Sunday, July 6, 2014

The so called "Dream car" - by Jeremy Hampson

Here’s the thing,
Let’s talk about what is in the mind of every single person reading this, every single enthusiast, every single person that never even thought about picking up a wrench, the ever elusive dream car. Why should we talk about this? Because, when you really think about a dream car, what it is, what it means, what it represents, it deserves more thought and discussion then simply, “my dream car is a 308 Ferrari!” or something to that tune.

Slowly getting older, not growing up mind you, I’ve noticed that my tastes in cars has changed. Not for the better, or for the worse, it has just simply, changed. Now of course having a young daughter and a wife does change your priorities, but my tastes in vehicles always remains the same. Or so I thought. Stay with me here.
When I was growing up, my dad bought me a 1989 Honda Civic DX, a nice little 3 door hatchback. It looked something like this but with a nice fade to the red.

It had power nothing in it, yet was a joy to drive in. Before I got my car, what I wanted was either a lifted truck of some sort, like an older Tacoma, or like what my friend had at the time, an 1988 Chevy Camaro with the 5.0L V8 in it. It was fast, mean, and quite an enjoying experience to drive. But I got my car, with it’s little 1.5L inline 4, didn’t have quite the punch. However, after a while I didn’t mind, I began to like the little thing more and more. This is where I got my first lesson in power to weight. As in, even though it’s not as powerful, it’s also lighter then a third generation Camaro, it won’t beat it in a drag race, but it won’t feel as slow in the Civic as opposed to another car the same size/weight as the Camaro, but with just not as much power. This was my thinking at the time anyways, it’s not like I was doing freaking physics calculations in my head or anything.

 (Pictured, freaking physics)

So, even though I had this car, I still wanted my “dream car”, which was something along the lines of a Tacoma that I could build up, I wanted something that I would show off my personality, which, in high school was that of an overly aggressive asshole. And I tried multiple times to get a truck, it never worked out, because I slowly realized that, at the time, my dream car wasn’t some stupid truck that I kind of wanted, it was the very car I was driving. The car did what I wanted it to do, it represented my personality, it was fun, I enjoyed it, and most importantly, it was a car that I could handle, because so often, you’ll get way ahead of yourself, jump into a car you don’t properly understand, and something bad happens.

And then I went and picked up my 300, my wife picked it out because it was going to be her car after I got a car for myself. Even just a few years ago when I bought it, I still wanted a truck or a certain type of suv. After I drove the 300 for a while, keeping In mind it was my first RWD sedan, I started liking it more. And also realized that if I don't have a reason for owning a specialized type of vehicle like a truck there is no point to owning one. My commute usually averages a good 30 miles one way. Yeah I could have had a truck but a buddy of mine made the same commute and had a Ram 1500, he filled up twice a week, that's painful.
So when I bought my 944, I thought,  you know I finally accomplished one of my car dreams, get a RWD sports car that I can wrench on. Well that was before I realized if you own a 944 you really own two cars, the 944 and the car you drive daily while you work on the 944.

So, the search began, in the meantime I drove my roommates 89 corolla GT-S, it was a decent car. The gearbox had that very satisfying 'click' every time you put it into gear. So when I found a car I immediately jumped on it, it was my 86 Honda Accord LX-i. For a while I just used it as as car I drove, and then I realized that I really liked the car, it was was a fun ride, had a decent amount of horsepower, and didn't quit on me until the parts literally broke in half.

However the car had over 200,000 miles on it and it wasn't maintained nor did it have it’s 200,000 mile interval servicing, it was having so much repairs that it was like having a car payment. Again, the search began. I didn't really know what I was looking for, my wife and I would have liked a new car, but we wanted to pay off the 300 first. So I decided I was going to try and get a car off craigslist for 5,000 or less, a decent starting position for an early 2000's that runs well.

I must have run through a hundred listings for cars that I replied to. One had a good seller, and that's the number one thing I look for. So I started talking to him, the car? A 2001 Volvo S80 T6. Had the color I wanted, had a turbo. Just one problem, the 99 to 2004 Volvo S80's, among others had a fatal flaw. The transmissions were GM sourced transmissions, and failed very early, but this guy had a rebuilt transmission put in. He had it done by his mechanic who used to be a Volvo tech, but not in a Volvo dealership shop. Anyone who's owned a Volvo you need their computers to program stuff from the tip tronic to the window buttons.

So I go check it out, turns out had a massive problem with the transmission, it would get stuck in gears and not shift right, I was going 5 mph through an intersection.  Next!

Over the next few months nothing really came about, until one morning I decided to look on carmax but with a caveat, for no reason at all I put the price range up to 23,000 dollars. And within a few pages I found a vehicle that I now own, my 2014 Ford Fiesta ST. The strange thing with it is, as soon as I saw it online, I immediately called and made an appointment for later that day to go check it out and ended up buying it - I knew the second I saw it that I was going to be buying it.

That is just the thing, when you find a car you know you like, or love, it can come in all forms, it can be love at first sight, or it can creep up on you. You know you love your car, when you are about to get in and look at the seats and say, “I love this car, I can’t wait to sit in it.” And then say it again as you’re getting out of it. There is no problem with lusting after that one car that seems so far away, but never forget there is a perfectly good car out there right now for you, just waiting to be driven. I don’t like the phrase “Dream car”, because just in those words it insinuates that this car only exists in your head. So get your head out of the clouds, and under that hood, because especially with today’s cars, there are so many to choose from, that finding that perfect one to fit you perfectly is even easier, and that in essence is really a dream car, one that seems built for you.

And that, that’s the thing about having your head in the clouds

- Jeremey