nic fouts

the many sides

The cars we drive say a lot about us

The cars we drive say a lot about us.
— Alexandra Paul

A post about cars, how fitting. A lot of you know that I bought a truck a couple of weeks ago. It’s been over 7 years since I last owned a truck and it’s been weighing on my mind ever since. Now, for those of you that really know me (or even have met me fleetingly), you know I still love my Mango (Jeep) very much. Mango was special ordered from the factory to be exactly what I wanted. And then I went and added a ton of customizations to it after the fact. A large part of that special order was a manual transmission. My first vehicle was a manual (a truck, of course) and I have had several other manuals in the intervening years since. Getting back to those roots was a large part of that decision, and what a glorious 7 years it has been.

But even the iconic Mango never really filled that void in my life. I didn’t have a truck, and I’ve *always* had a truck. I finally started looking at 2006 F-250’s (the same truck I traded in for Mango) and found a few in town to look at. After driving them, I just didn’t feel the spark I once knew. But I glanced over and saw a 2015 F-250 on the lot and nearly fell in love at first sight. (But first DRIVE and it was a done deal.) So I researched the new Power Stroke engines and discovered that the internet thought the 2015 6.7L was a solid engine.

So, heeding the infallible Internet’s advice, I dove in and purchased the beautiful truck. The name is currently pending DMV personalized plate approval, but assuming all goes well that will be unveiled in a 2-4 weeks. In the meantime, you’ll have to make due with reading bubbly prose about it’s gorgeousness (and maybe an Instagram picture or 10). But yes, it is a 2015 F-250 with the 6.7L Power Stroke diesel engine. It cranks 440 horsepower and 860 lb-ft of torque. Both of which are just monstrous numbers. Obscenely monstrous. And it never ceases to make me giddy. On top of that, it has the Lariat package which includes power convenience options, leather seating, power moonroof, and so much more. Oh yea, and it can tow over 15,000 pounds. WHAT?!

For those of you that haven’t seen the truck (somehow), you can see the now-traditional picture taken in the Vintage parking lot on the day I purchased it.

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The astute among my readers will now harken back to the intro where manual transmissions were discussed. Why is that important? Well, the new truck is an automatic. (Although it *does* have a very nifty manual mode that provides interesting control options.) An automatic. Why would I do that? Well, for starters, a manual transmission hasn’t been available in an F-250 since 2009. For others, the TorqShift is simply an amazing piece of engineering.

Power ratings and availability aside, there is something else I noticed with the automatic. And that is driving style. Oh yea, I didn’t let it slip earlier… I kept Mango. Yes, that means I have two vehicles. Plus the motorcycle. Plus the 4-wheeler. Be quiet, I like my toys. But ok, back to what I was trying to say. Aside from the MASSIVE power and size differences, I notice a definite driving style difference when I’m in each vehicle. Mango not only requires more work to shift through the gears and mental math to pick the right gear and RPM range, it also requires more effort — further and harder presses on the accelerator — to get going. But what you get in return is a connection to the road that forces you to be engaged and to see the road differently. It’s that connection that I’ve always missed since giving up my last manual truck, so getting that back when I got Mango was enormously great.

What does that mean for the F-250? Slight presses on the go-pedal makes it… GO. You never need to trounce on it like with Mango. A little press and away you go. Quickly doing 70 MPH if you’re not paying attention. The road and the effort drift away and you’re simply transported to a future destination. There’s no mental math needed. There’s no worry of RPM ranges or whether your left foot has to hang out near the clutch or can instead be rested on the floorboard. There’s just, go. But once you get used to the “going” and you press lighter, I’ve found that I’m actually driving SLOWER in the truck than with Mango on the same road. The truck would *easily* outpace Mango in any road course, but something about it just makes you.. not. Easily rolling down the road is what it loves to let you do. While always reminding you that it’s ready to roast the tires if it ever needs to.

So in the end, I don’t know what these two vehicles end up saying about me. They both have their place and they both get their workouts. But each needs to know its audience and will perform the feats you require of it.

And just because I learned how to do this, here’s Mango’s birthday picture at Vintage from over 7 years ago:

Introducing: The Bad Mango

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May 29th, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | no comments

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