The Golden Years

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Back in the ’80s, you may have had to “Drive 55” on the highway – but in other ways, things were pretty damn good. At least, a lot better in a number of ways than they are now. For instance, you could:golden lead

* Fill up a V-8 muscle car’s 22 gallon gas tank for about $25.

Imagine that! Unleaded regular for about a buck a gallon. Premium  – without ethanol –  for a few cents more.

This made it economically conceivable to drive a V-8 muscle car every day – even as a high school kid working part-time at a fast food place. It also helped that V-8 muscle cars were relatively cheap back then.  At least, the used ones.  The ’80s were close enough in time to the ’70s – and the ’60s – that used V-8 cars from those eras were still abundant on car lots and in the classifieds. A high school friend of mine bought a ’71 Plymouth GTX with the big block 440 (375 hp) in 1986 for $2,700.  That’s about $5,700 in today’s Fed Funny Money – about what you would need to spend to buy a so-so used Civic or Corolla. That ’71 GTX my buddy bought for $2,700 back in the day would cost you at least $30,000 today.

Nowadays, there is no way you’re driving a V-8 muscle car as a high school kid – period  – unless someone else is paying the gas bill. Most adults working full-time can’t afford to feed (or even buy) a V-8 muscle car.golden 2

So, it’s four cylinder Civics with fart can exhaust for the kids – and FWD V-6 Camrys for Mom & Dad.

* Electronic voices may have told you, “the door is ajar” – but costumed goons didn’t threaten you with guns to “buckle up for safety.”

The state was not your mommy – or your wife – not yet. It actually left you alone – for the most part – unless you had committed some sort of external violation. Something that at least plausibly (however thinly) could be argued impinged upon the rights of other people.

You could ride in the bed of pick-up trucks – and hang a shotgun rack loaded with actual shotguns (loaded shotguns) on the back window of your pick-up truck and no one batted an eye. Much less any worries about being thug-scrummed by a dozen black-clad Ninja cops fretting “officer safety.”

You could “sleep it off” in the back seat – and cops would not only leave you alone, they’d commend you for being responsible.

Today, Big Brother is married to Big Momma – and we have been reduced to a sort of second childhood, enforced at gunpoint.

* It was still legal to have an open beer on you – so long as you didn’t have too many beers in you.golden 3

Drunk driving was illegal – but you weren’t considered “drunk” simply because you’d had a beer. Either in your belly – or in your hand. These days, you will be crucified without mercy if caught with an open beer in your hand while driving – even if you’ve only had a few sips and even if a single beer cannot possibly render you “drunk” – even by today’s demented standards – under the law.

Zero tolerance – for common sense.

* It was easier to  “speed” – because it was easier to get away with “speeding.”

Today’s cars – including economy cars – are much quicker (and faster) than the cars of the ’80s. The problem is using that capability. In the ’80s, a good radar detector made you almost invulnerable. Today, cops have instant-on radar as well as laser – which neutralizes the advantage of having a radar detector. By the time it alerts, you’re already caught.

And of course, there are automated speed cameras today. These didn’t exist in the ’80s.Or even the ’90s – mostly. (When I worked in DC in the mid-1990s, I routinely banshee-ran down Constitution Ave at warp speed; do that today and you’d find your mailbox stuffed with payin’ paper a week later.)

Also, the consequences if you did get pinched weren’t as over-the-top and punitive as they are today. Mostly, you just had to deal with a relatively small fine and maybe some DMV rigmarole. Today, the fines are not small – in part because of all the add-on “fees” (such as “contributions” to the state’s “safety awareness” program). Some states will slap you with several hundred dollars in fines over a simple speeding ticket. And mere speeding can, in several states, very easily become statutory reckless driving – a huge bust with life-changing consequences. It has sapped the fun out of driving – and cowed the populace into submission. Even if you want to drive fast, it’s often hard to drive fast because everyone else is driving at a snail’s pace – out of fear of The Man.golden 4

* Burnouts were possible – in almost any car.

By the start of Reagan’s second term, RWD cars were going away – and FWD cars were coming online – but interventionist traction control was still years in the future. If you felt like spinning the tires, you could spin the tires. Maybe you had to dump the clutch – or power brake it, if the car was automatic. But lay rubber you could. Today, it’s often hard to squeal the tires – even in a powerful V-8 RWD car – because the computer doesn’t want you to. Even high-performance cars must be “safe” and “controlled.

Which makes them a helluva lot less fun.

* No sail fawns.

That meant (among other things) when you were in your car, you were incommunicado. A respite from work – and people, generally. If you spent an hour or two in the car everyday, it was your time. Not time to be “reachable.”  People – adult people – also necessarily spent more time driving than gabbling like teenage girls over the latest Twilight movie.

Grown men did not “tweet.”

It was a better world.golden 6

* Two-strokes.

Engines that burn oil on purpose. While the feds had cut the nuts off most cars by 1975 – the year catalytic converters became mandatory – bikes were still wild (and thus, free) well into the ’80s. RD (and RZ) 350 Yamahas, still smokin’ – brand new – when it was “morning in America.” You could buy leaded regular gas, too. And diesels – though slow (and smoky) – were also economical – and affordable.

Two things they aren’t anymore.

* No spandex.

Well, not on the road.

golden finalDavid Lee Roth may have worn skintight yellow leotards, but cyclists generally did not. The “live strong” cult – and its lurid ball-hugging/package-displaying accoutrements – were still a few years yet to come.

If you rode a bike back then, you probably wore cut-off shorts and T shirt.

And no one insisted – at gunpoint – that you wear a helmet.

Throw it in the Woods?


  1. I turned 15 in 1960. They say that if you remember the sixties, you weren’t really there. Rest assured, I was REALLY there.
    First car: A VW Karmann Ghia ragtop my dad bought new for my sister shortly after she got her driver’s license. He bought her a new car and turned the Ghia over to me when I got my license. I turned it over racing a friend one night. (I was ahead.) Turned it back upright and drove it home. (That wouldn’t be the last VW I’d roll over and drive home, either.)
    Favorite car: A 1956 Austin Healey 100-4. I bought it from a friend for $800.00 He was in the Navy and needed some money. It was up on blocks in his folk’s back yard. Black, with a red and white racing stripe, real knock off wire wheels and the four speed with the nice electric overdrive. Last year for the four bangers and the last year before the oval grille. It had the windshield that slid down to a racing screen. One of the few cars that looked mean and sexy at the same time. Lord knows, I loved that car. I had it about a year and ran it head on into a Corvette one night. The dude riding shotgun in my Healey was the brother-in-law of the dude driving the Vette. Both totalled, needless to say. There are two 100-4s on EBay right now. One for $165,000. (OBO) and the other is bid up to $43,600. with two days left to go. I see them now and then in the $80,000. range.
    I had a bunch of VWs. Beetles, a couple of squarebacks and three Vans. Totalled them all or ran them into the ground. That’s hard to do to an old air cooled VW but I managed to. There were two 750 Nortons, an Atlas and a Commando and a 250 Ducati Scrambler (4 stroke) that I totalled, too. Oh, and a 1959 MGA. Altogether, 17 cars and motorcycles. If I hadn’t quit partying in 1975, I’m sure I’d be dead by now.
    I had my first “couple of beers with the boys” when I was twelve and was running credit in bars by my 13th birthday. New York was an 18 state back then. I lived in Port Washington, on Long Island. In the 1960s Census, Port Washington had more bars per capita than any other town or city in the 48 States. Next town on the LIRR was Manhassett. They had more liquor stores per capita than anywhere else. It was a great place to live for a partying fool. For a couple of years I commuted on the LIRR to school in N.Y. City. I would ride the 4:22 express train home and occasionally sat in on the literally world famous liar’s poker game in the bar car.
    The 50s was a great decade to be a kid and the 60s was a great decade to be a partying fool.

    Imho, after 1972 we began the downhill slide.

    Eventually, all the “campus radicals” ran out of courses and degrees and had to go out into the real world. Where could they best promote the socialism they had embraced and continue the “Long March Through The Institutions”? Teaching, preaching and governing. They are my age and now the heads of the academic world, the mainline religions and all the government agencies. Clovers have the “Hive Mentality” and work together to bring about the order they desire for the betterment of us all while we individualists just want to be left alone. These people are “educating” your children and/or grandchildren. They are preaching “Social Justice” from your church pulpit and thinking up new government rules and regulations to keep us in our place. Now they are arming themselves to the teeth to finish the job. So, what are YOU going to do about it? A good start would be homeschooling. Starting or joining a 1st century (or house) church would be a good idea. Run for some local office like street lighting board, fire commissioner or town council. We have to start at the bottom and work up. Just as they did. Instead of writing new and more draconian regulations and ordinances, set about sunsetting any and all laws on the books. Does it do anything? Is it effective? Does it promote free enterprise? Set a two year trial on every new rule and ordinance written and start right now with the oldest first. Think outside the box. Here’s a hint if you want to get elected: Never make a speech or tell a gathering what you are going to do. Ask them to line up and tell you what they want you to do. What they want you to focus on. Another hint: At a meet the candidates type of gathering try to get yourself scheduled last. Now go out and get the ball rolling. I am!

  2. The Golden Years Are Gone. Gold meaning all live in harmony.

    NSFW Dead Children Alert!

    We Are Living The Lead Sulfur Charcoal Saltpetre Years

    I pray only for the Silver Years. Silver meaning mutually exclusive phyles allowed their version of relative harmony, but with no restitution or justice reprisals for whatever happened during the past Golden or War Years.

  3. Dear Bevin,

    Here is the communitarian safety & health shit sandwich the world will eat at gunpoint.

    Public Safety and Public Health

    The American moral and legal tradition has always acknowledged the need to balance individual rights with the need to protect the safety and health of the public. The Fourth Amendment, for example, guards against unreasonable searches but allows for reasonable ones.

    We differ with the ACLU and other radical libertarians who oppose sobriety checkpoints, screening gates at airports, drug and alcohol testing for people who directly affect public safety (pilots, train engineers, etc.). Given the minimal intrusion involved (an average sobriety checkpoint lasts ninety seconds), the importance of the interests at stake (we have lost more lives, many due to drunken drivers, on the road each year than in the war in Vietnam), and the fact that such measures in the past have not led us down a slippery slope, these and similar reasonable measures should receive full public support.

    There is little sense in gun registration. What we need to significantly enhance public safety is domestic disarmament of the kind that exists in practically all democracies. The National Rifle Association suggestion that criminals not guns kill people, ignores the fact that thousands are killed each year, many of them children, from accidental discharge of guns, and that people–whether criminal, insane, or temporarily carried away by impulse–kill and are much more likely to do so when armed than when disarmed. The Second Amendment, behind which NRA hides, is subject to a variety of interpretations, but the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled, for over a hundred years, that it does not prevent laws that bar guns. We join with those who read the Second Amendment the way it was written, as a communitarian clause, calling for community militias, not individual gun slingers.

    When it comes to public health, people who carry sexually transmitted diseases, especially when the illness is nearly always fatal, such as AIDS, should be expected to disclose their illness to previous sexual contacts or help health authorities to inform them, to warn all prospective sexual contacts, and inform all health care personnel with whom they come in contact. It is their contribution to help stem the epidemic. At the same time, the carriers’ rights against wanton violation of privacy, discrimination in housing, employment and insurance should be scrupulously protected.

    The rest of the shit sandwiches: Preamble, Moral Voice, Not Majoritarian But Strongly Democratic, Start With Family, Schools – The Second Line of Defense, Within Communities – A Matter of Orientation, Duties to the Polity, Cleaning Up the Polity, Freedom of Speech, Social Justice, The Human Community, In Conclusion – A Question of Responsibility

    – – – – –

    Communitarianism is so thoroughly evil, any chance to escape it or any method used to defeat it is morally justified, in my opinion.

    • Tor, I understand your concern but I think you need to consider not publicizing the manifesto? Doesn’t make much sense anyway.

      • Yes it is an obtuse and deliberately malleable platform & manifesto, but it can be parsed. Here is Brittanica’s entry:

        Consider that Obama considers his life’s work to be that of a community organizer.

        Consider there is a war on for your mind, and most are losing this war. Labeling someone negates them. The PTB have labeled themselves communitarians. Define them and call them only by their semi-secret name and not by their day to day ruses. Define and hold your enemy, don’t let him shapeshift free of your grasp.

        Half the world is pro-Israel, pro-Christian, or pro-Islamic moral authoritarian society. The sleepers accept without question the forced participation in your local community at gun point.

        The best hope I see is an all out cold war against the communitarians and living a warm existance in total defiance to anything they say or do, while not allowing them to progress one inch further.

        Even Ron Paul seems to reek of communitarianism:

        Consider Ron’s fairwell speech:

        “Benjamin Franklin claimed “only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” John Adams concurred: “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

        A moral people must reject all violence in an effort to mold people’s beliefs or habits.

        A society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society. All great religions endorse the Golden Rule. The same moral standards that individuals are required to follow should apply to all government officials. They cannot be exempt.

        The ultimate solution is not in the hands of the government.

        The solution falls on each and every individual, with guidance from family, friends and community.

        The #1 responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow. This is of greater importance than working on changing the government; that is secondary to promoting a virtuous society. If we can achieve this, then the government will change.

        “with guidance from family, friends and community.”

        “secondary to promoting a virtuous society.”

        The problem with Rand Paul is he is less virtuous than his father. Much of Ron Paul’s virtue was personal virtue, not a system and philosophy of virtue.

        Ron Paul’s philosophy seems dangerously compatible with the One World Religion of Communitarianism we are being forcibly converted to. Ron’s plucked chicken version of the golden rule is dangerously denuded.

        Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Environmentalism, Reform Judaism, Modern Christianity, and Mainstream Islam are all compatible with communitarianism.

        Other Names For Communitarianism

        Christian democracy
        Civil religion
        Communalism – South Asia
        Identity politics
        Public sphere
        Radical center
        Social conservatism
        Singaporean communitarianism
        Third Way

        – – – – –
        This system locks up the world’s societies like Vonnegut’s Ice Nine Crystals in “Cat’s Cradle” lock up all of the Earth’s water:

        “Where would the freezing stop? Unfortunately, the melting point of Ice-Nine was 114.4 degrees; once the entire planet locked up, it would probably never melt.

        Here’s what the world looked like after Ice-Nine was released into the environment, crystallizing all water on Earth, locking it into the Ice-Nine configuration.

        There were no smells. There was no movement. Every step I took made a gravelly squeak in blue-white frost. And every squeak was echoed loudly. The season of locking was over. The Earth was locked up tight”

  4. I have a 2005 Silverado. It has a V6 and a manual transmission. I can spin/chirp/bark the tires if I rev up and dump the clutch. I don’t very often, but I can.

    I was looking online for the new lines of GM, Ford and Mopar trucks to see if there was anything new with a manual transmission. There was none. All trucks of all versions came with automatic only.

    I bought my truck with the manual knowing that the transmission does not go bad per se, but the clutch does. As do the hydraulic clutches in automatics. I have replaced a manual clutch but have yet to rebuild a transmission, auto or manual. All this time, I thought that the car companies were not building manual trannys anymore so that they could get more maintenance revenue rebuilding/repairing/replacing automatics rather than a clutch.

    It never occurred to me that Big Brother Bully was keeping me from spinning my wheels for fun when I felt the urge.

    My anger was misdirected. I am sure that car companies would offer manual transmissions if the guvmint would let them.

    All forms of government have the distinct scent of a Summer’s Eve.

  5. In 1971 I used to buy gas for $0.37 per gallon at the local wake-up station for my 1964 studebaker commander that got 30 mpg around town and 37 on the road. For 1 hours pay at minimum wage of $1.60, I could buy 5 gallons of fuel. Those were the days!!!

    • Hi Joe,


      In the ’80s, when I was in high school, I could afford to drive a V-8 Camaro on a part-time McDonald’s worker’s $3.35/hour wages. Because gas was about $1.25 a gallon. Today, the minimum wage is a little more than twice what it was back then – but gas prices have more than tripled.

      And: Today’s “gas” is really 10 percent alcohol – which has dramatically reduced gas mileage. So, we’re actually having to spend significantly more than three times what we paid for gas (real gas) back then.

  6. I was a high school senior when JFK was murdered in what I didn’t realize at the time was a CIA coup. It looked like things were getting better when the Vietnam war protests were in high gear and LBJ stepped down, but then we got Nixon and all his evil minions – Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. all got their start in Tricky Dick’s administration. Good to see most people here recognize the Republican god Reagan for what he was, the senile front man for the fascist police state that Amrika has become. Interesting news item recently confirmed that GOP operatives interfered with Carter’s Iranian hostage negotiations to make sure nothing would happen til their boy Ronnie got into office – treason anyone?
    Having said all that I want my time machine set back to the sixties, I was in college days and working nights and always had a few bucks in my pocket for buying 25 cent pitchers of beer. I drove a 62 Olds F85 that had the aluminum block V8 and required premium gas which didn’t cost much more a gallon than that pitcher of beer. Was great fun to drive but turned out to be a lemon mechanically, especially the transmission. After that I got a 65 VW bug which I wish I still had, probably the best car I’ve ever owned; heater was a bit lacking for the Boston winters but I was in my twenties and way more tolerant of the cold than now that I’m in my sixties 🙂
    It seems we’re all pretty much boiled frogs except for the official announcement from our dear leader to that effect, but I still have a 12 gauge and if that time comes I promise I will NOT submit and obey.
    Love you column Eric, keep up the great writing.

      • And I wish I still had my ’73.

        I stupidly gave it away. Donated it to charity for the tax write off. This was circa 1994 or so.

        I am seeing old Beetles on the road a lot lately. Not show cars – drivers.

        • Yeah, I still see them around here. Mostly super beetles with the black line bumper, but a few of the old guarded bumper ones too.

          Lousy heaters in those things, but you could pull out the engine and do a complete bottom to top rebuild on a tarp on the ground, just rolling it over to get at the crank and replace the bearings.

          What a car. It’s what the snowplow driver used to get to work, according to the 1966 ad.

          • The heater wasn’t great, but because the car’s interior volume was very so minimal, I found it to be – if not toasty – at least tolerable. You couldn’t wear a T-shirt in January (as you can in any modern car) but provided you were properly dressed, it was serviceable.

            But of course, the main virtue of the Bug was its simplicity – which made it inexpensive. One man with a few basic hand tools and a floor jack could remove the engine/transaxle from the car in about 15 minutes. A reasonably strong man could pick up and carry the entire engine inside the house for a rebuild (or whatever).

            My ’73 allowed me to cut my car expenses to almost nothing – allowing me to save money for other things, like a down payment on my first place.

            Much harder to save any money when you’re 23 and have a $300 car payment every month.

          • Yep, and just like Mike said, I was young enough that the cold wasn’t a big deal to me. Being young and skinny, I’d just wear a warm jacket and have my vent window open while I toked up in the winter. 😉

  7. From a performance perspective cars now dominate in the numbers category. The problem is getting a cheap pony car that keeps the weight down. I believe the 1998 price of ls1 Z28 or formula/ta could be had for 19k U.S. Back to the weight issue it is no secret why the fox body mustang (79-93) dominated drag strips and sold well. Simple light with a four link. The new 5.0 is definitely capable and is reasonably light compared against the bloated new camaro, but the old Windsor pushrod did quite well and a revamp is what it needed not ohc modulars. The ls1 does just fine.

    From a performance perspective today is the heyday, we just need gov’t to get out of the car biz altogether. Of course our big 3 is attached at their hip as is most large corporations. Look what they are doing with turbocharging. Watching fun ford events the last 15 years I have personally witnessed the unreal capabilities then, now you have tractable 1500hp cars and even more in some cases.

    As far as living culture, freedom & music movies I’ll take the 60s-80s. The innovation in pop music was unprecedented. Especially the alternative 70/80s & early 90s. Todays stuff yawn.

  8. Back in the 60’s
    If you got stopped by a cop,it was because he wanted to know what you got under the hood.
    Grandma drove a 455 cubic inch Oldsmobile 442.
    You could buy a showroom condition 1967 Corvette for $5,000.00 or less.
    The Shelby Cobra was king of the SCCA Production class for 6 years (63-68) but the L-88 Corvette put a stop to that in 1969.

  9. on my 22nd birthday, summer 1996, i came back from Hot August Nights with a jones to get a muscle car. I bought a 65 corvette 327 350 HP #’s matching 4 speed, teakwood telescoping wheel. Real Knock off wheels. Glenwood green on green, for $13,000 from a private consignment dealer. Stoplight to stoplight that thing would kill any 5.slow from the day.
    The insurance was more than the car payment. being in college and working 2 part time jobs i couldnt justify it as a 2nd car. so regrettably i sold it 1+ years later for almost double what i paid, promptly spending the profit on women, booze and good times, wasting the rest. I couldnt sniff that car today for less than $30k probly more like $40k. the good news is if i wanted a $30-$40k car today i could get a newer Corvette or GT Mustang or SRT Challenger that would be unbeleivevable more reliable, safer, have AC and more power, but not nearly the panache…

  10. One positive aspect of today’s cars is computer controls. There are aftermarket “fuel injection systems” that can replace carburetors and enhance performance of older “musclecars”. Being an expert on 1960’s automotive machinery,(carburetion and ignition systems)I welcome the retrofit fuel injection systems.

    • Bloomberg the Alpha Communitarian Cunt Tweets:


      33 Americans are murdered with guns everyday. Everyone demand a plan. Join mayors against guns.

      Obesity kills more than 5,000 NYers each year. We must take bold steps to fight this crisis:

      Columbine. Virginia Tech. Tucson. Aurora. Newtown. Enough. #DemandAction to end gun violence:

      More than 900 mayors & 1.4 million grassroots supporters #DemandAction from Congress to end gun violence

      Today I announced the winning prototypes from the Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge for NYC’s 11,000 pay phones

      We’ve already seen important progress in our effort to help teens delay pregnancy – but there is more work to be done

      Thanks to the hard work of @SierraClub, #coal is a dead man walking

      I am thrilled to join @GatesFoundation in the effort to end this disease once and for all #EndPolio

      Dr. Koop’s work set the stage for dramatic changes to smoking laws that have saved lives in NYC & across the globe

      We need to create an immigration system that brings the best, brightest, and hardest workers to our shores

      We’ll clean our air, open our waterfront, & make #NYC more sustainable to prepare for the new world of climate change

      We’ll create quality schools & safe streets that NYers deserve while keeping the next generation on the right track

  11. I had a 1960 Chevy convertible 348 with a 4 barrel. It had the slush box tranny but my friend fixed it so it shifted hard, also it had overdrive. I paid $250.00 and $150.00 for the tranny update. Black with black and white interior with a white top. Gas was $0.35 a gallon. I only ever used Shell premium 102 octane. My friend told me one day gas would be a buck a gallon and I thought he was nuts. Then some old lady smacked me and bent the frame broke my heart.

  12. Who are the enemies who destroy the golden years of freedom, whenever they briefly arrive? The do-gooder community-minded peoples that’s who. The more losers they save and support, the more powerful the free shit army grows. Good-for-nothings eager to spread their pestilent dependence onto others, now that their bellies are full and they have somewhere warm to sleep. Let the subhumans struggle and suffer, that is nature and nature’s God’s way.

    You must learn never to give to a charity or do anything for the community. Anyone you extend credit or give aid to, you need to watch them, and make sure they manage to pay you back and operate for their own purposes, if they start spouting off about helping the less fortunate, kick them to the curb and never let them return.

    Until this world can once again be fractured and disconnected, there will only be libertarianism and communitarianism and nothing in between. Brotherly love, christian goodwill, helping the disadvantaged, racial and regional pride, these are all the anti-thesis of living freely and must never be entertained or spoken positively about.

    Communitarianism is an ideology that emphasizes the connection between the individual and the community. If you value your freedom, then you should have no community. Everyone you associate with must constantly earn their place. There can never be unconditional acceptance or membership for anyone. This includes children, parents, and all fictitious personas invented by the communitarian state. If forced by law to support an enemy, do it without feeling or acknowledgement towards them whatsoever.

    Niki Raapana – What is Communitarianism? Why resist it?

    One World Communitarian Power Grid – David Icke

    The Fabian Society – World Communitarian Domination

    • Tor writes: “There can never be unconditional acceptance or membership for anyone”

      So true. Consider the infant child being potty trained. We don’t accept shitting on the carpet. Consider the young puppy, we don’t accept shitting on the carpet. To be a member of the tribe/pack/family, certain social norms are anticipated and their absence enforced. That’s our nature. It’s also our job.

      • When you put it that way, it makes me realize freedom is only one generation away.

        Simply expecting more and obtaining it from our infants and pets is a sure fire way to enjoy lasting success.

        The control freak psychopaths have elaborate rituals and traditions that all their offspring are made to follow. Most of these things increase fragility and make them unable to adapt to changes, hence their need for increasing control. It also makes them disgusting to anyone who actually looks at them.

        What does it matter, if everything you own has designer labels and you only eat expensive caviar, if you have no autonomy and individuality. If you’re so riddled with chromosonal and inherited weakness, you can barely wipe your own ass without a horde of helpers.

        If believers in freedom and violent aggression abstinence merely demand as much or more of their dependents; then over the long term, things will tilt in our favor. Especially if our regimen breeds humans and animals who are robust or anti-fragile.

        Being born with a silver tool set in your hands, rather than born as an inbred homunculus with a silver spoon, that is something that should be easy for us to popularize and bring into general practice.


        • Taleb has valuable things to say, interesting “ways” of saying them, lol.

          Authoritarianism is “antifragile”, however. Make that very antifragile. There may not be an essay, or chapter, devoted to that in his new book, but then, every page is surely suffused by his trademark imperiousness. Which is fine. But i doubt his imperiousness is bounded by nap. He might even spurn such a cordon as “fragile”.

          I look forward to reading him.

          • Taleb made a fortune for himself and others betting on increasing fiat currency induced misery and institutional predation to hold power during economic collapse.

            Authoritarians who were anti-fragile would by definition increase in strength the more disasters and black swans they endured. If the authoritarians are ambivalent to having either money or power or if they prefer power over money, then you are right: they are anti-fragile to their destructive influence.

            The key to their cartel is never allow any free nation to rise above them. If China continues to grow and enrich individuals, it would lessen their power.

            Hence if Taleb is as you say, we should invest in things that “profit” from war, famine, and disaster befalling China while the PTB harvest the riches and re-enslave and impoverish the increasing Han Chinese middle-class masses.


            “The most stable country in the history of mankind, and probably the most boring, by the way, is Switzerland. It’s not even a city-state environment; it’s a municipal state. Most decisions are made at the local level, which allows for distributed errors that don’t adversely affect the wider system. Meanwhile, people want a united Europe, more alignment, and look at the problems. The solution is right in the middle of Europe — Switzerland. It’s not united! It doesn’t have a Brussels! It doesn’t need one.”

            The Futurists Are Wrong – The Future Will Not Be Cool & Technological, But Just Like the Past

            We will write longhand on Ipad tablets just like Babylonians wrote on stone and papyrus tablets.

  13. I remember the 80’s but I liked the 70’s better. Cars big enough you could have a threesome in the back seat! Aya! Them were days…

  14. Gawd. Love this article. I think about this stuff too much – the “good old days”. When I was 16 I had a 69 GM 1/2 ton that my dad and I were always “restoring”. We had removed the original 6 and replaced it with a 350 V8 and turbo 350 trans. It never had tread on the tires and I had to carry a load of firewood in the winter to get traction.

    I also remember getting out of school in the fall – wandering out to my truck and throwing on my hunting duds and putting my rifle in the back window to go deer hunting…. all while still in the school parking lot.

    An RCMP once pulled me over after coming home one evening from my girlfriend’s house south of town – we had been hunting all weekend. There were two rifles on the seat of my truck next to me and I was 17 and driving too fast – all he said to me was “Are those rifles loaded?” I said “No sir they are not” He replied “Good stuff – now slow down you were going way to fast even for a dry clear evening. Have a good weekend.”

    Yes sir. I went on my way. Somehow I don’t think this scenario would play out quite the same today. Even in Canada. The year was about 1989. My how things have changed.

    Love your site Eric. Keep up the good work. Love to see the fascists among us called what they are… and by the way – we are now using the term “Clover” at work to describe anyone who is asleep and unaware of what is going on around them. You might want to see what you can do about getting royalties on this before it goes viral 🙂

  15. Latest crackdown from UK:

    “Experts estimate that the increased wearing of seatbelts due to national legislation and police enforcement has reduced fatalities by more than 20%. Research has also shown that a child under four is ten times more likely to be killed if unrestrained. ”

    Motorists who risk their lives and the lives of their passengers by failing to wear a seatbelt are the target of a Cambridgeshire police campaign during March.

    Throughout the month officers in Cambridgeshire will be doing targeted stop checks to catch those motorists failing to wear a seatbelt.

    The campaign in March is part of a national ‘Think’ campaign to raise awareness of the importance of wearing a seatbelt.

    PC Stephen Gedny, casualty reduction officer, said: “A seatbelt is a life-saving piece of equipment and it astonishes me that there are still people out there who failure to buckle up.

    “Over the next few weeks officers will be carrying out targeted patrols to catch those failing to wear a seatbelt.”

    “Seatbelt campaign in Suffolk

    Written by JO DEEKS

    POLICE in Suffolk are reminding drivers and passengers to belt up, as officers take part in a week-long enforcement campaign.

    Checks will be held between Monday, March 11 and Sunday, March 17, aiming to raise awareness of how many injuries and deaths can be prevented by wearing seatbelts. Drivers and passengers found not wearing seatbelts will be issued fixed penalty notices of £60.

    Chief Inspector Chris Spinks said:“Nowadays the majority of vehicles have seatbelts fitted and the value of wearing them is obvious, but some people still leave their seatbelt unfastened or don’t

    ensure that their children are secured in the back seat. We want to remind people that by not wearing your belt, or not ensuring others in the vehicle are, you are putting your own and others’ lives at risk.

    In Suffolk in 2012, 10 people who were seriously injured in road traffic collisions were not wearing a seatbelt.”

  16. I have to tell my story here. This isn’t about muscle cars but it is about my best friend John and my adventures in what was at one time my 51 Ford 3/4 ton flat head V8 pick up. One summer day in 69′ we were bored so we parked the truck under the tree in my back yard and began tearing it apart. Took it down to just the frame, bolted a sheet of plywood on the frame after we had removed the longest length of the two piece drive line, moved the rear end ahead and cut the frame off the back with a hacksaw. Then we took the bench seat out of my 55 Pontiac and nailed it to the plywood, that’s right, 16 penny nails bent over underneath was what held the seat on. No rear brakes now since we didn’t have the tools to flare the brake lines. It was more like a V8 tractor but was damn fast because it was so light now. 1250lb with John on it, we ran it across the scales to check. How we survived those adventures is something that always amazes me but we didn’t have a single serious injury, just lucky I guess because we have so many stories of crazy adventures with it. The Dukes of Hazard had nothing over us.

    • Hey DJ,

      Today, there would multiple charges for “unsaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe” vehicle, not legal to operate on the roads, etc.

      • No, it wasn’t even close to legal but we got away with it. Got caught now and then but never got a ticket. I didn’t have one single piece of required equipment.

  17. Uh. I grew up then too. Love the article. But one correction. That’s not David Lee Roth in those yellow tights. It’s Sammy Hagar. Right band (Van Halen), wrong era…

    Oh for the days…

  18. My brother in law and I were just discussing things that have to be done in our respective dwellings and all the hoops that have to be jumped through just to do simple improvements. This was in front of the fireplace with a few pops and the more we talked the more it came back to ” you know, it wasn’t that long ago, when life was normal/ great “. The more we talked on this theme the more comparisons came up and the more it became evident that we are more or less the proverbial frogs in slow boil mode. We all know that it this is happening but until you slowly categorize it, with some humour it never becomes so obvious that the shift is huge with no relief in sight.

    The posters here who are of an age where you weren’t actually of driving age in at least the 70’s may comment appreciatively but will never really know how fantastic it was because back then it wasn’t supposed to be fantastic, just normal. Big difference.

    To wit, this article reminded me that when I started university in 75-76, my commute vehicle was a 69 Camaro bought for $1500. This particular vehicle had some doctored V 8 that was said to be either a 327, a 350 or some sort of Corvette engine. The previous owner did the work himself so I never really found out. But, a good buddy of mine had a 69 SS auto with a 396, and being rich as a carpenter ( compared to a student) he constantly was putting bells and whistles in to ensure superiority because it was just a matter of time before we did the quarter mile.

    On that fateful day, we marked off a stretch on an old highway and were set to go. Because his prep was doing brake burns to get his tires ‘tacky’ we soon had an audience from the surrounding houses who gathered for the spectacle ( notice no 911 calls from a cellphone).

    Well we got off, he climbed to a car-length lead, I shifted to second ( I had a stiff 3 speed) and kept it in that gear for the duration passing him all the time at would be at walking speed until I passed the finish line with a 1 1/2 length lead. I will never forget his reaction after that which was a combination of me stealing his girlfriend, having his dog come home with me and his parents kicking him out and asking me to move in. He took it hard.

    These days in Ontario (Canada), this small rite of passage would have resulted in both cars being confiscated and impounded , automatic suspension of license, huge fines and insurance nightmares. And, it would have been one of the audience, under modern mind control who would have made the call ( safety, children etc…)

    Sorry for the boring story, but the combination of the talk I had by the fireplace and the premise of your article brought back this funny memory ( not so funny for my buddy-ha!).


  19. Earlier today, I stated to my wife that I wished I had a time machine, to go back to the country I lived in during the ’60s and ’70s. I’m now sixty years old and can’t even begin to recognize the current United States as the nation I grew up in.

    I know that correlation is not causation, but during my life I have watched government grow and grow and grow (always making the same promises of a better and more abundant tomorrow), and the median standard of living go lower, lower, and lower.

    The pols have never delivered, but it matters not. In my estimation, youth never has any real idea of the liberties they are missing, because they have no frame of reference. They are simply taught in the schools that the past was much uglier than today, because their benevolent government had not yet stepped in to correct things.

    The more socialized government becomes, the more most people are willing to sacrifice their remaining liberties. I probably should not expect better in a place where thirty seconds of televised bumper sticker sloganeering passes for intelligent political discourse (and that only in the sixty days preceding an election).

    I remember writing off the future of this country while in law school during the late ’70s (I’ve maintained my credentials, but have not practiced for almost thirty years). I took a course one summer in Administrative/Agency law. When I learned that Congress and/or the Executive branch could create agencies and would typically imbue them with the power to write their own regulations that would carry the full force and effect of law, I knew that we, as a country, were screwed.

    This post doesn’t directly touch on things such as the thirty cents per gallon gas and muscle cars that were typical in my high school parking lot, or the joy of riding a Suzuki X6 at a very high rate of speed while smelling freshly cut summer grass. For that I apologize, as I simply needed to get some of this off my chest.

    I guess most of us don’t know what we miss ’til it’s gone.

    • Hi Trevor,

      Amen to all you’ve said – which was said very well, incidentally.

      One of the few things that gives me some comfort – and hope – is that a large and (apparently) increasing portion of today’s youth – people who grew up in the “post nahnlevven” world – understand something’s very wrong and desire liberty, not more collectivism.

      It remains to be seen whether this cohort is sufficient to deal with the Free Shit Army and its officer corps.

      We shall soon find out.

    • When I learned that Congress and/or the Executive branch could create agencies and would typically imbue them with the power to write their own regulations that would carry the full force and effect of law, I knew that we, as a country, were screwed.

      And the fact that the over-worshiped piece of parchment called “The Constitution” contains a mile-wide loophole allowing for such a travesty (a loophole too big to have been “overlooked” by the founders, by the way) tells us in no uncertain terms that we’ve been “screwed” since before the ink on that document was dry.

  20. Funny you bring up the gun rack, I was watching “Footloose” the other day and noticed the antagonist had one in his truck(circa late 80’s) with a rifle in it and thought about how sheeple would be freaking out today.

    The “law” started becoming insufferable just as I entered adulthood in So. Cal. in 89′.

    After a late night exit from a local arcade in my 67 tbird that included a dukes of hazard jump & a tire smoking powerslide onto a freeway on ramp with a quick zip up to 90mph with 5 buddies in my car I was treated to a gun point perp walk several miles down the road and ultimately $1550 in fines ($1200 for speed in excess of 100mph(cop lied) and $350 for not using my turn signal).

    I was 18 with a crappy job…it took me 4 years to pay that off.

    • Hey Nick,

      Yup – we’re about the same age, I think – and I’ve had the same experience.

      The more I turn it over in my head, the more I sour on the Republican “conservative” godhead, Ronald Reagan. It was he who really got the “law n’ order” hero-worshipping of anything in a uniform and barking orders going. It was he who ramped up the anathema-to-liberty “war” on (some) “drugs.” It was he who set most of the precedents for what rapidly became the modern American police state.

      My loathing of the GOP only waxes with time.

      • “My loathing of the GOP only waxes with time.”

        I’ve hated the GOP since I was a tad. Maybe I was trained to hate them by the old timers in SC. The republican carpetbaggers raped SC like no other state during what they called “reconstruction”. Nothing was reconstructed by them. They stole everything, and would ship a man off to the Dry Tortugas prison without so much as a trial so they could take his land. They instituted the 40 acres-and-a-mule swindle in which they stole land from the owners and sold it to the state government, for use in the deal. The land was not suitable for farming and the freedmen never got their mules and land, anyway.

        One piece of land that was sold to the state by a carpetbagger for the 40 acres fraud is still state land. It’s part of the Francis Marion state forest, and is called “Hellhole”, a swampy tract which is an alligator habitat.

        My Great-great grandfather was a private in the 10th Va Cavalry, a unit that didn’t surrender. He came home to Fort Mill and stayed at odds with the US provost marshal and was on the run for years.

        He was a member of Wade Hanpton’s Red Shirts, a resistance organization. General Butler and General Gary (the War Eagle) were also members, and they tried to stop vote fraud committed by the republican carpetbaggers. Grant sent union cavalry after them calling them “ku kluxers” which they weren’t, and they led the US cavalry through the Waxhaws, most of them avoiding capture.

        Today the GOP pretends to be the party of “constitutional rights” and limited government. Descendants of Confederate soldiers now vote republican in SC, demonstrate for the tea party groups, and serve in the empire’s wars. It’s enough to make their ancestors roll over in their graves.

        I think the GOP is a pox on this country and has been from their earliest days.

        • Right on, Ed.

          It is absolutely tragic that Southerners, of all people, are the ones most apt to be Republicans.

          It’s akin to a Jew supporting National Socialism.

          • Eric, as you well know, the Radical Republicans viciously beat the Confederacy into submission by burning crops, demolishing towns and forcing the populace into a state of privation; it was the unsavory practice of “total war.” The long term Republican rape of the South after the war, a.k.a. “reconstruction”, seemed mild or even kind by comparison. I believe what we’re witnessing with Southern support of the Republicans today is a form of political Stockholm syndrome.

      • Eric, this one struck a nerve. A few years ago, them would have been fightin’ words. No more! As a former Reagan-loving conservative (my first vote for Fuehrer in 1984), I see now that I was totally brain-washed and plugged into the Matrix. I can’t say when I fully woke up, but nahn-luven was certainly the start. Something clicked when WTC7 went down the memory hole and then the search began. Question everything you were taught.
        Well, I looked into Reagan as part of my education. And what do I find but the great Rothbard, performing a clear-eyed analysis of his presidency. He totally nails it:
        Reagan was a puppet of his establishment handlers who was there to diffuse the anti-gov feeling that was developing during the 70s. His rhetoric was great;his policies were statist to the core. Rothbard wrote this in 1989!
        I still had a small shred of attachment for the GOP up until 2012. When they totally screwed over Ron Paul for the ENTIRE primary cycle (well documented by LRC) and then changed the rules on the fly during the convention to further deny a nomination vote, that shred was burned beyond recognition.
        The Dems suck too, but at least these statist assholes are honest about wanting to enslave us. Both are a part of the false left-right paradigm. Tell your friends.
        Finally, thank you for running this site, especially the comment section, uncensored. Freedom of expression is important and it is rare to find a forum like this one.
        Regards, Alkylidene.

        • Alkylidene’s comment is a perfect illustraion of it all. I’m flabbergasted that people cannot see what he sees. Especially after it’s been pointed out, put in BOLD, and in a simple format: A. B. C. T.

          It’s just like being in public school while waiting for the very last person to finnish the Stupid test so everyone could go outside for recess or whatever.

          Come on! Yeesh! It’s not That-freaking-hard to figure out!

          It was a joy to read your words, Alkylidene.

        • Dear Alky,

          Yeah. A lot of us have been there, done that.

          I was never really a conservative. But I was a limited government Classical Liberal who wanted to believe that Republicans had something in common with me.

          I too was eventually compelled to conclude that any perceived common ground was a cruel illusion, and that I was not the one guilty of hypocrisy, hence to blame for the final schism.

          • Realizing Republicans – “conservatives” – are not our allies but our enemies was for me a waking up worse than any hangover I ever endured during my youth.

            There is a superficial skein of common cause. But underneath it, you will find – always – that “conservatives” are not opposed to redistribution, just certain forms they consider “wasteful” or which do not go toward ends they regard as worthy, for example “welfare” (as opposed to “our schools” or Social Security or “the troops”).

            Much worse, they love authoritarianism. Just so long as it’s red, white and blue authoritarianism. They are people who sympathize with the Niedermeyer character in Animal House. Who reverence “the flag” and lick badges like a six-year-old with a Tootsie Pop.

          • “Realizing Republicans – “conservatives” – are not our allies but our enemies was for me a waking up worse than any hangover I ever endured during my youth. ”

            Yep, and it’s dismaying to see otherwise clear thinkers in the liberty camp allying themselves with the tea partiers. That phony ‘movement’ was co-opted from the jump by the GOP. They’re simply Bush-worshipping statists using a bit of our rhetoric to try to rope everyone into the GOP’s big tent, where we can be cornholed at their leisure.

            Rand Paul is a perfect example; combining his tea party half-stepping in political action and unswerving party loyalty with the neocons’ love and commitment to the Likud’s cause.

        • “I still had a small shred of attachment for the GOP up until 2012. When they totally screwed over Ron Paul for the ENTIRE primary cycle (well documented by LRC)”

          True, but what LRC failed to document was the Paul campaign’s cooperation with the agenda of the GOP fatboys. Through it all and in the end Paul turned out to be a loyal GOP member first and foremost. See this:

          The GOP is controlled by a very small group of bosses at the top. It has always been that way.

        • Hi Alky,

          I experienced exactly the same epiphany (see my comment above in re “conservatives”). I, too, cast my first vote for Fuhrer in 1984. We’re about the same age, I guess. I even worked as volunteer for Der Fuhrer’s campaign.

          I suspect we were misled into the Matrix because, having grown up within it, we could not – yet – see it. All our young ears heard was a guy who talked the talk – and more, he seemed “manly.” For young guys just coming up – coming up during the “malaise” of the Carter Years, Reagan was immensely appealing.

          But like Rothbard, I had this nagging itch that told me to look beyond the rhetoric. And what I saw I did not like.

          Remember the thug Ollie North? The way “patriotic” Republicans rallied around this latter-day Ernst Rohm?

          That was the moment – you can point to it – at which the country began to be instructed to worship “the troops.”

          Reagan also most unforgivably began the flanking maneuvers against the Bill of Rights which has become a full frontal assault. It was done under the pretext of the “war” on (some) “drugs.” And, of course, safety.

          Reagan was more personally appealing than The Chimp – because he seemed like (and probably was, personally) an “affable dunce” – a well-meaning, friendly old man, a grandfather figure – as opposed to an obvious narcissist and bully, as The Chimp was (and is) without a doubt.

  21. I recently did some body work on a 2004 Dodge pickup SVT with Viper engine and 6-speed. I had to pick up and deliver it, so I took every exit ramp on the way to my shop, so I could re-enter traffic “safely”, that is, with maximum acceleration. Not being my vehicle, I never even came close to red-lining it, and I didn’t do anything it was not designed to do, but letmetellya it was one ferocious beast of a machine. I have driven most of the classic muscle cars of the golden era, and this thing outclassed them all, with the possible exception of a 427/435 tri-power Corvette. 2004 is not so long ago, so it would appear that old-fashioned muscle is not extinct.

    The engine was merely ferociously strong and torquey until you got it up to 3500 rpm, at which point it went CRAZY….nuff said.

  22. I think we are all prone to remember the ‘good ole days’, but life back then was much more free. And I can remember seeing gas at $0.25.9 when I was very young.

    I fondly remember my ’71 Camero with a 327 (and no, that wasn’t the factory engine). If I’d keep my foot out of it I could get over 20 mpg, open the secondaries and all bets off.

    I have to say that the 2000 Mustang I have now is a pretty spirited little car even with the V6. I can light up the 245’s easily in first and second, and even get a nice little chirp in third. But it is a bit of an odd-ball bought used. Has dual exhaust, GT body work and emblems – but not a GT. One thing it definitely does is out handle the old Camero hands down. Might even give the old Camero a run for it’s money in a straight line – but I’d rather believe not 🙂 Memories are like that 🙂

    • I’m kind of enjoying the implosion of Lance Armstrong and his cult. The guy struck me as an asshole – and now we know he is in fact an asshole!

      • Oh, yes. Calling his team mates who came clean liars and then suing them is Exhibit A of him being a first class asshole. He couldn’t even hide it during his self-serving interview with Oprah.

        • “Calling his team mates who came clean liars and then suing them is Exhibit A of him being a first class asshole.”

          And possibly, a psychopath. A person who can lie that glibly – that arrogantly – without batting an eye, then sue people he knows are telling the truth… just… wow!

          • Within five years he’ll probably working in the toy department at a Walmart somewhere, which is probably the closest to bicycles he’ll ever be allowed to get after the USADA and the professional cycling organizations get through with him.

  23. I remember the ridiculous seatbelt, and mandatory insurance laws going into effect, plus the ramping up of the failed War on (some) Drugs during old prune face Reagan’s reign (his wife’s D.A.R.E. program was an absolute joke). Things really accelerated over the last 20 years once the Boomer generation, you know, the generation that wanted to stick it to the Man, until, of course, they became the Man, took over power.

    • Swamp has fingered the rise of “Mommy culture” in the ’80s as the moment at which the country passed the event horizon from semi-free and semi-reasonable to this suffocating, law-encrusted busybody police state we have today.

      I think he was on to something.

        • Ding Ding ding ding thread winner. Feminism is the reason the U.S. and the world are going to up in flames. Enjoy it girls because it will be short and fleeting.

    • “old prune face Reagan’s reign (his wife’s D.A.R.E. program was an absolute joke).”

      I remember that Richard Pryor said Reagan looked like a dick with a suit on. That’s exactly right. His wattled neck over the necktie looked exactly like that.

      BTW, DARE was chief Darrel Gates’ contribution. Nancy’s schtick was “Just Say No”.

  24. Red light cameras are the new 55 MPH speed limit. The crusade against those murdering red-light runners has begun. Just how we saved america via speed trap, we will now solve the red-light running crisis one automated camera ticket at a time.

    It’s not even funny any more! The more I think about it all the angrier I get!

    • Remember the “red leg” Union officer in The Outlaw Josey Wales?

      He said: “There ain’t no end to doin’ right.”

      Today’s version is: “There’s never enough ‘safety.’ “

      • “Remember the “red leg” Union officer in The Outlaw Josey Wales?”

        Or the bounty hunter who said a man had to make a living. Wales told him, ” Dyin’ is a poor way to make a livin’, boy.”

        The PTB’s attack dogs will find that out, eventually.

    • It is interesting about Red Light Cameras. You are absolutely correct about them being the new 55 mph speed limit, but I think that the tide might be starting to turn on them. A recent Ohio judge panned speed cameras as being illegal and there is a growing movement against automated enforcement in general.

      Since the 1980’s, probably beginning when fines have become more punitive, speed limits raised, or when automated enforcement began, the tide has changed on the speed limit front. A sizable portion of the population seem far less happy about draconian enforcement schemes and see them for what they are. The younger crowd is far less tolerant of the police state than many of us middle aged people, especially those coming of age in the 1980s (me, Eric, Dom for sure)

      What I am less happy about today is what government regulation is doing to cars, as Eric points out in his columns. Cars are overweight and complicated. In a couple of years, the mid to late 1970’s are going to repeat. I have noticed a drop in horsepower totals as automakers attempt to meet the EPA fuel economy targets. Cars, with their airbags, stability controls and electronic parking brakes are becoming stifling, boring and heavy.

      The first Bush administration and congress wrote the clean air act of 1990 and fiddled with our fuel choices as well. I remember telling friends, coworkers and even people in the car business that we would feel the costs of this legislation for years to come. In its original form, it required automakers to reduce CO, NOX and HC to levels of 10 percent of 1990 levels, which was already 10 percent of the 1970 level. In addition, diesels have had to meet the same fuel emissions levels as gasoline engines, something nearly impossible since they are completely different animals, similar to a lion and a wolf.

      It is true that the 1980s as a whole were a lot freer and better, but not necessarily for me. I got carjacked at least 7 times by buzz cut highway Nazis for exceeding 55 mph (at speeds no higher than 74 mph) before the 1980s drew to a close. The 55 mph speed limit was my focus, as it was the law I broke most.

      We have different problems now such as roadblocks, the TSA and the militarized police state, but my goal is to make sure that this apparatus will never pull people over for exceeding speeds that were at least legal in 1973 while fighting the TSA and their stupidity.

      Unless we get a car guy administration (a Rand Paul Presidency), it will be very difficult to undo the damage of the Clean Air Act and a NHTSA with virtually unlimited rule making power.

      • Hi Swamp,

        You’re absolutely right in re the ’70s repeating – in terms of smaller, less powerful engines, etc.

        Ford has a turbo three cylinder on deck for the Fiesta.

        Now, I have no problem with small engines – when they’re not forced on us, when we simply choose them because we want an economical car.

        But what we’re facing is the force-feeding of small engines – to satisfy the choices made for us by the assholes who control the apparatus of organized violence (government). And now, the mutually exclusive demands of these assholes – hyper-efficient and hyper-“safe” – are forcing the automakers to build too-heavy cars that need too-complicated engines (see above) that end up being too expensive – and not particularly fuel efficient, on top of that.

        This new turbo Fiesta, for example, won’t get better gas mileage than a circa 1980s K-car without the &^$#@!!! turbo. Why? Because the Fiesta is so goddamn heavy it needs the turbo to deliver customer-acceptable performance while also achieving government-acceptable MPGs.

        But the government doesn’t buy the cars. We do.

        We get to pay for government’s choices. The choices government makes for us – against our own wishes.

        • It’s a mindset of a top down shaping/engineering of society. The idea that individuals do not know what is best for them.

          But the problems they cite, such as pollution and so forth were do to that same top-down system allowing fraud and allowing violations of property rights in the first place. The problems would have been solved before they got bad if this top down system had functioned correctly.

          I wonder what the unfettered market would have produced if fuel economy and safety were never meddled with and emissions were approached from a property rights standpoint. Cars would probably be as clean as they are now, safer, and more fuel efficient over all.

          All it takes to make a safer or more fuel efficient car is market demand. Automakers attempted to sell cars on both measures long before government stepped in. Government perpetuates a myth that automakers did nothing, but many, including the big three did. They spent big money for the time on it. The problem was getting the sales.

          Ultimately do gooders find it easier to point a gun at people through the political process than convince them. Which is why things are the way they are. Once people started demanding safety and fuel economy the automakers exceeded government requirements. So the government requirements got more and more absurd and warped from reality.

          • “The problems would have been solved before they got bad if this top down system had functioned correctly. ”

            Or, if the top down system hadn’t been imposed on us. I think we’re seeing a pushback mostly because of the internet forum and blogosphere. We communicate with each other much more and see how many others think the way we do.

            In the ’80s, I really felt outnumbered and outgunned. The ’90a ushered in widespread internet access and the age of the BBS and other kinds of forum. It was encouraging to connect with like minded people in real time.

            Most of what we’re experiencing today with the police state was laid on while we were out of touch with our fellow small timers. It has expanded with the GWOT and the WOD. In the ’80s, the feds would just kill people who published what they wanted kept on the QT and it would go unreported. The word gets out more today.

        • I believe that there will be a point where people will say enough is enough with government meddling in our cars. (Whether that will be too late, I don’t know.)

          At a car show recently, I got a bad case of sticker shock when I saw how much cars cost these days. It used to be a matter of speech that I would say that, but it is now real. Other than a Hyundai or a Nissan Versa, cars are averaging about $30,000 for regular transportation. A recent yahoo news article, which I wanted to send to you showed that new car affordability is at an all time low. Far fewer than 20% of households can afford a new one.

          I have also noticed that car interiors have less space, engines are becoming less powerful (like we discussed before), and cars way more complex than before.

          All it will take is to connect this with government regulation and we will see a change. Or someone will devise a work around as cars become prohibitively expensive.

          Because of the nominal cost, that point will come sooner, but we’ll see.

  25. I am not as sanguine or nostalgic about the 1980s as some here. It is true that we had cheap regular gas, cheap smokes and beer, but early on the die was being cast for a much darker automotive future. In addition, Americans were classically complacent. In 1982, the states were given 5 years to comply with the 21 year drinking age signed by Ronald Reagan. In 1984, New York State passed the first mandatory seat belt law. By the end of the decade over 45 states passed some sort of belt legislation.

    I joined Citizens Coalition for Rational Traffic in 1986 to fight the 55 mph speed limit. Over any driving law enacted before and since, this one was the worst. It had the highest potential for abuse by law enforcement since it was disregarded to some extent by everyone, even its strictest adherents. To me, the 55 mph speed limit above all, violated natural law. My distaste for 55 began at the age of 10 when my dad got a warning for traveling 60 in a 55 mph zone in Hatfield, MA (the cop stopped him for actually doing 72). My dad was happy about not getting a ticket, but I was ticked because I remembered that the speed limit had been 65 mph in Massachusetts the year before. I felt that my dad was needlessly harassed by a mean cop. On that cold winter night in 1974, my crusade to rid the country of the 55 mph speed limit began. What was reasonable and lawful in 1973 should not have been treated any differently in 1974 or beyond.

    During the 1980’s, our efforts were met with a collective yawn by the driving public. I was told by coworkers and classmates that the law would never change and that I may as well just hang it up. It was lucky that a few congressmen listened to our phone calls and testimony during the late 1986 time period to put the first nail in the 55 mph coffin. Over the objections of many, the 65 mph speed limit reform was passed by the House by a 217 to 211 margin, uncomfortably close.

    The upshot – I remember the 1980s as a time of collective apathy that intensified in the 1990s. It was a time when people cared less about their rights. That’s why we had 55 mph limits for so long and why we have the TSA today.

    • “Americans were classically complacent.”

      Not everywhere. In my neck of the woods it was an all-out FUCK YOU COPS AND THE REST OF YA’S! The die might’ve been cast, but it seemed most here had no hand in that. The commoner’s anyway. The ultra-rich, I have no idea what side of the fence they were on. Likely it was the wrong side.

      “On that cold winter night in 1974, my crusade to rid the country of the 55 mph speed limit began.” <- That's cool as hell. Thanks for your service! [Never thought I'd say THAT with sincerity.]

      "I was told by coworkers and classmates that the law would never change and that I may as well just hang it up."

      I heard that one a lot too. Mostly from what I later found out were narcs and sons of the wanna-be power elites of the town.

      "I remember the 1980s as a time of collective apathy" …and how is that an upshot?

      I had no such apathy, but I recall coming up against such. It was disgusting. I'm not sure if it was a majority in my area, but then again, I do recall being told to sit down and shut-up for saying in front of a crowd that the cops were stupid for perusing their policies.

      Damn, we tried,… but there is no try, there is only do.

      I'd say we didn't fail, we were beaten. … The bastards.

      • “I had no such apathy, but I recall coming up against such. It was disgusting. I’m not sure if it was a majority in my area, but then again, I do recall being told to sit down and shut-up for saying in front of a crowd that the cops were stupid for perusing their policies.”

        People like us were rare in mid to late 20th century America. How do you think that the country could allow 21 year old drinking ages, 55 mph speed limits, the federalizion of our cars and the expansion of the police state to occur. If we just had 1% of us contacting county commissioners, city councilmen, and even congresscreeple, this whole nonsense would have been stopped dead cold about 15 years ago without firing a shot. I spoke to my county commissioner, who represents about 1.2 million people in Harris County, TX. He told me he speaks to maybe one constituent a day.

        The good news is that more and more people are getting involved at all levels. The bad news is that it might be too late.

    • I have the full size original bias ply spare tire for my ’73 Maverick. It is simply absurd that a car with such a primitive suspension could travel safely on those skinny horrible tires at 70mph but in 2013 I can’t legally drive cars that are parsecs superior faster than 55/65mph. (state I am in still has the NMSL in force)

      • Yup.

        I’d have to look it up confirm but I am confident that the average new car can come to a complete stop from 70 in about 1/3 less distance than a car like my ’76 TA could. And my TA was one of the “elite” cars of 1976!

        • Eric

          A friend of mine had a 73′ Formula 455. Not a TA but one FAST car. It did have Goodyear TA radial tires. One night on the Oregon coast, torrential downpoor the kind that sits an inch deep on flat level pavement. I was driving about 60 mph when a german sheapherd ran across the highway directly in front of me. I slammed the brakes hard and that car didn’t skid or loose traction at all, just dropped the nose and gripped the wet pavement slowing at a tremendous rate. The dogs tail missed the front bumper by mere inches. I’m not sure the car had a anti lock brake system or not but it sure stopped in a hurry.

          • Hi DJ,

            ’73 was a great year for Firebirds! They still had the clean (government-free) lines – nose and tail – of the 1970-72 models but with the more colorful exterior palette (for the TA, which was at first only offered with either white over blue or blue over white) and the 455 (vs. the 400). The 400 is a great engine – no doubt – but the 455 is arguably a better street performance engine due to its massive torque, even in mild tune.

            Your ’73 did not have ABS (thank the Motor Gods). No second gen. (1970-’81) Firebird or Camaro did. Or traction control or any of the crap that has ruined cars.

    • All true, Swamp –

      The change was obviously in the air. But, even so, there was still so much more liberty back then. Even the war on some drugs was less obnoxious than it is now. (Pot was still a “lesser offense” back then, etc.)

      But, you’re right – for those who had eyes to see, the ’80s were when the slide really got going. All the pieces – especially the legal precedents such as “safety” checkpoints – were put into place 25 years ago.We didn’t feel it as acutely then because the implementation was gradual and piecemeal. You could still pretend it was a (semi) free country and not be absolutely delusional.

      That’s the difference, then vs. now.

      • What are you guys talkng about?
        Are you saying you didn’t wear skintight yellow leotards while driving?
        Not even red sweat pants?

        You would be forgiven if you did. … Maybe.

        No way in Hell I’d ever do that. Not even if Twanny-what’s-her-last-name asked me to.

          • That comment was supposed to be in reply to swamprat below, my error. I’m done for the night.
            As if it changes anything, anyway.

            All I can add is, the youth of today (and everybody else) are getting ripped-off!
            Big time.

            Same as it ever was.

      • I did get some special riding sunglasses though. (normal ones would fly off my head when I looked behind me) I also have shoes that clip in to the pedals for a power boost but rarely used them because clipping in and out for every stop sign / red light is a pain.

  26. The downside of V8’s then is that their performance can be matched by today’s V6 cars. Today V8’s are way more powerful.

    • I’ll bite.

      It does not matter what you’re driving, it’s the driver’s skill which matters.

      Also, a 350 is a 350 is a 350. What part of horsepower rating don’t you understand?

    • Not really, Gil.

      All else being equal, a larger displacement engine will always make more power (and torque) than a smaller displacement engine.

      So, yes, a modern V-6 with all the benefits of modern airflow/design can – and routinely does – make more power than the V-8s of 30 years ago. And the V-8s of today are more powerful than the V-8s of the past (in general) for the same reason.

      But, a modern V-8 is still more potentially powerful than a modern V-6 or four (all else being equal).

      And: The larger engine will make superior torque (desirable for a street-driven car, especially a heavy one with an automatic transmission) and more power with fewer parts and a simpler layout. For example, the current Chevy LS series V-8s are still OHV and pushrod designs (as opposed to the much more commonplace SOHC/DOHC layout) and – for the most part – do not use power adders such as turbos or superchargers – yet produce tremendous amounts of both hp and torque in a package that is extremely under-stressed and therefore, inherently durable and long-lived.

      • “All else being equal, a larger displacement engine will always make more power (and torque) than a smaller displacement engine”

        This is just simple math and physics so why do you think you need to state this for people who went thru 12 FUCKING YEARS OF SCHOOLING? What do people actually do for 12 FUCKING YEARS in their public schools?

        I’m feeling better now….

        Ackerson – the Obamunist soviet-era Political Officer at GM (and Carlyle Group parasitic hack) – just stated they can now achieve enough torque from a V8 running in V4 mode to make the tech available. GM’s new light trucks are worth attention. It will be a little longer before their 9-speed transmissions are ready but 30+ MPG in a 1/2 ton pickup…Hmmm.

          • HEY!!
            Just because I’m not a gearhead (even WITH a mechanical engineering, then computer science background – DAMN I’m pathetic! 🙂

            Appreciate the education, no doubt. 🙂
            First car was a Buick LeSabre; first one I bought was a WRX manual. All I can say is, the 3600 V8 (i think it was a V8) in the LeSabre, I don’t know how fast that car could go – but the Speedo stopped at 100… And I did Rockaway, NJ to Morristown, NJ in 20 minutes flat, 80-287 plus local roads plus parking plus walking into the movie theaer… 😀

      • So you agreed with me or not? I’ll take a modern V8 over an older V8 any day if I want power and performance. More power, more torque, more everything.

        • The older V-8 will typically be two things that a modern V-8 isn’t:

          Larger displacement and cheaper/easier to hop up.

          The 455 in my Trans-Am, for instance. It displaces 7.4 liters – vs. 6-ish liters for the biggest current performance V-8s. Most are closer to 5 liters.

          The 455 by its nature produces tremendous torque – even in stock and (by modern standards) low performance trim. 450-500 lbs.-ft. is readily available. And because the cars of that era weigh less, 400 honest hp (easy to get out of a 7.4 liter V-8) will give you a car that’s as quick – or quicker – than a more powerful (but heavier) modern car.

          That’s the advantage the old has over the new. Put another way: The new stuff is quicker/stronger in factory/as-delivered trim. But the new stuff is also over-heavy and overly-complex and over-priced. Before all the BS came online, you could buy a new V-8 performance car for about what a base V-6 modern iteration of the same car costs now – and you could afford to work on the thing/improve its performance.

          • “you could afford to work on the thing/improve its performance.”

            The 1989 Firebird 350 with too many fuel injectors was a nightmare. I really liked the look of the car but there was No room to change the spark plugs and a person might be inclined to throw the car in the woods if the fuel injectors needed replacing. $$$ Was that the begining of sensor hell?

            I’ve been disapointed with every new car since then for those kinds of reasons.

            • I never worked on the GM TPI system, so I can’t really say. But underneath, it was still a small block Chevy. And the car didn’t have six air bags, or Stabilitrak or OnStar or an Event Data Recorder. These cars were the last of the line, as far as being free of government (and corporate) nannyism.

  27. Yes, we had much more freedom and purchasing power in the 1980s. America was at its (probably) last High Water Mark. Movies and music seemed much better…at least IMHO. It was really fun to travel to Mexico and Hawaii. Even living in Cali didn’t totally suck back then.

    But 1980s cars weren’t too awesome. The best of them were getting EFI, to restore reliability, drivability, and at least a tiny bit of power. The Japs were reintroducing the concept of quality construction, and that was welcome…..but not “the stuff of dreams.”

    There were very few 1980s cars that Rocked The World. Porsche is one of the few makers who really had their act together back then.( and I don’t like Porsches.) If I have forgotten another brand that was on top of their game at that time, please refresh my memory.

    Nevertheless, I’d jump in a flux capacitor powered DeLorean, set my destination for Jan 1981, and accelerate to 88mpg….right now!

      • Heh, flux capacitor powered DeLorean, no doubt!

        The late 1980’s Gran Prix with a 350 wasn’t bad. It was my impression that it was the last of the muscle cars, toned down as it was, along side the Monte Carlos, and the brand which I forget the name of in the first photo.
        The Grand Prix had power when so few did, but I would never say it, “Rocked The World”… Some girls might say so though.

        • Hi Downshift,

          I’m not 100 percent certain about this, put IIRC, the mid-late ’80s GM G bodies (Grand Prix, Olds Cutlass, Chevy Monte Carlo, etc.) never came from the factory with anything more than a 5 liter V-8. These were: 305s and (in the case of the Olds) a 307.

          No 350s. Only the F bodies (Camaro and Firebird) and Corvette and big sedans (Impala) offered 350s during the ’80s.

            • If my memory’s right, the ’80s-era SS Monte Carlos all had the “L69” 5.0 “High Output” 305 – shared with the Z28 Camaro.

              Around 1985, I think it was, the Corvette got the Tuned Port Injection (TPI) 350 (5.7 liters), which later on became the step-up option in the Z28 and Trans-Am but which was never offered in any other GM car.

          • Yes, you are correct eric, it was a 305 or 307. You do know your stuff.

            I still consider them the last of the muscle cars, mostly because they filled the local stock/modified race tracks for the next twenty years. There were very few Camaros and Firebirds on dirt, they were too nice.

            Nice muscle cars? Seems wrong.

            I never saw a corvette on a dirt track, corvettes had become something else, imho.

            • “I still consider them the last of the muscle cars.”

              Me too. They fit the bill. Medium-sized RWD coupes with a cast iron V-8 under the hood. Maybe not a big block – but not all the ’60s and early ’70s stuff had big blocks, either. And maybe not very strong – in comparison with the ’60s and ’70s stuff. But to me, the relevant consideration for both the ’60s and ’70s muscle and these “latter day” muscle cars is that they were strong relative to the average cars of their eras. A mid-1980s Monte SS or 442 was one of the most powerful – and quick – new cars you could buy at the time. Relative to a K car (and so on) a Monte SS or 442 was a star – something that really stood out, both in terms of curb appeal and what was under the hood.

              And, these cars have – and still have – tremendous potential. The 305 (Chevy) and 307 (Olds) are just as receptive to hot rodding techniques as their larger displacement cousins. Hell, a 305 is a 350 – just with less bore. Otherwise, identical in most every respect. Major parts such as heads, intakes, etc. all interchange. I’m pretty sure the same is true of the Olds 307 – which is/was a small bore 350 Olds.

              I’d love to have a last-of-the-line GM intermediate muscle car in my garage!

    • It’s true the cars of the ’80s weren’t great shakes (power/performance-wise) as compared with today… in stock trim.

      And that’s the key thing: It was easy to hop up the ’80s stuff – and you could afford to do it, because the car itself was affordable.

      Example: In 1985, you could buy a new Mustang LX 5.0 for under $10,000 (see here: ).

      That’s about $20,000 in 2013 money – or several thousand dollars less than the price of a base V-6 2013 Mustang.

      Yes, the 2013 V-6 produces more power than the ’85’s V-8…. in stock trim. But a couple hundred bucks (for a cam, set of headers and a few little odds and ends) can very quickly rectify that. And the ’85 weighs at least 500 pounds less than the 2013. So, it’s easier to make it quicker – in addition to being much, much cheaper.

      This is why, back in the ’80s, people under 30 could play with V-8 performance cars – and why today, V-8 performance cars are middle-aged (and old) men’s cars.

      I’m ready to get into the DeLorean, too.

    • I would agree: Early 80’s cars stunk! I had an 82 Mustang 4-banger w/an automatic. My buddy in his VW bug could out-drag me! When I got out of college I took a chance w/an 88 mustang GT. (VW GTI was verrrry high on the list….) The difference between the 82 and 88 stang’s was amazing! That 88 GT was the (2nd) best car I’ve ever owned! (My mother’s 82 Cutlass was a POS too, but her 87 DeVille was great) So, I think there is a world of difference between early 80’s and late 80’s American cars. (Japanese were all good then…)

      • In case you’re wondering. First best car I’ve ever owned (& still own) is my 98 E150 Club Wagon w/4.6L V-8. 188k and climbing… Still have same water pump!

  28. Ahh nostalgia. I remember the Datsun 280z was the first car with door is ajar and bell to remind you. Me and a buddy took the parents Volvo out one winter night and literally tore the parking brake out doing donuts in an icy parking lot. We laughed so hard it hurt. Early in the 80s we took a roadtrip to Wisconsin riding in the back of a Chevy pick up. Try that today, you might make the county line before being stopped and carted off. My mom taught me how to drive at 16 in an old silver Chevy Monza out in the boondocks of the countryside. We pulled over and switched sides and off we went. I don’t care what the doubters say the 80s were pure gold.

    • Datsun 280z, loved that car!
      I never owned one, but I drove one a couple of times.
      I thoroughly enjoy the memory of doing a surprise 360 on an empty four lane road at midnight in a dull city,… the cause of the 360 was billions of mayflies attracted to the lights on the road which ran parallel to a river. It was like being on ice.

      Chevy Monza… those were cool, wish I would have been able to get behind the wheel of one. I imagine it was like the Vega? Those were Fun… I never owned one of those either, but I stole, er borrowed one for a few hours:)

    • Same memories.

      Now, they’re passing laws making it a ticketable offense to have your dog “unsecured” in the car.

      Inside the car.


      PS: Those Monzas – with V-8s – were cool. But god help you when the time came to do a plug change….

      • Four hours plus. To make a long story short, you had to remove the bolt from the radiator shroud and hinge it over then remove the motor mounts then jack the engine up out of the car. LOL!


        • David Ward wrote, “Four hours plus. To make a long story short…”

          Now that I think about it, I have heard similar stories before.
          Is that true?

          If so, I retract my comment about how changing the spark plugs on a 1989 Firebird was a bloody knuckle-skin-removing bitch worthy of woods throwing.

          “remove the motor mounts”? – isn’t that how it’s done on a Porsche? I always heard that through the years. … That’s crazy. …imho.

          • I don’t doubt it (in re the Monza and changing plugs). I knew a guy in college who had one. I never worked on it, but I do remember looking at the 305 and man, it was tight. The upside is that if you have a hoist, raising an engine in a car of that type is not technically difficult. That I’ve done many times.

            IIRC, the fourth gen. F cars had their bodies lowered onto the engines, or the engines were installed from underneath as they moved down the line. I’ve heard that it’s a real J-O-B to pull an engine out of one of those!

        • “That’s why any dogs with you should be tied securely to the roof of the vehicle or towed behind it on a leash.” Yep, just ask Mitt. He had the original idea. 😉

      • OK, so what happened to my long winded commentary on loose dogs in the car? !50 Lb. Rottweilers? The whole schlemiel? Where did that go?

          • Hey Eric –

            If I sent it in it would have been right with your comment on dog security so I must have not hit “reply” or something.

            Seems to me people have gotten confused about the differences between laws and education. It does kind of make sense to secure your dog in a car and there’s nothing wrong with talking about it and maybe letting other folks know what your thoughts are on the subject just in case they don’t have any, but it’s way out of line to tell someone they have to secure their dog in their own car. It boggles the mind.

            Next thing you know they’ll require seatbelts for grocery bags. Or maybe they’ll mandate automatic cargo nets for everything in the cabin. Just to be safe of course.

            • As with seat belts for humans, I have no problem with the seat belts (or harnesses) for dogs. My problem is with the notion that it’s a matter justifying forcible intervention by armed thugs – i.e., “there outta be a law.”

              No, there ought not to be.

              I’ve had dogs most of my life and all lived happy, long lives. They loved hanging their heads out of the window – as much as I loved riding in the bed of a truck as a kid.

              None of this is any business of armed, costumed goons.

              But then, that’s what we have to deal with – as opposed to peace officers.

          • PS: I started harnessing my dogs when we did helicopter hot-load training. You have to harness your dog in a helicopter, loose dogs make the pilots nervous.

            I figured once I had the harness I might as well use it in the car too.

          • Maybe I wrote it but never posted it. Oh well, I’ll have to repeat myself because I put a shameless plug for my favorite dog harness manufacturer in it.

            I fasten my dogs down now, no need for a law. If you’ve ever had a pair of 100+ lb. flying Rottweilers hit you on the back of the head I’m sure it won’t ever happen to you again.

            You can buy a very nice padded saddle leather harness (made by the Amish I’m told) from Redline K9 for less than $80. They’re well made harnesses and they come in four sizes. Naturally both of mine are Extra Large 🙂 I use a piece of 1″ tubular nylon with a carabiner on each end, hook one end to a hard point in the back of my Durango and the other to a large brass ring on the harness. So far I haven’t lost a single dog and my head is still firmly attached to my neck.

            I’m against making seat belt laws for dogs. I believe in Darwin’s survival of the fittest theory and I think laws like that needlessly give information to the enemy. That’s also the reason I don’t use turn signals.

    • Yeah, I remember the Monza well. I had a ’76 Starfire which was Oldsmobile’s Monza clone. It had Chrome Vega wheels, a white “Camaro” interior (according to the used car dealer) and a 231 V6 with “4 on the floor.” That little car would get up and go! I dusted more than one 302 Mustang with it off the line. Of course it was typical 70’s GM trash; the inner door handles broke in no time, other interior plastic cracked / split, switches broke, etc. But the real kicker was the speedo had been “spun back.” I drove it from Ft. Walton Beach, Florida back to Tidewater Virginia (850 miles) in 18 hours…which included stopping in Georgia to have all four Firestone 500s that came on it replaced! I thought we were running 60 – 70. It turns out with that damaged speedo we were running more like 75 – 80 the whole way and never go a ticket! The seventies and eighties were a lot of fun because that’s really where Liberty met modern technology. Now technology has been conscripted by tyrants and we can all see the sad state of affairs we’re in now.

  29. Anyone ever ride in the back of a Subaru Brat? From the Factory, in 1980s, no seat belts, just a couple of “Jesus!” handles for safety.

  30. Had an ’89 Mustang GT and installed a heavy duty spring on the clutch… had to be careful or I’d burn out all the time.

    I’m angry that the clovers have stolen the country from our children. I know you are a car guy and like to write about that, but I’d like to see you write about HOA’s sometime… They’re chock full of clovers.

      • HOA = Housing’s Orwellian Authoritarians

        One of the biggest blessings that comes with moving to a rural area that is not part of a tract housing development is the absence of that despicable band of control freaks called the HOA. I remind my wife whenever she starts waxing nostalgic about the Mid-Atlantic (which she does frequently these days) of all the headaches and hassles we endured under the iron thumb of HOAs in both Maryland and Virginia. It’s usually enough to make her STFU – for at least a little while.

        I pity the Clover fool(s) who would come trolling through my current neck of the woods with a petition to start an HOA or any type of “community association.” They’ll be lucky to get off of the street with their guts still intact.

        • From Rio 1992 UN Agenda 21 Earth Summit:

          What’s considered unsustainable under Agenda 21? Golf courses, ski areas, irrigation, paved roads, commercial agriculture and farmlands. As Maurice Strong, the secretary general of the U.N.’s Earth Summit in 1992, said: “Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.’’

          In his report, Sustainable Development: Transforming America, Lamb writes: “Sustainable communities of the future will bear little resemblance to the towns and cities of the 20th century. Single-family homes will be rare. Housing will be provided by public/private partnerships, funded by government, and managed by nongovernment Home Owners Associations.’ Housing units will be designed to provide most of the infrastructure and amenities required by the residents. Shops and office space will be an integral part of each unit. … Each unit will be designed for bicycle and foot traffic, to reduce, if not eliminate, the need for people to use automobiles.”

        • In re HOAs:

          One of the few real freedoms I enjoy is being free of HOAs. For the monent, anyhow, I can shoot my guns off my backporch (naked, if I feel like it), cut down whatever tree looks at me funny, let my grass grow as long as I like, repaint my house without obtaining permission first, change the shingles, have Christmas lights on outside in July…

          My own small corner of what America used to be.

          • HOA’s are, without a doubt, one of the banes of humanity that rose to power in the 80’s with the condo revolution. Little fiefs that grew from communal living forced on America by rising real estate prices and high density housing. Bah! HOAs are the spawn of hell.

            Where else will you find 50 or 100 people willing to paint their houses all the same? Now there’s an example of individuality 🙂 It takes a very common sort of person to buy into an HOA, a very common one. People who would rather have a jasmine than a juniper in the front garden need not apply. If you aren’t already deeply involved in group think you probably shouldn’t get involved with an HOA.

            People who live in HOA controlled real estate don’t hunt. They don’t fix their own cars. Generally they don’t make their own clothes. They don’t own table saws. Few can food.

            I guess that about sums it up.

            • In re HOAs:

              I suppose one of the kernels of my political awakening was planted when I was a kid – growing up in a HOA-controlled suburban development. They called it “the association” – and the Mafia-like phrasing was most apt. I remember my parents having to fill out forms – and receiving them – over all sorts of petty, penny ante things that properly were no concern of anyone’s except the person who “owned” (allegedly) the damn property. Even though I was just a kid, and not directly affected, the whole thing stuck in my craw.

              HOAs are nothing less than smaller-scale, American forms of the German (Nazi-era) gau – with the HOA “president” the American gauleiter.

  31. It seems the past is always better.

    Regarding burnouts:

    My Accord with 150 lb-ft can squeak the front tires, for a brief second (no traction control, not even needed), when I step on the gas. Pretty cool right? ;D
    Not going to powerbrake it though because, well, I feel it would be risky.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy driving a RWD car.

    I still feel the automobile is an acceptable place for respite from the rest of the world. And yes, men should not tweet.

  32. HA! My 98 Civic costs me roughly $30 to fill and it only takes 8 gallons on fuel. Can we get this collapse over with already? I miss the good ole’ days.

    • Yeah,

      “And no one insisted – at gunpoint – that you wear a helmet.”

      it would have been viewed as unAmerican and flat out nutz to do so,… then.

  33. That article was simply lovely.

    What planet was that on?

    64 Cent gas, 87 Cent smokes, … today, it’s like it never happened, or even existed.

    And was that a GPZ motorcycle?
    I sooo wanted one of those back then.

    I didn’t know then how lucky I was to drive a rusted out 1960’s GTO or an ugly ’73 Charger.

    If there was a door, I’d go back in a heartbeat.

      • Today’s tech,… I’d trade all that for this certain 70’s chick with the deerskin jacket with the dangly things on the sleeves which I was too young for.

        No wait! Can’t I have yesterday AND today?

        The guys of age in the 70’s & 60’s did seem like they had it ALL. I noticed, but wasn’t allowed to particiapte, except for this One beer. Ahh the freedom, and I only tasted a portion. I envy you older guys, somewhat.

        • A couple of things that were drastically different back in the day:

          No one except a few wound-too-tight crypto-fascist types (whom most normal people regarded as tetched in the haid) revered “the troops.” There were people in the army – that’s all. This openly fascistic adulation of “the troops” is something that would have been ridiculed when I was a kid. Classic example: Niedermeyer in Animal House.

          Ronald Reagan bequeathed unto us the deification of BDU and red white and blue.

          Cops were just cops. Not “heroes.” The notion that “officer safety” justified hair-trigger hyper-escalation of the most trivial situations would have been regarded as demented back in the day. Cops were expected to treat citizens respectfully – the reverse of today. You could argue with a cop – and not expect a beat-down. Cops carried revolvers – not 10s and 9s. The wore uniforms – but not uniforms that seem to be pattered on the WWII German SS uniform. They did not – generally – have buzz cuts and weren’t jacked up on steroids. They could be – and often were – dicks. But the sort of murderous brutality we see routinely today would have been shocking to the people of 1979.

        • “The guys of age in the 70′s & 60′s did seem like they had it ALL.”

          We did have it all. Old coots like me remember being left alone for the most part. It makes it a little harder to tolerate the demand for obedience.

          In ’68, when I was 16, a friend of mine and I were hitchhiking back home to SC from LA. We caught a ride in Baja with a crowd of boys our age from the Houston area and, once we got to Houston with them, we had a party at a motel in one of the satellite towns of Houston, with beer sold to one of the crew by a friend of his dad. Try any of that now when you’re 16.

          Later on the trip home my friend and I were picked up by cops in Little Rock and taken to the station to wait while they called our folks. No handcuffs, no search, no real hassle, just a couple of uniformed peace officers concerned that two young’uns were on the street where the titty bars were at 2 am.

          They made us wait while my momma wired us the money for a bus ticket. When one of them asked me if that was a knife in my back pocket, I said yeah and pulled it out to show him. It was a Kabar Giant Copperhead folder. He didn’t bat an eye, just said I was safer traveling with it than without it.

          If they had searched us, they would have found a pipe and a little reefer, but they weren’t interested in what we had in our pockets other than whether we had the money to catch a bus. They didn’t want us to get hurt hitchhiking, but they didn’t even walk us into the bus station after driving us there. We could have just gone back to hitchhiking, but we didn’t.

          Those days aren’t coming back, at least I doubt they will in my lifetime. Today, two 16 year-olds on the streets of Little Rock would be cuffed&stuffed, surely charged with weapons and dope, and put into the system by whatever young skinheads took over when those two old timers quit or retired.

          The US I grew up in doesn’t even exist anymore. As you said, if there was a door back, I’d go through it without thinking.

          • Wow,
            What a perfect summation of our (geezers) world.
            Was I a jerk as a “yoot”? You bet! But the world at that time let me shake out my wild oats and get on with being a real grownup adult type person.
            You are right on in sayin’ that today you’d be tattooed screwed and glued to a “criminal record” for the little peccadillos which we committed.
            I fear for my kids who have to comply with the “new normal” in behavior.

          • “Was I a jerk as a “yoot”? You bet! But the world at that time let me shake out my wild oats and get on with being a real grownup adult type person.”

            You nailed it, Cap’n Mike. That may be why so many young men just don’t grow up anymore. Being treated like a toddler till they’re 30 kinda discourages maturity.

          • @ Capn Mike: did you say yoot? What’s a yoot? lmao…My Cousin Vinny is one of my favorite movies.

            I’ve always wondered whether the automotive info in that movie was correct: was a 64 Buick Skylark really quite similar to a 63 Pontiac Tempest, but without positraction and independent rear suspension? Sounds reasonable, but I’m not enough of a car guy to know. Guessing that there are plenty of auto experts here who could set this inquiring mind at ease on that score.

            • Hi MIke,

              IIRC, no GM car of the ’60s had an IRS – except the Corvette and the ’65-’69 Corvair. However, some of the GM cars of that era did have coil spring rears – as opposed to leaf springs.

          • If I were a kid today, I would be doped up on ritalin (ADHD) sent to anger management counseling for the occasional fight between friends/classmates etc. And, I would be in trouble for having beer before age 21. Back then it was 18, then 19 in Fla.

            And, if my parents were parents today, they would lose custody of me. I was a jerk as a yoot. They disciplined me. But discipline then is considered abuse today.

            Kids/people have not changed. Only the people who want to deal with behavior are different. There is no way everybody of yesteryear was an angel in school, drove the speed limit, was celebate, etc. But now the control freaks want everybody to be perfect rather than let people who do dumb things deal with their choices.

        • How about Heather Locklear’s “…and they tell two friends” shampoo commercial? That one always got something stirring.

        • Here, here. I was born in the mid 1960s. Wish I would have been born in the 1930s. Being born in the 1960s, we experienced a small taste of real freedom during our teenage years. After that,if you had eyes, you could see the walls closing in. That’s the worst part. The only thing that is encouraging is that there is a sizable number of kids who are really tired of the status quo, and they are actually doing something about it. They are far more active than kids of my day. Back in my day, people used to look at me funny for doing what I was doing. Now, the younger kids are actually involved. It’s nominally encouraging.

          • I think our generation (Gen x) was more apathetic for two main reasons:

            * The “security” and “safety” foundations of the police state were being laid – but there was still enough leeway that most of us could avoid the worst parts most of the time. We were very wrong not to rise up against the principles and precedents being established – but didn’t because, at the time, the consequences weren’t yet very severe or very obvious. We were lazy – and for that, we deserve blame.

            * We could indulge the above because the economy was still viable. A kid out of high school or college could get a decent-paying job with a future – as opposed to a dead-end McJob with none. A major turning point was the gutting of the economy that began for real (as opposed to the relatively minor/cyclical downturns of previous years) after the “free trade” rigmarole (NAFTA, MFN, GATT) was enacted in the mid-late 1990s.

            The result of opening up the slave markets of China and India was the enslavement of America.


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