Hammer Time: Our Disappearing Rear Ends

hammer time our disappearing rear ends

Yesterday's butcher is today's forensic anthropologist..

Can your car move a corpse?

Well, if you lived in my home state of New Jersey in the 1970’s, most any car of that time could accommodate this minor inconvenience. Imapalas, Aspens, Volares, even so-called sporty subcompacts like the Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon could handle that load.

Need to bury a starting basketball team that crossed the wrong bookie? Or a Little League team that needs to be put on Icees? Pull out the family’s Lincoln or Caddy and hack at it. Even a Chevy would do. You could have even towed about 2000 to 5000 pounds of authentic Teamster’s cement just to smooth it all out.

But nowadays? Trunk space? Fuhgeddaboudit!!!

This is what passes for storage space these days. Enough rear storage for a family weekend vacation. But definitely not enough for a ‘National Lampoon” road trip. Sure you can fold those seats down. Add a luggage cage. A roof rack. Maybe even a handy dandy shelf adjuster like the prior-gen Chevy Malibu Maxx.

But how about the bodies? How can you transport four live bodies (for now) and their worldly possessions in one of these things?

We are at a day of reckoning when it comes to trunk space. Even for big vehicles, the space is quickly getting smaller. You open up the rear of today’s metrosexual SUV/CUV and you’ll find… seats. Usually two or three ‘mini-minivan’ seats that are less comfortable than the rear facing seats of times past. Well, those were quite terrible as well. But the big point is that the once glorious rears of a generation ago have been given a CAFE treatment.

The need for rear seat room while getting a misleading measurement of MPG’s… has greatly reduced the need for trunk space. The increasing use of hybrid batteries in mainstream models… has reduced it. More importantly, the rise in empty nesters and single parent households have reduced the genuine need for rear end storage.

Is this a good thing? Since folks often use backpacks and garbage bags for their travels these days instead of intensely rigid combo-and-locked Samsonites, will our automotive rears continue to be nipped, tucked, and lipoed?

What says you?

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  • Tallnikita Tallnikita on Nov 30, 2011

    Trunk is a huge reason keeping me with my Volvo 240. Big stroller and laundry all fit at once. Couple of tool boxes too.

  • Suedenim Suedenim on Nov 30, 2011

    Several comments here about the awful cargo capacities of Camaros, both old and new, but you could cram a remarkable amount of stuff in the hatchback Camaros of the '80s. I carried all sorts of crap in my 1986 Camaro at college, and then hauled a four-year accumulation of stuff back home upon LEAVING college, including big boxes of books, some furniture items, etc. I also transported 7 people in it once, though I wouldn't advise it, nor would I advise the car itself, which was a gawdawful piece of crap on the whole. Come to think of it, cargo space might have been its chief virtue!

  • Wolfwagen When will GM and Dodge/Ram come out with a BOF 2 door sport utility? Im not one that jumps on the first year new vehicle bandwagon, but for a new Ramcharger, I'd sleep out in front of a dealership for days to be first in line for preordering (or infront of my computer for hours)
  • Wolfwagen Is it me or does the front end look like a smaller silverado?
  • MQHokie Who decided moving all headlight control to the touchscreen was a good idea? I assume this means no manual high beam control anymore, so you're at the mercy of the automatic system that gets fooled by street lights, porch lights, sign reflections etc. Not to mention a good software bug or a light sensor failure might render the lights inoperable. With all the restrictions the NHTSA has placed on USA headlight design over the years, it amazes me that this is even legal.
  • Teddyc73 The Bronco just doesn't have enough editions and models.
  • ToolGuy @Matt, let me throw this at you:Let's say I drive a typical ICE vehicle 15,000 miles/year at a typical 18 mpg (observed). Let's say fuel is $4.50/gallon and electricity cost for my EV will be one-third of my gasoline cost - so replacing the ICE with an EV would save me $2,500 per year. Let's say I keep my vehicles 8 years. That's $20,000 in fuel savings over the life of the vehicle.If the vehicles have equal capabilities and are otherwise comparable, a rational typical consumer should be willing to pay up to a $20,000 premium for the EV over the ICE. (More if they drive more.)TL;DR: Why do they cost more? Because they are worth it (potentially).
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