Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lousy cars in the 90's and pure enthusiasts' cars

The 1990's

I was watching the 1997 movie "Cop Land" (still liked it after 18 years) and it reminded me how many mediocre cars there were on the road and in production in the 1990's. Not only were the new cars pretty bland, but I was reminded how hard it was to buy a decent used car on a budget. I remember combing through the classifieds trying ot find a decent Honda or VW, and I'm not even talking about GTi's or Si's. When I found a 1987 RX-  7 Turbo II for 5000$, I bought it. The particular one that I bought was not at all reliable and was expensive to keep running. It was also a gas guzzler. Still, it was not like I could have had a decent CRX or something for the same money. IO remember looking at a lot of overpriced cars before pulling the trigger on the RX-7. Today, things have really changed. There are so many good cars available for as low as 3000$ and some really quite nice ones for 5000$. I guess the main reason used cars are so much better is because new cars got so much better in the last 15 years. 

On another note, I came across a couple of cars in the past few days that I would have to categorize as pure enthusiasts' cars. There are cars that enthusiasts love, like BMW M3's, but I know there are quite a few people who buy M3's because they are at a BMW dealer and the salespeople convince them that they need the "top of the line" 3-series, which happens to be the M3. BMW has clearly sold a lot of M3's (many of them convertible) to non enthusiasts over the years. There are some cars, however, that really only an enthusiast would buy. We were visiting friends at a campground last weekend and, among all the SUV's and minivans, I stumbled across a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X MR with aftermarket mudflaps. Now you know the owner of this car is an enthusiast. There is really no doubt. There are other cars like this. Somebody may buy a Porsche 911 to show off (maybe even a GT3), but who buys a Nissan GT-R for that reason? I have never driven a GT-R on the street, but I bet it is an unpleasant experience on a day-to-day basis compared to a Porsche 911 Turbo. Driving a Honda S2000 on the street is not terribly pleasant, but some non-enthusiasts surely put up with it. These same people would not be able to live with a Lotus Elise. So to the people who choose these cars, I salute you!

Unexpected spot at a camp ground...
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Loud exhaust + cool aftermarket wheels + missing rocker panel cover: this guy probably tracks his GT-R
A non-enthusiast might drive an STi, but only an enthusiast will pick the Lachute Performance LP400, then wrap it orange!
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This 944 is clearly used on track... look at that splitter
I had seen a couple of AMG GT's on the road, but I just got to see one up close for the first time. It is a great-looking car. It looks more impressive from the rear than from the front. Still, I don't find it has the presence of the SLS. This probably has to do with the extreme width of the SLS. The GT is more "normal-sized". Also, I can't imagine buying an AMG without the 6.2-liter V8...

Other cool spots around town:

Tastefully restored VW Golf Cabriolet
Immaculate late 1990's Mini
You know an enthusiast lives here: super-clean E36 BMW and 1970's SL out back wearing a 1970's license plate
Uncommon colour for this old Saab
The best way to present a 90's Mustang: lowered, with Cobra R wheels
Another  pretty clean BMW, this E30 325e (automatic though)
Very cool and well-kept Toyota camper from Texas
Another hazard of parking on the street: a wind storm may drop a huge branch on your car
This is one of those cars I didn't like in my youth, but I like them now
More subtle than ever: dark grey on black!
I don't love these wheels, but I love these Vantage's. When will they become affordable for people like me?

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