My Car Quest

July 7, 2022

Editorial: A Shotgun Marriage Proposal

by Wallace Wyss –

For you newcomers (born after 2000) you might not know the old American phrase “shotgun marriage.” That’s when a young man has been instrumental in creating an offspring but it so happens he’s not the marrying kind. That’s when Granpa gets the 12-gauge off its resting place over the mantel and while loading it, starts trying to convince the lad of the error of his ways. Welcoming him to the family y’might say.

So it is that I see a forced marriage coming up between the exotic car industry and the electric car industry as a good thing. Exotic car makers, let’s face it, are basically Nero fiddling on the roof while Rome burns. Sweet music, truly, but when they stop playing, there will be a landscape of ashes where their industry was (Compare say the percentage growth of Tesla to Lamborghini over the last ten years…)

Electric cars started out with stubby ugly cars that did nothing to inspire car lovers. Exotic car makers make cars whose styling is to die for but internal combustion is seeing more warning signs every day that power plant wise, they are reaching the end of the road.

THE SOLUTION

Exotic car makers should start to court electric auto makers and get assignments to create platforms, interiors, and body shells for electric car makers. This already happened at least once. In the early days of Tesla, they had the drive train planned but but needed a chassis and a body. The Tesla people were at a convention when they met the Lotus people.

Tesla Roadster

The original Tesla Roadster based on a Lotus – photo by Mike Gulett

The Lotus people, you gotta understand, had been approached before with the idea of someone using their chassis and body for a new propulsion unit. Most proposers never showed. So they invited the Tesla folks to come on over to Bethel Hethel and, whaddya know, they showed up. Recalls Martin Eberhard (a Tesla co-founder) on a Tesla website,

We wanted the first Tesla car to handle like a proper sports car, so we approached Lotus Cars, known to make the finest-handling sports car on the road. (Marc and I cornered Roger Becker at the 2004 LA Auto Show and convinced him that Tesla was worthy of consideration.) Since our first meeting with Roger Becker, Tesla has built a strong, friendly relationship with the team at Lotus, focused primarily on bringing a great new sports car to the market quickly and efficiently.

So it was that the first Tesla, a sports car had a Lotus chassis and body.

OLDIES BUT GOODIES

It’s a dated phrase used by DJ’s to announce an upcoming record that is old but was worth saving. I say when Prince Harry and his American bride drove off on their honeymoon in a Jaguar E-type that had been converted to electric power, that was the beginning of the movement as far as the public saw. I think companies like Lamborghini should offer say the Miura, Countach and Espada as electric car designs to other automakers looking to jazz up their offerings. Rolls Royce ditto with the Cloud, Mercedes with the ’50s gullwing.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle - photo by ABC News

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in an Electric Jaguar E-Type- photo by ABC News

And these same companies buying these designs could also look in the rejected design files of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, etc. and pull out some designs that were, and are, too good to throw away. I am not saying all of an electric car companies’ designs should be retro I’m saying their designs would get more attention of say one or two models a year were retro. There are easily ten Chinese electric car makers but can you name any of them? But what if one, with permission, were making an electric Miura using a classic design under license? Then you would know the name. Because you can’t afford a real Miura at roughly a million dollars) but you might afford an electrified copy.

A case in point is Xpeng who has been showing at auto shows a limited-edition version of its P7 electric sedan fitted with Lamborghini-style “wing” doors. The P7 Wing, as it’s called, will be available in both high-performance and super-long-range trims for a limited time. The reason you haven’t heard of it is, except for the Lambo doors, it’s so-so styling. But if it were The P7 Wing “Miura” then I’d say you would look at it. Helps both companies. (Wasn’t it Al Capone who said “Why steal the hubcaps when you can steal the whole car?)

I can already hear the purists whining and saying “But wait a minute–aren’t you trashing a legend? Going against all that made this brand famous?” Technically, there is an argument for that, but I put that argument in the same category of camera film vs. digital. At car events, I occasionally run across young photographers still shooting film who try to give me a spiel on how Ansel Adams used film and how great it was and I say if Ansel Adams were alive today, out in front of his house would be a garbage can of film cameras. (Never mind how I could go on about how he sometimes manipulated a single print for nine hours in printing to get effects–he told me about this personally. Today you could get the same effects in a few seconds with Photoshop).

As for events like Pebble Beach, I say this would be the way to ease these cars in, each retro-styled one could be welcomed with a display. Maybe even parked alongside an original.

Am I personally in on this changeover to new technology? Not hardly. I am personally occupied in two antique professions–thoroughbred horse breeding, an activity that pre-dates electricity by hundreds of years. And oil painting, using naught but oil, canvas and a brush. I just changed from a flip phone to a modern phone (Samsung AO1).

I’m fighting it every step of the way but know it is the way to go. I drive an internal combustion car but, if I lived where I could plug in to re-charge, I would have already gone electric.

And so it is. We’ve got two industries, one surviving on nostalgia and the other mechanically adept but lacking charisma. If we could just have this shotgun marriage…That will keep them both in business and advance public acceptance of electric cars.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is writing a tome entitled Tesla: The Car that Killed Detroit. Agents and publishers are invited to contact him at photojournalistpro2@gmail.com

 
 

Summary
Editorial: A Shotgun Marriage Proposal
Article Name
Editorial: A Shotgun Marriage Proposal
Description
I see a forced marriage between the exotic car industry and the electric car industry as a good thing. It could help out both and make the transition to electric vehicles a little easier.
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Comments

  1. Hethel, Wallace, not Bethel. A former airfield in Norfolk, during WW2 Hethel was used by both the USAAF and the RAF..

  2. Clever Thoughts Wallace. Thank you for the read.

  3. Great article to articulate this hazy dilemna for me. Think of the people who were devoted to the flathead Ford V-8.
    Do we go down with the ship of our past, clutching our nostalgia, or or adapt?

  4. I will just take the shotgun blast and keep driving my v8

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