On tonight’s episode of Tribulations and Trials of the Impulse Buyer…
Flying alone underneath the tree canopy, I flick on the main beam. Though the lights are merely halogens, I marvel at how effective the H4s are in the night. The light seems to fill every nook in front of me, yet there’s a softness that preserves the colors. The darker green of the canopy, the lighter tones of lichen along the trunks, the mustard colored divider tightening up to the right…
With a slight feint, I huck the car in. The archaic rear stick-axle wants to slide, so I let it. The FB RX-7 does not want to be driven tidy, it wants to move. Happily, it seems faster this way. Switchback after switchback, come in with speed, flick the unassisted Nardi Classico, and delight in the tiny angles it clears the apex with.
Some believe there are nine circles of Hell, each addressing the various sins of human beings against one another. But for those of us who hold a driver’s license, there is a tenth ring for the most cardinal of trespasses:
Failure to observe signs bearing the inscription: Slower Traffic use Turnouts.
Pardons may be offered for those that stay within spitting distance of the posted speed limit. But no mercy shall be granted unto those – pilots of motorhomes, rental minivans, tyrannical Prius’ – who not only crawl through the twisties at half pace, but pass turnout after turnout without the slightest acknowledgement of the vehicular train building behind them.
The road snakes this way and that, hoping to outrun you on the next bend. It changes direction, comes up and down, tightens radius to the right and sharply snaps to the left in a rising hairpin. Trees fillet the sunlight, playing tricks as to if the road surface is damp or merely shaded. There’s a smattering of fallen leaves leading up to a blind crest; it might be followed by a long straight, a break in the trees, or a gravel filled sweeper.
One tries not to fall into stereotype. To not spin about the lamp post, “Bellissima!” ringing from your lungs. One tries to avoid gesticulating unnecessarily, working your shoulders in such a way that prompts others to ask if you need to stretch. One tries not laugh in the same way that leads you to cry from the joy of the moment. Or to not fill one’s lungs only to sigh the blissful exhalation of overflowing contentment.
At least, that was the idea. After being so put off by the idea of having to strip my last Miata down just to rebuild it into what I wanted, I decided it was time to try something a little different. This would be my fourth NA Miata, but my first example powered by the 1.6l B6ZE.
Somehow we’re at Car 11 and I’ve yet to offer any advice. Of course, that we’re only at Car 11 with no end in sight means I should be asking for it rather than doling it out. But the following advice would have prevented a couple of gaffes for me and may safeguard your sanity, pocketbook, or marriage in the future: Never Buy a Modified Car.
Finally, my fourth E30 but now my first 325i. Up until this point my E30s had been of the high torque but low revving “e” or “eta” version. Another late night Craigslist session brought me upon this car. It was posted locally, had a ton of miles, and a couple choice modifications.
I couldn’t tell you where my head was. For a short while I spent street sweeping days running back and forth moving this car and the MR2 around. This wasn’t the first time I’d owned two cars at once, but it was the first time I thought it’d be a good idea to own two two-seaters.