Letter to the Editor: Devil in the driver, devil in the automobile

1964 Cadillac Coupe Deville for illustration purposes, location not specified, May 8, 2012 | Photo by That Hartford Guy via Wikimedia Commons, St. George News

OPINION — There’s an unsettling trend in automotive design these days that has me wondering. Forget about the fancy tech toys and the distracting gadgets that take your mind off your driving – this is about the way your car looks. Carmakers have discovered that the devil sells.

Lexus LF-SA Concept 001 as presented at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show | Photo courtesy of Lexus, St. George News

Surely you’ve noticed that most cars now look like either the gargoyle from hell or a storm trooper from Star Wars. Some even look disturbingly like a hearse. And, the designers’ imaginations continue to soar. Take a head-on look at the LF-SA concept car, introduced by Lexus at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, for example. How’d you like to come around the corner on a dark night and go nose-to-nose with that thing?

No, really. Watch the cars coming at you – especially at night. They’re a pack of hungry wolves ready to have you for lunch. Check your rearview mirror. You can almost hear the haunting howls, “Get out of my way or die!”

And, what about those TV commercials? The ad agencies do their creative best to make our cars look like fire-eating beasts with eyes ablaze, ready to tear the tires off their roadway competitors.

Wait. Competitors? What’s that all about? I’ve been trying to convince a whole lot of young people that, unless you’re on the track at Indy or in the pack at Daytona, good driving is not about competition, it’s about courtesy and cooperation. Oh well, so much for that.

Carmakers are in the business of selling cars and I’m all for that. One of the many ways they do that is to have their designers come up with new and different design ideas which they hope will be a turn-on for potential buyers. This is where I start having trouble with the current devilish design trends. The wicked look is obviously turning on a lot of people.

I’m no shrink but here’s my theory: Could the overkill (pun intended) of nasty faces on cars be helping to promote the aggressive side in those of us who are receptive to such things? And, could that in turn be encouraging more confrontation than we already have? In other words, might we be more inclined to do riskier things – like drive too fast and tailgate – in a car that has a face like The Terminator than in one that looks like, let’s say, a cuddly PT Cruiser? It worked for The Flying Tigers. Flying Tigers before your time? Look ‘em up.

Does what we drive help determine how we drive? Sure it does. The vehicle a person chooses says a lot about that person and the way he or she thinks and drives. Take the pickup truck for example. Once a plain-jane practical, unglamorous, hard-working utility vehicle, the pickup has morphed into the ultimate badass ego machine.

And, they keep getting further off the ground all the time, don’t they? Pretty soon you’re going to need oxygen to drive one of those things. I saw a guy drive right underneath one the other day and out the other side without a scratch – he didn’t even realize it until she gave him a blast on the air horn and the dreaded double-fisted one-finger salute. I lie. It didn’t really happen that way. Actually she pulled a rally-crush maneuver and flattened him.

And, they don’t come cheap. I hear you (not me) can sink as much as 70 grand or more into one of those things. With that much tied up in a set of wheels, it’s no wonder you want to be out there in front of the pack where everybody can see you. But, hey! What I want to know is this: Would anybody really dump a load of rebar or stack a bunch of cinder block in the back of one of those high-rise, high-priced beauties?

But, I’m getting off my point here which is attitude. Let’s have fun with our grumpy gremlins, but where is it written we always have to be the first and the fastest, the meanest and the baddest?

By the way, it’s rumored that all the really good American auto designers disappeared in 1965 and were never heard from again. Just kidding. But, I know one thing. When it comes to good looks, I’ll put my ’64 Coupe Deville – with her great big beautiful smile – up against one of those grim and grumpy little growling gremlins anytime.

Written and submitted by Robert Sears. Sears is a 25-year St. George resident, business owner, author and freelance writer.

Letters to the Editor are not the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them.

Email: news@stgnews.com | Robert Sears: boge007@msn.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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10 Comments

  • Striker4 February 9, 2018 at 8:33 am

    absolutely loved this article it’s well written. I prefer just getting around in my 66 Chevy Pick up

  • theone February 9, 2018 at 9:09 am

    For $9.99 Bob will perform an exorcism on your car. Are we going to expect an increase of black Revans to the area as well Bob?
    Too many Occult movies can play mind-bending games on you and result in this kind of imaginary nonsense.

    • desertgirl February 9, 2018 at 11:36 am

      What is your problem? You find fault with everything. Too much kool aid is bending your mind. This was a fun and well-written article about a not terribly serious subject.

      • theone February 9, 2018 at 12:41 pm

        My problem is I live in reality and find it delusional to compare the looks of a car to imaginary things.

  • PatriotLiberal February 9, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Great article. I especially loved the part about pickup trucks. Unless you’re working, there is absolutely no reason to drive such massive machines around unless your stroking your ego or compensating for “other things”.

  • DRT February 9, 2018 at 10:25 am

    What are Revans?

    • theone February 9, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      A fictional character just like the devil.

  • bikeandfish February 9, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    I’m pretty sure the devil was in the Tesla roadster just launched into space.

  • utahdiablo February 9, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    Yeah, nice story, now if folks in southern Utah only knew how to drive….

  • Paul February 10, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Great article! That’s why my vehicles are almost 20 years old…and another bonus, “paid in full”. Technology is wonderful, but getting from point A to point B doesn’t require bluetooth, navigation, video, etc. I have satellite radio for when I’m traveling, air conditioning, crank windows, manual doorlocks and have no problems…and no accidents or tickets! In my opinion, they’re making cars too safe,
    so people driving them, figure they’ll survive an accident. That’s a beautiful Coupe de Ville….kinda reminds me of Stephen King’s “Christine” though! 😉

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