Wednesday, October 19, 2011
What every body needs to do.
My friend Faber McMullen recently put an old family heirloom on the road; His grandfather’s classic ’74 Mercedes, which sat in his father’s garage for years. Amazingly, all he had to do was put all new rubber on the car and clean it up… and WOW! She purrs like a kitten! What a great way to remember his father and his grandfather… and look great while doing it!
I believe that Faber has just done what many Americans will choose to do in the future as our Country enters a new era… an era that will champion a new set of old values, like economy, feasibility and appreciation for quality. As cars have gotten more and more expensive, and out of reach, suddenly we look at a beautiful, well designed, previously owned vehicle with a lot of life left in it as a treasure, rather than something old.
During the “Cash for Clunkers” fiasco we saw a whole generation of American made cars crushed because they were not worth fixing. It was a real wakeup call about what 1980’s planned obsolescence finally led to. Americans are eventually getting sick of the ever-shrinking plastic bodies, the cheap paint jobs, the aluminum engines, quirky computer minded wheels with electric locks and windows that break in a few years. And they can no longer afford to refinance their refinanced car deal and go 72 more months on a loan that leaves them upside down at the end with a piece of junk that isn’t worth its weight in pot metal.
Faber’s car is paid for, gets decent mileage, and repairs are reasonable as parts are readily available. A person can manage a fleet of these things for the cost of one new car. And after a few years, that new car cannot touch the resale value of a classic. As Detroit continues its madness, now subsidized by our tax money, the only way to teach the car industry a lesson is to deny it new car sales and make them look at the kind of quality and affordability they used to produce… before they were “too big to fail.”
If the values that produced this car are not brought back, the American car industry will fail, and it has deserved to fail, a long time.