Today’s ‘soap bars’ lack creativity

Dear Bud:

I realize that your columns paint the new cars in the best light. I would like to voice my views on the new cars. Gosh, they all look alike. It really doesn’t matter what style of vehicle – sedan, SUV or whatever – they all look the same. The sedans look like soap bars and the SUVs look like overgrown station wagons. You just can’t tell the difference between the different models or manufacturers. As to color, why are there only about six colors? Red, white, blue, black, gray or brown, or some variant of those. I long for the days when the cars were unique and each manufacturer prided itself on style. Look back to those days before the ’90s. I loved the fins, running boards, wing windows and two-tone paints. I would love to see a car today with an India beige top and turquoise bottom. A car with running boards, what a concept. And also a car that can actually seat four to five adult people and has a trunk. Wouldn’t it be great to sit in a car that didn’t seem like a cockpit, but had just what you needed, a speedometer and a few other gauges. I am not sure I need a car that makes a cup of frappuccino in the morning and tells me where to go. I miss the old days when cars were cars and manufacturers were creative. – B.G.

I’m with you, Ben, when it comes to missing “the good old days” of automobiles. The photo of your ’55 Chevy brings them back. I was a senior at Sterling High School when the ’55s were introduced. There were 12 new-car dealerships at Sterling at that time, and I visited every one of the showrooms to see those bright new models. Never did a new year bring more style, more colorful interiors and increased power. V-8 engines showed up in Chevrolet, Pontiac and Plymouth. The little Ford Thunderbird was a big hit and Chrysler unveiled its 300 with the gear selector in the instrument panel. All this, and bronze gasoline at 22 cents a gallon, ethyl at 24. Regarding today’s cars, Ben, I must confess, I look forward to the next one every week. To drive one of these new ones with fine-tuned, direct-injection, internal-combustion engine (no matter whether out of Stuttgart or Detroit) mated to a 7-speed or 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters, is an absolute delight. Firmed-up suspensions, choice of wheels, lumbar adjustments, navigation, rearview camera. And the surround-sound systems today, oh, my. Remember the static in trying to dial in an AM frequency on a summer night back then? Or under the hood with the air breather off the carburetor trying to start one on a zero-degree morning. Or adjusting the drum brakes, wheel by wheel. We’re fortunate to have enjoyed those days, Ben.