By Daniel Stern, Global Editor
Last month I moved across Canada from Toronto, Ontario (4 hours' drive Northeast of Detroit, Michigan) to Vancouver, British Columbia (2-1/2 hours' drive North of Seattle, Washington). I made the move in a car both new and old: when I set out, it had travelled only 30,000 km in the two decades since it was manufactured.
The car is a 1991 Dodge Spirit ES 3.0, which was exported to Europe as the Chrysler Saratoga —now mostly but not entirely forgotten. I drove a route of some 5,000 km through the United States, by day and by night. It was an interesting sort of time-capsule experience, allowing me to experience a fairly average American car of 20 years ago, more or less as it would've been 20 years ago; the car has been used only as much as the average 18-month-old model. It is certainly not the oldest vehicle I've driven across North America in modern traffic; that honour goes to a 1962 model, and last year I made the trip in a 1973 model. This 1991 Dodge, in contrast, has most of the basics of what makes a modern car. It has electronic fuel injection and computerised engine management, front-wheel drive, a computer-controlled automatic transmission, 4-wheel disc brakes, a driver airbag, 3-point seat belts, and so on. But on the other hand, it shows its age by what it lacks: the driver airbag is the only one. There's not a single LED anywhere in or on the car. The only driver assistant is a trip computer that displays fuel economy and elapsed time. And the lighting system is utterly basic: low-tech incandescent bulbs, parabolic reflectors, and optic lenses throughout, though this particular model,