Piston Slap: Justification for a Multi-Car Conservatory?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap justification for a multi car conservatory

Dan writes:

Lately I’ve been obsessed with buying a Nissan Leaf as a commuter car. That might seem like a sensible stop-and-go commuter choice for most people, but there’s a wrinkle: I already have four other cars and I don’t want to get rid of any of them — 2014 BMW X1, STR class 2012 Miata, 2011 Boxster Spyder, and a 2014 Audi TT.

I autocross the ‘verts, the X1 is my long distance and winter ride, and for reasons I can’t go into I can’t get rid of the TT.

I’ve wanted an electric car for a long time (I looked into conversions 10 years ago or so, but never did one) and the prices on used Leafs are very attractive. It might not be the most exciting car, but sometimes a person just wants to drive in meditative silence with smooth and instant throttle response without actually going very far or very fast.

So, tell me there are other people out there with five cars and I’m not being crazy for wanting to be one of them.

Sajeev answers:

Talk about preaching to the multi-car choir! Check out what followed me home on Monday.

Longtime readers might remember this Town Car, somewhat freshly restored for my aunt as of this April. But it’s a bittersweet [s]Brown[/s] Town Car: her medical issues mean she never’ll enjoy the fruits of my (and my father’s) labor. Looking at it, sitting on those brand-spankin’ new Michelins with nowhere to go, just rips me apart inside…

So here’s the point: we all have a finite time on this earth, so having multiple cars is 100-percent okay!

Provided you’re covering the basics (home, food, retirement, college tuition, etc.) this is a great hobby. Multiple cars for several tasks is both pleasurable and — dare I say it — practical. A Nissan Leaf is wonderfully roomy, comfortable and cost-effective for your joyful daily commute.

A financially secure car nut can justify damn near anything, hence I salute you for embracing the cheap and cheerful world of commuter cars. Just do your bank account a favor and (briefly) consider selling one of those roadsters. Then do your boy Sanjeev a favor and consider getting a bittersweet-brown Leaf.

[Images: Nissan, © 2017 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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  • Asdf Asdf on Jun 16, 2017

    The Nissan Leaf is complete, utter crap, with its extremely long charging time and its extremely short range. It's a disgrace that it was even allowed on the market. If you already have four cars, I suggest that you spend the money you'd consider wasting on the Leaf, on something more useful, like beer.

  • 427Cobra 427Cobra on Jun 16, 2017

    you'd think there'd be a 12-step for people like us. I'm at 3 currently, and considering making an offer on a 4th. Three is very do-able... four can be challenging (especially with a 2 car garage). I'm always on the lookout for another set of wheels... gotta have all the bases covered! Current fleet: daily driver: 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis LS (31k miles) dog/cargo hauler: 2016 Ram 2500 crew cab 6.4L hemi 4x4 (4k miles) weekend toy: 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (8900 miles) Under consideration is an '86 Mustang GT convertible. My first Mustang was an '86 GT 'vert... always regret selling it... was the funnest of all the mustangs I've owned. I'd consider it a "project vehicle"... occasional driver for now... restomod later (bring on the Coyote swap!)

  • Brett Woods My 4-Runner had a manual with the 4-cylinder. It was acceptable but not really fun. I have thought before that auto with a six cylinder would have been smoother, more comfortable, and need less maintenance. Ditto my 4 banger manual Japanese pick-up. Nowhere near as nice as a GM with auto and six cylinders that I tried a bit later. Drove with a U.S. buddy who got one of the first C8s. He said he didn't even consider a manual. There was an article about how fewer than ten percent of buyers optioned a manual in the U.S. when they were available. Visited my English cousin who lived in a hilly suburb and she had a manual Range Rover and said she never even considered an automatic. That's culture for you.  Miata, Boxster, Mustang, Corvette and Camaro; I only want manual but I can see both sides of the argument for a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. Once you get past a certain size and weight, cruising with automatic is a better dynamic. A dual clutch automatic is smoother, faster, probably more reliable, and still allows you to select and hold a gear. When you get these vehicles with a high performance envelope, dual-clutch automatic is what brings home the numbers. 
  • ToolGuy 2019 had better comments than 2023 😉
  • Inside Looking Out In June 1973, Leonid Brezhnev arrived in Washington for his second summit meeting with President Richard Nixon. Knowing of the Soviet leader’s fondness for luxury automobiles, Nixon gave him a shiny Lincoln Continental. Brezhnev was delighted with the present and insisted on taking a spin around Camp David, speeding through turns while the president nervously asked him to slow down. https://academic.oup.com/dh/article-abstract/42/4/548/5063004
  • Bobby D'Oppo Great sound and smooth power delivery in a heavier RWD or AWD vehicle is a nice blend, but current V8 pickup trucks deliver an unsophisticated driving experience. I think a modern full-size pickup could be very well suited to a manual transmission.In reality, old school, revvy atmo engines pair best with manual transmissions because it's so rewarding to keep them in the power band on a winding road. Modern turbo engines have flattened the torque curve and often make changing gears feel more like a chore.
  • Chuck Norton For those worried about a complex power train-What vehicle doesn't have one? I drive a twin turbo F-150 (3.5) Talk about complexity.. It seems reliability based on the number of F-150s sold is a non-issue. As with many other makes/models. I mean how many operations are handle by micro processors...in today's vehicles?