I have a secret fetish: it's this The Carver
When I first saw this on Top Gear I got so horny for this car/motorcycle. I watched the video maybe a dozen times trying to get as much information as possible with one goal in mind: Get one of these one day! Jay Leno also had the Carver in his garage some time later and was even more informative.
It looked cool, from the future and the fun in which both Richard and Jeremy had in the Carver was so intoxicating I couldn't resist. The very essence of what I think we love and have in common as car and motoring enthusiasts was completely embodied in the Carver. Simply but boldly it was just fun!
Not just a car guy, I am also a motorcyclist. While there are parallels and similar emotions involved in two wheels compared to four wheels there are also marked and stark differences. The Carver shattered those differences and combined the best of both worlds.
Sadly but truthfully, practicality must inevitably rear it's ugly head and enter the equation. What need did the Carver satisfy for the average motorist: Was the Carver a realistic and practical solution for driving everyday: Did or could the economics make sense and present a viable business plan and path to profitability? There were many questions to be asked and answered and sadly, at the time, there were no good answers to be had. Except one maybe, that seemed to not be asked.
When the episode aired way back in 2003, yes ten years ago, no one seemed to ask about the viability of the Carver to be an everyday commuter car or city car. I have to admit I didn't think of that at the time either but it seemed plain as day to me just a few years later.
So here we are today and the prompting for this article was this post on AutoBlog Green Toyota's iRoad
The very purpose for the Toyota iRoad is the fulfillment of the Carver dream: at least from the commuter/city car stand point. No it's not the performance car the Carver was meant to be but the principal is the same.
How many of us need only one seat to perform our daily work duties and commuting commitments. Always remember that commuting to work is not driving! Commuting is a commitment we adhere to to pay our bills, feed our families and put roofs over our heads. Practical 'grown up' stuff that does not take into consideration our love and passion for driving. What if I told you though that you could purchase a vehicle the even while commuting, would spark the passion and maybe even thrill you everyday.
Sure a 458 Italia would do the same thing but it's a bit out of most of our bank balances. The Carver was designed to compete with higher end motorcycles. I wont call it cheap but $15-$20 grand or $250K for the Ferrari. I haven't even mentioned insurance, maintenance, not having to join creepy old men wearing to much cologne and an abundance of gold chains you can see as their shirts are buttoned down to their belly buttons.
So, the thrill of sitting in a weather proof and sealed car, sitting comfortably, having the ability to take passengers in relative comfort, see Top Gear video for reference, all while experiencing the same forces and fun of a motorcycle. Oh and it's practical as a commuter/city car.
The Toyota again is different from the Carver but they at least tackle the real problem with inner city travel and personal mobility in a new, fun, exciting and practical application.
I have no hope that Toyota will produce and sell the iRoad but Carver is still in business and there is hope. I have promised myself that someday I will visit them and see if they will build me one. Back in 2003 it didn't seem practical but today it just makes sense to me.
(Updated March 21/2014) It seems Toyota wants to stroke my fetish with an actual public trial run of their i-Road prototype in Japan. WCF has a post and quick video of the car. WCF Toyota i-Road
I know it will not come to NA but one can dream: wouldn't it be great in a place like NY? Perhaps a trip to Tokyo is in order now.