accomodations

How much of your city’s layout is compromised to accommodate the car? Probably more than you realize. Consider a stationary car’s footprint on the road in the image below.

footprint of 60 people when commuting by bicycle, car and bus

click to expand – footprint of 60 people when commuting by bicycle, car and bus

Now consider how much additional space each car requires when moving. The higher the speed traveled, the more space that’s required between cars. A car traveling 25 mph on the road probably needs around to 1-2 car lengths between it and the car ahead, and that figure doubles for every ~25 mph increase in speed.

Even still, it is pretty shocking to learn that the total percentage of land dedicated solely to the automobile can exceed 50% in some cities. Beyond that terrifying land usage statistic, consider how much of the remaining land’s development is influenced by the automobile’s close proximity or the preference for people for traveling by car. In short, cities are built around the car, and cars are a huge waste of space.

So why does no one seem to care about this backwards set of priorities? Why isn’t there an aspirational city car to match every enthusiasts aspirational sports car? Gordon Murray, the man behind the McLaren F1, has turned his attention to the city car, but it has attracted minimal attention. Part of the problem stems from the ridiculous correlation between vehicle size and perceived luxury.

Mini Rolls anyone?

Mini Rolls needs more grill

Small cars are always a brand’s entry level model. You simply can’t buy a truly luxurious small car. It’s almost an oxymoron. The rational for this is that automakers build cars based on consumer demand, and most cities do little to incentives people to drive smaller cars. If anything, consumer preference has favored increasingly large cars. The current 3 series is now as large as the 5 series from two generation ago.

We already incentive people to drive fuel efficient cars through taxation. Why not place the same emphasis on vehicle size or correspondingly weight? I can’t wait for the Mini Rolls or maybe just smaller (and lighter) cars in general.

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current obsession

I pay way too much attention to almost every car on the street. I’m a prosecutor’s dream witness when they need someone to identity the car in question. Color, make and model? No sweat. I am dangerously aware of all cars, including those headed in the other direction, while I drive. My unhealthy appetite for all things automotive leaves me occasionally obsessed with seemingly minute details of particular cars.

Right now, I can’t get enough of the Mini Cooper Countryman color palette. Yes, that weird bulbous SUV interpretation of the original Mini concept. Put aside your feelings for that car, and just look at the colors, particularly their “light white”, “blazing red” and “starlight blue”. Do not pass judgement by browsing photos. Look at these colors up close in person.

Intentionally the right car with wrong color. Must see in person.

Right car, wrong color. Go see the right colors in person

Your first reaction is probably along the lines of, “so what?” One more shade to add to the countless variations on red, white and blue. What is important about these colors is not so much the particular shade unto itself, but rather these colors in the context of a Mini. They exemplify the brand. Fun, light and slightly eccentric could be used to describe these colors or the Mini brand itself. It’s a rare occurrence when color and car actually match.

Starlight blue or blazing red won’t translate to all cars, and likewise, Minis can’t wear all colors. But I see a lot of cars with drab or outlandish colors that don’t fit the brand or even the car itself. Color is a difficult thing to get right. People go for the safe choices, because most of the time the other options don’t suit the car. Just look at how popular silver and black are for reference. But when those colors are done right, they add another dimension to the car’s personality.

 

track toys

Evo picks their favorite track toy from a list of cars that will never make it to the US…

Skip driving in traffic and just go to the track.

With such an heavy emphasis on outright performance, modern sports cars are better suited for the track than the street. They are just too fast for most public roads. So why buy a car that is compromised with the rules and regulations of the street when the only place you can really enjoy it is at the track? Go all out. Get something that doesn’t have to meet pedestrian impact rules or get 25 mpg.

Who cares about lap times?

Even at the track, comparing lap times between cars insanely pointless. Evo rightfully picked the car that was the most fun to drive, not the fastest. The notion of being fastest only applies to club or series racing. Head to head racing doesn’t happen at open track days. You’d get kicked off the track real quick for trying to out brake another driver at any DE event.