Car Configurator: A Way to Kill Time

I’ve said it once, and I’ll repeat it: I love cars. I love it a lot. As I’ve said in the Top Gear article, cars are a big thing for me and driving is one of the pleasures in life I’m thanking God I can enjoy. Another thing I enjoy big time is the looks of the car, the design of them. How a car look is really the first impression you got regardless of the performance of the car will be once you drive it. The lines, the curves, hell, even the wheels might matter in how you look at a car. Even so, an article I read said that “aesthetics are the most subjective aspect about a car because they’re the one thing anyone can form a valid opinion on without the need to drive the car; all they need is a picture of the car and 2 working eyes in their skull.”

In this time of my unemployment and the fact that we’re all facing the pandemic, I found solace in the standard things: Netflix, YouTube, generally listening to a ton of music, exercising a bit, and so on. Then at around very late last year and early this year, I discovered a new way to make the day a bit less boring and depressing. I discovered this little feature of the automobile industry called the car configurator. It takes just a few clicks of your mouse or a swipe of your finger to build online the perfect car for your needs. With our configurator tool, when you know the make and model you want, you can choose your preferred color and trim, and then add any other options that are available to create a virtual version of your ideal new car and know what it costs without leaving the comfort of your bed or sofa.

This car configurator thing is something that’s not new. European and American markets have used this method as a way of purchasing a new car and making sure all the things that they want in a car is sorted out, and they can send it to the dealer, work out the finances, probably wait for a bit for the car in their personal specification to come, and then finally own it. The thing is, I couldn't really find the same sort of thing here in Indonesia. Some manufacturers have the configurator for the Indonesian market like BMW, but the models are limited and so are the options. So I guess it’s a good thing that I used mostly the UK and US configurators because I could then see the various models that I’ve only seen in car shows and car magazines.

The thing about this car configurator business is that it invigorates the petrolhead in me. The feeling of looking at these various cars makes me quite happy and it allows me to reconnect, in a way, to the world that I love. It also allows me to dream and fantasize a little, you know? Dreaming of having a Porsche, an Audi, an Aston Martin, a Lamborghini, you name it. Dreaming of seeing one or more of these cars parked in my garage and taking turns driving them, either on a coast road, or a twisty mountain road, or flat out on a highway. It might seem silly, but hell, why not.

A render of a Porsche 911 Turbo S that I made from the Porsche Car Configurator

Take for example the Porsche 911 Turbo S as shown above (as far as I can find, it’s not available in the Indonesian market, although Porsche does have a dealership here). This car is one of the flagship models of the 911 range and is one of the cars that I would really like to own. Using the Porsche Car Configurator, I manage to build this beautiful-looking car, with its Night Blue Metallic paint, Porsche SportDesign body kit, Satin Aurum wheels, Satin Aurum decorative sides, and brown leather interior. It is, I think, a beautiful combination. But as I’ve said in the first paragraph of this writing, your idea of a beautiful Porsche 911 might be different. Then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The 911 above is just one of the configurations I have stored on my laptop. By this time of writing, I have around 300 configurations (I guess I must be bored to death) and it’s all not just sports cars or supercars that I configured. I had a dabble of configuring simple everyday cars like Toyota Yaris, Honda Civic, VW Polo, so it’s not always those performance cars. I even tried configuring some vans like the Ford Transit, imagining how cool it would be to have a road trip with your friends in a big and comfortable van where you can relax and just have fun along the way.

The car configurator is really one fun way to kill time, dream a little (or huge) dream, and enjoy automotive design and technology. If you are a petrolhead, I encourage you to try this thing. Even if your not and you just want to know “how can I make a Toyota Camry as good and cool as possible”, the world of car configuration welcomes you as well. There’s no better chance of being quite satisfied with a car without even driving one. I think.

Thank you for reading, trust no one, and see you on the next post.

Bachelor's degree in International Relations from Universitas Indonesia. Football. Cars. Pop culture. Current affairs. Personal rants. Random thoughts.