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Car Evolution - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Car Evolution
Here's a photo-essay showing the evolution of classic to modern cars.  Some show very little change, mostly a more streamlined form for less wind resistance.  Others are completely different.  That's a problem if you liked and could drive the earlier versions and now can't get a vehicle you can drive.  Same with the rush to electronics; people with a more mechanical approach are out of luck, as are people with low skill at computers and machines in general.  Earlier cars were much simpler. They didn't do the gee-whiz things but they were often more durable and easier to operate.  One of the few innovations I really like is automatic transmission.  Outside that, I have found that the drawbacks of new technology usually outweigh the benefits in cars.

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Comments
siliconshaman From: siliconshaman Date: July 28th, 2016 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Disadvantage to modern cars, it's next to impossible to repair or maintain them yourself. In fact, it's actually illegal in some cases to tinker with the car's computer or even read the code.

Which is a large plus in favour of older 'classic' cars.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 29th, 2016 12:18 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

It's very disturbing. It's designed to make people dependent, whereas older cars encouraged independence. You could learn to fix them yourself. And I don't think that's an accident.

I can't avoid the new ones, but I dislike them enough to reduce my use of them.
siliconshaman From: siliconshaman Date: July 29th, 2016 12:31 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

Agreed, it's deliberately designed to make sure people only take their cars to 'authorised' mechanics. Who usually have to phone up the company to ask what the error code on the computer means...at $$$ a time. The intention is to monitorize the after-sales maintenance and lock in customers. But the effect is make people more dependent upon the companies, and decrease the number of people able to maintain their own vehicle.. which results in an increase in the number of cars being junked that could otherwise be repaired. [although I'm sure the car makers see that as a plus]

Still, the number of pre-1980's cars available isn't bad, and the price for a low mileage one is reasonable. Heck, some insurance companies even give you discounts for 'classics'.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 29th, 2016 01:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

I don't think they realize how much they're shooting themselves in the crotch, though. It's not just the loss of repairs when people junk the cars. It's that more people are either unwilling or unable to have cars at all. In a country that has been designed for cars, that's a serious problem. But it's spreading rapidly. The younger generations are so strapped that they're not buying much at all. The sharing economy is a response to the collapse of the regular economy -- and it's not just sharing stuff for free among friends but also barter, all the rent-ish services, etc.
siliconshaman From: siliconshaman Date: July 29th, 2016 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

True... what they're doing is making it more expensive to keep a car running, which means that cars become disposable items. Except the price of a new car hasn't gotten any less, so users are only going to get bitten by that once or twice before they seriously question if it's worth it. It's also killing the second-hand market, because typically the more mileage a car has, the more maintenance it needs. [or will do].

Younger buyers are the main-stay of the second-hand market, but with it being uneconomic to keep a beater running... well, like you say. It's a downwards spiral from there. Hence the rise of Uber I suppose.

I'd imagine the end result will be the death of capitalism, the companies will either evolve away from consumer exploitation as their business model, or go under as the market collapses.

Which is going to be problem though...at least in the states, because so much of your infrastructure and social structure is wedded to the status quo, it's going to be hard-to-impossible to do anything else, and that's where the vested interests don't make it down-right illegal. [e.g tiny homes and their illegality for example.]
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 29th, 2016 02:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

>>True... what they're doing is making it more expensive to keep a car running, which means that cars become disposable items. Except the price of a new car hasn't gotten any less, so users are only going to get bitten by that once or twice before they seriously question if it's worth it. It's also killing the second-hand market, because typically the more mileage a car has, the more maintenance it needs. [or will do].<<

That's part of a wider and equally disturbing trend of "you don't own what you buy." Generally speaking, if I'm not going to own a product, I won't pay for it. The exception is certain types of rentable service equipment that may need to be upgraded at unpredictable intervals, like ISP hardware. If it's not absolutely crucial, fuck it. If it's crucial, the company doesn't get my support, they get my very grudging endurance, and I always keep my eye out for better options. But I worry about things like TV going from a one-time expense to an ongoing one, and many computer programs the same way. It's a problem because it runs up the baseline of fixed monthly expenses in a household, at a time when real incomes are falling. Asking people to do more with less never ends well.

>> Younger buyers are the main-stay of the second-hand market, but with it being uneconomic to keep a beater running... well, like you say. It's a downwards spiral from there. Hence the rise of Uber I suppose. <<

Which is why people keep attacking all these alternatives; they don't want to lose their customer base. Except you can't have customers if people don't have money, and if people can't find some way to get shit done, then your whole society falls apart. Which is what's happening.

>>I'd imagine the end result will be the death of capitalism, the companies will either evolve away from consumer exploitation as their business model, or go under as the market collapses. <<

This would not surprise me. If a system doesn't meet people's needs, they will tear it apart and replace it with something they hope will do better. Capitalism is currently manifesting all the problems that socialists and communists predicted, which are as obvious as the failure modes capitalists pointed out for those systems.

>> Which is going to be problem though...at least in the states, because so much of your infrastructure and social structure is wedded to the status quo, it's going to be hard-to-impossible to do anything else, <<

That's true. There's a rising interest in walkable neighborhoods for people who can afford to move elsewhere. This is a good thing. But it doesn't help people who are in unwalkable neighborhoods or rural areas.

>> and that's where the vested interests don't make it down-right illegal. [e.g tiny homes and their illegality for example.] <<

It doesn't matter, honestly. You can't force people to do something they're incapable of doing no matter how much you abuse them. Making tiny houses illegal just makes people homeless. Making homelessness illegal just puts people in jail. And there's a limit to how much of a population can be supported as unproductive livestock. Prison inmates only enrich the elite; they do nothing to keep society going. The more that expands, the more trouble it causes.

You might as well just pour sugar in the gas tank.
cat_sanctuary From: cat_sanctuary Date: July 29th, 2016 05:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

If people think it through, the collapse of industries that rely on exploitative marketing measures doesn't mean the collapse of capitalism. It *could* mean the collapse of *protectionism*--which is even better.

My grandparents expected the car craze to die before they did. Well, they were mistaken. I may be mistaken too, but I'd *love* to see big clunky gas-burners go out of style in my lifetime. Existing technology is ready for a new generation of transportation; cars-as-we-know-them are still viable only because people are accustomed to them. So, if GM is determined to commit suicide by greed, that might actually be a good thing.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 29th, 2016 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

The cars are only one symptom of how the American economy is coming apart at the seams.

I don't care if the companies self-destruct. I care that the decreasing availability and usability of private cars is not matched by an increase in public transportation, walkability, and ability to afford hiring a ride when necessary. This leaves many people with reduced ability to travel, including for necessities. Since neither the government nor the corporations care about citizens right now, I expect these problems to get worse instead of better.

Alternative transportation mostly consists of hybrid or electric cars, which are more expensive and less feasible to maintain, and only have the advantage of being smaller. Human-powered vehicles are primarily useful to those in good physical condition, not anyone with impaired health. While I'm in favor of these options, I don't expect them to solve the problems I raised regarding car evolution.
cat_sanctuary From: cat_sanctuary Date: July 29th, 2016 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

I feel the impatience--sorry the Rascal, Segway, Modo technology isn't moving fast enough for those who needed them to become the dominant vehicles yesterday!

(Modo: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/modobag-world-s-first-motorized-rideable-luggage-travel-technology#/ )

We can visualize better than this. We could even build something better than this. Already. The science is there; the funds and infrastructure, not yet. I want slow-traffic lanes on every road.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 29th, 2016 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

That looks insanely uncomfortable to me. Ah well, another haggis shortage averted.
dragonyphoenix From: dragonyphoenix Date: July 28th, 2016 10:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whee! That's fun,
From: technoshaman Date: July 28th, 2016 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
That last shot.... PRICELESS.

I thought it interesting which cars looked the most like their forebears... the pony cars, the classic peep... the 'vette changed radically between the first model and the late '60's ones, but hasn't really done much since. The serious high-end luxury cars were the ones that changed most. (And can I just say I *hate* the headlamps on that white RR?)

I don't know if Dodge did or not, but I know Ford actually sent former owners surveys, "Does this look *to you* like the car you owned and loved?" They realised they really lost their way with the II in '76 and put a LOT of effort into bringing the old mystique back.

They succeeded. I drove a convertible one on the Big Island. It was a good ride. (I didn't test its cornering ability; one, I had a passenger who doesn't like that sort of thing, and two, pony car. They're like large American-made motorcycles. Go fast, *straight line*. Twisties, not so much. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 29th, 2016 01:02 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>> The serious high-end luxury cars were the ones that changed most. <<

So did the jeep. Aside from retaining the shoebox shape it's nothing alike. It went from open to closed, lightweight to heavy, a lot more stuff on it to break, and now you can't fix it with a wrench in the middle of the desert.

>>I don't know if Dodge did or not, but I know Ford actually sent former owners surveys, "Does this look *to you* like the car you owned and loved?" They realised they really lost their way with the II in '76 and put a LOT of effort into bringing the old mystique back. <<

Very astute.
msminlr From: msminlr Date: July 29th, 2016 01:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wish they'd included the Dodge Charger. One from the vintage of "Dukes of Hazzard" and one like they make now for the law enforcement market. I personally find it hilarious to see a cop driving a descendant of "General Lee".

And yes, the final photo in the set IS priceless. Almost worth trying to download, print out large, and frame.
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