Unpopular Carpinion: Everyone needs a normal-ass daily
Stop torturing yourselves on every commute.
Stop it. Get help. Listen, I'm sure you're not a terrible person. You don't deserve to be torturing yourself every day on every commute. Please, just because you hate yourself doesn't mean you have friends and family that don't love you. Profuse sweating, tinnitus, lumbago, it's all taking a toll on your health. Please take care of yourself. Give the project car a rest, and get a normal daily driver.
I'm pretty sure we've all seen this before. You all know that gearhead, typically a younger one, making the daily commute in the clapped-out Mustang or WRX STi. The car is low enough for the splitter to mow lawns, and the exhaust bellows with enough decibels to put a C-130 on start-up to shame. It doesn't matter how much money they've invested in the car or how well-off in life they are, they're insistent on being martyrs for modified car culture.
Yes, of course heading to your nine-to-five in an enthusiast machine can be an exhilarating, emotion-stirring experience, and I encourage everyone to make the grocery run in your project vehicle. Why not? It's your car! It's just not something I personally see myself doing of my own volition every single day nor is it something that anyone should do.
Daily drivable, but only just. Photo: Jeric Jaleco
Don't get me wrong. I love my lightly-modified Mustang to death, but that's not to say it isn't a flawed daily due to both its current handling enhancements and its inherent traits from the factory. It's a tad firm on some Vegas streets, and it borders on harsh as you pass through one of a million fucking construction zones, a Vegas staple. The manual is mostly livable aside from the firm, notchy shifter which is great for theater but not-so-great when I'm half awake en route to the university in rush hour traffic. The Pypes axle-back I used to shamelessly rock, essentially a glorified muffler delete, would drone enough to give any passenger a headache, and the craptastic radio head unit wasn't the most user-friendly layout.
Sometimes, it was just nice to take a step back and enjoy something more sedate. Every errand run borrowing my parents' cars was like a stint in a decompression chamber. Just slip it n "D" and enjoy, manual purists be damned. My old position at the dealership I work at enabled me to borrow used cars which hadn't yet been prepped for resale, and every mail run in some traded-in luxo sedan was like therapy with Mr. Rogers. To those who have only ever known visceral driving, I implore you to take a fat dose of four-wheeled Aleve. Priuses and Civics are hot-ticket sellers for a reason.
Even some enthusiast offerings manage to play the daily driver game just as well as anything else. Golf R or BMW 3-Series, anyone? Today's crop of sport compacts are capable of coddling drivers with near-perfect ergonomics, a suite of electronic goodies, and manual transmissions with learning curves fit for a five-year-old. Last November, I witnessed first-hand the duality of the BMW M3 with its family sedan highway manners and sports car canyon moves. A year prior, I was graced with a Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor whose suite of gizmos convinces the driver that it's an inviting daily, but the acceleration lets them know peace was never an option. If you have the funds and storage space, there's a bounty of viable options that await.
If you currently have neither like yours truly, then make your enthusiast car as livable as possible. Not every outing is one to the race track, and posting photos on the 'Gram under #BecauseRaceCar doesn't justify you flaunting your self-harm fetish. I ditched my Pypes fart cans for a proper MBRP cat-back which still allows for a throaty roar at wide-open throttle and mild burbles on lift-off, but it's almost as sedate as stock in traffic. The Texas Instruments calculator of a radio has also been ditched for a NAVOS touchscreen which looks factory but runs modern-day software with Apple Carplay/Android Auto capability, a must-have for S197 Mustang owners.
There's nothing cowardice about admitting that cock-and-ball torture on the commute isn't for you. It's not for me either, and many companions of mine have set aside scraps to either acquire a suitable daily or make their enthusiast cars more livable. Don't be afraid of snagging that used Lexus GS or a sweet lease deal on a Corolla Hybrid. The juvenile hype beasts at the late-night tuner meets may admonish the idea, but let them scoff as you enjoy the view out of your glass sunroof and the comfort of your Ass Cheek Chiller 9000 seating. You might save some of that money back not having to replace knocked-out fillings on an annual basis.