Drive Wire: Subaru’s Viziv Concept


We turn to the Tokyo Motor Show, where Subaru will show off the new Impreza 5-door hatch and the neat-looking Viziv Concept, which is pretty close to their planned replacement for the Tribeca. The Viziv features a full-length panoramic glass roof, pillarless sliding rear doors, and four individual bucket seats. If all these features make it into the production model, the Viziv will be a much-welcomed successor to the Tribeca.

The Ford GT, a Brothel and a Run-In With Johnny Law

Welcome to Road Warrior, where readers submit debaucherous, weird or funny road-trip stories. Speed? Trouble? Bloodshed? It’s all anonymous, and anything goes. Think of it as the no-holds-barred, two-lane confessional. Repent and be absolved, my son...

The Road: I-80, through Nevada

The Warrior: A 37-year old New Yorker, with a buddy and a 2006 Ford GT

We were in the desert, nothing but dirt in all directions, and the pavement was straight and empty. No other cars in sight. Our GT was capable of 200-plus mph. I’m thinking: Moments like these don’t come often. I goosed it, and the speedometer needle jerked across the gauge.

The eyes struggle for perspective at 175 mph, and you can feel the jelly around your brain tingling like it’s mentholated. A tire blow-out could be fatal; a speed trap could come out of nowhere. The GT wanted more.

The car didn’t belong to us. We’d been asked to deliver it from west coast to east, as a favor, so everything had the sheen of moral turpitude, it all being a gesture for a friend. Motoring through Nevada, we had a long way to go. I lifted from the throttle and downshifted, thinking I’d pull off at the next exit for a piss. That’s when I lost the clutch—completely and instantly. We rolled to a stop on the highway shoulder and got out of the car.

“Oh man,” my buddy said, “we are fucked.”

That’s when a highway patrolman pulled up behind us. He couldn’t believe his eyes.

“This thing is a Ford?” he asked, incredulous. Yep, a Ford. “You guys are lucky,” he said, “I’m the only patrolman on duty for 300 miles in either direction.”

“You have no idea how lucky we are,” I answered. If that cop had shown up four minutes earlier, we’d be in handcuffs.

We towed the car to a Ford dealership in Elko. It was a Sunday afternoon, and the place was closed. Which is how we found ourselves with a night free in Nevada.

Elko is a bizarrely wonderful place. So was the whorehouse we found on the edge of town, which—as many a Vegas conventioneer could tell you—had a perfect right to do business in the Silver State. Step inside Sue’s Fantasy Club, and it’s like you’ve entered another country and another time. There are the usual barroom smells, booze and lost souls. Only here, the male patrons seem to squirm on their stools as you size them up, and a lineup of women appears, all smiles. They don’t look like fraternity sisters, but their faces are surprisingly tender and, dare I say, innocent. Each undoubtedly has a story worthy of a Springsteen ballad or six. Being married guys, we made love to our cocktails and left.

The next day, we dragged our hangovers back to the Ford dealership. The chief mechanic was in the shop looking down at the GT. He said, “Well, there goes the theory that I’d never lay eyes on one of these.”

“Can you fix it really fast?” I asked. “We got three days to make it cross-country.”

He laughed. “No way. I gotta order parts. This is going to take a week.”

A week. In Elko, Nevada. The mind reeled.

We headed straight for the local airport and caught a small plane. The GT’s owner sent a transporter for the car. I maintain our innocence in every way. That busted clutch wasn’t our fault. Everything else? Very much our fault.

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Please, Look at This Photo of a Porsche 356

As of this week, regular-grade Porsche 911s use forced induction. And, because Porsches are Porsches, we can only speculate about the purists. In 2035, will naturally-aspirated 911s be subject to the same kind of frenzy air-cooled Carreras are experiencing today? Should we be cashing in stocks to procure one beat-to-hell, current-generation 911 GTS and speculate wildly? Would burning a pyre of turbochargers in righteous support of natural aspiration assure our entry into the Porsche Club of America?

As our collective driveways and garages illustrate, prudent conjecture has never been a personal strength. (“Seriously, that ‘87 Mitsubishi Starion will totally be a collector’s item soon, dude!”) So let’s retreat to what’s known: Porsche’s past. Here’s a highlight, absent any of the flashpoints: no US DOT impact bumpers or water-cooled engines or automatic transmissions or turbos. In fact, this Porsche, a 1954 356, precedes even the “911” name.

The 356 is simple, serene and uncontentious. To criticize its design would be like lambasting a polished stone. The model is elegant and relaxed, despite the painful-looking sandals grasping her feet. Lose yourself in this scene of a time before Internet forums, virulent YouTube fanboys and EPA standards. It’s damn refreshing.

How to Get Dumped and Crash a BMW 5 Series

The Car: 1997 BMW 540i

The Crash: Eighteen-year-olds generally cannot afford a BMW M5. Some, however, might see their way into a haggard, high-mileage BMW 5 Series. The car had enough dashboard warning lights to illuminate a black hole. Also, a V-8 and manual gearbox. I emptied my savings account and limped it home. The peeling window tint and aftermarket taillights made me look like a Triad cocaine dealer.

That was autumn. Just before winter, I had a drag-out argument with my then-girlfriend, mostly because she didn’t realize we were dating. On the drive home, I listened to Tom Waits and thought about buying a piano. Unrequited love is a bitch. So are dump trucks.

To be clear, I didn’t hit the thing; I just failed to realize it’d dropped gate and spilled loose gravel across a 90-degree right-hand turn. The car yawed over surface change, jackknifed and climbed a curb. The damage wasn’t so bad, actually: a collapsed rocker, tweaked front control arm and two bent wheels. Knife twist? Textbooks and boxes of spare parts convinced BMW’s seat sensors that three passengers were present. Eighteen-year-olds cannot afford to replace a half-dozen erroneously deployed airbags, either.

The Damage: A write-off—for both car and ego.

The Moral: Put your luggage in the trunk; it’s O.K. to cry listening to Blue Valentine.