I’ve talked to several people lately who feel like this week has been the “oh, shit” moment with the pandemic, especially here in America. Now that we’re in mid-July, it’s become readily apparent that this mess isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The reality of that situation and everything that goes with it—unemployment, fears about our health, concerns over how kids are supposed to go school, all of it—is hard to think about. So let’s not. Let’s fantasize for a moment instead.
What car stuff do you want to do when this is all “over”? I’m using the word in quotes there because I don’t know what “over” means any more than anyone else does, nor do I know what the “new normal” will be. Put it aside. If you could travel freely again, or drive whatever you wanted, or buy the car you always wanted, what would it be?
I’ve decided that if I survive this trash fire of a year, I, too, need to make a bad car decision on the other side of it. My old Toyota 4Runner is a fine machine. It’s as reliable as they come. It starts and drives every day without incident. It laughs at snow and mud and gravel. But it’s not crazy. It’s not stupid. And owning something stupid sounds quite wonderful right now. I was deeply jealous of this mini-viral tweet from software developer Cabel Sasser, where he announced he was buying an imported 1991 Toyota Town Ace 4×4 van “in a desperate attempt to extract some joy from 2020.”
Fair! And in addition to a wildly spacious interior, his Town Ace has a cooled and heated drink box with an ice maker in the center console. You could almost live in that.
And, reader, maybe I’d want to. After being cooped up in an apartment for all this time, I’d love nothing more than to pack up some essentials into a vintage JDM van like that and hit the road. Destination: none. End date: also none. I’d just want to leave for a while, in search of adventure, and come back when I’m ready to come back. There’s a whole listing service for these. I’ll have to keep my eye on that.
Alternatively, my wife wants a Nissan Figaro. That’s not quite as appealing as doing the #vanlife thing, and it’s definitely tougher to live out of one, but those things happen to be an absolute blast to drive, so I wouldn’t say no to one. I’ve always wanted a Porsche 911 convertible, too. Maybe I’ll spring for the cheapest 996 I can find and pray for the IMS bearing every night before I go to bed. Who knows. But if there’s anything this year has taught us, it’s that life is short and fragile, and we should do what we can to squeeze as much joy out of it as possible.
So what’s your post-pandemic car fantasy plan? What are you gonna do? Get your racing license? Splurge on a C8 Corvette? Buy an East German car full of mice? Tell us what you want to do. We all need something to look forward to.