Back to Basics: Automotive Simplicity

Simple Dashboard

Yes, that's a tape deck and a Nokia cell phone holder.

For the last three years, I’ve been leasing a 2008 Audi A4. But my lease ended last week, and with the topsy-turvy world of freelancing now paying the bills, it didn’t make much sense to dump some $500 a month into another German luxury vehicle. Thankfully, my parents had a car they weren’t using and have allowed me to borrow it for a while.

It’s a white, 2001 Ford Taurus that has 215,000 miles on it.

One might think going from a slick luxury vehicle with paddle shifters, digital thermostats and heated seats to a car I jokingly dubbed “The Ford Tauntaun” (in reference to both the ride-able Star Wars Hoth creatures, and Chuck Klosterman’s identical ride in Killing Myself to Live), might cause a little bit of self pity.

But with its masculine American engine, super heavy doors and government vehicle façade, I’ve grown to like the Tauntaun in my first week. What I surprisingly really appreciate is their old-school, blue-to-red, thermostat gauges. If you want it to be warmer, just rotate the dial. If you want less air flow, rotate the dial. There’s no “set it to 75” and wait as your car struggles to blast you in the face with hot air. There’s no confusion as to why air isn’t coming out. Or (as I found out this spring) why the AC isn’t working on this ridiculously put together vehicle.

I have certainly been the victim of style and flash in the past. But driving this decade old American boat that has few bells and whistles made me realize … simple workings, are sometimes, simply good enough.



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Filed under Obtainables, Philosophy

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