Friday, January 11, 2008

Detroit Fought Back?


The North American International Auto Show / Detroit Auto Show comes to town in January, so here we are.

Looking around parking lots lately, I'm seeing a lot of squat blobby things in gray scale -- a cross between Moon Rovers and Humvees, quite a dispiriting style but fitting for the last year of the Bush regime during its "War on Terror."

Back in 1970, Detroit supposedly began "fighting back" against international competitors with cars like the American Motors Corporation (AMC) Gremlin -- junky little comedies on wheels. Gremlins were everywhere in the seventies, coming in handy during repeated "energy crises."


Let's not forget the AMC Pacer (1975-1980), a mini-flying saucer on wheels. Fun to ride in as a kid -- my parents rented one briefly while the regular car was being repaired, if memory serves.


Today's real auto story is the new Tata Nano, unveiled yesterday at the New Delhi Auto Expo. The car costs $2,500 and gets 47 miles to the gallon! If a future variant of this Indian city car sells in Europe and the Americas, watch out!

AMC, meanwhile, was in 1987 absorbed by Chrysler, which retained its remnants as JeepEagle.


Today's Rune: Movement.

10 comments:

Johnny Yen said...

I used to joke about AMC-- that they went down to the car design schools and specifically requested to hire the bottom ten percent of the class. They had a talent for designing ugly cars. The Pacer, the Eagle, the Concorde and most notably the Gremlin.

The thought of 100 million or more cheap cars sucking resources from this planet and adding to global warming is not a comforting one.

Wayne said...

Just when I thought it was gonna be a mundane rainy day, you went and threw in a spark, again. Good one, Erik!

the walking man said...

I wonder what will happen to the TATA when it is run over by a classic Gremlin?

Peace

mark

lulu said...

I drove a purple 1979 AMC Hornet station wagon in high school. I loved that car.

Charles Gramlich said...

A pollution device available at a price almost anyone can afford. I can smell the quality of the air declining now.

t said...

We're so "post-" now, like "post-modern" I think there's the "post-car" thing now. The Tata Nanos are cool, as are the Hybrids and lo-emissions and high mileage per gallon concepts. I'm *kind of* over cars now though. Cities need mass-transit, with good rail and the like, cars come to be seen as expensive and inconvenient. Lagos needs railways p-ronto. Someone's goig to make craploads building them.
Miss you(r blog), and happy new year.

luma said...

Ugly these! vi a photo of the "Cadillac Provoq" and I was made an impression! Certain Tá that advertising executive, but the car assumes the politically correct, using material ones recycle, as covering of the ceiling covered for a material based on soy; carpet of recycled polyester and jute; leather of the banks and the panel of instruments without toxic chemical substances. It speaks of the new features later! Happy new year! Erik, you deserves everything of good! Beijus

Lana Gramlich said...

For a while for some strange reason I liked the bubbly look of the Pacer. I think I was medicated at the time...
Ever notice how there are no "classic" modern cars? I mean, there are still the classic classics--the '57 Chevy, the Model T Ford, etc.--but no 1980 Mustangs, etc. on the roads. I'm sure this is because they're made like total crap today (not to mention the typically bland styling.) The "classic" car is well on its way to extinction.
As far as "better" cars go now, there's really NO reason why we can't abolish cars altogether & put in public transit systems throughout the country. Well, there's ONE reason; too many industry insiders would lose too much money. That's why public transportation (which started very strong,) was muscled into a subordinate role by the automakers. Ah, progress...

Erik Donald France said...

Thanks all, for the comments!

Lana, the Pacer was certainly interesting. The PT Cruiser may be a car we'll remember from this cycle. The Hummer is a good example of conspicuous consumption ;)

Erik Donald France said...

p.s. I'm all for mass transit, wherever it can work.

Cheers everybody ==