A Modest Plea

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I am quite pleased to be able to do two “Ask Bark” features per week now at TTAC, as they appear to be doing quite well from both a clicky-click standpoint and a reader engagement standpoint. But, I can only answer questions if readers send them in.

That’s where you come in, dear RG readers.

Right now, I probably have enough good questions for about three months worth of articles (I also have some truly bonkers questions, some of which I suspect might not be entirely sincere). However, some of them are time sensitive—people write in and ask questions that need answers nearly immediately. I don’t want to disappoint any readers, so I’m doing my best to answer each and every one, even if we don’t run all of the answers. So, in reality, I have far fewer than that.

But, eventually, I”ll run out of questions, unless people continue to send them in. So, if you or your friends need car buying advice, please send those questions to barkm302@gmail.com, or send me a message on Twitter @barkm302.

Otherwise, I’ll have to make up my own questions, most of which will probably sound like “Dear Bark, just how great is the Fiesta ST, anyway?” or “Is it really possible to own a Lotus Elise for free?” or “If you create an entirely fake persona for yourself online, including a fake wedding and a fake wife, does that make you a sociopath?”

Nobody wants that.

Thank you for your support, and I’ll keep trying to give the best answers that I possibly can.

58 Replies to “A Modest Plea”

      • VolandoBajo

        Terrible advice, Bark.

        The correct answer is bedpans spill. Use either a dozen quart orange juice containers with screwtop lids, or three or four empty gallon milk jugs, complete with tops.

        Or, if you plan on driving straight through, you can just reuse the coffee cups…just be sure to use the lids that don’t have a small oval hole on one side, and don’t tear out the tabs.

        A couple of car carriers for beverages could also come in handy in that last case.

        Don’t take this personally, Bark, as it isn’t meant that way, but yours was literally a piss poor answer.

        Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one…

        Reply
  1. Murray

    Dear Ask Bark’s Question of the Day,

    My name is Murray and I’m 86 years old and drive a 1993 Buick Century. The noise from the front is so loud that I can still hear it with my hearing aid turned off and the numbers on the speedometer are too hard to read so it is time for a new car.

    What should I buy and should I finance it for longer than 72 months?

    Murray

    Reply
      • Murray

        My lady friend Pearl says a Grand Marquis is a nice car but I can’t find a Mercury dealer anywhere.

        Also my grandson says you asked permission to use some other questions but not mine. What gives?

        Murray

        Reply
  2. Will

    Why after starting two businesses, growing them & securing investment, and I still considered not qualified to work as a consultant at a firm?

    Reply
    • Bark M Post author

      It’s funny. I wrote the retail training curriculum for a large, multinational company, and then when I applied to be a trainer, they said I wasn’t qualified. These things don’t always make sense.

      Reply
      • VolandoBajo

        They do if you understand that it is about politics and turf. And you simply weren’t invented there, for the training administration honchos. Especially since you had come from the training development territory, a totally separate “kingdom”, I’d wager…

        Reply
    • jz78817

      because we live in a world where job requirements will be posted which say things like “Position requires 10 years of experience with Windows Server 2012” and nobody in the approval chain looks at that and says “Uh…”

      Reply
      • VolandoBajo

        But all the knowledgeable consultants and IT pros look at it and say to themselves “there is another job slotted for a cutrate H1-B, with bonus credit for affirmative action. I’m sure glad my son didn’t go into IT. It was a whorehouse business when I started, but it has gone down hill from there…”

        And no, I’m not bitter, but only because I made mine and got out.

        Reply
  3. galactagog

    ASK BARK:

    -Why doesn’t Toyota make a Corolla hatchback?
    -Now that Scion has been scuttled, do you think Toyota will make a Corolla hatchback?
    -Why doesn’t Honda make a V6 Accord hatchback? that would kick ass

    A Toyota Matrix Lament:
    “I have a Toyota Matrix but don’t know what to buy
    when that eventually dies
    and transmogrifies
    to the great wrecking yard in the sky”

    who loves the sun?
    who cares that it makes flowers?

    Reply
  4. Disinterested-Observer

    Sincere question: the missus and I are considering either buying an early C6, or resto-modding a C3. Considering we would rather drive it than work on it we are leaning towards the C6, but I have always loved the looks, if not the performance, of the C3. We can swing 20-30k and it does not need to be very reliable as long as I don’t check my privilege. What would Bark do? Probably go with the Coyote, but we are GM folk.

    Reply
          • Bozi

            I appreciate the Coyote for what it is but like you said, the heads are just too wide and it cannot fit in many engine bays. The compact package of the LS is what makes it easy to swap into lots of stuff including FORDS. The adapters and harnesses for the SBC 350 to LS swap are so plentiful now, a C3 could be swapped to an LS in a weekend by an experienced tech.

          • Disinterested-Observer

            I didn’t mean that we would put a Coyote in a C3, just that Bark has a rep as a Ford fanboi (as am I, tbh) and would suggest that we get a ‘stang rather than the ‘vette. SBC is the obvious choice for a resto-mod, no matter what the original car was. Sorry for the confusion.

          • Felis Concolor

            [trite]They call it a small block for a reason![/trite]

            Having said that, I still fantasize about a F/R drive Flex with the force-fed engine out of the GT500.

            “Now we’re talking hyperspace!”

    • Bark M Post author

      I’d do C6, because you’ll spend more time enjoying it than you would a C 3. C6s are pretty dead reliable.

      Reply
      • VolandoBajo

        The C3’s will reliably require overhauling, reconditioning, etc. If you enjoy driving what you wrenched, a good choice. But if you enjoy driving, don’t like a lot of wrenching and don’t feel the need to pay for a “classic” sports car, the C6 will save you a lot of grief in the long run.

        Believe me, I know. I almost bought a C3 several years ago, until I found out what I could expect to put into in over the next few years to keep it in anything resembling solid mechanical condition. And yes, I bought a new Ford instead, and even after 48 months of payments in a bad rate environment, I was out the door cheaper than the C3, BEFORE I began fixing it up.

        Older cars can be like boats and horses: the two happiest days for an owner are the day you acquired it and the day you sold it.

        Reply
  5. Scuttle

    Alright Bark, real one for you.
    Currently living in Europe with a 1999 Audi S4 Avant (B5) with the 6spd. This is an older than usual car for me but I am only overseas for 2 years so it’s more about cheap than long term.

    Now my question is for when I return stateside. What are some good recent (within the last 7 or so years) options for a manual wagon lover. The current Audi avant/allroad is an automatic. The golf sportwagen is not that sporty. My brief investigation into the matter lead me to the BMW 3 series wagon as being one of the superior options. What say you Bark?

    Reply
  6. Domestic Hearse

    Dear Bark,

    My sister-in-law is into Country Chic. I don’t get it, as she has a brand new Range Rover at her disposal, but she wants something else. She asked me what I thought of her buying a 2016 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited with a dealer installed Mopar 4″ lift, graphic wrap, 36″ tires with custom Mopar wheels as her DD for nearly $50k. It will make numerous trips from Central FL to western NC and back. Their cabin there is on a gravel road that is sometimes snowy, often a little muddy, but was still managed easily by my rental Chrysler 200. I asked her if she knew what front and rear lockers were, as well as an electronic sway bar disconnect. She did not. I asked if she will be doing serious off-roading, like logging trails, rock fields, mudding. She will not. Most of her driving will take place on twisty mountain highways. I’m half tempted to let her go ahead and buy it, then let her sell it to me at a steep discount after two years. Does that make me a bad brother-in-law? Should I let you write a reasoned case for not buying this cake-decorated Jeep? Should she be allowed to learn about a jacked Rubicon’s on-road driving dynamics, and that she will not, ever, figure out how to take the hard-top off and install the convertible top?

    Sincerely Yours,

    Conflicted in IL

    Reply
  7. Economist

    Dear Bark,
    I, like you, am a committed family man with two small children. Both of them are in car seats. I currently drive a 2007 Acura TL, but I miss the small cars of my youth.
    I dream of getting a Miata like I used to have years ago, but I don’t know if I will get enough utility from it to make it worth the expense. I was also considering an S2000 or an older Corvette. The biggest concern I have is that I will never be able to take my sons for a ride in my cool car if I get a two-seater, and all the cool four-seaters are either really expensive (fun BMWs) or two-doored things that are not compatible with a rear-facing baby seat (Camaro). Fords are off the table as my family will disown me.
    My question is thus: what would you do in my situation? Stick it out in the paid-off TL until the kids get older? Get a Miata to have fun in but never be able to take the kids? Find the perfect four-door fun car in the same price range as a used S2000?

    Reply
    • Disinterested-Observer

      I resemble that question! If you are considering a Miata or a s2000, have you considered a boxster? The depreciation resembles nothing so much as a cliff, but if you think about it there is nothing in a mid-engine package that comes close. An “S” would dust an NSX, let alone the 2k or miata.

      Reply
    • Baconator

      RX8 is pretty close to a Miata with four doors. Teach your kids to add a quart of oil every so often.

      A 2005-2008 Pontiac GTO is the four-seater Corvette, although it does give you the 2-door problem.

      I suppose a VW GTI is also a reasonable answer to this question, as is a WRX if you don’t mind being the kind of guy who drives a WRX. Maybe you can find a Saab-aru 9-2x somewhere?

      Reply
  8. Economist

    Jack’s article about the Boxster being disposable luxury pretty much killed any desire I may have ever had for a Boxster.

    Reply
  9. Economist

    You made me actually think about it for a minute, because it would be great to say that I own a car that one of my favorite writers once owned, but the answer is no.
    I would probably have to sell the Acura to be able to afford the Boxster so I would be up a creek there anyway.

    Reply
    • Disinterested-Observer

      You guys have got to be shitting me. What are you going to do, get a Mister 2? A freaking Fiero? I hate Porsche as much as the next guy but where else can you get a mid-engine flat six?

      Reply
  10. ZG

    Hi Bark, I’m strongly considering trading my ’14 Mustang GT and ’07 TSX in on a new FoST. Should I do it? Is it worth waiting for the new Civic Si to come out before making a decision? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
      • ZG

        I guess the heart of my conundrum is this: I’d rather own the Mustang, but I’d rather drive the FoST. Probably 80% of the driving I do is my commute, which is typically down narrow, twisty or busy roads. The Mustang is fine in the DD role, but it’s too big and too fast to really stretch it out at all. On the other hand, I think the FoST would be an absolute blast, and it has the added benefit of also filling the practical/family/winter car slot currently occupied by the TSX. So basically I spend all week driving to work convincing myself to get the FoST, then I go out driving on the weekends and convince myself to keep the Mustang. In an ideal automotive world, I’d keep the Mustang and trade in the TSX on an FoST, but it would probably be somewhat irresponsible to spend that much on cars, particularly as my wife and I are hoping have our first kid within the year.

        Reply
      • jz78817

        seat comfort is what really soured me on my Mustang GT. I couldn’t spend more than about 45 minutes in that car w/o my tailbone starting to hurt something fierce. Plus I’ve recently moved and parking options are extremely limited; with the bikes in the garage I can only practically have one vehicle. So the Ranger it is.

        Reply

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