A new car for my tall friend Dave...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

I'm writing this letter on behalf of my good friend Dave. He has a serious problem with his attempt to purchase a new car. Let me give you some background first. Dave currently drives a 1967 VW Bus. He's had it for 17 years and has no interest in selling it. It's part of the family. However, Dave is ready for a "real" car. He wants something that has room for the wife, daughter, and any future offspring. It has to have power. He wants to be able to pass all the people who have passed him for the last 17 years. The car has to have a manual transmission, and most important, he has to be able to sit in the car with a baseball cap on without bonking his head on bumps. Dave is 6'2'' and weighs about 240 pounds. Dave's been having a lot of fun going to car dealers and messing with them. He'll go in and check out a car, and the guy will say "do you want to drive it?" And Dave will say, "No, I just want to sit in it." Then he'll sit in it and check out the space between the top of his head and the headliner. He's looked at a Chevy Blazer, a Lumina APV, Mazdas, Fords, and a Honda Accord. One thing the dealers tell him is that he has a "long torso." Are they selling cars or suits? Dave came home depressed the other night after test driving a Volkswagon Vanagon. He said it passed the headroom test, but had no more power than the '67 bus he's driving now. So what can be done? Does anyone on this planet build a mid-priced car that a tall person can fit in that has some power and a manual transmission? Do you guys have any ideas?

TOM: Well, Paul, your letter used up almost all the room we had this week, but you certainly did give us a vivid picture of your friend Dave. Are you sure you had the rights to his life story secured before you sent us this letter?

RAY: Actually, Paul, the first vehicle that comes to mind for Dave is the Ford Explorer. I'll tell you why. I liked the Explorer except for one thing. I found the driver's seat too low for me. I don't have what would normally be described as a particularly...well... long torso...

TOM: He's short.

RAY: Uh...right. And I had trouble seeing over the dashboard in the Explorer. Every time I heard a THUNK, I had to ask my brother what I had just run over.

TOM: Right...squirrel...squirrel... squirrel...meter maid! Anyway, what presented a problem for my brother may be a blessing for your friend Dave. Except for five guys that play for the Portland Trailblazers (and even they may be OK), there shouldn't be anyone who can't fit into an Explorer.

RAY: It also has more than enough power, and is available with a five-speed manual transmission. Tell Dave to peel a couple of McGovern stickers off the old VW bus and slap them on the Explorer, and he'll feel right at home. If they won't come off, we can probably get him a couple of Dukakis stickers. They're almost as good.

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