Five by Five: Mental's Favorites (and Yours) in 2015

W Christian Mental Ward
by W Christian Mental Ward
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here
five by five mental s favorites and yours in 2015

It seems like a fine tradition here at TTAC for the contributors to look back on their work over the past year and actively seek feedback. The comments are my favorite part of this site, and it’s because of them that my work has shown up elsewhere. That’s a long way from the first contribution I emailed Bertel Schmitt from my Air Force computer.

While I may have dropped my contributions from a 2013 high of 43 posts, 2015 was better than my 2014 total of five. In fact, I think I posted enough this past year to warrant a list of my favorites and yours.

So, shall we?

Your #5 — “ Adam’s En’light’ening Experience“: I feel a bit guilty about this. My buddy Adam wrote the whole piece and I just liberally quoted him, but it stuck a chord with those of us who turn a wrench. Adam retired from the Air Force this past fall and drove the Cutlass back to his home in Omaha, Nebraska. It might be for sale soon.

Your #4 — “ In Which Our Author Narrowly Missed a Trip to Jail“: Coming back from Pittsburgh, I had a pleasant conversation with a uniformed representative of the Commonwealth of Virginia. I paid them $125 for the privilege. The B&B responded with a great conversation about cruise control features, speed enforcement in various states and a really polite disagreement about increasing speed limits versus the status of vehicle maintenance on American roads.

Your #3 — “ 2015 Chevrolet Malibu LT Rental Car Review“: As it turned out, we mostly like the 2015 Malibu, but we just don’t like what GM did with it.

Your #2 — “ Capsule Review: 2015 Ram Quad-Cab Tradesman“: I grabbed the keys to a buddy’s new Dodge Ram during my brief attempt at construction project management. It wasn’t a bad truck and I liked it. I thought you would enjoy hearing about it, and boy did you. The discussion was my largest comment collection at the time.

Your #1 — “ No Fixed Abode: Does It Really Take Privilege to Own a Cheap Car?“: My “Privilege Mercedes” garnered the most comments by a huge margin — and almost as many as all my other pieces combined! I expected mockery for this, but it was a lively discussion regarding the spectrum of mechanical ability, the effect of various climates on vehicles and “new vs. old.” I’ve not capitalized on this popularity for the simple reason that not much has happened with that particular car, but the water pump went out last month, so expect an update…

My #5 — “ Rental Review: 2015 Nissan Altima 2.5 CVT“: I hate the Nissan Altima CVT. Why is this my I was glad to find a car I actually don’t like. I was worried I would become one of those guys

My #4 — “ The Ballad of the Death Star“: It was an old story about an old van, but before I got into an argument with and left Facebook, the shares ultimately reunited me with three buddies I had not spoken with in 15 years.

My #3 — “ 2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS Track Test“: Yes, it is my redneck roots (hey, I sold the El Camino) but I really enjoyed lapping Gingerman Raceway in a Camaro SS.

My #2 — “ 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Track Test“: The new Corvette is better than people realize — the problem is the reputation. Mark snuck this one under the radar right alongside my Nash write up just before New Year’s Eve and I notice it had been posted until I had dinner with David Walton and he mentioned it.

My #1 — “ 2015 Porsche 911 GT3: The Capsule Track Test“: My “day job” doesn’t suck, nor do my coworkers and the cars I get to play with. Even after the Huracán and Corvette Z06, the GT3 still makes my pulse quicken every time I get behind the wheel. The review seemed well received — so much in fact I kept with the played-out “cars are like chicks, man” theme literally until the end of the year. I promise I will try to be better.

It appears you enjoy my stories rather than my track tests. That’s a problem, because I love the track tests (who wouldn’t?) and I don’t rent cars very often. But stay tuned. We will find our common ground.

I will close by sincerely thanking you, the B&B. I have spent 2015 doing what I want instead of what I have to. It’s an amazing freedom, and occasionally someone gives me a little money for it. I am still operating in the red, but that tide is turning. I am here because you welcomed me, critiqued me and spurned my ambition.

Where can I take this now? Let’s use 2016 to find out.

Christian “Mental” Ward has spent the last year transitioning from once respected Air Force Officer to longhaired hippy. He is a graduate of Panoz Racing School, a supercar coach (yes, that is a real job) and once exceeded the speed of sound. Married to the most patient woman in the world; he has four dogs and spends his spare time attempting to be a middle-aged racecar driver. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Vine at M3ntalward

W Christian Mental Ward
W Christian Mental Ward

School teacher, amateur racer, occasional story teller.

More by W Christian Mental Ward

Join the conversation
  • Wumpus Wumpus on Jan 04, 2016

    Your #4 — “In Which Our Author Narrowly Missed a Trip to Jail“: Over 80mph in VA? Checks: yup. [live in MD. Folks are in NC. Have to be careful around holidays when visiting them.]

  • CJinSD CJinSD on Jan 04, 2016

    I was impressed that you managed to work Miranda Lambert into a car review that was published the exact day she was under attack from the animal humpers for expressing her love of her grand mother, who gifted her with a hand-me-down fur coat for Christmas. Nobody seemed to notice though.

    • See 3 previous
    • VolandoBajo VolandoBajo on Jan 06, 2016

      @Drzhivago138 Ah, yes...the social justice warriors, lacking a common belief but united by the certainty that they are superior and anyone who doesn't subscribe to their ideology is an idiot and moral pond scum, and will gladly tell you that you are. Their diatribes are untainted by either logic or civility...merely by vituperation, in the mistaken belief that they have somehow shown themselves to be better than the object of their scorn. Eternal vigilance in the failed attempt to remove alternate viewpoints from consideration. But fear not, unlike poisonous mushrooms that look quite similar to edible ones, these lower life forms are usually self-identifying. And relatively harmless, except for the wasted bandwidth.

  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.
  • Jeff A bread van worthy of praise by Tassos.
  • Jeff The car itself is in really good shape and it is worth the money. It has lots of life left in it and can easily go over 200k.
  • IBx1 Awww my first comment got deletedTake your “millennial anti theft device” trope and wake up to the fact that we’re the only ones keeping manuals around.
  • ToolGuy "Images © 2023 Tim Healey/TTAC; Mercedes-Benz"• I bet I can tell you which is which.