Everyone Needs a Place Outside Their Normal, a Way to Unplug; The Garage As a Sanctuary

By Sam Smith, The Gear Head

WAR IS HELL, as the man said. More so if the main weapon is a garage full of rump-logs. I have been engaged of late in a furious and titanic battle with my dog. When no one is looking, she sneaks into the garage, hides behind a car, and poops.

I am afflicted with several vehicles. Most are slightly tatty, because owning and using good cars on a writer’s budget often involves tattiness.
The only nice machine in the stable is a 2001 Acura, an Integra Type R. Unmodified, original paint, tight and clean, no rust. Not coincidentally, the Acura is the only car I own that lives at home, under a roof, behind a locked door. One of the best front-drivers in history. I like it. Its presence is calming. This is almost certainly why the dog dumps at it.

Those Who Drive Pickups With Crew Cabs Are 6% Less Likely to Vote for Obama Than Those Who Do Not

By Mark Walton, The Incurable Enthusiast

I OWN A Subaru, but would I consider myself a ‘Subaru Man’? Not sure. To be honest, playing the word association game, ‘Subaru Man’ makes me think of lads in modified Imprezas, gold wheels, big exhausts, enough bass to set off a burglar alarm. I drive a battered Forester diesel and listen to Radio 4.

I also own two classic Land Rovers, but does that make me ‘Land Rover Man’? Oh God, I hope not – ‘Land Rover Man’ drives a Series III covered in checkerplate, he wears camo and is an active participant in his local 4x4 club, along with his long-suffering wife, Barbara.

What a Terrible Mistake That Car Wasn’t. $300 for a Bronze 1984 BMW 318i. Lord, I Miss It


By Sam Smith, The Gearhead

THE BEST WORST car I ever owned died a horrible death twice. The interior smelled like a cross between elephant and old grandmother house. The middle of the left door, maybe six inches up from the sill, held a rust spot the size of a football but still managed to be one of the nicest panels on the car. The silencer hangers and clamps were so rusty that the exhaust fell off weekly. Paint flaked off in chunks. For the entire time I owned this buttbeast – roughly a year, start to finish – I did not have a girlfriend, which is far from coincidence. No other vehicle in my personal history has been as laughably ugly or as structurally unsound.

When Self-Driving Cars Rule, The Potential for Surveillance Jumps to a Whole New Level

By Gavin Green, The Voice of Experience

HE ISRAELI ACADEMIC Yuval Noah Harari, author of the beautifully written and scholarly Sapiens, has a new book. Rather than breezing us through the history of our species, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century warns about tomorrow. In particular, the threat of misusing personal data, algorithms and AI.

Our data that we casually hand over, says Harari, is as bad a bargain for us today as the exchange of land for beads was for African tribes in the past. Yet every time we use Facebook, Google or any of the other data gatherers, we ‘sell’ (for free email access, funny videos or easy messaging) information gold.

While The Mini is Seen as a Modernist Masterpiece, The Minor is a Thatched Tudor Cottage’

By Mark Walton, The Incurable Enthusiast

WHO REMEMBERS Exchange and Mart? It does still exist as a website, though as a household name it’s been usurped by the likes of eBay and Auto Trader. My dad was a car enthusiast before me, and he used to buy Exchange and Mart every week, to thumb its densely packed pages (no pictures!) in search of cars. Consequently, I grew up driving all sorts of old dross that would come and go on the farm: an Austin Champ, a Peugeot 304, a Mini pick-up, a Mk1 Polo, a Jaguar 420G… eclectic, eccentric and always cheap.

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