Is Car Culture Dead? Uh, NoS

Welcome to Must Read, where we single out the best stories from around the automotive universe and beyond. Today we've got reports from Hemmings, The New York Times, and Vanity Fair.

Is Car Culture Dying, No?Hemmings

We've gone a round on the poorly-headlined NYTimes piece about car culture, but here's Hemmings taking a thoughtful look.

It seems the statistics offer up less a snapshot of youth priorities today than they do a kind of Rorschach test, leading the observers to layer the stats with their own insecurities, biases and opinions. Besides, these are simply statistics, and stats rarely tell the whole story. Perhaps outside pressures not addressed in the survey (college, extracurricular sports, the Great Recession, high youth unemployment) have as much or more influence on whether young people get their licenses than a simple matter of interest. Perhaps that lost 18.1 percent wouldn’t have become car enthusiasts anyway.

What Is It Like to Drive a $500,000 Rolls-Royce Convertible? Just Like You’d Imagine, Only Much, Much BetterVanity Fair

Is Car Culture Dead? Uh, No

Crazy rich car culture isn't going anywhere, either.

But in the Drophead Coupé, nothing is impossible. You do not drive this car; you are granted the privilege of riding in—or, considering the fact that the seating position and outward demeanor are on par with that of a Caterpillar earthmover, on—it. As such, its progress on roadways is nothing short of hegemonic. It is Solomon’s Carpet as warp-drive steamroller, glissading you from location to location on a buoyant zephyr of Siberian goose down and the pulverized bones of its adversaries. “Is the car even on?” passengers kept asking, often while we were under way at extralegal speeds.

Philip Caldwell Is Dead at 93; First Nonfamily Member to Head Ford NYTimes

Is Car Culture Dead? Uh, NoS

Phillip Caldwell, however, is dead.

About as wild and crazy as Mr. Caldwell was ever said to get was an occasional recreational spin around the Ford test track at the wheel of a tractor-trailer. He filled his home and his office at Ford with 18th-century American antiques, and his civic and cultural activities included serving as a trustee of his alma mater and of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.