Sunday, August 22, 2010

A V-8 only insinuates virility; multiple child seats prove it.

When Marko got the minivan munchkin-hauler, he called me on the phone to meet me for lunch and show off his new wheels. As he excitedly pointed out the "stow-and-go" seating and the various practical, family-friendly doodads in his new ride, I kept glancing surreptitiously across the parking lot at my silver Nazi rollerskate and thinking "Who is this guy? And what has he done with Marko?"

Of course, that wasn't fair. Robin and Marko needed a vehicle that could haul kids, dachshunds, and groceries; the only thing I need my car to haul is ass. This charming little promo video from Toyota points out the minivan's appeal rather well:

40 comments:

Joe in PNG said...

Multiple munchkins and sleek silver sportscar skates rarely result in happy hauling.

Revolver Rob said...

I'm planning on buying a sleek little Kamikaze roller skate in the next few months. I'm thinking that while I'm making payments on it, it will be another deterrent to any and all thoughts of creating munchkins of any kind.

-Rob

Owen said...

Obviously you have yet to realize that the minivan is nothing more than a surface bound Huey. Slide those doors back, pivot the pigs out and lay down some fire, while the dismounts form a perimeter!

And remember...for women and children, don't lead as much.

CGHill said...

There are always going to be people who won't be caught dead in a minivan because of insufficient badassedness, or some such nonsense. Heck, both GM and Ford gave up on this segment so they could chase more crossover sales. If I needed a family hauler, I'd look right at those curb-weight numbers: in an era when the government is anxious to make you pay as much as possible for energy, it's a lot easier to justify 4500 lb of minivan than 5500 lb of SUV.

Anonymous said...

"Hey, you know what's really big and gets lousy gas mileage? A school bus. But do you see folks lining up to buy one of those? I mean, other than the Partridge Family?...

...I don't care about cargo space; the only thing I need my vehicles to haul is ass."

-VFTP 2/13/10

Well, as to the first part, the Partridge family and the Munchkin family, I guess. As to the last part, I thought I'd seen that ass-haulin' blurb before...it was funny then, too.

AT

Anonymous said...

Marko will wake up in the middle of the night after remembering his father talking about his new Country Squire stationwagon in the same glowing tones.

The crying stops after a while.

My SUV is just a boxy stationwagon.

Gerry

og said...

I've had three minivans. They were all three free, to me. They became variably moving vans, work vehicles, and stabbin cabins on wheels. Sometimes girls complained about the deer blood in the carpet.

Steve Skubinna said...

I had a Chevy Astro back when they were new. Not sure it was really a "minivan," just a regular van with a shorter wheelbase.

But it hauled stuff. Remove the rear seats (it had two) and load that sucker up, or even put some sleeping bags in it for a leisurely drive down through Oregon and camping by the roadside...

Also handled better than any van I ever drove. Nice big 4.6 liter V-6 and a 5 speed stick, stiff suspension so no body roll.

Jayson said...

German wagons drive like race cars and can haul all sorts of stuff. they don't sell the best ones here, tho, cause american car consumers, generally, are stupid for SUVs.

Darrell said...

I had a '91 Dodge Grand Caravan, great vehicle. Tons of room for the camping stuff, telescopes, dogs and myself. Ran great, got decent mileage too. Owned it the longest of any vehicle, 13 years. But yeah, hot chicks dig middle aged guys driving minivans...

Tam said...

Jayson,

Station wagons in general are poison to the generation of Americans that are currently square in the target demographic of the station wagon market.

To the thirty-something American, "station wagon = Dad's woodgrain-decaled Country Squire" while "SUV = Jeep".

It doesn't matter that the underpinnings of the wagon come from the BMW 5-series and the underpinnings of the SUV come from some generic cable company truck; the former says "dull" and the latter says "adventure". Perception equals reality in marketing.

Tam said...

Darell,

"But yeah, hot chicks dig middle aged guys driving minivans..."

Dude, the minivan is not what attracts the hot chick, the minivan is what results from attracting the hot chick. Just ask Marko.

staghounds said...

That is way funny.

staghounds said...

Gangsta.

Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Toyota Minivans: there's no stopping them now!

Ulises from CA

Sabra said...

I'm one of those who twitches at the very idea of the minivan. Which is laughable, as I own a Taurus station wagon and actually have a thing for station wagons in general. Now, there's a vehicle that can haul people and stuff. I could put six folks in it (including three in car seats) and use the rear to haul damn near anything. AND it got the same exact gas mileage as my Taurus sedan before it. (And can hit 110 mph...)

I'll probably buy another one, if I can find a newer model that has a rear pop-up seat. When you're expecting kid #4, your options are limited. (We're all toodling around in the Pistolero's Dodge Dakota at the moment, but there just aren't enough seats.)

I miss my mom's old Country Squire. Cruise control, leather seats, V-8 engine...Saw a Buick wagon that someone had dropped a Corvette engine into for sale last year, but figured it'd get me into far too much trouble.

Darrell said...

Tam said...
"Darell,

"But yeah, hot chicks dig middle aged guys driving minivans..."

Dude, the minivan is not what attracts the hot chick, the minivan is what results from attracting the hot chick. Just ask Marko."

That was a line from Dr. Katz Professional Therapist, IIRC.

Two D's if you please. (F):)

Darrell said...

Errr, two r's, even better! ;^)

Anonymous said...

Sideways engines make Baby Jesus and mechanics cry.



Now, the Chevy Astro van...that's one unstoppable machine. We've got one that racked up 633,000 miles.

That 4.3L engine is a workhorse...the only bad thing about them is that the engine compartment is right cramped (as it is on most vans). Nowadays, I refuse to own anything less than a fullsize vehicle based on a truck frame, be it pickup or SUV. Much easier to get to everything to maintain it

Noah D said...

Obviously you have yet to realize that the minivan is nothing more than a surface bound Huey. Slide those doors back, pivot the pigs out and lay down some fire, while the dismounts form a perimeter!

THIS. :)

I'm trying to figure out a way to attach some bungee at the side doors for the full-auto nerf LMGs... Heck, my kids have taken to calling it 'the APC'.

Love my Honda Odyssey. One of the best cars I've had.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it the CAFE standards that killed the station wagon, SUV's and mini vans counted as trucks so they didn't get taxed to death for pore fuel economy?

-Joat

Jay G said...

Heh. My Ram has seating for one less than Marko's minivan, and can tow ~ three tons more.

Plus when it comes to making hippies cry, nothing beats a Hemi...

:D

reflectoscope said...

The only van I'd care to drive is a Honda Odyssey, for the simple fact that it is a remarkably tight driving experience.

Otherwise I'll acknowledge their usefulness in moving lots of stuff from A to B in an uncomplicated manner, but be content to drive the Mazda. I really would be curious to hear your review of the handling of a 3, after your experience with the rollerskate.

As for ads, I saw an ad in this vein with a string of dudes with typically macho vehicles (Ferrari, Jeep, Hummer, etc.) and then a dude with a reddish Caravan and his kids.

Jim

Bubblehead Les. said...

My Dad's old Chevy Bel-Air wagon, with the back seats folded down, could easily take 4x8 Sheet plywood. SBC up front, rear wheel drive, what a lovely vehicle! Then those Treehugging EnviroWacko's gave us CAFE (after the insurance companies killed off the Muscle Cars), then the Big 3 used a Loophole and gave us SUV's. Those who needed the space were stuck with using full size Vans, which wouldn't fit in a Garage (pre-McMansion days), so when someone at Mopar during a European Vacation saw a Delivery Van, he went Eureka! and the once-proud home of the Charger gave us the Caravan, right after they bought AMC so they could get the Jeep product line. And that Virginia, is why when you have babies You have to drive a box if you need space, or a 4x4 monstosity that can't hold enough goods, will get stuck in the Deep Woods, and costs an Arm and a Leg to Repair. God, I hate what happened to cars in the Eighties!

Will said...

A sister loved her Odyssey for the kids, but hubby couldn't bear the thought of being seen in it on weekends going down to their cabin cruiser. He made her trade it in on a Range Rover/Land Rover? Which she hated. Only thing she liked about it, was the time she was trapped in a low level parking lot in a snow storm (PA). The ramp was blocked by a stalled vehicle. She called the dealership and asked them how to use the 4wd, and then drove up the hillside to reach the road. THAT impressed her.

The closest I've come to owning a van is the pickup that Ford made from the Econoline van. Hate working on the engines in vans.

Loved the little '62 Opel Olympia station wagon my mom had, until I totaled it. I looked for many years for one for myself, never found it.
(only ever saw one other)

Had friends who owned them, '56 Nomad, '60 Chevy Pie wagon, that sort of thing. I tried to buy a '58 Pontiac ambulance (wagon body-they all were, until the 70's). Got outbid by a band of musicians, 'bout '69-70. Really neat interior, better than the newer ones I serviced in a shop a couple years later. Had to confirm top end after tuneups, etc... 8)
(late 60's Cadillac and Pontiac, Pontiac was 10mph faster, 125 indicated, IIRC)

Lewis said...

I'll vote in favor of the minivan. When we did the Great Trek and relocated from Houston to Amarillo, I bit the bullet and rented a Honda Odyssey for the week. My wife and I, three ankle biters, two dogs and a cat, plus scads of gear, fit into the Odyssey with comfort and room to spare.

Nice drive, too.

It'll never have the zip, tossability or turn-on-a-dime fun of my little Civic del Sol, but then it's doing a different job.

Besides, Chili Palmer liked them!

Nathan said...

The way my back and knees are in these days past the 50 year mark, I'd rather drive the wife's Dodge Caravan for six to ten hours of interstate driving than do the same with my Intrepid.

Affect my sense of virility? Not a bit. Affect my ability to walk like an upright, non-knuckle-walking hominid when I reach destination? Big time.

aczarnowski said...

We bought a '02 Outback when we got the second dog. It's got some issues but none are format related. I have fond memories of the family wagons (ours were usually mid-sized). But then practicality is kinda built into mechanical engineers from the get-go.

There are not a lot of options in wagons anymore and that does suck. Volvo and Subaru pretty much have it here in the states. I have hopes for the crossover concept, once it sheds the marks left by the Aztec.

staghounds said...

I'm still laughing at this advert.

Did you notice they have 2.4 children?

And I'm still trying to figure out the phi alpha zeta joke. Peace?

theirritablearchitect said...

I hate minivans for the same reason that the generation who invented the damned thing hated that Ford Country Squire, it was a product of the previous generation.

I hate baby-boomers, ergo, I hate their damned vans.

I, on the other hand, rather like station wagons, of all sorts. I guess that makes me a man out of his time. Oh well.

theirritablearchitect said...

"...I miss my mom's old Country Squire. Cruise control, leather seats, V-8 engine...Saw a Buick wagon that someone had dropped a Corvette engine into for sale last year, but figured it'd get me into far too much trouble..."

Now THERE'S a woman to marry, boys.

6.0 liter LS with a row-your-own under the lid of an early seventies Olds VistaCruiser.

I can so dig it.

Dr. Feelgood said...

I love my minivan. It's the only thing that holds all four (4!) of my infant/toddler holders. I had to, um, visit my urologist because we ran out of seating.

And my daily commuter car is an old Saturn I rebuilt. I am (or rather, used to be: see above comment regarding urologist) the virility wolf in sheep's clothing. I would sell an organ for a station wagon with a TDI, tow package, and AWD.

staghounds said...

"I hate baby-boomers, ergo, I hate their damned vans."

Word.

But, um, those people are like 35. (As usual in averts, she looks 30, he looks 40.)

The youngest (actual) Boomers are 55.

Funny how this is the boomer icon/ strerotype. Not Vietnam war fighters/protestors but fake ironists, tragic chasers of hipdom, suburban whiners.

staghounds said...

"I hate baby-boomers, ergo, I hate their damned vans."

Word.

But, um, those people are like 35. (As usual in averts, she looks 30, he looks 40.)

The youngest (actual) Boomers are 55.

Funny how this is the boomer icon/ strerotype. Not Vietnam war fighters/protestors but fake ironists, tragic chasers of hipdom, suburban whiners.

Steve Skubinna said...

Well, Lewis, it is the Cadillac of minivans...

Yeah, Staghounds, I'm a boomer and was never anywhere near a Yuppie. Army and Navy vet, currently Merchant Marine, live in rural America, like to shoot, think Walmart is the shiznit, drink beer non-ironically. How did the self absorbed Yuppie become the symbol of my generation?

jimbob86 said...

"German wagons drive like race cars and can haul all sorts of stuff."

Ass included. The fastest I have ever driven was in a German wagon... 6 speed transmission and a clear Autobahn.... Giessen to Garmisch in a little over 3 1/2 hours, including a stop for gas.

Anonymous said...

Looks to me someone wants to have herself some babies. First the dream about the cargo planes, and now this. Mm Hm

Speaking from experience, I'd recommend it. Your life will never be the same, but that's life for you. Nothing will test you like children, not even running business for a decade or two. -- Lyle

Anonymous said...

That video is almost as good as this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZa7hU6tP_s

perlhaqr said...

Dr. Feelgood: Oh yeah. I dunno about the tow package, but the only major thing my TDI SportWagen is missing is AWD. (And a button to turn off yaw control, but that's just because hanging the tail out on dirt roads is fun.)

Anonymous said...

My Mom, God rest her soul, wanted a minivan but couldn't afford it. I inherited her '88 Reliant Coupe (2.5, TBI, Auto/ A-C). I wish she had gotten the station wagon, too.

But ...

The vehicle we miss is the 1999 Montero LTD we had to sell to pay the mortgage. Sigh.

Ulises from CA