Sportscar Addiction

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
sportscar addiction

I can just about change a tyre, but that's it. I don't mind admitting it here, but stranded by the roadside, I'm paralysed by automotive machismo. When Spanner Man sticks his head into the engine bay, points and says 'There's your trouble!' I nod. I have no idea what he's talking about. I'd rather clip a jump lead on my right nipple than admit my ignorance. Still, I'm not in denial. Something's wrong and someone knows what it is. All that's left is the hassle, delay and a hit on my credit card that makes filling a Murcielago with Super-Unleaded seem like a bargain.

I just wish someone could have warned me, you know, before. When it comes to performance cars, an ounce of prevention is worth 1120 kgs of immovable TVR. In fact, I reckon the government should force TVR to put a warning label on their product: 'Warning: This Car Breaks'. Not that it would work. Even a sticker proclaiming 'Driving this Car Can Lead Directly to a Tree' wouldn't put off members of The Cult of Unbridled Horsepower. Once they hear a TVR's burble and roar- a sound that will one day cough, splutter and die- they have less reasoning ability than an Irish Setter on heat.

Of course, I shouldn't pick on TVR; the fact that the Chimaera tailed the last J D Power survey is neither here nor there. Every sports car has its drawbacks. Porsches are so reliable NASA is thinking about sending one to Mars. Yes, but what about the money? Drive your 'everyday supercar' faster than a speeding bullet and you'll spend £2000 a year on tyres, and five times that on depreciation. Unless you're something in The City, that's gotta hurt. If you are something in The City, you'll be spending your day making money, wishing you were in the country, blasting down on a winding Welsh road in your Porsche. Either way, you pay.

Even if you've got the time and money, you've got to face the problem of addiction. Drive your M3 enough and you'll be hooked worse than beagle on Marlboro. You won't be happy driving anything else. Happy? You'll be in Hell. You'll spend the entire trip to Legoland in the MPV trying to justify an M5, RS4 or some other car capable of inflicting three G's on your genetic progeny. Leave the country and it gets worse. You'll be pottering along, driving some disposable rental, thinking, 'If I was in my car, I'd be enjoying myself.'

Some people try to avoid trouble by owning two cars. This 'something for the weekend Sir?' approach is as strategically sound as invading Kuwait and threatening to cut off half of the world's oil supplies. Pistonheads inevitably choose a second car that's old and decrepit, or new and stupid. Thanks to the temporal demands of DIY, childcare, TV and alcohol, the spare car is used less than the EQ buttons on a car stereo. Golden oldies like a Dino or Aston need weekly running between total restorations. That means the frustrated owner spends all his time coaxing his car to life, or watching it being loaded on or off a transporter, rather than driving it, when it breaks down from neglect.

New cars like the Caterham 7 Superlight R or Ariel Atom are a far more sensible proposition- if you're the kind of person who likes to invest in lunar colonies. There's more chance of the moon lining up with Saturn, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus than a convergence of free time, perfect weather, open road and fully functional machine. Not to mention the fact that the weekend driver is jumping out of something resembling an average car into something very much like the kind of machine teenagers with lightning fast reflexes drive on closed circuits, for money. It's fun, fun, fun 'til the paramedics take the pistonhead away.

So, what's the answer? There isn't any. Identify which trouble best suits your nature, go the gym and practice shrugging your shoulders. Either that or forget about sports cars. Buy something so boring you never even think about driving. The funny thing is, when you pass some miserable bastard by the side of the road in his fancy sports car, you still won't be happy. You'll be remembering that glorious moment when Spanner Man set you back on your way, restoring your faith in cars and a merciful God. Face it: you're an incurable addict and pig-headed optimist. There's your trouble.

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  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.