Did you know its been almost a year since we started on this journey into motoring?
A quick look at the stats tell me that readership is growing and people searching for porn still find this blog because of some clever meta tagging (thats a computer geek thing that makes what you type into Google find this column, neat eh? Who says sex doesn’t sell anymore!) Popularity is important. I write this stuff for a number of reasons but one of the main ones is to see peoples reactions to what I write. If the blog is crap and boring then no one will read it and the hate mail dries up.
So what makes you popular? Being different I think is one of the main reasons, people look at you and are interested because of the different spin on life or laugh at you because you are doing something out of the ordinary. Popularity then has to be fresh and new, but user friendly and acceptable. The Detroit motor show threw up some very interesting new designs including a hyper cool electric three-wheeler called the ZAP Alias that if painted matt black would not be out of place in the Batcave, but will it be popular? I doubt it. It will generate interest at the show and loads of people will take pictures of it and discuss it over a plastic cup of beer, but would they buy one? No, they head for Toyota and buy a Prius. Middle ground needs to be found and the Prius is a good example of that. It’s quirky enough with its Star Trek dashboard and weird, hybrid engine that can silently sneak up on pedestrians in urban situations, to be interesting; and because it claims to be green, give you high MPG (It doesn’t really, its 48MPG average is the same as a Golf TDi, but the Golf is £5,000 cheaper much cooler and faster) and celebrities drive it, its popular. But would you buy one? Drive one? Be seen in one? Didn’t think so.
Soon it is new car time for me and as I am still waiting for the editor to call me and offer that lucrative column, I am forced to buying another 10 year old ‘a bit past it’ car. The popular choices are uninspiring and have galactic milages on them with several owners, and all of them are dull. A while ago I was looking at Audi, Honda and Alfas, now as poverty tightens its grip I am looking smaller. I am looking at a Suzuki Wagon R.
Ok Ok settle down, stop the hoots of laughter and the old man jokes and listen to my reasoning. This is a very overlooked car, and the joker at the back who just said ‘I wonder why?’ can bugger off. Here is a quirky and interesting little car that just oozes Japanese charm. Its a tiny MPV thing with a tiny 1000cc cam chain driven engine that redlines at 8000rpm (even tinier in Japan!) and is classed as a ‘Kei’ (click here to see an earlier post on this) its bought and driven by old people who only go to the shops for cat meat and service it at dealerships. Consequently they are cheap, well maintained, cost nothing to run and in very good condition.
With a little imagination they can be made to look and behave like a mini hooligan. I doubt if I will increase my popularity or street cred (whatever that is) as I drive my little Suzuki, and know it will never go round the ‘Ring, and I am not cool and hip, but you know what? I don’t care because I will be different, and as you will see in future posts, it will bring some fun and discourse to this funky little column, and who knows? we might just make the little guy popular AND acceptable!
I have found a nice selection of custom kei cars if you are interested, click here