Automotive Name Game

Lately the automotive manufacturers seem to think that old names of cars should be revived. Some are putting their old car names on EV’s, some on SUV’s, and some are considering making entire brands out of them. No matter which way it happens to go, an automotive enthusiast is going to have something to say about it. The general public is going to have something to say about it too. Those two opinions might not be aligned.

The most recent, and potentially the most pivotal in terms of future unaffordable super/exotic/hyper cars, is that Lamborghini is reviving the Countach name. The Countach came out in 1974 as a wedge shaped, futuristic, made for speed vehicle. It was incredibly polarizing. By the end of its run in 1990 it grew to be an absolutely iconic, obnoxious, and completely impractical vehicle. But that was the point. Contrary to what most modern supercar owners do today, which is daily drive their quarter of a million dollar or more cars, the 1990 Countach was a loud 12 cylinder, painful cockpit, with brandishing looks that would gobble up miles on weekends in short bursts then be put away for 99.9% of the week, or more.

With styling, performance, and function all vital to understanding of what we know of as a specifically named vehicle, the Countach has a lot to live up to. It makes me wonder why they brought it back? Lamborghini has had no trouble coming up with names for vehicles. In my opinion, there was no need to bring back the Countach name. Ford has already shown how when you murky the water, you cause confusion. The Mustang Mach E and the Bronco Sport are prime examples.

I thought Lamborghini was smarter than that. A poster car of so many is now being brought back to life, but with a modern twist. If this is a production vehicle, which is unclear yet at the time of writing, it will really change the game for what these exclusive manufacturers might do. Granted, a lot of them already still have their legacy name plates or have brought back vehicles similar to them, without the old names. But the EV transformation could easily usher in a new Mercedes 300 SL (probably with slight change to EL), Ferrari F40 (probably to E40), Aston Martin DB5, even a McLaren F1. If you think I’m wrong or crazy, I get it, but I didn’t think the Countach would come back, yet here we are.

Consumers crazed with nostalgia are feeding the manufacturers with ideas that they want old cars. While that is true, we don’t actually want old car names. We want the idea of what old cars with iconic names have become. We want the limited edition, exclusive, fast, loud, and glorious looking vehicles that we grew up fantasizing about as kids. If the companies want to play games to see what works, fine, but to me a name is important. I’ll play. But, they should know, my bar is high.

What I Didn’t Know Makes Me Feel Silly Now

Back on May 2nd 2010, I was enjoying a fantastic, sunny day surrounded by Ferraris. As a junior in college, my friend Josh and I decided to attend one of the most memorable shows we had ever been to, Ferraris on the Vine. It was held at the Williamsburg Winery, which made for a very appropriate, sophisticated setting to take in the mechanical prancing horses. We had an absolute blast and I have many videos from the event on my YouTube page.

As some of you know, I wanted to be an automotive journalist since high school. I had started All Out Octane in 2010 with a blog, YouTube channel, Twitter, and Facebook Page, as well as a website, which was part of my journalism courses in college. Other than that, I really was not on any path to become an actual automotive journalist. I was not taking any actual steps to get into that career. I knew no one in that field, didn’t own a cool car, had no experience in writing for a publication nor any mechanical experience, and well, combine with all of that and a bunch of other factors, being a career automotive journalist has not been my path in life. What you read here and see on my YouTube page is as close to it as I have come.

So here is where things get interesting. Back to the Ferraris on the Vine event, I was not the most educated automotive enthusiast as I am now days. In attendance that day was David E. Davis Jr., the FOUNDER of Automobile Magazine. I had no clue. I was more enthralled by the cars than the people who were there. Which is quite sad as well, because someone pointed out Dan Gurney, whom I walked over to while he was sitting on a golf cart, and chatted with him a bit. I had no idea who he was and I have no idea what we talked about. Thirty three year old me is feeling so silly for not knowing who those, incredibly famous, automotive icons were, and for not trying to glean as much information from them as I could, especially Davis. What I didn’t know, now makes me feel so silly. Cheers to being young and…not so smart.

I Like My Cars Medium Rare

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After a year like 2020, I started to ponder things for 2021. Most particularly, what makes a car rare? Is it production numbers? Is it trim levels? Who cares about trim? Options? Price? Brand? Color? Where it was made? Number of units sold? Number of units intended to have been produced? Perceived popularity?

Does anyone care about any of that? What do people care about when it comes to a rare vehicle?

Everyone wants a chase car. That is more than likely why Ferrari and Lamborghini will always be highly sought after rather than some bizarre 2004 Buick Regal GSX stage 3 with a supercharged 6 cylinder engine and front wheel drive. But, some of those cars can have far fewer numbers produced than a six figure priced car. So what is more rare? What is more desirable? As the Tootsie Pop commercial says, the world may never know.

I recently saw a 1999 Dodge Durango Carroll Shelby edition for sale on Facebook Marketplace. It is number 53 of only 300 ever made. In your opinion, how impressive is this? The 1999 Dodge Durango is not exactly the most amazing vehicle every built. In the normal world, people do not know who Carroll Shelby was, so is having a Durango built by his shop really that impressive? Is that a flex to normal people? Is that even a flex to automotive enthusiasts? It really is completely up to the individuals. Both the one who owns it and the one or ones who are observing the vehicle. Personal taste is everything and I like all cars, no matter what. I like my cars medium rare.

Collecting Influence

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Economics teaches us about the law of supply and demand and how they affect one another. I have found that to be true in the real life collector car world and it’s influence on diecast cars. Lately, I have been following the trend of the Ferrari F40 and the McLaren F1. These two cars in real life have skyrocketed in value, and that spike in popularity and prestige has carried over into the diecast collector world. It is hard to find a good Hot Wheels Ferrari F40 or McLaren F1 for a price below $10.

A few years ago I experienced the same thing with the Hot Wheels versions of the Tesla Roadster, Lamborghini Murcielago, and the Bugatti Veyron. I ended up spending far more than I care to admit to purchase a 2009 Dream Garage series Murcielago in green on eBay. Asking prices for that car are still quite high.

That situation plagues my mind while Hot Wheel hunting in stores now days. Often times when I find something on the pegs, I will tell myself, “It is only a dollar now. If you want it later, it is going to cost you.” Sometimes I still put it back on the shelf and walk out empty handed. I am trying to be a responsible adult. I am also hoping I’ll find it again to solidify that I should in fact purchase it.

One similarity between the two collector car markets is that the real life collector car world has concourse condition. Diecast car collecting conditions are in the package or not. This topic alone could lead to so many other discussion points. In real life, actual completely “original” vehicles are becoming very rare as age and limited replacement parts slowly take away from factory original condition. I think diecast has the same type of issue going on. The “DLM” or diecast liberation movement is a sweeping craze right now. That movement simply means that the cars are being opened and removed from their packaging. That might not be a big deal for diecast cars produced from 2000 on because of such a large number produced and records of those numbers. But, for cars produced in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, that can be alarming. The amount of still packaged cars from that time is dwindling and the unknown amount of produced versions is certainly going to factor in. The more cars that get opened from that time frame, the higher the demand and higher the price for an unopened original model will be.

A second similarity is that the real life collector car world has rare limited edition models and trims. Diecast has both limited edition production numbers in some cases as well as wheel and paint variations. Diecast has an advantage in this area because not only can they produce the real life car models with special trims, they can also customize them further. This can produce even greater demand for such limited models.

All collecting for both markets boils down to what are people willing to pay for what they want. Perception is important and closely following trends in both real life car collecting and diecast collecting will certainly be beneficial. With all this in mind, know what you want, know how much you want to pay for it, and go enjoy the things you purchase.

 

A Corvette Conceptualized

 

So I came across this article on Autoblog about how GM is looking to European design studios to design the next generation Corvette. The article talks about how statistically the average age of Corvette buyers has gone up to 54 years of age. It also emphasizes that people think the Corvette is a “big” car compared to its target competitor, the Porsche 911. They say that the design needs to display the power that is under the hood, and currently, it just isn’t doing that.

Well…here is what I think.  The average age of the buyer is rising because those who can truly afford a Corvette, would be those people who are 54 and above. Seriously, it’s a $48,930 base price car! And who really gets the base model? Not to mention, it’s not a practical family vehicle, so there would be no actual need for a younger buyer to purchase a Corvette. Although I would if I could. I’m single and 21, but I’m a poor college kid who is a car freak.

In regards to the size…the wheel base is the only thing larger on the Corvette than the Porsche. (unless, the Corvette is counting mirrors into the overall width, which Porsche is not. See what I mean by clicking on these links. Porsche 911Corvette) In either case, this is no excuse. Why people think the Corvette is bigger than a Porsche is beyond me.

Finally, I think that if they want to display in design what is under the hood, than they need to do something radical to the Corvette. Similar to what was done in 1963 when they came out with the “Stingray.” Now, what I am about to purpose to you however might shock you, but hear me out.

They need to make the Corvette mid engine.

No, I am not anti American, and please don’t call me a Corvette hater, or some radical against American car ingenuity. Seriously. If GM is going to European design studios to come up with a fresh new design to capture the true performance of the car, then why not just take a simple European hint, leave, and tweak it the way we Americans would like it? Do what we do best…and innovate!

The Audi R8, Ferrari 458 Italia, and Lamborghini Murcielago, are all iconic European mid engine cars. For goodness sake, the Porsche 911 is a rear engine car! And that’s their target competitor? Take that and run with it.

As far as design, yeah, they need to go with a radical new look…and a mid engine design would be perfect to resurrect a new style of “Stingray.” The use of a back window on a mid engine Vette would be little to none, which would provide perfect styling elements to create a “split window” as they did in 1963. That was a bold and radical design which no one saw the Corvette going and it produced some of the most iconic Corvettes that are still highly regarded to this day. I just wish GM would think outside the box and go for it today.