Speed does kill – if you get caught doing it.
We live in the Hut! Hut! Hut! era. Armed government workers (AGWs) wearing Batman-style utility belts packed with multiple mags and high-powered “assault” weapons over their Robocop body armor are far more likely to end your life than doing 70 in a 55.
Even if you aren’t Tazed and dragged out of your car by one of these odd juxtapositions of muscled-up and tattoo’d poltroonery (I feared for my safety!) and hair-trigger brutality (stop resisting!) most people just can’t afford to “speed” anymore.
The extortion note – styled a “ticket” – the AGW forces you to sign at gunpoint (see what happens if you decline to sign) is just the beginning. The Oz Panopticon will take note the moment you’re duly convicted and then comes the second extortion note – this one from the insurance mafia. The already-absurdly expensive “coverage” you’re forced to buy, also at gunpoint (see what happens if you stop paying) suddenly costs 20 percent more . . . for the next five years.
That’s for something like 48 in a 35 – i.e., driving with the flow of traffic – but today it’s your turn to be the one picked from the herd for a shearing. If you’re driving a car that looks speedy, the odds of this happening to you today – and tomorrow – go up.
If you get caught actually using a speedy car – laying rubber, driving faster than 80 on the highway (something an ’86 Yugo could do) you risk a “reckless” driving bust and thousands of dollars in legalized theft, plus the very real possibility of being Hut! Hut! Hutted! by an armed government worker.
Even if you always drive the speed limit and never get Hut! Hut! Hutted! the insurance mafia will make your speedy (in theory) car a very expensive car to own, which will make you not want to drive it. Which in turn renders pointless the buying of it. You pay more to go no faster than the herd – plus the higher gas bills and cramped back seats.
It’s as silly as paying ribeye prices for oatmeal.
This probably explains the declining interest in speedy cars – and the much-increased-interest in 4×4 trucks and SUVs. There are no speed traps off-road and you’re much less likely to encounter a Hut! Hut! Hutting! AGW on your favorite trail. These are usually abundant as well as free – in contrast to track time for a speedy car. Track days are a rich man’s hobby – and a hassle. Drive there, pay there – then drive back. Often, the drive there is hours long.
But you can turn off the paved road pretty much anywhere. If you have land – or a friend who has land – you can go there, too. There is a great deal of appeal in this. What’s down that dirt road?
You can also enjoy a visually obstreperous vehicle – one that makes the right sounds and provides the emotional gratification that speedy cars used to but can’t anymore because of the anvil-over-your-head constant threat of crossing paths with a bullet-headed (and possibly bullet-spewing) AGW.
Insurance is less oppressive, too – because trucks and SUVs haven’t yet been targeted as an anti-social class of vehicle as speedy cars have been for generations. You can buy a pick-up with a V8 and it’s just a pickup. A V8 Camaro or Mustang is a “high risk” car and your rates will reflect this, accordingly.
The trucks also have V8s – not just turbo’d fours that are too complicated (and expensive) to modify. The V8s in most new trucks are still pretty straightforward. Most are amendable to the same kinds of mods people used to make to speedy car V8s.
And of course, they’re V8s.
An interesting thing: Observe the proliferation of specialty off-road packages, mirroring what was once practice with speedy cars.
Instead of Z28, Z71 – Chevy speak for the heavy-duty suspension, skid plates and M/S-rated tires offered with trucks like the Silverado 1500.
Ram is about to install the Challenger Hellcat’s almost 800 horsepower supercharged Hemi V8 in its 1500 truck as a counterpoint to the two above – and you can already buy the Hellcat’s engine in a Jeep Grand Cherokee (the Trackhawk) and use it because to an AGW it looks like a Jeep Grand Cherokee and thus doesn’t trigger his instinct to Hut! Hut! Hut!
The market is like water in that it always finds a way to “leak” past whatever is trying to hold it back. See Prohibition. See the War on (some) Drugs. See the War )not officially declared) on cars.
It may not be possible to do much with a speedy car other than admire it for what it could do.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to have just as much fun – without risking the mulcting or the Hut! Hut! Hutting!
. . .
Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos.
PS: Get an EPautos magnet (pictured below) in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a sticker – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)
My latest eBook is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here.