Among the many other bloggers—cars and otherwise—there is one from Amazon which I’d become aware of years ago. Titled “Car Lust,” one can gather it speaks of all the vehicles they have ever found appealing in one form or another.
Car Lust isn’t relegated to superb and often gushed-over supercars and sportscars, but more quirky or forgotten vehicles—deserving of credit or not. That’s one of the great aspects of the blog; reading a fellow car-nut going on about a vehicle I may not have even known what to think about. Car Lust shows that one mans lemon is another mans lemonade. I have a few car-lusts myself… alright, far more than a few. Several dozen is more like it.
Who ever thinks of the first generation of Hyundai Tiburon as a dream car? Oh yes, I said dream—as in I think of what it’d be like getting to know it both to drive and to “play with” like I have with Pheobe, my Toyota Echo. What could possibly enhance the little coupe? I remember the shock when I read a review about it on Motor Trend, and that Porsche helped develop the suspension. Car & Driver even said the car had a better shifter than the Honda Civic.
But like many of my “quirky-wants” list, the common theme is imperfection. They are all cars that have a reputation to them that I overlook for the sake of the vehicle: expect the worst and hope for the best.
It’s hard to look at a clean Lincoln LS or Chrysler 300M and see them as gremlin-laden. When they came out they were very good vehicles. Subaru Baja’s may be ungainly to look at and not a particularly chuckable car, but I do enjoy rowing through that rubbery (but relatively short) shift throw and getting that Boxer going up front.
I get as excited seeing a Chevette on the road as a Viper, not because I love the Chevette itself but the rarity. To keep something like that around over 25 years says something of love and character regardless of the vile nature. It’s the same premise of the classic sports cars of Alfa Romeo, MG, and Triumph. A friend of mine who had a Triumph Spitfire mentioned how the fuse for the headlights and windshield wipers was the same, and that in the rain one had to make a choice. Using both simultaneously wasn’t an option, as the fuse would render both useless. Jeremy Clarkson of the show Top Gear once said “Alfa build a car to be as good as a car can be… briefly.” Is it a hassle? Yes; loaded with personality. Personality leads to love somewhere.
Being stuck in a car that always works with a simple push of a pedal and turn of a wheel isn’t enough. I remember one time my families 1987 Ford Ranger blew a seal on a recently rebuilt transmission. It was a triple-digit July 3rd, and I had a hole in my jeans right on the knee. Pop the hood, move forward, and realize that “hey, my knee has been exposed to chrome!” It was an excruciating experience not just for the second-hand sun burn, but as someone who isn’t used to being stopped because of a cloud trailing behind.
The second time this happened was another hot day, but not at all as inconvenient even with the addition of an anxious year-old German Shepherd whining in the cab to the equation. This time I knew what I was doing, had different intentions with the trip, and even made a video while traffic rumbled by up the mountain. In that video I said I don’t mind it like I used to. The truck cleans up nicely and gets a lot of compliments. It’s also been a big (and surprising) help for moving big loads around. Besides the fact my mother is sentimental to the truck because it belonged to her late younger sister, I also brought up that it’s a classic vehicle now, which would be fun to try and maintain and fix to take to shows.
This love I have for my Echo or Ranger doesn’t quite translate to my parents Hyundai Sonata. While I am the co-owner (as with the Ranger), and I have sentimental value for it, there are quite a number of vehicles I’d soon consider far more worthy of my affections. It’s a nice car that does everything well enough for me and then some, but doesn’t excite as much. The ultimate grip feels low, the transmissions manual-mode is sluggish, the engine lacks the torque I wish (and expect) it to have—and it’s beige. One can’t take the wood and tan leather with olive-khaki (aka beige) exterior and make it a beastly vehicle. Yes, I know that there are intake manifolds from larger Hyundai’s that I could easily swap with what’s there, along with headers, an intake, and a computer reflash for another 40 horsepower (or so), and upgrade the brakes with Hyundai SUV pieces that’d still fit under the stock 17” alloys. But for what? The passion simply isn’t there. Not yet, anyway.
What does all this have to do with lust for cars? I think it just comes down to finding what moves you as an owner; as an enthusiast. Potential can be found everywhere, and I think that’s one of the things that most pulls me: what something can be… briefly.
Image for Tiburon was sourced from Consumer Guide’s used car section.
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