Rolling In My 1.2

One thing I really can’t get away from now is the need for a car. I can have all sorts of noble intentions about trimming the fat, running a tight ship and reducing consumption, but in the end I would starve if I didn’t have in my possession the keys to a ton and a half of metal with an engine.

My Landlady has kindly rented me a car until I get sorted out with a lease. It’s a Volvo S70, several orders of magnitude bigger than the Nissan Micra I sold in London. They don’t have Micras here – they have the novelty small cars like the Smart, or the German yuppie fashion statement Minis, but regular day-to-day small stuff like the Fiat Uno (like the one I wrote off in 2000 by driving it under a Toyota Landcruiser) or my old Nissan don’t get a look in. I had to send a picture of what a Micra looks like to get my Landlady to understand what I was talking about. For comparison, here’s me in a dodgem in the mid-1970’s…

bumper car.jpg  

…and here’s a 2000-ish Nissan Micra. Spot the difference.

Of course, as I always say, given a choice, I would like a 1972 Citroen DS20 with a backfitted electric or hybrid power plant. Or a Mr Fusion. And around here in San Diego there are some pretty good American muscle car classics, El Caminos, Chargers, Mustangs and the like, as well as the weird long flat stuff like the Lincoln Mark VIII. Lots of trucks, especially Fords – I think it’s the proximity to Mexico. There’s also a nice smattering of 70’s and 80’s cop show cars as well – both cops and gansters nicely represented. Of course, the vast majority of cars are modern, efficient, small(er than tanks), and pretty dull. Dull can be good though.

I have driven Cassie’s Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, and my Landlady’s Ford Blazer V8, but I just don’t like the driving position, or the ride. These Jeeps and other SUVs don’t just bounce up and down, they go from side to side and they twist and yaw as well. There are some nasty dips and bumps in hilly downtown San Diego, and I find that driving over them in a sedan/saloon is simply more comfortable (unless you’re going too fast, then you lose the sump cover).

But in the end, a Swedish tank, followed by a leased understated Audi or something will do me fine. Gas/petrol is coming down, so there’s no need to get a small car any more. That’s a relief.