Monday Musings 78

While my wonderful wife and I are attending the Mecum auction this week, posting will be sporadic or non-existent. Writing a post using the WordPress app forces one to use the awful Block(head) Editor.

In any event, after posting for 15 consecutive days I could use a break. I am grateful, though, for the resurgence in the number of views and visitors so far in August.


One year ago today I published this post, titled Why Can’t I Buy This Car?! The specific car mentioned is the Alpine A110, built by Renault. Here is a picture:


See the source image


Yes, Renault doesn’t sell cars in the US at the moment. However, it would be illegal for me to import one from Europe. As I wrote last year, I do not believe in unconstrained freedom, but why is this car illegal and some monstrous SUV legal? Sorry, but that’s just wrong.

Many blinded by political ideology think government regulation is necessary to rein in big businesses. In actuality, regulation hurts small businesses that lack the resources to comply.

Eighty-three (83) percent of US businesses have annual sales of less than $1 million. Eighty-one (81) percent have fewer than 10 employees. Even so, these businesses employ millions of people.

No, Renault is not a small business. The point is still valid and the regulations that make it illegal for me to import one of their cars actually benefit the big automobile companies that do sell cars here.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.


Well, I guess my wonderful wife can’t buy the Ferrari California she drove awhile back.



The sign in the windshield indicates it has been sold. Inventory was sparse at the local luxury make complex. While I don’t know for sure, the worldwide computer chip shortage that has hampered production of so many items may be a factor.


I’ll end today’s post with some desert/sky scenery. See you on the flip side, I hope.











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Why Can’t I Buy This Car?!

Motor Trend airs a show called “Head 2 Head.” It is hosted by Jethro Bovingdon and Jonny Lieberman. They are both long-time automotive journalists; Bovingdon is from the UK while Lieberman is American. I think both of them have an anti-American bias when it comes to automobiles, but none of us is completely objective.

The latest episode featured a BMW M2 Competition and an Alpine A110, which is built by Renault. During his time in the A110, Lieberman asked why he couldn’t buy it in the US. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, that the US is one of the two largest automobile markets in the world, is a country with lots of automobile enthusiasts and lots of great roads. (This episode was filmed in Europe.) At the end of the show, and after lots of test driving, the A110 was chosen over the BMW M2.

When Carlos Ghosn was still in charge of the Nissan-Renault Alliance he said that Renault would not be re-introduced into the US market. Why not? Some of the reasons are rules and regulations established by the DOT and the EPA. What cracks me up is that many Americans think that Europe is a place where people have no freedom and the government micromanages everyone’s life. Still, the A110 is available there, but not here.

Don’t kid yourself; a lot of these rules and regulations were simply adopted after lobbying by American car companies in order to reduce foreign competition. I also think that after Americans showed an inclination to buy SUVs, the car companies pushed their marketing in that direction because SUVs have a higher profit margin than cars.

Of course, Renault did not have a lot of success selling cars in the US and may have poisoned the well when it basically took over American Motors Corporation and built a lot of products that were not well-received. However, that was a long time ago; AMC was purchased by Chrysler in 1987.

From Auto Evolution a picture of the modern Alpine A110:


See the source image


It is a mid-engined two-seater, powered by a turbocharged inline-four cylinder engine of 1.8 liters/110 cubic inches in displacement that produces 249 HP/236 LB-FT of torque. If that output doesn’t sound impressive, consider that the car weighs less than 2,500 pounds. A 2020 Dodge Challenger with an 8-cylinder engine weighs over 4,000 pounds. Oh, the A110 only comes with a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission.

Even if I could afford to do so, it would be illegal for me to buy one of these in Europe and bring it to the US. That just doesn’t sound right to me. No, I do not believe in unconstrained freedom, but why is this car illegal and some monstrous SUV legal? Sorry, but that’s just wrong.

Does anyone have any opinions on this matter that they’d like to share?






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Why Can’t We Buy These Here?

This CarBuzz post about European cars not available in the US got me asking, once again, why a wealthy country with a lot of empty-nester families and one-person households buys so many SUVs and pickup trucks. No one has really answered me except for a generic “trade-offs between room and MPG are no longer necessary because drive trains are so efficient and gas is so cheap.”

In this Hemmings post one of the regular commenters, Joe Essid, wrote that he thought America’s fever for large vehicles would break. I wrote that I wish that were true, but without an exogenous shock like a Middle East war that sends gas to $5 or $6 a gallon I don’t see the fever breaking.

The CarBuzz post included this, “Another common hatred in the US is small hot hatchbacks. American buyers are obsessed with SUVs…” I have to confess that I also do not share the fascination with “small hot hatchbacks” that exists in Europe, but I also wonder why the American car-buying public eschews them completely.

Of the cars listed by CarBuzz, this one was the most interesting to me:

This is an Alpine A110. Alpine (pronounced Al-Peen) is a French manufacturer that stopped production in 1995—by then the cars were just badge-engineered Renaults, anyway—but is back with this car. It is powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 250 HP and 236 LB-FT of torque, high output for a car weighing less than 2,500 pounds. Yeah, yeah, I know—it’s not an SUV.

What do you think? If you’re part of a one-person or two-person household and drive an SUV or pickup truck, why do you not drive something smaller? I really want to know because I don’t understand.