By on December 23, 2015

2015 Honda Civic Concept

Now it can be told: Perhaps the most cringe-worthy moment of my life was my own “Affluenza” episode, otherwise known as “The Time I Wrote A Poem About Not Getting A BMW 2002 For Christmas.”

I was eighteen years old and busy failing to fulfill my potential at university. I was already on my second car, the infamous Red Marquis, having unceremoniously crashed my 200SX on my first unsupervised day as a temporary-license holder. During one of our brief telephone conversations that fall, my father asked me some questions about “old BMWs,” with particular focus on the 2002. My fevered imagination had grasped that straw and run with it until I was honestly surprised to get two sweaters and a couple of shirts on the blessed morning of the 25th.

I went back to school early so I could mope in private and write a poem about it, the worst couplets of which I’ve retrieved from memory for your amusement:

The gift that I had expected to view
The chrome on a vintage Bimmer ’02.
Something I’d hoped that you had found
With pre-impact bumpers and taillights round

We can draw the curtain on this, I think, because at this point I’d really like to get in a time machine and slap myself across the face for that. Why I thought my father would buy me a third car to celebrate the series of non-accomplishments that had blighted my first semester away at a school for which he was paying the entire tab … Jesus. Sorry, Dad. The worst part of it was that I insisted on doing a dramatic reading of the whole thing for this gorgeous little brunette I knew, and that I stood up with absolute seriousness and bellowed each line as if I was performing a close reading of The Waste Land. Sorry for that, Deidre. No wonder it didn’t work out.

Let’s get to my Christmas list for this year. The chances of me getting anything on this list, which is addressed to the automobile and motorcycle manufacturers out there, are about the same as my actual chances of receiving a pale blue, round-light 2002 back in 1989. But now as then I suffer for a sort of impudent optimism that tells me of the possibilities to be grasped if we will each but stand up and ask for our heart’s desire. So, as Eugene Henderson once said: I want, I want, I WANT!

Civic Concept

A lime-green turbocharged Civic Si, making at least 250 horsepower and featuring a six-speed manual transmission. I don’t think there should be a problem making this happen. Every year there’s some wacky color on the Civic Si. The past few years it’s been the orange that I associate with my old friends at Compass360 Racing. Why not use lime green instead? If they build it, I will buy one. I don’t mean that in the Jalopnik commenter sense of “I’ll totally buy one of those once they fetch $2,999 at the local buy-here pay-here, assuming my parents pay off my student loan debt and I win the lottery.” I mean that I’ll put a deposit down when it’s announced and then I’ll show up with the rest of the money when the car arrives. Simple as that. Make sure the car is appropriately lime green. Get it done, Honda.

Corvette Grand Sport. The standard Corvette is one of the most brilliantly conceived and executed vehicles I’ve ever had the pleasure of driving. The Corvette Z06… well, it’s very fast in certain conditions. Clearly, the C7 is calling out for the Grand Sport treatment. It could be a riff on the C6 Grand Sport, with the wider tires and functional aero of the Z06 coupled to the basic LT1 engine, or it could be a more exciting throwback to the C4-GS with a special version of the NA motor tuned for more power and more drama. You can’t tell me that the LS7 cannot be resurrected for this application. Maybe it could be tuned even further. Don’t forget to bring back the sharky vents, too. Poof! The best Corvette ever.

Charger Hellcat with manual transmission. What’s stopping this from being built? No stick-shift center console in the existing inventory? FCA won’t sell too many of them, but the people who will buy them will be enthusiastic and devoted ambassadors for the brand. This is another car which would significantly raise my purchase enthusiasm. With the Hellcat run being perennially sold-out as is, I can’t imagine this one will ever get built. The aftermarket will do it eventually, I suppose.

A Porsche Speedster that adheres to the original tradition. Remember the original 356 Speedster? It was meant to be a true entry into Porsche ownership that preserved the dynamic qualities of its betters while offering little in the way of comfort. The 911 Carrera Speedster of the ’80s, by contrast, was a remarkably crass lash-up that looked like a developmentally-handicapped toad and served primarily as an announcement of wealth acquisition that was both staggering and staggeringly recent. Let’s not do that again. Instead, let’s have a 718 variant that comes just one way, in just a few colors, for some outrageous price like, oh, $39,999. It doesn’t need a lot of motor. Doesn’t need a lot of wheel and tire. Vinyl interior, no fuss. Six-speed manual. Four-speaker stereo. Make it a car that young upwardly-mobile singles can afford. You know, the kind of kids who buy a G35 or 328i right now. Announce that it’s a loss-leader financed by sales of Panameras or something. Create a new generation of Porsche loyalists that has no ties to oil money or overseas stock exchanges.

The return of the Camry hatchback. Come on. You know it would be cool. A nice long liftback terminating in a discreet Kamm flip. All the versatility of a Saab with none of the flakiness. Obviously, it’s best served as an XSE V-6 manual, but I know that particular combination isn’t available right now. Still, if they did it, I will waive my consulting fee for suggesting the name: Camry SR5. Or SR6, maybe. If Honda wants to beat Toyota to the punch, it would be simple. Crosstour-ish body, standard ride height, dump the SUV styling cues.

Mustang Super Bullitt. Dark Highland Green Mustang fastback with GT350 engine but none of the handling stuff. Just a bad-ass street warrior with no track pretensions. Every. Single. One. Would. Sell. Immediately. Make the automatic optional if you don’t mind.

A full revamp of the Kawasaki Concours C-14 with the full ZX-14R mill. This one’s personal, too. I want a ZX-14R but I’d also like to take some pressure off my oft-snapped wrists and arms. Cruise control, 208 horsepower, a nice comfy seat, large fuel tank. Something to ride across the country at triple-digit speeds.

My last Christmas wish has nothing to do with cars. It’s the wish that every member of the Best & Brightest would take a few minutes to choose American-made clothing, appliances, industrial goods, and tools in the upcoming year. If you’re reading this from within the states and territories of the USA, then it’s simple patriotism and economic sense for you to buy American. If you’re one of those foreigner types, then consider it a great way to express your gratitude for keeping you out from under the thumb of Hitler or Tojo or Brezhnev. If you’re a member of ISIS, then for the love of G-d please consider taking that plumber’s contact information off your new truck. That’s all, folks!

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63 Comments on “It’s Time For My Christmas List...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I know a lot of folks love the Bandit but I think a ‘Busa motor’d GSX-S1400 with a touring ready electrical system and subframe would work pretty well. They could make a bare bones naked hooligan version and an “XLE” faired version with heated grips, cruise control, hard luggage and all that other good stuff. Personally I still don’t get the appeal of touring motorcycles…. cars just work so much better to that end… when I am on a bike I want to tap into my primal lizard cortex and be one with the bike…. but Suzuki and Kawi definitely have the tools to make some mean tourers. Something like the old ZZR1200.

    Or you could just put riser bars on a ZX-14.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I think you’re partially describing the B-King which was so under-promoted that it came and went without me realizing it was for sale here!

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        B-King has the kind of looks a mother would hate and most likely has an ultra-contrarian cult tax. If you can put up with the scooter fairing I’m thinking that new GSX-S1000F will be a good fit. Definitely more comfy than your VFR, but also with like 50 more HP.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      About 160 HP with full exhaust, intake, and ecu tune on the C-14. I had a stock C-10 with bar risers in my 30’s and would still get shoulder cramps. The Connie is a very sporty touring bike that I watch used C-14’s dip well below $10K used.

      Not that the ability to run high-10’s on a modified C-14 is not quick enough, Kawasaki has 310hp jetski supercharged 1,400cc. The C-14 H2 would at least give some boost torque.

  • avatar
    Fred

    At 63 I just want to be able to drive my Elan for another 10 years, and then sell it for 6 figures, so I can afford a nice house keeper.

  • avatar
    GermanReliabilityMyth

    I’m glad you mentioned the Camry hatch/wagon. Correct on all counts. I still carry a secret lust (well, maybe not so secret if you ask my wife) for an XV10 Camry wagon. That car captured the can-do-but-why-bother attitude of the 90s, the last gasp of tangible Toyota quality along with a healthy dose of space shuttle looks. Plus, the double rear wipers were pretty cool.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      I know that I could guarantee sales of 2 if they built the hatch back soon. Both my wife and S-I-L drive Malibu Maxxes that need to be replaced soon but there’s nothing available at a sensible price.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      +1 to the return of true 5 door liftbacks to mainstream models. Look at the 2016 civic, its begging for a hatch instead of the mail slot trunk it’s stuck with. I’d love to hunt down a clean and rust free first gen Mazda 6i 5door with a manual.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Jack, I’m with you on the Super Bullit. I can’t justify the jump from The Mustang GT to the GT350 because I’d never track the car. I love the noise of the 5.2L screamer, but for what I’d be doing with the car, it’s not worth the almost $15K price jump. I would also feel bad not tracking a GT350. I’d have no problem paying MSRP for what you described.

    • 0 avatar
      daviel

      “Mustang Super Bullitt. Dark Highland Green Mustang fastback with GT350 engine but none of the handling stuff. Just a bad-ass street warrior with no track pretensions. Every. Single. One. Would. Sell. Immediately. Make the automatic optional if you don’t mind.” SOLD!

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    My Christmas wish is that the T-Bird will survive the winter.

    One of these days my luck (and traction) is gonna run out at the worst possible time…

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Pray to the Gods of Essex and AOD. Though they are not always Gods of kindness and forgiveness, hopefully they will smile down upon you.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Well I actually pray to the gods of Modular V8 and 4R70W, but I appreciate the sentiment.

        Of course, my traction problems would be helped if I could afford a new set of tires.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Well 4R70W is a revised AODE, and is in the AOD family. The Mod Motor certainly a better place to be than ye olde 3.8L.

          Try to find used tires on Craigslist or something. The tires are 215/70-15?

        • 0 avatar
          never_follow

          Take a look around for “equivalent” diameter tires. I tend to do that for my cars because A) I’m cheap and B) I need to get sets of four because of AWD.

          For example, stock on one is 205/55/16… 215/50/16 or 225/50/16 do the trick just as well, or better. You never know who’s trying to get rid of a set cheap, so searching all equivalents could be worth it.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I’m willing to go shorter but definitely not narrower, I’m a Wide Track kind of guy.

            I bet I can find 225/50/16, seems like it would be a common size for Camcords and sh*t.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Honestly I thought this: http://tinyurl.com/j9kaxhq was the sort of thing that would be on Jack’s Christmas list.

    Or perhaps that’s what he wants a Corvette Grand Sport for?

    • 0 avatar
      j3studio

      As a Corvette person who remembers that “plastic date bait” Car and Driver quote from all those years ago, I can’t believe I’ve never seen that picture before …

  • avatar
    Jesse

    “The return of the Camry hatchback.”

    Careful what you wish for. I can’t see how they’d pull this off without making it the Camry Cross Tour.

  • avatar

    A lot of people ask me what I want for Christmas – what can they get me.

    I already have every single thing I want – except a 300 HELLCAT.

    I got the money saved up – but I can’t even buy it cause it doesn’t exist yet.

    This Christmas I don’t want anything really.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I do like that green… I like the orange too. Not many cars get orange right, but Honda has.

    I think you and I are the same height… can you fit comfortably in an SI? I think I sat in a 2014 sedan once, but never the coupe. I’ve had a feeling my next Honda will be a 2-door Accord again because of the size.

  • avatar
    ArialATOMV8

    There is 2 project cars for sale near my house. Up first is a old BMW 6 series shark that has sat for awhile. THe paint is still good but, it needs a new front bumper and some tail lights.

    The other one would be a nightmare but possibly worthwhile in the end. It’s a BMW 2002 with the round tail lights. The chassis is completely rusted out but, suprisingly the inside is ok and, the engine is inact (may need some parts for)

    They would be a good christmas present. However, for me, the real keeper would be a 80 series Land Cruiser. I’ve been dying to get one for awhile now!

  • avatar
    omer333

    I’m with you on the Civic Si/Type-R. I think I’d want mine in blue or silver. It would definitely alleviate my desire for a turbo Subaru.

    One thing I wish Honda would do for the US market is offer an Accord Sport 6MT with all the stuff and colors the Canadian market gets. I would love to have a Sport 6MT with CarPlay/Andriod Audio, heated seats, a bit of leather, and in blue!

    And if the B&B are having trouble with idea of dropping serious coin on a lot of the American-made products out there, a lot of New Balance sneakers are made in the USA and are pretty reasonable in the price department. Especially if you price them against a pair of Air Jordans.

    • 0 avatar
      Moparmann

      @omer333: YES! +100 to EVERYTHING he said! I cannot understand WHY Honda limits the US market as it does for manual equipped cars; its’ color palette has never been extensive. Since I cannot have the blue 6-speed V-6 Accord coupe that I desire, I’m not sure what my next vehicle choice would be!

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Actually, you’re in luck. For 2016 they ditched white and added blue. Go buy your car before they change their mind.

        Me, I’m planning to dump the Scion and the Altima next year and get a 2015 V6/MT Accord in white, because it’s what my heart desires most in cars. Bark’s story about the Boss last week made me realize that life is short and I should drive what makes me happiest. I’ve gone through at least 6 cars since I sold the 2011 three years ago.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          And I have a feeling based on that Ward’s article from yesterday that Honda’s going to dump the V6s on the Accords, so get ’em while you can! I’m not ready to drop the hammer yet, but hopefully by this time next year there’ll be more smoke signals.

          Or just get the American Honda address in Torrance, and start a letter-writing campaign!

          “Little wheels are for HAMSTERS!”

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    If they built a Porsche 718 Speedster as described, the only people that would buy them would be empty-nesters that remember the arrival of the first 911. Kids that lease $40K cars don’t know what it means to be without all the stuff that the new Speedster wouldn’t have.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      40k? It seems that nowadays Porsche charges extra for removing content.

      “You’d like your mid engined sports car in coupe form instead of a convertible? That will be an additional $4,000.00”.

  • avatar
    motoridersd

    I hear you on the Charger Hellcat with a manual. This Jalopnik Opposite Lock article mentions why (buy you’ve probably already read it) http://oppositelock.kinja.com/how-come-the-charger-doesnt-come-with-an-mtx-the-answ-1658664196

    “The Charger platform does not have provisions in the floorpan to accommodate a Manual Transmission. Changing the floorpan (more than simply punching a hole for the shifter) would necessitate a full impact and crash safety certification and homologation effort which would cost much more than the incremental profit from a small fraction of Chargers with Manual Transmissions.”

    Which is a shame. Now, having said that, I have driven a Challenger and hated the visibility, is the Charger any better?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I have no xmas “wish list”, but what I would like to dream about is selling my 2012 Impala LTZ at the Barrett-Jackson auction for $100,000!

    Yeah, I know that’s stretching things a bit, but it might be worth that to someone…

    Still, it would be cool to go to Pebble Beach and walk around with a glass of champagne and talk to the likes of Jay Leno, Wayne Carini and others and enjoy rich men’s sport and relating the sheer joys of driving the Impala for the last 3½ years!

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I wrecked a Concours many many years ago, still miss it. It was plenty fast for me, but then I Am Not Jack Baruth. Love that green Civic, do it Honda. DO IT!

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Being a haphazard representative for an OEM, instead of the Super Bullitt, how about I hit an empty can of Skoal Apple with some layers of catalyzed basecoat and clear and ship that to you? merry fuggin xsmas.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    That Civic is one sexy little car. I looked at their site and the standard colours are awful. A hot pink or wild purple colour would be cool too.

    The Super Bullitt is a cool idea.

    Bike – make mine a Diavel with Ti pipes and factory tuner kit. Nothing sounds sweeter on this planet.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    The Grand Sport would be cool, but I’d be just as happy if they just fixed the Z06 and made it a reliable, durable, track car that didn’t overheat or blow up after a couple of hard laps.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I didnt have the scratch to get what I want for Xmas in the automotive realm, but once we get out of this winter I’m gonna get springs/shocks and maybe an RSB for my Civic. My quasi realistic wish is for a “new” motorcycle- any naked liter bike from the SV1000 to a new Speed Triple would do. My no chance in hell wish is for a supercharged Exocet.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      If you get a chance, ride a Kawi Z1000 and a Yamaha FZ-09/XSR 900. There’s talk of a throwback sportbike coming from Honda.

      http://www.revzilla.com/common-tread/rumors-honda-putting-cb900r-into-production

      I’d be really interested in that.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I’m not really a bike guy, but I wish some company would make a sportbike that looks like an old Gixxer 750.

        Twin round headlights up front and a boxy back end with cheesy stripes, hell yeah!

  • avatar
    Silent Ricochet

    I’m probably the only one that wants this, but I really want GM to make a performance compact or hatchback again. Think Cobalt SS (Supercharged or Turbo), without the horrible interior and ignitions.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    I want:
    – Acura to give us a twin turbo V6 coupled to shawd and the 9 speed dual clutch. A 6 speed manual would be fine. The Precision Concept hopefully delivers the styling punch the teaser pic hints at.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I’m with you on the Porsche. Not that I would buy one, but it would do me good to know the buyers of that specific model of Porsche were not the complete Douche that I pre-judge most Porsche owners to be. I get that it is not right but it seems that most of the Porsche owners I meet nowadays are for the most part not very likable or what I would consider a driving or auto enthusiast.

    • 0 avatar
      JD23

      Most of the Porsche owners I know are executives who are conspicuous consumption enthusiasts, rather than auto enthusiasts.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      As a 911 owner, thanks in advance for that comment.

      I am an enthusiast to the bone, on a life long journey to find the perfect driver’s car. Most fellow Porsche owners that I know (all the 2-door car versions) are the same.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    I want Honda to still offer the V6 in the Accord, even if it would add some to the cost, in 2018. Smoooooooooooooooth and refined is how I like my torque, not peaky, and served up in a dish which will suck up the oil and spit parts out at 100,000 miles!

  • avatar
    raph

    “Mustang Super Bullitt. Dark Highland Green Mustang fastback with GT350 engine but none of the handling stuff. Just a bad-ass street warrior with no track pretensions. Every. Single. One. Would. Sell. Immediately. Make the automatic optional if you don’t mind.”

    Personally I’d further differentiate a 5.2 from the GT350 version by making it a cross plane crank engine. The bigger bore and better heads along with the 12:1 compression ratio would do wonders for the Coyote even without the flat crank. Ford could probably squeeze an honest 460-470 horsepower out of that.

    I’m note sure about the Getrag MT82 behind such an engine but if it can handle the output I’d go with something less aggressive in the final drive (the GT/PP’s s 3.73 final drive is practically useless with the MT82) as the extracubes and output would compensate allowing less aggressive gearing – probably a 3.31 final drive in combination with the MT82 and it would no doubt return quicker sprints since less shifting would be involved.

    Bullitts are known more for their handling than power anyway so I’d use the GT’s Performance Pack as a jumping off point then add the GT350’s four caliper rear brakes with standard style rotors all around but even better pads and use the MRC dampers in conjunction with the Performance Pack springs for a comfortable ride but with none of the standard GT/PP’s wallowy ride.

    The car would also use the standard Mustang suspension where possible and only the bits from the GT350 (say for the rear brakes if necessary) if the need is there.

    Another key change would be to dump the craptacular Pirellis and go with the GT/PP sized tires in a Michelin Pilot Super Sport tire.

    To further enhance the experience I’d dump the resonator for an X-pipe and go a little more aggressive on the mufflers in combination with the GT350’s open element air cleaner both of which would add some noise.

    I’d offer both standard and Recaro chairs for the interior plus all the standard GT options.

    Exterior would be standard Mustang GT except no Mustang badges on the car and just a medallion between the rear lights indicating it is a Bullitt

    Pricing would be fairly close to a base GT350 and just over the base price of a GT350 when fully optioned out.

  • avatar
    kevnsd

    Jack come on… how is there not a new guitar, watch or pair of shoes on this Christmas list ;- )

    Wishing you and your family a very merry and safe holiday!

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and everyone as well. I can’t say I’ve ever asked for nor expected a car for Christmas. Musical instruments (and all the accessories) and books have been on my list since I was about eight, though. However, my car wish list would feature a return of the S2000.

    As for finding good, US made stuff, I have some suggestions, although it’s a little late for giving this year. I’ve had good experience with most of these (I haven’t bought all those guitars, though).

    – Tom Bihn bags ( http://www.tombihn.com/ ). I used to go throw a bag or two every year, but I’ve had a Bihn bag for about seven years, and it’s barely aged).
    – SAS Shoes ( https://sasshoes.com/ ) Just good, Texas made shoes.
    – Grado Labs ( http://www.gradolabs.com/ ). Headphones and phono cartridges. It’s been a while since I bought one, but I think they’re still US made. I think the SR-60s are a far better choice than anything Dr. Beats, anyway.
    – Couch straps (http://www.couchguitarstraps.com ). I first heard of these from one of Jack’s articles, and they’re pretty cool. Anyway, guitar straps, wallets, etc. Made from vintage vinyl and other materials.
    – Sterlingwear Peacoats ( http://www.sterlingwear.com ). They’re peacoats. If it’s too cold or you’re not feeling cool enough for a leather jacket, there’s always a peacoat.
    – Wassookeag Moccasins ( http://www.wassookeagmoccasins.com/ ). Despite being tough to remember or spell the name, I’ve given two people these at Christmas, and they’ve been a big hit. Take a while to get, though.
    – Guitars. I believe the US is still at the forefront of making high quality guitars. Besides the big three (Fender Gibson and Martin), there’s PRS, Heritage, Taylor, Collings, Santa Cruz, Huss & Dalton and a whole lot more. Of course many of the companies make instruments in other countries as well.

    There are others, but I thought I’d share some ideas.

  • avatar
    Scott Seigmund

    Jack,

    You may be the only auto journalist to articulate the disappointment of C6 Z06 owners about the C7 Z06. I’m disappointed enough in the C7 to sit this generation out in hopes of something better. It’s not like GM is losing much with me thought, as I’ve “only” bought one Corvette in my lifetime. Corvettes were so far out of my brain space for so many years, I wouldn’t turn my head to look at one. That all changed with a business trip to Miami a few years ago when I got “stuck” with brand new Hertz ZHZ for 9 days. I hated the automatic transmission, but the new LS3 was brilliant. I was stunned to learn that the LS family of engines still used one cam and a bunch of pushrods. That “inconvenience” of my Hertz Gold Membership got me to researching Corvettes, and I learned about the option called RPO Z06. My first test-drive of the Z06 was absolutely riveting, and I soon had the FOB to my very own Z06 in the hip pocket of my U.S.A. made 501s. I haven’t had so much pure enjoyment from a car since I was 16 years old. This 7 liter stroke of corporate brilliance got me involved in HPDE and now looking to pursue a NASA race license. After years of driving SUVs and growing increasingly tired of the ritual driving in Mid Atlantic traffic, I’m head over heels in love with a car again!

    So is the C6Z going down in automotive history as a corporate outlier? A tongue-in-cheek prank of some car enthusiast at the peak auto industry excess before the great recession? The current Z06 is a Swiss Army Knife made to do too many jobs for too many customers to be brilliant at any one thing. The LT4 is a thuggish and lazy solution to increase power and contributes a great deal to the weight gain of the C7. Massive computational intervention is now required for self preservation of the engine as well as the driver. Like a lot of guys (may not a lot after all) I wanted a Z06 100 kilos lighter like the new Miata and maybe another 50 or 60 hp. For the effort put into that idiot supercharger might we have had active aero instead that stupid air brake perched on the ugliest ass ever seen on a car?

    What is your honest opinion of the Cayman GT4?

    Happy New Year!
    Scott

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