Time Vs. Desire


Pontiac Woodie Wagon 1946 Streamliner 008 My time has been spent on restoring project vehicles and doing various car related matters that while unimportant for the global scale of life, they are very important to me.  Vehicles such as this 1946 Pontiac Streamliner Woodie Wagon with its original “Straight 8” engine and also original 3 speed manual transmission.  To someone who struggles to put food on their family’s table this may be just another waste of money, but to true “Car People” this represents the pinnacle of an era.  This was the station wagon sold after the end of World War 2.  Automobile production was halted and car company’s turned production to making vehicles such as Tanks, Half-Tracks, Jeeps and even Airplanes because the steel was needed for the military.  Every person in America was forced to support the “War Effort” through their employment, material rationing and even food rationing in America.  Today we cannot agree on even who the enemy is much less how to deal with them.  The end of the war brought back the American Car Manufacturing juggernaut to full production and also brought the advent of the “Japanese Auto Industry” as well.

America is and has been the only Nation to go to war with other countries and rebuild them back to better-than-before economic status after beating them into submission.  Today we routinely turn our backs on “American” cars and buy Japanese, German, and Italian vehicles.  These were all countries we helped put back on their feet after WW II.  Former enemies and now valued allies.  Times change.  At least here in America.  In other countries not so much.  Their domestic auto makers enjoy much more loyalty from their own countrymen.  French people are biased towards French vehicles -Germans buy German cars- Italians buy Italian cars and so on.  Not 100%, but to a much greater extent than here in America.

69 impala convert  By 1969 when Chevrolet had this Convertible Impala sitting in their dealer showrooms, the writing was on the wall.  Volkswagen Beetles were major sellers in America and the Japanese Honda Civics, Datsun 210 (now Nissan), Toyota Corolla and countless other foreign car makers were taking hold of the United States car market.  At first it was all based on price.  Cheaply made vehicles for less than domestic vehicles.  American car makers actually helped with this by buying minority stakes in foreign car makers to provide themselves with rebadged versions of small more efficient models to sell.  The problem was the “student” became smarter than the “teacher”.  They kicked our ass at our game.  And they got bigger and bigger.  Then they started working on their quality issues and building their cars better.  More durable, stronger, better fit and finish, more powerful.  Several factors helped speed the takeover.  Oil embargos and fuel shortages meant people had to find more efficient vehicles and that played into the hands of the Japanese who built smaller cars.  Arrogance from American car makers helped as well.  The upstarts were brushed aside while Detroit thumped its chest and turned out literally millions of shoddily assembled and poorly designed vehicles.  By the time Detroit realized the gravity of the situation the damage was done and Americans no longer cared where their cars came from.  That may be an understatement, since a large percentage actually had a bias FOR the foreign car manufacturers.

91 Allante  By 1991 the Cadillac Allante was the pinnacle of luxury. It used a foreign designed and built body shipped here from Italy and final assembly was done by adding the drivetrain and other parts such as interior pieces and glass.

There are still many who feel the “American Auto Industry” is the best in the world.  I am one of those people.  I understand that we need them to be a viable entity because it provides jobs.  Not just jobs but well-paying jobs.  Foreign manufacturers have blurred the lines between American and American assembled vehicles.  There is a difference.  An “American Auto Manufacturer” provides more than just a job.  They provide jobs in the future when you continue to buy their vehicles.  Those profit dollars stay here in America to keep manufacturing jobs here and not outsourced to other countries.  Foreign car makers send American dollars back to their home country and take care of their citizens.  Those citizens get “Government Health Care” for free in every one of those countries.  In America we are stuck on the idea that only well off working people should get Health Care.  And yet we end up covering those bills for the uninsured through some of the highest Health Care costs in the world.  And for paying more we still do not get the “Best” just the “most expensive”.  Why?  Because Insurance companies thrive in America and earn “Billions of Dollars” and spend as needed  to keep the status quo.

davey boy

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