Wednesday, September 14, 2011

6 Vehicles a Friend Should Own But You Never Should

In no particular order.

There are lots and lots of motorized vehicles that seem like good ideas. Like it would be great to own them. We think of the upside, but not the downside. These are the vehicles that just weigh us down. Give us a bit of utility a few times a year. They, like Ralph Waldo said, are the "things in the saddle that ride mankind." Because for every vehicle we buy it means more responsibility, more expense, more time.

That is why it is best to have a great friend who has them. Because you get all the upside of enjoying, but none of the downside. All you have to do is bring the beer or buy dinner after a days enjoyment or work. Nefarious? Yes. Smart? Yesser.

1. ANYTHING REQUIRING KNOBBY TIRES. This means ATVs, dirt bikes, side by sides, etc. Because you also now need a trailer. A larger shed. A closet of extra safety gear. Permitting hassles. You will even have to buy two so you always aren't riding by yourself. Finally, raise your hand if you like mixing gas and oil. Yes, it is fun to bomb along some tight forested roads, enjoying nature while at the same time mechanically attacking it but how often will you go? Forget your visions of clearing the doubles, you'll most likely be pressed up against another chubby male either trying not to fall over or to help him restart his rig. While the utter lack of potential asset appreciation is the nail in the tire making owning one of these a flat idea.
EXCEPTION - You own a working ranch.

2. ANY VEHICLE MOSTLY CONSTRUCTED OF WOOD. Boat or car or plane. Tools are great. I love them. But now, you will need an entire other set of tools to work and shape and repair(and you will be repairing) your wooden toy. The aged ash won't be the only thing getting shellacked, your wallet will also as you try to keep the elements at bay. It is the smart man's play to not buy a machine that a winged-bug or swimming worm can eviscerate. If Pappy has say a Morgan and a Lotus in his will, always fight for the Lotus.
EXCEPTION - You are stranded on an island and need to construct a boat.

3. RIDING MOWERS. I shall never understand how owning a riding mower is something a lot of men strive to achieve. What is admirable about them? They are ugly. They are slow. They are acoustically unattractive. And, you look like either the help or a toddler trying to ride a sheep while seated upon one. If your yard is large enough to need a riding mower(in my book this means it takes more than 60 minutes to push mow) you either pay a service or pay your neighbor. Don't even get me started on riding mower racing...
EXCEPTION - You have arthritis and can't afford a Lark.

4. STANLEY STEAMER. They are fast. Brassy. Bold. Clever. And a complete hassle to own and drive. Hey, how much does that thing get to the gallon? Your answer, gallon of water or kerosene. While driving, you have more levers and pumps to constantly manually manipulate than starlet in a film I once saw entitled, 'Inga and the Three Humpeteers'.
EXCEPTION - You are Jay Leno.

5. VINTAGE MOTOR COACH. Art deco decadence and streamline style all rendered in steel, mahogany and linoleum. Fantastic. Some of the most sensational designs this side of a Bugatti Atlantique are to be found in these finned and two-toned roadies. Really, you can live out your Lucille Ball dreams from The Long, Long Trailer in one of these with the panache of Desi. What's not to like? Storage hassles. Leaky windows. Slooooooowwwww. Parts harder to find than good Mexican food in Vermont.
EXCEPTION - You run a Big Band Revival Tour.

6. WORK TRUCK. This I would consider to be any full size domestic pickup from 1968 to 1979. They are cheap, plentiful and durable. They are too new to be collectible(please don't try to convince me) and too old to be used daily. They are really like owning a motorized wheel barrow. Best that a friend own it, and you just have to pull the tarp off it and the key out from under the mat to use it. No need to try to get it to pass emissions, or deal with trying to keep the rust at bay. It's even better to rent the Home Depot truck for a half hour than be burdened by one of these. Even though a 390 4-speed F-250 two-wheel drive lays a nice set of strips down.
EXCEPTION - You are a freelance roadkill collector.

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