The Blackura has started to hurt.
The front, driver-side wheel bearing is going out again (undoubtedly due to the phenomenal tow job 3.5 years back), and the transmission needs some serious work. I’m talking lagging gear shifts up and down, critical moments requiring torque when it’s not even in gear or transitioning between two, and harsh, hard-thumping 2nd-to-3rd-and-back jerk action. All of which are more pronounced when driving on a cold engine/trans.
Then, there’s the missing Acura badge on the trunk (ghetto or white-trash, your call), the fucked-up rear bumper (thanks to some random asshole + the FedEx guy), bent-body damage from the wheels-stolen episode back in the day where the thiefs jacked it up improperly + the aforementioned towing massacre… and various, hideous door dings and what not.
I love the Blackura. I love it more than any other car I’ve ever owned or driven. The cost of the bearing and trans fixes, plus whatever bodywork and upgrades I choose to apply (outright payoff, new wheels, tires, etc.) will be far less than the cost of a new car.
But, that the left-front bearing has gone out twice since the towing nightmare and the passenger-side door hasn’t properly seated since… leads me to believe that its frame is damaged, however slightly. If true, that will only lead to putting more money into the Blackura in the future.
Should I cut my losses and ditch it?
As I’m wont to do about every three years, I’m thinking about buying a new (to me) car. I haven’t explored my “pre-owned” (used) car options yet, but have been seriously jonesing for a brand new rocket. Given that the Blackura (1999 Acura CL 3.0) is a 4-speed auto with peak 200hp and 195 pound-feet of torque, let’s see how the new-car contenders match up:
2005 Scion tC
~$21k with options, automatic trans
160 hp, 163 lb-ft
Someone who works a couple of buildings down drives one of these, and it looks sharp. It’s relatively cheap, and comes packed with standard amenities that would otherwise be optional. I don’t know if I could deal with the lower performance, though.
2005 Acura RSX [type S, stick]
~$26k with options [~$28k]
160 hp, 141 lb-ft [210/143]
Two-Swing at work has a TSX, and it’s freakin’ sweet; opting for the RSX over the TSX was purely an aesthetic decision. With RSX pricing in the same ballpark, choosing the auto trans versus the Type S comes to this: 1) Would I take the performance hit for an automatic, or 2) suffer through the standard (in DC area traffic) for 10 more horsepower? Oh, yeah… the torque ratings blow.
2005 Mazda RX-8 [6-speed stick]
~$34k with options [~$36k]
197 hp, 164 lb-ft [238/159]
A guy who parks near us at work owns one of these; it’s black, and it’s beautiful. Given that rotary engines never got/get much torque, I’ll not hold that against the RX-8. See above regarding the performance jump auto vs. stick in this area. It’s also pretty expensive when compared to…
2005 Pontiac GTO
~$34k with options, automatic trans
400 hp, 395 lb-ft
Yeah, it looks like any other coupe on the road; it doesn’t have the extreme body style that a 400hp beast should have… wonk wonk wonk. Whatever. It looks good in black, and will kick the everloving shit out of any of my contender cars… and probably the majority of cars on the road today. Don’t talk to me about the new Mustang (Chico), because I’ll never ever drive one; sure it’s irrational, but that’s just the way it is, so it’s not an option regardless.
Really, though… what do you think?