It took 40 years. but my search finally bore fruit.

Somewhere around 40 years ago. my good friend Fred claimed the family Monaco wagon had a 440 with an “8 Barrel” carb. He was half right, twice over. The Monaco had a 440. It had half an 8 barrel, i.e., a 4 barrel carb.

I teased him mercilessly because there was no such thing as an “8 barrel.” Two 4 bbls? Sure. Four 2 bbls? sounded needlessly complex, so maybe a Ferrari had that. Neither one was a 1×8.

Still, I felt bad, because it was a silly teenage boast, made impossible because he treated the parts list like a math question. 4×2=2×4=1×8. All =8, right. So, for the last 10 years, I have been on a conscious hunt for an example of Chrysler calling a 2×4(or any other math equivalent) setup an “8 barrel.”

The guys in the Mopar clubs said I was dumb. Chrysler materials on Google from the 1960s were of no help. I thought it was pointless, yet I kept looking under the hoods of any V8 MoPar from the 1950s through the early 70s.

On Saturday, I went to the Gateway Classic Cars show in Deer Valley. Tucked away between Cadillacs and Camaros was a yellow Dodge Dart Swinger. Ho hum. Seen it. Uncle Bill had one with a vinyl roof and a 225 “slant six.”

This one had gaudy yellow paint and an oversized hood scoop. What Gives? Who does that – wait, what’s that on the scoop?

Read it and weep. Read it and weep.

Why yes, they ARE real! It’s not a misprint.

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t stumbled upon it personally. You are forgiven, Fred. Vindicated. Exonerated. Right.

Bugatti Chiron: It’s a thin line

Bugatti Chiron

It’s a thin line, between love and hate.

The Persuaders, 1971

I want to like this car. I do. 1,500 horsepower out of 8.0 liters is amazing. That is way better specific output than my 123 hp out of 999 cc. It’s more than 7 times the power of the 8.2L V8 in a 1978 Cadillac Eldorado. In theory, it can go 260 mph. So, respect is not an issue. Objectively, it’s a marvel.

1. Is that a spine or the dorsal fin of some apex predator?

Subjectively, I am torn between love and hate with this pre-production model…

So here we go:

  1. I applaud the use of obnoxious, flamboyant colors. I‘m on record with this. I hate this specific lighter blue. It’s awful. Plus, as far as I can tell, the fender extends seamlessly from door to grille. Presumably, this is some exotic metal over the carbon fiber monocoque, but in person and even on “film,” the color and the styling combine to say “plastic!” (Pic. 1)
  2. The center spine is glorious. Now it repeats on the roof, down a support splitting the engine banks, and onto the spoiler. (Pic. 1,6)
  3. Likewise, the A-pillar to B-pillar to intake to grille curve. Glorious. (Pics 4 and 5) Except for the abrupt end at the grille. (1) Look too at that rear flank line, expressed through the curve to the door. (5)
  4. But back to the nose and that paint. I look at the light buckets and see Chrysler Concorde (3) and 3rd generation Prelude (1,2). Thematically, I see Ferrari 360 and C5 Corvette in the headlight treatment – body colored instead of set off somehow. (1)
  5. Relatedly, the Chiron has 10 heat exchangers and 7 intakes. (Possibly 9 if the B-pillar scoop counts as two on each side.(Pic. 4)) Scoops and grilles are cool as hell, especially on ultracars like this. So why deemphasize the ones inboard of the headlights? (Pic. 2) I don ‘t get why they don’t get the “hey, look at me treatment.”
  6. Those rims! (2) It’s a rolling Rorschach test: Do you see a 5 point stub-ended star or a ring with 5 chevrons? (There is a MPG joke in there somewhere.) Either way, the impossibly thin and delicate machined surface is what that emphasizes, not the center.
  7. I’m just not feeling the tail. The light is cool, but so disconnected to curves of the side. The center panel looks like a giant license plate bracket/light brace in the middle of a gaping map of air outlets. It’s hard to get a read on it.
  8. My real bitch about this car is that the configurator is not online yet so all you can do is rotate between a few color combos. Evidently the lowest skirts, the B-pillar inside the curve and the back panel all only come in one color.

So there you have it. I am excited to see a real one out on the street, and to see how they get personalized by real owners.


Why have you forsaken me?

Yesterday, I rented a Dodge Avenger because the Flex was offline.  I get a rental car on overnight repairs, courtesy of Ford ESP.  The dealer said, “you can get one from us, or from Enterprise.”  I was like, “you, You! YOU!  I’ll take a Mustang GT convertible, thanks very much.”
So, the dealer shuttlecraft  dropped me off at Enterprise, rather than deal with my inevitable disappointment. No worries. 
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