The title of this post has inspired from an Opel, a German automotive manufacturer and now a subsidiary of General Motors, commercial that I saw about a decade ago. This was when liberalization first took place in India to allow foreign manufacturers to penetrate the Indian market. Certainly it did threaten the local market dominated traditionally by the likes of Maruti (the Indian subsidiary of Suzuki Motors, Japan), Fiat (known for Ferrari, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo), and Hindustan Motors. Opel launched its Astra which was a huge success. This was followed by the Ford Escort, Peugeot 309 and few others.
It has been a tradition and pride in my family to own a car. I look back and recollect when I was about 4, my father had purchased our first car, which was a Premier Padmini, and which added a great deal of repute to our status then. Accessorizing it with a powerful air-conditioner and a Pioneer music system was a luxury not many could afford to see in their lives at that time. Twenty years later when I bought my own car in 2007, I experienced the sheer transcendence in technological advancement. What to the Honda salesman – who was uttering that the new Civic has 1.8-liter i-VTEC engine, power steering/windows/mirrors/moonroof, air-conditioner/heater, alloy wheels, disc brakes with anti-lock braking system (ABS), 6-speaker MP3 CD system, audio/cruise controls on steering column, anti-theft alarm, central locking with remote entry/boot, digital speedometer, etc – was routine, to me was melodious music! I couldn’t believe myself when I drove off with that beauty and felt that pride in its ownership.
But the quest and love for cars in my genes don’t end here. And I have had a long time crush on off-road vehicles, esp. the Hummer! Later in the year, I planned this fantastic trip for my parents who were to visit me. So I happened to reserve (guess what?) an H3 for the time we would be in Los Angeles. I probably got the best deal ever – $99/day! Hummer H1-Alpha is available only to the military and the government. The 4×4 H3 is massive and a tough beast to handle on the freeways. If it’s loaded and you are turning, the passengers may not like it. Accompanied by a friend, we drove to Universal Studios, Rodeo Drive in Hollywood, RT-1 by the coastline, and spent the evening on 3rd St Promenade. The color yellow turned the heads of many men and women, esp. at the gas station, where it took us forever to refuel!
From my years of virtual driving experience with the “Need for Speed” series, I have not only appreciated my knowledge about cars but also gained a substantial amount of simulated driving experience that has helped me become a better driver in real life as well. I used to like the Lamborghini a lot, esp. the Diablo and Murcielago but my favorite car till date is undoubtedly the Porsche 911. The 911 comes with an optional technology referred to as Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK), which is essentially two half gearboxes in one. The gears are split into odd and even numbers between the two gearboxes. While the power is transmitted through one gearbox, the next gear is preselected in the other gearbox, resulting in smooth and faster gear shifts and leading to significantly faster acceleration and lower fuel consumption. I will let you enjoy this enlightening video on PDK and promise to commence work on owning a beauty from Stuttgart soon!