Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

15 May 2010

Cars and Dreams

I’ve always loved cars; I guess you could say I’m a “car guy,” and have been, ever since I can remember. I love everything about them- especially driving them but working on them too. I read CAR AND DRIVER Magazine religiously every month, and have since 1972 when I was in high school. I especially like all of the technical innovations the manufacturers keep coming up with, and I try to keep abreast of all the new models every year.

When you’re young, you want to drive very badly, at any opportunity. You look for excuses to get behind the wheel and go someplace, even if that place is nowhere at all. Driving is enjoyable and fun.

Eventually driving becomes a chore. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but at some point it didn’t matter if I drove anymore. Being a passenger was a relief. I was happy to let someone else do the driving. And with guys, you never have to twist their arm to take the keys.

The funny/ironic thing is that lately, I find myself actually caring less and less about cars. I’ve come to see the car as merely an appliance – something to get me from here to there. I drive an old Jeep Grand Cherokee with more than 200,000 miles on it. It’s in reasonable shape. It gets 20-22 mpg on my commute to and from work. The transmission is rebuilt, and if the engine blows-up I can have it replaced cheaply. I mean, these things are everywhere. I could afford a new car, but really, why bother? Anything new eventually gets old. And sometimes the "new" wears off very quickly.

I keep looking at the new cars, hoping that one of them will spark my interest. Oh, there are some nice ones out there, for sure. But there is just nothing that makes me go, “Maaaaaaan, I’d love to own that!” The new Mustang and/or Camaro? Shirley, you jest! Overweight caricatures of their former selves is what they are. Yeah yeah, they're better cars in every respect than the originals (and faster, too), but if I want to project that image I'll just buy one of the old ones. If I had all the money in the world, which car would I buy? I have no idea.

Well, that's not exactly true. I do kind of like the BMW 6-series coupe. I have to say, as good as it looks in pictures, it looks better in person. It's gorgeous. And BMW has begun painting their cars in a non-metallic, basic blue that I find very attractive.

2010 BMW 630

Brand-new, it'd run me close to $80,000, which is a little steep even on my pay. I'd probably have to get the Boss to lease me one. On the other hand, http://www.cars.com/ has some nice-looking 2008 models for about $60,000, which gets it down into the more-affordable range.

If money was truly not an issue, there is one other car I’d consider owning. The Aston-Martin Rapide. I don’t know why, but that car just speaks to me. And I know exactly what it’s saying, which is, "Bob, hop in and let's take off for New York to visit the family. We can get there without stopping." (You know how much I hate flying.)

2010 Aston Martin Rapide

At $200,000 I'll have to wait until I hit the lottery before I own a Rapide. But hey, a boy can dream, can't he?

I also have a soft spot for Corvettes of a certain vintage, particularly the ones from the early-1980’s (like the one below) when they were still muscular and swoopy, before they got all angular and wedge-y.

1982 Corvette

When we were bored kids in high school, my buddies and I would often doodle cars and motorcycles. Invariably, the cars we’d draw would end up looking like this.

Speed Racer much? Yeah, I used to watch it religiously.

But I’ll probably never buy a Corvette. For one thing, they’re not practical and you can’t really use them as “daily-drivers.” Plus, everyone would think I’m going through some sort of mid-life crisis.

The reality is that I’ll just keep driving my old Jeep until it dies. At the same time, I have an old Volkswagen Westphalia (camper bus) that I am (slowly) rebuilding. When it is done, that’ll probably be my daily driver. And in that thing, I'll be able to jump in and head for New York, and it won't matter if I need to stop or not. If I do, I'll just pull into a rest area and unfold the bed...and dream about making the trip non-stop in an Aston Martin Rapide.



8 comments:

Ghost Toast said...

Bob,

been having trouble seeing the images you put on your blog, what website are you posting them from?

Also, check out the Porsche Panamera for more 4-door pricey luxury sporty drivery (that last word may or may not exist).

Bob Barbanes said...

That's very odd, Mr. Toast. I can see them fine using both IE and Firefox. No idea why you cannot.

I like the awkwardly-named Panamera, especially the "suicide doors." But if I were going for a Porsche, I think I'd just choose a regular old 911 Turbo.

Ghost Toast said...

Turns out my ad-blocker was filtering those out as well, turned it off and the pictures showed up.

You learn something new every day, I guess.

Anonymous said...

You know what they say about Corvette owners, "Small Penis". Don't get hit with that remark. You'll have to fly IFR in the JetRanger to prove you are not guilty.
Ron in NC
Heilo Driver too

Bob Barbanes said...

Well Ron, if I have to do that second thing just to prove an allegation arising (no pun intended) out of the first thing, then I shall NEVER own a Corvette!

Hal Johnson said...

While I like checking out cars, I've always been practical--cheap--when it comes to my choices. But, driving Corvettes owned by other folks has always been fun, and I came really close to buying one when I lived in Austin in the early eighties. The new body style had just come out, and the dealer wanted to unload the older models. The old body style Corvette was one of the most comfortable cars ever for big guys. But that old joke gave me pause. Q: What's the difference between a Corvette and a porcupine? A: With a porcupine, the prick is on the OUTSIDE.

zerohunter said...

Funny how that is, you reach a certain point in your life experience where things that were once important just aren't anymore... Sure nice cars are nice but the "got to have one" factor is no longer active. Maybe because I indulged myself when I was younger and a lot stupider. I ended up driving a 2006 Twin Turbo Porsche off the showroom that I had custom ordered; paint, interior options, the whole nine yards (long story how I got there). I sweated bullets signing those lease papers, because my overhead wasn't what it should have been to drive such a vehicle (read very stupid...). That car though, could make the whole world disappear, except of-course for the road ahead. My insurance man said "That's basically a race car with a leather interior" and he was right... what an incredible, amazing machine - and I didn't exactly pussy foot it around town either...
My funds dried up and it was time to let it go. Funny thing was that driving a vehicle of such superior performance, actually ended up being somewhat of a spiritual experience: My frustration of being behind slower vehicles, in traffic at least - for on windy roads nine times out of ten, people would pull over if they saw me in their rear view - turned into a sense of that I really didn't enjoy driving such a superior vehicle unless everyone else had something of equivalent capabilities...

Current ride: 2006 Legacy GT Wagon (Love it!! and occasionally sleep in it too)

Looking to add to the stable: VW Adventure Wagon Syncro with SVX conversion

Also licensed to operate those machines that beat the air around them into submission...

zerohunter said...

Funny how that is, you reach a certain point in your life experience where things that were once important just aren't anymore... Sure nice cars are nice but the "got to have one" factor is no longer active. Maybe because I indulged myself when I was younger and a lot stupider. I ended up driving a 2006 Twin Turbo Porsche off the showroom that I had custom ordered; paint, interior options, the whole nine yards (long story how I got there). I sweated bullets signing those lease papers, because my overhead wasn't what it should have been to drive such a vehicle (read very stupid...). That car though, could make the whole world disappear, except of-course for the road ahead. My insurance man said "That's basically a race car with a leather interior" and he was right... what an incredible, amazing machine - and I didn't exactly pussy foot it around town either...
My funds dried up and it was time to let it go. Funny thing was that driving a vehicle of such superior performance, actually ended up being somewhat of a spiritual experience: My frustration of being behind slower vehicles, in traffic at least - for on windy roads nine times out of ten, people would pull over if they saw me in their rear view - turned into a sense of that I really didn't enjoy driving such a superior vehicle unless everyone else had something of equivalent capabilities...

Current ride: 2006 Legacy GT Wagon (Love it!! and occasionally sleep in it too)

Looking to add to the stable: VW Adventure Wagon Syncro with SVX conversion

Also licensed to operate those machines that beat the air around them into submission...