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LRM on Analog/Digital October 24, 2008

Posted by Zulhaikal Mahdan in Thoughts and Opinion.
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Nowadays when I wake up, I have my normal routine to go thru. Check the phone for missed calls and messages, get online and check for email and updates and later check up with my digital schedule for the day’s agenda. It’s all digital. I remember coming into KLIA for the very first time and since I’ve never been anywhere else outside the country – seeing a horizontal escalator made me a little excited. Then I thought to myself “Technology is now helping us to walk a distance without moving a muscle.” I mean, are we that lazy? does everything we do has to have somekind of an assistance?.

And that is what is grinding my gears right now. Everything feels bolstered. In so doing it is minusing most of the human part of the interaction. I used to remember the days when cars were driven by real men. Back in the days, driving a 911 requires a lot of the driver’s input. Yet today, Porsches are so augmented with digital doohickys that even an idiot could drive it around the track without crashing. With these cars roaming the streets, the tie between the driver and the machine is severed to a level where it’s just sad.

That is what I think a lot of car makers should head back to. A base model that goes back to basics. Think a long the lines of a BMW 123d, shaved and rugged. A real lightweight 1 series sans GPS and other gadgetry. But here’s the catch, it still has to have all it’s interior panel intacted and usable on a daily basis. Forget traction control and whatever else that weights it down. Just a normal car that you can use everyday yet a real drivers car.

This is also why I fancy things like the Caterhams and Lotus Elise. It’s a car where the driver’s input decides how well it behaves on the road. Also the car gives the driver enough feedback that keeps the driver aware and not some techno-assisted automobile that behaves itself no matter what you do.

I know that a lot of fanboys out there are going to be quick to point out things like the 997 GT3 and M3 CSL but I see these examples as some more than a driver’s car. It’s more of a Race-prepared version of their Road going cars. Forget carbon fibre panels and lightweight everything. I’m refering to good-ol’ back-to-basics drivers car, something that makes the morning drive to work as something to look forward to.

I say bring back more of these, screw the yuppies who can’t drive these machines and a back to basic driver’s car shouldn’t cost too much with all the gadgetry out of the picture. Make these cars available for the regular joes that will surely hoon the crap out of these cars. Think Ford Escort RS Cosworth.

But with so many carmakers out there today we don’t wanna see just another hot hatch coming out, this is settled to me by the upcoming Focus RS. I want to see more of these kinda cars coming out, not only restricting the focus onto road cars but also off roaders. Let us see a bare basic Range Rover – new body but manual gear box and sans bells and whistles. Forget this X5 crap and roll out an X5 Slim or something. Come on carmakers give something for the analog drivers out there