Let­ters

Automobile - - Contents -

All hail the mighty sta­tion wagon.

I WON­DER WHAT all the fuss is about when ask­ing who should die first in an au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle crash. I would as­sume the au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle makes no mis­takes, so it must do just three things: 1) stay le­gal; 2) stay safe (no sac­ri­fic­ing of the ve­hi­cle oc­cu­pants); and 3) stay in its own lane (no swerv­ing into on­com­ing traf­fic to avoid a col­li­sion). If an­other ve­hi­cle or a pedes­trian is hit, then it was prob­a­bly the other per­son’s fault. This is no dif­fer­ent than what hap­pens now ex­cept that a hu­man driver might over­turn a bus and kill in­no­cent peo­ple rather than sim­ply hit­ting the id­iot who cut him off.

DIRK NORDLING

Elkridge, Mary­land

BANGLED AGAIN

Af­ter do­ing ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to make BMWs hideous, Chris Ban­gle is now un­con­strained in his bizarre vi­sions, and I wish you wouldn’t en­able him by giv­ing his Redspace non­sense cov­er­age. Well, maybe if you planned on hav­ing an April Fools’ Day is­sue. Thanks and aside from this, keep up the good work!

DON WINTERHALTER

Bid­de­ford, Maine

WAGON NA­TION

Jamie Kit­man’s Volvo wagon re­union drive story (Jan­uary 2018) brought back mem­o­ries of my Volvo 122 sedan. I en­joyed the ref­er­ence to an old Volvo fit­ted with air­craft lights. In fact, hav­ing traded the Volvo for a brand-new Dat­sun 510 with quad head­lamps, it was a per­fect fit to use 13-volt air­craft land­ing lights as high beams. The fil­a­ment looked like it was a half-inch in di­am­e­ter, and the white beam was fan­tas­tic, about 250 watts, straight from the 1969 J.C. Whit­ney cat­a­log. I was a re­porter criss­cross­ing cen­tral New Jersey each night. Kit­man surely re­mem­bers that for mods like this it meant re­mov­ing them ev­ery year for New Jersey in­spec­tion and then put­ting them back.

KEN­NETH TIVEN

Paw­catuck, Con­necti­cut

I agree that sta­tion wag­ons are re­ally one of if not the most suc­cess­ful all-time ve­hic­u­lar com­pro­mises for achiev­ing op­ti­mal form, fit, and func­tion. Where is the safety fac­tor in hav­ing a high cen­ter of grav­ity as seen in vir­tu­ally all sport util­ity ve­hi­cles and crossovers? Is it re­ally more de­sir­able to roll over in­stead of skid?

I’ve had a 15-pas­sen­ger van, three con­vert­ibles, two sta­tion wag­ons, and about 10 sedans over the years with vary­ing de­grees of ap­pre­ci­a­tion. Most were ei­ther pur­chased as per­for­mance mod­els and/or mod­i­fied for such. Of all those ve­hi­cles, my 2006 Dodge Mag­num V-8 with all-wheel drive makes me hap­pi­est. I might never re­place it be­cause there hasn’t been any­thing to match or bet­ter it in the mar­ket­place in the last 10 years. My wish is for FCA or any­one to come out with a mod­ern­ized ver­sion of the old Dodge Mag­num.

PAUL BANNISTER

Mon­trose, Colorado

It was with ut­ter de­light that I read Jamie Kit­man’s col­umn and su­perb ar­ti­cle about the Volvo wagon ar­mada. That so many own­ers vol­un­teered to at­tend the event does not sur­prise. And the V90 is one of the most beau­ti­ful wag­ons ever made—sec­ond only, per­haps, to the 1800 ES, which is time­lessly gor­geous.

I was es­pe­cially thrilled to see a

V50 in at­ten­dance. The V50 is so rare that to see an­other is a small thrill. Of all that I’ve seen, mine is the only one with a man­ual trans­mis­sion. Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing not one me­chan­i­cal or other prob­lem dur­ing the en­tire trip speaks well to Volvo’s re­li­a­bil­ity.

Thank you all for pro­duc­ing such a fine mag­a­zine and press­ing the read­er­ship to at least think about get­ting a wagon.

SCOTT ROBB

Wood­bridge, Vir­ginia

When are au­to­mo­bile man­u­fac­tur­ers go­ing to get the hint about sta­tion wag­ons? I drooled at the ones pic­tured in the Jan­uary is­sue. Look at the per­cent­age of wag­ons on the road in Europe. Not many SUVs but gobs of wag­ons.

THOMAS DAVISSON

Mont­gomery, Alabama

Re­gard­less of in­te­rior vol­ume or cen­ter of grav­ity—or what Euro­peans drive—an SUV’s con­fig­u­ra­tion of­fers a num­ber of ad­van­tages over its wagon relative. Cars are an emo­tional pur­chase. Peo­ple should be free to drive what they want with­out be­ing told they should be driv­ing some­thing else. And to me, at­tempt­ing to re­solve #No Bor­ing Cars with #Volvo Sta­tion Wagon is a bit of a stretch. Not that there’s any­thing wrong with that.

PAUL DAVIS

Grants Pass, Ore­gon

NOT ALL LOVE

Jamie Kit­man just can’t seem to con­trol him­self. Yet again we have an­other not-so-thinly veiled shot at the con­ser­va­tive right (“Keep­ing the Faith,” Jan­uary 2018). I’m proudly con­ser­va­tive and a sub­scriber since the very first is­sue of Au­to­mo­bile.

I have no wish to pay to read some­one’s anti-con­ser­va­tive screed. I get more than enough of that for free on TV and in the pa­pers. Maybe one of you can ex­plain it to him: If he in­sults sub­scribers, they are not go­ing to re­new. If they don’t re­new, the mag­a­zine has less money to pay Kit­man. Maybe if he hears it from his col­leagues, he’ll get it through his tax-hik­ing, gov­ern­ment-ex­pand­ing, latte-drink­ing, sushi-eat­ing, Volvo­driv­ing, New York Times-read­ing, body-pierc­ing, Hol­ly­wood-lov­ing, left-wing freak show head.

KEITH DOLAN

Brook­lyn, New York

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