One of the incongruities of our age is the gratuitous wastage of capability, as regards cars. The average late-model car has twice the horsepower of a typical ’80s (or even early-mid ’90s-era) car. Most late model cars can get to 60 in 7 seconds or less – which is right on the bumper of the majority of V8 muscle cars of the ’60s and ’70s.
They have much more grip in the curves, having much more tire than cars used to have – when even performance cars only had 15 and 16 inch wheels. Modern minivans and crossovers have 17 and 18 inch wheels.
It is child’s plays drive any late-model car 80-plus in a straight line and 10 MPH over the “recommended” speed in the curves. You can text while doing it, using your legs to steer.
Yet most people drive these cars as if they were driving a brand-new 1985 Aries K-car with 101 horsepower that took 12 seconds to get to 60 and could maybe get to 80 or so, with difficulty.
I found myself behind one such yesterday. Late-model Mercedes GLC, which has close to twice the horsepower of my almost-20-year-old truck and isn’t riding on a leaf-sprung suspension with 15 inch wheels (and tires) barely maintaining contact with the road. This Clover – a term denoting both a person who lacks driving skills as well as driving courtesy – would kind of fall asleep at the wheel and let the speed of his fancy Benz dip to 5-10 MPH below the speed limit – and then (apparently) wake up, realize he was dawdling – and accelerate, only to slow down again.
Come the curves, I passed. In my almost-20-year-old truck rocking 147 horsepower and half the grip limit of the Benz. But I do not drive my truck as if it were an ’85 Aries K-car.
The question I puzzle over is: Why do these people drive vehicles that have power/capabilities they can’t or won’t use? Wouldn’t they be better-off driving something like an ’85 Aries K-Car?
At least then they’d be getting 40-plus MPG instead of low 30s, maybe – and not looking stupid while doing it!
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