By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit.

“Pete, do you ever get drained, of the driving?”

“No.”


“Recently, I typically get very drained, you already know? Very drained.”

That was Yves Montand – as French racing driver Jean-Pierre Sarti – speaking to James Garner – as American racing driver Pete Aron – within the 1966 movie “Grand Prix” after a very devastating Monaco Grand Prix, which left one in every of their fellow drivers, Brian Bedford – as British racing driver Scott Stoddard – badly injured and clinging to life within the hospital. That temporary dialog encapsulated the euphoric highs and the devastating lows of the game – two components very a lot nonetheless relevant at present.

Montand’s character was the veteran lead Ferrari driver, somebody who had seen an excessive amount of loss of life and destruction, and who was rising drained with every new incident. Garner’s character was the assured youthful driver, albeit a bit cocky, and too hell-bent on success to actually hear what “Jean-Pierre Sarti” was saying. This dialog occurred proper on the finish of the primary primary sequence of the film, and by the top of the riveting movie, “Pete Aron” would discover out what the French Grand Prix driver was speaking about.

I’ve usually stated that after I grew drained – actually drained – of making the content material for this web site, I might hold up my spurs and transfer on to different writing pursuits. I haven’t reached that time, at the least not but. I need to admit, I’m exhausted the entire time, too usually zombie-like due to little or no sleep and the excessive expectations that we’ve established with our readers, which is the direct results of the terribly excessive editorial requirements we’ve set for ourselves. It could be straightforward to re-run extra columns as a result of, in any case, we’ve occurring 22 years of content material to select from, however that doesn’t sit nicely with us. Sure, we do it sometimes, however “phoning it in” has by no means been a part of our modus operandi round right here.

However, given all of that, nonetheless, I’m drained of some issues of late. Very drained. To wit?

I’m uninterested in the Ford PR hype machine working amuck virtually each day. The fixed bleating, ably assisted by the Detroit Free Press – which appears to be an lively arm of Ford PR by the way in which – appears to be designed to take our consideration from the issues backstage, reminiscent of launch points and high quality issues. In different phrases, the basics of this enterprise. 

Ask any provider – at the least those prepared to talk – about Ford’s incessant product launch issues, and it’s clear that systemic failure haunts the automaker like a black cloud. And surprisingly, it’s often not the launch itself, nevertheless it’s the run-up to the launch – about 36-48 months out – when issues begin to go unhealthy. That is the normal Ford “We’re the Smartest Individuals within the Room and Don’t You Overlook It” section, whereby Ford operatives demand that suppliers design and engineer their merchandise the “Ford Means,” as a result of because the OEM, “we’re inherently smarter than something you’ll be able to provide you with anyway.” 

Aside from the truth that this isn’t remotely the case. The “Ford Means” is actually a Freeway to Hell primarily based on how not to do issues proper, a slap-dash, haphazard loss of life march of incompetence that grows exponentially till the corporate is left with remodeling and fixing soccer fields of automobiles and vans after they’re constructed. 

What’s the “Ford Means” you would possibly ask? The “Ford Means” revolves across the firm perception that not solely is it smarter than its suppliers, however any resolution the suppliers provide you with Ford can’t solely do it higher and faster, however cheaper too. And, after all, the truth is that anytime Ford touches something it takes twice as lengthy and prices twice as a lot (if no more). Till Ford accepts the truth that it’s this basic concern that’s holding the corporate again, it would by no means get out of its two steps ahead – and 5 again – dance of mediocrity. And till the esteemed automotive media stops giving Ford a free cross for simply displaying up, the Fog of Misinformation will proceed.

However positive, let’s hype that electrical SUV/Crossover prefer it’s the best factor since sliced bread – as if no BEV existed earlier than it – and let’s preserve beating the drums suggesting that their CEO walks on water (as if). That method, we will neglect about that little downside of F150 windshields coming unfastened.

There are numerous different issues that I’m uninterested in too. Listed below are only a few. The Swirling Maelstrom that defines Tesla for example, because the hype vortex continues to suck all rational thought out of beforehand rational folks. I’m inspired, nonetheless, that with every passing day formidable BEV rivals are rising which might be going to show St. Elon’s blissful daze into an authorized residing nightmare (see this week’s “On The Table” -WG). It may’t occur quickly sufficient, actually.

Whereas I’m at it, I’m uninterested in GM not getting sufficient credit score for its pioneering BEV, the Chevrolet Bolt. A 259-mile vary, in case you haven’t observed, is a real-world quantity that works. Sure, the Bolt represents GM’s yester-tech EV know-how as in comparison with the beautiful array of Ultium battery-powered automobiles which might be coming, however GM has been in-market with these automobiles for a very long time. With just a little advertising assist – versus none in any respect – the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV will present an ideal transition to GM’s subsequent BEV chapter. 

And eventually, I’m uninterested in the hype for hype’s sake. It’s rampant in all places, however greatest exemplified within the five-second “information” bursts on social media. No follow-up studying bothered with, not even an try at understanding the problems at hand; simply ready-fire-aim, all day and every second of each day. 

Dwelling on this world requires a modicum of participation, of digging by way of The Fog of Misinformation to get on the info, after which, spending time to grasp what’s actual and what isn’t. I don’t assume it’s an excessive amount of to ask.

I’m reminded of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, as a result of the phrases nonetheless resonate at present, if no more so:

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
Creeps on this petty tempo from daily
To the final syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way in which to dusty loss of life. Out, out, temporary candle!
Life’s however a strolling shadow, a poor participant
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
After which is heard no extra: it’s a story
Informed by an fool, filled with sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

I’m particularly uninterested in these hole tales instructed by idiots, filled with sound and fury, signifying nothing.

And that’s the Excessive-Electron Fact for this week.

Jim Garner in “Grand Prix.”