Cars – Summary to Date

So then, after 22 cars … (yes, I know, its actually 21 cars and a motor bike … smart arses!) … one obvious question comes up … which is the best of them?

And, as with most obvious questions, there is an obvious answer. Cars, like most technologies, just keep on improving and so it is to be expected that the newest, in this case the Golf GT Sport, is going to be the best. And it is … probably by some stretch to be honest, but more about that later, because there are a few honourable mentions and one or two brickbats as well.

The first to be highlighted would be the Honda CB175, not because of anything it did but more because it was on this vehicle that I learnt to interact with the traffic around me … basically you have to on a bike. So, even from my first road experiences I knew to keep my eyes up, 3 to 4 cars in front usually seems about right, and to watch other car’s wheels at crossings to see who is actually moving. Probably saved me 100’s of times by now I guess.

The second honourable mention is a bit strange … the Falcon AU. I’ve got no real idea why, but this car, perhaps of all of them, just felt “right” … I could just sit in it and feel instantly like I could drive to Mars and back, well if that was possible I could have! Just everything in the right place for me I guess. Don’t get me wrong, I know they were nothing special, but  …

The third is actually a group … any of the 6 cylinder Cortinas … just for their ability to go hard and yet be fun to drive along that old road from Murray Bridge to Adelaide. My fastest trip was in one of these, the green TD XLE at about 4 in the morning with the sunroof open and the music blaring … around 36 minutes from memory. (Don’t get me wrong, they were actually bags of doggy poop on the road, but they were fun.)

Then there was the Lancia Beta Coupe, just about one the prettiest cars on the road in its day and so high on sex appeal it needs to be mentioned.

Its hard not to fit one of the Lasers in here, but I just can’t find room … as much as I liked them there’s just nothing that stands out I guess.

The VW Golf Sport also get’s a mention though, I drove it for 5 years and never got tired of it, and it is still going strong even though its coming up on 8 years old now.

So, the brickbats … for those of you that have hung in this long!

Firstly, the one and only Holden … why I bought this I’ll never know! When I first saw a VB Commodore it was just the most modern, stylish thing going around but by the time I actually bought one the reality was much different. Uncomfortable to sit in, and a tank to drive. Sorry to any Holden lovers!

Second brickbat goes to the Peugeot 504. Now I have at least one very good friend that swears by the these, but for me it was just disappointing. I found it uncomfortable to sit in and noisy on the road, and basically just boring! (Sorry Peter!)

Third brickbat goes to the Lancia Beta Coupe … so fricken Italian, great to look at but awful to live with! Nothing worked right and it would not stay in tune!

So then, back to the Golf GT Sport, hope you’ve hung in! Don’t get me wrong, its not perfect, it can be a bit rough, especially in the rear seat, and is a pain in the arse to drive smoothly, especially from 2nd to 3rd gears where the turbo seems to cut in just as you want to change!

But, it is extremely economical and goes like anything … especially on a cool winters day when the turbo works best. I actually often just stick my foot into it to feel the boost in the small of my back! For a 1.4 litre road car, the power is amazing.

I think it looks good, the seats are just right, the equipment level is high and its just plain fun!

So much fun that at this stage I reckon I’m going to extend the lease on it for another 12 months when it runs out later this year!

My dad would roll in his grave to think that his son would pass up the chance for a new car … sorry dad!

Cars No 22

So then, I guess it’s time to bring this up-to-date again. As many of you would know by now, car 22 is another Volkswagen Golf, this time it’s a GT Sport TSI, the model year is 2009 although I took delivery on 1 October 2008.

After some discussion Hedy convinced me that Tornado Red was the colour for us … my preference was Candy White but she turned out to be right … although I am still not positive!

I actually ordered this car about 4 months before delivery, and its the first that I have had on a novated lease. At the time of ordering probably the biggest decision, other than the colour, was between the DSG “flappy paddle” gear box and the in-dash GPS. In the end the latter won out, in addition to the GPS it also provided a 30 Gb hard drive for MP3s and an interface to the bluetooth mobile phone kit.

All up price was around $39k on the road, with the lease discount etc of course.

Without a doubt the most endearing feature of this car is its motor … while its only 1.4 litres it finds a way to produce 125 killerwasps, or about 50% more power that our older 2 litre Golf. It does this through the use of both a supercharger and a turbocharger, along with some pretty fancy electronics to manage the whole shee-bang. Every person that has driven it has the same reaction … as they change into second and I say “don’t be afraid to hit the gas” the immediate comment is “holy shit!”  Its peformance is nothing short of staggering, and it does this while getting around 8l/100kms around town and much less on the open road. I can quite comfortably set the cruise to 118 when I hit the freeway at Crafers and that tiny little 1.4 will hold it with comfort up and down those hills to Murray Bridge. Thank goodness for boost devices!

It is full of what I thought were going to be wanky features such auto-lights, auto-wipers, auto-locking etc. Of those, the others I can give or take, but never having to worry about whether the lights are on turns out to be really freakin’ useful.

Similarly, having about 15 hours of music permanently available via the satnav is also pretty useful, all I do every now and again is copy some new MP3s to an SD card and then copy it up to the car.

3 years in now and I have probably only identified one issue … it does tend to be pretty rough in the rear while at the same time it can scallop the rear tyres.

At this stage my plan is to extend the lease 1 year at least at the end of the initial 4 years … its that good I don’t think I could give it away just yet!

So, there you go, car 22 … and the last for a little … is a Volkswagen Golf GT Sport TSI.

4 months later!

So … how is it that somebody like me that actually really enjoys writing and has the infrastructure to have that writing instantly available can go for 4 months without writing anything?

The answer is simple, and somewhat concerning. The answer is Facebook! What Facebook does for us is provide a forum where we can let our “friends” know what is happening in our lives with very little effort … and even fewer words. What it doesn’t provide is any encouragement at all to actually WRITE!

Some of you will remember writing … the act of sitting down and planning what it is you have to say and then constructing some sort of sucker line at the start … followed by a reasoned argument …. and concluding with a summary of the key points.

Oldest mate Stewart and I were teaching people to construct lessons around the same principles back in the late 80’s … and yet now most are trying to get their point across in a status update that typically is under 150 or so characters. We are desperate to (cue Texan drawl) “get it out on the tweetter”, rather than sit down and allow ourselves to really layout what it is that we have to say.

Years ago we were concerned that email or fax …. (remember the fax?) would replace the letter … and eventually it did of course. We should be equally concerned now that the tweet, Facebook status update or text message is going to replace the email. Why use more than 160 characters after all … “I love you” or “Buy milk” needs nowhere near that number.

And therein lies the reason for my lack of posts over the last months..Yes I have been busy on other things …. and yes there have been some considerable distractions, but at the end of the day I have spent my time checking Facebook when I would gained a better balance in life by sitting down and writing here. As good mate Drex said many years ago, “writing is a cathartic process” and it seems that we should spurn that mistress at our peril.

So, am I going anywhere with this … well, yes, I am. It’s a place where I’ll actually sit down and write real sentences much more often than I have recently. I’m going to compete the “Cars Project” … after all there is only one to go … and then start looking for something new, goodness only knows our lives are full enough to find something to write about!

I feel better already! Let’s see if I can sleep beyond 2 am.

Make the most of every moment!