A new writer for the internet-darling show Community has found himself transplanted from New York to Los Angeles. He needs a car, and he wants Jalopnik's help to pick it. He's here to talk about it with us— let's see what we can do.
Before my life was made meaningful by writing for Jalopnik, I did a number of other jobs. Designer, struggling business co-owner, erotic horse impressions booth operator, the usual. But one of the better gigs was as an idea writer for ONN, the video side of the Onion. While there, I met Jack Kukoda, a mighty fine and funny guy who just took a job writing for Community (after leaving Adult Swim's China, IL, another very funny show), which means the personal-transportation-impaired New Yorker is now in LA, and he needs a car.
Jack came to me for some car advice because, thankfully, he doesn't want just any boring car. He's not really a car guy, but he got the right attitude: he has to drive, so why not do it in something fun and interesting? He's got up to about $7000 to spend. He doesn't know how to drive stick, but is willing to learn. I'll even teach him myself, so he can learn my awesome trick of stalling at stoplights.
In Jack's own words:
I learned to drive on my mother's 1991 Chevy Celebrity station wagon, which had a wonky driver's side door and whose color my sister and I jokingly referred to as "nondescript gray." The car's mercurial nature, utter lack of coolness, and the fact that we lived in a central neighborhood in the city meant that I often bummed rides from friends and rarely drove the car long distances.
After high school I went to a college with a city campus where I'd guess less than 5 percent of the students had cars, followed by nine years in New York City, where it's considered a badge of honor to be completely ignorant of cars. (Think of the dinner scene in Downton Abbey where Maggie Smith's character asks "What's a weekend?" but replace "weekend" with "engine," and you'll have a good idea of New Yorkers' attitude toward cars.)
This is all a very long way of saying that I have never been a "car person." Until now, my recent driving experience has been limited to whatever the rental company gave me, but over the past few months I decided I'd like to drive something with a little more character. That brings us up to now. In my research I've found I'm partial to late 70's/early 80's European cars, particularly the BMW and Mercedes coupes of that era. I don't think I could pull of a convertible, I don't need anything crazy fast, and I'm looking to spend less than seven grand. Other than that, I am open to just about anything.
I am well aware this whole endeavor could blow up in my face. Months from now I may find myself stranded on the side of the road with a car I have no idea how to fix, cursing myself for not getting a reliable, if slightly boring Prius, and vowing only to lease for the rest of my life. If that is my fate, so be it. I will have been separated from some of my savings and disabused of the notion that I could ever be a car person, but at least I will have proved that I'm a true New Yorker. I can live with that.
Thanks for your help.
Jack will be in the discussion to answer questions, ask questions, and, in an ideal world, make a deal to buy someone's awesome car. I can't think of a better place for car advice than here, so let's see what we can do.