Detroit Must Die. That was the title of a column written by Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate (dot com).Â ThoseÂ terms should be enough for you to google your way into that abyss of idiocy if your self loathingÂ compels you to do so. Originally, this week’s column was going to be an educational one. I was going to point out the impacts, both far-reaching and highly localized, of a hypothetical Chapter 7 collapse of the country’s largest auto maker. And then IÂ got a link to Mr. Morford’s article. And I was disgusted.
Story by Byron Hurd. Photos by the author, Dave Everest, andÂ an uncreditedÂ S:S:L team member.
Ayrton Senna once said he had no idols. He admired only the three things mentioned in the title of this piece. As human beings, we prove time and again that adversity can more quickly extract them from us than any other condition. If you ask me though, adversity, at least as an abstract, is incredibly played-out. Go watch a college football game this weekend and you’ll see what I mean. A freshman quarterback has to prove his merit in the face of adversity. Every third athlete has come from a background of adversity. The 24-year-old, super-super-senior wide receiver is more mature than his teammates because he’s encountered ‘adversity.’ Here’s a hint: He’s more mature because he’s 24, and not passing his Chem 200 final because he was out banging cheerleaders until 4:00 a.m. is not evidence of overcoming adversity.Â Now that I think about it, aspiring sports journos: Please stop using that damned word. Either buy a thesaurus orÂ bite the bullet on that sports management degree. We all know it’s your backup, anyway.
The point? **** happens. And when it happens, you either step up or piss off. That’s the standard by which the real world measures character, and the real world came a-knocking many times this year for Green Baron Motor Sports. This season wasn’t glamorous — Hell, at times, it was barely dignified — but it was a test ofÂ personality and commitment.
The hard news arm of the automotive press has been cursed with the grim task of reporting on the disaster that is new car sales figures over the past two months. I don’t envy them their task. The words “Black Tuesday” have been used to describe the July 1st release of June, 2008 sales figures, and for good reason. Truck sales are flatter than the Olsen twins, Chrysler is in what could only be described as a free-fall, and Ford and GM are hanging on by their fingernails. Whispers of a new recession and a return to the gas crunch of the 70s have prompted journalists, automotiveÂ and mainstream alike, to draw parallels between today’s industry and that of the late 60s.
At 23 years old, I haven’t been alive long enough that I can wax nostalgic about Detroit’s “heyday” and the troublesome years that followed. For that, I’ll refer you to Old Man Jack and his wayback machine. No, my knowledge of (and concern for) the survival of the Big Three is founded entirely in the present day. What does that do for my perspective? It would take a wiser man than myself to say for sure, I suppose. To a casual observer though, it’s uncanny how many similarities exist between these four-decades-removed time frames.Â But there areÂ thousands of e-conomists on the Internet who can tell you how right or wrong you are about domestic product planning, soÂ I’ll side-step the argument overÂ Detroit’s short-sightedness for the time being. What’s done is done, and there is much more yet to do. Nobody knows for sure where the market is going (If you’re an exception to that rule, however, you’d do well to start applyingÂ for jobs in Detroit), but one thing seems painfully obvious: The automotive landscape of 2015 willÂ lookÂ very different from that of 2005. The times, they are a-changin’.