THE END OF AN ERA
My Saab died.
I know it's dumb to get attached to a car but I've had it for about eight, maybe nine, years and it's never let me down. Well, once it did but that was a few weeks after I got it so that's allowed.
Which means I need a new car (not that kind of new) and that we'll have to go through that whole 'trust' thing, like when you get a new partner. How far will they take you without spoiling your day? What kind of baggage are they carrying you don't know about? But at least with a car you get a sheet of paper that says how many other people they've been with and a rough idea of how they've been treated.
I was going to make some kind of cheap gag about how it would be funny if, when you start a new relationship, you asked to see their papers so you could get a glimpse into how it all might pan out and then I thought better of it. Somewhere out there in the world, there will be people who insist on knowing this kind of thing. It probably won't come up in the first week, possibly not even in the first month, but it will come up - and to those sorts of people it will be A Very Big Deal.
If you are one of those people - buyer beware! You will be lied to. The mileage may not be quite as accurate as you had hoped.
And so, the search begins. I have a few ideas but there's one thing I know for certain before I begin. Cars have become dull as hell - much like our phones. Once upon a time you could go into a phone shop and choose from a hundred designs and it made phone shopping quite a thing. Now, all you can do in a phone shop is choose a size of a sheet of glass.
Cars have gotten pretty much the same... technology has driven them to be so aerodynamic and safe that vehicle design has gone out of the window. A VW saloon looks more or less like a Peugeot saloon, looks more or less like a Toyota saloon etc... if you stripped their badges off, your average Joe would be hard pushed to get excited about any of them. Your choice in 2018 (unless you have won the lottery) is A: a very small hatchback type car B: a medium sized car - usually a three door affair C: a large saloon type car for going 100mph without noticing D: an off road 4x4 type thing E: something that looks like a van but is pretending to be a car that is only acceptable if you need to do the wheelchair thing or F: a people carrier.
A, B and C should look to the past and do something about it because ain't nobody going to look back on the new Audi A4 with the fondness they have for the 100 or the Coupe or the Quattro. It may be a technological marvel that can park itself or whatever but at heart, this too is now a slab of glass.
D: There are loads of these in our street and so far as I know, they are either used to go take kids to school and/or to transport very small dogs... a maximum of about four miles a day. Where I go to take Hector for a walk - which is very much off-road - I have never seen one of them.
E: Unless you do have a wheelchair - in which case they're just the thing - I'm not sure why anybody would buy one. They're horrible and people who need to use wheelchairs are not totally devoid of taste. Wheelchair users of the world should unite and tell whoever makes them they too would like a useful car that looks great and not like something the Pope used to drive back in 1986.
F. The people carrier. Bah. How many people do you actually need to carry that you can't get in a regular car unless you happen to be a taxi driver? Your kids should be in school and they should get there on the bus... unless you live miles away in the country, in which case you should be doing D not F. Next time you see a people carrier that's not a taxi - check it out for how many people it's actually carrying. That number will be One. Who would buy a car called Sharan anyway? More to the point... who the hell let that through in the marketing meeting?
This is car design:
To own either of these now (in their original form) would be a Money Pit of the Highest Order, but surely it can't be that hard to put today's tech into yesterday's design.
Know this. One day they will... because much like the phones we're all using, there's nowhere else to go.
Maybe I'm just sore because for the first time in about twenty years, I no longer have a car. Best get busy.