But Wait, There’s More!

Following in the general theme of the last post, here’s a link to an online article in MSN Autos:

http://editorial.autos.msn.com/15-most-boring-cars-money-can-buy?icid=autos_
5435#2

If there’s one thing you can say about Triumphs in particular and LBCs in general, they are NEVER boring. Frustrating, annoying, infuriating, etc on occasion, but never boring.

Drive ’em!

“Monotony Motors”

Yup, I periodically stray off the reservation and comment on auto-related subjects not specifically related to LBCs in general or Triumphs in particular. This is another one of those instances…sort of.

Any reader of the blog is familiar with periodic commentary on modern vehicle styling. Anyone who has observed US and foreign vehicles the past several years have also noted a startling sameness to the designs. Couple of cases in point: the new Nissan Pathfinder, with which Nissan perfected the Hyundai Santa Fe (or at least built a larger variant). Or, the Hyundai Sonata, which when it debuted looked very much like a couple of offerings from Mercedes. Then again, you can’t knock success; Hyundai hasn’t been able to build Sonatas fast enough to keep up with demand and extending the design cues to the Accent and Elantra, both of which are selling very well…and I have to admit, the Genesis couple looks great.

Anyway, yes, if you’ve noticed, cars now follow almost identical styling cues; apparently a large part of it is the result of regulations, but still, someone stumbles onto a design characteristic and everyone rushes in to copy it.

The following article, published the week of 14 April in “The Weekly Standard,” does an excellent job of summing up the situation:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/monotony-motors_786772.html

And now, the British content. For starters, credit Jaguar; that company’s cars still look distinctive. Second, credit everyone who owns, maintains and regularly drives (or plans to regularly drive) one of the classic LBCs, including our Triumphs. Yeah, occasionally weird stuff happened (I’m still trying to come to terms with the Stag), but they are DISTINCTIVE and stand out on any road.

Part of the joy of driving LBCs is getting that occasional yelled complement when you pass buy, the looks of approval, the looks of disbelief (either of the “Oh man, I’ve always wanted those” or “Oh man, what on earth is THAT?” variety). However, when out driving, please take note that the vast majority of our fellow drivers, in their lookalike sedans, SUVs, etc, are basically driving four-wheeled appliances and rarely if ever react when they come alongside or pass a British classic.

Sad but true…and all the more important for us to participate in events like the Forest Park Concours, LBC and other special interest car drives and even the occasional short notice “hey, let’s get out and go somewhere” event.

Drive ’em! Enjoy ’em! It pays to be different…

Brock Yates

Another week, another road trip, in this case to Bowling Green, KY; sad to say, a funeral for a family member provided the impetus for this particular travel. I will say I did the standard watch for LBCs on the drive down from St Louis but, with the weather marginal at best and steadily wet, didn’t see any of the classics out and about.

Last night, while going through the March/April issue of “Vintage Motorsport” (www.vintagemotorsport.com), a major surprise which added to the general gloom inflicted by the trip circumstances and weather: legendary automotive writer and competitor Brock Yates, in his column, stated he had Alzheimer’s.

While not directly associated with the Brit car community, Yates is in fact legendary for his many years as editor of “Car & Driver;” as Hemmings put it, he “…spent for decades perfecting the art of automotive journalism, winning an equal number of fans and detractors alike. Even those that despised his views and his writing had to admit one thing: When Yates took a position, he was virtually immovable and a puppet to no one.”

Besides editing C&D, Yates wrote for multiple other magazines and served as a motorsports commentator with CBS and the Speed Channel. He’s also notable for establishing the Cannonball Baker Seat-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash in 1971 as a direct rebuke to the national 55 mph speed limit (anyone remember that period?). Yates, with co-driver Dan Gurney, took the initial competition in a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, driving from NYC to LA in 35 hours, 53 minutes. He later established the “One Lap of America,” which continues under the direction of son Brock, Jr.

One Lap veteran Doug Beachem has established a Brock Yates Fund with the Alzheimer’s Association to honor Brock and assist with the ongoing fight against the disease. If interested in contributing, call up:

http://act.alz.org/site/TR?pg=fund&fr_id=1060&pxfid=92686

All contributions go directly to the fund and Alzheimer’s research; none goes to the Yates family.

Yates has served as both an inspiration to aspiring automotive writers and, to some, an example of how NOT to write. Now 80, he’s in permanent care; you can read what is his final column, “Turning in My Keys,” in Vintage Motorsport.