SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 29: Zhen Zhuowei drives the #3 Chang‘an Ford Racing Team Ford Focus on his way to winning round one of the Super Production Class of the China Touring Car Championship at the Shanghai International Circuit on April 29, 2012 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images for CTCC)
Well, it really does appear as though we've gotten our man. Paul Lambert was the first-choice of a very large percentage of the claret and blue army, and though he wasn't quite at the level of some of the other candidates in terms of my own personal hierarchy I will admit to being just a bit giddy at the appointment. Paul Lambert is quite good at what he does, and now we've (probably) got him; that's a swell thing to have happened.
Still, their were other names. Some good, some silly, some terrifying. Here they are, all of them, in automobile form.
Deep down, we always knew that none of these men would end up pacing the Villa Park sideline come August. Still, it was a really unwelcome site to even glance upon their name when scanning the headlines.
Pontiac Aztek: It seemed like a good idea at the conceptual stage. Everything made sense in terms from a focus group standpoint, but oh man did the final product suck. And everyone knew it at the earliest glimpse.
Pontiac GTO (Holden Commodore Era): Oh man, this is brilliant. It moves pretty fast, it's got all kinds of muscle, the name makes people smile and nod as they pass. Oh, but what's this? The handling is awful? The era it recalls has been passed by numerous times? Well shit, the actual finished package is awful and now the marque is worth less than nothing. Good lord was this a mistake.
Your Mom's K-Car: Yeah, this gets the job done. I mean, I know it kind of sucks. The handling is all floaty, and you've really got to stomp the hell out of the accelerator to get anywhere, but hey! At least it's a car! Party!
Aw goddammit, the transmission blew up. Well now we have to start all over again.
These were the names we saw connected to Villa that seemed plausible given the constraints laid down by the board. Maybe there was a connection, maybe not, but at least it made sense and got us just a little bit excited.
Hyundai Elantra: Yeah, the last time we went for one of these it turned out to be an enormous pile of shit. But this time it's different! They've made some pretty major strides since then, and while this car is never going to blow anyone away, it's really, really reliable and the panoramic sunroof is kind of cool. I mean, no, it's not as impressive as a big motor or anything, but shit; do you remember that wind-down-vinyl-deal on the Le Car? Totally different world, man. Totally different world..
Chevroley Corvette Z06: VRROOOM VROOOOM MOTHERFUCKER!!! YEAH!!! Oh man, this thing sucks in the corners. STRAIGHTAWAY! YEAH!!! VROOOM VROOOM! Aww fuck we're low on gas. VROOOM VROOO-aww that gas we bought wasn't high enough octane. Goddammit, we should've gone for the Prius.
Mitsubishi Lancer EVO: Seemed cool in the mid-2000s. I mean REALLY, REALLY cool. But then other people did the same thing, but better. And then it stopped being quite as cool, and you wondered what the hell was up with the people that still drove one. And then you'd forget it existed, but you'd see one pop up from time to time and say "oh man, I remember those! They were awesome!" But then when you pulled away from the stoplight you'd be like "oh man, that's right, those things cost a fuckton of money and they were really unreliable. Ugh."
There were talks. There were minor-to-major freak-outs. Nothing came of it, but it was at least a bit of fun.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
TVR Tuscan Speed 6: Oh wow, this thing is so fast! Whoooaaa! Hey, we can supercharge it! Whoooooaaaaa! Oh man, here's a corner! Better stomp on the brakes!
Oh yeah these don't have ABS. Fuck.
*fiery crash that is still kind of awesome*
Fiat 500 Abarth: Aww, this thing is so cute!
*turns key, revs engine*
Whoa! It's got some muscle behind it, too!
*takes country road*
Whee! These corners are fun! But they're nothing compared to these hills! Whee! Up! Down! Up! Down!
*checks blind spot*
*crashes into tractor that was blocked by C-Pillar*
Ford Focus ST: Okay, well. This car isn't that exciting. It seems like all the other cars. Boxy. Generic. Meh.
*sees car on an open road*
Okay, damn. That little guy had some get-up-and-go. Still seems low-rent, but hey. Good on you, little guy.
*sees car on freeway, totally fucking up Jaguars and shit*
Well shit, man. That guy must be putting a ton of cash into that car. Good to see a little guy keeping up with those nouveau-riche fuckers.
*pulls up next to Villa at stoplight, smokes totally falling apart '68 Dart we thought was still totally badass for some reason*
Shit. We really need to buy a new car.