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sad trends (was Flame bait)

>> but i'm sure you do realize that alfa has pulled
>out of the US market and that even appliance makers (by your definition)
>audi and vw are not in too good a shape.  

The situation is certainly grim, and I don't know if my kids will have as
much fun 
with cars as I do.  However, it might be more accurate to say that we are seeing
a convergence towards a homogenous mean instead of just saying that all the 
exotics are going away.  While the latter is certainly true, it is also true
that the
gross and incompetent cars are rapidly giving way to competent yet merely
boring cars.  A very good example would be the replacement of the classic
'merican land yacht with reasonably competent but boring cars.  I don't know
about you, but I'll take a '95 buick over a 70s land yacht  any day of the

Admittedly, the above is rather meager solace, since few of us were driving the
old land yachts anyway!  The other disturbing trend, IMHO, is the increasing
complexity that makes cars harder to service, appreciate, and modify.  I
look under a vr6 equipped passat, and, truth be told, in the three or four
I spent under there couldn't find the d@#^$ oil filter.  I'm no professional
mech, but
I do maintain my own 5000...... 

Another impact of the eco-legislation that increases complexity is the
and probably extinction of old time hot rods. They're not gone...yet, but I seem
to recall seeing many more rods 20 years ago than today.
 Soon, only very old cars will be legal project cars.  While we are
not generally part of the small block v8 set, and even find some of that
group of
people obnoxiuous, we are indeed made a little poorer by the decline in their
numbers.  They certainly  added variety, as well as a certain infrastructure
machine shops) that can be most useful .  

Fortunately, vw seems to be making real progress in the us market, at least
in the mid-atlantic states.  It is very sad to alfa go, as their cars have
always had
lots of appeal.  sigh.
Jason Douglas
MTS Dept G057                        
MITRE Corporation