That whatever-it-is over there

Contemporary automobiles are largely indistinguishable, to the annoyance of the Z Man:

The root of this, I suspect, is the dominance of the Left in American culture. The neo-Puritan hags have been screeching at us about how form must always follow function for so long we have lost our sense of style. You see that in cars where the goal of designers is to make them more aerodynamic and pack them with useful functions. The result is a fleet of well-built cars that look like they came from East German film noir during the Cold War. Our cars are ugly because inside, we have become an ugly people.

If you doubt this, look at pics of parking lots from 40-50 years ago. They were a carnival of colors, shapes and sizes. A person’s taste in cars said something about him, a form of advertisement. A people embracing life and its potential were out buying all sorts of cars in all sorts of colors. We are now a people marching to the inevitable end of our miserable existences so we buy cars that are suited for the task. The top three car colors in America are black, grey and white, with dark gray the top interior choice.

Disclosure: My car is white, with a dark-grey interior.

And actually, I’m kind of used to this particular shade of cheese-mold grey, which I’ve had for two of my last three cars. (In between was a Mazda 626 in Mojave Beige Mica, a name I never quite understood; I’ve driven through the Mojave, and it ain’t beige. Its interior, rather than cheese-mold grey, was more of a butterscotch-pudding shade.) At least it’s relatively free of brightwork: there’s a chrome bezel on the clock at the top of the center stack, which occasionally passes on some glare, but that’s about it. The logo on the steering wheel is sort of intaglio; I suspect that in later models they cut out a chrome-y looking brand emblem and pressed it into the embossed shape.

Still, next time around, if there is a next time around, I’d like something a bit less funereal.


  1. Mike »

    11 January 2017 · 6:08 pm

    “make them more aerodynamic” For that, you can thank the Feds & their typically Draconian CAFE standards. Every time Congress mandates manufacturers’ fleets to get ever higher gas mileage, they have to squeeze every bit of efficiency out of their aerodynamics or pay the price.

  2. CGHill »

    11 January 2017 · 6:16 pm

    Fines under CAFE are a matter of public record; I wonder sometimes if the automakers might as just as well disclose them, along with a notice on the sticker to the effect that “This car looks like this to save us, and thereby save you, $400” or whatever.

  3. fillyjonk »

    12 January 2017 · 10:11 am

    I think Earl Scheib still exists.

    My current car is a color referred to as “Candy Apple” or something similar. I had people claim I’d get pulled over by cops a lot more because of having a red car, but in the 5+ years I’ve owned it, I have been pulled over exactly once, and that was for a warning, and I think the state trooper was worried I was driving tired (I strayed onto the shoulder from the lane – was adjusting the heat) and wanted to check on me.

    My dad used to say not to get grey cars – because they’re invisible in fog – or white cars up north (harder to see in snow). I can totally see the grey car thing as there’s some dude here with an older model grey pickup who doesn’t seem to believe in headlights….

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