The One Percent Get Their Own Detroit Show

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth

Sherman’s father had always taken the subway to Wall Street… It was a matter of principle. The more grim the subways became, the more graffiti those people scrawled on the cars… the more determined was John Campbell McCoy that they weren’t going to drive him off the New York City subways. But to the new breed, the young breed, the masterful breed, Sherman’s breed, there was no such principle. Insulation! That was the ticket. That was the term Rawlie Thorpe used. ”If you want to live in New York,” he once told Sherman, ”you’ve got to insulate, insulate, insulate,” meaning insulate yourself from those people. The cynicism and smugness of the idea struck Sherman as very au courant.

— Tom Wolfe, “Bonfire Of The Vanities”

As the United States slouches towards Rio to be reborn as a place where one can only live in the one-percenter heaven or unemployed, lower-class hell, insulation has become a concept with validity far outside Manhattan. The latest manifestation of this sans hoi polloi attitude: “The Gallery”, where “high-net-worth” individuals can meet their next status symbols without the offensive presence of regular people.

The Detroit online magazine Mlive quotes one of the organizers and describes the delights to be had:

According to Caza, The Gallery gives the “1 percent” a unique chance to meet with the executives from the luxury brands and be able to compare all the vehicles in one place.

The Gallery also features a strolling pre-glow dinner with renowned celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck and a post-glow fashion event.

Puck, who says he is not a “car guy,” said he has brought food from all over the world for the one-night event in Detroit.

“I really like this blue collar town,” said Puck, who drives a Cadillac Escalade. “I really think what I like about Detroit, as bad as people saw it was, that our car industry really got their (stuff) together and they do better.

Hard to imagine that Mr. Puck will get too much of the blue-collar experience serving meals to $500-a-ticket “HNW” consumers, but there you have it.

TTAC couldn’t get anyone in to see the “Gallery”, since we were unwilling to kiss the proverbial [s]rod[/s] ring, but we did find this picture of a Lamborghini on Twitter:

While it’s easy to understand why the luxury marques don’t want everyone in Cobo Hall banging up against their inventory — a decade ago, your humble author saw a fellow in a “FUBU” jacket uncaringly drag his zipper along the entire rear flank of a Porsche 996 GT2 — there is something disturbing about the idea of there being a Good Car Show and a Show For The Rest Of Us. Naturally, TTAC will be covering the Show For The Rest Of Us, starting tomorrow. See you there!

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2 of 17 comments
  • Mitchw Mitchw on Jan 08, 2012

    Autoline After Hours had two guys from NAIAS on, saying that the special venue was employed because it was too expensive for these tiny high end car companies to take space at Cobo. Also, Amex was rounding up black card holders and inviting them over. What great showmanship to make it seem exclusive.

  • Stuki Stuki on Jan 09, 2012

    A few more development cycles of this (go-fast cars designed by input from destists, lawyers and others of that ilk), and the 1 percenters will really need some repressive mileage regulations to keep from being ran circles around by ricers in hopped up evos.

  • Zerofoo "Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded."Never. A friend had an early 90s Hyundai Excel as his college beater. One day he decided that the last tank of gas he bought was worth more than the car. He drove it to empty and then he and his fraternity brothers pushed it into the woods and left it there.
  • Kwik_Shift There are no new Renegades for sale within my geographic circle of up to 85 kms. Looks like the artificial shortage game. They bring one in, 10 buyers line up for it, $10,000 over MSRP. Yeah. Like with a lot of new cars.
  • Ribbedroof In Oklahoma, no less!
  • Ribbedroof Have one in the shop for minor front collision repairs right now,I've seen more of these in the comments than in the 30 years I've been in collision repair.
  • Tassos And all 3 were ordered by Fisker's mother. Seriously, given Fisker's terrible record of Failure in the past, only an utter loser, (for example, VGhost or Art Vandelay?), looking for a BEV terrible enough to be a proper replacement of his 11 mile range Fiat 500E, would order one of these. (apart from Fisker's mother)