April 10, 2004

LA Dad Admits Loving a Station Wagon, Wins Pulitzer

LA Times auto critic Larry Neil just won a Pulitzer for columns such as this one, where he comes to terms with the fact that the car which gives him the deepest, most meaningful fit is a station wagon. A $67,000 Mercedes E500 4Matic Wagon, but a wagon, nonetheless.

...Why do I like the Benz wagon? For me, whose personal life has often resembled the save-my-baby skit with the clown firemen, the station wagon connotes a settled domesticity, peace and stability, devoutly to be wished singledom has certainly lost its luster. There is also something deeply appropriate about wagons. They are big enough to enclose my life but not so big as to suggest a fear of leaving something behind, as huge SUVs seem to do. Station wagons are kind of like SUVs after years of therapy.

For what they say about the emotional health of their owners, station wagons are the happiest cars on the road. And I can live with that.

In a way only a Californian can, Neil weaves insightful webs of psycho-emotional meaning around SUV's, pickup trucks, and the bane of Man's existence, the minivan. And he gets bonus points for tying the whole thing back to Roland Barthes.

Conclusion: If you want to know what to drive so you look like a confident father--and not a small-tooled loser--start here.

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