Thursday, December 16, 2021

This May Be The Last New Car I Buy


                                     The new Honda Civic Si aka Honda Civic Type R Lite

There's a lot of changes going on in the new car market.  More change than this business has seen in 100 years! To give context to the subject, I have been around the car business for70 years. I was born into it, so not my fault. The first 6 months of my life was spent in our family apartment above the showroom of a Chevy/ Olds dealership. My early recollections of this were around the age of 3-4 hanging out with dad in the showroom and if I was good, I'd get to eat a cinnamon twist donut with the mechanics when they went on break.

Those were the days when your local car dealer was known to everyone in town and he (my dad) would frequent the local eateries for lunch, chatting with townsfolk about the latest news of the day. Your dealer was your friend who you could go to for advice all things car related and get straight answers, have a few laughs. Like my dad, who was the Treasurer of our church, your dealer was one of you, a known figure of trust and respect.

Those days are changing, replaced by 'Market Adjusted Pricing', Required optional dealer installed equipment, and even gotcha clauses in finance contracts that charge up to $2,000. for paying off your car loan in the first year. (Don't resell your car for a while).  And now outrageous 'subscriptions' to allow use of the equipment you bought with the car!

I'm not sure when changes started but I saw things change in the '70's and '80's as the 'city' dealers got bigger and bigger and the small, family owned car franchise was seen by the car manufacturers as obsolete.  Go big or go bust was the attitude. The car companies held all the cards and told dealers what to do and how to do it. Computers came into the picture, more expensive diagnostic equipment became a requirement and everything focused on numbers and profit.  Nothing unusual here- all business needs to do that in today's world.  A natural progression of things.

Eventually my dad gave in to this changing world and got out of owning a dealership and settled in working in the business for another dealer as a parts and paper runner. He was never happier. 

As I write this, dad would have been 108 years old yesterday- the day my new car from Honda arrived on the transporter at Ide Honda in Rochester, NY.  I feel a special connection to this car because it surprised me and the sales person I'm working with, showing up sooner than expected! Maybe dad knew I could't wait to get my hands on this beautiful Civic Si and had something to do with its arrival.

So why might this be the last new car I buy? First of all it is a 6 speed manual, a blast from the past.  Very few are left and as we know companies don't want to invest in low volume units, as in manual shift cars. The other sign on the horizon is the death of the internal combustion engine. If the politicians in charge have their way the ICE is doomed.  Electric vehicles are the future they tell us, even though most people don't want them at this moment.

So what is my point about this being my last new car though? 

Here's the rub- the car manufacturers are going bonkers for new ways to suck money out of the consumers. I'd say they are Coo Coo for CoCo Puffs when you hear what's coming.  SUBSCRIPTIONS to be able to use your car's features. Unbelievable.  You have to watch this video to see how far out they are going.   After watching the video, I'll sum it up.  Take a look at this:

IS THIS PURE GREED?   Subscriptions to use your car's features:

A 1.5 liter turbo- 200 HP

                              Thank God! An honest to goodness 6 speed manual!

To conclude, with manual's going out, ICE's going extinct and subscriptions coming, who the hell would want to buy a car?  Keep what you have and treasure it because it may be gone forever. The only thing that will preserve cars that are fun to drive is if we vote with our wallet by buying cars like this. Let's hope they keep making them!

And write to your congress person (politically correct term) and Senators to ban the practice of requiring a subscription to use equipment you already bought. If that is allowed to stand, then the lawmakers should be booted out of office.

BONUS REVIEW-  And here is one of the best car reviews on this new Civic I've seen.  They nailed it!

Click Link Below To See Review:

Honda Civic Si - By

Oh and Merry Christmas ,  I really do hope that for you and your family.

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher, / follow on Instagram @wownowpics

See you after the new year.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Smog and Electrification -Looking Back While Looking Forward

                           The feature article in the June 1967 Road Test magazine was:

 Sounds like we are still discussing this topic today!  Well, for this post I thought the end of a year is a good time to reflect back- way back 54 years on a topic that's in the news every day. Isn't it amazing the lack of progress we have made in electrifying our fleet of cars in America!  That has a lot to do with personal preference from the buying public for ICE vehicles.  It also has a lot to do with battery technology, or lack thereof, given the strides made in other areas such as computing power, space travel and even our everyday television sets.   My opinion is we are not there yet on either front.  

The typical car buyer is gun shy about getting an EV because of 'range fright' and inconvenience of recharging a battery. On the second major point, battery technology is better but it has a ways to go and buying this year's EV might prove a disapointment when in 18 months to 2 years superior battery technology is offered in updated vehicles. You could get stuck driving an 'antique' in todays hyperfast changing technology.

                                                 Take a look at this BS from 1967:

What is amusing is the political side to this discussion. The politicians are so full of it, you can't take anything they say seriously. Like the underlined section of this article- basicly outlawing ICE vehicles in California starting in 1980.  What happened to that deadline? Sounds like New York state when they passed a law a few months ago banning certain ICE vehicle sales after 2030- 2035.  Allowing for a phase in period.  Politicians tell you what they think you want to hear wether it makes sense or not.

And for a little review of the science behind the development of EV's here's a few of the automakers attempts that may give you a chuckle, or may give you a sense of how complicated and diverse a set of 'solutions' can be:   Point is - automakers have been studying this subject a long, long, time.

I know some of you will say its a conspiracy by the oil companies to prevent EV's from becoming the norm. I say no - it is not easy to mass produce EV's that are economical to buy, environmentally friendly to produce in the millions, and acceptable to the mass market given the downsides to owning an EV.


If you think things have not changed much with car engine performance and continual efficiences found by reducing weight and perfecting aerodynamics, think again. The difference in ICE performance and the overall improvement in how cars are constructed is amazing.  I am still blown away knowing the hottest muscle cars of the late '60's can't compare with even 'sporty' compact cars of today.  ( I'm buying a 2022 Honda Civic Si that blows every one of these away in fuel consumption (double the MPG) while matching these 1/4 mile times at 15.1 seconds and besting top speeds with 130 MPH )!!  Take a look:

                                           AND THE SUBJECT OF SMOG CONTROL

Back in the '70's all the talk was smog control for cars. Every car enthusiast was pissed because the government mandates were essentially killing performance and making cars run like crap.  All at a higher cost for the consumer.  Nothing like paying more for a car that ran worse and felt like a sick dog to drive.  We had just been treated in the '60's to some phenomenal cars, only to see that get stripped away by government regulation for pollution and smog. And the biggie- the dreaded Catalytic Converter!

There's a wonderful editorial in the December 1972 issue of Motor Trend that summed it up with the

cartoon caption " The emisions are down to zero, but the car doesn't run!"    Check it out:

So you see the debates we are having today are not all that different from the debates of nearly 50 years ago. That's the paradox, we have come so far with our cars's technological advancements yet we still have the bugaboos of further controlling pollution (Smog) and we can't ever be satisfied with how far we have come. Like the cartoon implies - how far are the politicians going to push this.  Well they are pushing hard for EV's and they want to kill ICE's but maybe we should be happy with how much we have improved.   


Since I'm getting a Honda Civic Si, I thought back to my cars of the past and my '82 Chevy Citation X11 came to mind. What a similar car to the Civic Si! It even resembles the new 11th Gen Civic if you use a little imagination. The formula is the same- a compact, fun to drive car that gets good mileage and handles well yet is affordable. Bingo- The Chevy Citation X11. The Citation came in a coupe and a 4 door and was a hatchback. In coupe form it looks a little like the new, slope back Civic 4 door sedan.  One big thing I remember when getting the Citation X11 was how good it was on gas. I was getting 24 MPG on the highways which was about 5 MPG better than anyting I owned before. And it was a zippy little thing with a nice exhaust sound. Honda- did you copy Chevrolet when you designed the first Si in 1986?  Maybe.  Here's some pictures to compare. Use a little imagination and you will see Civic all over this Citation!

And here's the new Civic Si:

            That's all for now.  A long look back into the future?  

Check back soon for the delivery of the 2022 Honda Civic Si- sometime in December.

Carcamerastory, brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher

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