Wednesday, February 19, 2014

# 6 - 1989 Acura Integra LS (Car Mistakes)

Have you ever bought a car, only to realize it was the wrong car? It may not be something you realize right away. In my case it crept up on me slowly over a period of months. But after six months and a cross country drive, I knew I had somehow bought the wrong car.

I had returned from being stationed overseas and my beloved Mustang GT had recrossed the Atlantic Ocean. I was temporarily stationed in Virginia before heading to my next assignment in the Pacific Northwest.

Sammy Hagar was right
Unfortunately the Mustang and I had just spent a couple of years on the autobahn... My driver's license was in danger from the day I returned. The Mustang cruised naturally at about 90-100. In Germany that was flow of traffic; in Virginia that could be a felony. I actually got a speeding ticket the day I picked up the Mustang from the port in Maryland.

After the second or third discussion with the local gendarmerie it was clear something had to change. Somehow that something became a new Acura Integra LS. And just how that happened I'm still not sure.

Essentially a fancy, more luxurious Honda Civic, the Integra from the newly launched Acura brand was a darned good car. It had great reviews from all the enthusiast magazines and I think my mistake was deciding to get one based on reviews, rather than on the actual car.

The first few weeks were fine, with Virginia in the grip of a severe winter. The little front driver was actually sort of zippy and surefooted. But in early spring I took a road trip to Pittsburgh to see friends. It was in the mountains of West Virginia that I first sensed I had chosen poorly. Those beautiful mountain roads just were not the same with 118 horsepower and front wheel drive.

Strangely enough, in every quantifiable way the Integra was a superior car to my dearly departed GTI. I came to realize that it was the unquantifiable that the Integra lacked. Simply put, the car had no soul, and I had no emotional connection to it. It was just a good little car, and that is just not enoughnot in my book at least.

By the time the Acura and I had crossed the country together I actively hated it. As soon as it was financially feasible (but far from financially intelligent) I traded in the Integra and bought one of my favorite all-time cars - and it wasn't a car.

What car mistakes have you made?

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