Are automobile sizes determined by external or internal forces? I posed the question a couple of years ago after visiting England. I happened to notice how many of the automobiles there remained much smaller than the American counterparts. I simply asked “Why?” After contemplating this question while on the airplane-ride home as well as over the following days and weeks, I determined that the difference in sizes of American and British automobiles may be due to the differences in the size of the land. While I am sure government regulation and safety standards play a heavy-handed role in determining the shape and size of our beloved means of transportation, surely geography and the the amount of vast space here in the US translated to the availability of larger automobiles. In this way, external or environmental forces become an important factor in determining the size and design of the automobile. Surely F-250s can’t possibly be sensible in downtown London.
Another point of consideration into figuring out why automobiles are the size they are would be that the people themselves are larger. Does this mean that Americans are larger, heavier, and unhealthy compared to Britain’s citizenry? And do car companies take national size averages into consideration when designing a vehicle? While I am sure the average citizen of Britain consumes less hamburgers than Joe or Sarah from Kentucky, the idea of average weight by nationality determining the size of the automobile in the respective nations may seem like a stretch. If it were the case, the sizes in cars are at least influenced slightly by internal forces: namely, Joe’s sizable gut inside the automobile.
Mustangs. Camaros. Model-Ts. Jaguar XK120s. Every vintage Corvette known to man. Local auto-shows will soon be taking place with spring in the air in small towns across the United States. If you ever happen to stroll into such a town in late March, April, May, and June, chances are you will hear about, read about, or see a local auto-show taking place. While some car snobs may raise their nose at such events and shun them like the plague, these shows can be bursting with automotive surprises and gems. Being from a small, rural town myself, I always enjoyed the auto-show we held in town. People displayed typical Americana from the muscle car era. And while I am not exactly a muscle car enthusiast, the camaraderie and friendly smiles were always present. Most of these folks take great pride and enjoyment in their automobile, and you always hear an interesting story behind not just the car but also about the owner. While overalls and boots may be the attire of choice at these events and be a turn-off to some, the love of the automobile present at these local auto-shows is undeniable. I encourage anyone who is truly an automobile enthusiast to support their local auto-show by attending or participating in the event. Drive Spiritedly.
Will the tire ever be replaced? I have found myself asking that question more often lately. At first, I thought I was being ridiculous: “Of course it won’t be! You don’t honestly believe in Jetson-like transportation, do you?!” While nothing would be as awesome as flying cars and what not, I decided to run with the idea of what would replace the tire. Recently, I saw a small, demonstrative video of the future tire: it was as sphere. It contained magnetic materials that allowed the car to levitate upon the tire itself thus making for a smooth, efficient ride. It was quite bizarre but interesting nonetheless! While this may be an impractical solution, I don’t see replacing the tire as a waste of time and thought process.
Tires and the friction made by tires upon the surface of the road wield great influence over fuel emissions, speed, safety, and road infrastructure. Replacing the tire could mean a great increase in fuel efficiency and safety whilst traveling. It would also drastically change motorsports and the way car enthusiasts enjoy driving their vehicle. However, one of the biggest changes would be the type of roads and travel infrastructure as pavement could become obsolete. By changing the tire, the entire automobile would change, the way we enjoy them could change, and the actual world and environment in which we drive them would change. Replacing the tire would mean reworking the car and, in some sense, the world. What do you think? Let me know!
NASCAR. Formula-1. World Rally Championship. Drifting. Endurance Racing. There are numerous types of automotive sports and racing that exist in the world. Sometimes I wonder though: why? What is the purpose of such sports? There is the obvious reason of these events being entertaining to some. And while seeing Lewis Hamilton lap someone in Formula-1 can be exhilarating, not all of us are Jeremy Clarkson and cry “Oh Britannia!” every five minutes. Of course, Formula-1 is a great sport with a great history. Don’t get me wrong; it is a lovely thing to behold. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing the top-tech duking it out lap after lap in a flurry of speed? Formula-1 also has the benefit of testing technology that would trickle down into production vehicles; thus, it also serves the purpose of helping the car world.
And NASCAR – why? If I wanted to see the shell of an Impala with sticker-headlights go 220 mph, I would invest in a catapult and launch Fischer-Price toy cars toward the sun. It has to be the least entertaining form of automotive sport in existence; for me, at least. The technology in these NASCAR cars also seems to come from the time when people still transported goods via Ox. In other words, it doesn’t remain a really relevant test-bed for automotive technology. Somehow, though, it remains one of the most popular sports here in the States. Drifting also seems useless as a test-bed for technology in cars, but at least it has a higher entertainment factors than watching Fisher-Price-like cars going in a giant circle.
There can be arguments made for both entertainment and technology-testing for each major form of automotive sport. And while entertainment is great, seeing, hearing, and reading about the new wave of the automotive future can be the most entertaining aspect of it all. While this may seem like a noble to be involved in automotive sports, I am also of the mind that seeing the Porsche 919 LMP1 car destroy a lap at Le Mans or reruns of the Audi Quattro take on a World Rally Stage is just flipping awesome.
What is your favorite automotive sport and why? Let me know!
So, you are an environmental warrior? Great. The environment does need some help, especially today. Perhaps you aren’t, and that is your business. However, for those who do care about the environment, yet love cars, maybe purchasing a used or classic vehicle is an easy way to help out as well as help out your wallet. Why? Because you will not be purchasing something that is, at present, creating a massive carbon foot-print to manufacture and create. The used and/or classic car has already made its mark on the environment in some way, and there is no taking that back. Sure, the older cars may not have the fancy bells and whistles. And it may get around 17 miles to the gallon. But, you will not be contributing to any more environmental impact at the present from manufacturing which is where a lot of the issues come from. This is just an idea, and in no way has it been proven. But, it is something to think about. So go ahead, buy that awesome 1990s Porsche or Ford Bronco. You will not only be rolling in style and driving a car that puts a giant grin on your face, but you may be helping out the environment today to enjoy it tomorrow.
Is patina a good thing? Or does that answer depend on what type of car has the patina? Use and signs of wear can actually look good on some cars, in my opinion. However, some cars don’t wear patina too well. Example A: Pagani Zonda. While hearing one tear down a road at full blast is amazing, just looking at one in a showroom also becomes a special event.
What about a car that looks good with wear? Example B: Bugatti Type-35. This is also an extremely expensive car, but it looks good with some wear on its fringes. So, what separates the two? This leads to an interesting thought: is one more of a piece of art and the other a tool? And: can a car be art? Undoubtedly, if you are reading this blog, you more than likely think that cars can be considered art. But can something that can be art still be art after the beating of years on twisty roads and use? I think so; however, the Type-35 does have the honor of being a racing vehicle while the Zonda remains something for consumption. Both, however, remain coveted. Perhaps the design and purpose of the car becomes, then, a determinant on whether or not it a) is art and b) if it looks good with patina.
What do you think? I would like to know! Commence the commenting!
The Natchez Trace Parkway, stretching from the outskirts of Nashville, TN to Natchez, MS, has to be one of the best, if not the best, driving road in the United States. It is well paved, provides excellent curves, and gorgeous scenery of the South’s countryside. While there are several cyclists on the road typically given the time of year as well as an underwhelming speed limit, it remains one of the best driving roads I have ever driven. And while being able to go a little bit faster wouldn’t hurt, driving near the speed limit provides you with the opportunity to savor the experience and soak up the road in all its wonder. It is a wonderful place to drive spiritedly, and we cannot ask for more from a road. What do you think is the best driving road in the United States? Please comment!