As I had previously threatened, I bought a new car, but I’m not excited about it. I traded in my Subaru WRX STI for a VW Golf R, and the loss of my old car overwhelms any excitement of a new car, probably because
I’m a hoarder I can’t let go.
You can only lose what you cling to.
I was ruminating about this feeling for a while. Objects like cars become special to us from the expectations, experiences, and emotions we attach to it. After 10 years of ownership, I’ve collected a lot of these.
I’ve wanted a Subaru STI for some time before getting mine. When I found this one, it was configured exactly how I wanted it. Then the salesman gave me a discount off invoice for a car that never had a discount before (or since). Right car, right time. That was a good start.
No, it’s not the perfect car. But its minor idiosyncrasies and quirks became endearing over time. I think they call that the Stockholm Syndrome.1
Sometimes the hardest part isn’t letting go but rather learning to start over.
For people who know me, it’s obvious that behind the wheel, I’m not Jackie Stewart or Lewis Hamilton. I’m not even Ricky Bobby.
But the moment I got behind the wheel of the STI, I transformed into Colin McRae, just without his skills. The car was as fun to drive as I had imagined. I had met my hero, and I was not disappointed.
The wannabe racer in me indulged in random racing fantasies in this car. While most people shunned dirt roads, I actively looked for them in my daily commutes.
The 10 years I’ve had it as a daily driver2 is longer than I’ve had my son. I’ve collected a lot of driving adventures over those years that’s deepened my bond with this car.3
- Tail of the Dragon
- Pikes Peak
- Key West
- Stelvio Pass
It was expensive and impractical, but I even took it to Germany on my last assignment there. Unfortunately, I didn’t take it to the Nürburgring because that place scares me with all of the crazy traffic on it (it scares me for other reasons as well).
So why did I replace such a special car with a new one? I’m not sure. Maybe I’m just an idiot. Maybe this new car is the only all-wheel drive hatchback with a manual transmission currently being sold.4
Update: I missed the Mini Cooper Countryman/Clubman ALL4.
I’ve listed some of the differences between the two cars, and now I’m questioning my sanity.
|2008 Subaru WRX STI||2019 Volkswagen Golf R|
|Iconic rally car||Originally called Rabbit in America|
|Featured in several Ken Block gymkhana videos||Featured in commercial with the Da Da Da song|
|Wide fender flares, big hood scoop||Same looks as the 900,000+ other Golfs produced each year|
|STIg puns||GolfeR puns|
|Flat-four burble||Speaker-enhanced noise|
|More horsepower||Better gas mileage|
|Piston ringland issues||Carbon build-up|
|Allows use of 3rd party double-DIN radios||Forced to use 1 USB port, like an animal|
|Old stains||New car smell|
Cry me a river, build a bridge, and get over it.
I’ve always wanted to hold on to my cars forever so I wouldn’t have to say, “yup, I loved that car, wished I would have kept it.” But sometimes I suppose it’s time to move on. Or get a bigger garage.
So now I have a new car. I still haven’t decided if I like it yet. But maybe in 10 years I’ll be writing the same thing about this car. Hopefully I’ll have a bigger garage by then.
Regrets, I’ve had a few,
But then again, too few to mention.
I keep telling everybody that they should move on. Some do, but not us.
The WNTRBTR is gone, long live the WNTRBTR.