Holiday Ride

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GM’s new commercial, Holiday Ride, makes you feel something. Which is telling, given the subject of the commercial is not a new GM vehicle.

About which it is hard to feel anything more than one feels for a new vacuum cleaner.

The scene stealer – and tear jerker – is the ’66 Impala SS 427 convertible that an old widower keeps in his barn, collecting dust and holding memories of his youth and his deceased wife. Flashback to scenes of them, both young – the car, new.

It was a long time ago.

And so it is.

The man’s daughter sneaks the derelict Impala out of the barn and has it restored to its former glory, down to the crossed flags/Turbo Jet 427 sticker on the chrome air cleaner.

Yes, they came with those, back then.

It made you feel things.

Unlike LCD touchscreens.

Her dad opens the barn door, discovers the car and – in that moment – it is 1966 again and the car is new and he is young and . . .

Here we are.

A brutal juxtaposition. An aching sense of what’s been lost.

Actually, what’s been taken away from us – by government – and by the homogenization-commodification of everything.

It is just shy of 2022 and is there a single new car in Chevy’s inventory that makes anyone feel anything like one feels looking at that ’66 SS convertible?

Or anything, at all? They’re all just cars now. Nothing to care about. Interchangeable throwaways, like pairs of socks from the same sweatshop in China sold at every store in America.

Is there anything that sounds like it does, when the old man turns the key – remember keys? – and the big block 427 fires to life? Does anyone’s heart beat faster to the appliance whirr of electrification – which is what GM is selling, today?

There are only two cars left in GM’s inventory today – if you don’t count the ’22 Malibu, which is going, soon.

Not that anyone noticed.

The rest of the lot being crossovers, pick-ups and SUVs, all headed for electrification. The majority of them propelled by androgynously interchangeable four cylinder engines paired with no-shifts-for-you automatic transmissions.

The exceptions are the Corvette and the Camaro and the word is the latter will be retired for the sake of electrification before 2025 and the former, while superior in every data point way to the ’66 SS – being much more powerful, far quicker and (of course) so much saaaaaaaaaafer – is nonetheless an alienating insectoid exotic with an exotic price, assuring very few who are young today will cherish memories of owning one, half a century from now.

It was different half a century ago.

In 1966, a brand-new Impala convertible stickered for $3,041 – which, adjusted for the theft of buying power that is innocuously styled “inflation” – amounts to $26,221 today. Which is why the man in the commercial – who appears to be in his 70s, today – could afford a brand-new convertible Impala back in 1966, when he was in his 20s.

That was then.

Today, $26k buys you an appliance. A crossover of some sort, like the 2022 Equinox – powered by a 1.5 liter engine making all of 170 horsepower. Which makes you feel like the way you feel when you walk the aisles of Wal Mart.

How many people in their 20s today can afford a $60,900 to start Corvette – or even a $31,500 new Camaro convertible? Both of which are also – price aside – as practical as swimming with a tuba. That ’66 Impala was a six seater two-door, which is to say both a performance car and a family car – exactly the kind of car a young man with a new wife might buy, knowing they’d likely soon have kids.

It was a type of car that was common back then and nonexistent today – because saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety.

Or rather, because of the busybodies with guns so innocuously styled “the government.”

Once upon a time, government busied itself with protecting our right to buy cars like the one in Holiday Ride. But then it began to busy itself with micromanaging the kinds of cars it would allow us to buy.

For our “safety.”

I hear that word and feel like smashing something – like a new Equinox.

Low-back/three-across bench seats were benched by the same regulatory apparat that “ruled” average Americans be priced out of the market for full-size cars with big V8s, like that old Impala, via fuel efficiency regulations that made them so expensive to buy via baked in/transferred costs – “gas guzzler” fines, imposed on the companies that built them – that only a few affluent people could afford to buy such cars.

And so, they went away.

As did Turbo Jet 427s and four speeds, steering wheels without air bags and brakes without ABS.

Were they less “safe”? Certainly. But they made you feel something.

Not angry. Not depressed.

Not  . . . nothing.

We loved our cars, once – because our cars weren’t appliances. They served a purpose, of course. But that was not their only purpose.

We see a glimpse of that world in Holiday Ride – and it does not make us happy about where we are.

It makes us nostalgic for where we were – and for what was.

Like youth, it was a fleeting thing.

The young don’t appreciate youth until they’re old – by which time it is too late to appreciate it. Similarly as regards the cars those of us who were there when they were new once took for granted, as if they’d be there forever. Like a warm summer afternoon, behind the wheel of your brand-new ’66 Impala SS convertible, sweetie by your side.

It’s enough to bring tears to your eyes.

. . .

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74 COMMENTS

  1. Great read Eric, hit me in the feels, even though I’m in my mid 30s I still grew up with real cars. My first car was a 1968 Dodge Dart 4dr with the 225 slant 6, though that one is gone(torsion bars don’t like 16yr olds bombing the car through corn fields, story for another day) I still have my fathers 72 Dart Swinger 2dr, and his 93 K1500 std cab short box NV4500 5sp 4×4, the latter being one of the finest Chevrolet trucks ever made. I feel the bile rise when I cast my eyes on new homogeneous transportation appliances.

  2. Merry Christmas from Scotland.
    As a child my mother drove a 65 ish Buick Skylark station wagon.
    Dad drove a 49 Ford.

    My first car was a Hillman Imp, look it up !

    My current car is closer to a 80’s vehicle than an I pad on wheels. Dacia Sandero

  3. Just who is this ad targeting as it’s certainly not young people. We have enough interns at any one time that are essentially clueless drones the State made them to be. They look at cars like the impala as “eww! what’s that?” The ad is not targeting old people as you can’t buy that car, or cars of that era now unless it’s a train wreck and you have deep pockets. So who and why? To make people feel nostalgia?
    They missed the boat then because all it did was p!$$ me off. I remember wanting a Road Runner, heck I still do. Or a 1973 Pantera with the 351.
    I’m remembering all right.

    Merry Christmas! and screw al the mindless government bureaucrats that destroyed everything worth remembering.

  4. Merry Christmas you crazy “right wing anti vaxxers”!

    Thanks to Eric for another year of eloquent sanity amidst a sea of crazy.

    See you at the camps.

      • Its possible. But at that age? Lets be realistic. That type of intensive, extensive labor is best left to the younger professionals. That’s what comparative advantage is all about. 🙂

  5. I’ve seen articles about this floating around lately and I’ve purposefully not read them. I read this one because it’s Eric! But I’m not gonna watch the video. My heart is already broken over the situation and has been since I realized where this is all necessarily going.

    As I commented on the A6 review, the way I see it, I have one very narrow chance to get the car of my dreams (albeit hybridized) and, if I miss that, that’s it. I promise, if I have no choice but to drive a god damned EV golf cart it will be cheapest thing that I can find and I will hate every second of it.

    I worked so hard to get to this point and just as I about to reach for it, they destroy the whole thing. God damn these people.

  6. The first decent car GM makes in ages was the ninth generation Impala. In all her wisdom Mary Barra decides to cancel the best sedan they have made. Really makes you wonder about the leadership of this company, maybe we should look at hiring real car people not just gender appointments to please the woke crowd. And don’t just tell me she is an engineer because her decisions prove she is a total failure.

  7. Hey Guise,
    Have yous seen? Trump is now undeniably and fully ‘one of them’. He’s denying that the [non]vaccines are killing people, and is fully pushing the shots and the ‘boosters’ [“Boosters”- LOL- just “other shots”- If it’s not a vaccine, it can’t have a ‘booster’]- CNN is now even saying that he “Is no longer lockstep with his base” [Duh! He’s been getting booed at his own rallies…]

    I think a good number of his now-former supporters are finally starting to “get it”. Perusing some articles the last couple of days, I’ve never seen so many people disgusted and finally realizing that voting doesn’t matter, and vowing not to vote anymore.

    It’s like they[TPTB] are not even bothering to put on the act anymore; just starting to overtly say “No matter what you want or who you vote for..this is what you’re getting”.

    • Nunz, they have reached the point that they believe they can rule, rather than govern. Only time will tell if they are right.

      But my experience, out and about is that outside of the Hives, all is not well. Very far from it in fact. But such people are very slow to anger. They just want to be left alone, to attend to their lives and families. History has shown that there are dire Consequences for pushing such people beyond their limits. Especially given that millions of them are veterans of the Empires various failed wars.

      Shredding the illusions/delusions that allow the country to be governed, is a very foolish act. Only time will tell what the consequences will be.

      Emergent behavior is not a simple smooth surface. Its elements can appear to be changeless. Until they aren’t. Then the change can be in a violently different direction.

    • His true colors came out in that Candace Owens interview! Notice how nonchalant he acted when asked about the vax and mask mandates! Evil piece of scum.

      Everybody should be referring to these “vaccines” as the “Trump Death Shot”. Since he wants to take all the credit for the creation of these poisons, they should proudly wear his name like all the other shit he hawks!

    • The leaders of the dissident right have turned on him over this issue. Alex Jones no longer shills for him. Nick Fuentes said on his show last night he’s through with him. They were all hoping Trump would see the light, but he’s instead doubled down.

    • I voted for Trump. Not once, but twice. I despise the asshole. I’m done with him as well. But on the other hand, when I hear a leftist talk about “Trrruuuuuummmp” I will defend my vote and my selection this vaccine crap notwithstanding. Trrruuuuump deceived us, yes, but a vote for Trump was not the same as a vote for a Democrat or a RINO. Not in a million years.

  8. Lovely video but YouTube will certainly take it down for violations of global warming consensus. I also noticed it had California plates. The poor guy would probably get arrested for driving it there these days.

  9. I suspect those who commissioned the ad will have no clue of the irony pointed out by the ad. Nor will any GM corporate exec pause to reflect on the lack of guts on their part to resist Uncle that got them there. It is all going as Uncle has foreseen.

    As to the last Chevy I would desire, it would be a post-65 Corvair Monza, 4-speed, etc. Always wanted one of those. It’s getting too late to even try what with parts availability for the old flat six being what is is nowadays.

  10. Hi guys, Good read today. I watched this video with my wife and we both teared up.
    She said “maybe they are sending a message to restore the classics since they are not allowed to build cars we love anymore.”
    My thaught was -they are just rubbing salt in a sore wound. Maybe we are both right lol.

    Merry Christmas everybody!

  11. ‘It is just shy of 2022 and is there a single new car in Chevy’s inventory that makes anyone feel anything like one feels looking at that ’66 SS convertible?’
    Not even the feeling of getting my first new car and the pleasure it gave along with the way it looked: a 2dr ’99 Cavalier.
    Pretty. Never got tired of looking at it. I loved that car. Still do.
    Today ? Phhht. Those Korean crossover things with a Chevrolet nameplate ?

  12. See the USA in your Chevrolet. Bought and paid for by you.

    Had a great Suburban to drive, still have it, the spider is shot in the engine. Scrap at this time, I suppose, part it out and get what you can. Needs lots of new parts, including an engine.

    Also owned a 1980 Chevrolet station wagon, it was okay to haul 16 ton of loaded coal. You load sixteen ton, what do you get?

    If I still had the wagon, I’d drive up to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC and dump it all on the White House lawn.

    Joe’s Christmas gift from Santa, Santa called and asked if I could make a special delivery.

    Someday soon I told Santa. Go now, said Santa, and get two loads of coal, dump one on the Capitol steps. Santa is too busy hauling toys and stuff, I’ll get to the coal field and load as much as I can. Do it for the children said Santa, I’m too busy delivering ten billion items in one night, takes up all of my time all year round, Santa’s words are worth hearing, you know.

    I’d probably get shot dead, but it would be worth it anymore. har

    Jon Pardi is a super talent and it is far better to listen to Jon Pardi songs than Joe’s caterwauling.

    Have a good holiday season. It rained this morning and the temp outside was 40 degrees. It never rains in December in the middle of nowhere here in the north Flatland land.

  13. anon 1

    The Prisoner (us now) drove the ultimate anti establishment car, it didn’t conform to any government mandate and had zero safety equipment, it was totally analog and it required a skilled driver. To top it off the super 7 was sold as a kit to avoid a 35% government purchase tax, a tax dodge, it gave the finger to the tax man. The Prisoner was trapped in a matrix type 1984/agenda 2030 world.

    https://youtu.be/z0rio3IPXXU

    • We are all just numbers now.
      Number Six even said he built it with his own hands.
      Have you ever driven one? My cousin had one back in the 70’s. He lived in Liverpool England. I recall when he first got it. That first day we drove it long into the night. It was rough, crude, loud and the most fun I ever had with my clothes on.

      • anon 1

        I have a super 7 clone, a fantastic driving experience different then anything else, The most direct, analog, raw, visceral, unfiltered driving experience, perfect for the hard core driver enthusiasts, this is how a car should be, small, light, agile, fast, no frills, mechanical art made to go fast only, no luxury, no doors or roof, some have no windshield, nothing extra, with a 4 cylinder engine about 1200 lb.

        Lotus designed the super 7 to be a bit like a 1950 BRM F1 car you could drive on the street.

        A Donkervoort another Super 7 clone, in 2003, 2004 had the world record lap time for any street legal car on the Nurburgring, (quite a bit faster then the tesla plaid lap time).

        Another super 7 clone the HKT is pretty intense…..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBrzpayx-zw

  14. It’s curious that GM/Chevrolet is invoking nostalgia over something it no longer delivers. Do they really expect people not to notice?

  15. But modern Chevys do make me feel something; the same feeling I get just before puking.

    I’m thankful that I’m old enough to have ridden in these great old cars, and to have grown up when the streets and parking lots were full of ’em- but I’m pissed that they’re just a memory now, and that I never got to actually drive them! (Yes, some still exist, but they’re too valuable to own and or actually enjoy, as they’ve been made into shrines to Detroit and reminders of the virility of some who now have ED)

    • Yep – my mother drove us around in a ’64 Impala (stick shift)…then we owned a couple of VW Bugs (3 kids in the back).

      My first ride was a ’69 Chevelle.

      Bring back those days.

      • They irony is, Anon, that if they wanted to, and were allowed to, they could probably make those wonderful simple old cars for around $10K today.

        DAMN I HATE ALL THE NEW CARS! Every. Stinking. One of ’em. I hate just seeing them on the streets! Plastic pieces of shit.

        • Agreed. Can’t tell them apart, and don’t want to waste the time trying to.

          Can still recognize the 60’s and 70’s classics, though.

          Merry Christmas.

        • I’ve mulled about that. Imagine if the car companies made the cars they designed back in the 50s to 90s just in modern factories. Imagine how good an Impala SS made up to the quality of a new Camaro would be. It would be I wager pretty much the definition of synergy in design and manufacturing.

  16. anon 1

    Because of needed aero design for fuel economy and government regulations all cars look the same now, they tweak the design a little bit trying to look a bit different, it doesn’t help much.

    A lot of them are powered by the 2.0 lt. 4 cyl. turbo (the most efficient design), because of government regulations on fuel economy. They are all full of computers and electronics, partly to make them cheaper, flat screens are cheaper then knobs or analog gauges, now you pay a lot and get electronic junk.

    These electronics have another huge problem: Another problem EV shares with new ice powered vehicles: Electronic components have a limited life, even if you do not use them. It’s the nature of the P-N junction that forms a transistor. This means in 10 years like a tesla the residual value of the vehicle is zero (throw it into the woods). An ice vehicle will have a higher residual value after 10 years because it has no battery but will have shortened life span because of the electronics.

    This 109 year old all mechanical 1913 Bugatti type 22 is still daily driven and the residual value is 2 million dollars, it is beautifully engineered built to last, lots of brass and copper, real quality, an investment.

    The Bugatti is easy to work on, it is very simple so very reliable and easy to diagnose problems, it will start without a battery. Everything today is very expensive disposable junk.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVl3cEkSSo0

  17. GM has nothing left but it`s history…..Oh how the mighty have fallen.That`s what happens when you get into bed with Goberment….great read Eric.. Merry Christmas!!!

  18. It’s not quite the same of course but 4 door pickups seem to be the new Chevelles, at least in that they seem to bring some sense of ownership and pride. A young person buys one, plops a camper shell on, customizes it to the extent you still can, does 20-something stuff and goes 20-something places in it, their kids eventually get put in the back seat with the dog as they turn to 30-somethings, etc. Of course the vehicles themselves are the same and won’t get stuffed into a barn (I bet a poll of people over 45 would indicate a very high percentage have owned a barn find, I’m one).

    • Agree, I went to trucks in the 90’s just for that reason. Had an Impalla SS, then some Park Ave’s. Tried a mid-sized bonneville, 90’s, not the boats of earlier. I just couldn’t stomach downsizing of all cars, and went trucks. The first 3-door pickup was a gamechanger, and back then 4-door pickups were rare. They started getting more popular in the early 2000’s, now they are the standard truck. And the ram rides better, and has a larger rear seat area then my late model 300, go figure. I do miss having a large trunk though.

      • Hi Chris,

        I like trucks as well – and have one! The new trucks, on the other hand… No manual transmission; V8s are getting hard to find. Too much – far too much – in the way of overteched electronica. Hard to get attached to because more AI than machine. I think I’ll keep my old truck!

  19. Doubt if GM even gets the irony of showing off the great cars they once made vs. the govt. approved appliances they churn out now.

    • Mike, most of those car suits are completely clue less. Most are “diversity” hires, that check boxes on the Imperials check list. Their main focus is staying on Mordor on the Potomac’s good side. They’ve long since thrown their customers under the bus. They have damn few real engineers left. Most of the original gear heads have long since retired, or quit in disgust.

      All that is left is a hollow shell, that’s being kept going by the Feds cheap money, stock
      buy backs and Imperial mandates.

      I was always fascinated by the engineering involved in various cars. But never really had the time/focus/energy to study them.

      That era has passed. But these things go in cycles.

      Perhaps the future will be better.

  20. There is more class and soul in my 1982 Mercedes 240D with manual transmission than in any of the newer cars that I now own.
    Hell, the damn thing will run without a battery (mechanical fuel injection)…

  21. I was hoping you would weigh in on this, Eric.

    Also, note the total lack of “wokeness”. Contra the Cadillac ads showing a group of multi-hued women going out for a night of Urban Pleasure in their electric Escalade, this is a Red State poster child; rural, white and deplorable.

    Is it GM’s way of bidding farewell to those that brought it greatness? Is it one last look at why cars can stoke passion before descending into our dystopian Dark Winter of our Discontent? One could hope it’s like sending up one last rescue flare before slipping beneath the waves of Enviro/Safety Socialism.

    In any event, it’s nice to see What Might Have Been.

  22. The real tearjerker in this ad was no one would bother holding on to or restoring a 2022 car in 50 years.

    We have lost something. Not nostalgia, but the pride & joy of owning a car we love, something we put our labor into to keep it running and looking nice. Something to be proud of.

    No one is proud of a Kia. It’s just a car.
    We are losing things that are special as they are all being absorbed into the borg.

    • Going to car shows I’ve looked over 70’s Japanese imports wondering why any one restored them but they looked like new though (but it’s nice to see what other cars were driven then instead of just endless rows of Camaros and Mustangs, even though I own one myself). But try that on a new car in 50 years, good luck on all the electronics and plastic that turns to popcorn as it ages. Fun times ahead methinks.

    • Your right Dan, no recent vehicles will be around in 50 years. All the electro/mechanical parts, sourced from the world will not be avail. in 20? years?
      If they do survive, not running, in a barn, the the only way they roll again is transplanting an old analog engine/trans, etc… kinda reverse what resto/mod is doing today.
      I believe current US law is manuf. must keep parts for 10? years? I think 10 years is my industry, not sure about cars.

  23. Yep Eric, you are so right about all we’ve lost and the heart break that comes with it. Watching that tear jerker commercial brings back a lot of faded memories from a time when our youth and our cars were like a summer day. Really miss my ‘70 Roadrunner, 383 Hi-Po 4 speed tire burner. Those old cars, you could spot ‘em two blocks away…sometimes could even tell what they were by the sounds they made. Anyone here remember that unique sound a Plymouth starter motor had when it spun over? Kind of a rapid ‘zing-zing-zing’ that I heard every time my Roadie fired up. Sure do miss that sound.

    • That Chrysler Indianapolis reduction gear starter? “Whinny-whinny-whinny”, yep. Everything from the lowly 170 Slant Six to the 440 Six Pack used it starting in the early 60’s. The 426 Elephant Hemi did not, but it was the only one. Two bolts, it was out. A snap ring, pry off a cover, and the gear drive was out. Commutator, brushes, everything was easy to get to and cheap to replace. They stopped using them when the Slant Six went away in the mid-80’s. After that it was Nippondenso or Bosch. Much lamented design now that it’s not in production.

  24. Nostalgia is a horrible drug. It is what keeps you buying the same brand, year in, year out. It’s why people vote for one candidate over another -incumbants are reelected 90-95% of the time, and why people continue to vote for “their party” even when the candidates are working against their best interests. Madison Ave loves to play the nostalgia card, especially in the bleak midwinter when everyone is suffering from SADS anyway.

    I teared up watching this ad. It is a powerful shot aimed directly at your amygdala. It might translate into a few sales, although I was half expecting to see them swap out the big block with an E-Crate motor. I’m sure that was storyboarded and maybe even shot but didn’t test well with the focus group. As it stands it will probably generate a lot of clicks, but not many sales when they get a look at the weak sauce that is the current GM fleet.

    • ‘I was half expecting to see them swap out the big block with an E-Crate motor.’ — RK

      Just what that vintage barn needed — a shiny new charger mounted on the wall.

      Until his faithful old dog gnawed the cable and got fried with 400 volts …

    • “Nostalgia is a horrible drug. It is what keeps you buying the same brand, year in, year out.”

      I have to admit it worked on me. First thing Monday morning, I’m running to the local Chevy dealer and getting me a split bumper Camaro or Chevelle like the ones in that commercial.

      If I don’t comment again today, I’d like to wish Eric and everyone else a Merry Christmas.

  25. Sad but true. I wonder if any one lusts after new cars anymore? They all look the same now. The SUV’s look so similar you could re-badge your KIA with BMW badges and most people would think it was one. For a manufacturer once your product becomes a commodity people will usually buy on price alone. Does any one go to the Homedespot and say they will only buy “National Nail” brand nails? And that’s where we are now with everything.
    Merry Christmas and a happier new year everyone.

    • “I only ride in Yellow Cabs, AmTran busses and Siemens Mobility light rail transit.”

      Travel as a serivce will mean the end of all style, comfort and emotion. You’ll be bombarded with advertising, stains and plastic. Companies will constantly adjust the timing of arrivals and departures to maximize vehcile use over convenience, and will charge a premium for expedited delivery. Some will notice the degradation but most won’t care.

  26. “Its what mom would’ve wanted.” Pretty sure Mom would be rolling over in her grave at having a mud shark for a daughter. Every Single Time. These POS corporations just cant resist.

    Chevy cant die soon enough. At least that is one good thing we can expect when Dollar Bill finds his true value.

  27. It’s been quite some time since one could distinguish one car, or crossover, from another without getting close enough to read the badge. Contrast to the 60’s when you could tell the difference between a Camaro/Firebird and a Challenger/Barracuda from a block away.

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