Fortunately, I'm not Mark McGwire, and, in seven months, my testicles won't resemble a pair of Grape Nuts.
I don't want to give you the idea that I'm constantly seated at my computer with my trousers keeping my ankles warm as I troll mercilessly through the seedy underworld of the internet, replete with its endless supply of pearl necklaces, money shots and weird shit involving frozen marmalade, a yardstick, and feet pajamas that I won't go into here without an attorney present. I think I have a relatively healthy libido for a 29-year-old male, and I won't say much more than that without my wife present.
So, while it might seem like all I do with the assistance of a computer blog or something less socially appropriate, that's just not true.
I spend way, way too much time fantasizing on http://www.ebaymotors.com/.
Some of you have heard about this somewhat irregular and possibly disturbing aspect of my personality, and you stick with me anyway-- and maybe that says more about you than it does about me, but we won't go there. For your sake.
Most people who visit http://www.ebaymotors.com/ have, I suspect, at least some intention, however passing, to actually purchase a motor vehicle at some point in the forseeable future. I am not one of those people. While I oftentimes wish it weren't the case, I am here strictly for the carnography.
My tastes in motor vehicles runs from the adorable to the absurd. Most of you know that my undying passion begins and ends with the antique Volkswagen Beetle, somewhere in the 1963-1967 area.
But my tastes vary widely. Here's a brief, partial list of the vehicles I have considered purchasing at some point in the last calendar year (again, not that I'm actually considering it, but, you know, considering it):
2003-2005 Subaru Forester
1999-2002 Subaru Legacy Outback
2002-2006 Toyota Camry
2006-2009 Chevrolet Impala
1995-2009 Ford Crown Victoria
1998-2003 Honda CR-V
2008 Nissan Versa
2003-2006 Volkswagen New Beetle
2003-2009 Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit
2009 Toyota Yaris 5-Door
2005-2007 Honda Accord
1996-1999 Honda Odyssey
1988-1989 Dodge Diplomat/Plymouth Gran Fury
1994 Saab 900-S
2009 Scion XB
Remember-- that's a partial list. I'll think of others as this post goes along, but I'll spare you.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about luxury cars because, in this affluent area in which I am fortunate to live, I am bombarded not only with commercials for BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Audi, Acura and such, but I see their hood ornaments, their sculpted lines, their ceramic brakes and their supple moo-leather everywhere I turn-- in supermarket parking lots, on the streets, in driveways and in the "Car & Driver" that I read religiously-- and this time I actually am reading a glossy magazine for the quality of the articles, Mother.
Seriously-- if it's cheap thrills you want, Motor Trend is happy to take your money.
Car commercials love to present you with the oxymoronous dichotomy "affordable luxury." They present you with this finely-executed machine, expertly-tuned and methodically crafted, they work very hard to create this mystique and air of exclusivity surrounding the sleek, usually black four-door sedan whose slightly bulbous hood encases the mammoth, sophisticated engine that, thirty years ago, NASA scientists would have struggled to understand.... and then they tell you that you can afford it.
A few years ago, some fucking genius who has probably by now drunk himself to death inside a locked motel closet coined the phrase "Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle" and the used car was reborn. The notion of the Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle was created to further the notion that luxury is somehow affordable to shitheads like you and me, when we know perfectly well that it isn't. However, sifting listlessly through the vastness of http://www.ebaymotors.com/, I have found a more viable way to attain status, image, prestige, and ample amounts of cowhide fanny.
Behold, my bloggerboos; the 1973 Mercedes Benz 220.
Wouldn't you just shit yourself if this cutie-poot were in your driveway every morning?
Now, I don't think Mercedes would certify this car, but the owner says that it's only got 14,296 miles on the odometer! Now, granted, it's only a 5-digit odometer and, at thirty-six years of age, this car is officially seven years older than yours truly, but why should that stop you? So, it's 140,000 miles. Or 240,000-- who cares? It's a Merc, right? It'll be around after your grandchildren are dead.
It's funny, though, as I looked at this car, pined for it, actually (Buy It Now - $2,995!) I thought long and hard about what the word "luxury" meant in 1973 and what it means today. Today, so-called "luxury" cars do everything for you but wipe your ass, and, as an apology for that unfortunate inability, most of them warm it for you, and a select few massage it.
This Mercedes has roll-up windows, for Christ's sake.
Cars today are 100% plastic-- sleek and smooth-- the dashboard of a modern luxury car looks no different from the fascia of a modern high-end oven or refrigerator. Here's a good example of what you'd see if you entered the cabin of a modern Mercedes:
I mean, really-- there's a Goddamn TV in there. Or maybe it's the internet. I don't know. And I don't want to know-- because the internet, and/or TV, has nothing at all to do with driving a fucking car.
Maybe I'm a dust-covered relic from another era, but I would probably cry if someone handed me the keys to that crackled, ancient Mercedes 220 and this is what I saw upon opening the door:
Because this doesn't look like a refrigerator. This looks like a car. A beautiful, graceful, sensitive, well-made, tailored, thought-out, serious car.
Can you say "car," Modern, Brushed-Aluminum-Hoarding, Avatar-Loving World?
Very good. I knew you could.
I feel like today's automotive consumer is getting the leatherette pulled over his eyes. There isn't anything on the road that is well-made and truly "luxurious" today, not anything that the average num-num who isn't Shaquille O'Neal or Ben Bernanke can afford, anyway. There is just this endless parade of the same old fucking desperately boring sheet-metal over plastic contrivances plopped over a never-ending sea of soft-touch plastic interior components and enough buttons to control Robocop's orgasmatronics. The gadgets are mindblowing and redundant and unnecessary in an object that's intended purpose is to transport human beings from one place to another in comfort and safety.
A 1973 Mercedes 220 didn't need a fucking TV inside it to prove to you that it was a luxury car. Hell, it didn't even need power windows. You knew it was a luxury car by the way the button on the door handle felt against your thumb as you gently depressed it, and it sank down as if you were pushing down on warm butter. You knew it was a luxury car by the way the door gave that satisfying, hearty, soulful *THUNK* when you shut it. You knew it was a luxury car from the way the immensely circumferenced and yet thinly elegant steering wheel felt against the curl of your fingers. You knew it was a luxury car from the way the controls slid and clicked into place with definitive, expert confidence.
Now, you need to be told.