Since 1950, Volkswagen Transporter panel vans can be found on every street corner in my country. It’s quite unthinkable that these will not be around anymore. Typically all of them are referred to as a Volkswagen bus, regardless the generation and the number of seats. The Transporter has always been a bestseller here.
The news from Europe is like a broken record: cut costs; cut costs; cut costs…and cut them again. And issue profit warnings, as BMW did last week, warning that pre-tax profit is set to drop 10% or more, on the heels of an earlier warning about a month or so ago. Ford is cutting 5,000 jobs in Germany; Volkswagen is cutting 7,000 just at its VW brand. Everyone is talking to everyone else about platform, technology, engine and component sharing.
What’s driving this latest round of cost cutting? Before we get into the specifics, let’s remind ourselves that the automobile industry has been cutting costs…forever. The earliest cars were extremely expensive, and Henry Ford saw a huge opportunity. As did Alfred Sloan. And the opportunity for competitive advantage—or just trying to keep up with the rest of the industry—by cutting costs faster has never ended, although there have been periods of complacency. Real (adjusted) labor costs have grown faster than other costs, and thus the perpetual and relentless drive for efficiencies.
But this current crisis in Europe is being fueled by a number of factors that didn’t exist before, making this an unprecedented event.
GM’s 1973-77 intermediate cars, known as Colonnades, get much love from us at CC. While the collector market hasn’t warmed to most of these models, we here at CC recognize that during an era when Detroit wasn’t exactly at its peak, these cars had a lot of inherent goodness. I think it’s also recognized that the dominance of the Colonnade car line in the personal luxury car field means they hold a significant place in history.
That said, we here tend to give a lot of love to the Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiacs but the Chevrolets, at least the Malibus and Chevelles, seem to be the bottom of the barrel. Clearly, the 1964-72 Chevelles are well-loved and accepted by the collector community, but even die-hard bowtie lovers offer little love to the Colonnade Chevrolets.
Dress codes seem to be much more relaxed these days in many places where formal attire had once been the norm. When I began my career in the insurance industry just over twenty years ago, I had been required to wear a tie every day. At some point maybe ten years ago, a change had been made first to allow for “business casual attire” (which meant nice slacks and a collared shirt) during summer months, which eventually led to a year-round adoption of this more relaxed style of dress.
(first posted 8/31/2013) Bryce, our intrepid man in New Zealand, has uploaded a raft of shots at the CC Cohort. So many to chose from, so little time… But this Falcon XP wagon caught my eye, as Australian Falcons usually do, with their parallel universe styling. Looks more like an early Comet. But what’s really different is at the other end: Read the rest of this entry »
(first posted 9/5/2013) Oh look, a first year Colonnade coupe! From 1973 to 1977, the Oldsmobile A-Bodies became the dominant nameplate among the B-O-P intermediates, so you might think the 1973 Pontiac line came in third behind Olds. However, as of ’73 Oldsmobile had not yet gained total domination, and this green coupe (along with it’s brother the Grand Prix) came in second among GM intermediates, behind the Chevelle/Monte Carlo juggernaut.
Owen Smith found a stash of P6 Rovers at this house. These aren’t the only ones there either. At first, I assumed the one in the back with the tarp on it was one too. You know, the more, the merrier, especially with Rover P6s. But a closer look suggests otherwise.
What happened to driveway? It’s naturalized.
(CC 100 = 100 words about a car)
Why do young guys like jacked up vehicles?
Because old guys can’t get in them.
When I was trying to turn my life around and felt like I had nothing. This unreliable car was the only thing I could rely on.
(Ben from Modern Time Machines submitted this)
My band Modern Time Machines just completed a music video “Malaise For Days” which I directed.
The song/video is an homage to Malaise-era 1970s/80s vintage cars; I’m part of the Malaise Motors clan, which is hosting a car show event (Malaise Daze 2019 LA) on April 27 at the Automobile Driving Museum in Los Angeles.
Last year’s Malaise Daze 2018 event was covered by Curbside Classic, and my own actual car (1975 Firebird, Arctic Blue color) was referred to as “beautifully patina’d” by the article’s author/photographer MagnumSRT8 Brian (Michael Brian Studios).
(first posted 9/15/2013) The original 1960 Corvair Monza coupe introduced and pioneered a European-inspired category to the US: the sporty compact coupe. The formula: a new roof line, maybe some other body changes like the Monza’s enlarged rear wheel openings, bucket seats and tasty interior trimmings, upgraded engine performance. Most of all, it had to have style, at least more than the donor sedan it sprang from, otherwise it defeated the whole purpose. The formula has been applied endlessly, to greater and lesser effect. But sometimes it’s just abused; probably never more horribly so than with Fords EXP and its stablemate, the Mercury LN7. They actually ended up looking much worse than their donor, the Escort. What a feat! Read the rest of this entry »
While there were many “deck and a half” buses prior to the introduction of the General Motors PD 4501 Scenicruiser in 1954, it remains somewhat of an icon of the design. But there was a bi-level coach just as modern and innovative, that beat GM to the market place by three years – it was a bus built by the Spanish manufacturer Pegaso – the Z-403 Monocasco. Read the rest of this entry »
Here you go CC’ers, its even a Brougham.
If I was the me that I am now back in the early 1980s, I’d be the target demographic this car was built for. I’m a professional, mid-career male in my 40s, I make a decent salary, married with 3 kids and I’m a homeowner in the conservative southeast. My 1984 wife would probably be driving a Cutlass Cruiser or Country Squier wagon, or I guess we could still be young enough to be one of those upstart families willing to try out one of those them there new minivan things from the Mopar boys.
Ford and General Motors separately announced similar plans this week to reconfigure two of their American factories for EV production. The plants in question are the Flat Rock, Michigan facility that currently produces the Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental and the Orion Township factory that makes the Chevrolet Sonic and all variants of the Chevrolet Bolt. Both announcements arrive at a time when the two American companies are under increased scrutiny for recent or pending downsizing, which has impacted workers in America and abroad.
I spotted this assemblage of Great Britain’s finest 4×4’s just off one of the main drags in midtown on my way back from Trader Joe’s and figured it needed to be shared. I’ve been a long time admirer of these but not yet a first-time buyer, which I don’t think is going to be changing any time soon though.