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Old 19th September 2011, 09:53   #1
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Default After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

(Mods, please let me know or move it to a different section if this posting is too big for an intro).

From the subject line, you can well understand that I am crazy for anything on wheels. No, I never owned the Cessna, but I did learn to fly a single-engined plane (172N/P). Flying is an altogether different experience than driving, so I won't elaborate on this in an automotive forum, but to keep it short, I rediscovered my high school physics on fluid dynamics and Bernoulli's principle (that guy actually had a point !!!) and developed a very healthy respect for pilots, and that an aircraft is perhaps one of the most advanced pieces of engineering invented by man. Believe me when I say this, an aircraft when set on course in cruise flight can literally fly by itself without any pilot input until it runs out of fuel. It won't fall out of the sky, and it's wing and airframe design will just keep it flying. But enough on aircrafts, lets land back on terra firma and talk about cars now.

Hello everybody, I am mr.sinha, in my early forties, a Bengali, currently in New Jersey, with my home base in Kolkata.

Before I elaborate on my car passion, let me thank the founders and the moderators of T-BHP for
(a) founding and making this the most interesting automotive forum on earth
(b) encouraging, monitoring and controlling a clean and healthy discussion forum
(c ) giving me the opportunity to be a part of this amazing community of motorheads

The Travelogue section is perhaps the most wonderful here. I don't know how many hundreds of hours I have spent reading the travelogues from Leh-Ladakh, Sikkim, Bhutan, Arunachal, North Bengal etc. from the likes of hvkumar, adc, tsk1979, Suman, Sudipto-S, Rudra Sen, MileCruncher, ramkya1 et al.
adc's travelogues have particularly been very inspiring since I hope to follow on his footprints and do those trips with my family (with 2 small kids) when I will be in Kolkata. Hope he is reading this and we can hook up when I am there, along with other T-BHP Kolkata members.

Here is a list of the cars and the bike I have owned till now, followed by a few lines of ownership experience. Unfortunately, I don't have the photos of all of my past rides, or unable to locate them now, so will be posting some of the ones I do.

1. 1995 TOYOTA COROLLA. My first car purchase in the US, and the only car I bought brand-new. Decent car, totally reliable and takes you from Point A to B with no trouble and fuss. Never had a problem with it and drove it for about 87000 miles before trading it in for my next car.

2. 1998 BMW 328i. Yes, folks, this had been the car of my dreams and I was on Cloud 9 after I signed the papers, handed over my trusted Corolla, and drove it out of the dealership in Denver, Colorado. The next 3 years was pure driving bliss. Its as if I rediscovered driving on the twisty mountain passes of Colorado with the sure-footed handling of this baby Beemer. 'WOW' is the only word I can use to describe my driving experience with the Beemer. My wife, normally a timid co-passenger was all smiles too. Finally we drove it more than half-way across the country to NJ for my new job.
Even though it was a RWD, I didn't have any problems or incidents driving it on snow and ice in Colorado and New Jersey. The traction control, BMW's ESC - Electronic Stability Control helped, but I feel that the most important component in the whole 'driving on snow and ice' equation is the driver. You have to know your limits and the limits of your ride, accept it, and make sensible decisions. Many a times on the drive between Colorado Springs and Denver on the Interstate 25, I saw over-confident drivers of 4WD SUVs turn turtle and landing into ditches on extremely icy roads, while I was cautiously puttering along with hazard lights on, in 2nd gear in my RWD Beemer.
The curves, oh the curves, the way this car handled the road curves is impossible to describe and unless you actually drive one, you could never comprehend. Absolutely without any doubt, this is the ULTIMATE DRIVING MACHINE. A big bow to the mechanical engineers in Dingolfing. Mercedes, Audi, umm… ok. But if you really want to fully experience German car engineering, drive a BMW. Period.

3. 2000 VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT (wagon). In New Jersey. Yeah, I had to sell off my beloved Beemer in 2003 after we had our first child and the Beemer's trunk wasn't big enough to comfortably hold the baby's stroller and other baby paraphernalia, and my wife tried to brian-wash me with more responsible driving "you are a father now" kinds of statements. So, bought this Passat. BIG MISTAKE. I bought a V4 one instead of the V6 engine, and boy, after the Beemer, this felt like a bullock-cart. I was utterly miserable. After about 3 months, my wife felt pity on me and consented to selling this off and getting another car.

4. 2002 NISSAN MAXIMA. I got rid of the bullock-cart and bought this one. In one word, this car was fantastic. With 260+ BHP and great torque, this car could do a 0-60 faster than my Beemer on a lower rpm. And it had a much bigger trunk :-) My wife was happy and I was happy.
After about a year of so, tragedy struck. One fine Saturday morning, my neighbor in the apartment complex knocked on my door and said "You better come outside and see…". I came outside and saw, and what I saw broke my heart. My Maxima had gone blind. You see, starting from their 2002 model, Nissan had put the new HID Xenon headlights on the Maximas. Unfortunately it became a hot item in the stolen parts market. And someone had cleanly stolen them from my car.
Filed a police report, but let me tell you one thing. The cops in the USA are as (if not more) ineffective, dumb and corrupt as those back home, and let not Hollywood convince you otherwise.
OK, so the insurance covered the cost minus deductible and I got new lights installed. Nissan had by then become smarter and they installed some brackets in the housing which would prevent theft of the headlights. Unfortunately, the thieves in my neighborhood were not subscribing to automotive magazines or Nissan newsletters, which led to the 2nd tragedy after about 3 months.
Following another knock on the door, I came out to see that someone had tried to pry out the headlights (both sides) with a crowbar, damaged the hood, broke the headlight glass, but couldn't take them out. While Nissan's anti-theft brackets worked, the headlights damage was beyond normal repair and needed a replacement, plus fixing the dented hood. Thankfully my insurance covered it again minus deductible, but it was clear that I couldn't keep the car any more.
So after the body shop visit, I parked the car in a friend's secure closed garage till I could sell it off, and started shopping for my next ride.

5. 1998 VOLVO S70. This time I thought I would save some money and buy a really old car (this was 6 years old then). Bought this for about $8000.
Solid car, built like a tank, very comfortable, very safe and a superb OEM sound system. It still had a bit of the old boxy shape of the older Volvos.
I once saw a low-speed front-end collision between an older Volvo 240 and a Toyota Camry. Believe me when I say this, while the Volvo stayed rooted where it was, the Camry literally bounced-off the Volvo and landed 20 feet away. The front of the Camry was smashed. The front of the Volvo had a few scratches, thats all.
Back to my car. The sound system was awesome, the bass sounded better than a Velodyne, Bose or Paradigm subwoofer, and that was the only place where I could listen to my Metallica collection in full blast (when driving alone) without annoying my wife, and frightening my kids (yeah, I just had a 2nd child then).
But unfortunately, my money-saving plan really backfired. As solid a car as it was, the Volvo began giving mechanical trouble very frequently, and since the car was not under any warranty, I had to pay everything out of my own pocket. Sensors went bad, the starter motor quit, the evap cannister had to be replaced, the A/C went bad, the ignition had to be replaced, and many other small troubles, including replacing the timing belt and water pump. After about a year, I calculated that I had spent more than $5000 on the repairs, and there was no end in sight. So, I got rid of it.

6. And this led me to the purchase of my 2nd best vehicle (after the Beemer): a 2002 LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SERIES II.
MACHO, is all I can say about it. A V8 engine, just 200 bhp, but a monster torque, and a turning radius like the Tata Safari perhaps (which btw is on my future 'to own' list). A gas-guzzler, she gave only about 9 miles (14.4 kms) to a gallon (3.78 liters). But I didn't care. This was my weekend ride, as at that time I was working in New York and commuted by bus.
I took her out for a bit of off-roading a few times, nothing too serious, just to get the hang of it, and while easily (I was very scared, the Disco was nonchalant) going up hills with 35 degree inclines, I came to appreciate why they call the Land Rovers one of the best all terrain vehicles in the world.
I once remember we had a massive snowfall in New Jersey in 2005. After the snowfall ended, all the cars in my apartment lot had disappeared beneath big mounds of snow. The next day, when my friendly neighbors were digging their cars out (one of them had dug for 30 minutes to find it was not his car), I put on my ski-pants and boots, trundled up to the Disco in 4 ft of snow, cleared the front windshield, squeezed into the driver seat, started the elephant up, engaged reverse, and cooly backed out with not a squeak or pip from her. You should have seen the faces of the diggers nearby - I had a very hard time suppressing a chuckle - they could have killed me if I had smiled. Granted, other 4X4s would probably have found it easy too, but that moment really made me feel good. So, why did I finally sell it?

7. Before I go on to my next car, a slight diversion now to my bike owning experience. You see, I had never owned or ridden a bike in India or elsewhere, not in college, not when I got my first job. Somehow I felt there was this gap in my life which had gone unfulfilled, so I decided to plug that gap one fine day. My wife was totally against it, and with 2 kids, I knew that perhaps it was not a bright idea to learn biking now and risk injury or worse.
But crazy that I was, I enrolled into a bike-riding school, took a few lessons, passed the test, got my DL endorsed for motorcycle, then went ahead and bought a used KAWASAKI NINJA 500R. I had to have the bike delivered to my house by the guy who I bought it from, as I was not confident of driving it myself then. On weekends, I started getting up real early in the morning, put on all the riding gear (gloves, knee and shin guards, heavy fortified leather jacket, high boots and of course the helmet) and hit the near empty streets and state highways of NJ for a couple of hours before more vehicles piled on to the roads, until I began to get comfortable enough to take it out on busy roads and bigger highways.
In the USA, California is usually called the bikers paradise owing to an all-year-round good weather, good roads and proximity to a lot of getaways. In NJ, I was restricted to summer time biking only, but took her up towards upstate New York on the I-87 freeway a few times, and sometimes on the NJ Garden State Parkway down to South Jersey along the coastline, cruising at 75-80 MPH (somehow, cops here don't or rarely catch speeding bikers), and boy, it felt so good.
Biking in the USA is more like a sport, and bikes are rare on the roads compared to cars, and every time you meet a biker riding from the opposite direction, you raise your hand in acknowledgement. It was a biker code of conduct, and I found it cool.
So, this was like another goal in life achieved. I sold the bike when I went back to India in end-2007. In India, I dabbled a few times with my friend's Bullet (with controls on the reverse of what I was used to in my bike), but never really got into bike-riding fully again.

8. On to my next car. So, why did I sell my beloved Disco? As I mentioned, I was taking the bus to commute to work those days, so the Disco was hardly getting used during the week. My wife, then a fairly new driver used it more than me, to do grocery shopping, older kid's school, and small chores around the neighborhood, and she found the huge beast very uncomfortable to manage and handle. I kept telling here that precisely for it's bulk, it was much safer than any sedan, especially in low-speed driving within town, but she wouldn't listen. So in despair, I sold off my beloved elephant, and shopped for my next ride. This time, my wife put her foot down and said, "look buddy, you bought 6 cars of your choice and I supported you.." (at that point I had tried to meekly argue, yeah what about the Disco?) "… and the next car choice will be mine". I gave in and asked "ok, what do you want to buy?", and she happily said "Lets buy a Toyota Corolla" !!! I said "WHAT ??!!?? Oh, come on, PLEASE NO…., not the Corolla". (At this point I would like to apologize to current T-BHP Corolla owners that I meant absolutely no disrespect towards the car. It's just that given my past history of cars, the Corolla was just not exciting enough for me even though I had driven one for 4.5 years initially). So after a few days of literally bargaining, coaxing, cajoling, helping her with chores around the house etc. etc., we were able to finally settle on the Corolla's upscale cousin. We bought a 2001 LEXUS ES300 sedan.
Now what can I say about the Lexus? Smooth as butter, along with Toyota reliability, it offered traveling from Point A to B in total luxury and comfort. Never had even a minor problem with it. Great car, no doubt, but umm, you know, for some reason, I still found the zing missing from my driving. This car was 'luxuriously boring', if I may say so. But this car turned me into a more sedate driver than all my other cars. I neither totally enjoyed it nor hated it, and I have nothing much more to say about it. We sold this car in late-2007 when we went back to India, to a Gujju businessman who came with a big wad of $100 dollar bills and paid fully in cash. My wife was really sad to see her go, and I being a considerate husband, fully commiserated with her (or at least acted that way)

9. Back in India, I spent a few months in Kolkata where I took a few lessons and learnt to drive the stick (all my previous cars were automatic). Then moved to Bangalore and started shopping for a car. The Honda Cities and Marutis were not appealing much to me, my budget was max 10L, and I had no intention to buy a Corolla or a Civic which cost twice in India than it did in the States. I finally decided to buy a Bolero, as looks-wise it came the closest (from the back at least) to my beloved LR Disco. I found a like-new 2007 green SLX (I think), did a few test drives and a few round of negotiations with a used car dealer near Mekhri Circle. But the deal finally didn't materialize during the negotiations with a gap of Rs.20,000 between bid and ask. At that point, I did not know that Boleros had one of the best resale values in India and were so much in demand. So, ultimately it got into a ego war between me and the dealer. Neither budged from our final offers, and the deal fell through. And I kept looking. And then one day, I spotted the beauty which won me over. It was not one of the mainstream cars, you rarely saw it in Bangalore, and the used car market for this one was pitiful. I am talking about the FORD FUSION. I loved the car the moment I saw it. Found one in National Motors near Brigade Road - a 2005 FORD FUSION+ petrol, single owner, well maintained, all service records etc. Test drove it and loved it more. Paid 4.7L for it (I think I could have negotiated further but the dealer sensed that I really liked the car). Went ahead and closed on it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I rate this car as the 3rd BEST in my car ownership experience (after my BMW and LR). Are you surprised that I am rating this above my Maxima or Lexus? Well, let me explain. Just like my BMW, this one is truly a driver's car. Given the location, the traffic, the road conditions, this car with it's 100 bhp power, decent torque, and high ground clearance provided my family and me an amazing and solid driving experience over the next 3 years, whether it was cruising at 120 km/h on the Bangalore-Chennai road, or the terrible road conditions on the way to Mudumalai or Kabini, or the 36 hairpin bends on the way to Ooty, the handling on the Ghats section on the way to Mangalore, or simply the 42 humps on the road in Bangalore that I encountered each way on my daily commute to work. It gave me power at the touch of the pedal, it had more than enough trunk space for weekend getaways for a family of 4, the suspension was superb at the way it handled the potholes. I loved driving the car. I know many people say that it was too pricy for the segment and didn't give a good FE, but hey, I enjoy driving and I enjoyed the Fusion to the core. At this point I must also say that my Ford A.S.S. experience at Metro Ford (near Lingarajapuram) was really good. My service advisor was a certain Mr. Harish, and I found him to be very helpful. Its really sad to know that Ford has discontinued the Fusion, and I won't get a chance to buy it again. In 2010, I had to come back to the USA again and sold this car. I hope the new owner is taking good care of my baby.

10. Back in the USA, I again bought a Lexus (influenced by the wife again), this time (my current ride) a 2002 Lexus ES300 (9 year old when I bought it in end-2010 with 82K miles on the odo). Perfect, luxury ride, no nonsense, no trouble, no repairs. I have driven 16K miles on it already in the past 8-9 months and I think this is a lot of weekend and holiday driving since I live in Jersey City and have just a 5-minute walk to work. I have taken it to a lot of places on the East - Maine, Virginia, upstate New York, Canada. I hope to post my Canada driving travelogue on T-BHP sometime soon.

So, that ends my intro and a brief description of all my past rides. I hope you found it to be interesting reading, and I hope to post more on T-BHP in the coming months and years. Until then, Hasta la Vista, my fellow motorheads. Keep Driving.

Note from the Team-BHP Support Team: Smiley usage restricted to TWO per post. Please refrain from posting more than 2 smileys in a single post. We urge you to read the rules of our forum here.
Attached Thumbnails
After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!-200202_bmw_nj_01.jpg  

After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!-volvo-005.jpg  

After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!-ninja-3a.jpg  

After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!-lexus-3.jpg  

After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!-ford-fusion-02.jpg  

After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!-my-lexus-012.jpg  

Attached Images
 

Last edited by n_aditya : 19th September 2011 at 17:15.
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Old 19th September 2011, 10:22   #2
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Welcome to the forum,

You have given a wonderful Introduction,

Hope to see your review's soon,

Thanks & Regards
Anupam00
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Old 19th September 2011, 10:43   #3
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Couldn't help reading the entire write-up. Amazingly put together and quite a passionate tale of one's motoring instincts. This would very well become a individual thread telling on one's motoring spirit. Quite inspiring too for learning motoringheads, especially your passion and account of buying and riding Kawasaki Ninja 500R. Thanks for sharing and for a very superb write-up at that. And yes, welcome aboard.
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Old 19th September 2011, 11:01   #4
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Hey mr.sinha,

That's one heck of an introduction. Informative, entertaining and very well put together. Thanks for sharing. I'm sure T-bhp will be enriched by your presence.

And of course, welcome aboard! Looking forward to hearing from you often.
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Old 19th September 2011, 11:25   #5
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

That is one of the huge introductions!!! Welcome to the forum!! Hope to read your articles!!

With thanks and regards
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Old 19th September 2011, 11:38   #6
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Welcome Mr. Sinha to do the forum. Your description of cars and driving experience is quiet mind boggling.
Driving in US is altogether a great experience than driving in India. During my stint in US, I had bought a 1999 Lexus RX 300 with 96K on the ODO but it still was like new.
Enjoyed the drives thorougly in beloved Lexus
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Old 19th September 2011, 12:12   #7
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Welcome to TBHP and needless to say, you'll have a good time.

BTW your intro is incomplete as the pics of Disco and your experience with the Cessna is missing .

All the best and drive safe!

Cheers
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Old 19th September 2011, 12:30   #8
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.sinha View Post
(Mods, please let me know or move it to a different section if this posting is too big for an intro).

From the subject line, you can well understand that I am crazy for anything on wheels. No, I never owned the Cessna, but I did learn to fly a single-engined plane (172N/P). Flying is an altogether different experience than driving, so I won't elaborate on this in an automotive forum, but to keep it short, I rediscovered my high school physics on fluid dynamics and Bernoulli's principle (that guy actually had a point !!!) and developed a very healthy respect for pilots, and that an aircraft is perhaps one of the most advanced pieces of engineering invented by man. Believe me when I say this, an aircraft when set on course in cruise flight can literally fly by itself without any pilot input until it runs out of fuel. It won't fall out of the sky, and it's wing and airframe design will just keep it flying. But enough on aircrafts, lets land back on terra firma and talk about cars now.
Mr. Sinha. You have an awe inspiring history of owning cars and bikes.

From you writing style it is quite evident that you are a fan of LR Defender.
Do u have any plans to own one in near future?

Last edited by Speed Pujari : 19th September 2011 at 12:32.
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Old 19th September 2011, 12:40   #9
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Fabulous introduction! Straight out from the heart.

Welcome to this forum, Mr.Sinha.
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Old 19th September 2011, 13:30   #10
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Hi There Mr Sinha-welcome to Team BHP I can assure you that the readings of the travelogues are as interesting as a Novel! The fun is going on a journey, long one, and then penning the trip in this Forum-getting advice from the greats on every bend, pot hole and pit stop en route. Just read on and gaze at the fantastic pictures.
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Old 19th September 2011, 14:08   #11
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Welcome!
But we surely do want to read about your exploits in AIR!

Nothing can beat flying an aircraft - the smaller the better.
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Old 19th September 2011, 15:10   #12
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Welcome Mr.Sinha. Your introduction post is lovely and very well written, I read the whole thing twice.

You have had a really wonderful(or must i say adventurous) time with some great cars(sorry,and a bike) and it seems you have enjoyed it every bit. Wishing you many more happy miles.

I couldnot fail to notice that the pics of your 2nd best car(elephant) is missing, I was hoping you would post one.
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Old 19th September 2011, 16:08   #13
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Welcome Sir,

Good to see one more aviator. Sir, do you have a SPL or CPL. Hows been you flying experience. I'm sure its the best that can happen to anybody. This I 'm saying after having 1000 hours of flying and I still want to add more.

Have a pleasant stay here

Happy Landings Sir
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Old 19th September 2011, 16:16   #14
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Welcome, Mr.Sinha. Lovely intro there, but was more like an intro of the cars you have had - and quite "appropriate" for an automotive forum.

Some lovely cars there in your line-up. Have liked the later Volvo's, though the one you had was par for it's times. The Maxima I have tried (friend had one) and I quite liked it, though I went for a V6 Accord instead. What can any one say about the Beemer or the Landy ? Though the Landy's FE was atrocious - may be just better than a 350 ? The Lexus's are another class by themselves, though I once again (when I had the chance) went with the competition - a 3.2 TL

Welcome to TBHP. Hope you enjoy your journey here. And looking forward to those travelogues that I guess you will be adding up on.

Drive Safe !
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Old 19th September 2011, 16:25   #15
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

That Cessna in the Subject got me to reading this post and even though you don't mention it in the text, I read the whole intro. You're a real car enthusiast. Looking forward to reading more of your posts, maybe even a roadtrip log or two.
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