Detroit has to wait another 36 months

After much delay and consideration I went out and leased a new car yesterday. I say "delay" and "consideration" because I really was undecided which way to go. Over the years, I’ve leased a Jaguar, a Mercedes, an Acura Legend, and a Miata, among others.

In each instance, the car seemed to perfectly define a different stage in my life. The little, red Miata, for example, was probably the coolest car I’ve driven, and fit my early, midlife crisis to a "T." That said, it was also totally impractical in so many ways: it was a true nightmare on icy roads, looked more like a motorcycle than a car and made my heart skip a beat whenever I considered the odds of surviving any accident.

The Mercedes was my first "arrival" car. I say "arrival" because, in my mind, owning a Mercedes tells the world you’ve arrived. It makes a statement that says, "hey world, look at me. I’m doing pretty well." And, when I leased the Mercedes, I thought I had, in fact, arrived (now, a little older and, hopefully, a little wiser, I see "arrival" not as a destination but, instead, as an opportunity to hopefully give a little bit back). Anyway, the Mercedes turned out to be a total lemon, with one malfunction after another. I can still remember driving to the train station in the middle of winter with all four power windows stuck in the open position. So, where was Dr. Z when I needed him?

From the mediocre Mercedes, I moved on to an elegant Jaguar S-class sedan that featured a British racing car green exterior with tan, leather interior (btw, don’t you just love the sound of "British racing car green?"). This was a cool, sophisticated car reflecting hey, a cool, sophisticated guy, right? Well, I can dream…

So, my three years with the Jag came and went, and I turned the car in about two months ago. Since then, I’ve been in quandary. What do I do? Should I go with another Jag since I’d had such a positive experience? What about Lexus? We lease a Lexus SUV and love it for family needs. How about giving Mercedes another shot? What about Audi or BMW?

Then, it hit me. I wasn’t even thinking of GM, Ford or Chrysler. And, in fact, I never do. Despite years of marketing and billions of advertising dollars, "Detroit" has never put a "dent" in my thinking. In my mind, I equate American cars with everything I am not. I know that sounds terrible, and I hope Republicans don’t see those words as either unpatriotic or anti-war, but that’s just how I feel.

A man’s car projects his image. So, while some guys opt for the sleekest, fastest and hottest European sports cars, and others look to display their machismo with gas-guzzling Hummers, I want a slightly more understated machine. And, I’m open to Asian or European models. But, I would never, ever dream of going Detroit (and I simply can’t see that changing any time soon).

So, I put my money down on a silver BMW M3 convertible with red interior (I know, I know. I said I0632_n5im_737  wouldn’t get a sports car. But I was weak).

It’s probably more car than I need but, in the end, I’m really excited about it and am really looking forward to the next 36 months with my ultimate driving machine.

So, Detroit, how do we reconnect in late 2009? I really would like to factor you guys in my thinking the next time around. But until you can convince me that one of your cars will accurately reflect my image and reputation, I’m afraid I’ll continue playing hard to get.

14 thoughts on “Detroit has to wait another 36 months

  1. Thanks Will. Great to hear from you. I stand corrected on the British racing green front. Re: a speeding ticket, hopefully the cops will lay off. Re: understated, you’re right. An M3 isn’t. So, I went against my own image instincts on this one. Go figure.

  2. Rep,
    Nice choice of motor. Couple of things though: I’m not sure an open top M3 is ‘understated’ – certainly not here in blighty. Gangsta, yes. Understated, no! (maybe there’s something you’re not telling us ;o)
    Also, since our Bentley boys of the roaring 1920s could lay claim to that famous green colour I feel the need to point out that the ‘correct’ term is British Racing Green (BRG).
    Happy motoring. I wonder how long it will be until you get your first speeding ticket?! And whatever you do don’t let rep jnr near all that power!!

  3. Sheesh David…can’t you just talk about cars for one day? So, I took your bait and visited your site and…ironically enough there happens to be a Katrina-related blog. Anyway, who the hell cares what Celine Dion has to say about anything??!??
    Congrats on the car, RepMan. Although, I would have gone for a Jag. Speaking of Jags, my favorite is the Jag XK3 model (72 or 73). I would go for the chocolate brown over the green, though.

  4. Congrats on the new car. I’d much rather hear your take on the President’s abysmal approval ratings with the one year anniversary of Katrina upon us, though. In fact, what is the state of America’s reputation one year after the hurricane and five years after 9-11?

  5. Yes, the flip-flops will be worn while driving the Alfa. Why drive a convertible without them?
    Also, I too had a Miata for a short while. It was white with a black top. I affectionately referred to it as “The Millennium Falcon” (it was a 2000).

  6. Way cool, Jamesy. The M3 is a stick. Why drive one that isn’t? Re: your Alfa Romeo, my big question is: will you be able to drive it while wearing your trademark flip-flops?

  7. Is it a stick or automatic? I think that says a lot about the driver, too, Rep.
    As for me, I’ve got a simple Jeep Liberty (automatic) for the daily stuff & bad driving conditions.
    I am about to purchase something for the fun stuff… 1976 Alfa Romeo Spider with only 36K miles on it. Canary yellow with brown lether interior…yes, it is the exact one Fletch drove.

  8. nice new ride, repman. love the car, and when my lease ends in 07, the MSE and PRE (that’s PR exec for those keeping score)might be driving similar cars..who knows…

  9. If the executive parking lot here is any indication (3 of every 5 cars are BMWs) of success, then you are on the right track. Second place is a tie with Audi and Lexus- no Mercedes or Saabs or Volvos really- a Land Rover here and there. Any way you look at it – congratulations on your new ride!

  10. You’re right that it does seem like most cars are being made by just a few auto manufacturers. Still, the BMW brand, along with a few others, simply have a different image and reputation in my mind.

  11. But I thought Jags and BMWs are essentially Fords? Aren’t they all made in the same plant somewhere. I know at least Jags are.
    I feel the same way – my Hyundai was 8 years, 160,000 miles strong and now my VW Jetta Diesel gets 44 mpg… American cars don’t cross my mind either unless it is a ’67 Corvette – and that is the only year btw. Oh I take that back, American cars cross my mind when I’m paying for service or parts on my foreign vehicle. Ugh.