Stickman Readers' Submissions July 30th, 2010

Why I Drive a Nissan

I didn't always drive a Nissan. In fact, my first car was an 1978 Pontiac Firebird. I was smitten with this car. It looked rough at first but my uncle is a body man and I got a great deal on a dealership quality paint job. It was originally
dark blue but I had him paint it a bright sparkling, metallic blue. It was a beautiful car – it even seemed to change colors between aqua green and bright blue at night under dim lighting. Though by the time I drove the car it was already way
past it's prime (it was already 12 years old and Burt Reynolds was no longer cool), the car still turned heads.

I'll never forget when a friend, upon seeing my Firebird for the first time, said "that car looks like it hauls balls"! It appeared to be American Muscle defined. My brother complained years later that when he brought his dates
by the house they would ask him who owned the car with obvious admiration in their voice (much to his annoyance since he was 10 years older and much cooler than me).

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Unfortunately, despite being an attractive looking American sports car, or some would say because of it, this car was a pain in the ass. First of all it had a V6 under the hood not the coveted high horsepower V8. So in spite of looking like
an adrenaline filled adventure, it was more like driving a limp fish. I was once beaten in a race by a 1970s Chevy Pinto with two of my friends in the car hooting and hollering at me. It was beyond embarrassing. I learned not to try and race this
car against anything with a motor.

It was also what I would definitely refer to as "high maintenance". Even with the V6 it sucked gas money from my wallet like someone was siphoning it while I slept (there were no cheap rides). Many integral parts failed and I had
to pull over on long drives to add water to the radiator because it was steaming at me in anger for expecting it to do its job as my primary form of transportation. This first car of mine inspired a long love/hate relationship with cars. I should
have learned my lesson but I drove another Pontiac after that along with a dodge or two and another sports car and they all behaved in a similar fashion.

The last American car I owned was the most beautiful sports car of them all and also the most flawed. This was the car that finally made me realize that there was a very good reason that the old guys that finally realized their dreams of
owning a brand new corvette would only drive them on the weekends. They drove their "reliable" cars, their sedans, minivans, or maybe even trucks during the week to work and back. They did this because they realized that sports cars
are very high maintenance. Just replacing the tires on a Corvette can cost you over $1000 dollars. I used to make fun of these "weekend warriors" for hiding their manhood in their garages five days a week. Now, after spending about $9000
in three years on repairs, and having my car in the shop for months, I realized that maybe I should not buy another high maintenance, American icon. No matter how beautiful the car was, or maybe how convenient the sale, a seemingly great deal
on a high mileage sports car with a low down payment, I realized it would cost me an arm and a leg in the long run. Maybe it would be easier to just avoid any American car altogether.

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I decided I wanted try shopping from a different car lot even if it meant going far out of my way. No more Pontiacs, Chevy, or Ford dealerships. I was going to look for "an import" lot, though many of my American sports car enthusiasts
friends derided buying imports calling it un-patriotic among other things. These four cylinder turbo or high displacement six cylinder cars were no substitute for an American big block they taunted.

However, I have to admit it wasn't all my idea to buy an Asian car. You see my brother loves Nissans. He's owned Nissans for over 20 years, sports cars no less (classic 240, 260, and 280zs), and swears by their reliability. I know
most import car buyers would prefer the reputation of a Honda or Toyota but he convinced me that Nissans are equally reliable and you can buy a slightly used one for much less money (because of their reputation Honda's and Toyotas hold their
value incredibly well). So after getting rid of my last, very high-maintenance, unreliable American sports car, I went to a Nissan dealership to see what they had to offer.

I'm not saying all American cars are unreliable, gas hogs or that all Asian cars are perfect. Proclaiming all American cars pieces of unreliable shit that will strand you on the side of the road just when you need them most is an emotional
generalization obviously borne from a very nasty personal experience. I have had bad experiences but I know a few people that have put over 200,000 miles on an American car without any big repairs. I believe that if you do your homework, and search
long enough you can find a reliable American car that will run forever. I recently, after lots of research, purchased just such a thing for my 18 year old daughter – a 1998 Ford Taurus with a lot of miles but has been well maintained (and have
been happy so far with the purchase – fingers crossed).

Yet while I know generalizations can be wrong and are always met with anger by those being generalized, it is also fair to say that there is a reason Asian imports have such a good reputation. Yes the occasional Honda Civic might turn out
to be a lemon or you might have a brake recall on your new Toyota Corolla. Yes imports still require some routine maintenance but more often than not if you shop at an import dealership your chances of having a pleasant ownership experience are
much higher than at a GM dealership.

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The down payment on my nearly new 350z may earn some sneers from my Camaro friends but to hell with them. I'll tell them they need to expand their horizons and break out of their "bow-tie" superiority complex. How can you know
if Kia's are cheap, plastic garbage if you've never even test driven one? I also know better than to preach to the owner of a Chevy dealership about how great my Nissan is. I'm not going to relate the horror of my last Chevy ownership
experience and proclaim my hatred of all things Chevy to everyone in ear shot. I might talk about my car opinions to those who have had similar experiences or someone I think is suffering from buyer's remorse after purchasing an American
car but not to those proud Chevy owners or God forbid to those who actually sell Chevys. I expect they'll never admit that the cars on their lot are inferior in any way and so it would only create conflict and lasting resentment.

I think one day the American car culture may change but it's too late for me – I've had too many bad experiences. No offense corvette guy, but I'll enjoy driving my new 350Z on the highway with the top down and I won't
look back.

Stickman's thoughts:

Very nicely put together!

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