It wasn’t a dream after all.

They really did it. This is the Bentley Bentayga.* Despite all the negative reactions to the prototype, Bentley said “me too” to the SUV class.   But my question is “what is it best at?”

Looks? Maybe. The front does scream “I swear I am a real Bentley!!” more convincingly than a fake. The rest of it is basically best 2016 Ford Edge ever.

Design? Look at the windshield. To keep the shape, they painted black on the door. They did the same thing on the D-pillar/tailgate. We call that a compromise, don’t we?

Back seat room? Cargo space/utility? Look at this and say either is best in class. Your Tibetan Mastiff is not going to fit in the back. Or in cargo.

Yes, it is somewhat hand built. So is a Whopper. Yes, the materials you feel and see are top notch. Yes, it is somewhat rare. Yes, you’ll never see one of the poors driving it, except at the auto salon. Yes, it’s got unbelievable power and a crazy theoretical top speed for a grocery getter. And a token trailer hitch.

But what is it best at? (Besides price, obvs.)

bentley bentayga

Continue reading “It wasn’t a dream after all.”

1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme: Peak GM

1976 Cutlass
1976 Cutlass-2
It gets better.

This was the most popular car in the world America, in the 1970s. Even after they got neutered. This is the third best version. The ’77 is better because the grill is less “hey look at my heavy-handed family resemblance to a Delta 88.” Also, my sister had one, and it was sweet.  The ’73 was better because the bumpers were less onerous, the ginormous 455 made more power. And also JackDova and the Minotaur.

Continue reading “1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme: Peak GM”

The Best Wraith Ever

Rolls-Royce Dawn

It’s morning Dawn in America. And I have a new favorite Rolls. This is the Rolls Royce Spectre Dawn.  Same basic proportions as a Phantom Drophead, without the 10/8ths ginormity.

Rolls-Royce Dawn
Same understated departure view. If you’re not being coddled inside, it’s all about watching the Rolls roll up, anyway.
Rolls-Royce Dawn

Rolls-Royce Wraith
An awkward profile; an awkward resolution.
Rolls-Royce Wraith
Yeah, just try to tell me you’re not seeing this and thinking Billy Ray Cyrus.

The rear is one of my favorite views, because of what this car is and what it is not. In many ways, it is a topless Wrath. The most important difference (to me) is it loses is the mullet. That is the major shade I have for the Wraith: Business in front; party in the back. The Dawn is simply unobtainable elegance. No gimmicks, no cringes.

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.

chiron-1
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.

  1.