What determines the size of automobiles?

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.

 

What do you think? Let me know!

 

Drive Spiritedly.

-JRB

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Support Your Local Auto-Show

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.

 

-JRB

Car Technology – What do you want to see?

Technology in the automobile has been amazing the past few years. From Apple and Android creating easy-to-use, familiar interfaces that integrate from your mobile device to steering-in-lane controls that guide your car within the lines on a road, the automobile is getting smarter to keep up with consumer technology and to keep us safer. Some cars even have mobile device wireless charging decks built into the vehicle’s center console! While nothing sounds better than charging your phone while also streaming music via Bluetooth to your speakers while also streaming your favorite navigation app on a long tip, where else do we need to go in regard to car technology? Is car tech just a mirror of consumer technology as in the case of smartphones and their various applications?

Some may say that autonomously driving vehicle is the next step in car technology, and that may be true. However, with consistent tragic wrecks taking place with self-driving technology, is this really the future? And what about engine technology? We don’t know what the future has in store, but I think we can all agree that maintaining the excitement of the automobile needs to remain a key factor in whatever technology emerges.

What are your thoughts? Please comment!

 

Drive Spiritedly.

-JRB

Will the Sports Car disappear?

Will the sports car disappear? Or will the term or the definition of “performance” simply evolve? With environmentalists, active politicians, and concerned manufacturers moving for changes, it may seem like doom-and-gloom for the high-performance, gasoline-burning sports car. Of course there is an environmental and air-quality impact of burning fossil fuels; no doubt about that. However, with changes on the horizon for transportation and the fuel for that transportation, will the feeling of sporty handling, raw power, and all of the bells-and-whistles of a sporty car still be there?

BMW, Tesla, McLaren, Porscche, Ferrari, Fisker, and others are making either hybrid or fully-electric vehicles in their range and claim sportiness on par with, if not excelling, their gasoline counterparts. Plus, these vehicles add excellent mpg, massive amounts of torque and power, and other things to the list that some cars with combustion engines don’t offer. Will the idea of “sportiness” or “fun” change as transportation changes? I don’t mean to bring doom-and-gloom to your Saturday mornings, but I am optimistic and say that the sports car will exist and thrive in the years to come. The engineering involved in making sports cars will not just suddenly disappear; engineers and designers will adapt and continue to produce “sportiness” with the changes being made.

What do you think? Do you think sports cars will end with the demise of the combustion engine? Please comment below! Also, don’t forget to subscribe for updates to the blog as well as to the Twitter account @SpiritedDrive

Drive Spiritedly.

-JRB

Wednesday Luncheon Post: What gives a car “soul?”

What gives a car “soul?” What is a “personality” in a car? When does a car not have a soul and personality? If you read a lot of automotive journalism, whether in the newspaper, on a blog, on a video online, or in a magazine, you sometimes notice that the phrase “the car has soul” or something similar appears. Can soul or personality even be engineered? And if yes, what does that mean? While some may claim that these questions are merely based on semantics or are too far into the weeds of philosophy, reviewers, writers, and journalists all seem, at one point of another, to make a decisive claim on this question. What becomes interesting is what determines or defines “soul” in a car. Is it the exhaust note that makes a car “souldful?” Is it the precise engineering that gives a car soul or take it away? Some claim a car has soul and personality due to the numerable flaws, break-downs, and “temperaments” of the car and claim “Oh look! Personality! It makes a fuss; it has a soul!” But do cars only have souls if they break or fall apart?

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While philosophical arguments can be made on either side of the question “Do cars have souls?”and take us into left field, I see that cars do in fact have souls and distinct personalities. This view isn’t based on the fact that cars break, have an exquisite exhaust note, or philosophical arguments. No. I believe that despite what engineering and physics may tell us about why a car does not have a soul, I remain and maintain optimistic belief that owners and drivers lend their own passion, zest, enthusiasm, and “soul” into their cars because of their love for them. Cars become more than machines at this point; they become extensions and mirrors of ourselves.

What do you think? Please comment below!

 

Drive Spiritedly.

-JRB, Editor.

 

The Spirited Drive Returns! – It’s Back!

And The Spirited Drive is back! Apologies for the hiatus, but life seems to have an interesting way of postponing the truly important things; like this blog. So, in order to speed up the omg-its-back process, highlights of what has happened this past year, what is happening now, and what is to happen in the world of automobiles that excite, make the heart race, and are easy on the eyes will be posted starting this coming Monday. There will be pieces including the return of Alfa Romeo to the U.S., the new BMW M4/M3, McLaren P1 amazingness, new things from Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG, and many other exciting pieces. Expect a steady release of news, opinions, and stories every week that involve all things automobile.

While this past year has been a difficult separation from the duties of the blog, the auto world has been a buzz! It is such an exciting time to be into anything with a motor, wheels, and a steering-wheel: new models are being released; new concepts are being drawn; and new technologies are breaking ground in the automotive world. As well as a plethora of pieces coming out in The Spirited Drive blog, expect more pictures (eventually), new video content (to be debuted on the YouTube network and channel), and more social media updates. Remember to subscribe to this blog via email, but also remember to follow The Spirited Drive on Twitter @SpiritedDrive and to subscribe to the YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/TheSpiritedDrive! We will also be opening up a Google+ account as well! Remember as always to have a spirited drive every now and then!

– JRB, Editor-in-Chief