The Perfect Car?

What is the perfect car? Is that car even made or has it ever been made? When thinking of what the ideal car would be, one must understand what they want in a car. I will admit, this is somewhat of a subjective question. But honestly, what really isn’t subjective in some form or another? For the ideal car, it must be reliable. After all, cars, as part of their essence, are tools and means to get from point A to point B and back again. Unless you are transient and continue onto point C. Reliability brings up, in my mind at least, manufactures like Honda, Toyota, Subaru, older Chevrolets and Fords, and Mercedes-Benz. Another criteria on the list would be safety. Fortunately, there are several agencies that will happily give you ratings on the safety of vehicles from all sorts of angles and tests. Economy is another important criteria. You don’t want to burn through your wallet/purse as you go to work only to fill that wallet or purse back up again for the return trip home.

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However, I think one of the more important qualities that often gets overlooked is excitement. I don’t think this quality is necessary for a car, but it is necessary for the perfect car. If you grab your keys, head out the door, and the car doesn’t at least provide a little satisfaction or excitement during the process of driving, then that car becomes something less. It becomes nothing more than the terrible, unwieldy hammer in your workshop: a tool. Perhaps excitement is a luxury. However, this is your perfect car, and life is too short to not have some excitement even if it is on your daily commute. The great thing is that excitement in the automotive world comes in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges – you can have the reliability, the economy, and the safety while also having the excitement.

What is your perfect car? Please comment below! Don’t forget to follow and subscribe to this blog!

Drive Spiritedly.

-JRB

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Pin-Ups: Dreams

When I was 15 years old, I was a magazine junkie. Specifically, I was a car magazine junkie. I literally collected a year or so of car magazines, mostly modification mags that detailed tuning and ground-effects for cars that would become unrecognizable due to the aftermarket work. There were Hondas that resembled BMWs and Nissans that looked a tad bit Italian. Regardless, they caught my attention, and, of course, I had my favorites. It wasn’t the sound these cars would make, nor the colors or blonde-bombshell models leaning on them that caught my eye: it was the shape. I would just look at the overall shape and admire.

I remember one I was digging around in my teenage room which housed my massive magazine collection, I found an old pin-up car poster I had when I was younger: a Ferrari F40. It was Corsa Red of course; the stuff of legends. Now being quite a bit older, I can appreciate that work of art so much more; but, specifically I still admire the F40’s shape. You see, with the tuned Japanese stuff, though the ground-effects and the noises added to the overall packaging and shape, the small details had not been accounted for. It is the small details that add extreme character to a car’s overall design and performance. I remember looking at a highly modified Toyota Supra and then at my poster-Ferrari F40. What I though had looked like something similar to an Italian beauty in the Toyota, upon second glance, looked nothing like one at all. The favor went to the F40. It had the “drape” effect of the body (you know, that thing where the entire sculpture as if God had placed the metal and draped it over a certain frame). It had the noise (not fabricated but engineered through and through). It had the overall shape with the amazing small details. It was the dream; it was the ultimate fantasy car for me. I had taken that pin-up car down years earlier at that time in lieu of something more grown up, but after looking at it, I realized that I wish I hadn’t; and, I wish I had appreciated the time it was on the wall more. I could and would just stare at that poster for the afternoon dreaming of what it must be like to own such an exotic specimen. I dreamed of feeling the turbo kicking in; the smell of leather and oil; the noise of fiery combustion; all of this in a red, beautiful shape. Forget the Skylines, S2000s, and Supras: the F40 was and still is what dreams are made of.

 

What was/is your pin-up car? I would love to know!

 

– JRB, Editor-in-Chief

Opinion – “What makes the best automobile for the summer?”

Here in the heartland of the South, as well as the rest of the northern hemisphere, the first day of summer was a few days ago. This has led to an interesting question: “If you could have any type of vehicle to drive until the first day of autumn, what would it be?” I know each reader will have his or her own idea of what this ideal vehicle would be, but I hope I can create a small list that we can all agree would make for fantastic summer vehicles. One assumption I must make is that all vehicles referenced are exactly as they were when they rolled off the assembly line.

Before I begin the details of this list, I would like to make a list of features I would or would not want on any vehicle in my list. The first item in the list of features is leather seats. Some may enjoy leather, but as someone who has had leather in the summer, I know how incredibly unpleasant it is to sit on when has been heated to 120ᐤF or above. For a summer only vehicle, I would choose cloth seats. The next item is air conditioning, for obvious reasons. I may want to enjoy summer, but sometimes I also just want to be cool. The final item is a sound system in good working order. When I drive, I need to listen to the radio. I prefer to have one that can be heard if I am driving with the windows down. Some may say most of the items in this list are standard features, but I include them because some of the vehicles I reference are not new, and may or may not have these features.

The first vehicle type I would like to mention is the Jeep Wrangler. I have considered this vehicle for two reasons. First of all, I categorize it  as a vehicle type because very few vehicles can be taken apart in the way a Wrangler can. With an older model Wrangler, the top, doors, and windshield can be taken down in about a half hour. Note I do not endorse driving without a windshield, but I included it because it is an option. Second of all, the Wrangler is the posterboy of the great outdoors. Jeep markets the Wrangler as a the great tamer of the wilderness, and the Wrangler has proven itself as a capable offroad vehicle. The Wrangler makes a great summer vehicle because a driver can easily remove the top. This allows the driver to be engulfed in the summer season. All Wranglers come with four seats, so there is ample room for friends. If you do not have an Unlimited, the cargo room can seem slightly cramped. Luckily the rear seats fold up for more space, but that presents a tradeoff between storage capacity and people capacity. The Wrangler’s offroad capabilities also allow you to navigate rough terrain to get to any certain point you wish, including a secluded beach or lake, for example.

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The next vehicle type is probably at the top of the list for most readers: the convertible sports car. Convertible sports cars come in two classes, full convertibles, and t-tops/targa tops. I personally favor t-tops, such as the Nissan 300zx had, but full convertibles, such as a Chevrolet Corvette, Mazda Miatta, or Porche 911, would also be fantastic. The convertible sports car allows one the experience the season, but differs from the Wrangler in that it also allows for ridiculous speeds and provides a symphony of noise from the exhaust. Convertible sports cars are best on twisting country roads at the height of summer. The speed provides an adrenaline boost, but is contradicted by the relaxing and scenic views of the countryside. One thing the sports car does not have is very large capacity for people or storage. They are typically two seaters, and most storage space is occupied with the vehicle top. This vehicle type is best for those with few friends, or a very special one.

The final vehicle type I would like to mention if the pseudo-SUV/hatchback.  This is a very large type of vehicle, so some examples I would like to give are the Honda Element and the Subaru Crosstrek. This type of vehicle has seating for 4+, and usually a good amount of storage. These vehicles also more often than not come with a sunroof, so the passengers are more insulated from the environment. This insulations can be a good thing, if driving in an area prone to frequent changes in the weather. This vehicle type is also usually pretty fun to drive. It may not be able to attain the speeds of the sports car, but it can still be driven aggressively, so as to get some of the adrenaline boost mentioned before. They are spunky, but without being the monsters that the sports cars are. This vehicle is best suited for long drives to camping grounds, concerts, etc. With these vehicles, drivers can bring friends on longer trips, thanks to the higher storage and people capacity.

These are three vehicle types I think are best for the summer months. They all provide the passengers with the ability to experience the summer in all its glory, though each has its strengths and weaknesses. I know everyone may not agree with this list, but I hope they can see how I came to the conclusions I did.

Please feel free to leave your own list in the comments.

– J. Potts, Autmotive Contributor

Edited by JRB, Editor-in-Chief