Pulitzer Prize Winner Claims Ford’s Model T Responsible for Iraq War and Pollution
Every now and then one has to read an article four or five times to actually believe someone could possibly write such nonsense.
The following item, from Time magazine's special report "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time," has to qualify as one of the most absurd pieces of...journalism I've come across so far this year (h/t NB reader Paul Head).
To set this up, it goes without saying that Ford's creation of the Model T represents a seminal moment in American history as it made cars affordable to the general population for the very first time, and caused a huge economic explosion in our nation.
Alas, that's not how Time sees it (emphasis added to really point out the stupidity):
The Model T - whose mass production technique was the work of engineer William C. Klann, who had visited a slaughterhouse's "disassembly line" - conferred to Americans the notion of automobility as something akin to natural law, a right endowed by our Creator. A century later, the consequences of putting every living soul on gas-powered wheels are piling up, from the air over our cities to the sand under our soldiers' boots.
Can anybody point me to the nearest restroom?
Post facto sidebar: Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Dan Neil is apparently responsible for the above detritus. To give one an idea of the hypocrisy, Neil has been writing about cars since 1991. He did a stint at AutoWeek, and five years as contributing editor to Car and Driver.
In short, his entire journalistic career involves test-driving, reviewing, and writing about cars. Ergo, he makes his living off of the automotive industry.
Yet, he sees the car most responsible for America's fascination with such as a bad thing.
For those interested, here's a picture of Neil inside what he claims to abhor:
Anybody think he bikes to work?
*****Update: Automotive journalist Isaac Martin sent me the following e-mail message (permission granted to share):
The 1909 Model T was, he claims, the, "Yugo of it's day." - that was a cheaply made product. Yet all the literature written about the Model T, by people who grew up with the car, indicate that it was supremely tough, durable and dependable. If a component broke, it was easily replaced. Customers could get genuine Ford parts, or an aftermarket replacement. Not only did the Model T sales keep Ford employees working, it also help employ people building aftermarket parts and accessories for the car.
It didn't rattle apart. From durability tests ranging from loading 50 people in one T, to climbing numerous steps at numerous state capitals and driving from coast to coast without failure, I'd say the Model T was darn tough.
A Yugo? Not hardly. With 15 million Model T's sold, the car obviously exceeded buyer's expectations.
I dislike Mr. Neil's smarmy, cutesy writing style loaded with leftist commentary.
I went on line and looked up the MG-A Twin Cam to learn if the car was as bad as Mr. Neil writes. His complaints weren't reflected by MG history and enthusiasts.
Mr. Neil described the 1960 MG-A Twin Cam powered by " . . .leaking, piston-burning, plug fouling nightmare of a motor." that could "vomit" connecting rods over the road.
In 1960, MG prepared a total of five MG-A Twin Cams for international endurance racing.
At the Sebring 12 Hours Endurance Race, MG number 39 finished third in class and 24th overall. MG number 40 finished 4th in class and 29th overall. At the 1960 24 Hours of LeMans, an MG finished first in the Two Liter Class.
Funny, I couldn't find any reports about burned pistons or vomited connecting rods after a total of 36 hours of racing competition.
In addition, the Twin Cam used a modified B-block and increased the oil crankcase capacity for added durability. Were these engines sensitive to correct tuning for street use? No doubt. There were plenty of people who wouldn't work on them.
I was surprised to observe a technique used by the liberals in supporting their arguments. Namely, they leave out facts that don't fit their thesis. Mr. Neil forgot to add that the MG-A Twin Cam was fitted with four-wheel disc brakes. This feature put it in the rarified company of the Jaguar XK-E.
Ultimately, MGs suffered from terrible build quality. That's one reason why the import market is dominated by Japanese name plates and not English. Some cars are better than others, but the MG-A Twin Cam is not a Worst Car of All Time.
Finally, he admits to having "restored" with "his own two hands" an MG-A. For someone so "knowledgeable", and no doubt "hip", I find the MG-A is a pretty odd choice. However, even orphan cars need love too.