02

Technology Too

Let’s Talk About Technology Again Keeping with the idea of disruptive technology and how any of this stuff ever gets off of the ground…. A while back I had this discussion with regard to electric cars. The idea was proposed that nobody would ever buy a new electric car, because of what they are now referring to as range anxiety. The idea that Kathie and I could head off to Omaha for a little shopping, take in dinner and a movie, maybe meet for drinks with some friends of ours and then only make it back as far as Elmwood, rather than getting all of the way home to Lincoln, again. It could happen. Today. It’s rare to get more than about 200 miles out of a single charge. The Cars of Tomorrow But things are improving. Today’s electric cars are better than even the electrics of just a year ago. And there are charging stations popping all over now, too. You probably don’t notice them, and won’t if you’re not actively looking for them, but they are out there and if you have an electric, you’re taking note of these things, I’m sure. Last time we talked about how hard it must have been to sell radio commercials when nobody had radios. Can you imagine how difficult it must […]

21

Why A Honda Fit, Mark?

So, Why A Honda Fit? I don’t get asked often, but from time to time people wonder how I came to choose a Honda Fit. “Gas prices are low… why don’t you get something bigger (or faster, or nicer, or what it turns out to be generally thirstier)? Well, I bought my Honda with the cash I had on hand. I haven’t made a car payment since 1997 and I didn’t feel like starting with this car. I just didn’t see the need. At around $22,000 the Fit was a comfortable, well, fit for my needs at the time as a commuter car for just myself with an occasional runabout for groceries or lunch some light shopping or something like that. More than a year on I have less than 7,000 miles on the little guy so fuel economy alone wasn’t going to be enough of a factor. If I’d bought a big V-12 engined luxury barge that got 9mpg the expenses would still be not all that different. But I am something of a tree-hugger. I was raised on that crying Indian, old Iron Eyes Cody, who was sad because people were littering. To me, it’s always been a good idea to do the most you can with the least you need. And besides, if I can spend $20 […]

31

So How About That Honda?

As my Dad would ask in any lull in the conversation, “So, how’s that car runnin’?” My Honda Fit is running fine. I don’t drive it a lot—it has less than 6000 miles on it after a year, so it could conceivably last me forever at this rate. I have had it long enough by now to know what I really enjoy and to know what I wish they had spent a little more time on, so let’s talk about some of that. This is the third-generation Fit, and the first one to be radically restyled. The first one was a plain and simple, honest little econo-car. A wonderful hatchback praised by the motor press and by its owners all around the planet. The newer model, the second-generation version differed from the first seemingly only in little details. The first-gen car had one crease down the center of the hood, the follow-on car had two. Otherwise the family resemblance is strong and immediate. I loved the look of those first two cars. But my car? My car was designed to appeal to the same kids who need tennis shoes that make their feet look either reptilian or like some kind of a space man. The new car features all manner of faux air intakes and exhausts like you would see […]

18

I Want A Car, Damnit!

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a cool car. And for as long as I can remember, the definition of cool car has shifted (pardon the expression) and changed depending upon what I have seen last. One of my earliest memories is of riding with my Dad in an Austin-Healey BugEyed Sprite. I can remember “helping” Dad work on this little car out in the garage one evening, holding and handing him tools. It was a cool car, no doubt. But Dad sold it when it was modernized with sleek new headlights and roll-up windows and… well, things were never the same after that. The first I remember falling in love with was a Triumph Spitfire. There was one on Michigan Avenue in Norfolk and when I would be out riding my bike I always made a point to cruise past. It was so low, and the whole front end lifted up from the windshield like one of those LeMans racers. You could see nearly every mechanical component and work on all of it if you had to (and you had to, given the state of the British car building art in that day). I considered the MGB for a good long while. It was slightly bigger (safer?) and the originals had that perfect proportion and […]