A M a n's lov e fo r h is ca r
He dreams of a 1973 Chevrolet Camaro he peeped in a car shop when he was a teenager. It’s the car he longs to possess, to fulfill this dream of youth that reminds him of the boy he once was. When I think about cars and my adolescence, I’m thinking back seats. But he’s thinking dashboards and piston engines. I remember the words to the songs I sang when I had my first crush. He remembers what the odometer read when he turned fifteen. What is it about men wwand their cars? Its a question that has been famously posed, but maybe not so well answered. A question derived from the tender jealousy of women and their dear lovers’ obsession with their cars, and as for the rest of the universe, to serve as further understanding of the male race. On the one hand, women consider cars as important useful machines only valuable because
of the practical purpose they serve. On the other hand, men treat their cars as an extension of their personalities and their cars ultimately define how they choose to carry themselves. They spend vast amounts of money to buy them, and maintain them as their pride and joy. Men love cars so much, they quite often describe their cars with the characteristic traits dedicated to a woman. Head to any auto show, classic car meet, or any other car related events, and you’ll find crowds of dudes ogling sensuous metallic curves and discussing engine specs like gospel. An extensive history of car culture suggests that it is dedicated to impressing chicks. The visceral energy and excitement surrounding loudw, fast, racing cars has been an overly sexual one. Cars are a strong indicator of resource-gathering ability. The type of guy who drives around in a Lamborghini or a Bentley knows that cars of
such a calibre are impossible to fake, and a great way to portray themselves as the most compatible choice for any woman, as opposed to the dude rattling around in a lame Citi Golf. There is also the group of guys who prefer burning out their tyres and revving their engines to show off their car’s power. Mostly the guys in the GTIs and BMWs saying, “Hey, look at me, I’m strong enough to rein in all this horsepower.” As corny as it is the car once again indicates masculine aggression: my engine is bigger and more expensive than the other guys. But cars aren’t only focused around sexual cues. Plenty of men (and women) love cars because of the sense of accomplishment that ties in with
owning a car. Which also includes being able to complete repairs, modifications, or restoration, and the reward that the car community doth to such activities makes one own a sense of pride and the right to brag. The 20th century was dominated by the automobile, and the sense of history one gets from discussing pre-war Deusenbergs, 60s muscle cars, or even the sillier aspects of the 90s import scene, is a joy and makes for one hell of an involving hobby. At the same time, let’s be honest: Any guy who’s felt the adrenaline of roaring about in an absurdly fast car, or sat up a little bit straighter because he was riding around in a Rolls, can’t say he wasn’t paying close attention to see if he got looks from all the pretty girls on the street.
A n O utsi d ers vi ew o F th e ca r community
Until quite recently my knowledge about motor-head culture was limited to the banter I heard on Top Gear. My experience of it locally in Cape Town was non-existent. Throwing curses out the window at three in the morning was literally the only contact I had had with ‘those Yobbo’s!’ So of course I would be the perfect candidate to write an outsider’s opinion about it. To begin my journey into the underworld of car enthusiasts I needed to find some sort of car club. This actually didn’t prove too difficult. A friend of mine is part of a GTI crew; a bunch of guys all driving Golf GTI’s – more commonly from the 5th generation of the car aka G5’s. He told me that every week or so they meet up somewhere and discuss their common interest in cars,
and I should definitely come along to get a feel for what they are about. So early on a Sunday morning he duly picked me up in his modified GTI. The sportiest car I had been in previously was a Prius, so I could feel the difference straight away. The seats embraced you in a cocoon of comfort and everything about the interior had a sleek sporty finish. The most impressive thing though was the acceleration. Every now and then he would drop the clutch and my insides were thrown against my spine before being catapulted to 100km/h in less than 5 seconds. He had also brought along two of his mates and straight away the banter had begun. I was meant to be asking prepared questions but the guys seemed more than happy to just tell me all
I needed to know. One thing that struck me was the loyalty factor. No official ‘meet’ was planned for that Sunday; the gathering was happening for me! The nerves hit straight away. Pulling into the car park where the meet was happening, it wasn’t hard to notice the four other GTI’s with their dropped suspension. I got out of the car, briefly met a couple of the guys before the decision was made to move the ‘meet’ underground. We piled back into the car, and started driving in convoy to the underground parking at the V&A Waterfront. I’ll be honest - this felt pretty cool. Every now and then the GTI’s would swap positions, over-revving as they came past. I now knew what that sound was at three in the morning, and I didn’t care anymore. As I listened to my friend discuss future modifications to his vehicle I also realized that the sound the car makes is a really important factor for the drivers. We were joined by two more GTI’s upon arrival at the underground
parking and spiraled down to the lowest level in unison. I enjoyed watching how each car was parked in quite an interesting way in the empty parking lot, almost arty, almost like the car was striking a pose of the drivers choosing. I started talking to two drivers who made an interesting point; the car is a reflection of the driver; you look at each car and you could almost guess who the owner was. The drivers had modified and styled their cars in their own personal way similar to the way one would choose the clothes on your back. These cars definitely weren’t a hobby - they are a true extension of the driver himself, a symbol of pride and identity. My little Sunday escapade was quite productive and maybe next time I will join them on one of their convoy drives to the Ocean Basket in Hermanus. My whole mission proved the misconceptions I had had for this culture, and how previously I had only been seeing this from one very limited perspective.
VW POLO 6R GTi Driver Review The Polo Gti has long lived in the shadow of its older brother the Golf Gti, but no more, the new Polo Gti has arrived and I must say it packs a punch. Not only is it stylish, its very elegant and unique, and most important fun to drive, what you would want from HOT hatch. This is my personal review on the new Polo Gti. Starting with the exterior, very small is what you want from a hot hatch, similar features to the golf gti but very unique in a way with the gti honeycomb grill making it very stylish. The panoramic sunroof is an excellent addition to the Polo; it suits it perfectly, and is a real eye catcher. It can be tilted just to show off a little of its hotness, or could be opened for that extra bit of style for the car. Working your way towards the tail of the car,is the uniquely designed taillights which Volkswagen has seemed to give the New Polo shape, but with the Gti version gave it a slight tint of black for the sporty effect. The sporty body kit the Gti has been given tells you straight away that this is no ordinary Polo. It comes out with the classic Gti rim,but too my liking it didn’t suit the car, so I opted for the VW optional rims which to my liking suits the
car the best. The two chrome tailpipes makes such a difference to the Polo, showing a sense of classiness to the car. In all the pros to the exterior there are its cons, at some angles the Polo does look like the Golf Gti. Going inside the car, you can feel that this is no down scaled Golf,its something different,comfort,spotyness. With its swayed and leather sport seats makes the car very luxurious, the Gti badge engraved on the steering wheel, and the red stitching, with the paddle shift, makes this car fun and exciting before turning on ignition. At this point refinement is word you would want to use as all these do indeed come standard with the equipment of Power windows and steering, air-conditioning, power and heated door mirrors, remote central locking, tyre pressure monitoring system, steering wheel controls for audio and trip computer, cruise control, CD changer and AM/FM radio, Aux compatible with iPod. The back seats impressively fits two people comfortably for such a small car, and there is enough “toe space” in the front seats. There are Five cupholders, ample glove compartent, centre and door cavities, plus drawers under both front seats. The 204 litre rear
boot space is average for its class, but 60/40 rear split-fold seat increases storage space. The long awaited review on the performance of the car and my personal favorite ,if I had to some up the drive of this car in one word it would be fun. The Polo gti runs on a mere 1.4 litre engine,but wait Volkswagen has decided to twincharge it. With the 1.4 turbo and supercharger it makes an astounding 132kw and 250Nm of power, which is quite amazing for such a small engine. With the 200kg weight advantage it matches the Golf Gti’s time from 0-100km/h in 6.9sec. Volkswagen has also decided to include its dual clutch gearbox on the Polo Gti,which certainly makes a difference,with quicker shifts and a choice of comfort,sport and DSG mode,what more could you ask for. Although that is my personal opinion the shortcoming is that it does not come out in a manual version,which im sure speed freaks wouldn’t like at all,and for a hot hatch where would the fun be without a manual gearbox.
The Gti certainly has the Polo’s class and refinement with standard Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tires,which gives a calm and comfort drive and a lot of grip. The conventional MacPherson strut front/ rear torsion beam suspension is used to goof effect with unique Gti tuned settings, 17-inch alloys and a standard 15mm drop with a sporty Polo class effect. The steering on the Polo is really fun, around the bends its excellent, at times it can be a hand full though. The Gti uses brake discs all round with the red brake calibers giving a eye catcher. For such a fun and fast car ones got to have those safety features the Polo includes Six airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioners/ load limiters, active front headrests, ABS, brake assist, electronic brake-force distribution, traction control and electronic stability control. The Polo Gti has a 3 year warranty or 100 000km warranty, servicing costs would depend on how much needs to be done on the car.