Hammer Time: Fetid Distraction

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

What’s the first thing you notice when you step inside a car? Some folks look at the seats. Others will set their eyes on the carpet or the far side of the dashboard. For me… it’s smell. I swear at times I can actually tell what auction a car came from given the smell on the inside. Brands also give forth their own odorous emanations. Fur starters . . .

The Brits are the best. Leather as rich and distinctive as a well oiled saddle. It’s hard not to appreciate the intent of quality with the smell alone. Of course they now have other nationalities to help them on all the other sides of the equation (thank God) but we do have to give credit where it’s due. Koreans . . . stunk. Until recently, every Korean car I walked into had that smell of plastics that needed more time to fully ferment. 100k later the smell would still be there. Blech!!!

I’m sure some would confuse that smell with quality and a well held together machine. If that was intentional for the long run, kudos to the Koreans. They smelled their way into people’s hearts.

Today’s Rooney-esque question, “What else has your noses noticed?”

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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  • Mhadi Mhadi on Oct 25, 2009

    I like the smell of fine, soft leather (not the Ford type which may as well be vinyl), but I hate it when the car gets older and the smell changes to something I do not know what. I would buy cars with REAL fabric seats if it were still available (I am talking about luxury cars), but unfortunately the only options are leather or some obnoxious plastic that smells. I am very senstive to smell, and that is one of the first things I notice. Cars where people eat in them smell. Since when did our cars become lunch rooms?

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Oct 25, 2009

    One of the nice things I noticed about my BMW was that it didn't have a lot of "new car smell"...which dissipated pretty quickly. Compared to a Jeep I once owned, which outgassed for a very long time and gunked the windshield. mhadi, I do have actual cloth seats. You can still get them in BMW but you have to special order the car. Six years on they still look great and the cloth is way more indestructible than the 2500$ leather or the "free" naugahyde.

  • Saponetta Saponetta on Oct 25, 2009

    You know what really stinks? All weather mats. You've got to give them a good scrubbing before you put new ones in cars. I always tell people this.

  • Mark MacInnis Mark MacInnis on Oct 26, 2009

    Never buy a used pickup with cloth seats from a Septic Tank cleaning company. Ever. What were they thinking? What was I Thinking?