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 rod 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!

Jack Baruth
Jack Baruth

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  • 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.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic Once e-mail was adopted by my former employer, we were coached about malice software as early as the 90's. We called it "worms" back then.They were separating the computers that ran the power plants from the rest of the system in the early 00's. One plant supervisor loaded vacation pictures from a thumb drive on his work PC. His PC was immediately isolated and the supervisor in question was made an example of via a disciplinary notice. Word spread quickly!!Last I heard, they still had their own data center!! Cloud Computing, what's that?!?! 🚗🚗🚗
  • 3SpeedAutomatic At this time, GM had a "Me Too" attitude towards engine development:[list][*]the Euro luxury brands have diesels, so can we via an Olds V8[/*][*]variable value timing, welcome to the brave new world of Cadillac V8-6-4[/*][*]an aluminum block V8 engine via the HT4100, the go-go 80's[/*][*]double overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder, no sweat, just like the Asian brands via NorthStar. [/*][/list]When you mindset is iron block and cast iron heads, life if easy. However, each time, GM failed to understand the nuances; intricate differences; and technical difficulty in each new engine program. Each time, GM came away with egg on its face and its reputation in ruin.If you look today, the engines in most Cadillacs are the same as in many Chevrolets. 🚗🚗🚗
  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉