Dances With Words: Far beyond the KISS Principle!

Nick Wolochatiuk ~ Dances With Words
Dances With Words: Far beyond the KISS Principle!
RELIABILITY IS #1 – Affordability, style, comfort, economy, ride… take a back seat to reliability. A blown engine in Oklahoma sure spoiled my 1969 trip to California! (Photo by Nick Wolochatiuk)

The closest I’ve been to owning a KISS Principle vehicle was a brand new 1962 VW Beetle. It was simple: no power windows, no cruise control, no heated seats, no remote start, no remote door unlock, no air-conditioning… Seven years and many miles later I replaced it with a VW 1600 Squareback. It too followed the KISS Principle.
Both were affordable to buy, good on fuel economy and free of frills.

Unfortunately, some of the hills en route to my trips to California challenged the Beetle’s barely adequate four-cylinder engine: fourth gear, shift down to third, down to second… The air directed inward by the triangular vent window just provided Arizona in July heat, but no real cooling, especially in gridlock LA traffic jams. Theoretically, it was equipped with a heating and defrosting system, barely adequate only at highway speeds. Entertainment system was a little transistor radio sitting on the seat beside me. Yes, there was room left for some improvements.

I only have second-hand experience with 2021 automotive technology, as the vehicles I drive are now 14 and 26 years of age – but paid for. Repairs are still costing less than new car payments.

So far, I’ve resisted the siren call of Sirius satellite radio, heated steering wheel, power-adjustable seats, lane alert, parking assist, nagging service advisories, automatic headlight dimmers… The only bells and whistles that I don’t find too offensive are the ding, ding, ding…reminding my passengers to buckle up and the whistle that reminds me that my window is just a wee bit open.

I’ve been in cars that nag, “The door is ajar!” I’m absolutely sure it’s not a jar. It’s just a door, not a jar. A car door is something much bigger than a jar. A car door has hinges, a lock and a handle. Its only resemblance to a jar is that it has glass as a major component.

The military have a term called ‘Mission Creep’. If the goal is to takeout the enemy’s airfield, don’t go demolish the adjacent city just because you have some bombs left over. As far as automobiles are concerned, auto designers, manufacturers and marketers have lost sight of the objective that der Führer had for the people’s car: simple, affordable and efficient.

If you’re a car salesman, don’t call me unless you have a reliable and affordable vehicle that can replace our VW Eurovan, or my modest size Mazda pickup.

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