According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: Vroom! Vroom! Give it some gas

Friday, May 13, 2011

Vroom! Vroom! Give it some gas

I’m thinking about buying Sam a new toy. He prefers soft, furry ones that squeak. My choice for a new toy would be a Porsche.  I could drive Sam to the pet store with verve and panache. Vroom, vroom!

As a teenager I eagerly awaited each fall for Detroit to come out with its new models. I devoured car magazines, like the current June issue of Automobile, featuring “sneak previews” (just read at Borders Books). At one time I could tell you the make, model and year of almost any car on the road. Now I can’t. Foreign automakers stamp out new rides faster than rats giving birth.

My favorite ride in the good old days was the 1969 Dodge 440 Magnum. That baby would haul the mail. Never mind that it drank gas slurpies like it owned 7-11 stations in Saudi Arabia. It might litter the roadside with body parts and it was harder to start than a stubborn mule, but once you got it going, flying down the freeway at 140 mph was awesome

My favorite ride these days is my Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, although my wife’s Honda Accord is tops for power, speed and handling. If I still did primal scream driving, the Honda would be my choice for defying death. Driving across Montana at 85 or 90 hardly taxes our little red beer-can rocket and it still gets 30 to 35 mpg!

Sam and I are talking about cars because we read an article in the May 1, edition of The Wall Street Journal titled “Your Ride’s Here” written by Kevin Sintumuang reporting on the New York Auto Show.

Our American automakers still don’t seem to totally get it on how to engineer gas sipping vroom, vrooms although it’s hard to blame them after the Ford Pinto and Chevy Vega debacles.  Detroit is still cranking out guzzlers like the Ford Taurus that has 365 horsepower, like the Chrysler 300C, an SUV with 6.4 liter Hemi V8 “that churns out 465 horsepower and goes 0-60 in under 5 seconds. On the other hand, Motor Trend’s June 2011, issue features an article titled “Freedom Fighters,” about Detroit’s new fuel-efficient cars that say “To hell with foreign oil.”

 If we didn’t insist on driving our living rooms down the highway we could probably boost gas efficiency even more. But we just can’t seem to get comfortable unless our fannies are wrapped in soft, supple cowhide, unless our stereo system rivals Carnegie Hall, unless we have a little gizmo that tells us in a sweet feminine voice where to go. The Range Rover Autobiography (strange name), featuring  iPod mounts, fold-down tray tables made of exotic wood and “a fridge large enough to chill a bottle of Champagne,” is a perfect example of how we spoil ourselves with crap we don’t need.

Just give Sam and me a plain old Porsche or Ferrari or Aston Martin and we’ll be happy. But at $4.05 a gallon for gas, any car that gets less than 20 mpg ain’t worth it. Good thing Sam’s new toys don’t cost very much. 

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