I like American-made cars. That's no secret. Perhaps it was simply the era in which I grew up? Either way, I have a particular distaste for Japanese cars. That is, until fairly recently.
These aren't the droids you're looking for.
And I'm damn picky. I generally drive a vehicle into the ground before I decide to buy a new one. None of this lease business for me. I easily put 25k miles a year on my cars - well over the quota for a lease.
And while my first car spoiled me for V8's, it's been a long, rocky road ever since. I like my car, don't get me wrong - it was the car for the time. I had a 150-mile commute putting 3000 monthly on my car and my aging Lumina was costing me $400 a month just to keep running. I traded it in for a used Cav with under 9000 miles on it for under $200 a month and once I had the windows tinted Texas-legal dark, I was set. But the savings in a few mpg turned out to not be worth the cost in horsepower. Unfortunately for me, this car has been a workhorse, with very little mechanical incidents. It just keeps running.
Fast forward to my first trip to D.C. last year. I'm at a pre-meeting for my client's largest event, in the middle of summer, and we're let go fairly early. My flight (which I ended up missing anyway) wasn't for several hours, and photogoot stopped to pick me up. As we leave the hotel I ask, "Where's your little tin can?" Referring to his despised VW Jetta.
Sorry baby, but I had to crash that Honda.
He leads me to this rather large, gleaming silver vehicle. It was magnificent! I asked him (ok, I instructed him to turn on the air - hey, I was dying here) and he thankfully complied. Unfortunately, what happened next neither of us really talk about, but I opened two doors to the vehicle and stripped naked (I was wearing a coat, tie, and a t-shirt under my white shirt - they were all completely soaked) and quickly changed into shorts and a polo. Once we were underway and I cooled off, I asked the obvious question, "WTF is this?"
This, as it turned out, was a 2004 Toyota Avalon Touring. And in The Blues Brothers fashion, as soon as I began to criticize him for purchasing a 'Tee-Oh-Ta' (as my father-in-law calls them) he floors the accelerator propelling us to over 100 mph! Shit! 280-horsepower V6 he tells me. (Later, he imparts a very humorous story about out-running a youth in his brand-spanking-new Mustang, a feat he himself was unaware that his car could pull off, and embarrassing his young opponent to frustration).
Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don't fail me now!
Now he's got my attention. And the car was $6000 less than the American-made equivalent he was first considering. Very interesting indeed. Either way, I'm pretty picky. I prefer a coupe, I don't like spending too much money on car (they're not investments like a house, for example) and I don't want an inline-four. This greatly limits my scope. I can't afford a BMW or Mercedes, and GM's are too over-priced. Chrysler, in their rush to world-domination, has decided that America wants a 4-door sports sedan. Odd, they never asked me! What to do, what to do...
photogoot, who sometimes knows me better than I know myself, called several months later and suggested the new yet-to-be-released 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe. "Not interested." I say immediately. You see, the last time I drove an Altima was in 2000, it was rental car I had in Massachusetts. I drove it for a week before taking it back and demanding an American-made car. They replaced it with an Oldsmobile Alero, which I was quite at home in. Either way, Altima - ugh!
Darkness warshed over the dude.
Bored, perhaps, or some other mentally debilitating affliction led me to follow up his lead. I ate crow the next day when I called him. THIS! THIS IS WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR! I exclaimed. Of course, he already knew that. So...when the time comes, whenever it may be, I believe I've found my next car. Hopefully, things will work to my advantage where it will be between one and two years old by the time I'm ready for it. I no longer purchase new cars. I unveil to you know, the 270-horsepower 3.5-litre V6 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe:
A running tally, replete with photographs of all my cars is also available on my links list.