Friday, April 01, 2011

The Finest In Automotive Spy Photography

Several times over the past 25 years, I've been fortunate enough to be in  the right place at the right time to photograph upcoming automobile models on public roads, doing "real world testing".  Most often the vehicles are disguised, with outlandish extra body panels, or wild graphic paint schemes, designed to misdirect the viewer's eyes so as not to determine exactly what the shape of the car really is.  Other times, when they're closer to production, only the badging, and other identifying marks are stripped from the cars.


I first got lucky in Anchorage, Alaska of all places.  Engineers apparently experienced a stalling problem, and left what would later become the Subaru Impreza abandoned in a hotel parking lot, with the hood up.  I snapped away. I couldn't help it.  Those pictures ended up in AutoWeek Magazine.


Jump ahead several years, and I'm working as an independent representative for a firm which required me to visit a lot of backroads businesses.  I was in Livingston County, Michigan when a convoy of overly clad vehicles was leaving a rural gas station.  Again, I fired away, and again the images ended up in AutoWeek.  It was America's first look at the Oldsmobile Alero and Pontiac Grand Am.


Recently, I happened to capture images of the 2012 Audi A6 on nearby back roads.  These were brokered to several automotive online journals by the "Doyenne" of  automotive spy photography, whose name you would recognize instantly.


What follows, is the published account of my most recent discovery.  It was late at night, at a gas station in Abilene, Texas......

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Our intrepid, tireless, ambitious, poverty-stricken, Instamatic®- toting, weasley, automotive paparazzi have been at it again.  Caught real world testing, without so much as a single fig leaf of disguise is Ford’s upcoming retro spectacular, the 2014 Edsel Redux!  (pronounced Ree-doo).


Word has been out there among the automotive cognoscenti for several months now, that this masterpiece of backward-thinking was in the works, but this is the first time it’s been captured on film, as it were, and we here at AutoLuddite were victorious in the bout of feverish bidding that ensued to be the first to present this image to the public.


Our sources in the industry tell us this fantastic retro-sled weighs in at an astonishing four-and-a-half tons, due in part to the extensive use of carbon fiber in the floor mats, and turn signal indicator.  Power to overcome massive amounts of inertia comes from the technologically advanced cast iron, straight 6 cylinder EcoBǖst, (pronounced boooost), engine, which produces upwards of 175 BHP when using 102 octane unleaded fuel.  Naught to 60 times are expected to be in the range of sometime before dark, therefore, no convertible model is expected to be produced.  Our sources tell us that an optional 3-speed manual transmission, mounted on the steering column (!), has never, ever been considered.


The designers have really outdone themselves in recalling the essence of the original, right down to the extremely wide white sidewall bias-ply tires, to the rust spots on the quarter panels.  One wonders why, with all of these styling cues resurrecting the marque’s illustrious past, the “toilet seat” was left off of the massive chrome grille?  Perhaps it will appear on a higher trim level model.  We can only hope and pray.


Unfortunately, prices are not expected to fall in line with those of 50+ years ago.  You can expect to pony up around $25,000 for a base model, to a staggering $55,000 for the super deluxe, although to be fair, that price does include your own personal dwarf mechanic in a satchel, so you will never have to worry about breakdowns, or even regularly scheduled maintenance.


The Edsel Redux will be produced in limited quantities, by Ford of Honduras, and for reasons known only to those at the very top of the Ford hierarchy, will only be sold through Kia dealerships.   We look forward to our first test drive!


- Peter S. Tingly,  AutoLuddite




....Y'know... I've been thinkin'... I might just could be wrong... about all of this.  Just sayin'.

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