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May 23 Weekly Thread--Riding In The Back

Dudley Moore_Arthur We've all done it. Given up the helm so somebody else can chart our way. We went aft, to a more couchlike seating arrangement and possible living room appointments. Traded the steering wheel and pedals for a grab handle and maybe even foot rests, heated, cooled, and vibrating seats, and mahagony fold-up tables.

Whether alone or with company, a posh rear cabin can be an escape from nightmarish traffic and other more pedestrian nuisances.

As I've mentioned, four-door cars and limousines are a fancy of mine. Some seem to have been designed more as a passenger's car than a driver's. Others have at least made an attempt to please a discerning driver, some have not.

Ronald-mcdonald-is-arrested-in Or were we not so lucky? Were we back there not by choice but by command? Were the seat belts not the only restraints on us that day? Was the destination not a place of our choice? In either event, we've all been "back there" for one reason or another.

So do you have any memorable stories you'd like to share? Maybe a prank or wedding or other? A first date?

And as always, this Open Thread is the place for random, off-topic conversations that don't belong anywhere else.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credits: The first image of Dudley Moore in "Arthur" is from 1.BP.Blogspot.com. The second image is from www.GreenPeace.org.

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There are two -- two! -- Citroen 2CVs near me, both driving around fairly regularly. And I just wrote up a post on the Ford Granada, one of which is parked a couple of blocks away. I am. . .the Car Lust Nexus.

Now, if I could only find a Peugeot 504 wagon for sale nearby. . . .

Whenever I rode in the back seat as a kid, there was a hump. Kids nowadays ride in the back of SUV's or FWD's for the most part and never experience the big ole' hump. Seems a shame to me somehow. That hump made the clear difference between my brother's side of the car and mine and was the hallowed ground where many historic battles were waged and fought.

I remember riding around in the third rear facing seat of the Chevy station wagon. In the summer, with all the windows open, the combination of riding backwards and inhaling exhaust would cause anyone riding there to throw up, chumming the highway. Lovely. My mother yelled "STOP THROWING UP!!"

Now to more pleasant topics... I drive and occasionally am driven a late model Caddy DTS. The back seat is sublime. The headrest is just the perfect height and angle. The seat is soft and oh so forgiving. One of the few cars I can truely relax in.

When I was growing up, my parents had an '85 Oldsmobile 98. One of the best things about road trips with my family was wedging myself into a corner of the backseat and sleeping through most of it.

My sisters and I used to ride in the back of Dad's '49 Chevy and there was no hump. There was also a sheathed cable across the back of the front seat we would hold on to which was there to hold a "lap robe" blanket since heaters in those days were not especially efficient. The headliner looked like "mouse fur" and was soft to touch. Plenty of room, by the way!

I remember being in the back of the "Oldredford." (http://www.carlustblog.com/2008/09/1949-ford-in-pr.html) The back seat of a postwar Yankee sedan is a huge space. When you're a toddler, it might as well be a zeppelin hangar.

When I was very little, we were a one-car family, and when Dad was at work and we needed to go downtown to the doctor or one of the department stores, it was a black Checker cab from Independent Radio Taxi. I remember some of them having a folding jumpseat or stool in the fore end of the passenger compartment which of course gave me something to fiddle with during the ride.

If I remember right, the back end of the '64 Belvedere wagon (http://www.carlustblog.com/2008/08/car-lust--1964.html) had a foldaway third-row "tail gunner" seat. We also occasionally took a blanket and a pillow along and napped back there.

Before I left home, the last car my parents owned that I sat in the back of at length was their old Volvo 940. Big enough to be comfortable in, even if it lacked the velour upholstery of their 740 before. Now Dad has a Saab 93, a car that can't fail to make me ill when a passenger in the back, no matter how Dad drives. There's a bar of some sort (or what feels like a bar) under the seat that bugs me too.

@alfa_todd: There is no more bump in the floor, but there is always a bump in the seats because they always put these half-hearted molded deals in the back these days so you can't possibly lay down comfortably.

I always make it a point to sit in the backseat of my own car both while it is riding and sometimes when it is just sitting there just to get that unusual perspective on what it must be like. People think I am strange for that. Maybe I am...

My mom got a new '86 Olds Cutlass Supreme 2-door in late 1985, when I was 11. It was a good looking car for the time (gunmetal gray, chrome rallye wheels and, of course, raised white letter tires). It even had the 140hp 307 4-barrel V8, which sounded awesome but sucked gas and couldn't get out of its own way!

The interior was a different story- the color, fabric and overall design was hideous! It had dark burgundy velour upholstery and, worst of all, it had a one-piece bench front seat. So the front passenger had to sit as close to dash as the driver...and I hit the 6'0" mark by age 13! So I was stuck in the back seat for a few years, until I got my learner's permit at 15.

@ alfa_todd: :-)

My almost daily use of a limo with driver have made me use only 2-door cars as my private drive. Hmmm. Psychology, I guess. But it also made me wonder why so many luxury car brands don't put more focus on the rear seats of their 200 in/5 meter class limos. This side of a RR (which is way too brash) there's still more attention given to the driver's environ than the fellow's sitting in the back. That's why I really like and use the VW Phaeton. Actually I prefer sitting in the back where I just shut out the outside world, rather than in the co-pilot seat where I'm all nervous - terrible front-seat passenger.

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