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Wednesday, 03 January 2018


Someone asked me recently what car I would have if I could any. I replied "a convertible Mk 1 E-type Jaguar". They said, "it's not that fast!" I told them that it really didn't matter how fast it was, if I were driving it at 30 mph I'd be happy!

If I won the lottery the only Ferrari that might tempt me wouldn't in the strictest sense actually be a Ferrari.
It would be a nice clean driver quality 246 Dino. This car was made by Ferrari but was not badged as such.
There was a time when a 246 was distantly attainable for someone like me but no more as they have shot from under $30k to ten times that amount.
Nice memory but now gone. I have lots of nice memories of things long gone, disco, TXP 120, my neck...

Automatic transmissions are necessary with many drivers texting, phoning, holding a cup of coffee, a cigarette, and doing audio adjustments. Which is also happens to be an argument for self driving cars. It's a wild-wild world on our roads.

I love WRX's. My son had one, I had one for a loaner for a weekend from the dealer. The local Subaru dealer had an Impreza with manual transmission. It was also one of the least expensive cars on the lot.

[I got $5,000 off my Acura ILX 2.4 when I bought it. Nobody wanted it because it was a stick shift and the dealer was very eager to get rid of it. --Mike]

My vehicles need to handle highways, farm to market gravel roads and farm fields. 4x4 is nice but front wheel drive helps a lot. The 82 VW Diesel pickup gets 48-52mpg and drives on all the surfaces just fine. Paid for 30 years ago. Basic to operate, 5 speed stick and it works. Small topper on the back & a bed big enough I can roll out the sleeping bag when needed. Normal Highway speeds are just fine.
It works and that is what I need. If I really need speed I can put it in neutral or shut of the engine and let it roll down steep hills.

I very happy with my 20117 Subaru Crosstrek even though it doesn't have a stick shift. It looks sharp, handles well and gets good mileage. The truth is, I used to love manual transmissions but as I have aged they lost their attraction along with heating my house with wood. Several winters ago (when I was only 70) my wife and I were splitting wood with a rented log splitter and at one point we looked at each other and say "Why are we doing this?". We bought a pellet stove. It's still work, but less work. I now view stick shifts the same way. It is an unnecessary complication to driving.

"Crime in the United States is way, way down, and no one knows why."

The better question may not be why crime is down, but why crime in the USA spiked in the 1960s. The reason it is down is because spikes don't last.

There is one persistent theory:

"All of these studies tell the same story: Gasoline lead is responsible for a good share of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century."

"For starters, it turns out that childhood lead exposure at nearly any level can seriously and permanently reduce IQ.... high exposure to lead during childhood was linked to a permanent loss of gray matter in the prefrontal cortex—a part of the brain associated with aggression control as well as what psychologists call 'executive functions': emotional regulation, impulse control, attention, verbal reasoning, and mental flexibility."



My wife, who is in her 70s, drives a stick shift 6-speed Subaru WRX. I drive a Toyota iM with a 6-speed stick. I just hope that our knees hold out for another decade.

Mike, you might be interested in a proposed link between the decreasing crime rate and cars. Exposure of children to lead has decreased following the removal of lead from petrol and paints, and so the developmental neurological damage caused by lead has decreased. There is a serious school of thought claims a causal role for decreased lead exposure in the lower crime rate.

Like most things, the lead-crime hypothesis has its own Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead-crime_hypothesis

About the decline of violence.
This is a highly recommended book by Steven Pinker.
The better angels of our nature - Why violence had declined.
It's not what I would call an easy read. Very detailed and very thick. It's been next to my bed for over a year now. I only read a couple of pages at night.
Mr Pinker is incredibly detailed and thorough. Looking at violence through history and how our perception of it has changed.

Just one point. One of his theories about why we no longer consider torturing cats fun is that in the 1800s reading became available for more people. And not just newspapers but fiction. One aspect of this is that we can place ourselves in the mind of another person and get a better understanding of how another person is thinking. Or maybe it's the other way around. Another person can enter into us. Anyway, we can get another persons point of view. Understand better the hurt we can cause others.

All in all it is to me a very hopeful book. I am about halfway through right now. Sometime next year I hope to be able to report how it ended...

Karmann Ghia?

I really like your off topic posts. Would like to hear more about your coffee adventures and especially miss your stereo posts.
Just saying...


I like the newer Volvos, although they have sadly evolved a bit too far into the "giant computer on four wheels" mode of operation. I don't have anything against computers per se, but (the visible) car computers are all terrible.

All that said though I am one those heathens that is causing the death of the manual transmission, and I say good riddance. I have no interest in that part of the "experience", especially when shifting a car transmission is at least one of the rare things the machine can do better than most humans anyway.

Yeah, I like P mode (with area metering) and exposure compensation more than M too. So there you go.

"...Crime in the United States is way, way down, and no one knows why..."

Check out Freakonomics. The authors have a good idea why.

A very interesting book!

How old are you anyway???

[Old enough to remember Yosemite Sam. --Mike]

It's not quite true that there's no explanation for the big drop in crime. Here's a pretty good discussion of the link between airborne lead and crime:


Here in the UK we not only have snooker, but the vast majority of cars have manual transmission. Because our roads are no crowded, however, I prefer having an automatic (VW DSG gearbox).

Topic #3: manual gear-change cars. Obviously it’s different in the UK. My wife and I both drive manual-shift cars, as do most people. I drive a Golf - 1.4 TSI - and my wife drives a BMW 116 (I think), which is actually a 1.5 litre engine. Both have 6 speed manual boxes. I think my Golf’s is slicker than her BMW’s.....

And on the subject of sporty cars you can drive on the public road, i’m still a fan of the Golf GTI.

Regarding the off topic CRIME. Roe vs Wade was in 1973, Those single mothers were having children who weren't ideally suited for to be disciplined when their pregnancy was taken to term. After Roe And Wade was voted constitutionally was 1973. So 1990 made children of those single parents became to the victims of the temptations of crime. Now they were 17 years old. Now that there are much fewer unwanted children, society is balancing the crime issue with less citizens who are more prone to commit crimes. To be fair, about 1/2 of the citizens feel abortion is a crime. ergo the crime statistics mighted be slanted.

Unless you go to the track, you will never really experience the limits of even a slow car like the miata. The street is not the place for exploring the car's
Iimits, no matter how safe or careful a driver one may be. But on track, a first time driver will learn more in one track session about how to really drive, than they have ever learned in their entire life of driving on the street up to that point. If you enjoy driving even a little, a track day is worth it. The ILX will do ok even on street tires and pads. BMWCCA hosts events at the Glen...

This may violate the spirit of comments vs a forum but I got gobsmacked when I stumbled on to it a few minutes ago.
In 1970 my first car was a 1960 TR3A with silver wires. I was in the Army and just back from Okinawa and had some change in my jeans so $700 disappeared and I was in roadster heaven. Kept it until I was transferred to Florida where a years liability insurance exceeded the price of the car and had to let it go.
This one is considerably nicer than the one I had but at least it won't cost like a house in the burbs. The wonderful Miata is this cars spritual offspring even if it does have, gulp, roll up windows.


When I gas up at the Casey's in Crescent Iowa tonight I may have to spring for my first Powerball ticket in years.

"Topic #1"

I'm happy the process you describe works for you. I'm also happy that a quite different process works for me.

Just as, and related to the fact that, tastes vary, not all mental and visual processes are the same.

Months and years later, I'm a pleased at how my choices have held up - both for me and for others who encounter them.

My Mileage Varies.

Topic 2: We can explain it well - abortion laws changed decades before and the results on crime have been dramatic.

The Honda Civic Type R is in my experience a very "connected" car. The driver is connected to the car which is connected to the road. The driver is driving a machine that turns, accelerates and stops in direct proportion to the driver's inputs. It has more power than is sane for street driving but using it all is optional.

The first car I ever noticed was an early E-type Jaguar sitting in front of the Willard Hotel in Washington DC. We were Spring Break tourists and had just finished dinner (13 year old me had lobster). The sun had set and the car was lit by a combination of dusky sky light and street lights. The top was down. I didn't know such a thing existed.

My family (Mom, Dad and three kids) spent 20 minutes walking around it, gawking and falling in love. I'm still in love.

The Type-R is the XKE I still love but will never own. The Type-R may be the last car I ever own. Certainly the last internal combustion car I ever own -- I'm just a little bit in love with a Tesla-X.

Add me to the print your pictures crowd (small assemblage?). I like printing up good photos. Sometimes a flawed photo arises immediately from the printer that wasn't evident on the monitor. Others get distributed around the house. Weeks later I will see one of them and ask myself, "Really? I thought that was good?" Time erases the emotional connection I had and reveals the true quality, or lack thereof, of the photo. Why yes, my house is cluttered.

Topic #1 - I really agree with this, or at least I think I do because I have yet to try it properly, but I have just purchased my first ever proper photo printer and am about to Get Serious about editing properly, and printmaking. But wow, printing is complicated. I feel like I need a computer science degree. I hope I can get to understand it in a year's time.

Topic #3 - fully concur with your views but what throws a monkey in the wrench is modern roads. They are exclusively designed for big rigs (which includes the monsters known as "half-tons" that basically everyone around here drives) to make progress on as easily and efficiently as possible, making a sports car road far more of a rare treasure than the sports car itself.

Topic #4 - another forgotten sport that used to be wildly popular is bicycle track racing. Like pool (and about in that same era) it was, for a brief time, a sport that generated national heroes/celebrities as much as football does now. And now you can hardly even find a velodrome anywhere, which for me as a road cyclist that would love to try track racing, is really very unfortunate. Especially now that road cycling is (or at least perceptually) as dangerous as it is.

How did those drunks get to the top of a ski jump with a toboggan?

I grew up in the UK and didn't touch a car with an automatic transmission until I was 30. However as soon as I got my first automatic I was sold. No more stick shifts for me! In fact I would like my next car to have an electric motor (not hybrid), and preferably be self driving. Unlike you Mike, I think it will definitely come, but it better get a move on or I won't be around to see it!

Now where did I put my rangefinder and the Tri-X?

Re: Topic #2 - I recall an article in The Nation that cited health studies that attributed a decline in violent crime in the US to the banning of lead in gasoline. Apparently it took some time before the lead impacts in adults and their off-spring to expire and there is now less aggression and abnormal behaviour present and thus less crime. Speaking of gasoline and your Topic #3 - and why can’t you afford a Miata? I have my eye on a 2010 Club Sport convertible with ~43,000 miles for $14K. How is that unaffordable? Yes I know it has a smiley grill, and fender flares BUT its roomier for those over 50 AND it has a manual transmission. Zoom zoom...

I appreciate your mentions of attractions in your corner of the world. When I was up your way I saw the Curtiss museum in Hammondsport and the Corning museum. My medical insurance was expiring so I missed the Eastman House that trip. Keep adding to the list of local attractions - your interests seem similar to mine.

Violent crime reduction was the result of a policy change to stop tolerating minor crimes, plus real time crime data collection and display allowing police to be immediately relocated to wherever crime increases were occurring.

I like the stereo posts, too!

I bought a set of Audio Engine speakers and DAC thanks to your insight, and I listen while making digital prints from scanned film negatives. While there is no escape from the time required to make a print mo' betta, it is now possible to work in little bundles of time with thoughtful intervals rather than those exhausting do or die marathons.

Dunno why, but remain deeply reluctant to dismantle my 19th Century darkroom with its age appropriate sound box.

Re #1: Three or four days? Surely that's a typo...you meant to say three or four months, right? ;)

Manual transmissions remind me of Graffiti, the gesture based text entry method used by Palm Pilots. Once I learned how to do it well, the world moved on and took it away. The manual transmission vehicles I drive come with the Ford 300 inline six. I still like that engine (and the BMW B58). I think they'd be great candidates for a camshaftless cylinder head refit. But, I want a manual transmission about a much as I want the Fred Flintstone drive method. A DCT with pushbuttons on the dash and paddle shifters on the wheel for when I want to override the computer would just do the job better. I also want front wheel battery drive when the transfer case directs engine power to the rear, because sometimes I have to drive into the city. I'll never see any of that. By the time it would happen, the practical choice will be electric with a fuel cell range extender.

Your comment stating you believe autonomous cars will never be a reality intrigues me. I think you may be onto something ghee as it has been accepted as an article of faith that is a decade or two cars will roam about on there own with no intervention from the humans they carry. I have several thoughts as to why your statement may be true, legalities, loss of government income through inability to fine drivers and several more, but I am interested to hear your reasoning on this subject.

I'm with you about cars, Mike. I'd love an MX-5, or even better, a 1964 Chevy Nova with a stick shift, a modest 4 or 6 cylinder engine, a bench seat and real roll down windows! No computers, just a nice simple car--one who's spark plugs will all be reachable without a special tool. I drive a 2010 Honda Fit. It's a good, reliable car. I just wish it was rear-wheel drive. It does have a very nice 5 speed manual transmission. I never want to drive a car without one. It horrifies me to think that one day we might not have the option. Three pedals forever!

What really worries me is the possibility that self driving cars will become the norm. I fear the government will mandate their use. They do make sense from a logical point of view, but to me, they are a soul destroying notion.

If self driving cars are made mandatory, mark my words, it will be a disaster for the car industry. They will reduce driving to something completely utilitarian. Why pay for a luxurious BMW to drive you around, when a spartan Toyota will do the job in the same uninvolving, completely predictable way. Would you pay more for a really fancy bus to take you to work? I thought not. Self driving cars will suck the passion, and most of the profits from the industry. I hope the leaders of the car industry realize this.

RE: manual transmissions
I always get a kick out of salesguys (I say guys because the women salespeople I've encountered don't try and talk me out of my quirks.) who tell me that no one will want to buy my manual transmission auto when it's time to sell. Bull roar, I say. If you want to buy a used car with an automatic you have thousands of used cars to choose from. If you're a buyer with a manual trans jones, your choices are somewhat limited. I've always sold my sticks to the first buyer who answers my ad.

Topic 2. Search “Roe vs Wade drop in crime”. This was covered in Freakonomics. I know this is a political football and some call racism but sounds possible.

I saw a documentary, with the photographer Kirsten Klein. Her process, was after she had developed the film. She would keep the best photos hanging for weeks/month, to see if she still liked them

Here in the UK manual shift is still the most popular. Thank goodness - I hate automatics. I suspect that our often narrow and twisty roads are partly responsible.

I'm trying to stick to cycling most everywhere, not being a car fan. But I did like the look of this old motor:

It should tick some of your boxes.

Joe mentioned his Fiat. I don't have a photo, but my first "car" was a 1956 Willy's CJ3B Jeep that my dad bought for me. It had a 4 cylinder, size long forgotten, and huge mud tires. You couldn't go more than about 60 mph with that feller, and it was a noisy 60. Were it winter, it was also a very cold 60mph, as the new ragtop was only about 68% efficient at best at stopping cold or rain.

Being a Jeep, we spent about as much time repairing it as we did driving, but as it was such an old rig, it had an excuse. Or an addition excuse besides being a Jeep.

But it was fun to drive. I could go back on top of our hill and climb narrow paths bigger rigs like Chevy Blazers and such couldn't not even think of going. Couldn't climb an excessively steep hill though, as it would stall out with the fuel pump not being able to pump gasoline at that angle(!)

Alas, it was too fun to drive and my father, realizing I hadn't a lick of sense with it, took it for himself and let my mother drive his Blazer. I got an old Ford Falcon station wagon. White. Gawd, how embarrassing. I went from having the coolest vehicle among my friends to having the most boring. Even though it had a V8.

But the best car I remember is my dad's 1948 De Soto that he bought for $100 (!!!) as a replacement car while his was waiting for a driveshaft. (1963 Pontiac Tempest with the solid drive shaft in a box. Great idea.) That De Soto had no rust, having been stored inside apparently, and driven little.

Dad sold it after he got the driveshaft, because he was afraid of the "Fluid Drive" transmission. Sorta of a cross between an automatic and a manual.He hated automatics as they were too prone to problems, and we had to solve those problems ourselves.

Gotta learn to write less. More Twitter practice...

A few weeks ago I was ready to put an ad on Craigslist to give away our old, super-heavy mid-seventies Brunswick table. Instead I saw an ad for someone who was looking for free or cheap
pool tables, "will haul," so I gave it a try. Turned out to be a couple nice retired guys with a passion for pool. In fact, they liked pool so much one of them (retired construction) had taken to building outdoor pool tables for their yards, cabins and hunting shacks. The image below shows a completed table. What looks like a tree trunk is actually a cement base, deeply set, molded to a tree shape, then painted. The table is set on a very sturdy welded steel frame. He tarps it in winter.

One of the first modifications to my table, he said, would be to make the pockets smaller (I had no idea I was playing on an easy table). I felt like it went to a good home.

Mike: FBI statistics indicate that, contrary to the current media hype (lies?) surrounding mass murders, there HAS NOT been an increase in their frequency over the last ten years and the majority are family related murders, not public killings. Furthermore, the vast majority are not rifle-related (or "assault-weapons" as the media likes to say), but handgun, knife or other weapons related. On a related note, apparently knife-related murders overall account for far more deaths each year in these United States than rifle-related murders.

[Depends on how you count.



For sheer driving bliss, the 1977 Ford Granada with 200 cubic inch inline 6 and three-on-the-tree shifter can't be beat. With the breathing ability of an asthmatic grandmother, sport steering wheel (which increases handling ability 30% by my estimate) and bias-ply retreads, it'll surely be a contender for next year's LeMans race. In addition, it has the world-renowned Ford "Power Pedal". For a sudden burst of power, simply depress and release the clutch while keeping your foot down on the gas. Voila -- Power Pedal.

Agree that the CX-5 is a great multipurpose vehicle for reasons you outline. Don't run out and get a used 2014 or 2015 as you are at risk for having to replace your transmission at 70K miles as I did. A little research and you'll find this unfortunately , while not common, wasn't altogether rare. My vehicle was past warranty and Mazda wouldnt cover all of it but I have to say they were accommodating. I'm still driving and enjoying it.

An Austin Healy 3000 MK III for me. My best friend in high-school had one and we did everything in it including getting high centered on a snow bank. Loved that car warts and all.

Topic #1: Time in Editing
I agree that living with an image over a period of time can make your judgements about its treatment or disposition keener. In fact I agree so much that I painted a set of folding closet doors in my little home office with magnetic paint (actually just has iron powder in the emulsion) so that I can tack-up prints for viewing...often for months.

But there are other dimensions to this time thesis. It’s more usually (for me) extremely valuable to not look at images for months after I’ve shot them. As I have no editor (other than my wife...who has excellent judgement) I use time to distance myself from the contextual experiential memory of images. It can sometimes be a year or two after capture before I first seriously visit an image, at which point I have lost most feelings of struggle or self-satisfaction.

But there is also great value in snap judgements, as they’re often the closest to where your heads at. It’s sometimes easy for “devoted amateurs” to forget that photography = memories for most people. Print and save images that immediately connect with you, even (especially) if they’re just snapshots. They’re likely to be the image that find lasting places in your memory.

One last tip: Make 4x6 prints of images you want to mull. It’s inexpensive, you don’t need a large printer. (But I do suggest making the best-grade 4x6 print you can make, on good paper.). Keep them in stacks. Shuffle through them frequently. Lay them out on a table. Share them with friends. Handle them frequently. I think you’ll be surprised at just how valuable these 4x6 prints become in making your “editing” decisions.

Well what the heck I'll add my .02 to topic #3.
Most fun drivers car I'v owned was an '86 Toyota MR2. 112hp, manual steering, 5 sp manual. Mid engine, rear wheel drive. To me its steering was the most direct i'v experienced. Wonderful balanced handling, able to toss it around turns and "power" out of them. Watch out for lift throttle oversteer!
Enjoyed it for years, ran like a watch. Got greedy and sold it for something more powerful, heavier and just not as much fun. No truer words than its much more fun driving a slow car fast then a fast car slow.

Topic #3:

Stick shift, yes! I have a 1988 Jetta and the transmission is buttery smooth. Plus manual brakes, windows, door lock, steering. You have to _drive_ this car. It handles like it's on railroad tracks, really hugs the road. In spite of its many charms I thought maybe it was time to end my time with this car and didn't think it would be worth much. Au contraire, turns out it's a so-called Classic and has increased its value the last few years.

Paul Whiting, Billings

Re: The push towards cars Mike won't like.

The move to automatic transmissions in the US is largely unstoppable and has little to do with speed or driver preference.

Automatic transmissions with six, seven and eight speeds are becoming the norm and CVT have reached serious market penetration. Both already provide significantly better fuel economy than a five (and possibly, but rarely, six) speed manual that can be offered for a similar weight/cost.

Combine that inexorable force with the cost of product option management and manual transmissions become even rarer. (A product line with 2 or 3% that select a particular option means that option is in danger of going away or becoming much more costly. Simple manufacturing and product management reality).

Finally - cars follow the future market - which is not "men of a certain age". Millennials have very different views about cars than Boomers. Those views aren't going to lead to cars Mike likes either - it will lead to appliances that you borrow - just like the rug doctor at the grocery store. And at some point, the carpet cleaner will drive itself to a large degree.

Self-driving is a broad term - a car doesn't have to become completely autonomous to make some giant improvements in traffic flows. Pick your favorite busy interstate and imagine all the cars flowing at the best possible speed - each communicating well in advance slow downs or other events to cars far in the rear of the herd. Those cars then respond by automatically slowing or speeding as appropriate. Gaps at the on-ramp will always exist for merging cars because they've been planned out minutes in advance w/o human input. I would expect at some point in the future, having a car that can participate in this kind of self driving will be mandatory for using certain roadways or lanes. The reduction in accidents and increase in traffic throughput on overloaded freeways will all but guarantee it.

Just as people daily give up all kinds of freedom and autonomy to cram into a metal tube with wings for 2.5 hours at 450+ mph, they'll give up a lot to make the daily commute bearable.

Mike in short, I rather doubt that you'll like what "driving a car" looks like 20 years from now.

How fast the transition comes depends largely on working out the liability for errors - because now the classic philosophers ethical puzzle about the Trolley Car is now very real and will have to be decided by SW in a fraction of a second.

Hi Mike, I agree about autonomous cars. Autonomous trains I have no issues with.

I am quite looking forward to test driving the VW UP TSi. 1ltr 3 cylinder turbo with 89 bhp but a low curb weight, 0-60 in 9.9s, go-kart handling and surprisingly practical.

Bit like the original Golf.

If I could afford a second vehicle, it would be a Triumph Scrambler. Fast enough to be fun, without being deranged.

The hatred that many car "enthusiasts" rant and rave towards any mention of manual transmission is amazingly similar to the hatred that contemporary "photographers" display to film. Read a bit more closely, and you realize that those car guys have absolutely no idea how to shift their own gears. Ergo, let's hate it and claim it is inferior, dead, no one uses it, my wife won't drive one, etc., etc. Check in with the "photographers" and you soon learn that they never shot film and have absolutely no idea how to load a camera, set their own f-stops, use a light meter, think about shutter speed and motion, etc.

I was at my favored repair shop recently and asked one of the owners why a fairly recent pretty Audi convertible was in the shop. "Needs a transmission." I asked what that would cost. "Well the transmission is about $12K and then we have to swap it out, maybe another $3K." I asked why so much. It was a dual clutch transmission. Failed early, costs a bundle.

As to cars, I'm with you on everything but the convertible top. Our old skin doesn't need the sun. For fun I drive an '89 Porsche 944. Everything you mentioned plus excellent ergonomics, like new but worth little.

We own nothing newer than a 2007 BMW motorcycle. The three cars, the other motorcycle and the motorhome are all older. Good looks and everything works on all of them. Why trade up?

Re crime: I am not an expert but from what I recall from college and law school, the "broken windows" theory (i.e. not tolerating small crimes) seems to be supported by a lot of research.

Additionally, I wonder whether the draconian drug sentencing laws enacted in the 80s/90s (at least some of which are still in the books and still leading to long sentences for seemingly petty crimes) or the seeming shift from crack/cocaine & meth to opiates as the street drugs of choice have played a part in reduced rates of violent crimes?

When your back hurts most days and your knees pop and hurt, you might like not having to push in a clutch pedal. Wide doors and higher roof that let you get in the bloody car without the disks in your back screaming at you is also very nice:) Not sexy but true.

Well here is a Porsche answer to a full wire eight speed (2 configurable)...integrated with the front axle differential....for the new '18 Cayennes.... sits inline behind a 4L v8...it really begs to be experienced..:))... an info 'powertrain presskit' pdf has some nice cutaways of trans/powerplant, light tech talk...(second pdf along sidebar downloads) would love to view the tranny man. :)


Mike, regarding Topic #3, a friend and I will be driving a 30 year old Citroen 2CV as participants in la traversee de Paris this coming Sunday.

It doesn't get much simpler than this: 2 cylinder, aircooled, inline three speed manual shift gearbox, some nearly reasonable semblance of freinage, and four wheels.

... and please don't get me started on my Foolishness in Youth when I broke my piggy bank, only to be bankrupted by two early Jag E-types with close-ratio Moss gearboxes... the two Fiats I owned in the Between Jags Period were much more reasonable conveyances...

You really need three cars! A dedicated race car and/or Lemons car, a fun car (like a Miata), and a practical beater for everyday use. All rear drive, and with a manual transmission like God intended.

If you can arrange an agreement to co-drive someone else's race car, then that works too.

Funny you should bring up the CX-5; when shopping for a new car in 2013, we test drove onen, and I found 2 major faults. One, the rearward visbility was dismal, with the high waist and pinched off rear windows. Two, the then-new Skyactiv engine felt sluggish and damped. Perhaps they've refined it in the last 5 years.

And I am a Mazda fan, having owned a *1st* generation RX-7 (very close to your 'ideal' car), and a 2003 Protege 5 speed.

We ended up with a 2014 Subaru Forester - nice big greenhouse for shoulder checking, smooth revving flat-four, and clever always-active AWD.

However, it has a CVT, making it the first vehicle I've owned that didn't have a 5 speed.

It always amazes me that you know these things. In this case the source of 'decimate'. I never even asked this myself.
I haveowned an odd 40 cars. One had a real automatic: A W124 200.
And a Toyota Aygo with a 5 speed robotic gears, very agile drive on small roads.
I have played 'three cushions' many years. I really loved the game. Never understood why those Britons have all those holes in their tables.

Every few months I reminisce about things I had long ago, and one of the recurring topics is vehicles. For the past 20 years I've had the "big" Toyota 4WD pickups as my everything driver -- '97 and then a 2004. So far, more than 410,000 miles, combined. They've gone across the country dozens of times, and places in the Rockies I had no business trying. I hope I always have one. I respect, enjoy and trust my truck. But I LOVE the '67 Volvo P1800 we had until my wife was pregnant and we owned a pair of hundred-pound malamutes. Driving it was a blast (your slow-car-fast), the steering was right, I could shade-tree nearly everything, and the snick of that little 8" four-speed shifter (with electric overdrive) encouraged me to take rolling county roads instead of the nearby US Highways. If I could press a button and put any vehicle I've had the past 59 years in the driveway, that little GT coupe would be my choice.

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