Wednesday, February 07, 2007

My Next Truck Purchase

Here's my next truck.
The International CXT

Look up in awe at the 9-foot high cab. The largest production pickup truck in the world sports an 8-foot dualie pickup bed. The height of the bed is 58 inches off the ground. How tall are you? I've read that with it's air-ride cab and individual bucket seats in a spacious interior, driving one becomes a remarkably smooth experience. It has a payload capacity of 5.5 tons and a towing capacity of 20 tons. With 310 horses pulling it and 950 ft. lbs. of torque, it should get by. Weighing in at 14,500 lbs. and with 258 inches of overall length it's the perfect grocery hauler.

It is a 4-door crew cab with air suspension. With it's bucket seats it hauls five large people with plenty of leg and head room and in style and comfort. Try that in your Honda. It, also, has 4-channel ABS air brakes and a 70 gallon polished aluminum diesel tank. It all rolls elegantly on polished aluminum wheels sporting 11R22.5 Michelins (on the rear duals).

The interior, also, features leather multi-position individual front seats, back-up assist, drop-down DVD player, deluxe center console, leather rear bench seat, carpeting, burled walnut wood trim, and a combination radio/DC player/navigation system.

The exterior, also, features bright-finish heated mirrors, exterior sunshade, keyless entry, base coat/clear coat paint, fog lights, air horn, polished front and rear bumpers, tilting steering wheel and vertical bright-finish tailpipe.

AND for unloading those groceries - with a simple touch of a button, the pickup bed tilts to smoothly drop those eggs gently in your driveway. What more could a simple man want?


weeds said...

Love the color.

eddyquette said...

Wow, talk about cultural differences! To me as a European, that vehicle represents one of the single greatest causes of wonder and disbelief as to why on earth one should consider it desirable. I've no idea why I should want to own a dumper truck as a means of personal transport. Sorry, Gamin, I'm not meaning to sound disrespectful of your choice or personal tastes at all here. I just can't fathom for the life of me why one would aspire to a vehicle like that. I have a good friend stateside who drives a pickup truck. He took me out in his and tried to make me understand the benefits of it, but I'm afraid I simply don't get it. I mean, the ride/damping was awful, there was very little room despite a "crew cab", that huge bed made the whole chassis flex when going round corners, it's an auto, so you don't even have the fun of selecting your own gears correctly... Please, please, would you maybe elaborate on the pros of such a vehicle, on what you see in it that appeals to your senses/taste? I would appreciate this greatly. I'd be more than happy to contribute by explaining the things Europeans find attractive about personal transport, if that helps... From one petrolhead to another? Thanks as always for a great blog,


The Gamin said...

Weed - couldn't find camo but, the green is pretty good.

Ah, Dear Eddyquette, I have been ill for the last 10 days or so and must be off my game. My post was meant to be humorous in nature.

Although, I find the truck to be great looking and I am the current owner of a 'normal' American pickup, this beast is waay to much for me. In light of the world's energy crunch I thought it would be humorous to tag this machine as a 'grocery hauler'. Do note I would be dumping my fragile eggs into my driveway (surely you spot the sarcasm. Here in America we actually have a few Hollywood celebrities pimping around in these behemoths and they enjoy taking up several parking spots. With that being said, I am strangely attracted to it's stats in a freaky, macho kind of way. For me to actually own one, however, is unthinkable.

I, truly, would like to hear your views about European transportation, as I will probably be traveling to Italy this summer. I, sadly, am not very, worldly and would like to know what to expect. I hear the roads over there are quite narrow and public transportation is the norm.

By the way, years ago I had the opportunity to drive a little Triumph convertible and loved it. Is this European enough?

eddyquette said...

Dear Gamin,

Once again you flatter me with your humble and gracious response. Grazi. As for the tone of the article, yes, I had detected traces of sarcasm, but was confused (due, presumably, to weariness of my own) as to whether this was self-deprecating humour or actual pride. I apologise.

As for "European" transportation, apologies again for being so loud-mouthed. Clearly, all I can provide is my subjective and biased view of things. However, as a car fan and lover of all things Italian, it would be a pleasure to share my two cents' worth on the "ifs" and how tos" of automobile transportation in that beautiful country. (BTW, full marks for having driven and enjoyed that Triumph - you should blend in here just fine)

So; first of all, should your Italian visit take you to a busy city such as Milano or even Rome itself, I trust you will encounter driving of a nature previously unknown to modern driving man or woman. You may have heard of this in rumours before, and by my experience it is true - urban driving in Italy is full-on warfare with little or no rules to guide you along. In Rome in particular, stop lights, traffic signs or parking restrictions appear to be completely meaningless - nobody sticks to the rules, not even the police themselves. When approaching a red light at speed in a built-up downtown area, most drivers will simply blow their horns, then charge on unabated. No braking, no slowing down, nothing. Oh, and forget right of way, too - it's "whoever dares more, wins more" out there. This rule I have also found true on the autostrada(Freeway), BTW, at least for most of the time. Being offended if a driver flashes their lights at you, cuts you off, "outbrakes" you into corners or the like does generally not pay off. Not unless you are willing to consider driving a sport and the car your weapon, that is. Oh yes - most of the autostrade are de-limited (or limited to 150km/h - that's about 95mph), and people will simply gun their vehicle for as hard as they can most of the time. My favourite driving memory down there was being overtaken by a nun in full regalia in a small FIAT (Italian brand car) at about 100mph who had been desperately been trying to get past our Merc for several minutes. And yes, I do mean 100mph - that little car was almost blowing its tires down that hill...

What else? Oh yes, car size. Are you aware of vehicles such as the Fiat Panda, Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 106 or MCC Smart? I quite honestly recommend taking looking up one or two of these on Google or otherwise before you make the trip, just so that you have an idea of what Europeans mean when they talk about owning a "small car". Of course I have no idea of your travel experience - I hope I'm not being too blatant and in-yer-face with my examples. If so, I apologise. Fact is that our cars tend to be a lot smaller in size and engine capacity. Oh, and the vast majority of cars in Europe are stick-shift - should you be getting a rental from a European agent, you'll need to specify automatic (and typically pay a small premium) if you want one. We consider stick shifters to be the more sporting alternative - things like auto-shift Porsches are pretty much unheard-of here.

Which brings me smoothly to the question of the cars we aspire to (gosh, this is going to be a long comment. Hang on, I'll split it right here...)

eddyquette said...

In general, the cars "sporting" or "enthusiast" drivers aspire to are sports coup├ęs of various shapes and layouts. Yes, SUVs like the Porsche Cayman and Range Rover Sport do exist over here, but the few people who drive them tend to be a) rich and b) thought of as somewhat "nouveau riche" and slightly lacking in the taste department by most people. Seriously, I fear they have something of a negative image generally speaking... (not meaning to offend - please don't misunderstand)

I'd be truly impressed if you came back from your trip saying you'd seen many pickup trucks here - they're virtually non-existent. We drive saloons (sedans) and estates (station wagons) as well as hatchbacks (the Fiat Panda, etc.), but few SUVs. Aspirational brands would be Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Pagani (the latter three being Italian - check out their factories if ever you get a chance. Or talk to any Italian about Ferrari...). Those are the cars little boys dream of here in Germany and Western Europe. Low-slung, compact, immensely fast and dramatically styled. Oh, and "fast" here means going round corners well as much as picking up well from standstill. Handling is what impresses car nuts here (how a car's suspension and steering handle corners) as much as sheer straightline oomph.

Well, I should stop. I could continue spouting about the differences I've perceived until I go blue in the face. Sorry. Anyway, yes, public transport is big here, very big in cities and fairly well developed otherwise. No, we don't enjoy it, either, but generally speaking, Europeans tend to be quite eco-conscious and willing to make an effort in that direction. Plus, our gas is so much more expensive than yours...

Sorry for rambling on so long. I hope you can forgive me - it happens to be a combination of two favourite topics - culture and cars. Cheerio!

eddyquette said...

Oh, and I'm still curious; what is it you guys (or you personally, if you'd rather) see in pickup trucks that appeals to you?

The Gamin said...

It is interesting to read you are "a car fan and lover of all things Italian," eddyquette. Your interest in culture is noted, though I am not exactly sure what this means. Now, I do not mind your, "rambling on" at all and always enjoy your input.

Ah, the city driving in Italy sounds a little scary and the speed limit on their freeways would likely find us in big trouble over here. It does sound exiting, however, as I am somewhat of a speed freak.

Most of the 'sporty' little cars you speak of are totally unfamiliar to me, ie the Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 106 or MCC Smart. I am aware of the Fiat, however. There was a craze for the little, mid-engine Fiats here sometime in the late 70's/early 80's I believe. I knew three people, myself, that owned them but, I don't recall the model it was (all were the same).

As for my travel experience, I've been all over my little nation here, been to Canada several times, and twice to Mexico. I have, however, never been off the North American continent, thus again your input is much valued my me. Stick-shifts, by the way, are considered quite sporty, in the right circles, around here.

The Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini are ,also, the cars young Americans dream about. In fact, the Porsche 911 Carrera was my dream car as a young lad. Actually I still covet the beauty today. Sadly, I am not at all familiar with the Pagani.

My experience, however, like most American boys of my era is with American muscle cars. I could say volumes about this. Now, before anyone goes on a rant here, I don't think our muscle cars and Europe's sport cars are directly comparable. They are two very, distinct creatures. I personally owned several 'muscle cars' and dreamed of others. It's like two separate dreams here because, when I dreamed of certain muscle cars they were maybe attainable but, when dreaming of my favorite foreign autos I knew these dreams would never manifest. So, in my mind, I had two distinct 'wish lists' to ruminate over.

When you speak of the 'handling' of cars, I picture a garage full of my buddies talking shop. One group is all about HORSEPOWER, damn the handling. The other, more sophisticated group looks at the topic in a more serious vein. What can I say. I know 'quarter-mile' boys that strive for almost nothing but, getting off the line quick. Other lads know they need the proper handling stats to succeed in their style.

Public transportation is a joke here. Most Americans love the freedom of the 'open rode' and despised public transport. I am in a great minority, in that, I enjoy my buses, planes, trains, etc. I like most Americans would never, willingly, give up my gas-guzzling MAIN transportation. Yes, you Europeans are much more eco-conscious but, I wonder how world events may change us in the, perhaps near, future.

Alas, as to what you really want to know - American's and pick-up trucks? I am not being flippant here and very, much want to answer your question but, I have made a long comment, also! I promise, eddyquette I will respond to this when I have more time (soon), perhaps in a regular post so I may do it justice. Again, thank you for your valued input and will will discuss pick-ups soon.

eddyquette said...

Thanks once again, dear Gamin, for your friendly and personal response. I appreciate it greatly. Thanks also for sharing about the muscle car thing. Muscle cars and drag racing have never achieved great popularity here, so I'm afraid my knowledge on the topic is rather scant, based mostly on things I've read. However, your point about the prohibitive cost of foreign vehicles contrasted with the relative accessability of "home-grown muscle" gives a whole new dimension to my understanding of the phenomenon - thank you very much indeed! I had never really considered the financial aspect - most European car fans spend their first five to ten driving years at the wheel of underpowered, very un-sporting cars (like the Peugeot 106) as there is nothing affordable and appealing around.

As for my interest in culture, well, what can I say? I've spent the last 3 years of my career as an intercultural communications trainer here in Germany, trying to help and encourage businesspeople (mostly from IT companies) to embrace cultural diversity while becoming more culturally "self-aware". Culture (as in, national, regional and/or personal culture) with its many different aspects fascinates me - the fact that, while 80 million Germans claim to all speak one same language, there is a distinct, audible difference in local dialect between any one village and the next here in Southern Germany. Or the fact that the Japanese language has no word for "no", whereas English does not possess the equivalent of "doch", the most common retort in any German discussion. I love how diverse expressions of human life can be, and I love the fact that, with a little effort, it may be possible for us to interact in relevant ways with people we feel we're worlds apart from in terms of language, thought, attitude, etc.

Anyway, before I go off on another endless rant here, why don't I simply write a post on my blog in order to try and explain more about my love of cars and what I feel is European automotive thinking? When you can find the time, I would of course love to read about your side of things, including if possible the "pickup question". Meanwhile, I should let you go. Cheerio and thanks for a very thought-inspiring post!

The Gamin said...

Now here is a very interesting career!