I love cars. Anyone who knows me for even a brief period of time knows this. My last startup was a car company. I don’t know how much more I can explain it.
I’m always ‘car shopping’ whether or not I have the time or the money to do so. It’s a hobby. My wife doesn’t understand why I scour Craigslist for projects, and visit the dealerships just to see their latest offerings. People kill time on Facebook, I do it on Autoblog, Road & Track, Motor Trend, Car & Driver and The Truth About Cars,
Okay, it’s an illness. I don’t want to find the cure.
I daily an Infiniti G35 and it’s really a great car. But with time passing, some sexy new ride always catches my eye. I was a fan of the Fiat 500 until they botched the launch and the local dealer dropped the ball three times. The Cayman is on my shortlist as well, and one day I will own a GT-R. I really like the new Merc CLS once the kids are out of their car seats (and we’re rich).
But I’m really excited about the upcoming Subaru/Toyota triplets — the Toyota 86/GT 86, the Scion FRS and the Subaru BRZ. I’m getting a World Rally Blue BRZ and will make some modifications/upgrades to personalize it as soon as it’s available (May 2012?). Here’s why:
1) Handling is Job #1
Subaru built this car on Toyota’s dime, but the project was managed with a focus on the key trait to a proper sports car - Handling. All the talk about the boxer motor, it’s placement, the lowest CoG and light weight package comes down to this. Handling is the only reason you build, own or drive a sports car. I’m sorry, but any monkey can go fast in a straight line. It may be viscerally thrilling, like a roller coaster, but for people who love to drive, the joy is in the corners. Lotus might be the only other manufacturer with a laser-focus on handling.
2) Bargain Priced
The key to the success or failure of the Subiyota is going to be pricing. There’s no way around it. People shop on sticker price more than anything else, and there’s some solid cars in the $20-25k range. But I won’t even mention them because outside of a Miata, none are really competition for the BRZ. And I’ve wished for a Miata coupe for over 20 years! What most consumers don’t realize is the BRZ is such a great deal at $24,000! Sure it sounds like a lot, but knowing what it takes to build a complete car, I’ve already got my checkbook out. Surely the Scion FRS will be cheaper, but I think you will feel it. I’m old, I need my little luxuries.
3) Passion Driven Development
The last reason is the most important, and it’s the same reason I buy Apple products. Both the BRZ and my MacBook Air are going to be objects that I love. That’s because both are clearly a part of the people who made it. The PM for this car said that it’s the first Toyota that wasn’t designed by committee. He ignored the objections of Management and Marketing and built what he personally wanted. He says this car isn’t for everyone, and it shouldn’t be. Sound familiar? Projects like the BRZ are killed in meetings and beaten down by bean-counters. That the concept has made it to production with about 80-90% of the original vision is amazing.
We’re a very consumer-driven society and economy. A car purchase is a pretty big deal for most people, and we only do it every 3-5 years. I will buy a BRZ because it’s the car I’ve wanted the Majors to build for decades, and the principles behind it are the reason I built my own car/company. I’m happy to write a ‘big’ check to Subaru for the work they’ve done, and the value I will get from the experience of driving this car.