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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

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On: Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 3:13PM | By: John Welch

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

BMW hasn't been actively involved in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters series since the early Nineties. They're considering making a come-back. I'd love to see a Rahal M3 with its doors and fenders all chopped up, and crazy aero-thingees hanging off its muscular flanks.

Toyota has hit the proverbial "Crack-smokin', alternative-lifestyle hookin', eating-Ramen-at-every-meal" rock bottom this week; their credit rating has been reduced to that of a college student. Oh, how the mighty have fallen on their smug, insultingly boring car-producing faces.

Ken Block is planning another viral video sensation:; Gymkhana 3. The first two Gymkhanas were films involving Subarus with horribly ugly paint-jobs. This new edition will feature a Ford with a horribly ugly paint-job. *Yawn* . . . boy, do I have a hankerin' for a sugary can of nearly carbonated hyper-juice right about now . . .

The Good: DTM is akin to NASCAR in Germany; not that the two series have much, if anything, in common. It's just that big. The cars are a mixture of Audi A4s and Mercedes Benz C-Class sedans, albeit decked-out with the latest prototype-grade aerodynamics. We are talking serious wings here.

Each car has advanced aero-tricks baked into its bodywork, from full under-floor diffusers to wild fender canards and winglets. The only thing the series is missing is a third manufacturer. Opel bailed out at the beginning of the decade, leaving only the Audis and Mercedes to duke it out for Aryan touring car supremacy.

Give this video sixteen seconds; you will not be disappointed!

The obvious player we are missing is BMW. Audi covers all of the Volkswagen group (Porsche, VW, Audi and Lambo). Opel doesn't have a chassis or the money to create one, and Mercedes is, well, boring 'ole Mercedes. BMW's board of directors met this week to discuss a remedy to this lack of friendly Germanic competition. Having just bailed out of F1, das MotorWerks should have a sizable chunk of fresh cash available for a touring car program. Here's hoping they get a car put together for the 2011 season!

The Bad: Ahhhg, now the news gets worse for Toyota. Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded ToyoMoCo from a Aaa1 rating to a Aaa2, the third highest rating. Whatever the eff that means.

A lower credit rating indicates a higher risk of a default and can raise borrowing costs. The carmaker has 5.45 trillion yen of bonds and loans coming due through 2012.

The company’s shares fell 1.4 percent to close at 3,600 yen in Tokyo.

"We are deeply disappointed with the Moody’s downgrade," said Mieko Iwasaki, a Toyota spokesman in Tokyo. "We are doing our utmost in prioritizing our customers' trust with our best management efforts and hope to have our rating raised again." Good job, Inaba; "cover-ups" are really worth it in the long run, aren't they? Ever read "Rising Sun"? Maybe you should . . .

The Ugly: Ken Block, shoe-magnate, and rally racing extraordinaire, has swapped alliances for his next "Gymkhana" video. Gone is the tried and true Subaru WRX with which Ken power-slid his way into millions of homes worldwide. In its place we find the slightly smaller, slightly more powerful Monster Energy Drink-sponsored Ford Fiesta featured in the image gallery. Yikes, it's an eyeful.

Essentially the same chassis as was used in the 2009 X-Games, this beast can be tuned up to 800 horsepower (though I doubt that's what Ken runs when filming) and boosts an impressive suspension and gearbox. The word "bulletproof" comes to mind. And then is removed from mind by the phrase "Apocalypse proof". That doesn't mean it looks good.

The paint splatters and contrasting colors thing was passe when the first Gymkhana made its debut; now its just annoying to look at. I've never found "food-product" based liveries to be all that attractive (what could be gayer then Kyle Buschs' M&Ms car? Only Clint Bowyer's Cheerios car . . .) so maybe I'm not giving Monster branding a fair shot. Good; it's my opinion that counts on this blog, and my opinion is that it stinks! Out loud! Brown bag that econo-slug!

Ahem . . . the new Fiesta isn't a "slug", by any means. "Ugly", yes; "sluggish", absolutely not.

In case you have been living under a rock, in the Outback- here are the first two Gymkhana videos . . .

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)


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