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Old 02-12-2012, 12:50 PM
Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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This is one of the biggest issues, What does the builder REALLY want? As far as the ride and drive, what is the builders expectations and uses of the car? Is he going to be pulling a trailer? Is he going to be a race car? Or are we just talking about a driver? A car that will be cruising to work once in a while or to a local show?

Do you need to change everything to do that?

I drive a stock brake and suspension 50 year old car every day. It stops just fine, but handles like crap. I get into my wife's Caravan and it feels like a Z06 Vette compared to my car. But I am fine with that, I drive down simple surface streets, I don't need anything more. But this is me, what does the guy building the car REALLY need?

Is it to drive like I do everyday with only an occasional long trip? Why build the car for that occasional long trip when 99% of its road time will be in such a way that the stock or near stock suspension will be fine?

Is it's "Function" all that matters? Or is the looks also important to them? Do they need to tell people all the great things they did? (I am not knocking this, just being realistic.)

I recently bought this Caravan and I bought something a little less than I had been planning on buying. I had a larger mini van, it had rear a/c, and I wanted at the very minimum that rear a/c. But I also had planned on "stow and go" seating (seats that fold down under the floor creating a loading area) I had been thinking about getting a new van for quite some time and this was a MUST have, why not? It was the best of both worlds and I wanted that. Well, we went looking and found this real nice Caravan, SUPER nice low mileage car. It had no rear a/c and no stow and go seats.
But I also learned that I would have to have the longer wheel base "Grand Caravan" to have that a/c and stow and go seats. I got to thinking, how often do I use the rear a/c in my current van, not often. But more important, how often do I REALLY need it? Well, a few times on road trips out in Arizona or something, why worry about the a/c when I use it so little of the time the van is used? Then I thought about the stow and go, I have a friggin utility trailer, do I REALLY need this storage in the van? When have a REALLY missed it? ONCE, one time I remember picking up an antique desk after a very long drive and wishing I had the room for another piece he had. So REALLY, do I need the stow and go? This van is used about 99% of the time driving kids to school and local outings. The little shorter van will make THIS use easier. So why buy the one that makes the 1% of it's use easier? That made no sense to me and I immediately after realizing this made the decision very easy. I bought the shorter van and we love it. My wife has commented on how much easier it is go maneuver thru parking lots and such, it was a MUCH better choice.

That is what we have to think about, do we REALLY need that modern front clip or frame?

I can't help but think of that co-worker with the super nice driving I beam axled Chevy AD who changed it all because someone talked him into him "needing" to make it "easier" to work on because they couldn't figure out an oil leak in the 235 six. He has had nothing but trouble since with brake problems, cooling problems, etc. All this means of course is the guy who couldn't figure out the oil leak in the old motor hasn't the skills to do the swaps either. double rolling eyes smilie But he is damn sorry he swapped it all, and I am doing my best to get the dropped axle and 55 Chevy rear end he pulled out for MY truck!

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