The '05 Grosstod

About 15 years ago, National Lampoon printed a spoof car review---a central African dictator strained his broken English to praise his Grosstod, a conspicuously-consuming 4X4 behemoth, a precursor to the SUV because his corrupt, impoverished country lacked roads suitable for better-known luxury marques. Countless Google searches have failed to turn up a version of the spoof online. Perhaps a gentle reader who has a print version could scan it up for me.

I think of the Grosstod every time I hear the smooth-jazz string riff that is now the theme for Chrysler's TV commercials, and cast my eyes on the '05 restyling of the 300.

It is almost as if Daimler-Chrysler brought German designers over from their MB division, and committed thems to make a vehicle so Big'n'Ugly that it has passed the pale and is beginning to look cool again. In turn, it looks like a bronze brick with wheels and a grille; a lowered Dakota with a trunk; what Peterbilt would deliver if they secretly entered the passenger car market, repeating aloud to themselves in the skunkworks, "not a Hummer . . . please God, don't give us a Hummer."

It is a broad-shouldered post-post-modern car copped from the Adventures of Batman, sans fins. Like the new Thunderbird, I like the look, though I will pay for several college degrees, maybe one of them my own, before I will ever afford one. By then the design will be obsoleted, then retroed, like the cycle of skirt lengths. (Hmmm, wait a minute. Rental fleets will carry a few of them. Maybe in four years . . . )

Me gusta. Now what it needs is a turbodiesel and a receiver hitch. And central tire inflation.

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