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The Test Drive That Shattered Your Dream



  • What I loved about those old cars was that fast actually felt fast. My last American car was a 1970 Mustang Mach 1 with a 351 Cleveland engine. I loved working on it and spent every penny I made as a Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corps back in the late 80's to keep it faster than the new breed of muscle. That's about $175 a week :cry:

    As long as you didn't try to turn it would do a 13.5 second 1/4 mile. The front wheels would lift off the ground, the G force would drain the blood out of your head, and it was loud enough to drown out the screams of your passengers.

    Now that I make just a little more money I have gone in search of that same feeling. Test drives with today's cars that deliver that kind of performance just don't cut it. On a recent test drive of a Lexus IS 350, a car capable of that 13.5 second quarter mile, I noticed my wife was playing with the knobs on the stereo as I gave it all it got. Did time slow down over the years?
  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    I sort of had that problem back in 1974 when I bought an Alfa Spider.
    I had been running around in a VW Beetle, and then a Honda Civic.
    I came into some money, and bought a Spider.

    It was a great car and it handled beautifully. However, it was sort of boring to drive in that, at speeds that were "Prepare to meet Jesus" in the VW, the Alfa was as smooth as a living room sofa.

    So, logically, in order to recreate the sensation I'd had in the Beetle and the Civic, I had to drive much, much, MUCH, faster.

    I'm sure you all understand. :shades:

    Gosh, I miss that car.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,148
    Like others, I also went to try out the Crossfire when it first came out. Unfortunately, I didn't even get to the actual test drive because I couldn't fit in the car well enough to drive it.

    That's a similar story to many vehicles for me. Boxster, S2000, TT, RX8. All ruled out for their lack of tall-person accomodations. The only one I actually drove of that group was the TT. In coupe form, I was close to fitting, so I gave it a spin. Wasn't until 10-15 minutes that I realized I couldn't live with it.

    TT wasn't really a "dream." But the others were.

    Lesseee... ummm... well, the only car that really comes to mind (at the moment) outside of the "fitting" problem is the A6 2.7T. I always drooled over this car. When I finally drove a used one, I was kind of disappointed. I liked it, but I didn't love it. It didn't live up to the "dream."

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    I get all excited over the hype, reviews, magazine articles, Internet "buzz" that I'm hearing about a new or near-new car.

    First time I drove the Honda Ody back in '04 the "All thing Honda is Great" media blitz went down in flames. This turned out to be a plain looking minivan that did not stand out in any way above any of the other minivans. Ended up with a Mazda MPV which is a lot better van.

    Who or what do you blame for this dis-connect?

    I blame Edmunds. :P
    They built Honda Ody up to god like status like all the other web sties/mag rags.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    That'll teach you not to dream about minivans, I hope.
  • ajvdhajvdh Posts: 223
    We considered an Infiniti G20 when it first came out. On paper it looked good: Everyone raved about the handling and build quality, it got good gas mileage, the dealer experience was great, yada*3. Then we drove it: That the dealer practically threw the keys at us and said, "take it for the weekend," should have been a warning sign. The 4 banger was smooth for a 4 banger, but it was pretty gutless, even with the 5-speed. We wanted something with at least as much interior room as my fox chassis T-bird, and the G20 didn't quite qualify. Wound up with a Maxima, which gave up a little in handling, but it rode better, had far more guts and decent interior room. And it was cheaper.

    The EVO story, which happened to a friend, is even worse in that he wrote the check before having his dream shattered. He's a long time DSM (Diamond Star Motors - google if you need to) fan. The kind of guy who owned an AWD Eclipse that ran high 12s here in CO. So when it was announced that the EVO was coming to the US, he was about the first on on the waiting list. He put down his deposit and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally got the car, and at first it was everything he thought it would be. He took me for a ride, and I was impressed. There was one thing I found off-putting: At the time I owned an E36 M3 set up for track and auto-x, which translates to a suspension that would allow me to run over a quarter and tell whether it was heads or tails. Compared to the EVO, it was cushy. He wasn't too bothered, it was part of owning a hot car. His only objection was that the seats had too much lumbar.

    Then he and his wife went for a 3 hour drive in the mountains. When they got home, between the seats and the punishing ride, his back hurt so much his wife had to help him out of the car and drag him into the house. But he so loved the car, he spent weeks trying to figure out how to adapt it to him, or vice versa. He looked at replacing the seats with adjustable Recaros, but couldn't justify the eye-watering cost.

    So, he sold it. Naturally he'd owned it long enough that the initial feeding frenzy had abated, so he got normal used car money for it, instead of getting his money back as he might have done if he'd discovered the problem right off the bat.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,614
    maybe you should have put some ladder bars and better tires on your old stang. ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,405
    You know what would work for you? Get yourself one of the better quality AC Cobra kit cars. They are really fun "like in the old days".

    After driving a VW bug, you could put wheels on a rain barrel and feel like you upgraded :P

    EVO -- fabulous car, but it can beat you up. Same with the STi Subaru. These cars are fast, great handlers, real bargains but boy are they crude compared to an M3.


  • oldcemoldcem Posts: 309
    Know what you mean - What's missing is all that low end torque the muscle cars had. I once had a 69 Olds 442 - 400/325 HP that was a blast to drive. Now I drive a 3 liter European car that's probably just as fast to 60, and, has about 30 MPH more top end than the Olds did. When you romp it - it feels like a gas turbine spooling up. You just don't get much sensation of accerleration, but, you glance down at the speedo and you're well over 100 mph.

  • My dream car for sooo long, especially because its so expensive and couldn't afford it... but then the time came when I could afford one, so I test drove a brand new 2002 Acura NSX in Pearl Yellow. So pretty! Sat in the car and my head hair was touching the top... so I removed the Targa top with the help of my friend. Then proceeded to drive... next thing i know I'm stepping on my own feet. Wide feet plus narrow wheel wells is not a good thing. So dream shattered. Fun car, good power, well handling... but i just don't fit! Maybe an automatic would work, but wheres the fun in that?! :sick:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,405
    I had a similar experience with the NSX. It was a GREAT handling car...I think anybody with a shred of competence could run it up to 160 mph with confidence.

    But you know, it sounded and felt like an Acura. It was, in a sense, too civilized for its own good. When I drove a similar year Ferrari, the engine noises vibrated through my whole body. I felt like I was attached to the camshaft---LOL!

    But in the NSX, I could have driven one handed with the stereo on and carried on a conversation at 130 mph.

    There simply was no magic in this othewise fabulous supercar. It would be like having a Superhero called "ACCOUNTANT MAN" .


  • ajvdhajvdh Posts: 223
    Ah yes. I remember the first time I saw an NSX with the hood (or whatever you call the bit that covers the powerplant on a mid-engine car) open. I thought, "Hey, this looks like a Legend engine in a mirror." As opposed to Ferraris, where the mechanical bits look either race-car purposeful if they're old, or high-tech sexy if they're new.
  • madmanmoomadmanmoo Posts: 2,039
    Was in love with the new bodystyle. Drove a brand new one that a Ford salesman drove over to me. Hopped in, was underwhelmed by the interior. Drove it. Felt like the rear end wasn't aware that we might be going around corners once in awhile. That vehicle was a major let down for me.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,405
    I had a similar experience. I remember thinking that the last generation Camaro handled better. You hit a rough patch on a turn and the Mustang liked to pogo-stick.

    But you know, for what you pay you can't expect world-class handling. That's not really fair.


  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,099
    Just a bit of a "time warp" thing for me. My older sister had long lusted after the Mustang of her dreams.....not a new one, mind you....but a '67 Fastback with a 390 big block. For a female (especially one in her 50s) you'd never consider her a "motorhead". But, there's always been something (someone?) in her past that made her lust after this particular car.

    Well, after years of searching she found one. Just as important, she found one that was meticulously restored.

    Calling her baby brother to give it a once over before she laid down the cash, I gave it a thorough inspection. Numbers matched. Researched the net. It had 3 owners (including the current one who did the restoration). As best as my untrained eye could tell, aside from the paint job (arrest me red) and some interior/exterior replacement trim pieces, it was original. I suspect at one point, the seats were reupholstered. But, even they were true to the original. Carpet and headliner were replacements.

    It would be an understatement to say the car is a "looker".

    Time to jump in and drive it. Not sure what I was expecting, but it was imminently clear from the get go how much automotive engineering has advanced in the last 40+ years.

    It makes great muscle sounds.

    Yes, it was a straight line. All that torque will break the tires with little provocation, too. You have to plan your stops.......well in advance. Hit the brakes.....and wait....and wait (scary wait). Or, mash them harder and lock every thing up. It didn't seem like there was any in-between.

    To get it to turn a corner, it was more of a fight with the car to set a line around the bend.

    I'm not stranger to muscle cars, and given a bit more time with it, would probably smooth out the way I was driving it. But, it would have taken more than the 30 minutes I had behind the wheel.

    She bought it. For the most part, she doesn't drive it all that much. And, in truth, is better at getting the beast to do her bidding than I am. Great for parades and homecomings, though. She does enjoy looking at it as it sits in her garage, though.

    moo/Mr Shiftright....I owned a recent example of a Mustang GT ('05). They are what they are. V8 in a coupe (or 'vert) with a solid rear axle. Nothing real sophisticated or exotic about them. For roughly $22K-$23K (with rebates), you can get a car with V8 rumble. 0-60 in a tick over 5 seconds. And arguably, it looks good. No fancy intereriors, though. As long as you understand that, they're a lot of fun for the money.

    Then again, I've always like Mustangs (just can't drive a 40 year old one very well).
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,511
    To me, the current Mustang is the ideal replacement for buying that '65-'72. I know it's not the same thing, but in every way it's better. My on-and-off interest in getting an old one always ends up "Sure, it'll be fun to look at and tinker with, but for the same money I can get a new GT that's fun, period." And they come in 'arrest me red'. :D
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    I know that color! I had always called it speeding ticket red....
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,405
    Also known as:

    Resale Red
    Mid-Life Crisis Red
    Steal Me Red

    Not sure why Red gets such a bad rap :shades:


  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,099
    Seems to me that any car that has even a pretense of being sporty has to be either red, black, maybe bright blue (none of that robbin's egg blue, either).

    Another car that I had high expectations of (maybe too high) was driven a few years ago. This time, it was Lingenfelter Corvette. Without a doubt the very fastest car I've ever driven. But, the quality of the conversion seemed haphazard. This 'vette only had 20K something miles on it. Perhaps they were the hardest 20K miles anyone could have imagined. Maybe it was because this car was made and converted in the early 90s. Maybe Corvettes of that vintage really weren't made all that well.

    No matter. The car did what it was supposed to do. That is go fast....very, very fast. The mere fact that it also felt like every bolt holding it together felt loose may very well be a by-product of the conversion. Or, typical Corvette build quality of the time.
  • rpfingstenrpfingsten Posts: 154
    My huge dissappointment took place back in the mid 90's. My wife and I stopped at a local Chrysler lot and test drove a "top of the line" Imperial. Interior was so plush I referred to it as the passion pit, car was ( to us ) stunning.. then came the test drive, the second that I pulled out of the parking lot, the rear view mirror literally fell from the windshield and was just hanging there from the electronic cord. Needless to say the salesmas was quite embarassed. I think that was the year I bought a caddy. Not sure, but I know it wasn't the Chrysler.

This discussion has been closed.