(above: NSU TTS rendering source: Virtual R)
I started IEDEI back in 2008 and launched it with the idea of it being an authentic, genuine, and soulful place to indulge in our hobby or motoring as well as everything else gentlemanly and wonderful. IEDEI continued for many years and i met some wonderful people through the blog. This blog was cited by much larger websites and media organizations and I continuously received emails from media companies asking me for content or about photos posted or just in general about the site. I never sold out. I never put shitty google ads on my pages. I never tried to sell you anything. I never wanted to bias anyone about anything all i wanted was a page to share my opinions, share my favourite photos, videos, ideas, designs, and possible future trends as well as lost historical beauties. IEDEI was a PURE idea and remained pure from start to finish. Towards the end, the blog had left motoring culture behind as i realised automobiles and motoring were wonderful for me but not something I wanted to write about anymore.
Motoring culture on the web is completely DEAD AND DECOMPOSED. When IEDEI was started there were no youtube vlogs, no silly and overdramatic Petrolicious videos, no 50 bazillion versions of Top Gear from every country that nobody watches. There were some car forums where people shared common ground with other owners of the same cars they had. There were a few videos around of any car you could think of; but not too many. There were some mainstream blogs like Autoblog, Jalopnik, Bring-A-Trailer (which was already a propaganda site and has since become a crappy auction site just profiting off opportunistic selling of cars combined with market manipulation). Back in 2008 motoring culture still had some imagination. Something to live for…and it wasn’t part of the capitalism landscape it is now. My friend Bradley, who ran Automobiliac launched at terrific watch company named Autodromo and when he launched it there weren’t scores of watch companies making race-inspired watches. In fact I remember SCOURING the web looking for race inspired watches that were affordable and they were few and far between. I used to sit with Bradley sipping on coffees and drinks and daydream about selling gloves and scarves and I remember even contacting a bag manufacturing company trying to find out how much it would cost to make an IEDEI branded racing bag. It never happened….but it could have. I used to wake up in the morning, check my friend Drew’s Motoring Con Brio site, check Bradley’s Automobiliac site, the fantastic Blenheim Gang site, check a few random automotive blogs for the latest news, and then go on with my day and move on to music, and science, and news, and art, and everything else i adore. We went to car shows and meets and not every photo had to be hashtagged and trending. We were not really involved with social media besides daily blogging.
Fast forward to 2017. Things are not pure. If you go to youtube you will find seas and seas of absolutely SHITE vlogs made by piles of NON-car people in order to make plenty of $$$ off subscribers. I sometimes wonder if their subscription numbers are even real. These vlogs are so monumentally terrible that i literally cannot make it through 1 minute without cringing endlessly and wanting to smash my laptop under the wheels of an oncoming garbage truck. Superficial, shallow, gutless, clueless, vile, self-absorbed, useless hosts like Shmee150, Salomondrin, Seen Through Glass, Supercars of London, Joe Achilles, and the list goes on and on and on. I’m not going to offers links for these clowns as i’d rather you not even watch. I sometimes click on their videos just to laugh at the state of motoring culture. How it died a vicious death and was given to the hands of idiots for control. I recently read somewhere that these are the true influencers of motoring culture these days. That’s the equivalent of saying that a Gonorrhea infection is the largest influencer on modern sex life. To me, these idiots have no idea what motoring culture is about. They don’t know motoring history, they don’t understand the context behind their conversations, and they are simply materialists who feel it’s trendy and profitable to be associated with automobiles. They will fade away as fast as they arrived. I will be glad to participate in their demise. Occasionally i still click on a Harry Metcalfe or Chris Harris video and still find a video worth watching; but they are needles in a haystack of awfulness. Where are the sites that actually teach you something? Or inspire you? Or have any sense of emotion or enthusiasm? It doesn’t exist anymore. Recently Clarkson et al. launched their absurd “Drivetribe” site which was supposed to a social network for motoring enthusiasts. I joined and was repulsed by the mountains of regurgitated generic nonsense i found at every turn. Has originality run out? i believe so.
Surely these shitclowns are not the only reason motoring culture died. The manufacturers forgot how to build proper cars. People became addicted to instagram and facebook and the manufacturers became addicted to making sure they understood that people’s priorities for driving were to be able to take selfies in cars and read the replies to their instagrammed selfies while they drive. Hence piles of electronic nonsense were added into the car making it a glorified mobile phone; with people criticizing cars which didn’t come equipped with infotainment satisfaction. Nevermind the driving experience just stuff a bunch of leather with some big screens and an ‘advanced’ torque converted 19 speed automative gearbox and be happy you can afford your $419 a month lease on your 2017 BMW 328 X Drive M-Sport Competition Pack Sport Pack pile of utter shit! Audi are building, genuinely, some of the most uninspired and hideous crap imaginable. Mercedes have cut sausages (literally) in different lengths and raise them, lower them, rebadge them, and shuffle them out of the factory. Who is inspired these days? Alfa Romeo have come back to the US with cars that look like a new Kia and are desperately trying to convince everyone that somehow they still matter. Y’know 10 years ago i would have eaten a bowl of my own boogers to drive a ‘new’ Alfa Romeo in the US; but now it seems I just don’t care. Porsche 911 blah blah Cayman blah blah 4 bangers? Blah blah no thanks blah blah. So how much is a proper Porsche? Yeah that’ll be a cool $140k. Utter nonsense. Mini sells a range of a bazillion models with some of them that are 3500+ pounds in curb weight (what!?). Saab is now dead. Jaguar has no identity, and supercars are super super lame.
I still want a Lancia Fulvia. I still scream out in love for an Alpine A110 and Alpine A310. I still feel super dirty when i look at photos of an Alfa Romeo GTA-m. I just recently bought a book about the unmistakably wonderful Lancia Hyena. I feel that the best motoring culture is gone and in our history. No I am not interested in your shitty Tesla Model 3X P44d superelectric 0-60 in 3.blahblah seconds with your 20 inch screen and 3000 pound battery. I don’t want to drive a battery. I am 41 years old and assuming i haven’t damaged my body too significantly i probably have a few years left. For that time, i will drive whatever i want and won’t be force fed by the media or vlogs or any other shitty petrolicious video what i should be lusting for. Elon Musk is a crusty salesman who makes a fool out of everyone with hyping his underwhelming company up every step of the way. I would rather install bulldozers into my elbows than to drive a Tesla. You will never see me in a Tesla.
This brings me to the horror show that is “vintage motoring culture”. When i launched IEDEI there were very few sites celebrating the old school design and stories and photos with others. I remember finding Petrolicious once, who used to steal my content in the early days and i wrote them an email telling them to fuck off and stop stealing my content. Fast forward to 2017 and Petrolicious release the most cliched, full of nonsense ‘vintage’ car videos i’ve ever seen. An abomination of what this culture became. Did I play a part in this? POSSIBLY. I will, however pretend i didn’t because i can. I can’t watch 20 seconds of a Petrolicious video without wanting to puke at the 3rd rate hollywood cinematography and generic piano music added for “atmosphere”. Pukealicious more like it.
(above: photo of BMW 2002 Turbos being built. Source: M Registry)
At this point you may thinking “oh this IEDEI tosser is a real bitter guy”….well bitter i am not. Opinionated I AM deal with it! I’m not going to fluff up my thoughts to please others. My readers were always smart people with independent thoughts. That being said I still love motoring and i love my cars and i have some real great friends who will agree with much of what i think but are too nice to be so blunt about it.
Things i like about motoring culture in 2017:
- Alpine is back! they should give me a new A110 for all the Alpine hype i generated.
- Lancia is dead. Fiat should be ashamed of themselves
- Chris Harris is still cool. For fuck’s sake he drives a BMW 1M.
- My BMW 1M is the greatest car i’ve ever owned or driven. Many smiles every mile
- Underappreciated cars will always exist and i will find them.
- Modern american muscle cars are much cooler than most european cars now.
- There are still good people into motoring; but you won’t find them with hashtags.
- Hatchbacks MAY be making a comeback to the US market (finally!)
- Volvo is back making wonderful looking cars again. “the new boxy” as i call it.
- I wouldn’t mind buying a new Lincoln. They are stunning.
Will IEDEI ever come back? yeah maybe when everybody else is gone….
Thank you to all the kind, honest, and interesting people out there. I do miss interacting with many of you. I hope you are happy and full of life. Life is more interesting than any object or ‘scene’.
I still live in NYC and this is my 1M being used as it was intended to be used; as a motor car driven by a madman!
I was excited to see a new post. Your words are harsh, but they are true. Some of my favorite automotive sites have lost their way. Thanks for keeping IEDEI pure. I do hope IEDEI will return someday. Drive fast, Take chances.
thank you matt. sometimes harshness is needed to really display a true opinion. i have been speaking to some of the sites i used to love that i mentioned in the post and they all agree with me at this time…maybe one day true enthusiasm will rise again.
Totally agree with you my friend! Your website will never disappear from my bookmarks
I’ve just found this post by chance. Great post, I totally agree with you.
I think the main problem is that the automotive culture (or cars to be more specific) are now more mainstream and accessible to people than ever before. You no longer have to go to blogs, forums or dedicated car pages to learn about history or new releases. Now, even if you are not into cars, they just pop up in your Instagram discover page or on your YouTube recommendations. So, people who take advantage of that (let’s not forget that seen through glass or Shmee started by filming or taking pictures of supercars on the street) appear more and more in peoples feeds and gain popularity. A lot of that popularity is because of kids or young people who are somewhat into cars search for videos, pictures whatever of cars and end up in one of their videos which shows cool supercars, hypercars or Toyotas Supras with anti-lag systems. This creates “casual” “”petrolheads”” which praise Fast and Furious movies, Top Gear and Paul Walker as the pinnacle of car culture. Needless to say that their dream car is a Bugatti Chiron or a 1000hp Skyline GT-R R34.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m 20 years old and I been absolutely passionate about cars for as long as I can remember. So I’m not against kids being into cars, in fact, the more people who share our passion the better. But I’m not into supercars or ultra modern cars, sure the technology and performance is impressive, but they lack something. I’m into cars from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s (my car is from the 90’s) and utterly obsessed with Group B cars. So I feel kind of frustated when I meet somebody who “likes cars” and doesn’t know what a Lancia Delta is. I’m not saying I’m THE best petrolhead or “special”, but I think it shows the difference between people who are into cars because THEY were interested and looked for information online (in forums, etc), magazines or TV shows/documentaries. and people who are into cars because it suddenly appeared a video in Youtube or Instagram, or F&F movies, games, etc. Or even worse, they are into cars because it’s “trendy”
I guess it’s not about the people but the technology and tools we have nowadays, if smartphones and social media were a thing back in the 1970’s the same would probably happen with pictures of Countachs, 512 BBs and 911s everywhere.
But not all hope is lost, Youtube is a big place and I think the best car channel out there hands down is Davide Cironi Drive Experience. I also must admit I quite like Petrolicious site and videos, mostly the Rally car ones.
PS: Boy did your friend made an awesome watch company.