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Losing that loving feeling; will the Soul ever return?

Losing that loving feeling; will the Soul ever return?

By Brian Brawley

As car enthusiasts, we all have our preferences and tastes. While we share a common interest, we display and fulfill them in many different ways. It’s what makes car culture so diverse, and it makes and breaks us. It gives us unique and innovative ideas, and it tears us apart as we battle each other in a display of opinion. At the end of the day we are all human, and like assholes, we all have opinions. Some of you, maybe even most of you won’t share my sentiment, but I would like to address my opinion as I feel like maybe there can be a sort of connection within the enthusiast community.

It’s no secret that some of us, most of us, will talk down about certain styles, practices, and other brands of automobile. There really isn’t a problem with that, though it rarely ever becomes constructive. I have somewhat of a personal goal though. I feel that new cars, bound and constricted by constant regulations, standards, and goals have become boring. I want to try to bring some soul back into cars, bring some interest in our beloved automobiles and make them more than the simple appliance they have become.

Driving is a chore for most people in the modern age, and it’s sad because it used to be fun and interesting. The act of driving has become equal to the act of vacuuming the house, or cleaning the toilet; the result is more important than the adventure. With more and more people on the roads today, and more and more congestion it’s no wonder why people have little drive to actually… drive. There isn’t a person alive who feels enjoyment and bliss sitting stuck on the 101 off-ramp on a hot afternoon. Traffic signals, meters, and choppy roads drain our souls as we mindlessly roll down the road thinking about spreadsheets and youtube videos. Manufactures believe autonomous cars are the way of the future, relieving the need to be actively involved with travel. The idea is quite appealing, but it seems all they are going to accomplish is the death of the car itself. Enthusiasts romantically envision empty freeways where they can freely kick Vtec with no hassle, or Sunday driver to cut them off as they missed their off-ramp miles ago. In reality, active drivers will only be phased out, as autonomous cars won’t allow any room. I believe the solution lies in not making less drivers, but making more interesting cars.

Read any article I’ve written, it’s clear I have a personal bias to older cars. Older cars weren’t designed by spreadsheets, wind tunnels, or lawsuits. There used to be a day where cars were penned to be aesthetically pleasing, not committee pleasing. People used to buy Jags to be graceful, and BMW’s because driving was rewarding. Cars today are far too constricted. Hood heights are required to be tall, in case you hit a pedestrian. Windshields have to be far away from the dashboard, in case you don’t wear a seatbelt. Belt lines have to be high, in case you get hit from the side. Back up cameras are required, because you can’t see over high belt lines. It’s an endless cycle, and manufactures no longer have any freedom in design. All cars are now dictated by a predetermined box, and now the design team has to try and make their car different from the competition. It’s why all new cars look the same, it’s not a fad, but the law. To top it off, customers care less about drive quality and only care about toys. Whatever car has the most of everything wins. Modern cars have become picture perfect appliances, and the epitome of beige. If new cars could become exciting, then maybe people would become excited about driving, then driving quality would improve and we would all win.

Some cars are taking a stride to become interesting, look at the FRS/BRZ, it’s a perfect example. Sales are stale though, and it’s a sad sight. On the flip side, the Germans are badge engineering cars as answers nobody had questions for to make a quick buck and making huge sales. It’s confusing for the consumer and harmful to the market. Lessen the restrictions on design, ease up on the useless toys, and increase the quality of how a car drives and we could become a nation of driving once again. Granted the more we drive, the more emissions are produced and the more restrictions would be implemented… Maybe I’m just jaded, but it’s the thought that counts right?

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