Home » This Must Be The Greatest Culinary Mistake Ever Made At A Car Show

This Must Be The Greatest Culinary Mistake Ever Made At A Car Show

Glorious Error Ts2
ADVERTISEMENT

It’s hard for me to even call what I’m about to show you a mistake, because it is absolutely glorious. While at the incredible Galpin Car Show yesterday, I ran upstairs to the Aston Martin dealership and hung out with Autopian cofounder Beau in the VIP section, where there was a harpist playing songs from Sting and Michael Jackson. There were drinks, there was good breakfast and lunch, there was delicious crème brulée (I won’t lie, I had to look up how to spell that; I’m more of a cobbler man), and there were watermelons. Engraved watermelons. Maybe you see where this is going.

This being a premium car show at a premium sports car dealership, naturally you’d expect the cars engraved into watermelons to be premium vehicles, and they were! (mostly). Of the three watermelons perched as decorations on the dessert table in the VIP area, two sat down below on either side of the tallest watermelon, which was clearly the “featured” melon meant to get all the attention. The lower melon on the left showed the front of the latest-generation Ford GT — a vehicle that had an MSRP of about $500,000, but which tends to sell for over a million these days:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Screen Shot 2023 10 16 At 8.44.40 Am

The watermelon on the right featured the rear of a 2005-2006 Ford GT, a vehicle that had a sticker price of about $150,000 back when it launched — a damn bargain, and frankly, something that my 14 year-old self should have (somehow) purchased en-masse and stored in a warehouse, as this generation of Ford GT tends to sell for about a half a million dollars these days:

Screen Shot 2023 10 16 At 8.56.31 Am

ADVERTISEMENT

Two expensive, highly collectable supercars — totally appropriate for the VIP room of an Aston Martin dealership during a great car show. But what was the crown jewel of the three watermelons on that dessert table? What was the one in the middle, sitting up high for everyone to admire? Was it a rare Aston Martin? Was it a beautiful Jaguar or Lotus, since the Aston Martin building is shared by the two brands? Was it perhaps an iconic Land Rover, since that brand is also in the same building?

No.

The crown-jewel watermelon in the Galpin Car Show’s VIP lounge in the Aston Martin dealership was…

Screen Shot 2023 10 16 At 9.05.20 Am

A Lada Niva.

ADVERTISEMENT

Wait, what?!

Why the hell is the centerpiece of the car show’s VIP room a sub-$25,000 Russian off-road economy car? This is the equivalent of engraving a Subaru Crosstrek into a watermelon and presenting it proudly above two Ford GTs, except it’s even worse, because the Lada Niva — which is somehow still in production — is a 40+ year-old design!

Img 1305

I get the impression that the vehicle was meant to be a Land Rover Defender, since, as I mentioned before, the Aston Martin showroom shares a building with Land Rover, but what’s actually carved into the melon is very clearly a Niva. I mean, just look at those two turn signals above the headlights, with that strong hoodline joining them. No other car looks like that. Then you have the round headlights connected via horizontal grille slots. The front bumper is simple and straight, and the wheel arches are nice and pronounced. Plus, the two doors and small overall profile — this is clearly a Lada Niva.

Screen Shot 2023 10 16 At 9.11.21 Am

ADVERTISEMENT

It’s a hilarious mistake, and one that — as I mentioned in the first sentence — I’m hesitant to even call a mistake, because the Lada Niva is an awesome machine! It’s a tiny 4×4 hatchback with real off-road capability and cockroach-like longevity. The design has stuck around this long because it’s a great overall package — it’s small but spacious, it can go anywhere, and honestly, I think it looks great. It’s an honest little 4×4 — Russia’s Jeep Cherokee XJ.

I see charming little Nivas all the time when I visit my parents in Germany; Nivas, along with Suzuki Jimnys, are the ultimate alpine runabouts, and I think they’re fantastic. Obviously, sentiments towards Russia aren’t exactly high these days, but that’s not the Niva’s fault! You can like a car no matter who developed it, as Jason – our resident VW Beetle fan — can attest.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Autopian (@theautopian)

So I take it back — this hilarious mistake by the catering company wasn’t a mistake at all, but rather a triumphant statement: Give the Lada Niva the respect it deserves, for it is worthy of that top-watermelon-spot.

ADVERTISEMENT

I can support that.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
89 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
9 months ago

> crème brulée (I won’t lie, I had to look up how to spell that; I’m more of a cobbler man)

It’s brûlée (you’re missing the hat over the û).

Nothing says you can’t have cobbler WITH crème brûlée. Now I want some.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
9 months ago

“ Nothing says you can’t have cobbler WITH crème brûlée.”

Finally! A bakery that is also adept at mending shoes. Only in Los Angeles.

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
9 months ago

Except in this case you eat the cobbler.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
9 months ago

You beat me to it! I missed my chance to be the pedant Frenchman.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
9 months ago

Watermelons?!
Why didn’t I think of that? My decorative durian carvings for events never really took off for some reason…

Ricardo
Ricardo
9 months ago

This has got mispelled google picture search written all over it.

Maybe they thought is was a ‘Lada Rover’ because if you put that term in google image search you get a mix of Lada and Landrover pictures.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
9 months ago
Reply to  Ricardo

“This has got mispelled google picture search written all over it.”

Because of the blurred melons?

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago

“the Lada Niva is an awesome machine! It’s a tiny 4×4 hatchback with real off-road capability and cockroach-like longevity.”

STOP MAKING ME WANT ONE.

Now say some bad things about it so I can feel better.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
9 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

(a picture is worth a thousand words)
“Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stands next to his Lada Niva off-road car in the Black Sea resort of Sochi May 16, 2009.”

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago

Eh. That’s like hating on German Shepards just because Blondi was Hitler’s pet. Hitler was the monster, Blondi was just a dog. Hitler owning one doesn’t mean all German Shepards are bad, BAD DOGS!!

The Niva isn’t even a dog, it’s just a machine. With an Opel engine even, which spreads any guilt by association that much more.

Sincere thanks for trying but no, I’m not feeling any better.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
9 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Me neither. I want one too.

William Eby
William Eby
9 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

But if you buy one, you’ll make it more popular, and more money will go into Putin’s pocket. Blondi… was just someone’s pet.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago
Reply to  William Eby

So Putin makes money on 25 YO Nivas?

Goblin
Goblin
9 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

The Lada Niva is an unnamable piece of crap in its original state, its longevity is only proportional to the longevity of its owner (which is inversely proportionally shortened by said ownership).

It is a piece of automotive history, it is cute looking (to this day still), it is a great idea, and it is a good offroader when it works.

  • What is not said is that in its original, straight out of the factory state, its a piece of crap. What they have in common with cockroaches is that they were made in large quantities and the noise they make when squished.
  • What else is not said is that in most of the Socialist block it was in too short of a supply to be sold to private parties – it was sold as a fleet vehicle to state companies (all companies were state companies 🙂 ) and to the military in small quantities (it was considered a more luxurious alternative to a UAZ 469). All those places had in-company fleet mechanics who kept them from falling apart.
  • What else-ier is not said is that in any Western country with a solid Lada importer, all Ladas (Niva included) went through a dealer prep which included days of dissassembly, part replacing and bolt-tightening. Which made them (a little) more palatable.
  • And they rusted like an early 70s Italian car.

Lada fans tend to mix “easy to work on” with “reliable“. There are plenty of cars at the same level that are easy to work on and are actually reliable. When you live in a country where the whole automotive park consists of less than a dozen models updated once every 15 years, everybody becomes a good mechanic and every car becomes easy to work on, just because they are the only models generations of mechanics wrench on. For a specialized airplane mechanic, a jet engine is easy to work on.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago
Reply to  Goblin

Oh stop it! You’re making me want one even more!

Goblin
Goblin
9 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

He he he 🙂
My work here is done. Muwa-ha-haaa !!!

Goblin
Goblin
9 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Ladas do have one thing going for them – they are a nearly infinite supply for Veglia gauges that can be used for restoration projects nowaday.

Identical to some much more desirable machines’ gauges, all the way to the graphics and funnily-shaped speedo and tacho needles.

The “Oil“, Water” and “Fuel” inscriptions in Russian (on non-Western-export cars) might add to the exotic though 🙂

https://partslada.com/image/catalog/PARTSLADA/NEW25/23080.jpg

The clock was also very nice, with its knob at the bottom rather than in the center of the needles

Last edited 9 months ago by Goblin
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago
Reply to  Goblin

What is that picture of, the dash of a classic Ferrari?

No? That’s a LADA?

Goblin
Goblin
9 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Lada 1500, 1500s and 1600 dash, before they bastardized it later.
Note the three gauges on the left, with inscriptions in Russian. Steering wheel is not stock, that one is definitely Western.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago
Reply to  Goblin

I know. Veglia made the gauges for Ferrari too.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago
Reply to  Goblin

And they rusted like an early 70s Italian car.

How could they – those things were made from salvaged T-34 armor plating and AK-47 clips!

Goblin
Goblin
9 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

They (Ladas, not the Niva in particular) were made in an Italian designed and built factory based on the Fiat 124 (with a lot of extra sheet metal and gussets, and a reworked engine, it is true)

There are unicorns in the Soviet automotive history, it is true, but the Lada is not one of them.

The Gaz 53 truck (not a modern engine design by any means) had sodium-filled valves.

The legend goes (I can neither confirm nor deny) that getting one, carefully splicing the stem and throwing it in a puddle to watch it explode (well, loudly pop), was a quality passtime when I was a kid 😉

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago
Reply to  Goblin

They (Ladas, not the Niva in particular) were made in an Italian designed and built factory based on the Fiat 124 (with a lot of extra sheet metal and gussets, and a reworked engine, it is true)

There are unicorns in the Soviet automotive history, it is true, but the Lada is not one of them.

Oh I dunno, The VAZ 2101 had its charms:

“Some of the improvements developed by VAZ engineers were quietly applied by Fiat to the 124 in its final years of production – for example the chassis strengthening; internally within Fiat these updated models are denoted “124R”, the “R” standing for ‘Russian’.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VAZ-2101

Goblin
Goblin
9 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Yup, the gussets I mentioned above. Chassis was strenghtened for Russian potholes. Engine was modified too.

Note that most of the issues on the Niva are Niva specific. Transfer case whines, front axle’s attachments are weak, front CV axles can simply slip out of the differential on their splines sometimes, the whole transmission is subject to high wear (constant 4×4 of the not most mothern type 🙂 ), wheel bearings can be an issue at 20000 miles, the shaft that connects the transfer case and the gearbox (yes, they are separate) whines from new, which is ok, but can hide other noises when things get bad, front suspension is weak, transmission shaft usually starts vibrating after 35000 miles, which breaks other stuff. The steering box makes for the heaviest steering on Earth, and it lasts about 50000 miles.

This is just from the top of my head – not mentioning engine (it has a timing chain which doesn’t mean it needs attention and tightening as early as 35000 miles), and RUST.

This are the issue by design. Issues with build and assembly (which batch would you get, did you get one of the worst ones from the mid-90’s, would you get lucky to get an assembly line worker’s “congratulations” signature tricks – they do exist, and they are priceless) are factors not factored in here 🙂

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago
Reply to  Goblin

So how’s that so different from a vintage Alfa Romeo?

89
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x