Here are some of my best reads from the last few days of online automotive reading (and something from the fringe).
I don’t know if you’d call this list definitive, but it’s entertaining. Jalopnik compiled a list of the Ten Best Automotive Ads and there are a couple of Swedes amongst them – one each from Volvo and Saab. I’m not sure they picked the right Volvo ad (I prefer the one with the Lamborghini) but the Saab one was a favourite.
Not a real ad
Spotted, photographed and caption-added by my mate Turbin a few days ago.
Jalopnik’s still on my RSS feed because once or twice a week you still get a story that’s worth reading (see the ads story, above). That’s maybe two read-worthy stories out of the 300-or-so they publish every week. Jalopnik’s entry rate is frenetic nowadays, which would be great if they had useful content. But Jalopnik’s style has regressed in the last 18 months and they’re publishing a heck of a lot of trash now.
I think it was around 1995 that it dawned on me how much I hate commercial FM radio. All those slick, contrived phrases delivered by silky, confected voices. It was evident even back then that they were in a race to the bottom in terms of delivering radio content that appealed to the lowest common denominator; something that’s only got worse with the passage of time and the emergence of the 24-hour media cycle. But the worst bit was the delivery method – slick, contrived humour that sounded slimy and eventually, got annoying.
Jalopnik is the automotive equivalent of commercial FM radio.
This was the most recent noteworthy example, from a post leading up to Pebble Beach:
There will be crashes and auctions. Weird fashion. Weird people. Unicorn cars. And some guy dressed head-to-toe in Ferrari attire even though he just owns a 308. We will love that guy.
“Even though he just owns a 308”
There are brands that I don’t have an interest in ever owning, but I’ve got plenty of respect for those that do. Yes, a guy willing to have his wallet hoovered and dress head-to-toe in Rosso will be eye-catching and maybe even snigger-worthy, but base that on his fashion sense, not because you think he drives a ‘lesser Ferrari’.
Any Ferrari, the 308 included (the 308 especially, if you ask me), is worthy of a car guy’s respect. For most that eventually do it, owning a Ferrari – any Ferrari – is a long-held dream. I don’t know about the situation in the USA (Jalopnik’s home ground) but here in Australia, the commitment one makes when buying even the most affordable Ferrari – which right now is the Mondial – is a massive one.
First, you have to save money like a madman and fork out more than many brand-new midsize cars just to reach that most accessible level of Ferrari ownership. The sheer fact that a 308 or a Mondial can be bought by the committed at a remotely ‘accessible’ price is something to be enjoyed while the situation exists. It’s not something to be sniggered at.
Then you’ve got to maintain it, which is not a simple or cheap affair.
What really irks me is those who sit on the sidelines with their wannabe cheersquads and take the piss out of those who commit their hobby time and hobby resources to really achieving what is for them, a dream. Sure, they’re not conquering cancer or teaching under-privileged kids how to read or anything – how many car guys or girls do? – but they’re pursuing for them what is quite likely the appreciation of a level of creativity, passion and craftsmanship that’s becoming less accessible as time goes on. Cars like these are, for many, a mechanical expression of human automotive passion.
To those who commit to caring for one of these cars, I doff my hat.
And yes, this is a little bit personal. Aside from the fashion sense, I am that guy (I’ll admit I’ve barely got any fashion sense, but enough to avoid ever spending much at a Ferrari store). I’d love to have a Ferrari one day, whether it be a Mondial or a 308/328. And incidentally, the only example of a 308 I’ve ever ridden in was owned and driven by former Saab USA chief Bob Sinclair. He’s a bloke I’d be happy to emulate.
Now that I’ve got that off my chest……
Petrolicious has put together a brief but memorable pictorial from Pebble Beach.
They didn’t go onto the manicured lawns and photograph the cars all perfectly parked. They waited outside and photographed the cars doing what they were made to do – they got the cars driving.
Tesla goes 5-star+
I’ve thrown a few bricks at Tesla in the last 18 months or so – pun intended – but credit where credit’s due.
The Tesla Model S just got 5-stars in it’s crash test and if the scale went higher than five stars, there’s a good chance they might have reached higher, too. It’s being touted as quite possibly the best crash-test result ever achieved under the NHTSA regime in the United States.
A Tesla Model S isn’t for everyone, but for those who get one, it’s good to know they’re about as safe as a car can be right now.
Congratulations to Tesla.
And finally, for those who have made it this far……
We’re in election mode in Australia right now. Politicians are everywhere and we’re all sick to death of them. This, however, is a pleasure. And with 214,000 views on Youtube in 24 hours, you’d call it a success, too.
A cameraman for our national broadcaster also happens to be the bass player in a band. He used his Canberra-based job and connections to talk a bunch of our federal politicians in to appearing in his band’s film clip. The song is about the 24-hour nature of the political news cycle that he works in, so the pollies’ appearances were probably as cathartic as they were relevant.
The clip features the current Prime Minister (behind the newspaper) as well as the current opposition leader who’s after his job (spinning the bike wheel). There’s a bunch of other prominent Australian politicians and press reporters, too, one of whom is ironing his underpants.
Can’t imagine Obama, Cameron or Putin doing a clip like this. Well, maybe Putin.