Re: [OM] IMG: Seen at the Airport

Subject: Re: [OM] IMG: Seen at the Airport
From: Moose <olymoose@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 2020 12:12:43 -0800
On 3/2/2020 4:36 AM, ChrisB wrote:
I am envious, Moose.  That is the sort of Porsche that I yearn to drive, but I could 
never afford one when we didn’t need the room for small people.

I had a lovely little Alfa Romeo GT 1600 Junior with two twin Dellorto carbs, similar 
to the Weber setups you describe.  The bodywork was not good and I broke the engine 
after changing the exhaust valves, dismal failure with the camshaft adjustment 
– it had been so easy with an old pushrod engine in an Austin Cambridge.

My failure was different and on a different car. I suppose we all have them early on, when we can't afford anything decent quality and undertake work we aren't qualified for? :-)

I like the look of that Camaro, but I do have an almost religious aversion to 
US cars, as I might have mentioned over the years :-)

I wasn't expecting much, but it's what could be rented, without going to really expensive exotics, and I just wanted a convertible for the red rock country. I was quite pleasantly surprised. It appeared from the outside that visibility would be terrible; it was fine. It was a V6, not the fire breathing V8, and it was smooth, powerful and fast. Passing on those barren country, shoulderless roads was a doodle.

It was comfortable, for a low car, and pleasant to drive.

It's in a way a repeat of my decades ago convertible purchase. I looked at BMWs, Saabs, Audis, Mercedes, Camaro/Firebird (and ??) and ended up buying an Oldsmobile. All of the others had various limitations for practical use.

I looked at a gorgeous Mercedes (E-series?). Used, 30 or 40k miles, but perfect condition, in a fabulous green. Somehow, the design left the back seat really tight for two normal people. In the trunk was a huge steel box for the top. The actual usable trunk was about three ft wide, two deep and about eight INCHES fore and aft. There was also some space under that box, for maybe coats, but if they moved forward, I don't know how one would get them out.

For this, they wanted $77,000. Across the street, I ended up buying the Olds for $26,000, new. I expect I've also saved another many thousands of $ in maintenance. A transmission seal blew out, under warranty. Somewhere along the line it developed a steering fluid leak, they later had to take the head off to correct a coolant leak and it needed a new radiator recently. I've fixed a few other little things and the AC now has a leak. That's it, over 24+ years.

In the mean time, I've had endless enjoyment in a spacious, powerful car with a real trunk. One can actually go on a trip in it, with our luggage in the boot. Does it handle like my current or previous Audis? No, but it doesn't trip over itself, either.

My sister in-law bought herself a Mercedes as a retirement present. They traded it in on a Subaru in only a couple of years at least ostensibly due to the ongoing costs of recommended maintenance - and replacing a run-flat tire.

I think the auto business is so international these days that the old differences don't apply any more. Because we spend a month in New England each year, I get extended test drives of what are, sometimes laughingly, called full size cars. The reason for the size is the large amount of luggage we use for the extended trips (including "side trips" to Ireland the last couple of years, and Wales this coming Fall.) (And including buying stuff. ;-)  )

In recent years, I've driven a Ford Taurus, Toyota Camry and Chevy Impala. All were comfortable, capable, well appointed cars. I've gone out of my way the last couple of years to get Impalas. They are smooth, quiet, decent handling, comfortable, and so on. I love driving them. Probably the same V6 as the Camaro, a LOT of power for a big sedan (and a huge boot!) Carol loves them, too.

I checked. At their highest trim level, they have many of the amenities of luxury sedans. But one can't get the electronic drive control of our Audi A4 Quattro. Stomp on it and The Impala spins a front wheel off the line, with a bit of torque steering. The Audi is perfectly behaved. It also has lots of amenities such as auto dimming rear view mirrors and the like.

If I needed such a large car at home, I'd buy one off rental duty in heartbeat.

Intercontinental Moose

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