Parshletter No. 1: Everything Is Silent And Greige

Welcome to the first-ever parshletter! It's been a nice weekend: sun's out, bun's out, and we got to see three parsh wins at the same track. At least the parsh is good! Thanks again for your support, and if you want more of these (in supporters-only form starting next week) sent to your inbox every week, sign up as a patron here

You Owe Us 53.78 More Miles of Race Time, Good Sirs

[Photo credit: Porsche]

I, like many other followers of maximum parsh, hunkered down Friday to enjoy 1,000 sweet, sweet miles of Sebring. The World Endurance Championship's much-anticipated return to Sebring was even advertised as the 1,000 Miles of Sebring. 

Yet it was actually a timed race, and it ended in the most anticlimactic way ever: under the safety car. Loïc Duval crashed in the No. 28 TDS Racing Oreca in the wall with twelve minutes left, and by the time it would've been safe to let cars race again, there wasn't enough time left to get a restart in that wouldn't have felt like a messy NASCAR green-white-checkered affair. Yes, time. Also, grr: time

Look, if conditions won't improve, I get it: call the race, and bring the cars in. No one wants a replay of the multiple futile restart attempts from the 24 Hours of Daytona. To be fair, one of the Toyota drivers on the broadcast even said how sketchy the conditions were towards the end. But those who expected 1,000 miles of Sebring action from the name of the race itself were awfully confused when the race was called after the leading Toyota did only 253 laps, or 946.22 miles. 

That's a full 53.78 miles short! Someone's calculations for how long it'd take to hit 1,000 miles were thrown off somewhere, which goes to show you that it really shouldn't have been a timed race at all. Otherwise, call it the However-Many Hours of Sebring like most of the other races on the schedule so we don't get our hopes up. 

I'm even saying this as a 911 fan, having watched 911s win in both GTE Am and GTE Pro. Sebring's only 3.74 miles per lap. I think there was enough distance left to send the cars back out for a restart at the end. Granted, that restart call would still depend on what the conditions are like, and as someone watching from home in Texas, I wouldn't be the right person to have made that call. Maybe going for the full 1,000 would have been more safety car time, or ultimately called early anyway because the angry clouds didn't want more parsh! We just don't know, because we didn't actually hit 1,000 Miles of Sebring. 

The Polestar 2 Is a Depressing Indictment of 2019's Taste in Car Colors

[Photo credit: Polestar]

It's hard not to be a little bit excited about the Polestar 2. It's the 408-horsepower all-electric sedan from Volvo's performance marque Polestar, and it looks very sleek and nice. Polestar also won't be joining in Volvo's weird commitment to limit their cars to 112 mph, either, so you'll actually get to use that 487 lb-ft of electric torque in a responsible location. Just don't expect to be able to order it in a real color, because apparently people don't want real colors on their cars anymore. 

The six color choices for the Polestar 2 are just grim: 

- Snow: White

- Magnesium: Grey

- Thunder: Darker Grey

- Moon: Greyish Beige

- Midnight: Darker Darker Grey

- Void: Black

The closest thing to an actual color is that sandy Moon color, which is less like something I'd order on a performance compact EV and more like something your grandmother would order because "it doesn't show dirt."

But this is 2019! Polestar didn't even offer the seemingly obligatory red option because I guess no one's wild and crazy enough anymore to dare risk standing out that much in a car. 

I admit that there are greys and creams out there that look fine, and even nice. The peachy-cream offered on NC Miatas and Ferrari 458s a few years ago looked cool next to warm, medium-brown upholstery. Colors like Audi's Nardo Grey still look fresh and clean for now. Still, we need colors back on cars again. It is time. 

When I called Mazda's "greige" interior option so 2019 it hurts, I didn't expect to feel actual pain when one of the most hotly anticipated cars of the year got launched with no real color choices at all. What is wrong with you, new car buyers of the world? Are we so concerned about resale values or other wholly meh concerns that don't have anything to do with enjoying your car that we're not even willing to risk putting a real color on the outside of our cars anymore? 

"I'd like to be able to find my car in a parking lot" should not be abandoned to the aftermarket customizers and wrappers of the world. It's time to put our focus back on enjoying our cars while we have them. 

We only have ourselves to blame when it comes to what OEMs offer as color choices. Polestar didn't give us Six Shades of Grey out of nowhere—they did so in response to market demand. And hoooooo boy, market, y'all are depressing. 

If you're buying a new car soon and you like being able to pick a cool color out at the dealership, you know what to do. Buy some bright or vivid colors on your next cars. Custom-order it or look out of state if you must to get that perfect shade of stand-out teal. Companies respond to sales and the cash that comes with them, so the only way to right this ship is with a host of paint-to-sample orders for neon eye-catchers like Rubystone Red and Peridot Green Metallic

You Asked, I Answered

Because this is the first (and public!) edition of the parshletter, I opened up this question-and-answer section to posters on OppositeLock. If you want to ask me more questions about life, the universe and everything in the future, subscribe here!

Q: How much to get you to write a book detailing why the Cayenne Diesel is the best Parsh ever made? - CRider

A: Hold up, I love the Cayenne Diesel, but best? Best?! I don't think I could write that for any price. It's a great parsh, for sure, but the best would have to be a race car. Race cars don't come with all of that extra nonsense that Porsche owners love to pay extra to leave out, for one. Also, Porsche would not be Porsche, er, um, parsh at all if it didn't go racing. Porsche makes the cutest cars, but those cute cars are also the fastest, which Porsche has proven many, many times over the years. (I stand by this statement as the blatant fangirl I am.)

It's a tough call between the 917 and the 919 Hybrid Evo for me, in that respect. The Porsche 917 gave Porsche its first ever overall Le Mans win, which is really, truly maximum parsh. That win and the many that came after it established what we parsh dorks expect Porsche to do. The Porschelump is painted up like that first Le Mans winner for a reason. 

That being said, is there any feat in the whole, wide world that's more parsh than tweaking an already absurdly fast Le Mans car to destroy the overall Nürburgring Nordschleife record? No. That is an achievement of pure, unadulterated parsh if there ever was one. The Nürburgring is a Porsche-filled paradise on a regular day, and nothing says "we own this place" by obliterating your own all-time Nordschleife lap record by nearly a minute. 

If we're talking road cars, there's really nothing more parsh than the 911 Carrera 2.7 RS. It's been decades since this car came out in 1973, and we're still copying its awesome script down the side, and putting ducktails on 911s. It's the best looking, hands down, and bonus: it's a homologation special, too. Like I said, the best parsh has to be a race car—even if it's the roadgoing version of it. 

Q: It’s time for some investigative journalism into what a Porsche 944 can and cannot do. We know it can (kinda) LeMons but what about rally? Can it drift? How is it on a frozen lake? You should run 1 Lap of America with it.

Let's put you and Dusty in the 944 and find out how far across the country you can get before you kill each other. - TheTurbochargedSquirrel

A: Well, I know it can rally. Dusty and I even borrowed Charli Tameris' stage rally 944 for the for the Retreat from Moscow Lemons Rally a couple years ago, and I still need to pick his brains about hydraulic handbrakes and skidplates, for..........reasons. 

I also know it can drift. I've even featured a drift 944 as a Hoon of the Day

I know a guy who ice raced his ChumpCar 944, too—Van Svenson's been on Rennlist for years and was on the team that had the LS-swapped 944 that was on Build of the Week

 I haven't run One Lap of America with it myself, but there's a great VinWiki video on a Porsche 944 driver who entered the very first one in 1984. 

At this point, I don't think there's anything fun that a 944 couldn't do. This would normally be the part where I go "PROVE ME WRONG," but you can't. It's gone off-road. Someone even dropped one onto a Ford Bronco frame for maximum mayhem. Honestly, the only thing a working 944 can't do is suck. 

As for the second half of this question, we've been in the same car for thousands of miles now (several Lemons Rallies plus a Volkswagen retrieval), and haven't killed each other yet. I doubt I could. I'm just not the killin' type, y'know?

Q: Why would I send money to someone who thinks a chicken is really a duck? - The Crazy Kanuck

A: I don't know. I know Rally Chicken is a chicken, so your money is safe here. 

Q: Can we make custom requests? $1,000 a month and you take the Porsche off a Dukes of Hazzard-style ramp? - CarsofFortLangley

A: $1,000 a month would be nice, but sadly, I'm afraid I can't do requests like this. For one, the hospital bills from such an epic jump alone may exceed your Patreon pledge.  

Q: Are you gonna go see the 100 Acre Wood rally next weekend? - Santiago of Escuderia Boricua

A: I sadly did not.  My travel budget is <$0 right now, hence the parshtreon. 

Q: How many stuffed duckens can you fit in a 911? - CRider, again

A: This is a tough one. I'm going to assume by "ducken," you're asking about a duck and a chicken combined, as in two-thirds of a turducken. So, I pulled Rally Chicken as well as a duckie with a very defined bill to get some measurements for this. Fun fact: the duckie was actually a sample from Fisher-Price, and has "not for resale" stamped on his tag, even though I definitely bought him when he was resold on eBay. 

This is a good pairing, as Rally Chicken has been hugged many times over the years and has lost a lot of her fluffiness. Sample Duck, while still in like-new condition when it comes to fluffiness, is also one of the more compact ducks I own. We're going for the maximum number of Puffalump duck/chicken combos that you could stuff into a 911 here. 

A quick smoosh-together of Rally Chicken and Sample Duck shows that they would fit in roughly a 9-inch by 9-inch by 5-inch space, allowing for some squish and expansion into the space. Puffalumps are tricky to measure for sure, and as I don't have enough ducks and chickens alone to go down to the dealership with a car-full of Puffalumps to test this out myself, I'm having to go by calculations here. So, the estimation of 0.234375 cubic feet is what we're working with. I'm sure you could squish them further, but we want the Puffalumps to be happy here.

I also planned to use the brand new 911's specifications to answer this question, as the 911 has become a meaty boi over the years which (in theory) could hold more Puffalumps. Unfortunately, the overall interior size is not available for the 2020 911 Carrera S yet, at least on the U.S. press site. It only lists 4.66 cubic feet of cargo space for the frunk, and 9.32 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear (because let's face it, the GT3s have taught us that the back seat is best left as a cargo shelf). 

So, should you still want acceptable human space as well, you can fit approximately 39-40 (depending on squish) chicken-duck Puffalump pairs in the rear cargo area of a 992-generation 911, or 19-20  (also depending on squish) chicken-duck combos up front. In total, this would be up to somewhere between 58-61 Puffalump pairs, give or take some squishability. 

I have since asked Porsche if they do have an interior volume figure for this car yet, and may revisit this question in another parshletter if I hear back. 

Q: How much money for the review of different types of Timbits? - CB

A: Clearly, this would entail some travel budget as we don't get Tim Hortons this far south. However, I'm down for it if anyone wants to pitch in for plane tickets and some extra money to get myself to a Timmies. 

I discovered the hard and extremely disappointing way that the "Tim Hortons"  in the Detroit airport is just a stand with Timmies' coffee, so I'd have to go beyond the airport. It's also getting to the nice time of the year when Timbits don't mail well, either, even when sent via one-day shipping. So, that's out. 

As for the ones I've tasted so far, I think apple fritter and strawberry glazed are my two favorites. 

[Photo: Dave Engelman]

Q: How heavy is that design model and is it yours to keep? - VajazzleMcDildertits

A: Over on OppositeLock, I announced the parshletter with a photo of one of my greatest moments in life: holding the design model for the 944. It's not very heavy, as it's mostly plastic. 

I had to hand it right back afterwards, though. It's Porsche's and it belongs to their archives. Honestly, that's the right place for it. Everything's set up there with preservation in mind, from the intense fire system they make you sign a waiver for just to enter the room (it sucks out all oxygen in case of a fire, if I remember correctly) to the precise temperature controls and such. The model itself was sitting on a library-style accordion shelf next to big volumes of records and other models. 

That records space is heaven on earth if I've ever seen it. All of Porsche's history, neatly organized and kept. Want to know where the team ate lunch on the weekend Stefan Bellof set the former all-time Nordschleife record? That's in there. I think this might be the only time I've ever been jealous of someone else's job that wasn't "race car driver" or "astronaut:" the Porsche records dudes. 

Q: What do you plan on eating during the Gambler 500? Are you allergic to any foods? - VajazzleMcDildertits, again

A: I'd originally gone a little overboard on food stuff. I'm not allergic to anything, but my REI dividend just came in the mail, so I figured now was the time to try fancy camping snacks. I knew we'd have water to boil but knew nothing else of the off-road park's campground, so I got a couple of the curries, a mac and cheese, and some kind of creole sausage dish to last however long we might be out there, plus I threw in a couple of those little just-add-water oatmeal bowls I'd already had at home. 

Turns out, the off-road park we were based out of was basically in civilization. We ended up using the gas station's bathrooms down the street when things were (ahem) dire. I had some pizza that David (owner of the Saab we took Gamblin') had brought on the way in, and on the route, we stopped for quite possibly the most disappointing Tex-Mex I've ever had in Rusk. I've never had burnt fajita meat until then, but here we were! I got kolaches on the way home. 

Clearly, I need to get the heck out of civilization to see if that mac and cheese is any good. 

Q: Are adult diapers ever a thing during this rally? - VajazzleMcDildertits, again, again

A: I don't know! I saw a lot of people peeing in the woods during the Gambler, though, as there is with basically any rally on earth. So, my guess is no. 

Q: If I give money can I be unbanned from cars? I promise to not cut a Porsche for like at least 6 months - Ike

A: No. You know what you did. You cut a poor, innocent (admittedly rusty, BUT STILL) 924 to bits. That's not cool, man. Lifetime, wholly unenforceable bans from the cars are permanent, with no option for bail. 

Q: Are you doing okay? - G_Body_Man

A: Oof, this is the question I've been dreading answering. I think there's a My Chemical Romance chorus that sums up the answer. I'm not doing okay. 

The past couple years have been really, really bad. First, there was that bad concussion, and that's when my depression really started coming back. Then the next year, my dad died, and all of a sudden, I felt like I had to be the one that had everything together when I was extremely not. There's a crushing loneliness that came with losing a parent, and it doesn't help when most of your time is spent alone-ish, writing remotely, and you're not feeling up to doing your usual activities outside of work. 

I took the buyout from Jalopnik not wanting to ride out another company sale, but also to see if I could get some help for all of this during the break—which I couldn't. The therapist who helped me through the concussion aftermath wasn't taking my insurance anymore, and there just aren't enough other providers out there who do. Even when I took time off to call around the list of providers my insurance would take, most places I called were full. I briefly tried online counseling, but that didn't seem to help much for me. I didn't get off one waitlist until the buyout was about to run out, and I was about to lose that insurance anyway. So, I had to start over, because I couldn't find a job. 

Out-of-pocket costs for therapy are so high (as high as a couple hundred dollars per session) that just paying for someone off-network was out of the question unless they had some kind of sliding payment scale. Because everywhere is overbooked, those sliding-scale spots also usually had a waiting list, too. I finally found one with open space through a friend in January, which has been a big relief, but the lack of resources out there for mental healthcare makes me genuinely angry. 

To say that the entire system is broken is an understatement. How are you supposed to navigate long lists of providers who mostly can't see new patients, don't take your insurance, are unaffordable, or are heavily waitlisted when you're not sure you see the point in living anymore?  You give up. I mean, I gave up. Often. While hotlines came in handy here and there, you usually need more than just crisis care to get through this. 

That made for a lot of bad times in the interim. Everyone who said, "Oh, you're great! You'll land somewhere in no time!" turned out to be wrong. I know part of it's the job market. There's more firing than hiring going on at the moment across journalism as a whole, and automotive publications are no different. Still, it's crushing when nowhere actually wants to hire me. Other people who've looked for jobs have found them. Meanwhile, it feels like only a few people in the industry even remember I exist. 

As the buyout period went on with little response from anyone on a full-time job, I felt worse. I feel wholly unneeded on a professional level. I wasn't able to get things done during the buyout period as I'd have liked to, either, and it feels like I've only proven to be a big failure in this freelance period. There were times when I couldn't concentrate, focus, or really see the point in anything. I've started to wonder if I'm permanently broken. Did my brain never actually heal after that accident? Am I stuck like this forever? 

I even had moments where I felt like this in Stuttgart, of all places: on vacation in the home of maximum parsh as well as the frequent test-ground for stickered-up cars that companies don't want you to see yet. This is all deeply relevant to my interests! Why am I sad? I should be out looking for 992s, Taycans and stuff! I should try to put Fluffy Bunny in a fake exhaust sticker! 

At the moment, though, I still have trouble seeing a future where things get better. It feels like no one's going to hire damaged goods, even me. If they can find someone who isn't broken, they'll save themselves the hassle and hire that person instead. 

So, if I'm sometimes slow to respond on things, or I joke about how truly garbage everything is, this is why. I've had a lot of days where I'm really down, and I don't see an end to it, if I'm honest. Most of all, I'm deeply grateful to the people who put up with me anyway, because that means more than you'll ever know. 

Just to reiterate: I am finally getting some help, and in a spot where things are still garbage, but I'm at least doing substantially better. I even took the 944 to the track last weekend, which was sorely needed. I even figured out how to turn my stupid worry-brain off and just huck it into turn 6 without lifting again, which felt good. It feels bad that I'm out of practice, but feels good to get back into the habit of hooning cars again. 

Puffalump Photo of the Week! 

I have Donnie Petrunak's Puffalump gator. I've been letting my puffy stowaway get into all kinds of trouble, like sticking his snout in a giant Supra turbo. Florida Puff is definitely enjoying himself. 

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