Friday, August 10, 2007

Changing Tastes

I can remember the number of near traffic fatalities I was involved in while driving fast rolling metal during the reckless days of my youth. Spinning out and surviving at speeds in excess of 100 mph is a kind of message that it took me a while to decipher. This happened more than once, more than twice, and I thought it was just a matter of time before my guardian angel got fed up and decided to walk.

I still like fast cars but not on the highways where I'm putting other people at risk. My tastes for highway driving these days can be summarized in two words: safety and dependability.

On the dependability scale, I was glad to read in the Wall Street Journal that GM's American Buick scored as high as the Toyota Lexus in the JD Power study of dependability.

As a personal matter, though, I do take issue with the JD Power generalizations about the Ford line. I know Ford has its financial troubles (and I think Mulally will succeed in taking care of those) and I know that Ford has had its dogs, but it also has had its great cars, some of which were indestructible. I drove my 1968 Shelby Mustang across country from New York to San Francisco several times in the same year with pedal to the metal and no holds barred. The only problem with that one is that the heater fuse blew out on a cold day in Wyoming. The Ford I have now is a bulletproof throwback with adequate power, decent mileage, and five-star crash ratings from every angle. It's nearly impossible to flip, according to law-enforcement types I've talked to. Guess what.

Another automobile review (Wall Street Journal by way of Russia) by a Russian auto research company appeared also in the Journal, that one about a Chinese car which....well, see for yourself.

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