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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Never Stop Driving #1: Used VWs and Autonomous Cars

Welcome, Drivers. This newsletter is for people who love to drive and who share Hagerty's mission to preserve driving and car culture for future generations. Think of it as your all-in-one, weekly source of everything you need to know about the world of cars-from inspirational stories to collector-car sales to industry gossip-as curated by a lifetime car geek.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/never-stop-driving/never-stop-driving-1-used-vws-and-autonomous-cars/
169 REPLIES 169
vrooomie
Intermediate Driver

As a 60+ year veteran of the car hobby, but with a pragmatic eye towards its foibles as well as its fun,

I do not think Lutz has this correct.

That said, due to driving and its deleterious effects on the environment, we WILL have to rejigger how this hobby proceeds, apace.

As Paul Simon once sang, 'every generation throws a hero up the pop charts,' and the GTI certainly qualifies.
Teampantera
Intermediate Driver

Great job Larry. Keep it coming.
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

Lutz is an idiot.

He was once bright, but now he’s not.

“Climate change doesn’t exist” is just one of his many brilliant pontifications.

He also forgot to lower the landing gear on his Czech-built jet fighter ‘plane a while back, when landing. Oops.

Maybe he’s just smoked too many cigars, I don’t know.
lweb19
Hagerty Employee

You may not agree with Lutz's prediction, but he's no idiot. And anyway, please help us keep these discussions civil. Thank you!
ctaarman
Detailer

Larry, by day I'm a consultant in the areas of networing, optics, and advanced software. In my opinion Bob Lutz was prescient when he made his prediction, and it will happen based on the goal of governments to control the movement of citizens and always know there whereabouts. It will happen first in China. They are currently spending billions in research tying together Lidar, traffic control networks and Artificial Intelligence systems. I expect they will be there in 5-10 years max. Once implemented, the Chinese government will decide when and where people may travel. The US (and other governments ) will likely follow under the guise of the Green initiative and keeping up with the Chinese in technology. (Think how the Patriot Act and other legislation has been used outside of their bounds). Once this happens, the true independence of all people, that really only happened after the widespread availability of ICE automobiles, will be gone forever. Orwellian but highly plausible.
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

Yeah.
Bill Gates is tracking you, with his implanted chip, too.

Hilarious.
Bostwick9
Advanced Driver

What a great piece. Every trip in a car, no matter how pedestrian or modest the vehicle is still a treat after all these years. Even a trip to Safeway.
Sometimes I have felt they've been my only friend.
Next week I will take a short trip [about 7 miles] to Saguaro Canyon National Park to spread the ashes of my best friend Bill in the car I was driving when we met 40 years ago.
I will be a full participant in this action as the 63 Valiant that will take us there has un-boosted steering and brakes and a three speed manual on the column.
Bill rode in, worked on with my Dad, pushed and listened to me freak out when it screwed up along the way. He would have loved this.
He put a working radio in it. A $10 special from Zody's. We went to see Leslie Gore and other performers in a nostalgia tour at a theater on Hollywood Blvd. Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons 25th Anniversary tour on Wilshire Blvd in it.
Drove Edith Massey [The Egg Lady, a John Waters superstar] to the clubs in West Hollywood in it to promote her act on Sunset Blvd. and the Whiskey the next night where she performed with her punk rock band.
There were funerals. Cruising on Hollywood Blvd. Stolen batteries, flat tires. A cassette player from his '73 Duster went in it and speakers. He installed my new Econo-Miser carb from JC Whitney on it, KRTH 101 locked in on the radio. Trips up into the Hollywood Hills and Griffith Park. The Observatory.
After all that he remined me that he'd never driven it in all these years.
I spent plenty to get it safer for him to drive on one of his visits in the last couple of years, and then he wasn't well enough to come visit any longer.
This route was the one I planned for him to drive.
AZ was one of his favorite places. He would have appreciated the ceremony and the Valiant's participation in his send off.
Best friends indeed.
I don't think that some autonomous device will ever become the kind of vessel that could generate that sort of counterpoint to someone's life in the future.
How sterile and soul-less driving one of these must be.
But then automotive scribes from the '50s, '60s and '70 sneered about the idea the cars of those eras would ever be collectible. I'm likely as wrong as they were.
Wonderful piece.
There's been nothing that has had such an impact on my life as these four wheeled things and interaction with them.
Crossing to the other side to the Isle of Misfit Cars to spend eternity would truly be heaven.
Thanks for taking pause and reminding us that these things are far more than just collections of sheet metal, rubber, screws, bolts and glass.
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

Are you near Tucson?

We lived there for a while, back in the ‘70s.

Near the airplane graveyard.
lweb19
Hagerty Employee

Thank you, for sharing your wonderful experience.
Larry
ctaarman
Detailer

Correction: networking
spdfreak
Intermediate Driver

Don't forget to cover the analog bikes, too. Barber Motorsports Park's largest event every year is Vintage Days in Oct. Seeing what those bikes are selling for now on BaT is pretty mind-boggling. My business restoring vintage bikes has never been better which is a good sign for the future. People still love riding their old stuff!
Romeo
New Driver

Autonomous cars? No way. When I'm cruising in my '68 Camaro on our main drag with 4-spd, devoid of power steering, power brakes, power windows, A/C, it's what I want. Full attention to driving and in synch with the car. No time, inclination or need to text or rack tunes on my iPhone.
Summer is short in Canda. Drive it - Live it!
Racerjiggs
New Driver

I am about to reach my 76th birthday and although physically disabled, I still enjoy driving my vehicles whenever I get the chance. Those days are slowly coming to an end as my disability progresses. 18 months ago I had to sell my 6 speed 09 Altima as I could no longer use the clutch pedal. I am now driving a 2010 Ford Flex- last drove her on March24. I am now in my latest hot rod, a Quantum power wheelchair, FWD, power elevation and tilt but unfortunately have yet to find a suitable wheelchair van- full size or mini to transport the power chair. So that will be my next “vehicle”.
But take heart, I still have my “toys” that I can still do limited work on:
1970 Ford Cortina GT, full race, now getting a 2.3 Ford EcoBoost installed- my son, Mark and also the driver plus our crew chief have been working on the project for the past 2 years. Featured in Grassroots Motorsports online Forum in the build and projects section . Also shown in their April 2022 issue.
1968 Lotus Super 7, RHD with a LotusFord twincam, with a UK racing history. About 60% of the frame up restoration completed.
1994 Ford Probe GT being developed into a road race car. In storage at the present time
2004 Ford F-350 Super Duty King Ranch, 2WD, 6.0 Turbo Diesel, crew cab tow vehicle
2010 Freedom 28’ V-nose enclosed trailer
I have been an enthusiast for well over 50 years and have no intention of quitting anytime soon.
And no I will never have an electric nor autonomous vehicle. Where is the fun in that.
Gerald Elliott
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

That’s great!

A Cortina? Those just ooze coolness.

I’ve seen a couple Lotus Cortinas.

I’d love to have one, but they are mega-expensive now.
Sutton12
Intermediate Driver

I just bought a brand new 2022 Chev Tahoe and was floored by how many options on this car had to run through my wife's smart phone (I don't have one) or through OnStar. As we sat next to my 2014 Tahoe which we just traded in and did not require the smart phone or a costly program from OnStar to run it's options (such as "map guidance") I wondered if we had made a big mistake. Anyway, we prescribed to the $16.00/month internet plan and we are satisfied but I still believe we have lost some ground however. During the soaring gas price situation this vehicle sits in the garage until I need to tow the trailer. In the meantime I'll save money by driving my 1970 VW Squareback.
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

Yeah, OnStar seems like a bit of a money grab. Mary Barra should fix that. Increasingly disappointed in her. I used to support her 100%

I worked at GM.

I don’t need any subscriptions to operate my car.

But forced subscriptions are the “new thing.” A nice little money stream.

I don’t participate in those “services.”
Snailish
Engineer

The scary idea is building fully optioned vehicles with various options **bleep** off via subscription.

 

This is so they can upsell the next owner on everything you didn't want, and they only have to make one spec of everything at the factory. Makes great sense to their accountants.

 

I forsee the nightmare of options no one has ever activated breaking in my off-warranty car and disabling my vehicle from working. Even though I don't need that option I will have to pay to upkeep these idle parts.

Snailish
Engineer

hey, the auto bleeping is now just taking  a word out instead of half paragraphs... I guess that is better.

 

s-h-u-t I can almost see why it is bleeping, but obviously that is still not fixed. 

viper8u
New Driver

Agree and well put. Having a strong position in late 60"s and muscle cars I too have "invested" in those 80"s Gen X pocket rockets. Added a GLH and a GLHS to the stable figuring they were near the top of the 80's performance pinnacle when Get X'ers were lusting after some form of transportation that would fulfill their desire for performance and "style". Now seeing near $20K sales on both the GLH and the GLHS. Poor build quality, unreliable but very reminiscent of those same characteristics of the golden years of muscle cars. History repeats itself...again.
Rumplestilskin
Pit Crew

I don't want microprocessors controlling every aspect of my life....let alone driving.
Microprocessors are already way too invasive in our lives busily doing things we don't want them to do and preventing us from doing what we want. Nav systems are a perfect example, frequently directing us on a route that makes no sense if you live in the area.
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

Your current car is run almost entirely by microprocessors.

Which you command.

NAV systems are great, but they are only as good as how you set up your preferences and parameters.

GIGO.

If you tell it that you always want the quickest way, or the shortest path, or the most use of expressways, or to avoid expressways, you’ll get different recommended routes. Ultimately, you decide where to go. Your nav doesn’t.

They are amazingly accurate now.
Mtdave427
New Driver

I appreciate your effort to promote meaningful dialog with such a diverse group. I escaped the rat race a few years ago, and now live on a river 100 mi north of Yellowstone. I have some muscle cars in the barn, and doubt that we will see autonomous cars around here in my lifetime. We will all be affected by future regulations no matter where we live, so let’s stick together and keep the communication open. Thanks for your continuing effort Larry
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

Exactly. Thank you.
lweb19
Hagerty Employee

Appreciate the comment Dave!
larry
audiobycarmine
Technician

As someone who has worked in Information Technology, I honestly don't consider myself a Luddite, but many technologies have been far more problematic over time. A-bombs and television are but two that changed history.
So-called Social Media is now anything but.

The whole idea of autonomously-driven private cars is, of course, multi-faceted.
Convenience, sure.
Now what about every other aspect of current human/car interaction (or NON-involvement)?

We've had self-parking cars for a few years now.
How do those figure into your Driver's License Road Test?
Parallel parking only for those without automation?
One less skill for humans.

Too many "drivers" are already distracted by their personal devices, and now cars' "Info/Entertainment" panels are only making everything worse.
I touch one button to change radio stations, and I don't have to look at anything.
Same thing with Fan/Blower, Cabin Temperature and many more.
Almost NO attention needed to effect the change.

What I am absolutely CERTAIN will be happening is that owners of autonomous cars will proceed even further into pure "passengerhood" and thus lose the ability to actually take control and DRIVE a car.
Varying levels of licensing will be needed.

Computers, electronics etc. are never absolutely, totally dependable or glitch-free. That's how I made a living for a while.

Now think about what happens in a moving vehicle having no able person in it when something of a "bug" occurs.
The current distracted asses purportedly "driving" on our roads today might actually be considered skilled someday.

It reminds me a bit of the joke: "My Uncle died very peacefully and quickly. The passengers on his bus did not."
rogerx
Pit Crew

While I agree with many of your comments, don't hold your breath. Musk has been seeking autonomous driving as an option for years now and has yet to deliver. I think he is still a long ways off and even if he does deliver in the next year or two, that technology is years away from the masses both here and around world. I go to Philippines with my wife every year or two and an automatic transmission is still a luxury for the few people that do have a car. California is not the rest of the Country and USA is not the rest of World.
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

I’m with you on that.

They need shut up about FSD until they are much closer to Production.

I did not buy the FSD when I bought my Tesla. Had no interest in it, unless it was no-charge.
MrJoshua79
Pit Crew

I have always thought, that the easier a car is to drive the less safe it is. Driving a car should be an experience that you need to pay attention to, enjoyable effort. I would not be comfortable having someone else, let alone a computer make decisions for me. The most unreliable part of any modern car is the computer and fine gauge wiring. I believe cars have been made easier to drive to increase the market size. Though I'm not a complete Neanderthal, and certainly enjoy some refinements. Such as a dual pot master and vacuum booster for my 1951 Packard. Yet I have no intention to install power steering or and automatic transmission. I actually find it sad that having a manual is considered and anti theft device. I don't own an AMC Rambler, yet I ramble. I would hope that if you need a car to drive for you, you would save your money and use public transportation. Just my thoughts. I probably should own and AMC Rambler!
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

Ramblers are cool.

An AMX with a 390 and a go-pack is probably my dream AMC.

I worked at AMC (Kenosha), way back when. I drove a Renault Fuego Turbo.

One minor tweak to the stick comment:

Manual transmissions are “Millennial Anti-theft devices.”

Heh.

Which our two Millennial sons don’t like to hear. But only one of them can drive a stick!
gtoformula
New Driver

Looking forward to your weekly articles. Always good to read info from Car and Driver alumni ... I've been a subscriber to the mag since the late 1970's. My automotive interests are all across the board as evidenced from my stable which includes a 2008 Corvette Z06, 1986 Fiero GT with a supercharged Buick 3800, a stock 1931 Model A Tudor Sedan and a couple of daily drivers (2020 Silverado 1500 diesel and 2012 Chevy Equinox for the wife).
lweb19
Hagerty Employee

Thanks for reading!
uweschmidt
Instructor

I'll try to keep this short Its my Birthday today I'm 87 and I have a very difficult Choice to make Do Itake my 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Roadster for a Drive or our 1948 Dodge Coupe? are they insured with Hagerty? You bet!!I have had a wonderful Life so far I spend many hours racing and untold miles enjoying many Vehicles and so I got to many wonderful Places in our World Do I have any regrets: yes I never got to drive anything with an Offenhauser engine in it in closing real Cars are stylish they perform well in their Class They make N O I S E and the need two strong arms when beeing put thru their Paces
MadamBlue91
Intermediate Driver

Drive both!
uweschmidt
Instructor

What a Good Sugestion I will do just that Thank you
lweb19
Hagerty Employee

I agree with previous sentiment. Take both!
MadamBlue91
Intermediate Driver

I'll keep driving even if it becomes illegal! They can't put me in jail if they can't catch me!

That Chevelle wagon is gorgeous!
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

“When cars are outlawed, only outlaws will have cars”

Heh.

My wife says I’m a rebel. Who am I to argue with her?
Maestro1
Technician

Larry, well done. With regard to autonomous cars; I would never put my life in the hands of a few chips. I have been around cars since I was 10 years old. I am now 84 years old. I am continuing to drive old cars with as little technology crap in them as possible.
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

It’s funny.

My Dad died two years ago, at 90.

He would be the first in our family to want to ride in an autonomous vehicle. He drove a Hybrid.

He worked for Ford for 18 years, during the Whiz Kids days. He introduced me to American Muscle.

He got a couple speeding tickets at about 87. In his AWD Eagle Talon Turbo.

He flew in a B-29 about a year or two before he died. A year after he flew in it, it crashed.

He was our family’s tech guru.
Mclassic
Pit Crew

In your special edition category add Mercedes. I own 3 one of which is. 1976 230 SL
Mclassic
Pit Crew

Typo. It’s a 1967
dalek
Pit Crew

I'm a car nut who has owned a Plymouth 'Cuda 440 sixpack, Datsun 260-Z, Fiat X1/9, Lexus SC-300, Honda Prelude, Honda Prelude 4WS, Acura NSX, and currently two Dodge Vipers, 1992 and GTS 1996. And a long list of motorcycles.

That said, my wife and I also drive Tesla's with autopilot. As much as I like driving, I can tell you with complete certainty that my Tesla has avoided collisions by other drivers entering my lane. It also alerts me to short-stopping vehicles ahead, and the autonomy takes most of the stress away, allowing me to be more aware, especially on long trips.

I can see a future where the autonomous car allows you to drive, but "oversees" your car and intervenes when you are doing something stupid that will cause an accident without intervention. This one is for the jackasses who think that the highway is a racetrack and put others at risk. I see them every single day during my commute. Ditto for the distracted morons who just have to post on Facebook while driving.
Mclassic
Pit Crew

I’d be interested in reading more about electrification of automobiles at the pace being suggested when our national power grid is inadequate.
Longroofjunkie
Instructor

It’s not inadequate.

Old and needs work? Yep.
6ormore
New Driver

Autonomous vehicles? No thanks! I believe I’ve been a car guy since my first word which my parents tell me was “Mercury”. Even my beloved 6 speed manual gearbox and turbo are becoming extinct as a combination. Too many regulations and no “car guys” at the helms of car companies lead to boring vehicles and with gas prices rising, I can see where driving a real car may soon become criminal. Move over, R2D2, I’ll drive!
roncor
New Driver

With regards to Paul and his 65" Vette with the tremic 5 speed: I agree with you on driving a classic. I have thoroughly enjoyed the show car arena, and have worked hard to rectify what is not "correct". I attended a concourse judging course from one of the best Mercedes-Benz instructors when I was in Chicago. So when I decided to transform my 1980 240D into a show car, it became a labor of love and a challenge to see how much work it takes to make a 100 point car. It's almost there, but I realized, sadly, that it is unrealistic to make anything "perfect". I have sat at many car shows with the classic Mercedes that I've had the privilege to own. Everyone each has their opinion on how to enjoy their cars.
I admire you in driving your '65 Vette with that 5 speed upgrade, and the enjoyment it provides. I wish I had driven mine more than 2K miles per year in the 20+ years I've owned it! The car is reliable and so much fun to drive, but I wanted to preserve it to keep its condition. Now I am at the age where common sense tells me to pass the keys and sell it to someone who will appreciate it. I am looking to list it with B.a.T. and have seen the escalation of prices there. I think I'll take advantage of the situation while I have the chance.
BillyBuick
Intermediate Driver

You may have to start writing about bicycles if the price of gas does not come down. Ironic how we went from bicycles to cars and now we might have to go from cars to bikes.
DavidHolzman
Advanced Driver

I'm skeptical both about anything Musk says (including Teslas will have level 4 autonomy next year) and that autonomous cars will exist in the next several decades. And that's fine with me. Autonomous cars, should they arrive, will be just another way for Silicon Valley to make money off of people and our habits. I have my doubts that they will be nearly as safe as projected. And driving is my favorite activity. I'd hate to see it end.
lweb19
Hagerty Employee

Yeah, fair point. I keep thinking about how his company built a rocket that lands on a floating barge and am careful with my doubt...
darkbudda
New Driver

Cheers on this first newsletter/installment. Let me apologize in advance for the length of my comment below. Fortunately, it's wholly unlikely anyone will bother to read its entirety, but I offer it anyway...

As I get older, the more difficult I find it to reconcile my relationship to and the nature of the automotive hobby, from the cars themselves, to the culture surrounding them, to the ever-evolving design and engineering. There's little doubt that change is a constant, and that humans prefer stasis and security over flux and change, so it'd be easy to simply blame change as the culprit that makes unsure my footing (and understanding). But really, I'm still plenty young enough to still handle that stuff with adequate aplomb. Instead, I think the issue I'm (we are!) facing is an extension of modern cultural phenomena similar borne out in politics, economics, social issues, and even technology. There are several common things at play in each, like resentment, and resistance, and disparity, and antagonism, and affordability, and partisanship, and yes, even change. And the thing I perceive as being at the center, at the basis, and as the launching point of all of these is a perception of things as not actually improving our lives and our experience, but rather making them more complicated and more complex, without adequate benefit to justify the challenges those things provide. I really do think it's the same in the automotive world, and cars specifically.

Consider: more assisted and easier driving experience (including no involvement self-driving cars) supposedly for more driver safety, comfort, and "pleasure"; more complicated engineering supposedly for better efficiency and reliability; complex, invasive, and controlling computer management systems supposedly for more safety and better performance; more crowded and complicated interiors and vehicle management systems supposedly for more driver customization and convenience; more limited visibility and more cramped greenhouse for more passenger safety; etc. etc. etc. The issue for me is that after decades of experience driving, wrenching, maintaining, and loving cars, a lot of this stuff isn't actually providing the levels of benefits (if any at all) they want me to believe, and it's coming at costs to aspects of driving, owning, wrenching that are equally or more valuable. This explains the appreciation and appeal of cars that offer sometimes simpler, sometimes more rudimentary, sometimes more elegant, sometimes more basic, sometimes more quirky experiences. And yes, I see the connection directly to a future of self-driving cars, because as the cars continue to increase their efforts in efficiency, safety, performance, convenience, etc., it's only inevitable that the ultimate evolution is to complete non-driver involvement. And you know what? F*** that!

So, yeah, older cars have an appeal and quality that still meets our need for the experience(s) we want while providing adequately for our needs without undue complication or complexity. And newer cars often demand more of us, or come at an expense greater than whatever benefit(s) might be offered. And really, sometimes it's just more drawbacks for that added demand and expense. Hopefully culture will wake up before it goes too far.