It's something that cannot be explained to the uninitiated. Something that cannot be conveyed to anyone else but a fellow aficionado. Why would any sensical person drive a vehicle that seems to be getting gallons per mile, rather than miles per gallon. A car that is so loud at idle that it needs to be turned off in order to communicate your order at a drive-thru. A car that shakes, rattles, rolls, and is seemingly always on the brink of setting up a sit down with your maker. Why, why, why? Because we are all psychos.
Sitting in my roommates new Dodge Dart, I admire the shiny, supple new interior with a fantastic infotainment system. I adore the car's fantastic gas mileage and spritely acceleration. But I wouldn't ever for a second dream of driving such a mundane contraption. Sitting at idle, the Dart barely makes a chatter. It's as if you're piloting the newest Android or iOS device. There's no showmanship, no "HEY YOU, I'M A FOUR WHEELED MOVIN' MACHINE, LET'S DO THE DAMN THING". A great little car, the Dart, without question, but you know it just won't do for people with our affliction.
My 2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport, as it sits on 31" Cooper Mud Terrains and a mild 3" lift, could not seem further from the Dart I mentioned above. It's louder than hell (courtesy of Flowmaster and some other shade tree mechanic engineering), the electric locks/windows work half of the time, and on windy days it seems as if I'm being tossed about the highway like a cornhole bag at a college tailgate. Conservatively, it gets about 13 MPG and legs its way up to 60 in about as long as it would take me to memorize the dictionary. Also, I go to school in South Georgia and haven't had A/C in 5 years. Yes I keep spare shirts in the back during the summer.
But you know what? I love it. We all love our obnoxious and seriously unreasonable daily drivers. One turn of the key and I am instantly rewarded with that glorious inline-6 growl from the turn down exhaust right before the rear axle. It lets me know that, hey, I'm driving a MACHINE. The squeaks and rattles, the hum of the mud tires, and the raspy, yet throaty exhaust all deliver such a visceral experience that is not matched by today's econoboxes and most cars for that matter. These quirks are something that I feel is being lost in the vehicles of this day and age. A product of people simply wanting to get from A to B rather than enjoying the route along the way, if you will.
Do I some times lust after people cruising along in their new Benz in their climate controlled, butt massaging, supple German cow leather interiors? Absolutely. But I immediately fail to remember how uncomfortable I am when I push the GO pedal to the mat, kick the transmission down, and hear that trusty ol' I6 sing to the heavens like a scorned Coyote. Even many performance cars of today sound like souped up Dysons when the throttle is depressed.
My point is this: Yes, the vehicles we drive may be astonishingly impractical and often times dangerous, but why else would we be enthusiasts? We live for the thrill, the smiles, and the occasional "Hey watch this" (*peels out of McDonalds*) moments. Just being concerned about getting from A to B can lead to a banal existence, and our vehicles are just another way to liven up the day. As far as I'm concerned, if you don't look back at your car as you're walking away, you're simply driving the wrong one.
And some NOIIISEEE. The funky noises coming off the throttle is due to carb cleaning the heck out of the throttle body.