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!