There’s just something about winding mountain roads and manual transmission cars and cloudy skies…
I may never get to drive around Japan’s glorious mountains Initial D style, but I hope I at least get to drive to a lot of scenic places. In the future, I may remember back to these years as belonging to an unfortunate generation of people who grew up dreaming about these hydrocarbon fuel burning, air breathing beasts we call as cars but will live to see them lose all their character in the drive towards electrification and regulation. It’s just sad.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the betterment of the environment. But a little part of me is sad. A major reason why I get out of bed every morning is because I get to drive to office if I did. That 7 km trip between my house and office building with its numerous gear changes and about 5 glorious songs, is meditation in itself. And a lot of that is because driving a car is an engaging activity. Eyes, hands, legs… all need to be alert. And after a while it becomes instinct to the point that your whole body relaxes while you drive.
I specifically went for a manual transmission 4 cylinder turbo diesel when I got my car while petrol automatics sell like crazy these days, but I had my reasons. Manual transmission because I really hate to lose that engagement factor in one half of my body. A diesel because … well, have you guys felt how glorious the torque rush is in a 1.5 litre 4 cylinder turbo diesel? Find an open road, left leg all the way down on the clutch, left hand up on third, dump the clutch and prod that throttle, a second pause and WHAM! - you are looking at about 75kmph on the instruments but you feel like you are taking off because you just got hit by a whole lot of torques. 1.5L turbo diesels might just be the best thing to come out of the Indian car scene’s recent regulations. And I still get like 20kmpl in the highway.
EVs lose a lot of this charm. It’s almost like it’s too easy. There’s no drama of downshifting as your engine bogs down when it loses boost, there’s no baby sitting that throttle and clutch in traffic, there’s no skill involved in taking hair pin bends up the hills…you just point at a direction and press the throttle and you just go. You don’t even need a brake pedal because of that regen kicking in. It feels plastic, man. And no, contrary to what Aqua sings, life isn’t fantastic when it’s plastic. With the EU banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2035, more and more manufacturers are going pure EVs across the range. India is considering banning diesel engine sales starting 2027. And it won’t be long before petrols go away too. The future is electric. And sure EVs might bring their own fun, but they sure as heck ain’t going to compete with the charm of ICEs.
No, this isn’t me hating on EVs. But I’d like to think that maybe we are giving up on ICEs a little too soon. And with it, destroying a billion dreams and making fantasies of an equal amount of life defining moments. Have you guys seen how boring Formula 1 is these days? Formula E sounds like a whine fest.
I’m glad I bought my diesel. My next car will be an EV when it happens. But I promise you that it will be out of necessity of a lack of choice rather than a love for one.
We might just be the last generation to drive ICE powered cars. And I think we should enjoy them while they exist. And drive to every beautiful place, as much as possible.
P.S. I think the Nissan 240SX Silvia is just a gorgeous car. I wish I can drive it someday.