Those of you that have an appreciation for cars and spend too much time on the internet have probably already come across the hilarious article written by Jalopnik’s Doug DeMuro, entitled “Buying a Ferrari is harder than you might think
“. We reached out to Doug to find out more about his car-related antics, including a long sweaty ride in a Lotus, a crime committed in Monaco, and which car is “the single greatest car in the history of humankind”.
VVV: You recently bought a Ferrari, and I see you’ve owned an AMG as well. Have you always had awesome cars, or are there some real lemons lurking in the depths of your car-owning history somewhere?
Doug: I’ve always been lucky to have cars I’ve considered “cool,” or at least “interesting” or “unique” — going back to my first car, a 1996 Volvo 850 Turbo. The lone exception is a 2012 VW Jetta I had as a company car when I worked at Porsche. Awful, hateful thing that had the same 2.0-liter engine they put in VWs back in the early 1990s. 115 horsepower, no floormats, crappy hubcaps, etc. But here’s the kicker: that’s the only car that ever left me stranded. After a friend borrowed it, thinking she could drive a manual better than she actually could, the clutch went out in a grocery store parking lot. Only had 900 miles on the odometer.
VVV: Have you ever had to “MacGuyver” your way out of a car repair situation?
Doug: Sadly, I’m not the best with car repairs. Every time I mention this, I lose readers, so I try to keep it hush-hush. Growing up, my parents were never into cars — my dad would buy a new Camry every decade, no matter how much I begged him to get something else. Even an Accord. Wouldn’t do it. Had to be a Camry. So they never taught me, and I never learned. Fortunately I have many close friends who are very handy, and they always seem willing to help out. Maybe because I let them drive the Ferrari.
VVV: Do you have a favorite road trip memory?
Doug: Absolutely the best road trip memory was when I bought my 2006 Lotus Elise in San Francisco and began the 3,000-mile drive back to Atlanta. Second day of the trip, in the middle of summer, in the middle of the Mojave Desert, I go to turn on the AC and realize it wasn’t working. Not even a puff. Drove 3,000 miles across the country during one of the hottest weeks on record with no AC, and I couldn’t take the top off because there’s nowhere in the car to stow it. On several occasions, I pulled over for two bottles of water: one to drink, and one to dump on myself.
VVV: Ultimate driving road?
Doug: FDR Drive in Manhattan at 1 a.m. on a clear weekday morning. It’s like driving in a video game — you can make rampant wild lane changes with no fear of legal repercussions, largely because the cops are all doing it too. After that, SS-583 from Como to Bellagio in Italy. It’s the narrowest road on earth so you can’t go very fast, but if you could ever get them to shut it down for a race, it’d be the best event in the world.
VVV: Speaking of buying a Ferrari, I assume a sweet car like that has LED lights, right? Oh… wait, it doesn’t? Wow… even my Hyundai has LED lights! What about some “sick” neons?
Doug: Neons are a great idea. How about I slam it, too?!
VVV: Had any good/bad car rental experiences? Perhaps something weird in your rental car left over from the previous renter (or for that matter, in a second-hand car you’ve bought)?
Doug: My best rental car story comes from a July 2012 trip to Europe where I rented a BMW 120d Cabriolet. At 10 a.m. on the last day of the trip, in Monaco, I got a call from the hotel saying the car had been broken into overnight. We went down to the garage to find out someone had slashed the roof of the car open and stolen my blue iPod. Nothing else. Instead of sightseeing that day in Monaco, we had to go to the police department. Crimes in Monaco are rare, so they treated this like a murder investigation — they even fingerprinted us to eliminate ours from the thief. As we were leaving, the detective promised us he’d “get the people who did this.” Six weeks later I got a note from the Monaco Police saying I could come to court to testify — apparently they actually DID get the people! Six more weeks went by and I got a new package — a blue iPod. Apparently they searched the bastard thief’s lair and found my iPod! Only problem: it wasn’t my iPod. Different music, different color, and a completely different size/style of iPod. So either the thief stole a LOT of iPods and they picked one at random to send to me, or some poor Frenchman is currently rotting in jail for a crime he didn’t commit!
VVV: Now that you’re a Ferrari owner (and therefore your car will be sitting in your garage 99% of the time) have you considered renting it out or putting it in a car sharing program? How much for a daily rental? 🙂
Doug: It’s funny — I don’t even see the car during the week. I drive it a lot on weekends (800 miles since I got it a month ago!) but during the week I park it in a warehouse where it’s surrounded by other exotics. So I could totally rent it out during the week! What do you think the fee would be? Probably not enough to justify paying for a new clutch every week…
VVV: Any car-related advice for our readers?
Doug: The Range Rover is the single greatest car in the history of humankind. (Does that count as advice?)
VVV: Thanks for sharing some insights into the world of Doug DeMuro! Where can readers get more of your unique car musings?
Doug: Jalopnik seems to be my home for now, though I’m about to start getting more serious about my own blog, PlaysWithCars.com. I promise more content is coming to it!