) who make it their business to be offended by us pre-Millenial people who refuse to acknowledge this particular brand of silliness, and he used this opportunity to tweak them. Those who subscribe to this idea will, as expected, be offended.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @pdieten – eventually the left wing faux horror card gets played.

            I’m a boomer and women have had the right to vote for a long time. What does gender identity have to do with any of this?

            I get annoyed by it personally since I work in a non-traditional male job and have had my masculinity questioned many times as well as whether or not my ass was more than exit only.

            I used to be on the conservative right side of the spectrum but comments like yours or those directed at “those can’t (won’t) sort their gender into the usual “male” and “female” categories” made no sense morally, ethically or spiritually.

            Jack’s comments I can absorb all in the name of humour but yours definitely not.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Well said, Lou

          • 0 avatar
            pdieten

            Lou, I’m not sure if I’m understanding your point, so correct me if I’m making incorrect assumptions.

            The question was what Jack wrote that is so offensive.

            The answer is this: A lot of terminology attempting to define the gender identity of people who do not consider themselves male or female, and to define the orientation of people who do not consider themselves straight or gay, has recently come to the nation’s attention. This sort of categorization is taken very seriously by some people, who get offended when those who don’t (e.g. Jack) mock it as he did here. That kind of mocking is pretty popular sport in some circles so I presume Jack was going for some easy laughs.

            None of this has anything to do with your experiences. It has everything to do with people who can’t cope with forms that ask for gender and then offer only two choices.

            TBH, I can’t relate to people like this or to those who mock them. All I’d hope for is that if people can’t relate to their own body, that they pick something that works for them and then act in ways that don’t scare the women and children. There’s no reason to pick on people for that.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Ok. I have looked back with this new information and I still don’t feel the contempt of others coming through. I don’t know what otterkin means in this context, and my google-fu is failing me. I generally took what he wrote on the subject of sex/gender identity as a description of the modern condition, or at least his perception of it. I didn’t think it overshadowed what was conversation provoking or just plain entertaining, like his description of the Soylent culture. Don’t they know it’s people?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I agree, CJ,
            A lot of people are taking Jack more seriously than he does.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            pdieten – I thought you were condoning the ridicule of those who get upset by gender/sexuality bashing.

            Thank you for the clarification.

            It is a touchy subject for me also because of my sons (12&14). They have a friend who is gay.

            Both my sons are heterosexual but my youngest is a talented singer and loves musical instruments. He also happens to hate hockey (not a good place to be in the Great White North).
            He gets bashed and bullied because he does not fit typical male stereotypes. His masculinity has been questioned. My oldest has to defend him and has been asked multiple times if his kid brother is gay.

            Jack’s humour is just that, humour but when it trickles down to children already forming stereotypes, it stops being funny.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “He also happens to hate hockey”

            I think that’s a crime in some there provinces, eh?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            From the world-famous-in-Canada Tragically Hip:

            If there’s a goal that everyone remembers
            It was back in old ’72
            We all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger
            And all I remember is sitting beside you

            You said you didn’t give a f**k about hockey
            And I never saw someone say that before
            You held my hand and we walked home the long way
            You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9wW9ENBPlQ

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            “It is a touchy subject for me also because of my sons (12&14). They have a friend who is gay.”

            How old is this friend? Twelve or fourteen? And he’s already convinced he’s gay?

            That’s modern society for you. The Battle of Britain was won by kids who relentlessly cornholed each other at Eton or wherever and then went on to live traditional lives quite happily.

            There’s a sort of progressive doublethink when it comes to childhood sexuality. On one hand, we’re asked to allow children freedom of sexual expression because it’s trivial and playful and meaningless. On the other hand, the minute one of them thinks he might be gay we need to announce it to the world, hold a pride parade in his honor, and encourage him to form his identity around it.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Why do you care, Jack? Is his sexuality a threat to you in any way?

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            I’m a parent, and I find adult interventions in childhood sexuality to be despicable, whether they take the form of “gay re-education camps” or the current societal pressure on young children to declare as gay before they’re old enough to have sex.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “How old is this friend? Twelve or fourteen? And he’s already convinced he’s gay?

            That’s modern society for you. The Battle of Britain was won by kids who relentlessly cornholed each other at Eton or wherever and then went on to live traditional lives quite happily.

            There’s a sort of progressive doublethink when it comes to childhood sexuality. On one hand, we’re asked to allow children freedom of sexual expression because it’s trivial and playful and meaningless. On the other hand, the minute one of them thinks he might be gay we need to announce it to the world, hold a pride parade in his honor, and encourage him to form his identity around it.”

            Jack,

            you really need to close your mouth and stop talking here. A person’s sexuality is not a “trivial and playful” thing.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            You don’t know the whole story, so how can you know for sure that there was any “adult intervention” or “societal pressure”?

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            “Jack,

            you really need to close your mouth and stop talking here. A person’s sexuality is not a “trivial and playful” thing.”

            That’s the point.

            Until recently, children were expected to defer serious sexual decisions to adulthood. Which is why, for example, there used to be curfews for children, and other societal controls designed to ensure that children didn’t have their adult lives decided by decisions they made as children.

            Now it’s all free and clear, which I think is wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            “You don’t know the whole story, so how can you know for sure that there was any “adult intervention” or “societal pressure”?”

            I can’t know for sure. Which is why I asked a question rather than making a declaration.

            I can *guess*, based on the fact that children are extremely malleable and susceptible to external influences. But I don’t know, which is why I asked.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            When did feeling horny become a decision? Parents need to teach their kids table manners, but the desire to get some comes pretty naturally to most of us.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Since when does being gay or identifying oneself as a gay have anything to do with sexual activity?
            This occurred 2 years ago. My boys were 10 and 12 and he was 11.
            NO SEXUAL ACTIVITY.
            We discovered gay porn on their laptop. From there the discussion was about the fact that sex in porn isn’t for the most part “normal” sexual intimacy between loving adults.
            The discussion went to the fact that we would support them regardless of gender/sexual identity. Both my boys said that they had never had the slightest sexual interest in other boys. Their friend on the other hand stated that he had NEVER had the slightest attraction to girls and ALWAYS had an attraction to boys.

            It was tough since the boy’s dad was the biggest redneck on the face of the planet. He did not know at the time.

            One of my colleagues is gay, I asked him about when he first started getting interested in the same sex. His story was similar to my son’s friend. He never ever was interested in girls.

            The adult and societal pressures are anti-gay for the most part not pro-gay. I live in a typical redneck logging town. I used to be anti-gay. I was raised in a traditionally Christian home and went to 12 years of Christian school.

            What got me to soul search was when we found out my wife was first pregnant. My wife asked me if I’d be upset if we had a gay son. I said, YES. She asked why and would I love him less for it?

            Answer was, nope. I’d love him all the same. The rest lead me to realize that there was no foundation for me to be anti-gay.

            Even without that event, kids get bullied because they don’t fit pre-conceived norms.

            Where does that start?

            and more importantly……. how do we end it?

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            I knew I was gay by the time I was 12 (6th grade), I just didn’t want to admit it. Spent 10 years trying to change it because I thought that’s what God wanted before coming to accept it. In retrospect, I see signs of it even younger than 12 but that was the first time I legitimately realized I what I was and was wanting. I wish I had someone when I was 12 that I could’ve told and found out it was ok. Wish I had known even younger that gay people existed and there was nothing wrong with it. Would’ve made things a whole lot easier.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            ” I wish I had someone when I was 12 that I could’ve told and found out it was ok.”

            But it would have been wrong to pressure you into thinking that you weren’t some kind of malfunctioning freak in need of repairs. Or something like that.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @tjh8402 – fortunately for my two sons and their friend I realized that the whole “gay thing” was my hang-up and not theirs.

            I left it up to their friend to talk to his parents. I instructed my sons not to breath a word to anyone due to stigma and to give their friend time to connect with his family.

            He did finally tell his parents. His mom had an inclination for a long time. His dad had no idea.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            CJ: “Otterkin” is Jack’s not-very-successful attempt to make fun of “otherkin.” Google that and you’ll learn more.

            Jack: Come on now. While sexual orientation can be fluid, it’s there in spades by 12. You can’t seriously tell me that at age 12 you weren’t consumed by lust and ogling everything remotely female that was in your general vicinity. That’s how 12-year-olds are. If those feelings had been about men rather than women, you would have identified as gay, regardless of whether your preferences changed later. If those feelings had been more obscure, you would have been confused. And by 12 you’re also perfectly capable of absorbing negative messages about yourself. If society tells young people that either gayness or even more unconventional orientations and identities are to be mocked, they’re going to internalize that, and it’s going to cause problems.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            @Lou_BC – thanks for being a good ally to your sons’ friend and for teaching your boys to be the same. I wish I had friends like that when I was his age. It can’t be emphasized how much of a positive difference that’ll make for him. Hopefully his parents will be able to celebrate who he is.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Thanks dal20402. Now I know that an otterkin is the soul of an otter trapped in a human’s body, or maybe it is a typographical error of a broader term for a type of lunatic. This knowledge isn’t making Jack’s article more offensive or aggressive to me though.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Why is everyone so obsessed with the sex lives of otters?

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Ah, the go to cop out of loudmouths with no answers. “Don’t be so sensitive”. Don’t be such a clickbaity troll. You are better than this Jack. Doug DeMuro is better than this.

    • 0 avatar
      Frank Galvin

      Hey Sporty – how is this subversive? Is there a definition I’m not aware of?

  • avatar
    economist

    My favorite part was the line about the cars in the early 90’s being boring and soul-crushing. It made me think about all the cars that were common in my high-school parking lot in the late 90’s when those early 90’s cars had filtered down to the 2nd and 3rd owners. The bar was quite low indeed to be considered a good car back then.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Heres a PLWC, where the W means water. Good grief.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cadillac-DeVille-Hot-Tub-Car-/311550331971

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    What a load of crap.

    “Trust me, I sold these new.”
    Okay? And that gives you superior knowledge to someone who, say, owned one for ten or more years? Or worked on them as a tech for a dozen years or so? Or owned several of them?

    You walked out on the lot, lady says “I want an Explorer!” and you say “okay, come inside and sign some papers after a 6 minute drive”.

    Oh yeah, that makes you an expert on every nut and bolt on that truck. I bow to your superior knowledge.

    BTW, the Celebrity was gone by the time Explorer and Grand Cherokee were busy setting sales charts on fire. I think the Lumina replaced it in 91, the year Explorer debuted. Grand Cherokee was new for 1993 if my memory serves. What you were apperantly trying to say is that SUVs became aspirational vehicles. They were quite a bit more expensive than a Tempo, for example, so your point is that an expensive vehicle is preferable to an economy car in the eyes of consumers. What a concept! THATS why my doctor drives an S-class and not a Fiesta! It all makes sense now!

    I like how you manage to mention crashing and banging suspension/subframe/whatever whenever youre talking about cars Ive owned and put hundreds of thousands of miles on while only experiencing such noises on well-worn, high-mileage examples (and usually only when driving them off-road). My parents bought a program 1997 Sable in 1997. I beat the crap out of it constantly. I never heard crashing and banging from the front end parts or anywhere else on the car. A BMW 7 series it was not, but it sure as hell wasnt as bad as you make it out to be. We sold it with around 200k, it still wasnt as bad as you claim it was when new.

    Its funny how people look back 20-30 years and say how crappy (cant say the S word, yet those writing articles can drop F bombs if they want) everything was. Well, ya know what? In 1994, we didnt have 2016 vehicles, the ones youre comparing them to. That makes the point invalid. By 1994 standards, the cars were good. By 2016 standards, they arent. Its like you are saying “look how horrible those cars were” without context. Horrible compared to what? Today’s cars? So, progress has been made and things improve over time. Wow. Thats very powerful, thank you so much for that astounding piece of knowledge, and here I thought a 1941 Chevy and a 2016 Chevy were exactly the same.

    Your wasted a whole article telling us things that should be obvious to anyone remotely interested in cars, with a few arrogant and idiotic statements thrown in, likely in a vein attempt to show how witty and smart you are. Too bad it had the opposite effect. Its as though youre just rambling and babbling about random facts and assumptions based on other assumptions and/or ignorance. A compelling read it was not.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Show me on the doll where the Tempo GLS touched you.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      You obviously read it and posted…………….

      mission accomplished :)

    • 0 avatar
      kmars2009

      John Taurus, I know we may have had our differences in the past…but in this case, I agree with your opinion on this article. Jack thinks he knows so much about cars, yet apparently he wasn’t around at the time they were introduced. Feeling the need for something better, and more efficient. The choices were different in the past. To him, it’s easy to pass judgment on our limited choices in the 70s, 80s, 90s. It wasn’t as “global” as today, and until he realises how the past REALLY was, he has no grasp on the auto industry…past or present. I can’t believe he even has a job here! He’s a moron, and his articles are rubbish!

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      After experiencing only domestic vehicles growing up, the 1991 Nissan Maxima was a revelation to me. I thought it must be the greatest car in the world, and it was already a 10-year old car at that time. Driving a 15-year-old ’87 Acura Legend then showed me that my father had been completely wrong when he spoke of them being overpriced. Every domestic vehicle of similar vintage that I had ever been in seemed like junk in comparison to those two, though many had charm and I still loved them anyway, even our Chevette.

      This was a few years after I spent some time in high school delivering new 1996 MY Ford rental cars. The Aspire seemed junky, and the Taurus was even worse. The Escort, on the other hand, somehow seemed like a decent car; almost competitive with my “rich” cousin’s new Civic. Go figure. But I was too young to attribute it to anything tangible. I still thought that the price of a vehicle should be directly proportional to either how big it is or how quickly it can accelerate.

      A close friend of mine drove a well-maintained ’92 Camry V6 5-speed until it was replaced by a CX-5 last year, and another drove a well-maintained ’92 Vigor 5-speed with an immaculate interior until replacing it with a ’08 TSX last year. I’d still prefer driving either of those vehicles over most new ones.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    I do my part for the masulinity of cars by driving a Challenger, an unashamed dickmobile.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Men everywhere appreciate your defiance.

    • 0 avatar
      Zoom

      I’m seriously thinking about a Challenger as a replacement for my Mazda3. The chic-version V6, though. I’d rather pay for more features than more horsepower I’ll never use. Man-card be damned.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        It’s your money, but I personally wouldn’t get a Challenger without the V8.

        If a V6 is what you want then Honda and Lexus have better options.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        There’s a Challenger V6 in the townhouse complex next to me, driven by a 50-something buzz-cut dude who also has an excessively loud Harley and looks like he’d beat Jack up for having long hair. The car has the V6, but all the appearance options (big black wheels, lip spoiler, stripes).

        • 0 avatar
          Zoom

          Yes, the typical muscle car crowd is not a club I wish to mix with, judging by the comments left on one of Alex Dykes older YouTube reviews of a Challenger. Appalling.

          I dislike any strips, black wheels, spoilers, etc. Give me a plain B5 Blue, with the Super Track Pack and those nice dark chrome wheels (whatever color they call them). With my budget, trading a stripped V8 for the V6 affords me a leather interior, navi, and all the available tech stuff. The Challenger is a cruiser, and 300HP is plenty for me. The only thing missing is the V8 growl, and probably long term reliability.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Back in the summer of 2013 when I took my Dad’s 67 Mustang Convertible off his hands I decided to drive it school the first week I was back on contract (no kids, no teachers – just soul crushing paperwork).

            My Instructional Coach shows up (think teacher of teachers) and the first words out of that harpy’s mouth is: “Midlife crisis?” (FYI I was all of 36 years old at that moment.) No need to add that she no longer works in my building.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            You should’ve showed up in a Mustang II Ghia with a 300 swap. Nobody knows what to say to that.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “You should’ve showed up in a Mustang II Ghia with a 300 swap. Nobody knows what to say to that.”

            I do, but I wouldn’t want to be banned from this site.

            Ha Ha.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            People would ask what’s the Ford 300? Is that the model name?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Nah, I’d bet more people know the 300 to be an engine used until the ’90s than the name of the base full-size model for 1963 only.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I barely know about the Ford 4.9L 300 I6 so I doubt the avg person has ever heard of it. Since Chrysler has a model named 300, I could see avg person either getting confused and thinking Ford has one as well or just thinking the Chrysler 300 is a Ford. You have to remember you have a good deal of truck experience and the average layman does not.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            We are both correct. The average person wouldn’t know if 300 is ever referring to anything produced by Ford. But within the (admittedly small) group of those who know of either of the possible meanings of the phrase “Ford 300,” more will say “it’s an engine” than “it’s a car.”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree. I’ve heard good things about the motor but IIRC it wasn’t available in 4×4 trucks (at least in the mid to late 80s) and thus it wasn’t a common item in these parts.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            I’m looking at an ’88 F-Series brochure, and it says the 300 was the standard engine in 4×4 F-150s and 250 LDs. F-250 HDs* had the 300 in 4×2 only. Now, just because it was actually available doesn’t necessarily mean it was common anywhere.

            *[Although there had existed two distinct F-250 models (LD and HD) since at least the mid-’70s, it wasn’t until 1986 that they were actually given distinction in the brochure.]

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Will an inline-6 fit in a Mustang II? I think the Pinto and Mustang II were two Fords that didn’t get saddled with one of their smaller inline-6s during the ’70s, which suggests there was no room for an engine that was still shorter than the 240/300.

            I didn’t know Ford sold a 300 model in 1963. That seem singularly obnoxious, considering Chrysler had been selling 300s since 1955 and had introduced a 300 with no letter suffix in 1962. Ford putting the same badge on the cheapest version of their low end sedan would be like calling the Fusion rental cars Vantages.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks Doc I didn’t know that. A 4.9 F150 with T-5 and 4×4 would have been ideal for me no joke, but when I looked years back all I could find was 2WD.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            @CJ: I’m almost certain no I6 would fit in a Mustang II…which means it must be attempted.

            As for the 300 car name, maybe it was meant to be below the Galaxie 500 in name as well as options?

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            There are about 498 integers they could have chosen without using an established Chrysler model name to denote the sub-Galaxy 500 line.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Wow. Learned something new. I used to consider myself a Ford Galaxie buff. I never knew that there was a Ford “300”. It was Ford a sub model of the Ford custom made between 57-59.(According to Wiki)
            There was a Ford 300 in 1963 only.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I wandered the Chicago auto show the other night, and almost everything in my wheelhouse as a potential replacement for my TSX (read: sedans in the $30-50k range) were uncomfortably small for my 6′, 52L frame. I jammed my shoulder into the b-pillar of all manner of fine automobile, from BMW, Audi, Lexus, Mercedes, Acura, Infiniti, etc. You know what was most comfortable? A damn Lexus RX. The only reason I sat in the thing was because I was waiting for a go at the Lexus RC and there was no one in the RX, but as soon as I sat down I looked around and thought A) this is comfy as hell and B) finally something that looks worth the money on the inside. Yeah, it’s got a hideous grill and yeah it’s driven exclusively by soccer moms, but it’s the only one I sat in that made me want to drive 500 miles in a straight shot.

    Then I sat in a Mustang GT and figured, no, this is the kind of stupid thing I guarantee I’ll end up with.

    • 0 avatar
      economist

      I was thinking about going to the Chicago auto show this year. I used to go yearly, but the kids put a damper on that. Then I had a sudden realization. I realized that the auto show is pointless now that I am an adult, have a respectable income, and can just go to a dealer and sit in (and probably test drive) any car I damn well please. No crowds to deal with, no lines to wait in.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        I left work 2 hours early and went on a week night, very uncrowded.

        I hate going to look at a dealer, because first of all, you can’t walk back and forth between, say, an Audi and a BMW that are 100 feet apart to compare, and second, you have to fend off a sales guy.

        Like I said, one of my favorite cars at the show I stumbled into completely on accident. I’d never “happen” to be at a Lexus dealer and “happen” to try out an RX, but there I was at the car show, in awe.

        • 0 avatar
          economist

          You make a good point. You get to actually see stuff outside of your normal space. And the way you did it was smart. For me it is a major time commitment to go to Chicago.
          It is nice to not be bothered by the salespeople but I find the auto show crowd to be more annoying.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    God damn it.

  • avatar

    Disappointingly, Jack’s projecting too much. Maybe the article is an accurate representation of the moods in his former social circle, but not in mine. To begin with, nobody I knew even had an SUV. The company CEO had a Maxima. Other successful people had larger Benzes and Bimmers. The only guy I ever seen who had an Explorer was a British ex-pat working for Sun, I believe. I knew a job-hopper guy who drove an Alfa, in which I rode to a picnic once. The only other time I met a guy with an SUV (aside from the Birt), as an older Chinese guy. He had a Cherokee and his daughter had a horse, so they used the poor thing to pull a little tall trailer.

    One funny thing is, Jack himself admitted once how insular and unrepresentative his experience in the Ford dealership was. It was back when his incoming Texan girlfriends opened his eyes on the truck ownership by women. Imagine that, Midwest wasn’t the whole world, not even whole America.

    BTW, crossovers all looking the same is just a hogwash thesis. Have they even seen Renegade, I wonder? Or BMW X6?

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I wish I could walk into a dealer and drop $30k on a brand-new Volvo 245.

    Yep, I said it, a station wagon. Drove ’em for years. They had space efficiency that hands down beat any CUV built today.

    Besides a Golf, no one is selling a station wagon for everyman any more.

    What a shame.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    So we’ve gone from big swingin d***mobiles to wombs on wheels. Who says hormones in beef aren’t having an effect on people?

  • avatar
    Kevin Jaeger

    I remember having a young family in the early nineties. I’m not sure exactly when the switch happened but at first it was practically MANDATORY for a young family to have a minivan. When I showed up at family or co-worker gatherings in my GTI busybodies would practically DEMAND an explanation for why we didn’t have a minivan.

    Then, almost overnight, minivans were uncool and all the fashionable white mothers had to have some flavor of lifted hatchback. The social pressures among middle and upper middle class white women is very strong and they are the ones who make the buying decisions these days.

    I suppose they’ll move onto something else eventually but for now these CUVs are their vehicle of choice and they get what they want.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Agree, crossovers are much more practical than the personal luxury car or coupe. Crossovers are easier to get in and out of and have usable space in the back which can be increased by folding down the rear seat. A long hood and a short deck is not very functional along with a low slung vehicle which is harder to get into and requires crawling into the back seat because of the lack of rear doors. Coupes are more stylish but less practical. Jack is most likely stirring up controversy to get some more hits on the site.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    My girlfriend has been talking about buying a crossover. I an attempt to dissuade her I’ve appealed to logic, aesthetics, good taste, and concern for the environment but nothing is getting through. I even told her I’d prefer to hang a giant Thomas Kincaide painting in the living room than have one in the driveway. Although she hasn’t clearly articulated it as such I agree with Jack, the reason she wants one is the same reason she buys Coach purses: it is a signal to other 30 something professional women that she belongs. At this point I’ve decided my best strategy is to keep her geriatric Subaru running in top shape and hope the crossover desire magically goes away.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I think the three strongest points that need to be linked are:
    “The Lexus RX300, the ur-crossover, was successful because it was massively cheaper than the Lexus body-on-frame SUVs while managing to send about the same social image to everybody who did not have an address in Martha’s Vineyard or Telluride.”

    “You can see, therefore, that we need not have recourse to any sort of specific “fashion theory” to explain the crossover. It is to the SUV what the PLC was to the big coupes of the ’60s: the same look and feel, but for less money. It is the cheapest way to have approximately what everybody else has.”

    “Nobody gives a damn about cars any more.”

    All three of these come together. Drive through a wealthy neighborhood or look at a prep school carpool lane here in Central Florida and it will be Lexus RX after Lexus RX (Audi parodied this brilliantly in a commercial a couple years ago). Enthusiasts have criticized the Corolla in the past for being the car for people who don’t really want a car but have to own one. The Lexus RX is that vehicle for the upper class. For the wealthy or wanting to be wealthy who need a vehicle, don’t care about cars at all, but want a premium badge, it’s the default choice. I’ve seen plenty of garages where the RX is parked next to an S class, M BMW, or Porsche or other far more expensive and interesting choice. You know exactly how the vehicle choices were made. Husband bought what car he wanted, or at least what car projected the alpha dog image he wanted. Wife just needed something that could carry the kids and dog but that she won’t embarrass herself getting out of when running into someone she knows at Costco or Soccer practice.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      It won’t let me edit my post so I’ll have to add as a comment, but I do think that guys are also guilty of this same sort of insecurity. Look at how full size pickups are getting every larger, have ever gaudy and more over the top styling, and price tags to match. Plenty of men buy pickups with capabilities that far exceed anything they’ll ever need to do, and then a decent number of them mess with those capabilities with things like chrome rims, lift kits, etc. I had a friend of mine who knew I was into cars and would always send me pics of these pickups he was looking at and I told him, why are you bothering to send me these? Stop trying to impress me with a truck because it won’t happen. He didn’t have a big massive trailer to tow. He didn’t do offroading (and if he did, a Wrangler or Tacoma would probably have been better). He wanted to be a man’s man and man’s men drive full size pickups. I told him I viewed trucks as tools, and you matched the tool with the job. I love my grandfathers Ranger because its enough truck to do whatever we have asked without the issues associated with being oversized, nor does it look like a tonka toy in traffic. It’s just a good honest hard working little pickup, which is something very few guys have any appreciation for these days.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Except that full-sizers aren’t getting any larger–they hit the ceiling in the mid-’00s (or the mid-’60s in the case of width, which is really what affects the perception of size most).

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Maybe it’s just an American thing, overbuying pickups. Or overbuying *anything*. Guns to sheds to Homes. Then let the rest of the world scratch their heads.

        But it’s also relative. Aussies also buy way more private pickups as SUVs, than what’s used over there commercially. BAFO’s a perfect example. He drives a midsize 4X4, 4-door pickup across the city everyday, to his mop squeezing job.

        But it’s also the equivalent of driving an American Flag, even if made in Mexico. Many around the world, can only wish they could do the same, and for so cheap. Especially “base”, or near base fullsize trucks that is.

        You may never need all its capabilities, but you never know! But one thing’s for sure, “It’s better to have it and not need it, than…”

        Except once you have it, you will need it. Yes mine gathers dust most of the time, and friends and extended family use it more than I, but it’s way more “classy” to me, dents, scratches and all, than the 4-door shiny new, Lexus, Mercedes, or BMW sedan that could take its place, and me be the one that borrows a truck when I absolutely need one.

        It’s true, a smaller truck could do, but then in many ways, no. You could drive a smaller car too, so shut it.

        • 0 avatar
          tjh8402

          @Denvermike – actually I drive a Fiat 500, so no, not really :-P. I also barely have room for my stuff in that car. Sometimes I wish I went a size larger and got a Fit or Focus hatchback.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            Apropos of nada, but triggered by your comment about small cars, my son says that he is waiting to see his first Smart stretch limo.

            The target demographic might be small (no pun intended), but it might have a loyal following.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        @tjh8402

        No need to look at trucks. Most people, and make no mistake, I definitely include myself in this, purchase more car than they actually need.

        If you’re single or a couple all you really need is a Versa. A family with one kid–you can still use the Versa–but if you want something bigger how ’bout a Sonata or CR-V.

        Anything with luxury, premium, sporting, or performance intentions is something you don’t need.

        You also don’t need many of the options that are available on modern cars. Dual zone climate control, auto up/down windows, moon roof, automatic climate control, HID headlights, navigation, etc.

        None of that stuff is needed.

        So, look at the car you drive. Is it what you needed or wanted? Look at the options you chose. Needs or wants?

        • 0 avatar
          tjh8402

          @hubcap – there’s buying more capabilities than you need because it’s still more enjoyable, and there’s buying capabilities you don’t need and never actually do anything with simply because of the image it represents. The former I have no bone to pick with. The latter is my target. Luxury cars can make a case for themselves. People who buy Lexuses do enjoy the silence, the ride quality, the stereo, etc. People who buy Miatas do drive them hard. If you have a big boat, you need a big truck to tow it. I’m talking about buying something that provides no tangible benefit other than the image it presents. I hold some sports car buyers in the same low regard. Someone who buys a Boxster with an automatic transmission and then only drives it 10k a year never exceeding 45 mph around town is just as bad as someone buying a 4wd pickup with a tow package and biggest engine, then putting a lift kit and chrome rims on it and only using it to commute to work and go to the grocery store.

  • avatar
    bkmurph

    I happen to think Soylent 2.0 is delicious, thank you very much.

  • avatar
    Scout_Number_4

    Holy crap! If we haven’t set a record, we’ve certainly gotten close to one with this number of comments. Here’s what we’ve learned:

    1) Jack is clearly top dog here and still can vector it in whenever he wishes
    2) His comments-on-the-comments are internet gold
    3) There are dozens of CUV owners among the B&B
    4) Hendrix is the greatest guitar player that ever lived

    OK, we already were aware of number 4. Mark, I hope you’re paying attention. “No Fixed Abode” needs to run at least twice a week.

  • avatar
    Vega

    ‘elsewhere in the world the Type I VW was a simple and depressing statement of poverty and perhaps that’s why Europeans don’t get excited about the various New New Beetles.’

    I know it’s hip nowadays to knock the beetle but that assessment is hilariously wrong. In post-war Europe up until the 60s a Beetle was a symbol of classless, reliable, quality transport just like a Golf is now. Just because some Brits on Top Gear didn’t like it doesn’t mean it isn’t remembered fondly on the continent.

    I know Jack builds his brand on being edgy, but a comment like this is just clueless.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      That’s not what I’ve been told by Germans in Germany, but obviously I didn’t ask everybody who was alive in Europe at the time. I appreciate your counterpoint.

      • 0 avatar
        Vega

        As a German 66 Beetle owner (with twin Webers) in Germany, maybe my view is biased, but I over the last 20 years I have only ever received melancholic smiles from the elderly when filling up my “Kugelporsche”.

        My grandfather was head of the chamber of commerce of a small town in the black forest in the 50s. His main car was obviously a Benz, but there is a nice b/w photo of my grandma receiving her ’53 1200 standard directly from the owner of the regional dealership. The press was there too…

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Jack, interesting and a great article.

    In Western countries around the globe CUVs are becoming the vehicle of choice.

    CUVs will die in the ass when you start to see lots of CUVs in housing commision estates.

    The majority who buy CUVs are middle class because the vehicle can and does offer great utility. These middle class people range from simple people that can only afford sh!tboxes like a RAV4 to the upper echelon who can go out and buy a Cayenne.

    It’s easy to distinguish a person’s (most people) income or better still I should state the perception of income by what is sitting in the driveway.

    Private motor vehicles are one of the most basic instruments used by humans to display their real or not so real wealth.

    Most can only ever buy a vehicle that is within their budgets, and some can go out and buy what and when they want, but these people are a minority. They can afford real style.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    I’m almost disappointed Jack didn’t work an Orwell quote in.

    “If you want an image of the future, imagine a Kia Sorrento running over a human face. Forever.”

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    We’re at 425 (not counting this). What’s the current single-article record for comments? :)

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I think this is the record (over 1000 comments)

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2007/10/in-defense-of-american-automakers/

      IIRC, there are a few more in the past that have pushed past 800.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Looks like we’re going to stall out right before the 500 mark, unless somebody says something controversial…

        …THERE WAS NOTHING “REAL TIME” ABOUT “REALTIME 4WD”

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          “Wide Track” Pontiacs weren’t any wider than the rest of the GM clones in the late 90s.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The LS V8 is not as good as the HT4100.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            Toyotas are fun to drrrrr….drrrr……drrr……no, I just can’t do it.

            The Compass isn’t a real Jeep.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Why are there INTRAstate highways in Hawaii?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @npaladin2000

            You were lucky 500.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            Woo hoo! I hope that means they’ll build my perfect 500x Abarth. If they build it, I will come.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Principal Dan, there are intrastate highways in Hawaii. What they shouldn’t have are interstate highways. I don’t know what they actually call their highways in Hawaii, but intrastate would be appropriate.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            They’re called H1, H2, and H3 around Honolulu. At least when I was there several years ago.

            The big uproar was the building of super highways leading nowhere, that just abruptly stopped in the middle of nature.

            Kinda ugly among all that beautiful green scenery, IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          WWJT*DD*ORJL*S?

          *Jason Torchinsky
          *Doug DeMuro
          *Johnny Lieberman

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Cadillac is a strong brand with a bright future.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Sunroofs have no significant effect on handling.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          “Looks like we’re going to stall out right before the 500 mark, unless somebody says something controversial”

          I think Donald Trump is a closet communist Should that be enough LOL

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Not as shocking for those paying attention as a few statist things have already come out of his mouth. Trouble is they are ALL statists to some degree, probably Kasich too.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Trump won’t be elected POTUS. Hillary will be. It’s a done deal.

            I’ll be voting for Gary Johnson again since I don’t like anyone out there on either side.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            Hillary, the serial liar? To be notable for a lack of veracity in DC is a dubious achievement.

            There will be more Dem crossover to Trump than there was for Reagan.

            Here me now and believe me later…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            No, no, no, William Shatner as a write in.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            heh heh heh…. Captain Kirk would engage the Klingons’ China and the Romulans’ Russia.

            And with Leonard Nimoy now gone, whooya gonna call?

          • 0 avatar
            GS 455

            “William Shatner as a write in.” Excellent choice for POTUS because The Shat was born in Montreal Quebec and he will further our insidious takeover of America. Little known fact: Bill Shatner started his acting career performing Shakespeare at the Stratford Festival in Ontario along with Christopher Plummer.

  • avatar
    maranello

    Isn’t it a sign of the end times that these pudgy bloated abominations are flying out of showrooms while VW Golf Sportwagens languish on dealer lots?

  • avatar
    Cole Grundy

    Good one

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Jack likes to try and be Judge Judy and executioner. Except, Judge Judy actually has a brain, and makes the effort to look better than him.
    His opinions are vacuous, and lack substance.
    If this site continues to employ him, I may discontinue patronage.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    Ha! I drove a ’95 Sable home tonight and listened to the front subframe crash and bang all the way home. That really happens.

    Upper middle class white women are the taste makers in this country. Not the 1% mind you, but the “my man brings home $200-300k a year and I live in a 3,500 square foot house with a 3 car garage and my 2.7 children participate in EVERY extra curricular activity possible” type. As long as they’re still in love with the CUV, everyone else will be too. If they suddenly go back to station wagons, it will happen to everyone else eventually.

    • 0 avatar

      Thank you Saul. This is the group that dictates what cars are hot here in the leafy green burbs north and west of NYC. The tiny Range Rover, yes. The SRX, not cool. The usual mercedes and bmw suspects, with the E and C and 3 and X5. Lotsa Volvos and X whatevers, especially now that BMW is pushing the x1 on lease. I expect the horrid FWD BMWs to sell very well to this group, probably with FWD as a selling point. Style and whether or not the bluetooth hooks up to the iPhone count, type of suspension, engine details, etc, not so much.

      Mama like or Mama no like dictates your sales. The move by Caddy to NYC to try to crack this group is a good attempt, but much of the desire is NOT bourne of merit. One of the local moms has an older Range Rover. It is the biggest POS I’ve ever seen, having unloaded it a few times for those kid activities. The moms love it.

      This cohort will have this generation or the last generation of whatever vehicle they drive. Two gen out is the secondhand market or sometimes kids beater. Any choices made will be safe, unless you can pull a Tesla and sell the tech/unicorn aspect. Tesla is actually fairly common in my area, as the un-Second E class Choice for the techy.

      Unlike we internet trolls, this group actually motivates a lot of money to lease or buy these cars, so their opinion is far more important than any rantings of the B & B here, myself especially included.

  • avatar
    CGHill

    A friend insists that Twilight Sparkle would drive a Volvo; I see her as more of a Honda Civic (and not a Civic Si, either) type.

    Applejack, however, is destined for an F-150.

  • avatar
    thattruthguy

    The 1970 Monte Carlo was almost exactly the same price as an Impala coupe with the same equipment, not cheaper.

  • avatar

    The Model T Ford was a multi-activity vehicle a century ago.

    It seems that’s still exactly what people want. Uncle Henry got it right.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Jack has succeeded in getting a lot of responses on this site. I will say that an Accord coupe even with a manual is not the ideal picture of a macho vehicle. Jack has left out one very important vehicle in his article, the full size crew cab pickup. Many of the men have gone from PLCs to full size crew cab pickups. Some of those aging men have gone to Mustangs, Camaros, and Challengers to relive their youth. Jack, hate it or love it a CUV has a lot more function to it than a PLC. I had a 77 Monte Carlo with swivel buckets for years which I really loved but from the stand point of practicality it was not. The doors on the Monte where large and heavy and if you wanted to get a new stereo system, furniture, or anything else a PLC was not the way to go. My man hood is not threatened by driving a CUV as long as it is not pink, purple, orange, or lipstick red.

    Jack favors Fords but the more representative PLC would be a Cutlass Supreme coupe which was the best seller and a much better car than the LTD II. GM was the leader in the intermediate car market until the Ford Taurus which redefined the midsize market and took the air out of what remained of the PLCs. The customer by then moved on from PLCs to more functional midsize sedans.


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