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Old 22nd January 2012, 21:25   #151
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Default Re: Unnecessary OEM equipment in today's cars

When I bought my Indica TCIC which was available only in DLG, I used to wonder why Tata was forcing me to buy a Heater just because i wanted a TCIC motor. For some perspective, I lived in kerala and never used it in the first 3 years of the car's existense. But after coming to orissa, the heater has turned into a lifesaver overnight. I guess necessity can be relative

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Old 11th February 2012, 09:29   #152
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Default Re: Unnecessary OEM equipment in today's cars

The tachometer is necessary for somebody who is just learning to drive a manual transmission. I would look at the tachometer to figure out when I should be changing gears because with the windows shut and the AC turned on, I couldn't really hear the engine (when the car was new, that is).

I had cars with a fan-regulator-like knob for making adjustments to the head lamps but I never really used it.

There was a time when I thought the side mirror adjustments were just a fad because the mirrors are adjusted just once and they are left that way till the car is sold. Then, I was introduced to our Indian traffic :-D
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Old 11th February 2012, 09:59   #153
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Default Re: Unnecessary OEM equipment in today's cars

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Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
When I bought my Indica TCIC which was available only in DLG, I used to wonder why Tata was forcing me to buy a Heater just because i wanted a TCIC motor. For some perspective, I lived in kerala and never used it in the first 3 years of the car's existense. But after coming to orissa, the heater has turned into a lifesaver overnight. I guess necessity can be relative
Having worked in Orissa for sometime, I can relate to what you say!

I have also used the heater here to get some warmth on my rear when on a trip to Avalanche, near Ooty and the night temperatures hit sub-zero. The seat just felt like a slab of ice
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Old 30th July 2013, 01:23   #154
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Default Pure, simple and quality or many extras, bling and neighbour-appeal?

My last post reflecting on engine design and how it has gravitated to the cheapest, nastiest design which has been steadily refined and isolated to the point a non-petrol head may struggle to notice the difference between a good engine and a gorgeous one led me to the question in the title of this thread.

It has long been the case that the great majority of the car-buying public is more bothered with seats which look comfortable rather than ones which are, with electric seats, windows and sunroof rather than quality suspension and chrome strips, alloy wheels and an impressive boot badge rather than a lovely engine. Basically, if there is high profit in something, the makers want to fit it rather than do any decent engineering. What the neighbours or those at your place of work think of your car seems to be of ridiculous importance to so many. I was wondering what you all wish for, a car which looked expensive, flashy and fast or one which was nothing special to look at, yet which drove exquisitely?

I would choose a car with thorough, pure and sophisticated engineering - but with manually-wound windows, no unnecessary electronics and a quiet air about it. I could be persuaded to accept central locking and LED lighting, and would love someone to come up with an alternative for the windscreen wiper.
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Old 30th July 2013, 18:07   #155
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Default Re: Pure, simple and quality or many extras, bling and neighbour-appeal?

What I like about my bare bones motorcycle is the fact that it is so simple to service, starts with a kick (if not just push start), practical for the roads of this country, has great torque for traffic infested roads, and has no gadgetry that will fail on you suddenly leaving you stranded (although the CDI is surely one such unit - it has indeed failed once in its 9 year history). It is also lightweight and nimble and runs great with some mostly DIY maintenance.

The car I owned on the other hand was an absolute disaster for me. It had one of the worst performing engines both in-city and on highways - putting the pedal to the floor would do nothing to the speed of the car, the ergonomics required you to crane your neck looking for potholes, the dashboard was too high, the AC killed whatever torque was left in the useless engine, the suspension would cry out for mercy on the slightest of road undulations. Practicality was a joke what with <180 liters of boot and provisions for 4" speakers front and back. Overall it was a purchase disaster. But did it look good? Oh Yes it did!

I also really don't understand why modern cars are so heavy! A 1000kilos for a small hatchback is way too much for a car without ABS or Airbags or ICE, don't you think? If only the car companies would invest some RnD money to develop lighter yet strong enough parts for cars it would do a lot of good for fuel efficiency and engine torque.

For my next car I'll definitely be looking at the most practical no-nonsense car that will take me from points A-B with a smile on my face no matter what the roads throw at us. Power windows is a nice convenience but I hated it when my battery failed and I could do nothing but call "Chevrolet Emergency" service (which took a nice 2 hours to arrive) and have him jump start the vehicle just to roll up my windows. You do "pay" for conveniences down the road.

I also dislike digital displays because you have to replace the entire panel for faults but it is great cost cutting for manufacturers who can now get away with a cheap LCD screen instead of investing in analog meters and gears.

Call me old school, but I like having manual buttons (those that directly control the device in question and not via more electronics) such as those for starting/stopping engine (use the key stupid), cabin air circulation, ORVM adjustment levers, seat adjustment and more. In my experience gadgets fail sooner or later. A manual button will always have a jugaad.

FlatOut, in the current market of Indians cars around the 10L budget is there a car that strikes a chord with you?
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Old 31st July 2013, 00:04   #156
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Default Re: Pure, simple and quality or many extras, bling and neighbour-appeal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlatOut View Post
I was wondering what you all wish for, a car which looked expensive, flashy and fast or one which was nothing special to look at, yet which drove exquisitely?

I would choose a car with thorough, pure and sophisticated engineering - but with manually-wound windows, no unnecessary electronics and a quiet air about it.


Dear Flatout sir,

The question you are asking has long been haunting me. I hope I am able to explain my quandary.

Before reading my very confusing explanation, I am putting the main questions I want to ask over here first:
1. How do you know, as a non technical person, whether the engine is well engineered or not?
2. Design of cars are generally tailored to a country's needs. I think, most of the cars which are available in most countries are designed to cater to the needs of the population (eg. I would never consider a mahindra to be well engineered car from a european perspective, but I would say its designed well considering Indian population in mind). So, when and how do you decide that a car is well designed?

I would like to give some examples:

1. If I were to give you V8 engine from the AMG Merc, M division of BMW, and RS division of Audi; how would you judge which one is the best?

2. Mini-SUV's. This segment has become one of the most hotly pursued segments in the world. India has the following contenders: Dacia Duster, Nissan X-trail, Honda CR-V, Chevy Captiva, LR Freelander, BMW X1. Lets leave the price aside for a moment. Which would you think would be the best from a design point of perspective?


Sir, what I am trying to tell you is that today, its becoming increasingly difficult to judge a car purely from whether the engine is good or not. Even if the engine may be bad, a good gearbox and clever tuning can hide the weaknesses very well.
E.g. Almost everyone I would ask will tell me that the BMW inline 6 engine is one of the best in the world. But, I have driven a V6 200bhp merc E230 W211. I really liked the engine's refinement and the power delivery (which was very linear). Would you say then I am wrong in my way of thinking?
Please do explain to me since I have no experience with good engines. I have never driven an inline 6, hence I cannot comment.

As far as design is concerned, yes, its generally easy to decide; BUT from what I am observing, most new cars which are being produced today are designed after deciding which type of consumer its being targeted. So, if you were to judge bearing this, then most designs are spot on.

Please do excuse my ignorance, but I genuinely would like to learn.

Thanks,
Simple_car

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The car I owned on the other hand was an absolute disaster for me.
Dear hellmet sir,

I completely agree with your line of thinking. The spark per say was not very well designed at all. It has a mediocre engine and very bad interior design as well. That said, since it was the car I learnt to drive in, it holds a special place in my heart.

But sir, I bought the car about 5 years ago when the only competition was the alto, and maybe the santro. The engine of the alto is not that great either, it suffers from the same drawbacks as the spark. The santro had excellent low end torque, but it was a very poor handler. Spark's engine had good low and mid range compared to competition (though its still a mediocre engine at best) and it was a neutral handler. So, I would still have bought the car even 5 years back. It was a simple car. Regarding the high dash placement, then I would also point out that India's most highest selling platform aka 'swift' suffers from the same drawback. Yet it is revered by the enthusiasts. Yes, space management could have been better, but we had no better choice.

I sometimes think that the kei cars of japan should be sold in the metros. They have excellent space management and are decent performers.

Thanks,
Simple_car
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Old 31st July 2013, 08:11   #157
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Default Re: Pure, simple and quality or many extras, bling and neighbour-appeal?

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Dear Flatout sir,

The question you are asking has long been haunting me. I hope I am able to explain my quandary.

Before reading my very confusing explanation, I am putting the main questions I want to ask over here first:
1. How do you know, as a non technical person, whether the engine is well engineered or not?
For a start, simplicity is very important to me. A pure, simple design which works well without the addition of elements designed to hide fundamental cheapness and corner-cutting. One which is economical for the performance offered. Smooth operation at all revs. Longevity. And finally a sweet sound. I think experience helps in all this - my personal favourite engine is probably a flat twin designed over seventy years ago, although I love the diesel in my old Mercedes. Both were designed to be as good as possible, without cynicism or the engineering in of obsolesence.

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2. Design of cars are generally tailored to a country's needs. I think, most of the cars which are available in most countries are designed to cater to the needs of the population (eg. I would never consider a mahindra to be well engineered car from a european perspective, but I would say its designed well considering Indian population in mind). So, when and how do you decide that a car is well designed?
Well first of all it has to work reliably over a long time. It needs to suit the needs of the public, as you suggest. Maintenance and repair need to be straightforwards to carry out. Deliberate and excess design for failure (it happens in all cars today) I detest. It must be economical. To be judged a really good design, there needs to be a combination of all this and then more - perhaps the successful application of a new idea which improves the user's experience of the car. Having a definite character matters to me, and is something which occurs less than it did as manufacturers use each others' bits and large committees and computers do the design. This character should ideally make you enjoy using the car all the more and endear you to it, helping you look after it down the years.
Above all, simplicity, purity, integrity and honesty.


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1. If I were to give you V8 engine from the AMG Merc, M division of BMW, and RS division of Audi; how would you judge which one is the best?
All are expensive to run, excessively powerful and complex. Sadly I am not sufficiently-well versed (nor do I have time to go and investigate) to analyse the ins and outs of these particular engines. But going from experience of the manufacturers' previous engines, the BMW is likely to be the most sporting, least long-lasting and most complex. The Mercedes will be most thoroughly engineered, the Audi possibly the most economical. I am unlikely ever to wish to use a car with any of these engines under the bonnet.


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2. Mini-SUV's. This segment has become one of the most hotly pursued segments in the world. India has the following contenders: Dacia Duster, Nissan X-trail, Honda CR-V, Chevy Captiva, LR Freelander, BMW X1. Lets leave the price aside for a moment. Which would you think would be the best from a design point of perspective?
They are all 'lifestyle' choices and neither practical all-terrain vehicles nor family cars. Trying to be all things to all people! The relative simplicity of the Dacia/Renault makes more sense than some of the others.

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Sir, what I am trying to tell you is that today, its becoming increasingly difficult to judge a car purely from whether the engine is good or not. Even if the engine may be bad, a good gearbox and clever tuning can hide the weaknesses very well.
E.g. Almost everyone I would ask will tell me that the BMW inline 6 engine is one of the best in the world. But, I have driven a V6 200bhp merc E230 W211. I really liked the engine's refinement and the power delivery (which was very linear). Would you say then I am wrong in my way of thinking?
Please do explain to me since I have no experience with good engines. I have never driven an inline 6, hence I cannot comment.
I think you might be trying to split hairs and be erring away from my original point. Which was that a simple, honest, thorough and pure design is the most desirable. Many cars are anything but - cynical, over-complex, a quick re-hash of an old design which isn't as good as the original, designed to fail prematurely etc.

I was suggesting that fundamentals rather than fripperies should be more important in one's choice of machine.


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Originally Posted by Simple_car View Post
As far as design is concerned, yes, its generally easy to decide; BUT from what I am observing, most new cars which are being produced today are designed after deciding which type of consumer its being targeted. So, if you were to judge bearing this, then most designs are spot on.

Please do excuse my ignorance, but I genuinely would like to learn.

Thanks,
Simple_car
I see no ignorance whatsoever in your questions, Simple_car - you pose very thought-provoking and intelligent points.

I think it is fair to say there are few European cars today which are poor - whereas there used to be many. Equally the best cars have lost some of their purity, quality and desirability from an engineering perspective but have grown more user-friendly, more profitable and less distinctive. Cars have all gravitated towards a middle ground.

To give you an idea of what I appreciate, here is a little list to peruse and google if necessary. In no particular order and with plenty of omissions:
The original Range Rover (1969-94). CitroŽn 2cv. Jaguar XK120. Mercedes W124 diesel estates. BMC Mini. CitroŽn SM. Alfa Romeo SZ. Tata Nano. BMW 328 (1936-40). Triumph TR4. MG TF. CitroŽn DS. Rover 90. NSU Ro80. Rover SD1. Saab 99/900 (1968-93), Saab 92/93 (1950s-60s). Almost all Alfa-Romeos from the 1950 and 1960s. CitroŽn CX. Alfa SudSprint. Jaguar XJ6 (1968-). Lotus Elan. Fiat Panda (2003-12). Renault 16. Morgan 3-wheeler, both past and present.



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What I like about my bare bones motorcycle is the fact that it is so simple to service, starts with a kick (if not just push start), practical for the roads of this country, has great torque for traffic infested roads, and has no gadgetry that will fail on you suddenly leaving you stranded (although the CDI is surely one such unit - it has indeed failed once in its 9 year history). It is also lightweight and nimble and runs great with some mostly DIY maintenance.

The car I owned on the other hand was an absolute disaster for me. It had one of the worst performing engines both in-city and on highways - putting the pedal to the floor would do nothing to the speed of the car, the ergonomics required you to crane your neck looking for potholes, the dashboard was too high, the AC killed whatever torque was left in the useless engine, the suspension would cry out for mercy on the slightest of road undulations. Practicality was a joke what with <180 liters of boot and provisions for 4" speakers front and back. Overall it was a purchase disaster. But did it look good? Oh Yes it did!

I also really don't understand why modern cars are so heavy! A 1000kilos for a small hatchback is way too much for a car without ABS or Airbags or ICE, don't you think? If only the car companies would invest some RnD money to develop lighter yet strong enough parts for cars it would do a lot of good for fuel efficiency and engine torque.

For my next car I'll definitely be looking at the most practical no-nonsense car that will take me from points A-B with a smile on my face no matter what the roads throw at us. Power windows is a nice convenience but I hated it when my battery failed and I could do nothing but call "Chevrolet Emergency" service (which took a nice 2 hours to arrive) and have him jump start the vehicle just to roll up my windows. You do "pay" for conveniences down the road.

I also dislike digital displays because you have to replace the entire panel for faults but it is great cost cutting for manufacturers who can now get away with a cheap LCD screen instead of investing in analog meters and gears.

Call me old school, but I like having manual buttons (those that directly control the device in question and not via more electronics) such as those for starting/stopping engine (use the key stupid), cabin air circulation, ORVM adjustment levers, seat adjustment and more. In my experience gadgets fail sooner or later. A manual button will always have a jugaad.

FlatOut, in the current market of Indians cars around the 10L budget is there a car that strikes a chord with you?
Not sure if you mean the car has to be Indian-origin or not. I assume not, partly since it makes my task easier! Fiat Punto 1.2, Hindustan Ambassador, Renault Duster, Nano. With the change from all these I would go on an epic drive.

But to tell the truth, I would never spend anywhere near as much money on a car which was going to depreciate. In the UK, the max I spend on an everyday car is 1.2L - and that buys something like an Audi A6 2.5TDi, MB W124 300TD, Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi. Mileage is usually nearer 200,000 than 100,000 and none the worse for it!

By the way, I couldn't agree more with everything you say.
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Old 31st July 2013, 15:09   #158
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Both were designed to be as good as possible, without cynicism or the engineering in of obsolesence.

Above all, simplicity, purity, integrity and honesty.
This statement sums up everything you were trying to convey. And I knew of that when I read your first post, but I will try and rephrase my question so that I am able to explain it better.


They are all 'lifestyle' choices and neither practical all-terrain vehicles nor family cars. Trying to be all things to all people!
100% true sir, but atleast here in India, these make perfect sense for me. I have the T30 Xtrail here. The only reason I bought it was a high ground clearance to wade through flooded streets and ginormous potholes. I travel on such roads on a regular basis. I am a man who loves sedans and hatchbacks a lot, but at the same time I need to be practical as well. Ladder on frame SUV's are unnecessary for me, since I don't like offroading, and plus the good ones are generally very expensive here.


I was suggesting that fundamentals rather than fripperies should be more important in one's choice of machine.
Again I understood what you were trying to convey, but I will think and rephrase my question, then I'll get back to you.
But I have another theory different to your line of thinking as well. I have posted it in your other thread on flat engines.




Cars have all gravitated towards a middle ground.
Agreed. But we will have to delve into a little philosophy to understand why this is happening. I have penned down my thoughts on the same in your other thread


To give you an idea of what I appreciate, here is a little list to peruse and
Thank you very much. I will read about these machines in my spare time and try and understand why you like them so much. Maybe then I will be able to have a little insight in your way of thinking.
I will get back to you once I am able to put my thoughts into words.

Thanks,
Simple_car
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Old 31st July 2013, 20:44   #159
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Default Re: Pure, simple and quality or many extras, bling and neighbour-appeal?

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I was wondering what you all wish for, a car which looked expensive, flashy and fast or one which was nothing special to look at, yet which drove exquisitely?
There really is no good car or bad car. A car would work for one person but may not work for another. Its a point of view whether a particular car's costs, specs, features or design works for one person or whether it doesn't for another. If it doesn't work for you, you may consider it not worth the money, badly specced, not having enough features or badly designed. Someone else would have quite the contrary opinion because it meets his requirements very well. For instance, I consider the Audi A4 1.8T or 2.0 TDI an absolute waste of money as in my books, Laura's with the same engines do a better job at half the price. However, I consider the Audi A4 3.0TDI or the S4 3.0TFSI to be fabulous cars. But very few people think so and that's why they sell in miniscule (single digit) numbers. Does that make the 3.0 TDI/ 3.0 TFSI bad cars? Probably yes for the vast majority who have plonked for the mundane 2.0 TDI.

At the end of the day it all boils down to one man's meat being another man's poison- all just a point of view.

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Old 31st July 2013, 21:34   #160
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There really is no good car or bad car. A car would work for one person but may not work for another. Its a point of view whether a particular car's costs, specs, features or design works for one person or whether it doesn't for another. If it doesn't work for you, you may consider it not worth the money, badly specced, not having enough features or badly designed. Someone else would have quite the contrary opinion because it meets his requirements very well. For instance, I consider the Audi A4 1.8T or 2.0 TDI an absolute waste of money as in my books, Laura's with the same engines do a better job at half the price. However, I consider the Audi A4 3.0TDI or the S4 3.0TFSI to be fabulous cars. But very few people think so and that's why they sell in miniscule (single digit) numbers. Does that make the 3.0 TDI/ 3.0 TFSI bad cars? Probably yes for the vast majority who have plonked for the mundane 2.0 TDI.

At the end of the day it all boils down to one man's meat being another man's poison- all just a point of view.
Yes, the world is both all equal and yet all different all at once. But certain cars, like certain buildings stand the test of time to emerge as classics which grow in value and become increasingly appreciated and sought after for their special blend of qualities.

Certain people may rise to the top because of their combination of looks, brain and charm - but they are still human and no better than the beggar in the street?
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Old 31st July 2013, 21:45   #161
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Default Re: Pure, simple and quality or many extras, bling and neighbour-appeal?

Flatout,

You raise quite thought provoking questions.I myself would a very responsive and a well handling car over one which might have all the goodies yet lacks the oompfh.IMHO not everyone feels this way(at least in India),Most of the general car buying public will easily choose say a less powerful car with more creature comforts over one which has more power.I don't suppose a car which is very well built and has an excellent engine but lacks some features which might be considered to be standard would sell very well.It all boils down to the personal choice of an individual.
An example would be,A friend recently sought my advice since he wanted to buy a new car.For the use he mentioned I suggested the Toyota Innova.For which he replied."Dude,its an innova".See what I mean.It varies from person to person.

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At the end of the day it all boils down to one man's meat being another man's poison- all just a point of view
Couldn't have put it better myself
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Old 31st July 2013, 22:06   #162
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Default Re: Pure, simple and quality or many extras, bling and neighbour-appeal?

MODERATOR - please combine these two posts - accidentally posted separately.


Perhaps you're hoping I can be more specific on certain vehicles available for sale? If this is the case, it is a little difficult if I don't have personal experience. I understand your logic for choosing the vehicle you have, all I can add is that if you can find a good SUV without four wheel drive, then choose it - unless this feature is a necessity for you, which is unlikely unless you routinely pull a trailer through slippery ground. I do see that the SUV or 'soft-roader' is just the motor car evolving to suit 21st century needs - I'm not suggesting this is a bad thing!

I suppose I am rather too much of an old-fashioned engineer to wish for many electronic gizmos, additionally I appreciate character in anything, especially a good car. I'm also a musician and so a sweet engine can literally be music to my ears. This may sound to some as if my head is in the clouds - totally the opposite, in fact. A pure sweet sound will enhance your brain's alertness whereas a mish-mash of unpleasant white noise will greatly reduce its abilities, especially over a period of more than an hour.

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Old 31st July 2013, 22:12   #163
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Default Re: Pure, simple and quality or many extras, bling and neighbour-appeal?

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certain cars, ....become increasingly sought after
Sought after by whom? A handful of people who appreciate and can afford them. For the rest those classics don't serve any purpose and they wouldn't take it even if it were given to them free as they wouldn't be able to maintain them nor would they find any value in using them as they are meant to be used.


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Certain people may rise to the top because of their combination of looks, brain and charm - but they are still human and no better than the beggar in the street?
A person rising to the top can also carry out World War III that could destroy mankind. You'll be better off with the beggar - at the least he would be humane whilst still being a human.

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Old 31st July 2013, 22:32   #164
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Sought after by whom? A handful of people who appreciate and can afford them. For the rest those classics don't serve any purpose and they wouldn't take it even if it were given to them free as they wouldn't be able to maintain them nor would they find any value in using them as they are meant to be used.
Some of the most iconic and purest designs are still a lot cheaper than a new car here in Europe, around 5L will buy a very useable all-time classic. It doesn't have to be a Ferrari or Porsche, as you suggest below, power and wealth are not always reliable indicators of greatness.
Knowing your stuff and being ahead of trends can help, although cars were produced in such numbers that values of some thoroughbred classics may never rise too much.

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A person rising to the top can also carry out World War III that could destroy mankind. You'll be better off with the beggar - at the least he would be humane.
Totally agree, somehow we need to work out a way of getting better quality people to the positions of power in this mad world!
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Old 13th March 2017, 22:17   #165
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Default Not So Useful Technologies in Cars - What's Next?

I've been considering getting a new car. Now ordinarily I'd try putting up a thread to take help from fellow members on the most suitable purchase. But I guess the search is at a nascent stage. I currently drive a Chevrolet Beat. Most stuff that I use is either manually actuated or doesn't exist in the car. As I thought about the stuff I need, I started thinking about stuff I probably DON'T NEED.

And I came across this very interesting video on the topic.

Here's the link:


For those who don't want to go through the whole video, the guy lists down the the top 6 most useless (read less useful/could use more development) technologies in today's cars.

Listed in the order they show up in the video:
  • 6. Keyless Access
  • 5. Gear Selectors (in automatics)
  • 4. Halfway HUDs
  • 3. Lane Departure Warnings
  • 2. Auto Start/Stop
  • 1. Center Stack/Infotainment Systems
Some of the stuff is relevant to my price bracket, some not. However I thought it's a thread that could help more members during their decision making while selecting a new car.

It'd be interesting to know opinions of fellow team bhpians here on this topic.

Note to mods: I couldn't find a thread on a similar topic. Please shift the thread/merge as needed. Thanks.

Last edited by samarth.bhatia : 13th March 2017 at 22:24.
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