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Bad Timing Olds

Detroit Auto Show, January 8, 2001

Bad Timing For GM… Maybe you should reconsider and Bring Back “Your Fathers Oldsmobile”


Here at the Detroit Auto Show the only thing not in vogue are guys with DA’s, Pegged Pants and Pink Shirts and Girls in Poodle Skirts, Angora Sweaters (I miss them) Girdles (I don’t miss them) and tightly clutched knees.

Hey the world of the car has gone RETRO …T-Birds; (PT) Cruisers; Bugs; Forty-Nines; Microbus’; Z’s; Mini’s and a host of other cars that stir the memories of the over 50 crowd, and stir visions of profits in the heads of the accountants at the manufacturers.

The Industry is hopeful that these, new cars, that look old, but drive like new, can cause “I LOVE THAT CAR” palpitations in the under 30 crowd. And that the success of the PT cruiser is a leading indicator not an anomaly.

Even the concept cars look like they came out of a design studio from the past that was sent through a time warp… hey do you think the California influence has made these designers, Beach Boy and Jan and Dean fans and those weekends on the Baja seeing all those old old American cars tooting around have had a profound influence on those Guys and Gals?

But alas and alack there is no introduction of a revived Olds ROCKET 88’s or Big Ass Olds 98 at this exhibit in fact Oldsmobile seems like an after thought (in fact it is) stuck away in a dark corner of GM’s incredible multi story exhibit.

It is agonizingly apparent that GM was on the opposite side of success, when they decided, not give a damn about their loyal (although dying away customer base). They ended up telling the public that their products, although good enough for old Dad, had to be changed for junior…ah if they had only held out a few more months they could have jumped all over this Retro trend and been the HOT NEW CAR for the hot new generation…Just imagine what a fooball field legnth Vista Cruiser would have looked like with 20" tires and flared fenders painted a cool lime green with pink polka-dots...whew it boggles my mind. Olds could have had it all, hey they even had the right name, OLDs.

Last night I attended a Ford Freebee and was privileged to see the great Ray Charles arrive on stage riding in a red Thunderbird…no not a replica…no not an original classic…but a prototype for the new T-Bird that Ford will be selling, through their Dealers of course, this spring for about 40 grand (that sure ain’t retro…the original 55 T-Bird sold for $2944 plus some options (thanks John Biel).

This new bird sure suits me to a T and its obvious that lots of others here in Detroit feel the same way as I do.

Retro Retro Retro…

Mini is showing a new line of cars that includes a 1.6 CC Mini Cooper a hot little car that will be produced in Oxford England (gotta be a smart car of course)

BMW is showing a car that is powered by Hydrogen kinda reminds me of a souped up Stanley Steamer that was powered along with Hydrogen’s buddy, Oxygen, of course.

Rolls Royce has never let the trendy get in the way of their continuing to produce great classy classic cars forever.

So poor old Olds…you paid no heed to the lyrics of the Beatles song, that should have become your anthem, “…everything old is new again…”

Now if we can only find gas for 20 cents a gallon…let me know when you find it, just call me for a dime or use a 2 cent postcard.

See Ya Tomorrow Bob Gordon Co-Publisher The Auto Channel