It’s thanksgiving, and there are many things at TopSpeed that make us thankful. Above all else is that fact that we get to spend our days talking about cool cars. But it’s also great to have a knowledgeable group of readers who not only enjoy the site (hopefully), but also call “bulls**t” on us when we may stray. So, while we were between wondering why anyone insisted on making a Turducken this year and trying to convince ourselves that apple pie is healthy because it contains fruit, we made a list of five little things that make us thankful (in no particular order):
- The Open Road No One Knows About
You know of at least one road that no one else uses, even the cops. We’ve got one too. It may not be down the street, but every once in a while we can slip away from the house and pretend that a Toyota Camry is something a little more exotic. It’s the one place where you know how much rubber you’re Dodge Challenger can actually put down, or how well the all-wheel drive works on your Mitsubishi Evo. So grab you’re driving gloves and tell the wife you’re going out to get some milk… Just take the long way home.
Americans have power, Germans have technology, and the Japanese have reliability. But the Italian cars have passion. No other country produces cars that evoke so many emotions. It can be the lustful body design, the pure ecstasy in the driving experience, or the crushing disappointment when the car doesn’t start (again).
We’ve all had a neighbor with an old Lancia Beta, Fiat 124, or Alfa Romeo Spider. The pure joy on his face when he goes for a drive on a sunny day (and the pure agony on his face when the car would break-down on a sunny day) made us all envious. Because there are no more budget-priced Italian brands sold in the U.S., we know that spares are so rare and/or expensive that finding parts gives the owner a kind of joy usually only organ transplant recipients know.
If you are that neighbor, thank you for sharing the experience. Now get back in the garage, your Alfa is leaking olio.
- Mass Transportation
What?! A bunch of car people thankful for mass transit?! We haven’t temporarily gone mad; we just know that after you pass that cross-town bus or the train clears the tracks, the people it’s carrying is that many people less to clog up the road for the rest of us drivers.
- The Assembly Line
Henry Ford got the idea from a slaughterhouse. A cheap and efficient way to give the public what they wanted. Just like the slaughterhouse, it may not always be pretty, but it works, damnit. Without the assembly line all cars would be expensive toys. Cars like the Corvette, M3 and XKR would not be something the middle class could someday aspire to, and the WRX, GTI and 370Z would never fit into anyone’s budget.
- Kit Cars
The assembly line may make cars obtainable, but not all of them are winners. Kit cars are helping save the world from the boring assembly line vehicles, one home-garage build at a time. Some seem like natural steps like old Beetles get new lives as replicas of their distant cousin the Porsche Speedster. Others get a substantial upgrade, such as the Chevette-based Pontiac Fieros that get to live out their days impersonating Ferraris and Lamborghinis.