Cars Were First

I wasn’t going to post today. I have not been feeling well for a week or so. In an email to my friend and former neighbor, MB, I wrote “Ah, to be an Ashkenazi Jew in his seventh decade…” Sorry about quoting myself, I really hope that’s not too pretentious.

In addition, as I have written I am simply not a fount of material at present. Whether it’s a post-1,000th post letdown (an odd phrase but consider the source), the purchase of the 2015 ATS taking away a large source of blogging material, the lack of new and exciting ICE-powered cars or whatever, ideas for blog posts are just not readily forthcoming.

Then, I just decided to remind myself and my readers about how long cars have been important to me. My wonderful wife and I really enjoy a show called Auto/Biography on Motor Trend. Tim Donahue and Michael May research and discuss cars that are interesting for reasons other than their styling or engineering. The first episode ever aired was about a Ferrari Dino that was found buried in a yard in Los Angeles in the 1970s.

The most recent episode was about cars that were “ahead” of their time, although one of the featured vehicles was a motorcycle apparently built around 1915 that included technology that didn’t appear in mainstream bikes until decades later. Anyway…one of the featured vehicles was this:



While we were watching the show I suddenly hit pause and ran to my office. Although I hadn’t looked at this book (Automobiles of the World, Albert Lewis and Walter Musciano, © 1977) in years, I remembered that the Brubaker Box was in it.

Why did I buy this book in the late 1970s? My History “term paper” in my senior year of high school was titled The Development Of The Automobile And Its Effect On 20th Century American Society. The book was research material. Yeah, that’s why I bought it.

I have written before that cars were my first passion. Before I discovered sports or music or girls, I made notes about cars in a composition notebook. Remember these?


See the source image


Oh, how I wish I still had my cars notebook! Remember that I come by my automobile obsession honestly. My father, a Holocaust survivor, was a mechanic who operated and later owned a gas station back when gas stations also fixed cars and didn’t exist to sell snacks and lottery tickets.

I know that much of the information in this post has already been published here. I just thought it might be a good thing to remind everyone of where cars rank in my hierarchy.


EVERYONE should read the comments! Since I know most of you don’t, I will show a recent comment exchange between David Banner (not his real name; Congrats on the new job, Doc!) and me:


David Banner: “…would love to see your take on the electric car world after the last few weeks of trends: GM going the full Monty on electric, ExxonMobile losing as much as the GNP of Namibia in selling gasoline, and the inevitability of the “ICar” and the threat to Tesla, GM, and FiatChrysler…”

Me: “My take on electric cars is that it’s inevitable they will become the dominant paradigm in personal transportation, but that Internal Combustion Engine powered cars will be with us for decades to come. Remember that more than one BILLION ICE vehicles are owned by people all over the world and millions more are manufactured every year. They are not just going to disappear in the next 10-20 years unless governments confiscate them, which, in my opinion, is wildly inappropriate.”


I’m sure some of the SJWs want to confiscate ICE cars and think they have the right to do so. OK, I propose that the US government confiscate all dogs. After all, almost 5 million dog bites are recorded every year in the US and almost a million of those require medical care.

Government exists to protect property rights, not to usurp them. Government is not a panacea populated by supermen. It is lost on the SJWs in this country that US carbon dioxide emissions have declined by 20% just since 2000 despite a population that is still growing.

To paraphrase a famous line from Animal House: smug, self-righteous and arrogant is no way to go through life.








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9 thoughts on “Cars Were First

  1. My exposure to cars actually started with a go cart, then a mini bike, then a motorcycle, then finally a car at age 12/13. It was a 1958 chevy wagon, but it was MINE (except when I did something with it I shouldn’t have and my dad took the keys). My interest accelerated when a new neighbor moved in that was a drag racer. He had an Anglia that had a big block Chevy and my god the sounds that it made. Intoxicating to a teenage budding gearhead. Over the years I have maintained that enjoyment of just about any ICE powered vehicle (except maybe a lawnmower, hate mowing grass). I mostly enjoy older vehicles, perhaps a wish for the simpler times when they were made.

    I don’t expect to be around when the ICE is finally replaced by the low hum of an electric vehicle. For someone who loves the sound of almost every engine (again, except for them infernal lawnmowers), it would be a sad day.


  2. The ICE car will never go away. The number of cars sold with ICE will go down tremendously. Why this is important is because of the “beta” or second order impacts this will have on our economy, environment, and society. The electrical grid will have to be dramatically upgraded. Just ask California what happens when the grid can’t handle the load and forest fires are the result. Exxon Mobil just posted huge losses which will only get worse; how will Putin fund his lavish lifestyle with oil at $30/barrel, or will he go rogue? And who will become the next billionaire from making electric cars/autonomous driving software/or in car Easy Bake ovens? The success of satellite radio in cars funded the development of a pharmaceutical company that has saved countless lives.
    If a butterfly flaps its wings in Indonesia, does it cause a hurricane in Tulum? Let’s pray we live to 2035!


  3. PS, every morning I wake up wondering which body part will rebel against me, which drug I will need to take, and which device I will need to get going. Recently the $20 XL heating pad from Amazon and Naproxen otc have become Godsends. But through it all it reminds me that I can count one more day of being alive, if for no other reason than to read your blog!


    1. Wow! Many thanks for the kind words about the blog.

      Yes, the law of unintended consequences should always be “obeyed.” If small changes in the initial equilibrium can cause huge system changes, then what might large changes do? That’s one reason why I abhor extreme political positions. For the nth time, NO ONE has a monopoly on truth and wisdom and neither does ANY ideology; NO ONE has a monopoly on good judgment.


  4. My enchantment with the ICE and motor vehicles began in 1961 when at age 14 we purchased me a Cushman Eagle motor scooter to ease my work on delivering the morning newspaper in my neighborhood. It was old and in constant need of repair so I learned on the fly ICE mechanics. All without the benefit of the internet and a search engine. This interest eventually led me to a mechanical engineering degree and the development of skills using tools with my hands whilst learning to think and create. My engineering supervisors taught me how to write (?) and explain myself.

    The laws of unintended consequences will cause the wishful dreams (nightmares?) of the liberal/progressive/socialist/communists to implode while the rest of us figure out how to deal with the outcomes. I will end my political comments here.

    As far as your blog goes, reading the comments is always enlightening and enjoyable, just like your posts. Please continue your endeavors.


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