Home » America Isn’t The Only Country Experiencing An Auto Labor Showdown

America Isn’t The Only Country Experiencing An Auto Labor Showdown

Morning Dump Hyundai Labor
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The past few years have been an eye-opener for labor across the globe. From the Great Resignation to high costs of living to cheerleading essential workers, only to go back to prior treatment, people are fed up with wages not keeping up with the realities of everyday life. This autumn, several auto workers’ unions are geared up for contract renewal, and if automakers balk, we could see labor strikes around the world. Welcome back to The Morning Dump, where we round up bite-sized pieces of news for your perusal.

Labor Showdowns Aren’t Just Happening In America

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Heading into September, the UAW isn’t the only auto workers’ union that could go on strike. In Canada, Unifor members working for Detroit’s big three are in the midst of contract negotiations, and have voted to strike on Sept. 19 should an agreement fail to be reached. That might not sound huge compared to the potential of a UAW labor strike, but Canada assembles more than people might think. Canadian plants build the Chrysler 300, Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Voyager, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Chevrolet Silverado HD, Ford Edge, and Lincoln Nautilus.

Meanwhile, across the Pacific, Reuters reports that unionized Hyundai auto workers in South Korea have also voted to strike should labor negotiations thoroughly break down. So what concessions is the union demanding? Well, let’s take a look.

The union is seeking a minimum basic monthly pay increase of 184,900 won ($139) and a performance pay equating to 30% of Hyundai’s 2022 net profit. It is also demanding an increase to the retirement age to 64 from 60.

Well, that seems doable. Raising the retirement age is reportedly meant to compensate for low pension replacement rates, and although multiplying an extra $139 per month in base pay by 44,000 union members results in a yearly figure of 73,392,000, it’s not outrageous in the grand scheme of things.

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Should these aforementioned unions fail to reach collective labor agreements with automakers, the shock to the new car supply chain could be impressive. If you’re seriously shopping for a new car built in a potentially affected factory, you might want to find something on the lot now. There’s a definite possibility that inventory could be scarce for a bit.

Extinction Imminent

2024 Ram 1500 Trx 6.2l Supercharged V8 Final Edition

We knew this would come eventually, right? With Hellcat-powered Mopar car production winding down, the end of the awe-inspiring 702-horsepower Ram TRX pickup truck has been announced. By the end of 2023, the last supercharged Ram will roll off the factory floor, marking the end of a gloriously ridiculous era. To commemorate this short but incredible burn-the-candle-at-both-ends four model year production run, Ram has announced a special 6.2L Supercharged V8 Final Edition model.

Limited to 4,000 units, the Final Edition throws everything and the kitchen sink at the Ram TRX just because it can. From beadlock-capable wheels to a Harman/Kardon stereo, pretty much everything you could want comes standard here. As a bonus, Ram is offering the TRX Final Edition in three new colors: Delmonico Red, Night Edge Blue, and Harvest Sunrise. At $119,620 including freight, it certainly isn’t a cheap truck, but it feels like the sort of vehicle we may never see from Stellantis again. Or could we? Ram CEO Tim Kuniskis stated in a press release, “This current chapter in Ram’s high-performance trucks is coming to a close, but it’s not the end of TRX’s story.” Perhaps some future TRX will come along with a very different powertrain. Stellantis has been investing heavily into electrification, and an electrically-assisted or wholly electric dune jumper doesn’t seem out of the question just yet.

An Unexpected Shutdown

2024 Toyota Gr Corolla Profile

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Earlier this week, Toyota was forced to pause production in all of its Japanese assembly plants due to a software issue with its ordering system. Production has since resumed, but the incident really makes you wonder what went wrong. Well, on the bright side, it doesn’t seem like a cyberattack. Reuters reports that the cause of the shutdown may be more relatable than you’d think.

A malfunction that shut down all of Toyota Motor Corp’s plants in Japan on Tuesday happened during an update of the automaker’s parts ordering system, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

I’m sure anyone who’s experienced an ill-timed Windows update can sympathize, although that typically doesn’t have the side effect of shutting down assembly plants at one of the world’s major automakers. If anything, this latest snag helps show further cracks in the armor of just-in-time parts delivery. If parts show up seamlessly on an as-needed basis, just-in-time is a lean, cost-effective way of making cars. However, if a supplier encounters a snag or if parts aren’t ordered, vehicles often cannot be made. A period of time without production is extremely costly, so perhaps some sort of balance between just-in-time and stockpiling parts is needed. A few days worth of parts on hand could be a sound insurance policy, should warehousing costs not prove prohibitive. Oh, and vertical integration is attracting more and more interest, with automakers like Volkswagen looking to build more components in-house. If the last half-century has been largely defined by the Toyota Production System, the next half-century could look radically different.

Not The Bees!

Morning Dump Bees

From tomatoes to beer, spilled loads of all sorts have wreaked havoc on roads, but that only scratches the surface of weird cargo upsets. How about millions of bees? That’s exactly what happened on Wednesday in Burlington, Ont., Canada, roughly 30 miles outside of Toronto. As CBC News reports:

“We’re not sure how or what exactly took place but at some point the boxes containing bees or beehives slid off the trailer and spilled all over the road,” Ryan Anderson, media relations officer with HRPS told CBC News.

The routine business of an estimated five million bees was rudely interrupted by the load spilling, which sounds overwhelming until you learn that roughly 80,000 bees inhabited each hive. Beekeepers were on the scene ASAP, managing to get the bulk of the bees back in their homes by mid-morning, although some pollinators remain at large. Needless to say, drivers in the area are being asked to keep their windows up.

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Your Turn

Labor contract negotiations are obviously affected by changes in living conditions, but what about the love of cars in general? Over the past few years, we’ve seen cars and parts are get more expensive, gas prices fluctuate wildly, and insurance in certain jurisdictions is get sticky. Not necessarily great things for automotive enthusiasm. My big question is: How are you doing? Have the past few years tempered your automotive goals, or do you still find the hobby just as fun as it always was?

(Photo credits: Dodge, Ram, Toyota, “bees” by kokogiak is licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

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Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago

“Have the past few years tempered your automotive goals, or do you still find the hobby just as fun as it always was?”

I drive a lot less. I used to find driving enjoyable, now its too often a climate wrecking, traffic sitting, money burning guilt ridden chore.

I also don’t find a lot of modern US market vehicles particularly interesting, especially the expensive ones. Too much focus on selfishness (MY safety over yours), status (stupid light up hood logos), attention whoring (stupid, needlessly loud IN YOUR FACE antisocial exhausts, useless design elements) and not enough on the efficiencies of fuel, space and practicality.

The stuff that DOES interest me have the smallest footprints. Jason’s Changli, David’s i3, PHEVs, kittens, etc. Doing more with less, IMO that’s the good stuff.

Low_Cal_Calzone_Zone
Low_Cal_Calzone_Zone
10 months ago

My love of cars is way down. I was excited at first to see the move into EV’s. TBH, what I see are overstuffed offerings with sky-high prices and near-invisible infrastructure.

As for the classics, the ebay-ization of auto sales means everything is is a “I know what I got/ no lowballers” situation. So forget picking up something well-loved and restoring it, unless you have money and credit to burn.

DadBod
DadBod
10 months ago

It’s comical how Americans now have the reduced spending power of a highly-taxed European resident, but instead labor protections and a social safety net we have… guns.

CivoLee
CivoLee
10 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

Gotta keep the plebs below a certain number somehow…

CivoLee
CivoLee
10 months ago
Reply to  CivoLee

(guess I have to reply to myself because comments can’t be edited after a certain length of time)

The only infrastructure that gets maintained in this country is the one that keeps the 99% so stressed out and at each other’s throats so that they don’t realize that the ones making the rules think they don’t have to follow them.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  CivoLee

The only infrastructure that gets maintained in this country is the one that keeps the 99% so stressed out and at each other’s throats

Like that unconstitutional NSA datacenter in Bluffdale, Utah, or the government agencies that manipulate the social media, or three-letter-agencies that spy on protestors, labor strikers, anarchists, college students, and really everyone. Nevermind the constant costs of maintaining multiple wars and hundreds of military bases even at the most far-flung locations around the globe.

None of this was an accident. It was the result of carefully-crafted policy decisions made without any regard for what the American people even wanted.

Last edited 10 months ago by Toecutter
Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
10 months ago

My Turn

To be honest, the last couple years have taken the wind out of my sails as far as practicing my automotive enthusiasm goes. The cars from my youth to young adulthood, which is also slipping further out of reach, have mostly entered “know what I got” territory. Just like grandpa, who remembers when going to the show was 10¢ and Moon Pies were only 5¢, my recollection of prices before this great reshuffling are hard to reconcile. It feels like this part of the market has been largely relegated to BaT and other auctions.

And as the author highlighted, all of this is further exacerbated by shifting cultural sentiment, and ever-increasing costs of ownership. Yes, I could dig deep and pay the money to play the game so to speak, but I don’t really want to. It was more fun to see what I could do on a shoestring budget or score a deal on some obscure car nobody really cares about. Between that and the whole disaster that is the current dealership experience, I’m glad I bought a vehicle I could live with before my options closed off.

It’s also hard to get excited about new vehicles in the pipeline because the MSRP is just the starting point before ADMs. That’s assuming you can find them in a reasonable configuration. Or your special ordered unit isn’t sold out from under you. Or if you can even find one at all. We always knew the automotive sector was a profit-driven business, but it seems more and more like it’s become a transparently cynical cash grab by all parties involved. It seemed like automakers used to care about selling a vehicle to all the different buyer segments, but they’ve increasingly abandoned entry and mid-level shoppers behind. It’s a real shame.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
10 months ago

Just found out a friend, who has 3 kids and had twins on the way. Custom ordered a new Wagoneer, given a run around and dealership was playing games. After 6+ month total ordeal they had travel to Colorado to get one which was close to what they ordered sitting at a dealer. Don’t know if they had to pay extra. Original dealer sold theirs to a buyer willing to pay way over MSRP when it showed up, reordered one for them, called a month after they went to CO and said oh your vehicle is here now. Which was about a month after the twins were born.

F’IN Dealers, who had thought they have reached new lows or yet their ethics are bottomless….

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
10 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

Given the right market conditions and the opportunity to exploit them, I doubt there’s any limit to what dealers will try, inside or outside of the bounds of law. Your story is particularly interesting, because most outlets would have you believe Wagoneers are lot poison. I didn’t think that configuration made a huge difference in that case, unless it was a lower trim that’s more affordable.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
10 months ago

In Utah, land of 4+ kids, they are in high demand.

CivoLee
CivoLee
10 months ago

Plus, they only seem to care about two kinds of people within those segments: soccer moms and guys with fragile masculinity.

Ben
Ben
10 months ago

I was tentatively planning to replace my truck in 2021. Guess what I’m still driving?

I actually bought a beater Prius to keep miles off the truck because it’s going to be so eye-wateringly expensive to replace now, and even worse I can’t get a new truck in the configuration I want anymore because all of the desirable features are bundled into crazy expensive packages with a bunch of stuff I explicitly do not want. I love my ventilated seats and RamBoxes, but to get them on a truck now would cost like an extra $20000 over a nicely equipped one with cloth seats. And the kicker is that even if I wanted to spend that much, I’d have to give up physical controls for a giant touchscreen because one or both of those features are bundled with the “technology” package.

So I keep driving the old truck, which is unfortunately starting to live up to Chrysler’s reliability reputation in the past year or two. I’m actually more excited about the new Prius, but because my current one is a gen 2 it will probably outlive me and I got a great deal on it so who knows when I will actually replace it.

All this to say that my recent enthusiasm has trended much more in the maintenance and repairs direction than buying new cars. Which isn’t all bad – I definitely have that Midwestern mindset of using up my stuff until it’s completely kaput, but I wish I had something I could DD that wasn’t north of 130k and/or many years old. I dislike not having something new-ish and reliable(-ish), but so far not enough to submit myself to the price gouging of the car industry right now.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
10 months ago

Pre-covid I couldn’t understand what people paid for their cars. Now it is even more insane. I still love cars, but hell will freeze before I finance myself something racy that will cost more monthly than my house. I’m not borrowing money for a fun depreciating asset. My DD Mk5 GTI is great, and my 996 will be a fine weekend toy once I replace the transmission. Paid cash for both.

The one change that might happen, though, is getting away from motorbikes. Putting on all the gear is a hassle. And summers in the Mountain South can be hot. I just can’t find a sorted Exocet for a reasonable-to-me (read:cheap) price.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago

I just can’t find a sorted Exocet for a reasonable-to-me (read:cheap) price.

Why would you need one of those? Have the British sent their fleet after you?

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago

Ah, that makes more sense than a secondhand vintage French anti ship missile.

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Yeah I was very confused there for a moment

Rippstik
Rippstik
10 months ago

This has been a tough era for the car enthusiast. The shift to electric cars has been fine for most of society, but it bites for someone who enjoys the visceral experience of engine noises and manually shifted gears. So many cool cars are going or are gone and their replacements are heavy, fast in a straight line appliances. I am glad that we had the cool cars in the past, but I fear that those cars will soon be outlawed, taxed beyond what is reasonable, or for the rich only.

Still, my end goal is my 5 dream car garage (NA Miata, 1969.5 A12 Dodge Superbee, Toyota Trekker, Original Mini (preferably a Clubman/Traveler) and an Amphicar).

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
10 months ago
Reply to  Rippstik

I’ve got an ugly but functional ’86 4Runner I don’t know that I need. Let’s make dreams happen.

Rippstik
Rippstik
10 months ago

Not quote the Trekker, but a first gen 4runner is still a gem!

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
10 months ago

4×4 and 5 speed, SW VA if interested.

Ben
Ben
10 months ago
Reply to  Rippstik

I think in 10 years I may agree with you, but right now I would argue we are living in peak ICE. The gas-powered cars being made right now (albeit not for much longer) are the best ever. The slow death of the manual has been painful, but you can still get enthusiast cars in manual if you want them badly enough.

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
10 months ago
Reply to  Rippstik

Points for the Amphicar. But man, have you seen the market on those things lately? Fuuuuck me.

Last edited 10 months ago by Matt Sexton
Rippstik
Rippstik
10 months ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

I have seen the Amphicar market, but projects are to be found! The reasoning for wanting it is purely for two experiences: 1) Driving off a boat ramp 2) crushing the bitcoin jerks in their Lamborghinis at car shows by the sheer attention the Amphicar would attract.

Citrus
Citrus
10 months ago

I got a new job where I had to drive less so I thought “I’m going to trade my sensible hatchback for something stupid!” I started checking out prices for ’90s Corvettes. I briefly considered a Kei car before remembering I once went on a date with a man who is roughly the same size as a Honda Beat.

Then I started dating someone who likes little road trips and doesn’t own a car, so I have gone back to “I’ve got a sensible hatchback that gets good mileage.”

So nothing has changed, but the desire for something stupid remains.

Chronometric
Chronometric
10 months ago

My automotive ambitions have tempered. I find I have less of a Need for Speed so I race less. My garage is full so I am not looking for new acquisitions. I have restored some cars so while it can be source of pride and accomplishment, it is also a lot of work and expense. I would rather drive than wrench so I just try to keep my fleet in good condition and take them on adventures.

Goof
Goof
10 months ago

I bought in years ago, getting what I wanted with the intention on not replacing it unless something specific came out (which since has).

After having fun cars hit and totaled repeatedly by inattentive drivers in the early-to-mid 2000s, I attempted to swear off cars as conveyances 15 years ago, and with the rare short periods of time that were exceptions, it’s held up.

ZERO depreciation, reasonable insurance, something I can service myself (not easy, but doable) and only using fuel, tires and brakes for fun keeps costs low. I average under $250/mo total for transit (including some subway) despite driving something amazing, and though I don’t drive it often, when I do it feels even more special and an occasion since I don’t do it 5 days a week.

Meanwhile, someone driving a new NPC crossover is eating more than that in deprecation alone, never mind other costs.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
10 months ago

I wouldn’t necessarily say my enthusiasm for cars has decreased, but it’s absolutely shifted. The unfortunate reality that I likely won’t be able to afford any of the dream cars I’ve had my whole life is a really hard pill to swallow. Unfortunately corporate greed knows no bounds and my wife and my wages have not kept up with the exponential increase in the cost of cars.

Just a few years ago the idea of getting a nice secondhand 911 and something with a luxury badge for my wife wasn’t far fetched at all. Now it’s laughably out of the question. Other cars I’ve lusted after over the years are now out of reach too. Things like the M3, Z06, or rolling the dice on a used exotic of some sort. The list is long.

My wife and I each make six figures but due to the outrageous costs of literally everything we’re pretty much destined to remain where we are now forever. Don’t get me wrong…we’re lucky, and it’s not a bad life. We have a nice house, two cars, can afford to get some nice things for ourselves, etc. But that next realm of cars I’ve always dreamt of is no longer attainable.

It just doesn’t make sense for us to tie up $60,000 or more in a depreciating asset and unless we each get some sizable raises (unfortunately we’re each high enough already in our respective fields that most of the big ones are already behind us) it never will. We’ll probably spend the rest of our lives cycling through normal cars because anything more is too pricey. So it’ll be hot hatches for me and midsized SUVs for her forever.

Hell, the fucking Civic Type R, GRC, and Golf R, or the mega hatches are all selling for $50,000+ at this point. To get a goddamn Mustang GT with the track goodies is around $55,000. M3s, C63s, etc are brushing up on six figures. I love cars, but not enough to throw myself in the hole financially.

It is what it is. This stuff isn’t meant for us anymore, everything is for the 1%. They’d love nothing more than to take cars and homes away from us and they’re damn close to doing it right now already. Once the 1% decides they’re entitled to something it’s game over. They would literally enslave us if they could.

Boy this got out of hand. Anyway, I still love cars, I’m just trying to learn how to love normal/mundane ones a bit more and appreciate cars for things that aren’t just performance related. As fun as it is to fantasize about the crazy stuff it’s firmly out of reach at this point and drifting farther. While teenage me would be sad to know his dreams ain’t coming true, at least I can afford to cycle through hot hatches. That’s better than a lot of people get.

But the eventual Porsche, M car, etc.? Unfortunately not a thing anymore. And with student loans about to come back and kids hopefully entering the picture eventually, I don’t see that changing. I get that it’s a first world problem, but I swear that these types of cars were exponentially more attainable only a few years ago.

Also my first track day in the Kona N is on Saturday, so that’ll be neat and help me appreciate what I already have a bit more 🙂

Last edited 10 months ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Goof
Goof
10 months ago

Psst. PSST! Don’t let anyone know, but the mid-engine modern flat-6 Porsches are the ones to buy now.

981s aren’t “cheap”, but they’re reasonable and reliable, and with a Bendpak QuickJack, entirely serviceable by competent mortals. You can even find the full factory 6000+ page service manuals (with thousands of diagrams, all torque specs, etc.) online for nothing if you know where to look.

987.2s good too, but 981s quite a bit nicer.

You got 5 years tops before the market completely wakes up though.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  Goof

A first Gen Cayman is an excellent choice by today’s standards. It’s still much fatter than I’d like, but it isn’t obese, just slightly overweight, and as far as cars built in the last 20 years go, it is among the most aerodynamically slippery. And the driving dynamics are a hoot.

If you blow the engine up or find someone who is selling one with a destroyed engine, it would make for a decent EV conversion, that could probably get by on around 200-220 Wh/mile. A 45 kWh pack is all you’d need, and with modern 21700NCR 5AH cells, that pack including housing/BMS/cooling is only going to weigh in around 400 lbs. You could have this car roughly 200 lbs over stock weight as an EV that gets 150-200 miles range “real world” driving, and its acceleration would absolutely obliterate the vast majority of what Porsche currently offers if you chose the right drive system and could get the tires to hook up. Plus it is so mechanically stout that you won’t have to worry about the EV drive system’s torque destroying the car or have to install stronger components to prevent that from happening.

Last edited 10 months ago by Toecutter
Goof
Goof
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I have met many people who have done these kinds of EV conversions. Not necessarily to 987.1 Caymans, but to many other cars.

Zero of them have kept them.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  Goof

Most donor vehicles have terrible aerodynamics, and that negatively impacts efficiency and range, and if you don’t place the batteries in the right places, their cornering dynamics will also suffer. Most conversions aren’t built correctly. You have to know what you are doing, otherwise you’re better off buying an OEM EV.

Goof
Goof
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Zero surprises there. People vastly underestimate the effort and cost to do things correctly.

Even then, for a lot of people, the bigger issue is you end up having functionally a unicorn. You’re kind of on your own for dealing with it on a go-forward, which I doubt any of those who did conversions realized they were signing up for that.

A lot end up as yet another half-assed project car that mostly collects scorn from their significant other.

Greg
Greg
10 months ago

I feel almost exactly the same as you. I have given up my dream car for the pretty basic truck I need for our business. We have decided one car will be, if not a dream car, comfortable and well optioned. So the wife’s car which doubles as the vacation and family car, is getting upgraded tomorrow and will be more than I thought I’d ever spend.

The 911….well, thats obviously a just for me car, and much harder to rationalize. The wife’s car is more than we should spend realistically, but we can afford to and the business will write it off. The fact it helps the whole family and gives me room to actually drive comfortably with the car seats behind me, lets me to mentally say “f it” and be comfortable on our 6 hour road trips.

Goof
Goof
10 months ago
Reply to  Greg

“The 911….well, thats obviously a just for me car, and much harder to rationalize.”

Gonna drop this pro tip right here: Never have, “me” cars. Have, “us” cars. When the other can drive it (and eventually when they ask if they can take it, you just, “yeah, of course”), it becomes WAY easier.

Sold someone on this idea with an SLS AMG. Asserted the roadster (a GT non-Final) was the one to buy anyways, but to goad his wife into driving it at times. She now absolutely just grabs it for short trips sometimes, and now they’ll sell that car over HER dead body. They’re keeping that car until they BOTH are too old to drive it.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
10 months ago
Reply to  Goof

That approach may work for you but my wife refuses to drive any of my cars. She’s smarter than I am.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

Same. The Kona N was my compromise with her and she’s still terrified of driving it 18 months later. She’s got less than 0 interest in any of my cars, so selling her on any coupe is going to be damn near impossible.

Goof
Goof
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

With my friend I’d say the process took nearly 3 years.

Constant goading, and honestly, getting him to adopt the mentality of, “It’s a car. If something happens, whatevs, it can be fixed.” That’s also what cemented it. She hit a pothole and it clobbered a wheel. He did it right to where his response was, “It’s OK, I just need you to come with in the RAV4 when I drop it off so I can get back home.” Then we he came home with it, a very nonchalant, “good as new!” The core issue was her always thinking that if she damaged something he’d at least be silently hurt about it. When he seemed like, “Eh, shit happens. It can be fixed” that’s when the corner was turned.

Next thing you know she’s just grabbing it with a quick heads up before dropping off/picking up the kid from school. Or to meet a friend at a restaurant. Once she got over the price and the associated anxieties, it was, “just a car, but a special one.”

The way I tell people is forever cars need to be family pets. It’s the dog you never have to say goodbye to. Those also end up being the best cars at car shows, because they always end up having decades of stories from both members of the couple.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
10 months ago
Reply to  Goof

The difference is that my least deathtrappy car is a 41-year-old Austin Allegro. They just get worse from there. Far, far worse.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

I am SO going to name one of my vehicles “Deadly McDeathtrap”.

Deathtrap cars are the most fun to drive. Especially if they can hoon.

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
10 months ago

With all the “eat the rich” posting I was not expecting an accompanying DINK with both over $100K posting.

If cost of living is truly devouring that much income where you live, you need to move before children are in the picture. Daycare will make owning a 911 look cheap.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
10 months ago
Reply to  Frankencamry

I’m more of a “build more ladders behind me” than a “kick them down” type, if that makes sense. Anyway, we live in DC, which is one of the most expensive places in the country. We’re staying where we’re at for now because our house is going to appreciate significantly over the next few years and we have good jobs, but our plan is to take the equity we have in it an relocate either to the burbs or to a more affordable area eventually.

I am WELL aware of the cost of daycare…and fucking yikes. Either way, we both agree that we’d rather go someplace where our money goes further. We incinerate an exorbitant amount of money to live in a city that’s, unfortunately, pretty shitty these days. It ain’t worth it.

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
10 months ago

Boy do I feel this. Last December I watched as my dream Lotus Esprit sold at auction ridiculously under market, but I was unable to bid since I really wasn’t that liquid. Seven months later the same exact car (I had recorded the VIN) sold at auction again, this time with an $18,000 premium. There was a time not too long ago when an Esprit was in the mid- to high-$20’s. Unfortunately I’m in my early 50’s now and to the point where I just don’t see it happening, unless there’s a drastic change in my financial life that I just can’t see from here.

I do pretty well income-wise, but my wife only works part-time due to our daughter, so we’re not really to the place where an expensive toy car is in the mix. My wife’s car needs to be replaced so that’s our primary need at the moment. I tentatively broached the Lotus idea to her in December, and less just say she wasn’t on board.

I still have what I affectionately call my “collection of random crap”, so in that regard I’m lucky. But it seems like everything needs tires currently, and it’s always a struggle keeping ahead on maintenance. Two of them I cannot even drive at the moment due to issues that I am unable to solve myself. So the current state of economics is a hinderance, absolutely.

But cars* are my life. I work in the industry so I’m able to think and talk about cars all day long, and I never tire of it. I watch a ton of racing. The industry is so complex and there’s always something going on. Cars to me are the most fascinating consumer product and market that exists, and there’s no end to the storylines. I will never tire of it.

*I include motorcycles, boats, planes and stuff in this as well.

Last edited 10 months ago by Matt Sexton
Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
10 months ago

A household income north of 200k is considered very wealthy (rich even) in my area.

David Smith
David Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Automotiveflux

Not in DC which is where Nsane lives ( if I remember correctly ) unless he lives in south east DC. Still probably plenty of “affordable” housing there.NW has been claimed by the rich a long time ago and NE is getting gentrified by the minute, mostly by speculators. And it’s working. SW doesn’t exist because Virginia decided not to participate in the building of our nations capitol.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  Automotiveflux

In most urban areas in the U.S., $200k is solidly middle class, although not commonly upper-middle class. You could comfortably live like the Cleavers in a modest house in a good neighborhood, keep a significant 6-12 month “rainy day” fund, still save for retirement, and be able to save for part of your kids’ college, IF you’re frugal and don’t try to keep up with the Joneses.

I’ve seen families bringing in $200k a year that try to live upper middle class(gated community in a McMansion, nice yuppie SUVs/trucks, vacation every year, go out to eat at fancy restaurants twice a week, private schools for the kids, ect), and they live paycheck to paycheck and will be debt slaves for life.

Six figures doesn’t go as far as it used to.

I make six figures, and still live in the hood. I know better than to pile on the debt, knowing that finances can and often do change with little to no warning. As a result, I actually have money to work on projects. The vast majority of Americans do not have that right now. For most, it’s a constant daily grind and a paycheck to paycheck existence, and before they know it, 20 years have passed.

I’m fortunate that I will at some point be able to pay for a modest property in full and avoid being shackled to interest payments or having to pay someone rent. If a fun car ever comes along that isn’t priced exclusively for 1%ers and appeals to me, I’ll be able to buy it outright, with cash. A used Alfa Romeo 4C is one of the cars on my shortlist, as is a used Lotus Elise, or perhaps an Ariel Atom(I could totally make a streamliner body kit for that one, which IMO would make it even more amazing).

Last edited 10 months ago by Toecutter
CivoLee
CivoLee
10 months ago

I really should be working on mixing my band’s recordings, but you’ve pretty much nailed it here. In reality, I think the lockdown/shortage periods of 2020-2022 have emboldened the 1% into getting the 99% to think there’s some of new normal of having to make due with less that they have to adjust to, even though it’s being sustained far longer through artificial scarcity driven by corporate greed. Look at the film industry; while I’m sure many a corporate exec was thrilled at the massive numbers that Barbie and Oppenheimer were posting, I’ll bet a good number of them wanted nothing less than for people to stay home and stream from here on out.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  CivoLee

I’m not at all convinced things are the worst they can get. If you think things are bad now? I think the coming years are going to be a rude awakening to those whose worst adversities in life were “first world” problems and who also didn’t realize such was even the case.

Whatever happens, you can be certain the 1% did it to us.

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/perspectives-on-politics/article/testing-theories-of-american-politics-elites-interest-groups-and-average-citizens/62327F513959D0A304D4893B382B992B

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
10 months ago

“Have the past few years tempered your automotive goals…?”

In at least one matter the last few decades certainly have. In 1989 I bought a 1959 Ford Skyliner that someone had halfway disassembled in the 1970s. I finished disassembling it, had the frame dipped and powder coated, had the body dipped, got the bodywork and paint done, got the engine rebuilt, then got many of the various refreshed components reassembled to about the same point it all had been when I had bought it. There were several years of zero progress mixed in with all this along with a few moves, three of them between states.

Some months ago I decided that, after 34 years of ownership, I was never going to finish the job and didn’t particularly want to do so anyway. Two weeks ago I passed it along to someone else. It’s now their disassembled project. This is a shot of us pulling the main part of it up my driveway to load onto their trailer:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/53155461865_9152264564_c.jpg

Chronometric
Chronometric
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

Are you towing a Skyliner with a Renault 12? If so, I bet that is the first time that has ever happened in the history of mankind.

Last edited 10 months ago by Chronometric
Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

No, a 1976 Volvo 66 GL. Probably still a first, though. It does have a Renault engine.

Last edited 10 months ago by Mike Harrell
Jonee Eisen
Jonee Eisen
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

I thought that’s what that was. Awesome. The Dutch took the clutch. One of these days I’m going to import a DAF.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonee Eisen

Thanks! I was lucky enough to find both of mine not just already in the US but also fairly close to where I live. Here’s my sedan under previous ownership:

https://seattlesparkedcars.blogspot.com/2012/10/1976-volvo-66gl.html

and here’s my wagon just before I bought it (not at the asking price…) as a parts car for the sedan:

https://barnfinds.com/rare-dutch-swede-1966-volvo-66-gl-estate/

By the way, the wagon is actually a 1975 model.

Last edited 10 months ago by Mike Harrell
Jonee Eisen
Jonee Eisen
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

Wow, that’s so cool. Do you know the story of who imported them and why? The estate looks like it was here for a while.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonee Eisen

I found out shortly after buying the sedan that a friend of mine knew the guy who had imported it several years earlier. He was just someone who thought it would be an interesting car to have. After owning and driving it for a few years he sold it. It then went through at least two other owners, maybe three, in the course of the next few years before ending up on Craigslist where I saw it. The guy who had it then didn’t really seem to know or care much about what it was. Regrettably I’ve never met the original importer, as he no longer lives in the area. I do know a few more details than I’m including here, as I don’t want to post anything potentially identifying without consent.

These are both UK-market cars (as is the only other 66 GL in the US of which I’m aware) so I’m happy to go with estate to describe the other one. The guy who sold it to me said it had been brought into the country by a visiting scholar at an institution of higher education in Oregon decades ago (again, I’m being deliberately vague) for his own use, then was left here when he went home. At some point after that it spent a lot of time sitting, which isn’t surprising as it did have some mechanical issues for which parts would have been even harder to find in the pre-internet days. It could be put back on the road with what’s available out there now but I’ve instead been using it to keep the sedan running. The front half of its Variomatic transmission, for example, is now in the sedan, along with several other smaller components. I expect to keep using it only as a parts car but one never knows. It is a bit rusty and the interior is showing the effects both of its age and of prolonged sitting, however, so I suspect anyone who wants an estate would be better off bringing over a better one as a starting point.

DaChicken
DaChicken
10 months ago

For me, the hobby hasn’t changed a whole lot except the prices have gone up to where I have to cut back back a bit or have a more long-term plan to fix/mod something.

For cars in general, I’ve gotten to the point where I might not buy anything newer than what I have. I’m open to adding an EV as a DD at some point but not until there’s some reasonable options (price, features). I’m actually considering converting one of my existing project cars to EV, instead.

Leighzbohns
Leighzbohns
10 months ago

My hobby is bicycles, which is a money pit but a lot less time than cars. Riding them, on the other hand, is free, but I ain’t got time for that. At least the kids like it.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Leighzbohns

Mine too; fully lugged pre 1990 ones. Even fully kitted out with new tires, a new saddle, modern lights and even fancy double butted SS spokes none have cost more than $250 (excluding labor) all in.

That’s not even the cost of an oil and filter change for a Porsche.

Last edited 10 months ago by Cheap Bastard
Leighzbohns
Leighzbohns
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Yeah by the time I’m done buying racks and such its a little more than that. The dither is strong. I also buy modern bikes because disc brakes and tire and fender clearance are priorities for 9 months of the year in the PNW.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Leighzbohns

I have full fenders, touring tires + racks on a few of my bikes too. They are set up for all weather loaded touring (which usually means grocery getting). My average purchase price of a bike is $50 which leaves a lot left over for accessories.

I dunno how much better disc brakes are in the wet vs rim brakes with good (Koolstop) pads. I have read a lot of debate on the topic. Our previous winter an exception it tends not to rain much here so its not such a pressing issue.

FWIW I have a Schwinn High Sierra with Koolstop pad equipped roller cam brakes much like this one:

https://simplicityvintagecycles.com/2017/01/02/1987-schwinn-high-sierra/

Mine however is set up for loaded touring with racks front and rear. I even found a matching 48T chain guard for the Biopace sprocket.

Anyway I can assure you those brakes STOP quite well, wet or dry even when pulling a trailer. If you are looking for a good cheap, heavy duty gravel bike for a fraction of the price of something like a Surly that’s one worth picking up.

Leighzbohns
Leighzbohns
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I’ve got a Kona Dew with disc brakes and they’re way better than rim brakes in the wet and dirty, having experienced them both.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Leighzbohns

Well if they work better for you then that’s what you should do. As I said my thing is fully lugged vintage bikes (except the High Sierra) so rim brakes come with the territory. So far I’ve found most of the issues with brake performance on my purchases have been due to the original rock hard, decades old pads and/or cables still installed on the bike rather than a weak brake design. New quality pads and cables can make a big difference.

But I will admit I haven’t tried discs myself. If it gets wetter here I may give something with disk brakes a shot. If I can find the room that is, I have a LOT of bikes.

Leighzbohns
Leighzbohns
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I love my rim brake bikes, they ride very nice, but the wet winter hill bomb first thing in the morning is much less ass puckering with disc brakes. Seattle area rain and hills are to be respected. I used to have some old bikes but kids came along and I liquidated my hoard.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Leighzbohns

Thank you, now I have a reason to get yet another bike!

Leighzbohns
Leighzbohns
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

N+1 is the way, the truth, and the light.

Strangek
Strangek
10 months ago

My automotive goals have definitely been tempered by pricing and availability, my enthusiasm for cars remains strong though!

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
10 months ago

The price of autocross tires has gotten so outrageous that I’ve basically had to quit this year, I’m doing a fun event this Sunday, and then nothing else for the rest of the year until I can buy new tires for next year. That is killing me.

DaChicken
DaChicken
10 months ago

Maybe working in IT has made me cynical, but the first thought I had when I read a headline about Toyotas problem was wondering what junior dev pushed out a code update. Or some poor ops team newbie that was told to push out 5 years of missed OS patches.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
10 months ago
Reply to  DaChicken

Yeah, but my money is on an expired security certificate or domain registration. I shake my head everytime at whatever company I work at when I get an error from expired security cert, been happening for 20yrs and as recently as a few months ago.

DaChicken
DaChicken
10 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

Very true, sadly. I’ve yet to work somewhere that actually managed certs well. Everyone cares for a week or two after the critical system pops but after a few weeks of meetings it all quiets down to business as usual.

Torque
Torque
10 months ago
Reply to  DaChicken

Haha You Are Correct Sir!

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
10 months ago

Might be a lot easier to pull off this little trick in Burlington for a while:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l6SGApFMTM

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago

I started planning my project car, an efficient, long-range EV conversion, when I was a kid in high school. By the time I was out of college with a decent job with the donor car in my possession, I had student loans to pay off, and had to move multiple states away to keep that job. I got two weeks a year to split between working on the car and seeing friends/family. Every time I got laid off from the job and had time for the car, money was scarce and the average time being jobless was about 1 year, so each time all my money went on survival, before I could get someone to hire me again. Rinse and repeat for almost 15 years. I designed this EV conversion starting in 2001, but it didn’t have its maiden drive as an EV until 2012.

Now I have a good job in my home city and the student loans gone, BUT the hours are so demanding coupled with helping care for my ailing mother that I have the money, but not the time, once again…

Very frustrating, to say the least.

I’d LOVE to have a schedule that pays the same per hour I make now, but only demands 25-30 hours a week…

I could quit right now, and have ample savings, but the question is would I be able to get another job again when the money ran low? I haven’t had the best of luck with that.

People in other first world countries have shorter workweeks and often 1-2 months paid vacation per year. There’s something to be said about having both the time and the money at the same time for a person to pursue life interests outside of work. Most working people in the U.S.(and the rest of the world that isn’t considered first world) don’t get that chance, and it is perfectly understandable why labor wants(and deserves) more of the pie with a simultaneous reduction in working hours.

There should actually be time and resources to pursue ones’ passions, but the aristocracy in power wants the entirety of humanity to spend their lives enriching themselves and serving their vision, rather than people getting to pursue what they want for themselves.

Last edited 10 months ago by Toecutter
Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Also, I forgot to include the key point of me writing the above. The lack of opportunity to pursue my project car started in high school, tempered my automotive goals by inspiring me to build something I could put together inside of a cramped apartment.

That project was my microcar. The kitchen was then used as a workshop where I built it, and it is small enough to pick up and carry through a doorway. I researched the laws of the state I was in, and found that there was a way to make it legally a “bicycle” so that I could further cut costs/hassle, and make transportation that is truly off-grid as a nice bonus. It is not legally a “bicycle” in all 50 states, as there are a number of states that have defined “class 3 ebikes” into law, and I can hit a switch to restrict it to 28 mph/750W of electric assist while pedaling in order to keep it legal(albeit it is so slippery I can turn the motor of and my own two legs can take it well past 28 mph anyway). It corners like a go-kart. It’s extremely light and nimble.

With the upgrades I am performing, this thing will soon be capable of topping 100 mph and doing 0-60 mph around 8 seconds. In a small number of locations within the U.S., it’s legal without a license, plates, tags, registration, or insurance, and in places where it’s not, it can be as a ” class 3 ebike”.

I eventually plan to autocross it and take it to the drag strip. It might eventually get upgraded to AWD in the longer term, with a hub motor in each wheel, and possibly double the acceleration rate at the same time.

David Smith
David Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Well then, stop typing about it and get at it.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  David Smith

I typed that while my work computer was busy running a finite element analysis and tied up. The only chances I get to work on the GT6 are when I have a good 4-6 hours uninterrupted, where I can prepare the work space and clean up afterwards. That doesn’t happen often. I have to push the car out of the garage to have space to work on it, which also means the weather has to be cooperative.

It’s a lot easier to find time to work on the microcar, which is what I’ve been focused on as of late.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

“People in other first world countries have shorter workweeks and often 1-2 months paid vacation per year.”

They also don’t spend a giant chunk of their national budget on “defense” instead of public transport and healthcare.

David Smith
David Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

They also don’t spend a giant chunk of their national budget on “defense” instead of public transport and healthcare

Why would they bother, they mostly know we’re covering it.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  David Smith

Screw ’em, Europe can see to itself. I’m sure Germany is more than capable to take over as the major military powerhouse and protector against Russia.

What could possibly go wrong?

IanGTCS
IanGTCS
10 months ago

As a Burlington resident the bee spill was the big news yesterday morning. There was a lot of disbelief on the various radio stations as the news was coming out.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
10 months ago
Reply to  IanGTCS

There must’ve been a lot of buzz about it

The_Daft
The_Daft
10 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

Hopefully the reporter’s calm demeanor took some of the sting out of it

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago
Reply to  IanGTCS

Just thinking about it gives me hives.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
10 months ago

I play with old garbage other people mostly don’t want. So while my costs have increased, they haven’t increased to a point its difficult to continue playing. However, I play mostly with sheetmetal. I prefer customs with stock power or engine swaps. Building power was too expensive when I got in to cars 20 years ago. Its even worse now. For me, the hobby remains my dominant form of therapy.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago

Five million bees! That must’ve been one giant honey wagon.

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
10 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

One of the downsides to working summers on a hog farm as a youth is shuddering at the term “honey wagon.”

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago
Reply to  Frankencamry

Was there an upside?

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
10 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Baby pigs are adorable and fun to play with.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago
Reply to  Frankencamry

Mother always told me not to play with my food.

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
10 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

You clearly never lived on a farm. Frankencamry is spot on about the baby pigs.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago

I’ve nearly bought the farm a few times. Does that count?

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
10 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Sure, I’m just not sure for what (shrug emoji).

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
10 months ago

The hobby is still fun and I allocate funds to keep the fleet running.

There was a change as a set of older cars I want exploded in prices. It not that I cannot afford one, it more than I want to pay.

V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago

Have the past few years tempered your automotive goals, or do you still find the hobby just as fun as it always was?

Since I had my kids, my enthusiasm/energy level for turning a wrench has greatly diminished, both because an unreliable car has much bigger downsides, and simply because of time pressure. I don’t have the time or inclination to work on car projects as much anymore, so I greatly prefer stuff that’s reliable out of the box.

I still have the same passion for reading and learning about cars, and for driving them when I can. Hoping the passage of time and kids growing up will let me get more into the other stuff again as well. Especially as new cars trend more and more away from the stuff I like.

Last edited 10 months ago by V10omous
Frankencamry
Frankencamry
10 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

100% this.

I am so looking forward to the kid that seems to like cars getting at least to “unreliable flashlight holder” age so I can parent and wrench at the same time.

Then the unreliable crap can make a comeback. Or more accurately my “have to get something reliable, I have a kid” purchase will have aged into unreliable crap.

Last edited 10 months ago by Frankencamry
Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
10 months ago

Canadian plants build the Chrysler 300, Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Voyager, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Chevrolet Silverado HD, Ford Edge, and Lincoln Nautilus.”

Interesting. Nearly 50% of those vehicles listed are on the chopping block for the next year, maybe two. I’m sure that’ll factor into the negotiations. What else is built in Canada?

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
10 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

This is exactly what I thought. I turned to a buddy of mine and asked “Well what are they negotiating to build next year?”

Citrus
Citrus
10 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Whole bunch of Toyotas and Hondas, but I don’t think they’re part of the Unifor strike.

Most of the places are set to be “retooled for EVs,” which is likely a major reason why Unifor is set to strike.

Greg
Greg
10 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Yeah when I read that list I just laughed and thought “see ya later canada car industry”. These folks don’t have the leverage their southern friends do.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
10 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

I’m not sure about the Chevy plants, but the rest have all announced significant retooling and upgrades for the EV era. As long as the parent companies don’t screw up their business (no guarantee), there should be production here for a long time to come.

Fawgcutter
Fawgcutter
10 months ago

CAMI (Ingersoll, ONT) was building Chevy Equinoxes (I watched the then new body shop extension installation) until they replaced it with those BrightDrop EV delivery vans. Oshawa last build were the pickup trucks, which they reopened; before that it was building Impalas and the Cadillac XTS.

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