QOTD: What Automotive-Related Policy Would You Like the Next Congress to Pursue?

The midterm elections were yesterday, and I'm thinking about politics. You probably are, too.

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Remember That Boris Johnson Was Once a Car Reviewer

One of the bigger pieces of geopolitical news this week involves Boris Johnson. The U.K. prime minister is stepping down.

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Crypto Meme Not Yet Confirmed as NASCAR Sponsor

NASCAR driver Brandon Brown — he of the “Let’s Go Brandon” fame — has secured sponsorship from cryptocurrency meme coin LGB.coin.io for his 2022 Xfinity Series ride.

However, there’s one problem — NASCAR has yet to approve it.

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Opinion: Toyota's Political Giving Encourages the Big Lie

A report from Axios shows that Toyota has given $55,000 to 37 Republican politicians who objected to the certification of Joe Biden’s election as president of the United States.

That’s about a quarter of the number of GOP pols who voted against certifying Biden’s win.

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Rare Rides: The 2012 Maybach 57 S Coupe by Xenatec, as Ordered by Muammar Gaddafi

Today’s Rare Ride is a custom-built version of an already-exclusive car. Originally a large sedan, Xenatec’s 57 S coupe was built only in the single digits.

And this particular example was ordered by a dictator.

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Pardon Me, Did I Do Something Wrong?

Among those receiving a Presidential pardon included Anthony Levandowski and Elliott Broidy. Trump’s largesse was noted in a story on Autoblog that appeared earlier today.

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Automotive Politics: A Tale of Two Industries?

Politics have corrupted just about everything under the sun over the last few years. Practically everything is political in 2020 and if you have an opinion about that, it had better be the correct one and sanctioned by your preferred party. After all, having an approved take is far more important that an accurate one. But what of the automotive industry? Where do the carmakers fall on the supposedly important spectrum?

Well, we know that the UAW predictably endorsed Joe Biden for president way back in spring. But those heading the companies distributing union members’ paychecks quite literally came to Donald Trump in 2017 to ask that he take it easy on them. Obama-era regulations had made efficiency mandates so strict, that automakers had become convinced they’d be unable to meet them in the years ahead. While Trump’s relationship with the industry often runs hot and cold, he pushed for a fueling rollback that placed federal authorities at odds with California and kicked off a regulatory conflict of epic proportions.

Assuming Biden wins the election, those stringent emissions mandates will undoubtedly come back into play — surrounded on all sides by his climate and environmental justice proposal, which makes a federal investment of $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years. While automotive exclusives are hesitant to share their regulatory fears with the general public, especially as they attempt to put on the greenest face possible for marketing purposes, there are real concerns that the U.S. could embrace policies similar to Europe. That could force a change of course for a few companies and complicate the overall trajectory for the U.S. market.

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Rare Rides: The 1971 Tatra 2-603 II, East Germany's Stasi Transport

Today’s Rare Ride has a checkered history, as it served as quiet shuttle for secret police and terrorist spies alike. Let’s find out more about this rear-engine Czechoslovakian V8 luxury car.

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Everyone Who's Not a Shareholder Is Reportedly Angry Over GM's Decision to Slash Jobs

The big news this week is General Motors’ decision to cull its lineup, closing plants and sacking about 15 percent of its North American workforce in the process. According to Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, GM’s official reasons for doing so are all part of its grand plan to transition to a company focused on electric vehicles and self-driving cars.

While we harbor a vague suspicion that the automaker is actually trying to prepare itself for an incoming economic downturn, leaving itself with plenty of financial wiggle room, GM currently enjoys relatively healthy profits (thank you, truck sales) and a lofty share price. In fact, GM shares rose nearly 5 percent after it announced the shuttering of several plants in the U.S. and Canada, cutting as many as 14,800 jobs.

Unfortunately, GM’s investors seem to be the only group that’s pleased with the decision. Everyone else appears to be absolutely furious.

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Daimler's Works Council Claims Company Is Being 'Infiltrated by Nazis'

On Wednesday, Daimler’s German workers union publicly expressed concerns that neo-Nazis are trying to organize within the automaker’s ranks. While it did not specify which political groups were involved, it named several individuals from the Untertürkheim Mercedes-Benz plant in southern Germany and described the overall situation as “not acceptable.”

The works council believes Nazis are currently using Zentrum Automobil, an alternative labor union formed in 2009, as a base of operations to infiltrate the factory and placed several of its members on its board. “The Untertürkheim plant now appears in the media as a reservoir for neo-Nazis and a center of right-wing extremist activities,” explained members opposing the supposed infiltration.

That’s not great publicity for a German automaker with a rich history dating back through the Second World War. However, if the last year has taught us anything, it’s that the term “Nazi” currently gets thrown around more than a frisbee at a picnic. Are the claims valid?

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Ford Econoline 150 Campaign Van
During the 2016 American presidential election, those voters who loathed both Trump and Clinton had the option of voting for one of a couple of long-shot third-party candidates, or perhaps the far more rational fourth-party candidate. Those rebellious souls who opted for the fourteenth-party candidate in 2016 went for that Econoline-driving Californian: Jussy G.G. Prussly.Here is Jussy’s once-glorious van, now retired in a Central Valley self-service wrecking yard.
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A Loyalty Oath Moment At Dodge

It’s the stuff of which public relations nightmares are made.

For the past couple of years Dodge has sponsored Motor Trend‘s “Roadkill” show, which can be thought of as a generic white-label take on Fast N’ Loud. It’s worth noting that Dodge did several promotions with Rawlings before parting ways with him and settling for the Roadkill team; the brand appears to believe that its heartland audience is best reached through flamboyant/quasi-authentic/redneck-chic YouTube personalities. What that says about FCA’s view of its customers is an exercise best left to the reader.

This past weekend, Dodge and Roadkill teamed for “Roadkill Nights on Woodward,” a staged car show and street-drag event in Detroit. There’s been no small amount of interest in this among the company’s owner base and from what I can see the event was a rip-roaring success, chock-full of Vipers and Demons and whatnot. Whenever an automaker spends this much money on any public relations exercise, there is always a tremendous amount of data deep-diving done immediately afterwards to demonstrate ROI of the expenditure via social media visibility, buff-book coverage, and mainstream mentions. Given the big turnout both online and in real life, I’m sure Dodge and its marketing partners were looking forward to the Monday meeting where they could pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

As it turns out, this weekend was an absolute barn burner of Dodge-branded media exposure. Unfortunately, the Dodge in question wasn’t a Demon lifting its front wheels on Woodward. Instead, it was a V6-powered 2010 Challenger that was driven into a crowd of anti-white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, causing one fatality and multiple injuries.

The odd coincidence of a “Roadkill”-themed promotion with a Challenger-caused hit-and-run fatality in Charlottesville has pundits on both sides of America’s culture war salivating — and with this unforeseen notoriety comes an unusual, and nearly unprecedented, demand.

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General Motors CEO Mary Barra Chosen for Trump Advisory Panel

President-elect Donald Trump has named General Motors CEO Mary Barra to his advisory board on economic issues and jobs growth.

While this could also be a coincidental slight against Mark Fields for publicly criticizing the new president’s repeated verbal attacks against Ford, this isn’t the first time Barra has been considered for unexpected political involvement this year. Hillary Clinton had shortlisted her as a possible running mate for the 2016 election.

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Would You Buy a Car From This Politician?

It’s morning in America. Just before noon Eastern Time, actually.

If decades of Gallup polling is correct, and we’re inclined to believe it is, car salespeople and members of Congress have among the lowest reputations of any profession in the U.S. Surprised? Not likely. It’s probably why you never see politicians in car commercials, even if they’ll gladly lend their name to products like Pepsi and Viagra. We’re looking at you, Bob Dole.

That doesn’t mean the two worlds never mix.

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Wikileaks: GM CEO Mary Barra Was Shortlisted by Clinton for VP Nomination

General Motors CEO Mary Barra was under consideration to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate. Barra’s name, along with the names of 39 other candidates for the vice presidency, were found in a hacked email released today by WikiLeaks.

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  • Beachy Asphalt only works to keep the dirt road below it dry, and it is the dry dirt that holds up the asphalt surface to make a smooth road surface. Once the asphalt cracks or a spring wells up and the dirt gets wet, all bets are off. It is usually due to a spring that perennial potholes form. They are very hard to get rid of.
  • JamesG I’m the owner of the featured car that’s currently on EBay. Thanks for such a nice write up on these automobiles. Mine happens to be in excellent condition and the photos don’t do it justice. The HT4100 isn’t as bad as some made them out to be and they can go 200k miles with proper maintenance. I also own a 79 w/the analog fuel injected 5.7 350 which should have been used through 1985 but ever-increasing CAFE regulations called for more economical power plants which made GM shelve this great motor.
  • Jeff S Adam on Rare Classic Cars recently bought a pristine 71 Kenosha Cadillac.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY-G2dExgXE&ab_channel=RareClassicCars%26AutomotiveHistory
  • Jeff S Wouldn't most of the large suvs in NYC be livery vehicles? If so that would be hurting those who make their living by driving for hire.
  • EBFlex Yes their mass transit is great if you want to be beat within an inch of your life or pushed onto the tracks by some random psycho.