January is almost over, which means it’s time to actually set some real goals for the year that aren’t coated in a rose-tinted sheen of New Year’s Resolutions. I know we’ve all cheated on our diets, or ignored the gym, or cut someone off in traffic despite vowing to change our ways. Today, the staff of Jalopnik comes before you, humbled, and ready to share our definitely achievable automotive goals for 2023.
Elizabeth Blackstock: Get Hands On
I normally wouldn’t characterize myself as a priss, but I hate being sweaty or sticky or grimy or, well, anything. Even the sensation of lotion is upsetting to me. I’d rather maintain my lizard-esque husk of skin.
So, I’ve decided to get over myself by buckling down and actually working on all the cars and ATVs and dirt bikes that I’ve been avoiding because I just know my first touch of said cars and ATVs and dirt bikes will come back with fingers caked in dust, cobwebs, and old grease. I’ve had enough of my neighbors getting to have all the fun. It’s my turn to rip around my yard on two wheels, and I’ll get down and dirty doing it if I have to. I will just be especially ready to shower afterward.
Erin Marquis: Finally Get A Classic Car (A Corvair!)
All I’ve ever wanted since I was a kid was to own a classic American car someday. Having a car for fun rather than function used to seem like nothing more than a superfluous expense. I’m usually too practical for that, but after a difficult year healthwise, I’m no longer waiting for some magical day when I can afford to enjoy myself.
To that end, 2023 is the year I’m finally going to buy a classic car from the 60s or 70s — preferably a Chevy Corvair or a Ford Falcon. Something on the smaller size, so it can fit in my 70-year-old garage, but still undeniably retro and undeniably Detroit to cruise around town in on a summer night. Something I can learn to tinker on. Something I can park in a church parking lot with a little laminated info card on the dash. A funky little shitbox piece of history all my own.
Owen Bellwood: Hear the Roar of 40 V8s
Racing was always the thing that got me into cars. Whether it’s the automotive ballet of a rally stage or the fine-tuned drama of a Formula 1 race, I’ve always loved it when cars get competitive. But while I’ve seen touring cars tear ‘round Silverstone and and single-seaters race at Monza, I’ve yet to experience the raw power of American motorsport. Basically, I’ve still never been to a NASCAR race.
Sure, I’ve got the excuse that I’ve only lived in the U.S. for 18 months and there were never many NASCAR meets in North London. But also, I’ve been living in the U.S. for 18 months and still haven’t gone to one. That changes this year. I’ve got my eye on Pocono, or maybe Watkins Glen, but it’ll definitely happen this year.
Kyle Hyatt: Drive Cross-Country
I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve never driven cross-country. I’ve gone up and down the west coast more times than I can count, but I’ve never gone across the continental divide, I’ve never slogged through the arrow-straight roads in the middle of the country, and I’ve never driven on the east coast.
This year, I hope to remedy that. My 911 is just about mechanically perfect and ready to stretch its legs, and taking a trip in it like this at some point over this year is pretty high on my list of things to do.
Andy Kalmowitz: Learn How to Ride (And Not Die) on a Motorcycle
This is the year I am finally going to learn how to ride a motorcycle, just please do not tell my mom. For over a decade now I’ve thought about how sweet it would be to learn how to ride and how quickly I would accumulate too many bikes. I mean, they’re so much smaller and cheaper than cars!
It’s all gotta start with a class where I learn a) how to ride a bike and b) how to not die on a bike. That component isn’t as much for me as it is for my aforementioned mother. She would be miffed if I died. I don’t understand why. My dad has two bikes of his own, and she’s never worried about his death. But that’s a topic for another day.
Collin Woodard: Review a Bentley
I didn’t really talk about it publicly, but about this time last year, my body decided it was haunted. What I wanted to do was be normal. What my body wanted to do was randomly move my limbs without me asking it to do so. As you can imagine, having that happen almost constantly throughout the night meant I barely slept. Having that happen during the day made it hard to work and also unsafe to drive. Which sucked considering what my job is.
Fast forward to today, and I’m doing a lot better. Doctors determined it wasn’t seizures, which is good. I’m back at work and writing, which is also good. It just doesn’t feel fully safe quite yet to hop into someone else’s pre-production vehicle when I’m still not fully in control of my arms and head. If I’m going to wreck a press car, I want it to be because I’m being an idiot, not because some ghost randomly took control of my limbs.
So this year, my goal is to get back to reviewing cars. Both because that would mean I’m finally healthy again and also because I miss driving cool cars. I’ve never driven a Bentley. Maybe my first press car of 2023 should be a Bentley. I would very much like my first press car of 2023 to be a Bentley.
José Rodríguez Jr.: Fix the Little Things — One at a Time
In 2023, I want to lay out a wrenching roadmap that won’t overwhelm me with its ambition but will reward me for consistency. A good friend of mine used to often ask “How do you eat an elephant?” and then reply with “…a bite at a time.”
This year, I want to take little bites of all my projects starting with a simple fix to get the fog lights of my 1997 BMW 318ti working again. One of the fog light connectors was sheared off years ago, and I’ve been meaning to wire in a new plug. But in order to crawl under the car, I’ll need a floor jack that can raise the hatchback high enough to wedge a pair of jack stands fitted with adapters, which I bought off of eBay.
Here at Jalopnik it’s safety first! I’ve relied on just jack stands and pinch welds in the past, but news of faulty stands sold in the U.S. at the onset of and during the global pandemic terrified me. It’s no fun feeling unsafe while wrenching, so I bought OE jack pads, and beefier stands bolstered with the adapters.
The thing is, my low-profile jack can’t go loft the car high enough to fit the taller stands. The low pro jack lives in the hatch next to a full-size spare; it’s meant to take up as little cargo space as possible. I’ve put off buying a bigger floor jack for the garage because they’re not cheap. But you can’t put a price on safety, and I’ll finally get to it! Then I can crawl down there and get up to all sorts of trouble.
Lawrence Hodge: Figuring out What Car I Want to Buy and Pulling the Trigger
It’s no longer a want. I need to buy another car. The reason isn’t a secret. My car guzzles oil. Hyundai knows it and so do all the other owners who share the same engine my Sonata has. Spending $40 to $60 a month on oil isn’t fun, and I’m over it.
The question that’s been bugging me though is what do I buy next? I can finally buy something that I want to drive — within reason of course; I’m done buying vehicles out of necessity. But with so many great cars on the market, both new and used, I have no idea what to get.
At the top of my list is the Hyundai Elantra N seen above. It’s probably the best performance bang for your buck on the market right now. But a nice luxury four-door would work too. A fun-to-drive SUV wouldn’t be out of the question either as it has room for me and my family’s gear... see my dilemma? Whatever I get though I’ll be sure to share it with you guys. So stay tuned.
Steve DaSilva: Adventure
I have the adventure(-ish) motorcycle. I’ve got the waterproof roll-top bag. I’ve got a hammock, a water bottle, and a dream. All I need is to actually go somewhere.
When I bought my G310GS, I did so with the full intent of taking it off-road. Maybe I just watched Long Way Round too many times at too formative an age, but the idea of venturing out into the wild with nothing but the bags on my bike is immensely appealing to me. I’ve slowly built up my kit, which just leaves me needing to build up my skills. What better way to do that than to just send it?
If I suddenly disappear from the site, assume I’ve been eaten by a bear in the woods somewhere.
Ryan Erik King: Attend a Formula 1 Grand Prix
I’ve been a racing fan for essentially my entire life and have never been to a Formula 1 race. I’ve gone to IndyCar and Formula E events, both a fan and a member of the media. Single-seater racing is my absolute favorite form of racing. Now, Formula 1 is more popular than ever in the United States. No time better than now to see a round of this displicine’s world championship, right?
I don’t want to call my shot on which F1 race I’m going to quite yet. But, there is a favorite. Back in 2017, I went to Formula E’s only outing to Montreal, Canada. The Formula E street circuit was only a few miles away from Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the home of F1’s Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal is a beautiful city with great restaurants and nightlife. The race is also the closest to New York, where I live. See you at the track.
Adam Ismail: Watch More Racing
I’m all about setting achievable goals, and setting a goal to sit in front of the TV for more hours a week is a pretty damn easy reach. It’s sort of at odds with my goal to start regularly exercising for the first time since before the pandemic, but nobody said these resolutions had to be logical.
But this is going to be harder than it sounds for me. I’ve always had a difficult time following sports consistently, whether that sport involves motorized vehicles or not. I don’t really have what you’d call an “attention span” — my head is that of an excitable bird’s, focus always stolen by some other thing. Only this bird happens to have opposable thumbs, which means multitasking is dangerously easy.
Of course I’ve always enjoyed racing, but inevitably I miss one event and then that becomes two, and three, and it’s just a matter of time before I fall off the train, struggling to see the point anymore. It’s way more of an issue with Formula 1, because nowadays F1 shoehorns four races into a space of time that used to contain maybe two. That’s too much gossip to catch up on!
So I think it all depends on what series I choose. The World Rally Championship would be a good one — they’ve got rallies spaced very far apart, often by a month each time. And I’ve always wanted to get deep into Super GT because it’s the coolest looking form of racing on the planet. The Super GT calendar’s gapped similarly to the WRC’s, and doesn’t kick off till April. I need more racing on my screens every weekend — maybe in 2023 I’ll make it happen.