23 October 2014

Car and Driver

I'm what "Car and Driver" magazine would call an "Enthusiast"...
I pretty much love all cars. I LUST after cars I'd like to own, and at least tolerate and try to understand vehicles like drastically lowered pickup trucks that make me scratch my head in wonder why anyone would do that.
I cherish the memory of my '68 Oldsmobile 442 and the good times I had in it, driving in such ways that I have no right to still be among the living.

That 442, a "muscle car",  heavily influenced my thoughts toward our latest new car purchase-
A Ford Taurus SHO.
Seven-hundred horsepower Dodge Challengers and 500+ horsepower Camaros tempted me, but they eat premium fuel by the boxcar load and their rear seats are pretty much useless for entertaining guests you'd like to keep as friends.
We needed a new car. We needed something practical. But I wanted something with cojones.
The SHO fills that bill nicely.

There are 353 horses lurking beneath that hood.
It prefers premium but will run just fine on 87-Octane... just expect lower performance when the engine control computer realizes you've put it on a low-carb diet.
It gets 25-or-so miles per gallon.
And it has a back seat that can't be considered cruel and unusual punishment.
We're still trying to figure out how to use many of the gadgets this car has that can do "stuff" for us. One of the first things we sorted out was the SHO's ability to parallel park itself-
Push the button designated for this purpose. Turn on the turn signal to signify where the car should be searching for a parking spot, right or left side. When the car finds a spot it likes it will signal you to STOP on the center Nav/Phone/Climate/Entertainment display. It will then tell you to engage reverse and slowly depress the accelerator. Keep your hands OFF the steering wheel so you don't cause the system to cancel the parking process. Sit back and watch as the car's sensors back the car perfectly into the available space.
It's freaky to experience.

Now, as an "enthusiast" I'm thinking of the future...
Google already has self-driving cars operating in California, I've heard. Watching our car park itself has made me realize we're just a few steps from that technology (and more) being used widely around the world.
What happens to those of us that enjoy driving our cars?
How long before human mistakes cause accidents that will legally be considered negligence on our part?

I miss my old Olds 442.
But more and more, I'm the old FART that pines for the "Good Old Days".


cary said...

It is my fervent prayer that the human interaction will never be fully removed from the transportation equation.

I, too, enjoy the action of driving.

(my "shouldn't be here" was a 74 Challenger with lots more horsepower than the driver had common sense ...)

Anonymous said...

Preachin' to the choir brother! My first love was a 440+6 'Cuda and for the last 24 years a 500+ HP Mustang. Both are drivers cars. No fancy traction controls or leveraged breaking. Seat of the pants palm gripping fun. I see all the new tech, I don't care for it but I'm rapidly becoming a dinosaur,. Can't help but wonder if we could be seeing the last generation of "drivers ". Little sad but time marches on and things change.....


Greybeard said...

Challenger Cary...
Was it "Vanishing Point" White? :)

Greybeard said...

Brother Tumo...
I take it that was 3-2 barrel carbs?
My best bud in H.S. had a 421 Pontiac with progressive linkage and 3-twos...
Monster car. (Remember, PREMIUM gas was about 35 cents per back then.)
Read about our experience in it here:

Well Seasoned Fool said...

I'm sure you will enjoy your SHO. Roush was testing the preproduction ones in Colorado when I worked there. We couldn't exceed the speed limit, but we could get up to the speed limit with no restrictions. Impressive car, and excellent in snow.

Anonymous said...

Your SHO is what the new cop cars are. Except that the SUV version is more popular now than the sedan, and I like the Explorer PI that I have better than the sedan version.