Monday

When car designs were art, and it wasn't that long ago, they were cool. Chevy's billboards show off old art

There's a great set of billboard art that is making the internet rounds. Don't know if they are actual billboard signs up in Detroit - but they should be. The one's we've seen are all Chevy and - like a rock - that kind of makes sense.

Part of Detroit's continuing problem is just an inability to get their quality up to where the Asian factories are. We used to say the Germans, but what we have seen of their quality in the last few years is, well, falling short of their traditionally high marks.

Perhaps a bigger part of Detroit's marketing problem though is that very few cars coming out of Detroit look cool anymore. They have turned, for the most part, into homogenized boxes on wheels.

Nowadays Chrysler talks the talk with their new line of commercials (imported from Detroit, etc), but their cars just don't look cool and reviewers are still lukewarm on them too. That's not to pick on them either because GM has the same problem and if you take away the Mustang (and some would say you can leave it) then Ford still struggles to find the right combination of cool and quality.

But once, they were art. It may be that the Chevy design team held out longer than most others and the billboard signs like this one show that they know it. And there was, once upon a time, lots of cars that were works of art, some of which Richard Solomon has pics of and wrote about on his blog. The car guys at MindOverMatter have written about them and also posted some classic pics.

When Detroit figures out how to strike the balance of coolness, quality, and economy again - in that order - they'll get buyers back in their showroom again, lots of them. Owning a car is, for most folks, as much an emotional decision as anything else. Some would say it's more that than anything else.

Every year people flock to Woodward Avenue for the annual cruise of classic cars that, for the most part, are rolling art. Those cars show that once upon a time, no one could beat what Detroit was building. Detroit built cars that were America.

Detroit will probably get back there someday but for now, in this marketplace, one thing's still for sure. If it ain't cool, no one's driving it - no matter how well built it is and no matter how many miles per gallon it may get. Now if only Detroit would realize it.

Yeah, we do lemon motor vehicle work for a living, but we can't help but love cars too. We know that there's nothing like the feeling you get when you're driving a car that looks great, runs right, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg to go down the road. And art that just sits there and hangs on a wall just isn't as much fun.

We've got that same love affair with cars that everyone else has too - we just want them to run right all the time. Getting rid of the bads ones is what we do. It's kind of like wanting to put the fun back into owning and driving a car again.

Burdge Law Office
Because life's too short to drive a lemon - even a good looking one.