Wherein I Rant About a Lack of Real Wagons

I would happily drive any of these WAGONS. Sadly, we won’t see any of them in Canada (maaaaaybe the Focus Wagon, and Mazda6 Wagon, but no confirmation on either of those from their respective manufacturers). Ok, so we do get a couple of these (the BMW, and Mercedes are technically for sale here, but in very specific (read: boring) trim packages). But really, what I want?

Hyundai i40 wagon, Mazda6 Wagon, Honda Civic WAGON (this is seriously sexy as hell, I’d consider a Civic, if I could have this). Primarily, the Mazda6 Wagon. I really liked them back in ’02 to 06 (in fact, I almost bought one, but the dealership refused to find me one with a manual, even going so far as to lie to me and tell me they weren’t available with a stick). I loved the RSX I bought back then, but had that Mazda6 Wagon been available to me with a manual, I’d never have gotten as far as the RSX.

http://driving.ca/audi/auto-news/news/10-wagons-we-saw-in-paris-that-we-really-want-but-cant-buy

The closest we get to wagons now, are the venerable (and slightly wonderful) VW Golf/Jetta SportWagen. The smart choice is actually the 2.0 Turbo-diesel, with the tiptronic DCT transmission; the Subaru Outback. Still not quite a wagon, as it’s too tall, but the Legacy, uhhh… legacy is there. And really, nothing a set of lowering springs and Bilstein shocks couldn’t fix; And the discontinued Acura TSX Wagon, which is really nice, but… yeah. Discontinued. Everything else that can be readily identified as a “wagon” has a base price of $45,000+.

I continue to lament the loss of the (affordable) wagon. There are some (and it pains me to admit it) excellent CUV’s out there now: the Tucson/Sportage, Santa Fe/Sorento, Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, Toyota Venza (also a candidate for lowering to “camry wagon” profile), but I still want that car-ride-height, handling and fuel-eoconomy that goes with it: and I want it wider than it is tall: I want a WAGON.

Rumours continue to abound about Hyundai i40/sonata diesel wagons, Mazda6 Wagon (also, potentially diesel), and Focus ST wagon (om, nom, nom: fast wagon). Sadly though, no one is going to proffer one to me. Maybe they’ll get around to it in a couple of years, when I really start looking again. A manual, turbo-diesel Sonata wagon would be… that’d be just great. And it’s not like it’s not out there already.

I may be biased.

I used to drive this:

In that color, even.

Genesis Coupe: The Long Story of Getting a 27 Minute Upgrade

So, you go the TL:DR version (which, if I’m honest, still wasn’t exactly short) last week.

Go on. Go read that link first. That gives you the basics of the whole situation. You read it?

REALLY?

That fast? Hrrrm. Fine. I’ll trust you.

So.

I’d planned an extended weekend in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area, for those who aren’t familiar with it). It’s spring, the summer tires are back on the car, it’s looking and sounding ‘right’ again, and I do like a drive. The original plan had been to run down Wednesday after work, crash Wed/Thurs night for sure at a friends place, then maybe move onto my brother’s place Friday night, and one of the Basterd’s places on Saturday night. Thursday would be a catch-up-with-people day and evening, and Friday and Saturday would be car stuff. Then drive home on Sunday.

First issue: A storm rolled in on Tuesday, with heavy rain forecast for Wednesday. Some potential flooding on all the routes I was looking at taking. With a Cold Air Intake that sits behind the bumper cut-out, and six inches off the road, that could be bad. So, I decided to forgo Wednesday night, and leave early early Thursday morning. Which went well enough. Most of the time, I could roll with at least a window down, and just enjoy the drive. Not the sunny, windows down, sunroof open drive I’d hoped for, but hey, you can’t pick and choose sometimes.

reststop

I left around 5:30am Thursday morning, and it was decent. Until I crested a hill just west of Norwood on highway 7, and there was an OPP car going the other way. Now, I wasn’t speeding… badly. I was just following the pick-up in front of me at *mumbles* km/h. I lifted off the throttle, and saw him crest the hill going the other way. Held myself to about 85km/h and just kept rolling. About five minutes later, there’s an OPP car stuck to my rear bumper. Two minutes after that… Yup. Flashing reds and blues.

So, I pull over, keys out of the ignition, stereo off, windows down, and he comes over.

“So, where’s your front plate?”

Ahhh. SO, he rolled up behind me, saw I had an Ontario plate, and that’s the issue. Fair enough. Ontario requires you to have two plates, front and back.

“it’s right there, but it’s on the passenger side: that’s why you pulled me over?”
“Really? I didn’t see it, and yup, that’s why I stopped you.”
“Go take a look, really, it’s there, it’s just on the passenger side, screwed into the “TOW” hook hole.”
“Wait, what?”

So, he goes round the front, and starts poking at my plate. I get out, and go explain it to him:

IMG_20140517_140159

Long and short of that? Really cool, fairly young guy, no ticket, and he was interested in knowning where I got the attachment for the towhook. I’m happy to plug a Canadian company, so it’s RHO PLATE. He also mentioned that while he didn’t mind either way, in Toronto they may not look as kindly on my plate covers. Fair enough.

Back on the road, got to Missisauga without further issues, and Thursday in general was good! I got to catch up with peeps, and see my neice for an hour or two, which is awesome. Movies until far too late into the night, and then poof! It’s Friday.

Now, Friday, that’s where we get to the meat of things. you’ve read the GOOD part of my experience with ATQ. This is the bitter sweet.

I want to state right now, for the record, the issues that Tomi had were NOT HIS FAULT. They were Hyundai’s, quite honestly. He’s never seen a car as badly assembled as mine. Nor has he seen as much salt and crap built up in and arround the subframe bolts and mount points. So, when we discovered that, putting the passenger rear subframe bolt back in (or maybe even as early as taking it out) it was shredded, that’s definitely NOT on Tomi and his skills. Unfortunately, it is really difficult to get a bolt that looks like this back into the car in any useful manner:

old subframe bolt -detail

Also, because it was Friday, and we’d been waiting around for the rigid collars to be made (on site), we were already running behind by the time we discovered the problem. The first job was to find a tap/die set with a 14mm x 1.5 in it. Surprisingly difficult. By 9:30pm, we were opening boxes at Canadian Tire, and the staff were trying to usher us out the door, as it was closing time. Fortunatley, the kit we found was on sale for $99.99: a price I’m willing to pay to add a useful tool to my own garage. After dropping off food for his (understandably irritated) girl friend, we headed back to the shop… via the beer store. Because, OBVIOUSLY at this point.

Re-threading the sub-frame bolt was done and in it went… And as soon as Tomi applied any torque to the wrench, it just started spinning freely. Not going to work. And yeah, we pulled it out, and sure enough, stripped down again. The hole it was going into was clear, so after two or three tries, we gave up on that bolt.

By this time, it’s pretty late. At least 11:30pm. We’re about nine hours into that twenty-seven minute job. Tomi is unimpressed, I’m disheartened, and worried about even being able to get back to Mississauga to sleep that night, and considering where in the shop I set my tent and air-mattress up.

Which is when Tomi says: “hey, maybe I can MAKE a bolt”.

My response is pretty incredulous: Seriously, you can do that?

“I dunno. I’ve never done it before. But we can try.”

And he goes to work. And a single lump of steel becomes:

old subframe bolt, and new

That’s the new one on the right.

I gotta say, it LOOKS right. Hell, it looks better than the stock bolt. In it goes…. and… starts spinning freely. Both of us show disappointment. But, again, Tomi goes back to work, does some quick measurements, and hey, look at that, the new one is fractionally too long. A chunk gets chopped off, and it gets re-tapered and threaded again and in it goes. And the torque wrench clicks at 60lb.ft.

This is when the big grins start. The spec says 125lb.ft for this bolt. That’s a bunch. So, Tomi goes to work.

70lb.ft chunk-CLICK!
80lb.ft chunk-CLICK!
90lb.ft chunk-CLICK!
100lb.ft chunk-CLICK!

Holy shit. This is getting CLOSE. 100lb.ft is probably enough. But, hey, lets go for the gold. I dunno about Tomi, but I’m ACTIVELY holding my breath at this point.

110lb.ft chunk-CLICK!
120lb.ft chunk-CLICK!

Moment of truth…

125lb.ft chunk-CLICK! lets just check that again: Chunk-CLICK! chunk-CLICK! chunk-CLICK!

Huge sigh of relief, and the sound of me guzzling a beer.

I’ve said it to a few people: I spent a bunch of hours (many, many hours) that night talking with Tomi. He and I have HUGE ideological and political differences. But, I have no problem with that for a number of reasons. First, he’s a smart guy, and he’s willing to talk. We need more people on both sides who are willing to talk, and willing to come to an agreement (or agree to disagree). I had a lot of fun arguing with him about stuff. I think he was surprised that I didn’t hate his guts over his views, too. Second, he didn’t leave me to rot. Seriously, that’s a big deal. I can think of a couple of shops and individuals who would have just called it quits, and told me to tow the car to the dealership for them to put a new, stock bolt in. A lot of this is down strictly to his unwillingness to be beaten by a problem, which is why the parts he has for sale are so damn good. He gets it right, because, in his mind it HAS TO BE RIGHT. “Close enough” is not good enough. And that’s an attitude that isn’t anywhere near as common as it should be in almost all industries now. I have huge respect for his work-ethic and sheer ability to get around a problem without letting it beat him. This is a guy who is doing something really good for the community, and I’d like him to keep doing it. Which is why I’m buying all his shit.

So, back to the story at hand.

By the time he’d gotten the rest of the car buttoned up again, and we’d cleaned up the shop, it was 3:30am by the time I got out of there. Another forty-five minutes to drive from Guelph to Mississauga, and it was god-damn-late o’clock before I collapsed on the couch.

The next morning, I made a call. I killed the idea of going and visiting my brother, sister-in-law, and niece for the morning, and got an extra hour or two of sleep. I also made the call that I’d just head home that day. I was exhausted, stressed out, and just generally not in the best of moods. Yes, everything had worked out fine, but damned if I wanted to take a chance on anything else going wrong. What I did do, when I left Mississauga at 10am, was stop in briefly at the BTRcc tuning meet. Got to chat with a few good people in Chapter 11, and The Durham Basterds crews (both of which I’m a member of) and see SketchedOut’s car make 297hp/350lb.ft on the dyno, post-tune. For a 2.0T with bolt-ons: that’s impressive.

We also got a couple of pics of the Chapter 11 cars in attendance, with Iceman shooting from the roof (and waving at the security cameras).

Chapter 11 @ BTRcc

After that, I hit the road home, and was there by about 6pm. I was DONE.

The important things though. I wrote the TL:DR version of my review on the ATQ parts last week. I’ve gotten some more driving in since then, including a run out to the rural country where the roads are… well, what you’d expect.

So, post-honeymoon phase review. GO OUT AND BUY THE ATQ RIGID COLLARS.

I’m rolling at speed over railroad tracks that I have previously crawled over, and the suspension isn’t making suicide sounds. The whole car tracks truer, and more predictably. Yes, with the Eibach springs on, and five-year-old stock struts, it’s still a … sharp… ride, however, the bangs, thunks, and terrifying the-suspension-just-fell-out-on-that-pothole sounds are completely gone. The steering is more accurate and has more talk from it: I know what the road is doing in a way that wasn’t being communicated to me via the chassis previously. I’ve noted that there is a new rattle from the exhaust, but that is, I think, a matter of me ‘shortening’ the exhaust with the proper TurboXS racepipe AND straightening where it’s hung on the chassis (due to the rigid collars aligning everything). I know where it’s tapping the body, and I actually just have to lower it very slightly. That shouldn’t be a particular difficult job, but it also illustrates just how far out my car was, and now isn’t. there’s a good chance I can hold over for another season on the coilovers, unless a deal comes along (in which case, I’ll jump on ’em).

I’m also lovin’ the shifter bushings. The shifts, despite my super-light knob, are tight, linear, and I hit em without a thought. Once I get the ATQ shortshifter, I’ll be laughing.

So, that’s the “Long” version. Is there any surprise I went home early on my long weekend away?

Having Fun With Cars You Don’t Own.

So, this week, the girlfriend is out at her dad’s place: took the dog with her, and, is planning on doing some driving, with her dad. She needs to practice up, because license testing is coming soon. So, I left the 2005 Subaru Forester out there at her request. Now, it’s a forty-five minute drive back to town, so how do I get there?

Her dad gives me the keys to his 2011 Subaru WRX.

This is not a bad deal at all!

Look, I’m a respectful guy with other people’s cars (and there’s no snow to go sliding on), but it is really interesting driving this little pocket rocket. And make no mistake, it is a rocket. Some will swear that you must have the STI, but I’ll be honest: the WRX itself is way more car than the average person needs.

Comparitively, the WRX sits on a 2.5 turbo, 5speed manual transmission, making 265hp and 244lb.ft of torque. The WRX STI runs a same-displacement 2.5L Turbo, a six speed transmission, and 305hp/290lb.ft of torque. Given the car is the same, otherwise? Yeah, the STI is faster.

But I don’t really see the “need” for the extra of the STI, especially the (reputedly: I’ve not driven an STI) over-hardened suspension, which makes long trips painful, and adds, by all reports, about twenty percent more handling ability… at the absolute top of the envelope. The average driver? Gonna be super happy with the WRX.

Which comes to my impressions.

I’m digging it. I’ve always said I’d like one, but this really just confirms it. It’s ridiculously quick: forget about 0-60mph times: if you put your foot in it at 30km/h in second, you’ll be breaking the law moments later. Like, in a ‘lose your license’ kind of way. The biggest issue for me is coming from my Genesis Coupe, the 5MT vs the 6MT: I keep thinking I should be up a gear (because in teh ‘coupe, I would be) but the WRX is happy to lope around town in second gear, at 50km/h, getting 7L/100km on the instant readout, and is IMMEDIATELY ready, and in the boost, if you need to stand on it.

And you will need to stand on it. Because you’ll invent reasons to stand on it.

It’s a lot quicker than my coupe. For the moment. The spec on the coupe, right now, is about 200hp/220lb.ft of torque (at the wheels: on paper it’s 223hp/225lb.ft or so) I give up half-a-litre in displacement, so no real surprise there. The big difference is the extra gear: I find first gear is really difficult to get into hard, where in the Subaru, it’s extremely useful and you can run around on suburb roads in first at 25-30km/h without feeling like you’re stressing the car. The ‘coupe on the other hand is screaming at 30km/h in 1st. The WRX, despite the really nice and taut suspension that inspires confidence, is really compliant around town. My lowered, stiffened (and yes, blown strut-wearing) coupe? Less so at the moment. I assume more like the STI, honestly.

In fact, the gear ratio thing is interesting.

That explains a lot, don’t it?
The WRX is a car I could live with every day. There’s a useable back seat, and a good trunk for the class: the hatchback and folding seats are a bonus at that point.

The turbo whine from the WRX is FANTASTIC. This is a sound I recommend whole heartedly… unless you like fuel economy. Because you won’t get any making that sound happen at wide-open-throttle.

The only downside to the WRX is… no one looks at me. I’ve gotten used to (and enjoy) the looks and comments my ‘coupe gets.

So, in the WRX vs Genesis Coupe sexy battle? The WRX loses. Badly. The coupe is just sexy as hell.

The WRX does feel tight inside, too. Not small tight, but well put together tight. In a way my ‘coupe doesn’t. Now, that has changed from what I’ve seen of the ’12, and especially ’13 coupes. But my ‘first year’ model… yeah, it’s got some creaks and groans. In fact, it’s in the shop getting an oil change, and hopefully, the squeak in the seat diagnosed and fixed (under warranty). With similar mileage (albeit two years younger) the WRX feels better put together.

I’d buy a WRX. In fact, I may buy a WRX. Not now, but if I decide I want a fun daily-driver that I can winter easily? it’s going to be right at the top of my list, without a doubt. The holy grail would be, honestly, a 2008 Forester XT (WRX engine, manual transmission, and most of the suspension, but with more room inside), but an Impreza/WRX would definitely do the job.

Because Winter Racecar.

Shootin’ Cars (Redux)

We did actually get out on Thursday night to get some pics of the cars. What we ended up with was three 2013 2.0T Hyundai Genesis Coupes, two 2010 2.0T Hyundai Genesis Coupes, and unexpectedly, a (and I’m guessing at the year here) 2012 Nissan 370z. After meeting at Timmies, we had planned to hit the Lock House at hogsback (nice open lot, access to the grass right next to the lock) but found that that was being used as parking for DragonBoat practice. So, we headed out to the NAVCAN driveway I’d shot at befre.

I took a little GoPro video too: I was planning on just stockpiling that footage (all shooting backwards from my car, as I led the caravan to the location), but I’ve had requests to put it up, so I’ll look into doing some editing, and see what I can do. I’ve not done any video editing yet, so this should be an experience.

Once we got where we were going, the light was great, so we started shooting. We moved the cars around a bit, too, so we could shoot them as groups, and as individuals. I’m going to be posting the pics up on my photoblog, OneHeadlight, but here’s a teaser, so to speak:

The Hardest White

I will say this, I was particularly happy with one or two shots, especially the black & whites. I have a fairly contrast-heavy style, and that’s evident whether color or b&w, but this one shot… well, you’ll have to judge for yourself.

Again, check out the photography blog for details.

What I do want to do is get out hit some of the other locations. I’m definitely in a photographic mood at the moment. I should also bang out and check out the weekly car shows again, as there are some brilliant cars out there, from true classics, to muscle, to modern and import. Maybe tomorrow night at the Rideau Carleton Slots show….

On Being Haunted, Pt. 8

Yup, it’s another package. And, while I had no idea what to make of the last two, with them basically being lumps of band flyers, I REALLY don’t know what to make of this one.

First, I had to sign for it, it’s a big enough package, and is labeled directly from Mad Dog Records:

1 - the box

I’ll be honest with you. At this point, that’s big enough to contain a severed head. It didn’t, however, have the weight of a severed head. Or, at least, what I would assume would be the weight of a severed head, having never been in contact with one.

So, slicing the tape, I see this:

02 - the box - just opened

Might as well start at the top. Open the envelope:

03 - inside the envelope 04 - package of articles

What you can see in the closer look of the articles, un-papercliped (is that a word? I doubt it) shows four newspaper articles, and a burnt, tattered, hand-written note. The articles are a spread: Gravenhurst Banner, April 28th, 1919; Gravenhurst Banner, November 30th, 1920; The Citizen, Ottawa, November 20th, 1943; and The Citizen, Ottawa, November 21st, 1989.

Before you ask the obvious question: the Ottawa Citizen was founded in 1845, and was renamed AS the Citizen in 1851. So, no easy way to find out if the articles are fake that way. The Gravenhurst Banner was founded in 1886. Everything fits so far, right.

Oh, the letters. here you go. I’m transcribing each of them into the flickr link/image comments, to save a little space.

05 - all the articles

08 - April 28, 1919 09 - November 30th, 1920

06 - Wednesday November 20, 1943 07 - Tuesday November 21, 1989

Ok, so, we have, in order.

The 1919 disappearances, of which our friend Gregory Delainey is one of nine. You’ll remember, I recieved nine patient records in a package late last year.

The fire in 1920, claiming the life of an unknown patient, showing us the severely decayed corposes of eight more, and the life of Dr. Moran (the doctor on the nine noted records). Who was missing his hand, from the wrist, at the Muskoka Free Hospital for Consumptives.

In 1943, someone in Ottawa recieves a “prank” letter, written in “Chicken blood”, talking abut crazy things, and sounding like a lunatic. Sounds pretty familiar

In 1989, also in Ottawa, much the same thing. Some crazy letter from Muskoka, could have been in blood.

Now, final piece is the burnt “diary” entry:

10 - the note

A mish-mash of test results regarding rapid decay of test-subjects after death, increased pain response, and a formula.

So, when you read all that (as I did) you want to delve deeper into the box, don’t you? Well, inside the box, among all the packing peanuts, is… A box.

11 - inside the packaging

When I pulled that out, I found a wooden box, marked with Gravenhurst TB Hospital, and Sterile bandages.

12 - box within a box

It was nailed shut,s o I had to go get a hammer and a prybar to open it up (cautiously. I still wasn’t sure what I’d find inside it, but it definitely wasn’t head size. Unless it was a shrunken head).

13 - prying the box open

And inside that…

14 - the severed fist

15 - the severed fist & vial

A severed hand, decayed, broken off viciously at the wrist, still clutching a vial of what I can only assume is the formula. Because, i can only assume that this old, but partially preserved artifact is the missing hand of Dr. Moran.

I’ve not had chance to google any of the names attached to the articles yet, but I’m going to. But, this definitely seems like a zombie story to me now.

On Being Haunted (Pt 4)

So, here we are again. It’s the 28th of November, and you’ll remember that in On Being Haunted Part 2 I said I kinda figured there’d be more contact on the 29th.

And sure enough.

A package. Big one this time. And with some heft to it.

When I opened it up, I found this inside:

01 - The package

Unbound, there’s another folder inside the portfolio:

03 - Inside the portfolio

The name on the folder appears to be “E. Moran”, with a reference number: “W-B” or maybe “W-13”.

Inside the folder? Nine patient records:

05 - all the files contained

One of them (and only one) was in the file upside down, comapared to the rest. I have no idea if that has any significance.

Hell, to be honest, I don’t know if there is any signfiicance to any of it! I’m still working under the assumption that I’m being pranked by a very, very creative friend, rather than you know, some crazy stalker, or, some DEAD, crazy stalker.

So, the records… wanna see ’em?

Patient Record 1 Patient Record 2

Patient Record 3 Patient Record 4

Patient Record 5 Patient Record 6

Patient Record 7 Patient Record 8

Patient Record 9

I’ve not examined them in detail yet, but so far, the commonalities are, well, what you might expect.

  • All admitted between 3/28 and 4/27
  • No year attached
  • All admitted voluntarily for psychiatric care
  • All diagnosed with trouble breathing, chest pain, and “T.B.”: given that the hospital was for consumptives, it’s a fair assumption that that “T.B.” notation is “Tuberculosis”.
  • All on the same ward
  • all with “E. Moran” as the supervising physician
  • all with anotation of mental state on admission.

    I’ve got… nothing. I know the old hospital still stands, it’s empty, and like any abandoned facility, they never get all the records out. which means, these were probably grabbed from the location. If they’re fakes? Well, I doff my hat to whoever made ’em. They’re REALLY good fakes. The handwriting is exactly what you’d expect: even, concise, neat. The paper is battered, and dry, but in decent shape. It’s the kind of thing you do find on UrbEx expeditions, sometimes.

    And I still don’t know who’s at it.

    If the dates are an indicator? Well, maybe it’ll be four months (late March) before I see anything else. If that’s not a factor.. who knows? I’m at a loss. I’ve got nothing. I can’t find anything with the google-fu on E. Moran as a physician at The Muskoka Free Hospital for Consumptives, and I’ve not had time to google the names of the patients yet.

    It all still remains a mystery.

    Oh, yeah, and previous posts are:

    https://markramsden.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/on-being-haunted/
    https://markramsden.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/on-being-haunted-pt-2/
    https://markramsden.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/on-being-haunted-pt-3/

  • [cars] I Loved An Import (and I Didn’t Know it)

    Once upon a time, somewhere around 1989, when I knew a lot less about cars, I made fun of a friend, for his “Imported Escort” that I thought he paid too much for, and got too little. I did this because my dream car at the time was a GM G-Body: a GrandPrix, Monte Carlo, Cutlass Supreme. You know, V8 in the front, drive the wheels out back, and push a lot of Iron around in a 2-door, t-top chassis.

    So, Omar, if you ever read this, I’m sorry. I was wrong. Oh, in hindsight, he did his mods wrong (a big subwoofer under the passenger seat “for the ladies”), but he got the car right.

    Because today, I would buy that “Ford Escort” in a second.

    Because that Escort wasn’t an Escort at all. It was something a little… better. It was, at least in North America, a Merkur XR4Ti. It was, undressed for the North American Market, a Ford Sierra Cosworth at its heart.

    And, today, it hits all my buttons. It actually has done for about ten years.

    Rear wheel drive. relatively high-pressure (14-17psi) turbo. Relatively light. And … distinctive… in appearance.

    I would buy one today. I took a quick look on Ontario Kijijji, and you can get a well-maintained manual transmission 1988 model for around $4500. And yeah, that seems like a lot. But there weren’t many of these to begin with, and they’re becoming more and more scarce. A notable percentage of the ads I saw stated “Comes with parts car”. That’s good and bad. Good, lots of extra stuff to work with. Bad, another one of these that will never see the road again.

    They’re a cool car, for a lot of reasons. In the land of affordable speed in the late eighties, there wasn’t a lot. My little brother had a ’91 Mazda MX6 GT Turbo which was fantastic, and again with the Mazda, the 323 GTX. FWD and torque steer of the gods in the MX6, and the GTX was … unusual, but both awesome.

    But, at the end of the day, if you like performance, then RWD > FWD pretty much every time.

    I’d love to have an old Merkur, gigantic wing and all (didn’t I mention the wing? That distinctive appearance? Here’s a picture) as a project car.

    Because they give you a base to work from. There’s a ton of aftermarket, and great potential. Tons of information out there too. And, they hail from a simpler automotive time. You, as an enthusiast, get to explain that it’s not an Escort, it’s not even a European Escort, it’s a SIERRA; TOTALLY DIFFERENT CAR!

    And, it’s got quirky stories. fr’instance, Car and Driver gave it a “10 best of 1985” award. Then, in 2009, took that award away when they made their 10 most embarassing award winners list. Personally, I think they were looking for a tenth car for the list. Every other vehicle with its award rescinded had actual issues: the Merkur had a wierd name, and “wasn’t a terrible car, but it sure was odd looking.” and “in sum, perculiar”.

    There’s even a webcomic loosely based around one: Misfile

    What can I say? Something about them screams “this needs to be fixed up”. So, again, I’m sorry Omar. You bought the right car back then. And sometime in the last twenty years, I bet you junked it, too.