QOTD: Dealing With Depression?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd dealing with depression

No, not depreciation — though that might come into play here, too. A great number of car models are lackluster, deficient in style, reliability or panache, or basically appeal to buyers only for their low cost of ownership. Some vehicles are simply appliances, nothing more.

Yet appliances stimulate little in the way of bad emotion. They’re not meant to. So, despite the blandness of some vehicles, you wouldn’t call them depressing. No, that term is reserved for a very specific cohort of rides. Which models are they?

The topic of this discussion arose from a movie debate, perhaps one sparked by CNN’s obsessive campaign against a certain flick your author had no intention of seeing, but now might shell out for a ticket. The movie looks a little grim. A little depressing in its subject matter and character arc.

Sure, lots of movies are downers, but few add weight to your bones and leave life a little less colorless hours, if not days, after watching. Then there’s movies like Ordinary People (great Olds, Donald) or The Deer Hunter. There’s that episode of Black Mirror about the U.S. college student and the shadowy UK video game developer that stuck with me for days. Films and shows like this leave a mark.

And so do some vehicles. Directors try to insert such vehicles into films to give a sense of what the characters’ lives must be like; to have the vehicle embody the type of person they are, or the situation the character finds themselves in. Remember the jobless, unravelling D FENS abandoning his 1978 Chevette on a crowded L.A. freeway and walking off into the city, (empty) briefcase in hand? Think of how different that scene — and character — would be if you instead watched Michael Douglas exiting a purple 1970 Barracuda 440.

You get the point.

Some vehicles simply lack almost any redeeming figure, and the passage of time isn’t likely to make such mediocrity cool or quirky again (in some unlikely cases, this isn’t the case. Oddball vehicles or grim crapwagons can experience a resurgence in popularity among the hipster contrarian set). And while your author might be more quick to find silver linings than others, the fact remains that the derisive descriptor “penalty box” exists for a reason. What car model, perhaps one you have personal dealings with, is simply irredeemable, leaving you feeling bad for anyone seen driving one?

[Image: Murilee Martin/TTAC]

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  • PandaBear PandaBear on Oct 08, 2019

    Not any particular car, just a particular previous owner (my father in law). Trashed Escort with broken AC and worn struts, crumbled plug wires and misfiring, dirty MAF sensor and CEL, leaking radiator, dirty dirty interior, faded paint, tearing seat belt (how the heck can that happen?), missing floor mats, flooded trunk, boil over battery acid spill (he believes in acid top off instead of water). Crushed for $1k baaqmd payment. Trashed Camry with leaking roof, flooded interior from the leaking roof, P0420, stuck window guide, stuck motorized seat guide, cracked sun visor, dirty dirty interior, missing floor mats, missing radio buttons, exhaust leak, Xmas tree blinking light dash, oil leaks from every gaskets, broken thermostat, won't past smog if you don't drive on the freeway for at least 1 hr. Sold for very little money as an old people grocery car.

  • Mike-NB2 Mike-NB2 on Oct 08, 2019

    I had a Jeep Patriot as a rental a couple of years ago. I presume it was FWD only, though that isn't relevant. This was probably the worst modern vehicle I have ever driven. It had nothing redeeming about it. I was struck by the thought that it was likely sold to people who wanted the Jeep name even if it was a glorified wagon. (And for the record, I love wagons and hatchbacks.)

  • MRF 95 T-Bird The hideaway headlamps on these and other Ford vehicles of the era could have issues mostly vacuum related. Usually the vacuum hoses that ran to the actuators would deteriorate. The “coffee can” reservoir which was mounted in the front header was rarely an issue because it was protected from the elements. The other coffee can reservoir used for the HVAC controls and actuators and mounted under the passenger side wheel well had a tendency to rot away. I once replaced one on my 70 Mustang when I noticed that the vents were acting janky. Later model Fords like Fox bodies used a durable plastic globe shaped one. The radio on these 69-70 full-size Fords mounted on the left side of the aircraft style instrument cluster within the drivers touch probably disappointed many young people. “Mom will you change the station?” “Andy Williams is so square”.
  • MichaelBug For me, two issues in particular:1. It can be difficult for me to maintain my lane on a rainy night. Here in southeastern PA, PennDOT's lane markings aren't very reflective. They can be almost impossible to make out when wet.2. Backing out of a parking space in a lot with heavy pedestrian traffic. Oftentimes people will walk right into my blind spot even if I am creeping back with my 4-way flashers blinking. (No backup camera in my '11 Toyota Camry.)Michael B 🙂
  • Tagbert When you publish series like this, could you include links to the previous articles in the series so that we can follow through? Thank you. Edit: now I see a link embedded in the first paragraph that goes to the previous story. It wasn’t clear at first where that link went but now I understand.
  • DungBeetle62 When you're in one of these, you life in a state of constant low-level nervous about 90% of the time. But that other 10% kinda makes up for it.
  • Garrett Instead of foisting this problem on the car companies and the people who buy cars, make those who possess liquor licenses and those who purchase alcohol take on the economic cost of this problem.
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