I’ve been in the news biz since the grimy days of Nixon, which means it takes a lot to turn my stomach.
But despite my hardened sensibilities, a photograph we published the other day made me good and queasy.
It showed U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood riding shotgun in a so-called car of the future at the World Expo in Shanghai, China.
General Motors calls its concept car the EN-V.
The GM “Spit Bubble” would be my vote.
The tiny two-seater could also pass for one of the Disneyland teacup rides.
Now I’m sure the EN-V is an environmental wonder. It’s probably made out of recycled materials and runs on double-A batteries. Or methane captured from Ed Begley Jr.’s composting toilet.
If we have to scoot around in these ridiculous polyp-mobiles in order to save the planet, well, I say let the sucker burn.
Sure, maybe I should care more about what kind of world I’m leaving for my great-grandchildren.
But I’m willing to take my chances. For all I know, my great-grandchildren will be jerks who don’t deserve a better world.
Whoever designed this EN-V had to be smoking crack because he or she clearly forgot about the automobile’s historic and important role as a rolling make-out wagon.
Millions of steamy teen embraces took place in the roomy GM products of yore.
Pontiac. Buick. Cadillac …
Ah, remember that catchy song in the old Chevy commercials?
“Grope your gal today, in a Chev-ro-laaaay …”
Marketing genius, that’s what that was.
But the EN-V? No flames of passion could possibly flicker inside such a miniscule, glass-enclosed dork cart.
You’d have to be a contortionist as well as an exhibitionist.
But religious affiliation aside, seeing that EN-V photo made me wish the government had let GM go under.
Too big to fail, my ass.
On Friday I decided it was time to visit the garage where my own red GM vehicle had been mothballed since last fall.
There it was, my beautiful restored 1967 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser.
I slid behind the wheel, stuck the key into the ignition and made a clockwise turn.
Oh, baby. Now that’s a car.
True, there is the matter of gas consumption. When I last checked my mileage, I discovered that installing a brand-new Edelbrock four-barrel carburetor had upped my fuel efficiency from 5.87 miles to the gallon to a whopping 6.5.
(The word “efficiency” probably shouldn’t be used in a sentence like that last one.)
But that’s OK. My station wagon runs a lot smoother now.
I just naturally worry whenever the needle on the fuel gauge slips below the halfway mark. Especially if I have any long drives to make like, say, the three miles to work.
But as I’ve said before, keeping this baby on the road is really a form of recycling.
And isn’t safety the most important thing?
Say what you will about all the ecological advantages there are to driving an EN-V. Just pray to God you never get in a wreck in one.
Man, think of the carnage if that weenie EN-V ever plowed head on into my Vista Guzzler.
I know one thing that would happen. The transportation secretary would be my LaHood ornament.