Home » The Best Stories From ‘The Bishop,’ A Mysterious Designer Who Writes Weird Car Things Without Us Even Asking

The Best Stories From ‘The Bishop,’ A Mysterious Designer Who Writes Weird Car Things Without Us Even Asking

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I know we’ve already done our Best Of 2023 post, but I suspect that our dedicated Autopian readers may have noticed a glaring omission: Where were all The Bishop posts? Well, there was a reason for that: We wanted to do a separate Best Of post just for articles made by our very own enigmatic Daydreaming Designer, The Bishop, because he represents so much of the glorious automotive passion that the Autopian is all about. Where else are you going to find that particular combination of imagination, skill, and absolute unhinged delusion that will conjure up all manner of alternate automotive futures and pasts and more? Nowhere, that’s where, just here, in the damp, welcoming pages of The Autopian. So let’s go through and pick the ten best Bishop posts from 2023, because life is for the living, dammit.

Very little is really known about The Bishop; we know he’s a trained designer, working somewhere in the continental United States, though our research suggests he spent at least some of his childhood abroad, with a Volkswagen Type 4, possibly in the role of a nanny. We get his articles and posts in a way that insures his anonymity: the text of his articles comes to us via a midnight phone call from a blocked number, where the article is read to us via a computer-synthesized voice. All images come via fax, from another blocked number, concurrently with the phone call reading the text. The process of getting these into a web-friendly format is tedious, but The Bishop refuses to work any other way.

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Every Bishop post takes you on a journey into the speculative, the unknown, the unwanted, the very limits of the human-automotive mind; here are some of the best journeys:

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The Daydreaming Designer Imagines A World Where The Corvair Never Went Away

When it comes to alternate histories, there’s really only one kind that matters: ones where the Chevrolet Corvair survived. The Bishop has poked through the veil between universes and dragged out some amazing artifacts of worlds where Nader didn’t win and Corvairs roam the land, happily.

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Eagle Landed

What If The AMC Eagle Had Survived After 1988 In Argentina?

Let’s keep going with alt-history Bishop, because it’s one of my favorite genres. The Bishop understands the incredible rejuvenating power of the South American automotive market, and explores it to wonderful effect, imagining an AMC that lived on to keep fighting, just in Argentina, like a particular kind of iguana that adapts to a new ecosystem against all odds, or even a horrible Nazi hiding out, hoping to avoid justice at the hands of the Mossad.

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Our Daydreaming Designer Looks At Some Silly Tricks To Increase Viewership Of Auto Racing

I liked this one because it was an interesting departure for The Bishop, venturing into the motorsports world, and exploring such exciting ideas like re-introducing moonshine to NASCAR and getting drivers’ families involved in the danger of racing, via the magic of simulators! And maybe drugs? He probably didn’t say anything about drugs.

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Our Daydreaming Designer Creates The Minivan Of Motorcycles

A wood-paneled five-seater motorcycle for the family. Is it a brilliant idea, or a terrible idea? Or both? There’s literally only one place on the entire Global Full-Width Web where this question can be explored, and it’s right flapjacking here.

 

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Imaginary David Tracy Ditches His BMW i3 LA Commuter For A 1985 Jeep FC That Never Existed

One of my favorite things the Bishop does is when he writes as alternate-universe David Tracy, because I know it confuses David in some deep and fundamental ways. “I didn’t say these things about this Jeep that doesn’t exist,” he’ll tell me, voice cracking in confusion and, maybe, a little bit of fear.

It’s healthy for David to confront these fictional versions of himself, and I’m glad the Bishop is here to force him to do so, no matter how much it hurts.

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[Editor’s Note: Just so you know, publishing a story from someone writing as if they were me is a…weird experience. Here are the notes in the piece above:

[Editor’s Note: I’m not even sure what to say here. I’m editing an article in which someone is writing as if they were me. I shouldn’t publish this. I really shouldn’t. Jason, should I publish this? -DT]. 

[Editor’s Note: What are you talking about, David? This isn’t even the first time this has happened. Just go with it! Sometime we have to let our Daydreaming Designer just let his imagination run wild, even if that means letting him temporarily inhabit our very personas, like some kind of automotive body snatcher. He just wants to show the world the alternate reality Jeep that exists in his head, so who are we to stop that? – JT]

By the way, you should read that story Jason linked, as it’s about a “‘Holy Grail’ 1987 Jeep Truck That Never Existed.” And we all love Holy Grails around these parts. -DT]. 

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Our Daydreaming Designer Came Up With The Ultimate Autopian Car And It Is Full Of Terrible Ideas

Getting the Bishop to imagine and bring to life, via the magic of illustration, the Ultimate Autopian Car was a sublime, and, yes, humbling experience. This is because, as would be a surprise to absolutely no one, the Ultimate Autopian Car would be an absolute steaming pile. But an absolutely fascinating steaming pile, a car made up of the most interesting parts of every other car, and crafted by the skilled artisans of Jasonia, the island nation The Bishop conjured into being and of which I, Jason Torchinsky, rule with an aluminum and fiberglass fist.

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What It Might Have Looked Like If Iacocca Had Made A Full Range Of Lamborghini Models Based On Cheap Chryslers

Not everything The Bishop does is a daydream. Some are daynightmares, like these Chrysler-based Lambos, which can be thought of as the concept of the Chrysler TC by Maserati taken to the most alarming possible extreme. You’ve been warned.

 

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How The Indian Carmaker Tata Could Hypothetically Revive The Honda Element As A Sub-$20,000 EV

Sometimes what we get from The Bishop is a thought-experiment, something that actually makes a ton of sense, if only people could get past their outdated ideas of what is “absurd” or “inane.” Could Indian carmaker Tata make and sell a Honda Element-based EV? Hell yeah, they could! I mean, why not?

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The ‘Personal Luxury Coupe’ Car-Segment Used To Be Huge. Let’s Imagine If Toyota Got In On It In The 1980s

Nostalgia is a hell of a drug. And when you effectively OD on it, this is the result: fever dreams of long-dead automotive segments merged with carmakers that never had anything to do with them, really, but maybe should have.

Bigger Scion Iq Ts

Here’s How It Would Look If The Scion iQ Revived The 1980s’ Bizarre Expandable-Car Concept

Sometimes, The Bishop is the only place where true engineering daring can still be found. It’s where dreams that seem to bold to dare to dream find their day in court, to be explored and considered and fleshed out, even when every seemingly “rational” or “sane” person has already rejected them. Maybe it’s because they never have to be realized beyond pixels on a screen; maybe it’s because The Bishop is uniquely blessed with a will and desire to push the envelope of physics and engineering and marketing; either way, really ridiculous ideas will always have a home with us, like these absurd Scion iQ truck things that happily spit in the face of God and reason.

There’s so much more, and it just keeps coming. I can’t adequately explain how delighted I am to have The Bishop’s work on our site, and I hope we can keep being one of the most important beacons of genuine automotive irrationality in the known universe for as long as possible.

Thank you, Bishop.

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Relatedbar

What Two Unrelated Cars Look Strangely Alike?

That’s Not A Mailbox! Cold Start

What Is This Ship? Cold Start

 

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OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
4 months ago

I’m late to the comments but let me just say how much I enjoy the fanciful flights of the Bishop’s imagination, and he did a heck of a job on the Cold Starts as well while Jason was recovering.

I really want to meet the Bishop at a future gathering.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
4 months ago

That Corvair looks SOOOOOOO good!!!

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
4 months ago

The Bishop is about about as wicked as it gets. Phenomenal creative abilities in the above showcased work.

Bravo, my friend! Never change.

Tap-n-Die And Some WD-40
Tap-n-Die And Some WD-40
4 months ago

What makes The Bishop unique is that he always goes in a different direction from everyone else.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago

“the text of his articles comes to us via a midnight phone call from a blocked number, where the article is read to us via a computer-synthesized voice. All images come via fax, from another blocked number, concurrently with the phone call reading the text.”

Lies! All lies!

I heard it told all correspondence had been pounded out on a well worn Smith Corona portable typewriter and sent with the hand drawn sketches in lumpy anonymous brown paper wrapped packages with the delivery address scribbled poorly in red crayon and a return address simply reading “The Luminous Aether”.

How those packages ever made it through the post office is a mystery to this very day

VanGuy
VanGuy
4 months ago

The link for “Our Daydreaming Designer Came Up With The Ultimate Autopian Car And It Is Full Of Terrible Ideas” is busted.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
4 months ago

Wow, you have two land lines? What a retro luxury!

Thank you Hans (Bishop) for all your cool drawings and Photoshop fidgeting 🙂

Martin Ibert
Martin Ibert
4 months ago

Didn’t Mercedes buy a BMW from The Bishop, and in so doing went to his lair and met the person face-to-face?

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
4 months ago
Reply to  Martin Ibert

I remember that the Bishop car was faxed to her and delivery required cutting out and gluing together thousands of sheets of paper.

Delta 88
Delta 88
4 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

The Bishop mailed her each individual part, like some kind of hybrid “One Piece At a Time” by Johnny Cash meets the Sears catalog situation

Martin Ibert
Martin Ibert
4 months ago
Reply to  Delta 88

Mercedes wrote “Somehow, he’s lived within an hour of me this whole time and I didn’t even know. Yes, the Bishop is a real person, not a sentient chess piece! And, whatever vision you have in your head of what he looks like, he doesn’t look like it. What he looks like will remain a secret, but I can tell you that his family has a great taste in cars.” Which to me probably means she and Sheryl actually went to his place to collect the car. https://www.theautopian.com/i-bought-this-stately-bmw-e39-from-our-secret-designer-for-1500-and-its-a-heck-of-a-deal/

The Bishop
The Bishop
4 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

It was actually two BMWs (an e39 and an e61). Do you know how long it takes to piece together a VIN number? Every magazine in our house has letters chopped out.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
4 months ago
Reply to  The Bishop

“Hey hon, why does this VIN look exactly like an Ovaltine UPC glued together with bits of a High Times, Men’s Fitness, and Ladies’ Home Journal?”

“No way, that’s silly”

*scans VIN badge with Camera app*

https://www.amazon.com/OVALTINE-Rich-Chocolate-Milk-Canister/dp/B09X1XLY7C/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=ovaltine&qid=1704917122&sr=8-1

“…huh.”

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
4 months ago

Clearly he has a unique (and entertaining) sense of humor. Great stuff.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
4 months ago

Hooray for The Bishop and his wacky ideas!

FleetwoodBro
FleetwoodBro
4 months ago

The word “weird” or a variation of it is in four headlines today. I don’t have an opinion on this other than I think it’s weird.

Pisco Sour
Pisco Sour
4 months ago

Very little is really known about The Bishop; we know he’s a trained designer, working somewhere in the continental United States, though our research suggests he spent at least some of his childhood abroad, with a Volkswagen Type 4, possibly in the role of a nanny. We get his articles and posts in a way that insures his anonymity: the text of his articles comes to us via a midnight phone call from a blocked number, where the article is read to us via a computer-synthesized voice. All images come via fax, from another blocked number, concurrently with the phone call reading the text. 

I absolutely read this in Jeremy Clarkson’s “introducing the Stig” voice.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
4 months ago
Reply to  Pisco Sour

All we know is, he’s called The Bishop.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
4 months ago
Reply to  Pisco Sour

I seriously thought The Bishop was Torch in disguise until, uh, recently.

Slower Louder
Slower Louder
4 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Totally take your point. But the Bishop’s eccentricity goes off in different directions from Torchinsky. Think about it: the Bishop is seemingly free from any preoccupation whatsoever with what we’ll call waste elimination, and I don’t think we’ll ever hear him ( her? them?) refer to anything as damp and inviting, or whatever Jason wrote up there. Hmm. Maybe the Bishop is Dr Jekyll to Jason’s Mr Hyde?

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
4 months ago

I always appreciate The Bishop’s oblique approach. The JAM808 is my all-time favorite imaginary car.

Voeltzwagen
Voeltzwagen
4 months ago

Now we need Adrian’s take on The Bishop’s designs.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
4 months ago
Reply to  Voeltzwagen

Nobody here can beat the bishop like Adrian.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
4 months ago

Nice thing about being a bishop? You don’t have to follow all of those cardinal rules, yet.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
4 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Something something mitre… deacon…

Crap, I think you got the only pun.

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