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Modern Cars: Amazing, Tasteless...and not for me

Updated: May 2

In automotive terms, we live in an amazing time. Truly boggles the mind.

For the point of comparison, let us look at this little jewel. 300 ponies waiting to be summoned at the push of the skinny pedal. An 8 speed transmission ready to tame those horses and hurtle you down the quarter in a flat 14 seconds with 60 flashing by in a mere 5.6 seconds. Need to stop? Hit the binders and you go from 70 to a full stop in a mere 156 feet.

The car in question is considered by many to be the most boring car on the planet, a Toyota Camry. Compare those numbers to the Ferrari in which Tom Selleck blasted around Hawaii. His Ferrari 308 sported 240hp. Those ponies managed by a 5 speed could manage to get to 60 in 7.9 seconds and the 1/4 in 16 flat. Stopping from 70 took 220 feet.

That's right, your accountant can outrun Magnum. What's better...or worse, depending on your view, Magnum couldn't catch the lawn guy either.

A 2020 diesel Dodge pickup truck,

(That's right...DIESEL!!!) can outrun the Ferrari of yesteryear. The Ram DIESEL runs 0-60 in 7.7, 15.9 in the 1/4 and 70-0 in 179 feet.

It is enough to make one burn their Hawaiian shirts and give up 1911s. So in this world of automotive excellence, you might think that searching for a car would result in ecstasy. Instead, I am reminded of a quote from one of my favorite books. In Pale Grey for the Guilt, Travis McGee says "I had gone shopping, test driving and found that they all had fantastic acceleration, and they all stop on dimes, and they all bored me to hell." At the time I couldn't fathom such a thing. It took me decades but I finally got it.

For me, it is not only that everything has no flavor. Cars today seem as though they all come from the same tank of plastic goo, extruded into the popular automotive shape. A buddy of mine recently sold his Bentley Flying Spur. Why? It wasn't anything special. When compared to another buddy's Genesis G70, the Korean probably got the nod for quality, fun to drive and usable performance. have gotten so good that 200k Bentley is comparable to a 45k Genesis. What a strange time in which we live. In that context, there are no bad choices. For me, however, the first problem is that cars don't have enough pedals or cylinders. Pretty much the only V-8 cars with manual transmissions are pony cars. Trust me, I love me some American muscle. I had an SS Camaro with a 6 speed. She sported 500 hp and if you could get her hooked up, your retinas were in danger of being detached. Fun car, no doubt, but as sophisticated as a fake blonde, although admittedly, not as leaky.

Nothing wrong with a redneck ride, (or the Camaro), but it doesn't really fit my life. With a gorgeous wife, teenage son and multiple giant dogs, I really need something more in the Gran Turismo Omologato category. Sadly, the only new car that fits that is the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

Trust me, the V8 Blackwing is a potent albeit, demonic beast. Seductively satanic with 666 horsepower mated to a 6 speed manual transmission. The evil creature propels to 60 in 3.666 seconds, blasts through the 1/4 mile in 11.666. Add a top speed over 200 and it seems to take the shape of the Faustian demon.

All in all, not a bad choice but Mephistopheles is a lousy name for a car. Add the fact that the reliability is not excellent, especially considering the price.

Speaking of price, it seems that one can do a lot more with 100k than buy a car that four years will worth less than a liberal arts degree. As enticing as it is...the Camry is a better choice.

So everything is fast...handles like a fighter jet and is faster than a sorority girl, although less satisfying.

What is my answer?

What a great question.

New cars bore me to tears so I have to look back. My choices are to either retrorod my 65 Riviera? Or go to something German, for instance, the last BMW M5 with a manual transmission. Gotta tell you...the BMW doesn't do much for me. It is pretty much a Genesis or a Camry.

But then again, so is the Bentley. No matter, it just doesn't do much for me. The Buick would surely win on style, the suspension could be modified with coil overs. Four-wheeled discs are available but the purists would put me on a hit list for the LS6, 6 speed manual combination.

I guess I have to chance it...

the time is now to retrorod.

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