Car Thread - Alfa Romeo proves cars are art so shut up

TiggerNits

Yankee vampire living off the blood of the poor
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
So I figure we need a good car thread, not about the latest choices in overhead cams or how to get the best mileage on shit tires and old oil, but the actual culture, history and craft that comes with automobiles. Some argue cars cannot be art because they serve a utilitarian purpose, but many would argue that not all cars do. Sure, a Toyota Corolla is about as far from art as possible and any given crossover SUV is to a minivan what a C student on hard times does to pay her cell phone bill after daddy cuts her off.

What purpose does an Alfa Romeo 4C serve that an expertly made oil painting of a nude ballerina doesn't? Both only exist to be beautiful, but you can also use them to impress people, turn heads and maybe get in to arguments with self-appointed experts in their respective fields about what they represent.

Cars are art because they're an extension of the self for so many people. Talk to an old man who has a car that he truly loves, or, loved. He'll beam with joy and he'll tell you stories about his experiences with the car, much more than if he's just rattling off facts about wheelbase, transmission gearing and displacement. He'll tell you about how the tires would scream when he took it through a tight corner and how his wife, then young and beautiful, would shout at him for doing it. Because to him it wasn't utilitarian at its very core, but a means of expression, a vent for his life's frustrations and a metric to which all frivolous happiness is compared against.


I'll start with my favorite car that I have ever owned.

A 1971 Lotus Elan (+2).


(Mine was the same color, but in no where near as good shape)

Surely this car served no utilitarian purpose for me, I also had an 89 Grand Prix for getting places, picking up groceries and going to work. But the Pontiac's main purpose was to haul the guts of that Elan to the garage so I could fix her. The motor in the Lotus was, at best, a massive piece of english engineered shit. It was slow, it was a garage queen and worst of all, it would get wet faster than the girl's who hung out at the bars in Pensacola when they saw a flight student walk through the door as they imagined leaving their panhandle shithole and collecting BAH. There was always a leak to be found and fixed, so that the new found pressure would cause yet another hose or internal to pop and start the process anew.

But these imperfections were unimportant, just bumps in the road really, because when I was driving that slow and poorly balanced sports car through any turn faster than 30mph and feeling the body roll worse than my unibodied American midsize car, it felt like I was 8 years old and on a rollercoaster. Like something could go wrong and throw me to my death, but if I held on tight enough and leaned in to the turn, then I could probably survive the imagined catastrophe. That mere thought would provide me with better thrills than the 30 year old Navy training jet that I had just landed a few hours before. I didn't understand it at the time, but I loved it.

When I would crnak the engine over I could tell which cylinder was misfiring and begin to start fiddling with carb to see if I could sort it out, or if it was the timing yet again. It would seem to chew up tires as well, with the camber and toe constantly changing because the joints were weaker than they should have been, but for all of these issues, it seemed to reward me for lovingly fixing them. For 3 years I drove that car on every sunny day I could. She lived in my car port most days with a tarp drawn over tight, and the days when I'd take her out she'd turn heads. Women would ask to ride in her, men would ask how much I wanted for her.

The day I sold her was a sad day, but I had got to the point where 2 cars just didn't make sense and I needed the cash to pay for my then-wife and I's deposit on a condo in San Diego before I left to work in Africa for a few months. I sold her to an older man who had always wanted a classic lotus, who had experience with the engine, albeit in a Ford Escort and who had asked me to sell it to him at 3 times what I had paid for it. It was a sad day for me back then, but I knew that car no longer could be the rolling renaissance painting that it had been for me any longer and I passed her on to another art lover who would hang her proudly and admire her daily.


So please, use this thread to talk about your favorite cars. Cars you've driven, ones you've owned and ones you would dream about as a kid.
 

TiggerNits

Yankee vampire living off the blood of the poor
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
I've got an 86 with a new engine from 90s Corolla, so it's slightly more powerful than it used to be.

Niccceeeee, love the scooting wedge. Please tell me you know about liftoff and snap oversteer, though. Because holy shit there's a reason they've gotten so hard to find with a clean history
 

Gator Young Henning

FBI Special Agent
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Please tell me you know about liftoff and snap oversteer, though.
I do not. I think my dad and brother mentioned something about it though.
I should mention that it used to be my dad's, and he gave it to me, so I'm not really too knowledgeable about it yet.
 

Gator Young Henning

FBI Special Agent
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
I think I get how it works now. The state of those cars in those videos really makes me appreciate how good mine looks (only a small spot is actually rusted). I'm actually planning on getting it repainted and fixing all of the other cosmetic things this summer.
 
Cars I really like? Fuuuck, man.

Jap iron:
- Late 90's and early 2000's Subaru Imprezas.
- Mitsu Lancer EVOs from about Evo 4 to Evo 8
- The weeb in me has a hardon for the Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86
- A lot of older JDM coupes and sedans from the 70's, stuff that's obviously supposed to ape muscle cars of the times like the Nissan Skyline C10, Datsun 510, and so on. Especially if they're given a shakotan style with lowered suspension and fender flares.

European iron:
- Lancia Stratos. What a beautiful little car.
- Lancia Delta, both the insane S4 and the later HF Integrale.
- Audi Quattro
- Peugeot 205 T16 in rally trim
- Lamborghini Muira
- Ferrari 288 GTO
- Aston Martin DB4 Zagato
- Ford Escort MK1 and MK2 (counting these as Euro cars because they're from the UK Ford).

American iron:
- Pretty much half the cars that the US made in the late 60's and early 70's. Not just the obvious ones like the Dodge Challenger and the Mustang, but the lesser shit like the Plymouth Duster and Dodge Dart. It's all good.

I've got a huge list of cars I really like, but I'd rather use this space to talk about cars I am looking at potentially buying.

Because I am a poorfuck in Russia, a country with a hefty import tax on vehicles, any car I buy will by necessity by a used one. I'm thinking about buying a decent condition Jap or Euro car from the 90's or early 2000's for myself in the next short while. Ideally it would be RWD or, even better, AWD because Russian winters and ice. I'm thinking a Subaru of some description. The child in me wants a 2 door, be it coupe or hatch. I could live with a 4-door if it's a wagon or something like a Subaru Forester because it will be useful - a sedan is my last choice as it's less practical than a wagon and at the same time bigger than a coupe so the worst of both worlds.

The survivalist in me wants a Toyota HiLux or something like that, but pickups are super rare here and to find one that hasn't been turned into some sort of backwoods fuckmobile and possibly taken out mudding every weekend is hard.

Anyone got model suggestions and known trouble spots to look out for?
 

TowinKarz

Is it Morning Yet?
kiwifarms.net
I have several rolling project cars, but only 2 of them are close to being finished.



The best by far is my 86' Chevy Camaro. Nothing special, just a lowly sport coupe, if you could barely afford a Camaro, this is the one you could get. I'm a kid of the 80's, so this was the performance car you aspired to own, and I like the period "flying wedge" aesthetic.

Bought it off the back of my own tow truck from the owner as it was about to be hauled off as an abandoned car because he couldn't get it to run right and while it sat, someone stole the wheels, leaving it up on blocks. The final deal maker, at some point, someone took the factory 305 out and put a 350 in it (86 was the last year for carbs, they got fuel injection the next year, so this was the last year you could just wholesale yank and replace motors without having to worry about things like engine/computer incompatibility.) Typical period car handling (rough, but easy to drive once you get used to it) It has one of those "please don't speed" 85mph speedometers that it can easily bury on the freeway, it's got enough power, but it's a freeway cruiser, not a sports car (solid rear axle and leaf springs means it handles like a pickup), just don't treat it like what it isn't and it's nothing but fun to drive.

That was 5 years back, found a set of salvage rims for it and got it running, about a year later, my idiot neighbor plowed into it while it was parked in the street, crushed the front end. Plus side, his car got totaled because he picked on a car that still had a frame when his didn't, so, I kinda won.... pulled the sheet metal from the one wheel and drove it to the bodyshop and told them that since I was going to have 1/3 of it stripped and painted, just do the whole thing. It came out great. Since then, I've had to get the tranny rebuilt (TH350 3 speed auto, nothing fancy, manual only came w/ 6 cyl cars) , and I re-did the interior/carpets except for the (costly) new dashboard it needs (UV damage), and there are a few odds and ends (rearview mirror fell off, wiper control stalk cracked and about to fall off) but aside from that, it's in great shape and I get a lot of people at gas stations and bus stops wanting to know more about it since there are so few survivors of it's generation that aren't the Z28/IROC with all the bells and whistles, the "poverty" cars like these and the Berlinettas are, ironically, more eye catching for not being ubiquitous.

The other is my 78' Pontiac Grand Prix



This was a stereotypical little old lady car that spent 1998 to 2008 in a garage, I ended up with after she passed and it was sold on through her mechanic at low cost with the only stipulation being that it goes to a good home (no selling it to a lowrider or demo derbyist) and I was the first "car guy" through the door when he put the FOR SALE sign on it.

This was the first year that Detroit started seriously downsizing cars when they accepted the truth that the days of cheap gas and no emissions were gone and not coming back. 77' and prior, fullsize Pontiacs used to be built on Cadillac chassis, they were HUGE cars. The 78' Grand Prix was a "midsize" (for the day) car by comparison, and to assuage buyers that were used to bigger cars, they loaded them with features. Keep in mind, this is a 78', a time when most cars had hand crank windows and no AC, standard... it has

Power Seats
Power Windows
Power Locks
T-top roof
"Performance" 4 barrel carb and automatic trans.
Bucket Seats
Cloth interior
"Snowflake" rims, the same kind that went on the Bandit's Trans AM (except silver not gold)
Air Conditioning
AM/FM radio
Rear Defroster
Intermittent Wipers

Basically, every check box on the options sheet was hit.

Power is from a 301 Pontiac V8, Pontiac's take on the 305 Chevrolet, not built for speed, but I've never wanted for acceleration, it keeps up with everything on the freeway just fine. Best of all, the garage life means NO cracks in ANY of the vinyl, no rust, it's all in great shape, in fact, the only thing NOT factory in the car is the radio itself (missing when I bought it) so I put a modern MP3 in it, other than that, I could go to car shows with it, and I plan to. Just as soon as I finish fixing the motor. A year ago, it broke the timing chain just short of the roll-over at 100,000 miles. Got the engine block back from the machine shop a couple months ago and have been tinkering here and there, hope to be done by spring.

It's an interesting relic, from a time when they didn't THINK anyone would hold on to a car past 100,000 miles, and the design aspects were "Brick on wheels" as opposed to today's plastic jellybeans, but I get a lot of younger people asking questions beacuse to them, they've never seen anything like it in the real world, just in the background of old TV shows. And it handles like a 70's car too, there's 3 inches of "dead" in the steering wheel that you have to move through before the wheels start turning, and when it does turn, you'd swear the door handles are going to scrape the pavement. Calling it "boat like" would be an understatement, boats are more nimble, and drum brakes mean handle like a freight train: Start braking about a mile before you want to stop. But I love it anyway.
 

TiggerNits

Yankee vampire living off the blood of the poor
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Cars I really like? Fuuuck, man.



Anyone got model suggestions and known trouble spots to look out for?
Never buy a used EVO or WRX with even a single aftermarket part, few things are harder to own than a used rally platform that got rode hard and put away wet.

Aside from that, I'd say if you can find a used Focus RS or Diesel Merc E class then you can play Survivalist car and still have fun with it
 
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Never buy a used EVO or WRX with even a single aftermarket part, few things are harder to own than a used rally platform that got rode hard and put away wet.

Aside from that, I'd say if you can find a used Focus RS or Diesel Merc E class then you can play Survivalist car and still have fun with it
Yeah, buying a used EVO or WRX is out of the question because by the time it gets to me it'll probably have been flogged by 4 different people and what'll be left is a rolling scrap heap that will need new shit every month.

There's a beautiful Gen 6 Celica AWD for sale near me but I don't have enough money for it just yet and it'll probably be gone by the time I get another couple paychecks :'(

 
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TiggerNits

Yankee vampire living off the blood of the poor
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Yeah, buying a used EVO or WRX is out of the question because by the time it gets to me it'll probably have been flogged by 4 different people and what'll be left is a rolling scrap heap that will need new shit every month.

There's a beautiful Gen 4 Celica AWD for sale near me but I don't have enough money for it just yet and it'll probably be gone by the time I get another couple paychecks :'(

That is a gorgeous car, I still can't believe they replaced this amazingly beautiful thing with the "Urban" sneaker with wheels that was the 7th gen
 

TiggerNits

Yankee vampire living off the blood of the poor
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net

TiggerNits

Yankee vampire living off the blood of the poor
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net


This is the Alfa 4C. It serves no automotive purpose. Like a Gorgeous housewife, 20 years younger than her executive husband and incapable of having children, cooking or cleaning, she exists solely for her beauty. The 4C is much the same, it isn't very quick, it handles very poorly for what it is and it isn't comfortable or have a single thought of utility. You could argue that a person could make a fast run to the store for more tard cum in this, but in reality the person who can afford this would be more likely to use their trusty Merc or Beamer for that task. The 4C isn't even a proper roadster, since those are normally have a soft ride with a solid turn radius to cruise up and down the Pacific Coast highway or whatever paved mountain roads you may have nearby and the 4C is set up in a way where you can feel every bump on the road and hold your breathe and begin to pray everytime you see a pothole, or hear someone just mention one.

This car is very much an Andy Warhol piece or a Kubrick film on tires. Those telling you they enjoy it for anything other than the appearance are either lying to you or horribly pretentious, probably both. Definitely both. There's no way to sit in one of these cars and not feel "fast", but not in a Formula 1 or Top Fuel way, but in a kid pretending to be James Bond in his dad's old MG Spitfire that's been sitting in the garage for 12 years without an engine kind of way. It's about the perceived look of speed, not the actual capability. And that, at it's very core is why some cars truly are art. It isn't about what they can actually do, it's about how they look and how that makes them feel like something else, something that's better than the vehicle you're in. And the 4C is very much built to that spec
 
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