Automotive Archive

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Lawyer Problem

My first word was car and much of my spare money growing up went into my MR2 to make it look nicer and go faster.  I was never much of a fan of ‘Murkan cars.  I was too young to have experienced the muscle cars of the 60′s and 70′s, I remember the K-Car and the Minivan.  There are really only 2 that I truly admire and would feel fortunate to own one day, 1-the Buick Grand National and 2-the Dodge Viper. 

grand national

dodge viper

The Viper first appeared as a concept at the very end of the 80′s and went on sale in the early 90′s when I was 10 years old and it looked amazing, It was stylized but a brute at the same time; like a mullet, it business up front, party in the back (lol).

One time I got the opportunity to ride in one of the earlier models (red with yellow wheels) and it stood out to me similar to the times I got to ride in a Lotus Esprit V8 and an Acura NSX, it was breathtaking.  My personal favorite is when they slightly redesigned the original model but offered it in hardtop version; the 1996 GTS (blue with white stripes).  If I had a stack of bills equal to what someone was asking for one right now, I would be hard-pressed to pass it up.

1996 viper gts

I hate lawyers (like most every respectable person) but their reign of terror has gone too far today.  93 Vipers are going to be crushed because of them (see story below).  Chrysler donated 93 to tech schools but 2 of them had students take the cars out for joyrides.

Shame on the school for not properly keeping the cars secure and shame on the 2 sets of kids ruining this for the other 91, but a pox on the lawyers of this country that have created a lawsuit happy environment where Chrysler makes a financial decision to mandate the cars be destroyed because they fear (rightly so) they will be held liable for damages the joyriders might cause.

To cut down on the “lawyer problem” I propose policies/laws similar to this JLA clip to be instituted.

evil lawyer

 

Chrysler orders 93 rare early Vipers to the crusher

The original Dodge Viper revealed in 1992 was a beast of a machine — an attempt by then-Chrysler exec Bob Lutz to revive the spirit of the Shelby Cobra and give Chrysler a world-class sports car. Powered by a massive V-10 with 400 hp, the early Viper’s brute force overwhelmed many drivers.

Today, the power that made the Viper a legend appears to be at the heart of an order from Chrysler to dozens of trade schools, demanding the immediate destruction of some 93 early Vipers, including a preproduction model that could likely fetch a couple hundred thousand dollars at auction.

According to The Olympian, the staff of South Puget Sound Community College was told by a Chrysler official that their Viper had to be crushed within two weeks. It’s common for automakers to donate cars to automotive shop classes, and in many cases the vehicles in such donations aren’t saleable — meaning the company technically still owns the cars. School officials say Chrysler told them two of the 93 early Vipers given to schools had been involved in accidents by joyriding students, creating a major liability for Chrysler.

Of those 93, the Viper at SPSCC stands out. It was the fourth Viper ever built, with a prototype hard top years before Dodge offered a production version. With no emissions controls, and no speed limiter, the V-10 can make 600 hp, and school instructors say it could be worth $250,000 to a museum or private Viper fan.

“It’s like the day Kennedy was shot,” Norm Chapman, automotive technology professor at SPSCC, told The Olympian. “No one will forget where they were when they heard the news.”

There’s several precedents for Chrysler’s order, the most memorable being General Motors’ decision to destroy all of its original EV1 electric vehicles after a safety recall it decied not to repair; the few that remain in universities and museums have been permanently disabled. The Vipers at SPSCC and other schools were useful more for promotion than education, but trashing a piece of automotive history seems like a differnent kind of educational tool: Punishing everyone for the mistakes of a few.

Original HERE.

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The NYC Tale of “Mad Max” Gets Worse

I wrote about this incident last week, it was “Looks Like A Scene From Mad Max”.  It is a disgusting display of aggression and attempt at intimidation by a gang of scumbag motorcyclists.  A husband and wife out on their anniversary with their 2yo child should not be dealing with this type of dystopian BS.

mad max biker gang 2

Well I found out this weekend that the story has gotten even more ridiculous.  There were somewhere between 2-5 of New York Swinest amongst this biker gang who were present during this incident.  One allegedly is an undercover Narcotics Officer (he was not undercover investigating this gang, he is a member).

pig on a motorcyle

It sure looks like they did nothing to protect the innocent civilians while their fellow members physically attacked the Range Rover.  The driver’s wife hysterical called 911 repeatedly to no avail.  However many of these pigfuks that were present stood down and did nothing while this incident occurred and continued to escalate.

boy that escalated quickly

They did nothing as the group brought the SUV to a halt and stopped traffic on the entire highway behind them.  They did nothing when their club members attacked the vehicle.  When the driver went to escape they did not call in the incident.  A fellow “member” was run over and the officer(s) didn’t call it in.  They did not call in the high speed chase and they did not call in when the driver was stopped in traffic, dragged out of his car and had a mudhole stomped in him.  A 50 yo civilian bystander (Sergio Consuegra) ended up stepping between them to stop the beating to end the assault.  The off-duty narcotics officer did not let his superiors know that he was present for 3 days.  If this video/incident hadn’t gone viral and he wasn’t 100% sure he would eventually be implicated I don’t think he ever would have come forward.

When this story was brought to my attention by a buddy he was asking me what I would have done if my wife and I, who also have a 2yo, were in the same situation while out in my truck.  If a motorcyle gang such as this was messing with us I would have done all that I could to never have stopped my vehicle, PERIOD.  Forward or reverse, 2WD or throwing it in 4WD I would have kept moving and if necessary employ it as  a wrecking ball plowing through those scumbags bikers.  And if I would have been forced to a stop, then I would have used a firearm to defend myself and my family.

And that is where the additional twist comes in because some of the “members” were off-duty cops.  Under some circumstances people have been charged with “assaulting a police officer” for things as small as poking a plain clothes or off-duty pigfuk with their finger.

If this happened in Detroitadelphia (where I would have been legally carrying) and the off-duty cops also happen to be carrying, what would have happened if I would have been forced to fire on the bikers as they attacked me?  Would the officer had still not done anything or would he have finally made it known that he was a cop and tried to “restore order” by telling me to put my gun down.  I thinks it’s a little too f#%ken late for that.  Imgaine yourself as the driver of the SUV, had a gun and used it for self-defense and then one of the gang members flashed a tin badge, barked they were a police officer after the ordeal you had already been through and pointed their gun at you and told you to put your gun down:  I know exactly what I would have done, do you?

None of us should be surprised by this.  The police are nothing but a gang themselves (the “real” gang in blue).  They have very large numbers of dedicated members who constantly protect their own along with a large section of the population (copsuckers) who almost endlessly give them slack and make excuses for them.  These pigs employ the use of force and constantly act aggressively against the people they say they serve (I can’t even say or type that without laughing out loud).  And they proudly do it all (much of it immoral) under the veil of justice, law and order as if their monopoly on the use of force is a societal imperative. 

They are not there to protect you, it is a job and they are there to make a living (off of you).

gang in bluegang in blue 2

 

NYPD Investigating Off-Duty Cops’ Presence at SUV Driver Attack

Oct. 6, 2013
            By LINZIE JANIS,  and 

Aaron Katersky More from Aaron »
Aaron Katersky
Correspondent, ABC News
Josh Margolin More from Josh »
Senior Investigative Reporter
PHOTO: Daphne Avalon posted video, 'Black Range Rover Runs Over Bikers in NYC,' on YouTube showing a biker and car chase ending in biker smashing the drivers window and assaulting him.

Caught on Tape: Victim Turns Tables on Alleged Attackers

Among those off duty officers was an undercover narcotics cop who came forward to his superiors days after the incident, according to officials. He did not get involved in the beating out of fear that his cover would be blown, sources said.

The cop’s identity has not been released by the NYPD. The officer’s involvement was also the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation, sources said.

Another other off-duty officer riding with the group was also believed to have been nearby when the incident occurred, sources said.

Police Release Photo of Person of Interest in Alleged SUV Driver Beating

Investigators are also looking into reports that there were three other off-duty cops who may have been near the sport bike ride that ended with the alleged attack on Range Rover driver Alexian Lien, but were not close enough to see the incident, officials told ABC News.

Lien was driving his SUV on the West Side Highway in Manhattan with his wife and 2-year-old as part of a wedding anniversary celebration around 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, when their SUV was surrounded by the motorcyclists, who were doing an annual ride through the city, police and Lien’s wife said.

The bikers tried to slow traffic and one biker cut Lien off, slowing down and leading Lien to bump into the biker, police said. The group of motorcyclists then slowed down further and surrounded the SUV, and in response Lien accelerated away from the group.

Lien’s wife, Rosalyn Ng, said her husband feared for their lives when he decided to take off to get away from the group. As he sped off, Lien hit some of the motorcyclists, critically injuring one, authorities said.

Other motorcyclists chased Lien’s SUV and then bashed in his windows, pulled him out of the car, and beat him, police said.

Two men seen on video committing the most violent actions at the scene are in custody.

Robert Sims, 35, who allegedly grabbed the SUV’s door about five minutes into the video, turned himself in to police Friday in Brooklyn, NYPD officials said.

He faces charges of gang assault, assault and criminal possession of a weapon, police said this morning.

Sims was arrested in 1998 for possession of a loaded firearm and a samurai sword, and he served eight months in jail, police said.

Reginald Chance, 38, of Brooklyn, also surrendered to police late Friday. He allegedly was the man seen on video using his helmet to smash the driver’s side window of the Range Rover before the video cut off and the alleged assault took place.

Chance’s possible role in the alleged assault beyond the window smashing was not immediately clear.

He was arraigned today in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of gang assault, assault in the first degree, criminal possession of a weapon, menacing, and criminal mischief.

His bail was set at $100,000 bond or $75,000 cash, and he was due to return to court Oct. 11.

Chance and his attorney conceded the criminal mischief charge, admitting that Chance smashed in the window of the SUV, but said they will fight all the other charges.

Chance’s attorney, Gregory Watts, said Chance was not a participant in any gang assault and that his client was a victim. He asked for a separate grand jury to investigate whether Lien committed a crime by driving into other cyclists, including his client.

Meanwhile, Sergio Consuegra, who is seen in NYPD fliers with his arms stretched out protecting Lien from the bikers, was honored in Washington Heights today for his bravery.

Consuegra told ABC station WABC-TV in New York that he intervened in the beating when he saw a biker grabbing Ng through the car window, telling her, “You’re going to get it too.”

Newly released photos show the SUV’s passenger side window where Ng was sitting was smashed in, as well as the driver’s side window.

“At that moment, I said I have to do something,” Consuegra said. “There’s a family in danger here and they’re going to get killed. Nobody intervened in this situation and nobody’s stepping in.”

Consuegra said the biker left Ng alone after the crowd began screaming for help. Then, he said he saw a badly bloodied Lien on the ground, getting bashed in the head with a helmet.

“I went up there, right away to them, and I stood in the middle,” he said. “I went, ‘No. No, that’s it. Let it go guys. You did what you did.’

“Then somehow, one of them moved, started moving and I said, ‘Yeah, this is enough now,’” he said.

ABC News’ Alexis Shaw contributed to this report.

Original HERE.

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He Told You So

Eric Peters wishes he was wrong but…. he wasn’t. 

told you so

The government bodies are hard at work turning this:

ford car

into this:

prison cell

The automobile used to represent freedom but now the state is turning them into a rolling prison cell we are supposed to ride in on our way to a job (maybe) so that we can be robbed of our income by the very same people all so that they can further empower themselves to continue working for us (sic).

Tell me again why government is necessary…?

If it wasn’t so tragic, it would be amusing.

amusingly tragic

Well, I Told You So… .

by

Remember a few weeks back when I wrote about the ’14 Lincoln MKZ – and the creepy real-time updating “Speed Limit Currently Is” warning icon displayed in the gauge cluster? The way it knew whether you were “speeding”? The way the car slowed down without any input from you when it felt the need? (Read here for more about that.) Big Brother car lead picture

Now comes confirmation – via Europe – where it’s all ultimately headed. You’re not gonna like it. But don’t say I didn’t warn you:

The European Commission’s Mobility and Transport Department – which wields regulatory power over most of Western Europe’s roads – has put forth a proposal under the typically banal-bureaucratic-sounding rubric, Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA). It would use the technology I referenced in the MKZ write-up – which endows a car with the power to know the speed limit on any given road, updated continuously in real time via in car-cameras/ GPS – in conjunction with automated braking – to electronically prevent the car from ever being driven faster than the posted speed limit.

News story here.

Big Brother car

The hard (and soft) ware would be made mandatory – and not only for new cars. Older cars that didn’t come with the technology from the factory would be required to submit to a retrofitting – at the expense of the owner, of course.

But the most ominous angle is the one not mentioned in any news story. It is, simply, that all cars more than a few years old would be banned from the road if this measure becomes law. Reason? They can’t be retrofitted. At least, not within economic reason.

For instance, if a vehicle does not have ABS – four-wheel ABS (many trucks, even fairly recent models, only have rear-wheel ABS) – it can’t be made to brake automatically, via computer control. The only way to “fix” that would be to gut and replace the factory-installed non-ABS brake system with an ABS system – and now we’re talking money. An ABS pump, wheel speed sensors at each wheel, specialized master cylinder and brake distribution box – plus all the necessary software to make it work – tied into a computer capable of governing the works (the factory unit may not be, in which case, a new, ABS-friendly computer would also be required).

2013 MKZ warning light

You’d need to address throttle inputs – and that entails drive-by-wire, which most cars more than a few years old do not have. Ditto the GPS unit – necessary for the “real time” updating of speed limit data as you drive.

Holy mother! There is some money to be made.

And control to be had.

But here’s where it gets really clever: If a given vehicle does not have a computer at all, forget it. Such cars also can’t be controlled – at least, not without a wholesale re-engineering of their entire drivetrains at prohibitive cost. This means virtually all cars made before the early 1980s  – and almost all motorcycles, for you bikers, made before the early 2000s – would be rendered illegal to operate.

Dennis Vafier

You might say: So what? That’s The EU, not the US. To which I’d reply: If only. What’s done in Europe first – everything from the Prussian government school model to the UK’s cameras everywhere – seems to be imitated here within a few years.

I have been ranting about this eventuality like a kind of automotive Savanarola for years now. Perhaps it is because, as an automotive journalist, I have become pretty good at noticing automotive trends before they become obvious to people outside the industry. The way the pieces are going to fit into the puzzle. One such piece of the puzzle is the fact that the car companies have gone completely corporate. They no longer cross swords with government. They might as well be an agency of the government. They have learned it is easier – and much more profitable – to anticipate what government will eventually mandate.

And more, to push themselves for it being made mandatory.

black box picture

That way, instead of having to sweat, say, a competitor who does not force-feed its customers black box data recorders, they all get together and egg on the passage of a law requiring them to force-feed customers black box data recorders. GM tried to do do this with Daytime Running Lamps, too. And it is exactly how we’ll be force-fed things like mandatory in-car GPS, cameras that can “see” speed limit signs – and automatic throttle control/braking to force us to obey them.

How could anyone object? After all, it is accepted conventional wisdom that “speed” kills. Why, therefore, should anyone be allowed to speed? (Cops and Dear Leaders excepted, of course.)

control freak picture

The only way to counteract any of this is to challenge the basis of all of it. Not merely the idiocy that “speed” kills. That’s just Romper Room twaddle and everyone – Clovers excepted – knows it already. The more profound avenue of attack is to challenge the right of our would-be (and, increasingly, actual) controllers to control us in any way whatsoever, absent actual harm done to others – including most of all for our “safety” – which is none of their got-damned business.

When enough of us awaken to this – and get mad enough to insist that our right to be left in peace absent actual harm done to others be respected, that no other individual (or group of individuals) has any right to meddle in our affairs in any way whatsoever unless someone else has been harmed – then the problem will take care of itself.

Our task is to incite rage against any person – inside government or inside a corporation  – who thinks he’s got the right to control/restrain/threaten his fellow man for any reason that’s not self-defense.

For his “safety” least of all.

Throw it in the Woods?

PS: We have thrown Google – and Google ads – in the woods. They blacklisted us – so we dumped them. See here for the full story about that. So, we need your support to make a go of it and keep EPautos rolling. Please consider supporting this web site in whatever way you’re able. The link to our “donate” area is here. Thanks in advance!

Original HERE.

 

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An Auction For The Ages

No comment necessary…

Vintage Chevy auction to deal in low-mileage gems

In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, auctioneer Yvette VanDerBrink stands in front of a brand new, old 1963 Chevrolet Impala and a brand new, old 1958 Cameo pickup truck, right, at the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Associated Press

GRANT SCHULTE6 hours ago
PIERCE, Neb. (AP) — Seventeen years have passed since Ray Lambrecht closed his Chevrolet dealership, a small-town operation in northeast Nebraska with a big and valuable secret.

For decades, the owner of the Lambrecht Chevrolet Co. in Pierce held on to new cars and trucks that didn’t sell right away. He stashed them in warehouses, at his farm and in other spots around the town he worked in for 50 years.

Now, his automotive nest egg — about 500 vintage cars and trucks — will go on the auction block. Next month, visitors from at least a dozen countries and throughout the U.S. will converge on the 1,800-resident town, or bid online.

The two-day auction will feature mostly unsold Chevrolets that have sat untouched for decades. They’ll go on the block in as-is condition. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable, including a rare Chevy Cameo pickup, could fetch six-figure bids from collectors who view them as works of art to display or as restoration projects.

“To find this many new, old vehicles is unheard of,” said Yvette VanDerBrink, the auctioneer coordinating the event. “It’s like a white buffalo.”

In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, old Chevrolet automobiles, …
In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, old Chevrolet automobiles, including a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, right, a …

Preparations for the auction began in June, and VanDerBrink has taken calls from as far as Iceland, Singapore and Brazil. The two least-driven cars, a 1959 Bel Air and a 1960 Corvair Monza, each have one mile on their odometer. The oldest vehicle with fewer than 20 miles dates to 1958; the newest is a 1980 Monza with nine miles.

On a recent afternoon, VanDerBrink stepped over hubcaps and engine parts in the cramped, dust-caked dealership that closed in 1996. In the corner sat the sky-blue 1958 Cameo with 1.3 miles, a cracked windshield and a dented roof — but its interior is unblemished.

Nearby, a red-and-white 1963 Impala waits with 11.4 miles logged. Manufacturer’s plastic covers the seats. The car was never titled. A yellowed, typewritten window sticker touts its original price: $3,254.70.

Ray Lambrecht opened the downtown dealership with his uncle in 1946, on the corner of Main Street and Nebraska Highway 13. Live elephants meandered out front that day, with Chevrolet banners across their backs.

The U.S. Army veteran quickly established himself as an unusual salesman: He gave his lowest price up-front, without negotiation, and encouraged hagglers to try to find a better deal elsewhere. He rarely advertised, but was one of the first dealers in Nebraska to lease vehicles.

In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, a tree grows through the …
In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, a tree grows through the bumper of a 1962 Ford Falcon at a field near t …

His low-price, high-volume approach helped secure regular government contracts, and he often sold cars to the state. In 1954, Lambrecht drove then-Gov. Robert Crosby down Main Street in a parade celebrating the 100-year anniversary of Nebraska as a territory.

Lambrecht rarely sold cars or pickups that were more than a year old, and he used holdover models as a kind of rainy-day fund. Unlike most dealers who lowered prices to move out-of-date inventory, he assumed the older cars would appreciate over time.

“I believe that Dad’s sales approach reflected his personal style,” said his daughter, Jeannie Stillwell. “He is a very honest, straightforward man who was focused on giving his customers the best price right from the start. Negotiating over price was a waste of time, and so that element of the sale was eliminated.”

The most valuable vehicles were stored for decades at a nearby warehouse, until a heavy snow collapsed the roof. Some were damaged, but many were saved and moved elsewhere. And the models at the dealership are among the best preserved, even as the building gave way to bats and holes in the roof.

The rest of the cars sat under trees at a nearby farm the Lambrechts owned, in the company of trade-in vehicles he didn’t want to resell. Years passed, and trees started to poke through fenders and rusted pickup beds. The dealership’s longtime mechanic lived on the farm, but when he died, his family moved away. Vandals and thieves pounced.

In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, rare Corvairs and pickup …

In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, rare Corvairs and pickup trucks are lined up in a field near the former …

Ray and his wife, Mildred, retired in 1996. Ray, 95, and Mildred, 92, live in town, but the couple’s health has declined. They decided to sell the collection so others could enjoy the cars and pickups, Stillwell said.

News of the auction enthralled the vintage car community, where rumors have swirled for years about a quirky Nebraska dealer who held on to his old vehicles. Nowadays, most classic cars have new paint jobs, interiors and engines. A true “survivor” has most, if not all, of its original material.

“This kind of stuff is absolutely the rarest of the rare,” said Mark Gessler, president of the Historic Vehicle Association in Gaithersburg, Md. “You can see plenty of cars that have been restored. We want to ensure that we’re celebrating the original craftsmanship, the original technique. It’s a touchstone of our past.”

The low-mileage cars and pickups will likely generate the greatest interest from collectors, who view them as works of art to be displayed, said Jay Quail, executive director of the Chicago-based Classic Car Club of America. Quail said he often sees old cars on eBay billed as classics, even though they’re refurbished.

“I’d look at it and think, ‘My God, it would have been worth way more if you just hadn’t touched it,’” Quail said. “It’s like having a Picasso in your garage. Collectors will pay for a car that’s totally unmolested.”

In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, a 1958 Chevrolet Biscayne …

In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, a 1958 Chevrolet Biscayne is lined up with others at a field near the f …

At the same time, Quail said it’s difficult to savor a barely-driven beauty.

“As a collector, do I just want to have the car sit?” he said. “If I bought a ’63 Corvette with only one mile on it, I don’t think I’d enjoy it very much. You couldn’t drive it.”

__

Auction Details:

Preview Day: 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 27 in Pierce, Neb.

In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, Chevrolet automobiles …

In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, Chevrolet automobiles are lined up in a field near the former Lambrecht …

Auction Days: Sept. 28-29, starting at 9:30 a.m.

__

Online

Auction house: http://www.vanderbrinkauctions.com/

Online bidding: www.proxibid.com/vanderbrink/

Original Story HERE.

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Government Does What It Does Best

And that’s making things that were once exciting, fun and innovative boring, slow and ugly.  Government makes everything worse through their dicatates, taxes, legislation, regulations and edicts.  Nothing good comes from coercion.  I wasn’t born until the 80′s but even I know this is a sign of class and individuality:

bel air

and this is what happens when government gets involved in emission standards and safety regulations.

fugly suv

Paul Craig Roberts talks cars and government and why the 2 don’t mix well.

Growing Up In America

It was 1955 when I came of driving age. What a glorious year on the automotive scene. The first V-8 engined Chevrolet appeared in the striking art work of the 1955 Bel Air hard top coupe. Often two-toned, usually pastels, this car, stock from the dealer, had the acceleration to match the souped up flathead V-8 Ford engines that were ensconced in the hot rods of the day.

The small block V-8 found its way into the Corvette, saving the Corvette from extinction.

Ford came out with its new overhead valve V-8, installed in the 1955 Thunderbird, still a show-stopper today. The Thunderbird existed as a two-seater for 3 years. The 1955 and 1956 Ford Fairlane hard top coup looked like it was doing sixty sitting still.

The dramatic styling and energetic engines appeared everywhere in Detroit’s lineup, in the Mercury, the Pontiac, Oldsmobile, the Buick Century. So many two-tones, acceleration times cut in half. Life was good.

Not to be outdone, Chrysler produced the 1955 Chrysler 300 with a 300 horsepower Hemi engine. This car was the high speed king, reaching 130 mph. In 1956 the 300 Hemi delivered 355 horsepower capable of 140 mph. By 1957 the 300 Hemi produced 390 horsepower, outrunning the Ferraris of the day.

Every style of every marque was distinctive. There was no mistaking one model for another. Driving on city streets and country highways was a feast for the eyes. Style and color were everywhere.

Even in those days driving occupied much of a person’s time. To be among striking designs and color combinations that excited the imagination was good for the psyche. We were a different people.

Decades ago a rare piece of fiction in Road & Track resulted in a premonition of the brutal and indistinguishable appearance of today’s SUVs and oversized pickup trucks.

It was the only piece of fiction, aside from a cartoon strip feature, that I recall ever appearing in R&T. The magazine is about road tests, car reports, and race results.

Perhaps the explanation for the fictional story is that a prescient car guy realized the brutal design implications of the looming car safety standards and wrote a story set in the future.

In the story, a man has a lovely sports car from the past that, unlike the mandated safety vehicles, is fun to drive, but he can no longer take it out during normal hours. Under federal safety mandates, vehicles had become massive hulks, brutal in appearance, and capable of smashing the cars of the past without injury to themselves or their drivers. Drivers of the safe machines patrol on the lookout for cars from an earlier, more elegant time. It was a sport to corner them and to crash into them, thus terminating their existence and removing the offense to the ugliness of the safe cars mandated by the government.

To avoid the demise of his car, he only took it out at 3:00 AM in order to avoid encounters with safe cars. But one early morning two of the hulks were waiting for him. The safe cars approached from both ends of the road, leaving him no way out. But the agility of his car and his skills as a driver permit his escape. Henceforth his enjoyment of his car is confined to visits in the garage and memories of past drives.

I don’t remember if the story was illustrated or whether the image of the SUV was created by the writer’s words, but years later when I saw the first SUV, now with names, such as Titan, to go with their brutal appearance, I instantly recalled the R&T story.

The young have no memory of the past. They cannot know how exciting automobiles once were. The excitement created by the explosion of styles, colors, and performance in 1955 is gone from the world. It was a 15-year experience, with the muscle cars of the 1960s keeping the thrill alive.

When the Jaguar E-Type appeared in 1961, no one could believe that such an extraordinarily beautiful and fast car could be had for $5,000. Enzo Ferrari, the master car-maker of all time, declared the E-Type to be the most beautiful car in the world. One sits in permanent exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Who could imagine a SUV being there, or an over-sized pick-up truck? If we had called for our Saturday night dates in such vehicles, our dates would have been mortified and would have refused to come out of the house.

Anyone who has sat in the driver’s seat of an E-Type, the first modern car with all independent suspension and 4-wheel disc brakes, looking over the long and louvered bonnet (hood), and starting the powerful engine with its Jaguar growl finds today’s vehicles utterly depressing.

Another extraordinary design of the era was the Lamborghini Miura. It came 5 years after the E-Type and was an equal show-stopper.

Today if you have a quarter of a million dollars to spend on a car, you can purchase cars that can outperform these icons of the 1960s. But if you drive up in your Audi A-8, your AMG Mercedes, your Porsche turbo, your Ferrari Italia, the audience will flock to the E-Type and to the Miura. Style, when it was not dictated by Washington, was brilliant. There will never again be anything like it.

Today cars from the fifties and sixties, including the 1954 Oldsmobile Super 88 coupe, if in reasonable condition, are more valuable than most new cars. A good Miura goes for $1 million. A Series 1 E-Type, produced in much larger numbers than the Miura, goes for $125,000 if in good condition. I have a friend who in the mid-1960s bought and sold for $9,000 a Ferrari 250 GTO. This Ferrari, an aggressive and beautiful take-off on the elegant E-Type, won the world championship for three years in the early 1960s. There were only about 36 of them produced. One sold recently for $35 million. Try to imagine, short of dollar hyperinflation, any vehicle of our time ever fetching $35 million as a used car.

Seeing a car, rather than a SUV or monster pick-up truck, is becoming a rare event. Recently, I made a count on a stretch of Interstate highway, and 75% of the traffic consisted of SUVs and over-sized pick-up trucks. Americans want to appear brutal like their vehicles, and their police, and their governments.

SUVs were an unintended consequence of federally mandated fleet gas milage standards. Auto makers complied with the mandate by eliminating station wagons. People looking for station wagon replacement settled on delivery vans and panel trucks. These vehicles, classified as light trucks, were exempt from the gas milage standards, and the SUV was born.

The unintended consequence of safety standards is to take beauty out of almost all vehicles. How many attractive vehicles do you see today? I recently made a 370 mile trip and saw one car worthy of notice. It was a $300,000 600HP Bentley coupe, a rare and unusual car. When I came of driving age, beautiful and colorful cars emitting wonderful sounds were everywhere. We were surrounded by them. They were Chevrolets and Fords. They weren’t for the mega-rich. The working class could afford them.

Think about this for a minute. People spend much of their lives in passenger vehicles. They commute to work and back to home. They travel to shop. They travel to vacation destinations. They take children to school and back to home. All of this time that they spend in vehicles they never see anything beautiful or artistic unless some unusual remnant from the past or a rare modern day supercar, whose cost exceeds their lifetime earnings, happens by.

This was not true in my day. We were surrounded by color, style, and attractive designs. Literally everyone could afford it. The epitome of style was the two-door hard top coupe. Such a vehicle would cost, perhaps, $400 more than the base model that lacked the elegant touches.

Today, in our brutalized transportation existence, in which no make or model can be identified from any other and in which a two-tone paint job doesn’t exist, anyone with a collection of 1950s and 1960s two-door hard top coupes is a wealthy person not merely in money but also in spirit.

Today a person with a beautiful car from the past does not yet have to worry about being chased down and destroyed by a modern safe-car hulk, but he has to worry about where he parks it. Beauty and style elevate. Ugliness uglifies. People who drive barbarian cars can themselves become barbarians.

Terrible things happened in the 1950s and 1960s. McCarthyism got loose for a short period. President John F. Kennedy and his brother Bobby were murdered, as was Martin Luther King, perhaps by their own government. The reliance on fear to keep the profitable cold war going and the elimination of those who would change course are antecedents of the present. We still suffer from them.

The difference is that then enough Americans had a frame of mind that had space for the optimism that permitted blacks to be legislated into full citizenship and for the protests that brought to an end the military/security complex’s profitable aggression in Vietnam.

Perhaps elegant cars had a civilizing influence and contributed to that frame of mind. Get Washington out of car design. It might help to restore our humanity from the brutality that surrounds us.

Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how americans lost the protection of law, has been released by Random House. Visit his website.
Copyright © 2013 Paul Craig Roberts

Article from LRC is HERE.

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A Dark Road Ahead

The automobile used to be the embodiment of real freedom but it is being morphed into nothing but a rolling slave ship and coffin.

Eric Peters does some basic maff (for all the public school learning non-critical thinking masses and state worshippers), 2 + 2 =4 and vehicular freedom is disappearing.  The architecture is mostly there as Mr. Peters points out.  The only thing remaining is the will for the evil cabal of the big car companies, insurance racket companies and the thugocracy to flip the switch.

road ahead

A View Down The Road

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a story about Ford’s creepy MyKey system (see here), now standard equipment in all new Ford vehicles, and the ugly possibilities for controlling how we drive by controlling how the car can be driven. This week, I’m test-driving one of the latest Lincolns (the new MKZ) and it’s got some more of the same:

MKZ55

As you drive, an icon within the speedometer (small image to the right of the speedometer needle in the image above) tells you what the speed limit is on the road you happen to be on – updated continuously via GPS as you drive.

The car doesn’t do anything – yet – beyond oh-so-helpfully remind you how fast the government insists you ought to be driving. But, consider the possibilities – and consider how all the technological pieces of the puzzle are rapidly coming together.

GPS mapping of virtually every surface street in the country is a done thing. A majority of new cars come equipped with GPS navigation – which is rapidly becoming a default standard in much the same was as power windows or air conditioning. Within a few years at most, it will be as difficult to find a new car without GPS as it is right now to find a new car without power windows or AC.

The latest versions of these GPS systems have “real time” functionality. They can adjust route guidance to take account of accidents along your planned route, for instance. This is handy. But the same functionality can be put to other uses, too. For instance, there is no technological reason why the new Lincoln MKZ’s ability to keep abreast of the speed limit wherever you happen to be driving could not also be used to limit the speed you drive – or at least, record your failure to abide by the speed limit and perhaps report your noncompliance to the authorities. Or more likely, your insurance company.

Perhaps both.

ST Mykey3

Remember MyKey (all new Lincolns have it, too). An “administrator” can program the car to never exceed a pre-set speed. Once programmed, the system cannot be over-ridden except by someone who has the “administration” key. For the present, this is you – the vehicle’s owner. But the fact is that Ford – or the government – or your insurance company – could simply arrogate to itself “administrator” powers – and that will be the end of your ability to use your car as you wish to use it. The car’s electronic nanny knows the speed limit is 55 – or 35 – or whatever it happens to be at any given moment – and will not allow you to drive the car any faster, no matter how hard you stomp on the gas pedal. (Just as you’re not allowed to build an addition on “your” home – without the government’s permission.)

Cars could also simply be turned off, individually (as when you haven’t paid a fine or dome some other thing to incur the government’s displeasure) or en masse – in the event of some “national emergency.” Imagine a Boston Bomber scenario. For security reasons, the authorities throw a switch – and no one goes anywhere.

At least, not by car.

Far-fetched? No, technological fact. (See also the hacking of a Prius – making the car accelerate, brake (or not brake) via remote control. This is not a Prius-specific possibility. Any modern computer-controlled car is subject to being hacked – to being controlled externally – in this way.)

Oh, come on, Eric. They’d never do that. It’s ridiculous!

Really? In this day and age?

police state picture

“Speeding” is, after all, illegal. How, pray, will you – how will anyone – defend continuing to allow people to own vehicles capable of being used in an illegal manner? When technology is available that would “save lives”?

The entire legal system is now premised on the concept of prior restraint – on the idea of controlling people who haven’t yet done anything in order to prevent them from possibly doing it. The public accepts random, your-papers-please checkpoints on the theory that someone might be driving without a license, without an updated registration or state-issued “safety” sticker. Perhaps unbuckled – or much worse, “drunk.”

Why not accept in-car systems that make speeding impossible – or at least, impossible to get away with? The children! Think about the children!

To me, it’s all as obvious as a freight train coming down the tracks – with us stalled out on the tracks, awaiting the inevitable. The insurance mafia has succeeded in making its service mandatory. It is beta-testing in-car monitoring (see here) which will likewise morph from being something you could opt for to something you cannot opt out of. The cars themselves will, within a few years, all come equipped with the necessary monitoring equipment.

And then, the gate will be slammed shut.

2013 MKZ warning light

New cars are this close to being independent of driver control. This new Lincoln? In addition to monitoring the posted limit wherever you go, it will flash a series of frantic red lights if it thinks you haven’t slowed down fast enough and will actually step in and apply the brakes for you if it decides you haven’t done it fast enough on your own (Collision Warning With Brake Support). It beeps and flashes other warnings if you tread across the yellow line (Lane Departure Warning). The car is capable of parking itself – no input (beyond pushing a button) required of you.

It’s not just Lincoln  – or Ford, either. I merely used their systems as examples of similar systems you’ll find in a growing roster of new cars. It will not be long before no new cars lack such systems. At which point, we’ll be locked in – and become passengers more than drivers.

And as passengers, we’ll just be along for the ride. The when/where – and how – will be up to someone (or something) else.

Throw it in the Woods?

eric

Author of “Automotive Atrocities” and “Road Hogs” (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia.

Original HERE.

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Ban These Cars

What kind of cars need to be banned you ask?  They are purpose built and black, therefore they are “assault cars” (examples below).  Just think of the children…

assault car

an assault car

Mayhem in LA! Cars Must Be Banned!

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www.ericpetersautos.com

There was mass carnage yesterday on the Venice Beach boardwalk near LA when a man used his high-powered automobile to run over 12 people – killing one of them and sending the remainder to the hospital.Venice Beach boardwalk rampage

News  story here:

The black car – a menacing color typically favored by the military – was used by a young man in his 20s – probably a loner. He may have bought the car without a background check, since these are not mandatory in California.

Anyone can just go out and buy a car “under the table” – from an unlicensed seller. There are no laws requiring that high-powered cars be kept securely stored, with their ignitions disabled or locked so that unauthorized people can’t just jump in and go.

Venice Beach hit & run 2

These cars have high-capacity fuel tanks – and can be driven for miles and at high speeds… . Most are fully automatic, too.

Perhaps this is why so many innocent people are harmed – and killed – by high-powered cars in the United States every year.The death toll is in the tens of thousands annually – a tsunami of blood and guts compared with the dozen or so mass shootings that have taken place during the past several years. Why, not a day goes by without children being killed by high-powered cars.

And not just high-powered cars, either. What about all those Saturday Night Specials? You know -  hoopties people buy for just a few hundred bucks?

old car buying

Often, with cash?

They are prone to misfiring – or may accelerate unintentionally (this has apparently happened with new cars, too). Sometimes, they can’t stop – because the brakes aren’t working.

Strangely, there have been no calls for an immediate ban on the sale of high-powered, menacing-looking automobiles. Nor a ban on Hoopties. No calls for reasonable background checks. No demand that drivers be trained and demonstrate competence behind the wheel.

Merely that they pay a fee.

Where is Mothers Against Hemi Chryslers? Where is President Obama? Mayor Bloomberg? Diane Feinstein?

Don’t they care?

“We” need sensible car control!

for the children

No?

Could it be because unlike guns – which many people (especially the people who want to ban them) don’t possess themselves – cars are a familiar tool used by just about everyone? Because it’s understood that most people handle their vehicles responsibly (or at least, not murderously) and that it would be inconvenient to ban all cars – or hamstring their use to such an extent that most people – including the suburbanites who favor “sensible” gun control – would be unable to drive themselves around or unwilling to endure the hassles involved in order to be allowed to do so?

Yet if injury/death is the criteria for banning a given tool, then cars should be at the very top of the list – and many rungs higher than firearms. The average person is far more likely to be injured or killed by a car (or a table saw, probably) than by a gun. In fact, “gun violence” continues to decrease as the number of guns in circulation continues to increase – while the opposite is true of cars.

None of this is new information.

idiot moms gun control

Neither is the agenda-driven hypocrisy of the Clovers pushing for gun control – who are typically in way over their heads as far as their own abilities (and judgment) when behind the wheel of a car.

These are not principled people looking for solutions – such as expecting individual people to behave responsibly, hold them accountable when they don’t – and leave everyone else the hell alone.

They are demagogues who bank on fear – and the thoughtlessness of the boobs they manipulate. The soccer mom who blows through a red light she didn’t see because she was babbling away on her cell phone does not consider her SmooVee a dangerous implement – nor herself as someone in need of being “controlled.” But she’ll freak out if she spots a peaceful citizen who hasn’t done anything to anyone open carrying, call 911 hysterically – and write even more hysterical letters-to-the-editor demanding something be done.

clover king

To someone else, of course.

To someone she doesn’t like.

Based on her feelings.

Not the actions of her intended victim.

This is characteristic of Clovers. A toxic emulsion of subjectivism, arbitrariness, group-guilting and control freakery percolated in seventh-grade emotionalism – distilled with 190 proof hysteria.

Obama duck

There is no reasoning with such people.

You’d have better luck trying to out-quack a duck.

Throw it in the Woods?

 Original HERE.

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Dash Cams In Russia

russia dash cam

In Soviet Russia car drive you

…And crazy ass sh!t happens on the roads

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To ABS or Not To ABS?

The correct answer is NO!  Why can’t people stop trying to boss everyone else around.  But then the lil’ hitlers wouldn’t have anything to do.  I might have to buy another motorcycle before they mandate ABS for all of them.

About 2 years ago I read an article in which the staff tested the new cbr (at the time) with and without abs (would share the article if I can find it).

(on dry pavement) The writer having not ridden the bikes much was able to stop quicker with abs initially but after riding for a few hours was able to have shorter stops on the version without abs.

(on wet pavement) The abs bike came to a halt sooner pretty consistently.  I remember reading this and thinking I definately don’t want ABS (I had a ’05 GSXR 750 at the time), it would only proivde a benefit if I rode in the rain, which i avoided.

Eric is absolutely right that there is pride in being able to do something that others don’t which is part of the reason I like my mid-engine mr2 (no f’n abs).  It takes away so much of the intimacy.

Something like this will lead to more fatalities in the long run because once bikes are made easier to ride more people will do it.  And the majority of those people will be morons.  To me it is similar to a situation where an engineer is taught how to run FEA software but doesn’t learn the basics of Strength of Materials, Calculus, Statics, Dynamics, etc…

Should Bikes Be Required to Have ABS?

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The insurance mafia thinks so – and is “petitioning” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to make it so. Which means (if they’re successful): You’ll pay more for your next new bike, your next new bike will be more expensive to service – in part, because you probably won’t be able to service it yourself  – and it will cost you more to insure, since the ABS-equipped bike will have a higher replacement cost (the primary basis for figuring premiums) than a bike without ABS. It will also likely become more of a throw-away, in the same way (and for the same reason) that modern cars have become throw-aways: Ten or twelve years down the road, when the $800 ABS pump craps out, it won’t be worth fixing. So, the bike will get tossed.

brakes lead

Why can’t the insurance mafia ever leave people free to choose for themselves? Oh, of course. In that case, it would no longer be a mafia.

It’s not that people are being denied access to the technology. You can buy a new bike equipped with ABS right now, if you wish. The problem – as the insurance mafia views it – is that you don’t have to buy an ABS-equipped bike. You can choose not to. And that cannot be permitted.

They – the insurance mafia – claim pure motives. That they’re concerned about our “safety.” But, as they used to teach in journalism school, follow the money.

brakes 1

Bike manufacturers can increase their profit margins by force-feeding ABS (and ABS service) to everyone instead of just a relative handful. The insurance mafia gets to charge more for “coverage,” which of course is also force-fed (because it is mandatory). Win-win.

For them.

But how about us? The people buying (and riding) the bikes?

Leave aside the money issue for a moment.

ABS is a tough sell to the two-wheeled crowd because it takes control away from the rider. For a novice or unskilled rider, ABS (and linked brakes) may, indeed, provide a safety net. Exactly as it does in cars. But, there’s a reason why race cars don’t have ABS. And it’s the same reason why most riders who know how to ride don’t want either ABS – or linked brakes, either. That reason is, simply, the greater degree of control one has over his machine when he is in control of the brakes: How much (or little) pressure to apply to the front (or rear) calipers; the ability to finely “trim” (as they say in aviation) how the bike reacts, especially in a high-performance environment. Put another way, it is the personal satisfaction that attends becoming a skilled rider.

brakes 3

ABS – and linked brakes – takes much of that away by rendering acquired skill largely irrelevant. Instead of learning just how hard to squeeze the trigger – while at the same time applying just enough pressure (or none) to the pedal that controls the rear brake . . . developing that sixth sense about incipient wheel lock and learning both how to avoid and how to deal with it when it does happen  . . . one just grabs the lever and that’s it.

The ABS system does it all for you.

The bike becomes “safer” in the sense that it’s more idiot-proofed. But it’s also become less of a bike – and more like a car. Which ultimately means there’s less reason to ride the thing. The experience is watered-down.

bike control freak

Anodyne.

What drives people to throw a leg over? Is it not, at least in part, that bikes are more of a challenge than cars? The pride that comes from being able to do something well that most people can’t do at all? Bikes are scary – in the same way that parachuting out of an airplane is scary. Neither is done lightly. There is a learning curve. You had better know what you’re doing. Those who don’t get mustered out – one way or another.

Is this a bad thing?

Why must motorcycles be dumbed-down, too?

They – the insurance mafia and its flip side, the government – have already sucked most of the joy out of driving. I say this as a guy who test drives new cars every week. Never before have cars been as powerful/capable as they are today. They are also over-nannied, over-teched – and overpriced. Which is exactly what’s happening to bikes.

H2 pic

A new ZX10 may be light-years more capable than a ’73 H2 750. But almost anyone can ride a new ZX10 – and very few could ride an H2 at all.

Let alone ride it well.

We are losing something – or about to lose something – very important. And the worst part is that “we” aren’t the ones deciding – or even being asked our opinion. These control freak pricks aren’t asking. They aren’t suggesting.

They are insisting.

Capo di tutti capo Adrian Lund of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says: “”The data continue to accumulate in support of motorcycle ABS five years after we first reported on its effectiveness . . We hope NHTSA will agree that it’s time to take action to ensure all riders get the benefit of this lifesaving technology.”

Italics added.

Lund dick

Why can’t individual people be left alone to “take action” for themselves? If it’s such a good idea, surely they’d freely choose to buy ABS on their own? And in any case, isn’t it their right to choose for themselves? The casual effrontery of mafiosi such as Adrian Lund almost beggars belief.

What was it Seinfeld used to say? Who are these people?

And who appointed them the boss of us?

Throw it in the Woods?

Original HERE.

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Drivers Are Gonna Get Dumber

Eric Peters is always looking out for libertarian ideals and specializes in the ones that revolve around the automotive world.  He goes after the soon to be likely mandated “brake assist” systems.  Essentially cars that are smart enough to brake for you.  This will inevitably lead to less safe driving which is what the idea supposedly “cures”.  If only mandates could “cure” everything.  Maybe that should be mandated, govt cures all with solitary decree.  There, all done.

reading while driving

I personally don’t even like ABS or traction control, a gadget that causes the necessary skills for good driving to atrophy and disappear.  In my mind it is akin to (in engineering) learning how to run a piece of Finite Element Analysis software but never actually learning Strength of Materials so all you know is how to run the software and have no idea how or when to correct the “smart” car when it makes a mistake.

her brake assist didnt work

Remeber, it’s not her fault she is a bad driver; it’s that she wasn’t mandated to buy a car with “brake assist.”  Think about all the boats that will be saved from deranged drivers with this mandate.

 

The Next Mandate You’ll Be Paying For: Brake Assist

by 3 Comments

Do you feel the need for a car that brakes for you? Are you interested in paying more for a car that brakes for you? Apparently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal agency that tells us what kinds of cars we’ll drive and how they’ll be equipped – is on the verge of telling us that we will have cars that brake for us. (News story here.)

brake assist 1

And of course, it won’t be NHTSA that’s paying for it.

We will be paying for it.

It’s called “Brake Assist” – and it’s a feature (currently optional) that can be found in several higher-end new cars. It’s a high-tech form of idiot-proofing, designed to end-run the problem of inattentive drivers by having the car pay attention instead. The vehicle is fitted with radar or cameras that have the ability to detect objects in the vehicle’s path. If the driver doesn’t react to the presence of these potential obstacles within a predetermined time, the system takes over and automatically applies the brakes. Some systems are capable of completely stopping the car without the driver even putting his foot over the brake pedal.

Print

Cue broken record… making this technology part of the required-by-law package of standard safety equipment in all new cars will “save lives.” Which is probably true – but then, so would outlawing driving altogether.

You know what might really save lives? Encouraging people to be better drivers. Expecting them to pay attention to what’s going on around them. To be prepared to brake for themselves when the need to do so arises.

Ah, but that would be expecting too much – and besides, there’s neither money nor power in that.

brake 3

Adding Brake Assist will add another line-item to the bottom line cost of new cars. How much per car, it’s hard to say – because right now, Brake Assist is integrated with a roster of other complex system in expensive high-end cars. But figure a couple hundred bucks at least up front – and potentially a lot more down the road, as the various components begin to fail and have to be replaced.

dollars

The average new car’s braking system is already a very complex system because of add-ons such as ABS and traction/stability control (which works through the ABS system). Like these features or hate these features, there’s no debate about the expense of these features. Just one example: An ABS-equipped car has a part called an ABS pump. This is the device that pumps the brakes for you, in order to avoid the wheels locking up during a panic stop and so, avoiding an uncontrolled skid. That’s great. But if/when the pump goes bad – and this happens pretty regularly, because people tend not to get their brake systems flushed as often as they ought to and old, contaminated brake fluid is very hard on ABS pumps – the vehicle’s owner is typically looking at a $500-plus bill for a new pump.

You might remember the days – not all that long ago – when you could service the entire brake system for a third that amount.

FILE: Transportation Secretary LaHood To Resign

Point being, there are costs involved. And given that it’s us – each of us, as individuals – who will pay them – shouldn’t we have a say in the matter? There’s something startlingly obnoxious about a bureaucrat in an agency deciding for us – and then handing us the bill. Such a bureaucrat is one David Friedman, the new deputy (stellvertreter des fuhrers) head of NHTSA. Friedman was formerly a “transportation analyst” at the Union of Concerned Scientists – a left-wing authoritarian outfit that’s one of the epicenters of For Your Own Good at Gunpoint. He, of course, “earns” a six-figure income extracted by force from unwilling victims (that’s us) and so, probably won’t notice or much mind paying an extra couple hundred bucks for his next new car, equipped with the mandatory Brake Assist. But what about the rest of us? Perhaps we’d like to have the choice. Our choice. Since we’re being “asked” to pay the bill, after all.

wreck 1

But the real cost ought to be measured in terms of ever-lowering competence expectations. Brake Assist will arguably make drivers less attentive – since after all, the car is now paying attention for them. And less attentive drivers are – wait for it – less safe drivers. Brake Assist might not work one fine day – then what? Will the driver of a car so equipped who expected his car to stop for him be consoled by the fact that it should have stopped but didn’t – and the car ended up plowing into something – or someone?

bad driver 1

Granted, that’s not likely to be a common occurrence (even though it could and probably will happen as no man-made system is or ever can be free of flaws; eventually, everything falls apart/stop working; it’s called entropy). But we can already see the effects of dumbed-down driving all around us. Cars have never been more capable than they are right now. But drivers – on average – have never been worse. There is a relationship. When it took more skill – and attentiveness – to operate a motor vehicle, the typical driver had to – of necessity – acquire some skills and practice them. This made him a better – and thus, safer – driver. As cars take less and less skill to operate, the result is going to be, almost axiomatically, lower-skilled drivers.

eloi 1

Technology is only as good as the people who use it. A highway full of Eloi in automated or nearly automated cars conjures a bleak picture of a future, not too far off, in which passivity trumps competence. In which people don’t do things but expect things to do for them.

It’s a world that appeal to guys like David Friedman, perhaps. But it makes me want to run for the hills, screaming at the top of my lungs.

Throw it in the Woods?

Original HERE.

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