Celebrity Drive: Spin Doctors' Lead Singer Chris Barron
via Motor Trend
Quick Stats: Chris Barron, lead singer, Spin Doctors
Daily Driver: 2018 Subaru Impreza (Chris' rating: 10 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: See below
Favorite road trip: Spin Doctors' first national tour
Car he learned to drive in: Ford Econoline van
First car bought: 1993 Subaru Legacy
Spin Doctors' lead singer Chris Barron used to own police cars, but when his wife and daughter suggested something more current and passenger-friendly, he chose to go back to a familiar brand—a 2018 Subaru Impreza.
"I've always loved Subarus. I loved that independent four-wheel drive. I leased one of those, a 2015, [and when the] lease ran out I just went right back and got another one. It's small enough to be able to park it in the city if you need to," says Barron, who lives in New York City. "I used to have a '42 Ford wood-paneled wagon, but it wasn't my everyday driver."
Barron gives the Impreza a perfect 10. He calls it the "Nighthawk" and gets extra coverage on his leases. "It's my little pal that I drive around in. I'm a musician, so I'm always driving around and I need a little extra space. For a car of its size, it's enormous. I moved my daughter home from college and she acquired so much stuff, and it was like, 'I don't know if we'll fit this stuff in here.' We totally did," he says with a laugh. "We put the seats down, and it was nuts. I totally moved her home from college. It's got personality. It's an inexpensive, fun car that you're never going to get stuck anywhere. It's a mountain goat. I never worry about it."
Before the Impreza, he had a 2004 Crown Victoria he bought after he ran his 1997 Crown Victoria "into the ground," as he says. "They're both Police Interceptors. The first one was my favorite. It had the old body style, the back end of it looked like a gigantic bar of soap," Barron says. "I could always see it in a parking lot."
The car still had features from when it was a police car. "It had the trunk release. Cops had put in this big trunk release button right in the middle of the dashboard. When my daughter was small, I used to call it the history eraser button because I didn't want her to press it. The trunk would just open up," he says. "It had a roadblock in it. The trunk would come up and it had a lighting rig, it was like two big brake lights that would just flash left-right, left-right."
Barron loved how his Crown Vic made other cars around him react. "That car was amazing," he says. "You'd pull up aggressively behind somebody in the left lane, and you could see them see you in the rearview mirror, because the whole car would do this sudden shimmy. And you could see their hands tighten on the wheel and the whole car would do a little wiggle and immediately the blinker would come on and they'd get out of your way."
Barron's dad, automotive journalist Ken Gross, was the person who suggested it. "My dad was like, 'You should get a Crown Victoria.' We're Ford people. He's not a Chevy guy, so no Impala. I immediately loved the idea," he says. "It was really no frills; there wasn't even a mirror in the visor. It was fast as hell, it had the good old cop shocks, cop struts, the big engine. It was just a freaking awesome car."
Barron said it was a perfect daily driver for New York City, although he drove it all over the country. "People are going to scratch the car, it's going to get dinged and bumped, and I didn't care," he says. "Driving in New York City is like a big game of chicken, but the person with the worst car wins. I'm driving this $9,000 huge Crown Victoria, and you're going to come at me with your Mercedes? I don't think so, I'm going first. People see a car like that coming and they just get out of the way in New York City."
FIRST CAR BOUGHT
Barron bought his current Impreza because he liked his first car a lot. It was a 1993 Subaru Legacy wagon, which he bought with money he made from the Spin Doctors. He got inspired to buy that car from his best friend in college.
"My pal from Bennington College always had a soft spot for these Subarus, and we had lots of adventures, those crazy college adventures," he says. "He was this punk rock guy, and he had a really old maroon Subaru. His was super beat up, the paint was all worn down, and he wrote or painted on the side 'The Piece of Work.' So I always had a soft spot for the Subaru wagon."
He drove his Subaru around Washington state. "The one little moment in my life that I didn't live in New York City, I lived in Washington," he says. "And I spent a year there, I was like, 'What am I doing?' And I moved back to New York City because I'm just a New York City guy. I'm a Northeastern guy."
What clinched his brand loyalty to Subaru was the time he was on a snowy road in the mountains east of Seattle. "I took that car up into the mountains right when I got it and I drove onto this road and the road turned into a dirt road and then I got way up into the mountains and it got snowy and there was nowhere to turn around so I kept going and going," he recalls.
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