My Car Quest

June 26, 2022

Editorial: The Times They Are A-Changin’….

by Wallace Wyss –

It is the title to a Bob Dylan song but I never thought those words would be so true as now vis-a-vis the automobile. For years our American automakers would plod along at a snail’s pace; Ford adding a hood scoop here, Chrysler a pseudo Continental spare, Cadillac a new tail fin (and us auto writers would be all a-twitter with each new change).

Now, though not reflected in US car sales, the revolution is happening in the rest of the world. The switch to electric. And even though I sound like a PR man for a company that has no PR men (or women) there is only one guy in the US that gets it–South African emigre Elon Musk.

Hot Rod in Carmel

He’s working 12 1/2 hours a day (I’d say 24 but he does in fact have this side gig running a spaceship company) to make sure America has enough electric cars. He’s building new factories left and right. Texas and Berlin soon to come on stream, China and Fremont already cranking out 300K cars a year apiece. What if there’s suddenly a slack in demand? Not the case. Back orders are in the millions.

I admit I’ve been slow to catching on to changes in the wind. I was still shooting film when everyone went digital. And still using a flip phone when they began to disappear. I am still driving a manual shift car. So what if there’s an anti-electric car movement? Well, it’s hard to be for ICE when gas in my neighborhood is $4.45 a gallon and it costs upwards of $80 to fill up my car.

And depending on which way the political winds blow, emissions of ICE cars will be screwed ever tighter so I predict by 2030 you won’t be able to register cars older than a certain year in California. (There goes the collector car market…) They already do that in the port of Los Angeles where no diesel tractor truck built before 2013 is allowed in.

You hafta admire the new spirit of entrepreneurship. There’s so many new auto and truck makers starting up. Some won’t make it but it reminds you of the early days of auto making in America. America could just ignore it. We could choose to live in a kind of Twilight Zone world, the world occasionally featured on that show where the past is the present. Where you are permanently stuck in the past.

But then you figure China has 600 automakers (that’s not a typo, 600 not 60). When their $10,000 electric cars hit Europe big, what mass market European automaker can survive? Or what American marque? The only thing holding Tesla back in US sales right now is production capacity and price. They talk about a $25,000 car but that’s not here yet, in reality the Chinese will fill that role.

Cars in Carmel

As a chronicler of internal combustion cars, I am wondering if interest in all that will fade, just as I am sure a lecture on still camera film (ya see, there Tri-X with 400 asa and Plus X and…) would draw an empty room.

ICE car museums, like the Henry Ford in Dearborn, rest assured they will still have visitors for big events, though I cringe to think of the time coming up when I see a dad there in front of some display trying to explain to his 5 year old what an internal combustion engine was. I say was.

My advice for the owners of collectable internal combustion cars is to go out in your garage and cull the herd. Make what you keep–that Cobra or Iso or Porsche– only a small part of your net worth, say 10%. That way you won’t feel guilty when it’s outlawed. Oh, there still will be some record prices recorded at auctions for the next decade, but maybe for those paying a million plus for a Bizzarrini that is only 10% of their net worth.

1965 Shelby GT350

I am involved with horse racing, on the breeding side. I can see, with all the injuries, that sport eventually being outlawed. Oh you can still find horse races today. But you really have to look. It’s the amazing disappearing sport. It might be that way with car racing too…a diminishing sport. Enjoy it and the hobby while you still can.

But that black cloud on the horizon ain’t goin’ away….if anything, it’s getting bigger.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss has written 18 car histories, Wyss reports he is contemplating a book on how Tesla killed Detroit.

 
 
 

Slightly Dangerous on Hot Rod

All photos by Mike Gulett.
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Editorial: The Times They Are A-Changin'....
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Editorial: The Times They Are A-Changin'....
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My advice for the owners of collectable internal combustion cars is to go out in your garage and cull the herd. Make what you keep only a small part of your net worth.
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Comments

  1. Thanks Wallace. Very thought-provoking. Whilst I agree that that’s the writing on the wall, I think that the ICE will be around for a while yet. Excellent pics, as ever. Is that Mike’s Iso Grifo in one of them? Lovely car.

  2. Wayne Watkins says

    I think that ICE race cars will be around for a long time , coz spectators love the roar of the engines and the smell of exhaust gases expelled . I do not think that spectators will go to watch a Tesla versus a Prius coz they just love the smell of batteries recharging these mute race cars . Thus production clones of ICE race cars will be around for much longer than predicted . Most EV drivers feel smug driving around in their cars whilst not giving a thought to the cruel child labour used to manufacture the components used to build them , that are more toxic and volatile than anything used to build ICE cars

  3. lennox mcneely says

    Mike. On a slightly different subject watch Bad Sport on Netflix –horse jumping doesn’t come out well but a great story on a race car owner-driver beating Dereck Bell’s Porsche financed by pot shipments from Columbia

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