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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    N.E. Minneapolis
    Posts
    4,810
    Car
    GSW TDI 6spd, 74 Scout II

    Default Cars are dumb and here's why




    I don't know what about cars draws me in so much. I can't get away from them. When I go on vacation I spend more time looking at what the locals are driving than I do looking at what the locals are doing. I plan my weekends around projects and maintaining a small fleet that is half of what it used to be.


    I spend the hottest hours of the day cleaning wheels in the driveway, wheels I don't even need. My girlfriend asked me what they were for, my answer was idiotic once said out loud; they are wheels that I use when I go to the track.


    I dont race my cars. I spend exactly 1 day a year driving quickly around a closed course getting passed by 911s, Vipers and Mini Cooper’s with mountain bike attachments on their roofs. I have an entire set of wheels and tires for my 3rd car, a set of wheels that spend 364 days a year sitting on the shelf I built specifically for them so for 1 day a year I can drive nearly 100mph around a 2.5mile loop while wearing a helmet and a smile.


    That same girlfriend asked me if we could buy a Kayak this summer and I told her we had no space, money or time for a Kayak. I did say that if she rented a Kayak at least 3 times this summer and at the end decided she still wanted one that we could maybe make some space and buy a used one if we could get it off craigslist for a good deal. But only then can she justify a small, human powered boat in my garage.


    My 3rd car has 3 sets of wheels. This car has had 7K miles put on it in over the last 3.5 years. Of those 7K miles 3k have been driven on 2 bigs trips around the midwest when I first bought it. So in reality I have put 4k miles on a car in 3 years and my girlfriend can't have a hobby boat because I don't have the place to store it.


    My 2nd car has 2 sets of wheels but only one set has tires mounted. You never know when good deal will pop up!
    My daily has 2 sets of wheels and a 3rd on the way. To be fair one set is for the winter and one set is for the summer, tires for the season and safety, while the possible 3rd set is just a good deal on some sweet wheels that I will need to make a self and space for. They may or may not have good tires on them so I will need to budge space and money for the possible new set of tires for the 3rd set of wheels to go on 1 of my 3 cars. But we cannot have a Kayak, that would be irresponsible of us.


    This is not a piece about wheels and tires. This isn't really a piece about having too many cars. What this was meant to be about is a car. A special, older, car that I happen to be very fond of. There are actually millions of them and they are all alike, it is a joke and a punchline, and while it may not be the end all answer to everyone’s hopes and dreams it can be pretty special to some. I am a member of that unfortunate group.


    Im sure if the budget were there I would have a similar attachment to an air-cooled 911 or a Turbo powered Datsun, perhaps even an old Mustang, but for now my life is full of a 25 year old redhead with a narrow body and big eyes who goes around town topless and shouts at the neighbors.


    The stupid car I have chosen to love and keep is a Classic Red 1990 Maita. I'll pause here for high fives, cheering and major thumbs up. Not only did my Mother laugh when I told her I bought it but she also made some crude jokes at my expense to her siblings. Har Har.


    Yes, it is a tiny car. No, I don't worry about getting hit by a semi in traffic. Yes, my GIRLFRIEND thinks its adorable. Actually yes, you can take it for a test drive, here are the keys.


    The Miata is far from perfect. Everyone on the internet will jump up your ass about how for $5k you could have had a xxxxxxx and done a 13sec 1/4mile pass or you could have bough a pfffcccbbttahh and gotten a million times the handling from stock. What the Miata gives you is a tiny taste of what it used to be like to drive, like when you were 16 and just got your license. Like the first time you ever went WOT and hit 100mph. The Miata gives you a little glimpse at how good cars could really be if they just focused a bit more on the driver and a little less on the epa/polar bears/family of 4/crash safety. An old Miata is like the car the Car Guys from the past saw the future of autos, something everyone could own and have a blast doing it for little money and space.


    The kInd of car you could learn to drive stick on, learn to autocross in and then learn how to run a canyon road properly with zero modifications. Much like the DSM triplets of yore giving kids a taste of boost for the first time, the Miata gives drivers the taste of driving dynamics for the first time all while getting smashed in the face by bugs and sunshine and wind.


    But is it fast!?


    Hell no. Speed is not the forte of the Miata. Many have spent real amounts of money making this slow car fast and they, Im sure, feel that it is totally justified. I look at the possible $3-5K as a 200% investment in a car that was designed to be light a minimal, not speedy and complex. Taking a 90hp $2K car and making it a $7K 180hp car can be one hell of a good time but for that amount of investment you could have any number of faster and more powerful things that started their lives much higher up the food chain. A Porsche 944 comes to mind.


    So you leave it slow. You don't put any magical touch of power into it but you must do something. There has to be a way to spend a little money have make it better. Mazda MUST HAVE left something on the table for you. She needs a tuck and perhaps some collagen. What she needs is more noise. Much more noise.


    Buy an exhaust they say. Make you're go-cart more cart-y and go-y-er. Then you need to make her more nimble so the fun twisty roads you dream about at night can be a little more twisted. So you buy some springs. Oh, and you need a limited slip differential. Plus sticky, wide tires. Add a sway bar or two. Now drill some holes in the bumper for a sweet lip that can sit 2 inches above the ground to prevent that speed sapping air from going under the car causing lift. Now you're ready for the big time, now you've got it ready to party. Now you're gonna smash it, big time.


    You’ve ruined your Miata. The echo you get off the buildings from your shinyoversized tail pipe isn't that of a pleasant rev-matched downshift and now that the top is down you can hear the ill fitted mounts knocking. The wide and sticky tires have made the steering heavy and the sway bars have made it twitch and bounce over the ruts in the road. The new super tight suspension makes your girlfriend upset on normal ass roads and your new lip scrapes the ground everywhere you go. You have to explain to non-car people why your car is so low and how is it that over bumps while at speed it makes some type of grinding noise with the tires and body. You have to tell them its just how the car is now, it's better in every way. And they wont really know until they feel it on the track. Until they've hit the limit over an apex. Thats where you'll show them your improvements, you'll show them all.

    But you won't. Not because you don't want to, but in this future glamour world were you have access to a track and a place for your new car-loving Miata inspired friends to sleep but because all
    those magical events take place on days that are also Weddings or birthdays or some Holiday and you just can't get the time off work. So you tell yourself, and your fake JDM girlfriend, that there will be another chance, baby. There will be one more time to hit the apex.


    There sits your creation, collecting dust and tree sap. Its been in the same parking place for going on a month. Sitting in traffic sucks because it needs to be rev’ed out. The heat of the summer sun makes the top down driving a huge sunburnt pain and the AC robs so much of the power that it might as well be a parachute out the back. The new suspension is a nightmare on city streets because it was designed for the silk smooth track and the exhaust doesn't give as many horses as it dose noise. Now there is snow and ice and cold out there and gosh darn it, youdon't have a 4th set of wheels with the appropriate tires. Oh, and the heater sucks tremendously.


    But you love her. And thats what matters. All those other Miatas, the one who have the skinny stock wheels and the soft pedestrian suspension, those Miatas are sad in the world and you can see it in their eyes, their adorable popped up little eyes.


    So now you've owned it. You've taken in one of those rare pieces of automotive history that will help define to a new generation how not all the good things need to be a million hp and run a 335 rear tire. Now its put away for yet another season of snow and danger you can reflect back on all the good times you had and track miles you could have run. If only next season would come sooner because that's when you still won't make any of those big changes and still won't mess with what Mazda intended and you will drive carefree mile after mile with the top down and show the world your love of a 25 year old Japanese girl.
    Go Green with Diesel.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    8,913
    Car
    Touareg. XC70. F430.

    Default

    tl;dr

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    N.E. Minneapolis
    Posts
    4,810
    Car
    GSW TDI 6spd, 74 Scout II

    Default

    Figure that will happen a lot
    Go Green with Diesel.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Afton, MN
    Posts
    1,059
    Car
    2006 VW Jetta TDi

    Default

    Reminds me of when I owned a 1995 Jeep Wrangler... Most expensive vehicle I have ever owned, and will ever own...



    Until my next Jeep Wrangler...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Savage
    Posts
    7,224
    Car
    BMW X1

    Default

    Transportation as a whole is expensive and stupid.
    “We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” Charles Kingsley

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Woodbury
    Posts
    620
    Car
    911, H3T, RS4, MG Midget

    Default

    So are you buying a kayak?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    SLP
    Posts
    595
    Car
    MK4

    Default

    What modifications have you made to the girlfriend?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    N.E. Minneapolis
    Posts
    4,810
    Car
    GSW TDI 6spd, 74 Scout II

    Default

    insert joke about lightweight mods for handling.
    Go Green with Diesel.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Duluth, MN
    Posts
    2,795
    Car
    Ch ch changes...

    Default

    I know how u feel sprstu. Don't know why I like cars so much.
    Quote Originally Posted by Topher View Post
    You buy weird cars.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Saint Paul
    Posts
    3,507
    Car
    B5A4tqma

    Default

    That makes me sad about the kayak.

    I gave up on car stuff when i started feeling this way. It was a phase... I dont need to own them all to enjoy them. It took a lot, and a long time, to admit it to myself.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    10,044
    Car
    '12 Tiguan, '30 Chevy

    Default

    I don't follow.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Nowthen
    Posts
    1,333
    Car
    '88 GTI, '12 Silverado

    Default

    Race more?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    NE
    Posts
    771
    Car
    1971 Volks Wagon minivan

    Default

    Glws

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    West Minnetonka
    Posts
    16,918
    Car
    Wood Motorboat |'15 Tahoe

    Default

    Good read. All of this absurdity is pretty much what has me currently at the other end of the car spectrum.

    The other thing is the automotive hobby is a social one... but it's a sausage fest. My wife and daughter don't want to hang out in a parking lot and watch 90 second runs. And I sure as hell won't put either one of them in any car I plan to drive around a track at 10/10ths...

    I bought a boat. It has been the best thing ever.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    10,044
    Car
    '12 Tiguan, '30 Chevy

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Die Frau View Post
    I bought a boat. It has been the best thing ever.

    That is one small reason I bought the Bel Air. It's a cruiser. I pile the family into it, we go for drives, take it camping, and can (barely) pull the camper with it.

    I don't know if it's the fact that I am getting old, or it's the changes in the car show scene, but I really don't care for car shows much anymore. Don't get me wrong, I still love cars, but I just don't care for the shows much anymore. I get way more enjoyment out of using my classic car, then I do parking it at a show.

    I think I went to 3 car shows last summer. Thats it.

    But I'll always wrench. I'll always build.

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