(Since embedding the video caused problems for my site, and some viewers, I’m offering the link now…)
Sweet; classical symphony and the burble of exotic cars…
I fancy myself a bit of a car guy, if not in the mechanics of it all, at least in the knowledge of the many models I’ll never be able to afford…
And those who know me will be familiar with my
pathological incessant need to research the heck out of anything.
It’ll be another forty to fifty thousand miles, four years and a few handfuls of Benjamins before the time comes to consider another vehicle, but hopes were high since visiting the auto show Thanksgiving week that perhaps an all-purpose solution was on the horizon.
I’ve been following the development of the Mini Countryman, an Oompa Loompa-sized amalgam of the Mini concept (small and space efficient) and a compact SUV. Something that wouldn’t break the bank on my 54-mile commute (EPA MPG estimate of 24/30 to 27/35) but with enough clearance to reach lesser-fished stretches of water in the Sierra Nevadas.
It’s not that I’ve been shy about pushing my Honda Accord down Forest Service roads. One of those roads, not to far from the cabin, eventually transported me and son Christopher to some great fishing along the Stanislaus River. But during that drive and others, I gained more gray hairs than I care to recount and lost a day or two off the back end of my life negotiating some of the less-improved sections in the dark.
The Countryman seemed to offer the best compromise. Kitted properly, it’d be awesome.
Alas, despite being run by a German company known for mechanical brilliance (BMW) the reliability of the Mini brand is decidedly lacking. Something that is a concern for one who’s driven Honda’s for many years and rarely paid for anything but regular maintenance. As an
aging guy coming into the prime of his buying power life, something sporty can be very attractive and almost overwhelm thoughts of practicality and dependability. Nonetheless, I scratched the Mini.
I’m also old enough to appreciate those
manly utilitarian vehicles of the past. Air conditioning only if you’re lucky, am radio and tasteless graphics standard, and a suspension designed to protect the vehicle, not the passengers. Great for dirt roads. Not so good for my commute.
I’m comforted by the knowledge that a few more new car/SUV designs will emerge in the coming years; perhaps a small SUV with a Prius-like drivetrain. (Don’t laugh, a lot of torque with those electric motors.)
But thinking about it, what I need:
While I’ll be attending my son’s graduation ceremony in a few hours, in my mind Christopher has already gone through a “graduation” of sorts. Over the past few years he’s taken many small steps, and some big steps, towards gradually becoming a young man anyone might be proud to know.
It’s not been an easy path. But that’s a story for him to tell.
What truly matters is that he’s been considering and examining the next steps in his life, long before his ceremonial graduation on the Sacramento campus of Universal Technical Institute. The ability to look ahead — and appropriately move forward — seems too often shoved aside by young people’s thoughts dwelling on life’s unfairness, a sense of entitlement, laziness, or any combination of these and other
excuses factors. This ability to forge ahead is an essential life skill, one of the most important talents one can hope to have in his or her arsenal and one equally applicable to a person’s professional and personal lives. As a parent, it’s a skill that I’ve always hoped would come easily and early to all of my kids.
An education of sorts, for me, coincided with Christopher’s growth during these years. It’s easy, common and sometimes important for a parent to judge a child’s behavior by their own standards. It can be just as valuable, albeit difficult, to consider how a child is viewed by the outside world. Once parents do, they can find pride in knowing that an employer calls upon their son or daughter to fill in when other employees don’t show up. There’s pride in knowing that a son gets up, works a four- or five-hour shift, then drives the 63 miles to campus for a day’s worth of learning, all on his own. Not to mention that he’s one of the top five students in his current course.
In a few hours we will set aside some time to appreciate Christopher’s accomplishments. Greater than those accomplishments, however, will be the (hopefully always) present ability and the wherewithal to move forward, reaching for that better future. Without looking forward, into many possible futures, it’s likely that my son wouldn’t graduating today.
Good job, and congratulations, Christopher.
Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed.” ~ Erma Bombeck
Now the boy racer in me can
plan on dream of racing between fly fishing venues and bring some buddies along. I’d translate the ability of the luggage compartment to accommodate three golf bags to mean four sets of waders, wading boots, vests, and at least eight rods.
With the demise of the modified civilian car models thrust — with tweaks — into police duty, we might just see an all-new aftermarket arise in previously
abused used cop cars. Lines are forming now.
In this space we’ve mentioned the purpose-built and unique Carbon E7, with its 250 hp diesel power plant, and 28-30 mpg.
Last month General Motors announced its intention to bring a new Caprice to market, tapping the Australian-built Holden Statesman sedan platform, which ironically is already sold under the Caprice nameplate in the Middle East.
Now Ford’s jumped into the game, announcing without specifics, plans to develop an all-new Police Interceptor, perhaps based on the rear-drive Australian-market Ford Falcon.
Maybe soon the Blue Brothers can ride again, this time in a 300+ hp, 6.0-liter V-8 powered sedan with “…cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. … What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile, or what?”