Often times auto enthusiasts lust after cars unattainable by all but the most well-off. I'm writing from the perspective of the right now; that the best car to own may already be in your driveway.
Let's be clear here: I'm not talking about an appliance used to mindlessly get from point A to B. I'm not talking about arriving at your destination, but the trip itself. I don't need my ass and back to be felt up by some robot while simultaneously being toasted. I don't need fifteen settings for my seat position or a radar system that will make sure I don't doze off and rear-end some oversized SUV.
I have had the opportunity to drive an excellent example of Aston Martin V8 Vantage, but at the end of the day, the car I feel most at home with is the Geo Prizm; and I'm not talking about the "luxury" LSi version either; a no frills, crank window, base Prizm. I'm also not talking about a rice-box with fancy colored engine wires and an oversized air intake that increases horsepower by point-one-percent while swathed in tens of pounds of extra weight of heavy plastic "look-fast-therefore-I-must-be-going-faster" parts, incorrectly installed and most commonly unpainted.
So why the Geo Prizm? In order for it to keep working, I have to have a relationship with it; let it talk to me about its problems and then maybe we can go ahead and talk it out. Check engine light fixed? Sure! For now. Until I hit a bump and that oxygen sensor decides that the air is now 99% carbon dioxide. That ear piercing squeal? That's the power steering belt; quick swap and I can get right back on the road without the wailing requests to be put out of its misery. That scratching noise? That's just the exhaust falling off again, dragging on the pavement; time to bust out the wire hanger to prop that back up. That upcoming hill? Better turn off the AC so I have enough power to mountain climb. Windy day? Better pay attention or you're going to get blown into the other lane occupied by the lipstick applying, text messaging, Suburban for one.
"Wait a second!" You say, "That doesn't sound like sunshine and lollipops?!" On the contrary! The Prizm may seem like a disaster to operate, but lets perform some science here. Comparing the desirable and previously mentioned Vantage to a Prizm:
Acceleration: The Vantage does a scant sub-five second run to the elusively random 60 miles per hour, but boy is it smooth, and therefore boring. That exhaust note those YouTube videos lead you to lust after? Yea, Doppler at its finest; you can't hear it because it's behind you. Conversely, the Prizm does a brisk sub-24-hour run up to 60, but you know when it's all happening. All 3 (one is blown out) cylinders are going crazy and the entire car is shaking wildly. For the moment, you might as well be in a McLaren F1; they're from the same decade after all.
Handling: The Vantage has a perfect 50/50 weight distribution, sport tuned suspension and thereby handles like a dream; which coincidentally happens when you're sleeping; once again, boring. The Prizm, on the other hand, is a nightmare to pilot. Understeer galore, the rear wondering what the front of the car looks like, and the tires definitely not created for sticking to the ground. Now I'm interested. Tire squeal? Are you serious Mr. Non-LSi? I'm going 5 miles per hour in reverse! The thought of near death looming at every turn gets your heart pumping and subsequently forces you to ask yourself, why am I excited about this car?
Aesthetics: Sure it's important to some, so to this effect I'll just reference a debonair Dr. Jekyll and his less than svelte counter-self Mr. Hyde. We can't win them all.
Sure the Vantage is exciting to drive, but only because it's expensive. The Prizm can be had for less than a mid-range watch or a really fancy coffee maker that can bubble milk or whatever kids are into these days. So how do you convince yourself that whats in your driveway is good enough for you? Drive it, fix it, for all I care name it something fancy to make it more desirable; taking a page from Lamborghini perhaps, and now all of a sudden you have an outrageous lion-roaring Geo Prizm 120-2 SuperVeloce. Oh my, that must be a good drive; or how about we tap into the genius engineers at Bugatti with the nimble yet luxurious Prizm 3/0. Look out now, might break the sound barrier!
Whatever path you take to your automotive self-fulfillment; all I ask is that you enjoy the trip and live in the now rather than sitting in front of your computer or TV and lusting at the possibility of tomorrow.
This piece was written and submitted by a Jalopnik reader and may not express views held by Jalopnik or its staff. But maybe they will become our views. It all depends on whether or not this person wins by whit of your eyeballs in our reality show, "Who Wants to be America's Next Top Car Blogger?"