QOTD: Pass the Fromage?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd pass the fromage

“How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?” – Charles de Gaulle

I have a friend, one whose living room is decked out in red shag carpeting, who often jokes that his tastes in fashion and other trappings of life tend to straddle the line between respectable and… over the top. Cheeseball, in other words. Many times I’ll find myself suggesting, in that delicate manner long-time friends are so good at, that perhaps he’s teetered off that fence and fallen solidly on the wrong side of it.

In the auto realm, cheese is more than ever relegated to the aftermarket, but perhaps OEMs haven’t left this dairy product entirely in the past?

It was Matthew Guy’s mention of Altezza tail lamps that got me thinking of loud, “look at me” displays of bad automotive taste. In the early years of this century, back when Corey was tooling to school in his Audi, Nelly blasting from the stereo, those tail lamps — often combined with a tacked-on spoiler, do-it-yourself yellow mirrors and rimzz, and oversized subs pumping out the bass — signalled to everyone in sight (or earshot) that your soul was empty, your imagination was nonexistent, and your wardrobe would be outdated in two years.

Yet once upon a time, automakers bent over backwards to give those of questionable taste exactly what they wanted. The Seventies brought the mother lode. If you were into vanning, jeans, or screaming chickens, domestic automakers had the ride for you.

Looking for bodyside stripes that match your rainbow suspenders? Order it from the factory!

Wishing you could be a high-rolling pimp but fearful of the legal consequences? Premium marques have what you need!

These days, and for some time, really, automakers have cooled off, producing vehicles increasingly born of committees and focus groups, specializing in offending no one in order to attract the broadest range of buyers, while at the same time reducing build configurations to keep the beancounters happy. The Germans seems to have things under control, for the most part. Japan, too, though the Civic Type R is a prime candidate for this debate.

Larger bastions of free expression remain, however, and if you’re thinking of the truck segment, your mind is on the right track.

While our question today is “do cheesy vehicles still exist in factory-fresh form?”, this writer posits that, in the absence of Testarossas and Trans Ams, and with the C7 Vette now in the dustbin, the truck world is where you’ll still find cheese. Power Wagon, anyone? Sure, it mingles with fearsome capability, but it’s over the top, nonetheless. (Which isn’t to say it’s undesirable, as an overstuffed Eldorado from the mid-70s still has a lot going for it.)

What say you, B&B? What new vehicle would you consider “cheeseball”?

[Image: Corey Lewis/TTAC, Honda]

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2 of 47 comments
  • -Nate -Nate on Nov 06, 2019

    In matters of taste, every one else is wrong . =8-) . -Nate

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Nov 09, 2019

    I must have become desensitized to cheese, or I don't quite understand the reference. Mostly what I see are factory fresh tacky designs (such as the Civic), but those are all that's available for those nameplates.

  • MaintenanceCosts All I want is one more cylinder. One more cylinder and I would happily pay the diesel fraud company almost whatever they wanted for it.
  • SPPPP US like Citroen - nothing moves.
  • Jeff S Corey--Thanks again for this serious and despite the lack of comments this is an excellent series. Powell Crosley does not get enough recognition and is largely forgotten even in his hometown of Cincinnati although the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Airport has 2 Crosley cars on display. Crosley revolutionized radios by making an affordable radio that the masses could afford similar to what Henry Ford did with the Model T. Both Crosley and Ford did not invent the radio and the car but they made them widespread by making them affordable. I did not know about the Icyball but I did know about Crosley refrigerators, airplanes, cars, and radios.
  • Oberkanone C5 Aircross is the only vehicle that would have any appeal in North America. Can't see it doing well with Citroen badge, maybe a chance with Chrysler badge.
  • Oberkanone 1921 thru 1936 are the best