Sunday, January 16, 2011

Boxy-Car Heaven

I've been both fortunate and cursed at the same time to own a British car. I love my MINI Cooper as it's SUPER fun to drive but a bear (read: expensive) to repair. My mixed experiences with the MINI don't stop me from loving one other British car, the Land Rover Defender 90 in white, of course:

I had a boss at one of the snowboard companies that I worked for who owned a D90. He let me drive it once and I fell in love. It's sort of my "if-I-won-the-lottery" car that I'll probably never own. It goes on the list with the house in Kona, Hawaii. Hmmmmm...some day...

Okay. I'm back. What I think I really love about the Defender 90 (and it's limo-sized brother, the Defender 110) is the boxy shape. I once owned an Isuzu Trooper for somewhat of the same reason. Well, guess what. Colombia is chock-full of older-model, somewhat-affordable, boxy 4x4 cars. Take for example this shot of at least six of them that I saw on one street in Chiquinquira recently:

They're being used mostly as farm vehicles much like pickup trucks are (supposed to be) used in the U.S. What's cool is that you can have the looks, ruggedness, and utility of an old Land Rover such as this one:

...but with the reliability of Japanese engineering in something like this Nissan Patrol:

I know, I know. It's like comparing a Civic to a MINI but in this case, if I were going to be here for a long time, I'd probably have to go with an older-model Toyota Land Cruiser or perhaps one of the Nissans. They're pretty sweet. Until...I see one of the old Land Rovers like this in Villa De Leyva:

My dad would say something like "you'll only have problems with a European car"or "you always told me to go Japanese". Yes, dad, I get it:

Japanese = more reliabile / lower cost of ownership.
European = more maintenance / higher cost of ownership.

I guess I'll just have to wait for that first lottery check when it won't make any difference.

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