.Isn't it funny how we never lie awake at two in the morning sweating over the throttle response on the Camry? Could it be just a little crisper? Should I look into cleaning the throttle bodies?
But, ah, Jimmy, these funny little cars weigh on our minds, don't they?
Everybody looks at things a little differently, and especially cars. Because nobody (or at least nobody I run with) has room or money for the 50 different cool vehicles which would each be perfect for individualized applications.
A diesel dually quad-cab 1 ton truck for hauling the trailer. A Q-Wagon for hauling the kids to soccer practice. A Maserati Quattroporte for crossing time-zones in silky speed. A Maybach Merc to show those clowns in the boardroom who's boss. A Dodge Demon Hellcat Redeye widebody Rat-Fink cartoon edition thing to show everybody down at C&C who's really the boss. A Ferrari 250 SWB to drive down the PCH. A Harley Davidson Heritage Softail with beach-bars and 14 headlamps to crisscross Nevada and Utah in style. A Sopwith Camel for severe-clear evenings, when looking at the sunset from the ground just won't do. A front-engined Indy racer for vintage track racing.
Et cetera. I'd love 'em all.
Most folks must make do with one vehicle or two, and they try to make that vehicle everything they might hope all of the others would be. This is why we have pickup trucks with Hellcat motors and leather seats in them, and FWD ricers with flares and scoops all over them. It explains an entire segment of the vehicle market, which has no reason to exist (the FWD XUV)
... but no vehicle can be everything to everybody. Jim Ignacio has cleverly written about the folly of trying.
I think that by making the choice to just buy and drive a fragile, clunky, leaky, unreliable plastic Easter egg, all of us here have made a choice (wittingly or not) for specialization, at least to one degree or another. These cars are not any good at all for a lot of things, but they are perfect for their intended task. The guys who don't last want their cars to have a wider bandwidth.
So what does that have to do with Jimmy's 2786 or Mitch's quote above? The highlighted part got me thinking about people and cars, and why stuff matters to one guy and not another.
I tend to look at "normal" vehicles as tools. My white box hardware store on wheels doesn't say anything about me-- it just hauls tools and stock and ladders from one place to the next. I don't need cool wheels or sticky rubber or a V12 engine in it, because all that would do is make a big white box that much more expensive. I don't want to go faster or look cooler or corner deeper-- I want to haul stuff around as cheaply as possible. The truck has to work for me to make any money-- so it can't be a beater, which is why I buy new. I want A/C, cruise, power locks, and no breakdowns. Anything more is just fluff (although the driver's side slider is pretty nice to work out of, and something I'd pay for again). I don't think I've washed mine since I bought it in 2014-- the rain does an adequate job.
My wife drives a minivan. She wants seats that fold into the floor, heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel, DVD players in the back for the grandkids, and no breakdowns. I want A/C, cruise, power locks, and to never have to work on it. It is not an XUV, because an XUV is just a less functional, more expensive minivan that still looks stupid. I do not have the blackout trim package, because a minivan with blackout trim is still a minivan. The Pacifica crosses time-zones hauling all manner of junk with zero drama, adequate speed, and decent accoutrements. We keep it clean, because nobody likes to sit in Cheetos crumbs in clean clothes (by way of comparison, my trucks headliner has coffee stains, because I wear work-clothes when I work, and I don't care). When the last one got caught in a hail-storm, we named it Hail Mary, pocketed the $10K State Farm gave me and drove it another 50K mi before selling to my daughter.
Things are meant to be what they are-- no vehicle can be everything. "Cool" is probably the hardest thing to pull off, and offers the least return on investment. However-- I've always said that if a thing is cool to me (and nobody else), then it'll always be cool to me-- because my opinion of it isn't dependent on somebody else's whims.
So no, I don't obsess about the throttle response in either of the more utilitarian vehicle/tools. If they work for the intended purpose, then they are fine.
However... I understand that with my plastic-fantastic, everything is something to obsess about. I've dreamed (like, while I slept) about flame fronts moving across the top of pistons, and of oil squirters spraying the underside of piston domes. Obsession doesn't quite cover it. It's madness.
These are hobby-cars, meant to be fussed over and pampered. We have a 4-page long thread every 2 months regarding motor-oil for crying out loud-- and I care about it! I've redone my transaxle more times than I can count, only to end up pretty much where a stock VW has the gear spacing (albeit with a 3.44:1 R/P). We don't just obsess about throttle response-- we build $10K, near 3L 4-cylinder engines we know are going to need torn down for this or that. A man tells us his tale, and we all offer encouragement, because we know we'd do the same thing.
This is not how most people think. They do not understand building a new house so that one can have a lift in the garage so that the car that always needs work has a place to have it done. They are content to tint the windows in their Ford Escapes, and to get the Titanium edition of same.
Jimmy is not that guy, and neither are any of the rest of us. That's why I stop in here several times a day, for 20 years now. It's pretty nice to not have to explain myself.