gasp! I need some air, and was searching for it at - of all places- on google, semi-geek that I am, when I came across this website. Not quite what I was looking for, but refreshing nevertheless.

Friday, April 09, 2004

New York Auto Show, 2004

Thanks to Good Friday, spent most of today at the New York Auto Show instead of the dreaded office cubicle. Since that's what I did, that's what I am going to talk about.

Cars, in general, are running out of ideas, or my attention span is shrinking faster than my hairline. I skipped whatever looked like a limo or can carry a kid football team around, so I focused on the sports coupes, primarily. If I am going to dream about a car, I'd rather dream about a sports coupe than a minivan. Come to think of it, I hate dreams about minivans. I can't even think of what to talk about to people who like dreaming of minivans.

So - case in point - shrinking ideas. Apart from the totally ridiculous Toyota Triathlon 2-seater race car (which was kinda cool in it's way), every car manufacturer seems to have entered the 2-seater sports segment, and all their ideas seem to merge into the Mazda Miata or the Audi TT. Everyone and their sister company. To site some examples: Mazda RX8, BMW Z3, BMZ Z4, Cadillac XLR, Mercedes AMG, Nissan Z, Lexus LF-C, Chevy Nomad. I expected a little more from the Chevy Nomad, considering it's Shelby lineage. The Mercedes McLaren SLR was cool - but then if you can dish out more than a million for fun, you can have it in a lot of other ways. Like a fleet of forty (!) Mazda RX-8s.

So which car is the best? Of course, there's no straight answer to that, pretty much like my question about which doctor to choose for insurance when I first landed at Rutgers. If I had about $30 grand right now, I'd limit it to a BMW 3-series or a Porsche Boxter - pre-owned. They look and feel the best, the latter even better than the former. This was the first time I was sitting inside a Boxter - and I just loved the feeling. Everything is where you expect it to be. The Bimmer is a close second in that feeling, but Porsche takes it up a noticeable notch. Everything else is either too cheesy, or too expensive, or too much of a show-off, or too old. Among college kid choices are the Mazda RX-8, Chrysler Crossfire, Ford Mustang 2005, Lexus ... mind you, none of these come cheap, so you have to look like a rich college kid. Among the rich and show-offy - Mercedes AMG, Bentley, Ferrari, Maserati, Buick convetible, Dodge Viper - to name a few.

As for concepts - Lexus has a nice one - cameras instead of rear view mirrors, with the image shown on LCD panels flush on the dash. Very neat. They kill this with other innovations in their concept car on show - like vertical doors and power everything - that jumps the category from fun to drive to just show offy.

Ideally, I would like to have a car that has the road feel of the old BMW 3-series, manual seat controls - not power ones - since they are just so convenient to adjust (and lighter), amazing handling (Porsche), decent speed (911 :P ), hardtop convertible, midnight blue, suede interior, short throw shifter, 6 speed. At a decent price. Preferably pre-owned. Not asking for too much, am I?