21 Apr 2012

Mourning the Now-Neutered Lamborghini

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Jack Baruth describes how it’s not only the modern population that has become demasculinized. The same thing has happened to great automotive brands, and with the arrival of the Urus, it has happened to Lamborghini, alas!

Sports cars and supercars — yes, we are finally getting to cars — used to be real ass-kickers themselves, you know. Think of a Miura blowing down the autostrada at 170mph when the average Italian car couldn’t break a hundred. Or an early short-wheelbase 911 trying actively to kill its driver on the Stelvio Pass. Or a ’69 big-block ‘Vette snarling down Mulholland. Men’s cars. Driven by the men who ruled the world, who had built the world. And created by those men, too. Ferrari himself, sacrificing drivers like pawns and burning the essence of his life to obtain victory. Ferry Porsche, who had to build and engineer a racecar to ransom the life of his own father. David Brown, earning a fortune and then throwing it away so he could put his own intials on the Aston Martin. Ferrucio Lamborghini, who famously started his company because Enzo showed him a lack of respect (or because he found out how much the markup on Ferrari parts was, depending on which story you believe.) These were real men, building appropriate conveyances for other men of means, courage, and accomplishment.

Those men are all as dead as Caesar now. Their famously fragile businesses, which often held together simply on the faith of their workers that “the old man” would find a way to pay them next week, have been plucked from uncertainty and nestled safely within the bosoms of monstrous corporations or the accidentally oil-rich.

And the cars those men made? They’ve been replaced by products, which are branded and marketed to “high net worth individuals”, our infamous one percent, existing within a safety net of corrupt banks, protective governments, and barriers to entry. The “heritage” those men manufactured on the fly has become a precious resource to be doled out by turtleneck-clad designers timidly riffing on the tracks cut by their betters long ago, like a club DJ spinning Parliament in scratches and squeaks because he never learned to play the bass himself.

Worse yet, the “products” themselves have ceased doing the man’s work of the company. Porsche used to live or die by 911 sales, the same way Lamborghini relied on selling the Countach to keep the doors open. No longer. Today, the Panamera and Cayenne drive the business. They trade on the image of the 911 to move the metal, but the 911 itself has become irrelevant. It’s a trophy wife on the arm of the Panamera. It’s there to make the Pano look good.

Read the whole thing. Good article.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.


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