August 13, 2022


The Automotive Of Paradise

Cars better now, but the stories were better then

They don’t build cars the way they used to. If you say that today, it’s a good thing, but if you had said it in 1980 — and many did — it was not intended as a positive commentary.

Yet in 2021, I am detecting a strange but somehow understandable nostalgia for lousy automobiles. The New York Times recently wrote a lengthy ode to the Yugo, which was basically a Havahart trap Havahart trapon wheels, with an engine you could almost cup in your hands, and upholstery straight out of a Great Depression flophouse.

You didn’t know which was worse: when it wasn’t running, or when it was.

In that vein, James McMurtry wrote of his mother’s Sunbeam, “Left her stranded time and again/Didn’t matter, you could do that then.”