I'm driving up the 57 freeway, heading north to the family ranch.
This stretch of pavement is cursed (for me anyway); I've received three speeding tickets on it in as many years. A shame really as it's a nice piece of road, cutting through Brea Canyon while offering superb views of the foothill chapparal. I deserved the one ticket in my M3 but the other two were pretty lame. Got tagged for seven mph over the 65 mph limit. Whatever.
Obviously, I am careful on this freeway and try to keep the speed around 73 mph (while most people fly by a good 15 mph faster). I'm driving a 2010 Aston Martin V8 Vantage and while this fabulous machine is perfectly content at this speed, I can tell it's kind of disappointed with me. I think fellow drivers are as well. I've gotten serious stink-eye from a guy in a BMW M5, and some dude in a lifted truck simply shook his head and mouthed the word "pathetic."
I can feel my face flush.
I do my best to ignore it and concentrate on the sheer awesomeness of this car. Within a few seconds the Aston accelerates to 91 mph and then 98 mph as Astons are wont to do. Luckily, my offramp is just ahead and I beat a hasty retreat on a secret back road. If there was heat back there it would never find me.
The entire family is up here and the Vantage is mobbed with bodies. The kids take turns sitting in it and making engine noises. They talk about all the rad "spin outs" and "pop-a-wheelies" they could do in this car.
I notice my own kids aren't there. They are fawning over the new horse, a gentle three-year-old gelding named James Brown. Carly brings it over to the car and the horse gives it a good once over. James looks at me, shakes his head, and bares his teeth. I'm pretty sure all horses hate me. Birds too. I don't know why.
Cole tells me James is upset because I didn't bring a DBS. Carly adds that James is a big fan of 12-cylinder engines.
Conrad ends this shaming by spouting the better performance numbers of the DBS.
In my younger days I might have started screaming.
"Fer Chrissakes... it's a damn Aston Martin, what the hell do you guys want?"
Of course, they'd respond truthfully: "A DBS, Dad".
You've gotta love the brutal honesty in kids.
That the V8 Vantage is a fabulous car is without question. It's hellaciously fast, corners with extreme prejudice, and is terribly sexy. But if I was going to buy an Aston, I admit I'd go straight to the DBS.
In truth, this is how most of our audience is wired, be it a CSL M3, Cayenne Turbo, Jaguar XJ Supersport, or Volkswagen GTI. Given the financial resources, we go for the top-drawer model every time. And if you're going to modify your car for even more performance, it makes sense to start with as much as you can get from the factory.
I guess I've taught my kids well. Let's just hope they can put that education to good use.
Good taste tends to be expensive.