Before I start throwing punches at Elon Musk about the new Tesla Cybertruck, let me make something perfectly clear.
I’m no cartrarian.
If you aren’t sure what a cartrarian actually is, that’s fair, because I made the word up.
It’s a play on contrarian, which is a person who opposes or rejects popular opinion.
Throughout my travels in my once illustrious and now fading career as an automobile journalist, I’ve encountered several hardcore cartrarians.
We used to call them haters.
They are almost always hipsterish-looking dudes with skinny jeans, flannel shirts and dorky glasses who love to carry on in blogs no one ever reads about how dumb the new Corvette is, or how the new Silverado pickup looks like a Toyota, or how the last great vehicle ever built was a Nissan D21 with the KA24E engine.
Yeah hero, we get it, Nissan pickups with the four-cylinder engine under the hood were solid trucks — oooh you’re so smart with all your fancy technical car talk. Tell us more about your vintage Volvo.
Anyways, you get the picture.
I’m no cartrarian.
So. With that out of the way, let’s get on with the thrashing of Elon Musk and his ridiculous truck.
When the new Tesla Cybertruck was unveiled last week, I ran straight to Facebook and really let it fly. I regret nothing. Except maybe the part where I ranted Musk had saved big money by hiring a guy who previously designed toasters. I’ve got nothing against toaster designers and it was insensitive of me to lump them in with this hot mess.
However, I definitely don’t regret the part where I wrote the new Cybertruck looked like Musk had spent all the money investors had given him partying rather than designing a game-changing electric truck. Or when I mentioned how on the night before the big launch, Musk hadn’t done his homework yet, so he went to a junkyard full of stainless steel appliances and slapped something together just in time.
My colleague Kelly Taylor joined in the bashing with a line from the 1983 movie Vacation, where a plaid-wearing car salesman played by Eugene Levy tells Clark Griswold — "You think you hate it now, wait until you drive it." The truth is the Family Truckster actually looks pretty good when compared to the Cybertruck.
Another pal, worldly automobile journalist Costa Mouzouris, who was no doubt testing Ferraris in Italy at the time, piped in that Elon had to be messing with everyone, broken windows and all, and that in a few days after all the hype had calmed, he would launch the real one.
Yeah, broken windows. Because in case you missed it, the Cybertruck was supposed to have unbreakable glass, so Musk had Tesla designer Franz von Holzhausen throw steel balls at it during the unveiling — followed by a spiderweb of cracks and Musk actually using the F-word on the livestream of the event. It was gold, pure gold.
Turns out none of it was ever intended to be funny, though, and Elon Musk, steel balls and all, is dead serious about the Cybertruck.
Since the unveiling, Musk has been tweeting gems that include the explanation the Cybertruck is so planar because you can’t stamp the ultra-hard 30X steel, because it breaks the stamping press.
So basically the Cybertruck broke the mould.
Through it all, I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t the direction we are headed. Will the vehicles of the future look as if they just rolled off the set of a low-budget science fiction film? Will future vehicles be entirely devoid of any personality, designed only with logic in mind and no passion whatsoever? Will Elon Musk build a fortress in the side of a mountain and paint himself gold?
All fair questions if you ask me.
Here’s the crazy thing, though. It turns out there are even more cartrarians out there than I initially thought.
In less than a week, more than 200,000 of them have put down a fully refundable US$100 deposit on a Cybertruck.
Which raises the question: what are they smoking and where can I get some?
Paul “Willy” Williamson joined the Free Press editorial team in 2007, turning his back on a career as a corrections officer. His motor has been running non-stop ever since.