Not all of us can afford a Huayra. Not all of us can afford a 911. Not all of us could afford even a Fiesta ST. But most of us could put down the capital for an 1100 dollar Merkur. So why don't we?
In my time lurking in the comments, I've been surprised at how many enthusiasts don't own a vehicle that garners any enthusiasm. Many of us seem to drive home from work in a Corolla or an Altima or an X5, only to sit down and watch Ken Block hooning around the city in an old Mustang. That's not to say that those of you who fit the description are any less enthusiastic about cars, but it's striking how many avid car people drive uninteresting vehicles around all day. Why are so many of us stuck behind the wheel of a beigemobile?
The most obvious answer, which you're shouting at the screen by now, is money. I realize that a lot of readers simply can't afford to have a second vehicle just for fun, or even to daily drive something interesting. Heck, I can't even afford one car right now. The up front cost might be low, like the Merkur I've been looking at. But that hides the cost of repairs, foreign parts, and insurance. We've all seen that Craigslist beater classic that just looks so enticing, but our more intelligent part or our spouses and parents quickly point out the problems.
But for those among us who could afford a second vehicle, or could maintain something more exotic without breaking the bank, what's getting in the way of taking that plunge? We've been told over and over what we could buy for the price of the boring rollers we're running now.
In my experience, it's the same reason I don't go to the gym. I could go out and buy a ratty German Ford, and I could go exercise every night. But I'm not doing either, because it's that much easier to think about it and move on. It's easier to commute back and forth in something boring and come comment online than it is to plunk down wads of cash for inevitable headaches. It's easier to watch Top Gear than it is to lie under a car and fix it.
I know that I would have as much luck repairing a car as a hamster would. So instead of tinkering, I read a lot of car blogs. I love car blogs, and I think they're an excellent way to make the car scene acceptable, which I think we can all work on. But nonetheless, I could do more. I could go out and take an auto repair class (that's the plan for this summer), or I could hitch a ride to a car show. I could at least go test drive the Merkur while it's up for sale. I don't need to settle for a daily dose of Corolla.
So when we look at cost, and we think about how hard repairs are going to be, maybe we should all try to be just a little bit less sensible. I know it's not reasonable to expect everyone to buy a spare car just for the hell of it. But think how fulfilling it would be not to drive a Honda Fit every day of your life. I don't think we have to content ourselves with this. Why aren't we willing to make our interests a priority?
For those of you who conceivable could afford a second weekend car, I ask you to consider the possibility. Cars are clearly your passion. You're reading this, after all. If you can afford to go out there and rescue an old classic, to give it the love it deserves, I think you should give it some serious thought. If you love cars, think about putting down some money, and think about how happy it will make you to see that car you've dreamed of in your driveway. The world doesn't need any more preserved Corollas, but it could use a few preserved Wagoneers.
He looks so sad. Give him a home.
That's why I'm saving. To ditch the parent's Corolla, to be able to have the satisfaction of driving something I really love. I'm not going to have the funds to buy a 911 any time soon. But I am willing to make cars, my passion, one of my priorities.
So go out there and buy something interesting. Run it for a year, if you want, then sell it on. If you can't afford to buy, go rent a Camaro for a day, save up for a track day with cars provided. You owe it to yourself to drive something you love, even if it's just for an hour on Sunday. If you think about it, contacting that one seller on Craigslist might be worth your time.