(Welcome to “Thinking Too Deeply About Cars.” This is a column where I over analyze my thoughts about cars and possibly get a little too sentimental. I encourage you to do the same or call me a total nut-job in the comments).
With the last two installments I grappled with my inability to appreciate either what I have or what I could buy. Despite my irrational critiques, my progressively acquired automotive knowledge has enabled me to appreciate machines that I previously did not. Like many of you, my automotive tastes have evolved over time. Unfortunately, I was not always so open minded; here is a sampling of some of my backwards thinking over the years-
Anything less than 8 cylinders is a waste-
It is hard to imagine this mindset now, but there was a time when I dismissed anything without a large displacement engine. M3- Bah...why have that when you can get a Vette. GTI- What kind of econo-box crap is that? 911-...Meh, overpriced Beetle, Porsches suck unless it is a 928. I think about that last one and try to block it out of my memory. Really, the only Porsche I liked was a front-engined V8? What can I say, I was young and ignorant. There will always be a place in my heart for muscle cars, but I now love a car world beyond small-blocks
Once reality set in and I ended up driving a Japanese sport-compact, I got over my “V8 only” backwards world view. There then came a point where the only thing I cared about was horsepower figures. And because of this, despite being a Honda owner, I dismissed two of Honda’s greats the S2000 and the NSX. Then I got to drive a friend’s S2000 and it totally changed my world, the revs man, the revs! And that shifter! As far as the NSX goes, today it is on my bucket list of cars to own one day.
Newer = Better
Part of this mindset was a bit of carryover from the “moar power” days, you see I had assumed (wrongly) that most the newest generation of a car would be technically better than the previous hence making the “old” car obsolete. When I did get into German cars I only cared about the most recent model. The E90 M3 has to be better than the E46, and while yes on paper the E90 was a better performer, I think there is a character about that that E46 that remains timeless. The same goes for Porsche, screw the 996 the 997 is here! That is all changed. While I currently think the 991 is brilliant, there is a part of me that would much rather own a 964.
Faster = Better
Once I understood that horsepower wasn't everything I became more concerned with what car could reach 60 faster or its "Ring" lap-time than the “real world driving experience.” I used to see the Miata as nothing more than a cute, girlie car. Then I bought a Mazda, not a roadster a 2010 3s; I tossed the black hatchback into a few corners and I began to understand the cult of Miata. While the Veyron and the GT-R where once on the top of my fantasy list because of their mind-boggling numbers, they have since been replaced by other choices. Don’t get me wrong, I still love those titans, but rather than spend the 2+ mill on the Bugatti I think I would rather have something along the lines of: E30 M3, 2.7 RS, Delta Integrale, RS2 Avant, and many others in my massive garage that I don’t have because I am broke. Of course this is just speculation (but we all do it), who knows, if I ever did become filthy rich my mind might change again.
The point is I let a limited scope of what makes an automobile “cool” close me off to some of the GREATEST CARS IN THE WORLD! There are enthusiasts much younger than I am who already love a great variety of autos without preconceived notions. But thanks to Top Gear, Jalopnik, my fellow bloggers on Oppositelock and other sources, I am constantly finding new cars to get excited about. So maybe wisdom doesn't come with age, it comes with exposure. Exposure to people not cars, people who have a passion for what they love but also an open mind to understand what you love.
See I told you I would get too sentimental; anyway thanks for reading and feel free to share your journey below.