Ask The Best And Brightest: What Have Hippies Done For Cars?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

What did the hippie say to the horse? Woooaahh. What the figurative hippie said to the car is an entirely more ambiguous matter…

After all, if you ask the most stereotypical members of the counterculture how they feel about cars, they’ll likely preach about capitalism, oil dependence, environmentalism and the simple joys of bicycling… before driving off in (depending on their sub-genus) either a Prius, biodiesel Benz W123, Volvo 240, Subaru Loyale, or ancient Volkswagen. But then, this automotive ambivalence is hardly unique to any cultural clique anymore, is it? As I depart for an annual weekend of hippie indulgence at the famous Oregon Country Fair (though a vast gulf divides me from the typical hippie on questions of economics, politics, and hygiene, I consider myself an “ethnic” or “non-practicing” hippie), I’m wondering how TTAC’s Best And Brightest interpret the impact of the 60s counterculture on automobiles. Pleases note: this is not an invitation to wallow in pure stereotype… check out the video of The Doors’ Jim Morrison caning his Shelby GT500 for proof that hippies are not all created equal.

I, for one, nominate biodiesel as an important component in the automotive landscape that would not be as widely known were it not for the hippies. It’s not a perfect solution, it’s not a fuel that can replace gasoline on a broad scale, but it allows individuals more dedicated to principle than practicality (a good working definition of the modern hippie) to enjoy cars without the bummers associated with fossil fuels. Will you see me diving into the grease dumpster outside a Chinese restaurant anytime soon? Not likely. But for those who care more about their personal impact on the world than I, biodiesel technology is one of the most satisfying hair shirts available, allowing transportation on recycled fuel.


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  • DIYer DIYer on Jul 09, 2010

    This song went to #1 on both the pop and country charts in 1975, and eventually became the basis of a movie starring Kris Kristofferson as 'Rubber Duck'. I think the line about the hippie van was the most memorable: C.W. MCCALL "Convoy" Well we shot the line, an' we went for broke With a thousand screamin' trucks And eleven long-haired friends of Jesus In a chartreusse microbus.

  • Psmisc Psmisc on Jul 12, 2010

    A VW T4 (1990s) camper van still costs $20-30k in North America. Middle-class hippies are very much alive. http://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/sss?query=eurovan+camper&srchType=A

  • Bfisch81 My friend's mom bought a fully loaded 96 and I remember really liking it. I still thought my granddad's 89 was cooler and sportier but the 96 felt more luxury which wasn't a bad thing in and of itself.
  • Art Vandelay Battery issues aside, I didn’t hate it. I’d have just been paying for range I didn’t need.
  • THX1136 Saying that because 'marked up' vehicles are selling means they are not over priced assumes the folks paying over MSRP know that they are paying more than the manufacturer price set for the vehicle and are happy to do so. I'm guessing in some instances it may be the buyer is ignorant of the situation - or buys with a 'I gotta have it now, I can't wait' attitude. As others have mentioned if one does the work to find a fair price, they don't have to pay an inflated price. Laziness enters into the equation too. But I would agree, generally, that if folks are paying an unreasonably high price they must be okay with that. If demand drops significantly, prices would moderate. Big if.
  • Kosmo Short bed? That's it?! Ranger becomes the only option if you want an actual truck bed?!
  • Probert There's something wrong with that chart. The 9 month numbers for Tesla, in the chart, are closer to Tesla's Q3 numbers. They delivered 343,830 cars in q3 and YoY it is a 40% increase. They sold 363,830 but deliveries were slowed at the end of the quarter - no cars in inventory. For the past 9 months the total sold is 929,910 . So very good performance considering a major shutdown for about a month in China (Covid, factory revamp). Not sure if the chart is also inaccurate for other makers.
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