April 16th, 2012:
Ferndale Drama of 2012

Today rivaled the great blizzard drama of 2005. Gina and I originally planned to visit Hodges Subaru for some scheduled maintenance on both of our cars, visit the zoo and take a relaxing day off of work. It got a little more complicated than that.

We were up at 6, out the door at 7 and at Hodges by 8am. We dropped off our cars for service (mine was due for a lower control arm recall inspection and Gina needed to have her steering rack replaced). We walked to Toast for a savory breakfast treat, then headed back to Hodges to see where we stood. Not only did my lower control arms fail their punch test, but the subframe assembly was rusted out. Hodges service crew deemed my car unsafe to drive and in need of at least the LCA replacement. Gina and I decided that it was time to try to find a new car.

Bill Garcia, who hooked Gina up with her last two Imprezas, overheard our situation and we asked if he could help us find my dream car: 2012 Legacy GT with navigation. The catch? The GT is no longer available for order and the last time I checked there were none available anywhere in the US. That didn’t stop Bill: he called around until he found a lead on one in Texas. We applied for financing (and were approved), then got the quote for the new car. We were pretty sure all was good to go… and then headed out to the zoo with a loaner Forester from Hodges.

Just down the road is the Detroit Zoo (actually located in Royal Oak, MI… go figure). We figured we would burn a few hours while checking out the zoo. Though the zoo was without power in some buildings due to the high winds, we were still able to check out just about everything we could stand! Three hours later, we had lunch then headed back to Hodges for an update.

It seems that the winds were causing problems for more than just the zoo. The power was out at Hodges’ auxiliary service center and our cars wouldn’t be done for a bit longer… So, we headed of for an afternoon showing of The Hunger Games at the Royal Oak Emagine Theater.

Thoroughly entertained, we returned once again to Hodges. This time, the work on my car was complete… but Bill had some complications regarding the Texas-based source for my potential new car. Without boring you with the details, we’re not sure if the ’12 GT is going to happen, but I can’t thank Bill and the guys enough for all the work they’re putting into try to make it happen. The power was still unrestored to their auxiliary service location, so I assume my car was assembled without the help of a lift or airtools. Gina’s car, however, could not have the steering rack replaced without a lift.

Hodges made arrangements for a loaner and Gina headed off to get her parking pass from her car while I signed off on the work for mine. I picked up my car and called Gina to locate her. However, she didn’t answer the phone! A nice lady, Veronica, found Gina’s phone on Woodward and held onto it for us! Crazy! I found Gina, headed over to Marygrove College (where Veronica works) and picked up here phone. We returned to Hodges one more time to pick up Gina’s loaner then went home.

All in all, today was a collection of miscellaneous little things adding up to one big tangle of craziness. We’re still not sure if the Legacy GT is REALLY available in Texas and Gina needs to pick up her car from Hodges after their aux. service location power is restored and they get it up in the air.

At least there wasn’t any snow involved this time.

- Duane

July 29th, 2010:
Subaru Flat Tire

Today I absolutely needed to leave work at 5:30 to get to a cabinet showroom before it closed (for our basement project). Of course, I got a flat tire as I was driving through our work parking lot. Brad came to the rescue, once again, with an extra jack and air pump to play tire switcheroo. (The spare won’t fit around my upgraded front brakes.) So, we moved a wheel from the rear of the car to the front and put the spare on the rear. I guess it’s time to replace my front struts, get new tires and an alignment finally. Of course this means I have to drive my Camaro for a while. Darn…

- Duane

December 16th, 2009:
American Auto Makers, Build A Car That I Want!

What the hell, Ford? (Same goes for you GM and Chrysler…) What do you have against people that know how to drive a car? Seriously! I don’t need auto assist lane change backup sensor stability control heated bum wiping! It’s quite simple: a touring car (sport sedan or coupe) with all-wheel drive, taut suspension, peppy performance and A MANUAL TRANSMISSION!!! I spied a car that I was truly interested in: a Ford Fusion Sport AWD. Ford doesn’t offer a manual transmission on any of the more powerful engine options for the Fusion. Step up to the new Taurus and you get a bloated car with soft suspension and poor fuel economy… still without a real transmission.

GM, what do you have? Crossovers and luxury cars. Chrysler? The same. Sure, there are plenty of rear-wheel drive offerings that I would love to own. However, I live off of a county dirt road and even if I didn’t most of the options cost more than I could justify spending.

I drive a Subaru daily. I love it. The recent economic climate has made me think twice about driving a foreign car. (Though the entire Legacy and Tribeca lines are built right here in the USA at a “green” facility that is officially a protected natural asset.) I can get any Impreza or Legacy with All-Wheel Drive (of course) and a manual transmission, including the potent GT, WRX, and STi variants. I could buy a Mitsubishi Evolution or Lancer. I could even step it up a notch (into the Taurus and LaCrosse price ranges) and get a well-equipped BMW 338xi or Infiniti G series.

It’s not that the “Big 2 1/2” aren’t capable of building a sporty AWD car. They’ve done it in the past and offer several in Europe (Ford Focus RS, anyone?). America just doesn’t want to buy them. For most drivers on the expressway, it’s too much work to check one’s blindspot before changing lanes. Why would they want to have to row through gears as they enter and exit the highway? Come on America! Wake up! Pay attention! Put down that cellphone and cheeseburger and learn to drive! That’s the only way we’re going to get cars worth driving in the showrooms.

- Duane

April 12th, 2008:
ZOMG – Best STi Commercial Evar!

- Duane