QOTD: Pass the Fromage?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

“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everyone in sight (or earshot) that your soul was empty, your imagination was nonexistent, and your wardrobe would be outdated in two years.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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • -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.

  • Scott What people want is the Jetson Car sound.This has come up before.
  • Joerg I just bought a Corolla Cross Hybrid SE a few weeks ago, and I regret it. But not for any of the reasons stated so far. It drives well enough for me, gas mileage is great for a car like that, the interior is fine, nothing to complain about for normal daily use. I bought this relatively small SUV thinking it is basically just a smaller version of the RAV4 (the RAV4 felt too big for me, drives like a tank, so I never really considered it). I also considered the AWD Prius, but storage capacity is just too small (my dog would not fit in the small and low cargo space).But there are a few things that I consider critical for me, and that I thought would be a given for any SUV (and therefore did not do my due diligence before the purchase): It can’t use snow chains per the manual, nor any other snow traction devices. Even with AWD, snow chains are sometimes required where I go, or just needed to get out of a stuck situation.The roof rack capacity is only a miniscule 75 lbs, so I can’t really load my roof top box with stuff for bigger trips.Ironically, the European version allows snow chains and roof rack capacity is 165 lbs. Same for the US Prius version. What was Toyota thinking?Lastly, I don’t like that there is no spare tire, but I knew that before the purchase. But it is ridiculous that this space is just filled up with a block of foam. At least it should be made available for additional storage. In hindsight, I should have bought a RAV4. The basic LE Hybrid version would have been just about 1k more.
  • MaintenanceCosts Looks like the best combination of capability, interior comfort, and subtle appearance can be achieved by taking a Laramie (crew cab, short bed, 4x4 of course) and equipping it with the Sport Appearance, Towing Technology, and Level 2 packages as well as a few standalone options. That's my pick.Rebel is too CRUSH THAT CAN BRO and Limited and up are too cowboy Cadillac.
  • Xidex easier to buy a mustang that already sounds like that. love the coyote growl
  • Oberkanone Shaker motor on an EV. No thanks.