QOTD: Choose Your Own (Fake) Adventure

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
qotd choose your own fake adventure

You’d never know it from the Internet, where the Code Of Hammurabi rules with an iron hand and people on the forums are comfortable recommending the death penalty for everything from “stancing” your car to the unjustified application of an AMG badge purchased on eBay — hold on, I kind of agree with that last one — but it is probably not a crime not to use every last iota of your vehicle’s rated capabilities. You’re allowed to own a sportbike without racing it in WERA or doing a 140-mph stand-up wheelie past a police station. It’s morally acceptable for you to purchase a Porsche 911 Targa and never run it in any sort of Targa event whatsoever. And, as difficult as you may find this to believe, not everybody who acquired a Chevy Monte Carlo was a native citizen of, or even a past visitor to, the Principality of Monaco.

Still, it’s difficult not to feel a minor bit of disdain for the various pretensions that currently animate the automotive market. Not that you’ll pick that up from reading the new-car coverage at Chicago. Most of us don’t feel comfortable doing much more than what’s encapsulated by Pope’s delightful turn of eighteenth-century phrase: Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, / And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer.

Let’s take a break from that not-quite-good-natured approach for a moment.


This year we’ve seen all sorts of vehicles ostensibly re-designed for something that virtually none of them will ever do. I’m looking at you, RAV4 Adventure … It’s gonna be a real adventure parking at those community-college night classes. You too, Colorado ZR2; how big are the rocks outside the Applebee’s you’re managing, anyway?

So let’s talk about the worst and the best of these Action Packages out there. Which ones are a total joke? Which ones offer real utility and improvements that will go completely unused? Which is more tragic, anyway?

I’m going to cast my vote for the Toyota “Pre-Runners” out there. It’s a 2WD pickup pretending to be a 4WD pickup! But we call it “pre-runner” why exactly? Because you might take it to Baja? More like you might take it to Baja Fresh, dude! Am I right? Of course I’m right!

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  • Macmcmacmac Macmcmacmac on Feb 10, 2017

    Eurosport Tercel Sport ..............cough.....ZX-14.....cough.........

  • DirtRoads DirtRoads on Feb 13, 2017

    Now, I've been to Monaco, but never owned a Monte Carlo. Although I may have ridden in one at some point, dunno. And I wear loafers to shovel snow (we've had three feet this winter) because, house. My truck is as basic as they come, with a bed that will hold sheets of plywood flat on the bottom. Perfect size. And it will also tow my sailboat, without an automatic transmission *gasp*. I'd love to go back to Monaco and park in the parking lot of the Monte Carlo with a Monte Carlo. Lowered, lights underneath, all blinged-out and parked next to someone's Ferrari.

  • YellowDuck Thank goodness neither one had their feet up on the dash....
  • Zerofoo I learned a long time ago to never buy a heavily modified vehicle. Far too many people lack the necessary mechanical engineering skills to know when they've screwed something up.
  • Zerofoo I was part of this industry during my college years. We built many, many cars for "street pharmacists" that sounded like this.Excessive car audio systems are kind of like 800 HP engines. Completely unnecessary, but a hell of a lot of fun.
  • DedBull In it to win it!
  • Wolfwagen IIRC I remember reading somewhere that the Porsche Cayenne was supposed to have a small gasoline-powered block heater. There was a loop in the cooling system that ran to the heater and when the temperature got to a certain point (0°C)the vehicle's control unit would activate the heater. I dont know if this was a concept or if it ever made it into production.
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