“The focus isn’t simply sheet metal; it’s on the distinctly human presence.” — Margery Krevsky
“Sirens of Chrome: The Enduring Allure of Auto Show Models,” by marketing maven Margery Krevsky, was recently named Book of the Week on Double X. I’d already bought it; I felt like I had an obligation to support a book written by a woman that had a respectful (bordering on reverent) perspective on auto show models and the hard-earned knowledge to back it up. By the time my Amazon shipment arrived, I’d already forgotten about it. Like most coffee table books, it seemed the act of the purchase itself had already served its purpose.
When we last met, I was enraged about the diffidence with which Volkswagen has treated its New Beetle. Kindly note that, since the publication of Dub Chick Be Trippin’, Tracy Morgan’s been profiled in several glossies. It seems that though my perception might have been the harshest, I’m certainly not alone.
But that’s ancient history. It was before the Chicago Auto Show media preview, anyway, at which I was reassured that really, not much has changed with VW. Whether I attend several auto shows a year or just one, it’ll feel as if I never left.
I didn’t attend the Detroit Auto Show this year. From what my friends, fellow Speed:Sport:Lifers and other publications told me, it was bleak. Far bleaker than the media reported, even though, at the time, I was kind of surprised by the general nasty tone of much of the coverage. It’s hard to bitch about the car industry, because we want it to survive, because we generally like our jobs.
Locally, there was very little good news in the week preceding the Chicago Auto Show. The Chicago Transportation Agency was forced to cut buses and trains. McCormick Place, the convention center that hosts the auto show, is losing other trade shows at an alarming rate. A lot of colleagues couldn’t make it to town because of a blizzard. Also, I was told there was an earthquake in Chicago the morning of the media preview, but even that was a failure: it apparently wasn’t even potent enough to disrupt my sleep. Doomsday headlines abounded and the prospects for the show weren’t particularly good. But I’d heard there were Fiat 500s in town, so I put on a dress and made an appearance.
This installment of Rational Bohemian was scheduled to be a eulogy for the New Beetle, since Volkswagen hasn’t really troubled themselves with anything of the sort. Attendees of the L.A. Auto Show did get a long-expected, totally overdue announcement of the model’s retirement and the inevitable commemorative special editions, but that was about it.
So I’ll say it now, in brief: New Beetle, I adore you and I’ll miss you. Your not-insignificant role in reviving the brand will not be forgotten (by me, anyway). In light of a press release I received last week, though, there are more pressing concerns; a respectful and sentimental sendoff will have to wait. Because what the hell, Volkswagen? Really, what the hell?
I didn’t know my friend Frankie was into cars, because the topic no longer peppers my first few conversations with a new acquaintance. My vetting process for human interaction used to be car-focused, but that’s changed. Also, we haven’t actually met, but that doesn’t faze me at all.
I was a bit surprised, then, to find Frankie’s blog entry about the sweet freakin’ Karmann Ghia owned by a derby queen in the movie “Whip It!” I knew we’d both seen the movie on opening weekend, thanks to Facebook, and I knew she liked Ghias since we’d talked about them briefly, but I was charmed to discover that she liked them enough to write about them at length, an entire blog entry based on a few minutes of cameo appearance.
After my latest review, a Speed:Sport:Life reader challenged me to revisit my love for my VW. Since I aim to please, and because perhaps I should atone (just a little bit) for turning a car review into a religion-inspired diatribe, here, I oblige.