I want to talk about buying a car for my growing family. But first, lets take a trip back to middle school.

1990 was a complex year for me. I was 11 years old and I was in love with everything about cars. Back to the Future II had just come out, and my mind was spinning with the fantastical hovering cars from the future. This gave me such great hope, because we had just finished the most boring decade for automobiles: The 80s!  Of course there were supercars that gained popularity on posters (read: Lamborghini), but cars for people who weren’t millionaires was dreadfully dull.

So 1990 was symbolic of things changing. The future was here! Maybe no hovering cars, but surely the Ford Mustang could get some style, couldn’t it? Nope. With every new car that debuted from Detroit, I got less excited about the future.

So instead of looking forward for cool, I looked backward. I loved the hot rods from the 30s, 40s, and 50s, but they were too expensive. Then I discovered VWs by way of curiously sentimental people known as “hippies.” I discovered that Volkswagen owned the 1960s and 1970s had daring style and personality: VW Beatle, VW Bus, VW Rabbit, the VW Thing!

It seemed like there was room for everyone in the VW scene. If you wanted to restore your Beatle to it’s glory from 1969, that was cool. Or if you wanted to chop it up into an outrageous custom, that was cooler. My favorite trip of the month was to Wal-Mart with my family b/c they carried VW Trends and Hot VWs on their magazine rack. I remember the rush of optimism as I walked towards the magazine rack hoping to find a new issue tucked in those shelves. I loved the radical VWs with crazy paint and intense customization. Somewhere I have drawings of my own custom VW Beatles. Limo, truck, and permanent convertible. I was 11 and I could draw. There were no limits.

My favorite was probably the 18-window VW bus with the slide back roof.  It’s an endless summer for you and 6 friends. I was also fascinated with the newer VW buses, even if I didn’t fall in love with the new ones as much as the old ones.

The Eurovan. So what if it didn't fit in with the rest of the minivans in 1993?

The Eurovan. So what if it didn’t fit in with the rest of the minivans in 1993?

Enter Pastor Ted from Oak Forrest Methodist Church. Thank you, my friend, for giving me one of the most awesome memories of my childhood. That trip with the youth group down to Florida was priceless. For this little dude, riding in your new 1991 or 1992 EuroVan camper was one of the richest memories of my youth. Sleeping in the pop-top camper/tent made me so happy—you have no idea! Now 20 years later, I’m flirting with the idea of getting a Pastor Ted era VW Eurovan. Out here on the coast, I see them all the time. The guys look like they’re having so much more fun than me. Plus, now that I have three little ones, I’m more interested cars with more seats.

So I would love if the VW New Bus Concept that they came up with a few years ago would actually get made. How much fun is this? If it were real, I’d drive up to the dealership and come back home with one.

Top: VW New Bus Concept. Bottom: A cool kid’s rendering of how to make it cooler. Victory!

 

This is How I Roll

Since there are VW New Buses available, earlier this weekI test drove a 2013 Honda Pilot, Honda Odyssey, and Ford Flex Titanium Edition. Here’s my quick review, in a Twitter-style 140 characters:

1) Honda Pilot – Another SUV. Not a lot of style. YAWN. Reliable Honda. Spacious. Holds value. Disappointing SUV gas mileage.

2) Honda Odyssey – Coolest minivan on earth in 2012 AD. Sliding doors = chill parents.  Surprising power, good on gas. 26mph hwy. Lux options. Expensive! Holds value.

3) Ford Flex, Titanium Edition – Cool. Cool. Cool. Lux! Mediocre gas mileage. Different in a good way. May or may not hold value. Ford’s street cred is on the up.

It’s too early to know what direction we’ll go. If I feel like being impractical, I’ll go the 1990s EuroVan route. Or I’ll get an older Toyota Landcruiser. Those get better with age. But more than likely, I’ll buy my family an Odyssey, and then wait for the perfect time to get a Ford Flex for myself. Or I’ll get a Toyota FJ. Or a 2008 Dodge Magnum SRT-8. Or maybe, I’ll just wait for Honda to bring back the Element and I’ll get another one of those.

It’s hard to believe because Norah is just about to turn four years old, but she’s really into this whole car search. Last night she asked to borrow my iPad and she went onto the eBay app. Five minutes later, she squealed with excitement and shouted, “Daddy, I found the perfect fam-el-eee tar.” Then she shows me this:

1962 Impala SS convertible, 22 inch rims

…she has great taste.