Hello, delightful word-readers! Have I told you how, collectively, I think Jalopnik has one of the best, smartest, and, let's be honest, assumed attractive readerships around? I'll stand by that, and I'll prove it with my tangelo-sized fists if I have to. So let's see what kinds of questions our wonderful readers have this week.
We'll start with this one, from reader BlythBros:
My girlfriend doesn't like to kiss me when I come inside from the garage because of the way that I smell. I've been rebuilding various components of my Alfa Romeo - engine, brakes, axles - and I always end up smelling like grease. Showering just isn't practical. Should I try masking the grease smell with some gear oil? If not gear oil, what do you recommend? I've already tried coolant, gasoline (91 octane and above), and brake dust. Please help.
I hear you, brother. I too know the sting of affection being withheld because of one's own stench. Now, you are lucky in that the stench doesn't seem to be permanent, just the result of working on your Alfa. Though, really, it's an Alfa, so it may be pretty close to permanent after all.
I think you have two possible solutions here: first, just somehow stifle that urge for a kiss until you get showered up. If this proves too difficult, maybe purchase a cheap sex doll or makeup-school practice head and stick your girlfriend's picture on it, and kiss that as you head to the shower in preparation of the real thing.
The second option is to gradually condition your girlfriend to like those smells she currently hates. Does she have a favorite dessert? Start sprinkling small quantities of axle grease into it until she starts to associate the smell of it with that dessert. The same could work for a favorite cocktail or perfume.
Of course, remember to keep the amounts used well-below poisoning-level dosages — poisoning her won't really solve anything, and it may be illegal where you live. Check your local laws.
Okay, that should solve that. What else we got here? GBergy! You had a question, right?
Why am I dissatisfied with my 350Z and wanting something new already?!
Ah, yes. I feel bad for you, but your pain will prove helpful to many others, so don't feel too bad. What you're encountering here is a known but rarely-discussed situation, common to car lineages that span many generations.
You see, when a car is designed, an offering is made to the ancient almighty god of cars, motor homes, timepieces, and refrigeration equipment: Kroktan The Potent. Almighty Kroktan bestows a certain amount of Automotive Soul into the car, and that soul is passed down through the generations.
Every major refresh and update takes a bit of the energy of that soul away, where it gets repurposed into comfort or quality or speed or efficiency or whatever. It's possible to re-appeal to Kroktan for additional soul to be injected into the car, but not all carmakers do that. At least not always.
Your 350Z's soul was first bestowed to the original Z car, the 240Z. Ever since then, each generation has depleted more and more. The final one, your 350Z is almost entirely out. Is it still a decent car? Sure. But look deep into those headlights and you'll just see the barest flickers of the soul it once had.
Luckily, the solution is very easy. Sell it and get a 240Z from the 70s or so. You should make enough from the sale to get a good one. You'll be happier. All hail Kroktan!
Another life made better! Let's do another. This one is a pretty valid question:
In regard to your child - what is the house policy on loading the carseat into your beetle? Our first baby due any day now in our home and the wife and I both DD's late model Subarus. My project car is a '83 Volvo 245 and i am queasy about putting the kid in there.
I will want the child to be able to fall in love with old metal - but also don't want to put the kid's life in danger. Its a safe car - by 1983 standards. With the pair of Subarus around (and mine is a 5 sp, so theres that) what is the tipping point to strap the car seat into the middle of of the back row of the project car and let it rip?
The wife says - as long as you keep the baby safe - but I am not certain when/how that is accomplished.
First, congratulations! Having a kid is fantastic. And, this question is one of those things where your own comfort will be key here. I've been driving Otto around in my Beetle since he was a very little baby — like that first week. And, sure, I'd get a fair amount of guff from other parents or other people who have helpfully volunteered to tell me how horrible a parent I am. But I soon found a simple set of rules I was comfortable with.
I decided that in my small, primitive, no-airbags-or-any-real-safety-equipment car, I felt more secure staying off the highway. In the city, the neighborhood, on short trips to the store or park or whatever — around 80% of the driving that realistically gets done — I'm okay with it.
On the highway, though, I felt uncomfortable. This was strange for me, as I've driven that old Beetle all over the place, at highway speeds and it never phased me — but having that little kook in there does change things. The possibilities of harm from a highway-speed wreck in that car were just too unpleasant to think about.
So, my rule is vintage deathtraps are okay for lower-speed, short trips, but if we're going to be in the car for hours at high speed, may as well take advantage of modern safety tech. I think middle of the back seat in a vintage car is a good idea, and in something like an 80s Volvo like you have, I think they'll be plenty safe. That's a good step up from a 70s Beetle.
If anything, your kid in the car — no matter what car — should just make you focus more on driving and be less likely to text or do anything stupid. Having a kid in a vintage car is great for you, the car, and the kid, I think, and I say find where you're comfortable. It's your kid — I trust you.
Okay, one last one. This is from The Burner Kept Rubbin:
If you are stuck in a deserted island with justin bieber, would you spoon with him every night or just during the cold climates?
This is a trick question. I wouldn't spoon him — I'd cut him open and sleep inside him, like you would a Tauntaun. It's the only way that makes sense.