Saturday, June 13, 2009

The End of the World (Or Not)

The cover story in the most recent edition of Car and Driver (July 2009) has the bold headline, “Mustang Wins!” I haven’t been a subscriber to Car and Driver for very long, but there are a few things I know. First, the editors don’t particularly like Fords and, secondly, they really don’t like Mustangs. They share the common belief heard on BBC’s “Top Gear,” that the Mustang is slow, it handles poorly, and the steering is “unresponsive.” As the owner of a Mustang (there, I’ve admitted it), I have no idea what they mean by these criticisms. In particular, I don’t know what “unresponsive” or “dull” steering means. Thanks to the addition of a Mazda front end years ago, the Mustang makes great snap turns. Its steering is delightfully quick; it's a wonderful ride.

I have a Mustang because of my wife’s insistence. A few years ago, she said, “You know how men get when they’re your age?” I thought, I’m only 37 . But I said, “Huh?” She said, “You know how men have a mid-life crisis?” I thought, Jeez, I’m only 37. But I said, “Yeah?” She said, “They get a trophy wife or a sports car.” I thought, I wasn’t planning on having a mid-life crisis or a trophy wife. But I said, “Yeah?” – I have a brilliant command of the English language. She said, “The next car we buy should be a Mustang.” I wasn’t about to correct her logic if the end result was me getting a Mustang, so I said, “Okay” – another brilliant statement by me, a true wordsmith.

So, when I started to read the comparo among the Camaro, Challenger, and Mustang, I was ready for some snotty joke, like, the Mustang won at being last, or slowest, or ickiest, or something along those lines. Actually, I wasn’t too concerned about the Challenger. The Dodge is a nice looking car, but, without a supercharger, its weight makes it a dog. However, for years, it seems that car magazines have been falling over themselves to praise the new Camaro. The movie, Transformers was a two-hour-plus commercial for all things GM, in particular the Camaro. What really bothers me about the Camaro is that it’s primary target audience is not drivers but those who want others to think they know something about cars. For example, the overwhelming majority (something like 80 per cent) of the last few years of the old Camaro (1998-2002) were automatics. Anybody who actually enjoys driving knows manuals are preferable to a lousy automatic. These wienermobiles were made for people who just wanted to look good, not actually drive their ride.

Imagine my surprise when I read that the Mustang had won the comparo. The editors at Car and Driver were equally shocked because they wrote, “Yeah, we’re shocked, too, but the Mustang rocks.” Yes, the Mustang beat the new wiernermobile (a car that looks like a cross between the Challenger and the Mustang – nice original design).

Thus, my world was shaken. Surely, the end is near when a car magazine actually admits that the Mustang is better than the Camaro. Shaken to my very core, my outlook on life fractured, I gathered myself when I saw that another article compared five small SUVs, including the BMW x3. Now, as everybody knows, the automobile world has collectively drunk the BMW Kool-Aid. And who could blame them. At every level, BMW makes a model that is the benchmark for all other auto manufacturers. Any time a comparo involves a Bimmer, you read the article to see which vehicles will come in second and third. My worldview would be restored. Everything would be right in the world again when I read that the BMW x3 had won the comparo. What?! The BMW came in second?! Deep breaths. Deep breaths. Resist the panic attack. Start to get right with the Lord because the end is nigh. The walls are closing in … gasp … gasp ….

Wait. Wait one minute. Car and Driver had yet another comparo involving a BMW Z4 sDrive 35i. Okay. Hands shaking, sweat pouring down my face, my heart racing, I turned to page 102 and saw that the BMW had, once again, come in second. The horror, the horror. I now know. The world is over. These are, indeed, the end times.

However, the douche bag North Koreans announcing that they are weaponizing plutonium might be a clearer indication of the end of the world.


Anonymous said...

I was in the grocery store and saw a display for a soft drink company that is giving away what I thought was a Mustang (they had a fairly large model of a silver one). Upon closer inspection, I saw it was a Camaro--so I didn't bother to enter the contest!

fingerofdeath said...

Two things. Does Jeremy Clarkson hate America, American cars or is he just trying to be funny? Congrats Alabama, you were the highlight of Top Gear's trip to America.