“What even IS that thing?” Ken asked. His friend, a fellow Tuuklandian named Mosse Mikronak, had just pulled up to the parking lot in a black five door hatchback of forgettable styling. It was a sad looking little car, the kind that was advertised on TV with promises of upholding family values while easy listening music played.
“I mean, I know it’s a 4th gen Potatismos but are you seriously suggesting I use that?” he continued.
“Hey, it’s the best I could get with your money and so little time”, replied Mosse.
“Besides, it’s not that bad.”
“Not that bad? Don’t they have like really shit engines too?” Ken asked, frowning. He knew Mosse was good with cars, but he was starting to have doubts whether Mosse understood the concept of racing. He would have liked to reach Athens before the next millennium.
“They’re not shit. For a tractor… heh. They pull enough and they’re reliable. Ish.” Mosse said while lighting a cigarette.
“Anyway, it’s not stock you know. I, uh, acquired a fifth gen two litre turbo engine. Drops right in. And it’s four wheel drive. They didn’t make many of those.”
Ken orbited the car, eyeing it up and down. He had questions:
“So it’s, what? 200 horsepower?”
Mosse took a drag from his cigarette.
“Two two eight with my extra tweaks.”
Another drag and a puff of smoke, then:
“I threw the back seat and radio out.”
“Radio? Fuck. You know I need to sit in that thing for thousands of kilometers.”
“You don’t even understand any of the languages of the countries you’re gonna drive through.”
“You have heard of this thing called music, haven’t you?”
“Please. They don’t even play disco anymore. What’s the point?”
Mosse seemed to genuinely mean that.
“I give up”, said Ken. “Does it at least handle nice?”
“Dude, I just drove it to Ronda and back yesterday. It’s a real driver’s car. You’ll learn to love it. And it’s safe, you got anti lock brakes, traction control, airbag and everything. Hey man, could you give me a ride to the airport?”
“Huh? You’re leaving already?”
“Yeah, I wanna visit home before going to Monaco. Kid’s been asking for one of those play station thingies for his birthday.”
“You mean you won’t be available if I need help before Monaco?”
“Relax, the car’s not gonna break down. Probably. And if it does, you’re a big boy. You can handle it on your own. These things are easy to fix.”
They hopped in the car. The seat was not very comfortable and it made creaky noises when Ken shifted his weight while strapping himself in. Only the radio was missing from the gray dashboard, but there were mysterious drill holes everywhere. A vanilla Wunderbaum dangled from the rear view mirror. Ken turned the ignition.
Reassuringly, the car started with ease. Its three inch tail pipe and single straight muffler let a satisfying amount of that four banger noise through. Not quite the scream of a V6 turbo that he had once gotten used to commandeering a very different kind of car, but a cammy drone that still told you there was a lot of tiny explosions happening in quick succession, ready to move you from here to the next town over in… who knows what kind of time? At least this should be an interesting experience.