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Firing Order: My TV Needs a Show About Buying 4x4s

Posted in Features on October 17, 2017
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Occasionally I watch television shows about home buying. You know, those shows where prospective buyers are introduced; we learn what they do for a living and what their budget is; then they tour three homes for sale. They look over each home, editorializing along the way, and then they select one to purchase. Oh, and then there’s usually a follow-up segment showing the “before” and “after” views of the house.

The home-buying shows filmed in the mountains or Alaska hold my limited TV attention span the most, and I especially dig the show that features log homes. My DVR is littered with these shows, and there seem to be so many episodes being cranked out that I can’t keep up. As I watch these shows, I amuse myself by speculating on which home a buyer is going to choose. Sometimes I nail it, and sometimes I’m way off.

Being a 4x4 junkie, I’d like to see a show that chronicles folks buying 4x4s. Hey, if it’s interesting to watch people buy houses, then watching people buy 4x4s would be even better. I think it would be interesting to see which 4x4 a buyer would choose from a trio of offerings, but more importantly, the reasoning behind the decision. This would be especially fascinating if the 4x4s were all pre-owned and modified to some degree. Like a realtor showing a house, the host would set up the segment. Something like, “This ’14 Super Duty has the Power Stroke, 6-inch suspension lift, lockers, 37s, and an asking price of $50,000. Why don’t you take it for a spin, and I’ll wait here.” Naturally, the interior of the truck would be festooned with cameras recording the prospective buyer’s observations regarding the truck’s performance and condition, and a camera-equipped drone would be gathering footage from above as the potential buyer took the truck for a testdrive—off-road, of course.

I think feature-wise there would be parallels between a 4x4-buying show and a home-buying show. A suspension lift is the equivalent of granite countertops; larger wheels and tires are like hardwood floors; ’80s paint styles are like popcorn ceilings; dual-zone climate control is like a bathroom vanity with double sinks; and axles with diff lockers and chromoly axleshafts are like a complete off-grid solar energy generating system.

Of course, there would probably be the usual drama. If the buyer’s budget is $40,000, but the third truck in the collection, which the buyer loves (“It checks all the boxes!”), is $50,000 and there are already multiple offers, then the buyer may have to make a more aggressive offer. Naturally, when the show boomerangs back for an update in 2-3 months, we’d get to see and hear how the 4x4 is being used and modified.

Recently, one of my friends was planning to buy a brand-new 3/4-ton 4x4 pickup. He had his game on, and over the course of several weeks had researched and testdriven several brands and models of trucks. All he talked about was a certain brand of truck, so it seemed like a no-brainer that this truck would be his choice. But on the day he cut the deal, he brought home a totally different brand that he hadn’t even mentioned. What swayed his decision? Was it an aggressive salesperson? A better deal? A superior truck? I have no stake in his choice; I’m just curious because if it’s 4x4 related, I’m interested. I could ask him to outline his thought process, recount the testdrive experience, and give the lowdown on the pros and cons. But if there had been a camera crew following him around I could just watch the entire 4x4-buying process unfold in detail on television, which would answer all my questions. Yeah, I’d watch that.

—Ken Brubaker

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