Hammer Time Remix: The Piper Principle

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
hammer time remix the piper principle

Wrestling fans and auto enthusiasts have a lot in common.

They can be sickeningly loyal to their favorites. Even when it’s obvious their one and only favorite is well past their prime.

They also have a bit of a dopamine problem.

Adrenalin, excitement, the thrill of seeing ‘their guy’ win the battles. It’s all there. Even for the boring ones.

Whether it’s a Camry climbing up the sales chart. Or a 1988 Toyota MR2 carving up a modern day competitor over a mountain overpass. It’s a rush to see ‘your choice’ of past and present be the best choice.

But then there’s the Piper Principle.

What about the brand that can’t sell cars to save their ass from first base? What about the company that goes bankrupt or leaves a market? Heck, what about Rowdy Roddy Piper?. For those who don’t know the guy, Piper is a funny and arrogant wise-ass whose verbal slights and coconut endorsements put him at the top of the wrestling business when roids were all the rage.

He was funnier than hell, quirky, and probably drugged out of his mind. But the essence of Piper was that the more of a heel he became, the more you rooted for the guy. Piper was the guy you loved to hate… and once you got sick of the ‘good guys’, you rooted for him.

I look at certain models the same way I looked at Piper. The Chevy Volt seems to get a lot of haters these days. Why? Well…

“It’s not as good as a real hybrid like the Toyota Prius!”

“It’s not REALLY that economical if you drive it 200+ miles every day!”

“It’s subsidized by the taxpayers.” (Note: ALL automakers throughout the world are subsidized and given resources by their respective governments.)

“It’s American, and American cars are crap! By the way, Steve? Can you help me find a car? I’m open to any suggestions you have as long as it’s a by I Want This" href="http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/hammer-time-the-piper-principle/#">Toyota Camry or Honda Accord.”

Of course certain folks have bitched and moaned about the Big 3 offering gas guzzling SUV’s and pickups for decades. While subtly ignoring Toyota’s and Honda’s desire to move into the same markets.

Hell I’ll even go out and say it. Most car enthusiasts have prejudices against car brands that are based on media and myth.

There are a lot of vehicles enthusiasts tend to despise because of nothing more than this guilt by association. The Corvette is a fantastic sports car. But a lot of car buyers can’t get past paying $50k for a Chevrolet.

The by I Want This" href="http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/hammer-time-the-piper-principle/#">Hyundai Genesis? Needs a prestigious brand name like Lexus. The IS-F does not have a Bavarian acronym in front of it. BMW equals Y-U-P-P-I-E… and so forth.

Best car? Doesn’t matter.

This line of thinking bothers me. I like to see the best car win… and I like to see people buy the best cars for them without blinders.

A Suzuki SX4 is a great under $18,000 all-wheel-drive vehicle that would have received 20 times the volume if it had a popular emblem on the front of it. I would argue the same for the 1st gen by I Want This" href="http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/hammer-time-the-piper-principle/#">Ford Fusion, the current Mazda 5, and even the Pontiac G8 when it was out and about.

Am I wrong? Perhaps. But I see writing off certain brands and models as the equivalent of writing off certain forms of music, food… and wrestlers. You can never get the full enjoyment of being an ‘enthusiast’ unless you’re willing to change your mind.

To paraphrase the Piper, “If you think you always have all the right answers, you need to start changing the questions.”

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2 of 40 comments
  • JohnTheDriver JohnTheDriver on Oct 30, 2012

    I saw a bloody Dusty Roads "beat up" Rowdy Piper when I was about 10 years old. Over the ring ropes, folding chairs crashing, the whole nine yards. Up close Roads forehead looked like a street map of LA. These guys were dedicated professionals and their profession was entertaining the hell out of this little kid ;-} As always your posts are on a different level than the rest of TTAC. I'm not going to say which car brand is my "Rowdy Piper" ... or my "Dusty Roads" ... but you have certainly given me a new way to categorize my own internal prejudice and biases. Rowdy Rodney Piper, now in verb form!

  • Jeffzekas Jeffzekas on Nov 01, 2012

    Steven: Well said! Right now, we are trying to get rid of my son's BMW- constant, niggling problems (not mentioned by the hipsters who own them!)-- Got any good deals on a used Subaru?

  • Kcflyer Nice to see California giving NY some competition to be the worst run state in the union.
  • Wolfwagen I see my comment was deleted (BTW nice way to censor) so i will say it again:GTFO here with the pseudo "wealth distribution" BS. A crime is a crime is a crime.Its a slippery slope, what happens next, Jail a rich guy when he kills a pedestrian and let the poor guy who kills a pedestrian walk? What about if the poor guy is a crappy driver and has the record to prove it then what?Or we could go crazy and just institute the death penalty across the board for every driving infraction. That will make people better drivers or stop driving altogether which will make the greenies happy (damm it I just gave them an idea - SOB!!!)
  • Wolfwagen No. Bring back the J80 with an inline six and reduced electronics (i.e. no giant touch screen) and they will probably sell like hotcakes
  • David S. " test vehicles sometimes make sudden stops when uncertain about how to navigate traffic."??? Test vehicles are programmed by humans, HUMANS sometimes make sudden stops when uncertain about how to navigate traffic, Duh!!
  • Frank The last guy was doing fine, this is a sales emergency that they're hoping Tim can fix. They want to hang onto the crazy margins from the covid era, which now in the face of abundant inventory, insane interest rates and inflation are a long distant wet dream. Its time to start offering value again, cash on the hood and 0% financing. Move the metal!