Before leaving the topic of autos (sorry for the detour!), two more crusty car-related opinionations (besides for my ongoing pet peeve, which is that I want some tire in between my wheels and the road):
- Biggest change in car magazines since I was a kid in study hall: cars are all now track-tested instead of road-tested. Call me old-fashioned—outmoded, frumpish, dated, old, passé, démodé, behind the times, obsolete—but I drive on public roads, not racetracks. I do not care how fast a car goes around the bleedin' Nürburgring. Do. Not. Care.
- Biggest complaint about car mags and fansites today: Completely uninterested in supercars. Could not give a flying fig if a million-dollar 1,200-HP so-called car "beats" a half-million-dollar 800-HP so-called car. Wouldn't give a nickel from the couch-cushions for a top speed of 200 MPH vs. a top speed of 160 MPH. Doesn't apply to me, never will, don't care, don't care, don't care. They can all fall into the sea. Sick and tired of 'em.
"Excess ain't rebellion."
—Cake, "Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle," 1994
What's the title of this blog again?
Mea culpa, this little blurt is completely pointless on a photography blog, but...now I feel better. :-)
P.S. Oh, and to end on a positive note: as I've opined here many times, my favorite kind of car has two seats side-by-side, rear-wheel drive, a naturally-aspirated engine located in front, a convertible top, and and a manual transmission. A genus known as roadsters. There is at least one roadster being made today that it is possible to buy new, and for 2019 it got just the right horsepower bump. I can't afford one, but it exists, and for that, I am grateful: the world still contains exciting possibilities for the likes o' me. /Waxing lyrical.
And now for a little Insight
P.P.S. Despite the above, this will probably be my next car.
Original contents copyright 2018 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Bill Mitchell: "Amen, Brother; amen!"
John Holmes: "This article is related to cameras. Just replace the word 'car' with 'cameras,' and think in terms of all of the emphasis on the top-end capabilities of the latest and greatest cameras...also the same with magazines. It also applies to all of the emphasis on testing of cameras and lenses, but not under real, most common, uses, and that being the primary subject of photography blogs."
Joseph Reid: "Your complaints about car mags seem to have parallels in the photo community: Cameras and lenses tested exhaustively in the 'lab' with MTF charts and whatnot, and the fixation on the latest super-high-power-resolution-blahblahblah bodies that only a slim minority of photographers will ever need. Drive to go somewhere, shoot to show something others haven't seen. Forget the test tracks and the test charts."
Mike N. (partial comment): "I'm never going to buy a 100-MP medium-format camera that costs as much as a German luxury car, or even a top range full-frame DSLR new, but it doesn't mean I don't like reading about them."
Bernd Reinhardt: "Something I find ironic is that Los Angeles probably has the most supercars in America. Have you seen LA traffic and the condition of our roads?"
Mike replies: Slow car fast is better than fast car slow.
Roger Lambert: "If you like the Insight, why not opt for the Clarity PHeV? Same basic car but about 45 miles (about 60 miles if not on highway) of electric-only miles per charge. And that charge can be overnight on a regular 110 outlet. Gets about 42–44 mpg on the highway, a tad less than the Insight, but the electric miles represent 95% of driving for most people. Very good reviews of Clarity—very nice interior, ride, quietness. Full Federal $7,500 tax rebate on the Clarity, $1,700 NY State rebate, possibly local electric company rebates?"
Mike replies: Um, because I didn't know about the Clarity before I read your comment? Truth. Actually, I'm not car shopping...my Acura gets paid off soon (next April 15th, no kidding!) and I plan to drive it for another five years of no car payments. If all goes as foreseen I'll be car shopping for real in about the Spring of 2024.
A hybrid does make a lot of sense for where I live, though. Population is sparse and everything is far away from everything else. I make routine drives that are anywhere from 15 miles round trip (nearby Penn Yan) to 122 miles round trip (Rochester, nearest big city). So saving on mileage would multiply quickly up here.
Charles Rozier: "Couldn’t agree more. Would like to add that those low profile tires may not even increase cornering grip, just change looks and feel. For example, a common track mod on the Lotus Elise was to substitute smaller, not larger, diameter wheels."
Ashton Lee: "A well-maintained 10-year-old 911 is just as lovely and practical as a Leica M6. And, no, I can't get the full performance out of either. But they both bring joy into my life at a tiny fraction of their original cost."
Michael Matthews: "Oh, how I wish you hadn’t included the link disclosing the increased muscle added to the Miata. I had fully rationalized my four-year fling with Miata as a delightful experience, over and done with, compartmentalized and put away as a fond memory. Rats.
"It’s clearly the end of the line for car magazines. Gave up on them decades ago but was lured into free subscriptions (lingering, unusable amounts of frequent flyer miles paid the bill) to Road & Track, Car & Driver, and Automobile. All that space devoted to Koenigsegg and Bugatti Veyron. After about a year the magazines began going directly from the mailbox to the recycling bin. Sic transit four color print—dead at the hand of its own irrelevance."
Robert: "Car magazines are more important now than ever. Videos have replaced the photos and are better at communicating the sounds of a car. But they can’t explain how a car feels to drive. For that you need good writers. Read Car, Evo, Car & Driver, Octane and particlulary Sam Smith at Road & Track."
John Ironside: "Our BMW i3 had no new car smell when we got it four years ago. It has no automatic transmission either, just a single-speed. Although very quiet, it can accelerate very fast when wanted. Fuel cost has been near zero all summer. We need to remember to brake hard every week or three, because the brakes get so little use. Moderate deceleration is always regenerative, unless the battery's chock-full. We do have the version with the scooter engine-generator to hold the battery charge steady, so longer journeys are manageable, but do require planning.
"I've got lots of niggles about it, but I wouldn't go back to a car with an engine."
Jim Arthur (partial comment): "We do love our cars. We spend so much time in them that they become an extension of our home…but with the option to roam.
"I think the seat height issue is just a side effect of the American desire for a big broad car to drive across a big broad country. A big car is comfort. A big car is luxury. A big car has room for all our stuff. I think many people were never thrilled with the trend toward smaller and smaller cars made of plastic and aluminum. Big is a better fit, in many ways. Those who like the smaller roadsters and motorcycles are always in the minority but these are the only vehicles that let you stay in touch with the road and be a part of the world you’re traveling through."