Looking Ahead

Life at the intersection of wants, needs and reality.

Andy Bolig - June 13, 2013 10:00 AM


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Irony runs rampant in the U.S. auto industry right now. Automakers are turning out some of the highest quality products as a rebound from trudging their way through some of the darkest moments of manufacturing.

A few decades ago, some folks in big, white-domed buildings decided that we needed to use less fuel, get cleaner air, and make our cars safer from ourselves. As the automotive industry wheeled for over a decade from these new requirements, if we’re honest, we’ll concede that it was those very barriers that helped the current crop of offerings to leap cleanly over the 600hp hurdle. And, they’re doing so with fuel-usage numbers that would make a grocery-getter green with envy just a few years ago.

The lack of a payment book in the Bolig household has been something we’ve enjoyed for quite a while. All of our cars are wholly ours, warts and all. In most cases, that’s a good thing. But we’ve been coaxing our family truckster along and we’re quickly coming to a crossroads where the payment book and the tow truck meet head-on. I can’t say that we’ve jumped head first into the deep end of the pool so far as car shopping goes, but we are definitely talking (and looking at) our options. Trying to decide whether to go new or slightly used is just as important as which make/model to try on for size.

Even though this will most likely be a four-door variety, we’ll have to endure seeing it in the driveway so there has to be some attempt at styling. You need not apply if a wind tunnel was the most important designer on your team. Likewise, since the cost of a tank of fuel today equates to about a year’s worth of work for an egg-laying chicken, we’d like to get some reasonable MPGs from our new ride. In full disclosure, “reasonable” for us isn’t necessarily on the same scale as those folks in those domed, white buildings. Just sayin’ …

As previously mentioned, who wants a Flintstone-mobile that has holes in the floorboards to help it get going? But we’d like for the dashboard to be a little more modern as well. We’re not techno-gadget geeks, but some of today’s standard options shine much brighter than the oxidized, plastic-based, pseudo-chrome on our current ride. Radio, heater and A/C-delete options are great in special-ordered muscle cars, but you’d have a better chance finding Elvis and Bigfoot skydiving together than to get Mrs. Bolig to drive one regularly during Florida’s summer heat.

Many of life’s questions that we’ve come up against lately have previously been asked by others before. There’s nothing new under the sun, save for a few fun, new options. Folks have been juggling between their wants, needs and what is obtainable for generations. Now we’ve found ourselves firmly planted in the middle of the quandary and it’s that personal inclusion that makes it so pertinent. I’d suspect that many enthusiasts are finding themselves in a very similar situation. Sure, they might be driving different cars than what you’d find in our garage and their needs might be totally different, but they’re still asking some of the very same questions and finding the right answer is just as important to them.

There might be comfort knowing that we’re not alone, but it doesn’t make the decision any easier. Neither does the fact that there are so many to choose from. It might be simpler for the “MOPAR or NO-car” crowd, or for those whose cars always come shipped in a Blue Box or with a Blue Oval, but I’ve always held that if it’s a good car – it’s a good car, no matter who made it.

And today, I feel that there are a lot of good cars being made on American soil. That makes the decision-making process a little more difficult. But, when you look at the sum of all your options, I think you’ll have to admit that when it comes time to pick out your new mode of transportation, there’s no better time than the present.