If I Were Human…

2014 Fiat 500L Trekking
Live long and prosper – somewhere else.

“…I would say, ‘Go to Hell.’ If I were human.” – Commander Spock

This is Leonard. Much like Mr. Nimoy, Leonard has moved on. Not like my old Festiva, ripped away from me. More like the star-crossed, brake-eating Flex. Or the Jeep. Buh-bye.

This too was star-crossed. The numbers were right, when I needed to get rid of the Flex, it’s running expenses, looming repairs, and checkered history.

The Mileage was right in both senses. It started with just 40 on the clock. That meant the 51K  mIles I put on it were almost entirely under warranty. (More on that in a minute.) The miles per gallon, on average, was 35-50% better (27, spirited, vs. 18 driving normal or 20 as a wannabe hypermiler).

I loved the styling of the “Trekking” model. What a difference a fascia and a real color make. See for yourself.

It came loaded with swag: alloys, Beats audio, nav, two-panel moon roof (and the usual windows, locks, cruise). All for $16K (because they couldn’t sell it as new).

It was the master of long-distance road trips, swallowing the 12 hours between my kid’s home and school without a sweat, even over the Rocky Mountains. And all those windows to soak up all the scenery.

Chicks dug it.

On the other hand…

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ACID FLASHBACK: 1978-83 Mercury Zephyr

1978-83 Mercury Zephyr
I want a hamburger. No, cheeseburger. I want a hot dog. I want a milkshake. I want potato chips…

There can’t be too many left. Especially if you drove them like my brother and I did. It seemed like a good idea in the winter of 1980: replace the 7 seater Oldsmobile with a smaller, lighter car. The choices were basically Fairmont vs. GM A-body.  Even my Dad knew that the AMC Concord and the Aspen/Volare twins were decrepit old shitboxes rooted in the 1960s.

I can tell you first hand that:

  • it’s woefully underpowered.  88-hp is just not enough.
  • The only thing imaginative is the hybrid strut front suspension and aluminum bumpers instead of heavy chromed steel.
  • Everything else is derivative. The headlight/running light pattern is from every other American sedan of the day. The vents are leftovers from Mark V production. Everything is a rectangle.
  • It’s not that efficient.  The trunk is shallow. The seats are basically amorphous slabs of foam on the floor.
  • Did I mention cheap? Everything inside is brittle plastic, thin vinyl or flimsy urethane.

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