In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- Would we ever see a Lamborghini Pickup Truck?
- Are “Car of the Year” awards legit?
- What are a few alternatives for a inexpensive Jeep build?
The first question comes from a fan who wants to know if we’ll ever see a Lamborghini pickup truck go into production.
Q: (Via: AskNathan@tflcar.com) Long question short, is a Lamborghini pickup truck too much to ask for?
They already build an SUV and I bet it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to ad a bed and call it done. I watch your videos and see so many trucks that come close to costing over ninety and one hundred thousand dollars. Why not give rich people a super pickup that gives them all the street cred they want?
I think a Lamborghini pickup truck would be badass!
– Jake at UCSB
A: I sincerely doubt that we’ll see a Lamborghini pickup anytime soon.
The image I added was from a graphic designer who tried to imagine what a Lamborghini pickup truck would look like. I would say that it’s more likely that Lamborghini is looking at a second crossover/SUV. One that could be sold with, or even replace the Urus. For the moment, the Urus is a hot seller for the automaker.
Keep in mind: Lamborghini top-end builds tractors, and they once built the beefy LM 002. They certainly have the skillset to build something like a Lamborghini pickup, but I just don’t see it happening any time soon.
The next question comes from a fan who is frustrated with “Car of the Year” awards. The message has been edited for some of its content as it contains names and email addresses.
Q: (Via: Twitter@Nathan Adlen) Maybe it’s a trust issue, but I could care less about people awarding cars and trucks.
It’s not that some rides don’t deserve it. My issue is finding out how judges are bought. I know that the Fast Lane bases things more on performance than overall bias. You guys are part of this too, but at least you are more transparent.
Here is the deal. Judges from every major magazine, big online personalities who might not even be car people, NACTOY judges and celebrities get wined and dined by car companies. I know it’s true because some of the post pictures of first class flights and exotic resorts when they go to “judge” a car.
Go and see how they spend their time at these press vacations. Some of them are so vain that they shove their good fortune in everyone’s face. Many have no idea what’s underneath an engine cover! I see others using the car company that they obviously hate for a free ride. The worst ones use the event for some political platform or call to action for some stupid agenda. They don’t care about the car! Their only interest is in a first class ticket and being worshiped!
A: You may be right about some, but definitely not all.
Rather than defend my colleagues, I will tell you how our team handles most of these events:
We get a notification between six-months to three days before the press event. It depends on many factors including who is on the A, B and C list. Also, some automakers may put on a event with little notice as a budget was expanded, or contracted. Sometimes, media is notified very early, or late based on a screw-up by the event organizers.
Once we accept the RSVP, we set up dates, flights, accommodations and transportation.
Usually, we have a 24-48 hour window between departing and returning from an event. That’s because the next wave of journalists has to get their hands of the vehicle. Every now and then, an international event will pop up that requires four or more days. Regardless, we pull together the staff and gear to send to each event. This is while we try to make sure we have no holes in our schedule.
TFL Studios does its best to learn as much as they can about the vehicle in question. If there’s nothing available, we try to learn about the models it may compete with. Regardless – we try to bone up as much as possible, because our schedule it packed. We shoot extremely fast, and it’s usually a team of two: one presenter/journalist, and one videographer/producer.
Once at the event location, we’re either shuttled to the hotel, or the event location to immediately start the drive program. Sometimes, the automaker will have the vehicles we’re reviewing at the airport, waiting for us. More often than not, we will have a bit of time to settle in at the hotel before dinner. and sometimes cocktails.
Usually, the next morning, they have a presentation after breakfast, about the vehicle, automaker and the route. In other cases, they bring us to a location where we get to gawk at the vehicle, but no driving. Sometimes, they bring us in to look at something that is a concept, and can’t be reported on.
We are usually given two to five hours with the vehicle, but there are those rare events that give you the vehicle for a day or more.
We have to adhere to an embargo on most major events
The embargo is the automaker’s way of giving most the media outlets a chance to deploy their findings on the same day. It usually keeps one outlet from having the advantage. Unfortunately, the scales are usually tipped in someone’s favor and they get even earlier access. In most cases, we will try to get out a pre-embargo video giving you an idea about what we’re driving. Sometimes, we’re not allowed to even show off a social media photo before the embargo drops.
Under most circumstances, our videographer/producer/editor will crank something out on site. At the same time, we’ll post as much as we can on social media – if permitted. In many cases, we’ll miss a few lavish meals, and opt for whatever we can get in our room, to get the job done.
Once we get back, we clean up the video(s) and get them ready for publishing. At the same time, articles are written about the vehicle (and sometimes, the event) as a companion piece when the video(s) go live.
After that, it’s rinse and repeat
I won’t deny that it feels good to stay at a nice place and eat good food. Most automakers seem happy to see us, and it makes financial sense for them to treat us. Our videos and posts are (usually) good advertising for the automaker. Despite the accommodations and food, a good journalist can remain objective. Sure, some are seduced by the environment and amenities, but most get down to business.
Why? Because, it’s their job. Still, I can’t deny that a few have bias, lack integrity, are truly indifferent – and some are in it just for the fun.
As for the judges: many awards are becoming somewhat irreverent as more people turn to social media for insight. Access to information about a vehicle has never been easier, and people are getting facts and impressions at the click of a button. Also – yes – some automakers go above and beyond to gain favor of a judge or journalist.
It all boils down to people like you. If you feel a journalist is tainted or influenced, there are dozens more who may be more credible. We can’t tell you who to follow, or who to listen to. Considering the amount of information you sent me, you already know who to trust.
The last question comes from a young fan who wants to do a build on something other than an older Jeep Wrangler.
Q: I am not a fan of Jeep Wranglers.
My dad rolled one once and nearly lost his arm. When I turn 16 I want to find something I can build up for Arizona off roading that’s inexpensive. My dad will freak if he sees I bought a Wrangler. Do you have a suggestion?
– Stacy M
A: Hi Stacy!
Without telling me your budget, or what kind of wheeling you’re thinking of, I can’t help that much. I mean, if your looking at building something you can drive daily and off-road in, having more than, say -$6,000 – there are a few vehicles to look at.
I took the liberty of looking at some of your local listings and a few vehicles stood out. Some of the vehicles I noticed were extremely high mileage. In today’s economy, it will be nearly impossible to find low mileage 4x4s for a reasonable price. I just picked a few examples that looked interesting. I’m sure some readers may have a few suggestions as well.
There was a sweet looking 2000 Toyota 4Runner. It’s packed with smart mods AND a rear E-locker. It’s priced at $5,900, which is good, but it has 369K miles – which is a turn-off for many. It all depends on how it was maintained. I know 4Runner owners with more mileage, still running on the original powertrain.
I kind of liked this 1990 Ford F-150 with a straight 6-cylinder gas engine. It’s not powerful, but that 300 cid six-banger is known for being a long lasting powertrain. Big old trucks like this are fairly easy to work on, and get parts for. It could be a fun project.
I would also look at Nissans like their pickups and the Xterra. Avoid fancy SUVs and crossovers if possible. The more complicated the vehicle, the harder it is to work on.
Finally: make sure it’s safe. I mean tires, brakes and emissions. Avoid salvage titles too.
Speaking of old 4x4s…