As regular readers know, I'm casually a car buff. Love beautiful cars. Occasionally am appalled by ugly ones.
Well, I think we have a new contender in the "ugliest car ever" contest. The Citroën Tubik MPV Concept. (I used a link to give you a choice—if you have delicate sensibilities you might not want to look.)
That thing makes an Edsel look elegant. A veritable silver turd. I am just sayin'.
Other car news
I probably should have saved this for an "Open Mike," but as long as I'm on the subject (cars), allow me to take another moment and fill you in on an unusual development in the automobile world, in case you're not yet aware.
Meet the Subiyota. The long-rumored joint venture between Subaru and Toyota intended to fill out both companies' weak sports car portfolios. (Very long-rumored—both companies have been teasing this thing since 2007. Long enough for a man to grow a long gray beard literally, not just figuratively.) It's reportedly getting close to production now—Motor Trend even drove a prototype. (So did C&D.)
The picture shows Subie's near-production STI-style "concept" from the recent Los Angeles Auto Show. (More on that rear wing later.)
What is it? It's a front-engined, rear wheel drive 2+2 coupe that's small, light (~2,500 lbs. according to Subaru's estimate), and comes with a manual transmission. Optimized for balance and handling, not power. Mmmm.
Like simple, straightforward cameras and sealed box stereo speakers, it's a well-known formula...that virtually no one follows any more. (Find me a 2,500 lbs. car that isn't a tinny econobox with a toy motor.)
Toyota took the lead in the project and handled the design; Subaru will build the car, and did the engineering. It will be sold with different sheet metal as the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota FT-86 in most of the world. However, Toyota will badge its version as a Scion in the U.S., probably as an aspirational vehicle for the young, entry level buyers Toyota hopes Scions are appealing to.
Why's it different? It's an actual sports car, wonder of wonders, not an overpowered GT like everyone else builds these days. Not that those aren't nice; it's just that there are few places to wring out two-ton cars that have 450 horsepower V8s, and it's not that easy for most guys to find the 40–100 large those tend to cost. The BRZ's raison d'etre is handling, with an especially low center of gravity (it will have a purpose-built Subie Boxer flat four set five inches lower and more than nine inches farther back than in any other Subaru). It will reportedly come in at under $30,000. Although the price, along with a lot else (like confirmed horsepower) is not actually known yet.
As you might imagine, I have strong tastes in automobiles. As with virtually everything, my tastes are well defined—and more or less at odds with what the rest of the world wants. New cars that excite my enthusiasm don't come along very often. This is one.
on it in day-glo paint. Just kidding, but let's just say I would not touch that honkin' wing with somebody else's ten-foot pole. (Hope I haven't just offended 100 guys with giants wings bolted on their trunklids. Forgive me. I did say I have strong tastes. But you cannot simultaneously like that thing and be older than 20.) I would wait for the convertible version anyway...yes, another rumor, supposedly to come along a year or so after the coupe.
The Subiyota will reportedly launch next Spring. Hope it fits lardasses. Now where is there a Subaru dealer near here?
(Thanks to Bryce Lee of Burlington, Ontario, Canada)
ADDENDUM: I'm sure most people got this, but I don't really care how the Subiyota is going to look. I care about how it's going to drive. My going-on-eleven-year-old Miata is still the most fun thing on four wheels, despite its obvious and increasing signs of aging. An 11-years-newer rethink of a sharp-handling lightweight RWD car with a 200hp+ 4-banger and a proper third-pedal shifter is what has me slavering, not the aesthetics of the thing...all I hope for regarding the looks is that they keep the stylists at bay with a whip and a chair so the thing doesn't end up looking too goony to be seen in. That's about all I ever hope for these days.
P.S. Oh, and I almost forgot—this pertains to both cars and photography. Spectators at the Baja 1000 are allowed to go wherever they want to take pictures. Check out the risk this guy took to get an unusual angle. The action's all in the first half of the video—the second driver sensibly refrains from heading straight toward the guy. (Wonder if the coroner would have had to put "alcohol involved" on the death certificate?)
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Scott Baker: "The Flyin' Douchebags second album represents a real departure from the staid predictability of their first."
Featured Comment by guillaumee: It will not make it look better, but the Citroën Tubik is actually a reference, in name and design, to a very popular van that was extrremely commonplace in the '60s and '70s (Google "citroen tube" for pics). It was the default choice for a lot of small businesse, the police, and even ambulances, in France and a few other European countries. It is a background feature in many movies, and has high collector value today. Ugly, for sure, but not without its particular charm....
Mike replies: I got ya, but that thing was utilitarian, down to the corrugated steel sides...the whatever-it-is at the link is ugly by intention, which I think makes it worse.
Featured Comment by Ray: "The BRZ reminds me of my old S13-era Nissan 240SX. Light but "underpowered" (Nissan shipped it to the U.S. with a torquey truck motor rather than the turbo that they supplied to the Silvia platform everywhere else in the world. So I got destroyed in a straight line many a day. But it handled like it was on rails. A four wheel drift was a complete non-event. And while that rear wing is a bit over the top, my wingless and heavier 240 got very light and floaty as speeds approached triple digits; I'd wonder if some form of downforce at the rear of the BRZ isn't actually required."
Mike replies: God, I hope not!
Featured Comment by Paddy C: "Someone's really trying for a Darwin award."
Featured Comment by Matthew: "My 19 year old son loves the wing!"
Featured [partial] Comment by Paul Glover: "That's high on the weirdometer even by the impressive standards of Citroën."