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The Practicality Of Exotic Cars - Parts & Labor

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Oct 1, 2007 SHARE
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Parking garage, bleep-bleep, open trunk. Load 87 pounds of camera gear, laptop, external drive and associated dangly things. Flop in ground-level seat, adjust, grumble, adjust again, compromise. Push game show-sized starter button, whirr, vroom, whum-whum-whum-whum, smooth. Lump along at 5 mph, grit teeth, speed bump, exhale. Accelerate, 35 mph, enter city street, jump on brakes, red light, zero. Blast to 75 mph, freeway on-ramp, engine note, stupid grin, slow to 30, merge. Plod along at 45 mph for 10 minutes on mind-numbingly boring freeway drive in traffic. Exit freeway, another quick blast, another stupid grin, brakes, stop, frown. Another 10 minutes of start and stop, right-hand turn without slowing, I grin, society frowns. Park car capable of 180 mph after half hour of traffic, bleep-bleep, look back, grin one last time, walk inside. Home.

I wear Vans shoes just about every day. Not just any Vans, generally Old Skools. I have several pairs: all black, blue with palm trees, stars, I even have Jeff Spicoli checkerboard slip-ons. I probably have 20 pairs of Vans in my closet. When I was younger, I would wear high-end athletic shoes. Shoes with gas pockets or gel inserts with ratcheting straps or Velcro flaps across the instep. Adjusting shoes like that added 15 minutes to my morning routine; not so much getting dressed as an install process.

I still wear Adidas cross trainers at the gym and a separate pair for running. However, I feel a little silly wearing a shoe designed for a pro athlete just to walk around the office or the grocery store. It's like taking a $400 titanium putter to the Fun-O-Rama mini-golf course.

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I sometimes feel the same way bringing home the latest and greatest high-performance car some proud manufacturer has sent over. I am in a car capable of time-travel top speed, face-altering acceleration and braking power that will leave you wondering how your Hawaiian-print boxers ended up on the floor of the car while your jeans are still in place. And I'm sitting in traffic. Not that today's high-performance cars mind. Unlike cars of the past, modern supercars will sit in traffic and idle without a whimper or cough. They will even do it while using the A/C.

The problem is, I feel like no one is happy in this scenario. The car wants to be out blasting through some canyon, I would rather be in something that is less thirsty and where I'm not constantly worried about some lifted truck running over the front corner during a lane change. Everyone else on the road wouldn't have to expend extra effort trying to cut-off, box-in or otherwise punish the prick with the fancy car.

It's times like this when I really see the value of having a separate car to commute in. Don't get me wrong, I love driving exotics and sports cars, and it's part of the job to evaluate them in all situations (I know, it's tough being me). But having this job really makes a person realize the value of commuter cars.

I constantly see giant SUVs, sports cars and big sedans, all with a single occupant, maybe two. I see the same people every day on my commute and wonder why someone would drive a six-passenger vehicle with one person in it.Do they enjoy spending exorbitant amounts of money to fill them up once a week? Does the sports car driver like piling miles onto his pride and joy?

An old friend of mine who owns a Porsche shop said something very wise to me when I bought my 911. He was asking what my plans were, if I was going to modify it, etc. I gave him a rough outline of what I wanted to do. In the end, he said: "You know, the best thing you can buy for a 911 is a daily driver." He was absolutely right.

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