Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Baby, You Can Drive My Supercar

bugatti chiron
This is the new Bugatti supercar; it’s called a Chiron. The last one was the Veyron. Rich people get their own words as well as cars. And this one’s for really rich people: you can get a LaFerrari for a million (if Ferrari will sell one to you) and the new Porsche is also a million, but this 260-mph beast is $2.5 million.

It’s an uglier, bulgier, squintier, schnozzier version of the Veyron, which was an actual engineering breakthrough and technological marvel. No new tricks: a W16 engine with four turbochargers, but Germans scowled at it for a while, and now it produces almost 1500 horsepower, which if you don’t know anything about motors is about 10 normal cars worth. If Bernie Sanders is elected, the horsepower of Chirons will be redistributed to Honda Accords.

0-60 in 2.5 seconds, carbon fiber everything, plus you get free Sirius/XM for life. On the downside, you cannot go over speed bumps.

As usual, I hold two thoughts about this car, and all the other high-performance nonsense. I like supercars because they represent the best that could be done at the time. They’re like the Wall, or the Redstone rocket: the end result of giving the smartest people you could find too much money. These are objects that patently reject our frail human limitations: too slow, too quiet, too earth-bound. Fuck you, gravity: the monkeys done made themselves a spaceship.

But they’re not cool, there’s utterly no sexy in them, and especially not this cyan tumor. Nothing that is fungible can be cool, truly, and certainly not a consumer product. That’s all this is, and Floyd Mayweather and Justin Bieber and a dozen hedge fund heroes have pre-ordered theirs; this is a car for assholes.

I don’t say that lightly: no one worth knowing or having anything to do with will buy one of these. No one with any sense of aesthetics would let this thing near their children. What purchasing this automobile says tho the world is that you could have bought literally almost any car on the planet* and you chose this gaudy, shiny, soulless magic trick.

You could have bought a 1968 Mustang Fastback in the correct Bullitt green.

mustang fastback 1968

The Mustang could not beat the Chiron in a race, but it could beat the Chiron in a fistfight. How about more Detroit muscle? This is the 1970 Chevy El Camino SS:

el camino ss 1970

It’s better than the Bugatti. Not in terms of numbers, unless you are counting pickup beds. (The Chiron is not available in a pickup configuration.) It also has stripes. Point SS. The hood latches are also cooler than any piece of technology on the Chiron.

Let’s not be nativists, though. (Plenty of time for that when Allfather Trump becomes glorious.) What about spending your hard-earned (and I’m sure all the folks that will buy the Chiron are the hardest of workers) on an import? This might work:

porsche 911 1974

1974 Porsche 911 in a spectacular baby blue. 911s are a bit of a douchebag’s car, sure, and they were originally designed by Hitler, but they make up for it by actively trying to kill you every time you go around a corner.

Hey, y’know who else we fucked up in the Second World War Two? These guys:

toyota 2000gt front

That’s a ’67 Toyota 2000GT and this particular one (of the 351 built) was recently sold for $1.3 mil. Which means you could have gotten two of these for one of those dinosaur turds capable of light speed.

The 2000GT is a blatant theft of the Jaguar E-Type, but it doesn’t matter: the proportions are just exactly perfect, and the little weird touches like the mirrors being seemingly blown back like the Maxell guy’s hair push the car into the “art” category.

It doesn’t have a bad angle. Look at her tushee:

toyota 2000gt back

That’s good tushee.

And just when you think that the sucker can’t get any more absurdly beautiful, it drives straight at you and makes this face:

toyota 2000gt face

TETSUOOOOOOOOO! Right? It’s the best.

Hell, let’s reduce the options to “cars once owned by a Grateful Dead” and see what we could find that would top that Trumpian monstrosity. (“I have ten radiators. Most cars have one. I have ten. That’s the most radiators.”)

Phil’s Lotus was cooler, but only from the back:

[PDF] 1984 Lotus

The slats on the rear window were bitchin’, even if they did remove all visibility. Also, the car chose not to work frequently. It had read Bartleby the Scrivener as a teen and never shook the story. It also wasn’t particularly fast, but like the Toyota it had one design feature that–all on its own–catapults the Esprit over the Chiron:

Image result for lotus esprit

Safety can go out to the backyard and wash itself with the hose: all cars should have pop-up headlights. Cars should be made out of pop-up headlights. And, sure: they were prone to catastrophic and sudden failures that left you driving blind on an interstate, but LOOK AT THEM. Y’know what else pops up? Boners. Prairie dogs. Videos. All great things.

Garcia has a bunch of sweet rides: a hippie Rolls Royce, and a Volvo station wagon, but he discovered BMWs in the early 70’s and was a loyal customer for the rest of his life. He ended up in the giant and luxurious 7-series, but the ’73 3.0 cs is surely a smarter purchase than a new Bugatti Chiron. Forget aesthetics: the Beemer is appreciating, and the Chiron is worth a million bucks less than you paid for it the day they deliver it.

It’s just a more attractive shape, for one thing:

1973 bmw 3.0 cs

Look at the angles of the car: the front’s overbite slopes forward, giving an aggressive lean to the car, but behind that the car slopes backwards, emphasizing the speed. Someone thought about this machine, and a question other than “HOW MUCH MORE FASTER DURR MORE RADIATORS AND CARBON FIBER”

(Also: that is Mount Tamalpais in the background.)

Garcia’s was silver. In fact, here it is:

[PDF] 1973 BMW 3.0Cs owned by

Mountain Girl still has it–she’s the one driving–and while I’m sure she treasures the car, I would imagine you would sell it to you for a million dollars. It’s a win-win: MG gets paid, and you have an actual cool car. And maybe you could do something with the other $1.5 million, like feed some fucking poor people. Or buy another car. Whatever you want.

You know who else would probably sell you his car if you overpaid enough for it?

bobby 1963 corvette

Hell, you could probably get a deal considering the condition, and Earl Scheib’ll fix those dings and scratches for $29.99. (You will notice the pop-up headlights. I’m not wrong about these things. The universe spoke to me one morning. It said, “Dude, pop-up headlights are gnarly.” And I said, “Do you have anything more substantive to offer? You’re the universe, and I would love to know your secrets,” and the universe said nothing else; the universe is a dick.

The universe would buy a Bugatti Chiron.

Bobby’s sitting in his ’63 convertible Corvette, which is supposed to look like this:

[PDF] 1963 Corvette Convertible

Plus, for the first time on our little list, we come to a car with the greatest of all features: a removable top. You drive clad in sky. How is a $2.5 million science project that looks like an Air Yeezy superior to this in any way?

Okay, now I’ve worked myself up about this nonsense: fuck the Bugatti Chiron and everyone who buys one. Remember the Volvo I mentioned Garcia owning. It was a Volvo P1800 Sportwagon and it looked like this:

volvo p1800 front

My argument is already the winner, but I shall now gloat by showing you the back of this Swedish sweetheart:

Image result for p1800 volvo

Look at that. It is a rear window, so you can see out of it. That was the first challenge in its design, and it was conquered totally. This was a car built for human beings who depend on their vision; people who were more concerned with seeing out of the car than being seen in it. It is also gorgeous. Form and function.


bugatti chiron rear

That wasn’t designed to be used. This car isn’t for driving: it’s for buying, so that others know you had the money to buy it. When the revolution comes, Chiron owners will be able to make very quick getaways, but the gas tank isn’t that big.

They won’t get all that far.


*Holy shit, expensive cars are expensive.


  1. What, mention of Bobby’s “‘Vette with potato salad” pose?

  2. A great post. Lovely pictures too

    Keep in mind that Garcia drove the Volvo P1800 Sportwagen–designed by Jensen, I believe–in 1973. So he drove his coolest car when the Dead were at their peak, Old And In The Way was playing the bars, and Garcia/Saunders would jam all night at the Keystone. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

    The sixties, you say? Ford Cortina, baby–good enough for Jim Clark, good enough for Jerry and Pigpen.

  3. A Bullitt/GD connection–many pieces of the awesome chase scene with the 68 Mustang fastback were filmed around McLaren Park in San Francisco, current site of the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater (and not far from the Excelsior District, where Jerry had lived on Harrington Street).

    No, it’s not Bruce McLaren Park, that’s in New Zealand (and anyway, they would have named it Denny Hulme Park).

    Did you know that Bullitt and Dirty Harry are based on the same legendary SF Police Detective?

  4. Bartleby.. it does stick with you.

  5. Fateful reeder

    March 5, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Any chance of putting your ‘Comments” link at the end of the posting, rather than as part of the post title? It would sure save a lot of scrolling if you could do that. It would be in a logical place, too.

  6. Luther Von Baconson

    March 6, 2016 at 2:21 pm


    my first car. 383 Commando. Console shift. had to do the screwdriver in the carburetor thing often to get it to start, which i learned from a dude one morning on Hastings St. East Van.

    haven’t had a car for about 20 yrs

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