Saturday, October 28, 2006

Scary car.

Just traded in my seven year old huge gas guzzling clunker equipped with a V-8 engine for something a little newer and environmentally friendlier. In the spirit of Halloween I could'nt help but think about the fact that some cars are, well, scary. You know, the kind that make you wonder what kind of person would design, and worse, what kind of person would buy and drive it.
"What were they thinking?" springs to mind.
From Tom & Ray Magliozzi's Car Talk "Top 10 Scary Cars" here is the one that scares me the most:

2004 Hummer H1
Scary for: Society, the environment and therapists

When you stop to think about what kind of person would buy a Hummer, you begin to worry about the future of our country. This is a person who feels so inadequate inside that he has to drive around pretending the 82nd Airborne will be backing him up in his next argument over a parking space. On the environmental side, the Hummer burns through resources like there's no tomorrow. And if enough idiots keep driving them, there won't be.


Renegade Eye said...

I'm glad you posted about the 2004 Hummer H1, because I have no vocabulary to describe it. Don't they roll over?

beatroot said...

You know what all European's think about American madecars? They are OK if you drive in a straight line but as soon as you try and turn corners woooooo...!

And the interiors look like they have been designed by a blind person.

Maybe that's why even Americans have given up buying them and are importing proper cars made in Japan.

Why are Americans sooo crap at making cars?

Redwine said...

I can't tell a car from a horse. Seriously. Taxis are ok as long as there is no traffic. The pic is horrible, it is like that novel, Christine?

roman said...


The other day, I spotted a shiny new Hummer in downtown Boston. We were pulled up at a stop light and it was next to my car at the light. It was huge. It had the shiny metal wheels that keep on spinning even after the car stops. Very hypnotic, indeed. I guess this feature is as useful as a chrome handled dipstick. I don't think it is the Hummer that rolls over a lot as it does appear to have a low center of gravity. The small Suzuki SUV featured as one of the ten mentioned in the "Car Talk" article is the rollover culprit.

roman said...


American made cars have always had quality control issues. Back in the old days (before Japanese cars) a typical Chevy started to rust after only two years. Once the Japanese cars started to take over market share, they were forced to make them better. Alas, a little bit late because the reputation they built over the years is hard to shake.
You asked: "Why are Americans sooo crap at making cars?"
I think they can make much better cars. Toyota, Nissan and Honda actually have manufaturing plants which employ many tens of thousands of Americans in some of our southern states. States with lower cost-of-living and hence lower wage demands. The cars made at these plants are as good as the ones made in Japan. Unfortunately, a big reason for crappy American cars are the excellent benefits that the auto workers unions extracted from management over the years. For every car produced at GM or Ford, there is an approx cost of $2,000 US that's added immediately before the car even starts to be built. This amount is owed to retired/about to be retired, union members. Not to mention the high wages and benefits of workers, there were and are HUGE CEO and management bonuses and buy-outs. Hence, these companies have been financially raped to a point where they are but mere shells of their glory days (days of no international competition). I drive a Honda and my wife drives a Mazda.

roman said...


While attending college, I drove a taxi in Boston on nights and weekends. The pay was low but the tips were great. I was able to pay my tuition each semester. City dwellers are culturally different from people in suburbia. I recall running up many flights of stairs with bags full of groceries or suitcases or even babies for my taxi fares. This is the spirit of communal reliance and trust that is sorely missing from the independent mindset of suburban dwellers. It leads to a kind of alienation caused in part by a lack of human interaction. Yet, every young person dreams of getting his/her own car. I guess it is true that we should be careful what we wish for.

jams o donnell said...

Looking at the Numvee I would make disparaging comments about americans and their love affair with hideous gas guzzlers. That is until I look down my street and see more than one 4x4 parked there.

Living as I do not far above sea level in on of the flattest parts of the UK, such cares are hardly needed to deal with the mountainous terrain! and yet 4x4s (aka chelsea tractors) sell like hotcakes even though petrol is about $6.50 - $7 a gallon! Not seen a hummer on the streets which is probably a small mercy.

Me I drive a 16 year old Toypya Corrolla. It suits me just fine. Give that my dad worked at the loca Ford plant I suppose I should be loual to the brand.. on the other hand I loathe them. They are not called Dagenham (that is where the plant is)dustbins here for nothing!

roman said...


Hang on to that Corrolla. These cars have an excellent reputation as dependable and cost efficient.
Hummers are practical for military use but obscene for private use.

LeftyHenry said...

Hummers should definately be banned. Such a car has no point. SUVs can be argued for because of large families, but c'mon, you have plenty of SUVs to choose from if you want a big car, you don't need a car that gets 8 miles per gallon