Woes & Yearning

05cars.jpgThe 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?

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6 thoughts on “Woes & Yearning

  1. Damn you, Gary, and damn my highly-open-to-the-power-of-suggestion brain. Now you’ve got ME sufing the car sites. BTW – you don’t find a two-door inconvenient?

  2. I think you are a punk-ass, eliteist snob for not givng ANY car a chance just because “I’ll never ever drive one.” You (and Joe M.) seemed to have no complaints about it before. In fact I belive the words “bad-ass” came out of your mouth. Do your research, and screw your “algorithims.” Find out what people who test cars for a living say (Motor Trend, Automobile, Car and Driver, etc.), then go out and test drive everything under the sun, because it’s free, and it’s fun. If you find something that you like, buy it. That being said, I have been to many a car show, and I think that your choices above are valid. If your are thinking Pontiac, see if you can hold out for when the Soltice comes out. That car is sexy as hell. As for the Rx-8, the rotary has a torque curve that is flat as hell, so there is no need to keep the RPMs in the stratoshpere for that “spirited driving experience.” It is solid push-you-into-your-seat acceleration all the way up the powerband. As for the GTO, exterior = BLAH, interior = BLAH, engine = BlurSong2YOO-HOO! Been in one (car show) but I’d have to drive one to see if I could live with that boring sheet-metal. Saw a drawing of what Pontiac might do with it in the future, and nearly creamed. Think analogy – 69 Stang is to 05 Stang as 69 GTO is to 07 GTO. Have you thought about Dodge/Chrysler? The Chrysler 300 just beat out the new Vette and the new Mustang for Moter Trend’s Car of the Year, and the Dodge Charger based on the same platform is going on the market soon. Anyway, keep your options open (even teh Fords) and good luck. Oh yeah, next time you are here–BANISHMENT for you to the Vibe!

  3. YEah… about those reviews. I saw one (forget which mag did it..) comparing the Mustang with the GTO… the GTO beat it in almost every performance related test they had. It lost out solely on the look of the thing, which I admit is really underwhelming.

    Personally, for $34k, I’d rather get an Audi A4 or TT Quattro 3.0 (220hp/221 #’) or even a BMW 330i. Hell, a MINI Cooper S sooped up to the tits (best handling car I’ve ever driven).

    But then again, I hate ALL American cars.

  4. The Mini Cooper S also has a John Cooper Works package available. It’s a pre-installed after-market kit that it fully warranteed. Similar to what Roush and Saleen do for the Mustangs. For $5000 you can turn your go-kart into a rocket. I mean go-cart in a good no-body-roll-during-hard-turns-power-slide-at-will way.

    Since you pay $7500 more for a base GTO vs. a pretty loaded Mustang GT, I’d hope it would perform at least a little better. Wait ’til the Cobras come out…Rumored to be able to smoke a Vette (but not the $75,000 Z06) for around 35 thou.

    Chevy has a replacement for the Cavalier out called the Cobalt. There is a Supercharged SS version that goes for about 24K. Nice styling, too.

  5. 06 Impala will include a 5.3L V8. You’re not an Impala man but it looks like they’re at least trying to keep it competitive.

    Anyway… Here’s the question: *What have you driven so far*? Stop looking at the paper, and get one or two of those out on the asphalt, duder. Good way to kill a Saturday, take ’em out and see what fits.

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