Today marked the end of my latest quixotic photography project, GermanIce™: Typological survey of icing-sugar-white German vehicles.

White B-class Mercedes on upper deck of auto carrier parked outside Volvo dealership

As with the previous quixotic project, Back of truck, I stopped at 100 photos (plus a final meta-GermanIce™).

Definitions caused a great deal of friction during this project.

  • How white is white? For a few years, a white closer to cream was popular, especially with Beetles. Now BMW has a dusky off-grey white (not an oxymoron) that borders on a metamer.
  • What about country of origin? Volkswagens sold in Canada are or were made in Germany, Brazil, or Mexico. Audi (hence Volkswagen) owns Lamborghini, Volkswagen owns Bentley, BMW owns Mini and Rolls-Royce. Some BMWs are built only in the U.S.; Beetles are built only in Mexico; Mercedes M-class SUVs are American-made. Smarts are arguably German, but they’re all built in France. In essence, I faced the Swindon paradox: The badge may say Honda, but if it’s built in England, is it a British car? I decided to stick to classical German marques (BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen) irrespective of country of manufacture.

How did I find these cars? The same way I found backs of truck: Through everyday life.

I do this instead of writing books and earning a living. Everything comes back to that, of course. Also: I don’t drive.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2008.03.09 15:17. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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