2011 Porsche Boxster SpyderEnlarge Photo
I went skiing with my brother-in-law a little while ago on one of those days where the sun was shining, the crowds were small, and the conditions were beyond wonderful. I spent much of the time yipping, hollering and smiling as the sun shone down and I bounced off moguls and did lasting, real and permanent damage to bone, cartilage, nerves and that twisted, bent vertical composition that my wife claims I don't have much of, which is a spine.
And it was while racing down one mogul run at full clip--without wiping out--that a thought occurred to me of an automotive nature. It was an analogy actually, and it had to do with cars, handling, life and desires. And all that from one set of bumps, imagine that.
In short, my brother-in-law, a large and hairy guy, could pull away from me on the straights, kind of like a high-powered sedan, but in this case with more body hair. He was fast and smooth as he blazed down the hill. But as soon as the bumps came up, I blew by him, jamming through those heaps of bumps at top speed, bouncing along, getting a rhythm going and having a blast. I was the sports car, carrying my speed, drifting through turns, handling all the ups and downs, reacting quickly, smoothly.
So as I sat going up the chair, face pointed to the sun, I began taking that analogy and thinking "what kind of sports car am I?" Then I thought, that is a stupid question. If I were a sports car, I'd be impossible to insure, broken a lot of the time, and generally leaking fluids. So I moved from Stupid Question Land to Fantasy Land and thought about which cars should a person drive before he or she shuffles off this mortal coil and subsequently the taxman in one fell swoop. Some of these vehicles are attainable, some are hugely aspirational, and some are just plain odd. And this is what I came up with.
2010 Porsche 911 Turbo SEnlarge Photo
Porsche 911 or Boxster/Cayman
I actually met and had dinner with a real live Porsche test driver a couple of years ago. I was in awe of his job and obviously we spoke about cars over dinner. And he said, having been a race driver and full-time tester, Porsche cars just handle better because they have the right DNA, the right amount of soul. Well put. I drove my friend's 911 Carrera 4S last year and I still remember the feeling and sensation that car provided. I could sing songs of love about the glorious, sweet-revving boxer six-cylinder. But that isn't the greatest part, nor was it the immediate thrust or the intimate nature of the cockpit. Nope. It was the steering that spoke to you, let you know what a corner really means. Now I also mentioned the Boxster/Cayman duo. Never drove those, but read any review, and they'll tell you it's so sweet to drive. And my Porsche test driver acquaintance said it's the in-house tip (especially the Cayman) if you want the best handling car out there.
2011 Ford Mustang GTEnlarge Photo
Ford Mustang GT 5.0
I'll come clean, I have never been a slave to the American muscle car, but I have come to like the latest Mustang, especially the 5.0 a fair bit. I think Ford has taken the pony car to a new level, in particular with the 5.0 that churns our 412 horsepower. For the money, that's nuts! And it looks really good, very balanced, very much like a sports car. It isn't an overweight pig like its American counterparts, which I find refreshing. Given the fact you can lay down a patch of rubber all day long, and look good doing it, this should be on any list of cars to drive. And it's finally on mine.