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Eric Wong at an autocross on 5/5/02

"Don't waste your money on a fancy car. All you need is something safe that gets you to work and back." --Dad

I understand what dear ol' Dad is saying, and there's no doubting the frugality of his wisdom, but I've never been able to agree with him on this one. People accuse me of being materialistic, frivolous, and snobby. A dear friend of mine once called me a "yuppie" just for my car tastes. Is everybody right about me? Am I quite as shallow as it seems?

Well, I don't deny a slight attraction to the new and shiny, but it goes a little further than that. I don't just lust after late model Corvettes, BMWs, Porsches, or Italian exotica. My eyes widen, even if just for an instant, any time I come across a car that breaks from the "point A to point B" mold. It has little to do with the age of the car, the badge on the hood, or the price tag. If it holds the promise of something more than a mundane commute...if there's the potential for tearing down a twisty back road, swinging out the tail end and catching it just in time to power out of a chicane...if there's the chance for a leisurely cruise through the mountains, top down and wind in the hair, then it's got my attention. I am in love with the machine.

What some people mistake for snobbery is simply indifference towards the "normal" car. I appreciate its utility and practicality, but I am dissatisfied with the driving experience. I crave torque that pushes me into the driver's seat, horsepower that propels me to marginally legal speeds, steering that makes me one with the car, and suspension that makes the car one with the road. It so happens that the performance I desire typically comes attached with the trappings of luxury - horsepower invariably comes with leather, usually in the form of blue and white circles and prancing horses. Build quality comes with wood trim and the stigma of driving an image car. I'll admit that it's very nice to have auto-dimming mirrors and headlight washers, but those are not what attract me to these cars. If I'm still a snob, then I make no apologies for being one.