The Evolution Of A Car Owner
Back in 2012 I started looking for a car to buy that I expected to be my last sedan. While I was addicted to horsepower, I also needed the practicality of 4 doors and versatility of space. So, sports sedan it was. The search took me to many places. Germany appealed to me (BMW, Audi, and Mercedes) after riding in both the Bimmer and 4 rings. The Brits (Jaguar) were offering a nice performance package, and Cadillac had a toy in the horsepower game too (CTSv).
Other than price, I really wanted the best performance for the money. So I researched. I read every article I could get my hands on. But like Billy Joel says, you can’t get the sound from a story in a Magazine, so I went to test-drive all my potential new rides. At the time, Ford had just recently redesigned the Taurus SHO, and it’s AWD appealed to my need for winter driving also.
All these cars drove like the screamers they were advertised as, and for pure exhilaration, the Audi S4 topped all the others. Problem for me was, the S4 was a tad too small, and jumping to the 6 was an expensive, unresponsive substitute. The Mercedes C-class was nice to drive, but to just say I had a Mercedes wasn’t enough. The performance I wanted was in the BMG, which put it way out of the running.
Pretty much the same with BMW, and Jaguar (And honestly the service reputation of the Jags scared me). Cadillac fared the worst, with the highest price tag and the least of everything else. I found I kept comparing everything to the SHO—whose 3.5 twin turbo had some pep (But if we could shave off 500 lbs…man..) and all the extras, like AWD and storage, plus the ability to haul 5 people (5 actual sized humans—bonus)
Price wise, the SHO ducked under everyone else, and it became clear that I was going to order one—built for me to my specs, right in Chicago. My first special-ordered new car!
Loved it. Loved that car! It was feisty, and as big as it was, it didn’t feel spongy, like a larger Audi. Although it was easy to push it beyond it ability on a coned-course, everyday driving was a thrill. And punching the gas on an interstate pass put me well into the triple-digits while maintaining the precise, comfortable handling I had at 70mph.
I was hooked. During the time I owned it, I had occasion to drive newer, updated versions of these sports sedans, and newer still, the Alfa Romeo 4C and Giulia. Each impressed with the shear power and pinpoint handling. But I always came back to the SHO. I’m not really sure why.
Then came the night in November 2017, when my wife got hit broadside while driving the SHO. She was shaken, but the car did what it was supposed to do, and she came out of it with only minor injuries. The car however, was a total loss.
Time to settle up with the insurance company, and I found myself sitting on a payout check of about 25,000. I could put that money anywhere, and I remembered the felling of the Alfa Romeo. For about the same price, the Giulia q4 put me at the next stoplight faster, turned tighter, sounded meaner, and after all, it was a freaking Alfa Romeo! So The folks at Zimmerman set me up, and off I went with the first Giulia ever shipped to the Quad Cities (You probably saw it if you went to the Auto Show—white with a red interior—perfect for someone with my sense of fashion!)
And for the next 10 months, I tried to love it. it was sleek. Different. Italian. Rare. Zippy. All the things I knew I wanted when I “Upgraded” from the now-seemingly bulky Taurus SHO. But I don’t know. I found myself still eyeing those SHOs as I passed them (and I PASSED them baby!)
I love the look, the feel, the power and handling of a SHO. But I was now an Alfa Romeo driver. A true connoisseur of driving now, I told myself. “Every true car guy owns an Alfa Romeo once in their lives.”
I took it to DJ an event. Surprised that I had to downsize my DJ equipment as the Alfa trunk really was more for show than go (The only aspect of that car built that way.) That space issue I could get used to, right? After all, it’s and ALFA! And I did love it. Like Bryan Adams and his guitar in ‘Run To You,’ I was smitten with my new toy.
Then I tried to squeeze two adults in the back for a trip to Chicago, and all of a sudden it seemed like I was back in college, cramming my friends in the back of my pickup truck. But I wasn’t in college anymore—I wanted some space, and some performance, and why not? I wanted it all.
The Alfa also offers some frustrating engineering that you just have to get used to, because it’s their way of doing things. The more I though about it, the more I kept coming back to the Taurus SHO. I never before felt like a car was built for me, until I sat in my SHO (Which was, incidentally built for me!) I started reading the articles late at night, about how the SHO was still the same as its redesign year. That to me was music to my ears. I loved that car. I didn’t need updates for updates’ sake.
I wanted to go back, and forward. Because now I was a better driver. Better because I knew what I wanted was what I had. No longer teased by a name, or a country…gimme the Ford. Say ‘Hi’ to Ruby.