31 Jul 2013

What does a car mean to you?

Do you see a car as a tool or an objet d'art?  When you see a new supercar does it stir your emotions in terms of its beauty, attention to detail, hand crafted components and potential performance or do you merely wonder what it would be like to drive and own?

This is a question that has been vexing me for some time now, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

For me it's not such a black and white issue.  When I see a car in photographs my first thought is to the look of the thing. But then my attention turns to its performance, how powerful it is, how well it would complete the job it was design for, how it would handle and whether it will drop in price to the realms of affordability in a few years.

Supercars kind of pass me by to some extent for precisely those reasons.  I appreciate their beauty but I'll never own one so thoughts of performance and power are brief because I won't experience those sensations.

But even if I did own one its application would be limited.  It could only be driven for fun rather than as a usable car.  Come across a speed bump, narrow road or dirt track and you have to stop and assess whether it is viable to proceed.

That's why I love cars which are potentially affordable in a few years once they have depreciated.  Trouble is, as I've found out with my own Audi S4, when they go wrong they are expensive to fix.

And that is why I love my Porsche 924S.  It didn't cost much to buy, doesn't cost much to run and has decent ground clearance so can quite happily go for a run up a dirt track - as I did recently.

My ultimate car would be a Porsche 911 because I love its looks and used values are tantalisingly close to affordability and it can be run as a day to day car.  I also hanker for a Toyota GT86 one day, when prices dip down to £5k levels.

A lot of modern cars will never really interest me.  They have to look good, be affordable (one day), be practical and not cost a fortune to run.  I have to envisage that one day I might be in a position to own it.

If not it is a briefly attractive but ultimately ornamental fluff.  It's just not in my DNA to lust after unreachable and impractical cars - even if I quite like them and appreciate the noise they make.

What does a car mean to you?

NB: I posted this article to Jalopnik.  Check out the responses.  Very deep and meaningful