If you’re a petrol head, got gasoline running through your veins, you know what Top Gear is and was. We set schedules around new episodes and series when Jeremy, James and Richard graced us with their presence on the ‘tele’.
Back in the day if you lived on this side of the pond, you had to wait for Final Gear to upload the torrent, but we managed. You could get edited and commercial laden episodes on BBC America months after their initial airing but let’s be real; there was nothing better than the original.
If you ‘l come with me back in time, to a specific episode, a trip down memory lane, I‘d like to write about one of, if not the best segments ever done by Top Gear, the old crew. It really is remarkable art/television that should be taught in school and shown as an example of what is and can be great about the art form of moving pictures.
It’s just shy of 4 minutes, so take the time and enjoy. If you know it, watch it again and just marvel in its beauty, simplicity and emotional journey.
This clip is seriously great television and deserves all the praise we can heap upon it. BUT,,,,,,, the actual message conveyed by Mr. Clarkson is complete bull shit.
Let’s leave the past there for a moment and return to present day, a story yesterday on Jalopnik, Oct 29/2019. It isn’t a new story, quite to the contrary: this is a story that’s been almost 3 years in the making and longer if you really deep dive back to the Bush administration and the GM and Chrysler bailouts. And yes my conservative friends, it was President Bush who authorized the $17+ Billion to the auto industry using TARP(Troubled Assets Relief Program) in late 2008, before President Obama took office.
We can debate whether or not that was a good policy that in the long run helped or hurt the American auto industry but at the time, you either saved all those jobs or, put millions of people out of work. I tend to come down on the side of not bailing out the industry but it was very likely that had the taxpayer not flipped the bill and let GM and Chrysler die, the economy may have spiraled out of control and we, we the world, may have thrust ourselves into an unbelievable depression.
I’m not convinced that what we got was something better in the end overall. GM is and has been a shit show for a long time now. By no means am I putting any blame on the line workers: they work hard and can only build what the company tells them too.
No, the blame lies squarely with management and ownership.
I have dealt directly with GM people, middle to upper management. For the most part, nice people and passionate car enthusiasts but the system is terrible. For me, GM is a place where good people go to kill their careers and ambitions. That company is a disaster and if you’re young and just getting into the business stay away from GM! Oh and Chrysler, FCA now, don’t get me started.
It is really disheartening meeting bright and passion people working at GM whose talents are going to waste in that terrible company. That leads us to the very topic of today’s blog.
Just the first gear section, “1st Gear: A Whole Bunch Of Car Companies Side With Trump In California Fuel Economy Battle”
Let’s just break this down to its most simple elements;
One – These companies including GM and FCA, are tired of having to meet stricter emissions in California. They want it easier on them and a slower pace of technology advancement.
Two – Having to spend more on R&D isn’t in the interest of share holders and in turn, management.
Three – Siding with the Trump administration while not the best public image, furthers the agenda of point Two.
Four – This is all for immediate and short term gains. Again, shareholders are interested in making money now, who cares about tomorrow?
Five – Look carefully at the companies who are siding with the Trump admin. GM, FCA, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Kia and Subaru. Perhaps with what you would think is the exception, Toyota, all are way behind or non players in the alternative power train game: That being either hybrid or batteries or anything else of serious consideration from a propulsion stand point.
Six – The reason they have signed onto this nonsense, it buys them time. The time to develop an alternative power train they can put on the showroom floor. It allows them the space to spread out their R&D investments over a longer period keeping more money for shareholders on a per annul basis.
Seven – Lets be real and honest with one another: The internal combustion engine has served humanity well over that last 100-200 years. We’ve advanced and grown as a species in large part because of the ability to freely and easily travel to far off destinations that not so long ago would be near impossible for %98 of the entire global population.
Bonus points if you can name the car those seats come out of.
Hell, as little as 100 years ago in America, the land of the car, it was common place for people to have never been outside their own little town, never even going to just the next town over. Now we take that for granted: jump in the car, use the train, take a bus, grab an Uber, taxi it to the airport or any other form of dead dinosaur powered contraption that can move us with complete ease and freedom on and in a transportation network and infrastructure that is the stuff of dreams.
The catch however, with all of this advancement is, the numbers have caught up to us and it’s time for the internal combustion engine to be retired.
This many people and these may cars simply do not mix well. We’re killing ourselves, slowly, but we are coming to a point where it is no longer sustainable.
Mr. Trump and people like him deny global warming and the effects man made activities are having on our planet and ultimately us! It’s not the planet we are going to kill, it’s us!
There are lies, more lies and damn lies: Mr. Clarkson started us out by lying and crying about the Aston Martin Vantage V12 being the last of its kind. Oh please, we can buy a 700+ HP Mustang right now. A Mustang with 700+ HP! A Mustang is a rolling pile of tin.
The auto makers who have sided with the Trump administration? Their lying about why they have. If it were up to them to decide, we would all still be driving around in a 1962 Chevy Biscayne.
Now if you’re a family in need of something bigger, they even have a wagon version for you. You SUV lovers can rest at ease.
And that leaves us. What are we lying about? We’re the enthusiasts, the petrol heads, and the ones with gasoline running through our veins. We’re lying to ourselves about the reality of the world, our place in it and the health of just not the planet but us as a species.
I love cars and motorcycles and things that go fast and can deliver me a thrill that most other things simply cannot. I hear all too often that we the enthusiasts will be the last ones still driving ICE cars and bikes and so on. That is absolutely true.
Way back when we all owned a horse and that horse was a tool. It was the life blood of the farm and the family. Today, horse enthusiasts keep horses for their beauty and magnificence, just how I suspect we will keep our gasoline powered cars in the future.
That’s ok, it’s great! It’s time for us take our lives and health way more seriously and put the internal combustion engine out to pasture. If we don’t, it will be done by the next generation and perhaps not in a manner we like. The ICE has served us well and deserves the right send off, by us, the enthusiasts and the ones who love them. It will be costly but I guarantee, it will be fitting and proper and on our terms, embrace the future and enjoy the ride.