Decisions, Decisions…

I recently got married to the woman of my dreams (she will read this post). She likes fancy shoes and superchargers so I am certain that I have made the right call in picking a mate. How has married life changed my automotive purchases though? We both smartly worked into our vows that I would not ask questions about shoes or bags and my better half would not ask questions about anything in the garage. How has this changed me? Well, I no longer lust for things like drag cars, race cars or otherwise completely unpractical cars. Let’s get real, I have a house to buy and eventually some rugrats to raise. Saving money at this point would be a wise thing. This does not, however, mean that I cannot still have fun when purchasing and driving automotive masterpieces?

We have decided that we will undoubtedly stay in the 416 area code and that we will purchase a house, not a condo. This means that given our meager budget we cannot have A) a garage and B) nothing fancy. I will have to settle for street parking and will definitely want to blend in with the neighbours when considering my automotive options. I don’t want to be “that guy” who parks his sports car on the street. The neighbors will talk and it will eventually become someone else’s pride and joy when it gets stolen. We will have two cars, if my math serves correct that means one for my wife and one for me… just to reiterate, I will have only one car. I am not sure if buying a house is worth going down to one car.
The family truckster. The queen-of-the-eventual-castle will not drive a minivan as she finds them too “bouncy”. I will need something that is baby proof. This means it is indestructible on the inside, can be easily cleaned and take the laundry list of things that need to be transported with said baby. It will also need to house an entire shift of hockey players, plus gear. Something a little lower to the ground would be best. For around $6k you can get a mint condition 1994 Buick Roadmaster wagon. They seat 9 in living room comfort, can swallow 4×8 sheets of plywood (I am going to have to erect a walk in closet for the Mrs. eventually). The best part: these cars came with the same LT1 5.7 Liter V8 as the corvette. This means horsepower is cheap to make and torque is abundant. The fact that it gets terrible fuel economy is cancelled out by the fact that the majority of them have wood paneling. Besides, the hockey rink and pre-school will be close to the house, so fuel economy is not important, right?

The commuter: The Buick is going to be the size of our house in terms of square footage; I do not want to upset my neighbours by hogging the prime street parking with 2 large cars, so the second one will be small. It will probably also have to be good on gas. Thank you cards from OPEC will definitely raise suspicion. I also can no longer afford the threat of getting pulled over by the fuzz for enjoying speed to much? I will campaign a Mini Cooper S as my daily driver. I can still get a car seat in it and put 2 small children in it if absolutely necessary. This compact size will be easy to park, fun to drive and cheap on gas. A good (high mileage) one will cost me around $15k. Sport suspension, a supercharger and a slick shifting manual will definitely keep a smile on my face. This will also ensure I have some “street cred” when I show up for a track day.

So the question remains: will the farer sex hate the wood paneling on the car more than the wood paneling in the living room of our dated house?…. and you thought a lifelong car nut would not take this type of thing seriously.

Buying a house is hard

My fiancée and I decided to look at real estate the other day. We thought maybe it is time to purchase a house, get a mortgage, settle down, and possibly get a dog. We shared where we want to live and discussed what features are important. Then we did what every good couple does, we fought about everything, including the dog.

We agreed that the best thing to do is independently search for a house in a given area and price range. We would then share the properties of interest. This is a synopsis of my hunt:

I decided that since I am a free man to go and pick my own place, I would pick what is important to me. I found some very helpful websites pertaining to real estate that allow you to search by key word. I picked the two most important key words to me in this order: 1) garage, 2) driveway. I was sad to realize that my income would not allow me to afford the Taj Mahal of garages in midtown Toronto. This only forced me to get more creative with my search. If I can’t get a big enough garage, I need to get a small enough car.

A quick search confirmed that an original Mini will in fact fit under the sink of most kitchens. If I lust for an Italian then only an original Fiat 500 will do. These are spunky little cars that are cute and fun to drive but performance would be best descried as non-existent. I have used industrial kitchen appliances with more power and torque than the Fiat 500 produces.

Okay…. I will get the Mini because I love those boxy designs, and can fly the Union Jack on the roof. But I need performance… BMW 1 M is a tiny shoe box with loads of performance. They are fast, fun and can pull more G’s out of a corner than a fighter jet. It is not a great winter car though. Also, when compared to the Mini and the Fiat it is about a cute as a Piranha that has smelt blood.

Subaru WRX STI. All-wheel Drive, compact sedan (bonus in case we have children) and has 300 horsepower in stock form. They are highly customizable and also handle quite well. This is the perfect winter car, they are new enough that I will not care about it being the “driveway” car that never sees the inside of a garage and they are pretty much bullet proof. I have the winter beater!

My fiancée and I reconvened to show each other the homes that we had found. She had some excellent options. I presented a Japanese sports sedan, German pocket rocket and an example of classic British excellence. In my defence I did present them as a track car, classic car for weekends and a grocery getter.

Now I am shopping for a dog house…. For me.