Editor’s Note: This week, Peter follows up last week’s incendiary Rant with an eloquent rebuttal to the haters out there who suggest he should “stick to cars.” In On The Table we look at a new Maserati, Aston Martin’s first motorcycle, an off-the-charts Rolls-Royce commission that defies well, everything, and we revisit the latest from Buick marketing. And our AE Song of the Week is the “The Flame” by Cheap Trick. In Fumes, we bring you the next chapter of Peter’s popular motorsports series with “The Muscle Boys, Part VII.” And finally, in The Line, it’s Max Verstappen again in the F1 opener in Bahrain. We’re on it. -WG
By Peter M. DeLorenzo
Detroit. Well, it has been another tumultuous week around here (and that would be different from every other week, how? -WG) as I had the temerity to write my column about something other than cars (read last week’s “The United States of Mediocrity” here). Most of our AE readers are accustomed to going along with the roller-coaster ride of content that we create here every week, but others find that my providing commentary about “other things” is tantamount to a federal offense.
We gave up trying to predict what our readers take away from my columns long ago, as more often than not they will alight on a particular passage and make assumptions about the rest of the column and what it all means. We have found that those who do that can be puzzling, to say the least. And more often than not, wrong. One reader even interpreted last week’s column as somehow being an endorsement of a twice-impeached, heavily-indicted, disgraced former President, and that couldn’t be further from the High-Octane Truth.
But the knee-jerk refrain from some quarters is always the “stick to cars” rejoinder, as if my writing about anything than cars is an affront to their sensibilities somehow. As you might imagine, that doesn’t sit well with me (No. Shit. Dot. Com. -WG). But, as I said last week, we’ve become an airy, vapid wasteland of unserious people spewing flat-out stupidity 24 hours a day. The collective “we” dines on a cotton candy menu devoid of substantive ideas and purpose. Fewer and fewer things have true meaning and retain genuine, legitimate value because people are all too busy with relentless self-absorption and the pursuit of “more” to pull their heads out of their asses and actually see where this is all going. And oh, by the way? That downward spiral is accelerating.
So, “stick to cars”? Not. Gonna. Happen. Dot. Com.
Yes, this website is called autoextremist.com, we get it. Yes, the True Believers are still giving it their all in this industry, and the Design community is still artfully creating compelling, interesting design work – although I’m not counting the endless interpretations of the SUV as such. But the fact of the matter is that the automobile business as it exists right now is a swirling maelstrom of tedium punctuated by abject stupidity and relentless boredom.
Example? Was anyone really shocked that Henrik Fisker ran his sideshow into the ground yet again? He is a guy who has been dining on his ego for decades, yet he’s always managed to dupe a motley crew of investors to buy into his “vision.” And it never ends well, especially with the latest iteration of Fisker, which is oceans deep in disappointment and recriminations. I question whether or not Nissan, which is bailing out Fisker’s debt to the tune of $400 million, will actually get anything of value with this brand-new corporate linkage, but since Nissan “design” aptitude has always been questionable at best, and often dismal, maybe good things will come of it, if they can keep Henrik from the decision-making process. Because he has demonstrated repeatedly that he royally sucks at it.
Or how about the ongoing Muskian Nightmare? Tesla continues to be allowed to scam countless consumers with its “Full Self Driving” bullshit, but I am encouraged that the Feds are going to come down on St. Elon over this, and hard. How hard? It’s going to be in the billions, and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving Unctuous Prick.
And then there’s the current state of the business operating in the Twilight Zone between a shiny happy EV Future and the ugly realities of a market not ready for it. Yes, misguided political mandates are a huge cause of this mess we find ourselves in, as politicians are quick to believe “flipping a switch” will make everything good overnight. Hardly. The laundry list of why EVs are not ready for prime time is long: the infrastructure isn’t there and when it is the lack of maintenance is appalling, the charging times are tedious and unacceptable for most, and, to make matters worse, the costs are simply out of line. And finally, there are two things that I find most egregious with the “promise” of EVs: the ground-pounding weight of EVs is simply unacceptable, and the lack of a sound signature – electronically enhanced, or not – is flat-out stupid. I’m not into rheostat-controlled driving, despite what the EV fanboys say.
So, yes, the development of battery technology is moving at a furious pace – lighter weight, fewer rare earth materials used, more storage capacity, more range, quicker recharging, etc., etc., etc. But for right now and the next decade at least, this Twilight Zone will continue. I warned years ago that the “Grand Transition” to an EV fleet would be excruciatingly slow and painful, marked by a two-steps forward, three-back cadence. The recent news from the “biz” has only solidified my analysis. The U.S. manufacturers in particular are struggling to find a balance between churning out profit-generating ICE vehicles and continuing the breakneck pace of EV development. They found out the hard way that being ahead of the curve had consequences, monumentally negative consequences.
So again, “stick to cars”? Hardly. As a matter of fact, given the current dismal state of this business, I will be writing about topics other than cars more frequently. So, get used to it… or not.
And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.

Editor’s Note: Click on “Next 1 Entries” at the bottom of this page to see previous issues. – WG

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