What started out as a hate letter, disguised as a come-to-Jesus request to pavement-vehicle manufacturers, had turned into a commentary on business and production. I effectively played to emotions that don’t exist in corporations- passion or duty. Personally, I view vehicles as machines. In our American market, they are more than that. They are fashion statements or toys, that end up being over-hyped garbage or overly-engineered sculptures that sit and lay dormant as some rich person’s trophies. The way we treat our cars is horrific, with people lacking the desire needed to learn their construction and/or operation inside and out. They end up as dirty, rusty, over-priced piles of garbage that pollute our planet, endangering or ruining our lives. Why do I even feel obligated to fight for a market or product that shits on the consumer time and time again? I have no idea. I have no answer for that question. It’s only memories. Faint glimpses into what once existed. I remember what you’ve got in you, but you’ve lost it.
But lost what exactly?
A bare-bones, stripped, affordable two-door coupe. It had no comfort items, only the bare essentials- A chassis, a bulletproof motor, a five speed gearbox, suspension, 4 wheel disc brakes, and the body lines were simple, smooth and clean. It had no HVAC, only one good speaker, no power steering, the sunroof didn’t work, and it had holes everywhere. I made memories, both good and bad, with that car. Thinking about it makes me smile, choke up and become infuriated. I made a budget of five thousand dollars and stayed well under it. I beat on it, babied it and conducted meatball cosmetic surgery on it just to have it on the road. I learned how to drive properly in it, both on the racetrack and off. It took all my spare time, bringing me closer to religion.
We fit together well.
I loved that car.
Part of loving something means thinking that you can’t and won’t find something like it ever again; which I don’t think I will. Ever. They aren’t produced like that anymore and all the used versions, that are cosmetically clean, are too expensive or beat to shit. Faulty mechanically, I would never even consider owning again. It was a once in a lifetime sort of car situation. Everything from the way the sun bounced off the Electron Blue Pearl paint and the rumbling growl that came flowing out of the exhaust pipe whenever she woke up, to the crunch she made as the drunk child in front of me slammed on his brakes. Much like the one she made when the elderly man who wasn’t paying attention came flying through the red light and slammed into me while he exited the highway. She was too far gone, completely totaled.
Just like that, Jasmine was gone. I came to realize that even though she put me through the ringer of mechanical bullshit, I loved her. My eyes still well up about it. I couldn’t appreciate what she was or enjoy the thousands of dollars I got from the accident to find another like her. She was just gone. I couldn’t believe it. I had grown attached to a machine. Albeit, a machine that had seen a gorgeous track in Wisconsin and late-night highway fly-by’s of “east 290” into the city and lower Wacker shenanigans. I took her on slow and peaceful strolls through twisting forest preserves, letting the random drizzle of rain glance off her, washing the dirt from her surface so the sun could dance in her metal flake.
As long as car companies continue to behave the way they do, producing driving apparatuses with the same quality controls as crappy Chinese toy makers, by appeasing the moderately wealthy with extensively useless options and unreasonable size? We will never know a decent affordable road car coupe.
So, on the off chance one of those high-ranking officers of one of these organizations sees my words?
I want you to over-engineer a simple 4 cylinder turbo engine so it’s reliable and rowdy. Bond it to a 6 speed manual transmission. Stick it in a strong coupe frame. Put a firm yet comfortable suspension in it with 4 wheel disc brakes. Wrap it in smooth body lines. Cup our butts with simple, manually-adjustable leather seats that can accommodate a tall person. Give us power windows, a lightweight HVAC unit and keep it under 3,500 lbs dry. Make it a driver’s car. Not an end-all, be-all, super car, just a simple and reliable driver’s car that you can sell for under ten thousand dollars. You could make it out of spare parts that lie dormant in your stock yards like you’ve done before. Keep the paint options simple and pure. I don’t care about the size or what-wheel-drive you pick.
The point of this exercise is to just show us that you still have the stones to make one good car that we’ll love to drive and fix long after you cease production.
After all, you never know-
You might never get this opportunity again.