In Part 1, I explained how I found Jesus in the frunk of a Cayman. I ended that half of the story blaming all of you for teaching me about “adding lightness,” which consequently lead to my purchase of a 2006 Kia Amanti. Dazed, confused, and slightly nauseous I staggered away from that Porsche dealership having learned the another lesson, “You may be at your peak but Life is a Bell Curve.”
It’s March of 2013 and on the drive home I concluded that I will never be so naive and uninformed ever again!! — Which I stuck to as long as you keep adding the word “again” to that vow — I would spend the next six months secluded and submerged online with learning about cars. Maximum effort, Jetson’s style.
I mentioned in Part 1 that I had already discovered car videos online. I want to say that I was getting into old school /Drive when Mike Spinelli mentioned Jalopnik. I had heard the name before so I decided to give it a peek. I would love to say that the articles are what captivated me and turned me from an automotive Beiger and into an Enthusiast, but no, not even slightly...
It was the comments section!
Back in 2013, the Jalopnik comment section was one of the greatest communities in all automotive webdom. Like 2011 YouTube comment sections but if everyone was knowledgeable and witty. But while we were heavy into the Miata Is Always The Answer meme, I stumbled into the answer to automotive life, the universe, and everything. “Simplify, then add lightness.”
As I’m sure many of you have experienced, that philosophy changes you. The future was frightening, my past was embarrassing, and my present was overwhelming. So I took that two step program and lived it! I simplified by only focusing on one project at a time, gave whomever I was with my full attention, really just making sure there was only one thing on my mind at a time.
Then, I added lightness. I lost weight in order to be able to move more efficiently, used less motions to accomplish the same tasks from brushing my teeth to setting/training stores. I kept my conversations light instead of getting all Nouveau Nietzsche after a couple drinks and avoided that habit we all seem to have of recreating Stoicism every 6 weeks.
Well if Chapman did so much good for my lifestyle, imagine if I actually used it on my car now! Now looking back, I did that backwards. It’s like how you wash your car and immediately gain 10 hp, +0.03 g in cornering, and a quicker turn in all while increasing fuel economy and looking oh so sexy! By allowing the inner Lotus in every car to blossom you are cleansing the very nature of your ride! All those clean car performance advantages at least triple once you simplify and add lightness! The very segment your car is in changes without costing you a dime!! Are you freaking hyped right now, because I’m hyped!!!
I immediately grabbed a wrench and a socket and took out every passenger seat in my 2006 Kia Rio Base Sedan (not an LX)!! I threw the rear bench and passenger seats into the dumpster because I’m not afraid of commitment, Sarah! I’m building a racecar over here! Spare tire in the trunk? In the shed now! Floor liner? This is a Korean Lotus, not a Lincoln! I did anything I could non-mechanically to that car in order to get it down to what I was hoping would be 2,150 lbs because I wanted that sweet sweet sub-20 lbs/hp power-to-weight ratio and go BMW 320i hunting.
All this life change happened between March and May of 2013, so I’m hyped on Internet quotes, Jalopnik commentary, and middle-aged British dudes track testing things with names like legal documents!
I upgraded the wheels and tires...but I didn’t know about unsprung weight so my car was noticeably slower after losing the 14' factory steelies. I was going to remove the front bumper but I didn’t want to throw off the factory aero since it felt class competitive, so I rattle-canned it black because Bocanegra.
It’s Summer and I’m now driving around in the most beater and beaten upon Kia in the city thinking I’m a menace to motoring society. James Dean at brunch. You don’t want none of this, buddy!
I’m taking the shifter from L to 2 to D w/ overdrive-off to D overdrive on. Genius thinking because the the only options on the car were A/C and the 4-speed auto. So I was trying to drive that Rio like a clutchless manual because I had somehow been convinced that manuals were AWESOME after being raised knowing manuals as a sign of cheapness. But true tragedy struck in August after a Summer of enjoying the Lotusing. My boss notified me that they would be in town at the end of September and wanted to travel stores with me...
As embarrassing as this is to admit, it was a ton of fun handbraking and redlining the Rio for 45,000 miles straight until it hit 267,000 miles. The suspension gave out on me because I crashed the Rio into a ditch twice. I learned what understeer was way out in the boonies. Crazy durability, and the paint was fantastic!
I’m now online looking for a car with all the features my Lil Elise doesn’t have, namely the ability to seat two passengers. I needed the antithesis of this weaponized econobomb, but it also needed to be nice enough to drive my boss in while still making it seem as if I’m underpaid yet have matured beyond my years.
I looked on KBB.com and while I was browsing to find the trade-in for my 2006 Kia Rio SCCA-Sport I saw the 2006 Kia Amanti. I had no clue what that thing was, it looked sooooo old and like a similar vintage Jaguar S-type/Mercedes E-Class/Lincoln Towncar and a bit of Bentley...but a Kia?!
Well I was in love with Kia because my Rio (which spent the last two years doing 45,000 annual miles) was indestructible. Kia built this car I had never heard of that looked like all these brands I loved! The pennacle of FWD Korean luxury sedans. It was like discovering ice cream cake!! “I get ice cream, chocolate chunks, sprinkles, AND I get to have my cake and eat it too?” SOLD!!! I’m getting an Amanti!
Note this will be my second time ever being on a dealership lot (first time being the Porsche dealership), and first time buying a car.
I found the only Kia Amanti in the state for sale 20 minutes away from me. The internet price was listed at $9,900 but the picture of the car showed it having a price of
$11,500 $10,500. I went after it, walked on that dealership lot full of confidence because I knew where the engine was and my salesman sweated everytime I talked to him. I went over that car from headlight to exhaust, dash trim to CHMSL. Drove it, haggled, and bought that Kia Amanti for $7,500. Though it would be nearly $8,400 signed after all the backroom hosing, which no one warns you about when car buying!
That purchase was about 3 and a half years ago. Thought that car was so nice it MUST be at the end of its depreciation curve! Four months ago Carmax complimented me on having a great looking car and offered me $1,000 for it...
Still though, I haven’t regretted the purchase ever and this car spoiled me to the point where I still haven’t found a replacement because, “My Amanti has a smoother transmission than this! My Amanti has softer leather than this! My Amanti has better paint quality than this!” My Amanti, my Amanti, MY AMANTI!!!
In the end, my Chapman Edition Kia Rio became too unsafe to drive last August and was replaced with a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x2 with the V8 (because I just wanted a 2wd SUV that ran on regular gas, would run 40,000 miles annually, and the WK2 won out). I was going to replace the Kia Amanti with a $24,000 Acura NSX last December but decided it would be too much of a financial burden. Then a month later I got a raise and in February got a 2012 Jaguar XF Base 5.0 with my mother because...well that’s a set of stories.
But there ya go, when you need a passenger seat in a hurry and think ice cream cake is a modern wonder just remember the Amanti.