Eh, I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "lemon." The two real
failures of the car were the stock tires, which were dangerously
tractionless, and the parking brake which goes out of adjustment every
couple months. Other than that, it's been eminently reliable - which
is obnoxious, because I just wish it would fail in some spectacular
manner so I could insist that it's time for a new car :(
It's one of those cars that's so reliable but you wish it wasn't -
kind of an anti-Ferrari, if you will.
Gotcha. Been there, done that.
Almost entirely off topic, I left the office last night and almost
immediately caught up to a really pretty black Ferrari 275. Sadly,
the driver not only had the top up and was driving like my grandmother
but he was also talking on a cell phone. It is sad (at least to me)
that driving a vintage Ferrari is so commonplace to some people that
they don't mind multitasking while doing so... I must be doing
something wrong with my life.
Maybe it's because they aren't drivers, but rather have the cars as
status symbols? Or maybe it's because in this society police officers
can use selective enforcement to act out their desires to punish people
who've done better than they have?
I've never seen a exotic driven properly. Have seen an MFFY you in a
Bently on the dan-ryan expressway. And then there was that guy in the
Aston Martin who had to race the torqueless wonder car. (although he's
offset by the another Aston Martin driver I out accelerated with my
bicycle and in another sighting out turned with my '73)
I've seen a Miura get all crossed up and smoky on a public street
before. (that might not fit some people's definitions of "properly"
but it certainly was likely "as intended by the manufacturer.") Of
course I suspect that it was a mechanic giving it a post-tuneup test
drive, as it was leaving the service bay of an exotic car dealership/
service center. I guess I just kind of expected that the kind of
person that buys a NEW exotic might fit that mold, but someone who
obviously went to the effort to purchase a rare, vintage example
instead must actually be an enthusiast.
I'd personally be a little nervous about giving a thorough workout to
a proper "crumpet catcher" on public roads because of a) the value of
the thing approximating the purchase price of my house and b) the cop
attracting factor, but one would assume that if you can afford to have
one of your own that a) is not so much of a concern.
Best I've ever seen was when I was riding in a viper... although I don't
put the viper in the same class. I did get to drive that car briefly.
I would too ;)
I've seen too many fine old cars abused (as in not being cared for) to
think that would be the case.
I can see being careful with it, but driving like a old woman on the way
to church is just not necesscary to keep it nice. Driving it like that
probably makes it more likely to end up having someone plow into it.
I'll phrase it differently for you, I usually see exotics driven in a
granny like manner that isn't even correct for stock taurus. For
example, 55mph in the leftmost lane of an interstate in a 75mph traffic
Sounds like the only Diablo I've ever seen on the street (while yours
truly was in a stock Taurus, as it happens). He had a good reason,
though: a motorcycle cop holding formation off his left rear corner
like a remora on a shark (soon joined by another one who swooped in
after merging from another freeway).
The Lamborghini driver kept steady on, 55 (the speed limit on that
stretch) right on the nickel; and didn't do what I was afraid he
would, which was see just one cop, merge right, and smack the other
into oblivion. After several miles of laboriously not giving them
the sorely desired excuse, they went their separate ways.
I agree that all modern cars have HORRIBLE ergonomics in this regard.
I'm absolutely certain that its because of airbags- they want to keep
the wheel as far from the driver as possible so the airbag is less
likely to take the driver's head off. But the result is a horrific
straight-armed driving position that is both uncomfortable and greatly
reduces control authority. When I get rental cars, I typically
compromise between having my feet too close to the pedals (knees bent)
in order to get the wheel in a halfway decent position. On cars with
adjustable pedals, I lower the pedals as far as possible and that helps
That's one theory. Another would be that manufacturers want also
fast-food lovers to fit behind the wheel without having to squeeze there
I'm surprised you didn't mention telescoping steering wheel. According
to my experience, it's much more common -- at least here in Europe --
than adjusting pedals. Did you take it for granted that steering wheel
already was pulled as close to the driver as possible before finding the
wheel still being too far, or don't cars where you live have that
I think it would be good if adjusting pedals would become more common
too, as they would help more people of different sizes to find
comfortable driving position. I once saw on TV how a woman shorter than
average, but not unusually short, was looking for car suitable for her.
Here typically in a family with two cars, man drives the larger car and
woman the smaller, but in the show it was found that small cars have
limited adjustability and suit better for average-size drivers. In
typical "women's cars" the woman in question had to move the seat all
the way forward to reach the pedals, but then the steering wheel was so
close to her chest (something like 10 cm) that she was worried about
what would happen if in an accident the airbag would deploy...
Ironically the best-fitting car for her tuurned out to be a large
station wagon or space wagon that had adjusting pedals so she didn't
have to move the seat so far forward!
Some do, some don't. The '05 Impala does not have that, or at least
it's not standard equipment on the 'el strippo fleet beater' model.
I think it must be the airbag thing. I was driving a new-ish Malibu
the other day which had a telescoping steering wheel and I still
pulled it all the way towards me. Oddly enough I find that I fit
fine in all the small cars I've owned, many VW's and a Porsche 944. I
even fit in a 914 comfortably, but without a whole lot of room to
spare - the same is true for a Miata. Of course none of the cars I've
actually owned have had airbags.
There must be a preference, or at least lack of complaints, among
consumers for a straight-armed driving position, because recent
vehicles seem to universally encourage it. Back in the day this was
not the case however, if nothing else you needed the leverage of
having the wheel close to you if you didn't pop for the power steering
option. Again this is a situation where I find my "antique" cars
actually ergonomically better than modern ones (but then again, having
the wiper/washer controls on the column, mirroring the turn signal
stalk, is a wonderful innovation... of course GM, Ford, et. al. are
still yet to adopt this eminently sensible arrangement and instead
provide you with a 'multi-function stalk' with all the tactile
feedback of a bowl of warm pudding, and which feels like it's going to
snap off if you aren't ever so delicate in operating it...)
I guess right about now is where I show myself to be a true retro-
grouch and mention that if I adjust the seat so I can fully depress
the clutch in my '55 Stude, I can drape my right wrist over the top of
the steering wheel, hang my left arm out the window, and tool down the
highway in perfect comfort once I get the vent window adjusted just
so... of course, that is not a car for the large of girth; that 17"
steering wheel is awful close to the thighs even of Yours Truly.
(let's conveniently ignore the fact that it's a straight line from the
center of the horn button all the way down to the worm gear in the
steering box, and that the two are connected by a solid steel tube.
crashing would likely result in a driver-kebab.) I do have the
optional power steering but to the horror of many aficionados I am
actually considering doing away with it, just for simplicity's sake.
Oh, and the horn ring just looks cool, too.
VERY few rental cars have telescoping steering wheels, and my
guess-sumption is that very few models sold in North America have them
anymore. They were ubiquitous back in the 70s, and I loved them. I would
suspect that north-American standard airbags (still rather much too
powerful) probably preclude telescoping steering wheels in most cars. Of
the many rentals I've had in my travels in recent years, only a couple
of GM models have had telescoping wheels, and even then they have
pitifully limited travel so that they remain too far away for my liking.
Strange as it may seem, they're not UNcommon here. Ford in particular
seems to put them on many of their large vehicles (both full-size cars
and truck/SUVs) at moderate option levels and not just "fully loaded"
cars. Hence the fact that you frequently get Ford rentals with
OK, it starts to look like it's different in North America and Europe.
According to my observations, in Europe telescoping steering wheels
started to appear in 90's and since have become matter of course in
larger cars (here Chrysler Sebring and similar are large cars). Later,
some time in 2000's, they started to appear in Corollas and similar
(which are considered mid-size cars).
There's again difference: only vehicles I've seen here having adjusting
pedals have been large vehicles ...that probably were primarily targeted
at North American market. Maybe this telescoping steering wheel vs.
adjusting pedals matter is because of different likings, or maybe simply
because there wouldn't be extra legroom in average European car to be
sacrificed for pedal-moving mechanism. Or maybe the reason is something
else, I don't know...
By the way, the reason for smaller cars is mostly price: In Germany
where car taxation is lighter, cars are almost as large as in US (based
mostly on what I've seen on TV on German and American programs :) ).
Instead some other European countries like Finland, Denmark and Norway
have heavier taxation, so people can only afford smaller cars :(
Some examples on what kind of prices and configurations we have here in
- Toyota Corolla with 1.6-liter engine (largest available) and average
option level: 22 500 euros (32 500 USD) (one of the most common cars
- Ford Focus 5-door hatchback 1.6: 21000 (30 500 USD) (also this is
- Chrysler Sebring 2.0 Touring: 23 000 (33 500 USD) (most sold version)
- Chrysler Sebring 2.7 Limited automatic: 37 000 (53 500) (most
- Chrysler 300C 5.7 HEMI AWD Touring: 78 000 (113 000) (not very common)
- Lexus GS 460: 98 500 (143 000) (not very common either...)
- Toyota Yaris 1.3 3-door: 15 000 (22 000)
- Volvo C30 1.6: 27 000 (39 000)
The following probably aren't so familiar for people in North America :)
- Lada 119 (aka Lada Kalina) 1.6, 5 doors: 12 000 (17 500)
- Opel Astra 1.8: 23 500 (34 000)
- Peugeot 407 2.0: 27 500 (40 000)
- Renault Mgane 1.6 5-door: 21 000 (30 000)
- Skoda Octavia 1.8: 26 000 (37 500)
Well, you did call it a POS.
I looked for similar problems because the car is on my short list for
when I replace my '97 Lumina. Since the problem - so far - seems
unique to your car I was suggesting possible reasons.
It's my impression you're up east and not in Florida, where I might
expect anything from sun damage.
Many use windshield screens where the sun burns reals hot.
Anyway, I agree about the ergs, and notice the same thing on my
Lumina. It's a stretch to drape my wrist over the wheel in the up
position, and the down position makes it difficult to enter/exit.
I usually leave it up and end up resting my hands on the lower rim.
Maybe not the preferred method, but at least I don't use a spinner.
The design might have something to do with airbag deployment.
BTW, I seldom grip the wheel firmly. Only in tight/fast situations,
which I seldom encounter, or hanging on to it when I'm adjusting the
seat. I prefer cars that track well, so except when making turns the
wheel is basically a handrest. Never wore out a steering wheel.
Since it's a company car, as others have said, let them fix it.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.