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Diary
By technician (Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 08:17:58 PM EST) (all tags)
Seven days a week. Ten hours a day since the new year started. But this isn't about work or I'd end up losing you.

This is about me selling my car, which is my sports car, which is not just a car but a phase, a part of my existence, a defining characteristic. Because I am a car geek, and my car isn't just transport...it is a means of escape, a place where I am in control but understand the limits of that control. A place to think in pure terms.



A quick history:

1968 Ford F-100 with a 300 cubic inch straight six, rated at 300 lbs.ft of torque and 298 horsepower. It had a three speed manual transmission with a column shift. Most of you have never driven a column shift. It had an automatic overdrive, which involved being in 3rd and coming off the throttle, then smacking the throttle to the floor whereupon a higher gear would magically clunk into place. A vinyl interior that you could hose out. Bench seat. No stereo or A/C. White.

1990 Pontiac Sunbird. The first in a long line of small cars that I would buy. My first new car, and my only car ever co-signed. My parents co-signed the loan on the agreement that they would never be saddled with the payments. Lost my job, gave the car to them, and it was eventually stolen. I remember the car being stupidly quick for what it was, a five speed coupe with a 96 horsepower four cylinder. I took it to Alpine AZ once on highway 666.

1986 Ford Mustang four cylinder. Picked it up for, what, $2k or so. Fixed it up as much as I could. No A/C, four speed, ugly peeling blue paint. I removed the rear seat, installed Ranger springs and offroad shocks, and drove it at top speed off road. This was the only car that would catch on fire after driving over a puddle, something it did twice.

1989 Mercury Tracer 5 door. Auto, A/C, bells and whistles. Made by Mazda, the  used car lot that traded me my Mustang had this on their lot for months...could not sell it. Dark blue with a red stripe, in perfect shape with low miles, this car was fantastic. I loved it. I drove the car from Las Cruces to California, then back to Cruces, then (after much repair and refresh) to Massachusetts where it lived for two full Mass winters before it started dying. Great mileage, great handling...I always had sticky tires on it and had replaced the struts, shocks, and springs with Konis. Went through a lot of brakes on this car, and got to where I could replace the pads in ten minutes per wheel. I miss this car, still.

1996 Dodge Neon coupe. Fire engine red, three speed auto. The motors on Neons are pigs, but they have a lot of torque for the weight. Mine was one of the smiley-faced "Hi there" Neons. Got into a fracas with the Mass state police in that car. Taught myself how to drive in Boston in that car. It made it in Austin for a while, was my wife's for a bit, then we gave it to a friend. He totaled it.

1999 Honda Civic HX: Great little car that got 50mpg. Boring as hell.

2001 Ford Focus SVT: This one, which I purchased without my wife's consent. Bad idea. Also got screwed badly by the dealer. But this car was awfully neat. Bought it while in San Antonio for a security conference, and drove it the first two weeks in a downpour. This was my first foray into modern compact performance. Car could handle, had a great transmission, and brakes powerful enough to yank your teeth from your head if you weren't careful. This car had everything except seat warmers. I added a cold air intake and a programmable chip. Fantastic car that I traded in at just the right time; the clutch had started to leak and many, many Ford issues had been popping up. Got a great deal on the trade-in.

2005 Acura RSX Type S. My current car. Everything I ever wanted from a car from the time I was a child and saw my first Porsche 944. Compact, tight, sticks to the road. Motor, with cold air intake, screams a tone not unlike an Italian car up to a redline I don't like to think about. There are times in this car when I feel...perfect. The road, the tires, the steering, the ambient temp, the traffic, the lighting, the birds in the goddamn sky the music on the radio the scrubbing screaming wailing WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA noise all hits at once and all I can do is laugh, pouring into a turn, tearing out of it, laughing, laughing. I've had terrifying moments of clarity in that car. And straight up terrifying moments. Dangerous and beautiful and white knuckled crazy moments on abandoned roads. And all those trips across Texas, flat out, raging through gasoline like dinosaurs weren't extinct.

Now, let's remember that stuff is stuff. That our anthropomorphizing makes our eyes water when we think of our car, abandoned, cold, alone. That the things we own end up owning us. That it is just an object, and nothing more.

And when I am driving to work in something with 70 less horsepower (but tons more torque) and two more doors (but room for four actual adults!) and 42 miles per gallon, I'll look deep into the off-camber deathly twisties on Sprinkle Cut-Off, still hearing the echo of that wailing screaming car, and I'll not cry, goddamn it.

< Broken household appliance national forest | On the Gantt chart for getting my house ready for a party by the end of March >
Gah. | 37 comments (37 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Why do you need to sell it? by atreides (4.00 / 2) #1 Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 08:20:23 PM EST
It's not like you guys are pregnant or anything...

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

Oh, it doesn't fit by technician (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 09:46:19 PM EST
some idea that my wife has about something or other.

Plus the insurance on it is a bear. And we don;t need three vehicles.

[ Parent ]
three? by infinitera (4.00 / 1) #12 Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 10:08:14 PM EST
Why not sell un-mentioned car #2 or #3?

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
We currently by technician (4.00 / 1) #14 Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 11:07:59 PM EST
own a small pickup truck which belongs to the wife. Having a truck is very, very handy. And we now have a 2010 Golf TDI. So, the RSX goes.

[ Parent ]
i guess I was sleepy when first posting by infinitera (4.00 / 1) #16 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:31:58 AM EST
There was only one unknown car.

What you need is a friend to take it off your hands and let you borrow it sometimes.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
I didn't really by technician (2.00 / 0) #23 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 10:20:20 AM EST
detail the existing car situation. We also have a motorcycle that belongs to the wife...she used to commute to school on it.

There's a guy in San Antonio that is interested, and he's on the same RSX forum as I am, so I'm giving him a price break. Seems like a good kid, wants to turbo charge it and add all sorts of carbon fiber bits. I keep telling my car it needs to continue on in the hands of someone who will hot it up and apply much love and attention to it. My car responds by needing a new battery yesterday, and the stereo display died today. It knows!

[ Parent ]
I once had a Honda CRX. by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 09:13:45 PM EST
It had no AC, an iffy stereo, two seats, and it sat about 6" off the ground (I was actually almost backed over by a farm-sized pick-up once, and the bumper of the truck didn't hit my car until it almost got to the windshield, with me in side, blowing the tinny little horn like a mad woman). I fucking loved that car like I've loved no inanimate object before or since. I loved it more than I've loved many animate objects in my life. It read my thoughts. I could drive at 100mph through the mountains of NC, hugging the turns, drunk off my fucking ass, and I'd make it home every time.

The car I have now is a Saturn Ion. It's safe, it gets decent mileage, and I put about 5,000 miles/year on it, so I don't need a car I love. But one thing I think about as I start and stop on my brief trips to the store or to my Medford office is that I seriously fucking miss those back roads where I can just open up the car and go. Where I can just find that perfect space with the sun and the air streaming in the windows and the perfect mix tape shoved into the cassette player, and I can just drive forever.
--
The amount of suck that you can put up with can be mind-boggling, but it only really hits you when it then ceases to suck. -- Kellnerin

perfect mix tape by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #34 Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 08:57:29 PM EST
How sad is it that cars don't come with cassette players anymore? I don't know how many miles I've driven with the same 90-min tape on infinite loop ... the 6-disc CD changer just isn't the same.

--
"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician
[ Parent ]
Indeed! by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #35 Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 09:00:55 PM EST
I've tried to simulate it with iPod playlists, and that doesn't seem to work either. It's too easy to fast-forward, or to get lost in the thousands of songs I can access.
--
The amount of suck that you can put up with can be mind-boggling, but it only really hits you when it then ceases to suck. -- Kellnerin
[ Parent ]
exactly by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #36 Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 09:10:29 PM EST
Sometimes convenience and choice is not a good thing. With a mix tape in the car, there's no thinking, none of that "what songs would you want to listen to on a desert island" kind of speculation, or even a question of what do you feel like today -- the tape is what's playing. It's what you've got, and you just have to drive.

--
"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician
[ Parent ]
so sell it by 256 (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 09:21:15 PM EST
buy a used Toyota Corolla AND a used Kawi ZZR600 and still put money in the bank....
---
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni
Nope. by technician (2.00 / 0) #8 Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 09:54:18 PM EST
Here's the deal: we need a car that fits four adults. Why? Because we don't have one.

Plus, the wife wants a car that gets minimum 30mpg in the city. I want one that drives like a car. We both want to spend less than 30k, and we want a warranty.

Given the characteristics, there's two cars: an Audi A3 TDi and a Golf TDi. So we got the Golf.

And my car is being sold. I can't beg, cajole, or coerce any other solution.

[ Parent ]
all i'm saying by 256 (4.00 / 1) #9 Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 09:56:45 PM EST
is you can get all that growl and speed and goddamn that you're talking about in a japanese motorcycle for a fraction of what you'll get for your acura.

and it's not like it takes up much space in the garage
---
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

[ Parent ]
True, by technician (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 10:04:05 PM EST
and I've owned a number of bikes, but my back isn't up to it any longer.

[ Parent ]
this makes me sad. by LilFlightTest (4.00 / 1) #13 Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 10:50:16 PM EST
even though I just bought a mommymobile, which is the nicest vehicle I've ever owned, I wouldn't have given up a car like yours...and I wouldn't have made my husband give his up either (even though there's been a turbo in my kitchen for way too long...)
---------
if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
[ Parent ]
An '86 Mustang? by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 09:21:55 PM EST
Uh, I guess we can still be friends, but you have to let me date your sister.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

I know by technician (2.00 / 0) #6 Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 09:48:06 PM EST
and it was an odd, complex situation where I had no cash but an easy loan, and only one place that would take the loan. And that loan was for less than $2500.

So, it was that car or nothing, in a town with no public transport.

[ Parent ]
Okay. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #15 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 03:44:54 AM EST
Be sure to put in a good word for me with your seester.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
You know, by technician (4.00 / 2) #22 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 10:17:33 AM EST
my sister-in-law is single. And crazy. And has three kids. I told her all about you. She wants you to call. Like, right now. Please.

[ Parent ]
which one used to post by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #28 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 03:03:03 PM EST
regularly here as part of her therapy ?

[ Parent ]
The older one by technician (2.00 / 0) #29 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:07:22 PM EST
who has a boyfriend and has no kids. The younger one is single and crazy. And has kids.

[ Parent ]
That's awesome. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #32 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:37:01 PM EST
The wife's sister, right? So she's crazy *and* smart?

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Yep. by technician (4.00 / 1) #33 Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 12:21:55 PM EST


[ Parent ]
remember by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #37 Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 10:10:08 AM EST
sane, pretty, smart, pick 2.

[ Parent ]
Didn't those still have the 302? by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #17 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:40:02 AM EST
That was a great motor.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Some did, by technician (2.00 / 0) #20 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 10:10:56 AM EST
but mine...oh, mine...was an LE. Four cylinder. Eight-two horsepower. It was a Pinto motor with all the Cosworth bits removed.

[ Parent ]
Someday I must by johnny (4.00 / 1) #7 Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 09:53:00 PM EST
tell you about what it was like to grow up in a duplex in New Jersey with my father's father, "Pop", a Swede-Finn with a preternatural (perhaps supernatural? (I can explain)) automechanical ability, who, for his paycheck until he retired, maintained a fleet of oil-delivery trucks (at Northern New Jersey Oil Company, in Newark; Tony Soprano drives by it ever-so-briefly in the opening sequence of The Sopranos), and before and after his retirement operated a small-time auto-repair business quite illegally out of our family's garage, and in which auto-repair business I was a conscripted child slave-laborer from age 8 to 17 or so, where I learned an awful lot about auto mechanics, most of which is now sadly obsolete, as cars are so fucking complicated and feedback'd and computer-controlled that I can hardly tell where the frackin' engine is when I lift the hood on a modern car. . .

Which pretty much soured me on things motorhead, although I can certainly relate to Car Love.

Anyway, as a smart geek, and given my apprentice automechanic background, I must confess that it chagrins me greatly that I've never really been able to grok the difference between horsepower and torque.

That is to say, I understand (I think?) what torque is. And I understand what horsepower is.

What I don't understand is why torque doesn't scale linearly with horsepower.

There, now I've said it.  My machismo is forever diminished. I don't understand why torque and horsepower are not proxies for each other.

Since this is out of the bag I might as well go ahead and also let out that I sucked cock once, when I was about 8 (1960) and manipulated by an older "chum" of mine, who was about 14 at the time. He promised me penknife if I would do it, but he never gave that knife to me, the bastard. It really was child abuse, even if done by another (older) child.

That guy's name was Brian Leslie. When I ran into him many years later (1976?) it was hard for me to feel anything but pity for him. Viet Nam really fucked him up, and I think he was probably pretty fucked up before he went.

That digression aside, can you explain to me why torque doesn't scale with horsepower?

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)

You know the problem by technician (2.00 / 0) #10 Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 10:03:12 PM EST
with torque and horsepower is the problem with any non-modern-age measurement: it is whacked.

Horsepower = torque * rpm / 5252

This article describes the whole mess better than I will try: http://www.vettenet.org/torquehp.html

[ Parent ]
Dude by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 1) #18 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:44:35 AM EST
I hate to be a car snob but for a "car guy" you've owned some pretty bad cars. A neon??? A neon??? Wow - just the thought of that makes my nutsack climb up into my stomach...

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

How's my blogging: Call me at 209.867.5309 to complain.

Not so much a car guy by technician (2.00 / 0) #21 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 10:16:18 AM EST
as a car geek. The cars I want (like any red blooded American car geek, I really want a Pagani Zonda F) are not the cars I can afford. Until very recently, I have been poor. Even now, while I certainly qualify for a twin turbo BMW 3 series, I am very cheap. So any cars I buy have to be less than 25 percent of my yearly income, because more than that is silly.

And hey, don't knock the Neon. Mine wasn't SRT-4 territory, but it was quick once I got the intake and exhaust sorted out. And the stealth yellow Konis. After one winter in Mass, it was the perfect New England car: I didn't care if it got wrecked, and it was both quick and cheap. It was easy to park, fuel efficient in the city, and had plastic bumpers that refused dents. I'd go driving in Boston and make whole lanes empty by being aggressive in a nine dollar car. No one wants their Land Rover totalled by a Neon.

[ Parent ]
my new car scares me by LilFlightTest (4.00 / 1) #24 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 11:39:59 AM EST
only because I'm used to driving things that were old and not all that great- put it in the ditch in winter? Eh. Deer jumps out in front of me? No big deal.

but in the new one? Holy hell I'm afraid I'll hurt her.
---------
if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake

[ Parent ]
What did you get? by technician (2.00 / 0) #26 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 01:15:05 PM EST
I'm not too concerned about the new one, other than the fact that VW has a reputation for electrical gremlins where my Acura has a reputation for problem-free driving.

[ Parent ]
Nissan Murano SL by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #27 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 01:48:35 PM EST
2006. Still has warranty left. By far the nicest thing I've ever owned. We went with the crossover instead of a car, in spite of the lower gas mileage, because both of us have bad backs and I really, really don't want to have to bend down to put a baby in the car. And, with my short commute to work, I'm going to get crap gas mileage no matter what I drive.

we test drove a lot of stuff before we decided on a Murano, and a lot of Muranos before we found the one we actually bought. We're picky when we're spending that much...

---------
if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake

[ Parent ]
Those are nice. by technician (2.00 / 0) #30 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:09:58 PM EST
The Murano has the same Q motor as the 350Z, right? Same block, different tuning. we rented one for a week while my dad was here to have something big enough for the family. It was awesome: comfy, handled like a car, and wasn't obnoxious. Drove it to Wurstfest and had zero problems parking it in a sea of cars. Mileage not so good, but I could pass anything without issue.

Yeah, those are neat. Cool.

[ Parent ]
think so by LilFlightTest (4.00 / 1) #31 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:16:47 PM EST
and i agree with the awesome handling with lots of power. very nice to drive. Having a CVT is taking a little getting used to but it seems to be learning how I drive- every single one we test drove, this one included, just would not coast. It'd slow you down if you took your foot off the gas, instead of just letting your momentum keep you rolling. But after two days of driving it after we bought it, it learned, and it now coasts wonderfully.

it has way more features than we were really looking for, but it has the nice headlights and the leather seats, which we sort of wanted. and it hasn't snowed much since I got it, but it has AWD, which is a plus.
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if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake

[ Parent ]
Neons were awesome. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #25 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 12:37:30 PM EST
Lots of people riced them up. And then wrapped them around trees...

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Cars by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #19 Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:47:21 AM EST
My cars. Just paid off the Element... Hope to drive it for another 4 or 5 years.

Still love old VW's. As Johnny says, you can see all the mechanicals. Unlike the Element, where you have trouble finding the motor under all the stuff attached to it.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Gah. | 37 comments (37 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback