Just some automotive thoughts…

Just some automotive thoughts…

January 16th, 2005
Current Mood: geeky
Current Music:”Time For You To Leave, William Blake…” by Neil Young
Took a walk-about at the LA Car Show the other day. Did my usual 4 hours of dreaming…
Like last year I spent a good amount of time pondering the utility of some of the cars/trucks there – would having a Dodge Caravan, say, with it’s really cool ‘stow ‘n go’ foldaway seats, make it easier for Alicia and I to enjoy life with our two pups? The Ford SporTrac has an excellent fold-flat rear seating area and the outback pickup bed – exactly what we need for a run back to Gurnieville, pups behind us, luggage out way back. Sadly the jump up to the leveled area is too much for Canela. Things like that. Utility.

Made me feel old.

The Aston Martin Vanquish S is undeniably sexy. Lust on wheels, so to speak. But I feel like all I did was appreciate it. Yes, very sexy lines. Wow. Same with the new roadsters from GM – the Solstice and Sky. Both have awesome, fun styling. Both will be great cars – affordable to own, smashing to run up into the mountians for a picnic with the one you love. I know that. I looked at them and thought “yeah, instead of the Miata, maybe” – but I’m not home drawing renditions of them in the notebook margins. What’s up with that? Am I ascending past youth to adultness? I still feel a passion for the various cars, but now the passion has an edge formed in the reality that hoping into the back of T-Dog’s ‘Stang convertible isn’t the thing I want to do too often. Great fun, on a sunny day with the top down – but really, not much space back there to sit comfortably. I see the SporTrac and think of all the possible fun I can have. Actually have. Hmmm… perhaps that’s it. With a utility vehicle you CAN go and (fill in the blank). With the Aston, I’m thinking, you get the dream of doing things – picking up the supermodel and her prettier sister, going to the coast for the weekend. I’m sure the F1 drivers actually do that too – but for me, those dreams have faded a bit. Ok. I can deal with that. Not so much old as conscious.

Back to the dream cars, now that I know what to do with them.
Lamborghini has crossed that peculiar line where though they have stunning cars – standing looking at the Gallardo I overheard someone say “I’d rather have that than the Ferrari” – you could argue that they’ve departed their fast lane of stunningness. The Gallardo has a touch of the ordinary. The doors open just like your car’s. No scissor doors with which to reveal the jumpsuited racing hotties, a la Cannonball Run. How sad. Sadder still is to go to the tuner section in the basement hall and see Honda Civics and a Dodge Magnum station wagon with the scissor door treatment. Lamborghini, don’t fail us now.

So I wandered away to the Porsche exhibit – always a stunning collection. They had a white 959 on display, being that they have to try and explain a connection between 50 years of race focused automobiles and their… I shudder to speak this blashphmey – their SUV. eeewwwwww. But the connection would be that in the late 80’s Porshce had a 400+ horsepower 4-wheel drive car, and now you can get a similar vehicle with a higher seating area and seats for 4. Why you would want a Porsche SUV I do not know. Risky Business would not have been the same movie had Joel parked his dad’s (or more probably, his mom’s) Cayenne Turbo in Lake Michegan.

Did I mention the Carrera GT? Ah, now that’s a Porsche. That’s a Porsche I want! Along with the complete 1997 911 collection, a 959, a 928S GT4, and a 944S.

As I’ve said before, I’d love to own not the cars, but a dealership. Drive the cars, arrive at places in totally cool cars. Own them? Repair them? um, no.

The new Jetta has increased leg room, such that I can sit behind myself (which I can’t in Alicia’s 4th Gen Jetta, or at least not comfortably unless I’ve scooted the seat up) makes me happy. Honda’s Ridgeline pickup has some amazing design details – I’d give all my friends one, because it’s everything most anyone needs. but it’s ugly. Makes the Avalanche look sleek.

Confliction, I guess, is what I’m suffering from. But I do want to talk about the new cars. I want to feel the passion I’ve always enjoyed while waxing nostalgic on how in ’84 the littlest CRX was really cool, and the Fiero had me dreaming of extended pointless driving. Honda offers a rugged pickup, an completely neutral Accord Hybrid, and Pontiac is bring the juice with its G6 coupe, convertible and Solstice roadster.

As has been the case for a few years now, poor Mercury had little to offer or go and see. Quite sad, as was Buick’s stand. You have to ask yourself how does GM do so poorly in a game they know so well? Perhaps they’re too big – though they lost Oldsmobile last year.

Also noticed the trend line for photos at auto shows – now everyone was pointing their cell phones at the expensive exotics and one-off concept cars. I had noticed for the past 5 years how the number of film cameras was plummeting, and how digital cameras were rising. This year the cellphones were the new buzz. Time marches on, once again.

Just some thoughts and observations.
Cars. Would I have been like minded regarding horses, or boats had been a cowboy or fisherman’s son?