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Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #57: Tragic failures, and tremendous triumphs, of the tyrannous clean sheet

"According to scientists, the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly." Surely you've heard this. It's a seductive phrase, because it allows us to express our misgivings regarding Science-With-A-Capital-S. Those misgivings are often well-founded—the "reproducibility problem" in modern science is a genuine elephant in the room, and many studies are published with great fanfare only to be silently withdrawn shortly afterwards—but the flight of the bumblebee shouldn't be used as a metaphor for them. Bumblebees fly just fine. They do it by flapping their wings forward and back instead of up and down. A few scientists correctly noted decades ago that there wasn't enough wing surface on a bee to support traditional wing-powered flight, but that's like saying that there isn't enough flipper surface on a human body to let us swim.


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Thank you for citing one of my pet peeves in related to auto journalism: complaining about outdated platforms.


Is it legal, does it work? Not outdated.


So much development money wasted on things most consumers don't notice. I'm glad Dodge keeps milking that platform for all it is worth.


The same journalists who criticize the challenger for being long in the tooth, will praise the 993 and deride the 996. 

Both the 4runner and Land Cruiser haven't had a major redesign in a decade and they are some of the most reliable cars you can buy today. Evolution is usually a better strategy for automakers then revolution, although I suppose K-cars are an exception to that rule.

Community Manager

You bring up a great point.  I like how the Challenger is stickin' around as-is like a Crown Vic, but with more style and stuff for retail customers.  

Hagerty Employee
Hagerty Employee

Maybe we are in for a golden period of sorts for the next 5-10 years, because automakers won't be able to develop many "clean-sheet" designs of traditional (internal combustion) passenger vehicles while simultaneously developing the electric-vehicle platforms that society and government will dictate. Instead, we will have better-every-year iterations of existing platforms and technologies in some car and truck lines. Wishful thinking, perhaps?

Community Manager

I think that's very likely, especially if R&D budgets shrink in the coming quarters. 

Intermediate Driver

One person's old and tired is another person's proven and reliable. For more, look at the used market's love for the 7.3L Power Stroke compared to its successor, the infamous 6.0L Power Stroke.


As mentioned, the LX cars get a lot of flack in enthusiast spaces for being ancient, and also for not being out-and-out sports cars like the Mustang and Camaro are today. But by dint of FCA simply not having enough money to redesign the LX cars, they are unique in today's market. If you want a new 4-door car with a V8, the Charger is your only option under $70K. FCA has kept the LX cars relevant with the right updates in the ZF 8HP and uConnect, and by having a clear vision for them: unabashedly American cars in tune with their history. (If you want to see what a lack of vision looks like, take a look at the current Camaro team and its insistence that no good cars were made after the 1969 Camaro.) Yeah, the interior is shabby especially when compared to the Ram 1500 in the same showroom. But we should appreciate these cars while they're still here with us.

Intermediate Driver

If it isn't broke, don't mess with it! I've never been able to understand the "change for the sake of change" mentality, in business or anywhere else.

Nissan has taken a lot of garbage for leaving the Frontier pick up virtually unchanged in it's present generation since 2004 and yet it continues to outsell vehicles like the Honda Ridgeline and GMC Canyon and holds its own against the Ford Ranger and Chev. Colorado all with a 15 year old design. Change is coming in the upcoming redesign for next year, but they have proven that you need not mess with a good thing that meets peoples needs just for the sake of the latest, greatest and newest...