12 September 2005

David Jericho, I empathise

I always find it faintly amusing when people compensate for lack of skill by throwing more horsepower at a problem. It happens a lot in the computer industry; people “solve” problems by nuking them, burying them under money. It’d be like replacing your car — or at least the entire engine bay — whenever a funny noise escaped the bonnet or it drove too slowly.

I’ve had real-life practice at both ends of the stick.

I currently drive an ageing Peugeot 505 sedan, which is gutless but has a moderately nice set of boots (Dunlop 205/65R15s) and great suspension. I put a “sports” car or hotrod into a kerb, traffic island or roundabout centre every few months based on the “if he can do that, so can I” reasoning, because the thing is a delight to drive and they have plenty of power but no clue. Grow up driving on dirt, I say, and the rest is easy.

My first car was a Chrysler Centura with the 4l slant hemi 6 motor, which is the exact opposite: a rocket (very fast in straight lines, no turnee, no stoppee). Go and visit the wrecker’s yards of the time and every single one of them had the front end bashed in. I had an immense amount of fun with the thing. It sported two carefully selected (at a wrecker’s yard in Geraldton) large, loud and discordant horns. It looked ugly. It was slightly dented here and there. It was a very embarrassing car to be beaten by.

For a short while, its exhaust system consisted of just a front pipe while it awaited an oxy-acetylene set to attach the mufflers (long story), which was even more fun. Tramp it and you’d get a sound like the loudest truck retarder you ever heard.

With a little care, one could race cars like the Torana SLR 5000 (which was smaller, lighter and had a 25% larger engine) or Alan Bond’s Rolls Royce Silver Shadow II with the AB.083 personalised plates (he nearly put that into a wall trying to slide it into the carpark under Hilite33 afterwards) and run-of-the-mill hoons were just toast.

Every vehicle has its advantages. Even our diesel 4WD people-mover van, which can be parked in the most amazing places and seats eight. It can easily turn inside other 4WDs and can out-terrain almost anything else. And it’s very, very embarrassing to be dragged off by, having a similar displacement to David’s bike, but probably about half the horsepower, over seven times the dry mass and let’s not even talk about wind cross-sections.

Sometimes driving is just getting from palce to place, but like the rest of life, since you’re going to be doing it anyway, you might as well enjoy doing it.


M said...

heh, that reminds me of this:

Leon Brooks said...

This one's my favourite of those: http://despair.com/mis24x30prin.html

I also like "Futility".