As everyone's token "car person," sometimes you reach a point where you just get tired of being the universe's personal vehicular helpdesk. Let me help you with that.
Maybe you've tried time and time again to correct some nonsensical beliefs and ran out of patience. Maybe the person in question can't figure out The Google, and won't use it to look up total softballs like specifications and reviews. Maybe you just know—within the dark, cold depths of your hardened soul—that no matter what you tell them, they're going to end up buying whatever they wanted to begin with, and that it will be something horrible. Or perhaps they're considering...a Camry.
I try to be a kind and helpful person. I really try. But sometimes people who don't know any better and won't try to learn any better just give me such a level of brain-hurt that I have to find my happy place of rainbow-unicorn-liveried racecars and mint chocolate chip Blue Bell.
(Ah, that's better.)
I'm sure you're being asked repeatedly for information because people see you as knowledgeable and an authority on the subject. I'm actually flattered by this right up until the point where people just stick to what they wanted to do in the first place, and then it becomes annoying. Here is how you correct that perception once you've reached the point of irritation.
944 is Always the Answer
No matter what a person asks for, your first answer should always be 944. Not Miata. Not brown turbodiesel wagon. Por-sche. Nine-four-four.
There are rare cases where this might be a sensible answer. It is, for example, one of the cheapest ways to go racing with the Porsche Club of America. They're well-balanced, fun to drive and they handle really well even in base-model non-turbo trim. Unlike the Miata, it comes with its roof attached—no need to purchase a rollbar for track day use and/or a hardtop if you're paler all over than Brian Hugh Warner's left buttock. They're cheap to buy, easy to find for sale in cities across America and parts are nowhere near as expensive as the name "Porsche" might suggest.
It even has ample storage and a functional backseat—albeit one for people who don't have legs.
It's just that finding an example that's been well cared for is a bit trickier, and the ones that haven't will cause you a world of pain and agony.
Should you decide that working on your own car is out of the question or if you need certain spare parts that only still exist in Germany, you'll be thrust into a never-ending spiral of financial pain, doom and gloom.
Or you'll get physical pain, should you feel like working on it yourself. Take, for example, my water pump. The first time we put coolant in the car, it looked more like Manneken Pis than a questionable addition from the Volkswagen/Audi parts bin.
Naturally, there is an interference timing belt right in front of the failure-prone water pump, so if you accidentally turn any part of the engine when the timing belt is off or installed incorrectly, you're done. For good. Adios, engine. Nice knowin' ya.
All things considered, there are worse cars to work on. I could have said "Boxster is always the answer," with its mid-engined layout and tendency to grenade due to a faulty intermediate shaft bearing design. That, however, is too obviously impractical for too many situations, despite its ample luggage space in both frunk and rear.
Sometimes it's best to remain subtle with your trolling, else you'll get the dreaded, "Haha! No, really, what should I get?" far sooner than you'd like.
"944" is the perfectly terrible answer to conundrums such as:
- "I'd like a car that's fun to drive, but I need a backseat."
- "I'm thinking about entering the 24 Hours of LeMons."
- "I need to find a reasonably priced daily driver."
- "I would like a nimble, reliable two-seat sportscar with a convertible top. Preferably Japanese."
- "I always run out of trunk space in my 1966 Eldorado."
- "My name is Michelle Duggar and I just popped out Kid #20."
- "I need to tow a trailer full of cows for the farm."
I'm sure there are other worthy reasons to recommend a 944 that escape me at the moment, but rest assured—those are all perfectly good reasons to direct your problem child to a 944. The less mechanically inclined someone is, the more fitting an answer "944" will be.
Should they actually take this piece of advice, you are almost guaranteed never to have that person ask you for car advice ever again.
That being said, if "944" is too practical an answer...
Approach This Question Like It's Performance Art
Enter: On the subject of automotive advice, spork interlude No 12.
Person: "Hey, you know cars. I need to get a new car, but I don't know what to get. I was thinking about an crossover. Maybe like, a hybrid or something. I like being up high to see over other traffic. What would you recommend?"
Person: "Oh, I've never heard of that before. Is that a new model?"
You: "Oh, yeah, it's made by Pharfenwaffle Motors out of Uzbekistan. It seats 8 and has hydroelastic pineapple-beam magnetostruts in the wheel wells for better cornering, and it's powered by a uranium-rabbit-electron twin-hybrid soybean-triple-clutch motor that's super-environmental and actually takes dihydrogen monoxide out of the air as you drive it. It's pretty sweet. You should get one—in verde perkele. That's a sweet color."
Person: "Ooh, I've never heard of that before."
You: "Push pin."
You: "Shhhhhh. Push. Pin."
The less sense you can make, the better. Bonus points if you film it, and extra bonus points if your surrealist statement on the state of popular automotive culture makes it into a museum somewhere. Please, elevate trolling to an art form.
Make Your Answers as Absurd as Possible
Sometimes it's just best to answer nonsense...with nonsense.
Anything off this list of ridiculousness is a great suggestion—especially if it involves whale penis leather. Or better yet, make up your own absurdities.
Your friend—who honestly thinks a Camry might be a good buy even though every other single midsize sedan in existence sucks less—deserves to be slapped with a trout! Then tell them to buy a 2014 Dodge Pinto.
That coworker who'd like a large, solid kid-hauler needs a rocketship! With rocket launchers! And laser swords! Kids love LASER SWORDS!
And VEYRONS! More people need to own GOLD-PLATED VEYRONS! Especially that guy who hates driving, but asks you to pick out a car for them anyway. If they object to the ludicrous cost, kindly inform them that you don't talk to the poors, and just walk away.
That person who thinks it's time to trade in the car because it's making funny noises? Well, bicycles don't do that. They should get one of those instead.
Ricer boy giving you issues? Clearly, they need a Subaru Evo with the aeroplane package. The one with 42 extra little wings for additional horsepower.
Take my advice, friends, and no one will ever look to you for confirmation of their own questionable ideas ever again.