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BMW Z4 (eb.andriuolo)
BMW Z4 (eb.andriuolo)

Road Sage

The family won't fit in this car. Is that bad? Add to ...

Summertime and the driving ain't easy.

It's a truth that is driven home to me as I ferry the family toward cottage country in the Grand Caravan (a.k.a. "the maggot magnet"), a trip replete with unearthly screams, bodily fluids emitted, agonized whining and food flung in anger, to say nothing of how the kids behave. It's during trips like this that my mind is invariably borne back ceaselessly to the automobile I really should be driving. That's right, as I beat on towards an orgiastic future that is certain to include homing mosquitoes and roof-of-the-mouth scorching s'mores, I fantasize about the green light at the end of the driveway, my dream car.

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What's that Road Sage, you say, you have a dream car?

To which I reply, don't we all?

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Everyone has their dream car. Well, not everyone, some people hate the very notion of cars. They dream of horses or bicycles or surf boards or unicorns or other modes of transportation like hot air balloons. The rest of us hold in our hearts the desire for the perfect automobile.

Of course, I'm talking about convertibles.

Convertibles are WMDs - Wheels of Mass Desire. A convertible can do anything. It can make a trip to the store seem like an exotic excursion. A convertible can make a stop light look like a Rush-inspired laser show spectacular. A convertible can make a traffic jam seem like a car-themed dance number from Glee.

Everyone loves them. Anyone who says they don't is a liar. You can take your biggest auto-hater and offer him a jeep or a sports car, even a Porsche, and he'll spit in your face and call you Glen Beck. Throw him the keys to a night blue BMW Z4 convertible or an Audi R8 Spyder, however, and faster than he can say "Hybrid Schmybrid" Mister Auto-hater will be wearing Oakleys and lighting Cuban cigars off his Green Peace card while cruising down the highway with golf clubs in the back seat.

That's the power of a car whose greatest selling point is that most of the time it doesn't have a roof. In a convertible the sky's the limit. It's the most unpractical car you can drive and that's a selling point. You can't move the contents of your apartment in a convertible and, if you can, you're probably co-starring in a Tom Hanks sitcom from the 1980s.

Now, I could wax poetic about the history of the convertible, you know, like which unknown European genius invented the first one, and we could all weigh in and show each other how good we are at remembering car-themed minutiae. I could cite significant moments in the model's history, such as Ford's creation of the Coupelet in 1915, the golden age of styling and manufacturers like Marmon and Duesenberg and Stutz, the beauty of Jaguar's 1950 XK 120 Roadster or hail Cadillac's introduction of the Eldorado in 1953 as a pivotal moment, but what good would it do?

Those are facts (at least according to the Internet) and we're talking fantasy.

The convertible, after all, is the car of summer (that most fantastic of seasons). Like blistering heat, eye-stinging sunscreen, and charred BBQ meat, the convertible comes out when the temperature goes up. You can drive a convertible in the spring and fall, as George Peppard once did in an episode of Banacek, but, unless you're as heavy a player as Peppard was, it's not advisable. That's because convertibles are extroverts. It's the car that puts you on display. To pull one off you must have either an over-riding sense of self or a needy insecurity so profound it can only be assuaged by constant attention seeking, or more likely, some combination of the two.

Here are the Pros and Cons of the Convertible

Cons

  • No roof.
  • Less safe.
  • Easier for people to break into.
  • Wind messes up your hair.
  • Can't fit a family easily into one.

Pros

  • No roof.*
  • Less safe. ("I feel so alive!")
  • Easier for you to jump out of when crashing over a cliff.
  • Wind blow dries your hair.
  • Can't fit a family easily into one.

It's not too late for me, I suppose. I could sell a kidney on the TSX organ futures market and buy an Alfa Romeo 8C Spider. No, scratch that. I'll stick with my dreams. You know what they say, "Be careful what you wish for …"

Unless, of course, you are wishing for a convertible, then do everything in your earthly powers to get one.

*All your dreams come true.

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