Loving Beige

We need beige.  It’s not that I like driving down the street and seeing every damned building in the same generally bland tone—I hate that!  But in cars, we need it.  Why?  It’s a necessary evil.  How would we know what “good” is without evil?  We need a benchmark for boring so we can recognize the exciting.

Bring us the Camry LE in Metallic Beige!  Hand us the four-cylinder Accord in silver!  Let us marvel at the mundane lack of passion in the Corolla!  Because without these shamelessly ubiquitous snoozemobiles, why would we find the wonders of exhaust notes and great feel to be alluring?

Lest we forget, though, that these cars aren’t as bad as they could be.  They still have splashes of silver and chrome, nicely detailed subtleties in the lighting fixtures, and performance that put some hot-hatches of the 1970’s and 1980’s to cower in the corner.  These milquetoast machines, then, are awesome.  Not in the usual definition of awesome, but in the reality of the increasingly overused cliché.

Like the word “awesome” and “epic,” these once lauded name plates and acceleration numbers have become stale.  Some 10 years ago, the interior and exterior designs and colors of these vehicles would have been staggering class must-haves.  The engines, likewise, would have been praised and gushed about.  But because we’ve progressed to the point where VVTi on both camshafts, and silver center-stacks have long been the norm, these cars are the equivalent of the missionary position with your two-decade spouse.

To restate, we need beige because it is awesome and epic– something that is oh-so overused that no amount of skimming a thesaurus will make it any more or less appealing.  The lesson here is to understand that if everyone is using it, no matter whether it is meant to singe your nethers or not, it loses the flavor.  Mazda may have a good machine to drive in the Mazda3, but is it really the knock-out it was when it was first introduced?

It may be high time to look at what enthusiasts are looking at as the hot-ticket or poster-car in their head, because they will soon realize that same machine will become a hum-drum that isn’t going to be timeless or cool in a decade, yet the older ones that were more basic, more pure, are the ones more lusted for.  To hell with the ’12 STi, and all hail the 2002 WRX!  The old Rex was a much bigger deal.  Slower?  Sure.  More cramped?  You bet.  Cheap and black inside?  Damn straight.  But it was the primordial-ooze for the turbo beasts out today, when once it was ruled by only the 1.8L turbo GTi.

Same old-same-old as a new hot-car is the same as buying a Camry in “sand with tan interior,” just as wearing the same hat, belt, and shirt as the next guy is no less beige because it’s just fitting in with the trends of what is acceptable.

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