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On Earth Day 2008 (April 22), public broadcasting’s token mechanics Tom and Ray Magliozzi were at it again. They were wailing once more on “500-horsepower, gas-guzzling road machines that even a couple of car nuts like Tom and Ray find excessive . . . .”
(As if ordinary “car nuts” without a huge national media following and the corresponding massive bank account could actually hope to run the daunting gauntlet of ridiculous dealer greed and paltry supplies artificially limited by draconian Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations to obtain a 500 h.p. Shelby GT500 or 540 h.p. Shelby GT500KR)
Speedzzter has previously ventilated the well-documented horsepower phobia of the Magliozzis, to much comment from Tom and Ray’s dogmatic disciples. (See the side bar "Click, Clack and the 500 Horsepower Ford" in the "Best of Speedzzter")
The "vehicle" this time for the left-wing-nut preaching of Boston’s Tappet Brothers was a Public Broadcasting Service program entitled “NOVA: Car of the Future.”
PBS then followed up the Magliozzi’s broadside on automotive freedom with an Earth Day reprise of why the Administrations of both Bushes and Bill Clinton “failed” to cede American sovereignty and consumer freedom by adopting the radical, hysterical international global warming agenda.
Wow! A double-header of Greeniac propaganda from the taxpayer-subsidized PBS. It was almost enough to drive an auto enthusiast back to the Brian France fiasco of the COT “NASCAR” for some relief (It was that bad).
Of course Tom and Ray’s “slapstick” opening act in the Earth Day propaganda fest deserves a bit more scrutiny.
NOVA’s send-up gimmick is described on at PBS.com as follows: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/car/about.html
Tom Magliozzi has a problem. The wacky [is that a synonym in this context for insane?] cohost of NPR's Car Talk needs to replace his beloved 1952 MG roadster. [That fact reveals much about Tom’s aversion to high performance automobiles. A T-Series MG is little more than a primitive ox cart powered by a wheezing tractor engine. ] But in today's car market, where should he turn? Is new technology about to transform the way we drive? Tom and his brother Ray hit the road in this program for a lighthearted but shrewd take on America's four-wheeled future.
What followed were occasional shards of interesting information on the sorts of emerging technological developments that gearheads already tend to follow punctuated by the juvenile clowning of the Magliozzis.
The “take” for true automobile enthusiasts wasn’t as much “shrewd" as it was predictably depressing.
Save a lengthy and virtually breathless “commercial” for the uber-expensive, overhyped Tesla electric “sports car,” virtually none of the “cars of the future” looked to have any appeal to those who take their motoring seriously. And the Magliozzis did their best to blast any hopes about high-octane ethanol or other alternative high performance fuels.
[Among Click and Clack's lamest gags was bringing in two ears of corn into an ethanol research lab for "conversion."]
But they saved their most sanctimonious sarcasm for high performance cars and the people who love them
RAY MAGLIOZZI: How many horsepower is this thing, guys? You must know, right?
CAR SHOW ATTENDEE: What is this, 5...?
CAR SHOW SALESPERSON: Yeah, 500.
RAY MAGLIOZZI: A mere 500.
TOM MAGLIOZZI: Looks like my MG.
RAY MAGLIOZZI: Yeah, right!
TOM MAGLIOZZI: Not the MG engine, the whole MG!
RAY MAGLIOZZI: This is an absurd amount of horsepower to have in anything, I would think.
TOM MAGLIOZZI: Ridiculous.
RAY MAGLIOZZI: But...
TOM MAGLIOZZI: Absolutely ridiculous and stupid.
RAY MAGLIOZZI: But people want to buy them...
TOM MAGLIOZZI: They're whackos! [sic]
* * *
JOSEPH B. WHITE (Wall Street Journal): If you look anywhere in the world, not just the United States, you look anywhere in the world, people will buy the most horsepower they can afford. There's something kind of primal and elemental about having a powerful machine at your beck and call and at your command. The car companies know this; they're selling emotion. If we just needed an appliance to get from A to B, we'd all be driving around in Toyota Corollas.
[DREAM ON, JOE! Some of us would rather WALK than putt around in a flaccid handling, weak-sister "box" like a Japanese Corolla]
And just in case the “above average” “P-BS” viewers missed this opening salvo against automotive freedom-of-choice, the Tappet Brothers went back for more against a cornered Beth Lowery, General Motors, Vice President, Environment and Energy at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit:
[JOHN LITHGOW (in somber tones befitting a catastrophic disaster of epic proportions (James Earl Jones must not have been available)) ]: G.M. hopes to start producing the Volt by the end of the decade, but today it stands alone in a sea of beefy trucks and high-powered road machines. Will cars like the Volt ever replace them? Tom and Ray aren't so sure.
RAY MAGLIOZZI: It's right next to the Ford Mustang with 550 horsepower.
BETH LOWERY: Yes. And the Camaro convertible. Isn't that great?
RAY MAGLIOZZI: Yeah.
BETH LOWERY: America is all about choice. If you want a Camaro, buy a Camaro.
RAY MAGLIOZZI: But if we're about hugging trees...
[NOTICE HOW NEITHER TOM NOR RAY AGREE THAT FREEDOM OF CHOICE IS A FUNDAMENTAL AMERICAN VALUE. Of course, "freedom" is not consistent with the "big brother" environmentalist agendas of P-BS and the Magliozzis]
TOM MAGLIOZZI: With 500 horsepower? Who the [^&*&] needs 500 horsepower?
BETH LOWERY: Obviously not you.
[YES! YES! Beth obviously could tell that a couple of tired, old geezers such as Tom and Ray probably could not HANDLE a REAL CAR! Of course, neither Tom nor Ray actually test drove or even rode in any 500 horsepower vehicles during this NOVA episode. Nor did they engage in a meaningful conversation with any of the millions of hot rodders and motoring enthusiasts who own or desire such potent street machines. Nope, they were content to assume that everyone who is not "absolutely ridiculous and stupid" would agree with them. Don't Northeastern we-know-better-than-you-"whackos" liberals have such open minds?]
TOM MAGLIOZZI: Why do you make such [$&*%]? I mean it's ridiculous!
[ONE COULD SAY THE SAME ABOUT THE MAGLIOZZI'S INSIPID RADIO PROGRAM AND THEIR BANAL NEWSPAPER COLUMN]
BETH LOWERY: You mean these popular vehicles that are on the floor?
TOM MAGLIOZZI: Yeah, these popular vehicles. Five hundred horsepower...jeez!
PBS’s solution, of course, is the heavy hand of government.
LITHGOW]: But is there too much at stake to be left in the hands of carmakers and consumers?
DAVID GREENE (a professional, taxpayer-funded gloom-and-doomer from Oak Ridge National Laboratory): We're not able to rely on individual decisions in the marketplace to solve the problem of climate change, to solve the problem of oil-dependence. It takes collective action. It takes government action.
[Green elaborated further in a chilling side-bar posted at the “P-BS” website:]
[W]e have to shoot for a goal of perhaps 100 percent improvement in efficiency by 2025 or 2030. We can't just make a certain improvement and rest on our laurels. We have to keep going.
* * * *
[W]e know fuel-economy standards can work. [Apparently ignoring that evading CAFE has been perhaps the single largest factor in the market shift to trucks and SUVs] And we know that we have the technology to increase fuel economy by 50 percent over the next 10 or 12 years, and maybe with technological advances, 100 percent over a 20-year period. But the price of dealing with climate change, dealing with our oil security problem, may be giving up the horsepower race and the size race in vehicles.
In other words, welcome back to the fun days of the 1970s again, brought to you by the incessant meddling of the U.S. government.
All of the “P-BS” from arrogant demagogs like Click and Clack (tm) and their power-grabbing bureaucrat cohorts simply ignores the fact that “horsepower” really isn’t the problem. It’s a knee-jerk boggy-man.
The “problem,” to the extent that one exists is more complex than that.
The most enthusiastic “whackos” use the full capacity of their “500 horsepower” vehicles a minuscule percentage of the time. And even if one completely subscribes to the whole “faith” of anthropogenic global warming, private transportation is but a fraction of the “cause.”
Sensible engineering and market choice could permit the simultaneous development of fuel saving technology and expanded fuel supplies and options along with preserving our freedom to choose high performance vehicles.
For example, a hybrid-electric “Eco-Boost” Shelby GT500 with a full contingent of gasoline saving technology (light body materials, cylinder deactivation, variable tuned intake manifold, variable cam timing, E-85 fuel etc.) could generally preserve that 3-4 percent of the time when high performance is desired (or needed) with a dramatic improvement in off-boost fuel economy.
But as long as know-it-alls like Click and Clack (tm) demonize high performance vehicles, their drivers and the companies who offer them, such useful and practical compromises become more improbable.
Of course that's what a couple of old aging hippies who pander to the freedom-hating "automobiles-as-appliances" crowd really wants. They apparently hate "muscle cars" and the idea that anyone would ever be free to purchase one. They want to use the power of the public opinion to demonize and demean anyone who would choose such vehicles (Of course neglecting similar defamation against private aviation, power boating and other forms of transportation or scores of other consumptive actions that are popular among liberals) They envision a centrally-controlled, hyper-regulated world such as the one "Truth With Speedzzter" has previously described.
Automobile enthusiasts, gearheads, hot rodders, "tuners," restorers and sports car lovers all must stand together against the anti-freedom "jawbowning" of liberal plants such as Tom and Ray Magliozzi. These goofs are not true automobile enthusiasts and they do not have our best interests at heart.
We must demand our political leaders respect our automotive freedom-of-choice.
We must fight against losing our right and the opportunity to purchase high performance vehicles, including "absurd . . . Absolutely ridiculous and stupid" vehicles with 500 or more horsepower.
We must encourage the OEMs to not repeat the same mistakes as they did at the end of the First Supercar Era.
We must reject the radical power-grab that is the internationalist "anthropogenic global warming" movement and support the reasonable, moderate voices of market-based choice and personal freedom.
We must fight laws at the local and state level which raise unreasonable barriers to grassroots motorsports and high performance (Joining the SEMA Action Network is a crucial first step).
We must fight together for our rights or we will all hang separately (metaphorically speaking).
The "absurd . . . Absolutely ridiculous and stupid" "Whackos" are not the consumers who choose to exercise their automotive freedom in ways "Click and Clack" (tm) and their rock-headed ilk are incapable of understanding. The anti-American "whackos" are those who would conspire to deprive us of our liberty under the pretext of "saving the planet."