If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am a lifelong car lover. In the past, I have written about all the Cars that I have owned, when I recognized the Magic in them for me, and the Stable of cars that I have been accumulating.
It was just about three years ago that I bought my latest car, a 2016 Subaru WRX. Shortly afterwards, I wrote about how I came to the conclusion of purchasing this New Car rather than buying a modern-day version of a classic 2-door muscle car, a 2016 Ford Mustang, that I seriously considered buying.
After driving this WRX for three years now and having taken it on several road trips, I must say it has changed my whole perspective on cars, and in particular sports cars.
Prior to this purchase in 2016, I had driven a small 2-door car for almost my entire life. When there is just me and one passenger, a 2-door car is just right. Our family car was most always something larger, something like a mini-van or a small SUV that my wife would drive.
But almost five years ago, when our daughter gave us our first grandchild and now that we have five, a small 2-door sports car was no longer practical in spite of how much fun it might have been to play in.
So, I knew a 2-door muscle car would never be the right car for a granddaddy but getting a more practical 4-door didn’t necessarily mean I had to sell my little convertibles.
But having driven the WRX for three years and having had the opportunity to compare its ride to those of my two Miatas, the biggest change in my perspective is I have found that I really prefer riding in a larger, more comfortable car.
To be fair, my two Miatas are old (one is 25 years old, the other 17 years old) so their suspension does not have the feel of a new car. The last time I had one of them in at the dealership for an oil change, I was seriously tempted to test drive the new Miata RF (hardtop) that I have admired at car shows.
But the realistic side of me recognized that it would only do one of two things, neither of which would be good. First, if it had a rough ride, then I would know that I had likely aged-out of a Miata which might discourage me from driving the two I still have. Second, if it had a great ride, I would probably want to buy one which would not be a wise choice given it would be years before our grandchildren were out of car seats or before I could even give them a ride.
So, in the end, even though it was readily offered by the service manager, I wisely declined the test drive. But I think my decision, theoretically a more mature choice for someone in their 60s, has led to a major shift in my car thinking.
Sure, I still love rapid acceleration and a spirited drive, both aspects my WRX handily delivers. But it is this third factor of comfort that is weighing heavier for me.
Probably only fellow car lovers will be able to relate to my next statement: I am always thinking about what car that I would buy next (my kids know this about me and would sometimes even ask me this question). And since this life changing realization, it is no longer a small 2-door sports car that I envision in my mind’s eye. But the disturbing thoughts that are occasionally encroaching my consciousness are it might not even be a sports car!
Given the age of my two Miatas, it should be obvious that, with a few exceptions, I keep my cars a long time so barring some unexpected event, I should be driving this WRX for many years to come.
Will its suspension become less comfortable over time as it ages? Only time will tell.
My wife drives a very comfortable Subaru Outback and we most often take it when we go out together. I know it provides a more comfortable ride than even my WRX, but it lacks two of the things I love about my WRX and sports cars in general: a manual stick shift and rapid acceleration.
My thoughts have even turned occasionally for me to consider as my next car purchase a Subaru Legacy, the sedan version of the Outback. I’d have to give up driving a stick shift since it is not an option, which at this point would still be difficult for me. But starting next year, the Legacy will be available with a turbo charged engine. Now that might be just enough of a kick to finally get me out of a sports car.
Whatever car purchase I make next will likely be years down the road. Will I continue to lust for a manual stick shift and chose another sporty WRX? Or will I for the first time, purchase a car that is not a sports car? Even if I chose another WRX, it will still mean that the WRX was and is my last sports car. Because after a recent thrilling drive on the Tail of the Dragon in my WRX—racing through the gears and punching the accelerator over its 318 curves with the added security of all wheel drive—I can’t imagine it would be anything but another WRX.