It all started as a five year old when I got my first Hot Wheels
car. It was a 1967 Camaro, which became and remained my favorite car for most of my life. I still have that toy (see photo), and looking at it today it is obvious I was not one of those boys who collected cars like trophies lined up on the shelf. I played with them...a lot.
As an adult, I have a gripe about modern cars. If I was given the choice to own and drive any new car in the world, it would be difficult to find any that I could actually use. The problem is, I am six-four.
A couple of years ago my son and I visited Ron Tonkin Gran Tourismo, a local exotic car dealership. We were told we could sit in a Lotus Elise—a high performance British sports car. The roof of an Elise doesn't even come up to my waist, but fortunately the top was off and I was able to step in and sort of slide down into the seat. Getting out nearly required the fire department. If the roof had been on, I would have had to get on all fours on the ground, shove my legs in, and push myself in backwards, walking on my hands, being careful not to decapitate myself when I tucked my head in. I am 48. While I would love to drive a Lotus Elise, I think after getting in and out about three times I would need physical therapy.
American cars, however, are known for being ridiculously huge.
I recently went to the Portland Auto Show with a friend. This is an annual ritual for me, falling only a little short of a religious pilgrimage. I sat in every sports convertible they had. The top of my head always protruded above the front window. I have not lost any of my hair, but driving a Corvette or the like would make me bald in a couple of months by wind shear alone.
I moved on to the American muscle cars and looked at the 2012 Camaro. Sort of a visit back to my early car loving roots. I do not fit well in a 2012 Camaro. How can an American muscle car be too small for an adult?
There is still one American muscle car that easily accommodates a tall person. Like all muscle cars, the back seat is pointless, but it only has two doors so no one is fooled into thinking an actual human fits back there. Not only is the Dodge Challenger the best looking American car you can buy today, it is crazy big. Even big enough for my long legs. So it can't corner like a Lotus, I could drive one to Florida without needing a chiropractor.
—John Fort · Program Coordinator