"Some automobiles inspire comment. Others praise. But precious few spawn entire industries.

"Yet such would seem to be the case with the nearly simultaneous appearance of a boom in radar detectors and the now legendary BMW 5-Series."

And precious few automobiles spawn advertising copy of such potentially legendary goofiness as that. The ad appeared in this paper a few days ago under the headline: "The Luxury Sedan That Made Radar Detectors a Multimillion Dollar Industry." We quote further:

". . . what choice does a car like the 535i leave the spirited driver? Those drivers who, in the immortal words of a famous actress, 'can resist anything . . . except temptation.'

"Temptation which here takes the form of BMW's exuberant 3.5-liter in-line six. A power plant fully capable of exceeding the current national speed limit in a mere 7.7 seconds."

Stop, please, and then turn around and take us back slowly to the time when the "spirited" drivers were mostly 18-year-olds running V-8 firebreathers without mufflers. At least you could hear them coming. It's no fun these days having to be on the lookout for luxury sedans as well, driven by people whose age and financial condition should in most cases incline them toward gentler pursuits than trying to do the 24 Hours of Le Mans through Rock Creek Park or using their radar detectors to get around the Beltway at Autobahn speeds.

This sort of driving may not spawn an entire new industry, but it will probably continue to nurture a couple of older ones: the medical and mortuary trades.