Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cars and Me

By: Michael Lenoch

IN CASE YOU'VE NEVER MET ME, my personality can be summed up, rather simply as "savvy".

The word "car" was the first I uttered. My room was, and still is filled with cars - in the form of posters, marque logos, Hotwheels and Matchbox cars, 1:24 and 1:18 scale models, and many a Road & Track magazine - so much so that you may as well call me "obsessed". Well, quite frankly I am. I just don't entirely realize this because I've lead a life so consistently in love with cars, that I sense no palpable gap from when I "couldn't give a care" to when "my life was centered around them". I've had a sustainable passion ever since I rolled around with my Hotwheels on the carpet.

And now, as a new eighteen-year-old, and as an owner of a 1998 BMW 328i, I have come to an even greater appreciation of the craftsmanship and level of engineering that goes into manufacturing these sporty and well-balanced cars.

So as a lover of speed, and a proponent of solid handling, good looks, and a plain-old-mean ride, I ran into some hot water when one of my life-long friends, who claims to be an auto enthusiast as well (but we all know he is far less as savvy as I am in every way), recently got a Buick. Buicks are "nice", in that sort of old-person's car way. They may be charming, reliable, and economical, but they offer absolutely nothing that pleases the senses. My friend's car, the Le Sabre, is a hideously sketched old-person's car. When he first shared with me that he got a car, he felt the need to tell me that it has a "3.8 V6 engine", for which means virtually nothing in this realm, where superchargers, turbochargers, and V12 engines have made their millions. Besides the utterly bland appearance of the car... oh wait, there's no "good news" to this whole pile of "bad news". I mean, certainly, I could have been nice and brought up the good news first, but the thing is, there is no "GOOD NEWS".

Here is an image of the car my friend has recently bought, and mind you, he is my age, which is the most disappointing part about this whole story. If you look at this overly-glamorized picture of an otherwise God-awful car [in an attempt to make it look like a Bentley?] there is absolutely nothing attractive about it. When you walk away from the parking spot of a good-looking car, it gives you a shy look, the same one that the girl you had a crush on did to you during grade school. But with a car like that, I for one would hold my head in my hands, desperately hoping for the misery to stop. But it doesn't. Oh no, I've just started. The car has no redeemable qualities other than its relatively cheap insurance rates. But that's like saying I would drive a piece of shit to school just because it's cheap. Oh wait no, that is saying "I would drive a piece of shit to school just because it's cheap." I see now. But I don't. You see, Buicks, all of them, except for the legendary Buick GNX have no inclining, no slight hint that they have a heritage of racing, sportiness, or for that matter, quality. All of their cars ever since the GNX have been dung. And although they are increasing their quality today, they still represent a business model of "catching up" on what proves to be successfully implemented risks taken by other manufacturers. They are as conservative and boring as their cars.

As a fellow teenager, what I don't understand is why can't you get something relatively sporty? There are plenty of options. Why can't you get a Ford Focus, or even better, a Volkswagen Golf, Golf GTI, Polo, or Rabbit. Honestly, if your primary concern is insurance rates, then why don't you at least get a Goddamn hatchback?! Some people... Some people make the least logical choices in life, and will hate you if you call them out for them. By getting a Buick as your first car, you no longer deserve to call yourself an "auto enthusiast". This is a shame to me, to the American car industry, the hobby, passion, and love for all things cars, driving, and this is a shame to humanity!