Fast Cars and Freedom

 

shutterstock_152358593Rob Long — who makes his living thinking about new ways to make people watch TV shows — had great post yesterday on the disruption going on in the television world. Specifically, on how Netflix, the mother of all disruptors, is facing disruption from overseas expansion.

Television viewers are empowered now. Where once we had to schedule our time around the shows we wanted to watch, television now fits into our schedules. DVRs and on-demand streaming options are now the order of the day. My young sons look at the days when I had to get up on Saturday morning (and only on Saturday morning) to watch cartoons the way I once looked at the days when dairy products were delivered door-to-door.

We are entering an new age of personal empowerment. If I want to order something from Amazon, it usually shows up on my doorstep within two days through my Amazon Prime membership. If I need a lift, I call Lfyt or Uber. If I want to know if the hotel I’m staying in is dicey, I have Trip Advisor (and if it turns out that hotel is not right for me, AirBnB is able to provide an alternative place to rest for the the night).

Like I said, empowerment.

Americans understand the idea of personal empowerment. It’s in our DNA, which is why Americans are leading today’s tech revolution. We’re used to going where we want, when we want, without having to rely on the whims of public transit. And rather than hope that there will be a cop around when we really need one, we’re accustomed to being in charge of our own security.

The blue-state model of top-down, structured bureaucracy is dying, and there’s a new world out there, where people have the will and the ability to make their lives better in ways we can’t imagine.

Let’s make it happen.

There are 34 comments.

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  1. Thatcher

    If there’s ever been a Ricochet article title designed to ensnare me it’s this one. I find it’s lack of fast cars disturbing.

    • #1
    • March 9, 2016 at 8:56 am
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  2. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Randy Weivoda: I find it’s lack of fast cars disturbing.

    Challenge accepted!

    This was part of the reason why I wrote this post: I’m just blown away by the fact that I now own a 4 door compact car that goes faster than Thomas Magnum’s Ferrari.

    Focus ST

    • #2
    • March 9, 2016 at 9:04 am
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  3. Member

    If you’re going to say ‘fast cars and freedom”…

    • #3
    • March 9, 2016 at 9:20 am
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  4. Thatcher

    Kevin Creighton:

    Randy Weivoda: I find it’s lack of fast cars disturbing.

    Challenge accepted!

    This was part of the reason why I wrote this post: I’m just blown away by the fact that I now own a 4 door compact car that goes faster than Thomas Magnum’s Ferrari.

    Focus ST

    Indeed. We are truly living in the golden age of horsepower. My wife’s Ford Edge (not a Sport model, just the standard engine) has approximately 100 more horsepower than the 1978 Corvette that my mother used to own.

    • #4
    • March 9, 2016 at 9:21 am
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  5. Thatcher

    We currently have two vehicles: A 2005 Saab 9-2x, and a 2015 Ford Escape.

    When the Saab came out, it was an amazing car. It’s essentially a Subaru WRX with a few Saab tweaks to the steering and suspension. 227 horsepower, 5 speed manual, All-Wheel-Drive. 0-60 in 5.4 seconds – faster than most muscle cars of the 60’s and 70’s.

    Ten years later, and that little Saab is outpowered by our Escape, a family runabout. Family cars get bad reviews if they don’t have at least that much power. The Escape doesn’t handle as well, but it handles better than any muscle car of the past ever did.

    We’re living in the golden age of fast cars right now. A Mustang GT base model has over 400HP and a fully independent suspension. The Shelby GT350 has 526 horsepower and a flat plane crank in it that allows the thing to rev to 9,000 RPM. It sounds like a Ferrari. The new Ford Focus RS has 350 horsepower and all-wheel-drive. Even ten years ago that would have been absolutely unthinkable, and that kind of horsepower and handling was only available in exotic rally-car derivatives like the Subaru STi and the Mitsubishi Evo, and I believe even those fell a few horsepower short of the new Focus.

    I remember as a kid worshipping at the altar of cars with legendary engines like the ’69 Camaro ZL-1, the L-88 big blocks, the fuel-injected 327’s in the old Corvettes, etc. I even owned a ’67 Camaro with a 365HP 327.

    But with the suspension and tires of the time, not one of those insane muscle cars could beat a stock Ford Mustang GT today – or probably even a Honda Accord with the V6 option. And their horsepower numbers were derived at the crank, not at the wheels, so a Ford Focus rated at 350HP is probably nearly equal to the old 425HP big blocks in terms of horsepower.

    That said… Power isn’t everything. What we’ve given up is weight and road feel. The best pure sports car I ever owned was a 1971 Datsun 240-z, and it only had 161 horsepower. The key was that it was very light, so it could have unpowered rack-and-pinion steering that gave you tremendous road feel, and it had a near 50-50 weight distribution that made it go around corners like it was on rails.

    Cars like that are almost impossible to build now with all the safety requirements new cars must have. That’s not necessarily bad, as that old Datsun would have folded up like an accordion if I had hit anything larger than a gopher.

    • #5
    • March 9, 2016 at 9:51 am
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  6. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Matt Bartle:If you’re going to say ‘fast cars and freedom”…

    Yep. Stole the title without reservation from that song. :D

    • #6
    • March 9, 2016 at 9:53 am
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  7. Contributor

    Gosh, I think I’m lost in the wrong post! ;>) I do like the idea of how empowered we all are technologically, and all the choices we make. We are probably one of the few couples who doesn’t own a DVR. It makes sense to me, since I don’t want to be watching more TV, but less! It seems like people take pride in how many shows they watch because they can skip commercials. How about just skipping all of it? Oops, hope Rob doesn’t see this . . .

    • #7
    • March 9, 2016 at 9:54 am
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  8. Inactive

    This is the paradox of the millenial voter – they want their world to be on-demand, highly-customized, and specific to their preferences, but yet, they vote for candidates who will give them mediocre, one-size-fits-all government programs (c.f., Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare, etc., etc.).

    • #8
    • March 9, 2016 at 9:57 am
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  9. Member

    Susan Quinn:Gosh, I think I’m lost in the wrong post! ;>) I do like the idea of how empowered we all are technologically, and all the choices we make. We are probably one of the few couples who doesn’t own a DVR. It makes sense to me, since I don’t want to be watching more TV, but less! It seems like people take pride in how many shows they watch because they can skip commercials. How about just skipping all of it? Oops, hope Rob doesn’t see this . . .

    I am with you. Less TV is better.

    • #9
    • March 9, 2016 at 10:04 am
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  10. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Pony Convertible: I am with you. Less TV is better.

    The funny thing is, though, I thought I’d hate a Kindle, but now, I’m marking up text and scrolling and pinching and interacting with the words in ways that I never could before.

    It’s about the content, not the medium.

    • #10
    • March 9, 2016 at 10:11 am
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  11. Contributor

    Kevin Creighton: It’s about the content, not the medium.

    Not always, for me. For certain kinds of books, like those on religion, I want to hold the book in my hand. Almost everything else is on the Kindle–saves me buying more bookcases!!

    • #11
    • March 9, 2016 at 10:14 am
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  12. Member

    Kevin, I have the Focus Titanium version of your car. Same color. Love it.

    • #12
    • March 9, 2016 at 10:33 am
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  13. Member

    Kevin Creighton:

    Randy Weivoda: I find it’s lack of fast cars disturbing.

    Challenge accepted!

    This was part of the reason why I wrote this post: I’m just blown away by the fact that I now own a 4 door compact car that goes faster than Thomas Magnum’s Ferrari.

    Hot hatch in Police-Attractant Red. Nice. Are you empowered with a radar detector, I wonder? Or maybe you’re fortunate to live somewhere where municipal budgets aren’t designed to be enhanced by the contributions of lead foots such as myself. I don’t have a red vehicle, but my “I’m Not Speeding, I’m Qualifying” bumper sticker has drawn a few comments from the local gendarmerie (who are good guys).

    I’ve been flirting with buying a Mustang GT for awhile, but can’t quite make the math work. Maybe the Focus ST is the trick.

    • #13
    • March 9, 2016 at 10:38 am
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  14. Thatcher

    If you want to have fun without committing felonies, some of these new cars are problematic. Some of the fastest cars for sale right now are actually kind of boring if you’re not on a track or doing a max acceleration run – That Ford Shelby GT350 is an amazing car, and I want one, but it doesn’t really come alive until you’re revving over 6,000 RPM with a 526 HP engine. When do you ever get the chance to do that on the street? Cars like this are so fast that any attempt to put them near their limits on a public road is pretty irresponsible and dangerous. The roads and their conditions are a bigger limitation than the car itself.

    If I were looking for a fun car that’s still fun when you’re driving at or at least near the speed limit, I’d consider the Ford Fiesta ST, or perhaps something like a Subaru BRZ. The Fiesta is supposed to be a hoot even at low speeds. While there’s something to be said for giant tires that grip the road ferociously, there’s also something to be said for small tires that reach the limit at much lower speeds, so you can have fun without going 150 mph on a public road.

    • #14
    • March 9, 2016 at 10:52 am
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  15. Member

    Kevin Creighton:

    Randy Weivoda: I find it’s lack of fast cars disturbing.

    Challenge accepted!

    This was part of the reason why I wrote this post: I’m just blown away by the fact that I now own a 4 door compact car that goes faster than Thomas Magnum’s Ferrari.

    Focus ST

    It may not be fast, but don’t bother following me: you won’t make it.

    Official Hummer Rescue Vehicle

    IMG_0086

    • #15
    • March 9, 2016 at 11:00 am
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  16. Member

    I used to have a Roush edition F-150, supercharged of course. A BMW M5 was a little surprised when he couldn’t shake me. Had that 100mph speedometer completely buried more than once.

    • #16
    • March 9, 2016 at 11:01 am
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  17. Contributor

    I give you the E93 BMW M3. In my opinion, the perfect fast car for California.

    IMG_1956

    • #17
    • March 9, 2016 at 11:09 am
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  18. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Hoyacon: Hot hatch in Police-Attractant Red. Nice. Are you empowered with a radar detector, I wonder? Or maybe you’re fortunate to live somewhere where municipal budgets aren’t designed to be enhanced by the contributions of lead foots such as myself.

    Let’s just say I’m very good at working the first three gears, and then going right into overdrive.

    On a side note, you drive a car with a stick shift, you point a car with an automatic.

    Cars like this are so fast that any attempt to put them near their limits on a public road is pretty irresponsible and dangerous. The roads and their conditions are a bigger limitation than the car itself.

    If I were looking for a fun car that’s still fun when you’re driving at or at least near the speed limit, I’d consider the Ford Fiesta ST, or perhaps something like a Subaru BRZ.

    I looked at the BRRRRZZ! and the Toyota/Scion version as well, but they had no back seat to speak of, same problem with the ‘Stang. The cars I narrowed it down to were the Focus ST, the GTI and the Mazda Speed 3.

    Dear GM: Please take the Vauxhall Astra VX-R, slap a new name badge on it (Hint, the original 2-door hot hatch brand, the Nomad, is just layin’ around doing nothing) and bring it to our shores ASAP. You did great wonders with the Holden platform over here, let’s try it again, and soon.

    • #18
    • March 9, 2016 at 11:14 am
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  19. Member

    I had a feeling your new car would make its way into this post…

    • #19
    • March 9, 2016 at 11:37 am
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  20. Member

    George Savage:I give you the E93 BMW M3. In my opinion, the perfect fast car for California.

    Far and away the nicest thing anyone’s done for me on Ricochet–but I must insist on paying any gift tax. What’s a convenient time for pick-up?

    • #20
    • March 9, 2016 at 11:52 am
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  21. Thatcher

    Hoyacon: I’ve been flirting with buying a Mustang GT for awhile, but can’t quite make the math work.

    This doesn’t help your math problem, but I can testify that I love mine.

    Wildfire038 Wildfire077

    • #21
    • March 9, 2016 at 11:52 am
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  22. Member

    Kevin, my parents had 58 or 59 Vauxhall. We lived outside of Pittsburgh with all the hills. I think it had 52 hp. We were always in first or second gear so it didn’t get all that good of mileage. The good thing is it disappeared the third spring they owned it.It was their third car and it got to stay outside. By the third spring it was just a pile of rust in the back driveway. It would have cost more to repair than it was worth. My uncle owned a Pontiac dealership and had practically given it to my dad just to get it off his lot so it was not a tragic event. As a freshman in high school I was embarrassed to be seen in it.

    • #22
    • March 9, 2016 at 12:03 pm
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  23. Member

    Randy Weivoda:

    Hoyacon: I’ve been flirting with buying a Mustang GT for awhile, but can’t quite make the math work.

    This doesn’t help your math problem, but I can testify that I love mine.

    As well you should–it’s looks very well maintained. In 2012-14 range? Are the seats sort of a Chestnut color, or is that just the light? I don’t think that I’ve seen that. I looked at the new (cheaper) turbo 4 model, and it’s fast, but the engine note just ain’t the same.

    • #23
    • March 9, 2016 at 12:12 pm
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  24. Thatcher

    Hoyacon:

    Randy Weivoda:

    Hoyacon: I’ve been flirting with buying a Mustang GT for awhile, but can’t quite make the math work.

    This doesn’t help your math problem, but I can testify that I love mine.

    As well you should–it’s looks very well maintained. In 2012-14 range? Are the seats sort of a Chestnut color, or is that just the light? I don’t think that I’ve seen that. I looked at the new (cheaper) turbo 4 model, and it’s fast, but the engine note just ain’t the same.

    It’s a 2011. The color name for the seats is Saddle, which is a tan.

    The new body style/chassis came out in 2015, and the 2016 model year is almost exactly the same. So you might be able to find some hold-over 2015s that have been discounted a fair amount since it is last year’s model. I’ve found Autotrader.com to be a useful resource for seeing what’s available.

    • #24
    • March 9, 2016 at 12:27 pm
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  25. Member

    Kevin Creighton:

    Pony Convertible: I am with you. Less TV is better.

    The funny thing is, though, I thought I’d hate a Kindle, but now, I’m marking up text and scrolling and pinching and interacting with the words in ways that I never could before.

    It’s about the content, not the medium.

    Agreed. My reduction in TV time as lead to an increase in reading time. The main difference is when I read, I decide what is interesting and entertaining instead of someone else telling me what I should be interested in.

    • #25
    • March 9, 2016 at 12:48 pm
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  26. Contributor

    Hoyacon:

    George Savage:I give you the E93 BMW M3. In my opinion, the perfect fast car for California.

    Far and away the nicest thing anyone’s done for me on Ricochet–but I must insist on paying any gift tax. What’s a convenient time for pick-up?

    Hoyacon, I surmise that on Supreme Court matters you incline to the literalist school of constitutional interpretation. If so, I agree. However, on matters automotive I hew to a more whimsical standard. Sorry to disappoint.

    • #26
    • March 9, 2016 at 1:33 pm
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  27. Founder

    I agree! (Of course!) Because as I’ve said ad nauseum — we’re on the side of efficiency and personalization and individual solutions. We’re on the side of the iPhone Generation. They’re on the side of the Post Office.

    Whatever happens in the continuing Republican crack-up, I hope what emerges is a rededication to that.

    • #27
    • March 9, 2016 at 2:50 pm
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  28. Member

    Once upon a time I got my old ’79 Ford LTD speedometer up to the middle of the ‘F’ on the gas tank.

    • #28
    • March 9, 2016 at 3:01 pm
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  29. Member

    George Savage:

    Hoyacon:

    George Savage:I give you the E93 BMW M3. In my opinion, the perfect fast car for California.

    Far and away the nicest thing anyone’s done for me on Ricochet–but I must insist on paying any gift tax. What’s a convenient time for pick-up?

    Hoyacon, I surmise that on Supreme Court matters you incline to the literalist school of constitutional interpretation. If so, I agree. However, on matters automotive I hew to a more whimsical standard. Sorry to disappoint.

    Scalia and me are both very disappointed. Congrats on your ride. I once got a ticket driving a friend of mine’s M3 (the closest I’ve ever gotten to one) because I “felt” I was cruising at about 70. The 5th Amendment prevents me from filling this out.

    • #29
    • March 9, 2016 at 3:09 pm
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  30. Member

    Oh, and how many consumer products exist that are more conservative than fast cars with big engines. I can think of three: Smith and Wessons, Glocks, and Rugers.

    • #30
    • March 9, 2016 at 4:16 pm
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